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|San Pedro Daily||Monday,
April 16, 2012
|Front Page||Weather||foto of the day||Regional News||Classified Ads|
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Editorial: If You Don’t Like
the Law…Change It
It seems foolish to debate whether or not a certain law should be imposed and it is absurd to ask an officer in charge of the police not to enforce it. Laws are not to be individually interpreted by law enforcement individuals and citizens can not interpreted the law based on their personal interests.
We the good people of Belize have voted leaders into our government who we have entrusted to create and mandate laws that are in the best interest of the people. By doing so we also agree to abide by them and support law enforcement individuals who have sworn to uphold them.
If you happen to disagree with or find a specific law nonsensical and/or outdated, such as the Good Friday Alcohol Law that was hotly debated last week, then it is up to us, THE PEOPLE, to have the law changed. It is wrong to ask the ones who are paid to maintain the law to disregard it just because some of us find it inconvenient or untimely.
There is plenty to debate over this controversial law. Some community members, mostly local business owners, have objected to it claiming they will lose revenue on liquor sales on one of the busiest tourism days of the year. It is not so much the debate that people cannot live without buying booze for one day, but that with each peak tourism day optimal income is essential to surviving through the off-season. Denied the opportunity to capitalize on this seems economically counterproductive. Others argue that Church is crossing the line into Government, imposing the religious Easter rituals upon those who choose not to. Should businesses and individuals opt to recognize Good Friday then so be it, but to mandate this “belief” on an economy that literately counts the days of tourism dollars, the financial loss is the direct result of a secular belief imposed upon the business community.
At 3PM on Good Friday, the San Pedro Police came out in force, closing down grocery stores that also sold liquor. Just about every shop, large or small sells liquor in San Pedro, and by closing them down for the rest of the day other store essentials were unavailable to the public. One person complained that an afternoon errand that day to buy laundry soap, bottled water and toilet paper turned into an island scavenger hunt in search of an open store. In essence the law banned any and all shopping for the day. It seems leniency was extended to restaurants and bars that were serving alcohol as early as 6PM, most likely spared the consequences of the law after constables were persuaded by local government officials and higher powers to disregard it.
This antiquated law could have been amended years ago if the stake holders in the tourism industry had the foresight to work with the Cabinet in changing it. If we as a community don’t like the law, then let’s do what it takes to have it changed. Expecting acceptations is not only unethical, it is illegal, and the abuse of powerful individuals to sway the enforcement of the law is an abuse of their power and status. Instead of trying to bend the law these leaders, along with the stakeholders and the community can work together in changing it.
In the meantime, the law is the law whether you like it or not, and regardless of who you are, no one should be above it.
San Pedro Sun
Dr. Graham presents on the Status of Sharks in Belize
Wednesday night, April 11th, Dr. Rachael Graham of the World Conservation Society held a presentation on the status of sharks in Belize. The one hour presentation commenced at 8PM and was held at the San Pedro Lion’s Den.
Dr. Graham, Director of the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society spoke to The San Pedro Sun before her presentation,
“My presentation tonight is actually going to focus on the status and the future of sharks and rays in Belize. It’s going to give a very broad overview of the status of sharks globally then go a little bit into the biology of sharks. I will also be sharing some kind of neat facts that people don’t know about sharks and rays.”
Her presentation also shed light on the research that she has been doing in the country.
“My research is very broad brush at this point. We started off with the whale sharks in 1998. That’s how a lot of the shark research started here in Belize. But when I realized that whale sharks are doing pretty well, I started looking into what I like to call the toothy sharks, like Bull sharks, Caribbean Reef sharks, Nurse Sharks and so forth. What I was finding was that actually we have a fishery for sharks here and it has seriously depleted the shark populations. In fact, the last time that the co-op took in shark meat was 1993 because they didn’t feel that it was productive enough and most Belizean fishers who had fished sharks stopped fishing shark.”
While Belizean fishermen ceased fishing sharks, fishermen from neighboring countries took over and are now scraping the barrel.
What Dr. Graham hopes to do is educate the general public on the importance of sharks to the ecosystem, especially to the survival of the reef ecosystem,
“Sharks and rays are incredibly important to the ecosystem and especially the Coral Reef Eco System. What they do is they keep a lot of their prey populations in balance and by doing so that tends to keep our coral reef a lot more resilient. It also keeps our commercial fish stocks in much better shape. In fact, if you remove sharks and rays, a lot of the time you are going to find that you’ll have all kinds of ramifications from their loss that impact the snappers, the groupers, the jacks, the herbivores and finally, what may be causing the algae over growth on the reefs here in Belize.”
The presentation touched on topics that included: Threats to Sharks and Rays; Challenges that Conservation efforts face; Current Global situation of Sharks; Shark Species Population Decline since the 1970′s; the Lack of Sustainable Shark Fisheries worldwide; Reasons for Sharks and Rays’ Vulnerability and Age at Maturity of sharks, among others.
Dr. Graham commended San Pedro on its efforts and work in Shark Conservation spreading the message that sharks are more valuable alive than dead,
”One of the things that San Pedro has shown very very well is their pride in their sharks. I think they’re very proud of their sharks here and they have demonstrated it time and time again, particularly through Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley that a live shark is worth very much more than a dead shark. And I hope that they will pass that message onto the rest of the country and to the rest of the region.”
In closing the presentation, a very touching clip of a field trip that Dr. Graham took with children from Sartenaja Village to Hol Chan Shark Ray, was shown. The kids were initially scared of sharks and some, even of the water. After they were briefed on the friendly creatures they soon braved the waters and experienced swimming with the sharks and rays. Speaking of the presentation, one attendee stated,
“I am really excited at the fact that Dr. Graham has started educating the community on the sharks and rays. I learned some new facts about sharks and rays. It was really interesting. The video on the kids in Sarteneja was really inspiring. The community will benefit greatly from more of Dr. Graham’s seminars.”
Dr. Graham is scheduled to move to San Pedro later this year as she commences her Northern Belize Shark Project geared at northern Belize which includes San Pedro.
San Pedro Sun
Cancer Treatment Center
To Open in Belize
Raquel Battle, a Walden University Ph.D. in Health Services student specializing in Healthcare Administration from Raleigh, N.C., participated in the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting March 30 to April 1 at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She was one of six students representing institutions in the Laureate International Universities network who were selected to attend based on their leadership skills, commitment to social change and academic track record.
Battle, along with the other LIU participants, completed a CGI U Commitment to Action pledge to contribute to the greater good. “The Clinton Global Initiative University offered ‘hope’ to realize my commitment to build the Edlin Leslie Sr. Hospice in Belize, Central America, and to establish a Belizean Educational Association for Treatment of Cancer (BEAT),” she said. “The skill sessions offered practical solutions to many of the existing challenges that I face in utilizing social media and in building practical partnerships with a focus on my CGI U commitment.”
A native of Belize with dual citizenship in the United States, Battle is working to provide treatment options, advocacy and awareness of cancer in Belize. She met personally with President Clinton at the event to share her commitment to make a difference. “The CGI U experience was priceless. I left feeling refreshed with creative ideas and hope for the future of hospice in Belize, Central America,” she said.
More than 1,000 students participated in this year’s CGI U, which is organized annually to educate and motivate young people to make a positive impact in the world. The event offered panel discussions and skill-building sessions on the meeting’s focus areas of education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health. The attendees also took part in a community service project held in conjunction with Rebuilding Together and the United Service Organizations (USO) to refurbish homes for low-income families in Washington, D.C.
About Walden University
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 48,500 students from all 50 states and more than 140 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 55 campus-based and online universities in 28 countries.
About Raquel Battle
In 2007, Mrs. Battle’s father, Mr. Edlin Leslie Sr. lost his battle with prostate cancer. While undergoing treatment in Mexico, he suffered immensely. Without cancer treatment facilities in Belize, Edlin had no place to turn. Edlin’s dying wish was to establish a hospice in Belize. Mrs. Battle, his youngest daughter, promised to make his wish come true, even naming the hospice after her dad. Today, Belize has its first hospice care center (not only in Belize but in Central America) called the Edlin Leslie Sr. Hospice and Home Care Center. Mrs. Battle, is also president and founder of a nonprofit called The Blissfulsage Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 in the United States.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Saga Humane Society
When: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Time: 6 - 9 p.m.
Where: Wet Willies
“SEAFOOD” is the theme!Come out to Wet Willies and meet the new owners Bruce, Diane & Steve, listen to some nice, live music, and enjoy the ‘SEAFOOD’ cuisine all while supporting the island’s Humane Society, SAGA.
The monthly cook-off is always a fun social event for the whole family. We look forward to seeing you all there!
Saga Humane Society needs your support to operate the Shelter. Without fundraising & your generous donations, Saga would not be able to care for the homeless, sick and/or abused animals of San Pedro Town.
Thank you for your continued support.
ONLY BZ$10 to sample all the entries! You vote for the winner!
*Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place.
To enter a dish, please call the clinic at 226-3266, or contact any Saga representative. Your dish needs to serve a minimum of 65 bite size or sample size servings. Registration is not required, but encouraged. Please bring your entry by 6:00 p.m. on the night of the event. Food serving starts approximately 6:20pm. Tickets sell fast!
© SAN PEDRO DAILY, PO Box 45, San Pedro Town, Belize.
Inquiries to Editor.SanPedroDaily@gmail.com