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Ministry of Education placing 1,500 children back in school

Belize Minister of Education Patrick Faber

Belize Minister of Education Patrick Faber – The Ministry of Education is pressing on with its goal of placing 1,500 school-aged children back into the classroom. In an effort at doing this, on Monday July 12, work began to rehabilitate and retrofit the old Venus Bus Terminal located on Magazine Road. In speaking with Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, he explained that the effort is part of the Restore Belize initiative.

Minister Faber explained that “the center located at the Old Venus Bus Terminal will help us tremendously in getting those students off the streets”. He added that there are also plans to close the existing Excelsior High School as a four year high school and open it as a two year facility that will cater to children who are unable to make it into any high school. Students who are currently attending Excelsior will be transferred to other high schools in the city. Hon. Faber says that when the Excelsior program is opened it will be done so later on in the school year to allow for the existing high schools to take in students who are able to attend. This will also give the Ministry enough time to put in place the plans and to ensure that an opportunity will be given to those who don’t have a place to go in the regular school system. Teachers who are currently employed at Excelsior will be kept on to run this school. Enrollment at Excelsior is expected to be somewhere around 500 students.

At the Magazine Road building, Minister Faber says the concentration will be at providing an opportunity to some 300 children. The curriculum will be concentrated on vocational subjects where emphasis will be placed on the practical side more so than on the academics. However, Faber says that the theory aspect of teaching will not be abandoned completely. Also to be housed at the Magazine Road terminal building will be a ‘Satellite Kitchen’ which will be a pilot project for a nationwide feeding program. The Minister says that “we hope to provide meals to all of the schools in the city, not all the kids but to all the schools to a limited amount so that we cater to the very needy kids in the city who don’t even have a meal per day.” (more…)

BEL explains National power outage

Love FM – Thursday there was a nationwide power outage. Today Vice President for Customer Care and operations at the Belize Electricity Limited, Curtis Eck told Love News what happened.

Curtis Eck; Customer Care Vice President, BEL

“About 6:39 Thursday night we had an entire system collapse. What happened is the main power supply from Mexico actually tripped and that resulted in the entire system collapsing. At that time we had about 90% of our generation from the hydroelectric plant in the west as well as the small one we have down south. However, the way the electricity works, once you loose about 10% of your supply it had a cascading effect on the generating plants and is that resulted in entire power outage.

We commenced with our local generating sources and we commenced resorting Belize City and so forth but by 7:15 roughly Mexico was back on stream and that is when we restored the rest of the country. About 7:20 last night we had the rest of the country online. What occurred basically Mexico has power lines supplying power to the sub-station in Chetumal, they call it Shul Ha. That sub-station actually provides power to Chetumal as well as Belize City. One of those main lines a 230KV line actually tripped and immediately they would isolate Belize City. I understand they had a portion of Chetumal as well but once they have a main supply to Chetumal with problems it would isolate the entire country immediately.”

What do we know about our Barrier Reef?

Belize Barrier Reef

Belize Barrier Reef – As the Deepwater Horizon story floods the news channels this summer, Belizeans have begun to show a renewed interest in our own oceans. Numerous coalitions have formed to combat offshore drilling interests in Belize and a rising number from an otherwise indifferent population are beginning to appreciate the value of one of our more precious natural phenomena.

One can only admire the fervor of the Belizean people for looking after our beautiful belongings. Nonetheless, one has to wonder if this heightened level of environmental consciousness will spill over into other more pressing issues, such as the current destruction of the reef.

A recent study published in Current Biology describes the relationship between people and the health of barrier reefs. The findings suggest that if we are interested in looking after our barrier reef, perhaps the first objective should be to understand the relationship between the people living around the barrier reef and the reef itself.

The scientist behind this study is Joshua Cinner. Cinner has spent time living and studying the relationship between local populations and reefs all around the world including Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and even the Chetumal area.

His approach to understanding reef degradation is fairly unique. Instead of focusing on aspects of reef health such as fish populations and reef complexity, he incorporates the population density and socio-economic factors of the surrounding human environment. (more…)

Whale Shark Hunting – Hopkins, Belize

Belize Dolphins, Belize Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving with Dolphins in Belize - by Eric Mohl

Trans-Americas Journey – If someone said to you “hey, the world’s most gigantic and elusive fish is pretty much guaranteed to show up at this spot on these days, all you have to do is jump in the water,” wouldn’t you jump?

Decades ago fishermen in Belize started noticing giant creatures in the water around the full moons in the spring and early summer when local mullet snapper spawn off the southern coast. Not realizing that whale sharks, which can grow to 60 feet long, are neither whales nor sharks but toothless and harmless filter feeding fish, the fishermen were terrified. But SCUBA divers and snorkelers were thrilled and the site of this annual whale shark convention, Gladden Spit, was soon inundated with neoprened hopefuls.

The area has since been protected and designated the Gladden Spit Marine Preserve, but a controlled number of divers and snorkelers are still allowed into the water during what’s become known as whale shark season. We recently joined them.

We’re not usually nervous when we dive, but all the hype and anticipation about the possibility of seeing a whale shark (one of the world’s largest yet most rarely seen animals) had our nerves going. Descending into the big blue of the open ocean, without the usual reef around us for visual and navigational reference, also got our hearts pounding. It was beautiful and disorienting at the same time but there was no time to worry about that. We had mullet snapper to find. (Continue Reading)

Chill, the Next Episode

Daryl "Chill" Mitchell (with Michael Strahan)

Daryl "Chill" Mitchell (with Michael Strahan)

7 News Belize – Earlier this week we told you about the Belize Film Festival, which is kicking off tomorrow night with the opening gala at the Bliss. Today, international stars started arriving for the event. We got to sit down with the first of them Darryl “Chill” Mitchell, an American actor whose been played roles in movies such as “10 Things I Hate About You”, “House Party,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and even “Desperate Housewives.”

Chill is no stranger to Belize or 7 news and today he seemed right at home when Emaun Hyde spoke to him.

Emaun Hyde
“Why did you decide to come to Belize for the Film Festival and grace us with your presents.”

Daryl Mitchell, Actor, Rapper
“Well we didn’t come for the film festival, what happened was, we was on the plane going to Detroit, got detour because of the weather so we are here. (laughting)”

Emaun Hyde
“Now I know you’re kidding?”

Daryl Mitchell
“Na, I am here for the Belizean Film Festival, representing for my man, Nigel Moguel. Why I decided to take part in it, hey this is what I do, you know what I mean and this is something I want to do and being a part of it because I get in on the ground roots of things, you know what I mean and watch it develop and watch it grow and come together and that’s the fun part you know and when you start inviting people from different places to come in like all my different actor friends who come down , they come down to celebrate with us and get the chance to see you know, where would you rather work in Hollywood or would you rather work in Belize? It’s very important to have these, they are not happening as much as it use to happen, so now that we doing it here, we bringing some place different and some place rough some place new, exciting beautiful so I thing it going to be a big thing for a lot of people.” (more…)

Tracy Did The Right Thing

Belize Police Department Do The Right Thing Ceremony

Do The Right Thing Ceremony

7 News Belize – The Belize Police Department launched the “Do The Right Thing” initiative in 2005. It recognizes young adults who avoid the pitfalls of peer pressure to walk the straight and narrow. Since then we can’t say that it has had a transformative effect on youth culture, but it has certainly served as an inspiration for some high schoolers. We went to Old Belize today to see who won this year’s award.

Emaun Hyde
“How do you feel now that you have won?”

Tracy Donis, 2010 1st Place Winner
“I fell proud of myself, I don’t know I can’t stop smiling (laughing) it’s just brings a joy in me to win. To know that I could continue achieve my studies and I know that I could be an inspiration to others.”

Emaun Hyde
“How do you think that winning the competition will change your life?”

Tracy Donis
“Well I believe that it will change my life a lot because I really wanted to continue study after 4th form and now a have the chance to do so. So I will do my best, work hard and strive for what I want in life.” (more…)

Additional Court to be established in the Belize Judicial District

Love FM – An additional court is being established in the Belize Judicial District. The new court will be located on North Front Street. Solicitor General Oscar Ramjeet is quoted as saying the move is being made in the light of the vast increase of cases in the Magistrate’s Court due to the increase in violent crimes and the expansion of the jurisdiction of magistrates.

On Tuesday Cabinet approved funds for the rental of a building to accommodate the additional court as well as the salaries of a Magistrate, Assistant Clerk of Court, Secretary and Office Assistant. According to the Solicitor General the establishment of the new court will strengthen the judicial process in expediting the trial of accused persons and reinforce the Government’s commitment to the rule of law and the legal system in delivering justice in a timely manner in accordance with the constitution.

It was further revealed that two magistrates have indicated that they will not renew their contracts and a third is expected to go on study leave but the Solicitor General assures the public that steps are being taken to replace them.

University of Belize signs agreement for clean energy solar project

LoveFM – The University of Belize has signed on to a clean energy solar project. The signing which took place on July first saw the participation of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Works. The project is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. UB’s Public Information Officer Sylvaana Udz tells us more.

Sylvaana Udz; Public Information Officer, University of Belize

“This is a solar project that should come on stream in terms of having the installation of the panels and the training beginning by March 2012. The Government of Belize and the Japan International Cooperation Agency are the partners with whom the UB is engaging in this project. It is a really big project for BZ$20 million. Earlier this month Doctor Santos Mahung signed on behalf of the UB for use of the two acres for the purpose of the solar project. The CEO in the Ministry of Works Cadet Henderson signed and the Financial Secretary Mr. Joseph Waight signed on behalf of the Ministry of finance.”

The signing was preceded by a series of discussions dating as far back as August of last year. Signing on behalf of behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency was Toshiaki Kobayashi, the Team Leader of the Consultants of the Preparatory Survey Team.

Sylvaana Udz

“The University of Belize is very excited at the opportunity to set itself up as a regional leader in clean energy production. This is possible because it has signed on the construction of a system of photovoltaic panels which will be right in the north east section of its campus in Belmopan. It will be right behind what is now the Early Childhood Education Stimulation Centre. The two acres of UB property, the exact spot that the panel will be placed and so on will be determined by UB Management in due course.”

Again, the project is worth 20 million dollars and the panels will be installed by March 2012.

BWS inaugurates water system in Caye Caulker

Belize Water Service in Caye Caulker

Belize Water Service in Caye Caulker

San Pedro Sun – On Thursday July 1st 2010, over 30 residents of Caye Caulker gathered at the Belize Water Service’s plant compound to witness the inauguration of their very own Water System.

Ceremonies commenced sharply at 1:30pm. Mr. Haydon brown, Public Relations Manager for Belize Water Service (BWS), was the master of ceremonies. The welcome address was given by Mr. Alberto Villanueva, Caye Caulker Village Council chairman. A Keynote address was given by Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and closing remarks were given by Mr. Herman Longsworth, Chairman of BWS’s Board of Directors. Also in attendance was Her Worship, Mayor Elsa Paz In a telephone interview with Village Council Chairman, Mr. Alberto Villanueva, he stated, “This is definitely a plus to the island in terms of our tourism products. The new water system means cleaner and safer water; a constant supply with adequate pressure for residents, tourists and visitors to the island. Previously the main source of water on the island were wells, however 99% of the wells are contaminated so this is definitely healthier.”

The Caye Caulker Water System became a reality through efforts of the BWS and funding from the Government of Belize (GOB). According to Mr. Haydon Brown, the entire village of Caye Caulker presently has access to the water system. “The water being pumped to the residents of Caye Caulker is healthy enough to drink”, stated Mr. Brown as he re-iterated Mr. Villanueva’s statement in regards to the importance of this new utility, “With this improved water quality and quantity it provides better health and environmental standards to the residents of the caye and it should attract more tourist in the future”.

He went on to inform that a survey conducted by BWS in May 2010 showed that of the approximately 400 households in Caye Caulker, there were 307 residential and 52 non residential households that were connected to the new water system. Caye Caulker’s Water System has a capacity of 15,000 gallons per day, which is well above the demand for water in Caye Caulker. At a cost of 3.05 million Belize dollars, this sate of the art system is comprised of a water treatment plant as well as the actual system, 5.5 miles of main pipes.

2010 Belize International Film Festival only days away

Belize International Film Festival

Belize International Film Festival

LoveFM – Preparations are underway for the 2010 Belize International Film Festival. Later this week the Grand the festival will open with a Red Carpet Gala at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts. According to Festival Director Suzette Zayden this year’s showing will be bigger and better than the previous ones.

Suzette Zayden; Director, Belize International Film Festival

“We are celebrating our 5th anniversary. We have decided to expand our reach from Belize City to other parts of the country including San Ignacio this time and San Pedro Ambergris Caye. Our main guest this year is Darrell Hugh Mitchell who has been here several times before. He is bringing with him Anthony Anderson who has acted in Law and Order and a bunch of other films that I’m sure Belizeans will be familiar with. The official opening night is a red carpet affair. We are expecting a lot of local celebrities, international celebrities, local film makers and anyone who’s who to be walking that red carpet on Friday.”

There will be a grand red carpet entrance that will be televised, an hour and 30 minute cocktail and then guests will be invited to the auditorium where the opening ceremony will take place followed by the opening film ‘Silent Army’. (more…)

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