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The San Pedro Sun
Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV holds Media Meeting
C-NET + Belize, the Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV in Belize, held its first ever HIV Solidarity day and Media Round Table on Saturday May 12th. The meeting and event took place at the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) building at #34 Princess Margaret Drive.
The Media Round Table commenced shortly after 4PM with invited members of the media. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce C-NET to the general population, with the aim to reach individuals infected or affected by the HIV Virus and disseminate information that they feel is very important and will contribute to the continued empowerment of individuals living with HIV.
C-NET was initiated by a group of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) with the aim to improve the quality of their lives and those of their peers, through the assistance of REDCA, the Central American Network of Persons Living with HIV. C-NET hopes to accomplish this through various activities which share information pertinent to PLHIV, education and communication. C-NET aims to propel and develop its members’ individual capabilities while promoting a mutual respect for their Human Rights. C-NET + was formed in July of 2011 with the aim of contributing to improving the quality of life of people with HIV in the country and to engage more actively in the national and regional response to HIV -AIDS. Seven people founded the network, which was constituted as the first organization of and for people with HIV in Belize. On October 14, 15 and 16th 2011, C-NET + held its first General Assembly, which saw dozens of PLHIV from all districts of Belize participating.
NEMO Week planned for Belize Rural South
Each year the hurricane season starts June 1st and ends on November 30th. Prior to the beginning of the season the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hosts a “NEMO Week” in preparation for the season. This year, the week is observed under the theme, Preserving Life and Property and will take place during the week of May 27 – June 1, 2012.
As part of the national activities, all schools throughout the country have been invited to join and participate in a National poster contest to be judged in Belmopan for NEMO Week. The contest is open to students in standard 4 to 6 in all primary schools countrywide. Entries must be submitted through the school’s principal or a class teacher no later than May 22nd and depicting the theme “Preserving Life and Property”. Posters will be judged on expression of the theme; creativity and originality, visual clarity and appeal; broad audience appeal and educational value. There will be prizes for first, second and third places. The winning posters will be used as display during NEMO week at NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan and other displays throughout the year as well as will be considered for promotional materials. Poster contestants will be competing at a chance to win $1,600 in prizes.
Four dead in fatal traffic accident on the Western Highway
The Western Highway proved deadly once again, after four people died in an accident on Wednesday morning, May 16th. According to Belmopan Police, they responded to a scene of an accident at mile 44 on the Western Highway where they saw the lifeless bodies of 12 year old student Alicia Smith, 68 year old Nicholasia Tillett, and 45 year old Karen Castillo who was lying in the middle of the highway. The body of Arthur Smith Sr. was found in some bushes off the highway. 28 year old Monique Robinson, a teacher, was seen trapped in the front right passenger seat. Robinson was transported to the Western Regional Hospital where she is listed in critical condition.
The four bodies were also transported to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Initial investigations revealed that all five persons were traveling in a gold Geo Prizm car bearing license plate BZC-38571 from Belize City to Belmopan, whereupon reaching Mile 44, they collided into a blue Isuzu D-Max, driven at the time by 56 year old Corrine Abcock, a Canadian National, who was traveling in the opposite direction.
Justice Sam Awich sworn in as new Justice of Appeal
Justice Samuel Lungole Awich was today sworn in as a Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal by the Acting Governor General, His Excellency Carlos Perdomo, at Belize House, Belmopan. Present at the swearing-in ceremony were his wife, son and daughter.
Justice Awich who is originally from Uganda has served as a Supreme Court Judge in Belize since April 2001. He retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court on 15th May 2012 after attaining the age of 65 years.
Justice Awich was appointed as Acting Chief Justice in October 2010 on the retirement of the former Chief Justice, Dr Abdulai Conteh. He continued to act as Chief Justice until September 2011 until the appointment of Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chief Justice.
COLA and The Coalition apply as co-claimants challenging Oil Concession Contracts
In the Supreme Court today, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage presented applications requesting to be joined as co-claimants in Oceana in Belize’s present claim against the Ministry of Natural Resources, challenging the validity of six Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). The PSA’s, also called oil concession contracts, that are being challenged were granted by the Minister of Natural Resources to Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, PetroBelize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd and Sol Oil Belize Ltd between 2005 and 2007.
Crown Counsel Herbert Panton, holding over for Crown Counsel Nigel Hawke, informed the court that they object strongly to the joinder and needed time to review the application and provide a response. The matter was adjourned to May 23 at which time arguments will be presented on behalf of the Ministry as to reasons why these two organizations should not be joined as co-claimants.
The applicants are both non-governmental organizations that have been very actively involved in challenging the Government on the issue of oil exploration offshore and onshore in protected areas. COLA is a known grassroots organization that has been operating since 2008 and the Coalition comprising some 36 membership organizations was formed on June 8, 2010 in response to the revelation that almost all of Belize’s marine and terrestrial acreage had been given out under oil concessions unbeknown to the general Belizean population.
PUP’s first leader dies in the USA
The People’s United Party (PUP) first Party Leader, John Smith, has died. 93-year-old Smith passed away on Tuesday May 15th surrounded by his wife and children in his home in Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.A. The announcement was made by the PUP Secretariat on Wednesday May 16th in which the Party says that “The PUP pays tribute to the life of John A Smith.”
John Smith became the first Party Leader of the People’s United Party September 29th, 1950 after the People’s Committee was dissolved making way for the first political party in Belize’s history. Smith led the PUP for two years, up to 1952, after which Leigh Richardson took over up to 1956. Smith stepped aside as leader following differences within executive members of the PUP. Besides being the first PUP Leader Smith was a Legislator in the British Honduras Legislative Assembly, Mayor of Belize City, City Councilor, and Vice-President of the General Workers Union.
His contributions to the building of a new Belize are two many to mention as he laid one of the pillows of what Belize is today. Smith was a member of the Belize City Council from 1944 to 1955, elected Mayor of Belize City in 1947 and 1950, member of the Legislative Assembly from 1948 to 1954, the founder of the People’s Committee in 1948 and first PUP Party Leader. He was also Vice-President of the General Workers Union.
Sinfull Deliciousness at Caprice Bar and Grill
Well, I’ll torture you a bit and leave dessert for last in this review; sorry! But undoubtedly San Pedro Holiday Hotel has transformed its restaurant and bar from something great to something even more spectacular. Celi’s Restaurant has given birth to Caprice Bar and Grill that now offers a fine dining experience in a chic outdoor environment. The dining room went from indoors to their outdoor deck that is perfectly shaded by UV protecting transparent blue material that sets the mood during the day as you enjoy the eye-popping ocean scenery of the blue Caribbean Sea.
Experiencing the “Hands on Healing” of Reiki
Our Reiki practitioner – Pam Burton, offered the Angels an experience of the ultimate power of “hands on healing” therapy. We were very excited to try out this form of treatment as we had never heard of it; and to be honest, we were a bit curious as to what we would experience.
Once on the massage table, my instructions were to close my eyes and relax. After a few deep breaths Pam, Reiki practitioner, commenced our session. As this is a non-touching technique; Pam never placed her hands on me; her hands are held a few centimeters away from my body. She started by placing her hands above my head (The Crown Chakra). I could feel a warm and tingling sensation as she made her way throughout my body, taking about five minutes in a position before moving to another.
Contestants Announced for Miss San Pedro High
The San Pedro High School is informing the community to save the date for the Miss San Pedro High School Pageant 2012 taking place on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at the R. Angel Auditorium at 7:30pm.
The seven lovely contestants vying for the crown this year are: Fatima Reyes, Kaysha Martin, Ethel Villatoro, Nicky Coleman, Arlethe Lima, Nissi Arzu and Emily Simoes. Come out and support this spectacular event full of fun and entertainment.
Seniors Start Graduation Celebrations
There is nothing more left on the minds of San Pedro High School Seniors who have learnt that they are graduating next month - Prom, Parent's Night and Graduation! On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, as they get to know that they have passed their final high school exams, the seniors celebrate with the traditional signing of uniforms where they write special congratulatory messages to their classmates. Congratulations to all San Pedro High School graduating Seniors of 2012!
Tropic Air’s Zipline & Waterfall Rappelling Adventure
Tropic Air adds another spectacular package to their list of special tours for its customers. This time around, they pack an exhilarating adventure in a packaged tour that takes you to southern Belize in Dangriga, Stann Creek District. Together with Bocawina Adventures and Eco-Tours Ltd. Tropic Air will have you flying south, travelling into the Bocawina National Forest and zip lining Belize’s longest single cable run of 2,300 feet (1.5 miles in total, 12 platforms).
Belizeans Hold Strong in Oil Drilling Fight
COLA and The Coalition apply as co-claimants challenging Oil Concession Contracts - In the Supreme Court today, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage presented applications requesting to be joined as co-claimants in Oceana in Belize’s present claim against the Ministry of Natural Resources, challenging the validity of six Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). The PSAs, also called oil concession contracts, that are being challenged were granted by the Minister of Natural Resources to Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, PetroBelize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd and Sol Oil Belize Ltd between 2005 and 2007.
Town Council Working on Maritime Safety for San Pedro
Officials of the Belize Port Authority, Mayor Daniel Guerrero and President of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Mr. Phillip “Billy” Leslie met with local media to explain about their plans on improving maritime safety in San Pedro.
Belikin to Debut Chocolate Stout at Cacao Fest
Belikin has announced that it will be proud to present Chocolate Stout which will be tapped at the Cacao Festival in Punta Gorda this weekend! Nolan Michael, Belizean brewmaster for Belikin, talks about the latest to come from the Belize Brewing Company, Chocolate Stout.
Misc Belizean Sources
El Pescador Fishing Report, Week of May 5 – May 12, 2012
Weather Conditions: Sunny skies, a little wind, and flat out beautiful.
Winds: E 5 – 15. Some days in the back it was N, NE.
Air Temperature: Highs in the mid 80’s and the lows were in the low 70’s.
Water Temperature: around 80 degrees
Moonphase: Last quarter on the 12th.
WHAT GUESTS WERE CATCHING:
Matachica Resort and Spa completes multi-million dollar redesign
Long considered the hidden jewel of Belize, Matachica, the exquisite, award-winning beach resort has announced the completion of a multi-million dollar redesign and expansion. Heralded as the anti-generic beach resort, Matachica now offers an even more spectacular Caribbean getaway with a signature relaxed attitude and barefoot elegance.
Matachica’s impeccably chic overall décor draws upon the owner’s passion for both the island’s native heritage and his extensive global travel. “When I first arrived on the island, I was instantly hooked by the effortless, laid-back way of life” explains proprietor Daniel Lighter. “This resort could not exist anywhere else in the world, because every aspect of your experience is drawn from, and a reflection of, the unique character of this beachfront paradise.”
Though only a short water-taxi ride from the lively shops and restaurants of San Pedro, Matachica is located on the secluded island of Ambergris Caye. From the moment you step onto our private dock, you will discover the breathtaking way Matachica has integrated itself into the lush azure surroundings. The resort itself sits on miles of natural white sand beach overlooking the crystal blue sea. If you are feeling adventurous, paddle one of the resort’s kayaks for a fifteen-minute ride to the second-longest living barrier reef on this planet. While these and scores of other activities, from scuba diving and snorkeling, to fishing, trekking and historic site excursions, are easily accessible, you may also choose to find a secluded hammock for quiet contemplation and to soak in the island rays.
Recent additions to the resort include 12 brand new and even larger casitas, as well as full upgrades to all existing rooms. In all, Matachica features 25 single casitas, and 1 two-bedroom villa, named our Luxury Caribbean Villa. Each villa is thatched roof, vibrantly-painted and feature private patios, fully updated bathrooms and original art. Though entirely air conditioned, many choose to throw open their windows, in order to experience the panoramic seafront views and enjoy the warm tropical breeze. Moreover, Matachica has added a spectacular infinity pool, a fleet of new kayaks and sailboats, and new equipment for day-trips and local adventures.
Jungle cats caught on camera in Belize
A jaguar prowls past the camera. Credit: Maarten Hofman/Ya'axché Conservation Trust.
A camera trap survey, set up by scientists from Ya’axché Conservation Trust, has caught pictures of Central America’s two big cats: the jaguar and the puma (known locally as the red tiger). Both species are threatened by habitat loss and unsustainable hunting of their prey, and it is thought that only around 250-400 jaguars now remain in the Maya Mountains.
“Although local people appreciate the beauty of jaguars, these cats are coming under increasing pressure from agricultural expansion, which is pushing people into their territory,” said Lee Mcloughlin, Protected Area Manager at Ya’axché Conservation Trust.
“This is not only resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation, but also leading to conflict between jaguars and people, who are fearful of the danger these animals can pose to livestock and pets.
“Inevitably, the jaguars come off worse in this battle.”
Hidden Valley Inn 4X4 Trail Excursion
Hidden Valley Inn is having a special weekend where you can tackle some rough roads. They'll have trails set up so you can go off roading around Mountain Pine Ridge. Sounds like some extreme fun! Call 822-3320 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.
Ariel Rosado Bike Ride pictures
Danny Chung got some great photos of the Ariel Rosado Memorial Bicycle Race.
"The Ariel Rosado Foundation was created to raise funds for those in need. The pictures in this album were taken from the bike ride from Galen University Campus in Central Farm to Bruce Bike Shop in Belize City. Yours truly was the Official Photographer for the event. Enjoy!"
International Museum Day at Benque House of Culture
Yesterday at the Benque House of Culture. The opening of the Slavery and Emancipation exhibit.
"Official ceremony, launch of educatinoal exhibit, & booths by Institute of Archeology and the Belize Archives Department"
Cayo Classifieds for the week
Cayo's most comprehensive classified ad publication with great bargains. Deadline to place ads are every Thursday @ 5 pm.
A TRAFFIC TRAGEDY: FOUR FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED ON ROAD'S SLIPPERY SURFACE
This morning at 7:30, the limestone surface of the Western Highway again proved terribly tragic.
Four members of one family were killed when their car lost traction and spun out of control - at mile 44 on the western highway.
The impact - in a word - was astonishing - and 7news was on the scene an hour after it happened - here's how it looked:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
The destruction is so complete it almost defies description. This Geo Prizm was actually ripped into two parts
The front of the car stood alone, while the back was some feet away - each side, mangled and twisted almost beyond recognition.
This is the Isuzu rodeo that crashed into it.
Denroy Tillett - Brother Of the Deceased
"I can't tell you how the accident happened, but from what I heard, it's just a loss of control of the vehicle. I had 5 family members in the vehicle, and from what the police officers told me, 4 died. One is in critical condition at the hospital in Belmopan."
Brian Chavarria came upon the scene as it was happening - he says he just saw car parts flying
THIRD MATURA BROTHER KILLED
This morning at 7:00 am - a man was killed in Belize City. 28 year old Kaylon Matura was going to work - when a gunman pulled up and shot him multiple times.
Matura has dodged death two times before - but this morning - he could not - and he became the third of the Matura brothers to be murdered in the city.
Indeed, he was stalked by death, but according to his family - in this case they believe it is a case of mistaken identity. Monica Bodden found out more today:
Monica Bodden Reporting
The shooting happened on Central American Boulevard just before 7 o'clock this morning.
The victim - 29 year old Kaylon Matura was standing on this sidewalk just yards away from his house -when a gunman pulled up and opened fire on him.
Matura tried to run but tumble in front of his front gate. The gunmen then continued to fire shots at him.
His common-law-wife of 8 years was inside their home along with his 4 children. They heard the entire commotion.
Voice of: Nathalie McKenzie - Common-law Wife of Deceased
"This morning, I got up, and I asked him if he was going to work, to which he said he would. He said that he was only going to sign in, and he would come back. I said that I wouldn't have to make any sandwiches then, since it was raining. I told him to show me the thing on the car that I had to move when I am driving. He said he would, and he walked out before me; I turned back to get my umbrella. I didn't get it right away; I went to my daughter because she was making some cup noodles in the microwave. So I was showing her the amount of water that she was to put in there, and that was when we heard the shots."
"How many shots?"
Voice of: Nathalie McKenzie
"I heard 8 shots, and when I heard the shots, I told my daughter that it was 'Dad'. She said, 'Yes, mommy, it's Dad. Look at him running with his back bleeding.'"
GSU TAKES HOLD OF KINGPIN BRIAN BROWN FABER'S ROAD FORTRESS
There is major news to report tonight out of Belize's underworld - as the GSU has locked down George Street Kingpin Brian Brown's home on Jimmy Dyer Street in Belize City. The exhaustive search started at 6:00 this morning and continues at this hour.
Brown's home has a 12 foot high fence, razor wire and multiple surveillance cameras. Police forced open the sliding metal gate - and proceeded to search the premises with a justice of the peace, since Brown was not at home.
A neighbor told us how they got in:
Voice of: Neighbor of Brian Brown
"What happen is that I was sleeping, and I just heard a banging, and I then heard vehicle doors slaming. I just jumped out of my bed, and I came to see what it was. When I looked, the gate was opened. Apparently the knocking was the gate that they were beating on. All of them were in the yard."
"A lot of officers?"
Voice of: Neighbor of Brian Brown
"They brought 2 or 3 truckloads. One was still at the corner. They went for a locksmith. They came with a locksmith, pinch bar, mauls, and some other tools that I don't know the the name of. And they broke the back door open, and they went in. No one was at home. I went to them, and I told them that he is not here; I also asked them what they wanted. They didn't say anything. They just continued to search, opening up all the vehicles and doing whatever. I asked them how they can just be doing this and he wasn't there. They said that they have a JP, so it's legal. But I thought that GSU couldn't go to people's house without somebody being home."
As of this evening, a warrant has been obtained for the arrest of Brian Brown. There are reports that he may hand himself into police tomorrow along with his attorney.
The GSU invited us to the home this evening to see what all they have found at the property which is tagged Brown Enterprise Auto Rental Sales.
Police found several parcels of cannabis - which is reported to have a very strong aroma - what would be called "high grade" in the streets. The Cannabis is divided as follows: 291 grams compressed found in the kitchen under the sink, 110 grammes loose cannabis found on a railing on the verandah, 361 grammes cannabis in an engine coolant gallon.
They also found a number of pieces of crack cocaine - 800 grammes in another engine coolant gallon.
COMMONWEALTH MEETING IN BELIZE
A major regional meeting is being held at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize. The Caribbean Local Economic Development forum opened at the Princess Hotel and Casino and closed just a short while ago.
IT focuses on the role of local government in Local Economic Development as well as enabling micro, small and mediums sized enterprises in the Caribbean.
This is the first CARILED forum being held in Belize, and it has drawn some big names, including Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma and Ministers of various Commonwealth countries. Minister of Local Government, Godwin Hulse outlined the main purpose of the forum:
Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Local Government
"Improving the lives of the citizens and those we govern, both in their basic living conditions and their economic well-being, is then the goal. To this end, we must continue to promote democracy and decentralization of authority. The Central Government may devolve considerable authority to the local authorities, dependent on the capacity of such authorities, to manage the responsibilities. This program this morning is about that, but the concept of a local government managing the economic development is as far-fetched as getting to the moon for small countries. And so the CARILED Program, which we are talking about this morning, aims to do just that. How do we get local authority involved in the economic development, which would bring more taxes and jobs, etc. in in the area?"
TRINIDADIAN PM IN BELIZE
As we noted, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar is in Belize for the meeting.
She didn't arrived until 4:0 this afternoon because he flight out of Miami was delayed - with a flat tyre, of all things.
But when she arrived, Persad-Bissessar was composed and keen on attending the meeting to give her support for a special entrepreneurial fund - for which she is the patron. She told Jules Vasquez more:..
Hon. Kamla Persad - Bissessar - Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago
"There is a very important initiative which I will be launching. I'll speak of it later this evening. It is what is known as the CARILED project. This project is one in which we have received 23 million dollars from CIDA - the Canadian Government, with respect to the development unit. The money is to be utilized in the CARICOM region for young, small entrepreneurs to develop a skills and expertise in those areas. So I think that it is a very important project, and it was useful for us to launch it here, in a CARICOM nation, with your own prime minister. I was very happy to meet with him, because in Trinidad and Tobago, we are leading an initiative where we want to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice as our final court of appeal for criminal matters. So the gradual session to that particular jurisdiction may require an amendment to the CARICOM Treaty. And your honorable prime minister leads a portfolio area in terms of justice matters. So, of course, consultation with him, and certainly to seek the support of Belize, should it be, that we need, the treaty could possibly be amended. We are hosting a CARICOM heads meeting in Barbados on next Sunday and Monday, but regrettably, your honorable prime minister will not be there. So it was most opportune that I could have met him here in person, whilst taking advantage of the local government forum, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, to seek his support and his views on this matter."
MCAFEE SAYS HE'S THROUGH WITH THE LOCAL PRESS
John McAfee says he's going global in his pubic relations fight against the Government of Belize. As we've reported McAfee's Orange Walk Estate was searched by the GSU 15 days ago - and since then there have been a number of claims and counterclaims between him and the GSU.
Recently, the GSU charged three persons for trying to buy informants for McAfee within the GSU.
Well, the 66 year old issued a rather haughty statement today saying, quote, "As of noon, today….I will no longer be speaking to the Belizean press the dialog between myself and the Government of Belize deserves a larger stage, and a press that is not aligned with local politics….it is time for cooler heads to consider our dialog, and time for a larger audience."
And so, this morning - in case you didn't quite hear the church bells chiming, or feel the earth shaking - McAfee gave an interview to a weblog called Gizmodo.
He says he will be following up with more interviews over the next few weeks - we'll tell you when he breaks out of the blogosphere.
AND THE NEW DIRECTOR IS.....
Three weeks ago on this newscast - we alluded to the likelihood that Laura Esquivel will be the new Director Of the Tourism Board.
Well, the announcement was made today and Esquivel confirmed to us that as of June fourth, she will assume the post of acting director of Tourism.
The post of director has been in a sort of limbo since September of last year when Seleni Matus left quite suddenly after she and the Board of Directors clashed over governance issues.
Since then there has been a low profile interim director. She joins new board Chairman Ian Lizarraga and new CEO Tracy Taeger Panton.
OCEANA/COLA CHALLENGE OFFSHORE OIL CONCESSIONS
Oceana Belize is well known for its staunch opposition to offshore drilling, and right now, they have a pending litigation against the Government of Belize for the rejection of thousands of the signatures for their referendum which has been denied.
But, that's not the only litigation that Oceana has brought; they also have a pending matter to challenge several of the offshore oil drilling concession contracts which the Ministry of the Natural Resources issued between 2005 and 2007.
Those contracts include the ones issued to Island Oil Belize Limited, Tropical Energy Limited, PetroBelize Company Limited, Princess Petroleum Limited, Providence Energy Belize Limited and Sol Oil Belize Limited.
Oceana will be joined by COLA and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has also expressed their intent to become interested parties in this case.
Today, attorney Godfrey Smith, who is appearing on behalf of Oceana and proposed interested parties, and Crown Counsel Herbert Panton presented themselves before Justice Legall for the preliminary hearing in which Smith presented Oceana's position.
Panton indicated to the court that GOB intends to make preliminary objections to this challenge, but he asked for more time in order to properly respond.
The matter was adjourned but Justice Legall has only given Panton and the Attorney General's Ministry until May 23 to file their response along with the required affidavits.
It was a very short hearing, but we spoke to Oceana's Vice President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd.
MAN COMMITTED FOR GAS STATION DOUBLE MURDER
When David Longsworth and Edgar Ayala were killed at a gas station in 2010 - it shook the city. Well now, a man will stand trial for the murder.
The preliminary inquiry for 41 year-old Ervin Reneau, who was charged for the 2010 double murders of Edgar Ayala and David Longsworth, finished in the Magistrate's Court today. It was determined that he will stand trial in the Supreme Court.
Reneau was charged with 2 counts of Murder, and 4 counts of attempted murder which police say he committed against William Henry, Antonia Medina, Ursula Longsworth, and Esram Brackett-Martinez.
When police arrested him on December 2, 2010, he was caught with a 9 millimeter pistol, and as a result, he was also charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm.
Today, the prosecutor tendered 27 witness statements and 23 pieces of evidence which they plan to use against Reneau. He also indicated to the court that he will call 2 witnesses to testify in his defense.
His trial is scheduled to be called up in the September sessions of the Supreme Court.
As we reported, Longsworth and Ayala were murdered at the Texaco Gas Station at Mile 1 ½ on the Northern Highway on December 1, 2010.
FIRST PUP LEADER PASSES
Tonight, we note the passing of John Smith - the first leader of the People's United Party and one of the fathers of Belize's Nationalist Movement.
Smith died yesterday at the age of 93, in Louisiana with his wife and children.
Smith entered public life as a member of the Belize City Town Council in 1944, and was elected as Mayor in 1947. He was one of the founding members of the People's Committee in 1948 - which transitioned to the People's United Party in September of 1950.
He was party leader until 1952 when internal division led to his resignation from the party. Smith left the country a few years after, returning only to visit family.
Leigh Richardson became the next leader - and he too left the country in 1956 - handing over to George Price - who became leader for an unmatched 40 years.
With the passing of Smith - all five fathers of the nationalist movement have now passed on; they are, Phillip Goldson deceased 2001, Nick Pollard deceased 2003, Leigh Richardson deceased 2008, George Price deceased 2011 and John Smith deceased 2012.
AWICH TO COURT OF APPEAL, OFFICIALLY
Last month, we told you about the Justice Samuel Awich's impending elevation to a Justice of the Court of Appeal. Well, despite the protests of the Belizean Bar Association and the Leader of the Opposition, Justice Awich was officially sworn into the office today in Belmopan.
He was sworn in by the Acting Governor General, Carlos Perdomo. According the Government Press Office, because he is now 65 year-old, Awich officially retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court yesterday.
Awich's elevation is notable because, as we reported, the legal community opposed it.
Also sworn in at today's ceremony was Bernard Q. Pitts; he is now as the Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Pitts, who has recently vacated office of Attorney General, takes over from Alberto August who resigned earlier this year.
MAN CHARGED FOR GF ABDUCTION
On Monday, we told you about the abduction of the Belize City woman which reportedly happened that afternoon. Today, the man who allegedly did it, was taken to court.
41 year-old Wilword Pinto, a taxi man of Rivero Street, was charged with aggravated assault and wounding which he allegedly committed against the woman.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he was granted bail of $5,000 with the condition that he must stay away from the woman, who police say is his ex-girlfriend.
He was able to meet bail this evening, but he is expected back in court on June 20.
As we reported, a woman said Pinto abducted her using his taxi, and when he was taking her up the Western Highway, she reportedly jumped out of his moving vehicle and sustained injuries.
She received help from a concerned Belize City resident who then called the authorities, who then transported her to the KHMH.
MAN ACCUSED OF CHOPPING TO COURT
26 year-old Gareth Hemmans Jr., was arraigned for attempted murder when he appeared in Magistrate's Court today. Police say that he nearly chopped 40 year-old Miguel Zaiden to death.
On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Zaiden and Hemmans were reportedly socializing on Madam Liz Avenue, when they got into an argument. It quickly escalated into a fight, and according to police, Hemmans then pulled out a machete and inflicted several chop wounds to Zaiden.
Zaiden suffered wounds to both upper arms, the right forearm, and the left elbow, but fortunately, he was rushed to the KHMH in time.
In court, Hemmans was read charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and grievous harm. Because of the nature of the offenses, no plea could be taken and he was remanded to prison until June 15.
A Pledge Against Sexual Exploitation
Sexual exploitation is a global issue, and although it is present in Belize, it has been overlooked, to some extent.
Well, the Alliance to Reduce Sexual Exploitation is trying to change through an awareness-raising campaign.
It plans to recruit DJs and conduct discussions in Belize to inform the public about the risk factors involved. Three members of the alliance stopped by our studio to tell us more about this issue and the goals of the organization.
Whitney Hein - Member, Alliance to Reduce Exploitation
"We're here to raise awareness about sexual exploitation in Belize City, as well as the United States and Nicaragua. But in Belize, we're focusing on getting young people talking and interested in the issue, to not keep it under cover, but to really bring it to light."
Leila Pandy - Member, Alliance to Reduce Exploitation
"Recently, in 2010, the US State Department put Belize along with a few other countries from the Caribbean on their watchlist saying that we weren't doing enough to effect change in trafficking. Belize is both a transit and a source country. We weren't doing enough to put together proper legislation and penalties to reduce the demand for sexually exploiting our youths."
"We were formed through Heartland International, which a non-profit organization in Chicago, and they partnered with WIN Belize and Casa Alianca in Nicaragua. So women from all 3 of those countries first met in Chicago and formed project groups. And the 3 of us, plus our 2 Nicaraguan counterparts all felt strongly about this issue, so we formed a project group to work together to fight sexual exploitation."
Ms. Blease From Belize "Run Dance" In Kingston Ja.
We always hear about international DJ's this and DJ that - but one Belizean DJ has truly earned the title.
Linda Blease - who DJ's under the moniker "Miss Blease" - has just returned from a successful tour of Jamaica. She did ten shows in three weeks at the hottest clubs in Kingston -and made multiple appearances - even snagging a mention in the daily newspaper, the Observer.
In a phrase - "she blew up" - in Kingston, the most happening City in the Anglophone Caribbean.
It's no small feat - particularly for a female DJ - and, to our knowledge, she's the first to do so many shows in Jamaica.
She just came back yesterday and we spoke to her today about what it was like:..
Linda Blease from Belize - International DJ
"I played at 10 or 11 events all around Kingston."
"And you are the first Belizean DJ to play events like this, and to receive so much acclaim in just 3 week in Jamaica."
"Yes, I definitetly feel happy. I guess it's my time to do things now. I am sure that they will have people who come up, and it will be easier for them to get the same opportunity."
"How much of it depended on the fact that you're a female from a far-away country."
"Actually, none of it because it's kind of tough. If you're a female or a male, especially somewhere like Jamaica, they are very rough. So, if you don't perform well, if you are female or male, they'll throw something or boo you off the stage. I saw them do it to a couple of people. The good thing is that it didn't happen on this side. I am happy that I did well."
Popcaan In BZ
And while Ms. Blease came home from Jamaica, Dancehall artist, Popcaan is visiting Belize tonight.
He touched down this morning for a show on Saturday night at the Princess Poolside.
This evening he told us more about Saturday's performance.
Problem Sean - Promoter
"The big event - the biggest event - bigger than all other events happening, we've got Popcaan. Make sure you come out. Ladies, make sure you come out. Popcaan is speaking at the Princess Hotel. He is performing live. There's no other place to be but at Princess Hotel this weekend. Popcaan is performing live."
Bolo - Promoter
"Well, it's most definitely going to be a safe environment. we've got Keyon Vibes, Billy Yongs, Nello Player, and the main performer, Popcaan. So, it's going to be great show. We want all the ladies and dudes come out and enjoy themselves."
"So the event will be taking place where?"
"It will be at the Princess Poolside along with Club Next as well. The amount of people we're expecting from ticket demands and requests, the poolside is not going to be big enough. So, it's going to be a sold out event."
Family of four perish in fatal highway accident
There was a horrible traffic accident this morning at mile forty-four, a dangerous stretch of the Western Highway. Four of five family members between the ages of twelve and sixty-eight perished. The Belize City family was heading to the US Embassy in Belmopan when they collided into an Isuzu Rodeo. The road condition in this [...]
Another Matura murdered on Boulevard on broken dreams
While the highways turned deadly, there was another homicide in the City this morning and from our records it is murder victim number fifty-one for this year. It happened just before seven o’clock; twenty-eight year old Kaylon Matura was ambushed as he was leaving his house for work with the Ministry of Works. He is [...]
GSU busts infamous Brian Brown
A warrant is out for Brian Brown, a well known street figure. For about ten hours today, the Gang Suppression Unit raided Brown’s house on Fabers Road where they found cash in Belize and US currencies, cocaine, crack and cannabis hidden in various areas of the house. They also found ski masks, a bullet proof [...]
Commonwealth Local Government Forum opens in Belize
The Commonwealth Local Government Forum opened in Belize City today. Trinidad’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, flew in for the event as did the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma and other representatives from numerous member countries. Canada announced a twenty-three million dollar initiative for local economic development in the fifty-four member state organization that [...]
Commonwealth Sec. Gen. talks development for Belize
The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, began the first of his three day visit to Belize on the occasion of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. Prior to arriving in the country, Sharma was in Mexico City with President Felipe Calderón, the Chair of the G20. Dialogue between Heads of the Commonwealth and the G20 are [...]
Under protest, Justice Awich officially elevated to Court of Appeal
The Bar Association and the opposition party both objected to the appointment of Justice Samuel Awich to the Court of Appeal last month. But this morning, the justice took the oath at the Belize House inBelmopan, in the presence of his wife, son and daughter. Judge Awich, who is originally from Uganda, was a justice [...]
New Director of Tourism is Laura Esquivel Frampton
There is another appointment to report tonight. Word to News Five is that Director of Quality Assurance, Laura Esquivel Frampton, is being named the new Director of Tourism, replacing Seleni Matus who resigned from the post in September, 2011. The B.T.B. team also includes Tracy Panton as C.E.O. and Ian Lizarraga, the executive chair of [...]
Coalition and COLA join Oceana in Referendum suit
Oceana filed an application on May fourth for leave to apply for judicial review of the disqualification of eight thousand and forty-seven signatures from the petition for a referendum on offshore oil drilling. That application will be heard on June twentieth, but there’s another challenge before the Supreme Court and it involves production sharing agreements [...]
NGO explains why COLA and Coalition jump on to claim
As for the application for COLA and the Coalition to become interested parties in the case, Crown Counsel Herbert Panton, holding over for Crown Counsel Nigel Hawke on behalf of the ministry, indicated to Justice Oswell Legall that they strongly object to the applications. Panton requested additional time to review the case and has until [...]
Ervin Reneau will face trial for gas station murders
A preliminary inquiry concluded this morning, in the case against Ervin Reneau, who was committed to stand trial on numerous charges, including two counts of Murder. The charges are in connection with an incident that occurred on November thirtieth, 2010 in which David Longsworth and Edgar Ayala, were fatally shot during a robbery at the [...]
Taxi-man forced his ex on a cab ride
It appears that a relationship gone sour has landed a Belize City taxi-man before the Court on two criminal charges. Rhea Pennill reported to police that her ex-boyfriend, forty-one year old Willward Pinto, attempted to kidnap her around three-thirty Monday evening. Today, Pinto was charged with Aggravated Assault and Wounding upon Pennill. Pinto appeared before [...]
Guatemalan found with gun stolen during burglary
A San Ignacio man who was wanted in connection with a burglary is now in double the trouble. On Monday, police conducted a search on Joseph Andrews Drive for twenty-one year old Guatemalan national, Walter Boteo Ralda. When he spotted the police vehicle, Ralda took off running into Eleventh Street, but was caught. The cops [...]
P.U.P. mourns passing of first leader
The People’s United Party has lost its first leader. Today, the party expressed its condolences to the family of John Smith, who died on Tuesday in Metairie, Louisiana. Smith, who was ninety-three years old, passed away at home with his wife, Consuelo and their children by his side. In Belize, Smith founded the People’s Committee [...]
Wednesday, May 16 - POLICE NEWS
The latest murder in Belize City has claimed the life of twenty-eight year old Kaylon Matura who was shot in front of his home on Central American Boulevard in Belize City. Love News spoke with Police Press Officer Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood. Inspector Fitzroy Year...
TOLEDO PREPARES FOR CACAO FEST
Activities in connection with this year’s Toledo cacao festival will begin tomorrow in Punta Gorda. Paul Mahung reporting… “The activities will be held from Thursday May 17 to Sunday May 20 as explained by Chairman of the Toledo Cacoa F...
BELIZE HOSTS THE COMMONWEALTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT FORUM
Representatives of Local government bodies from across the Caribbean and the Commonwealth are meeting this week at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. Over two hundred delegates are attending various interrelated meetings. At the launch of the Commonwealth Local Government F...
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES FACES MORE OPPOSITION ON PRODUCTION SHARING AGREEMENTS
On Wednesday Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage presented applications requesting to be joined as co-claimants in Oceana in Belize’s present claim against the Ministry of Natural Resources, challenging the validity ...
NEW JUSTICE OF THE BELIZE COURT OF APPEAL SWORN IN
Justice Samuel Lungole Awich was sworn in today as a Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal. Justice Awich who is originally from Uganda has served as a Supreme Court Judge in Belize since April 2001. He retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court on 15th May 2012 after attaining the age of...
TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CLAIMS FOUR LIVES
A traffic accident shortly after seven o’clock this morning has left four people dead and two others hospitalized. The incident involved a Geo Prism car and an Isuzu Rodeo. Four of the occupants of the car, 45-year-old Karen Tillett Castillo, Arthur Smith, 68-year-old...
NEWS FLASH - Road accident near Cotton Tree Village claims 4 lives.........28 year old man shot while exiting his yard in Belize City!!!!
An SUV and a Sedan car traveling in opposite directions on the Western Highway near the village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District collided this morning between the hours of 7 and 730. Of the five passengers traveling in the SUV, 4 have been confirmed dead while the other is in a serious c...
Tuesday, May 16 - POLICE NEWS
29-year-old security guard Mike Sabal charged with the theft of five pounds of tobacco leaves also known as fonto was found guilty of the charge today. Because she found that Sabal had lied when he said it was the first time he came to court, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser reman...
BELIZE'S COPYRIGHT LAW FIRMLY INTRODUCED
The Belizean Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, BSCAP, held a press conference this morning at the House of Culture in Belize City, to discuss steps taken by the organization to firmly introduce Copyright and inform artists about the importance of it. Jason Guerrero spo...
US EMBASSY ASSISTS TOLEDO POLICE WITH EQUIPMENT
The United States Embassy has made a donation of equipment to the Punta Gorda Police. Paul Mahung reporting… "The equipment valued at over 2,800 US dollars were handed over to Punta Gorda Police by Embassy of the United States of Ameri...
TEACHERS ATTEND ACADEMIC CONFERENCE
Teachers from across the country will be meeting over the next two days. Cecilia Smith is the Director of teacher Education and development Services. Cecilia Smith – Director, Teacher education and development services “We are hosting an academic co...
FORMER OMBUDSMAN CONTINUES HIS PROTEST AGAINST GAY RIGHTS
Former Ombudsman Paul Rodriguez has taken his protest to Punta Gorda. Paul Mahung reporting... “Love News caught up with former Ombudsman Paul Rodriquez while he was walking on PG Front Street and carrying a large size poster bearing his message which he echoed verb...
PORT OF BELIZE AND STEVEDORES REACH AGREEMENT
A dispute between stevedores and their employer, the Port of Belize Limited, has ended with an arrangement – albeit after two sessions today with the Christian Workers’ Union representing the men. The stevedores, who load sugar from barges onto ships, were asking for,...
LEADERS OF COMMONWEALTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEET IN BELIZE
A two-day meeting of the leaders of commonwealth local government organizations opens tomorrow in Belize City. The meetings include the annual Board meeting of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and are being held at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. Chairperson of th...
Horriffic Traffic Accident On The Western Highway Claims Four Lives
This morning a fatal traffic accident that occurred on mile 44 on the Western Highway claimed the lives of four individuals. Police investigations reveal that a family of five travelling in a Gold Prizm car with license plate BZC-38571 were heading to Belmopan from Belize City when upon arriving mile 44 they collided into a blue Isuzu D-Max. The opposing vehicle was being driven by 56 year old Canadian National Corrine Abcock who resides in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area. When Belmopan police arrived at the scene of the accident they were faced with the lifeless bodies of 68 year old Nicholasia Tillett who was accompanying her family to Belmopan, Tillett's daughter 45 year old Karen Castillo who was a councelor at Maude Williams High School, and Karens daughter 13 year old Alicia Smith were seen lying in the middle of the highway. Later, the body of 43 year old Arthur Smith Sr., father to Alicia Smith and brother to Castillo was located in nearby bushes. The fifth passenger traveling in the Prizm car was 28 year old teacher Monique Robinson who was found trapped in the front right passenger seat. Robinson was quickly transported to the Western Regional Hospital whereby she is listed in a stable condition. The four lifeless bodies were also transported to the hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival. As for Abcock, she was first transported to the Western Regional Hospital but later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. According to Abcock, the blue Isuzu served into her lane causing the fatal accident. The family was on their way to the U.S Embassy to apply for visitors visa.
U.S National John McAfee Says He Will No Longer Speak With Belizean Media
It took place about a week ago and the tension between U.S national John McAfee and the Gang Suppression Unit is still on edge. On May 1ST the GSU raided McAfee’s Residence here in Orange Walk and detained him and his employees for more than 14 hours. McAfee was then taken to Belize City and released until 1:30 on Tuesday morning without any charges after the intervention of the U.S Embassy. In recent news, Matilda Garnett, a second class clerk of Belize City, Police Constable Darius Martinez of Orange Walk and ex-cop Rodwell Richards were all charged for attempt to corrupt an officer and were labeled as affiliates of McAfee. The charge is derived from the attempt to bribe Police Constables Adrian Lopez and Stacy Humes to get information on an investigation being carried by the GSU against McAfee.
After the three public officers were charged, all attempts to get McAfee for comment proved futile. But yesterday the U.S National fired off a press release in which he states that GSU Commander Marco Vidal and his unit remain persistent in their attempts to discredit him. Of course he is referring to a press release issued by the Gang Suppression Unit on Friday May 11th which made all allegations that Richards was McAfee’s right hand man. McAfee makes claim that he serves no relationship to Garnett and that Richards, who is clearly his friend, has never been asked to provide any information pertaining the activities of the GSU. In the press release McAfee goes on to ask, “Why is the Gang Suppression Unit, whose purpose is to suppress gang activity, be spending time, money and resources pursuing a minor misdemeanor charge allegedly involving business people?” He then proceeds by making a solemn remark stating that there are serious crimes being committed by gangs which the GSU should be suppressing. Finally he makes all suggestion that the name GSU be changed to BSU meaning Business Suppression Unit. Today when we contacted McAfee for comment he told us he will not be making any further comments to the Belizean Media.
Teachers of Saint Peters Anglican School Nominated For Teacher Award Program
The Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award Program is an inspirational initiative brought to the fore by the Ministry of Education to honor accomplished teachers who for many years have dedicated their time and efforts to the progress of young Belizean Children. Yesterday we told you about Orange Walk’s Nominees for the outstanding leader of the year award and the outstanding teacher of the year award for ITVET’s. Tonight, those remarkable teachers being highlighted are the districts representatives for the Primary level and Special Education level who have both been selected from St. Peter’s Anglican School.
Janine Ayuso Reporting
Miguel Mai has been in the teaching Profession for 25 years. Every day he works along with students ensuring that they receive the best education possible without expecting any type of recognition.
Miguel Mai, Teacher
“I don’t really like the spotlight but I won this award two years ago so this year is the second time I think that I owe it to the students they really have showed me that they trust in me and sometimes they like put pressure on me making me feel like they really believe I will pass them and so I’ve been working very hard I give them free extra lasses on evenings we come on Saturdays and we come on Christmas holidays and Easter holidays to do extra work because we have some special students who might have entered very weak in standard six so that we can bring them up to a level that we can trust they will perform well in the exam. I don’t really, I was not working with the objective to win this award I work to help the children I have so if I meet this class that needs an extra mile I go the extra mile if I meet a class that needs for me to go two more miles I do that. If in the end that brings an award such like this one I welcome it also but it’s not my main thing to win these awards and I’m not competing against anybody else in any other school I’m just doing my work to help these children as much as possible.”
Legal Battle Between Orlando Habet And Elvin Penner Continues In Court
On Monday evening, in the court room of Justice Minnet Hafiz, attorneys Said Musa and Rodwell Williams where back in court battling the election petition filed by Orlando Habet against Elvin Penner, the Cayo Northeast Representative. Habet’s attorney Said Musa filed the leave on grounds on recount and bribery on the part of Penner. Justice Hafiz struck out the bribery grounds but granted stay for the recount grounds.
However, Musa filed for leave to appeal Justice Hafiz’s decision to strike out the bribery, and again, they were unsuccessful. Musa; though, came up with a different strategy. He intended for the court to hear a motion which he filed for his own petition to stay. Justice Hafiz refused Musa’s application but the attorney says that the appeal will surely go to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
Said Musa, Attorney
“It has not affected us in terms of our right to proceed with the appeal, but it certainly will affect us in terms of whether or not at this stage certainly by tomorrow whether we will have any petition to proceed with. But here again I must repeat that the bottom line is that this matter will be heading for the Court of Appeal to make a final determination.”
That’s where the election petition was left off on Monday but yesterday it took an unexpected turn. Both legal teams argued on whether the procedure used by Musa and Anthony Sylvester was in fact faulty. When they filed for leave to bring the election petition to the Supreme Court, Said Musa and Anthony Sylvester, also filed the actual petition that they intended to present before the court, that is, if the court granted the leave. Justice Hafiz established that the filing of the actual election petition was done out of time frame and Rodwel Williams argued that the documents are in fact invalid and hence should be struck out based on abuse of process.