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The San Pedro Sun
Jhoshi Alexander wins Mr. Pacifico y el Caribe 2013
This past week, San Pedro’s dance and aerobics instructor Jhoshi Alexander had the opportunity to represent the Jewel at the Miss and Mister Pacifico y el Caribe Pageant. The pageant was held at the Tikal Futura Hotel in Guatemala City March 26th through March 30th, 2013. Among the participating 23 countries, Belize was represented for the first time when only five days prior to the event Mr. Alexander was extended an invitation to compete. The pageant offered competitors a chance to not only showcase one’s beauty and physique but also a chance to promote one’s country and culture. Jhoshi went proudly forth to represent the country that he has made his home for the past three years and is a proud resident of. He had the chance to compete in the event with the help of several sponsors, including the San Pedro Town Council, the San Pedro Aids Commission, the Victoria House and Caye Caulker Water Taxi.
Kent “Bob” Gabourel wins Easter Monday cycling race
Islander Kent Gabourel is the winner of the first ever Easter Monday Cycling Race. Organized by San Pedro cyclists, the race started shortly after 9AM before a large crowd of spectators that had gathered along the streets to witness the competition. 15 cyclists, all from San Pedro Town, competed in the event that saw them take off from the corner of Laguna Drive and Dolphin Street. Results from the race:
1st Place – Kent “Bob” Gabourel – $250 cash, a bottle of rum and $140 in station prizes along with additional items.
2nd Place – Michael Roland – $175 cash, 1 bottle of rum and a water bottle
3rd Place – Perry Stain – $85 cash, a bottle of rum and a water bottle
4th Place – Charles Garay -$50 Gift Certificate and $25 cash
5th Place – Edwin Gutierrez – Lunch for two
Illegal conch busts made by Southern Environmental Association – fines levied over $20,000
On February 26th, 2013, Southern Environmental Association (SEA) responded to reports of individuals in Placencia Village engaging in illegal fishing activities. This operation led to the discovery of two individuals in possession of NINE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN (911) undersized fillet conchs. These individuals were arrested, detained and charged for the offense committed. Both persons appeared in court on the 5th March to answer to these charges and were fined a total of $18,220.00 or one year in prison in default of payment.
The following day, SEA’s Special Enforcement Unit did a routine vessel check at the Independence Village dock side which led to the discovery of one individual in possession of NINETY SEVEN (97) undersized market clean conchs. He appeared in court on March 5th to answer to charges and was fined a total of $1,945.00 or six months in prison in default of payment. With a new Executive Director Mrs. Nicole Auil Gomez, SEA works towards improving stewardship and the environmental integrity of key marine areas in southern Belize. SEA co-manages Laughing Bird National Park with the Forest Department, and Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve with the Fisheries Department.
Deputy Director of GST Department arrested, charged and remanded for shooting in San Pedro Town
The Deputy Director of the General Sales Tax (GST) Department in Belize has been remanded to prison for the weekend shooting of an Ambergris Caye resident. 40 year old Reynaldo Verde of Belize City has been formally arrested, charged and remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was identified in the shooting of 29 year old Allen “Ajay” Martinez of a Tarpon Street address in San Pedro Town. According to police, Verde was detained following a shooting incident on Sunday March 31st that occurred shortly after 8PM at a social event at the Holiday Hotel located on Barrier Reef Drive.
According to the Superintendent of Police, Luis Castellanos, Officer in Charge (OC) of the San Pedro Police Station, they visited the Dr Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II, where they saw Martinez with a single gunshot wound to the left hip that exited the buttocks on the left side. Initial investigations revealed that Martinez was socializing on the deck of the Holiday Hotel with some other friends when he accidentally bumped into Verde and an altercation ensured. According to police, Verde took out his licensed 9 millimeter (mm) Luger brand gun and fired a single shot towards Martinez causing his injuries.
Grand Baymen is officially open!
On Friday, March 20th, Grand Baymen, a development located on southern Ambergris Caye, celebrated the Grand Opening of its first residential building with a ribbon cutting party! The event hosted over 50 people including proud condo owners, the Grand Baymen CEO Michael Cobb, President Eddie Littlefield, Construction Manager John Morgan, Joel Nagel, builders, suppliers, and many others who made the construction and opening of this building possible. The party-goers enjoyed local cuisine from Robin’s Kitchen, listened to live music, and eagerly participated in the cutting of the ribbon. Grand Baymen is a six acre garden property located only 150 meters from the azure Caribbean waters. It provides its owners with the comfort and luxury of North American standards at affordable prices. Owners and guests can enjoy the amenities that are already in place, including a 3-tier, 250,000 gallon pool, tennis courts, Sand volleyball court, and a fitness center.
Pier Collapse During Easter Break in San Pedro Sends 51 into the Water
It was just a case of too many people on the pier that caused a section of the outside deck to collapse and sent people into the water six feet below the Tackle Box Pier in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, over the Easter weekend. The incident took party-goers by surprise as they were enjoying Tackle Box’s Easter Beach Party, on Sunday, March 31, 2013, when the floor beneath some dancers gave way.
The incident occurred after midnight just when the party was at its peak, when the middle section of the outside deck collapsed, sending 51 people into the water, according to reports. There were no fatalities or serious injuries, but a reported 26 people suffered minor scratches and abrasions. Most of those who fell into the sea reported losing cell phones, cameras, clothing items and money.
Oil Discovery in Orange Walk District
Maranco Energy Belize Limited, on March 30, 2013, discovered an encouraging oil show at the South Canal Bank #1 exploration well in their concession area in the Orange Walk District.
Further and necessary testing is ongoing to determine the commercial potential of the oil show. The Geology and Petroleum Department personnel are on site and are closely monitoring the situation.
Top 5 Reasons Ambergris Caye was Voted #1 Island in the World on TripAdvisor
The best part about our beautiful Island of Ambergris Caye being voted #1 island in the world is that it’s not a vote by a select group of judges or a panel of analysts; it is because the votes came from readers like you and me on TripAdvisor. All the people who have visited out Isla Bonita are the ones who voted and gave us this great distinction.
It’s the ones who have come to enjoy the island’s natural beauty and the warmth of our islanders that have come to love Ambergris Caye, Belize, and voted for us. I can think of a million reasons (plus) as to why we are Number One, but I guess I will narrow it down to FIVE general categories: Here are Top 5 Reasons why Ambergris Caye was Voted #1 Island in the World on TripAdvisor.
Misc Belizean Sources
Medical Treatment in Punta Gorda
Free medical services are scheduled to be available in several locations throughout Punta Gorda from April 8 to 12 as part of an exercise called New Horizons.
General medical services such as pediatrics, dermatology, optometry, women’s health and general dentistry will be available free to anyone needing treatment and provided by a team of U.S. and Canadian medical professionals.
Medical services are available at the following times, dates and locations:
8 a.m. to 4. p.m. April 8 to 9, 2013 at St. Peter Claver R. C. School
8 a.m. to 4. p.m. April 10 to 12, 2013 at San Pedro Columbia School
Belize Volleyball Players
The Belize female volleyball has qualified to the 2nd Round of the FIVB 2014 World Championship qualification process. It will take place May 8th to 13th in Curacao (island country at the south of the Caribbean near Trinidad). This is historic for Belize Volleyball as it is not often that team sports in Belize qualify to the next round for World tournaments. We are trying to strengthen our team to send a strong team to maybe be good and lucky to qualify to the 3rd round.
Volleyball is a very popular female sport in the USA and we are hoping some Belizean players may be able to help the team. We are looking for one or two tall and good players who have played at the university level in NCAA Division 1 or 2 or equivalent. Unfortunately we do not have much time before we must register the players for the tournament and purchase tickets for the trip. We would require that the player come to Belize for a couple weeks before we leave for the tournament so she can train with the team.
Today Belize's new film industry took a giant leap: our first major 100% Belizean movie "Curse of the Xtabai" is now available for online viewing from anywhere in the world. It's 80 minutes long, employed all Belizean actors and crew, filmed in San Antonio Village and the caves and jungle of the Cayo district, appearances by 35 BDF soldiers, all Belizean musical artists, in Kriol with English subtitles. Only $2.49 payable by credit card or PayPal for a 48 hour online rental. By watching you're supporting the making of future Belizean movies. Here's the link, please help spread the word and enjoy!
Sawdust Tapestries Construction Pictures
Benque really does a lot during Holy Week, and this year was no exception. On Good Friday, they had their annual Sawdust Art Project. The Benque House of Culture got some good pictures of the event, once again with some help from Elvis Avila.
"Image's courtesy of Elvis Avila 'Lens of Culture 2013'"
El Santo Entierro Procession Pictures
Benque had their El Santo Entierro Procession, and Elvis Avila from Lens of Culture was there to capture the moments.
"El Santo Entierro culminates 'Good Friday' observations in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, three major floats or better know 'Andas' adorn the lrge solemn procession, young women and children take 'La Virgen de Dolores' & 'San Juan' while men take the 'Santo Entierro' accompanied by the Benque Viejo, Mount Carmel & the BDF Marching Bands. The procession starts at 6:00 p.m. and ends tentativly at 9:45 p.m. Many devoted Benquenos & native visitors offer their respects and to their duly christian duties on an annual basis. Image courtesy of Elvis Avila for Lens of Culture 2013"
Swigs Party with Cloud 9
The Swigs Party with Cloud 9 is just over a week away. The Hands for Life club has released a cool flier for the dance. There will be free jello shots and 'nurse shots' most of the night, thanks to Island Time Beverages. Yes, all 3 flavors will be abundant. There will also be a battle of the DJ's. Bedran Hall at the SIRH, Friday, April 12th, starting at 9:00pm. See you there!
Cycling Classic From Above
Astrum Helicopters has a great video of the 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic...from the air! Great video, and they have 'Children' by Robert Miles as the music. Well done, Astrum!
"The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, is a one-day amateur cycling race held in Belize every year during the Easter holidays. It is Belize's biggest cycling event and has begun to be recognized internationally. The estimated distance of the Classic is some 140 miles. Wide angle point of view while filming the Cross Country Cycling Classic. Filmed using a GoPro3 Black camera."
Special Constable Killed In Roaring Creek; It Was No Accident
A police special constable was murdered last night in Roaring Creek - and this was no accident, by all appearances his killers lay in wait for him and killed him with ruthless precision.
Monica Bodden found out more about the disturbing murder of Constable 380 Bertchel Ramirez:
When we arrived at the murder scene early this morning, police officers were still searching the area thoroughly with k-9 dogs.
Police believe 4 men - 3 of whom are villagers of Roaring Creek were involved in the murder of Police Officer Bertchel Ramirez. So far they have detained 2 of the 4 men and are still looking for the other two. No murder weapon has yet been found.
The execution of PC Ramirez happened in an area known as "Another World" in the village of Roaring Creek - just before 11 o'clock last night.
The 36 year old police officer was ambushed by 4 men while driving his blue Toyota Camry.
Ramirez had just left the home of his girlfriend 23 year old Suley Valencia when the incident happened just up the street.
Lazaro Valencia - Father-in-law of Deceased
"Last night, this is what happened; last night quarter pass 11 more or less quarter - twenty, nothing later than that and nothing earlier, my daughter and my son-in-law was parked in front of my yard right here, parked right there. My next daughter came out from her room and asked her, 'Suley, you're going or will you stay?' So, she decided to keep their company, my 2 girls along with my son-in-law and just about 250 to 300 feet from here 2 shots went off "bang, bang" that time my son-in-law vehicle turn to go down this way here."
Cops Have Suspects, Looking For Others
Police have detained 2 suspects for PC Ramirez's murder and are looking for 2 other men. 3 of the 4 suspects are confirmed to be residents of Roaring Creek Village.
Police believe 2 murder weapons were used in the assassination of their officer - so far no weapon has been recovered. Assistant Superintendent of Police and officer commanding Belmopan Police Station, Sinquest Martinez - is the lead investigator in last night's homicide of one of his officers. In a briefing this morning with the media, he spoke about the latest in the investigation.
ASP Sinquest Martinez - OC, Belmopan Police
"The investigation is going pretty well at this moment; we're getting assistance from the public and we're on top of it."
"Do you have any one detained?"
ASP Sinquest Martinez
"We have our suspects"
"Suspects, can you give us what the relation the suspects are to the victim?"
ASP Sinquest Martinez
"There is no kind of relationship."
"So they had no problems before, they didn't?"
ASP Sinquest Martinez
"They didn't know each other?"
ASP Sinquest Martinez
"Well the suspects are criminals and my officer is a police officer, so there no kind of link in between those two. They don't have any problem; well no problem was reported between the suspects and my officer."
Woman Stabbed Up By Sister-In-Law, Watched Her Sister Die
Bertchel Ramirez was the 33rd murder in Belize for 2013. The 31st was a female resident of Belize City, 36 year old Veronica Gonzalez. As we reported last night, she was in Sarteneja for the Easter with her sister, Wendy Aragon. The pair were savagely attacked at a village dance by Wendy's sister in law, 39 year old Norma Pena.
Norma is alleged to have stabbed up both sisters, but got Veronica fatally in the neck with a kitchen knife. The attack was likely motivated by jealousy: Veronica, who was leaving the country on Monday was freely dancing and took a dance with Norma's husband. That seemed to incense Norma Pena - who reportedly allegedly had been drinking heavily and already had issues with her sister in law.
So, she lurked in the corners and when Veronica was going to the restroom escorted by her sister, she pounced and attacked them both with a knife. Today, Veronica still nursing multiple stab wounds told us what happened next:
Men Claim Cruel And Unusual Punishment From Police
Today two young men from Belize City came forward and told the media about extreme police harassment they endured at the hands of police in Independence over the Easter Weekend.
Their story of cruel and unusual punishment seems to come out of some oppressive regime in a faraway country, but they say it happened right in Independence Village where they were passing the Easter until they were picked up on Saturday. Here's what 19 year old Adrian Daniels told us off camera:
Voice of Adrian Daniels - Claims Police Brutality
"I told the man I'm just going to go buy a soft drink; the man stabbed me 2 times with the gun by my side and kicked me on my leg and told me shut up. He said, "You don't hear to shut up, at that time I fell when he kicked me on my leg. They started telling us to take off our particulars because they will arrest us, but they never told us what they will arrest us for, a few minutes after when they took down everybody name, the man said that he will arrest us for PI. Now, we're locked down from Saturday afternoon. Monday morning when we were to get released, our 48 hours were up, and before that they took us out the morning and start to profile us.
BNTU Holds Convention, Presses PM
The Belize National Teachers' Union is holding its 43rdannual convention. The two-day event is being held in Belmopan at the UB Gymnasium and allows all ten branches of the union to come together and discuss concerns and issues affecting teachers.
7news stopped in today and spoke with the president of the BNTU - who discussed their upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister to negotiate salary adjustment.
Luke Palacio - President, BNTU
"The convention is held every year, usually the Wednesday and Thursday after the Easter a week and it is the highest authority of the Belize National Teachers Union, where all 10 branches of the union come together at a venue that is usually agreed upon like a year before. At that convention, we get the minutes of the previous convention. We get the reports from the president, and the national treasurer; the branch officers also give their report and the executive secretary. Those are then discussed with members; concerns, issues, questions, all of those matters are addressed. The convention also gets resolution from its members as to what are some of the things they would like the union to undertake in the ensuing year, as it relates to anything affecting the teaching profession, the education system and that sort of thing. We are usually welcomed by the Mayor of the City, and so this morning Mayor Simeon Lopez welcomed us to the City of Belmopan. Our guest speaker was the U.S ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Vinai Thumalapally and they gave some very thought provoking - spoke to some very thought provoking issues that our teacher no doubt will bear in mind for a long time to come."
Gospel Singer’s "Enter-TRAIN-ment"
If you follow the world of Gospel music, you might be familiar with the name Nicole Mullen who's known for her powerful songs of worship.
She's visiting Belize right now, but she's not here to sing - she's here to start after school programmes for children. She told us more today:
Nicole Mullen - Gospel Singer/Activist
"We do after school programs in Nashville, Tennessee or Franklin, Tennessee, and we are making disciples. This is what we do with young kids and so we are expanding here to Belize. First of all, we do believe in Jesus Christ and we believe that if you're going to have lasting change, that is only found in Jesus and so unashamedly yes. But, on top of that it didn't just stop with the spirit; it has to in fact the soul and the body. We're also concerned about their education, their wellbeing, their dreams, and their hopes, what they actually do with their body so that's a part of it too. Let me just say this; we don't just entertain, we like to call it enter-train-ment. So, it's enter-train-ment, and at the end of the day, hopefully you've left with substance, something that you can take home and actually live out, not just something that gives you goose bumps or makes you feel like 'Ohh', but really something that you can actually do, because our faith is actually practical as well."
On Friday afternoon, Nicole Mullen will have a dance training session in Belmopan.
Taking A Swing At Belize's First National Sports Policy and Strategic Plan
Months ago, we told you about the Caribbean Consultants that had been hired to develop Belize's first National Sports Policy and Strategic Plan.
Well they've started their work with a consultation session today at the Belize Biltmore Best Western. It's a medium to long term sports policy that should chart the way forward - but first everyone has to get on the same page - and that's not easy when only counted 20 heads of association and federations showed up for what should have been a national consultation:
Allan Sharp - Chairman, National Sports Council
"Today, we're working on the Sports Act; which all of us in conversation has said that it needs to be addressed. It needs to be updated, and it needs to be this and that. Well, this is the opportunity here; the Minister has been very serious in - from day one to try and deal with this Sports Act, but the Sports Act is only part of it. We know the other challenges we have in terms of facilities, coaching, and in fact the whole culture of sports in Belize."
Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of State/Sports
"We also knew that we had to forge some kind of direction for sports in Belize. We've all been moving, but we've been moving in an "ad hoc" sort of fashion with no real direction, and so we insisted that there was the need for some kind of medium term policy that would dictate how we go.
The Jaguars Drew, While FFB Barely Broke Even
On March 23, the Belize National Football Team drew in an international friendly the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, the "Soca Warriors".
It's part of the preparation for the Gold Cup, but also, the Football Federation of Belize hoped to make some money to offset the huge expense of preparing the national team.
Today, they released the figures which show that, after expenses they made a rather paltry profit of $5,000 from a total revenue of $43,000.
That's a small but encouraging step toward the goal of $500,000 to fund the team until July. Today we caught up with the FFB President to ask him if he'll able to meet that target, given the fact they only have 3 more months to go:
Ruperto Vicente - Football Federation of Belize
"We did make a profit, but it wasn't a great profit because every time you have a national team of that magnitude, it cost you more - it cost us more than what we'll need but we're glad that we're able to make a small profit as well. The intention of that game was for the Belizean public, to see their national team in action, and we charged far below the normal price for national game of that magnitude. We should have charged $30 dollars per person but instead we cut it in half and went $15 dollars per person, so it was really a treat for the public, for them - giving them an opportunity to see their national tea in action. We will have to hit a target of $ 500,000 Belize dollars to prepare our national team and to take them to the United States for Gold Cup, and certainly we will be having more games. We plan to play a game against El Salvador, we plan to play one against Guatemala, so those game will certainly propel us forward, as well we will be having a telethon in - on the 27th of April where we're going to ask Belizeans to contribute towards the development of our national team and its preparation for Gold Cup."
Cycling Election Soon!
Last night we showed you how Belizean cyclist, Darnell Barrow of Team Santinos managed to pull off an impressive win in the 2013 Cross Country Cycling Classic. His performance, while embraced by the Belizean cycling community, came as an unexpected surprise, largely because the cycling fraternity felt that the stock of local riders weren't in the best condition for this race.
And a majority of that lack of preparation was due to the uncertainty at the Executive Level of the Belize Cycling Association. For the last 4 months cycling has been governed by an interim committee appointed by the Ministry of Sports, but hopefully, they will be able to hand over the responsibilities to a newly elected Association.
The elections are to be held over the next 2 weeks with the use of the Federation rules, which were being disputed. It would seem that after consultation, both executives aspiring to be elected have come to a compromise with the assistance of the Ministry of Sports, and the schedule of elections has been released.
Elections for all zones will take place within the next two weeks and the National Elections will be held on Wednesday April 17, at 7 p.m., at the UWI Campus.