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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

Elias Zetina to participate in the National Spelling Bee for the 2nd Year in a Row

Oceana Belize rejects GOB petroleum exploration guidelines
Oceana Belize and the Belize Coalition to Protect Our National Heritage have called for a complete moratorium on any offshore oil exploration in Belize territorial waters. The Non-government Organizations (NGO) resoundingly rejected the Government of Belize’s draft guidelines for petroleum exploration, which was first issued in September 2013 but unknown to the NGO’s until January 19, 2015. In a letter penned by Oceana Belize Vice President Janelle Chanona and addressed to the Minister, Hon. Senator Joy Grant on March 2, the NGO also called on the Ministry of Energy, Science Technology and Public Utilities to reassess the potential risks and benefits of oil exploration, pointing out the many flaws in the guidelines. Chanona and the Coalition’s Tanya Williams shared their concerns at a press briefing at the Belize Best Western Biltmore Hotel in Belize City last Thursday, April 23.

Your help is needed for Mother’s Day Brunch Soup Kitchen
After a successful Christmas Day Lunch Soup Kitchen initiative, Finley Halliday is at it again and this time he is organizing a Mother’s Day Brunch Soup Kitchen. With hopes of continuing his efforts to give back to the island community, Halliday has been busy making preparations for a traditional brunch in honor of deserving mothers. Scheduled for Sunday, May 10th, the Mother’s Day Brunch will be held at the Lion’s Den from 10AM to 1PM. Halliday hopes to accommodate anywhere between 100 to 200 hard-working mothers that deserve a show of appreciation on their special day. “When I started this whole soup kitchen idea, I did not want it to be a onetime thing. I want to give back as much as I can. After the success of the Christmas Day Lunch and seeing all the support I received, I am glad to undertake yet another project,” said Halliday. The Mother’s Day Brunch will entail of all traditional breakfast dishes. As such, Halliday is asking for donations from those who can afford to give. “We are looking to get things like coffees, flour, fruits, cereals, milk and jams. Things that are commonly consumed during breakfast. We would also like to get some pastries and treats that can be given to the mothers after their breakfast,” said Halliday.

Second phase of northern road starts
The second phase of the Ambergris Caye northern road, consisting of a total of three miles, has commenced. Work on the project, which is being executed by Romel Burgess of RGB Construction, will take place from Canary Coves to Belizean Shores Resort. Once the first part of phase two is completed, the road will be concreted.Second phase of NA Road-1 (2) “We are doing the initial works which is the first part of phase two of the project. We are opening the road and putting a hardcore foundation so that when we begin concreting, it is strong,” indicated Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero. As such, the road is widening and in some areas, they have been opening sections of the designated northern Ambergris Caye road. The road will run parallel to the electrical high-tension wire. “We want the people to use the road so that the material can settle better,” added Guerrero.

Ambergris Today

Saga Hooks Up with Dog Training Education Seminar at Sea
A group of traveling dog trainers and dog owners from the United States and Canada made their way to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, via a training course that took place onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The course gave the trainers and dog owners the opportunity to work with SAGA Humane Society and learn more about its operations on the island. The ‘Education at Sea’ training program was organized by dog trainer Heather Beck, a board member of SAGA and the founder of K9 Lifeline in Daper, Utah. Heather lead the Education at Sea Cruise with over 30 dog trainers and dog owners who departed from Galveston, Texas on April 19, 2015, docking in Roatan, Honduras and then in Belize City on April 23. While in the country the group hopped on to Ambergris Caye for lunch and work hands on with San Pedro’s Saga Humane Society, training some local stray dogs or ‘potlikers’ as they call them in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

From Dabuyaba to ashes: Opportunity for community renewal
Easter Sunday night, April 5th, will be recorded by the Garinagu of Belize and abroad as the tragic night when their dabuyaba, their sacred temple, in Barranco was completely destroyed by fire, allegedly torched by a mentally challenged man from that village. Constructed by the Cayetano family in 1996, this thatched roof, wooden-walled structure was not only the largest and most dominant in Barranco. It was also one of the largest dabuyaba (if not the largest) among those in all Garifuna communities, including those in Honduras and Guatemala. In the traditional belief of the Garifuna, the construction of a dabuyaba is triggered by requests of the ancestors with specifications in accordance with centuries old traditions. The gathering of materials for the building, for example, involves a ritual of purification, including the incensing of the plot of land before construction. The building must face east towards the sea to welcome the morning light through its front door. Side doors face north and south. The west wall is completely closed while a partition including the west wall exclusively remains the inner sanctum, the dugeirugu, of the buyei. The center of the main open hall where family members gather is considered the heart of the dabuyaba.

Heavy rain in Orange Walk District
After a crazy heat came a heavy rain this is how sugah city looked today

Full Moon Concert Series
This weekend - The National Institute of Culture and History(NICH) through the Corozal House of Culture extends a kind invitation to you as we present another edition of the Full Moon Concert Series. Join us Saturday May 2nd and enjoy a night of musical entertainment by One Love Band beginning at 7:30 pm.

BEL Apologizes to Customers in Corozal!
Belize Electricity Limited apologizes to customers in the Corozal District for the inconvenience being experienced due to an unscheduled power interruption since 10:25 a.m. Thursday, April 30, which is affecting Joseito and Dominguez Layouts in Corozal Town, Pueblo Viejo, Saltillos, Copper Bank, Chunox, Orchid Bay and Sarteneja. This unscheduled power interruption is due to a malfunctioning transformer at the Corozal Substation. BEL technicians are currently assessing the transformer to determine the extent of repairs needed after which BEL will advise customers of the estimated time for restoration of power supply. BEL assures customers that our crews are working to ensure that power supply can be restored as soon as possible to the affected areas in the Corozal District.

Despite weather conditions today's CJC EXPO 2015 was a success! The House of Culture introduced a new interactive activity that entertained and educated visitor's at our booth. The maya puzzle featured the Chactemal/Santa Rita Archaeological Site and the Jade Mosaic Mask which was discovered at the site. Thank you to all who visited, and a special thank you to Adrian Anderson who kindly assisted today.

FCD’s Executive Director visited students of Muffles Junior College and Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk
With the purpose of highlighting the beauty of the Chiquibul Forest and encouraging students to explore this wilderness area. Presentation was also given to members of the Northern Territorial Volunteers and a one hour interview was aired on Estereo Kairos. FCD thanks teachers, students and the other supporters for making the trip a success.

Channel 7

Former Bze. City Mayor David Fonseca Takes His Own Life
Former two term Belize City Mayor David Fonseca killed himself this afternoon. It happened at around 2:30 at his mother and ex-wife's residence in Stuart's Alley - which is near the Fort Street Tourism village. According to reports, he shot himself in the head with a nine-millimeter pistol. He was found in the bathroom of the house with the gun in his hand. His ex-wife Yolanda lives downstairs, while the upstairs was unoccupied - though the building is owned by his mother. The suicide comes as a shock to the wider community where the 60-year-old Fonseca was well known and liked for his even-tempered, agreeable nature. He would have been 61 tomorrow, May first. He was also well known as the younger brother of former PUP powerhouse Ralph Fonseca. The elder Fonseca was seen as David's political patron in the two municipal elections which he won in 1999 and 2003. He lost to Zenaida Moya in the 2006 municipal Election - and left city hall under a cloud of scandal. Fonseca was also the first cousin of current PUP Leader Francis Fonseca.

Accused Of Major Gov't Graft, Enriquez Gets Bail
Last week Friday, we told you how 28 year-old David Enriquez, the Public Officer from the Treasury Department, was charged for the theft of over half a million dollars from his workplace. Well tonight, he's at home free after being granted bail by the Supreme Court. That's after spending 6 days on remand. His attorney, Oscar Selgado, applied to the Supreme Court for bail this afternoon, and they were granted an audience before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Crown Counsel Javair Chan advised the court that the DPP's Office was not in a position to offer any objections due to the short time that the application was forwarded to that office. He said that the DPP's Office would leave it up to the judge's discretion to decide whether or not Enriquez deserved bail. After consideration, Justice Gonzalez granted him bail of $40,000 dollars which he was able to meet this evening. But, tonight we show you another man who has been charged in connection with the monies fleeced from the public purse. That man is Dangriga resident Francis Palacio, and he's now facing a charge of handling stolen goods for 225 thousand dollars of the missing money. He too applied for bail before Justice Gonzalez, and it was granted. Justice Gonzalez set the bail amount at $4,000 dollars, which he was able to meet this afternoon as well.

Alleged Sixth Form Gang Rapists Get Bail
18 year-old Jose Gomez, seen here in Yellow, and James Andrews, seen here in the striped T-shirt, are 2 of the 3 young men who were charged with the gang rape of an 18 year-old female student from Junior College in the South. Tonight, they are home with their families after asking the Supreme Court to grant them bail. Their attorneys Kevin Arthurs and Dorothy Flowers asked Justice Gonzalez to consider bail, and at the end of the hearing, he set the bail amount at $5,000. They were both able to meet bail this afternoon, and Andrew's relative became confrontational with the photojournalists at court, who were trying to get his photograph. As we reported, the victim told police that she went on a class trip with 75 other students and two teachers to San Ignacio on Thursday April 16. The victim, identified to us as a special needs student, was returning from the restroom, when she was pulled into a room and forced into having sexual relations with several of her male peers. We've confirmed with San Ignacio police that a report was made last week, and police have visited the school in the south to investigate the allegations.

Three "Pedro" Men Charged For Murder
San Pedro Police have charged 3 men for the murder of 42 year-old San Pedro Taxi Driver Jose Beltran. They are Luis "Sito" Campos, Mark Arzu, and Santos Garcia. The charge was formally brought against them today. Those men will be arraigned at the Magistrate's Court and they will be sent to the Belize Central Prison on remand at the earliest convenience. As we've been reporting, police found Beltran dead on Tuesday morning at around 10. He had been tied up, shot in the head, and left inside his taxi van, with the engine still running. Eyewitnesses in the San Juan area saw when 2 men jumped out after crashing it and leaving it there. They also observed when the men jumped into a waiting vessel which was docked nearby.

PUC Tells BEL: "How Low Can You Go?"
In April, BEL asked the PUC to approve a 10% decrease in electricity rates; the PUC today announced that it wants more: a 15% cut in rates. Under the PUC initial decision, the average electricity rate would go from 41 cents to 35 cents per kilowatt hour. The proposed rate would be effective from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. But, it's not final yet, and BEL can object or members of the public can ask for more - but they must do so in writing to the PUC before May 10th. BEL has not indicated if it will challenge the decision.

Land Situation On Northern Caye Caulker Long Out Of Control
Last night you heard Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega explain how his ministry had cancelled leases on beach and seabed properties from 2012 on Northern Caye Caulker. But, as he stated, there are over a hundred cases like that on the Northern side of that island - which from the early "two-thousands" has been a sort of wild-wild west for real estate grabs and survey pegs in the seabed. Yesterday Vega said what happened shouldn't have, and fixing it is complicated by speculation and multiple private transactions:... Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources "Because it is a law, a Belizean law that you should not put a peg in the waters and that is something that the ministry is looking to address with the association of surveyors, because first of all they should not be doing that survey. It doesn't matter how much they pay them to survey the land. So, it's a combination, it's not that simple. The ones prior to this administration - it's even more complicated, because there is some cases where I say someone by the name of Renan Briceno owning a whole lot of beach front, but I mean it affects a lot of people. We have somebody like Rodla Construction, that's affects probably hundreds of people."

Cable King Gets Capital Construction Contract
The Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan has been selected as one of the project sites for the Belize Infrastructure Limited. The field will feature the first synthetic football turf in the country and the contractor is a name well known in the cable television and cement businesses. Are Representative John Saldivar told me about it yesterday:.. Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security "I believe it was aware to a company associated with Mr. Pete Lizarraga that went through bidding. The bidding process with BIL and that was the company that was selected." According to a press release, when it is completed, the stadium will feature championship league certified lighting.

Police to Develop Social Media Rules
We have all heard the harsh comments about police indiscipline and the countless complaints about police brutality. Well, in this story, the roles are reversed: the cops are complaining about the criminals! In the midst of the recent murder spree where one prominent gang figure was killed, a police constable posted a very cold and inflammatory comment on facebook on Sunday stating that "It is good that they are dead". That is just a part of it, we had to blur out a few incendiary sections of the comment. Now, while police officers like regular citizens have the right and freedom to express themselves, shouldn't they use their discretion as police officers? And where is the line drawn since their role is to maintain peace and order not incite or encourage violence. We asked Commissioner Whylie about it yesterday. Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police "What I would say is that, if he did that then as a police officer, I view it as very distasteful and unwarranted. Yes as a civilian he has the right to express himself and how he feels but, one of the challenges we face is that even when as individual citizens and we do have certain rights.

51 Belizean Products Highlited
About 51 Belizean products are featured in a new ExportBelize catalogue. It was officially launched today at the Biltmore and some of the clients and entrepreneurs featured in the publication had their products on display. The catalogue gives business owners the chance to market their products locally and internationally. We spoke to one of the entrepreneurs at the event and he told us about his new cleaning products and the success he has had so far. Shahera McKoy, BELTRAIDEManager, Export Belize "The 'Made in Belize' catalogue was something we wanted to do for a while now. At Export Belize and at Beltraide, we get a lot of queries from companies, embassies outside of Belize asking for Belizean products and what is being offered by Belize. In the past we've developed directories, but when we looked at what other countries were putting out there, ours was not as professional. And so we wanted to do something that would rival any other publication by any other country. And so we decided to do a really professional catalogue featuring producers in Belize."

Charged For A Killing In Corozal
Viewers may remember that on December 9 of last year, 29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. was hacked to death by 23 year-old Carlos Casanova, who brandished a machete. It happened right in front of the public on a well-trafficked street, and police had to shoot Casanova to subdue him. Well, after receiving medical treatment from that police inflicted injury, Casanova was finally well enough to be criminally charged. The gunshot from the police rifle tore out a chunk of his leg, which now makes walking properly very difficult to do. So yesterday, he hopped on his right leg from the holding cell to the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith in Belize City. There he was arraigned on the single charge of murder, and due to the nature of the offence, he couldn't be granted bail. He was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until July 15.

A Gun Found In Search For Killer
22 year old Wilfred Mcdougal, a fisherman of 12 Mahogany Heights, was today arraigned on the charge of with keeping a prohibited firearm and kept firearm and unlicensed ammunition when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. The police reported that around 1:30 p.m. on April 27, they detained Mcdougal in their investigation of the murder of Kevin Flowers and Mcdougal told them certain things. Acting on his information, the police went to two abandoned lots at Mahogany Heights. They found a 9 millimetre pistol with 6 rounds of ammunition in its magazine in an old car in one of the lots. The police said that when they went to the second lot, they also found a 16 gauge sawed-off shotgun. As a result, Mcdougal was charged. He pleaded not guilty to the offences, and he was remanded into custody until July 30.

Learning Environment And Personal Enrichment
Marine Ecology and self-healing. Not themes you would normally put together, right? Well, a group of 16 students proved that they can be combined. Today we met these students at the Princess Marine as they returned from a marine ecology trip to Calabash Caye. They told us how this holistic educational outing enhanced their appreciation for the environment and for themselves. Jaen Nieto, Instructor "It's beautiful that we are all together. Doing this for the first time is like a pilot project with the kids from 'days of healing'. And it went on like any other trip of EPI, where the students are shown the beauties of the environment. We went dolphins, we went snorkeling. Many of them didn't even know how to swim, how to snorkel, so they learnt that. And through that they saw the beauties that are under the sea. And that's the main that we cannot expect to have people protecting the environment if they haven't seen it." Naiton Arzu, Marine Ecology Student "This experience was very great for me because for once in my lifetime, I enjoyed myself with different people and friends that I met, and other people that I appreciate and I love."

A Relief For The Reef
A Mesoamerican reef protection workshop is being held at the Biltmore this week. Conservationists and other stakeholders from Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua organized an 8 day workshop on the protection of the Mesoamerican reef system -which starts at the tip of Yucatan Peninsula and stretches down to Belize. We spoke with the coordinator today and she told us why this discussion on the reef needs to happen. Maria Eugenia Arreola, Director, Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program "What we do is, every year we open up a call for applications and we invite entrepreneurs and young conservationists who are initiating their career or are in the middle of their career to join the program with a proposal, an idea of a project that they can implement in protection of the coral reefs. So during one year we bring them together four times in this workshop. And right now we are in the fourth workshop of the 2014 cohort and we train them on advocacy, how to speak in public, how to speak with the media, how to raise funds - fundraising. We also train them on negotiation and conflict resolution. Our vision is to have a healthy reef and prosperous communities. So more than 2 million people depend on the health of the Mesoamerican reef right. So what we want to do is we want to launch high impact projects that will be led by conservationists that have the skills, that have the tools, the knowledge and that they are going to succeed in their projects. At the end, what we want is the sustainable use of our natural resources. We are very lucky to have this important ecosystem and we want to provide different solutions and projects that will help us to use of our resources in a sustainable way."

Unions Say Remember The Labourers
On Wednesday April first, the President of the NTUCB told the media that the unions wanted to have a large rally for labour day. But he must have been using the April Fool's exception, because we haven't gotten word of any large rally - though this evening, we are hearing that a rally will be held tomorrow. But the President Marvin Mora did issue a statement this evening discussing the theme of this year's observance, which is "Celebrating the Belizean Worker- the Back Bone of the Belizean Economy". The three page statement says, quote, "the NTUCB will continue to advocate for the respect of the rights of the workers in our country and commit that we will not sit idly by whilst our brothers are being taken advantage of." He laments that The Public Accounts Committee is still being run by a chair from the Ruling Party when it clearly contravenes the act and that Government has taken over an entire year without even a proposed date when public consultations should start in relation to the Occupational Safety and Health Bill! As for Petrocaribe, the statement says, quote, "The NTUCB wants to be absolutely clear that we are not against the acquisition of the Petro Caribe Funds and its original intent as agreed to between the Government of Venezuela and Belize. By this same token, we take this opportunity to thank the Venezuelan Government and its courageous people for all the support they have lent our country."

Managing Chemical Waste
2 years ago, the Solid Waste Management Authority streamlined how the country handles garbage by turning the dumps in Belize City and Cayo into transfer stations and creating a Sanitary Landfill facility. That's separate from the work that the Department of Environment has been doing with government agencies THAT HANDLE Chemical Waste. After signing on to major international conventions chemical waste management, the DOE has been laboring since 2005 to put together waste management strategy. We fast-forward to this week when the DOE initiated a 3 year project entitled "Belize Chemicals and Waste Management Project". The aim of the plan is to control and restrict chemical wastes which the DOE categorizes as Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POP's which include organic pesticides and refrigerants and coolants. What does that mean for you? Well, the main effect is that the DOE is trying to make the cleaner, but these restrictions will affect the industrial sector, whose products generate chemical wastes. The Chief Environmental Officer explained the project to us today:

From April To Fuego
Yesterday was National Tapir Day - but April the Tapir has passed on, so this year, to celebrate this event the Belize Zoo threw a party for Fuego the Tapir's 2nd birthday - fruit cake and all...We spoke to the coordinator of the evnt and he told us why this OBSERVANCE IS IMPORTANT:

The Importance Of "Agri"
The National Agriculture and Trade Show will be held this weekend at the showground's in Belmopan. And while the show has its own vibe and scenery, lest we forget it is all about the farmers. Tonight - with the help of the government press office - we look at two of the junior farmers of the year:.. And those going to the show over this holiday weekend will be happy to know that additional amenities have been put in place to make your show grounds experience more enjoyable. CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche told us more:..

Channel 5

Former Belize City Mayor Commits Suicide
Former Belize City Mayor David Fonseca is dead.  The retired People’s United Party politician, who served at City Hall for a record sixteen consecutive years, took his own life sometime [...]

TCC Principal’s Comment on Treasury Theft Surprises Fin Sec
Treasury Department Second Class Clerk David Enriquez was charged last week for theft. The police say that he diverted monies, four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, meant for Toledo Community [...]

Treasury Employee David Enriquez Granted Supreme Court Bail
Enriquez had been on remand for the bold Treasury theft since last week, but this afternoon he was granted bail by Supreme Court Judge Troadio Gonzalez after the prosecution registered [...]

PM Promises Council of Churches an Ecumenical Chapel from Petrocaribe Funds
It may have cruised under the radar at the Prime Minister’s press conference on Wednesday, but the fact that the churches are getting in on the Petrocaribe bounty is significant. [...]

Light Bill Set to Go Down in July
There is some good news for consumers because beginning July first, 2015 to June thirtieth 2016; electricity rates are to go down by thirty-five cents per kilo watt hour to [...]

Labor Commissioner Updates on Santander Employees
Two weeks ago, about forty workers at the Santander Green Tropics facility staged a small protest at the compound, citing chronic concerns which they say remained unaddressed by management. Over [...]

Is Santander Favoring Foreigners for Lucrative Jobs?
According to Williams, and this is certainly not the first time this complaint has been ventilated, workers feel that they are not being given access to lucrative employment. They feel [...]

Labor Commissioner Says Belizeans are Under-qualified for Certain Santander Posts
So why aren’t Belizeans getting access to the higher paying jobs which require special skills? Well, because not many Belizeans have those skills. It’s as simple as that. Our vocational [...]

SIB Issues Statistics on Consumer Price Index for March
The Statistical Institute of Belize released the latest stats on consumer price index and external trade for the month of March. According to SIB, consumer prices were down one percent [...]

Gapi Vega Says Lands Department is Investigating Caye Caulker Cheat
Last Thursday, a retired English couple came forward in the media to express frustration over a land swindle in Caye Caulker which has resulted in the devaluation of their beachfront [...]

BRC Printing Versus Ministry of Education Settled in Supreme Court
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has settled a court case with Benque Viejo del Carmen Town-based book publishers, BRC Printing Limited. The dispute goes back to June of [...]

James Andrews and Jose David Gomez Granted Bail for Gang Rape
This afternoon in a bail application heard by Justice Troadio Gonzalez of the Supreme Court, two young men were granted bail for the offense of rape.  They are James Andrews [...]

DOE Launches 3-year Chemical Waste Management Project
Ten years ago, the government of Belize ratified several environmental management conventions and address, through international assistance and programs, issues of chemical and waste management. Three phases have been accomplished [...]

…But What About Hazardous Waste?
Another component of the project will include the closure of the dumpsite and the construction of a transfer station at Burrell Boom. But when you hear chemical waste, it brings [...]

Labour Day Celebrated in Belize
On Friday, in Belize as well as in many other countries, the Labour Day holiday will be held to honor workers. From time to time, we hear about employee- employer [...]

Lake-I Residents Pass Self Defense Program
The Precinct Two Police Officers, through their community policing, have been working on the ground to engage residents. From one on one interaction to group efforts, the police say they [...]

Hamanasi and Tourism in Hopkins
Tourism is a top foreign exchange earner and is also one of the largest contributors to Belize’s Gross Domestic Product, the GDP. Roughly speaking, it accounts for twenty-five percent of [...]

Hygienic Practices for Makeup Users on Healthy Living
Okay Ladies, it’s time to pull out those cosmetic bags and look over the products on your night stand. If you’ve had skin problems on your face; the culprit may [...]