Friday, January 30, 2009

Savor San Pedro postponed til Feb 7th

San Pedro Town will come alive this weekend as the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) will be hosting its 2nd Annual Savor San Pedro Food Festival. The event is expected to be bigger and better this year as food lovers will have the opportunity to sample from different food galore. The event will take place on Saturday, February 7th, at the Central Park. According to one of the organizers Rebecca Arceo, the event is intended to promote the community. “The event is in an effort to provide family entertainment and showcase the best chefs San Pedro Town has to offer,” stated Arceo. For entertainment, the event will kick off with the Steel Drums performances followed by several presentations including Mangrove Rhythms Jazz Duo, Kelly McGuire, Small World Band featuring Melody Man Escobar, San Pedro Dance Company and the Fire Dancers. But for those who want to enjoy the food galore, then there will be various booths to choose from. There will be Indian food, Asian food and of course the local food consisting of a variety of options including sea food. A panel of five judges will be calling their shots for the Best Appetizer, the Best Main Dish, the Best Dessert and the Best Drink after making stops at all the booths. In addition to those prizes, the public will have the opportunity to vote for one category, the People Choice Award. “The Central Park is there, lets use it to highlight the different aspect of this community,” stated Arceo. What a better way to use the Central Park than to treat yourself to an open air banquette. Food will be on sale as early as 5:00 p.m.

More local news....

RC students excel in HIV/Aids Poster Contest

Thomas Ack, Ciara Duran and Jessica Cruz, all students of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) were awarded on January 23rd at a ceremony in Belize City along with other winners for their contribution and participation in the National Primary School HIV/AIDS poster competition which was launched last November.
As part of the activities leading up to World Aids Day which was observed on December 1st, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the US Ambassador’s Small Grant Program for HIV/AIDS, held a poster competition where students got to submit entries based on the stigma and discrimination of the epidemic. As overwhelming statistics show, Belize is still has the third highest rate of infection in the Caribbean region and the highest in Central America and this contest was imperative to raise awareness among youngsters, to prevent their possible infection and discriminatory practices. A total of 40 submissions were made by the Standard Four students at SPRCS and only two other schools (St. Ignatius and Holy Redeemer) took part in the contest.

USVI eyes fiscal stimulus dollars

Governor John de Jongh
The United States Virgin Islands is preparing to take advantage of new spending opportunities in the fiscal stimulus package passed by the US House of Representatives.
Governor John de Jongh summoned officials and advisers to an early meeting because he says the House bill has strict deadlines.
He said the package was expected to make tens of millions of dollars available to the Virgin Islands for infrastructural projects, as well as other programmes.
President Obama's proposed $819 billion stimulus package is expected to go before the Senate next week.
Extreme cold kills 31 Mexicans
At least 31 Mexicans have died from causes relating to cold weather since early October, most of them from carbon monoxide poisoning, the government health ministry said Monday.
Carbon monoxide poisoning often occurs when charcoal grills, propane gas stoves or other fires are used as heat sources inside a dwelling that is not well ventilated. Few homes in Mexico have central heating.
The deaths were recorded in eight of Mexico's 31 states. Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, recorded the most deaths -- 10. Extreme cold led to eight deaths during the second week of January in the states of Chihuahua, Sonora and Michoacan, health officials said.
Last year, the health ministry reported 52 weather-related deaths in the October-March cold weather season.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RIP Luis "Wicho" Uribio

It is with great sadness that the we announce the death of Luis "Wicho" Uribio. Known for being a great football player for the San Pedro Dolphins, Wicho incorporated himself into the community through the sport he enjoyed. He will be sadly missed by all.
Funeral arrangements are being prepared and will be announced later.
Sunrise: February 18th, 1981
Sunset: January 28th, 2009
Bonefish are a major driver of Florida’s multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry. Based on boat and tackle sales, guide fees and fishing licenses, University of Miami fisheries scientist Jerry Ault estimates each South Florida bonefish is worth about $3,500 (u/s) a year, or about $75,000 (u/s) over its lifetime.
The Miami Herald
As the Miami Herald pointed out, the economic sport fishing value is great. For years, local fishermen and tourism organization on the island have continued their lobby with Central Government to institute a Sports Licensing Fee. Coastal Zone Management Authority signed up to the new regulation last week and many were the questions that remained after the release was issued.
In the release it was stated that any angler who wishes to engage in sport fishing will now be required to first receive a license. According to Billy Leslie of the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association explained that the fees will be payable by tourists who wish to engage in the sport. The fees have been categorized as follows: one day - $20; one week - $50 and $100 for the year.
Leslie explained, “We have been, for years, with both UDP and PUP governments, been lobbying to safeguard certain fishes, such as, bonefish, tarpon, permit, and others that will be named later.”
According to the release, in the next coming weeks, consultations will be held and anglers will have the opportunity to discuss problems and present recommendations for the betterment of the industry in a whole.
For further information about the new fees and the process to acquire a license kindly contact CZMAI offices on Princess Margaret Drive, Belize City or contact telephone number 223-0719/223-5739/223-2616.

Police Dept. will use technology to combat crime

Marleni Cuellar reporting: Earlier in the newscast we reported on the brevity of the controversial Crooks Report and at today’s conference at the Raccoon Street Police Station, police told the press that the department is turning to a new strategy to combat the alarming levels of crime. And this involves the use of technology that will balance expertise and technical know-how on a limited budget. News Five’s Jose Sanchez tried to find out how this technology will bring results to the fight against crime.

Jose Sanchez: “There is a general feeling that because we have a problem with witnesses testifying, perhaps maybe the police needs to shift more to forensics. Will we ever have a fully operational forensics lab that we can depend upon?”

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security: “I think we will. This is one of our programs that is slowly developing. If you look back three of four years ago there was hardly anything. But setting up a really first class forensic lab is extremely expensive. For example, to get into DNA you’re talking about one million Belize. So we do have a time line. This year we’re going to get the ballistic machine, next year we look at it—it’s a program that is slowly progressing.”

Assistant commissioner of Police Crispin Jeffries said that old fashion police work has made them able to pinpoint the areas of Belize City which are hot spots for criminal activity.

Click here to read more

Source: Channel 5 News

Prime Minister Skerrit raps Caricom

The Prime Minister of Dominica has said he disagreed with the decision to postpone meetings of two important heads of government committees.
Dominica's Roosevelt Skerrit
The meetings, which were scheduled to take place in Barbados this week, were due to discuss tensions over the direction of the Caricom single market and external trade negotiations.

Dominca's Roosevelt Skerrit, who is responsible for free movement within Caricom's quasi cabinet, said the meetings should have gone ahead because of the importance of the agenda.

PM Skirret said the Secretariat postponed the meeting because some leaders couldn't attend. The meetings will now be held in Belize in March. PM Skerrit also denied that divisions among Caricom leaders led to the postponement.

IMF: High debt constrains OECS

The IMF has said that member countries of Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have little room for fiscal stimulus packages because of high public debt levels.

An International Monetary Fund team is visiting OECS nations during this month. A statement from the Fund, issued after a series of meetings in St Kitts and Nevis, cited the two-island federation as an example of carrying “formidably high" debt.

The island's debt stands at 170 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. The IMF said that growth in Eastern Caribbean nations would remain flat during this year, because of the global economic downturn. The islands experienced 2.5 percent growth last year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Social Club donates cafeteria to SPRCS

The San Pedro Social Club recently donated the funds for a cafeteria at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Elementary School. An old wooden classroom that hadn’t been used for several years was torn down and is getting a new life as a concrete cafeteria. The structure had the concrete posts and pilings so Mossiah Construction had to remove the old crumbling wood to replace the walls and floor with the new concrete and fit in the plumbing needs for a kitchen area.
Inside the building several items have already been donated to help furnish the cafeteria. Harmouch Center has donated a sink prep area, along with Crazy Canucks has a commercial microwave oven to add to the space. Ms. Jan Brown has some shelving she donated and Mossiah Construction will adding cupboards for storage. Please contact the school at 226-2550 if you have any items you wish to donate to the cafeteria.
Read more on this story and more in Thursday's edition of The San Pedro Sun Newspaper!

Tourist's throat cut in Caye Caulker robbery

Jacqueline Godwin reporting: A visitor to Caye Caulker nearly lost her life when her throat was cut by an armed robber. Fortunately she lived and will recover but with such a bold attack, the question is can Belize’s tourism product take the injury in such a tenuous time? She told me her story today.

Sofia Stefaniw, Victim of Brutal Assault/Robbery: “I am just in shock. I guess, I would have preferred for this not to have happened. God willing I will recover. It will take a while for the swelling to go down and…but as far as the doctors are saying it is just a matter of time.”
Twenty four hours after only just arriving in Belize on Monday night sixty six year old Canadian nurse and tourist Sofia Stefaniw was helicopter to Belize Health Care Partners Limited where she is recovering from a deep chop wound to the left side of her neck. Earlier that night Sofia and her Canadian friend fifty five year old Valerie Walker a resident of Caye Caulker were held up and attacked by a man holding a machete and knives.
Sofia Stefaniw: “We had come back from a place called the Sandbox, we biked back and then we arrived into her yard and it was quite dark. There are a few lights but it is quite dark and out of the bushes this guy just came out with a machete and a knife, one in each hand. He said I want your money. I remember that, ‘I want your money,’ and I said I will give you my money and I believed that is when he whacked me and then Valerie was trying to get the money out of her pocket and he stabbed her with the knife. I think he used the knife on her, hers was just on the side but mine was a laceration and it nipped an artery.”
Jacqueline Godwin,Because you are a nurse by profession, you knew it was a serious injury?

Click here to read more

Ship with treasure found at sea

A British ship laden with precious treasure has been reportedly found off the coast of Guyana. The ship, which sunk in 1942, was spotted by the American Sub Sea Research Company, which specializes in undersea research and surfacing of valuable remainder of shipwrecks, the Maritime Bulletin stated.
`The Blue Baron`, as the ship has been nicknamed, apparently sunk with gold, platinum, and diamonds worth 2,600 million pounds sterling. It is about 250 meters below the sea.
It is believed the ship was scuttled by a German U-87 submarine about 40 miles from the coast of Guyana, where it had stopped over.

Haiti hosts ministers

Foreign ministers of member countries of the Association of Caribbean States are meeting in Haiti this week to discuss tourism, natural disasters and climate change.

Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Alrich Nicholas said that the meeting would have a positive impact on improving his country's image in the world.

Haiti has been under the oversight of a 7,000-strong Brazilian-led UN mission since 2004 amid extended political and social turmoil.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Mad Storme' is Top Boat in 3rd Wahoo Challenge

After the boats came in and the qualified fish weighed and tallied, fihermen wasted no time in preparing fillets to take home. Wahoo's of all shapes and sizes hit the dock on Saturday . The Captain Morgan's Crew came in second overall in the competition Adrian Heusner's "Mad Storme" took home the first prize of $3,000 plus trophy.Karen onboard Captain Morgan's vessel won female angler of the tournament.
Enrique Marin and sons took the prize for 'Biggest wahoo' of 48 pounds. Read more on this story in Thursday's edition of The San Pedro Sun Newspaper!

BEL tried to block rate decrease

Nineteen days ago on Tuesday, January 7th, we told you that your light bill would be going down by thirteen percent....but, not so fast, or if BEL has its way, maybe not at all! Last Thursday, the utility went to court requesting an injunction against the new rate package. BEL’s complaint is that it was passed without inviting comment from BEL or the public – which is a procedural necessity.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has delayed the implementation of its amendments to the 2008 ARP Final Decision for BEL in order to undertake public consultation. Toward this end, the PUC issued a public notice today, inviting comments from interested persons.

The PUC will receive written comments until Wednesday, February 4th, 2009. It intends to issue its decision to either confirm or further amend the Amendment to the 2008 Annual Review Proceeding Final Decision on Friday, February 6th, 2009. The Commission’s public notice is being published in the Tuesday edition of the Amandala, and the weekend editions of other widely circulated newspapers. Your light bill for January will go down sharply – by more than ten percent.
Click here to read more ...

CARICOM Leaders discuss progress on CSME

Regional leaders and officials are gathering in separate meetings this week to discuss progress made towards establishing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and to focus on moving forward with the establishment of the Single Economy. The 13th Meeting of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) will be held on Thursday to discuss preparation for the Single Economy and updates on the Single Market, while the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) will meet the following day to focus on key elements of the Community's flagship programmed.


Castro for first Russian trip

Cuban President Raul Castro is due to arrive in Moscow on Wednesday January 28th, for his first visit as Cuba's leader, according to the Russian government. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last week that the Kremlin was considering a $20 million loan to Cuba. The money would be used to buy Russian goods.

President Castro's trip is being seen as underlining the revival in ties between Moscow and its Cold War ally. The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visited Cuba last year.

Monday, January 26, 2009

UDP holds convention to present slate

On Saturday night, hundreds gathered at Central Park for the unveiling of the United Democratic Party's plan of action for Belize Rural South. Along with the seven candidates, present were Prime Minister Honorable Dean Barrow, Area Representative for Port Loyola 'Boots' Martinez and Area Representative for Belmopan, John Zaldivar. Flanked by PM Dean Barrow are Elsa Paz and her six councilor candidates
PM Barrow takes the podium to address the crowd

Candidate Nano Guerrero makes his speech

The UDP 7 plan to 'keep progress alive'
Hundreds of supporters showed up. Super Furia was on hand and provided live music whilst the congregate took advantage of the $2 beer that was on sale. Read more on this in Thursdays edition of The San Pedro Sun.

MORE local news......

Jill Holly performs in Benefit Concert for Holy Cross

A well known international American artist performed during a fundraiser event at Wet Willy’s on Friday night. The event was conducted to assist the San Pedro Holy Cross Anglican School.
The fundraiser feature musical presentation from internationally known female musical artist Jill Holly from US. Jilly Holly is famous for her folk-rock songs and is renowned songwriter. During each presentation there were many raffles and prizes. Read more on this story in Thursday's edition of The San Pedro Sun!

Prime Minister Dean Barrow presents plan

“In approaching this first press conference for 2009, it was necessary to reiterate a message of hope and a plan of action. I thought this would provide an excellent forum to be made use of, to announce the $5 million dollar immediate Belize City plan and the contours of the fiscal spending - the public sector investment package that we have been able to secure from our external partners, which will provide the stimulus that is necessary.”

Held at the Radisson Fort George, Honorable Dean Barrow presented his quarterly press conference. Referring to the great economist, John Maynard Keynes who preached a doctrine that suggested you avoid or deal with a recession by running deficits and borrowing when the economy slows, because private sector investment just won’t be enough, Honorable Barrow commented, “We’re all Keynesians now,” quoting former US president Richard Nixon.
“In order to get us through the externally imposed constraints, we can and certainly will borrow ‘concessionally’ from the international financial institutions,” he said.

The financing is made up of:

(1) $60 million already approved by the Inter-American Development Bank, CABEI (Central American Bank for Economic Integration) and OFID (OPEC Fund for International Development) for tourism and solid waste management projects;

(2) $30 million from the Caribbean Development Bank - $20 million for the revived Development Finance Corporation and $10 million for the Belama drainage project and the improvement of the Northern Highway, from Belize City to Haulover, which is to be transformed into a 4-lane highway. Barrow said GOB would try to persuade the Social Security Board to lend DFC more funds, in the region of $10 million;

(3) $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank for infrastructure rehabilitation on the Western Highway, at places like Mile 8 and 11 which experienced major flood damage;

(4) $30 million from the World Bank, which has revived lending to Belize, Barrow said, due to GOB’s good housekeeping seal of approval – funds for 6 municipalities, $5 million each, primarily for streets, drains, landscaping. Those funds won’t be available until around the third quarter of the year, said Barrow.

(5) $20 million grant from the European Union for road infrastructure in the north of the country;

(6) $20 million from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund, chartered by Trinidad & Tobago president, Patrick Manning;

(7) $10 million, without conditionality, from the International Monetary Fund, for balance of payments support as a consequence of flood damage; and

(8) $10 million from the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI) for the Social Investment Fund and the BNTU.

“That then is our version of the stimulus package that, of course, so very many countries in the world are resorting to,” said the Prime Minister. “This will increase employment, pump money into the economy, and create the rising tide designed to float all boats, even at a time of recession.”

Westernhaven damage assessment completed

Westerhaven cargo ship crashed into Belize’s reef two weeks ago and our colleagues at 7NEWS has been reliably informed this evening that the ports navigational investigation on the grounding of Wsterhaven is complete. The determination finds that the ship and its captain Fritz Schroeder were negligent, and as such, activates section 29 of the Environmental Act which would allow the department of environment to charge the ship’s owner – three (3) times the damage.
In this case that’s roughly $30 million multiplied by three which amounts to $90 million. Of course that is what the law says but more than likely – a settlement will be worked out with the ship’s owner.
The Department of Environment and the Fisheries Department are still tallying the true damage and we are told the Department of Environment is finished with its assessment. A final figure should be decided upon by today.

Click here for related post.

European Union parliament studies Economic Partnership Agreement

A committee of the European Parliament has started deliberations on the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, between the Europe Union, EU and the Caribbean.
The liberalised trade deal was signed last year amid much recrimination in the Caribbean.
In his draft report on the EU-Caribbean agreement, the Scottish Member of the European Parliament, David Martin, stated that he saw no reason why the EPA would not work.
But he highlighted the need for a critical assessment after five years if it is not working.

Chavez signals to Obama

The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has welcomed suggestions that the new US administration now headed by President Barrack Obama might be ready for better relations. But President Chavez stated Washington must make the first move. In a newspaper article, President Chavez stated that the US would be greeted with open arms if it was the first to unclench its fist.
In his inaugural address, President Obama said his administration would be prepared to extend a hand to America's antagonists around the world if they were prepared to open their fists.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

3rd Annual Wahoo challenge today!

Last years champs, 'Fish Tales' with winning wahoo
Its wahoo season so you know what that means, big fish will be hitting the docks in this years Wahoo Challenge slated for today, Saturday at the Captain Morgan's Retreat. Anglers have already set sail and are out fishing, hoping to reel in the 'catch of the day'. The weigh in station close at 6pm and then the winners will be announced.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Traffic collision leaves one injured

Information is still shortcoming into a traffic accident that left a man hospitalized. Sometime between 12:15 PM and 12:30 PM on Friday, January 23rd, Police were called to the scene of a traffic accident which had occurred at Coconut Drive next to Island Supermarket. Arriving at the scene, police observed a blue motorcyle which was on the right hand side of the road and had collided against a golf cart, the property of SP Hardware.
While police investigation is ongoing, they have stated that the driver of the motorcycle identified as 38-year-old Carlos Castillo of a Boca Del Rio address, San Pedro Town, who was driving his motorcycle from a southern to a northern direction when he accidentally collided with a golf cart being driven by Dennis Borjas.
As a result of the accident, Castillo sustain head and body injury and was rushed to the San Pedro Poly-Clinic in an unconscious state. The victim, after initial treatment will then be transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Castillo was on his way back to work at Legacy after being on official work business.
The Sun will have more on this story in Thursday's edition! Stay tuned!