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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
BBQ Blast Fundraiser closes a successful August for Saga!
Saga Humane Society supporters were in for a real treat with Charles’ world famous Bar-B-Q at their BBQ Blast Fundraiser. Hosted at Estel’s Restaurant on Tuesday, August 25th, the fundraising event included raffles, live music and a crowd of hungry people. The event raised much needed funds for the feeding and wellbeing of the animals, but most importantly for Saga’s Spay/Neuter Initiative program (SNIP). Unlike the monthly cook-off fundraisers where there is an array of different dishes to choose from, this time the event had a single three – course meal which included a ceviche appetizer followed by the main course and apple pie for dessert. The main course was the anticipated part of the meal, a delicious plate of an incredible combo BBQ. For a contribution of $60, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a yummy and hearty plate loaded with pork, chicken, Spanish sausage, vegetable kabobs, coleslaw, baked beans, flour tortilla and even corn on the cob.
PM Barrow confirms Guatemalan Military hostility in Sarstoon Area
Tensions between Belize and Guatemala are at an all-time high and the territorial dispute continues to cause issues. The most recent and widely disputed issue is that of Sarstoon Island, which Guatemala openly claims and even has military personnel patrolling. But Belize remains adamant that the island forms part of the country of Belize, and that Guatemala has no claim over any Belizean land.
In the most recent controversy, the Government of Guatemala opposed to the construction of the Belize Coast Guard Forward Operating Base (FOB) on Sarstoon Island. This issue had escalated to an altercation between Guatemala’s Navy and Belize Coast Guard (BCG) personnel, who were working in the Sarstoon Area. As a result of this growing issue, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) led an expedition to Sarstoon Island on Sunday, August 16th, where Belizeans had a patriotic day. The aim of the expedition was to assert the sovereignty of the nation and demonstrate that Sarstoon Island is in fact, Belizean territory. But the expedition faced disapproval from both the Government of Belize (GOB) and Guatemala. GOB denounced the expedition and did not provide any form of security escort. In a press release sent out before the expedition set off, GOB stated, “The Government takes the opportunity to caution and reiterate its position that has been expressed to the Belize Territorial Volunteers that it is imprudent and potentially dangerous for the organizers of this type of excursion to expose innocent Belizeans to the risk of inadvertently entering into Guatemala territory.”
San Pedro participates in 2015 FFB National Male U-15 Football Championship
The San Pedro Male Under-15 (U-15) Football Team was among the ten participating teams in 2015 Football Federation of Belize (FFB) National Male U-15 Football Championship. The tournament kicked off on Monday, August 17th in Belmopan City, and while San Pedro did not take the championship, they certainly performed well. In the semifinal round, San Ignacio Town lost to Independence Village and Orange Walk Town lost to Belize City. This left San Ignacio Town and Belize City to play for third place, while Independence Village faced off Orange Walk Town for the championship. In the third place match, San Ignacio Town defeated Belize City. And the champions of the 2015 FFC National Male U-15 Tournament were none other than the Independence Village U-15 team as they defeated their rivals in the final match. The Orange Walk U-15 team was left to settle for second place.
Congratulation to the champions of the tournament. Kudos to the San Pedro U-15 team for showing great sportsmanship!
First 7 months of 2015 show no major improvement in tourism statistics
Now in the eight month of the year, Belize is starting to see a rise in tourism arrivals after having a slow start. From January to May 2015, with an exception on March 2015, overnight arrivals for each month register a decrease when compared to 2014 statistics. But the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has indicated that the figures are beginning to show an improvement as overnight arrivals have increase in both June and July of 2015.
According to the number overnight arrivals are showing a 1.6% increase in June, and 3% increase in July when compared to the overnight arrivals of 2014. Overall there is still a 0.8% decrease in overnight arrivals for the first seven months of 2015 when compared to the first seven months of 2014. “The 0.8% drop in cumulative arrivals through the first seven months of 2015, was partially attributed to the consistent decreases in the number of overnight visitors from the Canadian market. Statistical indicators have pointed to Canada’s economy going through a downturn,” stated BTB in a press release. March was the only other month that registered an increase with 39,136 overnight arrivals in 2015 as compared to the 38,719 of March 2014. March was also the month that saw the most overnight visitors in the first seven months of the year. The lowest number of overnight arrivals was recorded in May 2015 at 24,707.
Boobies and Paradise – Escape to Half Moon Caye Belize
How about escaping to an isolated island for the day where you can disconnect and appreciate the great outdoors? Sounds like a great idea, right!? This little piece of paradise that I am talking about is called Half Moon Caye, located in the lower southeast corner of the reef in Belize; home to a national park and protected bird sanctuary.
Half Moon Caye lies within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll offshore Belize and can be reached from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye in about a couple hours (faster from Belize City). A visit to the island as part of a diving/snorkeling tour or an all-day beach picnic is a time well spent walking around barefoot with absolutely no cares in the world.
On this tiny island you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can do some beachcombing and then find yourself within lush greenery all in a very short walk; without the crowds. The only traffic that you need to worry about is that of Hermit Crabs crossing your path and avoiding crashing into one of the hundreds of coconut trees that fill the island.
Deputy Mayor Greif Hosts First Think Tank to Address Island Issues
I applaud Deputy Mayor Gary Greif for taking the initiative to reach out to his community last week by hosting the first of many Think Tank socials. He invited a small group of community-minded residents, business people, community pushers/leaders so that they could mingle and discuss issues that are affecting the island. His goal was to get people communicating and sharing ideas in finding solutions to problems on the island, creating new initiatives and projects that can boost tourism and life on the island of Ambergris Caye.
With the portfolio of Tourism under his belt, Deputy Mayor Greif, is looking for positive solutions and initiatives that will work to benefit everybody on the island community. The Think Tank is a social gathering in which invited guests can create networks and meet new people, adding to social circles which can only be positive towards obtaining the common goal to promote tourism and business on our Isla Bonita.
ABTEC Places 100 At-Risk Youth & Group Trainees in Jobs
American Belizean Technology and Education Center (ABTEC), a non-profit organization funded by the US Embassy in Belize, which provides job training to at risk youths and vulnerable groups, is proud to announce that it has placed over 100 trainees in jobs.
Over 300 trainees have completed the program in 2015. While some have already been placed, a lot more have applied and are scheduled to attend interviews.
After completing the program, ABTEC assist trainees to find jobs. The feedback has been good from organizations where trainees have been placed, and we continue to fine tune our program to increase its success ratio.
It’s Very Hot and Dry in Belize, El Nino Brings Drought Conditions
Weather experts are predicting that this El Niño could be one of the strongest ever recorded, bringing further drought to the Caribbean. That’s according to an updated forecast issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which indicates that there is a 90% chance that El Niño will continue through the end of the year, and an 85% chance that it will last until next April.
The hot and dry conditions are being felt in Belize; the country is in the middle of the rainy season and drought warnings have been issued. Currently the Belize National Meteorological Service indicates that there is a drought watch for northern Belize and an extended drought concern for the entire country until the end of 2015.
Misc Belizean Sources
Musical Summer Camp performance
Come and support our little ones First Musical Summer Camp performance.
August 29th, Caye Caulker
Poets Corner: Banana Peel
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Belize media does not yet understand its power
To make or break a leader
They need to look at the Jamaica media
Who when they talk politicians shiver
Perhaps that’s why we have lost Khalillah
Belize has nine local and forty national media houses
By vested interests they are now clouded
Journalist beholden to media house owners
Protecting secrets for his lodge brother the minister
It’s not all about competing for infomercials and ads
Be you reminded that you are in a service industry lads
Government must not be allowed to manipulate you with licence renewals and that’s sad
Government lowdown tactics of liable coercion
This amounts to nothing but extortion
Man Acquitted For Mennonite Murder
After 4 years on remand, 28 year-old Nicholas Swazo, is at home tonight after being acquitted of murder in a trial without jury for the shooting death of 36 year-old Mennonite Businessman Wendell Reimer.
On October 7, 2011, the three men barged into Eagle One Hardware Store, located at mile 4 and a half on the Phillip Goldson Highway. One of the men was armed, and that’s when they held up the cashier, stole the money in the cash register and the gunman shot and killed the store-owner, Wendell Reimer.
Now, both Swazo and 25 year-old Ernest Staine, who was acquitted on last week Tuesday, are now free of the capital offence. As soon as Justice Adolph Lucas finished delivering his written ruling, we spoke with Swazo’s attorney outside of court about it:
Christelle Wilson- Attorney of Nicholas Swazo
"Nicholas Swazo is my client, he has been on remand for about 4 years for the murder of Mr. Wendellin Reimer who was the owner of the Eagle One Hardware store; and today he walked out of the courtroom a free man acquitted of the charges or murder so we are very happy to have received that result. They had actually charged 2 men with this crime of murder. One of the men was acquitted a little bit earlier in the trail, Ernest Staine; on the grounds that they did not have any evidence to show that Ernest Staine had the mental intention or mens rea as we say in law to commit murder.
After 27 Years, Melvin Hulse Calls It Quits
Former UDP Minister, and most recently the UDP standard bearer for Stann Creek West, Melvin Hulse says he’s resigning form the UDP. Hulse, who is a three time representative – and a veteran UDP politician for 27 years appeared on the LOVE FM Morning Show today to say that he’s calling it quits with the UDP – because they keep frustrating him in his attempts to help his people in Stann Creek West:..
Melvin Hulse - Resigned From The UDP
"I never expect the day mi wa come when I had to say, as of now, as of today, I am officially no member of the UDP party; I resign from the party. And I want to be an independent free thinker who; if he sees any injustice or anything. Because when you belong with a party, you are to a degree obligated not to be attacking your organization. Man if I work for BTL, I can't be criticising them. I work for Love FM, I can't criticize them. We can do it out there and then they tape and we get in trouble. I have decided that we reach a point that; no reason to quarrel with you anymore, we're on a different page. My loyalty is that we have an obligation to help grass root people and they should not. How much, every day we the hear about we the put system, put system. People can't get their purchase price, can't get their title. I have people who have paid for their title years ago; can't get lease, can't get that, can't get education help, can't get electricity, can't get pipe for water expansion. That da no weh this country is about you know."
Sr. Supt Williams Disputes
On Monday’s news, we showed you our interview with the family of 16 year-old Mark Phillips who was shot in the abdomen on Thursday night. The police said that he and another man were armed and waiting to ambush a man who was walking by. The cops say the plan went wrong when Phillips ended up getting shot by his partner in crime. Phillips, his family, and residents in the area, say that the cops have it all wrong; Phillips and his 2 friends are in fact the victims a failed street slaying.
So, who put the police narrative together – and how could it be so far off? We asked Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, the Officer Commanding Eastern Division South. He told us that Phillips and his alibi witnesses better prepare themselves to tell that story to the judge, because the police will move forward with the prosecution base don their version:
"Are the police investigators reconsidering the position that they have taken to take criminal action against all 3 of them?"
Former Musical Artist Found Dead In River after Falling On Hard Times
Back in 2004, the performer named Bobo Youth lit up the local music scene with his song “Protect and Serve,” a searing criticism of police. But, when he wasn’t on stage or in the studio, Bobo Youth, whose real name is Theodore Parchue got in major trouble with the law, caught in the act during a burglary – for which he got sentenced to 7 years. That was back in 2006 – and since then the former rapper has fallen on hard times. He had been homeless for the past few years, living under the Belcan Bridge in Belize City.
Well, this morning at 8:20, the 34 year old was found dead under that same bridge – afloat in the Belize River. He was caught in the net of a fisherman – who got quite a scare. He told us about it:…
Unemployment At Lowest Mark in 7 Years
All over the world, unemployment figures are a critical indicator of an economy’s wellbeing. In Belize, the unemployment rate is derived from the Labour Force Survey – which is done twice yearly – in April and September. The results of the April 2015 survey were released today and they show that with a labour force of 153 thousand persons, 138 thousand are employed. That leaves 15 about thousand unemployed – for an unemployment rate of 10.1% - the lowest recorded figure since April of 2007 – and one percent lower than a year ago. Director General of the Statistical Institute of Belize Leopold Perriot explained at press conference today:..
Leopold Perriot - Director General, SIB
"The employed labour force went up slightly from April 2014 to April 2015; went up by total of about 3,500 people. So the employed persons, 138,145 person in April 2015. They are 15,544 persons that are unemployed in Belize April 2015 compared with 16,730 in April 2014; we're down in the unemployed categories. And we're down mostly due to the females. Compared with April 2014, the unemployment rate is down 1 percentage point. Currently it stands at about 10.1%; and so it's down from 11.1% in April 2014. And this is the distribution in respect to various districts. Stann Creek of course seems to give us the highest unemployment rate; followed by Cayo. Lowest in Toledo, that's what it was last time Toledo also is 2014."
GDP Down For Second Quarter
And while the unemployment figure is down – so is the GDP – and that’s not good, because the GDP is the total value of all goods and services produced within that territory. And when it is down – as it is for the second quarter of 2015 - that suggests an economic slowdown. The latest GDP estimate was released today along with the figures of inflation in July of 2015 – which, despite the fact that you may be paying more for groceries and foodstuffs, shows that overall, prices are falling. We’ll let the experts explain it:
Jules Vasquez Reporting….
Inflation for July was down -1% when compared to July of last year.
That is based on a one hundred dollar so called shopping basket – and the statisticians say – it costs less than last year:
Angelita Campbell - Statistician II
"For instance if you were to purchase a basket of goods last year on an average of 100 dollars, this year it will cost roughly 99 dollars."
Managing The Sargassum Phenomenon
The sargassum phenomenon is swamping beaches all over Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Belize is no exception – and with tourism numbers for the first half of the year sagging just a little bit – the blighted beaches can be safely scapegoated for the modest downturn. And what is government doing to try and help? Today the Tourism Minister said they are giving duty exemptions to any resort or hotel owner who is importing equipment to dispose of the Sargassum:…
Hon. Manuel Junior Heredia - Minister of Tourism
"The overall from the January to July it was .08 % only the difference between one year and the other. So I believe that even though there were little factors, one that I could say that you mentioned privately a while ago the sargassum has been a minimal; I cannot say that it is just a minimal part of that one because our beaches for almost 2 years have been practically 25-30 feet wide, the entire beaches of Belize with that sargassum. Whenever you cannot keep your beaches 24 hours a day as white as it used to be, it is indeed a problem. There are some of the tourists that will come specifically to be bathing in the shallow waters right in front of the beach of their resort.”
Sunset Cove Revisited
And today the media also asked Heredia about the Sunset Cove subdivision. You may remember that a year ago, news came out that survey pegs had appeared in the middle of a mangrove wetland – one that had been put aside for part of a protected area – but somehow ended up as a proposed subdivision. IT brought heat on area representative Manuel Junior Heredia – but today, he told the media that an alternate and viable plan has been worked out:…
Hon. Manuel Junior Heredia - Minister of Tourism
"Today I can tell you and I can invite you to go and see the subdivision that we have done. What we decided because; indeed I have to accept that a subdivision in low area has been done in other parts of the island. But politics unfortunately, politics is the name of the game and the opposition will use it to their advantage. But in this case, it worked to my advantage because Cabinet decided to give us 400 acres of what was invested in Beltraide; which is far better land than what we were using and we have created. We have created a concept plan of what we want to in those 400 acres.
Community Policing 1, 2, 3
Once upon a time not too long ago, it seemed like every evening newscast would be filled with reports of police brutality. But nowadays you can substitute the buzzword “community policing” for “police brutality” – because that’s what’s on the news, like, every night. Now don’t get us wrong; this isn’t to say that police brutality has come to an end – we’re very sure it hasn’t. But the police department is trying to change the public narrative about policing – apparently by inundating the news with community policing initiatives.
For the past two months, we’ve been showing you the sustained community policing efforts that the Belize City cops have been rolling out in the different neighbourhoods that have been trapped in the cycle of gang violence.
Well, Eastern Division South Commander Chester Williams and other police officers were out in the area of Supal Street and Kraal Road today. This is the turf of two powerful gangs, but for the past few weeks, it has been incident free. Williams told us today that the police will not be lulled into a false sense of security:
There Will Be A New DHS
There will be a new Director of Health Services. After 7 years in the job, we are told that Dr. Michael Pitts is moving on. We don’t know the terms of his departure, but we do know that Dr. Ramon Figueroa will be replacing him. Dr. Figueroa was formerly the Director of the Planning and Policy Management Unit. The transition is expected to happen before the end of this week.
Pitts had an adversarial relationship with CEO in the Ministry, Dr. Peter Allen – which went on for years. His departure is seen as CEO Allen eventually winning out in the power struggle.
Cruise Tourism: The Real Ideal
Every year, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Children's Environmental Poster Competition, awards Caribbean and Latin American students for creating posters depicting ways to protect the environment and promote awareness in their country. This year's competition featured finalists from 12 destinations ranging from juniors to seniors with nearly $26,000 awarded to the participants and schools. 16 year old Nisa Sanchez of E.P York High School won second place in the senior competition and was awarded three thousand dollars to put towards her education and another three thousand dollars for her school. 11 year old Homayra Sarah on St Joseph RC School won third place in the junior competition and was awarded with two thousand dollars, also for her education and another 2 thousand for her school. Today the Belize Tourism Board held a handing over ceremony of the cheques to the winners.
At this morning’s ceremony there was another handing over. The Tourism Board donated 5 Yamaha trail bikes and equipment to the Tourism Police Unit to assist the Unit in carrying out their mandate.
The bikes will be distributed to Hopkins, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye, Cayo and Belize City.
A Rum Called Fiesta
Our next story is about rum – but in no way is it promoting drinking. That said, there’s no denying that the sugar cane alcohol is a major part of Belize’s tourism product, and, again, this year, just in time for September, Travellers Liquors has launched Fiesta Rum. This is a follow up on last year’s release of “Belizean Rum.” Now Fiesta Rum is the first we know of with a celebrity tie-in. The celebrity in question is DJ Dalla – and he launched the blended spice rum today at Traveller’s headquarters:
We stress alcohol consumption is for adults.
For the past 2 weeks, Sarstoon Island and Sarstoon River have dominated the headlines – and you all got to see how the Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute was playing out in real time.
But, tonight, we have slightly different take for you. Sure enough, the Sarstoon issue is no joke – but the civilian-led river adventures – have also had their share of misadventures – mainly because the territorial volunteers are figure out as they go along. And that’s fine – the men and women of the volunteers, are stout of heart and strong in spirit. But they also have to have a good sense of humour – because as the saying goes, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. So, we’ve put together a parable of misadventure on the Sarstoon, partly at our expense. Enjoy – and try not to laugh too much:
Daniel Ortiz Reporting….
Protecting the sovereignty of the Sarstoon: it’s a serious and powerful statement, but there have been a few misadventures in that location which provides ample comic relief.
Bobo, Before The Fall
And as we close tonight – we look back to June of 2004. That’s when Theodore Parchue, then known as Bobo Youth was the popular artist on the local scene with his breakthrough song, Protect and Serve. It was a very effective police protest music song – and one that resonated at many levels of the community. It was the high point for Bobo Youth – who as we told you at the top of the newscast went very much downhill after 2006 when he was convicted of burglary. He died this morning as a homeless man under a city bridge. But in 2004, when, as the old spiritual says, “hope was still unborn”, no one could have guessed at such a tragic, and nameless end for a one time street celebrity. Tonight we look back at Keith swift’s story of the then ebullient artist.
Theodore PArchue, aka Bobo Youth, dead at 34. Tomorrow we’ll know more about his cause of death, but police do not suspect foul play
Senator Shoman Formally Requests O.A.S. Report
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it will not release the O.A.S. report on the Sarstoon Incident unless both governments, Belize and Guatemala, agree to do so. That’s [...]
Military Aggression at Sarstoon Was News to Her
Every Tuesday, the Belize Defence Force heads up the Sarstoon to the observation post at Cadenas where shifts are changed. That’s been happening for years, but suddenly there are claims [...]
Turmoil in Guatemala Escalates
As the Opposition seeks the report of the Guatemalan incursion at the Sarstoon, Guatemala remains in turmoil as calls for the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina escalate. On Tuesday, [...]
Congress to Decide If President Should Stand Trial
Since the scandal broke in April, there have been waves of protests across Guatemala. According to McDonald, President Perez Molina can be made to stand trial as a civilian for [...]
Former U.D.P. Minister Melvin Hulse Resigns
It hasn’t been a great week for the United Democratic Party, which came under fire on Monday from former U.D.P. Minister Hubert Elrington. Apparently its reunion week for former Ministers [...]
Hulse Claims the U.D.P. is Victimizing His People
Just in case you missed it, that last shot from Hulse to his former colleagues was a not so subtle threat – coming from the belly of the beast, so [...]
Hulse Reveals Details of Placencia Land Transaction
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, said Hulse, is a land deal gone terribly wrong in Placencia. He claims that the Ministry of Natural Resources, at which he [...]
Body of Bobbo Youth Found Floating in Haulover Creek
Police have positively identified the body of a man pulled from the Haulover Creek this morning as that of thirty-three year old Theodore Parchue, better known as Bobbo Youth. He [...]
Another Murder Suspect Walks Free
A second suspect in the murder of a Mennonite businessman four years ago walked free today. On October seventh, 2011, Wendelin Reimer was shot and killed during a robbery at [...]
City Man Charged for Jacking St. Joseph Parish
Eighteen year old Jayear Flores of a Curassow Street appeared in court this morning and was charged for robbery. The charge stems from the robbery of a laptop bag containing [...]
Tourism Ministry Donates to Tourism Police
Today, the Tourism Policing Unit of the Belize Police Department was the recipient of a much needed donation courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism. Five motorcycles and a number of [...]
Minister Heredia Explains Drop in 2015 Tourist Arrivals
Late last week, the Belize Tourism Board issued the figures for tourist arrivals for the period of January to July of 2015. When compared to last year, the report says [...]
Sargassum Still Affecting San Pedro
Sargassum, it is a regional environmental phenomenon that has been plaguing the entire Caribbean. In areas such as Cancun, the sargassum spreads four feet deep and about a hundred feet [...]
SIB Says Imports Up…Unemployment Down!
The Statistical Institute of Belize held a press conference this morning at the Lecture Hall of the Central Bank Building where the July 2015 External Trade Bulletin, the Consumer Price [...]
Community Policing Meet & Greet Targets Hotspots
If the police haven’t been to your house yet, you might as well look out for them because they are busy with a community policing strategy led by the Eastern [...]
B.T.B. Awards Winners in Poster Competition
A total of twelve countries participated this year in the Florida Carnival Cruise Association’s annual poster competition. This year, an EP Yorke High School student and a Saint Joseph Primary [...]
Travellers’ Launches Fiesta Rum
There’s a brand new rum on the local scene and it’s called Fiesta Rum coming out of the barrels at Traveller’s. But this one is actually a partnership; the brainchild [...]
Fisheries in Belize…Part Deux
There are many challenges facing fisher folks, who depend on marine resources to earn a living. On Tuesday night, we featured part one of a series on the state of [...]