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The San Pedro Sun

Fisheries Department reminds the public that Hicatee Season is closed
The Belize Fisheries Department is hereby reminding the general public that the closed season for Hicatee is from May 1st to May 31st, 2012. The Department is also informing all restaurants, food vending establishments and the general public that the purchase or sale of the Hicatee (including its products such as cooked meat) is prohibited under the Fisheries Laws.

San Pedro Town Councilors undergo Strategic Planning Workshop
Last week, councilors of the San Pedro Town Council along with advisors to the Mayor completed a three day workshop in Strategic Planning. Following the Municipal elections, the new council tasked itself with formulating a strategic plan which would set the direction and focus for the next three years and beyond. This three day workshop is the first step towards that goal. The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Santos Mahung, member of the board of directors and a founding member of the Belize Institute of Management (BIM). According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the workshop was needed and will increase the council’s ability to function professionally. “When we came into office after the elections, I had mentioned to the councilors that we need some kind of training to be able to run the affairs of the people in a professional manner.” The training ran from Monday, April 23rd through Wednesday, April 25th. According to Mahung, the training focused on four areas of Strategic Planning; “BIM was hired with the objective of engaging the mayor, town councilors and other agents of the council in four levels of planning. One was to illuminate the business culture of the new council. We’re talking about its philosophy, we’re talking about its vision, we’re talking about its core values, and we’re talking about the mission. In addition to that we identify stakeholders and mandates. It’s very important for the council, any council for that matter, to know who the stakeholders are, what the formal and informal mandates are, including election promises. The third thing was to establish and identify strategic priorities and objectives. The issue is that any council will get busy quite quickly. What you want to do is focus on the priorities, follow your plan and stay focused in relation to those strategic priorities and objectives. The fourth thing was to formulate an action plan, an agenda of action initiatives for the council over the next three years. So in essence what I have been doing is facilitating this process.”

San Pedro Traffic Wardens and Police officers undergo Traffic Training
The San Pedro Traffic Department took part in a two-day training program on Traffic Safety that was held on Wednesday May 2nd and Thursday May 3, 2012 from 8am through 3pm. This training was held in keeping with the Department of Transport’s Mission, which is a commitment in developing, promoting and regulating a viable and modern transportation sector through efficient traffic management, human resource development and community participation in order to achieve the highest attainable level of public safety. The training was spearheaded by councilor responsible for Traffic, Mr. Kenrick Brackett and facilitated by Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, ASP Vienie Robinson. It focused on the main responsibilities of the Traffic Wardens as well as the law as it pertains to driving in Belize. Brackett commented, “I don’t believe these traffic wardens have had much training, and then we have two new ones and one volunteer. We believe this training will bear a lot of fruits. No more excuses. People will be ticketed. I believe that we have given a lot of warnings already.”

Kindest Kid in San Pedro Award 2012 Nominations
These are the wonderful final nominations for the Kindest Kid in San Pedro Award 2012. Every primary school in San Pedro was invited to nominate students that they felt could represent them as Kindness Ambassadors. With the fantastic support and assistance of Mr. Gustavo Ramirez, the Guidance Counsellor at San Pedro High School, along with students, the heart warming nominations made by primary schools, were narrowed down to the final four. This was done anonymously and on a scoring basis

Misc Belizean Sources

Gabriela Barrera's Addiction Line
The Addiction line can be seen in these photos taken at the Cornerstone Foundation's Feed the Children Fashion Show. Ms. Barrera's designs were fresh and light, while being spunky and unique. Keep up the great work.

Tag The Town: A Community Art Project
You've seen the new Myan mural downtown, the Vision Serpent. Mr. Awe has taken his idea, and made something much bigger out of it. They have plans for doing many more murals around Cayo. Here are a ton of great pictures from some painting being done around San Ignacio and Benque. Keep getting those young artists involved in this great cause.

Medical Mission Takes Trip to Belize
Ketterling College has 23 doctors and intern currently in Cayo, providing free consultations and treatment. Plus TV interviewed Dr. Paula Reams from the group. "Many years ago, we started it because the school that we are from is an Adventist College and we started a liaison with the Adventist hospital down here and it just kind of grew and we started to work more and more with other people in Belize and now we have gone all over the country, doing these health fairs, from Orange Walk to Punta Gorda. We have a licensed eye doctor with us on this visit; we have students who are learning to be doctors, we have people who are nurses as well as nursing students and we have nurse practitioners with us on this trip. We have such a good relationship with the Belizean people and we want to keep coming back. Everyone helps us out and is so nice that we want to keep coming back."


Fishermen unhappy about pace of payments
Members of the Northern Fishermen Cooperatives today complained about delays in receiving payments. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Rural Development under the microscope
In modern-day lingua we refer to the expanses away from city life as the “suburbs”. But many times the development in those communities progresses at a far slower rate than that of towns and cities. So it is with this in mind that the Ministry of Rural Development and other relevant agencies today rounded up representatives from throughout the rural communities countrywide to begin the process of planning their respective areas in a strategic and systemic fashion. Orlando Jimenez, whose expertise was used at the consultative stage, told Love News that while each individual community has specific needs, all seem to have one common concern. It sounds almost too good to be true, when politics at the national level will not play a major role in the development of rural communities, but this is just what fast-growing areas Placencia strives for, according to that community’s Chairman, Charles Leslie, Junior. A feasibility study, outlining the preliminary needs of each community involved should be released next Friday. In this first consultative session, the Belize District was used as a case study.

Rumors debunked … Prime Minister is in good health
Rumors were fast and furious today that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in poor health. Those rumors were quickly debunked this afternoon when a short statement from Barrow’s office was issued via the Government Press Office. It reads as follows: The office of the Prime Minister is pleased to inform the general public that the Honorable Dean Barrow is in very good health and is presently in Miami, accompanying his wife for medical treatment. It has come to this office’s attention that mischievous rumors have been circulation to the contrary regarding his health. On occasions Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experienced a very common medical condition known as vertigo which causes dizziness. Three weeks ago, the start of Cabinet was delayed by half hour because the Prime Minister experienced one such episode. As a precaution, the staff called for a doctor to meet with the Prime Minister. He has since had a full check-up and received a clean bill of health. Honorable Dean Barrow continues his healthy exercise routine and does regular check-ups with his doctor, end of quote.

John McAfee fears GSU detention again
American businessman John McAfee could be headed for more problems with Belizean law enforcement authorities. The Gang Suppression Unit of the police department raided McAfee’s compound near the Toll Bridge in Orange walk on Monday morning and is reported to have detained the sixty six year old businessman for multiple hours in handcuffs. McAfee was eventually released; but police say that he did not have a license for one of the nine millimeter pistols. McAfee has produced a copy of the license in question, duly issued on December twenty eight of last year. But even as his attorneys are now working to try and untangle the legal conundrum in which the retirned businessman finds himself, Love News understands that he was today anticipating fresh charges, related to his ownership of the company to which the license was issued for the cache of firearms found at his compound in orange Walk during the early morning raid on Monday. The name of the company is Belize Ecological Foundation Limited. McAfee says he is the owner and a director of the company that was first registered in 2008. Yearly filings have been done since, as is legally required at the Office of Corporate Affairs at the Belize Company’s Register. Now a peculiar situation has apparently arisen where for some unexplained reasons, McAfee says his name does not appear on any of the hard copies of the records at the Company Registry. But when a search was done in the electronic database, McAfee says that his name turned up as the owner and a director of Belize Ecological Foundation Limited. So the question McAfee is now left asking is whether or not the hard copies were altered to reflect the name of a close friend of his as the owner and director of the company and not himself in an effort to frame him. It is a serious allegation and as we have reported, McAfee is fearful that faulty or tampered documents will be used to throw in jail again. The businessman’s lawyer is now working on the issue and with the hope of figuring out a solution to the impasse so that McAfee can resume his normal routines again. A request for information from the Police Press Officer regarding the McAfee case had so far gone unanswered.

BEL workers union holds press conference
After a protest last week Thursday to show their displeasure with the Belize Electricity Limited for ignoring them, the Belize Energy workers Union today held a Press Conference shortly after twelve midday, at the NTUCB office on Kut Avenue to update the public about the matter. The panel consisted of BEWU general Secretary, Dorla Staine, Vice President, Sean Nicholas, Dale Trujeque and President, Marvin Mora said they invited the media because they want the public to be involved and support them. The panel commented about the termination of the four workers without consultations with the union. Dale Trujeque who during the conference identified himself as a “warlord for workers” stressed on another of the issues they are concerned about, this time one involving the promotion of worker without communicating it to the Union until a couple of months after. Mora spoke of the next action BEWU might take should their not be an agreement with BEL soon This afternoon BEL issued a press release stating that they have submitted a request for intervention by the Labour Commissioner in order to bring BEWU to the discussion table. This comes after a public communication of BEWU’s six points of action demanded from BEL. The release says BEWU has not directly presented their concerns to the company and an invitation has been extended to them by BEL to meet and discuss concerns which BEWU agreed to do at a neutral location, however BEL is still awaiting a confirmation on the Location. BEL points out in the release that they are seriously concerned about the power outage statements BEWU have publicly released and that the company wishes to resolve the matter in the best interest of customers, employees and all other stakeholders. Coincidentally during today’s meeting Trujeque spoke on the subject since BEWU received a letter from BEL stating their intentions. Mora said that the fourth person terminated by BEL was done on the grounds of sexual harassment which according to him has not been proved and once again, the union was left out of the matter.

British Minister welcomes Belize-Guatemala agreement on joint referendum
The positive step of Belize and Guatemala agreeing to hold simultaneous referenda towards settling our territorial dispute has been warmly received by the Foreign Office Minister for Latin America, Jeremy Browne. In a release issued by the Belize Press Office, it cites Mr. Browne saying and we quote … “The UK supports the ICJ route as a means to finding a long-term and sustainable resolution which is acceptable to both states. The resolution of the territorial dispute continues to be long-term priority for the UK” … unquote. The date set for the referenda is October 6th, 2013.

Belmopan looking for a new market location
Residents of Belmopan attended a consultation on the building of a market in that municipality. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.

New movie being shot on location in rural Belize
On location in Gracie Rock Since the movie Dog’s of War was shot in Belize back in the early eighties; there have been a number of other motion pictures shot on location in the jewel. Tonight, there is another to tell you about. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.


Happy Birthday Edith!
There is one member of our huge Raggamuffin family that we all rely on, we all look up to and although she is just turning 26 years old today, she is a mother like figure to many – even Jimmy and Charlie!!! This has been Edith’s year as she has managed to put in place the foundation for her future. Back at the end of 2011 we all made our way to Orange Walk to witness her wedding with Ali Cansino and earlier in that same year and up to this day she has been building her and her families house (very much with the assistance of both Ali and her parents help) – not to forget she is now the proud owner of a fantastic new golf cart!!!

I Think We Have Been Adopted and My Mother's Day Card
We think we have been officially adopted by some cute little Belizean kids in town. I wrote about Michelle and her sister Arelle that we met back in February when we made a boat trip to Caye Caulker. We had taken the three dogs with us that day and Michelle and Arelle came and sat in the back of the boat with us so they could pet the dogs. I ran into Michelle with her friends Ethan and Dulce this week down near the beach and they immediately wanted to know where the huskies were. I called Bill and had him meet us at the beach with the dogs so the kids could see them. After walking the dogs on the beach, the kids wanted to follow us home. Once we got home they decided they were hungry, so I made them all sandwiches. I let them try dill pickles, and Hershey chocolate kisses, none of which they had ever tasted before. They loved the kisses but didn't much care for dill pickles. Ethan made the comment that he felt like he was dreaming. After stuffing their faces and filling their tummies full, I walked each one of the kids to their house and dropped them off.

The Fort at Omoa, Tela, La Ceiba, Honduras and Barf Bags...
After two nights in Omoa, Honduras, another friend, Emily, was flying into San Pedro Sula from California...we headed there to pick her up. I didn't have time to type my post in Omoa, the internet cafe was small...and here is a picture of my keyboard. The connection was fast but it gets tricky when the letters are crumbling off as you use the keyboard. I am now in Roatan, but let's start in Omoa (there is a map below if you are following us with your playbook). Omoa has an incredibly old but well preserved fort and museum on the way into town. Apparently, this northern Carribean coast was first explored by the Spanish in the early 1500s but it wasn't a viable town until the 1750s when the fort was built. This whole coast was a hotbed for pirate activity. Particularly the Brits. There is a really nice museum right next door to the fort. The museum is free. $80 lempira (about $4 USD) will get you into the fort. There were rooms, living quarters and storage areas all around the thick walls. It was also surprisingly cool on a seriously HOT day. Interesting fact: the fort was used as a serious (and dreaded) maximum security prison for the first half of the 20th century.

International Sources

Book drive could give children in Belize the reading bug
Imagine a school filled with children going to class every day excited to learn, but possessing no ability to read anything unless it is found in their textbooks. Doesn't that sound awful? Well, it is a reality for the Garden City Primary School in Belmopan, Belize. This school does not have a library and the classrooms do not have any books besides textbooks. Mickie Post intends to bring this to an end. Post (formally worked at Owasco Elementary School) is in Belize, volunteering with the Peace Corps. It is her goal for teachers and children to have access to reading materials besides their textbooks/workbooks. She will be encouraging teachers to borrow books from the library to use in their classrooms, exchanging the collection a couple times a month. Her goal in literacy is to have the children do independent reading, and for the teachers to use the leveled readers to differentiate instruction. Unfortunately, this is impossible to do without reading resources. Upon hearing this information from Mickie Post, we were eager to help in any way possible.

Months into training and members of the women’s national softball workout squad are still hard at it, wanting to be in tip-top shape for the qualifiers. Although they still have six months to prepare for the Softball World Games qualifiers, for English-speaking Caribbean countries, president of the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) Burkette Dorsette is not leaving anything to chance. Dorsette, along with the national managers for the program are hoping to get at least one tournament in before the hosting, set for November 27-December 3. The games will be held in Belize, and will play at the Rogers Stadium. Other participating countries include Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and host country Belize.

Fortis pursuing compensation from Belize
At its annual general meeting in St. John's Friday, Fortis cited record profits, a deal on the horizon to break new ground in the United States and a developing $900-million hydro project in British Columbia. Despite all this, when the meeting was turned over to questions from shareholders, the first question was on an entirely different subject - Fortis interests in Belize. In June 2011, Belize Electricity Ltd. - the primary distributor of electricity in Belize, with a customer base of about 77,000 - was expropriated by the Government of Belize. Fortis held a 70 per cent ownership stake in the company at the time and is still seeking compensation. Asked one shareholder, "Are we going to get our money back?" "Good question," said Stan Marshall, Fortis president and CEO. "Your guess is as good as mine." Belize Electricity is a power distributor, but does not produce the power, instead purchasing it from several sources. One of those sources is Belize Electric Co. Ltd. - a hydro power company in which Fortis continues to hold stake.