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#518435 - 10/21/16 10:41 AM Today's Belize News: October 21, 2016
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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 Lions roar at 41st anniversary celebration
The San Pedro Lions Club on Ambergris Caye celebrated its 41st Anniversary on Saturday, October 15th. Guests, including Lions’ club members, family and friends, gathered at the Lions Den to acknowledge past and present accomplishments with a special ceremony. Master of Ceremonies Lion Angel Nuñez established protocol by addressing the crowd on the importance of them attending this commemoratory event. After singing the National Anthem, and an invocation by Father Scott, a moment of silence was offered to remember all deceased Lion members. Lion Raul Castillo had the honors to install new Lion members. A total of eight new members were inducted to the club, and three previously inactive members were reinstated. MC Nuñez also installed 13 new Leos into the San Pedro Leos Club, bringing it to total of 46 Leos and 32 Lions members. Much applause was given to Lion President Nigel Belisle for having the most membership in any Lion presidency. Each member was accompanied by their sponsor, and received their service jackets, as well as a pin.

Seismic Operations Suspended
Based on multiple concerns raised by concerned citizens regarding the seismic survey currently being conducted in the deep offshore of Belize as well as the fact that extensive consultation with a wider ground of stakeholders did not occur prior the commencement of the survey, the Government of Belize (GOB) has decided that it will suspend seismic operations until such consultations can be conducted. Accordingly, the Geology and Petroleum Department will inform the ship that they are to cease seismic operations immediately.

Ambergris Today

Belizeans Demand Government to Stop Seismic Survey
In a press release to the Government of Belize, The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) has expressed its concern and disappointment at the recent announcement made by the Government of Belize approving seismic testing in Belize’s offshore areas and near our Belize Barrier Reef System. BTIA stated that its specific concern is about the lack of information and insufficient consultation on the part of the Government of Belize. Very little information was shared with the public and key stakeholders before the decision on the multi-beam and seismic testing was made. There was also insufficient consultation with the tourism, fisheries and environmental sectors, as well as with the general public, prior to considering any decision on this matter. This was the issue that was most upsetting to the community of San Pedro, Caye Caulker and even residents of Hopkins and Placencia who attended an informative session on the Regional Seismic Survey, hosted by the Belize Tourism Board this morning, Thursday, October 20, 2016, on Ambergris Caye.

Belize Prime Minister Announces Changes in Cabinet
The Sen. Hon. Godwin Hulse becomes the new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development, while also keeping the Immigration portfolio. Minister of State Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa remains in that Ministry to focus on Forestry, Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Minister of State Hon. Beverly Williams will continue to concentrate on Immigration. Senator Hulse gives up the Police (Home Affairs) portfolio, which will now be assumed by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow who becomes Minister of Finance and Home Affairs. To assist the Prime Minister in this regard, the Hon. Elodio Aragon, Jr. will move from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to become Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize's Exclusive Economic Zone
Now the subject of controversial seismic exploration. Today I experienced firsthand the sound of airgun blasts underwater. Diving on the East side of Turneffe just a little North of Cock Roach Cut I heard what sounded like thunder. The day was overcast, so it didn't seem strange that there might be a storm building nearby. Shortly after, there was a second thunder clap, then another and another. I looked around at the other divers to see if they noticed anything unusual. Suddenly it struck me that what I was hearing wasn't thunder, but the sound of the seismic airgun blasts. The calm of my underwater escape had been interrupted by blasts of acoustic energy reverberating through ocean. The fish around us seemed to sense the disturbance too, everything seemed to be on edge. I reluctantly ended the dive, the fear that the source of the blasts was near and could cause harm was overwhelming. Unlike divers, marine life can't exit the water to seek safety. Today I experienced the confusion and fear all life caught in the range of seismic testing share.

Artist Service Day at Stann Creek House of Culture means sprucing up the place!
Work going in. Little by little. We will get there.

Belize crew at WOMEX!
The world's leading music expo is a great venue for promoting Belizean talent and bringing back fresh ideas and resources to the local music scene.

Offshore Oil Exploration Conference in San Pedro
The controversial Belize Tourism Board presentation on the currently ongoing seismic survey in Belizean waters has ended with Area Representative Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. promising to lobby with the Prime Minister Dean Barrow for the research to stop until a proper consultation can be done. Residents of San Pedro have demanded a response from Heredia by 2PM today or industrial action will be taken to seize the operations. All concerned residents are invited to the Lions Den at 2PM for the follow up meeting.

SBDC Workshop: Customer Service for Management and Business Owners
Presented by: Mrs. Nilda Riverol and Mrs. Vicky Heredia, Manager and Business Advisor SBDCBelize, Beltraide. Location: BTEC Training Room, ITVET Compound, Freetown Road, Belize City. Workshop Date: October 27th, 2016. Time: 9am to 3pm. This training seminar on providing good customer service gives you the skills you need to communicate professionally, gain respect, enhance customer relationships and secure an overall competitive advantage through customer service excellence.

Streets in Arenal a disgrace
Maybe the minister Erwin Contreras. You ashamed to see our streets and sent them to compose. We have been left here in arenal. It is necessary to go out to protest for our streets, maybe that is the language which the minister understands. Because yah we are tired of asking for that write our streets and not asen case.

SEISMIC OPERATIONS SUSPENDED
Based on multiple concerns raised by concerned citizens regarding the seismic survey currently being conducted in the deep offshore of Belize as well as the fact that extensive consultation with a wider group of stakeholders did not occur prior the commencement of the survey, the Government of Belize (GOB) has decided that it will suspend seismic operations until such consultations can be conducted. Accordingly, the Geology and Petroleum Department will inform the ship that they are to cease seismic operations immediately. The GOB remains committed to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources.

Prime Minister Signs Commencement Order for 13th Senator
The Office of the Prime Minister announces that the Honorable Prime Minister today signed the commencement order to give effect to the provisions relating to the appointment of the thirteenth senator pursuant to the Belize Constitution Sixth Amendment Act. This order takes effect on 20th January, 2017. The three months will be used to facilitate the necessary consultations with the NGOs to work out the mechanism for selection of the thirteenth senator.

Minister of NEMO and Area Representative for Belize Rural Central Hand over Houses to Hurricane Earl Victims in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank
Minister of National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro and Area Representative for Belize Rural Central Hon. Beverly Williams Castillo were in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank yesterday, October 19, 2016, handing over houses to victims of Hurricane Earl whose homes had been damaged beyond repair by the storm in early August. They handed over a total of six (6) houses which were completed, and inspected ongoing construction and repair works on a number of other houses in the area. These are out of a total of 185 homes that are to be constructed by the end of November or early December in the four districts most severely affected by Hurricane Earl, namely Belize District, Cayo, Stann Creek and Orange Walk. To date, a total of 124 new houses have been completed.

BEL Replaces Transmission Structures Broken in Traffic Accident
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is completing replacement of two transmission structures that were severely damaged in a traffic accident early this morning, resulting in a countrywide power interruption. At 1:29 a.m. customers across the country experienced power interruptions lasting 11 minutes to 3 hours when a vehicle was accidentally driven off the George Price Highway near Mile 8, hitting a down guy (cable which holds the pole in place) and causing two transmission line poles to break. BEL immediately activated its restoration plan for impacts on the transmission system.

Corozal Power interruption on Saturday October 22nd
Oooops! Pardon the Power Interruption. BEL announces via text message that there will be a power interruption on Saturday October 22nd, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for the entire Corozal District to replace pole on transmission.

Power interruption 8:00am to 1:00pm, Saturday, October 22, Belize City
Waight St, Fairweather St, Neals Pen Rd, Mex Ave, Kut Ave, Euphrates Ave, Habet St, Albert St & Albert St West. BEL to relocate high voltage lines in area.

Belmopan Tourism Expo
The Belmopan chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association is having their first annual Belmopan Tourism Expo on Saturday, November 5th. It'll be at the George Price Center, and goes from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Another great postcard from WOMEX!
Earlier today some of our Belizean delegation meeting with Jose Francisco Avila owner of Garifuna Afro-Lantino Music Enterprise.

Belize International Film Festival Nations
Our interactive map shows the many countries that are represented in this year's festival! Each pin represents a country represented at BIFF 2016. Click to see the titles!

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Nine Lives, Patient Seven, Bad Moms, Sausage Party

Channel 7

GOB Forced to Shutdown Seismic Survey, Pronto!
For the past 2 days, you've been hearing a lot about the multibeam and seismic surveys that the Department of Environment gave the greenlight to without an environmental impact assessment. Oceana Belize and the other conservation organizations had been resisting the Government's decision to participate in the regional survey, and with the help of the tour guide community, they successfully forced the Government to backpedal almost as fast as they approved it. Now, the public learned of this survey only 3 weeks ago. The planned area was in the marine territory of Belize, east of the barrier reef inside the Exclusive Economic Zone, but excluding all marine protected areas, and well away from tourist activity, and fish spawning sites. It caught most of the general public off-guard, and with the pressure that the conservationists brought on, the Department of Environment was forced to conduct public consultations. The problem with that plan however, is that the vessel Northern Explorer, which belongs to the global seismic survey company, Seabird Exploration, was already in Belize. This picture and video footage of the vessel inside Belizean waters, was taken by conservationists in a fly-over yesterday. At around 1 this afternoon, when we checked the vessel's location, on vesselfinder.com, it was located off the coast of Caye Caulker, and they had already started surveying.

Coalition Ecstatic About Victory, But Not Satisfied To Leave It At That
And after a decisive victory today in San Pedro, the Coalition returned to the mainland to tell us what happened, and what the future looks like in the fight against offshore oil exploration. Amanda Acosta - Belize Audubon Society: "Well today was a great show of the power of the people and the reality is that from the beginning of the week we've been getting out the information to everybody nationwide, coastal communities, tourism sector, across the country truthfully and what we have seen is that they are rallying and their voices were actually heard. And what we got today was a positive response in that there has been a press release of the ceasing of the seismic activity that had already commenced." Ingrid Ferlo, LOVE FM: "At this point we don't really know for how much time it's halted, how important is it to be vigilant?"

Education Minister Faber Offers Palacio To Pay Some Teachers' Salaries
The teachers' strike has ended, but the teachers are angry because government has said it will not pay the strike teachers for the days of work that they missed. The union calls it "bad faith", and warns that it has only put the strike "on hold". Up to yesterday government was holding the line, but tonight there is some suggestion of softening that hardline. A letter sent today from the Minister of Education Patrick Faber to Teachers Union President Luke Palacio makes two proposals. First, that the BNTU uses its strike fund to pay the teachers, and second, at the point when that fund is insufficient, quote, "the Ministry of Education is willing to subsidize the payment to teachers."

9 Years Later, PM Signs Commencement Order for 13th Senator
So, while the Minister of Education may just have to gift wrap that olive branch, the Prime Minister wasted no time in fulfilling the commitments he made in those heated strike negotiations. Today, he signed the commencement order for the 13th senator. A press release from the Government says, quote, "This order takes effect on 20th January, 2017. The three months will be used to facilitate the necessary consultations with the NGOs to work out the mechanism for selection of the thirteenth senator. End Quote. A week ago, the Prime Minister explained why the 3-month delay is necessary to ensure that the 13th Senator will be properly identified:

Man Freed Of Charge For Causing Wife's Death In Accident
Traffic Officer Calvin Cumberbatch was behind the wheel when his wife, famed money lender Pamela Bennett-Cumberbatch was killed in an accident on New Year's Day, 2016. Cumberbatch - who himself was badly injured - had to recover from his own injuries, and then contend with grieving for his wife, while facing charges for causing her death, and that of the man in the other vehicle, 80 year old Alfredo Navaratte. But today, the 35 year old Cumberbatch's load was lightened when he was freed of all charges in an appearance before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. The withdrawal was based on a directive from the DPP's office because quote, "the counsel advising on the file saw no evidence supporting the charges laid". Cumberbatch was charged with 2 counts of manslaughter by negligence and other traffic related offences.

Regularizing Daily Movement Of Hundreds of Guatemalan Students
Exactly two years ago, we told you all about the hundreds of Guatemalan children who cross the western border from Melchor every day to attend primary and high schools in Belize. It's a decades old practice where the Guatemalans send their kids to Belize to learn English, and to benefit from an education system that's better than their one. But, officially, it just passed under the radar, most of the kids would just cross daily without even being processed through the immigration point because they were regulars. No record would be made of their crossing. Well, finally, that has changed. The Department of Immigration has activated a long dormant provision for student permits. It regularizes the movement of these students - about 650 of them daily - and it provides revenue for government, since each card costs 70.00 dollars for a Guatemalan citizen. Surprisingly, there was no great resistance from the Guatemalan parents who seemed eager to formalize their children's movements. Reports tell us that lines formed at the Immigration office on the Belize side and at the end of it, over 650 student passes were issued.

Financial Advisor Urges GOB To Lower Rates on T-Notes & Bills
With the Belize economy in recession, and US currency as scarce as a ham leg on Christmas Eve, the chamber of commerce today looked to financial advisor Ervin Perez for advice. He holds quarterly sessions with private sector stakeholders and today the subject was government's financing of domestic debt with treasury bills and notes. Now, to the layperson that may sound about as exciting as watching grass grow, but Perez says it could translate into lower interest rates on lending from commercial banks, and lower interest expense for taxpayers:... Ervin Perez, Managing Director - Lagacy Fund: "It's important for us especially in this current economic time that government's financing of debt is the more efficient. This also translates to the private sector because government debt and the cost of government paste is kind of like the bench mark on what private sector has to pay. Simply put, the private sector always have to pay a risk premium over government debt rate. So if government pays 5% on some treasury note, private sector will normally have to pay 5 plus a premium of 3-4% more on a same instrument of a same maturity."

MOE Counting The Ways To Deduct Salaries
Earlier in the news, we told you about the compromise that the Minister of Education proposed to the BNTU to ensure that the teachers who went on strike will still be paid for their 11 strike days. Well, defusing those tensions is important because if things come to a head again, the teachers could end up going back on strike. So right now, the teachers have the Deputy Prime Minister's proposal, which was delivered this evening, but they also have to consider that if they can't reach an agreement their pay will be docked. Earlier in the day, the Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb, sent out another memorandum to the managing authorities of the schools. In it, she gives step by step guidelines on how they should go about docking the pay for the teachers who went on strike. They are advised to take the entire month's salary for a teacher, divide it by 31 days, and that amount is what that teacher earns for one day. Since the teachers were on strike for 11 days, the amount for 1 day should be multiplied by 11. Dr. Babb's memo says quote, "Please note that the entire (amount) should be deducted in one payment" End quote. That means that the Ministry is expecting that the teachers would not get any financial ease with partial deductions.

Teachers Were Warned About Strike Pay Deduction
We stress that was yesterday, before the Minister offered a compromise. But, nonetheless, the pay cut is on the minds of all the teachers who went on strike - who were warned that it could be the penalty for striking. We dug into our coverage of the 11-day strike, to find a few choice comments which show clearly that the teachers knew that there could be dire dollar consequences for their participation Here's that story: Hon. Elena Smith, Labour/Civil Society Senator: "Don't let the BNTU say come out again and you get those calls from those persons within the ministry to tell you that you must go to school and if you don't go to school you lose a day pay. If you don't go to school you might not have a job, you might be transferred. So what if we tell them that if they can't govern this country properly we will get them out of office? Ah, that should be what we are doing. What is good for the goose is good for the gander."

Cargo Truck Accident Cayuses Nationwide Power Outage
If you woke up at around 1:30 am because the fan went off, you weren't alone - the entire country experienced the same thing - and it was all because an errant cargo truck caused a lamp-post to snap. It happened at mile 8 on the Western Highway where the truck hit one of the guy cables which holds the lamp - post in place, and that caused two transmission lines to break. Some folks got power back within minutes, but the bulk of the consumer sin Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts went three hours without power. BEL workers went into action to normalize everything, and works to replace the two transmission poles were scheduled for completion by 6:00 p.m. today.

Doctors Delivered Baby In Blackout
So while BEL workers were trying to restore power to most of the country, a team of Western Health Region doctors and nurses were trying to deliver a baby… in the dark! An 18 year old woman was in labor when the power went out. But instead of buckling in that very nerve-wracking situation, the doctors did the best they could and turned on their flashlights on their phones and delivered a baby. It is a miracle that the mother and her baby survived. Director of Health Services Dr. Marin Manzanero told us more about this case and explained that there is nothing they could do because the last time they checked, the 2 generators were working just fine. Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director of Health Services: "The female was in labor when the blackout occurred. As we understand, it was minutes before she actually delivered. The delivery was documented at 1:51am this morning. The delivery was uneventful, that means that the baby and the mom and doing okay which is I think an important issue that needs to be highlighted. What I think needs to be clarified is the concern that we don't have a generator. I think we need to remind everybody that we do have a generator, 2 generators at the western region..."

Men Make Allegations Against GSU
The GSU have managed to stay out of the news recently, but, this morning we received reports of an incident involving a Belize City fisherman and the GSU. According to Joshua Gillet, who is from the Conch Shell Bay Area, the GSU jumped him this morning a little before 9am. Gillet claims he wasn't doing anything wrong, but that the GSU has been targeting and abusing him and others in the area. He came to our studio this morning, just after the incident to tell us what happened. Joshua Gillet - Fisherman: "Well sir, I was in the area of Conch Shell Bay, taking [#%!], and I went in an abandoned spot and GSU pulled up. They ask me to go on the ground for them, so I went on the ground. Then when I was on the ground another one asked me to get up, so I got up and then they put me in the mud. They put me down in the mud, shoved me in the mud. Then when I was in the mud they started to stamp me, you get the sense. And when I turned around to ask why they were beating me, one of them asked the big man who was running the crowd, Mr. Fergeson, to step one side, and Mr. Fergerson stepped on side and they shot me, boss. With a rubber bullet. I didn't do anything. We don't kill anybody at Conch Shell Bay, boss. Why are they coming to beat us, boss? The day before the same crowd came to be boss, and this is what they did to me, they put up gun signs at me, you get the sense, boss?"

Scotiabank Gives
Today Scotia Bank donated $100,000 for hurricane relief efforts. Now we know, it has been 2 months since Earl hit Belize, but there are many families still in need of help. At a short afternoon ceremony, Scotia Bank handed over $60,000 to Hand in Hand Ministries, $35,000 to the Belize Red Cross and also gave scholarships to the Deborah Humes' 2 daughters. As you will remember, Humes, the Soca Moca band member was crushed beneath a house on Dolphin Street. We spoke to the Managing Director of Scotia bank about the donation , as well as the recipients. Humes' daughters got $2,500 each. Alesha Hylton is in Standard 6 and the scholarship will pay for her 1st form tuition, fees and books. For Primelie Humes, her share will go to paying for her 2nd form tuition and fees.

The Face Of Winston
Earlier this week we had a phone interview with Winston Thompson from the Toledo District. He was one of 6 Belizeans held by the Guatemalan Navy after they were found fishing in the Gulf of Honduras. And while we got to hear his voice, we didn't get to see him. Here he is now telling PG TV's Wil Maheia about his threat assessment when the Guatemalan Navy had the group held:... Thompson says he believes the Guatemalan Navy Vessel coming out of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve in Belize territory.

Channel 5

Seismic Testing Stopped Following Public Outcry
People’s power – that’s what moved government into action today. For days, environmentalists and other stakeholders have been on high alert. G.O.B. had given the green light for offshore seismic [...]

Coalition of Environmentalists Claims Victory
This evening members of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage held a celebratory press briefing at the Audubon Society’s headquarters. The representatives of the Belize Tourism Industry Association; [...]

Next Step is Firming Up Moratorium and Moving Toward Petroleum Ban
The surveys being conducted before the suspension was announced involved two separate methodologies: multi-beam and seep sea surveys. It is the latter that has the environmental community up in arms [...]

Community Will Monitor Ship Involved in Seismic Testing
The local fishing and tourism community is keeping an eye on the ship involved in the survey. While it is not clear where it will be berthing tonight, the World [...]

Ministry of Education Issues Plans for Deduction to Salaries
Having put their strike on hold, the teachers are still facing another battle; this time, its salary deductions for the striking days. Today, the Chief Education Officer Doctor Carol Babb [...]

Luke Palacio Insists Ministry Has No Authority Over Deductions
The total monthly salary is to be divided by the number of days in the month – thirty-one; then multiplied by the total number of days the teacher is out [...]

B.N.T.U. Rejects Call to Use Strike Fund to Pay Teachers’ Salaries
Late this evening, News Five obtained a letter from Minister Faber sent to Luke Palacio. The letter makes two proposals in which the ministry is softening its position. Faber proposes [...]

Minister Wilfred Elrington Says School Managements Will Decide
To pay or not to pay the protestant teachers; that’s the position that schools management are faced with following an eleven-day strike effected by the Belize National Teachers Union.  While [...]

Finally, the 13th Senator – But B.N.T.U. Wants “Black and White”
There will finally be a thirteenth member appointed to the Upper House, the Senate. However, it will come twenty days into the New Year. With little fanfare, the Government Press [...]

Is Delay With 13th Senator Related to Senate Select Committee?
Opposition representative Kareem Musa acknowledges the steadfast effort of the B.N.T.U. in forcing government to sign the commencement order.  However, he believes that the three-month delay in appointing the N.G.O. [...]

Foreign Affairs Minister Believes New Senator Will Not Help Gridlock
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington is of an entirely different position.  He maintains that despite introducing the idea of a thirteenth senator several years ago, it has become apparent [...]

Speaker of the House to Sue Attorney General & Auditor General
There is a most unprecedented case to report tonight. No other than the Speaker of the House of Representatives has launched a law suit against his own government. Michael Peyrefitte [...]

Samuel Haynes Institute Sued Over Little Girl’s Injuries From Falling Gate
Four-year-old Brenae Timmons was seriously injured on January twenty-ninth when a wrought-iron gate fell on top of her while playing in the compound at the Samuel Haynes Institute.  The incident [...]

Pickstock Representative Dismisses Suit as “Politics”
Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred Elrington, whose brainchild is the Samuel Haynes Institute, says the unfortunate incident is being used as a political football.  He dismissed the claim altogether.   Isani [...]

Foreign Minister Denies Doug Singh Under Investigation, Facing Extradition
There has been rampant speculation since Wednesday about a predawn raid at the business place of businessman Doug Singh in the City. Speaking from Thailand by phone, the highly connected [...]

B.N.T.U. Receives Terms of Reference for Danny Mason/Llewellyn Lucas Investigation
There is one more issue over which the B.N.T.U. has received further good news. The Union, among many others, had demanded from Government an international investigation by law enforcement authorities [...]

Fire Claims House on Iguana Street Extension
On Tuesday, we told you about a fire that gutted a home on the south side of Belize City. Sometime after eleven on Monday night, fire woke up residents on [...]

Was Alleged Arson Related to Weekend Shooting Incident?
But was the fire an act of arson? Gill believes that the fire stemmed from a shooting incident on Saturday, three days before her house was set ablaze. She explains [...]

Seismic Testing Will Hurt Status of Barrier Reef as World Heritage Site
Earlier in the newscast, we heard about G.O.B.’s proposed seismic testing that has been put on hold following the tourism industry and conservation community’s uproar.  On Wednesday, the Coalition told [...]

P.U.P. Asks for Audit of Lands Department
The P.U.P. says that they want an audit in the Department of Lands from 2008 to 2015 – the years when disgraced former Minister Gaspar Vega led the lands department. [...]

Time to Audit Petrocaribe and Belize Infrastructure Limited, Says P.U.P.
And while we are on it – Briceño says bring on the audit for the Petro Caribe funds and the Belize Infrastructure Limited. He says that he believes that the [...]

Healthy Living: Separating True and False Statements on Breast Cancer
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. It means it’s time for some education on this preventable form of cancer.  In tonight’s Healthy Living, we test your breast cancer awareness as we [...]


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#518436 - 10/21/16 10:41 AM Re: Today's Belize News: October 21, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CTV3

Teachers Salary Could Be Deducted Including Saturday And Sunday
It seems that despite the pleas made by the BNTU the Ministry of Education is intent on moving forward with the plans to dock the salaries of those teachers who participated in the BNTU’s strike. This evening a second memorandum was sent out by the ministry highlighting the method being used to withhold contributions towards salaries of teachers on strike. The document states that the deduction will be from October 3rd to the 18th including Saturday and Sunday, and notes that the entire deduction will be made in one payment. In the memo, the Ministry sets out the formula for the deduction to teachers' salaries using as an example: A teacher whose Salary is two thousand four hundred and eighty one dollars, was absent during the period October 3-14, 2016(including Saturday and Sunday, excluding 10 October which was a holiday) will be deducted in the following way: 2481/31days in the month = $80.03 x 11days= $880.35 which is the total amount to be deducted.

PM Barrow Gets 13th Senator Commencement Order Underway
“We will be watching and waiting”, that’s the BNTU’s promise upon ending the strike action on Tuesday which allowing their teachers to return to classes. The BNTU says it will keep the Barrow Administration to the commitments made during the negotiations, and today was one of those days they had to deliver. Prime Minister Barrow agreed that today he would be signing the commencement order allowing the 13 Senator to become a reality. Well, the PM did sign a commencement order according to a Government release. The order will take effect on January, 20th 2017. By that time, the NGO community should have worked out the mechanism for the selection of the thirteenth senator and be prepared to nominate someone from within its ranks. Now, this 13th Senator proposal was one of the anchors of Prime Minister’s election campaign in 2008. But upon taking office, he turned on the very same idea and while inscribing it into law, he refused to sign the commencement order that would give life to the idea of an empowered Senate. He also tricked the NGOs who had already voted for Maya leader Greg Cho’oc as their Senate-nominee.

Oceana Demands Transparency Of Seismic Testing
But while public pressure forced the Government to put the activities on hold today, environmentalists have been lobbying for much more from the authorities. The Northern Explorer Sea Bird arrived in Belize this week ready to begin seismic testing. Oceana Belize was unaware of this plan and only learnt of the situation when the Department of Environment informed them that they had given approval. Since then, Oceana Belize has been requesting more information, but little has been forthcoming says Vice President Janelle Chanona. Janelle Chanona - Oceana’s Vice President: “We wrote to the department of the environment saying can you please share with us the written submission that you made to Cabinet that they are basing this approval without the EIA on, we have not gotten that. What we do have was in part what you heard today of the department of the environment are able to definitively say that there will be no longstanding effect from seismic on Belize...”

Attorney Weighs In On Saldivar And Mason's business Relationship
As mentioned Belmopan Area Representative Honorable John Saldivar is on a one-week suspension as the Office of the Prime Minister seeks legal advice on whether the steps taken by the Minister were enough to effectively sever the business relationship established between himself and accused murderer William “Danny” Mason. Today, attorney Kareem Musa spoke about the share document which recently surfaced showing that Mason had 30 percent of shares in the Belmopan Bandits Football Club. Honorable Kareem Musa – Attorney at Law: “We cannot accept John Saldivar’s explanation any longer that he was just a contributor, these individuals were clearly business partners, there was clearly a joint venture relationship between John Saldivar and William Danny Mason as it relates to the Belmopan Bandits Football Club...”

Opposition Leader Speaks On Gaspar Vega Resignation
The recent land scandal involving a number of illegal transactions made during the former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega’s tenure as Minister of Lands, has resulted in his resignation from Cabinet earlier this week leaving behind his portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture. The leaked documents showed that the government had compensated various individuals for land titles sold to them that were already privately owned including Vega’s son who received $400,000 as compensation while a company by known as Ron J Limited was recompensed with one million dollars. There is no doubt that Vega’s shocking resignation has definitely caused another blow out to the Barrow Administration due to the fact that the Orange Walk North Constituency is considered as a stronghold for the United Democratic Party. But while it might have a negative effect on the UDP, it does look quite enlightening for the People’ United Party for the next general elections. However, during an interview with the media, PUP leader Hon. John Briceno stated that he not does find enjoyment or any delight in the trials currently faced by Vega and further added that the decision lies in the hands of the people from the North Constituency as to whether or not he should be recalled.

Salvadorian national Caught For Illegal Entry
A Salvadoran immigrant is tonight behind bars after he was caught by Belmopan police for illegal entry. This is not the first time though as Juan Pablo Lopez has been previously detained and charged twice for the same wrongdoing and had been deported back to his country of origin. Despite those charges, he was sighted in Belize again and as a result was taken into custody once more. Lopez was fined a sum of three thousand dollars in default of three months in prison. CTV3 News understands that a removal order has been issued for Lopez’s return to El Salvador after the fine has been paid or time served. Details surrounding the immigrant’s presence in Belize are yet to be determined.

GOB Suspends Seismic Testing Under Pressure
It appears that every day there is a wildfire-type issue for the Barrow Administration to put out. Some days it is land scandals, other days it is hustling by senior Government officials. Today the issue became the Multi Beam Seismic Survey near areas of sensitive nature – we’re talking about 10 miles from the Blue Hole and a short distance from the Lighthouse Reef and Atolls. The seismic activity was approved by the Cabinet and given the green light by the Department of Environment. But there was no environmental impact study carried out and not even any type of consultation with authorities, actually not even a slight warning. This stirred up environmental groups over the past days and raised suspicion over the Government’s plans. Today, things came to a boiling point when a public meeting on the island San Pedro turned into a shouting affair against Government officials who were attempting to explain. To calm down those in attendance, the Minister of Tourism Manuel Herredia promised that he would immediately take the concerns to the Prime Minister and that a decision on whether to halt the project would be taken urgently. Well, considering the pressure that the Government is on these days it only took the Prime Minister a few hours to reconsider and issue this press release, indicating that the seismic operation would be suspended.

LOVE FM

Education Minister Expresses Interest to Negotiate on Teachers’ Salaries
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber has written to the President of the Belize National Teachers Union, Luke Palacio in regards to the teachers’ salaries. As we had mentioned, the Ministry sent out a memo stating that Government has decided to withhold contributions to salaries for those teachers who took part in […]

PM’s Word as Good as Gold on 13th Senator
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has signed the commencement order to appoint the thirteenth senator. According to a government release, the commencement order signed today is to give effect to the provisions relating to the appointment of the thirteenth senator pursuant to the Belize Constitution Sixth Amendment Act. Of note is that the order will take […]

Briceno Asks Government, ‘Are You Mad?’
After weeks of clamoring the Government of Belize for good governance and making a firm decision to be absent from the classrooms, the thousands of primary and secondary school students are back at school for the second day since the teachers’ strike took effect on Monday, October 3. What started out as an issue over […]

Government Suspends Seismic Testings in Belize
The Government has halted seismic explorations in Belize’s offshore. We hear more in this report from Ingrid Fernandez.

Kent Clare for FIU Director
Kent Clare, the former Income Tax Commissioner, is the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. We are told that Clare replaces former Minister and Senator Joy Grant who is now the Governor of the Central Bank. Clare is one of the most senior officers who has worked at the Income Tax Department. The Belize […]

Missing Monies at the Belize Workers Union?
The Belize Workers Union, BWU, will hold its Annual General Meeting soon and one of the points to be discussed will be the finances of the union. Someone within the union has leaked bank statements from two bank accounts belonging to the BWU. One of the bank account deals with the members’ savings while the […]

Lawsuit Filed for Injuries to Student on School Grounds
On January 29, an iron gate at the Samuel Haynes Institute fell on then three year old Brenae Timmons, almost crushing her to death. Brenae who is four now, received serious body injuries that left her in a coma for about two weeks. Since then Brenae, with the help of her parents, has been recuperating […]

PUP Attorney Says Former Police Minister Acted Illegally
Minister John Saldivar is on a one week suspension pending an ongoing investigation into the extent of his relationship with William “Danny” Mason. The infamous Mason is now behind bars after being accused of masterminding the execution of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas. In a previous interview, Saldivar said that Mason was a contributor to his football […]

Health Director Explains Generator Failure at Hospital
Reports of a power outage in Belmopan and other areas of the country have led to stories of challenges and dilemma faced by those on duty at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan. Stories have been circulating of doctors having to use the lights from their cellular phones to deliver a baby since the generator […]

Low Lying Bridge Fully Restored in Western Belize
The wooden bridge in San Ignacio has been replaced. The low lying wooden bridge that crosses the Macal River in Santa Elena and San Ignacio has been fully reconstructed. The reconstruction was done by a local contractor with supervision from engineers in the Ministry of Works. The bridge was officially opened this morning and now […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Hode’s Place in San Ignacio – a premier restaurant with a friendly family environment
Hode’s Place, located on Savannah Road on the banks of the Macal River, is one of San Ignacio’s premier restaurant. Established in April 1998 by Eugene Burns and his wife Nazette Burns, together with their 3 children, the businessboasts a very friendly and safeenvironment, […]

Western Regional doctors deliver baby during national blackout with cell phone lights
After a sensationally bizarre incident, in which a rat was discovered inside an incubator at the Western Regional Hospital in 2015, pregnant mothers did their best to avoid that hospital. Nevertheless it was in this same hospital, where a baby was successfully delivered last night […]

Ministry of Education issues memo explaining how deduction for teachers’ salaries will be made
A memo was issued today by the Ministry of Education to all General Managers of Government and Government-Aided Primary Schools, Board of Managements and Principals of Government and Government-Aided Secondary Schools, and Boards and Deans of Government-Aided Junior Colleges explaining the guideline that will […]

NEMO minister hands over houses to Hurricane Earl victims in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank
Edmond Castro, the Minister of National Emergency Management (NEMO) and Area Representative for Belize Rural Central, Beverly Castillo were in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank yesterday, October 19, 2016, handing over houses to victims of Hurricane Earl whose homes had been damaged beyond repair by the […]

Seismic Operations suspended
The Government of Belize has issued a press release informing the public that the seismic operations have been suspended. “Based on multiple concerns raised by concerned citizens regarding the seismic survey currently being conducted in the deep offshore of Belize as well as the […]

BTIA disappointed at GOB for approving seismic testing
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) has issued a press release expressing its concern and disappointment at the recent announcement made by the Government of Belize for approving seismic testing in Belize’s offshore areas and near the Belize Barrier Reef System. “The BTIA is concerned […]

PM Barrow signs commencement order for 13th Senator
The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a press release announcing that the Honorable Prime Minister today signed the commencement order to give effect to the provisions relating to the appointment of the thirteenth senator pursuant to the Belize Constitution Sixth Amendment […]

Ambassdor of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan) presents credentials to President
Her Excellency Ms. Diane C. Haylock, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan), presented her Letters of Credence to Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Palace in Taiwan today. “Upon receiving the credentials from H.E. Ambassador Haylock, President […]

Salvadoran Gang Leader detained in Belize
Juan Lopez, a Salvadorian gang leader has been detained by Belmopan police for illegally crossing our borders. Details of his capture and character remain sketchy and it is unknown why he is in Belize. However, this is his second time here. Efforts are being […]

Low lying wooden bridge in San Ignacio completed and open to traffic
Breaking Belize News has confirmed that the reconstruction of the Low Level Wooden Bridge spanning the Macal River in San Ignacio / Santa Elena has been completed. The Ministry of Works issued a press release just now informing the public that a final inspection […]

World Wildlife Fund warns of Impact of Oil Exploration to Belize Barrier Reef
Nadia Bood, World Wildlife Fund’s Belize reef scientist has stated “Our reef is an engine for long term economic development in Belize. More than half of Belize’s population, around 190,000 people, are supported by income generated through tourism and fisheries.” The WWF has warned […]

Guatemalan Armed Forces kidnapped and used intimidation tactics with local Belizean fishermen says BTV
While the ongoing territorial dispute with bordering Guatemala has disappeared from the national discourse for the most part, Guatemala continues to bully Belize. In a recent act of aggression, the Guatemalan Armed Forces detained six Belizean nationals and three fishing vessels during a routine fishing […]

BNTU says ‘Stop the Aggravation’
Yesterday, the BNTU issued a press release calling on the Government and the Ministry of Education to ‘stop the aggravation’. The BNTU notes that, in a memo issued to Managing Authorities, the Ministry informs that they will withhold the salaries of teachers who participated […]

Bar Association mourns passing of Senior Counsel Michael Young
The Bar Association of Belize issued a press release yesterday expressing their sadness as they mourn the passing of Senior Counsel Michael Young who they describe as a mentor, brother, long time friend, and colleague. The release gives a brief history of Young’s law […]

Blogs

Oil Exploration Along Belize’s Barrier Reef: An Update and Call To Action
It seemed to come out of nowhere. The announcement that oil exploration was ALREADY happening off the coast of Belize took my breath away – it did for many. Owned and operated by Seabird Exploration – a company that certainly does NOT have a blemish free record. In 2012, there was a public referendum where the public RESOUNDING voted NO to Offshore Drilling. On Ambergris Caye alone, over 4000 voted. 35 people voted YES to drilling. Just last year, the Government of Belize committed to No Offshore Drilling. (Read article: OCEANA Commends Government of Belize For Offshore Exploration Policy – Dec, 2015 and UNESCO’s article: Danger Listed Site Belize Barrier Reef Gets Visionary Integrated Management Plan) And then the announcement that seismic testing was commencing in mid-October 2016. Offshore. Around this UNESCO World Heritage Site Center – our barrier reef – that UNESCO has already declared “at risk”. The nursery and feeding area for millions of sea creatures from manatees to whale sharks, from crocodiles to sea turtles. It’s also a hugely important area (outside of the marine parks) for fishing – that sustains many in Belize.

Opening of Low Level Wooden Bridge Spanning Macal River in San Ignacio and Santa Elena
The Ministry of Works informs the general public that it has completed the reconstruction of the Low Level Wooden Bridge spanning the Macal River in San Ignacio / Santa Elena. The reconstruction works were done by a local contractor and was supervised by engineers from the Ministry of Works. The Ministry of Works has completed its final inspection of the bridge and informs the general public that the bridge was opened for use today, October 20, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Presentation of Credentials by Ambassador of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Her Excellency Ms. Diane C. Haylock, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan), today presented her Letters of Credence to Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Palace. Upon receiving the credentials from H.E. Ambassador Haylock, President Tsai warmly welcomed the new Ambassador to Taipei. President Tsai noted that in recent years, bilateral cooperation has grown tremendously, and reciprocal visits by high-ranking government officials have been frequent, which is testimony to the strength of the close ties and friendship shared between Belize and Taiwan.

International Sourcesizz

LC Filmmaker Ilana Lapid Premiering Film ‘Yochi’ at Belize International Film Festival
Yochi, a film written and directed by Las Cruces filmmaker Ilana Lapid, will premiere at the 2016 Belize International Film Festival, in Belize City, November 10-13. In an additional honor, Yochi was selected as the opening night film. Yochi has been receiving noteworthy recognition, most recently from renowned film director Roland Joffe (The Mission) in a tweet about Robert Dugan’s cinematography, calling it “Beautifully shot.” Yochi is a story of a 9-year-old selectively mute Mayan boy who guards a nest of endangered Yellow-Headed Parrots in Belize’s pine savanna. When his beloved older brother, Itza, returns from the city, Yochi learns that he’s in debt and has turned to poaching – setting the brothers on a collision course. “This film is a story about connection and finding your voice,” said Yochi director, Ilana Lapid. “It poses the question: what are you willing to sacrifice to protect that which is most sacred to you?” Ilana Lapid is also a professor at the Creative Media Institute (CMI) of New Mexico State University (NMSU).

Time to Audit Petrocaribe and Belize Infrastructure Limited, Says P.U.P.
And while we are on it – Briceño says bring on the audit for the Petro Caribe funds and the Belize Infrastructure Limited. He says that he believes that the monies must be accounted for and proper records for contracts and bidding should be open. This call comes in the wake of persistent speculations that Petro Caribe monies have been squandered. John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader “It is also time to have an audit be done with the Petro Caribe funds. Over three hundred and seventy-five million dollars have been spent and in many instances millions and millions of dollars have been squandered. Many people believe that this was the way – the allegations are that these funds were some way used to be able to have funds for the campaign. We don’t have the evidence. That is why it is important for us to have a full and thorough investigation as to how the monies from Petro Caribe has been spent.

10 Caribbean islands cruise ships don’t visit
In the Caribbean and the Bahamas, islands without cruise ships are disappearing. But these 10 gems unspoiled by the cruising throngs are terrific holdouts of authentic island life. You’ll find sugarcane plantations that still produce rum, palm-fringed beaches with offshore reefs, lodges that generate their own energy, and plenty of places where you can laze away an entire afternoon in a hammock, with nary a megaship in sight. A popular backpacker destination, the tiny Tobacco Caye is a no-frills paradise. This southern Belize island is home to only 20 residents who run Tobacco Caye, four lodges, a couple of bars and restaurants and not much else. Properties collect their own rainwater and generate their own energy from solar power or generators. Intrepid travelers come for diving charters to Glover’s Reef and Blue Hole as well as snorkeling, kayaking and SUP on the surrounding Belize Barrier Reef and South Water Caye Marine Reserve. You’ll also find plenty of beaches lapped by turquoise waters. At day’s end, nothing beats listening to the sound of waves from one of the island’s thatched-roof overwater bungalows.

Caribbean National Insurance Schemes look shaky to some
-Caribbean countries should take note that the National Insurance Schemes (NIS) in the region might not be as safe and sound as previously thought. That warning has come in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper published by Koffie Nassar, Joel Okwuokei, Mike Li, Timothy Robinson and Saji Thomas. The paper – which the IMF stressed was a result of research done by the authors and did not necessarily represent the Washington-based institution’s views – advised territories in the region to pay close attention to the schemes which were projected to “run substantial deficits and deplete their assets in the next decades, raising the prospects of government intervention.” “The schemes appear relatively sound until about 2017. Thereafter, they are projected to incur substantial deficits and eventually run down their assets, raising the prospects that the government would have to bear a share of the promised pension benefits,” the researchers wrote.

Artifacts at two undisturbed Guatemala tombs reveal how Mayan empire worked
In recent weeks, archeologists have found two tombs in Guatemala that have “miraculously” escaped the notice of looters, and the contents could well shake up everything we know about how the Mayan empire worked, according to Fox News Latino. The tombs were found in the classical Mayan site of Holmul, about 300 miles north of Guatemala City, in the province of El Petén near the border with Belize. One of the artifacts inside – a jade necklace – bore the symbol of a distant king, suggesting that systems of vassalage and patronage spanned hundreds of miles. “We never suspected until now how the Mayan super-state operated,” Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University research assistant professor directing excavations at Holmul, told Fox News Latino. “This gives us a unique glimpse, looking at it not from the center but from the margins.” The tombs date to 650 to 700 A.D., some 800 years before Europeans arrived in the Americas, and a time when the Mayan culture reached its peak before its descent into a mysterious collapse.

Banking: Is the US making a stick to beat its own back?
Caribbean governments have rightly focussed on the severe consequences for their countries of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from regional banks by international banks, particularly those located in the US. But there will also be serious consequences for other parts of the world, particularly the US, if the current troubling trend remains unchecked. The gravest immediate threat is to Caribbean countries certainly. This not an abstract issue, restricted to the banking sector or governments. The adverse effects will spare no one. They will affect every sector of economic and financial activity including tourism, importers and exporters of goods, and individuals who either send money abroad or receive it. On the tourism sector, airlines will not be able to transfer monies earned in the Caribbean to their home locations; cruise ships will not be able to pay for their passengers who sail to the region; hotels will not be able to purchase the food and beverages they import for the tourism industry; motor car dealers won’t be able to pay for vehicles they bring in to the country. Even persons abroad, who send money to their dependent relatives, will find it impossible to do so. And, so the list goes on.

The Diversity Visa Lottery is open!
What is it? The Diversity Visa Lottery Program is a Congressional-mandated program which provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each year for individuals from countries with lower levels of immigration. Each year, this lottery is conducted to determine who can apply for the visa Learn More About The Diversity Visa and how to apply.

Videos

  • Dialisis De Belice, 24min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Anti Corruption Law, 47min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Belize Coalition meets with Caye Caulker community on seismic testing., 56min.

  • BELIZE - SWIMMING WITH SHARKS - HOL CHAN MARINE RESERVE - AMBERGRIS CAYE, 6.5min. Hol Chan Marine Reserve and swimming with sharks among coral reef on Ambergris Caye.

  • Red Lorde Parrots at Villa Rising Sun, Hopkins, Belize, 1min. Natures wonderful alarm clock.

  • Offshore Oil Exploration Conference in San Pedro, 94min.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFC35gFJspk, 26min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Honorable Manuel Heredia relay's Prime Ministers response on putting the Seismic Survey on hold, 33min.

  • Flyover of Royal Belize, 1/2min. Royal Belize Island Resort

  • Flyover of The Placencia Hotel, 1/2min. Placencia, Belize

  • Miss Earth Belize 2016 Eco Beauty Video, 3min.

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