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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
Dangriga’s Ligemeri Wanaragua wins Senior Habinaha Wanaragua Jankunu Competition 2017
Dangriga’s Ligemeri Wanaragua won the Senior Habinahan Wanaragua Jankunu Competition 2017 on Tuesday, December 26th in Dangriga Town. The Jankunu competition saw seven teams competing for the title: Irahuñu Lidan Aban, Houn Gurigia, Legemeri Wanaragua, Lalagante Wanaragua, and Wabaña from Dangriga Town, Habariñu Wayunagu from Punta Gorda Town and Seine-Bight Village’s Libaña Biedi.
The Habinahan Wanaragua is an annual Jankunu competition organized in Dangriga Town which is known as the “Culture Capital” for its rich preservation of the Garifuna Culture through modern days. The competition is spectacular, colorful and the very embodiment of the Garifuna Culture, as it reunites the best Jankunu dancers throughout the entire country. Usually held the last Sunday of the year following Christmas Day, the date is a practical one. Many Belizeans living abroad return home during this season to attend this magnificent encounter of Jankunu dancers.
PIC OF THE WEEK: Traveling Mermaid In San Pedro Belize
There was a traveling mermaid in Belize during the Holidays and she was vacationing around the country taking stunning pictures. Mermaid Hyli caught our attention on Instagram with her beautiful long red hair and gorgeous mermaid tail as her husband took pictures of her at various locations in Belize, including San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. According to her account, she is a traveling Mermaid, making a splash wherever she goes. Visit her Instagram account for more gorgeous mermaid pictures in Belize.
BEL Cautions Against Life-Threatening Practices
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is concerned about life-threatening practices of buildings being constructed and people working dangerously close to power lines, following two fatal incidents this year.
Last week, a resident of Independence Village lost his life whilst trimming a tree near high voltage power lines. Similarly, in June, a construction worker was electrocuted in Placencia whilst working near high voltage power lines. The Company extends condolences to the families who lost their loved ones due to these extremely tragic incidents.
BEL is pleading to the public to desist from constructing structures and planting trees near power lines.
Misc Belizean Sources
Temporary Closure of the San Estevan Ferry
The public, motorists in particular, are hereby informed that the San Estevan Ferry in the Orange Walk District will be closed to all traffic from 10:00 a.m. today, December 29, 2017, until Wednesday, January 10, 2018. The closure has become necessary to enable urgent maintenance to be done on the ferry.
The Ministry of Works regrets the inconvenience.
New Year's Eve Countdown at Central Park
SUNDAY! Come out to the Central Park and bring in the New Year 2018! Music by JLA Sounds, Island Fayah, DJ Debbie, Dajah and DJ JAGO! And don't forget! We will also have CARIBBEAN ROOTS BAND to party the night away! We will have party favors and FIREWORKS!
Job vacancy at Enjoy Restaurant and Bar on Caye Caulker
New Year's Eve at the Radisson
New Year's Eve 2018 at the Radisson with Oscar B - Oscar Benjamin, Supa G and the baddest band in the land Gilharry 7 Band
Party all night long with welcome cocktails, party favors, champagne toasts, happy hour prices and breakfast at 5am!
Tickets available at the front desk $60 Single and $100 per couple OR call 223-3333 to ask about the full New Year's Eve Party Package with a single or double room for only $170usd!
Benque Youths Christmas Party 2017
The Department of Youth Services had their Christmas party for the youths of Benque, and it was very well attended. Thanks go out to the DYS, Benque 4H Club, and the Opening Roads for Future Generations Organization.
Pictures of the event taken by Mr. Murillo.
"Benque Children’s and Youths Christmas Party was a Success. Having a total of 216 persons attending, 121 kids and 54 youths and 41 adults. We want to thank every sponsor, volunteer and persons who assisted in making this event possible. This Year’s Children’s and Youth Christmas party was organized by the Department of Youth Services Benque, Benque Viejo 4H Club and Opening Roads for Future Generations Organization. Some of the activities that encompassed this event were lots of games, Piñatas, food, and awards given out by the Benque Viejo 4H Club, and awards given out by our very own officers in Benque recognizing the people that have been there to support our activities and exceptional people who are doing great things in their community."
Clean-up of Corozal Bay Area
I congratulate and commend the Corozal Rotaract Club for organizing the clean-up of Corozal Bay Area this morning. Our town progresses when leaders realize that WORK gets done not by sitting idly by but by being actively involved!! Councillor Candidate Otoniel Riverol and I were proud to join the volunteers in getting our feet wet and hands a bit dirty to make Corozal Town's beautiful coast healthier. To those groups and their volunteers who have done the initiative in the past, I salute you. We'll have a better future because of your efforts! Keep Corozal Town clean and Beautiful.
End of Year Water, Shore and Coastal Clean Up 2017
End the year with a BANG! We are very pleased with the turn out for Rotaract's End of Year Clean Up Campaign. We were pleased to see people of all ages come out to support this event. Would like to give special mention to members from the CJC EAGLEs Environmental Club, Ryan Rivera from Oceana Belize, Mr Lincoln E. Eiley, Mrs Colleen Steege and Mr Bruce Steege, you guys were amazing I must say, to Mr. Rigo Vellos and Mr Otoniel Riverol, Mr Richard Quan and members of Corozal Bay, The Corozal Policing Unit that brought out the Cadetes and the Corozal Town Council.
United as a community we can achieve so much. Once again, thank you everyone who participated.
Changes going on at the old Sunset Grill in San Pedro
Fareed Ahmad, Questions Abound About Death of 39 Year Old
Last night, we told you about the very questionable death of 39 year-old Fareed Ahmad, the well-known barber from Hattieville who was shot in the face, and then crashed into a vehicle on the side of the road. It happened about a mile away from his home, just after midnight on Thursday.
His family believes he was murdered. And while his death has not been established as a homicide, fingers are pointing at his passenger, Woman Police Constable Michelle Brown. She was inside his vehicle with her service weapon. No one has been able to say with certainty what she was doing inside the vehicle - leaving many more questions than answers tonight.
On one side, there is a grieving family that is demanding answers and accountability, and then, there are the police investigators who are trying to be fair.
What Was Teacher Killed A Long Way From Home?
In the case of teacher Desmond Lewis, it is more straightforward. The teacher from Independence Village was found on Maureen Leslie Street yesterday morning with his throat slashed and other stab wounds to the chest.
Lewis, who lives in Dangriga came to Belize, and he was staying with a friend on that street in Belize City. Reports are that he was found dead kneeling between two bed posts in his friend's home.
The Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch shared what information he had on Lewis' murder:
BNTU Says Teacher's Murder Speaks To Intolerance
And, the Belize National Teachers Union also had something to say about Desmond Lewis - who was a teacher and union member.
The statement condemns what it calls "a vicious murder" - and alludes to his lifestyle, saying, quote, "(it) is not only unfortunate, but it speaks to the level of intolerance of some of our people." The statement calls him a "hard working, dedicated, appreciated and respected" member of society. They conclude, quote, "We have lost a loyal soldier. Enough is enough. Lives must be respected," end quote.
Police Puzzle Over Man Found Dead In River
Assistant Police Commissioner Myvette also discussed the murder of Errol Gabourel Smith. He's the Roaring Creek resident who was found floating in the river, an area near the Y-Wam Bridge in the village, early on Wednesday morning. Someone shot him in the head and attempted to dispose of his body. But before it could be carried off by the current, it was found by villagers who went to the area that morning. Today, Myvette told us that they have a suspect, who is in the custody of Corozal Police:
PM Says 40 M USD Approved For Caracol Road
Prime Minister Dean Barrow released his annual New Year's message about two hours ago. Mostly, the message focusses on his administration's calling card, which has emerged as infrastructure. And what caught our eye in the 12 minute address is the news that Government has recently secured funding for the full paving of the Caracol Road:
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize:
"I just received a letter from the director general of OFID confirming an offer of a 40 million US financing package for construction of the entire Caracol Road."
"We had thought we would need several partners to fund a project of this magnitude which will greatly add to the overall tourism vision and open up the natural and environmental wonder of that entire area including Mountain Pine Ridge."
The Resolution Solution
And while the Prime Minister has his plan for the New Year, what about your New Year's resolution?
After last weekend's ham, turkey, and the warmth of family, now, we're turning to the New Year - and, more than just a reason to party, it's time for stocktaking and decision making about 2018. Today we hit Albert Street and asked about folks what they plan to do in the big 1-8:
"I am from Germany."
"Yea I wish you all the best and Happy New Year."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter:
"Can you tell us Happy New Year in German?"
"Frohes Neues Jahr and Happy New Year."
AG Frowns Over News Breaking Story of Extradition Request For Attorney
Attorney General Mike Peyreffite says the his ministry has only recently received the extradition request for attorney Andrew Bennett, and the Solicitor General has not gone through it fully as yet.
Under the extradition law - the Solicitor General acts as the attorney for the US government so he has to be fully conversant with the facts and convinced of the validity of the request.
Peyreffite said that he feels it is unfair to the accused that the news knows the facts of case, before the extradition request goes through its due process.
Police Say Old Man Found On Road Wasn't Killed
Last week we told you about Cladius Meighan, the 80 year old who was found on the shoulder of the road, near mile three on the George Price Highway on Tuesday 19th December. He had a major injury to the back of his head - but no one knew how he got it.
That left him critically injured and Meighan succumbed to his injuries on Christmas Day. Today police said they don't think he was killed.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB Belize City:
"Reference the incident where Mr. Cladius Meighan was found on the 19th December on the George Price Highway, the postmortem was conducted this morning. The doctor has certified that the cause of death due to a fall that he had received and it is not consistent with any road traffic accident or any knock intentionally by anybody. So it was caused by him falling and caused him to go in a coma and thereafter he suffered from a lung collapse that caused his death."
Cops Helping With Man Missing For 3 Days
So, while police say that Meighan died of natural causes, they have no idea where Belize City Resident Jamal Humes is.
You'll remember his mother's interview with us in which she said she last saw her son on Boxing Day. Well, today, Police said that they have been trying to facilitate the family in their search for him:
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB Belize City:
"Reference the missing person's [report] of Mr. Humes, at this moment police are along with family members in the Jane Usher and Faber's Road area conducting some searches. As I had mentioned previously, the investigators had been up to eight miles in different areas conducting searches based on information that we have been receiving. Reference Mr. Rodriguez, we have constant communication with the family and up to now we don't have a trace of where he can be."
Police Opened Grave Looking For Pollard
And, the cops are also trying their best to accommodate the family of 49 year old Belize City resident Mark Pollard went missing on a morning run in early July.
Assistant Superintendent Cowo say they even went and broke open a grave in Lord Ridge Cemetery to follow up on rumours that his remains may have been in there:
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC, CIB Belize City:
"Reference the missing person Mr. Pollard, several rumors have been coming out remains being found. Let me inform you that yesterday we received permission from the Health Department and this morning the police department along with family members broke the tomb of the Pollard's at the Lord Ridge Cemetery and it was viewed and there is no bones additional in there as was allege by other persons. So that matter is still being investigated as a missing person."
Shawn Lord, Clear of Court, Alleged Thief
The cops also shared the details of the case coming out of the San Ignacio Magistrate's Court in which just over 2 thousand dollars went missing from the public purse.
ACP Myvette briefed the press on why Shawn Lord, a clerk at the Belize City Magistrate Court, is being accused of theft for the missing money:
ACP Joseph Myvette - Head National Crimes Investigation:
"Additionally one report was received from the San Ignacio magistrate court regarding the theft of monies amounting to $2,010. The report is that on the 14th November whilst Shawn Lord, 29 years old first class clerk of Belize City was at the magistrate court in San Ignacio doing some work. Two revenue collectors receipts were missing from the revenue collectors receipt book and the monies were not accounted for at the end of the day. As a consequence a report was made an investigation was done and yesterday he was formally arrested and charge for one count of theft. He was taken to court and granted bail."
Dialysis Solution For City
With lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes on the rise in Belize, it's no surprise that kidney failure is following closely behind. And for those with end stage renal failure - the only option to keep them alive is dialysis - which is both costly and scarce. There are probably less than 40 working dialysis machines countrywide - and the majority are concentrated in the north.
That's why many with kidney failure have been breathing easier since the middle of this month when a new dialysis center opened here in the city. This has taken the stress of repeated long drives off persons who are already ailing. Today we visited the centre and found out more from the nurse and patients.
Picked Up A Pickup In Big Raffle
The Rotary Club of Belize has become well known for its Grand Christmas Raffle and this year was no different. The prize is always big - but so is the buy-in - tickets usually go for a hundred dollars each!
But there's a good reason for it. The big prize this year was a brand new Ford Ranger off the dealer's lot. The winner went to pick it up today and 7News was there. Dion Robinson told us that somehow he just felt that he would win:
"Buying the ticket at the time no I just did it as a form of donation to Rotary but for the last couple days when I knew the drawing was coming up I felt that I was going to win it. This morning I gave my wife the phone when the drawing was about to play. I said hold my phone they are going to call us right now and they did."
Honorary Soca Citizen Returns
If you don't have any new year's plans as yet you can celebrate with Oscar B.
He's the performer who's been to Belize so many times, over so many years that we have to call him an Honorary Soca citizen. He's back - this time for Radisson's New Year's Bash. Today, he, along with the Food and Beverage Director at Radisson told us why theirs is the concert of choice for the biggest party of the year.
Doors open at 9:00 on Sunday night and the party goes until 5:00 New Years day when breakfast will be served.
Parties Will Be Policed
And while Sunday is the bashment night, many will start their news year's partying from tonight. But while the young, and the young at heart are on the cusp of the biggest party weekend of the year, the police department is concerned about citizen safety. They want to make sure that there are no repeats in the alarming number of deaths from traffic accidents and homicides which happened during the Christmas holiday.
Today, Assistant Police Commissioner Dezerie Magdaleno, the Regional Commander for Eastern Division, told the press, that the big New Years party in the City will be as secure as they can possibly make it for such a mass-gathering:
Roadblocks Aplenty This Weekend For Traffic Safety
And to try to prevent drinking and driving this weekend, Police will be rolling out checkpoints all across the country.
The Commander of Operations in Belmopan said that if you are a motorist, you should see heightened police presence in all the municipalities and villages:
Police are asking for your patience and cooperation should there be any inconveniences caused by the police checkpoints. Additionally, motorists are encouraged to report any issues they may have with officers at these checkpoints. An on-duty supervisor will be available to take complaints of misbehavior if any occurs.
2017, Looking Back
It's our last newscast before the new year, so, we'll end as we always do with our New Year's look back at some of the stories that made news in 2017 - which our editor Lance Howard has been laboring over all week.
And for those true news fanatics, who'd like to see the 100 stories that made the most news in 2017, you can tune in on Sunday night at 6:00 or Monday at noon, for the full repeat of those stories.
We wish all of you a happy and safe new year - and we look forward to being there for you in 2018.
Police to Question WPC Injured in Fareed Ahmad Shooting/Crash
A female law enforcement officer is tonight a prime suspect in the shooting death of thirty-eight-year-old Fareed Ahmad. Woman Police Constable Michelle Brown remains in stable condition at the K.H.M.H. [...]
Cops Suspect Special Assignment Team Member after Complaint
It is unclear what injuries WPC Brown sustained during the collision, as she simply complained of pain to her body following the accident. What is of particular interest is that [...]
P.S.B.’s Chester Williams ‘Chased’ S.A.T. Officers from Scene
According to ACP Williams, who has had extensive experience as an investigator, the shots that were fired came from inside the vehicle. WPC Brown was Ahmad’s only passenger at the [...]
As Ahmad is Buried, Family, Friends Seek ‘Real Answers’
The killing of Fareed Ahmad brings the murder count for 2017 to one hundred and forty-three, which is the deadliest year since 2012 when one hundred and forty-five homicides were [...]
Desmond Lewis the Target of Hate? Police Will Not Say
The murder of secondary school teacher Desmond Lewis continues to ripple across the southern communities of Dangriga and Independence Village. The thirty-five-year-old high school educator was butchered inside a residence [...]
Suspect in Errol Gabourel Murder Also Fingered for Shooting, Copper Theft
There is a suspect in police custody tonight, believed to be the triggerman in the execution-style murder of Errol Gabourel. On Wednesday morning, a body was discovered floating in the [...]
Uncle Sam Has Eyes on Lawyer Andrew Bennett for Alleged Money Laundering
Forty-six year old Andrew Bennett is said to be wanted by U.S. authorities in connection with money laundering charges in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte [...]
Traffic Blocking: Police Expand Eyes across Belize for New Year’s
The lengthy Christmas weekend was an exceptionally violent holiday across the country where a number of road traffic fatalities and homicides were recorded. As a result of all those incidents, [...]
Policing Belize City with Reflective Vests
In Belize City, where a majority of the outdoor festivities will be concentrated, additional measures are being put into place to mitigate instances of crime and violence. Not only will [...]
Family Asks Information for Safe Return of Eugenio Rodriguez
Father of two, twenty-four-year old Eugenio Rodriguez, was last seen two weeks ago when he came home from work as a security guard at Good Care Pharmacy on Cemetery Road. [...]
Jamal Humes Remains Missing Despite Searches
The families of Jamal Humes and Eugenio Rodriguez continue desperate searches for their loved ones who have been reported missing in separate disappearance over the past few days. This morning, [...]
A Greenhouse in Your Backyard: Couple Practices Hydroponics
Have you ever wanted to grow your own vegetables or herbs at home but haven’t been able to because you don’t have the space to do it? If so, hydroponic gardening [...]
Western Villages Lit Up; B.E.L. Warns Against Close Contact with Power Lines
With only two more days to go before the end of the year, Belize Electricity Limited says it has met its promise to connect four communities with electricity. The villages [...]
R.O.C. Calms Down Central Prison with Yoga
Yoga at the Belize Central Prison? Yes. You heard right. The ancient practice which includes breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for [...]
Deon Robinson Collects Ford Ranger from Rotary
Deon Robinson is the lucky winner of the 2017 Ford Ranger Pickup truck in the Rotary Club raffle. The raffle has been ongoing for almost a decade and was the [...]
What’s Your Commitment for the New Year?
2017 is winding down and while most residents are finalizing their plans for the festive weekend, it is also a time for reflection on goals achieved in the past year. [...]
2018 is Opportunity to ‘Do Right by All Men’
2017 has truly flown by, so fast even we cannot believe it. News Five has brought you the good and the bad, the ups and the downs over the course [...]
Police woman is a suspect in the murder of Ahmad
WPC Michelle Brown is a suspect in the fatal shooting of 39-year-old Fareed Ahmad. She is at the KHMH under heavy police guard. Brown was inside Ahmad’s BMW SUV on Wednesday night when they crashed into a parked truck near Mile 17 on the George Price Highway. Brown is a member of the Special Assignment …
Public wary of SAT
This is not the first time that the Special Assignment Team, SAT, has come under heavy scrutiny. Members of the public, especially those in Southside Belize City, have made allegations against members of the SAT including harassment and police brutality. The functions and purpose of the SAT was explained by Officer in charge of the …
One person detained in connection with murder of Lewis
The Belize Police department continues to investigate the murder of 35-year-old Desmond Lewis, who was killed on Thursday morning in Belize City. Today ACP Joseph Myvett, Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch spoke of the case. ACP Joseph Myvett – Head of the National Crimes Investigation “Thursday the 28th December sometime around 2:40 AM …
BNTU condemns the murder of teacher
Today the Belize National Teacher’s Union issued a release condemning the murder of Desmond Lewis saying the attack on quote, “our teacher is not only unfortunate but it speaks to the level of intolerance of some of our people”. The BNTU calls on the public to share any information that can lead to authorities solving …
Police say Meighan fell to his death
On the night of Tuesday, December 19, Belize City Police found 80-year- old Claudius Meighan unconscious near mile three on the George Price Highway. He had injuries and was rushed to the KHMH where he was admitted in a critical condition and consequently died. Initially, it was believed that Meighan had been either a victim …
Body found on Water Lane; police don’t suspect foul play
The body of a man was found early this morning on Water Lane in Belize City. ASP Alejandro Cowo says that no foul play is suspected. ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City “In reference to the Water Lane male person that was found dead this morning. Police visited an abandoned lot on Water Lane …
So far 140 murders in 2017
An estimated 140 murder investigations were launched by the Belize Police Department so far this year. There are two more days until the year ends and for the long weekend, police are not taking any chances. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noel Leal, says that the department will deploy an increased number of officers to keep …
Family of missing man offers reward of $5 K
The search for 28-year-old Jamal Humes continues. Today his family, accompanied by volunteers and police began searching along the Faber’s Road area. His mother Sharlene Nicholas says they still have not been able to obtain any solid leads as to his whereabouts. Sharlene Nicholas – Mother “So far we have not any positive lead from …
Deon Robinson winner of a new truck
Deon Robinson is the winner of the Rotary Raffle of a brand new four by four Ford Ranger Truck. Normally, the Rotary raffles a truck at the end of the year and uses the funds to support their projects throughout the year. Robinson said that he regularly supports Rotary’s truck raffle which is a hundred …
Gas prices soar in 2017
This year Belizeans have seen gas prices soar. In February 2017, the prices at the pump were nine dollars and sixty-eight cents per gallon of regular gasoline, premium gasoline was ten dollars and thirty-five cents and diesel was nine dollars and three cents. By the middle of the year, in August, regular gasoline rose by …