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A horrible lapse of judgment by the Belize Coast Guard officer.
Petty Officer Richard Ogaldez, of the Coast Guard, has been stripped of his rank and demoted to the rank of “seaman” after exhibiting a horrible lapse of judgment that embarrassed the Government and people of Belize when he detained the boat carrying the Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, who was in the country as a guest of Prime Minister Dean Barrow for Belize’s September 21 Independence celebrations.
Unfortunately, PM Barrow’s Guest of Honor left the country with a bitter taste in his mouth after he and his entourage were “roughed up” by Belize Coast Guard officials while on a trip to one of Belize’s premier tourist destinations.
Amandala understands that a formal apology is to be written by the Ministry of National Security to PM Skerrit. Today, when we contacted the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry, Delroy Cutkelvin, he told us that the formal apology is in the works, and that they are just going through the necessary diplomatic channels to get it completed.
BELIZE COAST GUARD PRODUCES FIRST SET OF NAVY SEALS
Although the Belize Coast Guard might currently be suffering from a major ‘black-eye’ due to the recent case of gross maltreatment of the Dominican Prime Minister (chronicled elsewhere in this newspaper), a brief graduation ceremony was conducted at their headquarters, located at Mile 4 on the George Price Highway, this morning to introduce a team of eight, rigorously trained Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) officers after 12 weeks of intense training.
The graduating class was initially comprised of 19 hopefuls, but dwindled to 8 triumphant officers who were subjected to arduous training conditions, which tested their physical and mental endurance.
During the commencement ceremony, Colonel Post, Lieutenant Commander, Special Operations, US Command South, acknowledged Coast Guard Commander John Borland as the visionary for the elite team of officers. Post said that he teamed up with Borland to help develop the capabilities of the SEAL team, and that it was three months of training and working with the prospective SEALs, along with a cohesive process that was driven by a leader’s vision, that led to the ultimate result – the graduation of eight well-prepared SEALs.
PSC DELIBERATES OVER FATE OF 3 IMMIGRATION OFFICERS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION
Three immigration officers are currently skating “on thin ice” pending the submission of findings of the Public Service Commission (PSC). The commission’s enquiry is a response to the latest passport scandal involving former Minister of State in the Immigration Ministry, Hon. Elvin Penner, the area representative for Cayo Northeast.
Penner, who served as Minister of State for Immigration and Border Protection in the current UDP administration, was requested to tender his resignation from Cabinet by Prime Minister Dean Barrow following some very grim accusations that arose sometime last week.
The Office of the Prime Minister sent out a preliminary press release last week Thursday, stating that Penner “did not discharge his responsibilities with either the due judgment and balance, or the scrupulous regard for appearances, which the Prime Minister demands of all his Ministers.”
As vague as this explanation for Penner’s removal from the cabinet might have been, the Government pledged to provide further information about the questionable activity that had taken place within the Immigration Department.
BRITISH BATTLESHIP IN BELIZEAN WATERS TO COMBAT NARCO-TRAFFICKING
The interior of a warship is something that civilians usually do not get the opportunity to see. Today, however, members of the media and special invited guests were taken on a complete familiarization tour of a 432-foot modern British frigate warship, equipped with all the contemporary gadgetry and fittings, including a helicopter. The medium-sized naval vessel is making rounds in the Caribbean as part of a regional anti-drug operation launched by the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF), a US-based multiservice task force, which coordinates regional initiatives to suppress the flow of sea-bound illicit trafficking operations.
A little after midday today, the group was taken on a fifteen-minute trip from the jetty in front of EuroCaribe on Fort Street to the present location of the vessel, which is approximately 5.7 nautical miles off the coast of Belize City.
The H.M.S. Lancaster, which is also known as The Queen’s Frigate, sits like a towering giant in the waters off Belize’s coast, weighs 4,900 tonnes and houses a 190-member crew. The tour commenced with a visit to the Control Room, where a 5-man crew is stationed to monitor the status of the ship’s equipment around the clock. The crew oversees the operations in the ship’s interior and also conducts reconnaissance in the nearby waters using highly advanced technological apparatus.
OVER $100 MIL IN WRITE-OFFS GO TO HOUSE FRIDAY
At a meeting of the House of Representatives, scheduled to begin at 10:00 this morning, over $100 million worth of old debt owed to the Government of Belize will be tabled for write-off.
An official source told Amandala that a $113.4 million “Write-Off of Old Loans Motion”—$17.2 million in principal and $96.2 million in accumulated interest—will be tabled for loans outstanding since the era after Hurricane Hattie. We were told that the move is in line with recommendations previously made by the Office of the Auditor General.
Also, a debt relief and write-off motion will be tabled for the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
In his Independence Day remarks last Saturday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that 361 persons would have their DFC loans written off.
“Government is arranging to forgive some 6.22 million dollars’ worth of DFC loans,” Barrow said.
He added that the loans are principally mortgage loans, but also include education and productive sector loans.
“For the most part, the loans have already been foreclosed on by the DFC and the borrowers’ collateral seized, but the sale of the collateral was not sufficient to liquidate the debt, and the borrowers were still on the hook for the balance,” he explained.
PROMISING STUDENT, ATHLETE, STABBED TO DEATH IN ORANGE WALK
Darrel Wade, Jr., 18, of Biscayne, a 3rd form student of New Hope High School, died at about 3:45 yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, in the hospital after he was stabbed three times in his chest and back.
Wade was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital (formerly known as the Orange Walk Hospital), but he died while doctors were operating on him.
Police have arrested Wade’s 25-year-old assailant, who handed over the knife with which he stabbed Wade.
The incident occurred shortly after classes concluded at New Hope High School.
A police report of today, Wednesday, states that Wade was coming from school and had stopped at a street vendor stall in front of the back gate of the People’s Stadium to buy boiled corn when he was approached by one Keith Gaynair, who rode up on a bicycle and pointed at him, saying, “Da you ah want …you di fight with me lee bredda.”
According to police, a witness told them that Gaynair quickly attacked Wade, stabbing him multiple times. The witness said that the attacker then rode away.
Wade had run into a store, named “D-Store,” after being stabbed, but when he came out of the store, he was bleeding profusely, and collapsed on the sidewalk.
WARRANT ISSUED FOR THE ARREST OF MCCLAIN AUGUST, OF SAN PEDRO
San Pedro police have issued a warrant for the arrest of McClain August, 23, a resident of San Pedro. The warrant states that August is wanted for three counts of attempted murder with a firearm.
Police said that the shooting incident in connection with which August is wanted, occurred on Wednesday, September 18, and that a man and an 11-year-old boy were shot and another man was grazed in the incident.
August is considered to be armed and dangerous. If you see McClain August or have information that could lead to his arrest, you are asked to call the San Pedro Police Station at 206-2022 or the police hotline number 911.
DRIVER AND SIDEMAN ROBBED ON GEORGE STREET
A supervisor and his sideman were held up and robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash, personal documents and jewelry by two thieves on George Street at about 6:00 yesterday evening.
Angel Manzanilla , 41, a supervisor of Philip Neal Butane Gas Company, and a fellow worker of the company were making a delivery on George Street when two thieves, one of whom was armed with a pistol, approach the men, pointed a gun at them and demanded money.
While the gunman held them at gunpoint, the other thief stole Manzanilla’s jewelry, his wallet containing an undisclosed amount of cash, and some personal items.
The thieves then robbed Manzanilla’s workmate of his cell phone and an undisclosed amount of cash, after which they escaped.
KENT PETERS, 52, CHARGED WITH FORGERY, UTTERING UPON A FALSE DOCUMENT, BEING IN POSSESSION OF A FALSE DOCUMENT AND COMMITTING A MISCHIEVOUS ACT
This morning, Kent Peters, 52, a self-employed resident of #34 Iguana Street, was charged with forgery, uttering upon a false document, being in possession of a false document and committing a mischievous act.
According to police, on Monday, September 23, Peters went to the Bowen and Bowen Limited office to cash a refund voucher, #49088, dated for the same day. But when he handed the voucher to the cashier, Melissa Garnett, she noticed that the voucher had been altered; instead of the stated dollar amount being $6.00, a “3” and a “0” had been added to the amount, and it read $306.00.
Garnett alerted the police, and when they arrived and queried Peters’ name, he gave it as Kent Smith. It was not revealed in court how the police figured out that he had given them the wrong name.
FOUR FINED IN PG FOR ILLEGAL CONCH, SEA CUCUMBER AND FILLET
On Tuesday, September 24, at about 7:00 p.m., officers of the Fisheries Department’s Conservation Compliance Unit, Punta Gorda branch, were on a night patrol within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve (SCMR) when they came across a vessel named Julie half a mile west of Seals Caye.
Whilst approaching the grey, black and red vessel, powered by a two-stroke 75HP outboard engine, the officer saw the occupants throwing what appeared to be marine products overboard.
The officers identified themselves as fisheries officers and made known their intent to conduct a general search.
The officers found 4 conch in their shells, 14 sea cucumbers and 4 pieces of fish fillet without the required 2-inch by 1-inch skin patch. The products were shown to the occupants of the vessel, who were subsequently informed of the offences committed and arrested.
JULIUS OR NO JULIUS, PAC MEETINGS ARE HELD
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held two public meetings this week—on Monday, September 23 and Wednesday, September 25, 2013—when they reviewed an old audit done under the administration of the Opposition People’s United Party, and one audit done under the ruling United Democratic Party.
Pro-tem chair John Saldivar said that they are not engaged in a witch-hunt, but they are trying to see what systematic flaws exist within government’s financial system which should be corrected.
A total of five witnesses were called: the current Auditor General (who is also a former Accountant General) Dorothy Bradley; her predecessor – Edmund Zuniga; former Accountant General, Carmen Barrow; former Accountant General Anita Eck; and Income Tax Commissioner Kent Clare.
The Opposition People’s United Party—which has dubbed the proceedings illegal—boycotted the meeting. Neither PAC chairman Julius Espat nor PUP member Rodwell Ferguson was present. Espat had previously indicated to us that he would not participate, because the PAC should only look at the last audit (2010-2011) – the only one filed under his tenure. He said that what the PAC is doing—in conducting “forensic audits”—ought to be done by a Special Select Committee.
BASKETBALL FLASHBACK – MVP / OLD PARR
We received these pictures along with an email a few weeks ago from former Belize basketball star of the 1970’s Evondale “Coby” Coburn. Sports records are hard to come by in Belize, so we are very grateful to Coby for sharing these treasured items with our readers.
Coby’s email follows:
Aug. 8, 2013
“I put together the MVP Gallery from 1970-1979. Also attached is the 1972 Old Parr Championship picture.
“Some stats on the Old Parr Dynasty – Four Championships in five years; …Back to back Junior champs 1970 & 1971; .. 1972 & 1974 Senior champs; …Three-peat champs 1970, ‘71 & ’72 …the only Junior team to win the senior championship in their rookie year.
“I have some more pictures and clippings on my website: visit the site @ www.cobyfoundationsystems.org”
(Ed. Note: An achievement of similar moment and rarity was first accomplished in the Belize City football competition by Dunlop in 1957-58 and 1958-59, when they moved up from Junior football champs to take the Senior football title the following year. Their picture graces the cover of Evan X Hyde’s book, “Sin, Sports and Subversion.”)
DANGRIGA SPORTS STATS
The BDF football club will still play their home games on Saturday nights in Dangriga. They won’t change it any more to Sunday evening (as recently suggested in some quarters). It’s still Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Carl Ramos Stadium for all home games.
SCFA 1st Division Week 2 results
The Stann Creek Football Association (SCFA) 1st Division Tournament 2013 continued with Week 2 games on Friday and Sunday, September 20 & 22, at the Carl Ramos Stadium.
In game 1 on Friday, Southside FC dropped Wagiya U-17, 4-1, with goals from Lennox Mejia (41’ & 71’), Harold Nunez (52’) and Edwin Nasario (76’). Wagiya’s only goal was by Melvin Valerio (23’). Game 2 saw Hopkins FC and Silk Grass FC playing to a 3-3 stalemate. Nol Arnold (20’), Tony Avila (44’) and Wayne Casimiro (90’) shook the net for Hopkins; while Luis Reyes (23’ & 30’) and Francis Russell (83’) hit the target for Silk Grass.
BELIKIN BAILS OUT PLB, OPENING SEASON TO BE CALLED THE “BELIKIN CUP”
Belikin manager Hilly Martinez, who is also the president of the National Olympic Committee, was guest of honor this morning at the Premier League of Belize (PLB) press conference at the Majestic Room of the Princess Hotel & Casino; that is because his firm, Belikin, according to Hilly, had only yesterday agreed to be the corporate sponsor of the upcoming PLB tournament.
After welcoming the press and listing the clubs participating in the 2013-2014 PLB Opening Season, President (formerly called Commissioner) Myito Perdomo announced that the PLB had secured its first ever corporate sponsor of its tournament, which will now be called the “Belikin Cup.” The Belikin sponsorship entails $50,000.00 for prizes (including a 1st prize of $30,000.00 and 2nd prize of $15,000.00) as well as a donation of Belikin products to each club for every home game of the season (10 cases per game). In return for the sponsorship, Belikin will enjoy exclusive status at all PLB games this season, meaning that only Belikin products will be sold at the games.
There will be 7 clubs participating in the new season, although 9 member clubs make up the Premier League, explained the Commissioner. 8 clubs took part in the last Closing tournament, with only Paradise/Freedom Fighters opting to look on. In the upcoming Opening Season, the Freedom Fighters will be in the mix, but two other clubs have decided to sit out this one, namely Placencia Assassins and San Felipe Barcelona.
From our standpoint, this was a very, very, very serious incident on Independence Day afternoon in the waters off San Pedro Ambergris Caye when the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, was insulted by elements of the Belize Coast Guard.
There are two things you will note about the incident, or its aftermath. The first is that Prime Minister Skerrit, apart from cancelling the remainder of his official schedule for the day, Saturday, September 21, has not made as big a deal of it as he could have, neither in Belize or on his return to Dominica, which is an Eastern Caribbean island. The second thing is that Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has not reacted in a characteristic manner: he has been completely silent on the diplomatic disaster which occurred five days ago, as we write.
Let us examine Saturday’s incident more closely. San Pedro Ambergris Caye is the most Americanized piece of real estate in Belize. There is an almost racist atmosphere out there: by that we mean, and we say it bluntly for the first time, they don’t like black people out there. Roosevelt Skerrit is a decidedly black man in appearance. He was insulted in the waters off Ambergris territory.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Fr. Urban Kramer, pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, which owns the only adequate basketball court in Belize City, tonight imposed some strict conditions on the Belize Amateur Basketball Association, which intends to start its annual season on March 7. This was in a meeting held at Riverside Hall.
Kramer has demanded 60 percent of profits after each night of basketball and has banned Friday night basketball. Friday night used to be the big money maker for the Association.
Kramer, the heavy-handed former dictator of Lynam College, has also insisted that the season be finished by April 25th, a stipulation which will pressure the Association into uncomfortable haste with its schedule.
We suggest that central government speed up its proposed civic auditorium at the Belcan Bridge in order to facilitate sports such as basketball, which is now being pressured by a private enterprise church monopoly. Arenas for sports must be in the hands of the people or we will be swallowed up by the JAWS of Pharisees.
IDEAS AND OPINIONS
In last week’s essay on this subject, I left out that when members address the House, they should direct their remarks to Mr. Speaker. During their speech, they may make references to individuals, inside or outside the House, but when they refer to other members, they must always use the term “Honorable” before the electoral division he represents, or his official title e.g. Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition. Members of your own side may be referred to as “My Honorable Friend” and, of the Opposition, as the “Honorable Gentleman.” Therefore, there is no room in Parliament for the use of the personal pronoun “you” in a speech in the House because, a member should never be addressed directly.
Parliament is an institution that the people should revere. So. It has been the practice for the Speaker to set standards by declaring what he considers to be unparliamentary language. I would like to suggest that the use of “they” or “them,” when referring to the government or Opposition should be discontinued.
AS A LAYMAN …
A problem…in search of solution…
We are of the consensual opinion that one of the most distressing problems besetting our young nation of Belize is what to do with our children, our boy-men children, particularly those of the gangs. Everyone seems to have a solution; the government, the churches, the NGO’s all have their say with legislation, church groups, field trips. In all this, however, nobody seems to ask the youths what they want, what is their problem and what would be their solution.
It is an opinion that the present day young man has grown up in a void caused by Hurricane Hattie and the post-Hattie era. After this hurricane their parents abandoned them to the care of their granmas, to aunts and uncles, to friends and neighbors, to strangers, to go to the U.S.A. at the most critical time of their lives, a time when love, discipline, education, the bond of family was crucial for their psychological development. Granma was too old to care for them, friends and neighbors made them feel inferior to their own children, and strangers couldn’t care less after they received their sporadic cheques.
THE ROLE OF PARENTS IN THE EDUCATION OF THEIR YOUNG
— by Beatrice Arnold-Geban, Principal, St. Mary’s Primary School
There is a very popular Shakespeare quote that people say in regards to those in leadership position and, if memory serves me right, it goes like this: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. This quote in essence captures the workload of an administrator. According to the Statutory Instrument No. 87 of 2012 Education Rules 2012,
37 (1) A Principal and Vice Principal shall have such responsibilities related to the administration of the school as specified in their respective job descriptions and shall include:-
a. Overseeing admissions, placement, promotions and graduation of students;
b. Enforcing school rules and maintaining a safe and proper school environment and culture conducive to schooling;
c. Assigning, directing and assessing staff;
BTL OFFERS HIGHEST DIVIDENDS SINCE 2009
The company plans to introduce IPTV – Internet Protocol Television.
The Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) held its 7th Annual General Meeting at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel tonight. Directors proposed a dividend of 25 cents a share, a slight increase from 24 cents last year.
BTL executive chairman Net Vasquez said that although profits have fallen, the company is now paying a bigger share in dividends.
According to Vasquez, this is the highest dividend paid since they were appointed directors by the Government of Belize in 2009. Last year, he said, BTL had to use what the articles allowed them to use – a minimum of 45% of profits. This year, they are paying back shareholders nearly 59% of the profits.
BTL director Anwar Barrow, representative of the Social Security Board (SSB), said that this represents a 5% return on share price—a somewhat better cash return than last year, despite reduced profits, Barrow commented.
THE MESSAGE WITHIN THE MESSAGE
— by Audrey Matura-Shepherd
I do not know how many Belizeans know that Belize is a Christian democracy, and that it is so deemed because it is a church-state system. This means that the Church is an actual partner in governance and more importantly the role of the Church in forming the social conscience of our nation cannot be understated. The truth is that too often the bare eyes and untrained heart see the church as these institutions or buildings and not as the true body of Christ – that is, those people who believe the word of God and truly seek to live by it. Do note there is a difference between “religion” or “church,” and a true relationship with your Creator, Lord God. The Constitution’s preamble states: “WHEREAS the people of Belize-(a) affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God …”
MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION STILL ON THE TABLE
A report coming out of Mexico this week indicated that a lobby for the decriminalization of marijuana is being supported by a broad cross-section of people, including ex-ministers and businessmen, on the claim that such a move would curb violence and corruption.
Here in Belize, the Government is still looking at options for decriminalization, although no final decision has been taken.
Last year, Belize began proposing the decriminalization of up to 10 grams of marijuana. Chairman of the Marijuana Decriminalization Committee, Doug Singh, told Amandala today that he hopes to have the final report submitted to Cabinet by the end of the year; and he will recommend to the Government that the report should simultaneously be made public.
Singh has previously emphasized that “…the proposal is not to legalize the offence, thereby purging it of all its penalties; it is merely to reduce and regulate.”
Today, he said that the report will also look at the various definitions that could be used for the reform, including the suggestion that it should be called a de-penalization.
BOOM-HATTIEVILLE ROAD 3-VEHICLE CRASH INJURES
Five people suffered varying degrees of injury after they were hit by a vehicle during a three-vehicle collision on Sunday evening at about 8:00 p.m. at Mile 6 on the Burrell Boom Road. They have all been treated and released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Michael Waight, one of the victims, suffered a torn ear, a cut wound to the head and a broken leg, among other injuries.
Police have reported that they went to an area near the garbage dump on the Hattieville-Boom Road, and on their arrival they saw a red Isuzu Rodeo which was being driven at the time by Godfrey Garcia, 28, of Santa Elena, Cayo District, that had collided with the back of a green pickup truck.
EDUCATION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Letters
— by Kenny Jacobs
We all know that in an ever-changing world, Belize needs to adapt quickly, or the country and its people will lose its grasp. Our Government understands this, for sure. But they need to reinforce dynamics into its young people. The young people today are fast adapting to technology, the internet and cable TV, for instance. However, they need to learn to apply it usefully and properly to accommodate education, entrepreneurship, and community service. These are areas which must be “worked into” the mentality of the young people in Belize to ensure that the future is not only promising, but feasible for growth, and development of the economy.
Let’s take a firm look at education. Without a proper education, you can’t be properly employed. Getting an education that encompasses both academics and technical “hands-on” experience is a necessity. That is solid education. The majority of young Belizeans today are accustomed to going to school because they “have to” – because their parents send them.
TEA GUESTHOUSE/ECO TRAIL PROGRAM VS “HOMESTAY” Letters
— by Reyes Chun
The marvelous idea of setting up the Toledo Ecotourism Association and its Guesthouse and Eco-trail Program in the rural communities of Toledo in 1990, was a good one and still is today in 2013. Unfortunately, the BTB and the BTIA have continued to neglect to support our poor people’s efforts for economic development. TEA’s Maya/Garifuna members continue to suffer from racial and economic discrimination.
The BTB and BTIA (TEA was a member) refused to market and promote our award-winning Guesthouse program. Our members believe this deliberate omission has caused a great loss of potential visitors and much needed income. Instead of promoting the Guesthouse program the Government promoted the competing “Homestay” program. Several surveys have shown that our people do not like this program and have rejected it because it benefits only one family at a time. The villagers complain that it creates jealousy and envy among community households who don’t have the opportunity to benefit. Tourists report that in the small two-room homes they feel they are being intrusive.
WHY NOT ANDY P? Letters
— by Joseph Alvarez
It was welcome news to learn that the Belize Tourism Board has decided to give an apology on their decision to use the music of Aurelio Martinez, a Honduran national, as the sound of their recently released video to showcase Belize. It’s a welcome gesture, but I thought it did not go far enough.
A few days later it was reported that they also had removed the music as well – which would be the right thing to do. It was shocking to all Belizeans that this very prestigious and important organization, which is tasked with the responsibility of promoting and marketing Belize, could have made such an incredible decision. Why is it that the people who are expected to make the best decisions for the betterment of all the people of this country continue to disrespect and insult us?
This latest fiasco reminds me of the plight of our national football team, the Belize Jaguars, in July.
One would have thought that of all the government ministries, the Tourism Ministry, along with the Belize Tourism Board, would have taken up the mantle and sponsored the national team. This exposure and the marketing capability for the country would have automatically accompanied such endeavor. It’s deja vu all over again, and this time it’s our music.
30 CENTS Letters
— by Charles Leslie Jr.
If you take a quick glance at the budgetary allocation for Stann Creek West, it is approximately $6,000 to the duly elected Area Representative to be spread among, approximately 20,000 people, which gives 30 cents for assistance, per month, per person! What can you do with 30 cents? Buy a small pack of soda biscuits?
This is why we must lobby for township status for Placencia Peninsula and potentially combine with Independence Village. Three of the main benefits of township status will be 1). The collection of property taxes, 2). The collection of trade license fees and 3). The submission of estimates of revenue and expenditure to the Minister of Finance.
It is not complex to understand why our villages are barely functional when it comes to self-governance, organic socioeconomic growth and social assistance for villagers – it is directly linked to the easy access or lack thereof, of financial resources. The Village Council Act gives very limited power to village councils. This makes our communities technically unincorporated, and only guarantees returns of the Liquor License monies that are collected, which have proven insufficient to run villages of such size. Fundraiser events such as Lobsterfest and Seine Bight Day should be done for residual income and not a main source of income.
CITY HALL AND RECONDEV Letters
— by Anthony Chanona J.P.
The occasion of Belize’s 32nd Official Independence Day ceremonies was the venue chosen by the Mayor of the City of Belmopan to complain about the deteriorating state of Belmopan’s municipal infrastructure and to lay much blame for that fact on RECONDEV. While the evidence indicates that RECONDEV coffers, where BMPCITCO is concerned, has indeed siphoned off, this historic three-term UDP “management” of City Hall (2006-2015) and its pursuit of petty partisan policies of governance, has finally taken its toll, resulting in a failed municipal management, poor work ethic and a bankruptcy of ideas. RECONDEV cannot be wholly blamed for the institutional inertia resident at City Hall, but there can be little doubt that the designed cordial and professional working relationship which once existed between these two statutory bodies has deteriorated and malfunctioned.
RECONDEV, at Belmopan’s inception, became the registered owner of all lands within the municipality. Any area of green and open spaces not surveyed and assigned a parcel number is the property of RECONDEV. As such, this Statutory Body under law Chapter 93 of the Laws of Belize is a strategic entity and one that is required to have a functioning relationship with City Hall.
ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY AND SUBVENTIONS Letters
— by Wellington C. Ramos
The scandal at the Dangriga Town market opens up the debate for us to discuss the subventions of the City, Town and Village Councils and the autonomy of these Local Governments in Belize.
Firstly, the subventions that are allocated for these municipal bodies are lacking and inadequate because their budget expenditures are a lot more than the funds allocated by our Central Government for years now.
Secondly, the Central Government in Belmopan is making too many important decisions that are not in the best interest of the cities, towns and villages through the Ministry of Local Government and other governmental agencies.
I now call on the representatives of the City, Town and Village Councils to demand that the Ministry of Local Government submit proposals in the Belize House of Representatives to grant more autonomy to them to develop their communities.
PORT LOYOLA POLITICS Letters
— by Brenda Sutherland
Street talk of persons who are being asked to contest the PUP Standard Bearer convention for Port Loyola, has already passed the half dozen mark. Those persons include Sherol Saldivar, Wendy Castillo, Englebert Perrera, Jerry Martinez, Ashston Longsworth, and attorneys Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Kevin Arthurs, and Anthony Sylvestre, Jr.
Due to their profession, any of the attorneys would have a huge war chest for the division. Bradley and Sylvestre have both been defeated twice in the Queen’s Square Division by Dean Barrow, the current Prime Minister. If Arthurs takes the plunge, however, it would be his baptism, his first entry into electoral politics. Saldivar is currently employed by the Blue machine; prior to that she was employed with the Belize City Council for a considerable length of time. Her bid to be the PUP Mayoral candidate for the 2012 Belize City Council election was unsuccessful. Wendy Castillo is the President of the PUP Women’s Group; she is also a partner in her husband’s video company. Jerry Martinez is self-employed and a former police officer. Perrera was last employed with Belize Health Care Partners as an accountant. Before taking up that post he was employed in a similar capacity with the Belize City Council. Longsworth is employed as a driver with Godfrey Smith’s law firm. When Smith was a Minister of Government, Longsworth was also employed as his driver.
National Sports Policy and Plan soon ready
The Government of Belize needs to invest more in sports development, and give the National Sports Council a bigger budget, more authority and more autonomy, recommends the Caribbean Sports & Development Agency (CSDA) in a draft National Sports Policy, prepared by CSDA during a six month consultancy for GOB.
Belizean sugar future sweeter than ever
The Belizean sugar industry is growing by leaps and bounds as both American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries in the Orange Walk district and Green Tropic in the Cayo district area making substantial investments to increase production.
Minister Castro accused of unwanted sexual advances in Tiawan
Reports out of Taiwan suggest that Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport Edmund “Clear the land” Castro made unwanted sexual advances on a female staffer from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was attached to him as his chaperon while he was on an official visit last week.
Leader of the Opposition addresses Independence Day ceremonies
The Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) and of the parliamentary opposition, Francis Fonseca, marked his address to the nation on Independence Day, September 21, with a call to “real, meaningful reform” in key sectors of the economy and society.
Prime Minister touts “overflow of good things” in Independence Day address
The unemployment figures for the first half of 2013, and as compared to the same period last year, are down, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced last Saturday in his Independence Day address.
Recycling Belize City Center
The government will completely finance the building of a new $30 million multi purpose complex on the site of the Belize City Center, Prime Minster Hon. Dean Barrow announced in his Independence Day address to the nation
Hit & Run in Orange Walk claims life of young professional proprofessional
Erron Golanche, 25, a well-known member of the group “Acafellas”, a graphic designer, a performer on Channel 5’s “Be the Next Super Star” program, and also a feature on SMART’s Prepaid Roaming advertisement in Mexico, was knocked down and killed almost in front of his girlfriend’s house on the San [...]
Penner should face criminal charges, says PSU president
The former minister of state with responsibility for the Immigration and Nationality Department Hon. Elvin Penner should face criminal charges, the Public Service Union (PSU) president Marvin Blades said Thursday.
PM’s Independence Day gift to Belize: more write offs!
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced in his address to the nation on Independence Day that government will write-off more DFC loans. Barrow said that GOB, as a part of debt relief to Belizeans, has arranged to forgive some $6.2 million worth of Development Finance Corporation (DFC) loans, the majority [...]
Coast Guard demotes officer for Dominica PM snafu
The Coast Guard officer who detained and essentially humiliated Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit last Saturday has been demoted. Following disciplinary hearing at the Belize National Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday petty officer Ogaldez was demoted to the rank of seaman.
Public Accounts Committee reveals administrative breakdowns
By Shadel Young A break down within the public sector system was the hot topic at Wednesday’s Public Accounts Committee Meeting.
The Belize Times
Passport Penner!!…must face criminal charges
UDP Cayo North East Area Representative Elvin Penner committed several serious criminal actions when he used his special position to obtain illegal documents which gave Belizean citizenship and passport to an alleged international criminal.
The nationality and passport documents which were used to process the illegal citizenship and a false passport for a South Korean national who is in jail in Taiwan were signed and authorized by the fired UDP Minister.
Penner’s signatures appear in numerous documents which have surfaced. These documents are an April 22, 2013 citizenship document signed and approved by Penner for one Kim Wong Hong, and a Form C passport application dated September 3rd 2013 in which Penner confirmed to have known Wong Hong as a “friend” for “three years”.
GOB’s Protocol humiliates PM Roosevelt Skerrit
The Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ inability to properly coordinate a special excursion for Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who was a special guest ...
$100,000 Missing at Southern Regional Hospital
The Barrow Administration is on a spiral downwards. Another scandal under the UDP Government is about to blow up. The BELIZE TIMES has received reliable information of an investigation into thousands of dollars that have gone missing from the Southern Regional Hospital’s National Health Insurance funds for ...
Castro’s Sex Scandal
Reliable sources inside the UDP indicate that Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro is next on the chopping block as a member of the Cabinet in the Barrow Administration. The disheveled Minister of State in the Ministry of ...
THINK ABOUT IT
AWESOME Carnival this year was awesome. The dancers, the costumes, the concepts and the level of energy was befitting the nation’s birthday. In one of Bob Marley’s songs he sings “...forget your troubles and dance, forget your sorrows and dance, forget your weakness and dance… cost of living get so high, ...
Divided We Stand
By G. Michael Reid The long drawn out September Celebrations are behind us and we move now, onto the next big event on our calendar. On November 19th, we celebrate the arrival of the Garinagu to our shores. Before we immerse ourselves in the sweet rhythm of our southern culture however, ...
Aside from the love nest currently inhabited by Dean Barrow and Evan X Hyde, the UDP honeymoon is officially over. After just one year of a fresh mandate, the UDP gang of thieves, hustlers, drug users and sexual predators are now showing their true colors. This week represented a summary of ...
Duckrun III wins PUP Cayo Northeast Football marathon
Duckrun Three Football Team won the PUP Cayo Northeast Football marathon held on Sunday, September 22, 2013 in Billy White Village. Mr. Orlando Habet congratulate the winners and delivered the 1st place cash prize to the ...
Camalote Blazers win softball champs
The defending Cayo district champs, Camalote Blazers, won the Women’s Softball championship against Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy in the finals held at the Denbeigh Fuller Stadium in ...
Barney Brown wins 2nd Cycling Test Race
Scotiabank’s Barney Brown won the 2nd Test Race held on Sunday to choose a selection of riders to represent the Jewel in the upcoming Caribbean cycling championships in Curacao from October ...
Dean Barrow Can’t Be Trusted
As we listened to the Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day, the issue for Belize was that Dean Barrow cannot be trusted with anything he said. While Barrow was talking about an economy at work, our people were at home eating ramen noodles and worried that their ...
PUP considers Recall Mechanism
Legal advisors for the People’s United Party have studied the Penner case very closely and have advised that the Party can pursue the recall of disgraced UDP Area Representative Elvin Penner. On Wednesday, the PUP Western Caucus stated in a release that it “stands ...
Did You Know?
Younger Belizeans may not be aware that when the UDP first came into office, 1984-1989, it was Dean Barrow who as attorney general amended the constitution to allow UDP cronies to sell passports. Barrow later engineered for passport and immigration matters to fall under Hon. Phillip Goldson’s Ministry where the ...
AMAZING GRACE – Church and State
This past weekend I was in an embassy (church) listening to a head ambassador (pastor) discuss the contents of the kingdom constitution (Bible). He began comparing the country of Belize with other nations! He was amazed that every Saturday we have BBQ sales, and how we only use our vehicle ...
Dominica reacts to disrespect of PM Skerrit
The news of Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit being ruffled by Belize Coast Guard officers during his special trip to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve hit a nerve among the citizens of Dominica, most who viewed the act as “disrespectful”. The BELIZE TIMES followed a comments thread ...
Faber fails Hattieville
Minister of Education Patrick Faber has become persona non grata to residents in Hattieville. Some months ago, Faber promised that he would assist Hattieville Government School with brand new computers, but left the school hanging. See, Faber is the kind of politician who loves to make promises. Just ...
PUP Corozal Bay – Serving the People
By Roberto Pasos September 19, 2013 is observed as “National Service Day”. This is the date our great leader, rhe Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price passed away. In order to remember what our National Hero represented, Belizeans are asked to carry ...
A TALE OF TWO PARKS
The Battlefield Park Another cement celebration The “new” Battlefield Park in the heart of downtown Belize City, which was inaugurated on September 18, is one more cement celebration. The Master Mayor spent over $360,000 to flatten and cement the park. The UDP croney construction firm of the Arguelles Brothers got the ...
PUP exhibit at Independence Hall
In recognition of the Party’s birthday and unrivalled history of service, commitment, struggle and achievement, the PUP Secretariat unveiled an Exhibition at the ...
Image of a True Patriot – Dedicated to the Memory of Our Father of the Nation, George C. Price
By Omar Silva As we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of our Independence on the 21st September, it is worthwhile to reflect on what it means to love Belize, and what the image of a true patriot is. While for some it ...
Successful Students Never Give Up
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph No student ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him: it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction. – Charles Kendall Adams You will have moments during your tenure ...
Did you know?
Did you know that Belize’s Independence in 1981 was objected to by the United Democratic Party? In his book: “George Price-Man of the People” Rudolph Castillo recorded how the people of Belize celebrated the announcement of Independence made by then Premier Hon. George Price at a July ...
Pickstock Executive Committee Sworn In
On Saturday August 31st, members of the new Pickstock Executive Committee were sworn in by PUP Chairman Henry C. Usher at ...
GOB’s Protocol humiliates PM Roosevelt Skerrit
The Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ inability to properly coordinate a special excursion for Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who was a special guest ...
The Black Owl
by Yasser Musa He was one of the best minds of his generation. The Native American Indians have a name for people like him - Jair. It means about to soar. Erron Golanche known as Nokturnal and the Black Owl was a ...
Sprucing Up Hattieville
Last Thursday September 19th marked two years since the sad passing of Father of the Nation Rt. Hon. George Price, and in ...
Dangriga Town Council demands Market Project Completion
The Dangriga Town Council on behalf of the People of Dangriga is extremely concerned about the recent abrupt termination of the Project ...
WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Reflecting on Belize’s 32nd
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia Belizeans have celebrated our thirty-second anniversary of Independence this past week. I remember clearly the night of September 20, 1981. I had just returned home after completing my Master's Degree at Marquette University. My sister Jo-Jo had recently finished her degree course in Medicine at UWI, and ...
Chamber opposes increase in Trade License fees
The Belize Chamber of Commerce has called on the Minister of Local Government Godwin Hulse to put a stop to any devious plans which the Belize City Council may have to increase Trade License fees in its upcoming assessment period. The Chamber, which represents the ...
Cabinet ignored allegations of corruption at SIF
Members of the UDP Cabinet knew about the serious allegations of corruption at the Social Investment Fund from as far back as July, but chose to do nothing about it. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Santino Castillo, has admitted in media interviews ...
Independence Day Address by Opposition Leader Hon. Francis W. Fonseca
My Fellow Belizeans Today we celebrate our 32nd anniversary of Independence. Thirty-Two years ago, after a hard, skillfully fought international campaign for recognition of our right to Independence, the people of Belize began charting a new course as ...
THE SERVILE BULLY
When the House meets on Friday the 27th September 2013, 32 years after Belize achieved political independence, the Barrow regime will ram through the Parliament seven bills orchestrated and directed by Washington. All 7 laws are designed by our new imperial bosses to put Belize ...
Why did BTB disrespect our own artists?
Dear Editor, It was welcoming news to learn that the Belize Tourism Board decided to apologize for their decision to use the music of Aurelio Martinez, a Honduran national, as the sound of their recently released video to showcase Belize. It’s a welcome gesture but, I thought it did not go ...
What Legal Gymnastics?
Dear Editor: What legal gymnastics will the Prime Minister perform to satisfy the Homosexual Agenda demanding “rights” that will most certainly nullify the three most important real rights to Christians? Christianity cannot surrender freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For Christians to do so is to ignore and ...
Dear Editor, Big up the Area Representative Hon. Ivan Ramos and Mayor of Dangriga Major Gilbert Swazo (Ret’d) and Councillor who stood up for the people of Dangriga against the corrupt SIF officers who wanted to place a tin box for a market at a whopping cost of $1.2 million. First, SIF ...
Progress or Problems?
Dear Editor, While the nation is saying that the Mayor has broken history and no other mayor has done as much as he did, I wonder how long the streets will last considering he doesn’t like to speak publicly about his lady engineer. The old capital is sinking like never before. ...
No basis for checks and balance
Editor Sir: The discussion about checks and balances will continue until Doomsday, because in our parliamentary system there is no basis for it. The parliamentary system in Britain has been working so far because it has been based on the assumption that the most important instrument of governance is men and women ...
30 Cents for Stann Creek West
Dear Editor If you take a quick glance at the budgetary allocation for Stann Creek West, it is approximately $6,000 to the duly elected Area Representative to be spread among, approximately 20,000 people, which gives 30 cents for assistance, per month, per person! What can you do with 30 cents? Buy a small ...
Penner must go to jail
Dear Editor, No other than the Prime Minister of Belize is saying to the nation that he has found Penner guilty of an offense so grave that he is forced to remove him from his Cabinet. But why stop there? Penner is not above the law and should be treated with ...
Hurricane Season in Belize
The hurricane season in Belize is well underway and Belizeans remain on watch for storms that may rip through the country like a knife through cloth. Over the last few years, we have been blessed to have all the major hurricanes glide pass us. One would assume that would reassure us, but instead it seems to make many people even more edgy with uncertainty when the hurricane season comes around. Thus each year, we wait to see what will be the outcome of the Belize Hurricane Season.
In Belize, the hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th. Despite not having any major storms hit us directly in these months for many years, visitors are urged to keep a keen eye out on the Caribbean as it is often the birthplace for hurricanes destined for our region.
Instancias del SICA reconocen aporte del Embajador de la República de China (Taiwán) en El Salvador
El pasado 26 de septiembre, la Secretaría General del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) otorgó un reconocimiento especial al señor Jaime H.T. Chen, Embajador de la República de China (Taiwán), por su gran aporte durante su gestión como encargado de los asuntos de cooperación regional de los países del Sistema. El evento se llevó a cabo en la Casa de Centroamérica, sede del SICA, San Salvador.
Durante el acto, la Secretaría General del SICA, por medio de sus secretarías de Integración Turística (SITCA), de la Integración Social (SISCA), del Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer (COMMCA), el Centro para la Promoción de la Micro y Pequeña Empresa (CENPROMYPE), junto a la Unidad Regional de Pesca y Acuicultura (SICA/OSPESCA), expresaron su agradecimiento por el respaldo que siempre brindó el Embajador Chen, así como el pueblo y Gobierno de Taiwán.
“Pump It Up” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It was all going so well yesterday morning and then…
Out on the veranda shortly after 04.15 hours with my mug of black coffee and the iPad. A lovely warm breeze. The only light coming from the monitor.
I read The Times on-line and got up-to-date with Facebook and Linkedin until shortly after 05.30 hours when I decided that I would start to pull together yesterday’s edition of the blog. With this start time I should have been able to achieve my new intended publication time of 06.30 hours
Once I had made a selection of the photos I would use the copy flowed fairly easily . This will come as no great surprise to regular readers of this blog I am sure – its much of the same stuff anyway.
Selecting a song title for the headline tested me the most but with this chosen and ‘worked’ in to the narrative I was on the home straight. Just had to proof read it and click the icon to publish. I was going to ‘hit’ the publishing deadline with around 10 minutes to spare. Or so I thought.
Why Belize is the Hottest New Caribbean Destination
While vacations in Belize are not a new idea, our awareness of them is. Belize is everywhere you look these days, thanks in part to their recent advertising campaigns. And for good reason, Belize is tropical and lush, distinctive yet wild, and not to be missed. Whether you consider it part of Central America due to its location or a Caribbean paradise thanks to the warm Caribbean Sea, Belize will not disappoint in the variety and uniqueness of offerings. If you’re worried that Belize will become another overcrowded tourist destination, we got the inside scoop on private tours, private suites and even whole private islands to discover what makes Belize the hottest new Caribbean Destination.
Why Visit Belize
Located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and east of Guatemala, Belize borders the Caribbean Sea and offers the warm sea breezes, cerulean Caribbean waters and average temperatures in the 80’s year round.
Why South Korea, Taiwan and Belize can’t let this Big Man blow over like wah lee breeze
Perhaps September is the month that will allow some people to recognize the value of nationality, of being Belizean. That value allows over 350,000 people to belong to a land, to have a kindred spirit to all the square miles that our borders allow. That value is inhaled in the air we breathe, felt in the fertility of the soil, consumed by the food on the land and it consumes us when we return to the earth. Belize belongs to us much as we belong to Belize. But intrinsic value is oft replaced by monetary value, and that is where we lose meaning, lose faith, lose belief and Belize.
10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Belize
Wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, the tiny and eclectic country of Belize has become one of the most popular eco tourism destinations in Central America for the intrepid traveler.
Lush tropical rain forests, pristine beaches, ancient Maya cities, diverse flora and fauna, and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere are just a few of the many natural attractions that allure the adventure traveler to visit.
Here are 10 reasons why you should travel to Belize now:
1.) Belize is the only English Speaking Country in Central America
Belize is a diverse society with many cultures and languages (Creole and Spanish are widely spoken) however English is the official language, making it easy for travelers to get around.
2.) Belizean food is tasty and succulent
The food in Belize is as diverse as its population and consists of a vast array of elements from the different ethnic groups like the Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, East Indian and Creole. Some of the top must eats are: Rice and Beans, Fry Jacks, Johnny Cakes, Stew Chicken, Gibnut, Escabeche, Tamales, Hudut, and Fish Sere.
Belize Fights Back Against an Uninvited Guest
On Tuesday July 2 at 11am, a very special box left Belize on its way to the U.S. Its contents? Eleven and a half pounds of filleted lionfish (Pterois volitans), a species that poses one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of coral reefs and fisheries throughout the Caribbean.
Lionfish, an insatiable predator native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, was accidentally introduced to the western Atlantic near Florida in the 1980s. This voracious fish has been devouring its way through much of the region’s marine biodiversity ever since, wreaking ecological havoc across Caribbean reefs from Panama to Puerto Rico.
With each lionfish capable of gulping down fish half its size, the unsuspecting Caribbean prey have never encountered a fish that hunts quite like it, and stand little chance in the face of their new predator’s impressive bulk and menacing venomous spines. The diverse Caribbean menu on offer has enabled the lionfish to develop a varied palate in its adopted home, gorging itself on invertebrates and reef fish alike.