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The San Pedro Sun
Paddleboarding- An Attempt
Kerplunk!! Splash!! Instant wipeout…those are generally not the things one wants to report on of their first attempt at a water sport. But then again, when one can hardly keep balance while sober, in flats, on steady ground, what should we expect when confronted with choppy water and something resembling a surfboard?
I don’t know about you, but I have spent the majority of my 31 years of life stating the obvious: ‘Someday I am going to do X, Y, Z…’ Then another year flies by and I realize that I have not accomplished a single task I have promised myself. So when the invitation to try paddleboarding came from a woman I truly admired, Pam Killen, there was no way I would pass it up.
House chores? Forget them… Lunch needed to be prepared? Fuggeddaboutit! I was determined to do something for myself. Accompanied by the big boss, who armed herself with a camera to capture my attempts (and perhaps to have something on record for when she needed a chuckle) – we drove up to the spot where I would learn.
Great video of the Holy Saturday cycling race by Astrum Helicopters
Astrum Helicopters managed to capture a unique view of the 85th annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic which took place on Saturday March 30th, 2013.
Organized by the Belize Cycling Association, the race attracted 87 riders included 6 from the USA, 10 Mexicans and 2 Guatemalans. Belizean Darnell Barrow is the big 2013 winner after crossing the finish line in a surprise sprint from behind. Barrow completed the 139.6-mile race in 5 hours 46 minutes and 49 seconds, ahead of 40 other riders who completed the competition.
BTL launches new directory and features Belizean agricultural crops
Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) has launched their new 2013 telephone directory. The launching of the book took place on March 27th in San Ignacio Town. BTL said that over 50,000 copies of their directory were printed for distribution to its customers countrywide.
The cover of the directory along with an explanation inside the directory is one of the ways that BTL helps in promoting Belize. This year, the cover features the country’s diverse cuisine and the bountiful fresh fruits and crops. The hard cover of the directory features the colorful and diverse fresh crops available at the San Ignacio Marketplace.
“BTL’s 2013 telephone directory highlights food and its preparation in its simplistic form as well as that of five star quality chefs. The representation in our pages is an amalgamation of all ethnicities and highlights the diversity of textures and flavors from simple to the complex…. To appreciate the gastronomic concoctions which make up our local dishes, we take time to focus on the raw ingredients that it takes to prepare a plated meal on this year’s cover,” explains BTL in describing the cover of the directory.
Special Envoy for Women & Children to launch children’s book “My Body is Precious”
Special Envoy for Women & Children - April 8, 2013 - The office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation will be launching a children’s book entitled “My Body is Precious”.
It is becoming increasingly important to discuss the sensitive subject of Sexual Abuse of Children. Recognizing that it is not an easy conversation to have, the office of the Special Envoy partnered with the Ministry of Human Development and with assistance from UNICEF, they were able to produce 30,000 copies of the child-friendly “good touch, bad touch” booklet to be distributed countrywide.
“My Body is Precious” is part of a national public information campaign on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and follows successful symposiums hosted by my Office in August 2010 and October 2011. The book, which targets children between the ages of 6 and 10 years, will assist parents who have a hard time talking about the Sexual Abuse of Children while teaching children what to do if they are touched inappropriately. We hope that this book will ultimately contribute to the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as an increase in perpetrators being reported and convicted.
Isla Bonita Elementary School Sister School Relationship
We have heard about sister city relationships as our town has made several of these! But never have we heard of sister school relationship; well Isla Bonita Elementary School will be the first to make this tie with a school from Kingston, Ontario and will greatly benefit from its relationship.
Principal Addy Trejo and members of the school board met with Mrs. Judy Regis, a long time visitor and friend of the island who is the Independent Living Skills Coordinator at Independent Living Center Kingston, Ontario. She will be assisting in arranging the sister school relationship with an elementary school at Kingston, Ontario.
Children's Book “My Body is Precious” To be Launched
The office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation will be launching a children’s book entitled “My Body is Precious”.
It is becoming increasingly important to discuss the sensitive subject of Sexual Abuse of Children. Recognizing that it is not an easy conversation to have, my office partnered with the Ministry of Human Development and with assistance from UNICEF, we were able to produce 30,000 copies of the child-friendly “good touch, bad touch” booklet to be distributed countrywide.
Pic of the Week:
Romantic Wedding Destinations in Belize
Saying "I Do' in Belize cannot be any more spectacular. Here is another amazing destination wedding capture by Jose Luis Zapata, a local photographer in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, who concentrates on wedding photography. As the sun sets on Ambergris Caye, another couple celebrates in the joy of committing their lives to each other.
Misc Belizean Sources
HOW YOU CAN END THE GUATEMALAN CLAIM
Assad Shoman speaks/argues for the yes ICJ vote...in a booklet. This paper is about Guatemala ́s claim to the territory of Belize and the recent decision by the governments of both countries to submit the claim to the International Court of Justice for final binding adjudication and for delimiting their respective land and maritime borders. It gives a short history of the claim and describes efforts by Britain and Belize to resolve the dispute, Belize ́s attainment of independence in 1981 and subsequent attempts to end the dispute. The paper is written from the viewpoint of a Belizean, and focuses on the decision to submit the dispute to the ICJ after simultaneous referenda in both countries approve such submission, examines arguments for and against going to the ICJ and argues forcefully that it is in the best interests of both countries to have the dispute finally ended by a decision of the ICJ.
May 4th Event in Maya Centre
Explore Maya Culture!
Herbal Medicine Workshop—Led by Aurora Garcia Saqui, Maya Healer
Traditional Mayan Cooking & Cacao Processing Demonstration
Buffet Lunch: Delicious traditional Maya cuisine
Botanical Garden Tour—Led by Caroline Herrnon, Botanist at University of Belize
Maya Marimba, Flute & Drumming Session—Led by Reyes Chun, Maya Musician
Volunteer group finds most of Belize-Guatemala border cleared
Last Saturday morning, a group of approximately 60 members of a group calling themselves the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) boarded buses and vehicles in Punta Gorda for the rough road journey to the village of Dolores on the southern Belize-Guatemala border.
After almost three hours of travel to the border, the BTV group began a strenuous hike to the borderline. Just before reaching the border, the group was met by Organization of American States (OAS) representatives, who informed the group that they had reached the borderline and warned them not to proceed further west.
A local Mayan resident in the group of BTV volunteers advised that the group had in fact not yet reached the border, so the group proceeded to push forward to the cement survey marker despite the comment from the OAS representative.
Upon reaching the official survey marker it became clear to the group why the representative did not want them to proceed further west. The BTV delegation found a large palm oil plantation, with massive areas of land including the borderline already cleared. The BTV group then moved on from that position and hiked to another area north, where again they encountered a cleared border with cornfields that unquestionably crossed into Belize territory. Continuing along the border with the intention of clearing the line, the BTV group found large pasture territory after a long hike through the cornfields.
“As far as we are concerned, all of that area of the borderline is already cleared. We estimate that almost 80 percent of the border between Belize and Guatemala is likely already cleared. We hope to continue the clearing, finishing before the end of the dry season,” said Wil Maheia, leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.
The San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Transport Department strongly recommend that all Bicycle travelers have their bicycles properly equipped with lights, a bell, reflectors and brakes. Traffic Wardens will be carrying out inspections. These measures are to improve traffic safety, especially at night.
San Pedro bikes need light, bell, reflectors
San Pedro Traffic Department and the San Pedro Town Council advise cyclists to install lights, bells, and reflectors on their bikes.
Get further information by calling 226-2198.
Photo: Former Britain Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and Father of the Nation, George Price
Believe in Graciano
12 year old Graciano Ramos received severe head injuries when he fell off a tree house where he was playing. Hello, my name is Angel Cabrera...an active member of the Rotaract Club of Orange Walk in Belize. As part of this charitable organization, myself and another member, Stephanie Acosta, have decided to seek financial assistance for a young boy from the neighborhood.
Young Graciano Ramos is only 12 years old, and has unfortunately suffered a tragic accident...a couple months ago, he was playing on a make shift tree-house in the neighborhood when he fell off and received severe head injuries which have caused his brain to become swollen...as a result, a part of his skull has been removed to help alleviate the pain and discomfort of the swollen brain. He had lost mobility completely, but is slowly regaining feelings in the hands.
The Lionfish Invasion – How Did It Start?
Since 2002, the exotic lionfish has been making appearances in new places, where it had never been sighted before. The lionfish invasion, as marine biologists now call it, was first observed in waters off of North Carolina in August of that year.
These Atlantic waters are not native to the beautiful yet poisonous lionfish. At first the sightings here were regarded as highly unusual, and the specimen the divers who saw it collected was the only proof that lionfish were present in the area at that time.
Over the course of the next year, there were 19 other recorded lionfish sightings at eight separate dive sights along the North Carolina coast. The Lionfish had by then also been seen off of Georgia, Florida, and even Long Island in New York which was the furthest North a Lionfish had ever been seen.
New Basket Ball Court for Calla Creek School
Feelgood news of the day. Calla Creek primary school is getting a new basketball court, courtesy of 4 the World Belize. 4 the World has been very active in Calla Creek.
2013 Telephone Directory Video
BTL has a video out about the new 2013 Telephone Directory. This year, they teamed up with the Belize Tourism Board, and they came up with a new style that focuses on Belizean food and culture. Well done, BTL, well done.
Swigs Party with Cloud 9
The Swigs Party is this Friday night, April 12th, at the Bedran Hall in the SIRH. Cloud 9 will be there, along with a battle of the DJ's competition, great food, and Caribbean Cooler sample shots. The Hands for Life club is having this dance to buy school supplies and build playgrounds for Cayo primary school students.
Study Abroad in Belize with I.S.I.S.
The Institute for Sustainable International Studies has updated their website, and added upcoming semester's schedules. Their lineup of professors and lecturers is more than impressive. Call it a 'learning vacation.'
"We are the Institute for Sustainable International Studies, ISIS Belize, dedicated to providing a wide variety of experiential learning, focusing on sustainability. We deliver customized learning programs utilizing the natural wonders of Belize; sharing and respecting Belize's cultural diversity, incredible bio-systems and rich heritage."
CARICOM’s official song competition; Belizean artists invited to apply
The Caribbean Community, better known as CARICOM, was birthed with the vision that standing together, the region could represent a formidable force and voice. As CARICOM prepares to mark its fortieth anniversary this year, it is launching an official competition: its first music and lyrics song competition. It is a search for an original piece to be used at official functions including the meeting of CARICOM heads of government and regional and international events. The winning song will be officially launched at the thirty-fourth regular meeting of the conference of Heads of Government to be held in July 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago. And so the National Institute of Culture and History is inviting local artists and musicians to get into those studios and make their submissions. Public Relations Officer, Shari Williams, spoke today to intern Rhiannon Richards.
“Blinded by the Light” in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Didn’t feel that there was anything really interesting to publish an edition about yesterday. That statement,of course, assumes that when I do publish an edition it is of interest!
A rather uneventful Sunday apart from watching Spurs drop two points with a draw against Everton. Disappointing that they only dropped the two points because at one stage it had looked like they were going to lose all three.
With the game ‘out of the way’ Rose and I then turned our attention (again) to browsing the Internet. This time to narrow down our selections for door furniture (doors and kitchen cabinets), fans and lights. Making a choice on lighting has been more challenging than we had imagined it would be.
One reason for this is that we hadn’t considered the lighting needs for the stairwell which, because of its design, for part of it will have a floor to ceiling height of over thirty feet. It was only when walking around the house on Saturday that the realisation of this came to us.
March 31, 2013 - April 6, 2013 Fishing Report
Mid week winds put a damper on tarpon fishing but when the winds laid down we had a great day on Saturday. The permit fishing was steady even with the windy center of the week. Special notes go to some great kids that are throwing some serious amounts of fly line – Christopher and Parker. Slightly older, but on track to be great fly fishermen were high schoolers Michael and Carter. --Ed
Guatemala Heads To OAS To Talk Referendum
On Wednesday, Guatemala's Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera is going to Washington to have a one-on-one meeting with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. According to the Prensa Libre, he's going to ask the OAS to postpone the simultaneous referendums planned for October 6th, 2013.
It might appear to be a sly move to go behind Belize's back because the Barrow Government and the PUP Opposition have rejected Guatemala's proposal to change the referendum date.
But that's not the interpretation taken by Belize's Foreign Ministry CEO Alexis Rosado. He told us that Guatemala is free to have its own meetings with Secretary General Insulza - and Belize's foreign minister had a similar meeting two weeks ago. But he says, any discussions on the way forward will have to be done jointly.
Clearing the Border Where The Borderline Is Not So Clear
On Saturday, the Belize Territorial Volunteers went to one of the southernmost communities in the Toledo District called Dolores on their second expedition to clear the border. It's part of the organization's patriotic - and largely symbolic effort - to provide the country with a clear delineation between Belize and Guatemala.
The BTV, numbering in almost 70 persons, left PG Town from about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday and headed west. This time, there were no jungles or forests; instead, they were met with cleared land for Guatemalan plantations and farms which they strongly believe - also backed up by GPS readings - are encroaching on Belizean territory.
He spoke to us about the effort via phone with us today, and he also touched on the alarming road access that Guatemala has to these border communities if they should decide on military intervention into Belize.
Man Critical After Collision With Cement Fence
A man is in critical condition after he crashed into a fence in Lord's Bank just after midnight on Friday.
45 year old Horace Williams was driving a Mazda pickup when he slammed into the fence on Cuello Street. He was knocked unconscious, while his passenger, 43 year old Enrique Pook received a cut to his head and hand.
The pickup was crushed against the cement fence and Williams had to be extricated form the truck by the Fire Department.
Williams and Pook were taken to the KHMH where Williams is reported in critical condition while Pook was treated and released.
Woman Knocked Down In Front Of Hospital
Just before midday today, a woman was knocked down on Princess Margaret Drive. She was attempting to cross the street to the KHMH when she was hit by a Ford Ranger pickup truck which pulled out from the KHMH entrance, against the flow of traffic into the street.
When our news team arrived on the scene approximately 15 minutes after the accident, the injured woman was still lying on the street in the boiling sun as she was being interviewed by a police officer.
Finally after the wait, she was picked up by a Bert Ambulance and taken across the street to the KHMH. We understand that's he was treated and released sometime this afternoon. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Virgillo Soravia of a La Croix boulevard address.
The Other Man Shot By A GST Senior Staffer Speaks Up
Last week, we told you about Renaldo Verde, the senior staffer at the GST Department Headquarters who shot 29 year-old Allen Martinez and shattered his Pelvis on San Pedro on Easter Sunday. He remains at prison tonight hoping to get bail from the Supreme Court for a single charge of dangerous harm with a firearm.
As we reported, Verde and Allen Martinez had a misunderstanding in at a hotel in San Pedro - which resulted in an altercation. Verde then pulled his licensed weapon and shot Allen in the left hip, which exited his left buttocks.
Verde's attorney, Michael Peyrefitte, filed the bail application last week Friday, and it is now before the Supreme Court to be conidered on when the matter can be heard.
And so, while he's hoping that the court will grant him bail in the near future, a man from his past is outraged that he's even being given an opportunity - which is his constitutional right - to be freed until his trial date.
Joseph Nunez is the man who Verde shot on November 13, 2004, and even though it happened 8 years and 4 months ago, Nunez remembers it as if though it was yesterday.
Man Tried To Leave Weed With Chinese Grocer
Tonight, 29 year-old Donald Leslie Gaskin, a resident of Kraal Road is in custody, and he will remain there until he can meet bail after he was taken to court for being in possession of just under a pound of weed.
According to police, at around 11:20 in the morning on Friday, April 5, they were on mobile patrol in the Faber's Road area when they saw Gaskin acting suspiciously.
He had a knapsack in his possession and was seen trying to dispose of it inside a Chinese grocery store. But the shop-keeper, who noticed that he was trying to hide the bag in her shop, pushed back the bag at him.
Police detained Gaskin, and in his presence, they searched the bag and found 4 parcels of cannabis, amounting to 433 grammes - or 15 ounces inside it.
88 Year Old And Common Law Spared In Fire
There was a fire in Belize City yesterday afternoon where a pair of old wooden buildings burned.
The news is that the buildings were the property of and occupied by an elderly couple - and if it weren't for the kindness of neighbors, they could have perished inside. And while they survived, tonight they've lost everything.
Today fire victim Shedrock McKoy told us more:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
Shedrock McKoy - 88 year old Fire Victim
"If I never had good neighbors; I would have burnt up myself"
88 year old Shedrock Mckoy and his common law wife are lucky to be alive after their wooden home on Causarina Street caught on fire on Sunday afternoon.
He had gone to buy water - for his common law, who is incapacitated:
"Well, I went out to get some water; I have to feed my lady. She is a Garifuna girl, we live together for 28 years but she can't walk. She took ill."
And when he came home, water, plenty of it, was needed:
Will Baby Kaylee Burgess Ever Get Justice?
Yesterday made 7 months since the murder of baby Kaylee Burgess. The 2 year old child's body was found behind her maternal grandmother's house -face down in a bucket of water in September of 2012.
At the time, the child had been left in the care of her 19 year old aunt - who told police that the 2 year old went missing from her care while she was watching the evening news. Even though it was made to seem like little Kaylee accidentally drowned herself in a bucket of water, her postmortem stated otherwise that Kaylee did not drown; instead, someone had suffocated her. Since then, police have been treating the child's death as a homicide. But it's 7 months later, and still no one has been charged. 7news travelled to Ladyville today to speak with baby Kaylee's mother who told us in the interview that she has lost all hopes in the justice system:
Deidra Pratt - Mother of 2 year old Kaylee Burgess
"Well, so far, what I know, it's gone cold. It's like no investigation is happening. It's already closed; nobody is doing anything. It's like they already forgot about my daughter already. Kevin and I visited the station so many times. We haven't gotten any kind of cooperation from the police officers. They will tell us to check with Noble, and when we go in to go check Noble, he's never in. You just basically get the turn around. It's hard for both of us because they are treating my daughter's death like something that didn't happen.
Placencia Investor Marco Caruso Ready For Comeback
Investor Marco Caruso is the name behind some mega projects in Placencia, but recently he's been in trouble with financial regulators in Canada - which may have something to do with why many of the projects are also mega-unfinished.
The Ontario Securities Commission recently sanctioned Caruso and others in his investment group for violating securities regulations.
The commission says Caruso and Canyon Acquisitions, which is Caruso's group "offered investors the opportunity to acquire..interests in condominiums, villas or boat slips in a…real estate projects in the Dominican Republic and Belize." But securities investigators found that they weren't actually buying real estate - they were buying investment contracts and which are securities under Ontario laws - and have to be reported and regulated.
307 Ontario residents bought 17.1 million Canadian dollars of the investment contracts for projects in Belize involving Caruso and his companies.
Purse Snatcher To Jail
19 year-old Devan Vasquez is at prison tonight after he was convicted in Magistrate's court of snatching a woman's purse.
The victim was on Marine Parade at around 8:25 on the night of June 16, 2012. Vasquez snatched her purse which contained an IPad, an IPhone and her Samsung cell phone. She identified Vasquez to police who charged him with robbery, and in the trial, she testified to the very same thing.
When he was given his opportunity to defend himself, Vasquez told the court that he wasn't involved in any robbery, and he even called a witness to testify on his behalf. This witness, however, was unable to definitively provide alibi evidence in Vasquez's favor.
ACTYL Still Active
Since December of last year, we've been reporting on ACTYL, the Canadian company who has come to Belize to recruit locals to work in Western Canada at the McDonalds fast food restaurants.
Well, they've been impressed with the Belizean applicants, and they're back in Belize to recruit more workers in the Belmopan area. The president of the company spoke to us today about how interested persons can submit their applications.
Here's what she told us:
Linda West - President, ACTYL
"Our recruitment has been going very well. We started last December and we're back down in January. Now, we're back down in April and what we're mostly recruiting this time is people into the fast food industry particularly McDonalds. So we're looking for young bring people who have finished high school and have waitressed or waitered some of their life."
"How has the response been from the Belizean public?"
"The Belizean - the response has been excellent, we're back down for our third time and we really like the Belizean. They have excellent English and good work ethic. We have our first few people up in Canada and they're doing very well."
Agric Fair Showgrounds Will Be Re-Designed
Officials are making preparations for the annual Agricultural and Trade show, scheduled to be held in May 3, 4 and 5.
But members of the public will be pleasantly surprised when they visit the Agricultural Show Grounds because it's getting a facelift. On Saturday, the CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture briefed the media about those upgrades and what they hope to achieve:
Jose Alpuche - CEO, Ministry of Agriculture
"A couple months ago we started looking at the grounds with 2 things in mind, 1 to begin building very - much more durable infrastructure and 2 develop the grounds for use for more than just the one occasion of the of the show. So we are changing the entrance of the ground, we're now putting gin a slip road for safety so that vehicles come off the highway and come into the slip road to drop off and pick up visitors to the grounds, this facility right out here. The building being constructed in the middle of the slip road a new visitor center, ticket booth and security check. BTL is sponsoring the entrance center and ticket booth. The Government od Belize doing the main stage which is this big building going up here, Bowen and Bowen is building a new rodeo gallery for the rodeo arena, one of the main attraction of the show and then the Spanish Lookout community is building a 6 unit food court just in front of the rodeo gallery"
What They Told Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female Prime Minister, died on today at the age of 87. The Iron Lady - as she was known - left a massive historical footprint, but we came upon a historical footnote today that probably went un-noticed.
This confidential State Department Briefing Paper from Washington to London - penned sometime before Belizean Independence in 1981 - discusses areas of mutual interest in the Caribbean and Central America.
In it, the Americans urge Thatcher to quote, "Advise the Belizeans to seriously consider ceding some minor Cayes to Guatemala if that is what is required to reach a successful overall settlement of the dispute." It adds that the British should provide a post-Independence security guarantee in Belize.
Did she ever give such advice? Well we know that the Heads of Agreement of 1981 did propose that Guatemala "shall have the use and enjoyment of the Ranguana and Sapodilla Cayes." These were rejected by the April riots in 1981.
Thatcher was British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.
Mr. Program Gives A Preview
It's been a while, 4 years in fact, since Mr. Program has been featured in our newscast. He made a major splash on the local music scene for his hugely popular song, 'See I Rise', but then he started to fade into the background.
Well, Mr. Program is back, and his looking for the support of the Belizean people for his new song and video called "Tek It Easy".
He stopped by 7News to speak about the song, and it's intended message. Here's what he and the producer of the video told us:
Aaron "Drive" Louriano - Video Producer, BCMG
"The video is from a song called, 'Take it easy', and our focus on this video is to show that if you're going through some struggles out there, just take it easy, stay positive, stay - basically, it's trying to lead the youths I the right direction. Don't get caught up in the street world and the gangster world; it's more like youths need education, more love, let us pay more attention to the youths and give them love. We get some of the youths from the community and they come in they give us there full support. They say, 'We love what you're doing', to say someone from Belize is trying to bring something positive instead of all the time this negative business. Belize is a beautiful country, and I personally don't believe Belize is a negative country. I believe Belize is a positive country; we just need to get more support."