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 San Pedro Sun

San Pedro residents outraged about the crime situation on the island
There are growing concerns regarding the crime situation on San Pedro amongst some sectors of the community in San Pedro Town. The concerns stem from a series of home invasions and burglaries that have gone unsolved. Adding to their frustrations is the pace and approach the San Pedro Police Department is taking in trying to solve these crimes, along with complaints that some recovered items have gone missing within the police department. These were some of the sentiments expressed during a meeting which took place on the night of Monday, May 14th at the San Pedro Town Council. In attendance were several members of community who have recently been victims of crime as well as all seven members of the San Pedro Town Council and members of the San Pedro Police Department A resident of Northern Ambergris Caye detailed her experience in which she, along with her children, were a victim of a home invasion where they were terrorized and their belongings stolen. While her son was not physically harmed, he remains traumatized and concerned for his safety after he was attacked by the intruders. "Already I have no faith in the system. I am not seeing the police presence in the way they should be," expressed the very emotional resident who asked to remain anonymous. The child who was present also gave an emotional account of the incident and told the Officer Commanding the San Pedro Police Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Vienie Robinson that while he can clearly recognize his attacker, "I am afraid that he comes back after me when he gets out of jail."

First Caribbean Bank to relocate San Pedro Branch operations to Orange Walk Town
CIBC FirstCaribbean has announced its intention to relocate its San Pedro Branch operations to Orange Walk Town. To facilitate this move our San Pedro branch will close permanently to the public on June 15, 2012. In an official statement, Country Head, Glen Smith indicated that the current economic climate had necessitated a thorough review of the bank's operations, resulting in strategic decision to relocate to the Orange Walk District. "We remain committed to our clients in San Pedro and we encourage them to continue to bank with us through a number of options, including our Visa Debit Card products; Internet and Telephone Banking; and by mailing in Cheque Deposits. We are also exploring additional options for providing banking services to our clients in the area that will be advised to our clients as they are finalized."

First ever Village Expo a huge Success
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) in partnership with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) hosted its first ever Village Arts and Craft Expo this year. The Expo took place at the Princess Hotel & Casino's King's Room on Saturday, May 12th between the hours of 9am and 4pm. The organizers originally catered to 80 booths but once the Expo began, they quickly had to add additional booths. There were a total of 97 booths featuring local products for the general public to experience and sample. Products showcased included local jewelry (earring, chains, bracelets), slate carvings, paintings, embroidery, wood work (bowls, picture frames, carvings, etc), clay pottery, sewn and crochet dresses, skirts, blouses and pillows, woven baskets, locally made cultural sweets, pepper sauces, home made soy sauce, locally made sauces, carpentry (chairs, tables etc), black cake coloring which is also used to give chicken its golden color in stew or baked, recycled material purses and arts to name a few.

Terryl Godoy wins Bowen and Bowen Coca Cola Art Competition
Man at Work", Terryl Godoy, long term resident of San Pedro, is the winner of the Bowen and Bowen Coca Cola Art Competition. Bowen and Bowen inaugurated its celebrations of the golden anniversary of coca-cola in Belize with an art competition and exhibit that will be taken across the country. It featured paintings by both professional and novice artists who were challenged to illustrate Coca-Cola's appearance in important moments of Belizean history. The competition was held on May 8th at the House of Culture. The San Pedro Sun caught up with Terryl, also known on the island as a One Man Band, to get a little feed back on his grand win. "For this exhibition, we were supposed to do something that represents Coca Cola and happiness, what we can remember about Coca Cola in the past, something that is very happy. I did a piece that showcases what I perceive Belize to have been in the 60′s or 70′s. It really had people's minds wondering like what or where is this painting. Because of how realistic it seems people try to associate it with a certain place or location. In actuality, this piece is a creation from my mind's eyes. I just thought about a scene and I painted it. So the truth is, it never did exist and I don't know if that's the thing that probably got to the judges and forced them to take a good look at that piece more than once. But the painting was created to give viewers the effect of visualizing what Belize used to look like, so everybody that lived in that time could probably relate to that painting."

Ambergris Today

First Caribbean Bank SP Branch Permanently Relocating to Orange Walk
CIBC FirstCaribbean has announced its intention to relocate its San Pedro Branch operations to Orange Walk Town. To facilitate this move the San Pedro branch will close permanently to the public on June 15, 2012. In an official statement, Country Head, Glen Smith indicated that the current economic climate had necessitated a thorough review of the bank's operations, resulting in strategic decision to relocate to the Orange Walk District. "We remain committed to our clients in San Pedro and we encourage them to continue to bank with us through a number of options, including our Visa Debit Card products; Internet and Telephone Banking; and by mailing in Cheque Deposits. We are also exploring additional options for providing banking services to our clients in the area that will be advised to our clients as they are finalized."

Misc Belizean Sources

Free First Aid training May 19th
If you would like to learn a range of basic first aid skills please sign up for the one time free first aid training by the Belize Red Cross. To get on the list reply and count yourself. This Saturday May 19th at Fido's - lunch will be provided 9:00am - 3:00pm please show up 15 min early to sign in. We will be downstairs till roughly 10:30 for lessons and presentations then move up stairs for the practical work. After this paid courses will be available for individual groups and businesses.

Official video - A day on Caye Caulker
This is the official video of the Caye Caulker chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association. Explore the tropical island of Caye Caulker, situated within the Belize Barrier Reef.

VIDEO: Diving South Water Caye
Featuring Splash Dive Center, Placencia, aboard Princess Ailsa with Captain Edlin Leslie, Divemaster Prince Gongora, Divemanster and Discovery Instructor Nedia Chaplin

Seth Montfort at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Seth Montfort, a internationally renowned pianist, played for Mother's Day at the Bedran Hall in the SIRH. It was an amazing show. He played many classics, including Claire de Lune and Rhapsody in Blue, and had entertaining stories to tell between the pieces. The food was wonderful and the music was fantastic, making for a night to remember.

Kids Eco Camp Promotional Video
"Memories that last a lifetime" is right! In this short video one can see many of the events that last year's eco kids did while at the Summer Eco Kids Camp. Now is the time for children to submit their essays on why they want to be an Eco-kid. Chaa Creek is giving away 24 scholarships, so start writing.

Galen University offers Masters of Education
Galen University has their brochures for their Masters of Education out. They are teaming up with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to offer the degree. For more information call 824.3226 or email [email protected].

Rebecca Stirm's Designs from Mission Catwalk
Rebecca Stirm still leads with the most wins, 3, in Mission Catwalk. Here are her designs from the last 2 weeks. The first is from the 'avant guard' competition, and the second is from the 'spandex' competition. Good luck, Rebecca! She's listed in 2nd place on the Mission Catwalk FB page.

Slavery and Emancipation Exhibit at the Benque House of Culture
Their was a monumental turnout for the Slavery and Emancipation exhibit at the Benque House of Culture! The Institute of Archaeology was there, teaching students all about the Maya, while giving out great prizes for answering questions. The Belize Archives Department was there with an exhibit showing some classic pictures, and how they preserve and restore documents. We encourage everyone to go see this amazing exhibit over the next month.

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (May 16, 2012)
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Channel 7

Tonight, the UDP faithful can rest easy: the election petition against Mark King - which seemed to have the most solid ground - has been struck out of court. The election petition against King, which was brought by his political opponent, Martin Galvez, challenged his legitimacy as a duly elected member of the House of Representatives. Galvez's attorneys, Godfrey Smith and Lisa Shoman, provided the court with documents which claimed that King was the Managing Director of the Security Firm, Brints, and that his company was in a contract with the Government of Belize. By the election rules, this supposedly made King unfit to take up elected office because he failed to declare his interests in this company to the public via the media. Denys Barrow, who was representing King, argued against Shoman and Smith before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin for several weeks, and in the end, Barrow was able to get Chief Justice Benjamin to dismiss the petition. It's a landmark case because never before in the Caribbean has contract law been litigated as thoroughly as this. Chief Justice Benjamin's decision today has set a precedent when he accepted Barrow's submissions that the disqualification law refers to a limited class of government contracts, and that this security contract was not in that class.

And while the lawyers are through with their arguing - for this round at least - for the public, the burning question raised by the petition remains unanswered: Did King have a government contract? After the hearing, King, who has been silent for several weeks now, told the media that his security company does indeed have this contract. It's seems safe territory now, and when he was asked to comment on it, he was very forthcoming. Here's what he had to say: Daniel Ortiz "We still only have the allegation that this contract exists? Does your side have any actual proof?" Lisa Shoman - Attorney for Martin Galvez "No, there isn't only an allegation. We actually exhibited the contract that we're complaining of, and that is contained in the petition. It's there; it's always been there since the leave stage. There is a contract between Brints Security Service and the Government of Belize, and that is signed by Mark King." Marion Ali - Love News "As far as the contract is concerned now, would you be privy - would you be willing to share with the public what's the scope and nature of the contract?" Hon. Mark King - House of Representative Status Was Questioned "Absolutely not, still, simply because of the fact that the attorney just explained that it doesn't matter if you have a contract, it does not apply to this provision. Whatever my company, Brints Security, have, whatever I have personally, that is not public knowledge unless the law requires me to give that to the public, then it should be public knowledge, so at this point, no."

Tonight, George Street Kingpin, Brian Brown, the man known in the streets as "The Father" is a wanted man. Police have a warrant for his arrest and say they intend to charge him for multiple offences, including drug trafficking. Multiple reports - from his own camp - said that Brown was going to hand himself into police today - in the presence of his attorney - but that did not happen. And so tonight, he is at large - and is being pursued by police. As we told you last night, it all started at 6:00 on Thursday morning when police got past Brown's imposing 13 foot fence. He was not at home - and so the GSU got a Justice of the Peace to accompany them on the search. Tonight, we revisit the property to show you what they found:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is Brian Brown's surveillance grid - Brown's family claims the 7 empty screens are for inside that the GSU disconnected when they did the search. Police say that inside one of the bedrooms they found a plastic bag with some cash, and inside the top drawer of a night stand beside the bed, they found $2,420 US cy. They also found a bag inside the laundry basket with $25.00 BCY in $1.00 coins. And police say they made their biggest find here in the bathroom - where they allege that hidden under the flooring of the basin cabinet, they found a bag with several large pieces of suspected crack cocaine amounting to 307 grams - along with $27.00 BCY in $1.00 coins. And in the living room in this entertainment center they found $408.90 Bcy in different denominations and a medium size digital gram scale were found.

25 year-old Keith Williams is spending the first night of a 5-year sentence after he was convicted of robbery and keeping an unlicensed firearm in Magistrate's Court. A Chinese businessman fingered him as one of 2 assailants who robbed him on Boxing Day last year. According to police, Xin Ye Zheng reported that on December 26, 2011, he was at his store, Good Fortune Bar, which is located on Newtown Barracks. While he was closing up the shop, he was robbed by at gunpoint by 2 men who stole an undisclosed amount of cash, and then escaped. Quick police response led to Williams being detained along with 32 year-old Brassel Gordon, and when he was searched, the officers found a large amount of cash on him along with a .25 caliber pistol. As a result, they charged both men with robbery, and Williams was additionally charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm. Both Zheng and the arresting officer testified against both men for the prosecution in this trial, but 3 weeks ago, Gordon was acquitted after his attorney, Dickey Bradley, made a no-case submission due to lack of evidence. Well today, the trial came to completion after Williams offered his own defense.

The Belize Defence Force is developing a unit called, an "Intelligence Cell." It sounds double-O-7-ish - except they won't be doing it in BMW's, instead, they'll be using Chinese-made Meilun motorbikes. Five of these were donated today by the Ministry of National Security - and he explained, The Cell. Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security "We were able to procure 5 motorcycles to be handed over to the intelligence Cell of the BDF and the Intelligence Cell is the unit that does the gathering of intelligence with respect to both our borders, national security and internal security. So I am happy that we were able to give them this additional mobility so that they are able to move across the country and gather information that pertains to our national security." Brig. Gen. Dario Tapia, Commander - BDF "One of the main means that we have is mobility to be able to get our job done in a timely and efficient manner and so we recommended that we needed some motorcycles to be able to do some remote areas patrol." "What this offers us is an ability to go to remote areas efficiently to maintain a military presence and that alike." The cycles are worth sixteen thousand, five hundred dollars.

Last night, a Chinese Restaurant Owner in Belize City was cleaned out by armed gunmen. IT happened just before 8:00, when four men entered good fortune restaurant with a gun. They dragged the owner, 49 year old Yun Sing He into the kitchen and took his wallet, with two thousand 300 dollars in cash - while another went into the cash drawer and snatched up six hundred dollars. The men ran off and police have made no arrests.

Today gay and human rights activists in Belize joined 80 countries around the world to celebrate IDAHO, not the state in the USA famous for potatoes, but the "International Day against homophobia." Today supporters of UNIBAM and the We Are One in Human Rights Campaign gathered at the Smokey Mermaid Restaurant today in a show of solidarity against, homophobia, violence against gay persons, and all forms of discrimination in Belize. Of course, it's also a chance to shore up support against the religious right - which is stridently opposed to the homosexual lob buy. 7news spoke with Gay Rights activist and President of UniBAM - Caleb Orozco. Caleb Orozco, Gay Rights activist and President of UniBAM "While societies speak about discrimination, the issue of discrimination around homophobia. It also is a day to highlight some of the problems that gay bisexual transgender persons face across the world. There are 1.5 billion people who experience or lived under very discriminatory laws around the world. There are 78 countries according to International Lesbian and Gay Association in their report which has laws that discriminate against gay people but more precisely today is about the humanness about how people treat each other because of their difference." "For us the issue is to bring the issue of homophobia to the table. You don't have to believe about or take a position of sexual orientation or marriage equality or gay rights but we all want the same thing to be treated with respect when walking the streets. Not everybody is treated fairly or with respect. There are things that are happening in Belize like getting into a taxi and just because you are suspiciously gay, the taxi would charge you more or the taxi would simply pass by because you look too gay."

Today is being observed as World Telecom Day in 147 countries and Belize is one of them. The theme is Women and Girls in information And Communication Technology. Executive Chairman Net Vasquez underscored the importance of this message in his opening remarks at the King's Room of the Princess Hotel and Casino:.. Nestor Vasquez - Executive Chairman BTL "Today we join the rest of the world and we celebrate together under the theme "Women and Girls in ICT." Isn't that a good theme? Wow. Presently in several countries, the ICT Industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers. One of the reasons for this shortage is the fact that women are significantly underrepresented in this Industry. I am proud to say however that the upper levels of management here at BTL - the ratio between men and women is almost one to one." And after the speeches, the main attraction was launched; the annual open day - where BTL showcases all its cool gadgets and technology - a prize attraction for hundreds of school children. Public Relations Manager Anjali Vasquez told us how they worked in the theme of Women and Girls:.. Jules Vasquez "Women and Girls in ICT? It seems so far-fetched when we are in a country that only has 13% in Internet penetration."

It made headlines in all the media houses when former Heritage Bank BRANCH Manager, Samantha Carlos, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery for the April 2011 heist of the Branch which she managed. Well, the preliminary inquiry was completed, and both she and Harold Valencio were free of the charges on Tuesday. Viewers may recall that Valencio and Carlos were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery because the police believed that she and Valencio assisted the now deceased Ricky Valencia and Noel Usher with preparation and information, which they allegedly used to rob the bank. When the prosecutor tendered all the evidence, Carlos' attorney Dickey Bradley, made a no-case submission on her behalf. He said that there is no evidence that Carlos conspired with any of these men; indeed, there was no evidence she even had contact with them. After considering the submission, Magistrate Merlene Moody dismissed the charge against Carlos because she agreed that there was no evidence that implicated her. Bradley didn't finish there; he pointed out to the prosecutor that their main witness was Usher, who had been cooperating with their investigation until his death. Well, Valencio's other co-conspirator was Ricky Valencio, who is also now deceased. They agreed that with no evidence from any of these men, it is hard to prove that Valencio conspired with anyone, and as a result, they withdrew the charge against him.

PROFILE: Benjamin Jose Acosta
Tonight's I Am Belize Profile is about Benjamin Jose Acosta - a veteran teacher from Corozal - who came up hard in the North. He's now teaching at Trinity Methodist in Belize City - and in tonight's profile, he explains how he stays motivated as a teacher.

This week is being celebrated as Nurse's Week. It kicked off on Saturday with a nurse's conference and throughout this entire week, activities are taking place at health institutions countrywide to honor and appreciate our nurses. One of those activities at the KHMH is a spa day - where nurses got to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere while being pampered. Monica Bodden got an invitation. Monica Bodden reporting There's not much argument that nurses have one of the most important jobs. Their profession alone focuses on the care of every individual to attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life. Nurses are on call 24 hours a day, including all major holidays. So a week of pampering and showing appreciation to our nurses is more than well deserved. As nurse's week continues, the nurses at the KHMH got pampered today with a spa room.

And there's another big artist in Belize tonight. She is no dancehall sensation, rather a blast from the past. You may know her for hit songs such as Can't Be With You Tonight and You Close The Door - That's right, Judy Boucher is in town. The St Vincent born reggae, R&B and Country singer is known around the world for her soulful voice and this weekend she will be performing in the City at the House of Culture for a show called "A Night Under The Stars." We got to interview Boucher up close and in person. Judy Boucher, artist "Things have been really great for me these past months. I am just so busy I can't believe what is happening. Everybody wants a piece of Judy Boucher and it's just amazing to be here again." "When I got the call from Black Star Entertainment I just say, yup Belize people still in love with Judy Boucher and it's wonderful to be back." Monica Bodden "Now tell me, what can we expect coming this Saturday night?" Judy Boucher, artist "Of course we are going mix it up a bit. We are going to go back to my first album, of course there about 10 albums in all, so we are going to try to make sure that we get everyone's favorite songs. I know it's going to be very hard because everyone has their own favorite. But we will try and do the popular songs."

And before we close off tonight, we've got one more update on the murder which happened just after 7:00 on Curassow Street in Belize city. It happened at the corner of Curassow Street and Cemetery Road where the owner of Mobile Hardware Jermaine McNabb was shot by an unmasked male in a shooting that does not appear to have been a robbery. We'll have more on this story tomorrow.

Channel 5

Breaking News: Businessman killed in Old Capital

There is breaking news; a few minutes ago, at approximately seven p.m., a man was shot and killed near the junction of Cemetery Road and Curassow Street. The police are on the scene and our cameras are headed in that vicinity. The victim has been identified as Jermaine McNab, the owner of Mobile Hardware. His [...]

King keeps his Lake I throne; petition struck out

The Opposition party lost the March seventh elections by just over sixty votes. It immediately launched four election petitions in constituencies where the margins were razor thin. One was brought to the Courts on April tenth by Martin Galvez against Lake I Area Representative, Mark King. This morning, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin crushed that petition [...]

Barrow says King's contract not tied to Public Service

Denys Barrow, attorney for King, says that it is quite the contrary. He explains that there would only be grounds for disqualification if King's contract was directly linked to the public service. Barrow contends that there is no other law in Belize that disqualifies a public officer from being elected to office.   Denys Barrow, [...]

King speaks about contracts

Mark King who has kept mum throughout the court proceedings gave a statement to the media today following the Chief Justice's decision. With the contract in question already exhibited in court, King did not deny that Brint's Security provides services to the Government.   Mark King, Lake I Area Rep. "In regards to the entire [...]

Brian Brown's mom denies having contact since raid

The Gang Suppression Unit searched the residence of Brian Brown, also known as Derrick on Wednesday. The raid started at six a.m. at Jimmy Dyer Street on Faber's Road and continued throughout the day. The GSU says it found several Ziploc plastic bags which contained compressed marijuana, suspected crack and cocaine, a bullet proof vest, [...]

Corporation vying for a Belize Sugar Industry Buyout

The Honduran Banco Atlantida proposal is off the table; there are however, reports that negotiations for the acquisition of Belize Sugar Industries Limited by a U.S. based company are currently underway and an offer to purchase majority interest in the financially embattled company has been submitted to B.S.I. American Sugar Refining, the world's largest multinational [...]

Trinidad & Tobago's PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's parting words

Trinidad & Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's maiden visit to the Jewel was a brief working call during which she attended the Commonwealth Local Government Forum launched at the Princess on Wednesday morning. Despite her delayed arrival the Trinidadian head of government was on hand for the launch of a twenty-three million dollar initiative to [...]

Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organization Awards

It's World Telecommunications Day; the good news is that a Belizean student topped the region in a prestigious essay competition with a prize of one thousand US dollars plus a netbook computer. It is the sixth contest held annually by the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organization (CANTO), a trade association for Information and Communication [...]

4 killed in accident; counselors assist students to cope with loss

On Wednesday morning, four family members were tragically killed on the Western Highway as they headed to Belmopan in a Geo Prizm car. The accident at Mile forty-four is attributed to a downpour on Tuesday night which caused the highway to be slippery and deadly. Nicholasia Tillett, her daughter, grand daughter and son-in-law all perished. [...]

Former bank employee exonerated of charges related to robbery

Former Queen of the Bay Samantha Carlos, who was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery following the April 2011 holdup of the Heritage Bank in Orange Walk Town, is home free. At the end of a preliminary inquiry, the charge against her was withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. During the P.I., attorney Dickie Bradley submitted [...]

Double murder trial begins for San Pedro Fishermen

The trial of four fishermen who are accused of a double murder in San Pedro began on Wednesday in the Supreme Court. Brionne Swift, Victor Garnett also known as Prince, along with cousins, Frank Edwards Junior and Gabriel Salazar appeared before Justice Herbert Lord. They are jointly charged for the January twenty-ninth, 2009, double murder [...]

Cab driver denies trying to kidnap his ex

Forty-one year old Belize City cab driver Willward Pinto is tonight refuting an allegation made by his ex-girlfriend in court on Wednesday that he attempted to kidnap her earlier this week. According to Pinto, he was taking his former common law, Rhea Pennill, to work on Monday afternoon when they became embroiled in a dispute [...]

Hurricane Richard stories of displacement continue

An elderly man from Hattieville is turning to the media hoping to get attention to his plight. The seventy year-old man was in prison when Hurricane Richard damaged his house in 2010. Rupert Flowers' house was evaluated for assistance during the hurricane reconstruction program, but he claims the replacement house was taken to the property [...]

Another night to remember with Judy Boucher

Reggae, R&B and Country sensation Judy Boucher is back in Belize to perform before legions of her fans this holiday weekend. The Vincentian singer, famous for her string of timeless hits including 'Can't Be With You Tonight' and 'That Night We Met', will be performing at the House of Culture on Saturday night. If you [...]

Jamaican Artist, Popcaan, brings his brand of music

There is another concert this weekend for dancehall lovers. Belizean Americans, Problem Sean and Bolo of All in Entertainment, have brought in Andrae Jay Sutherland known for his hit songs like: Naughty girl, Party shot and Raving�It's Popcaan in concert this Saturday in Belize City. Artists from New York and Belize-including lead male vocalist, Nello [...]

Healthy Living and Michael Finnegan talk Cancer

This month is cancer awareness month. In Healthy Living last week, we discussed the options available locally for screenings of breast cancer. This week, we turn our attention to another cancer. Minister Michael Finnegan is a survivor of prostate cancer. He was diagnosed two years ago and sought immediate treatment. Finnegan has been vocal about [...]


Commonwealth Local Government Forum meeting opens
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 Forum meetings this morning, Belize's Minister of Local Government Senator Godwin Hulse said that local government is an important sector in a functional democracy. A highlight of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum meetings is the launch of a six year program funded by Canada, which is designed to assist municipal and village councils to forge a closer working relationship with Central Government while at the same time enhancing their own economic development. Chairperson of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum Zenaida Moya Flowers, in her presentation at the opening outlined various initiatives which the Belize City Council under her administration undertook as a collaborative venture with the business community to establish. Moya told her colleagues that it is this kind of partnership that will ultimately make or break any local government relationship with its constituents and is a key component of the Cardiff Consensus reached last year. The Commonwealth Local Government Forum is being held under the theme: Strategies for local economic development in the Caribbean. The twenty three million US dollars CARILEC project will be formally launched this afternoon by the patron of the Forum, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamela Persad-Bissessar. Chairman of the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers Noel Arscott of Jamaica in his presentation this morning, expressed the region's appreciation for Canada's help with the CARILEC project. Arscott who is the Minister of Local Government for Jamaica says that the CARILEC project comes at a crucial time, when the region is moving to enhance the functional role that Local Government entities in the democratic systems that aid in the development of the peoples of the region. Also during this week's series of meetings, the board of directors of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum will begin the process of identifying a successor to the current chairperson Zenaida Moya, who has another twelve months in her leadership of the forum.

New Justice of the Appeals Court sworn in
The other appointment is that of Justice Samuel Langole Awich to the Belize Court of Appeals. Like Pitts, Awich today took the oath of office at Belize House in Belmopan. Awich's elevation to the high court was announced last month, even though there were opposition to the appointment expressed by the Belize Bar Association and the opposition People's United Party.

New chairman of Election and Boundaries Commission
There are two new government appointments to report tonight; but the details are woefully lacking. The Government press office has provided photographs with captioning that says that former Attorney General Bernard Q. Pitts was appointed as the new chairman of the Election and Boundaries Commission. Pitts succeeds Alberto August, who announced his resignation from the post following the March seventh general elections. B.Q. Pitts took the oath of office today at Belize House in Belmopan.

Jury finds man not guilty of rape
35-year-old Brian Smith was found not guilty of rape yesterday in the court of Justice Herbert Lord. The jury of six men and three women deliberated for about two hours and 15 minutes before it arrived at its verdict. The incident occurred on February 19, 2011 at Smith's home. The complainant, a 17-year-old student, testified that she met Smith when she went to stay at her father's house for the weekend. She said Smith who was a close friend of her father gave her 50 cents to buy noodles and when she was returning from the shop, Smith called her from his yard and told her he wanted to see her. She said Smith closed the door and pushed her down on the bed and forcibly had sex with her. Smith testified and admitted he had sex with the girl but said it was with her consent. Smith was represented by attorney Brian Neal. It was Neal's first case at the Supreme Court since he was admitted to the Bar about four months ago. Crown Counsel Talia Meighan Francis represented the prosecution.

Guatemalan national busted with 9mm pistol
A twenty one year old Guatemalan national has pleaded guilty to the charge of kept firearm without a license. Leonel Boteo Ralda was captured in Santa Elena town on Monday night after initially running away from officers who were conducting a search of an area on Joseph Andres Drive in San Ignacio town. Ralda was wanted for questioning in connection with a burglary report made by a Canadian businessman from Santa Elena town. When police eventually caught up with Ralda and searched a bag he was carrying, they found a Glock 9millimeter pistol with an empty magazine. The firearm was found to be the property of Alian Langlois. On Tuesday, May fifteenth, Walter Ralda was arraigned in the San Ignacio Town Magistrate's Court, where he pleaded guilty to the charge of Kept Firearm Without a Gun License. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Ralda was also arraigned for the charge of Handling Stolen Goods; but he pleaded not guilty to this charge. That case has been adjourned until August sixth.

Petition against Mark King thrown out of the Supreme Court
Last week attorneys for the appellants and respondents in the election petition application against the UDP's Lake Independence Area Representative, Mark King, argued on whether or not Mark King violated the law when he did not declare a purported contract that his firm has with the government of Belize. The appellant, Martin Galvez, who lost [...]


Brian Brown's home ransack by GSU
Yesterday we reported to you how the GSU had locked down Brian Brown's home on Jimmy Dyer Street in Belize City. Th...

Intelligent Solutions motorcycle stolen
Duane Staine, a 24year old computer technician of Belize City reported that between 12:00am and 7:00am on May 16, s...

KHMH pampers their own for Nurse's Week
This week is been celebrated as Nurse's Week throughout Belize. The week is held annually to honor the dedication a...

City Hall compensates woman injured on sidewalk
Earlier this week we told you about Lovine Welch. Welch was walking down Mahogany Street when she slipped into a ho...

The Alliance to Reduce Sexual Exploitation conducts pledge drive
The goal of the Alliance to Reduce Sexual Exploitation (A.R.E.) is to help decrease exploitation in Nicaragua and B...

Preschoolers show off their artistic talents
The Child Stimulation Center at UB today staged an exhibit, in recognition of Education Week, of the fine craft and...

Police investigate possible forgery at Immigration Dep.
Finance Officer for Immigration Department, Teresita Castellanos, reported that on April 30 she carried out an inve...

BNE donates new classroom building
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust earlier this week conducted a handing over ceremony at the Belmopan Comp...

BTL commemorates World Telecommunication and Information Day
Today at the Princess King's Room in Belize City, Belize Telemedia Limited celebrated World Telecommunication and I...

More on Commonwealth Local Government Forum
The Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) held opening ceremonies at the Princess Hotel for...

Suspect in kidnapping case granted bail
On Monday, an attempted abduction of a Belize City woman occurred on the Western Highway. Yesterday, the man who al...

Chinese Restaurant loses thousands in armed robbery
A Chinese businessman of Newtown Barracks was robbed at his restaurant last night. Sometime around 7:45pm YUN Sing ...

The Reporter

The legislation which allows for the voters of Belize to trigger a referendum requires a mandate from ten percent of the voting population. That means that those participating in the petition exercise need to be registered voters. It is not therefore surprising that the referendum petition organized by Oceana Belize earlier this year had such a high proportion of unaccepted ballots. When the signatures of the referendum petitioners were checked against the official voters' list, it was found that many who submitted their names in the referendum petition, including students and young people below 18, were not authorized to vote. We do not understand why the Chief Elections Officer has been slow to point this out, or why she has not been more helpful in explaining why more than 8,000 votes were rejected,but the recent lawsuit brought by Oceana Belize which named the Governor General as a party in the dispute seems mischievous and irascible. When he was approached by Oceana on the subject, the Governor General replied promptly and courteously that the matter was not something over which he had any jurisdiction. That is true! The Governor General is the representative in Belize of our Head of State, who is Her Majesty the Queen. He does not become involved at the administrative level of political disputes.

Court Again? Pt.1
By: Neri Brice�o Belize appears to have joined the new global trend of litigated settlements. In today's modern world virtually everything is addressed in the courts. Individuals, companies, organizations and even countries now seem unable to meet, debate, discuss and ultimately settle differences without the presence of an attorney. Decisions are now not a matter of right or wrong or what is fair and honest, but rather one of technicalities and who has the best lawyer. In other words the age old saying that good prevails over evil, holds no more and actually now appears to be the reverse. Sins from the past inevitably cause problems in the future and the European system of colonialism is what has us saddled with this ridiculous Guatemalan territorial claim that we must now face. The British for the most part have taken the Pontius Pilate approach and washed their hands clean of this problem. They have pretty much dropped off the dirty Guatemalan claim at our doorsteps. To understand the behind the scene play that is happening regarding the Guatemala/Belize claim, all we have to do is follow the money, power and political influence and the picture becomes much clearer. Guatemala by virtue of its size and population has one of the largest economies in Latin America. Guatemala is both a powerhouse economically and politically. It has extremely strong ties with the U.S.., and with the U.S.'s two closest allies; the U.K. and Israel.

COLA and Coalition challenge offshore Oil PSA
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage have applied to the Supreme Court to join Oceana Belize in disputing six petroleum production sharing agreements (PSA's). These licenses were awarded to Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, Petro Belize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd between 2005 and 2007 by the former Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Johnny Brice�o. Oceana claims that these six companies are speculation companies with no expertise and no prior experience in oil exploration. Crown Counsel Herbert Panton held over for Crown Counsel Nigel Hawke and objected strongly to COLA and the Coalition joining the action. He said he needed time to review the application before responding. Arguments as to why COLA and Coalition application should not be allowed will be presented on the Ministry's behalf when the matter returns to court next Wednesday, May 23. Both NGO's have challenged the Government about offshore oil exploration

Magistrate's Court staff receive valuable training
The Magistrates Courts' staff countrywide benefitted from a training seminar in Professional Development funded by the British High Commission and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative at the Lodge at Chaa Creek between Friday to Sunday, April 20-22. The session was designed in two parts - an all inclusive session and then separate training for support staff and magistrates and was facilitated by Antoinette Moore and Deputy Commissioner Ms. Jackie Brown. Mr. Dan Suter, Criminal Advisor to the Eastern Caribbean attended from his base in Barbados to make a presentation he entitled, "No Witness, No Justice and the role of the Criminal Justic advisor." Other topics addressed were: Self Management, Professional Ethics, Customer/Public Relations, Interpersonal Relationship, Judicial Ethics, Judicial Consideration When Granting Bail, Human Rights and Gender Sensitivity, and Judgment.

What ails thee Belize? Is it a matter of moral poverty?
by Hilaire Bennett Journalists have been reporting on the damaging impact, the useless violence in the streets of the "old capital" on the Belizean society. One recent editorial identified the "root cause of crime as today's criminals being bred in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods". It identifies poverty and joblessness as the causes crime. Some local writers advocate for more money to be allocated to social programmes and for more government involvement in the down-town communities of this country. One writer even blamed "corruption" as the root cause of poverty, crime and other social ills. All these suggestions hold grains of truth. But it is important to bear in mind that poverty and joblessness have always been with us here in Belize, from colonial times. Furthermore there has been no conclusive evidence from research to show that providing more opportunities in the poorer neighborhoods would make a difference in reducing violent crime. One writer referred to a new theory from the American Journal of Psychiatry which suggests that the root cause of crime may be biological and not social. The theory suggests that some people may be born with brain deficiencies which make them prone to violence.

GSU finds drugs, cash during 12 hour search
The Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) found stashes of crack cocaine, marijuana and tools used for criminal activity in an early morning raid at the George Street home of Derrick "Brian" Brown, 36. The search which lasted more than 12 hours revealed a pair of handcuffs, ski masks and a set of blue plates used exclusively by government vehicles. Police seized 1,124 grams of crack cocaine, 762 grams of cannabis, $2,728 in U.S. currency and $2,250 in Belizean currency. Police have issued an all-points warrant for Brown's arrest. They intend to charge him with six counts of drug trafficking; possession of a "bong" used for smoking cannabis and possession of an unregistered bullet-proof vest found in his home. Brown's home was guarded by a security camera system, but he was not at home when the police arrived. His mother, who lives next door, was able to reach him by cell phone. In order to legitimize their search, the police took along a Justice of the Peace as witness. Police seized a set digital scales, used telephone SIM cards, and a cellular phone. They also took possession of a white sheet with what appeared to be human blood stains. Police say they will send it to the National Forensics Lab for analysis along with a ski mask that has a similar stain. Although Brown has been under police investigation several times, he has never been convicted of any crime.

Crash claims four lives
Four family members on their way to get U.S. visas in Belmopan lost their lives in a collision near mile 44 on the Western Highway on Wednesday morning, May 16. Karen Castillo, 45, her mother Nicolasa Tillett, 68, her brother-in-law Arthur Smith Sr. and her 12-year-old neice Alicia Smith all died when the Geo Prism in which they were travelling collided head on with an Isuzu Rodeo, driven by Canadian national Corrine Abcock, 56, who was left trapped in her vehicle. According to eye witnesses the Geo prizm lost control and its occupants were flung from the vehicle on impact. Despite the mangled scene, two persons survived the crash - twenty-eight year-old Monique Robinson who is also a granddaughter of Nicolasa Tillett and Corrine Abcock. Both were trapped in their vehicles when police arrived and were subsequently rescued and transported to the Western Regional Hospital for medical attention. It is believed the slippery road caused by rains contributed to accident.

Justice Awich to Court of Appeal
Cabinet Secretary Mr. Carlos Perdomo acting as Governor General in the absence of Sir Colville Young this week administered the Oath of office to Judge Samuel Lungole Awich as a Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal. Sir Colville left Belize Wednesday to attend the inauguration of President Ma Jing-Jeou of the Republic of China on Taiwan, who has been re-elected as President. Justice Awich, a native of Uganda, has served Belize as a Justice of the Supreme Court from April 2001 until he reached the retirement age of 65 on Tuesday May 15. He also served as acting Chief Justice when Dr. Abdulai Conteh left office in October 2010, until the new Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin arrived in September. The Acting Governor General also swore in former Attorney General, Mr. Bernard Pitts as the new Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, replacing Mr. Alberto August, who has gone on to become the Chairman of Belize Water Services. The Senate approved Mr. Pitts' appointment last Friday, May 11.

Martin Galvez election petition struck out
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck out the election petition brought against the UDP's Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Mark King, on Thursday, May 17. Benjamin upheld the application by King's attorney, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, to strike out the petition lodged by the Opposition People's United Party Lake Independence candidate, Martin Galvez. Galvez's petition, filed on April 4, contended that an contract existing between the government of Belize and King's company, Brints Security, disqualified him as a candidate. According to the stipulation of Section 58 (1) (h) of the Belize Constitution: "No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representative who is a party to, or partner in a firm or a director of a company which is a party to, any contract with the government for or on account of the public service and has not, within one month before the day of election, declared publicly and in a newspaper circulating in the electoral for which he is a candidate, a notice setting out the nature of the contract and his interest or the interest of any such firm or company therein." King had failed to declare Brints Security's contract before he was nominated for the March 7 General Elections. The court had heard Barrow's application to strike out on Thursday, May 10. Galvez's attorney, senior counsel Lisa Shoman told reporters following the ruling that: "His Lordship took the view that the words for and account of the public service should mean very narrowly the institution of the Public Service." Shoman said that they do not agree with that interpretation and the legal team will be discussing it. She said the decision is an appealable matter, because it turns on the interpretation of the Constitution. Barrow told reporters that the judge accepted all of the submissions his side had made, tracing the history of this provision of the Constitution and ended up with the determination of what the Constitution intended to capture in relation to contracts. "It is clear from what the judge has now decided that the Constitution does not intend to disqualify just anybody, because you have just the fact of a contract with the government of Belize."

Cayo North Petition is null & void, Rodwell Williams says.
by Benjamin Flowers The Opposition People's United Party (PUP)'s petition against the United Democratic Party (UDP)'s Cayo North area representative, Elvin Penner, is null and void, attorney Rodwell Williams argued before Justice Minnette Hafiz-Betran on Tuesday, May 15. Williams said that the petition filed by Orlando Habet's attorneys, Said Musa and Anthony Sylvestre, is an abuse of the court process, because their second petition was by and large a "cut and paste" copy of their original April 2 document that Justice Hafiz-Betran had already struck out. He said that leave was granted to them to prepare an actual petition, but what was presented was not in compliance with the court's orders. He said that by doing so they have rendered the petition a nullity. On Monday, April 2, the last day in which petitions regarding the March 7th general elections were to be heard, Musa and Sylvestre, appeared before Justice Betram to request leave from the court to file a petition and included a "draft" copy of the intended petition. The document included allegations of bribery against Penner, as well as a challenge against the Returning Officer's refusal to conduct a recount in the March 7th General Elections. Several points, including the bribery allegations, were rejected, because the deadline for filing under those grounds had passed. However, on Tuesday, April 10, leave was granted to file a petition in respect to the refusal of the recount. Sylvestre, however, maintains that there was no abuse of process; and that no violation of the Representation of the People's Act was committed. If Justice Betram accepts Williams' submission, it will be the end of the end of the Cayo North election petition in the Supreme Court. Justice Betram has reserved judgment until May 24.


What Do Things Cost in Belize?
People ask, what do groceries and things cost in Belize? Well this week I had to go grocery shopping to pick up a few groceries, so I thought this would be a good time to give you an idea of what some things cost here in San Pedro, Belize. In a previous post "Belize, A Day in My Life", I talked with you about where I do a lot of my shopping. We tend buy and eat both America and Belizean products. Of course most Belizean products will be cheaper than US products and things are going to be more expensive on Ambergris Caye where we live than the mainland. One reason why we shop at several stores is to be able to find certain things we want. One store may carry a certain butter I buy and another store may carry the meat that I like to buy. Going to 3 and sometime more stores to get everything I need is not unusual. Then I still have to go to the Belikin Distributor to pick up my 5 gallon bottles of water and Maria's Fruit and Vegetable stand to get the fruits and veggies we like.

International Sources

Top Caribbean beach destinations
Belize named in best Caribbean beach destination - again!!! We are so very proud of ourselves as once again, Belize is named 2nd best Caribbean beach destination by the readers of Caribbean Travel and Leisure. Although many may point out that our beaches are not perhaps in reality our strength - as our amazing reef with snorkeling and scuba opportunities definitely is - but it is our 'beach life', particularly in Caye Caulker, that earns us this title!! Thank you Caribbean Travel and Leisure - next year your readers will vote us into the No 1 spot!!!

Last edited by Marty; 11/17/12 10:08 AM.