FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

NAC Stigma and Discrimination Training
National AIDS Commission Island Committee – July 30, 2013 – From 27 July 2013 to 28 July 2013 the National AIDS Commission (NAC) Island Committee participated in a workshop/training aimed at learning how to identify stigma and discrimination and how to battle it. Members of the NAC Island Committee participated alongside members of the newly formed Caye Caulker Health Committee- now inducted into the Island Committee. Through the facilitation of Nurse Lourdes Heredia from Corozal Community Hospital and the NAC Corozal Committee the training was made possible with the support of USAID Central America Capacity Project and IntraHealth International. The training/workshop was held at the Sunbreeze Hotel conference room. The workshop/training certified that participants in attendance have the education, training and resources necessary to tackle stigma and discrimination specifically aimed towards individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their friends and families

New Business in Town: Flowers, Salazar and Associates
On Wednesday July 31st, Pescador Drive had yet another addition to its robust chain of businesses as Flowers, Salazar and Associates celebrated its official business inauguration/ business blessing. The new firm, which is located at the Reef Radio Building, will be offering a line of services geared towards facilitating international investors. Services such as aid in legal documentations, citizenship, land transfers and financial advising, plus a host of other services will be available to both local and international people looking to invest in Belize. The partners of the business are Joy Flowers, Marisa Salazar, Frank Panton and ½ partner Winston Panton. Flowers Salazar and Associates is open for business from 8AM-5PM Mon-Fri.

DJ Zog rocks the second night of the Costa Maya International Festival
The long anticipated Costa Maya International Festival commenced on Thursday, August 1st with the Miss Costa Maya Pageant. Belize’s Destinee Arnold brought the crown back home, and set the pace for the second night, in which DJ Zog brought the party to Costa Maya! Once the formalities were over, the party truly started. The island party night began with the traditional flag dance. After the traditional flag dance by the Ballet Folklorico de Quintana Roo, the dancers presented typical cultural dances for all the Central American countries. Each dance was unique to its region such as the Cumbia is to Panama and Punta is to Belize. The dances came alive as the dancers gracefully moved around the stage in elaborate and colorful costumes. The comedic show of Yan Somosa from El Salvador continued. Yan had the entire crowd laughing with his hilarious imitation and his funny antics. Yan’s presentation of PSY’s Gangnam Style” had the crowd laughing hysterically. Up next came the energetic and upbeat Grupo Crash from El Salvador. Their mix of cultural and modern dances had the crowd tapping its toes; they were certainly a show stopper. Each dance presentation contained risky acrobatic tricks that the dancers delivered flawlessly. The crowd’s applause for the dance group was long and loud. Following their act was the Guatemalan Paradise Reggae Band. Their cool melodious vibes had the crowd moving to the Caribbean rhythm, and under the starry night sky, it was a great day to be on a Caribbean island enjoying groovy music.

Los Yonics gets a warm welcome from islanders of Ambergris Caye
The Tropic Air Terminal in San Pedro Town was packed by islanders who came out to welcome the well-known Mexican band, Los Yonics. The band, which has over 37 years of musical success in Mexico and Latin American countries will be for the first time in Belize performing at the International Costa Maya Festival. The group arrived shortly after midday on board a Tropic Air flight from Corozal Town. “Beinvenidos a la Isla de San Pedro (Welcome to the island of San Pedro),” shouted their many fans, who had come out to welcome the musical group. Speaking at a press conference shortly after touching down on Ambergris Caye soil, the band members shared their enthusiasm for being in Belize. “First of all I want to say thank for the very warm welcome. I am extremely happy to be on Belizean soil for the first time in my musical career. The entire group is happy to be in this beautiful place. We come with all the energy in the world, to be able to perform as much songs as possible,” said lead vocalist Jose Manuel Zamacona.

Misc Belizean Sources

Canine Distemper Virus outbreak in San Mateo
Saga Humane Society would like help in alerting the community of a Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) outbreak in San Mateo. 22 cases of distemper have already been seen at the Saga HS clinic. To prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease Saga HS will be doing a Mobile Clinic Tuesday August 6 to the affected neighborhood and will be vaccinating the area dogs. Vaccines will be at no charge to low income residents or $10 for those who can afford to pay. Saga HS seeks to raise $1000 to buy the vaccinations. This will buy enough vaccinations for 100 animals. Saga HS will keep the public updated on this situation. Please help us spread the word about the outbreak and Mobile Clinic.

Belize: Embracing Change in Education
Recently, I referred to the United States of America’s report, “A Nation at Risk”, published over 30 years ago by that country’s Education Department to urge an overhaul of how and what their young people were being taught in schools. In June of this year, Belize’s Education Department released a Report of the 2013 PSE Results of Proficiency Examinations for Primary School students. The Results showed Primary school students in Belize lagging far behind where they should be in Education, especially in areas of Reading (English) and Math. Both Reports were “wake-up calls” for each country. In my previous Blog for July of this year I further encourage Education policymakers in Belize to examine non-British and non-Caribbean models of 21st Century successful schools and successful students, for example, Finland.

SPLASH Whale Shark Promo Video 8 minutes

How to Cross the Guatemala – Belize Border. Plus, Meeting the Keystone Cops
That time every digital nomad at first loves, because it feels exciting and new… until later it becomes one more inconvenience in a long list of gripes. It was… Tourist visa renewal time! In Guatemala, you can renew your visa at the 90-day mark without leaving the country. After your visa is renewed, you can take your passport to SAT’s Custom’s office and extend your vehicle’s permit as well. At six months, or 180-days, one HAS TO leave the country. Rule also applies to whatever foreign vehicle you’ve brought with you, because its Temporary Import stamp has to match your passport. My options for renewal were a) Costa Rica, b) Mexico, and c) Belize. Option a, Mexico, was a no-go because that meant importing my car again. This requires a hefty credit card deposit (refundable), and purchase of insurance. Plus I’d already been to Mexico. Option b, Costa Rica, requires crossing at least 2 countries, Honduras and Nicaragua. Add El Salvador to the list if you feel you haven’t filed enough government paperwork in your life. The reasons you have to cross all these countries to get to Costa Rica are because:

VIDEO: Gladden Spit Marine Reserve
The Whale Shark Zone, Gladden Spit is rich with marine life in addition to Whale Shark sighting it makes for a great dive experience.

VIDEO: Exploring Turneffe's Marine Biodiversity with Dr. Sylvia Earle
Turneffe is Truly a Treasure of Belize --Dr. Sylvia Earle. On a recent trip to Tunreffe Atoll, The Oceanic Society Advior Dr. Sylvia Earle exploring the most biodiverse system of it kind the western hemisphere.

VIDEO: Understanding Sharks Body Language, Lighthouse Reef
If you're a diver or snorkeling, it's good to understand a sharks body language and if it's comfortable with your presence or not. Here's a look at the sharks at Half Moon Wall.

Mikayla Wins Queen of the Bay Belmopan
Congratulations, Mikayla Banner, for winning the Queen of the Bay Belmopan pageant. She'll go on to the Queen of the Bay pageant later this Summer.

Belmopan Day
Happy Belmopan Day! They'll be having events all day to celebrate the birthday of Belmopan. Public servants began moving into their new homes and offices 43 years ago. There was an early morning bike race, there's a chess tournament, and there will be fun an games all day, along with some informational booths.

Channel 7

Exposed: The Corozal Free Zone Connection To The Salvador Drug Bust
Last night we told you about the thousand pound cocaine bust that was made in El Salvador – the 48 buckets full of drugs in a refrigerated cargo truck were declared as frozen pineapple and were destined for the Corozal Free Zone in Belize. Well, 7news has confirmed that two companies in the free zone called OXCEL and Grupo Sol have been receiving those shipments for some time. In this case it was a twin shipment, one of the trucks got intercepted in Salvador and the other one arrived in Belize at the Benque Viejo border 11 days ago, on the 21ST July. It's declared cargo was frozen pineapple valued at $65,399 dollars. But it appears the second truck – which was checked and cleared in Salvador – did have only frozen pineapple, and that's currently now sitting in a container at the Free Zone. The container has been searched by customs and the police K-9 unit and has been found to be clean. The only problem now is that it has been left un-refrigerated for 48 hours and all the once frozen pineapple inside is rotten and has to be discarded. This evening, customs was in the process of seeking authority to dump the contents. BAHA has asked that the company, Grupo Sol dig a hole to bury it.

PM On "Universal" Significance Of CCJ Judgment
Last night, 7News showed you the scathing rebuke by the Caribbean Court of Justice in their judgment a week ago on the 44 million-dollar arbitration award from the London Court of Arbitration. The court refused to enforce the arbitration award in relation to a 2005 settlement deed which former Prime Minister Said Musa and Former Attorney General Francis Fonseca entered into with the Ashcroft-Allied Company, British Caribbean Bank. They used strong language when describing their interpretation of the deed to mean that former Ministers Musa and Fonseca attempted to assume powers of the legislature which they could not hold as part of the executive. It is particularly significant to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow who has been on a campaign to resist all the agreements between the 2005 Musa Administration and the Ashcroft Alliance. Today, we caught up with him at an event in Belmopan, where he explained that this landmark judgment has implications for all the other Caribbean Countries who have the CCJ as their highest court:

PM Not Vexed With Vega For Freshpond Fuss
And while we can foresee that Fonseca will surely be the subject of many political ads using words from the judgment, another ranking politician who's sure to be caricatured in many ads is UDP Deputy Leader Gaspar Vega. The latest issue he's been at the center of is the Freshpond Fuss, where his driver went head to head with the prime minister's political officer in Queen's Square, his sister, Denise "Sister B" Barrow. As we've reported, the abandoned homes in the community had been set aside as properties earmarked for low income first time homeowners. "Sister B" had set on one for a constituent only to find that the brother of Vega's driver, Marlon Miranda had already gotten it. That set off a firestorm of discontent and recriminations, culminating in the CEO from the Ministry of Housing being escorted out of the Lands Department by an armed security guard. Because his political officer was involved, the Prime Minister looked into it himself. Today, he told us what he'd found out and why he believes that the Deputy Prime Minister did nothing wrong:

PM Says Norwegian Deal "A Balancing Act"
But, first, we turn to the done-deal between his government and Norwegian Cruise Line to build a port to call on Harvest Caye, just south of Placencia. This decision opens up the South to Cruise Tourism, which as we have shown you, is meeting quite a bit of resistance from overnight tourism interests on the Peninsula. We'll have more from them shortly, but while we had the opportunity we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow to explain what the final MOU looked like. Here's how he described it: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "We took out the 20-year - the exemption from business taxes. That's been taken out. There is an insistence that after a certain number of years, the head tax will be increased. There is a great insistence on ensuring that the jobs will be had by Belizeans, even as we try to protect our sites against overcrowding. In other words, one provision says, 'You must take 25% or whatever the percentage is, of your passengers to our sites, whether marine or terrestrial, and all those tours must be for Belizeans. But, that percentage requirement has to give way to the fact that you have to check with the managers of those sites, and if they say that they could only take 100 visitors a day, or whatever amount, then you can't take more than 100 or 200.

BTIA: Harvest Caye Will Wreak Whirlwind Of Wreckage
On the other side of the Norwegian dispute is the Belize Tourism Industry Association, the BTIA. They've opposed the Norwegian deal for months and the Placencia Chapter headed by Real Estate Developer Stuart Krohn has been particularly vocal. As the MOU came closer to signing, they stepped it up this week with a bawdy "nuh bend down" campaign and a no-holds-barred appearance on the LOVE FM morning show. That prompted a detailed, 15-point response from the BTB – notable because for months the organization leading Belize's tourism industry had been mute on the pivotal, hot-button issue. The release talks about the 800 to one thousand jobs that will be created, the 50 million dollar investment and the expected low numbers of cruise visitors – thus minimizing the impact on the Placencia peninsula. We asked both Tourism Director Laura Esquivel Frampton and CEO Tracey Taegar Panton to amplify their comments today; both said they would call us back, but at news time we were still waiting for those call backs. Who we did get to speak to were the heads at the BTIA, Herbert Haylock and Stuart Krohn who discussed the claims of job creation and foreign direct investment:

Destinee Had A Date With Destiny At Reina De La Costa Maya
Last night in San Pedro the 2012 International La Reina De La Costa Maya Pageant was held in front of a packed audience. And in the end, after hours of anticipation, the Reina de la Costa Maya was announced as Belize's very own, Destinee Arnold. Miss Belize Destinee Arnold was crowned first place winner in the twenty second edition of the annual international pageant. And after several years, the crown is finally back at home. Here's a glimpse at the Queen's crowing moment. 20 year old Destinee won the title of Queen of the Jewel Miss Belize in July 2012 and represented Belize in the Miss International Pageant in Okinawa, Japan in 2012. She also took part in the Miss Ethnic World pageant in Long Beach California where she won the title of Miss Ethnic World 2013. We'll have much more from Destinee, including an interview with the new Queen later, courtesy REEF TV. This year, seven countries from the Central American region including Mexico, took part in the pageant.

Inside The Training Of "The Belize Seals"
Two and a half months ago, the Coast Guard quite unexpectedly announced that it was training it's first SEAL Team. Now, we all know about the US Navy SEALS, the highly specialized unit that gained iconic status when they took out Osama Bin Laden. But, a Belize SEAL team? It sounded too outlandish to be true. But it is – and we know because we have footage them training today. And with the training we saw them enduring, it must be something special! Jules Vasquez reports: Jules Vasquez Reporting They're bathing in mud, doing pushups in the midday heat, creeping around on all fours, huddling in the sun for extended periods - you may think these coast guard officers have gotten sun stroke! These 8 coast Guard officers have lived through hell, almost literally. This odd exercise you see them doing, crawling on all fours may look strange or even demeaning, but this is the culmination of what is known as "hell week".

PM Flummoxed At Rosewood Rip Off
Exactly 2 weeks ago, Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla announced to the nation that for every container of illegally harvest rosewood which was sold during the amnesty period, the Government – and by extension the public – only got $15,000 Belize dollars. That was the deal which the Forestry Minister ultimately accepted and it came on the heels of the political hit which the UDP took because they allowed a rosewood amnesty in the first place. A major hit at that, because of the central involvement of the Deputy Prime Minister's brother, German Vega who is the leading exporter of Rosewood. This revelation was met with strong criticism that the rosewood exporters had been allowed to short-change the government in a major way. That's because that $15,000 was supposed to represent a 50% revenue split, but a container of the prized rosewood on the global market is worth far more than what that split represented. Today, we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow about that deal which the Forestry Department took, and he wasn't familiar with the details...

PM: Buckley Should Be Compensated
Moving right along, the media also asked PM Barrow about the situation with Steven Buckley. As has been widely reported, Buckley was wrongfully shot in the head in 2010 by a police officer on duty, and since then, he's not been able to work to provide for his family. He received 2 letters from the KHMH demanding that he pay his medical bills, which according to him, the former Commissioner of Police pledged would be paid by the department. Well, that hasn't happened as yet, and after his public outcries, the KHMH agreed to back off until the criminal matter of his shooting has been dealt with. But going further than just paying his bills, there are some members of the public who believe that Buckley should be financially compensated by the Government of Belize. After 3 years of dealing with the consequences of his injuries, the media asked Barrow about Buckley's plight. He told us that if all the facts are as they have been reported, he doesn't just deserve to have his bills cleared, he also deserves due compensation: Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News

PM Meets With Evangelicals
What did the bible say about the first being last and the last being first? Well it's applicable tonight for this suite of interviews with the PM because the reason we were at the George Price Center to interview him in the first place was because he had a meeting with over 40 pastors from across country. From all indications, the PM and the Evangelical Association of Churches were at a stand-off over the gender policy. Today, he got an opportunity to meet and speak with these representatives, and after that discussion, we asked him about how it went. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "This arose out of the first meeting I'd had with the Belmopan pastors, which as you know, was about the Gender Policy. So, that was, if not a contentious meeting, certainly a meeting that saw issues discussed where there were clear differences of opinion. As a consequence of that though, Pastor Richard Smith from My Refuge Radio suggested that in order to avoid misunderstandings in the future, it might be a good thing for me to meet with a country-wide sampling of pastors, and he offered to put that together. We fixed today as the date, and this is the result. It went extremely well; I was very pleased. I considered it a privilege to be able to talk to so many of them."

Hon. King Ready For All Comers
And apart from having to deal with all that which you just saw, the PM also has to deal with sometimes difficult personalities like Mark King. He's been reinstated as Minister of State and he's back in his political clinic. But some say, Party Leader Barrow might want to replace him. Yesterday, King told us he's ready for all challengers UDP and PUP: Hon. Mark King - Area Representative, Lake Independence "It is unfortunate that I had that little incident that had mentioned about, and we're now back in the division as per the normal course. Now that I am back, we are very strong, and as you can see there is a lot of people out there to see me." Jules Vasquez "The old saying is, and the UDP was to some extent elected on this, 'take their money, and then vote them out.' How do you make sure that these people will support you on Election Day?" Hon. Mark King "Well, there are 2 things to that Jules. First of all, I am the Area Representative, and to a large extent, it doesn't matter if people are fooling you or not, you have to represent the people who voted for you, who supported you. The elections are over, so now, they are a part of this community."

Youth Orchestra Of The Americas Tour Comes To Belize
The highly acclaimed Youth Orchestra of The America's is performing in Belize on Sunday night, the last stop on a Central American Tour which took them to Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala And Belize. The Orchestra features a Belizean for the first time ever – and that is Courtney Gillett on the violin. Today Alex Evans who plays bass in the Belize Youht Orchestra explained the significance of the concert. Again, the concert is free on Sunday night at 7:00 at the Memorial Park – and if you can't make it out there, Channel 7 will be showing it live.

Destinee's Story
As we showed you earlier in the news, Belizean Destinee Arnold was crowned Reina De La Costa Maya last night in San Pedro. It's a major win for Belize in the regional beauty pageant. Today she sat down with our colleague Kainie Manuel for an interview to explain her joy at winning on home turf:

An Automotive Race-track For Belize?
And while Belize has its own Reina for the next year, we might also be having our own race-track. It may sound far fetched, but the Belize Automobile Club has linked up with FIA, the international federation of automobiles. That's the governing body for motorsports worldwide, in charge of such prestigious association as Formula One and NASCAR. FIA's Technical and Sporting manager for the America's, Fernando Gutierrez-benjumea is in Belize laying the ground for a visit by Jean Todt FIA's President who is coming next week. Rhon Leckey of the Belize Automobile Club told us how things are shaping up... They met with the Minister of State with responsibility for sports today...

A Camp For Hundreds
Over the past 4 weeks, that same Ministry of Sports held 3 summer camps around the city. A hundred children got the opportunity to take part in Basketball, Football or Vollyball camps. It was a fun experience for most of the children who we visited during the weeks at camp. But every good thing must come to an end and today that end came with some goodies for the campers. 7news was at the closing ceremony this morning.

CTV3

New Horizons Summer Program Comes To An End
With only a few weeks more before the end of the summer holiday for students of both the primary and secondary level today the New Horizons summer program carried out in Corozal came to an end with the distribution of certificates to participants. The program, which catered for more than 125 students, was organized by New Horizons in conjunction with the Corozal Sports Council and other members of the community with the aim of teaching participants life skills such as teamwork and self-control, through sports. Miriam Villamil– Coordinator “Great turn out lots of kids came out and the community supported us so it was a great two weeks for the kids summer camp.” Victor Castillo- reporter “How many kids at the end of today did you have registered?” Miriam Villamil– Coordinator “One hundred twenty five kids” Victor Castillo- reporter “So this week, what can you say the kids learnt?” Miriam Villamil– Coordinator “Um basically um teach them the basic fundamentals of football, basketball and softball so they have more or less an idea of how to play the sport now the rules and regulations are coming next week.”

Ten Thousand Dollars of Fiesta Rama Funds Earmarked For Student Program
Out of the money raised from Fiesta Rama 2013, ten thousand dollars has been earmarked for a special project catering to the youths of Orange Walk. The town council’s Student Self Aid Educational Program, which will assist one hundred students from across Orange Walk Town, Is set to commence on Monday August 5th. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk “As a committee we have budgeted $10,000.00 out of this profit to go directly to the summer program where we will be assisting a hundred students. The first fifty students will commence this Monday, starting this Monday, we will contacting today, in fact I am right now looking over the list of students and we want to also say that there were over 170 students who applied for the summer program and it is a pity we cannot assist everybody, so we are going to call on the first fifty students today so that they could come in on Monday and then the following Monday then the other fifty students. What we are doing here basically we did not want just to hire fifty students and have them on a two week program, we try to spread it out so that we could get a hundred people to at least gain a hundred dollars towards their school expenses and so it maybe small but it is something that we believe that we are reaching out to as much as we can and so we expect that within the two week we should see a lot of young people in the street doing some work, doing community work, as part of the beautification that we have, some of them will be putting street signs that we have done and also we are going to be doing some white washing of trees so we are getting them involve in things that they would want to take ownership of what they do as young individuals.”

Orange Walk Mayor Releases Financial Report For Fiesta Rama
Fiesta Rama 2013 has come and gone and the good news tonight is that it was a huge success as the Orange Walk Town Council was able to double its profits compared to last year. Keeping in line with the council’s pledge of accountability and transparency, today Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard sat down with CTV3 News and gave us a financial rundown of Fiesta Rama 2013. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk “I must say that we are happy to report to the public, the Orange Walkenos, that we had a very, very successful Fiesta Rama. Last year’s Fiesta Rama we manage to get a profit of ten thousand nine hundred and odd dollar, this year we double that profit we are at a profit a little over twenty one thousand dollars in profit after this year Fiesta Rama. In terms of total revenue we collect a little over eighty odd thousand throughout that weekend and that includes sales from the gate, sales from bar, sales from booth, rentals, sales from different mechanical rides and as well in terms of expenses, we spent after my figures here and we have a slight little more, that is why I am giving you a figure, we’ll make the final official report by Monday but this is where I believe it is a little over twenty one thousand, we spend a little over sixty one thousand two hundred and twenty two dollars around that in terms of expenses and that included all the different entertainment and so that we had to incur from the council perspective, including electrical work, ground, salary for workers, payment to kubuli beers and Bowen and Bowen. We are happy that we were able to meet our target and we had expected, we wanted to double last year’s profit and we did so.”

Representatives of BSCFA Educated On Fair Trade Standards
Today marked the culmination of an important workshop organized by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association for its 18 branch chairmen and other representatives. The seminar was carried out in order for those taking part to have a better understanding of Fair Trade Standards. As we reported before, the BSCFA received 8 non-conformities when they were audited by FLOCERT back in June. The workshop formed part of the corrective measures implemented by the organization in hope that cane farmers will now adhere to the rules and regulations of Fair Trade. Alfredo Ortega- Chairman, BSCFA, Committee of Management “Uno de ellos y lo más importante de ello es de que los branch chairman, la diferentes comitivas y el staff tuvieron una oportunidad de conocer más afondo que son los standards de Fair Trade, de entender mejor que son los criterios y cómo podemos aplicarlo y también unos hints de cómo podemos mejorar en las juntas que llevamos a cabo con los branches. Al no entender una cosa uno no sabe cómo tratarlo de una manera correcta y ya teniendo un a buen conocimiento de ello y ya teniendo claridad sobre de que es que uno tiene que cumplir ya eso facilita par una o sea ya va a un branch o ya sea que va a dar una explicación, ya puede dar una explicación de que es lo que quiere decir los diferentes puntos de un standard que hay que cumplir.

Miss Belize Crowned Miss Costa Maya 2013
The much anticipated one of a kind event of the year, Costa Maya 2013, began yesterday, August 1st. The show has garnered much attention in general but one main aspect of the full weekend activities is crowning La Reina De La Costa Maya. This year, seven countries from the Central American region including Mexico, participated in the much anticipated pageant. The participants included, Miss Belize “Destinee Arnold”, Miss Costa Rica “Andrea Rojas”, Miss El Salvador “Fatima Yolanda Mauricio Magandi”, Miss Mexico “Artemisa Rivera Montañes”, Miss Nicaragua “Ariadna Judith Orellana”, Miss Panama “Cleirys Velasquez”, Miss Honduras “Monica Alexis Elwing Gough”. Guatemala’s Alejandra Moralez was not able participate in the pageant. However, the seven delegates brought their beauty, elegance and glamour to the stage at the start of the 2013 Costa Maya pageant. Tonight we are proud to note that Belize’s representative, Destinee Arnold won the crown. The event started with the presentation of the cultural costumes, each representing their own country. Miss Belize displayed a costume depicting the hard working Maya women. It included a blue outfit with jewellery and a headpiece adorned with pottery, symbolizing the contribution women made to the artifacts found in ruins across the Mundo Maya Region.

NGO Comes Out In Favor of Gender Policy
The National Revised Gender Policy 2013 has garnered rigid criticism, especially from the religious sector who believes that the document promotes homosexuality. In light of their utmost discontent with the Gender Policy, the churches held peaceful demonstrations throughout the country, starting here in Orange Walk and then moving on to other districts. The largest outcome was recorded in the Toledo District with over four thousand person’s saying no to the policy. But one specific NGO here in Orange Walk is in support of the Gender Policy. Eliza Castellanos is the Director of Tikkun Olam Belize, an NGO working towards women empowerment; she says that the Gender Policy does exactly that. Castellanos believes that before coming to any conclusion, Belizeans should take the time out to read the document. Eliza Castellanos, Director, Tikkun Olam Belize “I am encouraging everybody man, woman, child, teenager, whoever can read to read the gender policy if you have any questions and you don’t understand the language in the policy please feel free to contact somebody you could contact the nationals women commission you can contact us at Tikkun Olam Belize you can find me on Facebook. At Eliza Castellanos and my number is 623-9500 in case you want further information send me a text, give me a call if you need a copy of the gender policy please feel free to let us know in any way that you can and we will help you with that information where not asking people by this standing to like people from a different way of life or not to like women or not to be pro women what we’re asking is that you read the gender policy understand it and then you will know what exactly chaos has been about.

Minor Injured During Shootout In Carmelita
As residents of Carmelita Village prepared to go to bed last night, the peace and quite of the community was disrupted as shots rang. The shots heard were aimed at a group of boys who were hanging out by the Carmelita Sports Centre. Fortunately, there was no lost of life recorded, but one minor got injured. Today we caught with the victim, who was apparently, one of the three intended targets. He spoke to us with the permission of his mother. Shooting Victim, Carmelita Village “Yesterday night I, my brother and my cousin were by the center of Carmelita. A man from this place, we were never talking to him or nothing and then he come out and tell us that how, why are we watching at him, he no like see man and then he said will show we who he and then he went home and look like he get a 16 gauge gun and after that he sneak up from behind us and started to fire shots and me and my brother and my cousin started to run and whilst running I feel a shot through my foot but I continues run with them and then we jumped into a yard and then we hide and after that they were look for us and fired shots and after that we wait a little while and jumped over the fence back and we come home.”

Drugs Destined For Belize Was Headed To The Corozal Freezone
Last night we told you about the big drug bust that was made by a joint task force of the National Civil Police and the Armed Forces of El Salvador. Close to 500 kilos of cocaine, translating close to one thousand pounds, were found hidden in 48 buckets of frozen pineapple pulp. Each bucket contained four to six kilos of cocaine. According to La Prensa Grafica from El Salvador, the cargo was destined for Belize, specifically, the Corozal Free Zone. But it seems that it’s not the first time that frozen pineapple pulp is shipped to the jewel. We have been informed that Belizean authorities have been tracking these types of containers usually headed to the Free Zone under the names of companies such as OXCEL and Grupo Sol who have been receiving these types of shipments for quite some time. Reports are that a few months ago, checks were made and samples of the pineapple were sent to CPBL for testing; they came back negative. This time, two shipments were bound for Belize. As we all know, one of the trucks got intercepted in Salvador, but the second arrived in Belize at the Benque Viejo border on the 21ST July.