San Pedro went all out on Independence Day Parade, producing one of the most spectacular parades to date. The rain came pouring down but that did not dampen the spirits as the parade revelers kept on jumping and dancing. Everybody had a fantastic time! Huge Gallery

 Miss San Pedro 2010

Congratulations to this year’s parade winners:
Best Float
Isla Bonita Elementary – First Place
Ambergris Caye Elementary – Second Place
Wings – Third Place

Best Organized Group
Isla Bonita Elementary – First Place
ABC Pre School – Second Place
Island Academy – Third Place

ACES primary

San Pedro Junior College

The Island Academy Hot Hot Hot!

Belize celebrating its 29th Birthday and many more fun, exciting hot days  to come!!!!!!


The San Pedro Lions Club hosted the Costa Maya Festival’s Noche Sanpedrana on Saturday, July 31, where the eight contestants of the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant were officially sashed by outgoing Miss Costa Maya 2009 Maritza Rivas, Miss Nicaragua. It was a fabulous social evening were residents got the opportunity to personally meet, greet and welcome the beauty ambassadors to San Pedro, Belize. The night was full of music, dance, fundraisers and a fashion show that showcased clothes from local boutiques. The Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant takes place on August 5 at the International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro, Belize.

Saturday night was the culmination of Lobsterfest 2010, with a grand block party that had hundreds of visitors and locals milling about on Barrier Reef Drive, eager for a taste of the delicious spiny lobster!! Grills were fired up, and the delightful scents that wafted in the air meant there were delicious dishes to be had. Booths offered a variety of treats, including lobster stuffed jalapeños, tacos, lobster on the shell, lobster sushi, rangoons, chowder, lobster creole, pizza, mango-lobster colada (yum) and even flan (yes, flan)!! Mingling and enjoying the sights was Joey Stevens and Bob the Parrot from WSEE TV, who had been on hand all week during the festivities, filming and enjoying the island hospitality.

San Pedro’s Lobster Fest differs from the other festivals in that it is a week-long event. Traditionally the Meat and Greet is held the day before the lobster season opens, and El Divino has been the location since the Lobsterfest inception on the island three years ago. Fido’s Carnival Style Beach Party brought in the lobster season with a bang on Tuesday, June 15th, and Wednesday followed with a pub crawl. On Thursday, pizza enthusiasts flocked to Pedro’s Pizza for the annual all-you-can-eat lobster pizza party, with poker, drinks and lobster pizza galore. Captain Morgan’s was the venue for a romantic lobster dinner on Friday night, and those who hadn’t gotten their fill of a special lobster feast, well, they satiated their appetites on Saturday!

Organized by the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA), Lobsterfest 2010 truly rocked. Saturday began early, with an “Art in the Park” event that had many of the island’s finest artists showcasing their works for those who came by. Local artists proudly featured their paintings, carvings and creations. Some even painted or drew during the show, capturing the attention of those who were in attendance.

In the evening, booths were given their final touches, and as the sun set, twinkling lights brightened, inviting hungry and thirsty people to come by and sample some of their wares. From SAGA’s booth, selling treats and offering information on pet care, to the San Pedro AIDS commission’s “Red Zone” – where one could enjoy fresh ceviche, yummy frozen treats, including the Red Ribbon, to restaurants and bars offering kebabs, salads, dips, and scrumptious lobster dinners and refreshing drinks. There was so much to see and do, and from Tanya’s steel drums to DJ Habo’s deejay music, to the San Pedro Dance Company’s performance, fire dancing and more, there was something for everybody. The crowd was dancing in full force when the night finished with an energy-packed concert by local favorite Supa G.

One of the highlights was the food judging. Booths were asked to present a signature dish to four judges, and the dish would be judged on presentation and taste. Joey Stevens, Rene Villanueva Sr., Dorian Nuñez and Mary Gonzalez were the lucky judges for the evening, and they got to sample a variety of lobster dishes, from an intriguing lobster guacamole, to a variety of kebabs, chowder, salads, grilled tails, and the surprising lobster flan. The winning dish was created by Mojito Bar. The Lobster Tostada pleased the judge’s palate with a succulent lobster on the half shell, on a bed of fresh fruit and vegetables, drizzled with a refreshing pesto sauce, all presented on a deep fried tortilla. In second place was Hurricanes Bar, with their Lobster Creole, and rounding out third place was Elvi’s Kitchen with their Waka Waka Lobster Tacos. The drinks category was won by the trio of restaurants (Blue Water Grill/Caliente/Red Ginger) with their Red Wine Sangria, and second place was the San Pedro AIDS booth with their Red Ribbon (margarita).

All in all, everyone was a winner, as there was enough lobster to go around. Kudos to the organizers for a job well done. Start preparing for Lobsterfest 2011!!

More than sixty nurses from regional and private hospitals countrywide are participating in a two day pain management and palliative care symposium. An opening ceremony was held this morning at the ITVET Building on Freetown Road. The symposium was organized by the Belize Cancer Society and according to President Laura Longsworth the symposium is a part of their mandate of increasing the level of attention to cancer care.
Laura Longsworth; President, Belize Cancer Society
Our organization was founded in 1996 and despite the fact that some years have elapsed and years of public education we are still having great difficulties in providing cancer care. There are a number of reasons for that but the most important thing that we thought that we could do is to increase the level of attention to the education of our health professionals with the keen eye on the curriculum for nursing education. Nurses are with our patients twenty four hours a day. What we want to see happen throughout the health care setting is the use of pain assessment tools where people don’t guess that somebody is having pain but go back to their area and determine what kind of assessment tools and what kind of recording of pain levels and pain perceptions that will take place. We think that if that happens that will be great for the country of Belize as well.
While the primary focus of the cancer society is to improve cancer care Longsworth says patients suffering from other chronic illnesses will also benefit from the increased knowledge of the nurses in attendance. Facilitator Marijo Letizia, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, will be dedicating day one to pain assessment before moving on to palliative care.
Marijo Letizia; Facilitator
“We are going to be covering some of the important information for assessing patient’s pain to ensure that we know and understand the level of discomfort that they are having. We are going to introduce some tools that we are going to we can use; instruments that allow the nurses to document the pain that the patient experiences; provide interventions whether or not that is medication and pharmacologic interventions such as prayer, reading to the patients and other levels of comfort. We will also evaluate whether or not the things that we have done with the patient has made a difference in terms of assisting them with pain relief. The second day of the conference we are going to be moving the topic to talk about palliative care which proving care to patients that are living with and then dying from diseases that are not curable. This is cancer and other diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure and lung failure. We will be talking about palliative care nursing during the second day of the symposium.
Letizia says that she is impressed with the level of dedication demonstrated by Belizean nurses.
Marijo Letizia
Through the beginning of our conference today and event during the preparation for the conference I have been tremendously impresses by the dedication of the nurses and their enthusiasm for learning and for really doing the best job they can with the resources they that they have to provide excellent care to all patients they encounter in whatever practice setting they work. That has been inspiring.
Melinna Martinez, Reporter
“Having said that, do you think they will take the information you share with them and run with it?
Marijo Letizia
Oh, absolutely. My Colleague Judy Genrich who was well known for coming to Belize with some of our students from Loyola has been coming to Belize at least once a year for eighteen years, always brings back information that we then use. So, it is a sharing of information, it is not the idea of sage on the stage, it is more how it is that we can make sense of our stories with patients and families regardless of where we live or where we work.
The symposium is also attended by students from the faculty of nursing at the University of Belize. The theme of the cancer society initiative is ‘Educating health professionals in order to provide optimal support to those affected and their families’.

John McAfee, the antivirus-software pioneer, says he’s lost most of his fortune — but doesn’t care. To the contrary, he now hopes to give something back by deriving antibiotics from jungle plants in Belize. Really?

No road runs the length of Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile-long island off the Belizean coast, so to get to John McAfee’s house, I climb aboard a boat in the resort town of San Pedro, on the island’s southern tip, and motor north for half an hour, along a coast of white beaches set with resorts and private villas. At last, his pier comes into sight, and I step off and walk down the weathered boards, the blue-green water shimmering through the cracks, to find him emerging from the shrubbery beside the swimming pool, his smile blinding against the reddish brown of a fresh tan.

John Mcafee

Twenty-three years after he essentially invented the antivirus-software industry, McAfee, now 64, radiates the vitality of a rich man who thinks about more than money. As he steps forward to meet me at the edge of his yard, he’s wearing sandals, shorts, and a muscle shirt that reveals a wiry physique and a tiger-stripe tattoo on each shoulder. He grips my hand with sinewy vigor. For decades, McAfee was a hard-partying ne’er-do-well playboy entrepreneur, a self-described trickster and bullshit artist who’d spent the majority of his adult life gadding about and having fun. That’s all in the past now, or so he would have me believe.

He leads me into the cool semidarkness of his compound’s central living room. It has been nearly three years since I last saw him, in the scrubby desert of southern New Mexico, and while the environment couldn’t be more different, McAfee himself looks unchanged. He has spent the intervening years building a new life for himself on the coast of Central America. He has just auctioned off the last of his sprawling properties back in the United States and sold or given away many of his possessions. He has taken a huge financial hit, he says, but that’s okay. He has enough to fund his latest passion, his gift to the future: developing new kinds of antibiotics from herbs found deep in the rain forests of Belize.

In a radio-ready baritone, McAfee unfurls his story, digressing over centuries and across continents. He describes the economic injustice of the developing world, the imbalances of education and capital, and how tapping the biodiversity of the rain forest for natural cures will help address those problems. “The product is something the world desperately needs, or will need, within a few years,” he says, “as our last lines of antibiotic defense are breached by the ever-growing ranks of drug-resistant bacteria.”

As he talks, he flicks at the fabric of his pants, unable to contain his relentless energy. He pauses, suddenly serious: “But maybe I should ask what kind of story you came here to write? An exposé?”

John McAfee’s rise to fame and wealth began with what at the time seemed a minor annoyance. In the mid-1980s, he was working for Lockheed Martin as a software designer when he came across one of the first computer viruses, the Pakistani Brain. Seeing an opportunity, he picked the virus apart and figured out how to defeat it. Then he built a program, called VirusScan, that could detect and disarm multiple virus threats automatically. The program — the first commercial antivirus software — was an impressive achievement, but it’s what he did next that was true genius. Instead of selling it, as every other software maker was doing, he gave it away for free via online bulletin boards. In no time, he had a base of 30 million users; revenue followed in the form of upgrade charges and licenses for corporate customers. By 1994, McAfee’s antivirus company was worth half a billion dollars.

Though his name was on the product, McAfee wanted nothing to do with it anymore. He sold his entire stake, worth, he says, “$50-to-$100 million. I wanted to move on. Who wants to be tied to the past?”

His next project was software company Tribal Voice, which made an instant-messaging platform that allowed Skype-like telephony. It quickly attracted a quarter-million-strong following despite the era’s slow dial-up connections. In 1999, McAfee sold the company for $17 million. “When John was at Tribal Voice, the growth rate was incredible,” says former employee Jim Zoromski. “But when it got to be too popular, it started to feel too much like work, and John wasn’t interested.”

McAfee had already found financial security. Now he wanted to leverage his success into something greater: a sense of never-ending possibility. He turned his attention to yoga, racing ATVs and motorcycles, and long-distance Jet Ski journeys. “Life is free; life is limitless. You can do whatever you want,” he told me in New Mexico in 2007. “Success for me is, Can you wake up in the morning and feel like a 12-year-old?”

Read more at FASTCOMPANY.com

The well known television journalist for Channel Seven, Keith Swift, passed away Yesterday. He did not report to work yesterday morning and his roommate Mark Bowman reportedly found Swift lying face-up with foam at his mouth after five last night. His door was locked but the key was found in the door. When Bowman entered the room, there were signs that alcohol was consumed at some point over the weekend.

Keith interviewing John Walsh in his recent visit to Ambergris Caye

Swift, who was thirty years old, was known to suffer from arthritis. In November last year, Swift won platinum at the 2009 UNFPA Caribbean Population Media Awards. It is a stunning development in the media industry where Keith was known for his zeal and passion to get his stories.

Isani Cayetano: “Goodnight, Marleni, goodnight Belize. I’ll start with receiving the news inside our newsroom. The boss alerted us that a text message came in and that was what the text message read. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief. To be quite honest with you, I don’t know Keith personally but in the professional world, I should say that I know enough about him. What I found a bit interesting, surprising even is that while we were among the first to arrive at the scene, his colleagues from Channel Seven were there, there weren’t any police officers, any coroners, any medical professionals. I found that a bit strange.

What was sort of a bit unnerving for me is that usually when you deal with grieve and this type of thing, you kind of have to sensitive towards the friends and the family and what have you. And being around and gathering the little bit of information that we had preliminarily, kind of put me in a position where I feel for those who are there; his colleagues and whomsoever but at the same time I needed to get information at least to put it out there.

In our business, there are not too many of us. The media industry in Belize is a very small industry so most definitely the loss of Keith Swift is a massive one for us. A lot of us still don’t believe and still are in a state of complete shock and disbelief. Standing there tonight, the irony of the situation for me is that when I watch Seven News and I watch Keith Swift’s news product, he’s always one for the money shot. So if there’s a murder at eight o’clock or ten o’clock at night and he is on the scene, the last video footage you would get is the body riding off in the back of the pan and sadly that was the last we saw at the scene on Lizarraga Avenue. It’s so ironic the way how life unfolds and the way how things are. What I can say about Keith in a professional capacity, as I mentioned before I don’t really know him personally, we’ve always seen each other as the competition.

As much as we go in the field and we kind of look at what the other person is doing to critique where we stand, it has always been that kind of competition. I can safely say I’ve been, to some extent, a critic of his in terms of looking at what he does and saying you know what, if there’s a standard to be set, if he sets a standard I’ll try to trump that and I’m pretty that that kind of healthy back and forth happens across the board in the media. And to see someone as tenacious as he was—there were a lot of times we would go on the scene and let me see who Keith is going to interview and let me see if I could one up him, that type of thing. And at the end of it all, you look at your product and you look at his and say you know what if nothing else, we both gave it our best shot.”

Marleni Cuellar: “Let’s talk about some of the details. I know you talked about the difficulty in gathering information and I think the connection; who he is and what he does and how we know him definitely made it more difficult. But what were some of the details that you were able to gather at the scene?”

Isani Cayetano

“Like we had mentioned at the top of the newscast, the body was discovered a little after five this evening by his roommate, Mark Bowman. Apparently when Mark got home, he noticed that the door was locked but the key was in the doorknob and he called a friend of his to sort of seek confirmation on whether or not he should open the door. The friend said yes, go ahead because we don’t know what the situation is and upon opening the door, that’s when the discovery of the body was made.”

Marleni Cuellar

“He was found in his room, the living room…”

Isani Cayetano

“He was found in his bedroom. I personally did not go in the room to see the body, it’s not a thing of mine. But from what I was told he was found on the floor as if he either fell off the bed or he was struggling to get back on the bed; sort of in that position and foam was visible around his mouth.”

Marleni Cuellar

“What was the general mood of the people looking on. We talked about his media colleagues there. I’m sure neighbors and members of the public came out. But what was the general mood that you…”

Isani Cayetano

“A somber mood; very, very dismal. It took a while before the crowd gathered out there. The first time we went on the scene, we left and there was still nobody there. The police had just responded. By the time we got back the crowd was already there but everybody was just sort of curious to see if it’s true and what was going to happen next. As a matter of fact, I was able to speak with a friend of his, a close friend of his, who had made arrangements for them to hang out after work on Friday night. apparently he did not show up; I’m not sure if we’re ready to roll that footage as yet.”

Marleni Cuellar

“You have an interview lined up.”

Isani Cayetano

“Yes I do.”

Friend of Keith Swift

“Me and he always deh together especially Friday night time, we always heng out dah princess or ih would ah come dah my house. We always heng out together. Sometimes we tek wah lee drink and this really hurt me mein.”

Isani Cayetano

“When was the last time you saw him or spoke with him?”

Friend of Keith Swift

“Friday. Friday I come way yah come holla fi ah. I tell ah come meet me. Me, he and ih got wah next young man weh dah ih good friend and dah all ah we keep together. Ih always deh by my house, always. Dah my friend.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did he show up to meet you that Friday?”

Friend of Keith Swift

“No. Di other mawning I meet ah gwein dah work and I di tell ah Keith bwai di bus gwein and ih seh he neva did si di bus cause he stress out. I holla fi stop di bus fi ah and so ih get pan di bus. I just mi di worry bout ah dat’s why when I hear weh happen I run come yah because he tell me dat he stress out but ih noh tell me dah what. Ih just seh I really, really stress out. Ih seh ih depressed and I tell ah mek ih go dah da nurse dah hospital, mek ah ker ah. But ih neva did come fi mek a ker ah. But ih tell me ih depressed bad. Dat dah di last time ih talk to me.”

Isani Cayetano

“What dah your best memory of spending time with him? Maybe hanging out or what have you? What dah your best memory you could tell me you remember him as?”

Friend of Keith Swift

“I like when ih deh pan news, when ih deh pan news. He noh care weh pah he have to go, he gwein. Noh care if dah wah riot or whatever, Keith gwein. Dat dah weh I remember bout Keith. Keith dah wah person weh gwein, dat dah weh I rememba bout ah. Keith gwein anywhere weh news deh. He gwein; if dah yah, Corozal, he wah deh deh. Dat dah weh I rememba bout ah.”

Marleni Cuellar

“Alright, and that was a friend of his.”

Isani Cayetano

“That was a personal friend of the late Keith Swift.”

Marleni Cuellar

“Well, Isani thank you for coming on set and sharing with us just the immediate details that we’ve been able to gather so far and I’m sure we’ll have more on this tomorrow in our newscast.”

Isani Cayetano

“My condolences go out to the family of Keith Swift and his colleagues over at Channel Seven. It’s going to be a great loss for us in the media.”

Marleni Cuellar

“It’s a great loss to the industry in general, absolutely.”

Keith Swift, dead at thirty years. YOU WILL BE MISSED AND NEVER FORGOTTEN! The Lord giveth and the Lord Taketh away! R.I.P from you fellow San Pedro Sun colleague.

In the ongoing Central American Games in Panama, Belize has athletes competing in karate, cycling, softball, volleyball and athletics. So far the national softball team has claimed a bronze medal and in female cycling Shalini Zabaneh won silver in the twenty mile individual time trial on Wednesday. She was beaten by Natalia Navarro of Costa Rica and Evelyn Garcia of El Salvador took third.

Go Belize!

But the male athletes have been under-performing. In the Elite individual time trial, a thirty-nine kilometer stretch, the first Belizean to cross the finish line was Byron Pope, who placed eleventh. The other riders were Christopher Reyes and Brandon Cattouse, who came in eighteenth and twentieth respectively. But in the finals for the individual time trial Pope took fourth place and Reyes was ninth.