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The San Pedro Sun
Andrew Vasquez wins SP Beach Cruiser Baron Bliss Race
Andrew Vasquez is the winner of the first ever San Pedro Beach Cruiser Baron Bliss Race which took place on Monday March 11th. The race was organized by islanders Kent Gabourel and Charles Garay in an effort to start cycling activities on the island. The event was also planned around the holiday to commemorate National Heroes and Benefactors Day (formerly called Baron Bliss Day). The holiday is officially on March 9th but was observed on March 11th this year.
The race started shortly after 9AM on Monday from the corner of Laguna Drive and Dolphin Street, then headed three miles north to around Grand Caribe Resort and back to the San Juan Statue roundabout in San Pedro Town. The cyclists made the same route three times before ending at the corner of Laguna Drive and Dolphin Street. Spectators lined up on Laguna Drive as the 10 cyclists took off. But it was early during the first lap of the race that a spectator ran across the road just as the cyclists returned, causing at least three cyclists to crash into each other to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Three of the riders sustained physical injuries, when they fell on the pavement, and one was forced to leave the race early due to the injuries.
Miss Tourism Belize delegates rock the show
Fashion and beauty collided on Saturday March 9th when islanders were treated to another fashion show. Miss Tourism Belize partnered with Belize Institute of Mixology and Kama Lounge to present their signature “Roadway to Malaysia” fashion show while presenting the delegates striving for the coveted title of Miss Tourism Belize. Fashion enthusiasts made their way across the bridge to Kama Lounge to witness a night of high end fashion and entertainment. With a ”Beach Chic” theme in clothing provided by San Pedro’s Foreva Fancy Boutique, the nine delegates strutted down the run way in swimwear, casual wear and the ever important and glamorous evening attire. The well attended fashion show started oround 7PM, and the party lasted through the wee hours of the morning as the night seemed endless. The nine gorgeous contestants from across the country participating in this year’s Miss Tourism Belize Pageant are Vicki Canul, Amanda Taylor, Jonelle Tillet, Ivorie Mendez, Jasmine Skeen, Wendy Neal, Olivette Ramos, Nacy Vellos and La Isla Bonita’s Adriana Haylock. Each model made her way down the run way in her stylish outfits, rocking the runway in a fancy manner. The audience enthusiastically applauded each girl as she braved the spotlight. During change breaks, fire dancer lit the night with intricate tricks and turns of spinning flames, much to the delight of those in attendance.
Eric Castellanos of C-Net+ enlightens SPRCS Students on HIV/AIDS.
Eric Castellanos, President of C-Net+ was in San Pedro on March 6th to share HIV information with the children of the San Pedro RC School. The visit was made possible through the efforts of Mr. Felix Ayuso and the San Pedro AIDS Commission. C-Net+; the Collaborative Network of Persons living with HIV was established in Belize over a year ago, under the umbrella of RedCa – the Regional Network of Persons Living with HIV. The presentation came after Standard Six teacher, Mr. Lozano contacted the San Pedro AIDS Commission to do a presentation for the students. President Ayuso felt that Castellanos would be the ideal person to do this, as he himself, has been living with HIV for over 15 years.
Castellano’s presentation was a very basic one similar to HIV 101. Using a slide presentation and video, Castellanos taught the children the differences between HIV and AIDS. He touched on symptoms, ways of transmission, prevention as well as sensitized the children on the importance of reducing stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV.
Belize Road Safety Project to Minimize Accidents
The Government of Belize had received US$7,248,000 in loan financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Belize Road Safety Project. This project is timely since, according to data available from the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009), Belize recorded 68 road deaths in 2006, equivalent to approximately 31.1 traffic deaths per 100,00 inhabitants – the highest fatality rate amongst the Bank’s member countries.
An analysis of the data also showed that between 2004 and 2006, 70% of all collisions occurred in the Belize District, followed by the Orange Walk District with approximately 14%. Furthermore, statistics from the Ministry of Health’s National Health Information Surveillance Unit identified road traffice injuries as the fourth leading cause of death in the country, regardeless of age and sex.
Twilight Actor Peter Facinelli Vacationing in Belize
I Travel Belize and so does Twilight movie start Peter Facinelli who has been Tweeting about his vacation in southern Belize. His first Tweet after he arrived yesterday, March 12, 2013, said, “On vacation in Belize. This place is Un-belizeable.”
Twilight fans all over the world, especially in Belize, will be happy to know that ‘Dr. Carlisle’ (his character in Twilight) is in love with the country and is having a great time, according to his tweets.
Peter Facinelli is tweeting from the luxurious Francis Ford Coppola's Turtle Inn in the Placencia Village. Here are a couple of his Tweets about Belize.
Beaten Black Howler Monkey Succumbs to Injuries
The Forest Department continues to investigate the case of the Black Howler Monkey that was captured at the Belize High School of Agriculture in the Orange Walk District. According to reports the monkey was badly beaten by a group of high school boys.
The black howler monkey was allegedly captured and savagely beaten by four students of a school in southern Orange Walk. Even worse than that, reports suggested that a teacher instructed the students to stone the monkey and beat it with sticks since it had defecated on him while he was taking a nap in the bushes. The boys had been shooting the monkey with sling shots, beating the monkey with tree limbs and then tied the monkey’s hands and feet so that it couldn’t run away.
The howler monkey which was seized by the Forest Department on March 6, 2013, was transferred to a rehabilitation facility where it received medical treatment. One of its eyes was severely damaged; it had a broken tooth and a busted lip, but fortunately no broken bones. The monkey had severe head trauma and had been experiencing seizures and had to be spoon-fed as it could not nourish itself. However, it died on Friday, March 8, 2013, from his injuries.
Enjoy La Voile Rouge in San Pedro Belize
One of the things that reels you in to La Voile Rouge is its location - bright white sandy beach, fresh Caribbean breeze and a view that forces you to kick back and relax. With large lounge areas for big parties for family or friends, it is easy to accommodate everyone in one area. If you like something more private there are smaller tables for two to four people.
The beach restaurant is located just a five-minute walk from San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, at one of the island’s chic boutique hotels between the luxurious Sands Villas and Belize Yacht Club. It is one of the newest hotspots on the island where you can take advantage of the excellent location and enjoy delicious food or hang out by the bar sipping on tropical cocktails or cheering over a bucket of ice cold beers.
Misc Belizean Sources
San Pedro Road Widening Campaign 2013 (10 photos)
Road Widening Campaign from Costa Maya Reef Resort in the Mexico Rocks Sub-Division to the South End of Ambergris Caye in the Boca Ciega Area.
Green Iguanas at Cayo Family Day
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel brought out some of the iguanas from the Green Iguana Conservation Project to the Cayo Family Day at the newly inaugurated Cayo Welcome Center.
"Educating everyone about the importance of Iguana Conservation."
March 3, 2013 - March 9, 2013 Fishing Report
Harold showed up with Adam’s group determined to up his game. He practiced a few things out on the casting platform, reviewed and replayed fish shots….and all that focus lead him right to his first Grand Slam with Captain Sinoe. It was really something to witness. We all talk about “intention” – this was live! Captain Emir scored because Adam left three beautiful fly boxes with him – tons of gorgeous flies! Thanks Adam for bringing a great group and the fun day permit fishing with Emir. I learn something each day I get out on the water. Everyone was really fabulous this week, but I want to put a special “thank you” out there to Bill and Bruce. These guys smiled all week and taught us to say when someone asks about the day…..”The very best.” “The very best “ to all of you for a great week.
Superbond 2.0 Gets Ready To Close Offering
The success story of the Superbond 2.0 has been told forwards and backwards - for the Government, it has been like an unending ecstasy. Since late December, two press conferences, and a house meeting to tribute the success of the new bond have been held.
And today the Prime Minister convened what promises to be the last press conference on the Superbond - as it has been 100% subscribed, and the bond offering will close either Friday or Monday. So, today's press conference was like a long last farewell, in which the Prime Minister had to restrain himself from gushing:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"Some, ladies and gentlemen, 494 million Belize dollars less in debt servicing over the next 10 years, we thinks that's historic on any reconing, and the fact that we have; with this relief, been able to avoid any kind of tax heights. The gross that relief attained in 2012, 2013 and the coming 5 and 10 year periods, you will see in 2012 it's 22 million, 2013 - 66, 2013 to 2017 - 236, 2013 to 2022 - 494. There is a possibility that, with a little bit of luck and the kind of growth last year that we saw being replicated by and large, we can actually see Belize's debt to GDP ratio full to perhaps 60% by 2017. That, of course is debt, heaven, but the fact that this kind of nirvana is even within Belize's reach, I believe is testament to how successful - precisely how successful the debt restructuring team has been. Remember that we didn't pay the coupon payment that had become due in august. We didn't pay the coupon payment that would have become due in February, and so that, all together, these are rolled up into the new bond and we thereby saved 76.4 million dollars by way of these cash payments for gone. There's a point to be made; I think our financing gap this year FS is what; 84 million. If we had not succeeded, you would have had to add that 76.4 million to the 84 million, and of course that would have meant that we would no doubt have gone over the fiscal cliff."
PM Says He's Ready To Leave Belize Bar Association
And while we had him today, we also asked the Prime Minister about he move to up-end the monopoly that the Bar Association has on legal practitioners.
He's a senior consel and a long stand member of the Bar, but while conceding that he has not yet reviewed the legislation, he agrees that the mandatory membership law has to go:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"I think that is as it should be. We've seen that in so many other professional organizations, it's been held unconstitutionally. There can be no exclusivity. So, I don't see any problem with that at all. The Bar can continue. If some lawyers don't want to belong to the bar and start a law society, or start another bar, I can't see that there is a difficulty. I support that."
"Would you remain a member of the bar?"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"It would depend. If there - when I go back into practice - God willing - if there is a sensible move to start another association, and that move would come with plans that might suggest that there could be measureable improvement over the performance of the Bar Association, I would look at it. I would keep an opened mind."
PM Says Bill Lindo Made A Killing On Coast Guard Property
The press also asked the Prime Minister about a land controversy that erupted in the Placencia area.
The issue is that Government sold 15 acres inside the Placencia Lagoon to Dominique Gomez, the girlfriend of Gaspar Vega's Vega's son, and other acreages to UDP insiders connected to Vega - all this just days before last year's general election.
Today the Prime Minister said that Cabinet has directed the return of the lands to the Government of Belize:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The Minister of Lands was instructed to in fact reverse the transactions even if it required compulsory acquisition because I think at that point, title had already been awarded. I have been informed that in fact, those reversals have taken place."
"And those people have been compensated?"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"The compensation has not yet been worked out."
Jules Vasquez "Will they be compensated at market value or purchase price?"
Family Of Slain Robbers Say Cops Used Lethal Force Excessively
Yesterday, police killed a pair of robbers aged 18 and 22 in San Ignacio - one of them armed with a sawed off shotgun. Many are calling it a victory for law enforcement and community safety. As cold as it may sound, we can see where that argument can be made, because police say the men fired on them - and once that happens, all bets are off.
But tonight, the family is saying they didn't have to kill them. That's what's called proportionality, that the use of force has to be proportional to the threat. Was it or wasn't it? Someday, a court will have to make a decision on that, but before that happens the family made an appeal to the court of public opinion. Monica Bodden has the story from San Ignacio:
The broad daylight armed robbery happened here at Rose's Restaurant and Store on Benque Viejo Road. 30 year old store owner - Ming Feng Chen, was inside the store yesterday afternoon at around 12:45, when 22 year old Rony Garcia and 18 year old Jose Garcia entered the establishment - one of them had a blue rag over his face and the other had a black stocking over his face and armed with a sawed off shot gun.
Salvadorian Man Critical After Accident
Tonight, 45 year old year old Salvadorian German Ubaldo Vasquez is at the KHMH in a critical condition after he was knocked down over the weekend. Police have not provided any details, but we know that he was knocked down in the Stann Creek District as he rode a motorcycle on Sunday. Presently he has been placed into an induced coma and doctors say he is showing signs of recovery.
Vasquez is visiting to Belize to purchase a vehicle.
Ronald Rivers Kept Alive By Machine
And while he is improving, Ronald Rivers has only gotten worse. 7news has confirmed with his family that the 28 year old shooting victim is only being kept alive by a machine after his kidneys shut down and he suffered a massive heart attack. His brother Raymond tells us that his brain has continued to swell and now it's just a matter of when they decide to take him off the machine.
The family is still having a fund raising bar-b-que to defray what they now expect will be his funeral expenses. That event, though has been moved to Friday on Antelope street.
The Mauling Of A Monkey
A foursome of high school aged schoolboys and their teacher face a penalty of one thousand dollars or six months in prison for the illegal hunting of howler monkey - which is a protected species in Belize.
As we understand it, the Forestry Department is trying to put together the charges and expect to file those before the end of the week. And while public opinion may be split - because after all boys will be boys - the video we've seen fo the assault on the monkey is truly appalling.
This was capture don someone's cell phone as the young men tied up the monkey after they had already felled it with slingshots and dragged it into the compound. It shows them terrorizing the already brutalized animal with impunity.
We note that the law states that hunting means quote, "to kill, take or molest by any method and includes attempting to kill, take or molest by any method any species of wildlife."
Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border
Wil Maheia and his territorial volunteers are going back to the southern border.
Today the volunteers met in Belize City and it was agreed that the effort to clear the border would be divided in three, with overall leader Wil Maheia assuming the area between Otoxha village and Gracias a Dios Falls on the Sarstoon River, Belize Coalition for Justice President Nancy Marin is in charge of the area between Garbutt's Falls in Cayo and Otoxha, and north to the marker at Aguas Turbias will be cleared by a group led by Orange Walk's Orlando de la Fuente.
This is also fraught with complications, because there is a widely acknowledged error on the map between Garbutt's Falls and the Southern Border.
A date has also been set for the border clearing effort, that is April 6 - 7 at Otoxha. As the groups clear the boundary line they will be planting mahogany seedlings along the border.
Belizean Busted In Guate With Major Weed find
Guatemalan authorities have caught a Belizean with a major cache of weed. According to newspaper reports from that country, 41 year old Antony Patrick Westby, was arrested driving a vehicle with marijuana in the Petén region near San Pedro Cadenas village.
The Toyota pickup had Guatemalan plates and police found 12 packages with a whopping 280 pounds of marijuana.
The PNC investigates the origin and destination that had the drug seized, while Westby was made available Played on duty in the town.
Authorities there say they have not determined whether he was heading to or from Belize and where the weed came from. It is widely known that a fair portion of Belize's marijuana supply comes out of Guatemala.
Police Women, Eyes On the Prize
Friday was international women's day and March is being observed as women's month. And today the police department took time out to honour its female personnel.
250 Officers, civilian staff and special constables attended an all day event at the Princess, where the "W's" got some motivational speeches, a nice lunch, and after that, a chance to kick back poolside.
And while that's all fine and good, the other side of that story is that 50 years after the police department took in its first female recruit, there are only 13 females above the rank of sergeant, and in many cases police women are relegated to clerical duties and rarely see the frontline.
But, today, the talk was all about changing that - and pushing for, what else? - the COMPOL's job:
Yolanda Murry - First Woman Officer
"Well, it is really to get our women together. This has been occurring for the past 10 years - basically 10 years by Mrs. Leslie, Mrs. Leslie and me. We originally started this 1-year seminar with women because we are scattered all over the country, and at least, we want to have 1 day of the year that we can come together as women, and we can bring matters to the forefront that we believe that we need to be addressed, and also to hear from them, not just to address them; but to hear from them and for us to fellowship with one another as women officers, working in this really male dominated field. We want to get females out more from around the desk, and even the commissioner; in his address, is seeking to do that. We can put civilians in many of the post where the women are now working. So that is our main issue today, to have our women more in the forefront so that we can encourage more educated females to join the police department also."
24 Year Old Accused of Stabbing Pair of 15 Year Old's
Tonight, 24-year-old Karl Reneau, an Electrician of #30 Iguana Street, is spending his second night in prison after he was taken to court for stabbing a man and two 15 year-old male minors over the weekend.
One the young men reported that on Saturday, March 9, he was accompanied by another 15 year-old and 25 year-old Deon Tillett, and they were walking down Antelope Street Extension heading toward his house. He said that a man approached him from behind and stabbed him in the neck. And according to the next 15 year-old and Tillett, They tried to come to the aid of the young man who was stabbed in the neck, and that's when this same man inflicted injuries to them. The assailant escaped, and fortunately, all 3 males were able to get to the KHMH where they received treatment for their injuries.
Police arrested and charged Reneau with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, dangerous harm, 2 counts of aggravated assault, and wounding.
He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith yesterday, and due to the nature of the offences, he was denied bail and remanded to prison until April 30, 2013, his next court date.
Appeals Court Hearing High Profile Criminal Cases
Yesterday, the first session of the Appeal Court opened, and as of today, they've already heard 1 criminal appeal completion. Viewers may remember 23 year-old Nelson Gibson, the man who was convicted of murdering 22 year-old Cotton Tree store-keeper Mirna Sanabria, as she held her 7 month-old baby.
Well, his appeal was heard to completion in which his attorney, Simeon Sampson presented 3 grounds on which he wishes to convince the court to allow the appeal. Today, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-lynn Vidal was able to fully respond to those grounds of appeal, and the panel of judges has reserved judgment until a later date.
Tomorrow, the Appeal Court plans to hear the appeals from police officer Marlon Harris, who was convicted of extortion, and Leroy Gomez, who was convicted of rape, who then successfully appealed his conviction, and was convicted of that charge for a second time.
Central American Rosewood Gets CITES Classification
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species known as CITES is being held in Bangkok, Thailand. And while you might wonder what that has to do with Belize - a news item from that event does spike some local interest. It says that numerous species of rosewood and ebony from Madagascar, Latin America, and Southeast Asia were granted protection earlier this week at the meeting.
It says the new protections will cover Siam rosewood, Brazilian rosewood, and other rosewood species native to Central America. It's unclear at this time whether than includes Belize - but if it does, it's significant. That's because a CITES listing imposes very specific restrictions on trade in any restricted item. Rosewood - or any timber - exported from a country with a CITES requirement - will have to be accompanied by extensive documentation from authorities certifying that the timber was sustainably harvested. This would make the kind of haphazard trade that has been happening in Belize impossible. Specifically, it would make it more difficult for traders and illegal loggers to smuggle ROSEWOOD to China.
New Pope Is Argentinean Cardinal
Tonight, the catholic faith has its first Jesuit Pope. He is Argentinian Cardinal, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and he will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
The announcement came early this afternoon - which is evening in Rome - when a puff of white smoke streamed form the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to the cheers Plaza.
76 year old Pope Francis is the first South American to lead the church and the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years.
Gold Cup Draw Announced: Bz Faces Tough Competition
Today, CONCACAF finally announced the draw for its 2013 Gold Cup to be held in US in July. And Team Belize will have some very tough match-ups because they have been place in Group C. This means that they must go up against USA, Cuba and Costa Rica. Viewers may remember that Belize came in 4th in the 2013 Copa Centroamericana; Costa Rica won that tournament, and defeated the Belize Selection as well.
Team Belize is currently trying to get past the setback of the departure of Coach Leroy Sherrier, and according to an Executive Member of the FFB, they're trying to build confidence in the players.
To deal with the tough set of games in the Gold Cup, he says that Team Belize will be playing a series of friendly matches, starting with the first against Trinidad and Tobago:
Marlon Kuylen - Executive Member, Football Federation of Belize
"Well firstly, the Trinidad & Tobago football selection will be coming to play against us either on the 22nd or 23rd of March - for a friendly match. We were selected to go there, but because they have a match against Peru on the 26th, they thought it best that they could come here first and then we do the second leg in Trinidad."
Nazarene High Reigns In Softball Regionals
Over last weekend, the male and female Softball teams for the Nazarene High school participated in the Regional competition weekend and made a landmark performance. It is important for the school because it is the first time they've won in both the male and the female category.
In the final game, the male team went up against Saint John's College, and managed to defeat them by the mercy rule, which simply means that the officials stopped the match before its end because Nazarene was so far ahead, that they couldn't possibly catch up.
The Nazarene females also defeated Edward P. Yorke by that same mercy rule. Experts in the game attribute the win to the excellent performance of the male and female pitchers, and by a big homerun play by the male team.
7News caught up with both female and male teams, and found a proud principal. Here's what they told us:
Jerome Carr - Pitcher, Nazarene Softball Team
"It was challenging; especially with ACC but when we reached John's, they said that they were going to beat us. We didn't say much; we just show them off on the field."
New Style Sailing Like In The Old Days
And as we told you, the Belize Sailing Association held its annual Baron Bliss Regatta on Sunday. The conditions at sea for sailing were tough, but clubs around the country still sent representatives to participate.
The Secretary of the Association told us today about how the event went:
Alan Usher - Secretary, Belize Sailing Association
"Indeed this regatta was the 85th Baron Bliss Harbor Regatta. This year he had 22 optimist sail boats with from 3 clubs, basically the Belize City Club area, the Corozal Bay Sailing Club and the Placencia Sailing Club, who all came out with their boats and their sailors. Of the 22 boats, they dwindle down to about 7, and I used the word dwindle because the wind was very strong, even for the older people. Of the 22 only 11 decided to actually sail in the race and those 11 sailed 4 races. We're all very proud and we have some very dedicated children sailing from 5 clubs in the country, some as early as 8 - as young as 8 that are competent sailors."
Down With The King?
A few weeks ago we told you about the national trials to find Belize's best young Ballers to send to the King James Camp in Ohio. Well, Regional Tryouts were held on Sunday. It featured 30 High School players from Belize City, Orange Walk, Corozal and San Pedro. On Saturday tryouts were held in Dangriga for the the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo Districts. From these scores of players, a final roster will be announced shortly.
One direct product of the King James Project is Kachief Thomas. His junior college team, Iowa Western Men's Basketball Team has won the district championship and made it to the NCJAA Division 1 National Tournament - which is for junior colleges. Only 24 teams will be in the single elimination tournament.
A write-up from his school notes that he is the shortest player on his team's roster, but is also averaging a 3.3 GPA.
Festival Of The Arts
And as we close tonight, we do so with the Festival of the Arts. It's the pre-school Festival and it started yesterday at the Bliss Center. As is our annual tradition, we air highlites of the highly huggable and very entertaining performers.
We leave you with that, goodnight.