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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
Venezuelan opposition is controlling government: What does this mean for Belize?
On December 6th, Venezuela’s Opposition Democratic Alliance won an overwhelming mid-term congressional victory during the country’s elections. This victory gave the opposition party about two-thirds control in Venezuela’s National Assembly. The opposition claimed the majority of the 167 seats in the National Assembly which would allow them to free political prisoners, enact basic laws, and approve the budget and government debt. The results are a major blow to current president Nicolas Maduro of the ruling Socialist Party, which has been in power for the past 16 years when the late president Hugo Chavez brought it to power. The big question concerning Belizeans is, what does this mean for Belize and the future of the PetroCaribe Loan Program?
Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch report a successful year
The Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch (BRCSP) would like to thank everyone for their support over the course of 2015. The branch has been working hard in the community to make Ambergris Caye a safer place. 2015 saw several milestones for BRCSP and as such they would like to share them with the community.
2015 brought the First Aid/ Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (FA/CPR) training to a new level, with the certification of an instructor who lives on the island. Ashty Dennison is currently the only FA/CPR instructor certified by Belize Red Cross on San Pedro, while Martin Dawson is our certified assistant. In addition, this year, 64 people were trained in six sessions of FA/CPR workshops; six businesses, two schools, three private citizens and two new Red Cross volunteers. Since BRCSP re-inception in 2013, 263 have been trained from 46 businesses and two lives have been saved thanks to FA/CPR, both were children.
In the coming year, BRCSP plans to continue the growth of FA/CPR training in the island and will even be partnering with the Washington University of Health and Science (WUHS) in Belize. “After monitoring Dennison teaching a class, the school President of WUHS) was impressed with her professionalism. He has indicated a desire to have training done at the beginning of each semester. Negotiations for that will be scheduled in January,” said BRCSP. “Further, anyone that is interested in joining the 46 businesses that are sending staff for training or taking First Aid training as an individual should contact the branch’s new FA/CPR Coordinator Aimee Fearneyhough via email@example.com. Courses run monthly at a cost of $50BZ.”
WUHS medical students becoming island First Aid responders
The Washington University of Health and Science (WUHS) San Pedro Campus, recently held a ‘First Aid Responders’ training in partnership with the Belize Red Cross. The activity was held in order to certify students to become first aid responders and be a valuable asset to the community, providing qualified individuals who may be able to provide medical assistance at any given time and anywhere on the island. According to the Medical Student Association President at WUHS, Sujatha Chetty, they want to get more involved in the community and become a point of medical reference for the residents. “A lot of locals don’t know about our medical school here in San Pedro Town, and whenever we are out there and people see us in our uniforms, they really don’t know where we are from or what we are here to do. We are not just here to get an education, but to give back to the community which we have become a part of,” said Chetty. She added that whenever people spot one of the students in their red or blue uniforms, they can feel free to ask them questions and even advice on any possible illness they might be experiencing.
Dog Registration Law to be implemented in 2016
2016 is fast approaching, and the New Year is scheduled to bring much change for pet owner and pets alike. Saga Humane Society and the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) have announced that effective Monday, January 4th, all dogs must be registered and licensed at the Town Board. This program has been in the pipeline since 2012 and is expected to reduce the number of strays and unwanted dogs on the streets of Ambergris Caye. According to Saga, pet owners will be required to license all dogs four months and older. In order to license your pet, the dog must be properly vaccinated for rabies. “Rabies vaccinations are a prerequisite for licensing dogs, and are available at Saga Humane Society for $30. No cost vaccinations are available to those in need,” says Saga.
A Year in Review Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch
The Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch (BRCSP) would like to thank everyone for their support over the course of 2015. The Branch is working hard for the community to make Ambergris Caye a safer place. Special thanks to Mayor Daniel Guerrero for coming to the Red Cross Christmas party and bringing an oversized check from the San Pedro Town Council to help us continue our work.
In Review; First Aid/CPR Training:
2015 brought our First Aid/CPR training to a new level, with the certification of an instructor who lives on the island. Ashty Dennison is currently the only FA/CPR instructor certified by Belize Red Cross on the island. Martin Dawson is our certified assistant.
This year – 64 people were trained in 6 sessions; 6 businesses, 2 schools, 3 private citizens and 2 new Red Cross volunteers were represented. Since our re-inception in 2013, 263 have been trained from 46 businesses and 2 lives have been saved; both were children.
Belize Appoints Ambassador to Cuba - Discuss Trade, Culture, Tourism
On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, Belize’s Ambassador to Cuba, H.E. Annie Burns Martinez, participated in a ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana where she presented her credentials to Vice President and Comptroller General of the Republic of Cuba, H.E. Mrs. Gladys Bejerano Portela and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Marcelino Medina González.
Both parties discussed new areas for cooperation in trade, culture, and tourism. Ambassador Burns Martinez also recognized the contribution of the Cuban Medical Brigade and the general medicine and specialization scholarships that have helped to further develop Belize’s public health sector.
Additionally, the representatives spoke about the current Cuban migrant crisis and the role of human traffickers; in particular, the call by Hon. Wilfred Elrington for SICA states to coordinate a regional response that fits within a clear and legal framework and one in which all the parties affected were participating in the discussion, was appreciated. Both parties await the outcome of a follow-up meeting in Mexico with hope to move closer to a resolution.
Fire Destroys Family Home Over Christmas Weekend
An early morning blaze completely destroyed a home and garage/storage on Sunday, December 27, 2015 in the Escalante/DFV Subdivision leaving a family homeless and without a place of work.
The San Pedro Fire Department reported that about 5:00a.m. on Sunday, Ricardo Valladarez, 34-year-old mechanic of Escalante subdivision, indicated that he woke up to the smell of smoke, immediately noticing the inside of the house on fire.
The house was a 24’ x 26’ plycem and wooden building with a garage and a storage room 10’ x10’ to the back, both were completely destroyed and three vehicles that were in the shop for repairs were damaged by the fire.
The Fire Department reports arriving on location at 5:45a.m.and running out of water. The house and contents were not insured.
Misc Belizean Sources
INCREASE IN IMPORT DUTIES ON FUEL PRODUCTS
The Ministry of Finance hereby informs the general public that with the arrival of the latest shipment of fuel which is due to take effect at the pump on December 28, 2015, the Import Duties on Premium Gasoline and Diesel Oil increased by 65 cents Belize per U.S. Gallon while the Import Duty on Regular Gasoline increased by 57 cents Belize per U.S. Gallon.
Consequently the new Import Duties applied to these products are as follows:
Premium Gasoline - $2.96 per US Gallon
Regular Gasoline - $2.73 per US Gallon
Diesel Oil - $1.92 per US Gallon
The 12 Best Bird Books of 2015
Are you a birder and a reader? Can't be the first without the last. Read a few of these next year.... Our favorite reads of the year include a guide to the world of gonzo birds, a best-selling falconry memoir, field handbooks, and more.
Live Music with Valentino
Live Music with Valentino at the Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill from 6pm-9pm! December 29, 2015 Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Rape Victim Speaks Up, Tells Story Of Outrageous Police Abuse
Tonight, a rape victim is speaking out. 25-year-old mother of two, Vanessa Evans is accusing a police officer of handcuffing and raping her in the San Ignacio police station - while she was detained. Evans says she was removed from her cell early on the morning of December 20th and taken into a dark room where a police officer raped her. Now, we don't usually broadcast the names of rape victims, but Vanessa and her husband contacted us, and said they want to go public because they believe the police are deliberately dragging their feet. That's because, one week after the report was made, they still haven't charged one of their own. And so today at her home in Bullet Tree, Vanessa told me about the rape, and the traumatic aftermath:...
Vanessa Evans, "A police officer raped me"
"He opened the cell and tell me to come. And I told him I said come? Come for what? And he goes like, come lets go back that way and he hand me a roll of toilet paper and I begin to walk because he had a gun and he had the gun showing it to me. I came out and I started walking towards the back like he said, that's what he said."
"Okay, so he had the gun in his hand or he was just showing you his gun by his side?"
Vanessa Evans, "A police officer raped me"
"He was just showing me his gun by his side."
"When he took you to the back, did he say anything before or....?"
Vanessa Evans, "A police officer raped me"
"He said you are going to get what you deserved, why you keep beating your men? So I said, it not your business, whatever me and my man have, we've been having it for 8 years and that doesn't give you the right to take me out of my cell to try and assault me.
Drunk Driver Killed One Year Old
The life of one year old Genesis Medina was cut short when a man, suspected to have been under the influence at the time, knocked her down last night. The incident happened in the village of San Estevan in front of the child's home. So, what was Baby Genesis doing out on the street unattended, and why was the driver of the vehicle speeding in the middle of the village? Emanuel Pech travelled North today to find out.
Three months ago, baby Genesis Medina celebrated her first birthday. But the joy that this innocent smile brought to her family has been replaced by lingering grief. On Sunday around 4:40 pm Baby Genesis, (show vehicle) was knocked down and killed by this speeding gold Mazda pickup driven by a 28th year old resident of Trial Farm Village. The vehicle hit the child and dragged her small body about 100 yards from the house. Assistant Superintendent Selwyn Tillett described the tragic scene police witnessed.
ASP Selwyn Tillette- O. C. Orange Walk Police
"On yesterday's date, 27th December at about 5pm police visited Calle del Sol Street in San Estevan Village, Orange Walk District where they observed the body of a female infant lying motionless faced up on the right hand side of the street. She was wearing a pink floral dress. The body had a large open fractured skull at the right side of the forehead with about 4 inches in length and also she had scrapes on her chest. A large piece of her brain tissue was seen about 5 feet away from the body."
Senior Citizen Still Unconscious After Home Invasion (By Neighbor!)
93-Year-old resident of Fern Lane, Patrick Grant is a man known to cut his own yard, and even mend his neighbor's fence if he has a hammer and a nail. The senior citizen lives by himself and likes it that way - but tonight he's clinging to life after a home invasion left him badly beaten. Grant was at home sleeping on Sunday morning before 6:00, when a man police believe to be his neighbor stormed in to steal a TV, and in the process, he almost robbed the old man of his life. I found out more today when I visited the area:..
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
93 year old Patrick Grant usually spends the entire day sitting on this white plastic chair. This is where he relaxes and enjoys his time alone.
And yesterday was no different - after his long rest in his favorite spot, he went inside his house. But everything changed when he got an unexpected visit from his neighbor. Grant was asleep when his neighbor stormed in, viciously assaulted him and stole his TV.
When Grant's family finally arrived at the house - he was slumped on this same chair - almost beaten to death.
Teenager Knifed To Death After Boom Horse Races
There were two murders on Boxing Day, one in the Belize River Valley, and other in the Toledo District. We start with the killing of Belize City resident, 18 year-old Lennox Flowers.
He left his family's home on Partridge Street to go with one of his bosses for a horse race and an after-party at the race-track in Burrell Boom Village. That's where he reportedly got dragged into a street fight, and he was stabbed and killed.
Today, our team went to Burrell Boom, and we found out that police and his family have very different theories about why this young man was killed. Daniel Ortiz has that story:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
18 year-old Lennox Pierreze Flowers was attacked and stabbed here on the grounds of the Charleston Horse Racing Track on Boxing Day. He had come here to socialize with one of his employers. Later in the night, he ended up in a fight with several persons believed to be from the George Street Gang.
By the time the police officers arrived at the location, the attackers had already knifed him several times
Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural
"Our officers from Ladyville Police Precinct were alerted to a fight in progress. Upon arriving at the scene, they encounter one male person who had multiple stab wounds to his body. An ambulance was called for him. Nevertheless it appeared that all the ambulance was occupied at the time, so he was then rushed to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival."
Toledo Man Shot/Chopped To Death
20 minutes after Ladyville Police responded to that crime scene in Burrell Boom, Punta Gorda Police were called out to an area of the Jalacte Road between the Toledo Villages of San Pedro Colombia and San Miguel. That's where they found the body of 55 year-old Evaristo Bul, a resident of San Pedro Colombia. He had been chopped and shot to death.
Today, the Commander of the Punta Gorda Police Station told us via telephone that the investigators suspect that he was murdered over a land dispute in San Pedro Colombia. Here's what he told us:
Supt. Simeon Alvarez, OC - Punta Gorda Police
"Some time around 9:21pm on the 26th December 2015, Punta Gorda police received information of a dead body situated in the Colombia/San Miguel Road. As a result of that the police visited the area and upon arrival there, they saw the lifeless body of a Maya decent person who was later identified to be one Evaristo Bul, 55 years old of a Colombia Village address. Police investigation revealed that on that same particular day, the alcalde for the Colombia Village had a court hearing, because of a long dispute between the deceased and a family from the said village. And it was shortly after that this lifeless body of Evaristo Bul was found with multiple chop wounds to the head and neck and shoulder. Also observed was some bullet wound to the left side of the chest. At this time police have 4 persons in custody and I believe that within the next 48 hours, somebody will be arrested and charged for murder."
Gang Warfare: Teenager Shot In City
A teenager was shot in Belize City today. Kirk Broaster who is just 15 years old was shot on Pickstock Street at around 3:45 this afternoon. Area residents say that the youth who is from the Jungle area was shot by a gang affiliate from the southside. He survived, but we spoke to his cousin at the hospital today and she told us that his injuries are serious:...
Voice of: Nikisha Williams - Cousin of shooting victim
"My cousin was on the railing with us and I ask him to go buy a soft drink for us at the end of the lane. When he arrived at the end of the lane, a white car and two other car was behind the car and let out shots. I was at the end of the court and I saw when the gunshots were fired. It wasn't anything nice. He took about 8 shots."
"Where did he got shot exactly?"
Voice of: Nikisha Williams - Cousin of shooting victim
"I am not sure, because I am not God, but I heard about 8 shots in the background and I saw his neck swollen up. When I went into the emergency he was stiff as a dog. I don't know where he got the licks, but I know that it was not a good lick. He dropped instantly on the ground and he was stiff as a dog. I don't know right now where my cousin stands."
Fuel Prices Spike; Cash-Strapped GOB Takes Bigger Tax Bite
World Fuel prices are at an 11 year low, but in Belize pump prices went up at midnight Premium went up by 72 cents per gallon or 8%, Regular went up by 97 cents or 13%, and Diesel went up by 81 cents, or 13% as well.
And the reasons the local prices have spiked when world prices are declining is that Government says it needs a bigger tax bite to pay its bills.
A government release says "the Import Duties on Premium Gasoline and Diesel Oil increased by 65 cents Belize per U.S. Gallon while the Import Duty on Regular Gasoline increased by 57 cents Belize per U.S. Gallon."
And in a release today, the Ministry of Finance makes no bones about it, they need the money. The release says, quote, "this is a fiscal consolidation measure to strengthen public finances at the start of the new 2016 calendar year and also to compensate for the decline in revenues linked to the decline in domestic crude oil production." That's because BNE's Spanish Lookout oil field is almost depleted and has significantly reduced output.
OW: A Series Of Sex Crimes Involving Minors
Orange Walk police are investigating a number of sex crimes against minors. We start first with one that involves the molestation of a 5 year old boy.
At 2:00 in the afternoon on boxing day, the boy's mother a House Wife of Trial Farm Village, woke up to the screams of her mother in law who alerted her that she had just caught a man sexually assaulting her 5 year old son. Quick police response has led to the detention of one suspect. Police were unable to say if the person is known to the family but we understand that authorities are preparing to levy charges against him.
And, today, a 15 year old female minor of Orange Walk Town visited the Police station with her mother and reported to authorities that she had sexual intercourse with two individuals, on two separate occasions, over the course of two months. Assistant Superintendent Selwyn Tillett explained to us how they are moving forward in this delicate investigation.
ASP Selwyn Tillette- O. C. Orange Walk Police
"She reported that in the month of November this year, she had sexual intercourse with the male person. On the 24th December, this same year, she had sexual intercourse with another male person who kissed her and vamped her breast. The police are investigating this issue and people will be arrested and charge for this offence. Let me tell you, the girl is under the age of 16, whether she consent or not, she according to law she cannot consent. The law says that once she in under the age of 16 she cannot give consent."
Police Say "Angel" Is No Angel
Angel Ruiz will turn 24 on New Years Eve, but unfortunately, he'll be in jail for his birthday. That's because police have accused him of being in possession an unlicensed weapon.
According to police, at around 2:45 p.m. on Christmas Day, they were on foot patrol at the corner of Orange and West Streets, and that's when they encountered Ruiz. According to the officers, he saw them coming, and threw away an object in front of him. The officers detained him, retrieved the item, and found out that it was .22 revolver with no serial number.
They arrested and charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm. He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, where he pleaded not guilty to the charge. He could not be granted bail, and so he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 29, 2016.
A Legend In His Time, BQ Pitts Passes
A noted Belizean, Bernard Quentin Pitts - known as "BQ" - passed today. According to his son, Bernard Juniour, the 80 year old died of heart failure in Belize City after suffering a stroke last week, and then, a cardiac arrest on Saturday.
Pitts - who was an attorney by training - held a long list of senior public posts under various UDP administrations - but most notably was an elected city councilor in the early 80's, and served as Speaker of the House from 1993 - to 1998, and Attorney General from 2010 to 2012.
His son tells us that BQ worked his way up from a clerk of court to a magistrate and then an attorney. He practiced for almost 40 years, after going into semi retirement earlier this year. He earned multiple honours, most notably Commander of the British Empire, and fathered 9 children.
No plans have yet been made for his funeral.
Motorbike Man Dies In Accident
A man on a motorbike was killed as the result of an accident on Christmas Eve. It happened at mile 43 on the southern highway before 9:00 in the morning.
58-year-old farmer Celestino Coc, was driving his Mazda pickup truck, and rounding the curve at mile 43, he collided with 27 year old Mynor Cruz who was coming from the opposite direction. Cruz crashed into the door of the pickup and his motorbike was found 108 feet from the pickup truck.
Cruz survived the initial impact, but died at the KHMH on Christmas morning.
Newborn Gets A Christmas Miracle Of Life
On our Christmas Eve Newscast, we told you about the child from Corozal Town who was born with the birth defect called "esophageal atresia". That's an incomplete esophagus which does not connect to the stomach. If left untreated, it's a fatal disease because the baby will be unable to eat, swallow, or ingest nutrients. Infants afflicted by the condition to either starve to death or die from pneumonia brought on by saliva that they can't swallow.
But baby Gismael will be spared from all of that because for his first Christmas, he was given the Gift of life.
On Boxing Day, our news team was at the KHMH when the child was transported from the KHMH to the PGIA to be flown out by private jet to the US.
Daniel Ortiz reports:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Meet Baby Gismael Aban. He was born just a few days ago to first time parents who had been planning for his entry into their lives for months.
Shamir Aban - Father
"We are so happy. We love him so much."
But, the parents are worried because he was born with a birth defect which is ordinarily fatal.
Police Constable Accused of Rape Positively Identified
Following an identification parade at midday today, Cayo Police are preparing the charge sheet for one of their own accused of a terrible and disturbing crime. Police Constable Luke Moreira [...]
Elderly Man Brutally Beaten in Home Invasion
In a sickening home invasion a Belize City elderly man is left in a coma and hospitalized at the K.H.M.H. Patrick Grant was violently attacked over the weekend and robbed [...]
OW Police Investigate Disturbing Incidents of Sexual Assault
There are other reports of sexual assaults coming out of the Orange Walk District tonight. A fifteen year old minor claims that on two occasions, Christmas Eve and on November [...]
Teenager Murdered at Boxing Day Horse Race
In Burrell Boom in the Belize District, a teenager was stabbed multiple times as many persons watched. Eighteen year old Lennox Pierez Flowers, a Belize City resident, travelled to the [...]
Police Investigate Vicious Killing of PG Resident
In the Toledo District…Was a bitter land dispute in San Pedro, Columbia the motive behind a grisly weekend murder? The lifeless body of fifty-five-year-old Evaristo Bul was discovered by Punta [...]
Minor Clings to Life After City Shooting
Back to the city where a late afternoon shooting took place. A fifteen year old boy of a Pickstock Street address is tonight in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital [...]
G.O.B. Increases Import Duties on Fuel…Pump Prices Spike
At midnight on Sunday, officially, pump prices for diesel, regular and premium fuel increased – diesel by eighty-one cents a gallon, regular by ninety-seven cents a gallon and premium by [...]
What Are Belizeans Saying About Fuel Increase
The release from government states that acquisition costs are expected to decline significantly in the coming weeks, in line with declining world oil prices. Pump prices are, consequently, expected to [...]
The Future of Petrocaribe is Uncertain
According to G.O.B.’s Financial Secretary, the increase in import duties has become necessary to stabilize government’s fiscal position which suddenly seems distinctly shaky. But why are consumers taking the hit? [...]
San Estevan Toddler Killed in Hit & Run Accident
There were several road traffic accidents over the weekend and there was loss of life in at least two instances. The life of one-year-old Genesis Teresa Medina was cut short [...]
Alleged Drunken Driver Has License Revoked
Today in court, a B.T.L. employee, who pleaded guilty to crashing his SUV, had his license revoked for one year. The traffic accident happened within city limits on Sunday, December [...]
Elderly Statesman B.Q. Pitts Passes Away
Tonight, we record the death of a notable personality. Former Attorney General, Bernard Quentin Augustus Pitts, popularly known as B.Q. Pitts passed away over the holidays from complications due to cardiac [...]
Only U.D.P. Ministers Got Christmas Cheer
If you needed another indication that things are distinctly dread…Fin-Sec Joseph Waight confirmed that the much lauded Christmas Cheer program was handled very sparingly. In years past, U.D.P. Area Representatives [...]
San Pedro Mechanic Loses Everything in Fire
A San Pedro mechanic is tonight homeless after the wooden structure he once called home was gutted by fire. At about five o’clock on Sunday morning, thirty-four year old Ricardo [...]
Police United wins PLB Championship
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and here’s our closing show for the year 2015. It was 2 days after Christmas and football was at its peak. The best 2 [...]