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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun
Best Director Ang Lee researched Life of Pi in Belize
In January 2010, acclaimed filmmaker, Ang Lee was on Ambergris Caye where he and his two sons, Mason and Haan trained to become certified SCUBA divers with White Sands Dive Shop. After receiving his full certification, Lee along with White Sands’ PADI staff instructors Elbert Greer and Sam Lin, visited LOP-068 Pi Patel takes in the bioluminescent wonders of the sea.Hol Chan Marine Reserve for a night dive. The San Pedro Sun’s publisher Ron Sniffin and son Jem were invited to join them on the dive, where Lee wanted to view bioluminescent sea creatures in order to realistically portray them. Lee also wanted to get acquainted with the underwater world for the movie he was working on – Life of Pi. Three years later, on February 24th Lee took home the Best Director Academy Award (Oscar) for Life of Pi, the movie he researched in part here in Belize. This was his second award for Best Achievement in Directing; his first Oscar was in 2005 for the film Brokeback Mountain. Life of Pi was nominated for eleven Oscars, including best picture, and not only won for Best Director but won Best Cinematography, Original Score and Visual Effects as well.
Holy Cross softball team heads to District Finals
Holy-Cross-SoftballOn the morning of February 19th two schools competed against each other in the hope of advancing to the Belize District Final for the National Sports Council’s Primary School Softball Tournament . Competing were San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School (SPRCS) and Holy Cross Anglican Primary School, both in the male division. The match took place at Ambergris Stadium where the boys from SPRCS gave a valiant effort but fell short, losing to Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in a best out of three matches. Holy Cross won the first two matches securing them the position of representing San Pedro at the Belize District Final which will be held on April 1st. The scores for match one were 9-6 and 11-2 for the second match. Officiating the games were Ruth Lamb and Barbara Cadle. The Holy Cross softball team will be traveling to Belize City to compete against the other area champions.
Carlos Perrote to direct San Pedro’s first ever Summer Music Camp
The children of San Pedro are sure to have a productive summer this year,as they will have the opportunity to learn theSteel Pan Kids vibrant art of music. For the first time ever, a music camp for children between the ages of five to eighteen will be held. This music summer camp has previously taken place annually in both Orange Walk Town and Belize City. Children learn the skill of playing a variety of instruments that include the percussion, Garifuna drums, steel pan, piano and guitar. No program of this style has previously been held here in San Pedro Town, so it is bound to be a great learning experience for the community’s children.Percussion Camp
Training the children is Cuban music teacher Carlos Perrote. Perrote obtained a Master’s degree at the Supreme Institute of Art in Havana, Cuba. Perrote is well educated in the world of music, having played in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba and toured Germany, France and Italy. Since 1991, Carlos Perrote has resided in Belize, and has since produced two albums, worked as a music teacher at the National Institute of Creative Arts, and was even musical director for the late Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective. Currently, Perrote is the music director at Grace Primary Music School and the Holy Redeemer Marching Band. He has been recognized as a very talented musician in Belize and with his diversity in combining music , especially Cuban and Garifuna rhythms.
Tia Chocolate goes Rappelling and Zip Lining at Bocawina Falls
As I hung several feet up in the air, held up by what I genuinely felt were mere woven threads, I began to question my decision. Not only had I happily signed the release form, I also had begged to do this. WHY would a reasonably sane person like me ask to be strapped up and hung on a few wire cables? It couldn’t possibly be because the call of the jungle had been roaring in my head for weeks? It couldn’t possibly be because as out of shape as I am, I firmly believe I can scale mountains and positively run down a waterfall. No, I’m insane…that’s the only possible explanation.
But, I must backtrack a little, and explain how I found myself in this most compromising position. I am the girl who spends anywhere between 10 to 16 hours in front of a computer, with my only form exercise of the day being my 10 minute bike ride into town, and walking one flight of stairs to the office. That is it. But, hey, I grew up in mountain town – “I da Cayo gial!” When Tropic Air’s Julie Kee emailed an invitation to try their newest tour at Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Silk Grass, Dangriga, it was all I could do to contain my excitement. Zip lining! Rappelling 100 feet down a waterfall! Piece of cake! I was going to scale that mountain and go down that waterfall, and they wouldn’t know what hit them!
San Pedro Traffic Wardens Attend Public Relations Workshop
Traffic is one of the biggest problems on the island and the San Pedro Town Council and San Pedro Traffic Department are working hard on alleviating traffic flow on our heavily congested streets. Many changes are set to come including the exclusive parking for golf carts on Barrier Reef Drive and the shifting of delivery time for large trucks that take goods, produce and products to the stores.
With these and other changes to come, the traffic wardens need to know how to properly approach the island residents and how to deal with situations they are faced with on a daily basis. During the weekend, Councilor Kenrick Brackett, whose portfolio includes Traffic, made arrangements for the island’s seven traffic wardens to attend a Customer Care and Public Relations Workshop.
Jennifer Lawrence Amongst Oscar Winning Actors Who Visit Belize
Amongst those celebrities who visit Belize have been big Oscar-winning actors, including recent Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. The 22-year-old actress won the Best Female Actress in a Leading Role last night, February 24, 2013, for her work in the film Silver Linings Playbook, beating out Zero Dark Thirty‘s - Jessica Chastain, The Impossible‘s - Naomi Watts, Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s - Quvenzhane Wallis, and Amour‘s - Emmanuelle Riva for the honor. But Jennifer Lawrence is not the only Oscar-winning actress to have visited San Pedro, Belize; others include Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta Jones, Harrison Ford (Oscar Nominated) and rumors of Halle Berry and George Clooney on Ambergris Caye were plentiful. We only assume that there have been others we don’t know of as resorts on the island are very hush hush when it comes to catering to their celebrity clients, while some stay at super secluded and exclusive resorts.
Feliz Bar & Grill Donates to Holy Cross Anglican School
Feliz Bar & Grill, Heather & Kevin Smith, donated a check for $995.00 to Holy Cross Anglican School! Feliz Bar & Grill donates funds raised from Wednesday night Bingo games every month. January was a fundraiser for our little Holy Cross School and February is fundraising for SAGA Society.
“How very generous of Heather, Kevin and all the patrons who came out to play Bingo and show their support. We salute you!!! Thank you for all that you do.” – Linda Carter of Holy Cross Anglican School!
When San Pedro Prepared for the Visit of the Nuns
When the motor boat arrived at the main pier, half or more of the village was at the beach to witness such poignant spectacle. The men helped carry their belongings to the Scout Room. In the night at 7 p.m. they congregated at church for a prayer session called a Novena. A Novena in the Roman Catholic Church is the recitation of prayers for nine consecutive days to achieve a specific purpose. Seeing them in meditation and prayer and song brought goose bumps to all of us. We remained silent in respect of their prayer session as we gathered around the church. Their singing, we thought, was a choir of angels. And when they came out, we gathered around them trying to give them a hug and hoping we would receive some religious relic, religious picture, pendant, or even a rosary. They knew this and were always prepared with these tokens for their little friends of San Pedro.
Misc Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Kids doing the Harlem Shake!
YESSSSS, that's Master Blayd up front and center in the cow outfit
Belizeans press for land reform
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association [BGYEA] and its social partners will be holding a national land reform rally on Tuesday at the steps of the National Assembly in Belmopan.
The purpose of the rally is to highlight the need for increased transparency, efficiency and accountability in the management and distribution of national lands as well as to secure a commitment by the prime minister of Belize and the minister responsible for the distribution of land for their support for, as well as direct participation in a series of public consultations through which a national land reform policy can be developed and implemented.
WARNING: CLEARING OF WESTERN BORDER
The Government of Belize, in discharge of its duty to ensure the safety and security of all persons in our country, hereby advises all members of the public that any attempt on their part to clear the Western Border can give rise to serious danger to themselves and we therefore strongly advise against participation in any such action.
Proposed efforts as reported in the media may conduce to a disturbance of the peace and to unnecessary tensions between two countries, contrary to the long-standing efforts that successive Belize Governments have been working hard to secure.
The danger inherent in such action can readily be seen from the details of a press conference which was called by then Prime Minister Said Musa on 26th February, 2000. Instructive excerpts of that speech are now reproduced in this release, and we quote:
“We call this press conference today to provide you with the facts as we know them surrounding an incident that occurred on Thursday morning (February 24, 2000) in an area of Belizean territory near our Belizean Defence Force border posts at Treetops, south southwest of Jalacte Village in the Toledo District.
Tony Rath Photography
I spent last week with a Japanese film crew doing a documentary on Belize. I did all the underwater work for them. One site we worked at was Crawl Caye at the very southern end of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. The day was very windy, and the in water visibility was not good. Knowing I had to capture something, I worked in the shallows around Crawl Caye where the sunlight was able to penetrate and add some color other than green to the scene. I knew there would be sunrays with the cloudier water, and was fortunate to encounter a huge school of sprat - so thick it actually blocked the light at times. It is always a little tricky to shoot into the sun, as every little scratch or piece of dirt on your lens will show. I was lucky to get the school and a nice burst of sunrays in this shot. In the video, the sun rays are dancing and the school of fish is pulsating ... the film crew was ecstatic with the resulting footage.
Lonely Planet Ranks Belize as Most Family Friendly
Lonely Planet released their list of the most family friendly places, and Belize is listed first. Cayo is mentioned, of course, and the picture is Caracol.
"But the interior doesn’t mean sacrificing fun in the water, with underground rivers to tube, jungle lodges on swimming holes and Mayan ruins reached by boat. If you rent a car, a tad pricey (about US$80 per day), you can connect a few dots at your own leisure. For an unforgettable stay, try the remote and family-friendly Barton Creek Outpost in the Cayo District, with a rope swing on the country’s finest swimming hole. And pull in for Garifuna drum lessons at the laid-back beach of Hopkins."
New Falcon Field Neighborhood Watch
The Falcon Field Neighborhood Watch, Cayo's newest neighborhood watch, is having thier first meeting tonight. Together, we stand!
"Falcon Field - New Neighborhood Watch Committee forming! First mtg tonight!
The newly forming Falcon Field neighborhood watch will have its first gathering on Monday 25th Feb at 7:30 at the Bejos home (across from Latino Mix). Please repost for those living in this neighborhood (2-4 blocks in all directions around the park). All are welcome to support us. P.C. Jones will be presenting."
Institute of Creative Arts (ICA) invited The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in its participation at Fashion Street. The event was held downtown Belize City, on Albert & Dean Street, Saturday February 23, 2013, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. A total of 1 booth (with dimensions 10‘x 20‘) was endowed to BELTRAIDE.
Fashion Street, directed at strengthening and supporting Creative Industries, showcasing live art, fashion and a wide selection of entertainment, gave artists the opportunity to showcase their talent and artwork to a crowd.
BELTRAIDE was able to establish a wide array of networking with individuals to promote its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a proactive approach to promote investment and trade development, marketing, business facilitation, and research.
Art In the Street
It’s the third year for the annual Street Art Festival and according to organizers, there will be new surprises for those art lovers. On Saturday afternoon downtown Albert Street will be lined with booths showcasing live art, fashion and a wide selection of entertainment. The festival was created to build a national forum for artists and offers artists the opportunity to showcase their talent and artwork to a crowd. We caught up with the team at NICH who told us what families can expect tomorrow.
February 17, 2013 - February 23, 2013 Fishing Report
It just seems like I’m giving out as many gifts to our guests that return as “El Pescador Family” as I am bonefish pins! It makes us really happy when we see our friends come back. This week was filled with “family.” Thank you all for being so supportive of one another. For me, it was a special week because my niece Sarah was also here. Sarah grew up in my fly shop back in Victor, Idaho – and hasn’t fished in years. This week there we were wading the lagoon searching for bonefish. When I said, “Sarah, put it there! – the fly landed and a bonefish was on! She hadn’t lost her cast and that smile still makes me tickle inside. The level of confidence with all the anglers grew this week and I know everyone will continue to build on what they learned and continue to cast to their dreams.
Weekend In Belize Rural Sees Four Homicides
IT was a deadly weekend in Belize Rural where four people were killed - three of them within a short six hour period between Friday night and early Saturday morning - one in Ladyville, one in Hattieville, one in Western Pines. And then there was one more killing last night off the Boom Road.
Four homicides within a small area - generally known to be peacible. But this weekend it was ultra-violent: Three were shot, and one was chopped up. Two of the shootings were clearly executions, while the other shooting and the chopping were cases of vehicles breaking down - and the drivers being killed when they walked and left their cars.
It is a puzzling panorama of violence and the officer in charge of the entire area is ASP Chris Noble. He discussed the disturbing weekend with the media this morning:
Father of Four Ambushed and Executed
And we'll recap all those murders tonight - starting with the last, which was the most recent. It happened last night off the Burrell Boom Road where a 33 year old Ladyville resident was ambushed. Jules Vasquez spoke to police and his family:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
33 year old OREN HUMES was killed here - this feeder road - off the Burrell Boom Road last night.
This morning police re-visited the area - in the hopes that they could find some physical evidence which could nto be seen last night. Oren Humes was ambushed in this this Jeep Cherokee riddled with bullet holes from at least two gunmen. One who shot through the back,
And one who shot through an open window on the side, the bullets piercing the opposite door and smashing the opposite window there was also a bullet hole through the windshield.
Truck Breaks Down, Man Walks For Help, Gets Killed
And while Ladyville police do have persons of interest they are seeking to question for the Humes murder, clues are not so easy to come by in the case of Jose Campo. The 56 year old resident of Western Pines at mile 8 on the George Price Highway was killed when his truck broke down at mile 9. This happened at around 6:30 on Friday and he decided to hike through the bush back to his home which is about a half mile away. But he never made it. While he was walking someone chopped him up and left him to die. Around 11:30, his family started to get worried that he hadn't returned home and they launched a search party. The found his body at about midnight. Police discussed the case today:
ASP Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville, Regional Executive Officer
"This person was found off the highway in the area of mile 9. He does have severe injuries and did succumb on scene and body parts were almost severed with regards to it. He did go missing and was found by persons known to him. The police are dealing with it. We are just following up on what is being given to us."
Man's Car Ran Out Of Gas, Killed As He Walked Home
As we told you at the top of the newscast, there were four murders in the Belize Rural this weekend. Two were executions, and the other two victims, strangely, were both men whose vehicles had broken down on the Western Highway and they were walking home - in each case less than a half a mile. The differences are that the first one happned at around 6:00 pm - that was Jose Campo and he was apparently chopped to death.
The second victim was John Gideon and he was chopped to death. At around midnight on Friday, the 32 year old Hattieville Resident's car ran out of gas, and when he decided to walk home he was shot and killed.
Monica Bodden found out more about his tragic death:...
Monica Bodden reporting
The body of 32 year old John Gideon was found here at mile 17 on the Western Highway- less than half mile from where he lives.
Around midnight on Friday, Gideon body was discovered lying face down in a pool of blood on the shoulder of the highway - His grey Mercedes Benz was parked opposite from where his body lay.
He was seen suffering from 3 gunshot wounds - one to the head, face and back.
Prison Warden Savery Executed Outside His Home
On Friday night a prison warden was executed outside his home in Ladyville. It happened around 10pm as 37 year old Ernest Savery was walking out of his home on Perez Road. According to police, a man dressed in full black rode up on a bicycle and fired four shots at him. One of those shots caught him in the right side of his abdomen and he died on the spot.
This is not the first time someone had made an attempt on Savery's life. In October of 2010, he narrowly escaped death after his vehicle was riddled with just before reaching the Hattieville junction. Savory was shot to the neck while 32 year old prison officer Miriam Gillett was killed.
In August of 2004, Savory was one of three convicted by a jury for the murder of a 67 year old San Pedro resident. The man was beaten to death with a crowbar inside his house. After serving 7 years behind bars, Savory was set free by a Privvy council decision. His brother Eric Lewis known as Ghetto Fab was killed in 2010.
Justice For Ellis "Pepper Gacho" Meighan
Tonight, 20 year-old Japheth Bennett, the man who was accused of killing well-known Ellis Meighan Sr., is awaiting his sentencing hearing, after he was convicted of murder today before Justice Adolph Lucas Sr.
Viewers may remember that Meighan, father of the well-known Tyrone and Ellis Meighan Jr., was shot to death on September 9, 2009. Crown Counsel Kayshia Grant got her main witness to testify against Bennett, but when he took the stand, he told police he didn't see who the gunman was.
However, in his statement to police in 2009, he told police that at around 8:40 p.m. he was coming from playing basketball and was heading to his sister's house, he heard the shots and later saw a man lying at the corner of Banak Street and Central American Boulevard.
He also told police he saw Bennett, someone who he had known for 5 months prior to the shooting, standing over Meighan's body with what appeared to be a firearm in his hand. This forced Grant to treat her witnesses as hostile, and it also forced a trial within this trial in which this recorded statement was tested. Justice Lucas ruled that the statement was admissible as evidence, and when Grant closed her case, Bennett gave a dock statement.
Cop Accused of Selective Amnesia Cleared Of Perjury Charge
After 5 years and 4 months, Former Police Sergeant Anthony Polonio is free tonight of the criminal charge of perjury after he was acquitted today before Justice Troadio Gonzalez.
Polonio was caught up in one of the most sensational cases in which he was accused of refusing to cooperate with the office of the DPP, in October 2007, businessman Chayben Abou-Nahara was acquitted of shooting Shawn Copius to death.
Viewers may remember in the manslaughter trial of Chayben Abou-Nahara, he was one of the 2 police officers were accused of perjury when they took the stand and told the court that they couldn't remember if they detained and process him. This forced the prosecution to concede that they didn't have Abou-Nahara on record as being the accused person.
The then DPP told 7News that these men purposefully tanked the case, but in Polonio's trial which started last week Wednesday, Justice Gonzalez listened to testimony presented by the witnesses for the prosecution and he wasn't convinced that their case against him was strong enough.
The Famous Matthew Williams Tries To Get Back His Van
Last week we told you about the human trafficking cargo that was busted by Ladyville police. As we reported, they impounded the van and recovered most of the 15 persons who were inside. The owner of that van, a well-known Orange Walk resident was detained and then later released. Turns out he had rented the van - and he says he had no idea that the persons he rented it to would use it to move human traffic from west to north. Today we met him at the Ladyville police station trying to get his van back. He told us more:..
"You rented it. Did you know they were going to use it for human trafficking?"
"No sir, automatically no sir. I didn't have any intensions that they were going to do that. Before I even handed the key to my vehicle I explained to them that I don't want then to run nothing illegal in my van because I don't want to have any problem with the law and they still went and did stuff behind my back."
"Have you spoken with these people?"
"Right now I am looking for them and the authorities are looking for them too because I need to get some answers from them."
Marion Ali, reporter
"When you were renting or lending them the vehicle, you never had a conversation with them as to what the use of the vehicle be used for?"
Guats Sabre-Rattle, Foreign Ministry Cautions, Maheia Unfazed
On Friday we told you about Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington's stern warning to Will Maheia and his Belize Territorial Volunteers about their project called "Clearing Our Borderline". Responding to a formal diplomatic note from the Guatemalans warning that it will cause friction along the border, Elrington said quote, "they could well find themselves arrested by the Guatemalans because there are no clear boundaries (along the border)."
To add to that, today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent out what you might call a cautionary tale: it warns that quote, "any attempt…to clear the Western Border can give rise to serious danger…and we therefore strongly advise against participation in any such action." End quote. It also goes on to revisit an incident in February of 2000 when 3 soldiers and one police officer were arrested by 25 Guatemalan Military as they patrolled near Treetops, south southwest of Jalacte Village.
Despite these warnings, though, Maheai is going right ahead. Today he stopped by our studio to tell us why:..
"The response has been overwhelming; I am humbled by the amount of support that we are getting throughout the country. I am proud of the Belizean people; they are the ones that motivate us to do what we do. We believe that we need to take care of this country, we need to take care of the country's border, I don't know of any country in the world beside Belize that doesn't have a mark border. I just think that it is our duty and obligation as Belizeans to ensure that our borders are secure. As part of the territorial volunteers - we've been together for a while now. The group that we are a part of has been in existence over a year now, but we've known each other for over ten years now, so we've been going into the forest for a long time just looking at Belize's resources."
Dumptruck Driver Charged
Last week, 7News told you about Kenrick "Money" Sutherland, a temporary worker on his first day of work with Belize Waste Control, who was sitting on the edge of a small garbage truck when he fell off, right beneath the back wheels of the truck. He was crushed to death. Well, the driver of that truck was 57-year-old Honduran National, Luis Beltran Garcia, and he is at prison tonight after he was taken to court this morning. He was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was read the four criminal charges of manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, and permitting a person to travel not properly seated. Due to the fact that his immigration status in Belize is uncertain, Magistrate Cayetano remanded him to prison until March 29, 2013.
According to eyewitnesses, Sutherland had just jumped unto the truck as it was moving off and never did steady himself. The driver didn't have time to react and ran over his chest without even knowing, and he had to be alerted that he had just run over someone. Sutherland was rushed to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A Blow-By-Blow Account Of The Boxing
Last week, we told you about the Boxing card that was held on Sunday at the Bird's Isle. It's all part of the effort to restore the sweet science to the prominence that it once held.
The main event was the amateur phenom, Alex Neal, who was going up against Mohammad Harmouche, the more experienced boxer from San Pedro.
7News was there, and Daniel Ortiz has the blow-by-blow account:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Yesterday, the Bird Isle was alive again with the flicker of a promise for the revival of boxing. Fans and supporters and all gathered for the full ticket of fighters coming from Lion's Den Ladyville, Lion's Den Cayo, and the Leopold Smart Gyms.
Several of those up-and-coming boxers who wouldn't participate, still showed up to support their team mates.
Early in the first bout, Eduard Garcia, using superior footwork, danced around Brandon Aguilar, to gain control of the match at its early stages. As the fight progressed he was just edging out Aguilar, leading in points.
But it soon became a test of fitness, and Aguilar clearly had the advantage, pacing himself and then at crucial moments, he started landing big hits.
And Judo for All
And while Boxing struggles to regain its former glory, another sport is trying to makes its own story here in Belize.
Viewers may remember that the Judo athlete, Cuban Belizean Eddermys Sanchez, was one of only 3 to participate in the 2012 Olympics. He was defeated within seconds because he didn't have the training and facilities that athletes from those other countries had.
Well, this weekend, 7News visited with the Judo Association of Belize, where we found out that that there is a contingent of Belizean Judo athletes who will be participating in the 2013 Central American games.
And the President says that like the Olympics last year, these games will be more of a venture for experience, rather than to win.
He explained why:
"We have selected some athletes to participate. At this moment we are going to send three representative to participate in the Judo events. The students that are presently going to Costa Rica there are basivally quite inexperience because Judo Association of Belize a very new federation and we still are going through the stages of formation to trying to promote.
New Vehicle For ISF
It goes largely un-reported by the police press office, but Independence Village has seen a worrying number of armed hold-ups of small grocery stores.
And that's part of the reason why the Intermediate Southern Formation is getting a new vehicle - courtesy the Ministry of National Security. It's one of two vehicles handed over today by the Ministry. At Headquarters in Belmopan, Deputy Commissioner Aragon told the Press Office how it will be used:..
Elodio Aragon, Deputy Commissioner of Police
"It means a lot especially in these challenging times there is a need for mobility within the police department especially in the rural areas. The vehicles going to ISF will definitely play a role out there. The one for CIB in Belmopan will also assist our officers to be able to get out there quicker in response to calls and when carrying out investigations. Slowly we are getting in what we need whether it be when it comes to basic equipment and vehicles. I think over a period of time now we have seen now the department is slowly increasing in the amount of vehicular resources."
The other vehicle went to the National Crimes Investigation Branch.