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#521329 - 02/02/17 01:08 AM Today's Belize News: February 2, 2017  
Joined: Oct 1999
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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, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

First ever Field Hockey Caribbean Coconut Cup comes to La Isla Bonita
The Caribbean Coconut Cup will be the first ever International Field Hockey Tournament to be played in Belize. The event will be hosted on Saturday, February 4th at the San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) Angel Nuñez Auditorium, at 4PM. Following the official opening ceremony, Belize’s only field hockey club, the San Pedro Buccaneers, will face the Tropical Knights from Toronto, Canada. Entrance is free, with food and $4 rum drinks and beer on sale. There will be three teams participating in a ‘Round Robin’ tournament: the Tropical Knights from Canada (the professionals), the San Pedro Buccaneers SS1 (the young members), and the San Pedro Buccaneers SS2 (the older experienced members). According to organizer Victor Murphy, this tournament was requested by Withrow Park’s Hockey Club. “The Tropical Knights, which is under the Withrow Park Hockey Club, dared to challenge the San Pedro Buccaneers on the field of hockey. I mean, the winner will take all! We gladly accepted the offer, and extend a very warm welcome to our guests from Toronto. We hope they can experience the warmth of the people and the wonderful sights and sounds that this dream island and the country of Belize has to offer,” said Murphy

SPTC addresses high influx of vehicles on the island
It is believed that as San Pedro Town continues rapidly developing, the issues regarding traffic congestion may not go away anytime soon. Aldana reiterated that the SPTC will work closely with the island’s Transport Department to alleviate the traffic conditions before it spirals out of control. He shared that they will continue monitoring the situation and appropriately manage the influx of vehicles to the island. Efforts to address the traffic conditions were also discussed at a recent traffic public consultation held on Monday, January 16th in San Pedro Town. Invited guest Darwin Juell from Canada, a veteran in creating traffic plans for different municipalities, shared ideas on how to tackle the issue on the island. The need for more sidewalks, better taxi services, and additional streets were some one of the main topics discussed. Juell strongly suggested monitoring the influx of vehicles on the island before an action plan can be executed. In his presentation, he stated that almost 60% of the vehicles on the island are golf carts, which do take most of the parking space at any time of the day. He further commented on the approaches to deal with the issue, including pedestrianizing of streets and the beach, the drafting of a taxi operational manual, and the possible implementation of public transportation. For the time being, residents were once again encouraged to also do their part and use their vehicles only when necessary and to continue making use of the public parking lot on Angel Coral Street.

U.S Embassy denies any changes in US Visa policy for Belizeans
An online ‘article’ claiming changes to visa policies for Belizeans has been declared false by the United States Embassy in Belize. The false article had indicated that the US had set a quota on visas issued to Belizeans, causing much concern. On Monday, January 30th the Public Affairs section of the embassy issued an official release in response to the article. The official note stated that there have been no new rules or regulations limiting the number of US visas for Belizean citizens. Belizeans were advised to visit the Embassy’s website for the most-up to-date and accurate information. The notification ended by indicating that the US and Belize have strong bilateral ties based on shared interests and they look forward to enhancing their friendship.

SPTC starts its first Softball Tournament
The first Co-ed Softball Tournament officially opened on Sunday, January 29th at the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Complex. Organized by The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), the first set of games saw six teams (Atlantic Bank, Rusties, San Pedro High School (SPHS), Extreme, Sea Star, and Tuff E Enuff) competing against each other before a crowd of softball fans. After several games, Rusties, SPHS, and Sea Star emerged as the top teams. According to Hector ‘Tito’ Alamilla Jr, Sports Councillor at the SPTC, the teams in the tournament will compete for six weeks before entering semi-finals. “After the six weeks, the four teams with the most wins will qualify for the second round. This is where eliminations will take place in order to determine which two teams will go for the championship game at the end of the tournament,” said Alamilla. The SPTC would like to thank all teams for being part of the tournament as well as the fans who came out to show their support. The games continue this weekend on Sunday, February 5th, starting at 9:30AM at the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex.

Rebecca Rath shines at the 65th Miss Universe Pageant
From swimsuits to evening gowns, the 65th Miss Universe Pageant drew in a total of 5.2 million viewers worldwide on Sunday, January 29th. The highly anticipated pageant was held in Manilla, Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena, where 86 contestants from across the globe vied for the crown. Rebecca Rath, Belize’s beauty ambassador, proudly put the country on the map with her elegance, intelligence, and fashionable attire during the competition. After three weeks of preparing for the grand event, 24-year-old Miss France Iris Mittenaere took the title of Miss Universe 2016. The Miss Universe preliminary competition was hosted by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Derek Ramsay on January 26th. The beauties commenced the competition by introducing themselves before displaying their swimwear and evening gowns.

Ambergris Today

66 Receive Certificate in Tourism Based Job Preparedness Training
Today, February 1, 2017, The Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC), a unit of BELTRAIDE, awarded certificates to 66 persons who completed a tourism-based Job Preparedness Training in Belize City, which was held from 11th –27th January, 2017. The Job Preparedness Training, which had the participation of one of the largest groups, was made up of two components: soft skills (attitudes and behaviours) and technical skills (industry specific). This was the first time in Belize City that BTEC executed training in three technical areas: Front Desk, Introduction to Bartending and House-keeping/Janitorial. Sixty-six persons (66) completed the training with over 98% completing successfully and the remaining 2% receiving certificate of participation. Each participant was required to sit a Pre-test in English, Customer Service and Basic Tourism Facts.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Tres Cocos First Friday Trash Pickup for February 2017
Keeping it clean on the first Friday of the month! Don't miss out on the fun! It is that time again! The First Friday trash-attack is this week! (Look how beautiful the beach path looked after last month's efforts!) We will meet at our regular place, the Paradise Theater parking lot and work our way north along the concrete road and beach to Marbucks! Notice the earlier start -- 8 a.m. Thank you for helping to keep Isla Bonita. We need you! (We will have gloves, bags, trash sticks for all. Just bring your love for the island.)

The Caribbean Coconut Cup
The Caribbean Coconut Cup - International Ball Hockey Tournament!!! Coming to San Pedro, Feb 4-6 at SPHS

SAN IGNACIO FIRE
On Tuesday January 31, 2017, San Ignacio Police visited Santa Familia Village, Cayo District where 53-year-old Antonio Ayala reported that while at work he was informed that his wooden house measuring 32’ X 40’ was on fire. The structure was completely destroyed by fire. The property and contents valued at $60,000 were not insured. To assist the family call 6102895 or 6515378.

Seafood Guide to Belize
Unsure of open/closed season for local seafood? We have printed pocket sized seafood watch guides for Belize, in Spanish & English versions-available at the Placencia Tourism Center-or contact me directly for any amount! San Pedro: we are bringing an entire box of the Spanish version for uno tomorrow!

Victoria Peak Trail Open Season 2017
We are pleased to announce the opening of the Victoria Peak Trail for 2017. Victoria Peak Natural Monument was declared a Protected Area in 1998 for its uniqueness and aesthetic qualities. In addition, the protection status ensures the survival of one of Belize's few tracks of elfin woodland forest. The spectacular journey to the summit of Victoria Peak (1,120 meters) entails a 27 kilometer hike through the jungles of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, culminating with an impressive vista of the Cockscomb Basin, in the Maya Mountains. Please contact the Belize Audubon Society to register your group; for more information on the dates, cost and logistics; ask for Ms. Delia Noble. Email: giftshop@belizeaudubon.org Telephone: (work) 223-5004/4987/4988

Estel’s 6th Annual BBQ Cookoff!
BBQ lovers of San Pedro are invited to join once again in the 6th Annual BBQ Cookoff on February 4th, 2017 at Estel’s by the Sea. This year 12 grill masters have been invited to take the quench in competing for the titles of: Grand Champion, People’s choice, and Judge’s choice. Lots of appetizers and drink specials. It will be a smokin good time! All proceeds go to the Sunshine foundation! 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival February 11th & 12th, New Artists, Chocolate Making, Art Auction and More!
For over a decade the Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival has brought together Belize’s top artists and those people, local and foreign, who appreciate the work they do so well. This year’s festival, through the sponsorship of Naïa Resort and Spa, will be adding a new dimension to the annual event. “Art After Dark” is a gala dinner that is honouring six painters from the Placencia Peninsula who have left their mark on Belize’s cultural scene. Not only will attendees get to meet, dine and forge relationships with the honourees, Anton Leslie, Earnest Garcia, Greta Leslie, Lola Delgado plus Omar and Grayson Sierra, but will also be able to bid on their latest works in a silent auction. Naïa invites you to join them on Saturday, February 11, at Naïa’s restaurant “1981” for what will certainly be a night of good food, good company and great art. Seating is limited so please purchase your tickets early so you won’t be left out.

Medical Scholarships through El Salvador
The Minister of Health. Hon. Pablo Marin along with the Ambassador of El Salvador to Belize, Hon. Luis Carabantes Palacios met today with recipients of medical scholarships offered through El Salvador to Belizean doctors to pursue specialty areas in Medicine. Minister Marin was happy to meet and express gratitude to the successful applicants for their interest and support to pursue areas which are not common in Belize. From the seven recipients, three will take up General Surgery, two in Psychiatry, One in Pediatrics and one in Internal Medicine. This was also made possible through the cooperation from the Minister of Health of El Salvador, Violeta Menjivar.

Forest Department Leads Effort to Update National Threatened Species List
Key stakeholders met at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on Tuesday, 31st January 2017, to modify and update the Threatened Species List 2005. The Forest Department, through the involvement of more than twenty-five local, regional and international experts and wildlife conservation representatives, is presently updating Belize’s National Threatened Species List for terrestrial wildlife. As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Belize’s efforts to update the list is only one of the many activities underway to ensure that Belize meets its global commitments and contributes towards the global Sustainable Development Goals to secure the survival of threatened species, maintain biodiversity, and improve wildlife conservation efforts. According to the Forest Department’s Wildlife Manager Edgar Correa, this update of threatened species is essential to identifying emerging threats and potential impacts on priority species, as well as pinpoint effective forest protection measures necessary to safeguard wildlife. He further explained that at the end of the workshop, a National Threatened Species List 2017 will be developed.

RABIES VACCINATION FOR CATTLE, SHEEP AND HORSES STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Belize Livestock Producers Association informs all livestock farmers to vaccinate their livestock against the ongoing Bovine Rabies disease outbreak. The disease is currently being detected in the Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Toledo Districts and is expected to continue affecting unvaccinated herds throughout the entire country. The disease is also being found in sheep and therefore farmers are being advised to vaccinate their cattle, sheep and horses against rabies Farmers are advised that rabies can be transmitted to humans and to report suspect cases to BAHA. Rabies is a highly fatal disease that affects all mammals. The disease is always fatal but can be prevented through vaccination of animals and post exposure treatment to humans. Affected animals will usually show nervous signs and aggressive behavior. Most animals will show excessive salivation as swallowing becomes impossible. Avoid coming in contact with animals showing these symptoms and immediately call BAHA Officers.

Calvin back on Caye Caulker
Calvin is back with his beautiful jewelry!! Awesome to see him doing much better! Welcome back buddy!

Sandwich Boards and Street Closures for Construction
The San Pedro Town Council hereby requesting all businesses that use sandwich boards as a medium to promote their business, to kindly do so on their own premises. All sandwich boards on public property, including the beach, should be removed and relocated inside the perimeters of the property where the business is located. The San Pedro Town Council is hereby requesting all construction companies and contractors needing to use any street (public property) to facilitate their construction tasks, to kindly request for a permit with the supervisor of the San Pedro Traffic Department, for street closure, at least forty-eight hours (48 hrs.) prior to the scheduled date of use.

5th Anniversary Celebration, Grand Cultural Presentation, Corozal House of Culture
Friday, Feb. 24 @ 7pm

Belize's Wonder Women! Carolina Verde
Ms. Verde was born on August 6 and grew up in beautiful island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. She is presently living in Belize City, a single mother of two (2) beautiful kids along with her grandson. She's full time employed at a law firm and also has her part-time business of creating outfits, tutus, hair accessories and more. She is considered to be very ambitious, confident, strong, kind hearted and independent. She is also known to be very caring, friendly, loving and offers a helping hand to anyone. Being a single parent is not an easy task but she pushes very hard and makes sure she provides the basic necessities for her kids. In 2015 her life changed completely, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through Chemotherapy, Radiation and Surgery. She's been a fighter; a survivor; and a woman of strength. Her strong will to live for her family has her going each day.

Education USA Belize Reference Center
Stop by our Education USA Belize Reference Center at the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City and check out the new research tools and equipment to help you find the right school for you!

Congratulations to the Belize Defence Force (BDF) on their 39th Anniversary!
Presiding over the celebration event was Governor General Sir Colville Young. The Ministry of Defence Chief Executive Officer, Felix Enriquez, delivered the address to the Soldiers of the BDF, as well as hundreds of onlookers, where he emphasized the importance of bringing the Belize-Guatemala border dispute to the International Court of Justice. He also highlighted the long-standing relationship with the Louisiana Army National Guard (LANG). Present at the event were Major General Glenn Curtis and other representatives from the LANG and U.S. Embassy staff members. The event included the intake of new BDF recruits, a Tae Kwan Do exhibition, as well as a demonstration by the BDF's Special Assignment Group (BSAG).

FCD’s Karst Chief Ranger training team members in the Chiquibul
The primary goal of this team is to explore, document and monitor the Chiquibul Cave System which is co-managed by FCD with the Institute of Archaeology.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Lion, Bleed for This, Arrival, Moana. Superbowl presented on the big screen Sunday, 5pm- Free

Channel 7

Public Officers A No-Show, Senate Inquiry Gets Late Start
Last week, in our coverage of the Senate Hearings on Immigration, we told you that the Senate was to call Immigration Officers Gordon Wade, Ady Pacheco and Edgar Cano to testify today. Well, they did try, but Ady Pacheco and Edgar Cano were no-show's. Cano was the officer in charge of the Belize Western Border Station for the Immigration Department during the audit period. Gordon Wade, according to Directors Maria Marin and Ruth Meighan, was in charge of the Nationality and Permanent Residency Sections. Ady Pacheco's name also kept showing up in the Citizen Kim Scandal, alongside Gordon Wade, and both are named dozens of times in the Auditor General's Report. So, they both have a lot to explain, but today Pacheco did not show up due to what was explained as "health reasons". Cano was unable to present himself, because his attorney, Richard "Dickie" Bradley, was unavailable for today. It caused the Senators to wait for 2 hours and 15 minutes, with uncertainty that any of the witnesses would show up at all today.

Former Head of Nationality and Permanent Residency Explains Citizen Kim
So, even though the Senate was waiting for Wade and his attorney Andrew Bennett to show up at 11, they didn't arrive until 12:15, and shortly after that, the long delayed hearing began. Wade has been at the department for 27 years, and he has been a Senior Immigration officer for the past 10 years. As head of the Nationality and Permanent Residency Sections during the period under investigation, his name appears over 75 times in just the Nationality Report So the Senate went straight to the Citizen Kim passport scandal, and here's a few of the questions that the Senators had for him: Hon. Aldo Salazar, Chairman - Senate Select Committee: "Mr. Penner, did you treat him as if he had the authority to take a file from you?" Gordon Wade - Former OIC, Nationality Section: "He was the Minister of Immigration sir." Hon. Aldo Salazar: "What is the answer to the question? Did you treat him as if he had the authority to take a file from you?" Gordon Wade: "Yes sir."

Wade Describes Ministers' Role In Pressing Influence
So, as you heard Wade say, the then Minister of State Elvin Penner was the one who pushed for the Won Hong Kim file to move along even though it ought not to have gone anywhere in the Department. Wade's version is that Penner requested the file from him, and then took it over to his head to his immediate superior, the then Director, who would have been Ruth Meighan at that time. And according to Wade, Penner wasn't the only one who kept pressing for files to move up the chain, even though the files were incomplete, and the applicants didn't qualify. He said that there were other Ministers trying to move documents along, and that it was a normal occurrence for Ministers to get involved in this way. Here's some of the pointed questions that they asked him:

Wade Say the Law Was Misinterpreted
Wade was also asked about the explosive revelation from the last hearing in which Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan agreed that in the rush up to the 2012 general elections, there were a number of applicants who did not qualify for nationality, but they got it anyway. With that, they were able to get on the voter's list, which they shouldn't have. Well, when the Senators asked Wade about it, he said that the Directors and the Minister interpreted the law in a way he didn't agree, which allowed for people who entered illegally, and lived in Belize for some years, to get nationality. Here's his version: Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator "If an applicant was out for 6 months or 2 months, 3 months..." Gordon Wade - Former OIC, Nationality Section "They would have to have reasonable excuse for being out that amount of time." Hon. Eamon Courtenay "For example?" Gordon Wade "A death in the family, medical, something to that affect." Hon. Eamon Courtenay "What if you are residing abroad?" Gordon Wade "Well then you won't be considered."

Wade Denies Making Explosive Statement
So, while he was pointing fingers at his direct superiors for that one, there came a moment, almost at the end of the hearing in which the Senators turned up the heat on him just a bit more. It's in reference to a portion of the audit report in which the Auditor quoted Wade himself as saying some very serious things. In the report the Auditors quote him as saying quote, "A Minister can approve Belizean nationality with one letter and all other requirements are waived, including fees, security clearance, civic test; everything can be waived. The law has the requirements but that does not matter because the law also states that a Minister has the final say. Applicants do not even have to be in the country for the five (5) years. As long as a Justice of the Peace or Minster writes a letter stating that they knew the applicant for over 5 years, and that they are of good behaviour, they are approved. That process takes the place of all requirements. This happens especially around election time when ministers and area representatives submit lists of applicants who should get nationality. Those persons do not even have to show their Passports to prove that they came into the country with visas."

Alleged Beatdown By Babylon Brothers
This evening, two police officers – who are also brothers, Kenrick and Akeem Gamboa, were arraigned in the Magistrate's Court for the alleged brutal beatdown of a nineteen year old. On Saturday, Crawford was hanging out at a house at mile four when the Gamboa brothers and another assailant rushed him. The allegation is that one of them then took out a gun and fired at him. Crawford attempted to flee, but was chased into the city, where the officers allegedly caught and beat him. Crawford's mother made a formal complaint, and he positively identified his alleged assailants.

SEA Caught Off-season Conchs, Issue Dire Warning
The Independence Magistrate's Court saw some action today too. The Southern Environmental Association Rangers caught two fishermen, Sanasermo Torres and Earl Lamb separately with undersized conch in the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. Both men were charged for separate cases of possession of unprocessed and undersized conch. Torres was caught and charged for possession of 49 conchs, while Lamb was charged for the possession of 86. Both men pled guilty to charges, and were fined $20 per conch, plus legal fees. The Southern Environmental Alliance is using the story to warn, quote, "the population of the queen conch is already in steady decline and may very soon not be available for fisheries should we continue on the path of unsustainable harvesting."

Au Revoir, Ritchel
Ritchel Dominguez had taken quite a high profile as the Director of Sports at the National Sports Council. He took up the post after his political boss from Orange Walk East, Elodio Aragon was assigned the portfolio for Sports after the November 2015 General election. But, 7News has confirmed that Dominguez is Director no more. Sports Minister Patrick Faber told us via text message, quote, "His contract expired and we've chosen not to renew, but he is being considered for an alternative posting within the National Sports Council." End quote. His one year contract expired on January third – and Dominguez left on January 17th. Charlie Slusher is now the Acting Director working along with Raul Rosado Jr – who is the Chairman of the National Sports Committee. Seems Dominguez's fortunes went down because Elodio Aragon is no longer at the Ministry of Sports. He was re-assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs in September. And, it seems that when Aragon left, Dominguez, who is from Aragon's constituency, lost his political protection, and ultimately, his job.

UDP Party Whip Says PUP Confused on Re-Registration
Last night the PUP went on the offensive against government's plan to launch a re-registration exercise in 2018. The PUP says it has to be now, but UDP Party Whip Michael Finnegan took a broader historical view, and said that – in the context of what the PUP said on the verge of the last re-registration – they party doesn't know what it want:… Hon. Michael Finnegan - UDP Mespo. Representative: "In 1997 the PUP vigorously argued that to have a re-registration would be disenfranchising voters. The PUP argued back then you don't have to have a re-registration, what we need to do is to clean up the voters list. Don't disenfranchise people, clean up the voters list by getting those off the list who are dead etc. Now the PUP some years later it has changed its position and it is vigorously arguing for a re-registration, whe deh believe inna, whe deh really want?"

Finnegan Says Re-Registration Costly, We Ask, Why?
Well, what the opposition really wants is re-registration before the municipal elections in 2018 – because they claim the voters' list is bloated with fraudulent voters who were hastily naturalized before the 2012 general election. But, Finnegan says be careful what you wish for because a re-registration is costly and complicated. Here's our far ranging discussion with him about what makes it costly:.. Hon. Michael Finnegan - UDP Mespo. Representative: "To have a re-registration it doesn't bother me, you could have it if I think I said that but I don't see the urgency for it. It has an energy cost, it has a mental cost and most importantly it has a financial cost to get people to go to register da those polling station. I could inform the PUP demagogue from Caribbean Shores it's not an easy task." Jules Vasquez: "But a part of the financial cost is to bring back in your same phantom voters." Hon. Michael Finnegan: "What are phantom voters?" Jules Vasquez: "Phantom voters Mr. Finnegan I believe you know well what it is." Hon. Michael Finnegan: "Can you interpret the word phantom for me please?" Jules Vasquez: "Maybe we don't agree on the terminology but those are voters who vote in a division but don't live in that division."

Finnegan Says Bradley Needed His Constituency's Votes
Hoping for the best is not what Mayor Darrell Bradley told us got him elected. Yesterday, the two term mayor told us he got elected on his record, not as a product of the UDP political machine in the city - and all the voters list bloat that comes with it. Today, Finnegan told us otherwise; he said that Bradley wouldn't have won without his division: Jules Vasquez: "You are always seeking to register new people why is that? Because the strength of the constituency, the strength of the party, is the strength of the city council although Mr. Mayor likes to play quite heartily." Hon. Michael Finnegan - UDP Mespo. Representative: "Can't win without me." Jules Vasquez: "Well he just said yesterday he win on performance." Hon. Michael Finnegan: "He can't win without me and Barrow and Boots and Taeger."

What Species are Endagered?
Yesterday key environmental and conservation stakeholders met to begin work on updating and revising the National Threatened Species List 2005. The list identifies at risk terrestrial species, as well as threats that could impact them in the future. The effort is also a part of the Forestry Department's endeavours to contribute towards global Sustainable Development Goals by maintaining the country's biodiversity and improving wildlife conservation efforts. After consultations have concluded a new National Threatened Species List 2017 will be developed.

More Trained For Tourism
Since its inception in 2014, about 900 people have participated in Beltraide's Belize Training and Employment Center program, BTEC. And out of that 900, about 80% or 720 participants are employed. Well, that is the hope for the 66 who completed the training today. All 66 received certificates for completing one of three of the main courses offered: Housekeeping, the introduction and advanced level of bartending, and front desk training. Now, these fields might not seem like the most highly regarded job options but according to the participants and Beltraides's representative, these training sessions can open up many business opportunities: Courtney Weatherbure: "Do you have any prior skills or knowledge about bartending?" Renesha Reynolds - Intro & Advanced Bartending Training: "I have no experience bartending outside of my house but I know knowledge about bartending because I watch a lot of TV shows about bartending and stuff like that." Courtney Weatherburne: "What are some of the drinks you were comfortable making at home with your family and friends?" Renesha Reynolds: "I tried different drinks like rum and coke but I learnt that the correct name is old fashion so yes.."

Finnegan Not Convinced of Corruption By Senate Hearings
Since November we've been faithfully reporting on the proceedings of the Senate Inquiry into Immigration Irregularities. Today a senior immigration officer took Centre stage and outlined how political meddling influenced irregularities. In the court of public opinion, which has a very low standard of proof for politicians, the spectre of political corruption can be clearly seen. But not so for Finnegan, who like his party leader Dean Barrow – is not yet convinced:… Hon. Michael Finnegan- UDP Mesop Representative: "And listening to the senate hearing I am not convinced yet at this stage that any politicians, UDP minister, do anything that is clearly illegal and could convict them in a court of law or in the court of public opinion. I nuh see it but when I see I wah tell you." Jules Vasquez: "But mista Finnegan maybe me and you nuh the watch the same thing or we have different standards of judgement." Hon. Michael Finnegan: "So weh you see that I nuh see?" Jules Vasquez: "What I have seen is that there are ministers, particularly from the Cayo caucus have been mentioned so far, who frequently went up there pursuing the interest of persons for whom they had written recommendations, etc." Hon. Michael Finnegan: "Yes that is correct."

Finnegan Says "The Hustle" Has Its Difficulties For The Pols Who Play It
And while he makes no apologies for giving away government money to constituents, Finnegan says those politicians who hustle money have practical difficulties managing the cash:…

Black History Month's Meaning in Belize
It’s the first day of Black History month in the US and there will be a host of events and TV shows throughout the month. Even President Donald Trump said a few words about the celebrating black history. But what about in Belize? What does it mean to us a people? Courtney Weatherburne had a special sit down conversation with the National Kriol Council’s Cultural Attache Myrna Manzanares. Here is that discussion.


#521330 - 02/02/17 01:08 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 2, 2017 [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,758
Marty Offline
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Channel 5

Former Chief of Nationality Calls Out Bosses for Decisions Made in 2012 Rush
The Senate Special Select Committee sought to call three witnesses to today’s public hearing at the National Assembly in Belmopan. But only one made it – the former Office in [...]

Gordon Wade Says He Was Overruled by ex-Minister of State Penner on Won Hong Kim File
Won Hong Kim, the South Korean fugitive, who started the entire current Immigration saga, is hardly forgotten though his ultimate fate after a desperate bid to dodge extradition by claiming [...]

Ministers Saldivar, Contreras, Castro and Others Named as Frequent Visitors to Immigration
Senior Immigration Officer Gordon Wade, who has been working with the department for twenty-seven years, also added layers to established testimony that Ministers of Government were in and out of [...]

Gordon Wade Confirms There Was No Communication in Immigration
Last week, ex-Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan sidestepped questions of whether she was a “rubber stamp” for final approval of applications for visas, passports, and nationality certificates. But she repeatedly [...]

Wade Blames His Juniors for Messing Up Nationality Files
But what did Wade really see in those many files passing over his desk during those two years he was in charge? He said that a completed file with the [...]

Wade Says He Didn’t Tell Auditors Some of the Things Mentioned in Final Report
Auditor General Dorothy Bradley made one major correction to her audit report of the Immigration Department – that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Peyrefitte, was allowed under [...]

Minor Charged for Latest Conch Shell Bay Shooting
Turning to the courts….a sixteen year old has been charged for the most recent shooting incident in Conch Shell Bay area of Belize City. On Monday night, sometime after eight [...]

Cops Charged in Assault of Teenage Rival
Two cops were charged with grievous harm when they appeared in court today. Brothers twenty-eight-year-old Kenrick Gamboa and twenty-four-year-old Akeem Gamboa were jointly for grievous harm upon nineteen year old [...]

Pickstock Rep Talks about Benefits of Re-Registration
The decision by the Elections and Boundaries Commission to embark on countrywide re-registration and redistricting exercises after municipal elections are held in 2018 has raised the ire of the People’s [...]

Immigration Troubles Are Nothing New, Laments Elrington
While Elrington is often up to speed on events, he says he has not been keeping up with developments in the ongoing senate inquiry.  Last Wednesday, while under oath, former [...]

Referendum on I.C.J. Coming for Guatemala; Belize Not Ready Yet
Is Guatemala ready to go to referendum on whether its age-old claim over Belize should go before the ICJ?  Earlier today, an official from the Guatemalan electoral commission told the [...]

Why Ady Pacheco and Edgar Cano Missed Senate Hearing
As reported at the top of our newscast, two of the three witnesses scheduled to appear before today’s panel were absent to due to medical and legal issues respectively. Because [...]

Whose Names Are On Senate’s Witness List? Elvin Penner’s, For Sure
A total of four witnesses have been called by the Committee so far: Auditor General Dorothy Bradley; former deputy director Maria Marin; former Director Ruth Meighan; and former Officer in [...]

Illegal Conch Busted in Marine Reserve
Two fishermen appeared in the Independence Magistrate Court for possession of unprocessed and undersized conch.   Sanasermo Torres was busted with forty-nine conch and Earl Lamb with eighty-six by rangers of  [...]

K.H.M.H. Does Surgery on Operating Theatres
Late last week, the K.H.M.H. announced that ongoing renovations have caused a limitation in service delivery. The national referral hospital says that the specific area to be impacted is the [...]

BAHA Watches for Bovine Rabies in North, West
There is an outbreak of Bovine rabies in three districts. BAHA announced today that the disease has been detected in the Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Toledo Districts. As such [...]

Mexican Embassy, Museum of Belize Team Up for Anniversary Exhibition
The Museum of Belize is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this Friday. As a part of its celebration, it’s hosting a Mexican exhibition entitled “El Cimmaron y Su Fandango,” among other [...]

BTEC Unveils Latest Graduates
A job preparedness training certificate ceremony was held today at the Belize Training and Employment Center on the ITVET Compound. A team of six persons manage a network of partnerships [...]

CTV3

A Call For Gaspar Vega To Resign
On October seventeenth of last year, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gaspar Vega resigned from cabinet following the unearthing of land scandals involving his son Andre Vega and UDP insider Sharon Pitts, which cost GOB almost one million dollars. But the long list of corruption within the lands department during former DPM’s tenure as Minister of Lands did not end there as several other land schemes surfaced in which Vega allegedly abused his authority to enrich his family and associates through dubious land transactions. But even after everything that has been found against Vega, he decided to simply resign from Cabinet but not from the House of Representatives thus remaining as area representative for Orange Walk North. While many Belizeans have been asking for Vega’s resignation one of the prime advocates for him to resign has been well-known Orange Walk business man and former PUP standard bearer for Orange Walk North, Ramon ‘Munchi’ Cervantes in his pursuance to bring criminal charges against Vega, for wrong-doings committed within the land department during his tenure. Today Cervantes visited our morning show, Despierta belice, where he unearthed deals which have landed a total of one thousand, six hundred acres of prime farmland along the Philip Goldson Highway in the village of Carmelita, in the hands of the Vega family.

Another Rise In Fuel Prices
Just last week consumers received some much needed release as the prices in fuel saw a small reduction, but those low prices were short lived as fuel prices will see a hike effective midnight. So…if your gas tank is running near empty, our advice to you is to fill up because at midnight tonight the prices for Diesel, Premium and regular gasoline will see a marked increase at the pump. Regular gasoline will see an increase of eleven cents going from nine dollars and sixty four cents to nine dollars and seventy five cents while diesel will rise by fifteen cents raising from eight dollars and ninety five cents to nine dollars and ten cents. But the highest increase will be seen on Premium gasoline which will rise by forty four cents going from nine dollars and ninety nine cents to a whopping ten dollars and forty three cents. Of course the increase is yet to be announced by GOB.

Truckers Back At Work But For How Long?
Yesterday we told you about the small protest carried out in front of the Sugar mill at BSI/ASR by the men responsible for driving the trucks that deliver the company’s cane quota to the factory in their pursuit of fair treatment. As reported yesterday the men were up in arms after they were informed that their salary per ton of cane delivered to the mill may be reduced from two dollars to one dollar and fifty cents. The men who drive the trucks of contractors hired by BSI for harvesting and delivery of their product refused to make deliveries until an understanding is reached as for the price being paid to them. In an update to that matter, we can tell you that the men were back at work this morning making their usual deliveries to the factory, but while the standoff was put on pause, according to one of the truck drivers whom we spoke with this morning, this is only until they receive a respond to a letter sent to contractors and BSI representatives regarding an adjustment to their pay.

Opposition Leader Explains Why Members Voted In Favor Of Bill To Protect Belize's Assets
A special Sitting of the House of Representatives was called on Friday where two new bills were debated. Both bills were basically designed to protect Belize's foreign reserves from, Belize Social Development Limited and Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, the pair of Ashcroft companies that are trying to recover the over one hundred million Belize dollars in arbitral awards granted to them by a US court. As we showed you on Friday a division was called and the Bills were approved after the PUP side of the House voted in favor. During an interview with Opposition Leader this weekend at the National Party Council Meeting held in Orange Walk, he spoke of the reasons behind the PUP’s approval.

Senior Immigration Officer Testifies Before Senate Select Committee
Former Officer in Charge of the Nationality Department, Gordon Wade, appeared before the Senate Select Committee today as it held its eighth hearing session as part of a probe into the Auditor General’s special audit report into Immigration irregularities. Wade was scheduled to appear in the afternoon session, following the morning witness Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco. But once Pacheco didn’t show up for health reasons, Wade was asked to turn up. Wade is a senior immigration officer with 27 years’ experience. Today he had to answer tough questions about the role he played at the Immigration Department and whether he was a player in any of the irregularities cited in the report. As has been the case at previous hearings in which two former Directors have appeared, Wade found it important to state what his responsibilities were and why they exculpate him from any wrongdoing.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Rabies vaccination for livestock advisory
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Belize Livestock Producers Association informs all livestock farmers to vaccinate their livestock against the ongoing Bovine Rabies disease outbreak. The disease is currently being detected in the Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Toledo Districts and is expected to continue affecting unvaccinated herds throughout the entire country. It is also being found in sheep and therefore farmers are being advised to vaccinate their cattle, sheep and horses against rabies Farmers are advised that rabies can be transmitted to humans and to report suspect cases to BAHA. Rabies is a highly fatal disease that affects all mammals.

KHMH delaying elective, not emergency surgeries
CEO of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), Dr. Adrian Coye, explained today that the hospital will only be delaying non-emergency surgeries for 3-4 weeks while the operating theaters are being renovated. Coye explained that the hospital is making massive infrastructure investments to improve the quality of the services of the hospital; however, the services will undergo a series of interruptions over the year the operating theaters are being renovated. “The level of investment we are making will cost almost $2 million,” Coye said today. “We’re not just improving the equipment, but the systems we use as well.”

Sixty-six graduate from BTEC training course
Today, the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC) gave out certificates to 66 graduates from its Job Preparedness Training course. BTEC held the graduation at it’s office on the ITVET compound in Belize city, where it handed out completion certificates for the three-week course in Front Desk, Introduction to Bartending and Janitorial House-keeping. Lejia Melanie Gideon, BTEC General Manager, explained that the participants had to undergo 7-10 days worth of soft skills training in areas such as time management, effective communication and taking criticism before going through the technical aspects of their training for the specific jobs.

Senate hearing into immigration scandal stalled
The Senate hearing into the scandal at the Immigration Department was to have continued today at 10 a.m. However, two of three Immigration Officers called before the Senate Select Committee did not turn up and the third is yet to arrive in Belmopan to […]

Minor charged for Monday night shooting
Jaleel Goodger, 21, was shot once to his leg on Monday night but managed to escape from an armed assailant. However, police have since charged a 16-year-old minor in connection with the incident. The minor was slapped with a series of charges including: Attempted Murder, Grievous […]

Belize~ Cayo tourism marketing and the Maya
Picture: villamargaritabelize.comIn early 1998, I went to a CAYO BTIA meeting at Windy Hill Resort….there they spoke about events-based marketing and creation of richer travel experiences….which helped give birth to my first community-based project “La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge”. Tomorrow I will be […]

Almost 1,000 grams of weed found in San Ignacio and Santa Elena towns
According to police reports, on Tuesday, January 31 at about 11:00 a.m., San Ignacio Quick Response Team and the K-9 Unit conducted a joint anti-drug operation within San Ignacio where officers conducted a search on an empty lot in the Shawville area which led […]

Santa Elena man busted for drug trafficking
Yesterday at around 1:30 p.m., San Ignacio police, while on mobile patrol on Cristo Rey Road, Santa Elena Town, Cayo District, stopped and searched 25-year-old Ferdinand Muschamp, who was in the possession of a brown knapsack. The search yielded 262 grams of cannabis. He […]

House burns in Santa Familia
According to police reports, yesterday, San Ignacio Police visited Santa Familia Village, Cayo District where 53-year-old Antonio Ayala reported that while at work, he was informed that his wooden house measuring 32’ X 40’ was on fire. The structure was completely destroyed by fire. […]

Man shot on Monday night
A man was shot sometime around 8:00 p.m. Monday night in Belize City. According to police, officers visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw 21-year-old Jaheel Goodger suffering from a gunshot wound to the right leg. Initial investigation reveals that while Goodger […]

Blogs

New North Ambergris Caye Hot Spot
I was recently invited to a cool party across the bridge by Paul who was doing some marketing for a new North Ambergris Caye Hot Spot. When he said I could bring a plus one, I picked Sandie. She is always willing to play chauffeur and I knew she would enjoy a relaxing poolside party. I knew it would be a great place to catch up with all the “north” people we do not see often, and there were many that day. It was a great party. We were treated to an afternoon of delicious tropical cocktails, tasty treats and live poolside music by Dennis Wolfe. It was great chatting with all our North Ambergris Caye friends that we do not see as often. We also got to tour the rooms at Casitas Tres Cocos. Of course I instantly fell in love with Casita Crocodile and the big white towel croc guarding the cozy looking bed. As we walked down the path looking at some of the other rooms, another one that captured my attention had an outside shower and private plunge pool. In addition to the big king bed it also had a private kitchen and an adjoining casita option. Another feature I really liked about the rooms is their unique long tiled double sink design.

Why You Should Visit Belize in February: Events Galore
It’s hard to pick the busiest month in Belize…and while Christmas week may be the busiest week of the year, February may be the busiest in terms of a month of solid events and visitors. The weather is absolute perfect. Kelly McGuire Concerts – Each year Texas singer/songwriter celebrates his birthday in Belize…a country he loves and has written many song about… Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival, Saturday February 11th and 12th Super fun event with lots of beautiful art of all kinds from all over the country. I attended in 2014 and have been dying to go back. Carnaval in San Pedro: This super uniquely San Pedro fiesta is a bit mysterious and a ton of fun. Mysterious because it is not always clear when things are starting. But that’s all good…just go with the flow, have a Belikin or two and wait for the crowd. Belize City Street Art Festival: Just a day…but music, art and fun. It’s right down the “main drag” – just over the swing bridge. An easy day trip from San Pedro or Caye Caulker on the water taxi.

Where to Stay in San Ignacio Belize
If you’re looking for where to stay in San Ignacio Belize, I have the perfect location for you: Table Rock Jungle Lodge. When we decided to travel to Central America we quickly knew we wanted a bit of the jungle and a bit of the beach; I feverishly began searching on TripAdvisor for hotels that would fit our needs in two cities on opposite sides of the country. Here’s what we loved about the resort: WELL KEPT: even though they had just survived Hurricane Earl about a week before our arrival, we thought the resort was incredibly well manicured and kept. Alan, the owner, apologized for the “mess” and, thought we appreciated his sentiment, we had no idea what he was talking about. SUSTAINABLE: the best example of sustainability at the resort I can think of was that they only had USB ports in the rooms to charge devices, not full-fledged electrical outlets. Otherwise if you were hoping to blow dry your hair (not sure why you would in the jungle, during summer, but anyway…) you had to do so in a common area (pictured below), complete with comfortable hammocks and games, near the dining area. This truly made it more pleasant for us! The resort’s small and even if I left a camera battery to charge I felt secure in doing so. Table Rock Jungle Lodge Belize photos from Sometimes Home travel blog. Sustainable resort with hammocks for guest use.

Do Not Miss Placencia's Sidewalk Arts & Music Festival in 2017
Every year, the small fishing village of Placencia comes alive as the central sidewalk is transformed into an interactive art gallery and music festival. Sculptors, painters, singers, photographers, musicians, and vendors from all over the country come to Placencia to display their art and sell a wide range of delicious local foods and drinks. With plenty of games and activities to entertain the whole family, the Placencia Sidewalk Arts and Music Festival is a must-see festival in Belize. Starting at 10:00 am, the central sidewalk in Placencia comes alive, with every inch of the 4000 foot-long strip bursting with colorful art, beautiful handicrafts, gorgeous photographs, amazing sculptures, fun games, joyous music, poetry readings, mouthwatering food, and delicious drinks. Many local operators and taxi services provide transportation to Placencia from anywhere in Belize. In addition, Placencia Airport has numerous domestic flights to and from Belize City (both the municipal airport as well as Philip Gordon International Airport), Dangriga, and Punta Gorda, with service provided by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air.

International Sourcesizz

Humans May Have Arrived in North America 10,000 Years Earlier Than We Thought
A 24,000-year-old horse jawbone is helping rewrite our understanding of human habitation on the continent. The caves were hidden high above the Yukon's Bluefish River, at the base of a limestone ridge in the middle of a sprawling wilderness. When a helicopter reconnaissance of the river spotted the caves in 1975, it may well have been thousands of years since the last humans entered them—or so hoped archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars. Between 1977 and 1987, Cinq-Mars led a team into the remote wilderness, battling clouds of mosquitoes and cold weather to excavate the layers of sediment and bones. What he found was a game-changer. At the time, the prevailing theory was that the Clovis were the earliest human inhabitants of the Americas, with sites across North and Central America containing their iconic spearheads. As early as the 16th century, Europeans proposed that a land bridge between Asia and North America might have provided the route for early human migration; by the 1940s scientists were actively looking for and finding evidence for the bridge’s existence. And in the 1930s, spear points discovered near Clovis, New Mexico were discovered to match the artifacts found in Beringia, convincing people that the Clovis came first, approximately 13,000 years ago. But when Cinq-Mars brought the fragments found at the Bluefish Caves back to the laboratory, he came to an incredible conclusion: humans had actually occupied North America as early as 24,000 years ago.

Leave crusader loses Belize envoy job after Johnson intervention
Boris Johnson has forced a rival Leave campaigner who met Donald Trump before him to quit his role as Belize’s diplomatic envoy to the UK. Andy Wigmore, who was the communications director for Leave.EU, left his role as a trade and investment envoy for Belize last week amid questions over whether he had breached a ban on diplomats engaging in political activity during the Brexit campaign. Mr Wigmore, 50, is a spokesman for Arron Banks, who bankrolled Leave.EU. They both met Mr Trump shortly after his victory in the US presidential election along with Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader.

Discovered: Possible New Species Of Hammerhead Shark
Scientists have discovered what they believe to be a new species of hammerhead shark, prompting concerns about the species' vulnerability and whether conservation practices in place today are widespread enough to protect them. The bonnethead, a small species of hammerhead found in the United States, Bahamas, Caribbean and Latin America, has been considered abundant, productive, and widely distributed. However, when scientists recently sequenced the DNA of what they believed to be bonnethead sharks in Belize, they were shocked to find that they are likely an entirely different species. Currently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists bonnetheads as "Least Concern" for extinction risk, in part because they are described as a single species spread across a large area. The discovery that there might actually be two species with smaller distributional ranges and overall numbers means scientists must reassess each of their extinction vulnerabilities.

Videos

  • NGO Senator Interview - The Way Forward, 23min.

  • Valley of Peace Public Quarry privatized, 7min. Villagers in Valley of Peace don't know how their public quarry became private property.

  • Documentary Belize Red Cross (Special), 17min.

  • Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) - Annual Conference, 30min.

  • Snorkeling with Sharks in Belize, 2.5min.

  • Eboe Town, Belize Oral History, 4min. n this "2 Cents Cam", we interview residents of Belize City to document the heritage and history of Eboe Town.

  • Street Art Festival, 1min. The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project will be at this year's Street Art Festival on Febraury 25th. We will have interesting games and activities for all ages and best of all, you will be able to win prizes. Look out for our Historic Buildings Trivia Questions popping up all month on our facebook page. The first person to post the correct answer may collect a gift bag at our booth.

  • PG Day Forum: Punta Gorda, Then & Now, 106min. Punta Gorda from My Perspective

  • Black History Belize, 6min.

  • Referendo con Belice se prevé para septiembre(Ver video), 1.5min. ICJ referendum set for September. Q300 millones es el monto estimado en costo para esta consulta. Guatemala y Belice estarían por efectuar una consulta popular para conocer si la población ...

  • MMA talk- a growing sport in #Belize, 90min. Sports Talk with Raynord Garbutt

  • Discover Kanantik Belize, 2min.

  • Discover Belize, 2min.

  • Dolphins in Belize, 1.5min.

  • Riding ATVs in Belize, 6.5min.


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