Today's Belize News: September 30, 2012 - 09/30/12 01:23 PM
Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
Nexos Magazine visits Belize
Nexos magazine’s editorial director, Ana Christina Reymundo, was in the country from September 13th – September 17th traversing both inland and offshore areas in the country. American Airlines inflight magazine, Nexos, focuses primarily on an affluent business and casual Hispanic clientele. The magazine is published 6 times a year and has an outreach of over 200,000 people. Nexos magazine introduces its readers to fun and interesting information that integrates worldwide data, as well as incorporates different aspect of the Latin American culture. The magazine covers travel, business, technology, art, lifestyle and interviews with famous Latin personalities and has won many awards.
American Crocodile Poached North of San Pedro
On Sunday, September 23rd a young Nestor Castillo, (AKA “Busta”) reported to ACES that he had spotted a dead crocodile in the north Ambergris Caye area. The following day, Castillo led the ACES team to where the dead croc was discovered very near to an area that is currently a proposed protected area for wildlife but is frequented by hunters. After retrieving the floating carcass from a roadside canal ACES was able to determine that the croc had been shot in the back of the head, most likely as it tried to flee. The head had then been chopped off with a machete. American crocodiles are a protected species and this activity is illegal in Belize. The purchasing of the skull or teeth or any parts of crocodilians is also illegal. In fact, if anyone tries to cross International boarders with any parts of an American crocodile, they will be arrested, fined, and jailed.
Two highways renamed on Independence Day in honor of National Heroes
Two of the four major highways in Belize were renamed in honor of two Belizean National Heroes. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow during his official Independence Day speech in Belmopan City. The two highways that were renamed were the Northern Highway and the Western Highway. In his address, PM Barrow announced that such an occasion serves as a day to reflect on the legacy of both heroes. “We just a few days ago observed the one year anniversary of Mr. Price’s death. And obviously the divine providence, in which he so wholly believed, arranged things so that, even in terms of dates, our Independence Day reflections will ever hereafter be centrally linked to the remembrances of the life and work of George Cadle Price. Today, then, we celebrate him even as we celebrate Belize. And we know that from that special place in the pantheon which he occupies together with Philip Goldson, his benediction continues to envelop us. This is thus the time to make an Independence Day announcement regarding these two, who shall always remain the brightest stars in our modern historical firmament: The Government of Belize, in conjunction with the National September Celebrations Committee, is officially renaming the Western Highway the George Price Highway; and the Northern Highway the Philip SW Goldson Highway,” said PM Barrow.
National Geographic Traveler: Blue Hole Is A “Place To Celebrate”
Exciting News! Belize’s extraordinary Blue Hole has been featured in the Traveler’s issue of National Geographic magazine. The August/September 2012 issue features a story on “World Wonders, 10 Places to Celebrate.” National Geographic Traveler is the world’s most read travel magazine and uses a sense of story-telling complemented by sensational imagery. “We’re very happy to see our magnificent country being continuously covered in these world renowned magazines, especially that of the National Geographic Traveler” commented the Director of Tourism, Mrs. Laura Frampton. The overall theme of this magazine is “Nobody Knows the World Better.” In this issue, writer George W. Stone attempts to bring recognition to “lesser known jewels of natural beauty and cultural tradition” that are sometimes overlooked and even threatened. The article mentions Jacques Cousteau’s theory on the formation of the Great Blue Hole. He believes that this phenomenon is due to geological shifts from over 150,000 years ago.
Misc Belizean Sources
There are big challenges ahead, says new Executive Director of Ya’axché Conservation Trust
Christina Garcia talks to Fauna & Flora International about the emerging challenges and exciting opportunities for conservation in Belize. Last week, Fauna & Flora International staff in Cambridge had the chance to meet the new Executive Director of Ya’axché Conservation Trust (Ya’axché), Christina Garcia. With a background in natural resource management and marine biology, Christina brings to the role extensive experience of managing community-based conservation and awareness-raising activities in Belize. In this short interview, Christina shares her thoughts on the challenges ahead and her hopes for the future: What is the biggest environmental challenge in Belize today? I would say that the biggest challenge we face is raising awareness of the issues, and helping people to understand that NGOs want to protect Belize’s resources for the future. There are two aspects to this. At the national level (and particularly in the cities) we need to help people understand what the threats to Belize’s natural resources are.
Team Investigates Climate Change Impacts on Maya Civilization
Dr. Jason Polk, a faculty member in WKU’s Hoffman Environmental Research Institute, led a research expedition to Belize in August as part of an ongoing project investigating the socio-environmental dynamics of drought and climate change on the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization many centuries ago. Dr. Polk and several graduate students have been working with colleagues since 2009 from around the world, including archaeologists, environmental scientists, paleoclimatologists and geologists from London, Canada, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, the U.S EPA and the Institute of Archaeology in Belize, as part of a concerted effort to collect various data to help shed light on the much debated question of the environmental circumstances surrounding the decline of the Maya throughout Mesoamerica.
VIDEO: Diving Belize, Cypress Canyon, San Pedro
Local Dive 10 minutes from the dock.
Rotary Wine and Cheese Fundraiser
The Rotary Club of Belmopan is having their annual Wine and Cheese fundraiser at the George Price Centre. They'll be having raffles, sileny auctions, and the wine will be flowing. Proceeds will go towards the Belize Children's Project. Thanks, Rotary!
Benque Art Fiesta
The Benque House of Culture had their Full Moon concert and Art Fiesta yesterday, starting at 2:00. It was in Centennial Park, and there was live music, art, and food.
Tourists found illegally snorkeling in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve
Yesterday, Thursday, three tourists were found illegally snorkeling in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. How can tourists ‘illegally snorkel’ you may well ask? Well, to ensure the protection of the reef and its inhabitants, Tour Guides are assigned to lead snorkeling experiences within all the reserves in Belize and there is nothing different about the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. At lunchtime yesterday 3 un-named tourists thought that it would be a clever idea, to get out of paying for a licensed snorkeling trip, to take one of the free kayaks that are available at their hostel (Bellas) and paddle themselves to the reef!! It looks as though they were so cheap that they only had one snorkel and mask between them and therefore, when they got to Shark and Ray Alley they took it in turns to see what hid beneath the surface of the ocean, whilst the other two got sunburnt on the boat! Officials (who keep an ever protective eye on our reef) saw the kayakers and set out in a motor boat to evacuate them from the reef and take them home!! We had to watch and giggle to ourselves as the tourists one by one were pulled into the motor boat and their kayak was towed home, back to Caye Caulker and most likely to face small charges of breaking the law of the Marine Reserve!!
BTL Yields to CCJ: No Dividend Declared
The BTL Annual General Meeting will start in about half an hour - and those who attend the meeting will see an agenda item for declaration of a dividend. But, it's not going to happen. The meeting will proceed as normal but the Executive Chairman Nestor Vasquez has advised us that following the wishes of the majority Shareholder - which is the Government of Belize, no dividend will be declared. That was the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice earlier this week - which asked that the declaration of a dividend be deferred until at least December 15th. And yesterday, Government's legal advisor Gian Ghandi wrote to the Executive Chairman advising him that quote, "GOB does not agree to the declaration of dividends at the meeting scheduled for 28thSeptember, or any other date before the 14th day of December 2012." End quote. So that's the end of it -the AGM will proceed, but no dividend will be declared - which is a major anti-climax - since the main business of an AGM is to declare a dividend, which in BTL's case amounts to 45% of the company's annual profits. It will still happen, but shareholders will have to wait for the check close to Christmas.
Young Man Critical After Being Stabbed By His Brother
Tonight, 19 year-old Esau Bainton, a resident of Perez Road in Ladyville, is in critical condition at the KHMH after his own brother, his younger brother at that, stabbed him to the chest. It happened at around 7:30 when - allegedly - the siblings were fighting over a pair of tennis shoes. 7News spoke to one Ladyville resident who was one of the first to come to the elder Bainton's rescue. He called the police telling them that a dying man was before him. Here's his account: Albert Magdeleno, offered assistance to family "It was about 7:30 on my way going to work - I pass there every day and then I heard the entire family screaming and so I dash into the yard. When I got there they said that the younger brother had stabbed the other brother in the belly."
Hulse Hits Back At Senate Meeting On Sugar Bill
Today the Sugar Industry and Cogeneration Project Incentives Act went to the Senate. And while the bill is controversial, the real controversy that the Leader of Government Business Godwin Hulse wanted to deal with today was the harsh putdown Opposition Member Said Musa gave him on Wednesday. As Leader Of Government Business, Hulse had to lead the debate - but - following Mr. Musa's lead, he cut to the chase and went right to the ad hominem attack that had been leveled at him. Hulse dealt with the transcript of Musa's attack:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse "I begged your indulgence because the object of that was to discredit the messenger so the message could be discredited. As the good Rt. Honorable gentleman said, but we are not surprise quoting his exactly "because this minister is also a member of BSI board and therefore this minister wanted to carry a briefcase for American Refining and BSI." Mr. President if I wanted to carry a brief I would have come to this honorable house - having suggested that this is the best we can do and having made some private deal. This Senator and Minister would never betray the people of Belize that way."
Belize Makes An Impressive Showing At 3 On 3 Tourney
.0-0-16 of one percent - that's how Belize's population compares to China's 1.3 Billion people. But earlier today at the World Under 18, 3 on 3 basketball Championships in Seville, Spain that massive disparity in size didn't matter - what mattered was heart, toughness and skill, and Belize had more of it. And that's why tonight - we can proudly report - that, for the first time ever in anything - Belize has beaten China - the most populous country on earth. The game ended with a very close score of Belize 15, China 14. In the opening game, Belize's boys lost to New Zealand 21 - 10, and then beat Poland 21 - 14. That was considered an upset, but the real upset came in the third game when Belize beat China 15 - 14. In the final game of the day, our team was competitive against the undefeated Canada, ultimately losing 18 to 14, thus finishing the day 2 and 2.
Guatemalan Convicted Of Firearm Offences
Tonight, 28 year-old Guatemalan Ismael Antonio Moran Enriquez, is spending the first night of a 3 year sentence after he was convicted of firearm offences in the Belmopan Magistrate's Court. Viewers may remember that he is the man who was caught on May 9th, at the Benque Viejo border with a loaded .45 Colt pistol. You may also remember that the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson was hesitant to have Moran charged. The story was that he was only trying to help a woman carry her bag across the border. Well, after 7News blew the whistle, Enriquez was eventually charged with keeping a prohibited firearm and keeping prohibited ammunition.
Municipal Bond Bill Passed By Senate
The prospectus for the Municipal Bond has not been presented yet - but the city council has started a publicity campaign to generate public support for it. And, right on time, The Belize Municipal Bond Bill went to the Senate today. But the representative of the business sector expressed reservations - which is notable since the business sector is expected to buy into the bond offering. Senator Mark Lizarraga said that he is concerned that the Council plans to use 50% of its current revenue stream to service the bond:.. Senator Mark Lizarraga "We are bit alarmed that this 9A speaks to interest and principal payable in any year in respect of its debts shall not exceed 50% of the council's recurrent revenue from the previous year. Mr. President let's think about this, is the council in a surplus situation now or does it foresee being in a surplus situation in the future where it can take 50% of its income only to service debts and still be able to provide the services, salaries, garbage collection or whatever it is that the council is supposed to do - can it do that on the remaining 50% if its allocating for the possibility for using 50% of its income just to debt service. We think that that number is too high - 50% of your income just to finance debt. Yes we want the nice streets and yes we are happy for the beautiful streets that Belize will now have, streets that will last long hopefully. But we have to be responsible, we have to act responsibly. Can the City Council say to us that with 50% of the income that we have we will be able to take care of salaries, garbage collection and the other streets that will still need maintenance and repair, drains etc. Can they tell us that? We think it's too ambitious."
Min. Hulse Speaks On Immigration Debacle
And while that happened inside the Chamber, outside we spoke to Senator Godwin Hulse - about his other role - as Minister Of Immigration. Last week the Prime Minister announced that Hulse was leading a comprehensive review of the system to tie up loopholes and eliminate corruption. That's after Lebanese-American Rafic Labboun - an alleged Hezbollah affiliate - got a Belizean passport in two days - using the identity of Wilhelm Dyck - a Mennonite newborn who died in Shipyard 26 years ago. Hulse told us that the legislation is archaic: Hon. Godwin Hulse "We are working feverishly. Even as we speak the staff is putting together some final changes which we have taken to the SolGen to redo the legislation. The legislation is archaic and so there are some gaping holes - put in a nutshell perhaps it was at the time when men were very honorable." "What we seek to do is to ensure 3 things: first, that anybody who holds a document representing them as part of this beautiful family we call Belizeans that when they come for that document they are who they say they are and they are a Belizean either by birth, decent or registration and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that that is the case. When they step abroad and they represent themselves as a member of this family it can be genuine because for everybody who misrepresents they disenfranchise every one of us: you, myself and all the rest of us will look like some kind of fake, so we are intending of ensuring that."
Twelfth Annual Natl. Nutrition Quiz
The final for the 12th annual ADM Secondary School National Nutrition Quiz Competition was held today at the Biltmore Plaza. Seven schools competed but only one could win and that was Bishop Martin High from Orange Walk. The Quiz which is held every year to promote proper nutrition drew a large crowd today and 7news was there to capture it. Melissa Tucker, School Health Coordinator "It's a fun way for students to learn. We really want to encourage a healthy lifestyle and ways to look at our nutrition; what we eat and our physical activity. We want healthy students because like our theme says they are our future of Belize." "The competition has 3 phases, what you are seeing here is the second phase the national competition but before this we had our district competitions, all high schools in the country were invited to participate and base on the competitions we did in the districts we had first place winners - they come to the nationals."
T-R Wins 2012 Carnival Song Competition
The September Celebration Season is done and the question is which was the most popular carnival song of the year? We know last year's winner, Ernestine Carballo's "Carnival is Here" was still in heavy rotation but the winner is the artist "TR" otherwise known as Ivan Burgess. His song, "Wave the Flag" was from the National Song Competition was the most popular carnival song played at Mas Camps, on the radio stations and during carnival road march. For his tunesmith efforts, TR received $1,000.00, a trophy and a gift certificate from Ludwig studios for $200.00 worth of studio time.
PM Barrows Praises To Belizean Heroes
And as we close the news on this last Friday in September - we do so by reprising a bit of the Prime Minister's Independence day address. He discussed heroes in our midst - people whose efforts and contribution often go un-heralded - such as those firefighters - who risked life and limb to douse a superheated forty thousand gallon butane tank. Tonight, to end the celebration season on just the right note - we celebrate Belize by giving those folks their due.
Saturday Sailing Surprise
We were surprised to look over at the Grand Caribe dock today and see the unmistakable Optimist dinghies of the San Pedro Sailing Club moored on the water. Stepping further out onto our veranda, I saw another moored boat with a bright jib, and a Hobie Cat with its brightly striped, tall mainsail up on the beach. Of course I had to head out immediately with my camera to snap a few shots. Cowboy Doug saw me taking photos and came out to ask me if I would post them on his Facebook page. I wasn't sure how they would even turn out because I couldn't even see my viewfinder in the bright sun, but I got pretty lucky. He said the sailors had brought their own hot dogs to put on the grill, and some of their parents had met them there for some food and beverages. I am sure they enjoyed a dip in the Grand Caribe pool as well since the day was plenty warm. After lunch, they headed back to their home base at Caribbean Villas, I'm guessing. What a perfect day for sail they had, with moderate easterly breezes. We would have enjoyed sailing south with them on a comfortable beam reach.
A Beach Walk On Ambergris Caye...Some New Things and An Old Favorite
Yesterday morning, I headed north to walk some dogs at the SAGA Humane Society. Here are some things that I saw along the way. Royal Palms just completed a project to reclaim the beach. About 20 feet off the current shoreline, big sacks of sand have been placed. Supposedly, over time, new sand will wash over the bags and be trapped. Let's hope it works! We'll have the biggest sandiest beach in San Pedro. A pretty but menacing looking osprey was surveying the sea for something to eat. There were a few big black clouds but in general the day was GORGEOUS. The darkness just makes the blues of the ocean look brighter.
Caribbean Growth in an International Perspective: The Role of Tourism and Size: IMF
Summary: After earlier success, growth performance in most Caribbean countries has been disappointing since the early 1990s. With slower growth, output has fallen behind that of relevant comparator countries. This paper analyzes the growth experience of the Caribbean countries from a cross country perspective. Three findings stand out. First, the slowdown in growth is explained more by a decline in productivity rather than a lack of investment. Second, tourism has been a significant contributor to higher growth (through both capital accumulation and productivity) and lower output volatility, and in many countries there is scope for further expansion of this sector. Third, the small size and the fact that most of these countries are islands have limited growth. Policies aimed at improving productivity, further development of the tourism sector, and regional integration could pay dividends in terms of higher growth in the region.
Cohune oil: new methods for a traditional resource
The ingenuity and traditional practices of colonial communities have long helped sustain their livelihoods. In Flowers Bank, a small village in the area of Belize, the art of cohune palm oil extraction once became a valuable income earner for slaves during the off-season months of the timber trade. The methods used by slaves to process cohune nuts were labor intensive, but today, modern technology is enabling their descendants to produce valuable cohune oil while preserving the local ecosystem. In August, a program developed by the Flowers Bank community and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (“CCCCC”) began mechanizing traditional oil extraction practices and incorporating renewable energy sources into production. Flowers Bank, which sits within the dense forest corridor of the Belize River Valley, is home to thousands of the Attalea cohune species of cohune palms. Harvested for centuries by the Maya, cohune nuts offer rich natural oils, for use in cooking and as fuel.