This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for the next several days due to time constraints.
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
A view from the top with Tropic Air
It’s always a treat when the flight via Tropic Air takes passengers on the reef side. You can clearly see where the deep blue meets the Belize Barrier Reef, and the waters take on the multiple hues of blues and greens that beckon you to jump in and swim (NOT from the plane…be cool!).
Rapper TI vacations in Belize
Belize is a nice getaway for well-known celebrities, and today Tuesday July 15th, American rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., better known by his stage name TI arrived on Ambergris Caye. The rapper along with his wife Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris née Cottle, arrived shortly after 3PM via a chartered Tropic Air flight from the Belize Phillip Goldson International Airport. While he would not say much, TI told The San Pedro Sun that “I just came [to Belize] for a vacation.” Belizean fans who had lined up along the fence at the Tropic Air terminal and those that waited for him at the lobby shouted “Welcome to San Pedro TI.”
Team Belize heads to UNCAF qualifiers for 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
The Belize Under-20 (U-20) National Male Football Team has left for El Salvador to participate in the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) U-20 qualifiers for the next Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) U-20 Championship. The games will be played from Thursday, July 17th to Tuesday, July 29th and has the participation of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The venue of the tournament matches will alternate between the Estadio Cuscatia in San Salvador and the Estadio Las Delicias in Santa Tecla. Each of the seven participating teams will face each other once, with the top four teams progressing to the CONCACAF U-20 Championships scheduled for January 9 to 25, 2015. The UNCAF finalist will face the four finalists of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U-20 qualifiers and U-20 national teams from Canada, United States of America and Mexico who qualify automatically. The CONCACAF U-20 Championships will determine the representatives to the 2015 FIFA U-20 Wold Cup in New Zealand.
Doctor Jaime Awe resigns as Director of the Institute of Archaeology
Doctor Jaime Awe announced that he has resigned as the Director of the National Institute of Culture and History’s (NICH) Institute of Archaeology (IA). The surprising announcement came during the 12th Annual Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium held on Tuesday, July 1st to Friday, July 4th. His resignation will take effect on Thursday, July 31st, but he will still remain active in Belize’s archeological studies. According to 60-year-old Dr. Awe, the job as Director has become strenuous and he no longer feels fit to do the job effectively. “My decision to resign was based solely on my personal desire to do the true things that I am most passionate, and that is research and teaching archaeology. Belize archaeology is not just a job, it’s my life,” said Dr. Awe. He did indicate that he will still be involved in the IA but to a lesser magnitude. “We have very capable archaeologists that can assume the position of Director and of course I will still be involved in IA, giving as much support and assistance as needed.”
San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps Boasts New Uniforms
With the kind sponsorship of Belize Sotheby International Realty the members of the San Pedro Police Cadet Corps Program are proud to boast new uniforms this week. The San Pedro Police Department reinstated that cadet program earlier this year after it was dormant for close to four years.
San Pedro Police Community Officer Juan Choc has been assigned to run the program and conduct positive activities that will teach discipline, instill civic pride and create a positive atmosphere for the youths involved to become productive citizens on the island.
Mother Nature Decorated Weddings In Ambergris Caye
A wedding is a wedding, now and then; it includes a bride and a groom, “padrinos”, and maids. Yes there is an exchange of wedding rings and a cake and if fortunate some pretty clothing. The one big difference of weddings of the past from those of today was the décor. You are well aware that there are fancy and expensive decorations today…well, you know how that is. This Flashback clearly shows that not even the chair for the bride and groom are dressed in fine white fabric. It was Mother Nature that was responsible for the decorations of a ball room- whether coconut palm trees, the beach, sea, reef, or even the lagoon with a magnificent sunset. Mother Nature was sure not to fail. So it was at Marino’s Club Roof Top where the majority of the weddings were celebrated in the 1960’s.
Rapper T.I. and Wife Tiny Spotted in San Pedro, Belize
Celebrity Spotting in Belize – Rapper T.I. and his wife Tiny arrived in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye at 3:30p.m. today Tuesday, July 15, 2014, and caused a commotion at the Tropic Air terminal building where his fans waited to see and take pictures of the celebrity couple.
Pictures on social media gave away T.I. (Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) and Tiny’s (Tameka Harris née Cottle) arrival at the Belize Phillip Goldson International Airport and work quickly spread that he was en route to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Their fans quickly flocked to the San Pedro airport to catch his arrival. T.I. arrived on board a Tropic Air flight and was quickly whisked away on taxi to a pier where he and his wife were taken to an undisclosed resort on North Ambergris Caye.
Misc Belizean Sources
Life On A Caribbean Island: Just $1,300 A Month
Two years ago Duane and Judy Allen moved full-time from Tampa, Florida, to Ambergris Caye, Belize.
“I always wanted to live right on the beach, but not in a condo,” says Duane. “I wanted a home, and space around me to roam. For years I scoured Florida’s coasts, looking for an affordable property. But everything was out of reach.”
As luck would have it, Judy’s sister and her family had moved to Ambergris Caye before “Temptation Island” put it on the map… Judy notes, “We chose San Pedro because we had been visiting my sister and her husband since they moved to Belize about 23 years ago. We fell in love with the island through those many visits.”
Duane started checking out the island’s beachfront property and found that it was still affordable. In 1999 the Allens snapped up a stunning beachfront lot south of town, in an undeveloped area. They weren’t yet thinking about retirement. But since Judy’s sister’s family was already living on the island, the Allens moved up their schedule and built their house in 2004. Judy’s sister and family live in the downstairs unit. The Allens live upstairs. At first they came for vacations, before finally retiring full-time.
YWCA Belmopan Summer Program
The YWCA of Belmopan has started their Summer Program, but there is still space open. Call 822-0472 for more information. The sessions will go through August 8th.
"Spaces are still available for this new summer camp program! Send you kids to a fun and learning environment. We need to support our Belmopan children's programs. Contact them today for all the details!"
Another great success story from Belize Bird Rescue!
Finally got pics of our entire white-front family.
We still don't know where they nested, but wherever it was, it was perfect!
The parents are totally comfortable close to our camera, but the babies fly off before we can get too close. Great survival instincts.
Belize Duck Race
The Belize Duck Race is coming. You could win $1,000,000. It's a fundraiser for the community projects that the Rotary Club of Belmopan is undertaking. It'll happen on November 29th, at the Hawkesworth Bridge.
"The Rotary Club of Belmopan is holding the first ever annual Belize Duck Race on Saturday, November 29th, 2014, in San Ignacio, Cayo District. The Rotary Club of Belmopan will use the funds from this event to continue its efforts towards community projects and existing initiatives focused on children’s health. Yellow rubber ducks will be dropped into the Macal River from the Hawkesworth Bridge, San Ignacio, Cayo at approximately 11:30AM and will race down to the Low Lying Bridge. The day of the race will be an exciting, fun day with something for the entire family."
Belize Maps Book Launched
Cubola Productions launched a new book entitled 'British Honduras, the Invention of a Colonial Territory' at the BAAS. Dr. Odile Hoffman's book explores the development of Belize, and uses some classic maps to do so. Cubola has a few pictures from the launch.
"Thanks to all of you that were present at the launching of British Honduras: the invention of a colonial territory. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks to everyone who purchased copies of the book, as it helps to make our commitment to publishing in Belize a reality."
Tropic Air Announces Increased Service to Merida
Tropic Air announces today, that effective November 1, 2014, it will increase its flights to Merida, Mexico from three times weekly to daily.
“Since commencement of the route, we have been working closely with our partners at the Yucatan Tourism Board and in the Merida tourism community on building traffic. We are now excited to be increasing our service in response to their feedback, support and enthusiasm”, said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Clearly Merida has the potential to be an important part of our network, and a source of growing business to Belize and beyond. We want to do everything we can to allow that relationship to develop”.
This increase in service will also allow the people of Merida to make easy connections to Roatan, San Pedro Sula, Flores, and 11 destinations within Belize. Merida is Tropic’s second destination in Mexico and its fifth international route, and was inaugurated in March of this year.
Auditor General Called In At KHMH
Last night, we told you about the reports reaching or news room that Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, the national referral medical institution was in a short-term cash flow crisis following massive pay-outs to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars which were made last month.
Our information was that there were 2 X-ray machines which were acquired from an Orange Walk based business which was paid without invoice or contract.
Well to set the record straight, Chair of the KHMH Board, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino granted an interview to the media in Belmopan this afternoon. She discussed to topic with us, explaining that the amount of money paid out is of concern that the board, so the Auditor General's Office is being called in to ensure that the hospital is getting value for money:
Carlos Perrera Is No Longer At KHMH
The audit team going in will be reviewing a period of financial management during the tenure of the former Director of Finance Carlos Perrera.
As we told you a few weeks ago, Perrera is no longer at KHMH, and that it was a board decision. Today, we asked the Chair, and she explained the nature of his departure:
Mike Rudon, Ch 5
"Could you tell us the manner of his leaving the KHMH?"
Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairman, KHMH Board
"What I can tell you is that Mr. Perrera is no longer at the KHMH and we have advertised the post. We have received some applications and we will review those next week."
The Details Of CEO Longsworth's Departure
They're advertising for Perrera's replacement as well as the post of Chief Executive Officer, because as we told you last week Friday, the Board has decided not to renew Dr. Gary Longsworth's contract, which expires in September.
Since 2008, Dr. Longsworth has been a part of the hospital's management, but the accomplishments of his tenure is forever overshadowed by the deaths of 13 neonatal patients in the care of the hospital, which happened last year.
Board Chair Nisbet-Cansino told the media today that the statutory body decided that it was time to start exploring new options for the post of CEO:
Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairman, KHMH Board
"Dr. Longsworth submitted a request for an extension of his contract. However the Board had decided from the last renewal that at the end of this present contract which I believe will be in September - which we will advertise the post and anyone is free to apply."
Will KHMH Workers Get That Salary Adjustment?
We're just one pay check away from that 6% pay raise which the Government promised to teachers and public officers, which will be retroactive to April 1.
So, all teachers and public officers are looking forward to that increase in their pay, but it seems that it's not as simple for the employees of the KHMH. Because hospital is run a statutory body, the current reasoning seems to be that they are not entitled to that raise.
Today, the Chair of Board spoke with us about the intervention they've made with the Government to get a clear picture as to why those public officers working for the hospital might not be eligible for that raise:
Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairman, KHMH Board
"I don't have all of the information. I am made to understand that a discussion was made with the union and the members of those who will be receiving the increase. I understand that they actually and I stand to be corrected here that the unions actually ask that the K.H.M.H. staff be excluded because that will increase the amount, because remember that there is a certain amount that is being divided by a certain amount of employees. We have about six hundred employees on staff. So the fact is yes, they are not included in the automatic increase of public officers, we were made aware of that pretty soon after the decision was made or after the meeting was held. So the board took the initiative to write to the Ministry of Finance that the staff of K.H.M.H. be included in the increase."
The Smith Family Rages At That Gun Charge
It made big news when the entire family of the late Myron Smith, who was murdered, ended up in prison last week after police searched their house on Giles Street while they were holding a repast in his memory.
The cousin of Alrick Smith, Myron's dad, complained that if police looked into the matter closely, they would have found out that they should have all be swept into police custody, locked down, charged and remanded. But it did happen, and today, when they were released from court after the charges were dropped, they were furious.
They gave an interview to Monica Bodden who waited for their court hearing to finish. Here's what they had to say about what they called unfair treatment under the gun law:
BSI's Olive Branch To The Caneros
A week ago, the 2013/2014 sugar milling season finished favorably with all quotas met, and even with a little surplus. All things considered, it was a good year, but there is still the shadow of that unsettled bagasse issue hanging over the heads of the principals of the industry.
As it has widely been reported, the farmers delayed the delivery of the cane to force the factory owners to the negotiating table to discuss a payment for bagasse. After a stalemate, a breakthrough was made when an agreement between both sides was signed. The agreement was that the season would start and go to completion with an understanding that a final agreement would be reached by the end of the season for a bagasse payment.
$11 Mill In Unpaid Bills to KHMH
As we told you at the top of the news, the Board of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has asked the Auditor General to come in and look into the expenditures from its Finance Department. They're trying to ensure that the recent purchases of 2 X-Ray Machines represents value for true value for money.
But while that's the Hospital's newest financial concern, what is also of importance to them is that the public, whom they serve, owes them unpaid hospital bills to the tune of some 11 million dollars.
That's important because the hospital receives referral for most emergency and trauma cases, and those complex medical procedures which the smaller hospitals around the country are not equip to handle.
Today, Chairman Chandra Nisbet-Cansino told us that the outstanding bills represents a loss of revenue which affects the level of service that the hospital can provide when there are spike in violent crime, as has recently been affecting areas of Belize City:
Renan Awaiting Murder Trial Verdict
Renan Briceno, nephew of Orange Walk Central Area Rep, John Briceno, has stood a full trial without for murder, and tonight, he's waiting for Justice Troadio Gonzalez to deliver his verdict.
For the past month, the prosecution, led by Crown Counsels Shanice Lovell and Portia Staine has been calling witnesses to testify against him, and today, both the prosecution and defense closed their case.
The case will conclude when Justice Troadio Gonzalez will deliver a verdict after reviewing all the evidence from both the crown and the defence.
The Origin Of That Goff's Caye Lease
Last week, we told you about the situation which was developing on Goff's Caye where an unauthorized survey was being conducted, where the unknown individual seemed to have plans to develop the property.
The problem is that Goff Caye is crown land and one of the national cayes protected under the Coastal Zone Management Authority. Today, it remains a major tourist attraction, but in 2001, the Lands Department granted a lease to Ramon Cervantes.
But if it's supposed to be protected and managed by the CZMAI, why then was a lease granted to an important piece of crown land? That's what we asked Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos to explain to us today. Here's how Cervantes managed to get rights to that land:
That Lands Mix-Up On San Pedro
And while we had the opportunity, asked Vallejos about that governmental mix-up which caused Tropic Air and Brett Feinstein to now have to sue each other to find out who owns a piece of property on San Pedro.
As we've told you, Feinstein has the title but Tropic Air had already started work on a multi-million-dollar project on their leased land. Now, that has been halted by an injunction. Hopefully, there is room for compromise, but there are complications because there is very valuable property and quite a bit of money already in the ground.
When we asked Lands Commissioner Vallejos about it, he told us that while he can't speak freely because of the ongoing court case, it's because there was a duplication error:
Harmonyville's Unique Buffer Zone Size
And in our last story from Vallejos for tonight's news, we asked him about that other high profile land case that is in the courts at this time.
We're of course talking about Harmonyville in which BGYEA wants to use the buffer zone. One issue which their attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, keeps hammering home in our interviews with her is that the road reserve, which makes up this buffer zone is substantially larger than other road reserves of well establish communities. She makes the point that Harmonyville is the only housing community with such a huge restriction on the amount of land used to separate the community and the highway.
We asked Vallejos about that, and while he concedes, he notes that in the planning stage, this buffer zone had to have gotten the approval of the BGYEA principals or else the project wouldn't have gone through:
Prosthetics To Demonstrate Exams
The president of the Belize cancer society in California is in Belize this month donating items and promoting awareness. Arlette Pilgrim is helping to set up cancer boutiques where hats, prosthetic breasts, and clothes are being donated to women diagnosed with cancer. She stopped by our studio to tell us more about these cancer boutiques:
The Belize Cancer society in California also has 15 nebulizers to donate.
She Got Fined For Smuggling Weed
After spending 3 night's on remand awaiting her sentence, 24 year-old Quinn Melinda Arnold is out after making a partial payment on her court fine for trying to smuggle weed into the prison.
As we reported, The Conch Shell Bay resident went to prison to visit an inmate on Thursday. As was procedure, a female prison officer told her that she had to be searched before she entered. She stripped down and allowed the officer to search her, but when the officer told her that she had to check all body cavities, she told the officer that she was menstruating. Still, that didn't stop the officer from doing her job thoroughly, and she discovered a bag of weed in the cavity her privates.
Pan Got Light Late Last Night
When we left you last night, Belmopan was in a Black out because a damaged power transformer. BEL work crews had been doing their best to fix it, and a few minutes after our newscast ended, they got power back up.
The company notes that power supply was restored to the City of Belmopan at 8:12 p.m.
But that's almost 13 hours of no electricity, and it cause inconveniences to the production within the capital city.
Nevertheless, the customers bared with the company, and BEL is now thanking customers for their patience. If you want to know when there is problems with your electricity supply when a black out like this happens, BEL asks that you should visit their office and update their phone database so that you can receive information and updates by text message.
Restaurateur Brawling With Patron?
Twenty-five year old David Heredia, the manager of a resort in Caye Caulker, was charged with wounding and common assault when he appeared yesterday before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Twenty-three year old Shannon Martinez, an employee of Belize Auto zone who was with Heredia, was charged with aggravated assault. They pled not guilty to the charges and Martinez was released on a bail of $1,000 while Heredia was released on a bail of $3,000. They are to return to court on September 8.
They incident occurred on July 10 at Chops Restaurant and Bar, located on Newtown Barracks. According to the allegation, Heredia caused a wound to security guard Darwin Fraser Jr and assaulted the waitress, Martha Lopez. Martinez is alleged to have thrown a metal chair at Lopez.
The New Taiwanese Ambassador
A week ago, we told you about the departing Taiwanese Amabassador, His Excellency David CK Wu. He left the country on Saturday, but the Taiwan has already chosen his replacement.
Meet His Excellency Ambassador Benjamin Ho. He will succeed Wu, and is expected to arrive on Thursday.
Ambassador Ho comes with quite an impressive Resume. He graduated from the Soochow University in Taiwan in 1974 with a Bachelor's Degree, and earned his Master's Degree from the National Cheng Chi University in Diplomacy and International Law in 1977. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1982.
Int'l Film Writers Arrive For BIFF
As we told you last week, Belize International Film Festival is back for the 9th go round. They've got films from across the globe, including 5 from Belize.
Two of those international film makers arrived in Belize this evening, and they spoke with us about the opportunity to have their work screened here:
The Festival will begin tomorrow, and ends on July 20th with a closing awards banquet.
The Garifuna Collective Returns; Great Memories In Europe
The Garifuna Collective returned today from their European tour where they entertained thousands with songs from their latest album "Ayo". After traveling through several different countries all across Europe, they seemed glad to be back home. It's their second major tour in that part of the world, and when they landed at the PGIA today, We caught up where they told us about the tour's success.
The Garifuna Collective already has shown lined up in Belize and is working on its next album. As we've told you, this is the group's second European tour.
Police Preparing For Those New Ranks
While passing through Belmopan today, we couldn't help but notice that there were quite a number police officers at the Police Training Academy. We're informed that they're preparing for an important ceremony where those officer up for promotion will be officially given their new rank.
We'll be there tomorrow for that, and we'll tell you all about it.
Delita Is Safe
And as we close our newscast tonight, we report that police have located 13 year old Delita Roca, the young lady from Willows Bank whose family was worried sick about her.
Police sources tell us that she was picked up this morning from a house on George Street in Belize City by the Domestic Violence Unit, and escorted her to the Queen Street Police Precinct.
KHMH Board Calls In Audit Department…
There have been some major developments at the nation’s largest referral hospital lately. Notably, the K.H.M.H.’s Director of Finance, Carlos Perera was fired two weeks ago. The C.E.O., Dr. Gary [...]
Former Finance Director Carlos Perera in the Hot Seat…
And since the Finance Department will be under scrutiny, so will the former Director of Finance Carlos Perera, the man who orchestrated the purchasing of those x-ray machines. Perera’s name [...]
KHMH Board does Not Renew CEO’s Contract…
When the results of the investigation do come out, it is likely that C.E.O. Gary Longsworth will no longer be a fixture at the institution. That’s because by September he [...]
No Salary Adjustment for KHMH Staff…
There’s a lot of movement in the health giant, certainly at the highest level. And with the investigation, there are suggestions that there may be more. But tonight there is [...]
Smith Family Remanded Last Week…DPP Drops Charges!
Last week Tuesday, the entire Smith family including a cousin, who is the mother of a baby, and two minors, ages sixteen and seventeen years, were all remanded to the [...]
Should Felicia Chen Get More Than Eight Years for Killing Her Three Children?
Tonight question is: Do you think Felicia Chen should be spending more than eight years in jail for the manslaughter of her three children? Send your comments and responses using [...]
Missing 13 Year Old Found by Police…!
A teen went missing last Monday; while she was located early this morning, there is a grim side to her story. Her mother is troubled because she has seen symptoms [...]
Attorneys Present Closing Arguments in Briceno Murder Case…
The trial without jury against thirty-five year old Renan Briceño for the 2012 murder of Dale Tillett came to an end today. This morning, Justice Troadio Gonzalez heard closing arguments [...]
Lands Commissioner Says Survey on Goff’s Caye is Illegal!
Two weeks after survey pegs were discovered on Goff’s Caye, signalling some sort of planned development, there is still no clue who placed the pegs there. The Ministry tried to [...]
CZMAI CEO Says Rangers Discovered Survey Pegs…
Goff’s Caye is one of the most popular and accessible public beaches to Belizeans so when rangers detected the survey pegs in June, it immediately raised eyebrows. So who is [...]
CZMAI Did Not Give Authorization for Survey
We further quizzed the CZMAI on the survey and there was one possible explanation coming from C.E.O. Gillett. That is that someone, whose identity is still a mystery, may be [...]
Lands Commissioner speaks on Novelo Land Dispute!
In April 2014 Orange Walk resident Jose Novelo came to the media for help after a lease to a piece of land he had claimed and farmed for over forty [...]
Vallejos Blames Incompetence and Corruption for Problems in Lands…
The Novelo incident is not an isolated case, and it seems that not a week goes by without some land dispute or the other in some corner of the country. [...]
New Taiwanese Ambassador Arrives July 17th…
The arrival of a new Taiwanese Ambassador is expected later this week; he will to succeed Ambassador David Wu who departed over the weekend after a successful diplomatic tour in [...]
Garifuna Collective Back from Extended Tour…
Preeminent Belizean musicians, the Garifuna Collective is back from an extensive tour of Europe. During their travels, the group performed from a vast catalogue of World Music which spans several [...]
If you can sing it…bring it!
Shortly at the Bliss, the curtains will be drawn for another round of competition in If You Can Sing it, Bring It. In the double elimination format, two will not [...]