FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Authentic Belizean Niceness!
Can’t figure out what to have for lunch? We’re having Obando’s Hot Panades :-)
ICSC’s Five-a-side Football Tournament picks up heat
In the second week of the Island Citizens Sporting Club (ICSC) and San Pedro High School (SPHS) Five-a-side Football Tournament, the action only continues to grow as the teams fight for their wins. On each of the four game days, a large crowd gathered at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium cheering the athletes on.
Four senior matches where played on Thursday, July 16th. These well-seasoned footballers gave it their all for their team, but were a winner rises, there also must be a loser. In the first game, Goliath FC defeated Tuff Strikers FC eight goal to two. Kevin Chavez was the star player for Goliath FC, score four out of the eight goals. In the second game, Graniel’s FC suffered a loss against Island Pure FC in a 10-0 point match. Also losing on the first game day of the week was Costa Warriors FC, who fell to FC Green House in a 7-1 point game. FC Green House’s Dihno Noralez was the star player of the match scoring, three goals for his team. In the last match of the night, San Mateo FC defeated Vince Warriors FC in a 7-1 point game.
Officials report on successful BA-1 Project
Last month, on June 5th, 34 single mothers from San Pedro graduated from the BA-1 project on Violence against Women, Trafficking and Femicide. A collaboration between the Women’s Department of Belize and the Central American Integration System (SICA), the training was designed to empower participants with the necessary tools in order to gain personal development. On Wednesday, July 15th, a public meeting was held at the Lion’s Den with the project’s graduates presenting an overview of the program. The meeting also included presentations on human trafficking from a representative of the Anti-Trafficking Person Council (ATIPS) in the Women’s Department, within the Ministry of Human Development.
The event started with the welcome address delivered by San Pedro Town Councilor Flora Ancona. “The advancement of the women’s agenda on the island is a key component and an emphasis the San Pedro Town Council is placing on social issues affecting women in San Pedro,” Ancona continued stating that the program was not just for San Pedro but also the sister island of Caye Caulker. “In April of this year, we endorsed the recommendation of the Central American Integration System and the Ministry of Human Development through the Women’s Department to implement the B A 1 project in San Pedro. However, we went ahead to include Caye Caulker as part of the program because as a tourism community, we also need to assist our sister island,” said Ancona. She invited the attendees to share their experiences, to analyze what the organizers of the project are doing and let them know where there is the need for improvement in regards to the prevention of violence against women on the island.
Belizean sailors benefit from Youth Worlds Emerging Nations Program laser clinic
Belizean sailors Blanca Velasquez and Antonio Ricardez, along with Sailing Coach Trenton Miller were in Antigua participating in a seven-day International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Youth Worlds Emerging Nations Program (YW ENP) laser clinic. The Belize Laser Radial Youth Team departed Belize on Sunday, July 12th for the clinic, which took place from Tuesday, July 14th to Tuesday, July 21st. At the event, both the young sailors and coach gained valuable skills and knowledge on laser sailing, and components of the vessel. In addition, all sailors that attended the clinic were awarded with scholarships to attend the 45th Youth Sailing World Championship, which will be held on December 13, 2015 in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The clinic is aimed at promoting youth sailing, help develop youth sailing around the world and give the world’s best youth sailors a chance to shine on the world stage. More than 20 sailors and 11 coaches representing 11 countries participated in the YW ENP laser clinic for the Americas and Caribbean Region. Participating countries are Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Guatemala, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Uruguay, U.S. Virgin Islands and Ecuador. This was the fourth of five regional training clinics that was held to build up youth sailors’ skills for the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championship.
BEL responds to BEWU Protest
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is aware of a protest by the Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU) which commenced today, during which BEWU members referred to the details of negotiations for a revised a Revised Partnership Collective Agreement (PCA). Negotiations commenced on November 4, 2014 between BEL’s Management Negotiating Team appointed by BEL’s Board of Directors and BEWU’s Negotiating Committee appointed by the Executive of the BEWU. These negotiations entered into mediation on June 26, 2015 by the Labour Commissioner after the BEL and BEWU negotiating teams were unable to arrive at an agreement on the negotiation of salaries and benefits for the revised PCA.
Non-financial matters of the revised PCA were first addressed and successfully negotiated except for the clause on disciplinary action. At the commencement of negotiations, the BEWU’s proposal was for an increase in salaries and benefits amounting to 90% of salary. The Company rejected this proposal for salaries and benefits. In April, the BEWU presented a new proposal for a 62% increase in salaries and benefits. The Company presented a counter proposal for 24%. The BEWU walked away from the negotiating table and led a sickout. BEL deems this incident a strike under the laws of Belize and has reported the matter to the Labor Department.
San Pedro on Track of Kickstarting BTIA Chapter
Although San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is the biggest and most popular tourist destination in the country of Belize, membership for the San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) has not been so promising over the past few years. After a productive and promising meeting this week, the election of a new board of directors took place and a more positive outlook for the San Pedro chapter of the BTIA was sparked.
The newly elected board of directors for the San Pedro Chapter of the BTIA are:
Chairman – Melanie Paz
Vice Chairman – Javier Williams
Secretary – Ovel Leonardo
Treasurer – Kendall Beymer
Directors – Ruben Trejo, Alfonso Wiltshire, Amy Leiva
Misc Belizean Sources
Building Geographical Indications for the Caribbean’s Origin-Linked Products
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) opened the two-day sub-regional workshop on branding and the use of geographical indications in the development of management strategies for origin-linked products at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingstown, Jamaica on July 21st. With the aim of building the capacity of CARIFORUM producers to identify and develop geographical indications and origin linked products, it is hoped that attending businesses will prosper and enhance their competitiveness in the international arena, and as a result build economic growth and sustainability of the Caribbean region.
The Hon. Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce for Jamaica highlighted in his address to the participants that “Within the Caribbean exist numerous opportunities for GI protection including black pineapple from Antigua, cascarilla from the Bahamas, cahune oil from Belize, nutmeg from Grenada and sarsaparilla from St. Kitts just to name a few. Geographical Indications offer us the opportunity to protect these brands and our consumers, even as we continue to guarantee quality and provenance.”
Inauguration of new Caracol Conservation Post
Friday, July 24, 11am
Attention American Citizens in Belize! Passport and CBRA appointments
The U.S. Citizens services section has opened an additional day of Passport and CBRA appointments on Tuesday, July 28. You may make an appointment online at https://evisaforms.state.gov/acs/default.asp postcode=BLZ&appcode=1 U.S. Citizens with appointments scheduled for a later date are welcome to reschedule to this earlier date.
Boa in the bougainvillea
Apparently the girls were awoken tonight by a commotion in the parrot roost. Parrots were all very upset and running around on the ground. After searching for a while the torchlight picked out a rather large boa dangling it head down towards two of the girls. They managed to wrassle it out of the bougainvillea, having to chop the odd branch as it was wound in so tight and not willing to readily leave his new found fast food joint. Over seven feet long, this is the largest we have had in a while. Now snugly in a feed sack awaiting a trip into the bush to a nice new location tomorrow.
BOLEDO DRAWING for Wednesday, July 22, 2015: 44. PICK 3: 0 9 6
"Cantinflas - No Que No Chato?"
The Embassy of Mexico invites you to the
Belize International Film Festival for a Mexican
Movie Night showing "Cantinflas - No Que No Chato?"
Subtitled in English.
Date: Tuesday July 28th, 2015
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Place: Institute of Mexico in Belize (Belize City)
R.S.V.P. Tel: 223-1408
Power interruption 6:00am to 2:00pm, Saturday, July 25: entire Toledo District
BEL to conduct critical maintenance and testing and of all equipment at the Punta Gorda Substation.
Have you checked out AJAW Chocolate yet? It's downtown, right next to Rainforest Haven. You learn all about chocolate, and then get to make your own. The best part is getting to eat your creation, which you can spice up the way you like.
Pictures on fb.
Kumi Mayagawa Concert
Pianist Kumi Miyagawa will be performing at the George Price Centre this Sunday, July 26th, at 6:00pm. The concert is free, and is in celebration of the 80th anniversary of Japanese and Central American diplomatic relations.
Belize Energy Workers Take Their Case To The Labour Minister
Today members of BEL’s Energy Workers Union ended three days of picketing in front of the utility’s corporate headquarters. So what will they do next? Well, both sides were negotiating a new Collective Agreement since November of last year, but talks broke down in June, and that’s when they entered into mediation with the Labour Commissioner. But the union walked away from mediation and went to the picket line. What’s next? Well, they’ve been called to meet with the Labour minister, Godwin Hulse.
Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union
"The employees are still here so they have not managed to convince the employees of what they are saying. And if what they're saying is actually that they don't want to give anything to the employees, all they have to do is just tell us - we don't believe you earned anything, we don't believe that it is fair that we give you anything and we are not going to give you anything and the story done. That's all they have to do, they don't have to make the story long."
"Do you believe that is what they're saying at this time?"
Marvin Mora, Belize Energy Workers Union
"Man, that is exactly they're saying."
Family Believes Charred Remains Are Their Loved Ones
On Monday, we told you about a burnt body which was found on the main road heading to Scotland Half-moon Village in Belize Rural. Well tonight, police are no closer to identifying him, but as we’ve told you, they suspect it to be a Ladyville villager who went missing since last week Thursday.
He’s 28 year-old Kelvin Usher, a resident of mile 9 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, and we stress at this time that he is still listed as missing. His common-law wife told us on Monday that she doesn’t believe that the charred remains are Usher’s, but as we’ve shown you, his mother has given police a partial identification using a tattoo that she recognized on his chest. We have seen Facebook posting from relatives also accepting that the burnt body is his.
The investigators say that they are waiting for the post-mortem to be 100% sure if indeed the victim is Usher. That examination was to have happened this afternoon, but it has been postponed until tomorrow.
Gun Found On City Streets Was Stolen From PG Police
Police say the minor who was caught with a gun in Belize City yesterday fled the car with the weapon. Cops intercepted a Toyota Camry on Central American Boulevard around 12:15 pm – but when they stopped it, a 16 year old minor dashed out. Police set chase and saw him fling an object over a fence. They searched a yard on Zericote street and found a .38 caliber revolver. Now, the interesting thing about this weapon is that it was stolen – and guess form where? The police station in Punta Gorda! Of course, this wasn’t even reported to the media – and this very important detail still was not included in today’s police report.
But 7News has been reliably informed that the theft happened between the 19th and 20th April, 2015.
Police searched the car presumably because persons with known gang ties were inside – but only the minor has been charged because the weapon was not found in the car, he fled with it.
PUP, Cabals, But No Conspiracy
Yesterday, 13 PUP candidates were absent from a meeting of the Party’s National Executive and Standard bearers. Absentees included notable party personalities such as Cordel Hyde, Dan Silva, Jose Mai, and Major Lloyd Jones. Our information suggested that while there were a few with legitimate excuses, there was also a boycott by frustrated standard bearers. Why? Well, our information says that there is frustration with the leadership of the party – and the boycott was to send a message to the leadership that there is widespread discontent.
But, from all outward indications, no such message was received and Party Leader Francis Fonseca told the press that there was no boycott, just isolated and unremarkable absences.
So, that brings us to today where former leader John Briceno who was away dealing with a family illness has returned to the country. We are told that Briceno met today with Cordel Hyde, Dan Silva and others to discuss the general discontent in the party ranks.
Cops: Cacho Killed Welch
Last week, we told you how the James Lyson Cacho, was allegedly caught by the Gang Suppression Unit with a gun and ammunition. He’s on remand for those offences, but tonight, police suspect that he was involved in a recent Belize City murder.
Cacho was brought back to court today where he was arraigned before Magistrate Ladonna John on the criminal charges of murder, attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. Due to the nature of the offenses, he wasn’t allowed to declare a plea, and he was further remanded to the Belize Central Prison until August 31.
Cacho is accused of the murder of 24 year old Michael Welch, who was gunned down and killed on March 1 while he with his cousin, Kingsley Morrison at Morrison’s house on Periwinkle Street. They were ambushed by two men. Welch died from his injuries about half an hour later, while Morrison who was also injured, survived.
Conservation Post For Caracol
Who can forget the terrible Thursday of September 24, 2015? That’s day when Belizean Special Constable Danny Conorquie was killed on duty at the Caracol Archaeological Park in Western Belize, a few meters from the border. It was suspected - but never confirmed - that his killers were Guatemalan cross-border bandits who may have fled into the Guatemalan village of La Rejoya.
His murder shocked the country and forced the National Security Ministry into activating strict security measures for the Caracol Site. This was an urgent situation which was exposed by a Police Internal Memo which identified the clear and present danger to the Special Constables who were forced to guard the site, but it apparently fell on deaf ears.
Well, 10 months after that tragic incident, the Government, through NICH, has completed a conservation outpost at the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. It was constructed in close collaboration of the Ministry of National Security, and it will be able to house a number of Belize Defense Force Soldiers, who will provide support and back-up for the Tourism Police Officers.
Caye Caulker Cops Say Man Bit Them
The Caye Caulker police station is making news again – but this time the cops say – they are the victims of abuse, not a detained person.
The story starts with almost $2,000 dollars worth of electronics which were stolen from a student’s boat on Caye Caulker. A 24-year-old Israeli student reported that on Monday someone burglarized his fiberglass boat and stole his cell phone valued digital camera and other items. Police found the camera on 18-year-old Belize City resident Shawn Wade. He was taken into custody and yesterday morning while in the station's holding cell Wade was taken to use the bathroom but refused to be taken back to the cell. Police struggled with him, and claim that Wade bit a police officer on the finger. This was certified as “Wounding”. So now apart from the burglary charge, Wade is now detained pending charges of “Wounding and Aggravated Assault.”
VIP Wants Petition Against Sedi
Last week, we showed you our interview with Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington in which he revealed months later that the Guatemalans are resisting attempts by the Belizean National Security Ministry to build a Forward Operating Base on Sarstoon Island, the southern-most point in the country’s territory.
Well, independent political party, the VIP has come out against his position. The VIP, like the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, say that the Belize Government should exercise the rights of a sovereign state to conduct whatever operations are in its best interest. They are demanding that the Government assert the Independence of the country of Belize and carry out these plans and policies in the absence of Guatemalan influence in the decision making process.
They held a press conference today to underscore this point:
Patrick Rogers - Member, VIP
"The actions of our government, it's actually building confidence for a Guatemalan case if it ever reached to the ICJ. In effect we've seen where the Guatemalans are protecting what they believe to be theirs by sending their navy to go and instruct our coast guard to get off that island. That's an act of exercising sovereignty over that territory. They followed that by instructing our government that, no, you cannot build on that Sarstoon island until the ICJ has made a ruling as to who's territory it is. So again, that is asserting sovereignty that they don't exercise possessions of the land but they are acting as though, yeah we truly believe this was take away from we."
Hon. Elrington's ICJ Fumble
In case you missed our interview with Foreign Minister Elrington from last week, he was discussing this latest disagreement between both sides over the forward operating base.
Elrington said that in order to deal with the real problem - which is the territorial dispute - it has to be resolved peacefully at the ICJ. For context, we re-air that portion of the interview which independent parties have seized upon: that going to the ICJ is a done deal:
FILE: July 16, 2015
"What was the reaction of the diplomats from Guatemala when you all informed them that you had this intention of building this base on Sarstoon Island?"
Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"My own recollection is that they are suggesting that we discussed the matter at the OAS. We certainly have intention of doing it and they are simply seem to be suggesting that we should discuss it at the OAS before we take any further steps with respect to the matter, given the fact that in fact we are on our way to the ICJ."
Well, the VIP like the NTUCB, are holding Elrington to task, and they say that he omitted a very key fact that a referendum must be held in Belize for the populace to decide if they want to go to the ICJ.
Can VIP Be More Than a Press Conference Party?
And while the VIP can hold forth for hours at press conferences with the media as their captive audience, you may have noticed that they don’t do so well at the polls.
So, are they a political party, or just press conference pundits?
Today, we asked them if they are serious about being a political party.
Here’s how that conversation went:
"You all are behaving more like a advocacy organisation than a political party."
Patrick Rogers - Member, VIP
"I've been asked that a lot of times that, why doesn't VIP settle back and be king maker because unno no serious bout win an election. The bottom line is brothers and sisters that if you're going to change, you can't change from within.”
More Kids Learning Money Literacy
Another series of summer camps has concluded today. As we reported last week Wednesday, kids were learning all about budgeting and saving at the Financial Literacy Summer Camp. Well, the scholarship section of that initiative concluded today and a short ceremony was held to honour the students who participated. Today at the ITVET we spoke with 3 of the students and they told us how rewarding this experience at the camp has been.
Arin Riley - Manager, Corporate Programs for Peace Work
"This track we have at ITVET is the special part of an initiative called project Belize. This programme in particular at ITVET is the scholarship track. So it's made up of students from the youth leadership council and we have them divided into two programmes. The have the financial literacy and entrepreneurship track and well as the high school innovation track. This morning we heard from 7 high school innovation challenge teams and they presented on a case study that covered youth unemployment in Belize. So we were able to sit through all of their presentations this morning and hear their ideas and we also have our financial and literacy entrepreneurship track that is covering job skills, resume skills, interview skills as we as budgeting, savings and the regular financial literacy entrepreneurship curriculum."
Angie Robateau - Coordinator
"Today we saw were these kids are bright. In 3 days they came up with 7 different solutions for unemployment within Belize - that I think could be their achievable ideas."
BAHA Goes Big Time with PCR Lab
BAHA, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, is trying to contain the MEDFLY in southern Belize, but they’ve also gotten a major upgrade at their headquarters. IT’s a very high tech testing lab called a PCR Lab. We found out more from the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Jose Alpuche - CEO, Ministry of Agriculture
"The opening of this PCR lab puts BAHA at a much higher level in terms of the level of testing that can be done locally in Belize. In the past we've had to send out most of our testing to be done outside, either in Mexico or the US. Now a lot of the confirmatory tests can be done in Belize. It's still not a complete lab, we still have to send certain tests outside but the vast majority for primary confirmation can now be done in Belize by BAHA. It's a testing where they basically take a part the plant and test it using polymer rays technology, a chain reaction technology to detect presence of what ever in this case a virus or bacteria they're looking for.”
This is part of a 12 million dollar project to improve BAHA.
Taking Tour Guides Seriously
Very regularly on the news, you see struggling tour guides trying to scrape out a living by hustling tours at the Fort Street Tourism Village. It’s a fierce and highly competitive atmosphere, and they’re dealing with potential customers who’ve been warned on the cruise ships that they should avoid the guides on the streets. All that makes it TOUGH to earn a living, and the red tape of getting a tour operator’s license just adds one more expense to that struggle.
But the BTB has tried to lessen the force of at least that blow by collaborating with 64 tour operators to regularize their temporary licenses. After 2 years of work, and 4 groups of training cohorts, they are being given a full license to conduct tours in Belize City.
We stopped by the certification process of this 64 operators this evening to find out the difference it will make:
Valdermar Andrade - Director, Destination Planning and Cruise, BTB
"This process started 2 years ago in 2013, when we did the first heritage tour training and from there, 67 guides basically were regularized. Where we train people on different aspects of the Belize City itself, information on the general core of Belize City and also some delivery techniques. I have to say I was very impressed with the 4S cohort. I know many of you suffered through the practicals because you were wondering what we were doing to get you to a certain level but that was exactly the point. The point was to get you to a level of delivery of product that we would be proud of and that will support the Belize brand. So today, we are finishing the third cohort for the general principles for professional tour guiding which gives you the fundamentals of tour guiding, delivery techniques and some additional information on Belize City."
The Harmony of the Prakash Project
PRA-KASH – in English it means light. That is what visiting musicians want listeners to find through music. Argentine guitarist Federico Diaz and Mexican sitarist Leonardo Nieto Joly are in Belize for the first time to perform their mix of Classical Indian music and Latin American folklore music. When we spoke to guitarist Federico Diaz today, he told us that it’s not so much about the music, but really – it’s about where the music takes you.
Federico Diaz - Guitarist
"Prakash is a…..well the intention of Prakash is to transmit something more than the music itself, it should feel like a space of light, the light of the music, a reflection.
"I believe that you can connect Prakash with ...the space, with the profound feelings but overall it’s just the space, the air that people can connect with, not the emptiness – the space. What I want people to take away from this is peace ….silent minds, for people to free the mind – rid the mind of all thoughts."
Nello's Audio Drive
Local musician Kernelle Parks, better known by his stage name “Nello Player”, is looking for a group of youths aged 15 to 25 who are interested in audio engineering. They have to be creative and interested in the basics of producing and editing sound content, which can be used for film, radio, television, and especially music.
He’s collaborated with the Department of Youth Services to put together a two week course with interested individuals. Nello told us more:
You can sign up at the Department of Youth Services, or you can contact Nello at phone number 650-1411.
Making Sound Engineers
And while the performer Nello Player is recruiting, long time sound man Junie Welch today graduated his trainees in pretty much the same discipline. Over the last 19 weeks, Welch, trained and prepared students for the world of sound engineering. According to Communication Officer at Nich, Shari Williams, Audio technicians are needed in Belize:
The ceremony for the 13 trainees will be held at the Bliss tonight at 7pm.