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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
Rotary Club donates medical supplies to polyclinic
Through the assistance of the Rotary Club of Northwest Ohio USA, Sunrise Rotary Club in Belize, and Medical Equipment & Supplies Abroad (MESA), the Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye Belize (RCACB) generously donated much-needed medical supplies to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II on Thursday, May 25th. On Wednesday, May 24th, RCACB members travelled to Belize City to receive their donation, and made arrangements for it to be barged over the next day. By 8:30 AM on May 25th, the Polyclinic received three new electric hospital beds, two manual beds, six mattresses, a medical storage cabinet with additional supplies inside, an exam table, a wheelchair, a couple sets of crutches, medical gowns, bed covers, blankets, safety infusion systems and lots of extra supplies.
Five-a-Side games getting heated
The San Pedro Town Council’s Five-a-side Football Tournament continued this past weekend with several fun-filled games held on Friday, May 26th, through Sunday, May 28th. Held at the Honourable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex, large crowds gathered once again to support their favourite players and teams. Games continue this weekend with games starting at 7Pm at the Honourable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex.
2nd Annual Belize Tattoo Expo a success in San Pedro Town
Over the weekend of May 27th and 28th, more than 100 local, regional and internationally renowned tattoo artists descended on Ambergris Caye for the Second Annual Belize Tattoo Expo. Held at the R.A. Nuñez Auditorium, Belizean tattoo artists, along with artists from Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, and even the USA, demonstrated live tattooing, while also displaying their portfolios, paintings, drawings, and other art mediums.
For just $20 a day, the expo attracted hundreds of tattoo lovers, where many individuals came eager to get inked. From brightly colored pieces to black and grey portraits, artists crafted away for hours, tattooing on their willing human canvases. Those who didn’t get inked explored the booths, enjoyed delicious food, and picked up memorabilia on sale.
Belize Delegation Concludes Productive Official Visit To Cuba
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber along with Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and Minister of State in the Ministry of Health Hon. Dr. Angel Campos concluded a successful official visit to the Republic of Cuba on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Extensive discussions addressed key issues such as collaboration for multi-destination packages in the tourism sector; the possibility of direct flights; areas of mutual interest in trade and investment; heritage tourism; and the exploration of policies that respect national patrimony. Belize expressed interest in Cuba’s policy of training young people who live in historical areas, like downtown Belize City, to learn restoration skills to be able to participate in improving their neighbourhoods and benefit from the related tourism.
Community To Benefit From Stanford Belize Vision Clinic, Free Service To Children
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye saw the opening of its very first eye clinic this past weekend as “Stanford Belize Vision Clinic” held a small inauguration on Thursday, May 25, 2017. The Clinic is located on the second floor of the San Pedro Lions Den.
The Clinic will provide eye screening to check for diseases and/or abnormalities; also offering eyeglasses prescriptions free of charge to children. Adults can take advantage of the free service once the clinic opens, but a small fee will be added in the future to offset traveling expenses of the doctors coming to the island from abroad. Vision glasses will come at a minimum cost, being provided by BCVI in Belize City.
Happiness Restored! Rebecca Rath Still Reigning Miss Belize Universe
The tables have turned once again as Queen of the Jewel Ltd., the company that owns the rights to the Miss Belize pageant, issued a press release clarifying that Rebecca Rath is still the current Miss Belize and will serve the remainder of her duties. It also stated that there will be a Miss Belize 2017 Pageant and that Opal Enriquez was unauthorized to have issued any release and decisions that she had made.
The latest press release from Queen of the Jewel Ltd. states that it is unfortunate that Opal’s resignation has also brought into controversy the title of Miss Belize 2016-2017.
Misc Belizean Sources
June Tres Cocos Trash Pick Up
Friday, June 2 at 8 AM - 10 AM,
North of the Bridge, San Pedro.
Time to show La Isla Bonita some TLC. You'd be amazed at what a difference just 2 hours can make. Trash bags, pick-up sticks, gloves and water provided. Delicious refreshments complements of Marbucks at 10:00.
Maya Spa Experience | Brand Competition
BELTRAIDE, in collaboration with the Belize Spa and Wellness Association, is hosting a nationwide “Maya Spa Experience” Branding Competition. Belizean nationals and residents, who are interested in participating, are asked to form teams of 4, of which 1 member must be a certified massage therapist. Interested teams must register by 14 June.
Registered Teams will take part in a Sensitisation Session on 16 June, where they will receive further information in order to create their branding proposals. The “Maya Spa Experience” should present a story line incorporating Maya traditions, include a minimum of 4 components to the treatment, and have a duration of 30 to 35 minutes.
More bombshells at the senate hearing
Alvorine Burgess claims police officer Rushel Chan says his brother in law, Elvin Penner got too greedy so he wanted a new person to assist with obtaining visas. Chan wanted to know if Burgess had any friends in the Immigration Department. Burgess made $1500 per trip she made to the department once the scheme was fully operational. The speaker keeps reminding her, what she says she did was illegal.
She says she paid minister $400,000
Alvorine Burgess testifies today, May 31st. at the Senate Select Special Committee that's investigating the Immigration and Nationality Department. burgess says under oath "I paid castro $2,000 per visa." Chairman Aldo Salazar clarified that Minister Castro doesn't issue visas so the payment was $2000 per visa recommendation. Burgess said it could have been in excess of 200 visa recommendations that resulted in visas for Belize. The payment in total would be $400,000. She said the money came from a police sergeant Rushel Chan.
Belize Audubon doing great work
Highlights of our monthly Junior Bird Club meetings at St. Margaret RC Primary School and Armenia Government School!! Teaching the next generation of Bird conservationists!
William George Ysaguirre by Football Hall of Fame of Belize
Anyone who has been to a football match anywhere in Belize will most likely have seen William George Ysaguirre along the sidelines with his trusted camera at hand.
William's involvement in football specifically goes as far back as 1995 when he attended Belize's 1st World Cup qualifier against Panama at what was then the National Stadium (later renamed Marion Jones Sports complex in 2000) with its newly completed 5,000 seat bleachers.
Since he began reporting sports for The Reporter newspaper in the year 2000, William has amassed huge archives of negatives for all disciplines he's covered.
Most of his work during the period 2000-2003 can only be found in actual prints back when film negatives were the order of the day. After 2003, he converted to digital when he bought his first digital camera at a Circuit City store in San Francisco, while on his way back home from an assignment in Beijing in August of that year.
BTB Media Mixer 2017
Come check out the exhibition on the History of the Lobster Industry of San Pedro on Saturday, June 24th @ the Welcome Booth at the Lobster Festival
Today is 1 Ik' in the Maya Tzolk'in calendar, and is the first day of the month Sotz, in the Haab
Ik' represents the life force, breathing, and also the god of the wind. Sotz is the bat, an important creature in the mystical Maya realm.
April 2017 Trade & Consumer Price Index
According to the latest figures on consumer prices released by
the Statistical Institute of Belize, the prices of goods and services
regularly purchased by Belizean households were 2.2 percent higher
on average during the month of April 2017 than they were in April
of 2016. The All-Items consumer price index stood at 105.3 for the
month, an increase from 102.9 during the same period last year (See
Figure 1). For the first four months of the year 2017, a year-to-date
inflation rate of 1.9 percent was recorded. Belize’s total imports for the month of April 2017 were
valued at $146.7 million. This was a decrease of 10.4 percent or
$17.1 million from imports for April 2016, which totaled $163.8 million.
Decreased imports across most categories, including ‘Machinery and
Transport Equipment’, ‘Manufactured goods’, and ‘Other Manufactures’
overshadowed purchases of ‘Mineral Fuels and Lubricants’ and goods
destined to the Commercial Free Zones, resulting in the sharp drop in
imports for the month.
Finally. First Belizean full cave diver, Ilya Rosado
So proud of this young man. Milestone after milestone...
Congratulations to the Beyond the Horizon: 2017-Belize team!
Over 850 Belizean patients seen today, including 305 students! Tomorrow, June 1, is the last day for the free medical clinic in Dangriga. Registration will be open 7:00-9:00 a.m. Hope to see you there!
Two detained at the Subteniente Lopez and the border was closed
Second Lieutenant López.- Two detaineed at Subeniente Lopez today after the fayuqeros got out of hand
on the site. The Mexican official along with the BDF were at the scene to control this insident between "fayuqueros" and the Mexican Aauthorities. The border was immidately closed between Belize and Mexican Bridge to control illegal merchandise. The freezone was immediately closed because of the illegal crossing by the fayuqeros.
According to unofficial sources, the detaineed are a woman and a man who were allegedly responsible for stirring up the fayuqueros who are no longer willing to "move" with the customs officers.
A Tropical Night Out
The Rotary Club of Belmopan is having a fundraiser and pre-Duck Race event next Saturday, June 10th, at the Belmopan Civic Center. Gilharry 7 will be performing, and you'll get a Duck Race ticket.
"A Tropical Night Out - A Rotary Club of Belmopan's Fundraising Event!
June 10th, 2017 at Civic Center, Belmopan City.
Come and enjoy a fun night out in Belmopan with the #1 Band in the land, Gilharry 7 Band!!!
Starts 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and includes a Belize Duck Race Ticket! How awesome is that!?!
Food and Drinks will be on sale!
Call 607-3884 for tickets! "
Hands Across the Sand 2017
On May 20th at noon, Belizeans around the country joined hands on beaches, across bridges, along sea walls and in public areas to stand in solidarity against offshore oil development in Belize's economically important marine environment. Every year, activists and ocean-lovers host Hands Across the Sand events around the world to “draw a line in the sand,” and say “NO” to dirty fossil fuel projects, as well as call for a shift to clean, renewable energy like offshore wind and solar power. Every day, offshore oil accidents serve as grim reminders of just how deadly, dirty and dangerous the industry is and highlights the economic risks and environmental hazards posed by the activity to countries like Belize. “Drill. Spill. Repeat. That is the reality of the offshore oil. Belizeans have, and continue to say, "No!" to the destruction of their livelihoods by this inherently dangerous and dirty industry. That unwavering position needs to be legislated in order to safeguard our collective future," Janelle Chanona, Oceana Belize’s Vice President.
INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM DAY 2017 (May 18th, 2017-Morning)
In case you missed it, under this year's theme 'Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in Museums', the Museum of Belize (NICH) held an educational open panel discussion on the the 'History of Executions in Belize' with special discourse on the fundamental question 'Should Belize resume the death penalty?'.
We would like to thank everyone who made this event a success, especially our extraordinary panelist who presented and conducted a well-rounded discussion.
Castro Says Visa Cancellation No Big Deal
Yesterday evening, the news went out like a shockwave from Belmopan that Minister Edmond Castro's US Visas had been revoked - that means both his diplomatic and visitor's Visas. Cancelling a diplomatic visa is not a thing lightly done, and it can be interpreted as the US State Department making an accusatory statement on the immigration dealings of UDP Ministers who signed dozens of visa recommendations for persons - mostly Asians - likely being trafficked through Belize.
But when we spoke to Castro today, he completely glossed it over - explaining that his visas and his passport were about to expire:
US Embassy Mum On Castro's Visas
But, while Castro wants to portray the double visa revocation as a routine matter, is it really? That's highly unlikely, but today we asked an Embassy official what's the real situation. At an unrelated event - we caught up with Nathan Bland - the US Embassy's Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and asked him for more details, but - as is customary - he told us the he couldn't comment on this case.
"Are you able to disclose why his 2 visas were revoked?"
J. Nathan Bland - Acting Dep. Chief of Mission, US Embassy:
"We can't really speak on why it was revoked; in fact visa records are confidential so I can't even comment on that matter at all. We did see his statements; I would have to refer you to his personal statement."
Faber Won't Speculate On reason For Visa Cancellation
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber wasn't so cautious - but he stressed that no reason was given for the cancellation, and he wouldn't speculate on what that reason might be.
Hon. Patrick Faber - Deputy Prime Minister:
"I think the optics of it is never desirous, I don't know the circumstances of those cancellations to be honest. I have not had any discussions with anybody from the US government to say that it is not what he has said, I have no proof of that, I have no such understanding."
"We know that he has been publicly accused of accepting 2,000 dollars per visa recommendation. Are you concerned that there are other in your government who also gave a number of visa recommendations and that there may be other cancellations?"
Alvarine Lays It Bare At Senate Inquiry, Squarely Accuses Castro
But Alvarine Burgess was not so cautious in her testimony today. When she appeared before the Senate Inquiry, the immigration agent turned whistle-blower torched Edmond Castro's reputation, and exposed many reasons why the US might have cancelled his visa.
Most of it, we've heard before in the lawsuit that Castro took out to try to shut her down for slander and defamation of character. But, that happened in closed court. Today, the Senate and the entire country got to hear her describe how this visa operation worked, and Castro's alleged role in all of it. Here's that part of her extended testimony to the Senate Select Committee:
Castro Says "Ho-Hum" At Alvarine's Allegations
Speaking with Castro today before noon, he didn't appear moved by all the damaging allegations made by Alvarine Burgess. He told the press that, basically, she had already done her worst during the defamation trial of 2015 - so there's nothing new - even if it comes right before his visas were cancelled:
"It's coincidental however that this comes at a time right when Alvarine Burgess is testifying before the Senate and some people are looking at this coincidence to try to find meaning can you speak to that from your end?"
Alvarine Names Other Ministers
And while there might not be anything new to say about Castro, it was new today when Burgess named two other ministers she was allegedly doing immigration business with. They are Anthony "Boots" Martinez and Erwin Contreras.
Here's that part of the Senate Hearings, starting from her explanation that she was allegedly able to get these recommendations from these other Ministers because there was a monthly visa quota system:
Alvarine Burgess - Witness, Senate Hearing:
"My understanding of quota systems from Mr. Castro is that the ministers who are procuring visas have a certain amount that they can do for the month."
Hon. Martinez Completely Rejects Alvarine's Allegations
But Minister of Human Development Anthony Boots Martinez completely rejects Burgess's testimony about her alleged transaction with him. She told the Senate that she paid him two thousand dollars to facilitate an immigration transaction. He said no such thing happened:
Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Minister of Human Development:
"I've never met with Ms. Alvarine Burgess ever yet over no immigration matter. Several times I've met Ms. Alvarine Burgess once sometime when I was the minister of works, I use to assist her mother. When I became minister of human development I met with her about 3 different time, the last occasion she was wanting some assistance for her husband who was ill of which I gave to her, that was all; we never had no immigration talk nor nothing. As a matter of fact that my name was never called in any report and further more to that she said that she - I listened to a portion that she met me by Brodies in some white car, I never own a white car in my life yet."
Alvarine Says Cops was The Immigration Mastermind, He Denies
But, Alvarine Burgess' disclosure about those other 2 ministers came long before the biggest bombshell of the day. She testified that the mastermind for those visas, where Castro was allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars for the recommendations, is Assistant Superintendent Rochelle Chan.
You may know him as the senior officer in charge at the Hattieville Police Station, but Alvarine Burgess described him today as the middleman who handled all the cash she collected for about 200 visas, to pay off bribes to the two ministers, to pay the legitimate fees to the Government of Belize, and her cut for performing this service.
Three Teens To Court For Jacking Tanya Carter, They "Needed Gas Money"
Its 2 teenagers and a 19 year old who held up and robbed Tanya Carter at gunpoint and today in court, they all pleaded guilty. Magistrate Carlon Mendoza called it "one of the worst and most disturbing forms of robbery he had ever heard of." When he asked them why they did it, the 19 year old Darwin Monroy told the court, quote, "This is my first offense and I only needed money for gas." Now as we told you last night, after the teenagers jacked Carter, their runaway car ran out of gas not too far away. But the Magistrate had no sympathy for them and said it's no excuse to rob and terrorize anyone. He remanded the trio and said that they need to think about their action while he decides what sentence to pass upon them. The two minors went to the warner's Youth Facility, while Monroy went to the Central Prison. They will be sentenced next Friday - so they get to reflect on their actions for 9 nights in jail.
Robbers Get Off With 40K In Double Jacking of Pesero's At Home
And in Corozal town, two money changers were targeted outside their homes last night by armed robbers who made off with over forty thousand dollars in cash and valuables.
The two robberies occurred about an hour apart and within a few blocks of each other.
Around 9:00, forty three year old Jesus Aguilar, pulled up to his home and was about Ito drive in his yard when two dark skinned men wearing masks and carrying firearms ambushed him. One of the men pointed his firearm at Aguilar's head the second pointed his revolver at Aguilar's stomach. They took a total of fifteen thousand dollars in Belize, Pesos and US currency which was inside his pickup. But that wasn't enough. The robbers still took Aguilar's jewellery and cell phone before they drove off in his pickup.
Met Office Says Hurricane Season Will Be Active
The 2017 hurricane season starts tomorrow, and if you're getting a shiver of anxiety just thinking about it - don't worry, you're not alone. After Hurricane Earl mashed up Central Belize last year, everyone is hoping for the best but bring for the worst.
But what kind of hurricane season is it going to be? What are the experts saying? We hear all kinds of forecasts from global experts, but the local outlook is th emost important. And that's why the Met Office announced their hurricane season forecast today and invited the media for a look at their new and improved website, here's Alex Courtenay with the story...
CEMO Says City Residents Must Do Their Part For Hurricane Preparedness
While the Meteorological Office was hosting its press conference in Ladyville, the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) was holding its own at City Hall. Now CEMO, like the Met office plays a very critical role during disasters when it comes to providing information, updates, shelters, as well as response and rescue efforts. But today the CEMO team reiterated the importance of public awareness and the role the residents play during emergencies.
Faber Says Of Saldivar Vessel Use, "I Wouldn't Do It"
Turning back now to politics, we asked the Deputy Prime Minister about the controversy surrounding his cabinet colleague, the Minister of Defence, John Saldivar. Saldivar has been criticized for using Coast Guard vessels to transport his semi pro sports teams to and from San Pedro for games. The Ministry and the Coast Guard have put out stamens saying that it amounts to support of pro-community sporting activities - and the Admiral said that Saldivar's team paid for the gas. But the US Embassy is none too pleased and so we asked Faber about the decision, generally, to use Coast Guard Resources to transport a minister's team, and about the deeper diplomatic implications. First, to the issue of whether such use is permissible:â€¦
Faber says Belize/US Relations Fine
And so while Faber says he wouldn't have done it - that's the same thing the US Embassy suggested in a statement to the Reporter Newspaper. They said that the vessels they donated should be used for security purposes and drug interdiction. We asked the Deputy Prime Minister if the statement is indicative of a deeper rift in Belize/US relations:
"Isn't it perhaps indicative of the fact that the Americans are not pleased with your government? They've cancelled Mr. Castro's visa, they've made publicly known their unhappiness or displeasure with the use of these - perhaps innocuous use of these coast guard vessels. Isn't it..."
Senate Hearings Went Smoothly With Extra Security
Going back now to the Senate hearings, we've already shown you quite a lot from today's Senate Inquiry. But we didn't tell you how it went when compared to the last session two weeks ago which devolved into disorder.
Well, the hearings went off without incident today. But it didn't just happen on its own. All entrances and exits of the National Assembly building were flooded with police security, and they were instructed to kick out anyone who was disturbing the proceedings. At the beginning of the hearings, Chairman Aldo Salazar made it clear, that everyone needed to behave, or else:
PUP Leader Says He asked For Week Off Because He Didn't Want A Showdown
Today's hearings were possibly the most crowded it has ever been since Senate Inquiry on Immigration began back in November. The UDP's were gathered in numbers wearing white or red t-shirts captioned, "Belizeans Against Courtenay", and the PUP's were also there, but nobody got confrontational.
The press asked Opposition Leader John Briceno for an explanation on why he asked for the Senate hearings to be postponed. He said that he was trying to avoid a PUP vs UDP confrontation, which the Government would have used as an excuse to end the hearings. Here are his comments on that:
Yellowman Apologises To Speaker, Will Go Before Staff Committee
And, no, Mase-bearer Brian Yellowman Audinett was not at today's hearings. We understand that he's written a letter of apology to the Speaker, and will appear before the House Staff Committee next week.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister said his menacing behaviour toward the media is not to be countenanced:
Hon. Patrick Faber- Deputy Prime Minister:
"Indeed, the actions of the mase bearer was unfortunate, I think those actions we could have down without. I think the quarrel with the media is never a good thing. The matter as far as I understand it, because the mase bearer is a part of the staff of the National Assembly he will be sent to the national assembly staff committee."
PUP Believes Burgess
And going back now to today's hearings which were dominated by the testimony of Alvarine Burgess, we could almost hear the PUP's cheerleading her. And though three UDP Ministers have directly accused her of lying under oath, John Briceno who sat in the gallery and took it all in told us, not surprisingly, that he doesn't think she has any reason to lie under oath:
DP Faber Repeats, Bring The Hearings To An End
And while the PUP's wish the hearings would continue next week - and every week until the next election - with testimony just like Alvarine Burgess, the UDP want it to end, like last week. And for the second time in a week, the Deputy Prime Minster re-iterated that the hearings have served their purpose and are now at a stage of being self-defeating:..
Hon. Patrick Faber - Deputy Prime Minister:
"Senator Courtenay leads a charge to try to be Pontius Pilate and to try to blame and try to witch hunt for certain people like calling in Alvarine Burgess, completely misinterpreting the law, they want to push this to serve a political agenda rather than in our view to find out the facts and to deal with it. What has come out of the senate inquiry is that while they were speculations that the ministers were the ones who were involved with all of this corruption that was the goal to try to expose that in fact all levels in the system there are problems. Now we've identified all of that, all that continue these hearings can do is to show other examples of the same thing."
New Port HQ Makes It Easier For Mariners
Today the Belize Port Authority inaugurated its new headquarters. The new building is located next door to Belize Coast Guard HQ in Belize City, a location chosen to in order to make it easier for mariners and boat owners to access all the necessary maritime services. We spoke to Minister of State of Transport, Edmund Castro, about the timely addition of the new building...
A World Without Tobacco
There are countless commercials and awareness campaigns against tobacco smoking, but people all over the world especially young persons, keep striking up those cigarettes. Now, for heavy smokers, quitting is easier said than done but the National Drug Abuse Control Council and the Belize Cancer Center are urging them to at least try. And both organizations hope to change that bad habit by highlighting the serious, life threatening effects of tobacco. Courtney Weatherburne has more details from today's health fair.
Teaching Children Conflict Resolution Early
Today primary school teachers were invited to a Building Healthy Relationships Seminar at the Radisson. The focus is to discuss with teachers what strategies and lesson plan concepts they can use in the classroom to promote peace and non-violent conflict resolution. Now, this is something teachers face on a regular basis with kids â€“ they have to be stopping fights and mediating between the feuding students regardless of how petty the argument may be, but Project Director of the Children Safe Space Initiative Dorla Bowman says these productive and peaceful conflict resolution techniques have to be incorporated and reinforced in the curriculum.
A Fitting Honor For Frank Lizama
Education month ended today with an event at the Skills Training Center on Magazine Road. The building which used to be the bus terminal for Venus Bus Line now proudly carries the name of former Belize city mayor and Collet area representative, Frank Lizama. Today the current mayor and current area representative both showered him with praise:
Lizama who is now 86, served as Collet Area Representative from 1984 to 1989 and Mayor of Belize City from 1985 to 1986.
Looking now at the center which bears his name, Faber said it serves an important role for those who could not make it through the formal education system:..