Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

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

The July 29th, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Boys Accused of Wounding Men In Santa Familia
  • Advisory Council Orders Castellanos' Reinstatement
  • Security Supervisor Facing Attempt Murder
  • After Holding On For Over 50 Hours Police Corporal Victor Lima Passed Away
  • Three 9mm Pistols And Fourteen Bullets Taken
  • Benque Viejo Summer Camp For Children
  • Cuban President Raul Castro "Willing To Talk To US"
  • Japanese women fall behind Hong Kong in longevity
  • Chest Pain
  • Olympic Torch Arrives In London
  • All Roads Leading To Hopkins This Weekend For Hopkins Day
  • Tropical Vision Ltd., Channel 7 Presents Olympic Coverage With Caribbean Flavour
  • Eight Tips On Table Etiquette
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices

Ambergris Today

SPTC Presents Financial and Progress Report
The San Pedro Town Council presented the "handed-over" financial report and a progress report on their first 100 days in office. The public meeting took place at the San Pedro Lions Den on Thursday, July 27, 2012, where Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his councilors along with Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. took center stage to present their report and answer questions presented by the public. Mayor Daniel Guerrero presented the financial report as was handed to him on March 9, 2012, by the previous town council. In a detailed report he mentioned figures which included the state of the bank accounts and the outstanding debts which the town council has. The Mayor stated that in the next month and a half or so he will be presenting his financial report after taking office. In regards to the progress report for the first 100 days in office each councilor presented their report in details explaining the work they have done which included tackling crime, clean up campaigns, summer youth camps, traffic safety campaigns, street repairs, and much more. Also mentioned during the meeting were projects that are in the pipeline which include licensing of dogs, licensing of bicycles, major upgrade and facelift of the Ambergris Stadium, new parks for Zaak bajo area, DFC and San Mateo, and major changes in the traffic department.

Misc Belizean Sources

Clarissa Falls Resort pictures
4 The World Belize, which does a lot of volunteer work in Calla Creek, has some great pictures of Clarissa Falls Resort, which is where they stay when they are in the Cayo. "For almost 10 years Clarissa Falls Resort has served as home base for 4 the World's volunteers working in Belize and it is truly an amazing place where you will always discover something new."

Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic
The BWRC has a new FB page. They won the Heska award last year, and now have the only X-ray machine in Belize for animals, and they use it daily. They recently helped rescue the black jaguar, and also tried to save an abused howler monkey. They've also been working with ISIS students taking Summer courses in Cayo. Like them if you get a chance.

Call Center Coming to Cayo
A new call center is coming to Cayo, and they are looking for Customer Care and Sales Agents. They'll be interviewing on August 10th and 11th. You can send them a resume at [email protected]. Good luck!

Belmopan Festive Weekend Activities
This is Belmopan's weekend! Celebrate Belmopan's 42nd birthday this weekend with bike races, rides, food, drink, games, phone double-ups, and sporting events. All this will be happening at GG field. Have a great weekend!

Channel 7

Police Corporal dies After Being Shot In The Line Of Duty
Tonight police flags are at half-mast all across the country after police corporal, Victor Lima succumbed to his injuries this morning. The 34 year old officer had ten years in the job - and on Tuesday night was responding to a crime in progress when he was shot twice in the chest by a man with a long rap sheet. He had been on a respirator since then and succumbed to his injuries this morning at 2:30 at the KHMH. He becomes the first police officer to be murdered since December of 2004 when Neri Raymundo was killed. Today Police Minister John Saldivar noted his passing in the House of Representatives - AND Monica Bodden went back to the scene of the crime in Hattieville: Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "I want to extend deepest condolences for the family of Cpl. 2003 Victor Lima who passed away early this morning at 2am at the KHMH hospital after undergoing two surgeries. The injuries that led to his death were sustained while in the line of duty on Tuesday night. Cpl. Lima was 35 years old, born on October 15, 1977 and was a resident of Benque Viejo Town in the Cayo District." Monica Bodden reporting The police flag at the Hattieville Police Station flew at half-mast today as the entire community mourns the death of Corporal Victor Lima. The 35 year old Corporal succumbed to his injuries around 2 this morning after suffering from complications due to gunshot wounds to the chest. Gilroy Domingo - Chairman of Hattieville "Well this officer was one of the ones that we would have called - the one who comes and do his job and when he is finish he would head back to Benque where he lived."

OAS Comes Correct + How A Guate Was Killed On Sapodilla Hill
Next week, Belize's National Negotiating team goes to the OAS in Washington for a high level meeting with their Guatemalan counterparts under the auspices of the OAS. A series of recent border incidents have set the stage for what is expected to be a tense, tough meeting. Both major incidents have happened on the Belize side of the border where first, A Guatemalan Luis Alberto Ramirez was shot and killed by a BDF soldier, and second, 20 Guatemalan Gold Panners were found in the southern Chiquibul forest. The bigger issue is the Ramirez shooting death and today the OAS sent out its fourth press release on the subject in a week - and they finally got it right! The release says, correctly, that the incident took place in the Toledo District and it resulted in the death of one Guatemalan and the arrest of two others who were charged with illegal entry into the country and illegal logging in a protected national park. Today at a special sitting of the House of Representatives - on a statement of public interest, Foreign Minister Elrington provided an official narrative of the event. It happened eight days ago and it's the first time that such an account has been given of what happened. Three BDF soldiers were on a patrol in the Machaquilha area when they heard Chainsaws. They went to investigate on a place called Sapodilla Hill and here's what happened next:.. Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "The officers went to investigate the source of the sound and in doing so they saw someone cleaning a trail from the direction from where the sound was heard. One member of the BDF patrol was posted as sentry in the area of the trail while the other two continued in the direction from which the sound was coming. They climb a nearby hill and on reaching the top of the hil they saw two persons of Hispanic descent. One of them was in possession of a chainsaw and the other was in possession of a machete. One of the BDF soldiers shouted to the two persons and also fired a shot in the air to signal their presence in the area. However the person with the chainsaw did not comply with the warning giving the noise apparently of the chainsaw. The BDF proceeded to conduct a search of the two persons and found a small quantity of marijuana, cigarette, measuring tape, two chainsaws and chainsaw tools. During this time the sentry that stayed behind was heard requesting support announcing in his Maya Mopan language that he was being threaten by an armed person."

Toledo West Rep Cites Border Incursions
And while the diplomats will discuss these issues at the highest level next week - one area representative today offered a valuable perspective from the ground. Oscar Requena the PUP rep from Toledo West told us that Guatemalan incursions into Belize are having a taxing effect in two communities within his division. Here's how he explained it:... Hon. Oscar Requena "I want to highlight communities that it directly affects in my constituency; the community of San Jose, the community of Nalum Cah. In October 2010 to be specific Mr. Speaker we had the Alcalde of San Jose Mr. Emileano Cho along with Mr. Alfredo Sho who were actually shot at by Guatemalans in the Edward Central area of the Columbia Forest Reserve. The people of San Jose are concern that their security is under threat. They have lost over 6 horses and this can be investigated, I am not making this up. This can be investigated. The people of Nalum Cah, the people of San Jose have actually loss their horses to the Guatemalans coming in. This is a serious concern Mr. Speaker. I believe and I am certain that Belizeans expect that there is going to be a greater concerted effort and ensuring that our national patrimony is protected." "One of the greatest concerns that people have is that - we are protecting these reserves; the Columbia Forest Reserve , the Bladen Nature Reserve and others but yet when out people want a permit to be able to go in there and access these resources they are denied, but yet the Guatemalans can come in and abuse our natural resources Mr. Speaker."

Hon. Saldivar Takes On 7News On JA Cop Union
Last night we told you that the Police Association and the high command made up, and the entire array of disciplinary and administrative actions against the Association and its leaders were undone - like they never happened. As a result, today, the NTUCB announced that it will call off its protest action, which had been scheduled for this weekend. They did pledge their continued support for the Association leaders should the need arise. Today, Saldivar, flush with the success of that effective de-escalation of hostilities - brought the heat to 7news. Last night we told you about the Jamaican Police Federation - which according to its official website, and its Facebook page, it is, quote, "a union representing police officers in Jamaica from the ranks of Constable through to Inspector." We contacted members of the executive from the Federation in Jamaica, and they told us that they are a fully-fledged union. Well today, Saldivar told the House, that's not so - here's his presentation:... Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "The other matter I like to address this morning Mr. Speaker is to respond to an item on the Channel 7 News in last evening which attempted to portray the Jamaica Police Federation as a union. In contrary to the rules that apply to the Belize Police Association. I have in my hand which I will pass to the manager and editor of Channel 7 the rules pertaining to the Jamaica Police Federation most of which when it is read will show that it is almost exactly the same wording and form as the rules pertaining to the Belize Police Association. But I will read one particular section of the Jamaica Police Federation that goes beyond what the Belize Police Association rules provide for and it says at section 70.2 a person who is a member of the force shall not without the consent in writing of the commissioner publish or communicate to any person other than the minister, a member of the police service commission or a member of the force any information however obtained relating to the proceedings, deliberations, recommendations or decisions or a branch board, central conference or central committee or any matter whatever arising out of or concerning the duties of the federation. So it goes even further than what we have said and I will make it available to you Mr. Jules Vasquez. Thank you."

Belize Looks Sharp At Olympic Opening
The 2012 Olympics opened in London this afternoon - and you got to see it live on Channel 7. The contingent of seven was led by flag bearer Kenneth Medwood, a Belizean American living in California who will participate in the 400 meter hurdles. The team is comprised of Stann Creek Girl Kaina Martinez who will run the 100 meters, Medwood who as we said will be in the 400 meter hurdles, Eddermys Sanchez who will participate in judo and three officials. Accoridng to our IMC broadcast partners - Eddermys Sanchez will compete in the men's judo on Sunday - but the time of broadcast is not yet confirmed. When it does happen we will air it on Channel 7 - along with everything else related to London 2012 in our wall to wall Olympic Coverage, Caribbean flavoured, with a global perspective.

Col. Castellanos Says GOB Is Playing Personal With Him
Colonel Javier Castellanos was the deputy Commander of the BDF until December of last year when he was discharged. He says he was the scapegoat for a trove of weapons that went missing - and his position was vindicated by the Belize Advisory Council which has ordered that he be re-instated. Today we spoke to him in front of the Ministry of Naitonal Security in Belmopan - and he told us why he's both happy and unhappy:.. Colonel Javier Castellanos "When I receive the message I was very excited and quite happy to have heard this news. It's a news I have been waiting for - for the past 7 months." Jules Vasquez "Now, your attorney had argued that you were wrongfully discharge; that you weren't ever given a reason for being discharged. Were you ever told why you were being sent home?" Colonel Javier Castellanos "I was never told why I was sent home. After the incident occurred I was sent on administrative leave and thereafter I receive the letter from the service commission that I was discharge from the Belize Defence Force." Jules Vasquez "You feel you were scapegoated?" Colonel Javier Castellanos "Of course I was Jules." Jules Vasquez "The Belize Advisory Council has ordered that you be re-instated immediately. If that were to happen how would you work again with the same people who you believe scapegoated you?" Colonel Javier Castellanos "It is very difficult because the military is a professional organization that its officers should be professionals, they should have a great sense of duty, honor and pride and responsibility and integrity. Those are the values of all professional officers which make me wonder quite a lot about the level of professionalism existing in the Belize Defense Force at this moment."

PM On Ashcroft V. Awich: Is the Lord Meddling?
Earlier this week we told you about the extraordinary letter from Michael Ashcroft and other functionaries of the Alliance to the Chief Justice asking that - as the chair of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission - he order the investigation of Justice Sam Awich who was recently elevated to the court of appeal. Ashcroft's 12 page letter accuses Awich of misbehavior - and accuses the Prime Minister of making an improper appointment. Today, we asked the PM about that appointment:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "It is now a matter for the JLSC to deal with but my opinion is that it is a most misconceived and misguided application and I believe that there is an agenda behind it - apart from the obvious self-interested motive of - on the face of it making the application. In terms of the facts I continue to maintained that this was a proper appointment not just in terms of satisfying the constitutional requirements but from any and every conceivable point of view." Jules Vasquez "However it does have from practical purposes the pre-emptory effect of making it so that Justice of Appeals Awich cannot sit on any case involving the Ashcroft Alliance." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "That's what I was referring to when I told you earlier that there is obviously an agenda." Jules Vasquez "So is he meddling in the judiciary?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Precisely so, that is the clear attempt that is in play here. I don't know that he will succeed. I recollect that there was an instance before when I think the bar association having had some application before Mr. Justice Awich as a judge of the Supreme Court had said to him you therefore can't sit on any matter in which the president is appearing as a lawyer and I believe he made short thrift of that.

Leader Of The Opp Complains About Hurry-Up House Meeting
PM Barrow gave us that interview outside the House Chamber - but inside he was just as feisty. On a statement of public interest, Leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca complained about the short notice that had been given for the special sitting. The special sitting was only announced three days ago. Fonseca said it undermines democracy when that happens and the PM fired back - here's their exchange: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "On what basis Mr. Speaker has this meeting been designated a special sitting. According to the standing orders special sittings are meetings held on a date and time other than Friday at 10am or meetings held within the recess period establish under standing order 11. We are not in such a recess period. That is the first issue Mr. Speaker, we would seek you clarification of. The second issue Mr. Speaker is as you are aware members of this side of the House had proposed some 10 questions for ministers to the House meeting of June 29th 2012. At that time you had indicated Mr. Speaker that the questions could not be allowed for that meeting because they had been receive late and while we did not agree we respected that decision with the legitimate expectation that those questions would then be traversed to a later meeting sitting of the House as has always been the practice. Again today we come here and those questions which involves issues of critical importance to those we represent and indeed we believe to the Belizean people do not form a part of the agenda. Respectfully Mr. Speaker we believe that this makes a mockery of our democracy and is a very serious disrespect to the 14 elected representatives on this side of the House. We view this as an ongoing pattern of disrespect and obvious effort to frustrate the asking of tough questions to ministers and really to stifle the debate on bills of national importance."

PM Calls Out Hon. Marin Jr.
And while that exchange sent the PM to one-hundred - he went to one hundred and fifty when the area representative for Fort George raised the subject of a so-called land grab that has benefitted members of the Deputy Prime Minister's family. That story has been much in the news recently with the Belize Times publishing sheafs of land documents which purport to show UDP friends and family getting huge tracts of land on the cheap in the run up to and after election. Here's how that went... Hon. Said Musa "Mr. Speaker I was mindful to raise this matter of public concern the serious land grab that has been taking place in Belize and in particular the feather nesting for one ministerial family in particular. However I notice that the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Lands is not present today, so this matter will be left for another occasion. Thank you." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I want to say a little something and I gather you'll be having a press conference and I would hope that when our minister of lands comes back he will have a press conference as well. But I just want to say Mr. Speaker that the so called land grab has been put in the public domain first by the member for Corozal South East at the House meeting. He was stopped before he got very far because of course he was out of order. It was not the time and place for that. Since then Channel 5 and The Belize Times when we expect The Belize Times to do what it has been doing, that's not a problem. Channel 5 which like to pretend that it's a professional and independent news medium of course is the opposite and they too have been flogging this campaign.

SSB Awards Scholarships
Today the Social Security Board awarded a number of scholarships to worthy students. 91 students from across the country benefited from the program. 61 scholarships were given out for high school, 26 for tertiary level education and the remaining went to vocational studies. For SSB, it's an investment in the country's human capital:.. Thurnica Middleton, Branch Manager - SSB Belize City "Today we have a ceremony to recognize the achievement of this year's scholarship that we have given to students in education. Scholarships were given to all levels; to secondary, tertiary and vocational. The process is that you apply to the Board. There is a form that the parents or students complete and it's through that that then the selection is made." Reporter "How many students in total receive scholarships today?" Thurnica Middleton, Branch Manager - SSB Belize City "Countrywide 91 scholarships were given; 61 at the secondary, 26 at the tertiary and the remaining was at vocational." Marion Ali, reporter "Is this on a yearly basis?" Thurnica Middleton, Branch Manager - SSB Belize City "Yes its yearly. Presently we have over 400 students who are scholarship holders."

City Summer Camp Is Swell
It's summer and all kinds of camps have been organized. But one of the bigger ones is always the The Belize City Council sports summer camp. It began today at the Yabra Football Field and the Lopez Mateos Park. The camp caters for children ages 6 to 16 and will run for the next 6 weeks - right up until the end of the holidays. 7news visited one of the camp sites this afternoon where we met with the Councilor in charge of the program - and he explained what they hope to achieve: Councillor Bernard Pitts Jr. "They decided to continue the annual camp and we decided to choose two areas. Actually we wanted to do 4 but with budgetary constraints led us to just two. We have here at Yabra and then we have the other at Lopez Mateo Park. We intend to run the camp for 6 weeks, so we should be ending the 24th of August." "They need to register, we have 4 different disciplines, we have mainly football, volleyball and softball and the kids can choose whichever discipline they want to participate in." Monica Bodden "Any particular why these two areas were chosen?" Councillor Bernard Pitts Jr. "We ended up with these two because we wanted to get as much as possible from both sides of the city. Our first proposal was to do here at Yabra, Hoy Field behind the police station, Berger Field and as well the field at the complex building. That's to capture at least the majority of the kids and then on the north side we wanted to do Lopez Mateo Park, we wanted to use YWCA and Buttonwood Bay park and the field in the Belama area. However our budget didn't really panned out for that but we are making the best of it and so far it has been proven to be working."

Traffic Tickets For Elected Officials Too
And we close tonight with a small story - one that may make the average citizen rest their heads a little easier tonight. 7news has confirmed that a traffic ticket for excessive tint has been issued to honourable Erwin Contreras's ministerial vehicle. That happened this week in Cayo - though the minister wasn't in the vehicle. We understand that ticket has been paid. In a major crackdown - we understand as many as one hundred such tickets have been issued in Cayo. And, city councilor Phillip Willoughby told us that just like the mayor, he too has gotten a traffic ticket. Philloughby got his one for parking in a no parking zone at the KHMH. That one's a no brainer and here at 7news we've gotten plenty of those - and had to pay them. But Willoughby says he plans to challenge it in court on the grounds that he had nowhere else to park. Good luck with that.


Scholarships for Belize City students from Social Security Board
Over ninety students from throughout the country today received full scholarships from the Social Security Board to continue their education. Ceremonies were conducted at the Board's various district branches this morning. In Belize City, Love News' Marion Ali spoke with the Branch Manager of the Belize City office, Turnica Middleton, who explained how the recipients are selected. During the ceremony, the students also received study tips from G Bowen. Scholarships given to students of secondary school are worth fifteen hundred dollars, while at the sixth form level it is two thousand dollars, and at the Bachelor's level is more.

GOB is borrowing from CDB to fund education sector reform
The government of Belize is borrowing two million dollars from the Caribbean Development Bank. A Loan Motion was introduced to the House this morning, which explains that the purpose of the loan is to finance government's new education sector reform initiative. According to the motion, which was introduced by Minister of Education Patrick Faber, the objectives of the education sector reform project are to enhance the regulatory framework for the delivery of and access to quality education. Among the things the project will seek to address is the diversification of the secondary curriculum, develop a second language acquisition strategy and developing a strategy for the integration of information and communication technology in the school system. Minister Faber appealed to all members of the House to support the Loan motion when it is brought back to the floor for debate and passage. Minister Faber reiterated that the money is being borrowed at very concessionary rates for a worthy cause. That cause, he says is to fix what is wrong in education in Belize. The two million US dollar CDB Loan for Education Sector Reform is scheduled to be repaid in thirty two quarterly installments starting two years after the agreement date. The interest rate on the loan is two and a half percent and it is expected to be fully disbursed by the end of June, 2016.

OAS clarifies incident in Colombia Forest Reserve
The Organization of American States has issued a definitive statement on the illegal incursion into the Colombia Forest Reserve by Guatemalan farmers a week ago which led to the death of one of the men. Two others are currently in the custody of Belizean law enforcement authorities. The updated OAS statement, which is posted on the organization's website, does not include an apology as was demanded by the group Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action. But it does fall in line with official Belize government accounts of what transpired on July nineteenth. The release says that Belizean authorities notified the OAS office in the adjacency zone that an incident had taken place in the Toledo District involving Belize Defense Force soldiers and a group of three Guatemalan citizens, which had resulted in the death of one of the Guatemalan citizens and the arrest of the other two who were charged with illegal entry into the country and illegal logging in a protected national park. According to the OAS statement, arrangements were made to visit the site of the incident to verify the facts of the incident and to interview the parties involved. Currently, a detailed report with the results of the investigation is being prepared and will be submitted shortly to the governments of Belize and Guatemala. The OAS statement now puts on record, that organizations admission that the incident happened more than three kilometers from the Adjacency Zone and inside of Belize's territory. The Guatemalan citizens, according to the OAS statement, were felling trees in a protected national park; and that the deceased Guatemalan citizen was carrying two firearms at the time that he was confronted by the BDF. Today at the start of the sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington spoke on the issue, again reiterating his belief that the whole incident was taken out of context and that no harm was meant. The OAS statement says that while the full investigation is yet to be completed, it is important to note that the Government of Belize has given Guatemalan authorities full access to interview the arrested Guatemalan citizens, as well as to the autopsy of the deceased, during which a Guatemalan forensic doctor was present. As we have reported previously, a vice ministerial level meeting will be held at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday of next week where this latest incident, as well as other priority issues on the bilateral agenda will be discussed. The Belize delegation will be led by Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado. His support team will include ambassadors Nestor Mendez, Fred Martinez and Lisa Shoman and the Commander of the Belize Defence Force, Brigadier General Dario Tapia.

PUP raises concerns to House Speaker
The Opposition People's United Party presented its full compliments of elected representatives for today's House meeting in Belmopan. But the PUP members were not a happy group today. On Thursday the party issued a statement condemning their late notification of today's sitting and the lack of sufficient time to submit questions to be answered on the floor of the House by Ministers. Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca brought his party's concerns to the attention of the Speaker of the House for resolution this morning. Before the Speaker could make a ruling on the issue, Prime Minister Dean Barrow rose to explain that as per the standing orders, there was nothing underhanded in the calling of today' s meeting. Following the presentation by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House Michael Peyrifitte ruled that the Standing Orders were not being contravened and that today's meeting would proceed as planned.

Four bills brought to the House for introduction
Four Bills were brought to the floor of House of Representatives today for introduction. They all dealt with financial matters and according to the Prime Minister, are part of the process to help renegotiate the super bond, by showing the nation's creditors that government is serious about putting its fiscal house in order. The first Bill introduced by the Prime Minister this morning seeks to amend the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act to strengthen the supervisory powers of the Central Bank. The second Bill introduced today seeks to amend the Customs and Excise Duties Act to adjust the rates of customs duties on certain items. This, as explained by the Prime Minister is necessary because of an impending removal of licensing requirements and quantitative restrictions on such items. Also introduced today was a bull to amend the International Banking Act. Prime Minister Barrow says the idea is to close gaps in the law so that government can collect all of the taxes it should get from international banking transaction. The fourth piece of legislation introduced today is a Bill for an Act to Amend the Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Act. It will repeal the accommodation tax and replace it with general sales tax. All of the Bills introduced today were referred to the relevant House Committees for consideration and recommendations. They are expected to come back to the House for debate and passage next month.

Officer wounded in the line of duty passes away
After having been injured while trying to protect others, Corporal Victor Lima lost his battle with life. Love Tv's Marion Ali and Videographer Myles Gillett bring you the heart wrenching story in the following report.

CITCO sponsors summer camp for children
Each year around this time, the summer holidays provides children with far more spare time than parents are sometimes comfortable with. But to keep the youngsters from having idle minds, the Belize City Council has started a summer camp for over ninety of the youths from the old capital. The event, which was declared open by City Councilor, Bernard Pitts Junior, will take place on weekdays at the Yarborough Football Field. The City Council's summer camp will run for the next four weeks.

San Pedro school getting new classrooms
Placement of students in schools around the country has always been a challenge with the demands of a growing population. In San Pedro, there are at least fifty-seven students who are out of school, not for the summer holidays, but because there simply is no space for them, will now have the chance come this September to sit in newly-built classrooms. The accomplishment, according to San Pedro Town Mayor, Daniel Guerrero, comes through a joint community effort, involving the San Pedro Town Council, San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School, and an unnamed "Good Samaritan". San Pedro's Education Officer, Miriam Pott, says that the construction of the classrooms was a dream that was answered in just a beckon call. The construction of the wooden classrooms comes at a cost of around a hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

SSB gives scholarships to Cayo students
Correspondent Elaine Berry tells us more about Scholarships granted in the San Ignacio, Santa Elena area.

SSB Scholarships for Toledo students
In Punta Gorda, Seven students were presented with Belize Social Security Scholarship Awards. Paul Mahung reports.

Highway accident injures five
Five persons are injured after a trailer tractor that they were travelling in, was hit from behind by an eighteen wheeler trailer truck. Correspondent Fem Cruz Reports. The driver of the tractor Noeh Carpio and Nery Perez are presently in a stable condition at the Western Regional Hospital while Jose Quetzal, Jorge Mejia and Wilfredo Collado are currently at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition.

Harvest for Children holds camp
A number of summer camps throughout the country have been keeping school children busy during their vacations. However an organization called Belize Camping Experience gets busy throughout the year to raise funds for the camps they facilitate. The non-profit, non-governmental, Christian organization based in Belize City. Since it opened in 2006 it has been focusing on providing follow ups and camps especially to children in the City whom they believe can help influence the rest of the country. Director of BCE Alexander Perez told Love News what these camps are all about. The camps are held from week to week at different schools and according to Perez the camps are very successful. This year however, BCE is embarking on its biggest fundraiser yet, and it is called Harvest for Kids which Perez says is an opportunity give to the entire country of Belize. Perez explained that the farmers planted ahead of time in order to have the crops ready to harvest but BCE still needs the money to reimburse the expenses for seed and fertilizer. If people help in donating those, Perez says they might be looking at twenty seven thousand dollars in profit to be used for camps and follow ups next year. If you wish to donate you can call 621-5541.


Saturday Morning Shopping: Hitting The "Pacas" Circuit
Recently when I ask any lady in town where she got her cute, new blouse/skirt/dress, the answer seems to be the same. "Gial, the pacas. Only $2BZD". Huh? $2bzd ($1USD) for that cute real cotton pair of shorts? IMPOSSIBLE! And it's usually followed up with some far-fetched statement like this: "I also snagged two pairs of Old Navy shorts, a Calvin Klein dress and a Tommy Bahama shirt for an only $14bzd more". Say what? How am I missing this phenomena? Well for one, I am probably a year or so behind the Ambergris trends...the San Pedro "cool kids". Two, my "look" for the past year has been one faithful pair of gym shorts and many old t-shirts. Ugh. But this sounds intriguing...what are these mysterious places that have popped up all over town? Why are half the women of San Pedro going crazy for them? Why is early morning Saturday the time to get out there and shop? Time to check the pacas. I wrote a bit about my apparel shopping in San Pedro a few months ago, about hitting the used clothing stores. What's different about these places? We first stopped by two right near the high school just north of town. The first was closed. The sign advertised it as a "nuevo pacas". There were about 6 ladies inside picking through a HUGE pile of clothes. Apparently, they close Friday afternoons to ready the new inventory for Saturday morning when the doors open. 8AM! Apparently this is a good sign. HUGE bundles of new inventory from the U.S. come weekly...this is where the good stuff is. "Paca" is actually the Spanish word for bale. Next, we went down this side street (the one where the Computer Geeks is located) to the largest store of this type. (None of these places seem to have names.)

With only two full days of camp remaining, our theme today emphasized Chaa Creek's goals, actions, and vision for the future - responsible tourism and sustainability. Before heading to the conference center for a presentation from Chaa Creek Owner and Founder, Lucy Fleming, our Eco Camp Director, Jacqueline Britt, gave the campers a talk about Mennonite sustainable living. Living in Barton Creek, Jacqueline is neighbors with many of whom we would consider to be "old world" Mennonites, and brought in some of their clothing, handiwork, and food to show us. Not only did this provide a fascinating look at one of many cultural groups living in Belize, it also gave the children a chance to revisit some of the important concepts they have learned with regards to the 3 R's. The Mennonites are quite possibly the most eco-friendly group in the whole country, and the kids saw how they reduced, reused, and recycled things like clothes and jars. To top it off, the eco-campers got to try some of their delicious (or extremely sour for the some of the group) preserved fruit and vegetables Jacqueline brought in! Today's other main activity was a visit to our unofficial classroom up at the resort to learn more about how we can be more responsible in our tourism practices. Lucy explained to us that tourism already accounts for 25% of Belize's Gross Domestic Product and directly employs one quarter of the population. As the fastest growing industry in Belize, we have an obligation to ensure that we are practicing the most eco-friendly techniques and mentality in this field. Ecotourism revolves around many important aspects and Chaa Creek ensures that strict guidelines are met in their award winning tourism model. One of the most noticeable of these is that there has been a very minimal impact on the natural surroundings during the construction of both the Macal River Camp and Chaa Creek Resort. The accommodations and buildings almost seem as if they could have always been there. Another great thing that is offered by Chaa Creek is educational programs for both employees and tourists to help give a better understanding of the surrounding natural and cultural environment. As many followers of the blog will know, there is Maya site on the grounds, the Natural History Museum, and Butterfly and Organic Farm, as well as a Medicine Trail and many other programs that guests can get involved with to better promote healthy and educated tourism. Perhaps the most important guideline that Lucy discussed with the eco-campers was the absolutely essential concept that Chaa Creek endeavors to work together with the local communities. There are over 100 employees at Chaa Creek, most of who come from the local villages of Cristo Rey and San Antonio. Business and marketing decisions come about only with the consent of the cultures and people they will involve and impact. The entrepreneurial wheels in the eco-campers brains must have been spinning as they sat rapt with attention and had many questions during this informative presentation.

Last edited by Marty; 11/17/12 09:57 AM.