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The San Pedro Sun
One injured in shootout between Coast Guard and civilians
San Pedro Police are reporting that there was a shooting incident between members of the Belize Coast Guard and civilians. The incident occurred on Saturday, November 16th, on northern Ambergris Caye and resulted in one person shot.
According to San Pedro Police, Belize Coast Guard Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that a team of Coast Guard officials went on a boat operation just South of Mexico’s Border sometime around 7:30 AM. Upon reaching the old Fisheries Department base on the north-eastern side of the island, they saw six males one of whom was a distinguished by his dread locks) who, upon seeing them, opened fire at the Coast Guard vessel. The Coast Guard team, returned fire injuring a male person. That person was identified as 24-year-old Frank Edwards, a Belizean fisherman of San Mateo area of San Pedro Town. Also captured were two males, 20-year-old Leonard Williams, a Belizean fisherman, and 22-year-old Guillermo Salazar, a Belizean fisherman, both of San Mateo area of San Pedro Town.
Over 13% of Belize’s population living with diabetes
Rice and beans, stewed chicken, potato salad and a couple slices of fried plantain is the traditional dish that most Belizeans enjoy. This is a dish completely packed with carbohydrates that, when broken down in the body, turns into sugar. It is considered one of the many unbalanced meals of Belizean society, something that was given highlighted during International World Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14th. To mark the occasion, the San Pedro Diabetes Association teamed up with local San Pedro Town medical doctor Giovanni Solorzano and a few medical students to conduct a public awareness day on the island. Free screenings for diabetes and hypertension were done at three locations – San Mateo, Escalante/DFC area and outside of the San Carlos Medical Clinic in the downtown area. “The purpose of the screenings was to identify people living with diabetes, give them a plan, teach them how to eat properly and refer them to a medical doctor.”
Follow Up Workshop on Utilization of IBIS
An expert from Canada was in Belize over the past week conducting a three-day workshop with personnel from the National Forensic Science Service who operate the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) donated to Belize by the Canadian Government. Mr. Zencovich, who has been coaching IBIS operators for over 13 years, said he is very impressed with the progress made thus far by personnel at the National Forensic Science Service in applying the training they receive to operate the system. He noted that they have succeeded in creating a healthy database and establishing precise protocols in order to fully integrate the system into their daily tasks and overall function. He said he is very pleased with the extraordinary effort being put in by the entire management and staff to make the system and the program work for Belize.
The Police Drama Club raises awareness through skits
The Police Drama Club is a group comprised of several police officers that together raise awareness on various social issues affecting our communities. The club was started in 2011, and began actively performing in 2012. On Friday November 16th, The Police Drama Club traveled to San Pedro Town to perform two skits for San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School and San Pedro High School. The first of the two skits focused on domestic violence while the second focused on peer pressure. Both skits portrayed cases that are relative to our communities such as domestic violence among spouses and how youth can become involved in delinquent behavior as a result of peer pressure. The skits incorporated the portrayal of the various cases along with the proper legal procedures that could be taken in such instances. Sergeant Stephanie Grinage of the Belmopan Police Unit also recited original poems at the end of each performance.
Belize to Prepare a Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2014-2017
The Government of Belize is pleased to announce that in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, through financial and technical assistance, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has commenced preparation of a Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy for the Period 2014 to 2017. The strategy will be one of a series of medium-term strategies that will need to be prepared and implemented towards realizing the vision put forward in Horizon 2030. This vision reads:
“Belize is a country of peace and tranquility, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life. Belizeans are an energetic, resourceful and independent people looking after their own development in a sustainable way.”
Belizean Culture at its Best at School Presentations
Schools on the island take pride in putting on some great cultural presentations for their students and for the community to enjoy. Students are asked to participate on such activities, make poster presentations, dress in cultural attire and even prepare samples of food.
On Friday, November 15, 2013, Holy Cross Anglican School held its annual cultural day where displays of various ethnic groups found in our beautiful Belize were exhibited. Students were dressed as Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, East Indians and Mennonites. Music, traditions and food were on display for all to enjoy!
Pic of the Week: Garifuna Settlement Day National Holiday in Belize
A young Garifuna Jankunu dancer prepares his costume before his dance performance on the beach at Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District, Belize. He is part of the Garifuna group that performs at the Lebeha Drumming School in the village. (Click here for Lebeha Drumming School article, pictures and video)
Belize observes Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19 in honor of the rich culture, heritage and history of the Garifuna people of the country. Festivities take place around the country under the theme "Let us progress in unity with God's goodness and the protection of our ancestors".
In San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, the San Pedro Town Council, in collaboration with the San Pedro Branch of the National Garifuna Council, Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the San Pedro Cultural Committee have prepared the following two events:
Misc Belizean Sources
I actually wrote some of this letter back in September this year, but nobody would print it for whatever reason. Now, I see on TV ch7, the BDF acknowledging this secret operation against the people of Belize, in which they claim to have destroyed 30 million dollars worth of weed with the help of the US military. What is up with the US? Last year in the US the voters approved legalization for all uses, including medical, recreational and industrial uses at state levels. Many who opposed the legalization made great predictions of doom and gloom if the people voted for legalization. Well guess what, a little over a year has gone by and the sky did not fall. To the contrary, it is creating an uplifting of the spirits, of millions of people and their families who have lived for decades under these unjust laws with the constant fear of being caught, and is creating a financial tsunami, for the people and the government. While 20+ states in the US have currently legalized cannabis in one form or another, the federal government after having great pressure applied by the voters, is now paying attention to the people and allowing state law to prevail. The people have spoken so loud to the government through the initiative process and current science, that the elected officials in most states and the federal government are now drafting laws to legalize cannabis on their own. Throughout the world today governments have lost all credibility involving the war against cannabis. The dominos are falling at a far greater rate than anyone could have anticipated just one year ago. It is a failed policy and subject to doom soon.
GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT EVE (15 photos)
The San Pedro Town Counil in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, the San Pedro Garifuna Council and the San Pedro Cultural Committee put together a line up of entertainment to celebrate the eve of Garifuna Settlement Day. At the event, we witnessed various remarks from Mr. Elroy Castillo, Deputy Mayor Mr. Guillermo Paz, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Mrs. Julia Martinez and Mr. Francis Arana. The event followed with cultural presentations by a few local dance groups.
CELEBRATING GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY (20 photos)
Members of the Garifuna Council of San Pedro visited the San Pedro Town Council and gave an outstanding performance.
COME OUT AND AND LIVE THE VIBRANT AND COLORFUL CULTURE AND PEOPLE OF THE GARINAGUS! An Event you don't want to miss!
Starting 11am at the Central Park
A Feast for Forests
A Feast for Forests, a fundraiser for the International Forestry Student Association, will be next Tuesday, November 26th, at the Kerasi Lounge in Belmopan. P42 Designz did a great job on the fliers.
"We are proud, and extremely excited, to to announce that IFSA -UB is the newest member of this burgeoning community. We are thrilled to be able to invite you to our first official fundraiser which will help send a number of students abroad, and will help us develop the first IFSA Forest Corps., a functioning natural disaster response unit, and student research vessel. So please, come out and support us, help strengthen the education of today's youth."
Tabby Johnson Coming to Cayo
Tabby Johnson, the Canadian Jazz, Blues, and Gospel singer, will be performing at the Soul Project on December 14th. She is performing to help the Winsom Foundation raise funds to provide scholarships for students from Cristo Rey.
Cayo Family Day
The Cayo Youth Movement is having a family day today to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day. The festivities will take place at Falcon Field, starting at 9:00am. There will be games, food, drinks, a raffle, a basketball marathon, and live music too. Have a great Garifuna Settlement Day!
Through Caity's Eyes Exhibition
The George Price Centre is launching a new art exhibit today, starting at 6:00pm. It's entitled 'Through Caity's Eyes,' and it sketches and drwaing from young Belizean, Caitlyn Tillett.
Belize Hosts UNCAF Football
The UNCAF U-16 matches are this week, at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan, and Belize plays every night at 7:00pm. Nicaragua tonight, then El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica on Friday night. If you can't make it to the games, you can see them on most TV stations. Go, Jaguars!
In related news, they have some cool t-shirts for sale. http://donatebelizefootball.org/merchandise.html
"Don't forget to come out and support our Baby Jaguars as they participate in the UNCAF U-16 Tournament. Venue: FFB Project Stadium in Belmopan."
Consejo roads, dump a mess
Residents of Consejo area are pleading to the relevant authorities to mitigate their current road and dump site conditions. Many Villagers and residents today have been unable to drive to town on small vehicles. The garbage dump site is a serious health problem and concern. Some residents made their way to town today by chartering a boat at approx. $150.00 R/T.
This Friday, November 22, Mr. Jesus Ken will speak on Corozal history growing with the political movement. We are kindly requesting your presence. Lecture will commence at 7:00 P.M. at the Corozal House of Culture.
The Corozal House of Culture values the importance of oral historical retrieval and is pleased to present the final lecture in the ‘Perspectives of our Past’ Historical Lecture Series. The lecture series is a vital link into Corozal’s distant and not so distant past. Corozal's rich history will be exposed through the words of our elders.
Mayor Says Councilor Elrington Must Learn to “Comport Herself”
On Friday we told you about Thursday evening's ugly spat between Mayor Darrell Bradley, City Administrator Candice Burke and Councilor Alifah Elrington-Hyde. According to our reports it ended when the mayor called for city constables to eject Elrington-Hyde from the building.
Today the mayor confirmed that what should have been a simple problem got very heated when councilor Elrington-Hyde started yelling at the city administrator.
And what was it all about? As we reported, it started with a ticket that the City's traffic Department put on the pickup truck used by the city's Special Constables. On Thursday afternoon, the pickup was parked in front of the Commercial Center when the traffic manager ordered his warden to give it a ticket. From there it became an issue between the City Administrator and Councilor with responsibility for traffic Alifah Elrington-Hyde.
Elrington-Hyde went to see the City Administrator in person, and that's when things got turned up! The City Admin's office is right next to the mayor's, who happened to be babysitting his infant child that day - the baby's nap ended when the shouting started. The mayor told us he heard a ruckus starting and went to see what it was about:...
Coast Guard Caught In Rocky Point Shootout
Rocky Point on Northern Ambergris Caye is a known drug hotspot. The remote area is close to Mexico and many lives have come to a violent end there over the years. This weekend, that reputation for violence was re-confirmed when the Coast Guard came under fire and shot a man there. Around 7:30 on Saturday morning, the Coast Guard was on an operation around 7:30a.m. when they came upon a camp near Rocky Point. 7News spoke to Commander Elton Bennette, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, and he told us that when the Coast Guard approached the old fisheries base, they saw about 5 men, one of whom fired at them. The Coast Guard returned fire, hitting 24-year-old Frank Edwards to the buttocks with the bullet exiting the left hip. Edwards along with 20-year-old Leonardo Williams and 22-year-old Guillermo Salazar, all fishermen from San Pedro, were detained. The gunman and a fifth persons escaped. Still, the men will be charged for 270 grams of marijuana found in the area.
City Man Shot, Same Time, Same Place 10 Months Later
On Friday night, Belize City resident Paul Alvarez was shot for the second time this year, at almost the same time and same place and same night that he got shot 10 months ago.
He was shot at 7:35 pm in January of 2013 on Lovely Lane - that was a Friday night. Well, again, last Friday night November 15, he was on Lovely lane when he was shot at about 7:40 pm. He survived again, but we understand his condition is considered quite serious as he was hit to the jaw and throat. Police have not issued a report, but his family told us that shortly before the shooting, the 21 year old was talking to his mother who warned him that she saw some suspicious characters in the area. He crossed the street to stand at the corner of Lovely Lane and Victoria Street when a gunman rode up and shot him once to the face. He was immediately taken to the hospital, where he was on life support up until yesterday. He is now critical but stable but doctors are saying that he may never speak again because of the damage to his vocal chords.
Cane Farmers Tell BSI They Will Meet, But only On One Condition
When we left you on Friday, it was with the news that BSI had capitulated and agreed to table the discussion of bagasse for a special meeting tomorrow. The BSI letter said, they are willing to discuss, in non-prejudicial talks, quote, "how the dispute between the parties on the matter of…payment for bagasse can be dealt with," end quote. Well, the cane farmers sent their response to that invitation this evening, and it is not encouraging.
The letter says, quote, "we are prepared to meet with your at the time, date and venue proposed…provided that the agenda for the meeting deals solely with the conclusion of the negotiation of a new commercial agreement including the payment for bagasse. Now, the BSI meeting as proposed is not to discuss a new commercial agreement; and the bagasse subject is only being added as a non-binding sidebar.
So where do things go next? Well, in their letter today, the Cane farmers tell BSI "Kindly confirm your agreement to our response." Up to newstime, no response was forthcoming, which likely means no meeting will be held as planned tomorrow. That means - with a week to go before the harvest is scheduled to be opened, the standoff over bagasse continues and this vital industry remains imperiled.
Mayor Says Council fixing 17 Streets After Rains
The rains have been unusually heavy for the last three weeks - and it has left streets and roads all over the country in a state of ruin. And even in Belize City - where 93 streets have been cement-paved, dozens of the older roads have been run to ruin by the rains. The city has 520 streets - to fix all of them would have cost about 90 million dollars - and so even though we're coming up on 100 new streets for 18 million dollars, that's only about 20% of the entire picture. And so tonight, those that were cement paved remain in good condition, while the older streets are a disaster. The mayor told us about City Council's plan to remedy the situation as soon as possible:...
Mayor Darrell Bradley
"We are going to put hard core material on 17 streets that we had already identified and we did that as a result of these heavy rains. In the south side our people are out during the course of this week to do the kind of remedial work in terms of patching of streets and trying to get it at least bearable."
City Councilor Samuels Has Big Plans For Politics
And while the mayor is holding things down in the city, he and two of his councilors have bigger things in mind. Mayor Bradley, and councilors Phillip Willoughby and Dean Samuels are interested in running as candidates in the next general elections. As has been well publicized, Bradley wants to run in Caribbean Shores, while last week Willoughby put his name in to run in the Albert division while Dean Samuels did the same in Belize rural Central. The cases of Bradley and Willoughby are a little complicated since they want to challenge sitting UDP representatives, but Samuels is challenging a caretaker, Michael Hutchinson.
Today Samuels, who lives in Rural central told us why he is interested in vying for that office:...
Dean Samuels, Councilor
"I've sent in my application last week. Now, I am publicly declaring my intention and one good thing I can say for myself basically is that I come with a little name recognition, I have been proven when it comes to hard work. I have been supported overwhelmingly by the Belize City residents, so I bank of that personally - that work that I bring forward. I personally believe that as a politician if we know what is our job description and that is service to people and people just want a better way of life and I think Belize Rural Central has been neglected. It hasn't been shown the kind of love that is needed and people in this area deserve better and I think personally with my work ethics I definitely can be a difference and make a change."
UDP Has Willoughby and Bradley In Holding Pattern
The Rural Central convention will be held sometime before March of 2014. That's the timeframe the UDP has set for all 14 conventions where they have caretakers. No timeline has been announced for the other 17 areas, where they have standard bearers who are currently area representatives sitting in the National Assembly. And that puts Councilor Phillip Willoughby and Mayor Darrell Bradley at a disadvantage. Willoughby wants to challenge the UDP Albert Representative Herman Longsworth while Bradley wants to challenge Santino Castillo. But right now they are in a holding pattern - because rumours are that the party may hold off on those conventions until closer to the general election. That until 2017, while the next municipal election is in 2015. So will the mayor have to offer himself for municipal office again - while he's waiting. He said he wouldn't do it, but we asked him today if he might have to. Here's what he said:...
Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Whatever decision that I make will be in the best interest of residents of Belize City and will be in the best interest of the United Democratic Party and will be in the best interest of what I think I can offer to members of the public. It's a difficult situation at this present moment because I'm not aware what all of these dates are. I know that what was told to me in terms of my priorities right now, my chief priority is being an effective mayor. I am looking at completing my term. I had made certain indications to members of the public as it relates to wanting to finish this term on a high note wanting to deliver in terms of the hundred streets."
The Details Of A Departure
Last week Thursday, 7News told you about the press conference which the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize held to clear the air around the sudden departure of the President, Dr. Cary Frazer. He is expected to stay on until the end of this current school year, which ends May 2014, but during that time, the Board will be going through a rigorous process to find a suitable replacement for him. It sounds like a situation where relations between the board and Dr. Frazer could get strained, given that he has already complained to the Prime Minister in a letter that they've micromanaged the university, which he believes restricted his leadership. That question came up at the press conference where the chairman of the board addressed it directly. Here's how he responded:
Lynette Canto, Reporter LOVE FM
"The President as you said is still effective, his position is still in effect and we are wondering how as the board of the university - how that relationship will be maintained, if he has already effective his resignation and we know that it seems his heart as already left. How will you continue to work with him in the interim and what will this mean for the university?"
Belize Recovering From Floods
At the beginning of the weekend, the seemingly unending rains which caused flooding all over the country started to lift, but there were some aspects of the flooding which we didn't manage to deal with.
One area which we didn't touch on is the damage done to the Bullet Tree Road where one of the culverts of Paslow falls area was washed away. The Village Council started repairs as soon as the rains held up.
In Santa Elena, the flash flood tore off a part of a part of the fencing for the football field, something the residents told us was very unusual, and indicated the strength of the waters which passed through. v Also, we reported that Cristo Rey Bridge was washed away; that was an error, and it was only the approaches to the bridge were washed away. As we showed you, the Ministry of Works got into gear to fix those approaches as soon as was possible.
The Belize Red Cross is also reporting that 200 families in the Cayo District and the Belize River Valley are in desperate need of help from the public. Red Cross is asking if donations can be made of money, canned food, toiletries, and clean clothes for men, women, boys and girls ages 2 to 14 year's old.
Regional U-16 Tourney Begins In Belmopan
Tonight the UNCAF under - 16 football tournament has started in Belmopan at the FFB stadium. Right now, Belize is playing Nicaragua in the third match of the night and our national team is in the first half and the score is one to nil for Belize on a penalty kick. In games so far today, Guatemala Beat Salvador 2 to nil and Costa Rica beat Honduras, two to one in the second game.
Today, before the games commenced, Daniel Ortiz visited Belmopan for a preview:
The Belize game will be shown right after the news tonight - on a 40 minute tape delay.
On Wednesday, we will air the game live at 7:00 and to accommodate that, the news will start at 6:00 pm. That's right, not 6:30 as usual, but at 6:00 - so make sure ot tune in early.
Tomorrow, since it is a holiday, we'll show all three games live from the FFB stadium in Belmopan starting at two. The liver coverage is made possible through a joint effort of CCV Cable, Channel 7, KREM Radio and TV, Plus TV Channel 5, and LOVE TV.
A Debate On Oil
The Belize Coalition to save Our Natural Heritage held its first national secondary school debate this morning. The debate which was held at the Bliss Center focused on oil in Belize; it's impact, benefits and risks. The Belize Rural High School we went up against Belize High School and 7 news was there.
Julie Waight, Education Outreach Officer
"This morning the Belize Coalition to Save of Natural Heritage is hosting its first national secondary oil debate competition, This morning we are doing the central region, we have two schools debating; Belize Rural High School versus the Belize High School."
"The Belize Coalition wanted to start the discussion on oil and so this is a good way to start through the high schools, having them do extensive research in terms of oil in Belize. We are hoping that after this more schools will be more inclined into doing research and more debating and also to take it up to a higher level next year hopefully at the tertiary level."
"It is a critical issue, we hear it on the news every other week, so its a good way for people to actually start learning more about the whole discussion about oil in Belize."
Village Wants In As NCL Bus Provider
We've heard a lot of criticism about the project Norwegian Cruise Line has planned for Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District. But you won't hear any of that from the Independence Village Council. Matter of fact, they're trying to figure out how best to position themselves to capitalize on the cruise line commerce.
Village council member Emilio Zabaneh told us that the council is planning on forming a co-operative to become a transport services contractor for Norwegian.
He says they have already convened a meeting of transportation stakeholders in the area and the next step if to form the co-op. He says after that they will seek out financing and put out a tender to Norwegian in about 18 months. Norwegian is requiring the conversion school buses that can travel on rough roads, and not the premier type buses.
Scenes From A Settlement
Tomorrow is Garifuna Settlement Day - a public and bank holiday and the richest cultural celebration on the calendar. To set the mood, we close tonight with some clips from the Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York as they performed on Friday night at the Bliss Center.
Enjoy and Remember to join us tomorrow for live under 16 UNCAFD football starting at 2:00 in the afternoon, and on Wednesday night join us for an early start of the news at 6:00 pm.
Until then, have a great and culturally rich settlement day.