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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
San Pedro Town announces calendar of events for Garifuna Settlement Day
Leading up to the Garifuna Settlement Day, celebrated annually on November 19th, the San Pedro Branch of the National Garifuna Council has prepared and released their calendar of events. The different activities are organized in collaboration with the local authorities via the San Pedro Cultural Committee. This year, the national celebrations are being held under the theme ‘Lawanserun Garifunaduau: Hadasi Sun Garinagu! – Garifuna Progress: A Task For All Garinagu!’
SPRCS students and staff receive sweet treats
Long time island visitors Debbie and Larry Heimgartner brought sweet treats once again to the students and staff of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) on Monday, October 29th. The Heimgartners, who have been doing this activity for years, were once again joined by Manelly’s Ice Cream Shop in distributing 1,000 paletas (popsicles) in the school.
Teachers and students received their strawberry and chocolate paletas with big smiles and much gratitude. Debbie and Larry were happy to be back on the island, visiting the students and sharing the treats. “We love the island and giving back to the community is a good way to show students that we need to be kind with each other,” said Larry.
First-ever Beer Olympics to be hosted in San Pedro Town
Beer lovers register! The first-ever Beer Olympics will be held at Angel Nunez Auditorium in San Pedro Town from 6PM to 9PM on Saturday, November 24th. The event is being organized by the Rotaract Club of Ambergris Caye alongside Belikin Beer.
The event will see 10 teams of 4 competing in a series of games including Beer Pong, Flip Cup, plus more. At each level, teams are going to be eliminated and the final top teams will compete to win the gold medal and prizes. So far, three teams have registered: BelliKings, Experienced, and Super Beereos.
Belize’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Visits the Commonwealth Secretariat
London. October 30, 2018. The Honourable Laura Tucker-Longsworth, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize, met with officers from the various directorates at the Commonwealth Secretariat during her visit to London as a part of the first phase of a Belize-United Kingdom Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association (CPA) Exchange Programme.
Officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat discussed ongoing work of the Secretariat in areas pertaining to human rights, health, youth and sports, civil and criminal justice, governance, and gender. Challenges impacting Belize and the rest of the Caribbean region were also discussed. Key initiatives were highlighted that can promote good governance and democracy in Parliaments. Of interest also, was work being done to increase the number of women entering politics.
BTB announces $1.5 Million sargussum relief fund & tax reliefs
The Government of Belize has granted $1.5 million to help contain and control of sargassum in the municipalities of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins, which will be disbursed through the Belize Tourism Board. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Manuel Heredia announced GOB’s assistance and other tax reliefs at a press conference the BTB offices in Belize City on Wednesday afternoon, October 31.
To help the affected coastline properties at these destinations defray the cost of fighting the sargussum scourge, GOB has also agreed to waive two per cent of the of the 9 percent hotel tax due which all hotels pay in their monthly accommodation tax returns, a 22 per cent reduction in tax for these resorts. This tax relief will remain in effect for the months of October, November, December 2018, through January 2019.
Environmental Educational Campaign to culminate with an art exhibition
All islanders are invited to attend an environmental art exhibition to be held at the Banyan Bay Suites conference room from 8AM to 12PM in San Pedro Town on Saturday, November 3rd. The art exhibition is culmination of the educational environmental campaign that was launched a few weeks ago by the Rotaract Club of Ambergris Caye along with MarAllliance.
The campaign facilitated educational sessions to upper division students of the different primary schools on the island. The sessions were on the importance of protecting and keeping our environment clean. The presentations were based on scientific facts on the negative effects of plastic pollution, how it affects the environment, how it affects us individually, and what we can do to reuse, reduce and recycle on the island. At the end of each presentation, students were asked questions to see what they learned, and some even received a bamboo straws to motivate them to stop using plastic ones. Throughout the campaign, the team managed to work with over 500 students of the island.
ACES inaugurates new building with three classrooms, conference room and kitchen
Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) inaugurated their new two-story building during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 24th. The new facility is equipped with a classroom and conference space in the upper floor, along with two classrooms and a kitchen/cafeteria on the ground level. Witnessing the unveiling of the new educational facilities were Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Area Representative Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., former ACES Principal and now Education Officer Odilia Caliz, among other invited guests, all who have made contributions to the school’s growth.
San Pedro Pirates win 2-1 against BDF, escalates to the third position
The San Pedro Pirates F.C managed to claim another victory against Belize Defense Force (BDF) during the eleventh week of the 2018-2019 opening season of the Premiere League of Belize (PLB). Held at the MCC Grounds in Belize City on Sunday, October 28th, the island team came out victorious with 2-1 score, gaining three more points in the PLB chart and moving to third place in the tournament standings. For their next match the San Pedro Pirates will be travelling to Cayo District to face Verdes F.C on Sunday, November 4th. The game is schedules to start at 4PM at the Norman Broaster Stadium. For more information on how to accompany the Pirates as a fan, you can contact 623-0772.
Halloween 2018 Spooktacular
Students at San Pedro High School had crazy day/dress up day on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Students dress up as Rockstars, "Cereal" Killers and other inventive costumes to display and have fun with their peers. While pre-schoolers of ABC Pre-School had a blast dressing up and going with parents to trick or treat in the neightborhood and enjoying delicous cupcakes and treats. Here are a few pics for your enjoyment:
Caye Caulker Resident Takes On A 31 Halloween Costume Challenge
Caye Caulker resident Tracie Young was about to give up on Halloween. She had decided that 2018 was her last year to dress up in full costume, but then she tried something crazy and fun. Tracie took on a 31 Costume Challenge that had her enjoying Halloween a maximum of 31 days.
So each day in October, Tracie had to come up with a Halloween costume to share on her Facebook profile. The costumes were creative, on a budget and homemade. “I wanted to remind my peers that Halloween is fun and as we get older it only gets better,” commented Tracie to Ambergris Today. “I wanted to show everyone that you do not need to spend lots of money on costumes to look great.”
So day by day throughout October, Tracie was entertaining her friends and followers on social media with her creative costumes that she came up with. She posted side by side pictures of her creations and what inspired her for the costume.
BTIA Celebrates The Launch Of The 20th Edition Destination Belize
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) launched the 20thedition of Destination Belize, in celebratory fashion, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina in the presence of over one hundred BTIA members, advertisers and other industry partners on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. BTIA Celebrates the Launch of the 20thEdition Destination Belize.
Destination Belize has, for over two decades, been the key marketing tool distributed globally by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and BTIA to travelers and travel agents wanting to learn more about Belize for a visit in the future. The print publication has played a major role in educating readers of the many natural attractions and different types of activities Belize has to offer – touching on the inland and offshore attractions of the destination.
DAN World Field Rep - Belize Vacancy
This part time position is with the dive industry’s leading safety association. DAN World
(a wholly owned subsidiary of Divers Alert Network) is seeking a new team member based in San Pedro to provide field and customer service to divers, instructors, and dive shops in Belize.
This position requires:
*knowledge of the diving industry
*minimum certification as an open-water level diver
*local work permits or Belize citizenship
*available to occasionally travel outside Belize
*experience as a field rep is preferred
*adapt ability to a flexible work schedule...
Misc Belizean Sources
September 2018 External Trade & Consumer Price Index
CONSUMER PRICES UP 1%, BOTH IMPORTS AND EXPORTS DOWN 1.2% AND 21.4% RESPECTIVELY, IN SEPTEMBER 2018. Results from the Statistical Institute of Belize's monthly
Consumer Price Index (CPI) survey show that for the month of
September 2018, the All-Items CPI stood at 1 05.4, an increase of 1
percent from 104.4 in September 2017. This means that,
on average, households in Belize experienced a 1 percent increase
in the cost of goods and services regularly purchased for daily living.
For the first nine months of the year, a year-to-date inflation rate of 0.3
percent was recorded. For the month of September 2018, Belize
imported goods valuing $142.8 million. This represented a
1.2 percent or $1.7 million decrease from the same month in
2017, when imports totalled $144.5 million.
Tourism Arrivals to Belize Continue to Register Impressive Growth
The latest statistics show that tourism arrivals to Belize continue to record impressive growth. There was a 16.6% and 19.9% growth in overnight and cruise ship arrivals respectively after completion of the third quarter of the year. This means that Belize continues to be a popular vacation destination in Central America among those seeking exceptional adventure and relaxation.
In September 2018, over 21,000 overnight visitors arrived in Belize. This represented a 10.1% increase in visitors over September 2017. At the end of the third quarter of 2018, overnight visitors grew by 16.6% over the previous year. In September 2018, over 66,000 cruise ship passengers visited the country of Belize. This represented an increase of 15.9% or over 9,100 more cruise passengers as compared to September 2017. Cruise ship calls totaled 21 for this month.
BTB Secures Assistance for Sargassum Affected Areas
In light of the challenges posed by sargassum on our tourism industry, the Belize Tourism Board has secured assistance for accommodation stakeholders in sargassum affected areas in Belize. This comes on the heels of several site visits conducted last month by a BTB team of senior officials, to assess the areas severely impacted and to consult with owners of affected coastline properties (beachfront properties) and members of the Sargassum Task Force (STF), with the hope of designing a concerted strategy to address the situation. The BTB’s team included Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Mr. Einer Gomez, Chairman of the Board of Directors, BTB and Mrs. Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism.
At the conclusion of these visits, the following assistance was approved and will be implemented immediately, to assist those properties which have been most affected by sargassum.
2% from the 9% hotel tax due, which is a 22.2% reduction on the monthly accommodation tax returns for all coastline properties affected by sargassum, in the four affected destinations of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins.
Ministry of Health Clarifies Position on Hemp
and Cannabis for Medicinal Use
The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to clarify misinformation being spewed by the opposition regarding two letters signed by the Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin in support of two proposed investments to grow cannabis for medicinal and other purposes. Although marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, not all cannabis is considered to be marijuana. Marijuana contains the chemical compound Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which has psychoactive or mind-altering properties. Marijuana was not considered at any point in the letters signed by Hon. Pablo Marin.
In the letter dated 10th February 2016 addressed to Mr. Zev Ben Yosef, there was no mention made of the cultivation of marijuana. The meeting was centered on cannabis farming for the purpose of medicinal use as research has proven that Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the cannabis plant, can be beneficial for the treatment of cancer and other ailments. It was specifically noted that any psychoactive component of the plant would be removed.
Belize participates in the Seminar of Investment Opportunities in the Central American region held in Taiwan
The Central American Trade Office (CATO) hosted an Investment Seminar in the cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan on October 28 to November 02, 2018 under the theme “Seminar of Investment Opportunities of the Central American countries for the interest of the SMEs of Taiwan and the visit of the Central American delegation in Taiwan.” BELTRAIDE, represented by Thelma Montero, Manager, Generation, BelizeINVEST showcased the Investment Opportunities in the priority industries of Tourism, Agribusiness, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Offshore Outsourcing, Sustainable Energy and Light Manufacturing & Logistics. The Central American delegation also conducted targeted investment meetings and site visits to several enterprises interested in investing in the region.
New bus service from San Andres, Xaibe, Patchakan, Cristo Rey and San Pedro Village
Camal Bus Service will be starting a new run from Corozal to Belize city on Thursday November 1st 2018 at 4.30 AM from Corozal Terminal, passing through the back road all the way to San pedro village then on the Philip Goldson Highway passing through Orange Walk..
So to all those bus passengers of the above villages..you no longer need to go to corozal or make expensive trips to the highway to take the bus..
8th Annual Tacos Festival in Corozal
Mr. Manuel Villamor passes away
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a Belizean Icon. In the early morning hours today artist Mr. Manuel Villamor passed away in Chetumal Mexico where he had been living for many years. Mr. Villamor created the stunning Historical Mural in the Corozal Town Hall which began in 1953 and was revised in 1986 and again in 2003. Mr. Manuel completed his final restoration in 2012. He has left the public with this national treasure, as well as the medical mural at the Corozal Community Hospital, murals in St. Francis Xavier Church, the Catholic Church of San Joaquin Village and, of course, paintings all over the world. On behalf of the Corozal community and the National Institute of Culture and History we extend our most sincere condolences to the Villamor family during this time of sorrow.
Photos from Hanal Pixan
Honouring our tangible and intangible heritage at this past weekend's Hanal Pixan event. We give great thanks to so many persons and entities involved in producing the cultural showcase. We wish to thank our cultural stakeholders who came out and created altars for display: Corozal Community College, Corozal Junior College, T'oone Masehualoon, Department of Youth Services, the Cano Family and the Villamil Family. Thank you to our beautiful performers; Raices Mexicanas - Retornos Belicenas and the Ek Balam Pok ta Pok Team, Thank you to our speakers Mrs. Angelita Magana, Faustino Yam, Mr. Roy Rodriguez and Mistress of ceremonies Mrs. Adela Pederson. Our sponsors: Bowen & Bowen, Romantica FM, Channel 23 Belize. We thank our collaborators who always come with passion, knowledge and energy; Mr. Roy, Mr. Faustino, Mr. Adan and at the helm Miss Adelita all of the T'oone Masehualoon group; we are forever grateful. Thank you to our beloved Corozal community for attending and supporting this cultural experience. We look forward to next year's event!
Dia de les Muertos 2018
The SISE House of Culture is having a Finados on the Dia de los Muertos this Friday, November 2nd. The Finados will be in memory of Domingo Cruz. It's all day, and starts at 9:00am.
Belmopan Birding Club
Birds Birds Birds!
Hear the flutter of wings and join in the birding fever that is taking Belize by storm. JOIN OUR BIRDING CLUB- All are Welcome: Students, Parents, Teachers, Businesses, Adults, Residents, Tour Guides and Operators, Hotels, Guest Houses- EVERYONE!
Email Us To Sign Up: [email protected]
Belize's Wonder Women! Michelle Carrasco
We are proud to announce that for the month of November, Michelle Carrasco is our Belize Wonder Woman!
Michelle grew up on the beautiful island of Caye Caulker. At the age of 11 she left the island to further her education in Belize City where she has lived most of her life. She is a proud mother of two beautiful children who she loves dearly. Over the years she has faced a lot of struggles in the pursuit of achieving a career and personal development.
The San Pedro House of Culture has the pleasure to invite you to the traditional community festivity of Los Finados on Friday, November 2nd, 2018. Please join us for the opening ceremony beginning at 7pm at the San Pedro House of Culture.
Belize City Primary School History and Social Studies Competition Awards
Today the Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project distributed the Belize City Primary School History and Social Studies Competition Individual and School prizes to their respective winners.
1st Place Dwight Gillett from Holy Redeemer
2nd Place Tyrone Mckoy from St. Ignatius
3rd Place Essence Anderson from Bernice Yorke
The fascinating life story of our own Bonnie from Caye Caulker
A must read. This is the fascinating life story of our own Bonnie from Caye Caulker. Follow the link to buy the book.
"Bonnie lives with her parents and brothers on a coconut plantation, situated on a remote tropical island with no schools, shops or electricity. Home-schooled until they move to the city, Bonnie settles in at a convent school only to be expelled after the first year of high school. She commences her working life at the age of 14 and eventually embarks on a journey to England to the man she is to marry. Welcomed at first but then left alone in a foreign country after an argument escalates, Bonnie luckily finds refuge with strangers. With their help, she begins to take control of her life.
She studies to become a nurse, making friends with her colleagues, then falls in love and marries a sailor in the Royal Navy. Six children later, their marriage crumbles and Bonnie's struggles commence again. Will she be able to overcome all these trials and tribulations and emerge stronger than ever or will she fold?"
Halloween at San Pedro Preschool
A dozen great photos....
Bad roads lead to Paradise. Should our Government of Belize pave the Consejo Road now?
Pretty much there is approximately 6.5 miles between Corozal Town and Consejo Village. The plush residential expat community of Consejo Shores was birthed approximately 45 years ago, always co-existing with our quaint Consejo Village which still maintains its general character, charm and aesthetics.
Why is the road so bad? The entire Consejo Road is built from white marl loose dirt with only a hardcore base in some areas. Recent rains have taken the road back to its bad condition. Just as the Ministry of Works began to grade the road, truly it never fails, the rains poured once again, causing the loose soil to become a mud pit. Potholes are not so much of the problem now but they were before the rains.
Marleni Cuellar at the International Visitor Leadership Program
Marleni Cuellar is currently participating in the three-week long International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focusing on New and Traditional Broadcast Media. A core element of U.S. foreign policy is to encourage a free and responsible press that allows a well-informed citizenry to hold governments and institutions accountable. Increasingly, world populations turn to broadcast journalism and social media for their news. This project will examine the history, structure, and function of broadcasting in the United States and the challenges and opportunities posed by social media.
San Pedro Big Garbage Cleanup Project Nov. 9-12
November 9th Target Areas : San Pedrito Highway, San Pedrito, San Pablo, Boca Ciego and San Juan
November 10th Target Areas: Boca del Rio, Lagoon Boca – San Juan and Lagoon San Juan - DFC.
November 11th Target Areas: Escalante, Esmerald, Alta Mar and DFC/
November 12th Target Area: San Mateo.
Target areas are subject to change based on completion of the previous day.
Please advise in the comments or by message, the size of your team and desired time frame of participation so that we have an idea of the number of volunteers for each day and can reserve your cleanup kit.
Meetup Location will be Central Park throughout at any time and throughout each day.
Historical Mural Brochure biography of Manuel Villamor
We present the Historical Mural Brochure which includes a brief biography of the late great Manuel Villamor. He led an exciting life and always had a something comical to say. Rest in Peace Mr. Manuel. Thank you for all of your kind contributions.
Punta Fest 2018
Saturday, November 30, ITVET Compound Belize City
Government of Belize Accedes to Six Treaties
The Government of Belize through the Attorney General’s Ministry has acceded to six treaties that will further strengthen the intellectual property ecosystem in Belize. These treaties will certainly increase the economic and moral rights of all composers, musicians, artists, songwriters, broadcasting organizations etc.
Certificate of Appreciation to the Dentists of the Belize Mission Project
Mayor Daniel Guerrero presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Dentists of the Belize Mission Project for their service to the people of San Pedro Town for 27 years now. Mayor Guerrero expressed his gratitude to the Dentists and organizers of the mission for always having San Pedro at heart and for providing this much needed service that puts a smile on everyone's faces. Thank you Belize Mission Project!
FCD's 19th Annual General Meeting
FCD's 19th Annual General Meeting will take place on the 2nd of December. You are welcome!!!
Punta Gorda Intro to Bird Identification
PG get ready. November 11-13 is your time to go birding! Limited spaces so don't wait last minute to book your spot. One of our stops will be at the Belize Raptor Watch to watch the spectacular raptor migration as the leaders explain this natural phenomenon. See you soon...
Southeast Coast Stakeholders Validation Sessions for Tourism Development Plans.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
The Equalizer 2,
The Faber’s Road Rampage - The Day After
Day one after the Fabers Road tragedy – how is the family holding up? Well, when we went to visit them today, they were all sitting together, discussing funeral arrangements and celebrating the lives of their lost loved ones – their happy 5 year old prince, little Samir and his grandmother Louise Young. It is hard to even think to muster a laugh or crack a joke during this time but that is how the family is coping with this reality. But they also used this time to reflect on yesterday’s horrific attack and to figure out how Samuel August could actually carry out such an unthinkable act. We also asked Young’s cousin, Carolyn Welch about the facebook post August put up after the incident and about the temporary fix to her home. Here are her comments.
No Murder Charge For Backhoe Killer
And while the family grapples with loss and unspeakable grief at the enormity and horror of this deranged attack, police have to figure out what they are going to charge Samuel August Senior for - because, it is not a clear cut case.
We start first with their account of what they found when they arrived on scene early yesterday morning:
Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino - CIB:
“Police received information that there was a backhoe damaging or destroying a residence on Faber’s Road. As a result, police visited #6 Faber’s Road, and there, they observed the building that was damaged to the front portion. In the debris, they found the motionless body of a 5 year-old who was later identified to be Samir August, and likewise, an elderly woman, 53 year-old Louise Young..."
Mayor Refuses Comment On Rum Bottle In Council’s Backhoe
So, what does the City council have to say about August - he was the backhoe driver assigned to the night shift in the Sanitation Department. But he is also an employee who has psychiatric problems - and was driving a piece of heavy equipment drunk. What kind of counselling or supervision do they have for employees in such a situation?
But there are deeper concerns about the council’s supervision of its staff.
And that may explain why today Mayor Bernard Wagner did not want to talk about the fact that a quart of Gold Rum was seen under the driver’s seat. Here’s what he said - and didn’t say:…
Midtown Robbers Made Off With 25K
In last night’s news we showed you a late evening armed robbery at one of Belize City’s most popular eateries, Midtown Restaurant on Princess Margaret Drive.
Two men wearing caps, charged into the establishment, and one of them pulled a gun - while the other jumped over the bar.
Police say it happened at around 5:30 - and the tow men stole a total of 25 thousand dollars in cash and valuables:
Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino - CIB:
“On the 31st of October, sometime around 5:30 p.m., police received information, that there was a robbery at Midtown Restaurant on Newtown Barracks. As a result, police visited the establishment and spoke to several persons. What police had unearthed is that 2 individuals entered the establishment..."
B-Sag Makes Big Bust, Many Questions Arise
Tonight, there is some commotIon in the police department after the Belize Special Assignment Group - known as B-Sag made an interesting bust. According to multiple reports - the B-SAG- which is primarily made up of BDF soldiers - showed up at the Hattieville police station with 6 men, at least four of them Mexicans - and one of them is a Belizean businessman from the north. They reportedly had 2 firearms and a quantity of drugs.
Police suspect this may be a link to the landing of drug planes. But what makes the bust even more interesting is that the pickup they were in is reportedly linked to the wife of a ranking police officer.
Child Critical After Accident
Tonight, a 6 year-old is critical after she was knocked down yesterday in Corozal Town.
Yesterday the child was with her mother trying to cross the street when a driver hit them in her SUV. The head of the National Criminal Investigations Branch told us more:
ACP Joseph Myvette - Head, NCIB
“On yesterday’s date, Corozal police was called to an area on 7th Avenue, where 1 Abby Casanova reported to them that while she was traveling in her Ford Escape vehicle from College Road, she turned left unto 7th Avenue, and in the process, one Devony Palacio, along with her 6 year-old daughter, Destiny Williams, was crossing 7th Avenue..."
The Battle Between the BNTU and MOE
Last night you heard the thunder from the Teachers Union - who are furious with the Education Minister. At a Press Conference on Monday he said that collective bargaining over Proposal 22 was no longer live.
The Join Union Negotiating Team strongly refuted that assertion - and the teachers went further: they announced a demonstration in Belmopan for next week Wednesday, November 7th.
Today, the CEO in the Ministry of Education, DEBORAH Domingo said it’s a shame the children will lose a day of school:..
Deborah Domingo - CEO, Education:
"It is sad that the students will get to lose out of a day of school on November 7th. The ministry can only continue to invite the BNTU to share it's concerns as we have several times over and we remain open to taking those concerns into consideration as we continue to revisit the list of schools as they are categorized."
Come Again on Commuting Allowance?
Another issue of contention is the commuting allowance - which the teachers union says its members are not getting as required.
Here are both sides of that DISPUTE:
Keisha Young - General Secretary, BNTU:
"I know that the ministry if saying that commuting allowances that were not paid beyond 2017 would now not be honored. The BNTU is saying, that our teachers have gone out of pocket, some of them for several years not receiving their commuting allowances and it is not their fault that those monies did not come on time and so the BNTU will work earnestly and even if we have to go the legal route, we're putting the ministry on notice that if we have to go through the courts, we will ensure that our teachers get what they justly deserve."
Speaking In support of BNTU
Today the Christian workers union and the Belize Territorial Volunteers sent our press releases supporting the BNTU.
The CWU says, quote, “CWU supports the fight of the BNTU to secure fair and equitable benefits for the Educators of our Country. These Brothers and Sisters have earned our collective respect by their selfless efforts and sacrifices. CWU calls on the Ministry of Education to recalibrate and get on a just course towards a finalized Collective Agreement that will address these outstanding matters.
Jurists and Gender
Since June of 2016, we’ve been telling you all about reform efforts that Belize’s Judiciary has been trying to implement to improve on inefficiencies in the system.
It’s all under an initiative called the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening project, or “JURIST” for short. It’s a multi-million dollar project, funded mostly by the Canadian Government, with part financing from the Caribbean Court of Justice, and other Caribbean partners, to try and fix the similar problems facing the judiciaries of all the CARICOM Member states.
Catholic Principals Tell Briceno Back Up On Weed
As might have been expected, the Belize Catholic Association of Principals of Secondary Schools has denounced the PUP Leader John Briceno’s statement about the legalization of marijuana.
The statement says, quote, “In a country where 50% of our children are under the age of 19, this message can be seen as a lack of concern for the health and cognitive development of our children, and it implies that the solution to our economic challenges is legalizing a drug that creates much harm to the developing mind….While the focus of Hon. Briceno’s message focuses on the commercial and economic returns from the illegal drug..."
UB Reports on Finances
And while Briceno says he’s thinking about the economy before education, today the University of Belize was thinking about its finances. The institution held a press conference on its annual report for 2016-2017 at UB’s West Landivar Belize City campus. President Clement Sankat outlined all the accomplishments so far as well as the challenges they face –one such being finances. The president has made it known that the University is operating on a deficit of about $3 million dollars. But Sankat says they are addressing this serious money issue.
Clement Sankat - President, UB:
"In 16-17, we immediately took the decision that we have to break this cycle of a lost position at the University of Belize. The accounts show that we are spending more than we are earning. That is bad news for any business because you can soon become insolvent. We took the decision..."
UB Makes The Music Play
But while the University gets it’s finances in order, it still has to continue to ‘transition’ as Sankat puts it. Today he announced the launch of UB’s first music program.
Clement Sankat - President, UB:
"The faculty of education and arts is developing a program in music. In fact, the University of Belize has just hired its first lecturer in music to be full time and to help build and drive this program. So change is occurring and hopefully for the better.”
And as we have reported, UB has also launched its first masters of business administration program. President Sankat told us more about this significant accomplishment.
Clement Sankat - President, UB:
"When I came here, I immediately learnt of the partnership between FMAS and UWI School of Business to help develop a program, an MBA program here and the president signed that contract and Dean Watlor took that and galloped with it, to the extent that the following year we had our MBA launched - first MBA of the University of Belize, that was a flag ship moment for the university..."
So. Korea Coming In For Engineering
President Sankat also told us about the prospect of building a Modern School of Engineering in partnership with the Republic of Korea. He outlined this major project.
Clement Sankat - President, UB
"We developed a proposal for building a modern school of engineering and that proposal has gone to the Republic of South Korea for funding and I think there is a picture there, the 3rd one on the bottom there with the meeting with the Korean ambassador.”
Arts & Education At National Univ.
And the Faculty of Education and Arts has made significant contributions to training of teachers and parents. Here’s more.
Clement Sankat - President, UB
"The faculty of education and art, the big thing there was the beginning of the EU sugar bell project which was expanding access, assuring quality and enhances ensuring relevance, strengthening early childhood and secondary education in northern Belize. That project was of the order of 2.6 million Belize dollars and as you will hear in next year's report, the number of teachers for early childhood education as well as secondary education and even train parents on the benefits of early childhood education.”
Robbery Of Fast Food Eatery
Earlier on in the news, we told you about the brazen robbery at Midtown Restaurant, an upscale eatery in Belize City.
Hours later, there was a robber at another popular eatery - this one less upscale - but the attack was even scarier. It happened at El Paso Fast Food where four masked men strode in, two of them brandishing firearms. Police told us more:..
Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino - CIB:
“Last night, 31st of October, at around 8 p.m., police were again called to El Paso Fast Food. This is around the Farmers Market area..."
Cops Confirm Felina’s Car Found
Moving unto a more high profile police investigation, Police say they still have not confirmed why BDF Soldier, 27 year old Albert Stephen Moreira allegedly killed his common law, Felina James. Here’s Inspector Ferrufino:
Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino - CIB
“In regards to the missing person [case] of Miss Felina Margaret James, on the 30th of October, police formally arrested and charged, Albert Stephen Moreira, a 27 year-old Belize Defense Force soldier, of a Faber’s Road Extension addressed.”
“Are you able to provide details as to the relation between the victim and the accused?”
The Buzz About Big Bust
The intrigue is heightening over the drugs an weapons bust we told you about earlier. The Belize Special Assignment Group - known as B-Sag reportedly intercepted a pickup on the Western Highway this afternoon. There were reportedly 6 men inside including 4 Mexicans and a businessman from Orange Walk.
They reportedly had 2 firearms and possibly a small quantity of cocaine.
But it’s important for two reasons: First, Police suspect this may be an operational link to the landing of drug planes. And, second, the pickup they were in is reportedly linked to the wife of a ranking police officer.
We’ll keep following this very interesting story tomorrow.
Hunter Finds Juvenile Jaguar Slain
The next story is an ugly one - and if you can’t stand the sight of dead animals - then you should take a break form watching the news. But, to create awareness, this is the kind of story we have to run.
Seasoned hunter, Joshua Trapp called us this evening very upset after he found a juvenile jaguar, killed, bundled in a hammock and tossed away near Burrell Boom. Here’s what he saw:
Trapp says he will call authorities to find out more about the cat’s demise.
Keeping Clinic Patients Safe
Since his appointment to Eastern Division, we’ve been showing you how Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett has been trying to improve the working conditions for the officers stationed at permanent police checkpoints and stationary posts set up at crime hotspots in Belize City.
He’s partnered with members of the business community to get new police booths for those officers, so that they can shelter from the elements while on duty at these locations. Today, the latest police booth was set up in front of the Matron Roberts Polyclinic on Magazine Road, to aid the officers who stand guard at that location with nowhere to go when the pouring rain comes down.
The booth was donated by the Ministry of Health’s Central Health Region, so that the officers can better secure the Matron Roberts Polyclinic.
Dean Samuels, Hopeful
For weeks, we’ve been covering the upcoming political convention in Port Loyola. We’ve spoken to the candidates considered to be the frontrunners, Phillip Willoughby and Michael Peyrefitte.
But, Dean Samuels - a four term former city councillor - has as much political experience as Willoughby - and has bona-fides in Port where he resides.
Yesterday we found him making a donation to a trio pf schools on Faber Road: St. John’s Vianney, the Port Loyola Preschool and the Clara Mohammed Muslim School. In a fable of political selflessness, he told us that he got fans and coolers from a business owner who wanted to help him - but he passed it on to the kids:..
Hackathon Is Hot
A hackathon is a computer programmer’s heaven – well, today about 4 teams of developers and programmers from Belize and 5 from Jamaica spent all day working on an idea or solution to an issue related to tourism in Belize. The Belize teams worked at the UWI Open Campus in Belize City and the Jamaican teams joined in through Skype. We dropped by to see how the hackathon was going –which is part of the OAS’s Open week.
The teams will present their ideas and prototypes tomorrow afternoon at the Biltmore. The 1st place team gets $700 US dollars, 2nd place $500 US dollars and 3rd place gets $400 US dollars. The OAS project team is accepting proposals that can be implemented within a 6 month period. The OAS will give funding of up to $5,000 US dollars for the project proposal.
Arrest For ‘Griga Hit And Run
On Monday’s newscast, we told you about a fatal hit and run accident in Alta Vista Village, on the Hummingbird Highway, which claimed the life of 45 year-old David Cunil.
On Saturday night at around 9 o’clock, he was heading home after an evening of drinking with some friends. He never made it home because someone ran him over and left him to die on the roadside.
Police today announced that they’ve charged the man who they believe was driver who fled the scene after knocking down Cunil.
Very Rough Robbert At Zeta Gas
So, we’ve already told you about yesterday’s evening armed robbery at Midtown Restaurant in Belize City, and last night’s robbery at El Paso. But, there was another one which happened early this morning, at the Zeta compound, located at mile 13 on the Philip Goldson Highway.
At the press conference, Police told us that the thieves tied up the watchman and made off with a large quantity of cash from the building:
Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino - CIB:
“On the first of November, at about 4:15 a.m., Ladyville police were called to the Zeta compound. This would be at 13 and a half miles on the Philip Goldson Highway..."
Police say that they are investigating this incident.
Rotary And Los Muertos
“Eat, Drink, and Be Scary” - that’s what the Rotary Sunrise Club wants you to do on Saturday at their “Dia De Los Muertos” Fundraiser. The event will be held at the Mexican Institute of Culture and History near the Princess.
Today, a trio of Rotarians told us that it’s all about fundraising for some very worthy programs:..
The event runs from 7:00 pm to midnight on Saturday and tickets are fifty dollars.
Halloween Horror on Faber’s Road, Citco Worker Goes On Rampage With Backhoe
Tonight, the Faber's Road community remains in shock - trying to come to terms with an unspeakable, unthinkable tragedy that played out early this morning like a scene from a horror movie. A city council worker, Samuel August allegedly killed his 5 year old son Samir and the boy's grandmother, 53 year old Louise Young. He crushed them with a backhoe after ramming it into the home where they slept. Baby Samir died instantly while Young held on as long as she could before she passed away. A 13 year old girl is also critical in the hospital. Homes and other belongings are wrecked and there are no easy answers for this act of domestic madness. We start off with a run-down of what happened this morning to put this swirl of events into context. Courtney Weatherburne has the story.
What Motivated The Madness?
Now what would drive August into such a blinding rage that he would ram a backhoe into the home where his sons were sound asleep? Well, when we spoke to Young's cousin, she says that the ongoing custody battle over his sons may be what drove him to this act of madness.
For some background, Samuel August shared 3 boys with his wife - who died a couple years ago. The child's grandmother, Louise Young, took the kids in. But August wasn't happy about that from day one. So August and Young had been back and forth in court over this issue. There were several times when things got nasty and August threatened the family - culminating in last night's deranged domestic attack.
Critical 13 Year Old Needs Help
Now, moving to the 13 year old girl, Britney Craig who was injured. As we told you, she was asleep inside Young's house when August rammed into the structure. She ran out but August chased after her in the backhoe. She received severe head and body injuries and is currently hospitalized. When we spoke to the family before news time, they said they were heading to the hospital to check on her but that she was stable. Her relatives say they need all the financial help they can get.
An Irreplaceable Loss
And in between the disturbing series of events, there is the pain and anguish of losing a child and a cherished grandmother. This morning we found out more about Young and her grand-baby.
"She was my mom sixth child. She is the one that knows every single individual in the family whose cousins, whose uncles, who is not. You can call a name and she will know that person..."
PM & DPM’s Casual Dismissal Of “Proposal 22” Starts Union firestorm
The teachers union is militant and engaged tonight. Their target? The Minister of Education. And it's all because of these remarks he gave at the Prime Minister's press conference on Monday.
He spoke about "Proposal 22" - which is a matter of unfinished business from the last collective bargaining agreement between government and the union.
Teacher’s Union Declares Protest, Threatens More
And the teacher's union didn't like to hear that one bit. Relations were already strained over the ongoing dispute about hardship allowances, and the union was on a hair's trigger to activate.
They did that today - and when the press walked into the Union conference - we saw them using those solidarity green t-shirts - an expression of militance - last seen in 2016 when they went on strike. By the end of the press conference, they were also singing their union song - which is like a battle cry. President Elena Smith expressed the union's anger towards Minister Faber:..
Teachers Union Will Not Meet with DEC’s
And behind all this rage - and, now, a demonstration is the anger mainly about two labour issues.
First, there's the ongoing dispute over the adjustments to the hardship allowances for teachers in adverse teaching environments. We've been reporting on this one for weeks - and where it stands now is that the Union has asked for its national executive to meet with the senior Ministry technocrats to go through the entire list. The Minister has counter-proposed that the union's district leaders should meet with the District Education Councils. Nor surprisingly, the union is saying no to that:..
The Problem With Proposal 22
And while the tone on that issue is straight defiance, the Union's take on the other issue - which is proposal 22 - is more reasoned. Past President Luke Palacio explained:
Luke Palacio- Past BNTU President:
"Our argument from the Belize National Teacher's Union, as it relates to proposal 22, are basically these two: one, we are talking natural justice. If the teachers at the government secondary schools are getting a 100% then we believe that our teachers and support staff and the grant aided schools should get the same..."
BTNU’s Backative is Big
And, while the tone on that issue is - as we said - more reasoned - the Union Exec is speaking in moderate tones because it knows its brother unions have its back.
Today, a release from the Joint Union Negotiations Team comprising the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU) sent a powerful joint release, saying, quote "At the last meeting held with the Government side on September 4th, 2018, it was agreed on both sides, that works must earnestly commence to bring the 10 year negotiations to a close by the end of the current calendar year.
It's one of the most popular restaurants in the city - but this evening before 7:00 a pair of brazen robbers didn't care who saw them. Two dark skinned men in hats and wearing no masks, barged in - one of them brandishing a handgun.
One of them jumped behind the bar - presumably to get at the cash - and within seconds they were out of the place.
They were seen escaping on foot, running towards Baymen Avenue. We are told the restaurant owner was chasing them.
Felina Killed By Common Law
As we told you last night, Felina James' boyfriend, BDF officer Albert Stephen Moreira was charged for her murder. James had been with him for 3 years and they share a 2 year old son together. We spoke to James' aunt today about their abusive relationship and how it ended in murder.
Lydia Bolon, Aunt:
"I was overjoyed, I was happy that we came to a closure now. The person behind all of this who did this to my niece and her children and I can really now say that my faith in the police department is restored."
"As you said you weren't as surprised, because he was abusive to her. He had threatened her before."
Soldier Turned Alleged Killer Arraigned
Today in court Twenty-seven year old Albert Stephen Moriera, appeared before the Magistrate for the murder of mother of 2, 36-year-old Felina James.Moreira, a father and BDF Soldier, was taken to court today dressed in his BDF pants and was taken before Magistrate Emmerson Banner shortly before 12 and read a single charge of murder for James sudden murder.
Moreira a resident of a Faber's Road address was unrepresented when he appeared in court and due to the nature of the offense, bail was denied and he was remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until November 30, 2018.
The Drive To Census 2020
The last population census was in 2010, and the next one will start on May 12, 2020.
But, to get a very early start - the effort was launched today at the Radisson with all the local and international partners. 7news was there:...
Dr. Leopold Perriott- Director General, SIB:
"Belize is on the brink of conducting the largest and most expensive data gathering exercise in its history; the housing and populations centers in 2020."
Dr. Aaron P. Lewis- Chairman, SIB:
"The 2020 Census is planned to be like none other in the history of Belize. There are crucial updates to the methodology to be used in the conduct of this census. We are planning for a field work exercise of two months, vastly reduced from the three to six months of field work in 2010 and all innovations in methodology are geared towards this end. Note, that this time around all dwellings will now be assigned geographical locations to assist enumerators in the field and more importantly to allow the linkage of statistics with geography."
A Sargassum Solution
4 weeks ago, we told you about the massive clean-up effort which the community of San Pedro and the San Pedro Town Council had to organize when the island's beachfront became overrun by sargassum.
As Belize's premier tourist destination, San Pedro could not afford to have the seaweed infestation to drive away the tourists who were vacationing there. It's a huge eyesore, and rather than wait for Central Government to help them remedy the problem, they took matters into their own hands.
Tourism Numbers Keep Climbing
And despite the sargassum situation, tourism figures continue to show strong growth. At the end of the third quarter, the BTB reports that there was a 16.6% and 19.9% growth in overnight and cruise ship arrivals.
In September 2018, over 21,000 overnight visitors arrived in Belize - that's 10% mroe than the same month last year.
As for cruise arrivals, in September 2018, over 66,000 cruise ship passengers visited Belize. This represented an increase of 16% when compared to September 2017.
Sewing Social Solutions?
In recent weeks, we've been showing you how police from eastern division have been using barbering and bartending as a community outreach initiative, to provide work for at-risk youths. The police been trying to facilitate opportunities for gainful employment for this sector of the City's population, and now, they're trying to aid single mothers with a marketable skill.
And in that we've found out that Assistant Police Commissioner Robert Mariano, the Eastern Regional Commander, is quite skilled in the art of sewing. So, since there were a number of persons who kept coming to him looking for employment opportunities, he decided to start teaching interested individuals how to sew professionally.
What JB Heard On Listening Tour of South
Last week, PUP Leader John Briceno started his listening tour in the south of Belize. He wants to hear how party supporters feel about the ICJ.
Today he told us that so far it is a resounding "no.":
Referendum Funds For Political Parties To Mobilize Vote?
And while the word is no from his party so far - might the party leaders be more flexible with a sweetener - as in campaign financing to get the vote our for the referendum?
Briceno discussed this possibility:…
"Is this a mechanism that you would be open to accepting as it were financing from the ICJ campaign to mobilize voters?"
LOO Criticizes Health Minister
Leader Briceno also spoke about Health Minister Pablo Marin. As we reported last night - he has signed letters - dating Back to 2016 supporting marijuana or hemp plantations for medicinal use. Briceno says that was unlawful:..
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition:
"As you all know, you've seen this. 3 letters have been so far have been floating out there from the minister of health, pretty much giving permission to grow marijuana in Belize for something that is illegal. What he did is something illegal. So if he has done this on his own, then he needs to resign from cabinet, because he has taken an illegal act. But also connect the dots ladies and gentlemen."