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#454657 - 01/05/13 09:34 AM Today's Belize News: January 5, 2013
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The San Pedro Sun

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Ambergris Today

Fate Gives to Host San Pedro’s First Hope Kitchen Event At Sandbar
Fate Gives will be hosting San Pedro’s first soup kitchen event in January at Sandbar. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Jan. 8, the new project entitled “Hope Kitchen” will provide a healthy meal to families that might not otherwise be able to afford the luxury of a dinner out on Ambergris Caye. Fate Gives is partnering with local San Pedrano, Hermojenes “Moncho” Acosta, known as “Teacher Moncho”, to identify families in need who would benefit from the Hope Kitchen project. The initial event will be hosted for these families selected by Teacher Moncho. “The idea of Hope Kitchen is very near and dear to my heart and was inspired by Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen,” says Brittney O’Daniel, chairman of Fate Gives and co-owner of Sandbar restaurant. “I want to enable all residents of San Pedro to have access to healthy food options and be able to enjoy a night out with their family, all in a beautiful setting.”

Friends Come Together to Form ‘Fate Gives’ Charity
Four San Pedro resident women who have come to call La Isla Bonita/Belize their home are now banded together as a group looking to do more for a community that has given so much to them. Brought together by fate and a set of unlikely circumstances, these four women have discovered a common goal and the desire for giving back. Brittney O’Daniel, Erin De Santiago, Brittany Munson, and Jessica Salo have founded the charity organization that goes by the name of Fate Gives. With the support of Joe Chung, Teacher “Moncho” Hermojenes Acosta and Dorian Nunez at Ambergris Today, Fate Gives is committed to providing an economically effective way to enrich the lives of people around the world, one project at a time. “We want to involve the community, have local input on where resources and funds are most needed, and maintain absolute transparency on where every dollar goes,” commented Erin De Santiago, Public Relations Director for Fate Gives. “We all feel it’s very important to closely work with locals to identify the best way to give back to the island.”

Changes in Police High Command for Greater Efficiency
The Ministry of National Security announces the following changes in the Ministry and in the high command of the Police Department to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness as we begin the New Year. Mr. David Henderson leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police and takes up the post of Director of the National Forensic Science Service. Mr. Allen Wyllie is promoted from Deputy Commissioner of Police to the post of Acting Commissioner of Police, thereby assuming command of the Police Department. Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr. is promoted to Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police with additional responsibility for Operations, thereby leaving the post of Officer Commanding Eastern Division. Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura moves from Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch to Officer Commanding Eastern Division.

Misc Belizean Sources

Grenade discovered beneath Belize church
Bomb explosive experts have recovered a live grenade underneath a church here amid concerns that it could have killed or caused severe injuries to children who normally use the playground on a daily basis. Lieutant Colonel James Requena, a bomb expert with the Belize Defence Force (BDF) said that the grenade is amiong the 24 missing from the British Forces here in 2004. "It's a L-109-A1 highe xplosive grenade fragmentation from the similar batch that was missing from the British Forces. So the count now is at eight with 16 remaining out of 24," he said, adding that many children from the neighbourhood play in the yard of the Church of God. "Had one of them found it and didn't know what it was and pulled the pin, we would have had several kids injured or dead on the sport."

Commentary: It will take more than reshuffling the top ranks of the Belize police force
From all my years of being in the Belize Police Force -- from 1973 to 1978 I worked at Patrol Branch, Criminal Investigation Branch, NCO I/C Criminal Investigation Branch Orange Walk District and NCO I/C Hattieville -- I am convinced that crime prevention is always better than crime detection. The Belize Police Force over the years has been spending too much time on crime detection and they have failed in detecting many of the crimes, prosecuting the criminals and convicting them. Most of the crime prevention measures that have been proposed and implemented seem to have had little impact on crime reduction. Getting rid of gangs and guns with a special task force now should be their number one focus and that would stop the violent murders that are taking place in the country. The Police Force know who are the gangs in Belize because they have said that in many of their press conferences.

Feature Belize on your Desktop! PACT's 2013 Desktop Backgrounds
This year, why not feature Belize on your desktop? Choose nature images from one of our twelve 2013 Desktop Backgrounds! It's always a hard decision choosing which of our many photos to include but we hope you like our selection this year!

VIDEO: The Belize Zoo
Day Trip from San Pedro, combined with Cave Tube, Jungle Zip Line or Mayan ruins.

On 12/12/12 (at 12 noon, of course) The Belize Zoo celebrated its 30th anniversary in grand style. The festivities started with a delicious lunch followed by a brief history of the zoo presented by Founding Director Sharon Matola, a delightful performance of Lucky Boy’s song by the La Democracia Pre-School Gibnuts (featuring lead guitarist Sharon “Keef” Matola), and some thrilling singing, dancing, and drumming by a talented group of Garifuna performers. After this rousing start, U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally and area representative, Dolores Balderamos, cut the ribbon to the newly-rejuvenated Gerald Durrell Visitor’s Centre. The Durrell Center now includes “Uppie’s Classroom”, which will be the site of fun-filled educational activities for many of the schoolchildren who visit the zoo.

January Workshops at the Small Business Development Center!
Register with us at 223-7427 or email us at sbdc@belizeinvest.org.bz

Channel 7

Arrests for New Years Night Shootings
It's been 3 days since the murder of 45 year-old Orlando Williams, and the near fatal shooting of 48 year-old Marco Valle, who continues on life support tonight. Yesterday, we told you about the GSU who labeled it as a deliberate act by affiliates of the George Street Gang. Well, the news tonight is that 2 brothers, 23-year-old Akeem Humes and 20-year-old Shakeem Baizer, have been charged for the shootings, and are on remand tonight. But their families are angry because according to them, they have airtight alibis which can be verified. His sister called us out to the courthouse after their arraignment to vent her family's discontent. Here's how she defended them, under our questioning: Tracey Baizar - sister of men accused "Honestly I just think that they are abstracting them really and truly because me personally - they were at home with me. Akeem Humes was at 8 miles with my mom at a dinner having fun.

GSU: Occupy George Street
Heard of Occupy Wall Street? Well how about "Occupy George Street"? That's what the GSU has basically been doing for the past three days - after the New Year's night shootings. So far they've found a grenade, a loaded 9mm pistol, and a pair of Molotov Cocktails. And this morning, they found a high powered prohibited pistol. Between 5:00 and 11:00 this morning, the GSU searched the residence of one of the key figures in the George Street Gang. Nothing was found inside his house, but the search continued into in a property across the street. That's where they found two otherwise nondescript wooden blocks 6 feet apart. They only stood out because each had a plywood cover nailed on to it. When police opened it up, inside they found a black 45mm pistol, Glock 30 along with a magazine fitted in a mold; the wood was actually carved to fit the firearm and the magazine inside. It's a prohibited firearm, but couldn't be linked to anyone so it was deposited as found property. The other wooden block was also molded to hold a pistol inside - but it was empty.

Dr. Gayle Explains How Detentions Lead to Gang Retaliations Against The State
So while two men have been arrested and the GSU has George Street on lockdown for the time being - we end the first week of this new year with a sense of foreboding. That's because the random New Year's Night shootings of two Hispanic men has left society shaken. Could the Carlos Valle and Orlando Williams have been just random victims: marked for death only because they are Hispanic males over the age of 40 - and the shooters saw that as the best way to retaliate against the state for a New Year's Eve preventative detention? It's a scary possibility - and yesterday we asked Violence Anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle in Jamaica to decode such behaviour. He's done the most comprehensive study on gangs in Belize - and he told us that the shootings may have had nothing to do with race, it might have simply been the most effective way to lash out at the state after an oppressive lockdown:.. Dr. Herbert Gayle, violence anthropologist "I have seen in many places where if the murder rate is looking very bad they would just go and arrest the whole gang or clean up a community or what is called social cleansing and that would allow things to stabilize for a while. They are short term measures but extremely good."

Man Shot In City While Going to Buy Boledo
Just as the news finished up last night, our newsroom received word that there was a shooting on Lovely Lane. We can report tonight, that the man who was targeted was 20 year-old Paul Alvarez Jr., who is recovering at the KHMH. We responded and found police security the area, where the Scenes of crime personnel were putting down 11 markers, while they were retrieving 8 mm expended shells, 2 live rounds and one slug. According to police, at around 7:35 p.m. he was inside Ming Ming Shop when a dark complexioned man arrived in front and fired a barrage of gunshots at him and escaped. Alvarez suffered injuries to his right hand, right arm pit, and the right side of his back, and he was rushed to the KHMH, where he is in stable condition. We made extensive efforts to try to speak to his mother, who flatly declined comment.

Shot By Cops, Escaped Hospital, Accused of Robbing Clerk
On Monday, we told you about the man who robbed a Magistrate's Court Clerk of over $7,000 dollars in cash. Well tonight, 31 year-old Trenton Webster is at prison tonight after he was taken to Magistrate's Court for it. As we reported, the First Class Clerk reported to police that on Friday at around 4:05 p.m., she was accompanied by a special constable who was providing security while she made a deposit. On Regent Street, a dark skinned man who was armed with a rusty handgun knocked out the unarmed officer with the weapon, and then pointed it at the clerk. Fearing for her life, the clerk handed over the black plastic bag which contained a Belize Bank Night Deposit bag. Inside that bag was $7,634.90 in Belize currency, belonging to the Government of Belize. On New Year's Day, police detained Webster in connection with the robbery, and in the process they shot him in the left foot to subdue him. While he was getting medical attention, he escaped from police, but he was detained yesterday near the Bayview Hotel.

Lamb Will Get Eight Charges
Clarence Lamb is still in the hospital tonight after he was shot by a BTB Security Guard on Wednesday evening. The 22 year old has a long list of charges waiting for him at court when he gets out of the hospital. The Wagner's Lane resident will face one count of robbery and (7) counts of Aggravated Assault. This is for allegedly pulling a gun at the BTB Cashier and other employees when he and another man pulled off a robbery. They escaped with $1,732.00 dollars in two cash pans - but all of it was recovered by police.

Michelle Swasey's Troubles With Burying Her Son
On New Year's Eve, Michelle Swasey gave a sad, moving interview. She was talking about her son James Staine who killed himself after shooting his common law wife Keena Williams in front of their child. She's burying him tomorrow - but today her worries multiplied as she tried to make burial arrangements for her son. She wants to bury him in the same vault as his father, Leslie Staine who died 16 years ago. She made arrangements with undertaker, David Coye - but as of January first, many of the services he provides are now left to the City Council. She told us about all the confusion the sudden change has caused:.. Michelle Swasey, mother of James Staine Sr. "I went to City council this morning. Before I went and pay $25 for research because the grave that my son is going in his father was buried there for 16 years. Now I went to City Council this morning and they charged me $150, I have the receipt right here. They didn't tell me that I have to pay whatever and they will do it, they didn't tell me anything. Now I got a call from Mr. Coye because he has started the process because my son will be buried tomorrow - now they stop them. I don't know what they stop them for. I am waiting for Mr. Coye to come to find out what is going on."

Mayor Defends Cemetery Charges
But the Mayor of Belize City says it is law and a necessary one. Mayor Bradley today told us that the council isn't trying to put undertakers out of business - they're simply trying to ensure quality control at the cemetery:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "This should not offset in any significant way the undertaking business. I read the headlines in terms of the Amandala and certain concerns which were raised which are things that we do look at because we are mindful of the economic conditions, we are mindful that people need to make a living. But the undertaking business involves a wide gamut of services and what we are saying is that we will do the construction of the tombs. The cemetery comes under our jurisdiction and the maintenance of tombs is always our responsibility and what we have notice over several years is that the tombs themselves they are not built to standards and so when a tomb is constructed if it's not built to standards within a year, two year or five years period the City Council has to go in there for public health reasons and we have to reconstruct the tombs. What we are saying is that we have people who worked at the City Council cemetery; we have 8 people who worked currently at Lord Ridge and a lot of them currently they build the tombs themselves because the undertakers would subcontract the work out to them."

New Year, But Mayor Still Can't Open Highway
And while the Mayor says City Hall isn't trying to make money on the Cemetery - the businesses along the first mile of the Northern Highway say they are losing money because the Council has not completed concrete paving the first one hundred yards of the highway in time. Today the Mayor said they are waiting for the cement to cure properly:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "Our people are just waiting for the half of the road that has been completed to be cured and then they will open that section of the Northern Highway to traffic and they are going to start work on the other section. Freetown Road is supposed to be finish by next week Friday and then they will do the roundabout and the whole project will be completed. I am expecting that the entire thing will be completed in another two weeks. The Freetown Road/Northern Highway project is something which will be a very good drive for residents of Belize City. It's 1.3 miles of road at a cost of about $630,000.00. I indicated earlier that part of it includes re-structuring the traffic flow on the Northern Highway; we are going to remove the cross walks and we are going to force people to actually use the overpass because we put a barricade there.

City Needs Revenue From Garbage Tax, Having Trouble Implementing Collection System
And the City Council is the one waiting on BWSL to conclude negotiation so that the utility can attach the residential garbage tax to the water bills of city residents. Sounds like a good plan on paper, but the devil is in the details - and while working those out, the mayor says negotiations have stalled. It's bad news for City Hall because its main sources of revenue, the head tax and the government subvention now go to the Central Bank to service the municipal bond. It needs the revenue from the garbage tax as revenue replacement, but setting up collection may be difficult. The mayor discussed it today:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "We are still not finalized with BWSL. I had expected that we would have been much advance in terms of our discussions with putting that in place. It's been stalled and this is one of those things that you had ask me about in terms of wanting to push aggressively ahead but it doesn't work as planned. We wanted to ensure that we were agreed before the close of the year, we are beyond the year because these bills have to go out this month in terms of our projection. We have to start collecting this fee by latest February and that is our time table."

Battlefield Or Bust!
We've featured Steven Okeke in numerous newscasts in the past where he emerged as a social activist, but tonight, he wears the hat of a patriotic Belizean. He's trying to get a statue of the Belizean Hero, Phillip Goldson erected in the Battlefield park, but according to him it's been a 12-year fight to get it done. Well, he's finally gotten permission from the Belize City Council to use an area in the park for it, but he needs finances to build the base for it. He called us out to the location to show us where it will be, and also made a public plea for financial help: Steven Okeke "This would be a historical location because it would be the point from which we develop the base for the Phillip Goldson monument. In fact I want to thank the city government; the Mayor especially Mr. Phillip Willoughby who helped me to push this thing and Mr. Kevin Singh. We came out here yesterday to mark a spot where the monument would be erected.

PUP Deputies Oppose Hyde Return
Is there a future for Cordel Hyde in the PUP? According to an article in today;s reporter two Deputy Leaders Mike Espat and Julius Espat are flatly opposed to it. But, the article quotes the party chairman as saying that that quote, "Cordel Hyde never left the PUP. And it quotes former leader Said Musa as saying that the matter will have to be sorted out by the Party one way or another. Current leader Francis Fonseca said he would not comment until he had hear directly from Hyde.

Shamed By FACEBOOK Fight
Our next story is an unusual one. First off, it's not for kids - so if they're in the room, you'll want to change the channel or ask them to take a TV break. The story involves mature content because it's about a physical fight - an all out war between two women. Now, this is not the stuff that usually makes news - but what happens when someone captures that fight on cell phone camera and then posts it on the web for the whole world to see? Well, that's another level - and when that fight involves partial nudity…well you can imagine the embarrassment of the combatants! And what's worse is that the video has gone viral and they have no power to take it off the internet. It's like your most embarrassing moment being immortalized forever on eternal loop - and you're powerless to do anything about it. What happens to someone in the glare of such sudden exposure and notoriety? How do they explain it to their family? That's what Monica Bodden tried to find out yesterday when she tracked down one of the combatants. She appeared off camera and we have also blurred the video:

Channel 5

The dead will sleep; if undertakers and City hall agree
The City Council’s decision to assume some burial services effective January first is not resting well with undertakers or families who need to bury their loved ones. The new regulation by the City Council was put to a test today when Coye Funeral Services, the biggest undertaker in the City, went to the Lord Ridge [...]

Marco Vidal’s heavy portfolios of GSU and Special Branch
A new commissioner of police has been named; he is former CEO for National Security Allen Wylie. It is critical time for the police with crime and street violence proving to be a major challenge and the gangs running amok now that the gang truce program has ended and funding has declined. The appointment of [...]

Brothers charged for murder
This afternoon, two brothers were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith for the New Year’s Day Murder and Attempted Murders in Belize City. Twenty-three year old Akeem Humes was charged for the murder of forty-five year old Orlando Williams, who was violently gunned down on East Canal. Akeem, a reputed associate of the George [...]

Shot 4 times and survives
There was a shooting during the heavy rains on Thursday night. It happened on Lovely Lane off Victoria Street and could have ended fatally for the victim had he not hidden behind a rack of water bottles. Paul Alvarez braved the downpour to purchase Boledo when he came under attack; at least four bullets found [...]

Will there be justice for slain toddler?
It is four months since baby Kaylee Burgess was murdered; her body was found in a bucket in the yard of her grandmother’s house in Ladyville on September fifth. It was a tumultuous time because her mother and father were feuding and the baby’s murder was staged as a drowning. Kaylee was in the care [...]

Mom of accused says her son chopped in self-defense
Self defense; that is what the mother of twenty-nine year old Doran Moody claims led him to chop forty-three year old Mark Davis to the face, left hand and ear. Moody, it is reported, was in an altercation early on New Year’s Day with two young men with whom he had an old beef. And [...]

The twists and turns of Mexican national’s arms case
The trial of Zurisday Villasenor Mendez was adjourned on Thursday evening in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. He is the Mexican national who was charged after a bust of guns and ammunition at the Las Vegas Casino in Corozal. Two issues were submitted by attorneys Dickie Bradley and Arthur Saldivar. Firstly, they are seeking the recusal [...]

No one injured as bus engine catches fire
A Morales bus drove into problems on one of the city’s highways early this morning. When the bus reached Gardenia Village in the Belize District, a fire occurred under the hood. The driver took a fire extinguisher that was located at the entrance of the vehicle, lifted the enclosure for the engine and quelled the [...]

Enrique Martinez and Sons employee disappears amidst theft
It appears that a delivery man for Enrique Martinez and Sons Limited has gone rogue and disappeared with a customer’s order as well as items stolen from the company vehicle. According to a warehouse Supervisor, on December nineteenth, Nathan Pratt was sent to deliver several rolls of copper tubing and a disconnect switch; all valued [...]

He robbed the Magistrate Court’s cash and returns for 5 charges
Seven thousand, six hundred and thirty-four dollars were stolen from the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on December twenty-eighth. The cashier was jacked of the day’s deposit when a brazen robber pulled a gun on the unarmed Special Constable that was escorting her to the bank. Today, the gunman believed to have executed the broad daylight [...]

Charged with ‘Permitting Himself to be Rescued’?
We reported on Wednesday that Corporal Edward Castillo was charged for Obstruction after he prevented Assistant Superintendent Anthony Rosado from carrying out his duty. On December twenty-sixth, Castillo was one of five occupants in an SUV driven by Lloyd Dyer Senior when it was inspected on Central American Boulevard. Rosado found that the vehicle’s insurance [...]

12 years later, a home for Phillip Goldson’s bust
Politician, talk show enthusiast, author, teacher, father, and businessman are only some of the words used to describe Stephen Okeke but busy man may be the sum of his many parts. It’s possible that some may forget that Okeke first came to fame for his prodigious work as a sculptor not only of wood but [...]

GSU forages for weapons in blocks
The Gang Suppression Unit is keeping a close eye on the George Street Gang. Having found a grenade and ammunition in a church on West Street, on Wednesday morning, GSU officers searched the residence of someone they describe as one of the key leaders of the George Street Gang. Nothing incriminating was found inside the [...]


Police News
A shooting incident on Thursday night has left one man hospitalized. Twenty year old Paul Alvarez, Junior was injured to the right hand, right armpit and the right side of his back, during an incident around seven forty five last night. According to police, Alvarez was insi...

Teenage Girl Missing
A teenage girl has been reported missing by her father. According to thirty six year old Daniel Aguirre, a resident of the San Martin area of Belmopan, his fifteen year old daughter Beverlin, left home enroute to a local store on Wednesday night and has not returned. Beverl...

University Students Disapproves of Government's Decision to Cut Subsidy
The Student Government of the University of Belize and a group called Nation Builders yesterday called a press conference in Belize City voice their disapproval of Government’s termination of subsidizing fees. According to the student government, discontinuation of the gove...

New Police Commissioner Appointed; Reshuffling In Police Department Announced
A new commissioner of Police has been named. Long-serving Deputy Allen Whylie was promoted to the commissioner’s post, according to an announcement made late yesterday by the Ministry of National Security. Former commissioner David Henderson moves on to take up the po...

Punta Gorda Police Investigates Fire
A house was partly destroyed by fire in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. “According to police information the early Thursday morning fire incident happened at about 12:30 am. The Punta Gorda Fire service went to the scene of the fire an...

Brothers Charged For Separate Shooting Incidents
Twenty year old Shakeem Humes appeared in the number four Magistrate’s Court on Monday, December 31st, 2012, and was charged with causing public terror in connection with an incident that occurred at BTL Park on December 15. He was released on bail. According to an allegation, at...

Postman and Police Charged Following Escape From Police
Thirty-five year old postman Lloyd Dyer, who was with police corporal Edward Castillo, when there was a run in with Assistant Police Superintendent Anthony Rosado, was charged with using a motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance and permitting himself to be rescued when he a...

Escaped Robber Recaptured
Trenton Webster, the person who the police believe robbed the deposit money for the magistrate court, was charged with robbery when he appeared today in the number one Magistrate’s Court. Webster was also charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, 1 count of harm and 1 co...


2012; PlusNews Year in review
A comprehensive look back at 2012; a year that saw a general and Municipal election held simultaneously, the Renego...

Man shot in Belize City Thursday night
A man was shot in Belize city last night. Just before 8 o' clock last night, Police visited the K.H.M.H. where they...

Akeem Humes charged for murder of Orlando William
21 Year old Akeem Humes, an affiliate of George Street was today arraigned in Court and charged for New Year's Eve ...

Trenton Webster in court for robbery
A man who was shot by police while trying to flee, was arraigned in court this morning. 31 year old Trenton Webster...

Dakers Stationary and Books broken into in Belmopan
A brazen burglary took place shortly before midnight last night in the City of Belmopan. The incident took place at...

Group calls for no more bars in Belmopan
Yesterday we told you about the 15yr old minor who ran away from a children's home and was later found working at T...

Michael Avilez sentenced to 3 years in jail for drug trafficking
52 yr old Michael Avilez will spend 3 years in jail for drug trafficking. On August 14, of last year, Police conduc...

Clarence Lamb charged for robbery of BTB
Belize City Police have formally arrested and charged 22yr old Clarence Lamb, of Belize City with Robbery and (7) c...

Construction of tombstones in Belize City will be sole responsibility of Cemetery Department
Media houses have reported on plans by the Belize City Council to takeover activities at Belize City’s major public...

UB students protest registration fee increase
Today, Friday, is registration day for students attending the University of Belize (UB)’s campuses across Belize. B...

15 year-old missing from San Martin Area, Belmopan
36yr old Daniel Aguirre, Taxi Driver of San Martin Area, Belmopan, reported to Belmopan Police that at 8:00pm on We...

Police make more drug discoveries
Police made some more drug discoveries. At 4:00am yesterday morning, Orange Walk Police conducted a search at the r...

#454658 - 01/05/13 09:35 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 5, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

More News: Scroll up from here


Monday, January 7, deadline for public’s comment – but documents not on website yet! The year 2013 kicks off with a painful increase in electricity rates, with the average cost per kilowatt hour seeing an increase of nearly 17 cents on the dollar. “The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents, which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate,” chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), John Avery, told the media at a press briefing last Friday afternoon. Whereas the rate increase is going to be applied to January light bills, as of January 1, the PUC has set a deadline of Monday, January 7, 2013, for the public to comment on the decision. (We note that the documents had, at the time of this report, still not been released on the PUC’s website.) News from the Commission is that Prime Minister Dean Barrow will travel to Mexico in the coming weeks to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, to negotiate a better price for power supplied by the state-owned Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). Avery acknowledged that Belizean consumers, including the already struggling productive sector, will take a hit with the hike in electricity rates, but he noted that the cost of power, which had been unexpectedly high in the second half of 2012, is by law a direct pass-through cost that must be billed to consumers.

A gunman shot him four times when he went to buy boledo. Paul Alvarez, 20, a resident of Lovely Lane in Belize City, is fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot four times by a gunman who fired about six shots at him at about 7:30 p.m. today, Thursday, in the Ming Ming Shop on Lovely Lane. He was shot in his shoulders, stomach, arm, and leg. Alvarez’s mother told Amandala that they live in the Lovely Lane area, and her son Paul had just gone to the Chinese store to buy number (lottery), when shortly after, she heard shots fired. A neighbor came and told her that Paul had just been shot, and when she ran outside, she saw his friend bringing him on his shoulder. She immediately took a car and rushed him to the KHMH. Paul told his mother that while going to the store, he saw the man, but did not pay attention to him. When he arrived in the store, he heard a gun cock, and when he turned around, the man fired at him.

All construction of graves, tombs etc. taken away — funeral home owners out in cold! The Belize City Council has informed all undertakers in a press release sent out in December 2012, that effective Tuesday, January 1, 2013, the City Council cemetery workers would take over several duties from the undertakers. Those duties include the construction of common graves and enclosed graves, the re-opening of graves at the Lord Ridge and Eternal Gardens Cemeteries, and the construction of “vault/mausoleum, tombstones, tomb tablets, statues, and niche in columbarium.” The press release went on to state that the listed structures were to be done only by authorized workers from the Cemetery Department, and that the construction of those structures would cost $1,000. David Coye of Coye Funeral Homes said the arrangement does not seem plausible because it has not been made law. “Laws like that have to pass through the Cabinet, not happen overnight,” he said. He went on to say, “I’m looking into getting a lawyer. The cemetery is not for the City Council; it’s for the people of Belize, the people of Belize City. If they want to compete, no problem. But they can’t just stop us, though.”

They leave behind a 2-year-old son. A Punta Gorda family, of Forest Home, is mourning the death of their daughter, Carlita Williams, 21, who was shot to death by her jealous and abusive boyfriend, James Staine, 24, who killed himself after killing her. The murder/suicide occurred around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, December 30, under a thatched shed near the road by the sea in Punta Gorda. Witnesses said that Staine, Williams and their son, 2, were seated at the beachfront under the thatch when he took out his gun and shot her, then turned the gun on himself. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, Commander of Toledo District Police, said that their initial investigation revealed that both Williams and Staine were under the shed when two gunshots were heard by a neighbor in the immediate area. The neighbor looked out to see what was happening, and that was when he saw both bodies under the shed. Police said that Staine, who is the father of the couple’s son, shot Carlita in the right side of her head and thereafter shot himself under the chin. The shooting came after Staine and Williams had a misunderstanding on Saturday, December 29.

New champions of 23rd Krem New Year’s Classic – David Henderson (Elite), Shalini Zabaneh (Women), Tarique Flowers (Junior). The New Year started with a “bang” indeed, as there was bright sunshine on the morning of January 1, and the 23rd running of the Krem New Year’s Cycling Classic, from the Corozal border to Belize City, went off without a hitch or a spill, despite the absence of an official Belize Cycling Association executive. All the big name cyclists were there, but in the Elite and Junior male races there were new names entered into the record book of past Krem Classic champions, as U-23 rider David Henderson, Jr. beat all the big boys in the Elite/Open race, and newcomer, 16-year-old Tarique Flowers surprised the Junior field by taking the top prize in impressive fashion. In the Women race, former 3-time Krem Classic champion Shalini Zabaneh, who was dethroned by Kaya Cattouse last year, came back to claim #4, as she overpowered all competitors in the last leg of an aggressive 55-mile ride from Orange Walk Town Hall to become the Krem Classic Women Champion 2013.

Belmopan Bandits defeat Police United, 1-nil, for PLB championship. A massive crowed thronged the FFB Stadium on the outskirts of Belmopan yesterday afternoon in bright sunshine to witness the final championship game of the Premier League of Belize Opening Tournament 2012-2013 between two teams who called Belmopan “home” during the competition – Belmopan Bandits and Police United FC. Police were “bridesmaids” in the previous competition behind Placencia Assassins; but it was the Bandits, who were also “bridesmaids” some years ago in the semi-pro football league, who finally captured their first national football title. The two clubs, both connected to Hon. John Saldivar, as sponsor of Belmopan Bandits, and as the Minister in charge of Police, had met only once before, and that was in game 1 of the championship finals, in which they drew last week, 1-1. During the course of the regular season, all of the Bandits’ home games had been on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Police had used the FFB Stadium for 3 of their games, but subsequently retreated to the Isidoro Beaton also, playing their remaining home games on Sunday afternoons. When the two teams met in the finals, and Police chose to play on Sunday afternoon, December 23, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium for their home game, it was assumed, and it had already been released by the league, that the Bandits home game the following weekend would be on Saturday night, December 29, at the Isidoro.

At a press conference this afternoon at the Toucan B Room of the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, the National Team Committee of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) announced the final list of 20 players comprising the National “A” Team that will represent Belize at the Copa Centroamericana 2013 (formerly Nations Cup), the qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. National Team Committee member Onan McClean was master of ceremonies, and seated at the head table were the Assistant Coach, Charlie Slusher; Head Coach, Le Roy Sherrier Lewis; Team Co-Captain, Dalton Eiley; Committee Chairman, FFB Vice-President, Rawel Pelayo; and Team Manager, Dean Flowers. 7 Central American countries will participate in the Copa Centroamericana, which commences on January 18 in host country Costa Rica. 5 of those 7 will qualify to the Gold Cup, and Belize’s national coach Le Roy Sherrier Lewis said he feels very good about Belize’s chances at qualifying.

Those of us who came on the scene after World War II know that Southside Belize City, and indeed the entire city, was an area of heavy, heavy discipline. In those days, men ruled boys. Men ruled with a hard hand, as did single mothers. Wayward boys were beaten into submission, at home. Some things went wrong between then and now, and today the Southside is ruled by gangs, headed by young men and featuring teenaged boys, with young women and teenaged girls supporting them. After Hurricane Hattie, a couple generations of adult men went looking for better jobs in the United States, and into Belize, along with the marijuana of the 1970s and the cocaine of the 1980s, there came guns. Boys started to rule men. Our newspaper competitor last weekend editorialized in an authoritative, confident manner. “It is time to dismantle the gangs!” This is an impossibility, unless you also physically destroy Southside Belize City, and parts of the Northside. The socio-economic conditions in specific parts of the old capital are such that you could wipe out the present gang leaders and their followers, and in a matter of months, new, similar organizations would emerge, with younger leadership. Our competitor’s editorial is a declaration of war on the gangs, on behalf of the elected government. Theoretically, the elected government has the power to crush the gangs, wipe them out, but they would be destroying children and grandchildren of the same families which went to the polls and elected UDP area representatives in every single constituency of the Southside in March 2012.

The Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) announcement last week that they are granting a 16.87 percent increase on electricity rates to the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is a bad blow to what is sometimes called our “productive sector.” This is also a bad blow for Belizean merchant businesses and hotels and restaurants and homeowners, and the whole country of Belize really. PUC and BEL blame low rainfall for the sub-par performance of the hydroelectric facility, and the problem is compounded by production shortfalls from the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) machinery which was supposed to generate electricity by burning bagasse. This meant Belize had to buy a greater amount of electricity from the Mexicans at Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), and Mexicans don’t play. In the words of a Chetumal police chief in the 1970s” “When you have me, I pay. When I have you, you pay.) CFE has us: Belize has to pay. The increase in electricity rates will have an immediate inflationary effect, which is to say, the prices of goods and services will start going up, which means that the value of our Belize dollar, in real terms, goes down.

Beginning in this issue of the newspaper we’ll be serializing an article entitled OPERATION DELIRIUM I found in the December 17, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. I’m using this column to call special attention to the article because these types of long, introspective articles can easily escape readers who are not absolutely focused. I was struck by the article because the writer is discussing matters which had to have been American state secrets during my time in school there (1965 to 1968). Because the United States, compared to Russia and China, is a democracy, most of their state secrets become declassified after forty years, as I understand it. That is to say that secret materials become available for researchers to study and submit to the general public for the people’s perusal and analysis. A lot of changes took place within the student population at Dartmouth while I was there. These changes essentially coincided with the escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War, which was, generally speaking, a civil war between capitalist Christians and communist revolutionaries in Vietnam. During the period between 1965 to 1968, the American military required more and more bodies for their war effort in Vietnam on behalf of the capitalist Christians. The draft law was still in effect in America; this was a law which required all able-bodied American males to register for the military once they reached the age of 18. Students on American college campuses began to panic between 1965 and 1968 because the military was coming after them, and these students, unlike Belizean immigrants for instance, knew exactly what was going on in Vietnam – death and derangement.

Minister Godwin Hulse should be declared a national hero! Citizenship is the single greatest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual; it affords a person certain privileges and protection, but it also imposes certain duties. One of the most important duties imposed by citizenship is the duty to defend one’s country. Societies all over the world understand that it is extremely difficult to perform this duty when a person shares allegiance with two or more countries, and particularly so, when those countries are in conflict with each other. The Belize Constitution also recognizes this challenge and made provisions for it at Section 29. However, despite a clear constitutional ban, government after government since 1981 has granted Belizean nationality to citizens of Guatemala. The politicians who sponsored this sustained breach of our Constitution did so not because the Guatemalans brought any special skill or talent to Belize. Their behavior was and is motivated solely by the fact that these Guatemalans represented votes. It was and is, more important to the political class to attain high political office notwithstanding the adverse national security implications of this unconstitutional practice. Incredibly, it took more than thirty years for a brave and patriotic Minister of Immigration to stop the treasonous behaviour of granting Belizean citizenship to Guatemalans. It took Godwin!

People blaming Christianity for the drawbacks of society is like law breakers blaming the law for their crime and sentence. I am writing in response to the editorial titled, “Bitter vibes of the post-modern Pascua,” in which Christianity and the church-state system of education are blamed for Belize City’s lagging behind Chetumal in development and national pride. It is important to pinpoint the right cause of a problem to devise a right solution. We will see that pointing fingers at Christianity or the church school system is unfortunate, at the least. Mexico became Independent from Spain in 1821, 45 years after America. Belize became independent in 1981, 160 years after Mexico. Belize’s tender age is one of the major reasons for her underdevelopment. Mexico also fought for independence for 10 years in the “Mexican War of Independence”. Belize’s Independence came relatively easy. People more readily value and take pride in what was fought to gain. The fact that Belize has suffered from a corrupt government system is another contributing factor to our underdevelopment. Look at it from an individual level. At election time large numbers of Belizeans won’t vote unless paid. People sell votes for anything from $20 to loads of sand. Some wealthier families pool their family members votes together and sell to politicians for properties or a few thousand dollars.

Perhaps you’re already aware of this sober and well-thought-out mini-series, “Untold History Of The United States,” being offered on Showtime television by acclaimed director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born On The Fourth Of July, Wall Street, and Salvador, among others). Once again, this 3-time Oscar Award winner brings his intelligence and trenchant observations to the documentary form of cinema, of which I’m a great fan. In its own way, this series is as equally important as your Amandala series on the American Indian, and even more important—and current—to Belizean concerns. I encourage you to not miss this superb offering. Thank you and keep up your good work at Amandala.

Castillo, a corporal of police, challenged an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Cpl. Edward Castillo, 33, attached to Patrol Branch, today found himself on the other side of the law when he was read charges in the #4 Magistrate’s Court. Cpl. Castillo was charged with obstruction, driving a motor vehicle without third-party insurance and with rescuing a person for cause other than a crime. According to the police report, at 6:30 p.m. ASP Anthony Rosado and other officers were on routine patrol around Central American Boulevard. As they approached the roundabout by Cemetery Road, they saw a blue SUV suddenly stop, which seemed suspicious to the ASP. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed there were five persons occupying it, one of whom was Cpl. Castillo. ASP Rosado asked the driver to present his license and identify himself, and he was told that an inspection would be done on the vehicle. He proceeded to check the license and insurance of the vehicle, and discovered that the insurance had expired on December 24, 2012.

University of Belize students are heated up over the government’s decision to stop paying subsidies and adding a $350 increase to tuition rates. The government stated that they can no longer provide the financial aid for the students, but some students are in strong opposition to paying an increment on tuition. Hope Amad, Student Government President, Belmopan campus, said that he does not understand how the government could say that they cannot afford to help Belizean students further their education. “The government is the richest in the country, the people don’t have money like that,” he said. “If they can’t help us, then who will? They want us to get an education, but won’t help us.” Amad said that he has been writing to the Ministry on behalf of the students requesting that they reconsider the increase, but they have not received any response in favor of their demands. Their next step was to sign a petition, which begun in October 2012. The fee increase will be imposed on students who are registering to start new programs at the University of Belize. Although this increase will not directly affect all returning students, they are still livid over the matter because they see it unfair for the ones who have to.

Police assistance for witnesses in major court cases, will now be carried out by the Police Department beginning in January 2013. The assistance will be to counsel witnesses, give them transportation, court reminders, and other relevant assistance, including their safety. The announcement was made on Monday, December 24, by Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Jr., the Commanding Officer of the Belize District Police, during a police press brief at the Racoon Street Police Station. ACP Aragon said that a new unit has been formed which will be known as the Witness Support Unit. The unit was formed with assistance from the Embassy of the United States in Belize. Aragon said that it was not a witness protection program, because the department cannot afford or sustain a full witness protection program, but the unit will do its best to assist witnesses. ACP Aragon reminds the public that any information that can help in the investigation of cases can be relayed to the nearest police station or 0800 TIPS. Superintendent Alden Dawson, the commander of Crimes Investigation Branch, reminds people that if they see crimes being committed, they can also call the nearest police station, or 0800 TIPS

Victim was shot 7 times; motive unknown. New Year’s Day brought nothing new in the line of lethal violence to this tired city. In fact, there seemed to have been no let-up from the killing from the previous year, 2012, which closed with 146 murders. The year 2012’s last murder was that of Carlita Sienna Williams, 20, who was shot to death on Sunday, December 30, in Punta Gorda. Just two days later, in Belize City, on New Year’s Day, at about 9:30 p.m., Orlando Sylvester Williams, 45, a labourer of Dean and West Canal Streets, was ambushed on Dean Street and shot a reported seven times; he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Police, when they arrived at the scene, found Williams lying on the street side, shot up and dead. Police say that at about 9:45p.m., Williams was at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal talking with a friend when a gunman came walking up Dean Street from Plues Street and shot him. The gunman then ran back into the area and disappeared into the night.

To the Teachers: To be a teacher is a wise and wonderful vocation. Yours is the power to place a child on the road to becoming a good, decent, honorable and productive citizen. You will be doing your duty, if you teach well the subjects in the curriculum set by the Ministry of Education. That would be commendable, but if you teach your students a love of learning; to appreciate fine literature and the arts; to cultivate good manners; to practice personal hygiene; to respect and obey proper authority; and to live by the Golden Rule, the angels in heaven will rejoice. Then you will have fulfilled the promise of your high calling. You remember how it was in your early school life. How one year was a struggle to get through, because your teacher seemed always to be in a bad mood. How the subjects taught were dull and boring. How it was difficult to be attentive and, how you wished that the year would end and, you could go on to the next class. That was your fault, because you did not understand why it was necessary to be schooled. Not entirely so. It was also because there are teachers who are only doing a job for pay. They do not have a real vocation. This essay is intended for them, for if children do not enjoy being in your class, you’ll not enjoy teaching them either, and you should, and they could. First of all, school should be a controlled environment. There has to be discipline and order. Without these, even the teacher with the strong commitment to serve, might be unsuccessful. Teachers are authority figures and should have the power to exercise disciplinary control over the students in their class. Can they do it without resorting to the cane or the ruler, or some other instrument of discipline? Of course, provided they are child psychologists, or they have an imposing presence that instills fear, or they can command respect like a Sergeant Major in the Army. There are a few willful, high-spirited and headstrong children, not unintelligent, who have the capacity to lead, and who if brought under control, will amount to something. If not, they will take away the class from the teacher and go on to become a troublemaker in the society.

The Reporter

City Council burying the undertaking business
Belize City undertakers may very well be forced to financial straits due to the Belize City Council (CITCO)’s decision to monopolize certain funeral services. CITCO’s Sanitation Manager, Percival Murillo, in a letter dated December 17th, informed undertakers that “effective January 1st, 2013” the Council’s Cemetery Workers will take over services such as the re-opening of graves at both Lord Ridge and Eternal Gardens cemeteries; the construction of tombstones, tomb tablets, statues, vaults, mausoleums, columbarium niches; and the preparation of common and enclosed graves. David Coye, of Coye Funeral Home, said the new policy to have CITCO’s Cemetery Department monopolize those services has hit undertakers hard. Where in the past he employed as many as 15 workers, he is now down to a skeleton crew of six. Coye described the new measure as unfair because the City Council charges him an annual trade license fee, as well as property tax. Now it is seeking to remove the means for him to earn the income to pay those taxes.

Leadership changes in Police Department to improve efficiency and effectiveness
The Ministry of National Security announces the following changes in the Ministry and in the High Command of the Police Department to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the New Year. Mr. David Henderson leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police to take up the post of Director of the National Forensic Science Service. Mr. Allen Wyllie is promoted from Deputy Commissioner of Police to the post of Acting Commissioner, thereby assuming command of the Police Department. Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr. is promoted to Acting Deputy Commissioner with additional responsibility for Operations, relinquishing his post of Officer Commanding Eastern Division. Assistant Commissioner Miguel Segura moves from Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch to Officer Commanding Eastern Division.

PUP divided over Cordel Hyde’s return?
Cordell Hyde, the former three-time Peoples United Party (PUP)’s Lake Independence area representative, may want to come back to the party, but the PUP’s Southern Caucus said Thursday that he should not be allowed to return. The Cayo South area representative, Julius Espat, said that “the Party has moved on.” Mike Espat, the PUP area representative for Toledo East, said that both Hyde and Espat left together and he thinks that it is just a matter of time before both of them may want to come back, but the PUP Executive had already made a decision about both men: “The answer is no!” The Reporter spoke to both Mike and Julius Espat after a Thursday afternoon meeting of the party’s Southern Caucus, where they explained that the Party’s Executive decision about Hyde and Espat is still pending a National Party Council. The matter may still go before a National Convention, they explained. The Reporter also asked PUP Leader Francis Fonseca about Hyde’s return.

No to Cola and yes to ICJ!
The COLA article by Geovannie Bracket which appeared in the Amandala merits a reply because of its absurdities and contradictions. The Declaration presented by “Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action,” seems to be their position paper on why Belize should not go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the Guatemalan Claim.

Police say man killed in Ladyville shooting was not intended target
Allen “Deebo” Davis, 21, a young man who moved from the crime-ridden Belize City streets several years ago to live in what was peaceful Ladyville Village, became murder victim 143 for 2012 on Thursday night when a gunman emptied a clip full of bullets into his body.

Link between pot, psychosis goes both ways in kids
Marijuana (cannabis) use may be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in teens – but the reverse could also be true: psychosis in adolescents may be linked to later pot use, according to a new Dutch study.

David Henderson Jr wins KREM New Year’s Classic
Santino’s cycling team swept all top three places as well as fifth place in the 23rd annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic held under the auspices of the Belize Cycling association on the Philip Goldson Highway on Tuesday, January 1.

Bandits win PLB football championships
The Belmopan Bandits, bridemaids at many Belize Premier Football League finals in the past, won their first national championship by a 1-0 victory over the Police United in the second match of the Premier League of Belize Championship Finals.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida's Paseo de Montejo
There are so many interesting sights, buildings, and homes in Centro Merida, in Mexico's Yucatan state, it is hard to know where to begin, but since we spent more time walking along the Paseo de Montejo than just about anywhere else, it seemed as good a place as any to start. This elegant tree-lined boulevard, often called Merida's "Champs Elysees", was just a short walk away from La Casa Lorenzo (link), where we were staying, so we walked there a couple of times each day. The shady, wide sidewalks were a pleasant change from the sometimes narrow, bustling sidewalks closer to downtown. Here, people moved more slowly and there was room to amble, to take in the beauty and history all around. The Paseo is a pleasant mix of private homes, public buildings, hotels, shops, churches, and restaurants. Loved these wide, tree-lined sidewalks The clip-clop of horsedrawn carriages provided a nice break from traffic noise Unfortunately, the elegant Palacio Cantón, which houses the Regional Museum of the Yucatan, was closed for renovation. It was the gem of the Paseo to our eyes. Another view of Palacio Front of Palacio/Museum -- the sign explained about the closure and renovations

We Can Work It Out
Forgot to mention in yesterday’s edition that the potential remodelling of the Ground Floor to incorporate an additional en-suite and, as a consequence, repositioning of the store room is not the only change. Because the foundations for the house are higher than the architect’s plans specified ( the land is low lying) the specifications for the golf cart ramp have had to be amended. Had the plan been rigidly adhered to the gradient would have been too steep for the golf cart to ‘climb’ so the length of the slope is being extended. We I got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today there was a lorry delivering a further supply of concrete blocks – we ran out of them yesterday afternoon.

Five Things You Didn’t Know about the Elkhorn Fern
Staghorn or Elkhorn Fern is a beautiful and epiphytic plant native to the new and old world tropics such as South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Guinea. Here are five things you might not know about this fern: 1.) They get their name because their fronds look like the antlers of a staghorn deer. The plant bears two types of fronds: The sterile fronds are flat, round, and located at the base of the fern, and the fertile fronds are irregular, lobed, and usually ascending from the plant. 2.) These ferns are commonly cultivated as ornamental plants and grow on trees and rocks and can be found in gardens, especially tropical gardens like the one at the Chaa Creek bar. 3.) One of the most interesting things about the Elkhorn fern is that it does not need soil to grow. 4.) The Staghorn ferns are epiphytes plants which mean they are air plants and are one of the most interesting plants to grow at home because it is quite easy to maintain. 5.) The only problem with this fern is that it can grow so large that moving becomes a major project.

International Sources

Escapes: On the trail of ancient Maya temples in Belize
City of Lamanai, High Temple bring ancient world back to life. A white-hot sun bore down on the small boat as we rode upriver through the thick jungle of northern Belize. We were headed to the ancient Maya city of Lamanai. It’s a place of dark secrets, not the least of which was the cause of its demise. The city, which once had a population of 50,000, was buried by dirt and foliage for four centuries until archaeologists started an excavation in the 1970s. Only five buildings have been uncovered. About 732 buildings remain hidden in the firm grip of the jungle, an entire city never seen by modern eyes. The boat cruised up the New River past crocodiles resting on the muddy banks, seemingly immobilized by the tropical heat. One of them came to life and slid into the river, his ridged tail propelling him swiftly across the surface, his eyes locked on the boat. Just when I thought he was going to come aboard, he dropped like a stone to the river bottom.


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