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The San Pedro Sun
Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve (Cave’s Branch) Vandalized
It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the National Institute of Culture & History (N.I.C.H.), that on the weekend of September 22nd – September 23rd, 2012, an act of sabotage. Damages reported are deemed substantive enough to pose a serious safety risk to users at this site. Damages to the rappel platform include the cutting of client safety lines, the rope barrier, as well as partial cuts to the metal supports of the platform and to the anchor cable. There was also evidence of fire damage to portions of the entrance stairway to the Crystal Cave.e was perpetrated at the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve (commonly referred to as Cave’s Branch), one of Belize’s premier Archaeological Reserves and tourist destinations, located in the Cayo District.
Leonardo Patt – Charged for Theft
An employee at Bowen and Bowen in San Pedro was arrested and charged for the crime of Theft. According to the San Pedro Police, the manager of the distribution center, Anthony Hunter reported that on the 18th of September 2012 personnel from internal audit of the said company visited the San Pedro office as a result of irregularities discovered in the deposits.
The report further stated that an audit was carried out which revealed that a deposit which was reported to have been made, was in fact not made. The deposit in the amount of $7,740 should have been deposited into the Company’s Atlantic Bank account on Monday evening, September 17th, however the account was never credited. According to the police, Hunter reported that further irregularities were discovered. He stated that ordinarily every deposit is prepared and then verified by a second officer who would sign the deposit prior to it being deposited. This, he reported was not done. He also reported that the deposit slip was not stamped by the bank.
2nd Annual Saga Street Party Cook-off a Delicious Success!
On Wednesday evening, September 19th Saga Humane Society held their second annual street party cook-off fundraiser. Hosted by El Fogon, the street in front of the restaurant was cordoned off and festive tents and seating invited guests to eat, mix and mingle the night away. Although Saga holds a cook-off fundraiser each month, this is the only time during the year that the event is transformed into a lively street party, complete with bar, DJ music and fun raffles.
The food theme for the event was “The Taste of Belize, Mexico and all of Central America”. With ten different selections submitted to the competition, meal tickets sold out fast and guests were treated to amazing Latin cuisine, sampling delicious papusas, pork pibil with rice and beans, tamales, salbutes, enchiladas, tacos, flautas and more!
With full bellies they then had the arduous task of casting their votes for their top three favorite dishes, and after the ballots were counted the winning dishes were as such; winning third place for a tasty green chili cornbread bake was Lou Ann LeClaire, second place winner was Letty Hernandez for her scrumptious enchiladas and first place bragging rights went to Ruben Gonzalez for his amazing baked plantain cups with chicken served with chowder.
Kent Gabourel wins DJ’s Independence Day Cycling race
Dimas James Guerrerro aka DJ has adopted the San Pedro Triathlon team and as such has started to raise much needed funds in preparation for national competitions. One of the first events organized was an Independence Day cycling race held on Friday September 21st where San Pedro tri-athlete, Kent Gabourel dominated.
According to DJ, he has seen how amazing this team is. He has taken note of their many accomplishments on a national level, representing San Pedro. And this is the reason why he decided to embark on organizing a committee to support and sponsor the team in every way needed.
Blue Hole Is a “Place To Celebrate”
Exciting News! Belize’s extraordinary Blue Hole has been featured in the Traveler’s issue of National Geographic magazine. The August/September 2012 issue features a story on “World Wonders, 10 Places to Celebrate.” National Geographic Traveler is the world’s most read travel magazine and uses a sense of story-telling complemented by sensational imagery.
“We’re very happy to see our magnificent country being continuously covered in these world renowned magazines, especially that of the National Geographic Traveler” commented the Director of Tourism, Mrs. Laura Frampton.
Tropic Air’s Pilot Program Helping Pilots Build their Turbine Time
Tropic Air – The Airline of Belize - is the largest and most experienced airline in the country of Belize. With over 180 daily scheduled flights and 13 destinations within Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, it is without a doubt that Tropic Air is the airline that most if not all Belizeans prefer.
Tropic Air is surely very busy, employing over 250 workers and priding itself with the services offered to its customers. But did you know that Tropic Air Ltd. also has a Pilot Program where it allows pilots to build turbine time with their brand new range of G1000 fitted Cessna Caravans? That’s right; Tropic Air Ltd. has given, for years, qualified pilots from around the world, an opportunity to build turbine time on the Cessna Carvan 208b's under PICUS (Pilot in Command under Supervision).
Help the San Pedro Baseball Team achieve Victory
On Tuesday, October 2nd a radiothon will be held to raise traveling funds for the San Pedro Baseball Team upcoming debut at the Codicader Games in Panama. The “local boys” will be representing the Country of Belize and are humbly asking for your aid to help them achieve Gold!
Be generous and donate to this team of young men who have worked hard to get where they are. Remember that healthy sports create healthy minds and healthy minds bring prosperity to our community!
Misc Belizean Sources
Climate change resilience project launched in Belize
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the government of Belize and with the support of the European Union, launched the project: “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change” on Monday at a ceremony held at the University of Belize in Belmopan.
The project aims to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in national policies and demonstrate action in support of effective governance of climate change and climate change related impacts in the water sector in Belize.
The total cost of the project will be €3,170,746, with €2.9 million being provided by the European Union (EU) – Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and €270,746 being government of Belize / UNDP co-financing; the project is scheduled to be implemented from July 2012 to November 2014.
BTB hosts TWITTER Live Chat Oct 2
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) "@BelizeVacation" will host a one hour LIVE CHAT on TWITTER, under the hash tags #TravelTuesday or #TT, entitled "Where in the World Is BELIZE". This will connect BELIZE to a large scale of online Twitter savvy travelers on October 2nd, 2012. The Chat starts 2:00 p.m., Central Standard Time (CST). We invite you to tune in and participate via your Twitter Handle by answering a few of the questions participants might have during the LIVE CHAT.
The Twitter LIVE CHAT will feature fun and informative facts about Belize. With a limitation of 12 giveaways, be the first to submit a company promotional item such as: Hats, T-Shirts, bags or cups. These "prizes" will be awarded to the first Twitter travelers to answer our "About BELIZE" questions correctly.
TWITTER Marketing FACT:
Twitter is the second most effective Social Networking, marketing, mediums that are being utilized by organizations worldwide for engaging with target audiences and consumers. With just one "Tweet" Belize can reach millions of potential visitors who are intrigued by the wonders and possibilities of vacationing here.
"Follow" @BelizeVacation, on Twitter and "Retweet" our Belize posts. Let us combine our efforts to broaden our networks and engage your Followers on the upcoming LIVE CHAT and help us in promoting BELIZE!
Cayo's Independence Day Parade pictures
Some great pictures from the Independence Day parade here in Cayo.
"The Independence parade in Cayo, this year, was one to remember forever. The theme 'Many Faces, Many Dreams, One Goal' was beautifully displayed with tons of colors and dances by the parade presenters. From Chinese dragons to clowns, the streets were filled with people jumping up and down celebrating the 31st anniversary of Belize independence. I even saw a very old woman, perhaps 70 years old, dancing to local punta music--How awesome is that?"
Fashion Tribute to History Video
This 'Behind the Scenes' video for the Fashion Tribute to Belizean History rocks! Great music to go with the preparing and the shooting. And they give a mini-biography for Vivian Seay, Dr. Bernice Hulse, Gwendolyn Lizarraga, and Sadie Vernon, the 4 ladies they are emulating in the pictures. Wonderfully done!
"Designer Rebecca Stirm, History Student Cherisse Halsall, and Photographer Monica Gallardo partner to reveal the stories of four outstanding Belizean Historical figures- through fashion."
Autumnal Equinox at Caracol
The Institute of Archaeology had another camping trip to Caracol, this time celebrating the Autumnal Equinox. The got some great pictures of everyone having a fun time. There's one more overnight planned, and that's on the 21st of December, to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar. Contact NICH for more information.
"Diplomatic Corps in Belize attend the 2012 September Equinox ceremony at Caracol."
CCJ Blocks BTL Dividend
Tonight an air of uncertainty hangs over BTL's Annual General Meeting which is scheduled for Friday night.
That's because of a decision coming out of a special sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice which held a videoconference hearing today.
As we reported, the Ashcroft Alliance filed claims at the CCJ in an attempt to block the Government controlled Board from issuing any dividends at the AGM, which is scheduled for Friday.
As we put it last week, an AGM without dividends being paid out - is like a birthday party without the cake - and that's just what the court says has to happen.
Dean Boyce of the BTL Employee's Trust and the British Caribbean Bank had their claims heard this morning at 8 in the Supreme Court.
Their attorneys, Godfrey Smith and Eamon Courtenay, presented their arguments as to why the CCJ should intervene and restrain the Government of Belize, being the majority shareholder, from exercising its power to lead the AGM to the declaration of dividends on Friday.
The attorneys for the GOB, Denys Barrow and Magali Perdomo, responded to those arguments and after about an hour of proceedings, the CCJ ruled in the favor of the Aschroft Alliance, ordering that the declaration of dividends must be adjourned to a date no earlier than December 14, 2012.
Parliament Sharply Divided On Consessions For BSI/ASR
The House of Representatives met today to go through all three readings of the Sugar Industry and Cogeneration Project Incentives Act.
That piece of legislation has been making news this week - because critics say the legislation gives lavish concessions to American Sugar Refining - the new majority shareholders of BSI.
The Government says that it's really nothing new - just a changeover from the BELCOGEN concession given to BSI by the Musa Administration in 2005.
SO, the PUP did it first - and now the UDP did it second….what dies that sound like? Ripe ingredients for a war of words across the house floor, of course. And that's just what we had in a robust, respectful debate that ended in an anticlimax as the opposition walked out.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves - first to the heated words:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"It is part of a development now, which represents the rescue of the Sugar Industry in this country. You already know, because they have been out there that they're opposed. The position being taken is one of ignorance compounded by malice. It is also one of the sharest possible hypocrisies. It is no-doubt the largest all-at-once foreign direct investment in this country in a generation. It is well-known, Mr. Speaker, that in return for an investment of this magnitude, governments all over the developing world offer the sorts of concessions and exemptions that we are offering by way of this bill.
Man Gets Free After Justice Long, Long Delayed
Last night, we promised to give an update in the newscast about the verdict for 22 year-old Justin Orillana who was on trial for the stabbing murder of his stepfather, 38 year-old Cecil Thompson.
Well, we couldn't deliver because the jury didn't return with their decision on Orillana's fate until just after 8:30 p.m., well after the newscast was completed.
They unanimously decided that he was not guilty of murder, but when it came to automatic alternative charge of manslaughter, the jury was deadlocked and couldn't come up with a verdict either way.
After 5 years on remand, he is now acquitted, but very far from being fully exonerated.
Vicious Vandalism At Jaguar Paw On Chukkas Repelling Platform
For weeks in the media you've been hearing the uproar about the rappelling platform that Chukka Tours installed at Jaguar Paw.
Well sometime between Saturday and Sunday someone vandalized the rappelling platform - and form the looks of it wanted to destroy or disable the structure.
According to a release from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the platform was damaged and there was also evidence of fire damage to portions of the entrance stairway to the Crystal Cave.
We spoke with Chukka's country manager Valerie Woods about the extent of the damage:
Valerie Woods - Country Manager, Chukka Tours (Via Telephone)
"The rappelling platform is still intact. There was clearly an attack, and an immature one at that, it appears, to take it down, or to make it unsafe. We have inspectors coming in tomorrow to do - as per our standard operating procedure - a check on the areas that they did try to do damage to. The platform structure itself is intact. There were attempts to try and make a serious safety issue to try to hack saw through some of the metal piping, but as we have continually stated, we build our structures to international standards, and we renege, obviously, from that because of these attempts.
Man Says Someone Burnt His House Down
There was a fire in Belize City around 11 this morning. It happened on Curl Thompson Street in the Port Loyola Area - where a wooden bungalow structure was flattened.
According to neighbors, smoke was seen coming from the roof towards the rear end of the house. 7news spoke with the home owner this morning who told us he strongly believes that his house was set on fire.
Brad Steadman - Homeowner
"When I arrived on the scene, the back of the house was on fire, which has no electricity. At the front, the electricity can't connect, but BEL had already cut out my electricity 2 weeks, and I decided that this Friday, I was going to pay it because I use the light to do art work to run the compressor, spray brush, and other things like that. But, I feel that it's more like sabbotage; somebody who didn't like to see how I employed myself, did this."
Elrington Meets Guat. Counterpart in NYC
One member of the House of Representatives on the UDP side of the floor who was missing from Today's fiery House Meeting was Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington.
That's because he attended the 67th Regular Meeting of General Assembly of the United Nations which was held in New York.
While at the UN General Assembly meeting, Minister Elrington met with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza.
Among the issues they addressed in that meeting was a discussion on the political context in the region, particularly, the issue between Belize and Guatemala over the territorial dispute.
Later in the afternoon, Secretary General Insulza headed a meeting between Foreign Minister Elrington and his Guatemalan counterpart Harold Caballero.
Chiquibul Illegal Logging Very Costly
For years we've been reporting on the Guatemalan incursions into the Chiquibul Forest. First it was Xate but now its logging.
Today in Belmopan the Friends for Conservation and Development, which co-manages the Park, held a forum on the illegal logging situation in the Chiquibul Forest.
It provided an Economic and Ecological Valuation Assessment which made it clear that the cost both to the environment and the economy is staggering. Here's an excerpt:
Boris Arrevalo - Friends For Conservation and Development
"This graph is showing to us that in 2010, the illegal logging influence was just over 18,000 hectares. Then, by 2011 - which was last year - that area had increased to 26,642 hectares. That is an increase of 46.6%. Now, from last year to mid 2012, to when the research finished, we had an incrrease of 28% , giving a total area under illegal logging influence of 34,000. The amount of area being deforested in the Chiquibul Forest is more than just 393 hectares that have been deforested by illegal logging. We have the looting of our Mayan Sites. Just by may field observations, I will say that 95% of all the Mayan structures that have been found in the Chiquibul Forest have been looted already. For NICH, it's an issue. What is the value of that information that we as country are losing.
Rt. Hon. Musa Mauls Hon. Hulse
Last night on this newscast, you heard Senator Minister Godwin Hulse explain why the concessions given to American Sugar Refinery are only an extension of those the previous government gave to BECOL and BSI.
One man who was watching that interview intently was former Prime Minister Said Musa. Today he attacked Senator Hulse on the House Floor - accusing him of massive, multiple conflicts of interests:...
Hon. Said Musa - Fort George, PUP
"I was shocked listening last night, watching the television on Channel 7, and to see a minister of this Government - well, I saw his picture, and he was uttering words to the effect that all the cane farmers need to do is get on with their business, cut the cane, and stop the foolishness - words to that effect. In other words, he was being patronizing to the 6,000 cane farmers of this country, insulting those people, simply because he wanted to a brief for American Sugar Refinery and BSI. But we are not surprised because this minister is also a member of the BSI Board. This minister is collecting a meeting - I am told - over $2,000 for every time he attends a meeting of the BSI Board. This minister of this Government today also has a contract - I am told with BSI - for the sale of sugar. Yes, well, let it be denied if it is not so; he is selling sugar across the border. How can you be a minister, and still be a member of this Board? And the reason why I am singling out this particular minister is because of the deceptive way he spoke in that interview last night on the television."
2012 Tourism Numbers Far From Apocalyptic
Last month, 7News told you about the increase in overnight tourist arrivals and the sharp decrease in cruise tourism when compared to June 2011.
Well today, the BTB released their report FOR JULY AND AUGUST and those months also show increases.
July saw a 7.2% increase in tourist arrivals, adding up to 1,736 more tourists, while August hosted 10.1% more tourists, totalling 1,793.
Cruise arrivals were down up to June of this year, according to the BTB, the third quarter of 2012 began with an increase of 9.6% seeing 35,224 cruise tourists compared to 32,132 from 2011.
BTB believes that by the end of the year, the numbers will greatly improve with the excitement of the end of the Mayan Calendar.
Sugar concession bill passes; Opposition says it’s not sweet
Government today introduced and passed, in one sitting of the House of Representatives, a bill that provides major tax breaks and exemptions as part of the sale of the Belize Sugar Industries to the American Sugar refinery. Copies of the bill which repeals a previous law, were only circulated on Monday afternoon. Cane Farmers who [...]
Opposition rails up with Godwin Hulse
Although the talk at the House was strictly about sugar, all was not sweet. The Opposition took a few aimed shots at Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse for his remarks about the B.S.I. sale to ASR. Hulse, who is also a farmer, was appointed to the B.S.I. Board before his ministerial appointment and has remained [...]
P.U.P. walks out before end of House Meeting
While it appeared in our first story that there were fiery exchanges between the Prime Minister and the Opposition, it was more a juxtaposition of points rather than a heated exchange. That is because when the PM was wrapping up the debate sometime after one o’clock, aiming his usual first shot at Said Musa, the [...]
B.T.L. Employees Trust gets injunction barring issuance of dividends
Dean Boyce on behalf of the B.T.L. Employees Trust and British Caribbean Bank, scored a victory against the Government, preventing Telemedia from paying dividends to shareholders at an early annual general meeting scheduled for this Friday. Boyce and the Bank applied and were granted a hearing via video conference today by the Caribbean Court of [...]
Government’s attorney says suit is an embarrassment to Supreme Court
In June of 2012, Justice Oswell Legall reaffirmed a previous ruling that the 2011 acquisition of Telemedia was null and void because the law passed attached itself to the provision in the 2009 amendment which was also declared void. So Justice Legall believed that to add new provisions unto a law that is void amounts [...]
Are charges pending for suffocation of infant?
For the third time, the aunt of baby Kaylee Burgess has been picked up by the police. Kaylee was murdered at her home in Ladyville on September fifth, two days prior to her second birthday. Since the killing, several relatives have been detained and questioned and now, aside from eighteen year old Saphira Pratt, Kaylee’s [...]
Brad Steadman, victim of fire
A Belize City resident believes his property was deliberately set on fire. Brad Steadman, a struggling artist, was not at the house, which also serves as his studio, when it went up in a blaze. By the time he got to Curl Thompson Street this morning, all his belongings had been destroyed. Steadman says he [...]
The verdict is in and it’s…
A jury of twelve deliberated well into the night on Tuesday in the trial of a man who was charged for the brutal murder of his father. At around eight-thirty p.m., the accused Hattieville resident, twenty-three year old Justin Orillana, was found not guilty of the murder of Cecil Thompson, who was stabbed to death [...]
Kenrick steals a muffler and a PVC pipe
An unemployed construction worker has been accused of stealing from the Port of Belize Limited and today, he was charged in the courtroom of Magistrate Hettie-Mae Stuart. Twenty-six year old Kenrick Flowers was arraigned for Theft in connection with nine hundred dollars in materials that went missing from the Port on September twenty-fourth. He appeared [...]
Peace Corps 50 years in Belize
Two years after then-Senator John F. Kennedy tasked students at a U.S University to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and giving service in developing countries, and a year after it was established in the U.S, members of the Peace Corps were deployed to Belize in 1962. While things have changed [...]
Biscayne Primary School gets a boost from the Chamber of Commerce
It’s the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s birthday, but the teachers and students of the Biscayne Primary School on the Northern Highway had reason to celebrate this morning. Through the efforts of the Chamber and Western Union, the school’s cafeteria has been converted into a more relaxed dining area that is also used as [...]
Tourism war and sabotage at Nohoch Che’en
Now for some bad news, the rappelling platform constructed by Chukka Belize at Caves Branch was recently at the center of contention with the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize. FECTAB claimed that Chukka desecrated the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve and was endangering visitors; those claims were quickly shot down by the National Institute [...]
Bus Fares Adjusted; Ministry to Distribute Rates Shortly
Today bus fares were adjusted to what their original prices were nine years ago. The adjustments in fares affect mainly people who use the western route, since bus operators who conduct runs to Belmopan had started to charge a dollar less to passengers traveling that directio...
Caves Branch Suffers Damages at the Hands of Looters
Tourism has become the bread and butter for many people at home, while foreigners come to enjoy the sea, jungle and wildlife. But while many people were celebrating our nation’s 31st Independence Day anniversary, someone or some people were busily defacing and rendering...
Several Bills Passes Through The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. The main item on the agenda was Sugar Industry and Cogeneration Project Development Bill, 2012. The Bill was introduced by the Prime Minister and taken through all its stages at today’s sitting. What the Bill does is...
University Holds Memorial Service for Student
The University of Belize will be holding a memorial service for one of its students who lost his life two weekends ago. Selwyn King is the Director of Public Information at UB. SELWYN KING Director of Public Information University of Belize “We want to exten...
Minister Hulse Speaks on Shares in Sugar Industry
While Minister Hulse was about to fix the problems that exist within the Immigration Department, he was assuring on the Bill introduced in the House of Representatives this morning that allows the American Sugar Refineries to purchase shares in the Belize Sugar Industries Limited. ...
New Policies and Processes Being Formulated for Belize Immigration Department
Three weeks ago the news broke of an incident at the Immigration office in Belize City where an alleged terrorist linked to Hezbollah received a false Belizean identity in a matter of two days. Since the incident, the supervisor at the Immigration office who approved the passport...
Chinese Store Closes After Being Robbed
During the September Celebrations another business establishment was robbed in the Corozal District. Reports are that the incident transpired around 7:00 on the 20th night and this time the victims were once again the proprietors of Lisa’s Fast Food located on 5th Avenue, Corozal Town. On the night of the robbery the owner of the establishment Weiquin Zhu was behind the counter attending to various customers when he was approached by two armed masked men.
Reports are that while one of the robbers guarded the entrance of the establishment, the other individual proceeded to rob Zhu of approximately $500 in cash. Both men then made good their escape.
Back in September 1st, the establishment was robbed by 4 male persons wearing masks and armed with 9mm pistols. The four assailants made good their escape with over $28,000: $10,000 in different denominations and $8,000 worth in items.
Bus Fares To Go Up Here In The North
If you’ve been keeping up with recent news then you know that on September 22nd the new prices for commuters traveling from Belize to Belmopan came into effect. According to spokesperson for the Belize Bus Association, Patrick Menzies, Southern Belize is already aligned with the new prices and now their focus is on the north.
Menzies says that prices will not be increased but rather adjusted to the expenses being incurred by bus operators. In the last two decades prices have been changed in two occasions. In 1992, bus fares were increased by 9 cents per mile in the Stann Creek and the Toledo Districts, and 7cents per mile in the remainder of the country. In 2002, an Internal Policy authorized the price change to 10 cents per mile. The adjustment of prices is needed since Government is not subsidizing bus operators, according to Menzies.
Patrick Menzies, Spokesperson BBA
“All what is happening right now is the readjustment to fallback in the areas of the country is not yet there, in the south of the country we are already there and the goal is by hopefully next March to be right where the south is because that is the more realistic cause for travelling and the main here we also looking at ADO the Mexican owned operated bus company that operates in Belize City they are charging $0.19 cents a mile to the border and our Belizean operators in Belize City can only charge $0.10 cents a mile to the border and obviously that will not change right now but we are looking at readjustment across the board where our bus operators can be able to be competitive and can provide good service in good buses with good tires as Belizeans deserve the best.”
With the assistance of the Ministry of Transport and commuters, services provided by bus operators are expected to improve as soon as prices are adjusted.
PUP Northern Caucus Speaks Out Against Proposed Bill
It all sounds like a good deal for BSI who is the largest cane producer. A deal that will put the sugar company way ahead of cane farmers when it comes to cane production. As mentioned, the bill won’t be introduced at the House of Representatives until tomorrow but it’s already causing controversy. This morning the P.U.P Northern Caucus fired off a press release which states that the bill, as it stands, will allow BSI to produce sugar cane at a much lower cost while cane farmers continue to struggle to meet the daily escalating costs. This afternoon CTV3 News spoke to Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai, who told us the northern caucus is not supportive of the bill.
Louisiana Government School Upgrades Computer Lab
The Belize Literacy Program is an educational initiative carried out by Rotary International across the country of Belize. The goal of the program is to develop the teaching skills of educator’s and also to enhance the various subjects taught at the primary school level, including language arts, math and science. The Belize Literacy Program also works hand in hand with the Ministry of Education by supplying internet access and computers to schools which participate in the program. Here in Orange Walk Louisiana Government School was one of the two educational institutions which took part in this year’s literacy program and for that they were awarded a total of 20 laptops among other items.
During the first two weeks of August 2012, teachers of various primary schools from across the country participated in workshops funded by Rotary International as part of the Belize Literacy Program. All the schools whose teachers participated in the workshops were awarded with netbooks and LCD projectors including the Louisiana Government School who received 20 fully equipped netbooks with 2 LCD projectors. The donation, worth a little over $15,000, was handed over to the school yesterday by President of San Ignacio Rotary Club and Chairlady of the Belize Literacy Program, Eve Aird.
SIF Donates To Louisiana Government School
Back in 2006 the Social Investment Fund was granted a budget of a little over $200,000 to construct a four classroom building with bathroom facilities for the Louisiana Government School. After the building was constructed there was a remaining balance of $4,000 which was also put to good use.
Enrique Ayuso Jr. VP, Upper Division
“Now this building was done a couple years ago and after all the paper work was done and all the reports were in, they reported to us that a balance of monies were left from the project, it was a small amount of about $4000.00 but it was savings that belong to the school.”
Enrique Ayuso Jr. VP, Upper Division
“The saving of that building, so at that same time we were making an inventory of our existing computer lab which has some computer that are now outdated, they are about seven or eight year old desktops and especially the hard drives are not up to par for the minimum that we need to do the regular work in school so we were already looking at our systems and we were thinking of upgrading our system units, so when this opportunity came from SIF we decided to make a proposal so our lab technician Mr Romero worked hard to get a proposal of some of the basic upgrades that we need for our different computer systems.”
GOB Proposes Sweet Deal For ASR
Tomorrow there will be a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives where the Sugar Industry and Cogeneration Project bill will be tabled for approval. But even before the bill is presented in the House of Representatives, it is already the topic of major discussion, and that’s to put it lightly. Here is why.
All indications are that American Sugar Refinery, who is set to become the new owner of the Belize Sugar Industry Limited, reached some type of accommodation agreement with government whereby they will benefit from major tax exemptions. According to the bill, BSI and Belcogen will be exempted from paying income and business tax for the period January 1st 2008 to 31st December 2012. If the payment has been made, both the income and business taxes will be retroactive, meaning that Government will return the money to BSI.
But that’s not all because the bill also proposes that the company receives partial yearly tax exceptions. The bill proposes for BSI and Belcogen to receive 80% tax exemption from January 1st 2013 to December 31st 2013, sixty percent reduction in 2014, forty percent in 2015 and twenty percent in 2016. The agreement, which from all indications is sweeter than sugar, also proposes that BSI and Belcogen withhold paying tax on dividends for a period of five years with effect from September 1st 2012 and that the companies be exempted from customs and excise duties from September 2012 to 2022, that’s a period of ten years. But the bill goes even further. It also proposes the companies be granted a 50% reduction on stamp duties and it gives BSI the unrestricted right to export raw sugar and molasses for a period of ten years with effect from September 1st 2012.
A stage presentation for charity will be hosted in the Bliss
Magnolia Vargas, Hand in Hand Ministries:
The weekend is still a ways off; but if you’re already making plans, you might want to pencil in visit to the Bliss for a stage presentation for charity. Love TV’s Marion Ali has a preview.
A local government training was held in Belmopan
A local government training was held yesterday in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz filed this report on Monday.
Toledo district complains on the weekend celebrations
Activities for the thirty first anniversary of Belize’s Independence have come and gone. But one community in the Toledo district is complaining that they were left high and dry this past weekend. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung heard their complaints and files the following report.
A Dangriga youth dies from cancerous tumor
Five months ago, Love News brought you the story of a Dangriga youth with a bright smile but battling a large cancerous tumor that was literally sucking the life right out of him. Joslyn Paulino was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma and he ended up with an enlarged tumor on one of his legs. The sad news tonight is that Paulino lost his three-year battle with the disease over the weekend. Paulino’s family were hoping that someone would perform a surgery to remove the deadly tumor and although the doctor held there was nothing more to do, Paulino remained firm in his faith in God right up until the end. Here is a clip of that story which was initially presented by Reporter Natalie Novelo and Videographer Brian Castillo back in April.
Joslyn Paulino will be laid to rest this coming Saturday in Dangriga town following funeral services at three o’clock in the afternoon.
OCEANA Belize vs the Government of Belize
Today the case of OCEANA Belize versus the Government of Belize was more of a case management issue than a proceeding. The case before Justice Michelle Arana has to do with OCEANA Belize, which is asking the court to review a decision by the Chief Elections Officer to reject the signatures of over eight thousand people who signed a petition brought forth against offshore drilling in Belize. The history to the case is that in 2008, the government had amended the Referendum Act which gives Belizeans the right to ask for a referendum in legitimate circumstances. The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, through its member, OCEANA Belize, had attempted in December of 2011 to test the soundness of the amended Act when it called for Belizean registered voters to sign their petition asking the Government to hold a referendum on whether offshore oil drilling should be allowed. For it to have garnered the Government’s attention, it needed to have received the signatures of at least ten percent of the registered voters of Belize. It received over twenty thousand signatures, which was at least three thousand more than the seventeen thousand 140 signatures required. But around forty percent of the signatures were rejected by the Chief Elections Officer because upon scrutiny they had not met the requirements of the Elections and Boundaries Department. OCEANA did not feel that the rejections were proper on several grounds, particularly because there was no expert advice utilized in the screening process of the signatures that were rejected. OCEANA got permission from the court to start those proceedings. Today we heard from its Vice President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd just where the case stands.
The Government is expected to file its defense by this Friday.
PUP host a series of activities for birthday celebration.
In celebration of its sixty second birthday, the People’s United Party is hosting a series of activities. Today they mounted an Open House at Independence Hall on Queen Street Belize City. Secretary General of the PUP told us more about the occasion.
Palacio told us about further events the PUP is looking forward to.
Tomorrow’s Public Education Forum will commence at 6:30pm at Independence Hall and will be broadcast live on Love Television.
The Biscayne Primary School renovated its cafeteria
Vanessa Peyrifitte Director member, BCCI:
The Biscayne Primary School in the Belize district is getting a much needed renovation of its cafeteria. The upgraded facility comes courtesy the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The renovation of the Biscayne School cafeteria is part of the Chamber’s twentieth anniversary as a Western Union country agent for Belize. According to the director of member relations at BCCI Vanessa Peyrifitte, when they visited the school they found the cafeteria in a state of disrepair.
The inauguration of the newly refurbished Biscayne Primary School cafeteria will take place at ten o’clock on Wednesday morning at the school’s compound on the Phillip S.W. Goldson Highway. A few years ago, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry had adopted the school and donated a computer room with equipment for use by the students and teachers.
PM Barrow talks crime in Independence Speech
Residents of Belize have been affected by acts of violence whether directly or indirectly. Over recent years crimin..
Belmopan's George Price Boulevard now trafficable
The Garden City is a growing metropolis. And with progress comes problems. One of those pesky issues is the accessi..
More Belmopan streets to be paved shortly
The City of Belmopan is already undergoing infrastructure improvement works. These street projects will satisfy a n..
Guerra Bus gets heat for "Sugar Daddy" display
Yesterday Activist Richard Smith brought to our attention a term he views as derogatory, plastered on the back door..
Second Burglary in 3 weeks for Corozal restaurant
A Corozal business takes a second hit in less than 3 weeks. Lisa’s Restaurant situated on 5th Avenue was the target..
Corozal and Orange Walk Town streets to be upgraded
A facelift is coming to the community where you live. The Belize Municipal Development Project is the ambitious ini...
Ministry of health celebrates Wellness Week
The Ministry of Health has joined the Caribbean Community in celebrating Caribbean Wellness Week. This year Belize ..
Education Day held at Georgetown Tech
Student teachers of the Secondary and Primary Teacher Training Programmes in the Banana Belt Communities exhibited ..
Corozaleno arrested for brandishing unlicensed firearm
A man was arrested and charged for keeping an unlicensed firearm. On Wednesday the 19th Of September, at about 10:3..
Cabinet has approved new Bus fare rates
A press release was issued just this evening by the Ministry of Works and Transport regarding the increase in bus f..
Four cases of rape occur over Independence Weekend
We begin with four cases of rape, three occurring over the holiday weekend. A 19-year old female of Cayo District r..
Home invasion in Jalacte Toledo
There was a home invasion and robbery reported on Saturday. A 57 year old woman told police that on Saturday the 22..
Belize City man robbed of $400.00
A Belize City man was robbed of seven hundred dollars. According to Andrew Usher, on September 8th, at 2:00pm, he w..
Man fires shots at Police officer
There was a shooting in Belize City on Saturday morning but no one was hurt in that incident. 29 year old Police Co..
Man stabbed by his Ex's Boyfriend
A Belize City man was allegedly stabbed by his ex girlfriend’s new boyfriend. It happened on Independence day at a ..
Fall is in the air...or would that be Rainy Season returning?
It takes time to get used to the fact that Belize doesn't have the same concept of the four seasons we are used to in the United States. In North Carolina, where I grew up and spent most of my life, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are distinct seasons and provide an easy way to refer to times of year. "Last winter we went to Florida," or "Sure has been an early spring," or "The leaves are especially pretty this fall."
Here in Belize, the year is not structured exactly the same. Instead of the four seasons I'm used to, there are only two: dry season and rainy season. The latter is the longest, stretching from June through December in most cases, though this year it seemed to last through January and start up again in May, leaving but a short three-month dry season. Even during rainy season, it certainly doesn't rain all the time. It rains more at night than during the day, but storms are more frequent and can be heavy, even if short-lived. Occasionally it stays gray and rains off and on all day long, but that is rare. And it rains on occasion even during dry season, but much less frequently.
This year -- this "summer" -- just when we thought rainy season was here to stay, Mother Nature's waterworks turned off. Although I don't have official rainfall statistics to quote, on Ambergris Caye July was dryer than June, August seemed dryer still (with the exception of our brief brush with Hurricane Ernesto in the early part of the month), and September was downright desert-like. Even the locals were complaining about the heat and dry weather, and passing motor vehicles kicked dusty dirt in our eyes when they passed us on the unpaved roads. It was 83 or 84F every morning by the time I got up (6:30 to 7 am). Almost every day without fail, the skies were brilliant blue, the sun was shining brightly, and it was a perfect time for visitors to enjoy a tropical island vacation. But for residents, the lack of clouds and cooling rain can get a bit stifling over time.
And then it changed.
San Pedro is in for a treat
Last week at trivia I got talking with Surendra and he asked me if I was going to the big benefit concert Thursday night at Wet Willy’s. I dodged giving a direct answer and mentioned how Cheryl Bowen had sent me the info and I was going to blog it. He offered to send Karen’s Bio and said he would hook me up with tickets.
I have to admit I am not a huge country fan and prefer old school like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. After getting Karen’s Bio from Surendra I got to thinking, does what I like? After all tickets are only $15 and Mama Vilma’s Family Home is a great cause. So I decided to rope Cowboy Doug, Leisa and tacoboy in for a date night and got us all tickets. Surendra even rode his bike hand delivered them to me at the pool bar and grill – how easy is that.
While we were sitting at the picnic table chatting he said that there was a recent post on Ambergris Caye message board, Karen Waldrup to perform benefit concert and how well known Memphis Blogger Carbunkle Trumpet mentioned he had caught her show last night and she killed it! San Pedro is in for a treat!
This is getting more promising by the minute.
Chaa Creek’s Maya Village Opens up a Fascinating World
How to condense thousands of years of a rich cultural heritage into a one or several day experience? Belize’s Lodge at Chaa Creek is creating a unique Maya Cultural Village to give visitors a crash course in this ancient culture while introducing them to contemporary Maya village life, according to the eco resort’s resident Mayanist, Joe Awe.
“The 2012 Winter Solstice on December 21 is so important to Maya everywhere that we want to make sure it’s celebrated with the respect and energy it deserves. And his means that participants learn about the Maya culture generally, as well as the significance of the 2012 Winter Solstice. We want our guests, especially those taking advantage of the all-inclusive Belize Maya Winter Solstice Vacation packages, to get as much out of the experience as possible,” Mr Awe said.
The Chaa Creek Maya Cultural Village is being constructed for Belize’s 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations, and will feature representational dwellings as well as hands-on workshops and demonstrations on various aspects of Maya culture and day-to-day-life, Mr Awe said.
In addition to popular Maya cooking classes, there will be demonstrations in slate, stone and wood carving, pottery making, weaving, roof thatching and other skills thousands of years old and still practiced by today’s Maya, who make up some 12% of Belize’s population.
Mr. Awe said that during cooking classes, guests will learn to make tortillas, Maya tamales and other meals from recipes developed thousands of years before the birth of Christ and still considered essential in Maya households today. The Maya were the first people to use and cultivate cacao to make chocolate, and Mr Awe said many Chaa Creek guests return home with the recipes to make xocoatl, the Maya hot chocolate beverage that introduced the world to chocolate.
My Top Eats in Belize
One of my first happy discoveries about Belize was how wonderful and varied the food is. Generally inexpensive,dining in Belize is a treat. There’s great variety, ingredients are fresh, and hygiene is never a worry. I’ve dined with gusto from excellent resort kitchens to beach shacks and the humblest of street side vendors, and never had a rumble of tummy discontent. It’s usually real food made by real folks with a certain amount of Belize’s national ingredient – pride.
Any selection of the Belizean culinary arts is by nature a multicultural melange, and here are my top favourites.
Second Slovak murder suspect reportedly resident in Belize
In addition to murder suspect Karol Mello, whose case has been closely followed in recent weeks by the Slovak media, another Slovak with a criminal past has sought refuge in the Central American state, the Nový Čas daily reported on Wednesday, September 26.
Viliam Mišenka, who is accused by Slovak police of five murders and the theft of more than €5 million, also currently lives in Belize, allegedly as Mello's neighbour. The daily quotes an anonymous source from Belize who said that Mišenka is conducting business related to real estate and is a partner in an internet cafe. The Slovak police and the local authorities are reportedly aware of his presence in Belize.
Mišenka and Mello are joint suspects in two cases, the murders of Peter Čongrády and of Jozef Gudab. According to Nový Čas, the two fugitives met in Kosovo in July 2011, before their respective moves to Belize.
On Thursday, September 27, Nový Čas reported that the X Lounge bar in San Pedro, Belize, which according to local media belongs to Mello, has been offered for sale on the coldwellbankerbelize.com website. “Sellers are moving and need to sell,” the ad states.
Belize, Suriname Foreign Ministers Meet With OAS in New York
Belize Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and Suriname Foreign Minister Winston Lackin met with Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza in New York Wednesday.
Elrington’s discussions focused on the region’s current political context and on Belize’s territorial dispute with Guatemala.
Following the discussions, Elrington met with his Guatemalan counterpart, Harold Caballeros.
In his conversation with Lackin, Insulza urged Suriname’s government to make a decision on the composition, objectives and application of a proposed truth and reconciliation commission on the so-called “December” murders of the 1980s.
Lackin thanked the OAS for sending a fact-finding mission related to Suriname’s request for help in setting up the commission.
Belize gets another 60 days to finalise bond payment
Belize has cleared half of the overdue interest payments to bondholders, who in turn have given the debt-ridden country another two months to clear the coupon payment.
Belize last week paid US$11.7 million of a US$23-million interest bill on its superbond.
In turn, the committee formed to negotiate on behalf of bondholders, Coordinating Committee of Belize Bondholders (CCOBB), indicated that it saw the payment as a sign of good faith and urged creditors to give Belize breathing space during the 60-day period.
"The committee is recommending that other bondholders refrain from seeking legal remedies during this period," said A.J. Mediratta, of Greylock Capital Management and co-chair of the Committee.
Belize was initially to make the interest payment on August 20, but got a 30-day reprieve to source funds
for what was the first interest payment on the restructured 2029 superbond.
Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve Declared in Belize
The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was enacted on Tuesday (9/25/12) by the Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Belize’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The act will manage and protect the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean announced Craig Hayes, Board Chairman of Turneffe Atoll Trust and owner/operator of Turneffe Flats Resort.
“This 325,000 acre Marine Reserve, the largest in Belize, will benefit Turneffe’s commercial fishermen, its tourism sector, the atoll’s environment and all Belizeans. It has been established through the hard work and dedication of several individuals and organizations including the Turneffe Atoll Trust, the Fisheries Department, Turneffe’s fishermen and several non-governmental agencies,” he said.
Establishing Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve makes it possible to sustainably manage the unique environmental, economic and social aspects of the area located some 30 miles off the country’s mainland.