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#488047 - 03/15/14 07:01 AM Today's Belize News: March 15, 2014
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

Two island residents missing for over two weeks
Two males living on Ambergris Caye have been missing for almost two weeks, leaving no trace behind. They are 31-year-old Dean Nassad Joseph, unemployed of San Mateo Area, and 49-year-old Vincent Crawford also known as Chuku, a laborer of north San Pedro Town. The last time they were both seen alive was on Saturday March 1st. According to police, on March 4th, Joseph’s common-law wife Tessa Ochaeta reported that he left home on March 1st in the company of a person known to her as Chuku. Ochaeta told police that Joseph said that they were going to work as security guards at a cement house in the Robles Point area of northern Ambergris Caye. While conducting an investigation on northern Ambergris Caye, police said that two security officers working on northern Ambergris Caye informed them that on the same date, at about 10:30AM they saw both Joseph and Crawford as part of a group of five, walking northwards along the beach. One of the security officers told police that Joseph indicated to him that he was going to camp at a base in the Bacalar Chico area. That was the last time anyone saw both Crawford and Joseph alive.

Shooting in Boca del Rio Area leaves one man wounded
At approximately 9:30PM Friday, March 14th one male individual was shot while in the Boca del Rio Area on Laguna Drive in San Pedro Town. The wounded man, later identified as Victor Garnett was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II where he was stabilized and later airlifted to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. Garnett sustained several gunshot wounds to the lower abdomen and lung. According to San Pedro police seven expended bullet shells were recovered from the scene and residents in the area claim to have heard as many as 13 shots. It is believed that the shooter fled the scene on a skiff. In 2009 Garnett, along with Brionne Swift, Frank Edwards Jr and Gabriel Salaza were charged with the double murder of James Swan and Edwardo Gutierrez. In May 2012 a jury handed down a not guilty verdict for murder and manslaughter to all four individuals.

Footprints for Peace rally brings out hundreds to honor fallen victims
Exactly one week after the senseless killing of Jeffrey Eiley in San Pedro Town, hundreds of islanders marched through the streets of the island to condemn the murder and call for justice. Under the name of “Footprints for Peace – Justice for Jeffery,” some four hundred islanders gathered at the San Pedro Central Park on the evening of Thursday March 13th. Several speakers called for the attention of authorities and government leaders to address the crime issue that has spiked over the past few weeks on the island while also calling upon the citizenry to rise up against violence. Present at the event were families of murder victims, as well as those who have been at the forefront of the fight against crime. Fresh from the loss of their loved one, the Arceo and Eiley families, who organized the event, were out in full force. They took the opportunity to share how the death of Jeffery has ripped their family and community apart. Pablo Garcia, who lost his father in an unsolved murder two years ago on the island, also shared the emotional difficulties it is on a family to lose someone at the hands of violence.

The San Pedro Tigersharks crush Belmopan Bandits
The San Pedro Tigersharks continue to make waves in the National Elite Baskeball League (NEBL) and in week five, they picked up yet another win for the season. On Saturday March 8th, they faced off the Belmopan Bandits at the UB Gymnasium. The home team succumbed to the ferocity unleashed by the visiting San Pedro Tigersharks with a crushing 25 points deficit in a game that ended 84-59. From the start of the game, spectators were in for a showdown. What an unforgettable night the Tigersharks had in store for the Bandits! In the first quarter, the Tigersharks milled the home team so badly the Bandits were unable to recover throughout the course of the night. San Pedro’s Ashton Edwards was on a roll and in the first quarter he scored five three-pointers giving the Tigersharks a comfortable lead of 29-13 points. No compassion was shown in the second quarter as the Tigersharks’ Jamal Kelly hit two three-pointers, contributing half of the twelve points gained by visiting team keeping the 40-22 points lead.

Belize Bank Bulldogs are 16th Annual Ruta Maya River Challenge Champions
The Belize Bank Bulldogs team, consisting of Armin Lopez and Amando and David Cruz, are the winners of the 16th Annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge. The event, which is sponsored by Belikin, saw 61 teams participating in the 180-mile long race. The paddlers made their way from the foot of the historic Hawksworth Bridge in the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena to the foot of the Belcan Bridge in Belize City and ran for four days, from March 7th to the 10th. The kickoff saw a multitude of fans gathered along the banks of the Macal River as the paddlers went from the Twin Towns, under the wooden bridge and steadily paddled along the river banks of rural communities. La Ruta Maya fanatics rushed to communities such as Esperanza Village, Duck Run I, and even to the finish line on day one at the banks of the river at Banana Bank Lodge.

Ambergris Today

"Don't Mess Up San Mateo" Clean Up Campaign 2014
The San Pedro Town Council launched the "Don't Mess Up San Mateo" Clean Up Campaign 2014 on Tuesday, March 11, with an opening ceremony held at the entrance of the San Mateo Area. At the ceremony the invocation was delivered by Mr. Dave Nisbet and the welcome address by Mayor Daniel Guerrero. Special remarks were delivered by Mr. Bill Ford and by Mr. Chris Bonnet from Action Twenty 24 and lastly the closing remarks by councilor Kenrick Brackett. Action Twenty 24 is a team of volunteers who organize camps and various activities for communities that are under developed or simply need a helping hand. A team of 20 volunteers are in San Pedro at the moment.

Hundreds Leave Footprints for Peace at Anti-Crime Rally
It was a lively, emotional and highly vociferous rally organized by Nathalie Arceo, cousin of shooting victim Jeffrey Eiley and by Kristina Romero of NDACC. Well organized and extremely well attended, not even a light rain could wet the high spirits or the energy at the Central Park. In fact, the cries from the sky only served to accentuate the cries of the people who are determined to take back San Pedro. Shootings bring consequences. Lack of action from our leaders will also bring consequences. The battle cry by the community shall be "Footprints for Peace". In order to get PEACE, Ambergris Caye residents declare WAR against all forms of violence. The anti-crime rally is the first of events that will be organized by Footprints for Peace. The group will get together for future events, rallies and movements to push the community leaders to fight against crime.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Chemotherapy Org Fundraising Banquet
My name is Mary A. (Usher) Swales, the Founder and President of a non-medical cancer organization name the "BELIZE CHEMOTHERAPY ORGANIZATION OF NEW YORK, INC.". (BCOONY). We liaison with the Belize Cancer Center in Dangriga (BCC/D), affiliates with the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), and other organizations here in the USA. We fund-raise only to supplement the cost to pay for chemotherapy treatments for children and adults who are suffering from cancer or some other form of diseases, in Belize. For the first time our organization planned to have an International Banquet outside the USA. It will be in our beautiful country, Belize.

Gregory August appeals murder conviction
The Court of Appeal on Thursday reserved its decision in the case of 26 year old Gregory August. August was convicted of the May 2009 death of 73 year old Alvin Robinson in Western Paradise, Belize District. Robinson, who was physically disabled and blind in one eye, was stabbed nine times in the face and neck and found barely alive on his bed. He died while en route to receive treatment. A jury convicted August in November of 2012 before Justice Adolph Lucas based mostly on circumstantial evidence, including reports that August had recent violent confrontations with Robinson’s grandchildren and was heard to threaten them.

New trial for convicted murderer Viola Pook
The Belize Court of Appeal has quashed the conviction of 57 year old Viola Pook for murder and ordered a new trial. The housewife was convicted in July of 2011 of the death of her common-law husband, 47 year old Orlando Mai Vasquez, whom she allegedly set on fire at their Rancho Dolores home on December 31, 2008. But her cause was taken up by no less than Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan during a visit to the prison last year, when she claimed she had been a longtime sufferer of abuse from Vasquez, who allegedly raped one of her children with him.

Vehicle knocks down man inside convenience store
Almost a week after he was knocked down, 22 year old Carlos Castellanos, a resident of Bella Vista village, Toledo district is still struggling to get medical attention for a seriously injured leg. The incident happened on Sunday, March 9 when an SUV crashed into the front of the A&A convenience store in Bella Vista village. Castellanos was in the process of exiting the store when the vehicle crashed through the glass front door and hit him, flinging him back inside the building. The shattered glass fell on Castellanos’ leg seriously injuring him. The driver of the vehicle and another man who was inside the SUV abandoned the vehicle after the incident and ran away from the area.

Student knocked down in Corozal town
A student of Altamira, Corozal was knocked down and injured on Thursday night. The victim has been identified as 18 year old Victor Casanova. According to reports, Casanova and another student, 17 year old Yansie Iglesias, were walking on Fourth Avenue opposite the Rainbow Town Park when the hit and run incident occurred around 8 o’clock on Thursday night. Reports are that a vehicle hit Casanova from behind as he walked his bicycle, causing him to sustain injuries to his head, abrasions to his right knee and pain to the left side of his body.

Special Olympics Fun Run held in Corozal
The Seventh annual Special Olympic Fun Run was held this morning in Corozal town. Over 250 athletes, volunteers, students and children with special needs took part in the event which started at 6:30 am in front of the Corozal Town Council. According to the Corozal district Coordinator for Special Olympics Martha Correa, the event was a huge success as the main objective was met. In the end, medals were awarded to the top eight finishers in two categories.

Small plane crashes at Punta Gorda airstrip
Reports say that the small plane with the number N192LC emblazoned on its fuselage, landed at the Punta Gorda airstrip around 3:15 pm. The origin of the flight is not yet known. Preliminary indications are that the pilot tried to take off after touching down, when the plane clipped a nearby post, the engine burst into flames and landed on the Ministry of Works compound. A part of the fence was torn down. Eyewitnesses at the scene say that the pilot appeared unhurt, while a woman with him, believed to be his wife, appeared to have suffered only minor scratches and bruises. The couple declined comment to correspondents on the scene.

Courts-Belize offers customers chance to win SUV
The furniture and appliances store Courts-Belize is giving its customers a chance to win a 2014 model Kia Sportage SUV. Courts-Belize today brought the vehicle to Punta Gorda town to show customers and prospective customers what they can win by taking part in their promotion. According to Marketing Officer for Courts-Belize Kovenka Rodriguez, for every $50 purchase that is made any of its stores countrywide, a customer gets a chance to win the vehicle. A drawing to determine who drives away with the vehicle will be held at the end of March.

Challenge Gobie bike ride starts today
The Sixth annual Challenge Gobie Bike Ride is set to start this evening in Punta Gorda town. Professional and non-professional riders from across the country will take to the Southern and Hummingbird Highways to raise funds for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The ride will commence at the “Dollar Sign” monument at the entrance to Punta Gorda town at 6 pm and make its way to Belmopan, finishing around noon on Saturday, March 15. Organizers say that food will be available for purchase at the end of the bike ride on Saturday in front of Caribbean Tire in the nation’s capital. The organizers will also have Challenge Gobie T-Shirts on sale.

FIFA website puts spotlight on Deon McCaulay
Belizean football superstar Deon McCaulay is featured prominently in a story appearing today on the FIFA website. The story highlight’s McCaulay’s big move to a professional team in the United States. Click here to go to the FIFA website story.

Pediatric Wing at the KHMH
The new Pediatric Wing at the KHMH is well under way. We are so appreciative of the efforts of Ms. Kim Simplis, Challenge Gobie Foundation, Maheias United, The Japanese Embassy, The Oak Foundation, the staff of the KHMH and anyone who has donated time, effort, or support. The children of Belize thank you all. As I always say, "Illness does not discriminate."

Plane crash in Punta Gorda
A single engine plane crashed around 2:30 this afternoon into the Ministry of Works compound near the Punta Gorda airstrip. The occupants were Americans, Michael Pierre Bogacz, 52, and Jennifer Sobre, 35 whom sustained minor injuries for which she is receiving treatment at the Punta Gorda hospital.

Donation to the Kings Children's Home
Today Tropigas donated 3 desktop computers along with desks, chairs and printers to the Kings Children's Home in Cotton Tree Village. Ms Leonie Gillham, the Founder and Director, accepted the donation on behalf of the 78 children residing at the Home. The Kings Children's Home is funded by a grant from the Government of Belize, donations from churches and other organizations. The Home is a shelter for children from 8 months to18 years. They have 12 workers and 8 international volunteers. The Home started building on 28th February 2011 and on 24th December, 2013 moved from its original location on Unity Blvd in Belmopan. This safe haven has been providing a home, education, food and nurturing to children for 28 years in Belmopan. If you would like to donate or simply visit please contact Ms Leonie Gillham at phone: 605-9290 or e-mail: leonieehg@yahoo.com. Representing Tropigas was Ms Linda Escalante. The donation was valued at $8,000. (7 photos)

Western Ballaz Defeat Toledo Diplomats
The Western Ballaz defeated the Toledo Diplomats 83 to 54.

BCS Pap Smear Campaign
The San Ignacio Branch of the Belize Cancer Society has teamed up with the San Ignacio Community Hospital to wipe out cervical cancer, and they are going around Cayo to do pap tests. They'll be in San Antonio tomorrow, Bullet Tree on Wednesday, March 19th, and Georgeville on Friday, March 21st. Thanks, BCS!

4 The World Takes Youths to Xunantunich
4 The World, which does a lot of volunteer work in Calla Creek, is back in Cayo for Spring Break, and they took some local youths to Xunantunich for a fun day of hiking and sightseeing. "On our first day in Belize we took kids on a field trip to see the ancient Mayan City Xunantunich. It was hard to tell who had the most fun the kids or the NC State team. Either way it was an amazing way to start our Spring Break in Belize."

Tortilleria Maya Corn Exhibit
The SISE House of Culture has a new exhibit on display. It's called Tortilleria Maya, and is an exhibit that explains how the Mayans used corn. Corn was a big part of the Mayan existence, and a huge influence on their culture. "The San Ignacio and Santa Elena House of Culture welcomes you to their new exhibit"

Belizean Artist, Denise Castillo's New Song - "Watch Ova Wi"

Video: Norman Eiley speaks about the murder of his son Jeffery
Mr. Norman Eiley speaks from the spot where his son lay after suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. This took place at Footprints for Peace, a walk held against the violence plaguing the streets.

Video: Mergulhos em Belize
Mergulhos excelentes! Visibilidade perfeita e muita vida! Grupo animado e super divertido! Organização impecável! Se tiverem oportunidade, confiram. Carnaval 2014

Video: Caye Caulker, Belize
Rush hour in Caye Caulker, Belize. January 2014.

Video: Best Places In Belize With Larry Waight & Jen Knoedl
No longer the world's "Best Kept Secret", Belize is attracting travelers of all kinds from all over the world. Jen Knoedl hosts a video Interview with Larry Waight of Huffington Post to discuss the best places to visit and experience in and near Belize.

Video: Ambergris Caye Belize Vacation Hotspot
This place was just voted the #1 travel destination island in the world. Sun, sand, diving, fishing, sailing, all located on the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. This place a little slice of Heaven. My thanks to the great people that live there that showed us a great time.

Video: Archaeological Excavation in Belize Pawnce the Archaeologist
What I was doing in the summer of '09. or Livestream every week day. Follow ..

Video: Victoria Tunnel, San Pedro, Belize, March 5, 2014
San Pedro, Belize. March 5, 2014: Victoria Tunnel. Starting depth about 75 ft, ending depth at 97 ft.

Video: Oil Tanker Runs Off the Hummingbird Highway

Video: Welt der Maya - Mexiko Tulum - Belize Cahal Pech - Mysterious Mayan ruins
Peter Menzel (PMMedia1) Das Hotel Radisson in Cancun ist der Ausgangspunkt einer Rundreise, die uns nach Belize, Guatemala und wieder zurück auf die mexikanische Halbinsel Yucatan bringt. Erstes Ziel sind die Maya-Ruinen von Tulum, die nur 250 km vom Cancun entfernt liegen. Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen präkolumbischen Orten war Tulum bei Ankunft der Spanier im Jahre 1517 noch eine lebendige, dicht besiedelte Stadt. In Chetumal überqueren wir die Grenze zum Nachbarland Belize, das nur 23.000 km² groß ist. Auf die zahlreichen Besucher haben sich die Menschern in Belize eingestellt. An den Souvenirständen und Geschäften locken Kunsthandwerker mit ihren Produkten und laden zum Kauf ein. Wer die geheimnisvolle Maya Kultur kennen lernen will, kommt in Belize voll auf seine Kosten. Die Maya-Ruinen von Cahal Pech sind von ihren Ausmaßen nicht mit den archäologischen Fundstellen in Tikal und Palenque vergleichbar, dennoch geben sie einen guten Einblick in die Bauweise der Maya.

Channel 7

Florida Plane Crash Lands In Punta Gorda
An American couple is glad to be alive tonight after their single engine aircraft crash landed at the Punta Gorda Municipal Airport this afternoon. These pictures from FACEBOOK, PGTV and the Frontier Inn show the plane as it lay at the northwestern end of the runway, near the Ministry of Works Warehouse. Best information from the PG Airstrip says that AT 2:45 the plane attempted to land and then took off again. When it did, one of its wings clipped the MET Department's weather tower. That sent it crashing to the ground and careening across the airfield. The plane which is a Lancair 320 suffered significant damage as the pictures show - with its wing, the front and the tail affected.

Raylene Dyer Was Decapitated; Alleged Killers Get Off, Her Family Enraged
In October of 2010, one of the most shocking murder stories we've ever reported on made national headlines: 18 year-old Raylene Dyer was allegedly decapitated and dumped in a river, so that her 3 month old baby could be stolen and given to another woman - who masterminded the crime. 3 men were accused of killing her but on Wednesday they were acquitted before Justice Denis Hanomansingh. The main evidence against all 3 men were that they confessed to the crime, and supposedly gave police intimate details as to how they killed Dyer, slit her throat, chopped off her head, and dumped her body into a river near a slaughterhouse in Valley of Peace in October 2010. But, the accused claimed that police obtained those confession statements by force. They say that they only gave the caution statements because the police brutalized them into it.

Convicted Husband Killer Viola Pook Gets A Retrial
And while that case played out in Belmopan, in the Court of Appeal in Belize City, 56 year old Viola Pook, was before the court. She was convicted of murdering her husband by setting him on fire on December 31, 2008. The evidence her trial was that Pook doused 46 year-old Orlando Vasquez with gasoline and set him ablaze. He died 2 days later after suffering from second degree burns to 70% of his body. She appealed her conviction and sentence in the June 2013 session of the Appeal Court, and today, she got good news. The Judges allowed the appeal, set aside her conviction, and ordered a retrial. 7News was outside of court after the decision, and we got a reaction from her attorney, Simeon Sampson. Here's what he told us: Simeon Sampson, attorney "It is the lady who it is allege burnt her husband, the policeman arrive there and she didn't gave any statement to anyone and the policeman met the dying husband on the ground with serious burns to his body and the policeman corporal Zuniga approach who was sitting around and ask her what happen. And according to the police Zuniga she blurted out "da me catch him fire." That was the only evidence they had against her. So I had appeal to the effect that there was no warning definitely the police attitude in my submission, was sort of accusatory in my view when he ask what happen and she blurted out "da me catch him fire." There was absolutely no other evidence against her and I move the court to decide that that allege confession "da me catch him fire" ought not to have been admitted into evidence. The judge agreed this to me but on a different ground and she is going to stand trial another time. I wish her luck."

San Pedranos Want Justice For Jeffrey, And More
Last night, hundreds of San Pedranos took to the streets in a peaceful protest called, "Footprints for Peace - Justice For Jeffrey." The event was held in memory of Jeffrey Eiley, the 30 year old island resident who was killed one week ago. His father knelt in the spot where his son was shot at the Corner of Tarpon Street and Barrier Reef Drive and lamented that no one came to his aid - when he had only been shot in the arms :.. Father of Jeffrey Eiley "This is the spot where I saw my son lay helpless. Both hands were shattered to pieces, he had no way of getting up, no way of helping himself and there is one thing I want the general public to know, there are heartless people living and do not render help. There are heartless security guard, I don't know where they come from, I think they are criminal themselves and they do not render aid. That is another section of this whole situation where there are hard hearted people in the wee hours of the night that does not render help. When I came around the curve and Jeffrey lies here, he was by himself. People were looking on as if though it was a show, they did not rendered help. Had Jeffrey gotten some help, he could have been alive." According to the san Pedro Sun there were 400 Islanders and a number of passionate speeches from families who've lost loved ones to violence on the island. The Sun reports that they called on Government to provide necessary health facilities and amenities to ensure a more adequate response to traumatic injuries.

At Last, Crooked Tree Causeway Set Straight
The Crooked Tree Causeway went under water at the end of October, and didn't re-appear until February. True, it was what villagers call a "Top Gallon" flood - but it only underscored a chronic problem of flooding in the Lagoon. At the end of the almost four month ordeal, one life had been lost to a boating accident, and the villagers, working people and students had experienced many, many hours of inconvenience. Finally, what villagers say should have been done long ago is finally being undertaken: the causeway is being repaired. We found out more in Crooked Tree today:... Hon. Edmund Castro "What you can see out here - as soon as the rains held up maybe not exceeding 6 weeks we are out here trying to put on some material on the causeway. I think we raise most of the causeway right now approximately a foot to two feet. As you can see the equipment are still out here. It's raining so they are working in between to see how we could elevate the situation out here in Crooked Tree."

The New Bridge For Belize City Will Be Ready By Year's End
The new Chetumal Street Bridge in Belize City should be opened by the end of this year. Contracts for the bridge and the approaches were signed today in Belmopan. The bridge design and construction is for 2.2 million dollars - and that went to M and M Engineering, while the filling of the bridge approaches and assembly of the bridge is for 2.7 million dollars and that went to CISCO Construction. Today principals from both companies discussed the significance of the project at a contract signing. Cisco Woods "Personally as a resident of Belize City I know this bridge will provide a lot of relief to the Central American Boulevard and BelCan Bridge especially around 7-8am when students are trying to reach the schools on the north side. As representing our company Cisco Construction we are excited because this will provide quite a bit more jobs for residents in the city and it will be also while providing jobs almost training too because a lot of fellows will learn skills while building the bridge, so we are very excited about this bridge happening. Long time we've been waiting for this."

Man Claims Humiliation and Harassment By Police
We report on police harassment often in our newscast and usually the victims of these stories never get justice. Tonight one more is added to that list: he is Cordell Bernardez, a resident of Wagner's Lane. He told us that on Wednesday night at around 7 o'clock while riding his bike near Southside Market, he was stopped and searched by police. Nothing was found on him, but he was still escorted to the Precinct one Police Station at the corner of Kut Avenue and Euphrates. While at the station he alleged he was assaulted and harassed by officers and then was put to wash several police motorcycles. Three hours later, at around 10 that night he was released without any charges. For this working class man, he believes his rights were violated - here's his story. Cardell Bernardez - Alleges Police Harassment "Riding my bicycle on my way to South Side Meat Market, two Belize Defence Force soldiers and a police officer approach me with a flash light into my face and I told him that that could be avoided, if he want to search me I don't have any problem with it because you have a job to do. He search me and didn't find anything, he turn and told me that I have an attitude, I turn and told him that I didn't have any attitude, I am just defending me. Now all these other people came and he search them and gave then that run, but just the way how I talk to him he must not have liked it. Now I have my hands against the wall, he called for the mobile, the mobile didn't assist him. He walks me from South Side Meat Market shop to St. John's police station. When he walked me there he was trying to take me through the back gate, the gate was close and so he took me to the front. The 2 BDF soldiers told the corporal that I was assaulting them."

Sugar Smuggling: TIDE Catches A contraband Mission In Progress
Belize's sugar continues to be smuggled across to Guatemala - and while that contraband trade probably goes through so many different routes, today in Punta Gorda, The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment known as TIDE caught one contraband mission in progress. They went out and found this Guatemalan dorey - reportedly with its five horsepower engine broken down, but in Belizean waters. 50 sacks of BSI sugar were strapped unto the dorey and three Guatemalan men Pedro and Mario Quv and Marcos Che were on board. Tide took the dorey into Customs and handed the men over to Immigration.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Project Gets A Shot In The Arm From Japan
Today a grant contract agreement was signed at the KHMH - between the hospital, The Government of Japan and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. The government of Japan donated one hundred and twenty thousand US dollars for the purchase of equipment to the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit project. It all happened with the help of the Special Envoy office - which had requested assistance for support through the Government of Japan's Grassroots and Human Security Grant project. And after getting a positive response, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica Hiromoto Oyama travelled to Belize to sign the grant contract agreement. 7news was present. To coincide with the first secretary's visit, tomorrow Japan Day will be commemorated at the Princess Hotel with a display by Japanese chefs.

Sensitivity For Women Soldiers
Its women's month and yesterday the women soldiers at the Price Barracks in Ladyville got some love in the form of counseling. In a job where toughness is valued above all else, women soldiers can come under stress. Here's why:.. Participant 1 "We have decided to team up with the Belize Defence Force especially our female soldiers are one that we don't see often, but their wellbeing is also taken into consideration and so as the officer in charge of the Belize District I have decided to come up with looking at the mental healthiness, looking at the sexual reproductive right of our female soldiers.." Participant 2 "They have a very stressful life and many of them can get some help. Many of them are under some kind of severe stressful situation and they need to know where they can get some help." Participant 3 "It's very important especially with our women BDF because they do experience these problems, not only at home but here at work, so I believe that it will help them to know that they will be able to seek help and it's not a problem to seek help. You are not seeing as somebody weak but actually one of your strengths if you come out and bring your problems across to somebody who will be able to assist you to get that help that you need."

Teryl's Terrible Concert Experience
Terryl Godoy is one of Belize's most well-known painters, but the self-styled "Man At Work" is not only skilled with the paintbrush, he has also been a musician for over 20 years - a past time that first started when he exchanged one of his paintings for a second hand keyboard. Since then, he has released 2 albums and is working on his third. On Saturday night he will be taking the stage at the House of Culture for a live concert. It sounds exciting but Godoy says he has been facing many challenges and disappointments along the way. The concert starts at 7 tomorrow night at the House of Culture. Tickets are 20 dollars in advance and 30 at the door.

Channel 5

Court of Appeal orders a retrial for Viola Pook accused of setting husband on fire
But earlier today, a number of decisions were handed down by the Court of Appeal to conclude its first session for this year. It ended with good news for fifty-six [...]

Date for Pook’s retrial has not been set
While Pook remains on remand at the Belize Central Prison, a date for her retrial has not been set.  According to Sampson, the overwhelming backlog at the Supreme Court will [...]

Graphic evidence presented in Belmopan court on the murder of Raylene Dyer
While Viola Pook will get a retrial, Aracely Cahueque is on trial in the Belmopan Supreme Court. In October 2010 Cahueque and three men were accused of the horrific murder [...]

Attorney explains acquittal of 3 men charged in murder case
As we’ve told you, the tragedy of Raylene’s cruel death has been compounded by another travesty – the matter never even reached full trial, and the three men walked. On [...]

Light the Night for Kids
As we said, hundreds are preparing now to start a march from memorial park to downtown Belize City in what is known as the “Light the Night…for the kids” of [...]

Plane crash lands in Punta Gorda
A private aircraft with U.S. registration crash landed this afternoon at the Punta Gorda airstrip. The pilot was fifty-two year old Michael Bogacz and his partner, Jennifer Sobre…both American nationals. [...]

Still no evidence in investigation into the Won Hong Kim/Elvin Penner passport scandal
Tonight there is very little new information on the criminal investigation into the Won Hong Kim/Elvin Penner passport scandal. Penner, the former Minister of State with responsibility for immigration, has [...]

Court of Appeal reserves decision in the case of Gregory August
The Court of Appeal on Thursday also reserved its decision in the case of twenty-six year old Gregory August. August was convicted of the May 2009 death of seventy-three year [...]

Hit & Run in Corozal
There is another traffic accident to report tonight. It is a hit and run that happened just after eight o’clock on Thursday night. Police found eighteen year old student Victor [...]

2 San Pedro men missing; family fears the worst
In San Pedro, two men have disappeared from the island without a trace and their families are bracing for the worst. Dean Nassad Joseph, a resident of the San Mateo [...]

Japan provides US $120,000 for Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the K.H.M.H.
Today at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital the signing of a grant agreement between the national referral hospital, the Offices of the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the [...]

Cultural Day for preschoolers of St. Mary’s School
As part of their activities for child stimulation month, the Preschool at Saint Mary’s Primary School held its annual cultural day. The preschoolers dressed up in different cultural attires for [...]

Supt. Dezerie Phillips, Woman of the Year
Senior Superintendent Dezerie Phillips has been named Belize’s Woman of the Year 2014.  Phillips becomes the fifth woman selected by the United States Embassy for the prestigious title.  She joined [...]

Special Olympics Belize yearly fun run goes countrywide
Every year at this time, Special Olympics Belize stages its Fun Run to promote awareness of special needs children. The event has been growing exponentially and this year, Fun Runs [...]

3 men walk and a woman still on trial for the sensational murder of Raylene Dyer
Three men – Roaring Creek construction workers twenty-one year old Darren Banner, twenty year old Jason Anderson and twenty-four year old UB student Brandon Budna are free after being incarcerated [...]


Corozaleno Alleges Police Brutality
On Tuesday we reported on a bar brawl that left a pair of brothers with head injuries. One of the injured men was 22 year old police officer attached to the Belize City Eastern Division, Javier Noble. Noble reported to police that on Sunday night, around 10:50, he and his younger brother, 18 year old Angel Noble, were socializing infront of Tony Gongora’s Bar, in Concepcion Village, Corozal District, when they were involved in an altercation with 22 year old John Medina and 18 year old Christian Medina, both of Concepcion Village. Well, tonight, the alleged bar brawlers visited our news center and told us that they are seeking justice for being ill accused of the fight. John Medina says he is innocent of the charge levied against him and before and after lock-up he faced a great deal of excessive force at the hands of the police. John Medina and his mother Ofelia Medina say they want justice. John Medina– Alleges Police Brutality “A mi casa y pues me fui a mi casa ya estaba durmiendo yo cuando la policía llego, fueron ocho de ellos en un van y un pólice pickup, pero tres de ellos me fueron a sacar de mi casa. Patearon la puerta de mi casa hasta que se abrió y me sacaron sin camisa solo mi pantalón tenia puesto y me comenzaron a golpear, uno me golpeo con la pistola que tenía, el pump 12, en mi cabeza aquí y yo calli en el suelo y mi mama se metió y les dijo que no quiere que me golpea porque yo soy inocente pero a ellos no les importo rempujaron a mi mama en un lado y a mi señora igual, pero mi señora tiene un hijo de dos años y medio y ella está embarazada y tiene siete meses y solo falta dos meses para que tenga el segundo bebe y no les importo sobre de eso le golpearon a mi señora y ella callo hacia la pared y golpeo a mi hijo igual pero como ella esa embarazada ella se lastimo también y el vino sobre de mí y me golpeo y me llevo en el vehículo que yo machetee a un pólice y yo no sé nada de eso, y después me está llevando el patrol y entro en el camino de San Joaquín el que va al basurero hasta el fondo me llevo y me dijo que me va a llevar a un playgorund adonde sacan la verdad pero como yo no sé qué significo ese playgorund pues ellos me bajaron del vehículo hacía en el cañal en el monte y me dijeron que ellos quieren que yo me dé por culpable pero como yo dije yo soy inocente y ellos me empezaron a patear y me golpearon y todo así me maduraron mi cuerpo y después ellos me subieron al van.”

East Sports Center Vandalized OWTC Comes To The Rescue
The Orange Walk Town Council today began working on improving the infrastructure at the East Sports Center located on Aurora Street. While the Council has committed to carrying out the project, what fast tracked the work was receiving a report that the electricity wires at the center had been sabotaged. Whether this was a vindictive act or not is of no concern to the council and has not discouraged their efforts. After being informed of the incident yesterday, Mayor Kevin Bernard says they decided to start the work immediately. Kevin Bernard – Mayor of Orange Walk Town “The electricity here at the East sport centre apparently has been sabotage, somebody had cut the wires and what we want to do is to bring back life to East Sport Centre, I believe that we would need to bring back sports in this area this is a public space and so we, the council decided that we will invest here at the East Sport Centre Park, so what we are doing right now is reinstall and run back the electricity and so that we can have lighting here at the East Sport Centre and we can have basketball and other activities here at the East Sport Centre.”

First Caribbean Bank Donates School Equipment To Chapel School
First Caribbean Bank has today offered much needed assistance to Chapels Primary School in Orange Walk Town. Branch Manager Pablo Ayala says the project falls under the bank’s corporate social responsibility. Ayala says that on a yearly basis the bank seeks to undertake projects within the community. The bank donated eight white boards to the school which the administration says will greatly assist in reducing the health risks to teachers that come with the use of chalk boards. The school also received doors that were also painted by the bank’s staff, and this morning they were handed a computer for the teachers’ lounge. School Principal Julian Chi says the donations help greatly in the schools efforts towards expanding. Pablo Ayala – Branch Manager, First Caribbean Bank, OW “This year we were glad to partner with Chapel School who we believe it is an institution who reaches out to many young people and many minds and changes life and as their mission goes to change lives we thought it would be a good institution to partner with.”

Belize Ranked High for Homocides
Crime continues to plague Belize despite government’s efforts to tackle it. Strategies put in place have been considerably effective however the problem has not been completely solved. But while Belize’s authorities continue to fight crime at all levels, there is a bigger picture within Latin America. To start with, the United Nations has qualified crime and violence as an “epidemic” and considers the region to be the most insecure in the world. In 2012, reports showed that one in three inhabitants in the region was a victim of a crime, mainly theft. To get a better picture of the current situation in the entire region, the World Bank Citizen Security Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Rodrigo Serrano-Berthet, gives an overview of the situation of crime in an interview published in the international press.

Rotaract Week Celebrated In O.W
Rotaract week is observed from March tenth to the sixteenth in celebration of the chartering of the first club in North Carolina, USA, on 13 March 1968. It is held annually and is designed to foster Rotaract-Rotary activities in celebration of the founding of the Rotaract program. The Rotaract Club of Orange Walk is therefore also celebrating this occasion with one of their biggest activities yet. President Azalia Torres tells us what they have planned. Azalia Torres – President “Tonight we are having our joint meeting with our sponsoring club and also on Friday we are also doing a bit of packing up hampers for us to go Sunday to San Carlos. On Sunday we are taking over particular the entire village where we will play games, show movies, have different activities with the kids and also we have a team of doctors going in and doing some general health for the different people there.” The club has been active with the community for eight years and according to Vice President Clarissa Azaeta it has been a good run.

BSI/ASR Introduce New Company Logo
Today the ASR Group-Belize Sugar Industries Limited announced its adoption of a fresh new look to its corporate logo and branding identity. The release says that the new branding and color scheme were developed to reflect BSI’s core business activities as well as to embrace partnership with ASR and its family of companies. To date, the partnership has resulted in the investment of $190 Million in Belize since last year which included upgrading and modernizing the mill and sugar operations. The color scheme was chosen to project the core “green” aspect of BSI’s business, its basis in agriculture and its environmental awareness. The colors were also attractive as they embrace the new partnership with ASR Group and reflect the importance of having a compatible collaboration on all levels.

SIF To Work Under Transparency, Says New Director
In September of last year, the media blew the lid open on the allegations of rank corruption at the Social Investment Fund – allegations of rampant corruption that had surfaced, including accusations of extortion within the Social Investment Fund connected to a botched $1.3 million renovation project that was to be carried out at the Dangriga Town Market as part of the Municipal Development Project. Since then, four staffers were given the boot including Public Relations officer Mike Hernandez and Executive Director Daniel Cano. And while we told you of their replacements on Tuesday, yesterday at the inauguration of the Guinea Grass Multi-purpose Community Center and Library, we managed to get a comment from newly assigned executive director of the Social Investment Fund, William Lamb. Lamb says his goal is to carry out the projects assigned to SIF with much transparency. William Lamb– Executive Director, Social investment Fund “Definitely, we want to promote transparency and accountability on what we do and carrying out the projects as set out by the grants and agreements that come through the World Bank and CDB and the community of Belize. All of these projects are put together with community interaction and involvement.


Trio Acquitted of Raylene Dyer’s Murder
Three years five months and six days – that is how long ago it is since Indira Cayetano went to the media, for the first time to report her sister missing. You may recall the name, Raylene Dyer, a young mother who Police confirmed was murdered in the Cayo District on October 8, 2010 in the Valley of Peace community. Following investigations, police arrested and charged four persons including three men, 21-year-old, Jason Anderson; 24-year-old, Darren Banner, Brandon Budran and a woman, Aracely Cahueque of Corozal Town. The family, who has been following the trial of the three men were disheartened and hurt, to say the least when the judge in Belmopan court handed down a verdict of not guilty. Today, we met up with Cayetano, the sister of the deceased who told us what the family is going through right now. INDIRA CAYETANO “We were very disappointed but like my mom said, she doesn’t know why she set up herself and had hoped that the judiciary system would have worked because it’s full of crap – those were her words; they’re not fair. At first, I was really angry, I was mad and I tried to pray because it is kind of hard to pray when you are going through a disappointing time but with good people around me like my co-workers I started to feel positive again and I said, you know what, God is the ultimate judge, he doesn’t sleep and he sees everything.”

Retrial Ordered for Woman Convicted of Setting Spouse on Fire
She was arrested and charged for setting her husband on fire on New Year’s Eve 2008 in the small and quiet village of Rancho Dolores in the Belize District. On July 12, 2011, about two and a half years after the incident, Viola Pook was found guilty in the Supreme Court of Belize and later sentenced. Pook’s attorney, Simeon Sampson later applied to the Court of Appeals for what he had hoped would have resulted in an acquittal. Earlier today, the court handed down their decision and Love News Centre heard from Sampson on the matter. SIMEON SAMPSON “The appeal is allowed; the appellant’s conviction is quashed; the sentence is set aside and in the interest of justice, a new trial is ordered – I thought she was going to be set scott free but what to do…..This is the lady who it is alleged burnt her husband; the policeman arrived there and she didn’t give a statement to anyone and the policeman med the dying husband writhing on the ground with serious burns to his body and the policeman, Corporal Zuniga approached the wife, who was just sitting around and asked her what happened and according to the police, she blurted out that it was her that caught him on fire – that was the only evidence they had against her.

Hit and Run Incident Leaves Student Hospitalised
Police in Corozal are investigating an apparent hit and run incident that occurred on Fourth Avenue just after eight o’clock last night in that municipality. Police went to the scene and encountered a man of Hispanic descent lying on the left side of the street when traveling from a north to south direction. The man, who was later identified as Victor Casanova, complained of pain to his body and was bleeding from the head. The 18-year-old, student of the Altamira area was reportedly walking with his bicycle and in the company of 17-year-old, Yansie Iglesias, a female student, on the left side of Fourth Avenue when a blue pickup truck came from behind them and hit him and the bicycle causing him plunge into the air and landing on the road pavement. The vehicle continued traveling on Fourth Avenue and the driver did not stop to render aid.

Ferry Operator Drowns in Northern Belize
A laborer of Corozal Town lost his life on Thursday, March 13 in the wee hours of the morning whilst working on the Pueblo Viejo Ferry in the Corozal District. Reports are that the 51-year-old, Javier Artemio Vivas, one of the operators of the ferry was on duty just after two o’clock on Thursday morning when he fell into the river and drowned. Vivas was reportedly operating the ferry from a north to south direction heading towards Progresso Village when he shifted to the side of the ferry to relieve himself and accidentally fell in the water. A search party set out into the waters and Vivas’ body was retrieved at around 7:40 yesterday morning. He was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Oceana Announces Winners of Instagram Competition
Oceana in Belize has announced the winners of its Instagram competition that was held as a part of activities for Reef Week. Capturing first place with his photograph entitled “Pelican heading to roust at South Water Caye” was Andrew Roe. He took home a GoPro digital camera as his prize. Second place went to Chloe Cruz with her entry ‘Sharks”. She won a night’s stay at Belize Nirvana hotel in Placencia Village. Rounding out the top three was Deborah Hamrell of Placencia with her photo taken at the Hol Chan Marine reserve entitled “Everyone wanted to be in the picture”. She won a round trip ticket from Belize City to San Pedro courtesy of Tropic Air. Oceana Belize launched the competition in early February when it asked its social media followers to show how they connect Belize’s marine resources and what the reef represents in their lives. Reef week is being celebrated with the theme “Our food, our jobs, our pride and joy. Our reef.”

Businesswoman Pleads Guilty to Immigration Offense
Fifty-four year old Dora Prado, a naturalized Belizean businesswoman originally from Guatemala who was charged with employing a person not in possession of a temporary employment permit, changed her plea from not guilty to guilty when she appeared today before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton. She was fined one thousand dollars and she was ordered to pay five hundred dollars forthwith and the balance by April 30, in default six months imprisonment. Prado, the owner of Noa Noa Restaurant and bar, located in Ladyville, hired Guatemalan national Evelyn Jimenez to work as a waitress. She was busted on February 21 when immigration officers went to her place of business.

Convicted Murderer Awaits Decision of Court of Appeals
Belize Court of Appeal has reserved its decision for the appeal of 26-year-old, Gregory August, who was convicted of the murder of 73-year-old, Alvin Robinson and sentenced to life imprisonment. On May 23, 2009, Robinson, a resident of mile 8 and a half on George Price Highway who was a cripple and was blind in one eye, was found sitting on his bed with stab wounds to his face and neck. He was stabbed nine times. He died on his way to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. August’s appeal was mainly on two grounds. One ground was that the circumstantial evidence led by the Crown was insufficient. The second ground was that the learned trial judge did not properly direct the jury in relation to joint enterprise. August was convicted and sentenced in November 2012. August was represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal represented the respondent.


God has Plans for You to Prosper
Our verse for this week is taken from Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Small Airplane Crashes in PG During a Take-off Attempt
A small airplane crashed at the Punta Gorda airstrip today as it was attempting to take off. Eyewitnesses claim that the small plane had landed at the airstrip at about 3:15 p.m., but when it tried to take off again it hit a post, burst into flames and then...

Corozal Student Hospitalized After Traffic Accident
18 year old Victor Cassanova, a Belizean Student of Altamira Area, Corozal Town, has been hospitalized after he was knocked down by a vehicle. Reports are that on Thursday March 13th at about 8:05 p.m., Cassanova was walking on Fourth Avenue, Corozal Town, with a 17 year old female...

Mr. Elijah Miller to Be Sentenced to Prison for Manslaughter of Stepson
29 year old Mr. Elijah Miller of Tower Hill, Orange Walk will be sentenced on March 27 for manslaughter after being convicted of the death of his stepson, 2 year old Ezekiel Tejada. In July of 2009, Miller, who was watching Ezekiel and his siblings while his mother was...

Ms. Viola Pook Case Under Appeal for Allegedly Burning her Husband
She was convicted of murder by a 12-member jury nearly three years ago, but 57 year old Viola Pook will be retried at the order of the Court of Appeal. In its last day of the first session of the year, the court handed down its decision and ordered...

Court of Appeal Hears Gregory August for Alleged Murder by Stabbing
The Court of Appeal on Thursday heard the case of 26 year old Gregory August, convicted of the May 2009 death of 73 year old Alvin Robinson in Western Paradise, Belize District. Robinson, who was physically disabled and blind in one eye, was stabbed nine times in the face...

Backhoe Driver Charged for Mr. Anthony Hunter’s Death
Mr. Tony Hunter perished in a traffic accident on February 22 when his motorcycle slammed into a backhoe on the George Price Highway and police now say it is the backhoe driver who was at fault. 52 year old Hunter was travelling on his morobike from Belize City towards...

“Woman of the Year” Selected by U.S. Embassy
Senior Superintendent Dezerie Jacklyn Phillips has been selected as the U.S. Embassy’s Belize Woman of the Year 2014. Phillips held the post of commander community policing for three years and has passionately implemented community policing initiatives, which has proven to be a very effective tool in crime fighting efforts...

#488048 - 03/15/14 07:04 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 15, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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Coye Family Exonerated but Still Owes Millions in Taxes
The Coye family, recently exonerated of money laundering charges, owes some $3.23 million in income taxes. That is almost half of the combined estate of the late Michael Coye and the assets of Money Exchange International Limited, which were frozen when Michael, Melonie, Marlene and Jude Coye along with...

Gospel Expo’ Kicks off With Great Euphoria from Tonight Until Sunday
The Belize Gospel Expo 2014 officially kicked off tonight at 6:00 pm at the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds, in Belmopan. The weekend long event will see live performances from local and international Christian artists, local and international speakers, worship sessions, talent spotlight, and much more. Richard Smith,...

Rotaract Week 2014 Celebrates
March 9th to 16th is celebrated as world Rotoract week. About 46 years ago the first Rotaract club was chartered in North Carolina. Since then it has expanded, establishing clubs all around the world including Belize. We caught up with Bruce Flowers, Vice President of Rotaract in Belmopan, as...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

R.I.P. “Cuz”
Every now and then in life a politician stands out as iconic for their time. That person for the sister islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker was Louis Sylvester, better knows as “Cuz” to his constituents. The Honorable Louis Sylvestre represented Belize Rural South as Area Representative during the time of independence. One of the most charismatic politicians ever to grace Belize, the love of the Belize Rural South constituents for “Cuz”, and his love for them, was boundless. With his trademark toothpick set between his lips, he would mingle comfortably between and among the people of Belize Rural South, chatting comfortably, engaging rich and poor alike, exchanging conversations, and offering advice. Humble, and with a kind word for everyone, he was a friend to all.


There had been murmurings since last week that Laura Esquivel-Frampton—the embattled director of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and daughter of ex-Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel, of the ruling United Democratic Party—was being pressured to resign due to a major rift between her and senior BTB management. Today, the BTB issued a statement confirming media reports released yesterday, Tuesday, that Esquivel-Frampton, who was heading the BTB, had resigned from her post. Before assuming directorship of the BTB, Esquivel-Frampton was the BTB’s director of product development. Two years ago, she was appointed as director of the BTB to replace Seleni Matus, who resigned forthwith in September 2011 amid reports that she and the then CEO, Lindsey Garbutt, were disputing over how BTB’s money should be spent. Javier Paredez, the BTB’s director of revenue collection and registrar of hotels—one of the seven managers who signed the letter of discontent and who served as interim director after Matus’ resignation — will also serve as interim director until a replacement is found for Esquivel-Frampton.

Excessive alcohol consumption is believed to be the factor that led to a fatal and horrific traffic accident which played out on the Burrell Boom Road last Sunday evening and claimed the lives of two persons – a male driver and a toddler who was a passenger in another vehicle – and injured six others. Today, Thursday, four days after the deadly accident, police still refuse to confirm the identity of what witnesses say was a 6th victim, a young man who was supposed to have surgery today. According to police reports, a white Honda CRV SUV was exiting the Burrell Boom area near the riverside at around 5:15 p.m. Sunday, March 9, when it collided with a white Kia Sportage SUV with 5 occupants, which was coming from the opposite direction. Today, Rural Executive Officer, ASP Chris Noble, told us what the police know about the mishap. He said, “Sometime after 5:00 on Sunday, there was a traffic accident in the Burrell Boom area near the bridge. Subsequently, a 3-year old female and a 28-year old male succumbed. The male was the driver of one of the vehicles and there are multiple persons with broken bones at two separate hospitals in Belize City. We are looking into what may have caused it.

Reverend Dorick Wright, Bishop of Belize and Belmopan, has issued a directive to Catholic schools and institutions under its watch, calling on them to ban from their schools organizations and groups which are promoting “First World’s errors and problems” among “unsuspecting people,” such as the notion of “sexual rights” among children, as well as abortion and homosexuality. Last Monday, March 3, Bishop Wright sent a letter to Catholic local managers and assistants, administrators, principals and teachers, saying that he was reminding them “that organizations whose activities and positions are actively opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and which endanger the souls of the People of God, cannot be welcomed under any circumstances in our schools.” “These organizations often present themselves as champions of some apparent good, whether it be to educate on sexuality and reproductive rights, AIDS, or to administer certain medical treatments or shots to our children, but despite some apparent good, you must, nevertheless, respectfully decline any and all invitation or association with any such organizations. I make this directive to all local managers of Catholic Schools, assistant local managers, all administrators, principals and teachers,” he said.

Controversy has erupted in the health services sector over recent revelations that the daughter of Hon. Erwin Rafael Contreras, Minister of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development & Consumer Protection—fresh out of a Guatemalan school—has been awarded a plush job within the Ministry of Health, in what some say is an instance of flagrant “nepotism.” (Hon. Erwin Contreras has been the UDP area representative for Cayo West since 1998.) Danini Contreras, who has recently acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Pharmaceuticals, is now the Director of the Drug Inspectorate – a brand new post in the Ministry. A senior government official told us that her salary package is of a higher scale than the Chief Pharmacist, who has been working in that position for years. Pablo Marin, the United Democratic Party representative for Corozal Bay, is the Minister of Health, but Amandala has been advised by the Ministry that it was Health CEO Dr. Peter Allen who arranged the hiring.

Bert Vasquez faces trial for murder of Jasmine Lowe
The accused killer of Jasmine Lowe, 13, of Santa Elena, Cayo, Bert Vasquez, 32, will be tried at the Supreme Court without a jury. The decision was handed down yesterday at the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing to determine if there was a case against him that warrants a Supreme Court trial. The defense for Vasquez, Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, made a no-case submission on the grounds that the cause of the girl’s death was unknown, and that there was no eyewitness to the events which led to her death, nor any other evidence that tied him to the death of the girl. The Director of Public Prosecutions, however, countered that they have DNA evidence and other evidence that proves that he, Vasquez, was the one who killed the girl.

SIF under new management
The good reputation of the Social Investment Fund (SIF) was tarnished in September of 2013 when a scandal unfolded involving an incomplete Dangriga market project, irate market vendors and disconcerted subcontractors which led to the eventual departure of 4 senior staffers, including former SIF executive director, Daniel Cano, and former SIF public relations officer, Mike Hernandez, Jr. Five months later, SIF, through a government-issued press release, has stated that the vacant posts have been filled since the start of this month. According to the release, William Lamb – an engineer by profession for more than 25 years – has assumed the post of executive director, while Selwyn King – former public relations officer for the University of Belize (UB) – has been appointed as SIF’s new public relations officer.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Serious bus hassle from Belmopan to PG
This letter is intended to serve as a notice to the Ministry of Transport and to the Department of Public Safety. On several different occasions while on route to PG Town from Belmopan, I have personally witnessed an incredibly dangerous situation, and if we do not do something, perhaps one day – fatal. Between the 3-5 p.m. rush hours as soon as a bus arrives and the gates are opened many people are forced to rush towards the bus in hopes to get a seat on the way home. This is not just any normal rushing. As soon as the gate opens people run and push indiscriminately, putting children, elderly and everyone at risk for falling, or worse. All this occurs in a bus depot with vehicles passing through. The presence of uniformed traffic officers monitoring to stop buses from leaving with “standees” does not actually help this part of the situation. People run to the bus to get a seat so that they do not have to stand and then be kicked off the bus, only to go through the process again on the next bus. This is simple mathematics. There are two ways to solve this problem: 1. Let the exact number of people through so that all seats are filled and no more rushing takes place. 1. Have more buses during this 3-5 p.m. rush hour.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: An appeal from Cerro in Toledo
Our community is located ten minutes walking outside of Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District. The name of the community is Saint Vincent’s Block or Cerro. Our community is majority Garinagu people living on and caring for these communal lands. Most of us living here (over one hundred people) do not have access to clean safe drinking water and many of us are children. Currently those in the community with hand-dug wells use the well-water for cooking and cleaning but there are some people in the community without wells. Our hand-dug well-water is not safe for drinking. We must buy drinking water that is prohibitively expensive and creates plastic pollution. During the dry season once a month the town Fire Department provides us with a drum of water per household. We are grateful for this service. That water comes free of cost but, it is not enough for households (some of which are made up of more than 10 people). Also, this water is not safe for drinking.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Lockey returns to Belize in November
My name is Ray Lockey, I lived and worked in Belize in 1970-71 lecturing at the Teacher Training College and was the National Football Coach. I travelled extensively in the country and made many friends. I played for the Belize team Spurs managed by Teddy Gonzalez and have kept in contact with him over the past 40 years. I am returning to Belize (for the first time) in November and would like to meet as many of my old friends as possible. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Many of the participants in the “20,000 Strong” march wore T-shirts on the back of which were printed the slogan “Imagine Belize Without Women!” Yes, indeed, unimaginable for sure. What I would like to see are T-shirts carrying on the back the slogan “Imagine Belize Without A Corrupt Government!” Maybe someone like Lord Ashcroft could have them made up and personally stand on street corners handing them out to every passer by. It would be inspirational and help to realign his otherwise deplorable karmic debt. Who knows? Imagine!

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Come on with some labels for food safety!
Unlabeled food products are a hidden danger to all of us. When there are no labels, consumers are at risk of getting ill while the health authorities are not able to trace the origin of the tainted products. It is hard to believe that in this modern age there are so many packaged food products sold from shop shelves in Belize without any labels. Food safety is a serious subject. Food producers owe it to their customers to identify themselves. And the supervisory agencies should take every possible action to ensure that buyers receive good quality products for their hard-earned money. However, when one walks the aisles of many shops it can be seen that there are many items on sale without ANY labels including baked bread, plantain chips, ideals, bottled drinks, meats and others. This makes one wonder about the quality of the product.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Amandala fan writes
As a writer and an aspiring journalist, I thank you Amandala for your newspaper’s articles and commentaries. I find them always riveting and informative when I read. The articles touch on the inside scoop with in depth and accurate reporting in contrast to the boring and predictable spin of linear one-sided stories that we are accustomed to on TV news and other political propaganda pieces. I would like to thank and commend the Amandala for its dedication to actual news and its critical social commentary on the state of blacks and other poor downtrodden people in Belize. Keep it up!

Why no helicopters?
I just want to ask a question. Why doesn’t the Belize army have any helicopters? Is it because they can’t afford them? I’m pretty sure the government could spare some money to at least buy them one helicopter. I believe that helicopter aviation is really vital to an army as they more easily access the outback. Also, when a criminal is on the run he can easier be tracked from the air and this could probably be sooner done with a helicopter than with an airplane. it is something we can consider, the usefulness of a helicopter.

From The Publisher
Sunday morning was Ninth of March, and in sailing families, such as the one from which I am descended, this is a holy day. Usually the fresh, sunny southeasters are beginning to take effect by Ninth of March, but they do not dominate the weather as absolutely as they will do in April and May. This Ninth of March morning, praise God, a southeaster was in effect. I was driving sometime between 7 and 7:30 towards the Kremandala yard on Partridge Street when I heard Captain Nicholas Sanchez call KREM Radio, where our engineer J. C. Arzu was the announcer/technician in control. Captain Sanchez, a great Belizean patriot, was in charge of the annual ceremonies to honor Baron Bliss and other Belizean “heroes and benefactors.” These ceremonies would take place at 8 a.m., and I could hear the regret in Captain Sanchez’s voice when he realized that KREM, tied up with La Ruta Maya, would not be carrying the ceremonies live.

Baron Bliss Regatta 2014
Belize City harbour was again the venue for the 86th Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta. The event is sponsored annually by the Baron Bliss Trust and the Office of the Governor General. “The first Baron Bliss Regatta occurred in 1927, and there was one year after a devastating hurricane, either 1932 or 1962, when none was held,” said Chairman of the Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta Committee, Captain Nicolas Sanchez. The many spectators in the newly renovated BTL Park, Newtown Barracks enjoyed races by 44 sailboats of the Optimist Class. The Optimist Class is raced equally by boys and girls up to age 15. The youngest competing were Malik Jones of Caye Caulker Sailing Club and Christian “CJ” Ferrel, Jr. of Placencia Sailing Club, both 8 years old. The first of five Optimist races was abandoned, as the Northern Drowned Caye flag had come off the marker and could not be seen from the first marker, a nautical mile away. As the wind dropped nearer mid-morning, the second race on the traditional course took little over an hour, so the course was shortened for an additional 3 races (with one discard). The final Optimist race was drastically shortened to make up time.

(Smart) No Limit Soldiers fall
The Belize City (Smart) No Limit Soldiers arrived at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium, which was already packed with Western Ballaz supporters, last Friday night about 20 minutes before tip-off time. The atmosphere in the building was great, and the fans were chomping at the bit for some top level basketball. Much respect must be given to the Western Ballaz organizers and promoters for hosting such a grand basketball event; hopefully, that kind of experience can be duplicated in all 8 home gyms for the remainder of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) season. It was evident that this home court would be one of the best in the league, as the noise level was off the charts even for the player introductions. And when the game finally got underway, the local fans erupted with excitement as the Ballaz’ Farron Louriano won the jump ball over No Limit’s Andrew Ortiz. The Western Ballaz fans would maintain their high energy throughout the entire 40 minutes of action, as they all screamed at the top of their lungs with every made basket and rebound by the home team. MC’s for the night, local deejay Mistah G and Belize City native Melissa Coleman, led the crowd in chants such as: “DEFENSE” and “LET’S GO BALLAZ,” in which each fan participated with immense gusto.

Gwen Liz girls and Nazarene boys are CSSSA Softball Champions 2014

3 suicides in 4 days in the north
There have been three deaths that have been classified by police as suicides — two in Orange Walk Town and one in Corozal. The victims all died by hanging themselves with a rope tied around their necks. The three suicide victims are Frances Salam, 13, of Santa Rita, Corozal, a first form student of the Corozal Community College; Edwardo Pech, 36, a businessman of Stadium Street, Orange Walk Town; and Abel Garcia, 28, of Santa Familia Street, Orange Walk Town, who was a supervisor in a construction company. The first to die was Frances Salam, who was declared dead about 4:30 Friday afternoon at her home in Santa Rita after she was found hanging by a rope tied around her neck, the other end being tied to a 2×4 beam in the ceiling of their shed. She was taken down by her father, Constable Sotero Salam of the Corozal Police Formation.

Tragedy on the Pueblo Viejo ferry – operator fell overboard and drowned
Artemio Vivas, 51, of Corozal Town, the Pueblo Nuevo ferry operator, died after falling overboard into the water and disappearing at about 2:00 o’clock this morning. Reports are that Vivas went to urinate, but he slipped and fell into the water, which was higher than normal due to the rain that had fallen earlier that night. The incident occurred on the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry in the Corozal District. In an interview with Que Pasa Corozal, Rolando Alcoser, who was working with Vivas on the ferry, said that they were pulling across a BEL vehicle from Corozal to the Progresso /Copper Bank side when Vivas went to urinate over the edge of the ferry, and fell overboard into the water. The BEL workers on the ferry along with him quickly tried to rescue Vivas, but he was unable to swim and went under. The alarm was raised and a search for him began, with police involved, and Vivas’s body was found at about 8:00 this morning in the area.

Intoxicated unlicensed driver drove into shop
Giovanni Elijio, 21, of Compassion Lane, the driver of a vehicle that crashed into and damaged the verandah of Guan Ying Shop located on Marage Road, Ladyville, about 12:30 Monday afternoon, was charged with using an unlicensed motor vehicle, using a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, driving a motor vehicle without being the holder of a Belize driver’s license, and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. Police said that upon arriving on the scene, they saw a black 4-door Sidekick motor vehicle parked in the middle of Marage Road facing the Philip Goldson Highway, with damages to the rear bumper. Also, the rear right tire of the vehicle was punctured, the rear right fender was broken and the glass window of the driver’s door was completely shattered.

The Tigersharks tear apart the Bandits!!!
Last Saturday night at the UB Gym, the Belmopan Point Bandits (2-3) succumbed to the ferocity unleashed by the San Pedro Tigersharks (4-1). From the get-go, the home fans had a foreshadowing of the unforgettable night the Tigersharks had in store for the Bandits. In the first quarter, the Tigersharks pounded the Bandits so hard with points that the Bandits were unable to recover. Ashton Edwards was on fire, particularly in the first quarter, where he alone scored five three-pointers to give San Pedro a lead of 29-13. The second quarter was slower, when compared to the first, but points still kept coming. Jamal Kelly hit two three-pointers, contributing more than half of the eleven points gained by San Pedro and maintaining the lead, 40-22. In the second half, the fans saw both teams exchanging “blows.” Left, right and center penetrations made the game very exciting. Fans from rival teams cheered on their champions’ magnificent plays. Nevertheless, the first-quarter damage inflicted by the Tigersharks had already taken its toll. The Bandits suffered their first home loss at the hands of the Tigersharks by 84-59.

No early elections, says Barrow
The Barrow administration—elected in 2012 on a five-year term—has been under fire over allegations of corruption in the issuance of Belizean passport(s) and nationality, and while the slim 17-14 majority of the United Democratic Party remains intact, Barrow has said that if anything could bring down his government, it would be ‘hustling’ in immigration. Even as the passport scandal in which Elvin Penner, a UDP parliamentarian, was fingered, remains at the center of controversy with criminal investigations now underway, Barrow boasted confidently on Friday that his administration will remain in office for at least the next three years. He went on to say that the UDP will win every seat in the next municipal elections, due next year, 2015.

2 referees in need of public’s assistance after traffic accident
The present health status of two well-known local football referees who were knocked down after 10:00 p.m. on Friday, February 28, near Los Lagos on the Philip Goldson Highway underscores – yet again – the dangers posed by drivers who apparently have no problem jeopardizing the lives of both themselves and innocent civilians by consuming too much alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Last week we reported on a traffic accident in which two motorcyclists almost lost their lives after a careless driver who was overtaking another vehicle nearly ran them over at about Mile 12 on the Philip Goldson Highway. Today, when we checked in with the victims, who are still admitted at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, they told us that they are completely unaware of the status of the police investigations, but more importantly, they need the public’s assistance to defray mounting medical bills which they have accumulated since being in the hospital.

November 1982: “Price under threat from Belize Right”
(The article below by Greg Chamberlain was first published in THE GUARDIAN of November 29, 1982, and reproduced in the AMANDALA of Friday, December 17, 1982.) On the eve of President Reagan’s visit to Central America this week, Washington is anxiously monitoring a power struggle in the former British colony of Belize which could tip the political balance in the region further against the United States. The Belizean Prime Minister, Mr. George Price, who has dominated the country for 32 years, is resisting powerful pressure to throw in his lot with right-wing, strongly pro-US members of his Cabinet and dismiss two Ministers accused of trying to ally the country with Nicaragua and Cuba. Mr. Price, who has so far tried to walk a narrow line between the region’s rival governments, recently met representatives of the Salvadorean and Guatemalan left, with Nicaragua’s Sandinistas, in Belize to discuss the country’s role in the region.

Caribbean leaders discuss priority issues
In a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on Tuesday, the region’s leaders—who expressed their continued support for the territorial integrity of Belize—welcomed the latest developments between Belize and Guatemala to activate the Joint Commission to promote cooperative relations between both countries. According to the communiqué, “They also welcomed their renewed commitment to preserve the Special Agreement of 2008, which commits both parties to resort to the International Court of Justice for a final determination of the Guatemalan claim.” The Caribbean leaders said that they support the Road Map signed on 24 January 2014 by Belize and Guatemala and by the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS). That road map is said to be aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing mutual trust conducive to setting a new date to hold the referendum in both countries.

2% growth forecast for 2014-2015
The country’s economy is expected to grow at a modest rate of 2% percent, according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who presented the latest economic review and projections in the National Assembly on Friday in the context of the budget presentation for the upcoming fiscal year, 2014-2015, which begins on April 1. Barrow reported that Belize’s economy grew by 0.7% in 2013 – a deceleration of the 4.0% he reported for 2012, but said that the outlook for 2014 is “full of promise,” with the Central Bank projecting a GDP growth of 2% in 2014, as the primary sector returns to positive output, construction and tourism hold steady, and Government’s capital spending program expands. In explaining the low GDP growth reported for 2013, Barrow said, “The slowdown emanated in part from the primary sector where unfavorable weather and diseases caused production of the major export crops – banana, sugarcane and citrus – to decrease”.

Delroy complains
Candidate for the Stann Creek West constituency for the UDP, Delroy Cuthkelvin, has complained to UDP Secretary General Pearl Stuart that apparently, there is an intention to “prejudice the outcome of the [party] convention in favor of one candidate…” According to Cuthkelvin’s campaign committee, “at a meeting in Silk Grass on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, attended by our candidate and other representatives of our campaign committee, a maximum of just over 200 names were presented, reviewed and agreed on. “Yet the Secretariat has prepared a list of almost 900 names, which we understand was compiled in conjunction with Melvin Hulse, one of the other contestants in the convention.

Will Elvin Penner ever face criminal charges?
The former Minister of State for Immigration, Elvin Penner, the disgraced UDP politician and area representative for the Cayo North East constituency, is about to become the first sitting member of the House of Representatives to face criminal charges for official wrongdoing, say lawyers for PUP leader Hon. Francis Fonseca. Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head of the National Crime Investigation Branch, Russell Blackett, confirmed today that the police’s investigation of the Penner passport scandal is well underway. “A file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but there are still a few minor details that the police have to deal with, before the investigation is actually completed,” Blackett said. When asked, however, how many persons have the police interviewed during the investigation, Blackett would only emphasize that “the investigation is almost complete.”

Four games were played at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium on Sunday, March 9, in Week 2 of the Youths Cup category in the Belmopan City Council Mundialito Kids, Female and Youth Cup 2014, which is being conducted by the Belmopan Football Association (BFA). In game 1 at 10:00 a.m., San Martin-Mexico dropped Valley of Peace-Korea, 2-1, with both goals coming from George Hidalgo (2’ & 52’), while Savier Sanchez (56’) scored for Valley of Peace. Game 2 saw Central Site-England bombing Las Flores-Spain, 5-1, with goals from Noah Moro (7’), Ajani Banner (34’ & 49’) and Jamal Tejada (69’ & 73’); the lone tally for Las Flores-Spain was by Jairo Lopez (26’). Salvapan-Brazil drew 0-0 with Mountain View-Italy in game 3. And in game 4, Armenia-Portugal demolished Piccini-France by an 8-nil score, courtesy of 5 goals from Carlos Gonzalez (7’, 27’, 58’, 60’ & 69’) and 1 apiece from Eduardo Alfaro (23’), Rony Riviera (32’) and Adony Ascencio (62’).

The working basis of parliamentary government in Belize is a lie, and that lie involves Cabinet members who swear that they are honest, working along with and testifying for Cabinet members whom they and many members of the public know to be criminal in their intent and in their behavior. The basis of the legal system in Belize is a lie, and that lie involves trained counsel using all their skill to have citizens they know to have committed criminal acts, be released into the society as free, exonerated men/women without being punished for their evil deeds. The legal system in its operations exposes the fact that, despite its portrayal of itself as impartial through the metaphor of the blind lady holding the scale of justice, the legal system is unequal and unjust in its decision making. The inequality and injustice are derived primarily from financial realities. Some accused cannot afford an attorney to defend them: they are doomed. Those accused who are wealthy can afford attorneys who are so skillful that it is functionally impossible to convict them, and when there is such a thing as a conviction phenomenon in their matters, these issues are resolved in their favor in higher courts of law. The rich become richer; the poor go to jail.

There are many things going on all over the place that may seem unrelated but which to me are very much related: these “things” or “events” are very much reflective of the ethos of our people and the culture of our nation. They are also yardsticks by which to measure the way we see ourselves and others. This past long holiday weekend was interesting for many reasons…. some good and some not so good. From juice to beers Tragedy struck the Silva family when a youth suspected of being drunk crashed his vehicle into theirs resulting in the death of a three-year-old, miracle child of a young couple. I personally had stopped following the cycling race and now Ruta Maya, because I have become concerned with the wild driving and excessive drinking being associated with two of my favorite sporting events. Those who went out can attest to the excessive drinking now associated with these “family” outings as many adults forget children are what they learn and learn what they see.

Louis “Cuz” Sylvester, a former People’s United Party (PUP) stalwart, died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City on Thursday, March 6, of complications from a stroke that he suffered in 2008. Sylvester was 82. In his political heyday, which lasted almost three decades, under the leadership of the late Rt. Hon. George C. Price, Sylvester dominated the Belize Rural South constituency. He served as Minister, holding various portfolios in former Prime Minister Price’s cabinets from the mid 1950’s. Sylvester, in the course of his political career, had served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Public Utilities, and Minister of Communications and Local Government. Considered a part of the PUP’s right wing, Sylvester left the PUP in 1984, after the party lost its first post-independence elections and the rivalry between the PUP’s right wing and left wing became more pronounced. He formed his own political party, but was less successful. Late in his life he joined the United Democratic Party and ran in a general election on their ticket.

A special sitting of the Supreme Court was held on Tuesday, March 11, in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, for the swearing-in ceremony of a new Supreme Court Justice, Shona Griffith, who will preside over the civil division of the court. Madam Justice Griffith, who is a Guyanese national, has been in Belize a little over two years and was serving the Judiciary as a Senior Magistrate in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. Justice Griffith has been practicing law for over fifteen years, and holds a Master’s degree in law from the University of London. She is a graduate of the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad.

(The article below was first published in the AMANDALA issue of Friday, February 25, 1983.) BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 24 Following a meeting of right wing PUP Ministers and “soldiers” held last week at Trinidad Farm, a mimeographed bulletin has been circulated attacking Attorney General Said Musa, who is described as “the proclaimed leader of the Democratic Direction, the leftist party within the People’s United Party.” For the first time the right has fingered, which is to say, called the names of all those they consider “the socialists and communists.” Those accused are, and we quote directly: “Said Musa, MacClovio Alamilla of Shell Oil Company, Gloria McField, Elkin Trench of Belize Estate, Bobbie Usher of Northern Fishermen, Steve Mahler of Belize Estate, Leni Jo, Martin Saldivar of St. Joseph School, Remijio Montejo, Dorian Barrow of Belize Technical School, Rafael Chavez, Clement Usher of Credit Union of Belize City. From the Cayo District, Assad Shoman, Jorge Aguilar, Juan Duran, Enrique Martinez of Belize Times and Oscar Alonzo of Development Finance Corporation. From Orange Walk, Eddie Salas and Domingo Perez from the U.G.W.U., Landy Burns and Chabo Orio, and Godfrey the Lawyer who is the overall contact man.”

Just before daybreak this past Sunday, March 9, a young motorcyclist lost his life almost instantly after a head-on collision with an SUV in the vicinity of Camalote, near the City of Belmopan. Police reported that they were called out to Camalote at about 5:00 a.m. on Sunday where they observed a red 4-door Isuzu Rodeo parked on the George Price Highway with severe damages to its right front light and fender, damage to its right front wheel and a broken right side windshield. They also saw, in the immediate area, a red motorcycle – resembling a dirt bike – with extensive damages and its driver lying face down on the pavement, motionless and apparently dead. Their initial investigations revealed that Belmopan resident Anthony Polonio, 53, was driving his vehicle from the direction of San Ignacio Town towards Belmopan when, upon reaching between Miles 50 and 51, a motorcycle – being driven at the time by Jose Martinez, 22, which was coming from the opposite direction, collided head-on with the vehicle.

The extended weekend was buzzing with an array of activities which took place mainly in the Belize River Valley area where the 16th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya canoe race was passing. However, the celebrations probably also created the conditions for both major and minor traffic accidents which either endangered or claimed the lives of several persons. Authorities who were working in the Burrell Boom area on Sunday had their hands full as they responded to multiple traffic accidents – two of which occurred almost simultaneously within their jurisdiction. A few moments before a small child and a young man perished in a fatal traffic accident on the Boom Road, there was a 4-car pile-up along that same stretch of road, and according to ASP Chris Noble, O.C. Belize Rural Formation, the officers had to prioritize the accident in which there were lives at risk.

Leslie Vernon, 40, a fisherman and tour guide operator of Placencia, bled to death when he sustained a large cut wound on the back of his right leg, which caused a main artery to be ruptured. The incident occurred about 12:30 yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, in a boat repair yard on the banks of the lagoon in Placencia. His brother, who saw what had happened, rushed him in a boat across the lagoon to Malacate Beach in an effort to get him medical attention at the Independence Polyclinic, but the effort was in vain. Vernon died in the boat before they reached Malacate Beach on the other side of the lagoon. His body was taken to the Dangriga Hospital, where it underwent a postmortem. Doctors declared that he bled to death. Vernon and his father had been repairing a fiberglass boat at about 12:30 yesterday afternoon when the grinder he was using hit a bump on the boat, causing him to lose control of it, and it caused a large cut behind his leg, which began to bleed heavily. Mary Toy, a close friend of the family, told Amandala that when they called the Placencia Polyclinic, they were told that the doctor was not in, but that the nurse would try to contact him. They became fearful, however, that Leslie would die in their care because of the delay, and his brother quickly applied a tourniquet to the wound to stop the bleeding, but Vernon died before they could have gotten him critical medical treatment.

Police have concluded, after investigating the road traffic accident that claimed the life of Anthony “Tony” Hunter, 52, at about 8:15 Saturday morning, February 22, that the driver of the backhoe with which Hunter’s motorcycle collided was at fault. Hunter, of Dolphin Drive, Belize City, was travelling on his motorcycle from Belize City towards Hattieville when he collided with the right rear wheel of a backhoe at the junction of Linda Vista and the George Price Highway near the Foam Factory, between Miles 2 and 3 on the highway. Police say that they have forwarded the file containing the results of their investigation into the incident to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for further directives, but are confident that the driver of the backhoe will be charged with the traffic offenses of driving without due care and attention, causing death by careless conduct and manslaughter by negligence. The announcement was made today, at the Racoon Street Police Station.

The bodies of a Belizean man and three other men who were massacred by gunmen on a road leading to a farm opposite the colony, Villas Paraíso, in the El Carmen area of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, were found by Hondurans soldiers and police who went to the area Thursday morning last week, March 6. Authorities reported that the four men murdered in what they believe was a drug-related massacre were identified as Belizean-Guatemalan, Mario Roberto Cocón Ochaeta, 34; Mexican, Miguel Torres Jimenez; Douglas Secoff Anthony, 23, of Roatan, Honduras, and Leizer Hugo De la Rosa Garcia, 36, of Guatemala. Quentin Juarez, Commander of the National Interagency Security Force (Fusina), in an interview with Diario De Honduras, San Pedro Sula, said that they have declared that the deaths were due to a bad drug deal, which led to the shooting.

On Thursday, a Belize City woman was arrested and charged by Hattieville police after prison officials caught her with 12 grams of marijuana inside her underwear; she was attempting to smuggle the weed to her boyfriend, who is on remand at the Belize Central Prison. Kristy Ramclam, 19, a single mother, appeared in the Magistrate’s Court this morning and pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled drug. Ramclam broke down in tears before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton fined her $500 plus $5 cost of court. He ordered her to pay $250 forthwith. Before imposing the fine, Hamilton told Ramclam that she is fortunate that she was not charged with drug trafficking; otherwise, she would be facing a $10,000 fine and a possible three-year prison sentence.

Arthur Connor, 47, found beaten to death
Arthur Connor, 47, a mechanic, was found beaten to death in the back of a delivery truck that was altered to live in, on the Foam Factory compound at Mile 2 on the George Price Highway. The gruesome discovery was made about 8:30 yesterday morning, Tuesday. Connor was believed to have been drinking with two other men, whom he knew, in the truck back adapted as a caravan. For some reason, the men subsequently became involved in a fight, during which Connor was repeatedly bashed in the face and head with a concrete block, and his upper body was beaten with a stick. One of the men who was drinking with him has been taken into custody, while police continue to look for the second man. Connor’s family said that Arthur’s phone was found with the man now in custody.

Earl Baizar, of Dangriga, killed in San Ignacio
The Baizar family of Dangriga is mourning the death of their son, Earl, 20, who died in San Ignacio Friday morning after he was stabbed multiple times in the chest and upper part of the body, in front of Atlantic Bank, while walking on Burns Avenue at about 1:00 o’clock in the morning. Reports are that Baizar was walking from the Blue Angels nightclub, from where he was ejected after he became involved in an altercation with another man. The security guard and police had reportedly put the two men out of the club. Police believe that while Baizar was on Burns Avenue, not far from the nightclub, the man with whom he had been fighting in the club rode up on an ATV motorcycle and attacked him with a butcher knife.

Man who stabbed uncle over land dispute arraigned on murder charge
Oliver Peters, 36, an electrician formerly of Arlington Drive, appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this morning and was arraigned on a charge of murder. Cayetano remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until his next scheduled court date on April 23. Peters was originally remanded to prison on attempted murder and related charges after he allegedly stabbed his uncle on December 7, 2013, sending him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition. But on February 22, Peters’ uncle, Thomas Ferguson, 44, succumbed to his injuries and police upgraded Peters’ charges to murder.

Salesman robbed on Philip Goldson Highway
At about 3:30 Friday evening, a salesman and his assistant were held up and robbed at gunpoint while travelling from Belize City to Orange Walk on the Philip Goldson Highway in Biscayne, and the three bandits got away with $2,100. Fabian Quinones, of Orange Walk Town, told police that he and his driver, Mason Quiroz, a truck driver, also of Orange Walk Town, were traveling from Belize City to Orange Walk on the Philip Goldson Highway, in a white freightliner truck when a black four-door Toyota pickup with tinted glass overtook them, slowed down in front of them and stopped, causing them to stop. Then, three men, two of whom were armed with 9mm pistols, jumped out of the vehicle.

Gungulung resident shot in the chest
Tarique Gillette, 17, of the CET Site area of Gungulung in Lake Independence, is presently fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot in the right side of his chest by one of two men at about 3:00 o’clock yesterday afternoon at the corner of an unnamed street that intersects with Holy Emmanuel Street in the Gungulung area of the city. Police reports are that Gillette and three other men were standing at the corner of the unnamed street, talking, when two men rode up on separate bicycles and one of them pulled out a gun and shot Gillette.

Policeman and brother injured in brawl in Concepcion
A policeman and his brother were hurt after they were attacked at a bar in Concepcion by two men of the village. Police Constable Javier Noble suffered a large cut wound to the head, while his brother, Angel Noble, 18, was cut in the right side of the head. They were both taken to the Corozal Hospital, and afterwards, PC Javier Noble was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further medical treatment. The incident occurred at about 11:00 last night. According to police, the two Noble brothers had been involved in a brawl with some men, who inflicted the cut wounds on them.

Inadequate ID leads to murder acquittal
“It is not in all cases the judge will leave it to the jury to find the accused guilty or not guilty,” said Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas, addressing a jury of eight women and four men who heard the evidence in a murder trial. “In this case I find the identification of the accused is insufficient for me to leave it to you to decide.” Following those words, Justice Lucas directed the jury to return a not guilty of murder verdict in the trial of Kirk Smith, Jr., 22, accused of the August 15, 2010 shooting death of Ian Arnold at his Berkeley Street residence. Arnold, a practicing Rastafarian and an employee of Wesley College, was shot multiple times and died about one hour later. Four days after the homicide, Belize City police arrested and charged Smith, Jr., for Arnold’s murder. Smith, however, never participated in a police identification parade.

Brothers stabbed in bar in Orange Walk
Two brothers were stabbed with broken bottles during a fight in at a bar in Orange Walk. Juan Ramirez and his brother, Jose Rafael Ramirez, were socializing at the Mi Casa Bar when they were attacked by three men who wielded broken bottles at about 11:30 Saturday night. Juan Ramirez suffered multiple cut wounds to various parts of his body, while his brother, Rafael, suffered cut wounds to the head. The attackers then ran out of the bar.

Teacher robbed at knifepoint by former student
A teacher was robbed yesterday at knifepoint by a former student of hers, whom she had taught for years. The incident occurred about 7:25 last night in front of the Saint Francis Xavier Church on 1st Street South in Corozal Town. Ayonie Briceño, 57, a teacher of Santa Rita, Corozal Town, told police that she was standing in front of the Saint Francis Xavier Church talking along with three women who were part of her church group, when two men approached her, one of whom was a former student of hers whom she had taught for several years. Her former student was armed with a knife, which he put at her side, then he stole her chain, valued at about $250, from around her neck.

Carnal knowledge in San Antonio, Toledo
Toledo police are seeking a man, 25, of San Antonio on charges of carnal knowledge of a girl, 14. The incident occurred about 7:30 Friday evening behind the girl’s house in her family’s yard in San Antonio, Toledo. The girl told police that she was at home when a man she knows came into their yard and took her behind her family’s house, where he had sex with her. Her brothers, who saw what was happening, alerted their mother, who went to see what was happening, and the man ran out of the yard.

Succotz villager charged with drug trafficking in Belize City
Adan Martinez, 29, a construction worker and resident of Succotz, Cayo District, was released on a $10,000 bail after he pleaded not guilty to one count of drug trafficking in the Belize Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. Martinez appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who stipulated that as part of his bail condition, he is to report to the Benque Viejo Police Station every Monday, until his case is concluded. Belize City police charged Martinez with one count of being in possession of a controlled drug, 7.5 kilograms of cannabis (16.53 pounds), with intent to supply to another for the purpose of drug trafficking.

Burglaries reported in Cayo, Belmopan and Corozal
Burglaries were reported in Cayo, Belmopan and Corozal, with the victims of these incidents, in total, losing over $15,000 in goods and merchandise. The most recent burglary occurred sometime between 8:00 Saturday morning and 8:00 Sunday morning, March 9, said one of the burglary victims, Harris Patten, 39, a Public Health Inspector of College Road, Corozal Town, who told police that the thief or thieves entered his house in that time period and stole a 32-inch Magnavox flat screen TV valued at $1,800 and a black Sony DVD player valued at $300.

Darrington Lauriano, Jr., escapes death
Darrington Lauriano, Jr., 21, of San Juan, San Pedro, has been treated and released from the San Pedro Polyclinic after he was shot in the shoulder, with the bullet exiting though his back. The incident occurred at about 9:30 last night. Lauriano, who is well-known to police, reported that he was walking home on Sandpiper Street from the direction of Pescador Drive toward the San Juan area when he heard a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot, and realized that he had been shot.

7 years for punching minor and stealing his bicycle
A Belize City man who pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and wounding was sentenced to seven years in prison when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer this morning. Eutychus Nuñez, 19, an unemployed of 6060 Mahogany Street, was accused of stealing a beach cruiser bicycle and wounding the owner, Delroy Herrera, Jr., a seventeen-year-old minor and student, in the process of committing the robbery. According to court documents, Herrera was riding his beach cruiser bicycle on Princess Margaret Drive around 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, when two men rode up beside him.


The San Pedro Boardwalk & Water Taxi Inauguration: A Look Around
A few days ago, I was passing on the Back Street of San Pedro and saw this sign. And quite honestly? After the flurry of activity around this expensive re-do of the “Old Football field” or Saca Chispas at the back side of town last year, I had kinda forgotten about this big project. The $6 million US project was planned to move water taxi traffic (both domestic and international) to the back side of the island to centralize arrivals. It was also planned with a sorely needed REAL (like with grass and everything) football field and with a full board walk along the lagoon side of town. A project to bring traffic to this area. Here is a bit of what the area used to look like… Boats, small docks and huts. And here is what I saw yesterday.

Press Release: Technical Cooperation on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) between Belize and Mexico
To view the Press Release on the Technical Cooperation on LPG between Belize and Mexico, kindly view the document below.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Hamantasche an' t'Feas o'Purim
Tomerroe is t'Feas o'Purim. It is nairy a feas at I have ev'r celebratid, since it is manely a Jewish Feas, but t'stery o' its origin is recerdet n' t'bibull n' t'book o'Esth'r. It is a feas o'joy an' celebrashun fer t'salvashun o't' Joos who had bee cundemmd ta die by ord'r o'Kyun' Ahazuerus. T' plot ta destroy t'Joos wuz contrivet by thar arch enemy Hamun who hatid Merdicai , t'uncle who raiset Esth'r, t' lovelee maide at won t'heert o' Ahazuerus an' became his'n quee. Quee Esth'r is t'heroine o't' stery. It is through hern at t'Joos n' t'kingdom air spard an' nairy onlee spard but honouret !

Next Stop – Belize
After doing some research and scouring the travel blog-osphere we decided on this beautiful Central American destination. If it’s anything like Costa Rica then how can we really go wrong? How We Decided on Belize We first came across a Groupon for a Belize Getaway to Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye is an island off of Belize that sits in the Carribbean. I had never heard of it before, but quickly learned it was recently voted #1 in the Top 10 Islands of the World by Trip Advisor!

Great Blue Hole: hardest place to reach of all my travels.
You know those beautiful images that you see on the internet and then you think, one day I want to go to this place! So, this was the case with the Blue Hole, a vertical cave, full of sharks, shaped in a perfect circle in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and nearly 100 km from the coast. I think the Great Blue Hole was the hardest place to reach of all my travels. Since my departure from Guatemala, I faced: 1) a driver who almost left me at the border because I was the only nationality that needed an entry visa for Belize; 2) then a bad diving instructor, who cancelled without notice 3) two hours in a speedboat at high speed, facing a storm with winds and huge waves 4) amazingly enough, I was trying to dodge a million cockroaches that started coming out of all the cracks of the boat as soon as the vessel began to shake because of the stormy sea.

Massive march commenced from the San Pedro Central Park
Mar 14 – Ambergris Caye - Last night March 13th, a massive march commenced from the San Pedro Central Park at around 5:30 p.m. in support of the Arceo and Eiley Families and for their horrible loss of a beloved son Jeffrey Eiley, who was senselessly shot to death on the island. The march was also a peaceful protest against the growing crime and gun violence on Ambergris Caye. It was non-political and non-partisan. It was a march AGAINST THE SENSELESS violence recently plaguing the island. The march was to say that together “we love our island, our home, and will not tolerate this anymore”. The islanders and expat community clearly stand strong and will resist further impact of crime in their daily lives. It was also to show the police department and the government (local and country-wide) and their neighbors and the whole island that they need change. Change is coming!

Profiting from a strong private sector – Donations Part VII
Most businesses make charitable donations in different forms. Some give cash; some donate the products or services they usually profit from selling. However, schools, athletic teams, scholarship recipients, health causes, and many other entities that depend on charity will acknowledge that the business community does a great deal to assist. Why do we need the private sector? Because a healthy, growing private sector that collectively contributes to its community in the ways described above, also contributes to Belize’s economic development because the world’s most vibrant economies are built on a thriving private sector and because the food, artwork and culture are irresistible. Let’s work hard and build a safe and productive environment for our Corozal District.

Hiking The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Oh so much fun we had in Belize! Come along for another day of adventure as we explore the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first jaguar preserve. It’s just the place to explore a jungle, to swim in solitude beneath a refeshingly cool waterfall, to hear the calls of birds and monkeys high up in the trees, and to hike along a trail less traveled. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to one of the best maintained jungle hiking trail systems in Belize. It’s also a safe haven for many native wild cats, including jaguars, pumas, margays and ocelots. But don’t worry, the odds of you crossing paths with any of these wild critters while hiking in the sanctuary is unlikely. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also a haven for other Belize critters – coatis, kinkajous, deer, peccaries, tapirs and nearly 300 species of birds call the sanctuary home. Are you ready to get this adventure on the trail? Great! As with every journey, there is a beginning, and so, this journey begins at the Wildlife Sanctuary’s Information Center. It’s perfect for orienteering yourself to the sanctuary’s many hiking trails and the resident wildlife. Oh, and meeting a resident jaguar that won’t eat your hand.

International Sources

Thoughts on the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Spring is upon us, and it is time to start looking toward this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. Readers should be instantly dubious of any hurricane season forecast, such as this one, due to their inconsistent skill. Last year, myself and every major forecasting agency that I know of predicted a more active hurricane season than normal, and we were all wrong. In fact, 2013 turned out to be one of the top 10 least active seasons since 1950, with only 2 hurricanes and an ACE of 34% of normal. In hindsight, there are a couple of possible reasons for this, such as an apparent faltering of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation and the local Atlantic Hadley Cell. Regardless of how well hurricane activity is predicted in advance, you the reader should be aware that nobody can predict individual hurricanes months in advance, and no matter what the season as a whole is like, there is always the potential for a hurricane to form and impact you. Hurricane Andrew destroying south Florida during the otherwise completely quiet 1992 hurricane season is the poster child example of this. With this in mind, and despite forecasting failures like 2013, meteorologists can usually glean useful insight into how active the hurricane season will be before it has even begun. Here, I will offer my thoughts on what 2014 may bring.

#488049 - 03/15/14 07:05 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 15, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

European Union Fisheries Ban Ignores Belize Conservation Success Story
Belize is a small nation that has been making some big headlines lately due to the rogue fishing practices of some of the vessels its government has flagged. Regrettably, this has cast the entire Belizean fishing industry in a poor light, including its 15,000 people whose livelihoods are directly tied to fishing. A reader of recent headlines could deduce that the Belizean government is not doing anything to promote sustainable fishing. That assumption, and the EU’s move to ban imports from Belize, have one thing in common: They are wrong. In its coastal fisheries, Belize is leading the way in innovative management strategies designed to preserve biodiversity in a manner that keeps fishermen on the water and focused on the long-term sustainability of fish stocks. Future generations of Belizeans will be able to carry on their rich fishing traditions thanks to the decisions, at times quite difficult, being made right now.

Students to spend week at school for deaf in Belize
Seven students from Munro Academy left Thursday for Belize and will spend a week with students at the Cayo Deaf Institute. The Cayo Deaf Institute is run by Mennonites. According to its website, the students participate in activities such as class work, farming, chores, meal preparation and cleanup, yard work and church services. "Our students will be doing farm work in support of the school," said Jeanne Ferguson, a member of the board of Munro academy. The group will also be setting up a computer network for the students. "Our students have been raising money for the trip and to purchase computers for the school," Ferguson said. "Last week we received a hefty donation to help with the cost of the computers, so that was a big help. We don’t know who made the donation, but it was very nice.”

The pride of Belize hits the road
Who is Deon McCaulay? It is a question many football fans were asking after seeing the name at the top of the scorers’ table for 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying. Many may not know the man himself and even more may not be able to find his home nation of Belize on a map, but one fact remains: He edged out Dutch ace Robin van Persie and Uruguay’s ruthless Luis Suarez - not to mention Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - as the globe’s top marksman on the road to Brazil 2014. “I mean, it feels really good to have my name up there with those big, no, those huge names from all the big countries,” McCaulay told FIFA.com in a recent interview. “Not a lot of people know me and not a lot of people probably know much about Belize, so it’s a nice thing.” It should be clarified that McCaulay’s 11 goals came in the early, and often chaotic, rounds of qualifying in the CONCACAF zone. The Belize City-born striker, lean and with a sharp turn of pace, scored four over two legs against Montserrat, an island in the Caribbean who’s population declined by two-thirds since a giant volcano erupted in 1995. Even so, his hat-trick in the first leg – the first game played by any nation en route to Brazil 2014 – hinted at a player who knew his way to goal. “What a feeling,” he said after the contest. “Scoring three goals in a World Cup qualifier is a truly special thing.”

Belize looks to La.Guard to create its own at-risk youth program
The Louisiana National Guard welcomed a delegation from the Belize Defence Force to Camp Beauregard in Pineville, to tour its Youth ChalleNGe Program, Feb. 18-20. The National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program pairs countries and states together to link U.S. national interests and security cooperation goals by engaging partner nations to establish and sustain enduring relationships to promote national objectives, stability, partner capacity, better understanding and trust. The LANG and BDF have been partners since 1996. “The BDF, working through the State Partnership Program in Louisiana, requested to visit our Youth ChalleNGe Program. They are in the process of creating a very similar program for at-risk youth in Belize,” said Col. Michael Borrel, director of educational programs for the Louisiana National Guard.

Top 10 beach activities and where to do them
Glover’s Reef Atoll is considered to be the prototypic atoll in the Caribbean and is also the best developed biologically. It contains the greatest range of reef type and is home to a variety of sea life including three species of sea turtles, eight species of sharks and rays, more than twenty species of aggregating reef fish, and numerous species of coral. Fishing can be enjoyed year round, but because the area is now a Marine Preserve, it’s catch and release only. Some fish you might encounter are Bonefish, Jacks, Mutton Snappers, Yellowtails, Bonitos, Cubera Snappers, Barracudas, King Mackerel, Wahoo and Groupers and Permit.

Fortis Inc. Files 2013 Year-End Disclosure Documents
Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") today filed its audited Consolidated Financial Statements and related Management Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2013, as well as its 2013 Annual Report and Annual Information Form, with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Copies of these documents are available electronically on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval ("SEDAR") website, www.sedar.com and the Corporation's website, www.fortisinc.com, or by emailing investorrelations@fortisinc.com. The Proxy and Management Information Circular for the upcoming Fortis Annual Meeting of Shareholders are expected to be mailed on April 7, 2014. The Annual Meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. (Newfoundland Daylight Time) on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at the Holiday Inn St. John's, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John's, NL. A live audio webcast of the Annual Meeting will be available at www.fortisinc.com.

Where to Find the Best Beaches in Belize
Belize is well-known for its famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. For decades adventurous scuba divers and anglers have vacationed in Belize, in pursuit of their favorite marine sports. But this tiny country also has some fine beaches. But they aren’t always obvious to the first-time tourist. Fortunately, the majority of Belize’s beaches are public and accessible. The 60-foot strip of beachfront adjoining the Caribbean Sea is usually public property. Some exceptional beaches are hidden, hard to reach, or located on remote cayes. The small, remote cayes tend to be protected parks or privately owned. You’ll need a boat to find them.


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