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The San Pedro Sun
Fourth annual Tres Pescados tournament next weekend
2012 marks the fourth year of the annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament and as of Wednesday August 15th, some 15 boats had signed up with a total of 36 anglers. The dates are set for Thursday August 23rd through Saturday August 25th.
The tournament has attracted international attention with anglers traveling from neighboring Mexico and as far north as the United States to compete for the coveted prizes. The tournament is a catch and release fly fishing tournament for the three flat species – bonefish, permit and tarpon. Rules of the tournament are simple: – everyday each team will get a different ID tag and they will have to take a digital photo of the fishes caught with the ID tag and then that comes back to the tournament committee and points are based on the fish caught and released
San Pedro Sports Council gets sporting equipment donation from young Belizean-American Football Player
On Thursday, August 16th Councilor Gaby Nuñez thankfully received a generous donation of sporting equipment given to the San Pedro Sports Council by 16-year-old Belizean-American football player Timothy Paz and his family. The donation which included footballs, tennis shoes, sports jerseys and other equipment are a welcome addition and comes just in time to be used for the summer football camp as well as for future sporting activities that the council has planned. In total the council received over four dozen sets of jerseys, two dozen footballs shoes and 18 footballs that they will use for sporting events in San Pedro.
This is not the first time Timothy has donated sporting equipment to the island; in fact, when speaking with The San Pedro Sun he said that he’s been doing so for some years now whenever he comes down on vacation to visit his family and friends in San Pedro. Timothy plays football for the Norwich Free Academy Soccer Team in Connecticut, USA, and says that every couple of years his school gets brand new uniforms and equipment for their sports teams. He decided to ask his coach, Robert Briones, if he could bring down some of the equipment from previous seasons and donate them to the kids here on the island. He also got some of his friends and teammates in the U.S., who have seen what he’s been doing to help donate equipment here in Belize, to donate some stuff of their own and add to the number of items he could provide.
Police confuse identity of one of three killed in north AC in police shootout
The Belize Police Department has confused the names and photographs released, of one of three men killed in a shootout with law enforcement agencies on July 7th on northern Ambergris Caye. The three men killed were Alexander Mazariego and Ismael Garcia of Belmopan and Kendale Flowers of Belize City. At that time police released photographs of the deceased, including one which was erroneously identified a posing Alexander Mazariego with a M4 Carbine. It was later discovered that in actuality the photo was of Elias Hernandez who was detained by police during a special police operation on August 7th.
The error came to light after The San Pedro Sun released the pictures of one of three persons who were detained in a special police operation on August 7th in which police shot and injured 24 year old Steven Bowen Jr. some nine miles north of San Pedro Town. The picture of one of the detainees, 22 year old Elias Hernandez, proved to be the same person in the picture that was provided to the media for the identity of deceased Mazariegos.
It is uncertain how police incorrectly labeled Mazariego, but can now confirm that the person in the picture with the M4 Carbine has been positively identified by authorities as Elias Hernandez.
Never Underestimate a Tropical Depression
Case in point, look at the past two storms to cross over Belize this month. Hurricane Ernesto made landfall just above the Belize/Mexico border as a Category 1 Hurricane and it brought little rain and just some wind gusts. Some residents evacuated, others boarded up their homes and many prepared for a direct impact as the storm seemed headed straight for Belize; luckily we were spared.
And now a weak tropical depression which followed almost the same track as Ernesto makes landfall about a week after; it brought heavy rainfall to the northern district of Corozal. There was massive flooding, homes were inundated, streets were impassable, crop was ruined and people had to evacuate their homes to shelters that the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) had to make available.
Belizean-American Soccer Player Donates to Sport Council
ports Councilor Gaby Nuñez graciously accepted a kind donation of sports equipment presented to him by Belizean-American Timothy Paz. Paz and his family handed over the sports equipment on Thursday, August 16, 2012, in front of the BTB Office in San Pedro.
“I am very grateful to Timothy and his family for this kind donation,” stated Councilor Gaby Nuñez. “These sports jerseys, tennis shoes and other equipment will be used for the summer soccer camp that is presently underway and for other sports activities in the near future.”
Ismael Kay Sets New Record for San Pedro High School
San Pedro High must be very proud of Ismael Kay who, through his hard work and accomplishments, has set a new record in external examination passes. Ismael is an all around young man who loves to get involved. He was a member of the San Pedro Dance Company and traveled abroad to represent San Pedro. He was also the main choreographer and beauty pageant organizer for the Miss San Pedro Pageant. In the Math Olympiad he was there; in the Food and Nutrition Science Competition he was there; for fund raisers, he was there. He is also the President of the San Pedro Leo’s Club.
News from the regional external examinations CSEC or Caribbean Secondary Examination Council, the all around man proved that he is also an all around pro at many subjects. Giovanni Ismael Kay set a new record high for San Pedro High by passing 10 subjects out of 10 attempted with eight ‘grade 1’ and two ‘grade 2’. (Note: grade 1 is the highest grade achievable in any subject)
Misc Belizean Sources
Government of Belize : Application of the Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Framework in Belize
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority hereby informs the general public of a Validation Workshop that it will be hosting on August 20, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development.
This workshop is a follow-up to the first workshop held on May 03 2012, where stakeholders identified potential agricultural commodities for the export market and in addition explored the food safety; plant and animal health requirements that Belizean products would need to comply with it in order to access foreign markets. The feedback from stakeholders was then fed into an evaluation tool that would assist BAHA in identifying the areas where the respective industries and the Authority need to build capacity in order to expand the current export base.
The evaluation tool, known as the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) Framework is being applied in Belize in collaboration with the Standard Trade and Development Facility (STDF) of the World Trade Organization, who provided a grant of $30,000 USD to apply the MCDA Framework.
The tool utilizes a structured process for the setting of priorities, within a multi-disciplinary scenario, where all the respective needs for building sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) capacity rely heavily on the same pool of resources.
Fundraiser for Lucky Boy today at the Belize Zoo
Lucky Boy is just getting better and better with each passing day! Even tho far from being robust, our fellow is coming along beautifully......We look forward to our upcoming BBQ, which will work to provide funds, aimed at seeing that his
quality care continues. Stop by the Zoo, today, August 18th for great food and a worthy cause!! Remember, plates go for $8.00, and a $25 donation gets you an up close "meet and greet" with the Lucky Boy himself.
High School Principal Confesses To "Messing Around" With Student
Norman Willacey is the Principal, pastor and school counselor at the Belmopan Baptist High School.
But tonight, he is under a very serious public accusation; the mother of a sixteen year old former student says that Willacey was having a very adult romantic relationship with her teenaged daughter while she was a student.
And it's not just an allegation - she has proof: sexually charged Facebook messages exchanged between the principal and her daughter between March and July of this year.
We warn you, the messages are of an adult nature - and the story is certainly not fit for children.
But it is an allegation of urgent public interest: as it alleges that a school authority figure abused his position to seduce and sexually engage one of his own students.
We are not showing the mother's face to protect the identity of her daughter - and we have also blocked out her daughter's name on the Facebook script.
Here's what this outraged mother told the media today:..
Voice of: Victim's Mother
"I have a child that attends Belmopan Baptist High who just recently graduated. The principal at the school - that I have found out has been having inappropriate behavior with my daughter. I found out that she has been emailing him back and forth and talking to him and that he gives her money at different times. He spends lots of time with her - everybody in the school was aware of that - she is in and out of his office a lot. She was at the computer erasing one of her accounts. When she was closing down the computer, the computer had freeze, so her second account that she thought that she had taken care of did not erase. "
Karol Mello Finally Freed
37 days ago, the Government of Belize arrested Slovak National Karol Mello in an attempt to hand him over to authorities in his country of origin. Tonight, though, things have taken a turn: he is free from prison and out on bail.
As we have reported, Mello fought the expulsion order which was issued against him by Minister of Immigration Hon. Godwin Hulse, and won.
Justice Legall ruled that the government was detaining him illegally.
But before Mello could even hope to be released from the Belize Central Prison, authorities charged him with 2 immigration offences: perjury and uttering a passport which he was not entitled to utter, both in relation to his Slovak passport which was reportedly withdrawn by the Slovak Government.
When he was arraigned, the Senior Magistrate denied him bail on the grounds presented to her by the prosecution. This gave GOB 7 more days which they were entitled to detain him, but Mello pushed through for a bail petition which was heard today before Justice Hannomansingh - and he was successful.
After his petition hearing, the media spoke to his attorney outside of court about his submissions which used to convince the judge. Here's what he told us:
Andrew Marshalleck - Attorney for Karol Mello
"The most important thing is that Mr. Mello has been granted bail. After all the paper work is done he should be release unless of course somebody decides maybe to charge him with something else, it's important for that reason. It is also important because just looking at the papers and a cursory look at the material before the court demonstrated that the charges are really very frivolous."
Resort Owner Fined for Trafficking 14 Year Old Girl
There is a human trafficking conviction to report tonight - and it involves a 14-year-old Guatemalan girl who was forced into prostitution.
The case started all the way back in January and ended this evening in San Ignacio Magistrate's Court. 35 year old Estella Pinelo was convicted of trafficking in persons for harboring a 14 year old girl for 5 months and forcing her to work at her establishment, the Riverside Resort in San Ignacio.
But the word work is really not appropriate for what this teenager was made to endure. The child was never paid, forced to prostitute herself, beaten, awakened at dawn to do menial chores, and locked in a room with the owner's special needs child.
The maximum sentence for such a conviction is five years in jail, but Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith showed leniency because Pinelo is nursing a four month old child: so instead of sentencing her to even the minimum of a year in jail, she imposed a ten thousand dollar fine.
DPP Cheryl Lyn Vidal prosecuted the case and had indicated she will file for an appeal of the sentence.
Court: "Riot" Led To Mob Torching ACES Compound PG
If you follow the news closely, you may remember the torching of the American Crocodile Centers, ACES, in Punta Gorda in September of 2010.
Two years have passed, no one has been criminally charged and the owners, Vince and Cherie Rose have had to relocate to Ladyville. But they haven't given up: the American couple has maintained throughout that a marauding mob of Toledo villagers burned down their home - and police let them.
For background - you'll need to recall that - the Rash children, Benjamin and Onelia had just gone missing - and somehow, the villagers of San Marcos became seized of the opinion that the Rose's were somehow responsible.
Well, they weren't - but still, their property was burnt to the ground. And so, the Rose's got a lawyer and sued the government for permitting a riot to ensue which destroyed their property. Under the Riot Compensation Act, the government is responsible for damages that arise during a riot.
The decision was handed down today in the Supreme Court by Justice Oswell Legall.
Unemployment Highest in 14 Years!
In 2011, the census found that unemployment was at 23%. And while that figure is telling, the truth is that the census is not the right instrument to best measure unemployment.
For that, statisticians rely on the workforce survey - which takes into account seasonal employment and other variables. Well, the results of the survey conducted in April of this year were released today - and unemployment is still very high. As a matter of fact, it is the highest it has been in 14 years!
That's 14.4% - the highest it has been since April of 1998 when the national rate was 14.3 percent. That figure varies from district to district, but unemployment was highest in the Cayo district at 18.3% and lowest in the Belize district at 12.1%.
Unemployment is much higher for women than it is for men: Males unemployment rate is only 9.1% while women are at 22.3 percent. And, among ethnicities, unemployment was highest among Maya's with 18.3%, and lowest among Mestizo's at 13.6%.
Victim Of City Shooting Refuses Police
There was a shooting in the city last night - but the victim doesn't want to cooperate with police.
It happened at 9:20 when 25 year old Austin Rowland was on Flamboyant Street when he was shot in the left leg. Police say that five expended shells and one live round were recovered from the scene.
But when they got to the hospital Rowland - who is no stranger to police - refused to give a statement. He also declined an interview with us.
Police have the name of a suspect - who is also no stranger to them.
At almost exactly the same time as that shooting in the Lake Independence area, there was another in the Port Loyola Area. This time police found 7 expended shells on Gill street - but no one was hurt. 25 year old security guard Steven Lambey was riding his bicycle on Gill Street when two men who were riding towards him opened fire.
Lambey also refused to make an official report.
Mayhem On The Mexican Highway
Any merchant who travels the road while transferring goods through Mexico will tell you that it can be a dangerous job.
That danger became real on Tuesday afternoon for Hyram Longsworth, a bus operator in Lord's Bank, when he was robbed at gunpoint of his vehicle and his newly-purchased bus in Mexico near the Border with Belize.
Today, he spoke to us about how the Mexican assailants robbed him of approximately $50,000 in cash and goods. Here's what he told us about what he experienced.
"I know that the border is a bot tense and while coming from Los Indios into Matamoros heading to Belize."
"Which area is this sir?"
"This is in Mexico about 25-30 miles away from Matamoros I was high jacked by 3 armed Mexican men who then wanted to stop me and I drove my bus and fight them off at least half of a mile but then while going it got tough. These guys, I don't know what they really wanted and they continue and continue - the man had a dead shot at me. There was a guy in the back with what looked like a AK-47 and the next guy came out with a 9mm gun and told me to open the door. That's when I opened the door, but I believe then that was when they wanted money."
Floodwaters Still Not Receded In North
Last night, 7News showed you the widespread flooding in the low lying areas of the Corozal District. Well, the news tonight is that although much of the waters are receding, some areas are still under water.
Mayor of Corozal, Hilberto Campos told 7News that the water has gone down in majority of the town. But, some areas are still under water.
7News also called Willard Levy, the District Organizer for NEMO Corozal who told us that the villages of XAIBE (SHY-BEH) and Caledonia are still largely under water.
He added that there may be more villages which are still flooded, but their survey is incomplete. Levy added only the Guadeloupe RC shelter, which currently has 7 shelterees, remains open.
A survey is being done to see how much devastation has been done to the agricultural sector in the district.
Ernesto Pounded Papaya Crops
Hurricane Ernesto spared Belize and the damage to infrastructure was minimal but NEMO reports that the agricultural sector experienced losses of 763 thousand dollars.
Corn, sugar, cane, papaya and plantain were damaged.
The greatest damage is to papaya crops where 23 acres in Fruta Bomba and Little Belize were damaged. The value of the combined losses is 695 thousand dollars.
592 persons went into shelters in countrywide, 314 of them in Corozal. NEMO reports that 911 persons voluntarily evacuated San Pedro and Caye Caulker.
Youth For A Summit
Today Youth for the Future Belize joined the rest of the world to celebrate International Youth Day 2012.
A youth festival was held at the MCC Grounds to showcase young artists and entrepreneurs. It was all clean fun for the youngsters who even got to enjoy a special performance by well-known Jamaica reggae artist 'Pressure". 7news was out there and spoke with one of the coordinators who told us what the overall object of today's event is.
Norman Brembridge, Youth for the Future
"Actually what we are doing is commemorating "AKA" celebrating international youth day. It's a international event where we seek to recognize youths nationally for their involvement in their own development and the involvement of the development of a country and so it's a launch practically of international youth day today and it's going to be followed with a series of events for young people across the nation."
"Specifically today what would be happening out here?"
Norman Brembridge, Youth for the Future
"It's going to start off with a presentation and a couple motivational speakers to actually challenge the young people that are out here to be proactive and be a part of the program that are establish for their development and to actually come to us with programs that they would want to see for their own development."
Meet Ms. Earth
5 young beauties will all be vying for the title of Miss Earth Belize come this Saturday night at the Bliss. It's the pageant's second year and we found out what you can expect tomorrow.
Kimberly Robateau, Miss Earth Belize
"Tomorrow night is the Miss Earth pageant at the Bliss and there will be 5 young ladies competing for the title of Miss Earth 2012. This is the year of sustainable energy and they will be doing an introduction of dance, costume, evening wear and swimsuit wear. The costume will basically base on sustainable energy, so when you thing about energy you wonder what can you do, so to see that you have to attend the Miss Earth pageant tomorrow night at the Bliss."
"The ladies have been preparing - it's so tiresome, I'm sure they are tired. They also been practicing even though some of them have other things to do - they have to try to do both of them - try to fit everything in but I believe they will do very well from what I am seeing. Of course every queen will look and say who they think fit and I can't really say yet who will really be Miss Earth 2012 because they all really fit the title."
Chantae In Ms. World
And while the ladies of Ms. Earth will compete on Saturday night - early tomorrow morning - Belize time - the contestants for Miss World 2012 will be participating in their main event in China.
As we've reported, Belize's Chantae Guy did well in one preliminary competition The Top Model Event.
You can see how she stands up to the competition tomorrow morning at 6:00 when the Ms. World Pageant airs on Channel 7. It will also repeat later in the evening for those who need a Saturday sleep-in.
Married Pastor and Principal’s relationship with student
There is a serious allegation being made against the principal of a high school in Belmopan. A parent of a teen has alleged that the principal had sex with her daughter on the school compound and that the sexual relationship has been ongoing for a year. The mother had no intention of going to the [...]
Pastor texts confession to News 5
In an update to this story; News Five and Channel Seven have been attempting to communicate with Willacey while he was sending messages to his attorney. News Five also sent Willacey a text message. Moments ago he replied in two messages and we will read them verbatim. They say, “I HAVE spoken to jules vasquez. [...]
Uproar as Port suspends outspoken stevedore
A brief standoff between the management of the Port of Belize and career stevedore Raymond Rivers, an outspoken advocate for the rights of dockworkers, led to a temporary delay in the servicing of a cargo vessel moored at the harbor this afternoon. The impasse was the result of a suspension which Rivers is tonight serving [...]
Port Receiver explains why stevedore was suspended
According to Arturo Vasquez, the suspension is the result of written complaints tendered by fellow stevedores against Rivers, as well as his contempt towards the new management of the port by refusing to accept a memo issued to him. In the end, Vasquez was able to avert a complete standstill by liaising with the gang [...]
Known gang affiliate shot
Twenty-five year old Austin Rowland, a resident of Oleander Street in the Lake Independence area, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the left leg following an armed assault on him on Flamboyant Street on Thursday night. Reports are that Rowland, a known affiliate of the PIV gang, was in the vicinity of the long [...]
Steven Lambey escapes 7 bullets
Shortly before that incident there was another shooting across town. At nine-twenty p.m. Steven Lambey, a security guard of Reggae Street, was riding his bicycle along Gill Street when he was accosted by two men when he reached the intersection with Ross Penn Road. Upon closing in on him the gunmen fired a total of [...]
Slovak Karol Mello free on bail
Karol Mello, an alleged crime boss in Central Europe’s underworld, wanted in Slovakia for a series of crimes he reportedly orchestrated, including the slaughter of a mother and son in a botched hit, is tonight a free man after being granted Supreme Court bail by Justice Denis Hanomansingh. The forty-two year old broker, who was [...]
D.P.P.’s successful human trafficking conviction
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is cracking down on accused human traffickers and today sealed the third conviction for this year. Thirty-five year old Estella Pinelo was first arrested in May 2010 when a fourteen year old girl was removed from her resort in San Ignacio and handed over to Human Development [...]
Corozal’s receding waters, but cane crop damage
The rains in the north have seized and the waters are now receding. But in the aftermath of both Hurricane Ernesto last Tuesday and the freak rains that hit Corozal on Wednesday night, there is a lot of damage to the agricultural industry; specifically to the sugar cane crop. Minister of State in the Ministry [...]
The rocky and muddy Independence Village roads
Deplorable road conditions are common in Belize, but while the old capital is getting some much needed face lifts with concrete streets, other parts of the country aren’t as fortunate. A concerned citizen in Independence Village sent us these images of streets from across the community. While there is a shortage of paved streets, those [...]
Lands Department failing system; BGYEA granted extension
On another part of the Highway, Mile forty-one on the Western is the place called Harmonyville. In May of this year we told you how Harmonyville applicants were pressing forward to secure the titles to their land. The applicants were given three months to make their payments for their land but that never happened. Nigel [...]
International Youth Day with Jamaican Artist, Pressure
Countries across the globe celebrated International Youth Day on August twelfth, but in Belize the festivities had to be postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Ernesto. While today’s weather was still not optimal, the Youth for the Future Secretariat called out the young people to the MCC Grounds to have their day in the [...]
Girl with face tumor still in treatment
Remember Catarina Ishim, the little girl with the life threatening tumor? We have been following her story since March of this year before she left for Knoxville Tennessee in April to get much needed surgery through the kind assistance of the Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry. Well, she did over twenty hours of surgery and [...]
Hundreds of students get free back to school accessories
School will be re-opening in a matter of weeks and some eight hundred students are already getting ready for the new school year with some much needed assistance. For over ten years the students are being sponsored by donors in the U.S. through the Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry. The primary, high school and university [...]
Mayor Bradley’s next project for Belize City
There are several projects that are in place by the City Council to increase the quality of life. One includes the rehabilitation of at least fifty percent of streets in the City. On Wednesday, at the opening of Holy Emmanuel Street in the Lake Independence Area of Belize City, the Mayor spoke of another beautification [...]
Rescued from starvation, jaguar needs permanent shelter
Lucky Boy is the rescued Black Jaguar that now calls the Belize Zoo, home. He was saved after he was left for dead in captivity in Southern Belize. Well, the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network along with the Forestry Department and the Zoo retrieved him from where he was left to starve. Lucky Boy, as he [...]
Corozal ballers to tournament at Mets Stadium
For the past few months, the Sprite and Belikin National Three by Three basketball tour has brought out the best from each district. Recently the finals were held in the Jamboree Parking lot and the Corozal Team won. The prize is participation in the FIBA Three by Three World Tour in New York on August [...]
Female Police Constables Attend Workshop on Professional Development
A two day seminar by the Police Department ended in Belmopan today. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports. FEM CRUZ Belmopan Correspondent Love FM “The Belize Police Department is hosting a two-day Professional Development seminar for all female Police C
Family Claims Body of Murder Victim in Orange Walk
Orange Walk Police have not made any arrest in the murder of Toledo resident which occurred in that municipality yesterday morning. Reporter Dalila Ical has an update. DALILA ICAL Orange Walk Correspondent Love FM “The family of 33 year old Fernan
Butane Prices on the Rise
Last month the price of butane took a huge cut but the news today is that there has been an increase in butane prices. According to the Supplies Control department of the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, the new controll
Chamber of Commerce Supports Bond Renegotiation
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry says in principle it supports the renegotiation of the super bond with the goal of making debt repayment more manageable. The Chamber says it believes without exception, debts must be paid and we must be financially responsible citizens. Howev
Flooding in Northern Belize
Constant rains have affected residents of several villages in the Corozal District. Reporter Patrick Jones travelled north and has the story. PATRICK JONES Senior News Reporter Love FM “Torrential rains overnight have left much of the Corozal Dist...
University of Belize Solar power project ready to switch on!
The project was funded by the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The power gen...
Police make arrest in robbery of Mexicans cycling Highway
Three Mexican men were the targets of thieves on the Hummingbird Highway last week. In an update concerning the cas...
Steven Okeke says Northern Highway can do with Thumb bumps
There is a major push to upgrade and pave many Belize City streets. However, even as the Council is undertaking the...
Belmopan Beauties vie for Queen of the Bay
We featured the delegates of the Queen of West Pageant this week but let’s bring it closer to home; the Pageant is ...
Convicted ladyville child molester strikes again
A Ladyville resident is settling in at Kolbe tonight after he was accused of indecent assault against a 16 year-old...
Butane Prices heading back up
Just about a month ago, the Government announced a sharp decline in the cost of butane. Well, that was a short live...
Cocoa production in the Toledo gets financial boost
Inter-American Development Bank and the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) signed an agreement in Belize City ...
Oceanic Society in Belize studying manatees from the Air
Marine research usually involves going into the waters to conduct investigations and surveys. But one research orga...
Zoo holds Bar-B-Q fundraiser for rescued black jaguar
The Belize Zoo is having a roadside BBQ this Saturday, but this is an important BBQ – it’s to raise funds for Lucky...
Belize Coast guard makes a drug bust out at sea
Belize Coast guard makes a drug bust out at sea. Yesterday afternoon around 3:30 pm the Da
Youth and murder statistics
To date in 2012 there have been 92 murders, exceeding the record paces set at this point in 2010 and 2011, when there were 131 and 123 murders, respectively, for the entire year.
After eight consecutive months, September of 2011 to March of 2012, when fewer than ten murders were recorded per month, a feat credited by authorities to the success of the gang truce signed at the end of August, 2011, April to July of 2012 has seen four consecutive double-digit months: 21, 16, 15 and 13, respectively. There have been six murders to date in August.
Looking a little more closely at our statistics for murders we established the following trend. For the last three years, murder victims between the ages of 18 and 30 have numbered around half the total of murder victims per year: 68 in 2010, which is 51.9%; 63 in 2011, which is 51.2%, and to date in 2012, 46 for 50% even.
Murder victims aged 18 and under in each of those years number 16 for 2010, 13 for 2011, and 11 for 2012. Within the 19 to 29 age bracket, the numbers are 47, 47 and 35, respectively.
Belize-Telemedia takes Silver, Guatemala, Gold, in 7th Central American Softball Championship 2012
Representing Belize over the weekend in the 7th Central American Senior Female Softball Championship, held in Costa Rica from Friday, August 10, to Sunday, August 12, was the Belize Telemedia Female Softball Team, reigning National Champions of Belize, who were reinforced with a few players from other teams for the international tournament. Our girls had a splendid showing, and came ever so close to taking the championship, having to settle for 2nd place.
Seven (7) teams participated in the Central American Championship: host Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize – Belize Telemedia Female Softball Team, El Salvador, and Panama.
In our first game on Friday, August 10, Belize crushed Costa Rica, 15-2, with Mary Flowers the winning pitcher.
Belize saw action in three (3) games on Saturday, August 11. In game 1, Belize fell, 4-2, to Guatemala, behind losing pitcher Kenrene Gillett. Game 2 saw Belize defeating Panama, 6-2, with Leandra Guy the winning pitcher; and Belize was victorious again in game 3, this one 6-4 over Nicaragua, with Kenrene Gillett picking up the win.
Two games remained for Belize on Sunday, and though we won both, it wasn’t enough to secure the championship. Leandra Guy pitched Belize to an 11-2 rout of El Salvador in the first game on Sunday; and Mary Flowers was on the mound for Belize in the nightcap, as our girls whipped Honduras, 8-1.
Football is on the move; FFB President visits the sports desk
This morning, FFB President Ruperto Vicente dropped by the Amandala sports desk, and we welcomed the opportunity to be enlightened on the progress and plans for football under his administration, which was elected to office on March 15 of this year, replacing the administration of Dr. Bertie Chimilio, who had ruled football in Belize since 1998.
FIFA has advised the FFB to hold off on finalizing any strategic plan until November of this year, when FIFA consultants will be conducting special training in Belize for the FFB, towards designing a strategic plan for the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the FFB has designed some plans in regards to the structure of football tournaments in the coming season.
Football competitions – no B League
The FFB does not envision a B League in its plans for football right now. Vicente says that, after reviewing the situation, with regard to their overall plan, a B League would not be feasible right now.
The top league, the Premier League of Belize, or Belize Premier League, as some fans prefer to call it, will start its competition next weekend or early in September.
U19 National Cricket Selection disappointed in Suriname, remain in Division 2
Just an update on the U19 Tournament which was scheduled to be held from July 31 to August 5 in Suriname, but was called off due to rain.
The ICC Americas Under-19 Division 2 Championship, which was cancelled due to rain, will not be re-held due to financial reasons. ICC Americas Officials will recommend that Argentina, Bahamas and Cayman Island move back up to Division 1, since they had been there before. They were dropped down to Division 2 because of the level of cricket they were playing; in other words, they were not playing Division 1 cricket.
Presently, the following teams are in Division 2 – Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands and Suriname. But if the head office approves the recommendation made, then only Belize and Suriname will be left in Division 2.
These tournaments are held just about every two years, and to know that we have been taken out of the U19 World Cup run for 2014 was a big blow, as the winner from this (Division 2) tournament would have gone up to Division 1; and if we had won that, we would have earned the right to represent the Americas at the 2014 U19 Cricket World Cup.
Editorial: Border concerns
Sometimes we get the impression that the government cannot handle more than one pressing issue or exigency at the same time – it’s a one-or-the-other kind of situation. But, the truth is, such a luxury cannot be enjoyed by any modern nation state, for any excessive period of time.
We understand the dramatic importance of the Super Bond negotiations. We understand that we are at an awfully critical stage in those negotiations, and we understand that the next few days, and particularly the next few weeks, will, to paraphrase Thomas Paine, try the souls of men.
We understand all that. But still, serious issues pile up in modern government. Those issues don’t stay neatly stacked in the backroom until the number one issue in the front room is resolved, and a beautifully ordered transition can take place. Case in point – the creeping “invasion” taking place on the western front of our country will not hit the pause button because we have to face down the bondholders. We wish it were such.
Sometimes we get the impression the government is looking the other way, praying this matter of the border encroachments would just go away.
In times past our Guatemalan neighbors were encroaching on our fabulously diverse forests for logging purposes. Then it was for xate leaves, and if it wasn’t for the ornamental leaves, it was for farming purposes, or to actually settle and live; now it’s to pan for gold. All these varied activities on our border have been going on for over 30 years now.
From The Publisher
People who survive an accident which claims the life of a friend or relative subsequently experience a feeling similar to guilt. This guilt, which is unjustified if you consider things purely rationally, comes along with a question. Survivors ask themselves why it was that they came out alive of a situation which could easily have taken their lives, and did in fact kill someone near and dear to them. Combat veterans also go through such “changes.” In John Donne’s famous poem, he says that, “Every man’s death diminishes me.” Yes, there are Ebenezer Scrooge-types who appear to be surviving without any love, but such people are often victims of some earlier form of trauma. Overall, we are a part of other people, and they are a part of us.
When I watch the annual parade of our schools on Independence Day, the behavior of the young boys/young men in their uniforms is interesting to me. I think that the young males who are in school are being psychologically affected, whether they are fully conscious of it or not, by the behavior/lifestyle of their street contemporaries who are not in school. What jumps out at me is how many of the boys who are in school are trying to get as close as they can to “sagging” with their pants. The street style/culture of the teenaged gangsters affects the talk, the walk, and the attitude of Belizean boys who are in school.
When you look at a school like Wesley College, the physical line which separates the school from the violent streets around it is a very thin line. Other schools may be more removed from the streets, but almost all the young males who are in school but who live on the Southside of Belize City, have to walk and ride streets where they encounter young males their same age who are killing and dying too fast for us to keep count.
Stop the destruction of Belize’s fisheries – ban gill netting!
The present proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act still provide for gill net fishing that will continue the destruction of Belize’s fisheries. Gill net fishing must be outlawed in its entirety. In years past, Belize’s fisheries were of such great magnitude they were unequalled elsewhere. Older fisherman tell of the great schools of Crevale Jacks that were so large that when they were feeding on sprat, the waters were erupted in areas of more than a square mile.
Unfortunately, there are no longer such great schools of Crevale Jacks or schools of other species of fish that were so prominent and plentiful in Belize during earlier years. They have all but disappeared. Their decline and disappearance have been the result of gill net fishing. 90% percent of such gill net fishing has been done by Guatemalan gill net fishermen who come to Belize in their boats loaded with miles of gill nets.
Fortunately, during 2003 and early 2004, Belize had an exceptionally fine Minister of Fisheries, the Hon. Servulo Baeza, who showed great interest in protecting the fisheries and the country’s economy. Baeza held public meetings, took polls, and made surveys regarding gill net fishing and its effect. He eventually arrived at the opinion that, to save the fisheries, gill net fishing had to be outlawed in its entirety.
The first public meeting was held at Monkey River on April 22, 2004 and was recorded. The meeting was attended by Southern gill net fishermen. The fishermen explained the great harm to the industry that resulted from gill net fishing, and how and why employment in the fishing industry would be increased and the fisheries saved if gill net fishing was outlawed. They further explained that the only reason that they fished with gill nets was because the Government of Belize allowed the Guatemalans to do so. Their position was that they would gladly give up gill net fishing if the Guatemalans also were prevented from gill net fishing. Six years later they repeated the statements on television.
GOB heading for super-bond default?
Committee for bondholders rejects GOB’s restructuring scenarios
Ministry of Finance says it can’t meet Aug. 20 payment of US$23 million
Internationally, the reaction to the proposed restructuring scenarios for the Belize’s US$544 million step-up bonds due in 2029 has been negative, and only yesterday, a group of the bondholders, who are being advised by BroadSpan Capital LLC, issued a statement frowning upon them. On the heels of that statement, the Ministry of Finance today issued a press release signaling that it is unable to make the next installment of the super-bond payment, US$23 million, due next Monday, August 20, 2012.
“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,” said the release.
In a statement issued Monday, August 13, by the Coordinating Committee of Bondholders, formed to address matters relating to the potential restructuring of Belize’s U.S. dollar bonds due 2029, the group announced its “disappointment and concern” over the Government of Belize’s recently published indicative restructuring scenarios, which propose a substantial haircut off the principal payments of nearly half.
The committee said, “While initially encouraged by the Government’s stated commitment to a ‘fair and transparent dialog,’ the Coordinating Committee is having difficulty reconciling the scenarios and the financial information released by the Government on June 20.”
The three restructuring scenarios are as follows: Scenario “A” proposes a 50-year bond, from 2012 to 2062, whereas scenarios “B” and “C” propose 30-year arrangements with contrasting features and both having final maturity dates of 2042.
Belize burdened: bondholders balking!
The restructuring of Belize’s US$544 million super-bond grew more contentious this week when bondholders balked at the terms proposed by Government of Belize—terms which they have said are not good for the negotiations; and the Government, inturn, responded saying that it will not make the impending bond payment due next Monday, August 20.
The Barrow administration had actually budgeted for the US$23 million payment in the national budget which took effect on August 1, 2012, but it issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it really can’t meet interest payments at the new rate of 8.5%, which takes effect next week.
The Government of Belize has signaled to bondholders that the BZ$46 million which bondholders have been expecting to get, despite ongoing negotiations, won’t be paid on the current terms, and it has insisted that the terms need to be renegotiated.
“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,” its press release said.
The announcement sparked a Standard and Poor’s downgrade on Belize’s long-term foreign currency ratings from “CCC” to “CC” (vulnerable to highly vulnerable), with a negative outlook suggesting that Belize’s next rating would be “SD” – “selective default.” The downgrade—about which the Barrow administration, which has borrowed primarily on concessionary terms, is unconcerned—would come even if the Government proceeds with restructuring under conditions of duress, the ratings agency has indicated.
Belize downgraded after announcement that super-bond won’t be paid
Belize’s S&P long-term foreign ratings approaching “selective default”
”…either a missed payment or an exchange that we view as distressed constitutes a default.”
“The ratings could stabilize at this level if the government makes the payment and forgoes debt rescheduling negotiations.”
Immediately after the Government of Belize announced on Tuesday that it won’t be able to meet the August 20, 2012, super-bond payment of BZ$46 million in interest charges, the international ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, downgraded Belize’s long-term foreign currency ratings from “CCC” to “CC”—from vulnerable to highly vulnerable—marking it with a negative outlook.
“The negative outlook reflects the prospect that we will lower our foreign currency ratings to ‘SD’ [selective default] if the government misses its Aug. 20 payment as announced, or if it proposes a debt exchange to investors,” said the ratings agency in a press release today. “The ratings could stabilize at this level if the government makes the payment and forgoes debt rescheduling negotiations.”
As shown in the accompanying table, the other currency ratings for Belize remain unchanged.
“The rating action follows the government’s announcement today that it will not pay the US$23 million semiannual coupon due on Aug. 20, 2012, on its US$546.8 million bonds due 2029. The interest rate steps up [from 6%] to 8.5% on the accrued interest due this month,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Kelli Bissett
Former tropical depression floods northern Belize
Areas of Corozal Town and District under as much as four feet of water
The remnants of a tropical depression that formed last Thursday about 1,800 miles east of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean crossed Belize last night as a tropical wave after dissipating on Saturday while still about 40 miles east of Barbados.
While the system failed to gain enough strength to become a threat as it journeyed through the Caribbean Basin, upon its arrival here it dropped “unexpected and unanticipated” substantial amounts of rainfall in the north and center of the country.
The National Meteorological Service has confirmed that as a result of the wave, some six inches of rain fell in the area of Consejo, Corozal District, as recorded this morning, and two inches in Orange Walk. Belize City also saw some shower activity.
According to Belize’s weather bureau, showers are expected in the North tonight, though not as much as last night, and tomorrow, Friday, will see a decrease in rain activity. Conditions on the weekend will be generally fair with only isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Areas of the Corozal District earlier today were under threat of evacuation due to flooding conditions brought on by the intense rainfall caused by the wave last night and this morning.
Haven away from home at Hickatee (part 1)
We already introduced you to Hickatee Cottages near Punta Gorda town in a previous post, but we wanted to share more about this gem of a place to stay in southern Belize. There was so much to love here, from the peaceful setting with so many plants, to the resident howler monkey troop, to the lovely, comfortable cottages, to the cooling dipping pool, to the fantastic food, and last but not least, to the helpful and knowledgeable owners, Ian and Kate. I'm sure a lot of folks who stay here spend most of their time venturing out on excursions during the day, but we really enjoyed just hanging out here, watching birds on the grounds or on the road right outside. The natural setting can't be beat, and as you enter the gates you can actually feel your stress slipping away.
Flora and fauna
Here are some of the plants and animals we enjoyed seeing around the grounds. There are great identifying signs for many of the plants. Some we'd seen before in other spots but hadn't known what they were, so it was helpful to put a name with a face, so to speak.
Royal Sands Cancun: Not a Dreaded Time Share, So Much More Than I Thought
When my friends asked me if I wanted to use their (quickly expiring) time share in Cancun, I'll admit...I was a tiny bit hesitant. Firstly, the words "time share" send a shiver down my spine...aggressive sales men hunting me all week...resort organized mixers? Not my thing.
Second...Cancun? Sure I planned a trip to the Yucatan for this week anyway...but I was thinking relaxing Tulum or Cozumel or maybe a new locale...Isla Holbox. Cancun was definitely not my first choice.
But as soon as I looked at the website, it didn't make sense NOT to go. Incredibly cheap price. 2 bedrooms? Two baths? A full kitchen? A huge dining balcony? 1300 square feet? (It's set up to sleep up to 8.) Let's give it a go. And I'm super glad I did...Royal Sands is much nicer than I ever would have imagined and this time of year in Cancun? Fantastic.
Like almost all of the hotels on the "strip" this place is HUGE. Hundreds and hundreds of rooms and villas...
And though this is my view for most of the day....
Guide to getting the best deal on car hire
When the weather starts warming up, our minds naturally start to turn to planning a summer holiday. A popular option for getting around – especially for parents with small children- is to hire a car, either at home or abroad. It gives you the freedom to explore your destination at your own pace and be your own tour guide. And with children on board it is a great, flexible option.
If hiring a car for you and your family is something new, here are some tips to help you get started:
Add up the extras. Calculate the total cost of hiring a car including any extras you may incur, such as a child or infant seats, or roof racks. If you know you are going to need an infant or child seat, compare the cost of taking your own to that of hiring one. It can often work out cheaper to take your own which your child is familiar with.
Check the small print. Always check the provider’s website and read the terms and conditions carefully.
Be prepared to be flexible. Bear in mind you may not get the exact car you ordered. Many car rental companies make it clear that it will be a ‘similar’ car and reserve the right to upgrade you to a more expensive model if they are not able to supply the model you ordered.
Top Five Historic Ruins in the Caribbean
Most visitors to the Caribbean don’t make it further afield than their cabana, and with good reason. The powder white sand and clear water make for some of the best beach bumming on the planet. Here are the top five fascinating and picturesque reasons to pry the pina colada out of your hand and explore what’s past the tiki bar.
One of the most visited sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, this fortification has stood sentry on its sea cliffs since the 13th century. A pre-Colombian Maya city, Tulum was a major trading port. When you arrive from your resort in Playa del Carmen or Cancun, you’ll immediately be awed by the Pyramid El Castillo and the sprawling complex around it. Flawlessly preserved, the sun baked city walls, frescoed temples and majestic palaces stand as the prettiest ghost town you’ll ever see.
Delve into the ancient culture of copper at this chilling compound of carved temples and weather worn foundations. From the apex of the High Temple, 108 feet up, you’ll enjoy a sweeping view of the Jaguar Temple, Mask Temple, surrounding rainforest, and the New River Lagoon. Don’t miss the 15 foot high empty-gazed mask that has guarded Lamanai since the 6th century, or the accompanying exhibit that displays dozens of ornate copper artifacts. Lamanai is a quick and easy trip from either the coast of Belize or Orange Walk Town.
August traditionally ‘Italian’ Month
When you work year in and year out in the tourism sector of Caye Caulker to begin to recognize patterns and seasons both with numbers and the difference in demographic each month.
Whilst our high season definitely runs from November to May, an additional high season in the summer of July and August is traditionally witnessed for us in the ‘back-packer’ market of Caye Caulker. This small influx is like a blessing to us here on the island as it will allow us to save money to take us through the slow (almost dead) months of September and October.
This August and July has not disappointed as the Split, Caye Caulker has been quite the place to be at sunset with scantily clad Europeans running around and enjoying our Caribbean flavor!! For as long as I can remember, August has been christened ‘Italian Month’. Although Italians obviously travel throughout the year, August is a month which at home they take the month off and therefore Italians travel the world on mass during the month of August.
Their presence is distinctive as they generally travel in large groups – Adventuro del Mundo – and their leader will research for tours and hotels, their goal to strive for the best quality at the cheapest price. If there is generalizations that one can apply to these Italians is that they are always animated, fashionably dressed and they will definitely win the award for the Nation that wears the smallest swim attire!!
Whilst back 4 years ago their groups were at least 20 and perhaps above, with the Italian’s economy the size of the groups and even the number of groups have definitely dropped this year – however, their presence is very much still here and we are enjoying every minute of it as they make the Split seem colorful, well tanned and beautiful!!