#505596 - 07/01/15 11:30 AM
Today's Belize News: July 1, 2015
The news will be a bit brief for the next week or so due to time constraints
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Another year honoring the Patron Saint of Fishermen: San Pedro
Over the past weekend, islanders ended the celebration of Patron Saint Peter in grand fashion, with both religious and festive activities. From special mass services at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church to a karaoke competition and lots of live entertainment in between; activities were plentiful. Due to inclement weather condition, some of the previously scheduled events had to be canceled, but, nevertheless there was still lots of family fun. Among the activities canceled was the first ever Junior Karaoke Competition scheduled for Friday, June 26th to kick off the Dia de San Pedro weekend. Instead, celebrations officially opened on Saturday, June 27th at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Arena. Speaking at the opening ceremonies was Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Area Representative Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. Both emphasized the importance of keeping culture and tradition alive, especially that of celebrating St. Peter (San Pedro). St. Peter is the patron saint of all fishermen and the island is still strongly rooted in the fishing industry.
Tres Cocos residents express concern over garbage dumping
Residents of Northern Ambergris Caye have grown very concerned over illegal dumping of garbage on vacant lots and beaches. They are claiming that the dumping is taking place near populated areas. The neighborhood affected the most is Tres Cocos and north of the Boca del Rio Bridge. Complaints also included an increase in the rodent populations, which has prompted an infestation around the area.
Although the issue has been addressed with the culprits, they refuse to comply, forcing those concerned to reach out to the media and the Town Council. Residents are especially frustrated as they have taken the initiative to hold monthly clean ups in an effort to keep the neighborhood clean. According to Deputy Mayor, Gary Greif, they are aware of the problem, but have yet to inspect the area. Greif also indicated that the SPTC is currently addressing similar issues south of the bridge, but plan to deal with the North Ambergris Caye problem as soon as possible.
With the increase in illegal garbage dumping, even the Department of Environment (DOE) has issued a press release. The release noted that most of the illegal dumpsites reported to date consist of waste from households, including organics, plastics, glass, and paper. According to section 31 (2) and 3 of the Pollutions Regulations, the disposal of solid or liquid waste on any land is prohibited without the written permission of the Department. It stipulates that any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Regulation shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty of not more than five thousand dollars.
Mexican Navy Vessel experiences ‘Soft Grounding’ by Blackadore Caye
Another navy vessel has ran aground in Belize’s waters. The incident occurred on Friday, June 26th south of Blackadore Caye. Reports were that a 55 feet Mexican navy vessel, a Polaris-Interceptor, experienced a ‘soft grounding’ (a type grounding that does not lead to adverse effects on the ship) on the mud flats and shoals just south of Blackadore Caye sometime in the early hours of the morning. Belize Coast Guard personnel were quickly deployed to the area and had the boat removed by 4:30PM of that same day.
In a press release, the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the Mexican vessel was within Belizean waters legally, as they had requested special permission from the Government of Belize to transit from a base in the Chetumal Bay, Quintana Roo, Mexico and their southernmost outpost in Xcalak, Mexico. Navy vessels customarily take this route on a scheduled routine basis, but on this transit the vessel experience navigational errors, which resulted in the grounding. After receiving a report of the incident, Coast Guard personnel stationed at the Ambergris Caye southeastern Forward Operating Base responded at around 8AM. The Mexican Navy cooperated with Coast Guard to remove the vessel as quickly and effectively as possible. The Belize Port Authority, the Department of the Environment, and the Fisheries Department then coordinated an assessment on the impact of the grounding to the surrounding environment. Initial assessments reveals that no major damages was made to the sensitive ecosystem in the area.
Island Mourns Loss of Local Barge Operator Lost at Sea
Hope, prayers, support of the community and the memory of a beautiful life is what keeps the Varela family together this week after the tragic disappearance of 80-year-old Leovijildo ‘Leoli’ Varela last week Thursday, June 25, 2015. This week the search for his body lost at sea has been suspended and the Varela family mourns and plans to celebrate/commemorate his life in a special mass this coming weekend.
Both search efforts by the Belize National Coast Guard and that of the family for Mr. Varela’s body concluded by Sunday, June 28, after all means available were exhausted in hopes of finding him alive. Today, Mr. Varela is presumed dead after an accident on his barge service caused him to get lost at sea.
Leovijildo Varela was the owner of Varela's Cargo Services Ltd. a barge company that provided service between San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Belize City. He was on-board his tug boat on Thursday, June 25, traveling with cargo late at night from San Pedro to the Belize Port with his crew. The weather conditions that evening were less than favourable with high winds, choppy seas and heavy rains and while the tugboat was pulling the barge into the Port a strong squall diverted the boat’s course into the Port.
Fun Island Activities to Celebrate Dia de San Pedro
Dance, cultural and entertainment were crammed into Saturday, June 27 due to the postponement of Friday’s program due to rain. The fair grounds teemed with activity as island residents enjoyed the celebrations. The Alborada celebrations were held at Friendship Park that included the cultural aspects and entertainment by mariachi singers and folkloric dance presentations.
Sunday was highlighted with a big beach party held at the Boca del Rio Park where the first ever Ceviche Cooking Competition that was sponsored by Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation), Jennie Staines and Elvi’s Kitchen. Five cooks displayed their skills in preparing the island’s favorite appetizer – the delicious ceviche.
Misc Belizean Sources
First Friday of July Trash Pick Up, San Pedro
Join us at the Paradise Theatre (just north of the bridge) for our monthly two hour roadside and beach clean up! Locals, expats and tourists are all invited to help out! Please be there by 9:00 am :-)
July 4th Celebration
Bamboo Bar, Bambu Tee, and Mazda Auto Select are having a July 4th celebration, with fireworks and all, at the Cayo Welcome Center this Saturday, July 4th. Have some food, drinks, music, and a great time. The festivities start at 2:00pm.
The CARICOM Marathon in Belmopan went well, and the proceeds raised went to BAY. Happy CARICOM Week!
"We'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the CARICOM Week Marathon on Sunday, June 28th to kick off the week of festivities. The proceeds from the event were donated to the Belmopan Active Youths. Thank you to the Directorate of Foreign Trade for their kind consideration and donation to our organization. Let's continue to promote 'Endless Opportunities for Belize!' and of course, for our youths."
Xunantunich is going to get an 'upgrade' over the next 4 years. The announcement, which coincides perfectly with this year's BAAS, happening now at the SIRH, makes it seem like the site will be expanded to include more of the plazas, and possibly a new one. Everyone loves Xunantunich!
"It's confirmed by Doc Awe that the site core of Xunantunich will completely changed in the next 4 four years. YES! In the next four years work will be done on structures A7, A8, A17, A9, B group, the sunken plaza behind El Castillo, also in C group and D group not even on this map. He also does not expect 13 tombs to be found in A3 building Xunantunich site core that is currently being excavated... Says people of Xunantunich we're not as wealthy as those of Cahal Pech where 13 tombs have been found over the years on B1 building."
Public Funds Theft At The Water Board In Buena Vista?
Since the weekend, there has been a developing story in the western village of Buena Vista, near the vicinity of Spanish Lookout, Cayo. A string of dubious cheques has emerged in the name of one member of the Village's Water Board. Money of equivalent value is missing, and he has to answer questions because the immediate perception is that he pocketed money he ought not to have access to.
It has wider implications because this money is public funds to be used to fund the village's water access. Our news team has been out in Cayo following up the story, and Courtney Weatherburne Reports:
Iris Yande Garcia, Buena Vista Villager
"We have to wash early in the morning and we had to wait for the water."
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
24 year old Iris Yande Garcia is only one of the residents who had to wait for the water supply to be restored to the village this morning. It was cut out last night at around 8.
And turned back on until around 10 this morning. But this is not just another case of not to pay the water bill. The residents are paying for the service but according to the chairman of the Village Council, the bulk of the money is being pocketed for personal use.
Police Officer On Duty Assaulted; Left Hospitalized
Often in the news, we tell you about allegations of police brutality in which officers on duty are accused of attacking members of the public. But the story tonight is that a police officer on duty became the victim of an assault which has left him hospitalized with head injuries. So, what's the reasoning behind it? Well, it appears that the man who assaulted him simply wanted to steal his car.
Today, the Commander of the Eastern Divisions Criminal Investigations Branch disclosed the details of the attack on Constable Jason Hall:
Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB, Belize City Police
"We had an incident yesterday in the general area of Rhaburn Ridge on the Phillip Goldson Highway where Police Constable Jason Hall received a blowout on his vehicle; he got assistance to repair and get the vehicle going. At some point, the said person that assisted him inflicted an injury to the side of his face after which he stole the vehicle and made his way to Orange Walk. The constable regained consciousness thereafter and he asked for assistance. The police came and he was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he remains in a critical condition. An investigation was conducted. The suspect were detained and brought to Belize City in connection to this incident. The vehicle was also recovered."
Any Headway In The Investigation Of Mumuch's Murder?
Last night, we told you about 23 year old Desmond Usher also known as "Mumuch" was found yesterday at around 8:30 a.m. in Mahogany Heights. He left his house on Friday night, after 3 days, he was discovered, with obvious signs of violence on his body.
The police were unavailable yesterday for comment, but Superintendent Hilberto Romero fielded questions on it from the press. Here are the police details as they know it at this time:
Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB, Belize City Police
"On Monday the 29th June, 2015, police personnel visited an area off a road at Mahogany Heights where they found the lifeless body of Desmond Usher, partly decomposed. He was last seen alive on Friday. Post mortem was conducted on the spot and he had blunt trauma injuries to the head. An investigation is being conducted at this time, we have several persons in custody and we are continuing with this investigation."
Police Need Help To Solve The Murders of The Teenage Students
As we told you last night, the two high school students, 15 year-old Tyrique Thompson, 16 year-old Reuben Leslie succumbed to gunshot injuries they suffered to the head. At this time, there is no plausible explanation as to why 2 young men with no apparent gang connection would be killed so mercilessly.
So, do police have any answers at this time? That's what we asked today:
Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB, Belize City Police
"We had Tarique Thompson who succumbed to his injuries on the twenty-sixth day of June 2015 and Reuben Leslie also succumbed to his injuries on the twenty-seventh day of June, 2015. These were two shooting incidents. One of them was shot on Magazine Road and the other had been shot on Lakeview Street."
"Sir we are told that it is in the same general vicinity, the same neighborhood. Are police looking into an angle that it may be connected in some fashion?"
Accused Of Owning Killer Dogs, Patnett Is Acquitted
Viewers may remember the public outrage caused when 65 year old man Edmund Spain was killed by 2 vicious pitbulls. Well, the defendant who was criminally charged with his death has been acquitted because the prosecution was unable to establish the ownership of the dogs.
She's 31 year old Shelda Patnett, a store clerk of Tropical park, Hattieville, who stood trial for manslaughter by negligence in the court of Justice John Gonzalez. It was alleged by the Crown that on May 31, 2010, two dogs purportedly owned by Patnett, attacked Spain. He was bitten on his right hand and he succumbed to his injuries 5 days later at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The prosecution called 9 witnesses to prove that Patnett was negligent and that she was the owner of the dogs. But there was no evidence of negligence and there was no evidence that Patnett was the owner of the dogs. In addition to that there was no evidence that Patnett resided at the house where the dogs were.
BTIA Vs The NCL Project To Court
Recently, the lawsuit between Developer Mike Feinstein, the Government and the Principals of the Fort Street Tourism Village, has been making the news regularly over the future of cruise tourism in Belize City. Well today, the lawsuit on the other big development, Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye started in the Supreme Court.
The BTIA is challenging separate decisions of NEAC and DOE in relation to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Harvest Caye, a project managed by Belize Island Holdings Limited on behalf of Norwegian Cruise Lines.
The BTIA argues that the NEAC decision to recommend approval of the EIA without a public hearing and in violation of environmental law statutes and the DOE decision to approve the EIA in contravention of the terms of reference and minimum requirements of the law, as well as a legitimate expectation that the Government would abide by the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan which outlaws mass cruise tourism in the South.
Delroy Cuthkelvin Offers Candidacy; PM Says Stand Down
Last week, we told you how UDP's Melvin Hulse willingly threw himself on his sword and resigned as the Standard Bearer for Stann West. That's after 4 days of scandal which raged in the wake of a leaked conversation in which he was backbiting his Party Leader and Prime Minister. We've told you how the Stann Creek West Executive Committee has chosen its chairman, Nathan Young, as the man who should become Hulse's successor. Well, two other players have emerged on the scene, but the most controversial character who's expressed interest is Delroy Cuthkelvin.
Viewers will remember that at the convention held in March of last year, Melvin Hulse was chosen in an open convention to return as standard bearer. That's a convention which Cuthkelvin contested but one which he boycotted last minute after complaining that the party had taken off his voters approved list. That's not something that should be taken lightly, but since the standard bearer's position is vacant once again, Cuthkelvin has announced that he wants back in the race.
Over the weekend, he told Love News why:
"As you know, the situation has arisen where Mr. Melvin Hulse has resigned from the position of Standard Bearer of the United Democratic Party in Stann Creek West. And so the party has indicated that there is a need for a new standard bearer and a name has been suggested by Mr. Hulse. And as the party leader said, 'if no one else has stepped up then you would have probably be endorsed'.
FIU's New Director Discusses Titanic Losses
9 months ago, it made headlines in practically all the news outlets in the country when the US Department of Justice unsealed indictments accusing offshore securities trading companies in Belize of scamming the US Government of 1 billion dollars in taxes. We're of course referring to the indictments brought against Belizean Andrew Godfrey, Bahamians securities traders, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, Canadians Brian De Wit and Cem "Jim" Can, and American Robert Bandfield. Among the accused companies were IPC Management Services, LLC; IPC Corporate Services Inc.; IPC Corporate Services LLC; Titan International Securities, Inc; Legacy Global Markets S.A; and Unicorn International Securities LLC (Unicorn).
A few days later, the law enforcement agencies in Belize cleaned out the offices of Titan Securities International of every single document and electronic equipment. The Attorney General's Ministry and the Financial Intelligence Unit also got orders of the Supreme Court to freeze the financial assets of these defendants which were in Belizean banks.
Was There An FIU Investigation Into The Immigration Scandal?
One more inquiry which the press took the opportunity to ask of the FIU Director was a supposed investigation into the immigration scandals. Yes, they've become ghosts… remembered now and again by the politicians from the Opposition Party who remind that a great wrong was committed against national patrimony 18 months or so ago. So, we thought we'd ask the new director for an update on it.
He told us that he had no information to share on it at that moment:
Eric Eusey - Director, FIU
"I am not aware of that investigation, it may have come as a request probably from the Auditor General but I am not aware that that investigation was ongoing."
"So then sir, this whole immigration scandal which there was a private constitution attempt that failed. An appeal of that private prosecution that failed. DPP office said it cannot get involved unless there are certain things done by the police, then the Ministry of the National Security says that the police are the ones involved with it. But there seems to be no movement with it all together and now you're saying that the FIU is not aware of the case. Does that mean that it has been left on the way side?"
The PUP Fix To the Petrocaribe Law
Since Friday, we've been telling you how the PUP walked out of the biggest House Meeting on the calendar year yet. They were supposed to debate the amendments to the Petrocaribe Loans Act, but then, the Speaker had Senator Patrick Andrews ejected. The PUP followed behind, and with them went all the research and preparation made to challenge the Government in a proper debate.
So now, the PUP has to resort to a media manufactured discussion to inform the general public on what their position is, something which the Prime Minister refers to as a cheap knock-off. Still, we must oblige the Opposition on their agenda, since they make up portion of the Elected Representatives in the House. So there's one more excerpt we must share with you, the viewers. It involves the Leader of the Opposition's revelation of a Petrocaribe Revenue Management Bill, a document drafted as their fix to the problem that Petrocaribe access creates. Here's that explanation from Francis Fonseca:
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"A team of legal advisors headed by Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, has examine this very important issue of the Petrocaribe loans act and have come up with a draft "Petrocaribe revenue Management Fund Bill 2015." This bill is not drafted from scratch. It is fashioned from Belize's Petroleum Revenue Management Fund act, which in turn was based on recommendations from the Commonwealth Secretariat Petroleum advisors to Belize. Our draft bill proposes the introduction of Petrocaribe revenue management fund provisions on the use of the fund, provisions dealing with annual as well as exceptional withdrawals from the fund an independent oversight board drawn from a list of esteem local organizations and transparency and public access to information."
Central Bank On Political Spending Of Public Funds
And Recently, whenever the Opposition Party criticizes public spending from the UDP government, the members usually imply or directly accuse the Barrow Administration of using public funds - or Petrocaribe funds - for political patronage. The suggestion is usually that these important monies, which are often needed elsewhere, but instead, they are spent to court voters or keep them loyal to the party.
So, what does the Governor of the Central Bank have to say about such an accusation being repeated at every opportunity? That's what we asked him yesterday, and he told us that there is no evidence that he has seen to support it:
"As far as you're aware as the banker of the government, can this allegation of public funds being used for politicking by the UDP government be a legitimate case that can be made to the general public?"
Glen Ysaguirre - Governor, Central Bank of Belize
"I haven't seen any evidence to indicate if that can be so. Whether or not the government makes or as a policy, the government in its budget makes allocation for instance to provide money for constituencies and area representatives to host these social events. From my understanding of the Petrocaribe arrangement, and I was at the anniversary celebration this morning, there is a component intended for social activities and social events. "
SSB Approved Loans For Citrus And Banana Companies; Any Connection To Jonny Zabs?
Last week, news broke that the Social Security Board had approved loans to two companies Meridian Enterprises Limited and Diverse Development Limited. One is a banana growing company and the other is a citrus processing company. But, there has been a lingering suspicion that Johnny Zabaneh has some interests, either as a beneficiary, or as the personality behind the curtains that is orchestrating the push for financing.
Viewers may be well aware that Zabaneh is one of the biggest banana producers in the south, but in 2012, he was blacklisted by The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. This sanction, under the US Kingpin Act, prevents any US Nationals and US companies from conducting business with him, and it has put a hurting on his business empire.
So, that's why when the proposals from both companies landed on the desk of the SSB Investment Committee and they were approved, eyebrows were raised. We got an opportunity to ask the Chairman about it yesterday. Here's what he had to say about the risk of the investment of the contributions made by the workers of the nation:
The Marijuana Decriminalizing Committee Sticks To 10 Grams
That's what SSB Chairman Doug Singh had to say on the recent loan approvals. He also wears the hat as a member of the Committee looking into the Decriminalization of Marijuana. So, we took the opportunity to ask him for an update.
As we've shown you months ago, the committee is proposing to the Government to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less. The committee is also proposing to lessen the penalties of this quantity of week. Instead of being jailed and being given a criminal record if convicted, a person will be given a fine.
But in the era of mass decriminalization and legalization of weed in other parts of the world, pro-marijuana persons say that 10 grams is too limited a quantity to remove criminal penalties for. They are pushing for larger amounts, and since Jamaica, as of February, has decriminalized up to 2 ounces. That's almost 57 grams, six times the amount in this proposal, and so since then, has the Committee revisited its figure to Cabinet? Singh said "no" in our conversation yesterday. Here's how he explained why not:
Armed Robbery At Atlantic Insurance Belmopan
A woman was held up at knife point at her workplace in Belmopan. It happened on Friday evening between 4:30 and 5 at the Atlantic Insurance Company in the Garden City Plaza. The Office Manager 28 year old Mishelene Guerra was alone in the office and was getting ready to close up when two men walked in and held her up at knife point. The men then tied her up with shoelaces and stole an undisclosed amount of money along with several of her personal items. After the men ran off, she let herself loose and called the police. When we spoke to Belmopan police this evening they told us that they are looking for these two men in connection with this incident. This is the second burglary in Belmopan in about a week. The other happened on the 18th at The Belize Infrastructure Limited at the Market Square. In this case, the culprits entered the building through the roof and stole an assortment of electronic devices. Police still haven't caught those men in connection with that burglary and they told us that they do not have sufficient evidence to link both incidents. Police continue to follow lead on both cases.
A Child-Friendly Family Court
Child friendly isn't the term that comes to mind when you talk about court rooms. But, the fact is, children are very much a part of court proceedings and so the first child friendly family court was officially inaugurated today in Punta Gorda.
The construction of the child friendly family court began in December of last year and was completed last week. The 2 story court building has 2 child friendly interview rooms, 2 one way mirror rooms and a play area for the kids. The construction of this building is just a part of a joint project between UNICEF and the Supreme Court called "Promoting Children's Access to Justice".
This project also entails institutional reform of the court system to better cater to and protect children involved in court cases. Efforts are being made to build another child friendly family court in San Ignacio. The overall cost of this project is $1 million and will run for about 3 years.
Police Influence In Resisting Gang Life
This morning four hundred and sixty four Belize City students graduated 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. It is a life skills program facilitated by police officer. The program first started out as a pilot project in 2011 and quickly expanded. Today 7news was present at the graduation.
Two thousand and fifty students from around the country are graduates of this year's program
A Summer Camp For Photography
This afternoon 7news caught up with a group of photography students in one of their sessions. The youngsters partake in the 2 day workshop this week to help improve on their skills. The sessions were facilitated by Dirk Francisco:
Francisco will be conducting other photography sessions throughout the summer.
The New SISE Bridge In Cayo
The residents of San Ignacio and Santa Elena will finally have a new bridge. Today the contract for the construction of the bridge was signed at the Ministry of Works and according to the design plan the bridge will have unique safety features and help with ease the heavy traffic on the road. The CEO in the Ministry of Works told us more.
The project costs $19,961,575 Belize Dollars and is funded by the Government and the CDB.
Cop Beaten & Left for Dead
Stories of police brutality are mainstays in our newscast, but tonight, the report is that a police officer is on the receiving end. The constable Jason Hall attached to precinct [...]
Mumuch Laid to Rest
There is closure tonight for the Usher family who earlier today lay to rest one of their own: Desmond Usher, a twenty-three year old resident of the Mahogany Heights community [...]
Police Clueless in Murders of 2 Teenagers
Two Belize City high school teenagers were murdered last week following separate shooting incidents on Monday and Wednesday nights in the Old Capital. Fifteen year old Tarique Thompson was shot [...]
Should the Opposition have walked out of the House Meeting on Friday?
And our question for tonight is: Do you believe the Opposition should have walked out of the House Meeting on Friday? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones [...]
Woman Walks From Manslaughter Charge
For the past five years, thirty-one year old year Shelda Patnett has been waiting for her day in court to prove that she was not the owner of two pit [...]
City Residents who Shots Cops Remanded
Two police officers on motorcycle patrol over the weekend were shot at, but fortunately the gunman missed his targets. But the alleged shooter, Phillip Bowen, ran out of luck when the [...]
Police Investigate Separate Allegations of Sexual Abuse
There are two heinous reports of a sexual nature to report tonight. In Silk Grass in the southern Belize, a young boy was sexually abused by someone he knew well, [...]
UNICEF Opens Child-Friendly Family Court
The Supreme Court, with support from UNICEF, officially opened Punta Gorda’s first child-friendly Family Court. In release issued, the child-friendly court is hailed as “a leading milestone and part of [...]
Will Delroy Be Allowed to Contest Stann Creek West?
U.D.P. loyalist, Delroy Cuthkelvin’s intention to contest the upcoming convention in Stann Creek West, is almost dead in the water. Cuthkelvin has worn several hats within his party including working [...]
1 Week to Dangriga Bye-Election
In other political news…Just one week away, Belize will see its second bye-election. The first was in Cayo North earlier this year and this time it will be the constituency [...]
Fonseca Says P.U.P. Poised for Victory in General Elections
And after that bye-election is over on July eight, the focus is the road to General Elections. While speculations are that it may be as early as the end of [...]
FIU Director Speaks on Anti-Money Laundering Progress…
Belize has come under intense scrutiny from agencies within the region for failure to meet international standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The Caribbean Financial Action [...]
…Says FIU Has Undergone Internal Strengthening
Those shortcomings, according to Eusey, were quite a few, beginning with laws and amendments that were both antiquated. The move, he says, has been to successfully bolster the autonomy of [...]
GREAT Program Graduates 400
The Police Department held a graduation ceremony for its GREAT Program students today at the Bliss. The program, which official got underway in 2008, is operated under the umbrella of [...]
G.O.B. Provides Update on Citizenship in 2014
Friday’s House meeting was cut short after the Opposition People’s United Party walked out in protest, but a lot was still said inside and outside the House. The P.U.P. used [...]
Julius Espat Says House Speaker is a U.D.P. Agent
When the P.U.P. lost its national audience in the House last Friday, they made up for it with a fiery impromptu press session outside. We’ve brought you much of what [...]
Espat Blasts Government for Petrocaribe Spending
Espat has led the Opposition’s charge where the use of Petrocaribe money is concerned. In fact, he is named as the claimant in a lawsuit seeking the Court’s judgment on [...]
APBEL Celebrates 10 Years of Petrocaribe
While Espat is concerned about the spending of Petrocaribe funds, the initiative turned ten on Monday. The milestone achievement was celebrated in grand fashion at the APBEL office in Belize [...]
One Person Detained For Attacking Police Constable
Yesterday we told you about the police constable who was attacked and his vehicle stolen as he made his way to work from Corozal Town to Belize. Today, police in Orange Walk are reporting that the person who placed a beating on 36 year old police constable Jason Hall and then stole his vehicle has been has been caught and his vehicle has been recovered. For context, around 3:25p.m yesterday, Hall, who hails from Corozal Town, was repairing a flat tire on his car along with another male person when that same individual hit Hall on the head with an object. The male person then left the area in the constable’s vehicle.
Hall then made his way to the village of Rhaburn Ridge where he was assisted and taken to the Northern Regional Hospital for treatment. Hall’s 4-door Mazda was recovered on Pine Street here in Orange Town and as mentioned one man has been detained pending charges of Aggravated Assault.
Ministry of Education Looks Deeply Into PSE Results
Last week we reported on the recognition given to the highest ranking Primary School Examination students. Although there is the general fluctuation in the results which we have been seeing for a number of years now, all three, the Math, English and Science have dipped slightly. This year the results revealed Social Studies making a rebound when compared to last year. The Ministry says that the average has remained constant over ten years with spikes in 2008 and 2010, but with a slight overall increase over the last four years. And so looking into next year’s PSE, the Ministry is looking at several methods to introduce that can positively impact the students’ performance. Deputy CEO in the Ministry of Education, Allan Genitty says under the School improvement planning initiative they plan on developing a Parents Association.
“The research has shown that whenever you have parental involvement in the child’s wellbeing and the academic schooling children do better in school and not only that but we wanted to move away from parents only being called upon to do fund raising but to be more involved in the whole academic improvement and the school improvement that we hope it will come about with the school improvement planning initiative.”
Search For Missing Fisherman Suspended
And in an update to a story we ran on Friday, after three days of continuous searches, officials at the National Belize Coast Guard have suspended their efforts in locating missing at sea captain, Leoli Varela. The 80 year old was reported missing at sea on Thursday night. Reports are that he was on-board his tug boat traveling with cargo from San Pedro to the Belize Port with his crew. The weather conditions that evening were less than favourable with high winds, choppy seas and heavy rains and while the tugboat was pulling the barge into the Port a strong squall diverted the boat’s course into the Port. The boat crew tried to avoid a collision onto the pier by detaching the barge from the tug as they were also afraid of tipping over. In the process, the tugboat collided with the barge while Varela was on deck. The impact sent him overboard, and some of the crew said that he seemed to have been injured as he fell into the water. Since then, search efforts have been futile as authorities indicate that there have been several changes in the weather conditions over the past few days. It is believed that shifts in currents may have caused the body to drift out to sea.
Barbados Will Not See FIFA World Cup Russia 2018
For those following the road to FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, then you should know that Barbados has been booted out of the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers. They have paid the penalty for playing an ineligible player in the return leg of their second round qualifier against Aruba at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex on June 14th. Winger Hadan Holligan had two previous yellow cards and should have missed the match. Ironically, Holligan scored the only goal of the game and gave the home team a 3-0 aggregate after they had won the first leg 2-0 in Aruba on June 10th.
A release on FIFA’s website declared that Barbados had forfeited the game and awarded a 3-0 victory to Aruba as well, giving the Dutchmen the upper hand to reach the next round.
CWU Signs New Collective Bargaining Agreement
This afternoon the Christian Workers Union singed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Central Bank of Belize to cover the Bank’s Security Officers.
During the signing CWU President Audrey Matura Shepherd stated and we quote “Much credit needs to be given to our Members themselves, who were engaged in drafting their CBA.” end of quote. Signing on behalf of the bank was Central Bank Governor Glenford Ysaguirre who in his remarks voiced satisfaction with the businesslike and cordial fashion in which the negotiations proceeded leading up to today’s signing.
He also expressed the hope that the pending CBA to cover the rest of the CBB Staff, also represented by CWU as a separate Bargaining Unit, will follow a similar course once negotiations start in July.
Fishermen Of Sarteneja Fall Victims To Pirates
Lobster is a delicacy to many, but have we ever wondered how many tedious hours of labor fisherman put into bringing in the day’s catch? Or worst even, the risk that they go through while at sea? Since the opening of the Lobster season many fishermen have reported that they have fallen victims to pirates. But these are not men who are after gold. What they are after is the fishermen’s product. One fisherman who has fallen victim to pirates while out at sea, is Ferbanto Guerrero who told us that all his product was stolen by ruthless criminals.
“Mi primer viaje que estamos dando fuimos asaltados por los piratas, nos pararon y puro cuerno de chivo tienen haya e hicieron que nos votemos al agua y se llevaron el bote y el producto y fuimos fracasado y nos dijeron que no nos quieren ver más allá y que son sus aguas de ellos y que no van a permitir a nadie haya, ya hemos dado reporte al Coast Guard y ellos no hacen nada solo van los agarran y los vuelven a soltar.”
Police Hunts For Man Assaulting a Ten Year Old Female Minor
Tonight there is disturbing news coming out of Corozal Town involving a ten year old female minor and a man whom police are looking for. The individual is being accused of fondling the ten year old on several instances. She, in the company of her mother, reported the matter to police yesterday. The mother told authorities that on the 25th of June while she decided to check on the minor who was taking a bath, she discovered that the male person who they both know was fondling her daughter on her private parts. The mother also reported that the minor told her that she has been assaulted on several occasions.
#505597 - 07/01/15 11:30 AM
Re: Today's Belize News: July 1, 2015
Rotary clubs worldwide change executive members
At midnight tonight more than 34 thousand Rotary Clubs in 210 countries will boast new executive members. The incoming governor for Rotary District 4250 which comprises Belize, Honduras and Guatemala is Dr. Rene Villanueva. Dr. Rene Villanueva – Governor, Rotary District 4250 “As we start the new Rotary Year 2015-2016 I take this opportunity to […]
Over four hundred students graduate from Police Department’s GREAT program
The Gang Resistance Educational and Training, GREAT Program, has been targeting schools kids to stay away from gang activities and focus on their education. The program has been impacting the lives of thousands of students across the country and today, 464 students from eight primary schools in Belize City were recognized for successfully completing the […]
Central Bank Governor speaks on Petro Caribe payback
Yesterday we aired a portion of the interview with the Governor of the Central bank, Glenford Ysaquirre. The topic was Petro Caribe and the process that the Government follows in order to access money from that account. Now one key question that has been raised in the public forum is how will Belize pay back […]
First child friendly court opens its doors
The first child friendly Family court in Belize was opened earlier today in Punta Gorda. The new building was designed to be suitable for children and includes child-friendly play rooms as well as interview rooms with video link equipment. With the use of this technology those working in the court will be able to ensure […]
Belize City man charged with burglary
Forty year old Sheffield Brown, was charged with burglary and damage to property when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Brown pled not guilty to the charges. He was offered a bail of five thousand dollars and his case was adjourned until August 30. The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on June 27. […]
Woman acquitted of manslaughter by negligence charges
Thirty-one year old Shelda Patnett, a store clerk of Tropical Park, Hattieville, charged with manslaughter by negligence, was acquitted of the charge today in the court of Justice John Gonzalez. It was alleged by the Crown that on May 31, 2010, two dogs purportedly owned by Patnett, bit 65 year old Edmund Spain. Spain was […]
Man charged for shooting at police officers
Twenty-two year old Phillip Bowen, a resident of Freedom Street, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm against two police officers when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Bowen pled not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until August 14. Two police constables, Anton Simpson and […]
Doug Singh updates on marijuana decriminalization
Doug Singh is also the chairman of the Committee looking into Decriminalization of marijuana in Belize and he gave us an update on that matter. Doug Singh – Chairman, SSB “The bottom line is that the committee was tasked with the decriminalization, not the legalization. I think there are tremendous differences between what Jamaica has […]
Social Security Chairman speaks on one point five million dollar investment
A couple of weeks ago we noticed that the Social Security Board publicized a notice of investment in the local newspaper. The notice read that the SSB Board proposed to lend 1.5 million dollars to Diverse Development Limited for quote, “purchase of fertilizers and other inputs”, end of quote. After we got a hold of […]
FIU Director updates on recent bust
In last night’s newscast, we told you about the press conference of the Financial Intelligence Unit where they shared good news about Belize’s international standing after it participated in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s Plenary Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Well during the press conference, the media asked the Director of the FIU, […]
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Belizean Sailors To Take Part In Optimist North American Championship
While no Hicaqueno sailor is being represented in this international meet, we tip our hats nonetheless to all the little sailors of Caye Caulker who have made us proud and continue to make us proud, and to the adults who work tirelessly to make it happen for them. The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is a fledgling NGO born a mere 5 years ago. The majority of its members do not themselves know how to sail. A handful or two are self-taught sailors, and fewer members than that were professionally trained and have extensive sailing and racing experience under their belts. The non-sailors rally support, because, like the experienced sailors, they have witnessed first hand how sailing leads to a child’s joy and to early development of essential life-skills including critical thinking, self-esteem and confidence, the ability to focus and concentrate, and social skills.
Speaker removes PUP senator … for laughing too loudly!
–In the recent months, there has been much public debate and commentary from social partners over the controversial Petrocaribe Loans Amendment, and in response to concerns raised by social partners since the bill was approved by Parliament in March, an amendment was tabled in the House of Representatives today, as well as a set of supplementary appropriation bills to cover unbudgeted spending for the last fiscal year and for the first quarter of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, as well as proposed spending for the next quarter.
Whereas it was expected that the debate on the Petrocaribe amendment and supplementary appropriation bills would have been the highlight of today’s House meeting, a walk-out by the Opposition People’s United Party at 11:20 this morning—over the ejection of Senator Patrick Andrews, who laughed aloud while United Democratic Party Collet area representative Patrick Faber was talking—stole the show.
It all unfolded after Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow introduced a supplementary appropriation bill, amounting to $15,958,604, for the fiscal year 2014/2015.
Two charged for murder of Hattieville taxi operator
Two Belize City men were arraigned on a charge of murder this afternoon in connection with the shooting death of Hattieville taxi operator Patrick Spencer Tillett, 39.
Charles Middleton and Cesario Chuko did not have to enter a plea after Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith read the murder charge to them.
Smith asked the two accused men if they understood the charge, before she asked the court’s prosecutor for an adjournment date.
The court prosecutor set September 25 as the adjournment date, and the Chief Magistrate remanded Middleton and Chuko to the Belize Central Prison until that date, when they will be brought back to court.
Police charged Middleton and Chuko with the June 24 murder of Patrick Spencer Tillett, who was shot multiple times on Cairo Street.
Mark Swaso, 39, found dead off South Water Caye
A Sunday afternoon fishing outing ended tragically for a Dangriga man who works on South Water Caye as a tour guide with International Zoological Expeditions (IZE). Friends and relatives learned on Sunday afternoon that Mark Swaso, 39, also known as “Karm,” was missing and after several hours searching for him, recovered his body near the island around midday today. His body was returned to Dangriga close to 5 o’clock this evening.
His wife, Trudy Joseph Swaso, said that Mark, who loved to fish in his free time and who would usually go alone on such trips, had gone on his kayak to fish near South Water Caye on Sunday, and they found out after 2:00 p.m., when he didn’t show up to take his guests snorkeling, that he was missing.
Vonetta Dawson, Swaso’s relative, told Amandala that Swaso had gone to fish at about 1:00 p.m., and when she was asked if weather could have been a factor in his disappearance, she noted that the weather was fine. She also said that Swaso was a very good swimmer. His wife also mentioned that Mark was in good health.
Was “Mumush” tortured to death?
The search for Desmond “Mumush” Usher (also known as Myers), 23, of Mahogany Heights, who was reported missing since Saturday, concluded at about 9:30 this morning when his decomposing body was found in a pimento patch near the water reservoir behind Mahogany Heights.
The body was discovered by Usher’s relatives and friends who had been searching for him since Saturday, after he failed to return home Friday night. He apparently had been beaten and tortured to death.
Sharima Neal, his devastated common-law wife who was a member of the search party who found her husband, told Amandala this morning that he was at home in Mahogany Heights on Saturday, then went out, but returned at about 8:30 Saturday night, bringing her food at her mom’s house. He then told her to get ready because he would be coming back for her to take her home, but he was first going to see his father, in the village, and then he left the house.
PUP proposes new Petrocaribe law
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca, invoked an old mantra of the Party, “touch one, touch all,” on Friday at the House of Representatives meeting when the Speaker of the House, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, decided to eject PUP senator Patrick Andrews from the gallery. Because they walked out of the House meeting, the PUP parliamentarians did not take part in the debate on the amendment to the Petrocaribe Loan Act that the government side passed on in March.
At a press conference this morning, Fonseca, flanked by PUP Deputy Leader, Hon. Julius Espat (the member for Cayo South and chairman of the House Public Accounts Committee), explained the PUP’s position on the amendment to the very controversial Petrocaribe Loans Act.
In opening the press briefing at the PUP’s Independence Hall headquarters, Fonseca said, “The Petrocaribe Loans Act and the amendment act passed last Friday are insults to the Belizean people. These laws are not worth the paper they are written on. In every corner of this country, the call has been loud and clear: The Petrocaribe Loans Act must be repealed, not amended, repealed; it must go.”
Guatemalans constitute largest number of persons receiving Belizean citizenship
Guatemalans constitute the predominant national group among persons receiving Belizean citizenship.
At today’s meeting of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dean Barrow disclosed, in answer to a question from the Opposition People’s United Party, that 104 Guatemalans were among the 439 new citizens sworn in during 2014.
Barrow said that the Guatemalans had been sworn in after they renounced their Guatemalan citizenship and completed the necessary processes to become Belizean citizens.
Under Belize’s Constitution, Section 29.3, “No person shall be entitled under the provisions of this Part to be a citizen of Belize or be granted citizenship of Belize if such person shows any allegiance to or is a citizen of a country which does not recognise the independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize: Provided that the Minister may in his discretion grant Belizean citizenship …”
Belize to 2015 Optimist North American Championship
For the first time ever, Belize is to be represented, along with 22 other countries, at the Optimist North American Championship in Antigua. Young sailors from our Belize Sailing Association will represent the Jewel, and the below article appears on the web site that introduces all the participants. 163 sailors, including 40 girls, from 23 countries will participate in the event. Participating countries are: Antigua, Argentina, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, and USA. Here is what they have to say about Belize:
Mon. June 29, 2015–The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is a fledgling NGO born a mere 5 years ago. The majority of its members do not themselves know how to sail. A handful or two are self-taught sailors, and fewer members than that were professionally trained and have extensive sailing and racing experience under their belts. The non-sailors rally support, because, like the experienced sailors, they have witnessed first hand how sailing leads to a child’s joy and to early development of essential life-skills including critical thinking, self-esteem and confidence, the ability to focus and concentrate, and social skills.
Former boxing champ, Eustace Hendy, a.k.a. “Jack Budd,” passes
Today, residents of Cayo are saddened and mourning the passing of former boxing champion, Jack Budd, as he was affectionately known.
Jack Budd was highly regarded in the boxing world and particularly popular in down town San Ignacio. Jack made himself even more popular in December, 2014, when he became one of the boxers in the grand boxing match against Ludigario “Kukulick” Paiz…
Jack Budd will be missed by many.
May his soul rest in peace and rise in eternal glory!
Government’s Summer of Sports Sponsorship Programme 2015
The National Sports Council is pleased to announce that it has completed the vetting exercise of the Government’s Summer of Sports Programme 2015. Ninety-one applicants from all over the country met the requirements and will be receiving sponsorship for their summer camps. All successful applicants have been contacted, and the National Sports Council thanks all those who applied.
The successful applicants will be signing agreements and receiving their initial disbursement of funds commencing today, Friday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. at the National Sports Council office, located at Rogers Stadium, corner Cemetery Road and Dolphin Street, Belize City.
Knockout semifinals in Smart 13 & Under
The last regular season games in Week 11 of the 2015 Smart 13 & Under Football Tournament took place on Saturday, June 27, at the MCC Grounds, and the stage is now set for the playoffs this coming Saturday, in which the top 4 teams will square off – #1 seed vs #4 seed, and #2 seed vs #3 seed in one-game knockout semifinals.
Before our report, a correction from last week’s report on Week 10, where we erroneously allocated the Ladyville Jaguars goal to D’Jon Canelo in their important 1-nil win over rivals Hattieville Youths. Actually, D’Jon assisted on the goal, which was actually scored by Alex Croft.
In the Week 11 schedule opener on Saturday, Face of Belize won by default over Third World. In game 2, Ladyville Jaguars strengthened their playoff hopes with an exciting 1-1 draw against Rising Stars, also based in Ladyville. Emilio Salazar put Rising Stars in front, but D’Jon Canelo equalized for the Jaguars. Game 3 saw Collet Strikers and Young Warriors, #2 and #3 ranked, respectively, playing to a nil-nil stalemate. These same two teams will clash in the semifinals, where a winner must be produced. In game 4 on Saturday, it was London Strikers, 1-0, over Heights FC, on a goal by Keffer Perteau. In game 5, City Boys got a goal apiece from Dwayne Tillett and Rasheed Lord, to register the 2-nil victory over Charlston FC.
Editorial: The Southside puzzle
Two teenaged students were separately, critically injured by gunfire on the Southside of Belize City on Monday night, June 22, and Wednesday night, June 24, respectively. Tarique Thompson, 15, a second form high school student, was shot on Monday on Lakeview Street and died over the weekend. Ruben Leslie, 16, was shot at the corner of Magazine Road and Banak Street on Wednesday, and continues to fight for his life.
A few years ago, it was established by professional academic research that the frequency of gun violence and murder on the Southside of Belize City has reached civil war levels, if we use the measuring stick for such matters used by the United Nations. Nowhere in the nation-state of Belize have young boys and young men been dying at the rate they have been dying on the Southside. The irony of the situation is that nowhere in Belize is there the concentration of powerful Government Cabinet Ministers that there is on the Southside. There are six historically Southside political constituencies, and a seventh constituency which had been exclusively Northside since 1961, became partially Southside for the first time in 2008. That is Pickstock, which sent Foreign Minister/Attorney General Wilfred Elrington to the House of Representatives in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. The longtime Southside constituencies are Queen’s Square, Mesopotamia, Port Loyola, Albert, Collet, and Lake Independence. These constituencies sent in 2012, in that order, Prime Minister/Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, Housing Minister Michael Finnegan, Local Development Minister Anthony Martinez, Junior Minister Herman Longsworth, Education/Sports/Youth Minister Patrick Faber, and Junior Minister Mark King to the House of Representatives and the Cabinet Room.
From the Publisher
It is clear that there was an organized attempt at the highest levels of the Government of Belize to downplay the incident at the Sarstoon River Island which took place between Thursday, May 28, and Friday morning, May 29, when armed elements of the Belize Coast Guard and armed elements of the Guatemalan navy confronted each other.
At the time of an incident, exactly three months before this May 28/29 incident, when armed elements of the said Guatemalan Navy kidnapped 37 Belizeans who were under the banner of Belize’s Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV) from the same location in the Sarstoon River mouth and forced them to go to the Guatemalan port of Livingston, the response of the various Cabinet Ministers of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) had been inappropriate. One high-ranking leader of the Belize Government actually referred to the NTV mission as “misguided patriotism.” In the House of Representatives, the Toledo East area representative of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), it should be noted, took a similar line, when he criticized the NTV and similar groupings for behavior which he said would provoke violence from “those people” (the Guatemalans).
Punta Gorda fishers dominate in outstanding fishers award
For the first time today, 5 Belizean fishers were publicly recognized for their outstanding contributions to fisheries in Belize on the occasion of Fisherman’s Day: Vonetta Dawson of Dangriga, Toribio Parchue of Punta Gorda, Joel Casimiro of Punta Gorda, Carlton Young of Placencia and Anna Ramirez of Punta Gorda.
Mrs. Ramirez was presented with the Punta Fuego Fisher of the Year award while Mr. Young was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Both Ramirez, 63, and Young, 74, have been fishing for over 50 years, and they are still actively engaged in the industry. Young, born in Punta Gorda but raised in Monkey River, told us that he is planning to venture out to the seas on Wednesday.
All awardees, 4 of whom are connected with Punta Gorda, were recognized at official ceremonies held at the Coastal Zone Training Room in Belize City, to commemorate Fisherman’s Day – a collaborative effort of the Belize Fisheries Department, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO) and the Nature Conservancy, with awards organized in collaboration with Punta Fuego, a Love FM radio drama after which the awards are named.
The untimely death of Tarique Thompson, 15
Tarique Thompson, 15, a 2nd form student of Canaan High School, today unfortunately succumbed to gunshot wounds he suffered while making his way home at around 8:30 on Monday night in Belize City.
The teenager was walking on Lakeview Street, heading to his home on Sibun Street, which is just one block away, when he was targeted by a pair of gunmen, one of whom was reportedly wearing a fisherman’s hat.
Thompson was shot in the head and neck and was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he remained in an induced coma until around 12:00 p.m. today, when he died after clinging to life for three and a half days.
His family maintained that he was a gentle, kind and mannerly young man who was not involved in any of the gang activities that took place in his neighborhood, which lies on the fringes of the nearby gang turf known as “Ghost Town”, and therefore, did not deserve such a violent, horrible fate.
At public forum, BNTU says no to Petrocaribe Loan Act and amendment
The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow tabled the amendment to its controversial Petrocaribe Loans Act today in the House of Representatives, where it was not debated by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), whose members walked out the House due to their objection to another matter. Two days ago, however, the Petrocaribe Loans Act and its proposed amendment, which is now on its way to the Senate for approval, were the subject of a public forum by the Belize National Teachers Union, (BNTU) at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall.
In his introductory remarks at the forum, the BNTU president Luke Palacio described the amendment to the Petrocaribe Law as “cosmetic.”
“The government has also refused to repeal the section that speaks to retrospectivity,” Palacio continued.
“They [the government] have spent so much money without going to the National Assembly, and BNTU and its council of management said no,” Palacio further noted. He also stated that the actions of the government are heading toward “tyranny, and dictatorship.”
APBEL celebrates 10 years of Petrocaribe in Belize
Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL), the Belizean company through which Petrocaribe fuel is bought from Venezuela, today commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Petrocaribe agreement between the governments of Venezuela and Belize at its headquarters on Coney Drive in Belize City.
The regional social development loan program, which was the brainchild of former Venezuelan president, the late Hugo Chavez, has, of late, become one of the most widely discussed topics in local public circles, and depending on who you listen to, the spending of the funds that are made available by means of that loan program has either been touted as a means for unprecedented infrastructural works, or criticized as a slush fund through which the ruling party has been able to muscle its way to a series of political successes.
A Petrocaribe alliance, which is made up of 17 Caribbean and Central American states, in addition to Venezuela, was launched in June 2005 when it was decided through the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas that the initiative would go beyond oil production to promote economic cooperation as well.
Barrow says Maya needed eviction order from court
The attempt by the Maya of Santa Cruz to evict Rupert Myles, a Creole Belizean who has a child and common-law wife living in the village, and the subsequent move by law enforcement authorities to arrest several Maya villagers, the village alcalde, Manuel Pop, and Maya activist, Cristina Coc, have fueled a national debate, and today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who reiterated the Government’s commitment to put proper systems in place to make provisions for special rights of the indigenous Maya, issued a call in the House of Representatives Friday, via a formal statement, for Belizeans to exercise maturity and restraint, by abiding by the status quo until progress can be achieved on this front and discouraged confrontation and violence.
Barrow recalled the recent airing on national television of “very graphic and extremely disturbing images” of Myles tied hand and foot and imprisoned by Maya Belizeans in the village of Santa Cruz and footage of an earlier encounter of Cristina Coc of the Maya Leaders Alliance and another ethnically mixed Belizean, Joseph Estephan. He added that both what was said by Coc and what was done by Santa Cruz villagers raise some hinge issues that he felt the need to address.
He went on to clarify that the consent judgment entered earlier this year by the Caribbean Court of Justice in the Maya Land Rights case did not supersede the Constitution and laws of Belize, nor did it transfer sovereignty over any part of national territory from Government to any particular ethnic group.
CARICOM states strong objection to EU “blacklist”
The Caribbean Community Secretariat has recorded its strong objection to a recent action by the European Union, listing Belize and several other Caribbean territories as international tax havens, as a part of a scheme which the EU has launched to crack down on tax avoidance.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) strongly objects to the recent decision by the European Commission to ‘blacklist’ a number of Member States of CARICOM on the pretext that there is no cooperation on tax law enforcement with the countries of the European Union (EU),” the statement from the Caribbean Community on European Union List of Non-Co-operative Tax Jurisdictions and Countries said.
CARICOM goes on to say that the assertion by the EU “is patently false in view of the continued efforts made by member states to comply with the onerous and unilateral regulatory measures put forward by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which sets international standards on tax cooperation.”
As our newspaper noted when we reported the story, Belize has signed a string of agreements with several foreign countries, including some belonging to the EU.
Breaking Belize News
O.W. P.C. critical after beating in Rhaburn Ridge
Police Constable Jason Hall is in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after being beaten by a would-be Good Samaritan on Monday. Orange Walk police captured the suspect, who is now in Belize City expecting charges of aggravated assault. Around 3:25 in the afternoon Constable Hall […]
Girl, 10, molested in Corozal
Police are seeking a man of Corozal Town pending charges of indecent sexual assault against a female child aged 10. According to police, the student and her mother told them that she was first touched by the suspect, who is known to her about three weeks before making […]
FIU, PM laud banking compliance
Caribbean countries listed recently by the European Union for being “non-cooperative jurisdictions” in the offshore services sector have hit back at the designation, saying they are in fact fully or largely compliant. Fighting to ensure that their correspondent banking relationships appears undamaged, the countries have gotten support from the […]
Police graduate 400 GREAT students
The Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (GREAT) of the Belize Police Department held ceremonies in Belize City today for over 400 students from eight City schools. This program was not about math and ABC’s, but about helping them avoid the lure of the gang lifestyle. Officer in […]
More consultation planned over marijuana
The Government of Belize has entertained proposals for a decriminalization of possession of ten grams of marijuana. This puts Belize well behind regional counterparts such as Jamaica which has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana since April and anticipates a taxed and regulated medical marijuana sector. But here in […]
Social Security Board allowed loans to Zabaneh companies?
The Investment Committee of the Social Security Board (SSB) has approved loans to two companies based in the banana and citrus belt in Belize in the Independence area. They are Meridian Enterprises Limited and Diverse Investments Limited. But behind the innocuous names, some see the moving shadow of […]
Police looking for answers after “Mumuch” death
Superintendent of Police Hilberto Romero, officer in charge of Eastern Division Criminal Investigation Branch, says police investigations haven’t gotten very far in the death of 23 year old Desmond Usher, also known as “Mumuch.” His body was found 8:30 Monday morning in a remote area of Mahogany Heights […]
Woman acquitted of manslaughter over dogs
It was a cause celebre five years ago when two dogs bit a senior citizen so badly that he died in the Tropical Park area of Hattieville, Belize District. 65 year old Edmund Spain sustained dog bites to his right hand and died five days later in hospital. […]
Search suspended for missing TugBoat Captain
The family of eighty year old San Pedro businessman, Leovijildo Varela is today coming to grips with the reality that they may not locate their loved one who was lost at sea last week Thursday. Reports are that Varela was thrown off of a tugboat which was pulling a barge […]
Accused murderers of taxi driver charged
39 year old Patrick Spencer, also known as Patrick Dean Tillett, was murdered on Wednesday night, June 24, in Belize City. The taxi operator of Hattieville who worked in Belize City was socializing on Cairo Street when he was shot several times in the left armpit and arm […]
29 local residents provide medical care on mission trip to Belize
First Baptist Church of Conway, First Nazarene Church of Conway, Second Baptist Church of Conway and Fellowship Bible Church of Conway had 29 medical and dental team members provide care for a small town in Belize from May 23 to 31, 2015.
A clinic was constructed in the local Nazarene Church of Succotz.
The team triaged 1,451 people, filled 3,046 prescriptions, performed 74 dental extractions and five dental fillings, distributed 450 pairs of glasses, and distributed 600 Bibles; 33 people decided to follow Christ.
The team also visited two orphanages and provided medical and dental care to King’s Children’s Home in Cotton Tree Village, with 80 children ranging in age from 12 months to 18 years, and Maria’s House of Hope in Mountain View, with 20 children ages 2 months to 18 years.
Marines offer tougher training in Central American exercise
Marines turned up the heat in Belize during an annual partnership exercise this month, offering more demanding training, as well as new riverine and jungle warfare tracks.
About 250 troops from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean participated in the second phase of Tradewinds 2015 alongside about 100 Marines. Roughly two dozen of those Marines hailed from the brand-new Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-South, which deployed in early June to provide humanitarian support and assistance to Central American nations during the six-month hurricane season.
Other Marines in the exercise came from 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and 4th Civil Affairs Group, a Reserve unit out of Hialeah, Florida. Participating partner nations included Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom.
C’bean countries urged to pay closer attention to crime and security
A three-day Caribbean Basin Security Initative (CBSI) conference began here Monday, with Barbados urging regional countries to pay closer attention to the crime and security agenda agreed to by the regional leaders in 2013.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said he was also concerned that with CARICOM leaders due to meet here later this week, not enough attention was being paid to establishing the crime and security strategy.
“We have the strategy, we have the organs that are supposed to implement the strategy, but it is my opinion that we are not giving the organs the wherewithal to implement it,” said Brathwaite, who is also Minister of Home Affairs.
Brathwaite was addressing the opening of the Customs and Border Protection Border Security Professional Exchange conference, being held under the theme “Information Sharing and Collaboration as a Strategy to Counter Transnational Criminal Organisations”.
He told delegates that regional Governments had a responsibility to ensure that the vehicles used to implement the crime and security strategies in the region were given the necessary resources without totally relying on the United States or other international partners.
Caribbean Countries Demand Removal from EU Tax Haven List
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States said it is determined to have 13 Caribbean countries removed from the European Union’s list of 30 international tax havens.
“We said we are going to aggressively pursue getting this thing to be removed,” the current OECS chairman, Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, said Monday at a meeting of the group.
“It is not a positive assessment, so therefore it is something we must move to get rid of and that’s why collectively we are going to do whatever we have to do and we are taking our case to the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) region, because Barbados was also named,” he said.
Belize Mission Trip, 30min. from Willowbrook Community Church
Caye Caulker 2014-2015, 2min. New years trip to Caye Caulker, Belize
Eco Kids Summer Camp 2015 by Chaa Creek!, 2min.
Belize w skrócie, 3min. scuba, with whale sharks
Benque Marimba Youths, San Pedro Fiesta, Belize, 2min. Musical rendition in celebration of the Feast of San Pedro, June 2015.
Got 2 Belize It (Vlog #4), 6min. Week 2 in Belize. Filled mostly with funny animals, drinks, and random activities. Thanks for watching!!
LEAF CUTTER ANTS IN BELIZE, 1/2min.
Ghost Hunters International (S3 E9) - The Crystal Maiden, 44min. San Ignacio, Belize - Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves and Queaux, France - Château de Fougeret. Spinoff to the SciFi original, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters ...
Wedding in Belize!, 4min. Our wedding in San Pedro, Belize
Project Belize - Bonefish, 6min. Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.
Belize Family Vacation 2015 Part 2 San Pedro, 5min.
Placencia, Belize, 7min. Lobster Festival in Placencia, Belize! Courtesy of the amazing Mrs. Audrey of Foresters Lodge!
Benque Marimba Youths, San Pedro Fiesta June 2015 Belize, 15min. El coco no, Benque Marimba Youths Belize.
Belize Week One (Vlog #3), 10min.
Mexico Rocks in Belize - Scuba diving, 6min. Sea turtles, nurse sharks, sting rays, eels, and lots of beautiful fish Blusmart HD 1080P
Skydiving into the Blue Hole, Belize, 8.5min.
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