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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Lobster Fest is Upon Us!
As an ode to our crustacean friend, Belize hosts not one, but THREE festivals to celebrate the yummy lobster!
Lobster Festivals take place in San Pedro Town, Caye Caulker and the Placencia Peninsula. With each destination receiving its fair influx of eager lobster lovers, it’s clear to see why Lobster Fest is one of the country’s largest celebrations.
With countless lobster dishes such as lobster ceviche, fritters, dip, curry lobster, tacos and much,much, more, there’s always enough, and you can even come back for seconds! Don’t forget the live music, paint and glow parties and pageants that are all a part of the grand festivities!
This year’s highly anticipated festivals include San Pedro’s very own week-long series of events! From June 14th-20th, there will be lobster-themed activities to whet your appetite for the super-fun block party taking place on the 20th.
Placencia’s Lobster Fest commences on June 19th-21st while the Caye Caulker Lobster Festival will take place from June 20th-28th. If you are in the area and have the opportunity to attend any of these festivals you surely won’t regret it! With so much happening, we’re looking forward to them, you should be too!
Congratulations, students of Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy for an amazing year of awards!
Ocean Academy was founded in 2008, offers innovative programming designed to develop the unique attributes and goals of each student through Personal Education Plans. OA has evolved into OA’s SEaTIDe: Center for Social Enterprise, Technology, Innovation, and Development, and focuses on developing innovators and change makers. First Place, PwC Innovation Challenge, for Hire Belize Mobile App Solution to Youth Unemployment. Heidi Curry, Valbona Bushi, Buddy Magana, Adaly Cartagena, Kevin Tzac, Ismael Florian, Sam Liu, Ashtasia Ovado, Shola Babb. Sagicor Visionaries Most Creative and Innovative Project Award for Mangrove Action Plan with Mobile App. Patrick Lorenzo, Adrienne Rogers, Daya Ramos, Kenisha Veliz, Buddy Magana, Sarah Requena. November 2014. International School Enterprise Challenge’s Award for Best Business Plan in North America and the Caribbean for Fish with Purpose. 1250 schools from 83 countries participated. April 2015.
Conch Season is Closed
In accordance with the Fisheries(Amendment) Regulations under Statutory Instrument number 54 of 2012 (Regulation 24.A), the Fisheries Administrator hereby informs fishermen and the general public that the Conch Fishing Season will be officially declared closed from June 01st, 2015 to September 30th, 2015.
Five Story Buildings to be allowed in certain areas of Ambergris Caye
For years, developers on Ambergris Caye were not allowed to construct buildings with more than four stories. But due to the increase in property value, Area Representative Manual Heredia Jr. has indicated that after serious discussions, the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, are allowing buildings to have as much as five floors. This is to allow developers to utilize their property to its maximum potential while allowing for landscaping. A couple of existing developments across the island have already been approved to build five floors. In order to get approved, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) must be made to confirm that the area of the development can sustain the extra weight and to ensure that a solid foundation can be achieved. “A couple of months ago, it was decided that in view of the rising property costs, developers were building in the full square footage of their property. They were not leaving any place for greenery, and we don’t want this to happen because we want to continue promoting a natural ambiance. The change that has been made is not that significant. While we are allowing buildings to go up an extra floor, they still have to adhere to a set height that the building cannot exceed. The new regulation is only allowing for four feet more than the originally set height of 38 feet. Any building that goes up to five floors will have to have a flat roof,” said Heredia.
Garbage Transfer Station soon to be operational
The SPTC has detailed a number of ways in how they were handling the garbage issues on the island. Deputy Mayor, Gary Greif highlighted the progress in the main areas of concern, along with a system to minimize garbage all over. Greif also spoke of the long – awaited garbage transfer station. Once it becomes operational, the island’s garbage will be taken to the mainland for proper disposal instead of burning at the dumpsite. Presently the SPTC counts with two trash compactors, four dump trucks, and two regular trucks. There will be the addition of two new pickups to clean the new road up north where the pavement reaches Blue Reef Resort. The SPTC intends on beautifying the sides of the road both north and south. The new vehicles will take care of all the garbage during the day from all the parks and all of the drums on the street. “We just purchased five hundred drums and we will place them maybe fifty feet from each other, so there will be enough garbage drums on the island,” Guerrero stated. “We are also adding around eight new people to the sanitation staff. Then we are also visiting the pre-schools, the primary schools, high school and the junior college to try and educate students on the garbage situation. We want to create video clips for the younger students, from Primary and High Schools that will be shown at the Paradise Theatre from time to time,” said Guerrero. These educational clips will also be featured on the local TV station, radio, and major media houses of the island, and of course through respective social media channels. In the upcoming weeks, Mayor Guerrero is meeting with the business community to share and discuss ideas how to best address issues that affect La Isla Bonita.
Pic of the Week - Would You Marry A Mermaid?
Photographer Jose Luis Zapata, in his blog post, asks if anyone would marry a mermaid. In his latest photo shoot he explains how Michael Harris takes a deep breath and meets the love of his life underwater to ask her to spend the rest of their lives together. It was a fairytale engagement photo shoot in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Congratulations to Laura and Michael on their special engagement in Belize.
Hurricane Outlook 2015 – El Nino Could Make for Below Average Season
Today, Monday, June 1, 2015, marks the start of the 2015 hurricane season. Projections from the more reputable organizations that produce hurricane seasonal outlooks indicate that a below average to near average activity is likely this season. In terms of named systems the range runs from as low as 6 to a high of 11 named systems. The average number of named systems for the 1981 to 2010 period is 12. The range for hurricane activity predicted for 2015 lies between 3 and 6. These reflect values at and below the average of 6 hurricanes. Outlooks on intense hurricane activity (category 3, 4 and 5) indicate between 1 and 2 major hurricanes. The average number of major hurricanes is 2.
The predictions for an average season can be attributed to two factors. Firstly the El Niño phenomenon which is the abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean, usually has a suppressing effect on tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin. That phenomenon has a high probability of developing and reaching moderate intensities during this season. Secondly, the source of energy for tropical cyclones is the warm ocean temperatures. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are also forecast to be just about average.
Island Spelling Bee Champ Prepares for National Competition
He has been a staple at the local island Spelling Bee competitions and proven to be one heck of a speller. This year he is one of only 12 finalists from around the country to be competing in the 2015 Coca-Cola National Spelling Bee Finals taking place on June 5, in Corozal. Elias Zetina will be proudly representing San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
Elias lives in the DFC area with his parents and one brother and attends New Horizon SDA School. After winning the Zone 5, 21st National Coca Cola Spelling Bee elimination held in Ambergris Caye, he went on to place in the Belize District meet (regionals competition) where he advanced to the National Finals!
Ambergris Today discovered that this hardworking young man is very dedicated to his craft and a star student at this school. Elias attends a daily coaching session for no less than one hour (which often runs into extra time) and then reviews at home with his parents before going to bed. Both of his parents work with Elias on the weekends, looking up word origins, difficult to spell words and review the required spelling list. The Spelling Bee study time is on top of his regular class schedule, his PSA test preparation and final exam preparation. He is one hard working young man.
Misc Belizean Sources
CJC Eagles Environmental Club and Oceana Belize cleaning up the Miami Beach area in celebration of World Oceans Day
JOIN US!!!! On Saturday, June 6, 2015 the CJC Eagles Environmental Club and Oceana Belize will be cleaning up the Miami Beach area in celebration of World Oceans Day which is June 8th.
This year's theme, "Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet" is a reminder that we must keep our waters clean if we want to live in a healthy planet, especially since about 71% of the Earth's surface is covered with water. We will meet at the Roundhouse to begin at 8:00 a.m. and will clean up until 10:00 am.
Bring trash bags and rakes to assist in this initiative.
If we can get enough help, we will also clean the Mangrove Park. We can all make a difference by doing our part! Who's with us?
Keep Corozal Safe and Clean!
CLOSURE OF THE CONCH FISHING SEASON
In accordance with the Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations under Statutory numbers 54 of 2012 (Regulation 24. A), the Fisheries Administrator hereby informs fishermen and the general public that the Conch Fishing Season is officially declare CLOSED from today June 01st, 2015 to September 30th, 2015.
The public is reminded that NO person or establishment shall have in possession any conch during the closed season in accordance with Regulation 6 of Principal Regulations (Chapter 210’s of the Laws of Belize – Revised Edition 2000-2003.
The Department hereby makes a special appeal to fishers and the public, to uphold the Fisheries Regulations in regards to conch and other marine products, and urges all responsible citizens to call the Department at 224-4552 / 2033-2623 to report any infractions. The Department can also be reached by email at [email protected] . The public is assured that all information communicated to the Fisheries Department will be treated with the strictest of confidence.
A New Joint Utility Office opens Monday, June 1 in Placencia at Belize Water Services Office
o provide a full range of services to customers of Belize Electricity Limited. In addition to accessing BWS services, BEL customers will be able to pay electricity bills and make requests for BEL services. Opening Hours: 8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. Phone: 523-4036 or toll free: 0-800-235-2273.
PRESS RELEASE NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE: 2015 HURRICANE SEASON
Start of the 2015 Hurricane Season:
Today, Monday 1st June marks the start of the 2015 hurricane season. Projections from the more reputable organizations that produce hurricane seasonal outlooks indicate that a below average to near average activity is likely this season. In terms of named systems the range runs from as low as 6 to a high of 11 named systems. The average number of named systems for the 1981 to 2010 period is 12. The range for hurricane activity predicted for 2015 lies between 3 and 6. These reflect values at and below the average of 6 hurricanes. Outlooks on intense hurricane activity, i.e category 3,4 and 5, indicate between 1 and 2 major hurricanes. The average number of major hurricanes is 2.
The predictions for an average season can be attributed to two factors. Firstly the el Niño phenomenon which is the abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean, usually has a suppressing effect on tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin. That phenomenon has a high probability of developing and reaching moderate intensities during this season. Secondly, the source of energy for tropical cyclones is the warm ocean temperatures. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are also forecast to be just about average.
Coconut Stakeholder Workshop
Formation of Belize Coconut Stakeholder Platform:
On 27 and 28 May 2015 Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and International Trade Centre (ITC) hosted a two day consultation workshop with more than 50 coconut industry stakeholders at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development, Belmopan. Mr. Ian Sayers, Head Product Sector Development, of the ITC traveled from Geneva, Switzerland to oversee and facilitate discussions on the targeted revival and expansion of Belize’s coconut industry, assisted by Mr. Maurice Wilson, Head Resource Mobilisation Unit from CARDI’s head office and Dr. Compton Paul, Coordinator of the CARDI/ITC Coconut Program. Mr. Anil Sinha, CARDI’s Country Representative in Belize, gave the opening address and chaired the opening ceremony. Mr. Roberto Harrison, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) gave the feature address.
Participating were members of MNRA, Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), Belize Bureau of Standards, Beltraide, Foreign Trade Directorate, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (OIRSA), Development Finance Corporation (DFC) as well as many coconut stakeholders representing local coconut producers and processors, small and large, and the media.
Why Eco-Development is the Answer for a Sustainable Ambergris Caye, Belize Real Estate
The public got surprised on the eco-plans of Hollywood actor and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio in turning his $1.75 million-worth Blackadore Caye Island into a resort. The plants and animal life, as well as the biodiversity of the island, will be restored, preserved and protected. Half of the 104 acres wild and unpopulated land will feature 68 villas, 48 estate homes, a private clubhouse and other luxurious amenities while the rest will remain as protected wildlife. With these eco-friendly plans of DiCaprio in healing the island where mangroves will be replanted, invasive species will be replaced with native species, the soil and habitat will be enhanced and additional armature for the reef and fish breeding will be created; time will surely come that other nations will convert their islands towards the principles of eco-tourism. In fact, this eco-development program should be done now because the great climate change is threatening the sustainability of islands and coastal areas around the world with ocean acidification, rise in sea levels and habitat pressures.
And among the many islands and coastal areas that should be given much attention, the Ambergris Caye in Belize should never be left out. Belize is a country known for its richness in plant and animal wildlife. And though there are plans for expanding the real estate market in Belize with Blackadore Caye current restoration process ongoing, it is best to have eco-development in the real estate market of Belize for some reasons.
Enforcing Belize rights to its territorial waters
According to international law many countries claim their 12 miles of territorial waters and enforce their jurisdiction over it. There is also a 20-mile and the Exclusive Economic Zone for drilling and other rights that Belize can control in their southern border with Guatemala and Honduras. Then come international waters. Belize would like to do the same but the Guatemalan claim is standing in the way. Guatemala is claiming the whole or part of our country for years now and there is no end in sight. If Guatemala was to drop their claim, then they will be land locked and have no access to the Atlantic Ocean for their commercial and military vessels. Guatemalan vessels have always and continue to traffic through Belizean waters without any action taken by the Belizean government. Is there a secret agreement between Great Britain, Belize and Guatemala to allow their vessels to traffic through our territorial waters? If there is then it should be made public to we the Belizean citizens. The failure of the Belize government to stop these vessels to continue travelling through Belize waters gives me the impression that there is an agreement. Or, Belize may be allowing Guatemala to use their waters as a Good Neighbor Policy to avoid increasing tensions over the Guatemalan claim. These are the type of discussions that our leaders from the political parties should be discussing to educate us about the Belize-Guatemala dispute.
Belize tops Regional Sugar Production for April 2015
The Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) has announced that the top sugar producer in the region for the month of April 2015 was Belize, with 28,289 tonnes. Guyana produced 26,826 tonnes, followed by Jamaica with 25,862 tonnes and Barbados with 3,173 tonnes, for a total regional production of 84,150 tonnes for the period. Jamaica had topped the regional production in February and March 2015 respectively, while Barbados has just started production.
The April figures pushed the year to date production for the current regional sugar crop to 393,357 tonnes. The SAC says it continues to focus on overseas markets with year-to-date exports to Europe totaling 220,309 tonnes, followed by 30,259 tonnes to the United States and 17,484 tonnes to CARICOM.
SAC Chairman Karl James says while there are challenges affecting sugar production in Jamaica, the production is going well in Belize and Guyana. The SAC Chairman also noted that the Association is well advanced in achieving its goal to boost supply to the CARICOM market.
Contracts Signed for the Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Sporting Facilities in Southern Belize
Two contracts for the rehabilitation and upgrading of sporting facilities in Southern Belize were signed today at the office of the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL).
Clarification on Uses of PetroCaribe Financing
The Ministry of Finance wishes to clarify the misunderstanding that arose in a certain section of the media this morning in consequence of a Central Bank Statement document relating to GOB’s PetroCaribe account. That Statement discloses two transfers, in March 2014 and March 2015, of 20 million dollars each from GOB’s PetroCaribe account to GOB’s operating account. The Financial Secretary’s instruction to the Central Bank made clear that the money moving from the PetroCaribe account to the operating account would be used from that operating account to meet GOB’s continuing salary and debt service commitments. The Media House in question interpreted that to mean that GOB was borrowing from PetroCaribe to meet a crisis shortfall in its accounts that left it unable to pay salaries. Furthermore, it was alleged, GOB was acting so as to conceal from the public both its payroll crisis and its improper use of PetroCaribe funds.
Mr. Wilfrido "Fido" Badillo passes away
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Badillo family on the passing of Mr. Wilfrido "Fido" Badillo. May his soul rest in peace.
Launching of the “MEN AT WORK ART EXHIBIT”
The National Institute of Culture and History through the Corozal House of Culture requests your kind presence at the launch of the 4th annual Men at Work Art Exhibit. The exhibit will showcase a wide variety of disciplines by twelve Corozal artists, offering the community an inside look into their lives and passions. Please join us for a night of creativity as we honour our talented men this Saturday June 6th beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Intelligent Art Exhibit
Festival of Arts 2015...
San Pedro Red Cross, Sperro, SP Food Bank and Saga FOOD DRIVE
San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC), their 26 person Toronto Volunteer Vacation group called “Sperro” and the San Pedro Food Bank are joining together to hold an island wide food drive this coming Saturday, June 6th.
Watch for volunteers outside participating stores and businesses listed below, who will be accepting donations of food and/or cash. Next time you are hungry, think about how it would feel to live life being hungry much of the time.
Join together and help us feed those who need it. All food will go directly to the food bank, cash donations will be split between San Pedro Red Cross and San Pedro Food Bank. Saga will receive a donation of all Pedigree pet food collected.
Taste of Toledo Street Fair – ICYMI
The 9th Annual Chocolate Festival of Belize was held this past weekend (May 22nd – 24th), in the charming town of Punta Gorda, Toledo. This 3 day event was designed to raise awareness of the Toledo District as a responsible tourism destination, and to extend the tourist season. Over the years, the festival has helped improve the lives of many families, whether through direct employment in the tourism industry, or through the 'ripple effect,' spreading money throughout the District.
While we could not make it to the Wine and Chocolate night held on Friday, May 22nd which typically features live music, fine wine, Belizean chocolate, and Belikin's specially brewed Chocolate Stout or the Grand Finale on Sunday, May 24th which highlights cultural, musical performances and dances, cacao drinks and dishes and crafts by local artisans, we did make it to the Taste of Toledo Street Fair held on Saturday, May 23rd.
The pedestrian-only street fair was an all-day event held on the Front Street in Punta Gorda town, which featured cultural displays and areas showcasing Toledo's five main ethnic groups: Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and East Indian. Each area displayed art, food and music from their respective cultures.
CORAL COVER ON AMBERGRIS CAYE
Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and complex ecosystems on Earth. Belize is home to the largest portion of the Meso-American Barrier Reef System. The need to preserve this valuable national heritage is becoming more and more evident. The World Resource Institute (2009) estimated that coral reefs in Belize contribute approximately $395-$559US in goods and services each year. The financial dependence on a healthy reef system is particularly evident in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, where tourism development is rapidly increasing.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve has been consistently collecting data on coral reef health since 2005. Coral cover has seen changes over time within the Marine Reserve. The 1998 coral bleaching event, and hurricane Mitch have dramatically reduced coral. In more than 18 years coral cover has not managed to recover to same level it was prior to 1998.
Petrocaribe $$$ For GOB Payroll?
The Petrocaribe funds are set aside for development and infrastructure programs - by now that has been drummed into the collective conscious. But what happens when the government starts using Petrocaribe funds to meet payroll? That's what this document shows it did in March 2014 and 2015 - twenty million dollars each time. The document was exposed on KREM's Wake Up Belize morning show today - and it is a transaction report for government's general operating account. Indeed it shows that in March 2014, twenty million dollars was transferred from the Petrocaribe funds to meet mid-month salary commitments. That same thing happened in March 2015.
Now, government has strictly stated that it will not, cannot use Petrocaribe funds to meet recurrent expenses such as salaries. So how then did this happen? That's what we asked the Financial Secretary today. Via telephone from Belmopan, Joe Waight told us that it's all a misunderstanding of how government finances work - specifically the consolidated operating account, which is used to cover all government payouts:
PUP Deputy Disses Hon. Ivan For Making Petrocaribe Pitch
But, if it is an addiction, then the PUP's own Dangriga Representative Ivan Ramos probably has it too. That's because last week Wednesday he broke party ranks asked Government in writing for Petrocaribe funds for his division. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ramos gave a glowing endorsement of the programme saying he supports it and the benefits to the nation from Petrocaribe. He then went on to ask for twenty five thousand dollars for a joint fathers and mother's day programme.
Today, Deputy Leader Julius Espat - who has been leading the charge against Petrocaribe - said Ramos made a wrong move and should be sanctioned for it:..
Hon. Julius Espat - PUP Cayo South
"As a party we had a policy put forward that we would not accept Petrocaribe funds. That's quite clear. What the Hon. Ivan Ramos did, is his decision. I believe it was a wrong decision. I believe he should be discipline because we have rules and regulations and if we form part of an organization - that is the least that should be done. But that's my personal opinion. I am not thinking as Ivan Ramos. I do not know the pressures that he comes under. I know the ones that I do and I can only speak for myself."
Belize For Blatter; But Why?
Last week in Zuriuch Switzerland, the biggest sporting organization on the planet was shaken to its core when 14 high level officials of FIFA were arrested by Swiss Police at the 65th Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.
The men are detained under indictment for racketeering,wire fraud, and money laundering - which investigators say, all sprang from corrupt practices which were employed to get different nations to win the bid to host the World Cup.
Executive members of the Football Federation of Belize were in Zurich for the meetings. So did we support Sepp Blatter? President Ruperto Vicente only just returned yesterday evening told us he did. He was heading back out of the country this morning on another football related matter, and we managed to catch up with him to ask him what influenced the vote, and what he thought when he saw the Swiss Police officers pouring into the hotel:
"Were you at all concerned for your safety seeing the Swiss police arresting persons? Did that cross your mind when you saw them coming up?"
Ruperto VS. Rawell, Who's Truth -Telling About Cheque Stubs
Vicente himself is coming under fire in the home front from former Senior Vice President Rawel Pelayo, who resigned following his conviction in the US for narcotics charges.
Vicente told the press in March of last year that the Federation was unable to audit the expenditure of publicly donated funds for the 2013 Gold Cup appearance. That's because according to Vicente, the cheque stubs for all that money was in Pelayo's suitcase when he was detained in Houston by US authorities.
When last week's FIFA story broke, Pelayo took to Facebook and posted, quote, "The President (Vicente) knows for a fact that I have no check stubs. Someone thought I wasn't coming back so soon, and now probably wish(es) I was still there." End Quote. We took the opportunity to ask about that post and its implications, and here's what Vicente had to say:
"Mr. Rawel Pelayo has posted an update on his Facebook page saying that he doesn't have any cheque stubs for the gold cup expenditure and we remember you suggesting that he did. Somebody has been untruthful and that's his position. So who is it? Is it you or is it him that he's telling this particular lie?"
Castro Dominates Convention With Record Victory
In the weeks leading up to yesterday's UDP convention in Belize Rural North, the two time representative, Incumbent Standard Bearer, Edmond Castro had been under continued fire, dogged by scandal and suggestions of wrongdoing and law breaking.
That's not the type of press any candidate wants in the last few days running up to a convention.
So, yesterday, Castro went into the convention with those allegations of wrongdoing in the periphery, and came out with his biggest win ever. Our News Team was there, and Daniel Ortiz found out how he did it.:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Guadalupe RC School in Sand Hill Village was swarming with political activity yesterday as Incumbent Edmond Castro went up against his former political ally, Dwight Tillett, in an open convention for Belize Rural North.
Police Charge Felix For Shooting Up Ms. Pam's House
Last week, we told you about the Caesar Ridge road shooting which resulted in the hospitalization of 27 year-old Mark Gentle, and 34 year-old Calvin Cumberbatch, who are, respectively, the son and husband of Pamela Bennett-Cumberbatch. Well, police have made an arrest in that shooting, and that man is at prison tonight.
He's Maurice Felix, a resident of Gill Street, and today he was arraigned before Magistrate La Donna John. He was read 2 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of dangerous harm, and 1 count of use of deadly means of harm this morning. Due to the nature of the offences, he couldn't be granted bail, and he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison.
City Ready For Hurricane Season
The hurricane season began today and the city council and City Emergency Management Organization held a press conference at City Hall to re-emphasise the importance of hurricane preparedness. Now, we see the hurricane preparedness commercials on the television, hear the announcements regularly over the radio and not to mention the daily weather report. While all that plays a crucial role in keeping the public updated during the hurricane season - having a detailed and efficient city emergency plan is equally important. Today the Mayor of Belize City outlined the major areas of focus:
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
"The shelter management scheme is something that we treat very carefully so that when somebody comes into a shelter again there under the concern and control of CEMO, so that we look very very closely at safety, security issues, and comfort even. We look at our ability to ensure that the persons bring the necessary resources to the shelter so that that is something that always do at an incremental basis. There will never be any situation where you will see all shelters open just like that. So that we are trying to keep the public very up to date and informed in relation to how we also treat with the emergency from a management and organizational stand point including the management of resources. One of the things that we like to emphasize in relation to the shelter is that our emphasis again is on safety, the prevention of loss of life and the prevention of loss of any property that is brought within the shelter, so that our primary concern is safety and not comfort."
Trade Licensing, The Toll Taken
As we told you in our last newscast, Belize City's most popular and posh gym, Body 2000 was forcibly shut down on Friday afternoon by police - by order of the city council. Several gym members couldn't finish their afternoon workout session and expressed their dissatisfaction because of the abrupt shut down.
But don't blame city hall; apparently, the owner of the gym didn't pay his 2015 trade license. Today we spoke to the mayor about it and although he doesn't delve into the case with Body 2000, he says this is a representation of a broader issue concerning the trade license law.
Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City
"Well I can't explain in relation to that business, but I can say that at a certain period through the year usually it is at this period when you're going to a second quarter that there's a lot of emphasis at the city council on collection of outstanding both property and trade license. So that we have done a tremendous job in trying to ensure that we are able to have reasonably respectable rates of collection of both property and trade. Our trade collection rate is about 97% which is very high for the country and even very high internationally in terms of region that we have a very high collection rate.
Illegal Trade In Wildlife Knocking on Belize's Door
Most of us probably don't think very often about the illegal trade in wildlife and forestry, but every day in the Chqiuibul, poachers are after scarlet macaws, baby tapirs, exotic timber, and Xate.
But the truth is -= it's not that bad in Belize, not yet at least. And that's why the Wildlife conservation society held a half day seminar today: to make Belize aware:...
There have been 7 cases of illegal trafficking in Bolivia, 6 of them linked to China.
The experts say that Rosewood trafficking is one of the fastest growing areas of illegal trade and is fuelled by international organized crime rings.
Shawnee Suspect Caught
7News has been informed that US Marshals caught an American fugitive in the western village of Unitedville. He's David Long aka "Lung", and he's is wanted in the Shawnee County, Kansas on the charges related to the Violation of the Offender Registration Act - which is reserved for sex offenders.
We've been trying to get in contact with Belmopan police for additional information, but we've been unable so far.
Crushed By Cane Truck
The cane harvest has claimed a life. A can truck ran over Julio Macal early on Saturday morning. It happened at around 1:15 when Xaibe residents, Ismael Camal and Julio Macal, were towing a cane trailer. Macal was checking something underneath the rear wheel of the trailer when Camal drove the truck forward, crushing Macal and causing him to be dragged by the rear tires of the trailer causing his death. CTV-3 in Orange Walk reports that cane deliveries start at 6:00am and cane farmers know that they should be there one hour early for delivery to the mill. So, no one knows for sure why the men were at the delivery line at that time, or if they were under the influence of alcohol as has been rumoured. Police have issued a notice of intended prosecution to Ismael Camal for causing manslaughter by negligence.
Que Viva Verdes! In Champions League
Last year, it was a major letdown for football fans and an embarrassment for the FFB when the Belmopan Bandits were yanked out of the CONCACAF Champion's League at the very last minute.
That was because the FFB stadium's football pitch was not ready by the deadline that FIFA gave. It was finally finished late last November, and so Belize finally got to send a football club to participate in the Champion's League this year.
Several Members of the team flew out to for Miami where the League's draft will take place. Before they boarded their flight, we got a chance to speak with one of Verdes FC's senior staffer and President Ruperto Vicente about Belize finally participating in the Champion's League.
Viewers will remember however that Marvin Ottley was the contractor who failed to get the FFB football pitch ready in time for the last Champion's League Tournament. And now his team is going after winning the 2015 Premier League of Belize Tournament, which is the deciding factor in who represents Belize. Since this issue broke in the news, Ottley has not made any comment, and so today we asked about it. He told us that it wasn't the right time to disclose what the circumstances, which led to the field not being ready:
Former NBA Player in Bze. Not Here for Free Throws or Fast Breaks, But Fatherhood
Etan Thomas played nine seasons in the NBA - and tonight he's in Belize. But he's not here to talk about free throws and fast breaks; the retired power forward wants to talk to men about fatherhood. He arrived this morning at the invitation of Restore Belize and NICH. He told us why Fatherhood is more important than basketball:..
You can see Thomas speak tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Bliss Center. Call Restore Belize 223-1269 for tickets or you can see it live here on Channel 7.
Sports Upgrades For The South
Belize Infrastructure Limited has signed contracts for two major sporting facilities to be upgraded in the South. Today two contracts were signed for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Carl Ramos Football Field and Facilities in Dangriga and the Toledo Union Field and Facilities in Punta Gorda. Both projects should be completed in 20 months. The Carl Ramos Football field project was awarded to Hubert L Usher and Sons while the Toledo Union Field project was awarded to Coleman Construction Ltd of Hattieville.
They should both finish in ten months.
The contracts were signed by representatives of both companies, as well as Minister of Works Rene Montero, and Christy Mastry, General Manager of BIL.
A Big Fall For Alcalde of Big Falls
Our news room learnt this evening that the Alcalde of Bill Falls Village in the Toledo District was forcibly removed by his people yesterday, and the villagers have decided that the also want the elected chairman to vacate the post as well.
Our colleagues from PGTV report that a large gathering of the village, about 450 or more called a meeting and decided that the Alcalde has overstepped the authorities of his office. We are told that within the Mayan Community, an Alcalde administers justice against alleged offenders, but he must allow for villagers to act as police within the community. We understand that the grievance that the villagers had with this former alcalde was that he was conducting his own arrests instead of using the authorized people. He was removed yesterday, and another village meeting must be done to install a new alcalde.
In relation to the Chairman, there is an allegation that he received money on behalf of the village and there is no accounting for it at this time. To remove the chairman is a bit more difficult since he was elected under the local government statutes.
Coro Cops Caught This
On Friday at the end of the news, we told you about a group of high powered weapons that Corozal police got in a one day sweep of Carolina Village, Cahn Chen village and Corozal Town. But because the police report was late in arriving we never got to show it to you. Since it's not everyday that we see weapons of this caliber taken off the street, we'll look at them tonight. They include: a 9 millimeter pistol with five Live rounds of ammunition, a .45 Pistol, a stash of live rounds, and in Chan Chen Village, a MAK 90 AK-47 Rifle with Magazine.