#513790 - 05/17/16 11:49 AM
Today's Belize News: May 17, 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
The Truck Stop’s Farm-tastic Market
Farm fresh is definitely the way to go, and after a successful first-ever Farmers Market, The Truck Stop is doing it again. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 21st, as all your favourite local vendors are coming to San Pedro once again to bring you the best of the best in produce, spices, plants and more. The upcoming event promises to bring even more unique products to the island! Scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 21st from noon to 2PM, the farmers Market is happening at The Truck Stop, located one mile north of Sir Barry Bowen Bridge. From fresh artisanal breads from Home Baked Breads to spices galore from Ricky’s Spice Shack, and even a variety of cheeses and cured meats from Belmopan’s Farm House Deli, you are sure to find it all at The Truck Stop’s Farmers Market.
Belize Confirms First Case of Zika
The Ministry of Health confirms the first Zika case documented in Belize. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has returned the results of samples sent to their laboratory from a heightened surveillance being carried out across the country. Of the samples sent to CARPHA thus far, one positive result was received last week.
Misc Belizean Sources
Bilateral Talks to Commence on Sarstoon Protocol
The Government of Belize announces that talks between Belize and Guatemala over a cooperation mechanism for the Sarstoon River, will take place on Saturday, May 21st 2016.
The talks are to be held in Istanbul, Turkey where Belize Foreign Minister Hon. Wilfred Elrington will travel following his attendance at the Taipei inauguration ceremonies for the new President of Taiwan. For the talks, Minister Elrington will head a delegation that will include Ambassador H.E. Alexis Rosado. The Opposition People's United Party has been invited to name a representative to join the Belize delegation. Guatemala's delegation is expected to be led by its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Raul Morales.
The commitment of both Guatemala and Belize to find a way forward regarding the Sarstoon, was given to the Organization of American States (OAS) at the meeting convened between the two sides in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro.
SPTC donates a golf cart to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II
On Friday, May 13, 2016, The San Pedro Town Council donated a golf cart to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II. On site to receive the donation was Health Inspector for San Pedro Town, Mr. Harris Patten. Mr. Patten expressed that the golf cart will be of great use to him since he carries many inspections throughout the week, and this will help him out on his daily tasks.
Belize Confirms First Case of Zika
The Ministry of Health confirms the first Zika case documented in Belize. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has returned the results of samples sent to their laboratory from a heightened surveillance being carried out across the country. Of the samples sent to CARPHA thus far, one positive result was received last week.
An immediate investigation was launched and several actions were simultaneously initiated to minimize and contain a potential outbreak. The investigation continues, and the Zika Plan is being followed in light of this case which is from Belize City. The patient is a Belizean national.
VACANCY for Store Manager at Top Notch
Seeking assistant manager
San Pedro Water interruption 10am today til 2am Wednesday
Global Big Day de eBird
More than 220 bird observers in Central America collaborated last Saturday in the #GlobalBigDay de eBird, and more than 14,800 in the world. Here are a few photos from my Big Day effort, in Cayo District, Belize, where I logged 158 species and reported them in eBird.org.
Crooked Tree Village - Cashew Festival 2016
A weekend filled with village-bliss...
Alleged Guatemalan Military Officers, Come Into Belize and Detain Mennonite Farmer
For weeks now we've been reporting on close encounters with the Guatemalan Armed Forces - mostly along Belize's southern border - the Sarstoon. But, out in the Cayo District, near the Green Hills Area, west of Spanish Lookout, there was a very scary encounter with men appearing to be Guatemalan soldiers working along with conservation NGO's from that country.
They basically abducted Mennonite Farmer Roger Plett from the Belize side of the border, took him over the Guatemala and tied him up.
The issue was a massive forest fire in the Peten area of Guatemala - which the Guatemalans said were caused by the Mennonite farmers on the Belize side. The Mennonites say they've got it wrong - and that they were only out there with a tractor and bulldozer trying to cut fire lines to keep the Guatemalan forest fire from coming over into their land. On Thursday afternoon, that led to a border showdown where it seems all rules of cross border engagement were broken. Today in Spanish Lookout, Roger Plett and his co-worker Manuel Ayala gave the breakdown:
Guatemalan Gold Panners Detained Inside Chiquibul; BDF Shot One Of Them To Elbow
And while that happened on Thursday inside Guatemala, this weekend in the Chiquibul, there was another confrontation with Guatemalan civilians which led to a shooting, a non-fatal one in this case. They were gold-panning in Belizean territory, which as viewers know, is illegal, and it led to a shooting. This time it was non-fatal - but once again, Belize and Guatemala completely disagree on whether the use of force was appropriate or not.
Those 3 men were arrested and charged by Belize police, and they were arraigned today in San Ignacio. We'll get to that, but first, we start with the incident itself which led to the shooting.
The official Belize version went out this weekend, 21 hours after this incident. According to the National Security Ministry on Friday evening, May 13, at around 7:45 p.m., a joint patrol, consisting of officers from the BDF, the Police, and rangers from the Friends for Conservation and Development, encountered 10 to 15 Guatemalans engaged in illegal gold mining. They were in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul, about 7.9 kilometers east of the Belize Guatemala Border, which meant that they were in Belizean territory.
Talks In Turkey: There Will Be Sarstoon Negotiations
So, will this weekend's Chiquibul shooting cause any difficulties for the negotiations between Belize and Guatemala? As you are aware, the Governments of both countries have been engaged in talks about a peace keeping protocol for the Sarstoon River.
Well, tonight, we can finally report that there is meaningful progress. In a midday press release, Government announced that talks between both countries for a Sarstoon agreement will take place on this coming Saturday, May 21.
They will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, where Elrington will be travelling, after he attends the Inauguration ceremonies for the new President of Taiwan. Ambassador Alexis Rosado, and who ever the Leader of the Opposition names as his representative, most likely Eamon Courtenay will represent him. Guatemala's Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales, is expected to head his country's delegation.
Today's release also stressed the commitment that both countries gave to the OAS Secretary General in the Washington meetings which happened 2 weeks ago May 4. That comment is to, quote, "find a way forward regarding the Sarstoon", end quote, which will "eliminate the military tension at the Sarstoon created by the maintenance of the respective positions of Belize and Guatemala regarding rights over the river…"
ZIKA Confirmed in Belize
Belize is officially NOT Zika free anymore: the Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of Zika. In a release it states "…Of the samples sent to CARPHA thus far, one positive result was received last week". This sample was taken from a Belize City woman who went to the KHMH with flu symptoms. She was released after the sample was taken. This evening when we spoke to Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero, he told us that they are not sure how the woman got Zika because she didn't travel anywhere recently or before she got sick so, they are trying to establish all the links in this case. Manzanero told us that there are no outbreaks in the city near to where the woman lives. He told us that the woman has left the country but that she and her family were notified about the results. Manzanero stresses that the Ministry will continue to do their community clean ups, their country wide heightened surveillance and their investigation into this first Zika case.
Mayhem In Ladyville: Three Injured, One Dead, 20 Shots Fired
One man is dead and 3 others are injured after a wild weekend shootout in Ladyville - where almost two dozen shots were fired. It happened early Saturday morning just after midnight. 23 year old Casey Lozano along with 3 others were hanging outside the Lozano family home when 3 gunmen appeared out of the bushed and opened fire on them. One of the men from the Lozano crew shot back and it's during that exchange of fire that one of the 3 attackers - 21 year old Lionel Rhamdas - was shot and killed. Courtney Weatherburne went to Ladyville and got the full overview of what led to this fatal shooting.
The Japan area of Ladyville has become a danger zone after the well-known street figure Rene "Fat Cat" Chavarria was murdered in March.
Chavarria was shot and killed on Friday March 18th.
He was heading home when 2 men shot at him on Marage Road. He ran off but his attackers followed him and finished him off with 3 shots. Then, about 3 weeks after Chavarria's execution, 18 year old Merkel Pitts was murdered on that same Marage Road.
11 Girls Escape Hostel, 8 Recaptured
Right now police officers in the West are on high alert for 3 of 11 girls who escaped from the Youth Hostel yesterday. Throughout the day, Youth Hostel personnel and the police were able to find 8 of the girls so far. This evening 4 were found in Benque and another 4 were found in Belmopan. Today we spoke to the Deputy Director of the Community Rehabilitation Department over the phone and she explained how the girls escaped on Sunday evening.
Maureen Williams, Dep. Dir., Community Rehab. Dept.:
"My understanding of the whole situation is that the children were in their building. Usually at that time in the evening, they are in their building, they are getting ready to take their baths and getting ready for the night."
"This is what time?"
Maureen Williams, Dep. Dir., Community Rehab. Dept.:
"Shortly before 6pm, about 5:45pm. They had already eaten and they were getting ready to bed down essentially for the night. For some reason the door was unlocked and they left. My understanding is that they were around the compound, 3 of them went over the fence and the rest of them went through the gate. That is my understanding. The gate was unlock. It wasn't open, but it was unlock and you are right, that is against protocols. Because for us the gate should have been locked, but for whatever reason that did not happened."
Police Constable Remanded For Molesting Eight Year Old
Tonight, 21 year-old Police Constable Darren Martinez, attached to Police Precinct 1 in Belize City, is at the Belize Central Prison. That's after he was taken to the Magistrates Court for an allegation of sexual molestation on an 8 year-old child.
The allegation dates back to February 21, 2016, and the parents and the 8 year-old female victim reported to police that Martinez fondled her. After investigating the charge, police arrested and charge Martinez with the newly created offence of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16.
When Martinez was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers, the prosecutor objected to bail. He argued that although the offence does not fall under the Criminal Justice Act which is an auto-remand, these sort of offences have become prevalent and it is of a serious nature. Martinez's attorney, Oswald Twist, responded by submitting that bail is a right, and not a privilege of the accused. He added that Martinez is not a flight risk, and that he is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Alleged Cop Shooters To Court
Last week Southside Commander Chester Williams came under fire as he pursued a pickup truck involved in a city shooting. It was a daring decision and it almost cost ACP Williams his life.
Fortunately the gunman missed him and police still caught the vehicle, a black Mazda pickup. Today the three men who were found inside that vehicle- 23 year old Devon Sankey, 21 year old Justin Hyde, and 44 year old Larry Wright- were all taken to court and read charges of use of deadly means of harm. That was for the shooting of Mark Vernon which is the shooting Williams was responding to.
The fourth individual 19 year old Zacharia Knox, who allegedly shot at Commander Williams, did not appear in court today, however he is also expected to be charged jointly with the other three men for deadly means of harm. Knox is also expected to be charged separately for the attempted murder of Chester Williams.
Fuss Over Fiestarama Figures In Orange Walk
The annual Orange Walk Fiesta Rama is one of the biggest events in the North. For 2 days straight the streets of Orange Walk are flooded with hundreds of people who partake in the event. This year's Firestarama is still in its planning stage, but even now, two months before the actual date, trouble already seems to be brewing.
Late last week, the Mayor of Orange Walk made an impassioned facebook post criticizing the Sports Council for wanting to charge them a fee of $3,000 dollars for use of the People's stadium- the venue for the annual fiesta rama. Today we asked the Director of the National Sports Council Ritchel Dominguez about it:
Ritchel Dominguez, Director - Sports Council:
"What happen is that we have a little problem there, because what happen is that after the fair was done the rides are stayed there for almost 2 weeks and they have been used every night and that's more currant being incurred. But what happened at this time we will be inviting the mayor to come on board and speak to me and see where we can come to an agreement. After the fair is done that the rides can leave because if they stay another 2 weeks, that's more electricity being incur on the sports council bill and they walk away from the fair and leave the rides there and then we are the one in task in paying the bills after they are gone. I think it's just fair that if you are going to use the place and have these expenses after they are gone, it's just fitting for them to foot the bills for these things."
Music Week Makes Sense
Today, NICH along with the office of the Music Ambassador declared Music Week open.
The idea is that from May 16th to May 22nd, Belizean artists will be promoted through various means. The week's schedule is packed with live performances and open music business seminars which will be facilitated by Beltraide. The launch of Music week 2016 was done at the lounge of the Bliss Centre this morning and we stopped by to find out more:
According to Barrow, the vice president of Def Jam records will also be in the country on Thursday to scout musical talent in Belize.
The event this week was also used as a springboard for the biggest musical events in the country; that is the National Song Competition and the Belize Jazz Festival which are set for August.
Quarrel Over Wife Leads To Ice Pick Stabbing
A man was stabbed with an ice pick at a bar in Ladyville. Early Saturday morning around 1:38, 30 year old Brandon Stevens was hanging out at Ruba's Bar when he got into an altercation with 25 year old Steven Young. Court details say that Brandon Stevens reported to police that he went to the bar and saw his common-law wife with 4 men. He said that he asked her for the house key, that's when Young reportedly remarked that some men don't know how to treat their women. Young then allegedly grabbed an ice pick and stabbed Stevens in the chest - puncturing his lungs. Fortunately he survived and is receiving treatment at the hospital. Police told us today how they chased and detained Young after he ran off from the scene.
ASP Juanito Cocom, OC - Ladyville Police:
"Investigation reveals that Stevens was socializing at Ruba's Bar when he got into an altercation with one Steven Young, a twenty-five year old unemployed of Allan Pitts Crescent. During the altercation, Young stabbed Stevens to the chest with an ice pick and fled the scene onboard a white Ford Ranger pickup which was later intercepted by another team from the Ladyville police station. The scene was visited and processed, Steven Young was detained and the suspected weapon was recovered. We don't have any motive. We only were made to understand that they had a misunderstanding, but we don't know what the misunderstanding was over."
Toledo Alcalde's Vs. Lisel Alamilla
Last week, we told you how the Toledo Alcalde's Association complained about the DPP's Office for multiples adjournments of the criminal case against the Santa Cruz 13, now the Santa Cruz 11. Well tonight, they're complaining about Lisel Alamilla, the government appointed Chair of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission.
The Maya Land Rights Commission is the body set up by the Government to implement the CCJ judgment on communal land rights for the 39 Mayan villages in the south. Commission Chair Lisel Alamilla was scheduled to meet with representatives of 9 of the villages today along with a member of the Maya Steering Committee.
Now, according to the TAA this steering committee is made up of 21 persons who were chosen through a democratic process to represent all the villages in negotiations with the Government.
Does Shyne Still Have Hopes For Mesop?
Shyne Barrow wants to go from rapper to representative and in November, 2015 he declared his intentions to become his uncle Michael Finnegan's successor in Mesop. That's after rumors began to surface that the 6 term Mesopotamia Representative Michael Finnegan would be retiring. But when we asked Finnegan again in April, he told us not to count him out just yet. So now where does that leave political hopeful Shyne Barrow? Today we asked him just that.
"You have in a way risk your movement in Mesopotamia due to the fact that he is indecisive."
"Not at all. I'm in the division a few times a week and I hold a clinic along with my uncle every Thursday at the Mesopotamia office. There is no need to call you the media in every week and every time I go to a house. Certainly my responsibility to the music industry has taken up a lot of my time and that's what you see me talking about."
CODICADER Coming Closer, Where's The Cash To Cover Costs?
The CODICADER games, which will be held in Belize this year, are just around the corner. The games are scheduled for July 6th to the 12th.
Meanwhile the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports are still hosting primary school competitions to decide which schools will be participating in each of the 4 disciplines. Today we got an update from Director of the National Sports Council Ritchel Dominguez:
According to the National Sports Council the projected budget to host the event in Belize is a whopping $800 thousand dollars. Government has committed to make a contribution, but no final figure has been mentioned. But, it won't be 800 grand, and that's why the National Sports Council is asking the business community to pitch in and make this event a success.
Hon. Wilfred Working On The Ground
If you live in or near Mahogany Street, which is on the border between the Lake Independence and Pickstock Constituencies, you'll know very well about the Samuel Haynes Institute for Excellence. It's a combination of a second chance opportunity, wrapped inside an after-school program which allows school children to take additional classes and get help with their homework.
Well this weekend, the institute got a major upgrade. It came in the form of the Leigh Richardson Knowledge Center, a newly built extension of the Samuel Haynes facility, which is equipped top-of-the-line computers.
It's is funded by the Japanese Government, and the Social Investment Fund. They opened it this weekend when Non-Resident Japanese Ambassador was in Belize. We attended the ceremony this weekend, and spoke with Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred Elrington:
Mennonite Farmer Detained, Kidnapped and Held by the Guatemalan Military
There is an incredible story coming out of the borderland between Belize and Guatemala behind Spanish Lookout. It involves allegations of kidnapping, assault and damage to property. Last Thursday, Mennonite [...]
A Fire on George Plett’s Farm Triggered Kidnapping of Mennonite Farmer
We break from Plett’s mesmerizing account of his kidnapping to take you on the ground for some real time perspective. As we told you, the Plett farm lies on the [...]
Why Didn’t Police Believe Plett’s Story?
There’s plenty more to this story, including how Plett managed to make his way back, and also the matter of his bulldozer operator who was also detained by Guatemalans and [...]
O.A.S. says No Guatemalan Military was in the Area
Over the weekend News Five was able to reach a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via phone. He told us that they had been able to verify with [...]
3 Guatemalan Gold Panners are Caught in the Chiquibul by the B.D.F.
There’s another incident that happened late last week. A trio of Guatemalans panning for gold inside the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve has been arrested and charged [...]
Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers to Meet in Istanbul, Turkey
Finally, talks between Belize and Guatemala are to take place all the way in Istanbul, Turkey. Government announced today that protocols for the Sarstoon will be discussed at the Istanbul [...]
O.A.S. and Guatemala Foreign Minister on Tour over the Weekend
Over the weekend, several photos of at least three events were posted on the official Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Guatemalan military. The [...]
Lionel Rhamdas Killed During Shootout in Ladyville
In the past two months, four persons have been killed in Ladyville, Belize District in gun violence that is attributed to ongoing gang rivalry. On Saturday night, Lionel Rhamdas was [...]
Several Resident Girls Escape from the Youth Hostel
In other news…the Princess Royal Youth Hostel is once again making headlines, following a daring breakout by eleven young ladies from the facility on Sunday evening. The institution is still [...]
Zika is Finally Confirmed in Belize
The first case of Zika has been confirmed in Belize and health officials are tonight trying to locate its origin. The results of samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health [...]
Man Stabbed to the Chest in Lord’s Bank
But there was also a stabbing in the Lord’s Bank community also in Ladyville, where thirty-year-old Brandon Stevens was stabbed to the chest following an altercation at a bar in [...]
Cop Remanded for Sexual Assault of an 8 Year-Old Girl
A police officer is in trouble with the law tonight, facing a minimum of twelve years to life imprisonment if found guilty of the act of a sexual assault upon [...]
3 Arraigned for Shooting in the City
Three of four persons are in custody tonight for a shoot-out last Thursday night in the City. The intended target was Mark Vernon, a city resident. But it led to [...]
Nurturing 21st Century Teachers Moving Forward
On the heels of a successful march last Friday as part of their campaign “Stand Up for Belize,” primary school teachers returned to Belize City today and were joined by [...]
An Update on Teachers Without Pedagogical Training
In early February, the Ministry of Education announced that upwards of a thousand teachers stand to lose their jobs in the coming academic year should they not obtain the requisite [...]
A Foiled Meeting of Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission
There’s friction tonight between the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, led by Chairlady Lisel Alamilla and the Toledo Alcalde Association. For perspective we start with a meeting on Saturday between [...]
The Leigh Richardson Knowledge Center is Officially Opened
“Breaking the Cycle of Poverty”—that’s the mission of a project funded through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank under the Social Investment Fund Program and a grant from the [...]
The Official Launch of Belize Music Week
At the Bliss Institute for the Performing Arts this morning, Belize Music Week was officially launched. Musicians from throughout the country are taking part in a series of activities to [...]
Sports: Smart Belize Hurricanes Win 2016 NEBL Championship
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. it was money time Friday night inside the BES Gym as the 2-time defending champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks [...]
#513791 - 05/17/16 11:50 AM
Re: Today's Belize News: May 17, 2016
Three Guatemalans Detained For Illicit Gold Mining Inside Belize Territory
Tensions between Belize and Guatemala continue to flare following an incident that occurred late on Friday evening where one Guatemalan national was shot in the arm. The government of Belize was the first to issue a statement on the matter on Friday, and according to their report three Guatemalan men were detained by a joint patrol comprised of officers from the Belize Defense Force, the Police Department, and Friends for Conservation and Development, after being caught in the Chiquibul conducting illicit gold mining operations in the Ceibo Chico area. Reports indicate that the incident played out at around 7:45 in the evening when the group of about 10 – 15 Guatemalan nationals were caught approximately five miles east of the border. The three men detained were identified as 23 year old Carlos Roberto Perez Hernandez, 17 year old Edin Alexander Garcia and 21 year old Solomon Martinez Pasqual.
Minister Of Foreign Affairs Ask Local Media To Refrain From Sensationalizing The Story
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington was briefed about the incident in the Ceibo Chico Area on Saturday and during an interview with our colleagues at 7 news, he assured Belizeans that the International Community will learn about Belize’s version of the events, Minister Elrington also took the opportunity to again ask the local media to refrain from sensationalizing the story. Honorable Wilfred Elrington – Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “My experience is it doesn’t matter what you say to the Press, they tend to make it as negative as possible, can’t figure it out, I find the same criticism is made in the United States Press people seems to disregard the need for truth and honesty and they going to sensationalism so I never know but I am told that a Press Release is being sent out.”
“Aren’t you afraid about the Guatemalans would see it as some kind of escalation, we know that there have been perverse interpretations given to many events?”
Traffic Accidents Leaves Orange Walkeno Injured
Yesterday we received reports about a traffic accident that occurred at about 1:30 in the afternoon on Palmar Road in Orange Walk Town. Unconfirmed reports to CTV3 News indicate that the driver of this vehicle, allegedly a woman, was texting on her phone when she found herself on the wrong side of the road and collided into a motorcycle travelling in the opposite direction. Luckily the driver of the motorcycle only sustained minor injuries. But apparently the driver of the car was frightened out of her wits since she allegedly fled the scene leaving the vehicle behind. We are told that the victim was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital where he received treatment. When we contacted Superintendent Selvin Tillett of the Orange Walk Police Formation earlier today, he told us that the victim requested no court action; therefore, no charges will be levied against anyone.
Helpage Celebrates Mothers and Father's Day Program For Edlerly
Yesterday the Zenobia Meggs Help Age Center, in partnership with the Orange Walk Central Committee, hosted their yearly Mother’s Day Program at the Help Age Center located on Stadium Street.
The event began at midday and included a lunch for the elderly which was followed by a number of presentations from high school students each prepared especially for mom.
Arcelia Leiva – Head of the Zenobia Meggs Help Age Center:
“Today we are celebrating mother and fathers on the occasion of mothers and father’s day, we host about a hundred persons to each activity that we have but we do give service to about a hundred and sixty six persons because some whom we had served who used to come to our activities they are sick and they can no longer can attend our activities but we still keep them in our programs and we give them visits.”
Carmelita Government School Celebrates Drug Awareness Week
Carmelita Government School is celebrating their first Drug Awareness Week under the theme “Drugs are rough, drugs are tough, by saying no, that’s enough”.
The event kicked off today and is being celebrated with the intention of raising drug awareness and to educate students about the detrimental effects that come along with drug consumption.
With a torch run that began here in town at 8:00 in the morning in front of the National Drug Abuse Control Council office located on Main Street the institution official began their fight against drugs.
Guatemalan Archbishop Sends Message To Jimmy Morales's Government
Here in Belize as well as Guatemala, the Territorial Dispute that come along with the incursions at the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and the aggression lived at the Sarstoon continues to make headlines. But while there are those across the Western Border that believe that Guatemala has a right to claim portions of Belize, others think differently as in the case of Guatemalan Archbishop Oscar Vian.
The Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, today issued a report where Archbishop Vian speaks out about the Belize/ Guatemala territorial dispute saying that it should have been resolved over 40 years ago and that it is now only being used to divert attention from the daily problems that Guatemala faces. Here is that report.
OAS Visits Adjacency Zone
A news release published on Saturday by Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that it’s Foreign Minister Carlos Raúl Morales, as well as their Minister of Defense; Williams Mansilla conducted visits to the over 36 Guatemalan communities that lie near their side of the adjacency zone along with the Organization of American States in a mission aimed at smoothing over the dispute sparked by the killing of the 13-year-old Julio Alvarado last month. According to the report the delegation was accompanied by Magdalena Talamás, the special representative of the OAS Secretary General for Belize – Guatemala issues; the director of the OAS Adjacency Zone Office, Sergio Benítez; and the presidents of the Commissions of Foreign Affairs and Petén Issues, Julio López Villatoro and Jaime Regalado, and the objective of the visit was to learn the situation of the residents and to evaluate the production projects coordinated by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the OAS with the help of the international community.
First Case Of ZIKA Registered Confirmed In Belize City
The first case of Zika for Belize has been confirmed. As viewers may recall, we informed you on April 26th that the results for three suspected cases of the zika virus were sent back to the Ministry of Health from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which all returned as negative. The Ministry of Health then sent an additional seven samples to CARPHA for testing in which six of the seven had also tested negative. And while we all thought that Belize would remain free from the virus, the case is not so for tonight we can tell you that only moments ago, the Ministry of Health announced its first confirmed case of the zika virus in Belize City. As soon as the results were returned, an immediate investigation was conducted and several measures were taken in an effort to reduce and control any potential outbreak of the virus throughout the rest of the country.
Several shootings in Belize City; ACP Chester Williams shot at
There was a shooting incident in Belize City on Thursday night. 20 year old Aaron Garbutt Jr., a mechanic of Belize City was shot to the right upper thigh and finger. According to police, sometime around 5p.m. on May 12, 2016, Garbutt and another male person were standing at the corner of King and ...
Update on Belizeans detained by Guatemalans
Last night in our newscast, information was still sketchy but we told you about a Mennonite farmer who was detained by Guatemalan military near Green Hills behind Spanish Lookout area. Today, we have more information on the incident. It was not only one farmer who was detained, but two Belizeans who...
John Briceno attacks BTL compensation award
The Government of Belize has more or less confirmed the final payment to be made to the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) for the two nationalizations of the company between 2009 and 2011, subject to a final ruling by the Netherlands’ Permanent Court of International Arbitration. As ...
No case file means no case against two accused murderers
The men accused of the murder of Michael Welch and attempted murder of Kingsley Morrison on March 1, 2015 are free tonight after prosecutors could not produce the case file in the Magistrate’s Court. Tarique Gillett and Lyson James Cacho spent a year on remand but appearing today before Magis...
Fine of $5,000 imposed upon Boyd Lopez – no compensation ordered
20 year old Boyd Lopez is lucky to be home and not behind bars after he was sentenced today for the February 18, 2015 fatal traffic accident that took the life of 70 year old Senior Citizen, Marie Knowles. Knowles was walking on the side walk on Baghdad Street when Boyd, who had no licence to drive...
Man who slit wife’s throat pleads guilty to manslaughter
53 year old Ermit Bradley, who killed his 54 year old wife Nirba at her workplace in July of 2008, pleaded guilty to manslaughter today and will serve a further five years in prison. The incident occurred on July 4, 2008 at Espat Poultry, located in Santa Elena, Cayo. When Bradley went to her work p...
Akeem Humes beats yet another murder rap
26 year old Akeem Humes is free tonight after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions elected not to continue a murder case against him. Humes, who was accused of killing neighbour Orlando Williams, 45, on New Years’ night 2013, had a motion for nolle prosequi entered in his favour by Crow...
Breaking Belize News
Stabbing reported in Ladyville
Lords’ Bank resident Steven Young was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm when he appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. He was remanded into custody until July 29. Brandon Stevens reported to the police that he went to the […]
Females run away from Youth Hostel
Six female teenagers, residents of the “Youth Hostel” at Mile 21, George Price Highway, are reported missing tonight by their caretakers. Assistant Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster tells us they got the report around three hours after the escape happened. We are told that the […]
Harmonyville residents told to pay for their land – or else!
We haven’t heard much from the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) since they settled their dispute with Government last year over the ill-fated corn planting scheme in the road reserve along the George Price Highway at Harmonyville. But there is some news from the […]
Six women charged for robbery
A pregnant woman and 5 other females, including a 15 year old minor attending high school appeared today charged with two counts of robbery and harm upon another woman over the weekend in Belize City. Sasha Richards told police that on Sunday, May 15, 2016, […]
Ministry of Health confirms the first Zika case in Belize
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that a sample testing positive for Zika returned to Belize from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) last week. It is the first confirmed case in the country. “The Zika Plan is being followed in light of this case which […]
Trio charged for drug trafficking
Kesha Dunn, 28; Kenneth Dunn, 35, and John Dunn, 35, all of the same Belmopan address, were arrested and charged for ‘drug trafficking’ on Friday night. While conducting a search at their residence around 10:00 p.m., officers found a black plastic bag containing 255 […]
Man chopped in attempted burglary
A farmer of Camalote Village in the Cayo District, 36-year-old Eddie Fuentes, reported to police that while he was at home around 3:00 a.m. on Friday, three Hispanic males entered his home by forcing open his front door. Fuentes identified one of the men […]
$15,000 car burned in San Pedro
San Pedro Police are investigating a case of arson on the island that cost 29-year-old Wendy Lineth Carpio, damages of $15,000 to her blue, 4-door Ford car. Carpio says she was sleeping inside her San Marcos area home when she was awoken by her […]
One murdered and three wounded in weekend shooting
Police are looking for two Ladyville men, Egbert Baldwin, 28, and Darwin Pardo, 19, who are wanted for questioning in connection to a Saturday morning shooting in which Lionel Rhamdas, 21, one of the gunmen, was killed in crossfire. Around 12:10 a.m., four male […]
Belizean tourism professionals to represent Belize in Taiwan expo
Traveling to the Taipei International Tourism Expo next weekend on behalf of Belize are Karen Pike, the Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB); and Ian Anderson, proprietor of Caves Branch Jungle Lodge in southern Cayo. From May 20-23, 2016, Pike […]
US Payment Processor Sues Visa, Belize Banks
In international court news, the Belize Supreme Court ruled last year that Belize Bank Limited must pay Evergreen E-Pay Solutions over $3.3 million for abruptly ending the agreement where Evergreen provided online payment services and e-commerce merchant referral program. As of April, the award […]
Ladyville resident’s vehicle broken into, items stolen
Ladyville resident, Abraham Teck, 41, reported to police that sometime between the hours of 9:45 and 11:00 on Friday night, his Chevy Equinox vehicle was broken into and items were stolen from inside. Teck told officers that while parked in front of a restaurant […]
Teenager arrested and charged for shooting at ACP Chester Williams
In reference to a report by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams on Thursday of last week, 19-year-old Zachroy Knox of Belize City was arrested and charged on Saturday for the crime of ‘aggravated assault’. The report made by Williams, stated that while in […]
The Pine Industry of Belize
After chicle, the next timber industry which was important to Belize was the pine (Pinus caribaea) industry. Pine wood was used locally as posts for the telephone system in Belize City in 1902 and an industry was being contemplated as early as 1903. Around this time, only limited extraction was being done at locations like Sapodilla Lagoon, Mullins River, Duck Run and the Stann Creek Valley where a small sawmill was located. Hoping to create new opportunities, government granted an extraction concession to the Buckner Chipley Company of Florida in 1904 but only limited expansion of the industry occurred. Greater use was developed when the Stann Creek Railway began to use pine as sleepers in 1907.
Besides pine lumber, pine trees were also used to produce rosin by the Hercules Company of Mango Creek. A company called Minter Naval Stores based in San Ignacio was also producing turpentine in the Mountain Pine Ridge in the 1960s. These efforts only lasted for a brief period. Along with the companies that attempted to produce chemical products from pine, a notable Middle Eastern (Lebanese Belizean) entrepreneur who extracted pine from the Mountain Pine Ridge (M.P.R.) was Mr. Wahib Habet. Habet constructed a large sawmill at San Luis in the M.P.R. and processed pine, mahogany and cedar lumber.
A few years after independence, three new companies started making use of the pine resource at the M.P.R. Around 1986, Joe Badi Mena started the Wood Depot and Escandar Bedran started Pine Lumber Company. Alger Bradley’s Toucan Match Factory also entered the business of producing match splints around this time. The Wood Depot began producing utility poles and lumber while Pine Lumber Company specialized in outdoor furniture, moulding, pet houses and fence posts. The Wood Depot and Pine Lumber Company were strongly affected when a nationwide infestation of the Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) occurred between 1999 and 2003. The Pine Beetle affected 80% of the trees, killing hundreds of acres of pure stands of pine.
Starting Reef Week with a Splash
Our alarm rang way earlier than usual this morning! The plan was to cover the start of Reef Week by tagging along on one of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Boats following the courageous few willing to swim to the reef to raise awareness on the importance of Belize’s Barrier Reef. Only a handful of swimmers waited when we arrived, but little by little more and more joined the cause and as I saw the crowd growing and gear being prepared I clumsily whispered “I wanna swim!”
I was immediately offered a mask and fins without the slightest concern that I am in no shape to swim that distance let alone with a group of athletes. What was I thinking? Before I knew it I had fins and a mask and was running up to the end of the dock to catch up with the swimmers. I was the last one in the water, but I splashed in just in time to see the last couple fins swimming away into the distance. And so, I kicked my little feet as fast as I could to catch up with the crowd or at least keep them where I could see them. I could not use my arms to swim because I was carrying my photo gear and believe me, that did not help my situation! Still, I was doing this for a cause and that cause pushed my little feet to their full potential.
We Struck Liquid Gold
Every time the The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch does another blood drive we never know what to expect and this one was no exception. We also look at how to do better for next time and our new Blood Drive Department head Heidi Simmons did a great job of getting the team to do just that.
Together with the help of Belize Blood Services, several rock-star quality volunteers and our Chairman Eiden Salazar, we enjoyed great success this past Saturday. Some of our volunteers welcomed people into the clinic, others called out to them on the street and the community opened it’s hearts and wallets and generously. We received a record total of $1,208.62 in donations, as well as a sturdy 13 pints of crimson colored life saving gold which is enough to save 39 lives – yay team.
The blood drive was held from 9-3 at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch would like to thank Dr. Giovanni Solorzano for welcoming us again, to Tropic Air for safely transporting the our dedicated Blood Bank employees and their precious cargo, to Projects Abroad for providing volunteers, to Marbucks for the sweet treats, to Green House for fresh fruit, to Marks Store for the foil pan to put it in, to Estelle’s for a delicious lunch for the 4 Blood Bank Crew, to Grant Bill Guy for internet promotion, to The San Pedro Sun for its consistent coverage and a rare blood type on their staff, to Ambergris Today for helping get the word out.
Visiting Belize: Top Reasons To Visit!
Now that we’ve helped you figure out where Belize is, we’re here to answer another question; Why you should come to Belize.
There are many “types” of travel that could be employed when coming to Belize, from Luxury style travel to budget backpacker style. regardless of your style of getting to, from, and around, there are a wealth of reasons for why you should come to Belize:
With a population density of about 15 people per square mile, the vast majority of Belize’s wilderness remains relatively undisturbed. Coupled in with the nature of the population, robust focus on environmental preservation by the country’s government has created expansive areas of pristine rainforest where rare and endangered animals live and thrive. Many of the islands that bracket the outer shallows of the Belizean coastal zones also remain unexplored and uninhabited allowing for marine life to flourish and diversify with little or no threat to the species making their little lives there.
With a lower population density comes a lower number of vehicles to be owned, and less traffic, even in our most densely populated of cities, of which the highest is little over 50,000 people smog is not a thing. The general populace of Belize is actually unaware of the existence of this phenomena, and those of us familiar, be it through travel or television, quickly forget that it happens in other countries. The lofty breezes of Belize frequently bring the smell of not carbon emissions, but damp earth, fragrant trees, all manner of clean smells that can in some places only be found far away from civilization right to your bedroom window every morning.
The Museum of Belize
Built more than 150 years ago by the British colonial government to house prisoners, the facility in central Belize City was closed down by the newly-independent government of Belize in 1992. Ten years later, the government of Belize renovated the building, converting it to the Belize Museum, now dedicated to exhibiting and documenting more than 3,000 years of history in the area.
Belize was once the heartland of the ancient Mayan Empire and today, visitors can see a rich assembly of Mayan ceremonial objects, carvings, paintings, and other cultural artifacts in the Belize Museum. The museum also has a number of important artifacts from the British colonial era, including Victorian-era stamps, postcards and a display about the loggers who once braved malaria and swamps in the country. There are also coin, insects, and locally-produced bottles on display. A tour of the museum also includes the chance to experience an authentic prison cell, as well as learn about the devastation that Hurricane Hattie wreaked on the nation in 1961.
The museum is located in Belize City just a few hundred meters from the coastline near the intersection of Queen and Eve Streets.
The museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Tuesday through Thursday and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. The museum is closed on Monday and on national holidays.
The museum is located in downtown Belize City in the Fort George area. While it has no official address, the large brick building, still resembling a prison from the outside, is easy to spot near the intersection of Queen and Eve Streets.
Mass die off of Mangroves follows the disastrous bleaching event of the Great Barrier Reef
Mangroves are coastal tropical forests that thrive in the brackish zone between the land and sea. This zone is made up of uniquely adapted, saltwater tolerant trees and shrubs. They provide essential support to healthy marine ecosystems by trapping sediments and providing nutrients to nearby coastal sea grass beds and coral reefs.
In Australia, which is home to 7 % of the worlds mangroves, researchers believe that warming waters may be the reason for a massive die off of large areas of mangroves, specifically the Grey Mangrove, in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Mangroves take in 50 times more carbon than tropical forests by area. Hundreds of miles of mangroves along the coast of Karumba have turned a ghostly white. This event is being compared to the horrific coral bleaching event taking place on the Great Barrier Reef.
Professor Norm Duke from Queensland's James Cook University, a mangrove ecologist, recently stated that the die off appears to have coincided with hot water in the nearby southern Gulf Country ecosystem.
"I'm speaking ahead of the evidence so I have to be really cautious, but I do want to draw attention to this because we need more capability to respond and find out more about what's going on."
He raised serious concerns about the situation which he compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures.
"We don't have any firm data on the ground to confirm the full magnitude of what's going on.
"We're getting indications from what we can see on satellite imagery and also from people like fishermen, local residents, miners who are working in the area, that there's this massive incident of die-back of a large area along our shorelines.''
A Food Writer's Sampling of Belize's Food
I learned the hard way that Belize is not where you go if you want to practice your Spanish. This was the first of many revelations about the small, Caribbean-adjacent country, about which I embarrassingly knew next to nothing prior to visiting – including the fact that the national language is English. It turns out Belize is rich with a diverse cultural identity (Caribbean, Latin American, Mayan, etc), much of which comes through the food. Local ingredients are used ubiquitously, and almost nothing goes through any kind of processing, characterizing Belizean cuisine as fresh, local, and undeniably appetizing.
Here’s a collection of my favorite dishes from a recent three-week exploration through Belize, a country that is so much more than its beaches.
Another shooting incident at Belize-Guatemala border
Tensions over the disputed border between Guatemala and Belize increased over the weekend following a new shooting incident.
Belize said one of its patrols had to shoot and wound a Guatemalan man who threatened them with a machete after he was found with other Guatemalans who were surprised by a patrol five miles inside Belizean territory illegally prospecting for gold. A Belizean government statement issued on Saturday said a 23-year-old man in the group “advanced towards a member of the patrol in an aggressive manner with a machete.”
It said the officer fired a warning shot that was ignored, then “in self-defence” fired another that wounded the Guatemalan in the left arm.
Three Guatemalans, including the wounded man, were arrested.
Caribbean islands warned as Venezuela collapses
The mayor of Chacao in Venezuela’s capital Caracas has warned that Caribbean islands and Colombia may suffer an influx of refugees from Venezuela if food shortages continue in the country. Español Ramón Muchacho said that people have been reduced to hunting cats, dogs and pigeons for food.
“As hunger deepens, we could see more Venezuelans fleeing by land or sea to an island,” Muchacho said.
Venezuela saw a new wave of looting last week that resulted in at least two deaths, countless wounded, and millions of dollars in losses and damages, as desperation sets in among hungry residents and the country appears to be on the verge of complete collapse and chaos.
Guatemalan government on patrol
Images posted Saturday on the Guatemalan military's Facebook page show Guatemalan minister of foreign affairs Carlos Raul Morales and the Guatemalan minister of defense patrolling the sarstoon river.
Scalloped hammerhead, 1min. One of our divers (Jeff) took this while on a dive with us last week.
Shark Ray Alley - Belize, 3min. Diving and Snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley, Belize.
Caye Caulker Belize, 5min.
Teacher Almendarez MC Stand Up for Belize May 13, 2016, 3min. Master of Ceremonies Mr. Almedarez does an interesting introduction at the Stand Up For Belize rally.
The coconut man and coconut leo from belize, 4min. The coconut Manna and coconut Leo from Belize making me and my wife rum and coconut mixed drinks on the beach in ambergris Caye
Diving at Roberts Grove, Placencia Belize, 2016, 5.5min.
Howler monkey howls, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize, 1/2min. We heard howler monkeys hooting and hollering as we drove east along the main road just outside of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Belize Mission Trip 2016, 2.5min.
Penelope’s World - Caribbean Adventure, 5.5min. When Penelope was three years old, she took a cruise to the Caribbean. Now she's six, and back for another exciting adventure. She'll fly like a bird in Roatan, venture into the underworld in Belize, and learn all about the ancient Mayans in Costa Maya. Come along for the ride in this episode of Penelope's World!
Belize Full Circle Project, 13min. My students talking about themselves, their lives, and the Belizean culture to show to my class in the States!
Drone footage From the Cashew Fest in Crooked Tree Belize, 2.5min. See more drone footage and other sights and sounds from the fest soon on Morning Matters each weekday morning.
The Beer Diaries World Tour: Belize - Yalifu Music Video, 7.5min. The Beer Diaries is proud to present The Beer Diaries World Tour: Belize, a series dedicated to using beer as an introduction to history, culture and the geo-political state of countries around the world.
In this episode, host Mike Mann speaks with famed musician Aurelio Martinez about his time recording Garifuna Soul and the inspiration behind the song Yalifu.
Belize River in San Ignacio - Phantom Drone Footage, 5.5min.
Belize 2016, 2.5min. short video of Belize and its amazing attractions.
SCUBA Belize - Ep1 - Certification, 24min. This video is about SCUBA diving in Belize.
DIVE. AMBERGRIS CAYE ISLAND, BELIZE, 3min. BUCEO EN BELIZE , DIVE IN BELIZE.
belize spotted drum, 1/2min. Belize Live aboard diving - Spotted drum fish.
ESL-RLC Belize 2015 - 2016, 4min.
Belize Diaries, 12.5min.
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