Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Local, National and Regional News for Wednesday, February 11th

Boogie in Belize 5 this weekend! Book your jump today!
They are no strangers to the islanders, however; it is always exciting to know that the Boogie in Belize group in back for yet another thrilling skydiving experience. This year marks the fifth consecutive trip to San Pedro for Tsunami Skydivers Incorporated and every year the extreme sport seems to attract even more visitors to La Isla Bonita. Skydivers from across the globe including Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Argentina, Peru and even Belize look forward to the event.
For those who enjoy the experience of throwing themselves from out of a perfectly good airplane, or simply like to experience the once in a lifetime thrill from a height of over 13,000 feet, there will be ten days of fun starting on Saturday, February 14th and will run until Monday, February 23rd. While it is described as a delicate sport, the enthusiasts look forward to keep on practicing the event. Once out of the plane, skydivers plunge to earth at a speed of about 120 miles per hour. The twin engine plane that resembles a shark takes as many as 23 skydivers per jump. Once out of the plane at the altitude of about at 5,000 feet the parachute is let open where the descend is a little slower so you get to enjoy the bird’s eye view of San Pedro Town and all its beauty until you make it to the landing field in front of Coco Locos.
This year, the event is no different, 60 skydivers will be making jumps starting this Saturday. Requirements to participate in a tandem jump are simple; you must be below 225 pounds and be in good health. Anyone wanting to make to have a once in a life time experience, can sign up at the Sun Breeze Hotel for a price of US$225. But if you would like your jump documented, an additional fee of US$110 is charged for video and still pictures.

National and Regional news

Said Musa will stand trial in Supreme CourtDid former Prime Minister Said Musa steal twenty million Belize dollars in public funds? That’s the question that will have to be decided by a jury after he was committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court on a charge of theft. Magistrate Earl Jones announced his decision this morning in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court ending a preliminary inquiry in which arguments were heard on January 29th. At that time Musa’s lead attorney Edwin Flower made a no case submission. Magistrate Jones did not give his decision immediately, saying he needed time to consider the arguments from both sides.

He found that there is enough evidence to establish a prima facie case against the former two term Prime Minister. On the issue of jurisdiction, he found that, “while the offence was committed abroad....the intended result is the commission of a criminal Belize.” As regards the question of ownership of the money as property, and the contention that no ownership was established so Musa couldn’t have stolen it. Jones found that by the evidence of the deposition of Amalia Mai and the letter sent by former PM Musa, he assumed the rights of ownership.
With that written decision which took less than ten minutes to deliver, Jones found that there is enough to commit Musa to stand trial in the next session of the Supreme Court on April 7th., 2009. Backed by a group of supporters, Musa told us he is disappointed, but confident.
Said Musa, Accused of Theft, “I am still very confident; it is not over until it is over.”
Jules Vasquez, "You must be disappointed though.
Said Musa,“Yes I am disappointed because I believe that from day one this is a bogus charge. It is political persecution, it is a witch hunt, and I felt that the statements that were submitted to the court clearly show that no money was stolen. But you know in this business, some people just insist on passing the buck and I can understand that, the pressures are tremendous. This is what we are dealing with. I believe in the justice system and I believe in the end justice will prevail. The fact of the matter is who is leading the whole prosecution in this matter. The Prime Minister himself. It is his statement, for almost a year now, he has been insisting that he wants to have me charged and he is getting his way now, I am being charged and I am now being sent for trail. In fact he himself has volunteered a statement. So it is very clear that this thing has executive pressure behind it.”

EU seek deal with Banana producing countries

Bananas have proved to be a difficult area for Europe

The European Commission has confirmed that it is negotiating with Latin America's leading banana suppliers towards a deal that would gradually reduce Europe's import tariffs. A commission official said it was hoped that an agreement would finally end a long-running dispute that also involves countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific or ACP group.
Latin American banana nations, led by Ecuador, have complained that the EU's banana regime discriminates against them and favors ACP fruit, which attract no tariffs. ACP nations say the duties are needed to protect exports from their own disadvantaged regions.

Gaddafi wants Caribbean in AU

Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

The chairman of the African Union (AU), Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has said he would like a United States of Africa to include what he called "Caribbean islands with African populations". Gaddafi pointed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
Colonel Gaddafi was speaking in the Libyan capital Tripoli at an event to celebrate his new role as the rotating head of the AU. Gaddafi suggested Caribbean islands should join the AU and become a bridge between Africa and Latin America.
The Libyan leader also said he would use his 12 months at the helm of the AU to try to resolve Africa's conflicts, including Darfur and Somalia.