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

The San Pedro Sun

Miss San Pedro contestants sashed during special ceremony
The San Pedro Events Committee of the San Pedro Town Council held a special ceremony to officially sash the four contestants of the Miss San Pedro pageant. In attendance at El Divino on the night of August 6th were contestants Naiely Odalis Puc, Darcie Zepeda, Ashley Rhaburn and Adriana Haylock, along with their parents and sponsors. Speaking at the event, Carlos Barrientos, the councilor responsible for the pageant, said that the reason for the sashing ceremony was to bring the sponsors and parents together so as to “be more involved, and feel a part of the pageant.” It is the first time that the contestants of Miss San Pedro Pageant are being sashed at a special ceremony, and Barrientos explained that it will be done annually. Naiely Odalis Puc was officially sashed as Miss Castillo’s Hardware Store, Darcie Zepeda as Miss Jaguar’s Temple Night Club, Ashley Rhaburn as Miss Victoria House and Adriana Haylock as Miss Captain Shark’s.

Belizean Folklore celebrated during SP Town Library Summer Camp
The San Pedro Town Library hosted its annual two weeks’ children’s summer camp at the library. The camp was held between the hours of 9am and 12pm, through the weeks July 16th – 20th and July 30th through August 3rd. The theme for this year’s summer camp was “Belizean Folklore Characters” and highlighted popular Belizean folklore characters such as the Tata Duende, Anansi, X’tabai and La Llorona. The first week of the camp was focused on reading, drawing, arts and crafts, and story telling based on the abovementioned characters. During the second week of the summer camp, the children were given the opportunity to showcase their talents in acting and drama. Throughout the second week, the children were taught how to produce a play, from the production phase to the actual debut. The enthusiastic students learned how to make props and create their costumes, plus makeup training with facial expressions, body language and stage positions. These tips certainly came in handy while presenting the play.

Reinas, Rock, Rhythm, Romance: Costa Maya Festival celebrates 20 years!
Three nights and one day; the International Costa Maya Festival 2012 was a full weekend of entertainment. After Thursday’s pageant saw the selection of Natalia Villanueva as Costa Maya’s beauty ambassador, the festival was in full swing on Friday and Saturday night. During the opening ceremonies on Friday, which included the traditional flag dance done by the Nu Generation Dancers, El Salvador’s Tourism Minister addressed the crowd after opening remarks by San Pedro Town mayor Daniel Guerrero. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture also spoke at the event, praising the festival organizers for continuing the hard work of putting on a successful weekend every year. Milo Paz, one of the festival directors spoke to the crowd as well, reminiscing on the 20 years of festivities, including the entertainment, sponsorship and attendance. After the formality of speeches, it was time for the party to get started! With elegant Maya costumes, the Ballet de Camara from Quintana Roo, Mexico began the night’s festivities with their elaborate and thrilling ballet performance. They were followed by the energetic and upbeat Grupo Crash from El Salvador. Depicting various styles of dance, the troupe went through quick costume changes throughout their performance, featuring classic, cultural and modern dances for all ages in attendance. To enthusiastic applause, they took their final bow and cleared the stage for pulse-pounding guitar riffs and drum beats from The Remaining. The rock band hails from Belize City, and came complete with violinist, adding a touch of pulsing rock to the evening’s activities.

Ambergris Today

Miss SP Delegates at Official Sashing Ceremony
We have chosen our Costa Maya Beauty Queen it is now time for us to choose our new beauty ambassador for La Isla Bonita, Miss San Pedro 2012. The four beautiful young ladies vying for the title of Miss San Pedro were officially announced on Wednesday, August 1, 2012. They are Naiely Puc, Darcie Zepeda, Ashley Rhaburn and Adriana Haylock. The girls were officially presented with their sponsor banner in a first ever sashing ceremony for the Miss San Pedro Pageant which took place on Monday, August 6, 2012, at El Divino Restaurant at Banana Beach Resort. Present at the event was Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrrero, Councilor Carlos Barrientos, parents and sponsors for the pageant.

Belize Given All Clear of Hurricane Ernesto
Ernesto is tropical storm again, after making landfall last night on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 11pm EDT just north of the Belize/Mexico border as a Category 1 hurricane with 85mph winds. Belize radar shows that Ernesto's eyewall has collapsed, but the storm has remained well-organized during its passage over the Yucatan Peninsula. As residents of San Pedro expected to wake up to much better weather conditions this morning, Wednesday, August 8, 2012, they were surprised to see a very gloomy day with what seems like more rain and gustier winds as compared to yesterday and last night. Even though TS Ernesto is well inland, the storm is well organized and still bringing heavy rainfall to Mexico and the northern part of Belize. NEMO has declared an “ALL CLEAR” for the entire country of Belize as of 9:30a.m. but advises people in the Northern part of the country that they will continue to experience gusty winds.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize tourism shows steady increase
Stayover tourist arrivals in Belize demonstrated a steady increase as the second quarter of 2012 came to an end. Belize’s tourism industry has seen record-breaking months during the first half of 2012. The first half of the year ended on a high note, with a 9% increase in overnight arrivals compared to last year. Tourist arrivals and airport arrivals are expected to continue their growth. Total Overnight Tourist Arrivals An overall increase of 9% in overnight tourist arrivals was recorded during the second quarter of 2012. A total of 5,791 more tourists stayed in the country overnight during the second quarter when compared to the second quarter of 2011. January started with an arrival number of 24,263 visitors to Belize. This represented a 2.9% increase over last year’s figure. February’s figure totaled 25,778 visitors, which represents a 8.1% increase over 2011’s figure. March recorded a history-making total of 32,240 visitors, the first time Belize's overnight tourist arrival numbers exceeded 32,000 visitors in any one month. The closest runner-up to this was in March 2007, when the country hosted 31,267 visitors.

Channel 7

Johnny Zabs: Don't Know Daniel Moreno, Haven't Spoken With Dion Zabaneh
The Kingpin Act - that's what the US Department of Treasure has invoked to prohibit US citizens form doing business with Johnny Zabaneh - because they say he works for El Chapo - the boss of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. Well, two minutes ago, through his attorney, Zabaneh sent out a release saying he's no kingpin! The release says, quote: Mr. Zabaneh and his companies categorically state that these wild and unsubstantiated accusations and any and all allegation of wrongdoing made…against him and his companies are false and highly defamatory." It adds that quote, "Mr. Zabaneh and his companies are not engaged in drug trafficking, are not operatives of and have neither had nor currently have any affiliation or association with Joaquin Guzman Loera, the Sinaloa cartel or any other narco-trafficker whatsoever." It also notes that, quote, "Mr. Zabaneh has never met nor heard of Daniel Moreno nor has he seen nor spoken with his nephew, Dion Zabaneh, for several years and does not know of his whereabouts."

NEMO Steers Clear Of Daniel Moreno
Daniel Moreno, he's the grocery store owner from Corozal who's been named by the US Treasury Department as a "close associate" of John Zabaneh and a member of his drug trafficking organization - who - the US alleges - are "key associates" of Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman Loera, and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel. We called Daniel Moreno's home in Corozal twice for comment yesterday, and both times his wife Monica told us that he was out and about helping NEMO with hurricane preparedness efforts. Well, this morning bright and early, NEMO Headquarter sin Belmopan fired off a press release saying that quote, "Daniel Moreno is neither a permanent employee nor a volunteer of NEMO and has not been doing any work for NEMO in any capacity." But, his grocery store D's Supermarket company is listed by NEMO as what's referred to as a "private goods provider" who may be contacted to sell supplies to NEMO Corozal District Emergency Committee in the event of a disaster.

Coyes Going To Jail for Money Laundering!
Last week, 7News told you about the dramatic ending to the Coye Family money laundering case in the court room of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Today, the mitigation hearing was held, and the end of that 6 hour procedure, 65 year-old Michael Coye, and his daughter, Melonie, were sentenced to prison time, while the Athlee Matute and Dietrick Kingston were sentenced to pay stiff fines. But both sides of the legal lines are sticking to their position, and no one is giving any ground. Here's what we found out at that hearing: Daniel Ortiz Reporting Passions were inflamed at the mitigation hearing today where the harsh glare of the public lens was an aggravation for supporters of the Coyes. You can see clearly where one of those supporters shoves a folder in front of the camera belonging to our Amandala colleague, and she slaps his hand away. Throughout the trial, the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit was convinced that her prosecuting team would win.

Alleged Serial Rapist Gets Years Behind Bars
Leroy Gomez, the man who was convicted a second time of rape and robbery will spend 15 years in jail. Viewers will remember that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions asked the court to consider giving him a life sentence. Justice Adolph Lucas gave them until today to provide legal grounds for him to make that decision. The adjournment of that mitigation hearing was held today - and Justice Lucas rejected the Crown Counsel Trienna Young's submissions that Gomez should get life. But he did sentence Gomez to spend 15 years for the rape conviction, and an additional 15 years for the robbery conviction. Both sentences are to run concurrently, meaning that he will only spend 15 years total, which takes effect as of July 31.

Ernesto Blew Over "Like Wah Lee Breeze"
Where is Hurricane Ernesto? That's what everyone was asking last night when - get this - the National Hurricane Center seems to have gotten a little confused about the storm. Their Hurricane Hunter was having technical difficulties and they were relying on Belize radar. Nothing wrong with that, but - according to a discussion post on their official website - they seem to have mixed up the coordinates of the storm; meaning, that when they said the storm was over Banco Chinchorro at 9 pm, it was really making landfall just north of Mahahual. If you're shaking your head - we were too at 9:00 pm - as we tried to reconcile the difference between the coordinate points on the radar and the geographic location that was being discussed by the Hurricane Center. But, no matter the discrepancy Monica Bodden was on the ground in Corozal throughout - and she has this report of what was largely an unremarkable night where they ended up watching the storm because there was none to chase:

20% Of Chetumal Lost Power Due To Ernesto
According to the Governor of Quintana Roo - the storm caused minimal damage in that state. In Mahahual, strong winds toppled lamp-posts and trees - and caused a few boats to get shaken up in harbour. There were also localized power cuts and heavy rains in Tulum and Chetumal. Chetumal also has downed trees and utility poles as well as a lot of trash blown about, according to TELEVISA. Blackouts were reported in 15 to 20% of the CITY, affecting about 19,000 people. Some persons had to be evacuated form low lying communities. The governor says that conditions are favorable for the communities to recover from the damage to communities and to restore normalcy immediately. Water has been restored, government offices and school will re-open and they are working on restoring the power supply in key affected municipalities. Power should be fully restored by tomorrow afternoon.

Introducing Superbond 2.0
Is the world ready for Superbond 2.0? Well it better be because the Government of Belize launched its best offer on the Central Bank Website today. It's called the "Indicative Restructuring Scenarios" and the three page document outlines three scenarios for holders of the Superbond. First, some background: We already told you that at the end of June, that same Central Bank Website had posted an "Economic Brief" basically making the case that with falling oil revenues and looming compensation, Government can't afford to continue servicing the Superbond. Well now, a month a and a half later - these scenarios outline what the Government says it can afford - and all three scenarios represent a loss to bondholders - but major savings for taxpayers. "Scenario A" is a 50 year bond at a flat 2% coupon rate with a 15 year grace period - the original Superbond was for 22 years at much higher, stepped-up coupon rates. "Scenario B" proposes a principal haircut of 45% - and is a 30 year bond with varying interest rates and no grace period. "Scenario C" - very much like B, proposes that 45% principal haircut, with a five year grace period at 3.5% interest on a 30 year bond. Now if the only haircuts you know about are the ones you get at a barbershop - well, join the club.

Government Fends Off 40 Mil Ashcroft Alliance Arbitral Award In Appeals Court
There were three major judgments coming out of the court of appeals today - all of them having to do with ongoing legal battles between the Ashcroft Alliance and the Government of Belize. The biggest one has to do with a 40 million dollar arbitration award forBritish Caribbean HOLDINGS and THE BELIZE BANK that the Supreme Court found in 2010 could be enforced in Belize. Government appealed - and won! The appeal was allowed in a split decision from the court - meaning two judges agreed, and one disagreed. Government's case succeeded by proving that a provision called the New York Convention which allows the enforcement of international arbitration - does not apply in Belize. And why is that? Well way back in the 70's when the government adopted it - it had no authority to do so because the British were then in charge of foreign affairs and defence.

Overnight Tourism Increases, Cruise Tourism Lags
Overnight tourism arrivals continue to show strong performance. The first half of the year ended with a 9% increase in Overnight arrivals compared to the same period last year. The second quarter of the year, meaning the months from April to June show an overall increase of 9% in overnight arrivals meaning that the were 5,791 more tourist heads in beds compared to the same period last year. May was most impressive with a 14.6% increase over last year. Also in May, there was a 20% increase in airport arrivals. June was not far behind with a 13.1% increase over last year's recorded figure. But while overnight tourism is up - the bad news is that Cruise Tourism numbers are down. For the second consecutive year, fewer cruise tourists visited in March, April, May and June. How many less? A whopping 60 thousand! The BTB says that the decline is because of fewer ship arrivals in summer - but that doesn't account for the sharp falloff. Overall, the cruise sector is down six percent so far for this year.

Man Says He Was Shot By Police For No Reason
Yesterday morning - law enforcement shot a man on northern Ambergris Caye. According to the San Pedro Sun, the Belize Special Assignment Group was on an operation to clear the area of a group of, quote, "about 10 armed individuals terrorizing North Ambergris Caye residents." That led them to a group of three men who were staying at a home 9 miles north of San Pedro. The Sun reports that one of the men charged at the law enforcement group with a machete. And, in response one of the members of the patrol fired at the individual - hitting him in the leg. Steven Bowen Jr. got that shot and today he told us why it was unjustified. Bowen says he and his friends had been in the area for a few days visiting with an old man, and fishing. They were about to leave when the patrol found them. He gives us his account of what happened next: Steven Bowen Jr. - Shot by Law Enforcement (Via Telephone) "We went to get our bags. This is an open area, one house on the beach, and no bushes or anything like that. Everybody can pass and see us. I was packing my bag, and I got an instinct to bend down and pick up a fallen cup. When I did that, a big amount of gunshots were fired at me. I saw the bag tearing up, sand flying from the ground, and I heard like 100 shots. All I could do was to fall on the ground lay down flat with my 2 arms up, and beg saying that I surrender. I told them I didn't have anything. I had on a cap, and one of them told me to take it off. When I reached to take off the cap - they already stopped shooting - when I took it off, I heard another gunshot, and I felt a pinch in side. the man shot me in my left leg."

Worker Chops Boss In Big Creek
Tonight, police continue to search for Jorge Humberto Hernandez in relation to a chopping incident in Independence. The victim, Aurelio Menjivar, told police that at around 9 a.m. on Monday, he invited Hernandez to his office at the Big Creek Port to settle a dispute that they had on Saturday. According to Menjivar - who is the chief mechanic - Hernandez got annoyed, pulled at machete, and chopped him twice on his right hand, 3 times on his left hand, once to the back of his head, and once more on his right cheek. Hernandez then jumped into the company's white Mitsubishi pick-up and drove off. Today at around 11 today, investigators visited the road off the Southern Higway, which leads the TEXMAR Shrimp Farm, where they found that stolen vehicle. Hernandez is still at large and reports say he has absconded to Guatemala where he is from originally.

Channel 5

Embedded in Corozal, Journalist reports on Hurricane Ernesto
An all clear was declared this morning for the entire country. Tonight Ernesto has weakened to a tropical storm and is moving across the Bay of Campeche, Mexico. Ernesto made landfall on Tuesday night at around ten o’clock. As it hit the Yucatan coast, the winds of eighty-five miles per hour and rain of the [...]

Coye Family sentenced to 3 years for money laundering
Sentencing in a major money laundering case involving Money Exchange International Ltd. was handed down today and it is bad news for sixty-five year old Michael Coye; his daughter, Melonie and their two employees, Athlee Matute and Deitrick Kingston. The Coyes and their employees were found guilty last Friday by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and [...]

John/Dion Zabaneh assets to be frozen in U.S.
Belizean John Zabaneh, his nephew Dion and Daniel Moreno from Corozal Town have been linked to the most powerful and dangerous drug cartel in Mexico. The United States announced on Tuesday that the Treasury Department was freezing the assets of the Zabaneh’s and Moreno and prohibiting American companies from conducting business with them. Zabaneh has [...]

Mayan King and John Zabaneh deny U.S. allegations
Mayan King Limited issued its own press release this evening saying that John Zabaneh and his companies, “categorically state that these wild and unsubstantiated accusations and any and all allegation of wrongdoing made therein against him and his companies are false and highly defamatory.” It reads like this: “John Zabaneh and his companies are not [...]

Is a countrywide shutdown necessary for a category 1 hurricane?
Tonight’s question is: Is a countrywide shutdown necessary for a category one hurricane? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to questions@channel5belize.com.

Superbond due on August 20th
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has released what it calls the Indicative Restructuring Scenarios on the five hundred and fifty-seven million U.S. dollar super bond. The document is available on the Central Bank’s website at www.centralbank.org.bz.  A negotiating team led by Mark Espat has been meeting with multilateral partners to fine-tune macro economic [...]

People spared, but agriculture suffers from Hurricane Ernesto
A little over twelve hours after Hurricane Ernesto made landfall near Mahahual in neighboring Mexico, the all clear was given. While there was no loss to life, there were damages to industry in the north. While Ernesto was gentler than Hurricane Dean, at the commercial free zone, the cash machines are not ringing, but the [...]

Parts of Quintana Roo, Mexico damaged by Hurricane Ernesto
In Mahahual, Ernesto dumped heavy rains and knocked downed power lines and trees, causing outages in some areas as it passed through the state of Quintana Roo. Quintana Roo Governor, Roberto Angulo Borge, this morning issued the all clear after the storm had passed. Initial assessments from the Mexican officials show that there were no [...]

Tourism to Belize on the rise; by 9%
While the economic impact of Ernesto is being measured, tourism figures are looking up. That’s because the overall growth shows a thirteen point eight percent increase in overall arrivals through the first half of 2012. In the Belize Tourism Board’s second quarter report, the figures show a whopping nine percent increase in overnight arrivals in [...]

Bert Vasquez, accused killer, adjourned due to inclement weather
On July nineteenth Bert Vasquez was arraigned on charges of common assault in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court. Vasquez, who appeared without the presence of his attorney Simeon Sampson, was granted disclosure on four of the thirteen charges of aggravated assault after which it was further adjourned to August eighth for disclosure of the remaining [...]

Chop now; ask questions later in Independence Village
Two men were injured following separate incidents in Independence Village on Monday. Police say that forty-seven year old Aurelio Menjivar invited Jorge Humberto Hernandez to his office at around eight-thirty on Monday morning, to settle a misunderstanding they had on Saturday. But Hernandez became enraged and pulled out a machete chopping Menjivar twice to the [...]

Medical student charged for manslaughter of classmate
A twenty-one year old medical student was killed in a traffic accident in Santa Clara, Corozal on Saturday and the driver now faces several charges. Jayandra Jahhar was one of three Indian nationals, who were travelling from Orange Walk to Corozal in an Isuzu rodeo, driven by nineteen year old Prandeep Kumar Saikai while Sagar [...]

The tooth about UNIBAM founder’s beating now a UN matter?
From our research, it appears to be the first such case on human rights; but the beating of Caleb Orozco, the president of UNIBAM, has been elevated to the United Nations. The UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection on freedom of expression and on the situation of human rights defenders have both written [...]

Celebrating life of Benjamin Nicholas in acrylic paints
The iconic Belizean artist, Benjamin Nicholas, passed away in Dangriga on April ninth. This past Monday, would have been his eighty-second birthday, and the Embassy of Mexico is honoring him with two exhibitions, showcasing his works in Dangriga and Belize City. Nicholas is described as a great proponent for the Garifuna, promoting the culture through [...]

CTV3

Blanco Died Of Strangulation While James Swan Died Of Exsanguination
A post mortem examination has revealed that Orange Walk Resident, 35 year old Ricardo Elmer Blanco, died due to “manual strangulation”. As was reported on August 6th, the nude body of the 35 year old was found around 9:00 Saturday morning lying face up in some bushes along a feeder road located a few miles out of Orange Town. All indications are that Blanco was strangled with his underwear. Family members believe the crime was committed by persons he knew. Blanco was last seen drinking in front of Diamond’s Store located in the Village of Trail Farm around 1:00 Friday morning. Reports are that he got into a fight with a group of men and was badly beaten. While police have detained several individuals, no one has been charged for the murder. Orange Walk Police continue their investigations.

12 Year Old Minor Remanded To Booth Camp
Twenty three year old Randy Chan and 37 year old Sergio Tun, are tonight enjoying the comforts of the Belize Central Prison while a 12 year old minor is at booth camp. The trio is accused of burglarizing the home of 45 year old Gabriel Martinez from the Village of Louisville, between 7:00pm on July 30th and 2:00pm on August 1st. Stolen from the residence were one 9mm pistol which police was able to recover and other assorted items such as cellular phones and iPods. On Friday August 4th, both Chan and Tun along with the minor appeared before the Corozal Magistrates Court. Chan and the 12 year old were charged for Burglary and handling stolen goods while Tun was charged for handling stolen goods only. All three plead not guilty to the charges levied against them. No bail was offered to them.

Corozal Police Seek Measures To Solve Recent Murders
Over the past months the District of Corozal has seen a spate of burglaries, 2 double murders and the recent murder of James Swan Jr., a Belize City resident who was gunned down on Sunday night while standing in front of Deng’s Store located in the heart of Orange Walk Town. It is suspected that the killing of 38 year old Robert Hernandez and 50 year old Kenrick Vaccaro is linked to underworld activities and in retaliation to their murders James Sawn Jr. lost his life. So far no arrests have been made for the five recent murders but Corozal Police believes they have formulated a plan that could soon land them an arrest.

Centaur Launches Karaoke Competition
On Sunday, the Gala Lounge here in Orange Walk Town, was filled with excitement, applauses and most importantly talent as the 10 participants for the “Buscando Un Estrella Infantil” Karaoke Competition took to the stage once more. As was expected, participants did not disappoint the audience much less the two judges, Javier Gutierrez and David Villanueva. Here is recap of what took place during the first round of the competition. On Sunday two of the participants will be eliminated meaning that, if you would like keep your favorite singer in the competition, then send your text message to 2588. To vote for Byron Munoz, send the number 1 to 2588, to vote for Estrella Diaz text the number 2 to 2588, to vote for Danny Pena text the number 3 to 2588, to vote for Shanika Bull text the number 4 to 2588, to vote for Mcbride Pop text the number 5 to 2588, to vote for Joselyn Eck text the number 6 to 2588, to vote for Samsung Pop text the number 7 to 2588, to vote for Ayana Rudon text the number 8 to 2588, to vote for Fernanda Ayuso text the number 9 to 2588 and to vote for Yadeli Novelo text the number 10 to 2588. All text messages are 50 cents inclusive of GST.

Hurricane Ernesto Dodges Belize But Causes Flooding In The North
It was the first Hurricane in the Atlantic Season to make landfall this year. With winds of over 85 miles per hour, Hurricane Ernesto slammed into the southern Yucatán coast, near Mahahual Mexico, late on Tuesday night as a category one hurricane. As it continued its path over land, Ernesto weakened and was downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of over 50 miles per hour. In Mexico, although no injuries were reported, Ernesto did cause thousands of tourists to evacuate from their lush hotel rooms near the coast, to safer grounds. As for Belize, it was spared once more; nevertheless, the north, especially the Corozal District, was hit by tropical storm winds and heavy rainfall. Corozal’s District Emergency Management Organization, DEMO, was prepared with their emergency disaster plan in case Ernesto changed trajectory and headed south. Luckily that didn’t happened and northern Belize only experienced a fragment of Ernesto’s strength. At 10:00 this morning, the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, declared an all clear for the entire country. In Corozal; however, Ernesto left behind several areas under water caused by its heavy rains. Here is how the scenario looked like in Corozal today after the passage of Hurricane Ernesto.

O/W Spared From The Wrath Of Ernesto
When we left you on Monday Tropical Storm Ernesto had its eye on the jewel. The storm threatened to impact Belize as a category one hurricane before it made landfall in the area of Northern Belize and Mexico on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. At one Monday afternoon, a phase two hurricane watch was put in place for the entire coast of the country. With the projected path, the brunt of Ernesto was expected to be felt in Corozal, Orange Walk and San Pedro. With that, the National Emergency Management Committee for both Northern Districts prepared for the worst and residents did not stay behind. Here is a look at how Orange Walkenos prepared for the storm. With Ernesto threatening to impact Belize as a category one hurricane packing winds anywhere between 75 to 85 miles per hour, Orange Walkenos prepared for the worst as the brunt of the storm was expected to unfold here in the north with Corozal experiencing most of the impact. Preparations began early Tuesday morning as houses were secured by proprietors. Banking establishments were under lockdown leaving only ATM’s available to withdraw cash.

NEMO O/W To Monitor River Levels
At 3:00pm came the good news, Hurricane Ernesto was moving away from Belize and heading further up north in Mexico. Residents living in the northern coast of Belize breathed a sigh of relief and the phase two hurricane watch was reduced to a tropical storm warning for the south by NEMO. Corozal and San Pedro; however, were still not out of harms way as residents were still expected to experience tropical storm force winds of about forty miles per hour or even higher. Rainfall of approximately three to five inches was expected. Here in Orange Walk residents began feeling the slight effects of Hurricane Ernesto around 2:00 in the morning. Luckily no major damages were recorded and only one of the shelters was occupied. “Everything went smooth, the shelters were open, we had a few people consisting of nine families twenty adults and twenty kids, after that this morning we went out the damage assessment team to raked the area and to do the initial assessments and so far nothing was reported damaged nor flooding, everything is fine at the villages, the rivers are normal, a few streets down by Honey Camp a little bit flooded but not much of a concern vehicles can still pass if they drive careful and we are still on flood watch, we are on alert and we will see what happens in the next few days.”

PlusTV

Belize gets 'All Clear' as Ernesto drifts away
At 6am this morning Hurricane Ernesto was located: 18.8N latitude and 89.8W longitude travelling at 15 mph, 97 mile...

Prime Minister comments on John Zabaneh’s designation
The news broke last night of the U.S. Department - Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announcement ...

Usher tells his version of altercation with Police Officer
On Monday night we reported on the altercation that took place between Gilroy Usher Jr. - the owner of First Stop P...

NEMO says Daniel Moreno is no associate of theirs
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has issued a release responding to a statement about Daniel M...

PM Barrow thankful Belize was spared from hurricane catastrophe
The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a release expressing gratitude that Belize was spared from any notable ...

Aftermath of Ernesto in Mexico
While the Belize was not significantly affected by what was then Hurricane Ernesto, the same cannot be said for nei...

Man, 57, reported missing, last seen in Belize District
Eva Garcia of Sandhill Village reported that on August 4 her father, 57 year old Julian Cacho, left her home. It wa...

Man attempts to resolve dispute, ends up in hospital
Police visited the Independence Polyclinic on Monday morning (AUG 6) where they saw Aurelio Menjivar, 47yrs, Manger...

Driver in fatal accident charged with DUI
Regarding the fatal traffic accident which happened on August 4, that caused the death of Jayandra Jahhar, Police f...

Grassroots Football postponed until further notice
A release from the Football Federation states that the Belize Grassroots football which was schedule for Orange Wal...

Dangriga names Police Officer of the month
The Belize Police Department, Dangriga formation, recognized its own in a special award ceremony held yesterday. Th...

Belize Audubon Society re-opens protected areas
The Belize Audubon Society (BAS) has announced the re-opening of six of the nine protected areas it co-manages with...

Blogs

BELIZE BANK, NOVELO'S PROPERTIES AUCTION A BIG FLOP! AUCTIONEER DID NOT EVEN SHOW UP.
About 16 people showed up for the much advertised foreclosures of the Novelo brothers properties in different Western Belize areas. The auction was spread across two pages of last weekend newspaper. Must have cost the Belize Bank $2000 in advertising cost. Kevin Castillo the advertised AUCTIONEER never showed up. No tables or chairs, or anything in the Belize Bank parking lot. The TWIN TOWNS was very busy and traffic heavy and all the stores and post office were humming with business, country people and tourists. People came and went, and hung around, but we were among the last to give up, and left about 5 mins. to 11 a.m. with no auctioneer in sight. The auction was scheduled according to the newspaper for 10:30 a.m. We got there about 10:15 a.m. The country was supposed to be brushed by a tropical wave, or storm, but was destined to mostly rain in Mexico, NORTH of our country. The bank itself had closed for some strange reason. Must have been the ONLY business in San Ignacio Town that was closed. Guess Kevin Castillo owes the Belize Bank for losing it's advertising costs for an auction that failed to materialize? We called the Auction telephone number, but the lady knew nothing she said. Referred us to another number, but that one never got answered. After several tries, everybody left to tend to town business elsewhere.

Sea Spray
It is still dark outside, I can hear the wind and rain picking up. The latest tracking model shows us good by this afternoon. It already feels like we are in the clear as Ernesto was a very tame storm for us. Will be heading to what I assume will be the last Hurricane Ernesto meeting shortly and feeling very lucky I scored a ride as I am pretty sire cabs would be a slim to none option this morning with curfew still set for 10am. Here are some beach pictures I took after the NEMO meeting yesterday.

Hurricane Ernesto, before and after
We were thankful to wake up this morning with only the backside of Hurricane (now tropical storm again) Ernesto to contend with. Although Ernesto did strengthen to a category 1 hurricane before he made landfall, he did end up tracking north of us and made landfall along Mexico's Yucatan peninsula last night at around 11pm. We never even felt tropical storm force winds here on Ambergris Caye until this morning, when the south winds from his back side started roaring along with sideways torrential rain. The town gauge reports a high wind gust of 40.1 mph this morning. I am getting conflicting reports on the total rainfall but will try to get an update from Cowboy Doug's rain gauge here at Grand Caribe. As I mentioned in my pre-Ernesto post, we really didn't have much prep work to do here since our building is well-equipped for storms. Yesterday we took the screens off our windows and brought our veranda furniture inside, and that's about it. We'd stocked up with plenty of groceries the day before and have been doing plenty of cooking, so we would not go hungry. Not that that's ever a problem around here anyway! Fresh bean/veggie burritos with guacamole and a Painkiller to drink for last night's dinner Outdoor furniture inside for now As Ernesto approached the coast yesterday, we had a heavy downpour in the morning, and then the rain was only light and sporadic for the rest of the day. The wind was coming from the northwest, so we hardly felt it on the beach. The major storm impact yesterday was high waves over the reef and small waves along the beach, which we almost never see. High tide was very high, at times splashing up through the little Chico Caribe dock and higher on the beach in front of our condo than we have ever seen it. But the water never even made it up to the bottom stair on our veranda. The pictures below are from yesterday as Ernesto approached.

Hurricane Ernesto in San Pedro, Belize: The Morning After?
It actually doesn't feel like "the morning after" at all...as of 8am, we are experiencing the heaviest winds since this storm moved so dangerously close to Ambergris Caye. (Picture from late yesterday afternoon.) The water came up high, but not dangerously so (not much higher than the picture above at Mata Rocks). And we were lucky again to be on the south side of the storm...since it moves counter clock wise, it minimizes what could be a very high ocean surge. Here are some pictures Rhonda took when she braved the weather for a morning walk. Rhonda is the host of Morning Matters here in San Pedro. The Belize Yacht Club likes to fill in their seawall with trash and palm fronds...it usually collapses when lots of water comes in. The dock at Ramon's often gets lots of wave action. The sign at BC's did fall over... Here is my picture of it from yesterday... The beach is messy...but intact.

How to Make Belizean Fry Jacks
Fry jacks are a delectable and popular staple in Belize cuisine. Usually served as a breakfast item, fry jacks are deep-fried pieces of dough, often accompanied by beans, eggs and ham and are highly addictive. Before you place an order for fry jacks in a Belize restaurant, know that the Belizean Creole (Kriol) rarely uses the plural; a pile of fry jacks is still called “fry jack”. Fry jacks aren’t only served in Belize. In fact, they go by many different names all over the world — beignets in New Orleans, sopapillas in Mexico and the American southwest, or often, simply ‘fried dough’. Below are the instructions on how to make Belizean Fry Jacks:

VIDEO: Ernesto Tropic Air- Final Evac Departures
Final evac flights leaving San Pedro in prep for Ernesto

Caribbean Villas Hotel- Ernesto Views
A look at the stormy conditions Ernesto brought to the island.

International Sources

I do, I do, I do! British couple celebrate their love with 22 wedding ceremonies around the world...and have EIGHT more still to go
When asked about any problems they have encountered along the way, the couple say making repairs to Peggy has been the biggest hurdle. 'Making repairs to Peggy has been our biggest hurdle,' they said. 'We bought her in Canada and have covered over 55,000km so far. We have only had minimal problems but they have been difficult to solve with the language barriers! 'With regards to the wedding side of the journey, everyone has been so accommodating and we have had very few obstacles, only once were we turned away for a ceremony for not having commited to the same religious beliefs as the local church. 'And even then the church invited us to attend mass and dedicated that evenings prayers to us and our travels and commitments to each other.' The couple say their Peru wedding was 'the most emotional, touching and stunningly beautiful; and therefore probably their favourite, and that one of the trickiest to organise was in Belize, where they wanted to hold a ceremony in the Toledo district with help from local Mayan people, but where a week-long torrential downpour and a photographer stuck 600km away hampered proceedings. 'We were about ready to give up when the sun came out just in time for the wedding! It was a beautiful day and we learned such an important lesson about the things we take for granted!'

RSO CATHALAC develops forest cover map of Belize
UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office CATHALAC (Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean) has just developed the first version of a 2012 forest cover map of Belize. This research was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development of the Government of Belize, Lancaster University of the UK and the Environmental Research Institute of the University of Belize. The work – now pending field validation – was developed using NASA Landsat-7 imagery, and follows on the heels of an earlier 2010 USAID- and NASA-supported study assessing changes in forest cover in Belize over the period of 1980-2010. The current study indicates that Belize's forest cover declined from 62.8% in early 2010 to approximately 61.6% in early 2012. A technical report detailing the assessment's methodology and major findings will be released shortly.



Edited by Marty (11/17/12 03:52 PM)