FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
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 San Pedro Sun
Ismael Kay and Nirsa Sanchez receive top passes in CXC 2012
The results for the Caribbean Examinations (CXC) 2012 were released online on Friday August 10th. With the results out, some 18 students from the San Pedro High School (SPHS) are slated to receive Government Scholarships to acquire a tertiary level education. Scholarships are awarded to students that pass six or more CXCs including English A and Mathematics.
Speaking of the student’s performance, Vice Principal of SPHS Conchita Flota stated, “I think our students did very well and every year we are improving. Last year there were 12 students who passed six or more CXCs and this year 18 students passed six or more CXCs. We saw that our English B went down but the Language Department is looking at ways where our students can improve. Each department will be working with the teachers so we can perform better next year. I congratulate all our teachers for being there for the students and helping them prepare for these exams. We have increased the subjects from 11 in 2008 to 14 this year and are working on adding social studies for the next examination.”
San Pedro Mayor delivers on his promise to schools
Mayor Daniel Guerrero of San Pedro is moving ahead and is delivering on his promise made to preschools and primary schools on Ambergris Caye and addressing the needs expressed by the schools after a visit earlier this year.
During his familiarization tour just a few days after taking office, Mayor Guerrero and his councilors visited each of the primary and preschools and asked the management to come up with a “wish list” that was manageable for the council to fulfill. From the lists derived and submitted by each school, the San Pedro Town council (SPTC) is making the effort to fulfill a few of the items requested. While the San Pedro Roman Catholic School is receiving three new classrooms and a complete facelift, other schools are receiving landfill for the school yard.
The media caught up with Mayor Guerrero as he and a few council members were out delivering sand to the school principals on Monday August 20th. “We are delivering on the wish list the school submitted to us upon taking office,” said Mayor Guerrero. As such the New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Primary School received ten loads of sand equivalent to a total of 80 cubic yards or almost 22 tons. In addition, the Mayor is working to replace broken windows with new ones and help in making ventilation better at the school. At hand to receive the donation was the Principal of New Horizon SDA School, Miguel Hernandez, who expressed gratitude for the donation and also reminded the Mayor on the much need classroom space. “We are working on finding funds for new classrooms,” said Mayor Guerrero, in response to Hernandez’ concerns.
Tuff E Nuff are the 2012 Interoffice Basketball League Champions
At the start of the 2012 Interoffice Basketball (IBL) season, Coach Rico Black stated that Tuff E Nuff had what it takes and stood a good chance of winning the title. After three months of competition, it seems Coach Black knew very well what his team was capable of, as they came out on top in the end to claim a win in Game Five of the IBL finals, making them the 2012 IBL Champions!
The championship game was held at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City and commenced around 9PM. With a sold out stadium, San Pedro’s own Tuff E Nuff went up against Alamilla’s to decide the champions for the season. The game saw some of the country’s best basketball players battle it out to showcase their athletic skill. After a tight game Tuff E Nuff emerged on top with a score of 58 to 45.
Rico Black received a trophy for Coach of the Year while team mate, Barron Lauriano received MVP for the 2012 IBL season. An elated Rico stated, “We’ve been playing since 2005, since then we’ve won it three times. The IBL is one of the most prestigious tournaments in Belize besides the Semi Pro. It’s one level below. It’s the number one competition that’s going on in the country of Belize, next to the Semi Pro and we are honored to be the champions. We worked for it. We deserve it.”
Proposed New Marine Reserve for Ambergris Caye
The consultation was held by Ambergris Caye Wetlands Committee that invited Mr. James Azueta of the Fisheries Department who updated the community on the progress of the proposed Ambergris Caye Marine Reserves Cluster that includes nine established zones in three general areas namely the Bajos, Mata Frances Wetland Lagoon and the Mexico Rocks.
Mr. Azueta went over all the laws, rule, regulations and license fees that would be implemented in the new reserves. The meeting gave the opportunity for stakeholders to review the draft proposal and submit suggestions and objections towards the new proposed reserve.
Zone 1 – Mexico Rocks Conservation Zone
Zone 2 – Mexico Rocks Gereral Use Zone
Zone 3 – Cayo Frances Conservation Zone
Zone 4 – Bajos General Use Zone
Zone 5 – Pajaros Conservation Zone
Zone 6 – Bajo Conservation Zone
Zone 7 – Cayo Rosario Conservation Zone
Zone 8 – Blackadore Large Conservation Zone
Zone 9 – Los Salones 2 Conservation Zone
The zoning and rules of the new marine reserve will be similar to that of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which will include general use zones and conservation zones which will determine where commercial fishing, general use, sports fishing take place and determine no take zones and where different governing licenses will fall into place in order to properly monitor and protect the area. What is clear is that commercial fishing shall be allowed in the General Use Zones, but no spear fishing will be permitted within all the marine reserve.
Vote for National Song Competition, September Celebrations
September is almost here and Belizeans from far and near will be celebrating the 31st Anniversary of our Independence and the 214th Anniversary of The Battle of St. George's Caye. The time has come once again for everybody to vote for their favorite National Song for this year’s September Celebrations.
There are nine finalists in the patriotic song category, six finalists in the carnival song category and three junior entries. Finalists include M.I.K., Dennis Requena, Devon Jones, Nello Player, Noel Lee Castillo, Patrick McPherson, Leroy “Boss” Castillo, Timothy Martinez and Joseph Villafranco - for the patriotic finalists.
For the carnival finalists there is TR Burgess, Mr. Program, Ray Good, Sharon Martinez, Salus Magaña and Boss Lady. For junior category there is Tara Gill, Bernard Cayetano and Morelia Pop.
Slovakian Accused of Ties with Mafia is Set Free in San Pedro
There are currently no criminal charges whatsoever pending against Mr. Karol Mello, an alleged crime boss in Central Europe, who was detained in July in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, due to extradition order issued by the Government of Belize and subsequent immigration charges brought forward by the Immigration Department.
The month-long legal saga involving 42-year-old Karol Mello, since his detention in San Pedro, moved to the Belmopan Magistrate Court where it culminated on Monday, August 20, 2012, in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis.
Two charges, perjury and uttering upon an invalid passport, levied upon Mello immediately following an order by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall to have him set free on August 10, were subsequently withdrawn when he presented himself in court. The charge of uttering upon an invalid passport was dismissed by the magistrate and the prosecution withdrew the other charge of perjury.
Misc Belizean Sources
Meluchi's Hot Wings Competition
Meluchi's had their hot wings eating competition Friday night! They were so hot, one person couldn't get through one of the eight wings that had to be eaten in just 2 minutes. Fun was had by all. Thanks, Meluchi's, for always having great dances, specials, and activities like this one.
Belize Audubon Society Manages 9 Protected Areas
A big thanks to the BAS for doing such a great job managing the 9 protected areas. In Cayo, they manage Actun Tunichil Muknal, Guanacaste Park, Tapir Mountain, and St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park. Cool fact: Belize has 92 protected areas. PACT and BAS definitely do a great job.
Rest in Peace Don Beto Cocom
The world has lost an amazing medicine man today. Don Beto Cocom has passed away after loosing a battle with cancer. Don Beto praticed Yucatec Mayan medicine, and has helped 1000's of people through the years. He is world famous, as is his Masewal Maya Jungle Garden and Medicinal Trail in Bullet Tree Falls. Descanse en Paz, amigo!
ATM Sustainable Tourism Project
Better facilities are being built at the Actun Tunichil Muknal site.
"Under the Sustainable Tourism Project (STP), several Archaeology Reserves will be receiving funding for various infrastructure projects. ATM is the most documented site in the country, and one of the most superior subterranean sites in the region. Tour operators/numbers are controlled by license with 95% of all tours to the site originating in San Ignacio Town. Current facilities are almost non-existent, therefore investments will be made to: 1. Design and construct modern bathroom, changing and restroom facilities to cater to an increase in current visitation; and 2. Construction of a ticket/security booth onsite in conjunction with landscaping of the site entrance and car park area."
Skipped Superbond Payment? No Worries, PM Says Bondholders Will Come Around
Yesterday, Standard and Poors lowered Belize's sovereign rating to "Selective Default" - which is as near to the bottom of the barrel as you'd want to get.
But if you're looking for panic, or telling distress signals coming out of Belmopan - you'd better look somewhere else - because Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his debt restructuring teams area as cool as December.
In fact, they appear ready to wait until December for bondholders to come around to their proposed terms of repayment.
This morning at the Biltmore, the Prime Minister laid out the game plan at a press conference that lasted almost two hours.
Here are some key highlights:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"The objective of the press conference, today, is to provide all possible information to the nation. But it is also, I tell you plainly, to seek support, to rally the country behind what is a necessary and just endeavour."
Flanked by his debt restructuring team, including Minister Godwin Hulse, Economic Ambassador Mark Espat , Financial Secretary Joe Waight and Central Bank Governor Glen Ysaguirre.
The Prime Minister laid plain the national strategy - which is that no payment will be made until suitable terms for a new bond can be worked out.
And he says, no payment could be made two days ago when 46 million dollars was due on the current Superbond.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"No source of funding for the August payment did, in fact, materialize. We therefore, on Monday, could not pay. And that will remain the case unless we get the kind of relief that can affect these debt dynamics and in fact impact our ability to pay. However, I am obliged to underscore that the Government of Belize will only accept a resolution that fully reflects the country's capacity to pay. Debt sustainability is the whole and entire object of this exercise, which brooks no other possibility."
PM Says No Reason To Consult Opposition Leader
And while the Government courts the IDB - they aren't about to do the same for the opposition.
The Leader of The Opposition has lamented the fact that they have not been consulted - and the PM today said Government has no reason to do so.
Here are his comments:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"It was as a matter of courtesy, perhaps I might have called Mr. Fonseca to tell him beforehand that we wouldn't make the August payment. But, I don't think that Belizean would expect us to involve the Opposition in any serious way, in terms of the restructuring exercise. What's this? It's almost a kind of moral hazard. How will they-? So, what, later on they can say that they helped us to solve it? 'We had to kind of create that debt problem so that you all could have solve it.' Like when they destroyed the economy in order to save it - no, we will try to be at least minimally respectful of the fact that the Opposition is the Opposition, and it has a constitutional role to play. But, practically speaking, you will forgive us if we proceed very carefully."
Willacey Suspended From Pulpit And Principal's Chair
The Board of Management of the Belmopan Baptist High School met in an emergency session this afternoon to decide what they'll do about Principal and School Counselor Norman Willacey - who's admitted to "messing around" with a 16 year old former student.
Late reports are that the board has decided to suspend Willacey pending a 15 day investigation.
And while we await official word on that from the school, the Baptist Association of Belize has taken the lead on disciplining Willacey. After meeting with Willacey, the Belmopan Baptist Church and the child's mother they have made their initial findings.
And, based on that, their release says that, quote, "(Willacey) has been placed on administrative leave from the church and pulpit pending the outcome of our investigation."
Now we're waiting for an announcement from the school management to see what they will do.
But the Minister of Education came out today to make it clear that it is a matter of urgency that they act decisively and swiftly:
Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education
"I will tell you that I, at this point of the day, I am every disturbed, and very concerned that the Baptist Management has not acted swiftly. In fact, I have asked my CEO to indicate to them that they must do something the situation - at least put out some kind of release to say what it is they intend to do, and I am asking for that to be done by today. It's not that the Government can necessarily punish Baptist Management in any way, and there is no need to create a quarrel about this. I am making the plea to the Baptist Management to deal with this matter swiftly, to make right whatever slow pace they've been going on so far, and in dealing with the rest of the situation, because of course, you know that they can't try the man and produce a verdict in one day. Do it according to those rules, and move swiftly in getting just."
GSU Gets "Soup" For A Pipe
Tonight, the Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that they have arrested and charged key figures in 2 Gangs.
At around 5:40 p.m. yesterday, a GSU team conducted a search at the residence of 32 year old Desmond Haylock, which is located at #7C Matron Roberts Street. Haylock was present at the time with his brother, 40 year-old Duke Wright.
Police searched the lower flat of the house and found a chrome and black 9mm pistol, which was loaded with 5 live rounds of ammunition in Haylock's room.
As a result, he was arrested and charged with keeping a unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition.
According to the GSU, he was associated with the Rolling 20's Neighborhood Bloods gang, which is based in Los Angeles, and he was deported back to Belize in May of 2011 for Possession and Purchase of Cocaine.
OCEANA VS. GOB To Be Decided In Court
If you've been keeping up with the news, you may know about Oceana Belize's Supreme Court challenge to several of the offshore oil drilling contracts which Government issued in 2007.
A month ago, Justice Oswell Legall, adjourned it to allow time for both sides to prepare their arguments for a strike out application from the Government Crown Counsel.
But, Oceana quoted a recent judgment from the Court of Appeal on the Froyland Gilharry case as being similar to this claim, which - if it is - would force Justice Legall to rule in their favor.
So today, they came back to court armed with their submissions about whether or not the Gilharry case is a precedent.
After the hearing, the media spoke to both sides about what this decision could mean for the case.
Here's what they told us:
Herbert Panton - Crown Counsel, Attorney General Ministry
"This morning was submissions on whether or not that decision Court of Appeal decision applies to this case. And of course, it is our submission that the Court of Appeal Decision Does not apply."
"So, that means that the strike out application has not been heard as yet?"
"Well this is in the process of hearing the application to strike out. If in fact the judge rules that the Court of Appeal decision does not apply, the matter will then be struck out."
Worldwide Drought Pushing Poultry Price Up
A world grain shortage caused by a prolonged drought could drive up the price of poultry products here in Belize.
A release from the International Poultry Council warns that "drought in the soybean and corn producing regions in the United States, coupled with excessive rains in Northern Europe, is having a significant impact on poultry meat production worldwide."
That has driven up prices and which, experts say, makes poultry price increases inevitable.
We could not reach Poultry Association President Orlando Habet who is out of the country.
PM Says Deputy Vega's Comments Not Objectionable
The Prime Minister's Press Conference today as all about the missed Superbond Payment - but the media did manage to get in a few questions edgewise about other burning issues.
The first thing we wanted to know is: what was the PM's response to the remarkable interview given by his Deputy three weeks ago.
Vega freely admitted that he had quote "given" lands to his family members - and that he was entitled to do so because he was quote, "not a normal person in Belize" - a status earned by his, quote, "working much harder than other people."
The Prime Minister said he does not find that objectionable...
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"You see, I didn't see the interview, and I didn't see your piece. I don't know whether you put it quite like that in the piece. But, at least you're saying that if he said, he was not a normal person, he explained what he meant by that, 'I work harder than normal persons' If you just put that out there, 'I'm not a normal person,' that sounds awful. But, if you put it in context, then, it's not nearly so bad, is it? I just hope that you did put it in context for the news, as you're doing now. So put, 'I am not normal because I work harder than most people.' I find that unobjectionable."
The Bottom Line: No $$$ From Taiwan
The Prime Minister was far more forthcoming when the press asked him to give the bottom line on the visit by the Taiwanese Vice President.
Somewhat regrettably, because of more than a decade of dollar diplomacy, the public expectation was the some lavish grant or aid might have been given.
The PM explained: that is not the case:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"This visit did not produce any - well, he never came to bring the big check. He never came to bring any check, but there is a re-commitment to the program which sees us get $10 million a year, the $50 million over 5 years grant/loan arrangement, which does help with budget support. And of course, they do a lot of things in education, scholarships, training, technical cooperation expertise. They have this rice seed project at Central Farm, and they're helping with papaya, various things. But if you're asking me directly whether we're contemplating any sort of a diplomatic shift to Mainland China, the answer certainly is no."
GSU Looking For Gaza In Crooked Tree
The GSU is taking flack and under scrutiny again tonight after they allegedly roughed up as much as 20 young men in the Village of Crooked Tree.
The men allege that on Monday night at around 8:30 while they were playing basketball on the village court, the GSU swarmed in and began to brutalize them - using pepper spray and tasers on them.
The men said when they asked what was going on; they were told by the officers that they were looking for the GAZA leader. The incident left the entire village shaken and outraged at the treatment they received. Today their Area Representative Edmund Castro along with the Commissioned of Police - David Henderson both visited the young men and now an investigation into the matter of the alleged brutality is underway.
Commissioner Henderson told us why it is a matter of concern:
David Henderson - Commissioner of Police
"Well, it is an allegation. We will be sending in a team from the Internal Affairs. They will be coming in; they will be interviewing persons. A full investigation will be carried out, and whatever needs to be done, will be done. I have not seen any report. It is only an allegation. As soon as it is fully investigated, then we'll be able to really address it."
Fantasy Five Awards Biggest Jackpot
The biggest lottery payout in Belize's history went today to a 27 year old Corozal man - who is the Fantasy 5 Winner.
The jackpot had been accumulating so long, folks were getting suspicious, but Ronnie Hernandez stayed in the game - and won, a record four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars!
He and his family walked into Brad's Store this afternoon to pick up his cheque. He told 7news how his lucky numbers were chosen.
Ronnie Hernandez - Fantasy 5 Winner
"I was buying Fantasy 5 for like 4 months, and I used to buy only quick picks. But I stopped and I just stick to 2 numbers up to now. And with those 2 numbers that I was playing, those were the lucky numbers that fell. I Never believed that it was me who won it first of all."
"So how did you find out? Were you guys watching the draw?"
"No, I wasn't watching the TV. Sometimes I just watch the news, and I went on my bike downtown. I was going to buy something, and I went first to check the ticket. I went there; the owner was right there in Corozal. I told him to check this ticket for me, and told me that I won a free ticket. I saw the number right there, and I saw 06, 01, 09, I got those 3 numbers. And I remember my ticket. I had 20, and I told him about it. He told me that I won and not to faint. I got goose bumps. I never believe it. He gave me my ticket. The people started to crowd around. I caught a taxi and went home."
Well-Liked Musician and Mentor Passes
Tonight, 7News notes the passing of 50 year-old Leroy "Bass" Castillo, a veteran, Belize City-based musician, who was well-known and influential in the musical community.
Castillo was born with an enlarged heart, and according to his family, this caused him to suffer medical complications which forced him to be in and out of the hospital.
He went to Belmopan Regional hospital this weekend, and his family thought that it would be a regular visit, but he slipped into a coma, and didn't wake up.
He passed away at around 1 a.m. this morning, and now, all of his friends and associates join his family in mourning his loss.
We spoke to several of his colleagues today, and they told us that he was a good friend and mentor:
Here's what they told us about his personality:
Leon Banks - Musician
"Bass Cas, I met him about 8 years ago. He started me off in the performing arts, actually playing in my first band, I should say. We played in the Player's Band together."
P.M. sends Superbond team to negotiate
The Prime Minister addressed the nation via a press conference today looking for support in the re-structuring of the five hundred and forty-four million US dollar super bond. On Monday government missed a coupon payment of twenty three million dollars which caused a quick downgrade by Standard and Poor’s. While the Prime Minister says there [...]
Will international banks sound in on Superbond?
Still on the Superbond, while the PM says he is not contemplating going to the I.M.F., he says that the government is unable to pay in the immediate or near term and that, “if it is make or break, then break it will be.” The government will go to the House this Thursday for the [...]
Pastor suspended, but minister hopes he won’t be back
Another big story for today involves, Pastor Norman Willacey, who has been placed on a fifteen day suspension from the Belmopan Baptist High School, effective today. Willacey, the principal of the school, fell from grace after the mother of a sixteen year old student told the media that he was having a sexual relationship with [...]
Oceana fights 6 oil concessions in Court
Oceana went back to court today to fight six slick oil contracts. Oceana insists that the contracts granted to Island Oil Belize, Tropical Energy, PetroBelize Company, Princess Petroleum, Providence Energy Belize, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. are invalid since they fall short of the conditions under the Petroleum Act. On July twenty-fifth, arguments were first [...]
Oceana says challenge seeks to expose issuance of questionable concessions
According to Oceana’s Vice President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the challenge seeks to expose the government for the issuance of questionable oil concessions. She told the media this morning that the case is revealing shady oil contracts that have been granted in the past years. Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana “Well our position is basically that [...]
Chicken licking prices caused by global feed grain shortages
Chicken prices are up by ten cents per pound for whole chicken and twelve cents for parts. This news may not settle well with consumers, but the short of it is that countries across the world are bracing for the hike in prices of one of the most affordable and favorite proteins. Today, the Belize [...]
Faber says P.U.P. decision goes against party regulation
Earlier in the month the executive of the People’s United Party took an unusual decision, which goes against the well established party regulation that allows challenges to the current leadership. The resolution protects the party leader and current elected P.U.P. area representatives from challenges at the next national convention. The resolution was presented by deputy [...]
“I am not a normal person” P.M. explains Vega’s soliloquy
At the press conference this morning, the prime minister also touched on the land grab. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega recently came under fire for giving out large tracts of land, about twenty eight parcels across the country, to members of his family. When confronted with the evidence of the transactions, Vega told the media [...]
GSU uncovers illegal firearms
The Gang Suppression Unit has not yet responded to allegations that twenty Crooked Tree residents were brutalized by its officers; one resident complained that he had been pepper sprayed on his private parts. But today the GSU released information on other recent operations. On Tuesday evening at around five-forty, a search was carried out at [...]
A musical refrain for musician Leroy “Bass” Castillo as he passes away
Belize has lost one of its most gifted artists. Early this morning, Leroy “Bass” Castillo succumbed to a heart illness that he had been battling with for years. News of his death shook the music industry and tributes have been pouring in from those who acknowledge his gift as a musician, composer, writer and singer. [...]
Fantasy 5 gives a large cheque to its winner!
Twenty-seven year old Ronny Hernandez skipped work and hightailed it from Corozal to Belize City with his wife and two kids when he found out this morning that he had won Tuesday night’s Fantasy Five draw. At four hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars, it’s the largest jackpot in the country’s history and it went to [...]
You can be the Next Superstar!
The Bliss rocked on Tuesday night with hilarious drama, song and dance. It was a sold-out performance for the latest episode of Be the Next Superstar. For three Group B performers, it was nail biting as the knock out round would determine who was home safe. After the votes were tallied, the judges had the [...]
Hit and Run Accident Leads To The Death of Corozal Resident
One man is tonight dead after a hit and run traffic accident claimed his life last night. Reports are that around 9:00pm 32 year old Kamal Jamal Sutherland, a resident of 2nd Street South Corozal Town, was walking along the right hand side of the Northern Highway between miles 81 and 82 near the Village of Ranchito, when he was knocked down by an unknown vehicle travelling in the same direction. Sutherland, we understand, received severe head and body injuries and died on the spot. According to one person living in the area, she was inside her residence when she heard a loud bang. By the time she looked out her window all she saw was Sutherland’s lifeless body lying on the side of the road.
“When we came out we didn’t see anything only the man that dropped down dead right there.”
Hipolito Novelo – Reporter
“At about time was this miss?”
Hipolito Novelo – Reporter
“How loud was the bang?”
“Like when a tire burst.”
Hipolito Novelo – Reporter
“And when you came out and see the person was he still breathing or he died on the spot?”
“We never see him breath or nothing we only see him thrown right there, that’s all.”
Xaibe Residents Demand Assistance
Tensions are running high in the village of Xaibe in the Corozal District as flooded waters are yet to recede. Tonight 5 families from the village are still affected by the stagnant water which seems to have nowhere to go. Concerned for their health, on Saturday, villagers joined hands and began digging a drain that runs along the recently paved road in order for the water flow out of the village. But their efforts were halted when Corozal Police was called out to the area and instructed villagers to stop the digging immediately since they were damaging the road. We travelled to Xaibe this morning and spoke to residents who say that something must give or else.
Frustrated that the flood water has not receded and that assistance on behalf of the relevant authorities is hard to come by, Villagers of Xaibe in the Corozal District took actions into their own hands. Bright and early on Saturday morning, the men, women and children of the village took it upon themselves to further open the drain that runs along the newly paved road in order to assist the more than five families that are being affected by the stagnant water.
“Nosotros queremos ver que podemos hacer en esta situación porque nosotros lo estamos viviendo no ellos, ellos están secos, nosotros hay días que ni comemos pero gracias a mi vecinos que nos estiro el bocado es que por eso estamos comiendo, eso es lo que yo pido que nos hagan caso y nos saquen esa agua.
Honourable Marco Tulio Mendez, Working For His People
The damaged caused by the torrential rains that fell last week were minimal here in Orange Walk. The heavy downpour; however, did affect the infrastructure of certain areas. In the Villages of San Jose Nuevo Palmar and Carmelita certain streets were damaged and drains were clogged leaving the need for upgrading. And that’s where Orange Walk East Area Representative Honorable Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez comes in. As you can see in this footage, work began in the area over the weekend. With the assistance of the town council’s heavy machinery streets received a much needed facelift and drains were cleaned.
“Las calles se deterioraron en almas aldeas. Palmar nos presento un proyecto en las cuales también iba a haber participación de la comunidad y atreves de otras contribuciones que nos ayudaron para poder levar acabo este servicio para Palmar. Tenemos que también agradecer al alcalde de Orange Walk ya que él nos ayudo con el quipo de la municipalidad y así pudimos arreglar alguna de las necesidades que estaban pasando la gente.
Fiesta Rama Funds Signifies Work For Youths
On July 27th, 28th and 29th Orange Walkenos and visitors from across the country flocked to the People’s Stadium where Fiesta Rama 2012 was taking place. The three day event even attracted the business community adding that extra oomph to the entire activity. Fiesta Rama was organized by the Orange Walk Town Council in order to generate funds that would later be used for a special project catering to the youths of Orange Walk. Keeping in line with their pledge of accountability and transparency, today the Orange Walk Town Council released the financial report of Fiesta Rama.
“On the income itself we go a total of donations of $3,000 from different businesses. We had income on the booth sales at $4,810. We also got revenue from the marble games of $150.00, mechanical rides we got an income of $5,500, you have a gate sale of $26,084.50 for the three days. The bar sales we have $37,862.05, food vendors contributed $1,102.00. All of these add up to $78,693.55 on revenue for the three days.”
Sounds like a lot of money. But the report shows that there were also huge expenses.
“We had expense on advertisement $250.00, we had expenses for the bands $4700.25, we paid Bowen $30,735.78. The cultural presentations cost us $3,150.00. The DJ Competition cost us $825.00, DJ services $425.00 and we had to invest in electrical wiring which we did not have before but this is good because next year it is an investment we won’t have to make. The Rock Concert itself cost us $2150.00 and stipends for workers came out to $8,625.00 for the three days. Total expenses came out to $67,797 this left us with a net profit of $10,898.76.”
Work Gets Underway On Avilez Lane and Tangerine Street
If you happen to pass by Avilez Lane and Tangarine Street you might have noticed that work is under way in the area. Both streets will be upgraded under the Belize Municipal Development Project and according to Mayor Kevin Bernard the streets are presently being prepared for paving.
“Residents should be aware that they will be seeing works in those areas and I want to take the opportunity at the same time to advice resident’s ling in the area to cooperate with the individuals working in the area because the street will be closed off temporarily due to the heavy equipment’s. In addition the last time I did an interview with you all I informed you that the San Ignacio Street and the Tangerine Street bids were being sent out and I understand that the San Ignacio bid has been accepted and has been awarded to Demar’s Stone Company owned by Denny Grijalva. They are informing us that after the necessary works and insurances have been issued they should be commencing within the next two weeks on San Ignacio Street. Just to update a little in terms of the paving Avilez lane will be hot mix paving and it will not only include Avilez Lane the section, it will also include the a little bit of the crossing on the Queen Victoria Avenue by the traffic light because a lot of vehicular traffic is in the area and then Tangerine Street will be a two coat asphalt.”
OWTC Networking System To Be Upgraded
Falling under the umbrella of the Belize Municipal Development Project is the Revenue Enhancement Program headed by Edmund Zuniga. The program scrutinizes the internal controls set in place by each municipal body and the Orange Walk Town Council is no exception.
“I must say proudly that we got a very good response from these consultants on the work that we have done so far on improving the internal controls of this council. Part of the Revenue Enhancement Program is to give the municipalities the necessary resources as you know one part of it is that they have allocated five computers and those computers are now at SIF and will be deployed to the council. I understand that agreements have been made with the person who will be doing the entire networking at all municipalities and I know that by next week we should be getting a scheduled date when that person will be coming into the council to work on our networking system.”
Since the council has updated most of their networking system. The computers will be used for the upgrading of the transport department.
Karol Mello Freed of All Charges
Forty two year old Karol Mello has been in and out of the courtroom and since his detention on July 11th in San Pedro; the media has been closely following the developments of the case brought against him by the government of Belize. After arguing in court, Mello’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, managed to get bail for his client. Mello’s series of court appearances ended yesterday morning in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. But Mello is no longer out on bail because Magistrate Willis withdrew the charges of perjury and uttering an invalid passport that was levied against him on August 10th.
Mello, the man who is accused of organizing several murders in Slovakia, was released in his homeland last summer due to alleged procedural failings and fled the country. Mello was detained by Belizean authorities on July 11th as a result of a police operation organized by Interpol in cooperation with Slovak police.
Residents of Crooked Tree Village assaulted by GSU
Some male residents of Crooked Tree village allege that they were victims of brutality under the Gang Suppression Unit. Reporter Patrick Jones and Videographer Brian Castillo travelled to the village and bring you the details in the following report.
Late this evening Police Press Officer Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood told Love News that the aggrieved Crooked Tree residents should make their complaints at the Police Special Branch office situated at the Raccoon Street Police Station.
The Sustainable Tourism Program’s Project
We’ve often times heard of five star hotels and the like in first-world countries. Those are the luxurious, top-notch places that we call home away from home. In Belize, the Belize Tourism Board and relevant partners are seeking not necessarily to make five-stars out the 700 hotels in the country, but just to encourage them to upgrade their status to being a little better in the face of a competitive region. To help create the drive among hoteliers to get on board with the idea, the tourism industry has come up with a classification of all in-country inns, motels and hotels. In essence, what this does, according to the Sustainable Tourism Program’s Project Director, Christy Mastry, is lists each hotel in a specific class and this will help in not only exposing them to visitors, but also hold them to the level of expectation that comes with the prestige.
And while we sport some pretty posh accommodations, Belize, by international standards, still falls a little short of having a five-star hotel, says Mastry. But with this new initiative, that may change things a bit.
Consultations are currently underway and will be for the next several months will hoteliers towards getting onboard with the program and the changes are expectation to gradually take shape over the next two years.
Toledo Rice formers wait for their pay
The Toledo Rice Corn and Beans Producers Association remains concerned about payment of such money owed to Toledo Rice Farmers. Paul Mahung reports
A hit and run incident in the Ranchito Village
Another male person also lost his life to a hit and run accident, but this time it occurred further along the Northern Highway in Ranchito Village. According to police, they visited the scene between Miles eighty one and eighty two on the Northern Highway where they saw the motionless body of a male person lying on the right had side of the road. The man was later identified as thirty two year old Jamar Sutherland, an unemployed resident of number seventy six G Street South, Corozal Town. Initial investigations by police revealed that around 9:20 last night someone in the area heard a loud bang and came out of their home to see the a vehicle speeding away in the distance. The type of vehicle could not be identified since it was already a distance away and police are still investigating. Sutherland’s body was transported to the Corozal Community hospital where it now awaits a post-mortem examination.
Philip Willoughby’s idea to improve the Council’s business
Belize City Councilor, Philip Willoughby, has come up with a plan which he will present to Mayor Darrel Bradley and his fellow Councilors on how to better streamline the business of the Council. Willoughby shared his plan with Love News today. He said that in order for services and better enhancement to take place at the Council, the first thing that needs to change is the departmentalization of the support staff. This would give one member of a particular department in the Council the same authority to execute the duties of any other member from another of the Council’s departments.
Willoughby says that if all the procedures are followed, then the changes, if implemented as proposed, should not create any headaches.
The plan was derived, according to Willoughby, after much study and after listening to the people that voted in the Belize City Council elections.
Willoughby expects to present his plan to the Council at the next caucus this week.
Chopping incident in Dangriga
Two men from the Stann Creek District were hospitalized following separate chopping incidents. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details
Snake pit found in family’s yard
The recent rains seem to have brought along much more than just flooding some areas. It also brought along some exotic creatures that many people don’t want to be around. This boa constrictor was discovered in a yard at 30 A Iguana Street this morning, already in a decomposing state. It appears that it died while trying to swallow a meal, perhaps one of several neighborhood cats that went missing over the last few weeks This is one of a number of these slithery creatures reportedly roaming an open yard which houses a derelict house. The next door resident, Rita King, told Love News today that her family members are always in the company of snakes, not to their liking.
King says that the snakes, which seem to have reproduced in the yard, have had some rude awakenings.
This afternoon we called the Sanitation Department at the Belize City Council to inform them of the decomposing snake. Also, Ms King says that she has been told that help is on the way to help with repairing her home. However, she calls on the owner of the open lot and derelict house to cut the overgrown grass so that her slithery co-inhabitants can relocate elsewhere.
7 Unique Festivals to Experience in Belize
Nice roundup of festivals in Belize by a very talented writer/photographer...
"...From scuba diving to hiking up Mayan ruins or caving like Indiana Jones, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Belize. You’re probably thinking that you’ve been there and done that in Central America—perhaps in Costa Rica or Mexico.
But more than likely, you haven’t experienced what makes Belize unique from its neighbors: its fusion of Caribbean, African, Latin and Mayan cultures. From a West-Indian style carnival in Belize City to lobster feasts, Garifuna John Canoe dance contests and chocolate celebrations in Punta Gorda, planning a visit around one of the following seven local events will give you unique insight into the melting pot that is Belize—the kind you won’t experience across the border..."
Back In Belize: Strange, Funny, Interesting, Tasty Things I Saw While I Was in Mexico
I'm back home now in San Pedro, Belize after an amazing trip to Mexico. Super fun. Here are some random things that I saw while I was away...Mexico rocks.
What is not funny about this? (side street Tulum, Mexico)
The items that don't translate so appealingly into English...(Cancun Walmart)
Though "Leche de Burra" doesn't really scream "rub on your body" to me either. At least she is nestled on a bed of flowers.
The oh-so-close knock-offs for name brand items...(Walmart Cancun)
Who needs knock-offs when a real box of Ritz crackers is less than $2 USD?
The huge selection of CHEAP veggies, herbs and fruits just 20 miles away from us. Doesn't everyone need fresh chamomile for 8 pesos a kilo? That's probably enough to brew 100,000 cups of tea.
Mexicans must have an unparalleled love of yogurt. The selection is massive in all stores...scoopable and drinkable. (Tulum Chedraui)
The birthday cake section of the store or Postremania (Dessert Mania). One or two large sheet cakes are left out so that you can buy them by the slice. How many kids have dragged their fingers across these? It's looking good so far...
Island kids treated to a balloon fiesta!
In so many ways the children of Caye Caulker are truly blessed with their barefoot, free spirited life-style that is so charmed. But once in a while we have to give thanks to the tourist/ passers by who wish to share their gifts - be it their talent, their knowledge even their purse to benefit our children!
Yesterday was one of those days as Rachel Fournet-Fayard, travelling from Paris, France wished to entertain the kids with her creative and fun talent – balloon shaping! Rachel met up with Adela at the Raggamuffin Tours office two days ago and together they hatched their plan for Adela to hold a kids party for her daughter Joannie the following day.
Rachel’s talent is truly beyond what any of us have ever imagined and the kids were amazed at what she created – from Octopus, horses, dogs, fairy wands and hats etc etc. Rachel even allowed the kids to interact with her creative technique and witness how she was able to put together these works of art!
If you want to see more of what Rachel’s artwork – please have a look at her website www.rachelanimation.com. Thank Rachel for entertaining our kids all afternoon!!
Google Street View now available for Mexico archaeological sites
For travelers who've never been to the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza, a virtual window into the site's pyramids and plazas is available online, among 30 archaeological zones in Mexico now mapped by history's greatest peeping Tom: Google Street View.
From the comfort of a computer, any Internet user anywhere can now zoom in and examine the perfect form of Chichen Itza's Kukulkan pyramid, known also El Castillo, or the Castle.
On Google Street View, a viewer can almost feel like they might tumble into the Sacred Cenote, or natural sinkhole, where Maya priests practiced ritual sacrifice. Or imagine cavorting on the Plaza of the Thousand Columns. Or maybe do some souvenir browsing, up close and in intensely high resolution.
Google and Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, announced the new maps last week. Using a 360-degree camera mounted on a bicycle, Google captured "street views" of other major archaeological sites in Mexico, such as Monte Alban in Oaxaca and Teotihuacan outside Mexico City.
Lesser-known Mesoamerican sites are also now mapped by Google Street View, including Tula in the state of Hidalgo and Xochicalco in Morelos.
"Dramatic" New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces
Archaeological "gold mine" illuminates connection between king and sun god. Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar.
Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya.
Unlike the relatively centralized Aztec and Inca empires, the Maya civilization—which spanned much of what are now Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatán region (Maya map)—was a loose aggregation of city-states. (Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)
"This has been a growing awareness to us since the 1990s, when it became clear that a few kingdoms were more important than others," said Brown University archaeologist Stephen Houston, who announced the discovery of the new temple Thursday.
El Zotz, in what's now Guatemala, was one of the smaller kingdoms, but one apparently bent on making a big impression.
By 2010 archaeologists working on a hilltop near the ancient city center had discovered 45-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) Diablo Pyramid. Atop it they found a royal palace and a tomb, believed to hold the city's first ruler, who lived around A.D. 350 to 400.
Around the same time, Houston and a colleague spotted the first hints of the Temple of the Night Sun, behind the royal tomb on Diablo Pyramid. Only recently, though, have excavations uncovered the unprecedented artworks under centuries of overgrowth.
The Dance Between Belize and Its Bondholders
In Debt August 22, 2012, 3:14 pmComment
The Dance Between Belize and Its Bondholders
By STEPHEN J. LUBBEN
Michael Nagle for The New York Times
Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg News
Michael Stravato for The New York Times
The streets of Belize are lined with shanties and shacks.
Spade: If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can’t afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you?
Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
Spade: Yes, that’s, that’s true. But – they’re none of ‘em any good unless the threat of death is behind them – do you see what I mean? If you start something, I’ll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off.
Gutman: (chuckling) That’s an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. ‘Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and that their emotions carry them away.
– From the movie “The Maltese Falcon” (1941).
This is the dynamic at work in the negotiations between Belize and its bondholders. Really it’s the dynamic in most sovereign debt restructurings.
On one level, sovereign debt restructuring is just like corporate debt restructuring. You have bondholders, you have holdout bondholders and you have a debtor that is more worried about surviving today than honoring commitments made long, long ago.
On another level, it’s entirely different. Most obviously, there is no bankruptcy code for sovereign nations. But it’s not clear there need be such a mechanism, since sovereign nations have, of course, sovereign immunity. A bondholder can’t get a New York City marshal to issue a levy on the minivan in front of the consulate.
So Belize has made an offer to its bondholders, which they have reportedly rejected.
The bondholders have no direct way of making Belize pay, but they can make life difficult for Belize in the future, trying to snatch funds that flow through New York and causing no end of political hassles for the country.
Moreover, as a relatively small borrower, Belize probably has to worry more about long-term access to the financial markets than a country like Argentina or even Greece. The threat to shut a country like Belize out of the market is far more credible.
Argentina-Style Default Not Belize’s Model, Prime Minister Says
Belize hired the same law firm as Argentina when deciding to push for its second bond restructuring in five years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow wants the comparisons between the countries to end there. Barrow sought yesterday to assuage the concerns of Greylock Capital Management, TCW Group Inc., and other holders of $544 million in bonds after it missed an Aug. 20 coupon payment. His administration is open to all restructuring proposals put forward by investors as long as they lead to “sustainable” debt payments for the $1.4 billion Central American economy, he said in a national address.
The 61-year-old premier sent a team of finance officials to Washington to meet with representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank to discuss funding options after missing the $23 million coupon payment. The government is working with New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLC, which advised Argentina on its two debt restructurings following a 2001 default on $95 billion of bonds.
Belizean PM says "confident" of debt renegotiation
Belize is confident that it can renegotiate its external debt with international bondholders to avoid default, Prime Minister Dean Barrow of the Central American nation said Wednesday.
"We are absolutely confident that we will succeed. We are absolutely confident that we can achieve a negotiated solution," reports reaching here from the Belizean capital of Belmopan quoted him as saying.
He denied that Belize was approaching default, saying the country was prepared to assume the consequences if current negotiations with bondholders failed.
Officials were ready to consider and discuss creditors' proposals, Barrow said, adding that he was "obliged to underscore that Belize's government will only accept a proposal that reflects the country's payment capacity."
The prime minister asked for a balanced renegotiation, and rejected the possibility of tax increases demanded by the International Monetary Fund.
On Monday, Belize failed to make a scheduled payment of $23 million in interest on a $547-million bond. As the country was already in negotiations with creditors, it escaped "default" labeling.
But Belize has to reschedule its debt in a 30-day grace period, until September 19, or it will fall into default.
Taiwanese draftee develops app for Belizean farmers
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been invented by a Taiwanese national who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize.
Lai Chun-fa, who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said Tuesday that the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu, a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years.
With Cheng's help, Lai learned agricultural knowledge from step one and finally developed his app, the main purpose of which is to help technicians promote the concept of using fertilizer among local framers.
Use of the app can allows technicians to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer farmers need to apply to different crops, which could greatly reduce costs and time, he said.
Belize credit rating cut following missed bond payment
On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on Belize to 'SD' (selective default) from 'CC/C'. At the same time, the agency lowered its rating on Belize's bond due in 2029 to 'D'.
The ratings on the government's local currency debt remain at 'CCC+/C'. The recovery rating on Belize's foreign currency debt is '4', indicating an estimated post-default recovery of 30%-50%.
The rating action follows the government of Belize's failure to pay the US$23 million semiannual interest coupon due on August 20, 2012, on its US$547 million bond due in 2029. The bond, which has a step-up interest rate, began accruing interest at 8.5% annually in February 2012.
Belize, which currently is in debt rescheduling discussions with the creditors of the 2029 bond, initiated a review of its external public debt on March 19 and, on August 8, the government published potential rescheduling scenarios for a distressed debt exchange.
Last week, the government announced it would not pay the US$23 million (an estimated 6% of government revenues and 1% of GDP) interest payment due on August 20. The government is in the early stage of rescheduling negotiations.