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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
Palapa Bar and Grill is coming to San Pedro Town!
The popular Palapa Bar and Grill in Northern Ambergris Caye is undergoing its final preparations to move to their new location. Yes, it’s official: the popular over-the-water bar and grill is moving to San Pedro Town. Their new venue is at the Wet Willy’s Dock, and it promises to be just fabulous. The iconic San Pedro landmark has been operating for over 20 years and is a favorite watering hole for locals and visitors alike. Add a friendly staff, signature dishes and drinks, special events and a carefree crowd and Palapa is a party! They promise the same vibe, and yes, the inner tubes are coming with them! Scott and Jodie Harnish, who have been operating Palapa Bar and Grill for the past nine years, attribute the hard work and good staff to their success today. Their relocation comes as a result of the new ownership of the Palapa Bar and Grill. The property was purchased in January of 2015, by the ‘Palapa Palms Resort’ which is taking over the bar with no intentions of renewing Harnish’s lease.
Oceana Symposium focuses on Belize’s water systems and offshore oil drilling
On Wednesday, December 9th, Oceana Belize held a symposium at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City on the topic of offshore oil exploration in Belize. The theme for the discussion was, ‘The energy of Nature versus the Nature of Energy’, with focus on the state of Belize’s waters and the management and sustainable usage of natural resources while increasing economic development. Just over a decade ago, Belize struck its first commercial oil find in the Cayo district. However, a campaign sparked by the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 has encouraged an initiative by Oceana to entirely ban offshore drilling in Belize. In a press release issued on December 1st by the Government of Belize (GOB), the government declared that Cabinet announced a legal ban to be instituted to cover selected protected areas that are World Heritage Sites. The areas include: the natural monuments at Lighthouse Reef (the great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye), Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and National Park, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve and Sapodilla Caye Marine Reserve. The Cabinet also agreed to ban offshore exploration within one kilometer of either side of the barrier reef system.
Green Turtle Fatally Injured at Mexico Rocks
We all know it is illegal to feed the wildlife, be it terrestrial or marine, but it sure is a great way to get a good look at the critters you want to see. Time and again we are cautioned by authorities that this practice is not only unhealthy of the animals but also conditions them to associate man with food, causing them to lose their natural instinct to flee when man is around. For these conditioned animals the sights and sounds of man are nothing more than a dinner bell; and they come running as soon as man arrives. Such is the story for one juvenile Green turtle at the Mexico Rocks snorkeling site, who became so accustomed to being fed by tour operators that he abandoned his natural behavior as a bottom feeder to taking to free water swimming with the fish and sharks. Sadly this surface swimming behavior put the little beggar at risk, and he was fatally ran over by a boat on Wednesday, December 16th.
Dr. Hall out on bail; claims he was wrongfully accused of deviant past
According to Deputy Coastal Executive Officer, Superintendent Henry Jemmott, Dr. Hall was granted bail under the condition that he turns over all travel documents into police custody. Dr. Hall obliged in this request and will also have to check into the San Pedro Police Station twice a week until his first court hearing on Tuesday, February 12th.
Hall was charged due to the fact that the license he had obtained on June 23, 2015 was under the name “Robert Bob Hall” which is not his legal name, therefore making the license illegal. The error was made within the Belize Medical Council Board and while the Ministry of Health (MOH) has indicated that they have launched a full investigation into the matter, neither entity has released an official statement.
One Monday, December 14th Hall disseminated a statement via email to all of the media houses in the country declaring his innocence of the criminal charges that were placed against him while he was a dentist in North Carolina, USA. In 2005 the doctor was charged with seven counts of injecting semen into his patients’ mouths. His license to practice medicine was revoked, and Hall served four months in jail. Hall’s 1,400 word diatribe ranges from quoting biblical scripture to details on the side effects of a hair growth medication called Propecia in relation to the decrease in seminal ejaculation fluid.
San Pedro High School Girls take silver at the NSSSA Basketball regionals
After claiming the victory at the National Secondary School Sports Association (NSSSA) Basketball Northern Regionals, the San Pedro High School (SPHS) female basketball team traveled to Corozal Town to participate in the national tournament. The NSSSA Basketball Nationals was held at the Corozal Complex in Corozal Town on Friday, December 11th and Saturday, December 12th. Four male and four female teams converged at the venue in hopes of taking the championship: North, Central, West and South. In the end it was the defending champions Saint Catherine’s Academy’s girls and Julian Cho Technical boys who claimed the top prize. But, the SPHS girls still managed to make an impressive mark, claiming the second place for the female championship. In order to advance to the championship games, competing teams had only one chance to earn a spot in the finals, as only the two winning teams in the first day of the competition would advance to the championship matches. In the first game, the SCA girls took the first victory of the tournament over the Delille Academy girls, while in the second game the Julian Cho boys defeated the Gwen Lizarraga male team. In the last set of games for the first day SHC boys lost to Muffles, and SPHS girls easily outscored the SHC girls in a 22-8 point game.
Government of Belize breaks ground on BDF and BCG joint Forward Operating Base
On Wednesday, December 19th the controversial ground breaking of the joint Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Belize Coast Guard (BCG) Forward Operating Base (FOB) was held at an area of land on the northern bank of the of the Sarstoon River in southern Belize. The area where the FOB is to be built had long been claimed by Guatemala as part of their territory, with the country even displaying military hostility towards Belizean armed forces that visit the area. With the ground breaking ceremony over, construction has commenced and the building is to be ready for use within three months. The FOB will bring much needed law enforcement presence to an area that is known for illegal activities.
Pic of the Week - Vacation in Belize is Awesome
Blake Cummins vacations in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize and posts this cool picture on his Instagram account stating: “Solid day diving Esmerleda in Belize. We saw a bunch of nurse sharks and it was AWESOME.
We agree with him. Below are a couple more pictures he posted while he enjoyed his stay on Ambergris Caye.
Tropic Air Receives ISSA Award for Standard Safety Assessment
In a press release issued this week, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, on behalf of the Government of Belize, congratulated the team at Tropic Air for having been awarded the International Airport Transport Association’s (IATA) Standard Safety Assessment Certificate at the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting, held in November of 2015.
“This is the first such acknowledgement to be awarded to an Americas-based airline, and it gives us great pleasure to have a Belizean-owned carrier pioneer the way forward in our region.” stated the press release.
Tropic Air boasted being the first airline to obtain IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) certification in Latin America. Tony Tyler, ALTA President said.
Misc Belizean Sources
BELIZE FISHING REPORT: Weeks of December 6th – December 12th, 2015
It was a pleasure to host the wedding of Adam and Ashley. A great couple from Colorado who lit up the fishing on their combination wedding and honeymoon trip. The more we got out of the North wind the better the fishing got.
Scotty's Crocodile Cove Christmas Party
Scotty's Crocodile Cove Bar & Grill in Corozal invites you for our Christmas Party with live music and Christmas jingles on Wednesday December 23rd. Come celebrate with us. Friendly and lively atmosphere ~~~ Don't miss out~~~
The Farm House Deli
The Farm House Deli offers a fresh take on the neighborhood cafe. Offering fresh from the oven pastries, artisans cheeses, and full array of smoke meats. Corner Rio Grande Ave and Nim Li Punit St.,
Belmopan, Belize. The Farmhouse Deli- Featured Smoked Meats: Smoked Chicken Breasts, Rotisserie Chicken, Smoked Pork Ribs, Boneless Ham, Turkey Ham
Smoked and Cured Pork Loin, Ham Pancetta, Roll Chicken, Roll Turkey, Sweet Cured Bacon Ham Roll, Gingered Chicken Sausage, Smoked Chicken Sausage,
Smoked Polish Sausage, Tuscan Sausage, Pepperoni, The Farmhouse Sausage.
Caroling for a Cause
Thank You Vic Murphy for organizing and hosting this Wonderful fundraiser for Liberty Children's Home. On behalf of Liberty we are so Greatful.
Wine de Vine's Annual Clearance Sale
Wine de Vine's Annual Clearance Sale and other special going on now. Check it out.
Cayo Posadas Start
Posadas have begun around Cayo. The Benque House of Culture started theirs with the Benque Marimba Youths, and the SISE House of Culture with live marimba from the 'Alma De Las Americas' marimba band. "Day 1 Posadas 2015..the journey from Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the Benque House of Culture by the pilgrims with live marimba music,chants & prayers in the streets of Benque Viejo and reaching its destination enriches and uplifts out cultural heritage that is our true spirit and celebration of the season."
Rageology at Thirsty Thursdays
The Rageology Rave is set for January 9th, at Thirsty Thursdays. Limbo shots and CO2 blasters are just a few of the cool things they'll feature at the rave. The Raging Masters.
"Kicking off the new year with the first project xyz promotions event
Rageology - DJ Mesmerize birthday Celebration
Kicking off at 9 pm to 4am.
Reach out and party in the new era!
The aim is to rave"
The 7th edition of Baffu is out
And it's free to download. Not only are many Cayo artists in there, but they have an article about the new Cayo Mural, entitled 'A Painted Conversation.' The dual poem, 'America,' is worth a read.
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Jack Charles Showed Up To Clear His Rice; BAHA Didn't Budge
Three containers of Rice from Guyana arrived at the Big Creek in Belize this morning, and was offloaded into the Port's Compound in Independence Village. Now, as you've been seeing all this week the local rice producers are pressing the government to send it back. The Government agencies, namely, the Belize Agricultural and Health Authority (BAHA), the Ministry of Agriculture, say that Importer Jack Charles does not have the proper permits to clear the rice for sale in Belize.
Still, he showed up today and made his attempts to get the BAHA personnel to budge. Our news team was Independence all day today, and Daniel Ortiz has the full story:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
These 3 containers are currently housing the Guyanese Rice that businessman Jack Charles imported into Belize. It's been temporarily offloaded from the barge which brought it from Santo Tomas, Guatemala.
Baby Nina Still In The Care Of The State; Custody Battle Drags On
Baby Nina will be spending Christmas away from her mother. That is the unfortunate reality that faces 2 year old Nina Charlotte Perez and her embattled mother Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez. In mid-November personnel from the Human Service Department forcibly removed baby Nina from her mother's custody under a provision called the emergency protective care on behalf of the Guatemalan father who claimed the child was essential abducted. The matter ended before the Belize family court and Baby Nina was placed in foster care. Today Nina's mother accompanied by attorney Marcel Cardona appeared at the Belize Family Court in Belize City where they hoped see the matter through. However the father did not appear and the case was adjourned until January 7th 2016, much to the disappointment of the young mother.
Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez- Mother
"I would have like it to be a little faster, sooner. Because of course every time that my daughter is away from me it affects her. But at this point I can only have faith that in January it wont be delayed any longer and that things would be settled at that point."
PUP's National Convention Date Set; Hon. Fonseca Is Still Leader
The heads of the People's United Party met today for a National Executive Meeting at the PUP office on Queen's Street where they discussed matter pertaining to the national party convention to be held in January 31st which is to decide the new party leader. Now in an interview with the media on Tuesday Henry Charles, Chairman of the Party, said there is no party leader per say. He said and we quote, "The leader stepped down after the election. The national executive is overseeing the governance of the party for now." But it appears the PUP is flip flopping again. Today after the meeting of the executives the secretary general of the Party gave us a different story.
Myrtle Palacio, Secretary General - PUP
"We have a party leader right now until a new party leader is elected. He is Francis Fonseca. He is also the leader of the opposition."
This means that the Party leader, technical still has control of the party's organs, an advantage he has over the other two candidates Cordel Hyde and Johnny Birceño. The only party leader candidate who was present at the executive meeting today was Briceño, but even before the members of the party came out of the meeting, a representative of the executive told us that the candidates will not be speaking to us at this time.
Suspect #19 Charged For The Home Invasion Of the Diplomat's Estate
So far, 18 persons have been charged in connection with the aggravated burglary at Diplomat Sarkis Bou Nahra's residence in Burrell Boom - the majority of them for handling items stolen from the mansion. And, 25 year old Lane Grinage joins the crew who will now be charged. He was caught by police in Seine Byte village last night. He had been wanted since the date of the burglary because police saw him in Burrell Boom in a black car that was used as the main means of transport for the eight man crew that broke into the house.
He is expected to be charged for Aggravated Burglary, Conspiracy to commit Aggravated Burglary, Conspiracy to commit Rape, Handling stolen goods and Theft.
Notably, Lane Grinage appears in our archives before. Back n 2009 he was charged for burglarizing a resort in Burrell Boom to the tune of thirty three thousand dollars.
GSMS Donated to the Forensics Department
The "Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer," GCMS for short, is a big name for a machine with just as big a role in law enforcement. It could often mean the success or failure in the prosecution of a drug case. How this machine works is that the gas chromatography portion separates the chemical mixture into pulses of pure chemicals and the mass spectrometer identifies and quantifies the chemicals.
We know… It sounds very arcane, but at the National Forensics' Department, the professionals use these types of machines to test for drugs and other illicit substances. Today the Department received this machine as another generous donation from the United States Embassy. Ambassador Carlos Moreno was on hand to official hand over the machine and Director Director of the National Forensic Department was on hand to receive the equipment. Henderson told us how this equipment will assist them in their criminal investigation efforts.
David Henderson, Director - National Forensic Science Service
"As you may be aware that in the past we only use to have cannabis and cocaine. But now there are several type of new drugs coming into the system, so then we must be prepared to deal with whatever substance come into the system."
2015-2016 Sugar Crop Start Marred By Muddy Cane
Ten days ago, we showed you the opening of the sugar crop at the Tower Hill factory in Orange Walk. As we reported at the time, the sugar that was coming in was wet and muddy - because of the late rains which had inundated the cane fields.
Well ASR/BSI says the muddy cane is causing under production. The review of the first week of the season shows that "compared to the 2015 crop, sugar in cane is low…which has decreased sugar recovery leading to an unfavorable Tonnes of Cane to Tonnes of Sugar ratio."
The problem - according to the millers - is that "Mud in cane has exceeded the required maximum of 4.5%, thereby "increasing the fiber content in cane and affecting milling and efficient steam generation."
That's bad news for all industry stakeholders, and it could translate into lost days of operation - meaning diminished production and earnings. In response, the Sugar Cane Production Committee has sent a flier to farmers asking them to do their best to reduce the mud levels of cane going into the factory. The SCPC has also asked the test group leaders to speak to the farmers to implement the right methods to pick up cane. There are specific loading and stacking techniques which farmers can use to minimize mud levels.
Coast Guard Got New Toys For Safety And Preparedness
Last night, we showed you how the Belize Defense Force got a donation of 2 Land Rovers to assist with patrols. Well, today it was the Belize Coast Guard who received several pieces of equipment. These include inflatable boats, and other tactical and safety equipment. The Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard Admiral John Borland told us how all this gear will enhance safety and preparedness.
Admiral John Borland, Commandant - Belize Coast Guard
"The equipment you see here laid out is part of the enduring friendship program, the partnership that we have with the United States Government Southern Command and State Department INL under which most of the equipment you see displayed today came from. There are a variety of equipment raging from zodiac tactical boats that are mainly going to be employed by the seals for tactical operations. There are life jackets. There is 200 of them on display. They are going to be issued to the fleet. The fleet are the people who do the work on a daily basis, they go to sea every day, so they need the best equipment that we have. The foul weather gear is also going to be issued to the fleet. There are 200 sets and they are going to be use whenever the fleets on operations in foul weather. Foul weather means inclement weather or bad weather. The better you take care of a man under inclement conditions, the better he will operate."
Mother Ships On The Way For The Coast Guard
So with all this state of the art equipment, the Coast Guard also need new patrol vessels to better protect Belize's waters. As you heard, CEO Lovell spoke about a mothership approach and he is referring to 2 patrol ships that will be built for the Belize Coast Guard. The government has already approved the funds for these ships but CEO Lovell told us they are in the planning stage - meeting with their American and Mexican partners on the construction and delivery of these 2 ships.
"Well we are hoping to partner with any of our friendly nations. As you note I already made an appeal to not just the US Southern Command, we are been talking to Mexican friends and things are looking good for us. But it's not just the acquisition of these assets, we must look at the sustenance and maintenance of these vessels as we get them. That is where I would want to see them partnering with us. Because this is not just for Belize, this is as far as I see for the safety of the region and to a large extent those countries which transshipment of narcotics, or weapons, even human smuggling and by the way we have seen a trend in terrorism. Countries that will more than likely be targets for these types of illicit activities will certainly benefit from Belize having the kind of capacity for our Coast Guard and our maritime people here in Belize to be able to do their part in the whole bigger regional security efforts."
The cost of getting these vessels is over $13 million US dollars. The 1st ship is expected to arrive early 2017. There will also be training for officers on how to operate and maintain these ships.
The US Embassy Continues To Donate To Local Law Enforcement
And there are also other projects that the Belize Coast Guard and the US Embassy are working on. US Ambassador Carlos Moreno told us about the ongoing construction of a maintenance facility at the Coast Guard Headquarters and the upcoming initiatives that will further enhance the efficiency of the force.
Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador
"In terms of security overall, it's something yes. CARSI funds really involve not only the BDF but also the Belize Police Department through the provision of similar types of equipment equipping their mobile interdiction team. Here you see the construction of a maintenance facility. I would like to see construction of a maintenance facility for the motor vehicles we provide to the Belize Police Department and I believe in 2016, we will be providing a couple of dozens motor vehicles for the police department. But my concern is what about sustainability, maintenance - this equipment is all nice to have, it's also very expensive, but this equipment can and should last and be maintained for years."
As you heard, more vehicles will be donated to the police department next year.
Guatemalan Illegal Farmer Arrest Was Important
In yesterday's news, you heard the latest on the Chiquibul Forest from the Friends for Conservation and Development. One part of the 75 minute press conference we didn't air - has to do with the arrest of a single farmer back on November 26th. It was a minor news item - but according to the Executive Director of FCD, it had a major impact on environmental enforcement. Here's how he explained it:..
Raphael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD
"Just a couple of weeks ago there was one of the persons that were detained and that guy for the very first time it was a milpa farmer. If you look at the historical context in Chiquibul, there has never been an arrest on a Guatemalan farmer. This time this person was caught and this person was charged $6,000 which was really something historical in our aspect of looking at the environmental enforcement."
In lieu of paying the fine, the farmer will have to spend three years in prison.
BEL Caribe Gave Away Another Hundred Xmas Hampers
100 needy families received Christmas hampers today. The hampers were for those families with kids suffering from Cancer, HIV and diabetes. These families struggle every day to provide basic needs for their kids and those regular doctor visits and medications don't make it any easier. Today the Founder of the '1000 Smiles for Cleyon' Foundation Michelle Rudon told us how significant these hampers are especially during this time of year.
While these hampers surely brighten the christmas season for these families, the sordid reality remains - these families need financial assistance for cancer treatment. One little boy who is in need of assistance is Baby Izac.
Baby Issac needs $2,000 to get his surgery in January. You can call the foundation at 223 2448 to find out more about how you can help. The Christmas hampers will be distributed to these families today and tomorrow. Bel- Caribe partnered with Smart, PUMA and Travelers to make these donations possible.
Scotia Cut A Cheque For Outreach Organizations
And the donations keep on coming - this time from Scotia Bank. Today at their Albert Street Office they handed over 2 cheques - one to Hand in Hand Ministries and one to the Belize Red Cross. Representatives from both organizations told us that the money will used to assist those affected by the recent floods.
Hand in Hand Ministries got $30,000 and the Belize Red Cross got $10,000. In terms of the houses that will be built for the flood victims - construction should start in February. The construction will be a joint project between Scotia bank and Hand in Hand Ministries.
MLA/TAA Got The Equator Prize
The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcalde Association, these are the leaders of the 39 Mayan Communities in the South, and very often, they make the local news.
Well, a week ago, these indigenous leaders made major news outside of Belize when they were awarded the 2015 Equator Prize. What is the Equator Prize? Well, it's given to 20 outstanding organizations who advocate indigenous rights either to advance sustainable development solutions for people, nature, or resilient communities who are under pressure to protect the forests, their homes, or their cultural heritage.
This year, the Maya Leaders Alliance was among the 20 awardees, coming from a pool of hundreds of nominations worldwide. They were recognized among their peers from other countries for the landmark victory in getting Maya Land Rights recognized in Belize.
Cristina Coc, the Spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance and Alfonso Cal, the President of the Toledo Alcaldes Association went to Paris, France to accept this award on Last week Thursday. Yesterday, while we had to opportunity, we got a reaction from Coc about the prestigious award and it's implications.