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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Puerto Azul is ‘merely a concept’
The news of the potential mega-resort on Sandbore Caye and Northern Two Caye, located within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll has received much attention across Belize and beyond. Environmentalists and the wider public were outraged after pictures showing two senior Cabinet Ministers at the unveiling of the concept at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France. The Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, at his quarterly press conference, has officially stated that Puerto Azul is not a project, but merely a concept being discussed by investors. Investors have also discussed the proposed development with the media, to clarify what their investment interest is for Belize. Environmentalists claim that the proposed development could be devastating to the environment, since it would sit on an Atoll that is part of Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and is home to the Great Blue Hole, a significant site for the tourism industry. But on Wednesday June 11th, PM Barrow stated that the project is simply in discussion. “The government has engaged in discussion with the potential developers on the idea, but it has not gone further than that,” said PM Barrow. He added that the initial plan was far too elaborate for the magnitude of the project, and the government had asked for the project to be downscaled. The initial proposal was for Puerto Azul to include shopping centers, restaurants and bars, a golf club house, spa, airstrip, marina, churches, business centers, botanical garden, health care center, not to mention accommodations for approximately 1,000 guests and 2,000 employees. “No kind of approval will be given, unless all the process required by law, public policy and governance has been met. In addition the proposal must be feasible before it is even sent to Cabinet for consideration,” said PM Barrow.
Costa Maya Festival presents Miss Panama!
Another beauty joins the list of candidates looking to take home the title of Reina de la Costa Maya 2014-15. Karol Salinas of Panama joins Ana Graciela of El Salvador and Maria Jose of Honduras in the lineup to take the stage on August 7, 2014.
Karol is 19 years old, and stands at 5’7”. She’s a gorgeous brunette who enjoys traveling, listening to music, reading and exercise. She is a second-year student majoring in Marketing/ Advertising and Sales Management, and is a professional model signed on to Physical Modelos since 2012. She’s participated in various national and international catwalks, and has landed covers of several publications including two editorials of Revista Mia and The Magazine, Woman Magazine and Couture Magazine.
90 days later, police houses still not relocated as promised by the SPTC
One of the major challenges faced by the public officers at the San Pedro Police Department is housing. For years, they have been forced to live in sub-standard conditions inside severely dilapidated structures. In March, the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) decided to hand over two wooden structures to the police, which the San Pedro Town Council then promised to move on the weekend of March 21st and 22nd. 90 days after promising to move the homes, the SPTC still has not done so. The houses, once utilized by the Belize National Coast Guard, have been sitting in a private yard in the San Pablo Area. SPBA founding member Elito Arceo, along with a group of community members, had planned to assist in the relocation of the homes in March. The group had committed to renovate the buildings before handing them over to the police as living quarters. However, the SPTC stepped in and promised to do so that same weekend. Since then, there have been all sorts of setbacks, and 90 days later, the two structures still remain empty and un-moved.
Puerto Cortez and San Pedro football teams to square off on Saturday
A football delegation from Puerto Cortez, Honduras is on Ambergris Caye by invitation of the San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee. The visit from the southern neighbors is part of the celebration for the Lobster Fest being planned for Saturday June 21st on the island. As part of the event, a veteran’s football match will be played at the Ambergris Stadium on Saturday afternoon. President of the Honduran Veteran League Welner Maldonado said that this is the third occasion that residents of both San Pedro Town and Puerto Cortez are involved in football exchange competitions. “We are happy to be amongst our Belizean brothers and sisters. Over the past two years, we have been building ties between the two communities. We are here to play a football match, but most importantly to strengthen the bridge of friendship and collaboration between the two municipalities. We know that San Pedro Town has a big Honduran community, and over the past years, Belize has been a home to them and so we have love and respect for Belize. We consider the people of this country a part of us and so we invite the residents to come and enjoy a good football match,” said Maldonado.
San Pedro’s patron saint celebration has begun
Religious activities in connection with the island’s Patron, Saint Peter (San Pedro), commenced on the morning of Friday June 20th with “La Bajada” followed by “El Alba.” The activities are part of the annual catholic celebration that the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church, the San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro House of Culture put together to honor the fishermen’s saint. The predominantly Mestizo community adopted Saint Peter as the Patron of the island and named the municipality San Pedro since at the time, the island was a fishing community. In the Bible, Peter is known a fisherman, and as such is referred to as the Saint of Fishermen, something that residents of Ambergris Caye celebrate with a combination of religious, cultural and festive activities.
Good lunch and cool breezes at San Pedro’s “Hot Spot!
Located on the grounds of Exotic Caye Resort, Hot Spot is located just south of town, on an upper deck overlooking the beach. And that is exactly where my amiga Janel and I found our selves on the fine Saturday morning. With the choice of indoor or patio seating, there’s no way we would waste a beautiful day, so of course we grabbed the seats outside. The atmosphere was breezy and cool as we talked and sipped on our rum punch. From our vantage point we could see visitors relaxing on the beach or heading out on their tours for the day; a little further ahead, the cresting reef drew a white line along the horizon.
Belize Fashion Week
Belize Fashion Week Team confirms this year’s BFW2014 which will be held in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize from October 9th - 12th 2014. International Designers will be announced at a later date. See below schedule of activities:
October 9th 2014 – Opening/Social Event
October 10th 2014 – Runway Shows (Local & International Designers)
October 11th 2014 – Runway Shows (Local & International Designers)
October 12th 2014 – FASHION FEST
Locations and time schedules will be announced later. For more information please contact 629-3078/610-1880.
Miss Panama Contestant Announced for Costa Maya Festival
Karol Salinas has been chosen to represent her country as Miss Panama Costa Maya at the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant that will be taking place at the International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Thursday, August 7, 2014.
At 19 years of age and standing at 5’ 7” tall, Karol Salinas is a marketing & sales management student. She is a brunette and has dark brown eyes. Her hobbies include listening to music, exercising, reading and travelling. Karol is a top model in Panama and has participated in both national and international modeling events. She represented Panama at the Miss Model of the World 2013, in Shenzhen, China in November 2013 where she placed in the top 25 in the pageant.
Bella Italia Restaurant Is Doing Something Right
In the short amount of time that we sat waiting for our food at Bella Italia Restaurant, I saw quite a few boxes of pizza come out of the kitchen ready for delivery. And still, in no time, our food was out – two pizzas, lasagna and shrimp pasta. The cook is a fast one at Bella Italia and people are loving this aspect of the restaurant; and their food is great too!
Bella Italia offers great new options for pizza lovers in San Pedro, having different pizza styles that are delicious, plus they come out faster than most pizza places in town. Browsing through Bella Italia’s menu you find pizza options like Salsiccia Pizza (tomato, mozzarella & Italian sausage); Carbonara Pizza (mozzarella, parmesan, bacon & eggs); Esotica Pizza (ham, mozzarella, tomato & pineapple) and Margherita Pizza (tomato, mozzarella & oregano), plus the popular favorites like Meat Lovers, Supreme, Shrimp, Veggie and Pepperoni.
Misc Belizean Sources
OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING .. NEW BARTON CREEK BRIDGE
Ribbon cutting ceremony today, Friday, June 20 at 9 am. just some early morning cleaning up .. and presto.. just in time for the rains to start..
Hunting for lobster
With our friend Eric Henkis from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Eat lobster until your belly hurts....Happy Lobster season to all our friends and visitors from abroad!!!
Sea cucumber season ends June 30th
The public is informed that no person shall take, buy, sell or have in possession, export or attempt to export any sea cucumber after June 30th, 2014. Any person found in possession of sea cucumbers after this date will be charged and prosecuted in a Court of Law in accordance to the Fisheries Regulations.
CNWA Safety Day
The Cayo Neigborhood Watch Association had their Cayo Safety Day last weekend, and there was a huge turnout for the fun, games, and displays. They had a karate exposition too, performed by the Kazoku Shotokan Dojyo. Thanks, CNWA!
Belmopan Clean Up Campaign
The Belmopan City Council is doing a Clean Up Campaign today. They are asking all residents to clean trash and debris from their yards, and to help load the debris into the garbage truck as it passes. They are proactively seeking to eliminate mosquito borne diseases with this campaign. Great idea!
Belmopan Primary Graduations
Congratulations to all the graduates of United Evergreen and Belize Christian Academy! Diana Shaw, the founder of the Child Development Foundation, was the guest speaker at the BCA graduation, and her speech was impressive and inspiring to everyone in attendance. It was superb! On to high school, and beyond. Thanks, Belmopan City Online, for the great pictures.
Rape Victim Says Adil Abdullah Lied
Last night, we told you about the arraignment of 65 year-old Adil Abdullah Bishop, who has been accused by a 19 year-old woman of rape.
Bishop is a well-known bail bondsman at the Magistrate's Court, and he's also a landlord who owns various apartments.
In this case, the 19 year-old told police that he deceived her saying that he had apartments at Mile 8 on the Western Highway that he could rent her. She claims that when she got into his vehicle one week ago, he took her to a secluded area near the Homeland Memorial Park, and with his gun in plain sight as a threat, he raped her.
Yesterday, Bishop was arraigned in Magistrate's Court for that Charge, and after he was granted bail, he selected only the freelance journalists who work the courts to grant an interview. His version of the story was that the 19 year-old had a crush on him for 6 months. He also claimed that she reported him to police only after she tried and failed at blackmailing him.
Today, the 19 year-old woman granted us an interview in which she responded to his allegations, but for context, we start first by airing his comments from last night:
Adil Abdullah Bishop
Laverne "Antichrist's" Lawyer Wants Her Free On Time Served
Laverne "Anti Christ" Longsworth set her common law husband David White on fire in July of 2010. He died 18 days later from those severe burns. She's since served three and a half years in jail - but now she faces a very real chance of getting a reduced sentence.
That's because her attorney Godfrey Smith got a British forensic psychiatrist to assess her. The psychiatrist concluded that Longsworth was suffering from battered women's syndrome - which diminished her responsibility for her actions. That finding was the centerpiece for an argument in favor of a reduced sentence.
Longsworth was expected to get that reduced sentenced today but Smith and his juniour counsel, Leslie Mendez had another plan: they believed they could establish to the court that she deserved to get off with time served. 7News was at the Court of Appeal:..
Alleged Immigration Queenpin Gets Bail
Marleny Castellanos, the alleged queen pin of an immigration fraud ring is out of bail tonight with her husband, Alfredo Marcos. Castellanos is accused of arranging documents for herself, her husband and 17 other people, and she is facing 40 different immigration charges.
2 weeks ago, their attorney, Kevin Arthurs, applied to Justice Troadio Gonzalez for Supreme Court bail on the grounds that all the charges that have been brought against them are misdemeanors with fines if they are found guilty. Additionally, Arthurs submitted that his clients are not flight risks. Crown Counsel Leroy Banner objected at that time that they could be flight risks, and that more charges against them were imminent.
Today, Justice Gonzalez ruled that both of them should be granted bail because other than the charges before the court, which are only allegations at this time, there was no other evidence which suggested that they weren't Belizeans. With that, he granted Castellanos bail of $20,000, and Marcos a bail of $10,000. The conditions were that they needed to surrender all travel documents, and that they report to the Queen Street Police Station every Friday until her cases are completed.
San Pedro Land Dispute Simmers, Legal Daggers Drawn
The land dispute between Tropic Air and Brett Feinstein, which we told you about last night, is still simmering - and multiple attorneys are engaged on all sides to initiate suits and counter-suits.
Last week Thursday Eamon Courtenay filed suit against Tropic Air on behalf of Brett Feinstein - and on Friday Agnes Segura filed for judicial review against the Ministry of Natural Resources on behalf of Tropic Air.
Right now, Tropic has the most to lose -its multi-million dollar facility has been put on hold, and the company has been served with a cease and desist order by the Central Building Authority . More than that, Natural resources Minister Gaspar Vega says their lease has been cancelled - a lease which he himself signed off on in December of 2008. And, contrary to what Vega said, the lease also originated during the UDP's term in May of 2008. Tropic says it hasn't gotten any notice of a cancellation - and it has done nothing to have its lease cancelled since it is fully paid up and is improving the property. So that's why the company is seeking judicial review.
Government Challenges Award To George Street Figures
In November of 2011, it made major news when Shelton Pinky Tillett, Micah Thompson and Charles Woodeye successfully sued the government of Belize for wrongful imprisonment. Tillett and Thompson were considered senior George Street personalities, and Woodeye was their associate.
They were charged for the San Pedro murder of John Paul Saldivar - against the advice of the DPP - and after 11 months on remand they were released with no case to answer. They sued the government for wrongful imprisonment - and won. Each was awarded $25,000 dollars, plus Woodeye was compensated for loss of wages.
But, both he and Tillett were murdered, they died without ever seeing the money. That's because the Attorney General's office appealed the case. IT went before the Court of Appeal this morning where the Panel led by President Manuel Sosa didn't seem very impressed by the acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke's arguments that no payment should be made. In fact, they ended up hearing from Agnes Segura who represented the three men on why the award should be increased.
Steadfast Tourism and Conservation Association Complains About Loggers
The Steadfast Tourism and Conservation Association - known as STACA - in Southern Belize says it has been forced to go public due to unregulated logging activity in protected area. They logging concessionaires in the upper mountain catchment areas of the Manatee Forest Reserve and the Mullins River Basin have removed critical vegetation - which now poses a major threat to the watersheds of North Stann Creek and Mullins River.
The President of STACA - explained it to us over the phone today:..
Anthony Hislop, Chairman - STACA
"Last week I found out through my rangers, they reported to me on Thursday night that logs have been removed directly from within the creek head which the national integrated water resource act with _____ grounds. That pit at risk the water supplied at ____ for the villages of Steadfast at Alta Vista. These people get their potable water directly from the Billy Bakadeer National Park and this is something they have been trying to prevent from before. My opinion of this is greed - is somewhere along the line."
BEL Makes Major Comeback with $18.7 M Profit
Last night, BEL held its Annual General Meeting to report to their shareholders about financial year which ended on December 31, 2013. The important news coming out of the meeting is that the company turned a net profit of 18.7 million dollars - the best performance in years and a major rebound from last year's loss of 16 million dollars. The turnaround is due mostly to lower cost of financing, and lower cost of power.
The media was locked out of the AGM, so today, we sat down with one of the Senior Managers of the company to understand what this positive developments mean for you, the consumer. Here's what she told us:
"The company made a net earnings of 18.7 million dollars which is the best in 5 years. Tell us what accounted for this profit?"
Betty Tam - Senior Mngr. Finance & HR, BEL
"Basically, first of all we had increase in rates which we got because we had to compensate for the high cost of power in 2012. We also had a 5% increase in sales and then besides that cost of power was basically in our favor in 2013 because we had better rains and that decrease cost of power by 8%."
Belize Hotel Assoc Names New President
And while BEL's AGM was last night, the Belize Hotel Association held theirs today at the Biltmore Plaza. It was the first time that the Hoteliers got an opportunity to meet the new Director of the Belize Tourism Board, and 7News stopped by to speak with the executive.
The outgoing president, and the newly elected president told us that they are pleased with Karen Bevans' message of closer collaboration with them as industry stakeholders:
Douglas Thompson - Outoing President, BHA
"Today at the AGM we had elections. I did not run for re-election, I've been in the position for 5 years - that more than enough time in one spot. We have very able and younger folks that can do the job and so I am moving out to make room for the new blood."
New BTB Director Speaks About Synergy
And, while we got the opportunity, we spoke with the New Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans. She's been holding the post for a little over 2 months now, after she replaced Laura Esquivel-Frampton, who made a less than orderly exit after her senior management pulled a palace coup on her and made a no-confidence vote to Tourism Minister, Manuel Heredia Jr.
Since then, the transition seems to have been seamless, but there is still that issue of that deficit of several million dollars in the last fiscal year. That affects the BTB going forward and today, we asked Bevans about the financial position of the BTB, and about her impression as the new director of this major industry:
Karen Bevans - Director, BTB
"The industry is very nice, very exciting to work in. It is a change for me, but I do think that there is a lot to do. We have made great strides in the past. We have come a long way, but we are not where we want to be and we recognize that, so recognizing that we have a lot to do and we need to plan the way forward together I think is a good start. We discuss quite a few initiatives here this morning and the intention now is to implement our action plan. Let's do it together and we will go much farther than we are today."
Okeke's Latest Come-Up Plan for TV Ramos Bust
Last month, we told you how Stephen Okeke put his latest sculpture of Thomas Vincent Ramos up for sale after his funders backed out of the deal to pay for it.
TV Ramos, of course, is a cultural icon and founder of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize.Okeke claims that he was contracted by members of the Garifuna Community to sculpt the monument to be placed in Dangriga Town, but when he was finished with it, he suddenly had no one to sell it to.
So, in protest, he put out in front of his business place on the Northern Highway with a for sale sign. He was willing to take a lesser payment just so that he could get rid of it, but he's now gotten a few allies from the Garifuna Community to try and come up with the full price.
How much is that asking price? Well, he says that it's worth $40,000, and Bert Ramos, Mitias Mariano, and Walter Gillett want to buy it from him. We've featured Bert Ramos on our newscast, and as a descendant of TV Ramos he told the media today in a press conference that he will get try to get the money to buy it. He and the other men say that they will fund raise:
For the past 2 weeks, we've featured the primary school graduates from the police department's Gang Resistance Education and Training Program. GREAT - as it is better known - is one of the department's attempts at intervention into the lives of the children before gang culture swallows them up.
Today, Ladyville Police Station, which has jurisdiction over all the rural areas in the Belize River Valley, celebrated the graduation of 40 primary schoolers from the Sinai 7th Day Adventist School in Ladyville. 7News stopped by and spoke with the Rural Executive Officer about their very first batch of graduates:
ASP Chris Noble - Rural Executive Officer
"Our officers have been trained in GREAT. It's a program 14 years in the making, but it is the first time that it is actually happening in rural Belize. The entire rural Belize has never seen it. It is spearheaded by a constable WPC Carla Smith and she after doing training has selected this school. I hope that it is the first of many because we are encouraging everybody else to come onboard with us and we want to go into more schools, we want to look at more education. We want to look at more kids because we don't want anybody else on the streets."
Anne-Marie To DC!
Last night, we told you about Anne Marie Williams - who beat out a field of international competitors to get the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Program. It will see her taking part in a -year study program in the US - specifically Washington DC. She told us about it today:..
Ann-Marie Williams, Executive Director - National Women's Commission
"I have registered at American University Washington of Law. I will be doing trafficking in person policy and prevention with law. This is not just an academic training per say, it's an opportunity to meet and network with some of the movers and shakers out of Washington DC because it has a lot to do with leadership and also public service and so this is a tremendous opportunity. Women and children are disproportionately affected by trafficking and smuggling and there is that gender dimension to it. One of the course I am doing is gender and international law because you have to see how these things collates around the issue of trafficking, so it's a social science and it's related."
"After I come back, who knows where the path may wind. I am coming back equip and willing and able and ready to serve."
Tonight's I AM BELIZE Teacher profile is about Abigail Hoare, from Maud Williams High School.
Hoare, like a number of the teachers featured in the profile, says that she stumbled into the profession, but says that she wanted to make an positive difference in people's lives. She says that she made that decision after hearing the message from a guest speaker when she was at the a crossroads in her life:
Ras Indio Turns "Plant Di Corn" Into Anthem
"Plant Di Corn" - it's become the rallying cry for the B(i)GYEA movement in its buffer battle with the Government of Belize. And, now that cry has been turned into a catchy reggae tune. The composer is BGYEA's Belmopan brethren Ras Indio and he gave us a tease of the track today:..
The full video is still in production, but the song is out now.
Alleged rape victim refutes claims made by Adil Abdullah
A nineteen year old woman alleges that bail bondsman Adil Abdullah raped her on June thirteenth in an area off Mile eight on the George Price Highway. She has [...]
Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth’s murder conviction is reduced
A murder conviction against Lavern “Anti-Christ’’ Longsworth was reduced to manslaughter by the Court of Appeal today. Longsworth was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband, David White, back [...]
Marleny Castellanos and her husband get Supreme Court bail
The alleged master-mind in an immigration scam, Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos and her common-law-husband, Alfredo Marcos, were both granted bail around twelve o’clock despite strong objections from the office of [...]
12 teachers are fired in the merger of high schools
The merger of three high schools has so far led to the dismissal of a dozen teachers from the Maud Williams, Excelsior and the Sadie Vernon high schools. But questions [...]
San Pedro land dispute heads to court
A major blunder by the Lands Department concerning a three hundred by sixty feet parcel near the municipal airstrip in San Pedro has resulted in a huge land dispute between [...]
G.O.B. appeals financial award granted to 3 George Street gang members
In November 2011, then-Supreme Court Justice Minnet Hafiz Bertram awarded over ninety-three thousand dollars in general damages and a further twenty-three thousand dollars in costs to three Belize City [...]
2014 Top P.S.E. Scorer acknowledged by San Cas
A student from the Crooked Tree Government School topped this year’s Primary School Exams. It is an accomplishment that was achieved despite very difficult circumstances. But Ashton Tillett persevered and [...]
Antonio Edwards dies after being injured by rosewood flitch
On January eighth, 2012, Antonio Edwards, a resident of Jacintoville in the Toledo District, was seriously injured when a large flitch of rosewood fell off a flatbed truck and [...]
Interdicted Cop gets bail for attempted murder charge
It was a busy day in court….Interdicted Police Constable, Jesus Marroquin, was today granted Supreme Court bail in the sum of eight thousand dollars. Around eleven this morning, Justice Troadio [...]
Couple charged for drug trafficking on San Pedro
A police raid at the house of a San Pedro couple yielded one hundred and sixty grams of cannabis; that’s five point six ounces. When police arrived at their [...]
Hotel Association holds A.G.M.
The Belize Hotels Association held its annual general meeting at the Biltmore this morning where hoteliers from across the country gathered to discuss the state of the tourism and hospitality [...]
GREAT Initiative moves to Ladyville – students complete the anti-crime program
There were smiling faces today at the Ladyville Adventist School. It was a special day for students who had successfully completed the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program of the [...]
Skills Training Center graduates 42 youths to join the employment line
There is a new set of graduates from the Skills Training Center located on Magazine Road in Belize City. There is where a ceremony was held today for more than [...]
Ras Indio new release Plant Di Corn
Belizean Reggae Artist, Ras Indio, on the heels of a recent release is at it again with a music video that captures the plight of BGYEA and Harmonyville. He debuted [...]
Anne Marie Gets Into The Humphrey Fellowship Program
Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission, Anne-Marie Williams has been selected to participate in the US Embassy’s 2014-2015 class of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Program.
The program brings young and mid-career professionals from around the world to the U.S. for a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration with U.S. counterparts.
Williams will spend the next year at American University beginning in August 2014 to participate in the “Trafficking in Persons, Policy, and Prevention” Humphrey Fellowship.
Reserved Judgement for Tillett, Woodye and Thompson
They were awarded twenty five thousand dollars each by the court after spending eleven months in prison on remand for the 2009 murder of John Paul Saldivar on Ambergris Caye….. but in a turn of fortunate circumstances for the three men, they were set free in January 2010 as the case against them did not even proceed to trial due to a lack of evidence. After regaining their liberties, the trio, Micah Thompson, Sheldon August ‘Pinky’ Tillett and Charles Woodye filed a suit against the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police and Officer Commanding San Pedro Formation, at the time, Dennis Arnold. On November 15, 2011, Justice Minnett Hafiz ruled in favor of the three men and ordered that the Government pays twenty five thousand dollars each for general damages….but that victory was put on pause as the Government appealed the judge’s decision and that is how we ended up at the Court of Appeals today to follow up on the outcome…..while there is no final decision to report tonight, what we can tell you is that the Government’s appeal did give the men’s attorney, Agnes Segura-Gillett the opportunity to request consideration for a bigger award.
Battered Woman Defense Syndrome Used in Belize’s Court of Appeals
Battered Woman Syndrome – it is not a term commonly heard of in Belize not because it is rare but simply because it has not been used as a defense inside the courtroom until recently when Attorney Godfrey Smith put before the Court of Appeal, evidence from psychiatrists and a psychologist to the effect that at the time when his client, Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth set her, now deceased spouse, David White on fire, she was suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS), adding that a British Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Gillian Mezey had concluded that Longsworth was not in her right state of mind when she committed the act. Smith and his client were before the three Court of Appeal judges last week and their case was adjourned for today, June 20….but there was no definitive outcome in the appeal case today, simply because when the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal proposed to lower Longsworth’s sentence of life imprisonment to ten years, Longsworth’s co-attorney, Leslie Mendez rejected the proposal on the grounds that she believes that the life sentence should rather be lowered to time served, which would amount to just under four years.
$20,000 Bail for 40 Immigration Offences
Forty-six year old Marleny Castellanos, a naturalized Belizean originally from Guatemala, who was charged with 40 counts of immigration offences and was remanded into custody, was released today on a bail of $20,000. The bail was offered to her by Justice John Gonzalez on the condition that she surrender all her travel documents, that she reports to Queen Street Police Station every Friday until the case is disposed of and that she does not interfere with any of the witnesses involved In the case. Forty-two year old Alfredo Gonzalez, another naturalized Belizean originally from Guatemala, who was also charged with several immigration offences and was remanded into custody, was also released on bail. Gonzalez bail was $10,000 and Justice Gonzalez offered it to him on the condition that he surrenders all of his travel documents, that he reports to Queen Street Police Station every Friday until the case is concluded and that he does not interfere with the witnesses involved in the case. Castellanos and Gonzalez were represented by attorney Kevin Arthurs while Crown Counsel Leroy Banner represented the respondent.
Rape Victim Comes Forward to Discredit Bishop’s Story
She is a 19-year-old mother who lives with her boyfriend and his family but has been going through the mill recently after she reportedly became a rape victim last Friday, June 13. The story has been in the media since she made her report to the police as there were some challenges in the case particularly when the medical authorities reported that there were no signs of vaginal trauma when they conducted their examination…..but despite those challenges the accused was picked up by the authorities and yesterday, 65-year-old, Adil Abdullah Bishop was arraigned and is now out on a seven thousand dollar bail with an adjournment date set for August 5, 2014. However, in a twist of events, Bishop reported that the young lady’s report is not accurate and that he did not force himself on her. Rather, Bishop claims that he had been having an affair with the complainant for the last six months and that things got testy when he refused to give her four hundred dollars that she was asking him for. Well now it has turned into a matter placed in the court of public opinion as the alleged rape victim contacted the media today to retort Bishop’s story. In her defense, this is what she told Love News this morning.
Belize Woman Chosen For Hubert H. Humphreys Fellowship Program
Her name is no stranger to the local households…as a matter of fact, she was recently highlighted in a photograph exhibition by the Special Envoy for Women and Children as the first female pioneer in the Journalism industry who had mastered her skills in print, radio and television…..and now, today she is back in the media as the proud recipient of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. Love News met up earlier today with a very ecstatic Ann Marie Williams who told us how she was led to submitting her application for the fellowship and what her thought process was while filling out, what was a very tedious application.
ANN MARIE WILLIAMS
“The former president of the University of Belize, Dr. Carey Frazer forwarded me an email asking me to consider this opportunity to apply for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship and I pondered a few days. When I looked at the list of courses in terms of the offerings; it was Human Rights and International Law; it was Trafficking in Persons Policy and Prevention Law, Sustainable Development, Education.
COLA responds to Immigration Minister
A pair of press releases from Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) lambasted Ministers Godwin Hulse and Wilfred Elrington for separate statements made on Wednesday. COLA, which is leading the private prosecution of ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner, believes the Minister of Immigration contradicted himself when he said...
COLA says Attorney General mocking justice system with empty words
Turning to Attorney General Elrington who is quoted as calling COLA’s efforts to privately prosecute Elvin Penner a “waste of time”, a “charade” and a “delusion of the Belizean people,” COLA scolds him, saying that he seems to have forgotten that it was Prime Minister Dean Barrow who recommended the...
Questions about Conditions of Service for teachers of merged schools
As the merger of three Belize City high schools gets on the way, some teachers have already lost their jobs due to redundancy. On Thursday, five teachers from Maude Williams High School, received their official letters of dismissal. Earlier this month, the Minister of Education had stated that they...
Senate Meeting; loan bills approved
The Senate met today to discuss the bills and motions read at the meeting of the House of Representatives last week Friday. Senator the Hon. Lisel Alamilla was not present however , present was Lee Mark Chang, former UDP Standard Bearer for the Freetown Constituency. The two new Senators...
Minister Hulse on further investigations in immigration scandal
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, says it has a copy of the Auditor General’s preliminary report on investigation into the Elvin Penner passport scandal. In a previous press briefing, COLA stated that the file in their possession reveals that the Director of Immigration, “…consistently found ways to evade...
Businessman charged for rape of teenager
Businessman 65 year old Adil Abdullah Bishop, was read a single count of rape by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in court on Thursday. Mr Bishop met bail of $7,000. According to police, a 19-year-old woman of Belize City reported that Adil Bishop picked her up on June 13, 2014 around...
12 year old accuses 25 year old man of rape
A 12 year old girl is accusing a man twice her age of forcing her into sexual intercourse not once, but twice in the last six months. David Gonzalez, 25, a messenger employed by Home Protector Insurance Company, was read his charges before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer and denied...
Court dismisses appeal of Vincent Tillett
The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of 49 year old Vincent Tillett and upheld his sentence of 15 years in prison for manslaughter. Mr Tillett was accused of the murder of Darwin Philips on February 13, 2011 but was convicted of the lesser charge. Vincent Tillet’s attorney, Anthony...
Income Tax Department Pursue Arrears
The income tax department is gearing up to crack down on persons who owe income tax. To that end, reports are that a company has been contracted to pursue those arrears. While that may seem like a good move, reports to Plusnews are that some of the employees at...
The war on drugs continues in San Pedro
Police on the island of San Pedro are trying to crack down on the drug trade there, which is believed to be the cause of numerous shootings over the past few months. Earlier this week, police made a bust when they visited a home on Laguna Drive, Boca Del...
US Visas cancelled erroneously by Immigration Department
The Department of Immigration is in quite a stir after human error accidently cancelled a valid US Visa in the recent weeks. According to reports, a staff member at the Department of Immigration seriously messed up someone’s expiring passport. According to information, someone took in their Belizean Passport and...
Belize City man shot to the face
There was a shooting in Belize City Tuesday night at around 9:30. 34-year-old Kingsley Ferguson of Neal’s Pen Road Ext. Belize City was shot to the right side of the face, the bullet exiting the left side of his jaw. According to police reports, Mr Ferguson was sitting on...
Who has Penner-Kim file?
The preliminary report of Auditor General Dorothy Bradley continues to be a talking point for those insisting that the Ministry of Immigration is actively trying to prevent former Minister of State Elvin Penner from being criminally charged under the concurrent investigations of the Police, Financial Intelligence Unit, Auditor General...
Minister Hulse offers reassurances on Puerto Azul
The proposed Puerto Azul project in the Lighthouse Atoll Range has become a lightning rod for environmentalists who are determined not to be shut out of the consultative process leading to a possible green light for the investors. A group of environmental organizations have written to Senator Godwin Hulse,...
Felicia Chen pleads guilty but trial pushed off to October
23 year old Felicia Chen, the mother of four, accused of drowning three of her children, appeared I court on Wednesday. Ms Chen arrived at the court smiling but left crying after her case for murder was traversed to the next session of the Supreme Court which is set...
How accurate are PSE results?
PSE results are out, but according to a media report, The minister of Education is saying, “not necessarily”! The results that were released by the Ministry of Education come complete as they always do each year; with the top performers selected, with analysis, breakdowns of subsections for each subject,...
Man caught red-handed with stolen TV
36 year old Deon Bainton is accused of stealing a television set from a residence on the Philip Goldson Highway, but he was apparently caught in the act. He pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary and handling stolen goods before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith on Wednesday, and was...
Ex-footballer discharged after misunderstanding with police officer
An off-duty police officer got into a dispute with a retired footballer aboard a village bus on Monday, but Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith avoided a criminal record for 52 year old Robert “Crane” Major, choosing on Wednesday to discharge him from charges of wounding and damage to property. Robert Major...
Suit brought against Belize Times goes to court
On Wednesday morning Senator Godwin Hulse and the editor of the People’s United Party organ the Belize Times were before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in chambers prior to the intended trial of a suit brought by the Minister. After the discussions, the two sides were limited in their comments...
Mexican businesses looking for Belizean counterparts
Pro Mexico, the equivalent to Beltraide in Belize, is in the country to promote eight Mexican investors looking to start alliances with Belizean entrepreneurs through the annual Mexican Trade Mission. The first session of a series of events took place on Wednesday at the Mexican Embassy in Belmopan, where...
US team offers medical expertise and the Gospel
A team of Christian doctors, nurses, dentists, and paediatricians are in Belize this week to provide free medical services, medication and spiritual guidance to the general public. The group called Shine is a team made up of a group of professionals and other volunteers from various cities in the...