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The San Pedro Sun
The San Pedro Town Council distributes bags and books
On Friday August 29th, 2013 Councilor Kenrick Brackett and The San Pedro Town Council held an Information Day at the Central Park. There, Brackett handed out school bags, books and a host of other school supplies to a multitude of young students as they got geared up for the new school year. Various short presentations were given by the National AIDS Commission Island Committee (NACIC) and The Ministry of Health (MoH). NACIC’s president Dennis Craft talked about the committee’s upcoming plans for the school year and the various presentations they’d be doing. This was followed by another presentation, by representatives of the Ministry of Health (MoH) Francis Westby and Edgar Lalin, they briefed students on the preventative measures as it relates to the Dengue outbreak in San Pedro Town. MoH also distributed a generous amount of medicated bed nets to families present at the Information Day. At the end of the presentations, Councilor Brackett addressed the crowd, giving the students encouraging words right before members of Traffic Department distributed over 300 school bags, books and supplies to the students present.
Woofer: Customer Assistance
“I’ll never go in a Walmart again in my life,” Charlie said. “Keep on walking fast until we get to the car.” “Neither will I,” I told him. “That was about the most embarrassing moment in my entire life. People are still staring at us.” A few minutes earlier we were happy to be in [...]
Police Car Chase and Accident Leaves Woman Seriously Injured
A traffic accident involving a Government of Belize vehicle has left two persons injured after the Polaris crashed into a fence. The San Pedro Police found themselves involved in a car chase trying to detain the driver of the Polaris along with two other passengers. The accident occurred at the corner of Caribeña Street and Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro Town in the wee hours of Friday, August 30, 2013.
According to San Pedro Police, at about 2:30a.m. a team of police officers were on a routine mobile patrol at Central Park when they observed a Polaris slam into a parked golf cart belonging to Mrs. Atlantida Eiley, then reverse and hit the fence at Heritage Bank and fled the scene. The mobile patrol then set chase after the Polaris and it was down the street that they saw the vehicle hit the building (Pelican Properties Office) on the corner of Barrier Reef Drive and Caribeña Street.
Ramon’s Village Resort Bouncing Back after Fire
There is nothing keeping back Ramon’s Village Resort from making a strong comeback after the terrible fire that destroyed a large part of the resort on August 27, 2013. The staff of Ramon’s, seen here with big smiles, happy faces and high spirits, was taken on last week Friday, August 30, 2013 as the resort’s owners Mr. and Mrs. Headrick arrived from the United States.
After a talk and prayer with his staff, Mr. Richard Headrick and his staff got back to work to get the resort up and running. As plans get ready for reconstruction, the resort is still open for business with the 40 rooms that were not damaged by the fire and a fully functioning dive shop.
Misc Belizean Sources
FISHING REPORT August 24 – 31st, 2013
Island time is here. It’s a slower pace in terms of people, but not fish. The fish are here – but they are tough to find in the storm. Anglers were persistent and they were rewarded. Maybe everyone didn’t get their prize fish this time, but one thing I know for sure – they are leaving much better anglers. Thanks everyone for a fun week.
Tlacoyos: A Mexican Grilled Snack That Tempted The Conquistadors
For the last in a summer series of grilled food from around the world, we head to Mexico, where a small doughy treat is found everywhere from street corner grills to high-end restaurants. It's called a tlacoyo (pronounced tla-COY-yo) and although it may sound novel, it's an ancient food that's older than Hernan Cortes.
To taste the best tlacoyos, I was told I had to go to Xochimilco, the sprawling suburb in southern Mexico City. Juana Pina Gonzales has been selling them in the region for 25 years. She only uses blue corn masa — the dough used to make a tortilla — and stuffs the dough with all kinds of fillings, including smashed pinto or fava beans, a potato puree, mushrooms or a light cheese similar to ricotta.
George Price Art Competition
Primary and High school students are invited to submit entries for the George Price Art Competition. Submissions will be accepted through September 16th, and the winners will be announced on the 19th. For more information, contact the Benque House of Culture at 823-2697. Happy September Celebrations!
Sunday Show Day at Express Oh! Cafe
Express Oh! had their first Sunday Show day, and it was a huge success. They had food, coffee, entertainment, face painting, and much more. Emmanuel Mangar played, with Jose Barrera backing him up on drums. Dania Arana also sang. Hopefully, this will be a monthly event.
"Musical Performances, Singing, Dancing, Story telling, Face painting, lots of snacks and delicious drinks for sale... Lots of fun in Santa Elena :) BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED!!!"
BNDC Carnival Spirit
The Belize National Dance Company performed many times while at Carifesta in Suriname. Here's another one of their performances. Great job representing Belize! Happy September!
"Performance at CARIFESTA XI in Suriname (20.8.2013)"
National Bank Launched; PM Says Not a “Political Pork Barrel”
The National Bank of Belize opened its doors in Belmopan today. Offering low cost credit to teachers, public servants and regular Belizeans, it is a major initiative for the Barrow Administration in its second term. And like a long distance runner who just got a second wind, the Prime Minister today seemed emboldened by having finally crystallized and brought into being an idea long imagined: a people’s bank. We were at the opening and found out more:..
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"The launch of the National Bank of Belize is an accomplishment for the ages."
The ribbon was cut this morning, the plaque unveiled and The National Bank of Belize on Forest Drive in Belmopan opened for business this afternoon. It is as the Chairman said, a different kind of bank:
Hon. A. Joy Grant - Chairman, National Bank of Belize
"A bank whose focus is on serving the financial interest of all Belizeans, whosegoal is not about maximizing profit - but about providing the working class Belizean with the financial assistance and knowledge they require to improve their living standards throught the construction."
PM Says NCL MOU Omitted Major Clause
And while the news of the day was the national bank – the media had a laundry list of issues to question the Prime Minister about. First up was Norwegian Cruise Line. On Friday, the members of FECTAB told us after meeting with the PM that a new Memorandum of Understanding was being prepared. The PM today told the press it is not a new MOU, but a final contract, which will be taken to the House of Representatives.
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"It’s a misnomer to call it MOU; we’re moving to a point where there is going to be a legally binding contract and I have promised that some of the things that either weren’t clear or that NCL apparently didn’t understand in the MOU will be reflected in the legally binding contract."
"And that is principally the issue of ships migrating south?"
Hon. Dean Barrow
"Yes, in two ways; there is to be no diversion of the current Belize City calls and there is to be no use of that port by ships other than NCL ships. When I went back I didn’t see that in the MOU; we had made that clear in Cabinet, I don’t know how it didn’t find its way in the MOU but I am saying, I am putting them on notice and it’s not that I am taking them by surprise because this was our position throughout; the binding agreement will make that absolutely clear."
PM On PAC: Takes A Shot At NTUCB, Hits Hon. Finnegan As Collateral Damage
Another issue of much public interest is the Public Accounts Committee; Government and The Opposition disagree sharply about the way forward for this important House committee. The opposition wants to re-constitute the membership completely; Government wants it to say as is; The Opposition wants to review Auditor General Reports from 2012 going forward; the Government wants them to go back to 2008.
The Chamber of Commerce, which had initially jumped on the Opposition plan – has backed off, and simply urged both sides to get along. But the National Trade Union Congress of Belize is sticking with the Opposition model, and has criticized the Prime Minister for not having the will to push forward with real reform. Today, he shot back at the NTUCB, and claimed his Party Whip Michael Finnegan as collateral damage in the process:
"You had mentioned that it would be too costly or too complex to change it."
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"I don't care what they buy - let me make it clear again, I am not going to offend the principle of 'majority rules', I am not going to offend the standing orders of the House. Note that the Chamber of Commerce quite sensibly said 'in effect, we're not really interested in any restructuring of the Public Accounts Committee - all we want is to see the work done'. I've already put forward a proposal that can get the work done, so with every respect to the NTUCB and not to quarrel with them - we will press on and there will be no restructuring of the Public Accounts Committee so as to make it unruly and to violate not just the standing orders but the whole principle of democracy."
Court: She Put A Hit On Her Hubby
Tonight, 38 year-old Frances Eve Ayala Wilson, a resident of San Ignacio, is in jail after she was taken to court for allegedly putting a hit out on her husband. According to her spouse, British born Glencoe Wilson, he found out that Wilson hired a police officer offering her $10,000 to kill him on April 24 of this year. The Wilson’s recently married, and according to Glen Wilson, she supposedly wanted to get rid of him to get his money.
It’s an allegation which emerged in early August. Police investigated for all that time, and they finally charged Frances Wilson with abetment to commit murder. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who listened to the submission for bail from both the prosecutor, and her attorney, Simeon Sampson.
After careful consideration, Magistrate Hamilton remanded her to prison until September 17, 2013, her next court date.
Greg On Why He’s Going
As the news ended on Friday, we confirmed that Greg Choc was leaving SATIIM to go study law. What had been reported two days prior and rumored for weeks was confirmed in a press conference Greg Ch’oc held in the village of Midway in Toledo on Friday just before news time.
Though he had been hounded by the media for days, and was surrounded by the press on Friday in Toledo, he delayed the announcement until he was quote, “among his people” in remote Midway – two hours of rough road south of Punta Gorda Town.
He explained that he had been accepted to the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus:
Gregory Ch'oc - Executive Director, SATIM
"I am not going anywhere, I am here to continue the struggle with the Maya Communities - yes I have been accepted to law school - it's a personal decision that I have taken in consultation with the leaders of these communities. They have given me their trust to lead them and it's only right that I consult with them. When I decide to go, there will be someone that will rise to the challenge to continue to honor the legacy of resistant of our ancestors. For now, I am going to be here - I am related with the highest spirit of the communities whose support I enjoy, whose trust I hold dearly. It will probably be for one year."
The Media Makes A Trek Through Temash
And, as we told you that press conference came at the end of day 1 of an extensive tour which Ch’oc organized. One of the central issues which he wanted to deal with first hand is the impending exploration by US Capital Energy inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park.
SATIIM’s co-management contract was taken off the table a month ago, but because the Mayan communities of the Toledo believe that the national park sits on Maya Customary Lands, they say they continue to have authority over park territory.
And according to SATIIM, that’s being threatened by this oil exploration, and so they’ve been making regular media rounds to keep the issue fresh in the public’s mind.
He did so once again, by taking us to the drill site on Friday, and our Daniel Ortiz has that story:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
SATIM took the media to the drill site, inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, on Friday afternoon. The trip started with a 30-minute boat ride from Punta Gorda town to the estuary of Temash River. From there, SATIM took us up the river for another twenty minutes before we arrived at their final chosen entrance. Here Ch'oc briefed us about where we were and why he chose that location.
PM Says STNP Is For GOB
And while that story shows the high level of friction between the buffer communities and US Capital Energy – from the perspective of the state, the directive remains: Drill at Will. As the PM told the media today, he sees no issue in between competing claims on ownership and control of the lands US Capital hopes to drill on. He says those are vested thoroughly and exclusively in the state:
"Are the current relations between the government and the Maya people concerning to you and how do you foresee things going forward?"
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"Are the relations concerning? No, not more than, I am concerned about all the people of Belize and the relations with all of them."
"In terms of them thinking of changing their approach."
Hon. Dean Barrow
"I don't know that."
"and their hard talk."
Hon. Dean Barrow
"Well, as Jules Vasquez famously said, I famously don't watch the news. No I'm not worried about that. We have, I believe, put out a statement saying that we respect the courts' decision, even though we are appealing it and so no new titles, nothing of the sort will be done, in the Toledo District; that ought to satisfy them. If it doesn't, then I'm afraid they are off base, they are out of kilter. The SATIM National Park is a National Park you know. The court hearings, the litigation, were at the instance of the villages and the court talked about lands owned by the villages. As far as I am concerned, the national park is not included in that and in any event, the national park is subject to a particular legal and statutory regime. In my view, there can be no question of any kind of ownership, other than the ownership of the state, when it comes to national park."
Craziness At Court
Since November of last year, Orel Leslie, Tyrone Meighan and Brandon Baptist have been on remand awaiting trial for the murder of 28 year-old James Norales, who was shot to death on November 23, 2012.
They’ve been in and out of court since then awaiting a preliminary inquiry, to see if the court has enough evidence to try them for the murder.
Today, after several adjournments, the preliminary inquiry was expected to commence once again, the prosecutor told the court he could not move forward.
The families of the accused men, as well as several police officers, expected that the matter was to be struck out again, but the magistrate gave one final adjournment.
And so, while the men were being transported back to the holding cell, they got into a scuffle with those additional officers, who were attempting to re-arrest without knowing that the current case was still live.
Brazen Broad Daylight Robbery Of Brodies Payroll
There’s always a spike in major crime when September rolls around – due in part to financial pressures as parents have to find money to put their kids in school and because extra money is required for the Celebration month.
That trend may be manifesting itself once again in a rash of robberies and burglaries being reported this weekend. The biggest one happened on Saturday afternoon in Belize – in a broad daylight armed robbery that netted thieves almost fifty thousand dollars.
At 4:30, 52 year old Security Guard for Brodies was walking from James Brodies Store on Albert Street just across to First Caribbean Bank to make a cash deposit. That’s the heart of downtown on a busy Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t stop a gunman from walking up and demanding the black plastic bag he carried. Inside that bag were four cash bags to a total amount of $46,064 dollars, which he handed over.
CITCO Takes Big Busses Off Streets
This morning, the Belize City Traffic Department impounded 6 city buses and stopped them from running their routes today. There was nothing wrong with these buses and their drivers other than the buses have been assessed by City hall as being too big for the streets in downtown Belize City. And so today, the drivers were pulled off their runs and stopped from operating.
They were upset with the decision, and today they told us that they don’t agree with the decision, especially because they’ve made investments to prepare for the opening of the new school year – which started today.
Here’s how they explained it:
Dexter Hemmans -Bus Driver
"This morning they came and told us that our bus won't be able to run again, they didn't give us any notice in writing, they are just saying that they will take off the big bus off the run. I went upstairs and I sat down with Mr. Jenkins and he told me that my bus can't run anymore, and I told him, 'boss, I got a loan so that I can get my bus', we run under a company name, and I need to pay my loan everyday so I can get out of debt and I can sustain myself and my family. It's quite unfair what those people are doing, we as Belizeans have a right to earn an honest living. I am in this business for about ten years now, and we have other senior men that are here about 19 years, 15 years. I think it is quite unfair what is happening. The Haitians say they will stop the dollar van, they are still running, they have no license plate."
Opening Of The Celebration Season
On Sunday the official ceremony marking the opening of the September Celebrations was held in the one-time colonial capital of Belize, St. George's Caye. This year the country will be celebrating its 215th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye and the 32nd anniversary of Independence. The village chairman of St. Geroge;s Caye underscored the importance of the Tenth:…
Johnny Searle Jr. -Chairman of St. George's Caye
"As the chairman of the St. George's Caye Village Council, it's my honor and privilege to welcome you to St. George's Caye for the opening ceremonies of the September Celebrations. As I look around I see many familiar faces and I see a few new ones but the one thing I saw in everyone's face this morning as I greeted everyone, was that they have this joy and happiness in them that's Belize. I'm not sure, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, or even if it's one single thing but I think it's a number of factors that come together when you are here in Belize. Even the visitors that come to Belize see it and they feel it too and if they stay for a while, they get it too, because it's contagious.
Belize City’s Best Public Space Declared Open
And while that was Sunday on St, George’s Caye, on Saturday in Belize City the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk and refurbished Memorial Park was declared open. Work on the project started 18 months ago in February of 2012. At its completion, its completely transformed the Fort Point Area. And while we can quibble about some of the style elements, there’s no arguing that the two-acre park has been positively transformed. Keynote speakers addressed that fact:..
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism
"3000 Belizeans employed in meaningful employment and more than 500 citizens reside in this area. The Fort George area continues to serve a central hub for comers and tourism activity."
Darrell Bradley - Mayor of Belize City
"So that we have a park that is first class and first world - befitting our residents and the users of this space."
PM Says Regional Reports Wrong, Petrocaribe Rates Not Going Up
As you might have heard the Prime Minister say at the top of the newscast, the new National Bank is being capitalized by Petrocaribe funds. As we’ve reported that money comes from sales of fuel imported into Belize from Venezuela, for which Government only has to pay half, while getting the other half on credit at very favourable terms.
But how much Petrocaribe money does government have? We’ve also heard that Petrocaribe finds will be used to build new sports facilities under Belize Infrastructure Limited. Well, the PM isn’t saying how much is in the bag, but it’s clear he hopes Petro-dollars can push an economic boom in the second half of the year:..
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"This economy is going to grow by leaps and bounds because of this huge infrastructure push that government will make and as I'm saying - I have the where it all to fund."
The National Bank of Belize opens its doors; initial interest rate is at 5.5%
The National Bank of Belize Limited was established in April 2013, and today its doors were opened to the general public in Belmopan. The state-owned bank will primarily provide concessionary [...]
SATIIM’s media tour of Temash Two goes without a hitch
Last Friday and Saturday, the media was hosted by SATIIM on a trip to the Sarstoon Temash National Park to witness first-hand ongoing work by U.S. Capital Energy. On the [...]
Barrow says ruling on communal land does not include Sarstoon Temash National Park
SATIIM and Mayan leaders of communities in the Sarstoon Temash National Park are waging war against the government of Belize. They feel that government is not recognizing rights which the [...]
Greg Ch’oc says he’ll study law and clarifies whether he has resigned from SATIIM
Greg Ch’oc, the Executive Director of SATIIM, also used the trip to Sarstoon Temash to provide clarity to the question of whether he had resigned from the N.G.O. Speaking in [...]
Government goes full steam ahead with NCL Project
The memorandum of understanding between the government of Belize and Norwegian Cruise Lines is a done deal, and the parties are not allowing any grass to grow under their feet. [...]
P.M. Barrow says N.T.U.C.B. mixing up the ham and the hammer with the PAC
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Julius Espat has summoned the members of that committee to a meeting. That is set for this Wednesday, but meanwhile there is much drama [...]
P.M. says economy to grow courtesy of BIL
There was a contraction of the economy in the first quarter of 2013 – a negative point five percent. The Statistical Institute of Belize cited downturns in the citrus, banana [...]
British National speaks out on wife’s hit on his life
Last Friday, police detained a San Ignacio woman, who was in hiding, for allegedly plotting to have her husband eliminated. Frances Ayala Wilson and her husband, Glen Wilson, have been [...]
His wife, Frances Ayala Wilson, remanded to Court
In court today, her attorney, Simeon Sampson claimed that she was staying at her father’s home San Ignacio Town, but police came up empty-handed despite several attempted to apprehend her. [...]
Belize City traffic woes
Today was the beginning of classes for primary schools across the country. But here in Belize City, a number of students and commuters from various areas were without transportation because [...]
Residents versus Roman Catholic School in Big Falls, Colombia
The academic year 2013, for primary schools across the country, began today. While parents, students and teachers were on hand to commence the first day of classes, in Big Falls, [...]
The Memorial Park is now the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk
Despite the rains earlier in the day, the official inauguration of the transformed Memorial Park went on schedule on Saturday. The park, which was once dedicated to the soldiers who [...]
Lionman Triathlon, Billiards and Female Football on Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. The 14th Annual Lionman triathlon was staged at the Sanlighter Promenade on Princess Margaret Drive yesterday as some 46 [...]