The news will be a bit brief for the next week or so due to time constraints
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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
EKG machine arrives to San Pedro
As for the delay in the machine’s arrival, Westby clarified that Customs were not involved in the situation, and apologized to Belize Customs and Excise Department. “It was not Customs fault. Many people were involved in the process, and there was a lot of miscommunication. The equipment was shipped to Miami [Florida, USA], and the supplier assumed that the MOH was going to send it. I am only in charge of the technical specifications, and not of the shipping, but it was miscommunication with the shipping company. Once we figured out where it was, we shipped it to Belize,” clarified Westby. Dr. Larrinaga expressed her relief upon receiving the machine, glad to replace their version. “I feel really excited because we need this machine to perform important diagnostics. It’s much easier for the doctors to get a conclusion, and especially to avoid referring a patient to a private clinic if it’s not necessary.”
Miss San Pedro High donates backpacks to her school
Miss San Pedro High School (SPHS) 2016-2017, Faith Noel, embarked on a series of projects aimed at benefiting her school, as well as the community. One of her goals was to donate quality backpacks to fellow students who couldn’t afford it, and it was accomplished on Friday, July 1st. Noel, along with her mother Tammy Lemus and Sandy Point Real Estate Sponsor Daniel Hartin, sorted out a total of 89 backpacks. In addition to the backpacks donated to SPHS, Noel reserved 19 for the June 26th fire victims. The backpacks were handed over to Vice-Principal Conchita Flota and Counselor Alexis Guerrero, who both expressed their gratitude to Noel for being the first beauty ambassador to start such an initiative at the high school. According to Guerrero, students who are on financial aid or a scholarship will qualify for a backpack. Students will remain anonymous, and Guerrero stated that so far she has 66 students who will be receiving a backpack. Incoming freshmen were also given a questionnaire so the faculty could determine if they are in need of financial assistance.
Local Organizations and Businesses provide Funds to send over 100 Belizean Youth to Summer Camp
Green Reef, a marine conservation non-governmental organization, for the third consecutive year, will undertake a four week summer camp at Camp Basil Jones on North Ambergris Caye adjacent to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. The summer youth camp programme aims to promote conservation and preservation of the Belize Barrier Reef as we work towards youth empowerment in Belize. The camp is being spearheaded by Green Reef in collaboration with the San Pedro House of Culture (NICH), Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and the Department of Youth Services with financial support from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), BelizeKids.org, Finn & Martini, Blackadore Caye Resort, Oceana, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and National Institute of Culture & History (NICH).
One hundred campers ages 11-17 from all over Belize will have the unique opportunity to participate in this fun-filled adventure and experience the thrill of a lifetime at a week-long summer camp. Campers will pack their bags and head to a rustic beauty beachside retreat, where they will indulge in over-the-top competitions inspired by classic camp games, learn about Belize’s marine natural resources and create unique art and crafts from sustainable materials.
Ernesto Caliz wins the Dia de San Pedro Karaoke Competition
Dia de San Pedro is aimed at promoting history, culture, as well as the island’s rich tradition. After a week’s worth of religious and recreational activities, Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex hosted some entertainment with the annual Dia de San Pedro Karaoke Competition on Thursday, June 30th. This year’s competition saw nine contestants, hoping to win the first place title: Sergio Aguirre, Ernesto Caliz, Cece, Wilmer Rivero, Javier Castillo, Lisette Gutierrez, Elizabeth Hobarth, Gloria Najera, and Pawa. From romantics to pop to reggae, all performers showcased their musical talents on stage, and sang their selected renditions of their favorite artists/bands. The audience played a vital role in the process as they were encouraged to root on the contestants that delivered a good performance. Among the judges were Yolanda Parham of The San Pedro Town Council, Dion Vansen of The San Pedro Sun and Javier Gutiérrez of Banyan Bay Resort. After much deliberation, the grand prize winner of $750 cash was declared as Ernesto Caliz. Javier Castillo won the second place prize of $500, and Sergio Aguirre came in third place, winning $250.
International Costa Maya Festival Presents Miss Guatemala
The sixth contestant for the Reina De La Costa Maya pageant has been announced, and she is the beautiful Miss Guatemala. Maria Jose Larrañaga Retolaza is a vivacious people-person, with a particular interest in social work. She also enjoys horseback riding, boxing, modeling, as well as traveling – especially to beautiful beaches! She is excited to represent her beautiful country at the Costa Maya festival, and looks forward to a fantastic show.
Soccer Superstar Messi’s Tax Fraud Links him to Belize
Messi and Father sentenced for tax evasion connected to Belize - Barcelona soccer player superstar Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi were sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud that includes links to Belize. The Barcelona court had found Messi and his father guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.
The income related to Messi's image rights that was allegedly hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company. Messi will appeal the charges and vowed to clear his name. He told the court during the four-day trial that wrapped up on June 4 that he trusted his father with his finances and "knew nothing" about how his wealth was managed.
Misc Belizean Sources
70 (really ?!?) As secret as Secret Beach--shhhh
If you are 2 busy, do a golf cart fly by, wave and shout out Happy Birthday. Please share with Gonzo's Friends that I have missed. 70 only comes once in a lifetime Thank God! clock
Friday, July 15 at 5 PM,
Sandy Toes Beach Bar & Grill
Framework Agreement Signed Between Belize and Guyana
Today, the nations of Belize and Guyana signed a Framework Agreement to deepen commercial, economic, technical and cultural cooperation between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
Signing on behalf of the Government of Belize, was Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington, and on behalf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, was Vice-President Carl B. Greenidge.
Areas targeted to deepen cooperation include trade, investment, tourism, energy, marine affairs, education, agriculture, sports, culture, security, youth affairs and any other area deemed to be of mutual interest by the two countries.
Guyana, also involved in its own boundary dispute, has been and remains a key ally of Belize, and has always maintained strong views in support of Belize on the Guatemala-Belize territorial issue.
Heads of Government of CARICOM, representatives of Heads of Government, CARICOM Secretary-General and Chile President (centre)
At the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Tuesday 5 July, 2016
URGENT NOTICE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, BELIZE - DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY SERVICES
The General Public is hereby informed that with effect from Monday 4th July, 2016, applications for the following services are to be made at the respective district station:
Note: Only 24 hrs, 48 hrs and Five (5) days services will be provided at the Immigration and Nationality Services office in Belmopan.
Time frame for processing of passports:
For applicants residing in the districts:- The Immigration and Nationality Services will ensure the processing and return of approved passports within a period of three (3) weeks - (15 working days)
Applications accepted for passports in the Cayo district in Belmopan will be processed within a period of four (4) weeks - (20 working days)
(Efforts will be made to reduce this time frame at the Belmopan Office)
Through the use of the services at the district offices, we will be able to improve service delivery.
DIA DE SAN PEDRO 2016
On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, the San Pedro Town Council hosted the opening ceremonies for the Día de San Pedro festivities.
The opening ceremonies included a blessing by Bishop Christopher Glancy, the welcome address by Mayor Daniel Guerrero, remarks by Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., keynote remarks by guest speaker, Mr. Francisco Verde and closing remarks by Councilor Hector "Tito" Alamilla.
Opening night was all about the kids! After the speeches the mascots from Fiesta Mundo from Belize city gave a spectacular show for the children with their favorite characters, Caillou, Elsa, Peppa Pig, Minnie & Mickey Mouse. Following the show, Ozzy the clown was next on stage with his magic tricks! He also had some moms dancing on stage with their daughters - the fathers weren't so brave.
On Thursday, June 30, 2016, the second day, the festivities continued with the annual Dia de San Pedro Karaoke Competition hosted by the Reef Radio.
This year the competition included nine (9) contestants: Sergio Aguirre, Ernesto Caliz, Cece, Wilmer Rivero, Javier Castillo, Lisette Gutierrez, Elizabeth Hobarth, Gloria Najera, and Pawa.
The competition consisted of two rounds were all nine participated and had the choice of one song per round.
CRFM and Japan discuss new initiative for fisheries co-management and socio-economic survey
Milton Haughton, the executive director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), met on Tuesday at the CRFM’s Secretariat in Belize City with Masaru Honda, team leader of the Japan-funded Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO) and chief advisor in the Fisheries Department in Saint Lucia.
“The CRFM welcomes Mr Honda to Belize to meet with us, and we thank the government of Japan for their continued commitment and support for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector of the Caribbean region,” Haughton said.
Honda, whose ties with the Caribbean go back 17 years, when he worked with a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded regional fisheries project implemented by the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) in Trinidad and Tobago, said that he has enjoyed working with the Caribbean to foster the development of co-management arrangements with fishing communities.
BEL crews continue to examine overhead power lines in San Pedro to determine cause of power interruption currently affecting the entire island
Additional crews from mainland Belize are being mobilized to arrive on island by 6:00am to locate fault and assist with restoration. BEL apologizes to customers for this power interruption being experienced since 9:17pm Wed July 6.
Power interruption 8:00am to 4:00pm, Thursday, July 7, Orange Walk
Pasture Street, Pasadita Street, Cristock Street, Santa Familia Street, Belize Road, Blue Creek Street, Sittee River Street, Boundary Road and Palmar, Chan Pine Ridge, Guinea Grass, Tower Hill, Carmelita and Santa Martha. BEL to replace distribution structures & re-conductor 2 miles of distribution lines in area.
Mount Carmel 2016 Alboradas
Alboradas will kick off today, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is having theirs this Saturday, July 9th, at 4:00am. The Benque House of Culture will have a traditional breakfast immediately after.
"Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Monte Carmelo
Starting July 7- July 16th 2016
July 7th - Amy & Lindsay Jeffrey & Family
July 8- Mount Carmel Primary School
July 9- Benque House of Culture
July 10-Lesbia G.Martinez & Family
July 11-Mount Carmel High School
July 12-Nahib Hernandez
July 13-Aracely Castellanos
July 14-BRC Printing Ltd
July 15-Martha Guerra
July 16-Dia del Pueblo-Benque Viejo Town Council"
BAAS 2016 Success
The 14th Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium was a huge success. Some of the best minds in the field came to present their research. The San Ignacio Resort Hotel proved once again to be the best venue for the symposium.
NICH Opening Festivities pictures here.
Institute of Archaeology pictures of the event here.
The U.S. Embassy sends a shoutout to these young entrepreneurs at Caye Caulker Ocean Academy
For taking charge of their future and planning for their education. If you happen to be in Caye Caulker this summer check them out!
Youth ages 14-24 hardest hit by unemployment and under-employment
The recently released results of the April 2016 labor force survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) indicate that the national unemployment rate is down from 10.1% last April to 8% a year later. Whereas this represents measurable improvement in the rate of joblessness in the country, Belizean youth ages 14-24, and particularly young females—most of whom would like to work in the services sector—still have a much harder time landing a job.
The survey results were presented by Curwen Arthurs, Statistician I, at a press conference last Wednesday.
Furthermore, among the persons who do have a job, the rate of underemployment is most pronounced among Belizean youth, ages 14-24. This means that they do not work a full 35-hour week, which usually translates into lower productivity and lower earnings.
The matter of youth unemployment is a major concern now, as many recent graduates will join the unemployment line with thousands of their peers in the 14-24 cohort.
US banks sever ties with Central Bank of Belize, Governor confirms
Since last April, Belize’s financial sector has been hit by the loss of correspondent banking relations (CBR), and ties with the country’s Central Bank—which pays foreign providers for goods and services for the Government of Belize—have also been severed by two foreign banks—Commerzbank and Citibank, the latter taking action only weeks ago.
Last week, the IMF issued a discussion note captioned, The Withdrawal of Correspondent Banking Relationships [CBRs]: A Case for Policy Action. The report cites Belize as one of the jurisdictions where only a few CBR providers remain, and even the Central Bank faces difficulties maintaining correspondent banking relations (CBRs).
The IMF report said that “…the withdrawal of CBRs has reached a critical level in some affected countries, which can have a systemic impact if unaddressed.” It also added that, “Coordinated efforts by the public and private sectors are called for to mitigate the risk of financial exclusion and the potential negative impact on financial stability.”
Remembering Clifton B. Arthurs
After learning in early May that Cliff had fallen ill in his San Pedro, Ambergris Caye home, and after a stint in hospital in Belize had to be hospitalised eventually in Phoenix, Arizona, I assumed that the fighter in him somehow would weather it all, and he would still be here today. I was wrong. On 28th June, 2016, Cliff transited to a higher plane. And, his caring and loving wife, Joanne, his friends in San Pedro and Belize City, his relatives and friends in Fountain Hills, Arizona; Houston; Wheaton, Illinois; and New York will sorely miss his great smile, infectious bonhomie and genuinely good company.
Clifton B. Arthurs was a Victoria St. Northside, Belize City native. He left Belize, then British Honduras, in the 1950s for the US, lived and worked in Wheaton, Illinois, for many years, and retired to San Pedro, Belize, in the 1990s. “Mr. Cliff”, as I knew him as a child, was one of the few, if not the only Creole owner of a truly magnificent estate in Belize. He was loved and respected by most everyone in San Pedro; and because of this and his gracious mien, his sister-in-law, Mrs. Muriel Laing Arthurs, fondly rechristened him “Mayor”. At a time when a number of Diasporan Belizeans assume that Belize is either too dangerous and challenging, or too “up in the air”, to permanently return to, thanks to the Guatemalan Sword of Damocles and the general idiocy surrounding the various permutations on this issue, it is truly heartwarming when former Diasporans like Cliff return to the land of their birth and make a success of living there.
Heart of a champion – Kaina Martinez
Whenever we talk about athletics, and the various track and field events, the signature event is always the 100m. Who is the fastest? The great sprinters are always the primary showpiece at athletic meets. And that’s why we all know who is Usain Bolt – the fastest man in the world. There are many other events, and many great athletes, but the 100m champion is usually the biggest star. Occasionally, there emerges an outstandingly dominant athlete in another event, like Michael Johnson was in the 400m; but from Jesse Owens to Carl Lewis, to Asafa Powell, and Usain Bolt, we all keep our focus on the 100m.
In the females, there was Florence Griffith Joyner, and for a while our own Marion Jones, before she ran into problems. Jamaican sprinters have dominated the sprints for some years, with Shelly Ann Fraser Price the big star recently.
In Belize, our queen of sprinting is a young woman from Seine Bight Village in Dangriga, who burst upon the track and field scene almost a decade ago, and has been our female sprint champion ever since. Kaina Martinez is the reigning 100m champion and record holder for Central America, a record she has held for over four years, and which she broke recently at the Central American Championships in El Salvador, where she won gold in the 100m, the 4x100m relay, and silver in the 200m.
Gang Warfare's Wednesday Explosion: Tevin and Devin Killed In Northside/Southside Retaliations
Belize City residents in gang zones are wary of retaliations tonight after two ruthless broad daylight murders – which happened just an hour and a half apart this afternoon.
The first happened at 3:00 pm on Castle Street – which is on the city's Northside near Douglas Jones Street. 20 year old Tevin "Chicha" Palmer – who is known to be gang affiliated – was inside his home when a gunman stormed in and shot him three times to the head. It was an execution reportedly in retaliation for the murder of Jeovani Gentle which happened on Saturday night. 31 year old Gentle was form a gang affiliated neighbourhood on Banak Street.
Our reports say the hit is a gang-sponsored retaliation – which, invariably lead to other retaliatory attacks – which may have already started to play out. But keeping it on Palmer's story – he was notorious in the streets, and in 2014 – when he was on remand for attempted murder, his brother Gerald was murdered, supposedly to get at Tevin.
Lawless: Murder On A Busy Street At Rush Hour
And less than an hour and a half later – there was another gang related murder – this one happened on the open street in a busy area of town – and it was likely an act of immediate retaliation.
The victim this time was 19 year old Devin Parham. Parham was walking home on Cemetery Road – right on forn of Habet Hardware with one of his cousins when a gun man opened fire on them from behind. His cousin escaped but Parham was shot dead. Police responded quickly and managed to arrest the suspected shooter and recover his weapon.
That's a major plus, but it's a very worrying state of in-security in the city tonight.
This evening we spoke to ACP Chester Williams about the tense atmosphere of the city streets where he stressed that situation is not as chaotic as we might think.
Man Killed in Head On Collision With Bus
A man was killed in a collision near Independence village. 48 year old Jose Majano was heading to Bella Vista last night after 7:00 when he slammed head on into a James Express bus. The bus took a hefty hit and Majano's Wingle is barely recognizable. Today we traveled to Independence to find out what caused this fatal accident.
Jose Majano was well loved and respected in Independence Village. Although he was a full time electrician, he had another job, one which he loved, and that was to mentor the youth in the village and to always be available to lend a helping hand.
Gloria Munoz - Sister:
"My brother was very loving you know caring about everyone, every nephew, every niece and neighbours and co-workers."
And last night, after work, in that same spirit of kindness and selflessness, Majano was giving his co-worker, 21 year old Kevin Zuniga a ride to his home in Bella Vista.
But he never made it to the village because he collided head on with a James Express Bus on the Savannah Road. The 7:30 James express was heading to PG and was to stop at the terminal about 6 minutes away but that is when Majano, coming in the opposite direction slammed into the bus while overtaking a horse and carriage.
Another Fatal Bus Collision
And the fatal accident Majano's sister referred to happened on Saturday morning on the Southern Highway. It also involved a passenger bus. 18 year old Bella Vista resident Carlos Duarte was speeding to Independence Village in a van he stole from his boss when he hit a stretch of road known as "Nuts Curve." That is when he rammed head on into a D&C Bus. Today the police told us more about this collision.
OC Sherlet Ramclam - Independence:
"About 5:40 AM in the morning the police received a call of a fatal road traffic accident on the Southern Highway in an area we call Luck's Curve and the police went out there and there they found out one Carlos Duarte of Bella Vista Village was driving a minivan, blue in colour heading towards Independence. Approaching the curve he crashed into a passenger bus owned by D & C bus service which does run from Bella Vista to Placencia and at the time he was coming in speed on the wrong side of the road right into the driver. There's no way on a curve a driver could avoid an accident like that."
UDP's Fonso Won Obeah Trial
After almost 2 months of deliberation, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down his decision this afternoon in the libel lawsuit brought by PUP's Myrtle Palacio against the UDP's Alfonso Noble. And, the judge has ruled that Alfonso Noble and the Guardian did NOT disparage her character with his article entitled "PUP Secretary General Endorses the Use of Witchcraft in Politics".
Palacio made the entire trial about the Garifuna Culture. She and her attorney Said Musa tried to convince the judge that Noble and the Guardian Newspaper disrespected her and her culture when they printed the article. In response, Noble and his attorney defended against the claim that she wrongly interpreted the article, and that he did not commit a libel since he was making fair comments as a reporter.
Well, this evening, the judge agreed and dismissed the case, ruling that Palacio must pay $5,000 as court costs for this case she brought. This afternoon, when we spoke with him, Noble was said he was pretty confident that he would win:
Fonso Fights For Fifteen Year Old's Picture As Acceptable
But while Noble escaped that libel case unscathed, it appears that he may have made an editorial mis-step. 2 weeks ago, he published the name and photograph of the 15 year-old shooter who shot Police Corporal Alrick Arnold while he was trying to excape a failed execution attempt in front of the Queen Street Police Station.
As you will remember, we also had the name a photograph of that shooter, but we did not reveal it because of our policy not to reveal the identity of defendants who are minors. Well, Noble and the Guardian did, and apparently he did not know that there is a law which makes it an offence to do so.
This evening, he tried to convince our Amandala Colleague, Rowland Parks, that there is no such law:
"To the best of my knowledge that is a violation of the Juvenile act."
Alfonso Noble - Defendant, Editor Guardian Newspaper:
"No Perks you have it wrong there is absolutely nothing in the law that says you can't publish a minor's picture. This is a gentleman's agreement or an agreement between the media houses and the NCFC and those childrens..."