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The San Pedro Sun
San Pedro Cancer Society promotes Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The month of October is being observed as Breast Cancer Awareness month and there are various activities planned countrywide. On Ambergris Caye the local San Pedro Cancer Society held activities on Saturday October 19th. The organization is reporting that 66 breast exams were conducted in a joint activity with the Dr Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly-Clinic II. In addition, a local food and pastry sale raised $575. In raising awareness about the deadly disease and as a show of support for people who are battling cancer or in remission, the group also invited members of the public to dye their hair pink or shave their head.
Burton Caliz fined for the death of Leroy Pilgrim
Nine years after the death of 24-year old Leroy Pilgrim, Police Constable Burton Caliz, 30, has been fined for the charge of manslaughter by negligence. Pilgrim was fatally shot in the back of the head in February 2004 as a result of a struggle with Caliz. Caliz remained on interjection, when he was initially charged for manslaughter. The charge was upgraded to murder in 2007, and Caliz was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison. That sentence was overturned during an appeal trial in 2008.
El Secreto Resort Staff Trained in First Aid
The San Pedro Belize Red Cross is very pleased to announce that El Secreto Resort had 25 of their staff trained for First Aid on Tuesday, October 22 and Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Jermaine Santos from Belize City facilitated the training at the resort.
El Secreto Resort is located 11 miles north and understands the importance of having trained staff onsite. Not that anyone wants to have an emergency situation, but it is a part of life and unfortunately things do happen. With this many trained staff on hand El Secreto will be better prepared for any situation.
Thanks goes out to El Secreto for having 25 staff trained and hosting the Belize Red Cross overnight, Banana Beach for hosting our first aid instructor the first night, Tropic Air Cargo for getting the first Aid equipment here, Coastal Xpress for getting us as far as Blue Reef and El Secreto boat for picking us up and getting us the rest of the way to the resort.
Amandala Does It Again – Public Backlash on Most Recent Article on Rape/Women
The Amandala Newspaper is once again receiving public backlash from a most recent article published on their October 20, 2013, issue entitled “Bake it Again” by Colin BH that even the Special Envoy for Women and Children has sent out a statement condemning the very disturbing article. Below is the statement signed by Kim Simplis Barrow, Chairperson of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in Belize:
October 22, 2013 - I wish to express very grave concern about an article published in the Amandala newspaper of October 20, 2013 entitled “Bake it Again” by Colin BH. The article expresses views on the proposed provisions of the Criminal Code Amendment (No.2) Bill. Although the entire article leaves much to be desired, the section quoted below is among the most appalling of the opinions expressed:
"the rape of a male by a male is more heinous than the rape of a female by a male. Consider that (1) the female might one day fall in love with the male; (2), the female provoked the immature/crazy male to commit this act; (3), it is a natural act; (4), the female might be entirely whorish, so the act is of little consequence."
Misc Belizean Sources
Trades 4 Life 2014 Schedule
Trades 4 Life, located in Belmopan, has their 2014 schedule out, with some classes starting in the middle of January. They've added a new class called Welding and Machining.
"2014 is bringing new and exciting things to our Belize school of training. T4L is now a registered school in the country of Belize, which will provide further credibility for those receiving instruction at our facility. At Trades 4 Life, we believe providing Trade, Life, and Leadership skills develops young men into highly employable tradesmen capable of offering leadership in work, business, and family. The upcoming season will offer a new course not provided in 2012-2013 - Welding and Machining. We are excited to welcome Mr. Tom Theunissen, a veteran instructor from South Africa who will be teaching this curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to learn these practical skills in a hands-on environment."
UB Reproductive Health Fair
The University of Belize Nursing students had their 4th annual reproductive health fair today. Stay healthy!
"Fourth Year Nursing students at the University of Belize today held the fourth annual Reproductive Health Fair of the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health, and Social Work at the University’s Central Campus in Belmopan. Speaking to students, faculty, and staff, Guest Speaker, Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin emphasized that, 'health is about our minds and bodies. It is physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. It is our most important asset! We really should do everything we can to promote and preserve it.' Activities at the event included presentations by students and different health tests such as blood pressure, pap smear, breast exam, and HIV."
Rotaract Macal River Clean up
The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio had their Macal River Clean Up campaign. This was just one part of the project, which also includes putting in garbage bins and signs to let people know that garbage looks better in the bins than in the rivers and parks. Thanks, Rotaract!
"Check out the Full album here:
The Launch of our CleanUp Campaign took place Saturday, October 12th. Where Members gathered to clean up Macal River Bank. This is marked the start of the campaign. Upcoming pieces of the project are: Setting up of garbage bins around and Placing of signs with Poster Ideas gathered at our P
BCS Cancer Walk
The San Ignacio branch of the Belize Cancer Society has released details about the Cancer Walk which will go from Esperanza to Cayo, and will start at 5:00am on Saturday the 26th. A bus will leave Benque at 4:15am.
In related news the BCS will be discussing cancer at Sacred Heart Junior College tonight, and will be providing information on the disease.
Mexico Daylight Saving Time Ends on October 27th
For those visiting across the MX border - Mexico Daylight Saving Time Ends on October 27th
1. In Mexico, clocks go backward one hour on Sunday, October 27th.
2. Mexico and Belize will have again the same local time.
Belmopan, Belize, 23 October 2013.- The Embassy of Mexico informs that on Sunday, October 27th, Mexico ends Daylight Saving Time, in order to begin Winter Time. This means that Mexico’s local time will be the same as Belize’s local time.
For those traveling within Mexico on the evening of Saturday, October 26th, the Embassy suggests that their time be changed backward one hour before going to sleep.
If you are in transit through Mexico, please verify your flight and bus local time.
USA Travel warning to Mexico still effective
The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Mexico. General information on the overall security situation is provided immediately below. For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, which can vary, travelers should reference the state-by-state assessments further below.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated November 20, 2012 to consolidate and update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.
COROZAL PARENTS PROTEST in-front of Ministry of Education
In Red is the new District Officer in charge of Min of Education, Mr. Lopez. He finally decided to come out of his office after the parents waited in the scorching sun for over an hour! Lopez claims that the Ministry of Education is not responsible for anything being taught to the schools but rather the Head of each school. He went further to state that no schools will be forced to teach anything that is contrary to their belief, YET, The Gender Policy page 23 States that all publicly financed educational institutions, Even Religious Schools MUST teach what is in the Policy!! Is the District Officer not aware of what the Amended Policy reads. This is a public service provided by the CD!
COROZAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS WALK
October has been observed as Beast Cancer Awareness month in memory of those who have lost the battle to cancer. The Belize Cancer Society Corozal Branch is leading its annual walk for Breast Cancer Awareness. Join the many Corozalenos (women, children, and men) in this walk and to support care and cure of those fellow brothers and sisters affected. The organizers are asking a One Dollar donation per person to participate in the walk. Limited number of cancer awareness T-Shirts are available for $20.00. You can also sponsor the balloon Lift-Off which will be done at the end of the walk at the Central Park in commemoration of those who have lost the battle of this disease.
Money raised will be used to support breast cancer detection and treatment. Your participation and donation will help in obtaining an MRI to determine if a mass is malignant or benign or a biopsy of breast tissue to see if cancer cells are present in patients that cannot afford one.
Time will be at 5:30 a.mm starting from Ranchito in-front of the Ministry of Works this Saturday Oct. 26, 2013.
Route: Ranchito (ministry of Works) - Philip Goldson Highway - 7th Avenue - Right on 1st Street - Left on 5th Avenue - Destination Central Park for balloon lift off.
Thank you for supporting this wonderful cause!
Saldivar Seeks Churches Out For Peace on PAC
The UDP led version of the Public Accounts Committee seemed to have been going so well until 2 weeks ago, when the social partners roundly condemned the meetings, calling it “significantly flawed…(having) no credibility” and a “charade.”
As they say, that broke up the dolly house, and today lead member for the Government side John Saldivar had to go fence mending. He and two UDP members of the committee, Patrick Faber and Mark King met with representatives of the council of churches. It happened at the Wesley Church conference room which is right next to Channel 7’s studio. So we waited for them to come out around 12:30 – at the end of a two-hour meeting. Saldivar was cagey about the way ahead:
Saldivar Non-Specific On Police Investigation
As police minister, Saldivar also discussed, in very general terms, the investigation into irregularities at the Immigration Department. Quite remarkably, in the most high profile white collar crime investigation in memory, no public official - not the Police Commissioner, not the Immigration Minister, and not the Immigration Director - has yet to give a coherent outline of what the investigation is looking into. Saldivar added to that with another hazy, non-specific overview:
"Is there a police investigation into the affairs of the Immigration Department? And, what is the sphere, the thrust of that investigation?"
Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security
"While I cannot give you the details of where the investigation is at this time, I can confirm that the police department is investigating various aspects of the immigration scandal."
FIU Director Doesn't Want To Talk
And while that offers us little new information, the Minister of National Security was at least prepared to entertain questions from the media about the passport scandal and police investigation into it, while the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit wasn’t.
More than 2 weeks ago, Marilyn Williams told the media that her office had already begun a financial investigation into the passport scandal. Today, Williams attended the appeal hearing of convicted money launderers Melonie and Michael Coye, and when she exited the court room, we tried to get an update on that investigation – but it didn’t yield much.
"The investigation into the passport scandal, can you give us an update?"
Marilyn Williams - Director, FIU
"Oh, absolutely not, you all know that I do not discuss investigations."
"Could you brief us if it's still on-going?”
"I have no comment on that, sorry."
British Woman Knocked Down and Killed
A 68 year old British woman was knocked down and killed last night within Belize city limits. It happened on the northern highway near mile 2 and a half, on a particularly dangerous stretch of road that has seen more than six fatalities in the past four years. At about 7:00 last night, Patricia Johnson – who lived at a guest house in the Bella Vista housing community was crossing the highway to get back to Bella Vista. She had just gone shopping for a few items and was walking her dog. But, just before as she got to the Bella Vista entrance, a motorbike crashed into her, flinging the senior citizen violently unto the highway. She sustained serious injury, and died a few hours later at the KHMH. 31 year old Jason Grant was driving the motorbike which has been impounded. Police expect to charge him for manslaughter and related charges.
Johnson, who is a writer, visited Belize in 2007 and fell in love with the country. She had been living here ever since. She was a very regular presence on the road, where she could often be seen walking on errands. She has no known relatives in the UK, and her friends say they intend to cremate her in Belize, as was her wish.
GOB On Oil Vs. Indigenous Rights
Last night, we told you about the Supreme Court Case where SATIIM and the Indigenous Mayan Communities of the south are trying to block US Capital Energy from continuing oil exploration inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park.
The case has been brewing since July, when SATIIM announced that the Government of Belize granted US Capital permission to build a road to the drill sight, which sits a few acres inside the park.
Today, Government attorney, Denys Barrow, was allowed to respond to the submissions made by Eamon Courtney, attorney for the Mayans. After a lengthy presentation before Justice Michelle Arana, Barrow spoke to the media outside the courtroom. He told us that the Mayans are basing their arguments on the premise of customary land rights, but these rights weren’t clearly defined in the case, and they haven’t proven that they’ve been violated:
Convicted Coye's Go To Appeal
In the last segment, we showed you the interview from FIU Director Marilyn Williams about her office’s investigation into the passport scandal. That opportunity, as we told you, came up after the hearing in appeal case for Melonie and Michael Coye.
They were convicted last year of money laundering after standing trial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, and since then, their attorney, Arthur Saldivar, has been working to get them an appeal.
That hearing came up today before the Justices of Appeal, but it couldn’t progress because Saldivar wasn’t ready to argue his client’s case. It’s not the first adjournment to suit an unprepared Saldivar and after the hearing we asked him about it.
Arthur Saldivar - Attorney for Melonie & Michael Coye
"The matter has been traversed to the next session. The appeal will be heard on February 24, due to the schedule that I have in the Supreme Court, and the fact that I got the transcript somewhat late, it was not prudent seek to push on with a matter as complicated as the one we are dealing with that limited time of preparation. So, I begged the courts indulgence, and I am happy that they were able to accede to my request, and we're right now in a position where we can actually have this matter be dealt with comprehensively in the next session."
Purse Snatcher Nabbed With Stolen Cell
Police say they’ve caught a minor who’s a major purse snatcher, preying on females in the Princess Margaret and University Drive area. A 17 year old student led police to him. She had been robbed of her purse 8 days ago at around noon, and on Monday afternoon while walking on Princess Margaret Drive she saw him circling the area and promptly called precinct four police. They responded immediately and arrested a 17 year old for along with 18 year old Chevon Castellanos. The 17 year old was found with the female student’s Blackberry Phone, along with a weed whacker and a Samsung Galaxy phone which had been reported stolen. The 17 year old was Arrested and charged for Robbery and Handling Stolen Goods, while the 18 year old was charged for handling.
Police say they have uniformed, mobile and plainclothes officers patrolling the areas where students travel.
GSU Says Arenal Weed Abounds
For the past 2 nights, we’ve been telling you about the marijuana busts made by the Gang Suppression Unit. Well there is more tonight.
This morning, at around 9:38, GSU officers searched an abandoned overgrown lot on Allan Pitts Crescent. The officers found a black plastic bag which was tied on a berries tree near the only small house sitting on the lot. Inside that bag, they found 4 smaller bags containing 461 ounces – or just over a pound – of marijuana. They also another black plastic bag, which contained 6 smaller bags with 655 grams – or almost 20 ounces of marijuana.
No one was in the area, so it was deposited as found property. According to the GSU, the abandoned lot is adjacent to a suspected drug dealer’s house, who operates in the area.
CARICOM Makes Gang Intervention
Last night on the news you heard the CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque speak candidly about the unflattering perception many Caribbean Citizens have of CARICOM. He says the CARICOM Secretariat has to be felt to be making a difference in the lives of its citizens. And, quite as a coincidence, one of the secretariat’s most ambitious, socially impactful programmes happened to be in Belize at the same time. It’s called “Youth, Gangs and Violence Partnering for Social Development and Crime Prevention.” The programme started in 2011 and is being staged in five countries including Belize. It attempts to steer youths away from gang involvement. The CARICOM strategists are on their fourth mission to Belize and today they launched a three day workshop focused on strategies for preventing crime and violence in schools and community, targeting teachers, community workers, students and police. Beverly Reynolds from CARICOM told us they want to build capacity:
Beverly Reynolds - Programme Manager, Sustainable Dev., CARICOM
"The idea is to build the capacity of these persons, to deal with the challenges that they are facing, both in schools and in communities, as it relates to crime and violence. It focuses on preventing crime. It focuses on social development. So, we address social issues in the attempt to prevent crime."
The Waste Management Transformation Still Evolving
As recently as two years ago, Belize City residents had to be coping with an intermittent stench wafting out of the dump-site at mile two on the western highway. But, in just two months Solid Waste Management in Belize has gone through a quiet revolution.
Since August, the garbage generated by Belize City and San Ignacio residents has been trucked up to the Mile 27 sanitary landfill. In the months of august and September, it amounted to almost four thousand metric tons of waste, that’s about two hundred, 40 foot trailers. It’s been remarkably smooth going so far, and today the Solid Waste Management Authority held a National Solid Waste Management Policy, Strategy & Plan - Stakeholder Workshop to come up with a long term plan. Gilroy Lewis told us more:
Road Safety Re-loaded
The Road Safety project from the Ministry of Economic Development today signed a contract with Anthony Thurton and Associates Ltd. for the Design and Certification Consultancy for The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project. The idea is to provide independent inspection and certification of the road safety infrastructure works and to design a new roundabout at the junction of the Western and Hummingbird Highways. Other agencies will also be involved as the CEO explained:
Yvonne S. Hyde - CEO, Ministry of Economic Development
"It will include the involvement of the Ministry of Health from the point of view of the ambulances which are going to be provided, and education, from the point of view of education at various levels in schools. So, it is a very important project for the Government of Belize. It is the first one, I could say, of its kind that the Caribbean Development Bank is funding."
The contract will span an 18-month period.
Developing Dental Awareness Among Youths
"Brush and Floss Everyday and Keep Cavities Away," that’s the theme for dental health week which is being observed from October 20th to the 26th. Today the Dental Department held a Fair at the Central Health Region compound in Belize City – where the senior Dental Officer said that awareness of dental issues is rising among children – and he speculated on the role that the Tooth Fairy may be playing in that, yes, the Tooth Fairy:
Dr. Rafael Samos - Dental Surgeon
"What we used to see is that people used to come to the dentist just for a normal extraction. But little by little, the way we are doing it, we're pushing a lot more for education. And, with that in mind, we have seen an increase of people asking for - instead of just extractions - they are actually coming in and asking for options. This is what we're creating also. By educating the kids, they go home and take that message to their school, their classrooms, or their homes. Nowadays, you will hear a kid say, 'I want a filling, sealant, or fluoride treatment. They know all the options that are available. This is a way of exposing them to that, at the same time, making it a fun way of capturing their attention. This year, I would say that it is the tooth fairy that we're having. I hope that you will take a good glimpse of hear. There is a Belizean tooth fairy, so that you can look at it. We're trying to create that emphasis. So, don't ask the Belizean tooth fairy for your money, because they won't hand you the cash. But if you look at the impact of knowing what to do when it comes to a dental problem. The exposure will save you a lot more money, than just the little cash under your pillow."
PM Says Public Service Should Be More Focused On Professionalization
Much has been made of what the Prime Minister told Belizean Americans in Los Angeles about the Ministry of Natural Resources which he called “a hotbed of corruption.” Well, in that same informal address at a town meeting in Los Angeles, he also had some choice words for the public service. He says he would wish they would be more focussed on professionalization – instead of just fixated salary increases. Here are those remarks from an amateur recording of the event on Sunday:
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"It strikes me that the unions don't do enough by way of themselves, trying to equip their membership better for the roles that teachers and public servants - and public servants in particular - have to play. And I just want to enter an appeal because everything I say here gets sent back to Belize, as you know. I do want to enter an appeal for the unions to do more than just advocate for salary increases. That's fine; that's a huge part of their remit, but it can't be the only thing they do."
Merchant Pleads Guilty
49 year-old Businessman Bhishan Kumar Issrani, the owner of Miami Fashions on Albert Street, inappropriately touched a customer who visited his store. That’s what he pleaded guilty to yesterday in the Magistrate’s Court.
According to an 18 year-old student, she went to buy a pair of shoes in the store on Monday. When she was inquiring about the price, Issrani approached her and hugged her, pressing his body up against her for an extended period of time, which made her feel uncomfortable. She reported the incident to police who charged Issrani with common assault.
He was arraigned yesterday before the Chief Magistrate, where he pleaded guilty to the charge. She sentenced him to pay a fine of $200, plus an additional $150 as compensation to the complainant. He paid the fines, and exited court a free man.
Music Men and Former Mayor Honoured
Today, music men and a municipal leader were honoured by the Governor General in an investiture ceremony.
Frank Lizama was honoured for his contribution to art, education and politics while the GG’s son and celebrated musician Colville Young Jr. was appointed for his contribution to education and music. Sam Hamilton received the insignia for Member of the British Empire for his contribution to music.
Details on the visa hustle involving Chinese nationals; a government minister is in the hot seat
Former Minister of State Elvin Penner has been stealing the spotlight on corruption in the Immigration Department. But tonight there is compelling evidence of deep-rooted corruption in respect of the [...]
Insider speaks of the thousands of dollars paid, the process and how it all started
The individual claims that over two hundred visas were ‘assisted’ by Minister Edmund Castro for two thousand dollars each. If you do the math, that’s four hundred thousand dollars to [...]
2 Cuban nationals and their Mexican handlers are nabbed for human trafficking
While the lucrative visa hustle you have just heard about, involves Chinese nationals, there are other nationals who also use Belize as a springboard to the United States. On Tuesday [...]
Is the FIU following the trail of monies in the passport scandal?
There is much more to come in the alleged Castro visa hustle, but the Elvin Penner debacle is still simmering. It hasn’t boiled over yet because there is absolutely no [...]
Still no word from Eric Chang’s return; Mayor says it is unacceptable
Still on the issue of the passport scandal, Belize City Councilor Eric Chang’s arrival is eagerly anticipated. Chang has been M.I.A. since September third, and last week, he was stripped [...]
Day two of arguments in SATIIM versus US Capital Energy and Government case
On Wednesday SATIIM, Mayan communities, US Capital Energy and the Government met in court to argue for a ruling on rights – Mayan rights to communal lands versus the government’s [...]
Attorney Saldivar speaks appeal hearing for Coye’s Family in money laundering case
In late July of 2012, two members of the Coye Family along with two of their employees were convicted of money laundering under the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act. Melanie [...]
Man charged for fatal traffic accident
A traffic accident which occurred thirteen days ago at the junction of the Burrell Boom/Hattieville Road has claimed the life of a Ladyville resident. As a result, thirty-nine year old [...]
20 year old mother of 2 imprisoned for being a prohibited immigrant
A Guatemalan woman who has been living in Belize for over six years and is the common-law-wife of a Cayo resident has been given her ticket to leave the country. [...]
More drugs taken off the street by GSU
The Gang Suppression Unit is reporting two drug seizures today. The first took place this morning in an abandoned overgrown lot on Allan Pitts Crescent in Belize City where a [...]
Activist Patrick Menzies is detained briefly in Belmopan
Since October fifteen, Activist, Patrick Menzies, launched a campaign to gather support across the country asking parents not to send their children to school to send a clear message to [...]
Menzies lambasts church leaders who engage in politricks
While he was on camera, Menzies also lambasted certain leaders of the religious community saying that they are engaged in politricks. He says that’s the reason why he and several [...]
Menzies says his agenda is God’s agenda
Approximately ninety percent of those gathered are naturalized Belizeans so we asked Menzies if he was taking advantage of those persons or was he pushing his own agenda. Menzies says [...]