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February 25, 2017


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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

Broadway entertainer Sean McDermott performs for a great cause
The Sunshine Scholarship Foundation’s Benefit Concert came to a reality on Wednesday, February 22nd as Broadway performer Sean McDermott brought down the house! The Palapa Bar and Grill hosted the event from 7PM to 10PM, and it was well attended by music enthusiastic and supporters. Prior to show time, Isla Bonita Elementary School’s (IEBS) drumline showcased their drumming skills. Opening the show with a brief welcome address was Mistress of Ceremonies Teresa Nicholson, who introduced McDermott, sharing his achievements with the audience. “McDermott has starred on Broadway and in television, performed for the President of the United States, and even sang with Barbra Streisand on her European Tour. He recently performed in Moscow with the symphony orchestra for the 100th Birthday of Frank Sinatra,” said Nicholson. McDermott graciously took the stage and sang a beautiful selection influenced by Sinatra, Michael Bublé, Tom Jones, Frankie Valli, and Jersey Boys. With songs like “It Had Better Be Tonight”, “It’s Not Unusual”, “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You”, and “Fly with Me”, the crowd was eager to dance, cheering loudly for more.

Belize’s Hyperbaric Chamber introduces resident general practitioner and dive medic
The Sub-aquatics of Belize Limited is pleased to present new general practitioner and certified dive medic, Dr. Cornelio Teck. Originally from San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, Dr. Teck received his medical education in Cuba, after which he did his internship program in both Belmopan and Belize City. He has recently moved to Ambergris Caye, where he now offers his many services in San Pedro Town at the Hyperbaric Chamber. Dr. Teck has been trained and is a certified chamber tender and operator. He has treated diving accidents in Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, Mexico from initial urgent care, assessment, to neurological examinations, diagnosis, treatment and prescriptions. However, his services go beyond hyperbaric medicine, offering family medicine with knowledge in pathologies pertaining to general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics and internal medicine. As an added bonus, Dr. Teck is also offering free consultations for Dive Masters. He is eager to work alongside other doctors in the community, especially certified dive medics, as he grows into his role at the Hyperbaric Chamber. He will be residing in the same building as well. The chamber also announces that tours will be offered every Wednesday, starting March 1st. Visitors are invited to tour the facility, look at the chamber unit itself and learn how it is set up, and what equipment is being used to ensure that our community, in particular the dive community, remains safe. There will be a 10 AM and a 5 PM guided tour.

Belize misses Super Bond
On Monday, February 20th, the Government of Belize (GOB) failed to make a payment of US$13 million or BZ$26 million towards the 2038 Super Bond. Belize now has 60 days to meet payments, or else it can result in the loss of savings obtained from the last restructuring of the Bond in 2012 and 2013, when creditors had agreed to an 11% reduction. Although the payment was missed, the country has a grace period of 30 days before it is declared a default. In an attempt to reach a third restructuring of the Super Bond, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, along with a Belizean delegation, travelled to New York City, New York USA on Tuesday, February 14th to meet with bondholder representatives. The meeting did not yield the expected results, and upon Barrow’s return to the country on Sunday, February 19th, the PM told reporters that he is cautiously optimistic that a deal for softened terms on the bond could be reached before the grace period expires.

Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye launches new fund raising projects
The Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye (RCAC) has been brainstorming on fundraising methods to support all of their projects that benefit the island community, and recently they have launched two new ways of collecting the much needed funds.

Ambergris Today

The Beautification of the Island Commences
On Thursday, February 23, 2017, the San Pedro Town Council held its final consultation based on a local economic development strategic plan for San Pedro Town. Many public consultations have been held, surveys have been taken and with the help of proffesionals from Candada thanks to CARILED the projects have started. Although not all projects have been finalized and still need to be reviewed, some like the reclamation of beaches will commense this Saturday, February 25, 2017. In the area of Boca Del Rio, solar powered lights have been installed especially in the park and more are yet to be installed along the beach. This program falls under CARILED- Caribbean Local Economic Development Project that is coordinated by Leidi Urbina here in Belize. CARILED is a Canadian government organization that helps developing countries with projects to develop and test models of Local Economic Development across the Caribbean.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

BELIZE RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE ON CAYE CAULKER!
CC will be having a blood donation drive on Saturday 4 March from 9AM - 3PM. Donating blood is crucial and life saving for people who are sick or have injuries. Any of us could need blood at any time. If you donate blood you or a loved one are eligible to get blood in the future. Please, please come out and support the health of the community and yourselves! Please put this on your calendar and PM with any questions. No appointments needed! Tell your friends and guests! To those awesome people who contacted me about volunteering I will be in touch soon. Thank you!

BOOM FEST
Presidente Belize Presents BOOM FEST at The La Ruta Maya on Sunday March 5th at Handerson Park, Burrel Boom from 12noon to 7PM@! LIVE #Music and Performances by : Tanya Carter, Supa G, Sweet Pain Band, Gilharry 7, Ernestine, Denise Castillo, Unlimited, Black Chiney, Harlem Youths, No Fear DJs, DJ Jago & Royal Sounds! Get 4 Presidente Beers for ONLY $11.00 It's Gonna Be Massive! Don't Miss It!

'Seagrasses' vital to coastal health
The importance of seagrasses to the health of coastal ecosystems is underlined in new research conducted around Indonesian atolls. These underwater flowering plants, which have been with us since the age of the dinosaurs, have long been known to have anti-microbial properties. But the latest study demonstrates that their presence really does help to suppress pollution. Coral reefs also seem to be in a better condition when the grasses are nearby. Although these plants grow in vast meadows, fringing every continent except Antarctica, they are also being damaged on a large scale by human activities, with global losses estimated at 7% each year since 1990. Dr Joleah Lamb and colleagues tell this week's Science Magazine that the "ecosystem services" provided by the grasses should be valued more highly.

The Belize Literary Prize 2016
The Belize Literary Prize 2016. The Criteria for Flash Fiction and the Criteria for Poetry - the 2 Genres open for our yearly writing competition. Please email entries to belizebookindustry@gmail.com GOOD LUCK!

Sea cucumber Fishing Season Notice
In accordance with Section 11 of Statutory Instrument No. 67 of 2009, under the Fisheries Act Chapter 210 of the Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000-2003, the Fisheries Administrator hereby informs all fishers and the public that the season for the extraction for all species of sea cucumber will remain closed for 2017. Thus, no person should fish or have in his possession any sea cucumber. This is necessary for the Department to undertake a more comprehensive assessment of the stocks to strengthen management measures for the conservation and sustainable utilization of this species. The cooperation of the fishing community and the public is greatly appreciated.

Warming up for Sun & Moon Festival at Luna Loca
Saturday, February 25 at 8 PM - 12 AM. Saturday is the first warm up party for the Sun Moon festival. If you are on the island, come down and have a few drinks and dance to some great house music. Featuring DJ's Matt Hoy and GracieRock

Community Outreach and Cookout
The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project is having its second Community Outreach and Cookout at the House of Culutre. The purpose of our Cookouts is to draw in the members of the community into a property that has been off-limits to them for most of the history of the property. The aims is to create an immersive, inclusive and positive atmosphere of history and culture where all visitors from far and near will feel comfortable and willing to participate in the rejuvenation and recreation of our Government House Property. Saturday, March 18 at 11 AM - 4 PM, Government House ~ House of Culture (NICH) Regent Street, Belize City

Captain Shark's Belize celebrating 20 Years
Ambergris Today joins the community of San Pedro in congratulating Captain Shark's Belize celebrating 20 Years of service to Ambergris Caye. Happy Anniversary!

BELTRAIDE TO ASSIST BELIZEAN ARTISTS TO PROMOTE THEIR MUSIC
EXPORTBelize, a unit of BELTRAIDE, hosted a brief meeting this morning, Friday 24th February, 2017 with Belizean Artists/Musicians to put forth the development of their Electronic Press Kits (EPK). An Electronic Press Kit for musicians is a collection of materials used for promotional use in order for them to get bookings and press coverage; this is essentially their RESUME. These EPK’s will be exhibited at an Exposition in Astana, Kazakhstan that will run from June 10th to September 10th, 2017, showcasing 100 countries in areas of Destination, Trade in Services and Culture, with expectation of receiving over 5million visits. These artists/musicians will then be exposed to opportunities for bookings, media coverage and other business deals, as well as Belize’s culture will be brought to life through the medium of rich Belizean music.

Poets Corner: Circus
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Deh rass start with the mandamus When the COMPOL took the courts for a circus For higher ups the system puts them first The Pinochet case is the ‘locos classicus’ That justice must seem to be done Or the people will create a ruckus They will see the judiciary for what it is ‘a circus’ Justice must not only be done But must seem to be done How can any politician intervene for their son? Then have the nerve to go on national television Saying, “… explain to me if you should stand There to make some foreigner or some Guatemalan Or whoever he kill you backside and then run across the border And the case done. I say hell no." It’s supposed to be the courts to make that determination If it was self defence or another offence It’s a conflict of interest for a minister To use his office for his son’s defence Godwin is talking nonsense

Poetry night at Corozal Public Library
Poetry Night was Great! Our thanks to Y-Not-Bakery, Rony's Tortilla Factory and Mrs. Patt for providing the snacks for the participants.

Sports Day at Corozal Community College!

MCPS Receives New Bathroom Block
The Rotary Club of San Ignacio had the inauguration of the new bathrooms at Mount Carmel primary school this week. Thanks, Rotary, for all the bathrooms you've built, and are planning on building for the local schools. "Mt. Carmel RC Primary School in Benque Viejo received the keys to their new toilet building provided by an international Rotary project today at a joyful handing over ceremony. The Rotary Club of Greater Bend, Oregon and the Rotary Club of San Ignacio, along with the Rotary Foundation and Rotary Districts funded this construction for a project focused and clean water and sanitation, and basic health and hygiene education. The project was funded for $78,000 BZ ($36,000 US) and serves the Standard 4 - 6 (upper division) student population of about 300. The previous building was 54 years old and in great need of replacing. New toilet facilities like this have been built through our club's efforts in 11 other schools in Cayo. Student attendance and health measurably increase when toilet systems are updated on a school campus and hygiene education is emphasized."

Women's Guerilla Art Show Call
The Wildfire Artmosphere is calling for female artists for the upcoming Women's Guerilla Art Show. "CALL FOR ARTISTS! LADIES! Women around the world R doing stuff. R you ready? We can't think of a better way to inaugurate our new red walls!"

Macro-invertebrate study as part of monitoring the headwaters of the Chiquibul Forest
The second macro-invertebrate study is underway as part of monitoring the headwaters of the Chiquibul Forest. FCD’s team have covered the field work and back in office the analysis has begun. This project is made possible through a PACT Medium Grant.

MAKING STUDENTS GREAT
Twenty Two students from Saint Michael's RC Primary School In Belmopan graduated from the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) Program. Students participated in six key lessons with the basic message; to keep away from gangs, drugs and violence.

Channel 7

Cyber-Bullying Spree On Facebook - GOB Trying to Come Up With Laws
Belizean Cheaters - it's a Facebook group that has been overheating Belize's Social Media scene for the past week. The group traffics in little more than low-down gossip, revenge porn, and just plain old "bad mind" - but it's been garnering thousands of page views from those who delight in nothing more than "shoosh." But now, it's garnering mainstream media attention because someone maliciously posted the picture of an 11 year old girl accusing her of having sexual relations with adult men. That crossed the line and the child's mother called Southside Police Commander Chester Williams who posted on social media that he will "deal with those responsible." But, deal with them how? Are there even laws on the books to prosecute those who engage in cyber-bullying? There aren't, and today the press asked the Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte and the Solicitor General Nigel Hawke about it:...

GOB Can't Serve Suit On Vega
We also got to ask the AG about the case against Andre Vega, the son of former Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega, and attorney Sharon Pitts. Last year, news broke that they had been awarded hefty government compensation for land that was already owned - and should never have been sold. The Ministry of Natural Resources then demanded that those monies be paid back within one month, which did not happen. Since then the Attorney General's office has committed to filing suit against both parties in order to get the money back. We asked Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte and Solicitor General Nigel Hawke for an update. Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General: "It is strictly a legal matter and the SG the person who is the head litigator for that case as he has told me, he has difficulty locating Mr. Vega to serve him personally and he may have to do substituted service, but we have served Ms. Pitts. It was purely a legal matter, it is a matter that went into the system before I became an attorney general. I have no intentions of discontinuing. The court will decide what the court will decide."

Ashcroft Alliance and GOB Remain Locked In Court Battles
Hawke also gave us a brief update about the Ashcroft Alliance's latest challenge. It seeks to discharge the Supreme Court's injunction which stops Belize Bank and BCB HOLDINGS from attempting to enforce awards granted by the US Courts earlier this year. The court granted a temporary injunction three weeks ago - and now the Ashcroft Alliance wants it lifted. Nigel Hawke: "Like I said I don't want to comment too much on these matters, because the matters are before the court. What we know there is a challenge to discharge the injunction that it was granted in favor of GOB, that will be heard on Monday. Mr. Denys Barrow, senior counsel, is representing the government of Belize in that matter. Like I said before because those matters are before the courts, we would not comment on the merits or demerits of those cases."

Will GOB Probe Deeper Into Immigration Intrigues?
Peyrefitte also answered questions about the ongoing Senate inquiry. The press asked if he sees any reason for further investigations into the matters revealed in the probe, or other related immigration scandals such as Nanes Shnitzer. Reporter: "In relation to the entire senate probe that's ongoing, there have been a lot of disclosures and in particular since then a lot of back and forth as it relates to the disclosures of Ms. Ruth Meighan about electoral fraud and so. As attorney general would you hope that that's a matter that's investigating alongside the what's now been disclosed for the Nanes Shnitzer case with an internal investigation done and certain people being deemed as needing disciplinary action but also a police investigation alongside that?" Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General: "The police investigation will depends on what the police wants to do. Many criminal moves that want to be made, will be left to the DPP. You may want to ask her that. But in general as a senator myself, I want to respect that senators. I want them to finish with their inquiry and then we will see what recommendations they made from that body. Until then I wouldn't want to say anything that would prejudice their inquiry that's taking place right now."

GOB Not Bracing For Deportees
And, finally, on the subject of deportation the AG answered questions about whether there has been a rush of deportees sent back, or headed to Belize since Donald Trump was elected President. Now, we know there has been fake news saying 1,800 Belizeans were rounded up in the US for deportation. But, that has no basis in fact, since the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports that in February just over 600 illegal persons were picked up in total, in operations targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives. No special mention was made of Belizeans. The attorney general said they are not aware of any rush of deportations:... Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General: "I am not aware that there's any official policy to deport Belizean who are incarcerated yes, I would like to think that most Belizeans are here legally. It has not reached the point where it is such an important policy consideration that we need to come up with something to address it. We have not been notified by any of our counsels or by our embassy abroad that we it will become an issue. But if it does certainly we can find a way to address it. It has not come as an urgent matter to consider."

Supa G - Why He Was Turned Back At Houston
Supa G is Belize's most well known and successful Punta Rocker - and much os his popularity comes from the United States where he plays to adoring crowds of Belizean Americans. But Supa will have to slow it down for at least the next few months. That's after he was turned back by US Immigration earlier this week. Supa arrived in Houston on the 22nd on a visitor's visa. But, while his manager says he was there as an ambassador, performers need what is known as a P3 Visa. We spoke to his manager via telephone from California this evening: Cyril "Uruwei" Garcia, Supa G's Manager: "On February 22, Supa G was on his way to Houston to represent Belize as a cultural ambassador, not to perform. The Houston tri-country regional black chamber of commerce invited him to join honored guests, the Love Foundation, to the 4th annual conference and award gala. He was denied entry into the US as a result of not holding a P3 visa. He couldn't return on that same day, because there were no flights leaving Houston to Belize after the investigation process. So he had to return the following day which is Thursday 23rd. We are actively working on his P3 visa. One of his supervisors at the US Immigration Department has actually assured us that this is not an end to his musical career in the United States and that there are other artists with offences on their record that have been allowed entry after such experience. So his fans in the US, we can assured them that he will be back in the US in no time."

Woman Charged For Manslaughter of Husband
On Valentine's night, Geneva Estrada allegedly pushed her common law husband Eric Moses down a flight of stairs. He hit his head, and later died. She was originally charged for dangerous harm, but today, that charge was upgraded to manslaughter. Because of the nature of the offence, bail could not be offered. She was remanded into custody until April 17. According to the allegation, Estrada got angry with him and pushed him. Moses hit the back of his when he tumbled to the bottom of the stairs, and he lost consciousness.

Constable Jamil To Jail
Tonight a cop is serving the first night of a three month jail sentence after he stole a police radio. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith sentenced Police constable Jamil Scott to 3 months today after he was found guilty. His girlfriend, Jelsie Zapeta, who was charged with handling stolen goods for the Kenwood brand radio, was found not guilty. Back in September, 2014, the radio went missing from a police mobile that was parked in the Raccoon Street Police Station compound. Later that night, when Scott left the station on his motorcycle, police intercepted him at the corner of Raccoon and Elston Kerr Streets and told him to return to the police station. Scott instead went to Novelo's Bus Terminal on West Collet Canal, but police detained his girlfriend there and found that she had the police radio in a bag. Scott and Zepeta both gave statements from the dock in which they denied they stole anything. But Chief Magistrate Smith rejected it; she told Scott that she does not believe his statement; that it was fraught with lies. She said that in the case of Zepeta she is not convinced that Zepeta knew that the radio was stolen she she acquitted her while convicting her boyfriend.

Belize Comes Again With FOPREL
Last month we told you that new House Speaker Laura Longsworth will take over the regional parliamentarian organization, FOPREL. That's the abbreviation for the Forum of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments of Central American and the Caribbean Basin. This will be the second time that Belize's takes over the rotating presidency. And so, tonight, Longsworth, Senate President Lee Mark Chang, and National Assembly Clerk Eddie Webster are in Managua, Nicaragua. That's where FOPREL's Headquarters are located, and in an inauguration ceremony, Longsworth officially accepted the presidency. She took over from the outgoing president, Oscar Chinchilla, who is the President of the President of the parliament of Guatemala. Belize will hold the Presidency for 1 year, after which it will be passed along to one of the other 9 member states.

CDB Remains Committed to Belize
And, tonight, in our final report from last week's CDB Press Conference in Barbados, we have bank president Dr. Warren Smith discussing the Bank's Special Development Fund, the Bank's largest pool of concessionary funds. That has an interest rate of only 1% and it is earmarked for landing to agencies such as Belize's Social Investment Fund. Smith told us that a significant portion of those funds will be earmarked for Belize:.. Warren Smith, President CDB: "Belize is going to get a big chuck of that money which as I understand it, works through Belize SIF (Social Investment Fund). So I mentioned to you in my earlier remarks that our experience has been that Belize has used those resources very effectively in the past and it is one of the countries where we like to take people and show them what can be accomplished."

Figuring Out Fisheries
In other Caribbean news, a study is underway to look at the impacts of rising cost factors on fishing operations in the Caribbean. The workshop will be held next week in Barbados and it will review a study, carried out in Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean nations. The workshop will examine, factors such as capital, labor, maintenance and energy costs. The idea is to propose strategies to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability in the fisheries sector.

Concert For Kids Living With HIV
About 120 kids under 18 are living with HIV in Belize - that's the number the National Aids Commission has in their records. But there are more kids out there born HIV positive. And you can help The National Aids Commission along with Hand in Hand Ministers reach out to all these kids by attending their fundraiser event tonight. It's the "Unite for the Children" benefit concert. It was scheduled to start at 7:00 at the BFLA compound on Mercy Lane. There will be performances from the Pantempers Steel Orchestra and Pandemonium Steel Band. The Communications and Programs Officer at the National Aids Commission told me more about the significance of the concert.

Many Ways to Love Lady Lila
Belize's Queen of Brukdong will be buried next week Thursday in PG. But her vibrant soul, unique style and strong cultural imprint will live on forever. Well known Mortician and close friend of Lila, Stanley Lizama is keeping her spirit alive in his way . Lizama got a mannequin and designed a replica of Lila Vernon performing, with Mic and all. Lizama told us today just how special this display is to him. Everyone is invited to view or take pictures . Lizama lives just off Baymen Avenue, near Alaska store.

Belize Won Some, Lost Some At Beach Soccer
Earlier this week, we told you how Team Belize was turning heads in the First Round of the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships, when they beat Jamaica in a penalty shootout. That game ended in a tie, but Belize managed to score 2 penalty shots, snatching that first match away from their opponents. Well, since then, they've gone up against Bahamas and Guyana, and in those games, Belize lost 3-nil and 4-1 respectively. So, that takes Belize out of the running for the top 8 countries, but that doesn't mean that the beach footballers aren't still giving it their all. They're currently battling for 9th place and today, they played an impressive game against the US Virgin Islands. They had a rocky start when the US Virgin Islands scored the first 3 goals on them, and those went unanswered. In the final period However, Team Belize turned up the game play and scored 4 consecutive goals. The US Virgin Islands scored their last goal of the match, and after that, Team Belize made two clutch goals in the last few minutes.

Mayan Pendant Continues to Intrigue
In 2015, 7News was first to report on the second largest piece of carved piece of jade ever found in Belize and probably in the entire Maya World. It was unearthed at Nim Li Punit in the Toledo District and researchers are still marveling over it. An online news outlet named "phys.ORG" quotes a paper recently published in the Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica detailing the jewel's significance. According to Archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell it's the only pendant known to be inscribed with a historical text. Carved into the pendant's back are 30 hieroglyphs about its first owner. Braswell notes, quote, "We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center." End quote. The pendant measures 7.4 inches wide, 4.1 inches high and just 0.3 inches thick. The article notes that sawing it into this thin, flat form using string, fat and jade dust would have been a technical feat.

Play, Lila, Play!
And for the end of the news tonight, we'll keep it in the south, with a look back at some of PG resident Lila Vernon's memorable performances which were captured on camera. These archival clips are courtesy NICH Belize and AEAU productions.

Channel 5

Is Andre Vega Evading Court Action for Haulover Compensation?
Andre Vega, son of former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, remains at the heart of a land scandal involving a parcel of prime real estate near the Haulover Creek and [...]

Breaking “Belizean Cheaters”: Women Deplore Lascivious Content Shared Online
Since the weekend, the social media page, Belizean Cheaters and all its evolutions have been wreaking havoc across the country.  Even as the pages are reported to the Facebook Administrator, [...]

Government Moves to Address “Cyber Crimes”
The chorus of disapproval in the wake of the social media spectacle is forcing lawmakers to look carefully at new legislation to address the issue of cyber bullying.  As it [...]

Getting to the Bottom of the Arbitral Awards
Lord Michael Ashcroft’s interview with News Five this week touched on a wide range of topics but the one of most current interest is the various arbitral awards under litigation [...]

Michael Ashcroft Says New Laws Unnecessary and a Distraction
As pointed out by the principals of Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, the language in the Crown Proceedings (Amendment) Act is similar to those passed in the Supreme Court of Judicature [...]

CIHL Goes to Court Against Anti-Arbitration Injunction; G.O.B. Holds Firm
And this coming Monday, February twenty-seventh, the Supreme Court will hear an application by CIHL to discharge an injunction granted by Justice Michelle Arana restraining the company from enforcing a [...]

A.G. Says Deportation Not an Issue for Belize
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, have begun deportation raids in support of new policy by the Donald Trump administration. Hundreds have been rounded up across the country [...]

U.S. Turns Back Supa G from Texas
Belizean entertainer Supa G is back in the country after being denied entry into the United States earlier this week.  The popular artist, born Lensford Martinez, was traveling to Houston, [...]

Superbond Consent Offer Extended Again; S&P Sceptical, Lowers Ratings
Earlier this week, the Government of Belize announced deferral of the coupon payment of almost twenty-six million Belize dollars to holders of the Belize 2038 Bonds. Officially, the plan is [...]

Ashcroft Says Investors May Turn Away from Belize without Security
Turning to the current state of the economy…Lord Michael Ashcroft says that Belize has not shown the promise engendered by the various monies spent here over the last decade or [...]

Ashcroft Vs Barrow? Lord Michael Says It Was Never Personal
We asked Lord Ashcroft how things seemed to get so personal between himself and Prime Minister Dean Barrow over the various situations involving B.T.L. and the subsequent arbitral awards. To [...]

Wife’s Charges Upgraded to Manslaughter for Pushing Husband to Death
On Valentine’s Day, a couple living on Victoria Street was socializing when it is alleged the woman pushed her common-law husband down the stairs. He sustained a head injury when [...]

Immigration Still Interested in Chon Saan Building But Looking at Other Options
Will government proceed with the purchase of the Chon Saan Building in Belmopan?  As we’ve reported, the Immigration Department is looking for real estate to house a new passport system [...]

Chamber of Commerce Sore over Superbond
The unpaid national debt that looms over Belize’s fragile economy continues to be a matter of concern in various sectors, including the business community.  On Thursday, the Belize Chamber of [...]

Who is Behind Takeover of ‘Picado Road’ in Lake Independence?
Residents living at mile two and half on the George Price Highway on a street called “Lucky Street” say that it appears that one of the designated streets in their [...]

Mexican Artist and S.J.C. Students Adorn Mexican Institute Wall with Mural
A Mexican artist and students from Saint John’s College collaborated on mural earlier this week. The use of stencil and graffiti style art piece was started earlier this week and [...]

Taking “Art Action” Against Domestic Violence
Reported cases of domestic violence are on the increase even though there are many that never make it to the police; and in other instances statements have been made, but [...]

Amandala

Senate orders Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett to appear
The Senate Select Committee has issued summons to Eric Chang, former Belize City Deputy Mayor, and Patrick Tillett, Belize City Council Financial Controller. Two weeks ago, the two men were invited by the Committee to respond to allegations made against them in the Auditor General’s Special Report for the period 2011-2013. The report claimed that an Immigration officer removed 8 visa stickers from the Western border and gave it to a man identified as “Mr. Middleton,” who took them to Belize City and sold them to Chang and Tillett, who wrote statements confirming this transaction. In an interview today, Wednesday, chairman of the committee, Aldo Salazar, confirmed, “As far as I understand, we have issued the summons. I am not sure if it’s for today’s date or yesterday, but we have issued it.”

Cops pursuing “Belizean Cheaters” after cyber-bullying of child
Since this weekend, scandalous Facebook pages, carrying the name “Belizean Cheaters”, of which there are now several versions, captioned parts 2, 3, 4 plus other social media versions, described as “uncut” for their raw video content, have gone viral, with one social media group garnering as many as 12,000 members after a scandal broke about someone accused of being a cheating cop. The groups do not just scandalize adults, but go further to post harmful comments about minors as well. One such case was brought to the attention of police, and while there has been no official statement on the matter, or no arrest, we are told that police were called to intervene in a fight over a post via the group. The egregious case in question involves an 11-year-old child whose picture was posted along with her name with allegations of affairs with grown men, but the post went on to suggest that the child would give her body to any man for little or nothing—what could be deemed as a covert attempt to support child prostitution.

Supa G denied entry into the US
Lensford Martinez, a popular Punta artist better known as “Supa G,” was denied entry into the United States today, Thursday. Our sources in the Immigration Department have revealed that he arrived back home on South West Airlines today because US immigration officers found him inadmissible. We are told that he admitted to US Immigration that he had performed in that country, which was a violation of his b1/b2 tourist visa. When we spoke to Supa G tonight, he told us that he was not ready to discuss the matter until he spoke to his manager and the organization that invited him to perform.

Teachers won – no docking of salaries for strike
The Ministry of Education has officially abandoned its stance that it would dock the salaries of teachers who staged 11 days of protest in October of last year in their demand for the Government of Belize to adopt a list of good governance policies. As a result, thousands of teachers across the country will collect their full salaries and the school year will be extended by six days so as to make up time lost in accordance with the Education rules. This is the result of a Supreme Court-ordered mediation between the Belize National Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education, which began three weeks ago.

Did someone hustle off David Nanes/Banes-Schnitzer’s nationality documents?
International fugitive David Nanes-Schnitzer, who defrauded thousands of investors in a Ponzi scheme, according to US/Mexican authorities, is again making headline news. The media has obtained a 14-page internal memorandum written by former Immigration Director Maria Marin on December 11, 2015 to then Immigration CEO, Edmund Zuniga, which revealed how the fugitive was able to easily obtain fraudulent Belizean documents in a process shady from the start to the end. It was Police Legal Officer, Bart Jones, who informed Marin of his concerns about Nanes. Marin thereafter conducted an internal investigation into his immigration documents. On November 29, 2012, using the name David Miguel Banes, Nanes applied for Belizean nationality.

St. Catherine Academy assists potato farmers
Potato growers are presently finding it very difficult to sell their produce and are taking heavy losses due to a glut on the market caused by the importation of contraband potatoes. However, two farmers from the San Carlos Group in Orange Walk were given a boost by the staff and students (assisted by their parents) of St. Catherine Academy in Belize City. The students bought 1,800 pounds of potatoes and their sister school, Muffles College of Orange Walk Town, bought 1,500 pounds today. Salome Castillo, principal of St. Catherine Academy, told Amandala today that the farmers were paid $1, 620 when they brought their produce to the school. She said that the money to the farmers was a drop in the bucket, but every little bit counts.

NEBL “In the Paint”
It has been a rollercoaster season so far for the Western Ballaz (2-2) basketball team. Their season goes like this: win… loss… win… loss. A tale of inconsistency, so to speak. Nevertheless, hopes are running high as they host the visiting Bandits tonight at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium. They obviously will be looking to gather some consistency from the players that get time on the court, particularly from the Leslies, Troyers and Nolbertos. In their last outing, they were able to overcome a 7-point fourth quarter deficit to record the 63-56 win against No Limit. It is apparent that this year’s team is not as explosive offensively as in years past; and, when coupled with a team defense that is right in the middle of the bunch, certainly bares true and validates their inconsistency as a team.

P.G. Freedom Fighters bring excitement to the Barracks again
–It was another weekend of football in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2016-2017 Closing Season regular season; and the MCC Garden, where Punta Gorda’s Freedom Fighters visited for the second Sunday in a row, had its fair share of excitement for football fans. Minus veteran star midfielder Lisbey Castillo, now focusing on basketball with the Dangriga Dream Ballers, Freedom Fighters manager, Patrick Flores has still managed to put together a splendid cast of young talent along with able veterans, Onest Martinez in defence and Franklin Polonio in goal. Most notable of the young guns on Freedom Fighters is their burly and fearless 18-year-old striker, Jarren Lambey, who was instrumental in their 2-1 win over FC Belize last Sunday. Yesterday against BDF, Jarren proved he is also a finisher, when he pounced on a small window of opportunity in close contact with outstanding BDF goalie, Tevin Gamboa, and headed in the only P.G. goal of the game, that brought the score to a worrying 2-1 margin for BDF, who were riding high on a first half 2-nil lead.

San Pedro High girls and Belmopan Compre boys are 2017 NSSSA Football Champions
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) held its high school national football championships over two days, Friday and Saturday, February 17 & 18, out at San Pedro Ambergris Caye, where San Pedro High School (SPHS) hosted the tournament on the artificial turf of the newly refurbished Ambergris Stadium. And at the end of competition on Saturday, San Pedro High School girls and Belmopan Comprehensive School boys were crowned NSSSA Football Champions 2017. After respective regional football competitions, female and male champion teams from the North, Central, West and South regions of the country all converged in San Pedro and participated in a simple knockout format, with first round winners going on to play for the championship, while the losers played for third place. The girls played 20 minute halves (40 minutes regulation), with 10 minutes of overtime where necessary; while the boys played 30 minute halves (60 minutes regulation), with also 10 minutes of overtime as needed.

Former KREM News announcer Annlyn Apolonio stars at Spiez Muscle Mania
Former KREM News announcer, Annlyn Apolonio was among the cast of female and male athletes on stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts last Saturday night at the Spiez Muscle Mania show, where Annlyn walked away with top honors in the Open Bikini-Fitness Competition. . Relishing her victory and exuding confidence, Annlyn remarked on her facebook page on Sunday morning, “Some people have a fear of being on stage. I have a fear of coming off it.” Other 1st place winners at the event, sponsored by Spiez Pharmaceuticals Imports owner/manager Ahmad Shaw Amini, were Aurel Lewis in the Open Men’s Physique category, and Clayton Greenidge, who won the Open Men’s Bodybuilding Competition. The event was hosted by the Belize Body Building and Fitness Federation (BBBFF).

Editorial: A sick media landscape …
The equipment and technology at Channel 5 are all sparkling and state-of-the-art. Channel 5 is a member in good standing of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU). The television station is owned by a billionaire international business mogul who has been feeding off the flesh and blood of the Belizean people for more than three decades. The young Belizeans who are employees at Channel 5 are honest professionals who need their jobs in Belize’s struggling, Third World economy. There is no one to explain to these young Belizeans that they are being used to further the predatory appetites of a man whose god is money. This week the British peer summoned the lovely hostess of Channel 5’s morning talk show, who doubles as the news anchor, to Washington for her to do an “exclusive” interview with him. From what we saw on Wednesday, the “interview” was more like a sermon from on high spoken by mighty Massa himself – Lord Michael Ashcroft.

From the Publisher
I owe Pen Cayetano an explanation of what happened in 1995 or 1996 (Pen would probably have been in Germany at that time) when someone sent to buy Amandala, and there were actually negotiations held at the home of the late Emory King in Tropical Park. I have told you that when Sagis Investments came out of the woodwork in 1994 to buy 10 percent of KREM Radio, I did not know that Sagis was really Lord Michael Ashcroft. I did feel it was either he or Ralph Fonseca. I still can’t say precisely when it was I became convinced it was the British peer. In Spanish jurisdictions, as Coco Orio and I always recollect whenever we meet, limited liability companies are referred to as “sociedad anónima – S. A.” You are not supposed to know who it is or who they are in the world of money and power. By 1995, 1996, working since 1969, we had built something out of the swamp on Partridge Street which attracted the attention of big people. In 1995, 1996, Amandala and KREM Radio were being mauled by the United Democratic Party (UDP) government of Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. The relationship between myself and Dr. Esquivel had become hostile in a personal sense, and when he returned to office in June of 1993, he sat about destroying I. The first thing that he and his people targeted was the Kremandala Raiders, semi-pro basketball champion of Belize.

Mr. Heredia, where are you when we need you?
A month ago I sent an open letter to Mr.Heredia, our UDP Caye Caulker representative, published in Amandala and Ambergris Today under the headline: “Mr.Heredia, Caye Caulker needs your help!” When Mr. Heredia did not show up for his appointment day for Caye Caulker for the third time I contacted his secretary to ask when he would be coming, who told me he was out of the country to promote Belize as a holiday destination so we could get more tourists to come to Belize. Mr. Heredia, I expressed my support for you in my last letter and believe most islanders will support you if you will work to solve the most pressing issues on our islands and especially fight the oil exploration lobby inside the GOB to protect our islands from being destroyed by the oil interests. What I hope you understand is that we have common interests but maybe have different ways to solve our problems. I wished that the GOB would be more positive when the PEOPLE are more participating in the political process relating to their social situation. GOB is obviously not happy with the engagement we islanders have, to stop our islands from getting killed by an oil spill. Neither do they understand how disappointed we are that GOB does not want to listen to the voice of the people. When the Oceana videotape with the interview with our Prime Minister came out, Oceana had to restrict the comments section because there were so many angry explicit responses! I think you know what the mood is here! We also kind of know that for you San Pedro is first and Caye Caulker is second best!

Expats Gary and Betty say Consejo Customs “leaning on them” wrongfully
Mr. Evan X Hyde, My wife and I are big fans of the Amandala and you. We have been living/retired in Belize for 3 1/2 years after several exploratory earlier visits. We finally made the big, permanent, move in 2013. And we are totally committed to spending our remaining years and meager retirement funds here in our paradise. We had a very unusual and unexpected run-in with two Customs & Immigration officers, unknown to us previously, when we returned by launch to the Consejo Customs & Immigration dock. I posted the following on Facebook with the hope of waking everybody up to the reality of what is going to happen to Belize if this kind of behavior continues on the part of that department. So here is a copy of that posting and I hope you can hear the ring of truth in it and perhaps support that perception:

Rosales excoriates Ashcroft and Courtenay
Dear Editor, Please permit me to offer my sentiments on the report made in your newspaper, the Amandala, dated Sunday, January 29, 2017 titled: “Ashcroft Goes for Belize’s Jugular”. I wish to remind Belizeans, both in Government and Opposition, that like the late Hon. Philip Goldson, who coined the words: “The time to save your country is before you lose it”; I, as a born and bred Belizean, say that our Government of the UDP, the PUP and all others who cherish our beloved patrimony of Belize should tell Michael Ashcroft that enough is enough. We are committed to pay for BTL, a company that is once again Belizean owned. However, the rich Michael Ashcroft is getting richer, sending all his riches and gains out of the country – his nest in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and now he is after not only our bread, but the crumbs as well. Ashcroft is a traitor to Belize and Belizeans, and going for our “jugular,” he is becoming treacherous and he has to be stopped.

Will Belize continue to be offered up for sale?
We’d like to begin by thanking you for your offer in selling us British Honduras. We indeed are interested in buying the territory. So we propose to you the following terms. It is from this perspective that the Puerto Azul Ponzi scheme fiasco has caused me much trepidation when I heard that the Italian con man, Domencio Giannini, who was the mastermind behind the elaborate scam, is reported to have said that he had purchased our Great Blue Hole from the Government of Belize. These gangsters have expended a huge effort in perpetrating this scam. In May of 2014 they invited 140 billionaires to a party in Cannes, France, to raise funds for this Puerto Azul 8 star resort. The cost of a ticket to the gala was US$10,000.00. There is only one 8 star resort hotel in the world, which is in Dubai Arab Emirates; their GDP is 570 billion dollars. The second 8 star resort hotel would have been in Belize: our GDP is 1.6 billion dollars – Please! Give me a break. As chairman of the British Honduras Freedom Committee of New York, I was tasked to investigate a few of these scams perpetrated on and in Belize. I will reflect on two of these which occurred in the 1970s.

The quintessential Joseph Haylock – “Barber Joe”
Before there was Pino’s, the popular Pine family barber shop on King Street, and before Jeff Scott, there was the forerunner institution located at the corner of Berkeley Street and East Canal. The legendary Joseph Haylock, popularly known as “Barber Joe,” was the quintessential elder when Belize City’s Southside had authentic neighborhoods where families lived on the same streets for generations and we were civilized toward each other. The story of Barber Joe and his small business is a narrative of what we have lost over the past few decades, much like the neighborhood “mom and pop” family grocery stores that once dotted our communities. Barber Joe began cutting hair as a young boy at St. Ignatius Primary School on Belize City’s Southside where his talent did not go unnoticed. Some of his teachers were among his first clients at the school he attended. Since there is no barber school in Belize where a student can master the trade, he learned and perfected his craft from those brave enough to volunteer for haircuts. By the time he became a young man, Joseph Haylock had established himself as one of Belize’s most celebrated and loved community barbers.

S&P lists Belize as “CreditWatch Negative” after missed $26 mil payment on superbond
The international ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, today listed Belize as ‘CreditWatch Negative,’ after the Government of Belize missed a coupon payment of BZ$26 million due earlier this week on its US dollar bond due in 2038. “The Government of Belize failed to pay the US$13 million semiannual interest coupon due on Feb. 21, 2017, of its US$526.5 million bond due in 2038. The bond, which has a step-up interest rate, will begin accruing interest at 6.767% in August 2017 from the existing 5%,” the agency said. “The government says that it will make the payment only after reaching an agreement,” S&P added. Given the relatively high likelihood of the debt restructuring, it expects to maintain the CreditWatch as ‘negative,’ even if the government makes the payment on the coupon within the 30-day grace period, the ratings agency explained.

Schnitzer was facilitated just like Kim Wong Hong, documents show
New documents that surfaced this week show that David Nanes Schnitzer – the accused multi-million dollar fraudster who vanished into thin air after being granted bail in November 2015 – was facilitated in order to attain Belizean nationality in the same fashion as was Kim […]

Incarceration to Inspiration: Museum of Belize turns 15
A museum, traditionally is a building where collections of artifacts, art work, documents, or other tangible representations of a country’s history and culture are kept and displayed. However, when the Museum celebrated its 15th Anniversary, it was a celebration of more than just a building […]

No deductions: Easter and Summer breaks shortened
The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have agreed that there will be no salary deduction in exchange for teachers making up lost time. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down a perfected order on Tuesday, which came out of the court ordered […]

No new passports being printed
The Ministry of Immigration had to activate contingency operations in the passport office this week, after the passport printer stopped woking. The office confirmed that it hasn’t been able to print passports for several days, causing a back log in its already high workload. Minister of State […]

Boy stabbed to death by relative over $60
A 17-year-old boy of a Pelican Street address was fatally stabbed multiple times by his cousin on Antelope Street extension in Belize City just after midnight in early Monday morning. Police say that on Sunday February 19, around 11:40 p.m. while on patrol on Antelope street extension, […]

San Ignacio man killed while walking with wife
A 23-year-old father of one, was ambushed and murdered on Sunday night while he was walking along with his common-law-wife, through a park in San Ignacio town. Just before midnight on Sunday, San Ignacio police responded to several shots fired behind PK store. When officers arrived on […]

“John Doe” , assassinated in the West, positively identified
The body of a man, who is alleged to be a hired assassin, was discovered around 6:00 a.m. on Monday February 20 on 1st Street in San Ignacio Town. He has since been positively identified by family members as 21-year-old Chester Thueus of a Long Barracks address […]

Man chopped to death in Japan area of Ladyville
Early last Sunday morning, February 19, police discovered a badly chopped up body in the Japan area of Ladyville. Police say that acting upon information received around 7:40 a.m., officers visited the scene on Marage Road, about 100 yards from the Caribbean Shrimp Farm, where they discovered […]

“Tough times ahead,” says Chamber of Commerce
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is calling for the Government of Belize to make drastic economic reforms to reduce the country’s Debt to GDP ratio. The BCCI made a statement this week, saying that GOB needs to implement the changes either prior […]

Belize and Mexico to strengthen cross border activities
A meeting to strengthen cross border activities between Belize and Mexico was held in Belmopan on Tuesday. The Minister of Transport, Edmond Castro met with Mexican Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Carlos Quesnel, to discuss opportunities between the two nations as they relate to cross border […]

Endemic corruption in Immigration Department
Former Immigration Finance Officer, Teresita Castellanos and Former Officer in Charge of the Nationality Section of the Department, Gordon Wade, returned to testify before the Senate Special Select Committee this week, revealing incidents of bribery, mismanagement and ministerial intervention in the Immigration and Nationality Department. […]

Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett summoned by Senate
Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, and the Council’s former Financial Controller, Patrick Tillett, may have to go before the Senate Special Select Committee and explain how they ended up with visa foils, which went missing from the Immigration and Nationality Department. Chairman […]

New laws for Belizean Cheaters
Key government agencies are urgently working to finalize a Cyber Crimes legislation after a social media group called “Belizean Cheaters” caused a massive public uproar by releasing sexually explicit photos and videos of men, women, and even children this week. The Special Envoy for Women […]

Editorial
The history of BTL, Belize’s premier telecommunication utility, is a tortuous and painful one. The idea of putting Belize Telecommunications on a firm and secure footing was conceived in 1972 under the Esquivel Government “to operate, maintain and administer the national telecommunication services and to regulate, control and plan all […]

Clock ticks on Belize Superbond default
The countdown for Belize to default on its scheduled coupon payment of the 2038 US dollar bonds (Superbond) began this week after the government failed to make a US $13.3 Million payment, which was due on Monday. On Monday, the Government of Belize announced that […]

Three found guilty of mudering elderly man
A jury of twelve have found 3 Cayo men guilty of the murder of 82-year-old James Neal/Young on Thursday, February 23rd. Young’s neighbour, Matthew Gentle, along with two other Cayo residents, Sherlock Myvett, 34, and Ricardo “Ricky” Tzul were all charged with his murder. […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Santa Familia man busted with weed, gun and ammo
Yesterday afternoon around 12:50 p.m., police executed a search warrant at the residence of Robert Clifford Biro in Santa Famila Village, Cayo. The search led to discovery of 43 grams of suspected cannabis and a .38 revolver along with fourteen .38 hollow point rounds.

Cost of living up for 2017
Belizeans had to pay an average of 90 cents more for goods and services, according to the latest data released from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). The SIB’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of January showed that the All Items Index stood at 104.1, an increase from 103.2 in January 2016. The SIB said that fuel was one of the major factors for the increase, pointing out that all types of fuel were higher than they were in January 2016.

Three found guilty for killing 82-year-old man
Three men were convicted yesterday for the murder of Cayo taxi man, 82-year-old James Neal Young.The guilty men are Matthew Gentle, Sherlock Myvett and Ricardo Tzul. In 2009, the three men hired the victim and lured him to his death. He was stabbed multiples times to his […]

Belize House Speaker, new President of regional body
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Laura-Tucker-Longsworth, is scheduled to be officially inaugurated as the new President of the Forum of Presiding Officers of Legislative Assemblies of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL). Tucker-Longsworth is currently in Managua, Nicaragua for the event. She […]

Exports rebound in 2017
After several consecutive months of underperforming, Belize’s exports increased by 51.2 percent at the beginning of 2017. The latest External Trade Bulletin released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) showed that exports were valued at $36.4 million, a notable $11.7 million more than […]

The Belize Old River has a lot of history.- The story of this river has changed over the Centuries
In the 1580’s the Belize River was referred by the Maya civilization as the ” RIVER TIPU “.perhaps because it led to the TIPU CITY. Later on when the Baymen Settlers, who began moving further to the interior, referred to this river as the ” RIVER OF THE BULLY’s “. Some people believe that one of the reasons for the name BULLY, was, because of the abundance of the tree called “BULLET TREE”, along this river. The Belize River has two main branches which are the MOPAN and the MACAL Rivers which meet at Branch mouth near San Ignacio & Santa Elena to form the BELIZE OLD RIVER.

Was it really worth it? Ashcroft asks
Lord Michael Ashcroft, in an interview with Channel 5 News from Washington this week, spoke on a number of issues related to the government’s current state of economic affairs and openly questioned whether or not the government’s decision was worth all the trouble Belize now faces. Ashcroft, pointing to the fact that the current administration seldom accepts blame for the current state of affairs and instead prefers to heave responsibility on administrations now three terms removed from government, called it the “dead cat” strategy. “…it’s when they’re losing, basically, the argument or the cases; you throw something else onto the fire to arouse the passions of people or the electorate,” he said.

Chamber of Commerce calls for action to save economy
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) issued a release yesterday stating that “successive governments under both political parties have borrowed and created a massive debt burden that weighs heavy on the shoulders of every citizen of Belize.” The Chamber says that the Superbond and other firm debt obligations pose a real threat to the financial and economic stability of Belize. The Chamber also explains that serious cuts need to be made to government spending and recovering lost revenue is a must.

Ashcroft willing to settle
Michael Ashcroft is willing to settle with the Government of Belize over its multi-million dollar arbitration award. Ashcroft told Channel 5 in an exclusive interview, done in Washington D.C., that he has communicated his willingness to compromise to GOB on several instances. The government owes over US $22 million in arbitration awards, after it lost the case of BCB holding and the Belize Bank Limited v. The Government of Belize.

Supa G denied entry into US
Belizean Punta Rock superstar, Supa G, was denied entry into the United States yesterday because he told US authorities that he had performed in that country using his tourist visa. Supa G has confirmed the incident but has not shared further details.

Barrow’s law firm holds shares in Ashcroft’s Belize Bank
This week, Lord Michael Ashcroft confirmed that Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s Law firm, Barrow and Williams, owns shares in Belize Bank. Ashcroft, in an exclusive interview with Channel 5, said that Barrow’s firm has been a shareholder for many years, and still represents the bank to this day. Ashcroft went on to say that he feels the shares are so insignificant, that Barrow’s political opponents should not use that fact against him.

Fatal road traffic accident on Santa Rosa Road, Southern Belize leaves one dead
A fatal road traffic accident on Santa Rosa Road in Stann Creek District has left one dead. According to reports, the accident happened around 4:54 this morning and the victim died on the spot.

Blogs

Yoga is an adventure – come play at Ak’Bol
At the end of a dock, there is a thatched structure overlooking some of the bluest water imaginable. Under the shade, a group of people transition from one position to the other, the soothing sound of their instructor’s voice leading them. The objective? To center themselves…to relax…meditate…reflect…or simply get their daily stretch on. This is yoga at Ak’Bol. It is the quintessential Caribbean experience: lapping waves, blowing breeze, the scent of salt air at each inhale. Even Maya the dog has her moves down pat! Open since 2008, Ak’bol Yoga Retreat has been offering yoga classes to visitors and residents alike. Owner Kirsten Miglio leads the classes; her students following her guidance and gentle teaching methods. She accommodates beginners through advanced yoga practitioners, happy to share the joy and adventure of yoga. Yes, yoga is an adventure! There are so many styles and variations! Having tried yoga myself, I can attest to how HARD it can be to slow down and breathe deeply. Sure, we live on an island, and enjoy sunny skies, lovely sea breeze, warm Caribbean waters, but we also work, and in my case, there is always a deadline. The first time I had to slow down during yoga, I realized just how shallow my breathing is.

My Day In San Pedro, Belize: Banana Juice, Glowing Horizons and No Plastic Bags?
Yesterday I covered San Pedro town from north to south and then back again. It was a provisioning day – tons of errands to stock “the camp” for the next set of guests. It was also a GORGEOUS cloudless low humidity gem of a day…a few times a year sort of day. A day when the sea is so smooth and clear that it was almost absurd to be on land. A trip to the Blue Hole would have been a DREAM! Each and every one of us should have been in the water. Camp needs everything from pineapples (one store) and bacon (another shop) for breakfast to diesel to fuel the back-up generator. I had some Scoop errands as well. Things were always easy. After months of gorgeous cauliflower and broccoli, there is none. Fish fillet is almost impossible to find. Sigh. Island life. One cannot dwell on the negative but instead focus on the mission – and keeping one’s self fueled during the process. So here are a few of my stops around Ambergris Caye. First stop was breakfast at Neri’s Tacos. Even at 11am, it’s hopping. No waiting on line, you must just move up to the counter and give your order to anyone inside that makes eye contact with you.

Better Than Home, A Review of Athens Gate Resort in Belize
Dreaming of an ocean getaway, but hate the crowds? Athens Gate Resort in Belize might be what you’re after. Located just a few miles south of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, this TripAdvisor favorite boutique beach resort is a quiet place with a ton of hidden gems. We recently had the chance to stay and review Athens Gate Resort Belize for ourselves and, to be honest, we had a great time. For one, this unassuming boutique hotel features huge suites with some of the most well stocked kitchens I’ve ever seen in a hotel. Featuring a dishwasher and all stainless steel appliances, when you factor in it also included a full washer and dryer, roughing it in Belize takes on a whole new meaning.

Wildtracks...The Return of the Kat!
Many moons ago, possibly twelve years ago, I first visited Wildtracks as a naïve, fresh-faced volunteer and got the chance to stay. For two years, Wildtracks became my place of work, Sarteneja my home, the cenote my bath, the jungle my playground, the volunteers my family, and Paul and Zoe my voice of reason! I left and continued with my life, in a roundabout way. However, in November 2016 I had an epiphany and returned for a flying visit. I was welcomed back and ridiculed as if I had never left. During my first stint at Wildtracks, volunteers at the farm would share time in Fireburn Reserve, mapping, doing wildlife transects, camera trap maintenance, clearing the Mayan ruin site and teaching at the village school. Others would work with the manatees (one manatee at a time mind!), 24 hour feeding and observation schedules, and caring for all manner of other wildlife that found its way to our door. University students and project groups would visit, gap year groups would set up camp, local volunteers and school classes would come and see what we were doing, life was never quiet! Those were the days when evening drinks on the jetty were spent dreaming about building permanent manatee pools and reintroducing howler monkeys to Fireburn Reserve.

“Cuba” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize -Part Three.
Feeling my age – I try to fight it but sometimes it just gets the better of me – I suggested to Rose that it might, perhaps, be a good idea to eat at the hotel for our first night. Rose, who it was patently obvious to see, was nowhere near as bushed as me, agreed. So, after a shower and change of clothes we headed downstairs with the knowledge that we had 4 options to choose from ranging from fine dining at Comedor del Agular to light meals and snacks at Cafeteria “Film Corner”. The maitre d’ at the La Veranda – here they serve a buffet of international and Cuban cuisine – made our mind up for us. “What’s the price”, Rose enquired (she can be so nosy at times!). “Twenty-five CUC”, the maitre d’ responded. “But tonight, for you, it’s a special price, twenty CUC”. We asked (well Rose did actually) if it would be OK to have a look to see what was on offer. He affirmed this would be OK. So we did. Have a look at the food, that is.

“Cuba” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize -Part Four.
After showering on the Thursday morning of our trip to Havana, Cuba Rose noticed quite a lot of water on the floor of the bathroom. And it didn’t come from me splashing around in the shower. A look around the room and she saw the origin. A leaky pipe. We went down for breakfast and after finishing this we went straight to Reception to report the problem. The lady behind the desk appeared very concerned and when Rose showed her the photo she had taken (now I would never have thought of doing that) she exclaimed “You cannot stay there. You must move. Is that OK?”. “Yes” we replied in unison. So she checked the available rooms and handed us new key cards. We were moving from the 5th to the 7th floor. And to a much, much better room. And a Caribbean Sea facing one at that. We unpacked our suitcases (again) but before heading out for the day took time out to check on Ziggy. Pampered Paws -where Ziggy was staying whilst we were away- posts photos of the “guests”and they’d posted a couple of our boy.

Where the Maya Performed Human Sacrifices
There is a cave in Belize where you can see the remains of ancient Maya human sacrifices. The unique geology of Belize includes a thick layer of limestone perfect for the creation of caves both small and large. Located far from the popular tourist attractions in the middle of thick jungle, Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave is one of the most interesting historical discoveries ever made in Belize. Abandoned before the arrival of Europeans, the cave lay undisturbed for more than a millennia until it was rediscovered in 1989. The only way to enter this cave is by swimming across a crystal clear spring-fed pool. From there, intrepid travelers must make their way half a mile up a shallow river until the cave opens up into an enormous labyrinth with soaring caverns replete with glittering stalactites and stalagmites. Those who dare to enter this sacred space can marvel at the wealth of ceremonial ceramics on display as well as an enormous altar that gave the cave one of its many nicknames. But it is what lies even further deeper into the cave that entices brave travelers to make their way past gigantic car-sized boulders. After scampering up slippery ledges, visitors can see skeletons of the men, women, and children sacrificed more than 1,000 years ago by ancient Maya priests. Normally, the Maya offered grains and other foodstuffs to their gods, but a combination of failing crops, constant warfare, and civil unrest between 800-900 AD forced the Maya to make the ultimate sacrifice: human life.

Belize: A True Melting Pot Society
When it comes to Belize, many people think of the offshore islands replete with palm trees or the incredible diversity of colorful wildlife on the mainland. But one of the best reasons to visit Belize on your vacation is to experience the different cultures in the country. Thanks to the long centuries of British rule, English is the official language of Belize, but don't be surprised to hear a medley of different languages as you travel up and down the country, including Spanish, Mayan dialects, Garifuna, Plattdeutsch (an old-world dialect of German), Chinese, and Kriol. Many different ethnic groups have immigrated to the country over the past two centuries, adding their unique languages to the mix of tongues spoken in Belize. The ancient Maya civilization that built the soaring pyramids and majestic temples that are some of the top attractions in Belize were in decline before the arrival of the Europeans. But select groups of Maya managed to survive the cultural and societal changes that followed Columbus's visit, preserving their ancient traditions of song, dance, music, and food. The largest ethnic group in Belize is the Creoles (sometimes spelled Kriols), descended from enslaved Africans imported into the region by the British during the colonial era. Today, the Kriol speak a unique dialect that adds color and Caribbean flavor to standard English.

MY Favourite Eats Around The Yucatan Peninsula
These are MY favourite eats, I’m not claiming they’re the best or that I’ve tried every single restaurant in the peninsula, just that these are meals or restaurants I’ve particularly enjoyed. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you try them but I don’t pretend for one second that this is an exhaustive list of good restaurants in the area. Merida: this is a real, big city with a multitude of choices. From the teeny tiny ‘I serve tacos from my house on Fridays’ to international fare, there is everything you could wish for. My favourite brunch spot has to be Roses and Xocolate on Paseo Montejo. This small boutique hotel has an incredible egg menu that includes an amazing poached eggs with a pumpkin sauce that makes my taste buds tingle just thinking about it. Coffee is unlimited. In Tulum we fell in love with Pizza Manglar, an incredible restaurant just off the main road in town. Every pizza is 100 pesos and will feed two people. Try chaya and pineapple for a taste explosion. If you’re nice to the staff then your meal may well end with a free tequilla shot!

5th Annual Anniversary Grand Cultural Presentation; The burning of the Juan Carnaval 2017
The Corozal House of Culture has recently been on this news featuring the “Back in the Days” exhibit among many others. Well, today they are once again in our blog, but this time, for an event that has almost been forgotten. The Corozal House of Culture presented an almost forgotten event titled “Juan Carnaval.” This is because the tradition of Juan Carnaval has been hidden for quite some time now and the House of Culture has tasked themselves to revive this celebration, hoping that it remains an annual event. Director of the Corozal House of Culture Deborah Wilkes, mentioned that this event was a combination of two events at once. The 5th Annual Cultural presentation and the Juan Carnaval. Sponsors where made possible by: Atlantic Bank, COLCHA, Crystal, Service to all Corozal Town. The presentation included a number of 17 dances, skits, poem, dance group, comparsas and more. Opening Ceremony was Invocation by Pastor Lyndon Su Therland, National Anthem, Welcome address by Ms. Debra Wilkes, Coordinator CHOC, Stakeholders recognized by Atlantic bank, B@B, CTC, COLCHA and Minister of Pablo Marin.

Issue #34 of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online here!.

WEED CONTROL PROGRAM FOR PASTURES
Weeds have been known to compete with crops for water, light, space and soil nutrients (J.D.Green et al 2006) thus reducing production. According to Penn State Extension Agronomy Facts 62, Weeds can be classified into three main groups (3). Annuals1, these complete their life cycle within a year and reproduce only by seeds. Biennial2 weeds live during two growing seasons (2 years) and reproduce only by seeds also. Perennial3 weeds live for more than two (2) years and reproduce by vegetative structure and seeds. A trial was conducted to control weeds in pastures at Spanish Lookout, Cayo District, Belize C.A. from the 10th August to the 12th September 2016 in collaboration with Mr. Art Plett. OBJECTIVE: 1. Evaluate herbicide mixture to control both annual and perennial weeds. 2. Develop a cost per acre analysis. 3. Evaluate weed control after eight (8) days of application. 4. Re-entry period for animal grazing.

Feasting in the Wake of Destruction Meals Prepared By Earl
Many of the trials and seeming disasters we experience can actually yield valuable fruits in our lives, for example, patience and wisdom. However, this spiritual principle is much easier to state in words than to live out in reality when we face disappointments of life. Our recent experience with Hurricane Earl reminded us of this truth and helped us to consider it, on a very small scale, for the storm did not damage anything truly important to us: our lives, the lives of our loved ones, or even significant amounts of property. We were thankful that God spared Belize reasonably well. As on many Belizean plantations, Hurricane Earl uprooted a few trees and banana plants at our place, and brought an abrupt end to the mango harvest, blowing down most of the immature mangoes. Our corn crop, like most of the neighbors, was mostly flattened; however, two months later, we were amazed to see how the corn continued to mature and produced a surprisingly good harvest, praise to God. Just after the storm we of little faith felt quite dejected when we saw some stalks were completely broken off. I brought the baby cobs home to use whole as a vegetable. Sliced into attractive “stars” and combined with thin slices of baby green bananas from broken off banana stalks they made a nice curry. I called it Hurricane Curry.

TO THE EDITOR
According to the Mennonites and some Belizeans that live in the Barton Creek area hunters are responsible for decades of destructive fires that have been set there. They set fires so they can come back a few weeks later and easily see and shoot animals. After the tall tiger fern is burnt off young grass sprouts appear and some animals enjoy eating them. To help solve this apparently country-wide problem the government needs to change the laws so penalties are severe for trespassing and arson. Then these very ignorant people may think twice about going on other people’s land and setting fires. Perhaps the threat of a 10 year prison sentence would go a long way to help stop all the illegal logging as well. This year a fire was set on the other side of Barton Creek directly across from our property. It was so dry that a spark from it ignited the trees beside the creek on our side. It burned about 2000 square feet and killed all the young trees. Had it been drier one foolish person’s criminal actions could have destroyed an entire forest along a beautiful creek.

Going Biological: Large-Scale Carbon-Smart Corn, Down the Wormhole
By David Yarrow. At the end of 2015 I talked to Missouri bootheel farmer David “JR” Bollinger about his experiences growing corn, soybeans and milo using carbonsmart farming principles and practices. In his first year fully committed to biological agriculture, Bollinger cut conventional fertilizers by 50 percent and applied blends of biocarbons, minerals and microbes. Soils, plants and yields are all showing positive results. Bollinger is the fourth generation to farm on 3,500 acres in the southeast Missouri Delta, with the family’s main crops being corn, soybeans, wheat and milo.

Agricultural Sector Damages from Hurricane Earl
Overall, 1200 Farmers were directly affected by Hurricane Earl which ripped through Belize overnight August 3 and into the next day. The information below reflects only actual produce lost in the producing stage (does not include future losses anticipated from out-of-season fruit trees), using farm-gate prices unless otherwise specified. Additionally some losses of infrastructure are detailed. All prices are in Bz dollars. Citrus: Losses in Stann Creek and Cayo districts were mainly due to fruit drop, tree loss and damages to housing and other farm infrastuctures. Of the 38,000 acres in citrus production, fruit loss amounted to 641,654 boxes of fruit (519,731 boxes of oranges valued at $11,634,700; 121,923 boxes of grapefruit valued at $1,791,166) for an estimated total fruit loss of $13,425,861. Tree losses for oranges:12,556 trees valued at $35 per tree, amounted to $439,460. Tree losses for grapefruit: 1,156 trees valued at $40 per tree, totaled $46,240. Total tree loss was $439,460. Total immediate citrus loss was $13,911,566. Additional future fruit drop is anticipated as a delayed response to the wind damage and foliar loss to the trees.

Macro-economic Effects of Hurricane Earl
The national production of yellow corn was 146,385,913 pounds for 2014 and 135,043,110 for 2015. Approximately 53,000 acres of corn are planted on a yearly basis (mechanized plus milpa); from this total 26,674.5 acres or 120 M lbs equal to $34,998,802 were reported as a loss due to the hurricane. The losses in corn will trigger a ripple effect on the wider economy in terms of loss in foreign exchange due to a decrease in exports and feed for the industries of poultry, swine and cattle. As a result of the losses, an increase in corn prices and increase in by-products, for example, the price of meats, is expected. Corn is a staple crop considered a main contributor to food security.

Tomatillos...The Taste of Mexico By Jenny Wildman
I was when I first heard that some of my favorite vegetables, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant), tomatoes, and all peppers are part of the extensive nightshade family, Solanaceae, most of which can be toxic to humans. As children we were taught to avoid the pernicious deadly nightshade (Bella Donna) and thinking of anything as mildly related was somewhat unnerving. This is the plant dwale that contains poisonous alkaloids responsible for witches flying, murder and mayhem, delirium and death. Yet it was historically an important ingredient in medicine and still today is used in some pharmaceuticals. One branch of the nightshade family is Physalis which translated means bladder, as their common characteristic is the fruit being encased in a papery husk (the calyx). Some are ornamental as with Physalis alkekengi, the bright orange Chinese lantern. Others like Physalis peruviana, Cape gooseberry, ground cherry or golden berry, are both decorative and edible and affectionately called “love in a cage.” The tomatillo (little tomato) Physalis philadelphicaor or Physalis ixocarpa is an essential ingredient to Mexican and Guatemalan cooking best known for salsa verde which graces every table.


Onions, Sheep, and Honey: A Winning Combination
By Sergio Omar Gomez. In an effort to minimize the economic impact to northern Belizean farmers by the loss of their preferential sugarcane market, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture launched a 30 month project in January 2015. The project, “Promoting Agri- business Development in Northern Belize” has been funded by the European Union. The economic diversification into growing onions, raising sheep, and making honey encompasses micro, small and medium enterprises in northern Belize. The three- pronged approach is aimed at reducing poverty and improving livelihood opportunities for the rural population in Corozal and Orange Walk and includes 150 onion producers, 100 beekeepers and 100 sheep farmers. Dr. Jerome Thomas, FAO Representative in Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize says that the farmers who are being exposed to the value chain approach are learning about all the stakeholders that operate within the industry from input suppliers to the final market consumers.

Industrial Hemp Medicine for the Soil
By Karin Westdyk. Since the 1800s people traveled for miles to a dairy farm in Taranto Italy. It was famous for producing some of the best cheeses and dairy products in the country. But in 2008 the farm was ordered to destroy all its animals because tests showed that they were no longer fit for human consumption. They were contaminated with nickel, lead and other toxic substances emitted from a nearby steel mill. Farmer Vincenzo Fornaro had to decide whether to abandon his farm or stay. He decided to stay and face the huge task of cleaning his soil. After much research, he gained permission to plant industrial hemp to absorb the toxic substances from the soil and neutralize them. Other farmers followed suit and today there are over 100 farmers in the area planting hemp to clean up their land. The planting of industrial hemp in the region has also brought new investments to the area.The first hemp processing plant in southern Italy transforms the hemp used to clean the soil into fiber to make shoes, bags, clothing and construction materials.

World Food Day
By Gary Ramirez. On 16 October 1945, 42 countries assembled in Quebec, Canada, to create the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Their goal was to free humanity from hunger and malnutrition, and to effectively manage the global food. FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October to commemorate the founding of the organization in 1945. Events are organized in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. In Belize, World Food Day activities are coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with its partners in development such as Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) etc. Planning and preparation for the event is usually coordinated by the World Food Day committee and the one day fair is held typically on the campus of a selected high school or educational institution. In recent years, the event was hosted by Independence High School in Independence village (2013), ITVET Belize City (2014), Mopan Technical High School in Benque Viejo Del Carmen (2015).

BEL-CAR Updates
Following 2 years with challenging drought conditions, western Belize’s prospective 2016 corn harvests on roughly 30,000 acres looked bright with expectations for restoration of prior corn inventories which had enabled regular exports. Hurricane Earl’s arrival, on August 3rd dashed those plans. The biggest surprise of the storm was that the winds which hit the coast at 60-80 mph and normally decrease as they pass over land, apparently gained strength. Several Spanish Lookout farmers felt that winds on their farms exceeded 100 mph. The Spanish Lookout Community Office shortly after the storm estimated an approximately Bz$20 M loss in row crops. Barton Ramie, the most fertile belt in Spanish Lookout along the Belize River, was 40% flooded and what was not flooded was wind damaged. At Kitty Bank an even higher percentage of cropland was flooded. When flooding is brief (less than 5 or 6 hours), the corn quality is likely reduced to #2, but is still usable for animal feed. Corn underwater longer is not salvageable. Corn planted along the Sibun River, close to the former Hummingbird Hershey operation, were some of the first planted and were close to harvest time when the storm hit. Corn there which was knocked down remained down resulting in a stretched out harvest time from the normal 4 days to over 2 weeks. Expected yields of over 50-60 bags/acre were cut in half. By mid-October, Bel-Car’s estimate of western corn loss was about 50% - including quantitative and quality losses.

Spanish Lookout Community Office on Poultry
The Spanish Lookout Community Office reported at least 12 poultry barns, all newer buildings, lost their roofs. They attributed the losses on newer buildings to the nails going into the boards holding the rafters which accumulated rust over time resulting in an adhesive effect. Also, many roofs were constructed with nails rather than screws. On the Sunday following Earl, a small narrow tornado passed through some of Spanish Lookout, popping roof screws again, and in at least one case picking up and smashing a sheep barn through a wall. For the chickens inside the poultry barns, young chicks suffered the highest losses. In some cases where the roof remained, horizontal rain and cold temperatures created a fatal combination for birds without full feathers.

History of John Deere
By Julian Thiessen. The humble beginnings of John Deere, the leading manufacturer in the agricultural industry, date back to the early 1800’s. According to Brittanica, 2015, John Deere, the founder of the company, was born in 1804, in Vermont, and became an apprentice to a blacksmith at a very young age. He was a hard worker and known as a perfectionist. He once stated, “I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me” Eventually he opened up his own blacksmith shop; however to find more income to provide for his family he left Vermont and settled in Illinois where he did repairs as a blacksmith for the local pioneers.

Birds of Belize: The Art of Taxidermy Exhibit
By Dr. Stephen zitzer and Dalena Lesson. The Belize National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) in collaboration with Dr. Stephen zitzer launched an exhibit at the San Ignacio/Santa Elena House of Culture on Friday evening October 7, 2016 titled Birds of Belize and the Art of Taxidermy. The exhibit displays 30 plus bird species native to Belize that were provided by various official Belizean wildlife conservation, protection, healthcare and rehabilitation agencies in cooperation with the Belize Department of Forestry. Dr. zitzer did all the skinning, stuffing and posing of the specimens, most of which were victims of collisions with vehicles; many died of unknown causes and several were known to have been shot. Additionally, Dr. zitzer has a permit with the Belize Department of Forestry to legally collect dead animals and to perform taxidermy, but not to collect or kill live specimens. Except for a limited season for a few relatively large game bird species including ocellated turkeys and chachalacas, all birds in Belize are protected including all the species in the exhibit. The exhibit has a relatively high percentage of species of birds of prey, including nocturnal (active at night) species dominated by owls and diurnal (active in the day) species that includes hawks, falcons, forest- falcons and fish eagles or ospreys. However, their dominance in the exhibit is correlated with the fact that these birds are much more visible and recognizable when they are injured, but the fact they are often hit by vehicles does contribute to the record of their distribution in Belize.

Presentation on Glyphosate to Pesticide Control Board Registration Committee
As a first step in the newly developed policy and procedures for re-registration of pesticides, the August meeting of the Pesticide Control Board Registration Committee (PCBRC) was a session to hear presentations by two groups of petitioners who are recommending a ban on glyphosate. The first group represented six organizations: Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)– Belize, Plenty Belize(PB) and Belize Organic Family Farming (BOFF), Belize Botanic Gardens (BBG), Pro Organic Belize (POB) and Belize Wellness Institute )BWI); the second presentation represented Southeast Watershed Alliance Group (SWAG).

Successful Cattle Auction at Iguana Creek, Spanish Lookout
By Cornie Friesen of JF Brahman Ranch. JF Brahman and KR Ranch jointly hosted a cattle auction at the roadside cattle facilities of Joe Friesen Jr in Iguana Creek, Spanish Lookout on September 10th. Fifty-seven individuals registered to bid on the livestock. The cattle were sold to 16 different buyers coming from Spanish Lookout, Hummingbird Highway areas, and Lower Barton Creek. Fifteen Brahman breeding bulls were sold, bringing an average of $3,833 (3.25 /lb) per bull. The top selling bull, from Menno Reimer’s KR Ranch brought $5,400. Seven Brahman breeding heifers (pregnant) were sold at an average of $2,130 (2.15 /lb), and the top price heifer was sold by HD Ranch (Glen Dueck). JF Brahman (Cornie Friesen) sold 8 bulls averaging $4,038 with their highest price being $4,800.

Necessity: The Mother of Invention: Corn Reels in Spanish Lookout
When Hurricane Earl belted across the corn fields of Belize it flattened much of the corn. The farmers in Spanish Lookout, using their combines for harvesting the corn, had serious problems: the combines could not pick up all the corn and the corn clogged the machinery. Daniel Koop, mechanical engineer/entrepreneur to the rescue! Using an existing design concept he fabricated a corn reel to mount on top of the combine header. The corn reel looks like a giant three-dimensional comb with three rows of “teeth” made of round steel tubing that assist the header with picking up and feeding the corn into the combine. The corn reel can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch by the combine driver as required; it is hydraulically driven. It can be raised and lowered during operation or lifted up and out of the way when its function is not needed. Daniel didn’t have much time, but his ten busy employees fabricated 11 corn reels, outfitting a third of the combines in Spanish Lookout.

Cassava and Belizean Food Security
By Johnathan Canton and Gilbert Canton Jr. Can you imagine driving along one of our major highways and seeing “large tracts of cassava being planted and harvested? Large cassava trucks lined up outside of a cassava factory waiting to be unloaded? The cassava factory producing intermediate and final products, and distribution trucks busily being loaded to deliver products to supermarkets and other cassava consumption points?” This is precisely what Deep Ford, the regional coordinator of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for the Caribbean, asked the attendants of the 2014 Regional Conference on Cassava in the Caribbean and Latin America to envision. For many of us this might sound familiar. Indeed, we have seen similar sights associated with the sugar, banana and citrus industries in Belize. So why is there a sudden interest in cassava? The answer to that question first requires consideration of Belize’s recent trade statistics. In the last decade our import bill has risen approximately 70% to nearly 2 billion Belizean dollars. In comparison, our export earnings are almost four times lower at roughly half a billion Belizean dollars. These alarming figures are not unique to Belize but represent a regional trend in the Caribbean. In fact, according to the FAO, half of the countries in the Caribbean region import greater than 80% of the food consumed.

Belize Orchid Diversity
By Dr. Stephen Zitzer. Belize is home for more than 300 species of orchid including the national flower of Belize, the black orchid (Prosthecea cochleata); many species live in all districts of Belize. The checklist of the vascular plants of Belize, published in 2000, lists 279 species of orchid second to the Fabaceae, or legume family, with 295 species found in Belize. More recently the Guide to the Orchids of Belize by Sayers and Adams, published in 2009 by the Belize Botanical Garden, lists 312 species of orchid including Pleurothallis duplooyi, an apparently endemic species, or one that is currently known to occur only in Belize. There is little doubt the list will continue to grow as more plant surveys are conducted in Belize and the existing species genetic relationship are studied and clarified. Worldwide the orchid family contains between 25,000-30,000 species and is one of the largest plant families on the planet occurring in almost every terrestrial habitat. They are most commonly found growing on trees along with other epiphytic plants, but some species grow on rocks, called lithophytes and many others in soils. Orchids are among the most evolutionarily advanced of plant families, having remarkable specializations for pollination, water uptake and storage, and associations with specific species of fungi and ants for nutritional needs and seed germination.

The History of Vanilla in Ancient Maya Culture
By Dawn Dean. Vanilla flourished wild in the damp shade of Central America’s lowland forests long before humans discovered its tantalizing aroma and undertook its cultivation. It’s possible that the plethora of seemingly wild vanilla found today in southern Belize is vestigial, left behind by the Manche Chol Maya. Before we get going, it’s important to know that 500 years ago, a good cup of chocolate included not only cacao, but also annatto and vanilla. (But no sugar!) Now let’s start with a bit of history. Herman Cortes traversed Chol territory in 1525, cutting across what is now the southwest corner of Belize, at the end of a journey from the southern part of what is now the state of Veracruz on the gulf coast of Mexico. His chronicle of the entrada, a lengthy letter to Emperor Charles V, includes several references to the cacao he came across in the region. Cortes was well aware of the value placed on cacao by the indigenous peoples he encountered on his travels, having noted in an earlier letter to Charles V that “they use it as money throughout the land and with it buy all they need”. He had no idea, however, of the role that cacao would play, together with vanilla and annatto, in sustaining the local economy as the Spanish vied for domination of the Southern Maya Lowlands.

Marco Figueroa Speaks at POB
POB was fortunate to have cacao expert, Marco Figueroa as the speaker at their monthly meeting on 6th September at Maya Mountain Lodge, Santa Elena, Cayo District. A native of San Ignacio, Marco attended the Universidad de zamorano University in Honduras. Marco started in the cacao industry in the 80’s with Hummingbird Hershey as Research Manager. Over the decades, Marco has worked for GOB at NARMAP, Programme for Belize, Belize Enterprise for Sustained Technology (BEST), and has managed a cacao operation in Costa Rica. In 2015 he retired after 11 years as the technical advisor for the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) and now works at his own diversified farm in the outskirts of San Ignacio when not traveling internationally as a cacao consultant. Although Toledo is best known for its cacao industry, Marco revealed that there are a few areas in Stann Creek, Cayo and even Orange Walk Districts which are also suitable for growing cacao. Theobroma cacao is very particular as to its needs. Almost all the commercial groves are Theobroma cacao trinitario. T. cacao criollo is the Belizean native species which is increasingly rare today as it is very fragile and susceptible to disease. The criollo was crossed with the South American forestero many years ago to create the more hardy trinitario. About 700 cacao trees, 800 plantain and 136 timber trees fit nicely per hectare and give the cacao a desirable 50% “sprinkle” of sunlight.

Ecological Farming
By Taylor Walker. There is a lot of talk these days regarding global climate change, soil loss, and desertification. We as farmers, gardeners, and stewards of the earth can play a major role in slowing and even reversing these catastrophic trends. Thankfully there are many solutions at hand if we use thoughtful techniques and look to the natural environment for ideas and answers. In nature plants do not grow only in one plane but grow in all dimensions. Most natural terrestrial ecosystems consist of many different species of plants and plant types. Ground covers, vines, herbs, shrubs, understory trees, canopy trees, and emergent canopy trees are all present in a tropical forest. As anyone who has farmed or gardened in Belize surely has witnessed any cleared land left to its devices quickly begins to reforest in a tangle of herbs, vines, and hard tree species. These pioneer species are the first plants to colonize an area after the land is cleared either by farming, overgrazing, or fire. These species are often called weeds. A weed is just a name for a plant in a place that we don’t want it or that we have failed to discover its purpose and function.

AG Briefs
The University of Belize College of Agriculture at Central Farm (UBCF) will host prominent soil fertility expert Neal Kinsey for the 3rd time in Belize, on February 27th –March 1st 2017 (the 2016 course was held earlier in Feb 2016). The upcoming course will be a new course to Belize; the 3 day Intro 2 course begins with a day and a half of trace minerals. Workbooks for the new course are available now for paid registrants of the next year’s Intro 2 course. All are welcome to attend this course – students, teachers, private sector. Contact David Thiessen at 670-4817 or thiessenliquid@gmail.com. Neal reports that this is “the favorite course” of farmers.

Agriculture Prices At A Glance

Issue #35 of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online here!.

Old Crops Become New, Under-Utilized Native Crops: Ancient Amaranth
Amaranth is one of the most under-utilized native food plants of Belize. The name amaranth comes from the Greek amarantos which means never fading or does not wither. This is an appropriate name as it is a plant that tolerates drought and persists in backyard gardens with very little care. Amaranth, or as we know it in Belize, callaloo, has been cultivated as a grain for thousands of years. For generations, the native people of the Americas used it as a staple; the most extensive use of the plant was probably by the Aztecs as they have left behind many signs of the importance of amaranth in their way of life. Very little data on yield exists for amaranth cultivation in Belize but in Mexico the yields are comparable to rice. Amaranth has leaves ready to harvest within 30 days of germination and continues growing for approximately four months. The leaves are harvested while the plant continues to grow and produce food for us. The harvesting of the leaves stimulates tillering (plant that shoots up from the base of a plant) so the plant becomes more bush-like. One of the many advantages of this wondrous plant is its ease of handling.

Rainfall Totals in Belize
Statistics by region

Such a Delicious Monster
By Jenny Wildman. The members of the very large araceae or arum family are referred to as aroids. The family includes many plants which grow abundantly in tropical climates with names familiar to us: philodendron, monstera, dieffenbachia, caladium, calla, taro, dasheen, and coco yam. Some are grown for their edible corms, some for fruit but mostly for their striking foliage. They share certain characteristics such as large leaves containing a milky substance and are all laced with calcimum oxalate crystals or raphides which can cause temporary loss of voice and chronic itching. Even the edibles should never be eaten raw and extreme caution should be taken when handling, so anyone sensitive to oxalic acid should probably stay clear. The calla lily or arum lily is known for its magnificent beauty and has become a symbol of Easter and a traditional flower for weddings and funerals. The Romans put a lily upon a corpse to signify rebirth or resurrection but this later translated into association with death. It was considered very bad luck and the flowers were refused admittance to hospitals.

Mycorrhizae: what are they and can they give me better crops?
The symbiosis (the living together of two dissimilar organisms with mutual benefit) between plant roots and fungi has substantial agricultural usefulness. They form a compound structure known as a mycorrhiza or “fungus root”. Plants exchange a fraction of the carbon that they have fixed from the atmosphere for phosphorous and nitrogen scavenged from the soil by the fungi. Since the discovery of the symbiotic nature of mycorrhizae in the late 1800’s, a great deal has been learned about their mechanisms of nutrient scavenging and exchange.Very recent revelations have brought into question whether the tailored application of mycorrhizal fungi in the agricultural setting can enhance crop yields. Interestingly, some fungal partners cannot complete their life cycle without first associating with a plant partner. For this reason, they are referred to as obligate biotrophs (i.e. they need to extract nutrients from or “feed” off of other life forms). At first this sounds like parasitism. Indeed, many fungal parasites like the rust fungi that are known for their ability to negatively affect crops are also obligate biotrophs.

National Coconut Stakeholder Platform (NCSP) January Meeting at Tex-Bel Farms
On 18th January of this year, the National Coconut Stakeholder Platform (NCSP) held one of the largest meetings to date since its formation almost 2 years ago. The host of this meeting, Lester Muralles (Cabral), manager of Tex- Bel Farms, located on South Stann Creek Highway, graciously opened up the meeting to any coconut farmers in the area. The new approach for the NCSP is to rotate meeting venues. Chairman Manuel Trujillo opened the meeting and welcomed Minister of Agriculture Honorable Godwin Hulse, CARDI country representative Ms. Omaira Avila, members and guests. Mr. Trujillo began the meeting with disclosure of surveys which showed that Belize now has approximately 4,589 acres of coconuts – 1,919 producing and 2,670 planted. Mr. Trujillo explained that the focus of the committee at this time is on planting material and nursery stock. Although Central Farm has mainly Maypan (Malay dwarf x Panama tall), they are expecting 8,000 Chactemal seedlings from Mexico. All the GOB coconut nurseries in every district are bring re-habilitated.

Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendations: The Albrecht Program
The Albrecht program is not just a single approach to soil testing and fertilizer recommendations. There are three different approaches that need to be understood to find the one appropriate to use based on each soil analysis. Consultants are not utilizing the full program as defined and understood by Dr. Albrecht and what he taught and advocated if they do not understand or utilize all three approaches. The Albrecht model of soil fertility refers to the principles Dr. William A. Albrecht initially used working as a soil microbiologist to develop a dependable system for testing soils and correcting nutrient needs to achieve the ideal biological environment for growing top quality, highly productive crops and plants of all types. This program has to do with how he regarded soil fertility and approached it with measurable, scientific principles that could be applied and proven right out in the field. As outlined by the principles given below, the Albrecht model is a foundational approach for achieving excellent soil fertility for soils in any part of the world.

Understanding Cross-pollination in Seed Production
Cross-pollination is the reproductive method used by some plant species, e.g. corn, soya, beans, peppers, coconuts, vegetables, to secure and improve the gene pool and transfer their genetic traits, to increase their diversity and expand the species’ survival, to adapt to climatic change, and enhance their capability to withstand pest and diseases. In nature cross-pollination is achieved when pollen from one plant is transferred to another receptive plant, either by wind, insects or water through open-pollination. The new offspring carries genetic material from both parents. Depending on how different from its parents its genetic makeup is, the offspring can be considered a new species and/ or cultivar.

Belize Initiates Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance in Agriculture
In June 2016 Belize and five other Caribbean countries initiated pilot studies in antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella from poultry under the initiative “Caribbean Integrated Surveillance System for Antimicrobial Resistance in Agriculture” (CISARA). The initiative is part of the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) project executed by the International Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) under the 10th European Development Fund. The pilot studies serve as the region’s first initiatives to gather data on the status of antimicrobial resistance in the agricultural sector. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by the microorganism, is a natural phenomenon. However, its development is accelerated by use and misuse of antimicrobials including over-prescription by doctors, patients not completing their treatment, use of antibiotics in livestock and aquaculture, poor infection control in hospitals and clinics, and lack of hygiene in facilities. AMR can result in severe, long-lasting disease and even death for victims of resistant infections because treatments that worked in the past are no longer effective; medical procedures that were once simple can become fraught with complication.

ARDI Day – December 5, 2016 Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) - 42 years servicing the Caribbean region
CARDI day was celebrated on December 5th with an outreach programme that focused on kids. Entitled Planting A Seed For The Future Of Agriculture the programme encouraged kids to learn how to plant and care for traditional Belizean crops. Students from two schools were selected to take part in a modified farmer field school to produce corn starting with planting the seeds on the 5th of December and lasting 120 days. CARDI technical personnel will meet weekly with the kids at school to teach them how to care for their plants during the next four months, allowing them to discover for themselves all the challenges a farmer faces planting corn. Kids were also given open-pollinated seeds of CARDI CY-001 yellow corn to start their own planting at home, and a guide booklet of how to plant corn. A total of 130 students participated in the exercise, and if well-accepted, the programme can expand to communities and agro clubs to encourage our kids to learn and love agriculture.

Planning and Planting an Orchard
Global deforestation has caused many environmental problems, such as reduction in rainfall, loss of ground water and erosion; deforestation is partly due to human greed and carelessness about the beautiful earth our Creator provided for our use and sustenance. While we may not be able to solve the problems we have unleashed, for everyone who wants to show honour and appreciation for creation and help heal the environment in a small way, planting trees is one of the simplest acts to do at home. Planting fruit trees is even better, since fruit trees not only clean the air and hold onto topsoil like other trees, but also provide top quality, nutritious food. Think of the benefits as you enjoy a fresh juicy mango or Malay apple from your own orchard! In planning your orchard, it is wise to think of planting trees bearing fruit most valued by both humans and birds close to the house, so you have some hope of picking some as you compete with the birds for the fruit. Such fruits include sapodilla, tangelo, and Malay apple.

Soil Enrichment Using Biochar: Belize’s Under-Used By-Product
Biochar, “black carbon”, or “pyrogenic organic matter” are broad terms for various forms of charcoal, which are produced by thermal decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen. The chemical term for this process is pyrolysis, and the relative control or regulation of osygen during the production process is very critical in determining the final specific properties each batch of biochar may have. In Belize, biochar is being produced on a large scale by the Belize sugarcane industry as a by-product of energy production via the pyrolysis/combustion of sugarcane biomass or bagasse. However, stock piles are increasing while use is relatively negligent. Conversely, there has been an effort to locally produce and utilize biochar for the production of cacao in the Toledo district. Those efforts have documented an increase in greenhouse-propagated cacao seedling stem diameter growth. Data on actual increases in commercial yield of cacao seeds have not been reported, but other cost benefits typically include less fertilizer use and reduced irrigation costs.

From My Perch: The Giving Tree
There was a tree in our yard that attracted so many birds all year round that we called it “the Giving Tree.” I have tried to learn more about this tree so I could recommend that you grow one in your own yard. The scientific name is Coussapoa oligocephala of the family: Crecropiacea Magnoliophyta, what we call the trumpet tree, or Cecropia. It’s hard to believe since they have very few similarities other than that they both grow quickly. I couldn’t find a lot of information so I will share what I know. The tree is described as “hemi-epiphytic or terrestrial” growing up to 20 meters tall. It produces tiny yellow globular spiky flowers birds love to eat. Once the tree matures enough to bloom, it blooms continuously for months even though birds are constantly feeding off the small round yellow flowers. Every morning as the sun rose the Giving Tree would fill with all three types of toucans, motmots, tanagers, hummingbirds, orioles, woodpeckers and wood creepers, flycatchers and even parrots. During migration we expected and received surprises, like the gorgeous scarlet tanager and other migrants.

Exploring the Avian Wonders of Belize
On November 2nd 2016, a fall migrant from the Colorado Rocky Mountains,18- year-old field biologist, photographer, and artist, Joel Such takes flight across the Gulf of Mexico and lands on Belizean soil. Unlike the many migrant birds I have followed from North America, I am typically a resident who does not migrate south. This year, I break the trend and abandon the frosty mountains of Colorado’s winter. I wake up my first morning full of expectation. Still under my sheets, the ambient noise of early morning fills my ears with promise. Shivering with excitement, I roll out of bed and snatch my binoculars off the bed stand. A vast environment completely foreign to my eyes lies beyond the door, and countless birds I have never seen await observation. I open the door to overlook a landscape of lush, green jungle, with topography sloping either up or down. I am in the Maya Mountains of western Belize, and this is where my journey begins. Amidst an ecosystem of mountainous broadleaf forest, birds flourish. A flock of migrant songbirds forages the surrounding bushes and trees, and I spot a raptor perched atop a dead tree. It is the endangered Orange- breasted Falcon feasting on its prize, a large bat clasped in its talons.

Expansion at NATS Grounds: Moving toward Year-round Use
The Government of Belize has been included in a UN Development Program with the Japanese Government called the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Project. The Japanese government is donating US$16 billion to 8 CARICOM nations to try to reduce the negative effects that climate change has on agricultural and sustainable development in these countries. The Belize government has decided to use a portion of its funds for sustainable agriculture projects with local produce farmers. Construction has begun at the National Agriculture & Trade Show (NATS) grounds in Belmopan for two covered pavilions, one with a cold storage room, to provide a wholesale and retail market for local farmers who grow quality produce. This once-a-week market will be administered by the Agriculture Ministry to improve the domestic market for local producers and allow small farmers direct access to the public. Details, such as which day of the week and booth fees, will be announced as decisions are made.

AgScience for Better Crops... Managing the Armyworm in Corn
Corn is one of the major crops of Belize; approximately 40,000 acres were grown in 2015. However, year after year, different pests attack the crop, causing huge losses to the farmers’ economy. The main pest in corn is Spodoptera frugiperda, commonly known as the armyworm and it can be one of the most difficult insect pests to control in the field (Bessin, 2003). Spodoptera frugiperda is known to cause huge crop losses due to its high adaptability to different conditions allowing it to have a wide geographic distribution. In tropical and subtropical regions, losses can exceed 60% (Willink et al., 1993). The complete cycle of the armyworm takes 24-40 days depending on different conditions and has four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult which are described below and in figure 1 (CABI, 2016; Knutson, 2008).

Growing Hemp for Medicine
Ancient Chinese medical texts ranked cannabis as one of the most important medicines because of its ability to cure so many illnesses and its lack of toxicity. The first recorded use of hemp as medicine was in 2737 BC, and throughout history and the world, it was used for not only medicine, but for fuel, paper, fiber, and food. Until its prohibition in 1937, cannabis could be found in many medicines easily purchased in pharmacies and shops everywhere. When the U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act criminalizing the use of cannabis, a precedence of prohibition was established and was launched around the world through the subsequent United Nations Single Convention Treaty. Objections were raised by Dr. William C. Woodward, who testified to the government on behalf of the American Medical Association stating, “The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that cannabis is a dangerous drug.” He warned that a prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for cannabis.”

Solar Water Heating Systems
Solar water heating (SWH) goes back a long way; in 214 B.C Archimedes used a concave mirror as a solar collector to heat water. The solar collector is the heart of the system. It absorbs solar radiation, converts it into heat, and transfers useful heat to water in the absorber tubes. The third component of a solar water system is storage. Collectors: Flat-plate glass collectors: The collector housing can be made of plastic, metal or wood; the glass front cover must be sealed so heat does not escape, and dirt, insects or humidity do not get into the collector. The collector housing is highly insulated at the back and sides, keeping heat losses low. The glass cover faces the sun; this helps prevent convection losses and reduces heat radiation from the absorber into the environment in a similar way as a greenhouse does. However, the glass also reflects a small part of the sunlight, which does not then reach the absorber at all. The figure below shows the processes occurring at a flat-plate collector.

Unwanted Honey Bees
Maya stingless honey bees, Melipona beecheii, or simply meliponini, make honey that tastes like a mix of sweet and sour with a hint of fruit. The taste comes from plant resins that bees use to build their hives and honey pots. They make their honey in round sacks of black wax rather than honeycombs. They are cultured today, especially in Mexico and Australia, because of their good taste. Traditionally known as Xunan kab, meaning royal or noble lady bee, the Mayas cultured them not only for honey but for use in religious ceremonies. Some Mayas still keep meliponini – for honey and for pets. Found in the jungle in logs, the Mayas cut both ends of the logs and seal them; the bees enter and leave their nest by very small holes in the side of the log. But when they nest in your walls and the honey drips down the wall and on to the floor it means that the nest has probably been there several years and it’s time to get rid of them.

Low-Impact Tourism: The Mayan Sky Canopy Tour
Imagine looking down on birds, zipping over the South Stann Creek River in one of southern Belize’s newest low-impact tourism attractions! If you want a unique and safe nature tour, one that offers true panoramic vistas of the rich tropical forests of Belize, go visit Canopy Course and Jungle Tours Ltd. situated behind and between the oceans of banana fields of Maya King Farms at Mile 21 on the South Stann Creek Highway. The owners, Cesar Godinez and Tim Sise recently relocated their former Toledo Blue Creek Zipline to its current location, inaugurating the zipline at its new venue in December 2016. Cesar is no novice for this specialized type of construction, this zipline being the 5th facility that he has created in Belize. Cesar also owns/operates Belize Custom Treehouse Builders; visit to that website (see ad this page) and you will note the overlapping skill sets for these sister businesses. There are an estimated 9 or 10 ziplines currently scattered around Belize – mainly Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts, and one in Sand Hill, northern Belize District.

Blogo Bananas in Belize
In other parts of the world, the banana variety known as “blogo” banana in Belize, goes by other names. Bluggoe is most common. In Kriol they are called wail plantain or waika banana. Other names are burro, horse, square cooker, chunky or hog banana. By any name used, they are all heliconia plants from the banana family. Blogos are similar to the Pisang Awak variety banana. The official name of this banana variety is Orinoco as it is believed to have originated in Venezuela’s Orinoco Valley. Orinoco bananas have spread to many tropical countries, especially Burma, East Africa, Grenada, Southern India, the Philippines, Samoa, Thailand and Central America. They are also a popular hardy banana variety suited to South Florida. Blogo bananas are hardy, pest resistant, and can survive cool or blasting heat. They are easily identified by a chunky, stubby, slightly square shape and grow to about eight to ten inches long and at least two inches across with blunt ends. Blogos are productive and often grow over fifty bananas on each stem. The thick strong peel is a vivid dark green which gradually ripens to a yellowish- brown without splitting.

Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.
By Joel Salatin, Book Review By Chris Harris.If you ride around on a huge combine harvester, keep thousands of chickens in a mass feeding coop or spray chemicals all over big fields, this book shows alternative methods of farming for you. After all it is written by a man who describes himself as a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic. Joel Salatin is one of the foremost advocates of ethical and responsible farming. He has traveled widely around the world, lecturing at universities and talking to farming groups. The book uses the American mass farming model to show the failings of corporate farming and food production. Salatin uses a lifetime of experience on his own farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia USA to point out and explain how a better way of raising food is possible without sacrificing ethical treatment of animals or food quality and using environmentally benign treatment of waste.

How to Grow Vanilla
It’s easy to grow a vanilla vine. Actually producing vanilla beans on that vine is a bit more complicated, but still not hard. Vanilla just needs different treatment from all other plants. Here’s the short version: Vanilla is a vine that grows up something usually a tree. It has roots that hold it on to the tree and they gather some nutrients for the plant, but it has more feeder roots along the top of the soil, under the mulch. Vanilla roots don’t grow down into the soil much. Vanilla grows better in a fair bit of shade. To get beans (or pods, which is the more accurate word, but most people say beans), you need to do a few more things. Keep the vine growing in an area you can reach it, manage shade, and hand-pollinate the flowers when they come. See? Nothing difficult. Get a cutting from a healthy vine, approximately 1 meter long. Cut the leaves off the bottom half of the vine. It’s okay if your cutting lays somewhere in the shade for a week or so at this point. In places with fungal problems farmers air-dry cuttings in the shade for a few days before planting.

AG Briefs
BLPA's AGM will be held on Saturday February 25th. See Ad pg 41 On March 4th , 2017, there will be a cattle auction featuring cattle from several leading ranches, held at Joe Friesen Jr’s corral in Iguana Creek. Please see ad on pg 22 for details. The Chocolate Festival of Belize will be held on Commonwealth Day weekend, May 19th, 20th & 21st, 2017. For information on sponsorships, booths and tickets see page 38. The National Agriculture & Trade Show of 2017 will be held on April 28th, 29th & 30th with the theme, “Let’s Get Growing”. Kindly see the ad on pg 26 for details to reserve your booth.

IICA Supports the Institutional Strengthening of the Pesticide Control Board
The Pesticide Control Board (PCB) is the main statutory body responsible for regulating the use and management of pesticides in Belize. There are currently 565 pesticide formulations registered for use in Belize and listed in the official register of pesticides, containing some 193+ active ingredients. Registration, surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of the responsible use and management of so many pesticides is no small task for the staff at PCB. Its importance is underscored considering that agriculture plays an important role in Belize’s economy, contributing almost 13% to GDP, and employing about 10% of the population at the end of 2015. Belize has increased its use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals over the years due to more intensification and commercial development of agricultural production systems, the need to increase productivity and deal with pests and disease problems, and to become more competitive in both internal and external markets.

Agriculture Prices At A Glance

International Sourcesizz

Second largest Maya jade found in Belize has unique historical inscription
To say that UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell was surprised to discover a precious jewel in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize is something of an understatement. "It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York," said Braswell, who led the dig that uncovered a large piece of carved jade once belonging to an ancient Maya king. "We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center," he said. The jewel—a jade pendant worn on a king's chest during key religious ceremonies—was first unearthed in 2015. It is now housed at the Central Bank of Belize, along with other national treasures. Braswell recently published a paper in the Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica detailing the jewel's significance. A second paper, in the Journal of Field Archaeology, describes the excavations.

Tourism is vital to the Caribbean economy
“Tourism is a vital sector to the economies of member states.” So said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government in the communiqué that followed their recent inter-sessional meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. Taken at face value the statement is unremarkable, even obvious; but the language chosen, its inclusion, and the recommendations made in relation to the challenges the industry faces, suggest that tourism’s significance to the region’s long term economic growth and stability has at last been formally recognised. Tourism is a sector that has rarely been discussed in depth at the highest political levels of CARICOM. There are many cultural and other reasons why, but over many years much greater importance has been given to industries that are in terminal decline and globally uncompetitive.

Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards Nominations
The Caribbean Tourism Organization's Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards are aimed at identifying and showcasing Sustainable Tourism Good Practices in the Caribbean. The awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in any of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Member Countries which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged with implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values. These initiatives should also help to enhance the country's tourism product offerings and advance sustainable and responsible tourism in the Caribbean.

Videos

  • FCS Belize Missions Trip 2016, 4.5min.

  • Starfish Island, Belize - Walk around, 8min. A walk around Starfish Island off the cost of Belize. Carnival Sunshine Cruise excursion.

  • I Am the Belize River, 1.5min. The 20th annual La Ruta Maya is just 1 week away, and the Department of the Environment made a breathtaking video highlighting the Belize River. The Belize River is life, and it needs to be taken care of. Thanks, DoE!

  • Nate Marquardt shares message with Prevail Combat Club in Belize, 11min. Nate Marquardt is not only a UFC fighter but also a Christian, watch as he shares a message with a group of young athletes in Belize, C.A.

  • Miss Belize receives key to Twin Towns, 2min.

  • Calypso Train Tour of Belize City, 1.5min.

  • Miss Belize, Rebecca Rath, 4min. on PlusTV

  • Baby Howler Monkey sent to WildTracks, 15sec. A baby Howler Monkey was brought to our attention by some young men. There were no injuries and she was in no distress. She stayed with us for a few hours until we could transfer her to WildTracks - the ideal caregivers for this little orphan. She'll grow-up with other Howlers of the same age. Once' grown and has learned how to care for herself, she'll return to the wild where she belongs.

  • Zenaida Moya Show Episode 11, 2hr.

  • CHARLES GOFF: BELIZE'S MOST DOMINANT BASKETBALL CENTER!, 35min. Belizean 1960s, 70s and 80s basketball has seen many a big man come through the middle on a Belizean basketball court, but through the lens of many a Belizean sports enthusiast, Belizean basketball center of the 1970s basketball great team "Wheels", Charles Goff, had made a serious impact on Belize's basketball landscape. Depending on which way you want to look at it, Goff dominated the center as one of Belize's most domineering big men, under considerably pressure and opposition from others like J.J. Lynch and Emile Grinage of the legendary Belize basketball team Happy Home Builders. In our Belizean Legends interview with Goff last year, he remembered how it was when he was a novice under the shadows of the towering Wilton "Cama" Cumberbatch who at that time stood more than six feet tall and who taught him many basics in terms of how to dominate in the center. But Goff reflected that he had to wait his turn as a junior member of Cama's team at that time. "I really was getting tired of just sitting on the bench", said Goff. "But as soon as I got my chance to play I worked hard on becoming better at the game all the time."

  • Driving through the not so sleepy village of Caye Caulker., 2.5min. Driving thru yesterday at sundown, the not so sleepy village of Caye Caulker.

  • AN UNBEARABLE STENCH ON SLAUGHTER HOUSE STREET RESIDENTS CLAMOUR FOR HELP, 7.5min.

  • Flashback & Exercise, 30min.

  • Grace & You - Courts Dia wrap & Morning bullet, 34min.

  • Musical Guest - Nello Player, 33min.

  • Interview with Lord Michael Ashcroft (February, 2017), 60min.

  • Belize Wins (Beach Football), 6min.

  • , 3.5min. We visited Ocean Academy - in Caye Caulker, Belize - to learn about some of the awesome things they're doing for the island's kids... Daya and Anthony showed talented film maker Ryan Chapman the island through their eyes on an amazing Bike With Purpose trip. We invite you to learn more about Student-Led Social Enterprises at Ocean Academy!

  • Belize NOW Episode 11 - Friday, February 24th, 2017, 32min. Belize’s CARICOM Ambassador discusses CARICOM 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting, Minister of Agriculture tours Spanish Lookout and Ministry of Health addresses prevalence of childhood obesity in Belize. These stories and more on this week’s edition of Belize Now.

  • Sarteneja Fishermen Association supports Lionfish Jewelry Ladies, 1min. The Sarteneja Fishermen Association is proud to have been able to support the Belize Lionfish Jewelry Ladies this past year. We encourage you to continue with the great work: - United women, empowered communities, and a healthy, beautiful reef - "BELIONESS." Many Thanks to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust for their valuable contribution towards this initiative from its very beginning.

  • Belize Eels, 2min. Short clip of free swimming green moray in Belize

  • Snorkeling in Belize (Goffs Caye), 1min. Great time in Belize short stay because of cruise trip we were just there doing port hours . Here we were about a mile and a half from shore where we swam back . What a blast !!

  • Caves Branch, Belize + San Pedro Scuba Diving, 3.5min. 7 mile cave tubing, two waterfall cave hike, 300 foot rappel, and scuba diving in Belize.

  • CAVE TUBING//MYAN RUINS//Belize Trip Day 3, 6min.

  • Drive from Placencia Village to The Placencia Resort in a Vanagon in Belize, 23min. Ken and LaDawn drive an 87 Wolfsburg Edition VW Vanagon from Placencia Village back to The Placencia Resort and Residences. It is about a 20 minute trip, but it will give you an idea of what the area is like and what driving a Vanagon is like in Belize.

    February 24, 2017


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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

    Aiesha Moriera wins annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations
    Aiesha Moriera of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDAS) is the winner of the annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations. Organized by Bowen and Bowen Ltd and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the event took place at the San Pedro Lions Den on Thursday, February 23rd shortly after 9AM. A total of 12 students from six different schools from San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker partook in the competition. After three rounds of intense spelling, Moriera took first place when she correctly spelled the word “oblivion”. Tellen Smith from The Island Academy placed second, and Jamileth Beltran from NHSDAS came in third place. The top winners, Moriera and Smith will be representing Zone 5 at the District Eliminations on April 26th in Belize City.

    National Police Awards recognizes the Coastal Executive Unit
    Under the leadership of Assistant Commissioners of Police Deziree Phillips, Edward Broaster, and Chester Williams, the National Police Awards is hosted every year to recognize outstanding police officers and community members across the country. On Thursday, February 16th, the ceremony honored over 140 police officers, including nine police officers within the Coastal Executive Unit (San Pedro and Caye Caulker). The 2017 San Pedro honorees included Police Constable (PC) Norman Coye, PC Adan Uh, Woman Police Constable Arelee Young, Special Constable (SC) Albert Lawrence, PC Kareem Staine, PC Kareem Martinez, PC Leonardo Yama, PC Dee Yarde, and PC Eric Wilder of Caye Caulker. PC Coye also received an additional award for the most firearm and drug interdiction throughout the entire Eastern Division. Civilians Steve Schulte, and Flora Ancona also received awards for their excellence within the community.

    Caliente Restaurant hosts Saga’s ‘Tacos, Tostadas and Tequila Tuesday’ for charity
    In an effort to raise funds to support the “Spay and Neuter” (SNIP) program at Saga Humane Society, Caliente Restaurant hosted “Tacos, Tostadas and Tequila Tuesday” on Tuesday, February 21st. At 5PM, many hungry visitors dined at Caliente to savor tasty Latin-infused dishes and cocktails. Guests had a great time, indulging in delicious food and drinks while helping an important cause. Adding to the excitement of the night were a variety of raffles, and diners bought lots of tickets hoping to win one of the great prizes. Up for grabs were gift certificates to DandE’s ($50), Caramba Restaurant ($50), Mambo Chill Boutique ($50), The Color Ginger Spa ($120), and a voucher for a full pet groom at Pampered Paws. Saga merchandise was also available for sale, and all proceeds went towards the program, while a portion of Caliente’s food/drink sales went to Saga as well. According to Saga’s Katia Marin, the SNIP program is essential in reducing the number of strays on the island. “Our spay and neuter program is on-going, and that’s why we continue to do fundraisers to help with the medical costs. The reason we have so many stray animals is because overbreeding is still an issue. Pet owners don’t get their dog/cats spayed or neutered, and they end up with a litter. Then that litter reproduces, and adds on to the problem. However, with the help of the community’s donations, Saga has reduced the number of strays throughout the year,” said Marin.

    Ambergris Today

    Rio Bar and Grill Turns One!
    Rio Bar and Grill celebrated its first anniversary on February 22, 2017, and the family took time to celebrate a great year of business and support from the island community. The management and staff are more than happy for having the opportunity to serve locals and tourists from all over the world. Rio thanks the community of San Pedro for their support, especially their loyal customers and invites everyone to stop by and enjoy the new drinks that are now available. Congrats Rio!

    Aiesha Moriera Wins Zone 5 Spelling Bee Competition
    Bowen and Bowen hosted its annual Spelling Bee competition today, February 23, 2017, at the San Pedro Lions Den. Twelve children competed in a series of two rounds which deteremined the top six spellers: Karina Sotz, Stacey Campos, Aiesha Moriera, Jamileth Beltran, Tellen Smith and Alexandra Lausen. After two more rounds, Aiesha Moriera of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School was announced as the winner and Tellen Smith of The Island Academy took second place. Because there was a tie for third place, the four remaining students continued the spelling quest until Jamileth Beltran won third place. Aiesha and Tellen will compete in Belize City at the National Spelling Bee Competiton that will take place in a few weeks. Jamileth will accompany them in the city as a substitute if in case one of these students can't compete.

    Misc Belizean Sources

    mzz

    Giving Football Camp, Caye Caulker
    Calling out all Female Soccer Players to join with Ryan and Kaitlyn!! 2 days of fun and good work out you don't want to miss. Feb. 25-26, Caye Caulker Field

    Newly erected Belize welcome signs up north
    These newly erected Belize welcome signs on the first roundabout at our Santa Elena, Corozal northern border are appreciated and show off very well to tourists and visitors coming to visit our country via land through the Mexico/Belize border. We hope we can see more of these signs going up in Corozal since we are the frontier to thousands of visitors who travel down to Belize from Canada, the United States, (including Mexico) via the Mexico route. We know that Corozal has tremendous tourist and investment potential! We just need to tap into our niche tourism market, brand ourselves and run with it. Together, we can achieve a lot more for this wonderful District. Welcome to Corozal!

    Miss Belize Visits Cayo
    Miss Belize, Rebecca Rath, visited Cayo Tuesday, and was given a very warm welcome. She had lunch at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, then spoke at Sacred Heart College, then had a parade through town, and ended with a fun night at the Cayo Welcome Center. She was even given the key to San Ignacio by Mayor Trapp. Pandy caught that moment. "Had a wonderful time in Cayo yesterday! Met so many warm, loving and talented people! Thank you for the amazing welcome! Photos by: Soly Moreno"

    NICH VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
    The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), a statutory body under the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, is seeking a suitable applicant to fill the post of PRESIDENT

    Calla Creek Cleanup
    Calla Creek located along the banks of the Mopan River also forms part of the Bi-national Watershed Alliance. To reduce pollution on the river, the Alcalde, Mr. Jorge Ramos and the Holy Cross R.C School students and teachers participated on a clean-up campaign. We are thankful for their care of the Mopan River.

    The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project to Street Art Festival
    The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project Booth at the Street Art Festival this Saturday will be located at tent #9 Booth # 30 on Coner of Albert and King Streets.

    Institute of Archaeology and Institute for Social & Cultural Research presentations at Sacred Heart College
    Yesterday the Institute of Archaeology and Institute for Social & Cultural Research made presentations for Sacred Heart College on careers in both fields, with mock excavation units and even rope trap tricks. The students enjoyed it and I daresay we shall be having new interns soon.

    Belizean model and Love17 covergirl Joyjah Estrada in London for London Fashion Week
    Well done, Joy. It was Kendall Jenner who took the cover photo of Joy for Love magazine.

    Fly In 2017 #flyin2017
    Sunday, March 12 at 10 AM - 5 PM. Guys and gals, get ready for another exciting day at the biennial Fly In at the Spanish Lookout airstrip. Pilots, aircraft owners, and flight enthusiasts you are ALL welcome. RIDES! Astrum Helicopters will be offering rides for sale on location, so and your sweetheart can go for a flight over the country side. More coming later. SKYDIVING! We will have a professional skydiving team performing for everyone to enjoy. And for U$199 you too can strap in and jump out of a plane! AEROBATICS! For the first time ever we have officially been authorized to have live aerobatic performances. RC AIRCRAFT! We are inviting all RC pilots and owners to bring out their RC planes drones and helicopters to join in the fun. COMPETITIONS! We will have landing competitions and other fun activities for the pilots. AIRCRAFTS! There will be many different aircraft on display, high wings, low wings, bi-wing, turbo and piston powered, Cessna, Piper, Mooney, Bell, Grumman, Air Tractor, crop dusters, passenger planes, sport, and kit planes. Something for everyone to enjoy! FOOD! Miss Deb's will be at the air show selling her wonderfully tasty food. And other options. SHARE! Invite your friends, and share this event on your Facebook, then come out with your friends. ENTRANCE! $5 per person at the gate. Parking is available for free.

    5th Anniversary Celebration, Grand Cultural Presentation Corozal House of Culture
    Corozal ...are you ready? Los Mascarados, El Torito, Angaripola, Jon Kanu, Radha, Tribute to Leela Vernon along with Who Seh Kriol Noh Gat No Kolcha, Mujeres Que Se Pinta, Hoo Seh Mee Seh, Chamak Chalo, Lion Dance, La Cinta, Original Historical Carnaval Comparsas, Reading of the Last Will and Testament, Burning of Juan Carnaval and more..... Come on out for a wonderful night of Culture with Corozal's very best in performing artists!! Children's activities inside the House of Culture, as well a documentary screening of "Carnaval" produced by our colleagues at the Institute for Social & Cultural Research. Today, 7pm.

    Chargé d'Affaires Adrienne Galanek visits students at St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Belize City
    Promoting the importance of education among youth is an important shared value between the United States and Belize.

    Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
    The Wild Life, Passengers, Don't Knock Twice, Doctor Strange

    Channel 7

    Curry Says Trio "Guilty" of Killing Mr. Jimmy
    Tonight, 33 year-old Matthew Gentle, 32 year-old Transito "Ricky" Tzul, and 26 year-old Sherlock Myvett are back in jail after being convicted of the murder of 82 year-old taxi driver James Neal aka James Young or "Mr. Jimmy". The jury of 12 returned guilty verdicts for all 3 men after deliberating for 4 hours and 16 minutes. Back on July 28, 2009, "Mr. Jimmy" was was abducted from his taxi stand in Belmopan, and he was stuffed into the back of his gold Geo Prism car. He was then taken to Pook's Hill Resort Road in Teakettle, where he was stabbed 37 times. His body was found some 3 days later, decomposing on the side of the road, covered by cohune leaves. So, almost 8 years later, the 3 men, Gentle, Tzul and Myvette, who are accused of committing this heinous murder, stood trial before Justice Antoinette Moore.

    Fyffes, Friends For Life?
    A month ago, we told you that the Irish Company, Fyffes, which purchases all of Belize's export bananas, has been bought over by the Japanese owned, Sumitomo Corporation. That deal affects Belize because if Sumitomo has a new strategy, they might not be interested in Belize's banana industry. That's why today, Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse met with the Fyffes managers at the Airport. Sumitomo has agreed to keep Fyffe's management team, and, according to Hulse, they have assured that their interest in Belize will endure. We understand that the Fyffes representatives were transiting through Belize, and that gave Hulse and other Agriculture officials an opportunity to meet with them before their flight out of the country. When the meeting was over, Hulse granted us an interview, in which he briefly discussed the conversation with the management team:

    Tour Operators Say BTB Should Have Their Back, But Stabbing Them In Back
    Cruise ship arrivals topped the one million passenger mark in 2016, but independent tour operators say that they've got it worse than ever. As we have reported many times, that's because Norwegian Cruise Line makes very few calls in Belize City now that they have their own port in the South. And those Norwegian cruisers are the ones who usually spend. Now, the local operators say they are facing another setback. And that's because they are being pushed back form in front of the tourism village, all the way to the Memorial Park. Now, that is part of a BTB plan to use the park as a loading area for tourists who exit the Fort George Tourism Zone. But the operators told why they aren't sold on the idea... John Pollard - Owner, Big John Tours: "Here we are all tour operators. The last time I had checked, I know that no tour operator is different from each other here. We had signed an SOP agreeing that this how we would run the operations."

    BTB Says There Is A Plan To Benefit Everyone
    Now the BTB says they aren't trying to swindle or disadvantage the tour operators at all. The Director of Cruise and Destination Planning Noriko Gamero told us that the main idea behind the proposal is to renovate the existing loading space which will enhance the visitor experience. Noriko Gamero - Director of Cruise and Destination Planning: "First of all, we are working collectively with the Belize City Council and the CARILED in trying to come up with a plan to improve the guest experience outside of the Fort George Tourism Zone. So, there are several components that we look at as a committee and restructuring of where the tour operators will be operating their sales, picking up of guest and of course the constant concerns of the flow of traffic, the congestion that happens. These are all different things that we have looked at and it's not a very easy project to take on. So what we have done is we have undergone a series of consultations with the stakeholders that would be impacted by any change. What they have suggested with the Memorial Park, it is an area where we are trying to look to do a rerouting of a loading space for operators, where each operator will have an assigned spot and they can then rotate their own guides from picking up at that space. So we won't have that parking fight and we won't have that flow of traffic constantly up and down in the zone."

    The Pious Potato Initiative
    Every day that goes by without sale, the loss in earnings for local potato farmers - increases. As we have been reporting, the local potato farmers in the North and West are struggling to make ends meet. Thousands of potatoes are wasting away in the fields. This is all because the imported white potatoes are taking over the local market - most Belizeans buy the imported potatoes because they are cheaper and are seen as higher quality. But there is hope; today an Orange Walk farmer made a good sale at a city school. I dropped by St. Catherine's Academy to find out more about their pious potatoe initiative. These SCA girls spent most of their morning weighing and bagging potatoes at school, but it wasn't for any cooking class. Salome Tillett, Principal, SCA: "Earlier in the week we saw the news about the situation with our potato farmers and you know that struck a chord with me so in the morning I came, we did our morning devotion and I shared it with the students and I asked would they be willing to help and I was so blessed by their response, the students were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea." "Our friends in Orange Walk were able to give us the contact of a person there and he was so happy to be able to sell his potatoes and his answer was sure right away."

    Chamber, The Cheerleaders?
    When the Prime Minister presents the new budget in the next few weeks, we'll know all about what new taxes, if any, government plans to impose. If there are new taxes, it could likely affect the private sector, but today the Chamber of Commerce sent out a press release that didn't admonish against new taxes, instead it reads sort of like a pep talk. It discusses the country's national debt and urges, quote, "Belize must act now! We must begin to make serious cuts to government spending, recover lost revenue, plug revenue leaks and create an atmosphere for economic growth. These actions must be…relentlessly sustained at least until the debt burden is reduced to around 60% of GDP." end quote. And, the chamber says the belt tightening must even include those tax dodgers in the private sector: quote, "those…who evade or underpay their tax obligations be held to account and that the revenue due to the government, including penalties, be captured in full." end quote. And in that spirit, the Chamber urges, quote, "We must all, including the Opposition, play our part in the Herculean effort needed to bring about the changes that will stimulate the growth of our economy."

    There Was Inflation In January
    And while the Chamber plays the part of cheerleader, the Statistical Institute of Belize, is playing party pooper. They say inflation was up in January, 2017 with prices up almost 1% higher than in January of the previous year. And that is mostly due to the price of fuel, the price of a gallon of Diesel fuel was 40% higher this year than one year ago. That's just about three dollars more per gallon! Premium and regular gas also went up by about 20%, or about a dollar and 60 cents more per gallon. In line with that, the SIB reports that airfares increased 47 percent when compared to last January, and that combined with increased bus fares for an overall 9.4 percent increase in transport costs. Food prices went down a little, with decreases in the average prices of certain meats and vegetables and poultry. And while-rides were up in most municipalities, Punta Gorda and Dangriga both recorded decreases of 0.4 percent. Inflation was highest in Orange Walk Town at 2.6 percent, followed closely by Belmopan at 2.4 percent.

    Counting On Coconuts
    The consumer price index doesn't track the price of coconuts, since that is a small, informal trade. And it doesn't show up on the breakdown of imports and exports. But the Minister of Agriculture is hoping that changes. On Monday, Godwin Hulse told us about a new export initiative for fresh coconuts:... Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: "4,500 acres under cultivation. There is coconut being exported whole in a little packet with a straw that you strike in the top and drink the juice. I understand it has a 30-day shelf life, it's going to the US and other people are planting coconuts. It an industry we want to hope to balloon. There is a company called Texbel in the south that's doing it. There is one up north by Sergio Marroquin, who is also doing it and it's a project that will blossom across the country. It's one of the young new exports that we would hope to push on." In 2015, there were 2,000 acres of coconut in production producing 8 million nuts. At the time, that figure was expected to double.

    Port Crane Collapsed
    There was an accident at the Port of Belize this evening. Fortunately no one was hurt. As we understand it, this crane was offloading a ship, when one of the cables on the crane's winch burst. The caused the boom to collapse, leaving it crumpled like a paper clip, stretched down like a ladder into the sea. Port CEO Arturo Tux Vasquez said that most importantly no one was hurt. He says they always have another crane on standby - and right now they are working to remove the old crane from the pier head, and finish loading the ship. He says the damage was confined to the crane, which insurance has already assessed.

    Gringo Got A Gun
    This morning at 9:30, San Ignacio Police caught an American man with an unlicensed pistol. It happened at 9:30, during an early morning operation. The rural west quick response team found 67 year old Robert Biro, a US citizen of a branch mouth address with an unlicensed Taurus brand .38 revolver and 14 live rounds. The operation also netted 43 grams of cannabis.

    Musical Tribute For Lady Lila
    Since her death over the weekend, Belizeans have been celebrating the life of Lila Vernon, and next week the festivities continue. Artists from around the country will be coming together to perform the music of the country's beloved "Brukdung Queen". We spoke to the Bliss Center's Theatre Director about the tribute concert... Karen Vernon, Threater Director - Bliss Center: "We are having this celebration "celebrating Leela" Monday here at the Bliss center celebrating the life of Leela Vernon and the legacy that she left for all of us as Belizeans. We have a lineup of artists, because artists have been calling wanting to perform either here in Belize City at the "celebrating Leela" or in Punta Gorda at the concerts that will be there as well."

    A Week Of Official Funerals
    So, apart from a tribute concert, Lila Vernon's funeral is planned for next week Thursday, March second at the St. Peter Claver Church on Main Street in Punta Gorda town. It will be an official funeral, and it starts at 11:00 am. That will be the second official funeral next week. The first is for Bishop OP Martin on Monday 27th. February at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan at 3:00. He will be interred on the Co-Cathedral's grounds. And, the funeral for the other notable Belizean who recently passed, Cecil "Chubby" Reneau will be held on Saturday, February 25th at All Saints Church in Belize City. He will be interred at the family property in Ontario Village in Cayo District. But today, his daughter told us that the Institute of archeology stopped the ongoing work prepare the burial site, because, apparently, it is a Maya mound. Reneau's wife, Nina told us that they had no idea any mound was on their property, and the stoppage has caused a huge disturbance for the family in their time of grief. The situation is still devleoping, so up to this evening it was not clear what would be the final plan for his burial.

    Step Up To Street Art
    This Saturday marks the seventh edition of the NICH's Street Art Festival. The fair takes place on Albert Street in Belize City, and will feature various art stalls, contests, food and performances. The festival's coordinator, Karen Vernon gave us a run down of what to expect... The festival will also feature chalk art competitions.

    CDB says Correspondent Banking Problem "Tractable", But How?
    At the recent Caricom Heads of Government meeting which finished last Friday, regional leaders acknowledged that there was little progress on resolving the issue, and tasked the Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking to maintain the current high level engagement. But, that engagement has gotten them nowhere so far. On Friday in Barbados the President of the Caribbean Development Bank said that regional banks need to find a way to certify their worthiness: Warren Smith, President CDB: "I don't think we're at the stage yet where we could honestly say that there is an end in sight to this crisis. But I think one thing that is emerging is that where we could concentrate as a region is on trying to ensure that our environment, our banking environment, our financial environment is brought up to a standard where the risk of being blacklisted by the correspondent banks is minimized. And one of the things that we have advocated and I think that we are quite prepared to provide assistance in this regard, financial assistance is to have an entity like the Caribbean financial sector task force to work with the jurisdictions, our country jurisdictions to help them to identify weaknesses and mechanisms that they could deploy to strengthen the quality of their jurisdictions."

    Climate Change A Regional Priority
    No one knows where that solution will come from, and, in fact, it's easier to come up with a strategy to respond to climate change. The bank says it is giving funding for those projects high priority:

    Managing Shelters Early
    And, the city council is preparing for increased storm activity in its own way. With months to go before the hurricane season, the council is already calling city residents to come out and discuss shelter management. Councillor Willoughby explained:...

    Channel 5

    Lord Michael Ashcroft Confirms Terms of B.T.L. Settlement
    In an exclusive interview with News Five in Washington, D.C. Lord Michael Ashcroft touched on a wide variety of major stories, from the settlement of Belize Telemedia Limited’s nationalization by [...]

    Ashcroft Says His Good Turn on B.T.L. Was Rejected and Will Cost Belize Heavily
    Much of the half a billion dollar settlement has to do with the Accommodation Agreement signed seven years earlier. That in turn reaches back to the mid-2000’s when Jeffrey Prosser [...]

    Barrow and Williams Holds “Insignificant” Shares in Caribbean Investment Holdings
    The relationship between Lord Michael Ashcroft’s business concerns and Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s law firm, Barrow and Williams, retained for litigation on behalf of the Belize Bank Limited and others, [...]

    Ashcroft Praises Eamon Courtenay; Says He May Release Him from Legal Work
    Senior Counsel and Senator Eamon Courtenay has come under fire from the United Democratic Party and the Government for acting on behalf of the former BCB Holdings in a Constitutional [...]

    S.C.A. Buys Big in Potatoes from Local Farmer
    Farmers in the Cayo and Orange Walk Districts have thousands of pounds of potatoes rotting in the fields – produce they have been unable to sell because of competing imported [...]

    Trio Convicted of Murder of Cayo Taxi Man
    A jury of seven women and five men stepped into the deliberating room at just after noon today to decide the fate of three men from Cayo, who are accused [...]

    The David Nanes Caper Revealed in Paperwork from Immigration
    David Miguel Banes, otherwise known as David Nanes Schnitzer, sits in a Mexican jail for white collar crimes he allegedly committed in that jurisdiction.  After defrauding investors of millions of [...]

    G.O.B. Scrambling Over Passport Machine
    The Immigration and Nationality Department remains under heavy scrutiny amid the ongoing Senate Special Select Inquiry…and we’ll have that coming up.  Tonight, however, there are complaints from the public that [...]

    Temporary Passports to Cover Backlog
    According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Beverly Williams, another system has been substituted in place of the faulty passport machine which is also enabled for machine [...]

    Ashcroft Asks: Was It Really Worth It?
    If you listen to the Government, most of its problems stem from past decisions, whether by the Said Musa administrations or by Lord Michael Ashcroft. At every turn there have [...]

    At Senate Hearing, a Tale of Attempted Bribery Making G.O.B. Richer
    A few weeks ago, former C.E.O. of the Ministry of Immigration, Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, mused that many unusual things happened in the Immigration Department and that there was corruption from the [...]

    Ex-Nationality Chief Details How Vetting Corners Were Cut
    Even though Prime Minister Dean Barrow continues to deny that the cut corners in the Immigration Department compromised the nationality of those registered in the run-up to the 2012 general [...]

    Politics Responsible for Immigration Mess
    We suspect that it hardly matters in the greater scheme of things, but both sides of the political divide have been accused of misusing the Immigration Department to their advantage, [...]

    Junior Immigration Minister Says Work on Reform Must Continue
    The day-to-day operations of the Immigration and Nationality Department are coming under the microscope in the ongoing investigation. The Minister of State Beverly Williams is faced with reshaping the image [...]

    Coconuts Can Be Big Business for Belize
    Coconut may be big business soon for Belize – the emerging industry is supported by the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project which aims to improve income and employment opportunities, food [...]

    LOVE FM

    PUP Senator Recalls First Request for Senate Inquiry Into David Nanes Case
    David Miguel Nanes-Schnitzer was found on Ambergris Caye on November 3, 2015 with a fraudulent driver’s license. He was nabbed via the joint efforts of the US Marshalls and San Pedro Police and was detained. At the time of his arrest little did anyone know that this was merely the tip of an iceberg that […]

    Trio Found Guilty of the 2009 James Young Murder
    A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about four hours and sixteen minutes today in the court of Justice Antonette Moore before it found three men guilty of the murder of 82-year-old taxi driver James Neal aka James Young which occurred on July 28, 2009. The accused were 33 year Matthew Gentle, […]

    Who Will Face Prosecution When Inquiry Concludes?
    Every Wednesday, inside the National Assembly building in Belmopan, the Senate Special Select Committee interrogates persons whose name appears in the Auditor General’s Special Visa and other findings Report on the Immigration and Nationality Department for the period 2011-2013. Several persons have been called to testify and several revelations have been made. The committee still has […]

    Letter Surfaces: Patrick Tillett’s Involvement in Missing Visa Stickers
    Patrick Tillett, the former finance controller at the Belize City Council, is named in the Auditor General’s Report along with his then colleague and former Deputy Mayor, Eric Chang. Both men have been summoned before the Senate Select Committee since they rejected the committee’s invitation last week Wednesday. In her report, the auditor general states […]

    Gordon Wade Cites Political Interference as a Culture in Immigration
    Senior Immigration Officer, Gordon Wade, appeared before the Senate Select Committee yesterday. Wade was questioned on an array of subjects relating to the inner workings of the nationality department. At the end of testimony, Wade made recommendations to the committee on how the many irregular behaviors within the department can be addressed. GORDON WADE ” […]

    Citing Political Interference as a Culture Is Not Enough
    In an interview on Monday, February 20 with Immigration Minister, Godwin Hulse he spoke of three persons he had sent before the Public Services Commission after irregularities were found. The trio, however, faced no repercussions and the PSC sent them back to their offices. Former PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman is one who has been advocating […]

    Is Family Court Gender Neutral?
    There is a common perception by men in Belize that the Belize Family Court is made to always side with the women and mothers and that there is no justice for men. Senior Counsel Dolores Balderamos Garcia has been one of the advocates for families and as we told you yesterday there were several legislation […]

    PG Police Utilizes Bullet Catcher
    A bullet catcher equipment is now fully in use by Toledo Police formation. We hear more in this report from correspondent Paul Mahung. PAUL MAHUNG “

    Recognizing and Dealing with Cyber-Bullying
    On Wednesday the Department of Youth Services held a training workshop on cyber bullying for its staff in the Cayo District. Eckert Middleton is the Manager of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit and the Department. ECKERT MIDDLETON ” Middleton offered suggestions for victims of cyber bullying. ECKERT MIDDLETON ” The workshop was held at […]

    The Guardian

    One month grace before Belize defaults on Superbond
    The due date for a five percent interest payment on Belize’s bonds has come and gone without Government forwarding the $26.3 million to its bondholders. That date was Monday, February 20, and since the payment is now late, a 30 day grace period has kicked in. If Belize does not make the payment by March 22 the country would officially default on the loan. This is bad news for Belize but worse news for the bondholders. A default by Belize would probably trigger a downgrade in the country’s credit rating. This means that loans to the country would be tagged with a higher risk. High risk loans come with more conditions and higher interest rates. This would be of great concern to Belize if the Administration was dependent on loans from commercial banking institutions. The Barrow Administration is not a player in that market; therefore, its concern for credit ratings is minimal. On the other hand, the bondholders are owners of stocks that would be much tougher to sell if they move any closer to junk status. Those bonds aren’t anything the country of Belize is or should be intending to roll over; therefore, it is their baby. It is in the best interest of the bondholders to ensure that Belize is in the best position to meet its payment obligations and if that means a restructure is necessary by March 22 then it is essential for the bondholders that such an agreement is reached. When everything on the table is weighed it turns out that the Superbond is as much a problem for the bondholders as it is for Belize.

    Danny Mason and company to stand trial for murder of Pastor
    Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith has determined that there is sufficient evidence for William “Danny” Mason, Terrence Fernandez, 31, Keiron Fernandez, 29, Ernest Henry Castillo, 20, and Ashton Vanegas, 24, to stand trial for the July 2016 murder of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas in the June 2017 Session of the Supreme Court. During a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) on Tuesday, February 21, the accused men appeared unrepresented before the Chief Magistrate. They stand accused of the kidnapping and murder of Lucas and conspiracy to commit kidnapping upon David Dodd. Prosecutor in the case, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams submitted over 100 pages of documents including statements, reports and documentary exhibits such as surveillance footage. Chief Magistrate Smith asked the accused men if they will be calling any alibi witness and neither had any to call on. They were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance in June in the Supreme Court.

    NICH to announce plans for Leela Vernon’s Memorial Service
    The National Institute of Culture and History is in consultation with the family of cultural icon Leela Genus Vernon to organize “a celebration of her life and legacy”. On Thursday afternoon, February 23, the institute will announce plans for the memorial service. Vernon passed away around 9 a.m. on Sunday, February 19, after a battle with chronic renal failure. Also referred to as chronic kidney disease, chronic renal failure is the progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. A blood drive was held for Vernon last week while doctors did all they could to keep her alive. Reports are that she showed signs of recovery but her body succumbed to the strain placed on her heart in the battle to stay alive. Vernon officially died as a result of cardiac arrest. Leela Vernon will be best remembered for her classic “Who Seh Kriol Noh Got No Kulcha”. This track is a song that encouraged Creole Belizeans to take pride in their identity and culture. This was at a time when the country’s expanding demographics was causing Creole Belizeans to lose grip on their cultural identity.

    Teresita Castellanos questions validity of Auditor General’s report
    Last week Teresita Castellanos who was the financial officer at the Immigration department between May 2011 to June 2014 which was reviewed by the Auditor General’s report came out swinging with revelations of, “I was in the belly of the Beast.” She impugned on the department that, “the Immigration Officers, they are a fraternity, the mentality of touch one, touch all.” She continued to sate that, “I will like to state that the resistance by some officers was beyond my comprehension, resistance in adhering to regulation, to doing the right thing. At one point, some of us were fearful for the life of the acting Director, Maria Marin.” That was last week and this week she had to answer for her actions. In many instances she could not recall what was being referred to in the Auditor General’s report and even went further to admit that she too must have made some mistakes. Nevertheless, she challenged the validity of the report.

    Teresita Castellanos questions validity of Auditor General’s report
    The Ministry of Education, in the interest of the students and parents countrywide, has decided to end the fight over pay with the Belize National Teachers Union. There has been a settlement of the BNTU lawsuit, where the Ministry will not cut the pay for the teachers who went on strike, and the teachers have committed to give back 6 of those 11 school days lost in the strike. Readers are aware that about 13 weeks ago, Eamon Courtenay, acting as the attorney for the BNTU filed a lawsuit to stop the Ministry of Education from docking the teachers pay at the end of November. The BNTU successfully convinced the Chief Justice to grant an injunction restraining the Ministry from moving forward, and the Ministry had to pay the teachers, even though the deductions were already taken out.

    Minister of Defence Continues National Tour of Belize Coast Guard Facilities
    Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar has visited Coast Guard Facilities in the Central Sector as part of his national tour of Coast Guard facilities countrywide. Accompanied by Admiral John Borland and senior personnel from the Ministry of Defence, Hon. Saldivar visited Calabash Caye (Turneffe) where the Coast Guard has a Forward Operating Base, constructed in 2010. The tour then carried them to Half Moon Caye and Glovers Reef (Middle Caye) where the Coast Guard partners with conservation organizations, providing law enforcement support. The groupthen visited Southern Long Caye where the Coast Guard recently established a Patrol Base to provide security for fishermen in the area.

    Grace Primary receives donation from CITCO
    Grace Primary School is now the third school to have received a donation from the Belize City Council this month. Councilor Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar, through the portfolio for Women and Children, delivered a cheque to the Principal of Grace Primary School, Myrna Sheppard, on Tuesday, February 21. The contribution is to be used for Standard Six students gearing up for the Primary School Examinations this March and May. Sheppard says that she will make sure the money is used wisely for the student’s benefit. The idea to make donations to students preparing for PSE came from the Council’s Children Advisory Board which is comprised of children in the upper level of primary schools and lower levels of secondary schools across the city. Last week on Valentine’s Day the Council gave a donation to Queen Square School and St. John’s Anglican the week before. Grace Primary is the third of eight primary schools that will receive a donation.

    Minister of Defence Contin
    Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has sentenced Danny Ku, 37, to 23 years imprisonment after he accepted a plea deal on Monday, February 13, 2017 for killing Nurse Anna Basto on September 2, 2006. Ku was convicted of murder on December 16, 2006 but he appealed the conviction and a retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeals on October 13, 2011. His retrial was set to commence on February 13 but after the facts of the case were read he submitted a guilty plea for a lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutors in the case, Shanielle Chell and Javier Chan of the DPP’s office, accepted the guilty plea and Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down his sentence on Monday, February 20, after mitigation plea was heard on his behalf.

    Minister of Defence Contin
    The last time we reported on Jeorgi Petrov, 28, and Halid Yuksel Aptula, 25, the two Bulgarians accused of a massive credit card scam, the Belize Bank had agreed to sit down and talk with their legal representatives in an effort to recover funds. Oscar Selgado, attorney for Aptula, has not provided any information since but it appears that significant progress was made because the convicted fraudsters are going to return money to the bank. On Friday, February 17, 2017, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser ordered the men to return the majority of $21,750 to the Belize Bank after the state had applied for the forfeiture of the total sum.

    No arrests yet on murder of Jason Cortez
    Police have still not made any arrests for the murder of 21 year-old Jason Cortez, the Belize City resident who was killed on Wednesday, February 15. At press time for the previous issue of this newspaper, we received reports that shots rang out in the Lake Independence Area. The exact area is the Western Avenue, where Cortez was walking, after leaving his Balan Street home. It is suspected that the still unknown assailant followed him into Western Avenue and, and at around 6:25 p.m., that gunman let loose a hail of gunfire. He was injured multiple times in the chest, the abdomen, the back, and the buttocks. He tried to run for help, but he collapsed a short distance away. First responders rushed him to the KHMH, but he didn’t make it, despite the best efforts by the doctors to save his life.

    Cousin kills cousin over money
    Twenty four year-old Tishawn Hamilton, a resident of Pelican Street in Belize City, has been remanded for the stabbing murder of his 17 year-old cousin, Eaton Lamb. This entire family grieves because they are burying one of their own, while they look on as the police prosecute another family member for his death. The incident happened sometime around 11:40p.m. on Sunday, February 19, and according to police they were on patrol on Antelope Street Extension. They say that they spotted Lamb running away from Hamilton, and he was bleeding profusely from stab wounds to the chest and back. The officers detained Hamilton, and they recovered from him a knife, which they believe he used to attack Lamb. They rushed Lamb to the KHMH for medical treatment, but he died about 40 minutes later while undergoing treatment.

    Darwin Howard and Kenroy Sedacey accused of burglary
    Darwin Howard and Kenroy Sedacey are out on bail after they were arraigned for burglarizing the home of Curl Estrada with intent to cause bodily harm. In a report to police, Estrada said that he was at home on Neal’s Pen Road Extension with his common-law wife on Friday, February 17, when two men entered and began to beat him with a piece of wood. The duo appeared unrepresented before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, February 20, where they were read two criminal charges, one count of burglary and one count of harm upon Curl Estrada. They pleaded not guilty to the charge. Howard said, “I was the one who took the police to the home.” Sedacey told Senior Magistrate Fraser that Estrada lives with his niece and he went with her to speak to him about a domestic issue. While waiting outside, he heard his niece shouted, “Uncle, he deh choke meh I can’t breathe.” Sedacey said that was when he went inside, saw Estrada choking his niece and told him to let her go.

    Walter Dawson mysteriously killed in Ladyville
    Police need help trying to solve the heinous murder of Walter Dawson, a 57 year-old resident of Ladyville. His body was found in a part of the village that his family says he does not go to. It appears that someone tried to behead him. Residents of Marage Road heard their dogs barking between 3:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Sunday, February 19. There was no cause for concern, but about 4 hours later, a passerby found Dawson’s body a short distance away from the Caribbean Shrimp Farm. The police were called in, the officers on the scene observed that he had suffered a chop wound to the head, neck and left shoulder area. The most serious, however, was a chop wound to the neck, which almost decapitated him.

    Genevia Estrada charged with dangerous harm upon common-law-husband
    Eric Kent Moses, 46, has died as a result of serious head trauma he suffered during a domestic dispute with his common-law-wife, Genevia Christine Estrada, 33, at their home on Victoria Street. It is not certain what happened on Valentine’s Day with the couple but when police visited the scene one had to be rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and the other was arrested for a single charge of dangerous harm. On Friday, February 17, Estrada was escorted in the prison bus to appear in court before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. She was unrepresented in court and due to the nature of the offense, no plea was taken. Prosecutor in the case, Sgt. Claude Pitts, had heavy objection to bail being granted. He submitted that bail should be withheld due to the serious nature of the offense and the gravity of the injury Moses had sustained. According to prosecutor Pitts, Moses was at the KHMH with a very serious head trauma injury and it is not certain if his condition will improve or worsen.

    Rafael Yam sentenced to 5 years for burglary
    Rafael Yam, 36, a cane farmer from San Estevan Village in Orange Walk, was tempted by an open door when he visited Belize City on February 5 and is now serving the first days of a five year sentence for yielding. Allegations made against Yam is that in the early hours of February 5, around 4 a.m., he entered David Popper’s home at #8 Barrack Road as a trespasser and stole a number of household items. According to the facts of the case presented to Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Friday, February 17, Popper reported to police that his apartment was burglarized and a slippers valued at $13, a black Adidas sports bag valued at $120 and a black Jordan tennis valued at $185 were stolen among other items, including Popper’s deodorant. The total value of items reported stolen is $1,260.

    ‘Bex’ given a hero’s welcome in San Ignacio
    Hundreds of residents lined the principal streets of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns on Tuesday of this week, to give Miss Belize Universe Rebecca Rath a hero’s welcome, following her remarkable performance at the Miss Universe stage in Manilla. Additionally, over four hundred admirers turned up at the Cayo Welcome Center to embrace, take photos and speak to the people’s queen also referred to as ‘Bex.’ At the Cayo Welcome Center Rebecca Rath was presented with a key to the Twin Towns by Mayor Earl Trapp Junior. Mayor Trapp remarked that Rath brought hope to our children in the municipality. On stage at the Cayo Welcome Center Ms. Rath was also entertained by various artists such as Shamika Marove with ‘Strength of a Woman’ and by Marlon Lopez with ‘You and I.’ Dynamic speaker Javier Gutierrez was also on stage to make the people’s queen feel as welcome as possible.

    Formal Export of Live Cattle to Guatemala
    On February 13th,2017, a first shipment of live cattle was exported to Guatemala duty free, via the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. This marked the first export of live cattle under the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. It activated the Sanitary Agreement signed between Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and its Guatemalan counterpart. This shipment formalizes the trade of live cattle and provides a framework on which to build a robust cattle trade. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration congratulates the private sector stakeholders, in particular cattle farmers from Spanish Lookout, for their historic export and urges all cattle producers to use the formal route for trade.

    Sir Elihu Lauterpacht and Baron Bliss showed Belize much love!
    Sir Elihu Lauterpacht is dead, may his soul rest in peace. Of importance to the Jewel, he co-authored Belize: Joint Opinion and Legal Opinion on Guatemala’s Territorial Claim to Belize. Sir Elihu did not have one drop of Belizean blood in him, yet he worked very hard to help us in the Diplomatic fight against the Unfounded Guatemalan Claim. Baron Bliss did not set foot on Belizean soil yet he gave us so much. We can learn a lot from them! Maybe Aschroft would like to rethink his strategy? It is easy for me to list the Belizeans who tried to sell out Belize, steal national lands, destroyed Belize Technical College, cash infant scholarship vouchers, rob Treasury, bankrupt Central bank…. Sometimes I get tired of calling out the Big Thief PUP but as a Belizean Patriot said to me yesterday:” Ed, somebody has to remind the voters and the youth about the evil deeds of the Big Thief PUP. Those culprits want the past to stay hidden so that they can seek election victory.” Sorry, keeping quiet is not on my to-do list. Today I want to encourage each and every Belizean to try to match Baron Bliss and Sir Elihu! If we each give our very best for Belize, then the Jewel will do very well! The Big Thief PUP is the main problem, definitely not a part of the solution! Do not ever let the Big Thief PUP fool and trick you! No way Jose! No Way… PUP had they taken us down that road before and we are still mad! Wutliss PUP Superbond!

    Two tales
    No matter how much I watched the news and read the papers over this past week, I could not identify a good juicy political topic to develop for this week’s edition of the Guardian. And unlike the People’s United Party, I elected against recycling the same old dreary personalities of past articles like Palacio and Courtney. I think that the public itself, including former Belize city PUP Mayoral candidate, Ms. Bodden, have gotten sick and tired of these two crowd pleasers. So I decided to change style a bit this week and tell you two true short stories. I had a former work colleague who once served in the Belize Volunteer service in the infancy days of the BDF. This gentleman loved to tell tall tales of his accomplishments in the said volunteer force. But each time he told a tale, he would hold a different rank in the BVS. I know he only reached the level of lance corporal because in one of his daring encounters he told of single-handedly apprehending a large group of trouble- makers by the Queen Elizabeth Park in OW during the State of Emergency declared because of the Heads of Agreement disturbances in 1981. Little did he know that a photographer from MR. NOVELO’S studio had taken a picture from across the park which highlighted his brilliant, single, lonely, white arrowhead stripe sewn across his dark green uniform sleeve. In any instance, before the state of emergency was lifted, Mr. man’s story was that officials in the PUP’S hierarchy were already addressing him as “teniente ”or in English, “lieutenant”.

    Mexican Ambassador and Transport Minister meet
    Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize H. E. Carlos Quesnel met on Tuesday, February 21, in Belmopan with Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro. The Minister and the Ambassador discussed opportunities for cross-border operations for motor carrier services between Belize and Mexico. A memorandum of understanding is being prepared and should be signed shortly to establish the framework under which such services will be provided. Ambassador Quesnel described the meeting as “very productive”. Hon. Castro thanked him for the visit and says he is pleased with the deepening of the longstanding friendly relations between our two countries.

    2017 fire season opens
    February 15th marks the opening of the Forest Fire Season. The Forest Department warns that this year’s fire season may be more intense due to the impact of Hurricane Earl on our forests. “Earl damaged large areas of forest, leaving on-ground debris caused by fallen trees and dead branches, which will pose a fire hazard in the 2017 dry season and beyond.” said Wilber Sabido, Chief Forest Officer. Forester German Novelo, officer responsible for Forest Fire Prevention and Management, added that the impacts of forest fires can be far-reaching, not merely causing major damage to trees and vegetation, non-timber forest products and wildlife habitat; but can also destroy crops, homes, threaten lives, and contaminate our air with smoke which becomes a health hazard. Sabido and regional foresters met yesterday to review and discuss plans and preparations underway for this year’s anticipated significant forest fire potential. The department, which is responsible for the management of 3.5 million acres of national forests, notes that forest fires trends show that over 97,260 acres of Belize’s land surface are affected by wildfires each year.

    Safeguarding Belize’s hardwoods
    Belize’s prime hardwoods have become attractive targets by illegal loggers and as such steps are now being taken to conserve these national treasures for future use. Our climate, soil type and other conditions have proved to be ideal for the growth of 42 species of hardwoods, for which about 20 can be bought and commercialized in Belize. With a flourishing forest, which covers about 60% of land mass, there has been a renewed interest by illegal harvesters, who have found an endless supply of customers in both the national and international market. At the national level, the revised forestry act now increases sanctions for the illegal harvesting of our hard woods. Forestry officers were trained last week to increase their abilities in detecting the identity of the various hardwood species. Rosewood, for example is difficult to differentiate from the other species, but the trainees were provided with microscopic level details and a color handbook on the various woods to increase their knowledge levels. Armed with the new knowledge, 15 forest officers will now be able to provide evidence that will stand up in court. Such training has come thanks to the Wildlife Conservation Society WCS, in collaboration with the Forestry Department and with funds from the United States Fisheries and Wildlife Service.

    Haulover Creek will be ready for La Ruta Maya
    The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is a 170 mile long test of skill, strength and will power. The race has become the main attraction of the National Heroes and Benefactors Day festivities and it has attracted competitors from all over the world. There are four stages in the Challenge. It starts in San Ignacio next Friday and the first stage is completed 46 miles down the Macal River in Banana Bank Village. On Saturday, stage two is the most exhausting stretch as the race goes 60 miles from Banana Bank along the Macal River to Bermudian Landing along the Belize River. Sunday’s 36 mile challenge along the Belize River ends in Burrel Boom Village. The final day of the race is a 25 mile sprint to the finish line at the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. Competitors spend months of intensive training to prepare for the race. Yet this year, such hard work will pale in comparison to what is taking place in just a two mile segment of the route to make way for the race’s completion. Personnel of the Department of the Environment and the Belize City Council are working countless hours in order to make the Haulover Creek passable in time for the March 6.

    Kolbe making Belmopan safer
    Some three entities have teamed up to clean the Nation’s Capital. The Belmopan City Council in collaboration with the Belmopan Police and Kolbe Foundation held a cleanup campaign of the Almond Boulevard area last week. At about 9:00 am last Thursday, 12 inmates armed with machetes and energy set out to clear the unfinished Almond Boulevard as a crime prevention initiative. This effort came as a result of Belmopan Police having received numerous complaints of criminal elements in the overgrown bushes of Almond Boulevard. “We saw it as an area where crime could occur,” writes Howell Gillett, Officer in Charge of Belmopan Police. “The area that is being cleaned is an unofficial pathway used by many good citizens, who want to make their journey to and from shorter. It is used by criminals at the same time which make the area a recipe for possible crime against persons and property,” he elaborated.

    Celebrating the life of Bishop O. P. Martin
    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City and Belmopan wishes to invite the people of God in Belize to join us in celebrating the life of our brother Bishop Emeritus Osmund Peter Martin. He was born on December 3, 1930 in Dangriga and died early in the morning of Thursday, February 16, 2017. O. P. Martin was ordained a priest on April 3, 1959 in Dangriga after completing studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. He served at parishes in Corozal, San Ignacio, St. Joseph, and Holy Redeemer Cathedral. On October 7, 1982 he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop, making him the first Garifuna and Belizean bishop for the Church. After just a few years, on January 16, 1984, he was appointed the Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan. He served the Church in that leadership role until his retirement in 2007.

    The late Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, a Champion of Belize’s Sovereingty and Territorial Integrity, Granted Order of Belize
    Friday, February 17th, 2017. The Government of Belize regrets to learn of the passing of Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, CBE, QC, July 13th, 1926 to February 8th, 2017. Sir Eli, as he was affectionately called, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University where he earned First Class Law and the Masters in International Law First Class and a doctorate in laws. He was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1950. Sir Elihu has had a distinguished career both as a professor and practitioner of International Law. He became a Law Fellow at Trinity College at Cambridge University and first appeared before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Nottebohm case in 1951. Since then he served as lead Counsel for several countries before the ICJ. In 2004, he was Counsel for Barbados before the arbitration tribunal that settled its maritime border dispute with Trinidad and Tobago. He also served as an arbitrator in several international Tribunals and as an advisor to some thirty governments over his long career.

    The National Sports Council brightens the future of Queen’s Square Youth
    The Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, through the National Sports Council, worked in conjunction with the Queen’s Square community to enhance the safety of youth who wish to participate in sporting and recreational activities. Through a lighting project implemented by the National Sports Council, Queen’s Square residents are now enjoying brighter evenings and nights on their basketball court. The National Sports Council also assisted the residents in fixing security lights in the area so as to deter violence and criminal activities. This is a part of a wider government initiative of promoting citizen security through sports and recreation. The National Sports Council thanks the residents of Queen’s Square and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for this opportunity to serve the people of Belize City in a way that facilitates their greater engagement in sports.

    Looking past the political divide - Glenn needs your help
    On Tuesday, February 21, I had the opportunity to visit with a colleague I have known for probably 20 years. Time and circumstances had us pick political parties of choice to support publicly and as a result we find ourselves on opposing political views. Glenn Tillett is a PUP and I am a UDP but that does not deter us from having engaging conversations whenever we have time. Of course, our conversations always steer clear of our politics. On Tuesday it was his brother Kenworth, who took me to visit. Kenworth too is a stalwart of the UDP and in fact once served as the Secretary General of the UDP. Glenn has served the PUP, most notably in the last PUP administration as something like a public relations officer and/or advisor to Joe Coye in a number of portfolios he held. Kenworth readily admitted that on contact with his brother he too steers clear of politics. You see all of us can become very passionate about our political views and in an effort for it not to interfere with our friendship, we simply avoid the topic.

    UB appoints new president
    Professor Clement K. Sankat, former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (WI), St Augustine Campus, Trinidad has been appointed the seventh President of the University of Belize (UB). His appointment took effect February 15th 2017. Professor Sankat succeeds Mr. Alan Slusher, who has held the post since June 2014. This announcement was made by Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of UB's Board of Trustees during UB Graduation Ceremonies on February 11th. It comes after the Board, acting in accordance with the UB Act of 2000, undertook a wide and comprehensive search, employing a transparent, albeit robust selection process for the President. Prof. Sankat, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago received his early education at Queen's College in Georgetown, Guyana, his birth place. He is a Chartered/Professional Engineer (CEng) by training with degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The UWI and a PhD from the University of Guelph in Canada. He has had a long and distinguished career at The University of the West Indies as a scholar and administrative leader.

    Belmopan Comprehensive School boys win National Secondary Schools Football Championship
    The Belmopan Comprehensive School captured the 2016-2017 National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) male football championship on Saturday 18th February, 2017, out at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town. The championship features the regional champions from the four regions of the National Secondary Schools Sports Association. The Northern Region was represented by the Orange Walk Technical High School, the Central Region by Gwen Lizarraga High School, and the Western Region by the Belmopan Comprehensive School and the Southern Region by the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. On Friday 17th February, 2017 in the first game played, Belmopan Comprehensive School defeated the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School by the score of 4-2 in penalties after the regulation game ended in a 1-1 draw.

    Softball Federation to hold open male invitational tournament
    The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament on March 4-5 and 11-12, 2017 respectively at Rogers Stadium. The Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament will serve as the selection process for the pool of 36 players from which the final seventeen players will be selected to represent Belize at the X Pan American Male Softball Championship scheduled for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from September 14-25, 2017. The X Pan American Male Softball Championship will serve as the qualifying tournament for the XVIII Pan American Games scheduled for Lima, Peru in 2019 and the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquillas, Colombia, in 2018. Interested teams must register with Ms. Tiffany Heusner, Secretary General Belize Softball Federation by Wednesday 1st March, 2017.

    Belmopan Bandits regain lead in Premier League Closing Season Competition
    The 2017 Premier League of Belize Closing Season Competition continued over the weekend with four games on the schedule. On Sunday 19th February, 2017, at the MCC Grounds, the Belize Defence Force won over the Freedom Fighters by the score of 3-1. The goals for the Belize Defence Force were scored by Trimayne Harris in the 9th minute of play, Jeremy Gentle in the 37th minute of play and Shane Flores in the 86th minute of play. Meanwhile, the goal for the Freedom Fighters was scored by Jarren Lambey in the 75th minute of play. At the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Police United FC edged out Wagiya FC by the score of 2-1. The visiting Wagiya FC was the first onto the scoreboard when Latrell Middleton scored in the 45th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, the lead was short lived when Daniel Jimenez scored the first of his two goals in the 48th minute of play to tie the score at 1-1 for the Police United FC.

    Dangriga Dream Ballers halt the high flying San Pedro Tiger Sharks
    The Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) competition continued over the weekend with two games on the schedule. On Friday 17th February, 2017, out at the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School Auditorium in Dangriga Town, the level’s leading and previously unbeaten San Pedro Tiger Sharks was stop in its track by the talented Dangriga Dream Ballers by the score of 57-52. The Dangriga Dream Ballers were led by Quinton Bowen who scored 13 points to go along with his 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Bowen’s supporting cast consisted of Dillmore Conorquie who scored 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished out 2 assists and he also had a steal; Tahj Wells who also scored 10 points to go along with his 15 rebounds and 3 steals and Akeem Trapp who scored 8 points along with 4 rebounds and an assist.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Police looking for Belizean Cheaters
    The new Belizean Cheaters craze on Facebook has gained so much traction that police are reportedly currently investigating a report from a mother that a nude picture of her underage daughter was maliciously posted to one of the several cheaters groups. The groups seemingly […]

    Official funeral & Mass of Thanksgiving for Leela Vernon to be held next week
    Brukdown Queen, Leela Vernon passed away from a cardiac arrest last Sunday in Belize. An official Funeral and Mass of Thanksgiving for her life will be held on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the St. Peter Claver Church on Main Street in the town of Punta Gorda in the Toledo District.

    PUP and UDP guilty of immigration offenses
    The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) has gathered much ammunition and even political mileage from the hearings conducted by the Senate Select Committee. Figuratively speaking, PUP officials and supporters weekly gather their popcorn and tune in to the widespread corruption of the UDP authorities revealed during the hearing. However, on Wednesday, the PUP ran for cover when Senior Immigration Officer, Gordon Wade, told the committee that the practice of massive immigration nationalization to get more voters on the voters’ list before election was not a new practice.

    Leaked documents incriminates immigration officers in Nanes Schnitzer fraud
    An internal document leaked from the Immigration and Nationality department this week, gave a detailed breakdown of how accused embezzler David Nanes Schnitzer, worked with corrupt public servants to get fraudulent Belizean documents. The 14-page document, done by former Immigration Director Maria Marin, explained that things were wrong with Schnitzer’s documents, from his initial application in November 2012. Marin said that immigration officer Ady Pacheco, accepted the application with several discrepancies, including the fact that the receipt had the name “Nanes” on it, but the application had the name “Banes.”

    Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett summoned to appear to Senate hearing
    Former Belize City Deputy Mayor, Eric Chang, and the Council’s Financial Controller, Patrick Tillett, are both in hot water. They were “invited” to testify before the Senate Select Committee but they declined. Yesterday, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, Aldo Salazar, told the media that the two have been summoned to appear in front of the committee. If they do not appear, a warrant for their immediate arrest will be issued. It is not yet known when they are to appear.

    International Sourcesizz

    Events taking place in the Caribbean all year round in 2017
    Caribbean tourism in 2017 can be expected to be at its highest point, with a year filled with exciting events taking place around the region: from Carnival celebrations, to Sailing Weeks, the Crop Over Festival at Barbados, and fantastic music festivals or patron saints’ festivals, every month brings at least one fun celebration worth attending. January was quite an eventful month, with the renowned Championship Bahamas at Paradise Island, but it is now already behind us. Looking to the near future, both the Saint Thomas International Regatta Stir and the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival in the British Virgin Islands are just around the corner. Fans of yachting and watersports cannot miss these two events, both of which take place at the end of March. Highlights are the San Pedro Lobster Festival in Belize (June 15), the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba (September 15-16), not to mention the 35th America’s Cup (presented by Louis Vuitton) that runs from May to June in Bermuda.

    Guyana beats Belize 4-1
    Guyana secured their first win at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Champion-ship, dismissing newcomers Belize 4-1 on Wednesday at the Malcolm Beach Soccer Facility, Bahamas. Deshawn Joseph bagged a double in the fourth and 29th minute, while Jahshawn Moore and Jamal Haynes netted in the 24th and 25th minute, respectively. For the loser, an own goal in the fifth minute was the only noteworthy moment.

    Videos

  • Cabinet Approves Road Safety Master Plan, 6.5min.

  • Sail Away, 6min. Three years ago today we left for a Feb 24th to March 3rd cruise. We flew to New Orleans and boarded the Norwegian Star. It was our 3rd time to cruise on Norwegian Star Ship, and they treated us great. We visited Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, and Roatan as well as spending some extra time in New Orleans. A video is not the same as a cruise, but it brings back so many good memories for us and makes me want to "Sail Away" again. Maybe I can just tip every other person this week and think I am on vacation again?

  • Belize 2017 slide show, 17min. Slide show pf 2017 diving trip to Belize, Turneffe Flats Resort.

  • Andy Frasco & the UN burn it up in Belize, 7.5min.

  • Drew Jeffers sings, "My Kind of Girl" for Miss Belize, 4min.

  • BSI ASR WEEKLY CROP REVIEW 2017 - WEEK 11, 3min.

  • A PLAN TO ASSIST LOCAL POTATO FARMERS FROM SAN CARLOS, 5min. Potato farmers from the Village of San Carlos here in the Orange Walk District have been struggling to find a market for their over two hundred thousand pounds of potato in the local market which has been overrun by Mexican White potatoes. For several weeks we have heard the cries of the farmers as their product rot in the fields costing them thousands of dollars as the days go by.

  • BISHOP MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL HONOURS BISHOP EMERITUS OSMOND PETER MARTIN, 10min. In honour of the late Most Reverend Bishop Emeritus Osmond Peter Martin, this afternoon a special memorial mass was organized by the administration and staff of Bishop Martin High School to celebrate his life. Today’s mass was led by Father Oliver Smalls in the presence of the entire student body, organizers and invited guests. Its significance was mainly to express appreciation and gratitude to the Bishop for the countless positive contributions he brought to the Catholic Community in a whole.

  • Morning Matters with Madison Stone, 60min.

  • Open Your Eyes Special Ashcroft Interviews, 73min.

  • Mayan Discovery, 6.5min. G Adventures Mayan Discovery tour. Mexico, Guatemala & Belize

  • Miss Belize Rebecca Rath at cayo welcome center.., 30min.

  • Belize 2015, 9min.

    February 23, 2017


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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

    Belize’s Queen of Brukdown ‘Leela’ Vernon passes away
    Belize’s Ambassador for Creole Culture and Brukdown Queen, Lila ‘Leela’ Vernon passed away on Sunday, February 19th at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The cultural icon had been hospitalized at the Intense Care Unit since February 10th, where she was receiving treatment for chronic renal failure. Vernon was 66 years old. Her passing away leaves behind a rich legacy of empowering music celebrating the Creole culture at its highest level. Vernon was a Punta Gorda-born singer who greatly impacted the Creole culture of Belize. She gained local and international recognition for her popular song, ‘Ah Wah know who seh Kriol Nuh Gat no Culcha.’ She was also the vice-president and founder of the National Kriol Council, and even translated the Belize National Anthem into creole. Her music became synonymous with the celebration of Belizean and Creole cultural identity.

    Senior Mechanical Engineer Averaldo Badillo recognized for 30 years of service at Tropic Air
    Averaldo Badillo is the Senior Mechanical Engineer at Tropic Air Limited, and on Monday, February 20th, he was honored for THIRTY years of service to the airline. ‘Picho’, as he is affectionately known, has been with Tropic Air since 1987. Over three decades of work, has gained the trust and admiration of his employers. “The thing I like the most about Picho is that he looks at a problem from three dimensions,” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “While you and I may look at it two-dimensionally, he looks at the issue but is already crafting a solution.” Steve Schulte, CEO, chimed in. “Picho animates mechanical things. They aren’t just objects – they are alive to him, and he wants to fix it.” Both Greif and Schulte shared tales of Badillo’s legendary problem-solving skills. From figuring out how to revamp air ducts in Cessna Caravans, to building air stairs that are now used throughout Central America, all over Belize and even Mexico – all from a simple blueprint, he has managed to become an invaluable asset to Tropic Air. Apparently, the only time that parts end up in the trash is when Picho can’t fix or use them!

    Tiger Sharks suffer their first loss in the 2017 NEBL season
    The San Pedro Tiger Sharks experienced their first loss in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) season on Friday, February 17th against Dangriga Dream Ballers. The island boys travelled to the cultural capital of Dangriga in southern Belize, where after four quarters of intense battle against the home team, they fell short by five points, giving way to the Dream Ballers’ victory 57-52. Other games that took place over the weekend included Belize City No Limit against Smart Belize Hurricanes. The two Belize City based teams clashed in an action packed game on Saturday, February 18th at the Belize Elementary Gym. The Smart Belize Hurricanes started by dominating the match, but not for too long. At the end of an intense game, Belize City No Limit walked away with the victory in a final score of 75-70.

    Saga assists in the rescue of injured ocelot
    Saga Humane Society was recently made aware that an ocelot had been seen wearing an apparent collar and dragging its hind legs north of San Pedro Town. Saga was unsuccessful in capturing the wounded animal, as the wild cat escaped to the nearest mangroves whenever it was approached. However, on Monday, February 20th, it was captured by Norman Gutierrez and Gaspar Alcoser, and Justin Romsa transported it to Saga’s clinic for veterinary care. Saga’s Veterinarian Assistant Ingrid Lima gave the ocelot a thorough exam before it was stabilized. Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, who is the CEO and founder of the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic, was then contacted and arrangements were made with Tropic Air to fly the wild cat to the mainland.

    Ambergris Today

    Sargassum is BACK, Clean Efforts Pick Up
    The nasty, smelly and unsightly sargassum is back! You can smell it in the air while walking through town and its blocking our beaches once again. Will the problematic sargassum wash ashore in abundance like it did last year? No one knows for sure, but we know that there is a lot of clean up ahead. Islanders are once again pulling out the rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows and heading to the beach to clean up. It's an arduous task, but if left untouched it becomes an even bigger problem. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as 2016!!!

    Two Men Fined $10,000 for Illegal Entry into the Mayflower Bocawina National Park Protected Area
    Carlos Palacios (35 years) and Donald Wewe (47 years) both pleaded guilty to illegal entry into a protected area in the Dangriga Magistrate court on February 20th, 2017. The men were charged under the National Protected Areas System Act of 2015 and were fined $10,000 each. Failure to make payment will result in a 1-year imprisonment. Authorities found the two men during a routine patrol within the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Stann Creek District in April 2016. They were found in possession of twenty-seven (27) pieces of prickly-yellow lumber and a chain saw. The Mayflower Bocawina National Park spreads over 7,800 acres of broadleaf forest and contains Mayan archaeological sites, three primary waterfalls and is home to a variety of wildlife species; however, it is fast becoming a hotspot for illegal logging operations and looting. Recognizing that the complexity of illegal logging and illegal timber-trafficking requires greater collaboration of all stakeholders, the Forest Department officers and rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina Environment and Development Group have stepped up patrols and monitoring to stem the illegal forestry activities in this area. Over the next months, the Forest Department will increase the number of rangers and patrols, improve collaboration with co-managers and join law enforcement officers in setting-up road blocks and inspection points at strategic areas.

    Misc Belizean Sources

    mzz

    January 2017 Trade & Consumer Price Index
    The latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that, on average, the prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean Households were 0.9 percent higher in January 2017 than they were in January of 2016. The All-Items consumer price index stood at 104.1, an increase from 103.2 in January 2016. During the month of January 2017, Belize’s total imports were valued at $141.1 million, rising by 7.7 percent or $10.1 million when compared to almost $131 million imported in January 2016. The start of the year saw increased imports across most categories, with goods destined for the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ recording the largest growth at $5.6 million. While this upswing was mainly the result of heightened purchases of cigarettes, greater importation of books, plastic crates and prefabricated buildings led to a $3 million rise in the ‘Other Manufactures’ category. Notably, the year began with an upsurge in world market prices for fuel, and despite seeing only a moderate increase in the quantity of regular fuel imported, Belize spent considerably more in January 2017 than it did in January 2016 on this product.

    MEXICAN AMBASSADOR AND TRANSPORT MINISTER MEET
    Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize H. E. Carlos Quesnel met yesterday in Belmopan with Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro. The Minister and the Ambassador discussed opportunities for cross-border operations for motor carrier services between Belize and Mexico. A memorandum of understanding is being prepared and should be signed shortly to establish the framework under which such services will be provided. Ambassador Quesnel described the meeting as “very productive”. Hon. Castro thanked him for the visit and says he is pleased with the deepening of the longstanding friendly relations between our two countries.

    Western Ballaz Host Bandits
    The Western Ballaz are hosting the Belmopan Bandits on Friday, February 24th. This is one of the big games this season. Go, Ballaz! "You can't miss out on the game that we've all been waiting for. Your Cayo Western Ballaz will be going up against Belmopan Bandits this Friday at 9 p.m. Keep your ticket stubs for the half- time give away of a cellphone and other great prizes. See you this Friday at SHC's Auditorium. Let's go Ballaz!!!"

    Phoenix & LA Sales Presentations 2017
    The Belize Tourism Board Team conducting country presentations in Phoenix and Los Angeles!

    US Embassy's Woman of the Year award
    Do you know a Belizean woman who deserves recognition? Nominate her for the Embassy's Woman of the Year award! International Women's Day and Women's History Month is in March. The Embassy will recognize an outstanding Belizean woman for her inspirational accomplishments and positive contributions to her communities. We are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the "Woman of the Year 2017" contest.

    Shark fishing is taking place again at Lighthouse Reef Atoll
    We have been informed that shark fishing is taking place again at Lighthouse Reef Atoll and have been sent images of some of the landings. The shark fishers are refusing to vacate private land. We were informed that they hold shark fishing licenses and further hold the special Managed Access fishing licenses meant for long-time users and traditional fishers of Zone 7 / Lighthouse Reef Atoll. One year ago exactly, fishers using nets and longlines killed an estimated 1,000+ sharks (per accounts of several occupants of Sandbore Caye in Lighthouse Reef). See our FB post from 21 February 2016 for details. We were informed that the shark meat and fins were exported to Guatemala. The impact of this fishing was substantial: dive operators and our annual scientific monitoring both registered a significant drop in records of sharks following the shark fisheries discovered in February 2016. Belize was outraged that its long-lived marine wildlife that generates a conservative estimate of BZ$6.8 million in renewable income from protected area entrance fees and snorkel/dive tour costs from ONLY Lighthouse Reef Atoll should be fished unsustainably if at all. Belize is in a rare position worldwide of being able to benefit from sharks and rays for tourism and does not depend on these species for food.

    Happy Birthday to Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his twin sister Dalinda Guerrero!
    Before the night ends, the Staff and the San Pedro Town Council would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his twin sister Dalinda Guerrero! May God bless you always and fills you with great blessings.

    Grand Raffle to benefit Lizette Alamina Gutierrez
    Get your Numbers now to win this amazing Prize. $500 in retail purchases from Brand Shopping Wholesale...the home of your favorite Catalog Brands including Avon, Betterware and Tupperware..PLUS so much more! Prize is a Donation. All proceeds and earnings will go to Lizette Alamina Gutierrez to continue her ongoing Cancer Treatments in Guatemala City. Your kind purchase will be most appreciated!! Numbers go on Sale as of NOW!!

    WWF Belize Saving our Shared Heritage!
    This Thursday we get to spend the day with national treasure Rebecca Rath - Miss Belize 2016. How cool is that?! Join us LIVE at 11:40am from Laughingbird Caye, one of the beautiful protected areas that make up our Belize World Heritage site, and coincidentally, very near to where Bex grew up. Discover why these areas are so important and why we need your help to protect it. Tune in and join us in taking action at panda.org/belize

    Flock of Guinea Fowl at Belize Bird Rescue
    There's a flock of Guinea Fowl living on the property. They can fly, but seem to prefer walking. They stay pretty close together, probably for security.

    Carnaval photos
    by San Pedro House of Culture

    "El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro" book
    As part of this year's Carnaval Celebrations, the San Pedro House of Culture will launch "El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro" book. The book is dedicated to the memory of el Rey del Carnaval, Jose Felix Ayuso.

    Sacred Heart College Career Day
    Today the Institute of Archaeology was present at the Sacred Heart College Career Day, and we are confident we spotted some junior archaeologists in the group.

    Channel 7

    David Nanes, And the Art Of Working Over The Immigration System
    David Nanes Schnitzer is in a Mexican City jail, awaiting trail on charges that he defrauded investors in a Ponzi scheme. He was caught in Mexico after coming over form Cuba, in a bearded disguise. But, in Belize, a place that Nanes-Schnitzer is believed to have made his home for as many as three years, he needed no disguise. And that is because he - or his agents - worked the corrupt immigration system like a bag of tricks, coming up with one surprise after another. Nanes-Schnitzer applied for nationality in late 2012 - what you might call the "bad old days" when the Immigrant Office in Belmopan was over-run by irregularities - the kinds that we hear about every week in the Senate Hearings. But this case never made it into the auditor general's report. But, there was a report, done by then Director Maria Marin. The media has now obtained this internal document which provides a compelling insight into how easily the system was hijacked to produce a passport for a fugitive:

    Inquiry Says They Cannot Go After Nanes Case
    Those two public officers, plus former Director Ruth Meighan, and a UDP Minister are all Nanes called in the internal report. The Senate Select Committee can or have called these persons to testify. In fact, Gordon Wade was called back this evening, and we'll have more from him in tonight's newscast. But, the Committee Chairman says that he doesn't believe that the Committee can question them about the David Nanes Case. That's because the Nanes scandal was never covered in the audit period of 2011 to 2013, and so, the Chairman believes that they aren't allowed to bring up that topic in these hearings. Here's how he explained why: Daniel Ortiz: "Can you share your personal view on whether the committee is able to review cases that maybe outside the scope of the audit report but it demonstrates the same irregularities that the senate is trying to examine?"

    A Casual Case Of Bribery At The Immigration Department
    So, we turn now to the immigration hearings held by the Senate today in Belmopan. Teresita Castellanos, the former Finance Officer for the Department, was one of 2 witnesses called back to testify today. Her time on the stand was spent mostly on administrative matters, but close to the end of it, the Senators asked her about a very curious case highlighted in the passport Audit. It involves a 500-dollar bribe which the former officer in charge of the passport office was allegedly given to process the Belizean passport for a Asian woman. Now, instead of making a formal complaint and handing the money over to the police to investigate this bribery attempt. The Auditor General questions the decisions they took to instead collect the money and deposit it into the Government purse as regularly collected revenues. So, since Castellanos was part of the courier for payment, the Senators asked her about, it. That topic caused an interesting back and forth between Castellanos and the Committee, which would have been comical, if they weren't talking so casually about a crime. Here's how that went:

    More Cutting Corners In The Elections Rush
    Another of the witnesses who came back today for a second round with the Senate Committee was Gordon Wade, formerly the Officer In Charge of Nationality at the Immigration Department. PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay used that opportunity to get more information from him on that immigration rush heading up to the 2012 General Elections. Wade and former Director Ruth Meighan have told the Senate the same thing, that the rush compromised the Nationality procedures when over 2,000 applications were processed before that Election. The Opposition is accusing the UDP of using that feverish activity to steal two marginal electoral seats: Cayo North East, and Cayo Central. When we asked the Prime Minister about it, he said that was nonsense, and so, Courtenay asked Wade more questions to explore what exactly happened during the last 4 months before the 2012 General Elections. Here's how that conversation went:

    PUDP Both Play the Immigration Game
    Our archives show that in January 2008, before the March General Elections, the Musa Administration swore in over a 1,000 new citizens, in a closed door session, just in time to meet the deadline to register to vote. So while both sides of the political colour bar are guilty of the same thing, there is only one constant: and that is the misuse of the Immigration Department. Today, Gordon Wade confirmed as much to the Senate Select Committee today: Gordon Wade - Former OIC, Nationality Section: "Whatever year an audit would have been done in our department from a department when civilian - if any 2 years or 1 year would be chosen to run an audit we would be doing the same thing we are doing now with different people answering questions because that has been the norm ever since from I have been in the department that's the way it has been."

    Eric and Patrick Will Be Required To Appear
    But, one UDP who the Senate wants to question is former Deputy Mayor Eric Chang. He and Patrick Tillett, the former Financial Controller for the Belize City Council, are named in the scandal for involvement with 8 stolen visas. Chang is also named in the Won Hong Kim Passport scandal, and both men are refusing to show up to answer questions from the Senate. Well, it appears that both men will be compelled through the Legislative Assembly Powers and Privilege Act 1962. As we told you, this law allows the Committee to compel anyone, even private citizens to show up and give testimony. Today, Senate Committee Chairman Salazar told us how they will use it in this instance against both men: Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee: "Yes we have as far as I understand issued the summons. I'm not sure if it's on today's date or yesterday but we have issued it."

    Audit Antipathy
    And we have one more piece of Teresita Castellanos's testimony to the senate today. It's her condemnation of the way the Auditor General's team handled the audit, and she says, they made mistakes that they could have avoided. Here's how she explained it: Teresita Castellanos - Former FO, Immigration Department: "I need for them on the record to do a proper auditing. I think they should have sent in their best team, top team to do this investigation at the audit department because they are causing a lot of unnecessary confusion and wrong information and then I don't want to say I was not remembering because I remember things - certain things I remember in detail as if it was yesterday. But the thing is they should have sent in their top team to do this investigation."

    Mother: Police Pepper Sprayed My Son
    Tonight, Southside police are investigating a complaint of child abuse. This is after a cop pepper sprayed an 11 year old boy. Yesterday, we received a report that police were breaking up a fight within a group of boys. Anacelia Castillo of West Street told me that they pepper sprayed her son - even though he was not in the fight: Anacelia Castillo - Mother: "Like a little bit after yesterday evening, my baby came home on his bicycle, but when my baby reached home, like I notice my kids because in notice kids, I always notice my kids when they come home so when the little boy reached home, he said "mommy" …he didn't say Mommy, he said like Hmmm they chanced me, and I asked him who chanced him and he said it's the police and I said "What!" "The least he could have done was spank my son and send home my son, he didn't need to spray pepper spray in my baby's eye, I need for Chester Williams to do something about him." Courtney Weatherburne: "But what you understand happened? Why would police pepper spray your 11 year old son?"

    PUP and VIP come Together To Call For Re-Registration
    A strange thing happened today: the PUP and the VIP issued a joint press release. Strange because the VIP is an independent party and it doesn't usually team up with the main mass parties. But they have a common cause, and that's re-registration. The joint release says, quote, "leaders of the political parties inclusive of the PUP and the VIP met last week to call on the Government to comply with the rule of law and immediately begin the legally overdue re-registration of electors." Now, the PUP is as much a part of the overdue re-registraiton because they failed to do it when it first due in 2007. But now, it's a different issue. The release says, quote, "in light of the revelation that a number of persons were given fraudulent nationality certificates, which allowed these individuals to register and vote in elections in Belize…a proper re-registration exercise (is) the only way to ensure that future elections are free and fair. The leaders agreed that the current voter register is compromised and as a result illegal." End quote.

    Are Your Prescriptions Hard To Fill? Here's Why
    Recently, we've been hearing complaints that certain prescription drugs are scarce, and many have had to look over the border to find what they need. Well that is because the Ministry of Health is now enforcing strict standards for importation of pharmaceuticals across the board. While this new system may cause major inconvenience to those who depend on the regular supply of pharmaceutical products, the Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero told us via telephone today that these standards are for the publics own good. Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director of Health Services, MOH: "There's not no real restriction in terms of medication once the medication meets the established requirements. As you will recall from last year in the middle of last year we faced a moratorium in terms of medications that can come into country or not which means all new medications coming into country would have to have a good manufacturing practice certificate or a certificate of analysis. This is across the board and if the new sender process that the government has sought to enforce that which means we want to be able to ensure to the public that whatever is coming into country is of good quality and it meets international standards."

    SIB Says Exports went Up In January
    The latest figures from the Statistical Institute of Belize show that exports in January of 2017 increased quite significantly, up 51.2 percent from January 2016. And most of it is thanks to sugar where earnings were up 10 million dollars compared to last year. The SIB reports that Belize's other major exports, banana, crude petroleum and marine products, also performed well in January. Banana sales shot up by $3 million dollars. but the news for citrus isn't quite so good. Citrus was the only major export to experience decreased earnings in January 2017, falling from $3.5 million to $1.6 million. The SIB says it is due to a drop in orange concentrate exports, but Citrus Products Chairman Doug Singh says it's a little more involved than that. He says, quote, "demand last year was high so we did not come into January with sufficient inventory for sale….Secondly, the damage caused by Hurricane Earl in August eliminated our first crop which would generally be processed in the last quarter of 2016 and sold in 2016-17."

    GOB: Life Without Oil Revenue
    And one part of the increased revenue from exports is an increase in sales of crude oil from $4.8 million to $7.8 million. That's a sharp increase, but it's because of world prices which are going up - it doesn't mean more oil is coming out of the ground. The SIB notes that the export volumes in January 2017 remained virtually unchanged from January 2016. So while there is an increase in revenue, the oil resource continues to diminish as the Mike Usher oil wells in Spanish Lookout are drying out. According to Dr. Justin Ram of the CDB, that is a big part of Belize's economic downturn, and the cocktail of crippling debt with revenue downturns: Dr. Justin Ram - Director of Economics, CDB: "We know that the government now is experiencing fiscal difficulties and a big part of that as they have rightly seen, is that their debt burden, about 34% of their debt burden is related to the super bond, and, of course, there is some requirement to look at how you're going to repay that."

    City Paving Starts In Earnest
    And a different kind of oil, known as bitumen, or tar, was going down today in the Belama Phase four area. It's the ongoing testing of new equipment acquired for the city council as part of the municipal drainage project. 10 days ago, we showed you the city council putting down the first layer of asphalt on Link road. Today, as they put down the final layer, two city councillors were beaming about the promise contained in their first success:… Phillip Willoughby - City Councillor: "We are doing the second coat to seal what we coated last week, so this is the first street since about I believe late 80s early 90s I believe the city council has paved its first street and it's a momentous occasion, it's historic. With that in mind we say again this is what the Belize City residence has to look forward to as we embark on tackling one street at a time." Jules Vasquez: "What I don't understand, you all are going two directions at one because the mayor he believes only in concrete streets but now you all are doing what I guess would be called chip and seal. So I'm not understanding what really is the direction of the council?" Phillip Willoughby: "Well it's two fold. Those heavily traversed streets will be concreted to give us longer usage and longer life."

    Valentin's Drinking Session Leads To Morgue For Husband, Court For Wife
    On Valentine's Day, Eric Moses and his common-law-wife, Genevia Estrada were drinking at their Victoria Street home, where Estrada allegedly pushed him down the stairway. Estrada was detained, and Moses was taken to the KHMH to receive treatment for his traumatic head injuries. Estrada appeared in the Magistrate's Court last week, where she was read a charge for the offense of dangerous harm. She was granted bail of $2000 despite objection from the prosecutor, and the case was adjourned for May. However, it seems that those charges will need to be upgraded, because last night, Moses succumbed to his injuries at the KHMH. Estrada has been detained and is expected to be brought back to court tomorrow, to be read a new charge of manslaughter.

    Water Sports Enterprise Ready For Liftoff
    Some time ago the Belize city council erected two wooden structures on Sandlighters' Promenade. They were for an eco project that never materialized and the two structures fell into disrepair and were abandoned. But now the project has been fully re-activated, it’s conceptualized a water theme park with wake boarding, and a high rope obstacle course among other fun water sports. We spoke to the developer about the project and what it means for city residents:… The department of the Environment has green-lighted the project. The developer says that there will not be any major re-structuring to the area. The budget is 2.2 million dollars and if you would like to learn more you can attend a meeting tomorrow night at 6:00 pm at the Sandlighters Promenade.

    Finding The Grace Notes
    Grace Kennedy is one of Belize's largest import and export businesses. 2017 marks the company's 35th year operating in Belize, so today Grace's executives held a press conference to review it's strides so far, and to discuss what's next. Grace Kennedy Belize's Executive Chairman, Gilroy Graham told us more... This year also marks the Jamaican company's 95th year in business.

    Channel 5

    Lord Michael Ashcroft Makes Dire Predictions About Superbond
    A News Five team is in Washington where an exclusive interview was conducted earlier today with Lord Michael Ashcroft.  A number of issues of national importance were discussed during the [...]

    Lord Ashcroft Says Sale of Utility Shares May Help
    Lord Ashcroft also commented on the possible privatization of the utility companies.  In his view, while it will be difficult to get investors to purchase minority shares; the sale of [...]

    Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett Summoned to Senate Inquiry; Will They Appear?
    It appears the Senate Special Select Committee is convinced that Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett can contribute to their investigation into the circumstances of eight missing visa foils that they [...]

    Why Senate Cannot Investigate David Nanes Schnitzer
    David Nanes Schnitzer – his name is back in the news in a big way after his recent re-capture by international authorities and return to Mexico to face fraud charges. He [...]

    Police and Other Investigations Must Wait for Senate Report, says Chair
    There are provisions in both the Senate and House of Representatives Standing Orders which effectively prohibit premature publication of evidence by those involved in Select Committees. As we have seen, [...]

    Teresita Castellanos Says Few Records Were Kept for Passports
    Former finance officer in the Department, Teresita Castellanos last week dared to say what no else would, at least publicly. At her second appearance before the Senate Special Select Committee [...]

    Ministers Prevailed on Immigration Director to Tend to Constituents
    Returning for his second time in the witness chair this afternoon was former officer in charge of the Nationality Section, Gordon Wade. In his previous appearance, he named several Ministers [...]

    How Daniel Morris Fooled Immigration
    American fugitive Daniel Rae Morris apparently wound up with a Belizean’s expired passport, although he didn’t get very far with it, as he was detained at the northern border and [...]

    Time to Mend Broken Links at Immigration Department
    As final vettor, Gordon Wade’s word was almost law when it came to recommendations for nationality. He gave the final word before the Director gave her stamp of approval. But, [...]

    Gwen Lizarraga High Cracks Down on Tardy Students
    There was uproar this morning outside of Gwen Lizarraga High School where tardy students were locked out and not allowed to enter the compound, essentially missing out on their first [...]

    No Love: Manslaughter Charges for Woman After Partner Died Following Valentine’s Spat
    A woman is in police custody tonight pending charges, following the death of her common-law-husband forty-six-year-old Eric Kent Moses.  It is expected that Genevia Christine Estrada will be charged with [...]

    Coming to Agreement on the Law of the Sea
    A three-day workshop concluded in the city today – two days were spent gathering information from regional and international specialists, including scientists and legal experts, on issues that are relevant [...]

    Olympic Committee Goes to Elections; President Says Belize Wants to Win
    Over the weekend, a new board was elected for the Belize Olympic Committee. The national committee holds elections every four years after the Olympic Games. It’s a requirement to be [...]

    Olympic President Defends Accusations
    The new board of the committee include: Hilberto Martinez who was reelected as President and Owen Meighan as Vice President. Meanwhile, Arturo Vasquez was voted in as Treasurer with Allan [...]

    Preparing for the Street Art Festival 2017
    The Institute of Creative Arts is asking the public to come and party with them for the seventh edition of the Street Art Festival. The event, which will be held [...]

    N.I.C.H. Plans Celebration for Late Leela Vernon
    Brukdown Queen Leela Vernon passed away on Sunday morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The well-known Punta Gorda resident has received accolades locally and internationally and [...]

    35 Years of Grace
    It’s arguably the most visible brand in supermarkets across the country—popular for everything from pepper sauce to luncheon meat and everything in between, including condiments.  Today, Grace Kennedy (Belize) Limited [...]

    LOVE FM

    Immigration CEO Confirms Malfunction of Passport Printer
    It has been almost a week now since it was discovered that the passport printer at the Immigration Department was malfunctioning. It is a situation that does not have any immediate remedies and so the powers that be had to come up with an alternative system in honor to honor the applications coming in. Love […]

    Second Victim Identified in February 20 Murder
    Police are still working at putting the puzzle pieces together to solve the two murders that occurred in San Ignacio Town on Sunday night and early Monday morning. In the first incident, the victim was identified as 23-year-old, Alvaro Aldana. The second victim, however, who was killed on First Street was only just identified this […]

    An Internal Ring of Corrupt Public Officers
    Last week Wednesday, the former Finance Officer for the Immigration Officer, Teresita Castellanos dropped a bombshell during her testimony to the Senate Special Select Committee. Castellanos spoke of an entrenched culture within the department; a culture that was difficult to eradicate- a culture that still exists. Castellanos stated that the former Acting Director of Immigration […]

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Belize passport printer not in service
    Operations at the Belize Passport Office are strained, because the passport printer stopped working. Minister of State responsible for Immigration, Beverly Williams, explained that the machine had been working ‘intermittently’ burning out its replacement parts only hours after it had been fixed. Williams said that the Ministry is in the process of procuring a new machine; however, the process takes time. In the meantime, she said that the office has already initiated its back plan, which involves issuing temporary passports for persons who have never had a passport before.

    PUP and VIP demand re registration
    A press release was issued today informing that the leaders of the political parties inclusive of the PUP and the VIP met last week to call on the Government to comply with the rule of law and immediately begin the legally overdue re-registration of electors. The leaders agreed that in light of the revelation that a number of persons were given fraudulent nationality certificates, which allowed these individuals to register and vote in elections in Belize, that a proper re-registration exercise was the only way to ensure that future elections are free and fair.

    Shark fishing at Lighthouse reef atoll (again)
    The MarAlliance today posted on its social media page that it has been informed that shark fishing is taking place again near the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. According to MarAlliance, the shark fishers are refusing to vacate private land. It is alleged that the fishers hold shark fishing licenses and further hold the Special Managed Access fishing licenses meant for long-time users and traditional fishers of Zone 7/Lighthouse Reef Atoll.

    Mexican Ambassador and Transport Minister meet
    Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize H. E. Carlos Quesnel met yesterday in Belmopan with Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Edmond Castro. Castro and the Ambassador discussed opportunities for cross-border operations for motor carrier services between Belize and Mexico.

    Senate hearing continues
    The Senate hearing is underway once again today and Teresita Castellanos, senior public officer of three decades has returned for her third appearance. Last week she told the Senate Select Committee that the Immigration Department was, “The Belly of the Beast” and it was corrupted from, “The very top to the very bottom”.

    Belize misses Superbond payment
    Belize did not make a scheduled US $13.3 million payment toward the 2038 “Superbond” on Monday, in the midst of stalled negotiations to restructure the bond for an “unprecedented” third time. Prime Minister dean Barrow, along with his team of financial advisor and negotiators, returned on Sunday following meetings with bondholders in New York. Barrow informed the nation that Belize would not be making the February 20 coupon payment due on the 2038 bonds.

    La Ruta Maya Belize river challenge kicks off on March 3
    The annual La Ruta Maya Belize river challenge kicks off on Friday March 3 at 6:00 a.m. Hundreds of canoeists will be paddling the Belize and Macal rivers from San Ignacio to Belize city, commemorating ancient Maya civilization’s legacy. This year will be the 18th edition of the canoe race. Every year many tourists and Belizeans come out to cheer for their favorite teams. It is also a family weekend event as many families travel along with the race and camp out. The multi-day canoe challenge is a major public and tourist attraction. The first canoes to enter Belize City are greeted by cheering crowds on the last day of the race which coincides with National Heroes and Benefactors Day; a public and bank holiday.

    Cayo murders related?
    Twenty two year old Chester Theus was the second person to be murdered in San Ignacio Town over the weekend. He is a Belize City man originally from the Long Barracks on Caesar Ridge Road. According to reports, Theus was allegedly hired to kill Alvaro Aldana who was shot and stabbed to death after 11 on Sunday night in San Ignacio Town.

    Blogs

    Help preserve the species: go on a croc tour!
    Ever had a live encounter with a crocodile? It’s really not that scary, especially when it’s for conservation. In Belize there are two types of crocodile – the salt water American Crocodile and the fresh water Morelet Crocodile. For years the non-profit American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) has been working to protect and preserve these apex predators in Belize. A unique method they have taken to preserve these species is through education via the tourism industry. ACES has trained several tour guides to provide eye shining tours in an effort to educate people on the importance of crocodiles to the ecosystem. The tours were initially offered only in San Pedro Town – ACES’ base for operations – but now they are also available in mainland Belize. While on the tour you join a team of trained crocodile experts as they capture crocs for analysis and tagging. In San Pedro, research is conducted on American Crocodiles, while in the mainland it’s Morelets.

    Being Genuine
    I recently spent time in the company of a very genuine man and it was refreshing. As my friend Sandie and I listened to Pastor Robert talking I could not help but feel like he answered wishes. We all agree that San Mateo kids really need a hand up to understand and attain all the most basic things that will take them far in life. We talked about, nutrition, a clean warm soft place to fall when they are tired, good manners and grace, life skills, creative skills, work skills and decent clothing. When opportunity knocks it is important to know how to act for success and look sharp. Pastor Robert and his wife Lavern are doing all they can to help the kids grow up to be their best, but it is challenging. Thankfully they are both strong and forward thinking to help them through this tsunami of a task. Often I learn something unexpected when going to San Mateo. This time we went with the desire to talk about a feeding program and help kids look good. I took away a desire to contemplate what being genuine means based on the Palacio family and specifically our interaction with Robert Palacio that day.

    Belize’s Most Famous Jaguar Turns 10 Years Old at the Belize Zoo
    Junior Buddy is the most famous jaguar in Belize for many reasons. He is an ambassador for Belize’s big cats – showing us how majestic, special and beautiful jaguars are and how important it is to keep them in our country. He is the only jaguar that was born and raised in the zoo. He’s incredibly gorgeous. So yesterday, the zoo held a party for him – to celebrate Junior Buddy turning 10 years old. I have attended more than one party for my favorite jaguar and I can tell you that physically, he has not aged a day. BUT he was a bit cranky yesterday! Usually he is lazing in the sun… But yesterday, in people years, he turned 40! (Jaguars live up to 20 years in the zoo…humans live about 80…I did my own math) So one can blame him for being scared. Little does he know that the 40s are his best years yet!

    Tropic Air relocates in Corozal; Staff of Corozal Tropic Air had a reopening ceremony
    Tropic Air relocated in the old Maya Island building in Corozal airport. The building was refurbished with new designed building to comfort their customers. Today, the staff of Tropic Air did a reopening ceremony. They had plenty of food, snacks, soft drinks at the event. This new building will give the customers a better and faster service in Corozal Airport. Tropic Air is one of the largest flight company in Belize doing a number of travel's around Belize and international.. Tropic Air's building is larger indoor office with a design to accommodate their customers while they are checking inside their office. Air-conditioning inside and when its time to board the plane the speakers will come on. Tropic Air is slowly upgrading their services, offices and staff to Challenge their Airflow go well. Today, the ceremony was to thank the public for the attendance of the event. With their new building and service relocation in Corozal they now promise to serve the public with an excellent service. They hope that the public supports the flight services.

    International Sourcesizz

    Bahamas Gets 3-0 Win Over Belize
    LESLY St Fleur missed a hat trick but he connected on a pair of goals and Gary Joseph added the other as the Bahamas team electrified the crowd for the second consecutive night at the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship with a 3-0 victory over Belize. #The crowd in the new beach soccer stadium at the foot of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge grew larger than the opening night on Monday when the Bahamas knocked off Guyana 4-1 and once again they were entertained by a superb performance by the host team as they advanced to the quarter-finals. #With seven minutes and 34 seconds on the clock in the second period, Lesly St Fleur retrieved the ball after kicking in a side kick and booted in the first goal for the Bahamas for a 1-0 lead. The goal came after the Bahamas got off to a slow start after being more aggressive in the first third.Two minutes later, Kyle Williams got a crisscross pass to St Fleur, but he missed his second attempt at the goal. #It wasn’t until 7:01 left in the third third that Joseph faced the goal and connected with a shot up the middle for the Bahamas’ second goal.

    Caribbean Investment Reviewing Strategy In Belize Government Case
    Caribbean Investment Holdings Ltd on Wednesday said it is reviewing its strategy in regards to a long fought legal battle with the Belize government after recent legislative action taken in the country that it believes is "designed to intimidate" the company. The case relates back a settlement deed entered into by the company and the government of Belize in 2005, which was subsequently amended in 2006. This deed settled a dispute over the purchase and sale of shares in a Belizean company. Caribbean Investment said that in consideration for the termination of a pending arbitration, the government of Belize had promised, among other things, that the company would receive "certain tax treatment" in Belize and be indemnified for any breach of the Belize government's warranties. In July 2014 the company commenced proceedings in Washington DC to enforce a London Court of International Arbitration award for damages to Caribbean Investment for the breach of the settlement deed by the government of Belize.

    CARICOM heads focus on regional strategy for tourism
    Following a presentation, prepared in collaboration with the CHTA, and delivered by CTO secretary General Hugh Riley to the Caribbean leaders at their 28th intercessional in Guyana last week, the Heads of Government supported the advancement of a series of steps addressing transportation and the facilitation of travel, human resource development, building the creative industries, and the marketing of the Caribbean brand. They called for an urgent meeting of the Council for Trade and Development (COTED) to address air transport issues in particular, including those related to the tourism sector; and supported the establishment of an interim tourism working group to coordinate with regional public and private sector stakeholder groups, the development of specific solutions which can be advanced in priority areas.

    Videos

  • National Aids Commission, 15min.

  • Wildlife Conservation Society - 2016 Spawinging Aggregation Review, 21min.

  • The Attorney General's Ministry, 37min.

  • Mayor Daniel Guerrero speaks of what San Pedro was like in the past, 5min. Last week Mayor Daniel Guerrero led a delegation to CARILED final sharing event in Belize. He had the opportunity to share a video that highlights some of the challenges, its effects on local economic development (LED) on the island and some of the steps that are being implemented. One of the projects highlighted was the San Pedro Artisan Market area. During the event, the Mayor was applauded and highly commended by regional representatives and other Mayors for the work that has been done by the council in LED initiatives. Here is the video that was put together by Visual Studio in San Pedro.

  • Madi was LIVE!!, 15min. We're here LIVE with @MadisonPearl the 11 year old blogger who snorkeled the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site

  • CARICOM Skills Certificate Offers Greater Opportunities for Belizeans, 4min. There is a wider pool of employment opportunities available to Belizeans; and the Ministry of Foreign Trade is urging Belizeans to take advantage by applying for their CARICOM skills Certificate.

  • Drone Anthropology in Belize, 1.5min. Researchers from the University of Maryland Department of Anthropology and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site use drones to study traditional farming practices in Belize.

  • GraceKennedy Belize Ltd 35 Years Serving Belize, 2min.

  • Sean McDermott live at Palapa Bar and Grill! Oh sweet melodies! Scholarship benefit for students in need!, 1min.

  • Belize Vs. Guyana, 75min. Belize National Football Team | Guyana Football Federation Inc. | #CONCACAF

  • Solo Backpacking Belize | Central America, 2min.

  • Miss Belize Rebecca Rath at Cayo welcome center, 23min.

  • Corry McDermott shares about Janet and his Journey to Belize Part 1, 9min. Belize Talk Radio goes to the Belize City airport to meet Corry McDermott, a long time Expat of Belize, San Pedro ( Ambergris Caye)

  • Corry McDermott shares about his Wife moving to Belize, 10min. Belize Talk Radio Joins Corry McDermott as he shares how he met his Wife, Janet. He goes on to share what a sport she is as to moving to Belize many years ago when Belize was much less developed.

  • Corry Mcdermott speaks in Belize about his Brother and Building San Pedro, 11min. Listen into Belize Talk Radio and meet Corry McDermott how as an Expat with his Brother, Jerry McDermott helped build up San Pedro ( Ambergris Caye) Belize. Corry shares about what your duty is as an Expat moving to a Country, like Belize. Also good insight into the locals of San Pedro Belize.

  • Belize Corry McDermott San Pedro Belize Long time Expat Part 1, 9min. Belize Talk Radio is honored to have the privilege to sit with long time San Pedro ( Ambergris Caye) resident Corry McDermott.

    February 22, 2017


    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

    New Horizon SDA Primary school celebrates Children’s Day
    On Friday, February 17th, New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist Primary School celebrated Children’s Day at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex. From 9AM to 3PM, the students participated in fun activities such as ball toss, carpet race, and lime and spoon. They were divided into eight groups, with a special color assigned to each group. Principal Samuel Chi said that Children’s Day was a success. “We wanted to do a little bit of the social aspect of education. The idea was to have fun and leave aside paper and books. It was a fun day for the kids, parents, and teachers,” said Chi.

    Belize wins their first match at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Tournament
    Three athletes from San Pedro Town, Thomas Baptist, Ethnie Figueroa, and Rugerri Trejo, are representing the island and the country as part of the Belize Beach Soccer Team at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship currently being held in the Bahamas. The tournament started on Monday, February 20th, and saw Belize winning its first match against Jamaica with a final score of 7-5. The match took place at Malcolm Park Beach Soccer Facility in Nassau, the Bahamian Capital City. The Belize Team jumped to a quick start, with Marlon Mesa scoring the first goal just two minutes in the first period of the game. Belize kept the pressure and by the ninth minute they were leading 4-0.

    Local Softball Tournament’s fourth week completed
    Week four of the San Pedro Town Council Softball Tournament saw another set of three games this past weekend on Sunday, February 19th. Rusties, Extreme, Sea Star, Atlantic Bank, San Pedro High School (SPHS) and Quality Reef were back on the field at the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex giving their best in order to stay in the tournament. In the next two weeks, eliminations are expected to take place, and only the top teams will remain in the competition. heir fourth victory in a 5-4 score. SPHS continues to lead in the tournament with four consecutive wins. The standings for the other teams are as follow: Sea Star with three wins and no losses. Extreme and Rusties both have two wins and two losses. Quality Reef has one win and two losses and Atlantic Bank and Tuff E Nuff are winless. The action continues this Sunday, February 26th.

    Golf cart completely destroyed by fire on Coconut Drive
    A golf cart, which was parked next to Island City Supermarket on Coconut Drive, suddenly ignited into flames shortly before 7PM on Monday evening, February 20th. The San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD) was alerted and the fire was rapidly extinguished upon their arrival. The golf cart was completely destroyed, but no one was injured in the bizarre incident. Reports are that the occupants of the golf cart were inside the store when their rented cart caught fire. Luckily for them, they did not have any valuable items on the golf cart at the time of the incident. Before the SPFD arrived to the scene the staff from the supermarket had begun hosing the fire in an attempt to keep it from escalating. By the time the fire fighters arrived, the fire had been completely extinguished, but nothing could be done to save the golf cart; it had burned down to its chassis.

    Ambergris Today

    Memorial and Funeral Services Announced for Bishop O.P. Martin
    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City and Belmopan announced the death of our brother Bishop Emeritus Osmond Peter Martin early in the morning of Thursday, February 16, 2017. Bishop Martin died in his sleep while residing at his family home in Dangriga. He was 86 years old and had been struggling with the ailments of the aging process for some time. O. P. Martin was ordained a priest on April 3, 1959 in Dangriga after completing studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. He served at parishes in Corozal, San Ignacio, St. Joseph, and Holy Redeemer Cathedral. On October 7, 1982 he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop, making him the first Garifuna and Belizean bishop for the Church. After just a few years, on January 16, 1984, he was appointed the Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan. He served the Church in that leadership role until his retirement in 2007.

    Mari Magaña Crowned Miss Carnaval 2017
    It was a night full of fun and laughter as five contestants took the stage at the San Pedro High School Auditorium on Saturday, February 18, 2017, for the selection of Miss Carnaval. The pageant consisted of 4 segments: Sports, Beach, Talent and Evening wear. A special presentatiation in memory of Felix Ayuso "Rey de el Carnaval" was conducted by Fatima Graniel who delighted the audience with a poem and children were invited to release ballons in his honor. To cheer up the mood and keep the pageant going, the most antisipated segment began as each contestant presented their talent; an audience favorite. In the end Vicky Marin was announced as first runner up and Mari Magaña was crowned Miss Carnaval 2017.

    Local Rotary Club Invites You to Learn to Dance for a Cause
    The Rotary Club of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has launched a weekly dance class for couples and singles throughout the island, attendees can learn swing, salsa and other Latin-inspired dance from professional local instructor Zuzana Maros who has more than 20 years experience in music, drama and performing arts. Everyone is invited to attend and dance with locals from the San Pedro community in a relaxed, casual environment, every Monday from 7-9 p.m. at Banyan Bay's beachside conference room. The first hour is instruction from Maros, and the second hour is for those who choose to stay for group dance practice. Age 21+, couples and singles are all welcome. Dance partners are not needed to enjoy the weekly event “Let's Dance!”

    Misc Belizean Sources

    mzz

    Belize Fishing Report, Feb 13th – Feb 19th, 2017
    A windy week, some days blowing close to twenty knots. Our anglers were challenged but came through with plenty of fish caught. Allan and Cindy, Muto (our friend from Japan), Kash, Kim, Conner, Rick, Michael, and Reggie all landed their share of hungry bonefish.

    Two Men Fined $10,000 for Illegal Entry into Protected Area
    Carlos Palacios (35 years) and Donald Wewe (47 years) both pleaded guilty to illegal entry into a protected area in the Dangriga Magistrate court on February 20th, 2017. The men were charged under the National Protected Areas System Act of 2015 and were fined $10,000 each. Failure to make payment will result in a 1-year imprisonment. Authorities found the two men during a routine patrol within the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Stann Creek District in April 2016. They were found in possession of twenty-seven (27) pieces of prickly-yellow lumber and a chain saw. The Mayflower Bocawina National Park spreads over 7,800 acres of broadleaf forest and contains Mayan archaeological sites, three primary waterfalls and is home to a variety of wildlife species; however, it is fast becoming a hotspot for illegal logging operations and looting. Recognizing that the complexity of illegal logging and illegal timber-trafficking requires greater collaboration of all stakeholders, the Forest Department officers and rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina Environment and Development Group have stepped up patrols and monitoring to stem the illegal forestry activities in this area. Over the next months, the Forest Department will increase the number of rangers and patrols, improve collaboration with co-managers and join law enforcement officers in setting-up road blocks and inspection points at strategic areas.

    Minister of Defence Continues National Tour of Belize Coast Guard Facilities
    Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar has visited Coast Guard Facilities in the Central Sector as part of his national tour of Coast Guard facilities countrywide. Accompanied by Admiral John Borland and senior personnel from the Ministry of Defence, Hon. Saldivar visited Calabash Caye (Turneffe) where the Coast Guard has a Forward Operating Base, constructed in 2010. The tour then carried them to Half Moon Caye and Glovers Reef (Middle Caye) where the Coast Guard partners with conservation organizations, providing law enforcement support. The group then visited Southern Long Caye where the Coast Guard recently established a Patrol Base to provide security for fishermen in the area.

    The Belize Literary Prize 2016 now open for Belizean Writers
    The Genres for competition are : Flash Fiction and Poetry Email: belizebookindustry@gmail.com for more information

    Arte con Voz de Mujer exhibit
    Corozal House of Culture, Friday March 10, 7pm

    Scout Nitzia Rancharan of Corozal Town listed in Honor Roll with a 3.27 (GPA)
    The Corozal Daily joins in congratulating Scout Nitzia Rancharan for her academic achievement of a 3.27 (GPA) earning her a place in the Honor Roll of her high school. Nitzia is a member of the 11th Corozal Mary Hill Scout Group. Her parents are both Leaders in the same Group. Nayeli Rancharan, mother - is the Scout Leader and Ovid Rancharan, father - is the Venture Scout Leader. Last year 2016, the entire Ovid and Nayeli Rancharan family were recognized by the Scout Association awarding them the "Family in Scouting Award"

    La Ruta Maya Cultural Night 2017
    The SISE House of Culture is having their LRM Cultural Night on Thursday, March 2nd, at the CWC. "La Ruta Maya Cultural Night; March 2nd 2017, Cayo Welcome Center! All are invited!"

    "Belizean Roots Expo"
    The Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry presents to you on April 1st, 2017 "Belizean Roots Expo". Come engage in a day filled with food, drinks, cultural performances and other entertainments. See flyer below for more information.

    The Reef Week 2017 Calendar is out!
    It's time to "Turn the Tide, Respect the Reef!" The Reef Week 2017 Calendar is here! Visit Reef Week Belize to learn more about how you can get involved in this year's Reef Week!

    BETEX 2017: Savor your Belize Experiemce !!
    Belize's Signature Travel trade show, BETEX will be hosted in Belize on May 3 - 5, 2017, in Belize City! The Belize Tourism Expo 2017 (BETEX 2017) offers Belizean Tourism suppliers the opportunity to network and liaise with international wholesalers and travel agents, who already sell or plan to sell Belize travel to their clients. BETEX was first organized in 1996 and takes place every two years, attracting approximately 300 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. BETEX is open to registered suppliers only, which include hotels, tour operators and other tourism service providers, who will be showcasing all of our Belize travel destinations. BETEX suppliers and attendees, gain immediate competitive advantage for their businesses and stay abreast of the latest developments in Belize. Following arrivals and the welcome reception on May 3, Belize's top suppliers will exhibit at a tradeshow in Belize City on May 4 and 5 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The tradeshow will feature booth displays, seminars and one-on-one business meetings (with pre-scheduled appointments). Buyers have the option to participate in Post Tours (3 additional nights) which will allow them to immerse themselves in the product and learn firsthand how to sell Belize. Belize's rich cultural diversity and gastronomy will be highlighted throughout the BETEX event and post tours.

    BROTHER SHABAZZ THE LEGEND!
    My brother Nuri Akbar Estrada pulled this classic from the BREDAA archives and shared with me today in one of the most touching moments about one of the most legendary Belizeans of all times, my brother in faith, struggle and friendship, the late Ismael Omar Shabazz. As yours truly looked deeply at the historic photo, my mind could not recalled where and when it was taken if it was not for the attached notes by Nuri who reminded me that it was taken in 1984 at the Felix Bilal Islamic Center on the historic Central Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles. The moment was not only historic in terms of this period in my life just two years after my embracing Islam and doing some dynamic work as a Belizean Muslim in the Los Angeles Muslims of Belize (LAMBS), but Central Boulevard in L.A. was an historic entertainment spot where "Angelenos" could hear the best in jazz and see some of the legendary African-American jazz musicians in the 1960s and 70s.

    Splashers
    Join us this week at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar to paint "Truck Stop Sunset". $25 u.s $50 bz a person

    THE ROTARY CLUB OF COROZAL ANNUAL CHEAP SALE
    We will be hosting our third annual Cheap Sale (Garage Sale) on the 24th of Feb 2017 at the Civic Center Corozal The revenue from this FUNDRAISING EVENT will be used to improve education, health, safety and quality of life for those most in need within the Corozal District. Anne Pilling-central Corozal (will arrange location) calmcare@icloud.com Questions or request for pick-up call Loreta Randall 666-3447 or Bill Hunt 620-0788 THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE ROTARY CLUB OF COROZAL

    Junior Buddy's 10th Birthday
    Today WCS joined The Belize Zoo in celebrating Junior Buddy's 10th Birthday! He was the first jaguar born in captivity at the Belize Zoo after his mother, a jaguar that the Springfield community reported was killing and eating livestock in, was removed to the Zoo. Junior Buddy is Belize's 'jaguar ambassador' and highlights the issues faced by jaguars to tens of thousands of Belizeans and foreign visitors every year.

    Cleanup in Bullet Tree Falls
    Bullet Tree Falls is one of 10 communities in Belize that forms part of the Bi-national Watershed Alliance. The “Positive Environmental Group” and the village council organized a clean-up campaign to prevent garbage sipping into the Mopan River. We thank all the villagers who participated.

    Mad City Money project
    We are working to help improve education and leadership opportunities for Belizean youth! The Embassy is happy to support the Belize Credit Union League (BCUL) in its Mad City Money project with students at Sadie Vernon High School. This unique initiative, done in collaboration with other credit unions across Belize, allows the youth to engage in simulation exercises that encourage financial awareness and literacy, and teach the advantages of making good financial decisions. Students learn these skills by practicing budgeting as adults, under realistic circumstances. The project is a part of the ongoing Embassy’s grant to BCUL under the Central America Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Fund (CARSI ESF) which provides youth and marginalized communities with alternative activities.

    Channel 7

    Teachers Get Pay, Give Days
    Today, after over 3 months in court, the Belize National Teachers Union has won a victory against the Ministry of Education. Their pay for the 11-day teachers strike will not be cut. But, they've got to give something too: they've agreed to work 6 extra school days so that all schools get the required number of days to complete an entire school year. This is the outcome after the Chief Justice ordered that both the Teachers and the Government should try to resolve the dispute through court ordered mediation. That ended last month, and this morning, the Chief Justice finally was able to put it into a perfected order. This means that teachers and students are being expected to report for classes for 3 more days before going on the Easter Break, and 3 more before going on the summer break.

    Danny Committed to Stand Trial
    11 days ago, we told you how the police withdrew charges against Melissa Ferguson, wife of accused murderer William Danny Mason. The cops didn't have enough evidence to prove that she was involved in the kidnapping of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas, which led to his murder. Well, there won't be any such easy acquittal for Mason and his 4 fellow accused, Ashton Vanegas, Keron Fernandez, Terrence Fernandez, and Ernest Castillo. They will all have to stand trial in the Supreme Court. That's decision that the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, made this morning during the preliminary inquiry. Now, the preliminary inquiry is done by the Magistrate's Court to test whether the police have gathered enough evidence to try a case in the Supreme Court.

    Cayo Deceased is Belize City Man
    The identity of the second victim in the Cayo double murder has been confirmed. He is 22 year old Chester Theus. He is originally from the Long Barracks on Caesar Ridge Road in Belize City. Now as we told you, the report is that Theus was allegedly hired to kill Aldana on Sunday night. And then about 7 hours later, Theus himself was shot to the head. Theus's body was found on 1st Street in san Ignacio Town yesterday morning around 6:00. Today the family who took care of Theus and raised him as their own told us more about his life, but they couldn't say much about his execution in Cayo. Shemalone Middleton, Sister: "One of my mother's friends asked me if she wanted a baby, because his mother wants somebody to give him too and my mother took him and raised him up until my mother my mom got sick, after my mom got sick he used to be around me a bit and then he went around his mom and from there he went to jail I don't know."

    Police: Eaton's Cousin Was His Killer
    Yesterday we told you about Eaton Lamb, the seventeen year old who was allegedly stabbed to death by his cousin, Tishaun Hamilton. Police were on patrol in the area when they saw Hamilton chasing Lamb. They intervened and detained Hamilton but were unable to save Lamb's life because he had already received a serious stab wound and died half an hour later. Well, today the fireman appeared unrepresented in the Magistrate's Court. He was read one charge of murder, but no plea was taken because it is an indictable offense. No bail was offered, and Hamilton was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May. Not only was he arrested by police, but they also found a 7 inch knife believed to be the murder weapon.

    PM Barrow Gives Props To Brother Barrow
    Last night, we showed you most of our interview with the Prime Minister when he returned on Sunday from his New York Meetings with Belize's Creditors. One part we didn't get to show you, however, was his comments on his brother, Denys Barrow, being appointed as a judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The younger Barrow has confirmed to us that he will join the court in June. He will become 1 of only 7 judges at the court - which marks him out as one of the pre-eminent jurists in the Caribbean. And even though his government is losing its best attorney, the Prime Minister said that it is a mark of distinction for his brother and Belize: Reporter: "The appointment of your brother as a judge on the bench for the Caribbean Court of Justice, can you share with us your thoughts on that?" Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "I've always said he was the best lawyer in Belize and so I am very happy for him that his merit, his talent, his absolute brilliance which has been longstanding is now rewarded. So it's a tremendous achievement for him. It is also a tremendous achievement for Belize."

    Men Convicted For Taking Timber In Reserve
    Last May, the Association for Protected Areas Management Organizations and the Forestry Department conducted an operation in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park. They found Carlos Palacios and Donald Wewe in possession of twenty seven pieces of prickly yellow lumber and a chainsaw. They were charged with entering a protected area and destroying valuable timber. Palacios and Wewe appeared in the Dangriga Magistrate's Court yesterday where they were they pled guilty to the charges. They were fined $10,000 each, and if they default on the payments, must serve one year in prison. Both APAMO and The Forestry Department are hailing the conviction as a notable victory for conservation. APAMO says, quote, "illegal timber harvest is one of the biggest threats to the conservation of Belize's valuable forests…This constantly growing unlawful commerce is a major contributor to the yearly increase in deforestation and destruction of wildlife and flora." End quote. They add, quote, "a National Park is established for: the protection and preservation of natural and scenic values …for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public."

    Toledo Farmer Says He Got Chanced By Forestry
    And so while that is a definite and much needed win for conservation in its battle against lawless loggers, the next story we're going to tell you about is not so clear cut. It's about farmers in the Toledo District who were farming in the Colombia Forest Reserve, which is a protected area. Now that is definitely off limits, but they say they were in there for a decade, and then suddenly on Friday, Forestry and police swept in, and without any notice burnt their corn and rice. Benito Makin told us via telephone that he lost a whole lot:.. Benito Makin - Aggrieved Farmer: "They burned down our plantation without telling us anything. They could have at least informed us to pick up our corn, if they know that we are in the forest reserve, but nothing like that happened. They did not inform me. The loss of my corn is, around 14,000 pounds of corn. That's a big lost for me because that is the only thing I have to depend on to feed my children, to find my little dollar out of that, feed my chickens with it and I right now I'm staying without food. What am I going to eat? I need to feed my children, now and tomorrow. It's a lot of us. Why is it only our farm that they destroyed?"

    Making Chicken Quality
    Earlier this month we gave you an in-depth look at Good Manufacturing Practices. Beltraide had organized a workshop for business operators to learn more about the strict and costly but very necessary HACCP certification system. HACCP, which is a food safety system stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. Well, a few large scale companies are putting that theory into action. Quality Poultry Products is one of them. They were officially HACCP certified in late January. Yesterday at a press conference at their poultry plant in Spanish Lookout, I found out what it took to get this point and what it means for their business and the industry going forward. Here is that story. Quality Poultry, it's a stop everyone makes on their grocery run. It has been a Belizean staple for about 30 years. The company officially became Quality Poultry Products in 1975 and since then the business has expanded significantly with 351 employees, 12 branches countrywide, even a restaurant chain 'Quality Chicken Express'. But apart from the growth of the business operations, General Manager Raymond Barkman says they also want to ensure their customers always get products that meet food safety standards.

    Standards Undermined By Contraband
    Now what about other companies and manufactures? Shouldn't they also follow in Quality Poultry's footsteps ? According to Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse, other businesses are working on getting HACCP certified. He says this move towards this food safety system can be successful as long as contraband goods stay off the local market. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Agriculture: "Several are in process. As you know we have some other industries that are there such as; Marie Sharp, the citrus people, Running W is there already, almost there. So we have several that are coming after that which is key and I have said in this ministry 4 very clear priorities, BAHA is key, animal and plant health is..., please understand, I would smash anybody who dares to contraband anything into this country, if I could because that is where the mess comes in. The border has to be tight. I'm saying publicly for business men, importers, anyone who thinks they can bring contraband. BAHA has the mandate from me to confiscate and to find and whatever needs to done and don't call anyone because, they can't help you, because you cannot destroy our domestic production."

    Haulover Creek Almost Completely Cleared, Revealing Magnificent Mangrove Forest
    For the past two weeks, this Channel has been leading the reporting on the state of the Haulover Creek. It's news because the creek is the final stretch for one of the country's most beloved sporting events, the Ruta Maya. When we first visited two weeks ago, it was completely impassable, and the attention we brought to it got the Forestry Department involved and on the ground within days. Today we went back up the creek to see how it's been going:... Today, the Haulover Creek had all the signs of a healthy waterway. We could see water flowing, and instead of looking dank and funky, it appeared green and vibrant. Marcello Windsor- Deputy Chief Forest Officer: "What we have noted, through observation only, is that there is some current, or there is some stream flow, and that is very important I think as we complete the task we will have a better stream-flow I should say."

    Science and The High Seas
    This week Belize is hosting scientists and legal experts from around the world. They are participating in a workshop to develop conservation policies for waters outside of national jurisdictions. Those are the bodies of water that are not within the maritime borders of any country. The initiative, which is being funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, brings together experts in sustainable environmental management. We spoke to a few of those experts today for more details. The discussions about the policies are still in the early stages, but the final drafts will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly.

    Weed Caught In Caye
    San Pedro resident Brionne Swift has gotten off a double murder charge before, but today island police say they caught him with nearly two pounds of weed. At 2:30, a joint special branch and CIB team, acting on intelligence intercepted 37 year old Swift with a parcel containing 941 grams of cannabis. That's just under a kilo, or about two pounds. He is detained pending charges of drug trafficking. And in Belize City, at 6:30 this morning police found 650 grams, or just over a pound of weed on Justice Street.

    Saldivar Takes Coast Guard Tour
    2 weeks ago, we told you how Defense Minister John Saldivar started his tour of the Coast Guard facilities and forward operating bases countrywide. Saldivar wants to get a firsthand experience of the conditions of these facilities, to see which are substandard, and which need urgent attention for upgrades. On Thursday and Friday of last week, he and his senior staff accompanied Admiral John Borland on a tour of the Coast Guard Central Sector, which includes areas such as Calabash Caye, Half Moon Caye, Glovers Reef, and Southern Long Caye. At the end of the the tour, Admiral Borland told Saldivar's media outfit what the locations mean to the Coast Guard's ability to police the Belize's territorial waters.: Saldivar and his senior Defense staff will tour the Coast Guards Northern Sector Next week.

    Buddy's Birthday
    Today the Belize Zoo celebrated the birthday of one of it's most famous animals, Junior Buddy the Jaguar. To celebrate, the zoo threw a party and invited the children from St. Agnes Anglican School and other partners to participate. Alex Courtenay heard there would be cake, so he went up to the zoo to join in the festivities... Junior Buddy, as well as the zoo's other jaguars will be used to spread the message of conservation to all those that visit.

    Life's a Beach, Belize It
    Right now in the Bahamas, Belize's Beach Soccer Team is coming down from the euphoria of winning their first game of the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships. That game was played yesterday in Nassau where Belize went up against Team Jamaica, and put off quite a showing. They were looking for payback since Jamaica defeated them 2 years ago. So, the Belize side erupted when Marlon Mesa scored the first goal in only 2 minutes of play. About 2 minutes later, Belize got its second goal from Raymond Brenton Ramos who showed some fancy football skills with this bicycle kick goal, also known as the Chilenas. Belize's Marlon Mesa scored a third goal shortly afterwards, and when the first period ended, Belize was in the lead 4 goals to 1.

    CDB Hopeful for Belizean Economy
    For the last few nights, we've been reporting on the CDB's annual press conference which was held in Barbados on Friday. 7News attended and we've been using the event to give you some regional perspective on regional economies. Belize is one of the economies that showed negative growth in 2016, despite a forecast which said it would grow by 2.7%. But still the Bank president says this country's economy has more resilience and potential that many small islands in the Caribbean. He explained why:.. Dr. William Warren Smith - CDB President: "You're only now scratching the surface of the potential in your tourism industry. My view is that, if there is a Caribbean Country that has the opportunity to really boom in that area it would be Belize, because of the cultural endowment; you know, the cultural history that you have. That I think is one good opportunity for the restart of the economy. As far as the other parts of the economy are concerned, Belize is in a very good position when we look at its energy situation."

    Belize Among First In Line For CDB
    And the President's confidence in Belize is demonstrated throughout the fact that Belize, St. Lucia and Suriname were the three main beneficiaries of new loans form the CDB in 2016. The President explained why:..

    Channel 5

    Government Risks Debilitating Consequences with Superbond Delay
    Government’s inability to make the twenty-six million dollar Super Bond payment that became due on Monday comes as no surprise to the Opposition.  In fact, default on the debt obligation [...]

    Major Recession Hurting Belizean Economy
    Briceño’s premise hinges on the fact that the owners of the bond have put in place stringent conditions that, should government fail to pay the interest, taxpayers will be saddled [...]

    B.N.T.U. Wins Major Victory on Makeup Time and Salary Deductions
    Three weeks ago, the Supreme Court-ordered mediation between the Belize National Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education concluded.  Today, the parties returned to Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s chambers with [...]

    B.N.T.U. President Savors Victory Through “Steadfastness”
    Palacio went on to note that they had the precedents on their side, as well as the goodwill of their membership and the community, and that was more than enough [...]

    Teachers’ Union Repairing Relationship with Ministry But Will Remain Vocal
    The union says the financial hit to teachers would have been in the millions of dollars if the stand-off continued and the ministry followed through on planned salary deductions. There [...]

    Opposition Leader Says Teachers’ Love Won
    Following today’s announcement that teachers have secured a major win in the high court, we asked P.U.P. Party Leader John Briceño for a brief comment on the outcome of the [...]

    Godwin: I Did Not Block David Nanes Investigation
    On Monday night, we aired several parts of an extended interview with Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse. He was on a working visit in the Spanish Lookout area when we [...]

    Immigration Minister: I “Managed” Department, But Not Corruption
    Teresita Castellanos, one of the witnesses in the Special Select Inquiry into the immigration scandal, testified last Wednesday that the ring of corruption in the Immigration Department started from the [...]

    William Mason and Others to be Tried for Murder, Kidnapping, Conspiracy
    This morning, accused murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason and his alleged partners in crime appeared in magistrates court where a preliminary inquiry was held.  Their appearance was mostly drama-free. With the [...]

    B.N.T.U. Still Wants International Investigation
    Coincidentally, the B.N.T.U.’s final appearance in court came moments before the Mason preliminary inquiry. As part of their eight good governance agenda demands issued during the October strike, they asked [...]

    Fatal Family Feud Troubles Eaton Lamb’s Family
    The murder count went up by four over the weekend; the first occurred just after midnight on Saturday. Seventeen-year-old Eaton Lamb was stabbed and killed by his cousin, twenty-four-year-old Tishaun [...]

    Walter Dawson Death Still a Mystery
    While the Belize City murder of Eaton Lamb is an open-and-shut case, it is a lot harder for investigators to crack the murder of Walter Dawson, whose body was found [...]

    “Fu Wi Chikin” Certified!
    Quality Poultry Products say that quality is not just in the name – the quality has been internationally certified. Belize’s largest poultry producer has obtained its HACCP certification. This is [...]

    Denys Barrow – Who Is Like Unto Him?
    Senior Counsel Denys Barrow is the first Belizean to ascend to the bench of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the judicial institution of CARICOM.  Since its establishment in 2001, the [...]

    Belize’s CARICOM Ambassador Discusses Regional Meeting
    The Twenty-eighth Inter-sessional meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government concluded in Georgetown, Guyana over the weekend.  During the conference, an update was provided on the most recent developments pertaining to [...]

    Godwin Hulse Insists He Did Not Interfere in Son’s Investigation
    For the past several weeks there have been reports circulating about an alleged obstruction of justice due to political interference where police have reportedly been instructed not to pursue the [...]

    Jaguars on the Beach – Footballers Take Down Jamaica in Penalty Shootout
    The 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship is underway in Nassau, Bahamas where Team Belize is currently doing battle on the sandy pitch against the host country.  Earlier in the competition [...]

    CTV3

    Salaries Not To Be Deducted From Teachers
    The Belize National Teachers Union has been in a constant tug and war with the Ministry of Education since their eleven day strike back in October of last year on whether their salary will be deducted for those days teachers were out of class. The total amount in salaries amounts to over three million dollars but today the BNTU can finally breathe a sigh of relief as there will be no deduction. On December 16th, the Honorable Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin gave the BNTU and the Ministry 45 days to reach an agreement via mediation. On January 16th the two parties met with mediator George Swift and reached an agreement. The sides reported back to the Chief Justice today and BNTU president Luke Palacio shared the outcome.

    No Solution To Land dispute In August Pine Ridge
    On Friday’s newscast we reported about a land dispute between local resident, Fred Hornsby from the village of August Pine Ridge here in the Orange District and an alleged high ranking official from the Ministry of Works in Belmopan. As we had informed you, Hornsby and his family had obtained approximately 50 acres of land in the village with the intention of starting up a business. According to Hornsby, they had gone through the proper process to seek ownership of the land but things took a turn after he was visited on Friday by representatives from the Department of Lands and Survey and the Ministry of Works escorted by police officers who reportedly barged in on the property claiming that they were instructed to conduct a survey of the area.

    BNTU To Follow Up On International Investigation On Mason's Case
    Last year’s 11-day strike by the Belize National Teachers Union forced Prime Minister Dean Barrow to commit to eight major points put to him by the Union. There has been follow-through on a number of them, including the appointment of the Integrity Commission and the 13 Senator. One issue that seems to have taken the backseat is the investigation into the Danny Mason affair. The Union had raised the issue as a priority for them, and PM Barrow said he would ensure it is properly investigated. According to Palacio, however, there has been no update on the appointment of investigators and they plan to follow up.

    BNTU Continues To Demand Overdue Re-registration
    The topic of Government’s proposed re-districting has become a hot-button issue because the Opposition and a number of social partners including the Belize National Teachers Union have called for the Elections and Boundaries to carry out the long overdue re-registration. The difference is that while one proposes to create new divisions to create a balance among constituencies, the other would clean up the voters list, which hasn’t seen a purge since the 90s. As we said, the BNTU has called on re-registration before any re-districting exercise, and today President Luke Palacio indicated that they plan to take their argument to a proposed meeting with the Elections and Boundaries Commission.

    LOVE FM

    Senator Hulse Explains Rumors of His Son Evading Charges
    Last month, reports surfaced that one Minister Godwin Hulse’s son, pistol whipped a man. This reportedly happened at a gas station in Belmopan and reports also suggested that Hulse used his ministerial powers to prevent his son from being locked up. Well Hulse told the media that those reports couldn’t be further from the truth. […]

    Man Gets 23 Years for Killing Spouse
    Thirty-seven year old Daniel Ku, who pled guilty to manslaughter last Monday, was sentenced to 23 years today by the Chief Justice Hon. Kenneth Benjamin. But Ku will only serve 13 years because the 10 years he has already served in prison was subtracted from his sentence. Actually Ku’s sentence would have been 25 years […]

    Hit and Run on the Hummingbird Injures Couple
    A recent hit and run traffic incident is under investigation in western Belize. We hear more in this report from our Correspondent, Fem Cruz. FEM CRUZ “A hit and run traffic incident on the Hummingbird Highway yesterday evening left a couple from Las Flores, Belmopan hospitalized. According to one of the victims Christian Alarcon, on […]

    Veteran Journalist Ails; Friends Team Up to Assist
    Glenn Tillett is no stranger to the media and the well-read Belizeans both home and abroad. He has presented writings on a wide range of national and political issues on print, radio and television. To date, he continues his musings on social media for which he has a substantial following. On February 17, 2017, Tillett […]

    Olympic Association Wants to See More Participation
    As we noted earlier there was the election of the executive for the Belize Olympic Commonwealth Games Association (BOCGA) over the weekend. It has been five years since the association was formed and for the most part its executive remains the same. While its social media page is not updated frequently and the website link […]

    Immigration Minister Responds to the Nanes Fiasco
    Last week we reported on leaked documents that showed that immigration officer Addy Pacheco picked up the passport for Nanes Schnitzer. As you may recall, Nanes Schnitzer who also went by David Banes and David Nanes was the man who acquired several fake Belizean documents. He is also the man who evaded jail time in […]

    BOCGA Has a Not So New Executive
    The Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association held its election of its executive inside the Cahal Pech Room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City on Saturday, February 18. Hilly Martinez was re-elected as President of the BOCGA. He spoke with the media immediately following the elections in which he speaks of the […]

    Amandala


    The Government of Belize has missed the US$13 million or BZ$26 million payment on the 2038 superbond due today, and if it does not meet payment within 60 days, this could result in the loss of some savings gleaned from the last restructuring in 2012/2013, when creditors agreed to an 11% principal haircut. There is a 30-day grace period before a default is declared, although the missed payment this week could result in a ratings downgrade.

    Jealous boyfriend shot and stabbed rival to death
    Alvaro Aldana, 23, was murdered on Sunday night in “PK Park” in San Ignacio Town, just before midnight on Sunday night, by his rival in a love triangle turned deadly. His aunt told Amandala that she had been having some drinks in the park a few yards away from the scene when she saw the incident unfold, but could not recognize the victim. She told us that it was not until the following morning that she learned that it was her nephew who had been murdered. Aldana’s aunt told us that he was in the park socializing with a woman when the woman’s boyfriend, identified only as “Edgar,” confronted them. Upon seeing “Edgar,” Aldana told the woman to run. Aldana was thereafter shot below his eye, shot twice in the left side of his body and stabbed once in his back. His attacker then fled the scene on foot.

    Leela Vernon, 66, passes
    Belizean icon and “Brukdown Queen,” Leela Vernon, 66, passed away at around 9 a.m. on Sunday. According to her relatives, the Punta Gorda native had been hospitalized last Thursday for kidney complications, but died instead of cardiac arrest. A relative of Vernon told our newspaper on Sunday that Vernon had awakened from a coma on Friday and had been speaking fluently to loved ones about the Creole culture. Vernon has given many decades of her life to the preservation of the Creole culture and her widely known and performed song, ”Ah Wah Know Who Seh Kriol Noh Gat No Kulcha,” best represents her lifelong efforts. However, she was known for many other songs for which she has received numerous awards, including her Creole translation of the country’s national anthem.

    Juana Cowo’s accused murderer acquitted
    Alberto Coleman, 57, of Hopeville, Punta Gorda, Toledo District, the man accused of the vicious murder of his ex-girlfriend Juana Cowo, 28, a career Labor officer stationed at the Punta Gorda Labor Office, was charged with murder in August 2015. However, after almost 18 months on remand at the Belize Central Prison, today he walked out of his trial in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court, held in Dangriga, a free man after Justice Dennis Hanomansingh found him not guilty. That brought an end to the case for the murder of Juana Cowo, whose decomposed body was found inside her apartment on Jose Maria Street, Punta Gorda, on July 3, 2015. She had been stabbed multiple times and her throat slashed. Police arrested Coleman one month later, in August, at a house in Hopeville.

    17-year-old killed for owing $60
    Eaton Lamb, 17, was fatally stabbed by his cousin on Pelican Street extension in Belize City just before midnight last night. Lamb was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment. Information to us is that Lamb, of 2070 Pelican Street, had owed that relative $60.00. A police report of today, Monday, February 20, says that “at around 11:40 p.m., while police were in the area of Antelope Street Extension, they saw Lamb bleeding profusely, being pursued by 24-year-old Tishawn Hamilton, also of a Pelican Street address, with a knife in his hand. Police quickly disarmed Hamilton and detained him, while Lamb was rushed to the KHMH but succumbed to his injuries at 12:20 while undergoing treatment.”

    Wife-beating BDF soldier sentenced to 3 months
    –A Belize Defence Force Staff Sergeant who was criminally charged with wounding after he had beaten his wife and she had filed a complaint with police, was found guilty of the charge when his case concluded today in the Magistrate’s Court. The guilty verdict that resulted in a prison sentence has brought an abrupt end to the solder’s career. Staff Sergeant Darrell Hemsley’s case was heard in the number 1 court of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who, before imposing a 3-month prison sentence, told the convicted soldier that he was “a disgrace to the Belize Defence Force, and I will make an example out of you.” The incident which landed the BDF Staff Sergeant before the court occurred on November 26, at the couple’s home on Banak Street. Tricia Hemsley, Darrell Hemsley’s wife, testified at the trial that Hemsley came home from work and accused her of having his social security card.

    Week 2 results in Future FC U-13 Little League Tournament at ITVET
    Week 2 games were played at the ITVET football field on Saturday, February 18, in the Future Football Club U-13 Little League Football Tournament 2017. All six teams in the competition saw action on Saturday. In game 1, Jane Usher and Carlston FC played to a 1-1 draw. Zamar Alvarez shook the net for Jane Usher, while Raheem Martinez scored for Carlston FC. Game 2 saw Future FC with a 6-1 bombing of Sports in Education Club. Mushay Morey netted 3 goals, and Kayia Requena, Anfernee Samuela and Jerwin Carcamo added 1 apiece for Future FC; while Kentrell Marshall got the lone goal for Sports in Education Club. And in game 3, Belize Elementary edged Survivors, 3-2. Belize Elementary got a goal each from Maddox Heusner, Hector Flores and Jared Mena; while Kiwan Panting and Isani Napata scored for Survivors.

    Inter-Office finals Thursday night at MCC – BCC vs Tourist Village
    The Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Inter-Office Football Tournament 2017 completed its semifinals last week Thursday night and this Thursday, February 23, will close out the tournament with a double header featuring the third-place game followed by the championship final. In last Thursday’s semifinal opener, Belize City Council (BCC) shut out Latino FC, 3-0, with goals from Mario Chimal (17’), Daren Leal (38’) and David “Manu” McCaulay (40’). The other semifinal which followed saw Tourist Village FC coming away with the 4-1 win over Belize Bank. Carlos Lino struck twice (23’ & 53’) and John Castro (16’) and Anthony Arnold (26’) added 1 apiece for Tourist Village; while Filipo Aldrio (57’) got the only goal for Belize Bank. The championship finals are set for this Thursday night at the MCC.

    Editorial: Denial
    Early in December of last year, the Kremandala group of businesses began an overall belt tightening. This was with a view to surviving the post-holidays downturn which hits the Belizean economy every January. More than that, anyone with eyes could see in December of 2016 that there were economic storm clouds all around The Jewel. In our editorial last Friday, we remarked on the fact that the ruling political doctorate had not yet come straight with the Belizean people where our failing economy was concerned. Earlier, we had mentioned that the “free” concert organized at the Belize City Council’s expense on February 11 went against the grain, because of our financial crisis. There was still no area which we could consider the Government of Belize as making a determined, visible effort to cut waste. And when the Prime Minister/Minister of Finance, Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow, was met at the airport by the media early Sunday afternoon, February 19, on his return from New York City talks with the owners of Belize’s superbond, it sounded to us very much as if he was splitting hairs and damage controlling.

    What the Americans and the Europeans will never tell you
    Former President Barack Obama, to this day, regrets involving America in removing Libya’s Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Today, Libya does not have a truly functional government, and there are more than 1,400 armed groups fighting within the country. Libya is awash with sophisticated weapons, and its instability has to some extent contributed to destabilise Mali, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and to a lesser extent, Cameroon. The citizens of a country – not outsiders – should remove their leaders, or dictators, by themselves. Are Iraqis and Libyans better off today than they were when Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi were ruling them? That is the litmus test – nothing else. When I visit London, to my consternation, I now see in this great city Libyans working in very menial jobs, which were once the preserve of Somalis, Algerians, Iraqis, Eritreans, Yemenis, Malians and Chadians. How hath the mighty fallen? Under Gadhafi, Libyans hardly left home – and when they did they went as students sponsored by a generous state. In fact, Gadhafi was the only Arab leader who gave Black African students scholarships, without any religious strings attached (unlike the Wahhabi Saudis). And, like the great Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana (an adherent of the Jamaican philosopher and Black activist, Marcus Garvey and the Trinidadian, George Padmore), he dreamt of a great, united Pan-Africa. He was the most generous donor to the OAU, even paying the subscriptions of lesser well heeled African countries to its successor, the African Union (AU).

    No stopping the Bandits, lead PLB standings at Week 4 of Closing Season
    At the completion of Week 4 games this past weekend in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2016-2017 Closing Season, defending champions Belmopan Bandits SC are still riding high in their quest to secure a berth in Stage 1 of the CONCACAF Champions League 2017. Belize’s representative in the CONCACAF Champions League 2017 is to be the champion that posts the highest aggregate total of points in the PLB Opening and Closing Seasons 2016-2017. Belmopan Bandits SC won the Opening Season. Even if another team should win the Closing Season, their only hope of taking the Champions League berth away from the Bandits would be if they can garner enough points in the Closing Season to make up for the Opening Season gap that the Bandits put between them. A look at the numbers below (Final Opening Season standings, and current Closing Season standings) indicates that the odds are exceedingly heavily in the Bandits’ favor; and, indeed, they are “taking no prisoners,” as they remain undefeated at the top of the current standings.

    NEBL “In the Paint”
    The San Pedro Tiger Sharks suffered their first loss of the season on Friday night on the road, at the hands of Dangriga Dream Ballers at the Ecumenical High School Auditorium. The Dream Ballers utilized the term, “just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” made popular in the well-celebrated shark movie, “Jaws,” as a motivational tool to ambush the unsuspecting (4-0) Tiger Sharks. The Dream Ballers (1-2) used a 25 to 16 explosive second-quarter run to balloon a once modest 10-point (16-6) first-quarter lead, to a 19- point 41-22 lead at the conclusion of first half play. This lead obviously would play huge, as they were able to withstand a frenzied third-quarter 21 to 2 Tiger Sharks charge, which saw their lead evaporate and the score tied up at 43 to 43 at the end of the third quarter. Miraculously, they regrouped rapidly, and quickly orchestrated a game-closing mini 14-9 fourth-quarter run, to record the big 57-52 upset.

    24 tons of deleterious DDT stockpiled by Belize headed to France for destruction
    Although Belize discontinued widespread use of Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethylene (DDT) for mosquito eradication two decades ago, it is believed to still be in the environment, as well as in the bodies of people who had been exposed over the years. The potentially hazardous chemical—which can also be passed to babies in breast milk—has been stockpiled in Belize for more than 35 years. In fact, when a regional assessment was done in 2005, Belize had the second biggest stockpile of all Central American countries, next to Guatemala, but it has been unable to dispense of the DDT until now. Latest reports are that the hazardous waste, amounting to roughly 24 tons, is to be shipped to France for final destruction, since Belize does not have the requisite facilities to dispose of the waste through high-heat burning in a controlled environment. Developed in the 1940s, DDT was used as an insecticide in fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, but it was banned in the US due to reports that it causes adverse environmental and health effects, including adverse effects on human and wildlife reproduction.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Police identifies dead body found yesterday
    The body found behind Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio Town has been officially identified by Inspector Fitzory Yearwood as 21-year-old Chester Earl Theus. According to police reports, Theus was killed sometime before 11 on Sunday night. However, he was not discovered until around 7 a.m. on Monday.

    CDB projects 1.7 percent growth for region
    The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), at a press event last Friday, projected a 1.7 percent economic growth among its borrowing member countries (BMC) for 2017 in contrast to the negative 0.9 percent performance in 2016. The CDB’s Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram said […]

    Family claims KHMH negligence left new born baby with burns
    A new born baby boy initially suffering from digestive challenges went into surgery but left with his right foot badly burnt last week. According to his family, the digestive surgery was successful but afterward he was sent to the pediatric ward of the Karl […]

    Defense minister continues National Tour of Belize Coast Guard facilities
    Minister of Defense, John Saldivar, has visited Coast Guard Facilities in the Central Sector as part of his national tour of Coast Guard facilities countrywide. Accompanied by Admiral John Borland and senior personnel from the Ministry of Defence, Saldivar visited Calabash Caye (Turneffe) where […]

    “Absolute nonsense!” PM brushes off immigration scandal
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, this week, said that the incidents of immigration fraud revealed in the Auditor General’s Special Audit report of the Immigration and Nationality Department, could not have affected the 2012 General Elections. Barrow said that the amount of persons who actually […]

    Man who killed wife gets reduced charge
    In December 2006, Daniel Ku was accused of killing his wife Anna Maria Magdaleno Basto. Ku alleged that during an intimate moment with his wife, she told him she had a lover who was 10 times better than him in bed, prompting him to stab […]

    William Mason to stand trial in June
    His wife, Melissa Ferguson, walked away from charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping but William Mason will stand trial for the kidnapping and murder of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas. Along with Mason, to stand trial are brothers Terrence & Keiron Fernandez, Ashton Vanegas and Ernest […]

    BNTU victorious (again)
    The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has won another round of battle against the Ministry of Education and by extension the Government of Belize. According to BNTU President, Luke Palacio, the Ministry of Education will not deduct the salaries of thousands of teachers who participated […]

    Two Men fined $10,000 for Illegal entry into Protected Area
    The forestry department issued a press release today informing that Carlos Palacios, 35, and Donald Wewe, 47, both pleaded guilty to illegal entry into a protected area in the Dangriga Magistrate court yesterday. The men were charged under the National Protected Areas System Act […]

    Godwin Hulse defends son who pistol whipped a disgruntled customer
    Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, at a media event yesterday was asked about an incident in which his son allegedly pistol whipped a man but has not faced charges. Hulse, however, said the situation was not as clear cut as the allegations have made […]

    NGC mourns passing of Bishop O.P. Martin
    The National Garifuna Council 9NGC) issued a press release today saying joining Belize in expressing condolences to the Martin family and the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Belize on the transition of beloved, retired “Ibisibu” (Bishop) Osmond Peter Martin to Seiri. Bishop Martin was a […]

    Fair weather to prevail
    The 24-hour forecast is for mostly fair, dry and warm conditions to prevail with some changes later this afternoon. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected throughout inland areas and coastal areas tonight. The wind will blow from the east to southeast at […]

    Belize, Fiddling while Rome burns
    Belize has a very small skilled population with around 4%, or 14,000, having a bachelor’s degree or higher education. The majority of these either work directly for the status quo or are answerable to them in some way, shape or form. They are mostly […]

    Blogs

    Ready for Fun on a Cool House Boat Tour Around Ambergris Caye?
    FUN! is the operative word on board the Sea’s d Day house boat tour. What ways can you have FUN? How about kayaking the leeward side of Ambergris Caye, paddle boarding, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kicking back on inflatables, plunging off the boat’s water slide, eating delicious food (even freshly baked goodies), dancing, singing or just relaxing on the top deck. How FUN is that!? The Sea’s d Day is Seaduced by Belize’s newest addition to its fleet of fun in the sea vessels. It’s a 58-foot house boat complete with two bathrooms, a full kitchen, air conditioned seating areas inside and also two outdoor decks with comfortable seating. YEAH! SEA’s d Day explores the pristine waters and white sandy beaches of the leeward side of the island on day trips, sunsets and dinner cruises. Needless to say we had a BLAST! Love the new boat. It’s very homey and you can get really comfortable in its surroundings. We experienced the day tour that had us frolicking in the water around one of the sandbars on the northern end of the island. After playtime – LUNCH – grilled chicken with peppers and onions, cilantro rice, black beans, tortillas and a variety of sauces and toppings. (CILANTRO! Not for me though. The crew knew cilantro and I don’t mix and was very accommodating in offering me ‘non-cilantro’ rice and toppings.

    Belize, employment option for dozens of Honduran migrants
    Welcome-BelizeTegucigalpa - Given the limited employment options, Hondurans have had to emigrate for years to find an opportunity abroad. The lack of employment is the main cause of emigration in the Central American country conclude various studies. Although the main emigration destination of the Hondurans is the United States, they have had to explore new options in view of the high risks that the journey to the American nation entails. Belize, a neighboring country has opened as a new opportunity for dozens of Hondurans who travel every Monday and return every 15 days after completing the working day. The delegate of the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Puerto Cortés, Francisco Munguía, informed on Monday that a boat with a minimum of 75 Hondurans departed from that area, who regularly travel to Belize to work and then return to the Central American country on their rest days . The official explained that this day only sailed a boat but there are days when they do two, traditionally every Monday dozens of Hondurans embark on these trips in search of employment.

    International Sourcesizz

    Student studies UI effort to help sustainable entrepreneurs in small Belize town
    Every year during spring break, University of Iowa faculty member Bob Walker takes a group of entrepreneurial students to consult with small-business owners in the village of San Pedro Columbia, Belize. Last fall, UI student Mackenzie Phillips visited on her own as part of a research assignment and found Walker’s efforts have made a big difference in helping Belizeans improve their livelihoods through sustainable entrepreneurialism. “Some of them became emotional telling me how much they appreciated working with the students and what a difference they made,” says Phillips, a senior from Remsen, Iowa, majoring in marketing and minoring in social work. “One café owner was in tears telling me how our students taught her about short- and long-term goals, which makes it so much easier to manage her restaurant.” Walker, a lecturer in the Tippie College of Business and John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), has been taking students to Belize for five years, starting when he taught at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids. San Pedro Columbia is a challenge for entrepreneurs because of its small market size—the population is about 700—and remote location in southern Belize.

    Belize misses payment on 2038 bond: financial secretary
    Belize has missed an interest payment on its only international bond, the Central American country’s financial secretary, Joseph Waight, told IFR on Tuesday. The missed coupon on the country’s US$530m 2038 bond, which was due on February 20, could put Belize in default if the government fails to pay before the end of the 30-day grace period, according to the bond’s terms. Belize and its creditors have been engaged in discussions to amend the terms of the bond – the country’s third restructuring in a decade – since late last year, but a deal has so far been elusive. Local authorities had aimed for a restructuring to take place before a US$13.2m coupon payment due on February 20 and launched a consent solicitation in January to amend the bond’s amortisation schedule and lower its coupon. A bondholder group appointed by the majority of holders, however, quickly rebuffed that offer arguing that it would reduce the net present value of the bond by over 40%.

    In Belize con i Maya sui fiumi in piena
    Mi era stato detto che in Belize ci sono dei fiumi tra i più selvaggi al mondo e, non essendo un Paese industrializzato, avrei potuto trovare finalmente un popolo tra quelli più in armonia con la natura. Sebbene fossi partito da solo, ho trovato in breve tempo tre giovani Maya dallo spirito avventuroso: Adolfo, Ernesto e Victor. Con l’intenzione di discendere insieme il fiume Moho in zattera, siamo andati fino alla cascata di Aguacate, un salto di circa due metri tra le rocce. Dato che costruire un’imbarcazione per quattro persone avrebbe significato mettere in acqua un transatlantico, abbiamo deciso di farne due piccole, ma “agili” e “leggere”. Per scelta non abbattiamo mai alberi vivi e capita che i materiali (bambù e piante infestanti, o tronchi secchi) siano da cercare a chilometri dal fiume. Lavorare nella fitta vegetazione della giungla inoltre significa farsi mangiare vivi dagli insetti e trasportare pesanti carichi in spalla. Ma in questo caso abbiamo avuto più fortuna del solito.

    Caribbean warned of impact of lingering drought
    Many Caribbean countries experienced a relatively dry January this year but there is some likelihood for incipient drought concerns in some places by the end of February if it becomes as dry as January, the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) has warned. In its Caribbean drought Bulletin released here Monday, the CDPMN said there is however, little concern over drought in the Eastern Caribbean apart from in the south, particularly over Tobago, where there could eventually be impacts by the end of the dry season in May. “There is some likelihood for incipient drought concerns in some places by the end of February if it becomes as dry as January. There is much greater concern for western countries over both short and long term drought. This is particularly so over the Cayman Islands and Cuba. “Other countries like Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and French Guiana should monitor conditions closely as the region goes through its dry season,” the CDPMN noted.

    Videos

  • Someone in Belmopan is saying "Yes!" to offshore oil in Belize, 2min. Our marine resources don't need a dirty and dangerous threat like offshore oil. It's time to legislate a clear position on the Belize's marine environment, including the lagoon and deep sea areas.

  • Jamaica 5 (0) - (2) 5 Belize Highlights, 2min. Congrats to Sean Mas (Caye Caulker) and the entire Belizean team on beating the Jamaican team in beach football. Well done! (I hope I got the beach football part right.) If anyone has more information, please post. I believe the matches are being played in the Bahamas.

  • Local Producers Talk Tilapia Farming, 5min. The five-year joint aquaculture project between the Governments of Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan) came to an end this month. Last week, we had an opportunity to talk to the aquaculture coordinator and a couple of the Tilapia producers who participated in the project. Here’s more…

  • Belize Now 10 - Feb 17, 2017, 35min. 1. Belize and PAHO Sign Country Cooperation Strategy 0:40 - 5:26 2. “Give Your Heart to A Child” Campaign Seeks Loving Homes for Children 5:27 - 8:47 3. CARICOM Skills Certificate Offers Greater Opportunities to Belizeans 8:48 - 12:46 4. Cabinet Approves National Road Safety Master Plan 15:21- 22:02 5. Local Producers Talk Tilapia Farming 22:05 - 27:12 6. CARICOM, Cuba Agree to Expand Preferential Market Access 27:13 - 30:18 In Case You Missed It (#ICYMI) 1.Historic First Shipment of Live Cattle Exported to Guatemala 31:09 - 31:40 2. Community Centers Refurbished to Meet Hurricane Shelter Standards 31:41 - 32:27 3. Minister Elrington Leads Belizean Delegations in Mexico and Guyana

  • House Boat Family Picnic Seaduced by Belize, 3min.

  • Overview of Banking and Financing in Belize | RE/MAX Island Real Estate, 3min. Join Will Mitchell of RE/MAX Island Real Estate for a short overview of the banking system in Belize. Learn about the different banking institutions throughout the country and alternative financing options available to you.

  • The windiest day yet. Belize. San Pedro. Ambergris caye., 1/2min. The windiest day yet. Belize. San Pedro. Ambergris caye. 2/20/2017

  • A COROZALENOS CRY FOR HELP, 6min.

  • NICH - Annual Street Art Festival 2017, 22min.

  • Rembering Lee Laa Vernon, 33min.

  • National Health Insurance (NHI) - Universal Health Coverage Update, 37min.

  • Junior Jaguar B Day, 5min.

  • CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Bahamas 2017 : Belize vs Bahamas., 62min.

  • "Carnaval Chetumal 2017", 1min. Schedule for the "Carnaval Chetumal 2017". Presentando el programa del Carnaval Chetumal 2017. 23 Febrero: Despika y Mc Dharta, 24 Febrero: Mariana Seoane, 25 Febrero: GRUPO La Estampida Musical, 26 Febrero: Margarita La Diosa de la Cumbia Sitio Oficial, 27 Febrero: Havana Energy Band, 28 Febrero: Impacto Latino

  • Belize meditation video, 10min. Relax to this natural combination of sights and sounds of belize ocean and rainforest

  • Belize meditation video, 11min. Relax to this natural combination of sights and sounds of belize ocean and rainforest

  • DROPPING THE GOPRO IN THE OCEAN//Belize Trip Days 1-2, 11min.

  • Dive at Hol Chan, Belize 2017, 2.5min. First Dive at Hol Chan, Belize 2017.

  • Tropical Fever Dreams: Two weeks in Belize, 20min. I took a trip to Belize in January of 2017. This is a video slide show with music from that trip. I went from Belize City to Dangriga then out to South Water Caye, back to Dangriga to Hopkins to Blue Creek with a side trip to Punta Gorda. Then back to the airport.

  • 2016 Hamanasi Belize Land, 5min. Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Belize: cave tubing the Crystal Cave system, Garifuna Dancers.

  • 2016 Hamanasi Belize Seea, 6min. Scuba diving with Hamanasi Resort crews in South Water Caye and Glover's Reef, Belize.

    February 21, 2017


    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

    SPHS female football team are NSSSA’s National Football Tournament Champions
    For the first time in San Pedro history, the San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) female football team are the reigning champions of the National Secondary School Sporting Association (NSSSA) 2017 National Football Tournament. Organized by the NSSSA and hosted by SPHS, the two-day tournament took place at the new Ambergris Stadium on Friday, February 17th and Saturday, February 18th. There were four teams participating in the female division and four in the male division. The female teams were: SPHS-North; Saint Catherine Academy (SCA)-Central; Belmopan Comprehensive School (BCS)-West; and Julian Cho Technical High School (JCTHS)-South. The male teams were: Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTHS)-North; Gwen Lizarraga High School-GLHS-Central; BCS-West, and Stann Creek Ecumenical College (SCEC)-South. After scoring both goals on Saturday’s game, SPHS team player Galeano expressed her thoughts on the win. “I am really happy, especially for my senior teammates. This has never been achieved before at SPHS, and they will be able to graduate with this athletic honor. I am proud of myself and my team. All of us have put a lot of effort in practicing, and I give thanks to all of my coaches. All of us on the team played an important role in winning,” said Galeano.

    Mari Magaña is the new Reina del Carnaval!
    Flora Ancona’s Comparsa Group once again brought much laughter and culture onstage at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium with their fourth annual Miss Carnaval Pageant. Held on Saturday, February 18th, the pageant not only raises funds for the group’s carnaval activities, but it also opens the island’s annual festivities for ‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro.’ This year, five lovely ladies took to the stage, vying for the coveted title: Audrey Moya, Vicky Marin, Arabella Hernandez, Anna Young, and Mari Magaña. At the end of a fun night, Mari Magaña walked away with the crown, after charming the judges to take the title of Miss Carnaval 2017-2018. Shortly after 8:30PM, Master of Ceremonies Angel Nuñez welcomed an excited audience. The pageant started with an opening dance by the five participants, who were dressed in colourful costumes. Each one of them then introduced themselves to the audience who responded with much cheer and applause. Then it was time, and the audience cheered wildly as the five contestants sashayed on stage in their elegant evening gowns. They all smiled and posed, demonstrating beauty and poise as the judges submitted their final scores. As the scores were tabulated, the five lovely participants waited for the final verdict onstage. First runner-up was Vicky Marin, and to the sound of drum rolls, the winner was announced. Taking the crown and title of 2017-2018 Miss Carnaval was Mari Magaña. ‘I am so happy… I was confident that I was going to win. I prepared myself well for the pageant,” she told The San Pedro Sun.

    Rotary Club installs donation box at Tropic Air
    In their latest efforts, the Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye installed a “Change Fa Change” donation box collection at Tropic Air on Friday, February 17th. The funds collected from these boxes will financially help the Rotary Club in their upcoming projects. Tropic Air CEO, John Greif III gave a brief speech following the Club’s announcement. “When it comes to helping the Club with emergency care, and activities for youth, I am all for it. We are happy to participate, and hope it will be profitable as we think it will be,” said Greif. The Rotary Club encourages the community to assist with their projects by making a donation. All donation boxes can be found throughout Tropic Air’s departure lounges.

    Ambergris Today

    Golf Cart Burns Down Leaving Renters Stunned
    Three visitors to the island were left stunned and without a ride after their rented golf cart burnt down to a crisp in front of Island City Supermarket tonight February 20, 2017 just before 7p.m. “We rushed rushed from inside the supermarket when we heard there was a fire outside,” commented one of the persons who rented the golf cart. They were shopping at Island City after having parked the cart outside the supermarket on Coconut Drive. The golf cart was completely destroyed after it ignited and power was cut off in the area for a few minutes while it was being extinguished by the San Pedro Fire Department. The renters of the cart are astonished as to how the vehicle caught fire while parked. It is not the first time that a golf cart has burst into flames but it is not a common occurrence. The San Pedro Fire Department has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

    Placencia Community Says “NO” to Offshore Oil
    The Placencia community during the Placencia Art Festival held over this past weekend, came together to take a stand against offshore oil exploration in Belize’s waters, adding 300 more voices to the thousands of voices from the residents of San Pedro and Caye Caulker and other areas of the country in demanding that the government adopt a policy of closing Belizean waters and the Barrier Reef from offshore oil exploration and drilling. Residents wrote and signed petitions addressed to the Belize Tourism Board, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry responsible for Fisheries and Climate Change, expressing their desire to see Belize’s marine resources protected for current and future generations of Belizeans.

    Belizean Musical and Cultural Icon “Leela” Vernon Passes Away
    The Government of Belize and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) have sent out a press release on the passing of Lila Genus Vernon which occurred at around 9:00 a.m. on, February 19, 2017. Lila Vernon was a founding member of the National Kriol Council, an institution which continues to promote Kriol Language, Music and Culture in Belize. In 2004, “Ms. Leela” was named as the Brukdown Artist of the Year and in 2011 she was the recipient of the Woman of the Year in Culture Award.

    Misc Belizean Sources

    mzz

    (BTB) Destination Visit in Caye Caulker
    In an effort to promote and build on our relationship with our tourism stakeholders, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) wishes to invite you to our Destination Visit in Caye Caulker. Venue: Caye Caulker Plaza Conference Room. Date: Friday, February 24th, 2017. Time: 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm. This event provides the opportunity to hear from the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation – Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., the Director of Tourism – Mrs. Karen Bevans, and representatives of the BTB Board of Directors as we continue together to make tourism the pillar of our economy. We encourage you to participate at this relaxed and interactive gathering, aimed at getting your input, ideas and suggestions. RSVP to Miguel Martinez at miguel.martinez@belizetourismboard.org , or call 227-2420 should you have any questions or need further details.

    The Real Old School Concert and Dance - La Ruta Maya Weekend
    Sunday, March 5 at 5 PM - 12 AM, Castleton Entertainment Park, Burrell Boom Village. Join us on March 5th, 2017, La Ruta Maya Weekend. The Real Old School Concert and Dance. Performing Artists: Erick Donaldson and Flourgon. Contact us at 671-2946 // 610-3826 // 608-4044 to reserve your tickets and dinner tables. It will be an epic night and you MUST be there!

    CARICOM Leaders Conclude Twenty-Eighth Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
    Heads of Government of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held their Twenty-Eighth Inter-sessional meeting in Georgetown, Guyana where they received updates, and deliberated on regional and international issues of importance. The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community were updated on the most recent developments between Belize and Guatemala. Heads expressed support for the critical role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the process and underscored their hope that both countries can proceed with the required referendum as early as possible. Heads noted with regret that a protocol for cooperation on the Sarstoon remains outstanding. The Heads of Government emphasized their steadfast support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize.

    San Pedro Carnaval 2017 Schedule
    Check out the Carnaval line up for the upcoming week! Who's ready?

    Portrait of Leela
    Taken by Tony Rath


    This Wednesday, we get to hang out with Madison Pearl, the 11yr old Belizean Blogger who snorkeled the length of Belize's Barrier Reef System World Heritage Site. Join us LIVE from 11:00am on Wednesday at South Water Caye, one of the rare gems that make up Belize’s #WorldHeritage Site. Discover why it’s such a special place and why Madi needs your help now to protect it. Tune in and join Madi in taking action at panda.org/belize

    This Day in History
    On February 19th, 1816, the Honduras Free School established with 12 students of poor free parents in Belize Town. The site of the school was where the building in the picture is currently located on ACC property.

    Golf cart burns in San Pedro
    A golf cart was completely destroyed after it ignited into flames early this evening on Coconut Drive. The San Pedro Fire Department has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire. The San Pedro Sun will have more as information becomes available.

    Message of Condolence from Governor General of Belize on Passing of Leela Vernon

    Game Licenses
    The Belize Forest Department hereby advises the general public that, under the Wildlife Protection Act (CAP 220), a license is required to hunt or sell any game species (or bush meat). In anticipation of this year’s La Ruta Maya River Challenge event, the Forest Department is issuing a temporary Dealer’s License at a fee of one hundred dollars ($100), BUT the license is valid only for open season game species. All hunters and vendors are encouraged to continue to apply and obtain the necessary licenses at their nearest Forest Department office prior to the La Ruta Maya River Challenge, as officers will continue to monitor and enforce the laws. For more information regarding the law or licenses, please contact the Forest Department office at 822-1524 or email us at info@forest.gov.bz.

    BELTRAIDE CONGRATULATES QUALITY POULTRY PRODUCTS LTD FOR OBTAINING HACCP CERTIFICATION
    EXPORTBelize, a unit of BELTRAIDE, takes this opportunity to congratulate Quality Poultry Products (QPP) on receiving their Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Certification from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). This is truly a milestone for QPP and is a testament of their commitment to quality and competitiveness. The company has invested significantly in their facilities, process improvement and their human resources and has demonstrated the value they place on producing high quality products to satisfy customer needs. This achievement will open many doors for Quality Poultry Products including access to new markets throughout the world and EXPORTBelize stands ready to support them in their market expansion efforts.

    BEL Job Opening in San Pedro
    A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Customer Care Representative II at the San Pedro Branch.

    FCD’s Landscape Manager spent a week visiting farms in the Vaca Forest Reserve
    Assessing the farming conditions in the reserve. This program is supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme.

    This Day in History
    On February 2oth, 1768, Robert Hodgson. Esq. was appointed Superintendent of the Mosquito Shore, by letter from the Earl of Hillsborough Source: Honduras Almanack 1829 The posted picture is a drawing of Black River Honduras. This is where the Superintendents lived at that time. Robert Hodgson Sr was the first Superintendent. His Son. Junior, would also become a Superindent as well. They were the only father son Superintendents in our history.

    Channel 7

    GOB Does Not Make 26 Million Dollar Superbond Payment; PM Explains
    The Government should have made a 26 million dollar Superbond payment today - but they didn't. So tonight, technically, the country is in default, and yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed that the country won't pay, at least not yet. We caught up to him at the airport yesterday, when he returned from New York. He and his finance team had been in negotiations with creditors on why they should accept a third restructuring of the Superbond. The Government hasn't budged from its initial offer, and bondholders said that they aren't prepared to accept this new deal because it would reduce the value of the current bonds by 40%. So, where do things stand now? Will the non payment force a breakthrough in negotiations? Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he has reason to be cautiously optimistic.

    PM Not So Sure About New Taxes
    So, how do the Superbond renegotiations factor into the planning of the budget for the next fiscal period? The Prime Minister will make a new budget presentation on March 13, and his government has to cover a deepening deficit. Now, the budget presentation is only 3 weeks away, and 10 days ago, when we asked the Financial Secretary about a tax increase, he said, quote, "I think that...it is inevitable that there will be an increase in some taxes." End quote. So, we asked the Prime Minister to confirm, and he said that he couldn't because the Ministry of Finance Technicians still haven't completed their assessments to determine if that very last resort must be taken. Here's how he put it:

    PM Says Bloc Sale Of Utility Shares Is Off
    So, is the Government considering a sale of shares in the utility companies to meet budget shortfalls? Last week, we heard reports all the way in Barbados that the Barrow Administration was shopping around to foreign investors for the purchase of a package of shares from BTL, BEL and BWSL. We asked the Prime Minister about it, and he confirmed that indeed, it was an idea being looked at, but he said that his Government has scrapped that. Here's how he explained why: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "We are looking at offering some shares, the sale of some shares, in BEL and BTL to SSB. We did go beyond that and we toyed with a larger offering to the public. I had said, maybe two independent speeches ago, that, certainly in BEL, I would like to see 10% offered to the small man. We did toy with that idea and efforts have been made to talk, not just to the small man, but to institutional investors..."

    Did PM Know About Nationality Fraud?
    And we also asked the Prime Minister about the Senate Inquiry into the Immigration Department. One of the big disclosures came from the Former Immigration Director, Ruth Meighan. Under cross examination she agreed that in the run up to the 2012 General Elections, there was a rush to get large numbers of persons naturalized, so that they could be added to the voters list. She said that this rush caused persons to be given nationality who did not qualify for it. The Opposition has seized on that to accuse the Barrow Government of stacking the deck for the 2012 General Elections in 2 divisions, Cayo Central and Cayo North East. So, will the Prime Minister commission an investigation into those new citizens from that time period? In the Nationality Audit, the Auditor General complains that she discovered 2,110 persons who got nationality in that rush, but she was not able to review their files. From Her Audit she says, quote, "…we were unable to request and examine all of those Nationality files to confirm whether those persons met all the requirements for Belizean Nationality under the Nationality Act Chapter 161. Further investigation is required." End quote.

    Minister Spars With The Press About Immigration Irregularities
    And while the Prime Minister is willing to put a commission to investigate electoral fraud, the Minister of Immigration says electoral fraud isn't his business. Today, Godwin Hulse sparred with the press over who's responsible for electoral fraud and immigration irregularities in an extended and prickly interview:... Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration: "Now if you wanted to ask me about people who got nationality who should not have gotten nationality, that is an immigration issue. And you do know that after the Penner debacle we undertook a massive push to try to look at a lot of these. We put in lots of systems to try to protect and catch it. What I heard Castellanos talked about some sort of internal ring of people doing things. It's unfortunate that people did that, but I must point out and I don't want this point to be missed that when I grabbed that portion of the thing,..."

    PM: the Case Against Senator Courtenay
    And the man who has been a huge contributor to these big Immigration reveals is PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay. He's often in a tag team with Business Senator Mark Lizarraga and Committee Chairman Aldo Salazar, while the witnesses squirm in the hot seat. But, if the ruling UDP Government would have their way, Courtenay would have been forced to step down because of a perceived conflict of interest. It's been just over a week since the Prime Minister and his party called for his removal from the Senate. They say that he can't serve the Ashcroft Alliance as an attorney on one hand, and then protect the public interest as a parliamentarian on the other. The Prime Minister made the case against Courtenay yesterday: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "It would have the effect of, if not crumbling the reserves, certainly jeopardizing those reserves considerably, I have to think that that is not consistent with his position as a member of the government. Right now, forget the challenges to the laws that we pass..."

    57 Year Old Nearly Decapitated In Ladyville
    It was a bloody weekend in the Belize and Cayo Districts. There were 4 murders: 1 in Belize City, 1 in Ladyville, and 2 in the Cayo district. We start first with the murder of 57 year-old Walter Dawson, whose body was discovered yesterday morning. Residents of Marage Road area found him on the side of the road with a savage chop wound to the life side of the head, and another wound to the neck which almost severed his head. It's a particularly gruesome murder, with very little answers, and the police are begging for help to solve it. Today, we spoke with the Police Press Officer about it, as well as a family member who asked to speak off camera. Here's what they told us:

    Man Stabbed And Shot In Cayo
    Cayo police are investigating a double murder and the possible connection between both. The first happened last night before 12:00. 23 year old Alvaro Aldana was attacked as he walked in a park with his wife. He was stabbed and shot. Courtney Weatherburne has more details on Aldana's murder. Every night Alvaro Aldana would have a smoke on this cement platform, right in front his house. It was a habit he just couldn't break. But there will be no more draws of nicotine nor puffs of smoke in the air. That's because Aldana was executed last night in this overgrown park, behind PK restaurant. Around 11:30 last night, Aldana's wife wasn't feeling well and they both went out to get a cab to go to the hospital. But Aldana had to stop off at his mother's house. Aldana and his wife took the shortcut through the park to get to his mother's house. A man emerged from the darkness and opened fire.

    Two Hours Later, Another Turns Up Dead, Was It His Killer?
    And 7 hours later, another man was killed in Cayo in what is believed to be a related murder. But the identity of this second murder victim hasn't been confirmed at this time. The information is that police found the body of a black man early this morning at 6:00 on First Street behind the Sacred Heart College. He had been shot to the head. Now there are more than a few theories connecting the double murders, but Aldana's wife shared what she knows. Voice of: Shelee Lemus - Wife of Deceased: "Apparently from the information that we got from the police station, yes, it could be that it was the same person that did both murders." Courtney Weatherburne, 7News: "So you mean the same person that killed your husband and this guy, this guy who also supposedly killed your husband."

    Police Confirm Connection
    And today at a Belize City press brief police confirmed that connection between both Cayo murders. Police press officer Fitztroy Yearwood discussed more about these cases and also made a plea for the public's help in this investigation. Insp. Fitztroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer: "We are public assistance in coming forward to try to help us in investigation these crimes, especially this one in particular. We cannot say what's the motive, if its robbery at this time, but as soon as he investigators find out, we can share that with you." Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "Is there anything that suggest that this murder might be connected to the one which happened in San Ignacio as well, this morning? We have received reports or suggestions which say that this unidentified man may have been an assassin of some sort sent to deal with this particular situation the night before and that he has some other identifiers which may suggest that is from Taylor's Alley area."

    Cousin Kills Cousin In City
    The weekend's fourth murder happened in Belize City - and it is a case of parricide - or a killing between close relatives. Seventeen year old Eaton Lamb was hanging out out near his home on Pelican Street, when his cousin Tishawn Hamilton confronted him with a knife. Lamb attempted to flee, but Hamilton stabbed him to his chest and back. Lamb made it to Antelope Street Extension before police were able to intervene. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after being rushed to the KHMH. We spoke to the police and his family for more details... Insp. Fitztroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer: "On Saturday around 12:15am police visited the KHMH ward where they saw the lifeless body of 17 yrs. old Eaton Lamb. a few minutes earlier sometime around 11:40 or so police were on patrol on Antelope Street Extension where they saw Lamb running from 24 yrs. old Tishawn Hamilton. He was in direct pursuit with a knife in his hand. Police managed to disarm Hamilton, he was then detained and Lamb was transported to the KHMH for treatment. Unfortunately about 20 minutes later, he succumb to his injury. We know that Hamilton is detained and should be charged for his murder hopefully by the end of the day."

    23 Years For Stabbing Wife 32 Times
    The man who stabbed his wife 32 times and then slit her throat will serve 23 in jail. As we told you last week, Daniel Ku pled guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Well, today Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin sentenced him to 23 years today by. But Ku will only serve 13 years because he's already served 10 years for the 2006 killing. Actually Ku's sentence would have been 25 years but 2 years were deducted because of mitigation pleas by his attorney, Bryan Neal and his brother. In December of 2006 Ku killed his wife, Anna Maria Magdaleno Basto. He alleged that they had just had sex and Basto said that she has a lover who was 10 times better than him.

    Thousands of Pound of Local Potatoes Rotting In The Fields
    Belizean potato farmers are in crisis mode because their product is rotting in the fields. It's due to Mexican imported potatoes which are still on the market when the Belize crop came ready for harvest. Now, this is the balancing act that the Ministry of Agriculture has to do every year with key vegetable crops which are grown locally, but not in sufficient quantities for year round supply. So, that's when those white potatoes are imported, but when the local red potatoes hit the market, the Ministry of Agriculture has to make sure that there's no white potatoes there to compete with them. And that's because given the choice, most consumers would prefer the larger, cheaper imported white and brown potatoes. Many of those farmers are in the San Carlos area of Orange Walk South - and the area representative who is also an agronomist, says that the farmers are in distress and government has to do something to make sure they don't suffer a total loss of crop.

    Hulse says It's The Contraband
    Mai has written to the Prime Minister to ask him to put a one month prohibition on imported fries. But while Mai wants to put the potato peelers to work, Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse says what he needs to help with is putting the contraband smugglers out of commission. Hulse says they are the reason that the market is flooded with Mexican potatoes. In fact, Hulse says that the last permit to bring in Mexican potatoes was issued in mid-January and it was to bring in four thousand pounds over an 11 day period. That has long expired but the market remains flooded with Mexican potatoes which outsell their Belizean counterparts. Hulse says his Ministry is looking for solutions: Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: "Ministry is playing the role of a facilitator, because one of the problems as I understand it is about 2.5 million pounds of potato. But the country uses 100,000 a week. So that's 25 weeks supply. Somebody has to store it, somebody has to take care of it to filter it through the process. I can't speak for this year, because I just got this ministry, but I'm hoping that next year when we have this, we won't have this. It's either we have storage or we have phase productions, so everything doesn't come in one day. Because that the problem with most products in Belize - all the cashew, mango in one day, we can't store it and clearly people can't buy it one day."

    Hon. Hulse Says Son Was Defending Himself
    And while Hulse was businesslike when he spoke about the plight of potato farmers, he was far more animated when he discussed a criminal complaint involving his son. That young man is accused of pulling a gun on a man he'd had a business dispute with. The report has been with Belmopan police for a month but no arrest has been made. Today Hulse said his son bears no blame for the business dispute which got physical: Reporter "January 22, your son Kensly was accused of pistol whipping a man at a gas station in Belmopan. He has not been charged as yet. Can you comment or maybe share an update?" Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: "Absolutely not, he didn't pistol whip anybody. You could actually call the young man and go see you know. Let me give you a bit of the case so you know. Let me quick give you the chronology young man: A man came to the gas station as I understand it and my son was with me in the south that day to buy some butane. After his truck was filled, he decided not to pay, because he said "Oh your meter is wrong." "

    Lila Vernon Passes, She Is Remembered As An Icon
    Last week, Belize's Brukdown Queen and Kriol icon Lila Vernon was hospitalized due to chronic renal failure. After being airlifted to the KHMH where she was receiving treatment, the 66 year old Vernon succumbed to to her illness yesterday morning. Vernon tirelessly promoted the Kriol culture through her music and activism. We spoke to one of the fellow founders of the National Kriol Council and close friends, Myrna Manzanares, about Vernon's importance to the advocacy and acknowledgement of the Kriol culture...

    Morgan Says Lila Warms His Heart
    Rapper, Brokdong artist and DJ Kenny Morgan shared stages with Lila Vernon - android us today that he remembers her with great joy and respect:… Today no less than the head of state, the Governor General sent a letter noting Lila Vernon as a great performer and composer. He calls her a personal friend.

    Lila, In Her Own Words
    And the respect that so many had for Lila Vernon comes from her irresistible charm as a performer and her commitment as a culturalist. Here is one of her last known interviews, where she spoke to Joe Lopez about her music, her successors, and the connections Kriol culture has to the others in Belize... Lila Vernon was brukdong artist of the yea rio 2011.

    CDB On Caribbean Business, Debt, Reserves
    On Friday in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Caribbean Development Bank held its annual press conference. 7News was there and as we showed you on Friday's news, the President of the Bank and the Director of Economics commented on the sluggish performance of Belize's slumping economy. Dr. Justin Ram said that the economic slowdown is due in part to the difficulty of doing business in Belize. It's a problem all across the region in the 19 countries which are members of the bank - where the annual World Bank report showed, it's becoming harder to do business in the Caribbean. Belize went down two notches in that survey - which is the trend across the region:.. Dr. Justin Ram Director, Economics - Caribbean Development Bank: "The ability to do business has deteriorated in most BMCs. Doing business in the region continues to be plagued by our economies' lack of competitiveness and, with the exception of Guyana, which moved up 16 places to 124 in the World Bank 2017 Global Doing Business ranking, all other territories lost ground."

    CARICOM Heads Talked Regional Issues
    The 28th inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Georgetown Guyana ended on Friday. Key issues were regional security, discussion of the carom single market and economy, correspondent banking, and tourism in the region. Today we spoke to Ambassador Daniel Gutierrez about how this pressing issues were handled:... Daniel Gutierrez - Belize Ambassador, CARICOM: "There were many things discussed as you might imagine. However, perhaps some of the things that were front and foremost were the CSME, and also the Belize Guatemala issue, corresponded banking, the heads of government listen carefully to the situation regarding the Belize/Guatemala border issues. They listened attentively like I said and towards the end as the documents coming from the conference will show, they strongly back Belize's position and unquestionably backed where we are and how we are going with this."

    Channel 5

    Superbond Default? P.M. Wants More Time with Bondholders
    Deadline for the payment of approximately twenty-six million dollars towards Belize’s consolidated billion dollar debt, collectively known as the Super Bond, has elapsed.  That closing date is today and government, [...]

    “Nothing is Off the Table,” Prime Minister Concludes On New Taxes
    While the Super Bond is very much a pressing issue, the Barrow Administration is also preparing for its annual budget presentation, ahead of the 2017 fiscal year.  Described by Prime [...]

    P.M.: Eamon Courtenay’s Positions Inconsistent
    P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay has come under fire from the ruling United Democratic Party and the Government of Belize, both of whom are demanding his immediate resignation from upper parliament.  [...]

    P.M.’s Law Firm Has No Conflicts of Interest; He Dismisses “Blue Herring”
    So, what about the perceived conflict of interest purportedly arising out of business being conducted by the prime minister’s law firm with Ashcroft-related companies?  The PM flatly describes that perception [...]

    Selling Utilities’ Shares Was Intended to Open Companies to Public
    Last Tuesday, during a press conference held by the People’s United Party, it was revealed that government is considering selling minority shares in the various utilities.  The move, it is [...]

    P.M. Confirms No Sales to Institutions
    What about word of a proposed offering to a Barbados-based outfit?  PM Barrow says there has been no such proposition.   Prime Minister Dean Barrow “There’s been no such approach.  [...]

    Nationality Rush in 2012 Made No Difference in Election Result, Claims P.M.
    The People’s United Party, following a bolt from the blue, during a testimony given by former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan, claims that the 2012 general elections were stolen by the [...]

    Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse Takes Responsibility But Says He Was Not Alone
    It has been a while since we’ve spoken about matters coming out of the Special Senate Select Committee inquiry with Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse. First there was Ruth Meighan’s [...]

    Cayo Farmers Tell Story of Rotting Potatoes
    Thousands of potatoes are rotting in La Gracia Village in the Cayo District and farmers say they are set to lose thousands of dollars for this year’s potato crop. Some [...]

    Ministry Sympathizes; Working to Resolve
    So, what is the Ministry doing about the potato crisis? Well, we caught up with Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse today and he told us that the ministry met with [...]

    What Patrick Tillett Told Public Service Commission About Visa Foils
    Patrick Tillett, Financial Controller for the Belize City Council, and Eric Chang, former councillor and Deputy Mayor of Belize City, may be summoned by the Senate Special Select Committee.  The [...]

    4 Homicides Over Weekend; in City, Eaton Lamb, 17, Stabbed to Death in Pursuit
    Within a period of thirty hours, there were four homicides recorded: one in the city that claimed the life of a seventeen-year-old, as well as a murder in Ladyville where [...]

    Who Killed Walter Dawson in Ladyville?
    Several hours later, Rural Eastern Division police officers were called out to a remote area on Marage Road, near the Caribbean Shrimp Farm in Ladyville. There, they found the mutilated [...]

    Two Murders in Cayo Bear Stamp of Drugs and Gangs
    Two men were killed in less than twelve hours in San Ignacio – but are they connected? One man was killed as he and his common-law walked in a park [...]

    Danny Ku Given 23 Years for Manslaughter of Wife; Could Be Out In 18 Months
    Freedom is closer than ever for thirty-seven-year old Danny Ku, despite a twenty-three-year prison sentence handed down by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this afternoon. That’s because he has been in [...]

    Leela Vernon, Ambassador for Kriol Culture, Dies
    Even as news filtered through on Friday of the death of Doctor Cecil “Chubby” Reneau, there were fears for the life of another famous Belizean in the hospital, the “Queen [...]

    An Official Funeral for Catholic Bishop O.P. Martin
    Bishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Church in Belize, the late Most Reverend Osmond Peter Martin, will be laid to rest next Monday, February twenty-seventh, following an official funeral service [...]

    Sports Monday with James Adderley
    Good evening, I am James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   [Highlight of weekend sporting activities….]

    CTV3

    Belize Fails To Meet 26 Million Dollars Super-Bond Payment
    Tonight the jitters over the nation’s economic state is much, much intense because of two main reasons. Firstly, today, February 20th, marked the date when a $26m Superbond payment was due but it was not paid by the Government – signalling the closest we have been to a debt default since 2012. Second, Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned to Belize empty handed on Sunday after travelling to New York last week to join the Superbond renegotiation efforts. There is still no deal with the bondholders. The implications of both issues are far-reaching but still unknown because while they are both factual, there are certain circumstances – very slim silver linings - that can assist Belize in not falling off the precipice from where it stands currently. Prime Minister Barrow was met by the media following his arrival on Sunday and he tried discussed further.

    GOB Contemplated To Sale Shares Of Utilities Companies
    Last week, Opposition Leader Hon. John Briceno exposed the Barrow Administration’s intentions of selling off the utility companies to raise much-needed revenue in the upcoming fiscal year. The allegation saw no response by way of UDP press release, and yesterday confirmation came of such intentions straight from the horse’s mouth, as they would say. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, while his economic advisor Mark Espat was set out on a path to “talk” to possible investors, the contemplation of such a move has been scrapped. Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize: “Efforts have been made to talk not just to the small man but to institutional investors; the banks, the insurance companies, but while it is something that is been contemplated it is not going to be proceeded with I think we are going to limit ourselves merely to the sale of the additional shareholding to SSB nobody can have any quarrel with that but if we went beyond that and it turned out that we could not limit further sales to the small man when you sell to SSB in effect you selling to the small man...”

    Bishop O. P. Martin To Be Laid To Rest In Belmopan
    Since the passing of Bishop Emeritus OP Martin on Thursday February 16th, Belizeans home and abroad have been sharing their prayers with his family and Catholic counterparts. On Friday the government of Belize issued a press release also giving their condolences and support to his family. Today GOB announced that the official funeral and mass of thanksgiving will be held on Monday 27th, February 2017 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan at 3:00p.m. The body will be received for viewing at 2:00p.m. Interment will follow immediately on the Co-Cathedral’s grounds. It is expected that a memorial mass will also be held in his home town of Dangriga as well as in Belize City.

    Spartan Fitness Gym Represented In Muscle Mania Bodybuilding Event
    If you were watching the Despierta Belice show last Friday, you would have been put on notice by Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos that a Muscle Mania bodybuilding event would be held by the Bodybuilding Federation in the Belize City over the weekend. Vellos didn’t participate in the competition but his gym, Spartan Fitness, was represented by two up-and-coming athletes. Rigo Menjivar participated in the Open Bodybuilding and placed 4th, behind senior bodybuilders David Requena, 2nd place M’Wafrice Hynds and 1st place Clayton Greenidge. Wendy Lizarraga placed third in the Open Bikini Fitness behind Fiona Malic who placed 2nd and Annlyn Apolonio who took 1st place.

    PM Barrow Discusses Possible Tax Increase
    And while Superbond jitters are real, another matter making Belizeans nervous is the upcoming budget. In a recent meeting with the trade unions, the Financial Secretary indicated that the fiscal adjustment needed to produce $105 million in the upcoming fiscal year. What this means is that out of our taxes, the Government intends to raise that much money which can only means one thing – tax increases. PM Barrow also discussed this matter. Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize: “How do we achieve that adjustment clearly by increasing revenue and by slashing spending. How do you increase revenue? In our case we’ve said that we have to rely a great deal on enhance more effective revenue collection methods, no doubt that alone won’t necessarily cut the mustard but until we have worked out properly and all the public officers are currently completely focused on that, until we have worked out thoroughly exactly what the mix must be to get us over the top I don’t think I should say anything more clearly all options are on the table.”

    No Major Fraud In 2012 Elections Says PM
    On January 25th the former Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan dropped a bombshell when she announced during her testimony to the Senate Select Committee’s immigration inquiry that over 2,000 nationalities were fast-tracked before the 2012 elections by the Immigration Department and that many of them were illegally issued. The testament caused major political headache for the Barrow administration who, having won 2 early elections since, has had their legitimacy as a duly-elected Government questioned by the Opposition. Prime Minister Dean Barrow responded to the allegations on Sunday, as the media met him at the airport. The PM claimed to a totally different version of what Meighan said before the Senate, than the version we heard. While not denying the possibility of Immigration fraud during the period, he said there might be only a few.

    LOVE FM

    Leela Vernon Remembered for Culture, Music and Kriol
    Leela Vernon is affectionately referred to as the Queen of Brukdown in Belize. The 66-year-old passed away Sunday morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. Vernon is well known for the work she has done over the years to keep the Kriol culture alive. We hear more in this report from correspondent Paul Mahung.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Governor General of Belize expresses condolences on passing of Leela Vernon
    The Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young issued a statement this evening expressing condolences on behalf of himself and his family on the recent passing of Bruk Down Queen, Leela Vernon. “She was and rightly so named the Queen of Brukdown,” he stated in the press release. “Leela like the late great Wilfred Peters kept alive the Creole art of Brukdown.” The Governor General said in the statement that he was proud to count Vernon as a personal friend and had mutual respect for their shared musical talent.

    GOB announces funeral services for late Bishop O.P. Martin
    The Government of Belize today announced the passing of the most reverend Bishop Osmond Peter Martin, who passed away last Thursday. An official funeral and mass of thanksgiving will be held on Monday February 27 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan at 3:00 p.m. The body will be received for viewing at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow immediately on the Co-Cathedral’s grounds.

    “Utility company shares to be sold to SSB” says Prime Minister Dean Barrow
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained this week that, contrary to statements made by opposition leader John Briceño, government will not be selling shares in utility companies to foreign buyers. Barrow said that, as a means of raising money for debt servicing, government will sell shares in Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), to the Social Security Board (SSB). According to Barrow, the sale of those shares was already proposed, but the government later halted the transaction. The transaction, he added would be consistent with the laws of Belize because government and the SSB would own at least 51 percent of the shares in all utilities, including Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL).

    CARICOM leaders conclude 28th Inter-sessional meeting of the conference of Heads of Government
    The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held their 28th Inter-sessional meeting in Georgetown, Guyana last week where they received updates, and deliberated on regional and international issues of importance. They were updated on the most recent developments between Belize and Guatemala and expressed support for the critical role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the process and underscored their hope that both countries can proceed with the required referendum as early as possible. They noted with regret that a protocol for cooperation on the Sarstoon remains outstanding. The CARICOM leaders also emphasized their steadfast support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize.

    Western Caribbean put on drought alert
    The Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) is warning countries to be on the lookout for an extended drought. The CDPMN warned that the dry conditions that countries experienced in January and the majority of February, may be the signal of an incipient drought. The organization said that the drought concerns were not for countries in the Eastern Caribbean states, but for Western states such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands and Cuba. “Other countries like Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and French Guiana should monitor conditions closely as the region goes through its dry season,” the CDPMN said.

    Over $1,600 stolen from Centaurs Communication LTD in Burrell Boom
    Yesterday morning around 8:05, police responded to a robbery at Centaurs Communication Corp. Ltd. office in Burrell Boom Village, Belize District where they met the 37-year-old cashier who reported that sometime about 7:30 p.m., while she was at work, a slim built, male person of […]

    Road traffic accident in southern Belize claims one life
    On Saturday, February 18th 2017 at about 12:03 a.m., based upon information received of a road traffic accident (RTA), Placencia Police along with Placencia Medical Personnel visited an area between miles 11 and 12 on the Placencia Road, Stann Creek District. Upon arrival, they saw […]

    18-year-old charged for keeping firearm and ammo without gun license
    Police have charged an 18-year-old-youth from Belize City for keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. According to police reports, yesterday evening around 6:15, they were conducting a mobile patrol on Euphrates Avenue in Belize City when they stopped and searched a […]

    Armed robbery at Route 88 Sports Bar in Belize City; Robbers take over US$1200
    On Saturday, around 12 p.m., police responded to a robbery at Route 88 Sports Bar in Belize City where they met and spoke with the manager 35-year-old Jian Bing Chen who reported that at around 11:55 a.m., while behind the counter, two dark complexion […]

    Teen dies after being stabbed in Belize City
    Yesterday around 12:15 a.m., police visited the K.H.M.H where they saw 17-year-old Eaton Lamb of #7020 Pelican Street, Belize City suffering from stab wounds to the chest and back. Investigations revealed that at around 11:40 p.m., while police were in the area of Antelope Street […]

    Police issues official report on second murder in San Ignacio Town; victim still unidentified
    According to police reports, on Monday, February 20, 2017 about 6:00 a.m., police visited 1st Street in San Ignacio Town where they saw a male person of dark complexion lying on his back in the middle of the street with an apparent gunshot to the […]

    Alvaro Aldana, 23, gunned down in San Ignacio Town last night
    According to police reports, on Sunday, February 19, 2017 about 11:58 p.m. acting on information received of shots fired behind the PK Store in San Ignacio Town, they visited the area where they saw 23-year-old Alvaro Aldana of the Kontiki Area, San Ignacio on the […]

    GOB issues condolences on Leela Vernon’s passing
    The Government of Belize and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) issued a release yesterday informing of the passing of Lila Genus Vernon which occurred at around 9:00 a.m. today, February 19th, 2017. Vernon was a founding member of the National Kriol […]

    Man murdered in San Ignacio Town; reportedly shot three times
    Reports reaching our newsroom are that a man was killed shortly after midnight this morning in San Ignacio Town. The murder occurred behind PK Store on the Benque Viejo road. A source told BBN that the victim was shot three times to the upper body. […]

    Blogs

    Newly Certified Diver takes AWESOME Pictures at Ambergris Caye’s Barrier Reef
    I am going to let you in on one of my deepest, darkest Belize secrets. The deepest blue hole of secrets. 9 years ago, I got certified as a PADI Scuba Diver. The training was interesting and a bit challenging, I love getting in the water, the dive shop was super fun and easy to work with and… …SCUBA diving left me a bit underwhelmed. I went a few more times and let my new hobby just fade into the sunset. Clearly I am one out of many. Millions around the world LOVE to dive. Travel near and far just to do it. I found some INCREDIBLE photos on a friend’s facebook page. Carol is a first time diver, newly certified and diving with Premier Divers, the brand new boutique dive shop on Ambergris Caye, and LOOK AT WHAT SHE IS SEEING! She credits it all to her dive shop and her camera. This cute little Olympus – I’ll put the affiliate link below. Maybe I can save up some Amazon cred so I can get one myself…and maybe a drone too. Dream big, right? Here are the gorgeous pictures that are inspiring me to get back under the water.

    A lobster lover’s dream: the 2017 Placencia Lobsterfest
    Traditionally, the summer months had been a slow season for businesses in Placencia, due to the annual lull in tourist arrivals. That is, until a small chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) decided to team up with Green Parrot Resort to host an event that marked the opening of lobster season. The result was the first Placencia Lobster fest, held in June 1998. While its first incarnation was a humble gathering near the main dock of the Placencia harbor, it quickly grew into one of the most spectacular events on the Belizean Calendar. Coinciding with the observance of Fisherman’s Day, celebrated by the local fishing cooperative, Lobster Fest has grown so much that the BTIA teamed up with the Placencia Village Council to relocate the festival to the beach in front of Placencia Village, to accommodate the increased influx of visitors. People come for the food, but stick around for the entertainment, which includes live music, and a well stacked bar, operated by the village council. Ilsa Villanueva, organizer for the Placencia Lobsterfest said that the official date for this year’s event will start June 23 and end on June 25, though much of the ground work is still in progress, to make the event the best it can be.

    Belize Diving: Your Guide To Scuba
    There are a variety of different diver certification levels globally. Usually to scuba in Belize for recreation, the beginners level is all you’ll need. To get certified as a beginner it takes about 4 to 5 days of learning safety procedures and building up hours under water. Higher certifications are available of course if you are enthused then you could definitely go higher in the tree of certifications until you become a Master diver. Amigos del Mar – Amigos del Mar dive shop is located in “downtown” San Pedro and offers a wide array of diving options. Their dive instructors are SSI and SDI certified and offer certification courses up to the Dive Master level if you wish to become a professional. Splash Dive Center – Splash is in Placencia, the gateway to the southern atolls. They are a PADI certified dive shop and can take you from your beginner level course to Dive Master level and beyond all on the beautiful southern reefs of Belize.

    10 Experiences You Can Only Have in Belize
    Belize is a fascinating country with a wide variety of interesting destinations for every kind of traveler. Located just a few short hours’ flying time from the United States, Belize is a truly exotic wonderland. Here are 10 experiences you can only have in Belize:

    International Sourcesizz

    Disappearing Seagrass Protects Against Pathogens, Even Climate Change, Scientists Find
    Every continent save Antarctica is ringed by vast stretches of seagrass, underwater prairies that together cover an area roughly equal to California. Seagrass meadows, among the most endangered ecosystems on Earth, play an outsize role in the health of the oceans. They shelter important fish species, filter pollutants from seawater, and lock up huge amounts of atmosphere-warming carbon. The plants also fight disease, it turns out. A team of scientists reported on Thursday that seagrasses can purge pathogens from the ocean that threaten humans and coral reefs alike. (The first hint came when the scientists were struck with dysentery after diving to coral reefs without neighboring seagrass.) But the meadows are vanishing at a rate of a football field every 30 minutes. Joleah B. Lamb, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University and the lead author of the new study, said she hoped it would help draw attention to their plight. “We call seagrass the ugly stepchild of marine organisms,” said Dr. Lamb. “They don’t get a lot of respect, compared to corals and mangroves.” Seagrass first evolved tens of millions years ago, when some flowering plants moved from land into the ocean. They still grow flowers, pollen and seeds, but they now do so underwater, with a powerful form of photosynthesis that allows them to thrive in dim light at depths of up to 190 feet. The sediment in which they grow is loaded with deadly hydrogen sulfide. They detoxify by pumping some of the oxygen they release during photosynthesis into their roots.

    Costa Maya has become ‘sanctuary’ for undocumented immigrants
    The Port of Xcalak has become a ‘sanctuary’ for people of Central American origin, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, who illegally arrive to Quintana Roo’s Costa Maya in search of work and new opportunities. And while most of these undocumented immigrants seek an honest way to earn a living, there are also some who engage in criminal practices that, according to local people, affect the tourist image that seeks to boost southern Quintana Roo. In the opinion of the mayor of Xcalak, Jorge Castro, the sea route composed of the island of San Pedro (Belize) and Xcalak, is the one used by Central Americans to enter Mexico. Although he said he has no statistics on the number of people who make up that exodus, in Xcalak, but especially in the Mahahual area, one can note the presence of those who come from Central America. “Many do look for work, while others pretend to be tourists, although some foreigners who live in the Costa Maya consider that they are responsible for the increase in thefts that occur in houses, shops, fishing gear and boats,” he said.

    Videos

  • Remembering Dr. Cecil “Chubby’” Reneau, Dead at 66, 4.5min.

  • San Pedro High School Celebrates Victory Win of the National Secondary Sporting Association National Football Tournament, 2min. Held on February 17 and 18 at the Ambergris Stadium. Congrats SPHS!

  • Glover’s Reef marks the completion of 216 reefs, 3min. From the remote reaches of Australia to our backyard in Florida, Global FinPrint has been looking to find bright spots, refuges, and hot spots of coral reef sharks and rays, in order to better protect these animals. The completion of Glover's Reef in January 2017 helped us reach the goal set by our team with Vulcan, Inc. to sample 216 reefs by the end of 2018. But we’re not stopping here – we’re hoping to reach 400 reefs by 2018.

  • Belize 2017 // Caye Caulker & Ambergris Caye, 3.5min. One week in Caye Caulker & Ambergris Caye!

  • Belize 2015, 28min.

  • The Hammadilly Whip, 1min. The race finish yesterday was awesome. It was a race within a race. Sponsors and managers were present. Paddlers were testing each other's strengths and weaknesses. Now, we are all going back to the planning table to get ready for the big race. The race will be fun and full of excitement.

  • LOCAL POTATO PRODUCERS CONTINUE TO LOSE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, 9min.

  • FIVE STUDENST FROM SANTA MARTHA VILLAGE RECEIVE SCHOLORSHIP GRANT FROM A ROTARY CLUB FROM USA, 7min.

  • Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, Environment & Sustainable Development, 32min.

  • An Interview with the Speaker of the House - Madam Speaker, 28min.

  • Kidney Association of Belize (KAB) appoints new Board of Directors for two year term, 21min.

  • Golf Cart burns down to a crisp in front of Island City Supermarket, 1/2min.

  • LAMANAI Mayan Ruins, 4.5min. Come join me on a tour of a very impressive Mayan city called Lamanai, in Belize, Central America. Lamanai means "submerged crocodile" and it is one of the largest Mayan cities in Meso-America. It was inhabited for over 3,000 years, beginning about 1,500 BCE. Situated on the edge of a natural fresh-water lagoon and the navigable New River, it was an ideal place for the Mayans to live and work. Lamanai can be reached by rough roads, but the ideal way to see it is from Orange Walk Town in Northern Belize. A speedboat takes us 32 miles downriver to the site with an impressive array of wildlife visible along the river banks as we go Like most Mayan city sites, Lamanai is only partially excavated. There are three main temples and other living quarters and ceremonial structures. The temple pyramids are: Jaguar Temple (named for the rough jaguar mask on the front bottom of the structure); the High Temple, which towers over 100 feet and affords a view of the jungle and river; and the amazing Mask Temple, with its two large carved masks. The faces on the masks show a strong Olmec influence along with formal Mayan royalty.

  • Hike and Cave Tubing Belize, 9.5min.

  • Belize 2016 Jungle and Island Adventure, 4min. Nick and Marcella along with their friend Janet explore the country of Belize.

  • Nurse Shark eating Lionfish, Belize, 1.5min. Lionfish is a big ecological problem in the Caribbean but how good is to feed nurse sharks with them? Is a solution or is a nother problem???

  • Loving Belize Episode 3 - Tourist Advice, Belize City, Hip-Hop artists of Belize, 32min. Welcome to episode 3 of Loving Belize. Featuring BCMG records and Party Belize, Belizean Backyard and the Belizean Movie Cant Tak it no more. With interviews from amazing musical talents coming out of Belize City like Kevin Raeburn Thõmas, D Whisper, Mr Program and Tanya Carter and the brilliant people in the music industry helping to get this talents over seas, Lauren Young, Dale Davis, Driva Dont stop at all, Yankee from Wave radio and Dale Scott Soberanis Party Belize Owner and so much more. With Music by A-fifteen aka Lex Donez and Rain, Tmike aka Michaël Barthélémy, San Lluis, Kevin RaeBurn, D Whisper, The ENG ALL STARS, Prasies, Dwight Swaggerman Brown and Melo Da Mc.

  • Loving Belize episode 10 Tourist Advice, Education, Punta Gorda, Belize City, San Pedro Columbia, 29min. This is a special episode dedicated to showing you just what Belize has to offer its children. As Joseph Stamp Romero says in the beginning credits You see a lot of negative things some times high-lighted about our young people, we also take a lot of time to focus on their positive side. In this episode you are introduced to some of the things Belize has to offer its children - Belizes education system, talent competitions, a couple passionate about educating the youths in their town who are straggling to open a high school in San Pedro Columbia, and even Belizes first Flash Mob at the Cacao festival organized by a fabulous young dancer Prem Pop.

  • Loving Belize episode 9 - Tourist Advice, Barranco and the history of the Garifona., 31min. In this heart warming episode you will be introduced to the children in the Saint Peters Claver school in Punta Gorda town where I give them and workshop in stop animation and mural art. Also in Punta Gorda I interview two US Marines, who explain about US aid in Belize and around the world. Then I take you to the beautiful town of Barranco and I am guided around the village by a charming local Fish who takes me to see the village historian Carlson Tuttle, who gives us a lesson on Garifona history and culture. From Barronco back to PG where you are introduced to courageous drum maker Emmeth Young who has open a drum school The Maroon Creole drum school to help get the kids off the streets of Belize and learn to build drums and earn an income. From drums made from hard wood from the jungle of Belize to dried tropical fruit, met Jack Nightingale who has an amazing life story and now has settled in Belize to start a dried fruit company called Fruit Full - Nothing added but the sun. Finally you are taken to a very special place, which is very close to my heart, with people I have come love deeply. Mr and Mrs Coleman. To lovely people in their 70s, hard working and honest, pure and gentle souls. Their song will fill you with love.

  • Belize City Airport Landing Belize Beautiful View, 8min.

  • 10 Days in Belize | A Reflection, 7min.

  • Belize Diving, 9min.

  • Belize #kyadventures, 4min. Our Engagement Storyl.

  • Snorkeling Belize 2017, 5min. Caye Caulker off Belize, sharks, Rays, and even a Barracuda!

  • Belize - A Honeymoon Adventure, 4min.

  • University of La Verne Belize Trip 2017, 23min. The University took a trip to Belize in January 2017. This is a slide show of that trip.


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