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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

Shooting in the San Mateo Area
The San Pedro Sun has confirmed a shooting in the San Mateo Area. According to reports, after Delson Paguada was shot at his home, he pursued his attacker who he shot in the back. Both men were transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II for primary treatment. Both were flown to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital in Belize City for further treatment. Police are at the scene and investigations are on going.

Tiger Sharks fall to third place after loss to Belmopan Bandits
With only four weeks remaining in the Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) regular season, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks are looking to advance to the playoffs. However, after a recent 69-71 loss to the Belmopan Bandits, they have dropped to third place with 12 accumulative points, while Cayo Western Ballaz is tied with the Belmopan Bandits with 13 points in the league. On Thursday, March 16th, the Tiger Sharks faced the Belmopan Bandits at the University of the Belize’s (UB) gymnasium. The Tiger Sharks took a 13-10 lead in the first quarter. During an intense match in the second quarter, the Bandits went to halftime leading with three points. In the third quarter, the Tiger Sharks made a comeback, gaining a five-point lead, 56-51. In the last seconds of the game, the Tiger Sharks attempted to tie the game and head to overtime, but fell short of a two-pointer, causing the Bandits to win 71-69.

Disturbing cruelty towards crocodiles raise concerns for ACES
It’s a normal routine for Chris Summers of the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) to rescue and remove crocodiles whenever reports are made. However, after two similar reports revealed crocodiles with their snouts intentionally bound, Summers is hoping that this is not a new trend. As a result, ACES is imploring the general public to stop animal cruelty, explaining that these reptiles are essential to the health of the world’s ecosystems. According to Summers, one crocodile was found in horrific conditions. “Somebody called us at the Train Station Gym on Saturday, March 18th about a crocodile lying around, with its mouth shut with tape and wire. My team responded, and we caught him quite quickly. The croc looked weak, in distress, and seemed like it hadn’t eaten for a few months. Somebody did this on purpose, its mouth was not only taped shut with a lot of tape, it was also tied with a lot of wire. It is disgusting to do this. The poor croc also suffered some very nasty wounds, inflicted by another croc, while it was unable to defend itself,” said Summers. The crocodile is currently in an emergency holding pen, and Summers hopes that this seven-and a half foot animal can survive. According to him, it’s too soon to tell.

Stakeholders believe proposed increase in departure fee threatens tourism industry
The decision by the Government of Belize (GOB) to increase the departure fee for non-Belizeans flying out of the country has raised concerns within the tourism sector. The introduction of the new fee is part of Government’s move to raise an additional $80 million in tax revenues for the new fiscal year that commences in April 1st. Stakeholders believe proposed increase in departure fee threatens tourism industryOne of the tourism organizations strongly opposing to the new fee is the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA). They believe that this change in the departure tax will damage the tourism industry and claim that they were not consulted in such decision. They are asking the Government to withdraw the proposal. In a press release on Wednesday, March 15th, the BTIA stated that the potential negative impacts to the tourism industry through an increase in the departure tax has not been properly analysed nor have industry stakeholders been consulted. “Belize is already a tourist destination with high costs in comparison to the region. Belize must remain competitive, not more expensive as a destination.”

Ambergris Today

Pic of the Week: Makes You Want To Skydive San Pedro, Right?
WOW! With a spectaclar view like this everybody will want to skydive; right? NO? Well the offer stands at Skydive San Pedro if you every get the courage to take the giant leap. Many have taken the opportunity to experience the thrill of a lifetime since the skydiving company opened its doors on the island. DO YOU DARE? Amber sure did; watch her experience HERE!

Local Sanpedrano Guillermo Rodriguez Shoots For Musical Career
Born and raised in this beautiful island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Guillermo Rodriguez found his love for music at the tender age of 12. He began singing at only 15 years old. After graduating high school he worked at the Christian Lighthouse Radio and in 2013 his passion towards music and love for God lead him to study Christian Ministry and music in the city of Guatemala; graduating in 2016. Guillermo explains that his love for music came when his mother became diagnosed with cancer. Their trust and faith in God was what got him through that hard time and then, as he calls it, “the miracle” happened - his mother was diagnosed cancer free. He tells Ambergris Today that his music journey began when he was in class one day and his teacher asked for a volunteer to record a song. He quickly rose to the occasion; Guillermo was to record one song but never imagined he would end up recording ten. He stated that he never thought he would ever record an album, but when the opportunity arose he was ready.

A Call To Protect Belize’s Manatees
Belize is home to the largest population of Antillean Manatees in the world! But since the start of 2017 alone, a total of 7 manatees have been reported dead. “It is important for us as Belizeans to help protect this endangered species before it's too late. Listen to what you can do to be a "Hu-manatee-arian"! #ToLoveandProtectBelize.” - Oceana Belize It is being asked of boaters on the Belize River and rivers across the country to be aware that as the dry season progresses into April and May and river levels get lower, saltwater pushes further upriver, especially at high tide; the manatees tend to travel further upriver in small and large groups to drink fresh water. They are air-breathing marine mammals and need to be at the surface periodically.

Misc Belizean Sources

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Belmopan eradication program for dogs
March 27- April 9

Ministry of Health Wants You to “Unite to End TB” on World Tuberculosis Day
The Ministry of Health will once again join the global community in observing World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24th, 2017. This year’s theme is “Unite to End TB”. The focus is to increase awareness of the TB national response among patients and healthcare providers in order to strengthen the active surveillance of TB to improve diagnosis and treatment in Belize. This year, health regions across the country will be hosting various public information sessions including TB talks, ‘Morning Show’ appearances and booth displays to share information.

Central Park gets its annual facelift....here's a peek!

Protest outside House Meeting
Less than a hundred protesters from Toledo have gathered outside the The National Assembly where the House Meeting is ongoing. They are protesting their dissatisfaction with PUP Toledo representatives Oscar Requena and Mike Espat. According to the protesters' signs and posters, they are "demanding that Requena and Espat open their offices and to use the GOB community funds on the people of Toledo".

Fly In 2017
Pictures from the Fly In, which was in Spanish Lookout. "The Cayo Air Show had skydiving, aerial acrobatics, crop dusters showing off, and lots of great food, thanks to Miss Deb's. Lots of pictures of the sky..."

Operation Clean Up Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker Village Council Cordially invites all Community Members to Participate in our Beach Clean Up Campaign. Please come out and lend a helping hand. Bring your rake, bring you gloves and come out!

Caye Caulker Village Council Golden Citizen Property Tax Discount
Caye Caulker Village Council cares for our Golden Citizens and to show we care, we are now offering a Golden Citizen Tax Discount. Come into our office for details

Belize’s Position on Tainted Corned Beef
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and the Ministry of Health met today with all importers of Corned Beef to discuss the recent tainted Corned Beef issue in Brazil, and the adherence to measures that will be applied to ensure that Corned Beef in the Belizean market is safe for consumption. In an effort to safeguard public safety BAHA has decided to implement with immediate effect the following measures: For Importation: 1. Temporary suspension of the issuance of import permits for Corned Beef from Brazil until all due diligence have concluded and source declared safe. 2. All Corned Beef en-route to Belize will be retained to verify that they come from approved facilities for export and in addition undergo laboratory analysis by BAHA to determine the product’s wholesomeness for human consumption. 3. All corned beef already imported and held in warehouse locally will be quarantined and undergo laboratory analysis by BAHA to determine the product’s wholesomeness for human consumption.

Creole Culture Presentation
As a part of its mandate to create child and family friendly educational initiatives, the Child Advisory Body (CAB) of Belmopan is hosting its first cultural activity. This will be held on Sunday March 26th, 2017 from 3pm to 6 pm at the Independence Park. CAB will be showchasing the CREOLE CULTURE

San Pedro Town's Central Park gets a paint facelift!
We would like to thank the volunteers of Projects Abroad and our SPTC employees for a job well done on painting the benches and planters - all in one day! Great team work! Thank you guys!

Belize participates in Outsource2LAC 2017 – San Jose, Costa Rica
As technology continues to evolve globally, the demand for Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) simultaneously continues to escalate opening a gateway for Belize as a competitive nearshore and offshore services destination in fostering numerous investment opportunities in the Outsourcing industry. As Belize’s national trade and investment promotion agency, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), along with twenty (20) additional delegates from trade promotion agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean, participated in the 6th Latin American and Caribbean Outsourcing and Offshoring Summit, Outsource2LAC, held in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 15 – 16, 2017. This year’s event was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Costa Rica’s Trade Promotion Agency, ProComer, which sought to foster this prominent sector through seminars on the latest trends in global outsourcing and Business to Business (B2B) meetings between buyers and service providers.

PROTEST OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT AGAINST HON. MIKE ESPAT & HON. OSCAR REQUENA
Constituents from the Toledo district were up in arms outside the House of Representatives protesting, not the budget, but the absence of their Area Representatives, Hon. Mike Espat and the Hon. Oscar Requena, in the division. Protests signs read "5 years and no sight of Mike" "do your job" "go to the office" "The people are being robbed by Mike Espat and Oscar Requana" Protestors claim Espat and Requena are no shows at the office and have not been doing anything to help the people in the division.

BSCAP CEO SHYNE BARROW SAYS MUSICIANS MUST BE PAID; COMES OUT AGAINST BUSINESSES VIOLATING COPYRIGHT ACT
Ambassador Shyne Barrow, who also serves as CEO of the Belizean Society of Composers Authors & Publishers, came out strong against copyright violators. Barrow says "the public should be outraged at the blatant violation of the law." In his quarterly letter to BSCAP members Barrow says "it's really a shame that musicians don't get the respect they deserve in this country" "Historically, copyright infringement has gone without penalty in Belize, thus the reason for resistance from some of these corporations." "Copyright acts around the world call for corporations who use music to pay and our tariffs and fees are guided by regional and international standards, so corporations in Belize need to comply with the law as do other corporation in the region and the world."

Sarteneja Nazarene Primary School's Field Trip
Educational Trip to Mountain Pine Ridge and Spanish Lookout.

Coastal Awareness Week
he Wildtracks Outreach Team is joining Belize's Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development and other partners today at the Corozal Community College in Corozal, as part of Coastal Awareness Week. Engaging and empowering youths through knowledge is critical if Belize is to meet its goals in maintaining the species, ecosystem services and livelihoods that are tightly linked to the coastal and marine environment. From knowledge of the watersheds to an understanding of the threats facing marine mammals such as the Antillean manatee. Knowledge builds good stewardship - and for some students, they may take their first steps towards being better stewards today, based on information they learn from the conservation organizations here today...

Beneath the Sea - Visit our Belize Booth!
Visit the BHA at booth 643 at the Beneath the Sea Show in Secaucus, New Jersey this weekend March 24, 25 and 26. Start planning your amazing Belize vacation with us!

Austrian Government requests removal of Belize’s Ambassador to Austria
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sedi Elrington confirmed today that the Austrian Government requested the removal of Belize’s Ambassador to Austria. Elrington, however, reported that no reason was given by Austria as to why they wanted Ambassador Joel Nagel removed. Foreign Minister Elrington was responding to a question from former Prime Minister of Belize, Said Musa during today’s budget debate House meeting. Musa had earlier alleged that Belize’s Ambassador to Austria had to be removed as “he was doing banking business there rather than ambassadorial duties”. Joel Nagel was appointed by Elrington’s Foreign Ministry as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Austria in September 2015. He was also appointed as Belize’s Permanent Representative to United Nations offices in Vienna.

BTL interruption Sunday March 26 in Belize Districe
Belize Electricity Limited advises its customers in the Belize District that the supply of electricity will be interrupted on Sunday, March 26, 2017 as follows:

Belize Raptor Center Open for Tours
The BRC is doing tours of their bird sanctuary! They've been all over Cayo, and Belize, educating students all about raptors, and now you can go to their main campus. "Did you know there is a facility in Cayo that specializes in the care of hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, kites, vultures and Osprey? BRC focuses on educating the next generation of conservation superstars to protect these magnificent creatures as well as provide medical and rehabilitation care when one is found injured or orphaned. In order to reach a larger audience and make a BIGGER impact we now offer engaging and adventurous tours at our facility. Please contact us to set up a tour today, via email [email protected], phone 615-0226 or through our messenger.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Devil's Candy, 20th Century Women, Resident Evil.

Channel 7

Briceno Buries Budget
The Prime Minister presented the 2017/2018 budget on March 13th - and the debate started 10 days later. The two day event is the highlite of the annual parliamentary calendar because almost all of the 31 members present on the budget. They can speak for as long as they want, and many of the representatives go on for extended periods about all that's good or bad in the budget. The Leader of the Opposition always starts it off with his response to the budget. This year, he outdid the Prime Minister, with a presentation that lasted for one hour and eighteen minutes, about half an hour longer than the PM. Briceno keyed in on what he said are major omissions in the budget:.. Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "They present a budget that offers no plan to help the still struggling productive sector. They will not build one new school; they will not reduce poverty by even a fraction of a percent. No ordinary Belizean will benefit from anything contained in this budget."

Barrow Breaks Form to Correct Briceno
And so, that presentation got the ball rolling. The Prime Minister will wind up the debate sometime tomorrow. That's when he usually rebuts all the major points made by opposition members and puts it all into one compressed presentation. But, today he broke form right after the opposition leader was finished. He said there was just one thing that was so glaring, that he could not leave it to stand unchecked. IT was a very unusual point of order - and here's how it went:... Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "The Prime also told the media that the bond restructuring fees, now listen, to the bond holders local and foreign advisors added to around 12 million dollars. We have now come to learn from the budget estimate itself, in CAP 2 expenditures for the Ministry of Finance - that the bond restructuring fee will amount to 20 million dollars. 8 million more than he led us to believe."

Saldivar Swipes At Briceno
After that brief digression, the debate resumed, with John Saldivar giving his response to the Leader of the Opposition. He always gets the job of responding to the PUP Leader, and this year he said Briceno missed the boat completely:... Hon. John Saldivar: "And he spoke about, no ordinary Belizean is going to benefit from this budget, but yet he goes on to say that we have sustain our pro-poor programs at the end he even offered that if we wish to increase, if we want to bring a supplemental budget here to increase these programs, that he would be happy..."

PUP Deputy Leader Lathers Barrow Budget
The PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde came up next, and he said that despite what Saldivar has put out there, there are difficult days ahead, particularly for the poor and vulnerable:... Hon. Cordel Hyde- Area Rep, Lake I: "If you listen to those on the other side of the house: we should be happy because there will be no retrenchment this year and no wage freeze and no business tax increase; and don't get us wrong, you know, we are happy for our public officers and our business persons for this little break, but just because we have averted these possible calamities doesn't mean a more enduring catastrophe isn't about to take place. The truth is madam speaker, we have some difficult days ahead.

He Killed Christie, Appeal Court Says He Was Provoked, Reduces Sentence
6 days ago, we told you about convicted killer Osmar Sabido who went to the Court of Appeal to get his conviction for murder reduced to manslaughter. Well, the Court of Appeal said yes to that today - sending shockwaves across Orange Walk town. The panel of judges found that Justice Herbert Lord did not factor in that Sabido was provoked into viciously stabbing his common-law wife, 21 year-old Christie Carrasco to death. As we told you, Justice Lord found him guilty of murder in a trial without jury last year April. But his attorneys, Leeroy Banner and Oscar Selgado, went to the Appeal Court to argue that Sabido wasn't in his right mind when he killed his common-law wife. You'll remember that Sabido testified in the trial last year that the fight started when Carrasco told him that she thinks that she is pregnant for another man.

The Tangled Case of Titan’s Big Money
Another big case that went to the Court of Appeal this week is the Government's attempt to get a 8.8 million dollar award of damages set aside. As we told you, the Bahamians, Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, have sued the Government and won a judgement at the Supreme Court. Justice Courtney Abel has determined that the September 2014 raid on their Titan Securities office was excessive and abusive, and that they were entitled to compensation. The Government disagrees with the court, and they believe that they should get no compensation, because their company was worthless after their criminal indictment for securities fraud and the ongoing suspension of their trade licenses by the US authorities. Titan disagrees, and they say that the Government is disregarding the damage they did with that police raid.

Well Known Sandhill Fisherman Disappears, Body Turns Up Drowned
A well-known Sandhill fisherman drowned at sea over the weekend. 51 year old Barry Rosales also known as "Jaxey" left home on Friday morning with his regular fishing partner. They went to their favorite spot near Alligator Caye but Rosales became ill on the trip. Rosales stayed back to rest while his partner went out fishing but when he came back Rosales wasn't around. We spoke to Rosales' father this morning and he told us what he knows.

Belize Ban Brazilian Corned Beef, Temporarily
Yesterday we told you about the corned beef crisis in the Caribbean. Several countries in the region have banned the importation and sale of corned beef from Brazil after reports came in claiming the certain processing facilities were selling rotten meat. Apparently, as many as 21 facilities were flagged by Brazilian authorities for the irregularities in their health certifications. Those factories are being re-audited and have been suspended from exportation in the mean time.

The Siltation Situation is Choking Yabra Fishers
Remember the silt that swallowed up the sea at southern foreshore last year February? Well while that problem was addressed, it's now plaguing residents in the Yabra area. That sticky funky stuff is clogging the Yabra Canal and spreading fast. The fisherfolk who live in that area are feeling it the hardest because they can't pull up their boats. Today we met City Councillor Phillip Willoughby along with personnel from the Department of the Environment at the scene. There were assessing the situation in the canal to see what can be done. Willoughby explained how they plan on cleaning out the silt and what residents need to do to help:

Elderly Woman Says She Self Medicates Fro Pain With Crack
Today another elderly woman was charged in court for an offense related to crack-cocaine. 67 year old Ida Simpson, a resident of Gan's Rest House, was busted this morning with 0.6 grams of crack-cocaine. According to Simpson, she bought the illicit drug off a boy on the street for $3. When she appeared in court today, Simpson immediately pled guilty to possession of controlled drugs. But, she told the Magistrate that she used the crack as a substitute for Advil or Anacin. Despite her guilty plea, Magistrate Carlon Mendoza was hesitant to send a woman of her age to prison, instead deciding to impose a non-custodial charge, fining her $100 plus a $5 court fee.

The Interrogation of Inez
Last night, we brought you coverage from the latest hearings on Immigration, where officer Inez Casanova finally gave the Senate Select Committee a positive identification on who this "Mr. Middleton" is. As you saw, he's Barton Middleton, and though very little is known about him, he's quickly gaining infamy due to the testimonies of persons who have gone before the Senate Committee. They have heard startling accounts that he was handsomely paid to act as an immigration agent, so that he could push through 6 visa applications for Chinese nationals.

Erwin Robinson, A History Of Hacking
We now show you another portion of the Senate hearing and the questions the Committee had for Erwin Robinson. He was the former Immigration Data Entry Clerk who - if you follow the hard evidence - took a picture of Won Hong Kim, a man who never entered Belize, and then assisted to print a Belize passport for this South Korean Fugitive, a document he never qualified for. But Robinson says he didn't do it. Here's the Senate showing him that picture and asking him to explain himself: Hon. Aldo Salazar: "You were the one who captured Wonhong Kim's data in the system?" Erwin Robinson: "Yes sir."

Hon. Hyde Says Early Immigration Appearances Are Just Previews
And while the testimony so far has been revealing, today, the PUP Member for Lake Independence said that all those who have appeared so far are just previews, he's waiting for the stars to make their showing!:... Hon. Cordel Hyde- Area Rep, Lake I: "It's under your watch, that's why we are watching week by week the dripping revelation of seedy corruption at the immigration department. But you know all the weekly testimonies are just previews of coming attractions you know. You know, when you used to go da Palace, they have a lot of previews before the real movie? Well the real movie ah be when the ministas turn to testify, that's when the real movie.

An Independent Eye On Superbond
Today the Legacy Fund and the Belize Chamber of Commerce held a presentation to discuss Superbond 3.0. The presenter, Ervin Perez, Managing Director of the Legacy Fund, ran through the history of the Bond and the implications of the latest version that government closed the deal on one week ago. Perez broke down his presentation down for us... Ervin Perez - Managing Director, Legacy Fund Ltd.: "So a brief overview was simply that we wanted to see how we got here with the superbond 3 and to show the comparisons between the different stages in the external debt. The other thing was to really emphasize that the challenges that we faced, even if given this opportunity in terms of a better cash profile with the debt, a lower interest rate, a shaving of the principal that we have a structural issue in the country and that has been the case for over the last 23 years where government administration after administration has spent more than they have taken in revenue and so they have to borrow and then as a country we have consumed more in imports than we have exported.

Ervin Weighs In On Budget
And while the politicians will be verbally jousting over the budget, Ervin Perez, who is an economist and financial advisor, gave us his clinical assessment of the UDP's plans for the next fiscal year... Ervin Perez - Managing Director, Legacy Fund Ltd.: "Well clearly the public servants have gotten their increments. So there's going to be no impact on their wages, in fact they're going to be a small increase in their wages but when we look at government expenditure cuts in capital expenditure, about 98 mil, whenever government slows down economic activity there's always a fall out. The question we were asking is if that cut would be replaced by private sector investing.

Wyndham Will Open Mega Resort In Belize
Belize has been chosen as the location for the Wyndham Hotel Group's newest resort. The hotel giant announced today that it is planning to open up a huge new resort in Ambergris Caye. The 242 room resort is scheduled to be completed in December of next year and will boast 5 towers, 11 waterfalls, Venetian canals and bridges, and the largest hotel pool in the country.

Belize Protectors On A Mission
The Belize Protectors, a team of athletes from different branches of Belize's national security forces, is heading to California tonight. The team is travelling to once again participate in the Baker to Vegas Competition: a 120 mile, 20 leg relay races from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year the team participated in the mixed category, where they came in 1st. This year, after being unsuccessful in finding enough females to participate, an all male delegation is being sent to defend the title. We spoke to some of the athletes and one of their coaches about the competition and the preparation it took to get them ready to race...

A Soldier of Excellence
And while the Belize Protectors are defending their title, other members of BDF are distinguishing themselves in Guyana. Francisco Choc was recognized as one of the top graduates in the Guyana Defense Force's 49th Standard Officer Course. Choc received awards for Best Student, Military Knowledge and Best Fitness. Choc graduated alongside fellow BDF soldier, Caleb Rodriguez and 10 other members of the Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda Defense Forces.

Rt. Hon. Musa and Hon. Elrington Spar
Going back now to today's budget debate, after Cordel Hyde, it was unto Wilfred Elrington, and then to Said Musa. Musa used his presentation mostly to absolve himself and his administrations of any superbond wrongdoing, but when Musa got around to bashing the current state of Belize's Foreign affairs minister, well ...let's just say Foreign Minister Elrington didn't take that attack well at all. Here is how their exchange went. Rt. Hon. Said Musa: "On Tuesday March 17th on the visit of the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, the minister pontificated again, that in his mind we do not have any agreed borders with our neighbor Guatemala. HE completely ignores the fact that in 1859 a treaty was signed in which our borders with Guatemala were defined. He completely ignores the historic fact that in the 1930s surveys were done for the western borderline and at which concrete monuments were put down at various points, at Gracias Adios and Garbutt's Falls."

LOO Briceno Asks Where’s The Clinic For San Pedro
And while that would be categorized under just straight sparring, our next clips are from the Opposition Leader's official response to the Prime Minister's budget. He pointed out that the long promised upgrade San Pedro Clinic got no mention in the budget:... Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "In the last two budgets we were told about funding for the upgrade of the San Pedro Health Center to make it a full service 24-hour facility. This project first appeared in the 2015 budget; in fact it was on page 16. It was introduced a second time in the 2016 budget on page 18. This year it is gone, conspicuously absent from the 2017 budget. Is this because the task has been accomplished?"

A Festival Flurry
And that's all we have for you tonight. We leave you on an up-note with highlites of the adorable preschoolers festival of the arts. These are Tuesday night's performances. Enjoy. And join Courtney Weatherburne here tomorrow.

Wilfred's Words Against Cordel
The UDP Representative for Pickstock followed the PUP's Cordel Hyde and he basically said, how dare you talk about immigration or lands corruption: Hon. Wilfred Elrington: "I find it incredible that in fact the member would touch the issue of corruption, particularly as it relates to visas and to land. The book on corruption in relation to visas and passports was written by the PUP. All of them that are now wealthy got their wealth though the sale of passports and visas. And to call for a senate inquiry and listen to the senate inquiry and to have the "oohs" and "awes", these people are pass masters. They have made millions of dollars off it and none of them has been brought to book."

Hon. Hyde Singles Out UDP's Special Contractors
And PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde used his hour long address to key in on some of the UDP Government's preferred contractors: Hon. Cordel Hyde- PUP Area Rep, Lake I: "IE, which is owned by the Arguelles brothers, has gotten contract after contract after contract from BIL. They built Battlefield park, they built Memorial park, they built BTL park, they built Falcon field in San Ignacio, they built the football field in San Pedro, they are building the Multipurpose center in Toledo and they got the mother of all contracts the Belize City Center for almost $35 or more million dollars; $42 million; without bidding…you hear?

Johnny Talking Like Tosh?
And - having the luxury of being in opposition - Briceno also took the marijuana issue head on. The Barrow administration seems to have more or less chickened out on it, but multiple PUP speakers went all Peter Tosh on the issue and said "legalize it": Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "It is time for us to stop locking up our young people for a stick of weed. The time has come for us decriminalize marijuana smoking and prepare the necessary research to move to legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and in small quantities."

Hon. Briceno Says National Bank Tanking
And Briceno also used his response to key in on the National Bank which he says is racking up losses.