#445595 - 08/31/12 02:06 PM
Today's Belize News: August 31, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun
San Pedro Animal Hospital Offers low cost vaccinations to pets of San Pedro
The issue of overpopulation of strays has been at the forefront of the news for the past several weeks here on the island. Now that the San Pedro Town Council is working with the Saga Humane Society in a weekly round up campaign of unattended dogs, which according to representatives has been very successful, this alone does not provided a solution to the problem. In an effort to encourage responsible and affordable pet care, the San Pedro Animal Hospital (SPAH) has come onboard, now offering low cost vaccinations.
The SPAH has committed to assist as well as provide for healthier pets on the island. Weekly the SPAH does a round up along with Town Council officials, and offer a one per week spay or neuter free of cost. This is done to curb the propagation, and eventual overpopulation of pets. This week, they are offering a different service to pet owners; vaccinations at an extremely low cost. On Friday between the hours of 9AM and 5PM all pet owners on the island can get their pets vaccinated at a whopping 75% Discount.
San Pedro’s Art in the Park!
Art in the Park has been a big event in other parts of the country and in San Pedro it has been happening, even if on a smaller scale. However this year, with the support of the San Pedro Town Council through the San Pedro Cultural Committee, the event was organized a little differently in attempt to enhance the event to attract more people. The two-day event kicked off today Thursday August 30th at the San Pedro Central Park with over 35 artisans. The aim of the Art in the Park initiative is to bring together artisans in one common area to market their products.
While the event is ongoing for a full two days, official ceremony is scheduled for 6PM at the San Pedro Central Park and it includes special performances by well-known Belizean artist Terryl “Man at Work” Godoy. The event includes both visual and expressive arts. It is geared to provide a common forum for artists and artists to market their products to locals and visitors alike. While it is a singular event every year, the San Pedro Cultural Committee hopes to host the Art in Park more often during the course of the year and is also working to include the cooking art as well. “We are seeing a lot of people stopping by and inquiring. It has been a good turnout but we expect more people to come out at night and on the second day,” said one arti
Adrift for 6 months and 4,643 miles – Lydia Rose lands on Ambergris Caye beach
Fisheries Department employees, attached to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye, found a British race craft vessel on the evening of Thursday August 23rd while patrolling north of the Rocky Point. At first the vessel was believed to be a submarine or even a submersible craft but after closer inspection it was found to be a British type race vessel. The Lydia Rose was initially believed to be a vessel used in the transshipment of drugs.
According to Lieutenant Commander of the Belize Coast Guard Elton Bennett, the Anti Drugs Unit of the Belize Police Department was called to inspect the craft and determine whether it was used for transporting drugs. “After inspection, it was determined that the racecraft could not be a drug vessel because of its size and small space. We are convinced of that,” said Bennett. The Belize Coast Guard official told The San Pedro Sun that the fisheries officers took the craft to the Bacalar Chico Outpost after which they were notified. But where did the vessel come from and how did it end up in Belize?
Well it so happened that the water craft is one that was being used in the Ocean Pedal Challenge by a team which was attempting to pedal across the Atlantic with the aim to raise £50,000 and awareness for CHUF, the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, UK. The Ocean Pedal Challenge was also an attempt to set a new world record.
Oil covered turtle rescued and now released
The juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) that was found covered in crude oil on July 24th was released on Wednesday August 29th after being in rehabilitation for a little over a month. The apparently happy and energetic turtle was released at Hol Chan Marine Reserve by staff members of the same reserve and it quickly adapted, swimming swiftly and gracefully into its natural habitat. The turtle caught the attention of the local and national media after it was confirmed that what the turtle was covered in fresh crude oil.
The turtle was found by a group of divers on Tuesday July 24th along the main channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, covered in thick, black crude oil. The fatigued turtle was immediately transferred to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office in San Pedro Town where the oil was removed from its body. Because the turtle had also swallowed and ingested some crude oil, biologist at the reserve had to battle to remove as much crude from inside the turtle’s mouth. In addition, the turtle was placed under intravenously administered saline and dextrose solutions along with charcoal to help further excrete the crude from its digestive system.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Biologist Kirah Forman said that the decision was made to release the turtle because it had begun feeding on greens which showed that the health condition had improved significantly over the past week. “We know that it has begun eating and its energy level is high. [Because of this] we are certain that its chance for survival is very high,” explained Forman.
Friendly people, beautiful landscapes… Punta Gorda – Belize’s Hidden Jewel
Never before having ventured to the southern borders of Belize, my decision to visit Punta Gorda (PG), the southernmost town of Belize, was one that came with eager anticipation. I can recall as a child, many of the stories that were told of the South and I must say, not many of them were nice. So, as an adult, I decided to discover it for myself.
Getting to PG from San Pedro, the capital town of the Toledo District, would be fastest by plane, however for the budget traveller, an overnight stay in Belize City with an early morning (3:15AM) express bus gets you there just around 9:30AM. Of course buses do travel south throughout the day, but the earliest express leaves at that time. The Southern Highway provides for just about the most beautiful scenic landscapes in the country, what with the towering Maya Mountains and winding highways through valleys and towns. However, during my trip, a lengthy nap was much more appealing, especially taking into consideration the fact that on an average 8AM is considered very early for me! At 2:45AM I could barely keep my eyes open to get onto the bus, but I was determined.
San Pedro High Evening Division Opening
It is now official; San Pedro High School will be operating an evening division to provide Continued Adult Education. This is as a result of the Ministry of Education official closure of St. Peter’s College that was offering these educational services for over ten years in San Pedro.
The New Board of Directors of San Pedro high explained that it is the principle of the Ministry of Education to provide universal access to education and with the closure of St. Peter’s the Ministry solicited San Pedro High to kindly pick up the slack. The Board of Directors under its new Chairperson, Mrs. Marina Kay, accepted to undertake the challenge and have now announced to all stakeholders and interested parties that applications and registrations are ongoing as of Thursday, August 30 to September 7.
New Cattery Donated to Saga Humane Society
The Saga Humane Society is happy to announce that it has completed the construction of a new cattery that was donated to them by a supporter of the Society and a good businessman of the community. Saga invited Ambergris Today to be present as Mark officially handed it over to them on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.
Mark Maggiotto was very generous in donating to Saga the materials and construction of this new cattery which temporarily houses cats when they are kept at the Saga compound. Mark was in the process of putting his pet cats for adoption with the help of Saga and decided to make this great donation to assist them.
Dominic and Danna Amendolia Wed in Vegas!
Congratulations to Danna and Dominic Amendolia who got married in Las Vegas on August 17, 2012 and dined under the stars at the Paris Hotel on top of the Eiffel Tower overlooking the city.
Congratulations to Danna and Dominic and we wish them the very best for years to come!
Health Fair to assist with Blood Drive and more
It is through the collaborative efforts of:
The Belize Blood Donor Service, Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, Belize Diabetes Association – San Pedro Branch, Escape Day Spa, National Drug Abuse Control Council – San Pedro Branch, San Pedro Cancer Society, San Pedro Lions Club, The Palms and Tropic Air that we are pleased to announce a health fair set for Saturday, 8th of September, 2012.
The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am at the Lions Den. Services provided will include:
Drug Abuse Education and Information – Complimentary (NDACC)
Blood Donations – A call to all blood donors (BBDS & SPCS)
Blood Glucose Test – Complimentary (BDA – San Pedro Branch)
Stress Relief Massages – Complimentary (Escape Spa)
Eye Exams – Complimentary (SP Lions Club & BCVI)
Food and Drinks will be on sale. Any other organizations or entities that can contribute or be a part of the Health Fair, please contact us as soon as possible.
Misc Belizean Sources
VIDEO: Deep Sea Fishing Belize
Fishing outside the reef aboard the 32ft Texean, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Belize Youth Support Network
The Belize Youth Support Network, which has a very noble cause, has an FB page, and they are trying to reach 1000 likes. Help them out!
"The main focus of Belize Youth Support Network (BYSN) is to support the children, youths and families of Belize. We are continuously researching organisations, groups, professional people both in the UK, Belize and Internationally that can assist in the support of the most vulnerable in Belize. BYSN is as the name states a Network of people coming together to support one another."
Infrastructure Project for Benque and San Ignacio
More street improvements, including drains and curbs, in Benque and Cayo! They had the ceremony today in Benque.
"A $2.2 Million dollar street project that will enhance the road network in Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio & Santa Elena and Punta Gorda under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) was launched on Thursday, August 30th, during a formal ceremony in Benque Viejo Town. The street project calls for the enhancement of Church, Churchill and Burns Streets in Benque Viejo Town; the improvement of Eden and West Streets in San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town..."
UB's Back to School Bash
Tonight at Puccini's Lounge, UB will be having their Back 2 School Bash. The UB Student Government is doing it right: Mistah Geeh will be there, opening for DJ Special and DJ Jago. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Climate Change Cartoon Competition
Youth-IN is having a Climate Change Cartoon competition for youth between the ages of 16 and 29. They are giving away 2 MacBook Pro laptops to the winners. All CARICOM member youths can enter. Good luck!
"The objective of the cartoon competition is to support advocacy that bring young people to the centre of climate change and human development debates. The competition encourages young people from the Caribbean to portray issues of concern related to climate change in the region from a youth’s perspective."
Belize September Celebrations Photos
Will Moreno is the official photographer for this year's September Celebrations. He was there at one of the first events: the National Song Competition. Congratulations to the 3 winners in the Top Song Competition! Carnival winner, Sharon Martinez, Patriotic winner, Nello Player, and Junior winner, Tara G.
Coca Cola Exhibit at GPC
If you missed the Coca Cola exhibit in Cayo or Benque, you can catch it at the George Price Centre where it will be until September 14th.
"A wonderful display of colours, cultural scenes and concepts - 50 paintings by professional and amateur artists from all over the country on the theme: "Moments of Happiness" - celebrating 50 years of Coca Cola in Belize. The exhibit will be on display until September 14. For school visits, please call 822-1054"
September Celebrations T-Shirts
Restore Belize has a September Celebrations line of shirts, and they are nice. They are for sale in Belize, and you can order them by calling 223-1269 or 223-0965.
It's here I am Belize Present this year September Gear, We have Tank Tops, Blouses, and T- shirt. 2XL. XL,L,M,S and Kids.
T- Shirt $20.00
Get them while they are HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teenaged Girl Injured In Evening Shooting
There was another shooting in Belize City this evening - and again, it happened on LA Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence Area. This time the victim is a 14 year old girl - who is being treated at the KHMH.
The shooting occurred at about an hour ago at twenty minutes to six. We understand the girl was in her house on Park Street, which joins La Croix.
Three men on bikes were passing in the area and shot multiple times at another men. He escaped, but stray gunshots pierced the side of the girl's house where she was having dinner.
She was shot to her side - and left in an ambulance. Those who saw the ambulance leave say she was alert when she got in and holding unto her side.
Latest reports are that she was shot to her lower back and is heading into emergency surgery. We'll follow up on the story tomorrow. There have been at least seven other persons shot in and around La Croix Boulevard since April.
Calaney Flowers To Jail, Sochyl Sosa Speaks About Accident
25 year-old Calaney Flowers, the woman who allegedly knocked down and killed her ex-boyfriend 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison, is spending her first night on remand tonight - charged for murdering her Baby's father.
As we reported last night, Morrison and his current girlfriend 25 year-old Sochyl Sosa, were travelling on his motorcycle on Freetown Road at just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to police, when they arrived in front of the Central Assembly of God church, Flowers sped up in her car and slammed it into the motorcycle sending both Sosa and Morrison flying into the street.
By all reports, Flowers sped off leaving the couple to fight for their lives where they landed. Morrison's injuries were too severe, and he succumbed, but Sosa survived, and she is recovering at the KHMH.
Today, she spoke to the media from her hospital bed, where she recounted all the events which led up to the crash.
Here's her side of the story.
Sochyl Sosa, accident victim
"Tuesday night, while my boyfriend and I went to buy food when we were coming by the round-about we saw her vehicle. She followed with her car speeding and bang into us. After that I don't remember anything because I was flew off the motor cycle."
Digging Down Into Fuel Prices
Tonight, we continue to look at the alarmingly high pump price for fuel. We're trying to get behind the numbers to see what's making it so expensive - the highest it's ever been.
We did some digging and found that in July of 2008 - when world oil prices were at an all time high - around 140 dollars per barrel - what's known as the landed cost of fuel was $7.39 per gallon on July 5, and $7.65 on July 28th. The pump price at that time was 11.16 and 11.50 respectively - which was considered high at the time.
But right now, the world price for oil is hovering around the ninety dollar per barrel mark - yet the pump price for fuel is almost thirteen dollars! So why is that?
Well, the landed cost right now - quite surprisingly - is 7.68 per gallon - three cents higher than when oil was trading for 140 dollars a barrel!
So then - that suggests to us that there has to be something odd in what's called the buildup - the accumulated costs and margins - which are all secret - that factored into that landing cost.
Coast Guard Gets Expensive, High-Powered New Toys
Last night we told you about the Coast Guard's impressive drug find: a bail with 104 pounds of cocaine.
It was found near the Turneffe Attoll - and has a local street value of about a million dollars - but an official traducing value of at least four times that value.
The package was handed over to police yesterday afternoon - and they tested and confirmed that it is cocaine. The find comes just as the COAST Guard received another donation form the US Government. This one is to be shared with the BDF and is valued at over 4 million US dollars.
We got a look at some of the high tech new toys at the Commissioning today - and Jules Vasquez has the report:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
The Coast Guard was on full display today both men, women and machines - as these Boston Whalers roared past the launch - giving everyone a small scare.
Three Towns Gets Funds For Upgraded Streets
And while the Coast Guard and BDF are getting major money from the US - the towns of Benque Viejo, San Ignacio and Punta Gorda are receiving some major funds for street improvement through a World Bank and GOB project.
It's called the Belize Municipal Development Project and today the street project was launched - where else? - but in Benque Viejo the stomping grounds of the Minister of Economic Development Erwin Contreras. He explained how the funds will be used.
Hon. Erwin Contreras
"Today a new chapter is being recorded once again in the history of our town. A soon officially launch a 2,2 million dollars project that will improve our street network in the municipalities of Benque Viejo, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio and Santa Elena under the Belize Municipal Development Project better known as BMTP."
"This package represents one of the greatest components of the infrastructure aspect of the BMDP. As Mr. Cano stated the project is a thirty million dollars government project which aims to provide and infrastructure in our major district towns."
Getting Ready For The Gang Truce Downscale
Last week Friday - Minister of state with responsibility for the Gang Truce Mark King dropped a bomb when he announced that 200 persons form the Southside rejuvenation project were being laid off.
Well, now, King's office has announced that the Gang Truce is now officially the Peace In Progress programme - with direction from a Cabinet subcommittee led by King with Minister's Lisel Alamilla, Godwin Hulse and Wilfred Elrington.
The Gang Truce and the CYDP programme currently employ about 640 persons - and they will likely be laid off in October of this year. According to the release, the Cabinet subcommittee's job is to quote, "ensure that after the downscaling, there is a feasible program that will be sustainable for at risk youth on all levels."
They are taking your ideas which can be sent to email@example.com.
As for the 200 persons - mostly women laid off from the South Side Rejuvenation Project, so far, five of them have been hired with RBJ's Construction, ten with Mejia's Construction and another thirty will start working on McKay Boulevard, Ordonez Street and Police Street in Belize City.
Mayor, Meet the Queens
The Queen of the Bay Pageant stands alone as the most enduring beauty contest in the country. It dates back to 1946 and is a staple of the September Calendar.
The pageant is on Saturday and this week the contestants have been making the media and official rounds ot create hype for the big event.
Today, they had an official visit at City Hall, where they socialized with Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and his Councilors. There are 11 contestants who are offering themselves to be this year's Queen of the Bay. Because of the number of young ladies who offered themselves, the elders of the pageant committee had to add 3 more ceremonial houses for remaining contestants to represent. The pageant will be held at the Bird's Isle at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Mas Camp Contagion
Carnival preparations are at a fever pitch all this week - as revelers are getting their outfits and their dance moves just right for the big day.
But the big day starts form this week when judges go into the Mas Camps to see what's happening.
That continued last night in three camps and Monica Bodden was there - here's her report:..
Monica Bodden reporting
It is contagious and spreading rapidly - and so far it seems like there isn't a cure for the Carnival Fever.
That was quite visible here at Belizean Jewel Mas Camp where it was all high level energy for these revelers who gyrated to some of the most popular soca songs in front of a crowd of spectators.
Sharon Wade - Belizean Jewels
"Our team this year is "many colors, many faces, one nation: Belize.""
"Why was that theme chosen?"
Sharon Wade - Belizean Jewels
"The theme was chosen simply because carnival is all about colors and its full of different races, different faces and Belize is one nation."
"Now tell us a little bit about the costumes?"
World Class Chinese Acrobats In Belize
Tomorrow night - a troupe of world-class Chinese acrobats will be in Belize for a special show.
They're called the Guangdong Acrobatic Group from mainland China - and they've played to rave reviews all over the world. Now, the Belize Chinese Association is bringing them to Belize and Chairman Edmund Quan told us more:..
"These acrobats came from mainland China to do a show for to raise funds for charity in Belize. Its called Guangdong Acrobatic. its a large group consisting of almost 40 persons and they are going to show flexibility of Chinese acrobats and different stunts."
Tickets are 25 dollars - and can be bought at Chon Saan on Kelly street, Quan's Trading on Orange Street or at the door. All proceeds go to charity - as the acrobats are donating their performance.
Oil Covered Turtle Recovers, Released
Last month, 7News aired the alarming story of a juvenile green sea turtle which was found covered in crude oil, along the main channel at in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye on July 24.
The biologists from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve labored to rescue the turtle, where they had to clean it off, cleanse out its mouth, and get it to pass copious amounts of oil that it had swallowed from its digestive system.
It was discovered severely fatigued but due to the efforts of the biologists, the turtle was successfully rescued, and resuscitated. Yesterday, it was geo-tagged and released back into the Hol Chan Marine Reserve because the experts believe that it can now survive on its own.
The origin of the crude oil which the turtle was covered in has still not been established.
Breaking News: female minor injured in late evening shooting in the City
Just before six o’clock this evening, there was another shooting on Lacroix Boulevard in the Lake Independence area. Early unconfirmed reports are that a school aged girl was injured in the shooting. According to the reports, two young men on bicycles fired shots at another person, instead, the minor was hit and has been rushed [...]
Same sex spouse definition in Banking Legislation?
The senate met on Tuesday in Belmopan; a number of bills were passed, but there is one that having gone through the House and debate; landed on the Senate and is stirring controversy. It is the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act 2012 which contains a definition of spouse and which is being interpreted as [...]
Murder charge after she drove over her baby’s daddy
This afternoon, a twenty-five year mother and bank proof teller, was charged with murder and attempted murder. Calaney Flowers is accused of slamming her car into the father of her child Lyndon Morrison who was riding his motorbike along with his pregnant girlfriend Sochyl Sosa. Morrison succumbed two hours later but Sosa lived to tell [...]
Million dollar cocaine drop, but devil in untold details
As the US Southern Command visited the Coastguard Headquarters on Wednesday, a bail of cocaine weighing over a hundred pounds was retrieved from the Turneffe Atoll. It was a major find that is valued at one point eight million dollars. The find coincided with the transfer of sophisticated equipment to the Belize Coast Guard and [...]
U.S. Southern Command and Embassy gives $4.5 Million in equipment
As the US Southern Command visited the Coastguard on Wednesday, a bale of cocaine was retrieved from the Turneffe Atolls. The visit by the Southern Command, however, had to do with the transfer of millions of dollars of sophisticated equipment including vessels and vehicles to both the BDF and Coastguard. It is a contribution by [...]
CEMO Councilor trains for disaster management
While the coast guard and B.D.F. are beefing up resources, CEMO is strengthening its capacity to deal with natural disasters. Belize City was spared when Hurricane Ernesto moved north and made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on August seventh. But the hurricane season isn’t over and the City Emergency Management Organization is still brushing up [...]
P.U.P. memo on frog hoppers in the north
The sale of majority shares in the Belize Sugar Industries to American Sugar Refineries is expected to be completed by the start of the next crop. But on the ground, cane farmers are experiencing a major setback. Recent flooding brought about by Depression Seven in August has caused considerable damage to cane fields which are [...]
Revelry continues on the road to Carnival 2012
The road march for Carnival 2012 takes place on September eighth; we will have full coverage of the spectacular event with William Neal and entertainment reporter, Safiyyah. But before that, on September first this station is producing and will be airing a special Carnival Marathon which captures the rich history of the carnival. Our reporters [...]
Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China
The Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China has been perfecting traditional Chinese acrobatic skills and merging them with modern dance, artistic gymnastics, theatre and other forms. The group has created its own artistic style representing the Guangdong region of southern China and you have the opportunity to experience it for one night only at the Bliss. [...]
Healthy Living packs a lunch kit for kids
Whether, it’s Pre K or Infant two, the beginning of every school year brings a lot of anxiety for parents who want provide the very best for their children during their formative years. In addition to the new notebooks and pencils, children need to be equipped with the right food choices. So before you pack [...]
Bank Teller Charged With Murder
Twenty-five year old Calaney Flowers, a proof teller at Atlantic Bank who allegedly knocked down her ex-boyfriend and his lover, was charged with murder and attempted murder when she appeared in court today. Flowers, who resides on Lavender Street, was also charged with dangerous harm ...
BDF Truck Overturns and Injures Several Soldiers
A number of Belize Defense Force soldiers were hurt when the truck they were traveling in overturned last night in the Cayo district. The incident happened around midnight on the Chiquibul road in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. Love News spoke with the Commander of the BDF Brigadi...
Implementation Continues for the Belize Municipal Development Project
The Belize Municipal Development project which is estimated at thirty million dollars and aims to provide needed infrastructure to seven major municipalities in the country, continues to be implemented. This morning a special ceremony launched a 2.2 million dollar street project ...
Over 100 Pounds of Cocaine Found in Belize's Waters
A large amount of cocaine was found floating in Belize’s territorial waters on Wednesday morning. According to reports, the drugs weighing in at just over a hundred and four pounds, was found in multiple packets near the Turneffe Atoll and has since been turned over t...
Surviving Victim of Traffic Incident Speaks to the Press
Twenty-five year old Calaney Flowers, a proof teller at Atlantic Bank who allegedly knocked down her ex-boyfriend and his companion, was charged with murder and attempted murder when she appeared in court today. Flowers, who resides on Lavender Street, was also charged with dangerous h...
Orange Walk Terminal Vendors Feel Jilted
Several vendors at the Orange Walk terminal are asking authorities to look into a matter affecting their livelihood. Vendors told us that a specific vendor has been granted permission to set up a food shed inside the terminal when in the first place no one is granted permission t...
BPO Training Underway for High School Graduates
A two week training course for young people is underway at the Yabra Community Centre in Cesar Ridge Road in Belize City. According to the Youth Program Coordinator with the Community Policing Unit Douglas Hyde, the objective of the training is to give young men and women marketable em...
Campaign for Birth Registration Continues in Belize
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF today began its birth registration campaign on south-side Belize City. The objective of the program is to get primarily unregistered children properly documented. Registrar General at the Vital Statistics Unit Velda Flowers a...
Wednesday, August 29 -------- Police News
A post mortem examination conducted on the body of Punta Gorda resident Descartes Bol Jr. certified the cause of death as “trauma shock, massive liver damage and multiple traumatism due to traffic road accident”. Around 4:40 am on Saturday, Bol’s body was found ...
Fisherman Charged for Policeman's Murder
Police have formally arrested and charged Delford Slusher, a thirty year old fisherman of Hattieville Village for murder. This is in connection with the shooting death of Corporal Victor Lima. Slusher was originally charged with attempted murder shortly after the incident w...
Infidelity Ends In Murder
A woman is in police custody, another hospitalized and the body of a man is at the KHMH morgue following a bizarre series of events last night in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali has the details. MARION ALI News Reporter Love FM “The saying goes, all’s...
Police Hit The Jackpot, $1.8 Million Worth Of Cocaine Found Near Turneffe
On August 20th, thirty one year old Rene Caseres of Belize City, 30 year old Noel Tun and 32 year old Leonardo Tun both Belizean fishermen of Chunox Village, Abimael Aki, 30 year old Belizean fisherman of Copperbank Village and 40 year old Cornelio Mendez Belizean fisherman of Chunox Village were charged with possession of controlled drugs with the purpose of supplying it to another person for drug trafficking.
The men were detained after a search was conducted on the vehicle they were travelling in during a checkpoint set up at the toll bridge. Three kilos of cocaine were found: two of the parcels were labelled with (2) X’s while one was labelled with the letters PZ. Interesting enough, this morning about 35 parcels of cocaine found 30 miles off the coast of Belize City, near the Turneff Atoll, were labeled with the same letters PZ.
The drugs were taken in by the Belize Coast Guard for processing at their Head Quarters on the Western Highway. It is believed that the drugs are part of a wet drop from Colombia and is likely that more parcels could be floating in the area. The drugs is estimated to be valued at more than BZE$1.8 million. We’ll have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.
Drains Opened In Trinidad Village, Flooding Problem Alleviated
Two months ago, on June 19th to be exact, we showed you how deep the water was in the Village of Trinidad after a heavy down pour caused several sections of the village to become inundated.
The flooded waters accumulated in certain sections of the village due to the lack of proper drainage system. Ever since the flooding, Chairman of Trinidad Village, Salomon Bobadilla, has been lobbying for assistance so as to alleviate the problem. Blue Creek Resident David Dyck, agreed to assist by lending his heavy equipment to open drains within the village. Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Mai, also assisted by coordinating a meeting between Bobadilla and the Chief Engineer for the Ministry of Works Lennox Bradley, in order to obtain permission to excavate alongside a creek that runs through the village, for the water to flow. The Village Council was given the go ahead and work commenced this past Saturday and tonight residents of the village are happy that their cries were heard.
“A mi me había afectado bastante esa creciente trae un montón de basura y me afecta mi aquí en fi terreno porque cuando a acaba yo tengo que andar recogiendo la basura y un motón de cosas como zapatos y los mosquitos por el agua que ha llegado. Este sábado escarbaron y tumbaron una matas que había sembrado y el village council me pregunto si lo pueden tumbar y yo le dije que si y estuvo trabajando el Backhow y estuvimos con toda mi familia viendo que se haga con el Chairman de la aldea y se logro.”
With the stagnant waters having where to run, flooding will no longer pose a problem for residents of the area.
Karol Mello Takes GOB To Court
He was freed of all charges brought against him by the Government of Belize when he appeared before the Belmopan Magistrates Court and tonight 42 year old Karol Mello; the alleged mafia boss from Slovakia, wanted for a series of crimes he reportedly orchestrated, is taking Government to court.
Mello is suing Government in order for him to retain his legal status as a permanent resident which was withdrawn by the Ministry of Immigration after they tried to get him expelled from the country. Yesterday the first hearing of the case was heard before Justice Oswell Legall. The case is still in the process of assessment and as a result Justice Legall set September 17th as the actual date for the case to commence.
Mello is reportedly wanted in Slovakia for the murder of a woman and child as well as two underworld executions carried out in 2003 and 2004. He has been living in San Pedro since 2010.
Contestants OF Karaoke Competition Appear On Despierta Belice Show
It started off with ten contestants and now it’s down to the four finalists. We are talking about the much watched and anticipated Buscando Una Estrella Infantil Karaoke Competition scheduled to come to an end this coming Sunday with the announcement of the first, second and third place winners. Over the past four weeks the competition has discovered the talent that exists among the competitors. Only four of them; however, were able to make it the finals and on Sunday Byron Munoz, Samsung Pop, Ayana Rudon or McBride Pop will be named the winner of the talent competition. What we can tell you tonight is that the race is close so keep on voting for your favorite contestant. And keeping in mind how important it is to promote the four talented finalists they will each be making an appearance on the Despierta Belice Morning Show. This morning the first two finalists, 11 year old McBride Pop and 9 year old Samsung Pop, were the special guests on the morning show hosted by Santiago Baeza.
Of course the two talented young artists could not leave the show without delighting viewers with their melodious voice.To vote for Samsung Pop, text the number one to CKTV, that is 2588 and to vote for McBride Pop, text the number four to 2588. Voting ends on midnight Friday August 31st. Tomorrow Ayana Rundon and Byron Munoz will be the special guests on the Despierta Belice Show. Remember that the finals will take place this Sunday at Fort Cairns Market Plaza during the celebration of Fiesta F.M’s 8th anniversary set to commence at 1:00pm.
OWTC Negotiates Overdraft Facility Payment With GOB
Presently the debt review team, headed by Ambassador Mark Espat, is renegotiating the $543.8 million super bond on behalf of the Government of Belize. And while that is taking place at an international level, here at home the Orange Walk Town Council is trying to negotiate with Government the payment of the councils $110,000 over draft facility which was exceeded by the previous U.D.P Town Council. This afternoon Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard gave us an update on the negotiations. We did receive a memorandum fax yesterday that was sent to the financial secretary from the CEO of the Ministry of Labor and Local Government as it pertains to the subject Orange walk Town Council overdraft facility. In this memorandum the minister of local government recommends to the financial secretary that the financial relief be given to the Orange Walk Town council and it stipulates several ways how we were requesting, one of that is that we are asking is that $60,000.00 be paid into the overdraft account as a grant on behalf of the Town Council and that the overdraft limit be reduced from $110,000.00 to $75,000.00 and that the period be extended from December 2011 to March 2013 in the first instance and then can be further extended upon the approval of the ministry of finance and in his memorandum the minister clearly stated that the council finds itself in an emergency situation at times and at times finds itself difficult to meet our payroll. They are asking that the assistance be given because the only next option would be to contemplating in reducing staff it is something that as a cost saving measure, as a surety measure but the ministry discourages that.”
Work On Tangerine Street Underway
Under phase one of the Belize Municipal Development Project four streets in Orange Walk Town, namely Avilez Lane, Tangerine Street, San Ignacio Street and Santa Familia Street will be upgraded at a cost of almost $1.2 million. As it pertains to Tangerine Street we are sure that residents have noticed all the heavy equipment working in the area. That’s because the street is being upgraded and pretty soon all those potholes will disappear.
“What I want to remind citizen that out of the four street that is being done in phase one, Tangerine street was the last street that was selected because remember Santa Familia and San Ignacio were the much bigger street and then Aviles lane and based on the allocation that was done for the Town council in this phase left with us only be able to complete two blocks of Tangerine Street so residents may wonder why only a certain portion of the Tangerine street is being done, I just want to assure them that part of our proposal at our town meeting. We want to propose that the entire remaining Tangerine Street also be up graded.”
Presently Avilez Lane is being surveyed in order for paving to commence next week. Work on San Ignacio Street is expected to commence on Monday while work on Santa Familia Street should commence in the month September.
The Battle Against HIV AIDS Continues
The first person to be diagnosed with HIV in Belize was approximately 26 years ago. Since then, the disease has spread and Belize is seen as one of the most affected countries in the region. On July 19th of this year, the National Aids Commission launched the National Strategic Plan and the National Operational Plan on HIV and AIDS with the intent to coordinate a national response to the disease for the next five years. It’s a high priority effort and a lot of assistance is required. In order to effectively coordinate a response, each district has a branch of the National Aids Commission which will be working with its community members.
This morning, the National Aids Commission and Country Coordinated Mechanism Corozal Committee inducted its members. CTV3 News was invited for the ceremony and here is how it went.
“We the undersigned hereby publicly declare our commitment to support the national response to HIV and solemnly pledged to uphold and implement the vision and mission of the NACT CCN Corozal Committee.”
Eighteen members representing non-governmental and governmental organizations, the private sector and other institutions were today inducted as full pledge volunteers of the National Aids Commission and Country Coordinated Mechanism Corozal Committee. Heading the committee is Clemente Novelo who says that when it comes to HIV/AIDS the availability of medication has changed throughout the years.
Woman detained in connection with fatal traffic incident
English Playwright and poet, William Congreve once said in a famous quote “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and perhaps it was the wrath of one woman which made a complicated love story end fatally when a flight operations dispatcher of Maya Island air, was killed in a traffic incident on the streets of Belize City last night. Reporter Marion Ali and Videographer Brian Castillo bring you the details of this love tragedy.
Man charged for murder of Hattieville police officer
Police have formally arrested and charged Delford Slusher, a thirty year old fisherman of Hattieville Village for murder. This is in connection with the shooting death of Corporal Victor Lima. Slusher was originally charged with attempted murder shortly after the incident which occurred on July 24th. Lima along with other Police officers responded to a home invasion in the village. While opening the door to the house, Lima was shot twice to the chest. He succumbed to his injuries on the July 27th. Slusher is still awaiting charges in connection with the home invasion.
Toledo man died from RTA injuries
A post mortem examination conducted on the body of Punta Gorda resident Descartes Bol Jr. certified the cause of death as “trauma shock, massive liver damage and multiple traumatism due to traffic road accident”. Around 4:40 am on Saturday, Bol’s body was found with apparent injuries to the head, on the right hand side of the road approximately two hundred meters from the San Marcos Junction which is located about eleven miles outside Punta Gorda.
Birth registration campaign comes to south-side Belize City
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF today began its birth registration campaign on south-side Belize City. The objective of the program is to get primarily unregistered children properly documented. Registrar General at the Vital Statistics Unit Velda Flowers and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington both agree that registration is an important part of a person’s identity.
The birth registration campaign started on February of last year in the Toledo district and has so far covered the south and the Corozal district. UNICEF’s country representative Christine Norton says the hope is to have the birth registration campaign completed by the end of the year.
According to Norton, there are five registration centers in Belize City, including, the Samuel Haynes Centre on Mahogany Street, the Young Women’s Christian Association, Sister Clara Mohammed School on Central American Boulevard and the Vital Statistics Unit on Gabourel Lane. The birth registration campaign for south side Belize City ends at one o’clock on Friday afternoon. And even when the countrywide birth registration exercise is completed, Norton says UNICEF is assisting the Vital Statistics Unit and the country on a whole, to set the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure that all Belizeans are properly registered and documented.
According to statistics release this morning, the UNICEF-sponsored birth registration exercise has seen three thousand, two hundred and fifty six new birth certificates issued in the Toledo district; three thousand, one hundred and seventy four in the Stann Creek district and two thousand, five hundred and eighty two in the Corozal district. A total of three hundred and fifty two late registrations have been completed in the three districts canvassed to date, while one hundred and ten communities have been visited by the birth registration campaign.
Scholarships for Galen University students
Galen University held a special ceremony to award scholarships to a number of students. Correspondent Fem Cruz was in Central Farm and filed this report.
A new corn variety being promoted in southern Belize
A new variety of corn is being introduced and validated in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung tells us more.
UDP ready for Patchakan Village Council Elections
Over a hundred supporters of the United Democratic Party gathered at the Mother's Park in Patchakan Village to select people, who will be contesting the upcoming village council elections. At the conclusion of the meeting, Alex Medina was selected as the Chairperson Candidate while Kenny Tzib Andy Bastarachea, Ignacio Victorin, Andrei Ku, Enhir Chimal and Rafael Loza were selected as councilor candidates.
Present at the meeting were Area Representative, Hon. Hugo Patt and National Party Coordinator, Ruben Campos. During the meeting Hon. Patt encouraged villagers to continue to support the United Democratic Party and to vote for a UDP Village Council to ensure that progress continues in the area.
BSI Deal Almost Complete
The Belize Sugar Industry is nearing the completion of the expansion of share capital and within the next 30 days, the process should be complete.
On Monday of this week, Senator Godwin Hulse told Love FM as much. He explained that the due diligence process by American Sugar Refineries (ASR), the company which will be infusing BSI with new capital, has been complete. Within a week's time a subscription deed would have been signed and a month from there, all outstanding debts will be settled by ASR. Hulse also explained that within the next 30 days, the shareholders agreement will be signed so by the start of the new crop, the entire deal would have been complete.
Under the agreement ASR will assume some 64 million dollars in debt which is owed by BSI and BELCOGEN to various creditors. They will also increase sugar production through improved sugar deliveries, an expansion in production and in yields. At the end of the transaction, ASR would have owned 80% of the company.
Rehiring Jobless Workers
Last Friday, The Government of Belize found itself in the unenviable position of having to release employees, who had been hired under the Southside Rejuvenation Project. It was not an easy decision but it certainly was one that had to be made. But even as the people had been let go, before the week was out some of those people who had lost their jobs were back to work.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mark King, announced that some of those who had lost their jobs had already been rehired. So far 6 workers have been hired by RJB Construction, 10 have been hired by Mejia’s Construction and 30 others will be hired in a project to upgrade McKay Boulevard, Ordonez and Police Streets in Belize City.
RJB’s Romel Berges told the Guardian Newspaper that he is pleased to hire the workers and is more than satisfied with their performance. Currently, these workers are on Evergreen Street as the preparatory works are underway to have street concreted. According to Berges, he will be taking on more workers as the project expands.
Jealous Rage Turns Deadly
Lyndon Morrison died on Tuesday, August 29th after he was allegedly run over by his ex-girlfriend. The case is one where an enraged woman trailed his ex-boyfriend and slammed her car into his motorcycle. But what must have caused the woman, identified as Calaney Flowers, to act in such a violent manner was the fact that travelling on the motorcycle along Morrison was his new girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa.
Police report that at around 10:15 on Tuesday night, the 29-year-old Flight Dispacher, Lyndon Morrison, was travelling on his motorcycle along with Sochyl Sosa on Freetown Road when he realized he was being followed by his ex-girlfriend with whom he has a child. The ex-girlfriend, Calaney Flowers was driving a red Saturn Car, and when they reached an area in front of the Central Assembly of God Church, she rammed her vehicle into the motorcycle causing the pair to be sent flying into the air. As a result of the impact, Morrison received injuries to the back of the head and left eye. He later died as a result of the injuries. Sosa, for her part, received abrasions to both hands and a cut wound to the head. She remains at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital receiving treatment.
So violent was the impact that the helmets of both Sosa and Morrison were broken up. The motorcycle was also extensively damaged. After the collision, Flowers drove off and according to friends of the deceased, she visited his mother's house to report what she had done.
Four charged for Involvement in Paula’s Store Robbery
At about 2:20 p.m. on Thursday, August 23rd, police responded to a robbery in progress at Paula’s Store located on Cemetery Road. Businesswoman Paula Chen reported that while attending to a customer, three armed men entered the store. According to police reports, one of the assailants walked towards Chen, pointed the gun at her face, and demanded money. He then went behind the counter and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. The other assailants proceeded to rob the customers in the store of their personal belongings. The men then rushed out of the store but police were hot on their tails. The quick response led to a search operation at #32 Plues Street. That search led to the discovery of a cell phone valued at $495, an unlicensed .38 Special revolver containing four rounds of ammunition and a .357 pistol containing six rounds. Present at the time of the search were 23-year-old Aaron Bailey, of #45 Raccoon Street; 27-year-old Jarreth Gault of #5 Euphrates Avenue; 21-year-old Inmar Welch of #68 King Street; and 22-year-old Jeffrey McDougall of #32 Plues Street. All four men were arrested and charged with robbery, handling stolen goods, keeping a prohibited firearm, keeping a firearm without a gun license and two counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition.
Another Murder in Lake I
The family and friends of 20-year-old Guzman Crescent resident, Miraldo Alvarez are still mourning after his life was taken by a gunman in the Lake Independence area of Belize City. At about 10 p.m. on Friday, August 24th, Alvarez was at his mother-in-law, Diana Enriquez's, house playing video games with a friend before he decided to head out to buy fry chicken. Enriquez tried to discourage him from leaving the house because the area is currently a war zone. She says that shootings happen every night in the area. However, Alvarez was not deterred and he left with his friend to go buy food.
Minutes after Alvarez left, Enriquez heard gunshots from her home. Alvarez and his friend were riding on separate bicycles on McKenzie Street and upon reaching its junction with Luis Street they were approached from behind by two men who were by the basketball court on McKenzie Street. One of the men fired several gunshots towards them. Alvarez was hit in the left lower back and rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries while undergoing surgery at 10:45 p.m.
Alvarez’s family and friends are still seeking answers. They say that he had never been a troublemaker and was definitely not a gang member. He was scheduled to marry Enriquez’s daughter in December of this year. Alvarez was shot near the complex building. That area has been the most dangerous in Belize City in recent months. Police detained one suspect in relation to the murder.
Belize City Shooting Incidents
Though there was a gun- related murder over the past week, police are concerned about the number of shooting incidents and crimes committed with firearms that have occurred over the last few days.
Police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at about 7:45 am on Saturday, August 25th, where they saw 19-year-old Raheem Nicholas suffering from a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. According to police reports, Nicholas was walking on Alicia Street when a fair complexion man rode up beside him on a black beach cruiser bicycle and said, “Mek I see your face.” The man then pulled out a firearm and fired a single shot at Nicholas causing his injury. Police have not announced any arrest in the case thus far.
At about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 26th, 24-year-old Edmund Gentle was riding with a friend contrary to the flow of traffic on Vernon Street when a dark complexioned man came from an alley on Lakeview Street and called out for him. As Gentle responded to his name, the man pulled out a firearm and fired several shots at him. He received injuries only to his right index and middle finger. He was treated at the KHMH and released. No one has been arrested for the shooting of Gentle.
UDP ready for Patchakan Village Council Elections
Over a hundred supporters of the United Democratic Party gathered at the Mother's Park in Patchakan Village to select people, who will be contesting the upcoming village council elections. At the conclusion of the meeting, Alex Medina was selected as the Chairperson Candidate while Kenny Tzib Andy Bastarachea, Ignacio Victorin, Andrei Ku, Enhir Chimal and Rafael Loza were selected as councilor candidates.
Western Regional Hospital Officially Certified as Mother – Baby Friendly Hospital
Hon. Pablo Marin (left), Dr. Peter Allen (3rd) and administrators of the Mother-Baby Friendly hospitals
A certification ceremony was held on the grounds of the Western Regional Hospital on Wednesday, August 29th, as the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) celebrated the latest hospital to have met the necessary international requirements to be certified as a Mother - Baby Friendly Hospital.
Edited by Marty (11/17/12 03:54 PM)
#445596 - 08/31/12 02:06 PM
Re: Today's Belize News: August 31, 2012
ASR’s Equity Investment in BSI: An Update
The process to conclude the investment by American Sugar Refining, Inc. (ASR) is advancing well and in accordance with the target timetable.
Meetings were held in mid-July between representatives of BSI and ASR Management and Boards, supported by their respective legal counsels to advance final negotiations on key investment documents, principally the Subscription Deed (Purchase Agreement) and the Shareholders’ Agreement. Since then, BSI and ASR have continued to be actively engaged and fully committed to expediting the process in the context of the defined timetable for completion of the transaction.
During the period of discussions with ASR, the management of BSI also held several meetings with the Protectors of BSI Employee Holdings Limited (BEH) and the Belize Workers’ Union (BWU) Executive Committee as part of management’s efforts to keep them and employees informed about the status of the transaction.
Agreement between BSI and ASR has now been reached on all commercial matters and legal documentation with respect to the Subscription Deed and the related approvals from existing shareholders in BSI have been secured. Accordingly, the parties signed the Subscription Deed documentation August 23rd, 2012.
The completion date of the entire transaction is estimated to occur one month following yesterday’s signing of the Subscription Deed. During this time, BSI and ASR will press on to conclude various conditions precedent actions and obligations connected with the transaction. These include formal engagement with existing lenders to BSI and Belcogen regarding repayment of lending and release of security upon the deal completion.
Efforts by all parties remain focused on concluding the entire transaction at the very earliest.
The European Commission allocates $75,000 to Bring Relief to the Victims of ‘Ernesto’ in Belize
The European Union, through the European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), expresses its solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Ernesto in Belize. As a major contributor to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Commission has agreed to use 32,335 EUR1 of its DREF contribution to help bring relief to the victims. The aid will be used to replenish stocks and to provide food, water and relief items to the most affected people.
Hurricane Ernesto, rated category 1, passed over Belize on 7th August 2012, and its strong winds and rain impacted the northern population of the country. There were no reports of deaths or injuries but houses and public buildings incurred varying degrees of damage. Belize Red Cross Society (BRCS) mobilized its specialized National Intervention Teams (NIT) to complete damage and needs assessments in the affected areas, with the assistance of a disaster manager and a water and sanitation IFRC’s delegate.
The European Commission is providing 32,335 EUR (75,037 Belize dollars) to bring relief to the victims. This aid will be used to support BRCS NIT members on the needs assessment phase, to replenish pre-positioned stock and to assist the 150 most affected families with food and relief items (hygiene items, jerrycans and blankets) delivered by the BRCS for a period of three months. The aid will be channelled through the Red Cross who operates with funding from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
IMF Hosts Forum to Address Low Growth and High Debt in the Caribbean
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Development Bank, will hold a high-level forum on “Rethinking Policy to Address Low Growth and High Debt in the Caribbean” on September 4-5, 2012 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The forum will discuss how lessons from the past and from other parts of the world could help the Caribbean economies in light of the distinctive challenges the region faces.
“This forum offers a unique opportunity to further our ongoing dialogue with the Caribbean and listen to the concerns and ideas of policymakers regarding the challenges the region faces and explore possible policy avenues to foster inclusive and sustainable growth,” Mr. Saúl Lizondo, Associate Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, said ahead of the gathering.
The forum will bring together Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and other high-ranking officials from the ECCU members–Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Anguilla and Montserrat as well as from The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The event’s opening ceremony to be headed by The Honourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. William Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, and Mr. Min Zhu, IMF Deputy Managing Director will be open to members of the press. A concluding press conference will be held on Wednesday, September 5th at 12:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
$2.2 Million Infrastructural Project for Benque, San Ignacio and Punta Gorda
A $2.2 Million dollar street project that will enhance the road network in Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio & Santa Elena and Punta Gorda under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) was launched on Thursday, August 30th, during a formal ceremony in Benque Viejo Town.
The street project calls for the enhancement of Church, Churchill and Burns Streets in Benque Viejo Town; the improvement of Eden and West Streets in San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town, and Robert Pennil and Pampana Streets in Punta Gorda Town.
The work scope for the project includes the realignment of streetside drains, provision of street concrete curbs, resurfacing of the streets with Hot Mix and or chip seal, provision of street markings for vehicular and pedestrian lanes and permanent signage. This project will cost approximately $2,219,746.10 and will be carried out by Imer Hernandez Development Co. Ltd, a local firm.
These street projects will satisfy a number of important objectives including putting in place proper traffic safety measures that can be monitored and enforced by the respective municipal traffic departments; addressing health issues that normally affects street users during the dry and rainy seasons; and improving the general aesthetics and attractiveness of the areas in the participating municipalities.
Mapping Exercise underway for Foreign Cooperation in Citizen Security
A mapping-exercise is currently underway as part of a cordinated strategy to address security issues through foreign cooperation.
Being mapped-out during the exercise are ongoing programs and planned initiatives that the Government of Belize intends to undertake in the short, medium and long term.
The mapping-exercise comes out of a meeting of the Donor Coordinating Group on Citizen Security conducted last Thursday, August 23rd, at the US Embassy Conference Room in Belmopan, that meeting being a follow-up to a previous high-level meeting that was held on July 13th at the NEMO Conference Room in Belmopan.
Last Thursday’s meeting was attended by Chief Executive Officers in coordinating ministries, namely Audrey Wallace, Office of the Prime Minister; George Lovell, Ministry of National Security; Yvonne Hyde, Ministry of Economic Development; Alexis Rosado, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Judith Alpuche, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.
Priority areas identified for foreign co-operation are Democratic Governance and Citizen Security; Economic Development and Citizen Prosperity; and Human Development. Among the specific areas for assistance are crime scenes management, intelligence gathering and management, strengthening of the Police Prosecution Branch and capacity building in forensics; market assessment of training needs and the establishment of a micro-enterprise unit; capacity building in conflict mediation, neighbourhood upliftment projects and the refurbishment of parks, playgrounds and neighbourhood sports facilities.
Southside Rejuvenation Workers to Work on Upcoming Projects
On Friday, August 24th, Hon. Mark King, Minister of State with Responsibility for the Gang Truce and Conscious Youth Development Programs, announced that the Ministry was scaling back on its work programs and as a result a number of employees were relieved of duties. Two hundred employees of the Southside Rejuvenation Project were released last week and more are expected to be released in the weeks ahead. It was an extremely difficult message for King to deliver; one that would be easier to understand if the audience understood the history of the program.
The Southside Rejuvenation Project was launched in 2009. Hundreds of men and women of the city’s Southside were hired to work on construction, sanitation and various other infrastructural projects. The project was a huge success as many who were living criminal lives took advantage of the opportunity and contributed meaningfully to the city’s upliftment. Unfortunately, the Southside Rejuvenation Project was only designed to last one year. Just as the project was about to close in early 2010, then Minister of Works, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, travelled to Vienna, Austria where he was successful in reaching an agreement for US$11 million for the extension of the program. The Government of Belize added an additional $8 million in counterpart funding to make it $30 million for Phase 2 of the Southside Poverty Alleviation Program. Prime Minister Barrow has been the greatest supporter of the program. When funds from international agreements are exhausted, PM Barrow allocates funds to the program from the national purse.
Over 800 people were employed under the various city jobs programs. That number was way above what is actually needed for the projects being undertaken but government tried to hold on as long as possible. After the $30 million for Phase 2 of the program was exhausted, PM Barrow allocated an additional $2.29 million to keep the workers employed. According to Hon. Mark King, that money finished on August 10. Employees were held on an additional two weeks before 200 were released on August 24th with salary and severance. King hopes that their last cheque could help them out until October, which he believes is a good time table for a source of funding to be identified.
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation will seek employment opportunities for all who are released in upcoming infrastructural projects. Such projects include the hot mix paving of Central American Boulevard; the paving of Jane Usher Boulevard, Faber’s Road and Pen Road and the rehabilitation on various secondary streets.
Four New Police Motorcycles for Belize District
The Ministry of National Security announces the acquisition of four (4) new motorcycles to assist the police in maintaining law and order in villages throughout the Belize District.
The acquisition is a direct fulfillment of a commitment made by Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar during his countrywide tour, which he embarked on immediately upon taking up his new appointment in March of this year.
Rural Executive Officer,Assistant Superintendent, Glen Rivero says the new dirt bikes will greatly assist in policing the formation that falls under his command, which covers the entire rural area that runs from Mahogany Heights to Western Paradise at Mile 8 on the Western Highway; and from Haulover Bridge all the way to Rhaburn’s Ridge on the Northern Highway. It includes Hattieville and La Democracia, Ladyville and Lord’s Bank, Sandhill and Crooked Tree, Burrell Boom and all the villages in Belize River Valley, Maskall and all the villages along the Old Northern Highway from Boston to Bomba.
The four new dirt bikes just acquired are being specifically assigned to the villages of Sandhill, Bermudian Landing, Hattieville and Crooked Tree. The new MEILUN dirt bikes were purchased with the Government’s own funds at a total cost of $14,000.
In related news, a temporary residence has been identified and secured for the posting of a resident police officer in Crooked Tree, while plans are underway for the construction of a new permanent Police Station and living quarters in that village.
This urgent need has been addressed through the direct intervention of Belize Rural North Area Representative Hon. Edmund Castro and Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar.
Fixing and Painting Downtown Belize City
Finishing touches being put on Patricia Slusher’s home
On Tuesda, August 28th, The Guardian Newspaper visited Patricia Slusher at the far end of Albert Street. She was at home and in high spirits as three workers from the Belize City Council were about her yard and around her house putting the finishing touches to paint work being done on her house.
Slusher is one of at least 20 home and business owners, who will have their houses spruced up by the Belize City Council. According to Mayor Darrell Bradley, the idea is to have residents be included in the overall transformation of the city. Currently, there is major infrastructural work taking place and the program called the "Fix-up and Paint-up downtown Belize City" is tied in to the overall upliftment program.
Phillip Singh, Community Outreach officer for the Belize City Council, says that they have identified 20 houses which will receive a paint job. Among these buildings, there will also be a component for small repairs to be done to some of the houses. Currently, there are 10 workers, who have been retained through the Belize City Council and a staggered number of other workers from the Conscious Youth Development Program doing the work. Depending on the area being worked on, the CYDP provides young men to do the work.
Singh says that while they have identified 20 houses which will undergo a paint job, there are plans to do as many as 50 houses in the downtown area. The main streets being targeted are Albert Street, Regent Street and Southern Foreshore. The Council is currently looking for people to work with the program to enhance the numbers that are currently employed.
Mayor Bradley says that within the next 2 weeks there should be a visible impact on the look of the downtown area of Belize City through the painting program.
As Belize Economic Train Turns : The Superbond
As emerging economies continue to wade through the global economic crisis, the challenges of crafting a strategy for long-term sustainability becomes even more masterful. Belize’s debt to equity ratio is projected to be around 84%. There is a need to find solutions to service the debt, while meeting other obligations. In 2006, in order to avert a sovereign default, the uncontrollable debts, which had average interest rates of 11% or 12%, were shopped in the bond market. This resulted in the now infamous Super Bond. The deal that was signed in February 2007 was for US 548.6 million dollars or BZ 1.1 billion. The country had surpassed grim and was at serious risk of defaulting on its loan payments. The structure of the debt was that there would be a grace period of 12 years, from 2007 to 2019. The payments would be made semi-annually on February 20th and August 20th of each year. During the grace period, interest would step up from 4.25% to 6% until August 2012, when the interest would step up to 8.5%, twice the initial rate. Under the present configuration, the principal repayments would commence on August 20th, 2019. Belize would have to pay approximately BZ 110 million from 2019 to 2029 until the full principal is repaid. These principal payments are in addition to the principal payments stretching over the full 22 years of the Super Bond.
The Prime Minister indicated that it’s necessary to find a debt sustainable solution to service the debt and meet other expenditure obligations. In early August 2012, there were signals that Belize intended to renegotiate the Super Bond as it’s presently configured. The economic indicators, as reported on the Central Bank website, showed as much that there would be increasing financing gaps commencing in January 2013. There was every indication that the revenue projections would allow for the payment that was due on August 20th, 2012, but the inflow of revenue was not realized, which made it difficult for the payments to be made. As a result on August, 20th, 2012, the government indicated that they were unable to make the payment. Prior to the non-payment, three indicative scenarios, which would serve as a basis for discussion, were put forward. These scenarios were based around the present economic situation and all three would create relief for the country. The first scenario seeks no reduction in principal, but a reduction in interest, an extension of the maturity date, and a 15-year grace period. This means that the payments would be made over a longer time and at lower interest rates. The second scenario seeks a 45% reduction of the principal, no grace period, a maturity date of 2042 and a stepped up interest from 1 to 4%. The third scenarios seeks a 45% reduction of the principal, a grace period of 5 years, a maturity date of 2042 and a fixed 3.5% for the duration.
As is in the case where negotiations are concerned, the three scenarios that form the basis of the negotiation, is the government’s position. It is now for the bond holders to consult and review to determine whether scenario A, B, C, or some other configuration would be acceptable.
UB gets Solar Energy
Official launching of the Solar Energy Project
In August 2011 work commenced on the construction of a solar energy project on a 2.04-acre plot of land belonging to the University of Belize. After one year of construction the project was officially launched on Friday, August 24th.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador of Japan to Belize, H.E. Hiroshi Yamaguchi said "The Government of Japan is honored to call you pioneer partners in the process of promoting the most advance solar energy system of the world here in Belize." Japan is a partner to the construction of the solar panel system called the Photovoltaic Project. It is expected to generate 450 kilowatts of clean energy, which will be sold to Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). The gross proceeds from the sale will be transferred by way of a grant to the University of Belize.
The government of Belize and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) picked up the expenses of construction of the system. JICA has provided $20 million towards the project. Maintenance of solar energy system will be maintained by the Ministry of Works, the University of Belize and if necessary assistance will be provided by BEL.
After a 10-year period, ownership and management will be transferred to the UB.
Male Vocalist of the Year wins Patriotic Song Competition Sharon Martinez New Carnival Queen
The 2012 National Song Competition was held at the MCC grounds on Saturday, August 25th. The competition is the Super Bowl for local musicians. It is their one chance in the year to prove that they are the best in their craft. Musicians competed at the junior and senior levels for the Carnival and Patriotic songs of the year.
The competition only had three junior entries this year. Morelia Pop’s “Tranquil Haven” earned her $1,000 for a second place finish in the junior competition. “Belize Da Mi Country” by Tara Gill was selected by judges as the best junior entry for 2012. Gill received $1,500 for the rights to her piece. There were seven entries for the Carnival Song competition. Mr. Program came in third with “Everybody Dance” and received $1,500 cash. “Wave The Flag” from TR Shine was good for second place and earned the prodigy $2,500. The Carnival Song of the Year was performed by Sharon Martinez. It is entitled “Freedom” and should definitely free up carnival spectators on September 8. Martinez received $4,000 for winning the competition.
There were nine entries in the Patriotic song competition. Patrick McPherson’s “A Song that We Sing” earned him third place honors and $1,500 cash. Nello Player was the king of the night. He took home the $4,000 cash prize for first place in the competition with his piece “Celebrating Belize”. Nello Player has long been one of Belize’s most talented artists. His great year began when he took home the award for Best Male Vocalist at the 2012 Belize Music Awards. All of his supporters look forward to his performances at concerts because he always brings it.
While the top prize went to Nello Player, the most memorable moment for people in the business was the announcement of the second place winner. Leroy “Bass” Castillo’s “This is Belize” was named the econd best patriotic song of 2012. It was sung by Leroy’s brother Ellsworth Castillo because “Bass” passed away on Wednesday, August 22nd, due to complications stemming from an enlarged heart. He was very influential in the music business and admired by all who aspired to succeed in the music industry.
First Spine Surgery in Belize
Dr. Joel Cervantes performes first spine surgery
Five Weeks after the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Adrian Coye, performed the first open heart surgeries in Belize the hospital’s Chief of Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery, Dr. Joel Cervantes, performed the first Scoliosis Surgery in Belize’s history.
On Wednesday, August 22nd, Dr. Joel Cervantes and his team partnered with a team of specialist from the United States and Canada to execute the first twisted spine correction surgery inside the KHMH. The patient was a 13-year-old girl, whose scoliosis was at a stage where surgery was the only treatment option. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. The spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C", rather than a straight line. Surgery is usually recommended by orthopedists for curves with a high likelihood of progression-those greater than 45 to 50° magnitude. Those are curves that would be considered as cosmetically unacceptable for an adult.
According to the KHMH, the surgery would not have been possible without the donations made by NuVasive Spine Foundation and Amedica. NuVasive donated spinal implants used in the surgery that cost upwards of US$50,000. They also donated a cell-saver machine that allows the collection and return of a patient’s own blood in cases where large amounts of blood loss is possible. Amedica donated instruments and implants valued at US$100,000.
The members of the Belizean team that participated in the first scoliosis surgery in Belize are Dr. Joel Cervantes, Anaesthetist Dr. Ruben Pineda; George Arthurs, Frank Lorenzo; Intensivist/ Internists Drs. Jorge Hidalgo and Pedro Arriaga; Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Mirta Ochoa; Sister Alicia Moody; Respiratory Therapist Rocio Giron and Mark Cargill among others. The North American team was led by Ms. Keri George of Alberta, Canada. It also included Dr. John Williams, Dr. Andrew Moulton, Jarrett Self, Mary Dietz and Caitlyn McCullough; all of different cities across the United States.
The surgeries were made possible through the partnership of KHMH, the Belize Spine Program (BSP) and the Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration (RMEC). RMEC is a US based non-profit organization, which collaborates with BSP to bring sustainable access to spine care for the Belizean population. The mission of the Belize Spine Program is to provide quality patient care, education for physicians and staff at KHMH and to provide technology that would otherwise not be available.
“Harvest for Kids: Planting Seeds of Hope”
By now you probably have heard about the “Harvest for Kids” initiative by Belize Camping Experience, a non-governmental organization, which is seeking to make a difference in the lives of Belizean children through summer camps and follow-up programs.
The 40 acres of corn planted and designated to BCE’s “Harvest for Kids” project in San Carlos and Banana Bank is growing healthily. On August 18th, Belize Camping Experience took 22 of the children from their programs in Belize City to the field in San Carlos. On that day, the children not only got to learn more about what it takes to farm corn, but participate by hand harvesting some selected corn, which they boiled and enjoyed in a meal with farmers of the area. The children were also able to take up to 8 heads of corn home to share with their families. While the corn may be good to eat already, this corn is being left to mature longer so that it may be made into a product used for such purposes as corn tortillas and chicken feed.
On the day of the Harvest, all are invited to watch Harvest for Kids set a record, doing something that has never be done before in Belize. They are expecting to have at least 10-15 combine machines harvesting 20 acres of land simultaneously. The harvest will take place some time in early October.
Money made from the harvest and subsequent sale of the corn will go to subsidizing Belize Camping Experience’s program in Belize City. BCE’s programs include summer day camps, and follow-up programs in select elementary schools and children clubs around the city. This past summer BCE was able to reach 1,057 kids with their summer camp programs and they will now pursue follow-up with all of these kids during the school year.
Belize Camping Experience is asking for your help in subsidizing the costs of this Harvest Project. While the labor and machinery has been donated the rest of the expenses will take away from the profit going to the children, unless caring citizens partner with them through donations. If you are interested in making a donation please contact Alexander Perez at: 621-5541 or Sashà Garnett at: 622-9239. Any size of donation will be appreciated.
Melonie Gillett, Berne Velasquez and Ernestine Carballo to be Honoured at SOUNDFEST 2012
Soundfest 2012 will be held on Friday, September 7th, at the Big Bird’s Isle. It is now one of the events that the average Belizean highlights on the September Celebrations Calendar. Soundfest brings all of the best Belizean entertainers together for one night to share one stage. This year, Soundfest will feature the Youth Connection Band, Love Vibration Band, Lucio and the New Generation Band, Jorge Ernesto Babb and Ivor Cacho, Radiance Thompson, Ben McKay, Fransin Murillo, Mr. Cleve and the Dream Girls Sugar City Dancers.
Special Awards for the 11th annual Soundfest will go to Melonie Gillett, Berne Velasquez and Ernestine Carballo. Gillett has used her talents to take the music and fashion industry in Belize to another level. Velasquez has shown aspiring artist that success is possible in Belize. He has been doing big things in the music and film industry and is a legit local superstar. Carballo is one of the most dynamic entertainers in Belize’s history. She is one of few artists that have been able to make a splash in the political arena with her music. The three artists that will be honoured at Soundfest 2012 are well deserving of every accolades that may be bestowed upon them. They have made Belize proud.
The show starts at 7 p.m. and entrance is $15 for adults and $5 for children. Entertainment will be family oriented and there will be plenty of food and drinks on sale. Everyone is encouraged to support.
UNICEF stresses Child’s Right to an Identity
On Wednesday, August 29th, the United Nations Children's Fund, in collaboration with Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and the Vital Statistics Unit, launched a universal birth registration campaign at the Samuel Haynes Institute of Learning in Belize City.
On September 2nd, 1990 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child came into force. Belize as a signatory to the Convention is bound by international law to implement the Convention. Each country that ratifies the convention is required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country. Article 7 of that convention emphasizes a child’s right to an identity. The first step in establishing such identity is by registering the birth of a child.
It is estimated that unregistered births range from about 2% in the Cayo District to about 12.4% in the Stann Creek District. The national birth registration drive was launched on February 24th of last year in the Toledo District, which was considered to be the most difficult district to cover. From Wednesday, August 29th, to Friday, August 31st, officials of the Vital Statistics Unit will be in different centers across Belize City to facilitate the registration process for residents of the city. Those locations are the Samuel Haynes Institute of Learning, Youth for the Future near Belchina Bridge, Sister Clara Muhammad Primary School, Young Men’s Christian Association building on Faber’s Road and the Vital Statistics Headquarters. The registration fee has been trimmed down to $3 during the exercise.
Mrs. Barrow strongly urges parents to register their children because when a parent fails to register their child it is like “that child does not exist”. Failure to register a child affects that child’s other fundamental rights. An unregistered child has no nationality, right to an education, access to healthcare or other basic services.
Telemedia is National Softball Champion Again!
The 22nd Edition of the National Women’s Softball Championship, is now history. The championship, which concluded on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, was again captured by Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) when it defeated Mirage Lady Rebels by the score of 10-3 in five innings.
Telemedia batting in the bottom of the 1st inning sent 7 batters to the plate when it tallied 3 runs. Centre-fielder, Lydia Cacho opened the inning with an infield hit and then advanced to second base on catcher Erlene Belisle’s infield hit. This then set the stage for the showdown between Telemedia’s third baseman, Norecia Frazer and Mirage Lady Rebels starter and loser Lanisha Jones, in which Norecia Frazer drilled a Lanisha Jones’ fastball over the left field fence for a 3-run homer.
Lanisha Jones was able to retire the team without giving up any more runs in the inning. Unfortunately for her, the offence of the Telemedia team tagged into her again for an assortment of hits including a double by shortstop, Elaine Humes to centre field; a run-producing double by centre fielder Lydia Cacho, a run-producing triple by third baseman, Norecia Frazer and a run-producing single by pitcher Mary Flowers that chased her from the mound. Lanisha’s older sister, Lisa was called in to replace her and she came in and retired the next batter without any more damage.
Jesse Smith scored of the San Pedro Seadogs
Jesse Smith scored for the San Pedro Seadogs
The 2012-2013 Premier League of Belize Football Competition opened on Saturday, August 25th, with two games on the schedule. In the game played out at the Isidorio Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the visiting FC Belize blanked the home team by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Leon Cadle in the 87th minute of play to give FC Belize the victory.
Meanwhile, out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Verdes FC blanked San Ignacio United FC by the score of 2-0. The goals for Verdes FC were scored by Julio Ayala in the 71st minute of play and Emanuel Martinez in the 90th minute of play.
The competition continued on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, with four games on the schedule. At the San Felipe Football Field, the visiting San Pedro Seadogs defeated the home team San Felipe Barcelona by the score of 3-1. The visiting San Pedro Seadogs were the first to get on the scoreboard when Francisco Noralez scored the 1st goal of the game in the 7th minute of play to give his team an early lead.
Meanwhile, the home team San Felipe Barcelona was able to get on the board when Elizar Itza scored the equalizing goal in the 54th minute of play. The San Pedro Seadogs were able to take another lead when Everette Genus scored the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute of play for a 2-1 lead. That lead was never relinquished again by the defence of the San Pedro Seadogs for the rest of the game. The final goal of the game was scored by Jesse Smith in the 75th minute of play to give his team the 3-1 victory.
In the game played out at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, the visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters blanked the host team R.G. City Boys by the score of 1-0. The lone goal of the game was scored by Dion Moguel in the 91st plus minute of the game.
BDBA Firms competition to open this Friday night
The Belize District Basketball Association’s 2012 Firms competition is scheduled to open this coming Friday, August 31st, at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. The Firms Competition will feature the following teams in this year’s competition: Belize Water Services Ltd, Central Bank, Smart, Belize Telemedia (BTL), Airport, Bowen &Bowen, Belize Electricity Ltd. (BEL), Port of Belize, Belize Bank, and Atlantic Bank.
The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 31st, at 6:00 pm followed by the first of three games on the schedule. In game one, BWSL will go up against Central Bank, followed by Smart against BTL, and in the third and final game of the evening, it will be Airport against Bowen & Bowen.
Vega Cup Tournament rolls on in Orange Walk North
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament continued on Sunday, August 26th, out in Trial Farm Village in the Orange Walk North Constituency. In the first game played, San Roman FC defeated San Luis FC by the score of 5-3. The goals for San Roman FC were scored by Adrian Armstrong in the 2nd, 8th, 30th and 35th minutes of play, while the goals for San Luis FC were scored by Teodoro Chan in the 16th minute of play and Erubiel Ku in the 38th and 41st minutes of play.
In game two, San Pablo FC and defending champions Santa Cruz FC played to a 2-2 draw.
In the third game of the afternoon, Old School FC blasted New River Dynamites by the score of 10-0. The goal scorers for Old School FC were Oliver Hendricks in the 18th, 27th, 32nd, 69th and 87th minutes of play; Vans Waight in the 23rd and 65th minutes of play; Marlon Miranda in the 30th and 40th minutes of play; and Jose Carlos Puerto in the 63rd minute of play.
In the fourth and final game of the day, Untouchables FC edged Barrio Boys by the score of 2-1. The goals for Untouchables were scored by Alexander Cacho in the 12th minute of play, and Eliseo Garcia in the 50th minute of play, while the lone goal for Barrio Boys was scored by Ronel Flowers in the 9th minute of play.
The competition will continue this coming Sunday, September 2nd with four more games on the schedule all Group B at the Trial Farm Football Field. In game one at 10:00 am, San Jose Survivors will go up against San Antonio Jaguars; followed by game 2 in which San Juan FC will go up against Douglas Galaxy. In game three, San Jose Pumas will see action against Blackwater FC, and in the final game of the day, it will be Athletics FC against United Ballers.
New gasoline prices through the Roof
Effective 12 midnight on Monday, August 27, the price of gasoline advanced to new heights – $11.95 a gallon for regular and $12.97 for premium gasoline.
Diesel price remains stable at $10.17 a gallon.
At the beginning of the year gasoline prices started out at $10.55 for regular and $10.90 for premium. Diesel was at $10.04.
“Complex” neighbourhood hot! 20 year old man shot and killed.
City Police have detained one man in their investigation of the murder of Miraldo Alvarez, 20, unemployed, who was gunned down near the junction of McKenzie Lewis Streets around 9:45 last Friday night, August 24.
Case dismissed! over missing marijuana.
Mark Sarcasa, 36, escaped a drug trafficking charge this week when Magistrate Anne Marie Smith dismissed the case on Tuesday, August 28, on grounds that the arresting officer, Detective Constable Palacio, had failed to follow proper police procedure for the custody of the seized drug.
The most effective form of democracy? The winner-takes-all system doesn’t represent everyone
According to the Election and Boundaries Department, there are 178,054 registered voters in Belize, of which only 73 percent (130,303) actually voted on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Post-General Election figures showed that out of that 73 percent more than 1,400 ballots were rejected and that about 2,000 votes were in favour of independent or third party candidates; therefore, it is clear that the total number of votes received by Belize’s two major parties, the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), was approximately 127,000 – which is roughly 71 percent of the total number of registered voters.
Belize Superbond: A fight to the debt
By Andrew Enriquez
Former director and vice president of Bear Sterns & Co.
Belize is currently in danger of re-defaulting on its debt after missing a US$23M interest payment due August 20, 2012 on the $544M USD bond it released on markets just 5 years ago, widely known as the “superbond.” Belize has a 30-day grace period before default is declared, but recent comments by the Finance Secretary suggest that Belize cannot afford to make the payment.
Motorists question PUMA’s diesel quality
Motorists have called in to various morning television talk shows to complain about the quality of diesel being sold at service stations in Belize of late. They claim that their vehicles’ response are not as peppy as before, and express the view that the substandard quality of the diesel is to blame.
SMART’s 3G hits out-of-the-park home run in telecom services
Smart tele-communications customers have been on a roll since the company launched its 3G network late last year.
Since then, access to the information super highway has proven to be fast, and most Internet applications which stream data from cyberspace work flawlessly on the new network.
There are no annoying breaks in the flow of data or delays from program buffering, especially Internet based radios and videos from sites such as Youtube.
But that is only the beginning. Smart is continuing to create new, dynamic services to its more than 120,000 customers, breaking new ground in Belize’s telecom industry.
One of the new additions to Smart’s line-up is its call roaming services for prepaid customers which the company launched last month.
This is a first for Belize. Not only is the service available at a very low cost, but there is no need for customers to make a deposit to access the roaming service. Customers can even recharge their phones while roaming, by using Smart prepaid cards.
Murder for love
Calaney Flowers, 26, of Lavender Street, Belize City, was remanded to the Hattieville prison on Thursday after she drove her car over her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Lyndon Morrison and Morrison’s new flame, Sochyl Sosa.
GOB’s actions are “counterproductive,” bondholders say.
The “super-bond” restructuring negotiations may not have a speedy conclusion due to the “counterproductive, and adversarial actions” taken by the Government of Belize, said AJ Mediratta, the co-chair of the Bondholders Coordinating Committee.
Why postmenopausal women should say ‘No thanks’ to dessert
Post-menopausal women hoping to control their weight may be able to help themselves out by sticking to three simple rules: lay off the meat and cheese, eat more fruits and veggies, and skip dessert and sugary drinks.
A new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, aimed to find out how eating or avoiding specific foods made a difference in short and long-term weight loss results in women who had gone through menopause.
Genes may determine how we vote
The 2000 presidential election may have hung on some hanging chads, but new evidence suggests that a handful of genes may be influencing election outcomes more than we think.
Genetic studies find that nature may be playing as significant a role as nurture when it comes to political traits. Certainly, learning and environmental factors play a role too in the development of political opinions, but new gene studies indicate that people may have natural tendencies when it comes to political ideology and partisanship, voting behavior and engaging in political violence.
Belize Telemedia women win National Softball Championship
Belize Telemedia women hammered the Mirage Lady Rebels 10-3 for a five-inning mercy rule victory to repeat as National Softball Champions at Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Sunday, August 26.
Telemedia collected 10 hits off Lanesha Jones’ pitching. Lydia Cacho led the attack as she and Earlene Belisle scored after Norecia Fraser hit a home run in the first inning.
Scotiabank & Atlantic Bank win in Interoffice volleyball
Atlantic Bank, Scotiabank and Belize Telemedia enjoyed victories in the Belize City Interoffice Competition organized by the Belize District Volleyball Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium over the weekend.
The Simon Quan Black Stars got some payback in their two- set victory over the Honeybees in Junior Female Volleyball Competition on Sunday afternoon, August 26. Stars’ Nyala Tun, Nandi Woods, Mia Miles and Alexis Burns hammered hits at the net on balls set by Alexandra Smith and Lediri Betson to reach 24-23 in the first set. Honeybees’ Merissa Williams, Leila Hernandez, Jenna Peck and Moesha Shaw counterattacked furiously spiking the Stars on balls set by Rebecca Price and Maria Contreras, but the Stars’ good defense forced the Honeybees into errors and the Stars won the first set 29-27.
Birding in Belize's Toledo and Stann Creek Districts
Birding in Belize's Toledo and Stann Creek Districts
Birding in southern Belize is great fun and very productive, with many exotic specimens just waiting to show you their colors. We spent lots and lots of time looking for and watching birds on this seven-day trip and got quite a few new additions to our life lists, even though we certainly didn't get photos of all of them. We also saw many birds we'd seen before but never mind seeing again, like the exotic Montezuma Oropendola, this time hanging from its very interesting pendulous nest. This was right outside Hickatee Cottages, and very easy to spot, thanks to its distinctive call, appearance, and size. This is a BIG bird!
Montezuma Oropendola and nest
While we were at Hickatee Cottages, Ian, the proprietor, presented us with a very thorough list of the birds of the Toledo district, keyed by whether each bird was a full-time resident, whether it had been previously sighted at Hickatee, and the likelihood of seeing it. This list was very helpful, especially if we were trying to determine a bird identification and were torn between two similar species, some with a very high likelihood of being seen, and some with a very low or nil likelihood.
But let's back up a bit. Here are the birds we identified at Mama Noots or Mayflower Bocawina National Park, on the first half of our trip, in the Stann Creek District of Belize. Starred birds are new for our life lists. Photos we managed to catch are included below. Sure wish we'd gotten more!
Black-Cowled Oriole* ~ Black-Headed Saltator* ~ Stripe-Throated Hermit ~ Chestnut-Colored Woodpecker* ~ Brown-Crested Flycatcher* ~ Purple-Crowned Fairy* ~ Ivory-Billed Woodcreeper* ~ Violacious Trogan ~ Great Kiskadee ~ Social Flycatcher ~ Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird ~ Smoky-Brown Woodpecker* ~ Buff-Throated Saltator* ~ Emerald Toucanet* ~ White-Collared Manakin* ~ Long-Billed Hermit ~ Yellow-Winged Tanager ~ Crimson-Collared Tanager(*Barry) ~ Masked Tityra* ~ Golden-Hooded Tanager(*Barry) ~ Blue-Black Grassquit* ~ Olive-Backed Euphonia*
Blue-Black Grassquit (female)
Weather folklore blue moon
For all you sky watchers, we are about to experience a Blue Moon tomorrow night. The most common definition of a blue moon out there right now refers to it as the second full moon of a calendar month. I knew there had to be more behind it and Earth Sky science website provided me with the information below.
The idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month stemmed from the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, which contained an article called “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett. Pruett was using a 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, but he simplified the definition. He wrote: Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.
EarthSky’s Deborah Byrd happened upon a copy of this old 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope in the stacks of the Peridier Library at the University of Texas Astronomy Department in the late 1970s. Afterward, she began using the term Blue Moon to describe the second full moon in a calendar month on the radio. Later, this definition of Blue Moon was also popularized by a book for children by Margot McLoon-Basta and Alice Sigel, called “Kids’ World Almanac of Records and Facts,” published in New York by World Almanac Publications, in 1985. The second-full-moon-in-a-month definition was also used in the board game Trivial Pursuit.
Can there be two blue moons in a single calendar year? Yes. It last happened in 1999. There were two full moons in January and two full moons in March and no full moon in February. So both January and March had Blue Moons.
The next year of double blue moons is coming up in 2018.
100% Made In San Pedro, Belize: Delicious Kakaw Chocolates
Yesterday I was a bit nervous. After dieting for seven weeks with rigor and perseverance that would impress most Olympic athletes, I was headed to south Ambergris Caye to visit Kakaw Chocolate factory. And when I returned?
The "full house" of Belizean chocolate right there in my hand. Oh the temptation! But let's back up a bit...in fact, let's back up a lot.
Belize has a long history of chocolate production. In fact, we may boast the longest in the world. Everyone's favorite flavor was actually first used by the Mayan and Aztec peoples thousands of years ago...some speculate as an ale of sorts made with the ground beans and the pulp that surrounds them.
Belizean chocolate has come a long way since being served as a bitter beer. In much more modern times, mega-producer Hershey's Chocolate had a facility in Belize in the 1970s and 80s but left for cheaper production elsewhere. (Kakaw actually has one of the old Hershey's presses left in a garage in Southern Belize. Taller than me and weighing hundreds and hundreds of pounds, this machine is a beast! I shiver to think about how they actually got it to the island.)
Famous organic producers Green & Black (now owned by Kraft) still buys cacao here for their Mayan Gold blend. You've probably seen those very bars at your local supermarket.
Creditors question Belize's debt sustainability concerns
Creditors are asking the government of Belize to justify its restructuring proposals in light of what they see as contradictory information released earlier this year and a December IMF report that did not express any concerns about debt sustainability.
“In the absence of comprehensive and consistent information, we are relying on the IMF Article IV published last December,” said a source close to the credit committee. “This report, which was issued in consultation with the Belize Government, did not even raise a concern about debt sustainability, so the committee is understandably curious about what has changed.”
Belize missed a US$23m coupon payment on August 20, days after Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the country would be unable to make the payment.
Creditors are still waiting for a formal response to proposals that could see them take a haircut of up to 80% on the net present value of their holdings. The government has until September 19, when the grace period ends.
“We still have hopes it will be a 2012 restructuring, but that will need accommodation from each side,” said Sebastian Espinosa, managing director of White Oak Advisory, which is advising the government.
Creditors question Belize's concerns over debt sustainability
Creditors are asking the government of Belize to justify its restructuring proposals in light of what they see as contradictory information released earlier this year and a December IMF report that did not express any concerns about debt sustainability, Reuters reported.
"In the absence of comprehensive and consistent information, we are relying on the IMF Article IV published last December," said a source close to the credit committee. "This report, which was issued in consultation with the Belize government, did not even raise a concern about debt sustainability, so the committee is understandably curious about what has changed."
Belize missed a US$23 million bond interest payment on August 20 and creditors are still waiting for a formal response to restructuring proposals. The government has until September 19, when the grace period ends. However, one senior portfolio manager was skeptical last week, saying the final offer could be nearer 20 cents on the dollar, Reuters said.
According to Reuters, the two sides appear to be far apart. The situation is exacerbated by approximately US$300m in additional liabilities in the form of compensation due to former shareholders of Belize's electricity and telecoms companies, which were nationalized between 2009 and 2011.
No settlement has yet been reached with these claimants, and the government wants to roll their claims into a wider debt restructuring.
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