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The San Pedro Sun

Three charged for brawl in SP Immigration Office
Three women including a minor and two female Immigration Officers assigned to San Pedro Town have reported varying degrees of injuries as a result of a fight inside the immigration office. The physical exchange took place shortly before 3PM on Monday May 20th, and as a result of the fight, three females including a minor were arrested and charged by San Pedro Town Police. 24 year old Telma Basquez and her sisters, 23 year old Maribel Basquez and a 17 year old minor visited The San Pedro Sun and explained that not only were they beaten by immigration officials, but they were detained and charged by police. The trio alleges that they visited the Immigration Office on Coconut Drive to get special permits for two of the females to leave the country on a family emergency. At that point, they were told that other Belizean documentations were required. According to Telma, she provided birth certificates for both of her sisters however this was not enough for the immigration officer. She said that she became frustrated after an Immigration Officer insisted that they provide further documentation, since two of the sisters were unable to communicate in English. “She said we were ‘Catrachas’ (Honduran) and that we were not Belizeans,” said Telma in an interview with The San Pedro Sun.

Repairs on the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge have begun
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) announced that on Sunday, May 19th the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge would be closed in order to perform much needed repairs on its deck. Since its inauguration in February 2006, the bridge has never seen a major repair. In April of 2012 Belize City based Civil Engineer Doug Walkner assessed the stability of the bridge. His report indicated that the major problem was corrosion of the grills due to the exposure to salt water. The new deck for the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge would be expected to take about six months to complete construction. Some much needed repairs finally commenced on Monday, May 20th when the old bolts that held the grills together were removed. On Tuesday, May 21st workers began to remove the grill. However the structure is still intact and stable, so the repairs would be mostly superficial. The grills will be replaced by galvanized beams, which are being imported from England, and three and a half inch hard wood planks. The pedestrian walk will be replaced with fiber reinforced material.

SPHS students celebrate Cultural Day en Español
Third form students at the San Pedro High School (SPHS) hosted cultural day on the morning of Wednesday May 22nd at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The event was part of a presentation for their Spanish class. All the cultural presentation, visuals as well as oral information disseminated were done in the Spanish language. According to Alex Nuñez, Spanish teacher at SPHS, a panel of three judges awarded the students points in four areas including presentation, knowledge on the cultural group, clarity in speaking the Spanish language and how well they were prepared. The students presented on local cultural groups found in Belize as well as foreign groups from Mexico, Colombia and Brazil amongst others. Nuñez said that the students, all from third form, planned their cultural presentation as part as their Spanish class. The purpose was to have the students put into practice the knowledge of the Spanish language they gained throughout the years.

Misc Belizean Sources

Queen of the Corn Contestants
The Bullet Tree Falls Queen of the Corn Festival is coming up this weekend. The Queen of the Corn pageant will be on Friday, May 31st, and on Saturday, the festival will continue throughout the day. Food, fun, games, and good times for the whole family, and the proceeds will be used to build a new classroom for the Immaculate Conception primary school. "Once again the beautiful village of Bullet Tree Falls comes alive. This time better than ever. It's Corn Fest Day. Come and enjoy yourselves on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st of June. On Friday come and witness the selection of Mrs. Bullet Tree Corn Fest. Four beautiful, gorgeous ladies are vying for this prestigious title. It all starts at 6:00p.m. After the pageant you can dance with D.J Diamond. On Saturday 1st of May, the day starts at 9:00a.m with a canoe race from Benque Viejo Del Carmen to the Salvador Fernandez Bridge in Bullet Tree Falls followed by a whole day Football Quadrangular."

Benque's Heritage Tour Map
Benque has a really smooth looking, high resolution map on their new website. The Benque Viejo Tourism Committee has a good mission: develop Benque Viejo del Carmen as a unique and attractive destination ensuring sustainable development through responsible tourism that will allow visitors and the local community to benefit from the experience of the local culture and heritage while retaining the small town charm as well as allowing for convenient access to the surrounding attractions. Now they just need more hotels and restaurants that people can go to after visiting Xunantunich, Actun Chapat, Poustinia Art Part, and Lake Benque. In related news, Benque has gotten over 2 million dollars from the Belize Municipal Development Project, which they are planning to use to upgrade the sidewalks around Centennial Park and for the paving of some streets which are part of the Heritage Tour.

NMSU Film Course Reflections
Daniel Velazquez created a short video documenting the New Mexico State University film students and their interaction with people and nature around Cayo and Belize during their documentary film course. They shot a lot, and learned a lot. It's a well done, feelgood video, and you'll see some faces you know from around Cayo. "NMSU film student are the first international students to take course, design by Emmy award winning natural history film makers Carol and Richard Foster, in Collaboration with local artist film maker Daniel Velazquez and award winning film maker Illana Lapid, film professor at New Mexico State University"

BWRC Appreciation Party
The Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic had their appreciation party at the Soul Project this weekend. It's great to see how far the BWRC has come in the short time it's been working with Belizean wildlife. Thanks, BWRC, for all you've done! "We would like to say THANK YOU to our countless helpers, supporters, donors, sponsors, volunteers and staff! If you are around, today at The Soul Project - space for the creative arts, 3-6 pm join us for 'Volunteer Appreciation Tacos'! Unfortunately our FB event got a bit lost on this page, some people did not get their invitation, many people are not in Belize or currently away, and it finally is raining!...(which is wonderful but tends to 'ground' people home) But we hope to see some of you there!!!"

Mamey Ice Cream
MAMEY SAPOTE, Very popular fruit in Florida, the Caribbean islands, and Central America where the fruit is highly esteemed. The mamey sapote was cultivated by the native peoples of Central America for hundred of years. It is this fruit that kept Cortes and his army alive on their famous march from Mexico City to Honduras. Fruit is large, up to 25cm long with orange flesh tasting somewhat like a flavorful pumpkin. Almost always eaten fresh out of hand or used in desserts like this delectable ice cream and drinks. Underneath the Mamey's leathery coarse brown skin is a brilliantly coloured, sweet and creamy flesh. The salmon-pink flesh has an exotic flavour similar to sweet pumpkin pie with spice. Unripe fruits can be cooked as a vegetable.


Temple of the Masks, Lamanai, Belize
A few of the temples at Lamanai sported large masks on their facades, the first time we’ve seen this on Mayan ruins. Here, the mask had been walled over by subsequent generations of Mayans, and archeologists discovered this, and another like it on the other side of the stairs, when they began to restore the site. There are other masks behind other walls that have not been uncovered, but have been discovered by electronic means. To preserve these masks from the encroaching jungle and weather, they have been covered by fiberglass in the exact shape and color of what’s underneath, which is probably not a terrible idea.

High Stakes Set The Day For Crooked Tree Village Election
On Sunday, May 26, 2013, village electorates of Crooked Tree Village went to the polls to elect seven new village council members. A total of 1400 residents live in the village, including the councillors who also cast their votes. The qualifications for chairperson and members per the Elections and Boundries Commission are as follows; you must be a Belizean, you have ordinarily resided in the village for at least one year immediately preceding the elections, and once you are at least 18 years old you can qualify. To be able to vote in the election you must be on the official voters list, Belizean by birth or naturalization, be at least 18 years of age and be a resident of the village for a continuous period of not less than two months prior to the elections. If you are a permanent resident the same qualifications apply, but you must show proof that you are a permanent resident of Belize.

“The Winner Takes It All” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Rose and I have enjoyed a really lazy weekend so far. I ‘say’ so far because it’s a public holiday today so the weekend is an extended one. We did go to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize on Saturday though and progress continues to be made although until the windows and sliding doors arrive from America progress appears so much slower than it has previously been. We had been ‘warned’ that this would be the case but nonetheless we still have expectations (unrealistic we know) that we will see material changes from one day to the next. So to those of you that are going to embark on having your home built in Belize (and I suppose anywhere else for that matter) be prepared for the length of time that the final stages will take.

International Sources

Interjet Airway flights from US locations to Chetumal
Just wanted to share this reasonably priced airline (Interjet Airline) travel from some parts of the US such as New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles etc to Chetumal....almost into our very own backyard Belize. They also offer two free bags for international travel etc. If by the time you do your math its the best choice then enjoy. If you've heard of it and or may have used it then by all means no insult meant and kindly accept my humble apologies. Enjoy and share with our Belizean community members who are seeking low cost travel especially at this time of the year.

Help coming for Belize hospital where 12 babies died
Prime Minister Dean Barrow says the government will assist in sending neonatal cases to private hospitals following the death of 12 babies at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) that had been linked to the outbreak of enterobacter cloacae – an organism that is said to be responsible for major outbreaks in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) all over the world. In a statement after he was briefed on the situation at the KHMH, Prime Minister Barrow has “agreed to assist with any interim arrangements needed to outsource urgent neonatal cases to private hospitals while the KHMH unit is being made completely safe by re-modelling”.

Actyl Announces Grand Opening of Belize City Foreign Recruiting Office
Actyl Group, a leading Canadian recruiting and human resources organization will open its new foreign recruiting office in Belize City, Belize on Wednesday, May 29. The office, which replaces Actyl's temporary location in Belmopan, will help the company meet the growing demand in Canada for skilled workers across many different sectors. This will be the firm's first international recruiting office in Central America. In Canada, Actyl has offices in Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg. "We are very pleased to open this recruiting office in the heart of Belize City, as it will give us access to thousands of terrific candidates to fill much-needed roles throughout Canada," said Dr. Linda West, president of Actyl. "Our company is committed to finding the most talented and driven individuals to help meet Canada's current labor shortage. In our experience, Belize has been a great place to find candidates, and we are excited about what the future will bring."

Worse-Than-Cyprus Debt Load Means Caribbean Defaults to Moody’s
Three bond restructurings totaling about $9.7 billion in the Caribbean this year are failing to ignite economic growth and may not help the region avoid more defaults, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The bond swaps this year didn’t go far enough to fixing the Caribbean’s “unsustainable” mix of debt and deficits, Warren Smith, the president of the Caribbean Development Bank, said May 22. Jamaica and Belize, which restructured about $9.5 billion in local and global bonds this year for the second time since 2006, face a “high probability” that they will default again, Moody’s said in a May 20 report. Among Caribbean island economies, only the Bahamas is expected to grow more than 1.5 percent this year compared with 4 percent for Latin America, Moody’s said in an earlier report. Without faster growth, repeat defaults may become common as Caribbean governments find it easier to cut bond payments than spending, said Arturo Porzecanski, a professor of international finance at American University in Washington.

Rojo Poison Cocktail at Rojo Lounge, Ambergris Caye, Belize
It’s Friday and that means a couple things — a new edition of #FriFotos on Twitter and the weekend is here so time to enjoy some adult beverages! This week’s edition is conveniently — cocktails! It’s the perfect excuse to feature the newest cocktail I tried — Rojo Poison. It’s a signature drink at Rojo Lounge (now called Rojo Beach Bar) on the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize. This amazing creation features Chinese chilies, fresh ginger, a trio of rums, some local ginger wine, fresh juice and probably a few other secret ingredients. The Rojo Poison has several noticeable layers of spice from the fresh ginger and the Chinese chili peppers. It gets sweetness from the fresh juice and a nice kick from the trio of rums.