Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marcel Cardona no longer considered a member of UDP...

In a letter leaked out of the United Democratic Party (UDP) office, Honorable Marcel Cardona is being chastised and effectively expelled from the UDP. Click on image below to view image larger.
Honorable Cardona declined comment, simply stating that he needed to review the letter with his legal advisor before commenting on the issue.

ACES Croc Chronicles #4

Submitted by ACES Research Biologist Cherie Chenot-Rose

WASA Croc Problem Continues and Amplifies

On Tuesday, March 23rd, ACES headed south to continue the croc population survey. Attracted by three carts of people at WASA, the team stopped only to see one of the same problematic crocs that they had caught six months ago. This croc, missing a hind foot, is exceptionally fearless of man and extremely dangerous. When ACES croc behaviorist Vince Rose splashed the waters edge the croc immediately charged. Catching the team off-guard Vince was forced to quickly fix a lasso and catch the croc. The croc was so hostile that the rope was handed off to croc conservationist Chris Summers and Vince choose to jump on the head of the croc to subdue the animal. No sooner than catching the croc, a second croc aggressively approached the team as they worked quickly to secure the first croc. With no alternative, the team wrangled the second croc. Rite-Way General Contractors again generously donated transportation of the large apex predators to the Sniffin residence for safe keeping for the night. Sadly, both animals were in extremely poor health and condition with severe bite injuries most likely from a larger croc. Feeding the crocs is illegal. Not only does it make them more aggressive and prone to attack a human, but it also makes them attack each other as they fight for the free, easy meal. This was the first time ACES had caught the second croc. The croc had suffered a severe attack and was missing the larger part of its tail. It may not survive. Because of the injuries, or maybe due to a lack of prey in the WASA lagoon, both reptiles were starving. Due to their slow metabolism, it can take a large croc a year to slowly and painfully starve to death. This is just one more reason for supporting ACES relocation efforts of removing the largest predators from that area.

Testing a new theory, magnetic amplifiers were taped to the croc’s heads for their relocation to a secluded area north of San Pedro. Scientists believe that crocodilian’s spatial orientation is geared by the magnetic poles, much like in migratory birds. The idea is the magnets in the amplifiers will keep the animals from memorizing where they were relocated from and then will be less likely to return to their point of origin. Both crocs were tagged by scute-clipping prior to release for identification and for DNA and toxicity studying. The large animals were transported on a trailer donated by Tyler Cornell and Legends Burger House.

Croc Talk at the San Pedro Library

Lunchtime Monday the 28th at the San Pedro library was full of curiously excited students when Cherie and Vince of ACES showed up with a 3ft live American crocodile, of course it’s mouth was taped shut! Invited by SP Librarian Iracela Acosta and reading enrichment volunteer Liz Gibson Richards, the program started with some children reading out loud about crocodiles from books. Cherie then gave a question and answer presentation on the biology of the crocodiles found in Belize and the Belize Wildlife Protection Act (Chapter 220) that protects them. Always reminding the children that one has to go to school for proper training and then be permitted by the Belize Forest Department in order to work with any of Belize’s protected species, including crocodiles. At the close of the session each student who raised his or her hand and gave one crocodile fact was allowed to view the small reptile up close. It was very educational for everyone, and at the close of the presentation Mrs. Richards and Cherie brainstormed about the idea of a “naturalist” after school club for interested student. Anyone wishing to help, or would like to have an ACES presentation, please email Cherie at

American Crocodile Population Survey Update in Ambergris Caye for the Rufford Small Grants Foundation

From December 2010 to February 2011, one hundred and thirteen American crocodiles Crocodylus acutus were observed during spotlight and daylight surveys of a 72.42 km route (1.56 crocodiles/km) through coastal, mangrove, and lagoon habitats in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Of these, 32 (28.3%) were classified as ‘eye-shine only,’ and the remaining 81 (71.7%) where classified as hatchlings (20; 24.7%), juveniles (7; 8.6%), sub-adults (26; 32.1%), and adults (28; 34.6%). Out of the twenty-three tagged crocodiles, 12 (52.2%) were males and 11 (47.8%) were females. One Crocodylus acutus captured exhibited intermittent ventral scutes post cloacal. While this lends to the possibility hybridization (cross breeding of American and Morelet’s crocodile), DNA testing is needed for confirmation. Another C. acutus was captured with a ‘marbled eye.’ The crocodile’s vision did not appear impaired. A full report will be published in the next Crocodile Specialist Group newsletter. For grant opportunities go to

Interview with Vince and Cherie Rose of ACES after the arson of ACES/American Crocodile Education Sanctuary by Wildlife Photographer Brandon Sideleau.

Be sure to tune into the one-hour croc log podcast and learn about Crocodilians and hear the latest croc news with Croc Expert Adam Britton and Wildlife Photographer Brandon Sideleau. Link:

Always remember to call ACES at 631-6366 if you have a croc problem or witness a croc crime.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Costa Maya Resort VS Sueño del Mar (Friendly Match)

On Sunday March 20th a friendly football game was played between Costa Maya Staff and Sueño del Mar Construction. It was a bright Sunday afternoon when staff of both groups came together to presence this first friendly game. An enthusiastic crowd was cheering for their team. After a vigorous game Sueño del Mar Construction was triumphant. Costa Maya will host more events like these to enhance relationship with our neighbors.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alyssa Arceo accepted at Michael E DeBakey College

The Arceo family is ecstatic at the news that their young Vilma Alyssa Arceo has been accepted to the US based Michael E DeBakey High School for Health Professions. Two years of preparation and hard work have led to this triumphant moment for Alyssa. Michael E DeBakey High School for Health Professions averages at least 1,250 applicants, and only admits about 200 successful applicants. Alyssa is the first Belizean to be accepted at this college.

An overjoyed Arceo family shared this momentous occasion with Alyssa at the Vilma Linda Plaza. The San Pedro Sun found out that Alyssa will leave Belize for Houston, Texas where she will be studying four years of health sciences. DeBakey College is currently ranked as the #1 public high school in the Houston Independent School District, and is a stepping stone for those looking to pursue a medical career.

Vilma Alyssa Arceo, daughter of Elito and Rebecca Arceo, is a graduate of The Island Academy here in San Pedro. Congratulations to Alyssa and her family on a job well done, and The San Pedro Sun joins her family and friends in wishing her a successful four years of studies.

Caye Caulker implements Pet Control Program

The island of Caye Caulker is being faced with some problems due to an increase in its dog population. With reports of over 20 dog bites in the past five months, and the continued sightings of unkempt pets on the beaches and many public streets, this has become a dire concern to residents and visitors alike.Initially brought to light in a public meeting held in September of 2010, the issue of uncontrolled dogs was discussed at length and a plan was devised. The plan involved the implementation of a Public Awareness Campaign. “Through local media and public meetings, the Caye Caulker residents were informed of the rules and regulations regarding owning a pet,” said Caye Caulker Village Chairman, Mr. Alberto Villanueva. “Owners were encouraged to start practicing the leashing law – which stated that if a dog is in public, it must at all times, be held on a leash.”
He agreed that the public awareness campaign has been working well. Most dog owners now ensure that their dogs are behind closed gates/fences and that when in public, their pets are on a leash. However, the problem of the strays remains.
As a result, the Caye Caulker Village Council, in conjunction with the Caye Caulker Humane Society have embarked on a program that seeks to eradicate stray dogs that are not cared for and eventually, in the long run – provide a system where pets are controlled and are registered.
In the initial phase, dogs found in any public areas at the night time will be picked up by a team including, the local Health Inspector, a Police Sergeant, a Village Council worker and a member of the Caye Caulker Humane Society. If the dog possesses a collar with information in regards to ownership, such owner will be informed and granted the opportunity to pick up his/her dog. In cases where dogs show no sign of ownership, the animals will be put down.
According to Chairman Villanueva, “The process is very painless. A member from the Humane Society insisted that the team witness it. The dog is first administered a tranquilizer, in the form of an injection, which takes about five minutes to work. This is followed by the administering of a second injection, which puts them to sleep within the minute”.
The first phase of the eradication project was held on Thursday March 17, between the hours of 11:00pm and 2:00am, when eight dogs were picked up and humanely put to rest. Future plans include the implementation of a system where all pet owners will be required to register each pet. The details of that program are not complete as yet, but that is where the Council is gearing towards.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Art of Life: Some things to wonder

“Humankind is a very small thing, compared to the wonder of nature”-Emmanuel

Swimming near the beach in San Pedro a tourist asked me why there is so much sea grass along the shores. From what I heard, I said, “The small marine life depends on the sea grass for safety and shelter from large fish. Also, they help create that clear turquoise green that is unique to the Cayes in Belize, as well as provide food for the birds and many species of fish that live near the coral reef.”
As I stopped talking I thought to myself. “Do I really know this?” We hear and read so much information. Some things we can make sense of and others we are just left to wonder: Such as; why more sand is taken by the sea in one place more than the other; Why butterflies migrate certain times of the year; why babies are born and die weeks later; why is it once we accomplish goals they lose meaning. We can all find some answer for all this, but all are in the realm of human definitions. We can spend all our lives searching for meaning. Today there is so much information who knows how to manage it all. Life is too short to spend time taking it all in, trying to understand it all. Better to slow down take only what you need to live now. When on the beach in San Pedro, just find a clear spot and enjoy the water to your heart’s content and leave the rest to wonder.

Books by Christopher Emmanuel can be purchased at his Art Gallery in The Sunbreeze Hotel, Art of Touch, Pages Book Store, Black orchid Spa and Sol Spa.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Child Stimulation Month continues

The ABC Pre-schoolers headed to The San Pedro Fitness Club for a fun filled morning of games and fun.
Students started off with a rousing rendition of the Belizean National Anthem:

Following Our Lord's Prayer, students then sang the official ABC Pre-school song:

Then students joined in some great games, including a lime and spoon race:

To cool off, some students jumped in the pool as well.

This is just one of the many activities ABC has undertaken for Child Stimulation Month.

Friday, March 25, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Celebrated

Over one hundred St. Patrick celebrants gathered at Pedro’s Inn on Thursday night to celebrate the little green man. With $30 bottomless beer cups and free green fairies, prizes for outfits the musical talents of Barefoot Skinny, Gino, Doug, Drummer Dan, Derrick, Rick and Valentino kept the crowd well entertained.
The rather Large "little green man" was on hand for photo op as well!

Bomba Village gets Solar Powered LED lighting

With help from the Austin, TX-based U.S. organization Grid Earth, also known as GEAR, Bomba villagers are now one huge step forward in the technological world. With the solar powered LED lighting, homes can now eliminate the use of harmful kerosene. The village's economic growth is aided by the sale of handcrafted wares on GEAR's website.

Institute of Mexico inaugurates Women’s Photo and Film Exhibition

Press Release - Belmopan - 24 March 2011 - As part of the celebrations of Women's Month in Belize, the Embassy of Mexico inaugurated yesterday an exhibition of photography and film at the Institute of Mexico in Belize, with the support of Quintana Roo Women's Institute. The main objective of the exhibition is to raise public awareness on gender violence issues and share information on public programs that contribute to women’s empowerment.
The opening ceremony was headed by Ms. Icilda Humes, Director of the Women’s Department of the Government of Belize, Ms. Karla Patricia Rivero-Gonzalez, Director of Gender Perspective of the Quintana Roo Women's Institute (IQM), and Mr. Hector Peralta, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Mexico. Ms. Humes acknowledged the tremendous support received from Mexico and especially from Quintana Roo for assistance and cooperation projects on Women’s issues. She also expressed the Belizean government’s commitment to continue the coordination and exchange with the IQM.
Ms. Karla Rivero, on behalf of the director of IQM, Ms. Cecilia Loria-Maria, emphasized the excellent cooperation with Belize as well as Quintana Roo's interest to continue contributing to the development and empowerment of Belizean women. She stressed that women are characterized by diversity and called for increased efforts to combat gender violence. Mr. Peralta, meanwhile, delivered the welcome address and called for continuing the joint work between the two countries, in particular on women's issues.
The photographic exhibition includes 30 posters designed by women, using their artistic skills, and creativity. Through these posters, women denounce the excruciating reality of gender violence in different cultures and countries.
During the exhibition the short film “En el tiempo de las mariposas” (In the time of the butterflies) was presented. It tells the story of a group of sisters that fought for the release of their husbands during the Dictator Leonidas Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic.
The event was also attended by artisans from Mexico's Mayan communities, who presented various embroidery techniques and results of development projects implemented in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wisconsin man charged with sexual exploitation of minor in Belize

- Press Release – - Washington - March 22, 2011 - Today a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin returned a one-count indictment against U.S. citizen Roland J. Flath for traveling in foreign commerce and engaging in and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor less than 18 years of age, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell.

According to court documents, Flath, 71, of Wisconsin, allegedly traveled to Belize in July 2006 and subsequently sexually molested a minor girl from Belize. Flath was originally charged by a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in October 2010. He was arrested by the Guatemalan National Civil Police on Feb. 20, 2011, expelled to the United States and arrested in the United States by ICE agents and the U.S. Marshal Service.

Photo Courtesy of:

Flath faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Charges against Flath for aggravated assault of a minor are also pending in Belize.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Penelope Coblentz of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of CEOS. This case is a result of investigative efforts led by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Milwaukee and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Regional Security Office in Belize, with the assistance of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Regional Security Office in Guatemala, ICE HSI’s Attache Office in Guatemala, the U.S. Marshal Service and the Belize Police Department.

An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Flath is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Body found...

The body of a 66 year old American national was discovered this morning. According to Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, cause of death is "natural causes"...we will keep you updated as more details become available.

2011 Eco-Challenge dates announced

Preparations for the seventh annual Reef-Lagoon Eco-Challenge are well underway and set for Friday, May 14th and Saturday, May 15th, 2011. This highly anticipated race comes at the end of Reef Week each year, with the objective to bring awareness of how important it is to protect and conserve our very fragile eco system.
According to organizer Mr. Elliot Arceo, minor changes have been made to the rules of the race this year. In previous years, there were no guidelines regulating the type of paddles used. This had encouraged users to use state of the art paddles, which have affected the outcome of the race in the past. In an effort to level the playing field, Mr. Arceo informed The San Pedro Sun that all paddlers will be required to use the same type of paddles. The only acceptable paddles in the race are the paddles sold along with the kayaks.
The deadline for registrations is set for May 12. The price remains the same at Bze$200.00 per team. As this is an amateur race, it is once again opened to non-professional competitors cross country. Competitors will be competing for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, and the many fun prizes awarded.
Once again the race is scheduled to commence from the Old Football Field bright and early Saturday morning; head north to Bacalar Chico via a pre designated course, leading them through various lagoons that surround the island. The second day, the paddlers return to town where the race ends at Central Park.
There are plans for activities at the Central Park throughout the day on Sunday; however details of these activities will be announced as they come available. The organizers take this opportunity to encourage participants to start practicing – practice is crucial, as well as to encourage the teams from San Pedro and the rest of the country, both boys and girls to sign up and become part of this exciting race. The entire town is asked to come out and support all the paddlers and be a part of the Reef Week activities as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freak accident leaves one injured

Residents of the Boca del Rio area flocked to the streets a little before 7:00pm tonight as a loud sound penetrated the airwaves. A white taxi van had crashed into a lamp post a half block south of La Popular Bakery. In no time, the scene was covered with residents.
The San Pedro Sun was on the scene. It appeared that the only person in the white taxi van was the Driver; known to many as "Tico". According the onlookers, it took much effort by about five men to extract him from the taxi, He was later taken for medical attention. He appeared to be in good health. However, the exact state he is in is unknown.

Resident of the area, Sandra, informed The Sun, "I was there taking care of my kids, and all of a sudden I saw this man coming fast. And when I went to look, he crashed into the post. When he crashed into the post, the car just went that way. Like there, where it is right now. I was scared. My kids are always playing out there in the yard. If that post wasn't there, I don't know what woulda me happen."

The front end of the vehicle sustained much damage. The San Pedro Sun will continue to follow this story and update you as more information becomes available.

Southern Road Rehabilitation Project begins

Press Release – San Pedro Town Council – March 23rd, 2011 – The San Pedro Town Council is pleased to announce that approximately 200ft of road rehabilitation on the south of town has begun. This project is being sponsored by Sugar Caye Development and includes drainage. The area to be rehabilitated is the area immediately south of Victoria House.
This project will be done in two phases; the first part of the street will include the area eastern side of the road followed by the other half from mid-road to the drains. The project is estimated to take a month and a half to be completed. The general public is asked to exercise caution during the rehabilitation project and thanks the public in advance for their patience. The Council also extends a heartfelt thank you to Sugar Caye Development for this kind donation.

Supreme Court’s 2007 Decision re: PUC vs BEL overturned

Court of Appeal Overturns Supreme Court’s 2007 Decision Relating to PUC’s Authority to Order BEL to Enter into Contracts

Today, on the re-hearing of Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL) appeal against a decision by Justice Arana in 2007, the Court of Appeal accepted BEL’s arguments, overturned the Supreme Court’s decision and awarded cost to BEL.

In the 2007 decision, Justice Arana asserted the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) authority to order BEL to enter into contracts and to dictate the terms of those contracts. The appeal case was heard today by Justices of the Court of Appeal Sosa, Carey and Alleyne.


Anti Bullying Campaign presentation at (ACES) Ambergris Caye Elementary School

One definition of school bullying describes it as a type of bullying that occurs in connection with education, either inside or outside of school. Whether physical, verbal or emotional, school bullying is repetitive. It sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of or isolating one student in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid becoming the next victim. These bullies taunt and tease their target before physically bullying them. Targets of bullying in schools are often the pupils that are considered strange or different by their peers to begin with, making the situation harder for them to deal with.

At the invitation of Diane Lawrence of Quicksilver, Ms. Elizabeth Hamill, teaching assistant in the school district of Abbotsford, British Columbia, was at ACES facilitating an anti-bullying campaign workshop. Look for this week's paper or visit our website for more information.

Following the presentation, the children engaged in a fun filled activity of creating tie-dye T-Shirts.