Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Week of September 2nd – September 9th, 2012
Just a classic late summer week with fun times relaxing and fishing the flats with no one around. It’s slow season primarily because it’s nice weather in North America! Lucky for us it’s great weather here too. The fish are happy due to stable conditions, and anglers have had some quality fishing both on fly and spin. The guides are using this down time to fix their boats and getting ready for a busy October. The guests who snorkeled or dove with Alonzo this week had rave reviews: Incredible creatures of the sea living on the second largest barrier reef in the world. And there were some fun stories from guests who went bar hopping on bicycles…everyone made it back intact. New friends this week...

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

The San Pedro Sun

SPTCC outlines recommendations on importation of vehicles
The San Pedro Traffic Control Committee is working diligently to curb the problem of traffic congestion in San Pedro. Kenrick Brackett, councilor responsible for traffic, met with the media on Wednesday morning to highlight the types and sizes of vehicles that the committee will entertain for permit approval. Please note that no application is an automatic approval. However, the committee will ONLY entertain applications of the vehicles specified above. The problem of congestion is an ever present one on the streets of San Pedro and the committee is very much aware of this issue.

Ambergris Today

Medical Tourism Becoming a Reality in Belize
As a follow up to the first workshop, a second Medical Tourism workshop was held at the House of Culture in Belize City, on Friday, September 7, 2012. Presenters for this session included Mr. Massimo Manzi, the Project’s Consultant, and Executive Director of the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED), and Mr. Tom Terranova, representative from the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). Among the topics under discussion, the following were addressed:

St. George's Caye Day Commemorated in San Pedro
The September 10th celebrations commemorating the 214th Battle of St. George’s Caye in San Pedro took new form as the San Pedro House of Culture and the San Pedro Town Council held activities at Central Park to bring in the anniversary celebratory activities, parade and the official coronation of Miss San Pedro. The evening’s activities on Sunday, September 9, 2012, included marching band presentations by Isla Bonita Elementary and San Pedro Roman Catholic School who entertained the large gathering at the park with excellent drumming skills that were accompanied by their own dance squads. Other presentations included musical performances by Naslin Rivero, Trisha Godoy, Barrington Castillo and Natalie Arceo who all sang patriotic and lively songs to pick up the spirit of celebration for the evening. Dance routines included a pirate themed performance by the San Pedro Dance Company and a flag routine by Miss Chiquitita Darianie Pou.

San Pedro's Biggest Festival Back Then (Part 2)
Two weeks ago I commenced on a story of the biggest festival San Pedro put on and it was on the occasion of Dia de San Pedro, St. Peter’s Day on June 29, about one hundred years ago. All the preparations were done by village volunteers and now it was time to enjoy. For the fist song the Batab had selected 12 young men and 12 young ladies to dance and open the festival. The men bowed to the girls and took off their hats. The girls curtsied and the men put their hats on again. There was a custom that if a man liked a girl, he could put his hat on her head. Some girls got several hats and some got none.

Miss San Pedro 1986
The year is 1986, 26 years ago. No matter what size of parade it was, Miss San Pedro has always been present as the focal point of any parade. This year it was Flor Marin, with her lovely maids of honor. The float depicts a whale after which the Island got its name of Ambergris Caye. The photo was taken from the verandah of Barrier Reef Hotel, formerly the renowned Papa Blake House. Friendship Park with its volleyball court had been recently built and the sandy streets still boasted some grass and greenery on the sides. Notably the parade was being led by the Boy Scouts, an organization that we have lost with the passage of time and changes of priorities. These were still the days of NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO PROBLEM, in San Pedro Town.

Parents: Be involved, not difficult!
As the new school year begins many educators anticipate having to deal with “difficult” parents. These are the parents who are seen only at registration or “sometimes” picking up report cards or paying school fees; they are not actively involved in their children’s careers at school everyday. These parents have or want nothing to do with the PTA. They have far more important things to do. Yet, these parents have high expectations of their sons/daughters and of the schools. Translation: schools (administrators and teachers) do your job! Whenever these high expectations are not met, i.e. when the son or daughter is failing a class (or more) and/or having discipline problems at school, it means that the school is not doing its job. That’s when overworked and underpaid teachers need to watch out! Harsh and negative criticisms as well as tongue-lashing accusations will be pelted at them for not doing their jobs! How dare they make a parent lose time off from his/her precious work to have to come to school?!!!

Misc Belizean Sources

Today September 11, 2012; Ladies and Gentlemen, the fine people of Placencia Peninsula; we are here to inform the General Public that the Government of Belize in conjunction with Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWSL), have lied to, mislead and manipulated the communities of the Placencia Peninsula. A TIMELINE OF EVENTS: July 27, 2010: I attended the first meeting about the Integrated Water and Sanitation Programme for the Placencia Peninsula at Robert's Grove, in the capacity, of the Chairman of Placencia Village along with Francis Palacio, Chairman of Seine Bight Village. A meeting which I video recorded. At minute 49 I stated, from the information I was gathering at the meeting, that it seems that BWSL wants to take over the Peninsula's Water Boards, I also stated that if I presented the information they just gave to me, that the people of Placencia would reach the same conclusion. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Team Leader of the Water and Sanitation Project, Lu Shen, did not clearly state whether or not BWSL would take over the Water Boards.

Benque HoC's Unidecennial Anniversary Celebrations
The Benque House of Culture had their Unideceniial Anniversary with the opening of the Story of Resistance in Belize. They have quite a few events planned for the September Celebrations. They had quite a few visitors! "11 years Anniversary & opening ceremony of exhbitions " The Story of Resistance in Belize", schools from Benque Viejo & San Jose Succotz, honored us with their presence, Mount Camrel High SChool, Victorious Nazarene, San Jose Succotz R.C. Hills of Promise S.D.A. and a host of friends & supporters, we humbly thank you for everything."

George Price Man of Purpose and Vision Exhibit
The SISE HoC's latest exhibit is on display starting today, and continuing through October 12th. Just in time for National Service Day and the September Celebrations, the exhibit is called: "George Price Man of Purpose and Vistion." Thanks go out to NICH and the SISE HoC for bringing this great cultural exhibit to Cayo.

Channel 7

Baby Kaylee's Aunt Detained For Her Death
On Saturday the funeral for two year old Baby Kaylee Burgess was held in Ladyville. The families from both sides of her family gathered to bury her two days after what would have been her birthday. And, very likely, one of the family members who was at that funeral will be charged for murder or conspiracy. It is an almost unbelievable turn in what is one of the saddest stories we've ever reported. It started on Wednesday of last week when Kevin Burgess alleged that his common-law Diedre Pratt had burned down his house. But according to police forensic pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran, when the news aired that night, Kaylee was likely already dead - and she didn't drown; he found that someone had suffocated her. And so now murder is the case - and today Ladyville police took the child's 19 year old aunt into custody in Ladyville; she is Diedre Pratt's younger sister. She is being investigated and may be charged tomorrow - but until then speculation about who killed the child and when continues to swirl.

Belizean-Hezbollah Affiliates?
A Trio of Lebanese men caught in Merida with Belizean passports has raised concerns that there may have been a terrorist cell operating in Belize. The men are Yasser Safa - who became notorious for various hustles while he was in Belize, George Abdalah Elters who was a mechanic on Coney Drive in Belize City and a man named Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun who had a Belizean passport in the name Wilhelm Dick. According to the Yucatan Times Labboun is a suspected member of the terrorist network Hezbollah. Mexican police descended on his Merida home in force on Saturday night, which is when he presented himself with the fake passport. George Abdalah Elters and Justin Yasser Safa were also arrested with him. Media outlets in Mexico report that they both had valid immigration forms - and had entered through Chetumal. Some reports suggest that Labboun also entered through Chetumal - while other reports say that he flew into Cancun and others say he flew straight from Los Angeles.

Man Knocked Down/Killed On Way To Work
Thanks to a strong police presence, the weekend was mostly violence free in the city; there are no reports of anyone being shot or killed. But there was loss of life: two tragic events in which one city resident was knocked down while another drowned. We start with the security guard who was knocked down as he rode to work. It happened on Saturday evening at around 5:15 pm. 25 year old Shane Dougal who works for Harpy Security was riding from his home on George Street to work in Ladyville was knocked down at mile five on the Northern Highway. He suffered massive head trauma and died shortly after being hit. Police have released the name of the driver as Jason Roney Castillo, a 21 year old fitness trainer. But Shane Dougal's mother says they have been receiving mixed messages from police - and that worries her. She told us about her concerns:.

Teenager Drowns In Post-Juveey Revelry
On Saturday morning before dawn - while most of us were asleep, hundreds of city residents poured into the streets for the annual juveey. It is the pre-carnival event to get revelers into the mood for a day of bacchanal - and customarily it ends down by the river near the Belcan Bridge - with the early morning revelers washing themselves off. And in-keeping with the early morning sense of chaos and disorder - the dozens of young men who were in the juveey clamber unto the rails of the Belcan Bridge for death-defying dives into the river which is about 15 feet above the river. It's good fun but very dangerous - and that was demonstrated on Friday when 17 year old Jermaine Madrill drowned in all the ruckus. The promising young athlete is believed to have been smothered as someone else accidentally jumped on him. Search teams looked for him from Saturday morning and didn't unearth his body until the next morning - 24 hours later under the Belcan Bridge. Today his father told us he just wants closure - to know what happened to his son who would have been 18 on Sunday September 16th.

City Bond In Trouble?
It had a sort of soft public relations launch in mid-July, but since then we haven't heard much about the municipal bond. The prospectus was to have been issued by the end of July, and then the end of August - and now we're in the middle of September, and it still has not been published. And now there is news that makes it clear that all is not well with the bond. A press release has been sent out from the Legacy Fund - which had been retained as the council's financial advisor - to state that it quote, "announces the end of its service provider role with the Belize City Council with respect to the $20 million Belize City infrastructural bond project…As of 27 August 2012, Legacy has been disengaged from the project, due to an impasse with the Council over terms and conditions on moving forward with the municipal bond offering." That's big news and bad news for the city hall, which up until now had been on a roll. But it seems it has hit a brick wall with the bond launch - and it is unclear what the next step will be.

Hon. Castro Says BBOC Not Westline Should Get Western Runs
Last week, you heard both sides of the dispute between the BBOC and Westline Bus. Both of them want to have the 3:30 and 4:00 pm run from Benque Viejo to Belize City. BBOC has it right now - but Westline has been awarded it - and has paid for it - but it still has not gotten the road service permit issued. And it appears such permit may not materialize. Today the Minister of State with responsibility for Transport, Edmund Castro told us that the run should stay with the BBOC. Here are his comments:.. Hon. Edmund Castro "We had reverted the road side permit; the 3:30 and the 4:00 back to BBOC. I don't see why they are bickering over it." Jules Vasquez "Mr. Chuc told me that he has paid for those runs; 3:30 and 4:00 from Benque. He hasn't gotten the permit. He said that he got a receipt that he paid."

Sr. Supt. Williams Says Hyde Knows Where Guns Are
And tonight we have the other side of a story that made the news on Friday. Russell Hyde - who was released on bail from a kidnapping charge came to our studios to profess his innocence and to demonstrate that he was being set up by police. He had a secret recording of an exchange with former Officer Commanding Cayo Chester Williams. In it, Hyde discusses a sawed off shotgun and a nine millimeter pistol which Williams has asked him to recover. If he does recover it, Williams seems to promise that Hyde will get back his SUV which has been impounded as evidence. Today we spoke to Williams in Barbados where he is in law school. He told us there was nothing irregular about his conversation with Hyde:.. Sr. Supt. Chester Williams "He came requesting to get his vehicle back and I told him I said that you have been accused of breaking and entering into the home of Mr. Johnson during which two firearms was stolen and he came and ask me what was the description of the firearms and I told him that I didn't know but I can contact someone who knows the description."

Armin Arana's Home Torched
Tonight a popular radio personality and his mother are homeless after their concrete bungalow house was set on fire. The incident happened early Saturday morning a little after 4am. At the time both Armin Arana and his Mother Juliana Arana were in Barranco attending a family member's funeral. Neighbors who alerted the fire department who quickly responded to the house that was engulfed in flames. Today 7news spoke with Fire Operations Manager Ben Matura - who confirmed to us that it was indeed arson and the fire started from Armin Arana's bedroom. Ben Matura, Operations Officer - Fire Department "The fire department got a call approximately 4:30 am on the 8th September at the corner of Mahogany and Jasmine Streets. Upon arrival flames were coming out oif the back bedroom. We got into operation and extinguished the fire. Both bedrooms received fire damage and the rest of the house got smoke damage and a few scorched area." Juliana Arana, Home Owner "I was in Barranco for a relative funeral. As a matter of fact I was in bed sleeping when they woke me to the bad news. It's not a very good felling. I cried, it's a very bad feeling because you are not here to help yourself. Nobody was at home. Everybody was in Barranco. They are suggesting that it's from Armin's room and it spread out to my room."

Man Busted For Ruger "9"
Tonight, 25 year-old Randy Jones, a construction worker residing on Mopan Street, is at prison after police allegedly busted him with a firearm on Saturday. According to police, a team of officers were on mobile patrol, when they saw Jones riding on his bicycle on Mahogany Street. According to police, the officers saw clearly that when Jones spotted the vehicle, he lifted his shirt up, pulled out an object, threw it in a nearby yard, and tried to ride away before they caught up. The officers said that they immediately detained him, and took him back to the area where he threw the item. They discovered that it was a 9 mm Ruger brand pistol, which was loaded with 9 live rounds of ammunition.

Castro Says Rural Cops Need Motorbikes
We've told you about the problems in Crooked Tree, a larger village where there is no police presence because the station burned down some time ago. Well now there is one - and he has a motorbike to get around. Cycles were assigned to three rural police today - by the area representative through the Ministry of National security. He explained that they will be deployed to Sandhill, Crooked Tree and Bermudian Landing.. Hon. Edmund Castro "Areas such as Crooked Tree - there is no police station in Crooked Tree, the station got burnt down. What we experience over the years is that some of the youngsters are getting out of hand or people would go into the community and create mischief because there was lack of police presence. Now while we are working for construction for a new police station for Crooked Tree we found the need for us to rent a house to have a police present."

Minister's Brother Falsely Accused
And tonight, another Castro from the rural area is also making news. Edwin Castro - brother of the Honorable Edmund was named in a police report as a suspect in the stabbing of a 17 year old. The stabbing occurred at a wedding reception in front of the Maskall Community Center, where the assailant broke a beer bottle and stabbed him. Police said Edwin Castro was wanted - but he told us it's completely bogus:... Edwin Castro "I am not a wanted man because I don't have any police record. The police didn't arrest me and I don't have a charge sheet. Should my name go on the news, I should get a charge sheet, but so far none of that has happen so, please take my name off the air if so be the case." "They claim to say that I stabbed a 70 year old - who can prove it. At the end of the day I didn't get arrested and I didn't get any charge and so I want them to stop that. They should have never my name to the media if I didn't get a charge sheet or arrested."

GSU Gets Bulletproof Vest
Tonight, The Gang Suppression Unit is investigating the source of 2 bullet proof vests which were found just lying around on Saturday. According to the GSU, a team of officers were conducting operations in the Raccoon Street Extension area, and they conducted a search on an abandoned lot at around 8:40 a.m. They found 2 bullet proof vests behind a wooden house that was in the yard. The vests were disguised by 2 blue Smart 3G shirts to look like ordinary clothing items. Because no one was in the area, they were deposited as found property, but the GSU reports that the vests bear a strong resemblance the ones used by police officers. As a result, they are looking into the origins of the vests closely. And, at around 3:40 p.m. that same date, GSU searched 24 year-old Dwayne Humes while they were on Banak Street. They found 71 grams of cannabis in his left front pants pocket, and an additional 1.6 grams in the other pocket. As a result, he was charged with 1 count of drug trafficking, and 1 count of possession of controlled drugs.

A Tenth To Remember
The Tenth of September was a long and festive weekend. There were all kinds of events from carnival to concerts - but at the heart of the weekend - is a historical observance: the Battle of St. George's Caye. And as is customary - the nod to history was made on Monday morning at the memorial park - which we are happy to note was ready right on time. Here are a few highlights:... Jules Vasquez reporting The pleasantries, the formalities and the frivolities as well as the festivities and the speeches. Mayor Darrell Bradley "The success of a nation does not depend of cannons, ships or soldiers nor does it depend on money. The Baymen saw that the success of a nation depends of the share will and determination of its people that any problem no matter how large could be overcome. That any enemy, no matter how fearsome could be silence and that any dream no matter how loft it could be achieve with basic human determination. We are still here strong after 214 years. Ours is a history of courage against all odds, of victory in the face of overwhelming circumstances."

Channel 5

Yasser Safa; “I’m not a terrorist”
Two Belizeans are making headlines across the globe tonight. Justin George Abdalah Elders and Yasser Safa who lived in Belama as well as the Los Lagos area are being linked to the radical movement, Hezbollah. Safa, a naturalized Belizean, is originally from Lebanon. The third man who was arrested, Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun, is a [...]

Aunt questioned about death of 2 year old
Last Friday, the shocking results of an autopsy revealed that young Kaylee Burgess had been suffocated and that she had not drowned in a bucket of water as her family had claimed. The child was in the care of her aunt who lives in the Japan area of Ladyville. At the time, Diedra Pratt, the [...]

Was pregnant woman carrying twins? Hospital has no answers
There is a disturbing allegation coming out of the north tonight. A mother of four claims that she went to the Northern Regional Hospital last week to deliver twins, but following her surgery she was told that she only gave birth to one baby; an eight pound boy. The mother, who comes from a family [...]

Shooting in Old Capital
Just after twelve noon today, shots rang out in the Old Capital on Hondo Street. The shots were aimed at a patron at the popular fast food joint Pratt’s. The gunman dressed in khaki shorts and a grey undershirt pulled out what appeared to be a nine millimeter pistol and fired at least six shots [...]

Gone too soon; man killed on the highway
The family of a security officer is grieving his untimely death. Shane Dougal, who is employed by Harpy Security, was hit and killed on the Northern Highway as he headed to work after Saturday’s carnival. His mother Sarita Pitts, says she has been getting conflicting reports from the police. News’s Five’s Delahnie Bain has that [...]

Alcohol involved in fatal Corozal accident
Another accident in Corozal Town claimed the life of a seventy-one year old man of Ranchito Village. Around one-thirty on Saturday morning, police were called out to the junction of Paraiso Village and the Northern Highway, where they saw a back hoe on the side of the road and an extensively damaged car on the [...]

Youth drowns after jumping over Belcan Bridge
The excitement from Jouvert 2012 was shattered moments after it culminated. It has become a tradition for persons to jump off the Belcan Bridge and into the Belize River near the San Cas Plaza. But it turned tragic just around seven a.m., when seventeen year old Jermaine Madrill, a promising athlete of various sporting disciplines [...]

DJ Tambran on the record about City Hall
On Friday, while most Belize City entertainers were busy taking care of last minute preparations for the Annual Carnival Road March, Lennox ‘DJ Tambran’ Young, proprietor of Tambran’s Music Depot, was being put out of business. The veteran disc jockey, who is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Belize City Council over unpaid [...]

Arson claims Arana home on Mahogany Street
There was a fire in Belize City on Saturday morning. The home of seventy one year old Juliana Arana and her son Armin was gutted some time after four a.m. Arana, who spent the weekend in Barranco, had lived in the home for twenty years and now has to start all over again. The investigation [...]

The mud and chocolate of Jouvert 2012
This year’s Jouvert turned out to be a huge event; in fact Jouvert has grown immensely and as many as three thousand are estimated to have participated in the revelry, which precedes the road march. Bright and early on Saturday morning the crowd descended on the San Cas Plaza where the event kicked off. The [...]

The sequined Road March of Carnival 2012
Hours later, the Annual Carnival Road March made its way through the principal streets of the Old Capital in the sweltering heat on Saturday. While the riot of colors, characters and music was met with mixed reviews from spectators, it did produce three winners in the senior large band category. In first place was Mahogany [...]

Tonight Group A bedazzles on Superstar
The celebrations are well underway and one event that you can’t miss out on starts shortly at the Bliss. Performers of Group A will bring their A game on stage as they battle to capture the title and fortune as The Next Superstar. But when the curtains draw, the bottom three performers will fight to [...]

James Adderley with the equalizer on Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 3 of the PLB Football Season saw the Belmopan Bandits head to San Felipe the scheduled date with San Felipe Barcelona and we join the action as Jeremy James tries to open the scoreboard for the Bandits with this launch that’s right at [...]


A service was for the new superintendent of Toledo Methodist Circuit
A welcome and induction service for a new superintendent of the Toledo Methodist Circuit was held last night in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

A family moves the September celebration to the next level
A family in Belize City has taken patriotism to a whole new level, with the painting of a huge Belizean flag on the front of their house. Love Tv’s Patrick Jones and Videographer Brian Castillo, went to look at the work in progress and here is what they found.

The annual Belize Soundfest rolls out in Belize
The annual Belize Soundfest has become a staple of the September Celebrations. The eleventh edition of the show is poised to put a star-studded line up of local artists on stage at the Bird’s Isle tonight. Tony Wright has been the driving force behind Belize Soundfest since its inception and he says that tonight’s show has something for everyone. Wright says that persons attending Belize Soundfest will not have to worry about getting back home after the show, because organizers of the show have carefully coordinated public transportation for the event. Tickets for Belize Soundfest 2012 are selling for fifteen dollars adults, while children pay five dollars.

Punta Gorda leads a group of Belizeans to go on a special expedition
A group of Belizeans is set to go on a special expedition this weekend. Under the leadership of Punta Gorda native Wil Maheia, the group known as the Belize Territorial Volunteers will be leading a trek to the Belize-Guatemala border on Sunday. According to Mahaeia, the expedition is for a show of patriotism and he is inviting all Belizeans to head south to join is displaying their love of country. Mahaia says the expedition will go to the closest point along the Belize Guatemala border and expects the hike to be no more than thirty minutes. The entire event is expected to be completed in by mid-afternoon.

The second annual National Day Prayer Circle was held on Monday
The second annual National Day Prayer Circle will be held on Monday September 10th at 2:30pm at the Destiny Preschool in Georgeville. Reverend Rose Fairweather is the organizer of the event Fairweather says that everyone can also enjoy a walk down memory lane on this day Fairweather says last year was the first time they hosted the prayer circle and they had a good turnout. She hopes many more will join this year. Once again the time is 2:30 p.m. on Monday September 10th at the Destiny Preschool in Georgeville.

Lindo’s court case
Charge stems from a report made early last year September when Hector Usher was accused of inappropriately touching an infant. The case concluded today before Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, and Usher was found not guilty of the charge. Usher has been targeted and threatened since the charge was laid against him and his reputation has been tarnished as a result. Today his attorney, Senior Counsel Dean Lindo, Dean Senior Counsel Lindo said that because the allegation had already created a foregone conclusion in many people’s minds, it came to a point where a media personality had been inciting violence against his client. Lindo said that he wanted to set the record straight in the media. Lindo hopes that with the acquittal of Usher today, he can now return to his life before the trial.

The University now owns Faculty of Agriculture, Central Farm in Cayo
In other news from the University of Belize, the University is now the owner of the title for land on which its Faculty of Agriculture sits in Central Farm in the Cayo district. The transfer of the land title to UB was done on Wednesday of this week, during a ceremony, which also marked the inauguration of a new building that will house classrooms as well as a soil and biology laboratory. Director of Public Information for the University of Belize Selwyn King told Love News the added infrastructure will greatly assist the University in training potential farmers and agro-producers. King says that during Wednesday’s land title transfer, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega made a commitment that his ministry will make available farm land to two top graduates from UB’s agriculture program as a way to stimulate the agriculture sector.

A protest took places at the UB campus
Yesterday students attending the Belize City campus of the University of Belize walked out of classes in protest This morning, the director of the office of public information Selwyn King, told Love News that the University’s management is in dialogue with the student government to correct anomalies at the Belize City campus of the country’s national university. As we have reported previously, the student government representatives say they will continue to press the University’s management to keep to their commitment to ensure improvements in the learning environment at the Belize City campus.

A concert was held at the Bliss
It’s not too late to start getting ready and head on to the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts where the Francis Reneau and Friends in Concert will be taking place. Love News caught up with the renowned composer this afternoon who said that his message in the songs to be presented tonight are to be remembered over time because of what Belize is going through Singer, Jenny Lovell, is one of Reneau’s friends who will be singing a couple of songs with the composer. Lovell says they will be doing a total of five songs tonight. The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. Entrance fee is twenty dollars.

Inauguration ceremonies for solar renewable energy projects was held in Toledo
Inauguration ceremonies for solar renewable energy projects at two rural schools were held in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports


Produce a'plenty
Today we had to ride our bikes into town twice because we bought so much produce we couldn't carry it all on the first trip! We also spent all our cash on the first trip, but the very nice fruit-stand proprietor said that we were welcome to take all the fruit and veggies that we wanted and bring him the money later. Wow! Even though we are regular customers there, I was still surprised and honored that he would be so trusting. It reminded me that we are in Belize, where small-town courtesies have not gone by the wayside, not yet. We couldn't carry any more on our bikes anyway, so we rode back to our condo to unload and headed right back out for the second trip to get the rest. Here's our haul: Picture Oranges, mangoes, papayas, limes, avocados, onions, bananas, tomatoes, green beans, and bell peppers

Quetzalcoatl by Pablo Collado
During our 2012 Winter Solstice Celebration which is scheduled to take place from December 15 – 22, 2012, we have invited Belizean Maya Flutist, Pablo Collado to perform a potpourri of Maya melodies to commemorate the completion of the Maya Long Count’s 13th Ba’ k tun. Below is a sample of a melody entitled “Quetzalcoalt” that Mr. Collado recorded early this year. He describes the rhythm of the song as follows: To the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent, a flying reptile (much like a dragon), who was a boundary maker (and transgressor) between earth and sky. He was also a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of Mankind. He also had anthropomorphic forms, for example in his aspects as Ehecatl the wind god. Among the Aztecs the name Quetzalcoatl was also a priestly title, as the most two important priests of the Aztec Templo Mayor were called “Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqui”. In the Aztec ritual calendar, different deities were associated with the cycle of year names: Quetzalcoatl was tied to the year Ce Acatl (One Reed), which correlates to the year 1519.

International Sources

In the Caribbean Coral Die-Off, Myriad Wrinkles
At its ongoing conference in South Korea, the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report on Friday indicating that live coral coverage on reefs in the Caribbean has plummeted from nearly 50 percent in the 1970s to less than 10 percent today. Yet describing the entire Caribbean as a region where reefs are in a state of general collapse tends to cloud the problem’s complexity, the study suggests. Michael Lesser, a program director for biological oceanography at the National Science Foundation, acknowledges that the region is the “poster child” for the global destruction of reefs. “The pronouncement that the Caribbean itself would be in dire straits is no surprise – we’ve been talking about this for a long time now,” he said. Overfishing has left its mark, as has the decline of species like the parrotfish and the spiny black urchin known as Diadema antillarum, which graze on algae and ideally keep it from stifling the reefs. Ocean warming and acidification add more pressure, bleaching and weakening coral networks. “It’s a sort of double whammy,” Dr. Lesser said. The acidification of the ocean has contributed to the bleaching and diminution of coral off Caye Caulker, Belize.

As Belizeans we have all had direct or indirect contact with one of the different Mennonite communities of Belize. They are known to hold fast to their culture and strict beliefs while they assist in the industries of commerce, carpentry, engineering and agriculture. Due to persecution, the Mennonites migrated from Holland to Germany to Prussia and eventually to North America. About 3,000 Mennonites finally relocated to Belize in 1959 along the Rio Hondo (Orange Walk District), in search of a life free of religious persecution and the pressures of modern society. They signed a special agreement with the Belize Government which exempt them from military service and certain forms of taxation while guaranteeing them complete freedom to practice their own religion and farm within their closed communities. They also freely practice their own form of local government and run their own schools and businesses. Their unique dialect a mixture of Dutch and German has persisted the 400 years since this move and is still spoken in the Mennonite communities of Belize.

New World Oil and Gas preparing to drill in Belize
New World Oil and Gas (LON:NEW) has confirmed the arrival of the ThermaSource rig #104 in Belize, with drilling on the company’s acreage scheduled to get underway shortly. New World, which holds assets in Belize and Denmark, said the drilling work would begin on the B Crest prospect, one of three drill ready prospects identified on the its flagship Blue Creek Project in the Petén Basin. The rig has been provided by the company’s drilling contractor, ThermaSource International, following a farm-down of 5% working interest per well for the first two wells in exchange for a 25% reduction in drilling costs. The rig arrived in Belize in 65 containers, all of which have been transported to the drill site in the Blue Creek area, where it is currently being rigged up. Once fully assembled, the rig will be tested for operational capability and drilling is expected to commence on or around 1 October 2012.

Belize to host wastewater management workshop
The Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW), a four-year project that began in 2011 and is financed by a special arrangement that involves the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Governments of some Caribbean countries, will host its first regional workshop in Belize City, Belize, 18 - 19 September 2012 to introduce the concept of revolving funds. Revolving funds are among the more flexible, innovative and effective financial management mechanisms that can provide sustainable financing for the development of much needed wastewater treatment facilities, costly propositions for regional governments struggling to maintain those that already exist. A 2009 UNEP report entitled “Assessment of Wastewater Management in the Caribbean” found untreated domestic wastewater had severe consequences for coastal ecosystems in the Wider Caribbean region. This has resulted in: increased fish mortality and negative effects on commercial fisheries; declines in coral reefs estimated to cost the region up to US$870 million by 2050; threats to human health, and threats to the tourism sector. Belize is one of four participating countries in which GEF CReW is piloting financing mechanisms that can be used to provide sustainable financing for environmentally sound and cost-effective wastewater management. US$5 million of GEF CReW funds are being provided directly to the government of Belize as a capitalization grant for the Belize Wastewater Revolving Fund (BWRF) to establish a regional sewage collection, treatment and disposal system for the Placencia Peninsula. This is the first generation project of the BWRF which will provide zero or below market interest loans for eligible wastewater treatment projects.

ATM: Hell’s Tale of an Empire’s Fall
After an hour long drive and a forty minute hike, we arrived at a place that might have been Eden. The entrance to Belize’s Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is submerged in a pool of water made ice blue by dissolved minerals. The morning sun flickered through the trees, illuminating the vibrant greens of the jungle trees and moss covered rocks. It was peaceful, lovely and alive. Appearances are deceiving, though. This wasn’t the entrance to paradise. It was the opening to Xibalba (”shi-ball-bah”), the underworld of the ancient Mayan people. The story told here is not one of creation, but of sadness, desperation, and decline. We went to Actun Tunichil Muknal to simply explore another cave system, the fifth of our recent travels. What we found instead was something unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Our descent into Xibalba began with a short swim, away from the leafy jungle and into diminishing light. From inside, the view was perhaps even more striking; the bright colors of the outside world rendered more vivid by the interior darkness. Turning away from the light, we set off into the cave. We scrambled over rocks and squeezed through crevasses, each obstacle made more challenging by an onslaught of rushing water.

ATM From Lower Dover Lodge
In this travel article, Actun Tunichil Muknal and the Lower Dover Lodge both get great reviews. And they explain the Mayan ruins that were found there too. "I was originally drawn to this remote but accessible lodge because of the location. I had ventured to the Belizean mainland from the cayes to finally see the ATM cave and since the drive would be much quicker from Lower Dover than by going all the way to San Ignacio for the night I was sold. It also helped that they offer options for every budget."