FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
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
Haunted House raises funds for island charities
In an effort to raise funds for Raise Me Up, Wayo’s Beach Bar hosted their third annual Haunted House for two nights on Thursday, October 27th and Friday, October 28th. For an entry fee of $1 for children and $5 for adults, dozens gathered to experience the family-friendly haunted house. A group of volunteers transformed the Wayo’s palapa into haunted attraction by draping it with cobwebs, canvases and scary props, and even building a graveyard. In addition to the haunted house on Friday night, Wayo’s hosted their Halloween costume contest, where many children came out and showcased their best costumes. 50/50 raffles took place, and various prizes were given out to the costume winners. In the end, $2,357 was raised through admission sales and raffle tickets. Raise Me Up is a local organization dedicated to the betterment of Belize families in need, which oversees the San Pedro Food Bank, San Pedro Kids Club, Hope Haven Orphanage and Women’s Shelter, and the Literacy Program at the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School.
Forest Department Responds to Human-Jaguar Encounters
In response to the recent reports of jaguar sightings and attacks on livestock in the Laguna and Yemeri Grove areas, Toledo District, a Forest Department response team has been dispatched to assist farmers and ranchers in livestock husbandry techniques to prevent loss of livestock. The team, consisting of wildlife conservation experts, are also monitoring hotspots and conducting public awareness in these communities in order to better mitigate and reduce human-jaguar conflicts. Forest Department/Panthera representative, Ms. Shanelly Carrillo, explained that even-though jaguars are recognized as an important flagship species both for conservation and tourism, farmers often see them as a nuisance. She noted that with the continuous expansion of farming communities into once pristine forested areas, there is an increasing likelihood of jaguar encounters. Apart from their shrinking habitats, the jaguars’ dwindling natural food sources due to overhunting have also forced them to seek other alternatives outside of the protected areas. Consequently, they pose a direct threat to livestock and other domesticated animals. In some instances, these human-jaguar conflicts lead to the retaliatory killing by residents.
Holiday Hotel Halloween Bash 2016!
A night full of spectacular costumes, lots of fun and dancing! From the least recognizable to the scariest costumes! Mark your calendars and make sure to join in the festivity next year in this annual event!
Belize Forest Department Responds to Human-Jaguar Encounters
Apart from their shrinking habitats, the jaguars’ dwindling natural food sources due to overhunting have also forced them to seek other alternatives outside of the protected areas. Consequently, they pose a direct threat to livestock and other domesticated animals. In some instances, these human-jaguar conflicts lead to the retaliatory killing by residents.
In speaking on this issue, the Chief Forest Officer, Wilber Sabido, emphasized that the livelihood and safety of people are paramount but echoed concerns for wildlife conservation. He stated that resolving the issue hinges on creating opportunities for co-existence by: (1) affording farmers the knowledge and techniques to protect their livelihood and (2) enhancing the communities’ readiness to protect jaguar habitat and prevent overhunting of wild game.
Misc Belizean Sources
ZETA opens a Corozal Branch
Yet another business opens in Corozal. - ZETA opened its Corozal Branch on Friday, October 28th. They will continue serving its customers in the Corozal area from Monday to Sunday. Come by our new location in Ranchito, right across the new gas station for your Zeta Water and Zeta Party Ice. For special orders and deliveries call ZETA COROZAL at 422-2614 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. This news-schack wishes the Escalante family from Orange Walk all the best in their new location and hoping for your continued success.
SHJC Defeats UB in ATLIB Basketball Round 1
The Sacred Heart Junior College Scorpions beat the University of Belize Black Jaguars, 69 to 67 in their first of 2 games in the ATLIB Basketball tournament..
SHJC got some great pictures.
How to buy your Belize International Film Festival tickets online!
TICKETS! You can now buy them online OR in paper form at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts box office. You can now purchase tickets for the Belize International Film Festival online. This short video shows you how!
The order of the tribunal in the Belize Telemedia arbitration case at the PCA
This is the summary of the numbers: The tribunal determined that Dunkeld International Investment Ltd.'s investment in Telemedia was worth $96.94 million plus an additional $72 million in interest and £1.72 million ($2.11 million) and €67,590 ($74,138) in costs.
Largest Resort Spa on Ambergris Caye, Belize Now Open
Award winning Victoria House Resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize, has opened its new full-service spa and fitness facility, the largest of its kind on the island.
Resort Managing Director Janet Woollam says the new spa is exactly what guests have been looking for, and the response has been enthusiastic and immediate.
"We're being told by repeat guests of 20 years that the spa fits in beautifully with the resort, and with today's more health-conscious traveler, it fills a need," says Woollam. "Naturally we're excited to hear that kind of validation."
At 3,500 sq. ft., Victoria House Spa features four treatment salons, including a VIP couple's salon and two with French doors which open a to private, enclosed patio allowing for outdoor massages, along with outdoor showers and lounge chairs.
The Garifuna people need to address their living conditions in all countries
By Wellington C. Ramos.
From the time our Garifuna people were removed from their homeland; “Yurumein”, now known as St Vincent and the Grenadines, and imprisoned on the island of Baliceaux in 1796, their lives have never been the same since. Our people were then subsequently removed from this island to Roatan, Honduras, where they arrived on April 12, 1797. Under international law the forceful removal of a person or a group of people to another country is considered an act of “genocide”. The British Crown committed this act against my people and has never been held accountable for this gross violation of our fundamental human rights as a people.
The forceful, unlawful and unjustifiable removal of our people to this strange land subsequently led to voluntary and forceful migration from Roatan and Honduras to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and the United States. It is said that about 5,000 of our people were packed on ships and removed from Baliceaux to Roatan, Honduras. Only about 2,500 of our people survived that gruesome journey.
San Pedro Celebrates Halloween 2016
Another Halloween has come and gone, and with it memories of spectacular costumes. From humans to pets, this year island residents and visitors went above and beyond in dressing up for this ghoulish holiday.
Glamour Photo Shoot Fundraiser at CG Esthetic
Sign up for a great cause to Help S.P. Red Cross and S.P. Food Bank.
Belize Defence Force and Louisiana National Guard 20th Anniversary
Tomorrow morning catch the Belize Defence Force along with the Louisiana National Guard on Open Your Eyes at 6:45 a.m. and then on the Morning Show on Love FM - News and Music Power at 8:00 a.m. to discuss the 20th Anniversary of their partnership!
DISPOSAL OF BURNT MOLASSES FROM BSI
Earlier this year in July, the Department of the Environment (DOE) was made aware of a situation at the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) Ltd.’s Tower Hill Factory with respect to molasses undergoing the Maillard reaction in their storage tanks. Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between the sugars and proteins in the molasses that occurs upon heating and produces a browning or burnt effect with a thick, dark black appearance and lower pH. The molasses solidifies and expands upon cooling, and hence, is rendered useless; however it has the potential to contaminate the environment. BSI reported that burnt molasses from both a storage tank and a barge needed to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. As such, after an assessment of all possible options available to dispose of the burnt molasses, the DOE agreed to the most feasible option achievable under the conditions existing at the time, which included the following steps:
rabies outbreak investigation
BAHA and MOH (Environmental Health) officials are following up on an outbreak investigation reference rabies cases in animals around the following areas:
As such, the following areas will have vaccination of dogs:
October 27 - Calla Creek, Corazalito, Negro Man & Santa Rosa,
October 28 - Arenal,
October 31 - San Jose Succotz.
Human Rabies Vaccines are also being administered to exposed individuals.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and be informing all accordingly through the different social outlets.
IMPACT Justice sponsors restorative practices workshops in Belize
Approximately 123 educators, ministry of education officers, and other stakeholders will receive training in restorative practices in four workshops in Belize being sponsored by the Canadian-government funded Improved Access to Justice (IMPACT Justice) project. This training is being provided in partnership with the ministry of education, Belize.
The workshops are taking place on October 31 to November 1 (two workshops) and November 2 to 3, 2016 (two workshops) respectively. At the opening of the first workshop, remarks were delivered on behalf of Professor Velma Newton, regional project director of the IMPACT Justice project, and Dr Candy Armstrong, director of the Education Support Services Unit of the Ministry of Education also gave remarks.
Belizean, Asia Gilharry, places 3rd runner up in Miss Divali Nagar Queen Pageant
Held in Trinidad & Tobago. Asia also won the title for Best Saree in the competition.
CARICOM Secretariat in Collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Belize holds National Consultation On the Draft CARICOM Regional Education
And Human Resource Development Strategy 2030
The Ministry of Education, Youth Sports and Culture, Belize is pleased to collaborate with the CARICOM Secretariat in holding Belize’s National Consultation on the draft CARICOM Regional Education and Human Resource Development Strategy 2030 on 31 October, 2016 at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. The consultation will include, inter alia, Ministries of Education, Youth,Health and other relevant areas; Labour, the Private Sector; youth and students; tertiary level institutions.
The CARICOM Human Resource Development (HRD) Commission was mandated, among other things, to:
“Develop a Regional Education and Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy that would adopt a holistic approach to the transformation of education and which would, inter alia, ensure the continual alignment of education and training with the emerging
academic, technical and personal/social skills and attitudes required for the 21st Century labour market and society; and also make more efficient use of regional resources to develop and implement solutions to the identified challenges.
Corozal Junior College - "Crazy Day" Halloween Party!
November 1, Prizes, photobooth... and more!
Corozal Rotary Club: UPDATE ON EYE CLINIC - FREE EYE EXAMS
Prescription glasses Methodist Eye Clinic.
Nov 7th to 10th - 8am to 4pm.
Friday 11th - 8am to 10am.
Painless eye testing by professional doctors.
RAYJON SHARE CARE of SARNIA Inc.
This clinic is for those who normally cannot afford
an eye exam and glasses. This is a first- come- first- serve clinic.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON WILL BE FOR STUDENTS WITH PRE-ISSUED PRESCRIPTIONS.
Día de Los Muertos en Belmopán
The Mexican Embassy is having a special Day of the Dead on Wednesday in Belmopan.
"Visita el tradicional Altar de Muertos que preparará la Embajada de México en Belice, en el patio de ingreso a la Embajada, ubicada en el número 3 de la calle Ring Road, en la Ciudad de Belmopán"
Ascenthium really put on a great show on Saturday night. Damon Russell got some great shots of the festivities at the Cayo Welcome Center and Bamboo Bar.
Today an agreement was finalized by FCD for the transfer of funds to Asociacion Balam in Guatemala for a total of 42,063.00 quetzales (Bz$12,556.12) in order to support community governance through agroforestry systems in the community of El Carrizal, Poptun, Peten. El Carrizal is located across Belize’s Columbia River Forest Reserve. This financial support is made possible through the British Embassy in Belize.
Ole Heg is a character that lives in the skin of a haggard old woman. She comes out at night to suck on the blood of innocents. The trick is to throw wangla seeds at her door so that she is so busy counting them she fails to realize that sunrise will catch her out of her skin. You must find her skin and salt it so that when she returns she can not re-enter it; Salt will sting her flesh and she will chant in desperation "Skinny, skinny, yuh no know mi?"
" You picny now of disyer time,
"You hab it good an fine;
"You run about and play da night,
" Sometime till eight an nine;
"Wen I mi leel an stan like you,
"No night could see me out:
" Espece'y wen I hear dem talk,
" Dat 'Ole Heg ' is about!
-Granny's Stories ( No.1) Hag - J.S. Martinez
City Man Executed In Rural Area
The crime figures continue to rise as 4 more persons were killed this weekend - bringing the total murder count at the end of October to an alarming 122 homicides.
We start off with an early morning execution. Around 8:00 this morning, police found 25 year old Jeon Peebles' body down a dirt path off the Boom/Hattieville road. The Belize City resident was found quite a distance from home, face down with several shots to his head. Reports are that police picked up Peeble around 7:00 last night but no one knows what happened after that. His older sister told us off camera that they are still trying to come to terms with his ruthless, mysterious murder.
Voice Of: Shantel Thompson, Older sister:
"From his friends I heard that 2 police officers came and took him from either his house or on the street in front of his house."
Courtney Weatherburne, 7News:
"We understand that they took him for weed I believe?"
OW: Tolosa Killed In Bar Brawl
The second murder we report on tonight is 26 year-old Manuel Tolosa, which happened in Trial Farm Village, in the Orange Walk District. The Orange Walk Town resident was fatally stabbed on Saturday night in what appears to be some sort of street fight.
Our news team travelled to Orange Walk today, where we spoke with his grieving family. They said that he was invited to go out for a few drinks at a shop in Trial Farm, which is just outside of the Town. Their information is that while he was there, he encountered a known group of rowdy young men, and there was some confrontation. Police reports say that he got into a fight with one of the men, and it ended with two of them walking away after some hard talk. While Tolosa was leaving a short time later, it is believed that this group of young men jumped him a second time, and one of them stabbed him once in the chest, and once to the back of the neck. He died as a result of those injuries.
Here's what his cousin, who asked to appear off camera, and the Orange Walk Police Commander had to say about the stabbing murder:
"Jaro" Executed At the Barber
And for our third murder we come back to the city. 37 year old George "Jaro" Young was kicking back in the barber's chair on Saturday evening at 5:30, when a gunman strode in. Young had his guard down and the killer was ruthless and precise, riddling him with bullets. Courtney Weatherburne picks up the story at the barbershop:..
Courtney Weatherburne reporting:
George Young would always go to Buck's Barbershop to get his weekend haircut. And Saturday evening was no different, Young stopped by to get a quick line up.
But as the barber was styling him, a masked gunman came up to Young in this chair and shot him to the chest.
Another customer, Abraham Craig who was sitting on this chair, ran when he saw the gunman and he was shot to the foot and back.
Another Killing At Caye, This One Was Retaliation
And the fourth murder we're reporting on tonight, was the first to happen over the weekend. On Friday night, San Pedro saw its second murder in just over 48 hours. This time the victim was a 44 year old working man and father, Antonio Paguada. Originally from Honduras, Paguada had been working and living on the island for many years. He was heading to his home in the San Mateo area on Friday when He was shot and killed - very close to the same spot where Jason Gillett had been gunned down at sundown on Wednesday. The Acting Officer in Charge told us via phone that it's a retaliation:...
Supt. Henry Jemmoth, Acting OC - San Pedro Police:
"Initial reports into the investigation is that Mr. Antonio Paguada, a 44-year-old Honduran national who resides in the San Mateo area, he is a laborer, was heading home when he was approached by a male person and was shot 6 times in the chest. We suspect that this is a retaliation for the Jason Gillet murder which occurred a couple days earlier."
67 Year Old Victim Of Hit And Run
67 year old Police Street resident Gerald Bahadur was knocked down and killed early on Sunday morning. The senior citizen was just walking down the street just after 1:00 am - when a small SUV ran him over and drove off. He died on the spot, and police say they are looking for a blue RAV:...
ACP Chester Williams, Commander, Southside:
"Police were called to the area of Police Street where on arrival they saw a male person who appeared to have been lifeless. He was transported to the KHMH, where he was pronounce dead on arrival. The police investigation in that matter continues. We have viewed several cameras in that area. We are trying to locate a dark blue Toyota Rav4. The headlight is broken because debris from the headlight was found on the scene."
And while police are looking for that RAV, we went to Bahadur's home and spoke with his family and friends to find out what they know about the accident.
50 Year Old Killed In Hit And Run
And another older man was killed in a hit and run accident - this one happened in Armenia Village just outside of Belmopan. On Saturday at around midday, San Ignacio resident 50 year old Damian Anastacio Paredes was walking on the side of the road when a speeding vehicle knocked him down and fled the scene. His body was found 15 feet off the highway. Police have no description of the vehicle.
Head On Collision Leaves Woman Critical
And there was almost one more traffic fatality this weekend on the Boom-Hattieivlle Road two miles in from the Northern Highway. There was a collision on Sunday morning when an SUV hit the rear end of a dump truck which was travelling in the opposite direction. Rural police told us more:...
Faith Thompson is in a critical but stable condition.
A Pair Of Females Shot By Angry Man
Two females - one of them a minor - were shot in Carmelita Village just outside Orange Walk on Saturday night. The victims are 17 year-old Erica Hernandez, and her aunt, 34 year-old Sandra Rios. These Corozal residents were visiting a relative in Carmelita Village where they were cornered by a man who got into a shouting match with them. They were trying to walk away when he pulled out a weapon and fired several shots at them.
Today, the Orange Walk Police Commander told us that police have already made an arrest:
Supt. Selvin Tillett, OC - Orange Walk Police:
"Police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where one Sandra Rios, 34 years of Chula Vista, Corozal was seen suffering from a gunshot wound to her right foot. According to her, she was with a 16 year old female walking in Carmelita Village where both females met a male person dressed in white shirt and camouflage pants, where they had a confrontation. When they were 20 feet away from the said person, the person opened fire at them causing said injuries. Initial investigations had led to the arrest of Floyd Hyde, 28 years laborer of Carmelita Village who have been arrested and charged for 2 counts of attempted murder."
Why Did Cops Shoot 14 Year Old Hostel Escapee
We often report on escapes from the Youth Hostel facility - and that's because it's a low security holding area with some high-risk juvenile delinquents. Well, Belize city police may have taken it too far on Saturday evening at 6:00 when they shot a 14 year old who had escaped from the facility. Assistant Commissioner Chester Williams told us more:...
Williams could not detail the circumstances under which the youth was shot.
Teachers Rally And Demonstration Fails To Draw Huge Turnout
In October the teachers union proved its power when it forced to government to yield to the majority of their eight demands - while at the same time getting interest on their deferred salary increase. It was masters class in brinkmanship negotiation, driven home by an 11 day school shutdown, the longest in recent memory. But now the strike is done, and teachers are back to the rhythms of the classroom. And maybe that's why a national rally and demonstration on Saturday didn't draw the thousands we saw in Belmopan six weeks ago. That's when the battle was red hot - but on the last Saturday in October, it was - can we say - Lukewarm? Jules Vasquez has the report:...
Jules Vasquez reporting:
From the outset, the demonstration didn't impress. The teachers walked in two single files up unto the Belcan roundabout with a crowd we counted at a little more than one hundred.
They moved unto Belcan within minutes - only stopping city traffic very briefly.
By the time they reached cemetery road, the crowd had grown to just under 300 - notable, but surely not overwhelming for a union whose membership is in the thousands.
It was a national event, after all. And it seemed on this day - many teachers stayed back - at home.
Saldivar Right Hand Man Wields Gun In Public, Police "No Charge"
If you've been watching the news long enough, you might remember Paul Ferguson, also known as "Chicken Dread". He's a fried chicken vendor by night, and a PUP politician's driver by day. Well on Sunday morning outside "Sit and Sip" Nightclub, those two worlds collided when he had a heated political argument about fried chicken! That might have been a funny story - but Ferguson alleges things took a very serious turn when well known John Saldivar right had man, Douglas Grant was leaving the club. Grant wanted chicken, but instead the bald-head dread gave him a steaming hot serving of political trash talk - which led to gunplay. Ferguson held a press conference today to press the point:
Paul "Chicken Dread" Ferguson, Alleged Victim of Aggravated Assault:
"Around 2:30-3:00am in the morning, I saw Douglas Grant exit the Sit and Sip Night Club. He walk up and he asked me if anymore chicken is there and I told him chicken is done. So he say how the chicken is done? I say how your government is done."
Jules Vasquez, 7News:
"Thereafter what happens next?"
Paul "Chicken Dread" Ferguson, Alleged Victim of Aggravated Assault:
"Me and him continue to walk and the man just went into a tantrum and just pulled out his firearm and bust in the air and DJ Ritchie Galvez yelled "boy" and so he stopped. The man point the gun at me and then the Strike Team went and pull him on the side and talk to him and they let the man gone and when I walking back I started to curse out the police, I say come on man, how will you not arrest this man? This man pulled a firearm at me and you all are making this man leave just like that."
UDP On UDP Assault Leaves Man With Cracked Skull
And while that was a case of UDP and PUP beefing, the next case involves a near deadly dispute between UDP and UDP. And it has left Orange Walk resident Gilbert Young Sr., better known as "Malico" is hospitalized tonight at the KHMH, with a cracked skull after he was assaulted, reportedly by one of his good friends.
Reports to 7News are that Young and his attacker were at a football game and they were socializing together and having a few drinks. Unfortunately, their interactions turned from friendly to hostile, and it escalated to the point where the man, whose name we cannot release at this time, pulled a tire iron and struck him in the head with it.
The man was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital, and he was later transferred to the KHMH, where the doctors were able to perform life-saving surgery. We asked the Police about it, and they were very sparing with the details:
House Speaker Takes Auditor General To Court
At the beginning of September, we told you about the lawsuit which House Speaker Mike Peyrefitte brought against Auditor General Dorothy Bradley. As you might remember, she erroneously named him, in those now famous reports, as someone who was not authorized to recommend persons for passports.
He warned that if she did not apologize in writing, and amend her reports, he would take her to court. She didn't do either, and so, he filed a claim against her. That case had it's first management conference today before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, and this afternoon, he granted us an interview saying that all this could be avoided if the Auditor General would just correct the mistake:
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House:
"We feel that it's a simple matter of law that can be settled very easily. So the Chief Justice stood the matter down for about half an hour to an hour and lawyers and the parties had a discussion, as a very fruitful discussion and I am confident that at the end of the day the Chief Justice would not have to make any pronouncements on the merits of the case. I don't want to get into the discussions that we had, because I don't want to prejudice the discussions, but it was a very good one and we expect that there won't be any need for the Chief Justice to decide on anything. At least that's my hope and expectations."
Colombian Woman Assaults Immigration Officer
She came to Belize on vacation, but on Friday, 22 year-old Colombian Jessica Gonzalez got into big trouble when she assaulted an immigration officer at the Airport.
That officer is Ady Pacheco, and while she was escorting Gonzalez Roman to the Avianca flight, GONZALEZ got angry and started to curse her. She says that she requested another officer to come over and assist her, but that's when Gonzalez grabbed her by the hair, and struck her in the face, which caused her eyeglasses to fall to the ground and shatter.
Gonzalez was quickly restrained, and she was arrested and charged with assault and damage to property. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Norman Rodriguez, where she pleaded guilty. She explained to the court that she got mad and offended by Ady Pacheco. She said that because even though she was insisting that she was here on a vacation planned in San Pedro with her boyfriend, Pacheco was treating her like a prostitute who was on a business trip.
School-children will be familiar with career day - when they get to play "dress-up", putting on the uniform of whatever career or profession they wanted to pursue. Well, tonight Ladyville police have a grown up version of that on their hands. A 22 year old from Corozal apparently stole a neighbor's customs uniform, altered it for a better fit, and left out like a customs man - one, oddly enough wearing short pants. Ladyville police told us more:...
The suspect's neighbor is reportedly a legitimate customs officer. He has not yet been charged as police are working with customs on the case.
Cops Got Weed And Wesson
And while they have yet to charge that copycat customs officer - Ladyville police won't have to bring any charges for a weed and gun bust - which are found property. The police told us more about the more than one pound of marijuana:
The weed weighs one pound, ten ounces.
Westjet Comes From Canada
On Saturday, Belize received its first direct flight from Canada. Before this weekend, Canadian tourists had to endure long layovers in American cities before coming to Belize, but now they have a non-stop connection. Philip Goldson International will now welcome 2 weekly flights directly from the Toronto'S Pearson International Airport. Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia, came on the first flight and he discussed the impact this new connection will have on the tourism industry..
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism:
"So this one is a milestone for Belize. I think it is something great, from a new country. As you know the USA has been our greatest, greatest market. Today, with Canada, I believe it will even improve the already substantial increase in percentage of tourists arriving to our country, but it is a team work. Everybody coming together and doing what we really need to do to be able to convince the people that Belize is a paradise, Belize is a place where anybody is welcome, particularly the hospitality of our people. Aside from that, the abundance of products that we have to offer, makes Belize so unique, makes airlines so as soon as the executives are here, they are enchanted. They are overwhelmed with what we have, and WestJet was no exception. When the executives arrived, we toured them around and they fell in love with Belize and that is what makes the difference. Today we witnessed the arrivals, full capacity plane, completely full, and I am hoping that the return will be likewise. And I am hoping that the twice a week, for a few months, and eventually I Belize that it will be a daily flight as we enter the Canadian market."
Harvest Caye, Anchors Aweigh
And as Belize enters into new markets and attracts new tourists, it needs to continue to develop its attractions. One of the new, key attractions is the Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye Cruise Port in Southern Belize. Heredia told us that ships will soon drop anchor at Harvest Caye...
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism:
"That one supposed to have its first ship docking in Harvest Caye on the 17th of November. That is three weeks from now, and again, what they have done with that island, transforming that island from an abandoned island to looking like a paradise now. It was 95% when I saw it, and incredible. And it is a different type of product that they have in Belize that they have in all the other ports. It's a combination of little cabanas, a little over the overnight blended with the cruise, and again, that was a 100 million investment over there, and then if you're aware also, just a few days, I don't know if you were a part of the media, the Leonardo DiCaprio project which was given the greenlight to go ahead with their over the water structure with minimal sizes, but because there were people grumbling about that and Leonardo being a sponsor of the environment, they decided to scrap the over the water cabanas and concentrate on the land, but that project I can tell anyone, I can challenge any that within three years, that will be an envy not only for Belizeans and our neighbors, but for the entire world, that will be the greenest of the greenest resorts because it's in development together with restoration. There is not another project that I have seen in Belize, as the Minister responsible that has those ingredients together."
Seismic Decision Making Still In the Making
And while Blackadore Caye passed the EIA stage, the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum's seismic survey project did not. The ship conducting those surveys has left Belizean waters, but the conversation still hasn't ended. Last week the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage told us that the government has still not responded to their questions about the moratorium on offshore oil exploration and their demands for a referendum. Well this weekend, Minister Heredia gave us an update on both situations...
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism:
"I personally believe that we supposed to know what we have in our country. What is there underneath, what we have above, and all around, but again, I don't believe in confrontation, I believe in listening to the people."
"I believe that we took the right measures and decided to let it go. Unfortunately the second part of that in November should have been more of a sonar study where we would have been able to know what kind of species we have on the sea. What kind of different marine life is underneath, not beneath the ground but underneath the ocean. And then the boat, I must say that it will not be back again..."
Molasses In the Pits
In July we reported on the major problem at ASR/BSI with burnt molasses. It was a headache for the company and the farmers because the molasses couldn't be sold. But it was a bigger headache for the Department of Environment because safely disposing of the burnt molasses was very difficult. The DOE agreed to let them dispose of it in BSI's old quarry pit, ensuring that there was no runoff into any nearby water body. The DOE says the pit will be monitored by BSI daily during the rainy season. And to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence, BSI will install a "cooling system" for production of final molasses, as well as a "temperature monitoring system" of the final molasses.
Film Festival Fun
While Belize may be far from a global mecca of modern cinema, the Belize International Film Festival still receives a healthy serving of international and Belizean films. This year's festival kicks off on the 10th of November with a gala event at the BLISS. Today at the event's launch, we spoke to NICH's Communications and Marketing Officer, Holly Edgell, who told us that the 11th edition of the festival will be an exciting one.
In addition to the film screenings, there will also be several symposiums.