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
Tiger Sharks remain number one despite loss to Dangriga’s Dream Ballers
With only one week remaining before the Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks suffered a tough home loss to the Dangriga Dream Ballers on Saturday, April 8th. However, the Tiger Sharks are still number one in the regular season with 19 accumulative points. On Saturday, April 8th, the Tiger Sharks faced the Dream Ballers at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The Tiger Sharks were off to a slow start, causing the Western Ballers to gain a six-point lead in the first quarter. The home team t fought rigorously in the second and third quarter, leading the game by several points. In the final quarter, the Dream Ballers and the Tiger Sharks were battling for the lead. However, in the last nine seconds of the game, the Dream Ballers made a two-point dunk, narrowly defeating the Tiger Sharks with a final score of 79-73.
ABC Preschool hosts mega Easter Show
The Central Park was packed with children and families as ABC Preschool hosted its 2nd Annual Easter Show on Saturday, April 8th. Usually organized as a fundraiser for the preschool, Principal of ABC, Wil Alamilla hosted the show free of charge for the entire public to enjoy. The fun-filled show had various live entertainment, featuring some beloved TV and Disney characters via actors from Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico. Opening the show was the Easter Bunny and his friends. Between dances and giveaways, children were enraptured. After the bunny’s performance, the San Pedro Dance Academy provided intermission entertainment with a cultural dance selection. They were followed by “Despicable Me” villain Gru, along with his mischievous Minions from and back up dancers onstage. The audience was delighted, laughing and singing along to the “Banana Song”.
Tourism arrivals show a steady increase in 1st quarter of 2017
Even following such unprecedented growth in 2016, the latest statistics for the first quarter of 2017 indicate that tourism arrivals in Belize continue to register a small but steady increase. This underscores the hard work and dedication of our tourism stakeholders and the fact that Belize continues to attract travelers, as a growing and popular world tourism destination. The overnight tourism sector continues on a positive trajectory in 2017, with increases in each of the first three months of the year, leading to an overall 2.7% increase at the end of March 2017. The month of March is traditionally the apex of the tourism season. In March of 2016, there was a record number of tourist arrivals totaling over 43,000 visitors. However, this record was surpassed in March 2017, with over 44,400 tourist visitors, making this the highest number of tourist arrivals ever recorded in a single month.
San Pedro Lions host annual Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny
The San Pedro Lions Club hosted its 6th Annual Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, April 8th. The fun-filled fundraiser took place at the San Pedro Lions Den, where children, along with their families, got a head start in celebrating the holiday. After a delicious breakfast, there were a variety of entertaining activities games to participate in, such as ‘Pin the Tail on the Bunny’, fishing for Easter Eggs, Egg and Spoon races and puzzle races. The children took turns playing all games, hoping to win a prize! The line for face painting was long, as there were awesome designs like Easter eggs, flowers, rainbows, bunny faces, peace signs and more. The dining tables were also stocked with coloring pages and crayons so that children, and even some adults, could express their artistic skills.
Misc Belizean Sources
Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate Visits Belize
On April 7, James C. "Jim" Cobey, MD, arrived in San Pedro from Washington DC for a well-earned vacation. A surgeon with a Masters degree in Public Health. Jim has been an instrumental member of the international Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). ICBL was founded in 1992. A mere 5 years later, in 1997, the ICBL received the Nobel Peace Prize for its members' crucial role in starting a process that - according to the text of Jim's award - “in the space of a few years changed a ban on antipersonnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality.” One year earlier, in 1996, Belize and her neighbors had all agreed to sign the ICBL's landmine ban into law, They did, and Central America therefore became the first mine-free geopolitical region in the world.
BelizeINVEST, BELTRAIDE Participates in National Protected Areas System (NPAS) “Green Dollar Symposium”
The Green Dollar Symposium was held on April 11, 2017 at the UB Jaguar auditorium to highlight the economic contributions, as indication in the Vision, which the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) is making toward local and national development. This is important as regardless of what interventions are instituted, for the next few decades Belize’s economy will remain natural resource based. Caring for our natural capital should therefore be everyone’s collective concern if we want to maintain our competitive and comparative advantage. At the same time, the prevailing macro-economic environment over the years has placed certain constraints on the management of protected areas and this has required that protected areas managers be innovative in securing financing and revenue generation. Throughout the symposium, it became clear that the NPAS Tagline: Nature. Culture. Life. should have great meaning for all Belizean’s.
The Belize Police Department's Parking Advisory for the Cross Country Cycling Classic!The Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic will be held on Saturday 15th April 2017. The event commences at 5:00 a.m. and concludes at around 3:00 p.m.
The responsibility of the Belize Police Department is to ensure the safety and security of all participants and spectators during this event. As a result, the department is asking the cooperation of the public in this venture by NOT parking in the following areas:
-BTL Park and Surrounding Streets.
-Entire length of Newtown Barracks
-Barrack Road and Victoria Street junction
-Entire length of Freetown Road to Belcan intersection
-Entire length of Princess Margaret Drive
Note the parking and obstruction in these areas will result in vehicle or item being removed by the Belize Police department and offenders dealt with. residents and businesses in the area are being asked to make adjustments to their schedule to minimize any inconveniences.
Easter tips from the Police Department
The arrival of the Easter holidays signals a well-earned break for many families as they head off across the country. Make safety your first priority, using these safe tips provided by the Belize Police Department Eastern Police Division.
The Easter holidays represent a welcome break for many families as they take this break from work, and school to make the most of great weather. However, it also means a marked increase in traffic volumes, particularly heading out of the major cities, and Towns. Sadly, this also translates into a massive spike in road accidents fatalities, and a spike in drowning accidents and most of which is concentrated around the peak holiday periods during Easter and Christmas.
Here are some great tips from Belize Police Department Eastern Police Division to help make your travels and holiday safer, so you can enjoy the break and return home refreshed and invigorated.
BELIZEAN RAPPER KING KOSA & KONSHENS
Belizean rapper, producer and writer King Kosa has done it again, this time it's another sure to be hit for the ladies featuring dancehall star Konshens.
The song, entitled NaNa, is an ode to the supreme powers of the female anatomy.
This isn't Kosa's first notable collaboration, last year he collaborated with American rapper Kevin Gates on the single, type of girl.
Kosa, real name Kevin Rhaburn, is a musical prodigy, he not only raps, he produces and writes his own music as well as for other artists.
Kosa has produced for many big names including Taurus Riley, Wayne Wonder, Konshens a host chart topping reggaeton artists and most recently Kevin Gates, who's Isiah album went platinum and charted number 1 on the rap charts and number 2 on the pop charts. Kosa produced the song "truth" off of the million selling number 1 rap album. Video is here.
Vacancy exists at BEL
A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Apprentice Lineman in the Distribution Department at the Independence Branch of Belize Electricity Limited.
The 2017 Black Rock Bird-a-thon team!
BTB's new Registrar of Hotels and Timeshare
Mrs. Jacqueline Santos Locke
ur Youth Ambassadors had a great time exploring the United States and learning about leadership, community development, the environment and entrepreneurship. Here’s to the future of Belize!
Institute of Archaeology Easter Schedule
The archaeological reserves will remain open during the Easter weekend.
SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS, CYCLISTS AND
PEDESTRIANS FOR THE EASTER HOLIDAYS
The Easter holidays are once again upon us and the Department of Transport would like to remind all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians about the important role that each and everyone of us has to play as it relates to the issue of Road Safety.
We also take this opportunity to implore all road users to obey the road traffic laws with special emphasis on the following:
FOCUS ON DRIVING
Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking (No phone calls nor texting).
Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected at all times.
Letter: Continued government of Belize mismanagement
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) decries the announcement by the government of Belize (GOB), which expressed the intent to provide “an honourarium” to teachers who did not take part in the October 2016 industrial action.
Apart from the Barrow administration’s blatant attempt at union-busting, the BPP highlights the gross mismanagement it represents, which is demonstrative as to why the nation is in such a dire state of affairs: socially, economically, financially and administratively.
Recently, the government presented an inadequate budget which, in keeping with the dearth of leadership, lacked in vision as well as innovation. It was essentially standard, as far as budgets are concerned, featuring an overwhelming increase in taxes, which shall inevitably burden the most vulnerable. Even more disturbing is that not far removed from the presentation and passing of said budget, the GOB had the face of brass, to announce the allocation of $1 million for the honourarium.
The Belize Network of NGOs issues a statement on GOB's "unauthorised spending" re: Teachers honorarium!
Frank Lizama has been making art pieces for more than fifty years
The former politician says that while he enjoyed serving Belize and Belizeans, there is nothing quite like making religious sculptures. He has put four key pieces on display for the Easter holiday to spread the message of Christ during this Holy Week.
ADMINISTRATION OF GST AUDITS BEGINS
It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Finance that concerns have been expressed by certain representatives of the business community over allegations of supposed manipulation of General Sales Tax (GST) audit results by the senior management of the Department of the GST.
The Ministry of Finance rejects any suggestion of manipulation on the part of the GST Senior Management of any Audit carried out by mid-level to lower level GST Auditors and wishes to point out that under the provisions of the GST Act, the Commissioner of GST is responsible for the administration of the GST, and the assessment, collection and recovery of GST. Such responsibility includes the review and approval of audits after making any adjustments or choice of methodology that may be required in the course of such review. Thus, the Commissioner (and senior staff delegated by her) is expressly charged with finalizing to her satisfaction, including by way of making justified changes, audits conducted lower down the chain of command.
The Belize Raptor Center
Just another example of how a little bit of training can go a long way and improve the quality of life for a rehab bird. Our collared forest-falcon, Phoenix, got off to a rough start in his life and as a result is nervous and very easily spooked. Here is where his training came into action. We started desensitizing him to the sights and sounds of everyday life at the center, and utilized progressive training methods - positive reinforcement, empowerment, and relationship - to establish a bond with his trainer. Although his injuries prevent him from ever being a wild bird again, Phoenix has risen up and can still go out into the world and feel the sun on his face and the wind in his feathers. Here's to another training and rehabilitation success story!
Peace March Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
Situation at western border on Wednesday
Many Guatemalans and international tourists want to come to Belize for Easter....they need about six more immigration officers during this peak season....this first impression needs polishing up...this does not make us appear as a welcoming friendly people...
Tradewinds Restaurant at Orchid Bay invites with Tanya Carter!
Election of Management Committee for the Friends of the Vaca Forest Reserve
Election of the new Management Committee for the Friends of the Vaca Forest Reserve took place over the weekend. FCD commits to continue building the capability of this Committee and its members for an effective community conservation program in the reserve.
Beyond the Horizon: 2017-Belize
Spread the word! All medical services are FREE to the public and do not require an appointment. Dates of the medical services in Ladyville are: April 9-13 and April 17-21. The services open at 7:00 a.m. and the line will be closed at 3:00 p.m. to ensure that everyone waiting will be taken care of by 5:00p.m. See you there! So far our first Beyond the Horizon medical service event in Ladyville has treated over 1500 people. Here are some more photos.
Do your kids need something to do after the Easter Break?
Bring them to our Screen on the Green on April 20 to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox, in honor of Earth Day. Movie starts at 6:00. See you there!
Financial Investigative Techniques (FIT) course
The Embassy is pleased to have partnered with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to organize a Financial Investigative Techniques (FIT) course. The three-day course introduced participants to the anti-corruption efforts, the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act, evidentiary requirements, investigative strategy, and interviewing techniques. The course participants represented a wide cross section of government agencies, including Income Tax, Customs, Prosecution Branch, Belize Police Department, FIU, International Financial Services Commission, and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
BTL Union Flexes, Stages A (Brief) Work Walk Out
At around 3:00 this afternoon, dozens of BTL employees walked out of the telephone company's St. Thomas Street Compound. It was only for a few minutes, but was just a slight flex of the union's muscle to tell the BTL management that they are not pleased.
The union refused to grant any comment, but we understand that there is a growing disagreement between them and the management over what the union says is a standstill in the negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement.
This collective bargaining agreement is what determines the salary and benefits that the BTL employees are entitled to, and it is re-negotiated every 3 years.
Gangsters Hold A Peace March
Over the years, we've seen countless rallies and marches for peace by mothers of the deceased, school children, and activist groups. Today was another - except this one was very different. That's because all Belize's gangs are the ones who took to the streets to say "enough." It's a first and 7News was on the street with them from beginning to end:..
"Walk for peace, we are humans" that's what the shirt said for those gathered at the Raccoon street station.
Gang crews form every block in the city took off their gang colours and put on the t-shirts
At 9:40 they left off with full police escort, about 60 males from at least 14 different gangs:
ACP Williams Welcomes Vidal, Gangs Reject Him
And, ACP Williams hopes to do all that before he leaves in July. That's the date of transfer - and as you heard him say, he's ready to move on at the commissioner's will - even if the gang members think otherwise. We got a little deeper into that conversation with him - when the press asked if he's being pushed aside because he has political ambitions:â€¦
ACP Chester Williams, Commander - Eastern Division South:
"I am a public police officer, I am subject to be transferred and the commissioner is the commissioner, he decides where he puts his senior officers and if he thinks that I am best suited to serve in Belmopan in the capacity that I am going, then I go with the commissioner's decision that is time for me to move on and do something different."
"But Mr. Vidal has gone on record repudiate community policing. In 2011 he told me that it didn't work, it hasn't worked."
ACP Chester Williams:
"At one point in time I too repudiated community policing so it's just the way how it is."
Broaster Will Be PD's Third In Command
We also got an opportunity to speak with Assistant Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster, who is also being transferred. He's leaving behind the command of the Rural Eastern Division, to take over as commander of operations in Belmopan, which is effectively third in command of the entire police department.
So, when we met him at another event, we asked him about the promotion, but he was very careful the comments he made:
"Is this a promotion in terms of the field of responsibilities you will now hold come in a few months' time?"
ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Rural Eastern Division:
"I believe the commissioner of police has commented on that issue and at this I will not comment on that but all I can say is that the move will definitely improve the security concerns of the citizenry of Belize."
DPM Faber Gets Another Scolding
The unions and the Chamber of Commerce have already rejected Government's decision to pay a 1-million-dollar "honorarium" to the teachers who didn't strike last October. The unions called it union busting, and today, the NGO community called it "unauthorized spending".
In a statement titled, "the Belize Network of NGO's Rebukes GOB's Unauthorized Spending", the NGO's said that they are in full support of the statements made by the chamber and the NTUCB.
That statement says, quote, "GOB's decision to spend $1 million of unbudgeted taxpayers' money to reward teachers who did not participate in the strike amounts to an expenditure that was not approved by the National Assembly. This makes a mockery of the national budget planning exercise."
Cost Still Puzzled Over Gungulung Murder
Police are still puzzled by Monday night's Gungulung Bridge murder. 39 year old Rafael Guerra was shot dead near his Holy Emanuel Street home. Now there are different theories as to the motive, and, as we told you last night in our story, the family has its own suspicions. One report is that the Salvadoran man who rented a room at Guerra's home may have planned or been involved in the attack and another report is that the Salvadoran man was the intended target and not Guerra. Well, police have detained this man for questioning. Today Southside Commander Chester Williams said they are still trying to fill in the loose ends in this case.
ACP Chester Williams, Commander - Eastern Division South:
"This murder is one that really has us thinking. We are still trying to arrive at a motive but in answering your question about how we are dealing with situation like that - I think that we have to develop a system where we can monitor these persons that are coming in that we can get to know who they are because we do have a lot of persons who have been engaged in gang activities in Salvador who are in Belize. Some of them may have put behind them their gang affiliation while some of them will bring it so we need to monitor them and see how we can clip their wings when they come to Belize so that's something that we need to do."
Cops Investigate Purported Arson At Principal's Office
Last night, we told you about the fire at the Ladyville RC School, where as much as $30,000 in equipment was lost.
The Principal says that it was arson. Today, we asked the Officer Commanding Rural Eastern Division told us what they know so far:
"The principal has told the press that investigation suggests that this is arson. Can you confirm for us and share with us what direction your investigation is leading to?"
ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Rural Eastern Division:
"I cannot confirm that at this time as we have not gotten the report from the fire department as it related to their investigation into that issue at this time."
Sales Tax Sets The Record Straight
Last night we showed you the letter from GST Officer Elmer Reyes. He wrote the Solicitor General a four page letter saying that there were irregularities and inconsistencies in the tax assessment procedures used the by the department. The most disturbing part of his letter is that he said the department would manipulate tax methodologies to charge businesses as much as possible.
It's a sharp indictment of the department and what makes it even more damning is that it comes in the from within the department.
Well the Ministry of Finance sent out a release today mostly to respond to the Chamber of Commerce which has demanded an investigation of the Department's tax assessment procedures. In it, the Ministry rejects "any suggestion of manipulation on the part of the GST Senior Management of any Audit carried out by mid-level to lower level GST Auditors." It adds that the Commissioner of GST is responsible for the administration of the GST, including the review and approval of audits.
.38 On A Corner
One more gun is off the street tonight. Last night, Belize City Police searched an open lot on the corner of George and Prince Street. They found a .38 revolver concealed in a plastic bag. No one was in the area, so it was labelled Found Property.
San Pedro Police Nab 2
Yesterday afternoon, San Pedro police got a warrant to search the home of Jimell Paul Jex and Tracy Betancourt for drugs, firearms and ammunition. In Jex's bedroom, the cops found eight live rounds of 9mm ammunition. Jex, who was the only one present at the time, was arrested for keeping ammunition without a gun license. Police are currently looking for Tracey Betancourt.
Yesterday our news team went on a tour of two Southern Villages that are trying to make a name for themselves in the tourism industry. Now, Punta Negra and Monkey River aren't Placencia or San Pedro, and they aren't trying to be. These laid back villages in Toledo offer visitors an immersive experience far different than the plush packages found at traditional tourist destinations. Alex Courtenay found out where tourism meets everyday life ...
Located on the remote shores of the Toledo district, the villages of Punta Negra and Monkey River offer tourists with different, off the beaten path experiences. In recent years, both villages have been receiving help to market and develop themselves as alternate destinations that offer the same natural beauty, with a more rustic ambience...
Western Highway Knockdown
7News has just learned of an accident at mile eight on the Western Highway. It happened a short while ago, when a pickup appears to have knocked down a pedestrian. Our team is headed out there and we'll have more on this tomorrow.
Ladyville Cops Got A Ride
This morning, Rural Police became the proud owners of a new truck donated to them by the Courtney Coye Law firm, and a group of Friends from Ladyville.
Now, you may not be too impressed by that, after all, the department gets donations like this one from time to time. But for the Rural Eastern Division, it's a big deal. That's because these vehicle have to patrol over 30 villages spread out over the north, the east, and the west. Before this, they had to do it with only 6 vehicles.
So, it's a much needed addition to their vehicle fleet, and the keys were officially handed over today. We spoke with the donors and the recipients:
The Mystery Of Michael Smith
Last night we told you about the Belizean who was caused a panic on a Mexican bus after he was spotted drunk, with a gun in his waist. He gave Mexican authorities his name as Mike Kenner Smith - but he carried the identification of Nigel Arthur Myvett. Well, 7 News has learned that Mike Smith is a well known UDP groupie, who was often seen around city politicians like Zenaida Maya and Michael Finnegan. Seems he left Belize months ago headed for the states - but not before stealing a baby passport and US birth certificate from Nigel Myvett's mother. He had been watching the family's home. Smith was heading from Merida to Celestun on the west coast of Mexico. Concerned passengers saw him sleeping on the bus, apparently drunk, with the gun in his waist. They called police who removed him from the bus - only to find out he was carrying a toy gun. He told them that he doesn't know how the toy gun ended up in his waist.
Capital Cops Rewarded
On Monday we told you how Belmopan police had worked quickly to catch and prosecute a pair of robbers who had held up Circle R Rice. They found the men and the gun they are believed to have used. The pair, 28-year-old Florentino Ruiz and 21-year-old Abraham Vellos have already been sent to jail on a 5 year sentence. Well, today their commanding officer set up a ceremony at the Roaring River Golf Course to thank them for their hard and quick work.
Commissioner Allen Whylie was there to give each officer a certificate of commendation.
Cross Country Comin'!
For some the Easter break is about traveling, for others its all about the religious observance, while others are just glad for the break. But if you're a Belizean - no matter what you're doing this weekend - you'll want to know about the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. 2017 marks the 89th anniversary of the race, and we asked the Belize Cycling Federation's PR Officer, Kwame Scott, what we can expect this year...
The race starts at 6:00 am on Saturday.
Caye Easter Bash
If you will be on Caye Caulker for this Easter weekend you might want to drop by the West Bay Beach Club. That's because New Belizean voices as well as other international performers will be entertaining club goers all weekend. Two of the performers came to our studios to tell us why you all should come out. Here is a little something from up and coming dancehall artist Daja.
And keeping it dancehall, Jamaican artist Jay 5 flow will also be taking the stage. Here is what he had to say .
There will be several other artists performing as well. So again the concert is April 15th and 16 th, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday at West Bay Beach Club.