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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
Christine Syme concludes participation at Miss Earth Pageant 2015
Even though she may have not taken the Miss Earth 2015 title, Christine Syme has gained valuable experience and unforgettable memories from her time in Vienna, Austria. Miss Earth Belize 2015 has completed her participation at the Miss Earth Pageant and has shared with The San Pedro Sun her experience. The Belizean beauty had been in Vienna since Monday, November 16th, taking part in several activities leading up to the big pageant on Saturday, December 5th, which saw Miss Philippines Anfelia Ong taking the coveted crown. Syme was one in among 92 contestants from across the world who participated in the pageant that advocated environmental awareness under the theme ‘Beauties for a Cause’. “Over the past three weeks there were ups and downs, but I always looked for the bright side. Every single day we had a new adventure; we visited historical landmarks, viewed the stunning architecture throughout the city of Vienna and enjoyed the mountainous areas Austria has to offer. We were fortunate enough to meet people from all walks of life, from scientists to businessmen and women as well as some dignitaries! I also met intelligent women from all over the world who represented their countries as well. I have made connections for myself as well as Belize that I never would’ve imagined making!”
Copa Airlines Inaugurates Flights to Belize
On Tuesday December 8th as announced earlier this year, Copa Airlines officially made their inaugural flight to Belize’s Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). Copa Flight 281, travelling from Hub de las Americas Panama City, Panama landed on Belizean soil at 12:49PM carrying a total of 92 passengers. The flight was greeted by water salutes and an official inaugural ceremony. Present to witness the historic moment were Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Manuel Heredia Jr.; Ambassador of Panama to Belize, Marta Irene Boza; Director of Sales for Copa Airlines, Adolfo Sen; Managing Director of the Belize Airport Concession and Co. Jorge Espat, Director of the Belize Tourism Board, Karen Bevans and a host of media and invited guests.
Ocean Academy students honored at 2015 Belize Youth Awards
Exceptional youth from across the country were honored on Friday, December 4th at the Belize Biltmore Plaza as part of the 2015 Belize Youth Awards. Organized by the Department of Youth Services, the Youth Awards marks the official culmination of Youth Week and is an annual event that rewards young people for their contribution to the country’s development. Among this year’s recipients was a student from Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy, who received the Individual Environmental Award. Sixteen awards, both individual and group, were distributed at the ceremony. The first category was the Environmental Award, with Ocean Academy’s Adaly Cartagena receiving the individual award and Corozal Junior College’s Eagles Environmental Club receiving the group award. Cartagena was awarded for starting a Youth manatee Club on Caye Caulker to continue the legacy of Captain Lionel “Chocolate” Heredia and contribute to the current work of Jamal Galves to protect the Antillean manatees.
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is a GO!
The 2015 Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is back on with the assistance of local businesses. Main organizers for the parade, the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) had announced the cancelation of the event on Tuesday, November 17th due to lack of community support and low boat participation. With a new group of organizers, the 2015 Holiday Light Boat Parade promises to bring an evening filled with spectacular lights, food, cash and prize giveaways as well as much Christmas cheer. The official date for the parade is set for Saturday, November 19th starting off at Wayo’s Beach Bar at 5PM.
Holy Cross Anglican School students participate in cleanup campaign
On Friday, December 4th, the ‘First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick Up’ group held their last trash clean up activity of the year. The initiative, which started several months ago, is comprised of residents from the Tres Cocos residential area located just north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge. They have designated the first ‘Friday’ of each month to keep their side of the island clean. Last Friday, the group was not only joined by the many volunteers who usually show up every month, but also by 150 students of the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. At 9PM volunteers and students gathered in front of the Paradise Theater where a quick briefing was held and gloves and trash bags were provided. The large group was then separated and designated different areas to clean. A group stayed by the bridge area and entrance to San Mateo while others went up north via road and then to the beach. The idea to have the students involved is another way to tackle the garbage issue on the island by educating children on it. According to members of the Tres Cocos group, it is important to instill this civic pride in the students, encouraging them to do the right thing and put trash in its correct place.
Belize Tourism Industry Association Celebrates 30 Years of Service
The Belize Tourism Industry Association hosted a successful 30th Annual General Meeting on December 3, 2015, at the Ramada Belize City Princess. The event was the culmination of the organization 30th anniversary celebrations.
The main objective was to update the membership on the Association's accomplishments during the past year and update the membership of the new goals and plans for 2016. The AGM provide the official forum that allowed members to dialogue on current issues, challenges and concerns. The officials and audience in attendance included the BTIA President and the Board inclusive of Destination Chapters Chairpersons', Sector Stakeholders and invited guests from the private and public sector.
Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization was the honorary guest speaker. He emphasized the importance of working collectively in delivering superior customer service to our guests as the region becomes more competitive and progressive in the world of tourism.
Travel and Leisure - Placencia Belize One of Best Places to Travel in 2016
Placencia Village, one of the top tourist destinations in Belize, has just been named as one of Travel and Leisure’s top destinations to travel for the upcoming year. Placencia is listed amongst 51 destinations deemed ‘a must visit’ for 2016. To compile its annual list of the best places to travel in the upcoming year, Travel & Leisure editors reviewed such factors as top articles from their contributing writers and global correspondents, which destinations were talked most about, which destinations are starting to emerge for new and compelling reasons, and which global events and changes in travel restrictions have made certain destinations easier to get to.
Belizean to Receive Young Leadership Award from Her Majesty The Queen
Twenty seven year old Deidra Smith from Belize has been selected in recognition of her commitment to empowering young people to pursue higher education and gain further training by Her Majesty The Queen and will be bestowed the Young Leadership Award.
Deidra one of 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who are being recognized as exceptional leaders in their community. These 60 young people will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award that will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in 2016. The awards is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Program that celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.
This year’s Award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.
Misc Belizean Sources
Island Academy Christmas Pageant
The Christmas Pageant is on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm. Students are dismisses at 12:00 pm on that day (no lunch will be served) and then are asked to return to their classrooms by 6:00 pm. prepared for the pageant). Dinner tickets will be pre-sold. We will provide individual Turkey Dinner Meals. EACH MEAL IS $25, One size. Please make your meal reservations with pre-payment by Tuesday, Dec. 15. Tickets will be issued in advance. Dinner is served after the pageant so students should have a snack prior to returning to school at 6:00pm. TIA students' art and TIA calendars will be available for purchase. It will be a wonderful night to share with your friends and family.
Groundbreaking - Belize Coast Guard Forward Operating Base
Photos from Government of Belize Press Office
Check out the Belizean Traveller deals for the month of December!
Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Sleeping With Other People,
(Note Isla Bonita is having their annual Christmas show this friday ... Pan and Crimson Peak will play in Screen 2 on Friday and Screen 1 on Saturday and Sunday .. Pawn Sacrifice and Sleeping w/ Ppl will be played only on Saturday and Sunday)
Little Black Dress - Ladies Holiday Charity Lunch
Join us for a delightful afternoon with good food, good friends and holiday cheer while raising money for the S.H.I.N.E. organization. Saturday, December 19at 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM at AMBER Beach Bar & Grill.
RESERVATIONS MUST BE SECURED BY WEDNESDAY, 16 DECEMBER!
Contact Caribbean Villas Front Desk by phone (226-2715) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the names of attendees and entree selections. SPACE IS LIMITED, SO ACT FAST!
$85 bzd includes a three-course lunch, one signature cocktail, complimentary water and iced tea and one raffle entry.
Activities include a silent auction, raffle and ornament exchange.
Menu includes assorted appetizers and desserts and a choice of entree. Entree selection should be indicated at time of reservation.
Entree (select one):
1. Caribbean Seafood Bacalao/Stew in mildly spiced tomato broth
2. Grilled Jerk Style 1/4 Chicken with pineapple rum reduction
3. Cashew Pesto Shrimp Salad on bed of lettuce with mixed veggies
Alexandra Cousteau in town
Last night we had the honour meeting filmmaker, explorer and water advocate Alexandra Cousteau who is Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter! She is an amazing lady, and it made me so proud when Alexandra mentioned many times that she "loves" Belize so much!
"Water is the ink that writes the poetry of Life!" By Alexandra Cousteau.
So let's take care of our "Mother Nature"
Belize Beaches: Caribbean’s best kept secrets
Belize has become a popular tourist destination thanks to a robust travel industry and “the Southwest phenomenon” that spurred airline competition after the carrier added a Belize route. Add to the ease of getting there, the Caribbean country has received an unprecedented number of honors and recognition throughout 2015. There’s general agreement among those reporting on Belize as a first- class tourist destination that the secret weapon in Belize’s arsenal are the top-tier resorts that set the tone that keeps visitors returning year after year.
The following 10 Belize beach resorts have all made names for themselves by initiating aggressive marketing programs and upping the ante on exceptional hospitality and service that perfectly complements the nation’s beauty and natural wonders.
Communique - Finance and Economic Committee and National Security and Immigration Committee meetings
Message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
It has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that persons claiming to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs or persons claiming to be acting on his behalf have recently been contacting business establishments and individuals attempting to solicit donations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore informs the general public that neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Minister, or anyone acting on his behalf, is requesting monetary or in-kind donations from any person or any business establishment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs further calls on the general public to report such activities immediately to the Police and also warns perpetrators to immediately desist from such acts.
Dr. Colin Young, CEO in the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Among CARICOM negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 21.
In a heavy-bottom, high-sided saucepan over low to medium-low heat, combine 1 cup sugar and a drop of lemon juice (the lemon juice keeps the mixture from hardening or crystalling). NOTE: I find that maintaining a low heat, I have more control over the caramelizing process, as it is really easy to burn.
Uneasy Truce Reached at Port: Stevedores Return To Work
When we left you last night, it appeared that the rift between the Stevedores and the Management of the Port of Belize was widening. The management and the Christian Workers Union, which is the bargaining agent for the waterfront workers, continued with meetings up until close to midnight last night.
Well, those discussions, plus another few hours of talks today have resulted in the Stevedores agreeing to go back to work at 5 p.m. this evening to take cargo related to a ship that arrived into harbour this evening.
It appears that right now, there is great distrust between the two parties who only 2 months ago, were having productive negotiations. So, to get to an uneasy truce and the return to some normalcy at the port took a lot of back and forth.
7News was there this evening when CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd emerged and announced that the stevedores would postpone their strike. Here's how she explained why it was delayed to the detriment of businesses:
US Ambassador Disappointed in Nanes Shnitzer Bail Debacle
David Nanes Shnitzer was caught on San Pedro on November third, the day before General Elections. He was taken to court on November sixth and charged for uttering on a forged driver's license. He was remanded to prison and got ten thousand dollars Supreme Court bail two weeks later - despite the fact that his passport had been revoked two days earlier on November the 18th. He hasn't been seen since.
It's caused consternation in Mexico where authorities there wanted Nanes Shnitzer for defrauding investors of 42 million dollars. Mexico has a 2011 warrant for his arrest for unauthorized securities transactions. Belize was supposed to hold him until both sides could get through the paperwork to get him over to Mexico.
The Mexicans have made their displeasure known by sending the government of Belize two diplomatic notes of protest. But, what is lesser known is the involvement of the Americans. Their US Marshals are the ones who - working with San Pedro police - captured Nanes Shnitzer on San Pedro. They had reportedly been on the island for three weeks trying to track him down.
Ashcroft Alliance Wants 45 M USD For BISL
45 million US Dollars, that's how much the Ashcroft controlled Belize International Services Limited is asking the court to award it in damages. This is the revenue they claimed that they lost since the Barrow Government seized control of the IBC and Ships registry back in 2013.
Well, for the past 2 days, BISL's attorneys, including Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, have been before Justice Michelle Arana trying to convince her that the former registries managers deserve this award of damages.
Lead Government Attorney Denys Barrow, has been defending the Barrow Administration in this claim, and this evening, he outlined the case to us as it has unfolded so far. Here's how he explained it:
Denys Barrow, attorney for GOB
"The case concerns the takeover by government of the two registries; the Ships Registry and the International Business Companies Registry. That takeover occurred in June 2013 when the government decided that the contract which existed for BISL to manage the two registries had come to an end and that a purported extension of the contract from 2013 - 2020 was an unlawful and illegal extension. Therefore government is not bound by it and they decided that they will take over the registry. Interesting thing is, that extension was signed in 2005 to take effect in 2013. The claim is for damages and they have quantified their claim as being US45 million dollars. The position of the government is that we don't owe you any money. We should not be ordered to pay any damages, because what you had is an illegal contract and therefore the contract should be held as not having properly existed as having no existence and therefore there is not anything to damage and to break."
Man Who Stabbed Intruder 14 Times Gets Manslaughter, Not Murder
He stabbed a man 14 times, but a jury of 12 has found accused murderer Rafael Mencias guilty of a lesser charge of Manslaughter.
That's the decision that the jury emerged and delivered after deliberating for just over 3 hours.
He was tried for murder, where the Crown Counsel called 11 witnesses to testify against him. The case started back in October before Justice Herbert Lord in the Orange Walk Supreme Court. The prosecution presented evidence before the jury that on July 26, 2010, Mencias stabbed and killed Phillip Moses Hall inside the accused's apartment in Carolina Village, Corozal.
After the prosecution closed its case, Mencias, who was represented by attorney Michelle Trapp Zuniga, gave sworn testimony in his defence. He told the court that he was in his apartment, and he had just finished taking a bath. He said that he heard his door slam, and when he inquired who it was, no one answered. He said that he heard his lights go on and off 3 different times, and on the third time, he heard a man laughing. He said that he heard this laughter coming closer and closer, and that's when he grabbed a knife in fear of his life. He said that this unknown home invader grabbed him by the throat, and that's when he broke free and stabbed the man 14 times.
San Pedro Police Have Salvadorean Suspect For Rape of 70 Year Old Woman
San Pedro police have tracked down a man who is believed to be responsible for at least one heinous rape and one attempted on the island. He is a Hispanic male from El Salvador and police believe he is the one who rape and beat up a 70 year old woman on the island three weeks ago. And he was caught last night after he tried to rape another woman last night. He pulled her into a dark area near her house, but she managed to get away. Thereafter, someone in the neighborhood beat him up. Police say they will conduct an ID parade after his swelling subsides. They are also contacting Interpol to see if he is wanted in his country of origin.
Solving Motor Solutions Theft Problem
Belmopan police caught a thief red handed on Tuesday. 31 year old Clifford Vernon was caught on surveillance camera stealing a wide range of tools, cables and vehicle parts from Motor Solutions' back yard. We went to Belmopan to found out how he did it and how he got caught.
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Over $3,000 worth of items was stolen from Motor Solutions Ltd in Belmopan this week.
The thief didn't break inside the building but he stole a number of tools, car and truck batteries from the back yard.
The thief cut the wires of this back fence and came in -. Helping himself to a number of tools and car parts in the yard.
But , fortunate thing is , everything was caught on camera - In this clip you can see the thief walking gingerly away with an A/C Condenser Unit, and he is heading out again, through the fence.
PM Takes A Few Days Off
Prime Minister Dean Barrow departed the country today on medical leave. He will also take personal leave with his family. He returns next week Wednesday, the 16th.
Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister from until 14th December, when Security Minister John Saldivar will take over until the 16th.
Senate Debated Nanes-Shnitzer Probe
Yesterday's Senate meeting didn't finish until close to 6:00 pm - which means the Belize City based media missed the juicy debate on Senator Lisa Shoman's motion because we all had to race back to the city to meet our deadline. But, we have a few highlites for you tonight - and we stress it's just a few because the debate went on for two hours and five minutes. But every Senator spoke and here's a little of what they said:..
Hon. Lisa Shoman, PUP SENATOR
"Inquiries and investigations on any matter of public interest or importance. I don't think there is a person in this room who can say with a straight face that the issuance of nationality certificates that are obtained by fraud, by false representation, by concealment of material circumstances - none of you could say with a straight face that that's not a matter of public importance. Mr. President, we are at a crossroads. We are being asked for the third time to look into these allegations of corruption. I did so informally on the floor. I placed before this honorable chamber a motion in November of 2013. I tried to do the same in December of 2013, but was prevented and I am here once again, saying to my colleagues that this is sufficiently a matter of importance. How Mr. President can we refuse to do our job? How can we failed to recognize this as a matter of national importance? These are things that are a matter of public importance."
A New School Building For A New Kind Of School
Today a primary school in Belmopan received a brand new school building from the US Embassy. It's equipped with 4 classrooms, 1 male and female bathroom and whole lot of fancy state of the art equipment. The Acting Vice Principal of the school told us today just how much they needed this new building.
The cost of the project is $1.2 million Belize dollars. Over 115 infant one students will be able to fit in these new classrooms.
Cadenas By Boat
Last night, we showed you that historic ground breaking by the Ministry of National Security for the joint forces operating base that will be built at the mouth of the Sarstoon River.
Well, as we told you, the National Security Ministry facilitated the media up until the end of the ceremony, and when it was over, the dignitaries, including Ministers John Saldivar, Frank "Pawpa" Mena, and Patrick Faber were then taken on a trip by the Coast Guard and the BDF up the Sarstoon River for several hours.
They first stopped at the Gracias Adios border marker, where the 3 ministers of Government got to see the monument for themselves.
Then, the BDF Soldiers, followed by the Government Press Office, made their way to the Cadenas Border Lookout. This observation post is a location at the BDF takes up to guard the Belizean Borders at one of the southernmost points of Belizean territory.
Hon. Elrington Says Don't Fall For Scam
For a few weeks now we've been hearing reports of persons making calls particularly to Chinese establishments - supposedly on behalf of Minister Wilfred Elrington. The calls we heard of occurred late at night - and the prankster on the line tells the businesspersons that Minister Wilfred Elrington is fund raising for Cabinet and needs a contribution. It's obviously a scam, but it's serious enough for Elrington to send out a press release today. The release says, quote, "persons claiming to be acting on his behalf have recently been contacting business establishments and individuals attempting to solicit donations."
It continues, , quote, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore informs the general public that neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Minister, or anyone acting on his behalf, is requesting monetary or in-kind donations from any person or any business establishment."
Persons who get called are urged to report the calls and the phone numbers to police.
A Profile Of Nisa
16 year old Nisa Sanchez burst unto the national scene a few weeks ago as an academic phenom: she passed 15 CSEC exams with a grade one, and one with a grade 2. She addressed the awards ceremony with wit and wisdom. But, this child of wonder didn't have quite a wondrous start in life. She is the daughter of Honduran Immigrants and had a challenging upbringing. As a girl, she went through garbage with her father looking for scrap metal; and she never even went to preschool. She got into EP Yorke still struggling financially - and had to sell tacos with her mother. But despite sustained adversity she made it to the top as the nation's most outstanding high school student. She is the subject of tonight's I am Belize profile:..
Tony Rath's First Book
Tony Rath is one of Belize's most celebrated photographers - and now, in concert with Cubola Productions, he's bringing out his first book of photographs. It's got a straightforward title: "Images of Belize", and the soft cover book does just that: it delivers 100 of Rath's best images of nature, people, and culture. Today, we spoke to him about it via telephone from Dangriga:…
The book has been released and is available for sale.
Strike at Port of Belize is Called Off!
A strike is called off and after four days off the job at the port, stevedores finally went back to work this afternoon. Vessels bringing hams and turkeys as well [...]
The Effects of the Impasse at the Port on Businesses
The strike by stevedores has been called off and they are back on the job. But the four-day standoff with the Port of Belize over retirement packages has had dire [...]
C.E.O./Receiver Tux Vasquez Runs into Trouble with Guatemalan Immigration
The C.E.O./Receivership at the Port of Belize, Arturo Tux Vasquez was away in Guatemala during the negotiations, but remained active throughout. He was part of a delegation from the Belize [...]
San Pedro Police Nab Perp after Assault of Elderly Woman
Three weeks ago a particularly vicious assault caught the attention of the nation. A seventy year old woman told San Pedro Police that as she walked home she was followed [...]
C.E.O. Ramon Figueroa on Semen-Injecting Dentist
The story of the semen-injecting dentist who was licensed and ready to commence operations in San Pedro is shocking. Somehow John Robert Hall, an American dentist convicted for assault on [...]
Belize Medical Council is Solely Responsible for Vetting and Licensing
As we told you Tuesday night, all it took to get information on John Robert Hall was a visit to Google. His arrest in North Carolina for injecting semen into [...]
Marilyn Williams is New Chair of K.H.M.H. Board of Governors
On November ninth, then Chair of the K.H.M.H. Board of Governors Chandra Nisbet-Cansino was approached and asked to step down. She had only recently signed a contract for an addition [...]
Road Traffic Accident Leaves Elderly
An elderly resident of Spanish Lookout lost his life on Wednesday afternoon during a fatal road traffic accident. Sixty-seven-year-old Klaus Friesen was knocked down and dragged while riding his bicycle [...]
San Ignacio Police Say Unidentified Man was Chopped to Death
While San Ignacio Police are yet to determine the identity of a man found dead in the Mennonite Beach area of Spanish Lookout, they have confirmed to News Five that [...]
Litigation on Nationalization of BISL Concludes in Supreme Court
Since taking over Belize International Services Limited, the parent company of IMMARBE and the IBC Registry, in June 2013, the Government of Belize has been embroiled in litigation with its [...]
Minister of Immigration Says Sting was Organized to Catch Hustlers
Last week at the House of Representatives, there was talk of yet another Immigration scandal. This one involved the procuring and issuing of nationality documents to residents of the southern [...]
U.D.P. Parliamentarians Weigh in on David Nanes Schnitzer Senate Inquiry
It happened too late for much news coverage on Wednesday, but one of the highlights of the Senate meeting was a request for an inquiry into immigration corruption, specifically in [...]
Rafael Mencias Guilty of Manslaughter in Death of Phillip Hall
Shortly after one o’clock this afternoon, a jury of six men and six women stepped into the deliberating room to determine the fate of Rafael Mencias accused of the July [...]
Costa Rican President Disappointed by Belize’s Refusal to Allow Cuban Transit
On Tuesday Cabinet made the decision to hold off on approving the transit of Cubans stuck in Costa Rica through Belize. An official release claimed that G.O.B. is willing to [...]
COLA is in Favor of Cheap Rice from Guyana
Ads advertising cheap rice from Guyana, imported by Xtra House, have been circulating for a couple weeks now – setting the stage for the rice which should arrive in country [...]
Health C.E.O. Gives Update on WRH Investigations
In September, the tragic deaths of two females hung like a dark cloud over the Western Regional Hospital. Lucia Cal and Nolberta Sanchez were both treated at that facility and [...]
Dr. Figueroa Says No Hanky-panky Under His Watch
We also asked C.E.O. Figueroa about a series of financial shenanigans which allegedly took place under his predecessor Peter Allen. Multiple audits revealed serious breakdowns in and non-adherence to financial [...]
Healthy Living has the Christmas Blues
For many, the mere word Christmas brings memories and feelings of happiness and joy. For others, it can cause an instant headache as they crunch numbers trying to figure out [...]