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
Letter to the Editor: AS IF SOME LESSER GOD HAD MADE THE WORLD
The Messiah from Nazareth had one core message for those who would follow his teachings –“Love one another as I have loved you.”
Judeo-Christian belief is founded on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who taught a gospel of love that was radical in its replacement of blind, rote obedience to forms of faith that revealed the face of the Almighty as a wrathful terrible master, with a gospel of the Creator as a loving, forgiving father.
Among the things that the Catholic Church and evangelical Christian churches in Belize have in common is the purported doctrine of “love the sinner, hate the sin”. According to that teaching, the adulterer, the thief, the murderer are all worthy of love, even if what they have done is wrong.
Doctrinally, for most Christians, members of the LGBTTQIA community are sinners. Sinners for what they do, because most do not concede that this is about identity and not sin.
Fire in San Juan Subdivision destroys home
A residence located in the San Juan Area near downtown San Pedro, was destroyed by a large fire on Sunday, February 5th, shortly after midday. The San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD) responded quickly to the distress call shortly after 12:45PM, and extinguished the blaze without any difficulties. Even though there were no injuries, not much of the wooden structure could be saved. According to official reports from the local authorities, the wooden house measuring about 20 feet in width and 45 feet in length belonged to Calvin Young. The authorities also reported that at the time of the fire, Young, nor any other family member were at home. As the SPFD continue their investigation into the cause of the fire, the value of damages to the property lost has yet to be ascertained. No damages were reported to nearby houses. The SPFD is seeking the public’s assistance with any information they may have regarding the blaze.
TripAdvisor’s Best Hotels 2017 Announced - Belize Prevails
Trip Advisor’s 2017 Traveler’s Choice Awards are out and Belize once again boasts four properties in the Top 25 Hotels in Central America list - three from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and one from Placencia.
Belize is still making its mark as a top destination among the best in the world with tourism arrivals keep on breaking records year after year. More international airlines are heading to Belize, adding direct flights from key cities in the United States, Canada and South America.
Ambergris Caye boasts listings of the top hotels in Central America with three hotels: Las Terrazas, Victoria House and Coco Beach Resor and Las Terrazas and one from Placencia, Belize Ocean Club Report being voted among the best. Costa Rica is a top contender in Central America with the most hotels on the list, which also include hotels from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras.
Ambergris Caye also has the most hotels listed on TripAdvisor’s Top Lists in Belize and tops some 'Top World' lists with The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro still up high at #2 in the Top 10 Luxury Resorts in Central America list. Sleeping Giant Lodge in Belmopan is #18 in the Top 25 Hotels for Service in the World; Villa Verano in Hopkins is #3 in Top 10 Hotels for Family - Central America; and Coco Plum Island Resort is still high in the Top 25 Hotels for Romance in the World at #9.
Misc Belizean Sources
Congratulations to the San Pedro High School Female Football for winning the 2017 Northern Regionals!
Let's Go To The Nationals!!
The Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) the country's leading Private Sector Organization has vacancy for a "Chief Policy Analyst" & "Manager for Business Development" please see attached flyers or call 223-5330 for more information.
Banking and the Belize Investment Portfolio (BIP)
On Friday, February 3rd, 2017, BELTRAIDE was invited to be a guest speaker through its technical unit, BelizeINVEST, as a part of a Think Tank initiative at Atlantic International Bank Ltd. (AIBL) and Atlantic International Corporate Services. During the presentation, BelizeINVEST provided an overview of the Belize Investment Portfolio (BIP) Campaign and how the banking sector can participate.
This outreach is a series of various to follow with Banking, Real Estate, Engineering, Architects as well as legal service providers in Belize to name a few. The initiative is one that aims to foster the development of a national portfolio to fast-track investment generation efforts, both local and foreign, through targeted matchmaking of pre-packaged investment concepts and “shovel-ready” projects.
NEW AMENDMENTS IMPOSE STIFFER PENALTIES
FOR FOREST OFFENCES
Belize’s new amendments to the Forest Act replace outmoded sections of the forest legislation and impose increased fines and stiffer penalties for forest offences. The changes are part of the Forest Department’s on-going efforts to strengthen law enforcement capacity to reduce increasing illegal forest activities, deforestation and degradation of our forest resources.
Illegal and unsustainable timber and non-timber extractions undermine Belize’s on-going efforts to curb deforestation and biodiversity loss. In light of this, the new amendments act as deterrents and help to strengthen the department’s legal capacity to tackle illegal logging and other related crimes. The Amendments specifically impose the following changes:
1. A Second Schedule to the Forest Act prescribes a new penalty formula that is dependent on the species ecological value and scarcity, volume, and market price. In light of this, any person in possession of specific timber species, such as Mahogany, Cedar, Rosewood, Santa Maria, Pine and others listed, may be fined up to three times the amount based on the calculations in the Second Schedule.
2 yellowhead babies
Another gorgeous shot by Nickolas Lormand of Scarlet Studios.
These were two of the 12 yellowhead babies that he helped us to release late last year.
We still need to raise $275US for an awareness banner by the end of the month. A few spare $$$ may just prevent a baby parrot from being taken away from his parents this year!!! You can donate through out website or via our Global Giving 501c3 fiscal sponsor: https://goto.gg/24305 Thank you!!!
Audubon Advanced Bird Guides graduation
Sea Choice Island Produce on Caye Caulker
Celebrating entrepreneurs! Sea Choice Island Produce is a family run business that's been serving up great 100% natural fruit juices **no sugar added** for 10 years to the Caye Caulker community and its many visitors. They also sell fresh fruit and veggies.
South Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch February, 2017 General Meeting
Friends and Neighbors,
Please join us this Wednesday at 7:00pm at Lone Star Grill and Cantina for our
February general meeting. We have many items to cover and need everyone's input and support.
The OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Employment and the Centro del Agua del Trópico Húmedo para América Latina y el Caribe (CATHALAC) in Panamá herein offer the online course: "Pronósticos Metereológicos, su Aplicación y el Papel en la Toma de Decisiones".
The application deadline to deliver the hardcopy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NEMO Building, Belmopan is March 3, 2017 for pre-selection and forwarding to OAS Washington, D.C. by April 3rd, 2017.
The OAS will not receive physical application files from the pre-selected candidates.
The online application form must be completed on-line and can be accessed at: http://www.oas.org/…/sch…/professionaldev_new_page2_2016.asp here you will find the announcements of the PDSP courses, click on the one you are interested in, go through the end of the page, then you'll find the "Continue" button which will direct you to the online form that you must
Solar panels on Caye Caulker
Great job Caye Caulker for providing electricity via SOLAR PANELS. I wonder if San Pedro and the rest of Belize can start doing the same
MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF ENVIRONMENT FOR CENTRAL AMERICA (CCAD)
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, attended the meeting of the Ministers of Environment for Central America, held in Costa Rica on February 2 to 3, 2017. The objectives of the CCAD Ministers meeting were:
1) The handing-over of the Pro-Tem Presidency of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD), from Nicaragua to Costa Rica; the Presidency rotates among its member states every six months; and
2) To review several regional project proposals currently being developed or implemented in the Central American region, some of which have strong emphasis on the marine environment.
This Ministers of Environment Meeting was chaired by the new Pro-Tem President, Costa Rica; in it, the Hon. Minister Figueroa confirmed the strengthening of Belize’s involvement in the Central American Environmental Agenda, and pledged our assistance in regional strategies and programmes. In addition, Minister Figueroa advanced Belize’s leadership in the development and implementation of regional projects with a strong marine component.
Tropic Air and Tropic Air Cargo gets new location in Ranchito Village
Tropic Air and Tropic Air Cargo in Ranchito Village airstrip will be relocating its temporary office to its permanent location about 100 yards from its current site. Stay tuned for their open house and inauguration in the next week or so. Photo of new location.
Advance Bird guide Training
What a great opportunity to have been part of the Advance Bird guide Training. A proud/certified graduate with 4th place.:)
Huge 'thank you' to BAS, and especially to Roni Martinez Phillip Valderamos and all those who made it happen. Lets keep the birding and fun. Bless!!!
Advance Birding Guide Course
Graduation ceremony today for the Advance Birding Guide Course we took August/September 2016. It was hard work but lots of fun and I got to spend hours birding with old and new friends. Many thanks to Belize Audubon Society, Inter-American Development Bank, National Audubon, Belize Tourism Board and our awesome Instructors - "the Legend" Mr. Philip Balderamos and Mr. Roni Martinez, "the chief". Many thanks also to Erneldo Bustamante, Isael Mai, Mario Teul and Reynold Cal who were eternally patient while I struggled with Bird calls. we made it!
Archaeologist Dr. Alexandra Jones visits St. Martin De Porres Primary School
What is Belize's cultural heritage? Why should it be protected? These are some of the questions that 40 students at St. Martin De Porres Primary School in Belize City answered today. The students learned about archaeology firsthand from an American archaeology expert, Dr. Alexandra Jones, and members of Belize's Institute of Archaeology. After mastering the theory, the students got right to work--they participated in an exciting hands-on mock excavation exercise! Digging, recording, analyzing... Wonder how many of them will become archaeologists or scientists in general?
Stay tuned for more! Dr. Jones is in Belize for the whole week as part of an exciting Archaeology in the Community program. She will be conducting educational and cultural outreach throughout Belize!
Rural Man Murdered By Robbers For $15.00
Tonight, police are investigating the death of 44 year-old Biscayne resident John Ortiz, and all indications are that he was murdered.
This morning, news went out that police found his body in the Sandhill area between miles 19 and 20 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Police confirmed that he had a cut wound to the right side of his chin, one to the right eyebrow area, another injury to the right side of the head, and a scrape to the right cheek. There was an unusual clue as well; the officers saw what looked to be a shoe impression imprinted in blood.
The cops moved in quickly, and picked up a suspect who allegedly had blood on his heels and his calf. He's being questioned by investigators, and has reportedly confessed to the killing.
This afternoon, our news team spoke with one of his sisters, who shared what information they could with us, based on the very little they knew so far:
Neighbors Charge For Murder Of Mark Jones
On Friday we told you about the murder of Mark Jones. The 29 year old was gunned down as he walked into his yard at 9:00 on Thursday night. Tonight, police say the teenager who killed him was his neighbor, and that he was abetted by another neighbor.
19 year old Deandre Adolphus was charged with murder while 33 year old Bruce Reneau was charged with abetment to murder - he allegedly supplied the murder weapon.
Police believe that Adolphus used this gun, a Glock 9 millimeter pistol - which they found loaded with 10 live rounds in the area hours after the murder.
No Breakthrough Yet In Murder Investigation Of One Of San Pedro's Favorite Sons
On Last week Friday's newscast, we told you about the murder of 44 year-old San Pedro Resident, Jose Felix Ayuso. He's the AIDS activist who was found stabbed to death inside his home on Thursday. Well, on Saturday, his family and friends came out for his funeral ceremony, after which they laid him to rest.
As we told you, he was a big part of the island's Carnaval Comparsas, which is always held a few days before Ash Wednesday. In his honor, his family and friends gave him a send off with a funeral procession that looked more like a carnival dance through the streets.
As we told you, he was last seen alive at his business place, JoSe's Salon on last Wednesday evening. When he didn't show up for an appointment on Thursday, the following day, his sister went looking for him at his home. That's when she found his body; he was stabbed multiple times all over by a sharp object. The police say that they couldn't find any signs of forced entry, but the front door to his house was left opened.
Setback For Ashcroft Alliance In US Courts?
Reports to 7news this evening are that the Ashcroft Alliance may have suffered a setback in the US Courts today. After arguments were heard today, the District Court for the District of Columbia has denied BCB Holdings and the Belize Bank a motion for a restraining order against the government. The court also denied their motion for a permanent anti-suit injunction. As we understand it, the Alliance did succeed with a motion which allows them to go after the government's assets wherever those assets are located within the United States. But, first, they must first apply to the court of that state before they proceed for attachment. But applying would be violating the terms of the injunction government got on Friday. The Supreme Court injunction prevents the Belize Bank Limited and its shareholders from taking any step to enforce that award pending trial of Government's claim. The government is asking the court to grant a permanent injunction based on the argument that the judgement of the CCJ is binding on the Belize Bank and BCB.
GOB In Apparent Staredown With Bondholders
In other news which extends between Belize and other territories, on Friday Government again extended its offer to bondholders. This is the second one week extension, but, again, the government has not sweetened its offer to bondholders - it's still offering the very same terms. That basically means its a stare-off, with both sides waiting to see who blinks first. The bondholders are hoping that the Superbond payment which is due on February 20th will give the government some sense of urgency. But, smart money tell us Government won't blink for that either, and is willing to default on that 26 million dollar payment.
So, now, the current offer expires on at 5:00 pm Eastern on Friday, February 10, 2017. Government has proposed to push back to bullet payments to three equal, annual installments in 2036, while fixing the interest rate at 4% per annum.
BTL CEO Anwar Transitions, No Replacement Identified
In November of 2016, BTL CEO Anwar Barrow announced to staff that he was planning his departure for early 2017. The plan at the time was to make an "orderly transition" to a new CEO - who should have been identified and in place by now. But, after months of advertising and recruitment, BTL still hasn't installed that new CEO but Barrow is moving on at the end of this week. A release says that Barrow, will cease to have the day-to-day responsibilities and role of CEO on February 10th, 2017. Chief Financial Officer Ivan Tesucum will serve as acting CEO in the interim. The release adds, quote, "the recruitment of a new CEO continues."
Board Chairman Net Vasquez is quoted as thanking Barrow for, quote, "ushering in a new era…at BTL which has seen increased profits, …lower prices…and we thank him for his great leadership". end quote.
Barrow remains on the Board of Directors.
Psychiatric Evaluation for Alleged Rapist
Tonight, 20 year-old Andre Knight, a Jamaican suspected to be mentally ill, is at the Belize Central Prison tonight after being taken to court for allegedly raping a 25 year-old Ladyville woman.
The victim reported to police that last Friday, at around 4:10 a.m., she was walking from a night club on the Phillip Goldson Highway, heading home. She said that when she arrived at the mile 9 and a quarter bus stop, a dark skinned man grabbed her and pulled her into some bushes. She said that when she resisted, he punched her in the face and then raped her.
Police investigated her report, and they charged Knight with the single offense of rape. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. That's when the police prosecutor asked for a psychiatric evaluation to be done on him before the case could proceed any further. The Chief Magistrate agreed and remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until February 20, so that the evaluation can be done. She has also scheduled a preliminary inquiry in the case for April 28.
COLA President And Friends To Court For Fire-starting Claims
Today President of COLA, Geovanni Brackett, and four others appeared in Belize City Magistrate's Court. The allegation goes back to October, when the BNTU strike was at its climax, and a tire fire was started on the BELCAN Bridge. While Brackett was nowhere near the bridge at the time, he was recorded at a BNTU rally talking about burning tires in support of the teachers, so - based on this and other evidence - police believe he was the one who orchestrated the bonfire. Brackett was charged for causing the fire, while four others were charged with setting it.
Their trial was set to start today, but after the prosecution failed to fully disclose the evidence, it was adjourned. Brackett and his attorney, Kareem Musa told us more...
Kareem Musa - Attorney, COLA:
"Today was set for the hearing date for the matter with Mr. Geovanni Brackett, the president of COLA along with 5 other defendants. It was supposed to be for a trial, but the prosecution was once again at a loss. They did not have their disclosure ready. They were supposed to have partial disclosure on the last date. They were supposed to give us the remaining disclosure December 16th and even to this day we have not received disclosure, but there was an undertaking given today before the chief magistrate that disclosure would be made today and hopefully by the end of today we get that."
Pair of Weekend Shootings In City
A man was shot at in an alley on Amara Avenue. On Friday night around 6:15, 31 year old Eletero Mckenzie was standing near an Amara Street address when 2 men on separate bicycles rode up to him. One of the men pulled out a gun. Mckenzie ran into the alley towards his house. The man fired several shots at Mckenzie hitting him in the right calf and to the right shin. He was treated at the KHMH.
And there was another shooting on Saturday morning in the city. It happened during a robbery. At 11:30 a.m., 30-year-old Jovanie Sutherland and his co-worker were pulling along the hose from their company septic tank cleaning truck when Sutherland was approached by 2 men one of whom was armed with a handgun. The gunman pointed the gun at Sutherland and demanded his gold chain valued at $1800 dollars. As Jovanie was taking off his chain, the man shot him in the right leg. The man and his accomplice then ran away with the chain.
Soldier for Trafficking
Today a BDF soldier and a friend were arraigned in the Magistrate's Court for drug trafficking. On Sunday, police stopped BDF soldier, Shannon Garcia and Sherwin Kerr who were traveling in a vehicle between Miles 15 and 16 on the Northern Highway. The cops found about 9 ounces of cannabis behind the radio.
In court, Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith jointly charged Garcia and Kerr with a single count of drug trafficking. Both men pled guilty, but Kerr told to the court that he would like to plea guilty to the lesser charge of possession. The prosecutor asked for the trial to be adjourned until the 23rd so that he could decide whether Kerr's new plea was acceptable. The Magistrate accepted the adjournment, and because Garcia and Kerr had no previous drug related convictions, she offered them a bail of $500. Both men met bail and await trial later this month.
Island Cops Get Weed
On Friday morning San Pedro police searched in an overgrown lot on Jewfish Street where they found a large plastic bag with about 30 pounds of cannabis.
Later, at around midday,Belize City police searched an abandoned cement structure on Pink's Alley. They found about three grams of cannabis as well as 11 live rounds of 9mm ammo. During another search, this time under a bridge on McKay Boulevard, authorities found a black Remington 870 12 gauge shot gun and five more rounds of 9mm ammo.
All items were deposited as Found Property.
Fire On La Isla
Fire's in San Pedro town have caused major loss of property in the past - but this weekend's blaze didn't spread as widely as previous fires.
It happened On Sunday 5th around 12:30 in the San Juan Area of San Pedro Town. A wooden house was engulfed in flames. The sole resident Calvin Young wasn't at home and the fire was contained.
Hon. Figueroa Meets Counterparts
Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment Dr. Omar Figueroa, met with his regional counterparts in Costa Rica last week. The Pro-Tem Presidency of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development was handed over to Costa Rica; and the ministers reviewed several regional project proposals with a strong marine component.
According to a release, Figueroa confirmed the strengthening of Belize's involvement in the Central American Environmental Agenda, and pledged our assistance in regional strategies and programmes.
New Penalties For Illegal Logging
Back in Belize, Figueroa's Forest Department has amended the Forest Act to add greater penalties to illegal logging. There's a new schedule of harsher fines and penalties for the illegal harvesting of certain precious trees - such as Rosewood, Mahogany, and Santa Maria. Now, illegal harvesters can be charged up to three times the previous amount.
The amendments also increased fines for the damaging of forest roads and waterways, and possession of counterfeit licenses and stamps. A two week amnesty period will be employed. Anyone in possession of illegal forest produce has the opportunity to hand over the material without fear of fines prosecution during that period. The amnesty period ends on the 20th of February.
Immigration Then And Now
If you've been tuning into our newscast on Wednesday nights, you'll know all about the Senate Inquiry into the Immigration Department. so far, copious irregularities and illegalities at the department continue to be exposed, kind of like layers on an onion.
But, one of the most explosive revelations coming out of the hearings is that in the run up to the 2012 general elections, the Immigration Department rushed through over 2000 applicants for nationality. That caused the system to be compromised, and many applicants got nationality that they were not entitled to.
But, even back then, it caught our attention, especially with presence of politicians and political operators, who were working hard to get applicants approved. We kept pressing Ruth Meighan about that back then, and concerns that it was not all above board. We've dug into our archive to show you her answers to those questions then, and what has been revealed in the last 4 weeks. Here's how it looked back then:
Gun Found On BWSL Worker In City
Southside Police got another gun off the streets today. Acting on information, they searched a BWSL employee and found a 38 pistol with six live rounds. That person has been detained and we'll release his name and picture when he is charged.
Taking Over Tilapia
The success and sustainability of the Tilapia Hatchery Center in Central farm is now in the hands of the Government of Belize. On Friday, Taiwanese Ambassador Charles Liu officially handed over the center to the government. This marks the end of a 5 year training project between Belize and Taiwan. Here is a short excerpt of the handing over ceremony on Friday.
Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Agriculture:
"What the Taiwanese Government has afforded us to do and understand it was about 2.5 million US dollars, which is a quite a lot of money, to get this facility up, to provide a hatchery, to provide a space for us to grow in this industry. We cannot thank you enough. So thank you very much."
"The end product of course of all of this is marketing, its consumer acceptance of the product, it is our people working together and see it but private sector and public sector. This is a private/public partnership and there is shape here also for private/private partnership. There is space. private/private partnership in the sense of feed production. private/private partnership in the sense of marketing and of course public/private partnership through this facility, through our extension services, through our own continued research through, financing through agencies like the DFC and through continuing research and development."
Jingle For World Water
World Water Day will be celebrated on March 22nd. But -if you're into contests and that sort of thing - you should start thinking of your jingle and poem for the water day competition. This year's theme is "waste water" and you can submit a jingle or a poem about waste water. The director of the Water and Waste Water Unit at the PUC Rudolph Williams told us more about the competition and the theme .
The deadline for both the jingle and poem competition is this Friday, the 10th. You can visit doe.gov.bz for more information. The winners will be announced on March 22ND.
Girl Of Belizean Parentage Hugged By Lady Gaga Super Bowl Halftime
A US High school student of Belizean parentage got her 15 seconds of fame and then some at the Super Bowl last night in Houston. Ally Bellini - who attends Dobie High School in Houston - got a big hug from Lady Gaga during her Super Bowl Halftime performance. About 100 million people just in the United States saw that moment and here's how Houston's ABC Affiliate reported it:...
Bellini got to participate as part of her high school's dance team.