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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

BTB to help BTIA solve sargassum problem
The Belize Tourist Board (BTB) and the government of Belize will work with tourism industry stakeholders to solve the problem of cleaning up sargassum off the beaches; as Cabinet has already been briefed on the situation. This was the good news BTB director Herbert Haylock communicated to members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) when the stakeholders met to seek practical solutions to the sargassum problem at a forum hosted by the BTIA at the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City last Thursday, December 3rd. Haylock told the constituency that a joint task force from the Ministries of Tourism and Aviation, Forestry and Fisheries, and Natural Resources were presently considering a policy for the best way forward. He added that he could not offer a precise timetable for when government would produce its national policy on the issue, but he optimistically opined that it could be within a month, as Cabinet had been briefed on the issue from before the elections.

The SPTC addressing deplorable road conditions
Residents of Ambergris Caye continue registering their displeasure over the condition of the roads around the island, particularly in the southern areas. In recent weeks, the inclement weather has added to the deplorable conditions of the roads, with residents complaining about inundated potholes, and flooded, muddy roads. The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) states that it has acknowledged the situation and is already addressing the issue as the rains have ceased for the time being. In northern Ambergris Caye, hoteliers were concerned about a crater like pothole blocking access to the rest of the island, while in the south and outskirts of San Pedro Town, likewise residents and businesses were being affected by completely flooded, impassable streets. The SPTC states that although the conditions can be attributed to Mother Nature, they are doing their best to alleviate the problem as it is one of their prime responsibilities.

Team Catrachos are Football Marathon Champions
The San Pedro Sports Committee hosted a fun filled football marathon on Sunday, December 6th at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex. The marathon came as a result of the anticipated football tournament which is set to start shortly. Despite the gloomy weather, a total of nine teams showed up, and football fans of all ages came to support and cheer for their favorite teams. The different teams that participated were Catrachos, Vince, PSG, San Mateo, Peace Makers, Belize Pro Divers, Juniors, Progresso Boys and United. The following round of the competition was the semi-finals and the first match was between Catrachos against United. After an intense game, Catrachos managed to win the match with a solid 2-0 qualifying for the finals against Progresso Boys who was the team with the most goals. The crowd became more excited while members of each time made their final preparations for the final game. After an interlude of 15 minutes, the final match kicked off.

International Water taxi Terminal inaugurated in Chetumal, Mexico
On Tuesday, December 1st, the governor of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo Roberto Borge Angulo, along with the coordinator of ports and maritime markets Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, inaugurated the new, modern, and international boat terminal dubbed “Filiberto Sabido Padilla” in the city of Chetumal. The terminal, which is located at the border city’s municipal dock “Nachi-Cocom,” has been a key player for decades in the maritime transportation between Chetumal and Belize, especially to and from Ambergris Caye. It is expected that this new boat terminal will not just strengthen the communication with Belize, but also be a bridge to reach out to other countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

Project BA -1 participants to receive promised grants
After several months of waiting, 34 women from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, will finally receive their grants to start or expand their businesses. In May 2015, the Belize Training and Employment Centre, a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, hosted a three week training seminar for women in San Pedro Town. Titled ‘Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking project BA 1’, the training was designed for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, with the aim to assist victims in becoming more self-confident by empowering them with the necessary tools to help them gain personal development. At the end of the program, qualified participants were selected for a grant in order to develop their business ideas, but after the women completed the training, the funds were not immediately forthcoming. However, their constant inquiries yielded results, and on Saturday, December 5th, they were given the good news at a private gathering at the San Pedro High School.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Trivia Night!
Come join the fun every Sunday and Wednesday! Test your knowledge of useless facts, have a laugh, and win money towards your bar bill! Always a great time - Fun,…Location : Barrier Reef Sports Bar & GrillStart Date: December 13, 2015 End Date: December 13, 2015 Time: 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm

11th Annual Permaculture Design Course
This is the 11th Annual Permaculture Design Course being held at Maya Mountain Research Farm. Using a mix of classroom time and hands on exercises, students will learn about permaculture in a venue that is 27 years in the making.

Amandala

Belizean authorities yank American dentist’s license
An American dentist who was accused of falsifying documents to get medical credentials to practice dentistry in San Pedro at the Oceanside Dental Center, under the false name of Dr. Robert Bob Hall, when he was in fact John Robert Hall, was arrested and charged by San Pedro police with “making false representation.” Hall, 54, was taken to the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court where he was read the charge. In court, he was ordered to surrender all his travel documents, and his medical credentials were revoked and he was forbidden to practice dentistry in Belize. He was then offered and met bail of $7,000 and ordered to return to court on February 12, 2016. Oceanside Dental Clinic is located on the second floor of Four Sisters Plaza on Pescador Drive. While in custody in San Pedro, Hall was visited by attorney Ellis Arnold, but yesterday in court, he appeared before Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez unrepresented. Arnold told Amandala he is representing Dr. Hall, but as far as he was concerned, he has been released. Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, Commander of San Pedro police, reported that Hall was set to begin to work as a dentist at the new Oceanside Dental Center, which was to begin operation on Monday morning, but police intervened and ensured that the center did not open, and that Hall was prevented from working, after which he was arrested.

PetroCaribe halcyon days are gone!
With Venezuela’s Opposition gaining a supermajority of seats in that country’s legislature following Sunday’s election, it is believed that the political outcome also marks an end to socialist rule in that country and possibly drastic alterations in the PetroCaribe program under which countries such as Belize have accessed long-term concessionary financing while buying fuel from Venezuela on credit. Speaking with journalists on Friday, Finance Minister and Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow said that whether the program continues or not, future inflows would be primarily earmarked to settle compensation due from the Government for shares it appropriated when it nationalized the two utility companies: Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). Barrow said that “…we will continue to get far less than in the halcyon days – in the glory days.”

Christmas in jail for $11,639 jacking!
wo men who allegedly stole a bag of money amounting to about $11,639, which they believed would have been their Christmas loot, were busted with a 9mm S&W gun and 40 rounds of ammunition when police went to their house to search for the money. Besides the gun and the rounds found in the house, the money bag was also found, but of the $11,639 that was in it, only $9,639 was found. The two men, Malieck Michael Humes, 19, and Macory Alexander Neal, 22, were arrested and taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today. They appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza, who arraigned them on four charges: one count of keeping a prohibited firearm; one count of keeping a firearm without a license and another count for keeping ammunition without a gun license for forty-two rounds of 9mm rounds; and one count of handling stolen goods, for being in possession of a small black plastic bag which contained $9,639.00 and a tablet valued at $2,000, the property of Zane Allen Robinson.

Stevedores end 3-day strike
Negotiations between the Christian Workers Union (CWU) and the management of Port of Belize Ltd. went on all night last night and continued until late this afternoon, when the parties were able to broker an agreement that more than one hundred stevedores who have been on strike since Monday found acceptable as a condition to return to work at 5:00 p.m. this evening to begin unloading the cargo ship Pagola, which was anchored off English Caye waiting for the stevedores’ industrial action to end before it headed into Belize City harbor with its cargo this afternoon. On Monday, when the strike began, catching Port of Belize Ltd. management off-guard, a ship that had brought a cargo of turkeys, hams, and construction materials left Belize and headed back to Miami, Florida. Tensions were high last night at the Port of Belize Limited, Caesar Ridge Road headquarters, as striking stevedores gathered inside the compound for updates on the negotiations between CWU and Port of Belize Limited management.

Immigration scam perpetrated on at least 22, Immigration Minister denies involvement of officials
A major immigration scam, allegedly perpetrated on at least 22 persons who were seeking genuine Belizean citizenship, was kept under the radar until the matter was disclosed by Opposition member for Toledo West, Hon. Michael Espat, in the House of Representatives on Friday, December 4, 2015. Although Espat seemed to have been partially right, that an immigration scam did take place, he apparently misreported some of the facts, and now Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse is demanding an “immediate and public apology” from Espat for alleging that certain government officials, including Immigration Director Maria Marin, had a hand in it. On Friday, December 4, 2015, Espat suggested that high-ranking immigration officials had been involved in a citizenship scam perpetrated against his constituents in Bella Vista and Trio, who, he said, were pressured into paying $1,000 per nationality in a “clandestine” manner.

BPP calls on GOB to sign UN convention on corruption
Today is the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, a day which is recognized in the 178 countries which are signatories to the United Nations Convention on Corruption that countries began signing onto twelve years ago. Belize, however, is not a signatory to the convention, although corruption in Belize’s governance structure is so obvious at times that it is noticeable internationally – with clear examples of this being the Elvin Penner passport scandal and the latest incident in which an international fugitive escaped extradition. Belize’s third political party, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), had campaigned in the November 4 general elections on a promise of corruption-free governance, and had pledged that if elected they would sign the UN convention on corruption. Since it lost badly at the polls, however, the BPP observed International Anti-Corruption Day by protesting in front of the National Assembly building and then paying a visit to the Integrity Commission’s office in Belmopan. They then came down to Belize City, where party officials staged a symbolic signing of the UN Convention on Corruption on Coney Drive in front of the Prime Minister’s Belize City office.

The Bandits’ nightmare
With their backs against the wall going into game 2 of the semifinals down 2-0 to defending champions Verdes FC, the Belmopan Bandits have a tall task indeed, facing elimination from the PLB Opening Season playoffs, unless they can win on Saturday night by at least a 2 goal margin in regulation to force overtime, and then get another goal for the victory, or win outright by a 3 goal margin in regulation. Neither task is less than daunting, especially with reports that veteran Bandits striker Elroy Kuylen will not be available due to an injury in last weekend’s game. The seeds of the Bandits’ nightmare were certainly planted when their former lead striker, national team decorated Deon McCaulay left then national champions Bandits in early 2014 to “seek his fortune” with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the U.S.; because it was under difficult circumstances that left some “bad blood” between him and Bandits owner John Saldivar, who was reluctant to sign the release papers. Things did not work out with the Silverbacks, and when some Belizean sports activists became agitated with our national team’s struggles in World Cup Qualifiers against Cayman earlier this year, they decided to launch a fund raising campaign to bring back Deon to the national team.

Sailing is back in Gales Point Manatee
The newly formed Malanti Blak Bud Sailing Club (MBBSC) of Gales Point Manatee was introduced to the Optimist dinghies last weekend of December 5th and 6th. This was made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Tammy Lemus, BzSA Board Member and owner of the San Pedro Sailing Club. Mrs. Myrna Manzanarez, President of the MBBSC, made a call for assistance with boats, and Mrs. Tammy Lemus wasted no time in providing four (4) Optimist dinghies on loan to Gales Point Manatee. Some twenty (20) youths, ranging in ages from 6-15 years, braved the cold and rainy days with the, enthusiasm matched only by their elders. The village of Gales Point Manatee has in the past produced some of the best sailboat racers in the country. With a strong tradition for the 16ft wooden racing dories like Janice Y, Samantha, Elma B, Goldfinch, Martin L, Sylvia, Gilda J, just to name a few.

CYDP Peace Cup weekend scores and standings
The CYDP 2015 Peace Cup football tournament is nearing the end of regular season, and 4 more games were scheduled to be played this past Saturday, December 5, at the MCC Grounds. In game 1, Kingspark Strikers defeated Tut Bay United, 3-1, with goals from Shamar Thompson, Ladrelle Middleton and Jonathan Perrera; while Tut Bay’s only goal was by Brian Martinez. Game 2 saw Ebony Lake with the 2-1 win over Kelly Street. Jerome Archer and Trivion Martinez shook the net for Ebony Lake, while Francis Andrews tallied for Kelly Street. In game 3, Uprising Stars ran over Majestic Alley FC, 7-1, with goals from Harold Thompson (2), Francisco Briceno (2), and Darrel Myvett (3); while Ralph Lopez got the only goal for Majestic Alley. In the scheduled game 4, Survivor United FC won by default over Jerusalem FC.

2015 National Hopes Week & Challenge a success!!!
The National Hopes Week & Challenge concluded this past Monday, December 1, with over 23 Junior players receiving certificates of participation in the closing ceremonies of the program at the Belize Table Tennis Association (BTTA) training facility located at Body 2000 gym on Coney Drive, Belize City. 23 Junior players had the opportunity to work with International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) High Performance Coach Aleksey Yefremov of Belarus for one week leading up to the National Hopes Challenge Tournament staged at the Belize Elementary Auditorium on Saturday, November 26. The National Hopes Challenge is a part of a wider ITTF initiative which seeks to identify the world’s top Under 12 cadet players, as well as to work with local coaches to improve their skill level. Each participating country is responsible to set up a National Hopes Week to identify their best Under 12 cadet players. These players then go on to a Continental Hopes Challenge Week, and the winners at that event move on to the World Hopes Challenge Week.

Editorial: “Discomfort” at the Sarstoon
If we are to judge from the Wednesday evening television newscasts in our nation-state, there were at least three moments of varying degrees of discomfort when Belizean political and military officials went to the Sarstoon River mouth on Wednesday morning to break ground for a forward operating base on the northern, Belizean bank of the Sarstoon. The Belizean delegation, reportedly accompanied by two representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS), included Minister of National Security, John Saldivar; Minister of Education, Patrick Faber; Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Frank Mena; Commandant of the Belize Defence Force, Brigadier-General David Jones; Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Admiral John Borland; and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security, Col. (Ret’d) George Lovell. In response to an invitation to view the ground breaking ceremony, Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Raul Morales, a carryover Minister from the previous Otto Perez Molina presidency, had sent a diplomatic note, an excerpt from which Belize’s Minister of National Security read. That excerpt, translated into English from the Spanish by translators unknown, quoted from Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, and appeared to seek fishing rights for Guatemalans in Belizean waters. No doubt we will be hearing more of this diplomatic note, to which Belize has reportedly responded, but suffice to say on this Thursday morning, December 10, 2015, that the diplomatic note episode appeared to an episode of discomfort for the delegation. If it was not, it should have been.

From the Publisher
The big political news in the United States of America over the last few days is that the leading candidate for the Republican Party nomination for next year’s Presidential election, a business mogul by the name of Donald Trump, has called for a ban on Muslims being allowed into the United States. The mainstream Republican Party candidates and personalities have, by and large, denounced Trump’s bigoted call. He has even been referred to as a “fascist demagogue.” But, Trump’s lead in the polls derives from the fact that the things he has been saying, no matter how distasteful to more enlightened Americans, appeal to the Republican base. It may be said that what we now know as the United States began almost four hundred years ago with the arrival from Plymouth, England, of a sailing ship called the Mayflower north of Virginia on the northeastern coast of America. This was 1620 Anno Domini, and the passengers were English men and women who felt they were experiencing a religious persecution in England which they considered unbearable. They were called “Pilgrims,” also “Puritans.” They were Christians being persecuted by Christians. The majority population of what we now know as the continental United States at the time when the Pilgrims landed was, of course, Native American tribes. But, in 1565 the Spanish had established St. Augustine in what we now call Florida, St. Augustine being considered the oldest city in the United States.

Before “di cow done gaan”
Editor AMANDALA: Dear Sir, If you will, count me among the grumblers, skeptics and conspiracy theorists, if that’s what it takes to bring more clarity and assurance that we are not going down a well-known path to heartbreak and disappointment with our Belize Civic Center. Remember when semipro basketball was at its zenith in the early 1990’s, and the crowd too much to fit in the old Civic Center; and the government of the day gave one of its cronies the contract to remodel and expand the Civic Center; and what we got was an oven, that punished stubborn diehard fans who still dared to come out to support the fledgling semipro basketball industry? May we be going down that road again? How can we be sure, when we have not been privy to the details of the plan in any public exposé; and now we’re hearing about “fully air conditioned”? Do you remember the many large insulated conduits that adorned the ceiling in the “remodeled” Civic Center, that were never activated for the supposed air-conditioning? 33 million dollars is a lot of money for our tax dollars to repay. A select group of contractors seem to be benefitting from the windfall of this government’s Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), a private company handling government contracts, with no oversight from the inactive Public Accounts Committee. Could this be another version of the so-called “retirement plan for the boys (and girls)”?

Belize ends open access to marine fisheries
Roughly 40 fishermen met today at the Fisheries Department compound in Belize City for a one-day workshop as fisheries authorities here in Belize prepare to embark on the full rollout of the managed access program—an initiative first piloted two years ago at Glovers Reef and Port Honduras which will put an imminent end to open access by licensed commercial fishermen to resources across Belize’s marine space. Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade told Amandala that Cabinet had previously fixed June 2016 for the full rollout of the managed access program, but they have now green-lighted a soft rollout for next month, January 2016. She said that this would allow them to do a test-run and put in place institutional requirements for proper implementation. Wade explained that the soft rollout means that fisheries authorities will not be bringing down the force of the law, and they won’t necessarily be taking people to court for violating the new managed access rules. The first six months would, however, provide an opportunity for further public education and for building understanding of new requirements. It would also give fishers a greater opportunity to take on, their role and provide more valuable feedback to the Department.

Toledo Maya snag 2015 Equator Prize in land rights
The Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) today received recognition in Paris, France, as the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Equator Prize in land rights, as part of the Climate Change Conference. The award was received by MLA spokesperson, Cristina Coc, and MLA chair, Alfonso Cal. The Equator Initiative has received hundreds of nominations for the Equator Prize 2015 as part of an extensive partnership effort underway to strengthen and highlight the role of indigenous peoples and local communities at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP21), the organizers explained. They said that following a global call for nominations, the Equator Initiative received a record-setting 1,461 nominations from 126 countries around the world. “A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of international experts guided a rigorous, months-long peer-review process to select the 21 winning initiatives,” the organizers revealed.

The Energy of Nature vs. The Nature of Energy
Belize struck its first commercial oil find in Spanish Lookout, Cayo, just over a decade ago, and while there have been offshore exploratory wells drilled since the 50’s, a campaign sparked by the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 has fueled an initiative to entirely ban offshore drilling in Belize. Today, John Burgos, Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), said that the BTIA stands ready to join stakeholders to ensure that the ban is extended to all offshore areas. He was speaking at a one-day conference on The Energy of Nature vs. The Nature of Energy, convened today by Oceana at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. Last week, Cabinet announced that a legal ban would be instituted to cover select protected areas that have World Heritage Site status: Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and National Park, the natural monuments at Lighthouse Reef (The great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monuments included), the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, the Laughing Bird Caye National Park, the Glovers Reef Marine Reserve, and the Sapodilla Caye Marine Reserve. Of note is that the Caye Caulker reserve, although listed among the banned sites, is not listed by UNESCO among the protected areas in the Belize World Heritage Sites. Drilling will also be banned within a kilometer of the Belize Barrier Reef system.

Parliamentarians decry Schnitzer Immigration fiasco
Whereas the supplementary appropriation bill for $44.7 million in PetroCaribe spending dominated the discussion in the National Assembly today, Friday, another headliner was the scandal surrounding the escape of international fugitive, David Nanes Schnitzer, who was also known in Belize as David Banes, and whose Belizean citizenship was recently revoked on the premise of fraud. Hon. Kareem Musa, People’s United Party member for Caribbean Shores, who claimed “bragging rights” for being the area rep of United Democratic Party leader, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, raised the issue of the latest Immigration debacle involving Schnitzer. Musa said Schnitzer was reportedly wanted for money crimes overseas but ran for cover to the beautiful tropical paradise called Belize, where, Musa alleged, officials and ministers “welcomed and sheltered him,” and provided him with residency, passport and even a voter’s ID. “This latest immigration foul-up only served to open up a very fresh national wound left behind by Elvin Penner and Won Hong Kim,” Musa said.

Belize turns down request for passage of 5,000 Cuban migrants
Belize today denied a request from Costa Rica to allow thousands of Cuban migrants who are stuck at the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border passage through Belize, on their way to Mexico and eventually to the USA. Last week, Guatemala said no to the proposal to allow the migrants to pass through that country, and Nicaragua, which had previously allowed their passage, deployed its military to stop new migrants from passing through their territory last month. Latest reports carried by international media indicate that the number of Cuban migrants wanting to use Central America as a corridor to enter the USA—to take advantage of that country’s wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cubans who set foot on US soil to stay despite their irregular status—has swelled from 3,000 to 5,000, and the Government of Costa Rica has asked Cubans to refrain from traveling through that country, because they don’t have adequate facilities for them. In an official statement issued on Tuesday, Belize said that Cabinet had met today to discuss the proposal but Cabinet had decided that Belize cannot make any commitments outside of a regional, arrangement.

BPP calls on GOB to sign UN convention on corruption
Today is the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, a day which is recognized in the 178 countries which are signatories to the United Nations Convention on Corruption that countries began signing onto twelve years ago. Belize, however, is not a signatory to the convention, although corruption in Belize’s governance structure is so obvious at times that it is noticeable internationally – with clear examples of this being the Elvin Penner passport scandal and the latest incident in which an international fugitive escaped extradition. Belize’s third political party, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), had campaigned in the November 4 general elections on a promise of corruption-free governance, and had pledged that if elected they would sign the UN convention on corruption. Since it lost badly at the polls, however, the BPP observed International Anti-Corruption Day by protesting in front of the National Assembly building and then paying a visit to the Integrity Commission’s office in Belmopan. They then came down to Belize City, where party officials staged a symbolic signing of the UN Convention on Corruption on Coney Drive in front of the Prime Minister’s Belize City office.

Immigration scam perpetrated on at least 22, Immigration Minister denies involvement of officials
A major immigration scam, allegedly perpetrated on at least 22 persons who were seeking genuine Belizean citizenship, was kept under the radar until the matter was disclosed by Opposition member for Toledo West, Hon. Michael Espat, in the House of Representatives on Friday, December 4, 2015. Although Espat seemed to have been partially right, that an immigration scam did take place, he apparently misreported some of the facts, and now Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse is demanding an “immediate and public apology” from Espat for alleging that certain government officials, including Immigration Director Maria Marin, had a hand in it. On Friday, December 4, 2015, Espat suggested that high-ranking immigration officials had been involved in a citizenship scam perpetrated against his constituents in Bella Vista and Trio, who, he said, were pressured into paying $1,000 per nationality in a “clandestine” manner. Espat said, in the House, that villagers were taken to a remote area in the Valley of Peace, where they were told to pay up for their nationality and some feared for their lives. Fourteen Belizean nationalities, for which the persons allegedly paid $1,000 to persons purporting to be agents, were granted by the Belize Immigration Department on October 28, Espat claimed.

The Reporter

BEL seeks to increase electricity rates
Electricty rates are likely going to be increased, less than a year after it was reduced, following a request by the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) for an amendment to the rates. The Public Utilities Commission, the regulatory body for utilities, informed via press release on Friday that BEL had made a submission to them the day before, requesting an amendment to electricity rates. “BEL’s submission is based on an underestimation of the Cost of Power (COP) impact of BEL’s Gas Turbine and an overestimation of the COP impact, primarily due to lower rates from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE)”, stated the PUC release. The PUC says that in order to recover the variances in cost of power by the end of the 2012 – 2016 Full Tariff Review Period, BEL is requesting an 11percent increase in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 35 cents per kilowatt hour to 38.85 cents per kilowatt hour. The PUC indicates that BEL’s request aims to ensure that all updates are made to the systems used to calculate electricity rates during the current full tariff period in order to avoid a carryover of these variances into the next Full Tariff Review.

Active foot patrols in Chiquibul yields two more Guatemalan pilferers
A joint foot patrol, comprising Belize Defense Force (BDF), Police and Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) rangers last week Wednesday in the Chiquibul National Park resulted in the apprehension of two Guatemalans. FCD, in a press release, stated that the men were nabbed 250 meters inside Belize, in an area of the reserve known as Sapote II. They are Ever Melkesivex Lopez Zuchitte, and Juan Antonio Cabrera Saldivar, both 25 from San Jose, Las Flores Peten, Guatemala. Zuchitte was also armed with a black nine millimeter pistol with several live rounds ammunition. The men are from a village in San Jose Las Flores, whose 33 families or 200 residents frequently plant corn and pumpkin inside the Chiquibul. The village has no health services or electricity, and its residents rely on wells to get clean water. The men told authorities upon their capture that they did not know they were in Belize because there is no clear indication where the lines are dividing our two countries. They reported that they rent the land to plant their crops, but did not indicate from whom.

Historic climate-change deal unveiled in Paris
After months of preparation and weeks of negotiation, world leaders have reached a climate-change deal at this year’s Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris. It is the most ambitious international agreement ever to face up to the threat of global warming, as the final text of the deal makes clear. Here are the main points: An aim to keep global mean temperature within 1.5°C of that which existed before the industrial era. This is a more ambitious goal that the 2°C goal that nearly 200 governments agreed upon six years ago.A check-in every five years, to take stock of how countries are doing on their individual climate plans, which will come into effect in 2020. The first check-in will happen in 2023.A “loss and damage” clause that will allow vulnerable countries to claim compensation for financial losses due to climate change. The deal also calls for balancing out carbon emissions caused by humans with those that can be absorbed back in by sinks (such as trees and oceans). This could be significant as a long-term goal, despite the much-criticized absence of a specific timeline. The resolution was unveiled on December 12, and has been called “unprecedented.” It wins on many political points, including the fact that the negotiations have seen the widest participation of parties in COP history.

More arrests made and evidence recovered following home invasion at diplomat’s residence
Intensive police investigations into thr December third home invasion at the Burrell Boom residence of Lebanese General Consulate, Sarkis Abou Nehra has led to three more arrests. According to Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, who commands Eastern Division Rural, a series of searches at four houses in Belize City have yielded the most important piece of evidence – the recording apparatus which captured the intrusion. “The burglars thought that they disconnected the DVR and realized it was not the DVR they had in their possession, and then they went and they disconnected the DVR and they stole it. Nevertheless we recovered it. It is in good shape. We have already retrieved the footage off it.” Investigators also retrieved more of the items stolen during the incident and have added three more names to the first list of six defendants. “We have charged Jerry Buller, 28 years [old], for Abetment to Commit Aggravated Burglary; we have also charged Mark Pitts, 18 years [old], for Handling Stolen Goods and we’ve also charged Paul Jex for Handling Stolen Goods. … We have recovered an assortment of liquor, we recovered two rings that were identified by the Consul’s wife, a necklace…”, Broaster added.

Belize Agro-productive Sector Group discourages importation of cheaper rice
A series of radio advertisements by businessman Jack Charles (Jitendra Chawla), offering an alternative on the local market to sell Guyanese rice at significantly cheaper prices, have spawned prompt reaction from the Belize Agro-productive Sector Group, who countered with a press release on Friday. The organization says Belizeans ought to ask hard questions about what they suggest are hidden agendas. “While rice at 69 cents per pound sounds like good news to consumers, Belizeans need to ask the hard questions. How many Belizean farms, farmers, farmhands, millers and distribution workers will join the unemployment line as another agricultural product, Belizean rice, is removed from the products we produce here in Belize?” the release challenged. It goes on to state that there are almost 100 local rice farmers, five milling companies, and more than 2000 field workers, employees, distributors, and their families who are bound to suffer some level of loss if Charles is allowed to import cheaper rice for sale.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Government warns against price gouging on sugar
Despite the Government’s insistence that plantation white sugar will be priced at seventy-five cents beginning only on January 1, 2016 and not before, some stores are already selling at the new price. The Bureau of Standards under the Ministry of Trade and Consumer Protection saw it […]

Climate change deal agreed in Paris
A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations. The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut […]

Fire leaves five persons homeless
A fire reported just after four Friday morning on Hopkins Street in the King’s Park area of Belize City has left five persons homeless. A 2-storey building, property of a Belizean woman living in the U.S., went up in flames and by the time the Fire Service […]

Francis Fonseca considering staying on as PUP leader
PUP leader Francis Fonseca may decide to continue in that post, following a meeting Friday in Belmopan. At that meeting he received the support of 11 PUP standard bearers to contest the party’s national convention for leadership to be held in January. It is reported that Fonseca is […]

Non-fatal shooting on Cran Street
There was a shooting incident reported Friday evening on Cran Street at its corner with Douglas Jones Street. It happened around 5:00 in the evening and we understand that a man was walking past a white van that was parking. After walking past, he started firing at the van. […]

Blogs

A Beach Walk To Town on A Gorgeous Day in San Pedro, Belize & Picking Up My Bear
I always love a walk on the beach – but over the past few months, it’s been summer and HOT. Arriving at my destination looking like I’ve been for a swim in my clothes is…not ideal. But yesterday, there was a nice breeze from the east, the sun was out and the temperature was in the low 80s. Time to strap on my walking shoes. Which are strangely similar to my lounge shoes and my going-out shoes and my beach shoes. Flip flops. LAST STOP! Sandbar Bar, Restaurant and Hostel for my bear. The wish for a child for Christmas. Written on the back. I buy the gift, I wrap it up and my 6 year old cuties gets what he wants for Christmas. Can’t wait to put his package together…

Baked Jam Rolls

Photo Essay: Snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark and Stingray Alley, and Coral Garden
We didn’t really have any expectations or even a real idea of what we would see, all we knew was that we were not going to miss out on snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world … AGAIN! Last year, Ben and I only stayed in Caye Caulker for two nights, underestimating how great snorkeling the barrier reef is, we opted to skip it and do the ATM cave on the mainland instead. Insider Tip: If you are debating about which one to do, do both, they are equally impressive and totally worth the money. However, after hearing so many backpackers rave about the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, we regretted not going snorkeling. So when we somehow found ourselves back in Caye Caulker last week, we knew what we had to do! We booked a tour with the well liked tour company, Raggamuffin Tours as it has 5 stars on TripAdvisor which is a rare occurrence. But now we definitely know why it is so popular. From the sarcastic captains, delicious seafood lunch to the beautiful sail back to Caye Caulker we had an unforgettable experience.

International Sourcesizz

Upper Mountain Fire Department gives the people of San Pedro, Belize, their first ambulance
Those who donated to the Upper Mountain Fire Department to help them purchase a brand new $160,000 ambulance this year will see their donation go even farther – about 3,000 miles farther. A 1992 E450 Ford ambulance, which is being taken out of commission to make room for the new ambulance, will be donated to the people of San Pedro, Belize. San Pedro, with about the same population as the Town of Lewiston, is a coastal tourist community in Central America on the Western end of the Caribbean. The English-speaking former British colony, once known as British Honduras, is known for its great beauty – rainforests, Mayan ruins and sandy beaches on the blue sea. There are tourist areas, but about half the residents live in poverty and don’t have access to proper medical care, said Alex Parmelee. Parmelee, 48, a medical school graduate who was a Colorado emergency medical technician for 25 years and operations manager for San Pedro Emergency Services, was in Lewiston recently to pick up the donation. He will drive the old ambulance to Miami, where it will be loaded onto a barge for the final leg of its trip to San Pedro.

Videos

  • Trying to describe his friends dilemma...... wait for the details!!!, 3.5min. Student tries to explain his friend's dilemma, when the friend comes in and tells it like it is! (Morning Matters)

  • Belize Trip Final, 10min. Laura and Stephens Belize Trip.

  • Belize Trip 2015, 8min.

  • Kennesaw State: Belize '15, 3.5min. Belize study abroad: 2015

  • Wild Dolphin Encounter Belize 2015, 5min.

  • Fishing in san Pedro, Belize, 6min. in the beautiful Caribbean Sea with Rob, Alley, David, Rhonda and Drew.