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The San Pedro Sun

Belize is 31!!! Happy Independence day to all Belizeans at home and abroad!!
Many Faces, Many Dreams, one Goal – Celebrating Belize! Celebration time in Belize comes again in the month of September and every year brings a new and different experience. And just as it is every year, the country brings the many faces of beautiful Belize together to display our colors, culture, history, music and with one goal; to celebrate Belize. After a night of pomp and circumstance, complete with block party, good food, music and fireworks, everyone was eagerly anticipating the big Jump-Up Parade through the principal streets of San Pedro. This year’s parade was certainly full of color and energy – with gorgeous floats, costumes and happy dancers! We will let the photos speak for themselves – enjoy the gallery below!!

Di Kurse a di Xtabai – A movie review
I am not a movie critic by any means, but I do know when I love a film and when it leaves me hanging. I finally got a chance to catch a showing of the film “Di Kurse a di Xtabai” directed by Matthiew Klinck. Filmed in Creole/Kriol and featuring all first-time actors, the movie was shot in my home village of San Antonio, Cayo. San Antonio was the place where I grew up, listening to my tiny, wizened grandmother speak of the various folktales of our history. Told in Mayan, those stories always brought chills to my cousins and I, and when told right before bedtime, when all of us had to line up and go to the outhouse one last time before bed, the mere sound of the wind rustling in the trees had to mean the Tata Duende, or the Xtabai or Sisimito were lurking just waiting to snatch one of us. So, I know a little bit about the story of the Xtabai. I know that the stories I was told always involved men in some drunken form or another, stumbling down the dark roads trying to find their way home. Legend has it that they are suddenly charmed by the apparition of a beautiful woman, so beautiful she is irresistible, and men walk up to her in a trance, embracing her. And there, it gets ugly, as she folds them in her arms, and turns into a prickly tree, piercing the men’s skin, and causing great agony and high fever that can only be cured by the bush doctor.

National Service Day honors Father of the Nation George Cadle Price
Several activities were held for National Service Day. September 19, 2012 was a day set aside to commemorate the Father of the Nation, and National Hero, Right Honorable George Cadle Price. On Ambergris Caye, the San Pedro Town Council paid official visits to all preschools and secondary schools on the island, accompanied by various community workers. The People’s United Party also held activities, which included a candle walk and a church service. Early during the course of the day on September 19th, the Mayor, accompanied by most councilors, started their day by visiting Holy Cross Anglican School and eventually progressing to other schools further south. Along with Mayor Daniel Guerrero were firefighters, police officers, traffic wardens and Doctor Javier Zuniga,who was representing the Ministry of Health. At the various schools, Mayor Guerrero spoke of Father of the Nation and his contribution to Belize and the importance of respecting him. He also had the students pay respect by having a minute of silence in memory of Price. After the Mayor’s short address to the students, the community workers also spoke of the role they play in the community. The Mayor also took snacks and refreshments for the students as a token of appreciation for their good behavior during his official visit.

La Isla Bonita at night
When the sun goes down and the nightlights come on, San Pedro Town’s vibe changes… So, you’re visiting La Isla Bonita with your twin sons who recently celebrated their eighteenth birthday. You’re scheduled to do an assortment of mainland tours – a visit to the Maya ruins, experience the caves and waterfalls. You’ve also included some snorkeling and being that you and your wife are certified Scuba divers, there are plans for that as well. But you’re thinking… what can we do with the boys on the island that will be fun and exciting – things they wouldn’t be able to do back home? Well, following is The San Pedro Sun’s guide to the “San Pedro Nightlife”! In San Pedro, there is something to do every night – and the legal age to do any of them is 18. There are things you can do as a family and or as individuals.

Ambergris Today

Observing International Peace Day and Belize’s Independence
It is indeed very significant that Belize’s Independence is on International Peace Day, September 21. The United Nations Secretary General takes this opportunity to express appreciation for Belize’s peaceful development on this day and always. Attached is the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon’s message in which he states “On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world….” and calls for everyone to observe a minute of silence at noon on the Day to honor victims and survivors of violence.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize’s “Flag Raising-Cultural Extravaganza”!
The Celebration of Belize’s Independence: Belizeans have grown accustomed to the beautiful fireworks displays, stretched across the night sky, creating the perfect backdrop for the Belizean Flag to flow effortlessly in the Caribbean breeze, above hundreds of spectators. This is the “Flag Raising Ceremony,” an annual event which takes place Nationwide on September 20th – 21st. Entertainment at this Ceremony includes a Fireworks Display, as well as Cultural and Musical performances. The Cultural Entertainment, which includes dances, encompasses Belize’s diverse cultures giving onlookers a real treat as they unite in celebration of Belize’s 31st Independence Day Anniversary. This Ceremony marks the Official Opening of Belize’s Independence Day Celebrations. Honorary guests at this year’s Belize City Flag Raising Ceremony will include: the Mayor of Belize City, the Prime Minister of Belize, the Chief Justice, and the Governor-General of Belize.

Independence Day in Belmopan
Belmopan City Online posted some great pictures from the Belmopan parade. What a great turnout! Hope everyone had a great Independence Day! "Missed the parade and festivities? No worries...we captured the prime minister's address and every float and school that participated in the parade so you can feel like you were right there."

Honoring National Heroes
The PM has announced that to honor Belize's national heroes, the Western Highway will be renamed George Price Highway. The Northern Highway will be renamed Philip Goldson Highway. Great idea! Happy Independence Day! "HONORING OUR NATIONAL HEROES: The Rt. Hon. the Prime Minister Mr. Dean has just announced the renaming of the Western and Northern Highways. The Western Highway is now the George Price Highway. The Northern Highway is not the Phillip Goldson Highway Way to go our National Heroes."

Blogs

Come meet the San Pedro Sailing Junior Team
Come meet San Pedro Junior Sailing Team The San Pedro Sailing Club will be holding a yard sale this Saturday 22nd September from 8:30am at Asian Garden Day Spa (opposite Ramon’s on Coconut Drive). Lots of good “stuff” to buy. Iced coffee, desserts and a BBQ starting at “noonish”. There will be a Grand Raffle with prizes ranging from fishing trips, diving trips, sailing lessons, tattoos, booze, dinners, lunches, bar tabs, gym membership, gift certificates etc…Tickets are 3 for 5.00 or 10 for 10.00 and you do not have to be present to win. All proceeds will go to support the continued growth and success of San Pedro’s junior sailors. Pictures submitted by Andrew Milner, not sure who took them.

Cali, Colombia: Now This City's Got Some Pizazz, Part One
Driving down the lush green mountains into the dry, dusty, sugar cane packed valley, I could tell that Cali was going to be a very different from the places in Colombia that I had visited. Different in lots of ways. After seeing immaculate towns and cities through Central Colombia, Cali is...well....much dirtier.. And more crowded. And louder. And hotter. The racial mix is different, it's the first time we saw more than a smattering of black people. The clothes are tighter and smaller (and in Colombia, that is really saying something!), the heels are way higher and the term "age appropriate" doesn't exist. The city has a few older colonial buildings in decent shape, there are quite a few that are crumbling and then lots of ugly, industrial looking cement blocks. Here are some pictures that I took around town. The main plaza is filled with the super tall wax palms...

31 Years & Counting: Belizeans Celebrate their Independence
Happy 31st birthday, Belize! For Belizeans, September marks a month of holidays commemorating this young nation’s historic journey to independence. For travelers, it’s a great time to experience authentic culture in Belize among the friendly locals amid their celebrations. Belize’s diverse cultural influences, from Afro-Caribbean peoples to British pirates to modern-day descendents of the ancient Maya, come together in a national identity more eclectic than any other in Central America, and all September long this multicultural tapestry is on brilliant display. The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., kicked off the festivities this year with a speech: “September in Belize… is that understood point in time when Belizeans, both at home and abroad, along with our adopted brothers and sisters, celebrate every aspect that makes Belize so unique and wonderful. It is more than the annual celebration of the anniversary of the battle of St. George’s Caye and our Independence; it is that reflective moment when the nation takes a collective breath in gratitude for its bounty.” Heredia knows firsthand of Belize’s bounty. Born in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in 1951, he knew the forests, mangroves, and beaches of Belize as his childhood playground, and has been a player in Belizean politics since 1969. Heredia believes tourism growth is one of the keys to a bright future for Belize, and makes a point to attract travelers to the country, or as he calls it, “our jewel.” Accordingly, the “Many Faces, Many Dreams, One Goal” theme for the 2012 St. George’s Caye Day (September 10) and Belize Independence Day (September 21) celebrations reflects both the rich culture and vision of progress alive in Belize today.

Go Slow In Caye Caulker As You Reset Your Internal Clock To “Island Time”
From the moment you step off the plane or onto the water taxi dock, you are quickly enveloped into Caye Caulker’s charm and motto of “go slow”. Caye Caulker boasts a laid back island lifestyle where shoes are optional and the closest thing to rush hour traffic is the passing occasional golf cart. Only five miles long, Caye Caulker is a tiny island one mile west of Belize’s Barrier Reef offering easy access to a number of water activities and even excursions back to the mainland. The main modes of transportation on Caye Caulker are bicycles and golf carts. Rent a golf cart and go exploring or take a walk along the island’s sandy streets to reset your internal clock to “island time”. Caye Caulker has become extremely popular with backpackers and budget travelers looking for a tropical escape with a local vibe that won’t break the travel budget. And while there is a low-key budget vibe, Caye Caulker also has a number of properties catering to honeymooners and travelers looking for a bit more luxury.

International Sources

S&P says Belize ratings unchanged after partial coupon payment
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said its 'SD' foreign currency ratings on Belize and its 'D' rating on Belize's bond due in 2029 remain unchanged following the government's partial payment of $11.7 million on Sept. 20. The government of Belize missed an approximately $23 million coupon payment due on Aug. 20, 2012. Although the terms of the 2029 bond include a 30-day grace period for interest payments, our ratings speak to full and timely payment. They also address debt exchanges that we view as distressed. By either measure, the government remains in default, based on our criteria. Rescheduling negotiations between the government of Belize and holders of the $547 million bond due in 2029 are ongoing. Once the likely rescheduling terms become clearer, we will publish our expectations for a postdefault foreign currency rating. Of the rated sovereigns that have emerged from default during the past 15 years, postdefault ratings typically have ranged from 'CCC' to 'B'.

Belize Creditors Receive $11.6 Million Partial Payment
The Bank of New York Mellon said in a statement Friday it received $11.6 million from the Belize government in a partial payment on the country's only bond. The payment Thursday represents about half of the $23.1 million interest payment that Belize failed to pay bondholders on Aug. 20, launching a 30-day grace period during which the government could make the payment to avoid default. As the trustee, BNY distributes payments to bondholders. However, since the payment the bank received Sept. 20 wasn't the full amount due Aug. 20, "an event of default has occurred and is occurring," BNY Mellon said in the statement. Belize Financial Secretary Joseph Waight couldn't be reached for comment Friday. The bank also said the bondholders can now call for the full principal amount of the bond to be paid immediately, if holders of 25% of the bond agree. However, A.J. Mediratta, co-chairman of a committee of creditors that holds more than 50% of the outstanding bonds, said in a statement Thursday that the committee had agreed to not seek legal remedy for the missed payment for 60 days.

Belize wins 60-day reprieve after partial payment
Debt-burdened Caribbean nation Belize has won a 60-day reprieve from bondholders after paying a portion of its overdue US$23m debt interest. It paid US$11.7m to creditors, earning it some breathing space and reducing the likelihood of a full-blown default, the BBC reported yesterday. Belize had been due to pay the US$23m bond interest payment, or coupon, on August 20. A 30-day grace period to “cure” the missed payment ran out late on Wednesday, September 19. After the grace period ran out only 25 per cent of bondholders could have voted to accelerate the repayment of the entire bond, which was supposed to mature in 2029, according to a Financial Times report. In return for Belize making a partial payment, the creditors’ committee—chaired by AJ Mediratta, a partner of US hedge fund Greylock Capital Management—agreed not to seek “legal remedies” for a further 60 days to allow restructuring talks to continue. Negotiations are continuing.

Obama lists several Caribbean countries as major drug transit points
In a recently issued list of nations contributing to drug production or transit, United States President Barack Obama has named several Caribbean countries as among those considered a major part in the drug trade. “I hereby identify the following countries as major drug transit and/or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela,” he stated in a presidential memorandum. “A country’s presence on the majors list is not necessarily an adverse reflection of its government’s counternarcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States,” the president indicated.



Edited by Marty (11/17/12 03:48 PM)