Former Deputy Mayor and present councilor of Punta Gorda, Simon Martin “Pancho “Paulino, 59, of Far West Street, Punta Gorda, was found dead on his bed at about 7:30 yesterday morning, and no foul play is suspected.

Paulino’s girlfriend told police that she went to his house at about 8:00 Saturday night and did not get a response when she called for him. She looked through the window into his bedroom and saw him lying on his back on the bed, and she believed that he was asleep, and so she went home, she said.

At 7:30 yesterday morning, Sunday, she again visited his residence and saw him in the same position. She immediately contacted a family member, who went to the house to see what was happening, and found him dead on his bed.

Paulino’s body was taken to the Punta Gorda Hospital morgue for a post-mortem to certify the cause of his death.

Pancho, as he was popularly known, was a soldier of the Belize Defence Force and was attached to the Force Police Unit.

Those who knew him say that he was stern, but friendly, and easy to talk to. He was an enemy you could not have for long, because although he exhibited seriousness while conducting his duty, he was approachable, they said.

In his military days Pancho was a football player on the BDF team, and is described as having been a good player, and a goal scorer.

He was a traffic officer and a football coach, besides being a Town Board councilor. He was the go-to person in Punta Gorda, and his death was sudden and unexpected. A relative of his, Alejandro Vernon, said that up to last week, Pancho was the Deputy Mayor of Punta Gorda.

Martin “Pancho” Paulino is survived by his two children, his parents, two sisters, and his brother Luke Palacio, president of the Belize National Teachers Union. He is also survived by his brother Darius Avila, director of the Battle of the Bands Secretariat; Lottie Flores, an educator in Punta Gorda; Marion Paulino, former Lands Officer; and Ethel Dean Gladden of Belmopan.

He will be buried in Punta Gorda on Saturday, March 22. His body will lie in state at the St. Peter Claver RC Church from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., and the funeral ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. After the services, Pancho will be laid to rest at the Punta Gorda cemetery.