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Specials and Events

The December 10th, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Alleged Con-Artist Remanded:
    The arrest and subsequent imprisonment, on remand, of Leroy Richards, is reported by San Ignacio Police as the dismantling of the operations of a con-man. The activities of this alleged con-artist began to unravel with the November 26 reporting of a stolen motorcycle. Humberto Requena of a Collins Boulevard address in San Ignacio reported that sometime between 10:00 pm on Sunday, November 25 and 5:00 am on Monday, November 26, 2012, someone stole his black Melium brand motor cycle, valued at $1,594.40, from inside his yard. The investigation led to the recovery of Requena’s motorcycle from a residence in Unitedville.
  • Guatemalan Begins Serving Real Prison Time:
    On the basis of a not guilty plea to a drug trafficking charge, Guatemala, Ebner Adan Gonzalez, has been anguishing in prison for almost a year after he was allegedly busted with almost four pounds of marijuana on December 29, 2011. As he continued to maintain the not guilty plea, the case, which has gone through several adjournments, came up again up in court on Tuesday, December 4, where he changed the plea to guilty thereby bring the matter to an abrupt end. He was ordered to forthwith pay a ten thousand dollar fine or three years prison time in default of payment. Gonzalez, 18 years at the time, arrived at this juncture in his life when on December 29, 2011 a team of policemen, on mobile patrol on George Price Avenue in the Trapiche area of Santa Elena, saw him taking out something from a black knap sack and throwing it into nearby bushes.
  • BTB’s Taste Of Belize Huge Success In San Ignacio:
    The Belize Tourism Board held the 10th Taste of Belize on December 1st and 2nd in San Ignacio, Cayo. The event attracted hundreds of patrons and saw the participation of close to twenty professionals in four culinary competitions. On Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, guests were taken on a culinary journey through a five course meal prepared by Chef Sean Kuylen, which included Macal River Jute Snails, Lobster & Chayote Pot Pie, as well as Gibnut, Goat & Pork Skewers. Patrons were treated to free wines and beers for the cock-tail hour; body painted models with exotic animals; cultural entertainment from the Belize National Dance Company, along with Marimba music from Alma Belicena; free photos, and complimentary gift bags. Guests for the evening, were not only entertained and inspired, but also educated through a special screening of a documentary entitled, ‘Taste of Belize,’ a video that traces the evolution of Belizean cuisine and explores the depth of the Belizean culture through food. The guests were also treated to three live culinary competitions in the Pro Chef, also took home a brand new grill courtesy of James Brodie & Company Limited, along with one thousand dollars courtesy of the BTB.
  • Cayo Welcomes The Cayo Welcome Center:
    Over this past weekend the Belize Tourism Board brought its annual Taste of Belize Competition to San Ignacio. The event began on Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. It ended on Sunday with the Belize Bar-B-Que and Food Festival 2012 at the soon to be officially inaugurated Cayo Welcome Center in the heart of San Ignacio Town. Sunday's event provided a rare opportunity for the people of San Ignacio, Santa Elena and surrounding communities along with visitors to interact within the confines of this new and impressive facility. The occasion and the facility likewise provided a spin-off boost in economic activity as local crafts people and entrepreneurs grasped the opportunity to make money.
  • Driving In The Rain: This May Save Your Life:
    We are not sure why it is so effective; just try this method when it rains heavily. This method was given me by a Police friend who had experienced and confirmed it. It is useful....even driving at night. One method used by Canadian Military Drivers for years. Most of the motorists would turn on HIGH or FASTEST SPEED of the wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility in front of the windshield is still bad. In the event you face such a situation, just try your SUN GLASSES (any model will do), and miracle! All of a sudden, your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain. Make sure you always have a pair of SUN GLASSES in your car, as you are not only helping yourself to drive safely with good vision, but also might save your friend's life by giving him this idea.. Try it yourself and share it with your friends! Amazing, you still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling. NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON.
  • Ix Chel Tropical Research GROW TO LEARN GARDEN:
    School gardens teach children responsibility, a caring for nature, and an understanding of agriculture, science, relationships, and life processes. IxChel tropical Research Centre has launched a new program, The Grow to Learn Garden, at the Santa Elena Primary School here in the Cayo District. We’re starting this program with an 18 x 10 plot of land to grow herbs and vegetables. This “garden classroom”, will give students an understanding of how the local food system works and serves as a link to local farmers, and others involved in agriculture. Also growing herbs and vegetables in the same plot will educate the children about plants that serve as medicine and food. The kids will be in charge of weeding, watering and overall protecting the plants, of course with the supervision of their class teacher and IxChel’s project coordinator, Ms Salome Oliver. We will grow lemon grass, oregano, barsley, calalu, aloe vera, rue, mint, tree of life and sorosi. Chives, cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, chilis and lettuce will fill the vegetable boxes.
  • Philippines: Typhoon Bopha Death Toll Rises:
    The death toll from a powerful storm battering the southern Philippines has risen to about 200, as rescue teams arrive in affected areas. At least 156 people are known to have died in Compostela Valley province alone when Typhoon Bopha struck eastern Mindanao, local officials mentioned. Rescuers have reached most areas, but have had difficulty getting to some isolated communities. Many were evacuated ahead of the storm, now over the western island of Palawan. The typhoon is expected to move out into the South China Sea on Thursday.
  • Sacred Heart Junior College’s Second Open Day:
    On Wednesday, November 28, 2012, Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC) held its second annual Open Day on SHJC grounds. SHJC is known for being one of the leading junior colleges in the country offering quality, affordable, hands-on Associate degrees and Certificate Programs in the areas of Accounting, Business, Biology, Natural Resource Management, Primary Education, General Studies, Tourism Management, Information Technology, and Pre-Medical Studies. With a student population of approximately 600 students and dynamic, professional, qualified mentors, SHJC stands true to being the conducive, learning environment where students are motivated, inspired, and transformed.
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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

Wolfe’s Woofers: Free Ride

San Pedro’s 2012 Bible Parade a great success
The Biblesta, (a combination of the words Bible and Fiesta) has been a mainstay in Humboldt, Kansas USA the first Saturday in October, every year since 1957. The main attraction of the event is a bible parade with bands, marching and equestrian units and featured floats depicting biblical events. The floats begin the parade in the book of Genesis, and stay in biblical order through the book of Revelations. While the churches from San Pedro have not adopted the entire event, what will certainly become a mainstay on our island community will be the annual Bible Parade and the presentations that follow at Central Park. This year’s parade took place on Saturday, December 1st and saw the participation of nine congregations. The parade took worshippers from the starting point at Banyan Bay, northbound on Coconut drive, onto back street (Almond Street), through the old football field and onto Angel Coral St. to Caribeña St. then east to Pescador Drive, south on Pescador Drive to Tarpon Street, east on Tarpon Street to Barrier Reef Drive then north on Barrier Reef Drive, culminating at the Central Park.

Dr. Love: Being a Godparent
Since my employee and good friend asked me to be the godparent of his new baby, I have started to worry about what being a godparent means here in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

$168m drug case crumbles
Belize’s biggest drug case collapsed early Tuesday morning, December 4th, in the culture capital of Dangriga. Thirty out of fifty six witnesses had trickled through the Supreme Court of Justice Dennis Hanomansingh since Monday 12 November to Friday 30 November when the prosecution closed its case. The prosecution had made some effort to locate a witness whose statement in the file was frightening and suspicious. Her testimony would have come under severe attack from the defense attorneys as it was too weird and unbelievable to carry credibility with a jury. That witness quite sensibly kept away from the Court. It would be interesting, most interesting, if we could learn why she had said such things as appeared in her statement. Two years ago, in the early morning of 13 November 2010, Daniel Samos, a member of Belize’s security apparatus, was on watch at a semi-secret location where electronic devices linked to satellites circling the earth detect the movements of objects entering Belize’s airspace. This is how Belize protects itself or its airspace from Guatemalan invasion; arms smuggling and drug places. You won’t believe it, and our American friends must be pissed, but our radar to detect the location of aircrafts was not working. It was the Ministry of Defence of Mexico which called Daniel Samos to inform Belize that a plane was heading into the aerospace of Southern Belize. Samos immediately reacted the way he is trained to react. He alerted our army, Police and Anti-Drug Unit. They sprang into action. One of the persons receiving a call from Samos was Superintendent of Police Lincoln Hemsley who is also the Commander of Belize’s anti-drug division. He promptly issued instructions to his various divisions. One such division is headed by Sergeant John Sanchez in Belmopan who gathered his team and raced to the Southern areas of Belize. Commander Hemsley also spoke to Lieutenant Rogelio Ramirez who with a team of Belize Defense Force soldiers was already patrolling the southern highway. Around this time, Special Constable Freddy Martinez, Special Constable Juan Veliz with Corporal Edgar Moralez, were doing routine patrol in the Bella Vista area. It is the diligence of these three which gave the Police investigation great help. Special Constables are part time Police. Freddy Martinez lives in Independence Village for many years.

Izzies Surgery at BWRC
They successfully operated on Izzie the spider monkey today at the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic. Daniel Velazquez was on hand to get some really detailed shots of the surgery. Many thanks to Dr. Maas from the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine in Bothel, Washington. "Wildtracks Update: Izzie is out of the operating room and starting to wake up. Her bones are joined by plates, and the operation declared a success (unless there are unforeseen complications)...what a relief!"

Cayo Road Improvements
The SISE Town Council is fixing up many of the streets. Kudos to them.

Basketball Regionals at MCHS
Sacred Heart College went to Mount Carmel for the basketball regionals.

BBQ Competition at Cayo Welcome Center
More great pictures from the opening of the Cayo Welcome Center, which corresponded with the Taste of Belize's BBQ competition. Thanks to Mariposa for the great pictures. "The sun was hot, the beers were cold and the environment was welcoming. The kids had the opportunity to ride a small train and their smiles brighten the environment even more. As the evening took over many presentations took place including the lighting of the Christmas tree. It was a great day for the San Ignacio people and for those that visited from other districts and other countries."

Blogs

San Pedro lighted boat parade 2012
I do not know what my ADD brain was thinking when I mentioned in yesterdays post that I would live stream the parade if I could get internet on the dock, because I suddenly did not grow 2 extra arms to be able to do that and take pictures at the same time. Of course I opted for the latter. It was off to a bit of a rough start as my unpredictable cannon does not always cooperate and give me what I am looking for, but I think I made out ok for boat parade pictures in the end. I met up with Cowboy, Leisa Pete and his wife at Caprice before the parade started then headed out to the dock with Lara, Mary, Dorian, Gerry to watch the action. Paul alternated between hanging with us and the beach. Unfortunately the boats seemed to think the people sitting at the picnic at the next dock were the judges and did their drive by’s close to them. We still got to enjoy a close enough view of the boats passing by and hearing the crew cheering and singing. This year many of the boats outdid themselves for decorating and put on a fantastic lighted boat parade, I have to say hands down I fell in love with the Jelly Fish boat and I know I am not the only one. I heard it took a week to decorate and I am not surprised, they did a fantastic job as you will see below.

REQUIRED YEARLY ATTENDANCE IN BELIZE: The San Pedro Annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Required. 100%. This is the best party of the year. Such a fantastic holiday kick-off, such a fun event for the entire town, such a great atmosphere. But let me back up a bit... Rasta Claus and Miss San Pedro and her gorgeous shoes. This year San Pedro hosted its 7th Annual Holiday Light Boat Parade. (For pictures of the 6th, click here.) 12 or 13 boats lined up, fully lit, at Wayo's Bar to parade south of town and then back around to end in Central Park. SAGA Humane Society (with Santa), Casa Picasso, the AIDs Society, the Lions Den and a few others had set up a block party with DJ Habo, plenty of food, treats and drinks, pictures with Santa and lots of lights for the perfect place to watch... This year was the best ever. (And I apologize just like I did last year...taking pictures of the moving boats at night is not easy! But I'll try to capture how fun this event is...) These guys were doing flips in front of the dock, turning in a circle faster than I thought a boat could. The town dock and the beach were packed with kids, couples...

International Sources

Belize hopes push New World higher
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) said on Monday that its chances of discovering commercial oil at its Belize project had "materially increased". An extension to an existing well at the B Crest prospect confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system of 45% to 65% oil saturation. Investors welcomed the news, as shares in the explorer climbed 4% and the stock became one of the most heavily bought on Interactive Investor. The Blue Creek 2A well is being drilled to an angle of 35 degrees, relocating the bottom hole location of Blue Creek 2 by some 4,535 feet. The company said seismic data had shown a "wedging or thickening effect" which could indicate a significant oil trap. The Blue Creek 2 well commenced drilling operations on 27 September and reached its initial target depth of 7,000 feet in mid-October, but failed to find commercial oil. The extension was expected to reach its new target depth by the end of the year. Analysts at FoxDavies commented: "The company's update is a positive as it has intersected a horizon with oil shows, sufficiently strong as to be interpreted as being below the oil-water contact. "This is positive news, but... shows do not yet indicate a commercial find, and ultimately, this is what success should be determined by."

New World eyes commercial discovery at Blue Creek #2 in Belize
Oil and gas company New World Oil and Gas said its chances of making a commercial discovery in Belize have greatly improved, and expects to confirm this in coming weeks. In Belize, the company's B Crest Prospect is located in the productive Petén Basin Its Blue Creek #2 well confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system. New World said there was about 45% and 65% oil saturation in the lower Cretaceous Dolomites of the Y3 and Hill Bank formations following petrophysical interpretation of open-hole logs It was currently drilling a deviated well, the Blue Creek #2A ST, targeting potential commercial oil accumulation up structure above the interpreted oil water contact. The Well will be drilled to an angle of 35 degrees relocating the bottom hole location of Blue Creek #2 by some 4,535 feet to the SSE and up-structure 300 feet. At December 7, the well was at 4,500 feet. "The directors believe the chances of discovering a commercial oil accumulation at B Crest have materially increased," New World said. At 9:23am: [LON:NEW] New Look Group share price was +0.26p at 9.63p

Shares in New World Oil and Gas jump on exploration update
The share price for AIM-listed New World Oil and Gas rose 5.33 per cent to 9.88p at 08:16 on Monday following publication of an update by the company. The oil and gas exploration and development company revealed confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system at its Blue Creek Well 2 in Belize. Directors of the company stated that they believe the chances of discovering a commercial oil accumulation at the B Crest prospect, part of the Blue Creek project in the Petin Basin, had materially increased. The company further revealed that 2D seismic data for its Denmark-based license in the South Permian Basin, completed in September 2012, is in the final stages of completion. CEO optimistic of oil production propsects William Kelleher, Chief Executive Officer, commented: ‘We are extremely encouraged by the results of our efforts across our portfolio to date. We believe our chances of making a commercial discovery in Belize have greatly improved, which we should be in a position to confirm in the weeks to come. ‘Our de-risking programme at both licences in Denmark remains on track and we will shortly be able to decide on the best way forward at each project. These are very exciting and busy times for New World and I can assure all our shareholders that the management of the company is working tirelessly on all fronts, as we work towards our objectives of making a hydrocarbon discovery and building value. I look forward to updating the market on our progress as and when new developments arise.’

A Winter Escape to Ambergris Caye, Belize
One of my favorite winter get-away destinations is the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize. Ambergris Caye is one of hundreds of beautiful tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea all along the coast of Belize and is the most popular tourist vacation destination in Belize. With the second longest barrier reef in the world just off shore it offers fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving and is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The government of Belize has put a number of restrictions on development to protect the environment including designating several marine reserves, restricting the size of buildings and resorts and requiring that beaches be in maintained in their natural state . The island is about 25 miles long and only about a mile wide. The height restrictions keep buildings below the top of the tallest palm trees with no buildings over 44 feet tall. Ambergris Caye has few paved roads and the primary mode of motorized transportation is golf carts. There are no major hotel chains which gives the island a relaxed retro ambience. Belize is an especially easy place for people from the US to visit because it is the only country in Central America where the official language is English and the Belizean dollar is tied to the US dollar with a super easy to calculate 2 to 1 exchange rate - 2 Belizean dollars = $1 US. For those who want an ecofriendly, unique winter getaway, take a look at what it is like to take a trip to Ambergris Caye in Belize.

John McAfee Gains Reprieve in Guatemala
The software pioneer John McAfee believes he will be given time in Guatemala to appeal against his deportation back to Belize. It was initially believed that McAfee would be deported back to Belize within 48 hours of presenting himself to Guatemalan authorities last Wednesday. McAfee was immediately arrested for illegally crossing the border from Belize into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Samantha. McAfee has been on the run since 11 November when his neighbour Gregory Faull was found dead in his house on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye. McAfee is wanted for questioning by the Belize authorities in relation to the death. McAfee's lawyers filed papers with the courts in Guatemala to grant him leave to stay in the country until his legal appeals against deportation have been settled, which could take months. "The government of Guatemala respects the courts and we have to wait for them to make a decision," said Francisco Cuevas, a spokesman for the Guatemalan government. The court has up to 30 days to rule on his request, but McAfee's lawyers said on Sunday they expect a ruling in the American's favor as early as Monday.

John McAfee May Be in Guatemala for Months
Though the Guatemalan government initially said that John McAfee would be quickly shipped back to Belize, he's managed to buy himself some time. Reuters reports that McAfee's lawyers have filed a request to allow him to stay in the country until a court rules on his appeals against deportation, which could take months. "The government of Guatemala respects the courts and we have to wait for them to make a decision," said a government spokesman. Since arriving in the country last week, the tech mogul has already been arrested and had a heart attack scare that landed him in the hospital, but we trust that he'll be able to come up with some new antics in the coming days and weeks.