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The San Pedro Sun
Costa Maya Festival presents Miss El Salvador
The Costa Maya Festival Committee has been working hard behind the scenes, lining up entertainment and all the semantics for a proper 2012 Festival. One of the most expected events is the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant, with anticipation high as to who will take the crown each year. The beauties are being introduced one by one, and this week, we present to you the first named contestant, Miss El Salvador.
Nathaly Jazmin Mena Arauz, is a stunning 19 year old beauty vying for the prestigious title. Nathaly stands at 5’ 7″, and is a statuesque 35-25-35 brunette with brown eyes and hair. While Nathaly’s first language is Spanish, she also holds her own with English. We wish the best of luck to Miss El Salvador in this year’s pageant. ¡Bienvenida Nathaly!
Sponsors are still welcomed for this year’s festival. Currently, Costa Maya counts Belize Tourism Board and Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. as the Grand Sponsor for the event. Diamond sponsors include the Bowen Group of Companies, Ramon’s Village Resort, Jose Luis Zapata Photography, Designing Solutions, Ambergris Today, The San Pedro Sun, The Reef Radio and Milo’s. Those looking to sponsor can contact Mr. Gach Guerrero at email@example.com.
Logging Season to be Closed
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the Forest Department are informing the General Public that the logging season will close on Friday, June 15th, 2012. Loggers are advised that the harvesting of trees beyond the 15th of June will not be permitted.
The closure of logging activities coincides with the arrival of the rainy season which is not conducive to logging operations. Apart from an increased risk of loss of human life, logging during the rainy season often results in damage to forest soils and to public access roads.
The Forest Department will assess all forest produce harvested before the 15th of June on a mutually agreed schedule with the loggers. There will be no consideration for extension of forest permits and licenses after the close of the season.
The logging season will re-open on the October 15th 2012. Applications for licenses for the next logging season should be submitted by July 31st, 2012, to the Chief Forest Officer, Forest Department, Belmopan.
2012/2013 “will be a difficult budget” says Belize’s PM Barrow
The Prime Minister of Belize Rt. Hon Dean Oliver Barrow addressed the nation in his first quarterly report during his second term of office on Wednesday June 13th. The event was held at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza to a packed audience which included members of his Cabinet, Chief Executive Officers and senior personnel in the different government departments. Following the address, PM Barrow entertained questions from the media.
In opening, PM Barrow detailed the current health condition of his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow who is battling cancer. He outlined that Simplis-Barrow will be seeing a heart specialist abroad who specializes in cardiovascular problems secondary to radiation and chemotherapy treatment after which she should return to Belize.
Moving into government business, PM Barrow explained that in the fiscal year 2012-2013 the government will operate on a difficult budget. “There is no doubt that this will be a difficult budget. Reason number one is what is happening with global oil prices. The significant drop is good news for consumers at the pump but our country’s export earnings are being hammered and government will experience a $30 million falloff in tax revenue as a result of these far lower oil prices and also because of declining BNE’s (Belize Natural Energy) production.” PM Barrow said that discussions are ongoing with BNE for the establishment of a local oil refinery. He also said that his government will look at the possibility of tapping into the Venezuelan PetroCaribe initiative through the local oil subsidiary Puma Energy International who supplies fuel to Belize. If successful the Government of Belize (GOB) will also seek to take advantage of the concessionary financing agreement that is accompanied with the PetroCaribe initiative.
Time to enjoy the crusty crustacean: Open Lobster Season kicks off festivities
The Belize lobster season 2012/2013 will open on June 15th and will end at midnight on the 14th of February, 2013. For the past few weeks traditional local fishermen on Ambergris have been gearing up, building new and repairing lobster traps and placing lobster sheds on the waterbeds in anticipation of the new season. Fishermen look forward to the opening of the long awaited lobster season since it generates income into the local economy from the start of the season to the very end. The first big demand for the spiny lobster is during the lobster festivals planned in various parts of the country including Caye Caulker Village, Placencia and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
San Pedro is the first to kick off the lobster festivals with a week-long calendar of activities. The event kicks off on Friday June 15th at El Divino (Banana Beach Resort) featuring the opening ceremonies. According to the San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee it is a great way to launch the festival on the same day the season opens and with great food. The Lobster Fest will run through Sunday, June 24th. Each day, the event will move to a different location, each with a singular menu depending on the venue.
Rebecca Stirm stirs up drama with ‘Wild Card’ Finale
Some Mission Catwalk viewers were in for a surprise on Tuesday’s episode of the Caribbean reality series when instead of seeing Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) presentations from the final trio, eliminated designer Rebecca Stirm, who also showed at CFW, was brought into the mix as the wild card and a contender for the winning title. Needless to say the top three, Crystal Powell, Gregory Williams and Ryan Chan were caught off guard by Rebecca’s return as well.
For her part, 19 year old Belmopan Belize native, who was already preparing a collection for CFW was thankful for the second chance.
“When the judges announced to me that I was being brought back as a wild card I teared up. It’s very humbling to know that I have a second shot at winning and going to London Fashion Week.”
San Pedro High School Seniors Shine at Prom 2012
The blue carpet rolled out and the crowds gathered to witness the glitz and glamour that is Prom Night in San Pedro. The graduating seniors of San Pedro High School held their Prom at Banana Beach Resort on Thursday, June 14, 2012, and partied the night away until the wee hours of the morning. Here's a look at the best dressed and those who took Prom Night by storm.
SP Foreman Attends Solid Waste Management Seminar
The San Pedro Town Council’s foreman Samuel Gonzalez travelled to San Salvador, El Salvador to attend a four-day training program on June 5, 2012. Gonzalez was part of a Belizean delegation who received training on solid waste management as part of the National Solid Waste Management Plan.
“One of the concepts that I believe we can adapt here on the Island is that of implementing an educational campaign,” stated Gonzalez to Ambergris Today. “We visited San Jose Departamento de Union where a huge educational campaign was carried out by the government officials in which they went house to house explaining to the people on how to properly dispose of their garbage. They even provided garbage bags and other material for the campaign after which they target schools and children for all to learn proper solid waste disposal.”
Misc Belizean Sources
The Unfounded Guatemala Claim Over Belize
by Joaquin Magaña Sr.
A very concise and effective piece on why Belize should say "no" to the ICJ...
In 1838 – 1839 the United Provinces of Central America broke up giving rise to the new countries of Central America. Guatemala Claimed that Belize was administered by Spain as part of the Captaincy of Guatemala and that they had inherited this sovereignty, as a result of the breakup of the federation. They say Belize was passed to Guatemala, since Belize had been considered part of Peten or Verapaz region of Guatemala. The fact is that there is by far more convincing historical evidence, however, to strongly suggest that Belize was considered by Spain as part of Yucatan (Mexico) NOT of Guatemala; but in any case, Spain never ever occupied Belize.
During the 18th century the Spanish attacked the settlement (Belize) many times, and in 1717, 1730, 1754, and 1779 forced the settlers to leave. However, the Spanish NEVER settled in Belize, and the British returned and expanded their settlement and trade. On September 10th, 1798 was the last time that the Spanish attacked. The British side won what became known as the Battle of St. George’s Caye. The Spanish retreated and NEVER again tried to control the settlement (Belize). The truth of the fact is that all attacks on the settlement came from the Captaincy of Yucatan (Mexico) NOT from Guatemala.
More than a picture
This list of old Belizean characters was originally generated with input from many folks and has been added to over the years. This list is not intended to make fun of anyone, but simply to bring back memories of some of the notorious characters of Old Belize.
Commentary: Belize, land of the free... for all?
The government of Belize, with the support of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, has acceded to the recommendation of the Organisation of American States (OAS), to proceed with a simultaneous referenda involving whether to take the matter of Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belizean territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The date is set for 6th October 2013 and, given the significance of the matter, it is high time that Belizeans wake up and, as we say in our local parlance, “Sleep wid yo own eye”. Translated, it means, check the facts for yourself and make your decisions based on your own view.
There are some very influential Belizean politicians, diplomats, legal scholars, representatives and political party fanatics of the current, past and aspiring variety, who are touting the “benefits” of Belize taking the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). To this I say hogwash.
Let me begin by stating unequivocally that, if you are a Belizean whether by birth or naturalisation or even a friend of Belize, then ask yourself, “What is the significance of 21st September 1981?” For those of us who hold our Belizean identity as true and being in-line with the elements which go hand in hand with our nation’s independence, there should be no question whatsoever as to the significance of the aforementioned date. In short, it is the day which is recognised, internationally, by virtually all nations and according to international and regional bodies (e.g. United Nations, CARICOM, SICA, ACS and, ironically, even the OAS, as Belize’s Independence Day.
But let us not stop there. Under the UN Charter, Belize is accepted as a full-member, with its territory intact. Now, what does that mean? As I interpret it, Belize is acknowledged as an independent, sovereign territory, WITH ITS BORDERS INTACT. Please note I did not give mention of any sort of “Adjacency Zone”, as the OAS would like Belizeans to believe. No, we have a western border with our neighbour to the west and it is recognised by all who matter.
A history of Belize external debt
Belize Magnificent Tours #1 on Tripadvisor
Belize Magnificient Tours, known in Cayo as BZM Tours, has taken the number 1 spot for tour operators on Tripadvisor.com! 31 perfect reviews and one very good review. Quite a success story. Way to go, Albert.
The Belize Botanic Gardens Promo Video
The Belize Botanic Gardens at DuPlooy's Jungle Lodge has a short video that shows some of their amazing plants. One of Cayo's magical spots is highlighted in the video. There is a little narration that doesn't get in the way of the beauty shown.
"A short tour of the Belize Botanic Gardens located at duPlooy's Jungle Lodge, Belize's Premiere Nature Lodge."
PACT at Sweet 16
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust is celebrating its sweet 16! They are asking questions on their FB page through June 21st, and you could win some nice prizes if you answer the questions correctly. Congratulations to PACT, and good luck to everyone!
In this video I do a remake of Fry Jacks or Fry Cakes to include more instructions and keeping everything uniformed with our theme. Fry Jacks are a simple fried bread that can be the difference between going to be hungry of being satisfied during times of recession or famine. I can be eaten with jams and jellies, peanut butter, confectioner/powdered sugar or meats and cheeses or alone. This is a very versatile meal.
Belize Mega Bingo Results For (13 June, 2012)
Mini X 50.00 Each (6 Balls)
24 2 26 46 10 59
Straight Line 100.00 Each (13 Balls)
24 2 26 46 10 59 9 17 1 56 21 48 29
Lucky Two 5.00 Each (14 Balls)
24 2 26 46 10 59 9 17 1 56 21 48 29 65
Check Mark 200.00 Each (14 Balls)
24 2 26 46 10 59 9 17 1 56 21 48 29 65
Lucky Three 25.00 Each (20 Balls)
24 2 26 46 10 59 9 17 1 56 21 48 29 65 47 15 7 30 57 31
Another Police Officer Accused Of Extortion
Tonight, the police department is keeping a tight lid on details in relation to an extortion attempt by 29 year-old Police Constable Norman Bol, currently attached to the Criminal Intelligence Unit.
The Police Press Office has not been forthcoming, but what 7News has confirmed is that on Sunday, Roberto Matus was detained by police pending investigation.
His wife, Marilyn Matus demanded that he be released from police custody, but she made no progress with that demand. That is until, according to Matus' allegation, PC Bol approached her and said that he could release Roberto Matus from custody, but she would have to pay him $400 dollars to do so.
Matus said that she paid Bol the money, and she then reported him for trying to extort her in her time of desperation. Police investigated the report and they eventually charged Bol with extortion, and he was arraigned in Magistrates Court today. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the court prosecutor had no objections to bail.
Have You Seen Claudia Zetina?
A 15 year old Girl from Cayo is missing tonight, presumably a runaway - and police need your help to find her. Claudia Zetina left her mother's home in San Ignacio two days ago. She said she was going to vaster her aunt in Santa Elena, but then sent her mom a message saying she was going to Teakettle.
Her mother Gloria Hernandez went to Belmopan police to helped her to make checks in Teakettle but the teenager was nowhere to be found. Police tell us that this is the third time for this year that she has run away.
Hey physical description is as follows: she is five feet tall and has the name Miguel tattooed on both legs and the initial "G.A." tattooed on her arm.
IF you know her whereabouts, you are asked to call the nearest police station of 0-800-922-TIPS.
Man Shot In Roaring Creek
A man was shot yesterday in Roaring Creek Village. Dane Felix Matute was riding a bicycle in the Another World Area where he crossed paths with Corwin Mendoza who allegedly shot him multiple times in both legs. Police are looking for Mendoza.
CWU And SSB Not Seeing Eye To Eye
Social Security payments are due on the 14th of the month - and panicked whispers went out late yesterday that there would be mighty long lines, because Social Security workers intended to stage a sick out.
Well, it didn't happen - but that didn't stop Social Security Management from deploying additional staff to all major branches just in case workers didn't show up.
But they did, and all went as normal - except that the gate at Belmopan Headquarters was open a little later than usual.
But, according to the Christian Workers Union things will inevitably come to a head if Management does not sign off on a long-in-the-making Collective Bargaining agreement.
The CWU represents the workers and today General Secretary James McFoy told us that Management responded to a threat today - but in the days to come, it might not have tome to respond:..
James McFoy - General Secretary, CWU
"They heard that they should have been finish then which should have been done but the union is a responsible union that is why it did not happen, but they will not know when it will happen."
Family of Stevens Brothers: There Was No Rape
Last night, 7News told you about 23 year-old Jermaine Stevens and his 29 year-old brother, Austin, who were arraigned for rape in Magistrates Court and remanded to prison.
As we reported, a Belize City woman reported to police that on March 20, 2012, at about 12:30 p.m., she went to the Stevens' Jane Usher Boulevard home to look for a friend.
According to the woman, while she was there, she went to use the bathroom, and when she came out, she was confronted by both brothers. Jermaine and Austin Stevens allegedly grabbed her, and placed her on a bed where Jermaine Stevens allegedly raped her while Austin Stevens watched.
Jermaine Stevens was charged with rape, while his brother Austin was charged with abetment to commit rape.
But today, we caught up with the mother of the Stevens brothers, and she told us that this woman has fabricated this entire story from start to finish.
Here's how she explained the situation:
Voice of: Sandra Pollard, Mother of Accused Brothers
"Since this thing happened going on now to 3 months, she was in there going for 2 months with my son and my niece because it was my niece who brought her in to live with her, because she say that they were chased from Faber's Road and she didn't have anywhere to stay."
"So she (niece) took her in with them and then she turned around and says that they rape her. Nobody didn't rape her, she was right here. Jermaine girlfriend was right here. Jermaine is not that type of man, neither of them are, they have enough women and don't need to have to rape anyone,"
Green Tropics Faces Penalties For Canal
Green Tropics, the Spanish Investment Group that got into hot water after it cut a massive canal through a wildlife sanctuary, is now being advised on how it can right its wrong.
The Company sent out a release earlier this week stating that it quote, "unreservedly apologizes to the people of Belize for the construction of the final drain section through the jaguar corridor to the Belize River."
Coming after the fact, it might not count for much, but that's a lot for a multinational company to say. The company says that it was acting on bad advice from its environmental consultants who told them that since an environmental impact assessment had already been submitted - but not approved - they could start work before the rainy season.
But that advice was very wrong - and the Department of the Environment today issued a release stressing that all no project should be embarked upon until and unless an environmental compliance plan is signed.
And for those who don't, the law carries a serious penalty, a fine of between fifty thousand and a hundred thousand dollars. And that's what Green Tropics is now facing.
Maliq Nunez Needs Your Help
3 year old Maliq Nunez was born with a rare condition called Tracheomalacia - a condition commonly known as a "floppy windpipe." It limits his ability to breathe, forcing him to respire through a tube in his throat. His mother has had a difficult time with it, as he requires constant attention in the event that the tube becomes clogged or is accidentally taken out. It is a serious concern, and she came to our studios today with a plea for support:..
Kandy Martin, Pleading Mother
"He was diagnosed with Tracheomalacia, floppy windpipe, so a couple of days after he was born they inserted a trake in him so that he could breathe good on his own. If the trake come out my child could die. The other day he took out the trake himself because he have like a belt strap around his neck and so he just took it off and he went to my mother and gave her the trake."
"Panicking, I didn't know what to do and so I call for an ambulance. Whenever the weather changes he is in and out of the hospital. It's not something that I can prevent. I just try to keep him warm and comfortable. When the weather changes the trake starts to act up - it gets cloggy, no matter what you do clean it gets clog."
Kim Barrow Still Not 100% After Heart Failure
Kim Barrow continues to recover from heart failure while battling stage three breast cancer. She is in Miami and could come home in a few weeks - but her husband, the Prime Minister says, after that she could be right off to another medical center in Houston. That's where she hopes to get specialized treatment for her heart - which was badly damaged by the breast cancer medication and chemotherapy.
The Prime Minister explains that a pair of Belizean doctors practicing in the US worked on the referral:..
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Doctor Bernard Bulwer in Boston and Doctor Dorita Arzu in Houston have arranged for us to see a cutting edge specialist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the Texas Medical Complex in Houston. That doctors' expertise is in treating heart failure arising secondary to radiation and chemotherapy damage and we should be able to see him as early as next week."
Kim Barrow's heart is presently functioning at 10 to 15% and Doctors say the damage to the heart is largely irreversible.
BCVI Offering Free Eye Clinics
A team of eye specialists from Great Falls Montana are in Belize conducting free eye clinics at the BCVI. Doctor David Boes - an Ophthalmologist who has been working alongside the Belize Council For The Visually Impaired for the past 4 years leads the team. They are performing free cataract surgeries at the BCVI - and we found out what they have been encountering.
Dr. David Boes - Ophthalmologist
"Unfortunately most patients that we have seen here have very dense cataracts which is a cloudiness of the lens of the eye. I think some of the ultraviolet and the sun really hardens some of these cataracts - makes it very dense causing really significant blurred vision or vision loss in some patients. It's kind of like many of them are in a cave - it's very dark and when we take the cataract out it lets a lot more light in and we replace the natural lens with an artificial lens to help them to see better."
"Three things in mind why I chose Belize are, there are many dense cataracts here because of the ultraviolet light and there is a good facility like BCVI in order to take the cataract out - they have a good microscope and they have a good surgical team here. I've done about 35,000 cataracts surgeries in the United States and so I wanted to use my experience here with patients with very dense cataracts to see better and finally at the end of the day I wanted a view of the ocean. (smiling)"
A Lesson In Self-Defense; Just In Case
The gruesome murder of 13 year old Jasmine Lowe has left many Belizeans feeling that they have to do something, but no one can say just what should be done.
Well, Renee Wentz hopes to equip teenagers and young adults with the skills to protect themselves with a free self-defense course in Cayo on Sunday. She stopped by our studios today to tell us more.
"I decided to come and do these trainings because Jasmine Lowe's murder of last week and the fact that the person who has murder has not been apprehended at this point. I want to give girls in Cayo some kind of feeling of safety and also to know if somebody approaches them what they can do."
"We start out with training; just basic street safety; how do you walk on the street?, How do you observe your surroundings? A lot of times if people are cognizant of what's going on around them and they can see things happening, they can avoid actually getting into a situation, so my primary teaching is avoiding those situations."
"It's actually not to fight; it's just to defend yourself in order to get away. It's not to stay there and have a long - half and hour fight, but it's to do something in order to get out of the situation and get to safety."
There will be two courses on Sunday: the morning session is from 8:30 to 12:00 at the Georgeville Community Center, and the other session is from 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon at Meluchi's Restaurant. If you have any questions you can contact Renee Wentz at 630-5571.
Winner Of Modest Lotto Jackpot Still Happy
Pauline Conorquie is the latest winner of the Lotto Jackpot. She won a modest $62,500 lottery but she isn't complaining. She has been buying Lotto religiously - ever since it started, and every time she buys only one quick pick. Well, it has finally paid off, and Conorquie still can't believe that she will be walking away with $53,125. She told us today what the experience has been like.
Pauline Conorquie, Wnner
"This morning I went to work and then I ask my supervisor to check the numbers for me, she came back and she showed me the paper and she said 'you won!.' I said that I didn't win because the letter is different. She said 'yes you won.' I can't believe that, she said 'let's go to the Lotto office and check it out then.' When I came here they told me that I won."
"I feel kind of nervous, I couldn't believe it, I still don't believe it until I see the cheque I guess. I have some bills to take care of, so that will help me to that."
The winning numbers were 08,12,24,29,32.
The Ms. Plus Size Pageant
Hand in Hand Ministries is having a fundraiser this weekend, but it's not the usual pageant. Ms. Plus Belize showcases the talents and skills of 5 plus sized contestants as they dance, sing and act under the theme: Elegance, eloquence and excellence. It is an interesting concept, and we stopped by the rehearsal today where we found out how the idea came about and what the audience can expect.
"Who came up with the idea of a Plus Size pageant?"
Magnolia Vargas, Hand in Hand Ministries
"Actually its Ms. Lauren, she came up with that Plus Size idea. Everybody bought into it and it sounded like a lot of fun and actually now that we are almost at the day of the pageant it all looks great and it's going to be a very good event."
"Plus size women out there are sometimes pressured by society and we need to show them that being or having a plus size doesn't have anything to do with being beautiful and being elegant and also being eloquent. That's out theme for our pageant."
Anna Nicholson, Pageant Contestant
"It's an experience of being exposed to like my sexiness, my all kinds of stuff you know. It's like an experience to show people who I am and not body size. Ladies, it's not the size of a woman that justify who they are, it's what you have in you. Get to know a person before you judge them."
The Profile Of A Hard-Working Valedictorian
Asher Canto is the valedictorian at Edward P Yorke High School. He is what you might call a late bloomer - but that didn't stop him from excelling in High School.
In tonight's I Am Belize Profile, he tells us how he achieved excellence:..
Bondholders don’t want to lose in restructured Superbond
Should the government prepare for a head on collision with holders of the Superbond? On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow updated the nation on the national budget to be presented on June twenty-ninth in the House and on the progress of negotiations to restructure the Superbond. He told the media in his first press conference [...]
Mahogany heights and students get DFC write-off
Despite the grim economic outlook and a huge budget deficit, at Wednesday’s press conference, the P.M. said that he intends to strike off loans for the property on the Western Highway known as Mahogany Heights, as well as some housing and student loans held with the Development Finance Corporation. The P.M. explained who would qualify [...]
B.N.T.U. says G.O.B. owes members millions
While loan holders with the DFC will be happy with the write-off, the unions are uneasy about the cutbacks anticipated in the national budget. News Five spoke today with the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.) General Secretary, George Frazer, who says that the union has been in discussion with government for the past three and [...]
B.N.T.U. also fed up about crime
There is another worry for the B.N.T.U., which is over crime; a huge challenge for the government. Describing Belize as a country in crisis, the B.N.T.U. says teachers and students have been victims of violent crimes, including the murders of Jasmine Lowe, Daniel Matura and teacher, Marco Thompson. George Frazer, General Secretary, B.N.T.U. “Like [...]
Another cop charged with extortion
Charges brought against another Belize City cop are tainting the police department even further. Twenty nine year old Police Constable, Norman Bol, who is attached to the C.I.U. was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on a single charge of extortion, to which he pleaded not guilty. The charge is in connection with an allegation made [...]
2 men charged following a domestic dispute
Two men were charged today following a domestic dispute on Tuesday. First, twenty-eight year old Deshawn Dawson was charged with Aggravated Assault upon his common-law-wife Vanessa Westby for allegedly pulling a gun at her. He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail. Dawson was also told that on June twentieth, he must appear before the [...]
15 year old San Ignacio girl missing
A fifteen year old girl is reported missing in San Ignacio Town. Gloria Hernandez reported to police that her fifteen year old Claudia Zetina and her cousin, Alba Jemenez, left home en route to Santa Elena on Tuesday evening but her daughter never returned. Jemenez reported Hernandez that Claudia said she was going to Teakettle [...]
8th Amendment had it wrong?
A court ruling was delivered on Monday, which had to do with the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and the Eighth Amendment, which generated a huge public outcry last year. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his government believed that once they had a supermajority in the House, they could pass any amendment to any law, [...]
Oceana Belize nominated for prestigious award
Belize became the first country in the world to completely ban bottom trawling, when a statutory instrument was signed into law in December 2010. It was a major step that has earned Belize a nomination for a Future Policy Award. Thirty-one policies from twenty-two countries are on the list of nominees for the prestigious award [...]
Pauline Conorquie wins the Lotto!
There’s a new Lotto winner and she didn’t have to go far to collect her cheque. Forty-five year old Belize City resident, Pauline Conorquie, is a Brodies employee, who found out this morning that the ticket she bought for Wednesday night’s draw, won her the sixty-two thousand, five hundred dollar jackpot. When we met Conorquie [...]
Re-registration will not occur due to Spartan budget
Re-registration of voters is an issue that surfaces in election seasons. Earlier this week, the Peoples United Party held a press conference in which they felt it is time for a re-registration exercise because some constituencies have grown significantly. The Prime Minister acknowledged on Wednesday that certain constituencies have over seven thousand electors but by [...]
Musings of local oil refinery and Venezuela fuel
ExxonMobil, the parent company of Esso Standard Oil, S.A., sold the Central American assets in Belize along with refineries in Nicaragua and El Salvador to Puma Energy Limited in 2011. The future of Puma’s operation in Belize may depend on discussions that the government is having with the government of Venezuela to procure cheaper fuel. [...]
Bananas, citrus and sugar; safe economic bet
Despite the economic downturn, the Prime Minister says that the bananas and citrus industries are both doing well, but the crown jewels in the industry would be the sale of the Belize Sugar Industries Factory to American Sugar Refineries. B.S.I. was struggling to keep operational and a successful crop season translates into additional bonus payments [...]
Literacy Without Borders terrific work in Belize
Literacy Without Borders is a Canadian Based NGO that has been working in Belize for the last year. Twenty participants received training in methods used to facilitate literacy in a number of settings that can turn out to be easy and fun. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at the last day of workshop to [...]
Canadian British High Commissioner donates utility vests to the B.D.F.
Also from Canada, the High Commissioner to Belize, Hugues R. Rousseau has announced a donation of two thousand surplus utility vests to the B.D.F. The donation is a part of Canada’s Americas’ Strategy and its commitment to support Central American countries in addressing security concerns. According to Rousseau, the B.D.F. requested assistance from the Canadian [...]
Healthy Living gives true blood for Donor Day
It’s World Blood Donor Day and all over the globe, an appeal is being made, urging healthy persons to give blood. In the following segment of Healthy Living, we have the story of a Sickle Cell patient whose survival depends on blood transfusions. It is a stark reminder that giving blood can save a life. [...]
Literacy without borders is a Canadian based non-governmental organization that does literacy development around the world. Their first country of operation is here in Belize and in partnership with the Government of Belize, they have been hosting a three day workshop in Belize C...
PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION IN CAYO
Residents of Santa Elena town have organized what is being described as a peaceful demonstration for Friday afternoon in the twin towns. The Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee is organizing the event to demonstrate against crime, not only in San Ignacio and San...
SPECIAL PATROL UNIT DISCOVERS FIREARM IN ROARING CREEK VILLAGE
On Wednesday June 13 at approximately 11 a.m. members of the special patrol unit was in mobile patrol in the Another World area of Roaring Creek Village and acting upon information they visited an empty lot where a search of the lot resulted in the discovery of one nine millimeter Bere...
MAN SHOT IN ROARING CREEK VILLAGE
On Wednesday June 13 sometime around 6:15 p.m acting upon information received Police visited Progress Avenue in Roaring Creek Village where Dane Felix Matute 30 year old Belizean labourer of Another World area was seen with bleeding from gunshot wounds to his leg. Initial invest...
NEW SOCIAL WORK SOFTWARE
A Belizean living and working in the United States has published a new software to help persons interested in social work. Dr. Carolyn Gentle-Genitty who is an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Social Work says anyone with the access to the internet can access d...
DFC LOANS WRITE OFF
People who have outstanding loans with the Development Finance Corporation will soon get some relief in the form of a write off. The announcement was made yesterday by Prime Minister Dean Barrow during his quarterly press conference. In making the announcement, Prime Minist...
BELIZE NATURAL ENERGY CHARITABLE TRUST DONATES CLASSROOMS
We now join our San Ignacio based Correspondent Elaine Berry, for news on recent events in that area. ELAINE BERRY, Reporter “Today Bishop O.P. Martin RC School was blessed with three new classrooms that were donated by the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trus...
BELIZE CANE FARMERS ASSOCIATION HOLDS CELEBRATION
Belize Cane Farmers Association has planned a celebration for tomorrow in Orange Walk Town. Manuela Ayuso Cantun reports. MANUELA AYUSO CANTUN, Reporter “The 2011- 2012 sugar cane crop is over and to celebrate the success of this crop season the Belize Su...
STUDENT TOP PSE IN COROZAL DISTRICT
The Corozal Methodist School is celebrating an achievement: one of its students is the top scorer for Corozal in the 2012 Primary School Examinations. Carl Galvez earned a total score of three hundred and seventy seven and ranked twenty second overall among all the students who s...
Two injured in Vernon Street shootings
Two Belize City women were victims of separate shooting incidents last night. The first incident happened around ten twenty five last night, and sent twenty one year old Carrie Wade to the emergency room. According to police reports, Wade was socializing in front of number 9 Vernon Street when a lone gunman came from the direction of Mosul Street and fired several shots, hitting her in the right upper thigh and right leg. The second woman was shot about 90 minutes later, also on Vernon Street. She has been identified as eighteen year old Kenisha Humes. According to police reports, Humes was socializing in front of her residence at number 4542 Vernon Street, when three men on separate bicycles rode by and fired several shots, hitting her in the right knee. Police say Humes was treated at the KHMH and has since discharged herself from the medical facility. Police investigation of both shooting incidents continues.
Labourer sentenced to two years for aggravated assault
Fifty one year old Chester Smith, a labourer charged with aggravated assault of an incident nature on a six year old female child was sentenced to two years today by chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred between June and September 2011. The child, who testified on camera, said she was in the living room of her aunt’s house when Smith touched her on her genital area. The mother of the child testified that she left her daughter with her sister, and went to work and that her daughter subsequently told her what Smith did. The child’s aunt testified that she was the babysitter and that at the time of the incident, she was in her bedroom and she left the child in the living room. She said Smith, a friend of the family, was staying at the house at the time. Smith testified and denied that he committed the offense.
PUP representatives critique government performance
At its press conference on Tuesday, the People’s United Party, in its review of the government’s performance during its first one hundred days in office, shared its views on wide and varied issues. Corozal South East’s Area Representative, Florencio Marin, Jr., said that the recent transaction in the sugar industry with American Sugar Refining is one that needs close scrutiny.
Belize Rural Central’s Area Representative, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, dealt with education.
Meanwhile, Stann Creek West’s Area Representative, Rodwell Ferguson, said that the voters’ list remains bloated.
Orange Walk East Area Representative, Marco Tulio Mendez, said that as a medical doctor, he is frustrated with the health sector by what he calls an inefficient health scheme.
As for Toledo West Area Representative, Oscar Requena, he said that infrastructural development in his area has decelerated.
The PUP says that they will keep the government under close watch during their term of office and will be holding regular press conferences to update the public.
Mayor Bradley outlines plans to improve city infastructure
On Tuesday, Mayor Darrel Bradley outlined that under his Council’s plans for infrastructural development, several streets within the City will get a facelift. In addition to this, he said that the northern entrance to Belize City will see a whole new overhaul and it will entail a toll system.
As far as sanitation is concerned, the Mayor said that the Council is in the process of developing a sanitation plan and it will involve each family.
Traffic management, according to Bradley, is one of the areas within the Council’s 100-day plan on which they have made significant strides. And to make it effective, he says, there will be no more write-offs of traffic tickets, not even for him.
And finally, if you own a nightclub, then you will have known about the Council’s strict refusal to grant extensions to night clubs.
Mayor Bradley said that with the passage of time, his Council will strive to increase revenue collection and decrease expenditure. Where jobs at City Hall have become vacant, he says, the Council has tried to operate without rehiring new faces.
Prime Minister Barrow speaks to Belizeans
Ninety eight days after winning a second term in office, Prime Minister Dean Barrow today faced the nation during his quarterly press conference. The venue for the much anticipated event was the Biltmore Hotel. And Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Myles Gillett had good seats for the days’ proceedings.
Businessman shot and killed in Orange Walk
A shooting incident last night has claimed the life of an Orange Walk businessman. With a report, here is our Orange Walk Bureau Chief Manuela Ayuso Cantun.
Women take pride in Unity Outreach graduation
The Unity Outreach Ecumenical Ministry at number forty-four Gibnut street in Belize, earlier this week mounted an exhibition of Works done by trainees of the program. The center has only been operationally for a little over six months and will be graduating its first intake on the twenty ninth of June. President of the Unity Outreach Ecumenical Ministry, Erna Jones, told Love News that seventeen to nineteen women will be walking away with certificates.
Jones says a substantial amount of people visited the exhibition. Love News spoke with some of the women who work to make the center function on a day to day basis.
Jones says that women who want to take part in the program can start signing up for the second intake.
Wild west showdown in Roaring Creek
Gunshot rang out in Roaring Creek just after 6pm yesterday evening; our news crew rushed to a volatile scene, on Pr...
Timeless celebration for golden age fathers
HELPAGE Belmopan is the organization that takes on the responsibility of providing and creating workshops, programs...
New seat established at the Office of the Prime Minister
In case you missed it, at the press conference yesterday Prime Minister Barrow made an announcement that Ambassador...
Principals of Cayo primary schools meet
There are approximately fifty-seven primary schools in the Cayo District and each year the Cayo Association of Prin...
Another San Ignacio teen goes missing
Gloria Hernandez of San Ignacio Town reported that on June 12 her daughter 15 year old Claudia ZETINA, and her cous...
GOB and OCEANA's unprecedented move
The following is a press release by OCEANA in Belize: “The world has taken notice of the historic decision of the G...
Former security guard convicted for molesting child
51 year old Chester Smith, a former security guard, has been sentenced to two years in prison. He was found guilty ...
BNTU offers recommendation to Min. of National Security
The Council of Management of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has put out a release expressing its deep an...
Santa Elena residents organize demonstration
Residents of Santa Elena town have organized what is being described as a peaceful demonstration for Friday afterno...
Police search for escaped fugitive
A young Guatemalan man, 19 year old Wilbert Alfredo Vasquez, was caught by residents of Georgeville after he tried ...
Logging season ends tomorrow
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the Forest Department has issued a release info...
What Next for BTL?
“From the commencement of the Belize Constitution (Eight Amendment) Act, 2011, the Government shall have and maintain, at all times majority ownership and control of a public utility provider.” This one portion of a sentence in section 144 of the 8th amendment to the Constitution, and the preceding section 143 which simply defined public utilities, public utility provider, government and government shareholding are the only two parts of the eighth amendment that Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall found were lawful. The entire remainder of the 8th amendment was severed and declared null and void.
When interpreting legislation, a Judge can sever the good from the bad, and if the good is able to stand on its own, the law is declared good to the extent that it is in conformity with, in this instance the Constitution. Bear in mind that the Supreme Law Clause of the Constitution specifically says this at Clause 2, “This Constitution is the Supreme Law of Belize and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
Justice Legall’s basis for holding portions of the 8th amendment null and void, is that those portions, “...are contrary to the separation of powers and the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution.”
Belize City Council: More Work Than Ever
On Tuesday June 12th,Mayor Darrell Bradley presented the Belize City Council's achievements over the past 100 days. While the presentation came three days shy of the 100 day mark, it was nonetheless impressive.
Bradley began by explaining that immediately upon taking office the council came up with a 100-day plan of action, which would focus on improved governance, infrastructure and quality of life. By any measure, the council has been able to deliver on the three areas. The mayor said that the goal was to transform Belize City into a place where the residents were proud to live in and could boast about. He explained that what he was looking for was to implement what he called marks of quality - to establish things that could be clearly identified as marks of excellence.
Among these marks was his goal to build streets that would last, have a clean city and men and women in the council that can boast of integrity.
In the first 100 days he's well underway to delivering. In the area of governance, the council went through a transformation with the hiring of a new Director of Finance in the person of Marilyn Ordonez, and a new Chief Internal Auditor, Marilyn Garvin. Additionally, the services of external auditing firm Castillo, Sanchez & Burrell were contracted to do a full and continuous audit for the next three years of the council. An audit committee was also established with representation from both within the council as well as external representatives. Bradley said that parallel to instituting a sound financial team, the council has undertaken to hire people with the best qualifications and so far a new city engineer was also hired. That person is Camila Cardona. Added to the hiring of qualified individuals, the council has also sought to put in place mechanisms for better transparency. Included in this is the posting of the property tax roll on the council's webpage for the perusal by anybody who may be interested. Also, there have been systems put in place to continuously train the staff at CITCO.
June 29th Budget: No Tax Increase!
Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, held his first quarterly press conference since being reelected to serve in the highest office of Belize. Issues such as the upcoming budget presentation, overall status of the economy and crime fighting strategies are of outmost importance; however, the nation has been following the health of the Prime Minister’s wife closely and before he got into the issues of national importance, Prime Minister Barrow spoke to the nation simply as a husband and father.
PM Barrow thanked the people of Belize for their intercessory prayers during a very difficult time for his family. He said that his wife has been released from the hospital and is being cared for by in-house doctors. When she arrives in Belize, she will continue to be monitored closely by doctors as she recuperates from heart failure and continues her battle with breast cancer.
After providing that update on his wife’s condition to the country, PM Barrow summed up his thoughts on the status of the economy in one sentence. He said, “All things being considered, we are doing remarkably well.” The tourism sector continues to prosper. The Minister of Tourism, Hon. Manuel Herredia Jr., is expecting as much as a ten percent growth in tourism this year. Another bedrock of the economy is the agricultural sector. Belize just closed the books on an extremely fruitful sugar crop season. According to PM Barrow, there was a fifteen-percent increase in earnings this season. The sugar industry will also be boosted by a new strategic investor, American Sugar Refining, who plans to significantly increase production. The banana industry had improved yields and the citrus industry had an equally impressive stretch. Aquaculture is on the rebound, largely due to the fact that the Bowen shrimp farmers have found a new investment partner. There is also an investor interested in purchasing Caye Chapel and transforming it into a Four Seasons resort.
As I mentioned last week, and further detailed in BSI’s official press release, the investment by American Sugar Refinery is principally comprised of a direct capital injection of between USD $60 to $62 million in the Sugar Company, which should retire all of BSI’s debts, including the BZ $10 million owed to the Government of Belize. There will also be an additional investment of BZ $60 million aimed at increasing cane supply and milling capacity. It will furthermore make available for distribution to shareholders some BZ $6.4 million in unpaid dividends since 2006, of which BZ $5.2 million will go directly to BEH beneficiaries.
I also shared with you that at an extraordinary general meeting held May 29 at the Tower Hill Factory, 99.3% of beneficiaries voted to increase the share capital of the Company and to offer these additional shares to ASR. It is expected that an agreement will be closed within a month’s time, which will trigger payment of the first tranche of 50% of the outstanding dividends to BSI’s shareholders, with the remaining two portions payable within 9 months of each other.
In the field sector, several programs will be set in motion to increase cane yield per acre in the first instance, and later on to increase planting and cultivation of new cane. This will immediately profit farmers and millers alike with the subsequent increase in sugar production.
Recall I said in my earlier article that the loans which BSI has with ING and FCIB were called in 2010, and BSI was given until March 31, (which was later extended to September 30, 2012) to set in place alternative financing arrangements. This deadline expires in a little over three months from today, this fourteenth day of June, 2012. If the Company doesn’t meet the banks’ request for payment, the sugar industry will certainly fail; this is our stark reality.
Citco floats a $20 Million Bond>
The Belize City Council is in the process of floating a municipal bond to finance infrastructure projects in the city including the paving of streets. At his presentation of the council's 100-day accomplishments, Mayor Darrell Bradley announced that the council is in the process of floating a 20-million-dollar bond that will be used to finance infrastructural development in the city.
New Water System and School for San Pedro Columbia Village>
A joint ceremony to mark the official inauguration of two important projects in San Pedro Columbia Village, Toledo District was held on Friday, June 8. Hon. Santiago Castillo, Minister of State with responsibility for Economic Development, officially inaugurated a new pre-school and rudimentary water system for the village of San Pedro Columbia.
Excellent Sugar Crop>
The 2012 Sugar Cane crop came to a close at 9 pm on Thursday June 7. Managing Director of BSI, Jose Montalvo, shared highlights of the crop with employees at the seventeenth AGM of BSI Employee Holdings Limited (BEH) held on Tuesday, June 12 on the Factory compound. He stated that 1,070,128.21 tons of cane was harvested producing 114,536 tons sugar. Montalvo went on to explain that this crop was an excellent one which has put back BSI on the track it once was on, with an average yearly production of 112,000 tons sugar, against the past five crops where the average was only 90,000 tons.
Crack Down on Public Drinking and other Quality of Life Crimes>
The Police Department has issued a release in which it states that with immediate effect, it will be embarking on the enforcement against Quality of Life Crimes. It is specifically targeting misdemeanor crimes including: public drinking, loitering, littering and other crimes of that nature. Also targeted will be bicycle regulations, which include bicyclists riding contrary to the flow of traffic; riding bicycles without lights and reflectors at night; double riding, riding with children, who are not properly seated; and having bells and proper brakes on bikes.
Matron Roberts Polyclinic II “promotes “Health Across the Lifecycle”>
The Matron Roberts Polyclinic II, in collaboration with the Health Education and Community Participation Bureau (HECOPAB) and the Central Health Region, isorganizing a Health Fair and Community Walk at the Matron Roberts Polyclinic II on June 15, 2012.