This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.
FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The June 23rd, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE
The June 23rd, 2013 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE
The San Pedro Sun
Local Tour Guides Receive International Certification
We at Calypso Train Tours are pleased to announce that tour guides Deland Gongora and Leticia Magana are the first to graduate from the Tour Guide Excellence Program, offered by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence. The Tour Guide Excellence Program is an international certification program designed specifically to train Tour Guides in the cruise industry around the world.
Calypso Train Tours provides Belize City tours by open-air trolley train to visiting cruise ship passengers. “Providing international training promotes our Guides to deliver a new level of tour excellence,” says Calypso Train Tours Managing Director Denise Ockey.
“We are always thrilled when Tour Operators and Guides enroll in our Tour Guide Excellence program,” says Aquila President Beth Kelly Hatt. “In the cruise industry, the commitment of tour guides to earn their international certification is seen as a strong sign of a tour operator’s commitment to a standard of excellence in shore excursion offerings.”
It was a rockin’ Lobsterfest Block Party
After a week of great events celebrating the gloriously delicious lobster, Lobsterfest 2013 capped off the activities with a fantastic block party. Central Park was the place to be on Saturday, June 22nd. Restaurants filled gaily decorated booths and offered savory bites of lobster prepared all kinds of ways: lobster tacos, pizza, burgers, kebabs, bacon-wrapped, dip, ravioli, bratwurst and even cannoli. There were all sorts of delicious cocktails to chase the bites down as well: from mojitos to watermelon coolers, and rum punches to Belize’s best: Belikin.
Music was provided by the Panerifics Steel Band, and strains of Michael Jackson, Punta music and a few contemporary songs that took on a new sound via the skilled musicians’ steel pans. For two hours, the young musicians provided a wide range of music that had festival-goers dancing into the twilight.
MISSING: Wendy Ayala
17, from San Mateo Area, Ambergris Caye.
Dia de San Pedro Schedule of Events has been released by The San Pedro Town Council
Belize hosts Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Conference
The Minister of Tourism & Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the Belize Tourism Board, extended a warm welcome to the 80 delegates attending the Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Conference, hosted by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), from June 19th -23rd, 2013.
To foster the sustainable development of Belize’s cruise industry, the BTB is partnering with the FCCA to execute one of its premiere events, PAMAC Cruise Conference. The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 15 Member Cruise Lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Over 80 FCCA Platinum Members, whose importance in the cruise and tourism industry cannot be overstated, and over 20 cruise executives congregated on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and Belize City. The principal purpose of FCCA’s PAMAC Platinum Event was to discuss trends, develop ideas, and promote existing cruise destinations. The Conference also served to develop lasting and worthwhile business relationships with some of the most significant decision makers in the cruise tourism industry.
Pic of the Week:
A Walk on the Beach
It's a walk on the beach in San Pedro, as opposed to the popular saying "A walk in the park" - Everybody likes puppies! Who does not stop to pet puppies as adorable as these ones when you see people taking them for a walk on the beach? These puppies were more than likely up for sale, hence the owner taking them for a leasurly walk to display them. Quite effective, right? You just have to stop to admire them, or buy one!
Missing Person Reported in San Pedro
Missing Person: Wendy Jesenia Ochoa Ayala
AGE: 17yrs DOB: 27/03/1996
NAT: Salvadoran RACE: Hispanic
SEX: Female ADD: San Mateo area, San Pedro Town
HAIR: Black Color, Long COMPLEXION: Fair Complexion
BUILT: Slim built, 5’ 3” height EYES: Black
Note: Wendy Ayala was last seen on 22nd June, 2013 between the hours of 6:30pm and 7:00pm at home in the San Mateo area, San Pedro Town. She was last seen wearing a brown color short sleeve blouse with short blue color short pants.
If seen please contact the nearest Police Station at Phone Numbers: 911, SPT-206-2022, BMP-802-2222 or 21, CZL-402-2022, OWK-302-2022, BZE-207-2022 or 23, San Ignacio 824-2022, BVO-823-2038, DGA-502-2022, Independence-523-2022, PG-702-2022, Hattieville-225-6056, Ladyville-225-2022.
Misc Belizean Sources
Homemade Mosquito Trap
Have you noticed the Mosquitos are already out! Here is a homemade trap to help keep you and the kiddos from being a blood donor!!!
HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP:
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
1 2-liter bottle
Sea Scout Trent Hardwick, Age 10, Wins the 2013 San Pedro Lobsterfest Regatta with a wild finish
Twenty young sailors from Belize City, Placencia, and San Pedro skippered Optimist dinghies for 2 days in ideal waters and conditions off Banyan Bay Resort during last weekend’s thrilling Lobsterfest Regatta. For some of the skippers, this was their very first regatta, ever.
San Pedro's fleet of 8 boats was augmented, thanks to the valiant Belize Sea Scouts, who took the time and made the extra effort to bring 2 more boats from the mainland. By taking turns in the ten boats available, each sailor was able to race six times. The course was an Olympic triangle that allowed spectators to see, clearly understand, and enjoy the action.
Sailors began Saturday morning capriciously by getting to know all about crocodiles and meeting an adult live croc up close and personal, courtesy of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). Next - minus a live specimen - experts from Belize Shark Project discussed sharks with the sailors and provided free, fun, and expert shark face-painting for the rest of the day, while answering questions.
Actun Chapat Cave Adventure
Actun Chapat, located near Benque, just south of San Jose Succotz, is getting more exposure, and now Hidden Valley Inn offers it as a tour. Actun Chapat, along with Actun Halal, makes for a great day tour that includes a jungle hike, cave exploring, and a history lesson about the Maya.
"Meet your archaeology guide at the village of San Jose Succotz along the Mopan River where you will traverse 8 miles through old farms and tropical forest in the infamous land rover. There is only one trip a day and tours are private to Hidden Valley Inn Guests only. Your experience guide will share stories, legends and facts about the caves and the surrounding area. The History of the Maya will be told by your guide as you hike through the chambers of mysterious cave formations, terraces, alters, strewn with artifacts and Mayan relics. At the sky opening you break for lunch with a favorite burrito. Handmade flour tortillas, with a bean and / or chicken filling, a special sauce, with fresh lettuce, tomato and cilantro and of course hot sauce. After your return a cold soft drink, beer, or water to enjoy while you rest up for your return ride."
New Crime Stoppers Signs
The San Ignacio Police added some new Crime Stoppers signs around Cayo. A big thanks to the Cayo police for all their hard work!
"San Ignacio Police putting up Crime Stoppers Signs"
In related news, crime statistics show that crime is down...and, they caught Jarod Arthurs.
Belize Info Center Website
The Belize Info Center website is a new site that focuses on the history, culture, and civics of Belize. They have some videos, quizzes, podcasts, and links to publications on the site that are very useful. Interlogic Publishers have created the site, and you can find out information on their upcoming releases, including 'A History of Enterprise in Belize,' which is about the major industries found in Belize.
"This website is designed to provide accurate information on Belizean history and civics to Belizeans, visitors to Belize and future Belizeans. This site has information on the History, Cultures, Ecosystems and main Industries of Belize. Videos, online lessons, podcast interviews, a Blog, Flickr images, free downloadable literature are available for your use. We have an online quiz that anyone can play. We urge you to share the site with your friends because in the coming months, we will launch a national quiz competition testing your knowledge on Belize. We will have great prizes including advanced cell phones and Kindle products. We urge you to share this website with your colleagues, your children and your students."
Belize Prime Minister Visits London
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow arrived in London Sunday for an official visit to the United Kingdom.
Barrow was met in London by a representative of Secretary of State William Hague and the High Commissioner for Belize to the UK.
The trip will include an address to a business summit about trade and investment in Belize, along with a meeting with the Mayor of London, Roger Gifford and other city officials.
Barrow will meet later this week with Hague and Andrew Robathan, the UK’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, followed by a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
The latter visit will include talks over environmental issues and issues on the Belize-Guatemala border.
The Prime Minister is being joined on the trip by his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow, who will be chairing a fundraising event for the Belize Children’s Trust Foundation.
Girls Fly! Live Video Stream
'Girls Fly!' sounds like a great series of events. They have a live stream for it, and a recording of thel ive stream. Check them out on their page for more info: https://www.facebook.com/GirlsFlyBZ ;
"Girls you are 'Somebody!' You are precious, valuable! Take hold of your dreams! We hope you will join us! Please share the information below!"
Kayaking at Sunset - NGS Traveler Photo Contest 2013
This was taken on Caye Caulker, off the northern shore of Belize. Kayaking off the Belize Barrier Reef is a popular activity, especially at sunset. I remember running to grab my camera from my room nearby upon realizing that the day's colors would be memorable. One glance at this scene takes me right back to the peace and beauty of Belize.
Belizean Activists Say Illegal Planting and Smuggling of GMO Soy An Act of Biopiracy
Belizeans Against GMOs (BAGMO) calls on the Government of Belize to recognize illegal smuggling and planting of GMO soy to be an act of Biopiracy.
The Belize Economy - A Review and Comparison of 2011 / 2012 economy
The Belize Economy has traditionally been dependent on one crop or product going back more than 200 years, when it was dependent on logwood and mahogany.
What is a Belize International Business Company (IBC)?
An International Business Company or Offshore Company is a company formed in certain countries, such as Belize, for asset protection and confidentiality.
BNTU To Hon. Faber: We Don’t Tolerate Incompetence
Viewers may remember the press conference which the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, held almost 2 weeks ago. It was to account to the nation about the poor performance of the primary school children around the country for the 2013 Primary School Examination.
He made very strong comments, much to the expense of the Belize National Teachers Union, and since then, they’ve been mostly quiet about it, only indicating to the media that they intend to fully respond.
Well, they did so today, and they focused most of that time to air out long-standing issues which they feel that the public was not fully informed on.
Daniel Ortiz was there today, and he found out that according to the BNTU, there is much blame to go around for what’s wrong with education. Here’s his report:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Today, the seats in the room set up at the YWCA were almost filled to capacity with a gathering of teachers, who listened attentively to what the executive members of their union had to say.
Chinese Businesswoman Murdered; No Apparent Motive
But first, there were 2 murders which happened between 10 o’clock last night, and 5 a.m. this morning, days after the police department announced that the murder rate was down 15%. The first one took place last night at around 10:30 on Kraal Road.
50 year-old Businesswoman Li Lian He, was inside her shop, Market and Grocery Store, with an employee, when a brown skinned man entered, pulled out a handgun and shot her in the back. He then fled the area, no attempts made to rob the place, and no conversation exchange between the assailant and the victim.
We spoke to the President of the Belize Chinese Association this evening, who told us that the murder is troubling enough, but what makes it more worrisome is that there is no apparent motive. Here’s what he told us about the information he had:
Edmund Quan - President, Belize Chinese Association
"On behalf of the association, we received report around 11 to go to the hospital because a Chinese lady was injured by gunshot. When we got there we asked about the situation and we found out that the lady got shot from the back and it exited to the front throught the abdomen. We were waiting there and the lady was fighting but at the end she succumbed and couldn't make it."
Sand Hill Resident Found Stabbed To Death
And about 6 hours later, Ladyville police was called out to the new site area of Sandhill, where they found the body of 27 year-old Ryan Cox.
He had a single stab wound to the chest, and according to police, when they arrived, he was already dead:
Inspector Calbert Flowers - Acting Rural Executive Officer
"On Monday June 24th, 2013 sometime just after 4:00am, police visited the newsite area of Sandhill village where on the backstreet they observed the apparent lifeless body of a male person. This person was later identified as Ryan Cox, a 26 year old resident of the said new site, Sandhill area. The body was examined where it was observed that it had a single stab wound at the center of it's chest. The body was taken to the KHMH where it was pronounced dead on arrival."
Voice of: Jean Cox - Aunt of Deceased
"This morning around 4:30 I got a call from a friend saying that my nephew was dead and that I should hurry and go there. I got up and ran out there and when I went there I saw him lying down on his face on the ground, bleeding."
BNTU: PSE Isn’t Working
At the top of the newscast, we told you about the press conference held by the BNTU as they responded to the charges laid publicly by the Minister of Education.
But, they only brushed over the PSE results, where ,as we’ve shown you, thousands of primary school children did very poorly.
So, we asked them about it directly, and they told us that they see something seriously wrong with it’s validity currently in the primary school system.
Here’s how they explained why:
Endeavora Jorgenson - Naitonal Security, BNTU
"The disconnect between the curriculum and the assessment and we as a society tend to be too exam driven. Way back when we had 33% pf teachers trained - you had great results, I mean it's not like you can say because 54% here you're going to get 54%. There is absolutely no correlation between trained teachers and the exam results. The disconnect is between the curriculum and the assessment so there has to be serious conversation - what purpose is PSE serving today? Because now you don't need it, in fact the one purpose its serving, it to a certain extent create a level of mediocrity because they are saying if you get less than 50% then they will give the school more money. So there's a bit of a little disconnect because we should be rewarding children who are doing more."
BNTU: No Corporal Punishment; No Class Discipline
And as you may remember, Minister Faber also announced to the nation that his ministry has received reports that there are teachers still administering corporal punishment.
As he told the nation, his ministry will crack down on those caught doing it. So today, the BNTU told the media that while they don’t support breaking the rules, the ban on corporal punishment has create a serious disciplinary vacuum:
Luke Palacio - National President, BNTU
"Remember the BNTU marched in Belmopan for the removal of Corporal Punishment from the Education rules and we did not do so because we wanted to be beating up on anybody's children. As a matter of fact, the 2000 rules - rule 144 clearly indicated/stated that it was only the principal that should have administered corporal punishment but that was not our fight. Our fight was and continues to be and we've said it in every forum that we've had an opportunity, that you're removing corporal punishment and with what are you replacing it? We've asked over and over - let us train our teachers in the alternative forms of discipline and we got responses that it will be in the new rules, and 'we're working on that' and our teachers are suffering because our children are going to school are going to school and threatening our teachers simply because they know they cannot administer corporal punishment. Let us go on the record today - BNTU has never and will never defend teachers who have decided that despite the removal of corporal punishment from the rules, teachers if you want to disobey the rules then that is your problem. The rules are clear 'do not administer corporal punishment; do not administer anything that may be interpreted as being corporal punishment."
“Gender” Isn’t Only Male Or Female Anymore?
And while we had an opportunity, we asked the executive members of the BNTU about their position on the much discussed Gender Policy.
They told us that they don’t have one because there are too many ambiguities in the document in its currently form.
They say that GOB must clear up their reference to the word “gender”, which apparently doesn’t mean male and female anymore:
"We're still seeking clarity because clarity isn't quite here. In their definition in glossary of terms it says 'Gender - the socially constructive roles allocated respectively women and men in society'. We have been in many meetings and in different presentations and the union is concerned about certain things happening here and one of our question is the document prepared so that we can get international funding? We're not sure, we're told NO. We look at certain areas and it says the role of international development partner - that implies funding, not what I said - implies. When it comes to the old issue of gender - they are not spelling it out too clearly and that is our problem. When I was growing up, gender was male or female - now this tells me that the social constructive roles allocated respectively to women and men, as a lawyer said - 90% is very good but it's those areas that we're not too sure about. So we cannot state a clear position because it's not clear so we're trying to find that clarity yet."
Western Regional Mixes Up Still-Born And Fetus
Tonight a Belmopan family is still recovering from the pain of a still born baby coupled with a massive mix-up by the Western Regional Hospital. An expecting mother – whose name the family has asked us not to release – went in to the Hospital on Tuesday evening with labour pains. The doctor’s told her it was not time yet for her to deliver and they sent her home. But by late Tuesday night she was in distress – and when they checked for a pulse, her baby had no pulse. They scheduled an emergency surgery which took three hours to happen because medical personnel were not readily available.
And so after enduring that agonizing loss, the family planned a burial for Saturday – except when they went to get the body out of the morgue – it wasn’t there; it had been given to another family, one that had a miscarriage.
After much back and forth, the family tracked down their baby’s body to a shallow grave in Camalote. With the District Medical Officer and Police on hand, they exhumed the body yesterday morning at 6:30 – where it still had on the proper name tag on the toe.
Getting to Know The Garbutt’s Falls Border Marker
In the last few months, we’ve shown you the trips by the Belize Territorial Volunteers to the Jalacte, to Gracias A Dios, and Aguas Turbias, 3 prominent areas of the Belize/Guatemala border. It part of the organizations effort to raise awareness about the significance of the ICJ Referendum.
Well, this weekend, they made a trip to the border marker between Benque Viejo, and Melchor, and 7News attend.
Daniel Ortiz found out, that the trail to this marker resembles a trek by culprits of illegal activities:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
On Saturday morning, about 70-80 supporters of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, and the Belize People’s Front, gathered at Macal Park in Santa Elena for their trip to the border marker at Garbutt’s Falls.
After a short briefing, the group set off on their journey to the border between Benque Viejo and Melchor De Menchos.
It was a short 20 minute drive, but instead of approaching the normal way, the group made a right turn off the road, which led down to the Mopan River.
PM And His Wife In London For Fund-raiser
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow, left the country on Saturday for London.
The reason, according the Government, is that they are to attend a Fundraising Gala Dinner to benefit the Belize Children’s Trust.
Prime Minister Barrow and his wife returns on Wednesday, and in his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, act as Prime Minister.
Jordan Village Has A Thatch Building For A Hurricane Shelter
Last week we showed you the epic flooding in the Stann Creek district caused by TD2. After that, public attention subsided, the NEMO updates stop – and you might have thought that was it for storm related flooding. But, how wrong we were! The villages in southwestern Toledo have been completely cut off by massive floods, and dozens have been crowded into tiny shelters. It’s a calamity that has gone mostly un-reported, and yesterday Monica Bodden went into the villages of Blue Creek and Jordan to find a slowly unfolding disaster:
Monica Bodden reporting
This flooded stretch of water lay still on the road as we made several attempts to cross in our vehicle, All were unsuccessful.
So my cameraman and I decided to take the risk, and walk through the flooded waters as we made our way towards the village of Jordan which was about 2 and a half miles from where we were. The further we walked, the higher the water became, at one point, we had to stop, the water got as high as 4 feet.