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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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One woman who police say misled the community as to the children's whereabouts has been charged. She is 42 year old Delfina ALVAREZ SELGADO, a Housewife of the Water Supply Area, in Punta Gorda Town. She has been charged for the rarely used offence of "PRETENDS TO TELL FORTUNE."

She pleaded not guilty to the charge and received bail of $1500.00Bcy. She will reappear in Punta Gorda Magistrate Court on October 12, 2010.

Selgado is the one who was consulted by the desperate community and allegedly gave general information which was interpreted to suggest that the children's disappearance was somehow linked to the home and property of Vincent Rose. That home was burnt down on Sunday morning. This footage was taken a short distance from the home shortly before the fire started. It shows an armed mob gathering.

Many of those persons were later detained at the Punta Gorda police station where they were also disarmed. They were released shortly after.

Police have not detained or charged anyone for the apparent arson at the Rose property. The Toledo Alcaldes association has announced that it will be holding a public meeting in Punta Gorda town tomorrow to give their version of what happened on Sunday�.

Channel 7

This offence is found at Section 3-(1) (viii) of the Summary Jurisdiction Offences Act, Chapter 98 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, which states

" A person who Pretends or professes to tell fortunes, or uses any

Subtle craft or device by palmistry, obeah or any such

Like superstitious means to deceive and impose upon

Any person whomsoever; "

Last edited by Marty; 09/08/10 08:39 AM. Reason: added law language
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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An Example of some of whats out there on this subject:

Feed the psychics to the crocodiles.

Psychics are normally the sorts of frauds who will, for a fee, tell you your loved one is in some sort of a heaven, perfectly fine, loves you and all of that swell stuff.

Which James Randi points out is generic and useless.

But some people believe it and every now and then a psychic will make a try for something not so generic and useless, like in this case in Belize.

Two kids go missing, a psychic says they got eaten by the crocs in the local crocodile sanctuary. The mob somehow forgot that psychics are frauds more suited to seperating grieving families from their money than finding missing children.

Boom, no more crocodile sanctuary. The mob killed 17 crocodiles, destroyed the owners house as well as a lab, and the visitors facilities. The kids are still missing by the way.

Nice business making things up and saying you “just know.”

*Thanks PZ Myers

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 7,047
The author doesn't realize that here in Belize psychics/shaman/bush doctors etc work closely within the communities. They tend to be respected and often consulted before people go to medical doctors and also after a visit to an MD.

These folks are not considered charlatans, nor are they considered to only separate people from their money. They provide a service which is sought on a daily basis.

I know many well respected San Pedranos that consult a number of bush doctors, on the island and on the mainland. These are folks that also go to church and to medical school trained doctors. Some have been to college abroad and have been exposed to the 1st world nations.

Don't underestimate the power of witchcraft in Belize. It is alive and well.

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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i swear by my bush doc. I trust him completely. I consider my american doctor to be an adjunct to my bush doc. my bush doc also has some western med training.

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,416
good grief,,,,

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
Supernatural beliefs and superstition whether borne of mainstream organised religion or localised customs have historically been used as excuses for truly awful behaviour, usually waged by one group of people against another, who happen to have different beliefs. From the Inquisition to 9/11, these are all examples of people, who feel driven by their 'belief' system to commit horrific acts on its behalf. One can either blame the religious or spiritual leaders for controlling minds, manipulating and terrorising their believers or you can blame the believers for being gullible or for misinterpreting the 'message'. Either way, in my view, superstition and belief in the supernatural can be very dangerous things particularly when kept in isolation from education and law enforcement.
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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Police arrest PG "witchdoctor"


A desperate father, deeply concerned about the fate of his two missing children, and angry with the police for their apparently lackadaisical approach to the investigation, fell into the clutches of a local “witchdoctor,” with the result that a million-dollar investment, business and a home, has gone up in flames.

The witchdoctor, a female now being charged by police, allegedly told the missing children’s parents that they were being held on the premises of an American couple, Vince and Cherie Chenot-Rose, who owned a crocodile sanctuary.

The father, Pedro Rash, aided by about a hundred incensed villagers, stormed Vince and Cherie’s business,  American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES), to look for the children, Benjamin Rash, 11, and Onelia Rash, 9, both from San Marcos Village, Toledo.

The children were not found, but ACES and the Roses’ home, all uninsured, were burned, totally destroyed by the flames.

An angry, outraged and disbelieving Vince and Cherie, who were not at home at the time, when they learned of the destruction of their 7-year investment, and home, sent out a press release yesterday, part of which we reproduce:

“In the early morning hours of September 5th, a frenzied mob of Mayan-Belizean villagers set fire to the American Crocodile sanctuary that a Colorado couple spent the last six years creating.

“‘We’ve lost everything,’ said Cherie Chenot-Rose, co-owner and founder of the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES).

“The mob was apparently riled into frenzy by a Mayan ‘psychic’ who claimed that two children who have been missing for the last week had been fed to the crocodiles at the sanctuary. It is alleged that the same group of villagers are responsible for burning other homes in the past several months in the Toledo District, the southernmost portion of Belize.

Luckily, Cherie and her husband, Vince Rose, were in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye when the mob attacked. At the request of the Belize Forest Department, the team was rescuing three problem crocs and meeting with top Belize tourism officials discussing the prospect of creating an American Crocodile sanctuary on the island.

“Reports are that the mob shot and killed some of the 17 crocs held in captivity at the sanctuary. Also destroyed were the Rose’s two-story home that included a laboratory and nursery for baby crocs. One baby American Crocodile was to be flown to Chicago to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill., USA, for the first ever animal exchange program between Belize and the USA.

“Over $2,500 in vet supplies that were recently donated for a new humane society that Cherie, along with other locals, was working on in Punta Gorda were also lost.

“‘This one wrongful incident has affected and hurt many innocent people and animals,’ added Cherie…”  

Reports to Amandala are that the high emotions started to boil over from early Sunday morning when armed villagers—approximately 100 of them—showed up outside the Punta Gorda Police Station demanding that police go and search the American couple’s home in the Water Hole Area, approximately 11 miles outside Punta Gorda Town. Police didn’t accede to the demands and shortly afterwards, Vincent Rose’s home, along with ACES in the Water Hole Area, was stormed by the villagers at about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The house and buildings were set ablaze by the angry mob, who believed that Rose was responsible for the disappearance of the children 17 days earlier, courtesy of the “witchdoctor,”whom the children’s father had consulted. The villagers descended on ACES and the Roses’ home, and shortly after, everything burnable was set on fire.

A couple of the villagers told Amandala that the police had told them that they could not search the facility because they didn’t have a signed search warrant.

While the police were searching the southern parts of Toledo for the children, the villagers banded together to search on their own, because they felt that the police wasn’t doing a thorough job. The police had not searched the Roses’ premises, which included ACES. 

Amandala understands from a credible source that a top-brass police officer had been warned of the villagers’ intent to gather in front of ACES and conduct their own search, and that the situation could have gotten out of hand if the authorities didn’t go to the location. But by the time the police arrived a few hours later, the Roses’ home and ACES had already gone up in flames.

Yesterday, Monday, the Mayan villagers from San Marcos were still showing support for the family by gathering in front of the Punta Gorda Police Station and picketing the police’s “lack of activity” to conduct proper searches for the children and the dragging of feet to issue a proper search warrant to search ACES.

Police say Tuesday that they have arrested and charged Delfina Alvarez Selgado, 42, a housewife of Water Supply Area of Punta Gorda Town, yesterday for the offense of “pretending to tell fortune.” She pleaded not guilty to the charge and bail of $1,500 was offered. She is to reappear in Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court on October 12, 2010.

Amandala sources say that Greg Choc, a respected Mayan activist of Toledo, had to step in and arrange legal representation for the people whom the police were thinking about taking into custody.

We also had a chance to hear Pedro Rash, the father of the children, speak about the circumstances of the supposed tie-in between his missing children and the ACES.

Pedro Rash, father of the missing children, said: “I have evidence here, because we went there (ACES) along with the police, and one of my village members found lime (the fruit) on the premises. That’s why we are expecting the police to get into that house or call that person. I believe that the police know where that person [is], so we are expecting the police to bring in this man, talk to him, and open the place so that I am satisfied…”

The lime is of significance, said Rash, because the children were selling a number of things when they went missing, including lime.

Rash also said that the “witchdoctor” told them that the children were on the premises of ACES, but they were “underground,” which conflicts with Rose’s press release that stated that the “witchdoctor” had said that the children had been fed to the crocodiles.

Rash also recounted how the “witchdoctor” planned to find the children; she would divine their location by performing magic on items of clothing belonging to them and have the police accompany her to that exact location.

Pedro Rash added: “She asked me about giving her some clothing for the pair of children; I brought it that same day she asked. She told me she will do the magic work on the clothes; she will inform the BDF and the police and go in that area. When we saw her here this morning, in front of Mr. Mariano [Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano, officer in charge of the Punta Gorda Police Station], I informed the police before I gave over the clothing to her. I wanted the police to take a statement for this, but Corporal Avila did not take any statements, such as …details like what color they [the clothing] are. Corporal Avila told me that he knows the witchdoctor, and I asked if she could help them in locating the children. That’s when they [the police and the witchdoctor] left…” [He did not say where they went.]

We also got a chance to hear Vince Rose, co-owner of ACES, speak about his loss.

Vince Rose said: “We run a crocodile sanctuary, which means we go around with the Belize Police Department getting wild crocodiles that have been fed by humans, out of their backyards or out of their areas, because now they’re dangerous crocodiles, and they are going to kill someone someday. So we are doing the opposite of what everyone else thinks. We are preventing people from being hurt.”

Rose said that he and others have been working with American and Morelet’s crocodiles for 7 years. He says that he and his wife have a spotless record here in Belize and in the US. He was outraged that not only were his life’s work and home destroyed, but especially, where the information came from; it was not from a credible source to merit such an “act of terrorism,” as he described it. He said that he is upset with the Mayan community for what they did, and as a result, he will not sanction another facility being built down in Toledo.

The Mayan community should be very ashamed of themselves,” Rose commented. “They burned the wrong man’s house down and destroyed any future entities for their own Toledo District.”

He said that he and his wife sustained approximately a million dollars in damages because the facility was not insured. He said the facility was built of steel and wood. He said that he and his wife had moved there for life, but now not only did their investment go down the drain but their personal belongings and memories were also destroyed.

Rose said he plans to take legal action against anyone the police finds responsible for the arson. He also wishes that attempted murder and trespassing be added to the list of charges, because he and his wife could have been in the houses when they were burned down.

Both parties felt that the police didn’t support them well enough: the villagers felt that the police didn’t provide them with enough support by taking too long to get the search warrant and open up the place for inspection, and Rose feels that the police didn’t make an appearance quickly enough to stop the mob from burning his place to the ground.

The police in Punta Gorda have remained quiet about the whole matter.

(Special thanks to Wil Maheia and the PGTV crew for helping us with this story.)

(Ed. NOTE: The story made CNN International today, under an article captioned: Belize mob torches Americans’ animal sanctuary but their will survives.)

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 7,047
I fully agree with you Collyk. But our belief systems are what make us (mankind) all so culturally diverse. Not all beliefs and superstitions are dangerous. Some are well founded. I think one good practice is to know what the beliefs are wherever you travel so that you don't inadvertently offend.

My Mom is from Borneo - and believe me there are forest people that simply don't live or think the same way I do. And yet Kuala Lumpar is a leading cosmopolitan city. Both are in the same country but completely different cultures. I watched a show about a tribe in Papau, New Guinea - it was amazing. Even now they raid each other's villages and kidnap women and exact revenges after conferring with the Obeah man.

The US prides itself for being progressive, diverse, proud, tolerant and welcoming - and yet there is one Florida preacher that wishes to burn the Quoran and HE is the one who is receiving headline attention.

Go figure. Sometimes we have to work hard to find our niche. A place where we feel safe, welcome, appreciated, respected, loved and a place where our neighbours celebrate our successes and assist us with our causes and beliefs. A place where we can speak our minds without fear of retribution and a place where we can enjoy each others company and celebrate our differences too.

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
Amanda, I didn't say that 'all beliefs and superstitions are dangerous'. I said that they are dangerous in the absence of education and law enforcement as has been evidenced in Belize and all over the world. It might seem amazing that a tribe from another country raid each other's villages and kidnap women on the basis of Obeah, but because it is amazing - does it make it OK? People are mutilated, raped, murdered and tortured in the name of belief systems and cultures all over the world and have been throughout history. I don't think that is the sort of cultural diversity that, I personally, would like to celebrate. The preacher in the USA is not unique in his willingness to offend or hurt in the name of his religion, there are many in the USA, Europe and the so - called 'civilised' nations that do the same. Again, that doesn't make it right. Yes it is important to know belief systems wherever you travel and to respect them but that doesn't mean that we can't have certain basic morals as human beings that we should all live by to make sure that society continues to flourish. Oh yeah! They are called laws. Spiritual beliefs cannot be used as an excuse to break the law and always seem to be conveniently ignored when they are not convenient. Two children remain missing and all of the energy that has been spent dealing with the arson and destruction of the Rose's property could have been spent trying to find these children. The spiritualism in this case, did far more harm than good. Knowing about their beliefs would not have protected these children, nor would it have stopped mob hysteria.
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Joined: May 2000
Posts: 7,047
I understand what you are saying collyk. No, not everything that occurs around us is what I consider to be right or okay. And laws are only as good as the enforcers. In the so called civilized world there are still jails - because despite laws there are always law breakers.

No - not everything that happens in the world is right, not every religion or superstitious belief is right - according to MY belief system. But the world doesn't revolve around me and my beliefs.

There are what I believe to be atrocities occurring on a daily basis everywhere in the world, including in the town of San Pedro. Since we have laws I do my fair share of attempting to uphold and abide by these laws - and I do my part to assist the authorities in upholding the law. But laws are not always right either... but that is a whole other topic.

Just to recap - I didn't say I believe that actions taken which are based on superstitious or religious beliefs are right or OK - I said I understand the motivation of deep convictions that lead to the actions by the believers.

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