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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
McAfee Arrested in Guatemala
The San Pedro Sun has confirmed tonight (Wed. Dec. 5th) that John McAfee, anti-virus pioneer, has been detained in Guatemala City by Interpol and Immigration Officials of Guatemala. McAfee was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry into that country. The San Pedro Sun has also received reports from the Foreign Affairs Office of Guatemala that McAfee is in the process of being returned to Belize tomorrow morning and it is believed that he will then be flown to San Pedro Town for police questioning in regards to the murder investigation of US National, Gregory Faull.
Southern Belize shines at Taste of Belize
The 10th annual Taste of Belize, Belize Tourism Board’s (BTB) signature culinary event, took place in the beautiful town of San Ignacio, Cayo. The two-day event took place on December 1st and 2nd, with the first day showcasing the beverage and final round of the food competitions. The event ran simultaneously with the gala event while day two saw grilling connoisseurs compete for the title of Grill Master of Belize on the grounds of the San Ignacio Visitor Welcome Center.
On the night of the Gala Event on December 1st, the San Ignacio Resort sparkled and came to life with a Maya theme. Models were covered in body paint, some holding exotic Belizean animals as they stood posed in strategic spots throughout the entertainment area. Minister of Tourism and Culture Hon Manuel Heredia declared the event open following his brief remarks. In his address Heredia said that the Taste of Belize is geared to highlights the culinary aspect of Belize. “The event was created to fulfill two major goals; one to build interest for local Belizeans to enter into the culinary field and two to create an event that can build our local tourism. It was also envisioned that the event would have a sell-over effect in assisting to boost tourism arrivals…We are also proud to boast that that the skills of our Belizean chefs, bartenders and cake decorators have been greatly enhanced…in particular, the Master Chef Competition has become more difficult over the few years, moving from cooking one meal with one mystery meat ingredient in one hour to cooking three meals with four mystery basket ingredients in one hour. The event has also grown from being a one day event to a two-day event,” said Heredia.
Dr. Giovanni Solorzano is new Clinical Coordinator and Medical Director at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic II
Dr. Giovanni Solarzano has now joined the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II in the capacity of Clinical Coordinator/Medical Director as of November 16, 2012. Dr. Solorzano replaces Dr. Javier Zuniga, who has left to further his studies. Solorzano, a resident of San Pedro has been working in the Medical field for over 20 years. Most residents will know him from his private practice at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. Before taking on his new position, he was previously employed by the Pan American Health Organization as a maternal and family child health consultant. Prior to this, he was employed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as the Deputy Director of Health Services at the KHMH where he was responsible for Quality Assurance. Dr. Solorzano told The San Pedro Sun that his employment relationship with the Government of Belize goes way back to 1991. Dr. Solorzano came to the island for the first time as the Medical Officer with the GOB [...]
Andy Palacio Day observed in Houston, Texas
Did you know that there is an Andy Palacio Day? Yes, that’s right! Belizean musical artist Andy Palacio passed away on January 19 of 2007, but he is still very much remembered as the musical icon that was foremost in promoting the Garifuna music and putting Belize on the world stage.
At the time of his death, Andy was at his peak; his Watina CD had been released and the young man from Barranco had been named Belize’s Culture Ambassador and the UNESCO Artist for Peace. To show that he continues to make an impact as a poet, musician and artist, the Mayor of Houston, Texas, has declared December 2nd as Andy Palacio Day. The Proclamation was signed by Mayor Bill White on November 26 of 2009.
Carmelita & Mauricio Aquino Wedding
Congratulations to Carmelita Caceres and Mauricio Aquino who tied the knot on Saturday, December 1, 2012, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Their wedding ceremony was conducted aboard a catamaran that was a wedding gift from their close friends, in which they celebrated into the sunset. We wish Carmelita and Mauricio a great life together as they commence their journey of matrimony.
Misc Belizean Sources
A PANORAMIC HISTORY OF EL CAYO
1st Annual Elias A. Awe Memorial Lecture
A PANORAMIC HISTORY OF EL CAYO
Dr. Jaime Awe- An Anthropological History
Don Hector Silva- A Political History
Melanie Smith- A Sociological History
Mr. Alfonso Tzul- Agricultural Economy
7 p.m. December 7th, 2012
Octavia Waight Conference Center
for more information contact: Melanie Smith-604-7924
VIDEO: Belize World Class Diving, Turneffe Atoll
Turneffe Atoll is the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hempisphere. The marine life at Turneffe Island makes the scuba diving an adventure like no other dive destination in the Caribbean. The vastness and variety of marine life and coral formations are truly unmatched.
Cornerstone Celebrates Aids Awareness
The Cornerstone Foundation had a rally at Constitution Park for Aids Awareness Day. Their Feed the Children Christmas Fair will be on December 15th at Falcon Field from 8am until 5pm.
Belizean Christmas Ham
When growing up in Belize we would always get this salty smoked ham at Christmas time. I don't like ham that has honey or brown sugar, so this ham is perfect for me. I usually served at breakfast time with eggs or I make sandwiches.
The State of Mobile Technology in Belize
Many of us have realized that mobile technology is on its way to taking over the entire universe. What this means is that people will be using mobile gadgets to do everything: internet surfing, emails, shopping, selling, socializing, banking and just about everything that you normally do to get through your busy day.
In Belize, we don't really see this change happening, as in other countries, because of the lack of support for such technology. First of all the service providers have poor service so mobile gadgets can't be used to their full potential. This doesn't stop others, as everyday that passes I see more and more people buying their tablets and expensive smart phones.
In fact, I believe that almost every Belizean have access to the internet through their mobile phones. This is amazing, isn't it?
Nowadays I see more and more new gadgets making their way into Belize at a much faster rate. This must only mean that the demand for mobile devices has sky-rocketed in Belize. This is good news for all computer stores in Belize. I know it must be hard for them to obtain these new gadgets, upon release, but they are still doing a wonderful job of having them available for the Belizean community.
McAfee Calls GOB "Corrupt" In Guatemala
John McAfee is tonight in Guatemala City - and at the center of a media whirlwind.
McAfee who is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder in Belize says he will be seeking asylum in Guatemala and has retained high profile Guatemalan attorney and former Attorney General, Telesforo Guerra.
VICE Magazine from Mexico has been following him and his girlfriend Sam Vanegas from Belize. Today, VICE released a video of his first encounter with Guerra in Guatemala, and a sidewalk press conference in front of the Guatemalan Courthouse - with a reality show diversion as he quickly tailored a suit to meet the press:
McAfee has a formal press conference planned for 4:00 pm tomorrow in Guatemala City.
He has offered to meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow in a neutral country to discuss corruption in Belize. There has been no response from the PM's Office, and none is expected.
In another charming reality show type aside - the Vice video shows McAfee staging a prank call to his own website - to make a false report that he had been intercepted at the Belize Mexico border.
Farrakhan Visit Cancelled
Preparations were in high gear for tomorrow afternoon's arrival of Minister Louis Farrakhan, but the visit has been cancelled.
The announcement came out this morning that Farrakhan - who is 79 - has fallen ill in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
That was the fifth stop on his 7 nation Caribbean tour - and he has had to cancel visits to Bahamas and Belize.
A press release form the local organizer says that Farrakhan is suffering from exhaustion and dehydration and did not speak in St. Croix.
Doctors have strongly recommended immediate rest.
No plans have been announced for a make-up visit by the Leader of the Nation of Islam.
Hundreds Rush Opportunity to Work At McDonalds In Canada
2012 figures say that unemployment in Belize is at 14.4 percent - the highest that it's been in over a decade.
And the well known fact that people desperately need work was amply demonstrated today when a company came from Canada to recruit workers for Macdonalds.
7news was there and here's what it looked like:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
Today, hundreds of people stood outside the Radisson for hours - without water of bathroom breaks - in fact - the line started to take shape at 6:00 am.
They are here for a job - and waiting for this man to call their name.
That's when they go up into the VIP room and fill out this work permit questionnaire - which will put them in a pool of available low skilled and semi-skilled labour for Western Canada:
Dr. Linda West - President, ACTYL
"We're here recruiting people to come to Canada because there's a shortage of workers in Canada, particularly in Sascatuan and Alberta. Today, in Sascatuan there are about 12,000 jobs going unfilled. In Alberta, there's probably 50,000 or 60,000 - I didn't look it up. So, between the 2 provinces we're probably 70,000 or 80,000 jobs going unfilled today. So, that's the major issue, but the other issue for McDonalds is that we have very few young people. Our birthrate is about 1.4%, so that we haven't replaced ourselves. So, our young adults are very few. The traditional McDonalds workforce, or fast food workforce has disappeared on us. So, we need other people to come in and fill those jobs."
Man Gets Off Prison Murder Rap
23 year-old Krismar Espinosa, who was charged with the prison stabbing murder of Keon Kyle Swasey, was acquitted of the charge today in the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez.
Crown Counsel Thalia Meagan Francis called several witnesses in the case which started on Monday, but none of them provided the court with any incriminating evidence against Espinosa.
As a result, when she closed her case today, Espinosa's attorney, Rachel Montejo, made a no-case submission, and after considering all the evidence, Justice Gonzalez upheld it.
He directed the jury of 12 to return a not guilty verdict against Espinosa this afternoon, and he was freed of the charge.
He was not able to go home because he is still awaiting trial for another murder which occurred in Orange Walk in September of 2007.
According to police, Swasey was in his cell at the prison at around 9 a.m. on December 24, 2009, when his assailant ambushed him and fatally stabbed him with a prison knife known as a "bora".
UNIBAM Regains Ground In Court
The last time we told you about the UNIBAM constitutional challenge, they had suffered a minor loss to the Churches and the Attorney General Ministry.
The attorney for the Churches, Michel Chebat, was able to successfully argue before Justice Arana that UNIBAM be removed from the case as the second claimant for highly technical legal reasons.
It meant that the Caleb Orozco, the organization's Executive President, being the first claimant, was the only one who could continue the challenge.
Well, today, the matter went back to court, and UNIBAM's attorney, Lisa Shoman, made 2 applications before Justice Arana, the main one of which to get UNIBAM to join the case once again.
The position is that this organization represents over 100 persons who wish to remain anonymous, but believe that at section 53 of the constitution violates their rights to have sexual relations with same sex partners.
Shoman was successful on those 2 applications, and outside of court, 7News asked her and Orozco about the importance of today's outcome.
Here's what they said:
Lisa Shoman - Attorney for UNIBAM
" The previous ruling was that UNIBAM as an organization had no rights, especially no rights of privacy, no rights relating to how they conduct themselves sexually. As an organization, the organization does not actually reproduce or have sexual rights, so therefore, the organization was struck off. This application was different. It is saying that the members do have those rights and want UNIBAM to represent them. Essentially, what it has come down to is that UNIBAM has been appointed not as a representative claimant, but as an interested. It is now exactly on the same footing as the churches, no different.
City Will Get New Airport, to Replace Over-run "Airstrip"
The municipal airstrip in Belize City had outgrown itself like 20 years ago - which means that right about now, it's not old, it's ancient!
There's been talk about upgrading it for decades, but those plans have been like a sputtering plane that can't generate enough lift to get off the ground.
But now there's a plan and there's money at hand. We found out more today:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
The Belize City Municipal Airstrip is one of the busiest in the country - with an average of 120 flights landing and taking off from here everyday. The Belize It is the second busiest airport in the region.
And now, it's going to get a major overhaul - this is the rendering of the new Sir Barry Bowen Belize City Municipal Airport.
The project was launched today at a ceremony at the Municipal Airstrip.
It's a 9.5 million dollar project with funding from Social Security - which signed the loan agreement with the Belize Airports Authority today:
Kenworth Tillett - General Manager, Belize Airports Authority
"We're going to double the size of the airport. We're going to put in a brand new taxi way. We're going to be putting lights, so that we can operational at night. We're going to be building a road - a different exit, and we're also going to be building an office building for the Belize Airports Authority."
Police Says Zane tried To Run Him Over
Last night, 7News told you about 23 year-old Zane Galvez's latest violent encounter with law enforcement in the parking lot of the courthouse. Well, he has been criminally charged for it.
As we reported, Galvez showed up to court yesterday for his case before the Chief Justice where he is suing the police department because officers of the GSU allegedly broke his arm and brutalized him in that famous George Street Incident in August of last year.
He was about to park his vehicle in the parking lot behind the court when he got into an argument with Prison Officer Michael Gladden over a parking spot.
The story gets bizarre from there because according to police, Gladden reported that Galvez tried to run him over with his vehicle after their verbal altercation over the spot.
As a result, Galvez, who according to his family, was roughed up and immediately escorted to Queen Street Police station, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, being his vehicle.
First Municipal Bond Offer Fully Subscribed And Closed
Due to robust market response, the Belize City Council has wrapped up the first 10 million dollars tranche of its bond offering early.
As we told you - there were more offers than there were bonds available - and so the council decided to wrap it up.
The Mayor explained:
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"The investment has been significant, and it a fair mix between strategic institutional investors, and person who just wanted to a $10,000. We have a couple people who just invested $200 because they had indicated that they symbolically wanted to invest in the building of their city. So, it's a good cross-section. It's not a lot of bondholders. It's a manageable group. What we've done is that we've closed that, so we're taking offers now for the second $10 million, and we've gotten some healthy responses, and we've already accepted bids on the second tranche, which will be released in 4 to 6 months' time. And we expect that this will be subscribed to fully as well."
Trade License Fees Shoot Up
And while bond purchasers are providing the capital infusion for those 150 streets, city residents and business owners will also be paying more.
We've told you about the ten dollar per dwelling residential garbage tax - but business owners are complaining that they're also being made ot pay - with sharp increases in trade license fees.
We've spoken to a number of business owners whose fees have gone up 60% or even more.
That's a difference of thousands of dollars - and so we asked the mayor today, is he trying to gouge business owners to pay for those fancy streets?
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"One of the things that we had done is that we had looked at the trade rolls which are public, so every person can check how everybody else pays in terms of trade licenses. And what noticed is that there was a significant amount of disparity. And the actual calculation and assessment wasn't being followed. So, you had persons who were paying significant amounts, and persons who are paying very little. And what we did is that we equalized it. Some persons, we brought them down to manageable limits, and then, others persons who were paying very little compared to their rental value, we had to increase them so that we could match it. The reason why some people will experience an increase is because of that balance, and every single increase that we have made, we can justify. And persons had written us, and what we are doing is that we are providing justification. The increases were not predicated on any principle of increased revenue. Of course, if there is net increase overall in the roll, that endures to the benefit of the Council. But those increases were not as a result of any desire to increase revenue- "
The Other Way Of Spelling
The National Coca Cola Spelling Bee brings celebrates the country's best spellers - but that's for hearing children.
Hearing Impaired kids have the Finger Spelling B. It showcases some of the best finger-spellers who use sign language to spell out their words.
7News was there and with a little help from sign language translators, we spoke with the winners of the junior and senior categories.
Here's what they told us:
Floriano Chun - Father of Omica, 1st Place Sr.
"I am very proud of her. I know that she was going to be in the top ranks, and I am glad for her achievement. She is a deaf student, but she really tries hard. She works on sign language dictionaries, and research on the internet. We are also giving her a lot of encouragement and motivation as parents."
Isaac Penner - Translator
"She started on November 5 practicing. For 3 weeks she was just practicing."
Geovanni Brackett - Plus TV
"Ask her if she was nervous at the end there."
Isaac Penner - Translator
"A little bit."
Geovanni Brackett - Plus TV
"Ask her if she expected to win, because it was so close."
"She felt she would, yeah."
And that was not the only event which showcased the special abilities of disabled children. Today, the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched its 2013 agenda and calendar.
You may ask, "What's so special about it?" Well, each month in the calendar was designed using drawings of 12 young talented children living with disabilities.
Today, the Special Envoy, Kim Simplis - Barrow, told us today that the proceeds from the sales of the agendas and the calendars will go directly to fund the Inspiration Center project:
Kim Simplis - Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children
"Today is the launch of our 2013 calendar. This is the third one that we're producing, and we're also launching 2013 agenda, and this is the second year that we're doing it. The calendar really is sort of like an avenue for us to really continue our advocacy work, for children with disabilities. And so, we get children who have a disability to do art over the summer, and then we produce the calendar with whatever drawings they would do. In terms of the agenda, we collaborated with McNab Design to produce the agenda for us. And the proceeds of the Agenda go directly to the construction of the Inspiration Center."
And at the event, Tanya McNab of McNab Designs donated a check for $33,000 to the Special Envoy for the Inspiration Center.
Police Have The Prints, Now They Point The Finger!
Tonight, Police say that they need your help in locating Owen Parham because he is wanted for burglaries in the Corozal district, where he allegedly stole a firearm loaded with ammunition.
According to Police, Hensley Jones, a businessman of Ranchito Village reported that he left his home at around 11 a.m. fully secured, and when he returned 7 hours later, he realized that someone burglarized his home and stole a 9mm pistol with a magazine which was loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition, and an assortment of household items to a total value of $10,580.
According to police, Audomaro Tzul, a sales representative of Calcutta Village, reported that someone broke into his home between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on November 27, 2012, and stole a gold pin and $250 in cash.
Well, police say that the Scenes of Crime personnel combed the scenes of these burglaries and found prints at both which matched those in the AFIS system of Owen Parham, who, according to police, goes by the alias, Oscar Junior Coyni of Roaring Creek Village.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Ballistics Training For Belizean Technicians
2 months ago, 7News told you about the major Canadian donation of the Integrated Ballistic Identification Systems - known as IBIS - which is the very latest in Ballistics technology.
But what good is an upgrade in technology if there is no one who knows how to use the machine?
Well, 2 Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in forensic ballistics, which occurred from November 22 to 26.
They took part in an intensive 5-day crash-course in various aspects of ballistics imaging and a working knowledge of the IBIS system.
With this training, these 2 Belizeans will be able to enhance prosecution resources by helping to provide ballistics evidence in firearm related crimes.
Tourism Minister Says Why He Wanted Island Cop Removed
Tourism Minister, Manuel Juniour Herredia made headlines in yesterday's Amandala - and it wasn't because tourism numbers are up.
Herredia is accused of forcing out the head of the island's tourism police unit after she arrested a tourist who has a lot of clout.
Woman Corporal Sharmane Young, who's been a police officer for 15 years, told the Amandala today that she was angry, because she felt she was punished for doing her job.
She arrested 43 year old Lisa Marie Merz, and charged her with with using indecent words, using insulting words, boisterous behavior, assaulting a uniformed police officer and resisting lawful police arrest.
Area representative and tourism minister Manuel Juniour Herredia got involved - and went to check on the tourist at the police.
He told us today what happened after that:
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism
"This one had to do with a tourist that had been coming to this island for 15 years, bringing groups of scuba divers at Amigos Del Mar. And I was called by an employee of Amigos Del Mar, who told me that this person had been locked up, and was in police custody, and that they wouldn't release her until so many days. So, I went immediately to the station, and the officer that was in charge over said that Cpl. Young is not in office, and she will probably not be in until later in the night, or the next day because she was out at Fido's doing a security job. But, I managed to speak with the officer in charge of San Pedro Command, Ms. Robinson, and I asked Ms. Robinson about the situation with this tourist. Ms. Robinson said, 'I heard from Cpl. Young that the tourist was behaving not in a very polite manner.
Cycling Membership Makes "No confidence" Vote In President
Last month we told you about the power struggle in the Belize Cycling Association. Deputy Belize City Mayor Dion Leslie wants to replace president Emil Moreno - but Moreno is not going out so easily.
Leslie says he ahs a support of a majority of the members - while Moreno says he better check the constitution because the Association is now a Federation and he has the support of the district delegates.
It should have come to a head last month at the AGM but that was postponed when Leslie showed up with a busload of cyclists. The matter is now in the hands of the Sports council but now Leslie's supporters are pushing forward a no confidence petition.
He explained it to us today:
Dion Leslie - President Aspirant, Belize Cycling Association
"The cyclist decided that the best way to show that the disapproval for the current executive is to come together and sign a document of no-confidence for the president and his executive, and that's what is being done. I believe that we have close to over 50% of registered cyclists in the country; we have signed that document. Those who haven't signed, they haven't been able to see the document as yet, but we understand that they are willing to sign it because everyone is on the same page. They want Mr. Moreno to please step down. The show of attendance at the meeting in late November in Cayo showed the man that they don't want him anymore. They want a new vision for cycling. They just want to move forward, and that's what this is about."
Minister asked for Cop to be transferred before incident with tourist
On Tuesday News Five reported on the strange case of a police corporal being transferred following the arrest of a vacationing tourist in San Pedro. Syracuse resident Liza Marie Mertz apparently interrupted and yelled obscenities at Police Corporal Sharmane Young whilst Young was searching a man who was allegedly selling drugs. A question lingered on [...]
Farrakhan falls ill and postpones visit to Belize
The highly anticipated visit of the Head of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, has been postponed at the eleventh hour. Arrangements had all been put in place for the high security visit of one of the most controversial, yet inspirational speakers. The seventy-nine year old minister, who was to arrive in the jewel [...]
Super attorneys contracted by bondholders
As was reported on Tuesday, superbond negotiations between bondholders and the government have hit a major snag. The bondholders have rejected government’s latest counter proposal and have hired a team of lawyers including the former US executive director of the World Bank as an advisor, which according to the Financial Times, “Is a clear warning [...]
Are you surprised that biggest drug trial results in not guilty?
Tonight’s question is: Does it surprise you that the six accused in the biggest drug trial were found not guilty? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to email@example.com.
McAfee’s Flavor of Love, lifestyle taken to Guatemala
The strange and interesting life of John McAfee on the run continues to make international headlines. McAfee is a person of interest that police want to question about the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull. McAfee went into hiding before officers could question him, his compound in the Mata Grande area of north Ambergris Caye [...]
Tranche one, 10 Million of Municipal Bond Sold!!
While the government’s superbond negotiations are not going well, the Belize City Council is well under way in floating the twenty million dollar municipal bond. The first tranche is valued at ten million dollars and according to the mayor that tranche is fully subscribed and the funds will be drawn upon immediately to continue upgrading [...]
Municipal Airstrip extension and renamed after Sir Barry
The Municipal Airstrip in Belize City is getting a nine point five million dollar upgrade. Works got underway today and it will take two years to complete. Notably, the airstrip will be named posthumously after Sir Barry Bowen who was killed in a plane accident in February 2010. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports. Jose [...]
Consumer Price Index shows prices up by eight percent
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2012 has been released. It shows that prices went up by point eight percent over the same period last year. The biggest increase was in health, which went up by six point eight percent and trailing behind were Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, which went up by one point [...]
Murder case falls apart in Court; Krismar Espinosa acquitted
Two murder cases fell apart in the courts today. Twenty-three year old Krismar Espinosa of Orange Walk was acquitted this afternoon of the murder of inmate, Keon Kyle Swasey, who was stabbed twice while at the Belize Central Prison. The acquittal came when Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no case submission made by Espinosa’s attorney, [...]
Rasheed Woods also freed of murder charge
In the Belize City Supreme Court, Rasheed Woods was set free of murder when his case concluded in nolle prosequi because witnesses could not be located. Woods was charged back in July of 2009 for the murder of nineteen year-old Steven Anthony Grant, aka “Eggie”. Woods was told he was free to go for now [...]
All today’s buzz was at the Spelling BEE
The winners of the Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired took it all; and they hail from the Cayo Deaf Institute. This morning Wilford Coc and Jacob Chun won the first and second places in the competition at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. The annual event has grown by leaps and bounds over the years [...]
Xunantunich, the concert and the Succotz residents
In the west, emotions are running high among the tour guides and vendors in Succotz Village over the planned two-week closure of Xunantunich next Wednesday. The closure by NICH coincides with the height of the Mayan calendar celebrations and the residents say they were not consulted and it will cut into their Christmas earnings. News [...]
Kim Simpliss Barrow launches 3rd Inspiration Calendar
The third edition of the Inspiration Calendar was launched this morning by the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. The calendar showcases the artwork of children with special needs from across the country and the young artists were on hand at the launch to receive their copies. With the support of McNab [...]
UNIBAM applies to be a “representative party” in court challenge to Homosexual law
Yesterday we told you that a preliminary hearing in Claim No. 668 of 2010 between activist Caleb Orozco and his org...
Zane Galvez charged with Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle
The Galvez family has been on the news several times and yesterday, we reported on another incident involving Zane ...
Police are looking for Owen Parham aka Oscar
Junior Coyni who may be armed and dangerous.
Police are looking for Oscar Junior Coyni, because his fingerprints have connected him to a robbery in Corozal Dist...
Romero Jimenez found guilty of rape on re-trial
Romero Jimenez re-trial case ends in the Orange Walk sitting of the Supreme Court. 48 year old Guatemalan Romero Ji...
Krismar Espinosa acquitted of the murder of Keon Kyle Swasey
“23-year-old Krismar Espinosa was acquitted this afternoon of the murder of 21-year-old prison inmate, Keon Kyle Sw...
John McAfee is in Guatemala
Yes it's true! John McAfee is in Guatemala. VICE PIC
KHMH provides Laparoscopic Surgery
Yesterday we shared that the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is upgrading to cutting edge medical technology with th...
Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities honours ten organizations
International Day for Persons with Disabilities was observed on Monday and this week is Disability Week. On Monday ...
Special Envoy for Women and Children launches the 2013 Inspiration Calendar
This morning the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched the 2013 Inspiration Calendar and agen...
Prosecution unable to locate main witness in murder case
The term nolle pros is a familiar one in Belize, although we must say it has not been heard of recently in the Supr...
International Volunteer Day
Today is International Volunteer Day, and I got a forwarded email from Lily Bowman Director General of the Belize Red Cross about celebrating over 13 million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers around the world and strengthening the commitment to creating safe and enabling environments in which the Red Cross Volunteers can continue their extraordinary work. She also went into include her own note of thanks in appreciation for the volunteers in every Branch, every program and every project. Without them, Belize Red Cross would never have achieved all its goals.
I would like to thank all those [and there are many] who are slowly but surely helping the San Pedro Branch and the Belize Medical Safety program come together.
We are currently looking for people to be nominated for the San Pedro Branch board and the following volunteer positions needed to be filled are as follows:
2 ordinary members
If you or someone you know is a good candidate for any of the positions above please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also in need an office coordinator a few days a week.
As for the medical safety program, in January 2013, San Pedro and Belmopan are the two branches that will hold certified first aid training.
The Biggest New Year’s Celebration in History
All around the world many people are waiting to see what will happen in 2012. But here at Chaa Creek, in the Heartland of the Maya, one thing is certain – we’re having our biggest party ever during the week of December 21 2012 to celebrate the beginning of a new Maya era.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the Maya people – and the world – in celebrating the Winter Solstice of 2012 in the Maya Heartland of Belize.
This is a time of great cultural significance, as one cycle spanning millennia ends and another begins with the completion of the Maya Long Count’s 13th Ba’ k tun. Forget sensationalism and misinformation surrounding 2012, Chaa Creek will be hosting celebrations that focus on the true nature of this epoch with factual information, cultural integrity and respect for the people of this vibrant civilisation who still make up a significant portion of Belize’s population.
U.S. gingerly expands security role in Central America
Central American governments were already struggling with the legacy of poverty, inequality, civil warfare and dictatorships when drug runners, with their corrupting cash, came roaring through the region in the late 2000s, seeking to avoid a robust U.S.-led interdiction program in the Caribbean.
In response, the U.S. military's Southern Command, or Southcom, stepped up the policing of trafficking routes. In the first 10 months of this year, Southcom says the program disrupted the flow of 120 tons of cocaine and 25,250 pounds of marijuana.
In recent years, the U.S. has also showered Central American governments with hardware to help stem the flow of drugs: aircraft, boats, X-ray cargo scanners, ballistic vests and wiretapping centers. Villa Nueva's video surveillance system is one of several projects meant to help fight the explosion in violent crime that has destabilized local governments and prompted some residents to head north toward the U.S., often illegally, in search of peace.
But the crime-fighting initiative goes far beyond surveillance cameras. The U.S. is also investing in civic projects under the theory that the drug war here cannot be won without more skilled and trustworthy police and prosecutors, along with an engaged citizenry that has reason to hope.
Bondholders reject latest Belize restructuring offer
Bondholders have rejected a new offer from the Belize Debt Review Team on the restructuring the country’s US$544 million “super bonds” scheduled for maturity in 2029.
The bondholders say they have also hired lawyers since a 60 day reprieve on legal action has expired. Bondholders had agreed not to pursue legal action for 60 days after Belize paid half of the US$23.5 million interest payment due in August. But the grace period has now expired.
Last week, the Belize government presented new counter-proposal to the bondholders and according to an official statement, the counter-proposal puts forward alternative scenarios all of which the government says offers only "temporary reductions in the current coupon rate with modest extensions in average life”.
These alternative scenarios include temporary reduction in the coupon rate and an extension in the average life of the bond; a return to the 8.5 per cent coupon rate at the expiry of the reduced coupon period and a series of "Required Terms" which includes "GDP (Gross Domestic Product) warrants and oil recovery certificates," and the payment of what's called consent fees to participating creditors.
The Barrow administration's proposal was in response to an earlier counter offer by the bondholders.
The government said that the proposed return to the current 8.5 per cent coupon rate "is designed to be no worse than NPV neutral once the combined effect of the Required Terms is factored in”.
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Belize: undercooking the debt
Sovereign debt restructuring is like baking a cake, some experts quip. With the appropriate ingredients – creditor pain stirred in, a sprinkle of fiscal adjustments – the process can be relatively smooth and the outcome fairly equitable.
So far, it seems Belize is not following the right recipe.
After presenting exceptionally harsh restructuring terms to its bondholders this summer, Belize exacerbated tensions with creditors further by missing a $23m coupon payment on August 20, pushing the country’s $547m “superbond” into a default.
After bondholders howled, Belize paid half of the overdue coupon in September in return for a promise that bondholders – led by Greylock Capital, a US hedge fund – would not seek “legal remedies” for a further 60 days to allow restructuring talks to continue more amicably.
Those 60 days have now expired, and talks again seem to be taking a testy turn. On November 21, Belize’s creditors committee offered debt relief amounting to more than $150m over the next decade, but Belize swiftly turned this down, and countered with slightly sweetened restructuring terms on November 29.
While acknowledging that the Committee’s counter-proposal provides a degree of short-term cash flow relief, [Belize] considers it to be wholly incompatible with its objective of placing the country’s debt burden on a sustainable footing – a goal that the Committee itself has indicated it is committed to at various stages. [Belize] believes that the counter-proposal ignores Belize’s high overall debt levels, and that it amounts to little more than a short-term fix.
Belize Gets Help from Mexico on Forensic Ballistics Analysis
A pair of Belizeans have completed a two-day training course in Mexico in forensic ballistics analysis.
The five-day crash course, which was conducted in Mexico City, included the use of the Integrated Ballistics Imaging System.
Thanks to the training, the analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System that was recently donated to Belize by the government of Canada.
The system is currently being set up in the National Forensic Science Service in Ladyville.
The two sides could explore further training and followup courses, along with additional technical exchanges between Belize and Mexico, according to a government release.
In Guatemala, software guru McAfee to seek asylum: lawyer
U.S. anti-virus software guru John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize seeking to question him in a murder probe, has crossed into Guatemala and said on Tuesday he will seek political asylum there.
McAfee has been in hiding for three weeks since police in Belize said they wanted to question him as "a person of interest" about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarreled. McAfee smuggled himself and his girlfriend, Samantha, across the porous land border that Belize shares with Guatemala. He stayed at a hotel in a national park before heading for Guatemala City on Monday evening.
"I have no plans much for the future now. The reason I chose Guatemala is two-fold," McAfee told Reuters by telephone from Guatemala's Supreme Court, flanked by his lawyer, former attorney general and lawyer Telesforo Guerra.
"It is a country bordering Belize, it is a country that understands the corruption within Belize and most importantly, the former attorney general of the country is Samantha's uncle and I knew that he would assist us with legal proceedings."
Guatemala detains McAfee, to expel him to Belize
Guatemalan police arrested U.S. software guru John McAfee on Wednesday for illegally entering the country and said it would seek to expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor's murder.
McAfee, who had been in hiding for three weeks, crossed into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend to evade authorities in Belize who wanted to quiz him as "a person of interest" about the killing of fellow American Gregory Faull.
"He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City.
One of Silicon Valley's first entrepreneurs to build an Internet fortune, the 67-year-old made millions of dollars through the antivirus software that now carries his name.
McAfee's behavior has been increasingly erratic in recent years but there is no international arrest warrant for him. Police in Belize say he is not a prime suspect.
Government spokesman Francisco Cuevas said the entrepreneur would be expelled to Belize and he expected the process to be completed by early Thursday morning.
Fernando Lucero, spokesman for Guatemala's immigration department, saidimmediate deportation had been ruled out. McAfee's lawyer Telesforo Guerra was seeking an injunction to have him released and the American said on his blog www.whoismcafee.com that he would not now be returned to the Belize border until a higher judge reviewed the case.