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#434680 - 04/03/12 08:48 AM Today's Belize News: April 3, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun

Police Constable Jose Valerio Shot in Caye Caulker
A police officer attached to the Caye Caulker Police Station was shot shortly after 5PM today Monday, April 1st. was shot by a civilian who remains at large. According to multiple police sources, Valerio was shot in the head in the Bahia del Sol area in the southern part of the village near the airstrip. Information is still sketchy at this time but The San Pedro Sun understands that sometime last night, a male person was being detained for having a firearm. The person, while being taken to the station, managed to escape. It appears that while the police in Caye Caulker were on a man hunt for the person, Valerio was shot by the same person they were searching for. A seriously injured Valerio was airlifted to Belize City where he remains hospitalized.

Organic Soap on the San Pedro Market
There is a new organic soap on the San Pedro market. The organic soap is in a powder form and is being sold by Mr. Jose Nájera. The elder citizen has been selling his products in an effort to generate an income to offset his ongoing medical expenses. The organic product originates from the Quillaja saponaria plant, also known as the soap bark tree or Soapbark which is endemic to the warm temperatures of Chile and Paraguay. Nájera explained that the product was imported after he obtained the all-clear from the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA). The plant, which is considered non-toxic, has great pharmaceutical properties but in its organic state, can be used for bathing or for washing clothes. Nájera says that in its organic state his product can be used externally to reduce excess skin oil and dandruff. The product comes neatly wrapped in paper and sold in units of two 15-gram packs marketed in a brown paper bag. The bag is sold for $10. Before using, the soap will take a few minutes of perpetration. The product will have to be dissolved in water and put to boil. Once the water has come to a boil, it can be used for bathing. Nájera explained that the water can also be used to wash clothes; perfect to remove bad odor and stains from clothes without compromising the color.

Wilmer Cartajena Reported Missing in San Pedro
Police on Ambergris Caye are asking for public assistance in locating an islander. 27 year old Wilmer Cartajena, also known as Chix, went missing on March 24th. Cartajena, who lives in the Basil Jones area located some 12 miles north of San Pedro Town, was reported missing by his brother Oscar Cartajena on Sunday April 1st. According to San Pedro Police, Cartajena was last seen on March 24th sometime between 9:30 and 10AM on the said date in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town. Cartajena was seen near the bridge in a white boat along with four males of dark complexion, heading in a northerly direction along the eastern coastline of Ambergris Caye. He was last seen wearing a white T-shit, short pants and black Costa del Mar sunshades. Police say Cartajena has three distinguishing tattoos; one on the right side of the neck with the name “Gloria,” another on his back with the word “Angel” and a third on his right elbow with this nickname “Chix”. Cartajena is described as being Hispanic of fair complexion, short black hair, slim built with medium height and brown eyes.

PADI 2012 Member Forum held in San Pedro
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), held the first of what will be a yearly Member Forum on Thursday March 29th at the SunBreeze Hotel Conference room in San Pedro. The meeting started at 7pm and saw the participation of over 65 PADI professionals. The reason for the forum was to help PADI professionals to not only stay up-to-date as a PADI member, but also to provide PADI Pros with tips to enhance their business and educational programs. Robert Sievens, Regional Manager for PADI Latin America, Course Director and Examiner with PADI spoke of the forum. “Tonight we are having what we call a PADI Member Forum, a member forum is an opportunity for professionals in Belize, especially here in San Pedro, to come over and listen to the new products that PADI has launched for this calendar year. A portion of our program this evening is on Risk Management and how to lessen risks as you move into diving with your customers and students. We also have a section that will deal with the standards, to make certain that everyone is on par with what they’re doing. As PADI Professionals we have standards within our organization, and our members are supposed to stay within those lines.”

Ambergris Today

Holiday Hotel Inaugurates Caprice Restaurant & Bar
The San Pedro Holiday Hotel officially repoened its restaurant and bar under the new name Caprice; giving the establishment a new look. Classy Chic comes to mind when you step into Caprice; with a long and elegant bar, four different lounge areas, a waterfall wall, and the large deck converted into the restaurant dining area, the establishment now gives off more of a boutique-hotel feeling. A very impressive makeover, we must say! Celi's Restaurant has now become an elegant outdoor dining experience, known as Caprice, with a shaded outdoor deck with mood lighting for the evenings. It's menu has been tweaked, so you have to try out the new classy joint in town. Renovations at the San Pedro Holiday Hotel also include upgrades to their rooms and a swimming pool to come in the near future. Lisa Guerrero commented that the renovations are a breath of fresh air for the long-standing iconing hotel in downtown San Pedro, as much had not changed in a long time.

San Pedro High Making Sports History
San Pedro High is on a roll and making sports history. Sports teams of the High School are in a lucky streak; first the SPHS Softball team became Regional Champions, then they captured the title of National Softball Champions (a first in history for the school) and this past Friday, March 30, 2012, the SPHS Track and Field team became the Regional Champions in the NSTA Regional Track and Field Tournament, another Big First for SPHS! The San Pedro High School Track and Field team traveled to Corozal Town to participate in the NSTA Regional Track and Field Tournament. Members of the team partook in events such as relays, long-distance, sprints, discus throw and shot put throws to name a few. At the end of the day, SPHS athletes captured 27 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze medals for a total of 76 medals, almost double of what was obtained last year. The team also captured first place in this tournament for the first time ever in the history of San Pedro High. Congratulations to the team members of the San Pedro High School Track and Field Team and to the coaches! Go SPHS!!!

SP Cancer Society Holds “Hair Day”
Founding members of the San Pedro Cancer Society got together at Mar De Colores beauty salon on Friday, March 23, 2012, to Go Bald, Go Strong and shaved off their hair in show of support for cancer patients and create awareness for their campaign during Cancer Awareness Month. And to show how serious and committed to their cause and wanted others to join them, this past Saturday, March 31, 2012, the group held an awareness campaign called “Hair Day”. For “Hair Day” residents were asked to either shave their hair or streak a lock of hair pink or purple to show support for cancer patients. The event took place at Central Park where massages were also being offered by Kristy Gonzalezof Escape Spa at $1.00 per minute; all proceeds went to the Cancer Society. A total of $812.00 was raised on Saturday ($650 from the hair streaking and massages and $162.00 from pastries and beverages sold). The San Pedro Cancer Society would like to thank all the persons who came out to streak their hair in support of cancer patients, got a massage and bought pastries. Much thanks to Carlos Barrientos of Mar de Colores, and newly elected Town Councilor, for generously donating his services for hair dying, equipment, as well as to Kristy Gonzalez for donating her time and massage services towards the Cancer Society’s cause.

Portraits for Charity to Benefit Children’s Charities
Starting this April, local artist Chris Emmanuel (Chris) will donate one oil portrait of a child or animal (12”x16”) each month. In exchange, the person commissioning the art work will support a registered children’s charity by donating a minimum $150. Chris says, “I’m glad for this opportunity to give back to the children of Belize; after all it’s the little ones that carry our legacy forward”. Requirements: Chris says that the person commissioning the work must live in San Pedro and must allow the artwork to be displayed at an exhibit, if requested, at the end of the year. All children’s charity receipts will be on display beside the portraits at the exhibition. *Please submit your name, a photo to be painted and contribution amount to Chris Emmanuel’s gallery in Sunbreeze Hotel by the 15th of the month.

PHOTO: Sea Turtle Spotting at Hol Chan
Easter break is almost here and the island of Ambergris Caye is already teeming with Spring breakers and folks from the mainland who are flocking in search of sun, sea and sand! One of the hotspots along the Great Barrier Reef is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve that is packed to capacity these days. Friendly residents of the reserve are these two sea turtles that are not shy and come curiously close to the skiffs to say "Hello" to visitors of the park. Here's wishing a Happy Easter Break to everyone who visits San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize - La Isla Bonita! -

Alejandra Hackson Crowned Miss Isla Bonita Elementary
Four lovely candidates did a spectacular job at putting on a great show this past Saturday, March 31, 2012, at this year's Miss Isla Bonita Elementary Pageant. At the end of the fundraiser show that took place at the R. Angel Nuñez Auditorium, Alejandra Hackson, won the title of the new Miss Isla Bonita Elementary. The pageant was a popularity fundraising competition and each candidate has been working hard, together with their classes, to raise money for improvements to the Isla Bonita playground and lunch area. The girl with the most funds at the end of the evening was crowned the new queen of the school. The four contestants were Caroline Sersland, Joyce Martinez, Martha Alica Vasquez, Alejandra Hackson. Outgoing Queen Grace Brown was on hand to crown the new Miss Isla Bonita Elementary, Alejandra Hackson who raised over $7,000 for the school. Each contestant won great prizes donated by the business community including some pampering by Kristi Gonzalez of Escape Spa just before pageant night.

PHOTO: The Rate Of Development In Ambergris Caye
This is a delightful photo taken by Mr. Al Felly of Madison Wisconsin taken in the 1970’s during one of his annual visits to San Pedro to assist in his San Pedro High School project. Talk about a new look and much development for San Pedro. In the far right you can see part of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School with its huge empty yard full of grass and Maestro Reyes’s home in the school yard. George Kumul’s house remains intact and is probably San Pedro’s most original building. The little building was once Maya Airline’s office located on private land which today would be the middle of the street. Then there is no more- no Sunbreeze Hotel, no Tropic Air Office, No Ancona Building with the many offices and businesses. Look at the photo below taken in 2006 and see the massive rate of development. Let the photos talk for themselves. Note: The High School Students were awaiting the arrival of Al Felly, San Pedro High School’s biggest benefactor ever.

Misc Belizean Sources

Mother's Day Contest at Belmopan City Online
Would you like to get your mother free maid cleaning for a month? Belmopan City Online is doing another contest. All you need to do is nominate your mother by telling them why she deserves it. That shouldn't be too hard. The cleaning is provided by Happy Maids. Good luck to all.

Summer Solstice at Caracol on June 20th
If you missed the Vernal Equinox camping trip at Caracol, then you can do the Summer Equinox camping trip on June 20th. Link goes to the FB event. "The follow up to the Vernal Equinox, this is another chance for an overnight to Caracol, the largest Maya site in Belize."

PHOTOS: Palm Sunday in Benque Veijo del Carmen
Check out the pictures from Palm Sunday in Benque. Nice! "Thank to Mr. Subrata Basu, Peace Corp Volunteer at the Special Unit Office at the Town Hall, for such vivace documentation we thank you for sharing images."

VIDEO: TAS Belize's Tell A Story Thursday episode 4
They interview the married team of Richard and Heitha Beane in this edition of Tell A Story! "Mervin Budram - Host of Tell A Story Thursday - Asked Richard & Heitha Beane of Belize Internet Marketing questions relating to being successful in business. Heitha states, 'You've got to love your product, or at least act like you love it.'"

Channel 7

Last week, 7News told you about the failed election petition by the People's United Party on behalf of Yolanda Schakron. We also reported the impending application for another petition on behalf of her brother, Martin Galvez, which has also been filed against the Lake I Area Rep., Mark King. Well tonight, the news is that another application was brought before the courts by the People's United Party. This is on behalf of the PUP Standard Bearer, David Craig, against the duly sworn-in Area Representative for the Albert Division, Herman Longsworth. Remember that construction being done on the Marion Jones Sporting Complex? Well, the honourable Longsworth is the one who got the contract to build it.

A Belize City man was shot early Sunday morning inside his home. According to police, around 3:50am on Sunday, 35 year old Michael Usher better known as Pama was inside his home on Antelope Street extension, when a man entered through the front door and fired a shot at him. The shot caught Usher in the left side of his head beside his left eye. He was rushed to the KHMH where he was treated and later released today. He didn't want to comment when we visited the area today.

A man was also shot in Corozal Town this weekend. It happened early on Sunday morning at a few minutes to one, when 41 year old Guilermor Briceno was shot during what looks like an attempted robbery. Briceno was getting out of his car when he was held up by three men. One of them held him at gunpoint and demanded money and jewelry. He didn't have any and shouted for help which was when the gunman shot him several times, twice to his hip, and four times to his feet. Police responded and found him lying on the street next to his car. Police found one expended shell and have detained three men for questioning.

Every day, tens of thousands of Belizeans rely on public transport, particularly those who have to work or go to school in one municipality, but live somewhere else. And, on Friday night, a group of those road-weary travelers got a hellish surprise on a westbound Shaw's Bus. Their bus was held up by armed men - who weren't afraid to use their weapons. Monica Bodden found out more from the conductor: Monica Bodden reporting On Friday night this Shaw bus left Belize City around 8:45 en route to San Ignacio Town - but while making their way pass Hattieville, they were held up at gunpoint by two armed robbers. The bus was loaded with passengers, luckily no one was hurt.

21 year-old Percival Blancaneaux, a resident of Taylor's Alley is currently on remand after he was arraigned in Magistrate's Court today. It was alleged that on January 24, he and another man invaded the home of Esmeralda Gladstonbury, located in an area on the Northern Highway known as Old Well Road. Glastonbury reported to police that about 4:00 a.m. on that date, she was at her home sleeping along with her husband and son. She awoke to the sounds of someone breaking in, and that's when she saw two men were inside the house. Both men held them hostage at knife-point, tied them up and then cleaned out their house of about 18 thousand dollars in electronics and other personal items, including her red Isuzu Rodeo which they used to get away with. That vehicle was eventually recovered on the Burrell Boom Road.

32-year-old Dean Crawford, who worked as a prison officer until last year, was convicted of drug trafficking in Magistrate's Court today. It was alleged that on October 2, 2011 he tried passed two bags of weed in to the prison, but he was caught in the act. In the trial, Prison Officer Raynard Valencio testified that initially, nothing incriminating was found on any of the workers during the routine check on that day, a check which included Crawford as well. Valencio said that after he moved off, a piece of marijuana fell out of Crawford's jacket pocket and that made them become suspicious. Crawford was then taken into a room where a thorough search was done on him, and they ordered him to take off his work boots.

You will remember 11 year-old Janae Matute - whom we featured on this newscast in 2010. She was born with cerebral palsy, and receied the biggest malpractice award of a little over 2.6 million dollars from the Supreme Court in November 2010. Her mother, Georgia Matute was awarded with just under six hundred thousand dollars. Justice Awich found that the doctor, Raju Meenavalli, acted negligently when he calculated Georgia Matute's due date, which caused Janae to be born pre-term, and caused her to develop complications. Well, on the last day of the sitting of the March Sessions of the Court of Appeal, Doctor Raju Meenavalli appealed the decision; he was represented by attorney Godfrey Smith. Smith appealed Justice Awich's decision on the grounds that there was not a full-proof scientific method to calculate the exact time in the gestation period, and that the trial judge's conclusion does not have the evidence to support it.

When the UDP took over City Hall in 2006 - it marked the end of a long drought, politically - and the council had to hire "Good UDP's" from all over the city. Well now, things have changed, and the new UDP City Council has decided to cut the fat - even if it means laying off those who may be called "good UDP's". 7news has confirmed from the council that it has laid off 25 employees - after a review by the managers of each section. A senior source told us that the city administrators instructed managers to determine which posts are redundant, and which workers are not working up to par. The managers came up with a list of 25 and those persons have been laid off. The employees are saying that they have been retrenched, many of them by their own party.

A Belize City fisherman lost ten thousand dollars in a Cayo land swindle. 33 year old Jeffery Murillo thought he was buying a piece of land form Leiticia Jones, but now he's told police that he got played, big time! He says Jones took him and his brother to the Lands Department in San Igancio where they met one Mr. Bautista, an employee. He prepared all the transactions along with Jones and a Justice of the Peace named Tut. Murillo says he paid the money to Leticia Jones, and was told that that in 2 weeks, the lease would be in his name and would be mailed to him. But 2 weeks passed, and he got nothing. So, he went to the Lands Department in Belmopan, where he was told that the land that was sold to him actually belongs to the DFC. They told him to go back to the Lands Department in San Ignacio - but, again, he had no luck. He says that he's also had no luck getting in contact with Leticia Jones who doesn't asnwer her phone.

2 Months ago, 7News told you about the Fort Point Facelift which was launched under the Sustainable Tourism Development umbrella. This IDB funded tourism project is being called the "Belize City Fort Point Pedestrian Walk". It has a budget of just over 5 million dollars and it is supposed to deliver a comprehensive renewal of North Front Street from the bridge-foot to the Memorial Park and Tourism Village. Work has been taking place at the Memorial Park for about a month now, and all the old elements of the park have been demolished. If you are concerned that they've been destroyed, don't worry the experts assured 7News today that the basic footprint is still there. It's just part of the renewal process.

Whether you call him Jamal Barrow, or Moshe Levy Ben-David, - the man most of us know as Shyne has been an enigma since his return to Belize in October of 2009. And in those two and a half years, he hasn't earned a lot of fans here in Belize - in fact, it's safe to say, he's lost most of them. We can't say for sure what that is attributable to - but certainly, his dress and religion - which most people would call "strange" - have contributed to it. And certainly, the concert debacle in March of 2011 - when no guest artist arrived - made a skeptical public downright hostile. Add to that, the fact that he hasn't had any kind of popular success since coming out of jail - and Shyne is in a real doghouse. And you might be surprised to know that no one is more keenly aware of that than Shyne himself. He knows he's got a lot of making up to do with a public that really couldn't care less.

There is breaking news at this hour that a police-man has been shot in Caye Caulker. It happened after 5:00 this evening - near the Village airstrip. Apparently there was a misunderstanding with a civilian - over a firearm. We're not sure quite what led to it - but the civilian ended up shooting the policeman. He is reportedly seriously injured and has been flown into the city. We'll have more eons this tomorrow.

Channel 5

Breaking News: Cop shot in La Isla Carinosa

There’s breaking news tonight from La Isla Carinosa. Before six o’clock this evening a police officer was allegedly shot in the head and is being airlifted to the K.H.M.H. Only last Thursday, a cop shot at a resident in the Black Neighborhood of the island. Tyson Williams was rushed to the hospital and has disputed ...

P.U.P. gets Election petition against U.D.P. Longsworth

It has been less than a month since the passionately contested March seventh 2012 elections were held. But the atmosphere is still highly charged and the courtroom litigation left in its wake is potentially explosive. Yolanda Schakron failed in her attempt to have an election petition heard last Friday, but the People’s United Party was ...

Over $2 Million spent on incomplete Marion Jones Fence

Herman Longsworth and David Craig were not present at this morning’s Supreme Court hearing. Longsworth’s attorney Michael Young conceded that the matter must now be trashed out in court. Young argued that Longsworth’s contract was successfully completed on April eleventh 2011 with a liability period of six months that expired on October twenty-fourth, 2011. Young ...

City Council fires redundant workers

There are mass firings underway at City Hall. Less than a month after taking office, Mayor Darrell Bradley says he has to trim the excess fat from among Council employees. At least twenty-two employees are losing their jobs in the wave of firings that started Friday and continued today and more may be on the ...

Orange Walk Town Council also trims its numbers

Up north, the Orange Walk Mayor, Kevin Bernard says several irregularities have been uncovered since his team took office. Today, it was revealed that shortly before the March seventh elections, fifteen employees signed three year contracts, granted by the previous mayor. The contracts would cost the council five hundred and ninety-one thousand dollars in salaries, ...

Viewers get their say in National Online Poll

The recent clash between the Gang Suppression Unit and gang members in Taylors Alley is only one of several incidents that have led to allegations of abuse of power by the GSU. We asked our viewers if they think the use of force on the gangs by the GSU is justified. Sixty-seven percent of voters ...

Breaking News: PC John Valerio shot

As we told you earlier in the newscast, a police officer was shot before six o’clock at Caye Caulker. According to early reports, PC John Valerio was ambushed by an angry resident. He has been transported to Belize City’s Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. A team of investigators from San Pedro have been deployed to the ...

Government of Belize and Dr. Raju must pay millions in damages

A landmark case was recently appealed and it will put the government out of pocket at least two million dollars. The suit for medical malpractice and negligence was brought against Dr. Raju Meenavalli and the government for substantial damages. In March 2010, Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Lungole Awich awarded about two point six million dollars ...

Girl with dangerous tumor on her face getting surgery

There is an update tonight on twelve year old Catarina Ishim, who left for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, last Friday. It’s the first trip overseas for the San Pablo, Toledo young girl who will be getting surgery for an aggressive cancerous tumor called leiomyosarcoma. Through correspondence with her hosts in the U.S, ...

St. Francis Xavier Parish Hall burglarized

In recent days, the YWCA and the ITVET were jacked by thieves. At the ITVET three University students were robbed in their classrooms by three thieves posing as students. And to show that few are spared, the St. Francis Xavier Parish in Corozal Town is the latest target of burglars. It was no All Fool’s ...

Briceño shot several times by robbers

Also in Corozal Town, a businessman was ambushed and shot by robbers near his home on Park Street South. Corozal police have confirmed that forty-one year old Guillermo Briceño, owner of Champion Pawn Shop, arrived home at around twelve-thirty on Sunday morning and as he exited his vehicle, he was accosted by three Hispanic men. ...

Belize City resident survives shooting incident

There was also a shooting in the city. At around three-thirty on Saturday morning, thirty-five year old Michael “Pama” Usher was at his home on Antelope Street Extension, when a man entered and fired a single shot hitting Usher to the left side of his head next to his left eye. Usher is hospitalized at ...

He said he didn’t beat toddler; he fell

Twenty-year old Carldeen Lawrence was convicted of Grievous Harm last Thursday reportedly because he beat his two year old stepdaughter and fractured her leg on June eighth, 2011. Lawrence chose to remain silent during trial and simply asked the court for leniency in mitigation. But today, he decided to speak out and came to our ...

Another person busted for Aggravated Burglary

Taylor’s Alley resident, twenty year old Percival Blancaneaux Junior is tonight behind bars on a charge of Aggravated Burglary. The charge is in connection with a home invasion on the Northern Highway that occurred on January twenty-fourth, but police captured Blancaneaux over the past weekend. The victim, forty-eight year old Esmeralda Glastonbury, reports that she ...

7 years for repeat offender burglar

Also in court, Sterling Williams who was caught breaking into the home of his neighbor, thirty-five year Shana Tillett was today convicted of Burglary. Williams stole assorted children’s clothing, a gold chain valued at three hundred dollars as well as a nine hundred dollar cell phone. He was caught inside the house on Banak Street ...

2 Belize City teens missing

Two Belize City teens went missing on Friday; their families spent the entire weekend trying to find them, but had no luck. So today they came to our studios to ask the public for assistance in locating fourteen year old Aaliyah Lanza and fifteen year old Paula Gentle. According to Lattie Lamb, who is Gentle’s ...

Full Sporting Events with James Adderley

Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 8 in the Premier Leagues of Belize saw undefeated Police United play host to the Belmopan bandits inside the MCC Saturday night in a bid to keep the clean sheet intact. Folks we’re only 6 minutes in when the Police provides positive proof ...


The annual Jipi Japa Basket Competition Award Ceremony took place at the House of Weavers in Punta Gorda Town on Saturday. Artisans who participated in the competition were awarded by Building the People Movement, a Toledo based, non-governmental organization primarily focused on...

Corozal Police is investigating a shooting incident yesterday morning that has left a man hospitalized. Love News understands that around 12:35 yesterday morning, 41 year old Guillermo Briceno, businessman from number one Park Street South Corozal Town got home. As Briceno ...

Police in San Ignacio town are looking for a Cayo woman on suspicion of obtaining property by deception. Leticia Jones is wanted by police following a land transaction which appears to have been fraudulently completed. According to thirty three year old Jeffrey Murrillo, he...

A common law couple, 36-year-old Delroy Barrow and 36-year-old Carolyn Garoy, charged with drug trafficking for 50 grams of crack cocaine, were each fined $10,000.00 after they were found guilty of the charge. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith who imposed the fines ordered them to...

The Marion Jones Stadium has undergone a number of phases of renovations, and its attractive fence, which was first started in 2009, is now the grounds of a court battle to determine whether a man’s electoral seat is on the line or not. Herman Longsworth, the UDP Albert Are...

Mexico ex-President Miguel de la Madrid dies at 77
Former Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid has died at the age of 77 after a long illness. Mr de la Madrid led Mexico for six years from 1982-1988, introducing free-market reforms in response to a severe economic crisis. But his administration was criticised for its response ...


Owners of Butchy's Lounge Held Up At Gunpoint
It was not reported in the police sitrep and Oragne Walk Police are being tight lipped about the situation but CTV3 News understands that the owners of Butchy’s Lounge, Noel Grajales and his wife Yaninie Grajales were held up at gunpoint yesterday around 5:00 in the morning. The couple, we understand, had just arrived home after closing the establishment when they were approached by a male individual armed with what is believed to be a 16 gauge shotgun. The armed robber pointed the firearm at Grajales’ wife demanding that the couple hand over the money. The assailant’s action is what triggered Noel to react and before he knew it he was struggling with his attacker. Somehow Grajales managed to take away the firearm from the burglar after which he placed a beating on him. When we spoke to Grajales today he told us that he believes the robbery gone bad was staged. So far police have one person detained. We understand that the individual is a former employee of Grajales.

Another Firearm Confiscated By Corozal Police
On March 28th Corozal Police was able to remove one 9mm pistol with 14 rounds and one .357 revolver with 6 rounds off the streets of Corozal and tonight word is that another weapon has been confiscated by the authorities of that community. On Saturday the department’s quick response team searched an abandoned lot located in an area know as Skeleton Town where they found a black plastic bag containing a black .380 ACP handgun with no serial number, three .30 rounds and one 9mm round. No one was in the area at the time of the incident and both the firearm and ammunition were labeled as found property.

Corozal Police Investigate the Death of Nine Year Old
Corozal police are tonight investigating what exactly caused the death of a nine year old student from the Village of Patchakan. Details are still sketchy but CTV3 News understands that around 6:00 Saturday evening a group of children were playing hide and seek. One of the children, 9 year old Christian Dorantes, climbed into the ceiling of the house in order to hide from his friends. It is believed that the material with which the ceiling was made out of could not hold the child’s weight and came crumbling down. As a result of the fall Dorantes received head and body injuries and was transported to the Corozal Community Hospital and later transferred to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital where he passed away yesterday. When we spoke to Corozal Police this evening we were informed that they were notified about the incident until after the child’s death. We understand that an investigation has been launched and authorities are now awaiting the results of a post mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death. We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

Robbery Victim Shot Six Times
A man from the Corozal District is lucky to be alive tonight after he was shot by robbers six times. Reports are that around 12:35 yesterday morning 41 year old businessman Guillermo Briceno of # 1 Park Street Corozal Town had just arrived home and was exiting his Saturn SUV when he was approached by three male individuals described as being of Hispanic decent. One of the men pointed what is believed to be a black handgun at Briceno and demanded that he hand over all his money and jewelry. But Briceno was unable to provide what the men were asking for and fearing for his life he shouted for assistance. At that instance the individual holding the weapon fired a barrage of bullets at Briceno hitting him three times on the right hip, 2 on the right foot and once on the right toe. The men then made good their escape leaving an injured Briceno behind. When police arrived at the scene of the incident they found Briceno lying in his yard with gunshot wounds to the lower part of his body.


Passenger bus held up at gunpoint
It was a terrifying ride on the Western Highway on Friday night for a group of commuters as a passenger bus was held up and robbed at gunpoint. The incident involved a Shaw’s Bus that had departed Belize City just before nine o’clock on Friday night enroute to San Ignacio town. The owner of the [...]

Orange Walk businessman injured in shooting incident
A businessman remains hospitalized following a shooting incident on Sunday. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the details.

New cook book for use in schools feeding programs
A cook book for school’s feeding programs is being implemented in the Toledo district. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Belize City man on remand for aggravated assault
21-year-old Percival Blancaneaux Jr., one of two persons who allegedly broke into the house 48-year-old Esmeralda Glastonbury, was charged with aggravated assault when he appeared in court today. Blancaneaux pleaded not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the offence has become prevalent, that the penalty is no less [...]

Former prison officer found guilty of drug trafficking
32-year-old Dean Crawford, a former prison officer charged with drug trafficking dor 100 grams of cannabis was fined $10,000.00 after he was found guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith who imposed the fine, ordered Crawford to pay $3,000.00 forthwith and the balance by January 2013. If Crawford defaults on payment of the [...]

Couple found guilty of drug trafficking
A common law couple, 36-year-old Delroy Barrow and 36-year-old Carolyn Garoy, charged with drug trafficking for 50 grams of crack cocaine, were each fined $10,000.00 after they were found guilty of the charge. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith who imposed the fines ordered them to pay $2,000.00 forthwith and the balance by January 2013. If [...]

Supreme Court approves application for election petition
The Marion Jones Stadium has undergone a number of phases of renovations, and its attractive fence, which was first started in 2009, is now the grounds of a court battle to determine whether a man’s electoral seat is on the line or not. Herman Longsworth, the UDP Albert Area Representative who beat the PUP’s David [...]

The Reporter

Disqualified Candidates?
Three weeks into the government’s second term in office, four elected officials find themselves in the proverbial hot seat, as both major political parties have filed election petitions in the Supreme Court in an attempt to discredit the legitimacy of their ascension to public office. The PUP filed an application for leave to bring an election petition against UDP Lake Independence Area Representative Hon. Mark King on Wednesday, March 28; and the next day filed a similar application against UDP Albert Area Representative Hon. Herman Longsworth. On the same day the UDP countered by also filing an application for leave to bring an election petition against PUP Freetown Area Representative Hon. Francis Fonseca. Attorney Michael Young told The Reporter that the UDP’s application is for bribery and attempted bribery and that the application named two of Fonseca’s agents: Albert Vaughan and Hugh Wellin Bodden. The PUP also plans to file more election petitions in the days ahead.

Citco scammed out of almost $70,000, audit report reveals
A Belize City Council’s audit report completed on March 22, and entitled Audit Inspection-Payroll, shows that former payroll clerk, Sherlene Sabal, scammed the council out of almost $70,000. Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley said he intends to collect every penny back from Sabal. Bradley also told the media this week that the Council will take possession of Sabal’s two cars, and it’s very likely that CitCo will seize a property that Sabal’s family owns. The Council may also press criminal charges. City Administrator Candice Burke ordered the audit inspection because, as the reports says, “for allegations in respect to irregularities in the payroll.”

Boy 10, shoots sister, 6, in Valley of Peace tragedy
Belmopan Police have detained the parents of 6-year-old Lucy Velerio Cano, who died after being shot by her 11-year-old brother in their Valley of Peace home. Lucy died of a gunshot wound to her upper right shoulder as her parents rushed her to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan around 6:30 Monday morning, March 26th. Police initial investigations revealed that Lucy and her brother were playing with an unlicensed 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, which went off accidentally. Their aunt, Rosalia Cano, has been given legal custody of the children.

Robber dies from stab wound. Hot dog woman blameless!
Solomon Earl Gabourel, 34, of Jasmine Street, died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at 5:55 Sunday morning, March 25, after he allegedly robbed a woman selling hotdog near the Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City. The vendor’s female relative stabbed him with a small 13-inch machete. Gabourel’s victim was working along with her sister and aunt, when Gabourel, described as a tall man with shoulder-length “dreadlocks”, approached the women and punched one of them. He then pointed a sharp object at one of the other women’s belly and yanked away her apron, containing nearly $800 and a cellphone worth $240.

Brothers accused of grenade murder freed after a remand lasting 4
Four years after the first grenade to hit Belize City streets killed 16-year-old Darren Trapp, the two men charged for his murder left the Supreme Court as free men. Last Friday Supreme Court Judge Justice Adolph Lucas instructed a 12-member jury to return a verdict of “not guilty” for brothers Akeem “Baby” Smith and Kareem “Flash” Smith, after their attorneys, Sharon Pitts Robateau and Ellis Arnold, made the no case submission at the close of the prosecution’s case.

Japan funds Samuel Haynes Institute expansion
The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence is to expand its facilities through a US$111,635 grant provided by the government of Japan. His Excellency Counsellor Hiroshi Mitsuya, of the Embassy of Japan, signed an agreement to fund the expansion project with Mrs. Barbara Elrington of the Pickstock Development Association at the Institute in Belize City on Monday afternoon, March 26. Counsellor Mitsuya said that Japan applauds the success the Institute has had in helping under-privileged and at-risk young people to get an education, in helping single mothers acquire job skills and so saw the institute as a project well worthy of funding.

Gas up to $12.12 a gallon!
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow’s pre-election promise of cheaper fuel seems to be slow in coming, as fuel prices rose again on Wednesday, March 28, with the new price for premium gasoline now set at $12.12 per gallon, an increase of 49 cents. The price for regular gasoline is now $11.81 per gallon, a 50-cent hike; and diesel went up 20 cents to $10.90 per gallon.

U.S. State Official, Maria Otero visits
The United States is particularly pleased with the free, fair and democratic manner in which Belize conducted its recent general elections, which are a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. This was the message from U.S. President Barack Obama which U.S. Under Secretary of State Maria Otero communicated to the government and people of Belize at a press conference at the House of Culture in Belize City on Thursday, March 29. Otero is Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, and she also coordinates U.S. foreign policy and relations with the rest of the world with regard to these issues as well as refugees, trafficking in persons, rule of law counter-narcotics, crisis prevention and response, global criminal justice and countering violent extremism.

Punta Gorda to share projects for streets and Town Hall Center
The Punta Gorda Town Hall and the adjacent administration building are to be repaired and renewed as part of Government’s $30 million Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP). A contract for $425,150 for this project was signed in Punta Gorda Town last Thursday morning, March 22. The Punta Gorda project will begin in the next two weeks and will mark the official start of the Municipal Development Project countrywide. The long-awaited project will bring much needed infrastructure development to seven municipalities in Belize.

University of Belize sets the pace for sustainable resource management
Students of University of Belize joined UB scientists and their regional and international counterparts in charting the way forward for Belize’s natural resources to be managed in a sustainable manner. The symposium was held at the University of Belize Central Campus in Belmopan last Thursday and Friday, March 22-23. “Conservation through Cooperation: Practical Approaches for the Management of Natural Resources in Belize” was the theme for the symposium which was brought together by researchers, managers, students, government agencies and non-governmental organizations engaged in natural resource management.

Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy wins Cayo softball marathon
Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy has won the two-day softball marathon which launched the 2012 Cayo District Women’s Softball Competition at the Joan Garbutt Stadium in Esperanza over the weekend, March 24-25. As defending Cayo district champions, Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy, crushed the Esperanza Wolverines 10-0 in the 10th game of the tournament on Sunday, and 7-0 in the 11th game, the grand finale to win the marathon, a Pitcher Nikita Perez led the Esperanza Wolverines to a 5-2 upset of Roaring Creek in the second game on Sunday. Roaring Creek fought back out of the losers’ circle after winning their first game 7-1 in a six-inning duel with the up-to-then undefeated Camalote.

Lady Rebels win Belize City softball marathon
The Mirage Lady Rebels won the all-day softball marathon which launched the 2012 Belize City Women’s Softball Competition held under the auspices of the Belize Softball Federation at Roger’s Stadium last Sunday, March 25. Lady Rebels crushed last year’s champions, Belize Telemedia, 10-4 in the finals. Telemedia’s pitcher Elaine Flowers gave up no runs in the top of the first inning, and Erleen Belisle scored first for Telemedia in the bottom of the first. Lady Rebels soon tied the score 1-1 when pitcher Lanesha Jones scored in the top of the second, and Rebels jumped to a 6-1 lead when Marsha Stevens, Sharette Vernon, Lisa Jones, catcher Ashanti Anderson and Lanesha Jones scored in the top of the third inning.

UB men win 31st annual Relaython
The male students of the University of Belize won the 31st annual relaython from San Ignacio to Belize City on Sunday, March 23. Their victory broke a three year drought in which the female students won, running the shorter distance from the UB Belmopan campus. The men have won 17 times and the women have won 14. The men completed their 70-mile relay run in seven hours, passing the girls at mile 10, with Garett Bermudez having the best time of four minutes 49 seconds. Yserri Palacio was second in five minutes four seconds. Kaylon Young had the third best time: five minutes 50 seconds.

Oscar Quiros wins Junior Cross Country Classic
Oscar Quiros, formerly of Cayo Uprising Team and now riding unattached, won the 2012 Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic held under the auspices of the Belize Cycling Association. The race,from the San Jose Succotz ferry on the Western Highway to Belize City. was run on Sunday, March 25. Quiros clocked in at 3 hours, 50 minutes and 11 seconds for his 73-mile ride. He out-sprinted Aiden Juan of the Cayo High Road team, and Deezan Spence of the D&D cycling team to take the garland. With his victory Quiros won the $300 first prize and the winner’s trophy from the Belize Cycling Association. Aiden Juan of the Cayo High Road team won the $200 second prize and a trophy as well as a $100 prize as the first Youth. Deezan Spence won a $100 third prize and a trophy from the Association.

The United Democratic Party this week announced that it is launching an election petition to protest the use of bribery on election day in the Freetown Division. Paying voters to vote is a common practice in Belize, on both sides of the political divide, but it is an illegal practice and the penalty for bribery is severe. Bringing an election petition which charges that bribery has been committed will focus the bright light of public attention on an area of election fraud which, though commonplace in Belize, is never acknowledged and seldom publicly discussed. The law, which is defined by the Representation of the People Act at Ch.6, is detailed and thorough in defining bribery. Any money donation amounting to more than $20.00 is considered a bribe.


Our Sojourn in San Ignacio - Day 3: Bikeless in Bullet Tree Falls and El Pilar
We decided to start the day with breakfast at Mr. Greedy's, where we'd eaten pizza the night before, as we noticed that the prices were a bit less than at Ko-Ox Han-Nah. We had delicious breakfast burritos, orange juice, and excellent coffee. The burrito was only $8.75 BZD (approximately $4.36 US), which included one large mug of coffee, a great deal. Our plan for today was to rent mountain bikes in Bullet Tree Falls, just a few miles from San Ignacio, and to ride up to El Pilar, an Archaeological Reserve and partially excavated Maya site, which we'd read had many hiking trails, excellent birding, and few tourists. Perfect! Our Lonely Planet guide suggested that mountain bikes could be rented at Cohune Palms River Cabanas to navigate the eight-mile gravel road to the site, and we thought that sounded like a perfect way to burn off some of the restaurant meals we'd been eating. So, we moved onto Plan B and asked Mike if he could take us up to El Pilar. At first he seemed a bit unsure, as his taxi was a small Geo that did not have 4WD, but I guess he figured he better give it a try as the fare would certainly be much better than he'd make in a day hanging out in San Ignacio with many other cabs competing for not many tourists. He quoted us a price of $50 US to drive us there, wait for us to hike and bird-watch, and drive us back to San Ignacio, so we decided to go for it. This ended up being a great decision as it was a very difficult slog up a messy, rocky road, and even on mountain bikes would have been a challenge. Had Plan A worked out, we might not have had any energy left for hiking after biking the mostly uphill, messy road, as it turned out. This photo does NOT do the road justice. Many portions were steeper, with deeper ruts and larger rocks. Mike really had to take it slowly and carefully in his little car, and he bottomed out on some of the worst parts. Fortunately for us, he made it to the top!

Very funny Belize Airport customs story
I was really grateful that the TJ Walker middle school kids had started our fundraiser off with a good chunk of change from their coin war, so I decided to make them a tacogirl style trophy. Red Fanta and tacos with a Belize Red Cross Sticker on the bottle as a reminder of where the money went. I was not able to get it done in time for the fundraiser due to the new tube of crazy glue tacoboy bought me was rock solid. I got some more glue the other day, finished the trophy and dropped it off for Deb and Dan Swanson at the Conch Shell Inn. They were on a day trip to Caye Caulker and leaving the following morning, so I never did get a chance to catch up with them to see what they thought of my crazy craft project. This morning I got a very funny email about their Belize airport customs adventure with my taco trophy. I have to tell you our adventure with your trophy. We have carry- on luggage only so I drank the Fanta so we could put it in the trophy. I had to take the taco off first and planned to re-glue it later. Then we got to the airport and they took the empty bottle away for some reason. Then I almost lost the foam taco. A security guy asked me if I was carrying a taco in my luggage. I had to explain that it was fake. At least we got the taco home and a picture. We will bring the picture to school. Again, it was nice to meet you. Thanks for all you are doing for the Red Cross. Sincerely, Dan and Deb Swanson I am not sure they found this quite as funny as tacoboy and I did but the Swanson were definitely good natured about it.

A Cenote, Chedraui, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and My Trip Back South to Belize
One of my favorite parts about visiting the Yucatan is the cenotes. Cenotes are sink holes in the limestone that exposes the fresh ground water underneath. They are part of a huge system of underground caves and rivers. They seem to be almost everywhere. And some are much better than others. (Interesting trivia fact: The Chicxulub Crater is located off the north Yucatan coast. It is thought to be the crater left from the giant meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago. Did you know that?) While camping on the beach at Xpu-Ha, we packed up for a day to visit a cenote and do a quick shopping trip in Tulum. Our camping neighbor, Ricardo, had scoped out all the area cenotes the day before and pointed up in the direction of the very best. The Garden of Eden cenote. It cost $50 pesos to enter. We were there early. A small group of divers was gearing up in the parking lot but we were the first ones in the water. This cenote is deep and crystal, crystal clear and surrounded by tropical flora. You can see straight down to the limestone bottom in what must be 30-40 feet of water.

FRESH BELIZE: Coastal village is an exotic paradise friendly to English and the dollar
Savvy travelers looking for sun, sand and culture off the beaten path should consider packing their bags and bikinis for a different, untouched paradise: Hopkins in Belize, a small village in a tiny country with a dynamic split personality. Home to seven distinct cultures living amicably side by side in a country the size of New Hampshire, Belize embodies numerous contradictions. It’s located in northern Central America, but locals speak English peppered with Creole slang. Though the country was granted independence from Great Britain in the early 1980s, a British sense of order remains, mixing with a laid-back vibe that comes standard with proximity to the tropics. The Stann Creek District, Belize’s coastline dotted with villages and towns, is also home to Hopkins Village, a hidden gem and cultural paradise. 

So whether you want to submerge yourself in the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, play Indiana Jones at an ancient Mayan ruin, stalk jaguars in the lush rain forest or lazily work on your tan on a deserted beach, Hopkins has you covered. Get there, before everyone else.

Actun Tunichil Muknal is the museum
ATM mentioned in an interesting way. "Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM, is one of the most well known ceremonial caves in the entire world. It has been voted by National Geographic to be the #1 sacred cave to visit, and is a big draw for tourism in Western Belize. Caves were considered to be very spiritual places to the ancient Maya. As an entrance to the underworld, the Mayans would often hold ceremony and prepare offerings to their Gods, and occasionally ritual sacrifice. Deep within the ATM cave is a cavernous series of dry chambers that hold the remains of hundreds of ceramic bowls, pots, and shards which have essentially calcified over the years by the natural drippings of limestone. Rather than remove the items, the government of Belize decided to leave them in their positions, and to make the cave, and its contents, the museum. Guides must also be certified as museum curators; and clean socks are packed into the cave to be worn when you reach the inner chambers."

International Sources

Founder speaks on importance of service
Bernard Amadei promised hired landscapers in Colorado 13 years ago that he would use engineering to help people in their homeland, Belize. To keep his promise, he founded Engineering Without Borders-USA. Today, the foundation has about 12,000 members spread throughout the world, Amadei said. Amadei presented on the importance of engineering in addressing international problems to an audience of about 150 University students at the Fiber Optics Auditorium on Busch campus. The audience gathered for the 28th annual Mason Welch Gross lecture, where the Class of 1962 presents their Presidential Public Service Award each year. Amadei, chosen to speak because the University student chapter of EWB-USA won the award in 2011, said he had told his landscapers he could use his engineering background to help improve conditions in Belize.

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant
“I’m so damn average that what I write resonates with people”, Joe Bageant once told an interviewer in explaining how he had gained a global following for his essays published on the web. In 2004, at the age of 58, Joe sensed that the Internet could give him editorial freedom. Without gatekeepers, he began writing about what he was really thinking, and then submitted his essays to left-of-center websites. Joe Bageant died in March 2011, having written two books, and 78 essays that were posted on his own website and also on many other sites. The 25 essays reproduced in this book were first published on the web. I’ve selected them based on many emails from readers, web traffic counts, and specific suggestions from his online colleagues. They appear here as Joe wrote them, apart from copy-editing and light corrections agreed to between me and his book editor, Henry Rosenbloom, the publisher at Australia’s Scribe Publications. Always wanting to escape, he embarked on a life-long voyage of discovery that included living in a commune

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 10:13 AM)

#434681 - 04/03/12 08:49 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 3, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

ALLEY CAT ALLY: Belize transforms town with its Humane Society
I was recently reconnected with the Hopkins Humane Society. I was so inspired by their accomplishments I thought I'd share their story. So, I'll stray from the alley cats theme to tell the story of how the Hopkins Humane Society came to be and how they've transformed their town - not just for the animals, but also for the people. At the end of 2007, my husband John and I were travelling from Mexico to Guatemala when we took a detour through Belize as a vacation from vet volunteering. We found a little town called Hopkins, which was, in essence, shacks scattered alongside a dirt road next to the beach. We rented a hut on stilts, a few metres from the ocean, with the plan to do nothing, but lay in hammocks, read and relax.

VIDEO: Turtle Time at Hol Chan
Sanjiv and Sunnie spend some time with Hol Chan marine residents, especially Mr. Sea Turtle

VIDEO: Exploring Shark Ray Alley with Nipa and Ayisha
Nipa and Ayisha snorkel with sharks and rays on the Belize Barrier Reef.


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

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