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#521700 - 02/17/17 12:32 AM Today's Belize News: February 17, 2017  
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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, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

SPTC receives donation of tents
On Tuesday, February 7th, The San Pedro Town Council was the recipient of a donation of two igloo-shaped tents. The tents, measuring 12 feet in height, 20 in width, and 30 feet in length were donated by Frank Casares of Skydive San Pedro. Mayor Daniel Guerrero welcomed the kind donation and thanked Casares for his support to the community. According to Guerrero the tents will be of great use to the community, particularly in times of emergencies. The San Pedro Town Council offices open Monday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM. They can be reached via phone at 226-2198 and are located on Barrier Drive.

BNTU demands voter re-registration following Senate Inquiry into the Immigration Scandal
Following the Senate Inquiry into the Auditor General’s Special Audit Report on the Immigration scandal 2011-2013, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is now expressing concern about the distribution of questionable Belizean nationality certificates. In a statement issued on Thursday, February 9th, BNTU emphasized the need for re-registration. “The BNTU believes that our sacred democracy has been greatly compromised and tarnished by malpractices and we feel it is most URGENT that the necessary corrective measures be put in place. The BNTU therefore calls on the Government of Belize (GOB) to immediately address the clean-up of the voter registration list through a re-registration process, as required by law”. The release further stated that while the constitution states that a re-registration must be conducted every decade, the last vote re-registration exercise was carried out in 1997, which is 20 years. The BNTU stated that both political parties have utilized Statutory Instruments to avoid the process.

Red Cross San Pedro Brach hosts Valentine’s Day fundraiser
The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch hosted their Valentine’s Day fundraiser at Stella’s Smile on Sunday, February 12th. With a “Share the Love” theme, the fundraiser drew a crowd to enjoy their brunch special of savoury/sweet crepes and mimosas. Under the palapa, guests indulged their taste buds while DJ Matt Hoy spun love songs and took special requests for free. The fundraiser also featured great raffles and a special table for Valentine’s card crafting, complete with candy heart sayings, glitter, and lots of bling! The Red Cross would like to give a huge thank you to Stella’s Smile for hosting and serving their menu at the fundraiser. As usual, the proceeds will go to support San Pedro Red Cross initiatives, such as blood drives, and health and wellness education in the community.

SPTC addresses traffic issues with golf cart rental owners
In an effort to alleviate traffic-related issues on Ambergris Caye, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has been following the recommendations of Canadian traffic expert, Darwin Juell. Since the last traffic consultation on January 16th, the SPTC has made it a priority to address prominent issues affecting San Pedro’s daily traffic flow. As such, the SPTC met with several Lebanese golf cart rental owners regarding their business practices on Wednesday, February 8th. The SPTC has conducted several meetings with the various Taxi Associations, but this meeting with the golf cart rental owners came after numerous complaints were given via Facebook. Complaints included reckless driving, halting traffic and blaring music. The SPTC took these complaints into consideration and developed an itinerary to discuss with the Lebanese stakeholders.

Minister of Agriculture has high hopes of improving the agriculture sector
Over the past few years, the agricultural sector in Belize has experienced a series of setbacks, particularly in the citrus and banana industries. Since taking command of the Ministry of Agriculture, Honourable Godwin Hulse has met with several agriculture stakeholders in an effort to revive the agricultural sector, which contributes tremendously to the Belizean economy. The Ministry has launched a new campaign dubbed ‘Let’s Get Growing,’ in hopes of boosting the sector. According to Hulse, the whole idea is to expand production and take advantage of the market that exists, while at the same time try new ones. “The overall position is to create employment for people in rural areas, and earn foreign exchange,” said Hulse.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

The former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Belize passes away
Bishop OP Martin passed away this morning. Bishop Martin was the head of the diocese from 1984 to 2007.

Bishop Martin passes away
It is a sad morning to hear of the passing of Bishop O.P. Martin Belize's first native bishop who shepherded us for over 20 years in humility and love. You will be missed bishop. I thank God for your life and the gift of your vocation. May you rest in God's eternal peace until we one day meet again.

Fun Filled Valentine's Day Fundraiser for SPR Red Cross
"Share the Love" was the theme for the Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch's Valentine's Day fundraiser at Stella's Smile on Sunday, Feb. 12th. It was a perfect day for a leisurely Sunday Brunch under the Palapa, with DJ Hoy spinning love songs and songs we love by request. There were lots of great raffles and a special table for Valentine's card crafting, complete with candy heart sayings, glitter, and lots of bling! The Red Cross would like to give a huge thank you to Stella's Smile, for hosting, and for serving their savoury and sweet crepes and bottomless mimosas. Big thanks also go out to Matt Hoy, Kenny Guinn, ACES CSI Crocodile Tours, Ocean Ferry, Belizean Melody and Splashers, Madison Stone, Heather Smith, Pink, Brooklyn Brothers Bagels, Paradisecream, Science & Soul Yoga at Mahogany Bay, and Candle Garden for their generous support. Thank you also to all of the wonderful friends & neighbours who attended to support the Red Cross.

Formal Export of Live Cattle to Guatemala
On February 13th, 2017, a first shipment of live cattle was exported to Guatemala duty free, via the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. This marked the first export of live cattle under the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. It activated the Sanitary Agreement signed between Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and its Guatemalan counterpart. This shipment formalizes the trade of live cattle and provides a framework on which to build a robust cattle trade. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration congratulates the private sector stakeholders, in particular cattle farmers from Spanish Lookout, for their historic export and urges all cattle producers to use the formal route for trade. Banana Bank AgCo, the company that completed the first export of live cattle already exports corn and other products to Guatemala. The Ministry congratulates them and stand ready to assist others wishing to follow their lead.

Official photograph of CARICOM Heads of Government and Heads of Delegation
Taken on the occasion of the Twenty-Eighth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM Thursday at State House, Georgetown Guyana. The Belizean Delegation is led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington.

2017 FIRE SEASON OPENS
February 15th marks the opening of the Forest Fire Season. The Forest Department warns that this year’s fire season may be more intense due to the impact of Hurricane Earl on our forests. "Earl damaged large areas of forest, leaving on-ground debris caused by fallen trees and dead branches, which will pose a fire hazard in the 2017 dry season and beyond." said Wilber Sabido, Chief Forest Officer. Forester German Novelo, officer responsible for Forest Fire Prevention and Management, added that the impacts of forest fires can be far-reaching, not merely causing major damage to trees and vegetation, non-timber forest products and wildlife habitat; but can also destroy crops, homes, threaten lives, and contaminate our air with smoke which becomes a health hazard. Sabido and regional foresters met yesterday to review and discuss plans and preparations underway for this year’s anticipated significant forest fire potential. The department, which is responsible for the management of 3.5 million acres of national forests, notes that forest fires trends show that over 97,260 acres of Belize’s land surface are affected by wildfires each year. Fires most concentrated in savannah and broadleaf forests are either intentionally set by hunters for game hunting or arise from the negligent use of fire by farmers for the burning of their milpas and other agricultural lands.

Twin Towns Welcome Miss Belize Feb. 21
Another motorcade for Miss Belize on February 21st.

You are invited to attend Chamber Day Today
BCCI build networks with educational institutions and to develop a strong culture of private sector advocacy by interacting frequently with the future business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. The Chamber day is an educational fair promoting the role and services of the Chamber and other key organizations and bodies that contribute to making business happen; from the start of opening a business to the regular operations and the continued existence of the business. In addition, businesses will showcase their services and products to further encourage emerging small business entrepreneurs in the Orange Walk District. You are cordially invited to come out and be a part of Chamber Day, Orange Walk.

Dangriga Cancer Society tshirt design competition
The Dangriga Cancer Society is having a tshirt design competition for this year's cancer walk to be held on May 13th. The top 3 designs selected were all done by local high school students. Voting has already commenced and ends on Sunday Feb 19th at 7 p.m. The winner with most likes will be the design for this years cancer walk and also receives a a tablet and a $200 cash prize. #1 design was done by Kevon Laurie from Ecumenical High #2 design was done by Jalen Castillo from Ecumenical High #3 design was done by Ernest Peters from ITVET.

The Snowbird Ball, Feb 18th
Consejo Village, 6-10pm

Education Month Theme Competition
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture extends an invitation for you to participate in this year's theme competition

Business Cultural Expo at the Xaibe R. C. School
Don't forget the Business Cultural Expo at the Xaibe R. C. School grounds today Friday, February 17th beginning at 9:30 a. m. Please support a wonderful cause. See you there.!

Anthropology Day
Galen University had their Anthropology Day at Falcon Field today, and it was a hit. They educated, in a fun way, 100's of primary school students. Thanks, Galen! "GU's Anthropology Club celebrates Anthropology Day 2017 with primary school students from Sacred Heart Primary, St. Andrew's Primary and Faith Nazarene Primary where they engaged and shared info about the awesome world of Anthropology. Great job Anthro Club!"

Miss Belize Cayo Motorcade
Bex is coming to Cayo on Tuesday. "I'm travelling around Belize to say thank you for all our love and support. That love and support from home is powerful fuel for representatives, athletes and performers representing abroad! It's Cayo on Feb 21st but I'm happy to come anywhere your school or organization invite me!"

The Belize Tourism Board Team conducting country presentations in Phoenix and Los Angeles!

Archaeology is fun! And important
The Belize Police Department officers learned about cultural preservation and heritage protection from Dr. Andrew Cohen, archaeology expert from the U.S. Department of State, Dr. Alexandra Jones of Archaeology in the Community, and Dr. Alan Moore and Antonio Beardall of Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize.

"NO OIL" drone photo in Hopkins
Hey Hopkins! Let's do a drone photo in Hopkins similar to what was done in Placencia, Caye Caulker and San Pedro. This will require a bunch of participants. Lets stay vigilent #nomeansnogob Beach cleanup was done Saturday the 11th so just come and be part of the photo. Let send a message!

Anthropology Day 2017
Galen University's Anthropology Club celebrates Anthropology Day 2017 with primary school students from Sacred Heart Primary, St. Andrew's Primary and Faith Nazarene Primary where they engaged and shared info about the awesome world of Anthropology. Great job Anthro Club!

Channel 7

Jason Cortez Killed In Late Evening City Shooting
A city man was gunned down and killed last night on Western Avenue. We had told you about the shooting in last night's news but today we have more details. Courtney Weatherburne went to find out more about this latest Southside homicide. Courtney Weatherburne, reporting: It's beside this sprouting palm tree that 21 year old Jason Cortez struggled to stay alive. Cortez was walking on Western Avenue last night when a man shot him several times. Cortez ran off after he was hit but he didn't get too far. He collapsed in this yard at corner of Western and Electric Avenue. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer: "Unfortunately he got most of it to his body, the chest, the abdomen area, back, he was rushed to the KHMH and succumbed while undergoing treatment." Reports are that the gunman followed Cortez as he walked down Western Avenue. Now Neither Police nor his family know where he was heading. His sister says Cortez didn't say anything when he went off yesterday evening. But not too long after, they got the terrible news.

15 Year-old Raped After Blacking Out From Alcohol
There is a disturbing Valentine's rape case to report. A 15 year old girl was hanging out and drinking with 2 men at a house in Benque Viejo. The girl reported that she can't remember what happened after she took her first drink at 1030 in the morning. She only remembers being awakened by man who found her on the floor in the house at 7:30 that night. So, according to her report, she was blacked out pretty much all day. The girl was taken to the doctor and it was confirmed that she has been carnally known. Police gave us more details on this case. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer: "I received information, actually a report was made by a 15 year old, and she is saying that on Valentines day, she was in the company of two men. She did not indicate her age rage, sometime around 10am, in a house in Benque Viejo and she is saying that they were drinking and smoking cannabis and after taking her first drink, she felt dizzy. When she woke up again, it was like 7:30 in the evening when she was awoken by someone - another man, not any of the two that she was originally with and she is saying that she was carnally known. Doctor has certified since that yes, she was carnally known. So we are looking for these two people."

Veteran Court Journalist Assaulted By Prisoner
Being a frontline journalist may look simple enough, but it can be dangerous. That's what veteran court reporter and photographer Anita Nembhard found out today. She works the beat at Magistrate's Court every day which means coming face to face with everyone from alleged killers to petty thieves. And more than just face to face, she has to take their pictures - many times against their will! Well today things when very wrong when she was punched d in the nose by a convicted murderer named Byron James. He was going back to prison, when she snapping pictures of other prisoners, and without provocation, he punched her. She told us what happened as she was making a police report today at the Euphrates precinct sub station: Anita Nembhard, Court Reporter: "Byron James came to court today to get his verdict on a murder case. He was found guilty like a year ago and the judge decided to hand down his judgement and he found him guilty. I wasn't in court when they told him he was guilty but I knew it was going to happen because I came to court and I was following the case, so I came back a little late and I found out from the prosecutor that they found him guilty. I got his picture already and I was just taking pictures of the prisoners when they were leaving. I wasn't focusing on Byron. I said nothing to Mr. James in the sense to irritate him or aggravate him in any way. I believe he was upset because he was found guilty of murder."

The Catholic Church Loses Bishop Martin
Today the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belmopan and Belize City announced the passing of 86 year old Bishop OP Martin. Osmand Peter Martin was born in 1931, and was ordained into priesthood in April 1959. After serving in parishes throughout the diocese for 33 years, Martin was ordained Auxiliary Bishop and was the first Garifuna and Belizean bishop for the Church. He was appointed Bishop of the Belmopan and Belize City diocese two years later in 1984. After serving the Catholic Church for 48 years, the then 76 year old bishop retired to his family home in Dangriga where he passed away in his sleep early this morning. Martin's family and other bishops are being consulted about his funeral arrangements. When more details are available, we will let you know.

Contrabandists Caught With Loads of Illegal Soft Drinks
The trade in the contraband in the north may never stop, and so the customs department will always have something to bust. They conducted An operation this afternoon in the Santa Cruz area, and at around 12 midday, the team intercepted two vehicles on the Progresso Road. One of them was a green Ford ranger with 20 cases assorted soft drinks. and one green Isuzu rodeo with 14 cases Superior canned beer. Both drivers were charged.

Officer Reynolds' Take On Minister Frequenting Immigration
Last night, we brought you coverage of the yesterday's Senate Hearings on Immigration, and we showed you how the Committee grilled Port Commander and Senior Immigration Officer George Reynolds. He had to answer questions from the Senate Select Committee about those 8 stolen visas of December 2012. As viewers are aware, that's what triggered the Special Audit of the Immigration Department, which is now the subject of tough questions for those who worked there, or those who are named in the Audit. They'll have to strap in because, these public hearings will continue for well… probably the next few months. While he was before them, the Senators decided to ask him about those ministers who were showing up regularly, pressing influence to expedite applications for visas, nationalities and passports. Here's his take on that, given his 26 years of experience in "the belly of the beast":

Immigration Officers Refused To Follow Protocol?
We also have more from the testimony of Teresita Castellanos. you'll remember her as the former Finance Officer for the Department who held nothing back yesterday when she mauled the Immigration Officers. She described the Immigration Department as a place with "an entrenched culture of corruption and hustling". According to Castellanos, the officers behave like a fraternity, resisting order and transparency, and covering for each other. So why does she have such a negative view of these public officers? Well, she said that she and the Former Acting Immigration Director, Maria Marin, tried to get them to follow the rules, and to do their jobs properly. But, according to her, nothing they did helped the situation; the officers did as they pleased. Here's how she outlined it to the Senators yesterday:

Formalizing The Cattle Trade With Guatemala
Ask anyone with familiarity with the western border and they'll tell you that the export of cattle to Guatemala is nothing new. It's a thriving informal trade - which means, its smuggled through the back. But,efforts are being made to normalize this and today, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that a first shipment of live cattle was exported to Guatemala duty free, through the formal Belize-Guatemala Western Border. It's the product of the partial scope Trade Agreement between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. And, the ministry says that BAH and its Guatemalan counterpart have worked out all the sanitary specifications the trade of live cattle is now a formal reality - meaning no more need to smuggle it through Calla Creek and other border settlements. According to the ministry, the push came from the cattle farmers from Spanish Lookout and Banana Bank Agricultural Company was the company that completed the first export. Banana Bank already exports corn and other products to Guatemala.

The Gateway For At Risk Youths
Today marked the launch of the 4th Annual Youth Innovation Challenge. The competition asks high school students come up with creative solutions to problems the Belizean society is facing today. This year, students from the Belize District were challenged to find a way to combat and eliminate violence among youths. Chief Education Officer Carol Babb and two challenge veterans gave us more details... Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: "So the youth innovation challenge started 3 years ago and this is our 3rd year and we are very pleaeed to announced that we will be doing it again along with our partners. We have an international accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers and they have supported us yearly and we also have Peace work International working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, to make this annual challenge possible."

What's Up With That New Shark Species In Belize?
Earlier this month, we told you about a newly discovered species of shark discovered here in Belize. While collecting data on the Belizean shark population, Dr. Demian Chapman, a shark specialist working with the Fisheries Department, took a closer look at what he thought was a bonnethead shark. After studying the shark's DNA, he realized that it was in fact, a completely different species. We spoke to Chapman, as well as the Fisheries Department Administrator, Beverly Wade about the discovery... The discovery of this new species will help the Fisheries Department to update and regulate laws relating to the fishing of sharks.

The Creek Should Be Race Ready
For the past week we've been telling you about the condition of the Haulover Creek - which is presently impassable due to growth and fallen trees. But the prognosis for clearing it has gone from hopeless to imminent. And that's because today the Forestry Department descended on the creek with 12 work men, in a pontoon, equipped with chain saws, machetes, and other tools. Two other pontoons are being built on site. They expect to be able to clear out the creek in a few days, and it should be finished by this weekend, definitely in time for the closing stretch of the Ruta Maya in March. The race organizers have also expressed an interest in using the pontoons for the race day. One beneficial effect of the project is that when the creek is cleared, it is expected to reduce siltation buildup in the Belize Harbor.

Ivory Kelly's: A Belizean Writer Extraordinaire
"Memories, Dreams and Nightmares" it's a 2002 short story Anthology by Belizean Writers. Most of you probably read it in high school. That's where many of you got know about Belizean writer Ivory Kelly - through her short story "The Real Sin". Well, since then, her writing career has taken off. She has published a book of poems and 4 short stories in Belize. Her works have also been featured in acclaimed Journals and anthologies in the Caribbean, the US and the UK. And her latest short story "A Certain Kind of Beautiful" has been published in a new online journal called "Interviewing the Caribbean". Kelly's works has certainly elevated the standard of Belizean art on the world stage. In a conversation with Courtney Weatherburne yesterday, Kelly spoke more about her accomplishments and her latest publication.

Foreign Minister In Guyana For CARICOM Meeting
Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington is heading a 5 member delegation to the 28th inter-sessional meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana. The agenda is loaded and it includes Correspondent Banking, Tourism, Crime and Security, and the status of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Border disputes between Belize and Guatemala, as well as Guyana and Venezuela, will also be discussed. The Foreign Minister is accompanied by Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow, Human Development CEO Judith Alpuche, CARICOM Ambassador Daniel Gutierez and Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Orla Kantun Coleman. Mrs. Barrow is there for a two-day forum for CARICOM First Ladies and Spouses called the Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child Initiative.

Awarding Police Excellence
Ask any police officer, and they'll tell you that they have one of the toughest jobs. They have to put themselves in danger to protect citizens who more more likely to curse them than thank them. Of course, it doesn't get any easier when there are few rogue cops whose behavior gives the department a bad name. So, the police have to take the few victories they can get. That's why the top brass went carefully through the list of their subordinates from Belize City, and they shortlisted over a hundred and 140 officers to be recognized in an official ceremony today. We stopped by this evening to speak with their police boss about those who were chosen from the toughest area to police in the country:

When Will There Be A New NICH Pres./Sports Director?
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber is currently the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. It's a large portfolio and we noticed that two of the key bodies, the National Institute of Culture and History and the National Sports Council don't have permanent leaders. Greg Vernon is the acting president of NICH and Charlie Slushes is the acting director of sports. When we were in Dallas with the Culture Czars, we asked the CEO about the state of affairs: Catzim later told us that they will advertise the post of Director of the National Sports Council, while the recruitment of President for NICH is underway.

Leela Is Ailing
Belizean musician and Brukdown Legend Queen Leela Vernon continues to be hospitalized due to Chronic Renal failure. She was airlifted from her PG home last week Thursday and taken to the KHMH where she is in a critical condition. Vernon's family says she needs blood urgently. If anyone with blood type A Positive would like to donate, you can call 668-1935. The family will continue monitoring her condition. We will also keep you updated.

Amanda, The Little Blogger
Madison Pearl Edwards may not be a household name, just yet, but give her time, she's only 11 years old! But, "Madi" as she is known is already a star on social media where she is a travel blogger on iTravelBelize.com. But now she's on her biggest adventure ever. She's snorkeling the entire span of the Belize Barrier Reef from the Northern end in her home town of San Pedro to the Southern end in the Toledo District. It's about raising awareness of the dangers of offshore drilling - but this island girl she can explain away better than I can. Made will be cleaning the Reef, collecting bottles, fishing nets, fishing lines, anchor ropes and other marine debris along the way. You can follow her at iTravelBelize.com.

Jenilee Made A Deal; Won A Car!
One Belizean-American lucked out big time last week when she appeared on a US talk show. Jenilee Smith was a guest on Let's Make A Deal where her colorful costume was a Belizean flag. Here's how she got the better of host Wayne Brady.

Channel 5

Bishop Osmond Martin Dead at 87
Belize’s first native Roman Catholic Bishop, The Most Reverend Osmond Peter Martin of Dangriga, is dead. He died, at the age of eighty-seven, sometime after three this morning at home [...]

Jason Cortez Gunned Down in Old Capital
There has not been a murder in the City since February third when Keimar Nicholas succumbed to shooting injuries sustained days earlier.  But early on Wednesday night, gunshots were heard [...]

Byron James Convicted of Murder of Frank Vasquez
A murder conviction was secured today in the courts.  After languishing inside a prison cell at the remand section for more than one year after his trial concluded, Supreme Court [...]

Police Puzzling Over Shooting of Alrick August
Media Officer of the Belize Police Department, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood also gave the media an update to the shooting of Alrick August, which occurred on February ninth on Western Avenue [...]

Denys Barrow Off to C.C.J. – as a Judge
Senior Counsel Denys Barrow has been a key Government helpmate in legal cases for many years, but he now appears to be moving on. He has confirmed that he has [...]

Chronicling the Culture of Corruption at Immigration
The Immigration Department has an entrenched culture of corruption and hustling, from the top of the ladder to the bottom. That is what former administrative officer in the Department Teresita [...]

Immigration Officers Never Learned Their Lessons
Teresita Castellanos is a seasoned public officer. She provided scandalous details on Wednesday at the Senate hearings about the rot at the Immigration Department. She says she has been a [...]

George Reynolds Defends Action in Missing Visas Case
On Wednesday we told you of the run-in between then-port commander in charge of Immigration Services in Belmopan, George Reynolds, and Patrick Tillett, financial controller of the Belize City Council, [...]

Senior Officer Gives Tips to Fix Immigration
George Reynolds was less circumspect than his former colleague Teresita Castellanos on the issue of a culture of corruption in the Department. He said that as far as his work [...]

Cayo Girl Raped Under Influence of Drugs
There is a disturbing report of a fifteen year old girl from Succotz Village, Cayo District, who claims she was raped on Valentine’s Day. The horrible incident reportedly occurred at [...]

BERT Complains About Mexicans Usurping Ambulance Service for Event
Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) is as close to an official ambulance service as Belize has, boasting more than a decade of operation despite recent financial issues. So it came [...]

Legendary Leela Vernon Hospitalized
At this station, we want to wish the Queen of Brukdown, Leela Vernon, a speedy recovery.  Leela has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the K.H.M.H. since last [...]

Banana Bank AgCo Ships Live Cattle to Guatemala
The Ministry of Agriculture has yet to publicly comment on the issue of rotting potatoes that farmers across the country have been unable to get sold due to competition from [...]

A New Species of Bonnethead Shark Discovered in Belize
Over a week ago, we told you about the discovery of what is believed to be a new species of sharks in Belize. Since 2000, a researcher from the Florida [...]

Police Hand Out Big-Time Awards
Police Officers, Civilian Staff of the Department and community members were recognized today by the Belize Police Department. Over one hundred officers received awards in different categories as a part [...]

STEMming Crime and Violence: the Challenge of Innovation
High schools from across Belize District converged at the Gateway Youth facility near the Gwen Lizarraga High School in Belize City for the launch of an innovation challenge by the [...]

CTV3

Senior Immigration Officer Discusses Role In Missing VISAS
As we reported yesterday, the absence of expected witnesses Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett has forced the Committee to seek legal advice on what powers are available to them to get Chang and Tillett to testify. Both men are named in the Auditor General’s special report for alleged roles in the mysterious trading of visas from the Immigration office at the Western Border. Another name called in the report is that of senior immigration officer, George Reynolds who has been with the Department for nearly 27 years. Reynolds, said the report, had confirmed to another Immigration official that the visas in Chang and Tillett’s possession were obtained illegally. On Wednesday, the former Port Commander for Immigration Services in Belmopan was given an opportunity to respond to the allegations, and he claimed that the report did not present an accurate picture.

Castellanos Says She Was Removed Against her Will
Back to former Finance Officer Teresita Castellanos. She was removed from Immigration Department in in 2014, during the same time the Auditor General’s office was carrying out their investigations into multiple scandals at the Department. Castellanos revealed in her testimony yesterday that she was removed from Immigration against her will. She said that the sister of former Minister of Immigration John Saldivar, who was the CEO at the time, seemed to have something personal against her. Teresita Castellanos – Former Finance Officer: “I know that I left the Department, I was thrown out of the department because we normally are transferable but the same CEO who sat here had me moved from the department until 2014, it was not a regular transfer for whatever personal reasons she had, as a matter of fact I was part of the …”

Ministry Of Health Records Increase In Cases Of Diarrhea
Since December of 2016, there has been an increasing rate of gastroenteritis cases particularly in the Stann Creek District. The communities mostly affected in the said district are Dangriga Town, Independence and Bella Vista Villages. According to statistics gathered from the Ministry of Health, the illness has been mostly affecting children but there are also a few cases recorded among adults. Last month, a sum of 242 cases were recorded of which 145 are that of children of less than five years, and 117 among children over the age of five. Over fifty percent of these recorded cases involve patients suffering from symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting in addition to abdominal cramps and fever.

Belize Represented At CARICOM Conference Of Heads Of Government
A Belizean delegation steered by Foreign Minister Hon. Wilfred Elrington left the country to attend the 28th Inter-sessional Meeting of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana. At the two day Conference which began today, regional leaders will speak about a series of issues which are considered critical to development in the region such as Correspondent Banking, Tourism in the Region, the status of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and Crime and Security. In addition to that, the leaders are expected to validate decisions arising from the 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. Also, during closed-door sessions, issues concerning long-standing border disputes between Belize and Guatemala and Guyana and Venezuela will be discussed.

Former Finance Officer Says Higher Ups In Immigration Blocked Reform
The ground-shaking testimony given yesterday to the Senate Select Committee by former Finance Officer Teresita Castellanos has undoubtedly gotten the attention of the entire country as Belizeans heard, for the first time, a former senior officer confess the extent of corruption and cover-up that has existed at the Immigration Department. Castellanos confirmed that there is an entrenched culture of corruption at the Immigration Department that continues up to today. She also pointed out that some immigration officers act with impunity and then cover up for each other. According to Castellanos, during her term she and the former Director Maria Marin made various attempts to implement measures but it never got the attention it deserved from higher up.


#521701 - 02/17/17 12:32 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 17, 2017 [Re: Marty]  
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Catholic Bishop Osmond Peter Martin Passes
November 18, 2016 marked ten years since Catholic Bishop, Osmond Peter Martin retired as the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize and Belmopan City. Following retirement he relocated to Dangriga Town for a quiet life with family members and this morning he passed away. We hear more in this report from correspondent Harry […]

Foreign Minister to Guyana for Heads of Government Sessions
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington is in Guyana for the twenty eighth inter-sessional meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government. Regional leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues such as Correspondent Banking, Tourism, the status of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy as well as Crime and Security. Leaders […]

Jason Cortez Slain on Western Avenue
Belize City police are investigating the shooting murder of 21 year old Jason Cortez. Cortez was shot last night while he was walking on Western Avenue at around six twenty five. Police say that he was being followed and when the gunman saw the opportunity to strike, he did so shooting Cortez several times. He […]

Accused Murderer Walks Free in Punta Gorda
Shockwaves were felt in Punta Gorda after the body of Juana Cardinez Cowo was found with over twenty stab wounds inside an apartment on Main Street in that municipality in July 2015. Today, the man accused of the brutal murder, Alberto Coleman, walked out of the Courtroom a free man, as a trial without jury […]

CCJ Sides with Government Whilst Issuing Strong Recommendations on the 6th Amendment
The Caribbean Court of Justice yesterday made a ruling regarding the constitutional motion filed by the Belize Bar Association as it relates to the appointment of a Justice of Appeal. The Bar’s argument was that the sixth amendment was unconstitutional and violates the rule of law, the separation of powers principle and the basic structure […]

SC Denys Barrow Appointed to Sit with the CCJ
Belize’s Senior Counsel, Denys Barrow will be taking up the position of a judge on the Caribbean Court of Justice as at June 1, 2017. The CCJ is the highest court for Belize and is equivalent to the UK’s Supreme Court in the British system. He is one of seven judges from the Caribbean appointed […]

Ministerial Influence at Immigration Reported
Yesterday former Finance Officer at the Immigration Department, Teresita Castellanos made a number of alarming disclosures as the Senate Select hearings continued. Appearing after Castellanos was Belmopan’s former Port Commander, George Reynolds. Reynolds name shows up in the auditor general’s reports as the man who was asked to ‘fix” two of the eight missing visa […]

Castellanos Speaks of Irregularities at Immigration
Yesterday, the former finance officer in the Immigration Department Teresita Castellanos made a damning statement expressing her frustration at the corrupt system that plagues the immigration department. During her three year period that Castellanos was at the Immigration Department, she observed irregular practices and along with former Acting Director, Maria Marin, made recommendations to put […]

Making Cattle Big for Belize
On Tuesday we brought you the story of the first duty free cattle import into Guatemala that took place via the western border. Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse spoke more of the cattle industry and how he sees this sector expanding. GODWIN HULSE “One of the reasons I’m in this whole business and take all […]

Belize Works Towards Revitalization of Rice Industry
In an interview with Love News yesterday, Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse spoke of the decline in the rice industry and its reasons. GODWIN HULSE “

The Guardian

Courtenay comes under pressure to resign
There is a clear conflict of interest being displayed by Senator Eamon Courtenay where he as a senator passed a law to protect the assets of Belize and is now actually challenging the very law he passed. Now, a group of Belizeans calling themselves BALAC have organized themselves and are publicly and loudly calling for Courtenay to resign. On Monday the People’s United Party held a press conference during which their leader, Johnny Briceno boldly stood in support of Courtenay. Speaking with forked tongue, he stated that the PUP stood for Belize yet they also stood alongside a man who is clearly bent on paving the way to have the extra protection which was last month put on Belize’s foreign reserves removed. As a result of this bullheaded and antinationalistic move equally by the PUP and Eamon Courtenay, a group of Belizeans formed themselves into an ad-hoc group calling themselves BALAC, Belizeans Against Lord Ashcroft and Courtenay with the specific purpose of pursuing a nationalistic agenda in particular against both Ashcroft and Courtney.

Denys Barrow New Justice of the CCJ
He is perhaps Belize’s foremost legal mind and once again the country will lose him for the benefit of the Caribbean region. Reliable reports have confirmed that Senior Counsel Denys Barrow will be appointed as a Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Barrow was recently invited to become a Justice of the CCJ and has communicated his acceptance. This will be the second time that he has left Belize to loan his legal mind to the region. Barrow previously served as a Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal. He returned to Belize at the end of 2008 and was appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal on August 10, 2009. Accepting this appointment was one of great financial sacrifice since the salary was miniscule compared to what he would earn in private practice. He accepted the nomination though, factoring in his pension due from service at the Eastern Caribbean Judiciary as part of his incoming earnings. When the relationship went sour with the Association of Eastern Caribbean States and they refused to grant pension, Barrow returned to private practice with his financial well being to consider.

PM Barrow meets with Belize’s Superbond negotiating team
Belize’s Superbond negotiating team is preparing for a meeting with the bondholder’s committee in the days leading up to the due date for an interest payment on the loan on February 20. A payment of approximately $52.6 million is due on this date but Government is hoping to reach an agreement for restructure prior to this deadline. It has issued an extension on the deadline for bondholders to agree to its restructure proposal up to February 24, four days beyond the interest payment due date. This extension puts the possibility of default on the negotiating table and before both sides meet Prime Minister Barrow wants to ensure that Team Belize is on message.

Judas turns Jackass
After this week’s segment of the Senate Hearing, we are left wondering if Johnny’s opinion of his man EAMON COURTENAY, being the best thing to come to the world since sliced bread, will be the same. This week Courtenay was definitely no Perry Mason. In fact he was more like Barney Fife. Just a bungling buffoon, was what he was shown to be. Eamon really appeared to be out of his element. Two highly trained Public Officers took him to school. For us it is poetic justice that in the same week that Johnny painted a picture of Eamon being this highly trained legal mind who was head and shoulders above all other senators that he was disrobed and left naked for all the world to see. The whole country saw his short comings exposed in front of us.

CITCO’s CARILED Partnership ends with Entrepreneurship Monument
It was a bitter sweet moment for the Belize City Council on Wednesday, February 15, when Mayor Bradley officially inaugurated the Monument Dedicated to Entrepreneurs of Belize City at the entrance of the Fort George Tourism Zone. Ribbon cutting for the tall and impressive structure marks the completion of a long awaited project and green lights a sigh of relief for the Council; however, it also marks midnight for the city’s dance with a most amazing partner, the Caribbean Local Economic Development Program (CARILED). The Caribbean Local Economic Development Program is a six-year $23.2 million project in which local governments have utilized assets and human capital to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and develop the business sector. CARILED has been funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), in partnership with the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM), the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLFG).

The Department of the Environment holds important training
The Department of the Environment (DOE) is executing the project entitled “Belize Chemicals and Waste Management (BCWM) Project”, wherein one of the goals is the management and disposal of existing stockpiles of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), obsolete pesticides and other chemicals. This is to enable Belize to fulfill its Obligations under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. To assist in achieving this goal, the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the BCWM Project has recently organized a two-day training on chemicals management, with emphasis on the application of the Basel Convention on the Control of transboundary movement of hazardous waste, packaging, safe handling and transportation of hazardous chemicals. In keeping with the training momentum, the DOE had an opening for it’s training on Thursday of last week at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza, located in Belize City. The practical training for the disposal of wastes was also held last Friday during a half day session in Central Farm, Cayo.

Minister of Foreign Affairs attends XXV session of OPANAL General Conference
The Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs, participated in the XXV Session of the General Conference of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) on the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Signed in 1967, the Treaty of Tlatelolco established the first Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in a densely populated area. It was the first of its kind and served as the inspiration for the subsequent creation of five other such zones across the globe. It remains a model of our region’s resourcefulness, unity, and sense of responsibility in addressing an issue of global importance and concern. Minister Elrington reiterated Belize’s commitment and continued support of the Treaty’s obligations and joined the other delegations in adopting the Draft Declaration of the Member States on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary.

Johnny and Marshalleck stand by their man
Like Tommy Wynette the PUP is standing by their man Eamon Courtenay in his traitorous assault on the government and people of Belize. The PUP rather than distancing themselves from the machinations of this gentleman in his ZEAL to advance the attack of his master, have embraced him. The ECONOMIC HITMAN, has placed the economic viability of Belize and the safety of every person who live in this country in jeopardy, including those poor PUP’s who form the majority of that party. It is not that their actions caught us by surprise. We all knew that that party is driven by greed and personal enrichment. As long as they and their relatives are not negatively affected then everything is a go, no matter how unscrupulous the deal appears to be, it is a go, as long as they will see a payday. For the PUP leadership to now claim that the only reason, they voted in favor of the two bills that seeks to further insulate Belize’s Foreign Assets including those of the Central Bank of Belize, was because they were pressured into doing so and did so out of ignorance is farcical.

Community centres refurbished to meet hurricane shelter standards
The Community Centre in the Village of Lucky Strike, in Belize Rural North, is currently being refurbished, its roof being replaced, bathrooms built, and proper doors and windows installed. Area Representative and Minister of National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro explained that the works being done with funds from the Government of Belize will enable the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) to utilize it as a Hurricane Shelter when it is needed for that purpose. Chairman of Lucky Strike Village Andrew Chacon says his council and residents of the village are thankful for the works being done on the community centre. He explained that ever since he was first elected 13 years ago as a member of the village council, it has been a top priority of his to have the community centre repaired, and he is pleased that it is now being done under his leadership and that of Hon. Edmond Castro as Area Representative.

Ombudsman sworn-in for new term in office
In a brief ceremony held on Monday, February 13th at the Belize House in Belmopan, Mr. Lionel Arzu was sworn-in for a new term as Ombudsman. This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of Mr. Arzu’s re-appointment at the January 27th sitting of the House of Representatives. This marks Mr. Lionel Arzu’s third term as Ombudsman. Mr. Arzu was accompanied at the ceremony by his family.

Living legend – Lester Richards Belizean Patriot & UDP stalwart
Almost 68 years old, Lester Adolfo Richards (Senior Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of the Supreme Court) from Independence Village, Stann Creek District, is a living legend. Having worked since age 21 at various levels in the Banana Industry (from machete-man to tractor-driver to storeroom-keeper to time-keeper to paymaster to farm-manager), he is now retired and rehired, still serving efficiently as a senior security officer at the Port of Big Creek. (We recently had the pleasure of running into him two consecutive days while on tour with Hon. Edmond Castro and Hon. John Saldivar). A passionate proponent of the current administration led by Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and the UDP, Mr. Lester is widely respected as a man who, above all, loves his community and country. It is people like Mr. Lester Richards who make our communities strong, our country productive and uniquely Belizean. Respect and congratulations to this unsung hero and Belizean patriot!

Ride Across Belize assists Belmopan Police Feeding Program
Belizeans have given towards a worthy cause in the Nation’s Capital. Ride Across Belize and the staff of the Belize Social Security Board donated on Thursday of last week $5,000.00 to the Belmopan Police Feeding Program. Officer in Charge of Belmopan Police Howell Gillett informs that currently the Belmopan Police feed ten students daily and with this assistance will continue to extend to other needy children in the area. Ride Across Belize has taken its route to diverse areas across the Nation, raising funds along their challenging journey and over the years have given to numerous worthy causes. We at the Guardian salute their efforts to provide a nutritious meal for our children.

Screen on the Green in Belmopan
Having been organized by the United States Embassy, in cooperation with the Belmopan City Council, the first ‘Screen on the Green’ for 2017 opened last Week Thursday at the Governor General’s Field in Belmopan, to some exiting reviews. On show to Belmopanese residents on a wide inflatable screen and under a perfect moon was the movie ‘Selma’, which records the three month struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965. (In 1977, the U.S Federal Government decided to declare February, Black history month.) The U. S Embassy organizes the Screen on the Green on the first (or close to) Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m at the Governor General’s Field, for the fifth year running, and has similar movie specials in Dangriga every few months. According to Mayor Khalid Belisle, the movie show is just an example of the Belmopan City Council working hand-in-hand with the U. S Embassy.

The scurvy, arrogant, money grabbing Trombone family of British Honduras and Belize
The 1968 New Standard Encyclopedia states that the slide trombone is unique among the wind instruments in its ability to pass easily from one tone to another - on the ground this means it is relatively easier to find the next note. I recall that paper money is commonly referred to as bill or bank note. We are unfortunate in Belize to have been burned over and over by members of the Trombone Family that does everything possible, to collect the bank notes, at the expense of Belize and Belizeans! Woldrich, the first leader of the pro-British National Party, was commonly referred to as a ‘Royal Creole’ by the PUP. In fact they despised him and his haughty attitude so much that they pelted his house with stones! However, when G. C. Price was facing charges for seditious intent and insulting words, he realized that having the intellectually superior Woldrich in his corner would serve legal as well as political purposes. G. C. Price therefore used him as a pawn – Price was very good at using people… abusing very many of them! Professional fees, in this specific example, were the means to the end that Price was seeking! When it comes to being sneaky, conniving and plain ‘wutliss’ none can beat Price!

Secondment
If memory serves me right, I think it was during the United Democratic Party’s first term in office when the PSU and BNTU approached Hon. Esquivel to request that an officer from each of the above Unions be seconded from his/her job to work fulltime for the Union with a salary from the taxpayers. The then Prime Minister agreed. I think we then saw Mr. John PINELO emerge as the first full time GOB –paid BNTU president. Of course there were other full time paid officers in the BNTU, like the great George Frazer and the late Eloisa Trueque, since BNTU has always had the big bucks. It seems that now this whole Secondment issue has completed its full circle. They don’t need it anymore, with the millions from the BTL Trust and thing, plus it peeves UDP supporters to see MR. Palacio attacking the UDP at every opportunity. Many have expressed that Palacio should register the BNTU as a full- fledged Opposition political party and If they later prefer to integrate into the PUP that’s their business, but the charade of being a trade union is no longer a sustainable cover for the man’s blue-mindedness.

Philosophy: the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge or conduct.
Directly after ordering a plate of 1-2-3, I received very good news from Mr. George Cadle Price RICHARDSON. He told me that the PUPs were avid readers of my column. I write truth to the voters! The more readers, the better! The big thief, ‘wuthliss’ PUP is committed to lies and deceit for monetary gains! They are dead broke and desperate! Ralph did not share the stolen treasures! All is fair in love and war and boxers are reminded to protect themselves at all times; so I am always on the lookout for the dirty deeds of scoundrels. Western Europeans separated humans into white, black, yellow and red. The supremacists then immediately went about implementing their nefarious plans. To get ahead they engaged in endless terrible acts including telling lies, creating unjust laws, stealing, trafficking, slavery and committing genocide... They come to where you and your assets are, with one plan – to take everything.

Adam Ernest Meighan charged with rape
A 49-year-old woman reported to police that she was raped near the Manatee Lookout establishment in Ladyville on December 2, 2016 and more than two months later police have finally made an arrest. Adam Ernest Meighan, 29, was escorted to the Belize City Magistrates’ Court on Friday, February 10, to face a single charge of rape. The victim, who is employed as a cook, reported to police that at around 5:20 a.m. on Friday, December 2, she left home and was heading to the junction of the Phillip Goldson Highway and Manatee Lookout when a male person of dark complexion approached her on a bicycle. She was talking on her cellphone when he rode past her and after about 30 yards he stopped and turned back towards her. She decided to cross the road in order to avoid the man. That was when he dropped the bicycle in the middle of the street and she began to run. He set chase with a machete in hand and caught up with her not far from Manatee Lookout. He proceeded to rob her of a black hand bag (valued $35), a Coach pocket book (value $15), $15 in cash and a Samsung cellphone (valued $200).

Prison officer accused of sexual assault
An officer of the Belize Central Prison, Pablo Bol, is locked up on remand at his work place after he was dragged to court on Friday, February 10, for three counts of sexual assault upon an 18- year-old woman. Allegations being made by the woman is that on December 29, 2016, she was visiting a friend at a village in the Northern part of the country when Bol touched her on the buttocks without her permission. She further alleged that on the following day he touched her twice again on her buttocks. She said she became annoyed with his behaviour and reported the incident to police. It is not certain why it took so long for Bol to be arrested and charged. On Friday Bol was unrepresented when he appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza to answer to three sexual assault charges. Bol pleaded not guilty to the charges and the prosecutor, Cpl. Joseph Perez, had heavy objections to bail; mainly based on the fact that Bol knows the victim well and they live in a small village so he may try to interfere with her.

Danny Mason’s wife cleared of conspiracy charge
A preliminary inquiry in the case against alleged conman and accused murderer Danny Mason, and company, was set to commence on Friday, February 10, before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. However, only Mason’s wife. Melissa Ferguson, made it on time to court. Ferguson was charged for conspiracy to kidnapping since police concluded that she played a role in Mason and his accomplices’ abduction and murder of Llewlyn Lucas. Mason and his alleged accomplices were brought to court an hour late. By this time the hearing had already been adjourned and a decision was made on Ferguson.

Two charged for robbery with fake firearm
A delivery man was robbed at gunpoint by a duo who used what turned out to be a toy gun. Late Friday evening, February 10, Esmir Janathan Garrido, 19, of #7 Dickenson Street and Marlon Mervin Everett, 29, of #163 West Street were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court on charges of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit a crime. They appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza and pled not guilty to the charges. Due to the nature of the offense, allegedly committee with the use of a firearm, bail was not granted and both were remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until April 4, 2017.

Wesley’s vice principal acquitted of drug charge
Melvin Hewlett, 36, Vice Principal of Wesley College, is free from a charge of drug trafficking after Magistrate Carlon Mendoza ruled that there is not sufficient evidence to convict him of being in possession of 14 grams of crack cocaine on November 30, 2015. According to reports, the Gang Suppression Unit busted a known drug peddler with cocaine who offered to give up his main supplier in exchange for leniency with the criminal charges that he would face. On Friday, November 20, at around 11:35 a.m., the GSU set up a sting operation where they followed this informant to the Wesley College Compound. There they saw him making an exchange with Melvin Hewlett, who had been identified as this main supplier. The GSU team immediately closed in on both men and that was when Hewlett supposedly saw them coming. He allegedly threw away a piece of white paper which was crumpled up. They retrieved the piece of paper and found two transparent plastic bags containing a total of 14 grams of crack cocaine. He was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled drug with the intent to supply.

Danny Ku pleads guilty to manslaughter after stabbing woman over 30 times
Danny Ku accepted a plea deal on Monday, February 13, 2017 for killing Nurse Anna Basto on September 2, 2006. Ku was convicted of murder on December 16, 2006 but he appealed the conviction and a retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeals on October 13, 2011. His retrial was set to commence on Monday but after the facts of the case were read he submitted a guilty plea for a lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutors in the case, Shanielle Chell and Javier Chan of the DPP’s office, accepted the guilty plea and Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will hand down his sentence on Monday, February 20, when mitigation plea will be heard on his behalf.

Man found dead in Santa Elena
A hard working man was found dead on Friday of last week in Santa Elena Town. Alberto Requena, a 65 year old resident was found at about mid-day on Friday floating in the river near Santa Familia Village. A medical team of five persons visited the rapidly decomposing body on Saturday night at about 9:00 pm, where a rapid burial was conducted. Family members gathered at the residence of Alberto Requena at number three on the George Price Highway where a brief religious event was held. Family members will again meet at the same residence this coming Saturday where the fruitful life of Alberto Requena will be celebrated.

Joel Borland wins Digicell 4G LTE Valentine’s Tour
The Cycling Federation of Belize and Digicell 4G LTE sponsored the 2017 Digicell Valentine’s Cycling Tour. The tour commenced on Friday 10th February, with the Individual Time Trial and concluded on Sunday 12th February, with the Road Race for the Elite, Masters, Junior, Female and Youth riders. The Road Race for the Elite, U-23 and Master riders started from San Ignacio Town to the Western Border in Benque Viejo and then to Leslie’s Imports at Mile 2 on the George Price Highway for the conclusion. This leg of the tour attracted some 43 riders with only 27 riders completing the journey. At the end of the 4th and final stage of the tour, Tarique Flowers of Benny’s Megabytes Elite that capture first place. He was followed by Brandon Cattouse of Smart/Cray Western Spirit. However, it was Joel Borland of the Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team that captured the overall tour. His overall cumulative time for the four stages was total at 8:12:45. Some 45 seconds better than the second best rider in the tour. This time sealed the victory for Joel Borland in the Digicell 4G Valentine’s Tour.

New Road edge out Truckers in Aahmadiyya U-19 Basketball Tourney
The Ahmadiyya U-19 Basketball Tournament continued on Sunday 12th February, 2017, at the Gateway Youth Centre with five games on the schedule. In the first game of the day, Third World won over Belama Gators by the score of 53-56. The top scorer for Third World was Douglas Gentle with 16 points and the top scorer for the Belama Gators was Raymond Gongora Jr. with 19 points. In game two, Chiefs won handily over Gateway by the score of 41-34. The top scorer for the Chiefs was Kyron Samuels with 10 points and for Gateway it was John Kelly with 12 points. In game three, Bombers won over Spartans by the score of 49-35. Rick Herbert was the top scorer for Bombers with 10 points and Jason Arnold top score for Spartans with 14 points.

Ebenezer boys, St. Luke and Muslim Community girls are early leaders in primary schools football competition
The 2016-2017 Belize City Primary Schools Football competition opened on Wednesday 8th February, 2017 at the MCC Grounds. There are 11 schools namely Bethel Primary, Holy Redeemer, Muslim Community, Salvation Army, St. John Vianney, Belize Elementary, St. Mary’s Primary, Unity Presbyterian, Wesley Upper, Queen Square Anglican and St. Luke Methodist competing in the girls’ competition. The schools in the girls’ competition are divided into three groups. Meanwhile, there are 17 schools namely Bethel Primary, Holy Redeemer, Muslim community, Salvation Army, St. John Vianney, Belize Elementary, St. Mary’s Primary, Unity Presbyterian, Wesley Upper, Queen Square Anglican, St. Luke Methodist, St. John’s Primary, Ebenezer Methodist, All Saints Anglican, St. Ignatius, St. Joseph and St. Martin de Porres that are participating in the boys competition. The schools are divided into four groups in the boys’ competition.

Softball Federation to hold open male invitational tournament
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament on March 4-5 and 11-12, 2017 respectively at Rogers Stadium. The Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament will serve as the selection process for the pool of 36 players from which the final seventeen players will be selected to represent Belize at the X Pan American Male Softball Championship scheduled for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from September 14-25, 2017. The X Pan American Male Softball Championship will serve as the qualifying tournament for the XVIII Pan American Games scheduled for Lima, Peru in 2019 and the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquillas, Colombia, in 2018. Interested teams must register with Ms. Tiffany Heusner, Secretary General Belize Softball Federation by Wednesday 1st March, 2017.

Wesley College males lead in the Central Region Secondary Schools Softball competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball competition continued on Tuesday 14th February, 2017, at Rogers Stadium with a single game in the male competition. In the only game played, St. John’s College defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 23-15. The winning pitcher for St. John’s College was Alwayne Hendy and the losing pitcher for Gwen Lizarraga High School was Christopher Hower. On Monday 13th February, in the female game played, Edward P. Yorke High School defeated Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 23-0. The winning pitcher was Jasany Westby and the losing pitcher was Britney Meighan. In the male game played, Wesley College won its second game as in many outings when it defeated Edward P.Yorke High School by the score of 14-11. The winning pitcher was Xylon Belgrove and the losing pitcher was Malcolm Jones.

I need some money...
At some point in life, we all have some desire or need where funds are concerned. Sometimes we need money for medical expenses, education and or home improvement; other times we desire a fancy gadget, appliances and/or furniture. Whatever the need or desire, we often seek assistance from money lenders which include Financial Institutions and/or retail stores providing items on credit. These organizations (lenders) may provide funds or items on credit by charging interest and fees for the services provided. However, prior to entering into any agreement, one must clearly understand what is written in the agreement and other documents especially the fine print rather than blindly signing the documents (forms, agreement etc.) that are being presented. Generally, lenders would request for the completion of an application form which would request basic data such as name, address, contact details, income, and expense, purpose of loan, the term, amount, interest rate and fees of the loan/item and provide accompanying documents which would indicate the responsibilities of the respective parties.

Calypso rose wins Best World Music Album
Legendary singer Calypso Rose has won the prestigious Victoire de la Musique award for best World Music Album of the Year at the award ceremony this past Friday in Paris France. The 76-year old singer won for her album Far From Home, produced by Ivan Duran of Stonetree Records, it was recorded and mixed in Belize and released internationally by French label, Because Music. This is the first time a Caribbean artist has won the Victoire award, the French equivalent of the Grammies. It is the most prestigious music award in France, voted by a panel of more than 1200 industry professionals, and awarded by the French Ministry of Culture. The award caps off an incredible year for the Queen of Calypso, she received the WOMEX Artist Award in October, performed in front of a television audience of more than a million people, played more than 50 shows in Europe, and her album has been certified Gold in France after selling over 80 000 copies.

WORDS OF LIFE with Barry Fraser
As we continue to learn about the Christian lifestyle from the letter the Missionary Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, this week we look at more love in action. In Romans 12:17-19 Paul writes: “Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Since we are living not only before God, but also before people, we need to think carefully what we say and do, so that we will appear honorable in the public arena. God is sovereign over our lives. Therefore, if someone has done us wrong, if is not our responsibility to look for revenge, or to “pay them back.” We have to turn the whole situation into the hands of God our Heavenly Father. We give the whole situation over to him, to rectify however he sees fit.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Guatemalan President visits communities along Belize- Guatemala border
According to the Agencia Guatemalteca de Noticias, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales is today visiting communities in the north of Peten, in the adjacency zone with Belize. Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, is accompanying the president in visiting San Jose Las Flores Chiquibul, located in the mountainous part of the municipality of Melchor de Mencos. Morales is also visiting the community of Santa Cruz, located in the municipality of San Luis, Petén, to meet with the mayor and visit the point of entry to the “adjacency zone” between Santa Cruz, Guatemala side, and Jalacté, in Belize.

Formal Export of Live Cattle to Guatemala
The Government of Belize issued a press release informing that on February 13, a first shipment of live cattle was exported to Guatemala duty free, via the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. This shipment marked the first export of live cattle under the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. It activated the Sanitary Agreement signed between Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and its Guatemalan counterpart. It formalizes the trade of live cattle and provides a framework on which to build a robust cattle trade.

Former Chief Education Officer passes away
Former Chief Education Officer during the previous People’s United Party administration, Dr. Cecil “Chubby” Reneau, suffered a fatal heart attack this afternoon. The 67-year-old educator and politician lived his life in service to his country.

Police issue report on Western Avenue murder
Yesterday evening around 6:40 p.m., police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw 21-year-old Jason Cortez with multiple gunshot wounds to the body (chest, abdomen, back and buttocks). Investigations revealed that Cortez was walking on Western Avenue at around 6:25 p.m., when he […]

Mile 8 man lucky to be alive
Last night around 8:30, 25-year-old Nigel Williams of a Faber’s Road address had just left a grocery shop at mile 8 on the George Price Highway and was walking towards his aunt’s home near the Hydro area on the highway when he noticed that […]

15 year old girl raped while drinking and smoking weed
According to police reports, a 15-year-old girl of Succotz Village in the company of a parent reported that on Tuesday morning about 10:00 a.m., she was at a house located on Riverside Street, Benque Viejo, along with two male friends where they were reportedly […]

Missing gold coins from sunken ship kept in Belize- based trust
In 1857, the S.S. Central America, a gold-rush era ship sank off South Carolina in a hurricane. Tommy Thompson, a deep sea treasure hunter found the ship in 1988 in what was considered a historic discovery. He spent years studying the […]

Ministry of Health advises on actions after increase in diarrheal cases
The Ministry of Health is informing that it has seen an increase in the number of gastroenteritis cases in the Stann Creek District since December 2016. In over 50 percent of the cases, patients present symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, with abdominal cramps […]

Minister Elrington leads delegation to 28th sessional meeting of Heads of Government in Guyana
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington is leading a Belizean delegation to Guyana to attend the 28th Inter-sessional of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government. The Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government will be hosted at the Marriott Hotel […]

Bishop O.P. Martin passes away
We have confirmed that 86 year old Bishop Osmond Peter Martin passed away early this morning. Further details regarding his death has not yet been made public. In December 2007, Bishop O. P. Martin had submitted his resignation to the Vatican upon reaching the […]

Blogs

LADIES DAY ON MISS FAITH
I was super jealous last week when Roger and his group the San Pedro Walkaholics spent their usually walking Wednesday sailing on Xsite Belize’s beautiful catamaran, the Miss Faith. Those guys are always doing something fun. Well this week was the ladies turn! Thanks to the generosity of Neftali and Tammy Lemus, owners of Xsite Belize Sailing and Adventures, seven of us girls had a fantastic sailing trip to Mexico Rocks, where we snorkeled and swam with the fish and rays. The Miss Faith is a beautiful 42 ft catamaran and with such a small group, it was like a private charter. Nef captained our cruise along with a crew of two very attentive young men. They kept the rum punch filled for the ladies and looked great doing it. Tammy also came along for the day and ensured that all of our needs were met, including keeping me from losing my balance going from forward to aft, having the balance and cat-like reflexes that I was graced with. We were treated to a wonderful and delicious lunch on-board, starting with some sweet fresh watermelon. Captain Nef came up front to serve the ladies personally! Mickey sure enjoyed the personal service!

International Sourcesizz

Sir Elihu Lauterpacht: A life dedicated to justice and international law
R.I.P. Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, a great supporter of Belize and its sovereignty. Belize is grateful for all your assistance over the years as an advocate for Belize's territorial sovereignty.

Ocean oxygen levels drop 2% in 50 years, Nature study finds
Climate change is extending far beyond the threat of melting polar ice caps -- it's putting a dangerous stranglehold on life in oceans, too. A new study published in the science journal Nature Wednesday found that the ocean's worldwide oxygen content declined by more than 2% between 1960 and 2010. Scientists have long warned about the potentially deadly consequences of the ocean's declining oxygen levels on marine life, and its resulting impact on humans. The study came from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, where the three co-authors -- Sunke Schmidtko, Lothar Stramma and Martin Visbeck -- pulled data dating back to 1960. Using information on oxygen, temperature and other factors relating to the world's oceans, they mapped it around the globe and estimated the overall oxygen loss. "We were able to document the oxygen distribution and its changes for the entire ocean for the first time. These numbers are an essential prerequisite for improving forecasts for the ocean of the future," wrote Schmidtko.

CCJ dismisses constitutional motion brought by Belize Bar
The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Wednesday dismissed an appeal brought by the Belize Bar Association concerning a perceived threat to that country’s Court of Appeal’s judicial independence. The CCJ, Belize’s highest court, in dismissing the claim, also made strong recommendations for changes to the appointment and tenure of Justices of Appeal that would provide them with security of tenure and a selection process that was independent of the government. The Court recommended immediate adoption of those recommendations. The Belize Bar Association had filed a Constitutional motion challenging the Belize Constitution (Sixth Amendment) Act which states that when an existing or future appointment of a Justice of Appeal did not specify a period of appointment, the judge’s term of office would last one year from the date of commencement of the amendment, or one year from the date of appointment.

Best beach holidays for 2017
In fact, travel search engine Momondo has found that almost half of British holidaymakers (48 per cent) will be travelling for a traditional holiday by the sea. And with all the bad news and talk of Brexit, we can see why Brits are packing their bucket and spades and escaping to the beach for a stress-free holiday in the sunshine. As there are many types of beach holidays you can take (from exploring hidden beaches to taking the family on an adventure beach break), we've brought you our best places to visit in 2017, whether you're a sports-mad traveller, searching for a heavenly spot in the UK or fancy returning to a popular destination like Spain but finding a new way to relax. Belize is the new Cuba and Costa Rica, offering responsible travellers a Central American alternative which is less burderned by tourists, and the Spanish Virgin Islands provide unspoilt sands that are waiting to be explored by boat.

Shyne Jump On The Remix For Popcaan’s “We Still A Win (World Cup)”
Shyne and Popcaan collaboration has been in the works since last year when the Unruly Boss visted Belize for a major concert with the former Bad Boy rapper. The two have developed a close friendship ever since then. Popcaan originally released the single last year as a tribute of the sort to Usain Bolt around the time of the Olympics games. Shyne has been getting some luke warm reviews among dancehall fans for his verse on the NotNice-produced banger. Some fans are even saying that the original version is much better. Perhaps Popcaan and Shyne should head back into the boiler and cook up something fresh for the fans. These are two great artists and maybe the chemistry just wasn’t right for this track.

Videos

  • New amendments to the Forest Act, 6min. As a part of its wider forest reform, the Forest Department is engaged in an ongoing process of completely revising its forest legislation, which seek to strengthen its legal framework, improve forest management, and increase its monitoring and enforcement of forest activities; and on Monday, February 6th, the Department announced new amendments to the Forest Act.

  • Bottlenose dolphins in Corozal Bay, 1min. Earlier today in Corozal Bay with the STP II crew" Amazing bottle-nose dolphins possibly hunting/feeding, captured by SACD's Executive Director. Bottlenose dolphins are not common in our bay but it is a charm when one is spotted.

  • Our first time in BELIZE!!!!, 3min. We took a bus from Tulum to Chetumal, Mexico and then a water taxi over to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, in Belize. We then walk around the town exploring the streets and waterfront.

  • Kayak Fish for Tarpon in Belize | Jumping Tarpon, 8min. Fishing kayak vs. Jumping tarpon! While kayak fishing for tarpon in Belize, kayak anglers Jim Sammons and Jeff Herman fight some huge, energetic tarpon that go airborne. The duo enjoy epic sleigh rides courtesy of these scaly monsters during their stay at the Belize River Lodge.

  • Ministry of Natural Resources - World Water Day Preparations, 30min.

  • TALK AH DI TOWN FEBRUARY 16, 2017, 25min. from PGTV News Network

  • Implications for Pawnshops after Supreme Court Judgement, 50min.

  • University of Belize Science Department - Student Experiments, 27min.

  • The fire season officially opened yesterday, February 15th, 3min. Last week, key partners in Forest Fire Prevention and Management received gear and equipment for the fire fight after being gifted through the Key Biodiversity Areas Project. Jeanelle Mencias tells us more …

  • Street Art Festival 2017 - Saturday, February 25th 2-10PM, 1min.

  • Diving the Turneffe Atoll in Belize with Turneffe Flats, 10min. Please enjoy some of my favorite captures while diving the Turneffe Atoll in Belize with Turneffe Flats.

  • Belize 2016 - Part 3, 3min.

  • Exploring Hol Chan, Belize, 8min. Guys today was awesome. Thanks to the Reef Runners we were able to go and explore Shark Ray Alley and Hot Chan. I forgot how much I loved snorkeling. You have to check out how close I was able to get to the nurse sharks, fish, and reef with my new GoPro Hero 5. Afterwards we got to enjoy and explore San Pedro a little more before heading back to snowy Connecticut. Make sure you guys leave this video a huge thumbs up! Thanks!!


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