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Part of the agreement negotiated by Past President Milo Paz for the San Pedro Lions Poly Clinic II was to solicit and look for donations for the clinic. The local Lions Club provides the property and the building which was completed by the Government of Belize. The Government of Belize further provides for all the administrative expenses, including staffing.

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San Pedro mourns the loss of Paisano, Smiro Habib Hajara. He was found dead on a pier where he often spent the night on Saturday, December 31, 2005. His real name very few people ever knew or will remember. But Paisano will always be remembered as a most intriguing character. If the American Ambassador visited San Pedro, Paisano was sure to take a picture with him. If George Price made an official visit, Paisano was sure to hug him as he landed from his boat and proudly pointed out that the Prime Minister of Belize knew him by name.

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Despite heavy opposition and debate last week, the new General Sales Tax (GST) bill was passed by the government’s Senate majority on Thursday, December 29, 2005, and though it will become law shortly, the new tax will not be knocking on your door until July 1, 2006, an extension of three months from the previously set date of April 1.

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Bridge Update The bridge is progressing rapidly and the completion date of January 31st is still very possible. There will not be a booth in the middle of the bridge as was previously stated. However, there will be posts placed in the middle so as not to allow any large vehicles over. The posts will be removable to allow vehicles across in case of fire or medical emergencies. There will be two lanes for golf carts and two lanes for pedestrians. This will end the long delays that occur during busy times of the day.

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Happy New Year, Belizeans, from your friendly essential services neighbor, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), who along with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), has decided to increase your electricity rates by 13% effective January 1, 2006.

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Belize Natural Energy, the company that is harvesting the oil find in Spanish Lookout, is exporting oil, and lots of it. 7NEWS confirmed that an oil barge has been docked at the Big Creek Port since the last week in December. The barge has the capacity to transport 40,000 barrels of oil and 10 tankers are steadily supplying it. It should be at capacity in another two to three weeks and more tankers are expected to join the fleet to speed up the loading process.

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Twenty-seven students along with two professors from McDaniel College, Maryland in the U.S.A. arrived this Monday in San Pedro to take part in the school’s “Fishing and Diving-Belize” course, which is taking place in Belize for the 8th consecutive year. Accompanying the students to the island for their January study tour were Professors Herb Smith (course founder) and Dr. Brian Wladkowski, a political science and chemistry instructor, respectively.

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The Safety Committee reported on penalties given out by the resident Magistrate on curfew offenders for San Pedro Town. Magistrate Earl Jones had stated earlier that these are family matters, which are usually dealt with by the Community Rehab Department. Parents and youths are now being given notice that first offenses against the curfew are usually dealt with fairly quickly by the Magistrate in which most of the children are given to the parents with the understanding that a fine must be paid if the youth is brought back for another offense.

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The Ministry of Natural Resources, Local Government, and the Environment, through the Lands and Surveys Department will officially launch a Lease to Freehold Title Project on 23rd January 2006 in Dangriga Town. This one-year project is a national initiative, which begins with leaseholders of residential lots of one acre or less, but will eventually extend to other lessees.

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>The North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch conducted a Children’s Trash Day Drive in December 2005 in children from the San Mateo area successfully cleaned up roads and beaches north of San Pedro Town. The children filled over 100 bags of garbage in just over 2 hours fifteen minutes, which were then placed on a garbage truck.

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Representatives of Belize joined diplomats from Mexico and other Central American nations on Monday, January 9, 2006, to demand changes in United States immigration policy. Belize, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama say the U.S. needs guest worker programs and the legalization of undocumented programs. The group criticized a U.S. proposal for tougher border enforcements. The regional representatives met in Mexico City and formed a working group to design a regional policy to avoid migrant abuse.

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Works started last week Monday for the renovation of the San Pedro Sports Arena, which suffered much vandalism to most of the areas in the complex, including the gates, fencing, wall signs, and bathrooms. The refurbishing project was undertaken by the San Pedro Town Council, under the supervision of Sports Councilor Joe Elijio, at a cost of approximately $15,000.

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Last Thursday, the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce (ACCC) welcomed four PUP candidates who are running for the upcoming municipal elections, including Mr. Alberto Nuñez, who will be contesting the Mayoral seat in March 2006 against the incumbent Mayoress Elsa Paz. The PUP Town Council candidates present at the Chamber meeting last week were Alex Nuñez, Javier Williams, and Andre Perez, who were accompanied by Eiden Salazar, Chairman of the PUP Executive-San Pedro, and Milo Paz, PUP Campaign Manager-San Pedro.

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The San Pedro Police Youth Cadet Corps held a work-a-ton this past Saturday, January 14, 2006, in which they cleaned up the streets and surroundings at the San Pedrito Area. Fifteen boys and girls of the youth cadet corps collected trash and cleaned up the San Pedrito Area and made it more presentable and clean for the residents. Officer in charge of the cadet corps, P.C. Phillips commented that the work-a-ton was a project to instill a sense of community pride within his cadets.

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This Monday marked the official commencement of Tourism Awareness Week 2006, which will be celebrated nationwide through Sunday, January 22. In an effort to involve both the local and visiting population in celebrating Belize, its natural splendor and the overall developments of the tourism industry.

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The good news is that another well has hit oil in Belize; the bad news is that gasoline prices keep going up in the country. This Monday, the Geology and Petroleum Department confirmed that a third well drilled at Spanish Lookout has also tapped into the same oil bearing formation, not far from the first two successful strikes.

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The San Pedro Seahawks ended their quest for the RFG Tournament Cup championship last Sunday at Ambergris Stadium when they failed to score goals against Boca FC during their semi-final meeting, which ended in a scoreless draw. Despite various close calls to goal by the Seahawks, the fans were left with much disappointment as one more season went out the window and a very talented San Pedro team once more failed to make it to the BPFL finals.

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New Year’s Baby Has Arrived Ambergris Today is pleased to announce the arrival of San Pedro’s first baby of the New Year 2007. Vicente Thomas Santos was born under the care of Dr. Daniel Gonzalez and Nurse Natalie Palen at the Ambergris Hopes Clinic on January 1, 2007 at 2:35 a.m. He weighed in at 9 pounds and 14 ounces.

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Belize honored its best in the tourism industry at a gala event held last Friday evening celebrating the 6th Annual National Tourism Awards hosted by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City.

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The San Pedro Police Department and San Pedro Town Council have jointly given out two awards in recognition of the hard work and dedication of two individuals to the island of Ambergris Caye. On Friday, January 20, 2006, Mayor Elsa Paz and Inspector Sabal presented special constables Samuel Gomez and Orlando Mendez with certificates of outstanding performance for their dedication in assisting the San Pedro Police Department in reducing crime on the island.

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