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January 26, 2015


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 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

Belize Fashion Week 2015 Dates Announced
Belize Fashion Week 2015 will be held on July 9 -12 2015 in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Our new team will commence their national model search for this Grand event and will feature Belizean models showcasing “one of a kind” made in Belize Fashion collections. Belize Fashion Week also has the participation of international designers and models.

Wolfe’s Woofer: Surprise Phone Call
“Hello, Dennis speaking,” I said, when the phone rang. “Hey, Dennis. This is Jim. Do you want to watch the last two games of the basketball tournament with me today?” “Sure.” I said. “Do you want to come watch it at my house?” “No. Meet me at mine. I bought a brand new giant screen TV this morning and I’m dying to try it out. Be here by two o’clock, though, because the game starts at three.” “Sure,” I said “The only thing I have to do today is go pay my telephone bill.”

Two Schools Receive Donations from Belize It Yourself, Ltd.
BIY, a travel-related Personal Concierge service, located on Coconut Drive, is proud to announce the donation of 4 new microscopes, 400 composition notebooks, 400 pencils, 2 desk pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, and 100 rulers for Holy Cross School.

Doctor Love
I am divorced and I have been dating a businessman who is also divorced. We date each other exclusively but because of his busy schedule we see each other only on week ends. We did this because he did not want me dating anyone else. I never told him that I did not want to date anyone else but it was definitely taken for granted. Last week he was out of town. I dropped by his house to leave some things with his housekeeper. Instead of the maid, he answered the door wearing only a robe and he was shocked to see me. While I was at the door I saw a woman walk from his bedroom to his bathroom. He told me she was just a friend and that they never had sex. I left and later he admitted that they did have sex occasionally but she meant nothing to him. I told him we are done and he begged for another chance. I told him I would consider it.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize Canoe Association
Race Results - UpStream: Haulover to Boom (Henderson Bank) 2015

The Reporter

Man shot at nightspot
Eugene Pitts, a Hattieville Village resident, was shit while at a dance spot shortly after midnight on Sunday. The 28-year-old told peoe close to him that someone had just shot him in the lower back. He was rushed to the KHMH where he is in a stable condition. Police believe Pitts’ shooter lurked behind some bushes in the area. They do no have a suspect as yet.

Belmopan and Benque have new and upgraded markets
Belmopan and Benque Viejo del Carmen Town have upgraded market facilities following opening ceremonies last week in those communities. The Benque Market is a new 200 square feet facility comprising six permanent stalls, each measuring 14 by 14 feet. Additionally there will be four roofed stalls with open sides for short term/daily rentals. The stalls face the new plaza and connect to green areas and covered walkways and are already occupied. The Belmopan Market entailed reconditioning the Civic Center and surrounding parking and green areas. It caters to 130 vendors.

Haiti forms electoral panel for overdue polls
Haiti has installed a Provisional Electoral Council to organise long-delayed elections – after weeks of protests and political uncertainty. The nine-member panel represents different sectors of society. It was sworn in shortly before a UN Security Council delegation arrived on a three-day mission. General and municipal polls are three years overdue, and President Michel Martelly began ruling by decree last week when parliament was dissolved. The dissolution followed a failure to elect new MPs in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Blogs

Forgotten Guardians of the Rain Forest
Belize is a small country with a large heart and love of nature. Fortunately, a great deal of Belize is set aside to preserve the county’s extraordinary biodiversity, unlike neighboring countries which have significant deforestation. Some 25 parks, reserves or protected marine areas have been set aside for Belizeans and the tourists who hold Belize as a top destination for rain forest or coral (reef) exploration. Today, approximately 40% of the land mass is protected, maintaining homes for Belize wildlife like the tapir, the toucan, the jaguar and many other animal and plant species. Belize is especially proud of the conservation efforts to protect the jaguar. After a campaign that began in 1974 by the Belizean government, the arrival of US wildlife researcher Alan Rabinowitz in1982 sealed the fate of the Cockscomb basin as a jaguar reserve. It was established to protect the forests, fauna and watersheds of approximately 400 square kilometres of the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains. The reserve was founded in 1990 as the first wilderness sanctuary for the Jaguar (Panthera onca) and is regarded as a premier site for Jaguar preservation in the world. However, the jaguar had another neighbour that was not protected, and that is the Maya people, who represent approximately 13% of the population. It is believed that they inhabited the Cockscomb Basin area as early as 10,000BC. For centuries, they lived in harmony in the rainforests of Central American and Mexico. The civilizations built monumental pyramids, invented their own calendar, a unique writing system and were experts in astronomy. But what contributed to the extinction of the ancient Mayan civilization? The traditional Maya way of life and its culture has been largely lost in Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize. Archeological drill cores from the Blue Hole in Belize suggest that an extensive drought period might have been the cause for the loss of the majority of the Mayan civilization. The drought theory is not new but in 2012 samples from a 2,000 year old stalagmite also showed that a drought had affected this Belizean region around the 7th to 10th centuries.

America’s Music Ambassadors, the Zydeco Band Mo Mojo, Jams in San Pedro and…It’s Awesome
Most people love music and love to dance. And yesterday, a band called Mo Mojo came in from the states as musical ambassadors. To show a bit of US cultural music to Belize and to play along with local artists. The result was pretty amazing and beautiful. This is a US State department program…who knew? And the program is a revival of the Jazz Ambassadors that went around the world during the Cold War. Dizzy Gillespie…Count Basie…Benny Goodman…a seriously cool program and some BIG shoes to fill. Zydeco, I will admit, was a genre that I had never heard of…but once I heard it playing, it’s American thru and thru. Fiddles, harmonicas, washboards, the trumpet…folksy fun celebratory music that anyone can enjoy.

Videos

  • Ambergris Caye & The Great Blue Hole, 7min. January 2015 - San Pedro, Belize Ramon's Village
  • Belize Sunset, 1min. This has been Len's project: to shoot the perfect sunset. We think this one is pretty close to perfect, so here you go.
  • Caracol and Mountain Pine Ridge Mayawalk Tours San Ignacio Cayo Belize, 5min.
  • Belize Black Howler Monkeys, 1min. These Black Howler Monkeys ended up coming right over us in Belize's Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve. Incredible!
  • Blue Hole - Belize, 18min. Estar en este fenomeno de la naturaleza es una experiencia de vida..!!
  • Belize Sharks, 2min. Lighthouse Reef Belize.
  • Belize Service Project, 9min. Fredonia Belize Service Project, January 2015
  • Belize & Guatemala Vacation, 3.5min. An amazing trip to Belize & Guatemala. Ambergris Caye, Playa Blanca, El Pescador, Black Rock Lodge in the rainforest, Placencia and back to Ambergris Caye! Beautiful, peaceful and oh so scenic.
  • Knoll Family Belize Trip 2014, 15min. Gaia Riverlodge, near San Ignacio, Belize and San Pedro, Belize.
  • Diving Dog of Belize, 2min. Talented Belizean dog that will dive anywhere for a Conch shell..in Independence Village.
  • Belize Jankunu Dancing, 3min. One of Belize heritage musics..the jankunu jam..

    January 25, 2015


    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 and CTV 3
    Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    JJW Camp Belize 2015 - The FUN Continues!
    The Camp Belize 2015 (camp one or two this month) gang were entertained last night (Jan 23rd) by Jerry Jeff Walker and friends at Fido's Restaurant & Bar. During the sold-out show Walker asked the crowd to help support Saga Humane Society's "Hip to SNIP" program and literally had his hat passed around. The crowd gave generously, with over $2,000 donated! Camp Belize One ends tomorrow, with more fun folks arriving on the island the same day for Camp Two. We welcome you all!

    Police Report
    *On Saturday, January 17th at approximately 6:20PM, San Pedro Police on patrol at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets, noticed a tall male person of dark complexion dressed in a white T-shirt and a green short pants standing on Chicken Street and walking around a tank in the area. He handed something to a person who had approached him. Police conducted a search on the male person, however, nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspected cannabis along with the accused person was taken to San Pedro Police Station where he was identified as 43-year-old Edwardo Jones of Tarpon Street. The suspected cannabis was weighed and amounted to 8 grams. Police then arrested and charged Jones for the offence of Possession of Controlled Drugs.

    Disposal of large items is the responsibility of individual homeowners
    Brackett also said that in the past, The San Pedro Town Council has conducted cleanup campaigns targeting the collection of these large items in an effort to help residents. “There are privately owned freight trucks that do these types of collection for a small fee. Our residents need to have a bit of pride and own up to some level of responsibility, because we cannot do all.” The San Pedro Town Council is suggesting that before these items are placed outside the property for disposal, that homeowners should contact the council to try and coordinate if it can be collected. In the event that council cannot collect these large items at the given time, the council advises homeowners to contact the private freight services.

    Editorial: A tragic life, a tragic death…
    It is with a heavy heart that this week we report on the brutal murder of Silvia Benitez. The story of this young mother of three is tragic in so many ways, it is hard to begin counting the reasons why. As you will read in our article, Silvia is from the Honduras. According to a United Nations report issued in April 2014 Honduras topped their list as the most murderous country per capita in the world. Silvia ran away from her homeland following a violent past: the father of two of her three children was murdered there. Sadly, the young woman took refuge in what the same United Nations report lists as the third most murderous country in the world, Belize. The attractive young woman resorted to exotic dancing in order to make a living, a profession that can be dangerous in itself, and she was tragically taken advantage of while apparently intoxicated. It was an ideal scenario for a predator(s) to exploit, and one has to wonder was this their first time…will it be their last. How many other young women are endangering their lives each night they dance and party with strangers?

    ACES Relocates Problematic Crocodile
    It’s been awhile since The San Pedro Sun has reported on problematic crocodiles on the island. Perhaps our community is learning that the illegal feeding of these apex predators is what makes them dangerous in the first place? Unfortunately, not everyone has “gotten the message” or respects the law, and once again the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) has had to step in and relocate a crocodile from Ambergris Lake after a local restaurant began feeding it. “We have been receiving calls from concerned citizens that the crocodile was getting quite bold,” explained ACES Croc Wrangler Chris Summers. “It was obvious this croc had lost its fear of people and was now associating them with food. It wouldn’t run away when approached and showed no fear of people. This behavior makes for a very dangerous animal.” A week ago ACES reported the problem to the San Pedro police and were told that a warning would be issued to the people who were guilty of feeding the croc. A fed croc will always be a safety issue, therefore ACES decided it was best to remove the reptile from the highly populated area.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Frequently Asked Questions About the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) in Belize
    The Qualified Retired Persons program is designed to attract more retirees to Belize by promoting retiring in Belize. In 1999, legislation was passed (Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act) to make this process as painless as possible for the retirees, and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is responsible for running this program. It is relatively easy to comply with the rules for the Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP). And other than the name suggests, you do not have to be retired at all, but there are some limits to employment. The main criteria for the QRP program are:

    Mo'Mojo at Elvi's
    Last night Mo'Mojo and U.S. Embassy staff met with San Pedro Mayor Gurrero and his wife for dinner at the famous Elvis restaurant to discuss their trip in Belize and sample the local cuisine.

    Power interruption 5:30am to 7:00am Sunday, January 25, portion Belize City
    Douglas Jones St, North Front St from Mapp St to Victoria St, Cleghorn St, Slaughterhouse Rd and New Road from Victoria St to Douglas Jones St. BEL to restore configuration of distribution system following installation of overhead power lines to replace damaged submarine cable.

    PlusTV

    Sugar Cane season to begin Monday
    After a long sugar impasse that almost ruined the industry, the sugar cane harvest season, known to Norteños as “La Zafra”, will begin on Monday January 26th.The starting date for the season was announced on Thursday  in Orange Walk, after a lengthy two hour session of consultation with all stakeh...

    Manhunt for Emmanuel Willoughby in San Ignacio
    San Ignacio Police are looking for a man believed to be responsible for an armed robbery in the early hours of Thursday morning. Reports are that around 7:30 am, as New Yan Chinese store in Bella Vista Street was just opening for the day, a man of dark complexion, believed to be escaped prisoner Emm...

    Jury acquits one of two murder accused
    A jury of his peers has acquitted Cordel Flores, aged 26, of the 2009 murder of eighteen year old Alberto Allen, but were not able to reach a unanimous verdict in respect of a second accused, 23 year old Warren Lewis. The re-trial ended just after nine Thursday night when the jury of 9 women and ...

    Tatoo artist charged for sex with a minor
    A 45 year old Belizean tattoo artist of Belize City, known for his trademark logo “Stinging Scorpio Tattoo”, was arrested and charged on Thursday, for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15 year old minor.According to police reports, at about 8:00 pm on Friday January 16th, a 15 year old mino...

    Accused heroin traffickers free on bail
    The four men busted with over 19 kilograms or 40 pounds of heroin in separate packages on January 12 are out on bail of $50,000 each. 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara of San Pedro Town; 30 year old Lenon Tillett of Belize City and Corozal; 42 year old Gerardo Allen of Caye Caulker; and 35 year old Heid...

    DOE warns of illegal dam construction
    The Department of the Environment is still investigating the Barton Creek Dam in an effort to determine the best way forward. In the last week of December 2014, Plus TV broke the news of the existence of two micro-hydros built close to the Barton Creek Archeological site, unbeknownst to the Departme...

    Consultations held to advance Belizean products and services through tourism
    The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation and Agriculture (IICA) is partnering with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture to host meaningful consultations to development a strategy for advancement of Belizean products and services t...

    GOB maintains prohibition of offshore drilling concessions
    On Thursday we told you about the issue that some environmental conservation NGOs took up with the Government’s proposed draft for offshore exploration, condemning the Government for keeping zones near delicate oceanic ecosystems on the drilling map. On Friday, the Ministry of Energy, Science and Te...

    Refurbished basketball courts for Belmopan
    Basketball Players and fans living in the City of Belmopan are to enjoy newly refurbished basketball facilities. As a part of an ongoing project to upgrade various sporting facilities around the city, the Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon...

    The Reporter

    Thousands of rounds of military ammo stolen from BDF storage facility
    Two separate investigations are underway – one by the Ladyville Police and the other by the Belize Defense Force (BDF) to determine how two secured containers with several thousand rounds of military ammunition for the US Army were stolen from the BDF’s guarded ammunition and explosives storage facility on the Lord’s Bank road. The stolen ammunition is worth roughly $20,000 and are used in M-16 and M-4 rifles. While a patrol discovered the breach at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, authorities do not know when the actual breach occurred. Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd, the force’s chief of staff, told reporters on Friday “the last time we did a check for 100 percent accountability was the seventh of December.

    Brazil’s most populous region facing worst drought in 80 years
    Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira has said the country’s three most populous states are experiencing their worst drought since 1930. The states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais must save water, she said after an emergency meeting in the capital Brasilia. Ms Teixeira described the water crisis as “delicate” and “worrying”. Industry and agriculture are expected to be affected, further damaging Brazil’s troubled economy. The drought is also having an impact on energy supplies, with reduced generation from hydroelectric dams. Brazil is supposed to be in the middle of its rainy season but there has been scant rainfall in the south-east and the drought shows no sign of abating. The crisis comes at a time of high demand for energy, with soaring temperatures in the summer months. “Since records for Brazil’s south-eastern region began 84 years ago, we have never seen such a delicate and worrying situation,” said Ms Teixeira.

    The Belize Times

    United With Cañeros!!
    History will record that when the over 5,000 hardworking cane farmers were in need of defence and support when under attack from a powerful, foreign multinational company, standing up for them were the Opposition People’s United Party, senior cane farmers and leaders of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association such as Alfredo Ortega, Diody Novelo, Lucilo Teck, Javier Keme, Ramon “Monchi” Cervantes and Oscar Alonzo, and the venerable Union leader and attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd. The Government of Belize led by the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his minion Ministers all turned cowards under the might of the foreign entity, American Sugar Refinery, and joined them to oppress and beat down the cane farmers into submission. The final act of this state-sanctioned political and economic hit on the cane farmers was the Government’s passing, with great urgency, an amended Sugar Industry Act on Monday, January 29th, 2015 before the House of Representatives.

    Why was Nuri Muhammad removed from LOVE FM morning show?
    The sudden and unexplained removal of Nuri Muhammad as the host of the Love FM morning show has revived talks about the Barrow Administration’s incessant attacks on freedom of speech and the media. Muhammad, who is a well-respected leader of the Muslim Community, activist and senior media professional, was suddenly yanked from the Love FM morning show sometime last week. He didn’t appear on the set, conveniently, when two senior Government Ministers, Godwin Hulse and Hubert Elrington, appeared as guests to defend the Government’s role in the instability in the sugar industry. The show lacked the fiery debate that would be incited whenever Muhammad was present. It was also boring and very one-sided, with the mouthy Ministers talking non-stop and going mostly unchallenged by the two female hosts. Fortunately, the callers to the show appeared more informed and better able to call out the lies and deception of the UDP Ministers.

    Espats/Barrow cut another deal
    An article that appeared in the Reporter newspaper last week confirmed reports that the Espats and Dean Barrow have cut yet another deal. According to the report, a multi-million dollar building located on Regent Street owned by Phillip Espat, who is the brother of Mark Espat, has been purchased by the UDP Government at a value of $3.2 million. The building, which was once the former Supplies Control Building, will house the new National Bank office in Belize City. Mark Espat, everyone knows, is the Judas who betrayed the PUP and the good people of the Albert division, and who sold out to the UDP by resigning weeks before the 2012 elections so that the UDP could be victorious. Shortly after winning the elections, Espat was named Dean Barrow’s Economic Ambassador and since then has been on the UDP Government’s payroll collecting over $20,000 monthly.

    UDP concedes defeat in Freetown
    The increasingly unpopular United Democratic Party, who won the last election only by a razor-thin margin of 40 votes, has conceded defeat in the Freetown Division, the constituency held by the humble, hardworking and very popular, loved and respected Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca. The UDP has been fishing for candidates for many months following the trashing they got in the division in the 2012 general elections. Their last candidate, Lee Mark Chang, threw in the towel right after the immigration scandal involving Elvin Penner and South Korean criminal Kim Won Hong was exposed. Since then, the UDP have had no success in swatting down someone for the area. First it was Darrel Bradley, who refused to be set up by his Party. Old candidate Michael Peyrefitte didn’t want to come back. Then it was Jorge Espat, who we are told, is already seeing the writing on the wall of the UDP’s downfall under Barrow and wants nothing to do with them at the moment.

    …divided we fall!
    Belize’s Parliamentarians met in the House of Representatives this past Monday to make an amendment to the Sugar Act which was ordered by the Supreme Court of Belize five years ago. The bill to amend the act was put through all three required readings in one sitting and was sent to the Upper House the following day. What is interesting to note is that while in opposition, the current Prime Minister railed incessantly about the practice of rushing bills through the House in one sitting. I have searched tirelessly but cannot find one Bill which has been presented by this government that has not gone through all three stages on the same day. There is an old Kriol saying that goes, “Duh suh nuh like duh”! The Prime Minister keeps insisting that this Act had to be amended in order for the 2014/2015 sugarcane season to begin. The question is, how come since 2010 when this court order was made, every season has begun without this amendment being made? In fact, the very same Wilfredo Magaña, who the Prime Minister hailed as the biggest hero in helping him to destroy the unity of the cane farmers, himself had to write a letter begging the Prime Minister to comply with this same said court order.

    Editorial: The Prime Mischief Maker
    The matter continues to make the rounds and has become a cause for concern. That matter is the report that Mr. Nuri Muhammad, long-time host of LOVE FM morning show, was ousted for a day. That day was last week Wednesday when the UDP Government was reeling from the exposure brought about by the Prime Minister calling a press conference and disgracing himself as being the champion for ASR/BSI and the destroyer of the cañeros. Belizeans saw through the hand gestures and serpent-like movements of the Prime Minister as he sought to put a coating over his blatant attack against the best interest of the cañeros. Damage control became paramount. Normally the Prime Minister handles his own damage control. But his press conference was too much. The over-kill and naked fronting for ASR/BSI was too obvious. Even blind Jessie was able to see through Barrow.

    St. John Vianney & St. Ignatius advance to basketball finals
    St. Ignatius RC School won 25-13 over the Holy Redeemer Wesley Upper School, and St. John Vianney RC School defeated Wesley Upper boys 22-19 in the Belize City Primary schools basketball playoffs on Tuesday, January 20th. Justin Gentle led Holy Redeemer with 9 points while, James Garbutt’s Kylon Thurton scored 5pts. In Game 1 of the playoffs last Thursday, the St. John Vianney RC School boys eliminated the St. Joseph’s RC School boys 23-17. Vianney’s T-Dee Cattouse scored 9pts, Akeem Ferrell and Daniel Hemmans added 6pts apiece and Gemal Palacio scored a bucket, while St. Joseph’s Michael Welch had 8pts and Kendal Flowers scored 5pts.

    David Henderson Jr. wins C-Ray Saturday race
    Team SMART’s David Henderson Jr won the C-ray Cycling Club’s Saturday race, a 48-mile ride from Leslie’s Imports to the Burrell Boom Village entrance on the Hattieville bypass road and back to Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway last Saturday morning, out-sprinting Team Benny’s Megabytes’ Byron Pope to win the first prize: dinner for two at Celebrity Restaurant. Elites 1st David Henderson – Team SMART 2nd Byron Pope – Team Benny’s Megabytes’ 3rd Brandon Cattouse – C-Ray Road Addikz 4th Henry Moriera – Team Smart Weekend Warriors 1st Warren Coye – Team Santino’s 2nd Collet “Bunas” Maheia 3rd Ray Cattouse Sr – C-Ray Road Addikz

    Belmopan Bandits are Premier League champs
    The Belmopan Bandits won their 3rd Premier League football championship against the Police United. The Bandits upset the Police 4-0, even after the cops team had beaten the Bandits three times in this year’s competition: once in the regular season, and twice in the playoffs. Game 1 of the finals which were played on a muddy, soggy pitch at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium last Wednesday, January 14th ended in a nil-zip draw. The rains held up and the sun dried the pitch, allowing for a completely different level of play in Game 2 on Saturday night. Bandits’ striker Evan Mariano was streaking up the left sideline heading for the Police goal when the Police’s defense took him down inside the 18-yard box. The referee ruled penalty and Bandits’ goalie Woodrow West converted with ease for the Bandits’ 1st winning goal in the 23rd minute of play.

    Dean Fraid Fu Francis!!
    Let’s set the record straight! Not only will the People’s United Party remain under the steady and strong leadership of Hon. Francis Fonseca into the next General Elections, but the PUP will come out of those elections the big winner with Hon. Francis Fonseca as the next Prime Minister. We don’t know if Dean had overdosed on his back-pain meds on Sunday night as he put the final ink to the Bill that will continue to oppress cane farmers, but he had certainly lost his mind when he tried to publicly meddle in the affairs of the PUP, claiming that “he knew” that Hon. Francis would not be Opposition Leader when the next House Sitting is called in March.

    Chaos at City Hall!! – Dog-fight between Mayor and Councillor Dion Leslie over trip to Houston
    There is heaping tension at City Hall after Councillor Dion Leslie was unceremoniously stripped of his two portfolios by Mayor Darrell Bradley. Leslie, who was up to last week in charge of Sanitation and Sister City Relations, learnt of the sudden change and demotion in the most denigrating of ways, via a phone text message sent out by the City Administrator Candace Burke late Friday evening. The decision was taken by Mayor Bradley after he learnt that Councillor Leslie had travelled to Houston, U.S.A., to negotiate unauthorized deals for the Council’s sanitation department. This jet-setting was against the Mayor’s knowledge or permission and he felt utterly disrespected. The Mayor decided to discipline Leslie, who we are told, offered no apology to the Mayor for his actions.

    It’s Time for Change at City Hall
    With sober thought the UDP does not deserve to be reelected to the Belize City Council in the municipal elections on March 4th. Five of the core responsibilities of the council are streets and drain maintenance, garbage collection, parks maintenance, traffic management, and transparency with public funds. The Council’s grade for carrying out those responsibilities is “F” for failure. The city deserves better, and that is why the PUP City Council slate led by successful businesswoman and activist Yolanda Schakron and I received a warm welcome as we campaigned from house to house in Port Loyola this past Saturday. While the council has fixed some streets with concrete, there is no accountability for the over $30 million the council says it has spent on fixing those streets.

    WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – BACK IN PORT
    Yesterday, Saturday I joined Gilroy Usher, Yolanda Schakron and the PUP Team of City Council Candidates in a campaign session and walk-through in Port Loyola. It was a spirited four hours or so of house-to-house campaigning in the Freedom Street and Jane Usher Boulevard area. Some twenty or more of us, decked out of course in blue, met as many people and stopped at as many homes as we could. The Blue Machine was in full swing, as we did our thing to bring the message of a PUP in fighting form and a Team and Leader fully committed to becoming City Mothers and Fathers, who will make a real difference for citizens and residents of the Old Capital.

    Statement by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca at January 19th 2015 Meeting of the House of Representatives
    Mr. Speaker, the Sugar Industry is the lifeblood of the North. Its survival, its success, growth and development is vital to the families and communities of the North but also to our national economy and the nation of Belize. We pay tribute to our hardworking cañeros, who work the land, dedicating their lives to the important industry which allows them to provide housing and shelter to their families, food, clothing, and education for their children. We salute our cañeros. It is their dignity, honour, pride and future that we are here to protect and defend. It is for them that we rise and stand up here today. Mr. Speaker, the proposed amendments are an attack, an assault on that dignity and future of our cañeros and the future of the sugar industry which they have built working the land. This industry has had a long history of growth and development based on a working partnership, a working tri-partite relationship, which has had its problems from time to time but one which has worked over time.

    Body of Roaring Creek businessman found dead in river
    The body of 24 year old Roaring Creek businessman and resident, Emerson Daly, who went missing on Saturday January 18th night, was found dead in the Belize River in Roaring Creek Village this morning. Police have reported that the lifeless body was in a decomposed state. While it showed multiple stab wounds on his chest, the Police say the body also had a gunshot wound. Daly, who is the owner of Daly’s Dream Creation, an events planning and decorating company, was reported missing by his mother, Desiree Matute, on Monday January 20th.

    New Sugar Act strips away cane farmers’ role as “partners” in industry
    The Sugar Industry Amendment Bill passed in a hurry by the Barrow Administration’s through the House of Representatives on Monday January 20th and then by the Government’s majority in the Senate on Tuesday January 21st has greater implications on the sugar industry than clearing the way for freedom of association for farmers. The new law drastically changes the playing field for cane farmers by taking away key powers they held and transferring it to the very political and petty UDP Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega. Several amendments to sections of the Act give greater political control to Minister of Agriculture over branches of the industry which manage critical aspects that deal with cane farmer membership, cane delivery, cane quality, and the overall regulation of the industry.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    COLA holds general meeting;executive elections
    Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) held its annual general meeting this afternoon in Belize City at the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Hall. The activist organization says it has defied the odds and survived the fierce opposition from those who wish it ill and believe it is standing in the way of national development. During the meeting the executive presented reports on the organization’s many achievements since the last major meeting in 2013.

    Blogs

    “First Time for Everything” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
    Although it’s not my favourite genre of music I’ve actually been to Nashville twice and on both occasions have gone with Rose (well I wouldn’t have gone on my own) to the Grand Ole Opry and have actually stood on the stage so going to a Pickin Party with Rose didn’t seem like such a tremendous sacrifice for me to make. And anyway you’re hearing generally deteriorates the older you get! So on Thursday,after a hearty breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea and running a few errands in ‘Town , I returned home (enjoying the paved road right to my front gate) and waited for Rose to get ready (I do this quite a lot by the way) and eventually (and I mean EVENTUALLY) we set off for the Pickin Party that was being held at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill stopping on the way to pick up faithful, long time, long term island visitors Melissa and Ken. We all got there shortly after 13.00 hours and the place was already busy

    Letter: Garinagu and the Decade for People of African Descent
    Hidden in the merrymaking of the recent holiday season of December 2014, an important even took place. The United Nations launched the “International Decade for People of African Descent”. The decade is to begin January 1, 2015 and end December 31, 2024. The theme is “People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development”. Their main objective of the International Decade, is to promote respect, protection and fulfillment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for people of African descent as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some of the other objectives can be seen here (result of copy and paste): “The Decade shall focus on the following objectives: To strengthen national, regional and international action and cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights by people of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society;

    Lionfish Invasion
    Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific. It’s hard to be a diver nowadays and not know about the Lionfish invasion in the Caribbean. The problems stems from what is termed an invasive species. It has no natural predators on this side of the planet to restrain its population growth and the population has exploded. As a result the food supply gets depleted and the negative snowballing effect on the environment begins to harm the reef. Campaigns to control their harmful presents have sprung up over the entire continent. Of the many different ideas of controlling their population one stands out as being very effective, divers spearing and eating them. Divers have devised a special spear that has been approved by industry. Laws, rules and regulations about spearing fish while diving have been lifted for this one species. Restaurants have included them on their menus as a special delicacy. There is no worse curse on the planet than to taste good. If you’re a diver or snorkeler and you love our reef pick up a spear and kill a Lionfish.

    A Hodgepodge on ANOTHER Gorgeous Day
    Yesterday was a perfect Friday end to a gorgeous week. I mean GORGEOUS and…I’ve been harping on it each and every day. Really rubbing it in your faces. :) But as Winter Storm Iola rolls into the Northeast, a cold front, probably the very same, has moved over San Pedro and today’s skies are grey…it’s windy and chilly. 75. It makes sense. Perfect weather to mourn the potential passing of my FAVORITE comedy magazine – Sky Mall. Mad Magazine has nothing on you. So many bad ideas/dreams of bad inventors crushed…sad. CNN did a nice tribute: Good-Bye Life-Sized Garden Yeti: A Tribute to the…Best INFlight Magazine Ever.

    International Sourcesizz

    Heart of the Treasure Valley: 'Hands-on, hearts-on'
    The two of them bent over their work, the tall, confident Boise State graduate student named Kelli Soll and the diminutive, quiet third-grader named Jasmin. They were working on sentences: My name is Jasmin. My favorite color is blue. My favorite subject is math. Kelli says: "We may have spent a short time together, but her impact was for life." Kelli was a leader in a weeklong service work trip to Belize to help elementary school students learn what people fluent in English take for granted. Although English is the official language in Belize, it's often the second or third language that students speak. And speaking English is far easier than reading and writing it, which is where Kelli came in. On this particular day, Kelli and Jasmin practiced those sentences all morning: I like to play soccer. I am in the third grade. I live in San Ignacio. When they came back from lunch, Jasmin handed Kelli a note.

    No more evidence in Bain case
    THE evidential phase of the trial of fired University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Brendan Bain ended on Friday in the Supreme Court. That phase of the two-week-old trial came to an end with the defendant, the UWI, closing its case after presenting its final two witnesses, Professor Rose-Marie Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UWI, St Augustine campus in Barbados, and Ian McKnight of the group Caribbean Vulnerable Coalition Committee. On Monday, the Attorney General's Chamber is to make its submission to the court on the constitution.

    Videos

    Skydiving into the Blue Hole, Belize, 8.5min.
    Belize youtube, 7min. A peak into our few months in Belize! :)
    Belize mission trip 2015, 5min.
    Cesta střední Amerikou 2014 part 2 Belize, 27min. Přejezd lodí z Livingstonu do Punta Gordy,odtud busem a vodním taxi do Placencie.Relax na plážích Karibiku
    Shamanic Rebirth - Buried Alive in Belize, 8min. I was finally able to get all the video of my burial last year in Belize. This Shamanic burial is something I do every once in awhile to help refocus myself. The meditation while buried and connected to the Earth is soothing and enlightening. I am so happy that Ajinder was able to video tape this for me so I can see the burial from others point of view. I learned to give more instruction and I still need to work on my breathing. I know I have talked about this to many people and I hope this video will help.
    Belize Mission Trip Part 1, 3.5min. Thanks for watching i hope you enjoyed these video clips of us looking at animals, swimming in the ocean, and being really sad at the end bc we had to leave belize :(
    Belize Trip 2015 Part 2, 4min.
    Scott Family in Belize 2014, 2.5min. The Scott family trip from 2014 to Hamanasi resort in Hopkins, Belize.
    Kris sells art, 1min. Kris walks into a gallery in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and trys to talk ladies into buying his first painting. Cute!

    January 24, 2015


    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 and CTV 3
    Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    FooFoo Friday: Margaritas Please!
    One of our favorite places is Caprice Bar at the Holiday Hotel. In fact, everything Holiday Hotel related makes us feel right at home! From the happy ladies at Celi’s Deli who prep our morning breakfasts, to the quick and delicious quesadillas or chaya dip from the restaurant, to the fabulous happy hours at Caprice Bar. Really, what else can we ask for?! But all this is to tell you one of our favorite things about Caprice: HAPPY HOUR! From 3PM to 6PM, we can get 2 for 1 margaritas! At $6BZ a piece, you know we’d be all over that. (You should have seen us during the great lime shortage of 2014 – what a sad bunch!) We’re so happy to say it’s back, and even more refreshing!!

    Workshop and equipment worth over $100,000 goes up in smoke
    Over $100,000 worth of belongings went up in smoke in a fire that occurred in the wee hours on Wednesday January 21st. Sometime around 2:20AM, Fire personnel responded to a report made by San Pedro Police and visited the Grand Colony Resort south of San Pedro Town where a fire was observed. According to the San Pedro Fire Department, they quickly visited the area and observed a wooden and plywood structure fully engulfed in flames. The structure is a workstation belonging to Grand Colony Resort which is in receivership under the Belize Bank Limited. Because of the materials within, the fire took some time to be brought under control.

    The Belize Coalition calls on Government to Save our Natural Heritage
    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage calls on the Government of Belize to take immediate action to ban oil exploration in the offshore to help in removing the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the World Heritage List of Sites in Danger and prevent the potential delisting of the Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site. Critical actions include no issuing of new oil concessions within the offshore; no giving any extensions to the three companies presently holding offshore oil leases and allowing the relinquishment process to take effect as the Petroleum Act stipulates; and subscribing into law the offshore as a restricted area for oil concessions.

    Debris and Yard Garbage Pick-up Schedule
    The San Pedro Town Council hereby announces it’s new and updated Garbage pick up schedule starting as of Monday, January 26th. We appreciate the patience of the general public, we do ask everyone to please separate you household garbage from the yard debris. It is of utmost importance that you bag your garbage hence making it easier for the workers to handle and it is a more effective way to get your garbage picked up in a timely manner.

    Mo’ Mojo Zydeco Band Travels as American Music Abroad to Belize
    The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce the visit of the music group Mo’ Mojo Zydeco Band as an American Music Abroad program to Belize from January 22 – 29, 2015. The American Music Abroad program is designed to communicate America’s rich musical contributions to the global music scene as it fosters cross-cultural communication and people-to-people connection to global audiences. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has partnered with American Voices to engage with people across the world through American Music Abroad (AMA) exchanges. These exchanges help promote a positive image of the U.S. through arts and music and give overseas audiences the chance to directly interact with American artists. AMA bands represent a wide variety of American musical genres and will reach more than 40 countries around the world in 2014.

    Consultation to be carried out to determine the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger
    The Belize Fisheries Department through the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development hereby informs the general public that the World Heritage Centre (WHC) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is on a mission to Belize during the week of January 19-23, 2015. The objective of the mission is to provide technical assistance for the design of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger. During their visit, the team will be consulting with various government agencies and stakeholders to discuss three main items:

    Manuel Heredia confirms that Ambergris Stadium is not for sale
    Heredia explained that land that is being finalized for sale was land sold under the previous PUP administration. He said that those lands are located adjacent to the football field, including a parcel that was set aside for a track and field area. “I want to remind Noralez that the land adjacent to the football stadium that should have been part of the facility was sold by his party. It was the PUP that sold it and I can give you the names of those PUP’s that the land was sold to. The PUP even sold the parcel of land next to the field that was set aside for track and field. Part of that land was sold to Maria McNabb and she, as I understand, is reselling it, and that is where Noralez is being misleading.”

    Ambergris Today

    Coffee Lovers on the Rise in San Pedro – Tropic Al’s Fills the Gap
    Lately I have noticed that more locals are paying attention to the coffee that they are drinking. With the recent craze in specialty coffee drinks, islanders are demanding more flavorful coffee and all the sweetness of the lattes, cappuccinos, frappucchinos and iced coffees. But in a tropical island with no Starbucks, Tropic Al’s at Ramon’s Village, is filling the gap and perking up San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The one thing I love the most about Tropic Al’s is that they decided to brew local coffee beans from island roasters Caye Coffee Roasting Co. Ltd. They are not importing any Starbucks flavors or using pre-packaged coffee; it’s all fresh coffee that is very rich, flavorful and delicious. Three staff members are trained baristas after a professional instructor from the Seattle Barista Academy was brought down to train them. They even took a tour of the Caye Coffee operations to learn more about the coffee they serve. Tropic Al’s baristas Alexis, Ron and Karim are some of the friendliest servers around; they are quick, witty and very attentive.

    Belize’s New Metrology Lab to Raise Standards of Belizean Products
    A new state of the art laboratory testing facility is to be constructed at the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS). Ground was broken for the building today which in turn is expected to be completed by early 2016. The building is being constructed under the Belize Rural Development Project which is being funded by the European Union along with counterpart funding from the Government of Belize. The lab will be constructed at a cost of BZ$ 2.3 million and its main use will be Metrology testing, that is, ensuring that products manufactured or produced in Belize meets the international standards of weights and measurements. The building will host seven (7) laboratory areas, offices, conference/training rooms, bathrooms, utility rooms, storage rooms and external areas. The BRDP support to BBS also includes the supply and training in the use of key metrology equipment including: mass comparators and balances, weights and related mass laboratory equipment, pressure, temperature, dimensional and volume metrology equipment. All of which has already been handed over.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Trash pickup delay in San Pedro
    Good day everyone, Our garbage compactors were unable to come out in the morning for the daily pick-up of household waste due to mechanical problems; however, they will be collecting household waste in TOWN CORE up until this afternoon. To carry on quickly, we will be closing off sections of the street where the garbage compactor will be passing through. We kindly ask all drivers and pedestrians for their cooperation and understanding during this time.

    Power cable on Belize River being replaced
    BEL advises the public and mariners that the Company is in the process of replacing the submarine power cable which crosses the Belize River between Mapp Street and BEL’s Belize City Substation located on Magazine Road. The Coast Guard is on patrol to ensure the safety of mariners, who are asked to be cautious when navigating the area. Works are scheduled to be completed by Monday, January 26.

    Defence witness criticises Bain's evidence in Belize case
    A defence witness on Friday criticised the expert evidence given by Professor Brendan Bain in Belize, saying that it had shortcomings. Professor Rose-Marie Antoine, dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, testified under questioning from Justice Lennox Campbell that Bain's evidence gives the impression that anal sex in and of itself poses a public health risk. She said what causes the public health risk is when men who have sex with men go "underground" and not seek treatment because of discrimination. She said the issue wasn't whether men who have sex with men pose a risk, but that it was a side issue.

    Felipe Santiago Ricalde
    One of the seventeen outstanding Belizeans featured in the Belize's Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit is Corozal's own Felipe Santiago Ricalde. A social activist, Mr. Ricalde was elected as Corozal's first mayor in 1955. Visit the House of Culture and learn more about our country's past and present visionaries.

    Power interruption 8:00am to 3:00pm Saturday, January 24, Belize City
    Entire Belama Phase 4 and Superintendent Arthurs Street. Two thirty-minute power interruptions from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. will also affect the portion of Belama Phase 2 between Biltmore and Benny’s Apartments and entire Belama Phase 3. BEL to facilitate works to be conducted under the Ministry of Works’ Flood Mitigation Project.

    Permanent Residency application
    Question: Friends went through the police interview component of the Permanent Residency application yesterday. At the end of the interview, they (the police) were insistent they had to come and inspect their house. Friends put them off as they had never heard of this before. Is this now the norm? That there is an inspection of ones home as part of the Permanent Residency application. I have never heard of this before...hasn't happened for anyone else that I know that applied for, and received, Permanent Residency. It has always been the norm. Most times the police don't even come through the front gate.

    Channel 7

    BDF Insiders Stole 2.6k Ammo From Military?
    Tonight, concerns for public safety continue to mount because for the 4th. time in 11 years, dangerous military munitions have been stolen from a location under the protection and control of the Belize Defense Force. This time around 2,680 rounds of ammunition used in military assault rifles were stolen, and it is believed that this entire weapons cache may be on the streets tonight. And it gets worse: the BDF high command suspects that it was an inside job, that still unknown officers sworn to protect civilian safety did the opposition: they breached the military compound in Lords Bank and stole the ammunition to sell to criminals. The BDF officials made the discovery this morning, and shortly after, the Chief of Staff briefed us about what they know so far:

    Jury Acquits Flores; Deadlocked On Lewis
    When we left you last night, a jury of 12 was deliberating the fate of 23 year-old Warren Lewis and 26 year-old Cordel Flores, who were on trial for the August 2009 murder of 22 year-old Alberto Allen. This was the men's second trial because in 2013, an allegation emerged that a juror acted inappropriately in their March 2013 trial. The juror reportedly passed an improper comment that the men had a winning case even before all the evidence was presented. It was ruled at that time that the jury panel may have been pre-judging the case before hearing all the facts.

    CWU Vs SSB: The Quarrel Over Increments
    Usually Social Security's 300 employees get paid on the 26th of the month - which will be on Monday. But, that payday may be pushed back by a few days this month - and the pay cheques may be a little lighter than they were before. That's because today Social Security's accounting Department recalled the pay disbursements, which were already headed for their employee's accounts. Those pay cheques had originally been made out to include what's called a "transitional increment". That's money, which was agreed to, in the last collective bargaining agreement. It was to be linked to a "performance management system" which, as it turns out, was not brought on line.

    UNESCO Weighs In On Petroleum Concessions
    Today at the Fisheries Department in Belize City, representatives from the UNESCO World Heritage Center met with government agencies and NGO's such as OCEANA and The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. The meeting is the background to what we have been reporting all this week: on the NGO's discontent about the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines and the possible threats it poses to the Barrier Reef System - which has already been inscribed on a World Heritage Endangered Site List. Well, the delegates from the World Heritage Center are here to try and remove Belize from that list. Head of the Marine Program from the World Heritage Center Dr. Fanny Douvere discussed how they along with the government and stakeholders can accomplish this goal.

    GOB Says UNESCO Sites Aren't Under Oil Concessions
    And to try and quell some of the anger that has come from the NGO Community after that widely condemned draft guidelines package was released - the Ministry of Petroleum sent out its second release for the week. The last one was still picking fights with the NGO's - but today's release was cellar and almost contrite. It says, quote, "the Government of Belize continues to maintain a moratorium on the issuance of any new offshore petroleum exploration concessions." It adds that quote, "none of World Heritage Site properties are currently under any oil concessions." It continues to say that in 2013, the Ministry successfully negotiated with Princess Petroleum to relinquish 25% of their concession block to ensure that, quote, "the Blue Hole and other areas of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are no longer part of their active concession."

    Well-known Tattoo Artist Charged With Unlawful Sex
    Tonight, well-known tattoo artist, Estevan Mossiah, who has his shop on Barrack Road, is at prison after being accused of having sex with a 15 year-old minor twice about 2 weeks ago. The girl reported to police that on Tuesday, January 6, and on Friday, January 9, Mossiah, who she knows as "Steve Mossiah", had intercourse with her. After police investigated her report, they arrested the 45 year-old tattoo artist and charged him with 2 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.

    Tablets To Do Data Collection?
    These days, it's hard to go into any meeting where everyone isn't meddling with some kind of electronic device, whether smartphone or tablet. But at a meeting today tablets were required and encouraged. That's because it's part of the IDB Salud Mesoamerica programme funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Carlos Slim Foundation. We found out what the android tablets will be used for. The training started on Monday and ended today.

    Accused Heroine Traffickers Get Bail
    The 4 men who were busted 2 weeks ago in Corozal with 40 pounds of heroin worth several million dollars, are out of jail tonight after they were granted bail in the Supreme Court today. You may remember 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara, 30 year old Lenon Tillett, 42 year old Gerardo Allen and 35 year old Heirder Perez who Anti-Drug Unit police searched by accident because they were looking for a stolen car. Well, their attorney took the bail application before Justice Troadio Gonzalez today and he successfully convinced the judge that they deserve to be free while awaiting their trial. Justice Gonzalez agreed and granted them bail of $50,000 each on the condition that they surrender all travel documents and report to police station in the districts where they live.

    An Environmental Trip To Blackbird Caye
    Today 16 students from Restore Belize's I am Belize Scholarship Program went on a 5 day all expense paid trip to Black Bird Caye. These students, who were chosen based on their academic performance, will get a crash course in marine ecology. They'll be conducting scientific experiments and collecting data on marine life and of course enjoying the jewel's sunshine and waters - all with the goal of bringing these students closer to their environment. We spoke with the eager group this afternoon. Courtney Weatherburne reporting These parents won't be seeing their sons and daughters for 5 days and came to the Princess Marina to see them off. That is because these students will be spending that time on Blackbird Caye on a marine ecology field trip.

    DOE Warns Public Not To Alter Waterways, Or Else...
    The Department of the Environment has sent out a warning about unauthorized obstruction and diversion of bodies of water. It's usually the result of an increased demand for fresh water supply, especially for agriculture and tourism. The Department of the Environment says that in recent months it has received multiple complaints from the public about unauthorized diversions. So, the DOE's public notice is to remind everyone that any person who proposes to carry out a project, including waterworks such as diversion of water courses, modification of stream flows, alteration of riverbanks, and alteration of ground water, must first apply to the Department of the Environment for Environmental Clearance. Failure to obtain Environmental Clearance from the Department for such activities is an offence and carries a fine of five to twenty five thousand dollars.

    FCD'S Manzanero Goes To Taiwan Looking For Help In Conservation
    Rafael Manzanero and the Friends for Conservation have become household names while doing their work to raise awareness about the Chiquibul National Park - and the many pressures it faces. Well, Manzanero is going to Taiwan, hoping to attract support from NGO's over there to assist the FCD in trying to protect the Chiquibul's endangered scarlet macaw population. He was in Belize City today to work on his Taiwanese Visa, and the media caught up with him: Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD "The idea is really to present more about our work and we are also trying to do the protection of the Scarlet Macaws and I would want to present that and see if there would be any NGOs over there that might be interested in supporting the protection of the Macaws here in Belize."

    Channel 5

    US Military Ammo Stolen from B.D.F.
    Ladyville Police and the Belize Defence Force are investigating a robbery of thousands of rounds of military ammunition. That’s right, military ammunition stolen from a guarded B.D.F. facility on the [...]

    Murder Trial Ends in Acquittal and Hung Jury
    Shortly before nine on Thursday night after deliberating for over four hours, the second murder trial of Cordel Flores and Warren Lewis ended in an acquittal and hung jury. In [...]

    Bail Granted for Men Busted With Heroin
    Justice Troadio Gonzalez also presided at a bail hearing this morning. After eight days on remand at the Belize Central Prison for a bust of forty pounds of heroin, four [...]

    Popular Tattooist Charged for Carnal Knowledge
    In the magistrate’s court today, popular Tattoo Artist Esteban ‘Steve’ Mossiah, proprietor of Stinging Scorpio’s Tattoo, was remanded to Belize Central Prison after he arrested and charged with two counts [...]

    Still No Charges in Daly Murder
    Belmopan Police are still actively investigating the murder of twenty-four year old Emerson Daly Junior.  Tonight, one of the men, who were detained and being questioned, remains in custody. Police [...]

    UNESCO Experts in Belize
    Since Monday, a team of experts from the UNESCO World Heritage Center has been in Belize on a technical mission. For five years, since June 2009, the Belize Barrier Reef [...]

    Will Belize Be Removed From UNESCO Danger List?
    But has the government put in place measures to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem? According to Doctor Fanny Douvere, there has been some improvement, but there are three to [...]

    FCD Exec Says Chiquibul is Quiet
    It’s been some time since we’ve received an update on movements, local and illegal, within the Chiquibul. Late last year we talked about nothing but that after Special Constable Danny [...]

    Manzanero Seeks Assistance in Scarlet Macaw Conservation
    Like we said, Manzanero is a tireless advocate, and one of his passions is the protection of scarlet macaws, the majestic birds whose population in Belize remains at risk. In [...]

    American Fugitive Handed Over to US
      A wanted American national who was nabbed in Dangriga last Friday was handed over to U.S authorities this morning. Fifty-four year old Robert Andrew Ragin, who was wanted by [...]

    SCA Holds Science Fair
    The innovative minds of students at Saint Catherine Academy were in full display today. Over seven hundred students from high schools and primary schools from across the city gathered at [...]

    Baby Mia Needs Your Help
    The family of a fourteen month old infant is seeking help from the public to cover costs for much needed medical attention that the baby girl needs. Mia was diagnosed [...]

    Organization Assists Kids Living with Cancer
    Working to assist the family is the organization, A Thousand Smiles For Cleyon – Every Child Deserves a Miracle which was founded by Michelle Rudon. Rudon and several other professionals [...]

    Ras Indio has Visions of Life
    Reggae artist, Ras Indio, is back in the news tonight. And that’s because he has launched a new DVD called ‘Visions of Life.’ The artist, who has established himself internationally, [...]

    PlusTV

    Days of Healing returns to Dean Street
    We have been regularly reporting on the activities of the Days of Healing Initiative, which promotes clean family activity in crime-affected areas. The initiative started in the wake of the gruesome quadruple murder of four Belize City men in an apartment on Dean Street between Plues and George Streets, Belize City, a crime that has yet to be solved. Community residents and activists led by Perry “Stickz” Smith are organizing a third annual Day of Healing event, which is officially the twenty-first monthly event under the program. We spoke to Smith on Friday, about activities which will kick off in the morning of Saturday, January 24.

    OCEANA says No to Petroleum Zones and Guidelines for Exploration Draft
    The feasibility of offshore exploration in Belize is a widely debated topic that has given rise to many environmental and conservation groups actively opposing offshore drilling...

    No clear motive in Emerson Daly murder
    The body of 24 year old Emerson Daly, Belizean party decorator, was discovered on Wednesday at around 8:30 am, in an area behind Banana Bank, in the Cayo District. Emerson Daly reportedly went missing on Sunday night, when he borrowed his uncle’s car and left his home in Roaring Creek Village en rou...

    8 Police officers receive awards
    Reports of rogue police officers often find their way to our desk, but even though those are the reports that make headlines nationally, it is not representative of all police officers. There are good police officers worthy of being celebrated. That was the idea on Thursday, as high officials within...

    Roads in the South in need of attention
    Independence Village, also known as Mango Creek, is one of the largest villages in the country.
    According to Emilio Zabaneh, secretary of Independence village council, many of the streets in the village have been in disrepair for a long time, and the portion of the start of the Southern Highway is a...

    Amandala

    US fugitive arrested in Hopkins
    United States fugitive Robert Andrew Ragin, 54, who is wanted by the US Justice Department to answer charges on 12 counts of promoting sexual performance by child minors, was arrested in Belize for immigration offenses. The US Justice Department has issued a warrant for his arrest. Ragin reportedly lived in Hopkins for about six months. However, his freedom came to a crashing end when at about 3:30 on Friday afternoon, US Marshals, who had tracked him down to Hopkins, together with Dangriga police, travelled to the village and arrested him.

    Hospital negligence caused mother’s death after childbirth?
    Belize’s maternal health system has taken another direct hit – the second in just a week – with the death on Sunday of a young mother shortly after childbirth, due to what appears to be gross medical negligence. Norma Noemi Marroquin, 25, a housewife of Billy White, Cayo District, the mother of a 3-week old baby, tragically died on Sunday, January 18, due to complications after a portion of the placenta was allegedly left inside her body after giving birth at the Spanish Lookout Village Clinic on Monday, January 5. Marroquin died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at about 9:55 Sunday night. Her common-law husband, Arson Moh, 24, also of Billy White, has since filed a complaint with the police and has urged the medical authorities to launch an investigation into the negligence that caused the death of his wife.

    Missing Roaring Creek man shot in the face, thrown in river
    The search for Emerson Daly, 24, a well-known resident of Roaring Creek, came to an end at about 8:30 this morning when his decomposing body was found in the Belize River, in the Never Delay area in the Cayo District. He was found floating face-down. Daly had been stabbed multiple times, shot in the face and thrown into the river. He was found on the third day after he reportedly went missing, on Sunday. At about 7:00 this morning, five of his cousins and friends got into a boat and began to search for him on the Belize River in the area of Roaring Creek, along the edge of the river, when at about 8:30 they found his body, down the river, about two miles from Roaring Creek, in the Never Delay area.

    Murder trial ends in acquittal and hung jury
    The second trial of two men who had been indicted for a gruesome murder in 2009 ended tonight in the Supreme Court of Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez, when a jury of nine women and three men returned to the courtroom to announce their verdict. After deliberating for over five hours, the jury reached a unanimous verdict in respect of the first accused, Cordel Flores, 26, for an acquittal, but all 12 jurors were unable to agree on a verdict for the second accused, Warren Lewis, 23. Eleven of the jurors found Lewis guilty, but one did not agree, resulting in a hung jury.

    Brothers remanded for savage murder of BDF volunteer
    The two brothers being escorted from the police holding cell at the Magistrate’s Court made no attempt to hide their faces from court reporters’ cameras, as police ushered them into the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. “Listen to the charge,” Smith told Orlando Staine, 38, and his older brother, Phil Staine, 41. In less than one minute, Smith had read a charge of murder to the brothers, who indicated that they understood the charge. Police had charged the Staine brothers with the Saturday, January 17, murder of Denver Villafranco, 23.

    FIFA President congratulates Belmopan Bandits
    Today, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) forwarded to our sports desk a letter dated January 20, 2015, from FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter in Zurich, Switzerland. The letter is addressed to FFB President Ruperto Vicente, and in it the FIFA President conveyed his “Congratulatory message to Belmopan Bandits,” the recently crowned 3-peat Premier League of Belize football champions. We reproduce the text of the letter below:

    Bandits, 4-0, over Police for third straight PLB championship
    It was a monster crowd at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium on Saturday night, January 17, to witness the decisive game 2 of the finals series between two-time defending champions Belmopan Bandits and sub-champions Police United for the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Opening Season Championship. And it was a 3-peat celebration afterwards for the Bandits, who came away with a big 4-nil victory and the championship, their third consecutive and fourth title in the last 5 PLB tournaments. For Police, it was their fourth second place finish in the last 6 tournaments, with one championship to go along with it. Following a relatively dry and sunny day on Saturday, the playing surface was in very good condition for football, and fans were treated to some exciting play from both teams. Unlike in game 1, where the slippery and heavy clay pitch benefited the more physical game of Police, game 2 favored the team with more “touches;” and, despite a competitive first half, the midfield balance of power turned perceptibly and devastatingly against Police early in second half, after the Bandits inserted their diminutive football wizard, 18-year-old Jordy Polanco, to team up with a similarly small but exceptionally talented Denmark Casey, Jr. in midfield.

    Editorial: Special lady
    Prime Minister and United Democratic Party (UDP) Leader, Hon. Dean Barrow, was in front of the television cameras beaming from the day before he introduced Dr. Carla Barnett as his party’s new candidate in the Freetown constituency. The day before was Tuesday, January 20, when Mr. Barrow was trying to build the hype for the UDP’s Wednesday morning press conference and at the same time distract Belize City and the nation from all the negativity surrounding the concluding circumstances of the BSI/ASR “agreement” with Belizean cane farmers. These negative concluding circumstances included emergency changes in Belize’s sugar industry legislation, introduced in the House by the UDP on Monday, passed in one sitting by the House, and ratified by the Senate on Tuesday. The proceedings in the House on Monday, and in the Senate on Tuesday, following the general assembly submission of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to the controversial ASR agreement on Sunday in San Roman, followed weeks of national discourse which largely accused the Barrow administration of taking sides with the foreign multinational against the hard-pressed cane farmers of Belize.

    Gender Policy, Belize Constitution irreconcilable: Paul
    Editor Sir, I refer to your page 1 article of 23rd November – “U.S. Ambassadors …” I have already shown in previously published articles that the Gender Policy and the Belize Constitution cannot be reconciled. Let us again go through this matter. Look at the Preamble of our Constitution wherein is clearly expressed the foundational principles of our society. Article (a) affirms “that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God….” How, then, shall we accept a vision of life which, in effect, is requiring that the individual and his choice is supreme in all matters, public and private? In other words, to accept the gender policy would require that in fact we affirm the supremacy, not of God, but of the Ego. Will this not be a declaration that we have become a god-less society?

    Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) steps up effort to combat cervical cancer
    The Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) has stepped up the effort to eradicate cervical cancer, by promoting early detection of the disease. Cervical cancer is said to be a leading cause of death in women. Dr. Jahan Varello told Amandala that women in Belize should not be dying of cervical cancer, since they now have an effective method of screening women for cervical cancer that has eliminated the need for the troublesome, and oftentimes uncomfortable, Pap smear. They instead use a process called VIA, which involves washing the cervix with vinegar and observing it with a bright white light. In explaining the VIA and the VIA treatment, Dr. Varello explained that a healthy cervix is pink in color, and when washed with vinegar, it remains pink. This indicates that the person being tested is free from cervical cancer. There is no need for a follow-up visit in such instances.

    2014 was one of Belize’s hottest years on record
    The year 2014 was globally the hottest year on record for the past 135 years, with December being the warmest on record, according to data recently published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While Belize did not record its hottest year last year, records reviewed by Chief Meteorological Officer Dennis Gonguez indicate that 2014 was one of Belize’s hottest years on record. “It was found that with an average temperature of 26.8ºC / 80.2ºF, last year was the 14th warmest year on record. It was tied with the years 1983, 1992, 2006 and 2012. The warmest year was 1997 when temperatures averaged 27.3 ºC/ 81.1 ºF at the PGIA,” said Gonguez. He noted that so far for the 21st century, 11 of the past 15 years have been the warmest on record.

    Belize has “signal honor” of hosting CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron
    Sir Dennis Byron, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – the regional court where disputes arising from the breaches in the CARICOM integration treaty can be ventilated, and the court which has for the past five years been Belize’s final appellate court – arrived in Belize this Thursday on a working visit as guest of honor for the 2015 law conference hosted by the Bar Association of Belize. Eamon Courtenay, President of the Belize Bar Association, said that Byron’s visit to Belize is “a signal honor.” Justice Byron was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and he became a member of London’s Privy Council in 2004. He was sworn in as the second president of the CCJ in September 2011 in his home country, St. Kitts. During his visit, Byron paid courtesy calls on the President of the Court of Appeal, Sir Manuel Sosa, as well as Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. He also paid courtesy calls on Governor General Sir Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca.

    Belize plans to adopt regional VOTECH certification scheme
    David Leacock, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, has pointed out that some of Belize’s professionals who are trained in vocational and technical (VOTECH) fields earn as much as double what is earned by other professionals with a similar level of training, but more than that, he explained that VOTECH options allow Belizeans to “shoa wi self, see wi self, bee wi self!,” as KREM TV’s slogan says. The problem is, though, that Belize lacks the structural framework to allow practitioners, and even their trainers, to get the kind of certification they need to flourish. However, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has embarked on a comprehensive strategy that Leacock said would fill the gaps that exist at so many levels but which will, moreover, ensure that Belizeans who receive VOTECH training here can compete with any other trained persons across CARICOM, because of the regionally recognized qualifications and certifications that will eventually be available to them.

    Omar Figueroa takes oath of allegiance in Parliament
    Just after the opening of today’s Special Sitting of the House of Representatives, at about 10:20 a.m., Cayo North area representative Dr. Omar Figueroa, the United Democratic Party member who is the latest addition to Parliament, was administered the oath of allegiance, allowing him to participate in the first House meeting for the year 2015. Last week, Figueroa, who won the January 5, 2015 by-election in Cayo North, was installed as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, and he was formally sworn in by Governor-General Sir Colville Young. Today, House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte told Figueroa that since he was the only person being admitted to Parliament on that particular occasion, he would be afforded the rare opportunity to speak at his swearing-in.

    Quality-of-life crime enforcement: Police’s discretion and commonsense needed
    In mid-July 2014, the Belize Police Department began enforcing the so-called “quality-of-life” crimes program in Belize City. By September, the police high command boasted to the media that about 800 arrests for these so called quality-of-life crimes were made, that it linked to its operation called “Not in My City.” The question that no one asked at the time was, at what cost to the society? The reports, however, of police excesses and outright abuse of citizens’ basic and constitutional rights in the enforcements of these petty minor offences, have now gotten a lot of attention in the media.

    A new era for sugar –amendments take effect
    Amendments to the Sugar Industry Act, approved by the House of Representatives on Monday and the Senate on Tuesday, were signed into law by Governor General Sir Colville Young and published in the Government Gazette today, Wednesday, January 21, 2015. However, the law takes effect retroactively on Wednesday, January 14, the day before officials of two new cane farmer associations penned their signatures to new commercial agreements with the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI). It was the first time that BSI signed commercial agreements of this nature with an entity other than the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), and the new associations, founded by breakaway factions of cañeros, had not been recognized in law before the recent changes were made by Parliament.

    Ruckus over petroleum zonation scheme that includes Blue Hole in drilling zone
    Belize has in place an informal moratorium on offshore drilling for petroleum, but some environmental groups in Belize insist that the country should never venture into such risky explorations, particularly in light of the fact that Belize’s Barrier Reef and its associated wonders – including the Great Blue Hole – could be threatened in the event of an unthinkable oil disaster. A petition led by the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage for a national referendum on offshore drilling was blocked when the petition was denied on the claim that 8,000 signatures had to be rejected, primarily because of mismatches. However, the Coalition held its own referendum, observed by Justices of the Peace, in which 96% of the nearly 30,000 who cast ballots said ‘no’ to offshore drilling. The Government of Belize, though, is of the view that “an effective balance” can be struck between oil development and the environment, in a manner that will ensure that the livelihoods of other stakeholder groups from the fishing and tourism industries will be maintained.

    After almost 5 years, Steven Buckley is still seeking justice
    Steven Buckley, 43, the man who took the blast of a police pump action shotgun in his face and beat the odds when he survived on a life support machine at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit, appeared in the Supreme Court this morning, but the civil case that he had filed against the Government has been adjourned once more. Now, after almost 5 years, Steven Buckley, who has been paralyzed as a consequence of being shot by a high ranking on-duty police officer, is frustrated with the criminal justice system. On the night of Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Steven Buckley, a construction worker, was in the pickup truck of his employer, Marlon Myers, when he was shot by a police officer.

    Dr. Carla Barnett to challenge Francis Fonseca in Freetown
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, leader of the United Democratic Party, taunted Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca in the House of Representatives on Monday, talking about Fonseca’s “political death foretold” and claiming that Monday would have been Fonseca’s last appearance in the National Assembly as Leader of the Opposition and today, Barrow presented a political newcomer – a woman with a stellar professional reputation on both local and regional fronts – as the UDP’s preferred candidate in Freetown to depose Fonseca in the next general elections. That political hopeful is Dr. Carla Barnett, who was last year installed as chair of the Belize Tourism Board for the period 2014 to 2016. Barnett previously served from March 2012 to May 2014 as the vice president of operations at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Barbados. Her BTB appointment in Belize was announced before her resignation from the CDB, suggesting that she resigned from that post to serve on the BTB board.

    The Reporter

    SCA holds fourth science fair
    Students of Saint Catherine Academy (SCA) took part in a science fair on Friday at the school’s campus in Belize City. Fifty-four projects, which were developed over the past four months made it to the finals that were on display. Overall, 120 projects entered the competition. Head of SCA’s Science Department, Ingrid Acosta, told the Reporter that the school introduced the event to the students four years ago to prepare them for the National Science Fair and encourage them to apply what they’ve learnt, through research and at school. Acosta said the event promotes scientific inquiry and encourages the students to look at everyday events and interpret the science behind them. It also earned them grades as groups to boost their overall performance at school.

    US representative meets with Cuban dissidents in Havana
    The highest US official to visit Cuba in more than 30 years has met leading Cuban dissidents in Havana. Roberta Jacobson, the state department’s top Latin American official, held the meeting after two days of historic US-Cuba talks. One dissident called the meeting “a very human coming-together”, but not all who were invited attended. Many Cuban opposition leaders are sceptical about the rapprochement. They fear the US will turn a blind eye to allegations of human rights abuses in Cuba. On Thursday, officials from the US and Cuba said the talks about establishing diplomatic relations had ended “positively”. The US did not provide an official list of those who met Ms Jacobson at the mansion of the head of the US Interests Section in Havana.

    Army volunteer ambushed and murdered
    Denver Villafranco, 24, a BDF volunteer soldier was attacked and stabbed to death in Belize City last Saturday night, and police have charged two brothers for the murder. Villafranco was walking on Complex Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. when three men attacked him as […]

    UB student and dad-to-be killed in tragic car accident
    Eric Vellos, a 24 year old part-time student of the University of Belize, was killed shortly after midnight last Saturday while driving home to Corozal Town. Vellos, who was planning to get married at the end of January, was flung from his Nissan Altima […]

    Roaring CreeK Youth shot and dumped!
    The body of Emerson Daly, 24, missing since Sunday night, was found on January 21, at 8:35am, in the Belize River about a mile and a half away from his home in Roaring Creek. He had an open wound to the face, believed to have been inflicted with a knife. […]

    CWU appoints Labour Relations officer
    The Christian Workers Union (CWU) on Wednesday announced the addition of former Kolbe Foundation CEO, Earl Jones as its newly appointed Labour Relations officer. CWU President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd welcomed Jones to the CWU as a part of its negotiation team during a union progress […]

    Confident prime minister predicts clean sweep at municipal elections…and a new PUP leader!
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, during Monday’s special Sitting of the House, predicted that at the next House Sitting in March, following municipal elections in February, the opposition would have a new party leader. Barrow made the prediction that his United Democratic Party (UDP) would […]

    Donation improves KHMH surgical capabilities
    The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital can now perform surgeries in some instances and not require blood transfusion through a donation of two Intraoperative Blood Salvage (cell saver) machines. The machines were gifted last Friday to the Belize Spine Program from the international organization, Spine Overseas. […]

    Mayor Bradley: Contractors must repair faulty streets at their own expense
    Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley has said that he is aware that certain streets that have been concreted over the past two years are already in a state of degradation. He said he would meet with the responsible contractors to ensure Belize City gets […]

    City police arrest brothers for murder of BDF soldier
    Brothers, Philip Staine, 42, and Orlando Staine, 38, are on remand at the Hattieville Prison after police charged them with Saturday night’s stabbing murder of BDF volunteer, Denver Villafranco. Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith denied the pair bail and remanded them until February 25. […]

    Police note 56 % increase in cases of unlawful carnal knowledge
    Cases of unlawful carnal knowledge have been on the rise for the past four years according to the latest crimes statistics issued by the Belize Police Department. In 2011, the police reported incidents of carnal knowledge stood at 50. At the end of 2014, the […]

    Cane farmers and BNTU hold protest outside National Assembly Building
    A group of cane farmers and stevedores, led by attorney, Audrey-Matura Shepherd and representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) staged a small but spirited protest on the steps of the National Assembly on Monday in opposition to the government’s amendments of […]

    SATIIM to GOB: “What’s the rush?”
    The Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) is calling for the Government of Belize to properly refine its oil exploration policy before taking any other action. SATIIM issued a release this week, responding to GOB’s request for feedback on the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones […]

    Say good-bye to premium gasoline for a while
    Venezuela has sent its last shipment of premium gasoline to Belize under the PetroCaribe agreement for the foreseeable future, said John Mencias, deputy chairman of Alba-Petro Caribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL). According to Mencias, that shipment of fuel has already left Venezuela and is […]

    Editorial
    Last week at the opening session of the Supreme Court His Lordship Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin announced some welcome news about criminal justice reform. He announced a number of reform measures including new criminal procedure rules, new guidelines for police officers relating to their treatment of detained persons, protection of […]

    BSI gates finally open!
    The impasse between the farmers and the factory in northern Belize ended unofficially on Monday when the BSCFA signed with ASR/BSI to deliver cane for the 2015 crop season. That signalled the end of a crippling impasse which has caused an unprecedented delay of the crop. But it became official […]

    UDP announces Top Gun for Freetown
    The United Democratic Party (UDP) was manifestly jubilant in announcing this week that Dr. Carla Barnett, former Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank, had agreed to become the party’s standard bearer for the Freetown Division. She will be competing head on with Francis […]

    Butane prices drop for New Year
    The Belize Bureau of Standards Supplies Control Unit has announced that as of January 17th, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or butane will sell for under a dollar a pound. The new price per 100-pound cylinder of LPG imported by Belize Gas Limited and Western […]

    New trial for man charged with 2009 murder! Acquittal for his co-defendant, Cordel Flores
    One of the longest murder trials on record, carried over from the October 2014 session, ended Thursday night in the Supreme Court with a hung jury in the case of one accused person and acquittal for the other. Cordel Flores, charged with the murder […]

    The Belize Times

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Days of Healing initiative continues
    We have been regularly reporting on the activities of the Days of Healing Initiative which promotes clean family activity in crime-affected areas. The initiative started in the wake of the gruesome quadruple murder of four Belize City men in an apartment on Dean Street between Plues and George […]

    Ras Indio releases music DVD
    Music video has become an integral part of the success in the music industry despite being a relatively recent addition to the Belizean music scene. One of Belize’s music pioneers, reggae artist Ras Indio, is breaking new ground with an all-music video DVD titled Visions of Life. The […]

    Basket weaving competition continues
    Part two of a basket weaving competition is underway in Toledo. The competition is being hosted by the Building People Movement Organization which today issued a call to all local artisans of Toledo to enter the Basket Weaving Competition. Dorla Bowman is the coordinator of the competition and […]

    Suspects in heroin bust get Supreme Court bail
    The four men busted with over 19 kilograms or 40 pounds of heroin in separate packages on January 12 are out on bail of $50,000 each. 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara of San Pedro Town; 30 year old Lenon Tillett of Belize City and Corozal; 42 year […]

    Parents want Principal removed from San Ignacio school
    Parents of children attending the Arms of Love Primary School in San Ignacio town today held a protest on the school compound. The full fury of their anger is aimed squarely at the Principal, who they are trying to get removed. The list of grievances against the veteran educator is […]

    Jury acquits one of two men of murder indictment
    A jury of his peers has acquitted Cordel Flores, 26, of the 2009 murder of eighteen year old Alberto Allen. The trial ended late last night when the jury of 9 women and 3 men returned to the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez with the verdict following five hours of deliberations.

    Belize City man accused of “unlawful sexual intercourse”
    A Belize City tatoo artist has been arrested and charges for the crime of “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse.” Esteban Mossiah, 45, was booked on two counts of the charges based upon a report made by a 15 year old girl that the man had sexual intercourse with her on the 6th of January and again on the 9th of January.

    Blogs

    A Gorgeous Day To Head North on Ambergris Caye
    I met Ruben and his partner at the Wet Willy’s Dock, stopping along the way for bait sardines… We stopped to pick up two friends and then headed north. I wonder if I will ever stop being amazed by this view. The water up by Xtan Ha Resort and Mexico Rock dive/snorkel site. About 7 miles north of San Pedro town. We cruised all the way up to Mile 13 – just before the Bacalar Chico Marine reserve and then Rocky Point – the only spot in the world where a coral reef meets land.

    Belize Recipes: Stew Chicken with Rice & Beans
    This Belizean combination is without a doubt the most abundant meal in Belize. From north to south, east to west and out on the cayes, you won’t go anywhere without coming across a plate of Stew Chicken with rice and beans. With our easy to make recipe you can enjoy some Belizean flavour in the comfort of your home.

    10 OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH SPOTS IN BELIZE
    One of the most underrated gems of central America, Belize rarely gets the attention it deserves. Many of the most memorable destinations in this Vermont-sized oasis aren’t well-known to outsiders. Here are ten off-the-beaten-path attractions in Belize that are sure to make an impression. Rio Frio Cave, Caracol, 1000 Foot Falls, Placencia Village, Che Chem Ha Cave, Sarteneja Village, Turneffe Atolls, South Water Caye, Waterfoot Caye, Dangriga, Treasures Abound Just Under the Surface.

    International Sourcesizz

    British Have Invaded 193 Countries: Let's Make 26 January ( Australia Day, Invasion Day) British Invasion Day
    In the last 2 millennia the British have invaded 193 out of 203 present-day countries (195 UN-recognized nations and 8 non-UN-recognized self-governing countries) as compared to the French 80, the US 70 and Apartheid Israel 12. However the British invasion of Australia on 26 January 1788 ultimately destroyed as many as 600 unique Indigenous Australian tribes and a comparable number of languages and dialects (it is estimated that in 1788 there were 300 distinct Aboriginal language groups and 750 dialects of which only 150 survive) [1, 2], this making the Australian Aboriginal Genocide qualitatively the worst genocide in human history. Australia 's quantitatively worst genocide was the WW2 Bengali Holocaust in which the British with Australian complicity deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death for strategic reasons ( Australia withholding food from its huge wartime grain stocks) [3, 4].

    Avian influenza in Belize
    Low pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 was diagnosed at a poultry farm in Cayo, Belize (Central America). The flock, broiler breeders: 22 weeks, 38 weeks and 39 weeks. All breeder flocks are routinely sampled for avian influenza under the Belize Poultry Improvement Plan Avian Influenza Programme. Hence affected flocks were detected under routine monitoring as there are no clinical signs associated with the event. Spanish Lookout (Cayo) is a major poultry production area in Belize and has 14 breeder flocks with a total of 63,800 birds and an unknown number of layer flocks and broilers.

    Effects of Oil Pollution on Coral Reef Communities
    Coral reefs are the most diverse and complex communities in the marine environment. Hermatypic corals play a key role in forming the structure of coral reefs and providing substrate and shelter for a wide variety of organisms. Acute damage to corals may result in a collapse of the complex community of organisms, which live in close association with the corals. Concern for damaging effects of oil pollution on coral-reef communities is currently growing. For example, even before any incidents occurred in the Great Barrier Reef, oil-exploration permits were suspended and two Royal Commissions of inquiry into the effects of oil drilling on these reefs were convened.

    Videos


    Chukka Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm Tour Belize, 3min. It’s an unlikely combination, a shrimp farm and a crocodile sanctuary, but Chukka Belize makes it happen in one exciting and educational tour. It’s the latest package that the tour company has come up with to bring you more of the Belizean experience. Chukka’s Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm package is both thrilling and delectable. * Experience tossing a cast net to catch your own shrimp and even have them cooked up for you! * Watch endangered crocodiles in their natural secure habitats while you learn about these magnificent reptiles and crocodile conservation. * Climb a bird tower, enjoy the view and try to identify as many species of birds that you can count. On The Far Side - Central America (Trailer), 1min. Belize - Guatemala - Nicaragua
    From Belize to Britain Taster Tape, 3min.
    America Central 2012-2013, 10min. "Si vous pensez que l'aventure est dangereuse, je vous propose d'essayer la routine... Elle est mortelle." Paulo Coelho
    Sunrise in Hopkins (Belize), 3.5min. Bringing in the new day and celebrating Awesome Weather.
    Coconut lecture - Belize - South Water Cay, 2min.
    Coconut practice - Belize - South Water Cay, 3.5min.
    Tender Boat to Belize City, Belize from Cruise Ship, 4min. Sit back and enjoy the boat ride to Belize.
    Belize, in a bus to Orange Walk, 1.5min. Net aangekomen in Belize stappen we in de bus naar Orange Walk. Het is gezellig in de bus met mooie reggae muziek, harde wind en vele hobbels op de weg Wij hebben ontzettend veel plezier tijdens onze wereldreis, dus check ook onze andere Vlogs over reistips, reiservaringen, hostels, chocolade, coffee en nog veel meer!
    Cayo Adventure Tours - Sweet Belize (Official Video), 3min.
    STUDENTS AND FACULTY OF ESCUELA SECUNDARIA MEXICO CELEBRATE 32 YEARS OF EXISTENCE, 4min.
    THE SOUTH AS THE SAN LAZARO TO AUGUST PINE RIDGE ROAD IS INAGURATED, 5min.
    Air Belize Skydiving, 1min. Air Belize Skydiving Center’s owners have been operating safe and successful skydiving centers for 20 years in the United States as Sky’s The Limit Skydiving Center. Now we are pleased to bring our skydiving expertise to the beautiful country of Belize. Skydive today in Placencia, Belize and experience the thrill of a lifetime!
    Will Belize Be Removed From UNESCO Danger List?, 2.5min.
    Belize Trip 2015 Part 2, 4min. Most of the fun stuff like the zoo & beach trips that we did while in Belize woohoo & sorry the quality is terrible lol
    Royal Caribbean Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 2.5min.
    Silly Money in Hopkins, Belize, 11min. I get out for a walk along the beach after checking in. Lots of foreigner silly money pouring into the area...
    Skydive into the Blue Hole ,Belize .Amazing Moment Must Watch, 8.5min.
    Flying over Belize bluehole, 1min.

    January 23, 2015


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    Specials and Events

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


    The San Pedro Sun

    The Phoenix rocks!!
    Thanks to the fabulous reviews (based on the fabulous service and awesome amenities & location of course) Trip Advisor named The Phoenix the #2 Luxury Hotel in the world, #11 Best Small Hotel, and #23 Best Service!! Congratulations you guys! We happen to know, thanks to our own dream experience, that the resort and its staff is simply fabulous!

    Caribbean Villas robbed of over $5,000 on Payday
    The owner of the hotel has indicated that the same individual had visited the office earlier in the morning inquiring about job opportunities. This leads police to believe that the robbery may have been an inside job, as the robbery coincided with the resort’s payroll day. Police investigations are continuing. Confirmation has been made that at no time were the resort’s guests safety compromised, and no one but the office employees were aware of what had transpired.

    Streets get much needed repairs
    The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) have commenced working on rehabilitating the streets in the Airstrip, Eliot Subdivision and San Pedrito Area. On Monday, January 19th truckloads of hard core material were laid and pressed, improving the conditions of the highly trafficked streets. Residents in the area had been complaining about the street conditions for quite some time, as the rains in the past few months had eroded the streets causing flooding and large pot holes. According to Councilor Kenrick Brackett, 200 loads of hard core were used to fix the streets in the areas, as well as to patch-up large pot holes in the other low lying areas. “We thank all the residents for their patience. We understand their frustration on the street conditions, especially with all the rain that we have been having in the past months. We are working hard to get the street in a better conditions for all the residents that need to commute daily. The repairs will alleviate many problems for drivers of the area and even school children that use those streets,” said Brackett.

    Sugar Cane Season set to start after long standoff between cañeros and BSI/ASR
    The 2015 Sugar Cane Season is finally set to start after the two parties in the industry – the cañeros and Belize Sugar Industry/American Sugar Refinery BSI/ASR) signed on to a commercial agreement which now gives the green light to declare the crop open. This brings to end two months of standoff and uncertainty in the sugar industry. It was the longest delay in the sugar industry and one that has caused the splintering of the over 55-year-old organization, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). Before the signing of the agreement, over 2000 cane farmers broke away from the BSCFA to form two new associations; the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Cane Farmers Association. The two newly formed associations went ahead to sign a seven-year agreement with BSI/ASR for the delivery of sugarcane, leaving behind the BSCFA and it remaining 3000 plus members. Without the BSCFA onboard, the crop was uncertain. A breakthrough came when, in an emergency meeting of the BSCFA on Sunday January 18th, the assembly of the general membership moved that the organization sign on to the agreement- even though the cane farmers were not happy. By Monday, January 19th, BSCFA and BSI/ASR met to sign the agreement in Orange Walk Town. The signing of the agreement was necessary for the milling company, who needed assurance from the various associations for the delivery of at least 1.1 million tons of sugarcane.

    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage rejects the recent draft of the Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines
    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage rejects the draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines recently circulated by the Government of Belize. In 2012, the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage commissioned an analysis of Government’s Draft Petroleum Exploration Zonation Framework and presented key findings to the Minister of Energy and technical team and the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development and technical team. Key issues amongst the findings were: • No buffers/buffer zones in the offshore between critical ecosystems including the reef, spawning aggregation sites and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve, World Heritage Site and oil activities. Buffers account for potential travel of oil spills and impacts to critical ecosystems and designated special areas. Existing studies on buffer zones in the marine environment recommend 120 – 250 miles between critical ecosystems and oil activities. However, the Coalition recommended a buffer of 31 miles between critical ecosystems and oil activities as the application of a 31 mile buffer to key critical ecosystems and designated special areas resulted in the entire offshore being off-limits to oil exploration.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    SPBA awards Christine Syme for her continued support
    Christine Syme was the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation from the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) for always assisting in their activities. Syme was presented with the award on Tuesday, January 20th by SPBA Vice-president Amanda Syme and SPBA Secretary Coqui Alamilla. “SPBA has been involved in many issues that are integral to developing our island, from spearheading the cobble stone/paved road projects to supporting the San Pedro Polyclinic and the Police and Coast Guard Barracks. The SPBA also organizes two annual events which have become San Pedro Town traditions – namely the San Pedro Lobster Festival and The Holiday Lighted Boat parade. In 2014 the association was shorthanded and turned to Christine Syme for support and assistance. She was willing and able to provide many hours of her time, ensuring that both events were organized and executed perfectly. In recognition of this young lady’s vital role within the SPBA’s team the executives have presented Christine Syme with a certificate of appreciation. The youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Congratulations on your achievements Christine, we are all proud of you,” stated the SPBA.

    Prominent island individuals form the People’s Coalition for San Pedro
    The presidents from the various Neighborhood Watch committees, along with members of the San Pedro Police Department, San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), San Pedro media houses and other concerned citizens have formed the People’s Coalition of San Pedro, with the goal of addressing and finding solutions for issues plaguing the island. On Wednesday, January 14th, a meeting was held to discuss pressing issues that are going unsolved on the island including crime, youth issues, the need for a boat manifest, Crime Stoppers and improving public relations skills for police officers. The meeting was officiated by Steve Spiro and saw the attendance of Deputy Mayor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez, Councilor Gualberto “Wally” Nuñez, Deputy in Charge of Police Inspector Henry Jemmott, Officer in Charge of Police Superintendent Luis Castellanos, Janine Lopez, Josie Nuñez, Brian Cook, Janelle Cowo, Dorian Nuñez and Erik Lausen.

    Ambergris Today

    Oceana Belize Calls Petroleum Dept. Proposed Policy on Offshore Drilling Weak on Data
    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods - In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19, 2015, as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Bowen & Bowen Ltd.
    Career Opportunity -Looking for smart, creative people who want to make a difference.

    Mo' Mojo arrives in Belize TODAY!
    Are you going to the concert? Need a ticket? All concerts are free and open to the public, but you need a ticket to get a seat and they will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. The U.S. Embassy still has 50 tickets for San Pedro this Saturday, January 24th, 50 tickets for the Corozal concert Monday, January 26th, and 42 tickets for the San Igncacio concert on Wednesday, January 28th. All concerts start at 7:00 PM and representative will be avilable at the entrace starting at 5:30 PM to distribute the Embassy's extra tickets.

    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine helping at the zoo
    Our colleagues and friends from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine applied their professional magic during a week of vet examinations at The Belize Zoo recently. Vet students gained a great deal of knowledge, as they accompanied our animal management staff. What was on the examination agenda? All of the monkeys were TB tested. Yes, both howler and spider monkeys can carry TB. And yes, they can pass on to the human species…Yet ANOTHER good reason not to have a monkey as a pet! The jaguars at the zoo received very special attention. Black jaguar “Lucky Boy” badly needed a tooth extraction; part of the aftermath of his terrible ordeal in 2012. Lucky Boy came out of surgery like a shining star. Newly-rescued jaguar, “Mistletoe” also received first class care. It was determined that lovely “Mistletoe”,who was nearly shot by the people who trapped her, also suffers from a tooth problem. Good news for this pretty big cat, tooth problem addressed! And today, “Mistletoe” is a happier jaguar, thanks to the quality care received.

    Corozal: The pump prices of Premium gasoline today are:
    BELIZE US$3.99 MEXICO US$3.85 GUATEMALA US$3.39 USA US$2.45

    BEL Honors 225 Golden Citizens with Electricity Bill Pay Awards
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) held a ceremony this morning at its Corporate Headquarters for its Golden Citizens. As a part of BEL’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. Some of the senior citizens received their award during this morning’s ceremony, and the remaining awardees will be visited and presented with certificates at their homes over the next few days. Awardees were selected based on the following criteria: Must be 65 years of age or older and registered as a Golden Citizen with BEL. Must hold only one active account with BEL which is billed under the Social Rate Category. Consuming less than 60kWh monthly, at their place of residence.

    Channel 7

    Starting "La Zafra"
    The sugar cane harvest season, known in the north as "La Zafra" will start on Monday January 26th at 10:00 am. That date was agreed to today at a meeting of the Sugar Industry Control Board, known as the SICB in Orange Walk Town. The meeting of stakeholders is the one usually held before the start of any season. But today it was a very full room because there were two new associations at the table to represent the farmers groups that emerged after the splintering of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. They are the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association. The association representatives along with BSI and government, filled the room at the SICB office in Orange Walk Town while the government appointed Chairman Gabriel Martinez sat at the head of the table with the Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega, and Junior Minister Hugo Pott.

    Big Bang By Bus On Boom Road
    There was a road traffic accident on the Burrel Boom Road about 100 yards from the Belize Central Prison this morning. Fortunately, it was not fatal but it could have been serious because it involved a Ready-Call bus carrying 51 employees, which slammed into a dump truck. Courtney Weatherburne was on the scene. Courtney Weatherburne reporting These black trails of tire marks on the Hattieville road leads you to this morning's road traffic accident. A few minutes after 9, this ready call bus crashed into the rear of this dump-truck, both vehicles ended up splayed across the highway. But the vehicles were not the only things on opposite sides - both drivers had different accounts of the accident as well.

    Police On Daly's Death
    Last night, we told you how police retrieved the body of 24 year-old Roaring Creek Resident Emerson Daly after he went missing on Sunday night. The well-known handy-man, who is also a talented event planner, was most likely killed elsewhere and then dumped into the river. The officer commanding Belmopan police, Superintendent Howell Gillett discussed the case today: Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police "The postmortem is saying that he does from an injury to the face, likely from a gunshot wound. More likely a shotgun. We are investigating. We have a few persons in our custody. We continue to investigate, we haven't gotten any concrete motive. I'd like to share if I had with the public, but thus far, we don't have any concrete motive. As we speak, our investigators are out following a few leads. Later on this week we will have some new developments to report to the public and to the media."

    Jury Deliberates Into Night
    Right now, a jury of 9 women and 3 men are deliberating the fates of accused murderers Cordel Flores and Warren Lewis, who police believed tortured and then killed Alberto Braddick Allen in August 18, 2009. Viewers may remember that it was as very gruesome killing where Allen was taken to a feeder road off mile 4 on the Western Highway. There, his killers then forced him to lay on his stomach, and he was shot in the back. His throat was also slashed, and a piece of stick was then rammed down his throat. 25 year-old Cordel Flores 23 year-old Warren Lewis were charged for the murder, and they have been on trial before Justice Troadio John Gonzalez for the past month and a half. Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith is THE prosecutor; Lewis is being represented by attorney Oscar Selgado, while Flores is being represented by attorney Alifa Elrington-Hyde.

    Port of Belize Concerned About Stevedores Starting Over
    Last night, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd addressed the media on the state of her union, the Christian Workers. And the most visible workers group in that union is the Stevedores who have been in a protracted negotiation with the Port of Belize Limited for a new collective bargaining agreement. But the Union threw a curveball at the Port last night when they announced that they had been misled in their years of negotiation under former president Antonio Gonzalez. And because of that the stevedores say they are going back to the start with a completely new proposed collective bargaining agreement. Today we asked the CEO of the Port of Belize how he feels about it. He says it's the first he has heard from the union in 11 months!

    Port Of Belize, It's For Sale
    And while the stevedores reload their strategy, the Port of Belize is for sale. You probably remember that 3 years ago in January of 2012, the Ashcroft Alliance declared that the port was in receivership - and took it over. Now, three years later, CEO Tux Vasquez is still the receiver - and he says his job is to improve the asset so that it can be sold. Today he discussed with us the investments that have been made and what happens next:... Arturo "Tux" Vasquez, CEO - Port of Belize Limited "We have invested to date about six and a half to seven million dollars and it has been mainly in heavy equipment, infrastructure, in staffing, but the majority has gone in heavy equipment. Port operations are measured by the amount of containers we moved per hour and without proper equipment, you could be very well down to 7-9-10 containers per hour. We have brought that up to 17 containers per hour, sometimes a bit more, but those are averages that are acceptable in moving containers."

    Drainage Project Will Force Road Closures
    Today the Ministry of Works saying that Newtown Barracks - the streets that leads to the Princess Ramada by the Mexican Institute would be closed for four weeks. It's part of the Ministry of Works Flood Mitigation project, where the Douglas Jones Canal will be extending from Freetown Road, unto Newton Barracks and into the sea. But it turns out, that closing that street off four four weeks would cause chaos with the cruise season. Today we found out about their revised plans:..

    Methodist Church Meets in Belize
    Members from the Methodist Church both locally and international spent their second day today participating in the 154 Annual District Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. Its formal gathering of all the religious leaders within the church to report on the year's activities, highlighting the successes made in the different communities. It's also an opportunity to plan how the Methodist Church will take on different issues affecting the public they serve. This year's conference is being held at the Ebenezer Methodist Church in Belize City, and 7News stopped by to speak with the participants. The President of the Methodist Church in Belize told us that while they are pleased with the work being in the areas of education and growing the membership, there is a lot more that the church wants to do:

    A Road To Lazaro
    Orange Walk residents travelling Between the San Lazaro and August Pine Ridge will have a smoother drive because 10.5 kilometres of the road has been fixed. It was officially opened with a ceremony led by the EU Delegation to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei, and officials from the Ministry of Works. The rehabilitation of this stretch of road was financed by the European Union and the Government of Belize, through funds from the EU's Accompanying Measures for Sugar Program, which is being undertaken in 4 phases. The total cost for the repairs to the road is 4.4 million dollars.

    Belize Is For The Birds
    Black Vultures, Laughing Gulls, White colored seedeaters and the list goes on. These are some of the species of birds that are spotted during the Belize Audubon Society's Annual Christmas Bird Count. Every year a team is sent to several sites around the country to count and document the different species of birds. It may seem time consuming given that during this exercise the team spends 12 hours counting birds for 3 days. But according to Publicity Coordinator Dirk Francisco, it is pretty easy and you do not need to be a professional bird watcher to participate.

    BEL Will Pay Senior Citizens' Light Bills
    For the next 12 months, starting with the end of January, BEL will pay the light bills of 225 elderly citizens countrywide. It's one of their social programs for customers in the Golden Citizens category. Who qualified for this program? Well, all winners had to be 65 years or older; holding an active account with the company; in the social rate category; consuming 60 Kilowatts per month. Most importantly, they needed to have registered with the company using their Golden Citizens Social Security Card. Today, 7News got an opportunity to meet 20 of the winners. Here's what the company's customer care Manager told the gathering while they were receiving their awards:

    Ras Indio's Magnum Opus
    Ras Indio, he's one of the most prolific Belizean reggae artists who's performed at major shows around the world, but he's always keeping an eye on home base, and trying remain relevant in his own country. And so, now, for his fans, he's produced a DVD with all his music videos, along with never before seen footage and unreleased tracks which Indio recorded. He told us today why you should buy the DVD which he calls Visions of Life. The DVD costs $20, and it can be purchased at local music stores around the country. Additionally, it can be purchased online and link to that e-store will be posted on our internet transcript.

    OCEANA Disputes GOB
    Last night we told you about the Government release in response to OCEANA's criticisms about the Draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. The Ministry's release says quote "OCEANA incorrectly asserted that the Zonation plan and Framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry's second attempt to solicit feedback..." END QUOTE. Well, OCEANA says that they did not receive the draft at the first attempt in September 2014 as the Ministry's release says they had. Vice President, Janelle Channona told us today that if OCEANA was in fact contacted or sent the draft in September 2014, they would have definitely responded. She also adds that none of the NGO's recommendations were reflected in the draft.

    Where Tourism And Agriculture Intersect
    Tourism and agriculture are leading foreign exchange earners in Belize. But where do these two very different sectors meet? According to the OAS, they don't! And that's why today the OAS along with the Inter-American Institute of American States and the Ministry of Natural Resources organized a consultation session at the Biltmore. The discussion was centered on a strategy to advance Belizean products and services through the tourism industry while involving more women and youth in that process. The Ambassador of the OAS, Starret Green further discussed the objectives of today's consultation. Starret Green, Ambassador - OAS "One of the issues that we are trying to understand better is what works and what doesn't work in linking the markets. We know we have a huge tourism industry.

    US Fugitive
    A wanted American pedophile was picked up in Hopkins by Belize police earlier this week. 54 year old Robert Andrew Ragin, is wanted by U.S. authorities to answer charges on twelve counts on promoting sexual performance by a child. While Ragin was living in Florida, he was found with pornographic videos of minors, and before he could have been arrested, he fled the country to Belize. He will be handed over to the US authorities tomorrow.

    Channel 5

    Crop Start Date Announced
    The 2015 sugar cane crop season will get underway on Monday, January twenty-sixth at ten in the morning. The pronouncement came this afternoon after a lengthy session between all stakeholders [...]

    P.U.P. Leader Responds to Barnett Endorsement
    On Wednesday, the U.D.P., all hyped up and bursting with enthusiasm, announced the entry of Doctor Carla Barnett into electoral politics. Barnett is no stranger to the public service, and [...]

    Fonseca Speaks on Barnett’s Resignation
    The U.D.P. has placed great emphasis on Barnett’s integrity in public life, and Prime Minister Barrow has stated publicly that it is perhaps her strongest point. The Prime Minister is [...]

    …Says Barrow Will Be Next Opposition Leader
    The Prime Minister has jubilantly placed Barnett against Fonseca in a political battle for Freetown, and only time will tell how that plays out. But in the meantime, Barrow is [...]

    2 Persons Questioned for Roaring Creek Murder
      Tonight, two persons are being questioned about the murder of twenty-four year old Roaring Creek entrepreneur, Emerson Daly Junior.  While Police are not saying if the men in custody [...]

    Ready Call Bus and Truck Collide By Boom Junction
    There was a collision this morning between a Ready Call bus transporting fifty-one employees and a dump truck. It happened on the Boom-Hattieville Road when the loaded bus crashed into [...]

    P.U.P. Ready for Municipal Elections?
    Earlier we showed you P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca’s response to the announcement of his opponent in Freetown. He wasn’t too impressed or concerned. Fonseca has other things on his mind [...]

    Fonseca Says Belize City Challenging
    So what’s the prediction for Belize City? It’s considered a U.D.P. stronghold with the U.D.P. holding on to eight of ten seats. Fonseca acknowledges that it will be a real [...]

    Jury Deliberates in Murder Trial
      The trial of Warren Lewis of Lord’s Bank, Ladyville and Cordel Flores of Belize City, who are jointly charged for the August 2009 murder of Albert Allen was summed [...]

    Accused Robber Walks Free
    In May 2014, a Bowen and Bowen employee was robbed of one thousand five hundred dollars. Today, he requested no further court action against the man he had positively identify [...]

    U.D.P. Chairman Caught in Domestic Altercation
      News Five has confirmed that this morning, Chairman of the U.D.P. Alberto August was involved in a broad daylight domestic altercation in Santa Elena. We were told officially that [...]

    P.U.P. Says NO to Offshore Drilling
    There is increased environmental chatter recently after the Geology and Petroleum Department released its draft petroleum exploration policy. According to the wording on that draft, every part of the Belizean [...]

    Audubon and OCEANA on Petroleum Zoning
    Earlier this week, we told you about OCEANA’s feedback on the Department of Geology’s Zoning Draft Policy. OCEANA said they were not meaningfully engaged, having only received the draft on [...]

    B.E.L.’s Golden Citizen Program in Full Effect
    B.E.L.’s Golden Citizens Electricity Bill Pay Award is growing by leaps and bounds. The initiative started with fifty persons two years ago. Today another group of senior citizens will not [...]

    $140,000 Up in Smoke in San Pedro
    An early morning fire has destroyed a building and equipment valued over one hundred and forty thousand dollars belonging to Grand Colony Resort in San Pedro Town. After two on [...]

    One Man Detained for San Pedro Robbery
    Another San Pedro hotel took a hit on Wednesday, this time by robbers. According to police, a receptionist of Caribbean Villas reported that around four-thirty on Wednesday, he and two [...]

    Stakeholders Focus on Agribusiness Development
    Linking Farmers to Tourism…the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, better known as IICA, is getting more involved in the development of the agro-productive sector in Belize. Today, at the [...]

    IICA and O.A.S. Partner in Agribusiness
      Partnering with IICA are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and the Organization of American States. Ambassador Starret Green says that while the linkages have already been established [...]

    Healthy Living Looks at a New Secret to Perfect Skin
    If you follow health or beauty trends, you should have definitely noticed a growing movement that champions common everyday foods as the new secret to better looking skin. To clarify [...]

    CTV3

    Thousnds Of Dollars Worth Of Items Goes In Flames In San Pedro
    Police in San Pedro Town are preparing to charge a male person in connection to an armed robbery reported. According to the receptionist at Caribbean Villas located on Seagrape Drive, he reported that at about 4:30 p.m. on yesterday’s date, while at his workplace, in the company of his two co-workers, a male person of dark complexion with a rag over his face, entered the establishment armed with a black handgun and pointed it at his head and demanded money. Fearing for his life and in compliance, he took a small cash pan containing petty cash amounting to $785.00, several envelopes containing employees pay amounting to $4000.00 along with his black Apple I-phone 4S, valued at $ 700.00 and a white Apple I-phone 4S cell phone valued at $800.00. The male person then exited the office running to the direction of Seagrape Drive and made good his escape. Police have since detained 26-year-old Agar Miguel Chunchon and have recovered some items as investigations continue.

    Dollars Worth Of Items Goes In Flames In San Pedro
    Owners of the Grand Colony Resort located on Sea Grape Drive are reeling in from a loss of over one hundred and forty thousand dollars caused by a fire. According to the report, in the wee hours of yesterday’s date, San Pedro Police responded to a 911 call a Carpenter’s workshop burning at the Resort where they saw a green zinc and wooden structure with cement flooring, measuring approximately 30’ x 50’ on fire. Fire Department personnel arrived on the scene at 2:30 a.m. and the scene was declared safe at 5:05 a.m. Preliminary information reveals that upon making routine checks, the security guard noticed smoke coming from inside the building. He then opened the door but the fire inside was already out of control so he immediately alerted the police. The building was completely gutted by flames and all its contents destroyed. According to the general manager, the structure is valued at $75,000.00 and its contents which included various heavy machinery and equipment are valued at $65,100.00 for a grand total of $140,100.00. The building nor its contents were insured and the cause of fire is still uncertain.

    When will The Rehabilitation Of San Estevan/Progresso Road Commence?
    In 2014, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in one of his press conferences, said that the rehabilitation of the San Estevan/Progresso Road would see completion by the middle of 2015. So far, no significant work has been seen along the road. It appears that there is still some issues in getting the work started but CEO in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle says that communities along the road should see some relief this year. “At a snail’s pace certainly not at my liking at all, it is certainly not advancing as the government would like to and I am certain as the road users here in Orange Walk would like from the inception we had certain problems that we tried to rectified and we are working with the contractor, at this moment we are discussing the way forward but what I can assure you and you can take my word for it I haven’t lied to you before that road will be completed because I can’t give you a when but it will be complete and you will works started that road in fact the last meeting we had with the contractor he assured that he had to gone out there and he had to do some grading again to improve the riding quality of the road but it is in the best interest of the government of Belize, the ministry of works want that work to be completed, the EU is also adamant that will see some progress so you will see progress very shortly and that road will be moved on unfortunately yes we are behind schedule but it will not be abandoned the road will be completed.”

    Corozal Police Conducts Service Day Training
    As is customary, simulation exercises and training is needed to keep our law enforcers ready for any scenario. And since mind and physical health are needed for the job, once a month officers from across formations throughout Belize engage in intense training. Over 35 police officers from the Corozal formation today gathered at the Ricalde Stadium for an afternoon tune up, well at least that is how Superintendent Andrew Ramirez refers to it. “What happen at a national level, we on Thursdays it is referred as in service days we either lecture our guys in relation to court process, statement taken, and customer care and in today’s session it is what we referred to public order training, it has nothing to be in any panic mode in relation to the cane issue or the election this is a normal measures standard directive, on Thursday is what is referred to in service days and Tuesdays is physical training, what we have here today is basically we have the Deputy Mr. Serrano giving these guys a tune up because as I mention thee training is done at least once a month.”

    Corozal Police Investigate Possible Case Of Pedophilia
    While authorities in Dangriga are waiting for confirmation to extradite Reagan, officers in Corozal are dealing with a similar case only that this time the individual is not wanted by the US but remains on the loose and according police, he is being sought. The latest incident is said to have occurred in the area of San Andres in the Corozal District and authorities are not taking the complaint lightly. Supt. Andrew Ramirez – Corozal OC “I got a very disturbing information a few hours ago in relation to a white SUV with a tire to the back and apparently the driver is of white Caucasian with American accent, sometime last night between 7 and 8 pm I think it is on the San Andres road, the driver of that vehicle apparently pushed out his hand and shaking up his hand with some monies to a 7 year old female child, obviously the intent to my opinion would be to entice that young lady inside that vehicle, I am asking the resident of Corozal if they have information of that specific type of vehicle; white SUV, with a wheel at the back, white Caucasian, has bumps on his face and more speaks American type accent, if they have any information of that vehicle or that description of that male person to please give us a call.”

    Road Improvement Paves Way To More Benefits
    At the top of the newscast we told you about today’s inauguration of the San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge Road. The inaugural ceremony saw the participation of several high ranking officials including members of the People’s United Party, Orange Walk Central Area Representative Honorable John Briceno and Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai who told us that the road improvement is of great benefit to the communities in his constituency. Abelardo Mai – Area Representative, O/W South “It’s a formidable undertaking I have to say, have to admit that this is a most needed highway, it runs through the heart of Orange Walk South which is y constituency and it is the life blood, I think it is the main artery in which food leaves Orange Walk South and spread out throughout the country, as you now Orange Walk South is the part of the bread basket of the country, the largest amount of rice is produced, grains in general and of course our valuable sugar cane so this highway is the main artery that then leads to distribute food throughout the country so it is formidable undertaking, it is very important to note too that the highway of this magnitude of this caliber will lead significantly to the reduction in the cost of producing sugar cane as you know transportation is the major cost then we reduce the cost of wear and tear, we reduce the cost of fuel and we reduce the repairs and maintenance of our transportation so it is a formidable undertaking and I think we are happy for having it I must say that.”

    Government Dissatisfied With Work On Philip Goldson Highway
    While Government officials are satisfied with the work done on the Feeder Roads Rehabilitation Project in Southern Orange Walk, the same cannot be said for the work being carried on the Phillip Goldson Highway that passes through Orange Walk Town. Motorists may have noticed several points along the recently paved mile of the highway have begun to break or sink in, this, only months after its completion. Today, while at the inaugural ceremony of the road in Southern Orange Walk, we spoke with CEO in the Ministry of Works Errol Gentle who said that they are aware of the situation. The CEO adds that they have sent technical officers to conduct a detailed physical inspection of the road, including the section of the San Antonio Road that has been hot mixed under the same contractor, Emer Hernandez.

    High Rate Of Children Infected With Stomach flu
    Every parent dreads hearing the three words, "My tummy hurts." Immediately, you start imagining the worst-case scenario: Your child is totally wiped out for days with nonstop vomiting and diarrhea; your home becomes a breeding ground for germs; and this virus spreads like wildfire through your entire family. Unfortunately, this is a reality and lately a lot of children have been affected with what doctors are calling gastroenteritis or commonly known as stomach flu. In stomach-virus season, entire classrooms and childcare centers can be taken by storm. And so, in an effort to help protect your family, here is what you need to know about the stomach flu. Doctor Damaris Cruz, stationed at the Presbyterian Medical Clinic in the village of Patachakan explains. Damaris Cruz – Doctor “The symptoms of this virus usually vary from mild to very intense they can be, patient start with nausea and or vomiting both or either just one of them, sometimes they can have abdominal pain, sometimes they have diarrhea, some patient might even have mild headaches or low grade fevers.”

    Wanted US Fugitive Captured In Dangriga
    Fifty four year old US National Robert Andrew Reagan is currently in police custody in Dangriga after a warrant for his arrest was issued by law enforcement agents from the State of Florida. Reagan was detained in Dangriga on Friday January 16th. Reagan is wanted in the US for 12 counts of promoting sexual performance by a child minor. Reports are that Reagan, who has been living in Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District for 6 months, was found with pornography videos of minors and before he could have been arrested, he fled the US.

    Sugar Impasse Is Over Crop Set To Commence January 26th
    Tonight, sugar industry stakeholders are breathing a sigh of relief as the date for the much anticipated start of the 2014/2015 cane crop has been announced. All stakeholders including the three associations (BSCFA, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association), along with Minister of Agriculture Honourable Gaspar Vega, representatives of the Sugar Industry Control Board and members of BSI/ASR, met around the discussion table this afternoon to collectively agree on date for the start of crop. After hours of deliberations, Chairperson of the SICB, Gabriel Martinez, told the congregate that a statement of commitment was signed by all parties involved, signalling the much anticipated commencement of the sugar crop. Gabriel Martinez – Chairperson, Sugar Industry Control Board “As newly constituted by the recent sugar cane act and the parties present here namely the three Associations along with BSI/ASR and our Deputy Prime Minister have agreed that the start of the 2015 sugar cane crop should be on Monday January 26th at 10am. The SCPC wants to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has work tirelessly to come to this moment here and we are so happy to be able to pronounce this date as agreed by the stakeholders we wish all the caneros a productive and a blessed sugar crop 2015.”

    LOVE FM

    Repairs of Sugar Roads to Commence
    And with the date set for the start of the crop season, works will commence shortly on a number of sugar roads. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega told Love News, the assessment is underway. “As of Tuesday both engineer Bradley and engineer Calles came down to the north to start the assessment on the different sugar roads of course the most needy ones and we are going to be investing $1 million dollars in the Orange Walk district and $1 million dollars in the Corozal district but before the actual work starts getting done, they have to asses it because of course we have to ensure we get value for money. So that is what the engineer Bradley was here on Tuesday and I know that they continued yesterday and I know by today or tomorrow the work should have started and we are going to ensure that we get as many contractors as possible so that the work can be done as quick as it could ever have been done. The roads are not as bad as last year and we are investing the same amount of money so I do believe there are plenty roads that can be used as we speak without any work getting done on them.”

    Suspected Fugitive Involved in San Ignacio Robbery?
    Police are looking for an escaped prisoner after it is believed he robbed a store in San Ignacio. Correspondent Elaine Berry has the story. “This morning at about 8 AM a Chinese grocery store located on Bella Vista Street here in San Ignacio was robbed by a single gun man. The person is believed to be Emanuel Willoughby also known as Mangar who escaped from the KOLBE foundation since December 2014. Police responded immediately and sighted him running. He managed to escape in the bushes in an open lot in the outskirts of town. Police are presently searching the area. The police are advising the public to be cautious and call the police hotline at 9-1-1 or 804-2022 as it is believed that he is in the Santiago Juan and Bishop Martin area. He is considered armed and dangerous.”

    BEL Awards Twenty Senior Citizens
    The Belize Electricity Limited, through the collaborative efforts of B.E.L Customer Care Department and Social Care Community, awarded twenty senior citizens a year of free electricity. The Program, The Golden Citizens, Commenced at the BEL Corporate Headquarters, two and a half miles Philip Goldson Highway, Manager of Customer Care, Celina Gill, addressed the media and spoke of the program. CELINA GILL “This is the third consecutive year in which BEL is paying Golden Citizen’s Electricity Bills for one year. As part of one of several initiatives through which the company fulfills its mission to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize. Inspired by the sincere drive of one of our employees to reach out and make a difference in the life of a senior citizen the company adapted the program and made it official in 2012.

    PUP Says “NO!” To Offshore Drilling
    Earlier in the week we began reporting on the 32-page draft document on the Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. After learning and reading the draft document, OCEANA’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona, expressed discontent and concern over the content of the document. Chanona further expressed disapprovals of any type of offshore drilling. However, yesterday the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Dr. Colin Young, told Love News that paper was sent to all environmental groups and agencies in order to received feedback. Today, PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, told the media that his party is dead set against offshore drilling.

    Details of San Pedro Murder Still Unraveling
    Twenty-two-year-old Silva Benitez was found murdered on Ambergris Caye, three miles north of San Pedro Town. She was found partially nude, face down in small pond of mud off the Grand Belizean Estate Road. Benitez had been reported missing and friends and family had feared the worst. Her body was discovered on Saturday morning by two passersby. Police say that Benitez had bruises to the face, neck and back. A post mortem examination was conducted where it was found that the body had multiple blunt force injuries to the right side of face, to the neck and back and restraining type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh. Up to news time, no one has been arrested for her murder. At the time the exact cause of them was not established. Today Deputy Coastal Officer, Inspector Henry Jemmott, told Love News that police believed that Benitez was strangled.

    Man Detained For San Pedro Robbery
    Caribbean Villas Resort, Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro Town, was robbed at gun point. It happened yesterday evening when a man barged into the receptionist’s office, took out a .38 revolver and demanded the monies. A total of four thousand seven hundred and eighty five dollars and two iPhones were handed over to the robber. Quick police response led to the detention of one man. However, Deputy Coastal Officer, Inspector Henry Jemmott, told Love News that they believe that the man who they have detained may have been working with someone from the inside.

    General Elections; Will Francis Become PM?
    On Monday the House of Representatives met to introduce a bill to amend the Sugar Act but aside of the usual technical business, there was also the usual back and forth among the political opponents. Well on Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made several remarks alluding that the current leader of the People’s United Party, Francis Fonseca will not be leader anymore after the March Municipal Elections. Fonseca did not responds to Barrow’s statements that day so he was asked about it today…. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, FRANCIS FONSECA “The only change of leader in the opposition will come when the general elections are called and he, Mr. Barrow, if he remains the leader of the UDP, he will then be the leader of the opposition. That is the only time the leader of the opposition will change so let him call the general elections and yes, we will have a new leader of the opposition; him or maybe it will be Gappy Vega who knows. That is the only time we will have a change in the leader of the opposition in this country.”

    Four Injured in Morning RTA
    A traffic incident on the Boom Road, just a few miles from its junction with Hattieville Village, Belize District, has left four persons recovering from minor injuries and over four dozen residents shaken from the collision. The incident occurred between nine and ten o’clock this morning between a bus filled with employees of the Ready Call Centre and a dump truck. Love News was on the scene and spoke to both drivers who came out the incident unscathed. Claudio Moreira was the driver of the bus, which was transporting the over fifty one employees to the work sight. CLAUDIO MOREIRA “Well when we were coming on the Boom highway a dump truck was in front of me and to avoid an accident he swerved right into my right of way and as I said to avoid the accident I tried my best to avoid the accident. I hit him on the tail of the dump truck and that was the best I could do to avoid people getting hurt on the bus. As a matter of face we have two people that got hurt but just minor injuries for a pregnant girl and a young boy, they are not really critical.”

    Francis Rebuts to Barnett as a Sacrificial Lamb
    Yesterday the United Democratic Party revealed that Dr. Carla Barnett has decided to contest the next general election. She is hoping to be the next Area representative for the Freetown Division. The present area representative for that division is the leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca. While, Barnett has not been officially endorsed as the Standard Bearer for that division, Fonseca did respond to the possibility that Barnet, who he referred to as a sacrificial lamb, may be his political opponent. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, FRANCIS FONSECA “You know the problem for Dr.Barnett is that the people of Freetown want absolutely nothing to do with the UDP, the great majority of the people in Freetown, want nothing to do with Mr. Barrow.

    PlusTV

    BEL Honors 225 Golden Citizens with Electricity Bill Pay Awards
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) held a ceremony on Thursday morning at its Corporate Headquarters for its Golden Citizens. As a part of BEL’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. Some of the senior citizens received their award during Thursday morning’s ceremony, and the remaining awardees will be visited and presented with certificates at their homes over the next few days.

    San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge road officially opened
    10.5 kilometres of rehabilitated roadway, between San Lazaro and August Pine Ridge in Orange Walk, was officially opened on Thursday by Head of the EU Delegation to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei and officials of the Ministry of Works. The rehabilitation was financed by the European Union and the Government of Belize through funds from the EU’s vlcsnap-2015-01-23-06h14m47s90Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS) Programme and is being undertaken in four phases. The Rural Road Rehabilitation Project programme which began in 2008 and will end in 2016, supports the upgrade of 29 key roads in the sugar areas at a cost of over € 42.7 million (BZD 106.7million). The San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge was completed under phase three of the programme at a cost of BZ$4.4 million.

    Duo await verdict in murder retrial
    At news time a jury of 9 women and 3 men were deliberating the guilt or innocence of 26 year old Cordel Flores and 23 year old Warren Lewis, who are charged with the murder of Alberto Allen. The case is being tried before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Supreme Court. During the first trial in March of 2013 a juror made comments in the presence of a police officer in favour of the accused, which the prosecution said showed evidence of prejudgment and bias, which would deny the men a fair trial. A mistrial was declared and a trial before a new jury ordered. On August 18, 2009, Flores and Lewis are accused of driving Allen in Lewis’s car to a feeder road off Mile 4 on the George Price Highway, then shooting him in the back after exiting the vehicle. Alberto Allen was also slashed in the throat and had a piece of stick pushed down his throat, as well as head injuries caused by a blunt instrument.

    Caribbean Villas robbed of payroll
    The receptionist for Caribbean Villas located on Seagrape Drive, San Pedro Town, reported that at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday January 21st, while at his workplace sitting in the company of his two co-workers, a man of dark with his face covered with a rag, entered the establishment armed with a black handgun. The armed man pointed the weapon at the receptionist’s head and demanded money. He then took a small cash pan containing petty cash amounting to $785.00, several envelopes containing employees pay amounting to $4000.00 along a $ 700.00 cell phone and an $800.00 cell phone. The man escaped.

    Fire at Grand Colony Resort in San Pedro
    There was a fire in San Pedro early Wednesday morning. A Carpenter’s workshop went up in a blaze at the Grand Colony Resort located on Sea Grape Drive, San Pedro Town. The structure, a wooden building, approximately 30’ x 50’, was on fire sometime after 2 o’clock that morning. The security guard for Grand Colony reported that while conducting routine patrols on the compound, he noticed smoke coming from inside the building. He then opened the door but the fire inside was already out of control so he immediately alerted the police. The building was completely gutted by flames and all its contents destroyed.

    Ready Call Bus with employees slams into tail of a dump truck
    There was an accident on Thursday morning on the Boom Hattieville Road, involving a Ready Call Bus and a dump truck. The Ready Call bus was transporting over 50 workers to its facility in Boom, when a truck turned right into a feeder road. The Ready Call bus slammed into the tail of the truck and smashed a portion of the front of the bus. Reports are that four Ready Call Employees were injured the accident which happened near the Belize Central Prison. None of the injuries were life threatening.

    NTUCB VP says union battling its own internal corruption and leadership issues
    At Monday’s cane farmer’s protest in front of the National Assembly, a few representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize joined the group to lend their support to the farmers. We asked why the NTUCB president Dylan Reneau was not there, and according to the Second Vice-President...

    UDP aspirant confident in Orange Walk East victory
    On Tuesday we reported on the results of the PUP convention in Orange Walk East, which selected incumbent town councilor Josue Carballo by 14 votes over former area representative Dave Burgos. Just 150 less voters came out for the PUP event than the number who came out to elect Elodio Aragon Jr...

    CWU executive report on successful first year
    The Christian Worker’s Union (CWU) elected a new executive in December of 2013, after months of turmoil surrounding the presidency of Antonio Gonzalez, who stood down after members accused him of poor performance on the job. A little over a year later, a union in ruins and on the outs with its paren...

    Put Away; New release by Mervin Budram
    The issue of crime has ravished Belize over the past few years. Unfortunately, though the major crimes seem to be concentrated mostly in one area of the nation, it has caused Belize to be listed as the 3rd most murderous nation. “Put Away” is a new musical release by well known Belizean musician Mer...

    Former Youth Ambassador pleads guilty to forgery charges
    25 year old Kenroy Young will learn next Monday, January 26, what is his sentence to five admitted counts of uttering a forged document. Mr Young entered the plea On Wednesday before Justice Adolph Lucas, in the Supreme Court. Kenroy Young, formerly an employee of Youth for the Future and United Na...

    Traffic Accident in Belmopan on Hummingbird Highway
    There was a traffic accident at around 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon on the Humming bird Highway in Belmopan,  involving a white Forerunner and a grey Tracker. According to reports, Derek Gordon, the driver of the white Forerunner, was coming from Placencia, travelling in a northerly direction...

    Sugar Industry Amendment Bill is now law
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday and by the Senate on Tuesday, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The Act was published in the Gazette on Wednesday, 21st January 2015, but is retroactive from the 14th of January, 2015. According to a press release from the Government Press Office, this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The Act also provides that there may exist more than one association of cane farmers, and the Sugar Industry Control Board shall have the power to register all associations.

    Dr. Carla Barnett announces candidacy for Freetown Division
    Former Chief Executive Officer and Financial Secretary in the Government of Belize and former Vice-President at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Carla Barnett, is entering politics. On Wednesday she announced her candidacy in the Freetown Division, which is currently held by Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and of the People’s United Party (PUP) Francis Fonseca, and was last in the hands of the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1992, when Derek Aikman was forced to resign due to bankruptcy. But how do you beat a three-term sitting area representative, who is also Leader of the Opposition, with precious little political experience of any kind? Dr. Barnett told reporters she believes she has the key.

    The Guardian

    Case cannot proceed against former teacher
    In late 2009, then E. P. Yorke Teacher, Cordel Gonzalez, was charged with two counts of carnal knowledge of a female child, then 14. He ended up losing his position with the institution after a video tape with him having sex with the minor student surfaced and investigations led to him being charged. On Tuesday January 20, Gonzalez, saw two counts of carnal knowledge end in up in a nolle prosequi, the first such case to be entered by the DPP’s officer for 2015. On Tuesday, before Justice Adolph Lucas in the Supreme Court, Gonzalez case ended in nolle prosequi and he was set free. The reason for today’s nolle prosequi is becuase the victim, then 14, now 19 has been living abroad and has difficulties travelling back to Belize.

    Football Federation of Belize hosting FIFA RAP 2015
    The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) informs the general public that FIFA RAP (Referee Assistance Program) 2015 will begin on Tuesday 20 January, 2015 with an open ceremony starting at 9:00am at the FFB Training Facility. Participating in the seminar are twenty-two (22) referees, which includes one (1) female referee, six (6) referee assessors and two (2) referee instructors and one (1) physical trainer from across the country. On Wednesday 21 January, 2015 at the Marion Jones Sports Complex the Physical test will be conducted starting at 5:00am.

    Respect the Association but Love the Farmers - Freedom for All Caneros
    “It was the expressed interest of a substantial number of cane farmers to have the freedom to associate with the association of their choice where they will be able to openly and freely voice their opinions as is their constitutional Right.” – Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of State in the ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and former Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board. The Government of Belize passed an amendment to the Sugar Industry Control Act on Monday, January 19, in order to properly align the law with the Constitution of Belize as ordered in 2010 by Justice Oswell Legall of the Supreme Court of Belize. Efrain Zetina and Wilfredo Magana championed the cause of hundreds in 2007 when they went to the Supreme Court of Belize to challenge the clause of the Sugar Industry Act which makes it mandatory for a canefarmer to belong and pay fees to the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association in order to sell their crop to the factory.

    Megalomaniacs Dance While Cane Farmers Lose Millions
    The confederacy of anti-Barrow crusaders could not muster a crowd for Audrey Matura Shepherd’s protest on Monday, January 19. Representatives from the loudest rat-pack reached out to supporters of their organizations for a protest against the Government of Belize at the National Assembly on Monday. The organizations that participated in the protest were the Christian Workers Union (CWU), the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA), the Commoners Association, Soloist Ya-Ya Marin-Coleman, National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), the Rod of Correction (ROC), Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) and the Peoples United Party (PUP).

    IICA, OAS and MNRA host consultative workshop linking farmers to tourism
    The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) steadfast in its continued commitment to the development of the agro-productive sector in Belize will host a discussion forum with stakeholders and private sector partners with a focus on women and youth at 9:00 a.m. on January 22, 2015 at the Best Western Biltmore Hotel, Belize City. At the forum, both stakeholders and beneficiaries will discuss the critical importance of “value added products” in relation to the development of the sector and in this regard how the sector can effectively target the local and tourism markets and potentially even the international markets in Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.

    Sugar Crop set to start
    As soon as the Governor General signs the Amendment to the Sugar Industry Act, the crop will start and include all cane farmers, much to the relief of the cane farmers, civil society, and the Government. The stand off finally ended on Monday, January 19, when the factory owners, the Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI), with their majority shareholder, American Sugar Refinery (ASR), signed with the biggest association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). This was a huge step forward because, as readers may recall, radicals from the BSCFA worked very hard to prevent the compromise deal being signed between these two entities. There is nothing wrong with taking strong positions on behalf of those you represent, but cane farmers Lucilo Teck, Alfredo Ortega, Javier Keme, and others poorly advised their fellow cane farming brethren to soundly reject the deal that they had accepted a few weeks before. Of course, the brilliant attorney, Audrey Matura, who wears hats of unionist and firebrand agitator, had a lot to do with the misguided steps taken which drove the wedge further between the cane farming community and the millers.

    Tough Week for the PUP Party Leader - Chronicle of a Death Foretold
    It has been a rough week for the leader of the People’s United Party. Sunday, January 18, to Wednesday, January 21, were the worst four days of his political career. The nightmare for the lame duck leader started in Orange Walk on Sunday, January 18, when his porty held a convention for the Orange Walk East Constituency. Fonseca and his loyalists were backing David Burgos, East Area Representative from 1998 to 2008. Burgos is an agent of Fonseca’s beloved “Old Guard” PUP. However, the Old Guard is the most stained, reviled and condemned group of politicians of the country. Burgos was challenged by Johnny Bricenos’ candidate, Josue Carballo, who is relatively unknown in the North. The porty leader sent out his soldiers and flexed the maximum muscle of the Secretariat in an effort to secure victory for the former two term Area Representative. Unfortunately for the Old Guard, when the ballots were counted the new comer was ahead on the score card. That forced the porty officials to recheck and scrutinize every ballot but Bricenos’ camp stood vigilant to ensure that no ballot found its way down the Chairman or Secretary General’s throat. In the end, the porty had no choice but to announce that the novice had defeated their veteran in the convention – Johnny Briceno victorious over Francis Fonseca and his Secretariat.

    We need the East to Win
    The convention to elect a PUP standard bearer for the East Constituency was held on Sunday, January 18 at the Louisiana Government School here in OW. This was declared necessary so as to select a replacement for the present PUP representative, Hon. Mendez, who has announced that he will not seek re-election in the next General Elections. Many have opined that Mendez should simply resign and get it over with, but that is a topic for another day. However, the situation for the PUP in this division draws parallel with the recent past, when, prior to the 2008 General Elections, Dave Burgos announced that he would not seek re-election in the East. Señor Cardona went on to win that division for the UDP, an episode, I must say, which ended up in complete disaster; with Cardona serving as a UDP for half his term and as Opposition for the other half.

    Two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout placed under quarantine
    Two poultry farms in the Spanish Lookout area have been placed under precautionary quarantine by the Belize Agriculture Health Authority BAHA, following the confirmation of the presence of the Avian Influenza. The detection was first made on December 30th 2014, followed by other tests on January 8th and 12th, which have all resulted positive for the Avian Influenza A Virus. Additional samples were taken from one of the farms on Wednesday of last week and sent to a reference laboratory in the United States, and by the time confirmation came in at 5:00 pm from a Belizean laboratory technician this past Friday, BAHA had gone into full gear to prevent an additional spread of the virus. Dr. Miguel Depaz, Chief Veterinarian Officer and Director of the Animal Health Department under BAHA, immediately called the local command level within the Belize Poultry Association and poultry farmers in Spanish Lookout this past Friday, where a meeting was held and instructions went out for the affected farms to be isolated. With that order for a heightened bio-security in place, no birds or poultry products can leave those two specific farms. A tape has been placed around those two farms to notify others that they are under quarantine. Specific vehicles have been identified at BAHA that can now go into those farms, where the professionals use protective gear and carry with them disinfectants to prevent further viral contamination.

    Community Groups in Cayo voice their concerns to Liquor Licensing Board
    Some three community based security groups, in an unprecedented show of force, voiced their concerns on Tuesday of this week at the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio, during a second day of a review and approval of liquor licenses by the Cayo Liquor Licensing Board. The groups are incensed that bars are opening into the late night hours with loud music and are violating the laws that require them to have sound proofing. Police Special Constable Dr. Gregory Strophshire was first to speak on Tuesday. He reported that when he goes on patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, he is seeing too much public drinking, with the source of the liquor coming from “package stores.” Eduardo ‘Dito’ Juan, Chairman of the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC was the second to speak, where he expressed, among other concerns, that no license should be given for a bar to operate at the Cayo Welcome Center, which is an area where families gather. His statements were followed by Bart Mickler, who was deputizing for Ernie Braun from the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association CNWA. Bart Mickler said that bars cannot be a nuisance to the community and they must be sound proofed. Community member Landy Espat also voiced his concerns that there were some churches with loud music going beyond 2:00 am and causing a disturbance to the neighborhoods.

    C - Ray Cycling Club warm up series continue this Saturday
    The C-Ray Cycling Club Warm up series leading up to the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic continued on Saturday 17 January, 2015. The warm up races commenced on Saturday 10 January and will conclude on Saturday 28 March, 2015. The race is open to all cyclists of the Junior, Female, Weekend Warriors and Elite categories. The winners of the 2nd race are as follows in the various categories: In the Junior category, 1st place went to Darien Anderson, 2nd place went to Yan Cattouse and 3rd place went to Michael Grajalez.

    Accused of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl
    On Friday January 16, a security guard of 18 Douglas Jones Street was before the court to answer to a charge of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl. Allegations are that 55 year old Adrian Cruz, on January 13, inappropriately touched a 13 year old girl on her vagina. Cruz appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart where he was read a single charge of sexual assault upon a minor. In court, Cruz who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to the charge but the court prosecutor, Inspector Pablo Pikney objected to bail being granted to him on the grounds of the serious nature of the offense which is on the rise against minors. He added that the court or police are not certain of Cruz's immigration status since he is not a Belizean and that he is a flight risk and may flee the country and not appear at his court adjournments.

    Freed after being remanded for pulling gun
    A San Pedro man was freed on Thursday January 15 after spending 6 nights behind bars at the Belize Central Prison. Obed Figueroa was accused of assaulting Christian Cadieux with a deadly instrument, a black 9 mm Beretta brand pistol with serial number PX149223. The alleged incident occurred in San Pedro on Thursday, January 8, 2015 in which Figueroa, who is a Security Guard on the island, allegedly pulled a 9 mm and assaulted Cadieux.

    Charged for possession of firearm
    On Monday January 19, two young Belize City men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after they were busted with what police say are components of a firearm - a shot gun. 21-year-old Akeem Requena, along with 19 year old student, David Mas, were charged for keeping a firearm withou a license. They appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where they pleaded not guilty to the offence. They were then remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

    Roaring Creek resident shot in the face
    Roaring Creek Resident, Emerson Daly Jr., the well-known handy man and event planner from Roaring Creek Village in Cayo, was found in the river in his home village early on Wednesday, January 21. The 24 year-old went missing 3 days before, and an on-site post mortem has found that he was fatally shot in the face. The investigators believe that his killer or killers then dumped his body into the river. He was last seen by his family on Sunday, January 18, at around 8 p.m. That’s when he left the house to head to an unknown location on his uncle’s blue Nissan Pathfinder, a vehicle which he borrowed. When he didn’t come home the next day, his family and friends started getting worried, and that caused them to start checking around to see if anyone had seen him.

    Johnny’s Candidate vs Francis’ Candidate
    It was outright war in the PUP Orange Walk East political camps as Johnny Briceno’s pick to be the PUP Standard Bearer in that constituency, Josue Carballo, went up against Dave Burgos who was Francis Fonseca’s pick for the division. In the end it was Carballo who emerged victorious by a narrow margin, but as Johnny’s wife expressed on Facebook, a W is a W. And indeed it was a W for Carballo and more so for Briceno who is now solidifying himself to reclaim the position as party leader of the PUP. In this contest he gave it his all, and when we say he gave it his all we mean so. The Facebook social media erupted into back and forth quarrels as the game of one-up-manship was in full swing. At the height of the election the contenders had become very freehanded with the dishing out of money. One Facebook post notes that “Dave Burgos d back!! We de ahead, dem fifty dollar handouts no weh help Josua.” Well if we were to hazard a guess, those $50 dollars actually did help after all he came on top.

    The Methodist Church converges in Belize City for 154th District Conference
    The Belize/Honduras District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) is currently meeting at Ebenezer Church in the Ebenezer Circuit for the 154th District Conference under the theme “Claiming Each Generation for Jesus.” The District Conference commenced on Monday 19 January with the Ministerial Session at the District Office and continued with the same on Tuesday 20 January. The Representative Session, which includes the Ministerial staff of the District and the lay representatives from the Circuits and Congregations’ of the Methodist Church in the District Conference commenced on Wednesday 21 January and is scheduled to conclude on Friday 23 January, is currently in session at Ebenezer Church. The Representative Session will appoint the officers of the District Conference. It also appoints the ministerial and lay representatives to the Connexional Conference and it will also stations the ministers and probationers on behalf of the Connexional Conference in the District as best serves the mission of the Church.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    Sugar Industry (amendment) bill signed by the Governor General
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 19th January 2015 and by the Senate on the 20th January, 2015, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The Act was published in the Gazette today, 21st January 2015, and copies are available at Print Belize, Belmopan. The main object of this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The membership of an association shall be entirely voluntary. The Act also provides that there may exist more than one association of cane farmers and the Sugar Industry Control Board shall have the power to register all associations. After registration by the Board, an association shall automatically become a legal entity and may hold property, open bank accounts in its own name, and do all other things which a corporate body may do.

    BDF volunteer stabbed to death after fight
    Police have 3 men detained who they believe had some involvement in the stabbing murder of Denver Villafranco, a BDF Volunteer with a stellar record. Brothers, Orlando, 38, and 41-year-old Phil Tyrone Staine, appeared in magistrate’s court on Tuesday January 20 where they were arraigned for the weekend murder of Denver Villafranco. CIB personnel escorted the two of the brothers, where they were read a single charge of murder for the Saturday, January 17, 2015 murder of BDF volunteer Soldier, Denver Villafranco.

    Single mother murdered in San Pedro
    The decomposing body of a woman was discovered on Ambergris Caye on Saturday, January 17, at around 3:30 p.m. She has since been identified as 22 year-old Honduran, Silvia Carmen Benitez, and due to certain observations, San Pedro Police officers made, they believe that she may have been raped, murdered and then dumped at that location. Benitez was last seen alive on Monday, January 12, by a group of persons who described that she appeared to be heavily intoxicated. When she wasn’t heard from the following day, her family and friends became concerned, and that’s when they started checking around for her. She was officially reported missing on Friday, January 15, and that’s when police started taking an active interest in trying to locate her.

    Mark Vega acquitted of sensational 2002 murder of Mennonite couple
    On Friday past, the murder trial of a well known figure, Mark Vega ended in an acquittal when a jury of 12 persons found the 31-year-old not guilty of the June 13, 2002 robbery that turned into murder of a Mennonitte family in Trinidad village in the Orange Walk district. At that time Susan and Enrique Pethkau were flagged down by three men and robbed at gunpoint. Both were shot and left to die, only Susan succumbed to her injuries. On Friday, a jury of 12, went into the deliberating room at 3.45 p.m., and within 5 hours, at 8.45 p.m., arrived at a not guilty verdict, setting Vega free of the murder. On Monday January 19, Vega’s attorney, Bryan Neal told us that the prosecution’s only witness, who was the deceased’s husband who is now also dead and was unable to make it to the trial to testify. While the DPP’s prosecution did get his statement admitted into evidence for the jurors to consider, at the end of the 5 hours deliberation, they were unsure of Vega’s guilt and ended up acquitting him. The jurors were privileged to an identification parade statement that Pethkau had participated in where he positively identified Vega as one of the three men who robbed them leading to the murder of his wife. That too, it appears, did not budge the jurors and he is now free of murder.

    Belmopan Bandits 3 peat National Football Champions
    The Premier League of Belize 2014 Opening Season Tournament came to an end on Saturday 17 January, 2015, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. The championship series was played between the number one seed into the playoffs, which included the championship series, the Police United and the defending champions the Belmopan Bandits. The outcome of the championship was determined in the first half of the game when the budding champions, the Belmopan Bandits, were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Woodrow West scored the 1st goal in the 23rd minute of play via a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.

    Belize Athletics Association to hold National Track and Field Championship
    The Belize Athletics Association invites all athletes and track enthusiasts once again to be a part of a National Track and Field Championship event. The event had to be postponed and is now set to be hosted at the Marion Jones Sports Complex on the 24 and 25 January, 2015. All athletes 16 years and older can participate in the events. Registration forms can be obtained from and returned to the BAA via email ( belizeathleticsassociation@gmail.com) or from our Facebook page (Belize Athletics Association). Registration forms can also be obtained from and returned to the National Sports Council’s offices throughout the country.

    Belize Elementary girls and St. John Vianney boys are Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Champions
    The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Competition came to an end on Wednesday 21 January, 2015, with the championship game in both the girls’ and boys’ competition. In the girls’ championship game, Belize Elementary School defeated Holy Redeemer School by the score of 6-2. The top scorer for Belize Elementary School was Allyana Musa with 4 points and the top scorer for Holy Redeemer School was Aaliyah Tillett with 2 points. In the boys’ championship game, St. John Vianney defeated St. Ignatius School by the score of 30-22. The top scorer for St. John Vianney was T-Dee Cattouse with 9 points, while the top scorers for St. Ignatius School were Tariq Pascascio and Delrick Sankey with 8 points each.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    BEL assists senior citizens with light bill
    The Belize Electricity Limited is exercising its corporate citizenship by extending a helping hand to some senior citizens. As part of the state owned utility’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. A short ceremony was held […]

    Jury deliberates in murder trial
    A jury of 9 women and 3 men was deliberating the guilt or innocence of 26 year old Cordel Flores and 23 year old Warren Lewis late this evening. Flores and Lewis are charged with the murder of Alberto Allen. The case is being tried before Justice Troadio Gonzalez […]

    Police question two men as part of murder investigation
    The investigation into the murder of Roaring Creek businessman, twenty four year old Emerson Daly continues by Belmopan police. Daly’s decomposed body was retrieved from the Belize River on Wednesday and initially police had said the body had what appeared to be stab wounds. Today, however, the police press office […]

    Bus and truck collide in Hattieville
    There was a road traffic accident early this morning on the Boom/Hattieville road. It involved a truck and a bus carrying workers for Ready Call. It happened around nine o’clock this morning a short distance from the Belize Central Prison. Reports are that the bus crashed into the rear of […]

    Delayed sugar crop to start on Monday, January 26
    After weeks of back and forth, Monday, January 26 has been named as the date for the start of the 2015 sugar crop. This morning the Sugar Industry Control Board, met with the leaders of the three associations that now legally able to deliver cane to the BSI/ASR factory […]

    Armed robbery in San Ignacio; police hunt suspect
    There was an armed robbery this morning in San Ignacio town. According to reports, the incident happened around eight o’clock this morning when a lone gunman targeted a business establishment on Buena Vista Street. According to reports, the proprietor of New Yang Store, had just opened for business this morning […]

    Sports Council says no alternate plans for Norman Broaster Stadium
    For some time now rumours have been circling about what some people thought were plans to turn the historic Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town into a car park. Well, those rumours were put to rest today when the National Sports Council, sent out a short press release announcing […]

    Blogs

    24 Hours at Belize’s Famed Ramon’s Village Resort: It Takes…Well…A Village
    I moved to San Pedro, Belize about 8 years ago and have always lived south of town. So if you do the math (actually…let me do it for you), I have walked by Ramon’s Village Resort a minimum of 10 times a week, for 8 years. A MINIMUM of about 4000 times. Along this beach. That’s the thing about Ramon’s – it is a FULL service resort. The staff of 76 (SEVENTY SIX!) is ready to greet you at every turn. When I woke up to see the sunrise, two guys were already raking the beach. They keep this stretch of beach immaculate.

    International Sourcesizz

    Sea cucumbers saving lives
    Dr Alasdair Harris is a 35-year-old marine ecologist who is changing the way people think about conservation. In November 2013 he went to Washington, DC, to give a presentation at a World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) conference on ‘the power of communities to protect the planet’. ‘I’ve been told that I’ve been billed as an iconoclast,’ he began, before going on to question one of the cornerstones of marine conservation: marine protected areas (MPAs). There are more than 6,500 MPAs – in most cases controlled by national governments – covering nearly three per cent of the world’s oceans. And numbers are increasing rapidly. Dr Harris showed a slide of a marine reserve in Tanzania. ‘An MPA,’ he said, ‘but really, it’s just a paper park. A park in name only. Overfishing is rife. Dynamite fishing is widespread. Sadly, lamentably, this is not an isolated incident.’ Then he called up a graphic from a recent study of marine conservation successes in the western Indian Ocean. It highlighted just one example of an effective MPA. ‘Why,’ he asked, looking at the audience of conservationists, ‘do we so rarely get it right?’

    Bain Wanted To Resign, Says UWI Vice-Chancellor
    The claim that Professor Brendan Bain has not been paid by the University of West Indies, Mona (UWI), for the period October 2014 to January 2015 has been denied by Archibald Campbell, bursar of UWI. He was responding to questions by Professor Bain's lawyer Georgia Gibson Henlin. The bursar said that the professor had received an overpayment and that was the reason he was not paid for the period. He said he sent a letter to Professor Bain about the overpayment and also spoke to him personally about it.

    Bain says UWI owes him, bursar says he was overpaid
    Professor Brendan Bain is contending that the University of the West Indies (UWI) owes him moneys from salary as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) programme. This came out during cross-examination of UWI bursar Archibald Campbell on Thursday. Bain, through his lawyer Georgia Gibson-Henlin, is claiming that the university owes him for the period October 2014 to January 14, 2015. However, Campbell said that the UWI actually overpaid Bain. A new defence witness is to take the stand when the matter continues in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

    International security leaders resume dialogue on Caribbean counterdrug efforts
    Strengthening capabilities, interoperability and information sharing to effectively counter transnational organized crime in the Caribbean was the focus again for military and civilian leaders from 21 nations who met in Nassau Jan. 21-22 to discuss the threat and ways to effectively reduce its presence and impact. This was the fifth consecutive year the topic is the central theme of the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), underscoring the importance of the issue for regional leaders and their commitment to addressing it by working together. CANSEC XIII, co-hosted this year for the second time by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), included more than 90 participants representing defense, law enforcement, government and international organizations from the Caribbean, North America, South America, Central America and Europe.

    The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015
    In March, members of Marine Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 took part in maneuvers aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens as part of Multi-Sail 2014, an annual exercise designed to support “security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.” That same month, elite soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines took part in a training exercise code-named Fused Response with members of the Belizean military. “Exercises like this build rapport and bonds between U.S. forces and Belize,” said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Heber Toro of Special Operations Command South afterward.

    The Home Flat
    The sun begins to shine through the two foot gap I’ve left in our cabana’s curtains somewhere around 6 am. For the first time in months, sleeping in is an option. At least an option. Breakfast is at 7:00 and our guide, Daniel, will be ready by 7:30, but he’s gone out of his way to let us know he’s moving on our schedule -- and so the opportunity to catch another hour or two of rest before hitting the flats is there, even if it’s one we’re decidedly unlikely to seize. But the Turneffe Atoll’s bonefish have other ideas. Still flat on my back, I squint towards the increasingly confident flood of sunlight, trying to catch a glimpse of the palm trees outside in an effort to determine whether last night’s stiff wind has subsided. Light gleams sharply off the water that slaps against the seawall not more than 40 feet from the cabana’s porch, forcing my still bleary eyes to recoil.

    Videos

    10 Most Beautiful Islands In Belize, 3.5min.
    Ambergris Caye, Belize, 14min. some great diving sequences....
    Air Belize Skydiving, 1min.
    Rainforest Birds and Bird Songs in Belize Jan 1, 23min.
    Guatemala - Belize Sept 2014 - 2, 6min.
    Relaxing on Rendezvous Caye in Belize, 1min.
    Human Impacts on Bottlenose Dolphins in Belize, 1.5min.
    UB ISL Trip to Belize 2015 - Group 4, 15min. During this 2015 winter session twelve students, nine from University at Buffalo and three from Pace University, went on a service-learning trip to the country of Belize. The trip lasted from January 10th until January 18th. The program was constructed under the collaboration of UB Study Abroad, UB School of Nursing and International Service Learning (ISL). The students were lead by a UB professor and three representatives from ISL. The purpose of their trip was to contribute to global healthcare efforts in Belize.
    Dobes Family Vacation Belize 1986, 80min. This is our family vacation to Belize in 1986. This is the first of our old movies I am uploading to the internet for posterity. It includes Chaa Creek, Xunantunich, and Ambergris Cay.
    Scuba Diving in Belize & Youngblood's wedding in Mexico, 6min. A bunch of great people gathered in Playa del Carmen for Chase & Jolene's Wedding and then traveled to San Pedro & Caye Caulker, Belize to Scuba Dive. Filmed with Gopro4 and my iphone for the Chicken Drop in belize.
    Pros of Living In Placencia Belize, 2.5min. Here's a video on the positive things about living here in Belize. I'll be talking about people laughing at you in the street, and vicious geckos! Just kidding.

    January 22, 2015


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    Specials and Events

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


    The San Pedro Sun

    Musicians Invade La Isla – Pickin’ Parties Abound!
    The Jerry Jeff Walker 2015 Campers were out in full force this afternoon, January 21st for a proper Pickin’ Party at Crazy Canucks. It was a beautiful day at the beachside bar, and many of the talented musicians took their turn at the microphone to entertain the crowd with great music. The festive mood had everyone tapping a toe or dancing to the upbeat music. Tomorrow’s Pickin Party is scheduled at Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar. If you enjoy live music and partying with super fun folks, Runway Bar is the place to be!

    The island prepares for “Life is a Carnival!”
    February is right around the corner and with it comes the beautiful colors and musical fun of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. This year the festivities are being held under the theme “La vida es un Carnaval – Life is a Carnival.” The San Pedro Town Council is working with various stakeholders and has many activities planned to spread through February 7th to the 18th. The activities kick off on Saturday February 7th with La Reina del Carnaval Pageant (the selection of a Carnival Queen). This will take place at the San Pedro High School starting at 7:30PM. Five ladies are competing to succeed reigning Queen Mrs. Leonor Rosado.

    Meet your San Pedro Town Councilor Candidates
    With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun would like to take the opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro Town public. As such, five questions have been issued to all candidates in an effort to learn more about them. In this issue, we feature responses from two candidates from The People’s United Party (PUP) and two candidates from The United Democratic Party (UDP).

    Beachside Resort Reception Office Robbed
    The San Pedro Sun has confirmed that a beachside resort south of San Pedro Town was robbed this afternoon, January 21st. According to the owner of the hotel, an unknown male individual came to their office in the morning looking for a job. The same individual returned to the office at approximately 4:30PM and presented himself as armed with a gun. The two receptionists working the front desk surrendered their cell phones and a substantial amount of cash, with included payroll and petty cash. The robber then made good his escape. The San Pedro Police were quick to respond to their emergency call, and using Global Positioning System (GPS) from the stolen phones police were able to apprehend one person. It is believed that up to three people may have been involved in the robbery.

    Schneiders donate to Holy Cross Standard VI
    Patty and Clif Schneider from Saskatchewan, Canada paid a visit to Holy Cross Anglican School and donated Bibles to the Standard VI students. They also brought 50 pounds of vitamins which were much needed. Many thanks to the Schneiders and to all of the wonderful volunteers and donors which made Holy Cross School what it is today and still continue to support our precious students and this school. Without you, there would not be a Holy Cross Anglican School! God bless you all.

    Jhoshi Alexander Valencia to represent Belize once again
    27-year-old San Pedro resident, Jhoshi Alexander Valencia is set to participate in the first installment of the Mister and Miss Culture International Pageant. Valencia will be joined by Vania Pat of San Ignacio, Cayo, where they will both represent Belize in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico from February 16th to the 21st. The pageant was formerly known as the Dios and Diosa Maya International Pageant and aims to promote the regional Mayan culture. For the past two consecutive years, Belizean delegates have captured the title of Diosa Maya International: Grisel Rosseli Carballo in 2013 and Dalina Reyes in 2014. This year’s pageant will see the participation of a male and female contestant from El Salvador, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica along with Belize.

    On Eagles Wings Ministries Belize chapter officially launched
    Miss San Pedro 2014-15 Michelle Nuñez hosted invited guests on Saturday, January 17th to the inaugural launch of the On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) Belize chapter. The celebration took place on the beach at Ramon’s Village Resort, and saw the attendance of over 100 invited guests. Director Emily Fitchpatrick describes OEWM as a way of providing hope, empowerment and a brighter future to girls who have been sexually exploited or are at high risk of exploitation. Miss San Pedro’s involvement in the project began when she accepted being a board member of the Belize chapter, and she even went so far as to create a club to provide a haven for young girls who may be going through difficulties.

    Ambergris Today

    Oceana Belize Calls Petroleum Dept. Proposed Policy on Offshore Drilling Weak on Data
    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods - In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19, 2015, as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Person of the Year – Miguel Perez Gives His All to San Pedro
    When a fisherman goes fishing, he tests several spots until he locates one that he considers a really good spot. And so it was this year at Ambergris Today where we asked several persons for a recommendation of a good PERSON OF THE YEAR, and the name that shone the most among a few other stars was that of Miguel Alberto “Migs” Perez. Indeed it is an honor to write a citation for such an honorable man who might not have the Hon. Title of Minister, but he certainly touches a lot of lives in his own humble manner. We understand that even in his high school days, Miguel was the nucleus of his group leading in intelligent discussion and cooperative in his class projects. Miguel was not the acclaimed sportsman as many young men his age could be seen. However, even though he was not highly seen, he made his presence felt.

    Lisandra Novelo Celebrates Her Quinceaños On Saturday, January 17, 2015, Lisandra Novelo celebrated her Quinceaños (15th Birthday) along with her friends and family at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium. She enetertained her guests with traditional and modern dances in a night full of laughter and joy. Lisandra Novelo, daughter of Vicky Pinelo and Sandro Novelo, was officially presented to society by her Godparents Miguel and Maria Elena Alamilla.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    The FINAL 3 weekends of Basketball in Corozal
    will end the COROZAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE season. GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE TEAMS PLAYING IN THE UPCOMING GAMES! Come out and enjoy the full and exciting action at the Andres Campos Civic Center.

    It's Tapir Tuesday at the Zoo!
    TBZ is very proud of our Operations Manager Celso Poot (left), who recently received his Master's degree in Zoology through Project Dragonfly. Celso focused his major studies on the impact of vehicular collisions on the tapir population along the Burrel Boom road in the Belize District. Our national animal is endangered due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, and, now, death by vehicular impact. Celso's efforts resulted in the erection of "tapir crossing" road signs near the collision hotspots. This was to raise awareness about tapir presence in that area, and encourage motorists to drive carefully, especially at night! These giant, gentle herbivores tend to trundle across the road in search of food and water at night, and blend right in with the dark colour of the pavement. We have seen a positive impact on the speed of motorists in that area, and a noted decrease in tapir deaths by collisions, as well. Replicas of this wonderful signage can be seen when strolling through Tapir Town at the Zoo. Great job, Celso!

    Belize Archives and Records closed Friday. Jan 30th
    To undertake its bi-annual fumigation.

    Freetown Division UDP candidate named
    Carla Barnett will represent the UDP in the upcoming General Elections in the Freetown Division against the Leader of the Opposition, the PUP's Francis Fonseca.

    Three new craft markets in Toledo
    Our team traveled to Toledo today where three new craft markets were opened at the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (M-T-B-CAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Programme (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History.

    Creating A Safe Space Agenda
    The YWCA’s lauched its project titled, “Creating A Safe Space Agenda (CASSA)” last Friday! This project was selected as one of seven recipients of the 2014 Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Economic Support Funds (ESF). This year’s recipients received a total of US$1.5 million in CARSI ESF grants to implement programs that will address the root causes of violence and crime in Belize in a creative and effective way and seek to create positive cultural and social conditions.

    SUGAR INDUSTRY (AMENDMENT) BILL SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 19th January 2015 and by the Senate on the 20th January, 2015, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The main object of this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The membership of an association shall be entirely voluntary.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    World Heritage Centre Mission
    The Belize Fisheries Department through the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development hereby informs the general public that the World Heritage Centre (WHC) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is on a mission to Belize during the week of January 19-23, 2015. The objective of the mission is to provide technical assistance for the design of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

    NICH Annual Planning and Evaluation Retreat
    under the theme ...."Thinking Strategically about NICH development Niche in Belize"!

    Channel 7

    Daly's Death A Mystery
    Last night we told you about Emerson Daly Jr., a 24 year-old resident of Roaring Creek missing, and feared dead. Well at around 8 this morning, His family made the discovery they had been dreading: they found his body floating in the Belize River, about a mile and a half east of his home village. The well-known handy man had been shot to the head, and his killer or killers, then dumped him in the river. Our news team was out there a few hours after he was found, and Daniel Ortiz reports:

    UDP Present Dr. Carla, The Candidate To Take On Francis In Freetown
    We told you about it last night, and today, the UDP made it official: Dr. Carla Barnett is the party’s new candidate in the Freetown Division. The 56 year old who grew up in the Freetown Division as a policeman’s daughter, is one of the most qualified persons in public life. She holds a Masters degree in economics and a Ph. D in social science; she’s served as the Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM and the Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank – and that’s only the start of a long list of senior postings and accomplishments. Indeed, an impressive resume – but all that doesn’t count for much out on the streets where voters want a candidate who delivers goofs, services and, yes, political patronage. So how will Carla Barnett, the academic and administrator navigate that taxing and treacherous environment – and, moreover, how will she do it against the leader of the opposition? We had the tough questions for her today at a press conference to launch her candidacy. It was held at the UDP Headquarters in Belize city with an unusual level of hype and fanfare – we were there to find out why:….

    Deon and Darrell Make Up
    On Monday, we told you how Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley had stripped two-term councilor Deon Leslie of his sanitation portfolio with just weeks left in the council’s term. The portfolio was re-assigned to BQ Pitts Jr and Phillip Willoughby. But, since then, things have changed again. The Prime Minister today told us that from what he’s heard – the portfolio has been re-assigned to Leslie. We asked Leslie about it at today’s UDP Press conference where he refused to comment on camera – and only told us that all is well between he and the Mayo

    The Law Straightening Sugar
    On Monday we had extensive coverage of the end of the sugar standoff when BSI finally signed with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, or the BSCFA. Also on that day, the government took the Sugar Industry Amendment Bill to the House of Representatives to make legal provisions for all the smaller farming associations and reaping groups which have emerged in wake of the splintered BSCFA. Well, with uncommon speed, that Amendment Bill is now a new law known as the Sugar Industry Amendment Act of January 2015. After a senate meeting in which it did receive social partner support, Governor General Sir Colville Young assented to the law yesterday, and the process for its passage is now completed.

    Buckley, 100K Later, Busted and Disgusted With GOB
    Tonight Steven Buckley is broke – and he wants the government to pay up the remainder of his compensation money. Yesterday Buckley showed up in Court for his case against the government of Belize after he was wrongfully shot in the head in 2010 by a police officer on duty. The case has been adjourned until next month – and Buckley say he is getting frustrated because he is broke and cannot work to provide for his family. You will recall that police shot Buckley in the head for no reason in 2010 – and in August of 2013, Government paid him a preliminary figure of a hundred thousand dollars – with the rest of his money to be settled in court. But in the 17 months since then, he explained to 7news that he has been paying the bills and taking care of his family and is now down to nothing.

    Under Audrey, CWU Membership Increased
    In December of 2013, Audrey Matura Shepherd took over the helm of the Christian Workers Union. That’s after a push from the Stevedores who more or less forced President Antonio Gonzalez and General Secretary James McFoy out of the union headquarters. Since then, we’ve seen Matura Shepherd in many other milieus, but not very often in the on the frontlines for the CWU. But, today she held a press conference to give a sort of state of her union address. She told the media that the last 13 months have been challenging – mainly because she took over union head office with no records:… Audrey Matura-Shepherd - President, CWU "It was amazing after one decade of not having any election at this union, what we inherited. What we inherited was an office with very limited records of it's members and work, with no workable equipment and it's account being empty and being in debt. We could not believe what was happening. They actually had to go back to the institutions, to the employers and ask them to help us with certain records and literally the executive members come in here extra days and sometimes weekends to input that record, so we build back our own records. Sadly, some records we'll never get back."

    Bureau Of Standards Moving On Up
    For years the Bureau of standards has struggled to meet international standards on measurements. Presently, the department can only operate using scales that measure fuel, sugar and products shelved in supermarkets. But, work on a new Metrology laboratory has commenced in Belmopan. A ground breaking ceremony was held yesterday at the Ministry of Works compound in Belmopan. This new laboratory will include equipment to measure mass, volume, temperature and pressure. Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras discussed how important this lab will be for the economy.

    Angry About Oil Exploration
    Last night we told you about the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines. The 32 page document has been the subject of heavy criticism from Oceana and COLA – both sounding the alarm on what they believe is a lack of proper emergency planning and management of oil operations to ensure the protection of Belize’s ecosystems. The document is only a draft but these organisations are putting pressure on the government to make a critical changes. Today another organisation spoke out against the document. That is the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. Executive Director, Tanya Williams, came to our studios to discuss the implications the approval of this document may have on the economy and environment.

    Aragon Unfazed By Large PUP Numbers
    Earlier on in the news we talked about how difficult and rare it is to beat a leader of the opposition in his constituency. Well, that pretty much holds true for any opposition representative. History shows that very few have been beaten – and that’s because with little or no resources – it’s very hard for them to let down their voters. But in Orange Walk East – where the elected PUP Representative Marco Tulio Mendez has indicated that he’s not going to run again – the UDP Standard Bearer Elodio Aragon Jr does have a chance. But, on Sunday the PUP had a strong turnout at its convention to replace Tulio Mendez. Still, Aragon says he is unfazed:…

    Craft Markets At 3 Mayan Sites
    Under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites project, first time craft vendors will now be able to sell their wares at 3 of the 9 archaeological sites in Belize. These new sites include Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and Blue Creek, all in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments necessary to place these craft vendors was made possible through the European Union, which is funding the Belize Rural Development Program. The entire project is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and NICH, and the finished structures were handed over. Also, the program allowed for 250 feet of gravel trail to be built at Nim Li Punit. At Lubantun, a concrete and gravel stairway with safety rails was also constructed. At all 3 sites, funding from the program allowed for warning and notice signs, benches, and rest areas.

    Weed In Conch Shell, Again
    The GSU made another bust yesterday near the Conch Shell Bay area – which is a main trafficking area for marijuana. Officers spotted 25 year old Cassian Young walking down Vernon street from the direction of East Collet Canal. He was holding a transparent bag and when he saw the GSU he threw the bag down and attempted to run away. But he was caught shortly after and taken to the area where he threw the bag. Inside the bag officers found 436 grams of weed or 15 ounces. Young was arrested and charged with the offense of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply another.

    Norman Broaster A Stadium Still, Not A Parking Lot
    The Norman Broaster stadium in downtown San Ignacio sits right next to the increasingly popular Cayo Welcome Center. And there’s been talk that Norman Broaster could become a parking lot in the transformed downtown area. Well, today the sports council sent out a press release saying that the Norman Broaster Stadium located in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, which is owned by the Government of Belize and administered by the National Sports Council (NSC) has not been designated or approved to be used as a parking lot despite rumours to the contrary in the media.

    Channel 5

    Emerson Daly’s Body Found in the River
    A search for Emerson Daly, a Roaring Creek resident, concluded this morning when his body was pulled out from the river behind Banana Bank in the Cow Run area. The [...]

    Dr. Carla Barnett Endorsed as U.D.P. Freetown Candidate
    With much pomp and ceremony, this morning the United Democratic Party announced its new choice for the Freetown constituency, replacing caretaker Lee Mark Chang. Doctor Carla Barnett has worked under [...]

    Barnett to Take On Francis Fonseca
    As we mentioned, Barnett will be butting heads against a seasoned politician, a three-time winner in Freetown, a former Minister of Education and Attorney- General as well as the leader [...]

    Barnett Joins Beverly Castillo on the U.D.P. Slate
    Currently, there are only two women in the House of Representatives on the U.D.P. side. Both of them were brought in through the Senate, and not elected. The U.D.P. doesn’t [...]

    Audrey Matura-Shepherd Defends Her First Year as CWU President
    Today, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, flanked by the executive of the Christian Workers Union, called a press conference to give a status report after one year as President. Matura-Shepherd has come under [...]

    An Update on the Collective Bargaining Agreements of the CWU Members
    Matura-Shepherd provided an update on the status of collective bargaining agreements with all entities whose workers are represented by the Christian Workers Union, including the Belize Port Authority and the [...]

    G.O.B. Clarifies Petroleum Exploration Zones
    On Tuesday we told you about OCEANA’s position on the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Today, the Ministry of Energy, Science [...]

    Former UB Student Convicted of Forgery
    Kenroy Young, a former UB student, was convicted of Forgery. Young was accused of cashing over ten thousand dollars in cheques from Regent Insurance Co. Ltd., where he worked.  He [...]

    Mother and Daughter Arraigned for Possession of Controlled Drug
    Also in court this morning, a forty-eight year old mother and her thirty year old daughter, both employed as school wardens in Belize City, were arraigned on a charge of [...]

    Aragon Versus Carballo – Who Will Win Orange Walk East?
    The P.U.P. convention for the Orange Walk East division was held over the weekend, and when the votes were counted, Josue Carballo had edged out Dave Burgos by twelve votes. [...]

    Amended Sugar Act is Now Law
    The amended Sugar Industry Act which was rammed through the House of Representatives on Monday, ratified by the Senate on Tuesday and penned into law. With that formality out of [...]

    Stakeholders Meet on Thursday to Decide the Start of the Crop
    Senator Shoman made the point that the amendments to the Sugar Act will hurt the farmers and benefit the miller, American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industries. But Senator for Government Business, [...]

    32 Officers Become Instructors of GREAT Program
    A group of police officers have successfully completed an intensive eight day training program. It is part of the community policy strategy of the police department that is carried out [...]

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Metrology Lab
    A groundbreaking ceremony was held in the Capital on Tuesday evening for new Belize Bureau of Standards Metrology Laboratory. The building, which will be constructed by the Ministry of Works, [...]

    CTV3

    Medical Teams Arrive In Belize To Offer Free Clinics
    Two medical teams hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio are scheduled to hold clinics, surgeries and screenings to ailing residents of Orange Walk Town and neighbouring villages. The first group, Partners for Belize, is expected to arrive in Belize end of January and Coordinator of the mission Teams, Nurse Lupe Ack says an array of professionals in Ear, Nose, throat and dental health will provide the free service. “The first team consist of about 40 persons they will be doing E.N.T.S’s(ears, nose and throats) we will be having dental and hand surgery, also we will be doing village clinics at four villages.”

    EU Upgrades Archaeological Sites
    Visitors to three southern Belize archaeological sites will have better access to newly improved and enhanced commodities at the sites. A release from the European Union states that for the first time craft vendors at three of the nine archaeological sites in Belize, namely Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek can display their products at these designated areas. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (M-T-B-CAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Programme (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History.

    Davd Vega Hits The Campaign Trail
    With just 43 days more to go for Municipal Elections, candidates vying for a spot at the various municipalities across the country are out in full swing, campaigning around the clock. In Corozal Town, David “Dido” Vega, from the People’s United Party, is aspiring for the Mayoral seat. Today reporter Victor Castillo caught up with Vega on the campaign trail who beamed with confidence as he claimed victory. “I am confident that on March 4th the people will make a change and they will vote for a new dynamic town council which will be represented by myself as Mayor, and the rest of the councilors, I have no doubt the people are yearning for a change and that will serve the needs of all, I want to say for the record that this government is about UDP’s first, Belizean second and PUP last but I want to remind the people that there is a time for politics, there is time for debate there is time to be critical but after elections are finished we must represent all Belizeans more importantly in my case we must represent all people from Corozal town.”

    Sugar Act Passes Into Law
    Even with strong opposition and stern criticism from the opposition People’s United Party, the government proceeded to amend the Sugar Industry Act in the House of Representatives on January 19th and in the Senate the day after. Today the government informed the public that, that bill, was assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. As explained by the Prime Minister, the Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. This means that sugar cane farmers will choose freely whether to join an association or not. It also clears the way for the formation of any association and the Sugar Industry Control Board now has full power to register these associations. The manufacturers will also be free to accept cane from any association or from individual cane farmers or groups of cane farmers.

    Dido Vega Speaks On Missing Funds At Corozal Town Hall
    To date we are yet to find out if the Corozal Town Council’s revenue manager has made any payment to the council towards some $13,495.00 that went missing from the council’s coffers at the beginning of 2014. While we tried to get an update on the situation last week, the Town Administrator Estela Castillo was unable to take our calls because she was quote unquote “Busy” and would get back to us which she never did. The last time Mayor Hilberto Campos spoke about the missing funds he stated that the former revenue manager had signed an affidavit confessing that he was practically involved in the outcome of the investigation. According to the Mayor the former manager also committed to pay back the council despite him being abroad. The next move for the council was to meet and decided if the matter would be handed over to the authorities for prosecution or if they would permit the former manager to pay back the council. The last time we checked with authorities the case had not been handed over to them. So, either the former manager has begun paying the council, something which we have been unable to confirm or the fact that $13,495.00 of tax payers’ money went missing from the council was simply placed under the rug.

    Orange Walk's Very Own Receives Prestigious Scholarship
    Congratulations are in order for Orange Walk resident, Khendis Ellis. A release from the National Association for Developmental Education recently awarded Grambling State University’s own Rudolph Ellis, a graduate student from Belize, a scholarship to complete his Developmental Education with Concentration in Curriculum and instructional design. This scholarship is in honour of the late Dr. William G. White Jr. who is remembered for his lifetime of hard work and dedication to prepare students to further their ranks in his or hers’ education. White was a former professor at Grambling State University and he had a great influence on the students.

    UDP Selects Dr. Carla Barnett For Freetown Pending Convention
    The ruling United Democratic Party hosted a press conference this morning in Belize City where Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that Dr. Carla Barnett is the candidate in waiting for the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the Freetown Division. Pending a convention, which the Prime Minister says he hopes will be an endorsement, Dr. Barnett will face off against the Honourable Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca in the next General Elections slated for 2017.

    SCPC Meet To Plan Crop 2014/2015 With Multiple Associations
    After close to two months of delay, the 2014/2015 crop season is just days away from opening. Testament to that statement is the fact that the Sugar Cane Production Committee met today to commence planning for the upcoming crop. This year, for the first time in the history of the Sugar Industry, the SCPC will be working with more than one association of cane farmers. There were no major decisions taken in today’s meeting but all stakeholders present discussed the cane quality program that the SCPC seeks to implement this crop.

    LOVE FM

    G.R.E.A.T Graduation; Will Gang Recruitment Be Reduced?
    A week ago we told you about a group of thirty-six police officers from throughout the country who embarked on two week training course in the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T). Officials from the International Police Trainers in the United States of America, facilitated the two weeks training program. Today marked the closing of the program and Love News was present at the graduation ceremony. Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, spoke of the training the officers received. “Today the officers have completed 80 hours of intense training which no doubt was filled with intense challenges. This training required classroom participation, included the officers conducting research as well as being involved in preparing written and oral presentations in order to enhance and improve their presentation skills whenever they undertake these training in the various schools.

    Ground Breaking Ceremony For BBS in The Capital
    Yesterday, the construction of the Belize Bureau of Standards’ New Meteorology Laboratory began. A special ground breaking ceremony was held in Belmopan at the Ministry of Works Compound. It is expected that laboratory will expand the BBS Meteorology Services. The laboratory will feature various magnitudes in Meteorology covering grand mass, fine mass, volume, temperature, pressure and dimensional. The installation of the laboratory will allow the BBS to now develop Industrial and Scientific Meteorology across various magnitudes. At the ceremony, Minister of Trade Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, Erwin Contreras, gave the keynote address.

    Is The Deputy Mayor Striped of His Portfolio?
    The social media has become a forum where many news stories emerge. Recently, there was a posting that had raised curiosity about the happenings within City Hall. The posting had indicated some rift between the Mayor Darrell Bradley and former Deputy Mayor, Dion Leslie that had led to Leslie being stripped of his portfolio. Today, after much pleading, we got Leslie to comment on the matter, albeit a brief response. Here is how that went today. DEPUTY MAYOR, DION LESLIE “All is perfect. All is well. Me and the mayor campaigned yesterday, today we are having meetings, everything is perfect in city hall.” RENEE TRUJILLO “So there was no truth to you being stripped of your portfolio.” DEPUTY MAYOR, DION LESLIE “Nothing. We’re good.”

    UDP Candidacy; Will There Be Change in Freetown Division?
    Having four thousand one hundred and sixty one registered voters in the Freetown Division in Belize City, Dr. Carla Barnett has threw in her hat in the political arena to go head to head with the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca. The area has been a blue territory through ten general elections with a notably slim victory margin in 2008 when Fonseca was almost thrown out by newcomer, Michael Peyrefitte; holding on to the division with a mere 16 votes. Today the United Democratic Party held a press conference to announce Dr Barnett’s candidacy for the area and in a presentation done by the Party Leader, himself, Dean Barrow, the delivery of a swing against the opposition party was expected if not inevitable as Barrow praised Barnett’s talents and experiences.

    PlusTV

    Body of Missing Roaring Creek man found with multiple stab wounds
    The search for 24 year old Emerson Daly, from the Village of Roaring Creek, came to a tragic end when his lifeless body was found floating on the Belize River, approximately one and half miles in an easterly direction from the Roaring Creek Village. According to reports, on Sunday January 18th, Emerson left his house in Roaring Creek village in his uncle’s blue Nissan pathfinder enroute to Belmopan. Accompanying him was another man, whom the family could not identify. What happened after that is what CIB personnel are still trying to determine. After failing to arrive home that same night and the following morning, Emerson’s mother filed a missing person’s report on Tuesday January 20th., which launched the police into investigation.

    New Business Senator Sworn In
    On Wednesday the Senate members met at the National Assembly ihn Belmopan and passed a bill to amend the Sugar Act, in conformity with a Consent Order issued in 2010. While the passing of the bill was the main highlight of the day, it is also worth mentioning that at Wednesday’s Senate Meeting a new Senator was sworn in. David Guttierez, the current Market and Communications Manager for Belize Natural Energy (BNE), recited the Senator’s Oath as the new Senator for Private Business.

    US Fugitive Captured In Dangriga
    A US fugitive was captured in Dangriga. Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent “54 year old U.S. national, Robert Andrew Ragin, is wanted by the United States Marshalls Service, to answer sexual offences charges. A warrant was issued for his arreston August 12, 2014. Regin is wanted by U.S. authorities to answer charges on twelve counts on promoting sexual performance by a child.. According to reports, while Ragin was living in the state of Florida, he was found with pornographic videos of minors, and before he could have been arrested, he fled the country to Belize. Regin, who has property in Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District, has been living in the said community for six months. Moreover, officers from Special Branch (CIB) and other uniformed Police Officers captured Ragin last Friday, at about 2:30 p.m. here in Dangriga. Regin was also charged for immigration offences, and was taken to the Dangriga Magistrates Court on Monday 19th., where he was issued a removal order for his extradition.”

    PM and Minister deny involvement in Nuri Muhammad’s release from Love FM
    On Sunday, on Krem’s Sunday Review, Love FM’s talk show host, Nuri Muhammad was a guest and mentioned that he was no longer a host of the Love FM talk show, because two Ministers of Government were to be guests on the Love FM show, but Government demanded that Nuri be removed as a talk show host if the Ministers were to make an appearance on the show. After Monday’s House Meeting in Belmopan, the Prime Minister was asked about Nuri’s allegation, and whether there was any truth to the matter. “That’s not true. Unless somebody else would have done that sort of thing. I know that’s so, because I didn’t do any such thing. [I] certainly did not ask for Mr Muhammad to be pulled from hosting the show. No, the two Ministers in particular, who were the guests that morning, are more than equal to Mr Muhammad, so that would have been pointless. It really would have been counterproductive. What does he claim, that Government asked that he be removed?

    Brothers charged for BDF soldier’s murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared on Tuesday before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17. According to reports, Denver Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner Sunflower Street and Complex Lane in Belize City, about 150 yards from his home. Private Villafranco was hit on his head with a crowbar, his abdomen was slashed with a knife, he received multiple stab wounds to his chest, and he was punched and left lying in a drain.

    Josue Carballo is new PUP standard bearer for Orange Walk East
    The PUP held a convention in the Orange Walk East constituency on Sunday, to choose a candidate to replace Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. Dr,. Mendez is the current Area Representative of Orange Walk East, but will not be seeking another term due to health reasons. Vying for the Standard Bearer position for the next general election were newcomer Josue Carballo, and former two term area representative David Burgos. 2,151 persons turned out for voting in the convention, but in the end the newcomer won by a slim margin of 14 votes. In total, Josue Carballo received 1,069 votes, while David Burgos received 1,055 of the votes.

    Senate Discusses Sugar Bill
    As reported the amendment bill was rammed through the House of Representatives on Monday, while the opposition cried that not enough time was given for proper consultation. On Tuesday the bill was passed in the Senate in like fashion, where during the debate of the bill, Senators raised some similar points that we have noticed. First, Senator Lisa Shoman spoke about the structure of the Sugar Industry Control Board, which seems to be skewed in favour of Government Ministers. “I don’t know why semantic games are played. I really wish we had just come out and called this thing ‘The Sugar Minister Control Board,’ because that’s what it really will end up being. This thing already had a balance that was too skewed in favour of Ministers and Ministers’ power, and this is, Mr President, in complete contravention of what is the modern reality, which is decentralization of Government power on private industry. On the one hand this Government trumpets that it’s for private industry, private investment, partnership with the private sector, letting people run their own business, and on the second hand it seeks to control it by giving more Ministerial power.” Senator Godwin Hulse – Government Business “First of all it was two for the millers, two for the association. It’s gone up to three for the millers and three for the association. So that is first of all wrong. It still keeps the balance and the equity. In addition to that, we have to understand that Government has a responsibility to govern. When you get dischord or you can’t get agreement, Government steps in, but Government steps in as an equitable partner in the growth process. That is what Governments do.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Dr. Carla Barnett announces candidacy for UDP in Freetown division
    After a long career in the Public Service of Belize and work in the Caribbean region, reaching the rank of vice-president at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr. Carla Barnett is entering electoral politics. The native of the fishing village of Sarteneja, Corozal District and resident of Freetown today announced her candidacy in the Freetown division, which is currently held by Leader of the parliamentary Opposition and of the People’s United Party (PUP) Francis Fonseca.

    CWU executive report on successful first year
    In December of 2013 president of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) Antonio Gonzalez and general secretary James McFoy stood down after calls by workers to answer to charges of poor performance and mismanagement in their time on the job. The Union’s membership elected a new executive headed by Audrey Matura-Shepherd, a newly-minted attorney who came to the post with no labour experience. But what a difference a year makes, as the Union has turned around its performance and collected several victories on behalf of its membership, which has swelled to over 1,000 in various establishments around the country from Orange Walk to Stann Creek.

    Body of Roaring Creek man found
    The search Emerson Daly, 24, the Roaring Creek man who has been missing since Sunday has ended. Daly’s body was found this morning in the river about a mile away from the Banana Bank Resort. Reports are that the family has identified the body and arrangements are now being made to retrieve it from the water.

    Blogs

    Belize Tourism 2014: A Very Good Year!
    The data is in and, as expected, 2014 was as record breaking year for Belize, with 1,207,386 tourist arrivals recorded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Last year also saw Belize break the long sought after but heretofore elusive figure of 300,000 overnight visitors, a tourism goal akin to a runner breaking the four minute mile, with the BTB figures showing a record 321,220 overnight visitors. This represents a very impressive 9.2 percent increase from the year before. And, with new flights from a growing number of destinations continually being added to the travel roster, the future continues to look bright for “the little country that could”.

    Cane
    By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez. If you study the trend You will understand that it is our patrimony we fi defend PUDP di protect fi deh ends They are extraordinary Belizeans, selling out their citizens and friends Unu still think unu and the US Southern Command are your friends? The power elite specialized in divide and conquer The easiest trick is to use the political divider Restricting individual property rights and hiding under the law Their interpretation of their parliamentary rights is truly flawed Ensuring that GOB is the common denominator To date we have a PUP and a UDP Bench and Bar To date we have a PUP and a UDP Police Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Alcalde Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Citrus Growers Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Cane Farmer Association Before them it was BML workers Before them it was the Teacher union

    The cheapest way to get to Belize
    Flights to Belize aren’t cheap but if you’re traveling from the US or Canada there is an option that will save you some money. What you must do is fly into Cancun, Mexico and catch the overnight ADO Bus to Belize City. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport (don’t forget to get vehicle documents to cross the border) or hire a private transfer but at $616 pesos/ $48 USD, the bus is so much more economical. When I went in December 2014, with $200 I flew from Toronto to Cancun on Air Canada and when it was time to come back, I had to pay $605 from Belize City to Toronto with a 5 hour delay in Atlanta. As you can see there’s a huge difference. I’ve flown into Cancun a few times and usually take a bus to Playa del Carmen and spend a couple days there before heading to Belize but this time I decided not to take the regular detour because I wanted to be in San Ignacio for Christmas.

    21 Jaw Dropping Hotels Around Belize
    Belize has many incredible jaw dropping hotels that you should make plans to visit. Listed below are 21 of these hotels:

    Some tropical pictures to lighten the winter!
    Look, I don't want to be smug, but it has been GORGEOUS here recently. The weather has cleared up, it has been really warm and comfortable, and the beach and water have been pretty sea grass free!! So why not a positive post with a few pictures? OK! Let's start with a real stunner, I stole this from Lee Nyhus :)...this was taken from Tipsy Tuna today, they built a new second story eating area overlooking the beach...if this doesn't cause you to make your plane reservations I don't know what will!! Although I have spent 90% of my days in the last two weeks painting/urethaning/cleaning/etc the casita, to get it ready for its first guests....Sue and Sharon showed up this past sunny Friday and convinced me to go to the Mariposa pool with them....look how upset I look!

    International Sourcesizz

    'Unseen Cuba': Aerial island portrait book was hard to get off ground
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures — and marvel. Jovaisa is the first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it. His work is collected in Unseen Cuba, published in the fall. “I put a lot of my heart into this project,” said the photographer of four other large-format books, Unseen Lithuania, Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya, Heavenly Yucatan and Heavenly Belize. “I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don’t have an opportunity to see things from this angle.”

    Last Year America Sent Special Ops Forces Into Almost 70% of the Countries in the World
    In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight. It was the second time in two weeks that elite US Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers. And it was the second time they failed. In March, members of Marine Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 took part in maneuvers aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens as part of Multi-Sail 2014, an annual exercise designed to support "security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region." That same month, elite soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines took part in a training exercise code-named Fused Response with members of the Belizean military. "Exercises like this build rapport and bonds between US forces and Belize," said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Heber Toro of Special Operations Command South afterward.

    Photographer's 'Unseen Cuba' gives a rare view of the island
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures - and marvel. Jovaisa is the first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it. His work is collected in "Unseen Cuba" (Unseen Pictures, $99.95). "I put a lot of my heart into this project," says the photographer of four other large-format books, "Unseen Lithuania," "Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya," "Heavenly Yucatan" and "Heavenly Belize." "I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don't have an opportunity to see things from this angle." Shot from an ultralight craft, with stunning aerial views of the island from Cabo de San Antonio on the western tip to Baracoa in the east, "Unseen Cuba" is the culmination of almost five grueling years of Jovaisa's life. He came up with the idea after the success of "Unseen Lithuania," which sold 70,000 copies in a country of less than three million people.

    UWI vice-chancellor admits being pressured into firing Bain
    THE University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor Nigel Harris yesterday testified that his termination of Professor Brendan Bain as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) was the first time he had fired anyone and that he never meant to cause the professor any embarrassment. Harris said he never meant to make Bain's termination public, but that it was already in the news that he would be firing Bain, even before he completed the letter of termination which he issued Bain on May 20, 2014.

    MOOCs and meetups together make for better learning
    Local meet-ups organized by Arjan and other partners around the world had a significant impact on the learning experience of Beyond Silicon Valley MOOC students in these communities. These grass-roots gatherings gave students the same opportunity to learn from one another as in a traditional classroom, as Jeff Wofford, the Facility Manager at the United States Embassy in Belmopan, Belize who facilitated MOOC-inspired meet-ups in Belize, experienced. “Students here gained a lot of insight by taking the time to sit and discuss the lessons in person,” Wofford noted. “We had a nice cross-section of attendees, from University of Belize students to Belizeans who had owned and operated businesses for decades. In several instances, a comment made by one of the students lead to one of those great ‘a-ha!’ moments with another student, and the exchanges went both ways.”

    Church honors Lindsay for service
    Elder Emeritus Joseph Lindsay was recently recognized with a special gathering of family and friends at First Christian church (Disciples of Christ) in Slidell. “Dr. Joe,” as he is known, was honored in his faith journey as a leader in the congregation for 50 years. Lindsay is a co-founder and leader of the Dos Amigos Medical and Dental Mission that has traveled to Belize for more than 26 years.

    Videos

    Study Abroad: Belize 2015, 3min. Shout out to everyone who helped make this trip happen. It was a great two weeks in paradise filled with spectacular memories!
    Take-Off Placencia, Belize, Cessna Caravan, 3min.
    Antillean Manatee face extinction, 5min. Protecting the environment and wildlife has never been as important as it is today across the world. The balance of nature may literally be hanging by the thread as human continue mass developments on land and sea. Here in Belize, the struggle is ever present and one fight involves saving manatees. Belize is home to one of four existing species of manatees, the Antillean Manatee, a sub species of the West Indian Manatee. More than that, Belize is home to the largest number of Antillean Manatee but even so, these animals face extinction.
    Patti & Eddie Wedding in Belize 2014, 8min.
    Belize Summer 2014, 10min. VMI cadets traveled to Belize to study tropical marine biology during the Summer of 2014.
    Belize rough draft, 3min. Swimming with sharks...
    Lina Point: San Pedro, Belize Underwater Aquarium, 3min. Overwater cabanas with glass bottom floors for your personal underwater aquarium.

    January 21, 2015


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    Specials and Events

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


    The San Pedro Sun

    Camp Belize 2015; Pickin’ in Paradise
    One thing is for certain, these gregarious fans are hooked on music, and when they are not attending one of Walker’s concerts they are busy making music of their own! Pickin’ Parties pop up daily at local bars, such as Fido’s, Crazy Canucks, Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar, Lola’s Pub, Ambergris Brewing Company and Sandy Toes. These Walker Wonders really make fantastic music together and anyone who has the chance to listen to one of their jams is in for a real treat! Week one of Camp Belize ends of January 24th with the second Camp beginning on the 25th. Keep your ears open for Pickin’ Parties at the bars mentioned above, a great time indeed! Have a wonderful musical stay on La Isla Bonita Walker Wonders!

    Defining Dance – Silvina Novelo de Moh
    They say that dancing is more than just moving one’s body; it is a fundamental part of life and who a person is. Silvina Novelo de Moh is one of the few Belizeans that has made her life revolve around dancing. But not any kind of dancing, the 63-year-old is a proud Mestizo who has been teaching traditional cultural dances for the past 26 years. Affectionately known as “Tia Cheb”, she has taught many generations- including me- the traditional dances of one of Belize’s most vibrant cultures! Born on February 26 1951, Silvina is an original resident of the village of San Jose Nuevo Palmar, located in the outskirts of Orange Walk Town. Like anyone with a rural upbringing, Silvina learned all her skills from her mother, 99-year-old Dolorez Novelo, who is also a dancer. “My mother used to tell me about her experience dancing Mestizadas. I used to love hearing them, it got me excited [to dance too].”

    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods
    Petroleum Department’s proposed policy on offshore oil weak on data, details, potential damage. In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19th as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Belize Sailing Association Elects New Board
    The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is the popular NGO that developed the country’s Optimist dinghy sailing programme and promotes all recreational sailing. BzSA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday January 10, 2015, at St. Catherine Academy in Belize City. In attendance to fill by election all13 board positions for 2015 were 44 of the 150 association members.

    Ambergris Today

    Miss San Pedro and On Eagles Wings Ministries Look to Empower Women
    At the inaugural event, special recognition awards were presented to three women for their hard work in empowering women in Belize. Kim Simplis-Barrow of the Inspiration Center was awarded for encouraging girls to become agents of change; Diana Shaw, chairperson of Child Development Fund Belize, was awarded for her advocacy & awareness of the publication Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Belize and Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez for her leadership in the community as a strong young woman. Michelle Nuñez’s SHINE Girl’s Club is a youth enrichment program for young girls. SHINE stands for Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment. Michelle says she will be working with girls between 13 and 16 to build up their self-esteem and motivate them to strive for a brighter future. Initially she plans to work closely with a small group of 15 participants and work on a program that will encompass sis main topics: Self-esteem/self-confidence, body image, sexual risk behavior, drugs and alcohol, decision making and communication skills/future goals and ambitions.

    25 Years Ago: Growing Stages of Ambergris Caye -San Mateo
    After the expansion phases of San Pedro Town took place in Boca del Rio and San Juan Areas, soon there was the need of still more lots for the residents of San Pedro. The subdivisions that followed were (3) San Pedrito, (4) San Pablo, (5) DFC, (6) Escalante Area, (7) San Marcos, and finally (8) San Mateo. Today I am going to focus in Area number 8 given the name San Mateo (section C in photographs) because it follows the topography of the photo generously contributed to Ambergris Today by Mr. Lucio Ayuso, a retired Belize City businessman and big friend of San Pedranos. Mr. Lucio Ayuso had his own family home in Belize City but also had his vacation home in San Pedro at the site currently owned by Spindrift Hotel. One would have believed that with the mistakes committed in San Juan and even San Pedrito our Town Board leaders would have learned the valuable lessons and not repeat them in future expansions but as sure as Abraham and Moses, the mistakes were repeated and even worsened. The area was partly subdivided and some parts not even subdivided, but the lots were given out mostly to poor people who came to San Pedro from the mainland and who did not have the resources to purchase expensive land from private individuals. All of this area was and still is marshland. I really don’t know why call it swampland when it is really swamp with no land.

    Belize Fashion Week
    Belize Fashion Week is ALREADY gearing up for 2015. The event has been scheduled for July 9 - 12. Model Search Auditions taking place soon. Click to read schedule and more information.

    Flashbacks: The Burning of Don Juan Carnabal in San Pedro Village
    Juan Carnabal was supposedly the name of the man in whose honor el Gran Carnabal de San Pedro was celebrated annually. On Ash Wednesday, the day after el Carnabal, an effigy of Don Juan was made using a pair of pants and shirt stuffed with seaweed and a coconut for its head. Don Juan Carnabal was paraded around town on a wheelbarrow or at times on the shoulder of two young men who were in the team that built it and organized a function in his honor. In the night at Central park the Last Will and Testament of Don Juan Carnabal was read to the public. Next week we shall publish a sample of Don Juan’s Last Will and Testament.

    Amazon.com Features Mad Dogs Series Pilot Filmed in Belize
    Like Netfix and Hulu, Amazon has been producing their own original shows, one which has made at all the way to Belize for filming. Last week, Amazon released its new list of pilot shows that can be viewed for free on their website. One of those shows is Mad Dogs, in which the first episode (pilot) was filmed and based in Belize. Amazon sums up Mad Dogs: When a group of underachieving 40-something friends gather in Belize to celebrate the early retirement of an old friend, a series of wild events unfold, exposing dark secrets, deception and even murder. Starring Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Billy Zane (Twin Peaks), Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) and Romany Malco (Weeds). Executive produced by Cris Cole and Shawn Ryan (The Shield).

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    BELPO's Gazette, edition 7. January 2015
    Today I received BELPO's Gazette, edition 7, and would like to share with you all, hope you read and find interesting facts.

    2015 TAIWAN SCHOLARSHIPS OPEN FOR APPLICATION
    The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 10:00AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City, this Embassy and Belize-Taiwan ICDF Alumni Society in Belize will co-host the 2015 Scholarship Program Briefing for those who are interested in this year’s Taiwan scholarships. Starting from 2002, this Embassy has accepted and recommended numerous Belizean students to pursue their degrees from Bachelor, Master to Ph.D programs in Taiwan in various fields such as public health, agriculture, business administration, engineering and information and communication technology. Until 2014, totally 258 recipients are awarded and more than 120 persons have finished their study and returned to Belize to contribute their learning to Belize.

    Belize Defence Force Recruitment Drive

    Drug Peddler tries to bribe a good cop.
    On Monday morning in Placencia, an officer conducted surveillance of a known drug peddler on the peninsula.The accused, though well known, has managed to talk himself out of the arrestable situations in Mango Creek. However, he was caught dealing drugs in Placencia but while the arresting officer was taking him to the station, he attempted one last chance at freedom with a bribe. As a result, on January 19th Dwayne Logan was charged with “Possession of Controlled Drugs”. Because he attempted to corrupt Police Constable 1358 Claudius Cardinez with $100.00USD for his release, officer Cardinez arrested him and charged him for "Attempting to Corrupt a Public Officer" Cardinez is well known for working with the youths in the surrounding villages. Good job Officer Claudius Cardinez.

    BOLEDO DRAWING for Tuesday, January 20, 2015: 93. FANTASY 5: 22 36 28 2 18 N

    ALBINO TAPIR?
    Ya'axché rangers discovered interesting image captures of a white-snouted tapir on a camera trap deployed within Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. This rare footage captures another beautiful secret of the forest. Our question to the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group; could this could be evidence of albinism in the Baird's tapir?

    Permanent Inventory Plot at Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve
    The CSFI team would like to extend our most sincere appreciation and thanks to the Forest Department and most importantly to Mr. Usher who has taken his time off his schedule to educate our rangers with the techniques needed to create an inventory of the flora in Freshwater Creek and how to collect data needed to continue our forward march to the protection and renovation of our forest and also last but definitely not least Heron Moreno Jr, who despite the fact that he is a student, is always been willing to volunteer and help us in many different activities which are of great help to us.

    Channel 7

    Fears Mount For Missing Man From Roaring Creek
    24 year old Roaring Creek Resident Emerson Daly is missing tonight - and there are growing fears about his wellbeing. He was last seen on Sunday and today police got a major lead when the car he was last seen driving was found abandoned on Mount Pleasant Road - between miles 46 and 47 on the George Price Highway. A farmer in the area reported that he saw the vehicle there this morning. Police recovered the car, but there was no sign of Daly. The car is the property of his uncle and he had borrowed it. Search team have been organized and they scoured the area in Mount Pleasant for more clues this afternoon, but found nothing. Tomorrow they will go search down by the river. Daly is the owner of his own business called Daly's Dream Creations and is very well known as a handyman in the village. We'll have an update on this story tomorrow.

    Two Men Charged For BDF Private's Cruel Murder
    Last night, we told you about the murder of 23 year-old BDF Volunteer Denver Villafranco. It happened on Saturday night when several men ambushed him, beat him up and fatally stabbed him. Well tonight, the men who police believe are his killers are at the Belize Central Prison, after they were taken to the Magistrate's Court today. They are brothers 38 year-old Orlando Staine, and 41 year-old Phil Staine, and they were arraigned this morning before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on the single charge of murder. They were denied bail and remanded; Chief Magistrate Smith remanded them until February 25. As we told you, Villafranco was walking on Complex Avenue just before 7:30 on Saturday night, and when he arrived at the Sunflower Street intersection, 3 men ambushed him. One of the men clubbed him over the head with a crowbar, another slashed him in the abdomen and stabbed him several times in the chest, and the other punched him several times. They left him lying in a drain, and that's when police arrived and tried to rush him to the KHMH for medical treatment. He died 10 minutes later while undergoing surgery.

    UDP + Dr. Carla B.
    Political circles have been buzzing all day about a mystery UDP Press Conference tomorrow. An invitation sent out this afternoon only refers to, quote, "an announcement on party matters" by party Leader Dean Barrow. But what will he announce? Well, we heard it's a new political candidate for the party - but yesterday the Prime Minister very deliberately dodged our question:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "This is a party, a UDP press conference, not a government of Belize." Jules Vasquez "I've heard that a bog announcement will be made about a new candidate." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Indeed." Jules Vasquez "You care to share?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "No sir, I don't. That will take all the fun out of the press conference."

    Fair Trade Threats
    Last night, we showed you the comments from Oscar Alonzo, the CEO of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, about the current situation with Fairtrade - which is an arm of the European Union. He told the media that he hopes that when the auditors from Fairtrade come in that they consider why the farmers chose to use the money in the way they did, even though it clearly not compliant with the standards. Well today, Seven News got copy of a letter sent to the association from Jon Walker, Sugar Manager of Fairtrade Foundation. It's dated January 8, and in it, Walker discusses the disbursement of 6.5 million dollars of Fairtrade premiums. He says, quote, "I write to…express the concern of the Fairtrade Foundation at the continued viability of the BSCFA compliance with Fairtrade Standards." End quote. Addressing the issue that the farmers may be justified because of the sugar crisis which ended yesterday, Walker says, "While respecting the rights of the membership of BSCFA to decide on their future participation in Fairtrade, and understanding that Belizean sugar industry is going through a turbulent period, I would urge you all to consider the potential impact to BSCFA by leaving Fairtrade."

    Stevedores Stand With Sugar
    And staying with sugar, the cane season is scheduled to begin in earnest next week - which is good news for the farmers, but also for those further down the line: the Belize City stevedores. They work the sugar ships - which works out to a very lucrative take. So, with the delayed start of the season - and a possibly shortened season - they stand to lose money. But yesterday, we found two leading stevedore sin Belmopan protesting with the cane farmers against the deal that was signed. We asked them why:... Deon Pitter, Stevedore "Which multi investor comes to this country and treat us nice? For the past two years we are getting 107 million dollars from sugar cane. Do you believe we would be getting that same figure with those multinational people in control?"

    Even In Defeat, Ortega Stands Strong
    And while they were there to support Alfredo Ortega, Lucilo Teck, Javier Keme and their own Christian Workers Union President Audrey Matura Shepherd - Ortega has his own difficult questions to answer. He stands to be on the wrong side of the history as the season has started and a 7 year agreement has been signed - yet even yesterday he was still protesting against it. Here's what the media had for him yesterday:.. Reporter "Sir, how do you answer the criticism that today you are wasting these people time, you are wasting your time because this protest will lead to nothing?" Alfredo Ortega, Director, Orange Walk Branch, B.S.C.F.A "No, that's not true. We are not wasting anybody's time. I think that these people that are here, they are fighting for their rights. In this case, we have the government siding with ASR/BSI and that is why things has happen as they are. Farmers are being chanced and there are many farmers at this point don't realize what would be the end result of this, but believe me you, that in the future, you will see things happening and you will see how many famers will become slaves instead of farmers."

    Tough Questions For Teck
    We also had some tough questions for Lucilo Teck. He's the senior cane farmers who took the Sugar Industry Control Board to the Supreme Court - to ask for an order of mandamus - which would compel them to declare the season open. That effort backfired and ended up costing the farmers another two weeks before the season could start in earnest - when they ended up signing the very same agreement. And what's more by then the venerable cane farmers association had splintered. Here's what we asked him:.. Lucilo Teck, cane farmer "That was the plan of BSI to divide us from the beginning." Jules Vasquez "In deed the association is divided. But how much of responsibility for that rest with you, if you all hadn't run to challenge the resolution, then BSCFA would have signed as one hundred percent. But now it's broken up."

    Will The Sugar Quota Of The Future Be Equitable?
    But one thing that the so called radicals like Ortega and Teck agree on with the Prime Minister is that going forward, there must be equity in cane quotas. We're talking about the expected increased capacity of the BSI sugar mill - funded by ASR. IT will increase capacity - but who will get to supply it with more cane? Will it be the farmers of BSI itself? BSI is obviously in a better position since it has the money to expand. Yesterday Ortega raised concerns about this as did the Prime Minister:.. Alfredo Ortega, Director, Orange Walk Branch, B.S.C.F.A "We don't want this to happen that the manufacturers will have that opportunity to outbreak with production when every acre that the producer would plant, that means one acre less for the farmers. We are here to fight for the benefit of the farmers, so that the manufacturer stops planting and the farmers be the ones to control all the production that is needed for the plant."

    OCEANA Warns About Reef
    Three delegates from the UNESCO World Heritage Center are in Belize to talk about the protection of the Belize Barrier Reef. The main objective is to get Belize's Barrier Reef off a 2009 list of endangered sites. There are multiple threats facing the Barrier Reef and OCEANA along with its UNESCO partners is trying to inform the public as well as the government about the detrimental effects the damage or erosion of the Barrier Reef will have on the country. They told us more today:.. Janelle Channona, Vice President OCEANA "So in 2009, the government was informed that the Belize Barrier Reef system was being placed on this site's endanger list and the threats identified included sale and development within the immediate vicinity of the world heritage site. As you know 7 sites make up the world heritage site system in Belize. They extend from Bachalar Chico in the north all the way down to southern waters.

    Oil Exploration Guideline Released - OCEANA, COLA Object
    And OCEANA also sent out a release expressing its disappointment with the Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines - which was circulated in draft form today from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities. OCEANA says that the document is weak on data, short on details and could cause damage to the environment. The release says quote "Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected and that an effective emergency response capacity is in place." COLA also sent out a release today saying the booklet sets out four zones for petroleum exploration, encompassing nearly all of the territory of Belize, but in only one of these zones is any sort of exploration restricted - namely the Maya Mountains and portions of Stann Creek and Toledo Districts and the extreme northern tip of Ambergris Caye.

    NTUCB Pres Dylan A No-Show Again
    Yesterday in Belmopan, the NTUCB went out to Belmopan to support the cane farmers. But considering the NTUCB is a large umbrella group covering thousands of workers, only a few executive members were on the stairs of the national assembly in Belmopan. And that did not include the president Dylan Reneau who again was a no show. We asked why:.. Marvin Mora, 2nd VP - NTUCB "Dylan Reneau, I think his office is right over there. You can interview him and ask him. But as for the National Trade Union Congress, we are on the verge of going to elections and that will happen right at the end of this month in Caye Caulker when we are going to have our AGM. So, at the end of the day, its up to the general membership to decide how we are going to deal with this issue. But for right now let Dylan answers for Dylan." Mike Rudon, CH5 "Do you feel that at that AGM, at the end of that AGM, Dylan Reneau will still be president of the NTUCB?"

    Schoolteacher Gets Off Carnal Knowledge Charge
    37 year-old Cordel Gonzalez, who was a teacher at Edward P. Yorke High School, walked out of the Supreme Court a free man today after the prosecution withdrew 2 counts of carnal knowledge against him. He was accused of having sex with an underage student in November 2009. She formally reported that Gonzalez took her to his house on 2 occasions and had sex with her. He was charged in connection with that report, but today, when his case was called up before Justice Adolph Lucas, Crown Counsel Portia Staine informed the court that the prosecution cannot proceed against him. She entered a nolle pros, meaning that if any new evidence emerges against Gonzalez, he can be criminally prosecuted once again in the future.

    DOE Teaches How To Massage The Media For Your Message
    Two weeks ago we reported on the Department of Environment's workshop for the media at the Baboon Sanctuary. Today the department held part two of this workshop at the Radisson - and this time it was for public officers - so that they could learn about the process of newsgathering. Why is this relevant to their field of work? Well, according to Communications Consultant Daedra Haylock, if environmental officers understand and appreciated the work 'we' do, there will be a more fluid and efficient flow of information on environmental topics to the public. She told us how this session will achieve that. Daedra Haylock, Communications Consultant "The first half focused on the media and how to inform them on what is going on - on the environment, department official's standpoint. This part is focusing on the government officials, trying to make them be equip for working with the media, so that they can understand the dynamics of working with the media, the dynamics of the media in Belize and help them to prepare and understand the work of new gathering and the work of media management and the work of that whole process of assembling a newscast.

    City Police Chief Confidence Building On Southside
    Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Phillips, the officer commanding Eastern Division, was out on La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence Area today meeting and greeting the citizens today. ACP Phillips was reaching out to residents in a crime ridden area trying to reassure them that the police department is making its best effort to keep them safe. She told us that the residents have taken notice that the patrols have been focused on known hotspots in the city: ACP Dezerie Phillips, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "This is an ongoing efforts that we are making across the city. It has been on for some months now. We are just intensifying our efforts. This is a daily effort in all the precincts where we have our police officers go out into the community and speak to the public. Just trying to find out what are some of their concerns, what incidents that have been occurring to them. We also wanted to know what are some of the things we can do that could make the public feel safer and also to improve the quality of service that we offer to the community and as well we ask the community what can they do to assist us in making their community a safer one."

    Who Gave The Order On Nuri?
    Last week when it was taking a public pounding for creating the circumstances the led up to the breakup of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, the Barrow Administration sent out Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Godwin Hulse to put out government's side of the story. So on Wednesday morning, they went to the LOVE FM Morning show where they explained the position at length. The hosts that morning were Ava Diaz Sosa and Carmen Barrow. Absent was regular Nuri Mohammed. He has since said on KREM Radio that he was taken off the show that morning at government's request. Yesterday the media asked the Prime Minister who gave the order:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Certainly did not ask for Mr. Mohammed to be pulled from hosting the show. No, the two persons, the two ministers in particular, who were the guests that morning are more than equal to Mr. Mohammed, so that would have been pointless, really would have been counterproductive."

    Enter Hon. Omar
    And one last bit of news that came out of Belmopan yesterday is the swearing in of new member of the House, Omar Figueroa, the representative for Cayo North. He is the eighteenth member on the government side - if you include Elvin Penner who was still lurking around at the far end of the UDP back bench. Figueroa was gracious to his opponents in his first remarks before the house:..

    Channel 5

    Family of Missing Roaring Creek Resident Fears the Worst
    The family of a missing Roaring Creek resident fears the worst tonight. Twenty-four year old Emerson Daly took off on Sunday in a vehicle belonging to his uncle promising to [...]

    Staine Sibling Arraigned for Murder of B.D.F. Volunteer
    Two brothers have been arraigned for Saturday’s murder of B.D.F. volunteer, Denver Villafranco. The siblings, Orlando and Phil Tyrone Staine from the Saint Martin De Porres area appeared before Chief [...]

    UNESCO officials assessing the endangered barrier reef system
    The Belize Barrier Reef was placed on an endangered list by UNESCO since 2009 and it remains on that list tonight. But we can report that a delegation from UNESCO’s [...]

    OCEANA Says UNESCO Visit Opens Opportunity to Dialogue
    Over the past five years, there has been continuous degradation of the reef.  Concessions have been granted for offshore oil exploration and mega tourism developments within the reef system are [...]

    Is the Sugar Industry Better Off with the Amendments to the Sugar Act?
    And our question tonight is: Do you think the sugar industry is better off with the amendments to the Sugar Act allowing for the formation of splinter associations? Send your [...]

    COLA Sounds Alarm Over Petroleum Exploration Zones
    The Geology and Petroleum Department has circulated a document entitled Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. The department claims that it “recognized the need for a framework aimed at harmonizing [...]

    Where is the President Dylan Reneau of the N.T.U.C.B.?
    When the N.T.U.C.B. hosted a press conference last week to express support for the farmers, President Dylan Reneau was conspicuously absent. Inquisitive by nature, we asked for an explanation and [...]

    Janae Matute Receives 1st Installment From G.O.B.
    News Five is especially pleased tonight to report that the government has started making good on payments due to young student, Janae Matute. Matute was born with cerebral palsy which [...]

    Former EP Yorke teacher Acquitted of Carnal Knowledge Charges
    In late 2009, the then E. P. Yorke Teacher, Cordel Gonzalez, was charged with two counts of Carnal Knowledge upon a fourteen year old student. He lost his job after [...]

    24 Year Old Charged in Anti-Drug Operation
      Twenty-five year old Cassian Young was charged today for the Possession of a Controlled Drug with Intent to Supply to Another. Young was intercepted by police in the area [...]

    Is Carla Barnett the New U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Freetown?
    The prime minister has called a press briefing at U.D.P. headquarters Wednesday morning. Well, the invitation has been causing a stir since it was circulated. Sources tell News Five tonight [...]

    Government Provides $2 Million for Sugar Roads
    All stakeholders in the sugar industry are no doubt under intense pressure to get factors in place for a successful crop season. For things to work, all parties – the [...]

    Cane Fields of B.S.C.F.A.’s Finance Committee Chairman is Torched
    The B.S.C.F.A.’s Finance Committee Chairman, Javier Keme, has been in the forefront of the move to hold off on signing the agreement with ASR/B.S.I.  It was an unsuccessful effort, largely [...]

    Armed Robbers Escape with Vehicle
    San Ignacio Police are seeking your help in locating a 1999 Honda CRV with license plate BMP-2024. The vehicle was stolen during an armed robbery in the Santiago Juan Layout [...]

    What’s the future of Puerto Azul?
    Remember the Puerto Azul Project…a proposed mega-tourism development within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll at Sandbore and Northern Cayes? It has been out of the headlines for quite some time, but [...]

    Department of Environment Discusses New Communication Strategy
    Two weeks ago, on January eighth, 2015, the Department of Environment and its partner agencies embarked on a new communication strategy with a workshop held for media representatives at the [...]

    Remembering Andy…7 years after his passing
    It’s been seven years since Andy Palacio, Belize’s musical icon, passed away. Known across the world, Palacio put Belize on the map and left a rich legacy of the Garifuna [...]

    CTV3

    Ambassador Paola Amadei is in Belize, A Number of Ground Breakings Take Place
    Government has concluded several European Union funded project and this week head of the delegation for the European Union to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei is in the country to visit these projects as see their inauguration. On the nineteenth she attended the inauguration of the Benque Viejo del Carmen market and today attended a similar ceremony at the Belmopan market. Both projects were completed under the Belize Rural Development Program, BRDP. Also under the BRDP, officials broke ground today for the construction of a Metrological Laboratory at the Belize Bureau of Standards. The laboratory which is being developed with a budget of BZ$2.35 million will be key in ensuring that the measuring standards used in the country's commercial trade meets the official international standards. Other projects to be inaugurated this week include three craft markets rehabilitated on the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Labantuun and Blue Creek and also the official opening of the San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge road which was rehabilitated under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar.

    Rotary Corozal Seeks New Members
    Here in Belize the Rotary Clubs are under the umbrella of Rotary District 4250, which comprises of clubs from Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Here at home the oldest club is Rotary Belize which houses the Belmopan, Corozal, Dangriga, Orange Walk, Placencia, and San Ignacio clubs. The members of each club take pride in serving their community by carrying out projects and vocational commitments but there is always more that needs to be done but not enough hands to get the job done. And that is the problem that the Rotary Club of Corozal is currently facing, a shortage of membership. Wanting to turn things around, today the club launched a campaign to recruit more members.

    BTIA O/W Chapter Holds AGM
    The Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter held its Annual General Meeting last night. We were present for the event and here are a few highlights of the occasion. Dalila Ical – Reporting There are currently seventeen members under the BTIA Orange Walk Chapter and on the night of January nineteenth, the chapter met for its annual general meeting. The election of officers was part of the agenda but it was also a time for the chapter to take a look at achievements over the last year. It was a financially challenging one said outgoing chair Osmani Salas but the chapter’s membership persevered. “Well, things have been tight our members in Orange Walk have always come through to make sure that we keep operating so even though they pay their annual fee many of our members from their own pockets contribute on keeping our chapter and our information center open so one positive thing I think we can mention and another positive development of the Chapter here is that we set up a partnership with Oceana Belize and they are planning to undertake a national public awareness campaign to promote importance and the value of the marine realm and they agreed to engage our chapter in Orange Walk to represent them and carry out their work in Orange Walk so we expect that partnership to start from this month or the latest next month and that will bring some resources that will help our Chapter to do more work in Orange Walk,”

    Member of Fort George Says We are Going Back To Dictatorship
    Our coverage of the House of Representatives ends with a snippet from Member for Fort George, Honourable Said Musa who also was stern but composed on his points to the Amendments of the Sugar Industry Act. Musa made reference to Hitler as he chastised GOB’s move as a dictatorship type of leadership for the country. This comes after of course, Barrow called him “senile” in the honourable House. “For the Prime Minister to tell this nation, well yes maybe they could have set it and maybe the court could have ordered it. But how can the court order anything to be done when the court doesn’t have an army, doesn’t have a police to inform it? Mister Prime Minister last time I heard that said it was by Hitler in Nazi, Germany…that the courts don’t have no power, only the government. We have the political power. That is the clear sign of this country sliding into a dictatorship.

    Muffles High School Has A New Auditorium
    We have followed the development taking place at Muffles High School over the last few months and today we can tell you that the institution boasts of a new auditorium, which though not fully completed, was used for the first time by the entire school faculty and students. In what the school calls a soft launching, they held their first activity this morning at the auditorium that sits within the school compound. Following a brief ceremony the ribbon was cut and the building blessed by Father Oliver Smalls. The project is being overseen by the Building Committee consisting of Rosendo Urbina Sr., Armando Vldez, Alvaro Alpuche and the Chair of the committee, Manuel Martin.

    Will BSCFA Be Decertified By Fair Trade For Disbursement of 4 million dollars?
    The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association now counts with 17 branches and 3088 members from the last count. While the association is trying to move ahead after 42% of its membership decided to join other associations, there is still a dark cloud looming over the group. As previously mentioned, the association is currently facing a suspension or even decertification from Fair Trade after its directors complied with the mandate of can farmers and disbursed four million dollars in Fair Trade funds among them. Directors were totally against the disbursement of the funds and one person that came under fire for allegedly not wanting to sign the checks is no other than Financial Controller for the BSCFA, Javier Keme. To date, even though he signed the checks, Keme still believes disbursing the funds was a huge mistake, one that should have never been committed and the Committee of Management should have never permitted.

    More Drugs Confiscated In La Isla Bonita
    Anti-drug operations keep yielding success stories for the police department in San Pedro Town. The latest incident occurred on Saturday evening when police visited the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets and observed a tall male person of dark complexion dressed in a white T shirt and a green short pants standing on Chicken Drive Street. The person was observed going back and forth to a big tank in a yard and handing people something when they approached him. Police then conducted a search on the male person, however, nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing green leafy substance suspected to be Cannabis.

    Orange Walk Central Area Rep. Outlines Assistance Given To Cane Farmers by the P.U.P
    Tonight, while the impasse in the Sugar Industry finally blew over, or so it seems, much of what was said and done in the honourable House of Representatives yesterday involving amendments to the Sugar Industry Act is still fresh in the minds of many Belizeans. The debate was highly scrutinized by the opposition and other entities that stood against what they call the imposing actions of the Government. From the opposition’s perspective, cane grower and member for Orange Walk Central John Briceno gave a highly compelling argument that resulted in acknowledgement from Prime Minister Dean Barrow calling Briceno’s presentation as one with “substance”. Most enthralling from Briceno’s speech was based on history and facts that past PUP administrations have done a lot more than what people think to benefit all stakeholders in the Sugar Industry.

    GSIP Sees Number of Hurdles
    The last report that was made on the Guadalupe Street Improvement Project, “GSIP” was sometime last year when Osmany Salas, member of the GSIP shared the good news that the Minister of Finance had decided to waive the GST from the contract which would leave the committee with approximately $30,000.00 in pocket to invest in the project. We were also made to understand that Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard and the Orange Walk Town Council had assigned all property taxes, trade license and liquor license from the area into the committee’s account. In an interview with Osmany Salas last night, we asked him for an update on the development of the project. “It is all about finances and unfortunately we haven’t receive the support we expected or we would have wanted, a few residence have made their contributions, quite a few have been paying their taxes not all of them and that is one of the ways that the residence could help the project by ensuring that their taxes are paid on time, their property taxes etc. a few businesses have offered to pay in advance so what we did we sent out letters of request for sponsorship to a number different businesses and there hasn’t been a response, we need to follow-up.”

    Honorable Mai Defends the BSCFA
    Another vocal participant in the House of Representatives siding with farmers was member for Orange Walk South, Abelardo Mai. Mai defended the mother umbrella organization of the farmers, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. His points delved from production growth, social and economic programs to fertilizing fields in a timely manner. And whilst the Sugar Industry is a pivotal productive sector for the North, Mai’s argument was that no foreign entity should come in and bully Belizeans from what is truly theirs, citing that farmers should be the real owners of the assets in this country. “A slanderous remark for merely political and malicious intentions like the Association has spent millions of Fair Trade money and has nothing to show for it, it is a complete fabrication, it is completely deceitful and nothing close to the truth, the record speaks for itself Mr Speaker, through the Associations Fair Trade premiums productivity grew from 980,000 tons of sugar cane in 2008 to 1.4 million tons of sugar cane we have today the mill is practically choking with so much cane that we have Mr speaker,....”

    LOVE FM

    Delegate Suggestions; Would it Benefit Cane Farmers?
    Yesterday the House of Representatives met to introduce a bill to amend the Sugar Industry Act to “bring the Act into conformity with the Belize Constitution; to secure to all Cane Farmers the freedom to belong to an Association of their own choice; to facilitate the commencement of the grinding seasons in a fair and equitable manner”. Three Cane Farmers have signed an agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries and American Sugar refinery and it is expected that the crop will start soon. At yesterday’s House Meeting, PUP’s Area Representative for Orange Walk Central made five suggestions to the Government of Belize that would benefit the Cane Farmers. JOHNNY BRICENO “I think that the Government needs to pass legislation to allow Cane Farmers to be represented on a sugar marketing committee. Why do I say that? For so long the Cane Farmers have been saying that when they deliver their cane and BSI processes that cane into sugar they take it on their own and give it to their parent company which was Tate and Lyle and now to ASR to sell the sugar and we don’t know if t they get the best price, we don’t know if that is the price or if they could get a better price or a lower price we don’t know that but to avoid the suspicion that has been growing up in the Industry.

    PM Oppose Suggestions From PUP Delegate
    It is expected that the sugar cane crop season will soon start since four cane farmers association have signed the agreement with BSI/ASR. Each association will have to reach its quota or the amount of cane it should deliver every month. The Sugar Industry control Board, SICB, is expected to properly regulate that matter. However there is still the issue BSI/ASR growing its own cane. At yesterday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, Orange Walk Central Area Representative, John Briceno, made five suggestions that he says would be in favor of the cane farmers. One of those suggestions is to have the government limit the amount of cane BSI/ASR produces to have milled. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says he cannot do so and explained why: PRIME MINISTER HON. DEAN BARROW “There is no way we can put a cap on BSI’s quota since we are talking particularly about BSI. The job of the sugar cane production committee is to allocate quotas and to maintain the balance, to ensure that the farmers are able to increase their quota allocations as capacity increases but since the potential for capacity increase is almost limitless depending merely on how much money ASR is prepared to spend I don’t think it would be fair to say that BSI’s quota can never increase.

    Staine Brothers Charged for BDF Volunteer’s Murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17.According to reports, Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Lane, about 150 yards from his home. Villafranco was hit on his head with a crowbar, his abdomen was slashed with a knife, he received multiple stab wounds to his chest, and he was punched and left lying in a drain. By the time the police arrived at the scene he was already dead. The fatality was preceded by an altercation which occurred while the deceased and a friend were drinking.

    Where Is Puerto Azul Now?
    Last year Love News told you about Puerto Azul, a multi-million dollars project, was designed to be built in Northern 2 Caye of Lighthouse Reef and is described as a mega project for the mega rich and fabulous. The environmental community and some NGO’s agencies announced its utmost concerned towards the project stating that it poses a risk to Belize’s Reef and other natural resources. Love News spoke to Chief Environmental Officer of the Department of Environment, Martin Alegria, who gave us an update on this matter. MARTIN ALEGRIA “From the department of the environment’s perspective what we are responsible for is the environmental screening. As far as I recall last year we had developed a terms of reference for an EIA to be developed. At that stage it is up to the developers/ investor, the ball is in their court where the development of that report should be done in accordance to that terms of reference and that is where we are up to now where a lot of the ground work, studies and research should be conducted and underway in order to develop that EIA report.”

    Grounds Broken for New Sporting Facility in Western Belize
    On Monday ground was broken for the Hilltop Project in Belmopan. That is one of the sports projects that will be implemented by the Belize Infrastructure Limited. On hand for the special ceremony was area representative and Minister of National Security, John Saldivar. “This is going to be our main facility for a few years to come and so it is going to receive a covering over the basketball portion of this facility and the tennis portion will be renovated including the flooring and lights. Here at this side of the court we will Belmopan Sporting Complexbe receiving covering as I said and fixing up of the court and lighting facilities as well.

    Nolle Prosequi in Carnal Knowledge Case; Teacher vs Student
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37-year-old, Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge on a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney.The first count occurred on November14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27. At the time Gonzalez was a teacher at Edward P Yorke High School. The complainant was a student. The girl, accompanied by her mother, went to the police station and the girl reported that Gonzalez took her to his house on 2 occasions and had sex with her. According to a report, it was a video that alerted the school about the affair.

    DOE Aims For Better Partnership With Media and Government Entities
    The Department of Environment held their second workshop session at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. The main focus of today’s worship is building better relationship with the Media and Government entities. Love News spoke to Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer in the Department of Environment. MARTIN ALEGRIA “We have decided from late last year decided to embark on a program to try to sensitize first and then build partnership with the media in general and at the end try to develop a communication’s strategy in order to keep that partnership and strengthen it as years go by. What we are trying to achieve here is to have our staff in key government agencies prepared to know how to deal with technical issues in a professional manner with the media as partners rather than rivals.

    Police News: Marijuana Possession
    Forty three year old Edwardo Jones was arrested and charged for the crime of possession of controlled drugs. Police say that on Saturday evening, they noticed Jones at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets in San Pedro Town. He was reportedly seen handing something to several persons who approached him. Police immediately approached him, conducted a search on his person but nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing marijuana. The drug was taken to San Pedro Police Station and weighed. It amounted to 8.0 grams.

    PlusTV

    Man still missing since Sunday; vehicle found with traces of blood
    An upcoming entrepreneur from the Village of Roaring Creek, Cayo District, is missing since Sunday, and the family’s hopes of ever seeing him alive again are wearing thin. According to reports, 24 year old Emerson Daly was last seen on Sunday at around 8 pm when he left Roaring Creek in his uncle’s vehicle, a grey Pathfinder, en route to Belmopan. The family reports seeing him in the company of another person who they could not identify. “He borrowed my uncle’s vehicle, because his one was giving him trouble. He told my uncle he would be back in 15 minutes. He won’t take long. He just went to deal with something at Belmopan. He didn’t say what. He just said he would be back in 15 minutes. He had on his white undershirt and a khaki pants and his slippers. If he went out somewhere he would dress decent, ’cause he’s not that person[who] will have on regular clothes.”

    A closer look at the new sugar legislation
    On Monday we saw the passing of new Sugar Industry legislation, to assist in propelling the industry out of an impasse between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the American Sugar Refineries/ Belize Sugar Industries. With the delay of the crop season and an agreement not forthcoming between the farmers and the miller, Government stepped in to allow for associations other than the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to negotiate with Belize Sugar Industries for delivery of sugar cane to the Tower Hill factory. More than five years ago, the Supreme Court of Belize had ordered, by consent, that the Sugar Industry Act be amended. The Government did not comply then but with the circumstances being what they are now, Government went to the House on Monday to do just that. It was rushed through the house on Monday, with the opposition complaining that it was not enough time to analyze the amendment.

    Teacher beats carnal knowledge charge
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered on Tuesday in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37 year old Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge of a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Cordel Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney. The first count occurred on November14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27. At the time Mr Gonzalez was a teacher at Edward P Yorke High School. The complainant was a student.

    Amendment to the Sugar Act in the House of Representatives
    All’s well that ends well, says the Government of Belize, after seeing the near collapse of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, and seeing the impasse in the sugar industry through. On Monday the parliamentarians met at the House of Representatives in Belmopan to discuss and pass forthwith the long overdue amendment to the sugar act. The bill secures to all cane farmers the freedom to belong to any association. As we have reported, since the splintering of the BSCFA, two other independent associations have come forth: the Progressive Sugar Producers Association or PSPA and the Corozal Sugar Producers Association or CSPA- who had representation at Monday’s house sitting. The amendment bill was introduced by the Area Representative for Orange Walk North and Minister of Agriculture Hon. Gaspar Vega, after which it was put on the table for it to be debated with some good old finger pointing.

    Sugar cane farmers protest outside National Assembly Building
    Meanwhile outside of the house was a protest by a handful of cane farmers and their supporters; estimated at a bit above 50. Also there were members of National Trade Union Congress of Belize and members of third party Vision Inspired by the People, who showed up in solidarity with Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Attorney Audrey Matura-Sheppard addressed the accusation made by the Prime Minister that Attorney Matura-Shepherd’s advise to the farmers to go to court was misleading and a waste of the “How can it be a waste of time, when the that cases that we’ve tried to have too have been denounced by the Government and on complete lies? For example: When we went to Court to get the permission for mandamus, when I was at the General Assembly, I never told the cane farmers the day we go to court, there and then we will get the ruling. I told them we had to a permission stage, and that we were asking for the Court to hear the matter by the Tuesday or the Wednesday. However, we got the hearing on the Friday, and I told them at the permission stage, we would ask for the entire case to be heard within ten days. We did all of that at the Court.

    BSCFA met with General Assembly upon demand of BSI
    In the backdrop of Monday’s events, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met with their General Assembly on Sunday, at the request of BSI/ASR, to get the approval from their general membership to sign the agreement and put an end to this long saga of the impasse in the sugar industry. As was expected, the meeting was short and to the point. The voting was cast and the majority said yes to the agreement. After the meeting we spoke with Chairman Ezequiel Cansino, who has been the target of much criticism. “”We just came to get an approval from the membership to go ahead and sign the agreement with BSI. We came straight to the point and the cane farmers responded as positive as we expected. We don’t have anything else to do today, but only that we will inform BSI, and try our best to sign as soon as possible tomorrow. As from tomorrow, we decide to work on the list, because we have to clear our list from the other members who have already joined other associations. So we have to clean this list, so as we can get clearly how many cane farmers will stay with us, and how much is the amount of production that we will be manageing.”

    Omar Figueroa recites oath at National Assembly
    Also on the agenda of Monday’s sitting of the House of Representatives was the swearing in of Dr. Omar Figueroa as the duly elected Area Representative for the Cayo North Division, following his landslide victory at the January 5th bi-elections. An elated Omar Figueroa walked into the House of Representatives for the first time on Modday, greeted by a tumultuous applause by his supporters sitting in the galleries. He recited his oath and was then given a chance to speak. “I rise, Mister Speaker, today with great pride and on behalf of the people of Cayo North. As a person born and raised in San Ignacio Town within the constituency of Cayo North, it is indeed an honor and privilege to now hold this seat in parliament. I am grateful and indeed humbled by the overwhelming vote of confidence that the wonderful folks of Cayo North clearly expressed.

    BDF volunteer stabbed and killed
    Residents of Police Street, Belize City, are puzzled as to why attackers targeted 23 year old Denver Villafranco, a Belize Defence Force (BDF) volunteer soldier, on Saturday night around 7:20 p.m. According to police, Mr Villafranco was found lying motionless on the street, with an apparent stab wound to the right side of the abdomen. He had been walking on Complex Avenue about 20 minutes earlier,headed in the direction of Mahogany Street, when three men attacked and caused his fatal injury. He died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital while undergoing treatment within 10 minutes of the incident. As police investigations continue, the street’s residents mourn the loss of a man described as a “peacemaker” in the area, someone who could be depended on. Unfortunately, his last act of peacemaking may have led to his death, as described by an area resident and friend of his who we spoke to off-camera.

    Body of missing woman found in San Pedro
    22 year old Silvia Carmen Benites was reported missing last week, when reports are that she was last seen on a beach drinking with a number of men. After that, she was not seen or heard from. However, Miss Benites’ body was unexpectedly found in an area north of San Pedro town on Saturday afternoon. According to authorities, passersby in the area, three and a half miles north of San Pedro town, smelled a stench in the area and upon making checks, discovered the nude body of the Honduran national, in a muddy pond at the side of the road. Police say that a post mortem examination revealed that Sivia Benites’ body has multiple blunt force injuries to the right side of the face, the neck, and the back. They also found restraining type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh. Due to the state of decomposition, the cause of death could not be determined.

    Amandala

    4 killers used knife, crowbar on BDF volunteer
    Private Denver Villafranco, a 22-year-old soldier of the Belize Defence Force Volunteer Battalion, B Company, in Belize City, died after he was attacked by four men who hit him in the head with a crowbar, slashed the right side of his abdomen with a 4-inch knife, exposing his intestines and stabbed him in the chest multiple times, after which Villafranco was punched, kicked, and beaten by the men, who then left him in a drain and ran away. The incident occurred at about 7:30 Saturday night at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Lane in Lake Independence, just about 150 yards from his home. When police found him in the drain, Villafranco was already dead. A quick and intense investigation led to three men, who have been detained and police are on the hunt for the fourth person.

    Bill to amend the Sugar Industry Act passed
    Parliament today rushed the passage of controversial amendments to the Sugar Industry Act, Chapter 325 of the Laws of Belize, paving the way for two new sugar associations: the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association, to emerge as competing lobbying groups for cañeros in northern Belize, even as the fate of the vanguard association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), hangs in the balance. To date, the Government has resisted calls from cañeros to channel $4 million of PetroCaribe funds into the financially beleaguered organization to replenish Fairtrade monies that ought not to have been disbursed to farmers. The disbursement of those funds last week has compounded the association’s already deteriorating financial position, amid a new change introduced with the amendment that will remove a substantial revenue stream – the “cess,” a mandatory deduction from sugar payments normally paid to the BSCFA.

    Body of missing San Pedro waitress found decomposing
    Carolyn Sylvia Benitez, 28, of San Pedrito, San Pedro Town, a mother of three children who was working as a waitress at a restaurant in San Pedro, had been reported missing since Monday, January 12. Benitez, however, was found dead, her body in a state of decomposition, at about 11:30 Saturday morning on the road that runs through Grand Belizean Estates, in an uninhabited area about 3½ miles north of San Pedro Town. An autopsy conducted on her body was not able to conclusively determine the cause of her death, due to the advanced state of decomposition of the body. Benitez was last seen alive by her family on Sunday, January 11, before she left home to go to work. According to police, at about 9:30 Thursday night, January 15, Danilo Alvarenga, 36, visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that on Wednesday, he received a call informing him that his common-law wife, Carolyn Sylvia Benitez, had been seen drunk at about 4:00 Monday morning, January 12, and that she was sitting on a bench with an alcoholic beverage in her hand in the company of four men, and that was the last time she was seen.

    Cop charged with having sex with underage girl
    Police officer Patrick O’Brien of the Independence police is presently remanded until April 14 on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. He was taken to the Independence Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where he was arraigned on the charge. No plea was taken from him. The allegation against him is that he had sex with an under-aged girl, 15, in June last year, 2014, at the Police Barracks in Independence. Police said that on Monday, the girl and her mother made the report to police, and that same Monday, the officer was later arrested and charged with carnal knowledge, a charge that was later changed to unlawful sexual intercourse.

    Convicted rapist and kidnapper beats murder rap
    An Orange Walk man who was convicted of two counts of rape, kidnapping, unnatural crime and is serving a 13-year prison sentence was acquitted of a murder indictment in the Orange Walk Session of the Supreme Court late Thursday evening, January 15, after a jury of 7 women and 5 men deliberated for four and a half hours before returning a unanimous not guilty verdict. In 2005, Mark Vega, 39 and Luis Urbina were tried in the Belize City Supreme Court for the June 2002 murder of Susana Pethkau. Urbina was acquitted of the murder charge, but the jury was hung on its verdict for Vega, leading to a new trial. This time, the trial was held in the Orange Walk Supreme Court before Justice Herbert Lord. Vega was defended by attorney Bryan Neal.

    LPG down to low of 92 bucks
    Falling prices on the world market for fossil-based fuels have finally been trickling down to Belizean consumers with pump prices now ranging from $7.21 for a gallon of diesel to $7.88 for a gallon of premium gasoline in Belize City. On Friday, January 16, more good news came for consumers when it was announced that effective Saturday, January 17, 2015, the price for the 100-pound cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the most common cooking fuel, which is also called “butane”, would fall by $6.00, slashing again what had been recorded as the lowest price tag for LPG in 2014.

    Bandits 3-peat, 4-nil over Police for PLB Opening Season championship
    The Isidoro Beaton Stadium had its biggest crowd in years on Saturday night, January 17, for game 2 of the finals series between defending champions Belmopan Bandits and sub-champions Police United for the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Opening Season Championship. And the status quo remained at the final whistle, with the Bandits coming away with a big 4-nil victory and the championship, their 3rd consecutive win in the PLB tournaments. The Bandits were back-to-back champions in both the 2013-2014 Opening and Closing seasons, earning a berth to the CONCACAF Champions League, which they could not utilize because the FFB field failed to meet the required standards. In the 2013-2014 Closing Season finals, it was the Bandits over Police, 3-0 and 1-0; and in game one of the 2014-2015 Opening Season finals, the Bandits had drawn 0-0 with Police. And as it turned out on Saturday night, after beating the Bandits twice in regular season and once in the playoffs this season, Police United was still unable to get a goal against the Bandits in finals play, falling 4-0 this time, to the disappointment of their many fans.

    Belize Juniors to Salvador for U15 & U18 Table Tennis Championships
    The Belize Table Tennis Association (BTTA), in partnership with the Belize Olympic Committee, will be sending a delegation to represent Belize in the 2015 Central American U15 & U18 Table Tennis Championships, which will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador from January 20th to the 25th. Latrell Solis, John Delcid and Jaylen Nicolson will represent Belize in the Under 15 category for singles, doubles, and team events. They will be accompanied by our technical director, Gabriel Guerrero, as coach, and will join over 100 other junior players from 7 of our neighboring countries to compete for the title. This is a great experience for our junior players as we continue to make our way onto the regional and international stage.

    C-Ray Saturday Race results, January 17
    The C-Ray Cycling Club has committed to hosting a series of 12 Saturday Races leading up to the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic. These races started on Saturday, January 10, and plans are to have them every Saturday until Saturday, March 28. The race is open to all cyclists of the Junior, Female, Weekend Warriors and Elite categories; one race with separate prizes. The 2nd Saturday, January 17, saw 38 cyclists lined up – 9 Juniors, 1 Female, 6 Weekend Warriors, and 22 Elite. The race started (and finished) at Leslie’s Imports and turned at the Boom Village junction, for approximately 45 miles. Below are the results by category: JUNIOR – 1st Darien Anderson; 2nd Yan Cattouse; 3rd Michael Grajalez.

    Belize City primary schools basketball update, semifinals start tomorrow, Tuesday
    The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Tournament, being coordinated by the National Sports Council, entered its playoff stage on Thursday of last week, and the male semifinals are scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, at Bird’s Isle. In games played last week Tuesday, January 13, (M) St. Ignatius defeated James Garbutt SDA, 33-11, with Glenford Bermudez leading St. Ignatius with 11 pts, while Ralston Menzies had 4 pts for James Garbutt. (F) St. Luke Methodist won, 6-1, over St. John’s Anglican. Khia Leslie netted 4 pts for St. Luke, while Taliyah Hyde got the sole pt for St. John’s. And (M) St. Joseph demolished St. John’s Anglican, 35-2. Justin Williams and Daemion Garcia had 8 pts each for St. Joseph, while Levan Tillett got the 2 pts for St. John’s.

    Editorial: Day of devastation
    Over the course of Belize’s battle for self-rule from 1950 to 1981, the sugar cane farmers of our Corozal and Orange Walk Districts became the strongest section of Belize’s socio-economy. The sugar cane industry featured the focused, hard-working descendants of refugees from Yucatan’s Caste War who had come to Belize in the second half of the nineteenth century, and then the British multinational, Tate and Lyle, invested in a new sugar factory at Tower Hill in the Orange Walk District around 1963. The political circumstances of the Tate and Lyle investment are very interesting, but they are almost never discussed. The nationalist People’s United Party (PUP) Leader George Price had been in open battle with the colonizer British in 1957 and 1958. In 1957, the British sent Mr. Price home from London in disgrace, and then in 1958 the British arrested and charged him with sedition, for which he was acquitted in the Supreme Court of British Honduras.

    Attention: Hopkins needs village roads fixed NOW!
    Dear Editor, The village of Hopkins’ roads are the worst ever! This is high season and running any type of business requires one to go from point A to point B! It is impossible by foot, bike, car, or scooter to drive safely to go anywhere without it being a huge hassle because of the numerous, huge deep pot holes. It is not fair for the tourists who came to Hopkins to enjoy the village life; if they cannot move around easily, they should not be traumatized with the horrendous mobility with these endless huge pot holes. If one rents a car they are subjected to returning it without damage. Impossible! Driving anywhere is extreme wear-and-tear on any vehicle, never mind a real nightmare to drive the slowest possible without bottoming out. Tourists are leaving because of it. Many of my guests made the comment, about never returning and leaving earlier than planned. I am relaying their disgust of the road conditions. Never mind the locals who live here and the ones who are trying their best to accommodate the overflow here in Hopkins this season, of numerous unhappy travelers while making a living at tourism.

    Graduate of FBI program resumes command of San Pedro police
    A police officer, who is a graduate of an FBI training program, is now the Commander of San Pedro Police. Superintendent Luis Castellanos resumed command of the San Pedro police force today, after attending the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia, USA. He was selected to represent Belize in the training program along with 215 other law enforcement agents. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy Program is known internationally for academic excellence, which includes 11 weeks of advanced training, which are conducted by the FBI Academy training staff, special agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

    BSCFA General Assembly agrees to sign contentious sugar agreement
    Another in a long series of General Assembly meetings hosted by the embattled Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) commenced shortly after 9:00 this morning at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico auditorium at Mile 72 on the Philip Goldson Highway, with just over 850 of the association’s 3,000 plus members in attendance. With a single objective on the agenda, today’s meeting proved to be one of the shortest that has ever been held in recent memory, because no more than twenty minutes after the session got underway, the many distressed cañeros were given the opportunity to either hold their ground, or overturn a previous resolution to have the government-controlled Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) pronounce the sugarcane crop season open while negotiations between the producers and millers continue under an interim agreement. As soon as the motion was read to the anxious crowd, an overwhelming majority of the audience, under a strong sense of duress, voted in favor of having their association’s executives sign onto a disputed new commercial purchasing agreement which had been flatly rejected at a similar meeting just two weeks ago, on January 4.

    Two men remanded to prison for possessing parts of a shotgun
    Two Belize City men who said they wanted to be good Samaritans when they found parts of a shotgun and who were busted by the Gang Suppression Unit before they were able to hand in the parts to police, were remanded to prison this morning after they were arraigned on a charge of possession of a firearm without a gun license. Akeem Requeña, 21, an electrician and resident of Marva’s Alley, was charged along with David Moss, 19, a student of Dolphin Street. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge. When he entered his not guilty plea, Requeña asked Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer if he could say something. “I had informed the police that while going through an alley, we found a ratchet and a gun handle. We told the police that we had just found it, and we were going to hand it in. But the police told us that we better tell that to the judge,” Requeña explained.

    Eric Vellos, 24, dies in weekend traffic accident
    A young employee of Bowen and Bowen Limited unfortunately perished in a traffic accident after his vehicle flipped several times and crashed into a culvert between Miles 81 and 82 on the Philip Goldson Highway this past Saturday night. Police said that at about 11:50 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, they were informed of a fatal road traffic accident in the area of Ranchito, Corozal District, and upon arrival at the scene, they observed an extensively damaged gold Nissan Altima with license plates CZL C-04613 in a drain on the right hand side of the road, with its four wheels in the air. Investigators later learned that Eric Nelson Vellos, 24, of a 5th Avenue address in Corozal Town, was traveling alone in the direction of Orange Walk Town to Corozal when he suffered a tire blowout and lost control of the car at around 11:30 that night.

    Bar Association expresses concern about the performance of the Court of Appeal
    The traditional opening of the Supreme Court is the time when the bar and the bench engage in their reflection on the performance of the judiciary at the opening of the new legal year. During this year’s address on Monday, January 12, the Bar Association expressed its concern about the performance of Belize’s second highest court, the Court of Appeal, particularly during its last session. “The Bar Association wishes to put on record its serious concern about the Court of Appeal. The last session of the Court of Appeal was historic in its underperformance,” said the president of the Bar Association, Eamon Courtenay, S.C. “For the first time in history, there was not a single criminal appeal, as far as I can remember. That is unacceptable.” Courtenay added, “There was a record low number of civil appeals heard.”

    CITCO officially takes on BML workers
    Yesterday, January 15, the Belize City Council’s contract with the sanitation company known as the Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) officially expired, signaling the end of that company’s responsibilities of cleaning up the Old Capital. Although he has maintained that it will be no easy task, two weeks ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley announced that he and the Council had drafted a plan to absorb the employees of BML, and as a result, 158 of BML’s sanitation staff today reported to City Hall as full-time employees with security of tenure under the newly implemented Municipal Regulations Policy, which was rolled out for personnel from all municipalities in mid-December 2014. As part of their introduction, the new City Hall employees participated in an all-day orientation in which they met with Bradley and other key members of the council who outlined their rights and obligations as full members of staff.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Roaring Creek man reported missing
    The family of a Roaring Creek man is tonight asking for the public’s assistance in locating their loved one. Twenty four year old Emerson Daly has not been seen or heard from since Sunday night and his family is fearing the worst. The young entrepreneur, according to family members left home around 8 pm on Sunday and was reportedly heading to Belmopan. This afternoon, we were able to confirm that the vehicle that Daly was driving was found in an area just off the George Price Highway with what appears to be blood stains inside.

    Teacher beats carnal knowledge charge
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37 year old Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge of a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney. The first count occurred on November 14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27.

    Brothers charged for BDF soldier’s murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17. According to reports, Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner Sunflower Street and complex Lane, about 150 yards from his home.

    Vehicle stolen during armed robbery
    A vehicle was reported stolen on Monday, January 19 in San Ignacio town. The 1999 Honda CRV – as shown in the photo – was stolen in the Santiago Juan Layout area around 6:30 pm on Monday during an armed robbery. The vehicle carried license plates BMP 2024. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this vehicle, please contact the nearest police station of call telephone number 610-3124.

    Blogs

    A Gorgeous Sunset Sail off Ambergris Caye with Ecologic Charters
    Perhaps the best way to see the sunset over Ambergris Caye is by boat. And last week, as luck would have it, I was invited on a sunset cruise…on one of two gorgeous catamarans owned by Ecologic Divers located at the north side of town by the Phoenix Resort. Both 50 foot catamarans – the Impromptu and the Infinity – are available for chartered trips for you and your friends and family. Book a few days…or a week…head out with dive tanks, lots of food and drink, a captain and a chef (both certified divers) and just follow your own agenda.

    20 awesome facts about the Cayo District in Belize!
    The Cayo District is home to some 73,202 people and takes in more than 2,000 square miles (5180kms) of tropical forest, rolling hills; rich pasture land, vibrant rivers and an amazing assortment of Maya archaeological sites. 1. It is the largest district in Belize. 2. Cayo is home to the most impressive and artifact-rich Maya ceremonial caves ever found in Mesoamerica: Actun Tunichil Muknal is the star of the show. 3. Hand-cranked ferries are still used to forge rivers to Maya ceremonial sites and Mennonite community centers. 4. Both English and Spanish are widely spoken in Cayo, which is home to large populations of Latinos, Creoles, Chinese, Lebanese, Mennonites and Maya.

    Commentary: Legendary Garifuna choreographer Armando 'Crisanto' Melendez
    By Wellington C. Ramos. On Friday, January 9, 2015, at about 6:00 pm, many Garifuna people living in New York City packed Casa Yurumein in the Bronx to listen to a cultural presentation given by their legendary choreographer Armando ‘Crisanto’ Melendez. For years now he has been the head of the Honduras Folkloric Garifuna Dance Company where many Garifuna men and women have been trained to learn all the Garifuna music, drumming, dance and others aspects of this rich culture. I was anxious to see this great individual because I have always heard of the commitment, dedication and passion he has displayed over the years in preserving his culture. He brought with him two Garifuna master drummers known as Dumbrie. This title is the highest honour given to a Garifuna drummer who is versed in beating the two Garifuna drums namely the primera and the secunda. The meeting was chaired by Mr Carlos Gamboa, a well known Garifuna activist in the Garifuna community here in New York City, who originated from the Garifuna village of Labuga (Livingston) in Guatemala. He began the meeting by highlighting the life accomplishments of Mr Armando ‘Crisanto’ Melendez over the years. The meeting was conducted with exchanges in the Garifuna, English and Spanish languages. These languages are spoken by many Garifuna people worldwide. He wasted no time in introducing the presenter.

    International Sourcesizz

    UWI begins presenting witnesses in Bain case
    THE University of the West Indies yesterday began presenting its witnesses in the case brought against the institution by Professor Brendan Bain over his termination as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART). The UWI called its first witness, Professor Peter Figueroa, after Bain closed his case following seven days of evidence from various witnesses in an attempt to prove he'd been wronged by the university. Bain is suing the UWI for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights, and defamation over the university's decision to terminate his contract.

    Photographer’s ‘Unseen Cuba’ gives a rare view of the island
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures — and marvel. The first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it, Jovaisa appears Friday at Books & Books in Coral Gables to talk about Unseen Cuba, (Unseen Pictures, $99.95). “I put a lot of my heart into this project,” says the photographer of four other large-format books, Unseen Lithuania, Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya, Heavenly Yucatan and Heavenly Belize. “I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don’t have an opportunity to see things from this angle.” Shot from an ultralight craft, with stunning aerial views of the island from Cabo de San Antonio on the western tip to Baracoa in the east, Unseen Cuba is the culmination of almost five grueling years of Jovaisa’s life. He came up with the idea after the success of Unseen Lithuania, which sold 70,000 copies in a country of less than three million people. Having grown up under Soviet rule in Lithuania, Jovaisa expected to face a certain amount of red tape getting permits for the project. But he had no idea he’d spend 21/2 years wrestling with bureaucrats before he ever got off the ground.

    Prof Bain closes case
    Professor Brendan Bain on Tuesday closed his case after seven days’ testimony from various witnesses. One witness for the claimant, Shawn Wenzel – an information technology consultant – testified that the articles written about Bain’s termination by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and subsequent demonstrations in his favour were picked-up by various websites and news agencies and published in 15,000 places across the globe, including Europe and the United States of America. The defendant, the UWI, is to begin its case when the matter resumes in the Supreme Court just before 2:00 this afternoon. The first witness for the defendant is listed as Professor Peter Figueroa.

    5 Tips for Becoming an Expat
    Expatriates — those country natives whose wanderlust causes them to pull up stakes and move to another country — seem to be doing well, thank you very much. According to a 2014 study by global banking giant HSBC, the vast majority say they enjoy their new homes, and Switzerland, New Zealand, and, yes, the U.S. are all high atop the list of countries expats call home. That doesn’t mean becoming an expat is a great or even a good idea — not unless you cover some foreign destination basics first. "There are a great many decisions involved in making the move abroad, ranging from consideration of finances and managing money, right through to integrating into the local community and arranging childcare,” says Andrew Ireland, EVP and Head of Premier Banking at HSBC Bank USA. Knowing what you want — and what works — in a foreign land is really Job One when preparing for life as an expat.

    Using Belize’s Retiree Program For An Easy Life
    Jim and Kathy Suits had long been planning to move outside the U.S. for retirement. English-speaking, with a tropical climate, and close to North America… little Belize offered a lot to a couple looking to retire abroad. Plus, the feeling of independence they experienced there, and the focus on personal responsibility and family values, had great appeal for the Suits. Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program was one of the main factors in their deciding on Belize. This program makes the transition to a new life in Belize quite easy for expats…and cost-effective. “I liked the QRP. I like the tax advantages. It does have some drawbacks. You don’t get to be a resident. You’re a permanent tourist. But it makes it easy for someone to come down and retire without a lot of headaches,” says Jim.

    Enjoying Our Business In The Cayo, Belize
    Jamie and Barbara Quinion have no regrets about their move to western Belize. “We’re not just living our dream of the good life,” Barbara says of the couple’s new life in the ancient Maya village of San José Succotz, in Belize’s Cayo District. “We are living the ‘excellent life!’” Five years ago, they decided to sell their winery in Canada and move abroad, for several reasons. “What attracted us to Belize is that it’s English-speaking—that was a big plus—with a good climate, really friendly people, and incredible diversity for such a small country. We live in the farthest point west on the mainland, where we go swimming, tubing, hiking, biking, birdwatching, or just enjoy the great view from our property.

    Real Estate On The “Maya Route”
    Encompassing Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras, La Ruta Maya (the “Maya Route”) covers the territory of the Maya civilization, which reached its height from 250 to 900 A.D. One of the New World’s most advanced cultures, the Maya had written language, mathematics, a sophisticated calendar, and architectural skills that saw them construct massive temples and spectacular cities, many of which still stand. However, the Maya were never a single empire; rather, kings ruled over small territories surrounding a city.

    Integration in Belize
    Expats have been coming to Belize to live and retire for decades. And that means things are “set up” for newcomers. It’s a well-trodden path, whether you are buying a home, getting a bank account set up, looking for a car mechanic, or anything you need to do…you just have to follow it. There are social clubs, churches, volunteer organizations…and informal parties, get togethers, and happy hours in expat communities all over the country. There is a major concentration of expats in places like Corozal in the far north near the border with Mexico, Ambergris Caye (an island just off the coast on the edge of the MesoAmerican Reef), Placencia (a long peninsula in the middle of the country), and the Cayo District, an inland area known for its mountains, jungle, and farmland. Expats have found their paradise in Belize, whether it’s by the beach or inland, and they welcome newcomers with open arms.

    Videos

    Winning Carnaval Comparsa: San Pedro AIDS Commission., 2min.
    Underwater Belize GO PRO 3, 3.5min. Ambergris Caye, Belize - January 2015.
    RLC and Belize 2015, 3.5min.
    JAN. 20TH 2015 - The Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter Annual General Meeting, 5min.
    Scuba Dive - Belize - Queen Trigger eating Lionfish, .5min.
    Trip to Belize, 4min. Video from my time on Caye Caulker


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