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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
43% of Belize’s population lives in poverty while PM Barrow reveals $1 Billion Budget for 2014/15
On March 7th, Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow presented the proposed General Revenue and Appropriations Bill (budget) for the fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 to the tune of $1 billion dollars. That proposed budget was debated in the House of Representatives on Monday March 24th and Tuesday March 25th. The budget, entitled “Bettering People, Building Belize – A budget for All,” will provide $34 million in the form of increment and salary adjustment to teachers and public officers. The budget flows from the FY 2013/2014 in which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 0.7% growth instead of last year’s projection of 2.5% GDP growth. Moreover, last year’s FY saw a combined rise in the inflation rate and cost of living. Adding to challenges is the fact that almost 25% of the population is unemployed. As reported by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) in their last annual report, 21,000 Belizeans who want to work are unable to find jobs. The challenges are compounded by the fact that 43% of the population is considered living in poverty – Toledo District being the poorest district, followed by the Corozal District.
SPTC to relocate two buildings for Police
While the building of the new barracks is being spearheaded by Kanabar and a few other businesspeople, there is another issue of concern: the relocation of two small wooden houses donated to the police that will complement the barracks project. The two houses were originally donated as sleeping quarters for the Belize Coast Guard by the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA). Now that the Coast Guard has new headquarters near the marina, they no longer require the use of the buildings, and the SPBA has offered the building stop the San Pedro Police Department.The SPBA claims that they approached the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) for assistance in relocating the buildings, but months passed without any word from the SPTC. SPBA memberElitoArceoannounced last week that he was prepared to move the buildings with the help of community support, since all attempts to get the council’s assistance had failed. Mayor Guerrero agreed that it has taken a few months for them to act on the initiative and indicated that the coordination to remove the buildings took time. “We know that tensions are high because of the recent crime and shooting and people want things to be done immediately, but these things take time,” said Guerrero. When asked what is taking so long,Guerrero indicated that the delay was due to the acquisition of nine lamp posts from Belize Electricity Limited that would be used as foundation piles.
Community responds to police barracks project but more help is needed
Due to the lack of much needed funds, the construction of San Pedro’s new police barracks has been at a standstill for the last several months. The new building is geared at providing better living conditions for island officers who have no other alternative but to live in deplorable and substandard conditions. Despite the financial challenges, the San Pedro community has fueled the efforts to soon resume the work. So far the project has consumed $62,000, which was raised through the efforts of a group of concerned businesspeople. The group took on the challenge to raise funds and get the barracks built. Mukul Kanabar, one of the active businesspersons spearheading the project,indicated to The San Pedro Sun that the group continues the appeal to other businesses to get on board with the project. Financed solely by a number of businesses and individuals on the island, the $62,000 raised has been depleted with the purchase of materials and labor for the project which is being supervised by Deputy Mayor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez of Gaby’s Construction. An additional $86,000 is needed to complete the project.
The mama of the San Pedro Sun, the Coconut Wireless, dated 31 March 1988. 26 years ago photos on the front page, Jimmy Buffett impromptu poolside concert at Ramon's Village Resort and Tropic Air Belize's Johnny Grief III (with hair!) comes to the rescue at a neighborhood fire!
Our Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana has been covering the budget debate in Belmopan today
Newly sworn in PUP Senator Patrick Andrews speaks at the General Revenue Appropriation 2014/15 Bill (Budget) Debate. According to Andrews, the 2014/2015 budget is a UDP tool to prolong a ‘dying government’. "I cannot boast about this budget when I know the grassroots people are suffering because of the unfair distribution of our country's resources."
He went on to say that this budget lacks consultation with the various stakeholders, thus it does not represent and address the real issues affecting the nation. Andrews elaborated that there is no plan in the budget to reduce poverty and create employment. "For instance Mr. President, the reality of the UDP food pantry program is just a political tool to create dependency on this UDP government implemented in strategic UDP areas. It is not teaching our people to fish but rather giving them a fish. If the government is serious about helping those in need, channel the millions through the social partners and charitable organizations to ensure that those who need it get it...this budget lacks vision and purpose."
Lime Shortage Crisis Hits the Region
The lime crisis in Belize has now reached staggering proportions. It is not only the shortage that is affecting Belizeans but the soaring price as well. The limes, those few that are available, are becoming smaller and they are so immature that it costs an effort to get half a teaspoonful of juice out of one. And the cost of limes has climbed to an all-time high of $1.50 cents each.
In San Pedro it has hit hard like a bullet. What is a good fish soup (chechak) without lime? And how can you do a good conch ceviche with only a few drops of lime juice? Even the more conservative users of this precious juice who use it for cleaning fish or chicken have been hurting. Bartenders are scrambling around to locate some decent limes to fix up their cocktails, margaritas or tequila shots with lime. These are only a few of those complaining.
Jamila Janmohamed Awarded for her Fundraising Efforts
Around 2004, local Sanpedrana Jamila Janmohamed was asked to run the collection for the Poppy Appeal, during the month leading to Remembrance Day (observed in November and remembering Belizean and Commonwealth veterans, their families and fallen soldiers). Before Jamila’s participation in the collection in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, little over $200 was raised. Taking over the collection, she immediately raised funds in the thousands of dollars. This last year Jamila managed to handed in BZ$13,246.86 which is about UK£4,416.00.
For her outstanding efforts, dedication and heart, Jamila Janmohamed was honored with an award by the Royal British Legion of Belize, which she is a member of, at a special function held at the Flagstaff Mess.
Misc Belizean Sources
How to Treat Jellyfish Stings
Jellyfish stings can vary greatly in severity. Most often they result in immediate pain and red, irritated marks on the skin. Some jellyfish stings may cause more whole-body (systemic) illness, and in rare cases, are life-threatening. Most jellyfish stings get better with home treatment, but severe reactions require emergency medical care. Here’s Dr. Lopez’ professional advice about the topic.
Pre-School Child Stimulation celebrations end today
Friday March 28th is the closing of the Pre-School Child Stimulation celebrations. A morning parade will commence at the Corozal Central Park through the principal streets of town. Come support our future leaders. Photos taken of Cultural Day. Pre-schoolers and teachers depicting our Belizean ethnic identities.
Activities for Pre-School Child Stimulation month 2014
- Sports Day Parade, ceremony and activities carried out on March 14 at the Andres Campos Civic Center. Guest speaker was Mr. Carlos Acosta, Sports Council Coordinator, Corozal. The event was fun and enjoyable for all who attended and took part.
Inspiration Center Inauguration
The grand inauguration of the Inspiration Center was today. Everyone involved deserves a huge round of thanks for making this dream a reality. It opens to the general public on April 14th.
"The Inspiration Center is finally a reality for Belize! These are some snapshots from this morning's launch. More pictures to come!"
BTL Yellow Pages 2014 Video
BTL has a video out that talks about, and shows a lot of, the new 2014 phone directory. It highlights the photo competition they had to find the cover picture. Congratulations to Darren Lamb for taking the winning shot! You can see the congratulatory party BTL had at Chaa Creek for Darren, see his award winning picture, and also learn about the directory for mobile devices. Darren explains the picture here.
"Today was a nice and sunny day and also it was the launch of our 2014 Telephone Directory, Take a look at the video and see how the enhancements to the book and also find out how we did this years cover. Enjoy"
Western Ballaz vs Warriors
The Western Ballaz will be traveling to Dangriga on Saturday to play the Warriors. This weekend marks the start of the second half of the season, so it's all rematches at this point. The game will start at 9:00pm, and will be televised on Channel 5. The bus is $5, and leaves at 5:30pm. We beat the Warriors 63 to 52 the last time, and here are the pictures.
In related news, it's Jaime Cabajal's 18th birthday today. Happy birthday, Jaime!
Its the rematch between the Dangriga Warriors and Cayo Western Ballaz! Make sure to be at Y-Not Island this Saturday March 29th. Game starts at 9.p.m.
Pack for a Purpose with TRL
Table Rock Jungle Lodge is one of many lodges in Cayo that are supporting the Pack for a Purpose project, where they ask guests to bring some school supplies down in any extra space they might have in their luggage. It might be just a book or 2 at a time, but over the course of a semester, that all adds up, and they donated it to the Cristo Rey primary school. Thanks, TRL!
Thanks to all our great guests who PACKED FOR A PURPOSE this season and to our niece, MIKAELA TRULL, who celebrated her 13th birthday by asking for books and sports equipment for the Cristo Rey School kids rather than presents for herself! This was our largest and most exciting donation yet! Let's keep it up! You can help the local village children when you visit Table Rock Jungle Lodge, Belize, too--click here for more details: www.packforapurpose.org"
Toledo farmers take part in survey on climate change
Farmers of the Toledo district were today part of a series of countrywide consultations on climate change and its effects on the agriculture sector.
A mango tree in front of the home of one of the leaders in the village of Silver Creek was the venue for today’s forum. It was a meeting devoid of any political tint whatsoever and gave the farmers an opportunity to be a part of something that will affect them and their way of living.
The survey is being conducted by the Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology. Dennis Jones is the Executive Director of BEST.
A meeting with Toledo farmers
under the mango tree in Silver Creek village.
FINPYME ExportPlus Trains Belize Companies For Export
IIC holds training workshops to help SMEs in Belize to create export business plans. The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) held the first of its five-part series of training workshops aimed at increasing the strategic planning capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Belize. The program is designed to boost SME exports by helping companies draw up business plans to enter new markets. According to Mr. Bove, the training will help the companies identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to become more competitive in the international market. We are pleased to be a part of this effort.” The participants of the two and half day included Belizean companies such as Marie Sharp’s Fine Food and Product, The Orange Gallery, Traveller’s Liquor Limited, BASGroup, Hot Mama’s Belize, Quality Poultry Product , Chemical Specialties of Belize and the Bureau of Standards who participated in the first day of training tailored to meet internationalization standards the BELTRAIDE team was influential in stirring discussion whilst the knowledgeable guest speakers Ms. Julie Colinet and Mr. Antonello Bove respectively carried out their presentation.
St. Luke’s Methodist marching band receives new instruments
The Purple Spirit Band of St. Luke Methodist Primary School this afternoon received a timely donation of musical instruments, without which they were in danger of being unable to participate in the annual Band Fest sponsored by LOVE FM.
They are a favorite in the City for major events, and the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation stepped in today under the Community Action for Public Safety Project (CAPS).
Minister of State in the Ministry and Lake Independence area representative, Mark King, said that the school and surrounding area will continue to benefit from the program, which tackles the problem of youth development especially for out-of-school youth.
Inspiration Center opens
The Inspiration Center, intended to be an integrated, community based program for disabled and disadvantaged children and adolescents from especially poor areas of Belize, opened its doors in grand style today.
After a year and few months of fundraising and then construction, Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow told this morning’s audience that the real work now begins, of making it into a true home.
She says the Center is intent on fostering development of Belize’s “differently abled” community and other Belizeans’ respect of them.
Two Inspiration Telethons in 2012 and 2013 raised some $1.5 million, much of which was donated by the Government of Belize.
Supreme Court decision for SATIIM next week
This morning in her chambers, Justice Michelle Arana told parties to the SATIIM vs. GOB and U.S. Capital case that a decision will be given next Thursday, April 3.
In the interim, SATIIM’s plans to seek an injunction to halt pre-drilling activity in the Sarstoon Temash National Park were discontinued.
But it appears that frustration with the Mayas of southern Toledo for U.S. Capital seems to have reached a peak.
Attorney for U.S. Capital Energy, Michael Peyrefitte, told the press after court that it seems the Maya only care about one thing, demanding a greater share of the oil revenue should oil be found.
He described the Maya as great at “playing victim” but maintains that the percentage is already set and so they will not get very far. According to Peyrefitte, U.S. Capital never had any intentions of starting drilling before a decision had been made by the courts. He expects that even with a decision next week in their favor, drilling would not actually begin until April or May.
CARILED Local Economic Development Officer
There are a lot of acronyms in this job opportunity, and a even more years in the proposed CARILED project. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is partnering with the Ministry of Labour and the SISE town council, and they are looking for someone to be the Local Economic Development Officer for Cayo. Basically, they need a qualified point person for the 6 year project. The applications should be in by April 7th. Good luck!
"For further details, Interested applicants for the position of Local Economic Development Officer (LEDO) may contact the Town Administrator for the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council at the following number: 804-2035."
San Jose Succtoz Festival 2014
San Jose Succotz Village is a destination for the escapists. You will find yourselves reveling in the essence of this little remote region of Belize while enjoying the annual attractions that the 3-day “San Jose Succotz Festival 2014” offers (March 28th – 30th, 2014).
Day One – (March 28th, 2014) live musical performances, food and drinks, crowning of the San Jose Succotz Fiesta Queen, and a dance hosted by Super Furia.
Day Two – (March 29th, 2014) river activities (canoe and tubing), bicycle race and a dance hosted by the legendary Gilharry Seven of Belize and Sonido Magico of Guatemala.
Day Three – Cultural Day and dance hosted by Sonido Magico.
Ms. African Queen Pageant
Is this Saturday, March 29th at the Bliss Center in Belize City
March 16 - March 22 2014 Fishing Report
Bottom line, fishing is really, really good right now here at El Pescador! Wow. Award ceremonies every night are filled with stories about dreams coming true. Beaming faces, proud parents and a proud fishing director! The guides have been very committed to making each day special for their anglers. It’s truly rewarding witnessing relationships between the guides and their anglers grow. Send me your pictures you guys! [email protected] We want to brag about you on our facebook page. As they say here in Belize, “Why not?” For those of you getting ready for your trip – practice your cast! The ones that show up practiced are making huge leaps forward in their casting once they get here. Isa and I have enjoyed this week as we tally up what has been going on out there in the day of fishing. My bonus this week was of course having my family here. It was so special for me to watch my fish-crazed sister and brother-in-law cast and learn on the flats. Now you know! Thank you to all of my El Pescador family for making my family feel so welcomed. From the EP fishing department we hope to see you again soon casting to your dreams. Fish On!
8 min. I had the opportunity to travel to Belize on my winter break! It was an amazing experience, and I am so happy that I can share it with you!
Video: Belize 2K14
32 min. An educational recap of 7 students and 2 faculty members Spring Break Service Learning trip to Punta Gorda Belize. Hosted by Garcia Homestay.
Video: Dolphins at the Bow, Placencia, Belize
3 min. From a recent sailing trip to Placencia, Belize, and the first time using my new GoPro... we had an escort out into the Inner Channel. It's hard sticking your new camera into the water while sailing by at 7 knots!
Video: Belize 2014 Eagle rays
2 min. At Ranguana Cay.
Video: Belize Trip March 2014
5 min. Belize SB2014 filmed with GoPro Hero3
Video: Corozal to San Pedro Belize
1 min. A flight from Corozol to San Pedro, Belize. March 27th, 2014. Beautiful!
Video: Belize 2014
3 min. Oklahoma State University Literacy Project
St. Johns Anglican Primary School
Video: Sacred Heart Flash Mob
Students from Sacred Heart School in San Ignacio in Belize raised awareness about Literacy by performing in a Flash Mob
Video: Expert removal of a botfly larva (beef worm)
Don't panic if you're unlucky enough to get a botfly larva under your skin during a visit to Belize. They can be extracted simply and painlessly. Here's advice on how to do it from an expert.
Hon. Penner Criminally Charged
Tonight, Former Minister of State Elvin Penner is out on a $2,000 bail after he was arraigned on criminal charges for misdeeds he allegedly committed as minister of state in the Immigration Ministry - when he facilitated the bogus passport for South Korean fugitive Kim Won-Hong.
The public and the opposition have been pushing since September for Penner to be charged for his central role in the Citizen Kim Affair, but in the end it was a private prosecution undertaken by activist organization COLA that got him charged.
President Geovanni Brackett and Executive Member Nedal McLaren charged him under the Passport Act of "vouching the fitness" of Won Hong Kim, without having actual knowledge of Kim as an applicant.
Additionally the COLA members charged him under the Nationality Act for "making a statement which he knew to be false" for signing the Nationality Certificate knowing that Won Hong Kim has never been a citizen of Belize.
PM Measures His Words On Penner Criminal Charges
And so, today, a former member of the Barrow Cabinet and two-term UDP representative was charged. Though the UDP has cut him off, and distanced him from the party, Penner hasn't done the same. He still appeared with a posse of red-shirt wearing UDP supporters today - and unless he crosses the floor or is recalled, he's still an elected UDP representative. So then how does Party Leader Dean Barrow feel about Penner being charged today? When we caught up with PM Barrow at the opening of the Inspiration Center, he was measured in his remarks:..
"How do you feel about him being arraigned?"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Well the matter is before the courts, I won't comment. Justice will take its course."
"However, just speaking in very general terms about a person who was elected under the UDP and who serve in the Cabinet under you, facing criminal charges. You would think on the objective circumstances it would bring shame."
COLA Lawyer Questions Whylie Decision
But back now to the Penner case. As you heard in our story, COLA's attorney said that they are depending Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to turn over all evidence that the police has gathered before the next court date. He said that they will continue to press him and the Auditor General to turn over whatever evidence they have. But, as we told you, Whylie has filed a notice of his intent to appeal the Writ of Mandamus, which was granted by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.
COLA and their attorney have interpreted that as a clear attempt to defy the intent of the court's compulsion, but they says that ComPol Whylie must go another step, which is to apply for a stay of execution. He would then be asking to court to relieve him of the responsibility of having to complete the investigation, which Musa told the media is political suicide for the UDP Government. Here's how he explained it:
Oil Company Lawyer: Maya Leaders Put Money Over All Else
And turning now from the Belmopan Magistrate's Court to the Supreme Court in Belize City, SATIIM today had an injunction hearing. As we've reported that Toledo Mayan group says that the oil company US Capital Energy has violated the spirit of an undertaking to the court, by getting ready to drill in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, when a pivotal judgment is pending. That judgment could assert Mayan Customary Land Rights over the exploration area and put a stop to US Capital's activities.
So today SATIIM went to the Supreme Court asking for an injunction to stop any further pre drilling activity. But, that request was set aside when Justice Michelle Arana told them that her judgement would be issued next week. So, with that, they agreed to hold off on the injunction. But, attorney for US Capital Michael Peyrefitte was not impressed. He said it's all just public relations engineering:...
Inside The Inspiration Center
The Inspiration Center - it's Kim Barrow's dream for physically challenged children. But while most dreams just stay up there in the clouds, she brought this one to earth, and to life - by relentless promotion and fundraising. Today it culminated in the opening of the center, a world-class facility which was built in just 18 months. 7News was at the opening - which was a "standing room only" event:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
The clatter of drums set the tone for today's event which was a celebration in song and in word of a long and emotional journey that saw Kim Barrow and her dream make it intact through tough times:
Kim Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children
"Images just flash back to this moment and it's an emotional day for me. I can recall coming back from one of my chemotherapy treatments and I was really worried that this wasn't going to happen. It was at that point that I realize maybe I was biting more than I could chew and I was kind of desperate."
Hon. Grant Defends Board's Decisions On National Bank
Yesterday, we showed you CEO Colin Young's categorical denial that his Minister, Joy Grant, used her influence as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Bank of Belize to get him a loan at a preferential interest rate and with preferential terms. That was one of the reasons that Grant and former Manager Jose Marin, a veteran banker, clashed which he says led to his termination.
That's an ugly allegation against the reputation of the 6 month old bank, which was created to provide lower income Belizeans with access to affordable credit. So today, at the Senate Debate on the 2014-2015 budget, Grant, who is a Government Senator, used the platform to the respond directly to the allegations. Here's what she had to say:
Senator Joy Grant
"We want to be clear also that the board of the National Bank of Belize which comprises someone from the social sector, someone from the business community unanimously agreed that it was time to terminate the existing general manager and have moved on from this. We now have a very experience person who is serving as assistant general manager and we will be advertising for a general manager very soon. There are robust internal procedures and processes in place at the National Bank and no one director can approve any loan or advance to anyone."
PM Apparently Intrigued By CEO Young's Loan
Today we also got a chance to hear the Prime Minister's opinion on the shake-up at the National Bank. The General Manager was fired last week - and he said he was glad to go because - as he described it - the Board wanted him to engage in unethical behavior.
So what's the Prime Minister's take on this kerfuffle at one of his Government's signal accomplishments? We asked him today:..
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Do I saw the reports of what Joy Grant who is chair of the board said and I completely endorse those remarks. Anybody who knows Joy Grant knows that Joy Grant would never ask anyone to do anything improper. Mr. Marin is somebody that I knew from a previous life; I was the one who asked him to come onboard initially, so I would not say anything unkind about him. Obviously the entire board felt that it was time for there to be a parting of the ways. It just turned out that it was not the kind of fit that the board and the bank required."
Barrow Says Sir Manuel Still Respected
We also got to ask the Prime Minister's about last week's hot issue - which is Sir Manuel and Lady Kathy Esquivel's resignation from all their government posts. As we told you PM Barrow responded to Sir Manuel's letter of resignation. Esquivel described the letter as "generous", but what did the PM really say? We asked him today:..
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"I wrote to both Sir Manuel and Lady Kathy; I thanked both of them for their stellar service with respect to the last positions they held. I went on in the case of Sir Manuel to make the point that this was of course just part of a large trajectory - a larger historical background that fixes him firmly in the national consciousness as an exemplary public servant, as an exemplary politician and exemplary prime minister. I expressed my regret at his departure, but made clear that in the circumstances I understood. And that's where I will leave it."
Why Didn't EU Get The Memo On Belize Fisheries?
And finally today we got to ask the Prime Minister about the European Union ban on fisheries products from Belize.
A release from government this week said that there was no justification for this action because in January, a delegation from the EU visited Belize to discuss the action taken by Belize to comply with the EU Regulations on Illegal and Unregulated fishing. But then this decision came out in March, which led Jules Vasquez to ask the PM if that delegation flew back to the EU on that ill-fated Air Malaysia flight:
"The people who came to see him in January must have been in the Air Malaysia flight or some such thing because apparently he met with them and they didn't take the message back. They must have disappeared."
Turtle Catchers Caught Hustling Hicatee
Tonight two Belize City men are faced with 3 counts of illegal fishing after they were caught with 8 hicattee turtles by officers of the Fisheries Conservation Compliance Unit. The men were in an area called Mexico Creek just outside of Sandhill Village when their boat was searched by the officers who found the hicattees inside a gill net. The law clearly states no person shall have in his possession more than 3 turtles at any given time nor should these turtles be captured using a net. Also 4 of the turtles were undersized and one was oversized. So the two men were detained by the officers and the turtles are now in the possession of the department where stats will be taken and then they will be release back into the wild. We found out more:..
Hon. Mark Says No Thief Spotted At Hon. Julius's House
All this week, we've been reporting on the reported break in at PUP Deputy Leader Julius Espat's house on Seashore Drive in Belize City. It happened on Sunday morning and he told police the thieves took two laptop computers and his budget reply speech. As to who's responsible, he inferred that he's got his eye on his neighbor Mark King. King ignored the insult and responded magnanimously by saying he was helping police with security camera footage. You see, King has 16 security cameras on his house, and now he says he's reviewed all of them. He gave us his verdict today:..
Hon. Mark King
"I did mentioned in the National Assembly that I try to be good to my neighbor although he tries to insight - it would be unfair to say he accuses me, but indirectly he in sighted and I said to him it's not the best thing, I look after. I did follow up the police request and I did check the surveillance videos and from the angles that our videos were relayed absolutely nothing happened there. I would not like to instigate anything else on it, but I would say from our cameras nothing came of it. I would know from the side and his rear end of his home, but I would say that at the end of the day we don't have to go through these things as neighbors."
Senate Wasn't Talking About Stolen Speeches
And while Espat and King will take that up in the House of Representatives, today in the senate they weren't talking about stolen speeches, security cameras, humpty-dumpty or ramen noodles when they debated the budget. The Senate prides itself on enlightened debate, not the name calling and petty accusations that dominate discourse in the House.
Senator representing the business community Mark Lizarraga didn't like the budget. He said that for the last 2 fiscal years, the country has been borrowing around 160% more than it did 26 years ago.
Senator Mark Lizarraga
"Mr. President is 1987 we Belize owed externally 200 million dollars. 26 years later we owed 2.16 billion dollars. On average an increase of 77 million borrowing per year we have constantly borrowed according to the available statistics from the Central Bank over the last 26 years to balance our budgets. The budget deficit for fiscal year 2012/2013 was 77.8 million dollars, which is about on average. But the budgeted deficit for fiscal year 2013 was 125.8 million - 48 million more than average, but Mr. President, the actual numbers are projected to spike to 137 million. That's some 60 million dollars more than average. The budgeted shortfall Mr. President for 2014/2015 is projected at about 126.5 million or some 49.5 million more than average."
Love For St. Luke's
This afternoon Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation- Anthony Boots Martinez handed over 14 thousand dollars' worth of Musical Equipment to St. Luke's Methodist Primary School. This initiative is a part of the Community Action for Public Safety Project that is being implemented by the Ministry, and intends to provide the students with extracurricular activities that will promote constructive use of their free time. The generous donation couldn't have come at a better time for the students of St Luke, who will be taking part in the Love FM's Band fest competition.
The value of the instruments is A LITTLE OVER fourteen thousand Belize dollars. That includes 6 bass drums with carriers, 5 snare drums with carriers, 4 metal cowbells, 5 cymbals and 4 guiros.
Elvin Penner is finally charged; the D.P.P. joins in the private prosecution
Former Minister of State Elvin Penner appeared in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this morning where he was criminally charged for his involvement in the immigration scandal. Despite what appears to be [...]
ComPol must continue to investigate Penner despite appeal
On March third, the Supreme Court issued landmark directives to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to investigate Elvin Penner and the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. The court took that [...]
PM weighs in on the arraignment of Penner
Prime Minister Dean Barrow also spoke on this morning’s arraignment of his former cabinet minister and Cayo Northeast Area Rep., Elvin Penner. He told the media that in his estimation, [...]
PM says the EU needs to get its act together on fisheries sanction
The European Union earlier this week imposed fisheries sanctions on Belize because the country has been found not to be cooperating in the fight to stop illegal fishing. The government [...]
Gabino Garnett Jr. arraigned for murder
While Penner was arraigned in Belmopan, in the San Ignacio Court, Gabino Garnett Junior was charged for murder. Garnett Junior was wanted by San Ignacio police in connection with [...]
US Capital Energy Attorney says SATIIM’s legal challenge is all about money
Country Representative for U.S. Capital Energy Ltd., Alistair King, as well as Executive Director Greg Ch’oc, of the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, were back in court this morning. [...]
SATIIM’s Greg Ch’oc responds to US Capital’s claim
According to Ch’oc, the injunction has been a secondary issue because SATIIM believes that it will gain more grounds on the primary matter which is its challenge against government to [...]
3rd person dies from horrible Burrell Boom accident
An accident on the Boom Hattieville Road two weeks ago claimed two lives: a three year old girl passed away and so did a twenty-eight year old driver. Ashley Silva [...]
Chair of National Bank says Board members supported termination of Jose Marin
The decision to remove career banker Jose Marin has left a black eye on Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s National Bank of Belize Limited. Marin lasted only half a year at [...]
PM wants to know about the loan that likely caused Marin’s demise
Jose Marin was dumped due to complaints that loans were not processed fast enough. It is said that Marin’s ouster had to do with a loan application by Grant’s C.E.O., [...]
Senator Mark Lizarraga gets fiery in the senate
As we mentioned earlier in our newscast, the Senate met today in regular session following the Budget Debate on Monday and Tuesday. News Five wasn’t there long, but while we [...]
PM says it is what it is in respect of the resignation of the Esquivels
Since his return from a CARICOM intercessional meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has not given the media interviews. Well the press caught [...]
Consumer Price Index for February shows 1.7% increase in expenditure
The Consumer Price Index for the month of February, released earlier this week by the Statistical Institute of Belize, indicates that there is a one point seven percent increase in [...]
3 Cubans detained in Belize City
A trio of Cuban nationals, who entered the country unlawfully and believed to have been en route to the United States, was busted by immigration officials inside a hotel room [...]
Inspiration Center inspires many to attend grand opening
The idea for the Inspiration Center was birthed in 2012 and since then Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow has been hard at work making that dream [...]
The impact of technology on your vision in Healthy Living
Time for a little mathematics….Try to add the number of hours you spend looking at a computer monitor, smart phone, tablet, e-reader and yes, even the hour or so you [...]
Immigration Minister Says Penner Investigation Needs to Be Factual and Tight
The immigration scandal has hit all the media houses in Belize as several investigations are being carried out and many have been asking for charges to be levied against the former minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner. As we mentioned earlier in our newscast, Penner is expected in court tomorrow…..and while the outcome of that is left to be seen, Renee Trujillo and cameraman, Brian Castillo met up with Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse and here is their story.
HON. GODWIN HULSE
“The only reason the media is involved in this and the only reason the media and the public knows about this is because the Taiwan Embassy made a request to our Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with respect to this gentleman and the fact that he was asking for some protection as a citizen of Belize. When it came to my desk, I recognized that there was something wrong and we were the ones who initiated that investigation and went promptly to the Prime Minister, who after he looked at it, promptly within a day decided to move Mr. Penner from Cabinet.”
Nat’l Security CEO Says Police Officers Will Get Paid ASAP
Complaints were coming out of the Police Department about two weeks ago regarding payments that were not forthcoming for duties worked some months ago. Colonel Lovell assured the media that this matter is being addressed.
COLONEL GEORGE LOVELL
“Extraneous duties, as we refer to them, is something that is issued after the fact, the one that is done in the December period is usually issued around the March time frame. March is the period when we look at our finances and there is a period of time when the Ministry of Finance will close all budget activities. This unfortunately happened and a few of the extraneous duties which the Ministry has approved for some reason did not make it through the Human Resource Management System that we have at the Ministry of Public Service. I had my Finance Officer, since Friday, looking into the matter …just by way of background, what we have is our country broken down into two areas of responsibility for the purposes of payment for extraneous duties; we have a group that is looked after by the Belmopan financial section and that includes all those police formations and branches from Toledo to the west part of the country. So, Stann Creek is involved, Independence, Belmopan and San Ignacio – those people received their monies. The second half, which is administered by the Belize City area which includes Belize City, Corozal, Orange Walk, I was made to understand that even though we had approved it at the ministry and the Police Headquarters have given it back to the finance people to pay, for some reason that got held up in the financial process. We are working diligently to make sure that the police officers do get their money and there is not a much longer delay.”