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The San Pedro Sun
GOB unable to meet Superbond payment for August
The Government of Belize today announced that it will not be able to meet its super bond payment to its creditors due for August 20th. The announcement was made via a press release from the Ministry of Finance shortly after midday on Tuesday August 14th. The Superbond payment amount due is US$23,497,211.11 at an interest rate of 8.5%. Prime Minister Dean Barrow is quoted in the release as saying that “The Step-Up Bond alone represents approximately one-half of Belize’s total recorded public indebtedness.”
After the re-election of the UDP administration into office, PM Barrow had appointed a negotiating team headed by former PUP Albert Division Representative Mark Espat to look at the Superbond negation to arrive at more manageable payment terms. So far the team came up with three possible alternatives to restructure the current payment.
Female charged for assaulting a Police Officer inside the SP Station
A 19 year old female had to be arrested by police after she caused a ruckus at the San Pedro station and assaulted a female Special Constable. The person, Silvia Teul originally of the Cayo District, is presently a resident of the Airstrip area in San Pedro Town. The incident occurred shortly after 3AM on Saturday, August 11th inside the San Pedro Police Station.
According to SP Police, they had previously detained Teul’s friend Lorena Montes following a report made by Roxanne Canul. Police said that Montes was involved in an altercation that started inside Daddy Rock’s Night Club. A group of Montes’ associates visited the SP Police Station following her detention. According to police, Teul who appeared to be highly intoxicated, began acting unruly and was very vocal near the entrance of the police station while inquiring about Montes. Police say that because of her unruly behavior and appearance of being drunk, Teul was asked to leave the station. Police further claims that Teul uttered to the officers, “F@$k you police. You can’t do me f@#$ing nothing!”
Dr. Love: Trapped
Dear Doctor Love,
For my family the holiday season has always been a wonderful time of the year. We have relatives in the U.S.and the U.K. and they always come down to visit us at this time of the year. Friends of the family come, too. We always welcome them and we cram more people into our house than can possibly fit. It is really our favorite time of the year.
Two years ago we had some trouble with our business and things became a real financial trouble. For awhile it looked like we might even lose our house. We were lucky enough to pull out of it but not without a lot of damage to our finances. Then the holiday season came around and it nearly wiped us out again. It took us until April to recover but we finally did. This year business has been slow again. We have been going along pretty good but not enough to get ahead. Now, the holiday season is over and we are back in trouble again. Thanks to God, the tourist season is starting and if it is a good one, we will come back quickly. If it is not, we are going to be struggling until July or August, if we even manage to make it back.
Art in the Park – Arts & Craft Exhibition
The San Pedro House of Culture is pleased to be hosting the Art in the Park – Arts & Craft Exhibition. The exhibition will takes place Thursday, August 30th and Friday August 31st, beginning at 10 am on the San Pedro Central Park.
Kindly join us for two full days of local arts, music and entertainment.
Belizean Songstress Melonie Gillett Launches New TV Show and Music Video
Melonie Gillett launches her new Come Away TV Show and Music Video for the song entitled “Come Away” today, August 14, 2012. The music video and TV Show were directed by Ben Hudson, a home-grown Belizean, of Star Base Films. It features a number of locations across Belize including Robert’s Grove Beach Resort, Mama Noots, Bocawina Mayflower Park, BACAB Eco Park, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Altun Ha!
The entire project provides industry standard quality, raising the bar yet again for the music industry in Belize. The Come Away song, track #14 on Melonie Gillett’s “The Dreamer” Album, is an invitation to Come Away to Belize and experiences all the wonderful things that Belize has to offer.
Belize Won't Make Superbond 46 M Payment On Aug 20
This morning at 7:00 - which is 9:00 in New York - the Government of Belize sent out a brief, 150 word press release telling holders of the Superbond that it won't make the 46 million dollar Superbond payment which is due next week Monday.
The plain-spoken release says, quote, "The Government of Belize announced today that it is unable to make an August 20, 2012 coupon payment."
It quotes the Prime Minister as saying "The Step-Up Bond alone represents approximately one-half of Belize's total recorded public indebtedness... We simply cannot afford this…payment given the financing shortfalls and other challenges we face. Our hope, however, is that we can move quickly toward a sensible restructuring."
And the release doesn't say much else - but the effect of it is tremendous. It puts bondholders on notice that the Government of Belize isn't playing around - and if they want their money, they'll have to come to the bargaining table.
It also puts Belize in that position that no person or country wants to be in: that of a Malpago. But according to Economic Ambassador Mark Espat, who is heading the Debt Restructuring team, not making the payment does not put Belize in a difficult position with accessing other credit - since Belize does not seek commercial credit.
Teenager Killed In Violence-Ridden Area
There was another murder in the city last night - and this time, a 16 year old was killed.
It happened in the same general area where 11 year old Carline Pinto was shot up on Saturday morning, and where 18 year old Kendis Pike was killed two weeks ago.
And now it's a 16 year old in a widening spiral of violence stemming from an all out war between rival gangs. Monica Bodden found out about this most recent teen murder:...
Monica Bodden reporting
The murder of 16 year old Kirk Hemmans happened here at the corner of Kut Avenue and Fairweather Street just after 10:30 last night.
This huge bloodstain in the middle of the street indicates the exact spot where the teenager took his last breath.
Hemmans - who was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue into Fairweather Street - was approached from behind by a gunman who fired the fatal shot at him - hitting him once to the right upper back.
The murderer then rode off on Kut Avenue and headed in the direction of Kraal Road.
Man Accused of City Shooting
19 year-old Joshua Gallego, a laborer of Raccoon Street Extension, is in prison tonight after he was accused of trying to kill another Belize City resident.
19 year-old Jermaine Flowers told police that on Sunday afternoon, at around 2:40, he was riding his bicycle on Raccoon Street Extension. When he arrived at the Pelican Street intersect, Gallego allegedly approached him and fired 3 gunshots. One of those shots struck him in the right arm, and another grazed him across the upper left ribcage.
Police detained Gallego, and yesterday, they charged him with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and grievous harm. He was arraigned today in the courtroom of the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him to prison until September 25, his next court date.
They Came On A Yacht, Left With A Criminal Record
They may have come to Belize on a yacht, but that didn't save three tourists from going to court amongst common criminals.
69 Bryan Peter Stein; 32 year-old Platina Yeek-Hwan Tong, both British Nationals; and 32 year-old French businesswoman, Lisa Christelle Chotard, were charged with illegal entry into Belize.
The private citizens arrived in Belize on Stein's private yacht, Maxime, on Sunday at around 7 p.m., where they moored near the Radisson Marina.
The vessel's captain contacted the harbour master at the Radisson who was supposed to contact the relevant authorities to allow legal access into Belize.
There was some form of miscommunication where the Immigration Department did not receive the information of their arrival until yesterday.
Getting tired of waiting on the immigration officials to arrive, the trio exited the vessel and went on a private tour of Belize without being process for entry in the country.
Year in Jail for Man Accused OF Indecent Assault
46 year-old Dwayne "Warrior" Young, a stevedore residing in Mahogany Heights, will spend a year in prison because he was convicted of indecent assault in Magistrates Court today.
In February of this year, 7News reported that a 22 year-old woman told police that on February 20, she went downstairs of her house in Mahogany Heights to feed the dogs.
According to her, Young, who was a neighbor, made unwanted advances when he approached her, kissed her on the mouth and on the cheek, and then fondled her.
Well, this complainant came to testify to just that in this trial. And her father corroborated her story by testifying that he heard the dogs barking, and when he came to investigate, he saw Young with his arm around his daughter's waist.
In his defence, Young told the court that the family made up the entire story to get back at him. According to Young, before they accused him of this crime, he did some repair work on their bathroom, and the victim's mother made unwanted advances on him when her husband was away.
"Serve The People" On The Anniversary Of Price's Death
In honour of the first anniversary passing of National Hero, George Price September 19th. will be "National Service Day." According to a release from the George Price Center, The National Celebrations Commission - has agreed to declare September 19thas "National Service Day".
And so, on that day, all Belizeans are being encouraged to carry out some kind of community service in memory of Price who once told the Miami Herald, ""I believe that happiness consists in serving others and not oneself."
The George Price Center urges citizens to clean up their communities, raise funds for a worthy cause, or volunteer.
Midnight Basketball Is Back
In the mid to late 90's -basketball legend Pulu Lightburn started up a programme called Midnight Basketball. The intent was to capture at risk youth and engage them in some productive activity.
Well, that programme has now been resuscitated by Restore Belize. It started on Friday night in three different neighborhoods involving as many as 100 males between the ages of 16 and 24.
Director of Restore Belize Mary Vasquez explains what the big idea is.
Mary Vasquez, Director - Restore Belize
"Actually the idea is to have positive activities taking place in areas that normally don't have a lot of positive activities and by default maybe have some criminal activity taking place. The idea is to come into these neighborhoods and bring a positive activity that young people can enjoy, can participate in either as spectators or as ballers."
"Our communities need to re-claim its public space. Our communities' needs to say: This is our community and we want good things to be happening day and night, so it's a matter of re-claiming public space for legitimate use. We are doing games right now in 3 separate neighborhoods, when we have a champion from each of those neighborhoods then we will have a finals where they would come together in a common place - not in any one of those neighborhoods."
Compol and San Pedro O/C Clash Over Girl Who Assaulted Cop
19 year old Silvia Teul was arrested by San Pedro Police after she allegedly tried to choke a Woman Special Constable inside the San Pedro Police Station.
According to the San Pedro Sun, the incident reportedly occurred around 3 on Saturday morning when Teul went to check up on her friend Lorena Montes who had been in a nightclub brawl.
Police say that Teul appeared intoxicated and was asked to leave the station - which is when she allegedly cursed the police officer. Woman Special Constable Lisa Castillo, decided to arrest Teul which is when she allegedly charged the constable and gripped her around the neck.
Police charged Teul for assaulting a police officer, use of indecent words, common assault and resisting lawful arrest.
Due to the seriousness of the offence, a Senior Justice of the Peace decided to remand her until Teul could appear before a Magistrate. And that's where it gets dicey: The San Pedro Sun reports that despite the order given by the J.P., Commissioner of Police David Henderson ordered that Teul be granted police bail.
Still Shrimp In the Sea
There's no longer a shrimp season - and that's because banning shrimp trawlers put an end to the commercial Shrimp trade. And so most times when you eat shrimp - it's farmed shrimp from Belize's many aquaculture facilities.
But there are still shrimp in the sea and today near the BTL park we saw a crowd of folks casting nets for the swimming animals. Those we saw told us that the shrimp were have been brought in by a spell of rough seas followed by a calm such as we had today. They were selling the fresh sea shrimp for ten dollars a pound - but the price was negotiable.
Melonie's New Vid Is All About Belize
When Melonie Gillett releases a new music video, it's not just a video; it's a mini movie masterpiece that took months to put together. Indeed, the talented singer has made exotic music videos into her trademark - and she's doing just that with her latest release Come Away.
The sultry tune is actually a pitch for the Belize Tourism product - but as she told us - she's not doing it for the BTB - who is not a sponsor - she's doing it because she loves Belize.
Here's her story:..
Melonie Gillett, musician
"The launch is whole project - it's the "come away" project which features the music video and the "come away" Belize which will all be launched tonight on Channel 7 at 9pm."
"When it comes to this song it came straight from the heart - it talks about my feelings about Belize, the way I feel about Belize and the way I think everybody should feel about Belize as a Belizean."
What's Life Like In A Violence Riddled Area?
For the last 2 nights, 7News has been telling you about the violent shooting incidents on or near Benbow and Supal Streets.
And while the family of these victims has their own grief and trauma to deal with, the residents of these neighborhoods are living in a sort of sustained terror, after their neighborhood has become a war zone.
One such area resident is our summer intern, Andrew Munnings. The Wesley College fourth former was friendly with two of the recent murder victims. He told us that it is painful to see his peers lives cut short by gun violence and explained what it is like living in a violent community such as Benbow Street:
"Mr. Munnings, what area of the city do you live in sir?"
"I live in the south side area right now. That was the area that I grew up in."
"What street exactly?"
"Currently I am on Benbow Street."
"What is it like to be in an area that is currently under gang warfare?"
"To tell you the truth it's not only in that area that I have a fear of, going to the shop and those kinds of things - it's probably the whole city. We always hear it on the news, so it's nothing that no one know about but to know that its young people who are dying - some of them who hasn't even start their life yet, then that would bother anybody like myself. As a youth you can't even walk to the shop because all kinds of things runs through you mind like will I come back home and will this be the last time that I step foot outside."
Government unable to pay August Superbond coupon
The Superbond negotiating team dropped a financial super bomb on bondholders. In a release that was posted on the Central Bank of Belize’s website this afternoon, G.O.B. said that it is unable to meet the August twentieth coupon payment of the Superbond. The payment is for ninety-three million Belize dollars, due next week Monday or [...]
But bond coupon was in the budget
The announcement is stunning because in the presentation of the budget for the 2012/2013 budget in July, the Prime Minister specifically and categorically stated that “For the fiscal year 2012/2013, we have budgeted overall debt service payments at Belize two hundred point seven million dollars, of which approximately one hundred and seventy-four point five million [...]
Was there interference by ComPol with San Pedro case?
Nineteen year old Silvia Teul, a resident of the airstrip area of San Pedro, appeared in Magistrates Court today where she was arraigned on multiple charges stemming from an altercation with a female officer inside the San Pedro Police Station on Saturday. Shortly after three o’clock that morning, police detained Lorena Montes, who was involved [...]
16 year old murdered where? Belize City
On Monday we told you about the eighteen year old and his eleven year old sister who were mercilessly shot repeatedly while they slept inside their home on Benbow Street. And it doesn’t take a criminologist to observe that most of the victims as well as the perpetrators are regularly in their teens. So the [...]
19 year old shot where? Belize City
Another shooting incident preceded the murder of Kirk Hemmans on Monday night and the victim is also still in his teens. This time gunfire erupted across town, in an area that is quickly becoming another hotspot in the Old Capital. Tonight, nineteen year old Randy August is recovering from injuries he received during a shooting [...]
Man who allegedly set tank on fire passes away
After almost a month of being hospitalized, thirty-five year old Orson Emmerson Twist passed away on Saturday morning at the K.H.M.H. Twist, who since his hospitalization was given a fifty percent chance of surviving, was suffering from first and second degree burns to eighty percent of his body. On July sixteenth we reported the story [...]
Former K.H.M.H. employee says she’s the victim
One year old Kimora Leslie died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (K.H.M.H.) on April twenty-ninth, 2006, after urgent neurosurgery was allegedly delayed. It was an extremely controversial issue and Leslie’s grandmother, Sharn Lemoth, who was then employed at the hospital, was vocal on the media, expressing her dissatisfaction with the K.H.M.H. But after speaking [...]
Evaluations to find solutions to improve CSEC scores
The results of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), also known locally as CXC, have been released. On Monday News Five spoke to Juan Vargas, the Local Registrar for the exam who has been looking closely at the results. He confirmed that the number of exams taken has increased to three thousand and forty, which [...]
Miss World Belize Chantae Guy is big in China
Belize’s Chantae Guy is making a strong impression in China as she prepares to vie for the Miss World 2012 crown in Mongolia on Saturday. Over the last four weeks, the twenty year old Miss World Belize participated in a number of preliminary challenges called fast track events; she struck it big when she placed [...]
Miss Earth Belize Runner Up says pageant organizer fooled her
But while Belize has relatively strong representation in China for the Miss World 2012, on the local scene, the five delegates vying for the title of Miss Earth Belize 2012 will also take center stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts this Saturday, August eighteenth. But who is the reigning Miss Earth? News [...]
NICH’s roadmap to national cultural policy
If you wonder what life holds for beauty queens after pageants, this next story will shed a minor light. Former Queen of the Bay 1998 Shari Williams is the Communications Officer for the National Institute of Culture and History. NICH is working toward creating a National Cultural Policy and is seeking opinions and ideas from [...]
Belize’s Olympians return home
After two weeks of competition at the Olympics Games 2012 in London, the closing ceremony was held on Sunday celebrating the amazing sporting feats of the athletes who had taken part in the games. Taking home the most medals was the United States with one hundred and four overall; followed by China with eighty-eight medals. [...]
Will there be training and support prior to Rio Olympics?
Additional training as well as financial support are needed to improve the performance of Belizean athletes against competing countries. And with all eyes set on Rio de Janeiro for 2016, Track and Field Team Leader of the 2012 Belize Olympic Delegation, Josephine Flowers, says that they will, with the limited facilities available in Belize, begin [...]
Nineteen year old Joshua Gallego, a laborer of Raccoon Street Extension who allegedly shot nineteen year old Jermaine Flowers, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared in court today. Gallego was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was ta...
Belize Shotokan Karate Association Holds Annual Camp
The annual camp of the Belize Shotokan Karate Association was held at the weekend in the Belize district. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG Toledo Correspondent Love FM “From Toledo, the camp had the active participation of members of the Toledo...
Traffic Accident Reported in Cayo District
A traffic accident on the Western Highway yesterday, resulted in two men injured. Correspondent Elaine Berry reports: ELAINE BERRY Cayo Correspondent Love FM “At about 4:55pm on Monday, August 13, two cars were involved in a traffic accident at mile sixty fi...
Minor Caught Red Handed in Hotel Room
A burglar was caught in the act on the Placencia Peninsula early this morning. According to reports, police went to a hotel in the village around twelve fifteen this morning where, with the help of the home owner, they were able to apprehend the thief. As it turns out, the ...
Government Says Belize Will Fail to Meet Next Payment on Nation's Foreign Debt
The government of Belize will not make the next coupon payment on the nation’s foreign debt, commonly known as the super bond. The announcement was made today via a press release by the Ministry of Finance. As we have reported previously, the first coupon payment on t...
Young Girl Recovering From Shots Received in Her Bed
On Monday Love News brought you the news of eleven year old Carline Pinto who was shot four times as she slept in her bed in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Today we bring you the update on the spirited little girl who is looking forward to celebrating her twelfth birthday in ...
Another Southside Murder in the City
Benbow Street seems to be fast becoming the old capital’s most popular war zone. Just one night after the shooting of an eleven year old girl and her 18 year old brother while they slept in their beds, there was a murder not far from the area. It happened just off Fairweath...
Estereo Amor Awards Two High School Scholarships
Two teenagers from Orange Walk Town have won a four scholarship to Orange Walk Technical High School. The scholarship was offered by Estereo Amor in collaboration with the Orange Walk Technical High School. In early July, the public was invited to apply for the scholarships in two categories. In ...
People's United Party Justifies Firing Five Employees
The opposition People’s United Party today issued a statement on the termination of services for five employees of the party’s mouthpiece, the Belize Times. The PUP also announced, via the same statement, that Belize Times will now be available only on the internet un...
Belize Business Bureau Analyses Super Bond Renegotiations
One week from today, the Government of Belize will need to dig deep into the nation’s treasury to come up with the next coupon payment of forty six million dollars as the next interest payment on the foreign debt becomes payable. It will be the first payment of the stepped up int...
Three Mexicans Robbed Whilst on a Journey for Peace
Three Mexican Nationals who were on a ride for peace, a journey that began in Cuernavaca Mexico and is scheduled to take them by road to Argentina, were attacked and robbed in the Stann Creek District. It is alleged that the three riders, Roberto Cervantes a Mechanical Engineer a...
Two persons, 22 year old John Chessman and 18 year old Dilon Clarke, were charged with the murder of 32 year old Pei Xan Tan, also known as “Kenny”, when they appeared in court today. They were also charged with robbery. No plea was taken because the offences will be tried ...
Minor Shot Four Times Whilst At Home In Bed
A young girl remains hospitalized after she was shot multiple times in an early morning shooting in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali has the story. MARION ALI News Reporter Love FM “The perforations on this wall at 32A Benbow Street are the damages that bull...
CXC and CAPE Results Released
The Ministry of Education today released the results of the CXC Examinations conducted in May and June of this year. According to an official release, there were three thousand and forty candidates who sat all but two of the General and Technical Proficiency subjects at the CSEC ...
A Dozen Parcels of Suspected Cocaine Confiscated
Reports reaching Love News Center are that a number of persons have been detained by Dangriga Police for questioning. Harry Arzu reports. HARRY ARZU Dangriga Correspondent Love FM “Dangriga Police confiscated some twelve parcels of suspected cocaine earlier...
First Caribbean Bank Opens In Orange Walk
Yesterday First Caribbean International Bank officially opened its doors here in Orange Walk Town. The branch is located on Queen Victoria Avenue, right in front to the Orange Walk Police Station. According to Branch Manager Pablo Ayala, the new branch employs six persons and features three teller stations, one Instant Teller and a Night Depository facility.
Pablo Alaya, Branch Manager
“Plans have been in progress for a while now, it is just a matter of now trying to get everything set up, everything coming together and indeed the day has arrived and we are so proud to be here.”
Hipolito Novelo - Reporter
“The location, do you think it is a right location within the town?”
Pablo Alaya, Branch Manager
“We believe so, it is not exactly where the rest of the banks are but we believe that we are giving persons another venue where they can bank which is normally the standard but we do offer parking and do you’re banking transactions here. When particularly interested in financing for caneros and of course we do offer products for everybody else.”
Hipolito Novelo - Reporter
Is there a branch in Corozal?”
Pablo Alaya, Branch Manager
“No, currently we don’t have a branch in Corozal, so the Corozal community can travel here and as we grow plans may come in phase that we can open a branch in Corozal we will.”
First Caribbean International Bank, according to Ayala, provides a wide range of services to its customers at a low fee.
Negative Reactions Towards GOB Restructuring Bond Options
But markets have reacted negatively to Belize's indicative restructuring proposals. Citigroup analysts describe Belize's options as a "threat of a credit event rather than a willingness to negotiate.”
AJ Mediratta, a partner at Greylock Capital Management and chairman of the ad-hoc committee of holders formed a few months ago states an we quote “We previously communicated from the beginning that we are sympathetic to the challenges facing Belize and are prepared to work with the authorities in a consensual and collaborative manner. However, we do not consider the indicative scenarios released last week as the start of negotiations. This is the most organized and unified group of bondholders involved in a recent sovereign restructuring, and it is our position that we will respond to proposals that are clearly based on ability to pay using reasonable, mutually agreed assumptions as well as demonstrated burden sharing among commercial, bilateral and multilateral creditors and, importantly, the Government itself.” End of quote
According to a recent report by Carl Ross for Oppenheimer “The proposed terms were significantly worse than most people expected, with a major lengthening of maturities and a drastic cut in coupon levels. These investors see neither the need nor the urgency for the scope of NPV haircut being offered by Belize, and Belize is likely to become a financial outcast in the region as a result.” End of quote.
Foreigners Robbed While Riding For A Good Cause
In a ride to generate environmental awareness Roberto Vivero and Roberto Cervantes were on their way to Buenos Aires Argentina, along with Alan Omar Hernandez who was riding for peace. But on Friday afternoon their ride was interrupted by two armed masked men who proved that here in Belize there are no boundaries when it comes to criminal activity. The trio was intercepted by criminals while travelling along the Hummingbird Highway to the coastal town of Dangriga. Vivero and Cervantes were robbed of their laptop, hard drives, cameras, tape recorders, bike repair kits, medical kits, BZE$100 and a passport.
According to reports, the incident occurred around the Middlesex Village when the men were ambushed by three armed masked men. Two of the assailants were wielding machetes while the third held what appeared to be a firearm.
While Vivero and Cervantes got robbed, the third cyclist, Alan Hernandez, who is riding for peace, was much more fortunate. Hernandez was riding a few yards behind the duo and managed to escape from the assailants. Vivero told us that without their laptops and equipments they are unable to continue with their journey and are planning to head back to Quintana Roo Mexico.
Teachers Strive To Improve Quality Of Education In Belize
Since last week Friday over 200 hundred primary school teachers have been participating in a number of workshops held at the ITVET Campus in the Corozal District. The Continuous Professional Development Workshops is offered every year to teachers, with the focus of enhancing the quality of education in Belize. While in Corozal yesterday, we attended one of the sessions and spoke to Corozal’s District Education Manager Pedro Kukul, who told us more about the workshops sponsored by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Rotary Club of Canada.
The Continuous Professional Development Workshops started on August 10th here at the Corozal ITVET Campus. The workshops are aimed at improving the professional competence of educator’s throughout their teaching career.
Pedro Kukul, District Education Manager, Corozal
“The continuous professional development is an annual event especially around this time, the Ministry of Education organizes, continuous professional development for teachers in every district of the country.”
S&P Cuts Belize's Rating On Expected Miss Payment
And late this evening, Belize’s sovereign-credit rating was pushed further into junk territory by Standard & Poor’s. S&P downgraded Belize’s credit rating to a double C from a triple C-minus after the Barrow Administration officially announced that it won’t be making its $46 million bond coupon payment on August 20th.
In an article posted on online.wsj.com S&P states and we quote “The outlook is negative, reflecting prospects the firm could lower the ratings to selective default if Belize's government misses its payment as announced or if it proposes a debt exchange to investors.” End quote. If the Barrow Administration fails to pay the bondholders within 30 days of August 20TH, it will default on its debt. S&P expects GOB to fund its gap through the exceptional financing of default, import compression and a drawdown of reserves. The rating cut is the latest in a series of downgrades this year from S&P and Moody's Investors Service, as both rating firms cited concerns about the possibility of another debt restructuring. In June, Moody's downgraded Belize's sovereign debt rating to Ca, pushing it deeper into highly speculative territory. Late this evening the Opposition People’s United Party weighed in on the much discussed issue of Governments default on its $46 million bond coupon payment. According to the PUP “The Leader of the Opposition was neither consulted on nor informed of this very critical decision which has very serious implications for Belize’s economy and development. During the Budget debate for 2012/13 the Nation was led to believe that the government had budgeted for this payment and would be honoring the August 20th, 2012 payment.”
GOB Unable To Meet $46 Million Bond Payment
The government of Belize today ended months of speculation by officially announcing that it is unable to meet its next coupon payment of $46 million, with an interest of 8.5 %, for the super bond due on August 20th which is only seven days away. Despite the fact that Government had stated that it budgeted for the payment, never was it announced if the payment would or would not be made, that is until this afternoon when the Ministry of Finance issued a press release stating to the nation that Belize will be unable to meet coupon payment.
The release further states what most Belizeans already know, that Government has commenced discussions with the holders of the bond regarding a consensual restructuring of the U.S$557 million super bond due in 2029.
In the release the Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Finance and Economic Development the Honorable Dean Barrow states and we quote “We simply cannot afford this coupon payment given the financing shortfalls and other challenges we face. Our hope; however, is that we can move quickly toward a sensible restructuring of the instrument.” end quote.
Gabino Tzib Recognized As Officer Of The Month
Police Constable #1329 Gabino Tzib, was this afternoon awarded Police Officer of the Month for the month of July. Two and a half years ago, on July 7th 2010, Tzib decided to join the force and was assigned to the Orange Walk Police Department. Since then, Tzib has been hard at work serving his community and this afternoon he was recognized by the Orange Walk People’s Coalition Committee. When spoke to Tzib this afternoon he could not be more proud of his accomplishment.
“The way I think is by assisting is as, the people come here to Orange Walk to make a report, am trying to be perfectly working with them, dealing with their report, working hard and if I need to detain somebody, working hard in my investigation to bring that person and work with the people.”
“Currently, do you form part of the Quick Response Team?”
Gabino Tzib, Police Officer of the Month July
“Yes, currently about two months from now that I join the Quick Response Team right here at Orange Walk.”
BTIA Offers Marketing Summit For Entrepreneurs
A Marketing Summit for business owners and entrepreneurs will be held in Belize City on August 23rd at the Princess Hotel. According to the Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association Efren Perez, the full day summit will be looking at three different marketing areas that could easily be incorporated in the business ambience.
“Its content marketing its website, videos and photography, content on its website and it is also being talking about the social networking on how you are can improve on social networking, twitter, Facebook, blog sites and also looking at real time marketing and public relations, how it is that we can be more aggressive to capture the market that we want for our businesses, there are going to be three panel discussions and each panel will consist of about seven people that are very successful at what they are been doing and in each one of these three areas would be sharing ideas with us as to the best practices and what it is that they’ve been successful at. We are having our presenter who is an International author of eight bestselling books on Newsweek and we also have International panelist, the vice-president of international media from BBK also who has worked with huge companies like Sam’s Club and so it is an event tht you are going to get a lot of knowledge out of.”
Police press officer’s weekly press conference
The shooting of eleven year old Carline Pinto was not the only unfortunate incident that occurred over the past weekend. There was also a fatal traffic accident. Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, gave the details at the police briefing.
Yearwood also had an update in connection with last Thursday evening’s murder of Taiwanese businessman, thirty one year old Peixian Tan in Ladyville.
The two persons, 22 year old John Chessman and 18 year old Dilon Clarke were charged with Tan’s murder when they appeared today in the Magistrate’s Court. They were also charged with robbery. Both were remanded into custody until September 20th. Security footage showed that two persons entered E-Buy Supermarket on Crab Catcher Street in Ladyville and pretended to be customers. One of them who was armed put a pistol, pointed the weapon to Tan’s head and took him behind the counter while the other one stole an undetermined amount of money from the cash register. The gunman then shot Tan, also known as “Kenny” in the left side of his head. Tan died while being transported to the hospital. The police reportedly retrieved one expended 9 millimetre shell form the scene. In Corozal, an elderly woman died after a chopping incident outside her house ended up in her living room and she suffered what is believed to be a heart attack from the ruckus. The Police press officer explained how it happened.
Dangriga police detain a number of persons
Reports reaching Love News Center are that a number of persons have been detained by Dangriga Police for questioning. Harry Arzu reports.
Trio charged in murder of Orange Walk man
Three men appeared this morning before Magistrate Merlene Moody in Orange Walk where they were charged in connection with the murder of 35 year old Ricardo Blanco of Trial Farm Village. 20 year old mechanic Feliciano Briceño and 21 year old construction worker Manuel Toloza, both of Trial Farm Village were charged with murder. 25 year old salesman of Trial Farm village Julio Castillo was charged with abetment to commit murder. It is believed Castillo facilitated the use of a white Toyota car to transport Blanco. The three men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison and are to reappear in court on September 12. Blanco went missing on Thursday August 2 after a night of drinking and socializing with other men from the village. When he failed to come home that weekend, his family launched a search which led them to a feeder road off the Northern Highway where Blanco’s body was found under some dry grass, nude except for a green piece of cloth tied around his neck. He also had injuries to the chest and face.
11 year old girl shot while asleep in bed
It is not the first time that a Belizean child has gone to sleep, only to be shot in what many would consider to be the safety of their beds. Luckily, this time, the victim — an eleven year old — is expected to survive the attack at her home which occurred sometime after five on Saturday morning. Love TV’s Marion Ali and Videographer, Brian Castillo, were on the beat today and filed this report.
Carline Pinto was shot in the chest, stomach, shoulder and right foot, but is expected to survive and is said to be responding well to treatment.
Mexican nationals hit by highway bandits in the south
Three Mexican Nationals who were on a ride for peace, a journey that began in Cuernavaca Mexico and is scheduled to take them by road to Argentina, were attacked and robbed in the Stann Creek District. It is alleged that the three riders, Roberto Cervantes a Mechanical Engineer and Red Cross Volunteer, Roberto Vivero, a Red Cross Paramedic, and the other man identified as Allan, a Social Worker and Rotaract International Director, were on their way to a host family in Dangriga where they were scheduled to stay the weekend. Upon reaching an area around Middlesex Village on the Hummingbird Highway, they were ambushed by three men who came out of a red car and were wearing stockings on their heads. The three men, two of which were identified by the riders to be of dark complexion, came wielding a gun and a machete and knocked Cervantes and Vivero off their bicycles. Allan, the third rider was lagging behind so he managed to evade the attack. Reports are that the men were taken into the bushes where they were stripped of a number of items including two laptops, two cameras, a first aid kit, a kit containing their toiletries and one hundred Belize dollars along with a passport. While this was taking place, the third rider managed to ride away from the scene unnoticed. Soon after, the men are said to have alerted a police vehicle that was passing by but they couldn’t catch up to the perpetrators who had made good their escape. According to Mexican Newspaper, PULSO, the victims said they are in good health however, they said that their project is threatened in its continuity due to the fact that the criminals got away with their digital equipment. The newspaper article goes on to say that the men reported the matter to the local police and the Mexican Embassy in Belize and that they will remain in the country in hopes of replacing their digital equipment. Love News understands that the men managed to maintain their credit cards which were on their person at the time.
Ministry of Education releases CXC results for Belize
The Ministry of Education today released the results of the CXC Examinations conducted in May and June of this year. According to an official release, there were three thousand and forty candidates who sat all but two of the General and Technical Proficiency subjects at the CSEC level. According to the official release, there was a drop in overall performance for Belize in terms of high school students sitting the CSEC exams. Juan Vargas is the local Registrar of CXC.
In terms of the core subjects of mathematics and English, Vargas says there were some decreases in overall performance; but Belizean high school students continue to do well in the CSEC exams.
In the CAPE section of the CXC exams, Vargas says the results were also upbeat; but concluded that there is always room for improvement.
Social partners want to help bond renegotiations
One week from today, the Government of Belize will need to dig deep into the nation’s treasury to come up with the next coupon payment of forty six million dollars as the next interest payment on the foreign debt becomes payable. It will be the first payment of the stepped up interest payment which now stands at eight point five percent. The sum of money to be paid next week is budgeted for; but whether or not government will actually make the payment is still not certain. And the prospect of a default has the private sector and social partners worried. The Belize Business Bureau today went public with its position saying it wants to help the process of renegotiating the so-called super bond and calls for widespread dialogue on the way forward. Arturo Lizarraga is the president of the Belize Business Bureau.
For his part, the Manager of the Belize Business Bureau Hipolito Bautista believes that the government is laying the foundation for a possible engagement with the International Monetary Fund; a prospect which he says is not good news for Belize.
That is why the social partners are uniting in their efforts to help move the proposals published last week by the government forward and make the offers more attractive to the bond holders. So far, reaction from those bond holders has not been positive and there are many who believe that the three scenarios put forward by government do not go far enough to entice the bond holders.
Bautista says that when he hears that one of the proposals is to only offer 55 cents on every dollar owed to the bond holders, that is a sign that a default is a possibility and that is a prospect that should have Belizeans worried.
Fire reported in Punta Gorda town
A fire incident was reported yesterday afternoon in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.
PUP Leader explains firing of Belize Times staff
The opposition People’s United Party today issued a statement on the termination of services for five employees of the party’s mouthpiece, the Belize Times. The PUP also announced, via the same statement, that Belize Times will now be available only on the internet until further notice. On Friday of last week, five employees were let go by the Belize Times, among them long-serving workers Faye Castillo and Doreth Bevans. The PUP statement says that the decision to fire the workers, while a difficult exercise, was unavoidable given the state of the nation’s economy and the fact that the Belize Times had been operating under an outdated, wasteful and unsustainable business model. The PUP statement says that the Belize Times has been operating at a loss for the past few years, and that it can no longer sustain those losses. PUP leader Francis Fonseca, according to the official statement, assumes full responsibility for the decision to terminate the services of the workers, and says that all benefits and entitlements do to the fired workers have been paid in accordance with Belize’s labor laws. Fonseca offers his apologies to the aggrieved former employees of the Belize Times and says that while he and the PUP owe these employees and friends a great responsibility, the greater responsibility lies with the members of the Party who as shareholders in the PUP are demanding that the financial affairs of our Party be administered with a greater sense of responsibility, accountability, and efficiency.
Belize does well in women’s softball in Central America
Belize’s national women’s softball champions, Telemedia, have concluded participation in the Central American Champion of Champions tournament. And the ladies of team Telemedia are not coming home empty handed, having captured the silver medal in the games. The tournament which opened on Friday and ended yesterday was played at the La Sabana Metropolitan Park in San Jose, Costa Rica. For the first time since the tournament started, this year all the countries of the Central American isthmus sent a representative to the games. Each team played a total of six games and Belize and Guatemala ended play on Sunday with an identical record of five wins and one loss. But due to the fact that Guatemala had beaten Belize by a score of four to two on Saturday morning, they captured the gold and Belize had to settle for the silver medal. The third place spot in the tournament was won by Nicaragua. Host country Costa Rica placed seventh in the tournament. Aside from winning the silver medal, a member of the Belize team, pitcher Leandra Guy walked away from the tournament with the best pitcher award. Guy pitches locally for the Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy team from the Cayo district. A decision has not yet been made on where the next Champion of Champions tournament will be played. But in terms of regional fast pitch softball, the next big tournament is the male championships which will be played in November in Guatemala City. Another big event on regional the softball calendar is the Central American games on March of next year which will be hosted in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Gold rush inside Chiquibul — 12 detained for illegal gold panning
Belize security forces are cracking down on persons illegally panning for gold inside Belize’s prestigious Chiquibul Forest. A total of 12 persons have been detained since Friday; 2 have been charged and 10 more await formal
Musa The Hatchetman!
He has a “very cold, cold heart.” – former Belize Times worker.. This morning, three ex-employees of The Belize Times, the organ of the Opposition People’s United Party, visited Amandala to share with the public [...]
West Lake gains respect, holds BDF to 2-2 draw
After a late start and an uneventful exhibition between F.C. Belize and R.G. City Boys at the MCC yesterday, the nightcap game 2 of the Belize City Champions Cup finals series between BDF and West Lake [...]
“Antonio,” not “Anthony,” our apologies
We received a call this morning from tournament organizer Dickie Hernandez, and shortly afterwards a visit from 70-year-old Michael Soberanis, son of the legendary Belizean labor leader, Antonio Soberanis, both gently correcting the first name spelling [...]
Welcome to the party
There was a time when Said Musa was considered socialist, roots even, a youthful populist. His detractors used to even accuse him of being a “communist.” But the 1998-2008 administration of the PUP under his leadership [...]
From The Publisher
When Amandala became the leading newspaper in Belize in 1981, this was a disturbing development where the establishment or power structure in Belize was concerned. If you are a member of Belize’s middle class, you may ask: well, who exactly constitute the establishment or power structure in Belize? The reason you may not be able to see things clearly enough for definition, is likely because you are too close to the power, and you may even have hopes of one day seeing your children graduate to those higher heights, so to speak. If you are a member of the roots class, however, you know exactly who are the establishment or power structure, because these are what roots people consider to be untouchables. They are the ones who walk on top of roots people, as a matter of routine.
A few years after this newspaper became the industry leader, the Jesuits brought an American here by the name of David Runkel to teach journalism to their Sixth Form students. This would have been the middle/late eighties. It seems Runkel started talking about investigative journalism to his students, and I imagine he must have pointed out to them all the different areas where Amandala fell short of international journalism standards.
Of this and that
Today, Monday, Amandala celebrates 43 years of service to the people of Belize, and next month, September, will mark my sixteen years as editor of the newspaper. As we say, “How time flies.” Actually, I have [...]
Belize Default Official
The Government of Belize announced today that it is unable to make an August 20, 2012 coupon payment on the country’s U.S. Dollar Step-up Bonds Due 2029.
A Beautiful Day for (Hopefully) Swimming with 40 Foot Long Whale Sharks
Beautiful one for a very early start. In a few minutes we are getting picked up from our hotel...
to truck it over to Isla Holbox. Pronounced with the Mexican-Mayan X = "Sh"...or Holbosh.
Supposedly the whale sharks are in a veritable frenzy between Holbox and Contoy feasting on plankton and algae. NOT human flesh. He is only a filter feeded.
I will certainly let you know how it goes...
Mystery Fruit: Rambutan (Or Eye Ball Fruit), Tasting Strange Things and Some Pictures of Cancun
One of the best things about travelling or relocating to a new country is eating and drinking. Trying every new thing that you can. Honestly, is there a better way to get to know a different culture?
As you may know, I'm in Cancun. More "Bubba Gump's All You Can Eat Shrimp Buffet" and McDonald's than exotic cuisine. But we are still in Mexico. If you can't find the local food in the hotel zone, a short bus ride away is the city of Cancun. 500,000 people, many who have moved to the area to work in this huge tourist destination, tons of shops and lots of street food & fruit and veggie carts.
Over the past year of blogging, I've tried both good and bad. These black chicken tacos in Bacalar, Mexico are an example of the bad. A sip of bitters from an older gentleman in Dangriga, Belize surprisingly good.
Pig tails? Yes please. Genitalia of conch? Sure...why not? Termites off a giant nest in Cayo? Ugh...just one.
There is only one thing that I just couldn't try...and that was sea turtle egg ceviche in Omoa, Honduras. (Black clams on the right - delicious, sea turtle eggs on the left...sorry lil guys, you'll never make it to the ocean.)
But I digress...
I've worked tirelessly (pause for sympathetic sighs...) over the past few years to try all the new fruits in Belize. Some I've never seen before, mystery fruits like cashew fruit and waxy apples, sour sop, craboo & seagrapes and more (all are listed under the label: Mystery Fruits to the right.)
Here is one that I have tasted before (in Vietnam) but is probably new to lots of people. It is sometimes available in Belize but widely available this time of year in most of Central America.
Retire to the Simple Life in Cayo, Belize
In Belize’s Cayo District, it doesn’t take long for any other reality you’ve brought with you to fade. In this frontier land of rivers and rain forest, your mind and your body are occupied with challenge and discovery from sun up until you fall exhausted into your bed each evening.
Mick Fleming is something of a legend in this part of Belize, a larger-than-life character who, more than 30 years ago, with $600 in his pocket, made his way to Belize City, where he met a guy in a bar who owned a piece of land in the jungle he was interested in selling. Mick bought, thinking he’d try his luck as a farmer. The farming was tough going, but, in time, Mick identified another opportunity. Travelers were beginning to find their way to this remote region. They’d happen upon Mick and ask if he had a place where they could spend the night.
Mick built a few thatched-roof cabins … then a few more … then a dining room and a bar.
I met Mick about a quarter-century ago, when his Chaa Creek Lodge was a humble (electricity- and hot water-free) but beautiful oasis in the rain forest. I returned as often as I could for years, but, when I traveled out to see Mick most recently, I realized it had been maybe 13 or 14 years since my last visit. In the intervening years, Chaa Creek has grown up. Today, it’s 25 luxury villas, a spa, a swimming pool, and five-star service in the still thatched-roof dining room.
Last night we ended walking down the beach to Bean restaurant at ak’Bol yoga retreat, it is only 5 min or less from Grand Caribe Resort. We enjoyed yummy food and good company, Kirsten and Jim, then Milio, Captain Green, Sir Andrew and Ricardo turned up. I posted pics of what we ordered below I had the shrimp quesadilla, Cowboy and Leisa both did breakfast for dinner. Kirsten gave me a piece of carrot cake to try, I am eating it right now right now for a late night snack – thanks girlfriend it is totally hitting the spot and helping me get the job done.