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#454845 - 01/09/13 02:28 PM Today's Belize News: January 9, 2013
Marty Offline


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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Technology is supposed to make life easy and wonderful...but when it doesn't work it can sure make life difficult! Please bear with us as we muscle through some issues we are currently experiencing with www.sanpedrosun.com...we are working on it! Thank you!

Ambergris Today

Belize Visa-Free Treatment For Taiwanese Goes Into Effect
Visa-free treatment granted by Belize has gone into effect for Taiwanese citizens, who can now visit the Central American country for stays of up to 90 days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry said it had received notification of the move from its Belize counterpart and that the measure was also confirmed by the International Air Transport Association. From now on, holders of valid Taiwan passports can enter the nation for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business, the ministry said, adding that Taiwanese visitors can apply for an extension of stay once the 90 days are up. Belize, one of Taiwan's 23 diplomatic allies, is the 131st country or area to have accorded visa-waiver privileges to Taiwanese citizens.

25 Years Ago Goes From Newspaper to Book to Radio
Based on the book “25 Years Ago” by respected educator and historian Mr. Angel Nuñez, Lighthouse Christian Radio F.M 101.3 presents the radio program titled “Years Ago” that will take you back into the origins of La Isla Bonita. The radio program will Remind or inform listeners of Lighthouse Christian Radio of the way of life here on the island before the many developments that changed this little piece of paradise we all call home. The first episode is about the celebrations of Christmas and New Year "Years Ago" when life was a bit more peaceful here on the island.

Prime Minister Assures Safety after Belize City Shutdown
Residents countrywide were glued to their radios and television on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, 2013, as Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow addressed the nation concerning the safety of Belize City after an early morning homicide involving gang members caused the shutdown of business and school activity for the day. The Ministry of National Security confirmed reports of an apparent multiple homicide that occurred in Belize City sometime Monday night. Police responded to a call around 8:00am and visited an apartment complex at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets where they found the lifeless bodies of four men, namely, Albert Fuentes 19, Leonard Meyers 30, Anthony Perez, 28, and Keino Quallo, 40. The bodies had multiple stab wounds, and there were no signs of forced entry. Authorities informed that the apartment complex was a central hub of the notorious George Street gang of Belize City and immediately dispatched personnel to assure the security of residents in the south side of the city. As an immediate reaction and fear of retaliation by gang members, city residents panicked and started to close down businesses and schools resorted into allowing parents, who felt it unsafe, to pick up their children. Most business and schools closed down for the remainder of the day.

Flashbacks: Papa and Mama Blake
If this couple would be alive today, they would be millionaires without a doubt. They are James Howell Blake, better known as Papa Blake and Elena Alamilla Blake, also known as Mama Blake. Papa Blake and his wife Leni lived in what was considered a mansion in San Pedro prior to 1908. It was a magnificent Colonial style building, three stories high with polished floors and expensive furnishings. Now why would they be millionaires? Well, Papa Blake’s father, James Hume Blake had purchased the entire island of Ambergris Caye in an auction sale on September 13, 1869 for the sum of $625.00. That price was extremely low even by the standards of the time. Only a few parcels of Ambergris Caye were either sold or given to the Parhams and Alamillas, who were related to the Blakes through intermarriages. With the current price of real estate in Ambergris Caye today, certainly Papa and Mama Blake would be multi-millionaires if they would be owners of this jewel of ours, La Isla Bonita.

Pic of the Week: Treasures of the Caribbean Sea
This young boy was anxious to get his picture taken as he discovered a beautiful Star Fish while he was enjoying a day out in the water. While having fun on his surf board, he spotted the sea creature on the sea bottom and was too curious not to dive for it. The Caribbean Sea is so crystalline off the shores of Ambergris Caye that it is very easy to spot any marine life lurking on the sea floor. Another great attraction of Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belikin Calendar Casting Call
Belikin is doing a calendar casting call for their 2014 calendar. "We are looking for beautiful Belizean Women 18+ years to model for the 2014 calendar. If you are interested, please email belikinbeer@bowenbz.com with a few photos of yourself along with your contact information."

Gaia Riverside Lodge
Gaia Lodge, formerly Five Sisters Lodge, has new owners, and has gotten a serious refurbishment. They've really done a great job remodeling the main entry, bar, and restaurant palapa. They have an outstanding collection of masks. It's located in Mountain Pine Ridge, just down the lane from Big Rock Falls.

Chicken Broth from Scratch
Chicken broth is needed for many recipes. I never use it from a box or can however, because I have adverse reaction to too much sodium or MSG in foods. This is a simple way to make broth from scratch that is simple and plain. This broth can be used in many recipes like broccoli soup, broccoli cheese soup and stuffing.

Channel 7

Mass Murder On George Street: Killers Moved In Silence & Violence
Tonight the city is recovering from a highly stressful day that teetered between panic and pandemonium- and the George Street area is traumatized after four well known neighborhood men were found dead an apartment building; they were the victims of a mass murder, the likes of which have never been seen in Belize before. The apartment at the corner of Dean and Plues is known to be the turf and one of the home bases of the George Street Gang. But sometime between last night and this morning, what is believed to have been a team of assassins went in to the building and with unheard-of stealth and surgical precision, cut the throats of four men: 30 year old Leonard "Ghost" Meyers, 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, 40 year old Keino Quallo and 28 year old Anthony Perez. Ghost Meyers and Long John Fuentes are considered to be senior functionaries of the George Street Gang - Quallo was basically their run man, and from what we have gathered Perez was just seeking lodging. But they were all killed last night - and the mass murder has left George street reeling and directly accusing their nemesis the GSU of carrying out state sponsored executions.

PM Met With George Street Leader
As noted in the story, the mass murder and the subsequent shots being fired in the air by the B-SAG unit, caused a flood of panic across the city. Dozens of crazy stories went out: first saying that police officers had been shot, then that there was a riot, then word that there was a riot at the KHMH. All of those stories were false, but the cumulative effect of all was to create a sense of imminent siege and widespread terror in the city. It was all unnecessary because nothing happened after the bodies were found - but with rumors flying at the speed of text and multiplying at a Facebook factor of 10 - no one was taking any chances. But there was legitimate reason for panic, because the George Street area is certain the mass murder was carried out by the GSU - and we have seen gang retaliations against the state recently: so the fear was that innocent people would be targeted this time. Enter the area representative for the Mesopotamia division, Michael Finnegan. The base for the George Street Gang is in his division and he reached out to leaders to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister in Belmopan. That meeting was held this afternoon - and the Prime Minister reported on it at a press conference this afternoon at the Biltmore. Here's what he said:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "The leaders of the so called George Street gang in an effort to make absolutely certain that the retaliation that people feared this morning that did not occur may not in fact occur over the next few hours; over the next few days; over the next few weeks. Ladies and gentlemen as a consequence of that meeting which took place in my office and which we set up through the facilitation of the Minister of Housing there is good news and bad news; the bad news is that the people from George Street are absolutely convinced that these were state sponsored murders that not to put too fine point on it that it was the GSU that killed the 4 persons in that apartment building. That's bad news because of course their conviction is utterly unfounded and it constitutes a very serious allegation in deed against the integrity of the GSU; against the integrity of the police department; against the integrity of the security forces and against the integrity of the government. We have tried to make clear to the leaders that their conviction has no basis in reality. The good news is because George Street is absolutely satisfied that this was not some kind of an attack from a rival gang - there is no question of the murders provoking any inter-gang warfare between George and any group that might otherwise have been suspected as being responsible for the killings. But of course it left us with the question of whether George Street would think the then retaliation is due against the state by way of launching the feared attacks against innocent civilians. I say to you that we are reasonably confident that that's not going to happen. We are absolutely confident that the situation is under control. Let me reiterate that we are absolutely certain that all conditions are in place for life to return to normal in Belize City and in particular on the Southside of Belize City."

GSU Denies Involvement
Today's press conference was to try and somehow settle the sense of public disquiet - and to make a public declaration that the GSU was not responsible for the deaths. For that the Prime Minister called upon the GSU Commander Marco Vidal who hardly ever makes press appearances. Here's what he had to say:.. Marco Vidal, Head of GSU "We find that the allegation they made is totally unfounded and it is baseless. Any suggestion that the Gang Suppression Unit would be involved in such a heinous crime would self-defeat us as it would destabilize the country and certainly that is not our mandate." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "The GSU had visited that area and those particular premises earlier in the day, yesterday. The George Street people allege that the GSU had broken the lock on the back door of the premises and they see that as offering proof positive that this was so - so that the GSU could come back in the dead of night and gain easy access to the premises. Mr. Dawson will tell you that when the police went on the scene they photograph the premises, they photograph the back door and that there is no question of that back door having been forced open - there is no question of any padlock having been broken off the back door." And while the press conference was to say who didn't do it - there was not a single word said about who or who all might have done it and why. The investigation is in its infancy but certainly the level of complexity, stealth and surgical precision seems to preclude any possibility that it could be any local crew. So was it some kind of international cartel? Police had no comment on that today.

Families, George Street Blame Police For Deaths
So far we've shown you what the scene was like on George Street this morning, and we had the state's response plus the GSU disclaimer. But while the societal sense of terror is happening at the wider level - at the level of the family and the community - this is a mass tragedy. Today Monica Bodden went to George Street to speak with family members about their loved ones, their lost ones:.. Voice of: Cousin of Ghost "I got up this morning to go to work and when I came out I saw a lot of people on Plues Street. When I heard that my family got shot I went to see what was happening. When I went upstairs, one of the young men that they call "Long John" has a hole in his throat and a cut across his face and my family was sitting down in a chair with a big slice across his neck. That young man doesn't mess with anybody - the other 3 are into gang yes but the other one - they killed him too. This is simpleness. The GSU told me when I went to station that George Street men who are not dead are going to jail for the rest of their life. We are trying to calm down - you see they arrest any George Street men yet? Nothing like that. This is 6 now, we just loss two, my family that got killed was working, he doesn't mess with nobody." "When they brought down my family "Ghost" - his face was not even covered. They want us to see how they did it to him. All the rest of faces were covered." Monica Bodden "We understand that Ghost was in Manatee up until last night?" Voice of: Cousin of Ghost "He was in Manatee; he doesn't stay around here much. When he comes he stays right here and the reason why he moved from around here was for the same reason. He went to Manatee - to village just to live a better life."

Whylie Speaks While Bullets Zip
And with all those rancorous anti police sentiment going around, Commissioner-designate Allen Whylie had what we'd have to say is the misfortune of being in the area at the same time when all the chaos was unfolding after the bodies were removed. He gave the media a brief interview on the situation and what the police department is doing to keep things under control - even as they seemed to be getting out of control, in real time:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "I must say that any life lost is unacceptable and regrettable and condolences extended to the family. As you know we receive this information early this morning and the police responded and it was a gruesome find. We will ensure that we have our top investigators assign to this matter and all resources will be utilize to try to solve this heinous crime. In addition to that additional resources will be deployed to this area to contain and deescalate this situation and we will remain in this area as long as we need to remain." Patrick Jones, reporter "Commissioner this is not typically the welcome that a commissioner gets to the post. You are going to put additional resources here, we've tried that before flood the streets with police officers and it keeps getting worse." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "Well true, as we said there is a lot of challenges within the city and my task will be focusing specifically on Belize City whilst we have issues of crime nationwide Belize City is the battleground and I believe that it is a fight that we cannot give up, we cannot lose hope. We will be doing and trying different things, we will be re-evaluating strategies and will be changing and adapting. Our strategies have got to be flexible as the situation changes we change our strategies on the ground." Reporter "Sir, it's the 8th in the new year and the 8 murder already. It's getting worse."

BDF Will Assist Police
This afternoon at the press conference, Whylie had the luxury of not having to speak over the staccato percussion of shots being fired mid-interview. He explained how police intend to maintain a presence in the area: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "A special proclamation is going to be done so that the zone of particular concern to the government and to the security forces can seal off. Extra bodies are being called out so that there can be effective on the ground containment as well as wider policing in Belize City." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "Immediately we have deployed additional police and BDF in key areas within zone 4 which comprises of George Street and other areas. Those patrols will remain on the ground indefinitely until we are able to get the crime situation contained." Dario Tapia, Commander BDF "We have deployed additional troops to Belize City to compliment what we already have in support of the police. I think the situation demanded that we do that and we will continue to support the police in that regards with additional troops until we are able to satisfy the Belizean people that the situation in Belize City is contain or under control." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "We have a number of targets that we are going after. We have got to move from a position on the defense to have these people on the defense. We have got to use all legal authority within our means to reassure the public that we serious about getting the job done."

Whylie: Police Will Secure Schools
But for most of us - the police's targets don't matter very much, what we want is personal security and the safety of our children when they are at school. Whylie said that special measures will be taken with schools that are deemed to be at risk:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "We've also taken a number of other steps to reassure the schools. We had the various patrols to visit the school management to speak to them and assure them that we have the situation under control. Those patrols have been task that they will continue to visit the various schools within the zones that they have been assigned to. In addition to that we will be utilizing other officers in key schools that we believe we need to actually have a presence - not that we have any indication that anything will occur but because of the location that they are we want to assure the public as well as parents that their children are safe." And while school should resume as normal tomorrow, today the US Embassy issued a Security Message about Belize. It, quote, "informs U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Belize of several gang-related homicides that occurred in Belize City…" It adds that, quote, "While there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct threat, there is a possibility that retaliatory violence could take place. As a precaution, the Embassy's Regional Security Officer has advised U.S. Government personnel to avoid travel to Belize City for the time being." End quote.

Hot Dog Robbers Arraigned
And coming up we'll let you hear what the leader of the Opposition had to say about the killings, but first, some other news. Last night, we told you about the 3 hotdog vendors who were robbed on Sunday night by 2 men and 2 women. Well tonight, they are all at prison for it after they were taken to court. As we reported, one of the vendors told police that at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, they were approached by 2 dark-skinned men and women who ordered food from them. While she was preparing it, one the men pulled out a firearm, and robbed her of $675 in cash. The other moved to another of the vendors, and robbed her of $200, and a 17 year-old vendor was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. They made their escape, but quick police led to the detention of 20 year-old Andrew Talbert, who was allegedly caught with a firearm. Police charged him jointly along with 18-year-old Desiree Waight, 21-year-old Theresa Elijio, and a 14 year-old male minor with the charge of robbery. They were arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where they all pleaded not guilty to the offence. Because of the nature of the offence, they were all remanded until their next court date, which is set for February 19, 2013.

Man for Attempted Murder
In other court news, 29 year-old Dorian Moody, a farmer of Biscayne village, is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for a machete hacking which took place on New Year's Day in that village. According to police, 43 year-old Mark Davis reported that he was called out to his sister's home in the village to calm down a misunderstanding between family members. Moody, who was one of the persons in the argument, allegedly got angry because of his intervention, and attacked him with his own machete. Moody allegedly inflicted chop wounds to Davis on his left hand, face and his left ear which was almost severed. Other family members intervened and stopped Moody before he could do any more damage. Police charged Moody with attempted murder, grievous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Cayetano, and due to the nature of the offences, he couldn't be granted bail. He was remanded to prison until March 18, 2013, his next court date.

Leader Of The Opposition Extends Olive Branch To PM
Today the opposition weighed in on the public panic that had consumed Belize City, and shut down schools and businesses. Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca flanked by caretakers from southside divisions held a quickly convened press conference to offer the Prime Minister an olive branch. Here's how he explained it:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "I want to take this opportunity as well to really invite if you like, encourage the Prime Minister and I am prepared to join him. Let us go into these communities together and if we need to invite religious leaders to join us, other social leaders to join us - let us go into these communities together. Our people in these communities need reassurance that in fact the state is on their side, that in fact the state is working to try to ensure that their lives are secure and safe that their property is secure and safe. I think we've reach this point in terms of the crisis we are facing. It's very important I think for the Belizean people to see that there is national unity on this most important issue." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Let me welcome in principle the offer of the Leader of the opposition to have us proceed to try to deal with this problem on a bipartisan basis." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "We need to engage face to face with these communities and they have to understand in fact they are not at war with the state; that in fact the state is there to also provide for their security and protect them. We understand that in these communities there are very serious elements of crime but they are operating within communities where you have a lot of good innocent citizens and we have to make sure that when we go into these communities to tackle crime and to target the criminals which we have to do that in fact we are not saying to the entire community that we are coming after you - that you are a useless community and I sense that that is the message some of these communities are getting and it will be a very dangerous road for us to travel if these communities in fact make the determination that the state is not on their side." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Generally we want to move a partnership with the Honorable Leader of the Opposition, with his party and with all the social partners."

Hon Fonseca Rejects "GSU Did It" Theory
And while both leaders seem to agree on that one - do they also agree that the GSU is not responsible for the mass murder? Fonseca said he doesn't even want to entertain the possibility:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "All the prevailing view of the public certainly in the affected communities seems to be that these killings were state sanctioned killings. I certainly don't want to join in that and that's why I am saying that it is so important for us to send that very clear message to these communities that in fact that is not the case - that in fact the state is not trying to destroy our communities."

Redux For A Rough Day
And on that note we end what has been a stressful day in the city with a recap. Early this morning - at about 7:00, residents of the George Street area found four men dead in an apartment building at the corner of Plues and Dean Street. Two of them are considered senior members of the George Street Gang: 30 year old Leonard "Ghost" Meyers and 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, while the other victims 40 year old Keino Quallo and 28 year old Anthony Perez just happened to be living there. All four reportedly had their throats slit. Who did it? - no one knows - And why? - at this point no one in the licit world can say. We do know that the apartment is considered a home base of the George Street Gang and on many nights the man considered to be the leader of the gang, Gerald Shiny Tillett sleeps there. In fact we are told that Leonard Meyers was killed in Shiney's room, room number 9. The neighborhood remains convinced that the police did it, specifically the GSU - and the attitude towards police is past hostile tonight. Today though, after a meeting in Belmopan, it seems Tillett and the Prime Minister have reached a sort of accord: he and his crew were assured safe passage to Gales Point Manatee - a village that some members of the crew are from and where they often retreat to when police bring on the pressure. They are believed to be there tonight. Even as that is the case, police have set up the Dean and George Street areas as a sort of Special Zone - and it will be so declared by proclamation tomorrow. Tonight, the police tape that went up this morning at 8:00 pm remains across Dean Street 12 hours later. We'll keep following developments and have more the entire story tomorrow.


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#454846 - 01/09/13 02:29 PM Re: Today's Belize News: January 9, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

Channel 5

Throats of 4 gang members slashed in apartment
The death toll is ticking upwards as the crime epidemic claims more lives: Eight days into the New Year – eight murders. Terror blanketed the entire City this morning, just before eight after the gruesome discovery of four bodies inside an apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. Security forces moved into [...]

Families believe GSU killed George Street Gangsters
All leads are being following by the police but so far, there is no established motive for the mass murder. Family members of the slain men believe the murders were state-sanctioned, a claim that has been denied by security forces. Of the four, Keino Quallo, the son of a former attorney who was gunned down [...]

Security Forces shot in air during murder investigation
This gruesome discovery made this morning at an apartment complex at the corner of Plues and Dean Streets in Belize City sent shockwaves to the entire country that the crime situation had spiraled to a point of crisis. Many said that it was basically a fight between the state and the gangs. And that statement [...]

Do you support a curfew given the current crime crisis?
Tonight’s question is: Do you support a curfew given the current crime crisis? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to questions@channel5belize.com.

Rumors and FB caused City shutdown
The multiple murders of the George Street Gang associates all under one roof, may be the single most horrific incident in Belize’s recent history. After the discovery of the four bodies, there were gunshots heard in the vicinity of Dean and Plues Street. Shots were fired during an interview with the ComPol designate, Allen Whylie. [...]

George Street Gang on sabbatical
Most of the city would still not be at ease because many would assume that the George Street associates would retaliate the loss of their fallen brothers. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that a delegation that he led, including both Ministers of National Security and Housing held a special conference with the leaders [...]

B.D.F. ready if necessary. So is Police Department
Superintendent Alden Dawson has just been promoted to the Head of the Eastern Division. He has hit the ground running and says his team is checking all leads and cameras in the area will be checked for evidence regarding the murders. He pledged to return to the scene following today’s press conference.  Dawson shared the [...]

Dan noh we! GSU Commander proclaims innocence
There was one allegation that Prime Minister Dean Barrow went at pains to dispel; not once, but twice during his conference. Apparently, the George Street Gang and residents of the area believe that the murders may have been committed by the Gang Suppression Unit. After dispelling the rumor, the PM also called GSU commander Marco [...]

Schools, businesses and banks close upon perceived threat
Schools and businesses will go back to schedule on Wednesday but this morning the downtown and south side areas closed down. Fearing the worst, parents picked up their children from various schools and to ensure the safety of employees, businesses pulled down their shutters. News Five’s Delahnie Bain has that story.   Delahnie Bain, Reporting [...]

P.U.P. supports government’s stance against crime
Just prior to the prime minister’s press conference, the People’s United Party issued its position on the unrelenting spate of crime and violence that continues to grip Belize City since the start of the New Year.  Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, flanked by members of the party, held a press conference this afternoon to address public [...]

P.U.P. condemns rumors of GSU involvement in crime
Since the discovery of the four bodies this morning rumors have made their way onto the social media, particularly on Facebook, where it was posted that the homicides were the work of the Gang Suppression Unit.   Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader “The prevailing view of the public, certainly in the affected communities, seems to be [...]

Inmate passes away
In the immediate aftermath of the grisly discovery, word quickly spread that retaliation for the quadruple murders was imminent.  In the frenzy that ensued, media houses across the city began receiving reports that an inmate at the Belize Central Prison had also been killed.  A further check with prison officials later revealed that while an [...]

Thousands burglarized from businesses
Two Belize City establishments have been struck by thieves, who managed to steal thousands of dollars in electronic items, money and office accessories.  In separate incidents burglars broke into the offices of the Belize Cancer Society and Enlace Belize Limited.  It is reported that sometime between December fourteenth and January seventh, the office of the [...]

He stole from Queen Street Police Station
Everyone is under threat, including the Police Department. Forty year-old Jason Adolphus, also known as Jason Wade, has been charged with theft, following a report made by the chief mechanic for the Belize Police Department that several items were stolen from the Queen Street Police Station.  It is alleged that sometime between December twenty-eight and [...]

Enrique Martinez and Sons employee turns himself in
The Enrique Martinez and Sons employee who went M.I.A. with a customer’s order as well as items stolen from the company vehicle has turned himself in. Forty-three year old Nathan Pratt was to take copper tubing and a disconnect switch valued at four hundred and fifty dollars to the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Terminal on [...]

Arrests made for robbery of 3 Albert Street vendors
A fourteen year old minor is among a group of four persons who were remanded today for three armed robberies of food vendors at the Battlefield Park. The minor, eighteen year old Desiree Waight, twenty-one year old Theresa Elijio and twenty year old Andrew Talbert are accused of stealing six hundred and fifty dollars from [...]

Peace man chopped with his own machete
The New Year started with several violent incidents on January first, including a chopping in Biscayne Village that was almost fatal for forty-three year old Mark Davis. Tonight, Davis’ alleged attacker twenty-nine year old Doran Moody is behind bars; he was charged today with Attempted Murder, Use of Deadly Means of Harm and Grievous Harm [...]

Weed in the glove compartment
Two men were busted today as they exited the City and were heading to Ladyville. Lincoln Requeña, a BSI employee and Ranile Pandy, a mechanic, were travelling in an Altima car in which police found six hundred and thirty seven grams of suspected cannabis in the vehicle’s glove compartment. Both have been charged with drug [...]

Caye Caulker resident, 17 years old, says cop choked her
There are all sorts of people who come to our station alleging to be victims of police brutality. But rarely is it ever a seventeen year old girl from Caye Caulker. The teen in the company of her aunt came to our studios to talk about the abuse, being choked and manhandled by a police [...]

LOVE FM

Mass Murder in Belize City; PM Holds Press Conference; Travel Advisory Against Belize Issued In US
It is the worst case of mass murder in Belize City in recent memory. Four men were found dead this morning in an apartment building on the south side of the old capital. The victims have been identified as 19 year old, Albert Funes; 30 year-old, Leonard Myers; 28 year-old, A...

Opposition Leader Speaks Out on Recent Killings
Amidst all the fright, panic and havoc that this morning’s finding of four murdered men in Belize City, the People’s United Party today held a press conference shortly before the Prime Minister’s, to speak on the recent state of the nation. At the conference, th...

Cancer Society Burglarized
Burglars have also targeted the Cancer Society in Belize City. According to police reports, the office situated on Mercy Lance was burglarized sometime between the middle of December and this past Monday. Among the items stolen were a flat screen television set, DVD player ...

Christian TV Station Burglarized
Police are investigating a number of burglaries and robberies in Belize City. A twenty eight year old secretary reported to police that the office of a Christian television station situated on Cemetery Road was burglarized sometime between Friday evening and Monday morning. ...

Man Sought for Bounced Cheque
Police are looking for thirty year old Ian Dawson, after a cheque he tendered to pay for electronic items at a local business establishment bounced. The computer company reported o police that the purchase was made back in October and even though several calls have been made to D...

Amandala

FEESHA FELIX, 22, SHOT DEAD IN HER SLEEP
Therese Felix’s only daughter died after a hail of bullets hit her house. It seems that tragedy simply cannot leave the Felix family alone. The family lost two sons to gun violence, the mother then died from heart-related complications, and now, there is going to be a funeral for the family’s only daughter. Feesha Felix, 22, of Gill Street, went to bed Friday night, January 5. She never woke up, however, because she was shot dead in her bed Saturday morning at about 2:30. Police say that gunmen went into the family yard and opened fire at the house. Among the hail of bullets that hit the house and went through the wooden walls, one struck Felix in the head, killing her almost instantly. During the gunfire, her brother, who was also in the house at the time, tried to make his sister take cover on the floor, but she was not responding. When the gunfire stopped, he found that she had been shot in the forehead. She was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where she was declared dead on arrival at about 3:50 a.m. Police who responded to the scene said that (10) 9mm expended shells were recovered on the street in front of the house. Two slugs were retrieved from inside the house.

MARLON “LIPPO” HARRIS SHOT DEAD AT MILE 2, GP HIGHWAY
Two more shot in beginning of New Year. The family of Marlon Harris, 33, of a Lake I address, is preparing to bury him after he was shot to death in his car near Mile 2 on the George Price Highway at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. When the murderous shooting erupted, residents of the area called police, who went to the area and saw a dark green four-door Toyota Corolla car, L/P-BC-C-4096, in a ditch on the right side of the highway, near to Belize City. Police observed five bullet holes in the driver’s side door, and when they opened the door, they found the body of Marlon Danny Harris, also known as “Lippo,” behind the steering wheel with six gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest. Harris was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Police said that their initial investigations revealed that about 8:25 that Saturday evening, Harris was driving his car on the road towards the Fabers Road junction with the highway, when in front of the Sans Foam Factory, a gunman or gunmen opened fire at him. The bullets went through the car and hit him multiple times.

CLARENCE LAMB, 22, CHARGED WITH ROBBING BELIZE TOURISM BOARD
Lamb was shot in his right foot by a security guard while attempting his getaway. Clarence Lamb, 22, a resident of #2 Wagner’s Lane, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, where 10 charges were read to him. According to police, a report was made by Maria Zetina, the cashier at Belize Tourism Board (BTB). In her report, she recounted that at 4:30 p.m. on January 2, 2013, she and other employees were present at BTB when two dark-complexioned men entered the establishment, one armed with a knife, the other with a firearm. The men robbed the cashier of $1,732.78, money which belonged to the BTB, and as the men attempted to exit the premises, a security guard on duty took out his issued .38 revolver and fired a shot at one of the robbers. The robber who was injured was later learned to be Lamb, who was taken, under police guard, to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. A search of the area resulted in the discovery of the stolen money. After hopping into court today, Lamb had to listen to Chief Magistrate Smith read out the following charges to him: keeping a firearm without a gun license for the .38 revolver he was armed with; keeping ammunition without a gun license for the (6) .38 live rounds; robbery with a firearm; and seven counts of aggravated assault on Edwin Torres, Shauma Hall, Arlo Cansino, Marlena Middleton, Javier Cardinez, Jacqueline Martinez and Maria Zetina.

KREM’S TONY WRIGHT RECEIVES AWARD FROM MAYOR OF LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY
The outstanding Tony Wright, KREM Radio host, Belizean musician, entertainer and president of Association for Belizean Artists First, has been recognized by Jim Gray, the Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky. The recognition was for Wright’s work in promoting Belizean artists and their music and his work at the Association for Belizean Artists First. The award was presented on December 14. Wright said that he is happy and proud that his efforts in promoting Belizean music on KREM Radio has been recognized, not only locally, but internationally, and he will continue to promote and showcase Belizean music. Wright said that Gray went on the Internet when he heard of him, and was impressed with the work he was doing. Mayor Gray invited him to travel to Lexington to entertain the citizens of that city, Belizean style, later this year. Wright also said that a music festival will be held in Lexington later this year, featuring artists and groups from the Caribbean, and Belize will be represented. Among the musical forms that Belize will showcase will be the Punta. Wright said that he is excited and looks forward to these events with eagerness; it will be an occasion for local artists to display their talent, he said.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
“Chetumal is a heavily Catholicized society, more so than Belize. So if the role of the Catholic Church is analyzed, then it can only be deduced that it is good for Chetumal. The school system there is pretty much the same as in Belize.” - Leslie Lamb in AMANDALA No. 2671, Sunday, January 6, 2013 “From the earliest days of the colonial period, Mexico has always been a predominantly Catholic country. Yet for more than a century after independence the Church came under periodic and at times violent attack at the hands of various governments, some (in the nineteenth century) liberal, others (during the first period of the twentieth century) radical. From 1926 to 1929 the Mexican bishops ordered all churches in the Republic closed in an effort to force President Plutarco Elias Calles’ regime to rescind its anticlerical legislation. The clerical strike failed, in large part because most Mexicans, especially those in the countryside, felt no overwhelming need for Masses and sacraments. Since the Spanish conquest the traditional European practices have played an insignificant part in the religious life of the Mexican people. The Franciscan and Dominican friars who brought Christianity to Mexico sought to impose their own theological conceptions, but the Indians resisted passively until in the end the native ways won out. If the official religion became Spanish and European, the images and the cult practices remained Indian. It was the native, preconquest influences, as manifested at the basilica of Guadalupe and other national and local shrines, that have continued into the last third of the twentieth century to characterize much of Mexican Catholicism.

Editorial: THE ICJ PROPOSAL
According to an article by Mike Rudon, Sr., in last weekend’s issue of The Reporter, the Government of Belize has prepared for the October 6, 2013 vote on whether to go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not, by putting together a Referendum Unit coordinated by Ambassadors H.E. James Murphy and H.E. Stuart Leslie. The Referendum Unit has, in turn, organized a Referendum Commission “with representation from all sectors and pertinent bodies across the board, including both political mass parties, the unions, the churches, business, student and community organizations.” A vote will be held simultaneously in Belize and Guatemala on October 6 this year, and both the Belize and Guatemala referenda must have a turnout of 60 percent or more of registered voters in order for there to be a valid majority decision to go or not to go to the ICJ. A majority of both Belizeans and Guatemalans must vote yes for the ICJ, or the process will be halted. Mr. Rudon’s article did not provide any names where the composition of the Referendum Commission is concerned.

Blogs

A Tale of Five Cities: Merida, Art and Architecture
Another interesting place we visited in the Merida, Mexico centro historico was the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), right downtown. This was on the recommendation of our bed and breakfast host, Larry, and it was spectacular. It is absolutely free to enter and consists of sizable painted murals depicting the history of Merida. There was an open courtyard downstairs, and an incredibly elegant gallery upstairs. From the second floor, the view of the Merida Cathedral out the windows was as amazing as the murals. Merida Cathedral A couple more murals...I found the description of this one more interesting than the battle scenes. Leaving the museum, right outside is the stunning Merida Cathedral. It was pretty much impossible to get it all in a frame since we don't have a wide-angle lens. It was built in 1598 -- hard to imagine! Here are a couple of other pretty churches from around the city.

My Amazing Belize Vacation
The following is a letter that we received from the Winter Solstice Contest Winner. Enjoy! Dear Chaa Creek, Thank you SO much for our wonderful vacation! I feel extremely lucky and fortunate to be the winner of the Maya Winter Solstice Competition! The trip was so full of awesomeness that I almost don’t know where to start… I traveled with my husband, Adam, and our first stop after arriving into Belize was the Belize Zoo. We have visited this zoo a few times before and find it to be a must see on every trip. The zoo habitats are the most natural I’ve encountered with wonderful views of the diverse wildlife that inhabits the country. Adam loves to visit the tapirs and my favorites are the spider monkeys and the jabiru storks. We were impressed with the new walking paths at the zoo and updates since our last visit. After the zoo we arrived by shuttle to Chaa Creek. We were greeted with a welcome drink and were immediately impressed by the friendliness of the staff. We headed to the camp with Docio, who instantly became one of my favorite people ever. He was kind and caring for the duration of our stay. The camp casitas were pristine and serene. Every night I could hear howler monkeys howling in the distance and frogs croaking. Before bed we would go out with a flashlight to see what we could see. We noticed that when we shined the flashlight around that there were many eyes looking back at us! We bravely went over to see what creature the eyes belonged to and found out that they were wolf spiders. We had no idea that their eyes would do that!

She's Gone
For those of you that have come here expecting to read what the Mystery Blogger has to say I have bad news for you. She inexplicably is – as we say in England – a ‘no show’. Gone AWOL! So, you are stuck with me today. Writing this after virtually a full day at the dentist ( well it seemed like a full day). Got the 8 am Caye Caulker Water Taxi to Belize City and on arrival grabbed a taxi to the dentist (BZ$8 including a tip). My appointment was for 10 am but, as has become customary ( the only gripe I have about the very good dentist Doctor Pedro Habet) I didn’t get into the surgery until 10.40 am. Once in there it was straight into the chair, a couple of injections, remove the temporary filling and then set about removing one of the nerves in the root canal that he was unable to extract last week. Success achieved this time around. So he then prepared the two teeth that have had root canal work for the crowns that are going to be fitted. That done I went for lunch which proved not to be the easiest thing given that one side of my mouth was still numb. Back at 1.30 pm for an attempt on the second of the nerves that he was unable to remove last week. No success this time either so he will try again next week. He did though remove the nerve for the other root canal that required this treatment. A 66% success rate. Not perfect but not bad. Hopefully next week the difficult nerve will succumb.

International Sources

Global Sea Level Rise By 2100 Could Top 3 Feet, New Study Suggests
In 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that global warming could cause sea levels to rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century. A new study published this week says the actual levels of sea rise could be much higher — up to three feet higher. The consequences of sea level rise at that proportion would be "horrible," the study's co-author told NBC News. Millions of people living in coastal areas would be displaced and mega-cities such as New York City and Tokyo would need to spend billions of dollars to improve their infrastructure to avoid flooding. The study was published Jan. 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change. The paper claims that the IPCC report — which is in the process of being updated — did not fully anticipate the risk of melting Antarctic and Greenland glacial ice sheets and therefore underestimates the risk. The authors, J.L. Bamber and W.P. Aspinall of the University of Bristol in the U.K., pooled the findings of other researchers and came up with new estimates for sea level rise by 2100. Depending on the climate-change scenario, they predict that sea levels could rise between 11.4 and 33 inches (there was only a 5 percent chance of reaching this level, according to the experts' data). If rising temperatures also cause ocean waters to expand, the total sea rise could be more than three feet. Bamber and Aspinall prepared this paper by polling 26 glaciologists around the world in 2010 and 2012. Bamber told NBC News that this technique, which has been used for earthquakes and volcanoes but not previously for climate change, is "a lot more than an opinion poll" since it rigorously analyzes ice sheet modeling and other information.

Ireland could be hiding huge stores of oil and gas
A BELFAST born geologist believes Ireland could be hiding vast stores of oil and gas deep within ancient rock - and she intends to drill the land to find it. Susan Morrice, who was born in the city and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, heads up a massive oil programme in Belize. Having generated more than $300 million from its first discovery of oil in 2005, her company Belize Natural Energy (BNE) is the number one generator of revenue in the Central American country. However, after years of drilling in Belize were fruitless, Ms Morrice said she had to battle against "negatives attitudes" before finally proving oil was there, "and now we are producing 2,500 barrels of the best quality oil anywhere in the world". She targeted Belize because of it proximity to the borders of the Caribbean and Northern American tectonic plates. Vast natural fractures, caused by plate movement, lie deep in the ancient rock which house oil stored for millions of years. As the fractures are already there, it negates the need for the controversial 'fracking' technique to be used. There are several offshore oil-fields dotted around Ireland including one near Cork which it is predicted could produce millions of barrels. Ms Morrice believes similar stocks of oil and gas could be found onshore in Ireland "in some surprising places". "If you think about it, Done-gal used to be connected to what is now Canada and the rest of Ireland was connected to another plate," she said. Speaking to The Irish News during a brief visit to Belfast, Ms Morrice said: "I am always being asked to help replicate the BNE model across the world including in Ireland.

Katie Couric Agrees Belize’s Sacred Cave is “Incredible”
American journalist and author Katie Couric joined the growing number of Actun Tunichil Muknal fans last week and is expected to be in the forefront of a wave of visitors to one of Belize’s most fascinating natural and cultural attractions, the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator Larry Waight said today 8 January 2013. Mr Waight said that Ms Couric’s popular tweets will no doubt add to the growing interest in Belize’s network of ancient Maya ceremonial caves, of which Actun Tunichil Muknal, known locally as ATM, is the most highly recognised. “ATM is a relative newcomer to Belize’s Maya attractions, but word of mouth has steadily increased interest in it in recent years,” Mr Waight said, “It’s certainly one of the most captivating things I’ve experienced anywhere, and without exception our guests return from excursions to the cave completely amazed. It’s an experience that’s difficult to put into words,” he said. Ms Couric spent the 2013 New Year’s in Belize where she tweeted about the country’s many attractions, including the famous nurse sharks of the Belize Great Barrier Reef and her exploration of the ATM. “Last day in Belize!! Went spelunking in the incredible ATM Cave! Wish I could have taken pics-Mayan pots, skeletons from human sacrifices!!” Ms Couric tweeted. Mr Waight said that Ms Couric’s reaction was not uncommon. “Everybody, and I mean everybody, is blown away by the ATM. It’s impossible not to be affected by the sheer physical beauty, the ancient Maya altars and the number of ancient Maya artefacts such as jade axe heads, pottery and sacrificial instruments scattered around. “And then, after exploring the various chambers and cathedral- like ceremonial areas, you come across the Crystal Maiden – the complete skeleton of a young woman that has over the years been crystallised so that it sparkles in the flashlight beams. Most people describe it as breathtaking, and I’d have to agree,” Mr Waight said.

Culver-Stockton students raise funds to donate to children of the rainforest
n December, Culver-Stockton students raised over $600 to buy and donate school supplies to children from the Mayan Village of Blue Creek, Belize. Following the fund drive, Dr. Lauren Schellenberger, professor of biology, and Dr. Scott Giltner, professor of history, travelled with 18 students to Belize and Guatemala to personally deliver the goods during a study-trip for tropical ecology and environmental history. With these funds, the students purchased classroom supplies such as pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, notebooks and printer paper. Blue Creek is located deep within the rainforest in the southernmost district of Belize, near the Blue Creek Rainforest Preserve. “An important part of a study abroad experience such as this one is reciprocity,” notes Dr. Giltner. “Our students are privileged to study in someone else’s country, learn from them and with them, and we are aware of the need to give something back. We can’t just be tourists. The students understood this and worked hard to raise the money. We are proud of their effort.” The group delivered the nearly 100 pounds of school supplies to the Blue Creek School, spent some time talking with teachers and students, and even spent some time playing soccer and other games with the children.

Belize boost
Peace Corps volunteer Meghan VanDeventer, a University of Delaware alumna, is helping to empower and employ more than 20 members of a local women’s cooperative in Belize by working to reopen a restaurant in the community after it was destroyed by fires in 2003 and 2005. The Sandy Beach Women's Cooperative owns and operates the recently restored Sandy Beach Restaurant, which reopened in November. The Sandy Beach Women's Cooperative was originally formed in 1986 with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer and became the first women’s cooperative registered in Belize. Through a small grant, the cooperative established and ran a successful lodge and restaurant until the entire property was destroyed. For seven years, cooperative members have been trying to restore the property. With help from VanDeventer and several local organizations, they built a new structure for the restaurant.

Tender Problems for Carnival Cruise Line Cause Problems in Belize, Cayman Islands
Carnival has pulled nine sailings on two ships out of Belize in light of tender congestion, and, according to reports, is threatening to pull out of the Cayman Islands in response to an increase in tender passenger fees. Cruise Critic learned of the port of call cancellations from John Heald's Facebook page. Heald is the line's senior cruise director and a popular cruise blogger. On the nine affected sailings, all on either Carnival Glory or Carnival Legend, the port of Belize will be replaced with calls in Costa Maya. Though Heald said the changes were "purely for operational reasons," Cruise Critic has learned from Carnival the changes are in fact due to port and tender congestion. "Although we have a confirmed berth in Belize, local officials accepted calls for additional ships," Carnival said in a letter. "Consequently, their tender capacity is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting your time ashore. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to come to an acceptable agreement with Belize Port Authority regarding this situation." Carnival canceled a handful of Belize calls two years ago around this time, also because of problems with tenders. At the time Carnival said the available tenders did not meet its standards for safe, comfortable and efficient transport.

Taiwan passport holders get visa-free Belize entry
Taiwan's Central American ally Belize officially announced that R.O.C. passport holders are now entitled to visa-waiver entry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday. The new rule takes effect immediately. Taiwanese travelers now may enter the diplomatic ally for business or pleasure without obtaining a visa for up to 90 days as long as their passport is valid for at least six months, the MOFA said in a released statement. One may also apply for extensions of the 90-day stay before it expires, it noted. The MOFA reminds Taiwanese tourists to follow Belize laws and regulations when traveling in the Central American country. In case of an emergency, Taiwanese nationals can contact the ministry through its hotline on +886-800-085-095.

Belize visa-free treatment for Taiwanese goes into effect
Visa-free treatment granted by Belize has gone into effect for Taiwanese citizens, who can now visit the Central American country for stays of up to 90 days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry said it had received notification of the move from its Belize counterpart and that the measure was also confirmed by the International Air Transport Association. From now on, holders of valid Taiwan passports can enter the nation for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business, the ministry said, adding that Taiwanese visitors can apply for an extension of stay once the 90 days are up. Belize, one of Taiwan's 23 diplomatic allies, is the 131st country or...


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