The Belize Lodge and Excursions, located in Indian Creek Village, was recently brought into the media spotlight when news broke that a famished black jaguar was found on the abandoned property. That discovery led to an unraveling of problems for the Managing Director of the resort Ken Karas, including allegations that he was in illegal possession of the animal and that he was behind on the payment of employees. Well, today we have received information that the Belize Lodge and Excursions was burnt to the ground. And as for the unpaid workers? - Some of whom have not received money owed for months of service to the lodge� We understand that a payment plan had been agreed upon by village Chairman Romero Pook, Ken Karas, the Labor Department and the Police Department. Attempts were subsequently made for the workers to receive the first part of this payment on Friday; however that plan has still not been carried out.


Resort torched in Toledo

The Indian Creek Lodge in Toledo has been under fire by former employees. First there was the issue of an under fed jaguar that was pining away in a cage. That animal had since been rescued by the Belize Zoo. But no one came to rescue the employees who reported to the labor department that they were owed months of salaries. The unpopular resort had amassed a lot of anger by residents in the area, and the resort that was already the subject of heated debate, was torched in the night. A section of the Indian Creek Lodge was set on fire and burnt to the ground. News Five spoke via phone to Inspector Ernel Dominguez, Officer in Charge of the Punta Gorda police about this latest incident at the Indian Creek Lodge.

Via Phone: Inspector Ernel Dominguez, O.C., Punta Gorda Police

"As a result of information police received, they visited the Indian Creek Lodge, which is about thirty miles out of town, where they met one Nathaniel Mas, who was the manager of the resort when it was in operation. He reported to them that sometime just before twelve midnight, he was informed of a fire at the lodge where he went over to check on it. It was confirmed that two thatch room buildings were engulfed in flames. The police, while on the scene, were awaiting the fire service which did not showed up because they said that it was beyond their jurisdiction. As a result of that, the police carried out investigation where they believed that the fire might have been an act of arson. The matter is under investigation by Toledo police."

Ernel Dominguez

Jose Sanchez

"O.C., I understand there was a recent or two incidents regarding the owner of the resort and employees over wages. Is that correct?

Via Phone: Inspector Ernel Dominguez

"To be certain, yes we have some knowledge that there was some dispute, but we were not certain as to what has become of that dispute. I could recall that recently on the news, there were some mentioning by some people in that area that they still have not settled the arrangement as it relates to the wages."

Jose Sanchez

"Now, has the resort owner come forward to make a statement as yet?"

Via Phone: Inspector Ernel Dominguez

"Umm, I must say that prior to some arrangement he has made with these people for the third of August, he was at the P.G. Police Station; apparently there was some problem when he went to the resort and the police had to go there and actually escort him away from the resort to the station where he made some agreement or arrangement with the past employees and after that the police set him free because we didn't have anything against him. It was something between the labor officer and the ex-employees and him."

Jose Sanchez

"And in regards to the incident, has he said anything that can provide useful information for the investigation?"

Via Phone: Inspector Ernel Dominguez

"Umm, I wouldn't say directly but I could recall there was some incident of the place being vandalized prior to the day in question."

Channel 5