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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
Island Academy presents “The most wonderful time of the Year”
Teachers Cherita and Siena then pumped up the show with a set of performances onstage, which where all about wanting lots of happiness for the Christmas Season. Students joyfully made their way to the stage while performing ‘I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’ and a ‘Holly Jolly Christmas.’ The cheers were loud and plentiful for the talented students. The grand finale saw the entire student body coming on stage to perform “A Party in a Pear Tree.” The audience truly enjoyed the comical number, as it featured the story of a bird that could not get down from a pear tree. Through song and dance, costumed students tried to come up with ideas on how to solve the problem of birdie in the tree. At the end, it was the bird himself that came down from the tree, sending out the message that we can overcome our own obstacles. With song after song, the well-put together presentations proved to be another amazing Christmas show. Applause was loud for the grand performance, with proud parents, siblings and friends cheering for the little darlings on an excellent performance.
The Mayor and Minister Cup kicks off!
The San Pedro Sports Council in collaboration with The San Pedro Town Council and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation held the first games of the first 11-a-side Mayor and Minister Cup on the island. After a fun marathon which featured the talents of the 12 participating teams, the Football Tournament officially started on Friday, December 18th with two thrilling matches. The tournament is divided into three numbered groups, with four teams in each group. Matches will be held on the weekends at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex at 7PM sharp starting on Fridays. The games for the Saturday and Sunday were postponed due to the inclement weather. Therefore, the second round of games will be played on Friday, January 8th.
12 days of Christmas Red Cross Remix
The San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) are feeling the jolly holidays, even going as far as creating their own remix to the popular Christmas carol, 12 Days of Christmas. Written by photographer Karen Brodie and sung by members of the SPBRC and friends, the 12 Day’s of Christmas Red Cross Remix reminisces on the work done by the non-profit.
Lending their melodious voices for the jingle were Brittney O’Daniel, Shirlee Arnould, Jane West, Melody Wolfe and Sean Connors. After a few rehearsal sessions, the group was even able to professionally record the remix with the help of Ralf West from Reef TV/Radio. SPBRC officially debuted the song during the 2015 Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.
The Really Cool Museum of Belize
I had one of the most pleasant experiences visiting the Museum of Belize, a gem in hiding at the old capital of Belize City. Yes, sometimes history can be boring, but Belize’s museum wraps history, culture and heritage in one unique package that the visit is definitely worth your time.
The Museum of Belize is a very wonderful surprise, a tour that a lot of locals and tourists overlook. I like to get to know even a little bit of the history of a country that I’m visiting; it makes me appreciate and understand more about the people’s lifestyles, culture and language. The museum in a wonderful experience taking you back to old country Belize, or British Honduras as it was called before obtaining independence in 1981.
Major Crimes Down as Belize Police Force Doubles Strength in Under 3 Years
National Security Minister John Saldivar says major crimes are down for 2015 as Belize hopes for a reduction in murders for the year. Hon. Saldivar says that the Belize Police Department has taken hold of the crime situation in the country and is hopeful that by year’s end the statistics will show a decline in the number of people murdered in Belize.
Comparative statistics show that as of November all major crimes, with the exception of murder are below last year’s figures. In 2014, the total major crimes were 2, 287 as at the end of November compared to 2, 027 for 2015. This shows a dead decline in major crimes since 2008. As of last week, the murder count in Belize stood at 116 for 2015, quite possibly making it the second best year for his department since 2008. With only two weeks remaining this year, Hon. Saldivar says the department is confident that it will be below last year’s figures.
Misc Belizean Sources
Poets Corner: City Centre
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. 32 million fi wah city centre
Holy smokes we must all be in a drunken stooper!
I wonder how they will share the cutbacks?
Will GoB come up again off the people’s backs?
Isn’t this the horse before the cart?
Is it that our priorities are warped?
Truth is that centre could be built for a few million
But half the money will be spend on consultation
How was this bid given to Medina Construction?
Are there any relations between Medina and the big man?
Is he being rewarded for his helping UDP win the elections?
I did not see any bid out on this one
Belize has no sporting programs
There is no single event that would draw 5,000
Except for a PUDP rally or convention
So why the building before the programs?
Belize does everything in reverse
If the PM declares everyone would take a bath before putting on undies
When the PM declares all cronies become zombies
Caye Caulker New Year's Eve Bash
KOKO King & MANDINGO Entertainment presents, New Year's Eve Bash at Ragga Castle in Caye Caulker...an experience to rival any other. Your new memory awaits!
Live Music with Valentino
Live Music with Valentino at the Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill from 6pm-9pm! Location :
Barrier Reef Sports Bar, Front Street Start Date: December 22, 2015 Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Emergency power interruptions entire Orange Walk & Corozal Districts
5:30am to 5:45am & 4:15pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday, December 22: BEL to facilitate testing of equipment by Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
BELIZEAN TWIN BROTHERS SENSATION: MICHAEL & MARK WAGNER!
It was a pleasure to have had the privilege of interviewing for Belizean Legends, the Belizean twin brothers sensation, Michael and Mark Wagner who performed on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the Bombay Lounge at Little Belize in Inglewood, California. Graced by incredible humility, love and entertainment brilliance, the two brothers shared their entire entertainment life from their youth performances in Belize, to the empowerment of their father, the legendary Joe Wagner, and how they continued down separate paths in the entertainment industry in the United States after their migration from Belize. This long awaiting comeback and performance together has brought both Belizean artists to reflect on how much has changed for them, and how they were able to refine their brands once again. A long awaited feature, and delivered as promised to Belizean Legends fans and audience. Enjoy!
Belize Bird Rescue: The rain finally stopped long enough for us to break ground on the pond for the new water-bird enclosure
Unfortunately that's all we managed to do before it returned. We have an ongoing fish crisis and our water-birds occupy every spare suitable room: the pelican in the bathroom, the heron in the nursery and the lazy tern day-tripping between a barn and the hobbit room.
When this enclosure is finally up and running, there will be a little party at BBR!
Art Show & Sale
Katrina Samuels Ancona has lived in San Pedro, Belize for 22 years. She is originally from Greenwich Village New York where she grew up in a family of artist. She has been in specialized art schools from The High School of Music and Arts to School of Visual Arts where she attended collage in New York City. Katrina has worked in the art field most of her life from jewelry design to owning her own artists gallery and a woodworking business where she has designed furniture and done decorating for many of the higher end resorts on San Pedro.
The beauty of Belize has influenced Katrina’s work along with her Christian life that she reflects in her work often. Her work varies in form, from; acrylic on canvas, murals, furniture, as well as works on three-dimensional objects. Katrina’s work is thought provoking and serves to relate the many sentiments and challenges of life …
GOB No-Go On Guyanese Rice
It's been 5 days now since 3 containers containing 75 tonnes of Guyanese Rice landed in Independence Village at the Port of Big Creek. The owner of that rice, Importer Jack Charles, is still waiting for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) to explain in writing why they have seized his cargo and refused to release it to him. He was hoping that would have released it by now so that he could start selling you his Grade A Premium rice at 69 cents a pound for the Christmas holidays. But, that is not going to happen. The Government is not budging, and today 2 senior officials, namely the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Director General of Foreign Trade, were dispatched on the Morning Talk Shows to explain why GOB is refusing to allow Jack Charles to sell Guyanese Rice in Belize.
We met them after their appearance on the WUB Morning Show, and they discussed why BAHA and the Customs Department will not release the Guyanese rice from the Port of Big Creek. Here's what they had to say:
Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"The question is not even about Mr. Chawla importing rice, the question is whether what is being produced in Guyana Represent fair competition on the Belize market place. The reality is that rice is Guyana is heavily subsidized and we don't offer subsidies to our large scale commercial producers here. So what would come in from Guyana would represent an unfair trading advantage."
FCIB, The Long Goodbye
It's official - First Caribbean International Bank is closing its doors in Belize on Friday, January 29th, 2016. The bank sent out a press release today announcing that the Central Bank of Belize has formally approved the sale of assets to Heritage Bank. The release states that the date for the completion of the transition to Heritage Bank is January 31st., 2016.
CIBC says, quote, "the two parties have made excellent progress in planning for this transition and executing a plan of orderly and detailed transition activities to ensure a smooth transition of CIBC First Caribbean customer accounts, loans and services to "Heritage Bank," end quote.
It adds, "CIBC FirstCaribbean can therefore confirm that there will be continuity of service to customers and a seamless transition to Heritage Bank."
The release ends by thanking it's in Belize for their years of service, saying, quote, "The bank continues to give them all possible support as we work through this period of transition." As has been widely reported, the Bank's 60+ employees will lose their jobs when it closes, and there is no assurance of how many will be take on by Herniate Bank. This has been the subject of a still ongoing labour dispute.
Stevedores Say GOB Gave Them A Raw Deal
As we told you on Friday, the Minister of Labour signed a statutory instrument making port workers a part of the Essential Services who cannot strike without notice. Well, today the Christian Workers Union came out swinging; it says the new Statutory Instrument is unfair.
The law makes it so that stevedores are required to give 21 days notice before taking any industrial action. Government says this allows for a more productive and peaceful approach to disputes between the stevedores and management. But while the government believes this decision will be more effective in settling grievances, president of the CWU Audrey Matura Shepherd says it undermines their negotiation, and will only further infuriate stevedores and force them to rebel.
A release issued this morning says quote, "once again government has decided to take the side of big people against working Belizeans."
It adds that the Port of Belize has shown utmost bad faith and is now joined by the Government of Belize.
Today at a press conference Shepherd asked the government to reconsider this decision very carefully.
Cops Try To Figure Out Who Shot Walter
24 year old Walter Juarez is still in bad shape at the KHMH after he was shot 3 times on Magazine Road on Friday morning. Juarez was waiting for a bus near the Matron Roberts Polyclinic when he was shot for no known reason. Today when we spoke to his uncle and neighbor off camera, they told us they are hoping that he recuperates soon so he can come back home.
Voice of: Neighbour
"Well they say he already come out from theater, so he cannot move his hands."
"His wife was saying that he cannot sit up well."
Voice of: Neighbor
"Yes. He hands is messed up. He does not mess with anybody around here."
Voice of Father
"The family is devastated. He is my son."
Gun Coming Across From Melchor?
7News has received multiple reports, which say that police picked up a prohibited firearm at the western border with Guatemala yesterday. Benque Police would not release any details, but we have learned that a 19-year-old Belize City man was seen tossing a weapon out a window in the arrival hall. When police went to check, it was a .45 pistol - one of the most powerful handguns made - so deadly that it cannot be licensed in Belize.
Our information says that yesterday at 3:00, a large crowd was coming across from Melchor - and usually, in the Christmas rush - there are only random searches. But police and customs were searching a number of travellers - and it seems the young man got nervous - so he reached out to a window in the arrival area and tossed an object outside. Police picked it up immediately and found a firearm, plus a bag with two dozen live rounds. He has been detained, but, like we said, Benque police have not provided any further details.
Post Office Pilferer Transferred
An internal probe at the Post Office has concluded that a clerk is believed to have pilfered ten thousand dollars from the express mail service between October and November of this year - but today that clerk was still at work. Deputy Postmaster General James Gabriel told us that they do not have to power to suspend or terminate him - so all they could do was transfer him to the parcel post department, where he is quote, "sitting down".
He says the report has been forwarded to the CEO in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Errol Gentle who will decide whether to ask the public service commission to suspend or terminate the clerk and whether to make a police report.
This clerk took over in May or June after his predecessor, a female staffer misappropriated about twenty thousand dollars in five months. Gabriel told us that additional controls were put in place after that debacle - but, apparently, it wasn't enough.
Suspect Tries To Commit Suicide
On Thursday's newscast, we told you about 25 year-old Lane Grinage. He was the 19th person to be charged in connection with the aggravated burglary at the estate of the Lebanese Diplomat, Sarkis Abou Nehra. Well according to police, he's at the KHMH tonight after he allegedly tried to take his life while on lockdown at the Ladyville Police station over the weekend.
Now, the last time a suspect was found dead in the Ladyville holding cell area, police said that he hung himself. His family vehemently disputed that, suggesting that police were involved. Well, the commander of the Eastern Division Rural is taking no chances, and today, he held a press briefing to discuss Lane Grinage's alleged attempt to take his own life. According to police, their newly installed surveillance equipment in the holding cell allowed police to catch the incident just in time before Grinage was successful at taking his own life.
Man Knocked Down In Ladyville Downpour
39 year old Robert Simplis Jr. was knocked down and killed this weekend as he was walking across the highway in Ladyville. The accident happened around 10:25 pm on Saturday in the midst of a heavy downpour between miles 8 and 9. Police say that poor visibility might have played role in this fatal traffic accident. Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster tells us more.
Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural
"I think that we will be lobbying the chairman of Ladyville to try and get some lighting along this stretch of the highway. I think it's too dark and a little lighting would definitely help the residents of the community in this area."
"We requested blood and urine sample from Mr. Gill and he refused. So he will also be charged for failing to provide specimen."
"Will he charged for the traffic accident as well?"
Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural
"Yes, he will be charged for the fatal accident."
Small Turkeys, Here One Minute, Gone The Next
Last week we told you about the supersized Butterball turkeys that were giving shoppers sticker stock because of the price, and scale shock because of the weight! Well, Quality Poultry which is the main importer of turkeys this year told us that they brought in a large shipment of small turkeys on Friday and in one day all of them sold out!
Today when we spoke to the manager of Quality Poultry in Belize City Albert Hoy, he told us people were actually fighting over the turkeys.
"Approximately we received 200 cases of turkey last week Friday - small turkey and everything sold out in day. It was very chaotic in the store. Actually people were grabbing turkey from each other hands. It was almost like a fight in the store to get small turkeys. We have been getting a few more small turkeys over the past few days, but it's a limited amount and I don't think we will have much more left. We should be getting another shipment of small turkeys. But they won't be arriving until the 28th December, in time for the New Year. I don't think it will be as hectic now as it was last week Friday and Saturday. But when we do get in a small amount, we try to inform people. But I am sure that we will not have enough. Some place have been buying big turkey from us and cutting it in half and it has been working. Some people have been buying half turkey. We still have turkey, but large ones only same Butterball."
OUTRAGEOUS: Woman Detainee Raped In Cayo Police Station
A San Ignacio Police Officer allegedly raped a woman who was in custody. The 25 year old Bullet Tree resident reported that a police officer took her out of her cell yesterday morning around 5;30, took her a dark room and raped her. When we spoke to police today they told us they won't comment at this point because they are still investigating. The police officer has been detained.
And there is another case of sexual assault to report, this time of a 9 year old girl. The young girl along with her mother told police that she was at her Bella Vista Home in Toledo when a man - the family knows - entered the house. He went into the room where the 9-year-old girl was resting with her sisters and sexually assaulted her. This incident happened on Wednesday October 28th. Police have since charged 58-year-old Honduran, Gumercindo Garcia of Bella Vista Village for "UNLAWFUL SEXUAL ASSAULT."
Jail For Man accused of Sex With Child
32 year-old Dalton Longsworth, a bus conductor from Belize City, is in jail tonight after he was accused of sexually molesting a 12 year-old child.
The female minor told police that on November 11, she and Longsworth had intercourse, with her consent. Now, any minor under the age of 16 cannot legally give consent for sex, and so, after investigating the child's complaint, Longsworth was arrested and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse.
He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, and due to the nature of the offence, the Magistrate could not take any plea from him. He did ask to address the court, and that's when he said that the minor is an obsessed young lady who has been telling lies to people that he is her boyfriend. Longsworth claims that the 12 year-old threatened her that if she cannot have him, then no one will. He also claims to have been suffering from a hernia at home during the time of this alleged sexual encounter.
Crowding Out The Small Man At The Tourism Village?
The Independent Local Operators at the tourism village fear that they are being crowded out at the Belize Tourism Village. According to reports, Carnival has told the Fort Street Tourism Village Management that it doesn't want the independent operators approaching guests when they are coming off the tenders. Our reports say that the Independent Operators have been told basically that they'll have to make themselves scarce when the pre-booked Carnival passengers are coming off the tenders.
Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives Valdemar Andrade told us today that, quote, "There is a need for some cleanup…there are some discussions in terms of positioning." But he added, quote, "we are clear that we want the independents to remain a part of the business."
And while that is the Tourism Board's policy position, on the ground, it's not quite that simple and the five or 6 inpdendent operators who are in the village say there are systematic maneuvers afoot by the Toursim Village Management to move them form the frontline. This, they says, is because their tours get better reviews than the Chukka Tours which are bought aboard the Carnival Cruise Line.
What COP 21 Means For Belize
The 21st Conference of the Parties, Cop21 for short, finished last week in Paris. While reviews are mixed, for the first time in the history of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the parties were able to craft an agreement that all were able to adopt. Carlos Fuller, who represented Belize as a member of the Caribbean delegation, spoke to us about how we contributed to the discussions on climate change.
Carlos Fuller, International Liaison Officer - CCCCC
"The area we really have to address is our rates of deforestation. Because that is where most of our emissions are coming from and so we have the policies in place already. It's now a matter of putting the resources to police it, to ensure that there is not illegal logging that we don't have illegal farming and so on. That is the areas we need to address and fortunately the government of Belize has already gotten some resources. There are additional coming from the World Bank in what we called Red Plus. That is reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Again, that's an area that we have to address and that is the big area now we are working towards."
But some would say that the damage has already been done. In light of this a great portion of the debate focused on adapting to the effects of climate change. This is also a major concern for Belize says Fuller.
Police Identify San Estevan Body
On Friday we told you about the body of a man that was found hanging from a rope off the San Estevan Road. Police have since identified the man as 65 year old Mauricio Merino, a Salvadorian Mechanic of Bautista Lane in Orange Walk Town. At the conclusion of an onsite postmortem authorities were still unable to certify the cause of death due to the advanced state of decomposition. The body was only identified with help from Gilberto Arnold the Landlord of the deceased and a cellphone that was found near the decomposing body. The landlord said that Merino had not been seen for over 3 weeks. Police have still not established how he ended up hanging from a tree branch near the San Estevan Bridge - but they have no indication that foul play was involved.
West West Won In Honduras
Woodrow West's team El Progresso won the Honduras League Championship in their hometown on Saturday. In a thrilling game that went down to penalty kicks, Progresso beat out Motagua to take the championship in dramatic fashion.
It is the very first Championship for the El Progreso Club - and much of the credit has to go to West, their new star goalkeeper and the only foreigner on the team who has emerged as the darling of the Honduran Press.
West is expected home this week. His father and some friends went to see the game in El Progreso and were interviewed by media there.
Costa Rica Says Saynara At SICA Meeting
In other regional news, Costa Rica has withdrawn from a regional Summit of Central American Countries because none of them want to help with the Cuban refugee crisis. Nearly 6 thousand Cubans are stuck in Costa Rica trying to get to the United States, but Honduras, Belize and Guatemala have declined requests to get them through to Mexico.
So, at the regional SICA summit in El Slavador, Costa Rica walked out because the Cuban issue was not put on the agenda.
Hug Santa Style
Today, it was all about spreading the Christmas love at the BTL Park in Belize City. Group Hug is the name of the group that hosted 150 underprivileged children at an afternoon Christmas party. President and founder of the Group Hug Project Andre Pitts told us it's about the true spirit of Christmas.
According Pitts, the organization hopes to make this Children's Christmas party an annual event.