FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
Tropic Air inaugurates new flight between Belize and Chetumal, Mexico
On Monday, January 16th Tropic Air inaugurated their non-stop flight from Belize to Chetumal Quintana Roo, Mexico. This new service marks Tropic’s sixth international route and the third destination in Mexico. The launch of the new flight is intended to provide passengers who are travelling to other parts of Mexico, and the world, with easier flight connections via the international airport in Chetumal.
The first ever international flight to land in the city of Chetumal, Tropic Air flight #6500, touched Mexican soil shortly after 8AM after a short delay in Belize due to foggy weather. The flight carried members of the Belizean press corps, along with San Pedro Town Mayor Daniel Guerrero, National President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, recently elected 13th Senator, Osmany Salas, Ambassador of Mexico to Belize, His Excellency Carlos Melendez, and John Grief III, President of Tropic Air.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks claim first win in the 2017 NEBL Season
The 2017 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) opened on Friday, January 13th with a heated match between 2016 sub champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and the Cayo Western Ballaz. Basketball fanatics flocked to the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town for the highly anticipated game. The tight match provided much entertainment for fans of both teams, but in the end it was the Tiger Sharks who claimed victory with an 83 – 55 point score.
The San Pedro Town Council donates to the San Pedro AIDS Commission
The San Pedro AIDS Commission (SPAC) is pleased to extend its gratitude to The San Pedro Town Council for their kind donation of $1,000. On Wednesday, January 11th Mayor Daniel Guerrero welcomed Felix Ayuso and David Jenkins (President and Vice President respectively) to his office where he presented the check.
On behalf of the SPAC, Ayuso thanked the Mayor for the donation and committed to continue working in the community and helping wherever possible. The SPAC stays active all year round, raising funds to help spread awareness on HIV/AIDS and helping persons living with the disease.
Kent Gabourel Selected as San Pedro’s Person of the Year 2016
For his love of sports, humanitarian efforts and dedication towards the development of healthy island living through sports and extra curricular activities, Kent Bob Gabourel has earned himself the title of Ambergris Caye’s Person of the Year 2016.
He’s made San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, his home for 16 years now, is no stranger to island residents and when people hear about ‘Bob’ (as he is commonly known in the community) sports is the first thing that comes to mind. An avid triathlete, he loves to swim, run and bike and he has taken a group of island youth under is wing, whom he coaches and trains with. He loves being around young people, encouraging them to be better in every aspect of life.
It is because of this constant involvement in sporting activities that Bob was hired by the San Pedro Town Council as the island’s Sports Coordinator. It is impossible to think of another island resident with such a long track record in sports development on the island.
Farewell to Don Felix Ayuso
The untimely passing of Mr. Felix Ayuso Sr. on Thursday, January 12, brought sincere sadness on family members, friends and an entire community. Mr. Ayuso is a grassroots son of the soil of San Pedro. He spent his childhood in in the village under a fisherman father along with his siblings Mickey, Manuelita, Adolfo (+), and Pedro Ayuso. Along with his wife, Elena Graniel Ayuso, he raised his children- Rosita, Carmen, and Felix Ayuso Jr.
Don Felix is mourned and will be sadly missed by his children, brother and sisters, many nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ambergris Today extends sincere condolences to the Ayuso Family and other relatives.
Concerns Over Recent Leaked Sex Tapes with Underage Girls of Facebook
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC), mandated to advocate for the protection of all children, is deeply concerned about the most recent hideous act of leaked sex tapes with alleged under-aged girls on Facebook.
According to the news, over the weekend videos of young girls engaged in sexual activities were posted on social media and shared hundreds of times. The leaked tapes have not only caused pandemonium but were most alarming since some of the participants appeared to be minors and somewhat inebriated.
The release of the sex tapes also violate Articles 19 and 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that, “Children should be protected from being hurt and mistreated in body or mind and to be free from all forms of sexual abuse”. This type of action is a form of cyberbullying that can have adverse psychological effects on the participants, such as depression and suicidal ideation.
Misc Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Liquor Licensing Board meeting
Tuesday Jan 17, 10am at the CCVC Community Center
Tropic Air flies to Chetumal for the first time
Happy to have been part of history this morning. Tropic Air flew to Chetumal International Airport for the first time. This was also Chetumal's first international flight. Huge kudos to Tropic Air, BTIA Diamond Sponsor, for their vision and efforts to link Belize to the region and beyond.
Press Release - Tour Guide Training
Conservation of Marine Resources in Central America Project.
Recruiting for EnviroConnect Belize
You can be on Season Two of the Department of the Environment - DOE's EnviroConnect Belize! Details on the flyer!
James Waight Award 2017 Nominations
The Belize Audubon Society is calling for nominations for their James A. Waight Conservation Award.
"It is that time of the year once more. A call for nominations to the James A. Waight Conservation Award which recognizes an outstanding Belizean involved in the work of Conservation. Deadline for submission of Nominations: Friday, February 10, 2017."
Sir Colville Young presents musical instruments to Salvation Army
It has been announced from Belize House that this afternoon the Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young presented a consignment of musical instruments to the Salvation Army Primary School in Belize City.
These instrument were purchased through a generous donation from the Ambassador of Taiwan , His Excellency Mr. Charles Liu , which was matched with proceeds from the Governor-General’s Music in the Schools Programme Central Committee Christmas Concert .
When making the donation His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, pledged to continue to encourage and support musical programs in schools throughout Belize, and to renew his commitment to assist in developing and promoting the love of music and the practice of the arts.
Presenting our new garbage compactor!
The San Pedro Town Council just recently acquired this new garbage compactor to facilitate the daily pick ups.
Full Moon Concert in Corozal
Thank you to all who came out and supported our first Full Moon Concert of 2017! Everyone enjoyed the high energy of Surpassing Silence band out of Orange Walk Town; truly a great night of classic rock and Spanish music!
GEF Small Grants Programme benefits Vaca Forest Reserve
Thanks to the support of the Ministry responsible for Protected Areas and the GEF Small Grants Programme, the Vaca Forest Reserve has a three person team in place. The goal will be to stabilize the uncontrolled use of the forest reserve by farmers in the Vaca plateau and maintain the ecosystem goods and services through capacity building and support.
UPDATE: seismic and multi-beam surveys
via phone call on Friday, January 14th 2017, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Sharman Hyde verbally confirmed that the intended seismic and multi-beam surveys have been cancelled; and that the company, TGS has also been informed. Written confirmation of this has yet to be released by the Ministry. Oceana and allied partners in the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage have called on key agencies like the Belize Tourism Board, the Fisheries Department and the Ministry of Tourism to publicly declare their position on offshore oil. This threat, this time is cancelled. What about the next time? Belize and Belizeans deserve to know if the Government of Belize is saying "yes" to offshore oil. The time is always right to do the right thing.
Ceremonial Court Opening Welcomes New AG Peyrefitte
There's one day in every year that downtown Belize city stands still to witness the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court. That's the second Monday in January, a decades old tradition that attempts to give the judiciary some palpable public presence. Today, the veteran Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin welcomed two newcomers to the event: New Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte, and new President of the Bar Priscilla Banner. Alex Courtenay reports.
As tradition dictates, on the second Monday of January, the ceremonial re-opening of the Supreme Court is held. Today, members from every sector of the judiciary gathered at the St. John's Anglican Cathedral for a church service. Following the service, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin led his fellow Supreme Court judges, governors, and members of the Bar Association, in a procession to the Supreme Court building.
Senator-Designate Wants Meeting Pushed Back To 20th
The commencement order for the 13th. Senator takes effect on Friday, one day after the Senate meets. And while many had expected that Osmany Salas would have been sworn in on that day, according to the Leader of Government Business, Senator Godwin Hulse, one thing doesn't necessarily follow the other. He put that timeline until some time in March.
Today, we met Salas at an event and he told us that the way he sees it, he should be sworn in on January 20. He adds that Thursday's Senate meeting should be postponed until after he takes his seat - since they will debate the NGO Amendment Bill:
"The way we look at it, there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be sworn in as early as the 20th January when the commencement order takes effect. There is no reason to delay it. Our NGO community has sent a letter to the Governor General last week informing him about the process that was followed, informing the Governor General that I was elected, requesting the Governor General as to the relevant section of the constitution that I be I guess formally appointed and sworn in as the senator representing the NGO community. That should be able to happen as of January 20th."
Another American Grenade
Another American type hand grenade was found in the city over the weekend. The grenade was enclosed in a container and stashed in an empty lot in the Lake Independence area. Police had to call in Commander of the BDF Brigadier David Jones, who is also an explosives specialist, to safely take the grenade away. Today via phone, Jones told the media more about the find and also encouraged the public to call police immediately if they know the location of any grenades.
Brig. Gen David Jones, Commander, BDF:
"I was called to go and retrieve the grenade which was in the open lot on the road on the Chetumal Boulevard across the bridge going to the highway in the open lot on the right hand side there was a grenade similar type as to the one we had retrieved, American type, it was in a container and I was asked to retrieve it and take it to the BDF camp and that is what I did."
"They are definitely not from within Belize they are being imported from somewhere across one of the borders but we are not sure from where."
Island Cops Bust Half A Mill In Cocaine
So, while that was the grenade found on Southside Belize City, Island cops made a major bust of 25 parcels of cocaine on San Pedro. That's a total of 26 kilos or 57.5 pounds. The police found it, not up the north coast of San Pedro, famous for its wet drops, but at the south of the island. According to a police press release, police responded to information received of sack on the beach 4 miles south of San Pedro Town. Police say the parcels each weighing between 2.29 and 2.35 pounds - which is a little over a kilo - were found in a sack. They say no one was in the area and it was labeled as found property.
The police have refused to share any other information on it, but when we asked San Pedro's Mayor about the drug bust, he had nothing but praise for the officers who acted on good intelligence.
August Pine Ridge Traffic Fatality For Motorbike Driver
A salesman was knocked down and killed this morning in the Orange Walk District. 41-year-old Giovanni Ayuso, who is from Palmar Village was riding his motorbike a mile away from August Pine Ridge when he had a head on collision with a pickup.
23-year-old Abram Freisen was driving the 2004 Chevy Pickup. Ayuso died on the spot from the massive impact.
Police are investigating and have not yet determined who will be charged.
Bicycle Rider Run Over On Hummingbird
And, there was a similar traffic fatality in Belmopan.
A man was knocked down and killed on Saturday night on the Hummingbird Highway. 52-year-old Salvadoran Oscar Emigidio (E-mi-hid-yo) Santillana (Santi-yana) was riding a beach cruiser between miles 53 and 54, which is within Belmopan City limits, which is when Michael John Rau hit him from behind in a Honda CR-V. Rivas received massive injuries from the impact and was flung to the side of the road where he died on the spot.
Police have served Michael John Rau with a notice of intended prosecution, and his vehicle was impounded.
Small Child Recovers From Accident
And a 5 year old buy was run over in Mahogany Heights. Jenson Grinage Jr survived the accident with injuries to his head. He was taken to the Belmopan hospital, but has been treated released. He was The police have not released details, but he was hit by a Ford Escape, driven by a 49 year old Salvadorian female.
Man Escapes Hail of Bullets
A man was shot at 7 times on his way to see his son, but he survived the attack. On Sunday morning around 7:30, 35 year old Deon Bennett-Brackett was riding his bicycle along University Drive, near the teachers college, when a vehicle pulled up alongside him and a gunman in the backseat opened fire. Despite the spray of gunshots, Bennett was only grazed in his shoulder, his arm and in the back of his neck. He has been treated and released. A friend we spoke to off camera today says he didn't deserve to be targeted like that because she only knows him as an easy going person and a devoted father.
Voice of: Friend:
"Yesterday morning I just heard that my friend Mr. Bennett was coming in West Landivar, he usually do the same thing every morning, come and see his child then go and buy tacos then come back in. but we only get to hear that there was a black car waiting for him in the entrance and from there we heard that they shoot him."
Courtney Weatherburne, 7News:
"Did he say if he recognized anyone form the car or?"
Voice of: Friend:
"No, he said that it happened quickly and he didn't recognized anyone."
Petillo Ran From A Gunman
And from a shooting on the Northside to one on the South - the victim was also grazed. 31 year old Francis Petillo went to buy vegetables yesterday afternoon when he was chased by a gunman. He gave us the account off camera.
Voice of: Francis Petillo, Shooting Victim:
"I was going by the vegetable area to buy something for my sister and a gunman approached me and chased me with a gun and I had to drop my things and I got shot twice in my stomach."
"And this gunman, is it somebody you know? Anyone you are familiar with?"
Voice of: Francis Petillo, Shooting Victim:
"No, I don't know him from anywhere."
"Were you ever threatened before? You know if anyone had a target on your back so to speak, anything?"
Voice of: Francis Petillo, Shooting Victim:
"Nobody ma'am, I have not gotten threatened before."
How Will The New AG Handle Vega Matter?
Michael Peyrefitte has been the Attorney General for only about 13 days, but he has inherited a lot of responsibility from his predecessor. Among those responsibilities is ensuring that Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts repay the government after being wrongfully compensated for land that was already privately owned. Peyrefitte briefly discussed his stance on the matter today...
"The issue of the Andre Vega/Sharon Pitts and the returning of the funds to the government coffers. You are taking over from former attorney general Vanessa Retreage. Where do we stand on that matter?"
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General:
"Well there is no intention from me to discontinue the matter. The matter was filed. I won't comment on the merits or demerits of the case itself. I will refrain from ever trying to discuss cases or tried them in public. So the case is there. It's present. I believe a claim has been filed and so then we go from there. That's all I would like to say on the matter for now for that."
AG, Que Pasa Con PASA?
Peyrefitte also gave us some insight in the court proceedings between PASA, the Mexican company that was responsible for moving waste from transfer stations to the regional landfill on Mile 24, and the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority. As has been reported, PASA abruptly ceased operations and abandoned the landfilling, leaving transfer stations piling up with garbage.
"The matter involving BSWMA (Belize Solid Waste Management Authority) and PASA, the whole sanitary landfill situation we were told by personnel from BSWMA that it was under review from the legal advisor in the ministry of natural resources as well as the attorney general's ministry. You were not aware where that stands?"
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General:
"I am aware of the proceedings and the analysis of the contract. But we are not finish yet, so I don't want to preempt them by saying anything about it. But we are working on it and I am fully aware of that."
Ministry of Health Hilux's Long Saga
The Ministry of Health's most recently stolen Hilux has still not been recovered. As we told you on Friday, the Hilux was stolen in San Ignacio. New details tell us that it was stolen early Friday morning from the San Ignacio Community Hospital. The information is that someone went to one of the hospital administrators and simply told him that they had to come to pick up the truck. The administrator then handed over the keys and the person just drove off. An onboard GPS tracker has traced it to Melchor, and the Ministry of health used that same anti-theft system to disable the engine. But latest reports tell us that the thieves were able to take out the anti-theft system.
Reports are that the vehicle jackers crossed over to Melchor, Guatemala through the Santa Rosa road. Now this area has been a challenge for police over the years because Guatemalans use that road to come and go between Belize and Guatemala illegally. We will keep following up on this case.
Tropic Air's New Flight To Chet
Chetumal is Belize's favourite Mexican City and every year, tens of thousands make the little run across the border, for shopping, or just for a little getaway for a Miami feeling with a Melchor discount.
You can catch a bus, drive to there through the Santa Elena Border, or catch a water taxi from San Pedro. And now, you can also fly there.
That's now possible through the newest flight which Tropic Air launched today. They're making another attempt to reach that Mexican travel market which everyone agrees is currently untapped for Belizean tourism.
They invited our team to take the inaugural flight to Chetumal, Daniel Ortiz has the story:
Harvest Caye Is Not End all For Norwegian
Friday's news was full of stuff from the House meeting, but there are two items of note we didn't get to include. The first has to do with the Harvest Caye Cruise Terminal. The PUP Representative for Toledo West, Oscar Requena, who is also the PUP's Shadow Minister for Tourism, asked the current Minister Manuel Heredia about those Norwegian Cruise Ships which are now bypassing Belize city and making a bee-line for Harvest Caye. There's been a lot of complaint from Belize City Tour Operators who say that losing Norwegian and its well-heeled guests - has translated into a major loss in earnings for them. Heredia responded by saying Norwegian is not bypassing the City:...
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism:
"What Prime Minister and I agreed, we are keeping to that promise. NCL continues to call to Belize and will continue to call in this 2017 also and I can quote you the numbers. In 2014, NCL had 64 calls to Belize City. In 2015, they had 72 calls. In 2016, they had 96 calls, which is 30% of the total calls. 79 of those calls were to Belize City and 17 to Harvest Caye."
Things We Lost In The "Accompanying Measures"
Another interesting question was the one put to the Minister of Economic Development, Erwin Contreras. It's about the millions of dollars in economic assistance from the European Union that have been lost because the contracts or the executions were mishandled in Belize. The project is called "Accompanying Measures for Sugar" - a project worth a total of 152 million dollars programmed for everything from early childhood training, to crop diversification, to cattle sweeps, so that Belize's sugar industry, and northern Belize in general could be competitive when subsidies are phased out. And it's not just money for institutional strengthening; 76 million was earmarked for upgrading roads, but Belize only tapped into 56 million - which paved 46 miles and rehabilitated 47 miles. That's because Belize could not meet deadlines or quality standards set out by the European Union. Contreras explained why and how many millions and how many miles were lost - basically, to ineptitude or inefficiency:...
Belize In fifth in Nations Cup
Belize opened the Nation's Cup on Friday night against Panama in the Estadio Rommel Fernandez earning a surprising draw against the host nation. Belize only had three shots on goal to Panama's 14, and enjoyed possession for only a third of the game, but the defensive oriented squad had 21 steals to keep the Panamanians scoreless for a nil - nil draw.
Sunday's second game against the best team in the region, Costa Rica was not so fruitful. The Costa Ricans connected on three of their 17 shots on goal, while Belize di not connect on any of its five shots on goal - for a three nil win for the Ticos.
This puts Belize in fifth place heading into tomorrow's game against Salvador. The game starts at 2:00 pm and it is a must win, or must-draw for Belize since only the top four teams qualify.