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#513228 - 04/21/16 11:38 AM Today's Belize News: April 21, 2016
Marty Offline


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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

Officers linked to Hilberto Sotz’ death out on bail
On Friday, April 15th, charges against two police officers formerly attached to the Caye Caulker Police branch were downgraded from murder to manslaughter. PC Hallet King and Leonard Nuñez had been serving time at the Belize Central Prison for the past ten months after they were accused of killing 18- year old Hilberto Sotz, in June of 2015. Despite the gravity of the crime, the change in the charges gave King and Nuñez access to bail and today they are out of jail with their case adjourned until June 16th. In the wake of the angry reaction of the residents, police had to call for reinforcements from Belize City, while it was reported that the police had to fire live rounds to disperse the angry protesters. Sotz’s autopsy revealed that he had been brutalized to the point that he died from his injuries. Despite such findings, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) instructed that the murder charge be downgraded to manslaughter due to lack of evidence to substantiate the murder charge. As a result, the police were granted bail of $2,000 each and were ordered to surrender their passports and report to the police station on a weekly basis. They were also instructed by the Chief Magistrate during the court session that they cannot apply for any new travelling documents and in the case of Nuñez, he must first notify the court when he relocates to a new address.

NEBL Playoffs start this weekend
After ten weeks of basketball action, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks are moving into the playoffs of the 2016 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Tournament. Hoping to capture their third consecutive championship title to cap off an exciting season, the Tiger Sharks are prepared to challenge the top teams of 2016. The NEBL playoffs will use a best-of-three format, with the higher seeded team having the home court advantage. For the third straight season, Belmopan Bandits (#2 seed) and San Pedro Tiger Sharks (#3 seed) are meeting in the semi-finals. Smart Belize Hurricanes (#1 seed) and Dangriga Warriors (#4 seed) split their season series, where both teams won at home. Smart Belize Hurricanes is in the playoffs for the first time, while Dangriga Warriors is returning for their second straight season as the #4 seed.

Miss SPHS candidates officially sashed
Four San Pedro High Sschool (SPHS) lovely contestants were officially sashed as delegates of the 2016-2017 Miss SPHS Pageant. On Thursday, April 14th, a dinner ceremony took place at Hidden Treasure Restaurant, where each contestant was presented to their sponsors. This year’s contestants for the pageant are Faith Edgar sponsored by Sandy Point Real Estate, Norma Lopez sponsored by J&H Golf Cart Rentals, Lisandra Novelo sponsored by Castillo’s Hardware and Janelly Aban sponsored by Water Jets International Ltd. After a delicious dinner, Ramsey and teacher Gabriela Guerrero closed the night off, thanking sponsors for their continued support. Special thanks were extended to Hidden Treasure Restaurant, who hosted the evening.

Team Catrachos are Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup 2016 Champions
The Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup came to a contentious end on Saturday, April 16th in a final match between Team Catrachos and Team Veterans. Both clashed on the field at the Honourable Louis Sylvester Sporting complex, where after an intense match, the Veterans forfeited the game. With a final score of 4-3, Team Catrachos was crowned the 2016 Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup champions. The sporting arena was vibrating with loud fans demanding more action from both teams. Exactly two minutes after Catrachos tied the game, they found another opportunity, taking the 3-2 lead. Fans were ecstatic with the change of pace, while the Veterans struggled to regain momentum. The game’s end drew near when Catrachos scored another goal. Everyone thought the game was done for the Veterans, but experience kicked in, and they scored a third goal. The pressure was on for another goal, and in the last minutes of the match, it was almost sudden death for both teams.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Bandits Host Tiger Sharks
The Bandits have their first playoff game tonight, when they host the Tiger Sharks, in the 1st game of the best of three. Go Bandits! "Here you go Belmopan your Bandits are in the playoffs, so the place to be this Thursday night where your bandits gonna continue the fish fest. You sure don't wanna miss this one!!!"

BDF Forward Operating Base officially inaugurated
The new BDF Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon River was officially inaugurated this morning with heavy security presence from the BDF and Belize Coast Guard. We were also joined in an unofficial capacity by two Guatemalan military vessels stationed in Belizean waters just off the base, along with Guatemalan fishermen in canoes. We'll have much more on today's expedition to the Sarstoon in tonight's newscast.

Power interruption 7:00am to 9:00am, Sunday, April 24, Orange Walk
San Narciso Street, San Andres Street, Dangriga Street, Yo Creek Street, Benque Viejo Street, Oleander Street, Orchid Street, Orchid Drive, San Lorenzo Road, Hummingbird Street, Woodpecker Street, Cardinal Street, Lyle Street, Bautista Avenue, Bautas Lane, Main Street, Riverside Street, Trial Farm, Toucan Street, San Lorenzo, Laskot Subdivision and Indian Hill. BEL to repair hotspots on the power distribution system in the area.

Power interruption 7:00am to 2:00pm, Saturday, April 23, portion Orange Walk & Corozal Districts
Yo Creek, San Lazaro, Trinidad, August Pine Ridge, San Felipe, Blue Creek, Linda Vista, London, La Rosita, , Cuatro Leguas, Tres Leguas, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo, San Roman, San Luis, San Jose, San Pablo, San Juan, Douglas, Buena Vista, Caledonia and Progresso. BEL to replace utility poles on the power distribution system in the area.

Postponed until further notice, power interruption previously scheduled for a portion of Placencia Village
Previously scheduled for 9:00am to 2:00pm, Thursday, April 21.

A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited
For the post of Manager in the Energy Supply Department.

"FCD Tracks" Issue 23; quarterly newsletter
FCD’s Quarterly Newsletter is available which covers FCD Tracks of the last 4 months. Interested? Let us know.

2nd Annual Caye Caulker Music Summer Camp
Ages 5 and up Adults included Limited spaces per group Registration forms are now available at the center. If you would like to sponsor a child this year kindly Contact me at 605-5904 for more information.

World Responsible Travel Awards (WRTA)
The Belize Tourism Board invites you to submit your nominations for the upcoming World Responsible Travel Awards (WRTA). WRTA is looking for organizations and businesses to nominate themselves in the one of the following five (5) categories that cover a wide variety of issues facing the tourism industry. Categories include: Best accommodation for responsible employment, Best contribution to wildlife conservation, Best innovation by a tour operator, Best for poverty reduction and inclusion, Best responsible tourism campaign. The vision of WRTA mentions "that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organized in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people."

Prime Minister Departs the Country to Attend the Signing of the Paris Agreement
The Office of the Prime Minister informs the general public that Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow will be attending the Signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, scheduled for 22nd April, 2016. In December, 2015, 195 countries came together and adopted a new international agreement to address climate change; named the “Paris Agreement.” This Agreement is seen as historic in the fight against climate change as it sets the basis for common action against climate change, by countries all over the world. It also marked a breakthrough in global cooperation to address climate change. Prime Minister Barrow leaves Belize today, 20th April, 2016 and returns to the country on Sunday, 24th April, 2016. During the Prime Minister’s absence, the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Poets Corner: Entertained
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez . Are not entertained Seeing, hearing, yet another black gang leader slain Are you not entertained? Yet another mother is crying in pain Are you not entertained? Who will now be blamed? The population has to now be restrained This is insane! Belizeans we are all to blame For surrendering our children To this nasty game Police and media fanning flames Urban terrorism is the name of this game Urban terrorism, playing war games In garrison leaders’ names Are not entertained? Glorifying poverty and pain Subjecting yourselves to conditions that are inhumane

BELIZEAN SOCIOLOGIST DR. JEROME STRAUGHAN ON BREDAA & THE BELIZE-CARIBBEAN PULSE RADIO SHOW!
The small expose is just an extract from a fifty page research on the Belizean organization, BREDAA (Belize Rural Economic Development of Agriculture through Alliance) popular education program, Belize-Caribbean Pulse that was broadcasted from 1986 to 1996 on KPFK Los Angeles. The Belizean Sociologist who has done one of the most comprehensive study so far on the Belizean diaspora has become a credible voice in the Belizean diaspora and in the Los Angeles Belizean Community on Belizean migration and immigration. ·

Channel 7

BDF Commander Disappointed in Guate Rejection
Tensions have been flaring up on the Sarstoon for months – and Belizean political, military and diplomatic officials had hoped that a detailed protocol they developed would defuse those tensions, and lay out a new "modus vivendi" – a way of coexisting on the shared river. But, the Guatemalans rejected it; they want Belizeans to check in at their military base before going up the Sarstoon. That's no compromise at all, and, today, on the banks of the Sarstoon at the newly opened forward operating base, the BDF Commander told us that the carefully framed proposals were both precise and practical, and he's quite disappointed that they were rejected:.. Brig Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "When that protocol was being drafted it included myself of course. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, our CEO from Foreign Affairs, A member of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Assad Shoman; so it was a cross section that it was good that both the government, the opposition and also the military was involved in the protocol. When we drafted it we believed it was with the good intention of ensuring that there is peace in the Sarstoon area."

Cabinet Says No 2007 Agreement With Guats
So what's the way forward? Well, speaking at that same event, the Minister of National Security said that Cabinet rejected the Guatemalan counter proposal out of hand. What's more, they checked the record and are certain that Belize never agreed to any checking-in with the Guatemalans before going up the Sarstoon. He told us what Cabinet's firm decision is: Reporter: "They are reverting back to the status quo which is to say that they own the river." Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security: "That's not the status quo; they are reverting to their claim." Reporter: "Yes they are reverting to their claim that they own the river and we have to get permission to come on the river, was that permission sought today?" Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security: "No that was never sought by any authority in this country, that is their version of what they think the status quo was or is; it has never been the status quo for us here in country, we'll never have to seek any permission from any Guatemalan authority to use our own territory."

Pesky Guat Drone Appears Above Forward Base Opening
And while the official reaction to the Guatemalan counter proposal was tonight’s headline, the really big news is the opening of the Forward Operating Base on the banks of the Sarstoon. It’s been the subject of so much speculation and agitation for months, and tonight we can tell you that the base is built; it’s open, and it’s operational. IT’s a subject of intense curiosity for the Belziean public, and also, apparently, for the Guatemalan military which actually sent a drone across the river to “ faas’ ” on the ceremony on the Belize side of the river. The appearance of the drone, caused some of the soldiers to draw their weapons, which sent the drone whizzing back across the river very quickly. The Military leaders commented on the drone disruption: Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News: "We noticed that there was; it came out 10 minutes ago, a drone which was directly above the base. Do you think that is a breach of our security?"

Sore Sight On Belize Side Of Sarstoon
And while the drone was just a brief annoyance, the really sore sight on the Sarstoon today was the amassing of Guatemalan Navy Vessels clearly on the Belize side of the river – which seemed to be calculated very clearly as an affront. But, depending on who we spoke to, their presence was described as either suitable vigilance, or an illegal incursion. Here's what National Security Personnel told us: Daniel Ortiz: "Were the Guatemalans invited for this particular opening ceremony sir? I ask because there is the concern that the presence that you see from the Guatemalan boats is somewhat watchful and the suggestion is if they are not invited here, they incurring"

Forward Base IS Ready!
So, now all those were just preliminaries…the big news of the day was that the Sarstoon Joint Forces Operating Base is open and ready for Belizean Law Enforcement to start to use it. Our Daniel Ortiz was there, and here's his story: Exactly 19 weeks ago, these National Security Officials were on this exact same bank at the Sarstoon River mouth to break ground. Over the weeks that followed this frame slowly transformed to become what you see here today. The building is made of wood, but this Forward Operating Base is structurally sound for the wetland terrain Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security: "You will recall less than 3 months ago when this location was merely a swamp marshy mangrove at the time of launching of the ground breaking ceremony for this facility. The transformation has been impressive as you can see. A facility that is now capable of accommodating dozens of law enforcement officers."

Charged For Fatal Pint Bottle Stabbing on Caye Caulker
On Monday we told you about the murder of Leon Gordon. It happened on Sunday night on Caye Caulker at a popular bar named Sip and Dip. The 29 year old was trying to part a fight when he was fatally stabbed with a broken pint bottle. Today, police charged the man who they say is responsible. He is 20 year old Austin Gabourel of Calle Almendro Street, Caye Caulker. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith for a single charge of murder. He was remanded to Prison until June 17, 2016. Gabourel was allegedly struggling with bar owner Jeremy Rhaburn – who was trying to put him out of the bar. Gordon got involved to part the fight, which is when he was stabbed. Gabourel also received cut wounds in the struggle – and appeared in court with a large cut wound to the right side of his face.

OAS Secretary General Visits Benque Border
In the top segment, you heard our interviews with both Brigadier General David Jones and National Security Minister John Saldivar about Guatemala's rejection of Belize's 11 point proposal. You also saw the official opening of the Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon. Now while all that was happening at the Sarstoon, simultaneously at the western border there was a special ceremony at the OAS Adjacency Zone in honor of the Secretary General Luis Almagro's first visit to Belize. Courtney Weatherburne was there for the ceremony but she also delved deeper to the parallel that exists in regards to the Belize Guatemala dispute. Here is her story. For Belizeans and Guatemalans, passing this western border crossing is almost an everyday occurrence. The visitors are already accustomed to the immigration signs, and basic protocols at the passport security booths. Although from the outside it might not reflect that easy and open passage, right beyond this barbed wired gate and these stop signs, Kids from both countries swayed and sung for peace. This special show was held at the Belize – Guatemala Adjacency Zone office – and it was all for Secretary General Luis Almagro's first visit to Belize

OAS Boss Almagro Avoids Answering
Now since it is his first visit to Belize, we tried to get Secretary General Almagro to weigh in on this ongoing territorial dispute. We say ‘tried' because right as we were going to drill him on Guatemala's rejection of Belize's proposals among several other topics – he was hauled away by his press secretary. All we managed to get out of him is the purpose of his visit and that he supports taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice. Here's that exchange with Secretary General Almagro. H.E. Luis Almagro - Secretary General, OAS: "The official mission was to visit this project, to visit the office and also of course very relevant official meetings with Prime Minister and with Minister of Foreign Affairs. We talk about practicability of this process the judiciary of this process and we have seen your authorities very committed to what is necessary to achieve the steps to move forward this process. So far we need the necessary movements to take this to the International Court of Justice that will be the only place where this can be resolved."

Emanuel and Angel On The Western Edge Of Belize
And so, while we had a team at the Sarstoon with the BDF, and another at the Benque border with the OAS Secretary General, we also have another that went into he wilds of the Chiquibul Forest. This morning at 3 am, Emanuel Pech and Angel Noble left Belize City headed for a 10 hour hike across the Chiquibul National Park into the Caracol Archeological Park. They set out with one other media house and a phalanx of BDF soldiers and FCD Rangers and should be getting back to Cayo at about midnight. They went primarily to see new Guatemalan milpa farms that have been put down in Belize territory. Depending on when they actually return, we hope to have some portion of their report in tomorrow’s news.

Mango Killing Was Not Murder
He was accused of killing a man for stealing mangoes from his tree, and 48 year old Hilberto Perez must stand trial for it. That's the outcome of a preliminary inquiry which was held today before Chief Magistrate Smith. Perez will stand trial for manslaughter, not murder, in the June session of the Supreme Court for the shooting death of 60-year-old Alexander Trapp. His old bail was confiscated and a new bail of $10,000 dollars was granted, which he met. In May of 2015, Trapp, who had a substance abuse problem picked mangoes form Perez's yard when he was shot, possibly with a recreation air rifle. The injury proved fatal and he died on a nearby feeder road.

Cop Caught Trini Teacher With Weed
A school teacher was charged with marijuana possession – and what's more, a lady cop says Jaclyn Swasey kicked her in the belly! On April 17th, Police constable Kendra Robateau was on duty at a police check point at mile 31 on the Western Highway when she picked up the strong smell of marijuana from a blue Toyota matrix car. She went to the passenger side off the car and says she saw Swasey fondling her left breast. The constable spotted her flash light on the Swasey's breast and she saw a transparent plastic bag apparently hidden in her bra. Constable Kendra told Swasey to get out of the car for a search, but says that when Swasey got out, she pushed her aside and fired a kick into her midsection. That's after allegedly throwing herself on the ground. Undeterred, the constable grabbed the woman by her wrists and managed to subdue her and take her into custody.

PM To NY For Paris Agreement
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today for New York where he will join representatives from 150 other countries in signing the Paris Agreement at the United Nations. The Paris Agreement is a global accord aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change. Prime Minister Barrow signs the agreement tomorrow and returns to the country on Sunday, 24th April. In his absence, Deputy PM Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Historic First: 60 Depart For N-O Jazzfest
Also leaving the country today was a 60-person contingent headed to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. As we've been reporting, it's one of the biggest music festivals in north America, and Belize has been invited to be the featured act at the cultural pavilion. Now, it didn't come together just like that; in fact, it took months of preparation, selection and organization. And today they all boarded a flight headed for New Orleans. That's 50 musicians on a plane along with 8 craftsmen and women. The organizers told us today that it's a quantum leap unto the biggest stage ever for Belize:…. But putting it all together was no laughing matter! That's because more than a handful of the musicians and performers couldn't get a visa. That meant last minute substitutions and changes in lineup – which didn't necessarily sit well with the organizers who run a tight ship:

Belize Ranks High For Press Freedom
Belize is ranked 36th in the world for Press Freedom. That is out of 180 countries reviewed by the watchdog group Reporters without Borders. Costa Rica, Jamaica, the OECS and Surinam were the only other countries in the Caribbean and Central America ranked higher than Belize…


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#513229 - 04/21/16 11:39 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 21, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

It’s Confirmed, Guatemala Has Indeed Rejected All Eleven Sarstoon Proposals
Tonight, there is a lot of news from the Sarstoon in southern Belize, where the Ministry of National Security inaugurated its long awaited Forward Operating Base. There were uninvited guests [...]

What Does Dismissal of Sarstoon Proposals Mean for the Way Forward?
While Guatemala was considering the proposals, or claimed to be giving them due consideration, Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington claimed that there was an agreement between generals to keep the [...]

Sarstoon Forward Operating Base Inaugurated Amid Ongoing Tension
The inauguration of the joint military and law enforcement Forward Operating Base has certainly taken on new importance with the rejection of the protocols. Government has been criticized for not [...]

Coast Guard Commander Takes Aim at Overhead Drone
By the time the ceremony had gotten underway, Guatemalan vessels had made their way into the waters directly in front of the base, less than a hundred feet out. That [...]

O.A.S. Secretary General Visits Adjacency Zone at Western Border
While all that was playing out in the Sarstoon, a culture of peace was being promoted in the west. Secretary General Luis Almagro, of the Organization of American States, is [...]

Ambassador Luis Almagro Says More Discussion is Needed for Sarstoon Protocol
As we’ve said, Guatemala has rejected all eleven proposal put forward by Belize at a recent round of discussions held between Foreign Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Carlos Raul Morales on [...]

Still no Confirmed Cases of Zika in Belize, M.O.H. Prepares Nonetheless
Zika is not yet officially confirmed in Belize and that is because the country remains on a waiting list at Caribbean Public Health Agency as it relates to the testing [...]

Vector Control Unit Revisits Mosquito Breeding Grounds
On the ground, work by the Vector Control Unit of the Ministry has been ongoing since November of last year. But with the CDC’s travel notice, the ministry sprung into [...]

The Link Between Zika and Microcephaly
There are precautionary measures that are recommended for pregnant women or those who plan pregnancy since it is now confirmed that zika is linked to microcephaly and also the Guillain [...]

Austin Gabourel Charged for Caye Caulker Murder
Twenty-year-old Austin Gabourel is tonight behind bars accused of murdering a Caye Caulker resident over the weekend. Late this afternoon, Gabourel was read a single charge of murder for the [...]

Wanted Fugitive Shane Bennett is Recaptured in Placencia
The Special Branch Unit in the south has taken an alleged criminal off the streets. Shane Bennett escaped from the Independence police and did not go too far. He has [...]

B.P.P. Says Rejected Protocols is Tantamount to Failed Diplomacy
The rejection of the Sarstoon proposals is not sitting well in many quarters. Today, the Belize Progressive Party likened this development to failed diplomacy. Party Chairman Paco Smith says the [...]

PM Barrow is off to Sign Paris Agreement in New York
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has departed the country on official duties. He is heading to New York for the Signing of the Paris Agreement which takes place at the United [...]

Cultural Showcase at Western Border Features Garifuna Drums and Marimba Music
One of the highlights of the visit of the O.A.S. Secretary General was a visit to the Adjacency Zone. There he witnessed a program dedicated to the culture of Belize. [...]

B.D.F. Commander Discusses Helicopters
The two helicopters gifted to the B.D.F. by the Government of Taiwan have been assembled and are ready for use. Part of their regular schedule of activities will bring them [...]

CTV3

Ground Breaking Takes Place For Pre-School In Corozal District
Our Lady Of Guadalupe R.C. School is located in the Corozal District, it has a staff of 8 teachers and 1 principal and it is occupied by 268 students on average school days. Today we can tell you though, that, that number will increase as the Social Investment Fund in collaboration with the Education Department carried out a ground breaking ceremony for the new preschool which is about to be constructed. The construction of the pre-school is to be funded under the Caribbean Development Bank, Basic needs Trust Fund 7’s Education and Human Resource Development Sector, through a grant with counter-part funding by the Government of Belize. The project is aimed to increase access and enhance quality inclusive Early Childhood Development and Primary Education services. In the process the project is also designed to construct additional classrooms along with Human Resource Development training for teachers.

Hearts And Hands Medical Mission Conducts Surgeries In The North
On Sunday April 17th a team of 35 general surgeons known as Hands and Hearts Medical Mission arrived in Belize. Immediately after their arrival they started screening and prepping patients of Corozal and Orange Walk for surgeries to be performed from the 18th to the 22nd of April. Yesterday just after 7:00p.m CTV3 caught up with team leader and experience veteran Dr. Sue Long, who said that a total of 46 patients have been treated and the most common surgeries so far are for gall stone and hernia. Dr. Sue Long: “We screen approximately 200 people on Sunday to make out the schedule for the week for surgery and today I believe we did 24 surgeries and yesterday 22 so we’ve done a total of 46 operations so far. Mostly we are doing laparoscopic, gall bladder surgery, that is with the small incisions and then we are doing a variety of different types of hernias, about half the patients that we have done have got gall stones and the other half has been hernias.”

General Jones Dissapointed About Guatemala Rejection Towards Proposals
As for Guatemala’s presence inside Belize’s territorial waters during the inauguration of the forward operating base, Commandant of the Belize Defense Force, Brigadier General David Jones, described it as alertness on their behalf: Brigadier General David Jones – Belize Defense Force Commandant: “Well, it shows that they are on alert and they are going to continuously be alert and apart from the BDF and the Coast Guard our civilian forces also has to be aware that the Guatemalans are alert, this is an international border it shared between us and them so they are rightfully concern if any one comes in to the river that they may be going in to Guatemalan waters so I am not surprised that they are here I expected them here because that is what they should if there some activity occurring in their side and we would see a lot of vessels coming in to the river we equally be alert as well too to take a look and to be concern on what is happening in the river.”

Cabinet Discusses Rejection Of Proposals
As it relates to the news of Guatemala’s rejection of Belize’s proposal for a peace protocol in the Sarstoon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to comment on this issue. Today however, the Minister of National Security, Honorable John Saldivar confirmed the rejection and informed that the matter was discussed in Cabinet yesterday. Honorable John Saldivar – Minister of National Security: “We were informed officially in Cabinet of the rejection of the Guatemalans of our Proposals we also saw what their suppose counter proposal was which we again flatly reject because it says precisely what was asked just now they want us to ask permission and we flatly reject that and so we are going to continue to work the diplomatic channels to try to see some meeting of the minds but in the meantime as you have also indicated militarily we believe that we have some sort of agreement for there to maintain the peace in the area.” Saldivar also out rightly rejected that there is any existing agreed protocol that requires Belizean vessels to check in at the Guatemalan base to navigate through the Sarstoon.

Helicopters Ready To Fly Over
Today the commander of the Belize Defense Force, Brigadier General David Jones confirmed that the recently acquired Taiwanese helicopters for the force have been assembled. In one year’s time when training for the pilots is complete, the helicopters will be put into use along Belize’s border. In the South, the Government is expected to clear out a landing area for the helicopters. Brigadier General David Jones – Belize Defense Force Commandant: “The helicopters are already assembled, our pilots have to be fully trained before they are personally operating them so despite the fact that they have been assembled they are flying we will only have them during training flying around this areas, but the future is for this facility to also be services by those helicopters, the area just over to my left is a clearing that is expected to be developed in a helicopter landing site, so that will be an areas where the helicopter will be able to land if there is need for immediate evacuation in this area and it is going to be the same for the rest of the observation post along the western border...”

Two Orange Walkenos Sentenced For Robbery
Two Orange Walk men were today sentenced to serve two years imprisonment after they were found guilty of the charge of robbery. The two individuals, namely Gustavo Hernandez and Christian Sutherland were arrested and charged back in May 11, 2015 for the broad daylight armed robbery at Luda’s Fast Food at the corner of Guadalupe Street and the Belize Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town. At the time of the incident 41 year old Chinese businesswoman Ling Yu Huang reported to police that sometime around 2:45p.m on that day, while at her business place attending to a customer, two male persons with their faces covered and wearing camouflage hats entered the establishment and robbed them at gunpoint.

Forward Operating Base Inaugurated While Guatemala Patrol The Area
This morning saw the long-awaited inauguration of the one hundred thousand dollar Sarstoon joint forward operating base. The modest building sits on the southernmost part of the mainland facing a military base of Guatemala which claims half of Belize’s territory including the Sarstoon area which has witnessed constant encounters between civilians, the BDF and Guatemalan Armed Forces. Today’s inauguration was celebrated by the top brass of the Ministry of National Security and the heads of the Belize Coast Guard and the BDF who took the long trip South. They traveled from Punta Gorda in three BDF vessels and two Boston Whalers belonging to the Coast Guard. However, today was once more labelled as yet another flagrant violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. That’s because on arrival at the mouth of the Sarstoon, just in front of the Sarstoon Island which we know as Belizean territory, a Guatemalan gun boat sat inside Belizean territorial waters. As the Belize expedition approached, it gradually navigated into the Guatemalan side. But three other Guatemalan naval vessels remained. One of the two Colombian type vessels was clearly in Belizean territorial waters close to Belize’s Forward Operating Base.

LOVE FM

BDF Commander Says All is Well with the Internal Audit
Last week we told you of a letter from the National Security CEO, Retired Colonel George Lovell sent to BDF Commander David Jones on an internal audit that had taken place and some queries that had arisen from that audit. Today, Love News asked Jones to comment on the matter. DAVID JONES “ Just as […]

Minister Says Absence of CBM Could Lead to Heightened Tensions in the Sarstoon
With the Forward Operating Base now completed at the Sarstoon, it is interesting to see how the relations between the Guatemalan Armed Forces and Belize’s military will be. Minister John Saldivar spoke on some of the challenges they face with the GAF as is and how the absence of confidence building measures could lead to […]

Guatemala Rejects Protocols and Insists on a Non-Existent Status Quo
Earlier in our newscast we told you of several Guatemalan fishing vessels in our waters when we arrived at the Sarstoon this morning. Whilst there, we learnt that this is the norm on a day to day basis and in trying to change that situation in a peaceful manner, the protocols came about. DAVID JONES […]

Did Guatemala Mislead Belize on Proposed Protocols?
In the meeting held almost two weeks ago in which the eleven protocols were drafted, the Belize side had come out of that meeting quite optimistic based on the reception of the eleven points by the Guatemalans in the meeting as Commander David Jones explained. DAVID JONES “ In yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the rejected proposals […]

PM Leaves to Sign Paris Agreement on Climate Change
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left Belize today to attend the signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. In December, 2015, 195 countries came together and adopted a new international agreement to address climate change; named the “Paris Agreement.” This Agreement is seen as historic in the fight against […]

Belmopan City Council and Business Association Team Up for Small Entrepreneurs
The Belmopan City Council and the newly formed Belmopan Business Association signed a memorandum of understanding today. Love News spoke with Councilor Ralston Frazer. RALSTON FRAZER “One of the things that we have had in mind, this Belmopan City Council, we wanted to bring some kind of uniformity and organizing to the growing businesses in […]

OAS Secretary General says “yes” to ICJ
Secretary General of the OAS, His Excellency Luis Leonardo Almagro is the first secretary general from the organization to visit Belize. While he is scheduled to speak with the media at a press conference tomorrow morning, Almagro spoke to us about his visit so far. He also weighed in on the matter of taking the ongoing […]

OAS Secretary General comment on Belize’s 11 protocols to Guatemala
We recently learnt about Guatemala’s rejection to the list of eleven protocols that were shared between Guatemalan counterparts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belize. The eleven protocols were to establish tranquility and peace between the two countries. Guatemala has out right rejected all the protocols and has referred back to a status quo […]

OAS depending on sister countries for funding
Beginning of the year we learnt about the depleting funds of the OAS. They will be forced to seize operations and close down if they do not meet the necessary funds of about two hundred thousand dollars by August. While the OAS office is crucial in Belize at this time Belize and Guatemala are advised […]

OAS Peace Fund Hosts Cultural Event in Presence of SG
The Organization of American States held a cultural event at the OAS Adjacency Zone office located at the border of Belize and Guatemala. The aim of the program is to promote peace between both countries. A number of presentations were held including songs, dance and folkloric performances. The theme under which the event was held […]

PlusTV

Guatemala Rejects Belize’s Sarstoon Protocols
Guatemala has finally responded to the eleven point proposal by Belize regarding protocol on the Sarstoon. There has been no official word from Government on the issue but according to several media reports, information leaked to the press indicate that Guatemala has rejected those protocols and ha...

Grijalva Guilty of destroying ancient monument
Danny Grijalva has been found guilty of removing parts of an ancient monument and causing the destruction of an ancient monument. This is connection to the destruction of one of Belize’s archaeological monument, the Mayan site called Noh Mul. Back in 2013, it was discovered that contractor Denny ...

Man badly beaten; back broken
A man is suffering from a broken back bone after he received a beating in Spanish Lookout. There is not much information at this time but according to sources, a watchman of a property at Spanish Lookout, the same property where a drug plane landed, was emptied of its cargo, and burned on December ...

Taiwan Gifts two Helicopters to Belize; Assembling Completed
On April 5th 2016, a seventeen-member assembling team comprised of engineers, technicians, mechanics and two pilots from the Army of the Republic of China (Taiwan), led by Colonel Ao, Cheng – lin, arrived in Belize. The team was dispatched by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to assem...

Alrick Smith family sues Government over gun detention
A high-profile case from a little under two years ago is back in the courts. This morning Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith began hearing the case of Alrick Smith Senior, a construction worker, and his family: wife Sandra Casey; son Leon Smith; daughter Tamica Smith and niece Ishaida Brooks. They...

Felix brothers to be tried for murder again
Brothers Maurice and Emory Felix, accused but never convicted after three trials of the murder of Mitchum Heredia over a decade ago, are once again to go before the Supreme Court on a murder charge. This time they are accused of the murder of Mark Gentle and attempted murder of the now-deceased Pame...

Court spares American visitor charged with cannabis
Belize City Magistrate Carlon Mendoza elected to discharge a cruise ship visitor to Belize after she was caught with cannabis this morning. 31 year old Ashley Williams of Virginia, USA, was held for 1.8 grams of the drug found in her handbag by a security guard at the Tourism Village. Williams said...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Sarstoon Forward Operating Base officially opened
Minister of National Security, John Saldivar and high ranking officials of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Coast Guard joined other dignitaries in officially opening the Forward Operating Base (FOB) at the mouth of the Sarstoon River today. The base is expected to strengthen the […]

Oceana issues press release on sixth anniversary of British Petroleum’s oilspill
On the six year anniversary of the worst environmental catastrophe in United States history, British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Oceana issued a press release explaining the negative effects that event is still having on Belize’s ecosystem as well as many other eco-systems […]

Escapee Shane Bennet recaptured
Escapee Shane Bennet, was recaptured this morning during a joint operation conducted by officers attached to the Special Branch, Crimes Investigation Branch (CIB) and uniformed police from the Placencia sub-formation. Bennet escaped from a holding cell at the intermediate Southern formation in Independence Village some […]

VIP proposes alternative to ICJ in resolving of Belize/Guatemala dispute
Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has written to the government with an alternative solution to the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute since even with increased tensions GOB “has seemingly chosen not to initiate diplomatic efforts in this regard.” The party has written to the Prime Minister in a letter dated April 18 and has copied the Opposition, People’s United Party. In that letter it requests that GOB discontinue the Special Agreement leading to the referendum on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and to make request of the United Nations Security Council to comply with its mandate of ensuring the security and territorial inviolability of our country.

Mostly dry conditions to continue
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting sunny skies with some cloudy spells today and partly cloudy skies tonight. A few showers will occur mostly over the South today, decreasing tonight. Winds will be blowing from the East at 5-15 knots and the sea state will be choppy. High temperatures today are expected around 87 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast; 93 degrees Fahrenheit inland and a comfortable 81 degrees Fahrenheit up at the exposed areas of the Mountain Pine Ridge and along the Maya Mountains in the south.

Blogs

It’s a CONVOY! Fill Moving South Towards San Pedro’s New Football Stadium
If you have driven through San Pedro, Belize over the last few days, you may have arrived home coated in dust. It IS dusty out – as it hasn’t rained in weeks! But there is another culprit… Massive sand and fill filled trucks coming down from the quarry up north in a convoy of 4 or 5 mega-dump trucks. Yesterday, one blew a horn while approaching me at the bridge and I fully expected to be road kill. I kid…though the horn was LOUD, they all waved and smiled as they blew by me. I had to ask…where are they going? And I found the answer quickly. Much of the new football (or the rejuvenation of “The Football Field” in DFC) was finished and they needed LOTS of fill. I drove back to the field last evening. I hadn’t checked in on it for a while… For those of you who have NO clue where this is, I don’t blame you. Here’s the google map. It’s called Ambergris Stadium and it is south of town.

International Sourcesizz

The Queen’s Birthday Sees Monarch Turn 90 - Here’s Her Life In 90 Images
She’s the world’s oldest-reigning monarch, as well as the longest-reigning British monarch - and now the Queen is celebrating her 90th birthday too. In a series of images taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz to mark the occasion, the monarch appeared alongside members of her family. the sovereign - in the tradition of royal portraiture - holds her youngest great-grandchild Princess Charlotte in her arms. Also appearing in the touching image is two-year-old Prince George, as well as Zara Phillips’s two-year-old daughter Mia Tindall, who is proudly holding the Queen’s famous black handbag, and Peter Phillips’s daughters Savannah, five, and three-year-old Isla. The Queen, who is known as Gan Gan to George and Charlotte, is also joined by the two youngest of her eight grandchildren – the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children - James, Viscount Severn, eight, who has his hands in his pockets, and Lady Louise Windsor.

MSU student uses her business to start scholarship for international students
With the funds raised through her online store, sociology junior Kady Cox established her own scholarship for students in Belize. Cox, who started up her own sweets business called VK Sweets this year after growing popularity for her baked goods, said she is offering the scholarship for students at three different schools. “I had the opportunity to study abroad over spring break,” Cox said. “I worked with underprivileged students and the students were kind of unaware of their situation. They thought it was normal to be living in the condition they were living in.” Established for three schools in San Ignacio, Belize, Cox said the Belize 3-Way Scholarship Fund is designed to enrich the education community in Belize, directly affecting St. Andrew's Anglican School, Faith Nazarene Primary School and Sacred Heart Primary School and Junior College.

New Thoughts on Maya Human Sacrifice
According to a report in Science News, many of the nearly 10,000 human bones, bone fragments, and teeth discovered in Belize’s Midnight Terror Cave are thought to be the remains of children. Bioarchaeologist Michael Prout of California State University, Northridge, said at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists that the ancient Maya may have considered cave areas near water to be sacred spaces, suggesting that the children might have been sacrificed to Chaac—a rain, water, and lighting god. Radiocarbon dating of the remains suggests that bodies were deposited in the cave over a 1,500-year period, beginning some 3,000 years ago. It had been thought that human sacrifices in the region were largely limited to adults, but another site of possible large-scale child-sacrifice by the Maya has been found in an underground cave at Chichén Itzá. “Taken together, however, finds at Chichén Itzá and Midnight Terror Cave suggest that about half of all Maya sacrificial victims were children,”

Ocean Warming Will Lead to More Coral Bleaching
The future is not looking bright. Coral reefs are set to become more vulnerable to bleaching as rising temperatures cripple their self-defence mechanisms. Bleaching occurs when warm waters strip away the colourful photosynthesising algae that provide nourishment to corals. This happens during unusually warm periods, such as during El Niño years, but doesn’t always kill coral, which can recover when waters cool again. Corals are often able to survive heatwaves by developing resistance during periods of milder warming, when water temperatures rise and cool off again, says Tracy Ainsworth of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. The corals are essentially given a warning for what’s about to come, a sort of practice run.

Videos

  • BELIZE! Cave Tubing!, 6min.

  • Jen's Demo of PD Sugar Rush, Belize, Easy Living, & Under the Sea, 15min. Showing Sugar Rush, Belize, Easy Living, & Under the Sea.

  • Cheti Chand 2016 Belize City, 10min.

  • Family Zip lining in Belize, 2.5min.

  • Belize Mission Trip - March 2016, 13min. Belize Mission Trip - March 2016 - thorough Praying Pelicans... Summit Church (Newcastle, OK) and First Baptist Church (Giddings, TX

  • Culture, food, and music of Belize in spotlight at New Orleans Jazz Festival, 4min. Congrats! to the cohort of Belizean Musicians and Cultural performers representing Belize at the New Orleans Jazz Festival 2016 which kicks off this weekend!

  • One-eyed sea turtle becomes local legend, 2min. Scarface is a loggerhead sea turtle who is well known in Belize. He suffered a facial injury and lost an eye. Now he cruises the reef in Hol Chan, a marine sanctuary, and approaches swimmers with great curiosity. He is loved by the local fisherman who feed him some of their catch every day. Although still very young, he will eventually grow to an enormous size.

  • Summer Camp for Mayan Children of Belize, 4min. Camp Chahim is seeking funding to sponsor a one-week summer day camp for thirty Mayan children living in a remote region of southern Belize. The camp will be free to attend for the children.

  • Belize Snorkeling Views, 3min.

  • A Week in Belize, 3min. A video highlighting Jake and I's trip to Belize (with a side trip to Guatemala) in January 2016. Cities in Order: San Pedro, Belize. Flores, Guatemala. Tikal, Guatemala. Caye Caulker, Belize.

  • Belize 2016, 5.5min. A 5-1/2 minute video showing some highlights from our February 2016 Belize trip.

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