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The Fourth Annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade will be held on Saturday, December 5th. This eagerly awaited event promises to be even more spectacular than last year with beautiful lighted boats bringing in the Holidays by motoring the shoreline of San Pedro Town from Boca del Rio to Caribbean Villas and back.

This colorful parade is scheduled to commence at 7:00 p.m. Last year the committee opted to change the event from Sunday to Saturday to give our friends and neighbors from Caye Caulker and the mainland a chance to enjoy this wonderful holiday tradition. With the support of the business community, attractive trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners in the various categories like Most Original, Best Religious Theme, Best Overall, the Mayor’s Trophy and others. Like last year a prize will also be given in the Junior Category in order to encourage schools to participate.

From now through to November 26th you can join in the parade for FREE. A late entry fee of $25 will be charged to anyone registering after the abovementioned date. There will be 1st and 2nd place trophies for boats of all sizes. Enter a kayak, canoe, power boat, catamaran or sailboat – the only requirement is that there MUST be lights on board.

The Parade Committee will be collecting sponsorships for this beautiful event. Sponsorships can be in the form of cash donation and/or trophy sponsorship, etc. Watch for more details to come your way soon.

If you are interested in participating by way of a sponsorship, boat entry or help on the committee, please contact Jan Brown at 226-2059/662-2725 or stop by Coral Beach Realty to register. For more information please visit our website: www.sanpedroboatparade.com

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Twenty cooks from all over the country are currently working towards becoming certified culinarians. As a result of the efforts of the Belize Tourism Board and the Organization of American States the first sessions for the culinary training were held on Tuesday at the University of the West Indies Campus on Princess Margaret Drive. Laura Esquivel Frampton is the Director of Product Development at the Belize Tourism Board.

Laura Esquivel Frampton: Director, Product Development

“It came about with discussions that we have had with Mrs. Kim Osborne who is the Representative here in Belize for the Organization of American States. We spoke to her about the importance of getting our local cooks to levels where they are considered chefs so that they can take on execute chef positions. She then began speaking with the Culinary Institute of America to see what kind of programs we can have in conjunction and coordination with them. Most of the course is actually being funded by the Organization of the American States. A lot of the back up work is being done by the Belize Tourism Board. Currently this program is the pro chef level one which gives all the people who are able to pass this course certified culinary distinction.”

The three month course will include a four day written and practical exam which will be administered by the Culinary Institute of America.

Laura Esquivel Frampton: Director, Product Development

“This is the first level and after we finish with this three month course, who ever is successful will then move on to level two. Level two will be about a fifteen month course and then they will get certified Chef de Cuisine, which is the level two certification. Then after that we plan to move all of the people who pass that course pro chef level three which is the highest level you can go to then you get a certified executive chef. We are providing all of this in Belize. Right now the participants are doing the theoretical portion of the course. They are getting familiar with all the of food safety and those kinds of theoretical applications that will be tested at the end of this three month period. Eighty five is the passing mark so once these chefs can get over an eighty five they were get certified culinary distinction.”

Frampton says that there will be a strong focus on the use of local ingredients and the presentation of those ingredients.

Laura Esquivel Frampton: Director, Product Development

“Of course there will be taught different cuisines from all over the world, but one of the key components is that there is a section for use of local ingredients. We have been working with the OAS and with the Institute to make some changes so that it becomes more localized. This is so that our local chef’s can better identify with the products and the recipes that they will be creating. Our original intention was to form an agreement with the Culinary Institute of America whereby we want it to be an ongoing program. The Culinary Institute of America already has an agreement with Jamaica and they are working on a program right now that is like an ongoing school. It is as if the Culinary Institute of America has a presence in Jamaica and that is what we are working towards here in Belize.”

According to Frampton they hope to take the final portion of the training to the ITVET Campus on Freetown Road. The sessions are held two times a week from eight am to five pm.  (taken off  LoveFm News)

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Letter of Approval signed by Fidel Ancona, ACLBA

Letter of Approval signed by Fidel Ancona, ACLBA

A couple of weeks ago The San Pedro Sun reported on Cabinet’s approval of the South Beach Belize development. In an effort to better understand the issue, The Sun asked the Director of the Central Building Unit of the Central Building Authority (CBA) Paul Satchwell a number of questions. According to Chairman of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority (ACLBA) Fidel Ancona, Paul Satchwell, approved three structures for the South Beach Belize project. Ancona stated that Satchwell made a sole decision without consulting all of the members of the Central Building Authority (CBA). Ancona further stated that the approval was made without consulting ACLBA and that Satchwell apologized for not having consulted with them. As such, Ancona stated that no kind of construction has started and will not start until the approval is granted by ACLBA. In an interview with The Sun, Mr. Satchwell addressed our questions.

Coco Beach development under much scrutiny

Coco Beach development under much scrutiny1) Did you approve the construction of the building?
As the Director of the Central Building Unit of The Central Building Authority my responsibilities include the review and approval of drawings for proposed structures, so yes I did review and approve the three sample buildings.

2) Was it illegally approved?
Definitely not! As the Director of the Central Building Unit of The Central Building Authority one of my responsibilities is to review and approve drawings for proposed structures.

3) Can the ACLBA stop a structure that has been approved by the CBA?
The ACLBA like all other Local Building Authority (LBA) act on behalf of the Central Building Authority, but they do NOT have the authority to stop a structure that has been approved by the CBA

4) Does the CBA have any jurisdiction over ACLBA?
According to the Belize Building Act 2003, the CBA has responsibility for the entire country of Belize, and the LBA’s represent, and act on behalf of the CBA in cities and towns.

5) Is any member of the ACLBA a member of the CBA?
Not at this time.

6) Did you apologize to the ACLBA?
Yes I did apologize to Mr. Ancona for not informing him/the ACLBA that the CBA had been asked to review the drawings and determine if the project should be approved.

7) Did you consult with all the members of the CBA in regards to the three structures?
There is/was no requirement for me to do so. One of my responsibilities as Director of the Central Building Unit of the CBA is to review and approve proposed structures for and on behalf of the Board CBA.

8) Does South Beach satisfies all the building standards of the CBA?
The drawings submitted do, and inspectors from the CBA have inspected the setting out done and that is in conformity with the approved documents.
9) Does South Beach has all their permits in place?
The South beach Project has satisfied all the requirements of the CBA for the three sample homes for which they have requested approval.

10) Where does South Beach stand right now?
The documents submitted have been reviewed and have satisfied the requirements of the CBA and as such they can proceed with the approved works.
11) Is it true that any project exceeding 10,000 square feet can only be approved by the CBA?
Because most, if not all LBA’s do not have the expertise readily available to carry out a comprehensive review of larger projects, it would not be in the best interest of public health and safety for such projects to be reviewed by LBA’s.

12) What is the actual square footage of the South Beach structures?
The Newport Structure is 1,540 S.F. and the Palms Court structure is 12,360 S.F.

13) What is the size of the largest project that the ACLBA can approve?
The whole issue of if, and how the LBA’s should be limited still needs to be discussed.
The other project that has been of concern is a concrete structure in front of Coco Beach Resort situated north of San Pedro Town. The developers are constructing a concrete enclosed structure that emerges from the sea. The structure, according to Ancona is an attached palapa to a pier. Close inspection reveals that it is not a palapa, but an enclosed structure within the water with its foundation constructed within the water bed. Ancona stated that the ACLBA does not and is not responsible for the approval of “over the water” structures. In a letter date June 4th, 2009 from the ACLBA which was signed by Fidel Ancona and addressed to Mr. Azueta, approves the construction of the pier and open palapa. In order for the structure to be legal, the developers must get the green light from seven entities. These entities are the Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of the Environment, The San Pedro Town Council, Public Utilities Commission, Land Utilization Authority, Fisheries Department and Ports of Belize. Ancona stated that the only role the ACLBA authority plays is to ensure that the enclosed building is structurally sound. In order for the ACLBA to ensure that it is sound, the project must be built “as per sketch submitted to the Physical Planning Section (PPS).” When asked what the sketch entails, Ancona stated that ACLBA did not receive one. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in a letter dated September 13th, 2007, approved the application to “manage an existing pier in front of Coco Beach Resort not exceeding 300 feet long and 8 feet wide.” The letter makes no reference to an attached structure and sketch. Taken from The San Pedro Sun

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9 Sep 2009 By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A team of expert divers, a geochemist and an archaeologist will be the first to explore the sacred pools of the southern Maya lowlands in rural Belize. The expedition, made possible with a grant from the National Geographic Society and led by a University of Illinois archaeologist, will investigate the cultural significance and environmental history and condition of three of the 23 pools of Cara Blanca, in central Belize.

Called cenotes (sen-OH-tays), these groundwater-filled sinkholes in the limestone bedrock were treated as sacred sites by the Maya, said University of Illinois archaeologist Lisa Lucero, who will lead the expedition next spring.

“Any openings in the earth were considered portals to the underworld, into which the ancient Maya left offerings,” said Lucero, who is a professor of anthropology at Illinois. “We know from ethnographic accounts that Maya collected sacred water from these sacred places, mostly from caves.”

Studies of shallow lakes and cenotes in Mexico and Guatemala have found that the Maya also left elaborate offerings in the sacred lakes and pools. Items found on the bottom of lakes in these regions include masks, bells, jade, human remains, figurines and ceramic vessels decorated with animals, plants and the gods of fertility and death.

“Diving the sacred pools of Cara Blanca, in central Belize, is necessary to determine if they have similar sacred qualities,” Lucero said.

Patricia Beddows, a lecturer of earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern University and an expert diver who has explored cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, will also explore the geochemistry and hydrology of the pools of central Belize. Once underwater, we will first have to cut out some of the jungle wood so that we can even reach the bottom,” Beddows said. “After mapping for fragile Maya artifacts, we will also take water data and manually drill sediment cores.”

The sediment samples will provide a record of changes in surface and water conditions, Beddows said.

“Were the Maya challenged by droughts in the area? Did the water quality suddenly go bad due to sulfur or other geologic factors? We hope these cenotes will provide a rich story of linked human and environmental conditions,” she said.

The cenotes vary in depth from 5 to more than 50 meters, Lucero said. The extraordinary depth of some of the pools, their sheer walls, the probable presence of underwater caves that may lead to other pools and the potential for encountering wildlife (a crocodile was spotted in one of the cenotes the team will explore) all add to the complexity and danger of the task, she said. But the team will include some of the most accomplished technical divers in the world and will be in radio contact with British special forces, who train in the region, to coordinate a medical evacuation in the event of a health emergency.

The divers will videotape and map the pools and any artifacts they find.

One of the three pools the researchers will explore has a substantial Maya structure on its edge, likely ceremonial. Preliminary investigations of the structure conducted by archaeologist Andrew Kinkella, of Moorpark College, turned up a lot of jars and the fragments of jars. This could indicate that the site was important for collecting sacred water, Lucero said. She plans to conduct a limited analysis of the structure while the divers explore the pools. Kinkella will join Lucero’s team, and will search the sheer walls of the cenotes for niches, like those carved by the Maya in other pools, where artifacts were deposited.

Lucero has spent more than 20 years studying settlements and sacred sites that were important to the Maya in Belize, and works under the auspices of the Institute of Archeology, which is part of the National Institute of Culture and History, Government of Belize.

 Taken from the www.FirstScience.com site.

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Only a few units left at very affordable prices. Best location on the beachfront, stunning vistas of the Carib Sea and Coral Reef. Home to some of the world’s best diving, snorkeling and fine dining. Be one with Belize this fall! Call us or email for more information. 226-3232 or ambergrisproperty@gmail.com

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31 year old Robert Silva, an american National of Chicago has broken and set a new world record for the longest salt water dive. The old record was 36 hours and Robert  had to spend at least 36.5 hours continuously under water to beat it. The rules were simple, he must spend more than the 36.5 hours under saltwater continuously. In addition – he must have spent at least 20 minutes at a depth of 20 feet. Sounds simple enough and on Monday morning at 10:30, Silva headed out to the Hol chan Marine Reserve on a boat from Ramon’s Village. 48 hours later at 10:30 on Wednesday morning he surfaced.

Silva holds up 48 hour sign

Silva holds up 48 hour sign

He accomplished the record setting dive with technical help from friends and the crew at the Ramon’s Village Dive Shop. They monitored him 24 hours a day – someone was always down there with him – watching and timing his countdown – by the minutes, the seconds, and the hours to the record books. But even more important was providing him an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. In forty eight hours he went through fourteen oxygen tanks. We say kudos to Silva for accomplaishing this magnificent feat in Belize! You betta Belize it!

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On the eve of the St. George’s Caye, the sense of patriotic Belizean Pride can be seen all around town as flags, banners, and flyers are hung proudly.  Tomorrow, the Town will come out in full force for the St. George’s Caye Day host of activities including the coronation of the Miss San Pedro, the family fishing tournament and a uniform parade on the principal streets of town. Below find pictures of Patriotic pride across town. This years September celebrations are observed under the theme, “Diverse origins, Common Aspirations….Together we celebrate as Belizeans!”

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