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New Intake for Belize Coast Guard
Today the Belize Coast Guard held ceremonies to celebrate its 8th anniversary and the graduation of thirty new intakes. The ceremonies were held in Ambergris Caye where also, the Coast Guard’s San Pedro forward operating station. Love News was there and Hipolito Novelo reports.
HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING
“Twelve weeks ago a total of eighty young men and women signed up to be joined one of Belize’s most essential security force; the Belize Coast Guard. Today, after a three months training, graduation ceremonies were held for 29 of them. CEO in the Ministry of National Security, Ret’d Lt. Col. George Lovell, detailed the training that these young men and women went through.
LT. COL. GEORGE LOVELL
“There are the few, the proud that survived out of 80 that entered the hollow halls of the Coast Guard Training Company. Their training included physical fitness, swimming, drills, first aid, seamanship, law enforcement, weapons training and marksmanship. A typical day, just for your information included being up at 4 in the morning, PT at 5, fatigue which is generally getting the compound and their environs clean at 6. They then went and had breakfast at 7 followed by a hard day of training, building discipline, teamwork and learning the tool of military trade.”
PUP’s Area Rep Says Police Must Be Held Accountable
Area Representative for Belize Rural Central, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, has expressed extreme concern over the fatal shooting by police of Ladyville resident, Travis McKay. Dolores signals the incident as the second such one in which a Ladyville resident was killed at the hands of the police and she says that as the Area Representative, she cannot remain silent about it. The first victim was Ryan Lozano in April of this year. She adds that while she cannot speak with specificity about the facts, there are sufficient questions about the two incidents that cause people to raise concerns about the actions of the Ladyville Police. Even if the two young men had committed crimes, she said, they had a right to a fair trial. The Area Representative says that the community must not turn a blind eye to what she terms as quote “extra-judicial killings by the police” unquote. Balderamos-Garcia says that the police must be held accountable for their actions and joins the families of the fallen men in calling for full and proper investigations into their shooting deaths.
Armed Robbery in Southern Belize
An armed robbery was reported on Thursday in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.
“On Thursday, 28th November 2013 around 8:05 am, information was received of an armed robbery in front of Charles Franklin Hotel on George Price Street in Punta Gorda Town. PG Police were immediately dispatched to the location. Upon arrival, 25-year-old, Jamie Leslie, a Belizean salesman for Madison Company and a resident of Belize City reported to police that around 7:05 am he was walking towards to company truck parked in front of the said hotel when he was accosted by a dark skinned masked man. The masked man pointed, what appeared to be a handgun at him and demanded money. Fearing for his life he surrendered his blue knapsack containing a catalog, two invoice books, two Scotia Bank deposit books and a blue bag containing 1350 dollars. Police detained three persons for investigation and are looking for another person who they believe can help with the investigation.”
Fraser Guilty of Attempted Murder
Thirty-four year old Leslie Fraser, an unemployed charged with attempted murder, was found guilty of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas. It was a trial without jury. Justice Lucas has deferred sentencing until December 6 in order to give Fraser time to prepare a plea for mitigation. Fraser was not represented by any attorney. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell represented the prosecution. The incident occurred on May 29, 2011. The complainant, Faron Waight, testified that Fraser came by his house at the corner of King Street and Amara Avenue where he resided with Fraser’s ex-common-law wife. Waight said he went and got a piece of stick and jumped on his bicycle and pursued Fraser who had walked away. Waight said that when he caught up with Fraser he turned around because Fraser took out a machete from a bag. Waight was first chopped to the back of his head and when he fell, Fraser stood over him and chopped him several times. Waight’s common-law wife testified that she saw Fraser chopping Waight . Fraser testified and said that at the time of the incident he was doing security work at Glen Godfrey law firm at the corner of Craig Street and Barrack Road. Fraser called one witness, Henry Lauriano, but Lauriano’s testimony did not help him.
Road Accident Kills Long Time Public OfficerA man was killed and several others were injured in a road traffic accident on the George Price Highway on Thursday evening. He is Efrain Cowo, who was a passenger in a government vehicle traveling from Belize City towards Belmopan. According to 40-year-old Ernest Banner, just before five o’clock on Thursday evening he was driving a white Isuzu D Max heading towards Belmopan when upon reaching between miles 46 and 47, his vehicle and a green Ford Explorer travelling in the opposite direction but in his lane collided. As a result, his passengers, 25-year-old Ginee Neal, 29-year-old Kendra Arnold and Efrain Cowo suffered varying degrees of injury. Ramos, who spoke to Love News, said that contrary to what Banner reported, the incident happened quite differently.
“I was coming from Belmopan yesterday evening after a meet and coming down on the highway was like a stream of vehicle. The vehicle that was in front of me, it seemed like he observed this bad spot and I see the brake light come on and so I went down for my brakes but by the time that vehicle cleared the bad spot, another vehicle going the opposite direction was just coming sliding right into me. I tried by continuing to hold my brakes and make sure the vehicle doesn’t run into me but I couldn’t stop it and it collided right into the left hand part of my vehicle.”
Belizean Program Developer Gets Grant from Taiwan
Earlier this week the Government of Taiwan provided grants of seven thousand US dollars to 18 entrepreneurs. One of the recipients is 29 year old Tiffany Simpson who has been using her talent and creativity to design educational software to help students who are preparing for the CXC and PSE Exams. The GAME Prep Software designed by Simpson will soon be expanded to include A-Level exams and BJAT for primary school students. The disc version of the software is available in Belize, Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana. Those who are interested in obtaining a copy of the CD or viewing an online version of the program can visit game-prep.com for more information. Simpson has been creating educational software for the past three years.
Bomb Threat Disrupts University ClassesClasses at the University of Belize central campus were disrupted yet again today. Love News spoke with the Director of Public Information at the University, Selwyn King, about the cause of today’s incident.
“We received a called approximately 5 minutes ago; an unidentified caller indicating that a bomb has been planted again on the Belmopan Campus of the University of Belize. It is unfortunate that we, if I can, that we have some sick minds just disrupting the entire operations of the University as we are preparing for exams which will be on Monday. It’s affecting us not only mentally but physically in terms of the operations it comes to a standstill. We have to take the threat seriously. We have to shut down the University. We called in the police and the BDF Bomb Squad. It’s an exercise that apparently is like a reoccurring decimal that we are faced with at this point in time.”
“How often do you get these threats?”
“Basically I’m losing count but approximately it’s the 4th or the 5th one with the last 2 or 3 months.”
Law Enforcement Agencies Team Up For Annual Torch Run
The Belize Police Department has teamed up with other law enforcement agencies to conduct its annual law enforcement torch run. Sergeant Elroy Carcamo, the Head of Community Policing Unit, told Love News that the event is to fundraise and to create awareness about the Special Olympics. The Unit’s plan is to send the Special Olympics Team to Los Angeles in 2015, as he explains.
SGT. ELROY CARCAMO
“We are trying to raise some 5000 dollars this year in order for that to occur. What happens is that on Monday, December 2 we will move the torch where the first torch run was held in PG and from PG and we are going to Belize City where we will have the National Games Special Olympic Games at the Marion Jones Stadium. The torch will be carried from PG to Dangriga thereafter, the following day from Dangriga to San Ignacio passing through Belmopan. The day after that it will go from San Ignacio to Hattieville; Thursday it will go from Hattieville to Ladyville through the Boom Road coming up to Haulover Bridge. Then on Friday morning from Haulover Bridge we are bringing it in to where we will have different agents participating in taking the torch from one point to the other.
3-Year Sentence for Aggravated Assault of Indecent Nature on Female Child
Thirty year old Curl Gordon Jr, who was convicted last week of aggravated assault of an indecent nature on a female child, was sentenced to three years today by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas stipulated that the time of one year that Gordon was remanded be subtracted from his sentence, so Gordon will serve two years. Gordon was not represented by any attorney. Crown Counsel Portia Staine represented the prosecution. The incident occurred on October 2, 2011. The child was seven years old at the time.
World Aids Day 2013
Today is World AIDS Day and in observance of that, the Ministry of Health’s National AIDS Program’s Voluntary Counseling and Testing Unit is conducting a full day of testing and awareness. The event, which ends at four this evening, includes free HIV/AIDS tests and tips on how to prevent acquiring the disease as well as what other diseases are linked to it. One of those diseases which is closely linked to AIDS, according to Bernadine Grinage, the Ministry of Health’s Acting Coordinator in the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Unit, is Tuberculosis.
“Tuberculosis is a co-infection with HIV. HIV with TB shortens the prognosis; so, that’s why we are emphasizing the importance of knowing your HIV status. If, for example, if you are tested reactive, meaning that there are antibodies for the HIV virus then it is advisable to do a tuberculosis screening test as well and if someone has tested and found out that they have tuberculosis then it is advisable to do an HIV test as well.”
Chamber Returns with Christmas Expo
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry is in the process of setting up for their Christmas Expo Extravaganza which is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. Delmi Novelo is the Marketing and Public Relations officer.
“We will have various companies that will be selling clothing, computer gadgets; we have a Western Union, Chamber of Commerce, Karl H Menzies over there and the Y’s phone digital service that will be there at the expo. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come out and buy what they need for the Christmas season. So we invite everyone to come to the expo. The cost for the tickets is 3 dollars for adults, children 11 and under enter for free. We do have tickets available here at the Chamber of Commerce office and also at Doony’s and Beauty Plaza. If you want to come in before and not wait in the line then you can purchase your ticket in advance. Apart from all the various businesses we will be having at the expo, we will also be having music and entertainment by Super Furia Band. We will also be having the Santa Clause booth whereby children and their families can take a picture with Santa Claus. Our Western Union as well will be doing exclusive BTL top up so if anyone needs credit they can come to our booth and we will be the exclusive company to be selling for Smart and BTL.”
New Coast Guard Station in San Pedro
At today’s Coast Guard graduation ceremonies, Station San Pedro was inaugurated. The base came as a result of partnership between Belize and the U.S. South Command. CEO in the Ministry of National Security Ret’d Lt. Col. George Lovell and Chargé d’ Affairs at the US Embassy, Margaret Hawthorne highlighted the importance of the forward operating base.
LT. COL. GEORGE LOVELL
The building, I was told, was built at a cost of US 1.5 million dollars and can withstand winds that are associated with a category five hurricane or storm. The building can accommodate 16 personnel. It has a diesel generator and a 5000 gallon fuel storage capacity for both gas and diesel. There is also docking facilities as we see out here, that two ready vessels strategically located to enforce its mandate of law enforcement and military operations can be berthed. The area of operation for this station extends way beyond San Pedro, Ambergris and as far north as the Chetumal Bay and our northern border on the Rio Hondo with Mexico. It also goes all the way south to the area of Caye Caulker. The unit that will be operating from this station will be responsible for a host of missions, ranging from drug and weapon trafficking, illegal migrants, contraband, fisheries protection, environmental protection, boat safety and disaster relief operations.”
PUP Delivers Signatures to Governor General for a Referendum to Recall Elvin Penner
The process to recall Hon. Elvin Penner from his seat took a major step on Thursday morning. Key facilitators, working on the ground to collect signatures, along with the Ministers, representatives and other key motivators of the recall mechanism knocked on the door of the Governor General’s office this...
People’s United Party Hands Over Petition to Recall Hon. Elvin Penner
People’s United Party leader Francis Fonseca hosted a briefing with the press at Independence Hall this afternoon in response to numerous national issues. At the top of the agenda was this morning’s handing over of the petition for the recall of Cayo Northeast representative Elvin Penner, which 2,003 voters...
Fire Mercilessly Cosumes Residence on Fabers’ Road
There was a housefire last night in Belize City. A family residing at #2909 Fabers Road were forced to quickly evacuate their premises when a fire caught and the family matriarch fainted due to smoke inhalation. Her daughter, Irma Crawford, spoke to us off-camera about the circumstances surrounding the incident....
Hon. Fonseca says Police Killings Worries the PUP
A growing concern is the number of incidents involving police officers, after two this week in Placencia and Ladyville. At yesterday’s press briefing held at Independence Hall, PUP leader Francis Fonseca commented on the state of affairs. Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition “On the recent police shootings,...
Motorbike Accident Sends one Injured into Hospital
A second accident occurred around that time at an intersection on Cayo Street in Belmopan. We understand that a motorist was knocked off his cycle on collision with a white vehicle. The motorist was taken to the Western Regional Hospital by a passerby.
PM Barrow Comments on Escalating State of Affairs of UB Faculty and Staff Association
The last we’ve heard of UB President Dr. Carey Fraser is that he is on leave. It is not certain how long he will be absent, or the nature of his leave, but in the meantime, Interim Provost, Wilmer Wright will hold over. As we have reported, the President...
New Photography Exhibits Shows Garifuna Life
November 19 may have come and gone but the rich cultural history of the Garinagu needs more than one day to be celebrated. This Friday the Image Factory is opening an exhibit on Garifuna culture called “3X Focus.” It is a collection of photographs from a trio of Belizean...
National Protected Areas to be Branded
Over 27% of all territory in Belize is under environmental protection, whether as national parks, monuments and reserves, or private sanctuaries and special grounds for animals. One of the common misconceptions about protected areas is that they are completely off-limits to those who make a living when in fact,...
Alleged Jealousy of Violent Woman Proved Murderous
A quote from B.C. Forbes goes, “Jealousy…is a mental cancer.” In August of 2012, this cancer proved murderous. Last year an alleged jealous and outraged estrange common-law wife who was no longer in a relationship with her baby’s biological father was accused of running over her ex-boyfriend with a...
Rural Development Officer Encounters Death on Vehicle Crash
The family of a Rural Development Officer is tonight mourning the death of their loved one, after he perished in a road accident last night. The incident occurred around 4:55 in the evening around Mile 46 and Mile 47 on the George Price Highway. 41 year old Efrain Cowo...
Fisheries Department Addresses EU Ban
While Belize’s local fisheries exports to the European Union (EU) have not been affected by a proposed ban on vessels carrying the Belize flag from selling products which the Union believes are caught illegally, there is a risk and the Government has moved to act. Their actions are based...
President of UB’s Vexatious Letter to Board’s Head
As we mentioned, Dr. Carey Fraser wrote to PM indicating that he was exploring an option that would see him leave the university next year. That letter was written on November 6th and copied to the Minister of Education as well as the leader of the Opposition. Now on...
Prime Minister Barrow Allays Fears on Petro-Caribe
In the context of addressing plans for improved infrastructure, the Prime Minister mentioned the Petro-Caribe initiative in which Belize saves millions in interest from concessionary loans by Venezuela which can only be used for capital projects. Some have called for the money to be used for other purposes and...
LADYVILLE COPS SHOOT YOUTH SUSPECT DEAD!
The McKay and Escarpeta families of Ladyville are tonight mourning the death of a family member, Travis McKay, 22, of Army Camp Road, Ladyville. He died on the spot after being shot in the head in a shootout with police at about 3:50 this afternoon in a yard behind the Ladyville basketball court.
The official police report of the incident stated that about 3:30 this afternoon, Rafael Hernandez, 60, a Ladyville butcher, reported that while he was at his business, Belize Country Products of Mile 9 on the Philip Goldson Highway, a man ran into his business wearing a green mask, black sweater and long khaki pants, brandishing a handgun. The man then closed the door and demanded money. The thief proceeded to grab money from out the drawer and ran out of the building and across the Philip Goldson Highway into an abandoned house located beside Blue House Bar.
Ladyville police who were in the area responded, continued the police release, and cornered the suspect on Seagull Street. The suspect then pulled out a .38 revolver and fired three shots at the marked police mobile unit, police said.
DEATH PENALTY WILL STAY ON OUR BOOKS!
The 2012 murder of Jasmine Lowe resurrected public calls for the resumption of the death penalty in Belize. The issue has been off the front burner since, but was brought to the fore last month when a UK official, speaking at the 17th Session of the Human Rights Council Working Group’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), held in Geneva, Switzerland, called on Belize to undertake a public consultation on the complete abolition of the death penalty.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow said at a press conference Wednesday: “They’ve been on with this capital punishment thing for years now. Everybody knows that practically speaking, no judge orders execution, so it’s not happening. If they want us to take it off the books, I certainly won’t agree with them at all. I absolutely and completely disagree. I believe that capital punishment, if we were able to implement it, would serve as a deterrent, so there is no sympathy at all for that recommendation.”
Kent Bowers was the last person to be executed by the state of Belize. He was hanged in June 1985. However, the UK official said that in 2012, Belize was unable to join 111 other states in supporting a worldwide moratorium on execution as a step towards total abolition—a decision in which she said the UK was “disappointed.”
TEACHERS, UNIONS WILL GET RAISE-A-PAY NEXT YEAR: PM BARROW
Some three weeks ago, the unions – in particular the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU)– complained to the media because they thought that it was time to go back to the negotiating table with Government with regards to their proposed salary adjustments, especially since Prime Minister Dean Barrow had publicly said that GOB was “rolling in millions and millions of dollars.”
Well, it appears that they will get their salary adjustments as promised – just not right now.
Sporting a new look at today’s press conference, Prime Minister Barrow assured the public servants that they would get a pay raise; however, he added that they (the unions) need to exercise patience.
The unions are hoping that Government heeds their demands and commits to setting a minimum salary increase, known commonly as a ‘floor’.
VINCENT TILLETT, 49, GETS 15 YEARS
Vincent Tillett, 49, also known as “Stino,” was sentenced to 15 years in prison this morning when he appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas. Tillett was convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter on November 15, 2013, in a trial without jury for the February 13, 2011 stabbing of Darwin Phillips, 22.
Phillips was at the home of Denise Stuart celebrating the birthdays of three persons in that family. Between 7:00 and 7:30 that night, Tillett arrived at the house to drop off two of the four children he has with Stuart.
Tillett went into the kitchen and when he emerged, he approached Phillips and stabbed him once in his chest, in front of his young children, and Phillips’ child, who were there watching a movie.
On February 14, 2011, Tillett contacted police and told them they could apprehend him by the Haulover Bridge, which they did. During an interview with the police, Tillett confessed to stabbing Phillips because Phillips threatened to kill him.
PENNER’S NEW YEAR’S PRESENT: “WRIT OF REFERENDUM”
While some might consider it as an attempt to counteract or even undermine yesterday’s press conference conducted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in which the GOB rolled out a proposed infrastructure plan worth $200 million dollars, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, single-handedly staged a press conference this afternoon at the PUP’s Independence Hall.
Fonseca opened the press conference with the news that the People’s United Party (PUP) has submitted approximately 2,003 petition signatures to the Governor General – all in support of a recall of current Cayo North East area representative, Hon. Elvin Penner.
According to Fonseca, a “writ of referendum” will now be issued for the Cayo Northeast constituency 15 days after the signatures have been reviewed. That is expected to be around January 15th of next year. He also conceded that it will be an “uphill battle”, but he maintained that the PUP is committed to seeing the process through and achieving the difficult 65% threshold that stands almost as an impediment to the procedure.
“INVESTIGATION INTO PASSPORT SCANDAL IS ONGOING:” IMMIGRATION MINISTER
Although Immigration Minister, Hon. Godwin Hulse, was still reluctant to divulge any detailed information about the “ongoing” investigations into the recent passport scandal, he did provide some additional information regarding the situation at the embattled Immigration and Nationality Departments, including the hiring of an assistant CEO in the Immigration Ministry.
The “Penner Passport Scandal” that surfaced just before Belize’s 32nd anniversary of Independence in September, is still very much in the minds of many Belizeans. Former Minister of State and Cayo Northeast area representative, Hon. Elvin Penner – the man who was fired from Cabinet for his involvement in the granting of a Belizean passport to a man who was in a Taiwanese prison at the time – is still the area representative for his constituency.
“MR. BELIZE” RIGO VELLOS WINS INTERNATIONAL BODYBUILDING COMPETITION IN MERIDA
Mr. Belize 2012/2013, Rigo Vellos, won the top prize and title in the 2013 Revolution Cup Bodybuilding Competition held on Sunday, November 24, at the annual Yucatan Festival in Xmatkuil, Merida.
Belize’s top bodybuilder, who trains at Spartan Fitness Gym in Corozal Town, competed in the “80kg and over” category, defeating dozens of other international competitors.
He then advanced to the overall category and defeated well-known Mexican bodybuilders such as Surizaday Alba Peña of Mexico’s “The Gym” and Isaac Acuña of “AM Gym.”
This is a historic achievement for Belize. This was the first time a Belizean competed in the event. And now, a Belizean can claim the top title in one of Mexico’s most competitive bodybuilding competitions.
FFB INTER-DISTRICT WEEK 1 RESULTS
Eight (8) games were played over the weekend, 2 in each of the 4 zones, in Week 1 of the FFB Inter-District Tournament 2013.
In Zone 1, P.G. Police United crushed M&M Steelers, 5-0, with goals from Devin Burgess (7’ & 47’), Rowlin Burgess (21’ PK) and Deon Burgess (25’ & 81’). And Mavericks FC dropped GB United, 5-2, with 2 goals from Kenton Galvez and 1 apiece from Everette Recinos, Leslie Williams and Andre Logan; while GB United goals were by Henry Jimenez and Jose Lopez.
In Zone 2, Hope Creek Pumas came from being down a goal to dispose of Roaring Creek FC, 5-1. Lionel Cabral had a hat trick (38’, 45’ & 84) and Victor Trujillo netted 2 goals (27’ & 85’) for Hope Creek, while Roaring Creek’s only goal was by Orin Reneau (16’). And San Martin FC drew, 1-1, with Green Gold FC. Melvin Barrientos (13’) put San Martin in front early, but Jeffery Apolonio (82’) equalized for Green Gold.
DANGRIGA SPORTS STATS
SCFA 1st Division Tournament update
The Stann Creek Football Association (SCFA) Old Master Rum & Paul’s Guest House 1st Division Tournament 2013 had 2 back matches last night at the Carl Ramos Stadium to complete Week 11 of the tournament. In game 1, Umadagu FC defeated Aquillas, 3-1, with a goal each from Brandon Flores (26’), Earl Cacho (39’) and Victor Hernandez (61’). Aquillas’ only goal was by Lionel Thompson (44’). In game 2, Green Gold FC and New Site FC played to a 4-4 stalemate. Shaking the net for Green Gold were Erick Rivas (17’ & 38’), Hugo Franco (22’) and Hector Gomez; while New Site goals were by Brando Murillo (45’), Hasaan Lucas (54’) and Kyle Valerio (64’ & 90’+ PK).
All back matches for the SCFA Old Master & Pal’s Guest House Cup are being played on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
VIOLENT CRIME AND RETIREMENT TOURISM Editorial
There were several subjects discussed at Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s first press conference since his back surgery in Los Angeles three weeks ago. This was on Wednesday morning at the Biltmore Hotel, just a day after the harrowing details of the weekend beating, torture and murder of Tyson Rodriguez had sparked a heated exchange on KREM Radio’s WUB call-in show. That indirect exchange took place between a member of Belize City’s street public and a police officer.
For some reason, the topic of Tyson Rodriguez, a victim of police violence in the Placencia peninsula over the weekend, did not come up at the PM’s press conference. Just a few hours after that press conference, a Ladyville youth was shot dead in the village, and early indications are that the deadly shooting was done by the police.
Two weeks or so ago, a letter to the newspaper from a member of Belize’s expatriate retirement community discussed violence and crime perpetrated by Belizeans against members of the expat community. The indications are that police believed Tyson Rodriguez to be one of a trio of home invaders who brutally beat and robbed a middle-aged Canadian retiree couple in their Placencia home. The letter writer’s fears were real.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
I do not agree with Clinton Uh Luna’s opinion of Samuel Haynes as a “hero of the Baymen’s clan.” I believe that Uh Luna’s reason for coming up with such an opinion has to do with certain parts of the Haynes poem which Rt. Hon. George Price chose for Belize’s national anthem. That poem was originally titled “Land of the gods,” and I believe it was written by Samuel Haynes while he was in self-imposed exile in the New York/New Jersey area in the early 1930s. The esteemed Mr. Haynes’ sojourn in the United States began in the early 1920s with Haynes working in Harlem as a high-ranking official of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Before proceeding, let me say, brazenly and controversially, that I consider it a typically Belizean stunt for “them” to change Haynes’ poem to “Land of the free,” because the official line was that Belizeans believe in only one God, so Haynes’ poetic reference to our being a “land of the gods” was inappropriate. For me, this change was petty, disrespectful, and so typically Belizean. A poem is a poem is a poem. Haynes was a devout Methodist: he believed in only one God. There is a thing called “poetic license,” which allows the poet all kinds of latitude. Mr. Haynes was dead when you changed his original composition because of your religious uptightness. Disrespect.
BELIZE TO FIGHT EU FISHERIES BAN
“Upon decision of the [European] Council to put the three countries [including Belize] on the list of non-cooperating countries, fisheries products caught by fishing vessels flying the flag of these countries cannot be imported into the EU any longer.”
Prime Minister Dean Barrow said at a press conference in Belize City on Wednesday that Belize will do whatever it takes to comply with the demands of the European Union (EU) in a recent call by the European Commission to ban fisheries imports from Belize-flagged vessels on the high seas, over allegations that Belize has not been doing enough to meet standards imposed by EU regulations on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Prime Minister Barrow said that the possible consequences of the EU ban don’t extend to anything more than the fisheries products caught on Belize-flagged vessels, and they do not affect shrimp.
Belize also exports bananas and sugar to the EU. An official press release from the Ministry of Finance said, “…the European Commission [EC] has assured Belize that while any decision relating to IUU fishing will impact fisheries trade ‘the measures will not impact any other aspect of economic trade with Belize and the EU’.”
Belize has registered 128 such fishing vessels, of which about 20 fish in the Atlantic Ocean and discharge their fish at the European Union ports.
WILLIAMS VS YEARWOOD BEFORE JUSTICE OLIVETTE ON MONDAY
The land dispute between the family of Rodwell Williams, Sr., and the Yearwood family of Cemetery Lane is scheduled to go before Supreme Court Justice Rita Joseph Olivette on Monday, when the judge is expected to hear an application from the Williams family for the court’s intervention, so that they can build on what the Yearwoods contend is their family property.
Amandala understands that Rodwell Williams, Sr., who is being represented by his son, Rodwell Williams, Jr., a Senior Counsel, has submitted a claim against Sharette, Keith, Elaine and Gary Yearwood.
Both families have purported to hold title documents to the property, originally owned by Richard Young of Gracie Rock, but deeded collectively to his descendants in perpetuity back in the 1930s. (The Yearwoods say they are descendants of the Youngs.)
In late October, Williams, Jr., reportedly had a gacho shop, owned by a businesswoman who had been using another property of his, moved to the premises for which he steadfastly claims that his father, Rodwell, Sr., holds title.
DIABETES IN BELIZE
About 44,715 people, or 13.42% of the population of Belize, are living with diabetes. The statistic was released by the International Diabetes Federation. The Diabetes Federation also revealed that about 382 million people had diabetes in 2013, and by 2035, 592 million people will be suffering with the disease.
The number of people with Type 2 diabetes is also increasing in every country. Eighty percent of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries, with the greatest number being within the 40 to 59 age range.
It has been reported that more people in Belize die from diabetes than from violence yearly.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and surfaces in its sufferers from early in life (childhood or adolescence). People suffering with Type 1 diabetes show a complete lack of the insulin hormone, and insulin must be taken regularly as treatment.
WOMEN’S DEPT. PROMOTES 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Today, Monday, November 25, is Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women and Girls Day. It also marks the first of 16 Days of Activism to end gender-based violence against women; and this morning, in a show of solidarity for the initiative, about 26 female students from Maud Williams High School and Sadie Vernon High School in Belize City took to the city streets to march and bring awareness to the incidents of violence against women and girls.
The 16 Days of Activism is part of an annual calendar of events which are organized by the Women’s Department to promote awareness on the issue of domestic abuse, which unfortunately has been increasingly prevalent in our society. The initiative coincides with Women’s Month and therefore, activities are being held countrywide to educate the public as well as to celebrate the role of women in our communities.
DO WE WANT TO ABIDE BY THE RULE OF LAW?
— by Audrey Matura - Shepherd
The Rule of Law is one of the hallmarks of our Constitution and it is one of the pillars that make a country a constitutional democracy. The Rule of Law is a term said and used with the hope that all understand it, so the layman’s version is “no man is above the law.” The simple gist of Rule of Law is that if a country or society seeks to be civilized, it must be governed by clearly defined laws by which ALL or EVERYONE in said society must abide by or be measured by. So the laws we are talking about apply to all equally and no one is above those laws … There are no exceptions.
They may be man-made laws, but many are derived from Natural or God-given laws. When a person is born into a society/country, they are bound, without signing a paper contract, to abide by those laws and agree that those laws will govern them. If as they grow they do not wish to live by those laws, they must either lobby to change them, or move away to a society that allows the laws they want or pay the price if convicted of breaking the law.
BELIZE’S OFFSHORE SECTOR UNDER FOREIGN ATTACK: BARROW
“These people won’t stop until they kill off our offshore sector”
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recently issued a cautionary note against Belize, saying that, “Members are therefore called upon to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Belize.”
On November 20, 2013, the CFATF went on to list Belize among three jurisdictions which it said have not made sufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
It said that Belize has made efforts to address its deficiencies; however, it has not taken sufficient steps towards improving its AML/CFT compliance regime, by failing to approve and implement required legislative reforms.
BARROW ADAMANTLY AGAINST 13TH SENATOR
The Senate inquiry into Social Security financing schemes, held back in 2005, under the administration of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), demonstrated to the country of Belize that the upper house of Parliament has more power than merely rubber-stamping bills handed to them by the politicians in the lower house of Parliament. With the ruling United Democratic Party’s rise to power in 2008, a manifesto promise was made to install a 13th Senator, to be appointed from within the NGO community; but the ruling party has since reneged on that commitment, on the claim that doing so would result in paralysis in the Legislature.
The refusal of the Government to bring into effect a provision in the Constitution which would pave the way for that appointment was highlighted recently when a motion by the PUP, calling for a Senate investigation into the passport and visa scandal, failed because the ruling party—which holds 6 of 12 seats, voted against it, and the President of the Senate voted in alliance with the ruling party. Had the 13th Senator been appointed, the outcome would have been different.
CITCO TO BEGIN STREET WORKS ON BROKEN CITY STREETS
The recent rains over the past few weeks have undeniably caused considerable damage to a number of Belize City streets, and the Belize City Council is moving with a sense of urgency to remedy the situation.
Motorists have not only had to dodge monstrous potholes on many streets in order to reach their destinations, but drivers are also complaining that they have had to dig deep in their pockets to pay for continuing damage done to their vehicles.
The street works – which are scheduled to commence as early as tomorrow morning – will result in some inconveniences for drivers who use the two main arteries to come into the Old Capital.
This afternoon, the Belize City Council’s Public Relations Officer, Kenny Morgan, briefed the media on the degree of work that will be done, and how city residents will be affected. Morgan said, “Two intersections will be affected; one being our present location at the corner of Partridge Street and the George Price Highway. The entire section between the Lord Ridge Cemetery and Partridge Street to its junction with Vernon Street will be worked on starting tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.”
GOB PROPOSES TO SPEND $200 MIL IN 3 YEARS
“These rains have really played hell with us,” Prime Minister Barrow says, but “Immediate help is on the way…”
Rains caused $2.6 million in damage; GOB announces $78 mil in road works, $200 mil total in infrastructure works.
No district in Belize has escaped major infrastructural damage due to the recent weeks of battering rains, and the headline issue at Wednesday morning’s briefing hosted by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow—who has about six weeks to go before he can get back to his regular duty after major back surgery—was to announce nationwide infrastructure works which will be implemented over the span of the next three years. Barrow called it “an extremely muscular plan… a plan on steroids.”
He said that “the menu of projects” that Government plans to finance “will for sure amount to 200 million dollars or not too much below,” and noted that the timeline for implementation would take them very close to the time for the next general elections.
Those works have become necessary as a consequence of what Barrow described as “absolute devastation that has been wrought by a period of almost unceasing rain”—and the damage estimate following the weeks of rain is in the millions.
MAYAN OCARINA RETURNED TO BELIZE
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has returned a Mayan artifact stolen from Lubaantun to Belize. The Government of Belize announced on Tuesday that H.E. Nestor Mendez, Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America, received the artifact in Washington, D.C. on Monday, November 25, 2013.
“The FBI agents informed that the item was taken by a student who visited the site on a field trip. After learning that a student had possession of the artifact, University [New Hampshire University] authorities contacted the FBI,” the Government of Belize said in a statement.
“At the handing over, Ambassador Mendez thanked the University for its swift action and the FBI for repatriating the [ocarina],” the statement added.
PM URGES CAÑEROS TO CALL OFF STRIKE
BSI tells cañeros take their “beef” to the court!
Barrow to meet with cañeros Monday to try to broker a truce.
The current crisis facing Belize’s sugar industry could not just result in multi-million-dollar losses in the north—but could also trigger dire domino effects on Belize’s macroeconomic landscape, should the gridlock between the 5,339 listed cañeros and the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), a subsidiary of American Sugar Refining, continue to persist beyond December 15.
That’s the longest possible date that cañeros can hold out before harmful effects are visited upon the industry, and the cañeros themselves, BSI officials told the media at a press conference they held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City on Tuesday morning.
However, cañeros are not backing down from their demand – that demand being that BSI should give cane farmers a share of the monies they have earned from the sale of power generated from bagasse, because an agreement between the parties stipulates that they are to get a share of funds earned from by-products of the sugar cane.
ROAD COLLISION ON THE GEORGE PRICE HIGHWAY
A collision between a James Bus and a truck occurred at about Mile 42 on the George Price Highway around 4:30 this afternoon. The collision caused minor injuries to two persons on the bus — a man, 32, who complained of back pain, and a little girl, 6, who began to bleed from the nose.
An ambulance later took the injured man, a resident of Kings Park in Belize City, to the Belmopan Hospital for treatment.
The driver of the James Bus told police that he was travelling from Belmopan to Belize City, and the truck was travelling from Belize City to Belmopan. He reported that the truck driver suddenly swerved across the lane to enter a side street on the left side, across the road.
BELIZE’S S&P RATINGS POINT TO VULNERABILITIES
• Belize’s government debt and interest burden remain high, limiting fiscal flexibility
• Declining oil production and payment of compensation claims will likely widen the current account deficit starting in 2015
• Growth to remain below historical norms at 2.5% on average over 2014-2016
The international ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, has released its latest sovereign ratings for Belize.
In a report dated Wednesday, November 27, it affirmed the ‘B-/B’ foreign and local currency long-term and short-term ratings for Belize.
Such ratings mean that adverse business conditions will likely impair ability to meet financial commitments. It also suggests that although the country can meet short-term financial commitments, it grapples with significant uncertainties.
The Belize Times
Last week the UDP ragsheet was quick to call whistleblower Alverine Burgess a liar after a US embassy official declared that the embassy does not listen in on our conversations. It appears that may be a technical truth, since it would be the Department of Homeland Security (and not the embassy) that would be listening in. Due to the very sensitive nature of a foreign government listening in on the affairs of local politicians, we may never know the true situation.
What has been revealed this week though, is that Edmund Castro is 100% a liar.
And, if you believe the Dean Barrow of three weeks ago who publicly declared that any of his Ministers who issued 10, 20 or 30 visa recommendations is one of Ali Baba’s thieves, then it would follow that Edmund Castro is also 100% a visa hustler.
Remember the first conversation that Jules Vasquez had with Edmund Castro after the whistleblower blew his lid? Castro barked at Jules “I don’t know anything about any damn visas for Chinese nationals”.
Francis Fonseca assists residents of Belama Phase 4
This week the Freetown Area Representative and PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca lent a helping hand to residents of Belama Phase 4 who are suffering from ...
Needed: A Competent Minister of Works, CEO of Works & Chief Engineer!! – GOB fails to repair crumbling infrastructure nationwide
As much as CORRUPTION has become entrenched in the Barrow Administration, INCOMPETENCE will truly be their legacy as every sector of Belize has ...
A storm is brewing
By G. Michael Reid Before you read this first paragraph and turn away, let me inform you that this article is not about Penner. As promised though, I will continue to remind you of the gross injustice perpetrated by this boy and this government. It is my hope that, since this ...
This is what will cause the government to fall
“We are suffering from corruption, oppression and bad education. We are living amid a corrupt system which has to change” – Noha Hamed, twenty four, a worker in Egypt during the uprising that brought down the government.
The basic norm in a parliamentary democratic state as Belize professes to be, is that a government governs by the consent of the governed. And since we pride ourselves on holding periodic elections when the people freely elect their leaders, then we are expected to wait until the next election day to return or to remove those who rule over us.
To quote from the Preamble to our nation’s Constitution: Whereas the People of Belize… “believe that the will of the people shall form the basis of government in a democratic society in which the government is freely elected by universal adult suffrage and in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity play some part in the institutions of national life and thus develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority”.
This may be the ideal. But if truth be told, the will of the Belizean people was subverted from the days leading up to the general elections of March 2012 when several Ministers including Elvin Penner brazenly and fraudulently secured hundreds of nationality documents for persons who did not qualify for citizenship and illegally fast-tracked their registration as voters. With all that, Penner won by 17 votes.
Mr. Belize place 1st in Bodybuilding Competition in Merida
2012/2013 Mr. Belize, Rigo Vellos, won the top prize and title in the 2013 Revolution Cup Bodybuilding Competition held on Sunday, November 24 ...
Paradise Freedom Fighters are No. 1 in Belikin Cup football
The Paradise Freedom Fighters of Punta Gorda secured the No. 1 spot in the Premier League of Belize as they struggled to a 1-1 draw with FC Belize in ...
Hurricanes win Bros. Habet table tennis championship
The Brothers Habet team table tennis championship finals at the Belize Elementary School auditorium on Sunday saw the Hurricanes crowned as 1st Division Champs while Team Garage and the St. Joseph’s Pros won their 3rd Division ...
AMAZING GRACE – When I Grow Up
The world is full of practical concepts. Every day principles and realities of life constantly bombard us with boundaries. A child who aspires to write books is told to change his dream to one that makes money in Belize. A young man, talented in drawing, is forced to study engineering ...
The BSCFA – BSI/ASR difference over Bagasse
By Richard Harrison The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) (the farmers) and the Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refinery (the processors).....are at an impasse over the definition of bagasse as a by-product of sugarcane. "the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any bi-product not covered in their present agreement will ...
Costly Corporate Greed – BSI/ASR’s position is bitter for sugar industry
American Sugar Refining (ASR) Inc., the new foreign owners of Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) thanks to the Barrow Administration, has taken a position of corporate greed which is bitter and could prove costly for the important sugar industry.
ASR has rejected the cane farmers’ request for payment of $10 per ton of bagasse (sugar cane waste product) that is collected from the sugar cane delivered to the mill. ASR through its subsidiary company, Belcogen, utilizes the bagasse to produce electricity through its cogeneration plant. The electricity is then sold to BEL and BSI, earning millions of revenue for ASR; therefore, cane farmers classify bagasse as a by-product of sugar cane or at least a product of value. But ASR’s position is a hardcore NO. At a press conference held on Monday morning in Belize City, the company’s vice-president, Ricardo Lima, stated that the cane farmers have absolutely no claim.
“The issue here is that we feel that since the farmers had no risk, did not put any money into Belcogen, have not invested into Belcogen – the product of electricity which is a result of the one hundred and thirty million dollar Belize investment by BSI should not go to anybody else but BSI. That’s just pure business fairness, and that’s what we call it,” stated Lima defiantly.
The cane farmers disagree.
The New Revolution – Building on the Peaceful Constructive Belizean Revolution
By C. Trench-Sandiford-Deputy Party Leader “..There are constant cycles in history. There is loss, but it is always followed by regeneration. The tales of our elders who remember such cycles are very important to us now.” - Carmen Agra Deedy, Cuban-American Writer Just the thought of sitting and having a conversation with ...
The time has come!
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia A little over a week ago it came to my attention that a letter had been written to the newspapers making the proposal that Ladyville/Lord's Bank should become a town. The letter is written by Major Lloyd Jones, retired officer of the BDF who lives in the ...
REFLECTIONS IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE – BAGASSSE: WASTE NO MORE!
By Francis W. Fonseca The MOU dated October 5, 1989 between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. states that both parties “agree that the sharing of revenue arising from the sale of any by-product not covered in their present agreement will be subject to future discussions ...
We Need A New Constitution
Dear Editor, Example # 1: On November 26, 2013 the Government of Belize held a House Meeting. After this meeting the media reported that Hon. John Saldivar secured an approval from the Prime Minister for $150,000 to assist the Belmopan City Council with much needed repairs to the streets of Belmopan. If you ...
Deplorable Streets in Port Loyola!
Dear Editor, I write to condemn the very terrible condition of the network of streets in Port Loyola. I know that the majority of the streets in Belize City are in a bad state, but the ones in Port Loyola are ten times worst. Presently the waterholes on Faber’s Rd. Extension, Louis ...
CALL THIS BLUFF!
Editor Sir: Blackmail is effective if one is afraid to be exposed. It is said that foreign governments have irrefutable, incriminating evidence of wrong-doing by certain ministers, which they will not release, if the Prime Minister does their bidding. The Prime Minister, relying on the good sense of the Belizean people, should call ...
Belize Adventure Honeymoon Trailer - 2013
Dionne and I got married and then went on an adventure to Belize! All of these activities we did through Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, and were shot on my GoPro!
Charity begins here?
Why does Yvonne Truman collect every year for an orphanage in Belize? There are orphanages in Bahrain, orphans in Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Charity begins at home. The flood victims here in Bahrain could do with her donation. Why is she sending Bahraini dinars to South America???
Yvonne Trueman: I have been raising funds in Bahrain for Bahrain charities for over 30 years including running six marathons. The Belize Orphanage is an extra charity which I support as this was what my son was doing when he was killed 19 years ago, so this is very close to my heart. The current flood charities I am also supporting, so I am trying to share myself around.
Latin America and the Caribbean advance toward universal access to HIV treatment
Three out of four people who need antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Latin America and the Caribbean are receiving it, according to a new report from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). That leaves one in four without the life-saving treatment but represents a 10% improvement in just two years and puts Latin America and the Caribbean ahead of all other developing regions in levels of ART coverage.
“Latin America and the Caribbean lead the world in providing and expanding antiretroviral treatment on the basis of technological innovation and scientific evidence,” writes PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne in the preface to the report, Antiretroviral Treatment in the Spotlight: a Public Health Analysis in Latin America and the Caribbean 2013. “What remains is to close the gap in treatment coverage and ensure equitable access to and delivery of services,” writes Etienne.
Fisheries Officials Angered by EU Import Ban
The EU has moved to ban fish imports from Cambodia and two other countries, in a move to sanction illegal fishing operations under flags of convenience.
Cambodia exports little fish to Europe itself, but it does allow its flag to be flown by many vessels, prompting the import ban, which also included Belize and Guinea and must be ratified by the EU before it goes into effect.
In announcing the proposed ban Tuesday, Maria Damanaki, the EU's fisheries commissioner, said that the problem with the three countries was their inability to “control their fleet.”
“How can they claim in these circumstances that the fish caught under their flag or in their coastal waters is sustainable?” she said.
Nov Thuak, director general of the fisheries department in the Department of Agriculture, said the ban “dishonored” Cambodia.
What archives? UK ordered destruction of ‘embarrassing’ colonial papers
Britain systematically destroyed documents in colonies that were about to gain independence, declassified Foreign Office files reveal. ‘Operation Legacy’ saw sensitive documents secretly burnt or dumped to cover up traces of British activities.
The latest National Archives publication made from a collection of 8,800 colonial-era files held by the Foreign Office for decades revealed deliberate document elimination by British authorities in former colonies.
The secret program dubbed ‘Operation Legacy’ was in force throughout the 1950s and 1960s, in at least 23 countries and territories under British rule that eventually gained independence after WWII. Among others these countries included: Belize, British Guiana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia and Singapore, Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tanzania, and Uganda.
In a telegram from the UK Colonial Office dispatched to British embassies on May 3, 1961, colonial secretary Iain Macleod instructed diplomats to withhold official documents from newly elected independent governments in those countries, and presented general guidance on what to do.
British diplomats were briefed on how exactly they were supposed to get rid of documents that “might embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants (such as police agents or informers)” or “might compromise sources of intelligence”, or could be put to ‘wrong’ use by incoming national authorities.