#510874 - 01/20/16 11:50 AM
Today's Belize News: January 20, 2016
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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
American TV producer murdered while vacationing in Belize
Violent crime has Belize under international scrutiny once again, as another foreigner has been murdered in the first days of 2016. 39-year-old American TV producer, Anne Swaney, was killed while vacationing in Western Belize. Swaney, executive producer of digital operations at ABC-Channel 7 in Chicago, Illinois USA was found strangled on Thursday, January 14th in the Mopan River near San Jose Succotz Village, Cayo District. Swaney’s death marks the 10th murder in Belize in the first 18 days of 2016, and she is the second foreigner to be killed, after Canadian film director, Matthiew Klinck’s murder on January 2nd. These crimes have raised questions about Belize’s safety to visitors, especially as international media has picked up the story on their fallen colleagues. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), however, assures everyone that Belize is still safe to travel to.
BA-1 Project participants beginning their business plans
While 34 women from Ambergris Caye continue to wait on their BA-1 Project grants to start or expand their businesses, some have begun working on their business plan. The women were part of a training seminar called ‘Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Project BA-1’ which was designed for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. The program indicated that it would assist the participants with the necessary tools, knowledge and a grant to expand their business ideas. That financial assistance promised in the training has not been forthcoming, but some participants have set their lessons and plans into action.
Since the completion of the seminar back in May, there have been two meetings in which the women are given dates when they would receive the funds. While some continue to wait on the financial assistance, a few of the graduates revealed their business plans to be executed if and when they receive the grants.
One of the graduates wants to expand her food business. To give it a start, she has been investing little by little in kitchen utensils, and she is trying to come up with a menu. Presently, she is selling at different locations on the island, especially during sporting events.
One dead and one injured during drunken fight
A drunken brawl on Saturday, January 16th has left one man dead and another seriously injured. 35-year-old Sergio Giovanni Uribio was fatally injured during a fight with 48-year-old Jose Alfredo Villed, which occurred inside an apartment room at the entrance of the San Pedrito Area at around 1PM. While Villeda managed to escape with his life, he did suffer substantial chopping wounds that have left him with amputated body parts. The incident happened while the two were socializing, so police are currently investigating as to what would cause two friends to brutally attack one another.
According to initial reports by Deputy Coastal Executive Officer, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, reports of a chopping incident were issued to the San Pedro Police Station at about 1PM on Saturday, January 16th. Police personnel were immediately deployed to the area. Upon arrival, police were informed that Uribio had been transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II as he was suffering of a large stab wound to the left side of his neck and left arm. The wounds caused a substantial amount of blood loss, and Uribio was pronounced dead at 1:30PM.
Misc Belizean Sources
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS EXPERT OFFERS FREE COURSE TO BELIZEAN ORGANIZATIONS
Crisis and Conflict consultant Niall Gillett, in partnership with the University of the West Indies, will be providing a half-day introductory course on Crisis Management on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016, at the UWI Open Campus in Belize City.
The course, which is being offered at no cost to middle and senior-level management participants, will demonstrate his tested “Truth of the Matter” best practices – how to identify and handle any crisis in its critical first hours.
“These days, when even a local issue can quickly escalate to becoming a global one, it is critical that any impending crisis is quickly identified and addressed in a powerful manner,” Gillett says, “this short course will lay a strong foundation on how to take the correct action, defusing and diminishing the impact of a crisis!”
The course will run from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. Interested persons can register online at www.niallgillett.com, via email at email@example.com, or by calling 610-5700. Spaces are extremely limited.
Niall Gillett is an internationally acclaimed speaker, trainer and consultant, specializing in Crisis and Conflict management. He has a successful reputation of helping people to “Communicate for Influence!”
New San Pedro Local Arts Market
Check out the San Pedro Local Arts Market at their New Location at the Parking Lot of the Hon. Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex.
Power interruption 8:00am to 2:00pm, Saturday, January 23, Orange Walk Town
Dunn St, Queen Victoria Ave from San Antonio Rd & Otro Benque Rd up to Lyle St and surrounding areas. BEL to reconfigure power distribution system in area.
Look out for Corozal House of Culture (NICH)'s Juan Carnaval 2016!
Defend Blackadore Caye
This is a map of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Please note the are around Blackadore Caye is zone V of the reserve making it a conservation zone. In his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe awards Leonardo Dicaprio said to the indigenous people around the world..."It is time we recognize your history and protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people who are out to exploit them" Yet he is proposing building 35 buildings over the water in the conservation zone. Seems like quite a contradiction to me....
If Dicaprio is such a "champion" of the environment and indigenous people of Belize why didn't he help protest the destruction of Harvest Caye by the cruise ship industry or support protecting our World Heritage Sites? If he really wants to protect the environment and help the people why doesn't he put his money where is mouth and put water filtration systems and composting toilets in areas that are in desperate need. Instead he plans to build multi million dollar homes IN the waters of a conservation area.
Inauguration of the New Coca Cola Bottling Line
Bowen and Bowen had the inauguration of their new Coca Cola bottling line. They got some great pictures from the event. That's a massive building.
Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge 2016
The 2016 Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge is a month away.
FOLLOWING THE GAME: TYLER & TYLIN GILL!
A brief update on the rise of Belizean-American soccer legends, Tyler and Tylin Gill, finds the two youth soccer stars playing some incredible football in Arizona, California over the last few weeks. Belizean Legends will bring you some action photos of the two Belizean sport stars in action. Stay tuned!
( Photo shows Tyler and Tylin Gill, bottom center)
The Dark Night Double Standard?
Last week we told you about the case of Bradley Paumen who is being accused of hiring a hit on his neighbor Michael Modiri and three other persons. Investigations suggest that the alleged hit was motivated by a long-standing land dispute between the two. Modiri owns a piece of land that Paumen uses to access the Dark Night caves.
But while the land dispute and the murder plot is one thing, the dispute in the tourism industry is quite another. That's because Dark Knight started the year without a valid tour operator's license, cease and desist orders were issued on January 8th and 15th, yet Dark Night just kept on operating. Today with cruise ships in harbor and hundreds of guests at Nohoch Che'en, Dark Night was fully operational, business as usual - but the local operators say it's never business as usual for Bradley Paumen - who consistently gets preferential treatment from NICH:..
Traffic Officer Charged For Causing Accident Which Killed His Wife
Last night, we told you that Ladyville Police intended to charge 35 year-old Belize City resident Calvin Cumberbatch for the accident which killed his wife, the well known southside moneylender, Pamela Bennett Cumberbatch, and 80 year-old Alfredo Navarrete from Burrell Boom Village. Well, Cumberbatch was charged today, and he was escorted to the Magistrate's Court this evening.
Cumberbatch suffered serious injuries in that collision, and he has a broken arm. He's expected to undergo another surgery, and he's also mourning the loss of his wife, but police said that he had to face his criminal arraignment today. So, he did, and while making his way to the court, he appeared to be in pain from those injures.
He was taken before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza, where he was read 6 charges: 2 counts of manslaughter by negligence, 2 counts of causing death by careless conduct, 1 count of driving without due care and attention, and 1 count of failing to keep in the right lane while driving on the road.
Another Bou-Nahra Gun Gotten Back
Police have recovered one of the 6 weapons stolen from Sarkis Bou-Nahra's mansion in Burrell Boom. It took them almost two weeks to verify, but the cops have confirmed that this 9 millimeter browning pistol was stolen from Bou-Nahra. Police found the loaded gun in Belize City on January 7th.
Pirate Chadwick Terrorized Tourists
Right now, Belize's tourism image continues to take a pounding in the international press, and to add to that is a report that a group of armed thieves robbed a group of tourists on their yacht which was anchored near Middle Long Caye.
It happened last week Wednesday, when 4 armed men between the ages of 20 and 30, used a launch to board the yacht while the tourists on board were asleep. The men held them up at gunpoint for about 45 minutes, time which they used to clean them out of all valuables onboard including cash, a camera, electronics, food, drinks, jewelry, and an outboard engine. Initial information is that a female guest was sexually assaulted, but when the police were asked about it yesterday, they were very tight with the information they released:
"Can you provide details as to what transpired and where you are in terms of the investigation so far?"
Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police:
"I am aware of the report indeed. I do know that the boat had been processed and I do know also that we've conducted some searches and we have one suspect in custody. Some items have been recovered and I won't get into those but we believe that that is a case that we'll be able to solve."
FBI In Belize for Anne Swaney Murder Investigation
The murder of American Journalist Anne Swaney, while she was vacationing in Belize, continues to make international headline news tonight. International Press reports say that agents from the FBI are in Belize, and they are working with Benque Police investigators.
Reports are that police inspection of this deck, where Swaney was practicing yoga, has revealed evidence that she was indeed there. Her body was found 300 yards down the river. An autopsy has revealed that she was strangled and struck to the head and neck with a blunt object.
The murder is generating the worst kind of headlines for Belize internationally and today the BTB sent out a release saying, quote, "part of the reason this has drawn such a large audience is because these sorts of things just don't happen here. We want people to know that crime in Belize is on the decline…" And while major crime did decline in 2015, we note that 2016 saw 18 murders in the first 16 days of the year - a murder rate at three times the pace of the 2015 total
Closing Time For FCIB
If you picked up the midweek issue of the Amandala Newspaper today, you might have noticed this advertisement in the paper. It's an announcement from First Caribbean International Bank notifying its customers that all operations are shutting down.
All of the bank's branches, ATM's, and businesses such as credit and debit card transactions, and internet banking transactions, will come to a close on Friday, January 29. All merchants using FCIB Point of Sale machine will shut down on next week Monday, January 25.
But, what about the more than 60 employees who will lose their jobs? Well, as we've been reporting ever since FCIB announced their shutdown of operations in Belize, their bargaining agent, the Christian Workers Union has been trying to sign a new collective bargaining agreement with the managers of bank.
GSU Got A Gun From a 14 Year Old Gang Member
The GSU is reporting another round of guns and weapons seizures. First off, on Sunday afternoon a 14 year old boy was caught with a .25 pistol. At around 2:00, the GSU responded to a report of a brawl at the MCC grounds - which is right around the corner from their headquarters. When the Unit arrived they saw a 14 year old running away from a man. They chased down the boy and found the weapon on him. The gun had 1 live round of .25 ammunition. He was charged for Kept Firearm without a license and Kept ammunition without a license. The GSU says he is a member of the Victoria Street Bloods Gang, and that the handgun belongs to his gang leader.
And then, on Monday morning at around 9:30, the GSU found 109 grams of weed and an empty .45 caliber magazine in an open lot on Hunters Lane in Belize city - which is off Freetown Road. The GSU says this stash may be the property of Kelly street crisps which controls that area.
Cops Chased Car, Got A "9"
And while that's the GSU, another special police unit is reporting that they took a gun and weed off the street. Between last Friday and last night, the Police Strike Team South recovered a .38 millimeter revolver around Reggae Street, and found 50 live 9 millimeter rounds in the Lakeview area along with two magazines. They also found nearly two pounds of weed, 774 grams or 27 ounces of Cannabis on Curassow Street.
But the best weapons seizure was made by the regular police on Holy Emmanuel Street in the Lake Independence area last night.
Last night at around 8:45 p.m. a mobile police patrol responded to a report that there had been a gunshot fired from a small black car in Belama Phase 3. Police set chase and caught up with the car on Gibson Street - which is across the bridge. The occupants of the vehicle were two 19 year olds: Stradni Cassasola and Demrey Lewis, both of Fabers Road Extension. When police searched the vehicle they found a Jansport backpack with a 9 mm Taurus with a magazine containing four live rounds. Both were arrested and charged for "Kept Firearm without a Gun License and Kept Ammunition without Gun license".
FECTAB Fuming Over Ashcroft Alliance Port Proposal
Earlier in our newscast we told you about the plight of the small local tour operators brought into clearer focus by the rumblings with Dark Night tours. Well that is not the only rumble in this delicate industry. There's also the latest developments with Stake Bank - where developer Mike Feinstein says the mega project has been put off because the Barrow administration wants to partner with a private developer for a Cruise Port at the Port of Belize. The frontrunner for that public-private partnership is the Ashcroft Alliance, which already owns the Port. Today the president of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, known as FECTAB told us that the thought of Ashcroft as a potential partner in the Port of Belize project leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.
Tom Greenwood - President, FECTAB:
"Well we already are being hurt by a well-healed foreign tour operator in Belize, who lowered prices on us and causes us to go into a tailspin, because we then had to lowered prices among ourselves. So whenever big money shows up, we naturally fear of losing the little that we have achieved with a lot of hard work. Where Port of Belize is concern we are thinking it's a larger place. There is going to be a pier, that pier is going to be about a mile long and then when they come to the end of the pier, people who are there - how much longer to reach a gate and say the outside. So those of us who are right now on the outside of the Fort Street Tourism Village luckily were right on the outside of the door. But if and when the Port of Belize should kick in, what are the distances involved? What are going to be the fees for us to operate inside? Who is making arrangements, bearing in mind the local tourism population? How do we access? Do we get sympathy and get some help, whatever - we are fearful. The Port of Belize scares the living daylights out of us."
The FIFA Footprint OF Corruption: Everywhere But Belize?
The United States has charged 40 persons in connection with the global FIFA scandal and a good many of them have been from this region, which is known as CONCACAF, short for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
A second wave of indictments came down on December third for 16 Latin American football executives, and that's when we realized that at least one executive has been charged for corruption in every single Central American country except Belize.
That's right, in Salvador, the former head of the Soccer Federation Reynaldo Vasquez allegedly accepted at least two six figure bribes from a Miami Based sports marketing company Media World.
In Guatemala, Rafael Salguero was a senior FIFA executive, and he is accused of accepting $450,000 in bribes from a sports marketing group based in Argentina. The US says he worked with fellow Guatemalans Brayan Jimenez and Hector Trujillo, to also accept a six-figure bribe from the Miami-based sports marketing company Media World.
Preparing For School Inspection
Today management from all 7 Nazarene Schools in the country attended a training on "School Inspection." Usually training sessions for principals and board members would focus solely on how to be a strong and motivational leader. But today it went beyond that. This morning at the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School in Belize City the Ministry of Education's Inspectorate Representative discussed what principals should look for in the classroom when monitoring and evaluating and what standards should be put in place for teacher/student performance. General Manager at Faith Nazarene School Raymond Shepard told us the main objective is to provide quality education to the kids.
There will be a meeting in February to schedule the evaluation sessions at the Nazarene schools.
Local Operators Say NICH Chancing Them
At the top of our newscast we told you about what local operators see as the preferential treatment afforded to Bradley Paumen's Dark Night tours by NICH. And why not? We know that NICH still has a secret contract with Paumen, and that Government acquired not one but two pirvate pieces of land for his tour company to use. When we visited the Nohoch Che'en caves branch Archeological reserve today we met one tour operator who illustrated his disadvantage. He's been operating at the reserve for the past 5 years. Now with the recent lowering tour prices by the large foreign competitors, it is more difficult to break that profit margin. It is all the more difficult when most of his profits go towards renting equipment at the site. So he wants to bring his own equipment to cut costs while giving himself a competitive edge. But the authorities at NICH, he says, are not helping him out.
David Andrews, Tour Operator:
"I have problems with the equipment that I rent. They are either stink. My guest don't want to put on the vest because they are stink. The equipment lights are dull. So I wanted to bring in my own equipment and so I needed a stall. So far none of them wanted to assist me with that. So that's why I wanted to talk to the media a long time ago, so that the country could see that NICH have no intention of building up tourism. It's only their interest. It's not the interest of building the quality of tourism with equipment and standards for the tour operators that bring in business to this country."
The Ras Is Back!
"Man of My Words", "Only 1" and "My Remedy" those are a few of the songs on Ras Indio's new CD entitled "One of a Kind". His music usually reflects his personal struggles and the daily hardships of Belizean people. But with his new release he explores a more soulful reggae vibe. Ras Indio came to our studio today and he told us it's all about celebrating that special someone in his life.
His CD can be bought at Teddy's on King Street in Belize City and other stores around the country.
Calvin Cumberbatch Arraigned for New Year’s Weekend Traffic Fatalities
Well-known Belize City money lender Pamela Bennett and Burrell Boom resident Alfredo Navarette perished in a horrible traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway on January second. Bennett and her [...]
Will Bradley Paumen’s Indictment Affect Dark Night’s Tourism Operation?
The sensational and very disturbing case of Dark Night owner Bradley Paumen continues to attract major scrutiny. Paumen, charged with four counts of Abetment to Murder, is out on fifty-thousand [...]
Search for Suspected Aircraft in Corozal District
At news time tonight, Police Officers from Corozal and a team from the Civil Aviation Department are scouring the cane fields behind Louisville in the Corozal District. Just before midday [...]
Albert Valentine and a Minor are Indicted for Separate Murders in Punta Gorda Town
A pair of young men is tonight on remand at the Belize Central Prison after being arraigned for separate murders in Punta Gorda Town. Twenty-one-year-old Albert Valentine Junior, along with [...]
A Firearm Stolen During Home Invasion in Burrell Boom is Recovered
On December third, 2015, eight men stormed the Burrell Boom home of Lebanese Consul General Sarkis Abou-Nehra. He and his wife were not in the country, but the men stayed [...]
Sea Pirates Charged for Long Middle Caye Robbery
A trio has been charged in connection with a robbery on board a vessel anchored near Middle Caye last Thursday. On board was US retiree, John Picard who was awoken [...]
Erlin Butler and Shanice Smith Bury the Hatchet in Court
A pair settled out of court this morning and saved themselves jail time. He was facing the possibility of ten years for burglary while she was facing imprisonment for dangerous [...]
Do You Believe Bradley Paumen Will Skip Bail or Stand Trial?
And our question for tonight is: US national Bradley Paumen has been granted bail for allegedly ordering hits on four persons. Do you believe he will skip bail or stand [...]
Is Zika in Belize?
You likely would have heard about ZIKA, the disease that has been spreading to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. While deaths are rare, there are birth defects [...]
Director of Health Services Talks Dengue
Dengue is another disease that has been affecting other countries in the region. The good news is that in Belize, there has not been high mortality relating to the epidemic [...]
Only Four Confirmed Cases of Chik-V in 2015
Doctor Manzanero also provided News Five with an update on the status of Chik-V in the country. Months after the tropical virus became prevalent in neighboring Central American countries, in [...]
PM Barrow Says No Comment on P.U.P. Leadership Squabble
The People’s United Party will elect its new leader on January thirty-first in Belmopan. The race is getting tighter as Francis Fonseca, John Briceño and Cordel Hyde zero in on [...]
Will There Be a Referendum in PM Barrow’s Final Term in Office?
To conclude our reporting on a lengthy interview with the Prime Minister, we asked him about an issue that is often a matter of national debate; that is, the referendum. [...]
Beleaguered Deputy ComPol Miguel Segura Remains on Interdiction
Embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, remains on interdiction and is receiving only half of his monthly salary, despite being sued by the family of Yolanda Valencia. The woman [...]
A Guatemalan Woman is Missing in Belize
Tonight, there is a report of a Guatemalan woman that mysteriously disappeared in Belize. A report has been made to the Benque Police by her son, nineteen-year-old Alexander Enrique Garcia [...]
Foreign Minister Elrington at CARICOM Community Council Meeting
Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington recently attended the thirty-seventh meeting of the Community Council of Ministers in Georgetown, Guyana. Plans for the upcoming gathering of regional heads of state, to be [...]
Ras Indio Releases ‘One-of-a-Kind’
On a lighter note….after a mega performance at the Festival de Cultural Caribe in Tulum, Mexico, Belizean reggae artist Ras Indio is debuting his new E.P. album entitled “One of [...]
FBI Assist Belize Police In Investigating American National's Murder
The death of two foreign nationals as a result of two separate homicides that occurred only two weeks apart from each other, has given Belize a black eye by international media and has raised major concerns by the Belize Tourism Board as thirty nine year old Anne Elizabeth Swaney, American national and Executive producer of ABC7, was murdered while vacationing here in Belize.
Yesterday in a press conference Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, indicated that police are still investigating the matter but apparently the United States is not just going to sit back and wait for an answer as they have already sent federal agents to assist in the investigation of Swaney’s murder. The owner of the resort was interviewed by the FBI and he then walked them through the scene and pathway of Swaney’s final morning.
US State Department Issues Travel Advisory To All American Citizens Travelling To Belize
While the FBI is now present in Belize to offer a helping hand to Belizean authorities in solving the murder of of Anne Elizabeth Swaney, things are not looking so positive for the Belize Tourism Sector as the United States Department issued a travel advisory to all citizens of America alerting them to be very cautious and vigilant when visiting Belize since they are aware that our country has one of the highest murder and crime rates around the world.
The tourists are being advised to refrain from walking and visiting the South side area in Belize City as they are mindful that many gangs operate in that area in particular. The US department stated that, quote “We encourage U.S. citizens to exercise caution and good situational awareness in all their travel activities. Visitors should travel in groups and only during daylight hours. Avoid wearing jewelry or carrying valuable or expensive items”. End quote.
Cuban National Detained At Central Prison Claim That They Are Being Mistreated
Some months ago we told you about the more than 30 Cubans who were caught illegally in Belize and were suspected to be part of a human trafficking ring passing through Belize with their final destination being the US. Since August of last year the Cubans have been stranded at the Belize Central prison in a sort of limbo state since their own country doesn’t want them back and they cannot be set free here in Belize so at this time they are still in prison for no reason other than GOB doesn’t have anywhere else to put them.
After over six months of outcry from the detained Cubans to be set free, today, via a report carried out by Cuban Newspaper ‘El Nuevo Herald’ Newspaper, one of the Cubans that are currently at the Belize Central prison spoke about how they ended up in Belize. The Cuban states Quote “Fuimos víctimas del tráfico humano. Solo nos dijeron que debíamos cruzar un río pero nos detuvieron. No pensábamos que nos iba a pasar esto porque en los demás países nos entregábamos y nos daban un salvo-conducto, pero este país es la excepción” end quote.
Zika Virus Surrounds Belize
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning on Friday informing pregnant women to avoid travelling to fourteen specific countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean due to the fact that the mosquito-borne virus Zika, can currently be found in all of these countries.
Some of these areas include Belize’s neighboring countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Honduras.The Zika virus is believed to be the main cause of Microcephaly, a birth defect in which infants are born with a head and a brain that is smaller than usual; this can lead to intellectual disability. There were approximately 3,500 reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil between the months of October in 2015 and early January of this year. CDC is advising pregnant women to consult with their doctor or healthcare provider before they leave their country of origin and to follow the instructions that are given to them.
Belize Police Search For Female Guatemalan National
Thirty nine year old Lidia Janet Garcia Giron, a Guatemalan national and resident of Melchor de Mencos was reported missing yesterday by her nineteen year old son, Alexander. Giron was last seen on Friday January 8th as she had left her home at about 5:00 a.m. and was headed to Banana Farm located in the Stann Creek District in order to meet up with a male person known as “El Nica”.
Alexander told authorities that the last time he spoke to his mother was on the same day of her departure, only half an hour after her arrival in San Ignacio. Giron was last seen wearing a black blouse along with long jeans pants sky blue in color, a pair of black sandals and a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ bag, blue and yellow in color. Giron also has a tattoo on her leg with the name Humberto.
US State Department Warns Its Citizens on Travel to Belize; BTB Issues Note to Stakeholders
The recent killing of American journalist, Anne Swaney has brought Belize once again into the spotlight in a negative way. In an effort to do some damage control, the Belize Tourism Board issued a note yesterday to stakeholders in the tourism sector. The statement, which seeks to reassure investors and business owners that much effort […]
Accused Murderers Arraigned in PG Court
Two persons were arraigned yesterday in Magistrate Court in Punta Gorda. We hear more in this report from correspondent Paul Mahung. PAUL MAHUNG: The charges are in connection with a murder last month and one this month in Punta Gorda as explained by Officer in Command, Toledo Formation, Superintendent Simeon Alvarez. Superintendent Simeon Alvarez: ” In […]
Traffic Officer Slapped with Charges for Fatal Accident
On Sunday, January 3 a road traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway claimed the lives of Alfredo Navarette and Pamela Bennett Cumberbatch and left Calvin Cumberbatch seriously injured. Calvin, who works with the Traffic Department of the Belize City Council, was the driver of one of the vehicles. He has since been released from […]
Firearm Taken in Home Invasion Recovered
While Ladyville Police have made up to nineteen arrests in the home invasion at the house of the Honorary Consul General to Lebanon, Sarkis Abou-Nehra, they had been appealing to the public for the recovery of the firearms that went missing from the home during the robbery. Today, senior Superintendent Broaster reported that one of […]
Trio Goes to Court Surrounding High Seas Robbery at Middle Caye
In yesterday’s media brief with the Police Commissioner Allen Whylie, the incident surrounding the robbery of persons aboard a visiting vessel anchored in Belizean waters on January 13, was addressed. Tonight we can report that there has been a breakthrough in that case and three persons have been arraigned, including a parent, before Magistrate Carlon […]
Duo in Vehicle Pursued and Nabbed for Unlicensed Firearm and Ammo
Last night police were conducting mobile patrol on Holy Emmanuel Street when they noticed a vehicle speeding off upon their approach. Police pursued the vehicle and eventually caught up with it on Gibson Street. Inside the vehicle were nineteen year old Stradni Cassasola and 19 year old Demrey Lewis of Faber’s Road Extension. When police […]
Strike Team Strikes Gun, Ammo and Weed
Belize City Police Strike Team South conducted an operation on the South Side Belize City over the weekend and they manage to find a point thirty eight millimeter revolver in the vicinity of Reggae Street, 50 live rounds of nine millimeter rounds in the Lakeview area along with two magazines, 58 grams of weed on […]
GSU Operations Uncover Weed, Weapons and Ammunition
On Saturday the GSU was in Dangriga conducting anti-drug and firearm operations. GSU members searched an open lot and found five nine millimeter Aquila brand ammunition in a glass jar. No-one was in the immediate area at the time of the discovery therefore; the ammunition were labeled as Found Property. It is believed that the […]
Melchor Businesswoman Goes Missing in Belize
Authorities in the western town of Benque Viejo del Carmen have issued a missing persons notice for a 39-year-old woman. According to the police, 39-year-old Guatemalan national, Lidia Janet Garcia Giron had left her home in Melchor de Mencos to go to Banana Farm #16 in the Cow Pen area of the Stann Creek District. […]
Territorial Volunteers Questions Delay in FOB Construction
In December of last year, the media covered the ground breaking ceremony held on land at the mouth of the Sarstoon River. It was announced that the Ministry of National Security would be building a Forward Operating Base, a key infrastructural component needed for the BDF and coast guards to successfully carry out their duties […]
#510875 - 01/20/16 11:50 AM
Re: Today's Belize News: January 20, 2016
The Moores and Sister Virg chat with Amandala
Rev. Philip Moore, associate pastor of Mount Calvary Second Missionary Baptist Church of Canton, Ohio, USA, and his wife Remel Moore—who is the executive director of Coming Together Stark County, which promotes inclusion of all kinds of diversity—are here in Belize to help develop youth programs and to share Godly love with young people.
“My calling is to help remind people regardless of who you are and what station of life you are, God has a purpose for your life,” said Rev. Moore.
He added that they got connected to Belize through their friend, Sister Virginia Echols, a KREM radio personality, who also runs community programs in Belize.
The Moores, who lived in Liberia from 1984 to 1990 with their two sons, had met Echols in Liberia about three decades ago, and Philip Moore, who at the time worked for the US Embassy’s Security Department in Liberia, was instrumental in assisting Echols, who was a Peace Corp volunteer then, to get out of Liberia during the war in 1990. They have kept in touch over the years.
2016’s terrible start – bloody, murderous weekend
The year 2016 has started badly, with a record 10 people being murdered so far – with four of these murders occurring just over the past weekend alone. The body of an American woman was found floating in the Mopan River in San Jose Succotz on Friday morning; then a chopping murder occurred on Saturday; another man was found chopped to death on Sunday, and early Monday morning, a man chopped his wife to death.
The murder of Elizabeth Ann McComb Swaney, 39, a television news executive of ABC 7 News of Chicago, USA, who was on a 7-day vacation at the Nabitunich Stone Cottages Resort in San Jose Succotz, Cayo District, began the weekend’s mayhem. Her body was found floating in the Mopan River, about 6 feet from the river bank, at about 8:00 Friday morning, with strangulation marks around her neck, but it is believed she may have been murdered the previous evening, Thursday, January 14.
Another incident of murder occurred in San Pedro. At about 1:11 on Saturday afternoon, Sergio Giovanni Uribio, 35, a laborer of San Pedrito, San Pedro, was rushed to the San Pedro Polyclinic with a large stab wound to the left side of his neck and the left arm. Doctors at the clinic tried to help him, but he was declared dead at about 1:30 p.m.
1,443 in prison: one in three awaiting outcome of trial
Although the prison population at the end of 2015 was about 100 less than the number of inmates recorded at the end of 2012, 2013, and 2014, nearly a third—or one in three—are persons who have not yet been convicted for any crime.
There are 1,404 males and 39 females incarcerated, with 1,009 convicted of a range of crimes, including 124 for burglary, 110 for drugs trafficking, 113 for illegal entry, and 102 for possession of an illegal firearm/ammunition.
The official numbers indicate that there are 118 inmates convicted of murder and manslaughter, while 231 persons are remanded for the same crimes, awaiting the outcome of their trial.
Three persons are remanded for rape, 13 for robbery, 26 for burglary, 13 for theft, and 9 for carnal knowledge – the major categories of crime.
Barrow and Biden chat about Belize’s correspondent banking debacle
The “existential threat” to Belize’s banking sector, which could trigger dire consequences as early as next month if foreign financial institutions proceed to axe credit card settlement services for at least two of Belize’s commercial banks, remains on the front burner, and while there was a lot of social chatter at the inauguration of Guatemala’s new president, Jimmy Morales, Prime Minister Dean Barrow seized the opportunity to also address what many fear could be a looming crisis.
At that event, Barrow was seated beside US Vice President Joe Biden, and the two seemed to talk quite a bit during the proceedings.
“He promised he will do what he can [to address the banking issue] when he gets back to Washington,” said Barrow.
The Prime Minister noted that ahead of his trip to Guatemala, he had already secured appointments, via Belize’s diplomatic mission in Washington, with the US Treasury and the Office of the Controller of Currency.
Barrow said that Biden also indicated that while he is slated to be away when Barrow visits Washington, he should return towards the tail end of the mission, at which time he would be in touch to let him know what he would have been able to do on his part, but also to find out about how Barrow’s meetings would have progressed in Washington.
American TV executive, 39, murdered in Succotz
The body of Elizabeth Ann McComb Swaney, 39, a television executive of ABC 7 News of Chicago, USA, who was on a 7-day vacation at the Nabitunich Stone Cottages Resort in San Jose Succotz, Cayo District, was found floating in the Mopan River, about 6 feet from the bank, at about 8:00 this morning, with strangulation marks around her neck.
She was reported missing at 4:30 Thursday evening, when she had still not returned after leaving her cottage at about 8:00 that Thursday morning to meditate near the Mopan River.
Police said that when they retrieved Swaney’s body from the water, they saw physical injuries such as gashes on both sides of her forehead that were about 1 inch deep along with bruise marks on her neck, back and hands. Her body was taken to the San Ignacio Town Hospital morgue. Dr. Gabrielle Lovell declared Swaney dead at 10:08 this morning, and police concluded that she had been murdered.
New Guatemala regime also aiming for ICJ
The installation of a new political regime in Guatemala last Thursday—a new congress, president and cabinet—marks a new era in Belize-Guatemala relations, but it remains to be seen whether the 4-year term of newly installed president, Jimmy Morales, will see a definitive end to—or at least significant inroads in resolving—the age-old territorial differendum between the two neighboring countries.
Sixteen years ago, Belize and Guatemala entered talks under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS), and just over seven years ago, the parties signed an agreement proposing to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution, pending approval via referendum by voters in both countries.
In the run-up to the 2015 presidential elections, Morales was asked what he considered the “most deplorable” event in Guatemala’s history. His answer: the loss of Belize. Morales said “…we are about to lose Belize,” and added that Guatemala should fight for that territory or at least a part of it.
Belize Foreign Affairs officials have told our newspaper that in meeting and speaking with Belizean officials, Morales has since not pursued that same line.
CYDP Peace Cup semifinals a thriller at the MCC, finals this Sunday
The CYDP Peace Cup semifinals yesterday at the MCC Grounds, trench and all, saw a huge turnout of football fans, who enjoyed an evening of exciting and intense football action. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the old days when city fans were treated to football at the top level. While the quality of the game was not at PLB level, with elimination on the line, and a five thousand dollar prize for the finals winner, each semifinal had its moments of tension and thrills, with the fans often leaving their seats and bringing the Garden alive with their shouts of condemnation or celebration, depending on where the ball was, and whether their team was winning or losing.
In the opener, Uprising Stars and Kelly Street were nil-nil at the half; but about 10 minutes after the intermission, young Naim Wilson’s cross field pass found captain Francisco Briceno on the right side with a path to goal, and his shot found the back of the net for the 1-nil lead. Twenty minutes later, Kelly Street got the equalizer from Stephen “Breds” Baizar, whose high lob caught Uprising goalkeerper Elden “Bleaky” Linares going backwards, and the ball hit under the crossbar and into the net; 1-1 ball game.
NEBL 2016 season tips off with three games
SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. Jan. 17, 2016–Leslie brothers dominate in win versus Belmopan Bandits; Jacob sinks 8 three pointers.
The NEBL 2016 season tipped off this weekend with three games on Saturday night. Opening ceremonies took place at the UB gymnasium, followed by the home team, Belmopan Bandits hosting Smart Belize Hurricanes. Bandits jumped out to an early 15-0 lead, but by intermission, the visiting team was up 37-30. The home team was able to take the lead, 58-57, going into the fourth quarter; and with the game tied at 71, Darwin “Puppy” Leslie sank two free throws to give the visitors the victory. Smart Belize Hurricanes was led by rookie Jacob Leslie, who sank 8 three pointers, while shooting 8 for 16 from behind the arc, finishing with a game high 29 points to go along with 4 steals in an impressive debut. Farron Louriano finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, Darwin “Puppy” Leslie tallied 12 points and 4 assists, and Brian White had 12 points and 8 rebounds. Belmopan Bandits was led by Jarrel Velasquez with 24 points and 5 rebounds, while Kyle Pascascio and Geovanni Lennan scored 11 points each, and Kurt “Chengo” Burgess finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Smart Hurricanes out-rebounded Belmopan Bandits, 50-43. Bench points were hard to come by for both teams, tallying a total of 14 points combined.
Is Toledo Football Association a victim of corrupt individuals?
As a member of FIFA, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) has received millions of dollars through the Goal Project and the Financial Assistance Program for the development and promotion of football in Belize.
As a member of FFB, the Toledo Football Association (TFA) has received funds to assist in the development and promotion of the sport in our district. Where are these funds, however? Will our thirty-four year old serving chairman, who has proven to be incompetent, answer the question?
Why should teams be given such privilege to enjoy the benefits of FIFA’s monies when they are neither registered nor competing in games organized and/or endorsed by the association for more than a decade?
To add insult to injury, under the present executive, there are no grassroots youth or male and female players of our district, and it is hoped that it is not the same for the associations in the other football districts.
Belize’s banking crisis
The vast majority of Belizeans know nothing about money, except that you work for it and then you spend it to buy things you need or want. After that, you go out and work for more, so that you can spend that on more things you need or want. It’s an unending cycle: work for it, spend it, work for it, spend it, ad infinitum. In many cultures and parts of the world, however, money is actually an industry, a commodity, a product. If you accumulate money and have it available to do business with, money can make money for you. Instead of your working for money, money works for you. Can you dig it?
Traditionally, we non-scholars think of the Jews as having invented the money industry, or banking. Centuries and centuries ago, the Jews were scattered in persecuted communities all across the countries of Europe. They lived in confined, depressing sections of the European cities, slums which were referred to as “ghettos.” The Jews owned nothing except their own wits, discipline, and will. They became savers of money, accumulating it in such quantities that kings of Europe had to go to them to borrow money in order to wage war, war being an exercise that European peoples engaged in on a frequent basis throughout what is called the Middle Ages.
From the Publisher
Although I am the publisher of the leading newspaper in Belize, my views are not that important. Belize is a constitutional democracy, and various elections are regularly held to poll the views of the Belizean electorate on issues of consequence. The views of the politicians who win these elections from time to time are obviously and substantially more important than the views which I express in this newspaper. I understand this, and I accept it.
I was fortunate to see most of the relevant portions of the Guatemalan President’s inauguration on Thursday, January 14, in Guatemala City. The inauguration was broadcast live on Channel 80 on the cable television service to which I subscribe, Channel 80 describing itself as a “Central American” station. I actually saw Belize’s Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, when he was introduced by the master of ceremonies, after which he walked to his seat. Shortly thereafter, if I remember correctly, the Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden, was introduced and sat next to Mr. Barrow.
Brigadier General David Jones reports on year 2015
At a press briefing yesterday, Brigadier General David Jones reviewed the BDF’s accomplishments in 2015 and outlined what could be expected in 2016.
Jones made mention of the base being built at the Sarstoon, which he claims will be completed within three months.
Also, a base is needed in Consejo in Corozal District, where there have been observations of illegal drug activities occurring between Belizeans and Mexicans in the maritime area, Jones said. Jones said he was happy to report that funding to build such a base is in the final stage of being approved.
Rio Blanco was also a problem area due to a sizeable number of encroachments, which the BDF was able to bring under control with the assistance of their Guatemalan counterparts, Jones said.
Jones said that in 2015, the Belize Defence Force (BDF) was able to destroy over $76 million worth of marijuana.
Belize chairs CARICOM Council of Ministers meeting in Guyana
Belize Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, chaired the 37th Meeting of the CARICOM’s Council of Ministers held in Guyana on Friday, January 15.
A key part of Friday’s deliberations was shaping the agenda for the upcoming Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government to be held in Belize in February, a news release from the CARICOM Secretariat said.
Among the items that will be on that agenda are development finance, climate change, and foreign policy as well as correspondent banking relations. The Heads of Government meeting will be preceded by a meeting of finance ministers of the region.
Violent crime affected Belizeans and businesses “big time” in 2015
We are only half-way through the first month of 2016, and police have already recorded ten murders that were committed – an unwelcomed statistic, since Belize recorded seven for the whole month of January 2015.
The tally for January 2014 was also ten, but the month of January 2016 is far from finished.
With ten murders already, we have surpassed the tally for January 2015. Many mothers have lost their sons to the senseless gun violence, mainly in the city. It reminds us of the scripture at Matthew 2:18: “Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are no more.”
Amandala spoke with a few of the mothers to find out just how they are coping with life after losing their sons.
Angella Wiltshire, whose son, Glenford Vernon, 25, died on September 3, 2015, when he was gunned down while getting a tattoo of her name at a tattoo shop, told Amandala that even though she is a crime scene technician and works very closely with the police in that capacity, she does not feel that the police are doing all they can to solve her son’s murder.
GOB and Maya must cooperate: E. Anthony Ross, QC
The Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, which was set up by the Government of Belize this week, was formally introduced to the media at a press conference convened at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Friday morning.
The Commission says that it will begin the process of adopting the affirmation measures set out in an order of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on April 22, 2015, but added that they cannot presume to set timelines and guidelines, because they will first have to consult with the Toledo Maya before deciding how the work will proceed.
The Government has engaged the services of E. Anthony Ross, QC, a Caribbean lawman based in Canada, as an expert in indigenous law.
Ross told the media that he hopes that an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect, rather than confrontation, would prevail as the parties work towards putting the CCJ order into effect.
“The adversarial process is over. There was a lawsuit. There were claims. And there is now a court order,” Ross emphasized.
Costa Rica says Belize can still help Cuban migrants
Over the weekend, the first group of Cubans—a handful 180 out of 10,000 US-bound Cubans stranded in Central America—arrived in Florida, through a program recently arranged by three Central American countries and Mexico, as some fear that the window of opportunity for them to take advantage of a US migration policy preferential to Cubans may be reaching its end.
Costa Rica president Luis Guillermo Sólis told Amandala in a recent interview that by formalizing the migration of Cubans to the US—a migration process which has been ongoing in a clandestine fashion for several years, using cayotes—“we destroyed a network of traffickers in the country and a whole chain of events unraveled afterwards.”
Things changed, though, when Nicaragua decided to close its borders in mid-November, and Costa Rica decided to stop issuing transit visas to the Cubans in December, after they began experiencing problems passing through other countries.
$90,000 claim against car dealer for stolen vehicle dismissed
An American couple whose high-end SUV which they bought in Belize was confiscated while on a visit to Chetumal, Mexico, filed a civil suit against a Belizean car dealer for $90,000, claiming that he sold them a stolen vehicle, but they had their claim dismissed today by Supreme Court Justice, Madam Shona Griffith.
The case was heard on December 8, 2015 and on December 18, written submissions were made. In the conclusion of her 10-page judgment today, Justice Griffith writes: “The evidence in support of the claim has not been adequately established to the Court and the claim is dismissed.”
In claim number 138 of 2013, Charles and Marina Rublee, the claimants, were seeking to recover $90,000 that they had paid to Angel Riverol, the defendant, for a Toyota Sequoia that was taken away by Mexican authorities, who claimed that it was stolen from the United States.
Riverol, however, in resisting the claim, maintained that he imported the vehicle legally into Belize and had traveled to Chetumal in it and had no difficulties with Mexican authorities.
American businessman accused of abetment to murder released on $50,000 bail
Despite passionate objection from the Director of Public Prosecution that American businessman Bradley Paumen, whom police charged with four counts of abetment to murder, is a flight risk, today Supreme Court Justice, Madam Antoinette Moore, released him on a $50,000 bail and one surety in the same amount. Paumen has been charged with the offense of abetment to murder against four men, including American-Iranian Faroud Michael Modiri.
Paumen’s attorney, Ellis Arnold, SC, successfully argued that the legislators intended for persons charged with abetment to murder, be granted bail; otherwise they would have changed the law to reflect that bail should not be granted to persons charged with that offense.
Nonetheless, both sides agreed that the offense is a very serious one, and Paumen’s bail was granted with strict conditions: Paumen was ordered to surrender all of his travel documents, to the court.
Belize may get rice from Guyana, but not through Jack Charles
On Friday, January 15, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and his Chief Executive Officer, Jose Alpuche, in the Ministry of Agriculture, returned from Guyana, where they held meetings with Guyana’s Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the CEO and the chairman of the Guyana Rice Development Board to ensure food security for Belize, where rice is concerned, in case a shortfall in rice production were to occur.
Alpuche told Amandala that there wasn’t any agreement signed, but that they renewed the two countries’ longstanding understanding that in case of a shortfall in Belize’s rice supply, we would import from Guyana. Such a scenario occurred in 2014, when there was a shortfall because of the severe rains, and at that time Belize turned to its sister CARICOM country, Guyana, in order to import enough rice to offset its rice shortage.
Even though there are other countries from which Belize could import rice that are located closer to Belize, such as Mexico, Guyana was selected as a rice supplier because Belize would be exempted from paying duties, since both countries are a part of CARICOM, Alpuche said.
Civil case against deputy ComPol called
The civil case against Deputy Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, 49, regarding a fatal traffic accident, saw its first call to order last Friday, and Police Commissioner Allen Whylie, this week, described the situation as “unfortunate”.
The family of Succotz market vendor, Yolanda Valencia, 54, is suing Segura, the Belize Police Department and the Government of Belize for damages for the accident that claimed her life, which occurred around 5:00 a.m. on August 16th, 2014. The family contends, based on statements, a video recording of Segura made at the scene soon after the incident, and witnesses who arrived shortly thereafter, that Segura was negligent when he drove the government-issued Nissan Pathfinder into the blue taxi car which Valencia occupied, causing her death.
In the impact, the taxi driver and owner of the car, Yanie Cu, 29, suffered serious head and body injuries, which has left him incapacitated, confined to bed, and unable to work.
Two more charged in connection with Paumen murder plot
Two more men have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison in relation to the police investigation of Bradley Paumen and an alleged plot to murder four people.
Ian Skeen, Paumen’s accountant at Dark Night, and Lisburn Anderson, Paumen’s former employee and mechanic, were arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrates Court on Monday morning in front of Magistrate Ladona John on two counts of ‘abetment to commit murder’ each, for allegedly making a $3,000 payment as partial payment for the murder of Michael Modiri, Paumen’s rival who he’s had a bitter legal battle with over land, and Domingo Cal, also a former employee of Paumen.
Skeen was arrested on Saturday afternoon and Anderson was picked up on Sunday morning. No plea was taken and bail was denied until Friday when attorneys will make an application for bail in the Supreme Court.
Breaking Belize News
Roger Anthony in trouble again
Former Ghost Town Crips leader Roger Anthony, facing a murder charge, was charged with 7 offences when he appeared today before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. Anthony was charged with 2 counts of assaulting a police officer, using threatening words, 2 counts of using indecent words, aggravated assault, […]
Calvin Cumberbatch on bail after traffic charges
Tonight, Calvin Cumberbatch, the husband of Pamela Bennett, a money lender who tragically lost her life two days into the New Year in a traffic accident between Miles 5 and 6 on the Philip Goldson Highway was arraigned on manslaughter by negligence charges for the deaths of his […]
Teenagers charged over gun
Two students of Wesley Junior College, 19 year old Stradi Cassasola and 19 year old Demrey Lewis, were charged with kept firearm without a gun license when they appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. They pleaded not guilty to the charge. They were […]
Ladyville Police find gun stolen in Abou-Nehra case
Ladyville Police have made 19 arrests in the case of the home invasion of Lebanese Honorary Consul Sarkis Abou Nehra which occurred at his Burrell Boom Home on the night of December 3rd, 2015. Despite their big success, police had not recoverered any of the six […]
PUP FAMILY Feud: Bernard targets Andrews
After and since the People’s United Party’s National Party Council meeting ten days ago in Belize City, where the party committed to curbing personal attacks on Facebook which had been proliferate in the days leading up to the meeting, all three candidates for party leader […]
Prison population still high due to remandees
Some 1,443 persons are in Belize’s only prison, the Kolbe Foundation Central Prison at Hattieville, as of the end of 2015. Of these, nearly 400 are on remand awaiting trial for their alleged offences, with 231 of these facing trial for murder and manslaughter. Of […]
Two charged for Belize City burglary
One of the three persons charged on Monday with handling stolen goods in the Middle Long Caye case has been implicated along with another person in a burglary in Belize City. Raymond Garcia, 40, a bank Officer and resident of Belama Phase 3 area reported to police […]
As BTB issues statement on Anne Swaney murder US State Department warns about visiting Belize
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) issued a statement yesterday regarding the death of murdered tourist Anne Swaney, offering condolences and trying to do damage control, however, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory in the wake of the incident. “Following the murder of a […]
One of three pleads guilty in handling stolen goods from sea pirating case
We reported yesterday of the attack on a group of visitors to Belize who were staying aboard a vessel anchored at Middle Long Caye. The group were robbed of their valuables at gunpoint, some of which have since been recovered. Late on Monday, police arrested and […]
Two Belize City teens arrested for illegal gun
Two teenagers were arrested and charged for keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license last night after fleeing from police. The teens were eventually caught. 19-year-old Stradni Cassasola and 19-year-old Demrey Lewis, both of Fabers Road extension, Belize City, sped off in […]
Weekend operations net Belize City police significant finds of guns, ammo and drugs
During operations over the course of January 15 to 18, Belize City Police’s Strike Team South found a .38 mm revolver, 50 live rounds of 9 millimeter ammunition, two gun magazines and more than two pounds of cannabis. The revolver was found in the […]
Son reports mom missing, desperate to find her
Guatemalan National of Melchor De Mencos, 39-year-old Lidia Janet Garcia Giron, was reported missing yesterday by her 19-year-old son Alexander, who last saw her on January 8th when she left for Banana Farm, Stann Creek District, to meet a man known only as “El […]
Belmopan man arrested for assault with pellet gun
23-year-old Arlin David Padilla of Venezuela Street in Belmopan City, has been arrested and charged for the offenses of “attempted murder”, “grievous harm” and “use of deadly means of harm” for beating, then shooting a man with a pellet gun on January 15th. Byron […]
Increase in moisture is expected
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting variably cloudy and cool weather this morning, becoming mostly cloudy this afternoon and tonight. A few light showers or periods of rain will occur mainly over the sea this morning, along the coast this afternoon and […]
Indian Church man butchered by sweetheart’s common-law husband; man on the run
Juan Carlos Gutierrez, a Salvadoran national, is wanted by police for the murder of 51-year-old Francisco Arevalo but is on the run. Authorities say Arevalo was lured to his death by a woman he was involved with. The woman, who is in police custody pending […]
Harvest Caye: not all it’s cut out to be
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) recently won an important decision against the Department of the Environment (DOE) and the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC). GOB was fined $50,000 in that Supreme Court decision
The January 20, 2016 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE
This Week's Stories:
- BIDEN and BARROW, BELIZE BANKING AND THE UNITED STATES:
The occasion was the inauguration ceremony for the new President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales. And while it is major news in its own right that Belize’s Prime Minister was an invited guest for such a grand occasion in a neighboring country with which we still have an unresolved border dispute, perhaps the bigger news for Belizeans was that our Prime Minister got the opportunity to rub shoulders with the second most powerful political leader of the great United States of America, Vice President Joe Biden.
That made for a good photo occasion, but it also afforded Prime Minister Barrow the opportunity raise a substantive and critical issue, that of the problem being faced with correspondent banking, a matter that is centrally linked to United Sates relations with our region and our country.
Mr. Barrow reported to the nation, via a government press release, that he in fact availed himself of the opportunity to raise the matter with the Vice President.
- Observing the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr:
As we go to press this Monday evening, the United States of America is marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with a public and bank holiday.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950’s until his death by assassination in 1968. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. King, both a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist, had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s.
Among many efforts, King headed the SCLC. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honours.
- Major New Private Sector Investment:
new multi-million, state of the art soft drink bottling facility has been inaugurated by Bowen & Bowen Ltd as part of the company’s efforts to increase its competitive edge to secure its fair share of the local market, which in recent years has been flooded by an expanding number of imported brands.
The beverage market in Belize is becoming more competitive with products now being imported from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. To maintain its market share, Bowen and Bowen Ltd decided to upgrade its soft drink manufacturing and beer fermentation and bottling capacity at its facilities in Ladyville. This investment is mainly in the form of new bottling equipment in line with the requirements that the international holders (Coca Cola, Fanta and Guinness) are demanding. The project will cost approximately Bz 79 million and will be implemented in three main phases over a period of five years.
- New Director Named
For the financial
intellegnce unit (FIU):
The Financial Intelligence
Unit has a
new Director. She
is Joy Grant, one of
Belize’s most outstanding
women and a person of impeccable
character and integrity.
Miss Grant is a former
Senator and Cabinet member
who served from 2012 until the
general elections of November
4,205 as Minister of Energy,
Science, Technology and Public
Utilities. She was also appointed
as Chair of the recently
established National Bank.
She was previously ambassador
of Belize to the European
Union (EU), a position
she held from 2008 until 2012
under the first term of the
Dean Barrow Administration,
when she was named Ambassador
Plenipotentiary of Belize to
Brussels, Belgium, accredited
to the European Community.
- EDITORIAL, The Delicate Path of Diplomacy:
Events and developments at home
and abroad over the past week
underscore and remind us how
delicate—some would say, how
dangerous—the path of diplomacy can be.
In the United States, President Barack
Obama and his political advisors are celebrating
the implementation of a historic
Nuclear Deal with Iran, coinciding—some
would say, coordinated—with the reciprocal
release of prisoners/hostages by the
two nations in question. Mr. Obama’s
harshest critics, however, are accusing him
of being misguided and naïve in trusting
the Iranian leaders who they say are
taking Mr. Obama and the United States
for a dangerous ride down a path which
can only lead to the much dreaded outcome
of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
Here at home, Belizeans viewed with
similar mixed emotions our Prime Minister’s
attendance of the grand inauguration
of the new President of Guatemala,
our neighbors to the West and South who
still constitutionally maintain a territorial
claim over our country.
- Belize Foreign Minister Addresses CARICOM:
With Belize’s Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow now chairing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), our Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrignton, is now Chairman of the Community Council of Ministers. In this capacity he addressed the Community of Ministers on Friday, January 15, 2016 at the start of the 37th Meeting of the Council in Georgetown Guyana.
Honourable Wilfred Elrington stated, “Our collective actions and our accomplishments to date are proof positive that our integration process is strong and inexorably deepening. Our presence here is a commitment to that integration movement which is itself impelled by our resolve to deliver increasing benefits to the people of our community.
We continue to work assiduously to improve the standard of living of our peoples, and to provide for them a safe and secure environment in which to grow, to learn, work, invest, recreate and indeed to attain their full potential. While we are encouraged by our accomplishments, we fully appreciate that we need to build on our success, and to move forward without ever losing sight of why we were elected and the mandates that our people entrusted to us to carry out.
- 26 New & Young Ambassadors, Defending the Convention on Rights of the Child:
Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Honourable Patrick Faber was the main speaker at a ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) held on January 12, 2016.
In his address, Hon. Faber remarked, “Back in the days, children were to be seen and not heard; in fact, children were considered in some instances to be subhuman and they were mistreated in many regards. And with the convention that was readily embraced—more so readily that by Belize than others—but many countries have embraced the convention and in fact, the status of the treatment of children as a result has improved tremendously; and for that we are grateful to the entire world, because this is a worldwide effort.” The new ambassadors, 26 of them, are being deployed around the country to monitor compliance with the commitments made under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- President Barack Obama on US-Iran Deal:
“This is A Good Day”
Continued on Page 7
This is a good day, because, once again, we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy.
As I said in my State of the Union address, ensuring the security of the United States and the safety of our people demands a smart, patient and disciplined approach to the world. That includes our diplomacy with the Islamic Republic of Iran. For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other. Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests. Over the years, Iran moved closer and closer to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon. But from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries. And as President, I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government.
- STATE OF AFFAIRS OF THE BELIZE DEFENCE FORCE:
On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar and BDF Commander, Brigadier General David Jones spent quality time with the local media, briefing them on the state of affairs of the Belizean Military and sharing valuable details on the achievements, strategic review and plans to be implemented.
The formulation of a well-crafted plan of action to guide the Belize Defence Force into the future has been a work in progress for Commander David Jones. Since taking over command of the BDF three years ago in 2012, a Strategic Defence Review has been one of the top priorities for Brigadier General Jones. That proposal will, among other things, look at expanding the size of the military. It will also deal with defining the objectives of the B.D.F. over the next five years. And its implementation, according to Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar, will be complemented by funds from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to improve physical infrastructure being used by the armed forces.
- THE POLICE & THE CRIME SITUATION, 2015 Finishes Good - 2016 Starts Bad:
On Wednesday January 6, 2016, Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar and Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie met with other members of the Police High Command to review the statistics from the year just ended, 2015; and they invited the local media to share the details and analysis of those statistics.
Those statistics showed that while the major crime figures for the first half of 2015 were high, the last six months of year saw a marked reduction.
Commissioner Whylie informed, “The Southern Regional Command area had a total of 296 major crimes recorded compared to 328 recorded in 2014. This reflects a decrease of 32 major crimes recorded, or 9.8% decrease in 2015 on the Southern Regional Command area. The Northern Regional Command area had a total of 200 major crimes recorded in 2015, compared to 327 in 2014. This shows a decrease of 127 major crimes or 38.8% in 2015.
- Bright Prospects In Tourism:
In his 2016 New Year’s Message, the Prime Minister stated: “It is in tourism that our prospects continue to shine brightest. In September, October and November of 2015, overnight arrivals exceeded the 2014 numbers for the same three months by 19.2%, 22.1% and 33% respectively. With the new Southwest and Copa airline services from the US and South America to Belize already launched; and with the scheduled commencement of direct flights from Canada in 2016, we expect to maintain and better the record breaking, year-over-year increases in stay-over tourism.”
Turning to cruise tourism, the Prime Minister reported, “On the Cruise side, there was a 9.2% passenger jump this November, the last full month of 2015 for which we already have the statistics, over November of 2014. And on that front the headline news for 2016 is twofold: NCL’s Harvest Caye project becomes fully operational by April and brings with it two thousand jobs for Southern Belize; and the Supreme Court ruling on Belize City Port exclusivity, or lack thereof, clears the way for us to green-light a new, Old Capital alongside docking facility.
- Transformation Apace - Jobs Aplenty:
One of the primary benefits of the massive physical infrastructuure transformation that has been unfolding under this UDP Administration is the major employment it has generated. If there is any notion anywhere out there that this is about to slow down dramatically or stop completely in 2016, someone must have grossly misinterpreted the Prime Minister’s New Year’s Message.
In the PM’s own words, “Our trademark infrastructure drive will also continue, though now there will be a mix of funding sources.” And he outlined a number of specific projects, some already in progress, others about to commence, for which funding has already been secured. In addition to the countrywide BIL (Belize Infrastructure Limited) sporting projects funded with PETRO-Caribe monies already set aside, there are the tourism road-network improvements (which had commenced in the last quarter of 2015) such as the upgrade and paving of the road to Lamanai; the North Ambergris Road to the new Efrain Guerrero international Airport; and the Road to Caracol funded by the United Kingdom.
- A Promising Year for Productive Sector:
Government’s ability to press forward with its transformation drive while meeting its debt obligation amidst the financial challenges, is premised not only on the government’s good stewardship but also on the performance of the private and productive sector, and in this regard, as the Prime Minister indicated in his New Year’s Message, the outlook for 2016 is just as promising.
Quoting the PM himself, “In agriculture, the grain farmers have taken full advantage of Government's tax and duty moratorium on all irrigation equipment to reinvest in the sector with a view to expanded, post-drought production. The poultry industry has recovered from the avian flu, and shrimp harvesting is expected by mid-year to rebound completely from disease to take full advantage of continuing high export prices. In citrus, factory consolidation should increase efficiencies, and external demand and payment for our by-products remain firm.”
- Massive Investment in Sports Infrastructure:
In his 2016 New Year’s Message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow assured that Government’s trademark infrastructure drive will continue through a mix of funding sources. With respect to sports infrastructure, he stated, “There is enough that we have set aside from the PetroCaribe days of plenty to complete the countrywide BIL sporting projects (such as the Belize City Center).”
This particular project will see the construction of an innovative, well equipped state-of-the-art Arena and Cultural Complex at the location of the old Civic Center on Central American Boulevard, which will serve not just the residents of Belize City but the entire country. The contract was awarded to the local JVCA of Medina’s Construction Ltd. / International Environments Ltd. and on October 8th, 2015 contract signature occurred for contract price of Z$32,940,261.34.
- BELIZE’s new Ambassador to CARICOM:
As the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors met in Georgetown, Guyana, Wednesday, January 13, 2016 to engage on the Community Reform Process, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque accepted the Letters of Credence from H.E. Daniel Gutierez, new Ambassador of Belize.
In a short accreditation ceremony held in his office, Ambassador LaRocque told the newest member of the Committee that he will have the opportunity to help shape the future direction of the integration movement by advancing the implementation of decisions of Organs of the Community at the national level.
He noted that during his recent engagement with the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Chairman of the Caribbean Community for the next six months, it was evident that the Prime Minister was keen on making an even stronger link between national and regional agendas.
- The Best Years of CARICOM Lie Ahead:
Newly accredited Ambassador of Belize to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), H.E. Daniel Gutierrez has said the best years of the integration movement lie ahead for what he calls the “tremendous untapped potential” that lies within the Region.
Speaking at a ceremony to present his letters of credence to CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters on Wednesday, Mr. Gutierrez referenced his Prime Minister’s New Year Address in which he heralded 2016 as a landmark year for the integration movement.
Against this backdrop, Mr. Gutierrez said: “I am not the first and will not be the last to speak of the untold wealth, underdeveloped talent and the unshakable hope that characterize the brotherhood of nations that call themselves CARICOM. But as leaders and servants we are obligated to diagnose, understand and engineer solutions that will guide our people to resilience in the troubling waters ahead. The skies ahead darken with climate change, economic uncertainty, a haunting gap in education and technology with our global competitors and any number of parallel global challenges. Undaunted we shall remain.”
- SECOND BEST PLACE TO RETIRE, HUFFINGTON POST LISTS CAYO, BELIZE AS ONE OF THE
WORLD’S 12 BEST PLACES TO LIVE OR RETIRE IN 2016:
Belize is one of the quirkiest countries in the world. Geographically, Belize is in Central America, yet its strongest ties are to the English-speaking Caribbean. Belize is Caribbean, Central American... and, thanks to its history as a former colony, British. Belize City’s roadways are built around a system of roundabouts, but shops alongside them sell rice, beans and tortillas still ground by hand.
Everyone you meet speaks English (it’s the country’s official language), but this belies the stories of their origins. The 350,000 people populating Belize today are descendants of migrants from Britain, yes, but also, more so, the surrounding Central American countries. You’ve got Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans mixed with current-day generations of the Maya who originally inhabited this land, the pirates who came later, the Mennonite farmers who began arriving on the scene in the 16th century, the British who ruled until 1981, and each other. Belize is a nation of independent thinkers and doers, a country where you make your own way and where, while you’re doing it, no one, including the Belize government, is making any attempt to thwart your efforts. This is a poor country.
- Belizean Drafted To US Major League Soccer:
The Montreal Impact selected UC Riverside’s Michael Salazar with the fourth pick in the second round (24th overall) of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft Thursday afternoon. The Highlanders have had players drafted by MLS teams in each of the last five years .
“Michael Salazar has the speed and quickness to help an MLS squad looking to add depth to the striker position,” said TopDrawerSoccer.com prior to the draft. “With Didier Drogba’s imminent departure, the [Montreal] Impact needs to find more attacking punch up front even though Cameron Porter and Anthony Jackson-Hamel are already in the lineup and quite young.
In a counter-attacking system, Salazar could help Ignacio Piatti and co. while having a physical presence in the box and able to support the midfielders when playing lower on the pitch to hold the ball.“Though, there is a big chance the Impact either trades up in the draft to get a better striker in the draft or plainly combine that pick with allocation money to get a MLS-ready striker that might be made available by other MLS clubs.”
Travel trends for 2016
Every year I write about travel trends that I think will impact tourism in Belize. I am fairly satisfied with the predictions I wrote for 2015 and unless I feel it’s necessary, I don’t intend to reiterate the same predictions for 2016. Some of these ideas I come up with by myself – through recent travel experience, or I may have stumbled upon an idea while researching, other times, I have seen the predictions on articles, and when that’s the case, I will reference the original author.
For Belize, authentic experiences come easy since the country is very small and mostly undeveloped (read: not manipulated). I advise that people stay updated on trends and see how they can create a fusion of things. For example, craft-cocktails are really ‘in’ right now, a local establishment can benefit from experimenting with drinks using local flavors and keep rotating/ innovating the recipes.
Why Moving to Belize Isn't as Hard as You'd Think
Sometimes, the hardest part of relocating is making the decision. Once that’s done, a happy mix of inertia and excitement will propel you from “thinking about moving” to “we’d better start packing.” Moving to Belize is a particularly sane move because it has more going for it than surrounding nations, so you get all of the benefits of the Caribbean and none of the high prices. Need convincing? Start with our list and feel free to add more.
1. There are no language barriers because Belize’s English language roots are deep: After the British occupied the region, they left the English language as a legacy, but expect a bonus if you move here: you’ll run into people from all over the world who love this place as much as you do.
2. The government will make you feel right at home. Long before the U.S. ratified its constitution and emulated the British legal model, Belize began using British Common law as its legal system, too, so you’ll be trading one democracy for another–if not a bit more formal thanks to British courtroom customs.
3. You’ll be welcomed with open arms. Come for a visit, renew your tourist visa monthly and audition Belize as your new homeland or announce your intention to take advantage of the Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP), an initiative with so many tax perks and benefits, there’s nothing like it in the Caribbean.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Use any left over pie crust or use a 9" pie crust and shape it into a rectangle.
Spread the rectangle with butter, not margarine, being generous with the butter
Sprinkle with granulated sugar (about 2 tbsp. for a 9" crust
Sprinkle with cinnamon, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
With the longest side of the rectangle facing you, roll the crust up into a roll. Gently seal the edge where the crust stops.
Slice the roll into 1/2" slices with a sharp knife.
Place cut pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 12 roundies.
ANOTHER RED PEPPER JELLY RECIPE
Place red peppers in a food processor and purée.
Combine the puréed peppers, sugar and vinegar in a large stainless-steel pan.
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
Remove pot from heat and set for 10 minutes.
This allows the peppers to cook slowly in the residual heat and prevents them from floating on the surface.
Then, return pot to stove and bring again to the boil, Add lemon juice and pectin mixed with the caster sugar and simmer over medium heat for 3 -5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pectin will help the jelly to set while cooling.
Pour into sterilized jars.
Store in cool dark area for 3 – 5 months.
Keep in the fridge when open and use within a month.
4G Mi-Fi Internet Service in Belize – Hello My New Life!
So…with great fanfare (in my mind)…4G has come to the nation of Belize. 4th Generation INTERNET! (Whatever that means…) First introduced in Finland in 2010. Now here in Belize.
But ACTUALLY, it means quite a bit. Because the speed is INSANELY better. And the battery power on the new device is FANTASTIC. Yes, I know it will wane as time goes on but right now it hold charge for up to 24 hours…and I can use it for 5 or 6 hours without re-charge.
Here’s how it went down: I went in to the SMART office. I purchased the new unit for $175BZD. And the largest package available of 25GBs for $220bzd. (This generally lasts me about 2.5 to 3 months.)
My 25GB package has increased from $150BZ for the 3G to $220BZ for the 4G. And up to 8 devices can connect to the 4G unit.
FBI JOINS ANNE SWANEY MURDER INVESTIGATION IN BELIZE; I-TEAM INSPECTS SCENE
The United States now has federal agents on the scene in Belize to assist in the murder investigation of our ABC7 colleague Anne Swaney, as Belizean authorities say they are stepping up their efforts to solve the case, the ABC7 I-Team reports. On the day Anne died, she walked down a path about a half a mile from the camp where she was staying. She came down to a wooden platform by the rushing river, where she put out her yoga mat. A police outline of the mat can still be seen on the deck, where police believe she was attacked. Her body was found in the water the next day, about 300 yards downriver. She had been strangled.
Juan and his stable hands have all been questioned numerous times by local authorities. A man was among several ranch employees at the police station Tuesday for another round of questioning.
Even though the FBI is offering assistance, the investigation is based out of the Benque Viejo branch of the Belize National Police.
ORANGE FARM, 1min.
Belize Gal by Mr. Coppa, 2.5min. Hit Single
Smart | 4G LTE: Step Your Game Up!, 1min. Smart's 4G LTE is here and we are giving you FANTASTIC DEALS to make it easy for you to UPGRADE to the Fastest Network in Belize.
TRADE-IN that DigiCell phone that is struggling with signal connection, or bring in your 3G Smart phone and UPGRADE to a brand new 4G LTE phone.
Scuba diving and snorkeling in Belize, 4min.
The Garden Show - January 19, 31min. The second episode of the weekly program produced by Belize Botanic Gardens and hosted by Judy duPlooy.
I Love Belize, 4min. pat + babes, beers, belize
BELIZE Great Blue Hole; Half Moon Wall; The Aquarium - 12/11/15, 16.5min. The magnificent Great Blue Hole, a LOT of reef sharks, and even dolphins! The footage of the Great Blue Hole starts at 0:30.
Howler monkey at the Xunantunich Mayan ruins in Belize, 1min.
cave tubing, Belize, 5min. Cave tubing in the mayan jungles of belize.
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