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Today's Belize News: June 29, 2017 #524328
06/29/17 06:33 AM
06/29/17 06:33 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,595
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP


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

SPTC 5-a-side Football Tournament heads into playoffs
After seven weeks of action, the San Pedro Town Council’s 5-a-side Football Tournament is nearing its playoffs. The seventh set of games took place on Wednesday, June 21st to Saturday, June 24th, and as usual, large crowds came out to the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex to support their favorite players and teams. On Wednesday, June 21st, two U-15 and three male division games took place. In the Under-15 category, San Pedrito Strikers triumphed over Los Catrachitos, 2-1, while Caribeña Strikers won 1-0 over San Pedro Pirates. The male results were: Jokers FC 3 vs Terror Squad 1, Rookies 5 vs Peacemaker 3, and Tropic FC 6 vs Boca Bombers 3. Due to Dia de San Pedro festivities, games have been postponed to Wednesday, July 5th at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex, starting at 7PM.

Graduations galore on La Isla Bonita!
Over the past week, graduation ceremonies across the island highlighted three Standard Six classes and two preschools. As Standard Six Students celebrated their academic achievement in completing eight years of primary school, preschoolers celebrated their entrance to primary school. San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Holy Cross Anglican School, New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School, Little Angels Preschool, and ABC Preschool.

Bowen and Bowen Ltd introduces Belikin Light!
There is a brand new beer in the Belikin Family. ‘Belikin Light,’ was introduced on Tuesday, June 27th at the Belikin Brewing Company installations in Ladyville, north of Belize City. The newest member in the line of Belikin Beer products is low -alcohol and calorie. Along with a light, balanced flavour, it is expected to become the perfect choice for the consumer with an active lifestyle. The first batch of Belikin Light is expected to reach Ambergris Caye by Saturday, July 1st.

NEMO holds first Official EOC Meeting for the Hurricane Season
In an effort to increase preparedness during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hosted a meeting with all 13 committees under the San Pedro’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The group convened on Friday, June 23rd at the Belize Rural South NEMO Branch office on Coconut Drive for the first meeting of the Hurricane Season. It was aimed at reviewing the state of readiness and fine-tune the EOC’s plan of action that would be activated in the event of a storm or extreme rain.

Ambergris Today

The Newest Member Of The Belikin Family... Belikin Light
After almost fifty years of success with Belikin, the Belize Brewing Company continues to grow with the introduction of Belikin Light. The new member of the Belikin family was introduced at a press conference on Tuesday, June 27 at the Tap Room at the Belize Brewing Company, Ladyville. Belikin Light is the new light beer option in the Belize Brewing Company portfolio. With its low calorie count, Belikin Light’s great drinkability makes it the perfect choice for the consumer with an active lifestyle. Belikin Light will be sold at the same great price as Belikin Beer and Stout. The bottle will also have a refund value of $0.25 cents like other Belikin beers.

San Pedro Beauty Named Miss Costa Maya Belize 2017
Mr. Michael Arnold, National Director for Miss America Latina Belize, proudly announces Michelle Estrella Nuñez as Miss Belize Costa Maya 2017. Michelle is from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and she aims to become the first Sampedrana to capture the Costa Maya crown. The 26 year-old, 5’6” (1.68m) beauty was a past Miss San Pedro (2014). She also represented Belize last year at Miss America Latina del Mundo in Mexico, where she not only captured the award for Best Original Costume but also gave Belize our highest and thus far only placement in this pageant. She placed 4th Runner-up (out of 19), besting delegates from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, among others.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

Vildo Westby Wanted regarding Feliz Ayuso murder
Nearly five months after the brutal murder of island activist Felix Ayuso on February 1, 2017, San Pedro Police have released a wanted poster for Vildo Westby, believed to be connected to Ayuso's death.

Ongoing Consultations for the Development of a National Trade Policy: Meeting with the Private Sector in Belmopan
The Directorate General for Foreign Trade (DGFT) launched Belize’s Trade Policy Framework which was approved by Cabinet in July 2016. The Framework provides government’s commitment and policy guidance for formulating Belize’s first comprehensive National Trade Policy. Under the leadership of a Trade Adviser provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat, work is now ongoing to develop Belize’s first comprehensive trade policy. It is in this context that the DGFT has launched national consultations country-wide, with a view to gathering reactions and recommendations from all relevant stakeholders in the public sector, private sector and other non-state actors including those in the productive sector. Several consultative meetings were convened with stakeholders since the process was launched on 14th March, 2017.

Ride Across Belize
Corozal show us your support for those riding for worthy causes.

DANZA DE LA CABEZA DE COCHINO “ OK´ OSTA POL KE´ K´EN ”
Entre los mayas es común que sus celebraciones festivas y tradicionales tengan una esencia pagano-religiosa, ya que aunque la celebración de “la danza de la cabeza de cochino”, es una lúcida danza de aspecto más bien satírica y divertida, esta se realiza frente a la iglesia del pueblo durante las fiestas patronales.

Belize Archaeology Symposium
Opening night of the Belize Archaeology Symposium was quite a success. The Museum of Belize was there to share in the excitement.

May 2017 Trade, GDP & CPI, Labour Force Survey
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.7% IN MAY 2017. Latest statistics released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that the All-Items Consumer Price Index for the month of May 2017 stood at 104.4, an increase from 103.7 in May of 2016. The prices of goods and services regularly purchased by Belizean Households were, on average, 0.7 percent higher in May 2017 than they were in the same month of 2016.
IMPORTS DOWN 4.8 %, DOMESTIC EXPORTS UP 28.9% IN MAY 2017. IMPORTS: For the month of May 2017, Belize imported goods valuing $161.3 million. This represented a 4.2 percent or $7.1 million drop from the same month in 2016, when imports totalled $168.4 million. Decreases across various categories led to the overall reduction in Belize’s import bill. EXPORTS: The total value of Belize’s domestic exports for the month of May 2017 was $72.6 million, up 28.9 percent or $16.3 million from the $56.3 million recorded for May 2016. Sugar was the most dominant among the major exports during the month of May 2017, as revenues from that commodity contributed more than a half of total export earnings.
GDP: ECONOMY GROWS 2.1% IN FIRST QUARTER 2017: PRIMARY AND TERTIARY ACTIVITIES UP, SECONDARY ACTIVITIES DOWN. Preliminary first quarter estimates by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that, for the first three months of 2017, the country’s level of economic activity increased by 2.1 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. The total value of goods and services produced in Belize was $748.2 million, up $15.4 million from $732.8 in the first quarter of 2016.
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES MARGINALLY TO 9% IN APRIL 2017 DESPITE 3,000 NEW JOBS. Results from the Statistical Institute of Belize’s most recent Labour Force Survey showed that the national unemployment rate in April 2017 stood at 9 percent, a marginal increase from 8 percent in April 2016, when the country recorded its lowest unemployment rate in almost a decade. This rise in the rate of unemployment recorded was notwithstanding the net addition of more than 3,000 new jobs, as persons joined the labour force at a faster rate than that at which new jobs were created.

SBDC Workshop: Quick Books 101, Part 3 of the Accounting Series
Presented by: Mr. Jorge Gentle, Business Adviser, SBDCBelize, Beltraide. Location: Beltraide Conference Room, 14 Orchid Garden Street, Belmopan. Workshop Date: July 6th, 2017. Time: 8am to 3pm. ONLY 15 SEATS. Cost: $60.00, Includes lunch and refreshments. This course is designed for individuals who have background knowledge in accounting or have taken Part 1 and 2 of the Accounting Series. This course was created for anyone who wants to learn QuickBooks. Whether you signed up simply to learn QuickBooks or are a complete newbie to the software does not matter. We will teach you the software from beginning to end so that anyone, regardless of experience, learns all that they need to know to successfully use the program.

2nd Annual Health Fair for San Pedro
Saturday, July 1, 10am -3pm, Lion's Den

Caye Caulker Lobster Fest
Start of the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest weekend, come out and see the ladies as they compete to be the next Miss Caye Caulker Lobster Fest on Friday night.

NOISE ABATEMENT REGULATIONS
In relation to the current debate on the “entertainment strip” in the area of Newtown Barracks in Belize City and the issue of NOISE POLLUTION being experienced for some time now by residents in the surrounding area, the Department of the Environment (DOE) supports the Mayor of Belize City and the Belize City Council in enforcing legislation that exists to ensure that there is a balance between the economic development of Belize and a healthy environment for all. As a Government Department that stands by its motto “Balancing Development and the Environment”, the DOE believes in the economic/commercial development of the community, but not at the expense of the very same citizens we are here to develop and protect. This specific area in question has been a challenging location for the DOE on the issue of noise pollution. Noise abatement legislation have been on the books for quite a long time now, in the form of the Pollution Regulations of 1995 and the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act. The Pollution Regulations speak to “permissible levels” of noise and the pre-requirement of “soundproofing” of establishments producing noise. There are measures that can be put in place to reduce the level of noise so it does not affect the quality of life of surrounding neighbourhoods.

Trafficking in Persons Report: BELIZE: TIER 3
The Government of Belize does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore, Belize remained on Tier 3. Despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including the identification of two trafficking victims; and the investigations of 10 trafficking cases and two continued prosecutions initiated in a previous year. However, the government did not begin any new prosecutions or convict any traffickers. The government did not investigate or prosecute any public officials for alleged complicity in human trafficking-related offenses, despite reports of a significant level of official complicity. Despite the government’s raids on commercial sex establishments, few trafficking crimes were uncovered due to limited intelligence-gathering, inconsistent application of formal victim identification procedures, and suspected complicity among some law enforcement officials.

Missing dog
Panda is missing. He was seen in the Buena Vista area by a neighbor with three men and a big rope around his neck. If anyone sees him, please message me. There is a $500 REWARD for his return. Panda has white markings on his chest and his right eye has a cataract. He weighs about 175 lbs. we are in Cayo.

FREE concert with APEX
The Belmopan City Council is collaborating with the US Embassy for a FREE concert with APEX, a trio group and they will be performing at the OLOG Parish Hall on Friday, June 30th at 7:00 pm. All are invited to attend this FREE and open to the public event.

No Protections for Threatened Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site
The Belizean government has failed to implement promised protections for the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage site, according to a WWF assessment published today, leaving the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere under threat from offshore oil drilling and damaging coastal construction. Seismic testing for oil was attempted just one kilometre from the World Heritage site as recently as October 2016. Coming less than a week before the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee begins in Krakow, WWF, as part of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, assessed progress on a number of protections identified by UNESCO as essential to the reef’s long-term survival. The Belizean government committed to UNESCO in 2015 that the necessary measures to ensure the reef’s protection would be implemented by December 2016. “Seven months on, Belize has not delivered on its promise to protect the Belize Barrier Reef. Instead this remarkable ecosystem – vital to both wildlife and the country’s economy – remains under threat. We urge Belize’s government to act immediately to safeguard the reef for future generations,” said Nadia Bood, Mesoamerican Reef Scientist at WWF in Belize.

Protein Banks for Livestock
Farmers along the buffer zone of the Vaca Forest Reserve promote agro-ecological systems by establishing protein banks as an alternative supplement for livestock. We are grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture for the planting material.

BTB Virtual Tradeshow
The BTB Virtual Trade Show expo will bring together over 25 local stakeholders ranging from our local hoteliers, tour operators, wedding planner, Transportation Company and associations who will be meeting “virtually” with international buyers (Travel Agents, Tour Operators/Wholesalers, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) and Press) from North America, Europe, South and Central America. To date we have over 110 registered buyers from all these regions.

Streets of Belize City: Nurse Seay Street
Vivian Wilhelmina Myvett Seay (1881–1971) was born in British Honduras. She was a British Honduran nurse, social reformer and activist. Seay, Creole and of the middle class, attended the Anglican Church school and earned her teaching credentials in the pupil-teacher program. Here are some quick facts about Seay:

Channel 7

Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco Says They Never Vetted Any Documents
Last week the Senate Select Committee called Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco to testify. Her name is called about 94 times in the Auditor General's reports and the Senators called her back today to discuss a lot of administrative irregularities exposed in the reports. One topic they did bring up again was her comment that she didn't closely inspect the files she accepted as a frontline immigration officer. She said that it was not her duty to spot fraudulent documents being submitted as part of applications for visas and nationalities. Well, the Senators wanted her to explain why she didn't see that as part of her responsibility, and she made some surprising claims. According to Pacheco, no one at the Immigration Department did any kind of verification of whether documents were authentic or not. The Senate didn't exactly accept that explanation, and here's how they challenged her on that:

Boots "Bex" Because He Was Called To Testify But Sent Home
There was supposed to be one more witness for the day. UDP Minister Anthony "Boots" Martinez was summoned by the Senate Select Committee to testify, and he was no doubt more than willing to come forward because he wanted to respond to the allegations that Alvarine Burgess made against him. A few weeks ago, Burgess went before the Senate and said that back in the days when she was an immigration agent, she went to "Boots" Martinez, where she paid him several thousand dollars in bribe money so that he would write recommendations for Chinese visa applicants, guaranteeing that the visas would be approved. He told us that she is telling a lie, and most likely would have repeated those comments for the Senate's record, but he didn't get the chance. The Committee inexplicably decided that they couldn't take his testimony today.

PC Florencio Rash Hauled Before a Police Tribunal
Last night we showed you footage of a cop, identified as PC Florencio Rash, laid out on the ground at the Belmopan bus station. The video quickly went viral on social media, provoking howls of outrage. Well since then the Police Department has confirmed that Rash was under the influence of alcohol at the time the video was taken, and disciplinary measures have been initiated against him by Belmopan police. This afternoon, we spoke to the man who's about to take charge of the Professional Standards Branch, Assistant Commissioner Chester Williams, about the incident and the disciplinary actions against PC Rash - who falls under ACP Williams because he is assigned to Eastern Division South..

SIB: Unemployment Up
The Statistical Institute of Belize has released the latest unemployment figures, and they show that a higher unemployment rate. The Labour Force survey of April 2017, showed that when compared to April of 2016, there were over two thousand more persons unemployed. Statistician Curwen Arthurs explained: Curwen Arthurs - Statistician I, SISB: "With last year's rate of 8% which one of the lowest in almost a decade, it was expected that rate would have raised, increased since then; experiencing such a low rate. So this time around we saw that the rate increased marginally by 9% and this was because the labour force was growing at a pace a bit faster than persons were actually gaining jobs. If we look at the rates by district, we see that only the Belize and Stann Creek district had rated higher than the national rate of 9% with Stann Creek having the highest rate at 13.1% and Belize having the second highest rate at 10.9%. "

SIB: Economy Grew
And there are probably more jobs because the economy grew in the first quarter of 2017. That's an improvement over last year, when it contracted. Statistician Jefte Ochaeta outlined the findings: Jefte Ochaeta - Statistician I, SIB: "In the months of January to March of 2017 we see an increase of 2.1% in the economy where Belize produced goods and services totalling 748.2 million dollars which an increase of 15.3 million dollars of basically 2.1% from the same period in 2016. I can tell you that this 2.1% was mainly contributed by an increase in agriculture sector where the agriculture sector is contributing 1.6% to the 2.1% increase."

Economy Grew On Strength Of Sugar Output
The economy usually shows good growth in the first quarter - and that is owing in no small part to cane harvesting and sugar production - which are at their peak during that time. Ochaeta says that with Citrus, Petroleum and Flour down in the secondary sector, Sugar production was up by almost a third: Jefte Ochaeta - Statistician I, SIB: "When we look at the specifics of the secondary industries we see here that there was an increase in the sugar production. Why is this? Well mainly due to the fact that there was better quality in the cane due to favourable weather conditions, the dry condition in weather help the purity and the quality of the sugar cane and also the quality assurance and improved factors that the factory has placed to work. So those really helped the sugar production, plus the addition of the sugar refined by our factory in the west."

Bad News For Bowen: Beer and Soda Production Down
Notably, production of beer and soft drinks was down for the second successive quarter. That's Bowen and Bowen's market, and Ochaeta said the beverage producer is being affected by imports: Jefte Ochaeta - Statistician I, SIB: "There was a decrease in beverage production of almost 5%. This is due that because we observed that we had less being produced, we had about 47,000 less gallons of beer being produced. Similarly we had 216,000 less litres of soft drinks being produced. What's affecting our production? Basically we saw an increase in the import of soft drinks and also beer, imported in 2016, it's affecting the producer. Additionally in the secondary industry, there was a decreased in flour production by 6% which also affected by flour imports."

Overnight Arrivals Up, But Hotel Occupancy Isn't
And the folks at Belikin aren't the only ones singing the blues due to a disruptive marketplace. Overnight tourism interests are also feeling the bite - but not from imports, most likely from AirBnB. The online service which lets you turn that spare room in your home into a lodging for guests accounts for a drop in occupancy rates - even though more overnight tourists are arriving. Jefte Ochaeta - Statistician I, SIB: "What happened is we had more persons coming into the country however, the hotel sector where the overnight visitor would be going reported a decrease in the hotel room occupancy rate by 5%. So that means that less revenue was generated from hotels from our traditionally hotels where our traditional visitors would be visiting, that means that the dynamics of our visitors has changed. Our visitors are now going into other kinds of budget services for accommodations, so that's why we saw a decrease in the hotels and restaurants services."

Imports Down, Exports Up
Turning now to external trade, imports were down while exports were up. And that, again, is due mostly to a strong out-turn for sugar. Here's more: Tiffany Vasquez - Statistician, SIB: "Total domestic exports for the period January to May 2017 amounted to 237.6 million dollars; this is an increase of 21.8% or 42.6 million when compared to January to May of 2016. This notable 21.8% growth in domestic earning was the result of positive performances for most of Belize's major exports. Sugar continues to be Belize's top export earner at 94.9 million dollars, up 58% or 34.8 million."

Exports to The US Declined In First Quarter
And while exports were up - notably, there was less being exported to the United States - which looks to Belize for Citrus concentrate. Here's why: Tiffany Vasquez - Statistician, SIB: "Domestic exports to the US fell by 10.8 million dollars over the period to 30 million largely due to the drop in orange concentrate sales. On the other hand exports to the EU rose by 12.2 million to 35 million, going to greater exports of sugar, orange concentrate, banana and orange oil to that region in the period January to May 2017. Further earnings from Belize's exports to CARICOM grew 4.3 million to 33 million due mostly to increased revenue from crude petroleum and boosted black eyed peas sales."

Managing Business In A Natural Disaster
Today BELTRAIDE and the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System, abbreviated in Spanish as "SELA," hosted officials from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to talk about continuing business after natural disasters. The workshop was tailor-made for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to learn about natural disaster risk management. Participants were advised on how to prepare their businesses for natural disasters, and to ensure that their livelihoods are safeguarded should a major disaster occur. We spoke to Beltraide representative Shari Williams, as well one of the presenters, Yves Davila, about the event...

Son of "Sabe" In Jail
Sebastian Nunez is no stranger to the news - and many times that he's been on here, it's because he's accused of a crime. But that hasn't happened for a while - and when we ran a story the other night saying he was wanted he came here quickly to say police were after his son, not him. Well that son was sent to jail - where he turned 18. Nunez went to visit him but was told the teenager was in a confinement area. Then he went back two weeks later, and his son was still confined. Today, Sebastian "Sabe" Nunez told us that his young son may have a long rap sheet, but he's being subjected to too much:

DOE Backs Up The Mayor and City Council On Noise Pollution
Last week, the mayor made waves when he declared that City Hall would finally start adhering to the letter of the law, and stop granting 4:00 AM extensions to bars and nightclubs that weren't soundproofed. He was talking mainly about the "entertainment strip" on Princess Margaret drive extending from the BTL Park to the Hour Bar. It adjoins a residential area, and after a town meeting, the mayor decided that residents had endured too much. Well, even though his city council is very divided on the issue because of the loss of revenue, and of social life, the Department of the Environment today let it be known that it has the Mayor's back.

A New Belizean SITCOM
No Matta What: it was the first hit Belizean drama series in the early 2000's. Characters like Tomasa, Lisani and Jaime certainly captivated the Belizean audience and their stories reflected the joys and struggles of life in the city. Well, the producers of this drama series hope to get you hooked on their new show called "Livin mi Life". It's their first attempt at a Belizean sitcom. Today, the Owner and Manager of 13 Productions who also produced "Livin Mi Life" dropped by our studios to tell us about this new series. 2 of the actors also told us what to expect from the character they play.

Chester's Last Southside Meet And Greet
As we mentioned earlier in the news, ACP Chester Williams will be vacating his position as Officer Commander of the Eastern Division - South, and moving over to Belmopan to take charge of the Professional Standards Branch. Today, Williams participated in his last community meet and greet. We have covered dozens of these on the news, and today in the Jane Usher area; we spoke to Williams about his final week in the neighbourhoods of the Southside: ACP Chester Williams - OC, Southside Police: "Indeed it is my final meet and greet as the officer commanding eastern division south and the feedback from the people that we have encountered for today has been positive in the sense that they are saying they are happy for the policing in the area, the patrols are visible, every so often they see the patrols pass by. Some of them are saying that they wish it was not my last, that is expected (laugh) right and I could understand where they are coming from but the time has come for me to move on and I am preparing to make my way to Belmopan as of Monday of next week."

Will The Gang Truce Hold In the Vidal Era?
Williams also gave us an update about the state of the gang truce which he and community activist Dianne Finnegan orchestrated earlier this year. Williams's transfer has caused some distress for some members of the Southside gang community, who fear the tactics of his replacement, former GSU Commander, Mark Vidal. Williams told us that he has spoken with gang leaders about upholding the truce, and has urged them to continue to work alongside the police. Here's what he had to say about that meeting... ACP Chester Williams - OC, Southside Police: "Just yesterday myself and Ms. Finnegan met with the gaggle of guys and we discussed with them basically what is expected that my departure does not mean we go back to the old but rather that we remain on course to continue to do good, to continue to respect their lives and the lives of others. I explained to them the importance of their lives to their families and that every life does matter including theirs and regardless of what people may say to them or say about them, they must always keep their heads up high and focus on what lies ahead of them and that is to ensure that they remain alive for the betterment of themselves and their families."

Williams' First Duty At Professional Standards
ACP Williams still has a couple more days as the Southside Police Commander, and apparently still has a few more things to strike off of his to-do list. Williams told us about his plans for final two days in Belize City and his expectations for his transition over to Professional Standards... ACP Chester Williams - OC, Southside Police: "If you go to my office you will see my office is peel, I have packed and prepared to leave, I'm just awaiting Mr. Vidal taking over, he should be coming in on Friday to take over, I'll be handing over to him on Friday morning and after Friday I'll no longer be the officer commanding eastern division south. I should be taking over from Mr. Lino, professional standard's branch on Monday and then I'll assume command of that unit so tomorrow we're having an event at the Racoon Street Police Station, media is invited. We'll be having a farewell slash appreciation event, I want to show appreciation to some officers who have been there with me and as well as to the media."

A Real Ride For Charity
Since 2004, the management and staff of the Social Security Board have been holding the Ride Across Belize fund raising event. Participants from various organizations and businesses take part in a cross country ride to raise awareness and fund a worthy cause. This year's proceeds will go to two organizations, the first is the Adopt a Child with a Disability, which provides therapy to youths with various disabilities, and the Urban Schools Gardening Programs, which teaches school children about subsistence farming as well as provides them with healthy meals. We spoke with the event's organizer, Chandra Cansino, as well as a representative from the Adopt a Child with a Disability program, about the importance of initiative...

Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco Says They Never Vetted Any Documents
Last week the Senate Select Committee called Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco to testify. Her name is called about 94 times in the Auditor General's reports and the Senators called her back today to discuss a lot of administrative irregularities exposed in the reports. One topic they did bring up again was her comment that she didn't closely inspect the files she accepted as a frontline immigration officer. She said that it was not her duty to spot fraudulent documents being submitted as part of applications for visas and nationalities. Well, the Senators wanted her to explain why she didn't see that as part of her responsibility, and she made some surprising claims. According to Pacheco, no one at the Immigration Department did any kind of verification of whether documents were authentic or not. The Senate didn't exactly accept that explanation, and here's how they challenged her on that:

Boots “Bex” Because He Was Called To Testify But Sent Home
There was supposed to be one more witness for the day. UDP Minister Anthony "Boots" Martinez was summoned by the Senate Select Committee to testify, and he was no doubt more than willing to come forward because he wanted to respond to the allegations that Alvarine Burgess made against him. A few weeks ago, Burgess went before the Senate and said that back in the days when she was an immigration agent, she went to "Boots" Martinez, where she paid him several thousand dollars in bribe money so that he would write recommendations for Chinese visa applicants, guaranteeing that the visas would be approved. He told us that she is telling a lie, and most likely would have repeated those comments for the Senate's record, but he didn't get the chance. The Committee inexplicably decided that they couldn't take his testimony today. He granted us an interview complaining that the Committee wasted his time and offered him no explanation:


Re: Today's Belize News: June 29, 2017 [Re: Marty] #524329
06/29/17 06:34 AM
06/29/17 06:34 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,595
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

Channel 5

Left Waiting by Senate, “Boots” Derides “Circus” Inquiry
The public hearings of the Senate Special Select Committee resumed today with Immigration Clerk Ady Pacheco reappearing before the senate panel.  We will have highlights of that testimony later on, [...]

Minister States Burgess’ Accusations are “Hearsay”
The Minister characterizes Burgess’ statements as “hearsay” without any basis or foundation. But when questioned about whether Burgess’ testimony is not helpful, he contended that the Committee ought to limit [...]

A Few Recommendations for Visas, But Martinez Says There’s Nothing Wrong
According to the Minister, he has regularly recommended both constituents and acquaintances for a variety of Government services during his time in office. In the case of visa requests, that [...]

Ady Pacheco Defends Peter Dahlstrom Decision
Immigration officer Ady Pacheco was the sole witness this morning. She was thoroughly grilled by the members of the Committee on various cases and scenarios resulting in improper granting of [...]

How Did San Pedro Harmouches Get So Much Help?
Pacheco was also questioned about the case of the Harmouch family of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, who appeared to recruit a powerful ally in area representative Manuel Heredia Junior. [...]

No News On Missing Passports
The Auditor General’s Report details many instances of persons being granted passports illegally.  But the Audit Department’s search uncovered thousands of blank passports that were simply reported as missing or [...]

Green Card for Boots?
Minister of Transport Edmond Castro had his U.S. diplomatic and personal visas revoked a few weeks ago for unconfirmed reasons, though his alleged involvement in the Immigration scandal is considered [...]

Intoxicated Corporal Punished, But What Help for Stressed Cops?
Police Constable Florencio Rash has been internally charged by the Belmopan Police for the offence, Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline. He was taken before a Disciplinary Tribunal, where he [...]

Police Name Suspect in Killing of Felix Ayuso Jr.
San Pedro Police are looking for a man wanted in connection of a murder that occurred six months ago. Twenty-eight-year-old Vildo Westby is said to be armed and dangerous and [...]

Departing Chester Says City Gang Truce Will Survive
ACP Chester Williams is recognized for minimizing the bloodshed in the Old Capital, specifically as it relates to gang-related violence. Earlier this year, Williams and his team of mediators, including [...]

Jane Usher Hosts Chester’s Final “Meet and Greet”
In his final meet and greet session today, Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams was in the Jane Usher Boulevard area not only to bid farewell, but to get a [...]

Chester Thankful for the Memories
As of Saturday, July first, Eastern Division South will have a new commander. Superintendent Marco Vidal takes over from Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams. Vidal is the former head [...]

S.I.B. Tracks More Economic Activity, But Also More Unemployment
Prices for goods and services shot up considerably in May of this year when compared to the same period last year. Consumers were hard hit on the pocket due to [...]

It’s Time to Ride Across Belize with S.S.B.
Since 2004, the Social Security Board’s staff has been supporting non-profits and other local projects doing community work by work raising monies to help fund worthy causes. The annual ‘Ride [...]

New Enforcement at “Party Strip” Not About Politics; D.O.E. Agrees
We have been reporting that the Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is at the center of a controversy involving residents and business owners in the vicinity of Newtown Barracks.  Despite [...]

Area Resident Valerie Woods Says Enforcement Has Delicate Balance
Among those present at last Wednesday’s meeting was Valerie Woods.  Not only is she a P.U.P. senator from Caribbean Shores, Woods also resides within proximity of the Pickwick Club.  Her [...]

CTV3

Boots Categorizes The Senate Hearings As A Circus
The hearings of the Senate Select Committee resumed today with a third, consecutive full day of interrogation of the former Assistant to the Officer in Charge in the Nationality Section, Ady Pacheco. While we have the highlights of her testimony, the day didn’t escape some controversy because apparently a second UDP Minister was supposed to have testified in her place. Minister of Human Development, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, showed up at the National Assembly building this morning reportedly at the invitation of the Committee. But apparently there was some miscommunication as Martinez was told upon presenting himself that it wasn’t his turn just yet.

What Cabinet Discusses Is Secret Says Boots Martinez
While the media had Minister Boots in front of the cameras he was also asked about the decision by Cabinet to monitor Ministers like him and political agents who were issuing recommendation letters for visa applicants. The question: why did the Cabinet feel it necessary to take this measure has yet to be answered by any members of Cabinet, even by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Today Boots used the usual line that Cabinet matters are classified, to avoid providing answers.

Was Boots' Visa Revoked?
One final matter brought up in the Boots interview is the allegation that Edmond Castro is not the only UDP Minister who has had his U.S. visa revoked. There have actually been reports that Boots has had his travel visa cancelled, but today he claimed that not only does he maintain his diplomatic visa, but that the U.S. has invited him to apply for residency.

2016/2017 Crop Ends On Friday
After 30 weeks of milling, the 2016-2017 sugar cane crop season will officially come to a close on Friday June 30th, the announcement was made today by the Sugar Industry Control Board and the Sugar Cane Production Committee. This decision was taken after a meeting among all stakeholders of the Sugar Industry on June 23rd. Viewers may remember that back in November at the start of the season, there was major controversy between the Belize Cane Farmer’s Association and the mill on the proposed estimate for the quantity of Cane delivered to the Mill for the crop season.

US State Department Classifies Belize As Worst Traffic Offender In Central America
The US State Department has issued its 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report - and similar to the past two years, Belize remained as a tier 3 country, classified as the worst trafficking offender in Central America. According to the report - which was released on Monday- “The Government of Belize does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so and therefore remains in Tier 3” and even states several times in the report that "Trafficking-related complicity by government officials is common, including those at high levels."

Addy Pacheco Grilled By Senate
As we mentioned earlier in the newscast, Immigration officer Ady Pacheco was back before the Senate Committee today, for a third interrogation session. In the seven months of Senate hearings, no other person has made as many appearances, and there is a reason she has. Her name shows up in the report dozens of times for accepting, processing and recommending visa, nationality and passport applications which the Auditor General says should never have been processed, and today she was heavily criticized for her work at the Immigration Department.

LOVE FM

Public Advised to Take Caution When Seeking Medical Attention
In light of yesterday’s report we made surrounding Jose Luis Espat Uc and his declaration of being a medical doctor, the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero cautioned the public to be wary when seeking medical attention. DR MARVIN MANZANERO “I think it is misleading we would have to address it I think on […]

Health Director Says Its Nothing Personal with Jose Espat Uc
Since we aired the story yesterday on Jose Luis Espat Uc and the question as to whether he is a legitimate medical doctor, he has contacted Love News threatening to sue the station and saying that he is being attacked and targeted by various entities due to his activism on corruption in Belize, particularly in […]

Cyber-Bullying Gets Regional Manual to Combat
A regional manual to tackle cyber bullying is being developed by agencies across the Caribbean. A meeting with regional stakeholders was held today in Belize which encompassed effective ways how to deal with cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is when someone is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, or otherwise targeted by another person using the digital technology. […]

PlusTV

Body of Marky Mendez found by hunters
The body of 24 year old Marky Mendez was found on Monday night. Two hunters were in an area near the Warie Head Bridge on the George Price Highway; that’s after Teakettle Village, past the S Curve when heading from Belmopan to San Ignacio. The hunters were looking for live game but instead came a...

Penner arraigned for death of man in traffic accident
Elvin Penner was arraigned this afternoon at the San Ignacio Magistrate’s court. Three charges were brought against him for the June 23rd death of Kenrick Myvette . Those charges are manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, and driving a motor vehicle without due care and att...

Manhunt for Amir Cho; wanted for murder of 90year old
Police are looking for 26 year old Amir Ricardo Cho for a murder that happened in August Pine Ridge, Orange Walk district. Cho is believed to be one of two men who entered the store of 90 year old Pedro Pol on June 15th , almost two weeks ago. They robbed the store but not before tying up Pol and be...

Apparent drunken uniformed police officer caught on video
A video of a police officer, apparently taken at a taco stand somewhere in the country, was posted to face book. The video shows what appears to be a heavily intoxicated and uniformed officer, lying on the cement street with his hat and handcuff beside him on the ground. When police were asked to co...

Three Belize City men charged for drug trafficking
Three persons have been arrested for drug trafficking in Belize City. According to police reports, GSU conducted operations on Monday morning within the Raccoon Street Extension. That is where they found 34 year old Anthony Crawford, a stevedore of Belize City, 20 year old Frederick Arthur Smith, B...

Tow Tow robbed in Belize City
There was an armed robbery on Sunday afternoon in Belize City. It happened sometime around 12:30 p.m. at Tow Tow Store on Mahogany Street. According to police reports, 27 year old Belizean businesswoman Wanlan Fan, was in her store at the time when a male person with a rag over his face entered. Th...

Four detained for drug trafficking in Corozal
Corozal police have detained four persons to be charged for drug trafficking. On Monday evening, just before 4:30., police were conducting mobile patrol in Corozal Town and followed a green Toyota Corola taxi . According to police reports, they saw two male persons exit the taxi at a restaurant. Th...

Ministry of Education Cyberbullying Forum
Today the Ministry of Education opened a two-day forum to revise a Cyberbullying manual before it can be adopted in Belize. Facilitators included a representative of International Telecoms Union based in Barbados as well as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry from the University of Florida. Teache...

PUP leader campaigns in Twin Towns leading up to Municipal elections
Municipal elections are to be held in March of next year. Already, the two major political parties are mobilizing and last week, Leader of the PUP, John Briceno, was on the ground in the Kontiki area of the Cayo North constituency. Briceno spoke about his party’ s readiness for the upcoming electio...

24 Belizeans receive scholarships to study in Taiwan
24 Belizean students have been awarded scholarships by the TaiwanICDF (Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund) Scholarship Program and the Taiwan Scholarship Program 2017. Both scholarship programs provide each scholarship recipient with a round trip ticket, accommodations, tuition fe...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Unemployment inches up says SIB
Unemployment rose from 8 percent in April 2016, to 9 percent in 2017, according to the latest Labour Force Survey, released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). The data showed that there were over 2000 more unemployed people than there were last year, […]

Belizean team dominates regional programming competition
LXJ Code Belize, a team of programmers from Corozal Junior College, has taken first place in the (Caribbean Organization of National Telecommunications Organizations (CANTO) C.O.D.E 3.0 Virutal Hackaton, which was held from June 17-25,2017. The team, Luis Aguilar Jr, Joseph Roches and Michael Sabido, bested many Caribbean […]

Boots US visa revoked?
With the revocation of Minister Edmund Castro’s personal and diplomatic visas, there has been widespread speculation that some of his other Cabinet colleagues have had similar experiences. A local newspaper had claimed that Minister Anthony Boots Martinez also had his visas cancelled. Well today […]

19 Belizeans awarded Taiwan Scholarships
The International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) is dedicated to boosting socio-economic development, enhancing human resources, and promoting economic relations in a range of developing partner countries. They also offer humanitarian assistance and provide aid in the event of natural disasters or international refugee […]

Reward offered for stolen vehicle
A reward of $1000 is being offered to recover a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was stolen from the Sit and Sip parking lot on Saturday, June 24, 2017 around 4am. The vehicle is a dark gray Saturn vue 2008. The owner is asking the public […]

Man falls from roof of two-storey building in Placencia and dies
A man fell off a two-storey building in Placencia this afternoon. The man has been identified as Ralston Williams, 32, a construction worker of Santa Cruz Village, southern Belize. Williams was pulling up an aluminum pipe when it touched a high tension wire nearby […]

Gian Espadas charged for drug trafficking
On Monday, BBN reported that Gian Espadas was caught with 12 pounds of weed. Yesterday, Espadas appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where he was charged for drug trafficking. Espadas pled not guilty to the charges and was released on $8,000 bail. He […]

Boots shows up to testify
Today, Port Loyal Area Representative, Anthony “Boots” Martinez appeared before the Senate Select Committee. However, he would not testify because the committee indicated that they were not ready for him. Boots in an interview with the media indicated that the hearings are a […]

Western Dairies celebrates World Milk Day, launch of Ice Cream Ideal
Earlier this month, Western Dairies celebrated global World Milk Day on June 2. Western Dairies in Belize joined in the celebration with the WD milking cow visiting schools and sharing milk with students. In Western Dairies locations countrywide, the event was also celebrated with […]

Special-Ed student graduates in Stann Creek district
Special Education student Reynaldo Pop graduated last Thursday from United Community Roman Catholic School in San Roman, Stann Creek. Pop marched up proudly to receive his primary school diploma. Pop continues to be an example for other special-ed students that want to continue to […]

Police need public help to find murder suspect
A 90-year-old shop keeper from August Pine Ridge was robbed and beaten by two Hispanic men almost two weeks ago. Pedro Pol was tied up and badly injured. His family took him to the hospital and he later succumbed to the injuries. The villagers caught […]

WWF says Belize Barrier Reef not protected
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a release stating that the Belizean government has failed to implement promised protections for the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage site. According to the WWF, GOB is leaving the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere under threat […]

Gateway Youth Center summer camp 2017
The Gateway Youth Center is partnering with leading NGOs, businesses and government agencies to start a collaborative discussion about improving the summer experiences of youths in the Belize District. The Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), Feinstein Group of Companies, […]

BDF graduate from Helicopter Conversion training
The Belize Defense Force (BDF) will hold a graduation ceremony on Friday to honor four pilots and 13 technicians who have successfully completed a Helicopter Conversion training. The Graduation Ceremony will take place at the Belize Defence Force Air Wing Base, Williamson Hanger Complex, […]

Westrac Ltd School Restoration program
Westrac Ltd’s Belize Schools Restoration Program is almost completed. Westrac is proud of the changes made in this project and the effort given by the members of the Rotaract Clubs of Belize. Attached are photos from the work done at St Michael R.C. School […]

Orange Walk residents invited to free concert tonight
The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) through the Banquitas House of Culture and the Embassy of The United States of America Arts Envoy to Belize will be staging a free concert tonight in Central Park, Orange Walk. They are inviting the public […]

Blogs

Macarons in Belize, courtesy of French bakery Delices de France
You’ve probably heard of them…seen them in artful stacks, photographed and filtered just right for Instagram. ‘What are those beautifully colored pastries?’ you must have wondered. They are called Macarons, and are now available at Delices de France in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Delices de France is the first of its kind, authentically French bakery, churning out gorgeous pastries and breads for our lucky taste buds. Since it opened in March of 2017, locals and visitors alike line up for their chocolate croissants, baguettes, luscious petit fours, tarts and so much more. Their latest addition is sure to have fans going ga-ga!

Hurricane Earl….nearly a year later….. San Pedro bounces back
On August 4th, 2016, Hurricane Earl landed a devastating blow to the island of Ambergris Caye. Thankfully there were no deaths or major injuries, but nearly every dock, dive shop and restaurant located over the water was damaged or completely destroyed. I had been in Placencia when Hurricane Earl hit. Having been on the southern peninsula, we were fortunate to have lost only one small dive shop and dock with virtually very little additional damage. Nearly a year later, as we walk these beaches, it’s amazing to see the transformation since the damage from Hurricane Earl. Docks have been rebuilt, beaches have been reclaimed with beautiful white sand and seawalls that protect the beaches from erosion. Ramon’s Resort has rebuilt their dive shop and beautiful walkway along the beach. Xanadu Resort has added palapas and extended their beach. At the time, it was very difficult to imaging this little island would recover after the extensive damage. Thanks to the unbelievable hard work of everyone involved…….here are a few shots of the morning walk……even better than before!

International Sourcesizz

Rescuing the Vanishing Sounds of Central America’s Garifuna People
In Tiny Belize, Old and Young Artists Unite to Reclaim a Musical Heritage. What reggae is to Jamaica and samba is to Brazil, Garifuna music is to my country of Belize, a small Central American nation wedged between Guatemala and Mexico. This vibrant music was brought to Belize by the Garifuna, or Garinagu, people, descendants of shipwrecked African slaves and Carib and Arawak Indians who were uprooted from their homeland in the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 1796 and later settled in small communities along the coast of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Not so long ago, this music was in danger of extinction, because its master practitioners were growing old and dying off, and the music was being lost to younger generations of Belizeans.

Former Belize Minister Charged with Manslaughter
Former Government Minister Elvin Penner has been charged in the death of a motorcyclist last weekend. Penner appeared in court yesterday afternoon and was granted $5,000 bail on charges of manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, and driving without due care and attention. His SUV collided into a motorcycle ridden by security guard Kenrick Myvette last Friday night on the George Price Highway in the Cayo District. Myvette succumbed to his injuries early the next morning. After his arraignment, Penner said he was saddened that Myvette’s family now had to live without him.

ISA Celebrates StandUp Paddle Inclusion at 2017 Central American Games, Held in Nicaragua
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has expressed its joy following the announcement that StandUp Paddle (SUP), the Olympic Federation’s fastest growing discipline, will be added to the sports programme for the 2017 Central American Games, alongside Surfing, following the ISA application for the inclusion of both disciplines. The occasion will mark the first time that SUP has featured at the Central American Games, and is testament to the ongoing work being done by the ISA to develop and grow the discipline. The ISA is the only international federation to have ever applied for inclusion of SUP racing and succeeded in having it included in Olympic Movement Games, including in the Pan Am Games.

Videos

  • Belize Cultural Celebrations Series Vol. 2: Carnaval, 16min.

  • Belize 2017 Island Hoppers Scuba, 8min. Island Hoppers Scuba Nashville Tn Belize Aggressor trip.

  • APEX Music!, 6min.

  • Hurricane preparedness and the work of the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO), 28min.

  • The Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise & Pathlight International Teacher Training Conferences, 25min.

  • Pantempters promote series of concerts in commemoration of 25th anniversary, 24min.

  • Belize 2017, 15min. An adventure to Belize where we stayed in an amazing resort, saw ancient ruins, cave tubed through the jungle, and snorkeled the second largest barrier reef in the world.

  • Police drunk in Belize, 2min.

  • Belize: Week Two: Hopkins, 10min. Hopkins, Placencia, Bocawina original songs were copyrighted so edit is a bit rubbish now.


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