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Specials and Events
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
SPHS boys bring home second place trophy from Northern Regional Football Tournament
A boat load of excited students and teachers left San Pedro on Friday afternoon, en route to Orange Walk Town where they would compete in the Annual Secondary Schools’ football regional competition. The San Pedro High School (SPHS)Girls were first to take the field around 8AM going up against Corozal Community College (CCC). The girls played defensively, standing their ground through the entire game which ended in a nil – nil draw. The game went into penalty kids, and this was where the team couldn’t keep its momentum. The game ended in a 3-1 score in favor of CCC. Even with this loss, the girls managed to take third place by goal differential.
With enthusiastic fans that had traveled from the day before to cheer on their San Pedro teams, the boys gave a really good show. The first game for the boys started around 12:05pm and saw them going up against Belize High School for Agriculture (BHSA). BHSA tried to keep our boys down, but in the 50th minute of the game, Jordy Craft landed the first and only goal of the game through a penalty kick, garnering SPHS Boys the win with a score of 1-0. Excited fans became even more energized as the boys prepared for the Championship game.
San Pedro blessed by Second Pilgrimage of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima
The traveling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived in Ambergris Caye on Monday February 11th at around 3:30PM via Maya Island Air. It was the second visit from Our Lady of Fatima to the island – and the country of Belize. Many Catholic followers made their way to the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church to witness the coronation of Our Lady of Fatima.
After the coronation, a rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima was held.
At 6:00PM the official mass, in both English and Spanish, was conducted in her honor to a great number of the San Pedro Catholics. After a dance presentation honoring Our Lady by the San Pedro Dance Company, the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, along with her Catholic followers, made their way through the streets. The procession started at 8:00PM and went through the main streets of the town.
San Pedro Carnaval Day Three Highlighted by John McAfee Parody
These were some of the lyrics from the McAfee Parody Compara where the men dressed in drag and made fun of the entire John McAfee incident that brought worldwide attention to San Pedro and Belize. Even though the men did not win anything in the comparsa competition because they only came out to dance for the last day of Carnaval, the money they raised was donated to the San Pedro Lions Club.
Coming out on top in the compara competition was the San Pedro AIDS Commission that celebrated the last day with a Carnival Samba theme, full with elaborate costumes and enough energy to keep on dancing until next year’s festivities. The group really outdid themselves this year with fantastic costumes, dance routines and entertainment.
In second place was Doña Flora Ancona’s Comparsa which brought Panamanian Carnaval spirit to San Pedro on the last day of celebration. Filling the streets with color, dance and joy was their mission, which they accomplished.
Taking third place was the Youth Generation Comparsa lead by Francisco Mendez which embraced even the youngest of Carnaval participants, a two-year old girl who had the energy to dance all night long.
Sanpedrana Graduates in USA
Sanpedrana Celia Perdomo has recently graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in the USA. Celia moved from San Pedro some time ago to live in Los Angeles, California where as a single mother she is raising and educating her four girls who are also Belizeans. This brave Belizean woman has been working as a sales representative for Avon Cosmetics to provide a decent living for her family of four and decided to further her education. Recently she graduated from Los Angeles International College with an AA Degree in Health Care Administration. Ambergris Today, relatives and friends in San Pedro congratulate this brave Sanpedrana woman for her achievement in life and education.
Misc Belizean Sources
Parliament gives nod to restructured super-bond
Parliament has given the nod to the terms of a restructured one billion dollar (One Belize dollar = US$0.49 cents) super-bond even as opposition legislators complained of the “arrogant and reckless” position of the government and being kept in the dark over the new initiative.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who last December said that an agreement had been reached with the creditors, told Parliament the new maturity date for the super-bond is 2038, “nine years more than the current maturity under the super-bond which expires in 2029”.
He said that the new bonds have a maturity trajectory of 25 years and a second “key” feature is a 10 per cent principal haircut off the top.
“So immediately, approximately BDZ$108 million is written off the current super-bond indebtedness,” he said, adding that the initial interest rate coupon is for five per cent lasting for four and a half year, stepping up then to 6.78 per cent for the remaining life of the new bonds.
“Therefore the new initial interest rate represents a 25 per cent reduction compared to the current 8.5 per cent. There is a grace period of six years before principal repayments commence, even though the bond holders in exchange for the substantial relief argued for earlier principal payments,” Barrow said.
He told legislators that the government was able to “hold the line and 2019 continues to be the year when principal payments begin”.
Belize does ‘superbond’ deal with lenders
Belize and its international lenders have reached an agreement on the restructuring of a $550m “superbond”, drawing a line under a debt workout that at times looked like it would devolve into a fierce, ill-tempered legal battle.
Creditors led by Greylock Capital, the US hedge fund, were able to negotiate a much better deal than first offered by the government, but Belize still secured a hefty dose of debt relief that will markedly improve state finances.
The deal will trim the size, extend the maturities and lower the coupon payments of the bond maturing in 2029 – itself the result of a previous restructuring. Dean Barrow, Belize’s prime minister, on Tuesday presented the restructuring deal to the country’s parliament, which will soon vote on the deal.
Mr Barrow told lawmakers that the agreement would save $247m in debt repayments over the next decade. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” the prime minister said.
Nonetheless, the restructuring entails a much smaller loss to investors than first proposed by Belize in August last year. Those terms implied writedowns of 70-80 per cent, according to analysts, roughly in line with the painful losses forced on Greek creditors last year and on Argentina’s lenders following its default in 2001.
Happy Ash Wednesday
Benque celebrates Ash Wednesday. Have a great Ash Wednesday.
"Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday."
Valentine Wine Tasting and Wine Baskets
The Costless Mart Wine House is doing their Valentine's Wine Tasting all this week, and if you're looking for the perfect gift for your wife, mom, or girlfriend, they have Valentine's Wine Baskets at a great price. Pictures to come tonight. They are located at 57 Benque Viejo road, right near Joseph Andrews drive.
"There's still time to get your bottle of wine for that special date night or break from the norm, give a basket of wine this Valentine. Come try which pleases your taste buds and purchase your bottle. Free tasting from February 12th to February 16th, 2013 at 2:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m. See you there!!!!"
Mardi Gras at Serendib
Happy Ash Wednesday! Here are some more great pictures from the Mardi Gras celebration that Serendib had on Burns avenue. Great food, music - tons of music - and wild times in Cayo.
Into The Chiquibul Wild
Channel 7 has a video showing the trek into Cayo's Chiquibul Forest Reserve. The huge tractor they use has a hard time getting in and out. Big thanks to the BDF and the Friends of Conservation and Development for doing all they can to keep the Chiquibul safe.
Placencia Sidewalk Arts Music Festival
Boasting the best artwork and music Belize has to offer! Join us as we celebrate 10 years of art along the historic Placencia Village beach sidewalk!
Cycling Takes The High Road, But Risks Int'l Sanctions
On Monday, 7News showed you the discontent that some cyclists have with the direction that the Belize Cycling Association has taken under the leadership of Incumbent President, Emil Moreno.
Much of the dispute centers over whether the Cycling Association is now a properly constituted federation - as Moreno says, or if it is still an Association - as his opponents contend.
Well, this evening, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, announced at a press conference what will be the way forward. And that plan of action is a major upset for the Moreno camp because there will be no Federation recognized for these upcoming elections.
Instead, the individual cyclists and other members of the cycling community will decide who will represent them at the executive level - as has been customary in the association.
It's a major development - and one that could lead to international sanctions against Belize cycling. That's because the governing regional body for cycling, COPACI recognizes a Federation. The President Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez met with Minister of State Longsworth this afternoon in Belmopan where he was given the bad news.
BWSL Sends Home Seven Because Of Scandal Sheets
Last week Thursday BWSL fired four employees - including two prominent union members. The reason? Gossip! Now, in and of itself, gossip isn't enough to get anyone fired, and if it was, people would be losing jobs left and right, from Cabinet to Corporate boardrooms.
But this gossip was more than just talk; it was in writing, thousands of words of it sent to the Prime Minister, the Leader of The opposition, the Minister of Energy and filtered through the company in a series of scandal sheets. And when we say scandal, we don't just mean stats about who's hustling the company's assets, or lamping up on the job, we mean sex scandals - allegations of who's doing what to who and where.
Very nasty stuff - and after four such letters, it seems the board had had enough. The CEO, Alvan Haynes was tasked by the Directors to investigate who was behind the letters. We don't know if he ever found out definitively, but last week Thursday, he brought down the axe sending home four persons - including one employee with 31 years of service, another with good UDP credentials, and two union members. Another employee was fired on Friday, while another resigned - and yet another had been made to resign in January.
Another Woman To Jail For Messing With Ex
Another woman is behind bars tonight, and she will spend 6 years in prison for burning down her boyfriend's house. A jury found that on January 30, 2011, Keisha Banner burned down her boyfriend, Deshon Rowland's home. The day after the fire, he told 7news what happened:
Deshon Rowland - Owner
"My girlfriend came and she starts to curse me out, so I push her a little bit and just walk inside the house. She came and pick up some pint bottles, so I just held her from picking up the pint bottles after that she followed me inside the bathroom when I went to bathe. So I went outside the house for a walk to avoid arguments and talking. Then some people came and told me that my house is on fire. She tells my friends to tell me that she is burning down my house. I have to move on from here because she hurt me, this is all I got."
The 24 year old Banner was found guilty on January 22 after Rowland gave the jury the same account he gave us two years ago.
Today was her sentencing hearing, and Banner called 3 witnesses to testify. All of them spoke of her as a model citizen for her entire life until the charge was brought against her in 2011.
Jamaica's Problems Make Superbond Seem Light!
The centerpiece of the news last night was the final terms of Superbond 2.0 - which will be launched on Friday. The terms are much improved from the original Superbond, as Belize gets a 10% discount or haircut on all debt, and a savings of 43.25% in Net Present Value.
Those and many other features make it a good deal for Belize, and the best part is, the deal was done without the IMF. An agreement with the fund would surely have forced tax increases and public sector layoffs. In fact, an instructive example of the level of pain the IMF brings can be found in Jamaica. Almost simultaneous with Belize, that country is going through its own debt restructuring.
For context, their debt problems are far worse than Belize's - and now they're going into an emergency restructuring of their domestic debt. The finance mop-up campaign just to get ready for the IMF was launched on Monday in Kingston.
We thought it a useful parallel to what's been happening here - and we have the report Kalilah Enriquez prepared for CEEN News:
The next bombshell came yesterday afternoon in the Jamaican Parliament when the Finance Minister announced a $170 million dollar new tax package.
And again, all this is just to qualify for a loan from the IMF - and that bailout loan will be all for debt servicing. The Jamaican opposition walked out of the house when the new tax measures were announced.
Arenal Football Field Causes Friction
The village of Arenal on the Belize Guatemala border is already famous for its football field: half of it is in Belize, the other half in Guatemala. But it's getting another football field - and according to reports that has amounted to a major problem for one Belizean land-owner.
She claims her property is being run over to make room for the field - specifically the south goalpost which falls inside her lot. Today in the village heavy machinery rented by the village council knocked down her plants, and reports say a small thatch house she had was burnt down. We could not reach the Chairman for comment today...
The Other Side Of the Jose Pineda Story
Tonight, Jose Pineda - the Cayo resident from San Ignacio Town - is still in a coma at the KHMH. On last night's newscast we reported that Pineda was badly beaten at a bar belonging to his ex-common-law-wife in San Ignacio Town.
According to Pineda's family, he was forced into a vehicle and then taken to the bar where he was beaten in front of his common-law-wife -who did nothing to stop what was happening. But after spending 3 days in police custody, today Mariana Galvez, the ex- common-law-wife of Pineda contacted our newsroom this afternoon - where, via telephone, she told Monica Bodden her version of the story.
According to Galvez, even after taking out a restraining order against Pineda, he broke the law when he willfully entered her establishment on Sunday morning and first assaulted a patron and then went after her.
Mariana Galvez (Via Phone)
"I was serving the last cold beer to a customer inside the bar when I saw my ex-common-law husband coming inside. He started to break bottles on my customers' head. My customer asked me what happened and who that man was. My ex-husband continued to break bottles. So, I came out of the bar, and I ran outside. When he saw that I ran out, he grabbed me by my hair, held me down, and he started to take out my tongue. He had a knife, and because I am a radio announcer, he wanted to cut my tongue, and when I bit him on his hand, he started to try to cut my tongue out.
New Prices Under New Butane Regime
New butane prices were announced today - they are the first under the new pricing regime implemented a month ago. The new prices went into effect over the weekend and they fix the price for a hundred pound cylinder in Belize City at $117.00, $119.00 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $120.00 in Benque Viejo, $118.00 in Orange Walk, $117.00 in Corozal and $121.00 in Punta Gorda.
There is no longer a variable price structure for LPG imported from Mexico, since under the new standards all imported LPG has to be a independently certified 60/40 mix between propane and butane.
Marijuana Fields Burnt In Indian Creek
Early this morning between 4 and 8am, officers attached to the Anti-Drug Unit launched an operation about one mile north east of Indian Creek village in the Toledo District. They came upon a marijuana plantation measuring half an acre. The plantation had one thousand, one hundred mature marijuana plants in it - measuring 2 to 6 feet in height.
A shed, with 86 pounds of marijuana and 3.25 pounds of cannabis seeds was also discovered some 50 meters away from the plot of land where the plants were found standing. No one was found in the immediate area at the time of the discovery. The Plants were uprooted and destroyed by fire along with the 86 pounds of processed weed. The 3.25 pounds of cannabis seeds were taken into police custody and labeled as found property.
The Importance Of Parenting
We always talk about the problems with youths displaying anti-social tendencies, but mostly, it starts at home with the parents. That's why The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation is hosting a 3 day National parenting workshop.
The idea comes from a national assessment of the parenting landscape in Belize, and over one hundred stakeholders from the government, civil society and the private sector were in attendance this morning at the opening ceremony where we found out more about what they hope to get out of the event:
Lliani Arthurs - Acting Director, Human Services
"We're having what we called a national parenting workshop, and it actually a process where we're bringing together local and regional partners to begin to discuss where we go as a country in terms of parenting. We recognize family as the cornerstone of our society, and recognize that our families are facing increasing challenges especially where societies are changing. And we believe that parents must be engaged to understand the critical role that they play, in terms of ensuring maximum development for children. And we hope that this workshop will begin that dialog with our partners to identify who is doing what, and where do we go.
OCEANA Takes Its Case To Higher Court
In December, we reported that Oceana Belize's claim before Justice Michelle Arana was struck out. It involved an application to review the disqualification from Chief Elections Officer of 8,047 signatures to try to trigger a referendum on offshore oil exploration.
Well, today Oceana announced via a press release that it will go back to court to seek permission to appeal Justice Arana's decision to strike out the case. That matter is scheduled to be heard on April 18...
An Epic Walk For a Profound Problem
From the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon - we all know those rivers as the northern and Southern boundaries of Belize - and while they roll off the tongue easily enough, imagine walking from one to the other - that's quote a different proposition!
But that's just what a small but committed group of individuals chose to do in a 300 mile Walk For Peace. Formally, it's called the "Bishop's March for Peace: From the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon".
It was organized by the Saint Martin De Porres Parish to inspire a call to action against crime and focus on positivity in the different communities they walked through.
The participants fell just 20 miles short of their 300 mile goal, but today they came home to a well-deserved welcome from the students of the Saint Martin De Porres Primary School, and 7News was there.
Here's what the participants told us:
Tanya Usher - Coordinator, Walk For Peace
"We were so happy. Every time we got tired, and thought about stopping, we would see a bunch of kids, or some people waiting up in the distance. And we knew that we had to go one more mile, and walk a mile with them. People came out; almost all the primary catholic schools participated. We had schools even on the weekends; we had teachers come out when they didn't have to. We had people who just walked a few miles with us, and that's what we wanted.
Literacy Programme Picking Up Steam
2 Months ago, we showed you an innovative program being launched by Restore Belize which includes using computers to teach students of all ages how to read, or how to read better. It includes the use of computers and a piece of software which is very intuitive and teaches the individual how to use it.
Restore Belize has collaborated with the international organization, Literacy Without Borders, to get the program out into the different communities. For the past three days, both of these organizations have been offering training to different outreach organizations who will do the literacy training in the communities.
7News caught up with the organizers at the end of the training today, here's what they told us about how it went:
Randy Boissonnault - Executive Director, Literacy Without Borders
"Restore Belize and Literacy Without Borders are pleased to be offering 2 and a half days of training for the Academy of Reading and the Academy of Math. It's a computer literacy assisted solution the Government of Belize as able to purchase due to a generous donation from the Government of China/Taiwan. The target groups are adults and younger learners who are struggling with either reading or math. So, those who are not at grade level, we want over time to have access to this to this program
The Power Of The Potentialists
And while this week they were training in Literacy, last week Restore Belize was offering motivational instruction. As we reported, an outfit of motivational speakers called the Potentialists was in Belize to teach - mostly students - how to harness and awaken their inner potential.
Now, if you aren't into that kind of stuff, it can sound a little hokey, but you can't argue with results: they presented to thousands of students and got many of them to do the impossible: walk barefoot on broken glass and bend solid rods of steel. They put together a video on it, and we excerpted a portion for the news:
Mark King calls for minister during casino incident
Minister of State Mark King is on suspension from ministerial duties; the slap on the wrist he got for involvement at a casino brawl in the wee hours of February fifth. But tonight there is further damning video of the ruckus which started at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone and continued all [...]
Police want to question Moses Sulph about sexual allegation
There is a serious allegation tonight against a well known community activist. The report involves a charge of sexual abuse against Moses Sulph by a young woman from Belmopan. She alleges that she was assaulted on Tuesday night at a house in the capital. News Five contacted the Police Press Officer, Rafael Martinez who [...]
National level cycling in ruins
The war in the cycling world has been dubbed a battle of personalities, and the personality under attack is Emil Moreno, President of the Belize Cycling Association. There have been widespread cries for his resignation from major players in the sport, but he has held his ground behind the protection of an association constitution registered [...]
Ministry speaks about BGYEA’s land issue
On Tuesday the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, held a press conference condemning the Ministry of Natural Resources for failing to hand over documents to land in Harmonyville. The group claims that for the past eight months they have been trying to get title for parcels located on thirteen hundred acres of land on [...]
Natural Resources Ministry clarifies land deal
News Five wouldn’t normally spend much time on the mudslinging which has become traditional at meetings of the House of Representatives, but one item caught our attention in the back and forth between the PUP’s Orange Walk South Area Representative Jose Mai and the Minister of Natural Resources who is also the Deputy Prime Minister. [...]
Another poor salary adjustment consultation
On Tuesday evening representatives from the B.N.T.U., the P.S.U. and the A.P.S.S.M. travelled to Orange Walk where they met with teachers and public officers from that district branch to present G.O.B.’s salary adjustment proposal. News Five has confirmed that the session was intense and the audience was vocal. So vocal, in fact, that the President [...]
P.M. says no ‘yeriso’ about Ruth Meighan transfer
It has been speculated for weeks that Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan would have been leaving that particular government office. Meighan is being transferred to the Ministry of Finance. But instead of alleged problems with Minister of State Elvin Penner, the Prime Minister said the transfer was a result of a space opening up in [...]
Did cop get amnesia during murder trial?
The trial against a cop kicked off today in the Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Police Constable Anthony Polonio is accused of perjury during the trial for the murder of Shawn Copius in October 2007. The accused killer in that case was well-known businessman, Chayben BouNahra, who was freed of the charges. But [...]
Fisherman busted with weed
A Belize City fisherman is facing a hefty fine for the Possession of a Control Drug. Thirty four year old Ramon Avila appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith and pleaded guilty to the charge. He was fined ten thousand dollars and Magistrate Smith ordered him to pay two thousand dollars today or serve [...]
Mariana’s Bar fight becomes attempted murder
Over the past weekend Jose Pineda was involved in an altercation at Mariana’s bar located in San Ignacio Town where he was beaten to a pulp and remains in critical condition at the K.H.M.H. Police have arrested and charged Israel Betancourt Perez with Attempted Murder. Perez was among a group of men who allegedly assaulted [...]
Marijuana plantation found in the south
There was anti drug operation in the south which yielded police a substantial amount of cannabis. On Wednesday between four and eight a.m., the Belize police anti drug unit combed the north east end of Indian Creek Village in the Toledo District. They found a marijuana field with one thousand one hundred mature marijuana plants. [...]
Allison Crawford blasts UB and UB Board
The faculty and staff of the University of Belize are planning a national demonstration on the Belmopan campus on Valentine’s Day. That was the decision taken by the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association at an open forum held on Tuesday at the Jaguar Auditorium in the capital city. The selection of the day [...]
Restore Belize helps to build literacy
Computer skills are a must have in today’s work or school environment. If you have been left behind or simply want to acquire the know- how, Restore Belize in collaboration with the Embassy of Taiwan has launched a computer literacy program. The program is inclusive of all ages and participants simply have to have the [...]
Priest walks the entire country for peace
There was a celebration at St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Belize City this afternoon. The student body gathered in front of the primary school on Partridge Street awaiting their Pastor Father Matt Ruhl. The Jesuit priest returned to a hero’s welcome as he set out thirteen days ago to march for peace. His [...]
41 Year Old Man Arrested For Carnal Knowledge Against A 12 Year Old
A case of Carnal Knowledge has been reported in the Orange Walk District and it involves a 14 year old student. The student, accompanied by her mother, visited the Orange Walk Police Department and reported to police that two years ago when she was 12 years old she went to visit a friend who lived in the same village. The friend, according to the minor, went to buy some snacks and left her alone with a male person. At that instance the man took her into one of the bedrooms where they had sexual intercourse. When the child was 13 years old the act was repeated this time in the month of February 2011. Based on the report police have detained a 41 year old man from the Village of Yo Creek pending charges.
Belize-Mexico Border To Be Strictly Monitored
Five days after members of the Mexican Navy sized 45 kilos of Crystal Meth during a raid conducted at the home of Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin AKA “El Monstruo”, senior officials of the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), the Navy Secretariat and members of the Belize Defense Force met behind closed doors to address issues dealing with security at the border that divides Mexico and Belize in order to wipe out organized crime. Belize was directly involved in the discussion since two Belizean Nationals namely Ermelinda Vasquez and Hugo Cassanova along with six other Mexican Nationals including “El Monstruo” were arrested and charged with drug possession for purposes of sale.
Yesterdays meeting also unveiled the importance of coordination of security projects in the region to win the battle against transnational criminal organizations. The Belize Defense Force believes that the completion of the Joint Operations Center in Ladyville, expected to be completed by the end of 2013, will improve the information exchange with Mexico, which will have a capacity of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Security forces of the BDF, the Coast Guard, Customs, Police and Immigration will plan and direct operations from the center of the country. Plans have also been made to open operating bases near the border with support of tactical operations.
BNTU OW Rejects GOB Proposal, Makes A Counter Proposal
Yesterday leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union and Public Service Union met with members of BNTU Orange Walk Branch to discuss in detail Governments proposal on the much anticipated Salary Adjustment.
The meeting took place at the La Inmaculada School Auditorium and we understand that no member of the Association of Public Service Senior Manager (APSSM) was present for the consultation. Another important point is that the overall turnout of teachers and other public servants was extremely low.
Out of the 400 registered BNTU members in the Orange Walk District; just a little over a hundred partook in the meeting. That’s a turnout of about 25%. But the minority took a stand and flatly rejected Governments proposal and even went further as they made a counter proposal which includes a 10% salary increase for this year.
Otilio Munoz, President BNTU O/W
“One is the time. We have to understand that the people who are part of the negotiating team are government workers. They are employees as well and they have to be out of their working time to consult with the membership. We cannot be asking for permission from the Government to give us the time off for having this consultation when we are against the proposal of the Government. That is ridiculous and ironic. So because of that they are giving their time and teachers from the villages are not able to come at that time to come to Orange Walk for the meeting. But I can tell you that from since this proposal was out and since we have disseminated this proposal to all members through emails, they have been texting and calling me telling me that they have their opinion and that maybe they will not be able to make it to the meeting. And this is the same sentiment that was cried out yesterday. Even if we did not have the amount of teachers there it is the same sentiment that was brought out yesterday.”
Hon. Mai Calls Out Hon.Vega On Land Grabbing
Yesterday the Prime Minister of Belize reveled to the nation the new terms and conditions of the renegotiated Super bond valued at over a billion Belize dollars and maturing over 25 years ending in 2038. This is 9 years more than the current maturity under the super bond which expires in 2029. The initial interest rate coupon is of 5% per annum from March 2013 to August 2017 and 6.767% per annum from August 2017 to February 2038. According to the Prime Minister there is also a 10% principal haircut which will see approximately BZ$108 million dollars written off the current super bond indebtedness.
But inside the House yesterday it was not all about the Super bond, although it was the main order of the day. There were numerous moments when sparks flared and one of them was when Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai questioned Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega about a land deal dating back to 2010. Land deal that saw the involvement of Derrick Gillette, a close ally to the DPM. Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai- Orange Walk South Area Rep
“In my hand I have a letter. It is written on the letterhead of the ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It is dated the twenty-eight of June 2010.And is addressed to one Mister Derek Gillett of Orange Walk. It is signed by one Miss Beverly Castillo, C.E.O. at the time. Mister Speaker, all of us know who Mister Derek Gillett of Orange Walk is; Miser Longanisa Gillett; he makes longanisa. Mister Speaker with your permission I will read this letter—it is a very short letter—and it says here pursuant to the caption matter in which you are involved as interested party, the Ministry of Natural Resources as defendants in the matter offers you the sum one hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars. one hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars to extinguish or withhold all proceedings against the government of Belize and for the return of the parcel seventeen block, Consejo road. Government will then allow the registration of the title to the said parcel of land returned to Mr. Silvio Correa.
Butane Prices Gets Standardized- Is It Good News For You?
Tonight there is some good news and bad news for housewives and restaurant owners. Effective 9th February 2013 both the liquid petroleum gas imported from Mexico and Central America will be sold at the same price. The bad news is that while with the new prices LPG imported from Mexico will see a reduction of one dollar, LPG imported from Central America will see an increase of $8.00 as the price for hundred pound cylinder of butane has been standardized.
The new prices are as follows- Orange Walk $118.00, Corozal and Belize City $117.00, Belmopan and San Ignacio $119.00, Benque Viejo $120.00, Dangriga $121.00 and Punta Gorda $122.00.
In the past, the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection conducted periodic reviews of prices based on invoice submissions by the LPG importers. Pricing was traditionally established based on commercial invoices presented by the importers, which was found to not always reflect the quality of the product, which varied by supplier and origin of the product.
More On Pope Benedict XVI
The Catholic Church entered unfamiliar waters on Monday after Pope Benedict the XVI’s shock announcement that he would become the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. The 85 year old Pope told a group of cardinals in a speech in Latin that he will step down on February 28 because he could no longer fulfill his duties in a fast-changing world due to his age and dwindling strength.
The announcement shocked the ordinary faithful among the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics and even some of the 50 cardinals who were attending a routine canonization ceremony in the Vatican when Pope Benedict made the statement.
It has been reveled that Pope Benedict underwent heart surgery less than three months ago to replace his pacemaker, an operation that was kept out of the public eye. While the surgery went well, reports are that it made the pope reflect on whether he could continue to guide the Church.
Here in Belize the announcement also took Catholic faithful by surprise and today as Christians celebrated Ash Wednesday, we spoke to Father Milton Herrera about the Pope’s resignation.
SMART Belize Begins To Give Out Checks To Raffle Winners
Smart Telecommunications Company Limited will celebrate its 8th anniversary on March 29th and what better way to do so than by giving back to its customers. For every 8 minutes customers spend talking on their Smart phone, they automatically enter a raffle to win $800.00 every week leading up to Smart’s 8th Birthday when one lucky winner will receive $8,000.
Rosa Godoy from Orange Walk Town is the first winner of the $800.00 raffle and today her niece, Monica Dorado, received the check on her behalf during the Despierta Belice Morning Show. Smart’s Public Relations Officer Ian Courtenay, had the honors of presenting the check.
Ian Courtenay, PR Smart
“So for every 8 minutes of talk time they are entered into the raffle and every until the 27th of March we are raffling $800 and on the 27th we will be raffling $8,000. It is for all customers. Every Friday we will draw the numbers and at the beginning of the next week we award the prize. The more you use your phone then the more chances you get in the raffle. I will be traveling around the country and I am sure that I will be back here in Orange Walk.”
Today is known as Ash Wednesday and in the Catholic fate it marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. Catholics around the world partake in penance, reflection and fasting in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday which this year will fall on March 31st. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. This morning, as hundred of students from La Inmaculada School and other Catholic faithful received their ashes, we spoke to Father Milton Herrera who shared the true meaning of Ash Wednesday and its significance.
Milton Herrera, Father
“Es un tiempo en que la iglesia se refleja en la necesidad de acercarse a Dios. Miércoles de Ceniza es la preparación para la Pascua y para preparar el corazón para recibir a Jesús Cristo. La palabra de Dios y los que están participando en el evento va a decir que es el momento de acercarse a Dios. Así que la idea es reflexionar sobre la vida que estás viviendo y estar más cerca de Dios.”
Deputy PM says he is ready for Sunday’s convention
The deputy leadership convention for the United Democratic Party is set for this coming Sunday in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North’s Gaspar Vega. Today, the incumbent told reporters that he is confident of victory.
The UDP deputy leadership convention will be held at the Andres Campos civic centre in Corozal Town.
Tourism police officers involved in
Tourism police officers are expected to help keep the peace and display a level of hospitality to tourists who visit our shores. But this morning, one such tourism police man was anything but courteous to a fellow Belizean when he allegedly assaulted a woman who conducts business at Anna’s Lunch Box inside the Tourism Village on Fort Street. Love News spoke with three persons who said they saw what transpired.
We understand that a surveillance camera fixed just outside the premises might have captured the incident as it unfolded, but when we showed up, the manager in charge of that piece of equipment was not in office.
Police look for Teakettle man
Police are looking for a person in connection to a shooting incident in Teakettle Village in the Cayo District. According to reports, around 7:30 p.m. fifty three year old Albert Usher was at a wake in the village when a male person who he knows for twenty five years reportedly hit him on his head with a bottle wounding him in the process. The man then pulled out a black nine millimeter gun from his pants waist, pointed it at him and pulled the trigger, however the gun misfired.
Honduran national faces deportation from Belize
A Honduran national who was deported from Atlanta, Georgia about two weeks ago, is facing another deportation order, but this time from the Magistrate Court in Belize City. He is 25 year old Nelvin Orellana, a musician from Colon. Orellana was apprehended yesterday by two immigration officers when he got off a bus from Benque Viejo at Novelo’s Bus Terminal in Belize City. Because he looked suspicious, the immigration officers asked him for identification and took him into custody when he could produce a passport or any other means of identification. When he was interviewed, Orellano told the officers that he entered Belize yesterday from Guatemala via the banks of the Mopan River and he was going to cross the border into Mexico and then go to the United States. He also revealed to the officers that he was deported from Atlanta to Honduras about two weeks ago. Orellana was deemed a prohibited immigrant and he pled guilty to the charge when he appeared in court. Magistrate Adolph Lucas ordered him to pay a fine of $1,000.00 forthwith, otherwise he will serve one year imprisonment. Orellana was unable to pay so he was taken to prison. A removal order has been granted for him to be deported to Honduras after he has served his time.
Crime prevention measures discussed in PG
Residents of zone four area of Punta Gorda met with police representatives to discuss issues related to neighbourhood watch program and crime prevention measures. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.
Literacy training facilitated by Restore Belize
Right in line with its mandate to help uplift the lives of youths in Belize, RESTORE Belize has teamed up with Literacy Without Borders to begin training in literacy and numeracy with a number of key non-government organizations who deal with youths. It comes with a handsome donation of the Republic of China, Taiwan, in December of 2012, of 100 computers and accompanying software to carry out the program. Today the program started and Love News stopped in to find out its scope from trainer, Randy Boissonneult, RESTORE Belize Executive Director, Mary Vasquez, and participant, Dr Clara Cuellar, who heads the YMCA.
The donation from the Republic of China, Taiwan was almost 319 thousand dollars and the training will end on Thursday.
UNESCO evaluates the Belize Barrier Reef
In 2009, Belize made it on the “Endangered” list of natural heritage sites in the World for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. Last week, a team from that organization was in Belize to conduct an assessment of Belize’s corrective measures prescribed by UNESCO to improve upon that status. Today Love News checked in with UNESCO’s focal point representative, Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, who let us in on that finding.
Belize will be up for another review of the accomplishments to the UNESCO recommendations in 2015.
Details of restructured super bond revealed in parliament
The terms of Belize’s restructured foreign debt, also known as the super bond, were announced today at a special sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow introduced the Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion, 2013, explaining that under the New Bonds, the maturity period has been extended by nine years. It starts with an off the top haircut of ten percent write off on the current super bond, which the Prime Minister says, translates into savings for the government and people of Belize, of one hundred and eight million dollars. The New Bonds will attract interest payable in semi-annual coupons starting in August of this year, and stepping up in 2017. Repayment on the principal of 529 million, nine hundred and twenty eight thousand, eight hundred US dollars or just over a billion Belize dollars will start in 2019. According to the details contained in the motion that was debated and passed by the House of Representatives today, the semi-annual interest payment starting this year and continuing for the next four years will be at five percent per annum. When it steps up in 2017, the interest rate will be six point seven percent, representing forty one percent and twenty percent respectively on the stepped up interest rate payments when the two bonds are compared. In his summation of the motion at the start of the debate, Prime Minister Barrow told parliament that the deal brings the much needed debt relief he had been seeking for Belize.
The Prime Minister said that bond holders had pressed hard for an earlier repayment of the principal but the renegotiating team was able to hold the line and kept the grace period to six years before, starting in 2019. And there are other benefits for Belize.
The Prime Minister also said that government rejected pressures from the bond holders to surrender future revenue as part of the deal.
The Prime Minister says that barring a natural disaster, Belize will be able to meet its debt obligations under this less onerous restructured super bond. Prime Minister Barrow says any fiscal benefits derived from the super bond negotiations, will go back to the people of Belize.
BGYEA to hold national demonstration in Belmopan
The Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, has gone public in its bid to help poorer Belizeans access their own piece of land. The Association has gone public in praising the Government and criticizing it when they could not see eye to eye on the process. Now BGYEA and the Ministry of Natural Resources have once again hit a deadlock in working out the processes for its members. At a press conference this morning, BGYEA President, Nigel Petillo, criticized the system within the Ministry of having so many loopholes that it yields to quote, “nepotism and cronyism”, unquote. Petillo explained where the communication breakdown occurred between his Association and the Ministry.
Today the Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega, responded to the allegations in this fashion.
But it appears that BGYEA is through trying to meet with the Minister or his Representative because today they announced their plan to hold a national demonstration in Belmopan.
Petillo says that of the over a thousand people who have tried to own a piece of land at Harmonyville, only five have received their titles so far.
Jose Castellanos explains his abrupt departure from the salary negotiating scene
He has been out of the limelight since just before the unions met with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and his Cabinet two Fridays ago over salary adjustment discussions. But today, the President of the Association of Professional Service Senior Managers, Jose Castellanos, availed himself to the media to explain his abrupt departure from the negotiation process. Castellanos said that his reason to leave the discussions was personal and grounded on health issues, but in hindsight, he added that his early departure was an error in judgment.
We asked Castellanos whether he felt he was victimized or will be victimized for his outspoken participation leading up to the negotiations. While he didn’t want to elaborate, he said that he explained his position to the people he represents.
Castellanos says that he won’t be on the front line anymore for the APSSM, but that he will provide technical support to the Association for the duration of his presidency. On Friday Castellanos will meet with the Executive Council of the APSSM during which he intends to discuss his future in the Association. His term as President ends next year, but Castellanos has applied for early retirement and he intends to move into the public sector.
Student activist accused of rape
Moses Sulph is a well known activist and face within the media, and tonight a report reaching Plus News is that Sulph is currently being held by Belmopan Police following a report of alleged rape. Information at this time is still forthcoming, but Plus News understands that the incident...
Catholic priest finishes walk for peace
St. Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church is located in the heart of a crime-ridden area and hosts a school which many neighbourhood children attend. Inspired by the call of Bishop Monsignor Dorrick Wright to “work on finding ways to return Belize to a peaceful and productive nation,” the...
24 year old Keisha Banner receives 6 year sentence for arson
This morning, Justice Troadio Gonzalez handed down a 6 year sentence to a woman convicted of arson. During today’s mitigation plea, two character witnesses spoke on behalf of the convicted – 24 year old Keisha Banner. They, along with her attorney Simeon Sampson testified that Banner is a polite...
Homeless man found dead in Belize City
A man, believed to be homeless, was found dead this morning in Belize City. The deceased, identified as 39 year old Joe Arconilla was found near the Flag Monument, motionless. At this time, Police do not suspect foul play was involved in his death.
Resident of Yo Creek Village under investigation for allegedly having sex with a minor
A 41 year old resident of Yo Creek Village is under investigation for allegedly having sex with a minor. The 14 year old girl told Police that when she was 12 years old, she visited a friend in the village and when her friend went to the store, she...
Importance of parents highlighted at conference
Importance of parents highlighted at conference. The Ministry of Human Development today began a three-day conference in Belize City concerning, all things, parenting. More specifically, the conference seeks to organize and streamline the ad hoc groups teaching parenting education around the country. Acting Director of the Department of Human...
Israel Betancourt Perez charged for Attempted Murder
Police have made an arrest in Monday’s near-fatal brawl in San Ignacio Town. The bizarre incident occurred after Jose Pineda violated a restraining order against him and visited his ex-common law wife’s place of business. As we reported, Mariana Galvez, the owner of Mariana’s Bar, told Police that on...
Dangriga resident charged for firearm offences
Dangriga Police have arrested and charged a resident for possessing gun ammunitions without a gun license. The arrest came after Police conducted a search at the home of Thomas Ramos, a 32 year old laborer of the town, where they discovered three .22 live rounds of ammunition. Because Ramos...
Aggravated assault in Teakettle Village
Belmopan Police are investigating an aggravated assault that occurred in Teakettle Village. The incident happened this past Sunday at a wake, and according to the victim, 53 year old Albert Usher, he was attacked by someone he has known for 25 years. Usher told Police that while at a...
Stolen vehicle recovered in Santa Elena
A stolen vehicle has been recovered in Santa Elena Town. A businessman and resident of the area reported that upon leaving the San Ignacio Hotel and Casino, where he was socializing with friends, he noticed that his vehicle was missing from the parking lot. The vehicle, valued at $12,000,...
Three charged for firearm offences
A routine patrol on the Arenal Road has resulted in the firearm-related arrests of three persons. The men were intercepted by the Mobile Interdiction Team, where a search of their vehicle was conducted. An unlicensed pistol was found hidden under the front passenger seat. The occupants of the vehicle...
GSU recover stolen items at a home in Belize City
GSU have recovered stolen items at a home in Belize City. Among the items recovered were $1,800 US dollars and an assortment of electronic items and jewellery. Police have since charged 20 year Lloyd Parchue, Kareem Yorke and Cilo Cherrington who are both 22 years of age, and a...
OCEANA to appeal referendum strike-out
OCEANA to appeal referendum strike-out. In December, environmental organization OCEANA and citizens Audrey Bradley and Tom Greenwood lost their case against the Government of Belize on a technicality. OCEANA and its partners had gathered over 21,000 signatures on a petition to trigger the referendum, but 8,047 were rejected because...
Decrease in the price of butane gas
The Belize Bureau of Standards announced a decrease in the price of 100lb cylinder butane gas, which came into effect on February 9th. The new costs per 100 cylinder are as follows: $117.00 for Corozal and Belize City consumers, $118.00 for Orange Walk, in Belmopan and San Ignacio the...
U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Awarded to Santa Rita Archaeological Park Conservation Project. Each year since 2001, through its U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center has assisted eligible countries in preserving their cultural heritage. ...
Teachers and public officers will not get what they thought they had bargained for
Jose Castellanos, says, there is more to GOB salary proposal than meets the eye. Castellanos said that despite the union’s best intentions, GOB has been very crafty about how it intends to follow through on the adjustment and as a result, teachers and public officers will not get what...