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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
$1,500 Shopping Spree donated to Ambergris Caye’s First Children Home
On Wednesday, February 1, representatives of Ambergris Caye’s first upcoming children’s home were presented with a gift certificate worth $1,500 in order to supply the facility with necessary equipment upon its launch. Brittney O’Daniel of Raise Me Up and San Pedro Lions Club, Kaitlin McWhorter of Raise Me Up and Britney Travis of On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) gladly accepted the donation, provided by Banyan Bay Resorts (Banyan Bay Suites & Grand Colony Island Villas). The $1,500 gift certificate was part of a giveaway promotion by The Angelus Press, a retail, printing and publishing store that is geared at providing office and school essentials, located in Belize City. Banyan Bay Suites was the winner of the “Pretty Papers” sweepstakes. Shortly after their winning, news about the ground-breaking work on the shelter was announced, and Raise Me Up board members were promptly contacted by Banyan Bay Suites.
San Pedro Pirates youth camp begins
The San Pedro Pirates football club began their Under-15 and Under-11 youth camp on Monday, January 30th. Hector Alamilla, San Pedro Town Council’s Councilor of Youth and Sports explained the importance of hosting this youth camp. “It is actually required to have youth teams formed once there is a football club registered under the semi pro team. Our semi pro players will scout out players and maybe in the future, these youngsters can also be players of the club,” said Alamilla.
Alamilla, along with Coach Jorge Nunez, said they are impressed by the talent and dedication they have seen so far. “We have seen many children come out and start to train, but I wish to see more children come out. We hope to teach the young participants some of the skills professional players use to improve their game. We would also like to give them a little taste of the game, give them basic instructions, see how much they can learn for themselves,” said Alamilla.
Shrimp industry struggling in first month of New Year
The Shrimp Farming Industry in Southern Belize has been battling to recover from a viral disease that has ravaged their shrimp stock. The industry resorted to a new genetic material, which seemed to be working. However, according to unofficial reports, the situation has not improved and difficulties continue.
The Ministry of Agriculture has been closely monitoring the situation, and Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse stated there are signs of a comeback. “There are some promising results, but some disappointment as well. Rainforest Company is producing lovely shrimp, but they have small ponds specially designed to drain. [As to the disappointment], the company has tried to export some to Mexico, but there’s been some setback, which we are trying to seriously analyze. I will put this as bluntly as I can: It’s a technical problem, and it requires a technical solution and so at this time the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and everybody else is engaged in trying to find that technical solution to the setbacks,” said Hulse.
BTB hosts Tourism Transportation Workshop
On February 3rd BTB commenced an extensive workshop for taxi tour guides currently operating in the Fort Street Tourism Zone. A total of thirty-four (34) taxi drivers benefitted from the training which aimed at developing and enhancing their skills; knowledge and professional conduct. The workshop was derived after a survey conducted within the zone, determined that there was a high level of demand, interest and participation for training. The overarching objective was to ensure a high quality of service delivery is achieved within the transportation industry and by extension to the tourism industry; with a rewarding and valuable experience for all visitors to our shore.
The facilitator of the workshop Ms. Sharon Banfield-Bovell offers a comprehensive background in tourism with her specialization in Sustainable Tourism Development, Policy Formation, Human Resources Development, Tourism Development and Strategic Planning. The workshop was held on February 3rd, 4th and 5th at the ITVET compound in Belize City and in addition to appropriate theories; also took an interactive and participatory format. BTB recognizes and embraces the role of the transportation sector as a contributor to the success of tourism and is pleased to work with this sector; to enhance its professionalism and productivity.
SPHS Female Football team are regional champions
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) female football team returned to La Isla Bonita as the Northern Regional Football Champions for 2016-2017. Through the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA), both male and female football teams of SPHS competed against neighboring schools on Saturday, February 4th in the Corozal District.
Saturday morning saw both teams playing simultaneously at different field grounds. The SPHS male football team played against Corozal Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, (CITVET) in a grueling match that ended in a 3-2 score in favor of CITVET. In the first half, SPHS boys had a great start, leading with one goal. CITVET then drew with SPHS during the second half, before SPHS scored another goal for the lead. Near the final minutes of the match, CITVET tied the game, and overtime was allotted. Both teams got an extra 15 minutes to break the tie, and CITVET took the victory with a 3-2 score. CITVET then advanced to the championship round, where they soundly beat Corozal Community College (CCC) 4-0.
Carnaval Spirit Runs In The Blood
Just recently upon the passing of Felix Ayuso Jr., he was highly associated with Carnaval. Some of his friends said , "He is Carnaval". This flashback reminds us that the spirit of Carnaval might come in the blood. Seen in this flashback of "El Torito" is Feliz Ayuso Sr. as well as Don Francisco "Pancho" Bardalez, uncle of Felix Ayuso Jr (+). We also know that another uncle of Felix, Adolfo Ayuso (+) was another avid Carnaval and comparsa enthusiast. This flashback takes us back into the 1970's when popular radio celebrity Lidia Ramirez came to San Pedro to participate and document Carnaval as it was uniquely known in San Pedro.
25 Years Ago - Recycling for Necessity
Today recycling is being encouraged for the good of the environment. But many years ago in San Pedro there was a lot of recycling, except that it was not done for the environment but because of need. Salaries and wages were small and in many instances articles were non-existent, thus the need to make do with what was available. Hold on; here we go!
Tin cans were opened very neatly and used as tea cups, coffee mugs or for lack of a better word, drinking vessels. Expensive biscuits came in a beautifully decorated round or rectangular metal cans. These metal cans made excellent and beautiful jewelry boxes. They were also used as organizer boxes to store thread, yarn and knitting materials.
Belize Fisheries Department Confirms Discovery of New Shark Species in Country
The Belize Fisheries Department is pleased to announce the discovery of a new shark species in Belize. The new shark species has not been officially named as yet but it closely resembles the Bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) and was discovered in samples taken from a landing site in Belize through an ongoing shark data collection, monitoring and research program and collaboration between the Fisheries Department and Dr. Demian Chapman, a shark specialist of Florida International University (FIU).
The Fisheries Department has implemented a shark data collection and research program since 2013. The objective of the program is to gather scientific data to help develop and implement improved management measures to ensure the sustainability of shark populations in Belize. In this work, the Fisheries Department works closely with shark fishers at landing sites and collaborates with independent shark scientists and conservation organizations.
Pic of the Week - Sports Fishing in Belize Does Not Get Any Better
Here's a beauty for you! Local fisherman/guide, Carlos 'Ketchu' Marin, boasts a gorgeous Permit during one of this sports fishing expeditions. Belize is known for its excellent salt water flats ideal for grand slam sports fishing to include all three bonefish, permit and tarpon.
Rebecca Rath Miss Belize Universe 2016 to Return Home from Manila
On January 29, 2017, on Fox Television Network, 86 of the world’s most beautiful and accomplished young women vied for the opportunity to be crowned Miss Universe. Among those women was our very own Miss Belize, Rebecca Rath.
“Bex “as she is affectionately known, is the first to represent Belize in the Miss Universe Pageant in ten years and was a favorite on social media and popular pageant websites. She was featured in several video clips along with other delegates and showcased her love for the jewel in which she was born and raised. Though she was not among the thirteen finalists, Rebecca’s eloquence and undeniable charm has made her one of Belize’s most celebrated beauty ambassadors in recent times.
Rebecca returns home on February 10th. Here is what will take place:
- Welcome at the PGIA at approximately 12 noon
- Motorcade through principal streets of Belize City following her arrival
- Press briefing at the Bliss Centre @2PM
The public is invited to line the streets and attend the press briefing at the Bliss to give a warm welcome to one of Belize’s greatest beauty Ambassadors.
Misc Belizean Sources
SBDC Workshop: Business Plan Development
Ms. Monique Usher, Post/Teaching Description:
Business Advisor SBDCBelize, Beltraide. Location:
BTEC Training Room, ITVET Compound, Free Town Road, Belize City. Workshop Date:
February 15th, 2017. Time:
9am to 12noon. This workshop aims to help participants understand what the elements of a business plan are. The time constraints of the session, and sensitivity of private client information, do not allow the participants or the facilitator to actually draft any component of the business plan during the workshop. However the workshop instead should be lead as a brainstorming session to allow participants to be thinking of what would be included in their specific plan.
As a result, they would write their business plan using the ideas generated during this workshop. Therefore the class should be very informal and mostly discussion based. The manual provides pointers, but it is up to the participants to come up with their own specifics. the Trainer will actively engage the participants throughout the workshop to be sharing ideas and thinking of how each element of the business plan comes into play in their specific business.
The OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Employment the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (OAS/CITEL) and the National Telecommunication Research and Training Institute of the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (INICTEL-UNI, Perú) herein offer scholarships for the online course: "Curso de Seguridad de la Información y Normas ISO 27001" to be delivered in Spanish.
The deadline for receiving the hardcopy applications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NEMO Building, Belmopan for pre-selection and forwarding to OAS Washington, D.C. is July 1st, 2017.
Good Manufacturing Practices Training for Belizean Exporters
EXPORTBelize, a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), in collaboration with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), will conduct a one-day workshop on the “Introduction to Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) on Friday 10th February 2017 at the BTEC office located inside ITVET Compound on Freetown Road, Belize City.
The purpose of a GMP system is to ensure that products are produced in a controlled environment and with good quality and food safety standards, therefore, enabling companies to minimize or eliminate instances of contamination, mix ups, and errors. This in turn, protects the consumer from purchasing a product which is not effective or even harmful. The Good Manufacturing Practices and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures are the pre-requisite programs for the implementation of any food safety system which is necessary for export markets.
FOREST FIRE FIGHTING TEAMS TO RECEIVE NEW SAFETY GEARS & EQUIPMENT
Today, Wednesday, 8th February 2017, the Forest Department and five of its key partners in Forest Fire Prevention and Management will receive essential fire-fighting safety gears and equipment through the Key Biodiversity Areas Project (also known as the KBA project). During the handing-over ceremony, Minister Omar Figueroa will distribute the fire-fighting gears among the Forest Department’s ranges, Toledo Institute of Development and Education (TIDE), Ya’axche Conservation Trust (YCT), Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI), the Rancho Dolores Environmental and Development Group limited and Programme for Belize (PfB).
Over the past years, the Forest Department and its partners have joined efforts in addressing an increasing number of forest fires, often times pooling both logistical and human resources to fight intense wildfires in remote forested areas. Eugene Waight, KBA project Manager, stated: “This timely distribution of the much needed equipment is in preparation of the upcoming forest fire season and will assist the beneficiaries to better combat forest fires and mitigate the damages to our forest systems.”
The wildland fire-fighting protective gears and equipment are worth more than BZ$117,000 and form part of a Fire Incidence Rapid Response Team strategy to better manage forest fires. Some of the items being distributed include helmets, fire-fighting protective clothing, leather gloves, goggles, Kestrel pocket weather station, council combination tool, axes, rakes, swatters, bladder bags, drip torch, fuel containers, chain saws, long handle shovels, global positioning systems, drones, and radios.
HON. EDMOND CASTRO VISITS PORT AUTHORITY OFFICE IN BIG CREEK
While on tour in the South, Hon. Edmond Castro took the opportunity to meet with the staff at the Belize Port Authority Office in Big Creek.
The team is led by Officer in Charge Mrs. Jessica Godoy. Hon. Castro commended them for their dedicated service and urged them to keep working hard as they continue to make their contribution in regulating the essential service provided by this important port at the heart of Belize’s Productive Sector.
The Minister was accompanied on his visit by Ports Commissioner Mrs. Merlene Bailey Martinez and Port Authority Operations Manager Mrs. Sherlett Martinez.
The State Of MMA In Belize 2017
As 2016 ends and 2017 is upon us, now is a good time to reflect on the state of MMA in Belize. MMA is still the fastest growing sport globally, and in Belize it has been growing at a slow but steady pace. Compared with other traditional competitive sports such as football and basketball it’s not as popular but it’s getting there.
In 2016 there were a couple “bigish” events that took place. One in February and then one in April. These events got decent exposure here in Belize where Belize fighters fought vs fighters from Mexico and Guatemala. The Belize vs Guatemala event in particular got a bit of mileage because of the on-going Belize vs Guatemala border dispute. It could not have been further from the truth, there were good fights and everyone was sportsmanlike.
Then towards the end of the year we saw a Belizean (Kristian Usher) win a belt at a tournament for the “Vale Todo Chetumal” promotion. This is good for Belize MMA as it shows that we can be competitive in the regional scene and hold our own at home.
Belize Free Zone To Renew Members Of Its Chamber Of Commerce Chetumal
The Chamber of Commerce of the Free Zone is holding the process of renewal of the four members who will be in charge of the board of directors, in the election process, seven of the 15 members of the Chamber participate.
Daniel Mora, Curtis Arnold, Anil Hotchandani, Kishore Makhijani, Satish Punjabi, José Romero and Gulab Sharma are all aspiring to one of four positions.
Those who will be in charge will have the function of taking decisions for the welfare a number of more than 200 merchants installed in the commercial area.That is, they will have the option to modify and regulate the rules of operation of the so-called Free Zone.
These activities do not affect the trade of the free zone, for example- the stores are open to visitors.
Placencia 14TH Annual Sidewalk Festival
Are you in Placencia at this time for a while and don't know whats going on this weekend? Come to placencia for BTIA 14TH Annual sidewalk festival. Its all happening this weekend.
Two 10 minute power interruptions 7:30am to 7:40am & 3:40pm to 4:00pm, Sunday, February 12: entire Orange Walk & Corozal Districts
BEL to facilitate maintenance works to be conducted by CFE.
Belize Fishing Report: January 28th – Feb 5th, 2017
A beauty of a week to begin here at El Pescador!
Nick’s first saltwater experience was made even better when he landed a permit on the second cast of his first day! Steve and Scott also landed permit, with Steve landing three in one day!
Thank you from Belize Bird Rescue
There are two people in the life of Belize Bird Rescue that we couldn't do without and I do not thank nearly enough. Gordon and Gillian Kirkwood of Belize Animal Rescue are ALWAYS there for us. All of our Belize City area calls are handled by them, saving us hours in time and $$$'s in gas money. They tirelessly and selflessly respond immediately, each and every time, even when it's a wild 'goose' chase. Coupled with the excellent veterinary care we enjoy at Animal Medical Centre , they have the Belize City rescues down to a fine art. Bless you guys for all you do. Here are a few of their recent cases.
PS and of course - Gordon's alter ego is Coconut Bway!
New sailors from Adelle's International Outreach Programme
On February 5, 2017, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) awarded each of its newest sailors from Adelle's International Outreach Programme, Emmanuel Avilez, Stephanie Avilez, Junior Avilez and Angel Aliva a certificate of completion for the Optimist Level 1 sailing program. The children are all between the ages of 9 and 12. On hand to congratulate them was Adelle Paz, director and founder of Adelle’s International Outreach Programme.
In the summer of 2016, Ms. Paz approached the SPSC leadership to see if there was any way to join forces with the sailing club to teach interested young Belizeans in the outreach program how to sail. Since its inception, the SPSC has had as one of its goals to teach young Belizeans, specifically San Pedranos who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn, so it was a perfect fit.
SBDCBELIZE CONDUCTS ITS ANNUAL CLIENT OUTREACH AS PART OF ITS MONITORING AND EVALUAITION
The Small Business Development Centre, Belize (SBDCBelize), a unit of BELTRAIDE that provides customized, needs-based services to Entrepreneurs, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Belize to facilitate their competitiveness, is currently conducting its annual client outreach program throughout Belize.
The objective of the program is to allow SBDCBelize to meet with new and existing clients to assess their growth, challenges, and assess additional areas that they need guidance and assistance in. As part of this process, surveys are also conducted, in particular: The Centre’s Client Satisfaction Survey, and Needs Analysis to determine training needs. Economic Impact generated is captured via a survey called “Client Growth Assessment “. Which is endorsed by the client and the respective advisor, and approved by the Centre’s Manager. This survey is essential as it reports back on economic indicators such as jobs created, jobs retained, capital investment, and sales generated through the advising and support of SBDCBelize.
FOREST FIRE FIGHTING TEAMS RECEIVE NEW SAFETY GEARS & EQUIPMENT
Today, Wednesday, 8th February 2017, the Forest Department and five of its key partners in Forest Fire Prevention and Management received essential fire-fighting safety gears and equipment through the Key Biodiversity Areas Project (also known as the KBA project). During the handing-over ceremony, Minister Omar Figueroa distributed the fire-fighting gears among the Forest Department’s ranges, Toledo Institute of Development and Education (TIDE), Ya’axche Conservation Trust (YCT), Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI), the Rancho Dolores Environmental and Development Group limited and Programme for Belize (PfB).
Over the past years, the Forest Department and its partners have joined efforts in addressing an increasing number of forest fires, often times pooling both logistical and human resources to fight intense wildfires in remote forested areas.
Directorate General for Foreign Trade 'Frequently Asked Questions'
You asked and the Directorate General for Foreign Trade answered! Check out Part One of the DGFT's 'Frequently Asked Questions'!
And if your question isn't answered here, be sure to contact the Directorate General at email@example.com. They're waiting to hear from you!
Letter: Electoral re-registration in Belize
Amid the gross, intentional dysfunction that haunts our system of governance, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) wishes to remind Belizeans and true friends of Belize, both at home and abroad, that in order for Belize to progress, effectively, good governance practices and principles must be championed and pursued relentlessly, without fail, not on a temporary or ad-hoc basis, solely for political expediency.
In this regard, the BPP reminds one and all that since its inception in October 2015, we have consistently called for the constitutionally mandated re-registration exercise to be undertaken and that upon its completion, the lawful re-districting of the nation’s electoral constituencies also be conducted, so as to comply with the provisions set out in the Belize Constitution, to ensure a more equitable configuration of each electoral division.
Arte conVoz de Mujer Exhibit, Corozal House of Culture
Friday, March 10, 2017 @7pm
Pre-Valentines' ART IN The PARK
Come celebrate this Saturday February, 11th, 2017 Art in the Park, with music by Chendy and friends bringing the romantic valentines serenades. Calling out all you love birds!
Actual background image is a canvas acrylic painting 2' x 3' that will be auctioned this Saturday February 11th at NAIA Resort in Placencia. Painting was done by Anton Leslie.
Blue Hole Nature Center Inauguration
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust and the Belize Audubon Society inaugurated the new Nature Center at St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park. The Belize Audubon Society got some great pictures too.
"Saint Herman's Blue Hole National Park just got an upgrade! Congratulations Belize Audubon Society and thank you for being one of the country's greatest supporters of the environment! For all the details on PACT's investment and the Belize Audubon Society's new Nature Centre, click here! https://goo.gl/BRtyLU"
Passing of Shermaine Marie Swith
The Embassy's Archaeology in the Community program is making its way around Belize!
Today, Dr. Jones and Sarah of the U.S. and Dr. Moore and his team of the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize visited the village of San Antonio in the Cayo district. The principal and the teachers wholeheartedly welcomed us to the San Antonio United Pentecostal Primary School. The excitement among the students was contagious!
Government of Belize Road Safety Chart
How Safe Are You?
The UDP Government Declares War On Senator Eamon
PUP senior senator Eamon Courtenay is under fire from the UDP tonight. It's because he's filed a constitutional motion challenging the two pieces of legislation which seek to firewall the reserves and government's assets from being crow footed by the Ahscroft Alliance. The bills had bi partisan support in the house and Senate where even Courtenay voted for their passage. But now that Courtenay the Attorney is challenging the laws in court, the UDP is calling for his removal.
In a press release this evening the ruling party says quote, his action is an outright betrayal of Belize's national interests and comes in extreme conflict with the Senatorial seat he holds, end quote.
The UDP warns quite, "If the Ashcroft group were to succeed in getting a US Court order against our reserves, all the assets of the Central Bank would be frozen until the matter is finalized and the amount quantified. During that period, the Central Bank and the country would not be able to pay for supplies or conduct foreign transactions. It would cripple trade and business and bring us to a standstill." End quote.
Candelaria Saldivar Explains How Broken Immigration Is
So, while PUP Senator Courtenay was able to leave Senate Hearings before the session was done, the public officer on the stand wasn't so lucky. That's because Former Immigration CEO Candelaria Saldivar-Morter was in charge of the Immigration Department for a huge portion of the period which the Auditor General and her team looked into.
As viewers are aware, she's also Defence Minister John Saldivar's sister, and though she had a controversial exit from the Public Service, she asserts that she was a major part of the reform efforts that the Immigration Department made after the Department became embattled with scandal after scandal.
That's just the point she made today in the Senate Hearings after hours of testimony and cross examination. There's a lot from her comments today, and we'll not be able to share all of it with you in tonight's newscast, here's a very revealing moment from the conversations when Saldivar told the Senate that band aid fixes will not repair what's broken at the Immigration Department. Here's that moment of real talk that the former CEO engaged in:
Former OIC Cano Discusses Those 8 Missing Visas
Saldivar-Morter was the second witness for day, and we'll have a little her a little later on, but we turn now to Senior Immigration Officer Edgar Cano.
He's the man who was in charge at the Belize Western Border when those 8 visa foils went missing. As we told you that's the incident which triggered this audit in the first place, and today, the Senate had very tough questions for him about what happened under his watch. Here's How that went:
Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee:
"There is a comment here from an Immigration Officer Vernon Leslie, well this is the report of the Auditor General, who is quoting Vernon Leslie. Basically it's saying that some visa foils went missing, they turned up in Belize City, with a Mr. Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett, who then, according to the Auditor General's report, brought the visa stickers to Belmopan to confirm their authenticity."
"The contention in here is that you took the decision to issue visas, using those numbers, despite the fact that the foils - that the stickers were missing. You read that part of the report?"
Former CEO: The Ministry Pursued Justice In Visa Case
As we've told you, the Auditor General was very critical of the way that the Immigration Department handled that case, and in her opinion more needed to have been done to either prosecute or discipline those officers who participated or were complicit in what looks to be corruption.
The Senate asked Candelaria Saldivar-Morter about those criticism, and here's what she had to say:
Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee:
"In relation to those 8 Visa foils, are you - do you know if any disciplinary action was taken against officers who were involved?"
Candelaria Saldivar-Morter - Former, CEO Responsible For Immigration:
"Okay, yes. I actually took the case of the missing stickers to the commission."
Hon. Aldo Salazar:
"What commission is that?"
"The public Services Commission."
Former CEO Saldivar Says Citizen Kim Officers Got Off On Technicality
They also asked whatever became of the Department's Public Service Hearings on the officers named in the scandal where South Korean Fugitive Won Hong Kim got Belizean Nationality and a Belize passport, while he was in a Taiwanese jail.
About 3 years ago, we told you about the 3 officers who were brought up before the Public Services Commission on disciplinary charges for that passport that was never supposed to have been issued. We followed the case, and we showed you how those officers were tried, but they were acquitted.
Today, the Senate asked Saldivar-Morter to explain why, and here's what she had to say:
Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee:
"You're familiar with the issue surrounding the Won Hong passport?"
Candelaria Saldivar-Morter - Former, CEO Responsible For Immigration:
"Yes and again I took the case to the public service's commission against Ms. Sharon Neal, Mr. Omar Phillips, Mr. Erwin Robinson."
Hon. Aldo Salazar:
"Mr. Sharon Neal, Mr. Omar Phillips..."
Will Haulover Creek Be Ready for La Ruta Maya?
Last night we told you about the substantial blockage at the Haulover Creek, which is considered the final stretch of the annual La Ruta Maya canoe race. Trees uprooted from last year's Hurricane Earl and overgrown vegetation has left the narrow channel virtually impassable, especially for a canoe. Today the Minister of State of the Environment, Omar Figueroa, gave us an update on the creek's status and whether it will be ready for next month's big race…
"Minister we also wanted to ask you about the Halouver Creek, the channel. We heard it's been blocked recently and it might not be cleared enough for the La Ruta Maya to pass through there. Is there any plans for the ministry to come in and intervene and help to make sure that channel is completely cleared out?"
Environment Minister Talks About Caye Chapel Project
In the last Senate meeting, Senator Valerie Woods told the Senate about a major tourism project that was about to begin on Caye Chapel. She also noted that the project was seemingly greenlit, without the completion of an environmental impact assessment. Environemt Minster Figueroa cleared the situation up for us today…
"We heard in the Senate last week that a major tourism beach development was being planned and it had been cleared without the completion of an EIA. Can you speak to that and what will be looked into that or if it will be looked into?"
New Gears To Fight Forest Fires
Today the Ministry of Environment, through the Key Biodiversity Areas Project, donated essential fire-safety gear and equipment to key forest management partners. The equipment will be distributed to agencies throughout the country, and will help to prevent fires in what is anticipated to be a particularly challenging year. Minister of State, Omar Figueroa discussed the importance of these donations…
Dr. Omar Figueroa - Minister of State, Ministry of Environment:
"You know it focuses on the key diversity areas. Belize has a lot of unique areas and we need to continually investing in these areas and we need to understand the challenges that these guys face out on the ground. Fire is an extremely important challenge but managed properly it can also enhance the biodiversity out there. The folks from these 5 organisations are very capable, they have been trained in firefighting but often times they lack the equipment. So we're hoping to give them little more tools that they can use out in fighting these fires out in the Belizean landscape."
"Minister a lot of the times, sometimes a common man or woman don't the importance of fighting forest fires. They say you know what it's just bush, make it burn but you know environmentalist; forestry experts know the importance of these resources to the country. Perhaps just explain to us the significance of that and in terms of loses we've seen in the recent years."
Tackling That Vexing Rat Problem In the City
Rats are an unfortunate and all too common presence in Belize City, especially in overgrown areas with a lot of trash. Rats are pests and can spread garbage, destroy property and can carry deadly diseases, also known as the story of Belize City. So, exterminator and UDP friend Ryan Swift, of Ryan Swift Pest Control has partnered with the City Council, the Public Health Bureau and a few Ministers to try and reduce the City's rat population. They have initiated a project aimed at cleaning up the yards and lots of residents in order to give the rodents less food and less shelters. We spoke to Swift and Senior Public Health Inspector Mark Bernard about the project…
Mark Bernard - Senior Public Health Inspector:
"We are concerned about high population of rodents because of the public health impact. Rodents bite people, they can come in contact with people and you can die from a rat bite, it's not something trivial that you take lightly; you can die from a rat bite. So they also contaminate food, people eat food they can get sick and they can also die depending on what disease they get from the rodent and of course when you hear about rodent first thing come to mind in modern day now is leptospirosis. If you go back a couple centuries ago the plague would have been the first thing you would have heard with association with rodents."
FSTV Taxi Tour Guides Got Certified
One of the most important connections that can be formed in the tourism industry, at least on the ground level, is between tour guide and tourist. In most cases, the initial introduction and then the tour itself is what can define a tourist's stay in Belize. So, the BTB wants to ensure that the tour guides at the Fort Street Tourism Village know exactly how to make tourists really enjoy their visit to Belize. Thats why The BTB invited Sharon Banfield Bovell to conduct a 3 day training course on public relations skills. Bovell is a regional human resources development consultant from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Today we spoke to BTB's Manager from the Destination Planning and Cruise Department. She told us more about the importance of the workshop.
Shola Babb - Destination Planning & Cruising Dept.:
"The workshop was called Taxi Pride training, however it was not just for the taxis it was also for the other tour guides within the Fort Street tourism zone. It was to work on their people skills, on their customer service, give them other little titbits that they could use when giving their tours. So it was really to enhance what they already have."
Afternoon Heist At UNO Gas Station
Police have on suspect detained and one car impounded after a major armed robbery at a gas station yesterday. Three robbers seemed very familiar with the routine and showed up just as the administrator arrived with three loaded deposit bags. He left one at the gas station and was heading out to the Scotia Bank with the other two bags in a Jansport backpack when two men ambushed him. One of them pointed a gun at him and grabbed the bag containing over 15 thousand dollars in cash. The other robber snatched an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register and they both escaped in a waiting car.
Police have found a gold coloured four-door Honda Accord with no license plate which they believe was the getaway car. One man remains detained and two others are being sought.
The Justification For Forestry Act Penalties
Earlier this week, the Forest Act was amended to add greater penalties to illegal logging. A new schedule for fines was introduced, which determines penalties based on the ecological importance and scarcity of the tree. Minister of State, Omar Figueroa told us why it was necessary to update the act and employ these stiff punishments...
Anyone in possession of illegal logwood is urged to hand it during the amnesty period, which ends on the 20th.
Transport Minister Tours Big Creek Bight
The Barrow Administration promised to re-open the Commerce Bight Port in its last manifesto and that put a freeze on relations with the Big Creek Port. Transport Minister Edmund Castro may have been trying thaw things out in a visit to the Port.
General Manager Gustavo Carrillo and Operations Manager Mr Aldus Forman led Castro on a tour of the facility.
The ministerial delegation then visited the offices of the Big Creek Group of Companies, where they held discussions with General Manager, Zaid Flores.
According to an official release, construction of another deep water port, to be built at Commerce Bight is in the early stages of planning. This is perceived as creating a government backed competitor to take market share from the privately owned Big Creek Port.
The Hurricanes And Their Love Of the City
The NEBL basketball season is entering its 4th week and the defending champions, SMART Belize Hurricanes started the season with an uncharacteristic pair of losses. But they hit their stride last weekend with a much needed victory over Cayo Western Ballaz. It's not surprise that the victory came in the first night at their new home court, the SCA Multipurpose Auditorium. We visited them there during last night's practice to find out what's the magic of the place.
The Hurricanes put their home record to the test this weekend when they face the Dangriga Dream Ballers.