7 News Belize

7 News Belize HeadlinesWednesday, July 01, 2015

Petro Amendment Bill Debate That Should Have Happened
From since Friday, the news has been dominated by the discussion of the PUP’s decision to walk out of the House meeting. It had been planned for weeks before as the ...
Senator Ray Absent: Interim Senator Guerra Replaces Him
But, before the meeting could start, the senators had to welcome an addition of a new peer, Adelaida Guerra. She’s the First Vice President of the National Trade Uni...
Senators Hard-Talk On Over-Expenditure By GOB
The Newly Sworn in Senator Guerra was speaking on what became a very divisive discussion over 2 Revenue supplementary bills to the budget which was passed today. ...
Police: Darren Gillett Assaulted An Officer
Last night, we told you about Constable Jason Hall who was heading from his home in Corozal to his work Place in Belize City. He experienced a blowout in Rhaburn Ridge, and was helped b...
Buena Vista Water Board Investigation Now In The Hands of the Ministry
Last night, we took you to the Cayo Village of Buena Vista where an allegation of theft of public funds emerged this weekend. A number of questionable cheques have surfaced after...
A Sickening Sodomy In The South
There is a disturbing case of sodomy in the south. Reports are that a 40 year old woman from a southern village went to visit her daughter on Sunday in a nearby southern village and took her...
Sexual Assault In The North
There is also another sexual assault case against a minor but this time in the north. A 10 year old girl along with her mother reported to police that a man touched the little girl’s private...
Challenge Against NCL Hanging By A Thread
For the last two days, expert testimony was being recorded by the Supreme Court in the case of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Government, on ...
Being Energy Efficient In The Home
Energy stakeholders want to help you save more money on your electrical appliances. Yesterday a meeting was held to launch the Adaptation of Labeling and Standards for Energy – Efficient Equ...
The Coalition’s Booklets; Fighting Off-Shore Oil Drilling
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage was formed by a group of conservationists who want to bring public pressure on the Government Administrations to en...
Regional HIV Testing Day
Today is Regional HIV Testing Day and testing booths were set up behind the Scotia Bank to commemorate this day. Now, there are a number of commercials ...
Ministry of Health Hilux Crashed
In most cases when we report on vehicles assigned to the Ministry of Health - it’s because it was stolen. But tonight’s report is about a crashed health vehicle. On Saturday aftern...
A Donation of Musical Instruments From The Taiwanese Embassy
In a hand-over ceremony on Monday, a consignment of marching band instruments, valued at over $50,000, was presented by His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Ho, Ambassador of Taiwan to the ...
The Mexican Marimba Quartet
Keeping it on music, a Mexican Marimba Quartet is in Belize. It’s called the Mario Nandayapa Quartet. But they are more than just a band – their family, literally – the band consists of moth...
Summer Camping In Lake I
Football, basketball, sun and fun: sounds like summer right? Well, today one of those summer camps began today in the Lake Independence area. Over 100 ...
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7 News Belize - News:
Important Note: This Internet version of 7 News is a verbatum transcript of our evening television news script. Many interviews on our newscast are conducted in Creole. In the interest of clarity for our foreign readers, we attempt to paraphrase the Creole quotes in English

Petro Amendment Bill Debate That Should Have Happened

From since Friday, the news has been dominated by the discussion of the PUP’s decision to walk out of the House meeting. It had been planned for weeks before as the Opposition’s opportunity to challenge the Barrow Administration on the decision to amend the Petrocaribe Loans Act instead of repealing it.

Well, at today’s session of the Senate at the House of Representatives, an in-depth discussion took place from both sides of the floor in which all the technical points for and against the amendments were hammered out. Here’s a few excerpts of the points presented:

Senator Mark Lizarraga – Business Senator

"We’re told that these amendments today will ensure greater transparency in the spending of our petro dollars. But in fact Mr. President, these amendment today do nothing to strengthen our management of public funds. On the contrary what they do is seek to validate and encourage poor budgeting practices. Mr. President tax payers, shouldn't we be concerned when independent reports speak to the failure of this administration to properly manage and account for our monies?"

Senator Lisa Shoman – PUP Senator

"You would believe Mr. President that by putting in here a section that says and I quote, ”The money borrowed from ACBEL shall be kept in a fund at the central bank of Belize which fund form a part of the consolidated revenue fund and maybe withdrawal time to time as the need arises. The withdrawal and spending of the money shall be in full measure, subject to the finance and audit reform act and all other laws, regulations and procedures applicable to monies forming part of the consolidated revenue fund”. Sound good right Mr. President? Sounds really good. Until you realise that is not talking any at all about the borrowing of that money, it's not touching how that money is borrowed. There is still an issue with the constitutionality of the borrowing of that money. And it doesn't matter if you try to claim - like the leader of government business claim when we were debating the parent act, it isn't a loan at all, it's suppliers credit. Well I'm sorry to have to contradict my friend. The parent act and this act makes it clear that it is not a supplier's credit. This is money that is being borrowed and will be put into the consolidated fund and therefore; since you have not touch the issue of borrowing in this act, the amendment does not cure the constitutional illegality that still exists."

Senator Juliet Thimbriel – UDP Senator

"For them, this is not about any law or the tweaking of any law. That is what they are masquerading this to be Mr. President. This is not about the law and the tweaking of any law. This is about bitterness and embarrassment about not being able to say what you did with the money. Everybody knows there was money before. You are the only person who does not know leader of the opposition. Everybody knows that there was money before, how come you don't know? You need to check with your leader or maybe the second senator that speaks for the PUP can make a call and find out what was done with the money. We have sugar roads, we have village council that have received funds through petrocaribe to improve their villages. Back to school, mortgage relief, home improvement programmes, ASUS tablet, Jaguar paw upgrading of the road. You remember that you guys did Jaguar paw prior to us? Man the place was broke up, broke up, embarrassing, shameful. We had to go and do Jaguar paw road the proper way with the use of the petrocaribe fund."

This morning, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent out a release on the amendment bill. They voiced their disappointment of the Prime Minister’s comments to 7News saying, quote, “To say by way of the media that the BCCI is 'playing the fool' and ignore the call for dialogue is to dismiss the voice of the businesses and employers who make up the largest block of taxpayers paying back this and all other loans. Most disappointingly, it erodes the fabric of public-private dialogue, which the BCCI has been faithfully and diligently trying to weave with the government.” End Quote.


Senator Ray Absent: Interim Senator Guerra Replaces Him

But, before the meeting could start, the senators had to welcome an addition of a new peer, Adelaida Guerra. She’s the First Vice President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, but in order for her organisation to have a representative present, she had to sworn in as a Senator.

Now, the circumstance of that necessity are a bit peculiar. The man who usually serves the labour movement is Ray Davis, who viewers know very well as the Labour Movement’s man in the Legislature for years. Well, it appears that he’s out of the country, and he did not inform the general membership of the NTUCB that he was leaving.

President Marvin Mora told us that as soon as he was informed of absence of Senator Davis, he quickly moved to convene a meeting of the representatives of the unions under the umbrella of the NTUCB to find a temporary replacement. Guerra had the most support of those present, and she was chosen as the member of the NTUCB as the person who would speak on behalf of the Unions today. Here’s an excerpt of her speech given as a first-time member of the Legislature:

Senator Adelaida Guerra - New Senator

"I will bare true fate and a legion to Belize and will uphold the constitution and the law and I will contentiously impartially and to the best to my ability discharge my duties as senator."

Senator Mark Lizarraga – Business Senator

"I take this opportunity as well to welcome senator Guerra."

Senator Adelaida Guerra

"This supplementary appropriation coming after the fact and I'm asking us to..... approve. We look at the.... source, where is it coming from? And I see petrocaribe. And.... because of the source then we have to take again because the source of this has in the agreement - it has certain things as it's to be used for. I've heard the senator from the business highlighting all the numbers and all of that.... my reason for standing and talking not in favour for this bill because of the petrocaribe source. It's the fact that these projects don't give us accountability, this paper has one sheet. We don't see how the 10 million dollars or this whole 51 million dollars will be used.”

As to her tenure as the labor senator, President Mora told us that it is only temporary, and it depends on the availability of Ray Davis for whatever Senate meeting happens again. We asked him if this is any indication that Davis has been replaced, and he reiterated us that Guerra remains as the Labour senator on as long as she is needed to fill the position if Davis is unavailable.

As viewers will remember, however, Senator Davis came under fire from those within the Labour movement who believe that he ought not to have abstained when the Petrocaribe Loans Act was first passed in the Senate on March 30. We’ll follow closely to see what happens to the Senatorial seat for the Labour Unions.


Senators Hard-Talk On Over-Expenditure By GOB

The Newly Sworn in Senator Guerra was speaking on what became a very divisive discussion over 2 Revenue supplementary bills to the budget which was passed today.

Our understanding of these money bills are that they are the result of Government expenditure which exceeded the budget, but which they are seeking the approval of the House for. The Opposition seized on the opportunity to accuse the Barrow administration of wasting Petrocaribe money:

Senator Mark Lizarraga – Business Senator

"We draw attention to the instances of spending done in contradiction of the law Mr. President, which exceeded the legal threshold and timeframe for bringing it to the national assembly. We emphasise that the law is very clear and that it is only under serious circumstances where to do otherwise would seriously injury the public good that the minister of finance is allowed to ensure such additional expenditure without first coming to the national assembly for permission."

Senator Anthony Sylvestre – PUP Senator

"What this appropriation supplementary bill number 2 has highlighted and it has shown is that this government, rather than working within the framework of our constitution had contemplated. The seem to be overspending and spending and then after the fact, come to the national assembly and seek approval and authorisation. And again the point has to be made that it's not their money, it's the people’s money."

Senator Lisa Shoman – Lead PUP Senator

"Mr. President, I will not be asked to give my advice and consent or authority to 7 or 8 lines on a piece of paper which says that money should be spent and has a little bullet at the bottom that says source of funds, proceeds of petrocaribe. I don't even know what that bullet is doing there - except maybe to shoot we in the head because we will have to pay for this. I don't have the words to describe how angry it makes me that there are people in this country who get up and no have enough to feed their children, have to the eat ramen, have to the eat vienna sausage. Imperilling their health and we are wasting money and taking this chamber for a joke in asking that we approve spending that has already occurred. You want be wrong and strong Mr. President do it, but you won't do it with me consent!"

Senator Gerardo Marconi Sosa – UDP Senator

"If the finance and audit act provides for supplementary appropriation, certainly this government cannot be charged for not bringing any to the national assembly. Whilst I don't expect the opposition members to endorse and shake hands with us. I do expect the social partners to be fair."

Senator Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"We’re back now with one on the first of July for 22.182 million dollars and if you add that together and I'm glad teachers are here, I make it approximately 70 million. Now, the error that is being reflected is that these supplementaries are for this year - well it is not. Because not that it was presented in March of this year, again it's for this year. The year runs from 1st of April to 31st of March of the following year. And if you look carefully, you will see that what is proposed is a supplementary for the fiscal year 14-15. And so, if you look carefully, the two supplementaries for this year of 70 million dollars of a total estimated expenditure of 1.011 billion dollars; my math tells me that 70 million is not 10 percent. The finance and audit act says and I quote, "That indeed the government is required to come with supplementaries. It says authorisation by special warrant which has not been confirmed by the enactment of supplementary appropriation act shall not at any time in the aggregate amount exceed in the aggregate amount equivalent to 10 percent of the amount voted for the respective heads of the approve expenditure estimates for the year - or the sum of 500,000 dollars in the case of any new goods or service." So, Mr. President as you go through them; and yes, I've heard the representative, honourable senator for the business community mention a few. I haven't had time to check them but the aggregate is not more than 10 percent of the approved estimates for the year 2014-15, do the math."

Senator Patrick Andrews – PUP Senator

"We have a government that is recklessly borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and saddling the young people of this country with debt - with no plans or means how to pay it back. And that's saddens me because we do not have a government that's thinking futuristic."

Adelaida Guerra voted no along with 4 others on supplementary bills 7 in favour, GOB majority. That meant that it passed the Senate.


Police: Darren Gillett Assaulted An Officer

Last night, we told you about Constable Jason Hall who was heading from his home in Corozal to his work Place in Belize City. He experienced a blowout in Rhaburn Ridge, and was helped by a man who pretended to be a Good Samaritan. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, the man assaulted the Police officer, who was in his uniform, stole his vehicle and fled to Belize City. Well, as we have told you, police caught the man yesterday and retrieved the vehicle. He is Darren Gillett, and tonight he’s at the Belize Central prison.

He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on the charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, use of deadly means of harm, and robbery. At today’s proceedings, the prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that Gillet had escaped from police custody, that Hall is still in a critical condition at the KHMH and that the prosecution has a strong case. Chief Magistrate Smith upheld the objection and she remanded Gillet into custody until August 4.

According to the allegation According to the allegation, on June 29 at Rhaburn Ridge, Gillett beat police officer Jason Hall with a gas tank and stole his silver 4 door Mazda car, valued at $13,500. Gillet also allegedly stole from Hall his cellular phone, valued at $450, his wallet containing $400 and some personal documents.


Buena Vista Water Board Investigation Now In The Hands of the Ministry

Last night, we took you to the Cayo Village of Buena Vista where an allegation of theft of public funds emerged this weekend. A number of questionable cheques have surfaced after months of inquiry by the Chairman of the Village Council. He suspected that the Chairman of the Village’s Water Board had pocketed money that the villagers were paying to get access to water. Well, his persistence paid off when the Water Board’s bank released the copies of the cheques, some of which was in the name of the chairman, Julio Castillo.

As we’ve shown you, he has declared his innocence explaining that he only cashed cheques in his name to get access to the money to do the work of the Water Board. He and his secretary have shown us written records which they assert should prove their innocence.

Well, we’ve since been informed that the Ministry of Rural Development has been sent a copy of the report, and the investigation will conclude when they review the financials and determine if theft had occurred.


A Sickening Sodomy In The South

There is a disturbing case of sodomy in the south. Reports are that a 40 year old woman from a southern village went to visit her daughter on Sunday in a nearby southern village and took her 13 year old son with her. The woman’s daughter lives with her common law husband in the village. Now, while at the house, the common law husband took the 13 year old boy to collect wood in the bushes nearby and that’s when he took the little boy’s pants off and sodomised him. The common law husband, a 24 year old, was arrested and charged today for Unnatural Crime. His case has been adjourned until the 22nd of September.

Sexual Assault In The North

There is also another sexual assault case against a minor but this time in the north. A 10 year old girl along with her mother reported to police that a man touched the little girl’s privates on several occasions. The girl said that the man touched her 3 weeks ago and again last week Thursday evening in her home around 6:30. Reports are that the mother was taking a shower on that Thursday evening and when she came out she caught the man with his hands on her daughter. It is still not known what is the nature of the relationship between the man and the mother or child – whether he is a family friend or neighbour but both incidents happened at the mother’s home. When we spoke to police, they told us that the case officer knows who this man is and when he is brought in he will be charged with sexual assault.

Challenge Against NCL Hanging By A Thread

For the last two days, expert testimony was being recorded by the Supreme Court in the case of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Government, on behalf of the Department of the Environment (DOE) and the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC), and Belize Island Holdings Limited, the owners and managers of the Harvest Caye project on behalf of Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has been particularly dramatic.

The BTIA won leave for judicial review last year. The Department had approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the island after receiving NEAC's recommendation, but the BTIA successfully applied to the court on two grounds: that the terms of reference and legal requirements were not met, and that there was not enough opportunity for the public to properly review, be consulted with and comment on the EIA.

7 News was in Independence Village for the fiery public consultation on the project, where about 300 residents - a figure disputed on the witness stand by the Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria who says he counted about 500 - got a chance to have their say, but BTIA says there should have been a public hearing.

They pointed out several deficiencies and lacunae in the public notices for consultation and announcement of the 330 page EIA, which was partially based on a previous EIA and was completed in a month in its first draft.

But BTIA very nearly lost the case today. That because when arguments began on Tuesday, it was announced that the Association's immediate past president Herbert Haylock made himself unavailable for testimony, although his affidavit was the key underpinning evidence in support of the claim. The BTIA scrambled to support the testimony of their expert witness. When the case resumed this morning Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, who appeared on behalf of the BTIA in place of colleague Godfrey Smith, successfully applied to have current president Osmany Salas take the witness stand with his affidavit made as evidence, over objections from the attorneys for the Government and NCL/Island Holdings.

After he was finished with cross-examination, the attorney for Island Holdings, Eamon Courtenay, made a surprise move: he tried to get the case struck out! He argued that the BTIA did not present enough evidence to substantiate their case - with Haylock's testimony out, there was nothing challenging the EIA, environmental compliance plan and terms of reference for the EIA - the framework on which that important document must be done.

But he was rebuffed by Justice Abel who allowed the case to continue. We spoke to both attorneys this evening.

Aaron Humes - Freelance Reporter

"Are you satisfied that your case has been made out to date as to whether or not the NEAC and the DOE complied with the regulations and the environmental protection act in how they handled this matter? "

Andrew Marshalleck - Attorney For BTIA

"I think the substance of the complaint squarely before the court and the procedural missteps we seek to rely upon have been highlighted. So they're there."

Eamon Courtenay - Attorney for Belize Island Holdings

"We said to the judge that they had an evidence deficit and therefore the matter should be struck out. The judge disagreed and said - no let's proceed with the trail and so we continued this afternoon."

Aaron Humes

"So in terms of the evidence over the 2 days from their experts, from yours, from Mr. Alegria, from Mr. Salas. How do you assess the case at this point?"

Eamon Courtenay

"Well I think the first issue with respect to their expert is that we spent quite a lot of time at cross examination and we started from the proposition that something is fundamentally wrong for you to be an expert. To give your opinion on the environmental impact assessment or some parts of it and she has never visited the caye. So that was a starting point. I think that we had sufficiently put her evidence under a microscope - hopefully to raise doubt in the judge's mind. Then they have Mr. Herbert Haylock, who was their witness who was suppose to come and decided not to come. So Mr. Salas was called upon at the last minute to testify on the behalf of the BTIA. And as you can imagine Mr. Salas had not read any of the documents - maybe one or two, he said he skimmed one document. So his evidence was not the most compelling in the circumstances. So from an evidential point of view, I think that the case put forward by the BTIA was not strong. Let me make this point, when you challenge a project, when you challenge a decision you must do it because you're serious. The witnesses for the BTIA came to court repeatedly and said to the court that they do not oppose to the project. They have never applied for an injunction to stop the project and so they have passed on resolution in opposition to the project. Hence the question, what is this all about? As I said to on of the witnesses is this an academic exercise? A master class? Because they said they are concerned about procedure. Courts do not set up for teaching people about procedure.”

The case continued with testimony from Belize Island Holdings' expert witness William Bratt from Miami, Florida and Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria concerning the timeline for the development and implementation of the EIA and environmental compliance plan, which Courtenay and Government attorney Nigel Hawke argued was the document now in force for the completion of the project, by which developers must abide. Courtenay told us that even if the court were to agree with BTIA the removal of the EIA neither changes anything nor stops the project.


Being Energy Efficient In The Home

Energy stakeholders want to help you save more money on your electrical appliances. Yesterday a meeting was held to launch the Adaptation of Labeling and Standards for Energy – Efficient Equipment initiative. This is part of a broader project called Energy for Sustainable Development in Caribbean Buildings.

From the technical aspect, the main focus is to regulate the energy use and increase energy performance in the electrical appliances and in turn this will improve the quality, prolong the life span of the appliance and even reduce cost of maintenance. Yesterday, we spoke with Energy Specialists at the George Price Center in Belmopan and they told us how this initiative will work.

A Standards and labelling report will be drafted and sent to the Ministry of Energy and Science. The coordinators will be meeting with other stakeholders including the Chamber of Commerce, importers, retailers and customs officers throughout this week. Another meeting focusing on the same topics will be held today at the ITVET in Belize City.


The Coalition’s Booklets; Fighting Off-Shore Oil Drilling

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage was formed by a group of conservationists who want to bring public pressure on the Government Administrations to enact legal policies against offshore oil drilling, especially in protected areas. They’ve been working on innovative ways to get the public informed and involved. The organization launched 2 new media with an interesting form of distribution, and on Monday, its president, Tanya Williams, explained it to us:

Tanya Williams - President, The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage

"Actually launching two things. One, preprinted postcard and the second one is an activity booklet. The preprinted postcards are being targeted towards tourists. And so we have gotten involved with people within the tourism industry or partners within the tourism industry like the BTA. And the booklet are going to be at restaurants, we're talking about local children. We want when children to that particular restaurants with their parents or family - they look at the booklet and read and colour, etc. We also see it as an opportunity for the parents to pick up that booklet and see what the child is doing. In that way we indirectly inform the parent as well. So we're actually launching two things today. For the preprinted postcard we know that the tourism industry is one of the major pillars of Belize's economy. It's also the industry that will really be impacted if we have oil exploration in the offshore protected areas. So we're partnered with the tourism industry so that we can continue to pressure the government. To ensure that we do no have oil exploration in our offshore and in our protected areas. So there is a message up there from the tourist talking to the prime minister about how they enjoyed Belize, enjoyed what we have right now. And how they wouldn't want to see oil exploration in our offshore and in our protected areas and how that would change them wanting to come to Belize."

The Coalition is hoping that you, the viewing public will, take advantage of these new booklets.


Regional HIV Testing Day

Today is Regional HIV Testing Day and testing booths were set up behind the Scotia Bank to commemorate this day. Now, there are a number of commercials and a series of awareness campaigns geared towards educating the public on HIV. But is it working? Is the message being effectively communicated? According to the National Aids Commission, it is. Today the Communications and Program Officer, Arthur Usher discussed the progress so far and other approaches used to encourage people – especially men - to get tested.

Arthur Usher

"This is a major part of what helps people to understand the importance. We do multiple variation of out reaches, it's ongoing throughout the year. Big events like this are usually for us is twice a year which is June and world aids day. The organisation like BFLA and PASMO and ministry of health and all these organisations - they're consistently educating people and consistently out reaching. So it's throughout the year and the impact has been felt. What we are doing is called bring a man campaign. The person who bring the most men gets a gift at the end of the day. And for the first 25 men this morning got a official regional testing day mug. So again that's something to kind of change the mentality and work with people to get prizes. We also have 2 social medial competitions that we're doing. We have a selfie competition and 30 to 60 second video competition. And you can just take a selfie with a little caption and upload it to our facebook. You could win up to 500 dollars for first price and 250 for second prize."

Lincoln Kelly - Knows his status

"I think it very important for men get tested because what we notice that it's mostly women come out and take tests. We think it's very important for the guys because the guys are at a very high risk. The only way we could know is by people coming out and taking the test so we could better address the situation so it doesn't get out of control."

While HIV was the main focus of today’s activities, what about other sexually transmitted diseases? Well, according to the Program Supervisor of PASMO Belize – these diseases are very much linked to HIV and must be addressed.

Keron Cacho - Program Supervisor, PASMO Belize

"I think it’s very important we always keep the population of our country aware basically of all the sexual transmitter infections that are out there. Because even though it's overshadowed by exactly the amount of HIV infections, they're still very much prevalent. STI's like herpes and gonorrhoea is very prevalent. A lot of people put a lot of attention in regards to HIV infection, however the STI's - like for instance an individual would go to the doctor and say they want an HIV test and they feel quite happy when they get negative results. But at the end they could also be suffering from stuff like gonorrhoea and not treating that. And if you have an untreated infection, a STI, it can actually lead or it could be much more easier for you to actually contract HIV eventually."

"We have tried our best over the years to do a lot of investigations to see exactly how we can spread the message across. So we've utilised a lot of I think very fun and colourful promotional items. T-shirts that would have special messages that bring about awareness. Again, not only for HIV for STI's. We also try to get promotional items that can at the same time be utilised as an item but spread the right messages across. We have a variety of condoms here, we have condoms for oral and also penetrative sex and we are also displaying the lubricants. There are a lot of myths with the use of lubricants. It's very important when you are talking about sexual transmitter infections and proper protection against HIV and some of the STI’s.”

A 6 week nationwide HIV testing campaign was also done before today’s event. Similar activities were also organised in Orange Walk.


Ministry of Health Hilux Crashed

In most cases when we report on vehicles assigned to the Ministry of Health - it’s because it was stolen. But tonight’s report is about a crashed health vehicle. On Saturday afternoon, the driver for the Corozal Community Hospital, 33 year old Aaron Babb was driving the health vehicle around 12 midday when he slammed into a cement post on a street in the Finca Solana area in Corozal. Apparently, his foot got stuck between the gas and accelerator pedal. That's when the vehicle speed off and rammed into the post. Babb received abrasions to his forehead and complained of pain on his chest. As for the Toyota Hilux pick-up it received damages to its bonnet, bumper, it has a broken grill, broken headlights ( on both sides), the radiator is damaged, both side fenders are dented and the windshield is shattered. According to the information Officer at the Ministry of Health, Babb was on official business heading back to the hospital when the accident happened. The truck has been sent to a mechanic to assess the cost of damages. The Ministry is treating this incident as a case of human error and so, no sanctions will be brought or sent to Babb.


A Donation of Musical Instruments From The Taiwanese Embassy

In a hand-over ceremony on Monday, a consignment of marching band instruments, valued at over $50,000, was presented by His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Ho, Ambassador of Taiwan to the Governor- General, Sir Colville Young. It was as a contribution to his Music in the Schools Program. The ceremony took place at the Belize House in the City of Belmopan.

Sir Colville thanked Ambassador Ho for his generous gift to the young people of Belize and explained that most of the instruments would be given to St. Andrews Primary School in San Ignacio and the Anglican Cathedral College in Belize City.


The Mexican Marimba Quartet

Keeping it on music, a Mexican Marimba Quartet is in Belize. It’s called the Mario Nandayapa Quartet. But they are more than just a band – their family, literally – the band consists of mother –who is the manager, the father who is the director and the kids who play along as well. The director – Mario Nandayapa is a 4th generation Marimba player and he told us today how this type of music is deeply rooted in the family tradition.

If you want to experience this deep familial and cultural connection, you can - tonight at 7 at the Institute of Mexico. Mario Nandayapa has performed in over 13 countries and has recorded over 30 albums.


Summer Camping In Lake I

Football, basketball, sun and fun: sounds like summer right? Well, today one of those summer camps began today in the Lake Independence area. Over 100 kids are enrolled in this camp and it caters to kids from ages 6 to 16. Today we spoke to two of the kids and they told us how this summer camp will keep them out of trouble.

Hon. Mark King - Area Representative, Lake Independence

"We are filling the constituents with sports this summer. We have several sporting programmes that we are going to be holding. However right here on this field we have 100 kids. These kids will be learning today life skills training in the morning - they'll be given a snack at lunch break. And then in the afternoon we have them having a competition, whereby we have jerseys and everything for them - prizes and everything. It is all about life skills training, discipline, having the children do something for the summer and this area has been crying for this. We've been able to give them a few programmes but this year we have been able to convince the government, the prime minister, the ministries and so forth and everybody is collaborating to see these kids have a wonderful summer."

Lynn Augustine - 15 years old – Sadie Vernon High School

"Well they teach we some new difficult thing like control the ball. Some boys run with the ball, they make we walk with the ball and pass."

Courtney Weatherburne

"What is your favourite sport?"

Lynn Augustine

"Football."

Courtney Weatherburne

"You like basketball too?"

Lynn Augustine

"Yes ma’am."

Amad Brown - 14 years old- Ebenezer Methodist School

"It was good and difficult because you don't run, you walk and it's not so easy. They teach us that you should pass and not be greedy with ball."

Courtney Weatherburne

"Why you think it's important to come to the summer camp?"

Amad Brown

"To learn more and stay off the street."

Courtney Weatherburne

"So that's the reason why you came to the summer camp?"

Amad Brown

"Yes ma'am."

Courtney Weatherburne

"You're planning to come for the entire 2 weeks?"

Amad Brown

"Yes ma'am."

Courtney Weatherburne

"What are you looking forward to the most at the summer camp overall?"

Amad Brown

"Fun."

Courtney Weatherburne

"And for prizes after the tournament right?"

Amad Brown

"Yes ma’am."

There are a series of summer camps including one on the St. Martin’s field, on the PIV court, and one at the ITVET. Overall about 500 kids will participate in this series of summer camps in the city. Under the Petro Summer of Sports Program – the total cost of all camps is about $110,000 for Lake Independence alone.




7 News for July 1st, 2015 from 7News Belize on Vimeo.


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