NOTE: Due to a family get together today, and facing many hours in the kitchen, I will not be doing the news tomorrow (Friday) morning. I will resume on Saturday morning....
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Mr Al’s Poolroom and Karaoke Bar
Mr. Al’s Poolroom and Karaoke Bar is one of the newer establishments around town. And we’ve caught word that not only is it a cool local hangout, but that they also have killer karaoke nights and pretty tasty $1 wings. The San Pedro Sun decided to check out the joint located in town on Pelican Street, and we saw first-hand that not even a rainy Friday night could keep away Mr. Al’s patrons! It was a karaoke competition and the cozy bar was jam packed. Cold drinks were being served, yummy wings at almost every table and karaoke selections in full swing.
Creativity and Style showcased 2014 Belize Fashion Week
The highlight of BFW14 took place on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd when the models strutted the runway in the hottest of spring-summer 2015 fashion. Overseen by award winning director Arlando Smith, the two-night show was an exceptional presentation of Belizean creativity. From beautiful ball gowns to slinky swimsuits, the models rocked every outfit. The crowd got to enjoy the creations of local designers such as Joris Hendrik, Adrian Rocker, Maureen Navarette (ICONIC),Char Tolentino (A LIST FASHION), Francis Alfaro, Saskia Alejos, Daniel & Jaeil Torres (Jada’s Design), Gabriel Garcia (GMX), Julie McCord, Andazi, Jeana Casey (jewelry designer) and Panamaniean designer John Bejarano.
Following the runway show, the designers had an opportunity to market their fashions at the BWF Expo on Sunday, November 23rd held at Central Park. All outfits, jewelry and accessories featured in the runway show were available for purchase.
Fundraiser for Casper Wood a success
Island residents gathered at ABC Pub and Grub on Saturday, November 22nd to raise funds for bass player Casper Wood. After an afternoon of great food, drinks and music, the fundraiser was deemed a huge success raising approximately $3,000BZ for Casper’s medical expenses. Casper, who is a well-known musician in San Pedro, was recently forced to quit working due to his health. His condition requires the use of a pacemaker (a device that is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms).
The fundraising event consisted of raffles and a turkey dinner sale. Generous patrons also made monetary donations both locally and internationally via PayPal. With the money raised, Wood will be receiving immediate medical treatment here in Belize before leaving for his native country of Panama where he will receive further specialized assistance.
Amazing show of culture at Holy Cross Anglican Primary School
The students of Holy Cross Anglican Primary School celebrated Belizean culture on Friday, November 21st with their annual Culture Day Fair. Students had the opportunity to showcase their knowledge on the country’s various ethnic groups to parents, guardians and friends. Many of the students and teachers dressed up in cultural attire and enjoyed a fun day of activities for the whole family.
The event required upper level students to present on the food, clothing, music, dance and history of the three main cultures of Belize: Garifuna, Creole and Mestizo. The day started at the Boca del Rio Park with the reenactment of the historic Garifuna landing on the coast of Belize on November 19, 1832. After that, the students held a procession back to the school where the main activities took place.
San Pedro High Academics Enter Sagicor Visionary Challenge
Two teams from San Pedro High School’s Academic Department have entered the Sagicor Visionary Challenge that encourages secondary and high school students to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing them. Their challenge – to find a problem affecting the community and coming up with a solution through their science background.
The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), SAGICOR, and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) partnered to form the first Science competition known as the Sagicor Visionary Challenge. That challenge for the San Pedro High Team, led by Mr. Ricardo Sedacy, Head of the Science and Math Department at SPHS, is aimed as using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the problems that they have identified in the community.
Misc Belizean Sources
Hi nature lovers
Instagrammers. Wildlife Conservation Society in Belize has started its local account. So you'll see photos of nature above and below water. And if you have photos of the wild or nature, hashtag #WCSBelize and #Belize in your photos. This means plants of Belize as well. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. We are in Belize.
Aboard the Uprising in San Pedro Ambergris Caye with our buddy Eric.
It is beginning to feel like Christmas. Tomorrow is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day primarily in the United States of America. This is how we marinate a Red Grouper in Belize. Here is wishing all our North American friends at home and abroad a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Day. Peace!
Christmas Sell-A-Thon at the Lions Den
Saturday, November 29th 8am-1pm
World AIDS Day 2014
Government of Belize Press Office
Arraignment Fiasco For Teenager Accused of Killing Diplomat
Tonight, the family of 18 year-old Wilser Echeverria, the man accused by police of killing Panamanian Diplomat Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford, continues worry about his fate because police have charged him for murder, but in a confounding twist, the Sitting Magistrate is refusing to arraign him. It all pivots on his claim that he killed the diplomat in self defence because the man wanted to rape him gunpoint.
For a few hours today, he was indeed charged by investigators with the capital offence, and Belmopan police marched him before Magistrate Aretha Ford this morning. The arraignment should have gone through, and since it is an indictable offence, no plea would have been taken and Echeverria would have sat in jail on remand for months until the DPP’s Office was able to proceed with a Supreme Court case against him.
Date Set For Opening Of Sugar Crop - but Differences Still Loom
Date Set For Opening Of Sugar Crop – but Differences Still Loom
December eighth – that’s the date that has been set for the start of the sugar crop. That’s what was agreed to yesterday at a meeting of the Sugar Industry Control Board. That Government appointed Board acts like a kind of referee in the industry and has representation from the cane farmers association, BSI and the Ministry of Agriculture. They met yesterday – and not surprisingly the Cane Farmers and BSI could not agree on a compromise. But they did agree on one thing: ripe cane is awaiting harvest in the field and the season must start:
Oscar Alonzo, CEO - BSCFA
"We want the crops to start, early. Especially since we determined there is 1.475 million tons of cane out there that needed to be processed. Yesterday the SICB sought to see if it would be possible let us reach an agreement; But what we did achieve yesterday is set date.
Three More Charged For Gang Rape Of 11 Year Old
Tonight, three more Belize City males have been charged for the alleged gang rape of an 11 year old girl. Today a 14 year old, a 17 year old, and 19-year-old Keron Willoughby were charged jointly with one count each of unlawful sexual intercourse with a female child under the age of 14.
They join 22 year old Wilfred Ramirez – at whose Iguana Street home the heinous act allegedly occurred last week Thursday.
The trio appeared together this morning all unrepresented before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. The two minors had one of their mothers present when the charge was read to them.
Cruise Ships Cancel Due to Rough Seas
This morning, the local cruise machinery was well oiled and in high gear – and why not? After all, what’s known as cruise ship season starts on thanksgiving – and this year – Belize is set to see a record number of cruise ships in port. So, several hundred tourism industry workers gathered outside the Fort Street Tourism Village ready to receive more than 12,000 cruise passengers who should have disembarked from 4 ships.
But call it a wicked nor’easter, climate change, or what you wish - those 4 ships, 2 from Carnival Cruise Line and 2 from Norwegian, had a hard time getting their guests to shore. Due to the strong winds and the choppy seas, the authorities onboard the Carnival ships decided that it would be too dangerous to get their passengers into the cruise tender vessels. The passengers would first have to walk down a gangway and unto a tender that’s swaying on rough seas – and then endure the eight mile journey to shore on those same seas. Seas so rough it even left an immigration officer seriously seasick! All that meant that both Carnival ships cancelled their calls, keeping some 6,658 passengers away from Belize’s shores.
COLA Says It's Sitting On Something Big
IF you watch the news regularly, you’ll know that the activist group COLA loves hype – and tonight it is riding a wave of it – by promising to bust out a major police scandal.
According to a breathless press release issued this afternoon COLA claims to have got its hands on, quote, “an extraordinary amount of files detailing critical issues affecting the morale, manpower and operation of…the…Police Department.”
The release says the documents detail a fistful of cop complaints from arbitrary transfers to poor living conditions. But, according to COLA, there’s more than just the usual grousing.
The release says, quote, “one document…fingers key Ministers of Government as masterminds of interference in and disruption of the careers of several police officers to preserve their own agendas.”
Unemployment Figure Down Year to Year
What is Belize’s unemployment rate? Well according to the latest labour force survey, it is less than at this time last year. In September of 2013, it stood at 14.2%, but in September of this year it was down to 12.1%. The new Director General of the Statistical Institute of Belize explained at a press conference in Belize city this morning:….
Dr. Leopold Perriott – Director-General, SIB
"This graph is telling us that of the labour force that 12.1 percent of the labour force unemployed country wide. 18.4 percent of the labour force in Stann Creek are unemployed. The lowest of course 6.6 percent in Toledo is unemployed. The high levels in Stann Creek reflects the large amount of jobs that were lost over the last quarter, last half of the year. As fas as trends goes, we're experiencing a down turn in the unemployment rates. 18,479 persons are unemployed in September and most of them are in the Belize district; 37.1 in the Belize district and we have. That wouldn't be surprising with the biggest population"
Broke Into A Church
Two men are behind bars tonight for burglarizing, of all places, a church! Ronald Gill and Tyrone Fitzgibbon have seven years to serve for this offense.
It happened on October 25th, 2013 at around 12:30 in the morning a police officer and his mother saw Gill and Fitzgibbon sneaking around the SDA Mount Olive Church on Faber’s Road and hiding items behind a building near the church.
According to PC Leslie, at around 12:30 a.m., his family and he went over to the church after he learnt that persons were seen on the grounds. He said he took his flashlight out and that’s when he got a clear visual of Fitzgibbon face who was surprised by their entrance. He then ran out the rear door of the Church, with Leslie chasing behind. Fitzgibbon managed to get away by jumping into a nearby swamp and swimming away.
Cameras For The Cancer Of Crime
And because it has gotten burgled like that church one too many times, the cancer society is getting serious with security.
At the beginning of the month, we told you how the Belize Cancer Society had been burglarized for the 5th or 6th time.
The Cancer Society sent out a public call for help to assist them in acquiring surveillance equipment to secure the facility. The Feinstein Group of Companies answered that call, and today donated over $6,000 in equipment to build a sophisticated system, which should, at best, deter thieves, and at worse, catch them in the act of stealing from the Non-Profit Organization.
The Feinstein Group's Fort Point Security officially handed over the system today, and the media was invited to witness it. 7News was there, and the Vice President of the Cancer Society told us that this is a very welcome donation:
Man Claims Police Brutality, No Justice
Tonight a Cayo resident is speaking out after he was allegedly beaten by two police officers. The incident happened on June 19th in the Cayo District. Ernesto Chan, a taxi driver, said two police officers intercepted his vehicle and proceeded to beat him for no reason. His injuries were classified as dangerous harm and since then Chan has made an official police complaint. But it’s been five months now since the incident and Chan says he is still waiting for justice. Today he visited our studios to explain.
Amputee Tells Court He Needs Weed To Ease The Pain
A couple escaped a drug trafficking charge only to get a lesser charge today in court before Magistrate Herbert Panton. 50 year old Alton White and his common-law wife 36 year old Idolly Fraser were accused of drug trafficking when the GSU found 119 grams of weed or 4 ounces of weed at his residence in the Conch Shell Bay area.
This happened on September 3rd 2013. They found 108 grams in his septic and 11 grams in his drawer. But White says that he was not going to sell the drugs and that this stash was for medicinal purposes. White is an amputee and has lost use of his leg and he claims the weed helps soothe the pain.
Celebrating The Best On CXC
Some of you might remember the pressure of CXC exams back in high school. Well, the top achievers at today’s National CXC awards ceremony are very familiar with it. Except that while most of us just break into a cold sweat, these top students just dig deeper into their books. And today their were honoured for their hard work and outstanding accomplishments. Courtney Weatherburne spoke with the top finishers.
Siian Rancharan- First Place, CSEC
"Make sure you believe in yourself because the moment you have any self doubt, that's when you fail yourself. You have to push on, it's a lot of work, a lot of sleepless nights, it really is tough and intense; But at the end of the day when you go up on that stage, when you get that award, it's just that satisfaction you get from achieving from what you have wanted."
Human Rights Group Goes Behind The Prison Walls
“Jail is where they put the bad people” – that’s what we all learned growing up – but often-times it’s not that simple. Many accused persons are stuck behind prison walls – it seems indefinitely - awaiting trial or a bail hearing – which often never comes – for those who can’t afford an attorney, or pay the bail application fee. Indeed, there are many barriers to freedom for accused persons – who stand before the law innocent until proven guilty – even as they are stuck behind prison walls.
And that’s where a British Human Rights group called the Death Penalty Project comes in. They came to Belize in July 2014 to sort of troubleshoot the penal system, to find out where accused persons were falling between the cracks into legal oblivion.
British Barrister Joseph Middleton compiled a 40 page report called “Behind These Prison Walls” which is meant to serve as a sort of call to action. The report was officially launched today – but the program to rescue some of the forgotten persons is already underway:…
The Taiwanese Embassy today held its annual end-of-year Luncheon and Experience Sharing at the Chateau Caribbean.
It is sort of a review of how the year went from the Taiwanese Embassy's perspective – and the Embassy's invites the media and key organizations from the Public Sector to share in.
This year's observance was also the first that the New Taiwanese Ambassador, Benjamin Ho, hosted. We attended and spoke with the ambassador about his perspective on the gains and the losses made during his few months in Belize.
Police and D.P.P. Tangle Over Murder Charges for Wilser Echevarria
The murder of Panamanian diplomat Jose Rodrigo de la Rosa Stanford on Sunday is a sensational case. The allegations of attempted rape brought against him by Wilser Echevarria and his [...]
11-year-old Girl Gang Raped on Iguana Street
There is a most disgusting report tonight of the gang rape of an eleven year old girl. The incident allegedly occurred on Iguana Street last Thursday at the house of [...]
What’s the Latest on the Sugar Impasse? B.S.C.F.A. Gives an Update
On November fifteenth, cane farmers from eighteen branches of the B.S.C.F.A. met and issued an ultimatum to the Sugar Industry Control Board. In a nutshell, the farmers had two requests [...]
2014’s Top CXC/CAPE Performers Awarded in Orange Walk
There were happy students and proud parents this morning at the national ceremony for CSEC and CAPE awardees which took place in Orange Walk Town. Hundreds of students were recognized [...]
Patrick Faber Shares Success Stories in Education
At the onset of his speech at today’s CXC/CAPE Awards ceremony, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber spoke to the gathering on the current state of the education system. Faber thumbed [...]
Is Hunting Caye F.O.B. Still a Joint Belize/U.S. Effort?
On Tuesday, News Five had an opportunity to speak with Minister of foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington on a variety of issues, including the murder of the Panamanian diplomat. We also [...]
Derrick Bain Convicted of Theft for a Second Time
A convicted thief, who is already serving time behind bars, picked up his second conviction for crimes of dishonesty after pleading guilty to theft for snatching a chain from an [...]
Behind the Prison Gates
The penal system, despite various initiatives by the Kolbe Foundation to improve overall wellbeing at the Belize Central Prison, is bogged down by a number of human rights issues that [...]
A Look at Belize’s Criminal Justice System
According to Executive Director, Parvais Jabbar of the Death Penalty Project, the presentation of the report is not a question of people being released from prison, in light of the [...]
Bar President Acknowledges Efforts of Lawyers in Prison Report
While the Bar Association has been panned for its so-called political affiliations, as well as its seeming lack of interest in assisting with legal aid, President Eamon Courtenay acknowledges that [...]
SIB Says Employment Is Up
The quarterly press conference of the Statistical Institute of Belize was held today in Belize City. It’s a mixed bag of good and bad news. The good news is that [...]
Cruise Ships Cancel Call on Belize Due to Choppy Seas
Today marks the beginning of the high season for the tourism industry, which coincides with the U.S. Thanksgiving Day. But the season got off to a choppy start because two [...]
Would A Cruise Port Prevent Cancellations?
B.T.B. has gone on record to make clear its support for a cruise port of any kind to be built in Belize. Andrade told us that today’s incident underscores that [...]
Will P.U.P. Accept a Petrocaribe Funded Christmas Cheer?
Christmas is less than a month away which means that the government’s annual Christmas Cheer Program is around the corner. While the opposition takes credit for starting the program with [...]
BSCFA Says Cane Farmers Are On Their Side Of The Ring
After BSI presented cane farmers with the contracts earlier in the month, there have been several consolations with them on the content of the agreement. So far, we have not been able to confirm if any farmer has signed this contract and the BSCFA has repeatedly cautioned farmers to reflect on the long and short term implications of such a contract. It appears though that there is some misinformation being spread which BSCFA’s CEO, Oscar Alonzo, sought to clarify today. The rumour is that farmers in Corozal are already signing that agreement with BSI but Alonzo says this is not the case and they have the support of farmers in Corozal.Oscar Alonzo – CEO BSCFA“What the farmers are signing there we understand that certain members of the St. Francis Xavier Credit Union are also members of the other Association and they are being given forms to join that Association, not to sign the BSI agreement so farmers are not signing any agreement as we understand there so we just want that to be clear that our farmers are still solid and we are getting increasing support from other organizations in the country.”
SIB Release Shows Improvement In Belize's Economy
And while SIB figures reveal that the transport index was cause for the consumer price index to increase, the third quarter statistics also point out that Belize’s economy grew by 4.8%.
The latest Gross Domestic Product estimates reveal that the Belizean economy grew by 4.8percent during the months of July to September 2014 in comparison to last year. Strong performances were reported in several key sectors including agriculture, fishing, hotel and restaurants, while electricity, water and construction were down slightly for the quarter.Production in the Agriculture and Forestry sector rose by 20.4 percent as both crop yields and livestock production increased during the quarter. In the sugar industry, almost 50 thousand long tonnes were being delivered. Banana production is up by 9 percent, while Livestock products increased three-fold to meet the demands from Mexico and Guatemala.
Date for Commencement Of Crop To Be Negotiated
On Tuesday the representatives of the Belize Sugar Industry and ASR group, Belize Sugar Cane Farmer’s Association, and the Sugar Industry Control Board finally met after repeated requests by the BSCFA to have a third party intervention. Now, while the SICB acted as a mediator in this round of discussions, and both principal parties agreed upon three major points, the process of negotiations is still, as they put it, a “very delicate” matter. The two major points of interest to the BSCFA to have the SICB’s participation in the process are to recruit an independent expert in the negotiations for revenue sharing for bagasse and secondly to set a date for start of crop with an interim agreement signed.The BSCFA has stated that it is within their interest, like BSI’s to start the crop early. This was mutually agreed upon yesterday and both parties cited December eight as an ideal start date. Both parties also agreed to restart negotiations but nothing specific was settled upon. In an interview late yesterday evening, Chairperson of the SICB Gabriel Martinez would not go into details of the discussions. Today, representatives of BSCFA elaborated more about the results of yesterday’s meeting and how they hope the matters are addressed in a favourable manner for all sugar stakeholders. Dalila Ical reports.
Belize's Inflation Rate Remains At 0.7%
The Statistical Institute of Belize has released its latest inflation and trade figures. According to the latest statistics for the Consumer Price index, the national inflation rate for the month of October reflects that of last month and stands unchanged at 0.7%. A release from the SIB reveals that the consumer price index rose slightly in comparison to last October from 102.9 to 103.6.For the first ten months, the average inflation rate remains at 1.3 percent. This month the prices for food items such as eggs, pasta and bread went down by an average of 1.2 percent. And while home rental prices remain high particularly in Orange Walk Town and San Ignacio for October, the transport index, one of the primary drivers of the Consumer Price Index, rose marginally by 0.5 percent. This resulted as higher fees for driver’s license across municipalities were virtually offset by a 10 percent drop in price per gallon of diesel.