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#516827 - 08/13/16 12:33 PM Today's Belize News: August 13, 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

Belizean athletes representing at Rio Olympics 2016
Belize is being represented at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games currently underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three proud Belizean, Katy Sealy, Brandon Jones and Renick James will be competing in their respective disciplines in an attempt to grab gold for the Jewel. This will marked the 11th time Belize has participated in the Olympic Games. The anticipated event has athletes from 205 countries from around the world competing in 306 events surrounding 42 sporting disciplines. These range from swimming to judo and even wrestling. The main event kicked off on Friday, August 5th with a grand inauguration ceremony with a parade of athletes. The event also included music and festivity along with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. During the opening ceremony, the Belize flag was carried by Brandon Jones. “It felt amazing, one of the happiest moments of my life,” Jones told The San Pedro Sun. The games started on Saturday, August 6th and will continue through August 20th.

Morning fire destroys home in DFC
Shortly around 2:45AM, on Friday, August 12th, neighbors alerted Stephanie Hemingway that her newly refurbished home on Black Pearl Street, DFC, was on fire. After quickly calling the San Pedro Fire Department, neighbors got in formation to do what they could to help. Buckets were collected and water began pouring, as the fire trucks arrived quickly, and joined in the efforts. According to Hemingway, it was clear that the home was not salvageable at that point, and so the gathered group and officials concentrated on preventing the fire from spreading. “I am so thankful that this did not get worse. The fire officials were so amazing, and showed up so fast,” said a grateful Hemingway. “And my neighbors were so kind and helpful. From Miss Helen alerting me then Gene Lopez organizing the manpower, everyone pitched in. This really is a wonderful community.”

Wanted person Melissa Ferguson surrenders to police
On July 19, 2016, William ‘Donny’ Mason, a Guyanese/Canadian was arraigned along with four other persons: Ernest Castillo, 20, Keron Fernandez, 29, Ashton Vanegas, 29, and Terence Fernandez, 30, for the kidnapping and murder of Pastor Lucas. Almost immediately after the discovery of the heinous crime, police issued a wanted bulletin for the apprehension of Melissa Ferguson, Mason’s wife. After being at large for over three weeks, Ferguson voluntarily turned herself in to the Belmopan Police on Monday August 8th. She was officially arraigned for the crime of “Conspiracy to Kidnap” two persons on Wednesday, August 10th, and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

BEL’s hardworking crew restores power to San Pedro
Before Hurricane Earl made its debut in San Pedro, both Belize Water Service (BWS), along with Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), took precautionary measures and turned off their sources. After Earl’s hit on the early morning of August 4th, electricians, technicians, and crew members from Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) began working rigorously that same day to restore power on the island. In another press release issued on Monday, August 8th, BEL stated that they reached their target of having 99% of customers countrywide connected by the end of that day. However, many areas in the Belize District were extremely affected by the hurricane, and BEL is working towards restoring the remaining communities: Old Northern Highway from Altun Ha to Maskall and five villages in the Belize River Valley.

The Phoenix crew helps clean up after Hurricane Earl
Hurricane Earl made its way to Ambergris Caye, along with other districts of Belize on Wednesday, August 3rd. A category one hurricane, Earl left a dreadful path of destruction, destroying many low-lying homes, docks, and businesses. In the aftermath, there was much rubble along the beach in San Pedro Town. The Phoenix Resort staff, alongside volunteers, host trash clean ups every Saturday morning. This past Saturday, August 6th, volunteers, including local celebrity, Vic Murphy, lent a hand to clear the remains of the storm. Areas that were cleaned included the beachfront, Ecologic Divers, and by Mayan Princess Hotel. With team effort, the areas were cleared of all debris and trash. The Phoenix encourages anyone to come out and volunteer to keep the island trash-free on Saturdays at 8AM. All bags, gloves, and water will be provided. Kudos to everyone who volunteers and joins the cause!

Supreme Court of Belize rules Section 53 Unconstitutional
The Belize Supreme Court ended a monumental court case on Wednesday, August 11th striking down the country’s law of punishing ‘intercourse against the order of nature with any other person’, declaring it as unconstitutional. The law is a remnant of the country’s colonial past, and Belize is the first in the entire Caribbean to overturn the anti-sodomy law. It all began in 2010, when LGBTIQ rights activist Caleb Orozco of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) challenged the court with a lawsuit, claiming that Belize’s constitution infringes the right to: human dignity, personal privacy, right to equality before the law, equal protection of the law and freedom from discrimination. Orozco was represented by Attorney Westmin James, and Attorney for UNIBAM, Lisa Shoman.

Ambergris Today

US Women’s Gymnastics Team to Celebrate Olympic Gold in Belize
It looks like the Final Five, the US Women’s Gymnastics Team, will vacation in Belize to celebrate their gold medal achievement at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The five olympic stars have been invited by the Belize Tourism Board to a five-day vacation free of cost. Although competing for the USA female gymnastic team, Belizeans are thrilled that Simone Biles has embraced her Belizean roots and has nothing but great things to say about her Belizean heritage. Her mother Nellie Biles is from Belize; Simone Biles has dual citizenship. She’s been to visit recently, with one of her brothers getting married at Ramon’s Village in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye last year. After they claimed the top two Olympic all-around spots, Simone teammate Aly Raisman joked she’d be crashing Simone Biles’ vacation. “I’m gonna go to Belize with her,” Raisman joked. Now the Belize Tourism Board has invited Biles and the entire Final Five for a visit once they’re done winning medals in Rio. The Final Five includes Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian.

Work Begins to Move San Pedro Water Taxi Services to Lagoon Terminal
San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero has made it clear that the water taxi services will be moved to the international terminal that is located on the back side of the island along the Sunset Boardwalk and sports complex. It is just a matter of time when all the arrangement have been carried out to properly facilitate both companies running the water taxi service. The Government of Belize enhanced the lagoon area with a new docking terminal with the intention for it to be put to good use. The $5.6MIL project was completed in 2014 but unfortunately the conditions at the terminal upon completion were not ideal for the water taxis to dock their larger vessels. This has made the job of the Town Council more difficult to relocate the two businesses to the back of the island.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Taiwanese Government Presents Government of Belize with Donation for Relief Efforts
In a brief ceremony at the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Belize City, on behalf of his government, H.E. Ambassador Benjamin Ho presented the Government of Belize with a cheque valued at US$100,000.00 to assist with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl. Ambassador Ho expressed his delight in seeing the resilience and solidarity of the government and people of Belize in the aftermath of the storm, which made landfall on Wednesday, August 3rd, destroying homes and causing serious damage to infrastructure and the agriculture and tourism industries.

Read the full judgment Of Caleb Orozco vs. the Attorney General of Belize

Creativity is in full bloom at Stann Creek House of Culture
Today the Drumming and Sisira Making Workshop concluded, Thanks to all those who made it all possible. Stann Creek House of Culture- NICH, Gulisi Garifuna Museum , Dangriga Town Council , DANGRIGA CABLE VISION, Our Facilitator Mr. John Caliz, and Jeremy Lewis our photographer.

Belize National Song Competition: 21 songs, 19 performers and the one and only Gilharry 7 Band TONIGHT!
Rehearsals are in full swing for the finals! Gilharry 7 Band will master more than 20 songs before the big show tomorrow, Aug. 13. See you at 7:30 pm at Memorial Park, Belize City. Enjoy this clip of Barbara Missy B Herrera practicing "Fayah."

BELIZE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Storm clouds are gone...BIFF is back! Nov. 10-13 in Belize City! SAVE THE DATE

After 6 days our VIP macaw chicks are back in the Chiquibul, in their flight cage, to fly free soon!
What a relief! After their evacuation by Boris from FCD the chicks spent 2 days in hurricane shelter at my house, safe from Earl (but what a noise and mess - my apologies to the neighbours for the strange sounds from my house and NO I would never want a macaw as a pet - I just want to see and hear them in the wild..). Then I spent 2 days worrying that their flight cage was destroyed by Hurricane Earl, which had caused a lot more damage than we anticipated (thank goodness we did evacuate!). We upgraded the chicks into a cage while waiting so they would not suffer from "cabin fever" in their hurricane shelter pet carriers. BWRC staff members Godwin Castillo and Gissell Rodriguez switched from husbandry and education to macaw security, camping right next to their cage (Thanks!).

Hurricane Earl cleanup in Vista del Mar area
Out and about and lending a helping hand - Today Ambassador Moreno and other Embassy staff volunteers assisted with some post hurricane Earl cleanup in Vista del Mar area.

'We Won't Pay' Production
The play was funny and perfect for the small venue that the Belize Soul project, space for the creative arts has. We need more plays like this. Thanks, Wildfire Artz Space! The Soul Project got some great pictures too.

Queen of the West Pageant 2016
The Queen of the West Pageant will be on Saturday, July 20th, at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium. The contestants will be presented tomorrow, August 13th, at the Cayo Welcome Center. Enjoy the Pageant, and show your support for Jem, Kendra, Maria, Rossanie, and Shameka.

Channel 7

Footballer Murdered On His Way To Work
A man was killed this morning on his way to work. It happened on Dolphin Street in Belize City. The victim is 30 year-old Jason Young, a resident of Sarstoon Street, who's originally from Kraal Road. Young was a well-known first division and Semi-pro footballer. Those closest to him say that he was an athlete, not a gunman or a gangster, and that's why this morning they were stunned to hear that he had been shot and killed. Just after 6:30, he was on his way to his family's Kraal Road home to get a ride, but he never made it. 7News was on the scene when police picked up the murder weapon: Daniel Ortiz reporting: These blood stains on Dolphin Street, in front of Belize Dry Cleaners, marks the spot were 30 year-old John Young, known as "Strength" or "Paxson" fell. Someone ambushed him this morning while he was on the way to work and gunned him down. Those injuries killed him on the spot.

City Shooting Leads To Intervention
Police from Precinct 1 also had to respond to another shooting last night just before 10:00. A 17 year-old minor and his relative were hanging out in front of their home on Neal Penn Road when a gunman opened fire on them from the darkness. It was late at night, so there were no eyewitnesses, and there's no evidence at this time to charge anyone. But, police say that they know who the shooter is, and what his motive was. They told us that they will make an intervention between the two parties to try to squash the feud before it escalates further: Sgt. Isai Sanchez - OC, CIB Precinct 1: "Last night at 9:40pm, Cameron Moreira, a 17 year old Belizean student who will now be commencing his 4th form education at Maud Williams, was standing in front of his premises on Neal Penn Road when he was ambushed by a gunman who fired 2 gunshots. Unfortunately, he was hit on his left leg causing a minor injury. He was taken to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he was treated and discharged shortly after. Cameron Moreira is no associate of any criminal activity, he's a student. Motive is unknown, I can definitely say that it was a mistaken person who was shot at and unfortunately Cameron was the victim."

Police Charge "Eggy"
So, while Eastern Division South cops investigate the murder of Jason Young, and the shooting of Cameron Moreira, Rural Cops say that they are wrapping up their investigation into a murder which happened before Hurricane Earl. That's the killing of 32 year-old John Williams, the Ladyville resident who was murdered inside his home in the "Japan" area on August second. Police have found their main suspect, 28 year-old Egbert Baldwin, aka "Eggy", a man very well known to investigators. He will be charged with murder shortly - adding to existing charges for attempted murder and armed robbery.

Bail For Alleged Child Rapist
He's a lawman who was charged for raping a minor at gunpoint, and tonight 53 year old special constable Addison Gillett was released on bail of $8,000 dollars. Justice John Gonzalez who heard the bail application, and offered it on the condition that Gillett surrender all travel documents to the clerk of court, that does not interfere with the witnesses for the prosecution, that he attend court on each and every adjourned date and that he reports to Belmopan Police Station every Friday, commencing next Friday. The allegation is that some time in May, 2016, Gillett took a 15 year old girl to a hotel, dragged her up the stairs and raped her at gunpoint. He was charged with rape and aggravated assault. Gillett was represented by attorney Dickie Bradley. Crown Counsel Rene Montero Jr. represented the prosecution.

AIDs Commission Says Judgment Will Result In Fewer HIV Infections For MSM Population
Last night, we told you how the Evangelical group of churches expressed their disappointment that the Chief Justice has legalized gay sex. Well, the National Aids Commission (NAC), has declared its support for the judgement. As press release from NAC says that it, quote, "recognizes the tireless work of Mr. Caleb Orozco, UNIBAM, and the legal team lead by...Lisa Shoman and Westmin James... (U-RAP) and other... members of the LGBT Community." End Quote. They agree with the judge, that the old Section 53, before it was amended by the Chief Justice, criminalized men for their sexual conduct, and the law breached their right to human dignity.

FIU Says "DreamCatcher" Is a Pyramid Scheme
Pay down $2,880 dollars, recruit two friends to do the same, and then collect $23,000 dollars in just a few weeks, no strings attached. It's a deal too good to refuse, and many Belizeans - women in particular - are buying into the so-called "Dreamcatcher scheme". You'll hear it cloaked in the garb of "Women empowering Women" or other such fanciful language, but the experts confirm that this is just one more version of a pyramid scheme, or an endless chain fraud: where the pyramid always collapses, and the chain always ends, leaving those at the bottom, or the end of the chain, out in the cold, and with no way to recover their investment.

Aragon Denies Mason Financing
Here on this newscast you've seen many politicians from the ruling party account for their relationship or non-relationship with William Danny Mason - but, now, a UDP Area Rep says one newspaper has gone too far in linking him to Mason. Minister of State Elodio Aragon says he's suing the Belize Times for alleging that Mason gave him a $20,000 dollars campaign contribution to set up his divisional office in Orange Walk East. Today, Aragon posted on his Facebook that the allegation is "completely untrue." He adds, quote, "I consider what they have done an affront to my good name and character." Aragon says he's getting an attorney to review the article.

Why Did Melissa Ferguson Hide?
And while politicians are seeking to distance themselves from Mason - tonight his wife Melissa Ferguson is closer than she was a week ago. That's because Ferguson was remanded to prison for conspiracy to kidnapping earlier this week. Belmopan police charged her 48 hours after she turned herself in accompanied by her attorney Dickie Bradley. Now, he has maintained throughout that she's completely innocent, and only had the misfortune of perhaps being on the property when the kidnapping allegedly occurred. But if she is indeed innocent why did she hide out for 18 days after the media put her picture on the news saying that police want her for questioning? That's what we asked Bradley on Wednesday. He said she was acting on the advice of other attorneys who he suggests had her in hiding:...

Simone Biles, Belizean
US gymnast Simone Biles is sitting on two gold medals right now - and is already being called one of the greatest gymnasts ever. But, part of that greatness has a strong connection in Belize - because Simone's adopted mother is Belizean, Nellie Cayetano Biles, daughter of former UDP Senator, Silas Cayetano. The Belize Tourism Board quickly seized on that connection and sent out a tweet yesterday inviting Biles and her gold medal team a free trip to Belize. Biles responded with a tweet of her own saying, quote, "my second home, you betta belize we're coming."

Thanks Taiwan
Yesterday we told you about the European Union donating 50,000 Euros to relief efforts for Hurricane Earl, well today the government of Taiwan donated $100,000 US dollars to the effort. Ambassador Benjamin Ho handed the cheque over to Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Carla Barnett; and the Minister of State with responsibility for NEMO, Hon. Edmond Castro, accompanied by Minister Tracy Panton. In other news relating to Taiwan, Ministers of State Omar Figueroa, and Angel Campos, will visit Taiwan from August 15th to 19th.

Youths Show Service in Belize
The United Nations says that the World's young people make up the largest generation of youth in history. And today, International Youth Day, was set aside to recognize their importance to the world's populations. To celebrate it locally, the Department of Youth Services and the young people who regularly access their services, took some time out to organize a clean up campaign. It's their contribution to the recovery after Hurricane Earl and the Public Relations Officer explained more about it:

Courts Cares
Let's face it, school can be expensive, so many students rely on scholarship programs to get them through what their parents normally would not be able to afford. Well today, fourteen students country wide were awarded with scholarships covering tuition and fees through the COURTS "Dare to Dream Scholarship Program." We caught up with some of them after the ceremony, and the general feeling was one of gratitude and excitement. The scholarship is awarded every year to six high school students, seven junior college students and one university student. It is in its eighteenth year, and so far one hundred and twelve students have been awarded in total.

Hope For Chunox
There's hope for a polyclinic in Chunox Village in Corozal Southeast after ground was broken on Wednesday. While many in urban areas may take healthcare for granted, these folks have to cross a ferry and then travel another 13 miles to Corozal or 23 miles to Orange Walk to access medical care. That's why a new $900,000 dollar, 5,500 square foot Polyclinic is more than just a building for these folks - even if they have to put in "sweat equity" themselves:… Additionally, a reverse osmosis system, capable of meeting the Polyclinic's water demand, will be installed. Completion of the new Chunox Polyclinic is scheduled for March 2017.


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#516828 - 08/13/16 12:33 PM Re: Today's Belize News: August 13, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

A Well-known Football Player is Slain in Belize City
The city is still reeling from another senseless murder. A well-known footballer was shot and killed early this morning on Dolphin Street. Jason Young left his wife and children at [...]

High School Student is Shot on Neal Pen Road
Prior to the murder of Jason Young, there was a shooting in the city. Around nine-forty on Thursday night, seventeen year old Cameron Moreira, a student of Maud Williams High [...]

Chef Ainslie is Robbed at Gunpoint
Well-known Belize City businessman Chef Ainslie Castro, former co-host of Creative Caribbean Cooking at the Radisson, is the victim of an armed robbery.  Sometime after one o’clock this afternoon, Chef [...]

Did William ‘Danny’ Mason Rub Shoulders with ‘Sedi’ Elrington?
The tale of William “Danny” Mason continues in the headlines. That’s because the feeding frenzy is still rabid.  Numerous ministers and senior public officers have admitted they trekked up Intelco [...]

Foreign Affairs Minister was not Briefed on Arenal Murder
On Monday night, a Belizean was murdered on the Guatemalan side of Arenal. Twenty-four year old Mario Estuardo Cunil was stabbed to the chest allegedly by Guatemalan national Rolman Aldana [...]

Price Barracks Breaks Under Hurricane Earl
In times of national emergency and natural disaster, Belize Defense Force personnel are among the first responders.  Whether deploying from their headquarters at Price Barracks or from elsewhere, the men [...]

Taiwan Donates Two Hundred Thousand to Hurricane Relief
The Government of Belize has received a donation of one hundred thousand U.S. dollars from Taiwan, in the wake of Hurricane Earl.  Relief efforts are ongoing and contributions from various [...]

Minister of State Barnett Speaks on Belize/Taiwan Relationship
Present for the handing over of the cheque was Senator Dr. Carla Barnett.  As the newly sworn-in Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Barnett plays a critical role [...]

Donation Earmarked for NEMO
In Belize Rural North, the area of the country hardest hit by Hurricane Earl, flood relief continues.  The Relief Supplies Management Committee is mobilizing outreach to people in affected communities [...]

14 Cases Called Up for Bail Hearing
As many as fourteen bail applications were heard today; there were no objections to eleven, but in the case of the remaining three sensational cases, there were strenuous objections presented. [...]

Melissa Ferguson Also Applies for Supreme Court Bail
The bail application for Melissa Ferguson, the wife of murder suspect William “Danny’’ Mason, also came up but was deferred to Monday because Crown Counsel Rene Montero told the court [...]

Guatemala Hardens Its Position on Territorial Dispute
The issue of the Guatemalan claim to Belize has somewhat faded in the background due to the ongoing William “Danny” Mason saga and more recently Hurricane Earl. While we had [...]

An Agreement on Sarstoon Protocol Expected at Year’s End
Turning to the Sarstoon, where it appears Guatemala is no longer exerting aggression. The last we heard was that discussions on establishing a protocol would be held between Belize and [...]

Guatemalan Government Appoints New Foreign Minister
But when that meeting does come about, will Elrington be meeting with a new Guatemalan Foreign Minister? Reports are that there an impending shake-up in the Guatemalan cabinet and that [...]

B.T.B. Invites American Gymnast Simone Biles to Belize
On Wednesday we told you about Simone Biles, the American gymnast with a special Belizean connection, who was all set to dominate in the Olympic Women’s Gymnastics competition.  The competition [...]

Annual Unicomer Scholarships Awarded
Today, Unicomer’s Dare to Dream Scholarship program, in its eighteenth year, saw a new cohort of fourteen students benefit from the program. A total of thirty-three applicants were interviewed and [...]

B.D.F. Wraps Up Annual Summer Program
Summer camps are winding down and students are preparing to return to classrooms. One of the biggest camps concluded today with a display at Price Barracks. Hundreds of children took [...]

Summer Camp Concludes at Samuel Haynes Institute
On the south side of Belize City, the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence organized a closing ceremony for its summer program today. Primary school children participated in the camp that [...]

LOVE FM

Caves Reopen Following Hurricane Earl
Archaeological sites have been closed following Hurricane Earl as some of them sustained damages. Since then a number of the sites have been reopened. Communications and Marketing Director at NICH, Holly Edgell talked about the reopening of the sites. Holly Edgell commented on the level of damages sustained by the sites, stating that there will […]

Northern Border Protest Postponed
A protest that was planned for tomorrow has been postponed. Orange Walk resident, Rene Cuello was spearheading the protest to the northern border in Santa Elena. Cuello is asking that Belizeans who have to cross the northern border to go to the casinos or the Corozal Free Zone not be required to get their passports […]

COURTS Finances 14 Students’ School Expenses
Dare to Dream – it is an initiative by Courts that seeks to impress on the importance of education through the sponsorship of educational scholarships for both secondary and tertiary levels. This morning inside the Cahal Pech Room of the Radisson Hotel, fourteen young men and women were awarded with their certificates, gift packages and […]

Displays of Civic Pride on International Youth Day 2016
International Youth Day 2016 is being celebrated today in Belize with an initiative that focuses on civic pride, an attribute that the Youth Department seeks to instil in young persons. Several young persons were divided into groups this morning and dispatched to various parts of the city where they embarked on a clean-up campaign following […]

Amandala

2 men charged for Belize Day shooting in Chicago
Belizeans in Chicago held a festival at the Hawthorne Racecourse, a suburb in Stickney, but during the night, gunfire erupted and two women, who were not the intended targets of the gunmen, suffered non-life-threatening gunshot injuries. Reports out of Chicago today confirmed that two men were charged for the shooting. The reports, however, did not indicate a motive for the shooting, nor were the two women who were shot identified. Police charged Jermaine R. James, 34, of Evanston, and Dennis D. Reneau, 38, of Ames, Iowa, with the shooting. Both men are scheduled to appear in Bond Court at the Cook County Courthouse in Bridgeview, police said. James was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, while Reneau was charged with aggravated battery, reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (all felonies).

Louis “Whiz” Carter, 33, now charged with murder
–A San Pedro man who was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm in connection with a shooting incident that occurred on July 13, appeared in the Magistrate’s Court this morning, where a charge of murder was read to him. Louis “Whiz” Carter, 33, was arraigned on the murder charge by Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. He was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on October 12. Carter was initially charged with the attempted murder of Dwayne Hyde, 30, and aggravated assault upon Hyde’s common-law wife, Kimberly Humes. Carter was remanded to prison when he was arraigned on the attempted murder and other charges on Friday, July 15, when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser.

SSB charges woman for 13 false sick representations
Late this evening, a Belize City woman was arraigned on charges that she made false representation to the Belize Social Security Board in order to collect sick benefits for which she was not entitled. Mildred Vassel, 45, an employee of Ready Call Center, located at Mile 13 on the Philip Goldson Highway, was hit with 13 counts of making a false representation to claim sickness benefits. Vassel, a resident of 6 Fabers Road, was brought to the Magistrate’s Court on the strength of a bench warrant that Social Security had secured from the court. Vassel appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza, who read the 13 charges to her.

Belize’s century-old sodomy law overturned
The law criminalizing “unnatural” sex acts—deemed to principally be a bar against anal sex between homosexuals but which has largely been unenforced for decades—was today struck down in the Belize Supreme Court when Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin used his “blue pencil” to change it, saying that private sex acts between consenting adults would be excluded from the range of acts prohibited by the law. Whereas the LGBT community was jubilant over Benjamin’s decision to effectively decriminalize homosexuality, the churches, which joined the case as interested parties, expressed their outrage. “This is huge for me!” said Caleb Orozco, former executive president of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), who was the sole claimant in the case after UNIBAM was removed by the court for lack of standing to bring the constitutional challenge.

Melissa Ferguson jailed
Melissa Ferguson, 56, has been remanded to the Hattieville prison after she was arraigned on a charge of conspiracy to kidnap Llewellyn “Pastor Lue” Lucas and Mennonite businessman David Dodd. After eighteen days on the run, during which she was listed as a fugitive at large, Ferguson surrendered herself to Belmopan police in the presence of her attorney on Monday. After she spent forty-eight hours in police custody, police decided to charge her. Ferguson’s initial arraignment at 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon in front of Magistrate Emerita Anderson initially reached an impasse because the charge sheet failed to include whom exactly she had allegedly conspired to kidnap.

William Mason – first murder, now kidnapping
William Donny Mason, the man at the center of one of the country’s most bizarre murders, was hauled out of his prison cell today along with three of his co-accused and transported to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court, where they were arraigned on a charge of kidnapping of a Mennonite businessman and his wife. Mason, along with Keyron Fernandez, Aston Vanegas and Earnest Castillo, appeared before Belmopan Magistrate Emerita Anderson, who arraigned them on the new charge. The prosecution at the arraignment was handled by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, who is a trained attorney. The four men are on remand at the Belize Central Prison on charges of murder and kidnapping for the death of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas, whose head was found in a bucket in Mason’s vehicle in Belmopan.

Dangriga sports stats
Week 4 of the Wamule “King of the Court” Basketball Tournament, that was postponed last weekend because of the hurricane, will be played this weekend at Ecumenical auditorium as follows: The Frank “Pawpa” Mena Domino Tournamernt has reached its finals. The finals are a 3-game series. In game 1 last week Sunday at Sexy Thing Kool Spot between Lucky Stars and Paul’s, Paul’s won game 1. Game 2 will be this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Sexy Thing Kool Spot. Another win for Paul’s and they will be crowned the champions. A win for Lucky Stars will force a game 3 on Sunday. Libeme took third place, as they won over Ninjas.

Fun and games on Wayne “Hogman” Olivera Day
The picture above is from the 2nd Annual Wayne “Hogman” Olivera Day at St. Martin’s field on Sunday, July 31. Hogman is sharing a joke with old teammates, adversaries and fans. From left to right in the picture are Rupert “Canalete” Anderson, Larry “Charro” Bennett, Wayne “Hogman” Olivera, Oliver “O.T.” Thompson, and “Horsey” Cooper. We will share more pics from the event in a subsequent issue.

U-10 & U-13 games and Smart 9-A-Side in O.W.
ORANGE WALK TOWN, Tue. Aug. 9, 2016–U-10 & U-13 football: The Orange Walk Football Association is hosting U-10 and U-13 football games at the Barracks on Saturday, August 13. The re-scheduled times for the games this Saturday are as follows: Saturday, August 13 10:00 a.m. – (U-10) Barcelona vs Minions 11:00 a.m. – (U-10) Real Madrid vs Vibes Alive 1:00 p.m. – (U-13) Corozal Rising Stars vs Barza Shock Waves 2:00 p.m. – (U-13) Minions vs Crystal 3:00 p.m. – (U-13) Vibes Alive vs Black Water

Excellence once again stops Eagles in their track
Hello to all my cricket players and fans! Let us all give thanks and praise to the Great One Who, without a doubt, spared us mightily with no lost of lives. Yes, the country had gotten a severe blow but Dear Lord, it could have been worse. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to those that were affected, whether great or small; may you all get assistance quickly. Let us (Government) look not only on one side. This disaster hit both sides of party lines. Enough said. Back to my part of reporting cricket. Thanks to our sponsors, Belikin and Smart, under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association, the Harrison Parks Competition continued last week. No report was given due to the storm situation and effects.

Thoughts on the UNIBAM decision
The Chief Justice of Belize ruled on Wednesday morning in the Supreme Court that the colonial law which makes sexual relations between men a crime and imposes a ten-year sentence for those convicted of such felony, is unconstitutional. The decision has been three years in the making, and there are knowledgeable Belizeans who have opined that this UNIBAM lawsuit, brought by the one Caleb Orozco, represents a test case with major implications for the other Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean. The case has polarized militants in the Belizean society. On one side are the religious militants, most prominently the evangelical pastors and their organizations, who have vehemently opposed any change in the sodomy law. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Belize, Most Rev. Dorick Wright, has also been extremely aggressive in his campaigning against the liberalization of homosexuality which Wednesday morning’s decision represents.

From the Publisher
To my mind, Washington did not throw open the doors of the United States of America to Belizeans after Hurricane Hattie with anything else in mind but permanent displacement of our native population. Belize, as we knew it, has been massively destabilized. Someone at State had a plan. (Sometimes, brothers and sisters, and more and more it has become the case, you have to read between my lines. Washington is nothing to play with, as we would say.) Belizeans in the United States today are scattered, and they are not materially linked and united. But, after the Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales, made military threats against Belize in the afternoon of Thursday, April 21, of this year, there was nowhere we Belizeans at home could turn except to Belizeans in the diaspora. Los Angeles Belizeans made a stand, New York Belizeans followed, but there was nothing coming out of Chicago. (The New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago communities are the three largest in the Belizean diaspora.) Today, almost four months after that dramatic and scary Thursday afternoon in April, things have gone quiet on the Sarstoon and in the Chiquibul, although the systematic pillaging of Belizean resources by Guatemalans continues unabated.

Open letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow
We are the Valley of Peace Maya Farmers Group and below is our story. We hope that you will find a way to help us, as over the past year we have exhausted all our available resources. We are 8 Maya farmers who have been caring for and farming land in Valley of Peace for from between 6 and 17 years. Though it has been a traditional practice of the Maya, dating back thousands of years, to care for the land and grow our fruits and vegetables wherever it is a good place to grow near our homes and villages, all of us have applied to the Lands Department for leases on the lands we have been farming. We were assured by the Lands Department that we would receive the leases and some were even told that their leases had already been approved. Over the years, when visiting the lands office to inquire about the leases, we were told repeatedly not to worry and to keep farming the land, that the paper leases would be forthcoming.

Let’s Reverse This Injustice In Benque
Dear Editor, The injustice we are committing against the people of Benque have to be reversed. Through no sin or misdeed of their own depositors at the former Mount Carmel Credit Union have been left with empty pockets and broken dreams. Meanwhile, we as a country just stand on the sidelines with no cause for concern. Almost as if to say, “That’s their problem, not mine”. But the demise of Mount Carmel should be everyone’s concern as it may signal things yet to come. A financial institution with stellar performance and unprecedented growth, Mount Carmel was the envy of its day. Money was pouring in from home and abroad. Dividends were healthy. And the staff was partying! What could go wrong? Who could crash this financial success driven by hard working Benquenos?

75-year-old man says GSU mistreated him
Winfield Garnett, a Southside septuagenarian born in September of 1941, was treated like a common thug allegedly at the hands of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). According to the 75-year-old Pen Road resident, when he arrived home on Monday morning the GSU was conducting a search of a property in the yard where he lives. He was ordered to wait outside the yard, but a few minutes later, he told 7News, he was ordered to kneel down with his hands on his head, along with several young men. Garnett complied, but according to him, he was being verbally abused by an officer and when he responded without any obscene or disrespectful language, he was flogged across the buttocks.

What next after “bony fish”?
It is sad to see how our Corozal culture has been set aside to introduce one invented by those who are in charge of the preservation of our identity. There are so many things that can be mentioned which with time it had gradually been on constant changes and prohibition of our eating habits. For many years, from the time I know myself, we were already eating a fish we know here in the North as Macabi, commonly known as “bony fish.” Macabi has a special taste, unlike any other fish, because of the way it is roasted. We have been enjoying the delicacy of such sea food from time which I think there is no information of its beginning. Native and autochthonous Belizeans have been savoring the taste of this delicious fish in “panades” (empanadas) and fish balls. Nonetheless, for some unknown intelligent minds, it has been prohibited for Belizeans to taste their own food. Now, our dear readers, Belize has 174 miles of waterfront, straight into the Caribbean Sea, as far as your eyes can see. It is impossible for a little handful of people to put in danger the extermination of such sea food. But, it seems as if it is of more value for the tourists to use it as bait for their fishing sport. It won’t take too long when we will be STOPPED from cooking rice and beans, since it will be served to us from some unknown transnational corporations which will process and tin it for the Belizean population’s consumption. Of course, for it to be nice and juicy, you’ll have to get yourself a microwave for your rice and beans to be heated.

3 sisters charged for beat-down of woman in front of her children
Three sisters who stormed into a woman’s house and beat her in front of her children have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Video footage obtained by Dangriga police, which had gone viral on social media – Facebook – shows Kimberley Lino, the eldest sister, Tiffany Cacho, the second sister and Samantha Lewis, the youngest sister, parking their beach cruiser bicycles in front of Brimimie Martinez’s home and forcing their entry inside. Once inside, the women stripped the victim of her clothes and began to curse, punch, slap and pull her repeatedly in front of her children. The video shows the children crying uncontrollably and running from their home.

The Reporter

ROC donates $200,000 in hurricane relief funding
The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), donated $200,000 today to the Government of Belize for hurricane relief efforts. Ambassador of the ROC to Belize, Benjamin Ho, handed over the cheque this morning at a small gathering at the ROC embassy on North Park […]

DYS celebrates Youth Day with clean-up campaign
The Department of Youth Services (DYS) took to the streets today with over 30 youth volunteers in a post-hurricane clean-up initiative commemorating International Youth Day. The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”. The youths, […]

Man shot dead on south side Belize City
A man was shot dead this morning on the south side of Belize City, and police are looking for his killer. He was struck in the chest and died at the scene. Jason Young, 31, an employee of Cisco Construction Company, was shot and killed […]

Man rendered critical by fistfight
A fistfight Sunday night between a man and two others in Benque Viejo town has left one in a coma and the other facing a series of serious charges. Michael Adrian Pagett, 36, is in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition […]

Higher oil prices could save Belize’s petroleum industry
Oil prices on the world market need to rebound in order to save Belize’s fading petroleum industry, says the Director of the Geology and Petroleum Department, Andre Cho. Cho said this week that of the six companies in Belize with oil concessions, none of them are currently […]

Senator Carla Barnett now a minister State
Cabinet now has a new Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Carla Barnett. Governor General Colville Young swore Barnett in as minister at a brief ceremony, held at the Belize House in Belmopan, on Tuesday. Barnett will be working closely with Prime Minister Dean […]

EU donates EUR$50,000 to hurricane victims
The European Union (EU), the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid, donated EUR $50,000 or littloe more than BZ $110,000 to Belize in humanitarian funding on Tuesday as a form of responding to the damages caused to Belize by Hurricane Earl. The EU funding aims to assist […]

Broaster denies having ties to William Mason
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Edward Broaster, called a press conference this week, to publicly state that he has no connections with accused murderer William Mason. On Tuesday, Broaster, the commander of the police’s Rural Eastern Division, spoke to the media at the Ladyville Police Station, to respond […]

UNICEF assist families in hurricane shelters
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), answering the call for aid, is providing 250 care packages to assist families who have lost their homes and are currently in the hurricane shelters. Over the weekend, representatives from UNICEF ventured to Belize City to visit the different hurricane […]

Mason’s wife turns herself in
Melissa Ferguson, wife of accused murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason, surrendered herself to Belmopan police this week, 18 days after police released that she was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of Llewellyn Lucas. Ferguson showed up at the Belmopan Police Station just before noon on […]

No More Birds Isle
The basketball court at Birds Isle became an important landmark in Belize’s sporting and cultural landscape for over four decades, but Hurricane Earl smashed the pre-fabricated steel and wooden structure into a heap of mangled metal and wood when it came ashore Wednesday night. Earl also damaged the Birds Isle […]

Belize does not have additional mosquito spreading Zika
Unlike health authorities in Brazil, Belize does not have to expand its Zika virus response strategy because the other species of mosquito found to be carrying the virus, is not native to Belize. The Vector Control Unit of the Ministry of Health confirmed this week that there […]

Fire victim asking for aid
David Hauze, a father of four, is pleading for public assistance after his home on Aloe Vera Street was destroyed by fire two weeks ago. Hauze told the Reporter on Thursday that as the new school year is fast approaching he is worried that he will not […] […]

Editorial
Church leaders and their legal advisers will be pondering over this benchmark decision of the Supreme Courrt for a long time, and may even be contemplating an appeal. There is a lot to think about, but the first step is to understand what the judgement means. The ruling means that […]

Caleb Succeeds! Gay sex now legal in Belize
Homosexual relations between consenting adults are now legal, after Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled in favor of Caleb Orozco in his challenge of Section 53 of the Criminal Code. The Chief Justice delivered his judgment on Wednesday morning, with a one-hour, 29-minute-long summation, ultimately ruling […]

William Mason: the saga continues
Accused killer, William Mason, and three of his associates appeared in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to answer to charges of ‘kidnapping’ and ‘unlawful imprisonment’. Mason along with Keiron Fernandez, Ashton Vanegas, and Ernest Castillo appeared in Court on Thursday afternoon, for kidnapping offenses […]

Facebook post leads to home invasion and assault
Three women and a boy were charged this week for a brazen home invasion and assault on 24-¬year-¬old Brimmime Martinez in Dangriga last Sunday. According to police reports, the group broke into the home and attacked Martinez in the presence of her two children. Martinez […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

BTL working to repair Digicell network
If you are wondering why your regular Digicell phones are currently out of service – in particular the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, well the reason is that Belize Telemedia Limited is currently experiencing a, “major outage to its Mobile and DSL broadband services. […]

Police find weed in Roaring Creek
Officers attached to the Special Branch Tactical Respond Squad, conducted a search in a lot located on the George Price Highway, in Roaring Creek Village. Reports are indicating that the officers discovered a black plastic bag containing 1,490 grams of cannabis. No one was […]

Cayo police investigate $13,000 burglary
Police officers in the Cayo District are currently investigating a burglary in the village of Unitedville. Rudolph Clarke, 67, reported to police that on the 4th of August while he was out of the country he received information that someone had broken into his […]

Simone Biles bringing international exposure to Belize
Simone Biles, the 19-year-old US gymnast currently dominating the Rio Olympics who holds dual citizenship with Belize, is bringing immense international exposure to the country as she embraces Belize as her second home. Biles, whose grandmother is originally from Belize, has publicly stated her […]

Man shot and killed in Belize City this morning
Reports reaching our newsroom are that Jason Young, 31, was shot and killed in Dolphin Street this morning. According to reports, the incident happened around 6:40 a.m. and the suspect was able to make a good escape but dropped his firearm while being chased […]

Blogs

Simone Biles & Final Five US Womens’ Olympic Gymnastic Team Are Coming to Belize
It’s hard not to see the magic in the Olympics… After all the months…years of hearing how countries practically bankrupt themselves to host, how athlete or entire countries are being busted for drugs and doping, about Zika, about corruption at the highest level, all is forgotten as soon as the opening ceremony starts and the parade of glowing athletes, who have worked their entire lives to get to this spot, march around the stadium. There are a few mega-stars this year – Michael Phelps of the USA, Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Simone Biles, American-Belizean. Those who are bound for Wheaties boxes world-wide. But Simone, only 19, is being called the best gymnast ever. Yes she represents the United States – it is the country of her birth and where she has lived and trained but did you know that her mother, Nellie, is from Belize? Her mom, born Nellie Cayetano, is Garifuna. And Simone has dual citizenship – AND her Belize passport. She visited here just last year and stayed at beautiful Ramon’s Village.

International Sourcesizz

Why Belize is celebrating the Olympic victories of USA's Simone Biles
Even before this year’s Olympics, Simone Biles had already catapulted onto cereal boxes on the strength of her 14 world championship medals, the most ever for an American female gymnast. But the Rio games have lifted her into something like Olympic immortality – and perhaps elevated the profile of Belize, where Ms. Biles has dual citizenship. After Biles took home gold for the United States in the individual all-around gymnastics final on Thursday, the Belizean national board of tourism tweeted their congratulations, inviting her and the four other members of the US female gymnastics team to vacation there. “My second home, you betta belize we’re coming,” she tweeted back. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Ms. Biles grew up in a Houston suburb, where she was adopted by her maternal grandfather and his second wife, Nellie – daughter of a prominent Belize City family – while her biological mother struggled with addictions to drugs and alcohol. The gymnast regards her grandparents as her parents, and has taken up Nellie’s origins as her own.

Belize Trigger For Rapid-Fire Reform
THE EDITOR, Sir: On August 10, the Commonwealth Caribbean witnessed a watershed moment. Laws criminalising consensual sexual activity between adults were found unconstitutional in the Supreme Court of Belize in the case of Caleb Orozco v Attorney General of Belize. It is true that the possibility of an appeal should temper whatever celebrations are occurring, but the significance of the ruling should not be lost upon us. Emily Shields called it "a blow to fundamentalism" - and indeed it was. In his ruling, the chief justice of Belize rubbished arguments that because of the reference to the "Supremacy of God" in the preamble of the Constitution, Christian hegemony was allowed to hold sway over the law. He agreed with the claimant that such a reference to God pointed to the origins of law itself rather than signalling that Christianity was supreme in a diverse society like Belize which guaranteed the freedom of conscience and religion.

IDB supports Belize with emergency assistance in response to Hurricane Earl
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will support the government of Belize’s efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Earl with a US$200,000 grant. The objective of the grant is to support the National Emergency Management Organization’s (NEMO) efforts to assist vulnerable populations in communities damaged by high winds and floods in various parts of the country. Based on NEMO’s initial assessment of the most immediate needs, the bank’s assistance will support government efforts to provide the required relief in the hardest hit communities in the Belize, Cayo, Orange Walk and Stann Creek Districts.

La découverte du plus grand tombeau maya au Belize
Le 26 juillet dernier, l’équipe archéologique de la Northern Arizona University (Floride) et de l’Institut d’archéologie du Belize, emmenée par l’archéologue américain Jaime Awe, a exhumé la plus importante tombe maya connue à ce jour au Belize. Le site de Xunantunich, situé sur la rivière Mopan à la frontière avec le Guatemala, a ainsi dévoilé pour la première fois une chambre funéraire vieille de 1300 ans, de 5 à 8 mètres de profondeur, desservie par une volée d’escaliers et renfermant de nombreux documents d’histoire. Un corps, que les analyses scientifiques ont pu déterminer comme étant celui d’un homme de 20 à 30 ans, a été retrouvé couché sur le dos, la tête vers le Sud. Jaime Awe le décrit : « L’analyse préliminaire des ostéopathes révèle que l’homme était sportif et « assez musclé » à sa mort ». Il était accompagné de tout un mobilier funéraire (13 lames en obsidienne, 36 céramiques, des perles de jade, une roche sacrée pour les Mayas) ainsi que d’ossements d’animaux.

From hickatees to grizzly bears
Two weeks ago this morning I flew out for eight days in Belize. I was leading a mission team from our church on a project to help build a church camp in a remote area southwest of Belize City, Belize. While we were able to complete two good days of labor on our project, our plans were interrupted by a little storm called Hurricane Earl. This was my first hurricane, and the first for all 14 members of our team. The trip had been planned for nearly a year in advance and the first we heard of any storm headed toward Belize was during a layover at the airport in Dallas the morning we headed down. We spent that Wednesday helping our host missionary couple prepare their home in Ladyville, a suburb of Belize City, for the pending growing tropical depression (the storm reached hurricane status later that evening, a couple hours before making landfall). When we returned to our hotel in Belize City, only three blocks from the Caribbean Sea, all the windows and doors were already boarded up and every planter and outside decoration was removed. We rode out the storm with all 14 mission team members huddled in upstairs hotel rooms since it was anticipated the storm surge from the sea would flood the lower floor of the hotel. Fortunately the leading edge of the storm surge only reached about 10 feet from the front door. (Keep in mind that most of Belize City is only a few inches above sea level and is protected by a very short sea wall.)

Videos

  • SPRING BREAK '16 CARNIVAL MAGIC HONDURAS BELIZE COZUMEL, 13min.

  • Belize Manatee Drone Video, 1min. Check out the great footage by Eric Ramos of the City University of New York of George the manatee and historic St. George's Caye in Belize.

  • San Pedro, Belize 2016 - Gopro Hero 4, 4min.

  • Citizen Science GIS Meets Hopkins Village, Belize, 8.5min. Documentary of the 2016 GIS Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Belize

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