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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, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
Commercial Fisher Folk License Renewals to commence in January 2017
The Belize Fisheries Department (BFD) informs the public that the renewal of commercial fisher folk licenses will begin on January 4, 2017. The BFD stated in a press release that renewal of licensing for respective districts will have a grace period until January 31, 2017. For San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village, licensing will be carried out at the BFD Office in Belize City on Monday, January 23, 2017 through Friday, January 27, 2017.
Fishermen are advised to bring along all required documents upon renewal to facilitate the process. The cost for a Fisher folk License is $25 and the fee for a Vessel License is also $25. The BFD notes that no exceptions will be made for incomplete documentation, and no permits will be issued to minors. In case of loss of Fisher Folk and/or Vessel license, the fisher must present the receipt issued by the Police Department or the report stating the loss of the license (Fisher Folk and/or Vessel license).
Iris Salguero represents Belize at Miss World 2016
Miss World Belize 2016, Iris Salguero from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, represented Belize at the 66th edition of the beauty pageant held on Sunday, December 18th at the MGM National Harbour in Oxen Hill, Maryland USA. The event saw the participation of delegates from across the world, and witnessed the coronation of 19-year-old Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico as Miss World 2016.
First runner-up was Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramirez of the Dominican Republic, while second runner up was Natasha Mannuela from Indonesia.
Salguero, as many of the contestants, arrived in the United States weeks before the pageant in order to participate in a series of activities and to continue preparing for the grand night of the show. Salguero left Belize enroute to Washington on November 24th, from where she participated in different events such as a Christmas Brunch for the children of an organization called Dream Academy. She also had a tour of the city, the School of Rock in Broadway New York City, and the House of Representatives. Salguero also took part in sporting events, modelling and recorded along with the choir that performed the opening ceremony as was shown at the pageant.
Belize gets $US10 million loan from Caribbean Development Bank
A loan of $10 million US dollars has been secured by the Government of Belize (GOB) from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The funds will be used by the Government’s Social Investment Fund (SIF), to finance social and economic projects in rural and under-served areas in Belize. The total cost of the project is estimated at $US12.5 million, of which GOB will provide the balance.
The loan was approved under the condition that all goals are achieved regarding the programs that are to be introduced in the poorest areas of the country. The loan has the purpose to provide these less developed communities with services such as gender-equality, climate resilient infrastructure, and basic social services. Many projects in the past have provided many rural areas with electricity, road access and potable water. One of those projects during this year was the million-dollar project for the upgrade a rudimentary water system in the village of Maskall, Belize District. The project brought clean and safe drinking water to the many residents of the village.
BYM holds ‘Call on Angels’ Charity Fashion Show
The Belize Youth Movement (BYM) organized their first ever, “Call on Angels” charity fashion show on Saturday, December 17th. Following the boat parade, the fashion show lured in more than a hundred individuals to the Angel Nuñez Auditorium at 8:30PM.
Hostesses for the night were Miss Chiquitita 2016-2017, Lindsey Williams, and Miss San Pedro 2016-2017, Marisha Thompson. They welcomed the audience, thanking them for their presence. The purpose of the charity fashion show was to benefit children who may not afford school by assisting them for a brighter future.
The entire show featured the talent of local models, ranging from toddlers to adults. The first set of models displayed unisex causal clothing from both Love Belize and Island Bargain Center. They were followed by models showcasing preteen fashions. In the ‘jeans and white tank’ category, the models strutted their way to the center stage where they presented a dance.
Belize Plans Celebration for Gymnast Simone Biles’ Arrival
Following her astounding performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Belize Tourism Board sent out a tweet congratulating Simone Biles and her team, the Final Five, on their performance and taking the opportunity to invite them to visit Belize. Simone readily accepted the invitation stating, “My second home, you betta Belize we’re coming.”
On Thursday December 22nd, the Nation of Belize will warmly welcome Simone and her family to their second home- Belize where they will spend the Christmas holiday. To honor her arrival and officially welcome her, the Belize Tourism Board has organized a Grand Welcome Motorcade on December 22nd from 4p.m. to 5:30p.m.
Joining Simone in this motorcade will be representatives from various sporting associations; Belize’s volleyball, cycling, bodybuilding, martial arts, football and track and field athletes will also be celebrated during this event. Also in attendance, will be representatives from our women’s and youth groups. BTB takes the opportunity to encourage all sport fans, athletes and the wider public to join us in the motorcade as we celebrate this momentous occasion.
San Pedro R.C School Receives Solar Panels From Capoly University, California
Five students from Calpoly University in San Luis Obispo, California, along with two faculty members and two industry members, have installed 14 solar panels at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School.
The project is not a new one, but it was discontinued in 2012 when a professor from Kansas University, Tom Glavinish, who began this project, passed away. Today, Calpoly University students have decided to continue and finish up his work.
The job took them about a week to complete, with some delays in the shipment of tools and equipment, but the university students couldn’t be happier with the results. They hope to continue this project for as long as they can and hope to be back in Belize soon. The solar panels were installed on top of the restroom facilities and will assist in lowering electricity costs for the school. The San Pedro community extends a HUGE thanks to Calpoly University.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belize Fishing Report, Weeks of December 11th – December 17th, 2016
A Nice quiet week before the Christmas rush with only 6 boats heading out daily.
Most of our guests were after bonefish this week with scores being landed. They found fish in “muds” where large schools tear up the bottom in search of food creating an area of dirty water. They found fish tailing in shallow water, they found a few big ones that were gathering to spawn in the deeper water.
Master Class 2017 with Alexander Shtifanov
If you are interested in signing up for the Master Class 2017 with Alexander Shtifanov coming to Belize on the following dates:
*March 6th at Rain Restaurant in San Pedro
*March 11th at the BTEC building in Belize City
*March 15th at the Tipsy Tuna in Placencia,
But are unsure what it entails, then take a look at him in training below.
Spaces are very limited.
50% deposit required to secure space.
Inbox or text 626-7518 to secure your space and learn from the NO.1 Flairtender in the world!
Rumpopo on Caye Caulker
My dad's very famous, tasty, fresh, mouth watering, delicious Rumpopo is still available! Order up guys! Quart $20 and Liter $30. He also made a few "flosses" for $10. His phn # is 6660788. If he doesnt answer (it's bcaz he's on a tour) u can contact my mom @ 6239947. She will be sure to get ur order in. They already have a few bottles ready for sale, so dont be shy, go get one, or two or a lot hahaha. Head towards Bowen & Bowen, turn right and it's d upstairs white house rite after Bowen.
St. Francis Xavier Credit Union brings BIG smiles and cheers to hundreds of children in our Corozal community
The St. Francis Xavier Credit Union held its Annual Christmas Treat and Cheer in front of their offices so that many of our Corozal children are able to equally celebrate the reason for Christmas. St. Francis Xavier Credit Union is a financial institution for the people and by the people and has given selflessly to our Corozal community.
We give thanks for its kind gesture in bringing the spirit of Christmas to all the children of Corozal.
On behalf of the Staff and Members of this great institution, which we are a proud member of, we join in wishing a Merry Christmas to all the children of Corozal and their families. Cheers and Peace.
Key Documents from the Spanish Account of the Battle
Dr. Alfaro hands over 20 key documents selected from the BSGC Translation Project.
VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT Communication Assistant
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a non-profit organization, saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. The WCS Belize Program is seeking to recruit a suitable individual to fill the part-time position of Communications Assistant.
The Communications Assistant will be hired for a period of 6 months, February to July 2017. This position will support the work of the Communications Coordinator, the Assistant Country Director and other WCS program staff in raising awareness about key conservation issues through social media outlets, community engagement and campaign activities that align with WCS Communication Strategy.
November 2016 Trade & Consumer Price Index
According to latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize,
on average, consumer prices were 1.3 percent higher in November 2016
than they were in November 2015. The All-Items consumer price index
stood at 104.2, an increase from 102.9 in last November. For the first
eleven months of 2016, a year-to-date inflation rate of 0.6 percent was
The ‘Transport’ index remains a major contributor to the overall rise
in consumer prices, recording a 9.4 percent increase in comparison
to November of 2015. ‘Fuel’ prices rose across the board, as Regular
gasoline saw an increase of 22.1 percent, Premium gasoline rose by
18.4 percent, and Diesel prices increased by 25 percent in comparison
to the same month of last year. During the month of November 2016, Belize’s imported goods were valued at $172.2 million, down 9.4 percent or $17.9 million from the $190.2 million imported in November of 2015.
Belize’s largest import type, ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, saw its greatest drop since the start of 2016, falling sharply from $60 million to $43 million, as purchases of auto parts fell by a substantial $18 million for the month. Items meant for Belize’s ‘Export Processing Zones’ and ‘Commercial Free Zones’ decreased by smaller amounts of $6.6 million and $1.6 million, respectively. While the decline recorded in the former category was largely the result of lowered imports of electrical transformers and metal furniture, the reduction in the latter was mostly brought upon by reduced purchases of tennis shoes and clothing. Importation of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ fell by a minimal $1 million for the month, as increases in the quantities of regular and premium fuels were counterbalanced by a drop of about three fourths in diesel imports.
BEL & Employees Continue 18-Year Tradition - 150 Christmas Hampers Distributed Countrywide
Employees of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) distributed 150 hampers over the past two days in communities countrywide, as part of the Company’s Christmas outreach initiatives. This annual 18-year tradition is funded from personal contributions by employees and the Company.
Hampers for 90 families contain the main ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner while those for 60 senior citizens under BEL’s Golden Citizens Program, who were identified as needing additional care, contain canned goods and toiletries. The hampers are valued at approximately $160 each.
In keeping with the Company’s Mission of “improving the quality of life in Belize”, BEL partnered with care agencies to sponsor seasonal activities. These included Christmas luncheons for the elderly at HelpAge Dangriga and Casa Chan Kaan in Corozal and Christmas parties in Belize City at Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) and the Welcome Resource Center for people with mental health challenges.
A Pandemonium Christmas
Pan & Bram...This Friday @7pm
Las Posadas de Navidad
Join in this beautiful candlelight procession as we accompany Mary and Joseph in their quest for lodging in Bethlehem. Praying and singing traditional posada songs, we will culminate our journey with a feast at the San Pedro House of Culture. A wonderful family outing, and a great way to prepare for Christmas. Hope to see you there!
Friday, December 23 at 7 PM - 11 PM.
2017 Oceana Calendars
Hot off the press! Get your 2017 Oceana Calendars before they run out! Visit our office in Belmopan to get yours and enter 2017 with a renewed appreciation for Belize's precious marine resources.
Guatemalan Fisheries Regulations Annex Belizean Waters
For the past year and a half, the Sarstoon River, and the coastline of Toledo have been the focus of much controversy and a chronic sore point for Belize Guatemala relations. We've shown you how the Belize Territorial Volunteers have had numerous confrontations with the Guatemalan Navy, based at the Mouth of the Sarstoon.
We also showed you how for the past 11 years, the BDF patrol, which uses Belize's side of the River to make trips to the Cadenas Observation Post, has been subjected to harassment by the Guatemalan armed forces. There were talks earlier this year for a protocol to de-escalate tensions, and those negotiations have all but stalled.
Recently, we showed you how a SATTIM conservation patrol was stopped by Guat. military, telling them that the Sarstoon is a military zone. So, despite the Government's insistence that Belizeans still own half of the Sarstoon River, it appears that Guatemala has been exerting some measure of control over it.
Border Activist Says Regulatory Annexation Is Apiece for Guatemalan Aggression
And so while the BDF General is cautious to comment since he hasn't had a chance to review it thoroughly, Border Activist Wil Maheia is already on the offensive.
He believes that this is another clear piece of evidence of Guatemala's attempt to annex Belizean territory and take control over it.
This evening, he told us that he is demanding that the Belize Government take all available measures to get the Guatemalan government remove these regulations, which seek to police Belizean waters. Here's what he had to say:
Wil Maheia - Border Activist:
"Well we are deeply disturbed at what we read in the Amandala and the fact that the Guatemalans have actually made it law that they have annexed the Sarstoon. We have been going there and in this region you have a lot of countries who are claiming other countries but no country actually goes in and actually occupy and take over without any kind of international incident so it is sad that at this time of the year when we as Belizeans are supposed to be enjoying ourselves, take a few days off to give thanks to the lord and be grateful for a country; we are losing our country and we have not heard a word from the government and we have not heard a word from the opposition. We need that the government need to explain to the people what happened at the Sarstoon since 2015 we Belizeans continue to get harassed going up into our own country."
BDF Commander Not Commenting On Cash Stolen
This afternoon's conversation with BDF General David Jones also gave us an opportunity to ask him about the reports of the big money burglary at his residence at Price Barracks.
It happened two and a half weeks ago, and police told us that he started to make an official compliant at the Ladyville police station, but then he never finished it. We were also told that $30,000 dollars in cash was stolen.
We've been trying to get a comment from him, but he didn't respond to our requests. So today, we asked again. This time, the General told us that he isn't prepared to share any specifics. Here's how he explained why:
"We have received reports that your home was burglarised and a large quantity of cash had been stolen. Are you able to share details with us on that?"
Brig. Gen David Jones - Commander, BDF:
"Well I have not formally give any report as to how much was stolen from my house. I've heard rumours out there but the police are doing the investigation, I'm not going to comment on it."
Chester Says He'll Re-Arrest the Other Chester
Last night we told you about Chester Norales – the 36 year old accused of beating and robbing his 93 year old neighbour Patrick Grant one year ago. He was freed of charges of dangerous harm and burglary after police lost the case file. Well, he won't be free for much longer. Police told us today that they will re-arrest him as soon as they find him.
Southside Commander Chester Williams set the record straight today saying that the case file wasn't missing at all, they just had to follow the DPP's directives in this case.
ACP Chester Williams - Commander of Southside Police:
"Well the charges were indeed dropped yesterday at the magistrate's court but be reminded that he was charged with an indictable offense and therefore we will be arresting and charging him with those offenses. The principle of law is that he had not been placed at peril ..."
Men Walk Free of Charges After Allegedly Shooting One of Their Own
Today four men walked free after being charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. The thing is, the four men are linked to a city gang, and allegedly shot one of their own while trying to shoot a rival.
It happened in August of last year, when Lloyd Leslie Jr., Dwayne Evelyn, Mark Phillips and Barry Johnston, allegedly waited for Delbert Palacio to turn into an alley. When Palacio came into view, one of the men allegedly opened fire, but something went wrong and Phillips ended up getting shot instead.
All four men appeared in court today, but – as might have been expected - Palacio failed to show up to testify and Magistrate Norman Rodriguez struck out the case for want of prosecution.
A Unique Investment Opportunity In Citrus
The Citrus Growers Association is looking for investors – and today made a public offering of preferred stock in a company called Plant World Nurseries. It's a venture we first told you about in 2015, an effort to make the industry more resilient. But now CGA has divested the company and made it completely independent, firewalled from whatever financial difficulties the CGA may face.
Plant World is offering a 6% return on investment – which is better than what you'd get at a bank. They are looking to attract industry stakeholders, small farmers and institutional investors to buy into 40% of the company's equity. Ervin Perez of the Legacy Fund which is arranging the sale, made the pitch along with executives from the CGA:…
Ervin Perez - Managing Partner, Legacy Fund:
"CGA is willing to offer institutional investors and the country as a whole, small farmer an opportunity to invest in one of the fastest growing opportunities within the industry. You understand the industry whether you're in the CGA or not in the CGA as a farmer you need to replant. There's only one certified nursery between Brazil and Florida and that's the one here."
Realtors Rail Against New Central Bank Regulations
The Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize held an emergency meeting today at the Biltmore to discuss new Central Bank Regulations that could have a profound impact on the way business is conducted in this industry. Now, Real Estate is not formally classified as a major sector of the economy like agriculture or manufacturing, but this sector provides an important economic impetus, driving construction, employment and services. But, many times, the proceeds from big money real estate transactions never touch ground in Belize; the money from the sales are often banked abroad. That represents the loss of serious amounts of hard currency, and in this current economy which is strapped for foreign exchange, government wants those US dollars in Belize. We spoke to President of the Association Hugo Moguel about the concerns of his membership:…
Doug Singh Taken Before Court For Minor Port Charges
Former police minister Doug Singh was in Magistrate's court today facing a minor criminal charge brought by the Belize Port Authority.
Singh is the owner of a skiff which was used by Belize Sand and Marine Company in July of this year to scout an area east of Baron Bliss Lighthouse for dredging.
The Port Authority says the boat wasn't licensed and the captain, who happens to be named Andy Palacio did not have a captain's license.
The case was set for trial today, but Port Authority prosecutor Harrison Heulett requested an adjournment because he did not have all of the evidence. Magistrate Norman Rodriguez denied him the request because he did not follow the rules and he struck out the case.
Singh left court free of all charges.
Mayor, No Fronting On Foreshore
Last week we reported on the battered state of the drain coverings on Southern Foreshore. Since then the covering have been removed, and the street has been closed.
The street, which is a major bypass for the congested downtown area has been blocked since last week. We asked the mayor what's next...
"Now mayor speaking about congestion and traffic especially in downtown Belize City, I asked you this before but is there any update on the condition or repairs that's going on the Foreshore street?"
Darell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City:
"I have to check on that because my understanding is that has been done already -- if it hasn't been done already the only thing is really just to source some of the slabs. One of the problems I indicated to you earlier is that we recognise that's a problem because of the corrosion from the sea water and its several times that we've had to repair those iron bars and it is nuisance so that we've had to block off a section of that street at times and we're trying to really change it so that we put down cement slabs that we don't have this problem in the future but I have to give you an update in relation to what is going on in relation to that."
Will Willoughby Share New Municipal Toys With Mayor?
We also asked the Mayor about all those fancy new pieces of equipment that Councilor Phillip Willoughby has been sporting around town. They are funded by the flood mitigation project to be used specifically for streets and drains built under that project – but will the Council requisition them for use across the city? Here's what the mayor said...
Darell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City:
"The assignments of those vehicles are part of the flood mitigation project and the flood mitigation project as you may know is a tremendous initiative of the IDB working in part with the Ministry of Works and the Belize City Council in relation building the capacity of the municipality to be flood resistant. You would have seen significant amount of works going on, clearing out drains including several significant canals; Douglas Jones Canal works going on in Belama Phase 4."
Serving Lunch For The Soldiers
This afternoon, in a Christmas tradition that goes back decades, the men and women of the Belize Defence Force were treated to lunch by their bosses.
The idea is that for the entire year, they give selflessly of themselves in service to the country. So, on this one day, their superiors – who usually command them here and there – are the ones who dutifully serve them.
Commander, General David Jones, told us that it's one of the few days that the soldiers get to relax and loosen up, just in time for Christmas:
Brig. Gen David Jones - Commander, BDF:
"The objective is to say thanks to the soldiers for the hard work and dedication they have been providing for the nation throughout the years and throughout this year and it's an opportunity for the officers and soldiers who have been passing orders to them for the entire year to actually serve them foods and drinks. We've had separate but similar ceremonies at the different out stations."
General Jones, No Ordinary Honor
So, while the rank and file of the BDF were being honoured by their superiors, their boss, General David Jones, is preparing to receive a huge honour of his own as well.
Next year, he will be inducted into the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame. That's the prestigious US military school where Jones studied.
We asked him about the honour:
Brig. Gen David Jones - Commander, BDF:
"I have received correspondence already that there is intent for me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. This honour is bestowed on officers who have been outstanding in their career and officers who have attended the commander general staff college at Fort Leavenworth Kansas and have risen all the way to rank of commander of their armed forces. So being that I was a graduated of that college and my performance while I was there and being that I have risen to the rank of the commander of the Belize Defence Force I have been invited to go and be inducted in the Hall of Fame which means I will also address the graduating class at Fort Leavenworth when I go there."
Traffic Cops Keep The City Straight
And while it’s not quite getting called up to the Leavenworth Hall of Fame, today, a select few Southside police were honored for their efforts in alleviating and controlling traffic in Belize City. Mayor, Darrell Bradley and the Commander of Southside Police Chester Williams handed out the awards. We spoke to the mayor and a few recipients about the City Council’s involvement in the ceremony and the importance of honouring good cops…
Southside Santa for Sylvia
And this afternoon, ACP Williams rushed to Tropical Park near Hattieville for a special Santa-style visit. He went to check in on a senior citizen who had sent him a handwritten letter asking for help. Well, Sylvia Hoare probably thought that request had fallen by the wayside, but she got a super Santa surprise today when Williams pulled up to her house. Here’s how it went:…
Southside Shares The Love
And the giving continued this afternoon at around 3:00 when a motorcade of police vehicles left the Raccoon Street police station and rolled through the streets of Southside Belize City. Now they weren't showing off or testing their new rides again, these police officers were giving out Christmas hampers. After collecting canned foods and other grocery items from the police department and the business community, they packaged them all up and made door-to-door deliveries to needy families. We followed along:
ACP Chester Williams - Commander of Southside Police:
"You know we are in the Christmas season and it is a season of love, a season of joy, a season of sharing and as a police department what we are doing this afternoon is sharing the love and sharing with people who we know for some reason or the other can't afford to have the necessities they would need for Christmas.
"How many hampers are you guys distributing?"
ACP Chester Williams - Commander of Southside Police:
"Today we are disturbing a total of 95 hampers across Southside Belize City, we try to identify those persons who we know are unable to provide for themselves and if you notice in most cases they are elderly people who live alone and we find sometimes that the elderly people are left. They don't have a means of income so it is difficult for them to provide for themselves for Christmas so as a police department we try to reach out to them to see how best we can assist in making their Christmas come true."
Northside Did Give
And Northside officers were also out this afternoon spreading Christmas cheer. We also rode along as they distributed 20 hampers. We spoke to one Buttonwood Bay resident who told us how this package will make her Christmas a lot more special and enjoyable.
Northside cops will continue to distribute hampers on Friday.
BEL's Corporate Character Comes Out At Christmas
And it seems, di hampers cyaan done. BEL employees also distributed 150 packages over the past few days as part of the Company’s Christmas outreach program. 90 of the Hampers contained the main ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner, while those for 60 senior citizens contained canned goods and toiletries. The hampers are valued at approximately $160 dollars each. And, in another tradition, on Christmas morning, BEL employees will also serve breakfast and distribute care packages to shut-ins and the homeless in Belize City.
Hug It Out At Christmas
And in one more burst of Christmas giving, an organization called GroupHug held its annual Christmas Charity Event. Since 2015, the organization has strived to engage young people in community and charity outreach, while helping at-risk youths. The organization is known for its annual backpack drive, which supplies hundreds of needy children with school supplies. But today it was about Christmas, and organizer, Andre Pitts, gave us more details…
At the end of the event all the children received gifts, along with the prizes they’d already won.
How To See Simone
And before we close tonight, here’s how you can see Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles tomorrow. As we told you her motorcade leaves the Biltmore at 4:30 pm. It goes down the Phillip Goldson Highway unto Central American Boulevard into Cemetery Road unto Orange Street to Albert Street, then to Regent Street and it ends at the Battlefield Park. There will be a welcome event at the Park for Simone and her family.
Representatives from various sporting associations including volleyball, cycling, bodybuilding, martial arts, football and track and field are slated to join in the motorcade.