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The San Pedro Sun
Karol Mello finally a free man in Belize
Wanted Slovakian Karol Mello is a free man in Belize. Immigration charges against the 42 year old Mello was struck out in the municipal court in Belmopan City shortly after 10AM on Monday August 20th. When Mello appeared before Magistrate Judge Hurl Hamilton of the Belmopan Magistrate Court, there was no prosecutor representing the Crown. Mello has been in and out of court in Belize following his arrest on July 11th where he successfully challenged an extradition order issued by the Government of Belize (GOB) and immigration charges brought forward by GOB’s Immigration Department.
Mello was in court in the company of his actress wife Zuzana Marosova and his attorney Senior Council Godfrey Smith. The Slovakian was accused by immigration authorities in Belize for the offences of perjury and uttering a passport which he was not entitled to utter. The allegation was in relation to Mello’s Slovak passport with serial number 3191427 which was reportedly withdrawn by the Slovak Government on or around July 2011. The Immigration alleged that on September 17th, 2011 Mello used the said passport to successfully obtain his Belizean permanent residence status.
Supreme Court decides in favor of ACES
On Friday, August 17, 2012 the Supreme Court of Belize handed down a decision that now gives the couple a new faith in a justice system that many have grown to doubt.
Early this year with the legal representation of Arnold and Company, Mrs. Agnes Gillett -Segura and Mrs. Andrea McKoy-McSweaney (who took their case on a contingency basis), a claim was filed on behalf of the Roses against the Government of Belize under the Riot Compensation Act, seeking damages for the arson at the ACES property. Court was first heard on March 5, 2012 in an attempt to determine that indeed a riot had occurred, and if so to argue that the Roses were protected under the Riot Compensation Act. After five court hearings over a span of six months the long awaited, unprecedented decision was handed down on August 17th by Judge of the Supreme Court Oswell Legall. The decision concluded that, “A declaration is granted that a riotous assembly of persons, as defined in section 2 of the Riot Compensation Act Chapter 338 assembled at the claimants’ property situated at Water Hole Road, Forest Home village, Toledo District for the purpose of executing a common purpose with violence and without lawful authority used such violence for that purpose to wit: they intentionally set fire and destroyed three houses, furniture, household utensils and other property owned by the claimants. I will now hear the parties on the issue of compensation. JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT Oswell Legall Aug. 17th, 2012.” With the judgment the compensation hearing has been scheduled for December, where the Roses are seeking close to $907,000bz in damages.
Belize’s September Celebrations 2012 Calendar of Events
This September, Belize celebrates 31 years of Independence and the 214th anniversary of The Battle of St. George’s Caye. The official calendar of events is out… are you ready to celebrate?
Belize National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the Quality Assurance Department at the BTB is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class.
“This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, Tourism/Environment Project Coordinator at the STP. “The firm Tourism and Leisure Europraxis has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.”
Marketing Summit Comes to Belize
Ambergris Today’s Editor, Dorian Nuñez, will be an active participant at the Belize Tourism Industry Association’s (BTIA) 2012 Real-time Marketing Masterclass - Marketing & PR Summit taking place this week in Belize City. The one day summit will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 23rd, 2012 at the Princess Hotel & Casino.
Real -Time Marketing Masterclass features three 90-minute presentations, with a panel discussion after each segment, which will include discussions with successful industry stakeholders (both local and international), providing added insight in the on three main subject areas including; Content marketing, Real-Time Marketing & PR, and Social Media.
Belizean Film 'The Curse of the Xtabai' is a Hit in San Pedro
It was a packed house that the Paradise Theatre during the final day of screening the movie “Di Kurse a di Xtabai” (The Curse of the Xtabai), as the Belizean production managed to capture the attention of movie goers and lure them into watching the tale of a very prominent folkloric character of Belizean culture.
The theater maxed out in capacity for the first time since its opening and director of the movie, Matthiew Klinck, could not have been more ecstatic with the response his movie received here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Di Kurse of the Xtabai was featured on both Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18 with two showings at 7p.m. and 9p.m. on both days. Word got out during the first day about how great the movie was and then residents flocked to the theater on Saturday to catch the movie about this mystical character which is the Xtabai. Planning of future screenings for the movie at the Paradise Theater are in the works for those who missed it this first time around.
Cruising Island Dogs
There are many Dog Lovers on the island and this week we got a very cute and funny picture by one of our readers. Dogs are really spoiled and pampered by their masters, even if its just by getting a new chew toy or long walks along the beach. Recently many dogs in San Pedro have gotten used in going around town and cruising on a golf cart; a great way to beat the heat! On your next visit make sure to keep your eyes peeled for many cruising puppies.
The Cultural Aspect of Raising Pet Dogs in San Pedro
The ongoing problem with dogs on Ambergris Caye will not have an easy nor quick solution because owning pet dogs and how you deal with them is cultural. I will not even attempt to try to offer the solution (not in this column) but simply attempt to show you how different cultures deal with pet dogs so that you might at least understand the problem.
First of all there are some cultures that allow their dogs to lie on the sofa and sleep on their beds, so much that they consider their dogs as children in the family. That is not the case with most Belizeans. To most Sanpedranos a dog is just a dog, and even though they love their pets, and do pamper them by giving them all the necessary comforts, it is still just a dog.
Twenty five years ago our parents would never allow a dog to lick our faces. They rightly pointed out that a dog licks all parts of its body, if you know what I mean, so they rightly taught us that such a practice was gross.
FLASHBACK: A Look Back at Old Downtown San Pedro (Then and Now)
Were these young men standing in the middle of the street to stop all vehicles for the Dollar Drive Fund Raiser? If they were, they surely would not make a single dollar. The next question is why are they all not wearing shoes? Well, who would think of wearing shoes in a place where all streets were sandy? And why are their short pants so short? Well, you are looking at a flashback of the 1970’s when these were in style. And why was there grass on the side of the street? Was it because the town council was not doing its job? Not at all because back then it was the home owner’s responsibility to clean his side of the street. Finally, where is that cute yellow wooden building which used to be a landmark on Middle Street Now Pescador Drive? Indeed Miss Jane’s fine yellow building has been replaced with a spanking building now the home of Reef Radio.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belize to introduce national classification system for hotels and tour operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the quality assurance department at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”.
The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class.
“This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, tourism/environment project coordinator at the STP. “The firm Tourism and Leisure Europraxis has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.”
The initial stages of developing the system include meetings with tourism stakeholders and a presentation of the framework of the system to tourism industry partners.
Following stakeholder consultation, there will be a verification, assessment and training period anticipated to begin in September 2012, with the establishment of a new cadre of BTB hotel inspectors focused on standards and quality.
Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of accommodation establishments within the country will also form a component of the consultancy scheduled for completion in January 2013.
VIDEO: Lionfish Divas On The Hunt
Mission Objective-Reduce Lionfish numbers ar local dive sites. Island Divers Belize, San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Belize Female Volleyball Team Takes Bronze
Congratulations to the Belize Senior Female Volleyball Team!
"The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team won Bronze at the World Championship Qualification Tournament, Group G, held in Panama City, Panama this past weekend. This is a first for Belize female team and is the result of the development of players and teams despite the many challenges faced. Belize females returned to international competition in 2008 and in four years improved well enough to qualify to the second round of the World Championship qualification process which will take place in 2013."
Cornerstone's Dance 4 Life pictures
Cornerstone had their Dance 4 Life workshop last week. Thanks, Cornerstone!
"Dance4Life is a program that empowers young leaders to take action to push back the spread of HIV through youth driven interventions and novel strategies. Dance4Life engages. educates and activates young people in a fun and interactive way, strengthening their voice through music, dance, sports and the arts- inspiring them to make positive contributions to their communities."
Iguana Adoptions at the Iguana Hatchery
The Green Iguana Conservation Project has a program where you can adopt an iguana. Have you been to the Iguana Hatchery lately? Now might be the time. It's located on the site of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, and the tours leave every hour on the hour, except at noon. It is ranked number 1 on Trip Advisor for things to do in San Ignacio.
"The Green Iguana Gonservation Project extends a special thank you and Congratulations to these proud adoptive parents of green iguanas!"
Thank You, 4 the World Belize
The Benque House of Culture, along with everyone in Cayo, thanks 4 the World Belize for bringing in Robbie Russell to teach the self defense workshops for women and children. We'd also like to thank Renee Wentz, UB's counselor, for doing a class here in Cayo. More classes should be coming.
"A Special "THANK YOU" to Robbie Russell for going to Belize to run these workshops! We have had many requests for Robbie to return to Belize to train more women and children in the art of self defense! — with Robbie Russell."
Beach Volleyball at the Split – Caye Caulker style!
Even if you only half like beach volleyball this weekend was a resounding success. The Lazy Lizard and Crystal sponsored a beach volleyball competition that entertained us all weekend and we have to thank them for that.
Not only was the island packed with tourists, but locals from far and wide came to cheer on their favorite doubles act in both women and mens competitions.
With six teams entering the mens competition (three from Caye Caulker and three from Belize) this commenced first on Saturday and the finals took place on Sunday. For the womens, only four teams entered and one team from Caye Caulker their competition took place on Sunday.
For those who may not be in Belize in the moment please understand that this weekend was very much about the sweltering heat and the beating hot sun. It can be commented that only the foolhardy or the immensely fearless and physically fit that would even consider entering this competition and therefore you have to take your hats off to each and every competitor!
Belize Mega Bingo Results For (18 August 2012)
Straight Line 100.00 Each (8 Balls)
25 55 13 32 36 31 11 37
Y 125.00 Each (10 Balls)
25 55 13 32 36 31 11 37 68 71
T 150.00 Each (21 Balls)
25 55 13 32 36 31 11 37 68 71 42 38 60 12 74 10 39 53 73 21 65
Man Executed On His Stairs
There's plenty of news to report tonight - including government going malpago on the Superbond, and the freeing of Karol Mello. But, we begin with murder. This one happened last night in Belize City at 7:00 pm.
Like many other murders we've seen recently - it is an execution, a deliberate act carried out with ruthless, murderous precision. And this one is also unexplained. 7news was on the scene, and here's the story:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
An onlooker just held her head in stunned disbelief last night as 33 year old Felix "Munchy" Godoy lay dead on the stairs in front of her.
He was sitting there relaxing right next to the door for his apartment when - police say - a gunman came up from behind and opened fire.
Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer
"Initial investigation revealed that about 7pm Godoy was sitting on his stairs when he was approach from behind by a lone gunman who fired several shots at him fatally injuring him."
Voice of: Arlon "Oreo" Godoy, brother of deceased
"I understand that he just came from the ball court playing ball and that was it."
Marion Ali, Reporter
"He was sitting on the steps by himself?"
Arlon "Oreo" Godoy, brother of deceased
"Yes, getting ready to smoke a weed, cooling up to go inside with his family. I got a phone call from my co-worker stating that my brother got shot. I wasn't really panicking because I didn't think he was dead, but when I reach there I saw him brutally murdered."
Karol Mello Free Of Charges
Last week Friday, reputed international gangster Karol Mello, got bail.
But tonight - he's not on bail anymore; and that's because he doesn't need it, the Slovakian with Belizean permanent residence is free of charges.
Today, in an unexpected move, the 2 immigration charges against him were withdrawn - and it appears to be one more mis-step in a case that he been full of them.
Viewers will remember that the Sol Gen's office used these charges to keep him locked up after he won the habeas corpus case before Justice Legall.
But, on Friday in the Supremem Court, Justice Hannomansingh had already made it clear that the charges were weak and today in Belmopan Magistrate's court the police prosecutor announced to the magistrate that his instructions were to withdraw the charges.
We spoke to his attorney outside of court about what this acquittal of all criminal offences in Belize means for the Mello family.
Here's what he told us:
Godfrey Smith - Attorney for Karol Mello
"Karol Mello was granted Habeas Corpus, which means he was ordered to be released from prison. Following that, the State Government brought 2 charges against him for perjury and for uttering upon a passport that was not valid. He was granted bail, and this morning was set for the commencement of the prosecution in relation to those charges. Essentially, what transpired in court, is that the prosecution informed the Magistrate that they had no instructions to prosecute this matter, and the Attorney General Ministry, being responsible for civil matters, obviously didn't have the power to prosecute the matter. The Magistrate asked the prosecution to reconfirm what his instructions were, and the prosecutor came back to report to the Magistrate, that based on the fact that the DPP's Office was not going to have the matter prosecuted, that his instructions were from the AG Ministry that the charges should be withdrawn. So, in relation to the charge of uttering, that has been dismissed by the Magistrate, and in relation to the perjury, that has been withdrawn. It is open to the state to bring back the charge of perjury, if they so wish at a later time, but not in relation to the charge of uttering on an invalid passport. So, as the matter now stands, there are currently no criminal charges pending against Mr. Mello."
Government Skips 46M Superbond Payment, or Dog Bites Man
A week ago, the government announced that it would not pay make the Superbond payment that was due today, and, true to its word, it has not.
Technically Belize does not enter a formal default mode until next month, 30 days after the payment is due, but government doesn't seem to be sweating it too much.
But, bondholders surely are - and it is felt that by Government holding off on the payment - will force those bondholders to the bargaining table where the terms for a restructured bond could be hammered out. Government has proposed three restructuring scenarios - which have been met with some degree of consternation by vocal bondholders. Basically, the proposals are either to write off 45% of the 543 million dollar bond, or stretch out the payment for another 15 years.
So what will happen next? Well, nothing really - not right now at least. Belize's rating may be downgraded to selective default - but we were there in December of 2006 when the Superbond was first being launched.
The Prime Minister will have a press conference on Wednesday to outline government's plan going forward.
Will Principal Willacey Be Sent Home For Misconduct?
Tonight, principal of Belmopan Baptist and Pastor Norman Willacey is at the center of a growing controversy - and, he is now under investigation by his school management.
As we reported on Friday night - the child's mother came to the media to allege and offer proof that the Principal had an inappropriate relationship with her daughter, who was a 16 year old student at the time.
In response, Willacey did the most incredible thing: he confessed to, quote, "messing around" with a 16 year old fourth form student - to whom he was principal, counselor, and pastor.
And he confessed it in a most unusual way - he did it by accident: Willacey told 7news that he made a major mistake: he meant to send a text to his lawyer, but instead sent it to one of our media colleagues who was following up on the story.
That is a major oops - because in the text he said, quote: "(the young lady) produced a facebook conversation from Easter break when we were messing around."
It continues, quote:
"I deleted my copy and repented and told her to do the same immediately. She didn't and that is what will be published tonight." When we asked Willacey about the text - he said it's true: they were "messing around" in March. He was new to Facebook and thought if he deleted their messaging thread at his end, it would be deleted at her end too.
Taiwanese VP In Belize
The Vice President of Taiwan is visiting, and on the average news night - it would have been the headline.
But, with the Karol Mello, the Superbond, Principal Willacy and other matters, it's couldn't be, but also, there's something else: Relations between Belize and Taiwan have cooled somewhat in the past five years since that country started to smooth things out with mainland China.
And that cooling - had a lot to do also with cash: Belize no longer received the lavish budgetary support that it once did from Taiwan. But there are still a number of ongoing programmes - particularly in agriculture -and there is committed Taiwanese community proud of their place of birth, and their new country.
They were at the airport on Saturday to greet their Vice President flew in from a vice presidential inauguration in the Dominican Republic - here's what the scene at the airport looked like:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
Taiwanese-Belizeans were at the airport on Saturday afternoon to greet their Vice President Wu Den-yih in his first official trip since he was sworn in in May.
It is also the first time since President Ma visited in 2009 that a high level Taiwanese official has visited Belize.
Red Cross Cruelly Targetted By Burglars
While the Belize City Red Cross volunteers were in the Corozal district over the weekend helping those flood victims, their Belize City headquarters was targeted by burglars.
Tens of thousands of dollars in equipment were stolen from the NGO.
The burglary is believed to have taken place sometime before 3 on Sunday morning when their building alarm system went off and alerted their Security Company. The police were called to the area but saw nothing - that is because according to the Director General - Lily Bowman - the burglars made entry through the roof of the building which would probably make it difficult for anyone to see them.
Lily Bowman - Director General, Belize Red Cross
"It was a surprise for us this morning when we opened the doors and went into the lock offices - there we were dismayed to see the offices in disarray. Apparently burglars in the wee hours of yesterday morning according to the Elite Security officer must have come in through the roof - bored through my lock office and took out all the equipment from in there; computers, CPU, printers, hard drives, fax machines, radios, then through the ceiling again bored through the wall of another lock office, the Disaster Reduction Office and again they clean that out; laptops, computers, hand held radios that we used in times of disasters, all that was gone. Then they bored through the wall there to go into the finance office which is the next locked office and again we had laptops that are kept in there, those were gone. They tried to get into our safe, which there was nothing there because we deposited the little we had on Friday. They couldn't pry it open, so they just left that, but they destroyed the walls, the ceiling and equipment that they took - you know that is really setting us back tremendously because those equipment are for use in our projects that we have on-going right now and then it's all the information gone."
Trapp In Jail
25 Year-old Emerson Trapp is spending his first night of a 5 year sentence, after he was convicted of firearms offences in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today.
According to police, in December of 2011, they found a 9mm pistol in Trapp's bedroom. They also found a black plastic bag, which contained an additional 9 rounds of live ammunition.
In his defence, Trapp told the court under oath that on that day, he was at home when a friend visited him. He left to run an errand, and when he returned, the officers were there.
While the officers were searching, his friend allegedly told him that he just placed a firearm in the house. The police arrested both of them, but he was the only one charged.
Under cross examination, Trapp admitted that no one else had access to his room. After listening to all the evidence of the case, Chief Magistrate Smith found him guilty of the offences, and sentenced him to 5 years for each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently meaning, he will only spend 5 years.
Heart Surgery for Kids
Rotary's gift of Life programme is offering heart surgery in Belize for pediatric cardiac surgeries.
Children with heart abnormalities form all over the country are here to receive treatment from doctors from Tampa Children's hospital. This is the first time heart surgeries are being conducted in Belize and Monica Bodden found out more:...
Monica Bodden reporting
Today this waiting room area at the KHMH was packed with parents from all over the country who have brought their young ones to seek specialized medical care - the kind that most of them cannot afford.
This is the first time in history that Belize is conducting a clinic for Pediatric cardiac surgeries - which are being done by a team of specialist from the Tampa Children's hospital along with Belize's very own Doctor Adrian Coye.
Doctor Paul Chai - Tampa Florida Children's Hospital
"I've been basically been helping Dr. Coye."
"How many patients have you guys seen so far?"
Doctor Paul Chai - Tampa Florida Children's Hospital
"We've don two today and we have one more waiting in the operating room. There are 7 of us here. There is me and my cardiac surgeon, a cardiologist, some nurse practitioners and echo cardiographers; we have 7 of us all together."
Where There's Smoke, There's "Fiyahaawt"
The annual Fiyaa Haawth festival was held this weekend in Willow's Bank.
And while cooking on the fiyaa haawth may be a dying practice - the flavour it produces cannot be duplicated. We found out what makes it special when we visited this weekend:
Jules Vasquez reporting
The grounds at the Willows Bank community center was the scene for the Fiyaah Haawht festival.
And while there were all kinds of attractions - The day was about the fiya haawt - that fire fed tradition and it's soot stained pots. The main event was the cook off between Double Head and Willow's bank - three teams of cooks - who had to make a Fiyaah Haawth Feast and bake a dessert - right on the open fire - fuelled by oak embers.
This Willow's bank team was making an okra rich cowfoot soup.
"What is the secret to you soup that will make you win?"
Eleanor Sutherland, Willow's Bank
"I don't want to tell my secret right now - the secret is in the tasting."
And while no secrets were being shared, the preparing was happening right there in the open. And there's no secret about what makes the fiyaah haawt food tasty:
GSU Vs PIV
The GSU says that it arrested some major personalities from the PIV gang.
Last week Wednesday morning at 3:45 the GSU searched a home at #17 Fern Lane, which belongs to Leon Gray.
At the time of the search, Gray was present along with, 30 year-old Edwin Flowers, 24 Year-old Kareem Smith, 25 year-old Albert Clother, 23 year-old Carlton Pakeman, 38 year-old Moses Middleton, 21 year-old Julia Vaccaro, and 41 year-old Anna Garbutt.
The GSU officers didn't find anything in the house, but when the searched the yard, they found 30 grams of cannabis stuffed in a cement block. As a result, all 8 persons were charged with possession of controlled drugs.
On Wednesday, at around 12:30 p.m., another GSU team searched the residence of 40 year-old Jason Bruce, which is located at #20 Guerrero Street.
At the time of the search were Bruce, 23 year-old Gloria Flores, and 17 year-old minor.
The officers found 95 grams of cannabis on one of the window louvers of the house, and as a result, all 3 were arrested and charged jointly with drug trafficking.
Victory For Volleyballers
Last week Tuesday, the Belize Senior Women's Volleyball Team left Belize to compete as part of Group G for the World Championship Qualification Tournament, which was held in Panama City.
The ladies competed in the tournament, which was held from August 17-19, and at the end, they were able to win the bronze medal and advance to the next round of qualifications, which will be held next year.
7News caught up with the team as they arrived home this afternoon, and they commented on the tough competition they faced. Here's what they told us about their experience, which included winning a set against the host country, Panama, which is ranked among the highest in the tournament.
Alan Sharpe, Coach - women's senior team
"We just came back for the world championship qualification tournament first round Group G whereby they had some countries from Central America and countries out of the Caribbean and we manage to place 3rd. It's the first time for female volleyball to medal at the senior level, so this is a major accomplishment for the female volleyball in Belize. There were a total of 4 teams - the way it's played; it's in a round-robin format so you have teams that have to compete to get points. It's based on a point system. We played very close matches with the teams that we did not beat and in fact we manage to take a set and almost pull the match against Panama who is the highest ranked of the teams we met there - they are the second rank in Central America and we came so close but I think we loss due to the lack of experience."
New Ms. Earth Crowned
Jessel Lauriano is the new Miss Earth Belize. She was chosen on Saturday night from a group of six contestants. She replaces reigning queen Kimberly Robateau. Tonight 7news has her shining moment on video and also an interview with the beauty queen.
Jessel Lauriano, Miss Earth Belize 2012
"I came out very strong in the beginning and at the end - at the questions and answers I was a bit nervous, but I still turned out to be Miss Earth."
"What was the most challenging part for you?"
Jessel Lauriano, Miss Earth Belize 2012
"I think the questions and answers segment because like other pageants we've always seen the questions before but at the night of the pageant that's when each girl had turned in their questions, so it was a bot nerve racking because we don't know what's going to be asked."
"Tell us a little bit about your journey leading up to the pageant. What was it like working along with other girls and so forth?"
Superbond’s non-payment bomb drops on bondholders
We start tonight with financial news on the accumulated five hundred and forty four U.S. million dollar Superbond which has become the most pressing issue before the government. Following an announcement on August eight offering three repayment scenarios, the government missed the coupon payment due today for some twenty-three million U.S. dollars. A one month [...]
Murder victim leaves behind 2 daughters
As government grapples with the non-payment of the Superbond, it also has to deal with another major headache; crime. Urban violence shook the Old Capital again over the weekend. It was relatively quiet on Friday and Saturday, but around seven o’clock on Sunday night, an employee of CYDP was killed execution style inside his yard [...]
Sex scandal with principal and student, Belmopan Baptist slow on decision
Last week Friday, the mother of a Belmopan Baptist High School student, came forward with allegations of sexual impropriety between her sixteen year old daughter and the principal of the high school. The school principal, Pastor Normal Willacey, has not responded to requests to tell his side of the story other than a text sent [...]
Unemployment highest rate since 1998
The government missed the Superbond payment today. That bad news is accompanied by even more depressing news. The Statistical Institute of Belize’s recent survey regarding employment levels in the country shows that unemployment is at its highest in over a decade and that unemployment is highest among women. The survey involved close to ten thousand [...]
Friend from East, Vice-President Wu of Taiwan visits Belize
At this time the government is toasting one of its most generous friends; the government of Taiwan. The Taiwanese Vice-President arrived on Saturday and leaves our shores on Tuesday after talks with the government and a meeting with the Taiwanese community. Wu Den Yih is receiving the protocol afforded to a head of state. Belize [...]
News Five wins 2 regional awards
Turning focus from Asia to regional partners, Channel Five is a member of the Caribbean Broadcast Union (CBU). The CBU is the leading body in which Caribbean media houses converge for training, sharing expertise and awarding excellence in the region. This year, News Five has just won two awards from the CBU. Andrea Polanco and [...]
Karol Mello freed again
The month-long legal saga involving forty-two year old Karol Mello, since his detention in San Pedro on July eleventh, moved to the Belmopan Magistrate Court where it culminated this morning in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. And we can say that Mello is home safe tonight. Two charges, perjury and uttering upon an [...]
Bert Vasquez prison scrape
Bert Vasquez has been remanded at the Central Prison since June twentieth. Vasquez is the man accused of the murder of thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe of Santa Elena and for the common assault against eleven minors from the area. Vasquez, it is reported, has been placed in solitary confinement at the prison but on [...]
2 shot in Orange Walk
A shooting in Orange Walk Town has left two men injured. Over the weekend, Henry Lozano and Juan Ku were shot as they were riding on Santa Familia Street. The gunman was also on bicycle. Orange Walk police have detained two men in connection with this incident. Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood has the [...]
Cattle Landing Villager stabbed in abdomen
A resident from Cattle Landing Village in the southernmost district is tonight in serious condition at the Punta Gorda Hospital where he is receiving treatment for several stab wounds to the abdomen. According to reports, just before four on Saturday afternoon, Punta Gorda Police responded to a scene on Ogaldez Street where thirty-nine year old [...]
Toll Bridge collection: 8 pounds of cocaine
Up north, a drug bust over the weekend in Orange Walk District left five men from various villages within Corozal District charged with drug trafficking. On Friday, police conducted a search on a vehicle at the Orange Walk Toll Bridge that was en route to Belize City where the passengers were found in possession of [...]
GSU arrests gang members
The Gang Suppression Unit also made a significant number of arrests for drug possession and trafficking. On August fifteenth, a late afternoon raid on the premises of forty-one year old Anna Garbutt, a resident of Fern Lane in the Lake Independence Area, resulted in the arrest of six reputed members of the PIV gang. Shortly [...]
Belize Red Cross victim of burglary
Thieves have no limits or boundaries when selecting targets and just before dawn on Sunday, the Belize Red Cross, the humanitarian organization that provides relief for residents affected by disasters, was burglarized. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies were stolen and the culprits ransacked the offices while avoiding the cameras and the alarms [...]
Hit and Run death on Northern Highway
A fatal hit and run on Friday night claimed the life of fifty-eight year old Ruperto Alvarez of Vista Del Mar. Around eight that night Alvarez was knocked down near mile eight and a half in front of the Shell Gas Station in Ladyville when he attempted to cross the street. According to residents of [...]
B.T.I.A.’s renowned marketing strategist for tourism insiders
Earlier this month, it was announced that the tourism industry is on the rebound. The number of visitors to the jewel in the first half of this year has surpassed previous figures; an overall increase of nine percent. Still yet, there are strategies in the pipeline to further boost the numbers. The Belize Tourism Industry [...]
Miss Earth Belize is Jessel Lauriano
Over the weekend, the Miss Earth Belize pageant was held and after four rounds of competition, Jessel Lauriano was crowned. Twenty-four year old Lauriano will be representing Belize at the International Miss Earth Pageant later this year. The newly crowned queen stopped by News Five studio to tell us about what she’ll be doing during [...]
Jaw-dropping sports update with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this edition of Sports Monday. The Casa’s Cycling Organization presented a massive 38 mile race on Saturday that ran 5 laps around the Willows Bank Road cut-off/Landing Bridge Circuit which attracted 34 of the best in the business. As they take off we know this one [...]
Father of Two Killed on His Steps
A father of two young children was executed on Sunday night in Belize City. Thirty-three year old Felix Godoy, also known as “Munchie” was shot dead while sitting on the back steps of his house at 6572 Corner Doris Brooks Street and Boots Crescent. The employee ...
Belizeans to See A Rise in the Poultry Price
Chicken is one of the staples in most kitchens. On Tuesday, the price of chicken will increase, but only for some of the distributors. A quick check today revealed that the price of one of the ingredients used to produce chicken feed has gone up, resulting in the price adju...
Belize's Prime Minister to Address the Super Bond Issue During a Press Conference
Tonight, the question is: will Belize go into default of its debt obligation on the stepped up US-dollar bond. The first payment, under the stepped-up eight and a half percent interest rate was due today; but as announced last week by the Prime Minister, government does not now h...
Two Belizean's Detained In Mexico
Two Belizeans are detained in Mexico after they were caught without proper documentation. According to an article posted on poresto.net, four individuals were detained on Friday afternoon by Mexico’s Immigration Officials after they approached a checkpoint in La Union.
The two Belizeans, who are yet to be identified, were travelling in a taxi. It is believed they were headed to Cancun before travelling to the United States. The other two persons who were arrested are of Honduran Nationality. It is expected that the four individuals will be deported to their country of origin.
O/W Police Confiscates 3 kilos Of Cocaine, Five Men Are Detained
Five men, four from the Corozal District and one from the old capital are tonight enjoying the comforts of the Belize Central Prison after they were charged for possession of controlled drugs. On Friday August 17th Orange Walk Police set up a checkpoint near the toll bridge where they intercepted a red Geo Prism with taxi license plates BC D-7173.
Travelling in the vehicle were 31 year old Rene Caseres of Belize City, 30 year old Noel Tun and 32 year old Leonardo Tun, both Belizean fishermen of Chunox Village, Abimael Aki, 30 year old Belizean fisherman of Copperbank Village and 40 year old Cornelio Mendez Belizean fisherman of Chunox Village. Reports indicate that the men were acting suspiciously hence the vehicle was searched and that is when police hit the jackpot.
Hidden in three separate school bags, police found three kilos of cocaine.
Two of the parcels, weighing one kilo each, were wrapped in brown tape and were labeled with (2) X’s. The third parcel, also weighing one kilo, was labeled with the letters PZ and was wrapped with black tape. As a result of the findings the men were escorted to the Orange Walk Police Station where they were officially charged with possession of controlled drugs with the purpose of supplying it to another person for drug trafficking.
19 shots fired on Santa Familia Street, Two Persons Injured
Two persons are in the hospital tonight as a result of a shooting incident that occurred over the weekend here in Orange Walk Town. It happened at around 2:20 on Saturday morning on Santa Familia Street. Reports are that 18 year old Henry Javier Lozano, a mechanic of Belize Corozal Road and 24 year old Juan Ku, a laborer of Mangal Street were riding their bicycles on Santa Familia Street when upon reaching the intersection of Belize Corozal Road they were stopped by a male individual who was riding a bicycle in the opposite direction.
Reports are that the individual took out a 9mm pistol and unleashed a barrage of bullets at Lozano and Ku who ran for safety. But it seems that nothing could save both men from being injured.
Lozano received gunshot wounds to the left upper chest, left rib cage, right hand and left forearm while Ku was injured to the right side of the rib cage. By the time police arrived at the scene Lozano and Ku’s shooter was nowhere to be found.
How Harvest For Kids Works
Last Friday we told you about “Harvest for Kids”, an initiative embarked by the Belize Camping Experience, a nongovernmental organization which seeks to make a difference by positively impacting the lives of over 1000 children. Most of the children who form part of the organization live in Belize City in neighborhoods where the crime rate and poverty level is sky high. Through sporting activities and summer camps Belize Camping Experience seeks to make a difference in the life of each child. But in order to do so financing is needed and that’s where Harvest for Kids comes in. Through the program BCE hopes to raise money by planting acres and acres of corn which will be sold as soon as harvested. Over the weekend we were invited to the Village of San Carlos where 20 acres of prime land, named Harvest for Kids field, is already populated with mature golden corn. Here is how Harvest for kids seeks to change lives.
Located in San Carlos Village; this 20 acre corn field is known as the Harvest for Kids fields that now reaps thousands of thousands of corn. The seeds were planted on June 8th and now, ten weeks after, the corn is mature and ready to be harvested. It’s a massive and extraordinary fundraiser embarked by the Belize Camping Experience. According to the camp’s director, Alexander Perez, the fundraiser is geared to assist children from Belize City living in poverty stricken communities where the crime rate is extremely high.
Will Dividends Be Paid To BSI Employees?
It’s been a while since we’ve received any updates pertaining to the sale of the Belize Sugar Industries Limited to ASR, American Sugar Refinery. Viewers might recall that in the month of May news broke out that ASR was interested in purchasing the cash strapped sugar company. In March of 2012 ASR made a written proposal for the investment of equity in the company and further capital investment in the industry. In early May 2012, the BSI Board approved the proposal in principle and authorized Management to complete the due diligence and conclude negotiations by the 30th of June 2012.
ASR proposes to inject US$60 million into the Sugar Industry making them the major shareholders of BSI. In the draft ASR also proposed to clear off BSI debts including $6 million worth in dividends owed to employees of the company. After much discussion BSI employees, who are the majority shareholders of the trust, gave BSI management the go ahead to sell the company, accepting ASR’s proposal that 50% of the due dividends would be paid two weeks after June 30th, 30% in April of 2013 and 20% in January of 2014. Based on the proposal BSI employees should have received $2.5 million in dividends on July 13th.
GOB Misses Bond Payment
Today the Government of Belize was expected to pay $46 million coupon payment on the 2029 bonds, which they didn’t. On August 8th, GOB presented 3 scenarios which the super bond restructuring team formulated to pay off the $550 US million external debt. It is too early to tell if government will pay interest owed to bondholders or default on its debt since they have 30 days grace period to meet payment.
According to Finance Secretary Joseph Waight Belize is awaiting a response from bondholders on the restructuring proposals put forward earlier this month, which could involve a cut of up to 45 percent. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said Belize cannot afford to service the $550 million dollar bond which presently stands at an interest rate of 8.5%.
Whether or not the Dean Barrow Administration will make the payment is still uncertain, but if GOB doesn’t then there is no doubt that the default will cause serious negative impacts on the country’s Economy. GOB has not until September 19th to make the payment.
Belize's Unemployment Rate Highest In 14 Years
There is some alarming news to report tonight as it pertains to the country’s unemployment rate. In a survey conducted on 2,800 randomly selected households from across the country, almost 10,000 persons were asked whether or not they were employed. The survey reveled that a whopping 14.4% or 1,400 persons answered that they are without a job. You might recall that in the 2011 census, it was estimated that the unemployment rate was close to 24%. Statisticians all agreed that the census was not the right method to use in order to know a country’s unemployment rate. Whatever the case may be, 14.4% is still alarming, in fact14.4% is the highest that Belize’s unemployment rate has reached in the last 14 years.
When it comes to the individual districts, Cayo has the highest unemployment rate at 18.3% and the Belize District has the lowest at 12.1%. Here at home the unemployment rate stands at 12.6% while in Corozal it is at 14.5%. Gender wise, the survey shows that unemployment in women, which stands at 22.3%, is higher than in men which is recorded at 9.1%. Among ethnicities, unemployment proved to be the highest among Maya's at 18.3% and lowest among Mestizo's at 13.6%. The survey also found that the unemployment rates for persons between the ages of 14 and 24 is at 25% making them the most affected while unemployment is at 12% for persons between the ages of 25 and 44. The survey was conducted in April 2012.
International Youth Day at the MCC Grounds
Hundreds of young people from all over the country traveled to Belize City to take part in activities for International Youth Day. The event was staged at the MCC Grounds and included display booths and stage performances. Kirk Augustus is the manager of the violence reduction unit at Youth for the Future and one of the organizers of today’s event.
Jamaican artist “Pressure entertained the youths at the rally.
The Performing Arts in Belize City, Queen Of The Bay Pageant
Tricia Pelayo tells Love News more about the queen of the bay..
The pageant is set for seven thirty p.m. on Saturday night at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City. But while four young ladies are vying for Miss Earth, half a hemisphere away, another Belizean beauty will be strutting her stuff on the international stage. Miss World Belize, Chantae Guy, will vie tonight in the Miss World Pageant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, where she has spent the last few weeks preparing for the event. She has garnered much support in various competitions since her arrival in China, and Chantae has done Belize proud already by making the top ten in the semifinals in the Top Model competition because of the difference in time zones, the pageant will air on E! Entertainment TV early Saturday morning. The event starts at six o’clock on Saturday morning, Belize time. Meanwhile, Saturday will be a day filled with pageantry as the Miss Queen of the Bay Contest will be held in Belmopan to select a representative for the nation’s capital in the national pageant.
The volleyball national secondary school male champion in Punta Gorda
An ongoing competition to promote volleyball and to support the national secondary school male champion will end this weekend in Punta Gorda.
More FM hosts a bikini car wash event
Girls in bikini, food and cold beers, every man’s dream and it becomes a reality as More FM hosts a car wash and block party on Slaughterhouse Road in Belize City. Cars will be washed from morning to evening by the Ice Cream Girls and in case you were wondering who they are, coordinator of the More Fm Ice cream girls, bikini car wash and More FM events, Leticia Herrera explains.
Leticia Herrera tells us about the female Dj...
Herrera told us about tomorrow’s event. Music at tomorrow’s block party will be provided by More Fm’s very own Dj’s.
A Corozal team wins the three on three Sprite and Belikin Basketball Competition
On the 4th of August, a team from Corozal emerged as the champion of the three on three Sprite and Belikin Basketball Competition. Today the men are travelling to New York City where they will proudly represent Belize in the FIBA three on three World Tour. Love News spoke with two of the players who were making their final preparations at the Philip Goldson International Airport, before boarding their flight to the U.S.A. Benedict Terry one of the lucky players told us a little bit about himself and his expectations for the competition.
Farron Lauriano also travelling to represent Belize, says he is excited to be going to New York for the first time. The other players who are travelling to New York today are Alton Herrera, Marcel Richards and their Coach, Jarrett Arnold. The team is expected to return to Belize on Monday.
Update on the Corozal flooding
Williard Levy the Demo coordinator, Corozal Speaks about the weather at the Corozal Distrtict...
Residents of the Corozal district continue to endure flooded villages and neighborhoods. Overnight rains on Wednesday caused at least nine villages and parts of Corozal town itself to be inundated. A number of persons from affected areas had to seek refuge in the Guadalupe Church building in the Chula Vista area of Corozal town. Willard Levy is the District Emergency Coordinator in Corozal and he told Love News via telephone this morning that the sun is out and the worst of the flooding is over. On Thursday, an advisory was sent out asking residents of flooded areas not to consume untreated water as a precautionary measure because many of the wells may be contaminated. Levy told Love News that about seven people remain holed up in the Guadeloupe Church in the Chula Vista area of Corozal town and they are expected to remain there for the next two to three days until they can return to their homes.
September’s Celebrations, the first ever National Service Day
Elsie Zamora speak to love news about the new event in the September celebration, National Service Day...
Patriotic songs are playing on the radio, September promotions stretch nationwide, all a reminder that the most patriotic month of year, September is around the bend and celebrations are ready to kick off. A new event in this year’s Calendar that adds importance to September’s Celebrations is the first ever National Service Day, a day to commemorate the Right Honorable George Cadle Price who once said quote, “I believe that happiness consists in serving others and not oneself” end quote. Coordinator of the George Price Center for Peace and Development, Elsie Zamora told Love News what is expected of that day. Zamora says that she encourages organizations to start thinking about what they can do on this day to be of service for their community. Those who wish to participate can contact the George Price Center for Peace at telephone number 822-1054.
The Toledo District two day training program
A two-day training for inspectors of a local organic certification scheme ended on Wednesday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details in the following report.
Traffic Accident in the Northen highway
Only yesterday we reported on Community activist and one time Mayoral candidate, Stephen Okeke’s suggestion of installing special speed bumps on the Northern Highway to at least alert motorists that they are traversing a residential area. This came about because of the constant traffic accidents in that area and that is exactly what happened this morning some time after eight when a collision between a pick-up truck and a motorcycle left the motorcycle rider injured. The incident occurred in front of Brodies on the Northern Highway and the injured man was transported to the hospital shortly after. The condition of the man is unknown at this time.
US National Park Service
Eric Heyden public affairs officer, US embassy told Love News about the national park...
People whose jobs encompass dealing with the environment gathered this morning for a workshop at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on best practices in administration and capacity management at national parks. The session was held by the US Embassy, who invited one of their environmental experts to share his ideas and experiences with his local counterparts. According to the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer, Eric Heyden, there is much to be gained from the exchange. Jim Bacon, an expert with the US National Park Service, conducted the workshop and told Love News that despite the difference in landscapes and temperatures between Belize and the US, there are commonalities.
Jim Bacon has visited Belize before and has extensive experience in environmental matters. Before joining the US National Park Service he was a Peace Corps Volunteer.
The Corozal District floods out
The Corozal district is tonight facing a disaster as several villages and the town itself is flooded. According to the National Meteorological Service, since midnight an unprecedented seven and a half inches of rainfall was recorded at Consejo, while in Orange Walk two point two inches of rainfall was recorded. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez, told Love News that radar observations fromlast night show that it was raining constantly in the north at about a rate of one to one and a half inches per hour for a five to six hour period. It’s the effects of the tropical wave which crossed the country, the remnants of Tropical Depression Number Seven. Observers say that saturated soils after the passage of Hurricane Ernesto combined with the overnight rains made for a flooded mess today. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo were in the flooded areas today and bring you the following report.
The fire department pass their practical
To paraphrase an old saying: in time of calm prepare for an emergency. And that is just what the National Fire Service has been doing. After a busted attempt at testing the readiness of firemen who were on professional development training a couple of weeks ago, today, the Fire Chief and his crew gave it another try. And once again, Love TV’s Patrick Jones, this time accompanied by video journalist Brian Castillo was on hand to evaluate the performance of the firemen. Here is their report.
The new street in Belize, Emmanuel Street
Mayor Bradley speaks about the new street in Belize...
If you live in the Lake Independence area then more than likely you will have noticed a newly paved street that runs directly behind the Charles Bartlett Hyde building. The street was officially named Holy Emmanuel Street during a brief ceremony this morning. On hand for the occasion was Belize City Mayor, Darrel Bradley, who told Love News that the paving and opening of the street is but one of several upgrades that city residents can expect in the coming months. Holy Emmanuel Street includes sixteen culverts that were dug for proper drainage in the area.