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#518365 - 10/18/16 07:08 AM Today's Belize News: October 18, 2016
Marty Offline


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Lincoln Robinson fatally shot; Deshawn Goff charged for his murder
Three men were in police custody following the murder of 43-year-old Lincoln Robinson Sr. of San Mateo Area on Saturday, October 15th. On Monday October 17th, Deshawn Goff was officially charged for his murder. The San Pedro Police Department reported that Robinson endured multiple shots while walking home on Barrier Reef Drive around 5:20AM. According to the official police reports, Robinson left the Central Park about 5:10AM, when a male person walked up to him and fired a shot to the right side of his face. Robinson fell to the ground as the person reportedly fired another shot, and then made his escape. After police arrived at the scene Robinson was immediately rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where he was pronounced dead at 6:42AM. His body was then transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City for a post-mortem examination.

CARILED presents economic profile for San Pedro Town
CARILED representative Leidy Urbina also explained what the project means for the island. According to her, the document presented included statistical and demographic information which pointed out to the opportunities for business growth and expansion and how different obstacles can be addressed. “Looking at the economic aspect of San Pedro, we want to speak about a process that is participatory, inclusive and led by the authorities of the municipality, but with input from the residents of the private sector and the community as a whole,” she said. CARILED and the SPTC invites interested stakeholders to visit their offices where they can have a look at the document detailing the economic profile of the town. Anyone with ideas for business plans can seek professional guidance by visiting the offices of the Town Board on Barrier Reef Drive where the document is available for reviewing. The document supported by CARILED was made solely for the island to be used by residents, the municipality, and private sector and look at the gap for opportunities for investment and MSMEs development.

Oceana says NO to seismic airgun survey in Belize’s offshore area
After approval from Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow and his Cabinet on Tuesday, October 11th, the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum and Geology Department will be conducting a multi-beam and sea seep survey to the east of the Belize Barrier Reef. These surveys are meant to collect new data on the geological features of the area, and other countries such as the United States and Mexico will also be participating. Although the Ministry states that tourist destinations, along with world heritage sites will be excluded from the survey, Oceana in Belize and the Belize Coalition is in opposition to seismic testing.

Senate Special Select Committee holds first meeting; no chair is elected
The newly appointed Senate Select Committee met for the first time on Wednesday, October 12th. The committee had been designated with the responsibility to hold a private investigation into the immigration scandal revealed in the Auditor General report that unveiled a series of fraudulent cases in the immigration department. One of the objectives of the meeting was to name a Chairperson for the committee. However, the meeting did not go well, and not only was the committee boycotted by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), but a Chairperson was not elected. The PUP has called the creating of the Committee as bogus, and demands for an independent and impartial Senate Select Committee to be appointed. Their reasons for not agreeing with the motion created on September 30th include that Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse voted on the motion, when he should have abstained since his involvement in the scandal is a conflict of interest.

Ambergris Today

Belize Allows Seismic Airgun Surveys That Can Kill Marine Life
Last week, October 12, 2016, Oceana was advised by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, and the Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Erwin Contreras, that at Tuesday’s meeting, the Cabinet approved the seismic survey of Belize’s offshore area based on the Department of the Environment’s advice that seismic activity does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Oceana has formally requested an official copy of the Department of Environment’s written position provided to Cabinet, in addition to any materials related thereto, on the basis that the Department’s premise is not supported by the best available science. On the contrary, the magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread environmental and economic impacts for Belize.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

General Medical Physician, Caye Caulker

San Pedro Lions Club held its 41st anniversary this Saturday, October 15 ,2016
New Lion and Leo members were installed making a grand total of 42 Lions and 45 Leos. Leos made history in becoming the largest leo group of the zone and the largest group there has ever been in Belize. There was a lot of dancing thanks to Rompe Raja.

Compromise on salary adjustment?
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced at the close of the meeting with the joint union negotiating team that at least two of the three unions are inclined to agree to a proposed compromise reached today. The third, the Belize National Teacher's Union, will go to its Council of Management for possible endorsement this afternoon. Five percent interest is proposed to be paid on the deferred salary. The unions will be working on proposed related legislation to be sent to Cabinet. Association of Public Service Senior Managers president Sharon Frazer contended that her organization and the Public Service Union have acted responsibly by sticking to negotiating rather than going to the streets, but that does not mean they do not support the BNTU and the good governance agenda and always have. PSU president Eldred Neal held out high hopes for an end to the dispute.

Our Children’s Education is Priority!
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) is deeply concerned and regrets the plight that our children are currently facing as they are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights, which is explicitly stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; that of the right to a good quality education. Article 28 states that, “you have the right to a good quality education and be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.” In fact, article three of the convention states that when adults are making decisions that the child’s welfare should be the paramount consideration.

Wahoooo! Mahi-mah
Salwater Life "Tonight's fish fry is not going to taste like chicken!

Gapi Vega resigns?
My confidential sources are insisting that former Deputy Prime Minister and Orange Walk North area representative Gapi Vega has tendered his resignation from the Cabinet effective as of today.

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk over San Pedro
Well, certainly not what i expected to find flying over San Pedro, but, the birders that persevere are the ones who get the best stuff. First record for SPR?

Merida Expo Feria Show
This weekend's update on the Merida Expo Feria Show in Merida.

Six (6) Belizeans Detained by Guatemalan Navy
The Government of Belize (GOB) wishes to inform the public that six (6) Belizeans were detained earlier this afternoon by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel, while they were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras. The Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel intercepted the Belizeans in an area at sea at a point between the mouth of the Moho River, Toledo District, Belize and Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala. The Guatemalan Navy claimed that the Belizeans were illegally fishing in Guatemala. After prompt intervention and coordination by Belizean diplomatic and military officials, along with their Guatemalan counterparts, the Belizeans were thereafter released and returned to the location where they were first encountered. GOB has confirmed that the six (6) Belizeans are now safely back in the town of Punta Gorda, where they will be debriefed by Belizean security officials to ascertain all the facts surrounding the incident.

BNTU Corozal Town Branch
Teachers are asked to attend a meeting at 10:00 a.m. today Tuesday, October 18th at the Corozal Community College Auditorium. Note: This meeting will be to decide the way forward and to discuss the 8 points in detail as addressed by the Prime Minister. Your presence is very important.

Here are some photos of our Yucatec Mayas from Orange Walk participating in "MAYA EXPO" at the Venezuelan Embassy in Belmopan. How nice it would be to see our Yucatec Mayas of Corozal represented in these events around the country all the time.

Maya Expo at Venezuelan Embassy: The Yucatec Mayas of Orange Walk
The Belize National Library Service and Information System got some pictures from the Maya Expo, which was held Saturday at the Venezuelan Embassy.

In the Chiquibul Forest, there are two types of peccaries. This one is the collared peccary. Our expectation is that with further protection these species will start to rebound once more.

Channel 7

PM Offers Compromise On Teachers' 3%
When we left you on Friday the teachers unions said it would be extending its strike until at least Wednesday of this week, because the Prime Minister had put off a meeting with them to discuss the 3% salary increase. Well, the PM didn't want to be held responsible for extending the strike, so he brought up the meeting to today. The PM and his senior financial advisors met with the teachers union, as well as the Public Service Union and The Association Of Public Service Senior Managers - what is called the joint union negotiating team at the Biltmore. When he came out, he seemed confident Government had proposed a meaningful concession. Here's:... Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "I received a communication from a Good Samaritan yesterday that if I moved up the meeting there was a likelihood that we could reach agreement and naturally the quicker we can end the strike, the better. I think it went well. I made some proposals which certainly two of the 3 unions have already signaled that. The BNTU says it is taking those proposals to its council of management this afternoon and it is likely that by the time of our press conference at 2pm, their position should also have been made clear."

Why Didn't PSU and APSSM Join BNTU Strike?
So, today makes Day 10 of the strike, and although the teachers got an infusion of support from COLA, which we'll show you later on in the news, all they have right now is a commitment from the business community that they might shutdown - at some unknown date. The teachers are therefore isolated in what has been a punishing 2 weeks, where their salary will more than likely be docked. So, shouldn't the other sister unions be joining them by now? That's what the press asked the other 2 Union leaders, and here's how they answered: Sharon Frazer, Senior Magistrate: "The issues of good governance have been on the negotiating table from the very beginning and not just that, by extension, with the NTUCB. So that these issues have always been there. When in fact the deferral was brought to us, we said okay with the condition that some of these very good governance procedures were put in place. So it is not that we have not been supporting the good governance issue. We have always been there, we've always been supportive and we continue to be supportive and in fact demand that these good governance measures be put in place. So we've not said anything and we have not gone striking because we don't have an industrial dispute, legally for us to be striking would mean that we had an industrial dispute and we don't have one. So we cannot jeopardize our membership in that form and fashion."

Vega Resigns From Cabinet, Was He Forced Out Due To Scandal?
And while the unions continue to dominate the news, today politics was making news that would have been a headline on any other day. Last week, the media broke the news about an ugly land scandal. It involved the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega and his son Andre Vega. Andre Vega was given title for a piece of land near the Haulover Bridge - land which was already owned by someone else. The Ministry was warned about this - but the title was still issued to a Vega's right hand man, Hilmar Alamilla for a pittance, $2,500 dollars. He sold it to Andre Vega for fifteen thousand, who was then entitled to compensation at market value because the government had given him title to land which was already owned. That compensation was valued at four hundred thousand dollars, and though there is a very long queue of persons waiting for compensation - Vega got pushed right to the top, where he got one hundred grand up front and fifty thousand every month. He got his last payment at the end of March, meaning that he had made a profit of over two thousand percent, thanks to taxpayer dollars.

New "Lands" Minister Catalogues Compensation Racket
And so while that is the political dimension of the scandal - which has forced a rapid fall from grace for the man who was deputy Prime Minister up to 11 months ago - there is the administrative side of it. Someone has to dig into this compensation case, and the larger racket that was being run with undeserving compensations being awarded. That person in the new Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage. Speaking at the press conference, she said that everything about this transaction was wrong, and it now has to be made right:... Hon. Vanessa Retreage, Minister of Natural Resources: "It is clear that the government of Belize did not have the right to issue title to land which it did not own. I have given a deadline for the close of business on Wednesday of this week for the information to be provided to me and then thereafter a final decision will be made as to what action will be taken in relation to this matter." "And where it is found that monies have been paid out wrongfully, such monies must be recovered. Unjust enrichment at the expense of government cannot be countenance." After laying out the official position Retreage delved into the details of this dirty deal - which saw four hundred thousand dollars in compensation go to Andre Vega, and another four hundred thousand go to attorney Sharon Pitts. Now most of the details have already been revealed by the media, but Retreage outlined the evidence from the records at Natural Resources. It started in 2011 when Sharon Pitts was wrongly given permission to survey a parcel of land for which title had already been given in 1988:..

CEO Struggled With, Froze Compensation Payouts
And, clearly this kind of thing, this undue compensation had been taxing the entire Ministry, and today the CEO, Sharon Ramclam says she had to put a stop to compensation payouts:... Sharon Ramclam, CEO - Lands Department "On the matter of compensation, I have belabored this point many times over at the CEO caucus and it's very frustrating. When I took over the ministry in March 2014 and compensation requests were presented to me, my briefing from the legal counsel and the commissioner on those cases was essentially thorough and in many instances were as a result of duplications."

Tough Questions For PM
So, while Gaspar Vega denies any knowledge that the land was private, in fact he must, because otherwise it would mean that he knowingly forced the government into a situation where his son had to be compensated. The documents we have seen says that the Lands Department surveyors told their bosses from as early as 2011 that this piece of land near the Haulover Bridge is private land, and not available for the Government to sell. As we told, Sharon Pitts, who also got 400 thousand dollars in compensation, received a permit to survey, and it was canceled because the Lands Department confirmed that it was private. Today, the press challenged the Prime Minister on the assertion that Vega is innocent of abuse of the public trust, and here's how that exchange went: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "Is this not an instance of corruption itself sir and will you as the leader of the country take steps to recommend an audit of his term and possibly a criminal investigation?" Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "Sir, you've just heard the attorney general say that an audit has been completed. The findings of the auditor general will no doubt be released shortly. The question of the compensation in this case large, tax payers want to know that we will seek to recover the compensation and I told you that we will and the investigation is ongoing. The minister of lands try to detail for you all that happened, but expressly said that there are certain things that are still unclear."

Sharon, Super-Patriot Turned Into Wheeler-Dealer?
What about the other person who got a major come up off the land? We already heard how the Government will try to get back that money from Andre Vega, but they did not say what they will do about Sharon Pitts. For 2 days last week, we had been trying our very best to get a comment from her as to the validity of her compensation of 400 thousand dollars. She hadn't made herself available to us, but today, we got a statement from her which says, quote, "I applied for some 2.5 acres National Land near mile 5 and was issued Lease for (a) reduced amount of 1.6 acres, and on purchase thereafter, obtained title via the Lands Department. I did not know it was private land. Based on my title to the land, I had a legitimate expectation that I would be legally compensated the market value as the norm. 1 Accepted the amount of $400,000, and maintain ownership of the portion which was finally reduced to 0.6 acres not affected by the mistake as a basis for settlement though I felt it was well below market value. My greatest care continues to be for our country, Belize." End quote.

Faber Fire Starter Charged, Arsonist Previously Accused
Police have arrested and charged a Belize City man for setting Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber's vehicle on fire. Allen Martinez - who was charged for arson 9 years ago - now stands charged again. Police say they are confident but strictly would not go into details. Inspector Juanito Cocom - OC, Ladyville Police: "Twenty nine years old unemployed Allen Jovan Martinez from Central American Blvd Belize City was charged for the crime of arson on the 15th of October 2016." Reporter: "Was that footage clear enough whereby you can definitively say that Mr. Allen is the person in that footage?" Inspector Juanito Cocom - OC, Ladyville Police: "I will not comment more on the investigation. We have some evidence in the respect to that." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Has he indicated that he's working or that he did it on behalf of anyone? Or did he do it on behalf of himself?"

Camalote Criminals Viciously Beat Cop
A police officer was almost beaten to death in Camalote. Last night after 6:00 PC Mark Rodriguez was at Serenita Bar when two men attacked and viciously beat him. They left him thrown on the ground, bloody and unconscious. Reports are that the young men thought that Rodriguez had called the cops on them for smoking weed. According to Rodriguez's wife, it was a big misunderstanding, one that has her husband of 14 years, clinging to life at the KHMH. Reporter: "What was the story? What did he tell you happened?" Cryta Zelaya, Common Law wife: "He doesn't know anything, all he knows is that he went to deal with the lady at the bar, because he has cases with her and she called him for him to go check about a case so it can be settled and that was it. I heard 2 young boys were smoking weed and they were accusing him, that is what the people at the bar were telling me, that they were accusing him of calling police on them because they were smoking weed and that was it, they hit him with a chair and that is what they told me and they beat him on the ground and assaulted him and stabbed him with a knife or something they had and that is what caused all the injury to his body and his mandible is broken."

Murder Over Drug Turf On La Isla Bonita
Police have charged Dwayne Goff for Saturday's San Pedro execution. At around 5:10 Saturday morning, 43 year old Lincoln Robinson was walking on Barrier Reef Drive when a man shot him twice to the face at close range. Reports are that Robinson had been hanging out at Daddy Rock's night club earlier, where he got into an altercation with a group of men. Police believe that one man from that group followed Robinson after he left the night club and shot him. Police say this may be as a result of a drug turf war on the island. Robinson has been on the news before, he was charged in May 2014 in connection with the shooting of a 17 year old mother on San Pedro. That was also as a result of a turf war. On a final note, police also told us that the 17 year old's common law husband was shot about 2 weeks ago and just came out of a coma, so they are also looking into that case.

Saldivar and Mason, Business Partners, Despite Denials
With all the pressure on the Barrow Administration right now, the Prime Minister just can't afford anymore controversy. But the old William Mason scandal, and the accused murderer's business ties to former Police Minister John Saldivar is making news all over again. It involves documents from the Belize Companies Registry, and the registry certificate for a business named Bandits Sport, which is presumably the parent company for Saldivar Belmopan Bandits Football Club. It's shows that there are 10 shares in the company. Saldivar owns 7, and the other 3 belongs to William Mason. It is signed by both men, and it is dated August 18, 2015. This document proves that Mason is Saldivar's business partner in the company, which is something he had been denying since the gruesome murder of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas became public knowledge. Here he is, from our archives, repeatedly insisting as much:

PM Backtracks On Business Connection
So, when we met him this afternoon, we asked Prime Minister Barrow about the disclosures, and he told us that he will have to do his investigation on the document before making any comment: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "In another matter, documents have been revealed that John Saldivar and William Mason - there is greater degree of relationship where the company registry shows that...." Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "I've heard something. I've not been briefed on that. It is as the lands matter when you asked me on Thursday I had not been briefed - I have now been briefed and that is what the press conference is about this afternoon. Similarly in terms of what you are saying with respect to Minister Saldivar, as soon as I have been properly briefed I will come to you and deal with that in the same way as I'm going to deal with the lands matter this afternoon." This evening, the John Saldivar camp sent out a press release which says, quote, "A document which has been a part of the public record at the Companies Registry since August 18th of last year has been circulated in the media as proof of "a business relationship between John Saldivar and William Mason".

Hostel Kids Escape, Caught With Loaded Burglar
Last week Wednesday afternoon, 7 minors, 5 males and two females, absconded from the Youth Hostel. Six of them were caught the following morning with a 42 year old man - whose vehicle was stuffed with loot from a residential burglary in the Belizean/American New Site, in Hattieville Village. Rural Police told us more: ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural: "They were all captured as well as an individual with a truck loaded with stolen goods from a burglary in Hattiville where our officers were diligent in intercepting that vehicle. We had several of the individuals who had escaped from hostel with that individual with stolen items from a home in the Hattieville area." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Had these juveniles been involved in the commission of that burglary?" ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural: "A couple of them apparently so."

Fatal Accident In PG
A man was knocked down and killed last night on the Southern Highway. Around 6:35, 37 year old Maya Mopan resident Domingo Pau was driving from Bella Vista to PG when an oncoming vehicle with high beams blinded him. Before the vehicle passed him, he saw San Marcus resident Jose Rash on his bicycle in front of him. Pau swerved to avoid hitting Rash but it was too late. Police have detained Pau in this investigation.

Cabbie Shot In City
A taxi driver was ambushed and shot on an early morning run. Yesterday morning at around 1:14, 29 year old Emet Baptist picked up a man and a woman at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Banak Street. Baptist took them down Aloe Vera Street as they had asked but when they got there instead of giving Baptist the taxi fare, the man pulled out a gun and demanded money. Baptist handed over $35 and the gunman shot Baptist. He was hit to the finger and shoulder. Baptist quickly reversed and sped off to the hospital. Police continue to look into this shooting.

Lawless Driver Pulls Gun On Cop
Earlier on in this segment, we told you about a police officer who was beaten to within inches of his life in a Camalote bar. Well, there's another case of absolute lack of respect for the law in Burrell Boom. That's where the driver of an unlicensed Mazda Tribute pulled a gun on a police officer. The Officer Commanding Rural told us more:... ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural: "The driver of that black tribute pulled a firearm on our police officer who was stationed at Burrell Boom. When the message went out, our rural rapid response and relief responded in search for the individual and about 2:47pm, he was found in the Ladyville area. One black and silver 9mm was recovered from a yard along with a cell phone and the individual was captured and has been since charged. He will be charged today for aggravated assault and kept unlicensed firearm."

Making Trade Licencing Simpler
We also asked Bradley about his thoughts on the recent land scandal involving the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Gaspar Vega and his son, Andre Vega. Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor: "Well I cannot have a comment on the specific issue, because I am not - I don't know in relation to that. I will say though, that my comments in relation to anti-corruption has been very clear. I would urge members of the public to be aware of the issues in relation to reform. I had the opportunity to read the UN Convention Against Corruption, and it doesn't deal with only the corruption of an elected official. The bulk of that speaks off procurement, it speaks of campaign finance reform. It speaks of controlling the actions of public officers so that there's a significant portion on that in terms of dealing with this issue in a one off area, we've had instances of corruption we in the public, the media, the private sector, elected officials, even private citizens, you need to deal with corruption in a comprehensive way, and reform needs to be comprehensive. I don't want to make a comment because I don't know of the specific circumstances, you're giving me information in relation to the media story, but I think that in all of that, it should not be lost that we need to look at systematic ways to make our government perform more effectively and more efficiently."

Bradley Comments On Vega Scandal
We also asked Bradley about his thoughts on the recent land scandal involving the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Gaspar Vega and his son, Andre Vega. Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor: "Well I cannot have a comment on the specific issue, because I am not - I don't know in relation to that. I will say though, that my comments in relation to anti-corruption has been very clear. I would urge members of the public to be aware of the issues in relation to reform. I had the opportunity to read the UN Convention Against Corruption, and it doesn't deal with only the corruption of an elected official. The bulk of that speaks off procurement, it speaks of campaign finance reform."

Guat Navy Detains, Releases Belizeans
Information released form the government at newstime tells us that "6 Belizeans were detained earlier this afternoon by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel, while they were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras." Government says "the Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel intercepted the Belizeans…at a point between the mouth of the Moho River, Toledo District, Belize and Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala. The Guatemalan Navy claimed that the Belizeans were illegally fishing in Guatemala." The Ministry of foreign Affairs and the BDF intervened immediately and "the Belizeans were released and returned to the location where they were first encountered."

COLA With Teachers
At the top of the news, we showed you this morning's meeting between Prime Minister and the teachers as part of the Joint Unions Negotiating Team. He's trying to bring a close to the strike, while under pressure from the Gaspar Vega scandal which has forced this senior member of his Cabinet to resign due to the public embarrassment it has caused. Part of their stance for industrial action is for good governance, and an end to corruption. Today, COLA, held a press conference to announce that the teachers are not alone. Here is an excerpt of that event where President Geovannie Brackett is declaring why they remain aligned with the BNTU:

Vega Nephew Almost Came Up On BTL?
And tonight, we have a brief look at another land deal concerning a Vega relative. This time it's former Deputy Lands Commissioner Nestor Hernandez - who is Vega's nephew. Hernandez was the former deputy commissioner of lands who formed a company named NSV Enterprise. The owners of record are Nestor Eduardo Hernandez and Susanna Angelica Hernandez. Now, here's what happened. BTL already owned a parcel of land in Hopkins upon which it had a tower and phone switch. BTL had title, but through some arrangement, a connected person named Moses Lopez got title for the land in 2013, which he then sold to NSV Enterprise Limited. As we understand it, someone acting on behalf of NSV went to BTL and demanded payment since BTL was on their property. The company balked, and we understand a complaint went to the Prime Minister. We do know that Hernandez was terminated from the ministry in 2014.

Former Vega CEO Beverly Castillo Williams Has No Worries
And keeping it in Ladyville, the area representative for that area was a former career public servant turned politician Beverly Castillo, now Beverly Williams. That career as a public officer and her UDP loyalty led her to the CEO's office in the Ministry of Natural Resources back in 2008. She served there under Gaspar Vega until 2013, when she went to pursue her career in politics. So is Castillo now concerned that an audit of the department is underway? That is might unearth dirty deals which went down when she was CEO? Today she bristled at that suggestion and told us she doesn't have the slightest concern:…

New Beat For New Cops
And while the dirty cop who did that will have to found, Ladyville today welcomed 10 new officers. They were receiving orientation today, and Broaster says they will have to walk the straight and narrow:…

Pakeman File Still With DPP
Today we asked Ladyville police about the status with the Dorian Pakeman file. Pakeman, the Director of the Government Press Office knocked down and killed 45 year-old Gardenia Villager Dean Dawson back in March As we've reported, Pakeman's sample tested positive for the presence of cocaine - but the DPP never got that result because a police officer suppressed it. And at the same time Dawson's blood sample appears to have been tampered with because it had more alcohol than blood. A lot of funny business in this case for sure, and today Broaster said they are following up on instructions from the DPP:

Seismic Stress
Last week we told you about the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum's plan to conduct seismic surveys in offshore Belize. The environmental community has expressed grave concern about this, especially after Cabinet approved the surveys without an Environmental Impact Assessment. Since then, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, which consists of organizations like OCEANA and the World Wildlife Fund, has asked the Cabinet to stay its decision until proper assessments can be done in order to determine the effects of the surveys on the marine environment. The Coalition has received no response from the government, however a statement from SeaBird Exploration, the company contracted to do the surveys has them up in arms. According to SeaBird's release, the company will be conducting surveys in Belize starting mid-October. This is concerning to many because SeaBird describes itself as "a global provider of marine acquisition for 2D/3D and 4D seismic data, and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry."

#518366 - 10/18/16 07:08 AM Re: Today's Belize News: October 18, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

Gaspar Vega Leaves Cabinet; Position Under Pressure Following Land Deal
Speculation was rampant all morning that once powerful Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and, more recently, Minister of Agriculture, Gaspar Vega, had resigned this morning. The conjecture [...]

Ex-DPM Remains O.W. North Rep; Barrow Acknowledges Transaction Was “Mistake”
Vega has been in cabinet since 2008 and was first named Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources. According to the Prime Minister, “his personal friend,” is not demitting [...]

Current Lands Minister Admits G.O.B. Did Not Have Authority Over Parcel
The entire transaction outlining the initial acquisition of the property in question, as well as its allotment and subsequent purchase by Pitts and Vega was presented in great detail by [...]

Government Paid Out Compensation Sums Over Several Months
Both Pitts and Vega were compensated by government more than eight hundred thousand dollars over the course of seven months.  In the case of Pitts, payments commenced in March 2015 [...]

Barrow Family Company Paid Princely Sum for Placencia Land Blocking Their Property
Even as the Prime Minister was announcing the resignation from Cabinet of Gaspar Vega, additional information was surfacing about land deals that stink to high heaven.  The following has to [...]

More Big Money for Placencia Lands Paid to Vega Family and Friends
There is another instance of compensation paid for land in the peninsula. In February 2012, unknown to the residents of Placencia, who had been agitating for a reserve, land was [...]

Prime Minister Offer Compromise to Joint Unions Negotiating Team – B.N.T.U. Has No Decision
On Friday, the Belize National Teachers’ Union had declared that its strike action would go into a third week. It insisted that this was because the critical labour issues, including [...]

P.S.U. and A.P.S.S.M. Defend Approach to Negotiation
The B.N.T.U.’s representatives rushed out of the Biltmore to their meeting without speaking to the press. However, the heads of the Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior [...]

No Industrial Dispute, Says A.P.S.S.M. President
According to Senior Magistrate Frazer, it is important to note that the P.S.U. and A.P.S.S.M., unlike the B.N.T.U., do not believe there is presently an industrial dispute because negotiations have [...]

John Saldivar Claims Old Bandits Company with William Mason is Dead
When the William “Danny” Mason affair exploded in July, the man most affected was then-Minister of National Security John Saldivar. It didn’t take twenty-four hours after his arrest for Saldivar [...]

Accused Arsonist of Deputy P.M.’s Government Vehicle is Charged
The man believed to have set fire to DPM Patrick Faber’s government issued Mazda SUV appeared in court this morning. Allen Martinez was picked up by Ladyville Police on Thursday [...]

Murder on San Pedro: “Old Beef” Killed Lincoln Robinson Senior
He was charged back in 2004 with aggravated assault, threat of death against a police officer and discharging a firearm in public, as well as the possession of an unlicensed [...]

San Pedro Police Claim Success in Stemming Drugs Trade
But police on La Isla Bonita have been fighting drug trafficking clamping down on the perennial issue on the island. In fact, statistics are that since the start of the [...]

Rural Eastern Division Still Confident in Sarkis Abou-Nehra Case
Of eighteen persons initially charged in connection with the December home invasion at the house of Sarkis Abou-Nehra, twelve have been freed of charges. In an update, police said that [...]

Police Working on Dorian Pakeman File; Investigate Evidence Tampering
Who excluded the Dorian Pakeman cocaine positive forensic lab test from the file that went to the D.P.P.? This is in connection with the fatal traffic accident in which the [...]

Chamber of Commerce Pulls Support for Business Shutdown
A shutdown of businesses by members of the business community is off the table. This follows meetings between the Prime Minister and the President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce [...]

6 Belizean Fishermen Held in Guatemala Now Safely Back Home
At news time tonight, six Belizeans are safely back home after being held briefly by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel. The men were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras when [...]

COLA Got the Teachers’ Back!
Teachers remained away from the classrooms today as the strike entered a third week. But this morning, COLA called a fiery press conference, standing room only at the Radisson’s VIP [...]

COLA Demands Good Governance Agenda be Implemented
For each of the demands by teachers for good governance, COLA is demanding G.O.B. to take action. Brackett says that government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand [...]

Progressive Party Joins In; Says B.N.T.U. Cannot Stand Alone
The B.N.T.U. has been weathering the storm almost alone, albeit with the support of parents, as the strike continues. At the press conference, the B.P.P.’s Patrick Rogers, expressed support and [...]

Students and Wil Maheia Speak Out
Lending moral support to their teachers were two sixth form students who made spirited presentations to the gathering.  A call for other trade unions to join in the teachers’ protest [...]

“Big Jail” for 2 Teen Runaways Turned Alleged Burglars
Two hostel boys will be heading to prison. The boys, who are a part of a seven member escapee group, were caught in a vehicle with a man carrying stolen [...]

Burrell Boom Policeman Held Up With Gun
A Sunday mid-afternoon aggravated assault on a Burrell Boom Police Officer has led to the detention of one man. PC Larry Sutherland came face to face with a gun and [...]

Football and Cycling Top James Adderley’s Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.  


BNTU To Consult With Membership On Its Way Forward
The national strike by the Belize National Teachers Union continued today as leaders of the Union met with the Prime Minister in Belize City. But this was not a one-to-one meeting. You would recall that the last one held last Thursday ended in a stalemate. Today’s meeting also included leaders from the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and issue was reaching a final agreement on the Government’s proposal for a salary deferral. The PM has not been able to convince the BNTU to support it, but today he made a new proposal which he believes could achieve that, The PM explained. Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize: “In return for what would then be unanimous acceptance of the deferral of the 3% adjustment until next year April at that time government will also pay a 5% interest rate on the sum differed which I think should basically come up to something like $600,000.00 to $700,000.00 which would then be prorated among the recipients of the differed salary adjustment. With respect to the Social Security Expanded Coverage which I’ve signal from before I absolutely support that would have to come about by way an amendment to section 13 of the Social Security Act the Unions are proposed in forming a working group to go over the sort of language that would give what we all want but also contains safeguard restriction against abuse.”

APSSM Supportive Of Teachers And Their Industrial Action
As we mentioned earlier, the meeting included the PSU and APSSM. Those two Unions at odds with the BNTU. The PSU and APSSM have taken positions that are opposed by the BNTU. First the PSU and APSSM are for a salary deferral while the BNTU isn’t. The BNTU is engaging in industrial action but the PSU and the APSSM say they don’t see the need for it. Despite calls for support in the strike, the PSU and APSSM have stood on the side-lines so are they abandoning their fellow Union brothers and sisters? Sharon Fraser - President, APSSM: “We have been showing solidarity if you notice, the fact that we are not out there is being responsible, behaving responsible, as I said we don’t have an industrial dispute and strike is the last resort and in addition to that we are still negotiating in fact today is a reflection of the fact that we are still negotiating so that we were for the deferral if it is that we were not maybe it would have given us the drive to go towards industrial actions...”

Group Of Orange Walkenos Picket Against Teachers
So, while the teacher are fighting for the nation who is fighting for the teachers? Certainly not this group of parents who from last week Thursday have been picketing in front of the La Inmaculada Parish demanding for teachers to stand down from the strike and return to the classrooms immediately. This morning the group was back on the streets while the Belize National Teachers Union met with the Prime Minister to discuss the salary deferral. This time the group of protestors came out with an official permit and wearing white T-shirts. But as they marched through the streets of town the message was the same. Holding placards the group called for the BNTU to cease their industrial action. The peaceful demonstration ended shortly after 10:00 followed by a short gathering at the parking lot of the Banquitas House of Culture.

Missing Fisherman Presume To Be Dead
The Belize Coast Guard believes that one of three fisherman from the Village of Sarteneja in the Corozal District, who were fishing near Colson Caye, when they were held up and robbed at gunpoint, and beaten by armed pirates is tonight reported as “missing at sea” and believed to be dead. On the evening of Wednesday October 5th, the men were fishing in the Colson Caye area, near Tobacco Caye, about 18 miles east of Dangriga, Stann Creek District when they were attacked by pirates who stole all their marine products and personal belongings and were then tortured and forced to jump overboard into the sea before their boat was stolen. Reports are while the three fishermen jumped into the sea, one did not resurface. The two men who are said to have survived the ordeal swam to a nearby island and were assisted by other fishermen who called the Coast Guard. While we are aware of the missing fisherman’s identity it will not be reveled in order to protect his family.

Police Charge Man Accused Of Setting DPM's Vehicle On Fire
Last week we told you about the vehicle of Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber which was set on fire at his residence shortly after midnight on October 12th and how the perpetrator was caught in the act on surveillance camera. Though the man believed to be responsible for committing the illegal act was detained by authorities the following day on Thursday October 13th, no charges were levied against him until today where he was officially charged with the crime of ‘arson’. During his arraignment earlier today in the presence of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, Allen Martinez was denied bail due to a number of reasons presented by the prosecutor who stated that one Martinez might interfere with the witnesses if granted bail, two that the offence is that of a serious nature which carries a penalty of life imprisonment, three that the prosecution has a strong case and if granted bail the defendant might not return to court and lastly that Martinez entered the yard of the complainant.

PUP Calls For Criminal Investigation Into Corruption At Lands Department
As we told you at the top of the news cast, today former Deputy Prime Minister Gasper Vega, tendered his resignation from the Ministry of Agriculture. While Prime Minister Dean Barrow was not happy with the news, late this evening the People’s United Party issued a release welcoming the decision taken by Minster Vega, but expressed that his resignation is simply not enough. According to the PUP this was expected after revelations of the corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources, which resulted in the fraudulent enrichment of Vega’s oldest son. In their release the PUP also highlight other infractions committed in the Lands Department while at the hands of Minster Vega and calls for an immediate criminal investigation into the outrageous corruption at the Ministry of Natural Resources. The PUP also adds that PM Barrow seems determined to sweep the corruption under the rug like it is something frivolous and insignificant.

NCFC Calls For Teachers To go Back To Their Classrooms
As the BNTU strike entered into its third week today, the list of opposers to the shutdown of schools continue to grow. And while the numbers cannot be compared with those that support the teacher’s movement, the fact remains that there are certain organizations that believe the ongoing strike is going against the rights of a child. One of those organizations is the National Committee for Families and Children, (NCFC) who today issued a press release expressing its concern and regret for the plight that children are currently facing as it states that children are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights- the right to a good quality education. The release goes on to quote Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states “you have the right to a good quality education and be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.” Maintaining that the present state of affairs in which Belizean children are out of school for the past two weeks is a direct violation of such article. Adding that NCFC is of the firm belief that children should never be deprived of the opportunity to develop their abilities and talents.


Gaspar Vega Resigns from Cabinet Following Land Scandal
After ten years in the political arena and eight years in the Cabinet, Gaspar Vega has tendered his resignation as a Government minister. While the rumours were rampant since the weekend, the confirmation did not come until just after two o’clock this afternoon during a press briefing called by the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. DEAN […]

The Hot Parcel of Land Near the Haulover for $800K
Making a profit of just under four hundred thousand dollars in ordinary circumstances would perhaps never happen for the regular citizen but it happened for the son of Minister Gaspar Vega via transactions at the Lands Department which has now led to Vega’s resignation and in-depth investigation into past compensations made via the Lands Department. […]

PM Meets with Unions to Discuss Salary Deferral
Today the leaders of the Joint Negotiating Team which includes the Public Service Union, the Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The focus of the meeting was Government’s request for a deferral of the three percent salary adjustment to two thousand seventeen. When government initially […]

No Reason for PSU or APSSM to Join Strike Action
While the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Senior Service Managers have expressed solitary with the Belize National Teachers Union, they are not willing to carry out industrial act. According to APSSM President, Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer and PSU President, Eldred Neal there is no reason why their membership should be on strike. […]

3 Weeks into Strike Action by Teachers
The strike by the Belize National Teachers Union has entered its third week. Today the National Committee for Families and Children issued a release in which it says it is deeply concerned and regrets the plight that our children are currently facing as they are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights, which is […]

SJC 6th Form Students Petitioned to Express Solidarity with BNTU
The Student Government of St. John’s Junior College started an online petition to express their solidarity with the BNTU. Marissa Cervantes, a student at the Junior College spoke about the objectives of the petition. She said it has amassed five hundred and sixty seven signatures. MARISA CERVANTES “It was an online petition as I understand […]

COLA’S Stand Strong Ops in Solidarity with BNTU
The “Operation Stand Strong campaign” which COLA organized held a press conference featuring a panel to speak in solidarity with the Belize National Teacher’s Union. COLA’s objective was to show support for the eight demands the teachers are making from the government and to encourage the public to support Wednesday’s rally. Among the speakers were, […]

Policeman Savagely Beaten in Western Bar
A police officer attached to the Belmopan Police Station is hospitalized after he was beaten yesterday evening by a gang of young boys at a bar in Camalote Village, Cayo District. Mark Rodriguez had just gotten off duty and was heading home to San Ignacio when he made a stop at the Outback Ranch establishment […]

Policeman Sutherland Assaulted in Rural Belize
Police Constable Larry Sutherland was assaulted yesterday in Burrell Boom Village, Belize District. Rural Executive Officer, ACP Edward Broaster briefed the media on their investigations on this incident so far. EDWARD BROASTER “

Faber’s Vehicle Fire: Accused Arsonist Denied Bail
Allen Martinez, charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to a Government vehicle assigned to Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, was denied bail when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the defendant might interfere with the witnesses if granted bail, that the […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Santa Elena protest update – Protestors break lock on school’s gate
Earlier today about 25 residents and UDP supporters held a protest in front of the Santa Elena Primary School demanding that the school gate be opened and that BNTU branch president, and Principal of the school, Mr. Manuel Medina, resign. A video has surfaced […]

Chamber will not proceed with national shutdown of businesses
Following a meeting of the Executive Council of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) held this morning, the Chamber has decided not to proceed with the national shutdown of businesses. At its membership meeting held in Belize City last week, the Chamber’s […]

6 Belizeans detained by Guatemalan Navy
The Government of Belize (GOB) has issued a press release informing the public that six (6) Belizeans were detained earlier this afternoon by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel while they were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras. According to the release, the Guatemalan coastal […]

There will be no classes tomorrow!
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) is heading into its eleventh day of strike tomorrow, Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Today the Prime Minister met with the unions and proposed that if they accepted the salary adjustment deferral scheduled for next April, he would pay […]

PM confirms Gaspar Vega’s resignation from Cabinet
The Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, has accepted the resignation of Agriculture Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega. Vega tendered his resignation from Cabinet during a private meeting with PM Barrow on Sunday, October 16th in Belize City. PM Barrow also indicated that he […]

Vega land scandal continues to unfold even after resignation
As Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the resignation of Minister Gaspar Vega, formerly of Natural Resources (Lands), in the wake of a scandal in which Minister Vega allegedly abused his authority to enrich his family and associates through highly suspect land transactions, another report […]

PM Barrow meets with BNTU
Prime Minister Dean Barrow exited an impromptu meeting with the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU) and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) with smiles stretched across his face. According to Barrow, two of his proposals to the unions […]

NCFC demands children return to classes
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) issued a press release today expressing its concern and regret for the plight that children are currently facing as it says they are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights, which is explicitly stated in […]

Resilience and Optimism – Banana industry fighting to recover
A major player in Belize’s productive sector, the banana industry is fighting to recover from natural disaster, and from external factors mainly affecting one of the largest farms in Southern Stann Creek. In his Independence Day address less than a month ago, Prime Minister […]

Santa Elena residents and UDP activists protest closure of Santa Elena Primary School
About 25 people, comprised mostly of UDP activists and Ministry of Works employees, and led by UDP Chairman, Alberto August, gathered in front of the Santa Elena Primary School shortly after 9 this morning to protest the closure of school. The protestors held placards […]

COLA to PM Barrow: “Yuh name stink”
At a press conference in Belize City this morning, COLA’s President Geovanni Brackett held back no blows. He slammed the Prime Minister for negotiating the future of BTL with Michael Ashcroft somewhere in a hotel room in Miami. “Because of this dictator the country has […]

COLA, BPP and BTV slam GOB on corruption scandals
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) and the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) led a press conference in support of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) today in Belize City. These organizations were joined by students of the St. […]

Gaspar Vega reportedly to resign from Cabinet
Unconfirmed but credible reports to BBN indicate that Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega has announced that he will resign from Cabinet in the wake of a scandal which surfaced last week implicating the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Lands in a […]

Belize to receive $400 million from CDB
Belize is set to receive a loan of US $200.5 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to finance a 2016-2020 strategy plan aimed at addressing social, environmental and economic challenges. “CDB remains a committed partner in helping Belize achieve sustained growth and development. This strategy will bolster […]

Leaked document proves business relationship between John Saldivar and William Mason
A leaked document apparently proves ownership of the Belmopan Bandits football team between Minister of Defense John Saldivar and accused murderer William Mason. Saldivar had previously reported to the media that he had accepted a $50,000 contribution to the Bandits from Mason. He said […]

Can BNTU hold strong?
Almost 240 hours or 14,400 minutes ago the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) first announced that it would strike. Since then it has lost thousands of dollars in salaries and logged behind in the progress of its syllabus. This sacrifice so great and so […]

Road traffic accident in Ladyville; Motorcycle collides into a taxi
A road traffic accident was reported in Ladyville at around 8:30 last night. A motorcycle carrying two persons collided head on into a taxi that was about to make its way onto the highway. The incident occurred in front of the Shell gas station. […]

Police officer beaten by two men in Camalote
A police officer in the village of Camalote in the Cayo District was badly beaten by two men last night. The officer has been identified as Mark Rodriguez. According to reports, the police officer is in a serious condition at KHMH and the two […]


Pregnant, beautiful and happy
Ngai contacted me and he told me he saw my work and he would love me to capture his moments with his wife, before she leave the country to have the baby… and we had a beautiful shoot, on the lagoon, on a beautiful private island… more like a sandbar… and was fantastic! Moments of tenderness, happiness and excitement from both parents is what I captured… Enjoy few of their beautiful images.

International Sourcesizz

Belize to begin oil exploration near threatened World Heritage site
The Central American country of Belize today announced plans for the start of oil offshore exploration across a vast stretch of its Caribbean Sea waters. Belize's coastal area consists of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. Conservationists warn that seismic testing for subsea oil deposits, which is set to begin on Thursday, has dangers for marine life that have not been assessed. If it proceeds, the testing will occur just over one kilometre away of the fragile Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, which has been listed as in danger by UNESCO. WWF believes that an oil spill anywhere within Belize's waters could be catastrophic for residents whose livelihoods depend on healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. A spill also could threaten neighbouring areas of the broader Mesoamerican Reef System, which extends to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, WWF cautions.

Belize: IFSC Cancels Banc De Binary Trading Licence
The Belize financial watchdog, the International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC), has issued a warning notice against BDB Services (Belize) Limited, trading under the name of Banc De Binary, for non-compliance with some of the conditions of the annex related to the licence granted for “Trading in financial and commodity-based derivative instruments and other securities”. According to the watchdog, Banc De Binary, which is registered at No. 5 Cork Street, Belize City, Belize, is no longer licensed by the IFSC and has warned investors and other persons concerned to exercise caution since the aforementioned entity is no longer permitted, either by the IFSC or any other competent authority in Belize, to carry out any type of trading activity. The update was released by IFSC Director General Neri J. Matus, who last issued a warning against TradeFxP, a firm which falsely and fraudulently claimed to hold a trading in securities licence issued by the IFSC when it was in fact forged.

CDB to provide US$200m to fund Belize strategy plan
The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it will provide US$200.5 million to Belize to finance its 2016-2020 strategy plan. It said that the strategy will help the country address some of the social, environmental and economic challenges it faces. “CDB remains a committed partner in helping Belize achieve sustained growth and development. This strategy will bolster the government of Belize’s ongoing reform efforts by supporting interventions that will support inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and the promotion of good governance,” said CDB’s director of economics, Dr Justin Ram. The regional bank said that the strategy aims to drive five development outcomes including increasing competitiveness and productivity; improved quality and access to education and training; improved social sector outcomes; enhanced environmental management and reduced vulnerability to natural disasters; and improved governance and development planning.

WestJet Traffic Keeps Surging
Canadian carrier WestJet is seeing a major traffic surge, according to the company’s recently-released data. The company reported 1.89 billion revenue passenger miles in September, which represented a 16.3 percent increase in traffic over the same month in 2015. Available seat miles rose by 12.6 percent to 2.36 billion, while load factor reached 79.9 percent. The latter helped WestJet report a record load factor in the third quarter, during which it flew 5.9 million guests, also a record.

IMPACT Justice project continues its legal education survey in Barbados and southern Caribbean
The Canadian government-funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) project continues its survey of legal education this week. The IMPACT Justice consultants, Professor Jane Ching, Dr Noel Watson and Dr Adrian Cummins QC, will be conducting interviews from October 17 – 19 in Barbados before moving on to St Lucia (October 20), St Vincent (October 21 to 23), Grenada (October 24 – 26), Guyana (October 27 – 30), Trinidad (October 31 – November 3) and Belize (November 4 – 8). In each country, interviews are being arranged with attorneys general, ministers of education, deans of faculties of law, principals of law schools, presidents of law societies, bar associations and prominent attorneys-at-law. The survey of legal education, which is now in its final phase, was suggested by the Council of Legal Education. It is intended to consider the purpose of legal education and revisit the “West Indian System” to see how thinking has changed since it was designed in the 1960s and consider whether it is adequately meeting the needs of the region, particularly having regard to, inter alia:

CDB approves US$200 million country strategy for Belize
The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a country strategy for Belize for 2016 to 2020. The strategy proposes support of US$200.5 million for Belize over the four-year period. It will help the country address some of the social, environmental and economic challenges it faces. Dr Justin Ram, director of economics, CDB, noted: “CDB remains a committed partner in helping Belize achieve sustained growth and development. This strategy will bolster the government of Belize’s ongoing reform efforts by supporting interventions that will support inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and the promotion of good governance.”


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