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Today's Belize News: June 20, 2020 #543071
06/20/20 05:47 AM
06/20/20 05:47 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,605
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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, Reef TV, KREM, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Belize Now, Talk Ah Di Town, and other specials.


The San Pedro Sun

Island businesses taking measures to deter crime during the pandemic
The COVID-19 global situation has crushed the tourism industry in Belize and with it, thousands of jobs have disappeared. As a result, a spike in crime, particularly armed robberies, has been registered on the mainland. A number of grocery stores and supermarkets have been robbed by masked men, who are taking advantage of the mandatory requirement to use a mask under the current State of Emergency. To deter any potential robberies, businesses on the mainland and on the island are now requiring customers to remove any face covering, including caps before entering the establishments.

Letter the the Editor: Open Letter to the Minister of Tourism
"I write to register my deep concern that as you are the Area Representative for Belize Rural South and the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, there has been no public address by you, the Director of Tourism and the Director of Civil Aviation on the most devastating tourism crisis to hit Belize. After 3 months, at minimum, one should have heard from your Ministry on what plans, procedures or processes are being worked on to help with a slow restart of the industry, to guide the industry on preparing for the coming difficult months and since you are the current Area Representative, to help the residents of Belize Rural South for which tourism is the core of the revenue generation for the community."

San Pedro High School graduates 139 over two days
The 2020 graduation season in San Pedro Town has so far seen brief celebrations, with only immediate family members attending the scheduled ceremonies. This was the case of the graduating class of San Pedro High School (SPHS), who were hosted via a virtual ceremony under the theme ‘Through Adversity We Strive,’ at 6PM on Thursday, June 18th on Reef TV. All 139 graduates received their diplomas and certificates earlier across a span of two days, starting on Wednesday, June 17th at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium.

San Pedro High School graduates 139 over two days
The 2020 graduation season in San Pedro Town has so far seen brief celebrations, with only immediate family members attending the scheduled ceremonies. This was the case of the graduating class of San Pedro High School (SPHS), who were hosted via a virtual ceremony under the theme ‘Through Adversity We Strive,’ at 6PM on Thursday, June 18th on Reef TV. All 139 graduates received their diplomas and certificates earlier across a span of two days, starting on Wednesday, June 17th at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium.

Ambergris Today

Belize Prepares To Reopen - Sets New Accommodation Sector Protocols And Guidelines
As Belize's tourism industry prepares for reopening, the health, safety, and well-being of the industry, its employees, the wider Belizean community, and visitors are more important than ever, as we mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and adopt to new travel norms. Earlier today, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) officially released the new operating protocols for Hotels & Restaurants which will be required for Hoteliers to prepare their properties and employees as the country readies to welcome back international travelers.

US Donates Two Ambulances For San Ignacio And Santa Elena
On June 19, the United States Government delivered two ambulances donated by the Virginia Emergency Services Program, a U.S. non-governmental organization, to the Belize Fire Department in San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The shipment was transported by the U.S. Department of Defense under the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program. On their arrival to Belize, the ambulances were immediately handed over to Fire Chief Collin Gillett by U.S. Embassy Belmopan Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges.

Open Letter To Minister Of Tourism: "People Need Answers"
By Andre Perez PUP Standard Bearer/Belize Rural South. Dear Minister Heredia, Since the end of March, the overnight tourism sector has had no business with the airport and land borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As has been reported, the tourism industry accounts for 1 in 4 jobs and contributes approximately 40% of the GDP. The residents of Belize Rural South which includes Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye can attest to the devastating and direct impact this has had on the livelihoods of thousands since March. It is getting worse with each passing week and a possible humanitarian crisis is developing.

Various Belizean Sources

mzz

Attention all San Pedro Contractors!
Please help us keep our community clean. Be proud of where you live!

Virtual Exhibition of the Gran Fiesta of San Pedro
The month of June is very special to the island residents of San Pedro. It is the month when we celebrate the patron saint of the town. Join us for a Virtual Exhibition of the Gran Fiesta of San Pedro.

Artist of the Day - Althea Sealy
Althea Sealy is first a daughter and mother. She continues to be a mother to her two daughters and a grandmother to their three children. Althea has always fulfilled her familial duties simultaneously with her employment responsibilities in the business world. She is now the manager of the downtown supermarket of James Brodie & Co. where she has worked for the past thirty-six years. During the last forty-nine years, Althea Claudia Sealy also fulfills an additional third set of duties. In the sixties, when she was eight years old, she commenced the study of Dance with the legendary modern and folk dance instructor Bob Reneau. After 'Mr. Bob' migrated to the US when she was in her early teens, she joined the Leo-Mar Dance Co. As a young adult at the beginning of the nineteen-eighties, she became a founding member of the Belize Creative Dancers.

ReefTV Father's Day Winners
Congratulations to all our Father's Day winners and sponsors!

Ambulances Donated to Santa Elena and San Ignacio
We were honored today to deliver two ambulances donated by the Virginia Emergency Services Program, a U.S. NGO, to the Fire Chief Collin Gillett on behalf of the Belize Fire Department. The new ambulances provide the 20,000 residents of Santa Elena and San Ignacio with access to life-saving medical care. “The United States is committed to protecting the health and safety of the Belizean people, which includes providing improved access to life-saving medical care,” said Keith Gilges, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. “Whether Belizeans face dangers from natural disasters, pandemics like COVID-19, or everyday health emergencies, the length of time that it takes to get proper medical care can mean the difference between life and death. These two new ambulances will help expand access to critical health resources for tens of thousands of people in Western Belize, saving lives in the process.”

COVID-19 UPDATE
A further 41 samples were processed today, all negative. The samples processed included those who were on the 1st flight that brought back Belizeans - they have thus been released from the quarantine facility after completing their 14 day quarantine period.

Flood forecast for June 19, 2020, 12:00 p.m.

St. Francis Xavier School, Class of 2020 Graduation pictures

St. Francis Xavier Preschool Promotion 2020

HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATION ON COLLEGE ROAD IN COROZAL
Ground breaking has taken place for what appears to be the footprint of a pretty large construction along College Road. We were unable to verify the exact use of this new construction development in Corozal. At any rate, our blog welcomes the developers' plans and the opportunities this development will create for local employment. All the best of luck and success.

Job opportunity at Caves Branch
They need a Guest Services/Front Desk Agent.

Bullet Tree Falls River Rising
Photos...

Belize Releases New Protocols & Guidelines for the Accommodation Sector
As Belize's tourism industry prepares for reopening, the health, safety, and well-being of the industry, its employees, the wider Belizean community, and visitors are more important than ever, as we mitigate the risk of Covid-19 and adopt to new travel norms. Earlier today, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) officially released the new operating protocols for Hotels & Restaurants which will be required for Hoteliers to prepare their properties and employees as the country readies to welcome back international travellers. These enhanced health and safety protocols for hotels have been approved by the Honourable Jose Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, and will serve as the foundation for addressing the new health and safety challenges presented by Covid-19.

US EMBASSY CHIEF PRAISES GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE RESPONSE TO COVID19
Chargé d'affaires, US Embassy to Belize who returned to Belize 14 days ago. He left the country for non-life-threatening but urgent medical care in the United States of America. On his return he praised the government’s and the people of Belize for our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In commenting on the subject Gilges said: “It was ironic for me that I had to go back to the States to the city where the number of cases was still increasing, rather than stay in Belize. So absolutely, I was excited to get back here because the risk was far less. So, I think we can really applaud the government and the people for how they've responded, really responsibly, to the point that I think there are fewer cases here than, I think, anywhere else in the hemisphere.”

Belize Legend : Nukuch Tat
One of the most important Guardian spirits for the Yucatec Maya of Belize is the Nukuch Tat(singular) Nukuch Taato'ob(Plural). It is believe the Yuumstilo'ob created them to maintain the balance between humanity and Nature. The Nukuch Taato'ob are the earth guardian spirits of four cardinal points. The Nukuch Tat is the Maya guardian spirit of the forest,animals and humans. The Nukuch Tat is also known as Balam(Báalamo'ob), Tata Duende, El Dueño del Monte and Nukuch Yuum. Some Yucatec Maya continue asking the Nukuch Taato'ob permission before enter the forest with a prayer. For better crops the Yucatec Maya of Belize during agricultural rituals do Ch'ookob (Maya holy food),Balche (Maya holy wine) and prayers which are given as offerings to the Nukuch Tato'ob.

BELIZEAN YUCATEC MAYA LEGEND: El DUEÑO DEL AGUA
Between our Northern Yucatec Maya communities of Belize there is the legend of a water Guardian known as El dueño del agua or Tzukan. This spirit is discribed as a huge snake mostly seen in the Noh Ucum(Rio Hondo). Some say the Tzukan guard the rivers,Cenotes,Swamps and even wells. Some have discribe them to have wings also.

El Dueño del Agua and los Dueños Dueño del Monte
The Yucatec Maya of Belize believe the Yuumstilo'ob created the world and that every aspect of life happens because of them. Also that they created spirits to be guardianes. For example the los dueños del Monte Nukuch Taato'ob (Tata Duendes) also known as Balames are earth guard spirits. The Nukuch Taato'ob (Balames) protect the forest, animals and Humans. One of the least known spirits is El dueño del Agua also known as Tzukan which is described as a huge snake which is responsable of bringing water to the swamps and rivers. Want to know more of these guardian spirits ? Follow us tonight.

GarinaJahz Band Concert
Adrian "The Doc" Martinez invites you to view, sing, and dance with the GarinaJahz Band on 21st, June 2020. The concert will be televised on Belize's Channel 7, "The Nation's Station" at 6:00 pm. Lots of great music and DYNAMIC featured artists. DON'T MISS IT!

Channel 7

Can A French Drain Save Beaver Dam?
When we left you last night, the Cayo District was an island, cut off from Central Belize after the approach to the Beaver Dam Bridge was washed out, and cut off form the south due to multiple flooding events on the Hummingbird. Well, much to the relief of dozens of commuters and busloads of westbound travelers, the Western Highway was reopened at about 10:00 last night. This afternoon we caught up with Ministry of Works engineer Lennox Bradley and Zone Engineer Irving Thimbrel for a recap of what they're calling an extreme event that crippled one of Belize's major roadways. This was the scene today as rush hour traffic moved across the one-lane makeshift crossing leading to the Beaver Dam Bridge. It's an uneasy balance, rock and rushing waters, and it's being maintained by constant vigilance with the hope that it will hold for as long as it's needed. This afternoon we made the crossing to travel to Belmopan where the Ministry of Works chief engineer told us how we got here:

Cops Controlling Commuters, Swimmers And Paparazzi
And while Bradley and Thimbrel may be the heroes of the hour, they are singing the praises of the police without whom they could never have worked so quickly. Yesterday at the scene, we heard from Western Regional commander Linden Flowers who spent the day on the road putting limits on commuters, swimmers and paparazzi. "The police role is to preserve law and order and preservation of property that's what we're doing out here this morning is to ensure that no citizen is harmed in this situation that arose where the road collapsed. Our patrols were here very early this morning because we had the experience of the night rain so Roaring Creek police responded."

Roadways Turned Into Riverways
That Police presence was needed throughout the flood zones where frustration was high and traffic was extremely slow. And in our conversation with the Ministry's zone engineer, we got an overview of yesterday's desperate situation across the George Price, Hummingbird, and Coastal Highways. Irving Thimbrel, Senior Executive Engineer, Central Zone Engineer, MOW: "Spanish Lookout is because of the swelling of the river. That bridge was built as a bridge that can function even though water go over it. It's not something that we want to encourage, but it was design that way and I think it was done in collaboration with the Mennonite community, so I think it was a project that brought together the Mennonite community and the ministry of works. So from time to time that bridge would flood, but we have 2 bridges, up and down stream that will allow people to still access the Spanish Lookout area. We have the Pino Cawich bridge in Roaring Creek and we have the bridge at Bullet Tree Falls, so when we had that 100 year flood some years ago, people were still able to access Spanish Lookout..."

A River Runs Through It - Every 20 Years
Now, as you heard, the engineers don't know if this is a one in 25 year flood, or a one in 100 year flood - or something in-between. Well, how about, one in 18 years? Our archive shows that the last time the bridge washed away was on June 21, 2002 - and, almost exactly eighteen years later, the approach washed away on Thursday 18th June, 2020. After that epic washout, a completely new, 200 foot bridge was installed in September, 2003. It was designed and built here in Belize at a cost of 2.4 million dollars, and, at the time they said, it was designed to last a century. The quote from the then engineer was that it was "designed to be above the highest recorded flood level..." And the bridge does remain intact, and the eastern approach is what was undermined in Thursday's floods.

BDF Boat Unit Saves Stranded On Sibun
And the floodwaters didn't only undermine the approach to the bridge, they also caused server flooding in nearby communities, extending from Frank's Eddy to Belmopan. Franks Eddy is where the BDF's Special Boat Unit was deployed today on a search and rescue mission. They had to rescue tow civilians who were stranded across the flooded Sibun River. Across turbid waters with strong currents, the rescue went seamlessly and the SBU personnel brought the stranded men safe to shore.

Repatriates Return In Numbers
The most packed flight since March 23rd touched down at the P.G.I.A. this morning. It was a United Airlines flight out of Houston, the state from which patient 21 returned on Saturday. So, officials from the Ministry of Health had to be fully engaged and in effect, setting up screening booths to process all 44 repatriates. The new protocol is that samples are taken on arrival, before they are whisked off to mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Tomza Got Taken, Twice
On Wednesday, we told you about that armed robbery at the Gas Tomza Butane depot, located at mile 1 and a half on the George Price Highway. The men stole $185 in cash, and all snatched two cell phones. Police captured them as they were fleeing, and recovered the stolen loot. Those 2 men have been identified as 24-year-old Robert Michael Spain, a fisherman of Coral Grove in Belize City, and 39-year-old Clive Gerald Hendrix, a resident of Pickstock Street who has had numerous run-ins with the law.

65 Complaints From BDF Intake 65
As we told you three weeks ago, the investigation into allegations of misconduct in the BDF Training Company has concluded. The Special Investigative team looked into allegations of misconduct, extortion, maltreatment sexual assault and sexual advances in the BDF's training company. They found a long list of complaints and irregularities in the training of Intake #65 - including 65 written complaints. And today at Price Barracks, the BDF's Senior Command discussed lessons learned from the report and what happens next with actionable complaints of a disciplinary nature:

BDF Searching For Sexual Harassment Solution
And so while there is now a sexual harassment policy in place, and internal disciplinary charges will follow for the complaints, does the BDF need a more thorough probe to unearth a long history of anecdotal reports which point to a culture that abetted of sexual harassment? Reporter: "Isnt it in the best interest of the BDF to make an inquiry based on what this investigation suggested?" BDF: "I think what we can do in order to gain that information is to find a mechanism to actually attract the data, so whether it's by survey or we going individually to these camps like when we do these presentations to highlight some of these issues to try to get that information. That may be a possible course of action that is something that we are willing to do, a venture we are going to undertake eventually."

Creating A Culture Of Accountability
And, one of the changes that will be made is reinforcing the concept that abuses by senior officers can be reported without penalty, and that those officers are accountable. It's called week Zero - to focus on the first week that recruits will be in training. We asked the General about it today: Brigadier General Steven Ortega: "In my point of view there is no place for abuse of any form. So the week zero is a sign so that the initial recruits coming in as soldiers will actually have a chance to understand the culture of the reporting process, so if they believe they've been abused, aggrieved in whatever manner, they understand the process all the way up to my level and beyond and so they know that they have a way out in terms lodging a complain."

Soldiers Scolded For Quarantine Escapees
We also asked the BDF Commander about those escapes that happened at 2 quarantine centers: 1 in Corozal and the other in Dangriga. Last month, the Belize Coast Guard caught 3 Mexicans illegally fishing in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. They were supposed to have been quarantined for 14 days at the ITVET building in Corozal, but somehow, all 3 escaped. Then as we told you, 4 Belizean border jumpers escaped a few days ago from the Chiste Garcia Stadium in Dangriga. Fingers were being pointed at the BDF, and so, we asked the commander to address those cases dereliction. Here's that conversation:

Soldiers Locked Down After COVID Contact
The press also took the opportunity to ask the head of the BDF about reports that soldiers recently had to be placed recently placed in quarantine. He confirmed today that 4 soldiers have been in isolation for over a week now. That's after they came in contact with patient # 20, down in Toledo. That's the female, Belizean border jumper, and there was concern that maybe, the soldiers were exposed to the virus through this patient. The General said that it was done out of an abundance of caution:

COVID And The American Mind
And as that story shows, the fear of COVID is real and far reaching - and that "abundance of caution" dictates almost every move by public officials in Belize. But, not so in the US. In many states, that caution has been thrown to the wind, and many businesses, beaches and bars have re-opened, despite still rising COVID cases in more than 21 states. 121 thousand Americans have died, and some projections say that by September, that figure could be a shocking two hundred thousand dead. It's a staggering figure, and, yesterday, we asked the US Chargé d'Affaires how that scale of loss messes with the American national psyche:

US Didn’t Stop The Swabs
And what hit many Belizeans personally is the report in late April that a shipment of specialised swabs for COVID testing had been held back by US customs. This kind of dovetailed with reports that the US government was seizing exports of personal protective equipment, respirators, surgical masks, and surgical gloves.

Will US Send Deportees In Time Of COVID?
Another aspect of US public policy that could interfere with Belize's COVID status is its policy on deportation. For example, if the US sends back Belizeans from US Deportation centers and they have COVID, it could cause chaos. If it sounds far-fetched - it might not be. That's what Guatemala says happened over there with what is being called the "vuelo maldito" which deported sick migrants to Guatemala from the U.S. on March 26. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has blamed the US for deporting people knowing they were sick.

Shared Culpability For Brutality?
And, finally, we had a tough question for the Chargé. Yesterday he spoke about how the Black Lives Matter matter movement has informed his policy direction at the US Embassy in Belize. He also said he wants to have a talk with Belizean interests who have input on this polarising issue. But, what about the role the US has played in enabling the Belize Police Department - which faces many allegation of brutality?

An Ambulance From Heroes
Earlier we told you about the 45 repatriates who came back into the country, but that wasn't the only thing coming out of the airport today. A special flight by a a C17 military aircraft from Charleston Air Force Base in the US barrelled down the runway at the PGIA this morning. Onboard were two ambulances donated by the Virginia Emergency Services Program to the Belize Fire Department for deployment in San Ignacio and Santa Elena.

Refugees In Cultural Context
Tomorrow will be celebrated as World Refugee Day. In its annual commemoration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is asking Belizeans for a little more compassion towards the Central American Immigrants. The UNHCR says that in the Americas, quote, "Hundreds of thousands of people from the north of Central America have fled their homes in search of safety, a number that has soared in the past five years now reaching 720,000 worldwide. Thousands of them have fled to Belize in search of safety and a place to rebuild their lives away from violence and persecution." End Quote.

The Meaning of Garina Jahz
Sunday is Father's Day, and a group of Belizean musicians from the Garina Jahz Band has organized a concert to celebrate Belizean dads. They say that they want to do something pleasant for honorable men, whose sacrifices to look after their children can sometimes go unnoticed. This evening, the organizer and one of his fellow musicians told us via zoom why you'll be able to enjoy the music, even if you aren't a dad. Here's that conversation: "My name is Richard Pitts, and I am the founder of the Garina Jahz Band. The band plays music that's a fusion between Garifuna genres, whether it be paranda, punta, along with jazz. We'll be doing a show this Sunday, on Channel 7, starting at 6 p.m."

A Warning From A Ras
It's been a minute since Belize has heard new music from Ras Indio, but the Reggae star is back this time with his brother Nkrumah Obi to bring us a new single that's as ominous as it is upbeat. This week Indio released the lyric video for Warning, a song inspired by what he says are the perils of the times we're in. We caught up with the Ras in Belmopan where he sang us a few lines from the track.

This Weekend's Flood Forecast
At the top of the new we told you about flooding and the highways. Well, the National Hydrological Service reports that many riverways are still rising and a flood warning remains in effect. Flood levels on the Rio Hondo at Blue Creek, Santa Cruz, San Antonio, San Roman, and Douglas are rising. The New River at Tower Hill and Caledonia is above normal and rising. On the Macal River, reservoir levels remain above the spillway at the Chalillo, Mollejon, and Vaca facilities. At San Ignacio, water levels are above the low-level bridge.

A Safe Future For Hospitality
The Belize Tourism Board has a new list of Guidelines which it hopes that Hoteliers and restauranteurs will abide by. This new protocol is for when the Airport eventually opens up, and tourists start coming back to Belize. It has the stamp of approval from Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr., just in time to respond to his political opponent, who sent him a letter accusing him of having no plan for the recovery of the tourism industry. We'll tell you about that letter shortly, but we start first with the protocol.

Andre Vs. Manuel
And while that provides some leadership to the tourism sector, Andre Perez, the PUP Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South, is calling out Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia for appearing to have no economic recovery plan for his San Pedro and Caye Caulker voters. Today, Perez sent an open letter to Heredia to remind him that the residents of these communities and the rest of the tourism sector are waiting for details on how the industry's recovery will work.

Channel 5

Third Flight Arrives with Belizean Repatriates
Belizeans trapped overseas are returning home in a trickle via the ongoing repatriation exercise being led by the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and National Security. This afternoon, a United [...]

Belizean Remains in Custody Pending Charges for Smuggling Guats into the Country
So far, there have been twenty-two confirmed cases of COVID 19 in the country. The latest case involves one of three Guatemalans, who was busted for illegal entry into Belize, [...]

Why were Guatemalan border jumpers released and sent back?
As we said, patient twenty-two is a Guatemalan border jumper. He and two other Guatemalan men and a Belizean were detained over the weekend at a checkpoint in Unitedville Village, [...]

Broken Highway Repaired
Waters have now receded and traffic is flowing on both the George Price and  Hummingbird Highways. Incessant rains and the force of flood waters damaged the highways, rendering them impassable [...]

House of Representative to meet in Belmopan this coming Friday
The House of Representatives meets this coming Friday in Belmopan; at its last sitting in March the House dealt with legislating the State of Emergency which now expires at the [...]

Construction of Controversial PG Service Station is Halted
In the south, a stop order has brought to a screeching halt the construction of a service station at the entrance of Punta Gorda Town that is the subject of [...]

Opposition Leader Explains Resignation from National Oversight Committee
Last week on June tenth, Opposition Leader John Briceño officially resigned from the COVID Nineteen National Oversight Committee. The committee was formed when the novel coronavirus pandemic broke and was [...]

BDF to implement Sexual Harassment Policy
The Belize Defence Force says that plans are already in place to address some of the internal wrongdoings outlined in the investigation into the allegations at the training company. Today [...]

BDF says there is no rape culture; but will further investigation be conducted among other units to determine this?
Now this plan, comes on the heels of a number of allegations in the training school and more recently following an allegation of rape for which Sergeant Margarito Pop was [...]

BDF General says the Force wants to recruit more women
During today’s interview, the Commander also spoke about the direction the B.D.F. is moving. He acknowledges that times are evolving and things need to change, now that may sound like [...]

BDF investigating escape from quarantine facility in the south!
And finally on the topic of B.D.F for tonight, the press also took the opportunity to ask General Ortega about the issue of the border jumpers escaping from quarantine facilities. [...]

Bar Prepares to Challenge JLSC Over Legality of Decisions
The Supreme Court has been operating with a chronic shortages of puisne judges but an attempt to fill the void through new appointments is meeting challenges. That is because recent [...]

Tape Boss Wants His Reputation Back After Social Media Faux Pas
You may know him on social media as Tape Boss, but tonight Roderick Wade is trying to clear his name after a crude joke on Facebook backfired on him.  Several [...]

Rasheed Coffin On Bail After He Was Remanded For Having Sexual Intercourse With A Minor
An eighteen year old youth is out on bail two days after he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison for having sexual intercourse with a minor. Attorney, Oscar Selgado [...]

Kenroy Gomez fined for Stealing Pork Chops
A man who was caught walking out of 88 Shopping Centre on Central American Boulevard on Thursday with three pounds of pork chops which he ordered and did not pay [...]

Alleged Tomza Robbers appear in court
Two men were arraigned today for the brazen Wednesday evening robbery of Gaz Tomza on the George Price Highway.  It is alleged that Robert Spain and Clive Hendricks, armed with a weapon, [...]

National Met Service says some sun but also rains to come!
As you heard earlier, flooding has affected the western and southern parts of the country and it is anticipated that up north, flood levels on the Rio Hondo at Blue [...]

Fire Service gets ambulance for EMT service!
The National Fire Service is getting ready to pilot its emergency medical technician services in the west. As a part of its preparation, the Fire Service received two ambulances; a [...]

Happy Father’s Day from Opposition Leader
This coming Sunday, fathers will be honoured in a number of ways with cook-outs, cards, gifts and other forms. Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June and [...]

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Amandala

Floods cause crisis on George Price Highway!
The heavy rainfalls over the last few days have led to serious flooding on the George Price Highway, in the vicinity of St. Matthews Village, and on the Hummingbird Highway, in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Village. The flood waters have brought travel between Belize City and Belmopan to a halt, as water has eroded a part of the George Price Highway — causing an “uncrossable” split; and travel to Dangriga from Belmopan has also been affected, due to a broken culvert in St. Margaret’s Village.

Terminated NICH staffers are alleging victimization
On Tuesday, June 16, the National Institute of History and Culture (NICH) issued a press release confirming that it has terminated 6 percent of its work force. Citing the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the NICH release explained that the organization would try to retain most of its staff. Yesterday, however, another picture began to emerge in relation to the terminations at NICH. Four of the terminated NICH staffers penned a press release detailing how their termination came about. They alleged that their termination has nothing to do with the financial difficulties facing the institution, but is as a consequence of more sinister motives by the NICH president, Sapna Budhrani, against whom they made blistering criticisms, describing her management style as “autocratic,” and their termination as a “farce.”

Family of 4 escapes from Dangriga quarantine center
Today on the government podcast Ask the Experts, Dr. Marvin Manzanero shared the disturbing news that a family of four had escaped from the quarantine center in Dangriga. The family returned to the country from Honduras and they were expected to be swabbed and were to remain under the mandatory 14-day quarantine at the Russell Chiste Garcia Stadium that is being used as a quarantine center in that municipality.

Citco collaborates with Public Health to combat dengue
Mayor Bernard Wagner and the City Council, in collaboration with the Public Health Department, have stepped up to conduct city-wide spraying in an effort to combat the anticipated spread of dengue fever, due to an increase of mosquitoes in the city because of the rains. Councillor Delthrude Hylton, Councillor responsible for Public Health, said that she was disturbed by the amount of mosquitoes in the city, especially in the mornings and evenings, and she noticed that there was no spraying to deal with the mosquitoes.

Guatemalan illegally in Belize is 22nd case of COVID-19
The 22nd case of COVID-19 has been detected in Belize, and the infected person has been identified as a Guatemalan national, who came into the country illegally. He was found by police at a roadblock in Unitedville on Saturday. Police handed him over to the Ministry of Health in San Ignacio, where he was swabbed, after which he was taken into quarantine in San Ignacio.

Butane prices higher than necessary?
he ongoing feud between former gas importers, Gas Tomza, Z Gas and BWEL and the Government of Belize has been heightened by Monday’s announcement of an increase in the price of butane. The Belize Bureau of Standards sent out a press release noting the thirty-eight cents increase, which has now brought the price of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) to $2.64 per wholesale gallon, $4.24 per retail gallon in urban areas and $4.34 per retail gallon in rural areas. Subsequent to this announcement, the disgruntled former importers quickly issued a joint statement classifying the act as an “exploitation of the Belizean consumers by the monopoly importer, NGCL (National Gas Company Limited), with connivance and concurrence of the Government of Belize.”

CJ Benjamin and JLSC violated Bar president’s constitutional rights
Last Friday, Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana handed down a ruling in the civil claim brought by the former president of the Bar Association of Belize against former Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC). In the oral ruling that was issued virtually, the Acting Chief Justice ruled that the constitutional rights of the then president of the Bar Association, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, S.C., were violated when she was barred from attending meetings of the JLSC.

CCJ hears DPP’s appeal of Calaney Flowers murder acquittal
This morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) heard oral arguments in the Crown’s appeal of the murder acquittal of Calaney Flowers and will deliver its judgment at a later date. The hearing was done virtually via Skype. Appearing on behalf of the Crown was Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, S.C. Attorney Anthony Sylvestre from the law firm of Musa and Balderamos represented Flowers. Belize is the only country in the Commonwealth jurisdiction which mandates that murder trials be conducted with a judge sitting alone. Murder trials by a judge sitting alone are optional throughout the rest of the Commonwealth.

Two Chunox men charged for kidnapping, raping girl, 14
A 14-year-old girl was raped in Chunox. Yesterday, two men from Chunox were charged in connection with the offense. Manuel Yacab, 28, a laborer, was charged with rape and kidnapping, while Ergil Josemar Pat, 18, also a laborer of Chunox, was charged with abetment to rape and kidnapping. The men were charged after police concluded their investigation into the rape of the girl, which occurred on the evening of Tuesday, June 9.

Boy, 10, fatally hit by butane truck
Steven Torres, a 10-year-old Libertad student, was knocked down by a butane gas truck this morning while he was riding his bicycle, in the course of doing an errand for his family. As a result, he suffered massive head injuries and died immediately after being knocked down. Yuri Arnold Lucas, 39, the driver of the truck, who is a resident of San Joaquin, Corozal District, told police that he saw the little boy riding his bicycle in front of the truck, and he pulled to the left side of the road to overtake the boy, but the boy also pulled to the left side of the road to avoid a pool of water on the roadside, and that was when the truck hit him.

Editorial: Something isn’t right at the Port
Most businesses in Belize and the world have been suffering financial losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so no one would be surprised if Port of Belize Ltd. is seeing lowered profits or is operating in the red. The company, which was taken over by the Belize Bank in 2012, and has been in receivership since, recently told its employees that business is down and as a consequence it would be reducing their salaries. The employees of the company who are members of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) responded that before accepting a reduction in salary they needed Port of Belize Ltd. to open its books and show the managers of the CWU its financial statements.

Black lives matter
Dear Publisher, My daughter Melody, letting her voice be heard and showing respect, including, on her poster, a picture of your book cover and quote. The struggle continues.

A doctor talks about being sick with COVID-19 — as told to Amandala columnist, Colin Hyde
I am a 58-year-old doctor, black, with underlying conditions, and for the last two weeks gong on three, I’ve been fighting the COVID-19 virus. I don’t know exactly where I caught it, if it was at work or while socializing with members of my community. Theories abound, but all I know is, for the last two weeks I’ve thought about nothing but life and death. In a way I thought it was inevitable that I would catch this virus, partly because my profession leads to a lot of exposure; and I’m in a high-risk group. I can’t say that I had great fear of the disease. I’ve always been pretty daring, and I thought inwardly about getting over with it, once and for all. Present data suggests it’s here to stay, and it was in my mind that it might be good to gain immunity. Present data on immunity notwithstanding, the bottom line is that I caught it.

“The system is not broken; it was constructed to marginalize black people.”
The notion of a post-racial America with the election and the selection of Barack Obama to the presidency was always a lie. Yet, because of the powerful allure of hope among black folks, many of us salivated at the symbolic image of power. As the mass protests continue across the nation, Los Angeles and the state of California is exhibit A in how much the black community has taken two steps forward and three backward in all spheres of economic, political, and social progress. As I have pointed out in the previous commentary, Los Angeles illuminates the receding black political, social, and economic influence within the city.

A Boom Here; a Boom There
I recently heard a snippet of instruction in the virtual education classrooms that opened after the traditional ones closed due to COVID-19. The presenter was explaining the origin of the word “Boom,” the name of a village in the Belize District. As I’ve said, I got just a bit of the lesson and may have missed out on some preliminary information, like the source of the narrative, and whether it was a history lesson or an English lesson. The way the word “boom” was drawn out made me think it might have been a lesson in phonics. That no mention was made of the other chain booms (at St. James’ or at Haulover), further reduces the likelihood that this was a lesson in history.

Independence for Belize in the midst of disputes ….
The very busy year of our Lord, Nineteen hundred and eighty, had ended with the marriage of Jewel’s brother Alvin to Julia Sabal on Saturday, December 20th, in the Anglican parish church, although the bride had been christened Roman Catholic, like her father and uncle before her, the small wedding reception taking place in Lucille and Abel’s flat, followed by a two-week honeymoon at a hotel in the capital of the Western District, compliments of Nurse Pauline and her husband.

The Sky Whispers
It is truly an encouragement to behold how quickly the nation, Belize, has submitted itself to the necessary saving restrictions on personal freedom required by Corona. All around us, thousands have been plagued by the deadly virus. We have had only twenty confirmed cases, with merely two deaths. The nation, the people of Belize, has really proved to this world that we treasure our existence and life in this temporary time… and we are capable of submitting ourselves to the discipline that is obligatory for future triumph.

The apathy of the Belizean people
As I put to paper my thoughts, there is a downpour outside as rain washes away the filth over the old capital city and simultaneously washes away accessibility to the roads going west and south of the country. The floods are here, and the multi-million-dollar George Price Highway and Hummingbird Highway are caving in with just one heavy rainfall. The southern part of the country is inaccessible to the northern half from Cotton Tree Village, in the Cayo District, upwards. A culvert at Saint Matthews Village has collapsed and a portion of the road is being washed away.

Musings by the Curious Nonconformist
Maya Angelou performed her adapted version of Paul Lawrence’s poem, “We Wear the Mask.” Her rendition is named ‘The Mask’: We wear the mask that grins and lies. It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes. This debt we pay to human guile With torn and bleeding hearts…

Until a person is not superior and another inferior, it is war! – Bob Marley
Dear Editor, The Belize National Security Strategy 2018 – 2020, states: “Our national vision is for a Belize of peace and tranquility, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life”. This is definitely a political goal. I will focus on Belize’s murder rate as the predominant index of living in harmony and a high quality of life of the Belizean populace. I view the security force, in particular the police, as an agent and a reflection of the political leaders’ demeanor.

Better to be safe than sorry
Dear Editor, The more we study the virus, the more we are convinced that the face masks are most important, plus washing of hands and social distancing, to avoid the pandemic. In the beginning, I blamed the WHO and CDC for discouraging people from using the masks because they were fearful that there would not be enough for the frontline workers.

Alejandro Vernon asks questions
Dear Editor, A gas station is being constructed within Punta Gorda (PG) Town limits. The private property belongs to Augusto Mak, a resident and holder of other properties within Punta Gorda. We do not know whether the builders complied with the following: a) submission of an application to the Punta Gorda Town Council; b) submission of an application to the Public Works Dept.; c) submission as well of an application or paperwork to the Ministry attending to gas stations; and d) the undertaking of a process to bury the tanks (as is required within the town limits).

What speaking to my daughter about George Floyd taught me about my race privilege as an African
Editor’s note: Stephanie Busari is a Supervising Producer at CNN. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria where she leads multi-platform coverage. LAGOS, Nigeria, Sat. June 13, 2020 (CNN)– “Why didn’t you tell me, mummy? I’m so upset!” “Tell you what?” “About George Floyd.” My heart skipped a beat. My daughter is nine, and I had hoped to shield her from the brutality of that video.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Hurricane season “paused” by Saharan dust from Africa
After a frenetic start to what is expected to be an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, […]

Belize Defence Force engages in search and rescue
The Belize Defence Force today engaged in a search and rescue operation in the Frank’s […]

Belize Assembly for Persons With Diverse Abilities pleads with Central Prison for urgent medical care to save paraplegic inmate’s life
The Belize Assembly for Persons With Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) is pleading with the Kolbe Foundation, […]

Belize creditors organize as government requests Superbond deferral
According to Reuters, Belize’s bondholders led by Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo & Co. LLC and […]

U.S. Government delivers two ambulances to Twin Towns for emergency response
Today, the United States Government delivered two ambulances donated by the Virginia Emergency Services Program, […]

Reservoir level remains above spillway at dams; Flood warning remains in effect
The National Hydrological Service has issued a flood warning for flood-prone areas. A decrease in […]

Educators and historians speak of returning Black history to U.S. classrooms
An African proverb quoted by Dr. Assad Shoman in his seminal “13 Chapters of a […]

Sitting of House of Representative to be held next week
The Government of Belize has informed that there will be a sitting of the House […]

Police Association’s new board pledges to promote unity
A total of 1,032 police officers cast their votes yesterday to elect a new managing […]

George Price Highway between Belmopan and Belize City reopens
Authorities have informed that the George Price Highway between Belmopan and Belize City is now […]

Blogs

Mini Shipwreck Adventure
When it comes to world-class snorkeling, Belize ranks high. The Caribbean Sea and barrier reef offer blue crystal waters home to a large variety of different species of fish, coral, and other marine life. There are many great tour companies to book your snorkel trips and a wide variety of boat options. Everything from catamaran, pontoon, and speed boat. However, sometimes you just want a simple fun free option especially if you are on a COVID-19 budget. Also a fun easy option for families. This self-guided snorkeling tour lets you enjoy the underwater world without a boat. All it takes is a dock walk and your imagination to enjoy this amazing underwater world.

How to Explore the best of San Ignacio, Cayo
Most people who visit Belize head straight for the offshore cayes or even to the coast of the Placencia Peninsula. It’s easy to see why, but Belize offers much more than beautiful beaches. For those who enjoy wandering off the beaten path, here’s how to explore the best of Western Belize with the lively San Ignacio town. Being an inland region known for its rolling mountains, acres of lush forest and colonial-style neighbourhoods, the Cayo District is well familiar with eco-tourism. Meanwhile, San Ignacio has become the favourite starting point for anyone who wants to explore the wilder side of Belize. Here are the top recommended things to see and do in San Ignacio.

WHY COROZAL BAY BE SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT TRIP VACATION
There isn't much to see or do in Corozal Town. It's mostly just a stopping point for weary travelers. However, it sits on the shores of a pretty, quiet bay with amazing turquoise-blue water that is officially the Bay of Corozal Bay. If you want to split hairs, the small bay just off Corozal Town could be considered a separate entity from the larger Bay of Chetumal that it sits in. If you've just come from Mexico, you can take a day or two to walk around town and marvel at the difference between Mexican culture and Belizean culture.

Must-Do Water Activities in Belize
Sometimes you want to spend your holiday flopped on the beach. Sometimes you want to get fired up with adrenaline and spend your holiday adventuring. Whilst Belize offers both, if you’re looking to rev up your water activities, then this is for you. Belize is home to the second largest Barrier Reef, which stretches 185 miles along the coastline. This reef is the perfect playground for the underwater adventure lovers. Diving and snorkelling, sailing and kayaking, kitesurfing and parasailing; many of Belize’s biggest thrills can be found under and on the water. Here are some of our favourite aquatic adventures to get the heart-rate up.

Belize introduces Gold Standard Recognition Program for Tourism
As Belize’s tourism industry prepares to reopen for tourism, the health and safety of the country is more important than ever to mitigate risk of COVID-19. To meet these challenges and expectations, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is launching its Gold Standard Recognition Program for the hotels alongside the country’s national tourism guidelines. These new protocols are focused on enhanced hotel and restaurant cleaning practices, social interactions, workplace policies, and standard operating procedures while ensuring minimal impact on the guest experience. Furthermore, the 9-Point Program will enhance tourism industry health and safety standards by adopting new behaviors and procedures to ensure both travellers and employees are confident in the safety of Belize’s hotels and restaurants.


Re: Today's Belize News: June 20, 2020 [Re: Marty] #543072
06/20/20 05:47 AM
06/20/20 05:47 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,605
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Marty Offline OP

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International Sourcesizz

The Guardian: The end of tourism?
The pandemic has devastated global tourism, and many will say ‘good riddance’ to overcrowded cities and rubbish-strewn natural wonders. Is there any way to reinvent an industry that does so much damage? By Christopher de Bellaigue. This is a very interesting article from the UK Guardian newspaper, basically concluding that it’s time to re-invent tourism. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Large plume of Saharan Dust heading for Florida
Something big is brewing in the tropics. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with tropical development, but instead, a big cloud of dust! This large plume of dust, often referred to as African dust or the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), will engulf much of the Atlantic basin in the coming days as it heads east toward the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and eventually Florida. The highest concentration of Saharan dust is now over the eastern Atlantic after originating from the Sahara Desert a few days ago.

Airlines ban alcohol on planes in response to Covid-19
Alcohol sales may have boomed during lockdown, but our return to air travel will be an altogether more sobering experience. Airlines including Easyjet and KLM in Europe, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines in the United States, and Asia's Virgin Australia, are suspending all or part of their alcoholic drinks service in response to Covid-19. It's part of a widespread revision of the industry's food and drink service to minimize interaction between crew and passengers and to ensure a safer journey for all. With face masks already mandatory on pretty much all flights around the world, and new legislation introduced in January 2020 to curb anti-social behavior on flights, it's another in a line of barriers -- literal and legal -- to getting high in the sky. Many airlines are limiting drink options to water only.

Simone Biles Casually Nails Another Astonishing Move In Training
Blink and you may miss Simone Biles’ latest astonishing move in training. The greatest gymnast of all time nailed a triple-twisting double back off the balance beam in a video she shared online this week. “Sometimes I flip and what not,” she casually captioned the clip.

Videos

  • CAYE CAULKER ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION CERRMONY, 69min.

  • SECOND HALF OF THE CAYE CAULKER ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION CEREMONY, 71min.

  • Without Belize's three dams flooding could have been a lot worse says BECOL CEO, 3min. Aside from causing the rise of water levels downstream near San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Becol’s flood alert also spoke of the watersheds on the northern and eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains. According to Becol’s CEO without the dams the flooding could have been a lot worse.

  • Hand Line Fishing, 2min. The Video features fishing in the nearby mangrove formations and shallows. Onboard is our dedicated team who have all the tips on how to enjoy a good day of fishing .First to hunt sardines using throw nets and then heading out to our favourite spots to pull in some fresh snappers for dinner.

  • Webinar “Emergency Planning for Tour Operators”, 48min.

  • Uncovering COVID-19: A Channel 5 Special (Episode 11), 90min. Tonight's Guest is Lord Michael Ashcroft

  • Running W Meats - Fathers Day Specials, 12min. If you're having a cook-out this weekend Running W Meats has some great packages to satisfy all the meat lovers in your life. Terrence Rhaburn, Marketing & Sales Representative, talked with us about combo package, "The Griller's Delight." The packages are being sold at $85.00 each and consists of choice cuts of steak and ribs.

  • The University of the West Indies Open Campus Belize, 29min. The University of the West Indies Open Campus Belize has new leadership and she's a Belizean woman! Dr. Sharmayne Saunders has been appointed as Head of the UWI Open Campus Belize. We talked with her about her vision for the institution.

  • The National Gas Company - Update, 41min. The National Gas Company is an initiative to operate a state-of-the-art Liquefied Petroleum Gas facility in Belize. Gilbert Canton is the Managing Director of the National Gas Company. We invited him to our show to discuss the objectives of the company and the resulting issues for the wider local industry.

  • Despierta Belice June 19 2020, 90min.

  • Scuba divers find themselves being checked out by curious sharks, .5min. These sharks have come to check out some divers on Lighthouse reef, near the Great Blue Hole in Belize. They venture close, giving an intimidating look into their eyes and at their menacing teeth, but they don't consider the humans a source of food and they are in no danger.

  • Public Consultation for Port of Magical Belize, 3hrs. New Cruise Ship Port known as Port of Magical Belize discussion. Cruise Terminal 6km south of the Sibun River

  • Backpacking Belize | Caye Caulker, 2.5min. Wer als Backpacker in Belize unterwegs ist landet fast zwangsläufig auf der Insel Caye Caulker, die im karibischen Meer vor Belize liegt. Caye Caulker gilt als das Backpackerparadies und hat einige Highlights und Sehenswürdigkeiten zu Land und auch zu Wasser zu bieten. Aber auch abseits dieser Trauminsel ohne Strand hat Belize einiges zu bieten. Mayatempel, wirklich entspannte Menschen & tolle Tauch-Spots haben uns auf unserer Reise durch das kleine lateinamerikanische Land fasziniert.

  • Guava Limb Restaurant and Cafe - San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize, 2min.


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