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The San Pedro Sun
Youth Week 2013- “Our voice- Our impact”
Through the Ministry of Education and the Department of Youth Services, Youth Week 2013 is being observed nationwide from November 3rd to Saturday November 9th under the theme, “Our voice, our impact.” The week- long activities commenced on Ambergris Caye on Monday November 4th, with a youth rally that was held at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. Students of San Pedro High School (SPHS) sat through a program that was solely based on uplifting and encouraging youth. The agenda included a dance by SPHS students Erica Lopez, Diana Cal, Marissa Gonzalez, Tory Lopez, and Jackelyn Caliz, and a song rendition by Elina Palma and Marthalicia Vasquez. Guest Speaker Noel Garwen of Ladyville Technical High School lead a presentation and Lincoln Flowers gave an over view of activities that will be taking place throughout the week.
The list of activities to take place include an Ecumenical service, cycling competition, cultural and expressive arts training, Belize Youth Awards, launch of Climate Change Campaign, Reproductive Health Workshop, vehicle and pet wash, and sports exchange.
Dr Paul Beer visits San Pedro Lions Club with gifts from Northeastern Association of the Blind
The San Pedro Lions Club received a donation from the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NABA), New York, USA on Friday November 1st. Handing over the donation was Dr Paul Beer, a well known visitor to Ambergris Caye and a friend of the San Pedro Lions Club. The two suitcases of items included sunglasses and other reading devices.
Dr Beer is no stranger to the island, since he has been an ambassador for the local club, always finding ways to bring donations that will help the efforts of the Lions in Belize. According to Dr Beer, the items donated can be utilized by people who have vision problems. “All of the donated items come from Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany. They consist of dark sunglasses, most of it being used by people who have had cataract surgery or who have other eye problems and cannot tolerate the bright light. The other suitcase has low vision aids which includes a variety of magnified glasses which is used by people who have decreased vision. These people can use them to read, look at the television or things from a distance.”
Frequent visitors to island show appreciation to the crew at Ramon’s Village Resort
A group of frequent Ambergris Caye visitors teamed up with the staff at Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar and Grill in San Pedro Town to give a special treat to the working crew at Ramon’s Village Resort on Thursday October 31st. Joe and Debbie McCord, and Dale and Patti Bastin have been coming for the island for many years, and have been guests at Ramon’s Village, and after the devastating fire that destroyed a part of the resort, they wanted to bring some smiles and good cheer to the work crew.
According to Joe, who has been coming to San Pedro Town for at least 12 years, he pitched the idea to some colleagues and with the support of Carlo and Ernie, who they have known for years, hosted both the staff as well as the workmen who are reconstructing their favorite resort. “We got our newspaper back home (Indiana, USA), and we saw it on Facebook and on the website and people called us to tell us Ramon’s Village burnt down. We were coming down and so we decided it would be nice to give a special treat to the people at Ramon’s and show them some love. We always say that it is the people who build this island and make it the nice place it is. We know insurance is taking care of the resort but we just wanted to show the people how much we love and appreciate them by way of this small little gesture.”
Misc Belizean Sources
VIDEO: On The Mountain Pine Ridge Road
Join me in a short drive on the Mountain Pine Ridge Road. This is only a part of what motorists have to endure every day. A short drive from Taylor Hill into Georgeville on the Mountain Pine Ride Road. This recording was taken on Thursday, November 7, 2013.
Iguana Creek bridge
The Iguana Creek bridge across the Belize River in Blackman Eddy village is flooded.
The New Chechem Ha Falls
The Falls at Chechem Ha got a makeover with all the rains. Still extremely beautiful, of course, and the foliage will grow back in no time.
"During the heavy rainfall of late October, the original waterfall at Chechem Ha collapsed creating a new one and with it massive destruction of the rainforest below."
Buy and Sell Classifieds 11-Nov
The latest issue of Cayo's Buy and Sell Classifieds is online. Lots of great info can be found in there.
Pacz Tours New Office
Pacz tours, one of the original Cayo tour operators, has moved their office, literally right next door to their old office. Bigger, better office, same great service. Burns avenue is really looking good.
"Pacz Tours, one of the best tour operators in Belize, has moved 5 feet over to a bigger office."
Belize Barrier Reef by helicopter
On luxury travel, I like to go all out to show you just what can be achieved when you truly want to create ‘A Trip Of A Lifetime.’ Belize was this in every way, but in a completely contrasting way to neighbouring Guatemala.
More than half of it is covered in rainforests sheltering indigenous, unique and endangered species. The other half boasts some of the best beaches in the world fringed by the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef (190 Miles). Snorkelling and diving here are world-renowned. The Caribbean way of life completes the alluring set.
I had the chance to fly by private helicopter from Belize City to Ambergris Caye with Astrum Helicopters . Best experience of my life to date – that is all I can say. I’ve never seen such dazzling aquamarines and turquoises over offshore Cayes and Atolls. Enjoy the pics!
Invest In Belize
Beltraide has created a new video tha will be airing on airlines as passengers travel across the globe about investing in Belize.
"On the road Again"
The Corozal Daily was out early this beautiful morning, at the junction of Tony's Hotel to witness the annual "RIDE OUT DIABETES 2013" cycle ride sponsored by the Belize Cycling Association. There were both female/male participants. The race started from Corozal at 6:30 A.M. this morning and will finish in Belize City. Riders from Orange Walk will also join in...all in the name of bringing awareness to diabetes and its impact on human life!!!
Hon. Hulse Can’t Comprehend Visa Hustle
Last night on the news, you heard Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse speak in his role as a Senator - about the Wednesday's controversial vote in the Upper House. Tonight you'll hear him talk about Immigration matters. Those remain at the forefront of the public discourse - and tonight we'll start our questions at the most basic, to address something that has been overlooked from the entire controversy erupted. How does a Chinese person qualify for a Belizean VISA - and how does hustling enter the picture. Hulse outlined the official process for us:
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration
"Our position and policy at the ministry is that every single person coming from the People's Republic of China, not Taiwan need a visa. There are two ways you get a visa; you apply at one of our embassies and we have none in China, so you have to go through a complicated route or you apply here."
"To get the visa, you have to send your passport. There is no other way to get it because the visa has to the stuck in the passport, so the passport has to come. Now how you get it here? This same way how we want for example to get a Mexican visa, you can send it with a friend, by courier or however you get in there and somebody has to bring it back, so I never concern myself with how the passports gets here because it have to get here."
Martiza’s Mom Worries That Money Matters In The Justice System
At approximately 11:15 yesterday morning, Michael Silva accompanied by his father turned himself into police after 2 years of receiving treatment in another country. He was taken to court and was arraigned for murder- then sent to the Hattieville Prison, where he is now remanded. But while all that was happening, his victim's mother, Maura Larios was unaware and only informed by police afterwards.
Maura Larios, Mother of Decease
""I feel bad because they did not inform me yesterday that he came, ahead of time. And I think they should have informed me ahead of time so I could have been at court to hear what it was they were going to say."
"Well the detectives came Around 3:30 to tell me that he already returned and that he had court and he was charged for the crime but that he will have court because he has his attorney s to defend himself. Well, I feel bad because they did not inform me."
Felicia Chen Goes To Supreme Court In April To Answer For Killing Her 3 Children
22 year-old Felicia Chen, the woman who is accused of killing her 3 children, will stand trial next year in the April Session of the Supreme Court. That was the result of a preliminary inquiry done today before the Chief Magistrate. The prosecutor presented all the evidence against Chen including witness statements from her only living daughter who is six, and other authorities involved in the case. Presented also were copies of the birth and death certificates of the children along with pictures, and a protection order.
When the defence attorney, Antoinette Moore, was asked if they had any alibi witnesses to present to the court, Moore replied that they didn't have any.
As we've reported, in April of this year, Chen allegedly took her 3 babies, Triana, Thomas, and Trinaya Teul to the Belizean beach where she drowned them. Her 6 year-old daughter reportedly saw the whole incident unfold.
Men In Coma, Security Guard Remanded
Tonight, 38 year-old Kevin Jex is at prison tonight after he was accused of clubbing a security guard in the back of his head sending the man into a coma.
According to police, on Tuesday evening, Desmond Villa was standing in front of the City Council building on North Front Street when a man he knew only as "Pizza" ambushed him and hit him in the back of the head with a piece of wood, causing a huge gash. He fell to the ground in an unconscious state, and had to be rushed to the KHMH.
Police investigated, and yesterday, they charged Jex with attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. He was arraigned today before the Chief Magistrate who remanded him to prison until January 7, 2014, his next court date.
Social Partners Half-Accept Saldivar’s PAC Compromise
For weeks, we've been reporting on UDP Minister John Saldivar's efforts to get the social partners back on board with the UDP version of PAC. This is after they publicly called it a charade. Saldivar and his UDP Colleagues held meetings with the Council of Churches, the Trade Union Congress and the Churches to try and broach a compromise. Well, today, the Chamber and the NTUCB responded - and in so doing, also briefly touched on the terms of the Saldivar compromise - which up to now, had been a closely guarded secret. It seems his compromise suggested more inclusive membership. But, the Chamber and the NTUCB say they don't agree: instead, they propose a nine member group with 4 from Government, two from the Opposition and all three Social Partners. They agree with Saldivar's proposals that quorum for the meetings be changed to five, and that all Reports of the PAC taken back to the House should include a minority opinion.
Overall, they quote, "congratulate the Government of Belize on its efforts to restructure the composition of the PAC." So what's next? Well, we expect a Saldivar counter-proposal which should come next week.
FECTAB Warns Of Mass Discontent On Fort Street Tourism Area
Earlier this week we told you about the taxi operator at the Fort Street Tourism Village who had been detained by police after he allegedly took out a bullhorn and started making his pitch to cruise visitors. His lawyer says he did it out of desperation because the Tourism Board, with a new zoning system had pushed the Taxi Drivers too far away from the area where they can catch customers. Well, apparently, it's not only the taxi drivers who are upset. Today FECTAB held a press conference to say the entire system needs to be re-worked, and urgently before the cruise tourism season starts in earnest after Thanksgiving. Tom Greenwood told the media today that the new system appeared encouraging at first, but soon enough, the gates were locked on the OVER 200 tour guides, taxi drivers, hair braiders and other service providers who gather at the gates:...
Tom Greenwood - President, FECTAB
"All of a sudden terminal opened again; this is the one with the cover - glory alleluia. This is what we wanted, people started coming out both there and at terminal 2 because it takes time to change back."
Braiders Says They Are Losing Big!
The hair braiders say they are the ones feeling the brunt of it. They say they have been pushed the furthest back and today they told the media that they are making major losses:
Vanessa Zuniga, hair braider
"We can't even go inside where we were at terminal 2 to get our job, that's where we would get our jobs and all that. Now we have to stay outside."
Kizzy Petillo, hair braider
"We don't want to be at the park, what will we do at the park? We have to be one and one with the guests - we talk to them. Mr. Longsworth try pleasing us a little bit by having us talking to the guests but with the quick space of time, none of us make any money. There are 16 braiders and he told us that we cannot separate, we are still together in a bombarded way - it's really bad, you guys need to be out there to see the situation."
Vanessa Zuniga, hair braider
"In two weeks I only make US$3, only that and I have kids going to high school and primary school. What can US$3 do for me?"
Regulating Power and Phone and In Borderless Societies
We regularly feature regional meetings being held in Belize, but this week, once being chaired by the Public Utilities Commission, went unmentioned. It's the 11th. annual conference of the The Organization of Caribbean Utilities Regulators known as OOCUR. This year, over fifty delegates from the Caribbean, U.S., United Kingdom, and Africa are discussingthe "Challenges to Regulatory Power in Borderless Societies." New Chairman John Avery told us more:..
John Avery, PUC Chairman
"We try to focus in on this conference are those issues that need to be grapple in a collaborative cooperative manner. Issues that impact the entire region and for which we may not be prepared for. We have been slow to react to and so, basically we are looking at the internet. The internet doesn't respect borders, telecommunications is a global thing right now and more and more we are getting integration of electricity systems. In fact we know Central America is integrated right now. We are looking into the possibility of being a part of that."
Does Sunshine Owe Social Security Mega Bucks?
Approximately 15.1 million dollars of your social security money, plus interest remains in limbo, and it may stay that way until Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin makes a decision next month.
The total sum is a result of a case brought by the Social Security Board against Sunshine Holdings Limited, one of the Ashcroft Allied companies. Back in 2005, the company was given a loan of 10 million dollars from SSB to purchase 22.39% shares in Belize Telemedia Limited.
The former directors of Sunshine, Dean Boyce and Keith Arnold, say that the company does not owe the money. You may be aware that these men are the very same trustees of the BTL Employees Trust, which has been the local agents of the Ashcroft Alliance in the seemingly endless stream of litigation over the acquisition of the telephone company.
When the UDP Administration nationalized BTL, they acquired all the shares held by Sunshine Holdings, so the company didn't make any payments toward the loan to SSB.
Hansel’s Mom Is Worried Sick
17 year-old Hansel Garcia, a resident of Dangriga Town has been missing for 3 weeks now, and his family is worried sick about him. His mother, Indira Martinez, has made an official police report, and she continues to search frantically for him. Today, she came all the way from Dangriga to speak to us about her son who has never gone more than a few days without contacting her. She told us that she is hoping for the best, but expecting the worse because Hansel had a quarrel with someone from the Town, which allegedly escalated to death threats before he went missing. Here's her story:
Indira Martinez, mother
"At this moment I don't Hansel is hiding and I don't think he is playing a game because he knows that I am a person who worries about them. That is why he always try you come and see me or he let his dad know that he is okay."
"What I want to know is that what they have done with him. I want them to at least give me his body so I can make a closure within myself and my heart because I know something is wrong with my son."
Rape Bill Still Making Changes
Whatever happened to the so-called rape bill, properly known as Amendment 2 to the Criminal code? The last we told you about it, the final committee consultation had been held, and it would have gone to the House of Representatives for last Friday's House Meeting. But it never went, because the final changes could not have been made in time.
Today, Chair of the House Committee on Constitution and Foreign Affairs Patrick Faber told us that all submissions have been considered and several changes were made that people might have been suspicious about. He says the changes were too numerous to be returned to the house before last Friday's house meeting - which was based on the advice of the Deputy Solictor General who told CEO Judith Alpulche and Faber that she was not comfortable that it would be accurate and proper for submission to the House.
We reported that Deputy Solicitor General Michelle Daly left the country last week Thursday after the last consultation and would not be back because her contract with the Commonwealth Secretariat was not renewed. Well, that wasn't quite right. Her contract actually ends in January 2014, but she takes terminal leave as of November 11th; those six weeks are accrued under the terms of her contract. As for her contract renewal, she says the Government had verbally indicated a desire to extend it, but only recently wrote to the Commonwealth Secretariat requesting that extension and by then she had made other arrangements.
Ring the Bells for Charity!
Every year, whenever the Salvation Army's Red Kettle bells start ringing, it signals the beginning of the Christmas season. And so it is for this second Friday in November, where the charitable organization launched its fundraising drive today.
It is their biggest fund raiser, and at the launch, the regional commander explained to us that they hope that the public supports them, so that they can continue running their outreach programs all over the country:
Major Joliker Leandre - Regional Commander
"Today is a wonderful day for us although it is raining. We have our Christmas Kettle launch right here. Although it is the official launching, persons have already began to give their donation to the Salvation Army. This is a way for us to publicly invite the public to give the donations so that we can continue with our work here, not only for the Christmas but throughout the year."
Under 16 Footballers Have Promise Of Glory In Them
2 months ago, the Under 15 National Football Team which performed well in the Cayman Islands becoming the first team from Belize to win 3 games in a CONCACAF tournament.
Well, the same players are back once again, and they are preparing to participate in the 2013 UNCAF U-16 Tournament, which the Football Federation of Belize gets the honour of hosting. The 6-day tournament is set to start on Monday, November 18, and the FFB is looking for the support of the public attending the games and cheering on the Junior Jaguars. Today, the official line-up of the team was announced, and 7News was there. We got a chance to meet a few of the footballers poised to be the next big names in the country. Here's what they told us:
While in camp, the young men still have to keep up-to-date with their homework, so the FFB has hired a tutor. On each night, there will be 3 games played, and because Belize is hosting, the Junior Jaguars will get the opportunity to play the last game of the night. Football fans will get a chance to watch all the games at a cost of $10 for the entrance fee.
FFB Enacting High Standards
Today, the President of the FFB also announced a major change in the way football is developed in Belize. All coaches must now get a license, and they must be trained by representatives from UNCAF and CONCACAF. If they don't, they won't be allowed to coach at any level.
The President says that the end result will be better football athletes developed from an early stage, which allows the country to compete at a higher level. Here's how he explained it:
Ruperto Vicente, President, FFB
"Come 2015 no coach who have not been trained by the Football Federation of Belize or even license by the Football Federation of Belize will not be able to coach in this country. Those days are behind us. Every coach that coaches our football players must be trained and license by the Football Federation of Belize and extension by UNCAF, CONCACAF and FIFA. We have more training coming for our coaches in March. FIFA is providing us with coaches who are trained."
Belize’s Best Young Volleyballers
At this hour, the 2013 Volleyball National Championships is underway at the SJC Gymnasium. The best male and female high school teams from the 4 regions of the country are competing against each other for first place and bragging rights. It's usually an intense competition and this evening, 7News stopped by to see the opening matches. The N Triple S A representative explained to us how the competition is to run, and which high school teams made it to the nationals. Here's what he told us about the level of play when compared to the rest of Central America:
PM Recovering After Back Surgery
And, as we close tonight, an update on Prime Minister Dean Barrow. He underwent back surgery on Wednesday at the DISC Sports & Spine Center in Newport Beach California. The surgery went well, and we've learned that Neurological Spine Surgeon Robert Bray removed a build-up of scar tissue from a previous surgery which PM Barrow had done in Belize 11 years ago. The Press office reports that the surgery took two and a half hours and shortly after he was alert and able to walk. He remains under observation and it won't be known for a few days whether the surgery succeeded in alleviating his chronic, acute back pain. As has been reported, PM Barrow has three herniated disks.