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|
PUP Seeks Injunction ot Block Petrocaribe Spending; GOB Scoffs
The PUP has filed suit against the Barrow Administration – seeking to block government from spending anymore of the Petrocaribe money. As we've been reporting, Julius Espat, the representative for Cayo South and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has challenged the Petrocaribe Loan Motion ever since it went to the House of Representatives. Espat says it is too late to ask the House's approval for 114 million US dollars – since the money has already been borrowed and much of it spent.
The Auditor General didn't buy his argument – so Espat has filed a law suit in the Supreme Court. It names Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, the Attorney General, and the local company for Petrocaribe, ALBA PETRO CARIBE (BELIZE ENERGY) LIMITED. They are asking the court for an injunction restraining the Minister of Finance Barrow from paying the Petrocaribe loan out of the public purse, and an injunction restraining Barrow from spending any of the Petrocaribe money. The PUP says it violates the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act and the Belize Constitution.
They say that no accounting of the loan has been presented to or approved by the House and nor has there been any debate as to the purposes for which the funds are to be expended.Twenty minutes ago, the government issued a press release saying the lawsuit is an abuse of the process of the court. The release calls it, quote, "an unpatriotic attempt to play politics with a breakthrough program that is of vital national financial and developmental importance, (and) in truth has nothing to do with the law."
The release goes unto argue whether it is a loan at all but instead a quote, "special commercial and diplomatic arrangement. "
Government says it keeps the public informed and accounts to its Venezuelan partners about the manner in which Petrocaribe monies are spent.
And so, Government says it will resist with every resource quote, "this legal fig leaf being employed by a party on the wrong side of history."
So, all that means, the matter which is now before the house will also go to court.
Cricel Castillo Takes On Bodybuilding Federation
2 weeks ago, the Belize Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation held the 2014 Bodybuilding Championships.
As we've told you, Rigo Vellos was crowned Mr. Belize for the 3rd time in a row, and veteran Gina Lovell was chosen as this year's Miss Body Fitness. The tournament went off without a hitch, and it was well supported by the public who went out to see the parade of chiselled bodies.
But, all that ends well, is not always well: defending Body Fitness champion Cricel Castillo did not compete. She's been banned for two years.
She spoke with our colleagues from KREM News about it and hearing those comments The Federation jumped to action and called the media for an impromptu press briefing. Daniel Ortiz has both sides:
So, while those are all the allegations, counter allegations and the timeline, there is also a social dimension to Castillo's 2 year suspension. Through assiduous social media engineering, she has quite a following of fans and supporters who are hoping that she will continue to be a competitive presence in her sport.
So, what's the fan base fallout? Today, we tried to examine that with Castillo and the Federation:
Getting back to that allegation of misuse of the Federation's name, today, we spoke with Hilly Martinez, the President of the National Olympic Committee.
He told us that the NOC does not deal with athletes, only federations and Associations. He told us that when Moody made a request for funds for the Arnold Classic, the NOC had weighty deliberations on whether or not to honor that request. That's because Bodybuilding is not an Olympic Sport. Martinez told us that after meeting with Moody, the NOC did grant them funding to be used for the Arnold Classic. He notes particularly that after the funds are handed over, it is for the executive members - in this case, Stanley Moody - to decide how it will be used.
And, as we've showed you, we put that question Moody if he misused funds which were to be allocated for Castillo. He has categorically denied that.
82 Year Old Man Explains How The House Tumbled Down
Last night we told you about the 82 year old man whose house collapsed while he was in bed sleeping early Tuesday morning. It happened on Mangrove Street near the Bel China Bridge. Randy Cabral escaped unhurt but tonight he is begging lodging at his neighbor's house since he is now homeless. We visited the elderly man today as he tried to recollect what happened.
Area Represented Herman Longworth told 7news that Cabral's case is considered an emergency and all efforts will be made to rebuild a home on his property as soon as possible.
Andy Palacio’s Central Role InThe Wider discovery Of Paul Nabor
Paul Nabor's Funeral will be held on Saturday in Punta Gorda Town. The humble fisherman and parandero from Toledo will receive an official funeral witnessed by hundreds of adoring fans. But while he leaves this earthly plane as a national and international icon - had it not been for some name dropping by Andy Palacio back in 1995, Paul Nabor might never be as widely known or celebrated as he has become. That was revealed to us today in a conversation with Ivan Duran, the founder of Stonetree records who produced the only Paul Nabor songs most people have ever heard including of course, the anthemic Naguya Nei. Today, we spoke to Duran via Face time in Montreal, Canada where he told us the story of how Paul Nabor came into his life – and nothing was the same after that:…
Tomorrow, we'll have more gems on the legend of Paul Nabor from our extended conversation with Duran, including the happy accident that led to those very familiar opening chords of Naguya Nei.
Lands Dept. Trying To Solve All Those Land Problems
If there is one thing that Belizeans are familiar with whether it be from firsthand experience or accounts from disgruntled family members and friends: its land issues. From stolen land leases, to lost applications, there's a bottleneck of mythic proportions at the lands office. But the Lands and Survey department has been trying to clear things up by conducting Field Inspection Sweeps around the country. They were in Orange Walk from Monday and they told us how this project will help resolve your land issues.
The ministry is currently focusing on finalizing 166 land inspections for the Residents in Orange Walk.
Taking A Look At Tower Hill
In June we showed you the ground breaking for the Tower Hill Airstrip in Orange Walk – and now they're getting ready to officially open the refurbished runway. And it is quite a transformation from a scratch of rough cement to a fully paved strip. The airstrip is ideally located to get tourists get to Lamanai, which is close by. The runway is located just about a mile away from the BSI factory and is now fully operational.
Man Accused Of Pulling Gun On Cops
26 year-old Ronald Smith allegedly got caught with a firearm, and while he tried to escape from police, he was cornered. What happened next, according to police, was that he took aim at the pursuing officer with the illegal weapon.
Police Constable Roman Cantun reported that while he was at the Hatieville Police Station on Saturday, he heard a gunshot. When he went outside to investigate, he allegedly saw smith with a firearm. He said Smith ran into some nearby bushes, that's when he and other officers set chase.
Cantun said when he caught up with Smith, the man pointed a firearm at him, which forced him to draw his service weapon. The officer says that he attempted to fire a warning shot, but his weapon misfired twice. Another officer then drew his firearm and apprehended smith but by that time Smith had already gotten rid of his weapon, which they have not managed to retrieved.
Smith was charged with aggravated assault, and he was arraigned today before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart. Smith pled not guilty to the charge, and he was remanded into custody until January 8, 2015.
Mild Inflation in September; Highest In San Ignacio
The consumer price index rose marginally in September 2014 - The national inflation rate for the month was 0.7 percent, slightly lower than the 0.9 percent recorded in August. For the first nine months of 2014, the overall inflation rate was 1.3 percent.
Prices for Breads and Cereals declined by 1.2 percent while vegetables, which had seen continuously rising prices since last year, were down by 2.1 percent.
San Ignacio/Santa Elena recorded the highest rate of price increase for the month. The lowest was in Corozal Town, where consumer prices rose by a negligible 0.2 percent compared to the same month last year.
The Reason For Red Ribbons
A recent global survey by the World Health Organization which was launched last week in Europe showed that Belizean drinkers consume large volumes of alcohol. From 2003 to 2008, the average consumption for persons 15 and older was 5.3 litres of pure alcohol per year - that's about 12 pints. But for 2008 to 2013, it was up to 6.8 litres, about 14 pints.
And while drug abuse among youths would seem to be on the upswing, every year, students march in Red Ribbon parades. Courtney Weatherburne captured their messages today
The theme for this years Red Ribbon Week is "Love yourself and be drug free."
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Rigo’s Dominance Underappreciated
The Cricel Castillo controversy may be dominating the headlines, and 3-time Mr. Belize Champion, Rigo Vellos has been – perhaps unfairly reduced to a peripheral figure. But his dominance demands more: He won his weight category at the 2014 Body Building Championships, and he was also chosen as the overall winner of the competition.
Today, we spoke with him about it, and he said that his winning moment was to return the stage in the shape he had envisioned at the start of the year:
In order to take the record for the Most Mr. Belize Championships, he must win 5 more times.