Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Mexican says in January of 2019 his government will transform its cities and towns along its border with the USA into free zones. Then his focus will be on a similar measure with Chetumal, Quintana Roo. The economic impact of such a measure could be adverse to businesses within Belize’s Free Zone in the Corozal District. Tracy Taeger-Panton, the Minister of State Responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce says it is still unclear what Mexico’s plans are but the Government is looking at ways to develop the economy of the northern districts.
Honorable Tracey Panton: “I am not sure how it affects us because there is very little that we know of this proposal with the exception of what has been discussed publicly there would be a reduction in General Sales tax from what is now 16% to 8% and there was also mention that fuel prices will be adjusted. The Corozal Freezone as you know is a tax free zone completely and so there is no business tax or GST taxes. The items are duty free so until we have an opportunity to exam exactly what the intention is it’s hard to determine impact. I will say that the traditional business that have been operating in the zone which is primarily retail of clothing and alcohol and to some extent cigarettes is not going to be sustainable in the long term. We have recognized that for some time and we have gotten some technical assistance from the IDB and the technical team at the Ministry has been on the ground since March of this year looking at how we can improve the economic viability of the Corozal Freezone but also of the Corozal District as a whole and the northern districts which you know have very little economic activity outside of sugar. There is tourism which there is huge potential for.I had mentioned earlier this week that there is a new shrimp farm in operation in the north in Libertad which is the first one that had been opened. It is going very well and we believe if that is the kind of success that we expect it too that there will be more opportunities for shrimp farming in the North.
Minister Panton said there will be consultations on how to export professional services using the Free Zone as a hub of activity. Several sectors have been identified as areas for economic activity in the northern districts of Belize including: agro processing, tourism, and the business process outsourcing sector commonly known as call centers.
According to the plans of Mexico’s President Elect, Chetumal would also only be paying 8 percent Valued Added Tax which would be half the amount paid by other Mexican States. The Peoples United Party believes that the Commercial Free Zone at the Northern Border would be adversely impacted by the measure. Specifically, Leader of the Opposition John Briceno told Love News that not only does it threaten the viability of the Commercial Free Zone which is presently under great pressure due to increasing taxes, but the Belizean economy on a whole.
Leader of the Opposition John Bricenio:“The Freezone has shown the ability to create a lot of jobs for Belizean’s but there is no political direction, there is no political ownership of the Freezone so that whenever they have the problem especially with Mexico that the government then needs to step in as what we did to keep the Freezone going so that is one and then they put in to many political lackey’s. The infrastructure is breaking apart and we have to fix it if we want to be serious to develop that area. The issue of the moral that the Freezone is just cigarettes and liquor and in some cases allegations of money laundering. The Freezone provides presently jobs for about 1000 Belizean’s and we need to make sure that we can protect that as best as we can. I hear the Deputy Minister of Economic Development talking about doing more studies and more studies. We have too many studies, we know what we have to do. We have to rethink, we have to relook at what is happening at the Freezone. We should be in consultation with the investors at Freezone, we should be in consultations with people in the North concerning the Freezone and also we need to be meeting with the Mexican government to ensure that we can protect the Freezone so that it can grow. Secondly we also need to be able to rethink what we can do, right now is strictly retail, call centers can come in, we can try to attract light manufacturing in the areas so that we can export into Mexico and into Central America and the Caribbean but we need to think what incentives are we going to get these investors to go in and the last point I want to make is that is why it is so important, we have to meet with Mexico and negotiate a partial scope agreement so that our goods can move easily into Mexico and so that we can attract Mexicans to come into Belize not only to invest but to visit Belize and that they can spend their tourist dollars in Belize.”
Mexico’s plans for Chetumal, Quintana Roo would come into effect in January, 2019.
Saturday’s farmers’ market at Banyan Bay was delightful. Lots of room to shop around. The vendors had some neat stuff from handcrafted jewelry to freshly baked quiche. They had make-up and books, artworks, beautiful wood carved home items and more. Chez Caribe owner Jack was playing cribbage next to the bar cart and said to tell everyone he’ll be there every Saturday if anyone wants to play with him. They also had live music. It was a perfect event.
It is good to shop locally and help small businesses grow bigger.
There are lots of really tasty treats for sale.
You will find some great handmade bags, jewelry and so much more to stylize yourself.
There is a great selection of environmentally friendly lifestyle products as well.
Many of the sellers are also my friends.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in Tacogirl's Blog
Rain, and more Rain. We are in a conveyor belt of low pressure clouds and rain, otherwise known as the Monsoon belt. This is sort of the seasonal normal, but more so this year than typical. Although so far this year we have been low on rain, June, July and September were all significantly lower than usual, January was high, very high, and now October is very high, but overall, for the year so far, we are only 3% above the typical rainfall. Right now, the rain is being made by a mid level air movement from the south.
Looks like today will be yet another wet and cloudy day, few glimpses of the sun.
Temperatures in Belmopan :
( Coast usually cooler, hills even cooler )
Last night min. 24°C 76°F Yesterday max. 30°C 86°F
Ambergris Caye: Conditions this morning by Elbert just before or after this post!
A moderate and relatively moist easterly airflow prevails over our area.
Advisories: *Small craft caution in effect for gusty winds and occasionally rough seas.*
Sunny with some cloudy spells today and cloudy at times tonight. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms will occur mostly inland today, then over most areas tonight.
East | 10-20 kts | Gusty, Sea State: Moderate-Rough
Sea Surface Temperature (°f): 84
Some cloudy spells with a few showers and isolated thunderstorms mostly inland Saturday, then over southern and some coastal areas Saturday night.
Daily Tropical Weather Outlook:
Tropical cyclone formation is not expected in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico, during the next 48 hours.
Click for more...
E 10-20 kts
A FEW SHOWERS OR ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.
E 10-20 kts
A FEW SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.
E 10-20 kts
ISOLATED SHOWERS OR THUNDERSTORMS.
E 5-15 kts
A FEW SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS MOSTLY SOUTH.
The Caribbean Sea
An upper level trough passes through 20N58W in the Atlantic Ocean,
across the NE part of the Caribbean Sea, to Hispaniola and the
Windward Passage, to a broad upper level cyclonic circulation
center that is near the Cayman Islands, to central Guatemala.
Comparatively drier air in subsidence covers the Caribbean Sea
from 15N northward from 70W eastward. An upper level trough also
extends from the Windward Passage toward NW Venezuela that is
along 70W. Isolated moderate rainshowers cover the area that is
between 70W and 80W. Scattered moderate to strong rainshowers are
in the coastal areas of the ABC Islands, Venezuela, and Colombia
from 13N southward from 72W eastward. 24-hour rainfall totals that
are listed for the period that ended at 19/0000 UTC, according to
the PAN AMERICAN TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION TABLES, MIATPTPAN/
SXCA01 KNHC, are 1.66 in Curacao, and 0.07 in Guadeloupe.
Moderate to fresh trade winds will prevail across the region
through Tuesday. The highest wind speeds are expected near the
Windward Passage, south of Hispaniola, and south of E Cuba.
31° C 88° F
27° C 80° F
33° C 92° F
23° C 74° F
28° C 82° F
21° C 70° F
High: y5:40 AM
Low: 1:03 PM
High: 7:18 PM
Low: 1:02 AM (Sat)
Sunrise: 5:47 AM
Moonrise: 2:29 PM
Sunset: 5:28 PM
Moonset: 2:17 (Sat)
Four Day Weather Outlook:
250 Km Radar Picture
(Time Label on picture is GMT. Local time is GMT-6 Hours)
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
Ministry of Health Reminds Public to Get the Flu Vaccine The Ministry of Health reminds the public that it is the flu season and that the seasonal flu vaccine is now available at all public health centers countrywide.
The flu vaccine helps to prevent the flu or the severity of the illness, if contracted. Mild side effects may include a slight fever, muscle pain or soreness at the injection site.
The flu vaccine is free of cost and persons in the above-mentioned groups are advised to visit their nearest health center to be vaccinated.
‘He Intends Victory’ Ministry educates island students on HIV/AID Many island students were educated on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by the ‘He Intends Victory’ Ministry from Monday, October 8th to Wednesday, October 10th. Executive Director and founder of He Intends Victory Bruce Sonnenberg facilitated the program along with Dan Davis, Ronald Magno, and ministry’s Belize Director Clive Welsh.
Sonnenberg told The San Pedro Sun that the sessions are aimed at providing the students with basic facts about HIV/AIDS. Both Davis and Magno are HIV positive, so they shared their testimony of how they got infected and what they have done to survive and be healthy after so many years of living with the virus.
André Perez endorsed as PUP standard bearer for Belize Rural South The Belize Rural South (BRS) People’s United Party (PUP) endorsed San Pedro’s André Perez as their new standard-bearer during their endorsement convention held at the Honorable Sylvestre Sporting Complex in San Pedro Town on Saturday, October 14th. The event saw a large crowd of supporters, as well as PUP leaders from various parts of the country showing their support.
The convention began shortly after 8PM with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a short prayer. Master of Ceremonies Javier Gutierrez then officially welcomed everyone to the event, thanking them for their continued support towards the party.
Annual Responsible Tour Guide & Tour Operators Seminar 2018 Hol Chan Marine Reserve is conducting its annual “Responsible Tour Guide & Tour Operators Sessions” for the year 2018-2019. These sessions serve to inform the guides on the rules and regulations of the marine reserve and as well as to collect feedback from the tour guides and tour operators.
This year’s sessions will run throughout October and November; and it is critical that each tour operator along with their sales clerk and tour guide using the area attend to these sessions, as we will be discussing the new procedure to access the reserve, zonation and rules and regulations of Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
NCFC Speaks Out On Rape Of Five Year Old Our children remain under attack by those who should be in the position of keeping them safe. The National Committee for Families and Children notes with dismay the latest incident in which a five-year-old girl was raped. This is just one more instance where we have failed our most vulnerable.
The National Committee for Families and Children has been working tirelessly to highlight the fact that as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, we have the responsibility to do all we can as a nation to keep our children protected so they can enjoy the rights afforded them.
Sustainable & Child-Friendly Municipality Initiative Mayors Retreat The Ministry of Labor, Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) hosted a two-day event, October 11th & 12th 2018, for mayors and councilors with responsibility for the implementation of the Sustainable & Child-Friendly Municipality Initiative (SCFMI). The event was hosted at the Lodge at Jaguar Reef in Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District.
Its Flu Season: Get Vaccinated! The Ministry of Health reminds the public that it is the flu season and that the seasonal flu vaccine is now available at all public health centers countrywide.
The Ministry encourages specific at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine. These groups include children 6-23 months, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, health care providers, and persons suffering from chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or on the advice of a consulting physician.
Misc Belizean Sources
This news shack contacted Javier Daniel Alpuche on his feature this month at The Kendrick Mark Coleman Foundation Javier D. Alpuche was born in Corozal and a former student of Corozal Methodist Primary School, San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School, Our Lady of Guadalupe High School in Belmopan, the University of Belize and currently at the I-Shou Medical University in Taiwan studying Medicine. His parents are Javier Alpuche and Annalilia Alpuche both of Corozal Town.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Javier Daniel Alpuche. I was born in the lovely Town of Corozal with the privilege of growing up in La Isla Bonita - San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and the capital city of Belmopan. My family consists of my two wonderful parents, an intelligent and caring younger brother and a few close cousins and friends I consider family.
Belize Birding Festival 2018 Meet Jason Tiesman and his topics of presentation for the "Bird Photography" portion of the Belize Birding Festival 2018. Get excited!
SPTC Addresses Noise Pollution In accordance with the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act Chapter 150, Revised Edition 2011, of the substantive laws of Belize, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) along with the San Pedro Liquor Licensing Board (SPLLB) hereby announces to the general public and all Liquor License Holders that effective Thursday, November 1, 2018, in an effort to reducing noise pollution from various establishments and maintaining the Town of San Pedro as a Child Friendly Municipality, open bars will no longer be granted a weekly special license/extension.
Export-led Strategy for the Corozal District Since March of this year, the Ministry of Investment, Trade & Commerce with funding support from the IDB has been diligently working on an Export-led Strategy for the Corozal District as well on a comprehensive assessment for repurposing of the Corozal Free Zone for its long-time viability.
We have been actively engaged in consultations with businesses, financial institutions, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders to complete their assessment on economic activity for both the Zone and Corozal District as a whole. The Final Report and Strategy is due in January, 2019.
The Ministry of Investment, Trade & Commerce will continue to keep all interested parties informed of our progress.
Fruit Fly Control Cooperation Agreement On October 10, 2018, Belize participated in the 5th MEETING OF THE MULTILATERAL FRUIT FLY COMMISSION held in Mexico City. Attending the meeting were Mr. Jose Alpuche, CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Emir Cruz, Managing Director of Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA); and Mr. Hernan Zetina, Medfly Coordinator. During this meeting, the Fruit Fly Control Cooperative Agreement was signed between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Ministry of Agriculture, and BAHA. Signing on behalf of the USDA was Dr. Mike Watson, Administrative Assistant of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and for Belize, CEO Alpuche.
The Cooperative Agreement is negotiated and signed annually to protect agriculture in Belize and the United States. This joint effort includes the control and eradication of the medfly and the management of an exotic fruit fly surveillance program.
Dental Health Week 2018 The Dentists from Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic will be here on Caye Caulker celebrating Dental Health Week for the first time ever! Feel free to participate in the week long activities.
Prevent Zika Community Clean-Up in Ranchito Village Here we come! Let's get rid of those suckers. Prevent Zika Community Clean-Up sponsored by the Belize Red Cross, Corozal Branch is scheduled for Sunday, 21st October, 2018 in Ranchito Village. Meet at the Football Field. Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Ranchito has been good to this news shack, so we will be there, and so should you. It is all a community effort.
Note: The scheduled date for Calcutta has been moved to November. The exact date will be announced later.
Belize Red Cross - Corozal Branch.
Boxing In The Park | BTL Park Jonathan Alexis | Belize | VS | Amir Rudon | Mexico |
Clement Heat vs Alfredo Hernandez,
Jexel Windel vs Joel Milton,
Brian Aguirre vs Carlos Silvero.
Starts at 7:00 PM.
BTL Park | Belize City.
Live on Channel 10.
The PBL and CWU’s Contentious Meeting Tomorrow will make it 21 days since the Christian Workers Union gave three weeks strike notice. The Port and the Stevedores had reached an impasse in negotiations over the issue of the hours of work. The stevedores want to work shits exceeding 15 hours, the Port says it's against the law. The Labour Minister interceded, broke the impasse and got them to return to the negotiating table.
They did so yesterday, and both sides emerged with positive views on the progress they made. It was looking like the dispute was on the way to being resolved without a need for strike. That’s until the Port and the CWU returned today to discuss the union’s counter proposal on a fix for the hours of work.
7News was at the labour office for this afternoon’s follow-up meeting.
C.A. Asylum Seekers Stopped At Western Border There's an interesting situation developing at Belize's western border tonight. A caravan of five buses with Central Americans pulled up at the border this afternoon into evening. We're told the persons - seen sitting outside the Benque Free Zone - are requesting entry into Belize as a church group that visits regularly. But because of the concerns right now about Caravans of asylum seekers heading out of Honduras, the Immigration Department has not allowed them to enter. Central Americans do not require a visa to visit Belize - but these busses have caught the attention of Belmopan because Honduran Caravans of asylum seekers have caused a political uproar in the US. Belize doesn't want to send the signal that asylum seekers heading north are welcomed.
CP Gas Station Robbed, Again…
Armed robbers struck again at CP gas station last night. It happened around 7:00. Two gunmen held up the owner's son inside the station and rode off with the stolen cash. Police have more.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB:
"Before 7 there was a robbery at CP gas located on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The owner of the establishment reported that he was inside of the establishment conducting his daily business when 2 male persons entered the building, one of them had a hoodie and he proceeded inside of the shop looking at the stall wanting to buy something from inside whilst the other one followed him. When the other one arrived near the counter, he pulled out a firearm from his pocket and pointed it at the owners head and demanded for him to hand over the cash..."
The Teachers’ Hardship List Is Still Not Finalized For the last few weeks, you’ve been hearing all about the differences between the BNTU and the Ministry of Education. They’re arguing over which teachers qualify for hardship allowances. That’s a monthly stipend of one to two-hundred dollars for teachers who have to slog through rough terrain or traverse long distances to get to work.
The Ministry - led “Joint Education Staff Relations Council” has been doing a review of those hardship allowances with stakeholders - including the BNTU - since April. They’re re-assessing which schools qualify for hardship in 2018 - since the last hardship list was generated in the year 2000.
Graham Creek Teachers Are Also Forced To Wait And, now, the irony in all this is that, as the old saying goes, “while di grass di grow, di haas di staav.”
In this case, that would be a reference to those two teachers at Graham Creek Government School. We’ve shown you the arduous 7 mile hike they have to take to get to work. And for all that, they do not currently get a hardship allowance. They will only get it when the new list comes into effect - which, right now, looks like no time soon.
We asked President Smith about that:
"Now the irony in all this is according to the deputy chief, Cecilia Ramirez, Graham Creek won't get it's hardship until it's new list goes in because Graham Creek was not in the 2000 hardship list."
An Arrest for Kevin Thomas’ Murder
Police haven’t established a motive for Kevin Thomas’ murder as yet. But fortunately police have the 18 year old suspected shooter, Shadron Deshawn Gillett under police guard at the hospital as he recovers. The teenager was shot by a special constable as he tried to flee the scene. Police say he is expected to becharged with murder when he is released.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB:
"We have an update in reference of the shooting of Mr. Kevin Thomas which occurred on Monday night. Unfortunately, on yesterday's date at about 10:40, he succumbed to his injuries whilst receiving treatment at the KHMH..."
Step-father Charged For Raping 5 year-old For viewers, the story of the 5 year old girl raped by her stepfather is heart-wrenching and deeply disturbing. Just imagine what the child is going through. While the stepfather has been charged with rape, the baby has to get help to try and heal from this trauma. Police told us more about this case.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB:
"The child was brought to Belize City where a medical was conducted and the doctor certified that the child was carnally known. Based on that report that she made, an investigation was conducted, a 31 year old Salvadorian national was arrested and charged yesterday for the crime of rape of a child."
Woman Escapes Fire; Says It Was Arson
Usually when we report on fires – the homes are completely destroyed, the families lose everything and in the worst case scenario, lives are lost. Well, in our next story, a woman was spared from all that when only a small portion of her wooden home was scorched. Today, home owner Andre Diaz expressed how grateful she was to be alive and sent a message to the arsonist whose lawless act could have killed her. Courtney Weatherburne has the story.
This is as far as the damage goes on this Consuelo Street home – the fire torched this portion of the house, leaving blackened holes in the walls like nasty scars. Although it was a minor fire, it was anything but trivial for the home owner Andre Diaz who could have been burnt alive inside.
Sacred Heart’s Sewage Problem Remains Unresolved
Today the Sacred Heart Primary School teachers met with the engineer regarding their severe sewerage problem. The engineer thoroughly inspected the entire system and the bathrooms. When we called for an update this evening the principal told us that they are still in discussions with the engineer and will give us an update tomorrow.
Belize Peace Movement (Finally) Speaks On ICJ Meeting Last week Wednesday, you saw the anti-ICJ Belize PEACE Movement meeting in Belmopan with a cross section of supporters and interested parties, including the PUP southern caucus.
But while we waited until the meeting finished, we don’t know what they discussed. Today, a “one-week-later” release from the Peace Movement says, quote, “Of particular concern was the GOB handling of the ICJ education campaign and the apparent collaboration of the Opposition Party on this matter.” End quote.
Rosado Accused Of Lobster Fishing Without License Jaime Enrique Rosado, a tour guide from Traveller’s Palm Street in Caye Caulker, is facing several fisheries offenses after the Fisheries Department busted him with undersized lobsters.
The Fisheries Department says that on May 22nd, 2018, fisheries officers went to Caye Caulker, and they found Rosado with 33 lobsters. He didn’t have a fishing licenses, and so the officers arrested and charged him with possession of lobsters during a closed season, possession of 24 undersized lobsters, possession of 2 lobsters with soft shell, and engaging in commercial fishing whilst not being the holder of a valid fisherman’s license.
Hon. Taegar-Panton Discusses Chetumal Free Zone Last night we told you about the PUP's dire take on the news that Chetumal will become a sort of Free Zone under new President Manuel Obrador Lopez.
The PUP says it;s a death knell for the Zone and could result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. Worst of all they say, Government is doing nothing about it.
Well, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce Tracy Taegar-Panton says it is a case of premature panic. She gave us her take via phone today:
Felina James Still Missing
Police are still trying to piece together what happened to Felina James. She is the 36 year old mother of two who went missing on Thursday after leaving her sons with a friend. As we told you last night, city council workers who were cutting the grass near the Lands Department in Belmopan came across a stack of ID cards, credit and bank cards belonging to James. And police also got a tip that her Kia Sorrento was seen between Sarteneja and Chunox Villages on Friday night. But still there are no clear answers in this case. Police told us what they know so far.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB:
"On yesterday's date Belmopan police were called to Queen Elizabeth the Second Street that is near the Land's Department by the US Embassy where police were handed over 3 documents belonging to the missing person, one was a social security, a driver's license and a boat captain license."
Ernest Billary’s Decade-Long Remand For the past 10 years now, Ernest Billary has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was charged with arson, for allegedly burning his sister’s house down.
Back in January of 2008, Dawn Billary lost $77,000 worth of property in the fire which destroyed her home on Hibiscus Lane, in the St. Martin De Porres area. That fire almost claimed the lives of Dawn Billary’s 2 younger children, who were a 4-months-old and a 6-year-old at the time. Fortunately, they were saved by their eldest brother, who was 16 years-old at the time, but for his bravery, he suffered burns to the forehead and the nose. Residents reported seeing Ernest Billary jumping the fence and running away at the time of the fire.
WHO Lifts Zika Classification For Caribbean Nations 2 months ago, told you how the health experts at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) declared that Zika was no longer a threat to Caribbean nations. Well today, the organization announced that the World Health Organization has removed its zika virus country classification scheme, which categorized most of the Caribbean territories has having active zika virus transmission.
This shift comes on the heels of date release by CARPHA, which showed evidence that the zika virus transmission in the Caribbean has been interrupted for over 12 months now, or that the virus was at undetectable levels.
SICA Tourism Ministers Meet In Belize There was a Ministers of Tourism SICA meeting today on San Pedro. Tourism minister and officials from Central America gathered to discuss key topics and issues affecting tourism in the region. A new project was also launched to help entrepreneurs advance their small and medium scale businesses. Here is more from the meeting.
The other session will be in December.
Will Stevedores Reduce Gang Sizes Once Again? The Christian Workers Union and the Port of Belize have made some progress in respect of their negotiations towards a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Reducing the number of stevedores by one [...]
San Pedro Police Investigate Rape of a Child A thirty-one-year-old Salvadoran national is accused of raping his five-year-old step-daughter on Monday night while she was left with him at their house in San Pedro. The step father was [...]
“Our Children Need Our Help”: NCFC The National Committee for Families and Children has joined the public outrage in condemning the disturbing rape report, saying that “our children need our help.” In a release, the N.C.F.C. [...]
Bennett’s Legal Team Explains CCJ Decision Bennett’s legal representative, Audrey Matura, explained the arduous process of seeking and securing his release. The life sentence was initially appealed at the Court of Appeal where it was dismissed. [...]
CP Gas Station Hit by Robbers, Again A pair of robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of money on Wednesday night after they held up the owner of CP Gas Station in Belize City. Two men, [...]
Mother of Two, Felina James, Missing Thirty-seven-year-old Felina Margaret James has not been heard from or seen since Thursday, October eleventh. The mother of two was reportedly on her way to Sarteneja Village in her grey [...]
Matthew Moore Freed of Murder Charge Twenty-nine-year-old Matthew Moore became a free man on Wednesday night after Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams told him that the murder case against him is being discontinued. Moore who was [...]
2 Men Wanted for Murder Police have issued bulletins for two men wanted for murder. Eighteen-year-old Leonidis Perez seen in this picture is five feet five inches in height and weighs about one hundred and [...]
Belize City Woman Survives Attempted Arson A Belize City woman is lucky to be alive tonight after someone attempted to burn down her house while she slept inside on Wednesday night. Twenty-one-year-old Andre Diaz was in [...]
SICA Meets in Belize In June of this year, Belize assumed the Presidency Pro Tempore of the Central American Integrated System (SICA) for a six month period during which time two meetings are held. [...]
Hand in Hand Ministries gives away 360th home
Hand in Hand Ministries has been assisting families with building new homes for years. They completed construction on their three hundred and sixtieth house and today they handed it over to Egbert Ferguson and his family. Ferguson told Love news that he was overjoyed that Hand in Hand Ministries assisted him with gaining a new …
SICA’s initiative to help businesses
Earlier this year, Belize took over the Pro-Tem Presidency of SICA, the Central American Integrated System as such several SICA meeting have been conducted in Belize. The latest meeting brought together tourism representative from the region to discuss issues affecting tourism. At the meeting, there was the launch of prometeur which will assist small and …
EU offering grants to local organizations
Over the years, the European Union has played an integral role in the development of Belize, particularly in the sugar belt in the north and the banana belt in the south. The European Union is looking to invest even further in Belize by making grants available to non-profit organizations. Vanna Lawrence, Project Manager for the …
5 year old raped by step father
Yesterday we told you of the 5-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather in San Pedro Town. Assistant Commissioner of Police Alejandro Cowo briefed the media on what they have gathered so far. ASP Alejandro Cowo: “A minor was allegedly carnally known. The incident happened in San Pedro on the 16th. The mother visited …
Husband and boyfriend questioned about missing woman
On Monday, October 15, the Belize Police Department reported the case of a missing woman. The missing woman is 36-year-old, Margaret James. James reportedly left her two sons with a babysitter the 11th of October and told her that she would return the following day. Up to news time, James has not been heard from. …
CP Gas Station Robbed again
CP Gas Station at the Belize City entrance to Phillip Goldson Highway has been robbed on a consistent basis. Two men on bicycles successfully robbed the CP Gas Station on the Philip Goldson Highway yesterday. One of the culprits wore a hooded jacket while the other had one a brown fisherman hat and a brown …
CWU and PORT will continue to negotiate
The CWU understood that the 10 days added to their strike notice was within the powers of the Labour Minister, which allows both groups to return to the bargaining table to work on the framework for a collective bargaining agreement. However, the CWU President Mose Hyde said he felt insulted that the Port CEO, Arturo …
Labour Minister postpones Stevedores Strike
The 150 stevedores employed at the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) should have been going on strike yesterday if their representative the Christian Workers Union did not reach an agreement with PBL regarding their collective bargaining agreement on Thursday. Both groups had initially stopped negotiating after PBL had declared an impasse and the CWU’s response …
Re registration of voters continue
To date, there have one hundred thirty thousand seven hundred and ninety-two persons who have applied to be re-registered. It has been roughly three and a half months into the process and despite the accommodations made by the Elections and Boundaries Department, the turnout is still not where it should be. The Elections and Boundaries …
BODY OF A WOMAN FOUND ON COASTAL ROAD The Reporter has been able to confirm that the body of a female has been found on the Coastal Road. The identity of the body has not been confirmed at this time, and we are awaiting further details.
PINK POLITICS By: Nefretery Marin.
I grew up in a very political family. On my father’s side they were always extreme RED. On my mother’s side total BLUE. As a child, many politicians would frequent my home. I was allowed to sit and listen as long as I minded my manners. I started noticing that very few women were involved. It always bothered me but I minded my manners and bit my tongue…ok, I could not hold my tongue for too long.
Cake and Other Things On Ambergris Caye Mid October and things are quiet on Ambergris Caye. We are muddling through the low season (arguably at the slowest September to US Thanksgiving). Businesses are starting to re-open after vacations and renovations. The news cycle – at least MY news cycle – is slow.
The tropical unrest that was hovering off the coast of Central America blew by. Winds and churned seas but little else for Ambergris Caye.
Just like we like it.
It’s still quite breezy but things will be settling down as we go into the weekend.
Caribbean is Zika free Results in Zika Label being Removed from the Caribbean. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is pleased to announce that the World Health Organization (WHO) has removed its Zika virus country classification scheme, which categorized most of the Caribbean territories as having active Zika virus transmission.
This removal by the WHO comes on the heels of data released by CARPHA, giving evidence that the Zika virus transmission in the Caribbean had been interrupted for over 12 months, or was at undetectable levels, thereby posing very little risk to residents and visitors to the Region. This was matched by data shared with CARPHA by Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America, which showed that no Zika had been detected for over 12 months in travelers returning from the Caribbean to their countries.
This evidence was used by CARICOM to pen a letter to the WHO Director General calling for the immediate reclassification of CARPHA Member States from Category 1 (having active Zika transmission) to Category 3 (having no Zika transmission), arguing that the classification system had outlived its useful purpose.
The Secret is Out – Dive Costa Maya The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System has some of the best diving in the world and is a destination that may attract more divers than any other region. The reef system goes from the Bay Islands of Honduras through Guatemala and Belize and up to the tip of the Isla Contoy at the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, a distance of over 1,000 kilometers. The Mesoamerican reef is a barrier system because it includes the Belize Barrier Reef which is the worlds second largest barrier reef and the largest double barrier reef.
We likely all have heard and many have experienced the outstanding diving in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Moving north, the diving in Belize is highly regarded. Diving Belize is along the barrier reef and in the lagoon behind it. We also know of the three atolls found in Belize. The north portion of the Mesoamerican reef brings us to the very popular dive sites around Cozumel and Cancun.
Belize-Based Company Fails in Bid to Get Millions in Compensation for Search and Seizure Belize-based Titan International Securities Inc (Titan) has lost its legal bid to obtain US$4.46 million in losses from the government for a search and seizure operation conducted at its offices in September 2014.
But the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which dismissed the claim, has ordered the government to pay vindicatory damages of BZ$100,000 (US$49,759) for the way in which the operation was executed.
In September 2014, an indictment was unsealed in the United States charging Titan, its president Kelvin Leach, and 11 others with securities fraud, evasion of taxes, money laundering and conspiracy to commit those offences. The US Department of Justice requested the assistance of the Belize government to have Titan’s offices searched as quickly as possible to prevent the destruction of evidence.
Jungle for jaguars appeal aims to help ensure a future for wildlife It’s 30 years since husband and wife conservationists John and Viv Burton founded a charity to save 110,000 acres of threatened tropical forest in Belize.
Back then, fundraising to buy land on this scale to avert deforestation was almost unheard of and there were perhaps some who raised an incredulous eyebrow when they heard about the big plans of this couple living in the small market town of Halesworth.
Three decades later that forest remains under the protection of the World Land Trust’s partner in a wildlife reserve named the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, which now spans 260,000 acres.
Belize Hemodialysis Program, 1min. The Government of Belize has expanded the Hemodialysis Program to cover more than twice the number of patients with end-stage renal failure. The contracts have been signed with four service providers for patients to receive two free dialysis sessions per week in an effort to save even more lives.
Honors Belize Trip, 1min. In May 2018, a group of Bellarmine Honors students traveled to Belize to study Coral Reef Ecology, Mayan History, Belizean Culture, and Central American Economics and Politics.
Banco Chinchorro Patrimonio Cultural Sumergido, 9min. A 30 kilómetros de la costa oriental de la península de Yucatán se ubica Banco Chinchorro, un arrecife rico en flora y fauna, principal guardián de restos de barcos hundidos que ahora forman parte del paisaje submarino.
World Vasectomy Day, 18min. It's World Vasectomy Day! We spoke with Urologist, Dr. Freddy Urroz Lopez about the medical procedure and the common misconceptions men have about how it impacts their sexual health.
The Brain / Trauma & Sexual Abuse, 27min. We know that sexual abuse/assault trauma affects victims emotionally and physically. What we may not have been considering is how these experiences also impacts the biology of the brain and how it functions. Dr. Michael Medina spoke to us about how these traumatic experiences changes the way the brain work and influences subsequent behaviors.
Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) - Northeastern Biological Corridor, 32min. Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) gave us an update on the work being done in the Northeastern Biological Corridor. The area was officially approved and legally declared under the National Protected Areas System Act in February. Our guests informed us why this is a significant achievement, as well as the environmental, social and economic advantages and what it means for citizens of the area. On our couch:
Rebecca Teul - Program Manager for Outreach & Publicity, CSFI.
Wendy Casasola - Program Manager for Hospitality & Tourism, CSFI.
Lester Delgado - Field Operations Manager, CSFI.
No Plastic No Styrofoam Documentary, min. Daniel Velazquez made a short documentary about the No Plastic No Styrofoam Kids Summer Camp that was held in Bullet Tree. Shot over the duration of the camp, it highlights some of the events and activities, along with the clean-up the kids did. Worth a watch.
"This video is a 3-minute summary of our “1st No-plastic, No-styrofoam Kids Summer Camp, 2018”, which we held in our village of Bullet Tree Falls in July of this year. It highlights the goals of the camp, main activities carried out, interactive educational methods used and lessons learned by the children. This video was shot and edited by Daniel Velazquez of the Belize Soul Project, produced by Dr. Anita F. Tzec and fully funded by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT)."
Pictures from the event.
Living Off the Grid in Paradise | Sailing & Cruising Belize, 22min. While sailing & cruising Belize we spearfish for our food, trade for water with the locals, and navigate through uncharted reefs; this is living off the grid in paradise!
After spearfishing and exploring for a week in Turneffe Atoll we set sail for Lighthouse Reef, the gem of Belize. En route we encounter some of our trickiest navigation challenges yet.
Twenty-one Day Notice Extended, Possible Strike Action is Delayed Another Ten Days
Tomorrow will make it 21 days since the Christian Workers Union gave three weeks strike notice. The Port and the Stevedores had reached an impasse in negotiations over the issue of the hours of work. The stevedores want to work shits exceeding 15 hours, the Port says it's against the law. The Labour Minister interceded, broke the impasse and got them to return to the negotiating table.
They did so yesterday, and both sides emerged with positive views on the progress they made. It was looking like the dispute was on the way to being resolved without a need for strike. That’s until the Port and the CWU returned today to discuss the union’s counter proposal on a fix for the hours of work.
7News was at the labour office for this afternoon’s follow-up meeting. We were surprised to find out that the union’s negotiating team left the meeting early. That’s because the Port wanted them to stop the countdown on the 21-days notice for the strike, which ends tomorrow. The union was still not prepared to do that, and that almost cause a complete breakdown in the talks. Daniel Ortiz picks up the story at that moment, and here’s his report:
6 minutes after the meeting was scheduled to start, we saw the CWU President and the stevedores’ negotiating team exiting the labour office. They left early, citing a frustration with the latest position from the Port’s CEO.
Evan “Mose” Hyde - President, CWU "We decided to leave the room because the other side, the Port of Belize limited, they are challenging the minister to get us to rescind our strike before he negotiates. The minister opened the meeting by stating she is going to extend our strike action 10 more days which she has the power to do. He is not comfortable with that, he is challenging the minister's position, that's between him and the minister. We are around a table, our time is as precious as the port's time, we asked, are we going to negotiate to which there was no answer. We have decided to leave the room, that's our position right now."
Just as the CWU President and the stevedores were about to disperse from the Labour Office on Albert Street, the Minister, Dr. Carla Barnett, requested to speak with him, no doubt to convince him to return to the meeting.
The men then went back upstairs, and half hour later, the Minister exited with the good news that the two sides were, at the very least, talking again, and that the initial tensions from the afternoon had cooled off:
Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett - Minister of State, Labour "It was just a little bit of a misunderstanding at the start of the meeting and I'm sure they'll both want to give you their own views on what happened. Sometimes it is not what you say, it is how you say it and I think there was a little bit of a difficulty in the way things were being put across the table and it required a little bit of a cooling off."
Daniel Ortiz "That simple sticking point could have caused today's negotiations or discussions to grind to a complete halt."
Arturo “Tux” Vasquez - CEO, Port of Belize Limited "It could have I agree and again, like I said, I did not expect that the 21 days would have been extended. Obviously I did not expect that but again with the explanation I got, I am prepared to continue discuss it. I thought that once we had arrived at that compromise of saying we will exchange counter proposals for the hours of work, I thought the 21 days came off."
So, that left the two sides to discuss the matters planned for the afternoon, and today’s meeting was rather brief, when compared with yesterday’s sessions.
Evan “Mose” Hyde "We have presented them a verbal description of our counter proposal and a matter of hours of work. It was sent to them during the lunch time today, so they have asked for more time to look at it, so we are scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning about what they feel about our counter proposal. What we have said them that is very important for us when it comes to the hours of work, for us to get from them a sense of whether or not the direction that we are going with our counter proposal is a direction they are okay with because accompanying that verbal description of our counter proposal is the work that has to be done by our accountant. That's fleshing it out with numbers and that's going to take some time and we express to them the reason why it takes time is not because we are trying to be disrespectful to the process but if we make a wrong more, our members are the ones that will carry the burden of that. We can't make a single mistake with those numbers and our accountant has expressed that."
"We also believe ultimately that we still seek that intervention from the Minister of Labor to create an exception for what's stevedores do. We believe it's a unique profession and we believe the nature of it requires that kind of attention from the law, so that is still a part of our counter proposal."
Arturo “Tux” Vasquez "I’ve looked at it briefly and I believe some of it could be considered but some of it I'm sure we may not be able to consider but I'm not saying that now, he agreed that I got it at this time and I need some time to look at it. So we will meet again next week Tuesday morning."
In the meantime, there will be no strike, at least for the next 10 days. That postponement of industrial action comes by way of the Minister’s intervention, exercising the powers given to her under the law.
Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett "We were in fact preparing to extend the 21 days by 10 days, so that we could proceed with the establishment of the tribunal that's provided for under the law, so that if it came to that, we would be able to activate that very quickly. Today, we wrote both the Port of Belize and the Christian Workers Union formally telling them that we were extending the 21 days by a further 10 days, so that we could proceed to establish the tribunal required under the law and we also are sending off letters as we speak to the Chamber of Commerce and to the National Trade Union Congress, to identify representatives who can become a part of the tribunal that is to be set up under the law."
Evan “Mose” Hyde "She has the power to extend our 21 days and so she has extended that 10 more days and our legal advisor has told us that she has the power to do so."
So, while the 2 side try to resolve the hours of work impasse, there is foreshadowing of another major point of contention that’s brewing between the two sides.
Evan “Mose” Hyde "We brought up a matter that is very important to us and we told the PBL negotiating team since yesterday they indicated that the gang composition was a matter they considered pending. Now you must understand for us that was very uncomfortable because our gangs have already been reduced by the intermediate agreement. So we don't view that as something that is spending, that's a matter where our stevedores have already sacrificed a man. Apparently they are of the opinion that we are to look at reducing our gangs even further and we have told them if there is anything that is made of titanium, it is that position. That even though we are here to negotiate, when it comes to the gang size, we will not move and so we have informed them that we will write a letter to the minister to indicate that we have another problem, we are not declaring an impasse on it but we are saying based on their response that they are firm on their position and we have told them that our position is made of titanium, then we want the minister to get that on her radar."
Arturo “Tux” Vasquez "There was an agreement signed June of 2017 where there were 4 points that were agreed to and that's when the stevedores got their increase in their pension. From 3% of regular salary to 4% of production bonus, this actually multiplies the pension ten folds. So what I'm trying to explain to the union is that one particular item that we would have discussed a further deduction came as a result of a complete joint agreement. It was negotiating you get this, I get this, that type of thing and this is something that would be implemented in 2020 but the point I make again is right now we are at 2018, so it seems close but we actually did that in June of 2017, so we're actually looking at almost 3 years to look at this thing. So I think that because it is a part of the original give and take negotiation, I think it should remain on the table but of course I do appreciate the fact that Mr. Hyde was not around then, so he may not fully understand the give and take that we did then. We moved from 3% to 3 on production, then 4 on production and there was quite a bit there."
As to the issue of backpay that the port owes the stevedores, both the Port’s CEO and the CWU president tell us that there is an agreement that the Port will pay them in 2 installments on November 15th, and 2 weeks later, at the end of the month. The two sides meet again on next week Tuesday morning.
In accordance with the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act Chapter 150, Revised Edition 2011, of the substantive laws of Belize, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) along with the San Pedro Liquor Licensing Board (SPLLB) hereby announces to the general public and all Liquor License Holders that effective Thursday, November 1, 2018, in an effort to reducing noise pollution from various establishments and maintaining the Town of San Pedro as a Child Friendly Municipality, open bars will no longer be granted a weekly special license/extension.
Special licenses/extensions will only be granted to liquor license establishments that are sound proof. Open bars may only request and may be subject to approval for a special license/extension only during specific and special holidays (Christmas and New Year’s Eve).
In continuance with the Town Council’s efforts in maintaining San Pedro Town as a Child Friendly Municipality and after receiving numerous complaints from the public, the SPTC strongly discourages any open bar establishment from creating noise pollution (i.e. karaoke events, live band performances, DJ competitions, etc.) and maintaining a moderate sound level (50 db).
The San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Liquor Licensing Board kindly asks and appreciates the public’s and all liquor license holder’s cooperation and understanding in promoting a Child Friendly and Safe Municipality.
Today, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Manuel Heredia signed the first bilateral Air Transport Agreement between the United States and Belize. Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, U.S. Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Deborah Lingwood, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of National Security George Lovell, and Director of Civil Aviation Lindsay Garbutt, among many other representatives from the Government of Belize, the U.S. Embassy, and the tourism and aviation sectors attended the ceremony.
In his remarks, Chargé Gilges highlighted that the Agreement “not only expands opportunities for air travel and commerce between our countries, it reinforces our economic cooperation and strengthens our bilateral ties.” Minister Heredia underscored that the signing signifies the “joining of our states a little over 20 years after discussions led by Belize’s then Minister of Foreign Affairs, now Prime Minister Dean Barrow, first began.” He remarked that this Agreement formalizes a “relationship long existing between the United States and Belize in air transportation.” Director Garbutt stressed the importance of the airline sector maximizing the opportunities presented by this Agreement for increased civil aviation traffic in Belize.
This Open Skies Agreement expands the two countries’ already strong commercial and economic ties by facilitating greater air travel and commerce. It will benefit airlines, travelers, businesses, shippers, airports, and localities by permitting unrestricted reciprocal market access for passenger and all-cargo airlines to fly between our two countries and beyond. The Agreement also further commits both governments to high standards of safety and security.
The Open Skies Agreement entered into force upon signature, superseding the more restrictive Air Services Agreement that had been in force since 1977.
According to President-Elect, Lopez Obrador, the free zone initiative is set to launch in January 2019; that is in two and a half months. The Mexican government will first focus on transforming its cities and towns into free zones along its border with the U.S.A. after which attention will be focused on Chetumal. Minister of State responsible for Investment, Trade, and Commerce Tracy Taeger-Panton says that the Government has been in discussion with the Inter-American Bank to create a strategy to transform the Corozal Free Zone into a viable zone.
Tracy Taeger-Panton, Minister of State Responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce
“For the last year and a half, we have been working on a consultancy along with the Inter-American Bank at looking at how we can expand what we are doing at the free zones. So it’s not just a port for the trade of goods but that we can offer other services at the zone so it can be viable in the medium to long-term. So this is an ongoing discussion long before this announcement came from the Mexican president. We have plans in place to expand the role and functionality of not only the Corozal Free Zone but other free zones of the country so they can become viable.”
“What’s the biggest challenge in the free zone because when I went there a year ago, it seemed like a dessert. I mean, a lot of people who own shops were complaining that they don’t really get customers. Yes, you have the fayuqueros who contraband goods across the bridge but the economy is not being boosted up there.”
“Those who have invested in the free zone have to be prepared to continue to invest; you can’t just invest to extrapolate what you have invested. Whether the free zone succeeds or doesn’t succeed will really be dependent on the kind of investment that we are able to attract in the area and how do we encourage current investors to expand in what they are doing.”
The Cloud and Rain picture.
A very large area of mid level air has been pushing up from Honduras, causing a lot of rain ans ITCZ swellups in the Caribbean, now pushing up over the Yucatan. At the same time high level coming down from the north and NNW, on top of the normal easterly Caribbean winds.
Hello Tazh2o.... My favorite is The Peabody in Memphis Tennessee..... However, on the island you can find some acceptable versions..... Caprice Restaurant in the Holiday Hotel on Front Street, Palm Villas Restaurant in the Victoria House Resort & El Divino's Restaurant in the Banana Beach Resort........ Let us know if you find a good one.... I'm a bit of a Mimosa Snob...
There is a lot of heavy cloud out in the Caribbean coming our way, a lot of ITCZ rain activity in it. There is thick cloud over most of southern Belize, which high level from the NW clashing, causing rain.
Looks like today will be another mixed day, sun in central and north occasionally, cloud more common and patches of heavy rain from time to time.
Temperatures in Belmopan :
( Coast usually cooler, hills even cooler )
Last night min. 24°C 75°F Yesterday max. 30°C 86°F