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#454907 - 01/10/13 07:31 AM Today's Belize News: January 10, 2013
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Ambergris Today

San Pedro Cancer Society Elects New Board of Directors
The San Pedro Cancer Society held its general meeting on Monday, January 7, 2013, and the election of its new board for the year 2013 took place. After formal nominations and votes the San Pedro Cancer Society is proud to announce its new board which includes President – Miguel Perez, Vice-President – Dina Graniel, Treasurer – Gonzalo Muñoz, Secretary – Lucy Muñoz and Membership Chairperson – Penny Bonilla. Outgoing president Gonzalo Muñoz expresses his gratitude to all members and the entire community of San Pedro for helping and supporting the Cancer Society during his presidency and asks for the same support for this coming year so that the group can continue helping cancer patients in need.

Misc Belizean Sources

In a highly televised press conference held by the leader of the nation and his Government on January 8th, 2013, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held absolutely no reservation in telling the nation that he personally met with the leaders of the George Street gangs at his cabinet office in Belmopan yesterday. In his press conference the PM stated Government of Belize has no motive and no opinion leading to any suspects but that there may have been a window of opportunity by the underworld to have committed this terrible act of violence. He was referring to Monday night’s quadruple murder in the city. Eventhough, the George Street gang hierarchy blames the GSU for being directly responsible for the quadruple homicide, PM says the accusations are utterly unfounded and constitutes a very serious allegation of the integrity of the government but blames the underworld. Of note is that GSU has come under fire in the past for having used excessive force in executing its duties. Head of the Gang Suppression Unit Marco Vidal categorically refutes accusations of GSU’s involvement and says not true. According to Vidal allegations are totally unfounded and baseless. The GSU has a mandate to target gangs, and that is what they have been doing in Belize City, through its intelligence. Any actions beyond that would distabilize the country and that is not its mandate. If the GS gangsters are certain that no rival gangs were involved then who did it? Today, marks nine days into the new year and 8 body counts of senseless murders. We have seen in the past press conferences after press conferences and the statistics for homicides keep increasing from 129 in 2011, 142 in 2012 and have so far close to one per day counting for the new year.

Barrow meets with Belize gang leaders in the aftermath of brutal murders
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has confirmed holding talks with the leaders of a notorious criminal gang here after four men were found murdered in an apartment building on Tuesday. Barrow told reporters that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders of the George Street Gang and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave the area and not seek to retaliate against people they believe committed the murders. “I said they went under an arrangement with the government, they went completely of their own free will as a consequence of the discussion we had,” Barrow said, adding that the delegation made it clear during the talks “that it would be absolutely unthinkable for there to be any attempt at retaliation against innocent citizens. “I will say that right from the start of those negotiations, they freely volunteered their commitment that absolutely nothing like that would happen. Now I say to residents of the City, I say to citizens of this nation that notwithstanding that particular development...the security forces are putting in place all that is necessary to make assurance doubly sure. “But we do think that it was extremely helpful that we were able to secure that kind of commitment from the leaders. These people have premises outside the city. I don’t know that we can say it’s for rehabilitation purposes. It is perhaps better put as a departure that helps to assure us that they are going to be far removed from Belize City and to help to give us the additional comfort that they mean what they say when they undertake to abide by the laws of this country and to in particular not to engage in any random acts of violence at all against innocent citizens,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

Baldy Beacon in MPR
Jonathan Cariddi captured some beautiful scenery around Baldy Beacon in Mountain Pine Ridge. "A special part of Mountain Pine Ridge reserve is Baldy Beacon. Speculation continues on the cause of its infertility - soils are so poor they can't even support trees. Instead its covered in grass so tough that when sheep were introduced as an experiment back in the 1960s, they died of indigestion! The most probable explanation for the infertility is that in geological history, while the rest of Central America was under water, protected from the elements, these parts were still above sea level and exposed to erosion and leaching for millions of years longer than anywhere else. The result is a set of rounded grassy hills, with views uninterrupted by any trees."

Contemporary & Classical Concert Coming Saturday
The Soul Project will be having a Contemporary and Classical Concert this Saturday, January 12th. See a lot of great, local talent, with Giselle O'Brien playing too.

Challenge Gobie Foundation Raffle
The Gobie Foundation is doing a raffle of 2 trucks to help with the children's ward at KHMH. "February 16th 2013 is the date for the 5th Annual Bike Ride for the Challenge Gobie Foundation... We will also be drawing the Grand Raffle for 2 brand new 2013 Wingle Pick-ups on February 16th after the bike ride! Tickets are available countrywide at Caribbean Tire offices and select Service Stations for a contribution of only $10 each. Each vehicle will come with 1 year license (donated by De’Mar’s), 1 year comprehensive insurance (donated by RFG) and $100 worth or diesel each month for 12 months (donated by PUMA). All proceeds raised by the Challenge Gobie Foundation is for the construction of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH. You may also make donations directly to our Scotiabank Account number 4060895 Support a worthy cause! Call us at 627-5206 for further information or contact us on Facebook or at challengegobiefoundation@gmail.com"

Toledo Alcaldes Association Conducts Swearing-In Of New Alcaldes
On Saturday January 5th, 78 First and Second Alcaldes were sworn at Father Ring Parish Hall, Punta Gorda Town. This ceremony was a momentous event for the 38 Maya villages of the south as their traditional leaders take office to lead them into 2013 and 2014. Special remarks were made by Mr. Enerst Banner of the Ministry of Rural Development who maintained that the ministry will continue to collaborate with the Alcaldes. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, commanding officer of Punta Gorda Police formation, affirmed that the Alcaldes play a very important role in policing and that the police will remain committed to their partnership with the Alcaldes especially through its Community Policing program. Attorney for the Maya people, Antoinette Moore, spoke on the topic of Rights. She asserted that as Indigenous Peoples, the Maya communities have a right to exercise their own forms of social institutions such as the Alcalde system. Guest speaker Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith congratulated the Alcaldes for taking on the mantle of being custodians of law and order especially in these times when crime is becoming more prevalent. She spoke to the Alcaldes on principles of Integrity, Independence and Fairness. She encouraged the Alcaldes to ‘do right when no one is looking’, to be ‘free from improper influence’ and to be ‘balanced in their reasoning.’ The Chief Magistrate asserted that incorruptibility must be a bench mark of all magistrates and ‘to be one of the Alcaldes who cannot be bought.

Channel 7

Meyers' Mom Speaks: Says "Ghost" Is Gonna Get GSU!
Tonight, the city remains peaceful after a rough Tuesday - that forced a panic induced, city-wide shutdown. But today, there has been no violence, and Dean Street remains locked down from West Canal through its junctions with Plues Street, George Street, up to West Street at the Police substation. Today the GSU continued paramilitary style searches in the area -which did not sit well with residents, but the GSU continues undeterred. And the reason residents are angry is as we have told you: they remain certain that the GSU killed 30 year oldLeonard "Ghost" Meyers, 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, 40 year old Keino Quallo, and 28 year old Anthony Perez. In terms of George Street seniority, the most prominent among them was Leonard Ghost Meyers. He was considered to be George Street Boss Shiney Tillett's closest companion - and today his mother spoke for the first time. She'll be the first to tell you that she's not the average mother - she says she's shed no tears for her son, and told Monica Bodden why: Elizabeth Welch Escarpeta - Mother of Lenard "Ghost" Meyers "I am Lenard Meyer's Mother. I haven't shed a single tear as yet, and I am not going to shed any until I get the satisfaction for what the GSU did to my son. And from the time they told me that they killed 'Ghost', I thought that it was the GSU who killed him because they always - they told me, 'You will bury your son very soon.' I told them, 'When I bury my son, you all will bury me too.'

The Dean Street Apartment Has Known Violence Before
And that's pretty much the same thing that Vidal said 11 months ago when the accusation was that four masked policemen went into that very same apartment building and beat up six men - including Leonard Ghost Meyers. It's a compelling parallel due to the physical location and the tactics employed - which were brutal. But there's one major difference - at the time two prominent government politicians - including the Prime Minister didn't side with the GSU. For context that is difficult to overlook, we re-visit that story, that time - which was just a month before the election. Monica Bodden reported in February of 2012: File: February 9, 2012 Monica Bodden Reporting The bruises on the back of this man are allegedly from a baton used by GSU Officers. He showed us his busted face and cuts on his foot straight down to his toes.

Police Camera Did Not Capture Anything, Hoping For More From Post Mortem
And while the jury is out on that - there are other developments of note. First, our information is that the camera at the corner of George and Dean Streets overlooking the apartments won't yield any clues to investigators. It works and has night-time visibility, but there's no recorder, we understand that unit malfunctioned some time ago and hasn't been fixed. But - as far as clues go - police do have hopes for the post mortem examinations, which are expected to be conducted tomorrow. So far they know that all the victims were stabbed multiple times and had their throats cut. Police believe that they were stabbed into submission and their throats were cut after that. Tomorrow's post mortem on the bodies is expected to give some indication as to what type of blade and how many were used.

OW Man Dies In Prison; Who Beat Him Up?
Tonight, the family of 48 year-old Florentino Ayala is awaiting a post-mortem to determine his cause of death after his body was found inside his cell at the Belize Central Prison yesterday morning. Earl Jones, the CEO of the prison, confirmed to us that authorities found him inside his cell at the special care section at around 7:30 a.m. According to Jones, he was displaying signs of psychotic behavior, so he was placed there under special care. Ayala, who is a resident of Orange Walk, was remanded to prison December 31 on the charge of aggravated assault, and according to reliable reports, he had injuries all over his body, which is the cause for suspicion.

Police Get Gun + Well Known Figure
Tonight, 20 year-old Diondray McKoy and 18 year-old Lyson Cacho are in prison for firearm offences. At around 4 p.m. yesterday, police visited #35 Set Site Belize City, and they were searching for both McKoy and Cacho in relation to an aggravated assault report. When they entered the premises, they found a firearm which had been thrown into the backyard through one of the windows. As a result, the officers detained both men and retrieved a .38 pistol and a magazine which contained 5 live rounds of .38 ammunition. As a result, both of them were arrested and charged with keeping unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition, in addition to that aggravated assault report. They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon, where they pleaded not guilty to all charges. Because they are firearm offences, Senior Magistrate Frazer couldn't grant them bail, and she remanded them to prison until February 20.

Back To The Chaos On Dean/George Streets
Yesterday, 7news had the most complete coverage of what was happening on the ground on Dean and George Streets. But there's some stuff that didn't make the cut - and tonight we revisit those images with narration from Jules Vasquez: Jules Vasquez Reporting When we first arrived at the scene around 8:00 - the police were just arriving and trying to bring the area under control by dispersing residents form the area - after a good many had already made a trip inside to witness the gruesome scene. This stepfather got pushed back and police had to keep on doing that. Police had a small armory out at the crime scene yesterday but this stretcher wasn't needed.

Leader Of The Opposition Wants A Commission Of Inquiry
We've given a recap of yesterday's incident - and we're not the only ones wanting a second go at it. The Leader of the Oppositions did a "wheel and come again" remix today when he changed his tune on the GSU's alleged involvement. Yesterday he said he didn't want to entertain any thoughts or conclusions of a state-sanctioned execution by the GSU. But today he told the media he's been in contact with very many members of the public from all across the social and political spectrum, who believe that the GSU was involved. Here's what he told about his recommendations to the Government as the Leader of the Opposition: Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "We thought that it was important to raise a few important issues, 3 important issue really. The first issue we wanted to raise, and the first recommendation we want to make is that because of the ongoing concern being expressed by people throughout Belize - and it's not only Belize City. Over the past 24 hours, I've had the opportunity to community leaders, religious leaders, leaders in the business community, and of course my fellow political leaders and representatives across the country.

OW Mayor Lashes Out
Today the PUP Mayor of the Orange Walk Kevin Bernard sent out a statement basically chiding his leader Fonseca for the moderate position he took yesterday. It says, quote, "Extending the hand of cooperation is fine, but…I believe that is the responsibility and obligation of the Opposition…to take control and lead the charge. This is not the time to sit and wait for an invitation which may never come." End quote. He also chastises the Prime Minister and calls on him to, quote,"desist from negotiating with criminals, and…restore control to the streets of Belize City through legal force, if necessary." And for gratuitous effect, the Mayor adds, quote, "we should not negotiate with terrorists. A curfew should be imposed and enforced immediately." And while Bernard seems to be riding a rather high horse in speaking about a city that is not his own and a situation he has no familiarity with, the Council of Churches is not quite so doctrinaire. In a Statement issued last night, it quote, "urges the authorities responsible for law and order to re-instill confidence in the Belizean populace by introducing stronger measures to preserve law and order."

Belizes Murder Rate, "Up There"
But apparently neither prayer nor police will keep down the murder rate. In the nine days of 2013, we've had eight murders - and one shooting victim, Marco Valle remains in a very critical condition on life support. Police still have not released the official crime statistics for 2012 - so we are still going with the media's figures which show 145 murders, the most ever. That leaves Belize with one of the highest murder rates in this hemisphere. According to sources culled from the internet, Honduras is at the top with 80 homicides per one hundred thousand inhabitants, Venezuela is second with 73 per hundred thousand inhabitants, the US Virgin Islands is third with 60 per hundred thousand, Salvador is next with 41.3, and Belize rounds out the top five with 40.7. Now this is an adjusted figure - last week we told you it was 46.6 - but that was based on the 2010 Belize census figure which puts this country's population at only 313,000.

Is Micah G Being Punished For His Outspoken-ness?
Micah Goodin has been featured many times on our newscast for his youthful and outspoken position on various social issues. His most recent appearance was on behalf of the 500 new students at the University of Belize who are forced to pay an addition $150 in registration fees. Well tonight, he is not wearing the hat of advocate; he's in the news because according to him, he's being victimized. He is a 6th Form Student at Saint John's College Junior College, and he is trying to begin his final semester and graduate with an associate degree in criminal justice. But he can't register because according to him, his scholarship from the Du Di Rait Ting Program sponsored by the Police Department has been revoked. This program is set up to encourage young people to engage in positive activities in society, so according to Goodin, he cannot understand why he's being punished for it now. He explained to us today that he has an excellent academic record at the institution: Micah Goodin - Claims Victimization I was a recipient of this scholarship while a 3rd form student at Saint John's College. This scholarship took effect in August of 2011. I have been attending SJCJC since then, attended both semesters and summer classes of last year. And when I went for my report card last semester, I was told that I was blocked from picking up my report card, and from registering. I was embarrassed, a bit disrespected, and a bit devalued.

Alleged Bicycle Shooter Charged
Tonight, 21 year-old Kenyon Dominguez is at prison after he was taken to court in connection with a shooting on Sunday. According to police, at around 9:20 a.m., Justin Richards and Leroy Zuniga Jr. were both hanging out at the corner of Flamboyant Street, when a man rode past them on beach cruiser bicycle and fired several gunshots in their direction. Richard was shot in the lower left back, while Zuniga escaped without injury. As a result of this report, police arrested and charge Dominguez with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding, and aggravated assault. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who remanded him into custody until February 22, his next court date.

Cruise Ships Cancel Calls
In last night's newscast, we told you about the US Embassy's travel advisory about Belize City sent out in the aftermath of the quadruple murders. Well, it caused some issues for the local tour operators today. As viewers are aware, the tour operators only make money on the ship days, which happened to be today. But according to those operators we spoke to today, they had mass cancellations of were pre-booked tours because the captains of the 4 ships today made announcements to the guests that Belize City isn't safe. That represents a major loss in earnings for operators - and they weren't happy! 7News spoke to Yhony Rosado of Cavetubing.com who explained the effects of the Dean Street mass murder on his business: Yhony Rosado - Cavetubing.com 2:00:18 We have been impacted because we got a lot of cancellations this morning stating that the captain on the ships are announcing that if you're not booked with them, you should not come ashore because the city is not safe. That is the announcement, point-blank, made by the captain of the ships. We have got a lot of emails and text messages from our guests." Daniel Ortiz "And how many tours have been cancelled so far, sir?" Yhony Rosado "About 50% of our tours have been cancelled because we are the freelance tours. There are people who book with us for many factors, finance or different budgets."

Hon. King Tells Parents, "Keep the Kids Home!"
If you are Belize City resident, did you send your child to school today? We sure hope you did because things were safe and sound all over. But if you listened to Minister of State with responsibility for Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation with Emphasis on the Conscious Youth Development Programme and the Gang Truce Programme Mark King you would have kept them home! You see, Honourable King has set up a Facebook Account where he takes questions from the public. He explains that the is a sort of antidote to what he calls the misleading media, which can, quote, "destroy our country the way they operate on second hand info..." Ok then...so what's the first hand info? Well, in response to a question about whether it was safe to go to school today, King said: - and we quote, "Yes, I think it is very safe but as usual I would take off tomorrow (meaning Wednesday) just to be sure, we could never predict these things when rumors are so high... try sending them back Thursday..." end quote. Not sure you can use that as an absent note for a principal, but, hey, it's worth a try...

Belize Nat'l Selection Gets Promising Start
While yesterday was a stressful day, it wasn't all bad news. It didn't make our newscast last night, but the Belize National Team Selection played its third and final exhibition match against the Premier League Champions, Belmopan Bandits and other reinforcements they chose. The 90 minute game started at 4 p.m., and when it finished, the score was 5 goals for the National team, 2 goals for the Bandits. The man who put the National Team on the board with his first goal was Harrison "Cafu" Roaches. Deon McCauley nailed the coffin shut with 4 goals in the second half. For the Belmopan Bandits, the goal scorers were Kevin Rodriguez and Floyd Jones, who both scored in the second half. With these first 3 games under its belt, the National Team makes last minute preparations for the first round of the Copa Centroamericana which starts on January 18 in Costa Rica.

Channel 5

Who ordered the hit on the George Street 4?
Since the bodies of four George Street affiliates were found on Tuesday morning, there has been no further violence in the city’s hotspots. After meeting with the prime minister, some leaders of the gang left the City to cool off tensions. The rumor mill and citizen journalists on Facebook may have helped spread mass hysteria [...]

What is the PM’s relationship with George Street?
It seems that while the entire country supports the government to find a strategy with haste that would end the violence on the streets, many don’t believe that any Prime Minister of Belize should hold private discussions or negotiations with gangs. But the meeting that occurred on Tuesday also included Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan. [...]

Returning to the scene of the crime
On the day after the quadruple murders were committed, we went back to the scene of the massacre at the apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. The area is still barricaded and there are more boots on the ground, but there is a foreboding air on the streets adding to the [...]

Citizen journalist’s camera allegedly triggered shooting
Terror spread quickly through the George Street Area on Tuesday when shots were fired after the discovery of the four bodies. While the PM and security forces say that they were warning shots, there is video that shows the contrary. A bottle was hurled at police and B.D.F., which triggered the gunfire at the angry [...]

Police camera in vicinity of murder scene
The murders of Keino Quallo, Leonard Myers, Albert Fuentes and Anthony Perez of the George Street Gang, is likely to be one of the most difficult to crack for the police, which is now officially headed by Commissioner Allen Whylie.  The bodies of Quallo, Fuentes and Perez were found in a pool of blood in [...]

Carnival Cruises by Belize without stopping
According to the Belize Tourism Board, arrivals peaked last year with record numbers of visitors. But to start the year and in the height of the high season, one of the biggest cruise lines, Carnival Cruise line has cancelled ten stops in Belize for 2013, starting as early as this week.  That can have a [...]

Life not a carnival for operators without 28,000 visitors
Two stops by the Carnival Legend, which carries two thousand, one hundred and twenty-four passengers, were canceled; one this week and one in December. The other eight calls being cancelled in the coming months are for the Carnival Glory; a two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four passenger ship. If you do the math, that’s twenty-eight [...]

Masseuse Kevin Lee accused of inappropriate touching
The trial of massage therapist Kevin Lee is taking place before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.  Lee is before the court for allegations that he inappropriately groped a client on separate occasions while administering a massage.  Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal charges that Lee touched the woman on her breasts, buttocks, as well as her [...]

Attempted murder charges for Kenyon Dominguez
Twenty-one year-old Kenyon Dominguez appeared unrepresented before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today, where he was read four counts of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding and aggravated assault.  It is alleged that on January sixth, Dominguez opened fire on a pair of men as they stood on Flamboyant Street.  Twenty-five year-old [...]

P.U.P. now want Commission of Inquiry for GSU
The People’s United Party issued another press release today on the quadruple homicides of members of the George Street Gang.  The party leader Francis Fonseca is now calling for a commission of inquiry into the possible involvement of the GSU in what residents strongly believe were state-sanctioned executions.  A complete report subsequent to the official [...]

FECTAB says Belize has good track record for visitor safety
In the aftermath of the gruesome discovery on Tuesday of four George Street Gang members, who had been brutally murdered, the U.S. Embassy has issued a security message for American nationals residing in and travelling to Belize. The advisory notes that, “while there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct [...]

Aunt says cop choked her niece on Caye Caulker
On Tuesday’s newscast we told you about seventeen year old Shaniel Soriano, a Caye Caulker resident who says she was slammed and choked by an officer on the island. After being examined by a doctor who classified her injuries as wounding, she reported the incident at the Raccoon Street Police station. Her aunt, Eden Velasquez [...]

Under-20 prepare for Central American Games
On a more positive note, the Central American Games, 2013 are coming up in March and the Football Federation of Belize is preparing to take male and female Under-twenty national teams to compete. Some athletes were scouted in the recent selection process for the National A team and have been called to attend tryouts this [...]

#454908 - 01/10/13 07:31 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 10, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here


US State Department issues travel advisory for Belize City
And there is one more development coming out of today’s multiple homicides. The United States state department issued a travel advisory to U.S. citizens traveling to Belize. Without going into specifics, the advisory reads, and we quote: “this Security Message informs U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Belize of several gang-related homicides that occurred in Belize City on January 7, 2013. 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 of quote. At the press conference this afternoon, the Prime Minister said that he had not yet been briefed on the travel advisory.

Opposition PUP makes bi-partisan offer to help fight crime
Amidst all the havoc in the wake of the discovery of the bodies, the opposition People’s United Party held a press conference of its own just prior to the PM’s briefing. Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca said the PUP offers condolences to all the families of murder victims since the beginning of the year, and appealed to the residents of Belize City to remain calm and follow the advice of security authorities. Fonseca told reporters today that the PUP had always disagreed with the gang truce as one of government’s tactics to tackle crime. Recruitment of gangs in campaigns, according to Fonseca is not something that the PUP is involved in doing although gang members are voters. As to the view of most citizens that this morning’s killings were the responsibility of the state, Fonseca commented that he does not share that view. Fonseca reiterated twice and time again that reaching out to the affected communities and letting them know that they have support and the willingness of our leaders to help them is key to start reforming the crime situation in the country.

Prime Minister holds press conference to discuss quadruple murders
The mass panic that struck Belize City in the aftermath of the discovery of four murdered men in the apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues streets prompted a mid-afternoon press conference by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Flanked by south-side representatives Michael Finnegan, Anthony Martinez and Mark King, in addition to the commissioner of police Allen Whylie, commander of the BDF Dario Tapia, head of CIB Alden Dawson and CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell, Prime Minister Barrow took to the airwaves this afternoon to assure the nation that everything is under control and that the mass panic in the wake of the killings was unwarranted and caused by misinformation. Having made that statement to the nation, Prime Minister Barrow announced that he has met with the leaders of the George Street Gang and said the result was good news and bad news. Prime Minister Barrow also announced that a special proclamation is being drafted which would designate a special area of concern to law enforcement, giving the police the right to cordon it off to effect a de-escalation of any attempt at retaliation. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie told the press conference what are some of the other emergency operational measures being taken in Belize City.

Businesses shutdown follows quadruple murders
As word of the quadruple murder spread like wildfire, so was the rumor mill cranked up. So much so that by midday, businesses started to announce closures, some schools invited parents to come retrieve their children as classes were suspended. By mid-afternoon, downtown Belize City was a virtual ghost town. All businesses were shuttered up, banks closed early and schools closed early for the day. The uneasy calm prevailed throughout the day and as seen from the pictures, citizens from around Belize City stayed at home anticipating there would be retaliation for the execution-style killings.

Four men found dead in Belize City apartment building
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. Word quickly spread across the city and around the country and by midday, there was mass panic as concerned citizens feared for their safety. We have extended team coverage of this spectacular development. Our first report is by Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo who were out at the scene from early this morning. As you saw in that story, while shots were fired in the general area where reporters were interviewing the police commissioner, no one was injured. This afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in addressing the nation at a mid-afternoon press conference, confirmed that the gunshots heard were from security forces who fired warning shots in the air in response to a threat to investigators who were in the area. We’ll have more on the Prime Ministerial press conference shortly.

VIP states its position on the ICJ referendum
The Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, has issued a statement on the issue of the proposed ICJ referendum. Paul Morgan, Executive member of the VIP told us what position the VIP holds. The VIP also calls out on the government of the UK to do the right thing. Morgan says he calls on Belizeans to become more aware of the issue and he also calls out on Guatemala to observe it’s responsibility as a member of the United Nations to promote peace and economic development in the region and to relieve us of this unjust claim.

New executives for Toledo Alcalde Association
The Toledo Alcalde Association has elected new executive officers. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

News from the crime beat
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 Dawson to settle the outstanding amount, he has still not done so. Dawson is being sought in connection with a case of obtaining property by deception as his outstanding bill at the computer company stands at two thousand, one hundred and twenty nine dollars. 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. Stolen in the burglary was an assortment of electronic items, cheques, vouchers and cash all to a total value of fifteen thousand, eight hundred and thirty five dollars. Police say entry to the building was gained by cutting the burglar bar of a window located on the eastern side of the building and exit appeared to be from the main front door. 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 scree television set, DVD player and a five gallon water bottle. Police investigations continue.

Head of GSU talks about the role of the unit
Earlier in the newscast we told you about the Prime Minister press conference. One of the speakers was the head of the Gang Suppression Unit Marco Vidal. He said that allegations that the GSU was responsible for the killings is regrettable and is not something that the country’s law enforcement authorities would even contemplate. Vidal spoke at length with Love News today following the Prime Minister’s Press Conference.

Police department gets new vehicles for Cayo and Stann Creek
The Police Department is under severe pressure to deal with the ever escalating crime situation. Today, the men and women of law enforcement in the Cayo and Stann Creek districts received operational support in the form of new vehicles to help in the discharge of their duties. The improved mobility for the police in these two areas of the country, will go a long way in support of the police’s crime fighting initiative. The new rides were handed over this morning in Belmopan to the officers commanding the respective formations, Superintendents Ralph Moody in San Ignacio and Robert Mariano in Dangriga. The handing over was done by Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Two of the six motorcycles received by the Dangriga formation will go to the Independence Police formation, while one more will go to Hopkins Village. The rest of the motorcycles will be used in the nearby communities.

Weekend violence leaves three dead
Three more families are tonight grieving the loss of loved ones. Weekend violence in Belize City left three persons dead, and two others injured. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo worked the crime beat today and bring you the following report.

Separate shootings leave two people injured
Twenty five year old Justin Richards was the victim of a shooting incident on Sunday morning. According to police reports, Richards was in front of his home on Flamboyant Street when two men on bicycles rode up and one of them fired several shots in his direction. Richards was hit in the lower part of his back. The seemingly mundane task of socializing with friends ended up costing a fifty eight year old woman a trip to the emergency room. Around seven thirty last night, Jennifer Staine was at her gate on Sibun Street with friends, when the sound of gunshots were heard. Shortly after, Staine says she felt a burning sensation on her left arm and realized that she was injured by a gunshot. Police investigations of both incidents continue.

Orange Walk town council complains about liquor licensing board appointments
It’s the new year and the ministry of local government is appointing new liquor licenses across the country. But so far the Orange Walk Town Council is not happy with the appointment that Minister Godwin Hulse has approved. In a press release issued this afternoon, the Orange Walk Town Council expressed its objection to the new liquor license board because it labels the new appointment as “disrespectful, malicious, and underhanded”. That is because, according to Deputy Mayor Josue Carballo, the council had already recommended certain people to serve on the liquor license board, the ministry had approved the persons and in addition just last week the ministry sent its officers to conduct training of the new persons recommended by the council on how to carry out their duties. Carballo says that to the council’s knowledge the new members of the liquor license board are John Pollard as Chairman, Daniel Grajalez as vice chairman, Ludwig Williams, Jaime Burns and Fidelmar Hernandez as members. Mayor Kevin Bernard serves in the board as ex-officio member.

New alcaldes sworn in for Toledo
Newly elected alcaldes and their deputies were sworn in during an official ceremony on Saturday in Punta Gorda town. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

News from the Magistrate’s Court
Twenty year old Andrew Talbert, who was recently released from prison for firearm and ammunition offences, was taken back to jail today after he was charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license. Talbert pled not guilty to the charges. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded him into custody until February 19. The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. The police reported that they were on mobile patrol when they saw Talbert throw something in a yard at the corner of Dean Street and Plues Street. They said that when they retrieved the object it was a 9 millimetre pistol with one round of ammunition in its magazine. As a result, Talbert was taken into custody and charged. DORIAN DOUGAL Forty-one year old Dorian Dougal, an auto mechanic of 21 Croton Lane, was charged with the theft of a black Geo Metro car valued at $5,000.00 when he appeared in Court today. Dougal pled not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of $500.00 and his case was adjourned until February 19. The incident occurred on December 30, 2012. Sherlene Sankey, the owner of the car, reported to the police that she gave Dougal her car to repair and when she tried to contact him she was unable to locate him. Police investigated her report and charged Dougal.

Belize-bound Mexican bus impounded after uncustomed goods found onboard
An ADO Bus entering the country from Mexico was impounded by Belize Customs overnight following the discovery of un-customed goods on board the bus. Reports are that Custom officers at the Northern Boarder searched the bus and found a quantity of vegetables inside the bus. The owner of the goods did not step forward but the company was held liable resulting in the bus being impounded overnight. ADO recovered its bus this morning after paying a fine of ten thousand dollars for un-customed goods and a three thousand dollar fine to the Belize Agricultural Health Authority.

Belizean referees get FIFA certification
The Belize Football Federation this weekend celebrated a major milestone with the designation of four referees who can now officiate internationally. Our Cayo correspondent Fem Cruz reports. Executive member of the FFB, Marlon Kuylen explained how the referees qualified. After the luncheon where the referees were officially presened, the elevated officials moved on the FFB stadium where they proceeded to officiate the football match between the Belize National team and a selection from neighboring Honduras.

Double Head cabbage resident wins 12 Days of Christmas big giveaway
A resident of Double head Cabbage, Joellen Thompson is the winner of Love FM’s 12 Days of Christmas big giveaway. Coordinator of the program Carmen Barrow called in to the Morning Show today to share additional prizes that Thompson will take home. Thompson will also receive a four hundred dollars cash prize from the disc jockeys of More FM. Joellen Thompson’s name was submitted in the competition by one of her daughters.


20 year-old female choked during attempted robbery
A 20 year old female of Belize City reported that on Monday January 7th sometime around 2:15pm she was walking on N...

Police have not determined any motive in murder of four
There have been no murders reported in Belize City since yesterday and up to our news time today. That is an import...

Travel warning affects independent cruise operators
Yesterday, Belize City was in a state of panic following the murders of the four men of George Street. So much so t...

PUP leader calls for Commission of Inquiry into four murders
Today, the Leader of the opposition called for a commission of inquiry into the four murders. The opposition says i...

Head of Special Branch says allegation that GSU were involved in murders is baseless
George Street community fingers are pointing at the GSU as the killers of the four men. The Prime Minister discusse...

Four charged for robbery of food vendors at Battlefield Park
On Monday we told you about two hotdog vendors who had been targeted by criminals. A Food Vendor of Queen Charlotte...

UB Student President wants Government to continue subsidy
In August 2006, the University of Belize increased its General Semester Fees. However, a policy decision was taken ...

Massage Therapist, Kevin Lee claims innocence of the charges of aggravated assault
The trial of well-known Massage Therapist, Kevin Lee aka Kin Li/Lee began from late 2012. Today he put up his defen...

Two charged for firearm offences in Belize City
Yesterday afternoon at 4:00pm, Police visited an area in Belize City in search of Diondray Mckoy and Lyson Cacho wh...

Corozal Police investigate two incidents of Robbery
Corozal Police are investigation two incidents of Robbery. A 66 year old watchman of Xaibe village reported that at...

Jason Wade charged with theft from Police compound
The Queen Street police station in Belize City was robbed! Chief Mechanic for the Belize Police Department reported...


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida at night
Once the sun goes down, Merida, Mexico definitely does not roll up the sidewalks. After dark, people are out and about, walking, shopping, dining, and the city lights are very pretty -- especially at Christmas time, when even more lights than usual decorate la noche (the night). On Saturday night as we were strolling around after dinner, we were lucky enough to happen upon the area at the south end of the Paseo de Montejo all lit up and filled with vendors selling food, jewelry, leather items, clothing, and other things. In addition, there was a musical stage performance set up in the park area. All the singing was in Spanish, but the costumes and voices were charming. Quite a large crowd was sitting and watching the performance. And a singer -- wish we could have understood what she was singing about! The huge Christmas tree in the same area was all lit up.

Party planning 101
I am in the works planning a birthday party for my Cousin, She and her husband touch down for a day in Belize next Thursday while on a Caribbean Cruise. I cannot give you the details about where we will end up, what ever we do I know it will be a lot of fun. I am working on a few angles and seeing which one materializes first, the main requirements are beach, boat and food. I am hoping we get planes in too. Mary120 arrives Saturday and said said she would join us. Unfortunately there is a downside to life right now, I just found out yesterday that Lara is putting Luna down today. A few are going to go over this aft to support Lara and and say good bye to Luna before Dr Laurie takes over. Pics below are 3 random shots I found in my 2012 stock pile. I am waiting for Saturday and my Nikon Coolpix L120 to arrive with Mary then I will start filling up my empty 2013 stock pictures folder.

Prime Minister Barrow Meets With Belize Gang Leaders Following Brutal Murders
The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, revealed in a press conference on Jan 9, 2013 that he has held talks with the leaders of The George Street Gang (GSG), a notorious criminal gang groups after four men were found dead in an apartment building on Tuesday morning. Local media said the men were tortured and their throats slashed. When security forces arrived on the scene to pick up the bodies, people of the neighborhood began pelting them with stones, and bottles. The forces had to fire shots into the air to keep the crowd at bay and senior police officers and journalists were forced to scamper for safety as multiple gunshots were fired near the apartment building. The residents in the neighborhood were alleging that the killings were a state-sponsored execution. Later in the afternoon Mr. Barrow told reporters at a press conference that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders of the G SG and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave Belize City and not seek retaliation against people they believe committed the murders. “I said they went under an arrangement with the government, they went completely of their own free will as a consequence of the discussion we had,” Barrow said, adding that the delegation made it clear during the talks “that it would be absolutely unthinkable for there to be any attempt at retaliation against innocent citizens.

Cause & Effect
Regular readers of this blog, the reason for its being is to record our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, will recall from earlier editions, I am sure, that the foundations for our home – because of the low lying nature of our land in Tres Cocos- had to be built much higher than the plans stipulated. One consequence was that the golf cart ramp had to be extended so that the gradient was not as steep. Well, when Rose and I visited the site yesterday evening, after I returned from the dentist, we noticed another couple of unwanted effects caused by the increased height of the foundations. At it’s planned height it was possible to step up to the Ground Floor from ground level. This just isn’t possible now given the increased height of the foundations. You would need a trampoline from ground level or mountain climbing boots to access the Ground Floor via the ramp. Rose and I discussed the problem and decided that the solution is to allocate 2 foot nine inches of the ramp space for stairs. We considered other possible solutions but we thought that this one would be the easiest and least costly to implement.

Watch This Blow Over Too by Fayemarie A Carter
A lot has been said, fingers have been pointed but does any of it make a difference? Will anything change? No. Why? Because we aren’t really interested in a solution. Many feel that what is happening in the South Side is irrelevant to their lives. The district people get on the bus and go home as soon as they are finished with whatever business dragged them into the city. The city folks jump into their air conditioned cars and drive to their burglar barred homes and wait for the chaos to blow over. An overriding sentiment seems to be ” I wish they would just hurry up and kill each other out.” Horrified yet? Maybe. Maybe not. The self righteous religious people pray to God and assure themselves that the only reason these gang bangers are dying is because they need Jesus. They just need to pray and everything will be all safe and good again. The government treats them like a nuisance that needs to be put down by any means necessary, even murder. Screw trials and due process. What would be the point? We have a whopping 2% conviction rate. Let’s just open fire into a crowd of unarmed bystanders and see what happens. The Opposition is whining that they aren’t invited to the Press Conferences, which is PUBLIC by the way, so they sit on their hands and say “Da nuh we!” The GOB says “Stop the rumor mills!” and blames Facebook. That one is hysterical. Instead of blaming rumor mills and Facebook, embrace it. Use the social media to spread awareness and garner support for your efforts. Oh wait. Do you actually have any????? As far as anyone can tell, everything is hush hush thereby CREATING the speculation. And as for the media…well. What media? You call that journalism? Trampling all over the crime scene is just irresponsible and disrespectful to the process of justice…unless we aren’t planning on seeking any justice?????

Daily Dingleberry 01-09-13
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo…..how do you murder four burly men all at once? Without using a gun BUT by slitting their throats and no one fought back or caused a raucous???? Seems to me that they had to know the perps AND there had to be a group of them AND they had to somehow subdue all these men in order to get up close and personal enough to slit their throats. An eye witness, who better watch her ass now, says she saw the GSU go into the house…is she a real witness or was she planted to just raise speculation? Could this be the work of trained assassins imported from say…..Mexico???? Any number of possibilities exists. And something tells me we will never know because we are not meant to know. Food for thought: if this were a rival gang, wouldn’t they have claimed they did it by now or else how would they establish cred???? And then what if, just what if, it was an inside job? Like say, get rid of the boss so you can become boss? And then allllll that chaos that happened yesterday would basically be for nothing. No conspiracy. No state sanctioned hit. Just some dude getting a promotion to head honcho.

International Sources

London's 2013 fireworks on New Year's Day. Spectacular. Go full screen. HD is worth the load…but it’s a long load…

VIDEO: 2012 Caves Branch River, Belize
Tetras, cichlids and more from this belizean jungle river

VIDEO: Tubing to Clarissa Falls
A quick clip of the group while tubing down the river after visiting Xunantunich!

"Exciting" times ahead for New World Oil & Gas
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) on Thursday promised investors they would soon find out if the first of a fully-funded, multi-well drilling campaign in Belize has made a commercial hydrocarbon discovery. In an operations update, the oil and gas exploration and development company confirmed drilling operations were ongoing at the deviated well, the Blue Creek #2A side-track. Drilling at the well had been deliberately controlled at a slower rate than originally expected in order to maintain a gauge wellbore diameter that would maximise log quality. To date, this has proved effective, resulting in excellent log data quality. In Denmark, a 75 square kilometre 3D seismic acquisition programme over the Jensen Prospect was over halfway completed, with all seismic lines surveyed and 55% of the 3D survey recorded to date. The seismic operations for Jensen, which has a prospective resource estimate of 48 million barrels of oil (mmbo), are expected to be completed by the end of January 2013, with an updated competent person's report (CPR) expected in April. Additionally, New World is in the final stages of interpretation of its 161-square-kilometre 2D seismic acquisition programme which was completed on the Als Prospect, also in Denmark, in August 2012. An updated CPR detailing the results of this seismic programme is expected in the coming weeks.

New World Belize drilling "making steady progress"
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said the side-track of its keenly anticipated Belize well is making “steady progress”. On Monday the drill-bit had reached a depth of 10,195 feet and is bearing down on the targeted 11,880 feet as it prepares to test the Hillbank and Y3, two oil bearing formations. The company deviated the original well to locate what it believes is a “potentially significant trap”. New World said drilling had been deliberately controlled to maintain a gauge wellbore diameter that will maximise log quality. Chief executive Bill Kelleher added: "Drilling in Belize continues to make steady progress towards its objective thanks to the first class work of our operations team on the ground.

Belize Grants DHS Holding a License for an Online Casino
Last October 2012 DHS Holding Co. was granted a license to operate a casino in Belize. The Belize Gaming Control Board awarded DHS Belize, LTD a license to operate a land-based casino, contingent upon site plans, environmental clearance and inspection. With the license granted, DHS Holding, Co. can now begin its development of the long-anticipated Cenote Falls Hotel & Casino. Company President Charles Barrett stated then, "This is great news. These contingencies are the norm for obtaining a gaming license and should in no way hinder our efforts to move forward." That day moving forward has come with the announcement that DHS Holding Co. has reached an agreement with software vendor FenServices and Net Entertainment to lease and operate the online casino software engine that will drive the LuckyFoxCasino.com website.

Carnival drops 10 calls in Belize, citing congestion
Industry giant Carnival has canceled 10 upcoming calls in Belize City, Belize, citing growing congestion at the port town. A spokesperson for the line says the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend is skipping the port this week and also will forgo a call in Belize scheduled for December. The line's 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory will skip eight calls scheduled for sailings starting in late January. Carnival is replacing the Belize calls with visits to Mexico's port of Costa Maya along the Yucatan Peninsula. The change also will allow both ships to spend an extra hour in Cozumel, Mexico. Carnival says it recently discovered that local officials had overbooked the port of Belize City on the 10 days in question. While the port has the capacity to handle four large ships, the Belize Port Authority had allowed five ships to schedule a visit. "Although we have a confirmed berth in Belize, local officials accepted calls for additional ships," the line says in a letter to passengers. "Consequently, their tender capacity is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting your time ashore."


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