FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Quintessentially Belizean - Part IV
“Guinea, G-U-I-N-E-A, guinea.”
The voice came across tinny and high pitched, as did the smattering of applause that followed the correct spelling of the word. The radio crackle and hiss as interference jumbled the sound brought a thwack from gray-haired Grandma Anastacia, who could not bear to miss out the sound of her grandson.
He had won a spot in the National Spelling Bee Regionals, and of course, everyone was tuned in to Radio Belize, listening closely to see if one of their own village boys would make it. She wished she could have gone on the bus excursion to the capital city of Belmopan, adding to the cheers, but with all the other grandchildren needing lunch and attention, she was left to listen in for his voice on the radio.
El Pescador Fishing Report, Week of April 22-28, 2012
It’s the time of year we have been waiting for. Nice sunny days, and all the fish are in town. The big girls, tarpon up to 200 lbs are starting to show. We expect to see the masses in a few weeks. Thank you to Ed for doing a great job as fishing director while I had a chance to see friends, family and fish in the States. The highlight for me this week back home at EP was watching Ali teach our guides Fly Fishing Federation guidelines as they prepare for testing at the end of May. Ali is learning as she is teaching, and she has their 100% attention as they take on learning the language of fly casting instruction. Follow her on facebook as we all learn together! We have had great fishing, good times, and we are all pumped up on casting!
The San Pedro Sun
World Press Freedom Day message from UN Secretary General and UNESCO
Joint Message by UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day
Freedom of expression is one of our most precious rights. It underpins every other freedom and provides a foundation for human dignity. Free, pluralistic and independent media is essential for its exercise.
This is the message of World Press Freedom Day. Media freedom entails the freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom is essential for healthy and vibrant societies.
Change in the Arab world has shown the power of aspirations for rights when combined with new and old media. Newfound media freedom is promising to transform societies through greater transparency and accountability. It is opening new ways to communicate and to share information and knowledge. Powerful new voices are rising – especially from young people – where they were silent before. This is why this year’s World Press Freedom Day is centred on the theme of New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.
Red Cross implementing “Saving lives in the Caribbean through Preparedness for Disaster” Project
The Belize Red Cross is implementing a project in 14 communities including Ambergris Caye called “Saving lives in the Caribbean through Preparedness.” The main goal of the project is to target those 14 communities and have them prepared in the long term for disaster. It seeks to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and socio-economic impact from climate change and other related disaster in the communities. Within the scope of the project, it seeks to implement a community disaster response team that would help mitigate assistance before, during, and after a disaster before a larger assistance is rendered.
Project Manager Kerstin Heinze said that project looks at several activities within the entire community. Heinze explained that the project will give them the opportunity to look at the community’s “capacity, vulnerably and do a disaster simulation to see how the community respond to disaster. At the end we want community members to be aware of the risks and help them to plan actives for the reduction of vulnerability and increase capacity even before a disaster happens. We will also indentify needs and implement micro-projects to make San Pedro better prepare for a disaster.”
MAR Fund receive 10 Million Euros in Endowment Funds from the German Government
In recognition of the transnational leadership of the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) in the conservation of biodiversity and natural goods and services in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) region, the German Government, through KfW, has awarded the MAR Fund €10 million ($13.05 million dollars) in endowment funds.
“Being part of the MAR Fund since its early days, when a group of idealists participated in the design of the first regional fund in Latin America, and now, almost a decade later, witnessing this watershed event that will grant permanence to the institution, makes me feel it was all worth it. Now we can concentrate on increasing the endowment to provide meaningful, long-‐term financing for this wonderful ecosystem, pride of Mesoamerica and wonder of the world.” – Lorenzo Rosenzweig, Chairman of the Board
“This partnership with the German Government and the four countries solidifies the regional and global importance of our reef system. The institutional advancement of the MAR Fund demonstrates the strengths of its founding members. We are excited to collaborate in a truly meaningful way to safeguard the livelihoods of our people.” – Sharon Ramclam, Vice Chair MAR Fund Board
The endowment will enable the MAR Fund to achieve its mission of providing long-term financial support for the conservation of the MAR eco-region. Earnings will be used to advance the MAR Fund’s Small Grants and Community Fisheries programs and to co–finance the Fund’s operation.
Ministry of Health to host historic 5th Meeting of the Directors of National Drug Council
Rebecca Stirm leads the pack on Mission Catwalk Season 2
Caribbean fashion reality series Mission Catwalk is on its sixth episode and Belize’s Rebecca Stirm, the only contestant to win more than one challenge since the start of the second season on March 27th, has copped her third win with a dress designed around the red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon.
In Rebecca’s design, the ribbon framed a high neckline and continued down the back of the dress forming a dramatic scoop and crossing at the lower back. Rebecca said she wanted to create a look that would portray strength and courage since HIV is “nothing soft or pretty to face.” She found the perfect grey jacquard fabric with a subtle print in the upholstery section at Pablo’s, and complimented it with a red underskirt that balanced the piece.
“I made an effort not to over-style and keep the emphasis on the neckline and HIV ribbon by sticking to a simple color palette and styling with a pair of chunky studded earrings.”
For guest judge Dr. Sharlene Jarrett Ph.D., M.Sc., Senior Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at the National HIV/STI Programme, “Rebecca’s chic interpretation allowed the red ribbon to be the focus without overpowering the design.” She added, “The woman who wears the winning piece will be making a powerful statement on behalf of persons living with HIV.”
Rebecca Stirm Leads The Pack On Mission Catwalk
For guest judge Dr. Sharlene Jarrett Ph.D., M.Sc., Senior Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at the National HIV/STI Programme, “Rebecca’s chic interpretation allowed the red ribbon to be the focus without overpowering the design.” She added, “The woman who wears the winning piece will be making a powerful statement on behalf of persons living with HIV.”
Just as impressed by her work were the regular judging panel of host and executive producer Keneea Linton-George, Jamaica Observer lifestyle editor Novia McDonald-Whyte and celebrated menswear designer Carlton Brown who stressed to the designers that their interpretations had to make both a fashion and social statement.
First Ever Fly Fishing Film Tour in Belize a Success
It was the first ever in Belize and San Pedro had the honor of hosting Costa Del Mar’s Fly Fishing Film Tour 2012. With the help of Tres Pescados Fly Shop of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the world convened at the outdoor viewing theater that was set up at the end of Barrier Reef Drive on Saturday, April 28, 2012.
Reducing Demand and Supply of Illicit Drugs in Belize
The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC), Ministry of Health will be hosting the 5th Meeting of the Directors of National Drug Council on 3rd and 4th May 2012 at the Radisson Fort Gorge Hotel and Marina, Belize City, Belize.
This annual regional gathering brings together 20 Directors of Drug Councils of both Member States and Associated Member States of Caricom to discuss the Caribbean strategies to reduce the demand and supply of illicit drugs in the various countries action plan.
Vote for Luis A. Romero on KTV Latino Karaoke
Luis Ariel Romero and friends are asking for your support to vote for him as he competes in Belize City Channel 5's KTV Latino Karaoke Competition. The show airs live on Channel 5 (Local channel 10 in San Pedro) every Tuesday at 9p.m.
Text "1" to 5885 and vote for Luis Ariel Romero.
If you don't have a SMART Phone and wish to support send top up to 660-3482.
CG Esthetics Spring Celebration
Carole Goudreau of CG Esthetics held a Spring Celebration at one of San Pedro’s hotspots, Kama Lounge, on Monday, April 30, 2012. The Spring Celebration was in honor of all friends, clients, resort owners, mangers, wedding planners, photographers and florists. During the event lovely Ms. Carole Goudreau gave hair & make-up tips and bridal hair & make-up demonstrations. There were sales on hair and skin products, barefoot sandals, feathered hairpieces and much more. Carole also introduced a new line of products – Natural Benefits, which will be available at her salon for sale.
Misc Belizean Sources
Valley of Peace Living Water Project
Water Missions International Belize has a video out chronicling the Living Water Project that they did in Cayo's Valley of Peace. They finished the one in Bullet Tree Falls last year. This great video captures everything about the project to bring very cheap, clean water to Valley of Peace.
"This was a video produced by a member of the One Desk Foundation team that joined us in Belize in late November to install a safe water treatment system at Valley of Peace village. Do you belong to an organization that would like to join us, too? Send us a message via our website or on our FB page and ask how!"
Belize's New Telephone Directory is Online
Belize's new telephone directory is online. BTL has uploaded their entire phone book. Cayo starts on page 223. San Ignacio starts on page 277. Benque: 217. Belmopan: 126.
SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: THE PINKY TILLETT EXECUTION
12 Days ago - the most sensational gangland killing in Belize occurred when Shelton Pinky Tillett was killed at the Esso Ramon's Service Center.
The murder caused a wave of panic to ripple through the society at every level - and the hysteria is just starting to ebb.
Tonight we have footage of the murder as it was caught on the gas station's surveillance camera.
We warn you - it is an execution - and you might want to change the channel - and if you have children around - you'll definitely want to do so.
We have been in possession of this video form Friday and have deliberated very heavily whether it should be shown.
In the end, we feel it is an important piece of public information - and so we will show it.
Jules Vasquez has a short commentary with the video:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
The Video picks up where Shelton "Pinky" Tillett is getting into his white pickup at the bottom of your frame.
At the top of the frame a gunman exits a silver Pathfinder - which is parked at a gas pump - and comes running across the gas station, pistol in hand. He runs over to the pickup and opens fire shooting multiple times - killing Tillett
And then reaching across the vehicle to shoot Tillet's female companion Kamille Andrews.
The shooter, then ducks down to hide his face runs off into the pathfinder where a driver is waiting - while another pickup at the top of your frame drives off at the same time.
It was a planned execution as the gunman seems to have brought two vehicles to make sure it was finished.
Police say the shooter was Arthur Young
Police said the shooter wore a mask and was identified as Arthur Young. The shooter does bear a resemblance, but we cannot say conclusively.
US INVESTOR ROUGHED UP BY GSU
John McCafee is a wealthy US investor who has retired in Belize and splits his time between homes in San Pedro and Orange Walk.
You may know has name from the McAfee Virus Scan, one of the first anti-virus programs for personal computers.
But neither his famous name nor his status as a wealthy investor spared the 66 year old from the indignity of an aggressive GSU search of his Orange Walk Estate on Monday morning.
The estate is just right of the Tower Hill Toll Bridge at the entrance to Orange Walk.
The search started at 6:00 am - and he says the first thing the GSU did was shoot and kill one of his dogs, Caramelo. After that, he says they broke down doors and ransacked the nine houses on the estate.
The unit was looking for weapons - and McAfee had plenty of them: 7 shotguns and two nine millimeter pistols - which he says are licensed to his personal security company. But, it didn't matter, McAfee says he and 12 employees were still handcuffed for an extended period.
He was brought in those handcuffs to Belize City and released on Tuesday at 2:00 am - without any charge being brought against him. After his 14-hour ordeal, he told us via phone from San Pedro about it:
BROTHERS DROWN AT BANANA BANK
A pair of brothers drowned yesterday near Banana Bank. Yesterday at around 4:00, Belmopan resident 32 year old Allison Thimbriel and his brother 26 year old Osbourne Grant were sitting on a log in the middle of the river - align with two friends. Their combined weight made the log suddenly sink into the water.
They then had to swim for shore, but Grant started to cramp up. His older brother Thimbriel saw this and turned to help him, and that's when they both started to drown.
Their friends tried to help and they too almost drowned. Bystanders at the shore threw a bucket tried to a rope to rescue them. The two friends caught it, but the brothers were too weak to catch the rope and went under.
They both wend under and did not resurface.
An immediate search was launched but they could not be found. It continued this morning -as this footage form our Friends at PLUS TV shows - and both bodies were found.
River conditions were normal and it is believed an undercurrent caused them to drown.
FAMILY CAN'T BURY BOCO-T
38 year old Kevin Kelly, known as BOCO-T died 6 days ago in the custody of San Pedro police - and his family still hasn't laid him to rest.
And that's because they say the police are not cooperating. No post mortem has been held for Kelly and the police are dismissing the family.
They expressed their frustration to us today:
Joan Kelly - Mother of Deceased
"No police have come to me. Nobody has come and told me anything from the time I heard he died. I went to the morgue because the body came in from caye. No police has come to tell me anything up to this day."
Lorna Wade - Common Law Wife of Deceased
"It's going for a week that Kevin died, and we know nothing at all. I went to the police station this morning, and the police were treating me like I'm a child. The officer shouted at me, and asked me if I wanted him personally to conduct the post mortem. No, I need answers. Right now, we don't care about what happened. We just want to bury Kevin."
Lincoln Kelly - Brother of Deceased
"We already got a bad deal from the system because they haven't even come and notified us that my brother died. And now, when we are trying to get the autopsy done, we are facing more problems from the same police. So, right now, we don't know where to turn; we are stressed out, and we are frustrated."
"Why haven't they done a post-mortem?"
"They say that they are waiting for the police from San Pedro. We got Karim Musa to try to locate this police, and we still haven't gotten any answers up to now. We are still waiting to try to bury him. What are they doing to us? They don't want us to bury our loved-one. They are keeping us back."
POLICE PATHOLOGIST ON GO SLOW?
And so why hasn't Kelly's post mortem examination been done? Well, reports say that Police Pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran is waiting for his contract to be renewed.
Today, police minister John Saldivar confirmed to us that government is, quote, "dealing with his contract." But, Saldivar says, during that time, Estradabran continues to do autopsies - even if not at a pace that the public would want.
As regards the contract, Saldivar says government has made a proposal, and Estradabran has sent back a counter-proposal.
We could not reach Estradabran to confirm his position.
MAN CHARGED FOR INDECENT ASSAULT
33 year-old Augustine Bejerano, is at the Belize Central Prison tonight after he was arraigned in Magistrate's Court for Indecent Assault. He is accused of fondling a 10 year-old child.
According to police, the female minor and her mother reported that on February 15 in Lord's Bank, Bejerano touched her inappropriately. As a result, Police arrested and charged him with aggravated assault of an indecent nature.
Bejerano pleaded not guilty to the charge in court, and chose to remain silent when Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer asked him why he should be granted bail.
The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds of the prevalence of the crime, the age of the victim, and because the police believe that Bejerano will be able to interfere with the case, and endanger the child.
USHER LEADS SMALL MARCH ON BIG ISSUE
Gilroy Usher Senior lost the 2012 general elections when he vied for the seat in Port Loyola. But now he says Belize is losing the war against crime and that's why today he led a protest from his office on Central American Boulevard all the way to down town Belize City.
In terms of numbers it wasn't very successful - only 18 people marched. But he says it's not the crowd that matters, it's the message they sent.
Gilroy Usher - Protesting Against Crime
"This protest was held today because after 4 1/2 years in silence, the crime situation has only gotten worse. After 4 1/2 years of silence, over 400 persons have been murdered in Belize. Belize is now ranked as the 5th murderous country throughout the whole world. These continuous murders are affecting each and every single persons. It is affecting businesses. People are affraid to come out and shop, attend dances, attend sporting events and others in the city."
"Many might say that this is just a political stunt being that you are a defeated opposition personality."
RESTORE BELIZE DEFENDS GANG TRUCE
And while Usher says too many have died, RESTORE Belize says that if it were not for their mediation efforts, the numbers could be greater.
That office held a media breakfast and briefing this morning where they explained why the Gang Truce is working - even as violence abounds - starting with the controversial work programme which provides employment to 15 members from 13 gangs across the city...
Mary Vasquez - Director, Restore Belize
"This work program, despite what may be said to the contrary, has been very successful for the neighborhoods in that, there has been a lot of neighborhood clean-ups. There has been a lot of activity in rehabilitating parks etc. The men from these programs do want the continued economic benefit to their areas that they have still been working in. They did make a special request to the police for additional patrols to ensure their own security. What has been happening since the start of the truce - and it has been happening increasingly so as the truce progressed - is that, now, when there a conflict - some skirmish, or some kind of aggression from one gang to the other - they contact the truce mediators, and they ask for assistance to intervene directly in that event. And in mediating, if it is a conflict of some standing, they would then ask for some mediation, and in some cases, these mediation talks would continue over a period of 2 or 3 weeks. Again, it depends on who the participants are and what the depth and nature of the particular grievance is. Through this process of mediation - which as I said, it happens behind the scenes - there are many grievances that have been resolved peacefully. We continue to do this today. Our mediators are on the street every day. Our job is to try to keep communications open, and try to prevent skirmishes from escalating into shooting or into murder.
OLD MAYOR VS. NEW?
On Monday we told you about Zeniada Moya's new private life venture: she's opening a restaurant in the mouth of the Belize Harbour, at the Courthouse Wharf.
The restaurant - which she wants to name Caribbean Breeze - will sit above the water where the Triple J terminal used to be.
It's a great plan with financing from the Holy Redeemer Credit Union, except for one thing: the Local Building Authority - which is an arm of the Belize City Council issued a stop order.
Moya told us the stop was lifted, but the current Mayor today told us that it is still in effect.
Here's what Moya's successor Mayor Darrell Bradley had to say about it today:
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"Well, the current status is that there is a stop order in force, which has been issued by our city engineer in terms of ensuring that everything was above board. The Local Building Authority had considered already, and they had given their tentative approval because that project has met all the requirements in terms of having their plans approved, having their enviromental approval and lots of the approvals from the Central Government. The only consideration was really to see that it would fit in line with all persons in terms of the residences. The court uses that area; there are security issues, parking, and other things like that. This was the hesitation with the Local Building Authority. So, they did not issue an approval, and no works can go on pending that approval."
"So right now, works should not be proceeding on that project."
"My specific instructions are that no works are proceeding.
WOMAN RAGES AGAINST FAMILY COURT
Today, in our regular movements around town - we were stopped by an irate woman who told us, with tears in her eyes that the Family Court has been giving her the run-around since January.
Ionie Underwood says that her child support money has been duly paid by the customs department to the court - but the court has been shorting her account.
Today she came from her home in Orange Walk to Belize City to straighten it up - and got no satisfaction.
You might call it a petty grievance over an administrative matter, but for this mother who is struggling to get by, the five hundred dollars is a great big deal. And besides, we have heard similar complaints many times before - so here's her one:
"Why are you so upset?"
Ionie Underwood - Angry With Family Court
"Because they told me that they want to call police. I was trying to explain to them about how much money they have for me. They told me that they have the fault, and that they have the money. I came to claim the money because they sent me all the way from Orange Walk to come and deal with this problem in Belize. They want to arrest me."
PARK FEES TO INCREASE - WILL IT GO THROUGH THIS TIME?
According to NICH's Institute of Archaeology, the general admission fees to all the archaeological parks in Belize are set to increase.
Today, the organization sent out a press release today saying that in accordance with SI #40 of 2010, the NICH Board of Directors has approved the entrance fee increase. This increase becomes effective on November 1, 2012.
According to NICH, this increase is important, quote, "to continue developing the appropriate infrastructures that are reasonably necessary for the full enjoyment of our archaeological parks." End Quote.
Today, we were unable to reach Tom Greenwood, the president of Federation of Cruise Tourism Association Board, for comment on the effect of this impending increase.
IT has been twice proposed before and twice shelved because of push-back from tour operators large and small...
A METEORITE IN MELCHOR
Residents of Melchor and Benque Viejo heard a resounding boom and felt the earth shake on at 10:30 on Monday night.
Some said it was a missile from the Zetas, other said the Guatemalan Military had shot down a plane - well it was neither: Guatemalan authorities have concluded that it was a meteorite.
According to reports coming out of Guatemala, several residents of the border town reported that they saw a great cosmic light flying across the night sky which was followed by a loud thunder.
Melchor's Municipal Firefighters Association corroborated the eyewitness accounts via twitter saying that the landing of the meteorite was followed by tremors.
The meteorite sighting has also been confirmed by Space Command North America.
According to the Prensa Libre, Residents took to the streets in search of the remains of the meteorite but nothing was found, and no damage was reported.
CITY CLEAN UP SUCCEEDS
We'll admit that when we heard the City Council inviting city residents to come out at 6:00 am on Labor Day to clean up the city we didn't think it would amount to much - after all, who wants to work on a holiday? - Especially when it's one of the hottest days of the year?
But, the Council knew what it was doing; city hall staffers did their groundwork sending out corporate letters well in advance - and they got an overwhelming turnout - as many 500 persons - including council staff - came out.
Today, the mayor raved about the success:
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"It was very successful. This is part of our campaign in the sanitation area of our 100 day plan. We had put this labor for Belize City initiative, and we've been planning it for the last 6 weeks. It was very successful. We had 31 projects going on yesterday throughout Belize City. We started bright and early at 6 a.m. Most of the projects were finished by 10 to 10:30 a.m. After that, we had some of our works crew just going about the city just ensuring that things like all the garbage has been picked up, and that all of the projects signed off well. We had in excess of 500 persons, and we had issued 1500 garbage bags; we ran out of garbage bags. So, our count put it that we collected over 1500 bags of trash from the various projects throughout Belize City. We deem it a success, and this is something that we want to do on a regular basis - not every month - but we want to do it as regularly as possible to encourage people to really keep Belize City clean. People want to see a better community, and they want to work with you, but they want to see that there is structure with a way that they could fit into a plan."
The Mayor says he plans to do it again - but probably not as often as once a month...
Video reveals the man who killed “Pinky” Tillett
The streets have been swarming with rumors about the recent gang related murders and who may have benefitted most from the slayings. The Arthur Young shooting death and the Shelton Tillett murder have been the most talked about in the rumor mill. But tonight, we hope to settle that discussion once and for all. A [...]
Restore Belize keeping Gang Truce with employment for 200
Restore Belize is one of the key agencies involved in the gang truce coordination committee. While the police patrol the streets, it is tasked to be a mediator of rivaling gangs. Its many facets were constructed by Prime Minister’s Office in 2010. Restore Belize’s efforts have mostly gone under the radar since it involves the [...]
Antivirus Founder, John McAfee, says politics caused GSU raid
John McAfee is the founder of McAfee Antivirus has been a philanthropist and investor in Belize. How rich is McAfee? We’re not sure, but rich enough to donate a vessel worth one point two million dollars to the Belize Coastguard in January 2009. McAfee lives in Belize and he says that he has become a [...]
GSU says McAfee’s research facility had unlicensed weapons
The GSU has sent its own press release about the bust at McAfee’s residence. According to the release, a joint operation between the GSU, the B.D.F. and the Belize Special Assignments Group (B-SAG) also an arm of the police department conducted a search on the premises of John McAfee, at Tower Hill, Orange Walk District. [...]
Do you support a referendum to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice?
And tonight’s question is: Do you support a referendum to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]
2 brothers from Belmopan drown in river
Tragedy struck a Belmopan family on Labor Day. Two brothers who were at a farm in Valley of Peace decided to take a quick swim in the Belize River in the Banana Bank area to cool down and rinse off the day’s dust. But within minutes of arriving at the river, it appears that the [...]
Contaminated with feces in Jamaica; BAHA awaits report from Jamaica
On Friday we told you about the report in the Jamaica Observer, where it was reported that the Jamaican government seized an imported shipment of red kidney beans from Belize that was contaminated and considered unfit for consumption. Tests were conducted on the contaminant found and it was identified as rodent droppings. According to the [...]
Alleged chain snatcher can’t afford bail
Twenty six year old Francis Petillo appeared in court this morning and was arraigned on two criminal offenses after a woman claimed that Petillo tried to snatch her chain off her neck. Petillo who appeared unrepresented pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery and damage to property. Twenty year old Robin Erazo told police [...]
Lord’s Bank resident charged for assaulting 10 year old
In the courts, earlier today, thirty three year old Augustine Bejerano of Lord’s Bank was arraigned on a single count of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a ten year old girl. The minor reported to police that on Sunday April fifteen, Bejerano, someone she is familiar with, touched her inappropriately. Bejerano, who appeared [...]
Couple offers cash to pass checkpoint with marijuana stash
On Tuesday, May first, at twelve thirty five p.m., Police on mobile patrol in Santa Elena Town stopped and searched a black Nissan Altima, on the Western Highway. The driver of the vehicle was Richard Smith and travelling with him was Sandra Thompson. Thompson exited the vehicle and approached a police officer with an indecent [...]
Fire burns City Resident’s home to the ground
A fire in Belize City on Tuesday morning gutted a wooden structure in the Belama Phase Four area. Shortly before nine on Labor Day, fire service personnel responded to a fire at the residence of Harry Zelaya on Green Street that was completely engulfed in flame. They immediately got into action and got the fire [...]
Marching against violence with chants of hope
“We want to Live”—four powerful and heartfelt words used by a group of almost twenty persons in a March against Violence today in the Old Capital. Along with others messages such as “Better Education less Murders”, the group is calling on all concerned Belizeans to take action and to take a stand against the recent [...]
SCA takes Beka Lamb to the Bliss Stage
Have you ever wanted to go to the theatre to see your favorite book come to life? Well here’s your chance. It’s Beka Lamb on Stage. The Saint Catherine Academy is taking on that task and bringing the well known novel, written by Zee Edgell who happens to be an alumnus of the Academy; Class [...]
Rebecca Stirm wins another Mission Catwalk round
Another act that has been on the Caribbean Stage, includes Belmopan resident, Rebecca Stirm. She continues to dominate in Mission Catwalk Season Two. In the sixth episode of the Caribbean fashion reality series, the designers had to design an outfit incorporating the red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon. In her design, the red ribbon framed a high [...]
500 strong clean up Belize City on Labor Day
While a majority of residents enjoyed a day off from school and work on Labor Day, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and a dedicated army of five hundred men, women and children had their hands in the dirt, ridding the streets of the Old Capital of excess refuse. The initiative was dubbed Labor for Belize, [...]
Wednesday, May 2 - - - POLICE NEWS
Three persons were charged with burglary when they appeared in court today. They are 21-year-old Byron Montoya, an unemployed of Freetown Road, 19-year-old Kingsley Eusey, a University of Belize student residing in Buttonwood Bay and 18-year-old Colin Flores, a student of St. Joh...
TWO MEN DROWN IN CAYO DISTRICT
The bodies of two men who drowned over the weekend in the Cayo district have been recovered. According to police reports, thirty two year old Allison Thimbrel and twenty six year old Osbourne Grant perished in the Belize River sometime after four o’clock yesterday afternoon. ...
RESTORE BELIZE HOLDS BREAKFAST MEETING
It was created to act as mediators among Belize City’s gangs and to diffuse the level of tension on the streets. Since its last breakfast meeting with the media one year ago, there have been some positive strides and some erosion of the level of trust that the gangs have pl...
BELIZE CITY HOSTS 5th ANNUAL REGIONAL MEETING OF DRUG COUNCIL DIRECTORS
The fifth meeting of the directors of national drug council will begin on Thursday in Belize City. This annual regional meeting will bring together 20 Directors of Drug Councils of both Member States and Associated Member States of Caricom to discuss the Caribbean strategies to reduce ...
SMALL PROTEST CARRIES HUGE MESSAGE IN BELIZE CITY
There have been demonstrations and peaceful protests against crime and violence in Belize dating back at least five years. Today there was such another, led by political activist and businessman, Gilroy Usher Senior. The event ended at the Battlefield Park in downtown Beliz...
2nd INTAKE OF YOUTH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM GRADUATES TOMORROW
The Youth Apprenticeship Program is an initiative of the Government of Belize which focuses primarily on young people from the age of sixteen to twenty-nine, who either dropped out of school or have been troublemakers looking to change their lives and also single mothers. The sec...
Residence Of John McAfee Raided By GSU, He Says It Is Political Mischief
More than a month ago a joint police force comprising of the Gang Suppression Unit and the Anti Drug Unit descended on Taylor's Alley in Belize City with brutal and excessive force, according to residents who spoke to the media right after the incident. It was not the first time that the GSU was being accused of police brutality and the new Minister of Police John Saldivar ordered that an investigation be carried out. The findings of the report revealed that apart from using excessive and unjustifiable force, police also took residents of Taylors Alley by surprise.
As mentioned, it is not the first time that the GSU is being accused of police brutality and tonight the Gang Suppression Unit is again under extreme scrutiny after a U.S National living here in Orange Walk is accusing the unit of using excessive force on him and his employees. He is no other than 66 year old John McAfee, one of the first persons to design an anti virus software and to develop a virus scanner. McAfee, who was first living in, San Pedro relocated to Orange Walk a few years ago. He has been living in Belize for the past five years but on Monday he had one of the worst experiences ever. Here is that story.
The peacefulness and tranquility of the McAfee residence located near the toll bridge, was interrupted on Monday morning when members of the Gang Suppression Unit barged in without warning.
According to U.S retiree John McAfee, who has been living in Belize for the past five years, he is still unaware of what was the mission of the GSU. What he can say tough is that the unit rained down on him and his employees as if they were criminals.
John McAfee- Claims Police Brutality
“It happened yesterday morning exactly at 6:00 am, they burst through the gate about fifty of them with fully automatic weapons and I come pit to saw the commotion and I was undressed and I went back in and then put on a shoes and a shirt and the nest thing I knew is that they had me against the wall, they had confiscated my passport, they confiscated weapons, they kept me and my staff in handcuffs for fourteen hours outside all day without food, when we asked for food they just left, it was the most bazaar encounter I have ever imagined.”
GSU Boss Says They Acted Based On Information Of Illegal Activity
And while that’s McAfee’s version of the story, Commander of the Gang Suppression Unit, Marco Vidal fired off a press release informing the media about what he says went on during the operation.
In the press release the Gang Suppression Unit seeks to give reasons for their actions and states quote, “During the search, ten firearms - seven 12 gauge pump action shotguns (one of which had a scope), one 12 gauge single action shotgun, one Taurus 9mm pistol and one 9mm CZ pistol – were found. Five air rifles with scopes resembling sniper rifles that use 6.26 mm slugs were also found and two hundred and seventy 12 gauge cartridges, thirty 9 mm rounds and twenty .38 rounds. All these firearms and rounds of ammunition were scattered over the premises including inside the vehicles and houses that were unoccupied.” End quote
According to the release, McAfee was able to produce a company firearm license for all the firearms except the single action shotgun that is licensed to Tyron Morales and the 9mm CZ pistol with serial number A796245.
According to Vidal, Analysts at the Forensic Laboratory, and personnel from the Ministry of Health were taken to inspect the facility and samples of an alleged antibiotic apparently being manufactured at the Laboratory were taken for analysis. The Ministry of Health has already confirmed that no license has been granted to McAfee or any of his agents to manufacture antibiotics in Belize.
A decision as to whether or not charges will be levied against McAfee will be made by the Ministry of Health after the results of the analysis are made available.
Vidal does admit that McAfee was initially detained and charged for the offences of kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition, but was later released after producing a license for the said firearm to the Police.
The press release concludes by stating and we quote “The search at McAfee’s premises was based solely on information received regarding illegal activities being conducted there.” End quote. Present on the premises at the time of the search were John McAfee, his girlfriend and five security guards namely: Emerson Michael 33 years Belizean who claimed to be the Chief of Security, 23 year old Emerson Dominguez, 46 year old Austin Allen and 23 year old Tyron Morales all of Belizean nationality. Also present during the raid was Michael’s common-law-wife Princesa Ericson. We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.
19 Year Old Charged For Burglary And Aggravated Assault
A 28 year old housewife from the village of Douglas in the Orange Walk District is recuperating from a frightful ordeal tonight after she was attacked by a male individual while sleeping.
According to the woman, around 1:30 Saturday morning she asleep when she was awoken by 19 year old Oscar Uriel Mendez who placed a knife to her throat and physically assaulted her. The woman informed police that Mendez stole $154.00 from her bedroom before making good his escape. On Monday Mendez appeared before the Orange Walk Magistrates Court where he was charged for burglary and aggravated assault. Mendez pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $2,500.
GSU Spreads Operation To Corozal
When we hear about the Gang Suppression Unit GSU the first thing that comes to mind is the old capital where the team of officers has concentrated their searches for drugs and illegal firearms and ammunition. But after what happened on Monday and with what we are about to report next, will surely change that sentiment.
Over the weekend the GSU spread their operations in the Corozal District which resulted in the findings of several illegal items and the detention of more than a few Corozalenos including a former police constable and his girlfriend.
On Wednesday night GSU personnel searched the residence of former police constable, 33 year old Ryan Genus, located on Sixth Avenue Corozal Town. At the time of the search both Genus who is allegedly a well known drug peddler and his girlfriend 19 year old Keisha Ramclam were at home when police found an undetermined amount of crack cocaine found in one of the bedrooms and a zip-lock bag containing 2.8 grams of cannabis found in the back yard. Reports are that while the raid was being conducted several persons arrived at the residence and confessed to police that they were there to purchase drugs.
As a result of the findings both Genus and Ramclam were charged with 3 counts of possession of controlled drugs.
The second raid was conducted at the residence of 42 year old businessman Arthur Saldano aka O.G, located on Ninth Street Corozal Town. Present at the time of the search was Saldano and his common-law wife 22 year old Shamira Pott. The search led police to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 0.9 grams of cannabis found hidden inside a dresser drawer. Saldano, who is said to be affiliated with a major Belize City gang, and Pott were jointly charged with possession of controlled drugs.
Suicide Lookout For The Signs
Suicide is a very complicated and tabooed topic in many communities that affects virtually everyone in different levels. The topic itself is heavily surrounded by controversies especially when it comes to the motives of one committing the act.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over one million people die by suicide every year making it the 13th leading cause of death worldwide. Suicide is often committed out of despair and is attributed to a mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a significant role.
Similar to cancer, Suicide discriminates no one and teens are not the exception. Counselors of Orange Walk Technical School and Muffles High School, Licia Castillo and Yvette Hernandez say that suicide in adolescents is seen as an alternative to solve problems and a weak support system can directly contribute to the problem.
Licia Castillo, Counselor OWTHS
“You have different levels of the severity when it comes to thinking about suicide. One of the things that I was talking, we were talking about, was that you have some people that are clinically depressed. You have some kids that are clinically depressed that would see suicide as alternative and will continue to see it as an alternative. You have some kids that see it as an alternative- well you know maybe I should do this, this, this or kill myself. So, i think you have kids that- there’s an ideation where they thing about it, they fantasize about it and then you have it at a different level.”
Students Portray Their Talent At Festival Of Arts
Throughout the country students are participating in an important part of Belize’s educational curriculum which promotes the revival of arts within the country. It is the annual Festival of Arts which highlights the performances and talents of students within district schools. Today, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, National Institute of Culture and History and the Institute of Creative Arts, students performed under the theme “Talent Nurtured is Talent Flowered.”
This morning the Multi Purpose Complex Building was bursting with color and local flavor as primary school students came out to put their best foot forward in the annual district level Festival of Arts.
The eye catching event featured decorative props and performances that showcased young Belizean talent at its best. And even tough smiles and excitement filled the room- drama, dance and music took the show as students gave it their all when it was their turn to perform.
According to Festival of Arts Coordinator Lisa Carrillo, the event is not just about colorful displays; it has a completely different principle.
Lisa Carrillo, Coordinator
“The main purpose of this event as I said to showcase the talent of our children in performance, we have three discipline; the drama, the dance and the music and in these three disciplines we have different categories that we educate the children so they have a side area of categories that they can portray their talent. We have fourteen schools participating today and of these fourteen they can bring several items is not only on item, they have a choice to bring in as many items as they can, usually the big schools bring in more items, we have Trial Farm Government school bringing in the school that has the most items this year and that are seven items that they are showcasing.”
Hidden Springs contributes to agriculture
When he declared the 2012 National Agriculture and Trade Show opened on Friday, Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega boldly stated that this sector remains an important pillar of the Belizean economy. And while the yearly show puts the spotlight squarely on the men and women who drive the agriculture sector, the work of maintaining an agriculture-based economy is not a one day phenomenon. It takes hard work and dedication. Love TV’s Ava Diaz Sosa spoke with one woman whose daily work helps to keep a family and a nation fed.
Restore Belize updates the media on its work
It was created to act as mediators among Belize City’s gangs and to diffuse the level of tension on the streets. Since its last breakfast meeting with the media one year ago, there have been some positive strides and some erosion of the level of trust that the gangs have placed in the RESTORE Belize initiative, based on the recent spate of bloodshed that has gone undetected during those ongoing discussions with the gangs. Today, at another breakfast meeting, RESTORE Belize’s Programme Director, Mary Vasquez, was candid with reporters on telling it as she saw it.
And while it has joined hands with the Ministry of Works to curb the level of gang violence, Vasquez says that there is now going to be a more stringent approach by those in charge to supervise the level of participation of gang members in the community effort that they have agreed to be a part of.
Reporters brought forth the need for more access to timely and meaningful information, particularly when there the murder rate spikes and the tension builds among the public. The breakfast meeting, which included the Chief Executive Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Audrey Wallace, also endeavoured to hold more frequent meetings with the media to report on the progress of the RESTORE Belize initiative.
Fishermen from Honduras pay their Toledo cunterparts a visit
A group of fishermen from Honduras have completed an exchange visit to the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the reports.
Alleged chain snatcher arraigned in court
26-year-old Francis Petillo, a labourer who allegedly snatched a gold chain from the neck of a woman, was charged with robbery and damage to property when he appeared in court today. Petillo pleaded not guilty to the charges. The prosecution did not object to bail. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered Petillo a bail of $5,000.00 and adjourned his case until June 26. The incident occurred around 11:20 a.m. on Monday, April 30. The complainant, Robin Erazo, reported to the police that she was walking on Miller Street located in the St. Martin De Porress area when a man who was walking in the opposite direction snatched her gold chain as he passed by her. Erazo said the man ran leaving piece of the gold chain behind. She said the chain has a value of one thousand, two hundred dollars.
Man remanded on charge of molesting underage girl
A 33-year-old man who it is alleged sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl, was charged with aggravated assault when he appeared in court today. The man, Augustine Bejerano, an unemployed of Lord’s Bank pleaded not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the offence has become prevalent, that the complainant is of a tender age and that if granted bail the defendant might interfere with the complainant. Bejerano did not have anything to say regarding why he should be granted bail. Senior Magistrate Sharon upheld the objection and she remanded Bejerano into custody until June 8. The incident occurred on April 15 in Lord’s Bank.
Trio charged with burglary; complainant declines prosecution
Three persons were charged with burglary when they appeared in court today. They are 21-year-old Byron Montoya, an unemployed of Freetown Road, 19-year-old Kingsley Eusey, a University of Belize student residing in Buttonwood Bay and 18-year-old Colin Flores, a student of St. John’s Junior College who resides in Burrell Boom. Eusey and Flores were also charged with two separate counts of handling stolen goods. After they were arraigned the complainant indicated to the court that they do not want any further court action. They are John Albert Hoy, Jorge Tesecum, Chris Gordon and Guido Gonzalez. According to the allegation, they entered as trespassers the dwelling home of Gonzalez, Hoy, Gordon and Tesecum. The items taken included a laptop computer, video games and a cell phone. Before she withdrew the charges Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser made the defendants apologize to the complainants and to their parents who were present in court.
Duo busted with marijuana arraigned in court
A man and a woman from Belize City have been arrested and charges in San Ignacio after they were busted with thirty three pounds of marijuana in their car. Twenty seven year old Sandra Thompson and thirty two year old Richard Smith were busted by a police mobile patrol on Tuesday afternoon in Santa Elena town. According to police reports, the duo was travelling in a black Nissan Altima when they were stopped. Police say Thompson admitted to officers that there were drugs in the car and offered officers two thousand dollars for them to look the other way. The officers declined the offer and proceeded to search the trunk of the car where they found a crocus sack containing fourteen thousand, nine hundred and eighty grams of cannabis. Both Thompson and Smith were arrested and charged for the crime of drug trafficking. They were formally arraigned in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court and were remanded to the Hattieville prison until their next court appearance August sixth.
City residents protest against crime
There have been demonstrations and peaceful protests against crime and violence in Belize dating back at least five years. Today there was another. Led by political activist and businessman, Gilroy Usher Senior, the event culminated at the Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City. The crowd was far from impressive, but the message, according to the protestors, was what was important.
Gilroy Usher told us that while he is a politician, the effort took no political lines because at the end of the day, crime affects people, regardless of their affiliations.
In April alone, the murder count in Belize was 21.
Brothers drown in the Belize River
A pair of brothers from Belmopan perished over the Labor Day holiday in what can only be described as a tragedy. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.
Youth charged with attempted murder
A twenty year old Belize City man has been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting incident on Friday of last week. Abraham Smith was charged for the crimes of attempted murder, aggravated assault, use of deadly means of harm and wounding. The charges are the result of an incident in which Belize City resident Desmond Gonzalez was reportedly shot twice in the left arm on M&M Street. Smith allegedly exited a car and opened fire on Gonzalez injuring him. Smith was formally arraigned on the charges in Magistrate’s Court on Monday and remanded to the Hattieville prison until his next court appearance on June eleventh. No plea was taken from him because of the nature of the offences.
Man chopped in Hope Creek
A chopping incident on Monday night has left a man hospitalized at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. The victim has been identified by police as thirty nine year old Wilmer Carrillo. Police say that on Monday night, Carrillo, who is a farmer residing in Hope Creek village, was walking from work and that when he reached the bus stop in the village, he was attached by a man. Carrillo sustained multiple chop wounds to his body. Police say Carrillo was able to identify the person who chopped him. Police are now looking for the attacker as their investigation continues.
Altercation leaves man with chop wounds
A Belize City man was hospitalized on Tuesday night with chop wounds, following an altercation. Forty year old Miguel Zaiden sustained chop wounds to the left and right upper arms, the right forearm and left elbow. Police say initial investigations revealed that whilst Zaiden and Gareth Hemmans Jr. were socializing on Madam Liz Avenue they got into an altercation and as a result, Hemmans allegedly inflicted the injuries to Zaiden with a machete. Police have since detained Gareth Hemmans Jr. pending the outcome of their investigation.
Overnight stabbing leaves two people injured
A stabbing incident last night in Belize City has left two people injured. Police say that around eight o’clock last night, thirty year old Glenn Staine and a sixteen year old student were standing on Lacroix Boulevard when they were approached and stabbed by two men. Staine sustained two stab wounds to the left side of the abdomen, while the sixteen year old boy was stabbed to the right upper arm. Police investigations continue.
Belize City duo busted with weed in the car trunk in Cayo
A man and a woman from Belize City have been arrested and charges in San Ignacio after they were busted with thirty three pounds of marijuana in their car. Twenty seven year old Sandra Thompson and thirty two year old Richard Smith were busted by a police mobile patrol on Tuesday afternoon in Santa Elena town. According to police reports, the duo was travelling in a black Nissan Altima when they were stopped. Police say Thompson admitted to officers that there were drugs in the car and offered officers two thousand dollars for them to look the other way. The officers declined the offer and proceeded to search the trunk of the car where they found a crocus sack containing fourteen thousand, nine hundred and eighty grams of cannabis. Both Thompson and Smith were arrested and charged for the crime of drug trafficking.