Today's Belize News: November 26, 2016
11/26/16 01:30 AM
11/26/16 01:30 AM
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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
Belize is a full member of the CABEI
10 years after joining the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), Belize was incorporated as a full member of the Bank as a Non-Founding Regional country on November 9, 2016. The country recently benefited from CABEI’s $30 million-dollar loan to improve infrastructure with these four projects: Belize Rural Finance Programme, Improvement and Rehabilitation of the Southern Highway – Dump to Jalacte section, Improvement and Rehabilitation of the Santa Elena Border in Corozal, and the Belize Integral Security Programme.
The Accession Instrument was signed by Prime Minister Right Honoroble Dean Barrow and CABEI’s Executive President Dr. Nick Rischbieth. The amendments to the CABEI Constitutive Agreement are aimed at consolidating the Bank’s preferential creditor status, supporting its member countries, strengthening its capital base and promoting a greater diversification of its loan portfolio.
Strombus Gigas Alliance represents Belize at 69th GCFI Conference in Grand Cayman
The 69th Golf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) conference took place in Grand Cayman Islands from the 6th to the 11th of November. Representing Belize at this annual conference was Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA) a non-governmental organization from Ambergris Caye. Top world marine-life stakeholders were in attendance, and they had the opportunity to learn of the progress SGA is making with their awareness campaign. Specifically, the full economic value of the entire conch as opposed to the small amount of flesh presently consumed. Conch is a Belizean delicacy and according to SGA’s Glenn Schwendinger and Dr. Dianne Lawrence, it is not completely utilized. During their presentation they updated the Caribbean and global fishing community on their five-year progress. They proposed a compensation initiative for fishers by using the by-products of the conch. Schwendinger says that all parts of the conch can be used, but fisher folk dump the remaining parts of the conch, not realizing that it could otherwise earn extra income.
Support Local Shoe and Toy Drive
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) have partnered with Projects Abroad, and the Department of Youth Services (DYS) to organize a shoe and toy drive. Donation of shoes, sporting equipment (balls, mitts, gear, etc.) or funds are needed for children of preschool age to standard six (5-14).
Principals and teachers of Ambergris Caye Elementary School, San Pedro Roman Catholic School, The Island Academy, New Horizon Seventh-day Adventist School, Holy Cross Anglican School, Brighter Tomorrow Preschool, and La Isla Bonita Elementary School will determine the students in most need. The handing over of shoes is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13th.
If you are interested in donating, you may contact Regina Munji at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 669-6277. You may also call SPTC Sports Coordinator, Kent Gabourel at 604-9013.
More golf carts on the island, despite restrictions implemented by SPTC
In April of this year, The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) implemented a long-term moratorium barring the importation of additional golf carts, luxury and large vehicles to the island. The rule was particularly aimed to prevent cart rental companies from continuing to increase their fleets while attempting to address the traffic congestion on Ambergris Caye. However, despite these efforts, new golf carts have been seen arriving in Town, and the rumour about the moratorium being lifted was confirmed by Mayor Daniel Guerrero.
Mayor Guerrero explained that if any additional golf carts have been coming to the island, they are for replacements or those rentals who have not completed their fleets. “There are companies that have applied for a certain amount of carts, but they cannot bring all of them at the same time. So they bring them slowly and that’s why you might see new golf carts coming. It is not new companies opening or anything like that,” said Guerrero. Also contrary to what he said back in April, Guerrero now states that even though permits should be valid for three months only, holders can now renew expired permits for a fee. This extension will give the rental proprietors additional time to complete their fleets, and as long as those permits are valid, they will be honoured.
World Health Organization: ‘Zika is here to stay’
On Friday, November 18th the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Zika virus outbreak and related ‘clusters of microcephaly’ no longer represent a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). “We are not downgrading the importance of Zika. By placing this as a long-term program of work, we are saying Zika is here to stay,” said Chairman of the Emergency Committee on Zika virus and Microcephaly Dr. David Heymann
The ‘emergency’ status was used when little was known about the Zika virus, and an urgent response was required from funders and researchers to learn more. However, WHO is now shifting to a longer-term approach in fighting the virus that has spread across Latin America, the Caribbean and other surrounding areas.
Court rules in favour of BNTU regarding full salaries for teachers
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled in favour of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), ordering the Ministry of Education (MOE) to pay teachers their full salaries. Prior to this major decision made on Monday, November 21st, the BNTU had retained the legal services of attorney Eamon Courtenay, after the Government of Belize (GOB) had threatened to withhold their salary’s contributions for engaging in an 11-day strike in October. However, despite the victory, MOE claims pay sheets for November have already been processed, and no date has been given as to when the remainder of teachers’ salaries will be paid.
Kent “Bob” Gabourel wins T.V. Ramos Cycling Classic; BFSC El Pescador sweeps C category race
36-year-old Sports Coordinator of the San Pedro Town Council, Kent “Bob” Gabourel, dominated in the annual Thomas Vincent Ramos Cycling Classic on Sunday, November 20th. Riding for the Kulture Megabytes, Gabourel won the 56-mile, A-Category race with a total time of two hours, thirty-three minutes and thirty seconds (2:33.30). The race began at Elagule Bar on the Hummingbird Highway in Dangriga to the Placencia roundabout on the Southern Highway, ending at Elagule once again.
Gabourel won the race in solo fashion, outsprinting more than a mile gap of over his nearest rival, George Abraham of Team Bel-Cal. Abraham took second place at two hours, thirty four minutes and nine seconds (2:34.09). Daniel Cano of Team Santino’s placed third at two hours, thirty-four minutes and fifty-five seconds (2:34.55). Gabourel’s other partner from Kulture Megabytes, Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden, placed fourth at two hours, thirty-five minutes and thirty-five seconds (2:34.55).
Washington University of Health and Science conducts health screenings
MedCorp’s medical team of Washington University of Health and Science commenced their free health screenings on Saturday, November 19th, and they are encouraging the community to be a part of this “Community Needs Assessment”. The purpose of these screenings is to gather important health related information in San Pedro, while improving the standards of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
So far, MedCorp has screened more than 30 persons, and is offering blood pressure, glucose, and temperature testing, and diagnostic evaluation. The evaluation helps the medical team validate any illnesses, and collects data about the patient’s: skin, eye, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, neck, and psychiatric status. After being evaluated, and if anything is found abnormal, NanoMed Corp will refer patients to the polyclinic.
SPHS’ top CSEC performers awarded
Recently graduated San Pedro High School (SPHS) students, Virginia Joselin Vasquez and Elladria Levilette Garcia received Certificates of Excellence in the May-June Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations along with 364 other top students from around the country. The Ministry of Education hosted its annual awards ceremony at the St. Catherine’s Academy auditorium in Belize City on Wednesday morning. The Ministry awarded 15 top performers in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). SPHS’ Tanairi Arana also achieved a Certificate of Excellence but could not attend the award ceremony.
Rhiki Alexander Alegría of St. John’s Junior College (SJJC) and Irene Gisselle Flores of Edward P. Yorke High School won top honors, each receiving a full 2-year scholarship from the Ministry of Education and a Samsung tablet from Belize Telemedia Ltd.
Fundraisers held to benefit Antoney Acosta
The non-denominational, non-profit organization ‘Hell Fighters Foot Soldiers of Ambergris Caye’ held a Bar-B-Q food sale on Saturday, November 19th to raise funds for the family of Antoney Acosta. Acosta suffered severe injuries when he was electrocuted in mid-October at a construction site north of San Pedro Town. As a result, he lost both hands in the terrible incident, and remains hospitalized in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The family continues to be in need of financial assistance to pay the medical bills that keep increasing day by day. According to Ismael Badillo, a member of the charitable organization, they have engaged in supporting worthy causes in the community, and this is one that needs top priority. He informed The San Pedro Sun that the food sale was a huge success. “We will continue doing food sales towards charitable causes in the community so we can continue assisting as much as we can,” said Badillo. He thanked everyone who came out to support by purchasing the food.
Gwen Stefani Eats Belizean Tamales at Home
If you follow Gwen Stefani on Snapchat and have been watching her personal snaps lately you might have stumbled upon the fact that one of her employees (home cook) was preparing Belizean tamales for her family.
In a series of snaps by the famous singer just before Thanksgiving, Gwen asked her cook what she is preparing in the kitchen - her response ‘Belizean Tamales’. The snaps reveal a happy Gwen as she sings and sounds excited to try some of Belize’s famous tamales. For some time now, we at Ambergris Today knew that one of Gwen's employees is from Belize.
From stewing the tomato and onions and roasting banana leaves, the Snapchat story reveals the tamale making process in Gwen Stefani’s kitchen; even some empanadas are being prepared.
Ministry of Health Continues to Strengthen its Regulatory Functions in the Pharmaceutical Industry
In an ongoing effort to ensure that the highest quality of pharmaceuticals are available within the Belizean market, the Ministry of Health has introduced new standards which have been presented to the House of Representatives and are awaiting final approval to the Food and Drugs Act Chapter 291 of the substantive Laws of Belize.
The Ministry is currently working with pharmacies and pharmaceutical wholesalers and importers in order for them to adhere to these standards. These are a part of a shared and agreed requirement done in partnership with providers on the granting of license that allows them to conduct this business under the law.
ADO Bus Line Upgrades Buses on Belize/Mexico Route
Since ADO started as an international transportation service in Belize in 2011, their service has benefits many Belizeans. On November 23rd, 2016, several new ADO buses were added to the list of service that will replace the previous ones operating between Belize City and Mexico. These buses have been said to be in better quality and condition to make travel more safe and comfortable. The company states that the prices and the route will remain the same.
The first service, called “The Hospital Route”, with its starting point in Belize City continue to travel through Orange Walk, Corozal and a final destination in Merida, Mexico. In Merida, the Bus makes courtesy stops at the most important hospitals of the city, with the last stop at the Merida's Terminal. The return portion calls the same stops.
The second service route departs from Belize City, making stops in Orange Walk, Corozal, Playa del Carmen, Cancun Airport and a final destination at Cancun's bus terminal. The return portion calls the same stops, including Tulum.
Five Amazing Black Friday Deals on Ambergris Caye
Businesses on Ambergris Caye have been embracing yet another American tradition, Black Friday. Ambergris Today has put together a list of amazing deals and discounts for you to take advantage of this Friday November 25th, 2016.
Misc Belizean Sources
Miss World Belize 2016 departs for Maryland to represent Belize at the Miss World Pageant.
All the Best Iris Salguero. Enjoy the experience as you have worked hard for it. Congratulations, we are all so proud of you.
When it rains, it pours!!
Stressful driving conditions when it rains much on Ambergris Caye.
Hon Edmond Castro Delivers Keynote Address at Fire-Fighters Graduation
Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro was Keynote Speaker at graduation ceremonies yesterday, November 23, 2016, in which 30 new fire-fighters were inducted into the ranks of the National Fire Service.
Speaking to the recruits, Hon. Castro stated, “You, the graduates, by your induction today, have now become an integral part of this very important organization. The 12 weeks of training you undertook have prepared you well to take on the challenges and to contribute to building an organization that endeavors to be second to none. Your training has prepared you with a basic understanding of this organization and its functions. Your responsibility now is to keep sharpening your individual skills and fine-tuning the concept of teamwork imparted to you, even as you apply the basic knowledge and techniques acquired in your initial training to start saving lives and property; to build on existing principles and practices to better serve the Government and People of Belize.”
Let there be light!
Much needed lights were recently installed in San Mateo. Residents are extremely content with these lights since they feel safer walking to and from their homes at night. A total of 15 LED lights were installed and their coverage range is impressive. Check out the pictures!
Caye Caulker Village Council 2016 -2019
General meeting date Monday, December 5th 2016 at 6pm at the community center. Please be on time!
Exercise Tropical Dagger 2016
On Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 the Canadian High Commissioner to Belize, Deborah Chatsis, and Brigadier General David Jones, Commander Belize Defence Force, participated in a demonstration of the skills acquired during Exercise Tropical Dagger 2016. The demonstration included the use of equipment contributed by Canada in support of operations.
“Canada is pleased to contribute to regional security through Exercise TROPICAL DAGGER, designed to enhance local capacity to prevent and respond to threats posed by international criminal activity”, declared Canada’s High Commissioner to Belize, Deborah Chatsis. “This training is funded by Global Affairs Canada and supported by personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces, which have a long-standing military training and cooperation program in a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Cayo Women’s Conservation Group assisted FCD in placement of signs in the community of Succotz
Grateful for the assistance.
Transferring our baby yellowheads for pre-release
Last week we transferred our baby yellowheads for pre-release. We got this report from the fabulous Nickolas Lormand who has been volunteering to care of the 14 birds pre and post release:
"Tuesday marked the 7th day of our effort to release 14 endangered yellow headed parrots back into the Belizean pine savanna. After a week spent in the aviary getting accustomed to their new home, it was finally time to open the doors and let our flock spread their wings and explore!
As soon as the doors were opened, three birds immediately flew out and began exploring the territory, calling back to those still in the aviary. As the day went on, all but four parrots left home, some hanging around the area while others flew much farther to get a hold of their new home.
IMPACT Justice provides training in mediation for Belize police officers
Some 36 police officers of varying ranks are set to receive training in mediation under the Canadian government-funded, Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project. IMPACT Justice is a five-year regional justice sector reform project which is being implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Centre, UWI, Cave Hill Campus.
The 40-hour mediation workshop is taking place from November 28 – December 2 in Belize City. It will commence with an opening session on November 28 at which Allen Whylie, commissioner of police, will deliver remarks on behalf of the Belize Police Department. Prof. Velma Newton, regional project director of IMPACT Justice will deliver a welcome and introduction to IMPACT Justice.
The provision of mediation training falls under the project’s broader alternative dispute resolution (ADR) component, the goal of which is to build capacity for and increase the use of ADR as a means of settling conflict throughout the region.
The Inaugural Ceremony for the Ambergris Stadium postponed
The Inaugural Ceremony for the Ambergris Stadium has been postponed until further notice; however, since the teams are already here, the scheduled games will continue as planned. Don't miss out on these games!
BELTRAIDE Officially Launches the Belize Investment Portfolio Campaign
Today at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) launched the Belize Investment Portfolio Campaign. The campaign is expected to foster the development of a national portfolio to fast-track investment generation efforts, both local and foreign, through targeted matchmaking of pre-packaged investment concepts and projects.
Through the advancement of this national campaign, BelizeINVEST, a unit of BELTRAIDE, mandated to serve as Belize’s National Investment Promotion Agency (IPA), expects to further substantiate selected investment concepts submitted by key public sector Government Ministries and stakeholders into actionable business cases aligned with national development priorities. Additionally, the campaign strives to support private sector investment projects seeking financing and / or investment partners by promoting and matchmaking these “shovel ready” business opportunities through various platforms regionally, inclusive of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB’s) ConnectAmericas and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), key supporters and collaborators of this initiative in Belize.
Inauguration of the Corozal Polyclinic
The official inauguration of the Corozal Polyclinic took place this morning in Corozal Town. The ribbon cutting was done by Minister of State in the Ministry of Health Hon. Angel Campus (L) and the Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin (R).
Community Data Collector Vacancy:
WCS is seeking qualified individuals to fill the position of Community Data Collector. A Community Data Collector is being sought for Placencia Village, Hopkins Village, Dangriga Town, Belize City, Caye Caulker, and Corozal Town.
"Unmasking the Many Faces of Gender Based Violence" campaign in
Ambassador Moreno officially launched the Embassy's proud participation in the Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow and the Women's Department's "Unmasking the Many Faces of Gender Based Violence" campaign in partnership with the UN's UNITE campaign to end GBV. The ceremony included a candlelight vigil, as well as lighting the Embassy in orange to commemorate the start of the campaign.
The Embassy commemorated those who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of perpetrators of this brutality and honored those victims who have been tragically lost to this violence. Several survivors and victims' family members spoke at the event.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend
Pete's Dragon,Suicide Squad,
Bridget Jones' Baby,
Don't Think Twice.
THE BELIZE CITY PRIMARY SCHOOL HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES COMPETITION ENDED TODAY IN DRAMATIC FASHION
The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project carried out its Finals of the Belize City Primary School History and Social Studies Competition today, Friday, November 25th, at the SCA Gymnasium. It was an exciting competition as the contestants answered over 98% of the questions correctly as compared to only 60% during the Zone Eliminations. Unlike the Zone Eliminations, where there was a clear winner early on, the finals went down to the last round.
At the end of the eighth of nine rounds, Jaden August, of Holy Redeemer was in the lead with a score of 2200 points, followed closely by Hazey Perez of St Mary’s Anglican with 2100 points. Clearly, one of these contestants was going to claim first prize. By the time the last round started, all of the high-point questions (200, 300 and 400) had been chosen and only 100-point questions remained. With the top two contestants nailing all of their questions up to the eighth round, it seemed likely the best Hazey Perez of St Mary’s Anglican could do would be a close second.
Teachers Didn't Get Paid, Did They Get Played?
Teachers were supposed to have gotten their paycheck today - and just like the Chief Justice said, it should have been their entire November salary - even for those who went on strike. But, we have confirmed tonight that a number of teachers countrywide - at least the 1,500 teachers who were on strike - have not gotten their full pay.
And, There are indications that this delay may have affected all teachers countrywide. We've been unable to reach the officials at the Ministry of Education to confirm how many paychecks were affected.
So, what's the hold up? Well, it's the confusion caused in trying to comply with the Chief Justice's order on Monday. The Chief Justice ruled that until the case is heard to completion, all pay schedules must continue undisturbed. The problem is that before the injunction was granted, the Ministry had already finalized the deductions. They were ordered to reverse it, and it appears that in trying to reverse what was done, the Ministry couldn't meet the November 25 payday deadline.
Corozal Quick Loan Alleged Robbers to Be Charged, Gunman Critical
Corozal police say that tonight they will charge three men for robbing a quick loan business in Corozal Town yesterday. The fourth man - who was allegedly the gunman - is at the KHMH in a critical condition. He has been identified as Kareem Huesner, a Belize City resident of Wagner's Lane. He was shot in the side by the security guard at Rapidito Loans on Fourth Avenue in Corozal Town.
The driver was from Corozal Town while the two others were Belize City residents. One of them is 34 year old Erwin Castillo - who was charged for the First Caribbean armed robbery in 2015.
They are expected to be arraigned in Corozal Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Piggy Politics With Ham At Benque Zone?
Tonight, a little more is known about that container of leg hams that's being held pending BAHA approval at the Benque Free Zone. The fifty-five thousand pounds of ham still has not gotten BAHA clearance. But, the container which was Ecuador rejected one month ago seems to have some political clout pushing to get it introduced into the Belize Market. That's reportedly how it ended up in the Benque Free Zone and not at one of the major ports of entry. Additionally, we're told that this shipment of ham got a permit signed by a VET in Central Farm to have it moved to the Zone. But for it to get unto supermarket shelves, BAHA still has to give the O-K. They're performing tests to make sure the ham isn't spoiled. BAHA Director Emir Cruz told us, quote "we are awaiting...some relevant info."
And while that ham import request is going through a special BAHA screening, usually it's far simpler to import ham. Importers simply send requests for the importation of ham to the Bureau of Standards, which makes recommendations and then sends it to BAHA. The Bureau falls under the Ministry of Trade and Commerce. The Minister of State with responsibility for that is Tracy Taegar Panton and we asked her if she has personally worked on getting import permits approved for importers who may happen to be her constituents in the Albert Division:...
Investment Minister Says Of Course All Norwegian Ships go South
Taegar-Panton is also the Minister of State in the Ministry of Investment. But she wasn't at the recent opening of the Harvest Caye Cruise Port because she was at a regional trade meeting in Guyana.
Discussing the project today, she didn't give any ground when the press asked her about FECTAB's complaint that all the Norwegian Ships will now go south and abandon Belize City.
As we showed you last night, multiple Ministers, including the Prime Minister said that would not happen. But, it's happening, and Taegar-Panton said that was the plan:...
Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton:
"From the very onset of those negotiations it was clear that the NCL ships would be sent down south, that would create some opportunity for the southern region of Belize. You know that is the most impoverish in terms of opportunities and so I am not sure what negotiations FECTAB had if any with NCL in terms of being facilitators of tours here on the Belize District. I know that there are a number of tour operators and tours guides in the south who have prepared themselves to benefit from the NCL project in that area."
Coast Guard, Pressing On At 11
11 years ago, the Coast Guard was basically willed into being through US funding and training and Belizean political will. It's no small feat, creating an entire wing of the armed forces out of little more than seed funding and the idea that it has to happen. Since then the Coast Guard has moved from strength to strength, rapidly expanding its ranks, its infrastructure, and its fleet of vessels. Today, 11 years on, they reflected and looked ahead. Daniel Ortiz reports:...
Daniel Ortiz reporting:
Out in the downpour, the officers of the Coast Guard's Honor Guard stood at attention, paying little mind to the fact that they were getting drenched.
After all, these are men and women whose battlefield is at sea, and so, water certainly is not their enemy.
Still, it did make for a striking contrast that all the other VIP's were observing their diligence under the shade of a tent, and away from the rain. They remained stationary for about an hour without complaint, and they got a nod of approval from their Coast Guard Boss:
Coast Guard Wants More Bases, Boats, and Bodies In Uniform
So, while the Coast Guard is looking to grow to 700 officers, they also want to acquire more assets, including a number of forward operating bases. Today, the Minister of Defense, John Saldivar, announced that the Hunting Caye Forward Operating base will resume construction.
That's the forward operating base that was nearing completion when it ground to a screeching halt because the public learnt that it was a Guatemalan company that was constructing it. Well, after months of trying to get a new contractor to finish it, the construction resumes. Here's how the Defense Minister announced it, and how the Coast Guard Commandant discussed a number of other projects on the near horizon:
Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Defence:
"I am also happy to be able to report that work has re-commenced on the construction of the Hunting Caye forward operating base."
Fast Tracking Trade Through Tailor-Made Matchmaking
The Ministry of Economic Investment, Trade and Commerce teamed up with BELTRAIDE to launch the Belize Investment Portfolio Campaign today at the Radisson.
With major international backing, this campaign is expected to act as a fast-track investment opportunity with pre-packaged investment concepts and projects. Basically, the idea is to present tailor made investment opportunities.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Tracy Panton, and the General Manager of Enterprise and Innovation at BELTRAIDE to us more about the campaign...
Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton:
"As you know the environment is getting far more competitive in terms of attracting investment dollars to the region and obviously to Belize and so we felt that it was important to develop a national portfolio of projects that are coming either out of the private sector or the public sector that we can use to pitch to new investors and to try and stimulate more foreign investments into the country and also to support foreign domestic investments."
The Jamaican Patties Peace Pact Explained
Earlier this week we told you about the event we've teasingly called the Jamaican Patties Peace Pact, which was worked out between Jamaica and Belize. It happened at a recent meeting of COTED, CARICOM's Council for Trade and Development. Jamaica's Minister of Industry Karl Samuda met with Belize Minister of State for Trade, Tracey Taeger-Panton to allow Jamaican meat and chicken patties to be imported into Belize. Apparently, this had been disallowed years ago, and the two ministers worked out the impasse. Taeger-Panton told us what was involved today:..
Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton:
"Belize reserve the right to ensure that our health and safety standards are maintained and that the proper risk assessment is done for any product before entering the Belize market. I think we have agree to continue our bilateral negotiations with Jamaica, because there are huge opportunities for trade between Belize and Jamaica. As you know CARICOM is in fact the only trading partner in where Belize has a trading surplus and so we want to continue to advance those opportunities for Belize."
The formal position is that Belize would not restrict the importation patties as long as our food and health protocols were satisfied and the necessary risk assessment completed. That risk assessment must be paid by the Jamaican exporter.
Smartest At Social Studies
Today, finalists of the Belize City Primary School History and Social Studies Competition took the stage at the St. Catherine's Gymnasium, where they put their knowledge of Belizean history to the test. The students answered questions regarding the many historical figures, places, and events in Belize's colourful past; all to see which school would claim this year's "History Cup".
Juliet Neal, Dir., Planning and Project Development - Ministry of Tourism:
"What we wanted to do is we want to promote history and culture among the young people, particularly students in schools. We know that we study history and social studies at that level, but we really wanted to get into the history of Belize City and how Belize City helped in terms of Belize's development. It really helps the kids have a greater appreciation for where they live and what around them. We hope that it becomes an annual event that is carried on similar to the spelling B."
16 Days And So Many Ways To Be an Activist
Today the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the Women's Department launched the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. The initiative, which is part of a greater UN campaign, aims to end violence against women and children through awareness of the issues and education. At a candle light vigil ceremony which had to be held indoors this evening, Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and children, as well as former victims of domestic violence took to the podium to encourage the public to speak out and act against gender based violence. Here's what they told us about ending domestic violence...
The 16 Days of Activism is held under the theme, "unmasking the many faces of gender based violence."
Some Senior Dance Moves
Our next story is about an organization called the Belize City Seniors. It's a group of Senior Citizens who want to keep their members active and enjoying the highest quality of life through their senior years.
Today was their first anniversary of the group, and they prepared a special celebration for the members. We stopped by and found these seniors getting down to paranda music. The organizers told us what it's about:
So, be honest, how do you view senior citizens? Do you treat them with deference and respect for their contributions to society? Or do you see them as nuisances who are in the way? Well, the Belize City Seniors members told us that the society tends toward the latter, and that the old folks don't get the equal treatment from institutions. Here's how they explained the struggles of the aged:
How Do You Live To Be 102?
At today's Belize City Seniors event, we also got a chance to meet Alberta Smith, who is 102 years old.
She's enjoying advanced age without a single ailment, and she's even able to walk unassisted. So, what's her secret to a very long and strong life? She thinks its because she has good genes. Here's how she put it:
Smith tells us that all the people around her are amazed at her unusually good health.
Tacos Para Todos
Tacos - three for a dollar - are a staple wherever you go in Belize, from Corozal to the Cayes, to Toledo. But while every municipality and village has its own top tacos vendor, if you want the best tacos, everyone knows you have to go to Orange Walk. That town's tacos are so good that it's become a brand, imitated in other parts of the country where vendors claim to sell "Orange Walk Tacos."
But the often imitated, never duplicated flavor can truly only be found in Sugar City - and this weekend's annual Tacos Festival celebrates the singular distinction. Organizer Dillon Jones Told us more:...
Pablo Marin Turned Pablo Picasso!?
Keeping it in the north, the Corozal Polyclinic II was officially inaugurated today. It's attached to the Corozal Community Hospital on Santa Rita Hill, Corozal Town - and it's a project very dear to the heart of area representative and Health Minister Pablo Marin. At the opening today, he said that his travels to international cancer clinics in Campeche and South Dakota inspired him. And so, the former tradesman sharpened the old #4H pencil, put it to paper and sketched some changes:...
Government Getting Ready To Lower Referendum Threshold
Last night, we told you that the Senate will meet next week to ratify the Special Agreement on submitting the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice. It turns out that they will be asked to ratify this amended protocol, and the principal agreement, which Belize and Guatemala signed in December of 2008.
We'll tell you more about that shortly, but first, the Barrow Government has agreed to amend Belize's referendum threshold. As viewers will remember, Belize has a requirement of 60% voter turn out for any referendum to be declared valid.
60% is considered high and supposedly that's what caused the Guatemalans to back out of the October 2013 date for simultaneous referenda in both countries.
Since then, the Barrow Administration has been carefully considering a change to the law so that a simple majority is all that would be needed to validate a referendum result in Belize. Well, come next week, the Government intends to take that to Parliament, where they will introduce motions to change the referendum law.
Senate Asked To Approved Original And Amended Special Agreement
So, as we told you earlier, the Senate will be asked to approve a resolution authorizing Belize's Ratification of the Special Agreement on submitting the Guatemalan claim to the ICJ, otherwise known as the "Compromis," which was signed in 2008. They will also decide on the ratification of the Amendment to the Special Agreement, which was signed in May of last year.
Though the original agreement was signed 8 years ago, this is the very first time that the Senate will officially consent to it, thus making it valid and binding in Belize. So, this is the final step in cementing this course of action to resolve the claim, and the door is almost closed on those who are opposed to going the route of a referendum on the ICJ. Elrington explained:
Daniel Ortiz, 7News:
"What part of the ICJ agreement is being ratified by the senate when they next meet?"
Sedi On The SATIIM Situation
We also asked Foreign Minister Elrington about that confrontation which the conservation NGO, SATIIM, had with the Guatemalan military at the Mouth of the Sarstoon River, 14 days ago.
On November 10 a SATIIM Forest patrol was on the way to monitor deforestation and illegal activities in their ancestral lands in Southern Belize. That's when the Guatemalan military stopped them and told them they need permission before going up-river.
It's their second confrontation with the Guatemalan navy, which is based right across the river from the BDF's Sarstoon Forward Operating Base.
Elrington told us that shortly after it had happened, he received a report from the BDF:
Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs:
"I can recall hearing from my CEO that he in fact got some report on the matter from the military and I can recall seeing a footage of the matter on the television. Let me make it illusive to the Belizean population - if you have a dispute, a territorial dispute, incidents of those types will happen all the time.
Gang War In Gardenia? Young Father Killed
Today, 27 year old Nelson Zelaya was shot in the face outside his house in Gardenia Village in the Belize District - he died from those injuries a short time after.
According to reports, Zelaya was hanging out around a plum tree in the back of his property, when he was gunned down by a still unknown assailant. Zelaya's pregnant girlfriend and their three children were present at the time of the shooting. Police and an ambulance arrived on the scene shortly after, and Zelaya was rushed to the KHMH. Ladyville Police Superintendent Juanito Cocom told us more.
Inspector Juanito Cocom - OC, Ladyville Police:
"Our detectives visited miles 21.5 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, Gardenia Village. About 100 feet behind a wooden a house police observed a dark skin male person lying with his back to the ground bleeding profusely from his face. He was identified as Nelson Zeyala, 27 years old, labourer of that same address. At that time he was still breathing, so police took him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he later succumb to his injuries. We are treating the incident as a murder now and following it up."
Robber Fired Nine Times In Corozal Quick Loan Establishment, But He's The One Ended Up Getting Shot
It's fortunate no one got killed inside a Corozal Quick Loans establishment today after an armed robber let off 9 shots inside the business place. It happened at Rapidito Loans on Fourth Avenue when four men pulled up in a white van to rob the place. Three of the men are from Belize City - and one of them was involved in the July 2015 armed robbery at Belize Bank. Police say that the lone gunman who went in to pull off the heist was quick to pull the trigger, but he ended up getting shot by an alert security guard. And after that, alert police work led to the apprehension of all suspects. Here's what happened:
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold - OC, Corozal:
"A dark skin male person enter his premises brandishing a firearm. As a result the security guard opened fire on the said male person apparently hitting him. He had left the premises, but not before squeezing off 9-10 shots in the building at the proprietor and the security.
Judge Calls Abuser Depraved
39 year-old John Leslie is at the Belize Central Prison tonight, awaiting sentencing after the Chief Magistrate found him guilty of a very revolting case of child sexual abuse. He is convicted of molesting a 5 year-old girl, and after hearing the gory details of the sexual abuse, the Chief Magistrate was incensed enough to comment on Leslie's behavior.
The child, who was 5 years old at the time testified in a closed court hearing that on April 6, 2016, Leslie fondled her. Unable to describe appalling abuse he inflicted on her with the use of mature references, she described to the court as best she could that he forced her to perform oral sex on him and he ejaculated into her mouth.
He Made Eleven Flatscreens Disappear: Magic Or Theft?
21 year-old Justin Longsworth is at the Belize Central Prison after his brokerage firm accused him of stealing eleven 49-inch flatscreen televisions, which he was supposed to have cleared on behalf of the Radisson Fort George Hotel.
According to police, the incident happened on October 31. The hotel ordered these big-screen TV's and other items off Amazon, Longsworth - who worked for a customs broker - was supposed to clear the goods from Customs. But he reported that he did not receive them. On November 10, his boss visited the police station and reported that there are documents which show that he did receive the items, which he denied. The owner of the brokerage firm also alerted police to the existence of surveillance footage which showed that he did indeed clear the items. The cops also came across a driver who Longsworth allegedly hired to move the TV's. This driver told police that Longsworth gave him one of the TV's as a bribe so that he would keep quiet. He has since handed over that television to police. The value of all 11 TV's is almost 14 thousand dollars.
21 year-old Dorian Blair, one of 3 men who allegedly robbed a Chinese storeowner, is at the Belize Central prison tonight. The robbery happened on November 3, at around 9 p.m. Jing Xaio Tan, who owns T Supermarket in Lords Bank Village reported that he was about to close up when 3 men entered, and one of them placed a gun to his head. Fearing for his life, he gave the gunman his licensed nine millimeter pistol and $3,200 in cash. The men then ran off.
Police later detained Blair pending investigation for the armed robbery, and found that he was tied up to another case of theft. When he was escorted to the Ladyville Police Station, he signed as the owner of a laptop computer which he had in his possession. The police looked into the origin of the laptop, and found that it had been stolen from Edgar Young on November 17, when his house was burglarized.
FECTAB Raises Hell On Harvest Caye
Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye Cruise Port has been in full operation since last week and both the Norwegian Dawn and the Norwegian Getaway have made calls there.
And while Norwegian is counting its money and already recouping its investment, small Belize City Tour Operators aren't one bit happy. They aren't welcome anywhere near Harvest Caye - which Fectab today called Alcatraz, the famous US Prison that was built on the island of the same name:.
Yohny Rosado, cavetubing.com:
"They are no longer coming to Belize. They are going to "alcatraz island." It's an island for tourist and for Belizeans it's an "alcatraz island," you cannot go there. If you go there you will come out in a body bag."
Norwegian Ships to City Port Post Harvest Caye? Truth Was Always A Moving Target
Indeed, all the representations made about the Harvest Caye Cruise Port said that it would not take Norwegian Calls away from Belize City. Here's a brief history of what was said on that subject between 2013 and 2015:...
FILE: September 2, 2013:
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize:
"There is to be no diversion of the current Belize City calls and there is to be no use of that port by ships other than NCL ships. This was our position throughout; the binding agreement will make that absolutely clear."
FILE: August 14, 2013:
Colin Murphy - VP, Destination & Strategic Development, NCL:
"One of the concerns that was raised is if everyone from Belize City was going to go down south. One of our competitors have been cancelling cruises because Belize is full, full, full so there up to five ship a day so we don't think it's going to be any impact to the folks in Belize City at all."
Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour:
"Any scheduled visits in the North as existing - those shall not be diverted just as simple as that. So whatever was scheduled will be maintained and then you go to the south - we won't transfer them. So all this fear that everything was happening and in Belize City it will stop - that's not true."
FECTAB Fires One At BTB
We never heard the results of that "serious discussion" - and we still have to wait and see if Norwegian will make any calls to Belize City for this cruise season. While FECTAB fumes about that, they're also angry at the Belize Tourism Board. As we've reported the BTB wants to move them form in front of the Fort Street Tourism Village's Terminal to inside the memorial park. They say this is just another kind of Alcatraz:...
David Almendarez, Cave Tubing R Us:
"Rumors is that they want to put us in that alcatraz that they built that they called Memorial Park. The records show the last time they had that meeting I told them that was ghost town and now they want to put us at ghost town. They will have meeting next week to get all the tour operators there. I am telling Mr. Longsworth, because you sent the letter, to "fix up." Because we are not afraid of you either. Don't wake a dog that is sleeping. Don't raise a lion that is not biting you, because you don't want the lion to wake up and everything is broken up."
Apparent Arson At Ray Cat's Place
For the past few weeks we've been telling you about fires happening all over the country. Some have been minor, and some have caused tremendous loss for the families involved, and the latest report is no exception. Last night Ladyville Police responded to reports of a fire that took place outside the home of well known businessman, Ray Cattouse, the owner of Cattouse Trucking and the C-Ray Cycling team. The fire was put out not long after that, and though there are no leads yet, police don't think it was an accident. Here's what Superintendent Juanito Cocom told us about the alleged arson.
All together the fire damaged over $100,000 worth of property.
Members of Integrity Commission Named
As we told you earlier in the news, Senate Ratification of the special agreement will happen next Week Wednesday, other matters which they will address include the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Appointment of members of the Integrity Commission.
As viewers are aware, these are two of good governance demands which the Prime Minister agreed to put in place when the teachers were on their 11-day strike, and tomorrow, the Government makes good on the commitments.
The Senate will hear a motion to authorize the Accession of Belize to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. As we told you weeks ago, the Prime Minister committed to expediting the process of instituting the UNCAC in Belize. Once the Senate motion passes the Prime Minister will sign the instrument of Accession on December 9, to coincide with the observance of the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day.
Culvert Collapse Creates Mini Sinkhole Near Gardenia
Last night Ladyville Police responded to reports, not of a criminal on the loose or a raging fire, but of a suddenly appearing sinkhole in the middle of the highway by Gardenia Village. Police set up cones and manned the area to warn oncoming vehicles about the danger of the hole in the highway. Works crews were activated and worked into the night to repair a broken culvert and cover the hole. Ruptured culverts are not uncommon after heavy rains such as the type we've been seeing in November.
Food Vendors Give Thanks For Thanksgiving "Dinna"
Thanksgiving may be the biggest holiday on the US calendar, but in Belize, the big thing is not the holiday, or the meaning behind it, down here it's all about that Thanksgiving dinner! Maybe it's just a good reason to get down with a mean plate of turkey dinner, or maybe it's a warm up for Christmas, but either way, restaurant owners and food vendors are grateful for the day - because they get to sell more plates of food at a higher price. We spoke to a few of them today:
And while most turkey dinners were done by 1:30, The Biltmore is also serving its thanksgiving special for dinner from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.
Cops Clean Up The Hood
Today the South Side Police, in collaboration with the Belize City Council, launched an initiative to clean up the empty lots in the South Side. The grass and trees in most of these lots have are overgrown, making them a prime location for drug traffickers to stash their product. Residents in the Raccoon Street Extension area raised this as a major security concern during the Eastern Southside Division's public meet-and-greet earlier this year, so the authorities acted. Senior Superintendent Alden Dawson told us more about the effort...
Referendum Act Will Be Amended for Fifty Plus One Majority
The Barrow Administration has agreed to reduce the referendum threshold from sixty percent to fifty percent plus one, by amending the existing Referendum Act. That decision comes ahead of a [...]
Amended Special Agreement to be Ratified; Simultaneous Referenda for I.C.J. Scrapped
In respect of the Special Agreement known as the Compromis, Elrington admits that while both countries were bound to that accord, it was quickly realized that simultaneous referenda would not [...]
No Protocol for Sarstoon – Yet
Central to the ongoing tension between Belize and Guatemala is the Sarstoon River. For many years, Belizeans have freely traversed the southernmost waterway, enjoying unimpeded access to abundant resources found [...]
Belizeans Can Travel on Sarstoon – But Check In with F.O.B. First
According to Elrington, Belizeans are free to travel the length of the Sarstoon River without hindrance from the Guatemalan military. Checking in with local authorities at the Forward Operating Base [...]
Coast Guard to Support B.D.F. in Sarstoon
In the last few weeks we told you about some incidents involving the Guatemalan Armed Forces and different local organizations. The B.D.F. were stopped not so long ago and it [...]
11 Years of Service for the Belize Coast Guard
The Belize National Coast Guard celebrated in grand style today for their eleventh anniversary. They have grown significantly since they opened their doors back in November 2005. And today they [...]
Coast Guard Watches High Seas for Pirates
A few weeks back we told you about an incident at sea where northern fishermen were robbed at gunpoint in southern Belize. The fishers were approached by well-armed men who [...]
Petty Officer Daniel Arzu Returns to Belize on Monday
Petty Officer Daniel Arzu Junior of the Belize National Coast Guard was shot towards the end of October. He was shot in the head when he was visiting his child’s [...]
The Art and Science of Successful Investment
It takes two to three years for a viable project to evolve, from start to fruition…but any mega project, if financial backative is unavailable locally, needs foreign direct investments. This [...]
FECTAB Vs Norwegian is a Tourism Issue, Says Investment Minister
On Thursday, you heard tour operators and FECTAB express their discontent with the loss of business, following the launch of the multimillion-dollar Norwegian Cruise Line Port on Harvest Caye. According [...]
Belize Works Out Kinks in CARICOM Trade; Jamaican Patties to be Imported
Jamaican patties are known for their trademark yellow, flaky crust and can be found at Big Bite Restaurant and some gas stations. But for quite some time, the Jamaican producers [...]
Ham for Christmas – Importers Working with BAHA and Standards Bureau
Several weeks ago, we reported the news of local producers being up in arms after a Chinese businessman was given permit to import over fifty thousand pounds of ham for [...]
Northside Schools Top Social Studies Quiz
As part of a series of efforts to achieve public buy-in for the House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project, the committee behind that project organized a History and Social [...]
16 Days of Activism Starts with Powerful Testimonies from Survivors
All this week we have been sharing with you the lead-up to Sixteen Days of Activism, being held under the theme “Unmasking the Many Faces of Gender-Based Violence.” Today, Friday, [...]
A Telethon to Assist the Burn Victims Mercy Fund
The Burn Victims Mercy Fund has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as it sought to help the late Ian Sambula and Empress Hamilton recover from severe burns sustained [...]
Get Your Tasty Tacos at Orange Walk Tacos Festival!
Best tacos in Belize? Hands down, it’s in Orange Walk Town. Vendors on the street side or in major shops, just pick your mouth-watering favourite. This coming weekend, Sugar City [...]
Lean Harvest for FECTAB Operators at Exclusive Harvest Caye
They were worried all along about potentially losing business. But according to the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, even they did not anticipate a blindside like what has [...]
Where’s The Cruise Port for Belize City, Asks FECTAB?
What’s happened to plans for a cruise port in and around Belize City? That’s the question that local operators are asking after suffering the loss of business due to Norwegian [...]
“Ghost Town” Memorial Park Will Hurt Business Further, Says Cruise Operators
We reported two weeks ago that there are plans afoot to move Belize City tour operators from the heart of operations within the Fort Street Tourism Village out to Memorial [...]
Height Rule at Caves Branch Has Failed, Says FECTAB President
President of FECTAB, Tom Greenwood, says it is now clear that the Belize Tourism Board and National Institute of Culture and History’s decision to implement a forty-inch rule for visitors [...]
Yhony Rosado In Trouble Again with B.T.B.
It has been almost a month since two tour guides working for Yohnny Rosado’s Butts Up Cave Tubing Adventures were suspended by the Belize Tourism Board and National Institute of [...]
Nelson Zelaya Slaughtered in Front of Family in Gardenia
The silence in Gardenia Village was broken this afternoon by reports of gunshots. When the shooting subsided, a resident of the quiet roadside community lay mortally wounded in his driveway. [...]
Police Hunting for Suspect in Fire That Destroyed Equipment for Ray Cattouse
Sometime after nine o’clock last night, someone set fire to two trucks and a work shed on the property of Ray Cattouse along the Philip Goldson Highway. The damage is [...]
Re: Today's Belize News: November 26, 2016
11/26/16 01:31 AM
11/26/16 01:31 AM
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Security Officer Foils Attempted Robbery at Corozal Pawnshop
A foiled robbery in Corozal Town this morning has left one would-be robber hospitalized at the Northern Regional Hospital for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. At about nine-thirty-two a.m., [...]
39 Year-Old Man Convicted of Sex Assault on 5 Year-Old Girl
Thirty-nine-year-old John Francisco Leslie has been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor earlier this year. The incident involving a five-year-old girl reportedly occurred in April when Leslie took the child [...]
Accused Serial Thief Arraigned in Court
Chinese businessman Jing Xiao Tan, proprietor of T Supermarket in Lord’s Bank Village, was robbed at gunpoint on Monday night and was relieved of three thousand, two hundred dollars in [...]
Collapsed Culvert Leads to Sinkhole in Middle of Philip Goldson highway
Around eight o’clock on Wednesday night, a sinkhole was discovered in the middle of the pavement in Gardenia Village on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It posed a hazard to oncoming [...]
Southside Police Do Clean-Up on Racoon Street Extension
In Belize City and Belmopan today, the men and women of law enforcement were out in numbers as they went into several communities to carry out cleanup campaigns. In the [...]
Riviera Neighbourhood Gets Facelift from Belmopan Police
In the Garden City earlier today, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett also led a team of police officers and inmates from the Belize Central Prison in a cleanup campaign that saw [...]
Dance from the Soul with Dance X 2016
On Friday and Saturday, Belize City, Orange Walk and Cayo will be entertained as dancers from across the country, as well as the U.S. and Mexico, will converge to put [...]
Belize's Credit Rating Plunge Further Into Junk Zone
It was just eight days ago that we told reported on Standard and Poors’ lowering of Belize’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings from B minus to CCC plus. We all know that anything graded that falls from B to C is bad news, but this is triple C plus which is more bad news because in Standard and Poor’s rating anything that hits that low is considered junk bonds. It now seems that CCC plus is not as low as it gets and all indications are that we’re getting there. Yesterday, Standard and Poors lowered Belize’s sovereign credit further into junk status, from CCC plus where it was for a week, to CC. This further slippage was due to Government of Belize’s official announcement that it was seeking to restructure the Superbond for a third time. In that announcement, the Government indicated that its prognosis indicates that it wouldn’t be able to meet their debt obligations as stipulated in the Superbond terms. The holders of those bonds have reacted with some concern, indicating that no country has had to negotiate the same bonds three times. Standard and Poors itself has noted that the country faces numerous challenges including fiscal and external imbalances, limited access to external funding, reduced foreign exchange reserves and the loss of correspondent banking relationships.
Referendum Act To Be Amended To A Simple Majority
There has been much talk about taking the long standing territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala to the International Court of Justice for final resolution, but for the case to be taken to the ICJ both countries must first hold a national referendum. While Guatemala has started the process to hold consultations for the referenda to take place, Belize had not done so. But that is expected to change very soon as government will amend the existing Referendum Act to lower the threshold needed to prevail in the voting exercise. Today Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington explained the process.
Honorable Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Cabinet has taken the decision to take the amendment to the referendum act and have it pass into law on the 9th of December, the effect of that will be that when we hold the referendum, for there to be a successful referendum the majority will have to be simple majority 50% of those people who go to vote plus one and that is going to make the referendum a successful one.”
Referendum Voting Threshold To Be Reduced
Following the amendment of the Referendum act in cabinet next week, the Senate is expected to meet, where the ratification of the 2008 ICJ Special Agreement, which will allow both countries to proceed independently of each other to hold a referendum on whether to send the claim to the International Court of Justice, is expected to take place. This ratification, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, opens the doors for Belize to commence the process of a referendum as soon as possible. Honorable Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs: “The Special Agreement which we signed in 2008 and the Protocol to that Special Agreement which we signed later on in 2015, the intention is to really is to go through all the formalities and that is part of the formality and to access the ICJ for us to be able to go to the ICJ we had to pass this Special Agreement which will allow us to go to the ICJ subject to the consent of our people given our referendum, when we signed the Special agreement in 2008 the contemplation was that we will be able to go to referendum simultaneously on the same day, but we run into problem with that because the Guatemalan usually holds elections on Sunday and we normally hold it on a weekday...”
Another Drug Bust In Orange Walk
As a result of the good relationship shared between the Orange Walk police and members of the community, today authorities were able to remove a total of 286.8 grams of suspected cannabis from the streets of town. According to reports, around 7:30 this morning police conducted a search on an empty lot situated on Rio Grande Street here in Orange Walk town where they discovered a black plastic bag containing three parcels of suspected cannabis hidden among some bushes. No one was found in the area at the time of the search, subsequently the package was labeled as found property.
Police Constable, Edward Vargas Recognized As Police Of The Month
Every month police departments throughout the jewel take the time out to express appreciation and gratitude for officers who stand out among others in the department as they constantly display responsibility and commitment to their community fighting against the never ending battle of delinquency. As is customary, today the Orange Walk Police Formation officially presented an award of recognition, this time to senior Police Constable Edward Vargas who was quite delighted about the achievement. Edward Vargas – Police of the month:
“It is a good feeling to be recognize by your Senior personnel and along with your fellow colleagues and it is a good feeling as I always do and I always come to work on time, putting my all and I respect my superior and follow instruction, the experience is good, every day you learn something new, every day you keep dealing with persons of different character, we do as how we were thought at the Police Academy and you follow the rules and regulations of the Belize Police Department and you can’t go wrong.”
US Imported Hams Remain Quarantined at Belize’s Border
An estimated fifty thousand pounds of imported ham are at our western border point with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) awaiting further instructions from officials on how to move forward. Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse says he is yet to be fully briefed on the matter and so he spoke to us on the situation […]
Productivity in the Sugar Sector Says New Minister
Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse concluded a meeting with stakeholders in the sugar industry today which he deems a success. Love News met up with him this evening where he spoke of the discussions that took place. GODWIN HULSE ” Minister Hulse recently concluded meetings with the stakeholders in the shrimp industry last week in southern […]
Senate to Meet to Discuss Special Agreement with Belize and Guatemala
The Government has made one more step in taking Guatemala’s dispute with Belize to the International Court of Justice, ICJ. There will be a Special Sitting of the Senate on Wednesday, November 30. During that Senate Meeting, a motion will be passed asking for Senators to authorize the Ratification by Belize to the Special Agreement […]
Foreseeing Delays in Teachers’ Salaries for November
The teachers are expected to be paid tomorrow, but, will that actually happen? Some teachers have expressed doubts that it will. Best information suggests that teachers will more than likely not be paid. The nature of the manner that the Ministry of Education uses to process the teachers’ pay is lengthy and since the order […]
FECTAB Registers Displeasure at Harvest Caye
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) called a press conference today at the Radisson Hotel where they spoke about Harvest Caye. Harvest Caye Cruise Shipping Port was officially opened last week for its first call to port from Norwegian Cruise Lines. It is expected that the southern portion of Belize will see a […]
The Economic Benefits of Tilapia
Recently workshops were conducted for small scale producers of tilapia, students of the University of Belize and agriculture officers with an aim at diversifying the way tilapia is processed. Taiwanese expert, Dr Tsai was in country since November 14 and in these workshops he offered his expertise in the areas of cleaning the fresh tilapia […]
39-Year-Old Man Sexually Assaults 6-Year-Old
Thirty-nine year old John Leslie, charged with sexual assault of a six year old female child, was found guilty of the charge today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Chief Magistrate Smith told that he was a sick and depraved person and said those were the only words she could find to describe him. […]
Case of Suspected Arson Investigated by Independence Police
There was a fire in Independence Village in Southern Belize that left four families homeless. Authorities were called out to Amado Avenue in the village in the wee hours of Sunday morning where they observed a twenty by twenty wooden structure completely destroyed by fire and an adjacent wooden and concrete two storey building engulfed […]
Father Killed In Front of Toddler in Rural Belize
A father of five was killed in front of his three year old child this evening in Gardenia Village, Belize District. The investigators of Rural Eastern Division are on the case and according to the Deputy Commander, Inspector Juanito Cocom, the victim has been identified as Nelson Zelaya. JUANITO COCOM “At about midday detectives visited […]
Arson over Mining License?
No official report has been made to the Rural Eastern Division Police but Love News was reliably informed that at around nine o’clock last night two trucks belonging to businessman, Ray Cattousse were set on fire. The trucks were reportedly parked on his property in Sandhill Village when the incident occurred. Inspector Juanito Cocom spoke […]
Injunction allows for teachers to get full salary for now
The Supreme Court has ordered the teachers who were on the 11-day strike in October must be paid their full November salary. This came after the Chief Justice granted an injunction against the Ministry of Education who decided to cut their pay, because the Supreme Court will hear full arguments on the case on December 16.
Readers are well aware that the Ministry of Education has tried its best to resolve this matter peacefully by asking for a meeting with the Belize National Teachers Union to discuss the possibility to pay the salaries for those striking teachers using the Union’s strike fund. They have resisted that, and they aren’t even willing to have a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber. It is well documented that the Minister has asked for a 10 member delegation, while they want to force a meeting with the entire 25 member Council of Management.
Government to compensate Hostel fire victims’ families
The Government of Belize is looking into the possibility of compensating the families of three girls who died as a result of a fire at the Youth Hostel at mile 21 on the George Price Highway.
On November 28, 2015 fire broke out at the institution and it resulted in the death of three girls, Ana Carlos 16, Elizabeth Mckoy 14, and Shadisha Arnold 16. The girls had been remanded to the facility for various reasons and at the time they were housed inside a room. Investigations have since revealed that one of the girls lit a fire inside the room and it quickly got out of control. The girls lost their lives after they were unable to escape the fire inside the room since they had been locked in and no one could find the key to open the room.
Now a coroner’s inquest is just about completed and CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche has said that the Ministry is awaiting the results of it.
Harvest Caye opens new opportunities in the south
About 500 citizens in Southern Belize have been given jobs at the Harvest Caye Island getaway, a multi-million dollar investment which the Cruise company, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), made in Belize. It is estimated that this number will increase up to 1,500 in the next 3 to 4 years.
Harvest Caye is a 75 acre island just off the coast of the Placencia Peninsula. About 4 years ago, NCL approached the Government of Belize to build a cruise port in Southern Belize, so that the economic opportunities of cruise tourism could open up in that part of the country. Realizing the positive impact this could have on the economy and on the population in the south, the Government signed an agreement with NCL for them to develop the island into a cruise port and an exclusive island resort facility to cater to its guests. After months of careful planning, getting all the environmental permits, and meeting all the requirements for minimal impact to Belize’s environment, the company started construction which took a little less than 2 years to complete. The finished product comes with a 1,500 square foot pool, a number of restaurants and bars, private canopy cabanas, luxurious beachside cabanas, a 7 acre sandy beach, and a 130 foot “Flighthouse”, which allows for zip lining across the island, and free fall jumps. There is also a shallow lagoon area for water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and manatee observations led by local tour guides.
Dangriga officially inaugurates solar street lamps
Residents of the Culture Capital will notice that there are some strange looking lamp posts in the Alejo Beni Park and other areas of the town. Those are solar powered lights and they were officially inaugurated after the official Garifuna Settlement Day ceremony on Saturday, November 19.
Belize adopted its first national policy on climate change in March 2015 called the National Climate Change Policy, Strategy and Action Plan. This policy was developed by the Belize National Climate Change Committee, established in 2010. The committee spent a year meeting with key stakeholders and incorporated all sectors of the economy; including, tourism, energy, agriculture, water resource management, health and environment, in order to develop a comprehensive plan for climate change mitigation. Energy independence is vital for our resilience to climate change. To strengthen climate resilience in the energy sector, Belize later launched the Energy Resilience for Climate Adaptation Project.
Julius can’t accept being wrong - takes House Speaker to court
The Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, will decide in 2 weeks’ time whether or not PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat has brought a frivolous lawsuit to court or not. He’s suing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Eddie Webster, and he is disputing his infamous suspension from Parliament back in August of this year.
He and his attorney, Andrew Marshalleck, are seeking several declarations and an injunction against these two officials of the Parliament to overturn the suspension. The defendants have not offered any defence, and they are being represented by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke. The Sol. Gen. has instead applied to have the matter struck out on the ground that the court does not have jurisdiction to inquire into the internal affairs of parliament, and that there is an alternative remedy for this dispute. Other Opposition Members of Parliament could take this matter and seek to have the suspension overturned.
Supreme Court has ruled on a BNTU Strike before
The Belize National Teacher’s Union is taking the Ministry of Education to court seeking that they get paid for days they absented themselves from school as a result of their 11 day strike action. At this point in time the Supreme Court has decided to give the BNTU an injunction against the Ministry of Education, meaning that as of now the ministry cannot withhold salaries until the case is complete. That substantive case will be heard on December 16, meanwhile the teachers are to get paid.
That is what is happening now but the issue of teachers going on strike and them requesting pay while they were on strike is one that has happened before. Back on June 9, 2005, the same BNTU through claim number 85 of 2005 sought to also get paid after they were on strike. At the time they appeared before the then Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh. The entire judgment can be read at www.belizelaw.org.
Businessman Donates to Hattieville Police
On Friday November 18th Western Pines resident and businessman Jacky He donated a much needed Air Conditioning Unit to the Hattieville Police Station. This donation valued at $2500.00 came about when Police Officers attached to the station indicated that there was great need for such a unit at the station. Mr. He was approached and he responded right away in a positive manner. Mr. Rochelle Chan, officer in charge of Hattieville Police and the Minister responsible for Police Hon. Elodio Aragon were on hand to receive the donation. Mr. He expressed his admiration and satisfaction in the way the Hattieville Police detachment has been keeping the area virtually crime free and indicated that as a socially responsible business man he had to respond. This is but a small example of the things which can be achieved when the community and the Police work together for a safer nation.
CARICOM continues sensitizing Belizeans about its roles and functions
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat presses ahead with its public education drive to ensure that vital sectors know about the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and its significant benefits. As part of that effort, a one-day CSME sensitization workshop was held today in San Ignacio Town. Approximately 40 participants from private sector entities and rural organizations convened at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel to share information and experiences regarding the CSME. The workshop is facilitated under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and Economic Integration Programme (EIP).
Resource persons from the CARICOM Secretariat presented on topics such as the current status of the CSME; the CSME as a platform for private sector growth and development; and facilitating agricultural trade and investment in the CSME. Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade also delivered a presentation on the CSME at the national level.
32 more fire fighters added to the department
In the jewel there is a saying that goes, “Belizeans run away from rain and run towards fire.” We don’t deny this. We embrace it as “how we krofi bihaav”. We laugh at this but it is a cultural identity and extends to our brothers and sisters in the entire Caribbean region. Fire fights are spectacles that result in mass gatherings, consultations and even gossiping. It could almost be described as a form of entertainment. Sadly, this show sometimes has tragic endings and while fire fights are spectacular phenomena there are a group of people who are never entertained. They are fire fighters and they place their lives on the line every time the bell rings. 32 men and women joined the ranks of this distinguished group of heroes on Wednesday, November 23.
Fun Run from Belmopan to San Ignacio
On Saturday, 26th of November, students, teachers of Our Lady of Guadalupe R.C. High School (O.L.O.G.R.C.H.S.) and members of the community will be having a second Health and Fun Run from Belmopan to Cayo.
The run will begin for the second time in front of Hummingbird Furnishings, Belmopan, and this year will end at the Macal River Park in Santa Elena.
This year the Health and Fun Run will involve the participation of a television station which plans to televise parts of this run.
The organizer of the run, Emil Pulido, explains that this health and fun run is for the average person to challenge him or herself.
“This run should be an expression of you challenging yourself. Some persons will challenge themselves to run the entire distance. Last year we had two persons, two males, to be exact, who completed the entire distance from Belmopan to Cayo.” The organizer of this run continues by saying, “We hope to have more persons complete the entire distance this year. For example, Jody, a Belizean who has represented Belize in marathons in Mexico and Guatemala plans to join in this run and he wants to run the entire distance as a fulfillment of an item on his bucket list. However, another exciting aspect of this run this year is for us to have the first female to run the entire distance.”
Belize signs readiness grant with Green Climate Fund
Minister Omar Figueroa, as the Head of Belizean delegation and the Minister with responsibilities for Climate Change, met with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), represented by Mr. Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programming on the occasion of the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco to sign a letter of agreement to finalize a USD $300,000 Readiness Grant agreement between the Government of Belize (GOB) and the GCF.
The Readiness Grant will allow the GOB to strengthen the capacity of its National Designation Authority, the liaison between the Fund and Government of Belize, as well as identify priority programs for funding from the GCF.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), a regional accredited entity to the Green Climate Fund, will serve as the Government’s delivery partner for the 12 months project.
What does the injunction BNTU got means?
An injunction is an equitable remedy, it is, a remedy that originated in the English courts of equity. Like other equitable remedies, it has traditionally been given when a wrong cannot be effectively remedied by an award of money damages. (The doctrine that reflects this is the requirement that an injunction can be given only when there is “no adequate remedy at law.”) Injunctions are intended to make whole again someone whose rights may have been or is about to be violated. It obliges both parties in a matter before a court of law to maintain the status quo, until the court hears the matter before it and rules on said matter.
Such is the injunction that was handed down by the Chief Justice on Monday. That injunction obliges the government not to withhold the portion of the teachers salaries it contributes on a monthly basis. The injunction is to, in the first instance remain in place until the 16th December 2016. That is the date the hearing of the substantive matter, which is the backdrop against which the injunction was sought and granted, goes before the court.
Ministry of Health continues to equip its facilities
The Ministry of Health is moving apace to properly equip all the facilities under its jurisdiction and this week the Ministry announced that it has acquired 7 ultrasound machines which will be distributed across the country.
Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin says that the machines come at a cost of $250,000 and they will be distributed to the Corozal, Orange Walk, Punta Gorda, Belmopan, San Ignacio and Cleopatra White Polyclinic in Belize City.
Along with the acquisition of equipment, the ministry if in the process of training its staff and this week also approximately 12 OB/GYN and GPs are receiving training in Belmopan.
The Pro-UDP hosts on the “Sugar City Morning Show’ here in OW were busy deflecting attacks on Tuesday morning from angry UDP supporters and those teachers who did not go on strike. This was after the BNTU had won the injunction at the Supreme Court on Monday November21.
Several concerns were aired on the radio with not too diplomatic language. Like where were the attorneys representing GOB in this case? And if they were really attorney’s at all to have lost an open and shut case. I mean, the teachers withheld their labour, so how could they expect payment? Anywhere else in the entire world the courts would not be an option to seek redress for pay with no work to show. In fact, in the USA the BNTU would have been liable for damages under the “TAFT-Hartley law of 1947 for calling a wildcat strike, since there was no existing labour dispute between the BNTU and GOB.
A New town hall for San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council
Rapid changes are now ongoing in the growing municipality of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, which has required an adequate response from the Town Council. Some of these changes have brought astounding benefits to the citizenry and is a measure of the strategic planning that takes place in Buena Vista.
For one measure, the Council’s former headquarters on King Street in downtown San Ignacio has been sold. The San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council is now taking steps to acquire a loan facility to build a concrete structure for its headquarters at the old hospital site in San Ignacio. It’s headquarters at the San Ignacio Commerce & Gallery Furniture on Buena Vista Street was intended to be temporary. By moving to the old hospital site, the Council will have more parking space and visitors will have added comfort when doing business with the Town Council.
Santa Elena Sports Complex inauguration
The Government of Belize, through the Belize Infrastructure Limited, announces the inauguration of the Santa Elena Sports Complex. Santa Elena has seen much advancement in infrastructure over the past several years, and while many of us are able to see the visible road works approaching the town, few are aware of the 13.42 acre sporting facility renovations - its new main entrance now on Bishop Street - that have been underway from last year with many new enhancements.
The Santa Elena Sports Complex is now the third and final facility to be delivered to the Twin Towns by the Government of Belize under the execution of Belize Infrastructure Limited.
The largest of the three, this facility is now home to a newly lit recreational football pitch surrounded by a concrete walking track, a covered basketball facility with lighting and bleachers, and a competition field complete with prefabricated concrete bleachers, public restrooms, lockers, new lighting, fencing, parking, ticketing and concession space.
Street light expense cut by 40%
Belize Electricity Limited is currently implementing a plan to replace all street lights across the country. being carried out under BEL’s LED Streetlight Implementation Program, some 31,000 existing streetlights are slated for replacement to LED fixtures over the next 5 to 10 years. Under the program there will be an expansion of street light fixtures across the country raising the current number by 25%.
Currently, the government of Belize pays $0.42 per kilowatt hour for electricity consumed by street lights which adds up to some 2 million dollars per year for government. With the implementation of the new LED fixtures that price is expected to go down by 40%.
BEL commenced the installation of LED streetlights in July 2016 on main streets and thoroughfares in each municipality of Belize. These fixtures are also being used for rural electrification projects across the country and along boulevards and roadways under construction by the Ministry of Works including: Lake Independence Boulevard, Central American Boulevard, the New roundabouts in Belmopan, the Philip Goldson Highway between Ladyville and Belize City, the George Price Highway between Loma Luz and Hawkesworth Bridge and the Corozal Town Boulevard. So far there are approximately 600 LED fixtures that have been installed countrywide.
Arson in Trio Village leaves 6 families homeless
Police are trying to locate a group of 5 men whom they believe are the ones that intentionally set a mass fire in the village of Trio in the Toledo District. Their act of arson caused the complete destruction of 5 homes, and they destroyed a 6th home, causing 6 hard-working farming families to become homeless.
The incident happened on Thursday, November 17, some time before 10 p.m. That’s around the time when these families were about to retire for the night. Their Thursday night turned upside down when 5 men arrived in what is believed to be a grey Mahindra pick-up, and with remorseless efficiency, proceeded to torch 5 of the houses in the Trio community. The blaze quickly got out of control, and it destroyed 5 of the houses before any help could arrive. The homeowners were unable to do anything but simply get to safety before their lives were threatened by the flames.
UB holds impressive entrepreneur Expo
The University of Belize’s Annual Marketing Expo provides students with an opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and investors a chance to buy into promising ventures. The 2016 Expo, held at the Belize City Princess Ramada Hotel on Wednesday, November 23, lived up to the expectations held for a national university.
The products and services offered by the students of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences at the expo told a story about the jewel. One group, “Aqua Jewels”, designed one and two piece bathing suits with our national colours and “BELIZE” or “unBELIZEable” marked clearly across the top. This would be suitable for a time of relaxation on any of our many beaches. They go well with the original accessories (chains, bracelets, finger-chains, earings) made by that same group. While on the beach, one may want to be refreshed with an ice cold margarita from the margarita group. This group used an original recipe with coconut rum to produce a unique blend that should foster a wonderful beach experience.
Belizeans to ‘Walk for Haiti’ and assist the island nation in its recovery
The Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers is organizing a fundraising event that will see those affiliated with the association across the region participate to raise funds in aid of Haiti. The ‘Walk for Haiti,’ as it is being dubbed was officially launched in Belize City on Tuesday November 22. According to the organizers, the fundraiser will be a walk which will commence from in front of the Supreme Court starting at 6a.m. on Saturday December 3rd. Participants will be asked to register for 10 dollars and also possibly purchase a t-shirt for $20.
President of the Bar Association, Priscilla Banner says that the event is one of goodwill where the judiciary and the bar association tap into the social conscience of residents. There will be 11 areas where persons can sign up to either be a part of the walk or contribute to the cause. An account, 695-011-081-261 has been set up at the Belize Bank for persons wishing to contribute.
Accused killer of Yan Yin Chen walks free
Jordan Jamar Cayetano, 23, is a free man after prosecutor Rene Montero Jr. filed a case of nolle prosequi on Thursday, November 17, in trial for the murder of Chinese grocer, Yan Ying Chen, 32. Montero Jr. said he had to discontinue the case against Cayetano because the National Forensic Service “lost or misplaced the expended shells found at the scene so they could not do any ballistic testing to determine if the shells found at the scene were the same shells from the gun that Cayetano was busted with after the murder”. This was after Justice Troadio “John” Gonzalez ruled a caution statement from Cayetano to be inadmissable in court because it was given under duress in 2011.
A very distraught and frustrated Chinese community took to the streets over the killing of two Chinese businesswomen in April of 2011. Yan Ying Chen and Fei Lan Wu were shot and killed over the span of less than two hours on Saturday, April 2, 2011 in apparently random shootings. Word on the street is that the shootings were a message to the police from angry gang leaders.
Suspects in Belize City burglary caught in Benque
A warehouse on Faber’s Road Extension in Belize City belonging to Luis Ayuso was burglarized sometime between Tuesday, November 15, and Thursday, November 17, and police tracked down the alleged burglars in Benque Viejo Town on Friday, November 18. Ayuso reported to police that his warehouse at #14 Faber’s Road Extension was burglarized and two generators were stolen, one valued at $1,500 and the other at $2,500.
Police investigation led to the arrest of Victor Franklin, 20, Herbert Herrera,22, Trevor Guy, 21, Elvis Aldana,26, and Giovanni Requena of Belize City as well as Ramon Banos, 23, of Santa Elena. The men were all arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, November 21. All except Banos were arraigned for the burglary of the warehouse. The men were then charged along with Banos for handling stolen goods. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court prosecutor, Cpl. Christopher Smith, had heavy objection to bail for the five accused of burglary. His objection was based on the prevalence of the crime and the strength of the prosecution’s case since they were allegedly found in possession of the stolen items.
Businessman busted with weed, contraband and undersized conch
Orange Walk businessman, Trevor Jerry Guy, is on the hook for just under $2,500 in fines after he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and undersized conch in the Belize City Magistrates Court on Thursday, November 17. The charges stem from a search that was conducted on Guy’s vehicle on Wednesday, November 16. Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit were conducting patrol on Water Lane around 9:30 a.m. when their attention was drawn to two men loading a black bag into the trunk of a Toyotal Corolla. The officers decided to conduct a search on the vehicle for drugs and ammunition and when they opened the trunk the officers found four parcels. When the parcels were opened they contained marijuana, undersized conch and contraband cigarettes. As a result, Guy was escorted to the Queen Street Police Station where the marijuana was weighed and amounted to 66 grams.
Corozalito Villager Remanded for Unlicensed Shotgun
Wilfredo Martinez, a 27-year-old farmer from Corozalito Village, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison on a charge of keeping an unlicensed firearm. Police caught him carrying a shotgun on Monday, November 21, for which he had no license. Martinez was arrested and charged for the offense. On Tuesday, November 22, he was unrepresented when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith for a single charge of keeping an unlicensed firearm. Martinez pleaded not guilty to the charge and due to the nature of the offense he was denied bail and remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until January 31, 2017. He may apply for bail with the assistance of an attorney at the Supreme Court.
Jeffery McDougal Free of Attempted Murder Charge
Jeffery McDougal, 28, who was accused of trying to kill Taylor’s Alley resident, Brandon Allen, on December 13, 2015 is now free from the charge of attempted murder. At a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) on Monday, November 21, Allen told Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that he wants no further court action in the matter. He said, “I have a change of heart. I’m forgiving McDougal for what he has done to me.” He added that the shooter came from behind so he is not even certain that it was Mcdougal.
Allen was walking at the corner of Water Lane and East Canal when someone came from behind and shot him in the buttocks. Two day later, police investigation led to the arrest of McDougal as the shooter. He was charged with attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm upon Allen and was out on bail until Monday.
Joseph O’Brien Gets 10 Years for Empty Gun
Joseph O’Brien, 24, has been in the Belize Central Prison serving sentences adding up to a 19 year jail term for offenses including robbery, theft, firearm offense and multiple aggravated assault convictions. Another 10 years was added to his sentences on Monday when he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an illegal firearm. Fortunately for Obrien, this sentence was ordered to run concurrently with his other sentences.
Obrien was busted inside the Lord Ridge Cemetery in possession of an illegal firearm in April of 2013. PC Derrick Reid and other officers were on mobile patrol when they saw him riding a bicycle in the Militia area near the cemetery. Police conducted a search on O’Brien and found a 25 automatic pistol in a knee pad on his right leg. The gun had no bullets in its chambers. He was arrested and charged for the pistol.
Belmopan Bandits remain only undefeated team in Premier League competition
The Premier League of Belize 2016 Opening Season Competition continued over the last weekend with a number of games on the schedule.
On Friday 18th November, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the host tea Placencia Assassins and the visiting Police United played to a 3-3 draw.
The Placencia Assassins got onto the scoreboard first when Ashton Torres scored the 1st goal of the game in the 19th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. However, Police United came roaring back when Daniel Jimenez scored the equalising goal for his team in the 33rd minute of play to tie the score at 1-1. An own goal by Arnie Whyte in the 38th minute of play gave the Placencia Assassins a 2-1 lead that they took into the half time break.
In the second half of the game, an own goal by Asrel Sutherland in the 53rd minute of play allowed the visiting Police United to tie the score at 2-2.
Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition opens
The 2016-2017 Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition opened on Monday 14th November, at the St. John’s College Gymnasium in Belize City.
The schools that are participating in this year’s female competition are Pallotti High School, Wesley College and Anglican Cathedral College, while the schools in the male competition includes Wesley College, Excelsior High School, Sadie Vernon Technical High School, Ladyville Technical High School, St. John’s College, Edward P. Yorke High School, Gwen Lizarraga High School, Maud Williams High School and Nazarene High School.
The competition will continue on Friday 25th November, with two games on the schedule. In the female competition, Pallotti High School will see action against Wesley College and in the male competition it will be Wesley College against Excelsior High School.
Belize Bank Bulldogs to represent Belize at Central American Senior Women’s Softball Championship in Guatemala City
The Belize Softball Federation will be represented by the Belize Bank Bulldogs, the national softball champions of Belize, at the Central American Senior Women’s Softball Championship that will be played in Guatemala City, Guatemala from November 25-27, 2016. The team left the country on Wednesday 23rd November, 2016 and will return back home on Monday 28th November, 2016.
The Belize Bank Bulldogs will join Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and the host country Guatemala.
The official delegate to the championship is Mr. Nelson Longsworth.
Nicaragua tops Honduras, El Salvador gets first win
Nicaragua (1W-0D-1L, 3 points) put itself in contention for a place in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship with a 3-2 win over Honduras (2-0-1, 6) in the nightcap of a Central American qualifying doubleheader on Monday at the Estadio Ernesto Rohrmoser.
The result knocked Honduras from the ranks of the unbeaten (2-0-1, 6) and meant that the Nicaraguans can progress with victories in their last two games against already-eliminated Belize (November 24) and El Salvador (November 26).
After Luis Enrique Palma gave Honduras a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute, Nicaragua responded with three unanswered goals. Strikes by Engel Balladares (68’), Stward Castillo (77’ pen) and Sergio Rodriguez (84’) put the Pinoleros ahead 3-1 during a 16-minute, second-half stretch. Patrick Palacios (90’+1) pulled one back for the Hondurans in stoppage time with his second goal of the tournament.
Santa Elena selection wins 5 aside
In a sporting activity in the Cayo District, the Santa Elena 5 aside tournament concluded this past weekend with the Santa Elena selection taking the grand prize of $500 and a 1st Place Trophy.
On location to distribute trophies to the winners was the Hon. Rene Montero, the Representative for the Cayo Central Division.
The Hon. Rene Montero would like to congratulate all teams who participated in this year’s tournament.
“Lookout for more friendly community building competitions in the new year. God bless you and God bless Belize,” he writes.
These sporting activities are a prelude to the inauguration of the Santa Elena Sporting Complex at 1:30 pm on November 27th. Games are scheduled to start at 3:30 pm on that Sunday and families and sport enthusiasts are being welcomed to come out and enjoy the spacious sporting facility.
WORDS OF LIFE with Barry Fraser
The early history of the world and God’s chosen people is found in the Jewish Scriptures, our “Old Testament.” It takes us from the creation of the Earth to about four hundred years before the birth of Jesus. The book of the Prophet Malachi would be the last prophetic word for four hundred years.
The Jewish nation had times of freedom, times of colonization, and times of exile. At various times the nation had been controlled by the Babylonian Empire, the Medes and Persians, and the Greek Empire. Then, at the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire had control of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and the Decapolis. The people were waiting anxiously for the Messiah, who would free them from this tyrannical rule.
It was 400 years since the last Prophet of any significance. In many churches the four Sundays before Christmas Day are called the period of Advent, meaning the time of waiting for the Messiah to come. The four Sundays of Advent, by tradition, represent to 400 years of waiting.
Taking out the trash
There is a part of our Belizean culture that has been more apparent in our more recent generations, a part of our culture that becomes apparent every time there is a gathering, a concert, or major event. It is apparent every time we look at the streets of my wonderful home called Belize City. I have seen it as well, in other major towns across the country. It is one of the most prominent and obvious things, yet it is one of the easiest ones to fix, if we could only make the decision individually, but also, collectively. The problem I am talking about is litter, and anything else that adds to the deterioration of the beauty and aesthetics of our city.
It is not uncommon, as most of us youth already know, to hear people say that the government needs to help with this or that, or that they need to improve this. It is always so easy to criticize, yet, sadly, and truthfully, we hardly ever do anything as individuals to help our country. It was a U.S president by the name of John F. Kennedy who once said “Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.”
Re: Today's Belize News: November 26, 2016
11/26/16 01:32 AM
11/26/16 01:32 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
LA Fashions Boutique on New Road held up
Sometime before 9 p.m. tonight, an attempt was made to rob the LA Fashions Boutique on New Road in Belize City, which was in the process of closing for the night.
However, according to police, the assailants left empty-handed after they ransacked the place and held the cashier hostage in the process.
The failed robbers then scurried off into a waiting taxi which had brought them to the boutique.
Information to Amandala is that the men in the taxi then turned onto Douglas Jones Street, where they are believed to have shot a security guard at JL’s Pawn Shop.
According to information from police, the security guard was shot in his right arm and is currently receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Corozal pawn shop robbery foiled
A man tried to rob the Rapidito Pawn Shop In Corozal Town at about 9:30 this morning on 4th Street, but instead of getting away with any money or valuable items, he was shot in his upper leg and escaped empty-handed.
The thief fled in a van with three other men, but they were pursued by an alert policeman who was in civilian clothes, in his private vehicle.
Quick police work led to the establishment of a roadblock, and the wounded robber and his accomplices were arrested.
Chetumal pulls in millions
Roughly 12,000 Belizeans, more people than the population of Corozal Town, crossed the northern border to travel to Mexico last weekend as Mexico hosted its annual Buen Fin—its version of Black Friday—meant to get Mexican shoppers to spend their money in Mexico rather than in the US.
Immigration officials have told the press that the usual border traffic is about 7,000, and this weekend’s buzz at the border is certainly more than was created for last year’s Buen Fin. Generally speaking, it appears that border traffic to Mexico has increased, with even slower days, such as Mondays and Tuesdays, seeing more people crossing the border to Chetumal. Meanwhile, the reverse traffic from Mexico to the Commercial Free Zone at Mexico’s border with Belize, at its peak, is about 4,000, our sources say.
Belizean shoppers were willing to endure hours of traffic bottlenecks to shop in Mexico—delays which we are told were due to a mix of factors, including a Police and Traffic Department checkpoint, transitions in border procedures and lack of management of the two-way flow of traffic.
Nelson Zelaya’s assassins “ate with the family”
A 3-year-old infant was reportedly present when two gunmen callously shot her father in his head several times at about 11 a.m. today while he was relaxing in his backyard in Gardenia at Mile 21 on the Philip Goldson highway.
Police reports are that a man, armed with a shotgun, and another man, armed with a handgun, emerged from some nearby bushes and both of them shot Nelson Zelaya, 27.
Ladyville police were called to the scene and they immediately rushed the injured victim to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).
While being transported, Zelaya was bleeding profusely from the head, but still appeared to have had a pulse. However, upon reaching the KHMH, he succumbed to his injuries.
Belmopan “bad-man” Lincoln Bejerano still at large
A man who police say is responsible for a number of crimes in Belmopan and its surrounding areas earlier this year, and who has been arrested and charged for numerous offenses, including murder, and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison, is still at large after he escaped from Belmopan police custody on Wednesday, October 26. On that day, while he was being taken to the bathroom in the police station, he pushed down the police guard and bolted out of the police station.
Lincoln Bejerano, 25, a laborer of Belmopan, also known as “Belmopan bad man”, should have been in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court today, November 23, the date set by the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court for the preliminary inquiry into the murder of taxicab driver Isidoro Sauer, 28, who was found shot in the head and body at about 11:00 Friday night, January 8 in the Piccini area of Belmopan.
Top performers in CAPE and CSEC recognized
The 22nd annual CXC National Awards Ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 23, at the St. Catherine Academy Auditorium in Belize City, where the CXC National Committee of Belize presented awards to outstanding students in the 2016 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examinations, sat by graduating high school students, and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), sat by graduating junior college students.
A total of 366 students, or roughly 10% of those who sat the exams, were recognized with CSEC certificates of excellence, 2 with subject group awards, and 34 with individual subject awards.
Of the students who excelled in the 2016 CAPE Examinations, 5 received CAPE certificates of excellence and 3 received certificates of recognition. Certificates were also presented to the top performers in 30 CAPE units.
Playoffs tip off this weekend in SSBA basketball out west
The regular season came to a close this past weekend, as the association wrapped out a few rain-out games. However, a majority of the games had no playoff implications, so a few teams did not show up for their final game of the season.
On Friday night, Cayo Storm was a no-show, giving the victory to the undefeated and #1 seed, Pepsi Christian Ambassadors in the Under 19 division. In game 2, Belize Pet World also recorded a win, given that Invaders was unable to field 5 players in the Over 35 category. In the nightcap, Panthers edged out Police Stars, 50-45, as they fought for the #1 seed and the bye in the Senior Division. Winston Pratt was the top scorer for Panthers with 19 pts, while Johann “Cutto” Bermudez netted 14 pts. Police Stars was led by Andre Almendarez, who tallied 16 pts, and William Black chipped in with 11 pts.
We call it Ping Pong! Big success in Belize!
On Saturday, November 19, the 34th Central American Senior Table Tennis Championships concluded in dramatic fashion at the SCA auditorium in Belize City. Beginning on Wednesday, November 16, it was a historic moment for Belize to be the host country with seven nations and their respective teams participating.
In the men’s championships, Mexico’s Jose Ricardo Villa Can placed first; and in the female championships, Estefania Ramirios from El Salvador topped the tournament. In men’s doubles, the Mexican duo of Jose Ricardo Villa Can and Miguel Lara Escalante brought home the gold; while in the female doubles, Estefania Ramirios and Emme Arias delivered the victory. In mixed doubles, Guatemala’s Kevin Montufar and Mabelyn Enriquez were victorious. The overall TEAM category saw Mexico as champions for the male division, and Guatemala as top finishers for the female division.
National U-17 Team returning home
The National U-17 Team will be returning to Belize on Friday, November 25, from their participation in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Qualifiers, which was held in San Jose, Costa Rica. They are expected to arrive at 9:30 a.m. at the Philip Goldson International Airport, on Avianca.
Due to Hurricane Otto’s threat to Costa Rica, the team was prompted to play their final game against Nicaragua, scheduled for Thursday, November 24, on Wednesday, November 23, instead. Although the team did not win any of the 4 games played, they represented the country well. We extend a safe travel, warm welcome and thank you to the team and the rest of the delegation.
Santa Elena Sports Complex inauguration this Sunday
The Government of Belize, through the Belize Infrastructure Limited, announces the inauguration of the Santa Elena Sports Complex. Santa Elena has seen much advancement in infrastructure over the past several years, and while many of us are able to see the visible road works approaching the town, few are aware of the 13.42 acre sporting facility renovations – its new main entrance now on Bishop Street – that have been underway from last year, with many new enhancements.
The Santa Elena Sports Complex is now the third and final facility to be delivered to the Twin Towns by the Government of Belize under the execution of Belize Infrastructure Limited.
The possible and the real
In a recent statement downgrading Belize’s credit rating, Standard and Poor’s described our United Democratic Party (UDP) government as “center-right.” We were struck by that description, one reason being that the notion of “right” wing in economic policy description suggests a philosophy which has the inefficient public sector taking a back seat to the productive private sector. This is not the case in Belize, which features an onerous tax regime wherein the Government of Belize can always find tax cash for politically-motivated projects, whereas small and medium-sized private businesses have been dropping here like flies over the past few years.
Politics is often referred to as the art of the possible. We would then say that economics must be the social science of the real. According to economist Bill Lindo, when governments need money all they have to do is print more. Bill would know, of course, that there are inflation implications to that kind of political decision making in the realm of finance. Economics must be the social science of the real because it takes into account what a society possesses in hard statistical terms and uses that data to plan and project for society’s fundamental needs, in the first instance, and expanding prosperity, in the second. Economists cannot afford to dream: it is only politicians who are allowed to engage in dreaming.
During the time I spent visiting with my maternal uncle before he died about eight years ago, there were a couple stories he told me about the death penalty, which was by hanging in the case of British Honduras, which I will share with you today.
He told me, on more than one occasion, of a case where an onlooker who was watching a man stab another to death, shouted, “Dale uno para mi,” which is to say something to the effect of, “Give him a stab for me.” Literally, the Spanish words mean in English, “Give him one for me.” For those words, that onlooker received the death penalty and was hanged.
My uncle did not provide specifics, such as the name of the onlooker, the murderer, or his victim, so I only have his word to go on. I always found him to be very reliable when it came to the recounting of incidents, so I am inclined to believe the story. The story, nevertheless, does sound sensational today to the point of sounding incredible. But, colonial days in British Honduras where the matters of crime and punishment were concerned, were quite different from these times in independent Belize. Back then, such a story would not sound so sensational.
UB students write
With the latest spike of violence that has caused a disheartening increase in the deaths of children, Belize is yet faced with the stark reality that there remains an inefficient and ineffective manner in how the country is dealing with crime and violence.
The latest tragedy, the death of seven-year-old Tyler Savery who was gunned down alongside his cousin while riding his bicycle, only reveals the callous nature of the youth responsible for this crime.
More than that, however, this, alongside the recent murders that have produced infants as collateral damage, only resound the realism that there is a pervasive criminal element, mind-set, platform, culture and breeding ground that must be addressed sensibly and strategically.
“Stop Male Suicide”—a timely theme
The plight of struggling men in Belize does not receive enough attention, and this was evident when International Men’s Day, which was celebrated on November 19 this year under the theme, “Stop Male Suicide”, went under the radar, despite the pressing issue that it raised. In Belize, almost 9 in 10 suicide victims for the year 2015 was a male. Similarly, of the suicides reported in the news this year, virtually all were males, and notably in their productive years. Suicide attempts are substantially more frequent. Whereas there were 25 suicides reported in 2015—up from 17 in 2014—there were 66 attempts that same year, up from 62 reported during the previous year. However, the gender pattern is reversed, as two in three of those persons who attempt suicide but receive medical intervention are females.
Late Atlantic hurricane pummels Central America
Hurricane Otto, a category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, crossed Central America near the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua on Thursday, producing heavy rains that could cause life-threatening flooding and mudslides in parts of Central America. It is expected to inch westward over […]
John Francisco Leslie remanded for sexual perversion on child
In the Magistrate’s court this morning a five-year-old girl testified against a man who she said, ejaculated in her mouth. In court she was hidden from public view as she described over a microphone how the man, identified as John Francisco Leslie, told her to stand on a chair and […]
UB hosts marketing expo
The University Of Belize, Belize City campus held its 9th annual Marketing Expo at the Princess Hotel and Casino on Wednesday morning. Some 28 small business entrepreneurs came to display their products and services, hoping to expand on their marketing skills and sales. They were […]
Belize’s top scholars honored at CXEC & CAPE awards
The Ministry of Education honored 366 outstanding Belize scholars with Certificates of Excellence for their achievements in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations held in May – June of this year, as well as 15 scholars who aced the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE),at MOE’s annual awards ceremonyat the […]
Supreme Court says teachers must be paid full salaries this month
The Supreme Court of Belize granted an injunction this week, effectively barring the Ministry of Education from making salary deductions for teachers who participated in the 11-day strike in October. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down the ruling on Monday, after hearing arguments from both the Ministry […]
Prince Harry visits eight Caribbean countries
Prince Harry is visiting eight Caribbean countries over the next two weeks, stopping first in Antigua aboard a British Airways commercial flight on Monday. Harry will spend 15 days touring St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Guyana. […]
CCCCC & USAID partner in $26 Million Climate Change Project
Ten CARICOM nations of the eastern and southern Caribbean will become more prepared to adapt to the effects of Climate Change as a result of a US$25.6 Million 4-year project in which the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC or 5C’s) has partnered with the United States Agency for International […]
Entrecon II to get Belize into 6 Billion ICT market
Almost everyone on the planet is using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in one form or another, creating a virtually limitless market of 6 Billion approaching 7 Billion users for ICT innovators. Belizean entrepreneurs were encouraged this take advantage of this opportunity to develop new ICT products and services at […]
New CitCo program to use property taxes to help fund street infrastructure
The Belize City Council is formulating a new program where community residents can assist in the upgrading of their streets by committing their property taxes over a period of time towards the upgrade. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley explained on Tuesday, that under the program, residents would, […]
Two die in weekend accidents
Two separate traffic accidents over the Garifuna Settlement Day weekend left two persons dead. On Sunday, Corozal resident Lionel Martinez, 39, and Dangriga resident Mari Jimenez, 27, died when they were both knocked down in separate incidents. Around 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, Martinez was walking along […]
Decomposed body of fisherman found at sea
The body of 39-year-old Linsford Locaro was fished out of the sea in the north-west area of the Tobacco Caye Range on Saturday evening by Coastguard officers. Last Thursday Locaro, along with his common law wife; their nine-month-old daughter and three other friends, were on a […]
Cops bust suspected drug trafficker
Forty-three-year-old Brian Moreira, one of the suspected drug traffickers involved in a high speed chase that yielded 25 pounds of cannabis last week, has been arrested and charged. On November 19, based on a tip, Belmopan police converged upon a motel in where Moreira was apparently […]
It was inspiring to see so many of our young people engrossed in a serious discussion about what is wrong with Belizean society and what we ought to do to improve it during these 16 Days of Activism. When one has worked many years with a newspaper, one gets to […]
Freed murder suspect executed in Gardenia
A resident of Gardenia Village was executed in his own yard on Thursday afternoon near mile 21 on the Philip Goldson highway. Around midday, 27-year-old Nelson Zelaya was attacked by two men who emerged from nearby bushes surrounding his home. He was shot once in […]
Security guard foils pre-Christmas season robbery
A security guard’s quick action foiled a blatant daylight robbery at a Corozal pawnshop just before the official start of the Christmas season. A robber walked into Rapidity Loans, located at #34 4th Avenue in Corozal Town at around 9:00 a.m., on Thursday morning, and […]
S&P: Superbond default imminent
Standard & Poor’s Global Rating agency, this week downgraded Belize’s sovereign credit rating for the second time in less than two weeks, going as far as to predict that a default on the 2038 “Superbond” is imminent. S&P updated its credit rating outlook for Belize on Wednesday, dropping the country’s […]
FECTAB says Harvest Caye is hurting small tour operators
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations (FECTAB), on Thursday, complained that the recently opened Harvest Caye Cruise Port is hurting local tour operators and causing them to lose money. At a press conference on Thursday morning at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, FECTAB […]
Callous arson attack displaces six families
Six families from Trio Village in the Toledo district have been left homeless after five homes were set ablaze and another demolished last Thursday by five thugs. The villagers believe that the incident stems from a bitter land dispute between the home-owners and an unidentified […]
The Belize Times
WELCOME TO BELIZE…BELIZEANS NOT WELCOME!
Cruise tourism giant Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has officially opened its Harvest Caye Island getaway in this country, and Belizeans are not allowed to go anywhere near it – not on the island, the dock, the beach or even in the waters around this new ‘foreign territory’ in Belize. Harvest Caye is a multi-million dollar investment which NCL has made in Belize. It was constructed with the idea to create an island paradise for the company’s guests. Billed as a “75-acre oasis”, it comes with a 15,000 square-foot swimming pool, a cascading waterfall, a swim-up pool bar, canopy cabanas, a two-story indoor/outdoor restaurant, beachside cabanas, a 7-acre sandy beach, a “flight-house” with zip lining across the island, free fall jumps, water sporting facilities, and many more features. The objective is to create a location where the guests can do everything that they would want to do, all without having to leave. If the guest still want to tour other parts of Southern Belize, tour operators hand-picked by NCL have been engaged to provide that service. There are a number of Belizeans who have been hired into the hospitality industry who are being trained to cater to all the needs of the cruise guests who arrive on the cruise ships.
Terrorism in Trio…Farmers Burned Out
As we go to press, Independence Police confirm that one person is in the custody of Belize City Police and it is believed that others will soon be detained for the heinous and deliberate arson and destruction of property in the southern community of Trio.
6 hard-working farming families are homeless after their homes were mercilessly destroyed by a group of men. Those culprits burnt down five houses and because one of the houses was fire resistant, they used a vehicle to break it apart and pull it down.
The incident happened on Thursday, November 17, sometime after 9 p.m., when the residents were at their homes. It is believed that the arsonists arrived in a grey Mahindra pickup truck and started lighting the homes of the residents on fire. Before they could react, their homes were almost completely engulfed by the blaze, and all they could do was escape unharmed.
FABER FAILS! – GOB CAN’T PLAY WITH TEACHERS’ PAY
The move by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Patrick Faber to punish teachers was foiled by the Supreme Court on Monday. In a decision handed down in chambers, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the BNTU an injunction which prohibits the Ministry from cutting teachers’ salaries this end of November, just before Christmas, as it had intended to do. Instead, the matter will proceed to substantive trial set for December 16th. Until that matter is heard and pending a decision, the government has been ordered to pay teachers their full salaries, without deductions.
Emerging from the courtroom Monday afternoon, BNTU attorney Eamon Courtenay explained that he felt the injunction was granted because the Chief Justice believed that the case is arguable and there is a “real likelihood that we will succeed at trial.” While attorneys for the Ministry of Education argued that reversing the deduction order set in place would be complicated, Courtenay told the media that “the CJ said that more people will be affected if they don’t pay than people who have to do overtime to correct the situation. So the teachers have to be paid and be paid on time.”
THINK ABOUT IT
The demise of the Public Service Union represents a huge body blow to the young nation of Belize. It is the decapitation of an organization that is crucial to the democracy and good governance of the country.
The Constitution provides for a professional and non-political public service. The Constitution establishes the Public Services Commission, made up of knowledgeable and experienced citizens. ONLY the Commission can hire and fire, discipline, transfer, promote and demote public officers in accordance with laws and regulations which are open and transparent.
The process allows for aggrieved public officers to appeal to the Advisory Council. No Minister of Government or the Cabinet is given any authority to hire or fire staff or interfere in the professional work of the public officers.
No Justice…No Peace!
The brazen murder of young Tyler Savery has inspired a passionate outcry. Belizeans are outraged, frustrated and heartbroken. The images of milkshakes placed lovingly on a shrine and his beautiful smile are seared in our heads. He was innocent. We cry out for justice, but what can we do? There is none to be had. We shed tears for Tyler now, but it will pass. How many of us remember the names Joshua Abraham and Daniel Espat? How about Kaylee Burgess and Kaylee Alvarez? How long before we forget about Aaron, Ian and Empress?
Social media has been lit up since the death of Tyler, as it is after every horrific crime, particularly against an innocent. But it will pass. The anguish is real from family members. The cry for something, anything is real. There are those who call for prayers as the only hope, and others who point out that we can pray every second of every minute of every hour of every day…and blood will continue to be spilled in our streets. Mothers will continue to grieve. Evil will continue to flourish. And Belizeans will continue to be denied the justice that in many cases is the only consolation to be had.
Sadie Vernon Tech, SJC & Maud Williams’ Boys Win in CSSSA Basketball
The Sadie Vernon Technical High School, St. John’s College and Maud Williams High School boys all posted big wins in the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) basketball at the St. John’s College gym last week.
On Friday, Maud Williams’ boys won 44-42 vs. Nazarene High led by Mainor Sarmiento with 15pts, Julian Luna scored 10pts; Edward Adu added 5pts, and Jermaine Bainton and Glen Arzu chipped in 4pts apices. Nazarene’s Jayden Humes scored 19ts, Michael Robinson and Glenford Reneau added 6pts apiece, and Tyreek Garcia chipped in 4pts.
In Game 2 Friday night, Sadie Vernon boys won 20-0 by Belize High School’s default.
On Monday, Sadie Vernon won 65-59 vs. Excelsior High School led by Terrence Usher with 20pts, Michael Bowen and Dre Gladden scored 11pts apiece and Darnel Guzman added 8pts. Excelsior’s Shadrick Lord led with 15pts; Geon Fuentes and Christopher Flores added 8pts apiece, and Jian Augustine scored 7pts.
FC Belize & Wagiya Draw 2-2 in PLB Football
Wagiya ended a 9-game losing streak to draw 2-2 in the last 4 minutes with FC Belize in Week 15 of the Premier League of Belize’s opening season tournament at the Carl Ramos Stadium on Sunday.
FC Belize’s Jordi Lopez scored on a free kick in the 17th minute: 1-0; and FC Belize’s Russell Casanova scored a 2nd goal: 2-0 in the 53rd minute.
The game was almost over when Wagiya’s Krisean Lopez and Alton Carr shunted the ball across the goal mouth for Hector Gomez to score in the 87th minute: 2-1 and Clifton Thomas equalized 2-2 in the 90th minute!
At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night, the Belmopan Bandits stomped Orange Walk United: 9-2 with Jairo Roches scoring 4 goals in the 5th, 57th, 59th and 62nd minutes. Jerome “Jaro” James scored Bandits’ 2nd and 3rd goals in the 35th and 50th minutes. Aloisio Teixiera scored the 4th goal in the 53rd minute, and Jordi Polanco scored the 8th goal in the 87th minute and Marlon “Matador” Meza added a 9th goal in injury time at the 91st minute: 9-2. Sugar City‘s Brazilian import Joao Silva scored 2 goals in the 49th and 90th minutes.
Kulture Megabytes’ Kent Gabourel Wins T.V. Ramos Cycling Classic
Kulture Megabytes’ Kent “Bob” Gabourel won the A Category of the annual Thomas Vincent Ramos Cycling Classic held by the Weekend Warriors cycling club; from the Elagule Bar on the Hummingbird Highway in Dangriga to the Placencia roundabout on the Southern Highway and back to the finish on Sunday. Santino Castillo won the B category and Lisa Berger won the C Category.
Questions to Ministers
Would the Member for Queen Square and Minister of Finance please confirm or deny reports that due to serious current revenue shortfalls, GST on goods will be raised to 15% in January, and not in March as suggested?
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please explain how, in a time of economic crisis, he can justify giving his recently acquired luxury SUV to his colleague in Collet and acquiring another brand new luxury SUV for himself?
Would the Member for Collet and Minister of Education say if he will now abandon his petty and malicious campaign to punish the teachers? Could he further say what he will be giving Collet resident for Christmas cheer since all the Petrocaribe money is done?
Would the Member for Corozal Bay and Minister of Health please confirm or deny rumours that he and the daughter of his colleague from Cayo West are partnering in a company to provide pharmaceuticals to the Ministry of Health?
Would the Member for Corozal Bay and Minister of Health please also clarify if it is not a conflict of interest for a Minister to be romantically involved with a high-ranking member of his own Ministry who is responsible for a sensitive area like pharmaceuticals?
MoH Owes Over $20M in Outstanding Pharmaceutical Bills
Eyebrows have been raised over the Ministry of Health’s last procurement of pharmaceuticals via a short term tender of only six months as opposed to previous tenders that have lasted longer. One of the reasons behind it, as explained by Health CEO, Dr. Ramon Figueroa is that the Ministry “had an incredible outstanding bill above and beyond the approved budget for last year for pharmaceuticals. Actually it was for this financial year…Outstanding was about 23/24 million…It really went through the roof. Before that it was pretty much stable,” he said. According to Dr. Figueroa, the yearly expenditure for pharmaceuticals AND all medical supplies hovers around 17 to 18 million dollars.
Believing that they could be more efficient and purchase much more with the money budgeted…Dr. Figueroa says he sat down with the pertinent health officials and the 10 or so pharmaceutical providers around the time he took over from CEO Dr. Peter Allen after the November 2015 General Elections. Most of them, he said, still had a large stock of items to deliver to the Ministry. They therefore asked the providers for an extension of the same contract from the previous year to carry them through to September 2016. This would also allow the Ministry to figure out a payment plan for the providers who were owed “quite a bit of money.”
DEADLY C.A. GANGS AND DRUG CARTELS EYE BELIZE
DEADLY and dangerous gangs and drug cartels in Central America may soon be seeking safe haven in Belize to plant their flagpoles of mayhem, violence and other illegal operations here. They are now coming under serious pressure from their governments that have declared war on these violent gangs and organized crime.
El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras earlier this month launched a joint operation by their security forces to fight gangs and organized crime. This joint operation comprised police, military, intelligence and border officials. According to an official report, an increasing number of gang members are committing crimes in one country then fleeing to another.
In one report by Insight Crime, a foundation studying organized crime in the Americas, almost 400 alleged gang members were arrested in the first ten months of this year. The report notes that many of the El Salvador gang members who fled have set up their own gang structures in Guatemala. This has serious implications for Belize. They have traditionally survived through extortion rackets but have increasingly become involved with drug cartels and drug trafficking.
MY PERSPECTIVE – BE CAREFUL…BOOTS AND SOCKS!!
The form that must be filled out by all persons in public life so as to be in compliance with the Prevention of Corruption Act is one that is quite detailed. Every year one must list particulars of accounts at banks and credit unions held by the person, his/her spouse and his/her children under the age of eighteen. One must also list particulars of cash of over $500.00 held other than in a bank or credit union, even cash stashed in one’s socks.
Listed too must be bonds, stocks, shares and investments; all immovable property such as houses and land; value of furniture, appliances, jewelry, coins, stamps, works of art; investments held in mortgages or business ventures and all income therefrom; accounts receivable, vehicles, boats, aircraft, insurance policies, safety deposit box, property held in a trust, annual income of self and spouse including perquisites such as entertainment and travel allowances; secured debts or other liabilities; AND any property disposed of in the relevant period. It is no joke!!
Bad News All Around
For the past few months much of the news was focused on the US Presidential elections. The debates and campaigning strategies that were employed left much to be desired and in the end it only created a schism not only in America but in the rest of the world. Although his strategy was controversial and unorthodox, the ability of Donald Trump to speak the language of the common man had made him popular with the working class. His victory in key states such as Florida and Pennsylvania was the reason for him to swing the election in his favor.
Presently there are a lot of Belizeans both at home and abroad who are not cognizant of the situations that may develop after Trump’s inauguration as president of the world’s most powerful country. Much of Trump’s campaign was centered on the crime/immigration issues along with the loss of jobs due to companies moving their factories to third world countries so as to increase their profit margins. In the event that he should start to implement his campaign promises, our country with its fragile economy will be in for a rocky ride.
Thinking Out Loud
Without any warning to commuters, the Government of Belize imposed a significant hike in bus fares to the North, West and South of the country…all fares for major stops and ALL stops in between increased. In some cases, commuters will need to pay as much as $2.50 more to reach their destinations. Trust me that adds up when you are somebody who is forced to use the bus every single day to reach to work and back home. And there was no advance notice – none!
I understand that Minister Castro says that they couldn’t inform commuters because there is no commuter association. That’s absolute nonsense. This government has been known to launch ad campaigns worth hundreds of thousands when they want to get their propaganda out. But apparently they couldn’t even get out a simple radio message to let commuters know that they would have to dig deeper into their pockets to ride our buses. It’s a shame, and an unfair and unwelcome Christmas gift for commuters.
THE WONDERER AND BELIZE CITY FAECES! “SHIT” MAN!
The Wonderer was wandering around Belize City lately and remembered a news item not so long ago about “Shit-water” entering the Haulover Creek at the end of Pickstock Street with North Front Street. Well shit still the flow…..into the creek, then into the sea, then the reef, it also flows south along the coast as our currents are from north to south. But this small volume is not all…It’s much bigger….it’s Huge….the volumes of shit water entering our Belize City environment by us the same residents.
After wondering where I could get information I wandered to some friends and googled and visited some GOB departments and got ahold of “Open Your Eyes” information. I learnt that in the early seventies the Canadian government through CIDA gave a loan (about 60 million) to Belize for a new water and sewerage system for the existing Belize City. This loan was converted to a grant by the Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. Kudos to him and to the Canadians. The City was small at the time and a water and wastewater system was put in place that almost covered the entire city. Water was about 100% and wastewater about 50% coverage. Today the wastewater collection system manages only about 16% of the entire city. Governments have not increased the coverage. They claim it’s too expensive! But let me tell you that pollution and contamination of the environment with shit-water is more expensive! Far more expensive in the longer run.
PUP’s UWG Calls for Support for 16 Days of Activism
Friday November 25th, marks the launch of the 2016 campaign against gender based violence. The campaign which runs from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10th (Human Rights Day) was created by activists at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. The United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” (UNiTE) in support of the initiative, acts as a platform to increase awareness and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions. The theme this year is “Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women”.
The United Women’s Group of the People’s United Party stands in solidarity with other national and international organizations in efforts to end violence against our Belizean women and girls. In light of the recent spike of violence against young children, the call goes even further to end ALL forms of violence against the most vulnerable members of our society. The prevalence of gender based violence in our communities is much higher than we may want to acknowledge or accept.
GOB Fell Asleep on Debt for Nature Swap!
As Belize scrambles to convince holders of the 2038 Bond to restructure for an “unprecedented” third time, documents leaked to the media reveal that the current administration dropped the ball on a proposal that would have eased pressure from bond commitments by US$100 Million.
Following Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s election in 2008 his administration was approached by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a charitable environmental organization. TNC proposed a debt-for-nature-swap, a transaction which would have seen TNC buying US$100 Million worth of Superbond debt.
TNC had even gotten pledges for up to US$60 Million at one point during the course of negotiations which lasted years but was never given serious political consideration.
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, PM Barrow was involved in the discussion in its initial stages. Mark Espat, Joy Grant, Collin Young, Godwin Hulse and Mike Singh were all involved in the discussion on government’s behalf through the years before negotiations finally broke down.
CJ to Decide on Supremacy – Constitution vs. Parliament
On December 6th, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will deliver his response to an application by acting Solicitor-General Nigel Hawke, acting on behalf of Government, specifically Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte and Clerk of the National Assembly Eddie Webster. Hawke has asked the Court to strike out a case brought by PUP Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat contending that his suspension from the House in August 2016 was improperly done and thus illegal and should be voided.
It is basically the only argument presented by the government side. According to attorney Andrew Marshalleck representing Espat, “The defendants who are the speaker, the clerk and the Attorney General, have offered no defence to the claim on the merits yet, but instead applied to have the matter struck out on two grounds. They say that the courts not lack jurisdiction to inquire into the internal affairs of parliament and that Mr. Espat has an alternative remedy for redressing what happened. This is to go back to the house for a resolution to terminate the suspension.”
Top CXEC & CAPE Performers Awarded
Some 366 outstanding Belizean students were recognized and awarded certificates of excellence in the May-June Caribbean Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations along with 15 scholars who had excelled in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), when the Ministry of Education hosted its annual awards ceremony at the St. Catherine Academy auditorium in Belize City on Wednesday morning, November 23.
The education ministry awarded a full two-year scholarship to the two most outstanding performers who also received a Samsung tablet from Belize Telemedia Ltd. Rhiki Alexander Alegría of St. John’s College won top honours as the most outstanding student; he sat 18 examinations and achieved 16 Grade I passes at the General Proficiency Level, of which he achieved 1st place for Music, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, and Physical Education and Sport. His other Grade I passes were in Biology, Chemistry, English A, English B (Literature), Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Spanish and Human and Social Biology. He also passed Religious Education with a Grade II and passed Visual Arts with a Grade III. He received the Subject Group award in the Sciences.
If Dah Noh Soh…
GST is going up sooner than you think. We’re hearing January 2017 and not March. We’re being told that’s one of the measures which bondholders are demanding even before they sit down at the table to discuss restructuring. In addition, bondholders are allegedly demanding that GOB’s team come to the table with a list of measures that will be immediately put in place to reduce the wage bill, something the IMF has been advising in consecutive country reports. Wage bill reduction is fancy-talk for RETRENCHMENT. We’ve been warning you. It’ll happen soon.
Last we heard, Minister of Health Pablo Marin was calling Erwin Contreras suegro and he’d completely renovated his house in Corozal on the instruction of his newfound love. There’s nothing wrong with love. Hell, I’m in love with love, but see…Pablito’s sweetie-pie is the Director in the Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health so her boss is her babes. And see, because of certain shady moves in the Ministry this drug inspectorate director, daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras and heartstring of Minister Pablo Marin, is one of those people who can approve the passage of pharmaceuticals across the border. See where I’m going with this? Word is that the electrician turned politician and the politician’s daughter turned drug director have been looking into forming their own company to supply pharmaceuticals to the Ministry of Health…hustling noh done with this crew. Keep an eye on this one.
Breaking Belize News
Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former leader, dies at 90
Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro has died aged 90. Raul Castro, his younger brother and successor announced the news on state television just after midnight Friday. “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening. In compliance with […]
Vehicle collides into low lying bridge, passengers trapped inside
A white car heading from San Ignacio to Santa Elena collided into the low lying wooden bridge a short while ago. The driver and a female passenger were the only occupants and both were trapped inside the vehicle. Bystanders helped them out and they were […]
More rainy weather this weekend
The 24-hour forecast is for moist and unstable conditions with overcast clouds and showers to continue. Periods of rain, showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected over most areas. The Belize Weather Bureau has issued advisories that localized flooding is occurring over low lying areas […]
Tropic’s latest charitable effort its biggest yet
Tropic Air, as part of its ongoing #TropicGivesBack charitable campaign, donated over $1,300 split between the San Pedro Roman Catholic School and the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association. The donations benefited the school’s marching band and an environmental program for the association. Two checks […]
Caribbean health facilities to receive improvements with funds from UK
The SMART Health Care Facilities Project is improving and reconstructing an estimated 50 healthcare facilities in seven Caribbean countries. The project comes at a cost of US $38.3 million and is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK aid). PAHO’s (Pan […]
US Embassy launches activism against gender based violence
Last night, Ambassador Carlos Moreno officially launched the Embassy’s Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign (GBV). The ceremony included a candlelight vigil, as well as lighting the Embassy in orange to commemorate the start of the campaign. The Embassy commemorated […]
Convicted pedophile free in three years
A 39-year-old man, accused of a disgusting act of perversion, may only face 3 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old baby girl. According to police reports, in April of this year John Francisco Leslie allegedly took the child to his house where […]
Belmopan Police, City council and Kolbe foundation partner for clean up campaign
Yesterday Belmopan police, the Belmopan City Council and Kolbe Foundation partnered to clean the Central Walkway and the Rivera area to make it safer for those who use it. Officer commanding Belmopan police, Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett said that this is separate from other […]
San Ignacio Police meet and greet in Santiago Juan Layout
On Tuesday, Deputy Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police, Assistant Supt. Daniel Iche and members of the COPP, San Ignacio Branch, conducted a meet and greet in the Santiago Juan Layout area and its outskirts, where 23 homes were visited. The issues gathered from the […]
Police find marijuana plantation in Corozal
Yesterday between 5:30 am and 7:30 am, police conducted a drug operation in an overgrown area about ½ mile Northwest of Dominguez Layout, Corozal Town where they found cannabis plants ranging from 8 inches to 6 feet in height scattered over an open area. […]
Teachers November salary deferred
Teachers were due to collect their monthly salary tomorrow. However, a memo issued to managing authorities from the Ministry of Education was leaked stating that their salaries are being deferred until an unconfirmed date next week. In the leaked memo it says that the Ministry […]
Attempted armed robbery at LA Fashions Boutique in Belize City
Reports are that a short while ago, 2 gun men stormed into LA Fashions boutique on New road in Belize city. They held up the proprietor and reportedly searched the establishment but left with nothing. No one was hurt or injured. Police are investigating. […]
No ham for Thanksgiving?
53,000 pounds of ham was rejected from entering Ecuador on October 27, 2016 and is now sitting at the Benque Viejo Del Carmen Free Zone. According to reports, the ham originated from the United States and was trying to enter Belize in time for […]
Belize to make amendments to Special Agreement with Guatemala
In a Special Agreement signed in May 2015, Belize and Guatemala agreed to hold a referendum on whether or not to have the ongoing territorial dispute settled in the International Court of Justice. However, last week the Guatemalan Congress met and voted to have […]
Major Mexican Drug Cartel in Belize?
Rumors that US authorities extracted a Mexican drug lord in Belize, are just rumors. Yesterday this misleading information was circulated in various circles and even on social media claiming that the drug lord was connected to El Chapo and was stashed in a safe […]
S&P drops Belize’s rating again
For the second time in less than two week, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Belize’s long-term credit ratings. On November 14, S&P lowered Belize’s rating from B to CCC+. Now, S&P has further downgraded Belize’s rating to CC. According to the S&P rating scale: “The […]
Police find marijuana and ammunition in Belize City
Belize City police found 967 grams of cannabis and a black plastic bag containing 24 live 9mm ammunition on November 22, 2016 at 7:03 am during a search at Price Alley in Belize City. According to police reports, both the cannabis and ammo were […]
Farmer in southern Belize loses house to fire
A farmer from southern Belize lost his house to a fire last week. According to reports, Jose Bajarano, 64, a Salvadorian farmer of San Juan village, Stann Creek left his house (20 X 15 feet elevated 6 feet off the ground with zinc roofing) […]
Otto strengthens to a Category 2 Hurricane before landfall
This morning, Otto’s winds increased to 110 mph making it a Category 2 Hurricane. As of 9:00 this morning, Otto was located 75 miles south- southeast of Bluefileds, Nicaragua and was moving west at 9 mph. The Hurricane center stated that Otto may even […]
BTIA 31st AGM to be held on December 1
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) will be hosting its 31st annual general meeting on Thursday, December 1 at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nikita Usher is the guest speaker for […]
Re: Today's Belize News: November 26, 2016
11/26/16 01:32 AM
11/26/16 01:32 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
New Neighbor and Palapa Bar Party Pics
It is not always easy to deal with new neighbors and while I would not likely do it for real, mine has often left me wishing I had a super soaker so I can blast him from my bedroom window. Last night he went off at 4:00 am, again at 6:00 am and now he is crowing once more – 7:00am. That darn rooster always seems to0 have to much to say at the wrong time of day.
The upside to that my good friend Dennis (who arrived yesterday) reminded me that I am out of the land of barking dogs and that I was no stranger to roosters at my old house too.
As for the the Palapa Bar and Grill soft opening party, it was a great time. Many people came out to celebrate the worldwide loved bar and give well wishes to Scott Jodie and the Palapa family staff. I was very honored that they put a printed copy of my Palapa Bar Phoenix Rising from the Caribbean Sea blog post on their gratitude wall. Jodie mentioned how cool it was that my writing was a match to their new Phoenix Rising banner.
Find Old-School Caribbean Charm on Caye Caulker…While You Still Can: Part One
Front Street got its name because, to put it plainly, it’s in front. That is to say, it’s in front of Middle Street and Back Street, the other two primary lanes on tiny, five-mile-long Caye Caulker, Belize. Front Street faces the sea.
Garifuna Settlement Day in the Heart of Culture Town
On the days leading to November 19th Belize is bustling with energy, drumming, food and the black, white and yellow colors of the Garifuna Flag. Dorian and I decided 2016 was the year to experience Garifuna Settlement Day in Dangriga, the Culture Capital of Belize.
We were so determined to immerse ourselves in the culture of the Garinagu that we even purchased authentic Garifuna attire. I wore a Garifuna shirt in the colors of the flag and Dorian finally got to wear a Dashiki with African print.
The Garinagu are a lively group of people rich in culture and proud of their heritage. They arrived in Belize after fleeing from slavery in St. Vincent in 1802. Today the Yurumei, the “landing” of the Garinagu in Belize, is celebrated in an early morning reenactment of their arrival. In Dangriga, hundreds of people line up at the riverside to witness the Yurumei after a long night of celebrating and no sleep!
You would think they would head straight home to rest after the reenactment, but they just kept going! After the Yurumei, they walked to church drumming and singing in the Garifuna Language.
Happy Thanksgiving 2016 from our Family to Yours
Hurricane Earl, two Surgeries, a broken bone… Our family has been through its fair share of bumps in the road this year, but we have so much to be Thankful for!
We adopted the newest furry member of our family! Our silly, hyper, loving best friend, Mellow, is a complete joy. When his traveling paws aren’t on the road with us he enjoys the company and care of his friends at Pampered Paws. Sometimes he even gets to hang out with famous doggies like Dooley Bear!
Madison Pearl finally launched her fan page on Facebook and could not be happier to hear from all her new online friends. Her blog, Madi in the Middle has been shared in classrooms around the world by teachers with their students and we could not be more proud! Can you believe she turned 11 this year?
Helping Hands in Paradise
While aesthetics play a key role in one’s vacation destination choice, the community at that location often ends up being the factor for a return trip. If you are among those who fall in love with the warm smiles and friendly faces, and find yourself wanting to give back to the community that has touched your heart, there are many ways you can do so. We have witnessed an incredible outpouring of support from our visiting friends over the years, and in more ways than they will ever know they have helped to enrich the lives of many Belizeans.
Therefore, we have compiled a list of organizations and causes that we feel keep the spirit of giving year round.
Wheel Chairs for San Pedro and Caye Caulker
Some of you may recall back in January when award-winning songwriter and recording artist Kelly McGuire did a Songs for wheelchair concert series to help raise money. The time has come for the fruits of his efforts to blossom, in combination with the Wheelchair Foundation, Belize Rotary and San Pedro Red Cross.
For the past few months, the Wheelchair Foundation group has been working with local communities and the San Pedro Red Cross to do assessments and list members of the communities that are in need of wheelchairs. After distributing 200 chairs on mainland Belize, they will arrive in San Pedro December 4 to distribute wheelchairs to local residents.
Twenty-five individuals living in San Pedro and Caye Caulker will receive wheelchairs from the Wheelchair Foundation. Both San Pedro and Caye Caulker communities are invited to attend the donation ceremony on December 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Lions Den here in San Pedro. Mr. Glenn Perry from the Wheelchair Foundation and Mayor Daniel Guerrero, will be in attendance along with Eiden Salazar; San Pedro Red Cross Board Chairman, who will act as master of ceremonies for the evening.
Thanksgiving on Ambergris Caye? Yes! Here’s How I Did Mine
In New Jersey, TGE (or Thanksgiving Eve) is a holiday when it is very popular to re-unite with your high school class. Many reunions take place at the local town bar and some more formally – as an organized party. This year I missed my 25th Ridgewood HS reunion!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Instead, I was crafting for Cayo Frances Farm & Fly’s first Christmas tree. And I was more than fine with the trade-off.
Especially when I went for a walk Thanksgiving morning.
The ornaments that they sell here in San Pedro are great. LOTS of glitter and for my own tree? Nothing could make me happier. Last year I had a silver 5 footer with pink lights and lots of pink glitter. But for a fly fishing camp I thought a bit more subdued would be better…
So shells, rubber starfish and lots of flyfishing flies.
We drove to town to pack up and head to the leeward side.
Panama from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Around 5/6 weeks ago Rose and I enjoyed a short visit to Merida and while we were there we spoke again about the promise we’d made to each other that we would use our Ambergris Caye home base to visit neighbouring countries and countries in South America far more than we have done so far in the 41/2 years we have been living in Belize.
So early last week we got the atlas out and we pondered (Rose is quite good at pondering too) and then I remembered (the memory still works from time to time) that last December Copa Airlines introduced a twice a week (Tuesday and Friday) service between Panama City and Belize. Why not give it a try, we thought.
With the decision made I got up early the next morning (around 04.30 hours for those of you that might be remotely interested), made myself a mug of coffee (instant, black and unsweetened), grabbed the iPad and headed out to the veranda (the western, lagoon facing one). I had some Googling to do!
It didn’t take too long to start pulling our itinerary together. Fly out on the Friday and return the following Tuesday. With the travel arrangements made I chose a hotel in the business district (I’d been told by friends who’ve been there that this’s is a safe and central location) of Panama City fairly quickly. The Hilton Garden Inn if you want to know. Even if you don’t want to know, that’s the hotel I booked.
Into the great blue: The waters off Belize are a marine playground
I’m floating 70 kilometres offshore in the Great Blue Hole, a 125-metre deep sinkhole in Lighthouse Reef. And although aerial photos show a circular sapphire set in turquoise, it’s high tide, so it feels like we’re swimming in an oversized infinity pool.
It’s a surreal shade of blue that beckons with untold treasure. Measuring 300 metres across, this natural phenomenon became synonymous with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who popularized this Belize dive site in the early 1970s.
At our base camp on Half Moon Caye, park ranger Bill from the Belize Audubon Society tells us Cousteau “blew a piece of the crater out of the Blue Hole using dynamite” to gain better access to the heart of this adventure playground.
All of Belize seems primed for amusement or escape. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are still sun-drenched hot spots, and new properties promising exclusivity are also under development.
I’m staying a world away, spending six days at isolated off-the-grid base camps on Glover’s Reef and Lighthouse Reef as part of a 10-day guided excursion.
My journey starts in Dangriga, a 15-minute flight from Belize City. It’s where we set off to explore the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
What’s Ashcroft Buying?
TAX EXILE Lord Ashcroft appeared set for a return to the Tory inner circle yesterday after the party registered a £50,000 donation from a company linked to his family.
The former Conservative deputy chairman retreated from his involvement in the party in 2010 after a reported falling out with David Cameron.
The Belize-based billionaire even funded and co-authored last year’s infamous biography of Mr Cameron, which alleged the then PM had sex with a dead pig’s head.
But today the Star can reveal that a holdings firm heavily linked to Lord Ashcroft made a significant donation to Tory coffers following Mr Cameron’s departure.
Figures published by the Electoral Commission yesterday show that Anne Street Partners donated £50,000 to the Tories in August.
The donation is enough to secure a place at the Conservatives’ Leader’s Group. Members of this exclusive club are “invited to join Theresa May and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQs lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches,” according to the party website.
How to see Chichen Itza without the crowds
Sounds of the jungle were as thick as the humidity. Birds chirped and trilled. A deep hoot added a bass note. An almost mechanical staccato clicking joined in. I was following a Mayan guide, Juan Gualberto Tun Pat, down a garden path on the grounds of my hotel, where life is so insistent that young trees sprout in the middle of the gravel walkway.
At a wrought iron gate, two guys sat at a weathered Formica-topped table, the young one working on math problems, the older one tuning a radio. They paused to check my entrance ticket, exchanged greetings with Juan in their language, Yucatec Maya, and waved us on our way.
I felt like I’d just slipped through the secret back door to Chichen Itza, the Mayan archaeological wonder in the interior of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
The collection of pre-Columbian architectural masterpieces — pyramids, temples, columns — represent an ancient Mesoamerican culture steeped in art and science. The former urban center covers more than 10 square kilometers and two distinct periods — one collection of buildings was constructed by the early Mayans, while others date to a time after the Toltecs arrived and merged cultures with the existing community, Juan said. Its size and breadth make it one of the most formidable of the Mayan sites that dot Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Chichen Itza was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, reinforcing its status as a full-blown tourist attraction. According to UNESCO, which lists the treasure as a World Heritage Site, at least 3,500 people pour in each day. Most are day-trippers from Merida, Cancun and other coastal resorts who arrive midmorning and tour under a withering sun.
Mexico: the history of the Maya
It’s not surprising to assume ancient peoples have vanished when we see vast empty ruins such as Chichen Itza in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula. But there are some seven million Maya still alive today in Mexico and Guatemala, many of them native speakers of Mayan rather than Spanish.
The Maya (Mayan is the language) were a settled people who inhabited Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and parts of the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, as well as modern-day Guatemala, Belize and other smaller parts of Central America.
Their geographic concentration allowed them to resist being swallowed up by larger empires in the way of many smaller pre-Columbian civilisations.
The earliest Maya settlements appear around 1800 BCE and show they were an agricultural people harvesting crops such as maize, beans and squash – still staples of the Mexican diet.
They cleared jungle for farming but also started to develop sophisticated irrigation and terracing techniques.
However, it is the so-called Classic Period between 250-900 when Maya civilisation was at its height. This is when the great cities appeared, such as Tikal in modern Guatemala, and Becan, Calakmul, Río Bec and Palenque in Mexico.
The number and size of the plazas, palaces, ball courts, temples and pyramids we can still see today give us an idea of their grandeur. At its peak, there may have been two million people in the Maya Empire.
In the last decade a mystery disease has hit American snakes
In 2006 biologists studying the only timber rattlesnakes in the state of New Hampshire recorded something alarming: a population crash. The already rare animals – numbering about 40 in total – began dying in unusually large numbers. No more than 20 rattlesnakes survived, and the population remained at that new super-low level five years later.
Many of the snakes showed signs of a severe skin infection on their heads and bodies just before they died. It was an early sign of a deadly fungal disease that is now sweeping through the snakes of eastern North America.
Today at least 30 species are affected. "Snake fungal disease" has been documented in more than 16 US states and in parts of Canada. How worried should we be?
Then the team studied samples from lesions that could have been caused by the fungus and looked at their molecular makeup.
"We saw zero occurrence of the fungus from 1880 all the way through to 1999," says Allender. "The year 2000 is when we start to see its emergence in the area."
This suggests that an event at the turn of the millennium led a relatively benign fungus to become a potent snake killer.
Caribbean Islands Warned As Venezuela Collapses
The mayor of Chacao in Venezuela’s capital Caracas has warned that Caribbean islands and Colombia may suffer an influx of refugees from Venezuela if food shortages continue in the country.
Español Ramón Muchacho said that people have been reduced to hunting cats, dogs and pigeons for food.
“As hunger deepens, we could see more Venezuelans fleeing by land or sea to an island,” Muchacho said.
Venezuela saw a new wave of looting last week that resulted in at least two deaths, countless wounded, and millions of dollars in losses and damages, as desperation sets in among hungry residents and the country appears to be on the verge of complete collapse and chaos.
Panampost reported that last Wednesday morning a crowd ransacked a supermarket in the central region of Venezuela.
“They took milk, pasta, flour, oil, and milk powder. There were 5,000 people,” one witness told Venezuela outlet El Estímulo.
People from across the entire state came to the supermarket because there were rumours that some products not found anywhere else would be sold there. Authorities were unable to control the massive crowd.
Private island resorts are the in thing now
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What three things do you wish for?
Correct answer: a private plunge pool, a butler, and a beach bar with excellent frozen drinks, preferably set on the deck of a sailboat.
Private island resorts are having a moment — and the timing couldn’t be better. A globally tumultuous 2016 has exacerbated the travel trend of seeking remote corners and untouched places, of getting away from it all and feeling physically far away from all your worries.
It doesn’t matter what’s keeping you up at night at home; you’re likely to sleep easy when your biggest immediate concern is what drink will look best in your sunset Instagrams. If a bit of escapism is exactly what the doctor has in store, consider these nine openings that are pushing the envelope of luxury, from the Maldives to Belize.
The Caribbean joins the challenge of reducing food losses and waste
The Caribbean region has positive experiences and FAO's support to meet the goal of the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce food losses and waste by half by 2030. No effort to eradicate hunger and poverty in the Caribbean will be viable without public policies that promote more sustainable patterns of food consumption and production, said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, regarding the food that is lost or wasted daily in the region.
According to FAO studies, the loss levels for cassava, a staple food for food security in the Caribbean, reaches of up to 23% in Guyana and 20% in Trinidad and Tobago, while up to 20% of tomatoes are wasted in Saint Lucia, 27% in Trinidad and Tobago and 34% in Guyana.
Guyana's National Institute for Agricultural Research and Extension estimates that about 30% of all fruits and vegetables produced in the country are not consumed. A similar figure is observed with respect to vegetables in Haiti, 35% of which are lost or wasted, according to IICA.
At the regional level, FAO notes that food losses and waste in Latin America reach 223 kg of food per person per year, more than enough to meet the caloric needs of all who suffer hunger in the region.
OVERVIEW GLOBAL MARKET PAPAYAS
The demand for papayas in Europe is on the rise, even though the product is still perceived as exotic in many countries. This is very different in the US, where papayas are considered mainstream. In countries in the southern hemisphere, papayas are certainly not exotic. Latin America, Africa and Asia grow large volumes of the fruit. The season in South Africa has only just reached its peak; in Australia, growers were hit by a storm that decimated the supply and, meanwhile, Latin American countries are seeking export opportunities. Costa Rica is looking to Canada, Brazil to Europe, Mexico to the US, and Ecuador to both Europe and the US. Peru mainly produces yellow papayas, a variety that is unknown in Europe. Europe, in fact, may become a competitor for the Latin American countries, as Spanish growers are investing in the greenhouse cultivation of this exotic fruit.
Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader of revolution, dies at 90
Cuba's former president Fidel Castro, one of the world's longest-serving and most iconic leaders, has died aged 90.
His younger brother and successor as president Raul Castro announced the news on state television.
Castro toppled the government in 1959, introducing a Communist revolution. He defied the US for decades, surviving many assassination plots.
His supporters said he had given Cuba back to the people. Critics saw him as a dictator.
Ashen and grave, President Castro told the nation in an unexpected late night broadcast on state television that Fidel Castro had died and would be cremated later on Saturday.
"The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday)," he said. "Towards victory, always!" he added, using a revolutionary slogan.
A period of official mourning has been declared on the island until 4 December, when his ashes will be laid to rest in the south-eastern city of Santiago.
St Luke's Methodist Annual Christmas Bazaar Promotions, 14min.
Belize Primary School History & Social Studies Competition, 14min.
Snorkeling in Belize, 2min.
2016 Spring Break - Belize snorkel, 10min.
Belize Dive Trip 2016 DWS, 7min.
Belize CartRide, 2min.
Trip Costa Rica & Belize 2016, 9min. Trip Costa Rica & Belize
La Fortuna - Monteverde - Playa del Carmen - Caye Caulker
Jungle, Canopy, Surf, Beach, Snorkeling
Sea Turtle in Belize, 1min. This is a sea turtle that we saw during our honeymoon in Belize.
Zipling in Belize, 3.5min.
Belize, 12min. Watch in 1080p!
Panorâmica de vídeo de mergulho de mergulho santuário Belize 360 vr, 3.5min.
PABLO MARIN OPENS NEW POLYCLINIC FACILITY, 4.5min. The Corozal Hospital has a spanking new facility which will serve as part of the Polyclinic. The ribbon was cut this morning and we found from the Minister how he hopes it will impact the health sector in the northern district.
National Institue of Culture - Dance X, 30min.
National Institue of Culture - Dance X, 28min.
Belikin 2017 Calender Launch, 21min.
Gwen Stefani and good food, 1min. If you follow Gwen Stefani on Snapchat and have been watching her personal snaps lately you might have stumbled upon the fact that one of her employees (home cook) was preparing Belizean tamales for her family.
UN 16 Days of Activism and the Orange the World Campaign, 4min. Around the world, government officials, civil society groups and individuals are commemorating 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. This is a time to reflect on this violence and incite action to end it.
Over the past month, the Office of the Special Envoy has been busy planning and executing several activities and initiatives as part of the UN's 16 Days of Activism and the Orange the World Campaign. This includes our orange flag and ribbon awareness initiative, our student forum "Let's Have the Talk", the national launch of 16 Days of Activism which will be taking place this afternoon, and the recording of a video message from the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow.
The Belize National Coast Guard celebrates its 11th anniversary, 5min. They ended the day's event with a demonstration at their first ever obstacle course that was constructed on site at the Coast Guard Headquarters.
Paul Nabor speaks about his music and Garifuna language, 11min. A short interview with Paul Nabor at his home in Punta Gorda, Belize in 2013 by Ruben Reyes.
Hello Ocean: Dolphin Research in Belize, 4min.
1000 Days For The Planet Human Adventure 6of7 The Manatees of Belize, 48min.
Booze Traveler Series 1 13of15 Belize Paradise Found, 44min.
ALL I DO IS EAT//BELIZE, 7min. A few shots of the tasty food I tried while in Caye Caulker and Belize City, Belize :)
Belize Kriol Brukdong Project, 5min. One of four initiatives for this year that The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation has embarked on is the Belize Kriol Brukdong Project. This initiative has as its main aim to preserve our Brukdong music by training some twenty young Belizeans on how to play, sing and dance our Brukdong music. By training a young generation, we wlll be assured that the music will be apart of our culture for a long time to come.
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