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The San Pedro Sun

Prime Minister Dean Barrow assumes 6-month Chairmanship of CARICOM
On Wednesday, January 6th, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was handed the reins of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as he was appointed the acting Chairman for the next six months. Overseeing the transition of chairmanship was CARICOM’s Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who was on an official visit to Belize as of Tuesday, January 5th for the occasion. Barrow took over the position from the Prime Minister of Barbados, Honorable Freundel Stuart, who was the former acting Chairman of CARICOM from July 1 to December 31, 2015.

Mayor and Minister’s Cup on a heated third round
The first match began on Friday, January 8th at 7PM sharp between Belize Pro Team and Ambergris Divers. The crowded was treated to a tight game, as the players of both teams showed their skills on the field. Belize Pro Divers were in for a win, but Ambergris Divers trumped that dream, walking away with the 5-3 victory. In the second game, Jokers F.C won the match by default against Catrachos who did not show up. As a result Catrachos are officially out of the tournament. On Saturday, San Pedro Junior College faced San Mateo in the first match of the day. The college team came in with a strong offence, quickly scoring against the San Mateo boys. But the San Mateo Team gave them a fight, and managed to secure a 2-1 win. This match was followed by Searious Warriors Team versus faced PSG. The Searious Warrios faced defeat in a 2-1 game final.

Bomb threat to Atlantic Bank declared a hoax
Police have indicated that the bomb threat may have just been a prank call, but that in those situations all measures need to be taken to ensure public safety and avoid disaster. Police are attempting to trace the phone number that made the call in order to apprehend the culprit. Authorities would like to inform the community that bomb threats are not matters to be taken lightly. If any person or establishment receives a bomb threat, they are to immediately contact the San Pedro Police Department at 206-2022. Furthermore, anyone caught making a bomb threat will face criminal prosecution.

Ambergris Today

Flashbacks - The Historical Landmark Roman Catholic Primary School
One of the landmarks of San Pedro is the Roman Catholic Elementary School. From the beach in front of Central Park to the temporary building of the Catholic Church to its present location, the primary school has always been the hub of activity for the children of San Pedro. In this laid-back flashback the children have the liberty of playing on the sandy street before marching into their classrooms. When the bell was rung, the children formed two lines on the street by the front steps. There was no fence to keep them locked in and for the same matter to keep them locked out. It was a picturesque corner of the village with the absence of vehicle, crazy cyclists, weird and treacherous individuals, as well as the absence of Sunbreeze Hotel, the San Pedro Public Library, BTB office, Wild Mangoes Restaurant and the Chocolate Boutique. WOW! This Flashback is a subtle reminder of village life, a quaint little village that offered the children the privilege and freedom of being children.

25 Years Ago - The Good Old Days...When Children Listened to Their Parents
Back in the GOOD OLD DAYS we came home from school and did our homework, no game playing. We took off our school clothes and did our homework. We did not go outside and pay in them. We did not sit down to listen to grownups talk. We left the room until the company had left. We ate what was cooked or got nothing. When we were told to do something we did so. We did not say that we would do it later. I am thankful for the GOOD OLD DAYS because it made me the person that I am. Homework had to be done as soon as we got home because we had to make the best of daylight. There was no 24-hour electricity so it was important to complete our homework by 6p.m. or before it got dark. Our homes were lit by kerosene lanterns or by candle light and of course that did not provide a good reading or studying environment. So what about games? What time did the children have to play and socialize? That happened after evening tea or supper as it is called today. We called it tea because tea was the traditional beverage. After tea we would go on the streets or beach and play games. No they were not computer games but rather physical games like tops, marbles, hide and seek, and a myriad of other fun games that included, thinking, strength or fitness and that included teams. Trust me, there was a lot of running, jumping, chasing, and celebrating of a sweet victory.

Belize Delegation Participates in Nigeria’s Calabar Carnival
A Belizean delegation which travelled to Nigeria to participate in the 2015 Calabar Carnival returned from the memorable event on January 1, 2016. The Calabar Carnival is one of Nigeria’s premier international cultural events, held annually in the municipality of Cross River State. The event is known as the "Africa's Biggest Street Party". The Belizean contingent arrived in the former capital city of Lagos, Nigeria on December 25th. This was the start of their wonderful experience as they witnessed and took part in one of the best organized and culturally-rich festivals. The Belize group included six members of the TITANS Carnival group, D.J. Richie Galvez and the Vice President of the University of Belize Student Government Melody Wagner.

A Giant Exists in the Maya Mountains of Belize
There is a giant that sleeps along the Maya Mountain chain of Belize, but you do not have to worry about it coming after you because it lays in eternal slumber. The Sleeping Giant of Belize is a landmark that can be spotted along the highways of the country, one that provides a great photo opportunity to highlight your adventures in the country. Once you get to around Mile 25 on the Western Highway, traveling west from Belize City to the Cayo District, there are pine trees, more pines, some small hills and then in the distance appears the Sleeping Giant that guards the foothills of Maya Mountains. It’s a limestone mountain that has taken the shape of a person lying down. You might have passed by it a dozen times without knowing it is there, but if you look closely you can easily distinguish a nose, chin, neck, stomach and even his feet. Your imagination takes charge of how you see the giant sleeping in the horizon, but its head is clear to spot. It is really cool!!

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Please support Samantha Nicole Dirk
A Belizean American, who wants to represent Belize in the Central American games and he Olympics in Brazil. She is currently applying for all documentation to apply.

Belize Prime Minister attends Inauguration of Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales
The Office of the Prime Minister informs the general public that Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow will depart the country today, Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 to attend the inauguration of the new President of Guatemala, Mr. Jimmy Morales. Morales, prior to being elected president, claimed Belize as a territory of Guatemala. Morales, a comedian by profession, infamously portrayed the racist character "blackface." The Prime Minister will be accompanied by his Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Audrey Wallace and by Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, H.E. Alexis Rosado.

Monthly Weather Summary, December 2015, National Meteorological Service of Belize
Climatology shows that the main features influencing weather across the country of Belize in December are cold fronts, upper level troughs and the development of moist northeasterly airflows in the area. There was no frontal passage in December of 2015. However, a couple fronts stalled over or just north of the country resulting in relatively moist conditions over the area. The upper levels were mostly dry during the month. On the first day of December a surface trough over the Gulf of Honduras supported a moist North to Northeasterly airflow over the country. This resulted in cloudy skies at times with a few showers and light rain across the country. The same feature continued on the 2nd but conditions were a bit drier that day with only isolated showers developing. On the 3rd the trough moved a little closer to the country and moisture increased once more. Skies were cloudy with a few showers and light rain mainly over the Sea and along the coast. Similar conditions continued the following day with a weak low developing along the surface trough. On the 5th, the National Hurricane Center analyzed a stationary front east of the country. However, all observations indicated that the front was further north over Yucatan and instead the feature analyzed as the front was actually the persistent surface trough. Showers increased that day and conditions were a bit moist until the 7th.

Splashers Paint Party at Crazy Canucks
Sorry for the late post! Helpful objects for this painting will be a ice tray & rag. Come join us to paint "Angel Fish" this Thursday at Crazy Canucks. Everything you need is provided step by step direction, paint, brushes, smocks, canvas and maybe even a stencilled canvas if you need it (shhhh). $25u.s for first time artists and visitors. $20u.s for our members. Bring a Rag if you can help save paper.

CARICOM Accredits New Belizean Envoy as Ambassadors Meet
As the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors meets in Georgetown, Guyana, Wednesday to engage on the Community Reform Process, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque accepted the Letters of Credence from H.E. Daniel Gutierrez, new Ambassador of Belize. In a short accreditation ceremony held in his office, Ambassador LaRocque told the newest member of the Committee that he will have the opportunity to help shape the future direction of the integration movement by advancing the implementation of decisions of Organs of the Community at the national level. He noted that during his recent engagement with the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Chairman of the Caribbean Community for the next six months, it was evident that the Prime Minister was keen on making an even stronger link between national and regional agendas.

Power interruption 6:00am to 10:00am, Saturday, January 16: entire Corozal District
BEL to replace broken transmission pole, caused by traffic accident in Corozal District.

UNO Gas Station in Corozal announces our 24 hour service
Commencing this Friday January 15th. Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Monday UNO will be open to serve our customers 24 hours. Please take advantage and avoid the long and tedious lines.

Vivian's Grand Opening
Vivian's Cafe had their grand opening, and it was a packed house. The new Vivian's is majestic inside. They also got some great pictures of the event. "Vivian's Cafè had their grand opening yesterday, and it was a hit! They're going to need a bigger counter on weekends. There was face painting by the master face painter, Abi, and plenty of balloons and giveaways too. Great ice cream and nachos were enjoyed by all."

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: Technical Assistant Wildlife Conservation Society
WCS seeks a Technical Assistant to support the scientific and technical aspects of their Belize country program. The primary purpose of WCS in Belize is to develop and implement science-based conservation and management programs that will conserve Belize’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems in the long term. Summary of Position The Technical Assistant, who will be based in the WCS office in Belize City, will be directly supervised by the Marine Conservation Scientist , and other staff as may be assigned, and will provide support for the management of the science and education programs conducted, including at the Glover’s Reef Marine Research Station (GRRS).

A weekly radio drama in Belize seems to be aiding conservation. Punta Fuego, which focuses on the story of a young fisherman, Richie, elevates the importance of ordinary Belizean fishers and of sustainable fishing practices. It's a unique approach to spreading an important wildlife message and it appears to be working. A survey of a handful of towns and villages showed that roughly 34% of the population had tuned in to season 1. And that those who listened were more likely to possess correct knowledge regarding Belize's fisheries regulations, to recognize the benefits of marine protected areas, and to share their knowledge with other fishers. It's no surprise then that the show, which is sponsored in part by WCS, will be back for season 2 starting in June.

Paradise Theater · San Pedro, Belize · Playing this weekend!!
The Last Witch Hunter, Black Mass, The Revenant, Goosebumps.
(Saturday night we have a Spanish comedian performing in Room 1 at 9pm Presented by Reef Radio. The tickets are only $25, the bar is stocked and it is sure to be a unique and exciting event! Movies will still be playing in screen 2 and in the big room at 7 before the comedy performance.

Channel 7

Supreme Court Says DOE Cut Corners For Norwegian
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye Cruise Port and Docking Facility, which is one of the country’s biggest cruise tourism projects is more than 70% complete. It will open for business later this year, but the Supreme Court has ruled that the Department of the Environment cut corners to fast track the project. That’s the decision that Justice Courtney Abel handed down today after months of extensive litigation brought to the court by the Belize Tourism Industry Association. The BTIA sued the Department of Environment, or (DOE), and the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, called (NEAC), accusing them of breaching the laws governing the Environmental Impact Assessment, known as an EIA. Now, for viewers not familiar with an EIA, it’s a study done by all private developers to prove that a development won’t irreparably harm the environment.

Freak Accident Leaves Man Trapped Behind Rolling Cement Truck
A freak accident in San Ignacio yesterday evening resulted in the death of a 25 year old Derl Anthony Barahona, a resident of Corozal. He was crushed between the back wheel of a rolling Cement Truck and a hill. Superintendent Andrew Ramirez described the tragic scene. "Police visited the Benque Veijo Road right here in San Ignacio where they observed a trailer truck with cement and also pinned to the fence was a male person who was later identified as Derl Anthony Barahona, he's a 25 year old Belizean of Corozal. The initial investigation reveals that David Dominguez the driver of the truck in the company of Christopher Usher and Mr. Barahona was coming down from South to North. Mr. Dominguez was the driver, Mr. Usher was the middle and Mr. Barahona was on the right passenger side, when appeared that the truck was experience some sort try of brake problem. As a result Mr. Dominguez had indicated Mr. Barahona to try jump out of the truck in order to place a rock on the truck. Immediately on doing so and Mr. Barahona jumping out of the truck it appears that the break completely gave way and the drive a right turn into the fence not noticing that Mr. Barahona was out of the vehicle at the right rear end of the vehicle and as a result Mr. Barahona body was pinned and it took several minutes over an hour to have him basically removed from that position. Obviously he died on impact in relation to that happening. "

PG Police Closing In On Killer
On Monday, we told you about 19 year-old Punta Gorda resident, Jarrel Pop, whose body was found at the bottom of a shallow well. As we told you, Pop’s body was found on Sunday morning in an advanced state of decomposition. An on site post mortem found that he had been chopped and stabbed to death. Well, since then, PG investigators have been closely following up on all leads, and between last night and this morning, their main suspect was caught in San Pedro Town. He’s in transit back to the Punta Gorda Police Station tonight, where he will be questioned.

Teenager For Shooting Pregnant Woman
A teenager has been charged for shooting a woman and her pregnant daughter on Dolphin Street. As you saw in last night’s news, Stephanie Smith and her pregnant daughter Shenelle Rolland were at home on Monday night when 2 men crept up from behind the house, and the other 2 came around the front, and one of the men opened fire hitting both Smith and Roland in their stomachs. Luckily for Rolland the bullet only grazed her belly and her unborn child is okay, but her mother wasn’t that lucky – the bullet was lodged inside her stomach and she was hospitalized. Police say they are working hard to find all the men involved. So far they have charged 18 year old Devon Lopez. Today officer commanding Eastern Division South, senior Superintendent Chester Williams told us this shooting is related to Cleon “Tush” Smith’s murder in Hattieville. "The shooting on Dolphin Street, that shooting we are investigating it and we have arrested on person, one Devon Lopez who is from the Ghost town, the Ellis Meighan faction. He has been charged with 2 counts of attempted murder amongst other varying degree of crime. From what our investigation was telling us that is a direct retaliation in respect to the shooting death of Tush in Hattieville. So we are looking at that angle and see if there are other persons involved. We know for a fact that there is another young man who is involved, we know who the person is but we were not able to get any witness to put him on the spot so as a right of that we are able to press charges against the other person."

Police Detain Two For Broad Daylight City Shooting
Last night we told you about the broad daylight attempted murder on Barrack Road. Well, tonight, police say they have two persons detained. They are 21 year old George McKenzie Jr of Pink’s Alley and 18 year old Dane Gillett of Arlington Drive. Police believe that just before 10:00 yesterday morning, Mckenzie chased 29 year old Leon Garcia into a car wash at the corner of Barrack road, followed him into a tool room, and fired a string of shots at him at close range. None of them found their target and the shooter fled in a waiting car. Police believe it is the product of an ongoing rivalry between Victoria Street and Pink’s Alley.

Atlantic Bank Still Corresponds
Last night in our report about troubles in the banking sector, we reported that Scotiabank was the only local bank still holding unto a correspondent banking relationship. Well that wasn’t accurate – and today Atlantic Bank sent out a release saying that they still have correspondent banking relationships with: the Bank of New York Mellon, Commerzbank and US Century Bank. A press release adds quote, “we continue to facilitate international making transactions, including wire transfers via our entire branch network” end quote. That network still does include a branch in the Corozal Free Zone. So, we stand corrected. Atlantic Bank says it meets local and international regulatory standards – as it has for the past 45 years. Yesterday the Prime Minister told the press that he is trying to get an urgent meeting with the State Department and the US Treasury because even the smaller banks that have been handling credit card settlements for other banks are threatening to discontinue that service by the middle of next month.

PM Goes To Guate To Greet Jimmy
The Prime Minister left today for Guatemala City for the inauguration of President Jimmy Morales. The Prime Minister may have decided to make his visit after Morales made a low key visit to Belize at the end of November. That’s where both leaders had a brief, cordial meeting, a far cry from the harsh words they had exchanged about the Belize Guatemala territorial dispute during their respective campaigns. In Guatemala, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by his CEO, Audrey Wallace and Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, Alexis Rosado. He returns on Sunday and Security Minister John Saldivar will act as Prime Minister until Friday, when he hands over to Deputy PM Gaspar Vega.

2016: The Year Of The Chopper
The BDF will take to the skies a whole lot in 2016 – and they will do so in their own choppers. That’s right, we said “choppers” – as in more than one. Today in a press briefing about the plans for the year ahead, Commander General David Jones said two military type helicopters will be coming in on Monday:… "Helicopter training will be a big thing for us this year because we expect to get in the other two UH-1H helicopters actually on Monday; coming Monday those two helicopters are expected to be in Belize. We will finalize between two contractors we are looking at now to decide which one of them will provide the helicopter training for our pilots. We already have the Bel, so this year 2016 we expect to have three helicopters up and running." Jones said having the helicopters will enable soldiers to deploy quickly in hard to reach places, mainly along the western border with Guatemala, which is the site of many incursions. Presently, when the BDF sights an incursion or a milpa clearing – it takes days after that to actually get there – but with an arsenal of choppers, that should change:..

The Change in Chiquibul
And while many of those flights will be into the Chiquibul, it’s not as many as before and that’s because a stronger BDF presence has cooled things down significantly in that large protected area:… Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "For the last 2 years the big area of concern we had was in the area of Rio Blanco where we had many encroachment, too much encroachments and we were able to arrest that situation not just by the increase of patrols but also with the assistance of our Guatemalan counter parts. Where people have now been persuaded to come across into Belize and do illegal activities. Our aim for 2016 is to arrest the situation even more along our border with our neighbouring countries, with Guatemala and Mexico. So air reconnaissance will increase. That also will be an increase in foot patrol and coverage of sum of the areas that we haven't been covering. So the other area of concern now is the area of Sebada which is inside the Chiquibul. This is the area we will be working with FCD to arrest that situation. There is an issue of the road being constructed to get the CP there because this is the most challenging area to reach, the area of Sebada. There is no road leading there, there is no helicopter site where we can just drop in get material there and construct. So we're looking at the feasibility of constructing a road to go to the area and have a conservation post placed there."

BDF & GAF Linked Up Over 200 Times In 2015
But the greater enforcement of borderline is also facilitated by something you might not expect: the cooperation of the Guatemalan Army. That’s right, they do joint border patrols along the western border with the BDF – and in 2015, they did over 200 of them. Jones says this has made a difference "A total of 210 linkup patrols occurred along our border so that is from the area of Aguas Turbias down to Cadenas. These are patrols that we did jointly with the Guatemalan armed forces. Of those 210 patrols, 9 of them that were unsuccessful depicted on the graph there. Out of all those 210 patrols only 9, so 201 times we met along the border from Aguas Turbias all the way down to Cadenas and that is something we hope to emulate later on also along the Sarstoon where we plan to have joint patrols with them."

BDF Plans A "Jungle Warfare School Of Excellence"
And while they cooperated with Guatemalan Armed Forces in 2015, in 2016, the BDF hopes to team up with armies from all over the world. That’s because they want to build a Jungle Warfare School Of Excellence. Now the BDF has been doing training since 1991, but this project aspires to be on an entirely different level:… Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "But we want to expand it at a larger level because for the most part it is only individual officers and soldiers from foreign armies to do training in Belize but some of the forces to include the US army, the German, the Dutch, Norwegians, when they come in they want to bring in at least at company strength; so in excess of 100 men, 200 men instead of just 5 or 6. It will be a larger footprint of people coming to use the training areas in Belize. So we want it to be a school of excellence that not just the European countries but also the members of the Caribbean come into Belize and do jungle training here in Belize." And apart form training, Central American, Caribbean and American armed forces want to team up to stop the flow of drugs through Belizean waters and territory – a trade which Jones says is huge:..

BDF's Broken Down Barracks
But if the BDF wants to host cooperating armed forces from all over the world, it will have to repair its physical infrastructure. The camps which the army inherited form the British more than two decades ago are falling apart – and Jones acknowledged that they need work: Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "The buildings that we have in the BDF that we have at Price Barracks and the other bases are very old and they require refurbishment. Some of them actually require demolition and reconstruction so that is expected to occur and from the Cabei fund, a part of the vehicles, monies is also being put aside to do construction and refurbishment of the buildings for our soldiers to live more adequately and comfortably. Field equipment and resources is also going to be ongoing and we expect that every soldier by the end of 2016 is going to be fully equipped, fully resourced to meet the national goals of our country. So when a soldier gets deployed they won't be in need or want of the kit or equipment because we're going to be reaching our goal this year that we have all the kit and equipment that we need for our soldiers to adequately do their patrols, do their operations comfortably."

BDF's Consejo Concern
And the BDF will also be setting up a new building in the north – this one much like the forward operating base which is being built on the Sarstoon. This one will be built on the Hondo, at Consejo which the General says has emerged as a major hotspot for drug trafficking:.. Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "The area of Consejo is a big area of concern; these are strategic location that the BDF want to have post established for the BDF to operate from. The area of Consejo has been witnesses of many illegal drug activities happening between Mexico and Belize in the maritime area. This was observed by our customs counterpart. We had a plan to put a conservation post in 4 mile lagoon in the Corozal area but this area of Consejo is more strategic in that anything that comes in the maritime goes in between Belize and Mexico we will have eyes on it in that area and we will be able to arrest it." The BDF is in the final stages of negotiation with the US Army for fund to construct the base there.

Mucho Marijuana
And the BDF also team up with the Americans to destroy marijuana fields. For the past few years, they have been using American helicopters to be inserted in remote areas where illegal marijuana plantations are planted. They destroyed 151 thousand plants in 2015, comparable to 187 thousand plants in 2014. Along with the compressed marijuana which was confiscated, the street value is staggering:.. Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "A total of 300 compressed marijuana was destroyed. So street value of what we destroyed in 2015 is in excess of 76 million Belize dollars’ worth of marijuana we destroyed in Belize. The Cayo district is the district that most of the marijuana was destroyed followed by the Toledo district."

Ambassador Danny: From Drilling Wells To Diplomacy
Daniel Guttierez, is well known to us in the media as the Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager for BNE. But tonight, he is making news tonight but he is wearing a different hat. Guiterez, was recently appointed the new Ambassador of Belize to the Caribbean Community. He recently presented his credentials to the CARICOM Secretary- General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque while the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors met in Georgetown, Guyana. In a brief credentials ceremony the CARICOM Secretary General noted that Belize has been a very active participant in CARICOM, hosting two important arms of the community: the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, both of which play leading roles in the sustainable development of the community. Guiterez in his address made a call to the other members of the community that 2016 must be a year of action.

Shirley Sings For Support
Shirley Bowen Ferguson has been singing and performing for years, but tonight, she risks losing that voice because of a cyst growing on the side of her neck. She is having a street concert this weekend where she hopes to sing for your support. Emanuel Pech visited Miss Shirley yesterday during one of her daily rehearsals. Shirley Bowen Ferguson is a well-known Belizean musician, writer and poet. She loves her garden which is what inspired her latest song “Don’t Bring Me Roses.” She has high hopes for this piece and others she has written. She hopes to record them in a few years and publish a book of poems. But a large cyst that has latched to the side of her throat threatens to rob her of these dreams. Shirley Bowen Ferguson - Sings for Support: "This thing I'm very concerned about it because as you can see it's going down in the neck and it's coming out the face and it's very large. It's a big lump here.”

Missing Man In Maskall
Police in Maskall are trying to find this man. He is 53 year old Lynford Ramirez, who hasn’t been seen since December 27th. That’s when he was seen at 5:00 in the morning. Police say they took 17 days to report it because the last time he went missing up turned up in Belize City a at a friend’s house a week later. But this time, he’s been missing going on three weeks, and anyone knowing his whereabouts is asked to call Corporal Usher at Maskall police. His number is 601-4483.

Southside Cops Investigating Tyrone's Complaint
Last night, Tyrone Gentle told us the GSU beat him badly in front of his kids – because he wouldn’t give them the PIN number to unlock his phone. He said the officers kicked him in the stomach and stood on his neck. Now, while it’s the GSU that did it, they did it on the Southside where Commander Chester Williams has spoken so many times about community policing with consent, not confrontation. Today Williams told us they are looking into both sides of this case. Sr. Supt. Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division Southside: "We do a lot of work with GSU, often times when we need assistance to go out and do operations to go after those elements who are perpetrating criminal acts, we normally call on GSU, SPU, my team and the canine unit to go after different factions across Southside Belize City. Again that is a part of our tough approach. The matter with Tyrone Gentle, yes he came to Racoon Street and made a complaint. The professional standard bureau has taken this complaint and the matter will be investigated."

Are GSU Rough Tactics Undermining Community Initiative?
So as you heard Southside police do work along with GSU on several operations and Gentle’s case was one of those where the GSU had to be brought in. Now, whenever we speak with Commanding Officer Chester Williams he always re-iterates the importance of community policing and outreach, building trust between residents and police – well, he says that’s just one part of it. Today Williams told us about the duality of his policing strategy and its effectiveness. Sr. Supt. Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division Southside: "If you listen to the minister himself when he spoke at the award ceremony in Belmopan, he also said that what we are embarking on now is community policing. Yes we still need to have the big stick approach in the event that we have those who may wish not to do things the right way then we must that tough approach that we have to deal with them. Even as I embark on community policing, I still have my operation officers who are out there on a daily basis doing operational work, going after those who continue to perpetrate criminal acts and those who do not want to change their way of life. I believe in being reasonable and believe in giving a fair chance to people who want to change. But at the end of the day I will not allow myself to be ridden by anybody to think that, oh well Chester is soft now and I can do what I want because I can tell you, being soft is not in my nature. I try to change the method of policing that I do with a view to see how best we could work with people in giving them a fair opportunity but when they do not want that opportunity then we must take out the big stick. We cannot spare the rod and spoil the child."

The Constant Cops
So while Williams says he must use varied approaches in reducing crime, the one he will always uphold is that healthy community interaction. Today we caught up with Williams and his team on Mopan Street – they were conducting their 2nd meet and greet session for 2016. Williams told us this style of policing is all about consistency.

Cops Want More Than Just Meet and Greet
But it won’t just be the same meet and greet sessions every Wednesday. Williams also told us about other plans to enhance their community outreach program. Williams says someone has already expressed interest in helping the police transform the Jane Usher Basketball court for the kids in that area.

Primary Schoolers At Play
Today the National Primary School Basketball Tournament kicked off in Belize City and the Minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports was there to deliver a brief speech to the little athletes. We spoke to the Minister of State Hon. Elodio Aragon who told us about the importance of his presence at this short opening ceremony and about his efforts in finding the funds to enhance the sporting facilities in the country.

Can He Fix MCC Misadventure?
While on the topic of negligence in the area of sporting facilities we asked the Minister of State about an incident that occurred on the MCC grounds last week. At a high school game, a Wesley College Student was seriously injured when he fell in a ditch surrounding the field. It’s part of an effort to refurbish the field – an effort, which we are told has not left footballers too happy at all. Aragon told us he wasn’t aware of the ditch before last week but now that it has been brought to his attention he will work to try and remedy the situation. Hon. Elodio Aaragon - Minister of State, Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture: "I was out there on Monday at the MCC, I personally did a walk through with the CEO of the ministry of Youth Sports and Culture along with Mr. Allan Sharp, who is the chairman for the national sports council. We took a walk throughout there because I really wanted to get a first-hand view of what the situation was. And I will tell you this; I saw the ditches out there and my first question, how long have these ditches been there? So we are working on that and that is one of my first priority I need to do is to get that MCC grounds up and running for people to use and cover these ditches. We need to run the pipping I got to understand for the new lighting system that would have been placed there. We are working on that and I ask our young people who use the facility to just bare in mind this is not something that I just seen 6 months ago. It is something I've seen now and it's something we are going to make sure we fix the problem in terms of that."

Cops Get Gun And Ganja
Northside police got a major weed bust yesterday morning. They found a bucket stuffed with 13 plastic bags weighing 1.4 kilos, which is about three pounds. The bucket was in a abandoned structure on Handyside street in the Fort George area. And, southside police are reporting a gun seizure bust 6 days after it happened. At 8:40on January 7th., police on motorcycle patrol on Ordonez Street in the St Martin’s area, saw two men approaching. When they saw the cops, one of the men dressed in a white “hoodie” tossed an object in the nearby bushes and they both ran away. Police searched the area and found a 9 millimeter pistol and a magazine with 9 live rounds.

Beverage Giant Expands
Last night, we gave you a preview of the new 40 million dollar Bowen and Bowen Bottling Plant. The beverage company is hoping to grow the company’s product line in the future and Daniel Ortiz went back inside that new plant to find out how it will work. Here’s that story:

Serious Collision Near Santa Elena
There was an accident on the northern highway near the Santa Elena border late this evening. Details are sketchy but we know that no one was killed. There were however, serious injuries when an SUV crashed into a car between Belmont butane and the Slaughter House. The fire department had to remove one of the victims from the car – which is why it is completely opened up.

Channel 5

News Five Speaks to Guatemalan FM on Eve of Presidential Inauguration
In less than twenty-four hours, Jimmy Morales will assume office as the new president of Guatemala. It’s an important event for Belize because of that country’s unfounded territorial claim to [...]

B.T.I.A. Victorious vs. G.O.B. and Norwegian Cruise Lines
In June 2014, the first arguments in the Belize Tourism Industry Association versus the Government of Belize/Norwegian Cruise Lines were heard in the Supreme Court. It is a little over [...]

G.O.B. Must Pay Costs to B.T.I.A.
As Salas pointed out, the B.T.I.A. at no point sought to stop the project, which is nearing completion. But it is a significant slap-down of government by the Supreme Court, [...]

Police Charge Teenager for Shooting of Two Women
Was the near-fatal Monday night assault of a pregnant teen and her mother reprisal for a weekend murder in Hattieville?  According to police, the shooting of eighteen-year-old Shenell Rolland and [...]

No Arrests in Murder of ‘Tush’
While Belize City police believe that the shooting of a woman and her pregnant daughter on Dolphin Street are linked to the murder of Cleon “Tush” Smith, the Hattieville police [...]

George McKenzie Jr. Arrested for Shooting on Barrack Road
As we reported on Tuesday, twenty-nine-year-old Leon Garcia came under gunfire from a pair of men who ran up on him while he was conversing with a friend in front [...]

John Briceño Calls for a Clean Campaign
On the political front…The battle for leader of the People’s United Party continues to heat up, in a most unpleasant way. It’s gotten so bad in social media that at [...]

Briceño Says He and PM Are Friends Outside of Politics…So What?
We also took the opportunity to quiz Briceño about some of the challenges he will certainly be facing if he is indeed elected leader of the P.U.P. on January thirty-first. [...]

Former P.U.P. Campaign Manager Says He Isn’t Involved in Leadership Race
One man who is certainly no stranger to the P.U.P. or to contentious conventions is Godfrey Smith. The last time there was a convention in which Briceño and Fonseca faced [...]

B.D.F. Reports on Anti-Narcotics Campaign
As much as seventy-six million dollars worth of marijuana went up in smoke last year as a result of anti-drug operations conducted by the Belize Defense Force working along with [...]

Return of BATSUB Will Increase Revenue to the Country
With the return of the British Army Training Support Unit in Belize, BATSUB, having been announced in October of last year, it is expected that the annual influx of British [...]

Strategic Defence Review To Be Implemented
The formulation of a well-crafted plan of action to guide the Belize Defense Force into the near future has been a work in progress for Commander David Jones.  Since taking [...]

Daniel Gutierrez, Belize Ambassador to CARICOM
The government announced today the appointment of Daniel Gutierrez of Belize Natural Energy as Ambassador to CARICOM. Gutierrez presented his letter of credence to Secretary General Irwin LaRocque in Georgetown, [...]

Bowen Launches New Bottling Line
On Tuesday, industry giant Bowen and Bowen launched its brand new, state-of-the-art bottling line. That line, located at the company’s Ladyville plant in the Belize District, will significantly increase production [...]

Cane Farmer Lucilo Teck Seeks Assistance to Pay Legal Costs
On February twenty-third of 2015, Justice Shona Griffith, struck out a writ of mandamus brought to the courts by Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd on behalf of cane farmer Lucilo Teck and [...]

Police Continue Meet & Greet Initiative on North and South Sides
Since mid 2015, the Eastern Division of the Police Department has embarked on meet and greet initiative to bring the community closer to the police as a strategy to curb [...]