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MIDNIGHT NIGHTMARE ON SAN PEDRO
Allegedly drunken cops, male and female, assault two couples, then charge them in court
What was to be a fun night out turned into a nightmare for a group of friends in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Sunday, December 16, 2012, and, a late report from police this evening indicates two female officers reportedly have been interdicted.
Amandala spoke to the victims of the incident, who gave their account of what happened a few minutes after midnight that Sunday morning.
Ricky Jurado, a 27-year-old San Pedro resident, said he was with some friends socializing at the Tackle Box Bar and Grill when a man grabbed his fiancé, Janina Graniel, 24, around her waist as she was walking by.
Jurado said he approached the man to address the issue, and they got into a small argument. The man, later identified as an officer, and his three companions, who were all behaving as if they were intoxicated, walked out of the bar, Jurado said. The said officer and his companions were all later identified as police officers attached to the San Pedro Police department. All were in civilian clothing.
Jurado said the group did not go too far, but he smelled trouble and decided to leave as well.
“While we were walking past them, [the officer] grabbed me by my neck and pulled out his gun. I guess it was a 9mm, and he just put it in my mouth,” Jurado said. “He threatened me that if I did anything he would shoot me, and that’s when I heard [the female officer] say, ‘shoot that f****** Spanish,’” he went on to relate.
Jurado said that he feared for his life and did not resist. He said his fiancé, Janina Graniel, then got involved, and asked why they were doing that to him.
Jurado said that was when the female officers attacked Graniel.
CHRISTMAS SORROW – 3 TEENAGERS SHOT DEAD IN TWO HOURS
The ages of the victims are: 14, 16 and 19.
Instead of partaking in joy and laughter in this festive season, three families are mourning the death of three teenagers who were callously shot to death in separate incidents just six days before Christmas.
Robert Allan Gladden, 16, a student of Marage Road, Ladyville; Raheem Requeña, 19, of Plues Street; and Reynaldo Garrido, 14, of East Canal, were shot in three different locations in the city within a span of two hours, between 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19.
Police said that about 6:30 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday, they went to the corner of Partridge and Lavender Streets and saw Gladden’s body lying face down in the middle of the unpaved road. He had been shot in the right side of the back of the head and in his forehead, above his left eye.
Police say that Gladden was walking on Partridge Street, going toward Lavender Street, when a man of dark complexion with dreadlocks approached on a bicycle and fired two shots at him, and rode into Partridge Street, escaping into the surrounding area.
IS KEITH HARRIS, 44, TRUCK DRIVER, FOR REAL?
Harris is accused of handling stolen goods — twelve 40-ft containers worth $120,000, and 150 sheets of plywood, and stealing $5,000 from Arturo Matus; he owes rent, owes Joseph and Taylor, owes $983 to BTALCO and $5,530 to Monica Pawn Shop; and wrote bad check for $1,092!
Keith Harris, 44, a truck driver of #124 Freetown Road, was today arraigned in Magistrate’s Court #2 for theft. According to a report made to police, Harris stole a computer from his friend, Maria Belizaire.
Belizaire told police that on December 3, 2012, she loaned her HP brand laptop computer to Harris. However, when she asked Harris for it, he told her that it was at a friend’s house being fixed. Belizaire alleges that for the past 3 weeks, she has been trying to retrieve her laptop from Harris, but all her attempts, so far, have been futile.
Harris finally gave Belizaire the phone number of the friend he alleged had the computer, but when she called the number, the person told her that he did not have the computer. After going through a back-and-forth with Harris over the computer, she decided to make a report to police.
DAVID TAYLOR, 40, PLEADS GUILTY TO INDECENT ASSAULT CHARGES
The British man’s home was raided by police after a report was made about suspicious activities involving young boys.
Today, David Taylor, 40, appeared in the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court, where two charges of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and one charge of committing an unnatural crime (buggery) were read to him.
Taylor, a British man who lives in Placencia, had his home raided by police after a report was made to them about suspicious activities involving children – male children.
The search resulted in police finding 500 pictures of 4 young boys (between 10 and 13 years) posing nude and involved in lewd acts with adult males.
Police also found 50 videos with the same repulsive acts being performed.
Yesterday, Taylor was detained, pending charges of indecent assault and having possession of pornographic material.
23RD KREM NEW YEAR’S CLASSIC IS ON
Notwithstanding the present difficulties being experienced by the Belize Cycling Association executive, cycling fans will not be disappointed this New Year’s Day, as Krem Radio has confirmed that the tradition continues with the 23rd running of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1, 2013, New Year’s Day.
A press release yesterday from KREM RADIO states as follows:
“The 23rd KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is organized by Krem Radio. It is to be held on January 1, 2013. The Open race will start at the Santa Elena Border at 9:00 a.m. The Women and Junior will start in front of the Town Hall in Orange Walk Town at 9:30 and 9:35 a.m., respectively.
Team representatives are requested to submit their Titular List of Starters by Wednesday, December 19, sent to email [email protected] and re-confirm their starters at the Technical Meeting which will be held on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at the Krem compound, starting at 11:00 a.m. Race numbers and other paraphernalia will also be issued at that time.”
The prize list includes:
OPEN – 1st Prize – $2,000.00 + $250.00 & Trophy + 1 Bull; 2nd Prize – $1,500.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $1,000.00 & Trophy; 4th Prize – $500.00; 5th Prize – $350.00; 6th Prize – $275.00; 7th Prize – $200.00; 8th Prize – $175.00; 9th Prize – $150.00; 10th Prize – $100.00; 11th and 12th – $75.00 each; 13th to 15th – $50.00 each; and 16th to 20th – $25.00 each.
M/Juniors – 1st Prize – $500.00 + $250.00 & Trophy; 2nd Prize – $300.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $200.00 & Trophy.
WOMEN – 1st Prize – $500.00 + $250.00 & Trophy; 2nd Prize – $300.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $200.00 & Trophy.
OCEANA REFERENDUM NOT HAPPENING
Last week Oceana and the Government of Belize representatives met in Justice Michelle Arana’s court to continue trial on whether a national referendum will be held on the matter of offshore drilling in Belize. That case was adjourned to today, Thursday, December 20.
Oceana, Tom Greenwood and Audrey Bradley’s claim was struck out for failing to comply with the leave given on June 20, 2012. The file claim was to be submitted within a 14-day period. The deadline for the submission was on July 5, 2012, however the claim was submitted on July 11, 2012. Oceana asked for an extension, but because the leave was not complied with, there was no claim.
Oceana’s attorney Godfrey Smith said it was “not the decision we were hoping for, but we are seeking our options.”
Smith told the media that they are considering an appeal.
Oceana was seeking a judicial review of the signature rejection to allow Belizean registered voters to partake in a national referendum concerning the matter of offshore oil drilling in Belize. Over 8,000 petition signatures were rejected by the Chief Elections Officer, Election and Boundaries Department and the Governor General of Belize that would have triggered a national referendum on whether or not to proceed with offshore oil exploration and drilling.
CONRAD JONES AND ROMEL PALACIO, JR., STILL MISSING – THEIR FAMILIES WANT THEM HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Retired Police Inspector Conrad Jones, 64, of West Street, Belize City disappeared on September 12, 2012, in Hattieville, and Romel Palacio, Jr., 37, disappeared in Dangriga on Thursday, December 6. Their families mightily wish for them to be found and are at home for Christmas.
They must be present at the family table to eat the traditional Christmas dinner, and to make the family complete, relatives say.
Jones has been missing for over three months now. A Customs guard at the time he disappeared, Jones was returning home after concluding duties in Benque Viejo for Customs on Thursday, September 11. The driver of the vehicle he was in, left him at the Hattieville roundabout around 11:30 p.m.
A security guard for the Golden Haven Home for the elderly near the roundabout said that afterwards, around 2:00 a.m. that Friday morning, September 12, he saw Jones still in the area trying to get a passage to go home. He said that he went to make his security rounds on the compound, but when he came back around 2:30 a.m., Jones was nowhere to be seen.
Police and Customs officials searched the area, and in Hattieville but their efforts were fruitless.
The family is offering a $500 reward to be paid to anyone for information leading to the recovery of Jones, dead or alive. They can call the nearest police station or 0800 TIPS, or they can contact Silpa, Jones’ daughter, at phone numbers 605-4606.
AMBULANCE DRIVER DIES AFTER POLICE BEATING
Francisco Shol, 53, of Indianville, Punta Gorda, ambulance driver for the Punta Gorda Hospital, was laid to rest today in at the Punta Gorda Cemetery, and a policeman is being investigated for his death.
The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 14, at the PG Sports Bar in Punta Gorda.
Witnesses told police that Shol was socializing at the bar when a policeman who was not from the Punta Gorda Formation went into the bar and began drinking with Shol.
The policeman afterwards beat Shol in the bar, then dragged him outside and beat him again.
The policeman then put Shol in the pan of a pickup truck and took him to the Punta Gorda Hospital.
Shol was later found in a drain a short distance from his home. He was rushed back to the Punta Gorda Hospital, where he was stabilized and shortly after, he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by Wings of Hope Air Ambulance, but he died shortly after while receiving medical treatment.
Doctors who examined him said that he died due to fractures in his skull due to blunt force trauma (he was beaten in his head).
WILFRIDO NOVELO ON THE MAYA CALENDAR Letters
This coming Friday, December 21, is going to be a momentous occasion in the land of the Maya. The twentieth katun of the current thirteenth bakun is coming to an end.
Such an event will not repeat itself until 5,125 years in the future. The Maya will be celebrating our version of what was our Y2K.
On December 31, 1999, at midnight, we closed the tenth century of the second millennium.
On December 21, 2012, Maya time reverts back to zero. In small change, we count time like this: 24 hours is one day, 365 days is a year, one hundred years is a century, and 10 centuries make a millennium.
The Maya count time like this: 24 hours is a day, they called it a kin. 365 days is a year, they called it a tun, and twenty years makes a katun, like our century, and twenty katuns makes a baktun, like our millennium.
On December 21, 2012, the Maya are closing the 20th Katun of the current 13thbaktun. Nothing apocalyptic, nothing cataclysmic, nothing catastrophic, nothing tragic, nothing traumatic, will occur on that day.
If anyone was putting any high premium on bad omens on that day, perish the thought. It will not happen.
EULOGIO LASHES OUT AT SCROOGE STORE AND TEACHERS Letters
It would appear as if the justice system in Belize is failing the Belizean people. It is not clear if the justice meted out is really fair or not. Case in point: A man steals 3 packs of cheese and is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Another individual is caught with (x) amount of marijuana (drug trafficking) and gets 3 years in jail. What message is this giving the Belizean people?
Next point: a single mother is caught stealing food for her hungry children at one of the richest stores in Belize City. She is arrested, taken to court, ridiculed, and then given probation. OK. We know what she did was wrong, but the way the economy is in Belize right now and the high rate of unemployment, can we really blame her?
She was caught stealing from one of the richest stores in Belize City. What they could have done if they had had the right marketing people, was to take this golden opportunity and turn it to their advantage. They should have pardoned this lady on live TV instead of taking her to court, and given her a big food hamper for her hungry children. Next, she could have been given a job to continue feeding her hungry children, this being the Christmas season and all. Do you know how good this company would have looked?
ON BECOMING AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE Letters
Over the last couple of days, I have had occasion to reflect on my mid-life crisis and how close I am to my three score + ten of sojourning here in my country, Belize. I was thinking about my contributions to the development of this noble spot and the “what-could-have-been” as an exile in another country. Guess what! I fell into a state of melancholy so deep that I had to find some writing, some reflection, by another person somewhere out there who had found him or herself in the same dilemma.
I found a very old book of reflections by the celebrated South African author Alan Paton of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi – “Lord make me an Instrument of thy Peace.” Allan Paton had to make a choice between going into exile or staying and becoming such an Instrument of God’s Peace. He, of course, stayed in South Africa, and by his writings, did champion the cause of God’s Peace there.
The Belize of today has placed any true Christian in an appallingly difficult and harrowing situation. Why? Because the economic, political, social and judicial situations, in my opinion, are clearly opposed to the teachings of the New Testament. If you take each of the Belizean woes separately, you find in each circumstance that they are contributing to the melancholy seen and felt in the streets, boardrooms, both Houses of Parliament and the courts of this land – greed for greed, hatred for hatred, up-manship for up-manship and nolle prosequi after nolle prosequi. It seems to me that a particular brand of apartheid is alive and well in Belize.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
In one of my columns last week, I pointed out that mankind developed the ability about seven decades ago to destroy planet earth and mankind itself. We had entered the nuclear age. In the United States, the terrifying possibility of nuclear holocaust hit home during the October 1962 confrontation between America and Russia, a confrontation known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the years immediately following that frightening episode, American president John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas (November 1963), the Vietnam War began to escalate dangerously (1964/1965), and then the Black Power phenomenon (1966) marked the philosophical adoption of the violent self-defence concept, as opposed to Christian and Gandhian non-violence, by young American blacks.
The American power structure, which is dominated by a financial-military-industrial complex, did everything it could to convince the American people that a lone, crazed gunman, one Lee Harvey Oswald, had murdered the American president while he was seated in an open convertible in a motorcade, but I do not believe this story. I believe the American power structure itself conspired to kill Kennedy for various reasons, one of these reasons being the fact that JFK had refused to provide American air cover for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles, and another reason being the indications that he was not completely hawkish where the American war effort in Vietnam was concerned.
Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, soon began to increase American involvement in what was basically a civil war in Vietnam. A shooting war always increases the budgets and leverage of American generals and admirals, and such a war boosts the profits of companies which are engaged, directly or indirectly, in the business of manufacturing arms and armaments.
THE TRAGEDY AT MCC, TIME FOR A CHANGE
When YaYa Marin Coleman launched her one-woman 24-hour protest outside the MCC Grounds cement fence at 6:00 p.m. last Friday evening, December 14, the MCC field was still a reasonably playable grass surface. It certainly wasn’t the best in the country; it had already suffered repeated abuse from heavy equipment on different occasions when the Sports Council allowed the venue to be used for non-sporting public events. But the field had slowly recovered, with the new grass camouflaging many of the lumps and uneven places where posts had stood and vehicles had been driven.
No one but the Most High controls the weather, and there are no guarantees that bad weather will not come on the day of a concert, as it did on Friday night, to make the football field especially vulnerable to the heavy traffic that comes with such events.
Well, as we feared, and as YaYa protested on the sidewalk outside the MCC on Friday night and into Saturday morning, the rains came down, and the MCC soon became a veritable “pig pen” of muck and debris of various sorts, rendering it unplayable for the weekend games, and for some time to come.
From behind the Zinc Fence, we have cried out against this abuse of the MCC for years. Just over a month ago, the President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), Ruperto Vicente, had registered his strong disapproval of the use of the MCC for an Indigenous People’s Festival, which was subsequently moved to a different venue. But for the DigiCell 10th anniversary concert this past Friday night, the FFB president’s appeal was completely ignored; and the show went on as planned at the MCC.
SHOWDOWN IN CAPITAL CITY – BANDITS VS POLICE
They have never met before in this Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 Tournament; but they will clash in game 1 of the championship finals this Sunday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. We are talking about the North Zone #1 seed Belmopan Bandits and South Zone #1 seed Police United FC.
There were 6 teams in the North – Belmopan Bandits, Belize Defence Force, F.C. Belize, San Pedro Sea Dogs, Juventus FC, and FC San Felipe Barcelona; and 6 teams in the South – Police United FC, Placencia Assassins, Verdes FC, RG-City Boys United, Paradise/Freedom Fighters, and San Ignacio United.
Aside from a double round-robin within each zone, there were 4 out-of-zone (OZ) games for each team in the two zones – North and South – in this tournament, so some teams never got to meet in regular season.
For their OZ games, the Bandits met Paradise/Freedom Fighters (3:0), Verdes FC (2:0), RG-City Boys United (0:0), and San Ignacio United (2:1); they met defending champion Placencia Assassins for the first time in the semifinals (1:0 and 0:0), and they have yet to face Police from the South.
Meanwhile, in their OZ games, Police clashed with San Pedro Sea Dogs (3:1), F.C. Belize (3:0), Belize Defence Force (1:3), and FC San Felipe Barcelona (3:1); they got to avenge that loss to BDF when they met again in the semifinals (2:1 and 0:0), but they never stepped on the field against Juventus FC or Belmopan Bandits from the North.
Some critics have commented that certain teams had an easier schedule than others, because of the particular opponents that they did not get to face in their OZ games. Next time they propose that all teams get to face each other at least once, to better “level the playing field.”
RALPH AND MANUEL DESTROYED SEMI-PRO
What former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel’s wife was doing in her Searchlight column two weeks ago was expressing the view of Belize’s bigoted amateur lobby on sports, that is, that sports should not, can not be a moneymaking industry. Mrs. Esquivel has opened a can of worms, because it was her husband who finished destroying the semi-pro basketball industry in Belize. This was during the 1993-1998 UDP administration.
The reason Dr. Manuel Esquivel has not been seriously indicted all these years is because the industry had already been seriously wounded by the previous PUP administration, when an unelected Ralph Fonseca was the de facto Finance Minister. So then, similarly to how the UDP and the PUP took turns carving up choice portions of the Barracks for themselves, both the PUP and the UDP attacked what would have been a major Southside industry.
In its inaugural year of 1992, semi-pro basketball was an absolutely sensational success, except where the bottom line was concerned. At the time, the only acceptable basketball facility in the old capital was the Civic Center, which had been constructed in 1981 by a PUP government on the south bank of the Haulover Creek, next to the Belcan Bridge. For basketball games, the attendance capacity of the Civic was 1700 plus, and the facility soon proved too small for the crowds which were excited by semi-pro’s Kremandala Raiders and Crown Stadium, and later by the return of Penta Lakers’ Kirk Smith and Fred Garcia from college in Texas.
2 POLICE OFFICERS ACCUSED OF BRUTALITY AND ROBBERY
Two policemen attached to the Orange Walk Police Station are under investigation for theft and brutality accusations after a fisherman of Orange Walk reported that he was beaten and robbed by the said policemen early in the morning on Saturday, December 15, 2012.
According to reports, Lisandro Sanchez was inside Butchies Night Club on Belize Corozal Road when he was apprehended by the two officers.
Sanchez said that the officers did not take him to a station, but took him to the Orange Walk bypass near the San Estevan Rounabaout and beat him up.
Sanchez reported that after he was beaten, the officers robbed him of $10,000, which he said he had earned from a pearl sale he made in Belize City on Friday, December 14, 2012.
Amandala spoke with Orange Walk police on Tuesday, December 18, and was told that no charges have been made and that the matter is under investigation. Both officers have been detained while the investigation continues.
‘Christmas Shopping’ for Ambergris Caye, Belize
For our shopping expedition to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize in Belize City today Rose and I left ‘home’ at 7.40 am to catch the 8 am ferry ( we had to draw some cash first from the ATM first and that was the reason for the early start).
We got good seats with plenty of space around us but that all changed when we got to Caye Caulker to take on passengers. The boat very quickly filled and it was necessary for some passengers to sit on the steps to the entrances/exits. The trip though passed without event and we arrived in Belize City at 9.20am.
Before going to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we had to go try to get some Secret Santa presents to take to the Christmas Lunch we are attending at Pedro’s Hotel next Tuesday.
For this we planned to visit a few stores in Albert Street first. Take note of what was on offer and the prices of the items we thought are worthy of a present . For us this means ‘what might we use if we got it as a present’. Oh, the price range for the Secret Santa presents is BZ$70-80.
First off we went to Delta Stores ( the store that I bought our clothes airer from). There were some really interesting and useful stuff in there – safes, garden equipment, fold-away chairs, – and at reasonable prices ( by Belize standards) but nothing that took our fancy for the presents.
We're back, with tales to tell
Did you miss us? Last night your intrepid BeBelizers returned from sixteen days of exploring the country next door, Mexico, by bus. What a blast! We visited five cities and traveled through five states. We were enchanted by the colors, the colonial architecture, the people, the fiestas, and the glorious spicy foods -- not to mention all the great Mexican beers we can't buy here in Belize (it's true that prohibition does make the heart grow fonder!)
With apologies to our readers who are here to learn more about Belize, we took a lot of photos and want to share many of them, along with our experiences, with our friends and family as well as record them for ourselves for posterity. So, please indulge us as we veer away from the Belize-centric focus of this blog for awhile to recount our tales of Mexico. It's gonna take quite a few posts to cover this one!
The Beginning of a New Era: Sunrise Maya Ceremony On the Beach of Ambergris Caye, Belize
Last night and this morning the National Institute of Culture and History along with the San Pedro Town Council put on quite a show for the end of the Maya calendar. When I arrived at the park today at 5am, the party was still going on from the previous night. The midnight fireworks were long over but the DJs had only just finished, the stage for the live music was just emptying and there were plenty of people standing around enjoying their last drink.
Belize (or what is Belize today) was at the very heart of the great Maya empire. In fact, the population of Belize 1000 years ago is thought to have been at least double of what it is today. The entire country is covered in Maya temples, cities and artifacts. Many people that live on our island are of Mayan descendants and Mayan dialects are still actively spoken in Belize. For anyone who thinks the Maya people died out...just visit us or the Yucatan in Mexico or Guatemala and you will find that they are alive and well.
Here are some of this morning's 5am celebrations to mark the end of the Mayan calendar, the beginning of a new era and the winter solstice. Today is the longest night and shortest day of the year.
The beach was set up with torches and a calendar ready for the boat arrival.
Wishing Everyone a Happy Holiday Season
We wish everyone Love, Joy, Peace, Abundance and Happiness not only during this special time but also far into the future. Happy Holidays!
Maya not surprised to see a world Friday morning
Editor's note: A first-person from a local Maya.
My alarm buzzed.
I rubbed my eyes as I reached for my screeching cellphone, the tone similar to the blaring klaxons you hear in movies when an impending disaster is detected at a nuclear plant.
“6:00 a.m. Friday Dec. 21, 2012.”
I walked down the stairs to open my door so Chico, my Chihuahua, could step out.
A chilly Florida breeze greeted me, as orange trees loaded with golden fruit swayed and danced in the wind, the invisible hand of nature.
“The world is still here, Chico,” I said to my 5-pound black and white Chihuahua, oblivious to the doomsday proclamation we've been hearing about for decades. “I guess we Maya were right to believe the world was not going to end today.”
As if concurring, Chico gave a chirpy bark and ran into the green fernery to deposit his share of fertilizer.
I wondered how the foreigners who started spreading the rumor that the world will end on this date, and blaming it on the Maya, felt.
Oswego County woman's Belize vacation creates media storm in Central American country
Lisa Merz planned to spend her November vacation diving in the Caribbean off the coast of Belize.
Instead she spent a night in a jail, sparked a political controversy and became fodder for talk radio, television and websites in that small Central American country.
It all began when Merz witnessed what she thought was a drug deal. It ended in her arrest, the transfer of the officer who arrested her and calls for the tourism minister’s resignation.
Merz, 43, of Sandy Creek, is a traveling nurse. She first began diving in Belize about 15 years ago and over the years she said she has encouraged friends and family to travel to there too.
“I love it there. I love the people. I love the culture. I love the diving,” she said during an interview last week.
On Nov. 19, she flew to San Pedro a resort town on Ambergris Caye, an island off the coast of Belize for a 12-day vacation.
Merz spent Nov. 23 on a boat diving with other tourists. When they got back to shore, the group went for drinks at Fido's Restaurant & Bar on the beach.
At about midnight, the group left Fido’s for another club.
As she was leaving the bar, Merz said she saw Jonathan Pacheles, 18, of Switzerland, a diver she met on the boat, being surrounded by young men. One man had a backpack and it appeared that he was trying to sell drugs to Pacheles, Merz said.
Pacheles told police a man followed him from the bar. When he stepped outside, the man offered him drugs, and put some in his hand, Pacheles said.
Belize and Trinidad - a lesson in homophobic exclusion
LGBT rights advocate, Maurice Tomlinson, explains his legal challenges to Belize and Trinidad anti-gay laws...
It’s getting cold in the global north and some lucky souls will be able to get away for a few days (or weeks) in the sun.
The Caribbean is usually a very popular vacation destination for northerners because of the variety of leisure options available to suit just about every taste.
Two Caribbean territories that demonstrate the range of delightful diversions on offer are the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (which is quite cosmopolitan, with a strong creole influence) and the central American territory of Belize (decidedly more rustic and Latin inspired).
Both countries are at almost opposite ends of the Caribbean and although there are some common traditions flowing from a shared history of British colonization, very little else links these countries.
There is, however, one very noticeable similarity; both territories ban the entry of homosexuals, and they are the only countries in the Western Hemisphere to do so.
Mayan (and other) Sites We’ve Visited
Since our Trans-Americas Journey started in 2006 we’ve visited nearly 100 archaeological sites in the US, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. These sites have given us a window into cultures ranging from the Anasazi to the Zapotec but most of our Indiana Jones time has been spent with the Maya–we’ve visited 54 Mayan sites so far with more to come.
With so many posts about so many sites we wanted to index them in one easy place–and here it is. We’ve categorized sites by culture and by country and alphabetized each site within its grouping for quick reference. The links take you directly to our blog post concerning that site.
Bookmark it for trip planning and research–especially with the puzzling end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012.
I’m planning new life with my girlfriends ... in Southampton
SOFTWARE fugitive John McAfee has told how he wants to start a new life in Britain – with his two young girlfriends.
The troubled tycoon, on the run from the authorities in Belize, made the sensational claim in an exclusive interview with The Sun.
Last month we revealed how cops in the Caribbean country want to question him about the murder of his millionaire neighbour Gregory Faull, who was shot in the head following an argument about McAfee’s guard dogs. Police in Belize launched an international manhunt after McAfee, who founded the famous anti-virus software company that bears his name, smuggled himself across the border into Guatemala.
Earlier this month the 67-year-old Brit was deported to Miami, where he has been living in a boutique hotel while trying to figure out how to reunite with his young lovers Samantha Vanegas, 20, and Amy Emshwiller, 19.
In a bizarre interview, McAfee revealed he intends to start again with the girls — in SOUTHAMPTON.
McAfee, who was born in Sling, Gloucestershire, hatched the plan after becoming frustrated with the US authorities, who are refusing to give the women visas so they can join him in the States.
He said: “I feel just as much British as I do American. My mother, Joan Williams, was British and met my father Donald McAfee while he was stationed in England during the Second World War.
Belize PM says debt deal reached with creditors
Belize has reached a deal in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after "long and arduous" talks, allowing the country to avoid default, officials said Friday.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow told a press conference that he would release details about the restructuring of the $544 million bond in the coming days.
"The agreement is comprehensive and it is sustainable," Barrow said.
In August, the tiny Central American country of just 330,000 inhabitants missed a $23 million bond payment.
In September, it made an $11.7 million interest payment, only about half of what it owed but enough to avoid full-blown default.
The government here had proposed rescheduling debt payments over 50 years at a lowered rate of two percent, a position analysts qualified as extreme.
Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring, explained that details of the deal could not be made public until they were explained to all of Belize's creditors.
My Town Monday (Retro Edition): Xunantunich
I was going through some pics of the Mayan Ruins in Belize. I worked and lived in the capital of Belmopan from 2005-'06. On a rare day off, my wife and I were able to explore Xunantunich, one of the many incredible sites remaining from one of the oldest known civilizations.