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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
San Pedro’s Lobster Festival is a culinary celebration
There are three official celebrations held in honor of the crustacean delicacy known as the Caribbean Spiny Lobster. Every year on June 15th, after a 4-month honeymoon phase, lobsters can once again be harvested for consumption. Our sister island Caye Caulker originally began celebrating the lobster with a weekend-long festival that has become an annual event warranting a pilgrimage to the sleepy island. The festival boasts a pageant, all-day grilling and feasting, and of course, parties all along the beach! Placencia Peninsula joined in on the festivities as well, celebrating in its own uniquely cultural way. Then San Pedro Town joined in, adding its own unique spin to the revelry. From nightly pub crawls to restaurants’ lobster specials to specially-priced daily tour activities and more, there is something for everyone. Taking advantage of the incredible array of services, talented chefs and bartenders on our island, the organizers came up with a weeklong party that culminates in a rocking block party in Central Park. The party is the culmination of the week-long event, and sees booths serving up all manner of culinary delights specializing in the star of the evening: the lobster!
Honourable Patrick Faber is elected as UDP’s First Deputy Party Leader
Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education has officially been elected as the First Deputy Leader of United Democratic Party (UDP). At a convention held on Sunday, May 29th in Belize City, Faber overcame his opponent Honourable John Saldivar, Minister of National Security receiving 57% of the votes against Saldivar who only received 42%. Faber took the victory with a lead of 88 votes.
Voting began at 9AM and ran through 3PM. According to UDP Chairman Alberto August, 585 of the possible 589 delegates cast their votes, with only one being rejected. Faber had 336 ballots cast in his favour, while Saldivar only had 248 in his favour. It was previously reported that Faber had an edge over Saldivar with the delegates, even though the majority of Cabinet ministers were on Saldivar’s side. However, according to UDP senior member Michael Finnegan, Cabinet support would be of little support at the convention, since the delegates would be the ones who would elect the new party deputy leader.
SPTC attempts to take over collection of dock fees
If local authorities were to be in charge of docks, they would also enforce the rules that come with the approval of docks. According to the SPTC, upon approval, Central Government provides a set of rules on the maintenance of the structures. “We would create a post for an inspector to check each dock from time to time to ensure that all rules are followed,” said Guerrero. “All underneath these docks need to be clean; however that is not the case at the moment.” In the meantime, despite the Central Government’s stand, the SPTC hopes to soon obtain this jurisdiction. This additional revenue, according to local authorities, would allow for a more rapid development of the island’s needed infrastructure. Other plans are on the table for the future upgrade of San Pedro’s status to a city, with the ultimate goal of making Ambergris Caye the seventh district in the country. We will follow up on those developments as changes occur.
Unbelievable Freak Show at Belize Tattoo Expo
Among all the excitement and ‘literal’ buzzing of the tattoo needle guns during the first ever San Pedro Belize International Tattoo Expo, one man stood out in the crowd for obvious reasons. Victer Max is tattooed from head to toe, has a slit tongue, modified ears, sharpened teeth, pierced all over, has silicone implants on his arms and boasts a couple horns!
Yup! He is a bit out of the ordinary, maybe normal in some circles, but he was the main attraction at the international tattoo expo that took place over the weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Cameras flashed his direction as he made his way through the crowded venue as people were excited to meet him, see his tattoo-covered body and touch his implanted horns.
Eight Belizeans Detained in Guatemala to Return as Deportees
The Embassy of Belize in Guatemala City has reported that this morning the eight (8) Belizean nationals who were detained in Guatemala last week Friday, May 27, 2016, have been allowed to travel to the Embassy in order to facilitate their travel documents, pending deportation proceedings, for their return to Belize.
All individuals are once again confirmed to be in good health and it is expected that the group will be deported back to Belize by road later this week. The eight Belizean nationals were detained by the Guatemalan Navy when they were found disembarking from their vessel at the Punta Manabique Beach, Dept. of Izabal, Guatemala.
Misc Belizean Sources
Basic Wildland Fire and Fire Behaviour Training
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development is currently implementing a five-year Global Environmental Facility funded project entitled, “Management and Protection of Key Biodiversity Areas Project”. One of the key components of the project is to support forest protection and sustainable forest management. Earlier this year a firm from California, Fire Management Consultant International, was hired to train personnel from the relevant regulatory agencies, NGOs, and protected areas co-managers in enforcement and forest fire reduction techniques for rapid response team. Two one-week training sessions were held from the 16th to the 27th of May. The class room sessions were held at the Aguada Hotel in Santa Elena Town and the field component was held at the D’Silva Forest Station in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. A total of 49 persons were trained.
Update on Belizeans Detained in Guatemala
As an update to Friday evening’s report on the eight (8) Belizeans detained in Guatemala, the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala City has reported that this morning the eight (8) Belizean nationals have been allowed to travel to the Embassy in order to facilitate their travel documents, pending deportation proceedings, for their return to Belize.
All individuals are once again confirmed to be in good health and it is expected that the group will be deported back to Belize by road later this week.
Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship Program in Grenada, West Indies
Full Scholarship Graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Applications Available. Take advantage of this opportunity.
CEMJC (Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College) GRADUATION
Graduation is a special time for students, and yesterday Sunday, May 29th was no exception as a special graduation ceremony was held for graduates of CEMJC at their auditorium in the village of San Roman.
Here is wishing all graduates our warmest and sincere congratulations and may the best continue to guide you in your new endeavors. Stay the course and with God's guidance nothing is impossible.
Ocean Academy's Ubuntu event today
Tuesday, May 31st from 1-3 pm on the beach beside Rainbow Restaurant. Come on out and show your support to our students! See our student art exhibit and mentor appreciation display and ceremony honoring 70 of the businesses and professionals who are mentoring youth and inspiring the national Ubuntu movement! Call 226-0321 for more information. SEE YOU THERE!!!!
Letter: GOB complacency, rather complicity, amid Guatemala's unprovoked aggression
By Paco Smith,
Belize Progressive Party. With the overabundance of chicanery being promulgated by the various enemies to Belize's territorial integrity, sovereignty and overall well-being, who include: the PUDP, the OAS and the government of Guatemala, I sincerely hope that Belizeans are not only making note, but are also setting aside their inherent political biases via taking a sober look at the status of matters afoot.
Make no ghost fool you, the meeting recently attended by the foreign minister and his Guatemalan counterpart in Turkey, was nothing more than an attempt to beg for funds to maintain the ever-so-ineffective OAS office at the so-called adjacency zone. That office, as well as the OAS's involvement, has clearly proven biased in favour of Guatemala and that translates into it being of no good toward engendering confidence and even worse insofar as Belize's best interest is concerned. After all, Belize is not claiming anything from, nor any part of Guatemala.
Poets Corner: UN Resolutions
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. The ICJ has no power
To litigate this matter
Unless both Belize and Guatemala
Give them that power
No exchange notes were given to the UN by Guatemala
From 1931 when we were demarcating the border
Their Congress did ratify the matter
Britain was snubbing Guatemala with the compensation section
Then in 1946 they denounced the 1859 Treaty
But claimed the 1931 notes conveniently
This also fell with the 1858 treaty
This UK, Britain, Ireland territorial difference of opinion
Should have no territorial bearing on us as a nation
Belize role was only to do consultation
Faber First, Saldivar Second
The campaign to decide on the new First Deputy Leader of the UDP had the intensity and duration of a general election campaign. It went from mid February until the end of May, and in-between, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on advertising, signage, and wining and dining the UDP's pool of delegates. And it all came down to Sunday at the ITVET compound in Belize City. 7News was there from the polls opened at 9:00 am - until a winner was declared after at 3:30 pm. Jules Vasquez has the full story:...
Patrick Faber strode into the convention under the propulsive percussion of a marching band.
He only needed the votes of 295 delegates to win the first deputy seat, but this is no low-key event, and the prospective winner must also have the appearance of a winner - and so Faber's entrance was calculated as a kind of political carnival.
Patrick Faber, Aspirant - UDP First Deputy:
"While it is a race for the delegates and while yes we go house to house and my constituencies to persuade the delegates to go with us, there is the public sway. We must sway not only the massive of the UDP, but also the wider population, so that they can be convince that we are winning."
Julia Arana Passes, Will Hon. Jose Be Charged?
Two months after she was knocked down on April first in Trial Farm Village by Orange Walk South Representative Jose Mai, Julia Arana succumbed to her injuries yesterday. Reports are that Arana was rushed to the Northern Regional in an emergency and pronounced dead on arrival. Today her son, the cyclist Nissan told us that the family is devastated. He says his mother was released from the hospital by doctors on Mother's Day - but she still had pain. He says that her health took a turn for the worse and she died at his home on Sunday morning, just after 10:00.
Julia Arana was 59 and the mother of four. Now that she has died Orange Walk police will have to decide whether to bring charges against Jose Mai. He knocked her down in his Toyota Hilux on the night of Friday April first as she was crossing the highway in Trial Farm.
Today, we got a chance to speak with Jose Mai's attorney, Eamon Courtenay, about the drastic turn of events which could see criminal charges brought against him. Here's what he told us just before the start of news:
Belizeans Caught Fishing In Guate Will Be Deported
On Friday night we told you about the eight Belizeans who were arrested by the Guatemalan Navy when they were found on the Punta Manabique Beach in Izabal, Guatemala. Well, the news tonight is that all eight are expected to be deported to Belize by road later this week. This photo was taken this morning at the Belizean Embassy in Guatemala City when the eight were allowed to go there to straighten out their travel documents before they are deported. The Embassy sent this picture and confirmed that they are all in good health. They are accused of fishing in Guatemala, and Punta Manabique is a point diagonally across from Punta Gorda.
PUP to GOB: Recall The Ambassador
Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow revoked the 30-day ban on the Sarstoon a few days early. That was a decision which his Cabinet took following bilateral Talks in Istanbul, Turkey between Belize and Guatemala.
That Cabinet release said that the outcome of that meeting was that, quote, "the two sides have informally accepted a situation in which there will be untrammeled traffic for Belize's military and civilians along the Sarstoon." End quote.
Well, on last week Friday, Channel 5 and Krem News tested that this supposed informal agreement which would allow Belizeans to travel the river freely. And, not surprisingly, they were stopped by the Guatemalan military.
So, this agreement appears to have been exposed as nothing more than just diplomatic talk. And the PUP released a statement today to note their concern. Their statement says, quote, "This latest incident is evidence of Guatemalan bad faith which erodes the very limited progress achieved at the bilateral meeting between Belize and Guatemala held in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.
Mafia Style Hit At Mile 9
Last week Thursday we told you about the mafia style execution of suspected narco-trafficker Delmar "El Diablo" Guerra. It happened in El Paraiso village in the Corozal district - and cell phone video appearing now shows the gruesome desperation of those moments after he was shot multiple times - and his gun lay on the pavement.
Just 48 hours later, another mafia style strike played out, except this one was in Belize City and it is gang related. 22 year old Michael and 29 year old Richard Wallace along with their friend were shot at 8 times as they drove along the Western Highway. Police say it was a retaliatory attack. But who were the gangs involved? And what message were they trying to send? That's what Courtney Weatherburne found out today.
Saturday was family day at the Belize Central Prison. Many relatives and friends were there to spend some time with their loved ones. Among those families were the Wallace's.
Both Michael and Richard Wallace went to visit their under-aged brother who was charged for murder.
ZIKA: What Health Is Doing
In just a few weeks, Belize has confirmed at least two cases of Zika, and very worryingly, the second case is a pregnant woman. Worrying because, if a pregnant woman is infected with the virus, there is a high possibility that her child will be born with microcephaly- a disease associated with incomplete brain development. Today we spoke to CEO Figueroa who gave us a status update on this particular case.
Dr. Ramon Figueroa, CEO, Ministry of Health:
"As far as I remember it's not 100%. There's a very high prevalence of microcephaly as a result of Zika infections. There was initially the notion that is dependent on which trimester the person got infected but more of the data is revealing that all trimesters there is some neurological effect. It could be microcephaly, it could be other developmental issues. What has been proven is that there are certain parts of the brain that the Zika virus tend to have a predilection for affection. It might be minor developmental issues, might be major, so that's what we need to monitor. I know the maternal and child health personnel are monitoring the case. We will be following the Pan American health organization guidelines in terms of doing the ultrasounds to monitor and looking forward to the delivery and following up the child when it is born. There's nothing really you can do except monitor and provide the kind of support and hopefully we don't have major complications at delivery or with the child."
ZIKA Is A Community Concern
Now while health authorities have to take a "wait and see" approach in that case, they have to be proactive when it comes to the larger public health threat. So what is the plan? And when can we expect it to start rolling out? Well according to Health CEO Figueroa that plan is already rolling, but the ZIKA fight has to be more than just a Government response.
Dr. Ramon Figueroa, CEO, Ministry of Health:
"The activities continue to be basically the same, heighten surveillance. We continue to do our monitoring, rash and fever illness and taking samples to send to CARPHA for testing and at the same time doing interventions to eliminate the root causes or the root determinants of the disease which is eliminating mosquito breeding sites, cleaning up yards, drains and so on. Over this past weekend on Sunday, was a major activity, the Ministry of Health personnel took together with the city council in Belmopan and the village council in Cotton Tree doing major clean up campaigns. This is the kind of partnership that we want to continue to foster and implement as we address the issue of the breeding sites for the mosquito."
The Renal Failure Fix?
Renal or kidney failure, we're seeing it more and more in Belize, as chronic conditions like hypertension and Diabetes become more prevalent. And, the Taiwanese are seeing it in Belize too! That's why the island nation signed Belize up to a $2.2 million US dollar project called the "Renal Failure Prevention Project". The three-year initiative aims at treating patients in the early stages of renal failure.
Today at the Biltmore Plaza, the Taiwanese Ambassador along with members of the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital from Taiwan, presented the Ministry of Health with the first disbursement of $34,500 US dollars in addition to some 100 dialyzers. Minister of State with responsibility for NHI, Primary Health and clinics Dr. Angel Campos was on hand to receive the donations.
Hon. Dr. Angel Campos, Min. State, NHI, Primary Health & Clinics:
"Today we received the first disbursement of $8,500 U.S. Dollars with an additional $26,000 U.S. Dollars. Being disbursed directly for the purchase of a vehicle and a donation of a hundred dialiters to be used for patients presently undergoing dialysis in Belize especially in KHMH and Loma Luz."
Calaney's Court Case Committed
Last Wednesday, we told you how the attorney for Calaney Flowers made a submission that she has no case to answer. She's accused of intentionally knocking down and killing her ex-boyfriend, 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison, and seriously injuring his new girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa.
Her attorney, Arthur Saldivar is of the opinion that none of the evidence that the prosecution has submitted against her is enough to prove the charges of murder and attempted murder. Well, today, Justice Troadio Gonzalez returned his ruling on the submission, and he said she does indeed have a case to answer to.
He then outlined a short list of the prosecution's evidence put forward to prove their case against her, and then instructed her and her attorney to prepare a defence for the continuation of the trial.
POLICE FC To Play In Group E, Champion's League
The Police United football club is representing Belize in the upcoming 2016-2017 CONCACAF Champions League tournament. Today the club committee of Police United is in Miami for the drawing. It concluded just a few minutes ago, and at the end of it all, Belize's Police United is set to participate in Group E for the first leg of the tournament. In Group E they will be going up against CF Pachuca from Mexico and Club Deportivo Olimpia from Honduras. Each team will be playing four games in all, a home and away game with the other two teams in their respective groups. The winner of each group, based on points, will move on to the next round. Although clearly the underdog in its group, Belize's Police United FC is hopeful that they might make it past this first round.
Vega Walks Away For His Kids' Safety
As you saw at the top of the news, the UDP has a new first Deputy Leader - who will soon be named Deputy Prime Minister. That seems to effectively close the chapter on Gaspar Vega's political life. He rose to first Deputy in May, 2006 and exactly 10 years later, in May 2016, he has been replaced by Patrick Faber. And that's just fine by him. On Sunday Vega told us that he walked away from politics for the wellbeing of his children:...
"I know that we had spoken some months ago and you said that it had gotten so ugly between yourself and Mr. Cervantes. Your kids received threats by texts and they had to be accompanied by security to school. Does that situation still persists and how much of a factor was that in your big decision?"
Hon. Gaspar Vega, Area Rep., OW North
"I think that was the biggest factor. I would always hope that politics never gets to that extreme in Belize. I would never encourage it, because we want to ensure that the democracy and the freedom continues to prevail. I sincerely believe that 15 years of my life for my country - I've paid my dues."
Vega Still Splashed At Special Convention
And while Vega won't have to deal with Monchie Cervantez anymore, he's not exactly going "gentle into that good night." On Sunday, his Orange Walk North Constituency represented with the usual largesse, bringing in a massive crowd from the north. We asked him about proportionality and purpose:
"This morning just looking on and in every constituency, I saw about 5 buses come with Vega flags, but at the end of the day its only 15 people from Orange Walk North and yourself will vote."
Hon. Gaspar Vega, Area Rep., OW North:
"I will tell you, 16 buses came. It's not 5. They want to come, they want to be part of it. It's a family affair."
Is Elodio On Deck In North?
And now that Vega is walking away from that family, who will become the big Poppa in the north? With Patrick Faber positioned to take up the party;s leadership in a few years, his closest elected ally in the north is Elodio Aragon Jr. Aragon rode hard with Faber who is also his senior Minister in Youth, Sports and Culture. So we asked if he will get the nod to become the King of The North:...
"There will be a vacuum for new leadership in the north for the UDP. We have senior ministers in there. But do you feel that since you are the only elected representative from the north who is with Faber, that if he ascends, you will then ascend along with him?"
Hon. Elodio Aragon, Area Rep., OW East:
"Jules, I am here to serve the people. The people have given me an opportunity from Orange Walk East to serve and that is my first priority, is to serve our people in Orange Walk East and to serve this nation. Nobody can promise you anything."
And while he is not so sure about the north, Aragon does know about NICH. Long time President Diane Haylock is reportedly taking up the diplomatic posting we reported on months ago. On Sunday, Aragon told us that change is the only constant:...
Hon. Elodio Aragon, Area Rep., OW East:
"There is always change. We live in a time where there is always will be change and we are hopeful that the change will be for the better. At this point in time there is nothing that has been confirmed, that Diane will move on. It is something that we are looking at and when that time comes, you will hear from me definitely on what the position is. But at this time I know there have been an offer for her to go to Taiwan and that is yet to be seen, because we haven't gotten anything official. That is where we are at this point in time."
There is no word on when Haylock will be demitting office.
Praying For Peace At Border
10 days ago, we told you how the Belize Council of Churches intended to try its hand at ecclesiastical diplomacy between the churches of Belize and Guatemala. Well on Saturday, May 28, the the National Evangelical Association of Churches, organized its own event, with the same objective.
The NEAB estimates that about 60 to 70 pastors and a total of about 130 people from both Belize and Peten, Guatemala gathered at the OAS Adjacency Zone Office in Benque.
The weekend gathering was a bilingual fellowship of prayer and worship for, quote, "peace, for cooperation, for partnership, and against violence and bloodshed, declaring with authority and calling forth solution to our border conflict and tensions." End Quote.
And while the pastors prayed on Saturday, on Sunday, the people of Melchor protested. The protest was principally against the OAS Adjacency Zone office and the armed forces of Belize for causing the death of 13 year old Carlos Alvarado Ruano. They wanted to go all the way to the adjacency zone office in Belize - which had security forces on standby, but that never happened. We are told they were met by a counter protest representing Melchor business interests who don't want to antagonize or intimidate their Belizean patrons any more. As we've reported, visits to Melchor are way down in the last two months.
Patrick Faber is the U.D.P.’s First Deputy Leader
The Big Deal versus the Real Deal – kind of sounds like a WWE Wrestle Mania event, but it wasn’t. The U.D.P. convention on Sunday saw John Saldivar going against [...]
Will Campaign Mudslinging Divide the Party?
With the decided underdog declared victorious, it remains to be seen if time will heal the rift between camps. Much of the campaign was heated some of it very pointed [...]
Detained Fishermen Will Be Deported to Belize
In our newscast on Friday we reported that eight fishermen had been detained and were being processed by immigration authorities in Guatemala. The group was detained on the beach of [...]
Guatemalans Deny Media’s Account of Sarstoon Incident
Guatemala has issued a formal letter of protest to Belize with reference to a trip to the Sarstoon last Friday. Tonight, we can say that Guatemalan Ambassador to Belize Manuel [...]
P.U.P. Calls for Urgent Action by G.O.B. to Assert Sovereignty
Based on the incident in the Sarstoon last Friday, today the People’s United Party issued a very strong release demanding that the government, “Act to re-establish full sovereignty and control [...]
Is There Really An Informal Agreement Allowing Free Access to the Sarstoon?
There continues to be much reference to what was referred to in a government release last Tuesday as an informal acceptance of a situation in which, “there will be untrammeled [...]
Eamon Courtenay Says No Excuse for Lack of Communication
You’ll notice that while Guatemala did not reject the assertion by Minister Elrington, they didn’t accept it either, so therein may lie the confusion. As was stated by Prime Minister [...]
P.U.P. Calls for Competent Team to Handle Belize/Guatemala Matters
The P.U.P. release issued today also specifically issues a call for the appointment of a, “national team to competently manage Belize/Guatemala.” So is the P.U.P. saying that the current team [...]
Police Believe Wallace Murder was Retaliation for Murder of GSG Don
Police are perplexed over a weekend murder and are putting all the clues together. A white Nissan Altima traveling to Belize City was reportedly trailed by a white Infinity SUV [...]
Gizmo Escapes Death Again
There have been numerous attempts on the life of Gion “Gizmo” Bernard, a street figure from the Victoria Street area in Belize City. In the past two weeks, there were [...]
Police Department Bids Farewell to Fallen Cop
Police Constable Edwardo Gonzalez was laid to rest this afternoon in Santa Elena, after taking his own life with a firearm while on duty last Wednesday. Gonzalez was stationed at [...]
OW Police Waiting for Results for Post Mortem Examination of Julia Arana
Fifty-nine-year-old Julia Arana succumbed over the weekend. She was knocked down by a vehicle in Trial Farm Village on April first and a postmortem exam will determine the cause of [...]
Calaney Flowers Will Stand Trial for Murder
It was big news in August, 2012 when Calaney Flowers allegedly rammed a motorcycle ridden by her ex-boyfriend Lyndon Morrison and his new girlfriend Sochyl Sosa. Morrison died from injuries [...]
Family of Lyndon Morrison Satisfied with Judge’s Decision
The case has been adjourned till Tuesday, when the defense will present its evidence. The family of Lyndon Morrison was at Court today and told News Five that while they [...]
Shane Gillett Murder Trial Nears Completion
The trial by judge without jury case in the murder of eighty-four year old Samuel Price is coming to an end in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. Price was [...]
Case of Robert’s Grove Vs. Jean Marc Tasse Concludes
The case of Robert’s Grove Limited versus Jean Marc Tasse concluded quietly on the Supreme Court of Justice Sonya Young two years after the suit was filed. Hearings and submissions [...]
Evangelists Pray for Peace Between Belize & Guatemala
At the political level, there is tension between Belize and Guatemala as relations deteriorate over Guatemala’s assertion that it owns the Sarstoon. But over the weekend, you would not have [...]
Guatemalans Protest in Melchor de Mencos
A protest of about five hundred persons was held in Melchor de Mencos which is the nearest community across the western border where Belizeans trek to shop. Initially, Sunday’s protest [...]
Police Destroy Weed and Crack in Bulk
The Police Department last Friday morning destroyed a quantity of marijuana and crack cocaine. The drugs went up in smoke at the Tower Hill factory in Orange Walk Town. Eight [...]
Thousands March Against Cancer in Belize City
The annual Cancer Walk has been growing over the years, morphing into a powerful voice in the fight against the disease. The trek from Ladyville into the City started early [...]
Sports Monday: Football and Softball Matches Over the Weekend
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. We take you out to the MCC Grounds for yesterday’s showdown between West Lake and FC Elite in the [...]