Monday, March 31, 2008

Johnny Briceño Elected New PUP Leader

Ambergris Today sent a representative to the nation's capital of Belmopan City on Sunday, March 30, to witness the election of the new party leader for the People's United Party (PUP). Johnny Briceño and Francis Fonseca were the two candidates running for the position.

More coverage of the event will be featured on this week's edition of the Ambergris Today Newspaper. (

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fire Avoided in San Pedro

The San Pedro Fire Department seems to be very busy these days. The good thing is that the prank calls seem to have died down thanks to the report placed in Ambergris Today Newspaper. Today, the department responded to a call in the Airstrip Area. A small butane gas tank ignited, but before any serious damage could happen, the firemen arrived on time to out the situation.

More Fire Pictures in the City

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Massive Fire Engulfs Entire Belize City Block

Belize City residents were up all night on Wednesday, March 26, as a massive fire almost destroyed an entire block consisting of major businesses in the heart of downtown.
Unofficial reports have that the fire started at the Romac’s department store on Albert Street and quickly spread throughout the entire block, destroying many businesses and putting many people out of jobs.
The blaze started at around 10:30p.m. Wednesday, March 26 and was brought under control around 1:30a.m. Thursday morning. (more at

More Cuban Refugees Wash Ashore

At about 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, a group of 13 Cuban refugees landed on San Pedro on the beach side in front of Holiday Hotel and as usual the first to arrive at the scene was the island’s #1 Newspaper, Ambergris Today Newspaper. Police then transported the group to the police station where, according to sources, they received medical attention and were given food and clothing. (More details on this story on Friday, March 28 Issue of Ambergris Today Newspaper.

Holy Cross Students Visit Butterfly Farm

The students of Holy Cross Anglican School enjoyed a wonderful field trip to the Butterfly Farm last week. Over 400 children were able to see (many for the first time!) the incredible beauty of some of Belize’s most delicate creatures.

Holy Cross Anglican school would like to extend thanks to Ms. Valley Ruddick of the Butterfly Farm for hosting the students, to Mr. Sterling Vorus of the Island Ferry for providing transport and to the staff of Rendezvous Restaurant, especially Miss Jessie, Miss Janice and Miss Joanna who are visiting from Ontario for refreshments and assistance with beach games.

Thanks also go to the members of the volunteer mission team from Duke University in North Carolina who worked at Holy Cross for the week and helped supervise the field trips - all three days of them!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Belizean Monsignor Blesses Town Hall

Ambergris Today witnessed the first official act of Deputy Mayor Juan Alamilla acting as Mayor at the town hall. The occasion was the official blessing of the San Pedro Town Hall by a visiting Belizean member of the clergy. The blessing was conducted by Right. Rev. Monsignor Herbert Panton, a Belizean now residing in the diocese of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Rev. Panton visits Belize annually and while in San Pedro offered to bless the building and offices. The town council is grateful for this kind religious gesture and offered a small and warm reception for the Monsignor and invited guests.

Belize’s Great Barrier Reef on USA Today Online

USA TODAY Travel Reporter Laura Bly was on the island a couple weeks ago compiling information for her report on the Great Barrier Reef of Belize. Click on the link to read her article. Article obtained from:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chelsea Clinton in San Pedro!

Rumors had it and our sources confirmed that Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and US President forerunner Hilary Clinton, is vacationing in San Pedro. Our sources say that Chelsea arrived with her boyfriend in a private helicopter and is staying at an exclusive resort on the island.

BEL asks for 15% Rate Increase

If an average home pays $200 electricity a monnt, it might soon start paying $230 World Oil Prices have increased dramatically over the past few months and on Friday, March 14, the prices went up to 111 U.S dollars per barrel. Due to this increase, the Belize Electricity Limited has seen it necessary to apply to the Public Utilities Commission for an increase to the cost of electricity.
In an ad that was issued to the media houses, Dawn Sampson, Cooperate Communications Manager at B.E.L told consumers why they are requesting the increase.
“We’re very concerned about the impact high energy prices and have been doing all we can to try to keep the cost of power as low as possible,” commented Dawn Sampson, BEL Corporate Communication Manager. “Increasing our hydro production from 20% to 40% of our energy supply has helped. But over the last five years, power cost from Mexico has increased by more than 100% due to the impact of oil prices. World oil prices are beyond our control and impacts about 60% of our energy supply. This includes power purchase from Mexico and power generated from our local diesel generators.”
The last electricity rate was adjusted in January 2006. At that time world fuel prices was averaged at 65 US dollars per barrel. BEL is asking the Public Utilities Commission for an increase of 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour or 15% average increase. President and CEO of Belize Electricity Limited, Lynn Young says that because of the increase in oil prices BEL must increase their electricity rates.
“The increases that we had to implement are really just to meet the increase in the cost of power. Sixty percent of our supply is indexed to oil prices,” commented Lynn Young. “The return works out to ten percent and that is the minimum that the public utilities commission allows us to make. That return is needed to service our debts and to provide a reasonable return to shareholders. And our debt cost is somewhere between 10 and 15%; that’s the kind of interest that we pay and we pay dividends to shareholders and that works out to about 8% for the shareholders.”
If the P-U-C grants BEL this increase, the cost of electricity will increase from the current 44 cents per kilowatt hour to 50 cents per kilowatt hour. The P-U-C will issue a final decision on the request no later than 15 days from the commencement of the Tariff Review Proceedings. Chairman of the commission, Roberto Young says that 15 days allows for public participation to assist the commission with making an informed decision as to the rate increase. BEL advices those interested to submit comments on this application to the P-U-C by March 25.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

El Niño or Global Warming?

Easter weather in San Pedro is generally windy and the dust and sand kicks up into high gear; we are used to that. What we were not used to was the unusually higher gusts of wind upon awakening on Wednesday, March 19. On the doorstep of many beach homes was the incoming surf!
The strong winds, that we usually only experience when a hurricane is near, picked up the surf that battered the piers, crashed into sea walls loosened tied down boats and dumped tons of seaweed onto the beaches. Plus, streets were flooded and Boca del Rio Park seemed like the lost city of Atlantis - all under water! Unbelievable!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

San Pedro Exceeding its Electicity Capacity?

The office of Ambergris Today got word that San Pedro has exceeded its electricity capacity and that the cable which feeds the island can no longer sustain the amount of electricity to feed the island. To clear out this information we contacted Chris Nuñez Distribution Technician of Belize Electricity Limited San Pedro Branch.

According to Mr. Nuñez San Pedro has not exceeded its consuming capacity and everything is running perfectly smooth. “San Pedro is currently consuming a total of 8 Mega Watts which is being fed by a cable coming from Bomba,” stated Mr. Nunez.

The entire country consumes a total amount of 70 Mega watts of electricity and up to date there are no problems anywhere in the country where a place has exceeded its consumption capacity.

More at Ambergris Today Online.

Online Poll Results

On our online poll we posed the question to our world wide readers to cast their vote on what they think attracts foreigners to establish themselves on Ambergris Caye. Not surprisingly, coming on top was the friendliness of our community.

It is without a doubt that the friendly nature of our island community is one of the most commented traits. Letters and emails sent to us are always commenting of the good nature of Sanpedranos, so we are not surprised that our Friendly Community came on top.

Our location in the globe is another factor that attracts foreigners to settle on Ambergris Caye. Who can resist our tropical paradise, with its amazing scenery, casual living and tranquil environment. Nothing beats the tropics.

With the exponential growth of the island and the great real estate opportunities offered at the moment, the market is in a development boom. Our online voters believe that Ambergris Caye has a Good Investment Ambience which is a plus that has been a catalyst for the rapid development these past years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fire Broke Out Near Ramons Village

Firefighters were fast to make it to the scene of a fire that broke out at an old structure located just behind Ramon's Village yesterday, Monday, March 17. Their quick response prevented the fire from breaking out to nearby residences, but the building is now condemned as the fire cause extensive damage to the entire building. The cause of the fire seems to have originated in the kitchen. Read more on Thursday's edition of Ambergris Today Newspaper.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Feeding Crocodiles

Feeding crocodiles at the water plant ponds has become a spectator's sport in San Pedro. Tourist who come to the island get word of the popular feedings and make sure it is one of their stops during their visit. The San Pedro Business Association in currently working on plans to fix up the area into a park and to make it more safe for viewing these wild creatures.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Child Stimulation Month Parade

Preschoolers from around town took to the streets this morning in a parade to celebrate Child Stimulation Month. All the Preschools are partaking in daily activities that stimulate the children's minds. Activities include special arts and craft, sports days, cultural exhibitions and meet with different businesses and organizations like the Fire Department and Traffic Department.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Intl. Belizean Reggae Artist Shoots Video

Belizean music artist living abroad, Oral Fuentes, was on the island this past week shooting his music video and Ambergris Today got an exclusive interview with Oral and also witnessed the actual video shooting at Blue Tang Inn.

Oral Fuentes was in the island along with his wife and a filming crew from Shamax Production from Belmopan shooting a music video entitled “Sum Lovin” from his Cd “Oral Culture”.

“We just finished shooting another music video in Belize City called Whey Natty Deh,” commented Oral. “The filming took place on Albert Street and we then came to San Pedro to film or next video called Sum lovin.”

More on Thursday's edition of Ambergris Today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BEL Restores Power following Damage to Utility Pole

In a press release send out by BEL on Saturday, March 8, at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) lost power supply to the area north of Boca del Rio, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Initial investigations revealed that a utility pole in the area sustained fire damage at its base, causing the structure to weaken and fall, pulling down the pole next to it. This activated a recloser, which automatically cut off power supply to the area until the damage is repaired. The company anticipated that power restoration would be completed by the following day Sunday, evening. BEL regrets the inconvenience customers may have experiencing as a result of this outage.

Jessie Leslie Wins Silver in Dance Competition Abroad

San Pedro Dance Company’s Dancer of the Year 2007, Jessie Leslie, along with Laura Voss won silver with a duet performance in the Dupree Competition in Chicago on Saturday, March 1, 2008.

Jessie is studying cosmetology in Wisconsin, USA and Dance in Delevan with Miss Tina who had done dance exchanges with the San Pedro Dance Company. Congratulations Jessie!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Second Skiff for Police Department

The San Pedro Police Department received anther donation this week; they were presented with another boat by Alexandra and Dave Hauptli, local residents of the island.

On Friday, February 15, the San Pedro Business Association presented the Police Department with a patrol boat in attempt to help curb the increase of crime on the island and on Wednesday, February 27, the Police department received another such boat.

The San Pedro Police Department is grateful for these kind donations as they are very useful and will help them carry out their activities in a much faster way and help in the decrease of crime.

More at Ambergris Today online.

Online Poll Results

The hot topic of debate on Wednesday, Good Morning San Pedro on the Reef Radio was about public access to piers on the island. Many are expressing their discontent with pier owners who deny access to the public to their pier. According to the laws of Belize, all piers are public because they are constructed on public beaches.

The San Pedro Town Council and the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority sent out a press release last week stating a temporary moratorium is in place on all applications seeking approval for the construction of piers on the island. Including in the release was a notice stating:

“Further more, any structures that impede pedestrians or traffic on public beaches, will be removed preferably by the owners, all existing piers are open to public use between the hours of 6:00am to 6:00pm regardless of who built them. The public is asked to report any restrictions of ordinary passage to all beaches on the island.”

In a quest for knowledge, Ambergris Today’s online poll posed the question if people had been denied access to a pier on Ambergris Caye. Although the majority percentile showed that most voters had not been denied access, the percentage of those who had been denied is very close.

More at Ambergris Today online.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Traffic Violations (You Report)

Two pictures were submitted to us by different readers of traffic don’ts. One captured a large cargo vehicle parking too close to the street corner preventing on- coming traffic to the intersecting street. People need to learn how to park!!! *Our second reader captured this golf cart traveling across the beach in front of the Mayan Princess Hotel. Isn’t the beach restricted to traffic? Many drivers do this and there is never a warden present to catch them in the act. We need more wardens on the island.

Submit pictures and a short description to and they can make it into our YOU REPORT segment.
More at Ambergris Today online.

Author John Grisham on Island Vacation

Ambergris Today got hold of information that popular American author John Grisham was on the island and set forth a mission to locate him. We found out that he was on the island but that he did not want any exposure in the media as he wanted to spend quality vacation time alone while he enjoyed one of his favorite sports – fishing.

John Ray Grisham (born February 8, 1955) is an American former politician, retired attorney and novelist best known for his works of modern legal drama. As of 2008, his books have sold over 235 million copies worldwide.

Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. (More on Ambergris Today online)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Prank Calls to Fire Department

The San Pedro Fire Department was once again called to a prank fire situation this morning at around 10:30. Apparently someone lit a small brush on fire next to a utility pole. The department has set a $1,000 fine for those persons caught calling in false reports or setting up small fire to disrupt the department. They released this statement to the media last week:

"Belize National Fire Service Act Chapter 137 Revised Edition 2003. The substantive laws as of May 2003. Part VI Section – 22 Subsection (1). Any person who knowingly gives or causes to be given the Service or to any Police Officer a false report or alarm of the outbreak of a fire or other disaster commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one (1) year, or to both such a fine and period of imprisonment."

More work is being put into identifying these prank callers and more extreme measures will be taken on those captured. The San Pedro Fire Department urges all residents to report a fire at phone number 226-2372 instead of 911.

Exclusive Miss Belize Universe Inteview

Ambergris Today had the opportunity to spend an entire afternoon with the reigning Miss Belize, Tanisha Vernon, this past weekend and enjoyed the company of an articulate, friendly, career driven beauty queen; yet she confessed of being a sporty tomboy while growing up.

Amidst all the controversy that is currently surrounding Pageants Belize, Tanisha stands strong behind her morals, values and aspirations which are helping her prepare for her participation in the Miss Universe Pageant which will take place in Vietnam in July. This she strives in doing on her own drive without the assistance of Pageants Belize and Margaret Johnson. Complete interview on tomorrow's edition of Ambergris Today

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cuban Refugees

On Monday, March 3, the San Pedro Police Department received a phone call around 6:15 a.m. and based upon information received police officers visited the area of Santa Fe located about six miles North Ambergris Caye where they found 17 Cuban refugees. According to one of the refugees they were hidden for about 10 days in the jungle and departed from Manzanillo, Cuba on Wednesday, February 20 at about 11:00 p.m. heading to Honduras. More on Thursday's edition of Ambergris Today

Monday, March 3, 2008

UDP Victory Rally

The new Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable Dean Barrow arrived in San Pedro on Saturday, March 1, to celebrate with Hon. Manuel Heredia, the party's victory on Ambergris Caye and around the country. A large motorcade proceeded around town that ended at Central Park where the rally took place with speeches, dances, plenty to eat and drink. It concluded with a fireworks display. More on Thursday's edition of Ambergris Today.