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Zero Tolerance For Corruption At O/W Police Department
The stories of police demanding and collecting bribes from motorists are as rampant as they are unsubstantiated. Our public opinion survey shows that one in every ten persons have claimed to have paid a bribe in the past year to access public services ranging from health and education to justice. It’s a haunting reality for any public service entity and yesterday we asked Second in Charge of the Orange Walk Police Department, Julius Cantun, to shed light on these findings as it pertains to local police officers. Here’s what he told us.
“It is sad and is a pity that despite the effort of the Second in Command of the Orange Walk Police department to sensitize the public in all media houses, I personally have been to several media houses, I have personally given my personal cellular number to the media to the public that whenever we have a situation of corruption occurring they can feel free and call me any time of the day and I will personally will look into the matter, the fact that you forgot to put on your helmets is not excuse, ignorance of the law is no excuse, you can’t come and you say that you did not know that you had to put on your helmet, however the police officer have a duty to maintain, they have a duty to the public and to the community and if in any event they fail by engaging in corrupt activity then they are not just breaking the law they are also breaking their oath to the crown that they will maintain law and order and as a result we as the senior command will not be tolerant, we have zero tolerance to corruption and if this is the case as soon as we have enough evidence against any police officers they will be arrested and charge and taken before the court like any other person because nobody is above the law, uniform or no uniform one there is the evidence the high command in Orange Walk will deal with them accordingly.”
Police Officer Charge For Tyson Rodriguez Murder
A member of the Police Department has been charged with murder following an internal investigation into the suspicious death of Tyson Rodriguez. Police have formally arrested and charged forty-one year old Sergeant Julio Shal who bears badge number 2-8-7. Shal is a Belizean Police officer of Placencia Village in the Stann Creek District and has been charged with Murder.
The police department indicates that the investigations are still ongoing. The arrest stems from what police has initially called “sudden death” of Rodriguez after he was detained in connection to the burglary of the home of a Canadian couple in Placencia Village. The couple was also badly beaten. The suspect, Tyson Rodriguez and a vehicle that was stolen from the couple were located in the Corozal District. Police transported both the vehicle and Rodriguez to Placencia. It was there that according to the officers on duty at the time, Rodriguez offered to take the officers to recover the stolen items.
Hurricane Season Officially Closed
The hurricane season is officially closed and with it there is some good news to report from the north. For weeks residents in the northern and southern villages in the Orange Walk District have had to face several difficulties travelling into and out of their homes due to flooded streets or yards.
Today, North Regional Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Organization NEMO, Elodio Aragon says that the water has receded in the San Antonio and San Roman areas allowing the smooth flow of traffic once more.
LICU Wins Another International Award
The La Inmaculada Credit Union has won a number of local and international recognitions over the years for their outstanding growth both in membership and financially. Tonight LICU has another award to add to the already lengthy list as they have been named the proud winners of the Excellence in Microfinance transparency award in the Citi Micro Entrepreneurship Award program in the Caribbean. Here’s a look at their success.
Dalila Ical – Reporting
The La Inmaculada Credit Union is the proud winner of the Excellence in Microfinance transparency award in the Citi Micro entrepreneurship Award program in the Caribbean. Here’s a look at their success.
Master of ceremonies
“The 2013 Citi Micro entrepreneurship award of Micro finance goes to La Inmaculada Credit Union, Belize....”
The La Inmaculada Credit Union was presented with the award at the second annual Citi Micro entrepreneurship Award ceremony held in Kingston Jamaica on October 31st this year. The Award Program, funded by the Citi Foundation, recognizes microfinance institutions and micro entrepreneurs to raise awareness on microfinance in the Caribbean and the role of micro entrepreneurs in the economy. Accepting the award was LICU’s General Manager, Yolanda Gomez.
O/W Police Department Upgrade Patrols For Festive Season
Business is booming leading to Christmas as gifts, decorations and groceries are bought for the biggest and most anticipated holiday season. Unfortunately, at this time of the year, there is also a marked increase in crimes such as robberies and burglaries.
To balance it all out, the Police Department has followed suit and boosted the number of officers on patrol; particularly in the hub of town to ensure the safety of shoppers as well as businesses. Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Station, Inspector Julius Cantun, says the anti-crime campaign is in full force, but they also need the support of the communities to stem the occurrences of such crimes during the upcoming festive season.
“We get our officers to carry out extra patrols after their normal tour of duties they have to comeback in the evening so that they can give us four hours extra depending on what day it is and our crime pattern analysis, we will determine how long will they be working, we have increased our patrols in terms of; the burglary patrols we have officers coming in after their duties they come in at night and they do burglary patrols at different times, we have our quick response team so yes there is an increase on the presence of the police in the streets and that will continue until the Christmas and further until we see it necessary that they have the presence of the police out there and so the uniform presence will be seeing especially in business areas, especially in areas that are being, where most activities are conducted within Orange Walk Town.”
Family Hopes Post Mortem Will Tell How 12-Year-Old, Sabrina Died
The Family of US Citizen 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez are coping with her mysterious death that only an autopsy can let them know why the 12 year old died. As we told you yesterday, Almendarez who was a student of Independence Primary School was found dead early Friday morning. Her father reported to Police that on Monday his daughter was given tetanus shot at school and since then became ill with fever and headache. It has been widely speculated that the shot may have caused Almendarez’s death as she could have developed allergic reactions. But that can only be sure until a post mortem is conducted. That post mortem was being conducted at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital late this evening and we spoke to the family’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd who told us more.
Teenager Went Missing From Church
A 16 year old female has been reported missing from a children’s home. According to police, on December first, 16 year old Romelia Limas left King’s Children Home with another female en-route to attend a mass at the George Price Center. After midday that day, the young lady had returned back to the home without Limas and stated that after the church service was finished she could not locate Limas. The young girl recounted to police that Limas went to the bathroom and never returned. Up to the time of making the report Limas has still not returned to the home. Limas is of Mestizo descent, is about four feet in height, weighs about 80 pounds, and has long black hair, brown eyes with clear complexion. She was last seen wearing a blue and purple floral dress, black and purple slippers. Police investigations continue.
Mexican Congress Establishes Friendship Group with Belize
Last week the Congress of Mexico formally established the Belize – Mexico Friendship Group. The group will serve as a high-level forum that complements existing diplomatic mechanisms between the two countries. Congresswoman Gabriela Medrano Galindo of Quintana Roo, Mexico, formally established the Group along with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, Oliver del Cid. In their remarks, both Congresswoman Medrano and Ambassador del Cid highlighted the historically close relationship between the two countries and welcomed the establishment of the Friendship Group as an opportunity to expand and deepen the bi-national agenda. Various Parliamentarians attended the event including other Members of the Friendship Group. The Mexican Foreign Ministry was represented at the event by Monica Gonzales and Ambassador del Cid was accompanied by First Secretary Carlos Montero.
Sho Guilty of Burglarizing Traffic Manager’s Home in Belize City
Forty-eight year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Sho”, was sentenced to 7 years today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of burglary.
Romero wanted to pay a fine but Chief Magistrate Smith explained to him that her hands are tied and he must go to prison because he has previous convictions for crimes of dishonesty.
Romero burglarized the home of Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins, around 8 a.m. on January 28, 2012. He stole jewelry, fashion jewelry, a pair of high heeled shoes and $150, when asked by Chief Magistrate Smith what he did with the items, Romero said he sold them to buy food for his 6 grand children.
Jenkins reported to the police that at about 9:30 a.m. he received a telephone call from one of his neighbors and when he arrived home he saw that the burglars on one of the windows of his house was pried open and 3 glass louvers were missing.
Dispute Brews Over Prime Property in Northside Belize City
In yesterday’s newscast we reported on the land dispute between Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams and the Yearwood family. Today we are reporting on another land dispute. This one centers on a plot of land near the corner of Seashore Drive and Buttonwood Bay Boulevard. The land presently houses a small gazebo and residents of the area have been investing time and money into improving the space and turning it into a public park.
Love News understands that the dispute has arisen because Giovanni Blease has issued a claim that he owns the portion of land which was has been cleared and filled recently. Documents provided to us indicate that on 25th April, 2013 the Belize City Council got wind of a possible controversy with regards to the parcel of land and lodged a caution with the registrar of land. The caution prevents anyone from purchasing or taking any action with regards to the land without a hearing before the registrar of land.
Police Officer Faces Murder Charge; Family Says One Down, Two to Go
A police officer has been charged for the murder of twenty seven year old Tyson Rodriguez. Love News has confirmed that Sergeant Julio Shal has been charged for the murder of Rodriguez which occurred on Friday November 22nd. Love News has been informed that a police officer who is said to be involved in the matter is the crown witness affording him immunity. As we reported, Rodriguez’s death was determined to be “asphyxiation by bronchial aspiration of beach sand and multiple traumatisms to the chest”. This means that Rodriguez was badly beaten and suffocated on beach sand. Rodriguez had been in Placencia Police custody after he was identified as one of three suspects in the robbery and assault of a Canadian couple who live on the Placencia Peninsula. Police say that the couple’s home had been invaded, items robbed and the couple badly beaten.
US and Belize Team Up to Help Flood Victims in Western Belize
The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance together with the Belize Red Cross are working together to assist the people affected by the recent floods in Cayo. The U.S. Office of Disaster Assistance hence donated ten thousand US dollars to the Belize Red Cross Society to assist the Redcross on their ogoing effort to efficiently render assistance to more than two hundred families who continue to be affected by the flooding. The donation will allow the Belize Red Cross Society to purchase drinking water, rain boots, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and fuel for the transportation of relief supplies to areas affected by flash flood in San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
Int’l Day of Disability: Recreation Day at The Belize Zoo
Today countries around the world are observing International Day of Disability. The Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities, BAPDA, are on fun filled trip to the Belize Zoo. Education officer at the Zoo Jamal Andrewin and member of BAPDA Jerome Flores told us how it is going.
“We were approached by BAPDA which you know is the Belizean Association for People with Diverse Abilities. They were interested in having a day of recreation and fun and just a holiday for our members here at the zoo to help celebrate the day internationally and so we obviously accepted them with open arms. We are very honored that they chose the zoo to spend their day of recreation and they didn’t really didn’t ask for anything formal, they didn’t ask for a ceremony but we decided to do something special for them so our education team has just finished taking the group around. It’s a mixture of old and young people who have varying disabilities and so they were given a special opportunity to meet the more charismatic members of the zoo family, the Lucky Boy, the black jaguar; some of our tapirs, our toucans; they got to interact, to hand feed, to touch these animals while learning about their importance or to their significance. The zoo’s mission is always to educate as much as possible; we have the exhibit and anyone can interact with the animals under supervision and guidance but we realized well over a year ago that we’re not reaching everyone as much as we could. Our path is just a gravel path but if you’re walking here in a wheel chair or a walker or if you are bringing your children in a stroller it will be very hard to maneuver through loose gravel. So that’s where Jerome Flores who is an associate of BAPDA came in.”
Internal Audit at Radisson Uncovers Embezzlement
Two men have been arrested and charged after over 186 thousand dollars was stolen from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. According to Police the CEO for the Radisson reported that during the months of January to August 2013 he noticed rising costs on their monthly financial statements for their Food and Beverages Department. An internal audit was conducted which discovered that a total of sixty cheques were generated by their payable accounts department by inputting false invoices numbers of suppliers into the system. The total sum of monies stolen amounted to one hundred and eighty six thousand, five hundred and twenty six dollars and sixty five cents. Last Thursday police formally arrested and charged 24 year old Justin Lacriox, for 28 counts of uttering a forged document, 28 counts of claiming upon a forged document and 28 counts of handling stolen goods. 33-year-old Brian Myvette was charged with eight counts of uttering a forged document, eight counts of claiming upon a forged document and eight counts of handling stolen goods. Police are looking for one more suspect in this incident
Belize Notes Marked Progress in Fight Against HIV/AIDS
World Aids day was celebrated yesterday December 1. The objectives of the day were to remember those lost to this epidemic, reflect on the progress of the past year to prevent HIV infections, improve the health of people living with HIV worldwide, and address HIV stigma and discrimination. Belize joins the rest of the world in doing its part in the fight against HIV and AIDS. One organization which has been fighting this battle since 2000 is the National Aids Commission. Chairperson, Kathy Esquivel sat down with Love News this afternoon to update us on the inroads that have been made and some of the challenges.
“Like many countries we are very pleased to say that we have made great end roads. The number of new cases that are being found is going down steadily; we are now at a level that we last saw around 2004 in terms of new cases and that’s not because we are not finding them because we still have the same or greater levels of testing. So, prevalence rate which means the number of people living with the disease is now under 1 percent and so that is good news. We however can’t allow that good news to make us complacent; there are still pockets of very much higher prevalence among certain parts of the population and so what we have to do now is to make sure that we can reach people who really need the information and the services.”
Retrial Ends With Guilty Verdict for Gabb
A jury of 5 women and 7 men deliberated for about two and a half hours today before it found 45 year old Alwin Gabb, guilty of the murder of Nolan Arana.
Gabb was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial judge, Justice John Gonzalez.
Arana, who worked as a security guard at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, was killed on July 6, 2007. He was stabbed 7 times in his body when he went to the home of his co-worker, Michelle Lennon, to get some food.
Lennon testified that as she stood on the verandah of her house to give Arana a plate of dinner, Gabb, her ex-common-law husband, stabbed Arana multiple times with a knife measuring 10 to 12 inches long.
Lennon said that before Gabb stabbed Arana, Gabb told Arana that he was the person causing his wife to disrespect him. Lennon also testified that Gabb told her that he tried to tell her that he will either kill her or someone for her.
US Embassy Remembers HIV/AIDS Victims on World AIDS Day
On 1st December the world joined together in observance of World Aids Day. Today the US embassy hosted a special ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives to this epidemic and to highlight the progress being made to prevent new HIV infections. Jessica Flighter is a political officer at the US Embassy and spoke on the work being done to fight aids.
“The Embassy works in partnership with local partners including PASMO, PASCA, Capacity International, Charlester University and other local partners in order to work on the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as de-stigmatization efforts. The embassy has a small grants program that we advertise every year that we help build capacity and offer project opportunities to smaller nongovernmental organizations. We have had a history of great success with that and we through PEPFAR which is run out of the Central American Regional Program directly fund more than 2 million Belize dollars to fight the spread of HIV AIDS.”
Buena Vista Chairman Steps up to Clarify his Name
Last night, reports in the local media was that the Chairman of Buena Vista, Eddie De La Rosa was detained in Melchor on alleged marijuana possession. According to the story published, De La Rosa was with some friends at the Puerta Negra Bar when they were approached by Police....
Police Sergeant Charged for Brutal Murder of Detainee
A Police Sergeant has been charged in connection with the death of 27 year old Tyson Rodriguez. Julio Shal, a 41 year old Sergeant attached to the Placencia Sub-Formation, was arraigned on murder this morning at a Mango Creek court house. Sgt. Shal was one of three officers assigned to...
Ministry of Agriculture Assess the Public on the Good Use of Pesticides
The Pesticides Control Board is a statutory body, appointed by the Minister responsible for agriculture and mandated with the implementation of the provisions of the Pesticides Control Act. In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Act, on November 28th, the board hosted an event featuring...
Man wanted for Extradition to US Beats the Charges
Recently Gary Seawell loss his battle as the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith order he be extradited to the United States. Meanwhile his brother, Mark awaits his ruling. But beating the extradition process recently was Khalid El Turk and yesterday, Bangladesh national, Fakhrul Salim, who was first brought before...
Two DJs Attacked When Party is Shut Down
It appears that a group of eight men weren’t ready to call it a night and reportedly attacked two disk jockeys when the DJ’s shut down the party. The incident occurred on Sunday, at about 3:15 a.m., where the two DJ’s, were playing inside D-Spot Lounge, located in Corozal...
Belizeans Recognize Andy Palacio’s 53rd Birthday
Belizeans at home and abroad, today recognize the 53rd birthday of cultural icon, Andy Vivian Palacio, who passed away on January 19, 2008. Born and raised in Barranco Mr. Palacio became a teacher, but later dedicated himself to preserve the Garifuna music and culture. Once a Cultural Ambassador...
12 yr. young Dies Suddenly, Days after Receiving Tetanus Shot
Last night, authorities were investigating the death of a 12 year old girl who fell ill after receiving a tetanus shot, while her family is trying to come to grips with her sudden passing. Young Sabrina Almendarez, a student of Independence Village was found motionless around 4:30 am on...
World AIDS Day Physician Assures Morality as a Must to Crush Down HIV
World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December each year. The day is set aside as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. In Belize, we also...
Arthur Saldivar Victorious as PUP Standard Bearer in Belize Rural North
The Belize Rural North Constituency has a new Standard Bearer, under the blue banner. Attorney Arthur Saldivar beat out two opponents, acquiring the seat. In a landslide victory, Mr. Saldivar, garnered 591, followed by Mr. Alburn Rivero with 302 and Beverly Lemoine with 27 votes. The present Area Representative for...
Former Kolbe Employee Claims Corruption Among Legal Team
As we reported on Friday evening’s news cast, four former employees- Abdul Nuñez, Herman Blease Sr., Carla Casimiro, and Ms. Carla Budna- are pushing a lawsuit for defamation against the Kolbe Foundation because of the contents of a 12-minute documentary was produced for the Belize Central Prison Coalition which...
DID TETANUS SHOT CAUSE 12-YEAR-OLD STUDENT’S DEATH?
The family of a 12-year old female student of Independence Village in the Stann Creek District is currently mourning her sudden death, which they believe could have possibly been caused by a tetanus shot that she received at school from officials of the Health Department last Monday, November 25, 2013.
Police have reported that based on information received, they visited the Southern Regional Hospital Morgue, located in Dangriga, on November 29, 2013 around 12:00 p.m., where they observed the body of Sabrina Almendarez,12, a student of Granian Street in Independence.
According to police, Gregory Almendarez, a teacher at Independence High School, reported that sometime around 4:00 a.m. last Friday, November 29, he went to check on his daughter, Sabrina, and found her motionless. She was then taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:40 a.m.
CURL GORDON, 30, GETS 3 YEARS FOR INDECENT ASSAULT
This morning, Curl Gordon, Jr., was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment when he appeared for his sentencing and mitigation hearings before Justice Adolph Lucas.
On November 21, a 9-member jury convicted Gordon of indecent assault after hearing testimony from his 7-year-old victim. She told the court that when she was at Gordon’s house on October 2, 2011, Gordon touched her inappropriately. The child’s mother also testified and told the court that she saw Gordon on top of her daughter and making jerking movements. But a doctor examined the child and certified that she had not been carnally known.
No one appeared on Gordon’s behalf and in his mitigation plea, he asked the court to be mindful that this was his first conviction and that his wife is expecting a child.
After hearing his plea, Justice Lucas then told Gordon that his case was a disturbing one since he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year old girl.
BELIZE CITY MURDERS DOWN BY 50% — NATIONAL FIGURE DROPS 32%
Crime statistics released by the Belize Police Department two weeks ago indicated that the number of murders for January to October 2013 had dropped a substantial 26% from last year’s high of 119.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced a further drop in the murder count for the country of Belize, amounting now to a 32% drop over last year’s figures. More than that, Barrow announced “a fantastic reduction” in the Belize City figures, for which he praised the security.
“The news continues to be good,” said Barrow, adding that Belize City, “which was most out of hand” had reported 37 murders to date, whereas last year the figure was 74.
Countrywide, the figure stands at 89 versus 130 at this time last year, Barrow said.
RODWELL WILLIAMS VS YEARWOOD LAND DISPUTE GOES TO COURT
“The quandary has been how come Mr. Rodwell Williams, Sr., ended up with the title …” – Yearwoods’ attorney
The land dispute between Rodwell Williams, Jr., and the Yearwood family of Cemetery Lane—over a property measuring 16 feet by 18 feet, substantially smaller than a conventional lot size—went before Supreme Court Justice Rita Olivette today, as she deliberated over an application to issue an injunction against the Yearwoods from stopping Williams from using the property under dispute.
Justice Olivette noted that underlying this entire claim is a dispute over the title to the land. The claimant thinks the land is his. The defendants are saying that Williams’ attempt to put a chattel house on the property marked the first time they became aware that someone was trying to claim what they considered to be their land.
“You have to understand it was a shocker – not only that he [Williams] had title but you bring the [Belize Defence Force] and the police to enforce this title,” Audrey Matura-Shepherd, attorney for the Yearwoods, told the media, outside the hearing.
24 WORKERS FIRED AND REHIRED BY BSI
On Friday, November 29, twenty-four workers of the Crop Growing Project of BSI were terminated. The men, who are members of the Belize Workers Union, took their plight to their union, which launched an offensive on their behalf, and today, all the workers have been rehired.
Information given to Amandala is that on Friday, the workers were told that they were no longer needed, and they were not to return to work on Monday. However, after negotiations between the union and BSI, the workers were all able to return to work.
The workers union announced that they are now negotiating with BSI on behalf of 82 workers who are on contract with BSI to make them permanent workers, so that they can qualify to receive benefits from the company.
1’S RUNNING WILD, THREE 1-1 DRAW GAMES IN DECEMBER 1 PLB BELIKIN CUP
The standings remain the same after 8 weeks of football competition in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014, after all 3 games played resulted in identical 1-1 scores. This past weekend’s games were the Week 5 backmatches, and all were played yesterday, Sunday, December 1. The Week 7 backmatches will be played this coming weekend.
Out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, late surging San Ignacio United almost accomplished back-to-back upsets of “big teams,” as they led Belize Defence Force FC by a 1-nil score, off a 29th minute goal by Carlos Vasquez, until late in second half. It wasn’t until the 89th minute that BDF got the equalizer from Khalil Velasquez, to salvage the 1-1 draw.
Down south at Toledo Union Field, goals were just as scarce, as the star studded Police United FC team is still struggling to score goals. Home standing and still league leading Paradise/Freedom Fighters struck first, with a goal from Alexander “Pleck” Peters at the 85th minute; but Police responded one minute later with a goal from Bernard Linares at the 86th minute, to secure the 1-1 draw.
BELIZE CITY MAYOR’S CUP TOURNAMENT WINDING DOWN
Here are the results of Belize City Mayor’s Cup tournament games played over the past week.
On Wednesday, November 27, Fort George Bombers dropped Ebony Lake, 5-0, with 2 goals from Clinton Gill and 1 apiece from Raymond “Bills” Marin, Tyrone “T-Bone” Muschamp and Francis Andrews.
On Thursday, November 28, Kephawn beat Hattieville SC, 5-2. Dalton Cayetano scored 2, and Kenroy Martin, Kareem Flowers and Francis Lemott scored a goal each for Kephawn; while Dejean Thompson and Ralph Spain scored for Hattieville.
In game 1 on Saturday, November 30, Kulture Yabra got their first win, 3-1, over Ladyville United, with 2 goals from Edward Rubio and 1 from Withfield Fisher. Erick Garcia got the goal for Ladyville. Game 2 saw Kephawn Pawn FC win by default (3-0) over Complex Admirals. With this victory, Kephawn effectively clinched the championship. In game 3, West Lake crushed Tulish, 5-0, with 2 goals from Delroy Andrews and 1 apiece from David McCaulay, Jr., Melhelm Hernandez and Nigel Franklin.
CHRISTMAS AND ITS MODERN CONTRADICTIONS Editorial
“And the Lord shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
- MATTHEW, Chapter 25, Verse 40
Christmas is a very interesting time of the year because of the contradictions involved with the season. On the one hand, the celebration is a Christian one, focused on the humble birth of the Christ Savior, emphasizing that when God the Father sent His Only-Begotten Son to redeem mankind from sin, He designed it so that His Son was born in a wretched stable in Bethlehem surrounded by animals. Jesus Christ was born in a stable because there was no room for His parents at the Bethlehem inn. On the other hand, the Christmas season has become a period of very intense business and economic activity of all kinds, while on the family level citizens are driven to clean and refurbish their homes while preparing ample food and drink for the extended holiday season. Christmas is the most frenzied time of work in the entire calendar year, and nowadays “Christmas” lasts for several weeks.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
“The vital statistics of men and women in Belize during the period are almost non-existent. So I made up some of them. Fortunately, I am not a qualified historian and therefore, not bound by the rigid restrictions of the professional. I am an entertainer and a propagandist. The object of my propaganda, pure and simple, is the glorification of Belize in the hearts and minds of today’s Belizeans and future generations.”
- pg. 3, INTRODUCTION, Belize 1798 – The Road To Glory, Emory King, Tropical Books, 1991
In the beginning of slavery, the European and neo-European slavemasters were not interested in doing any kind of education of their slaves. One of the reasons for this was that all the slavemasters were interested in was field and forest production by and from these slaves, and this field and forest production involved more brawn than brains. Some kind of skill training was involved, but not at a sophisticated level. Those slaves who acquired status were those who could increase the work production from their own kind, and these became known as “slavedrivers.” The second reason there was no education of slaves in the beginning, was that one of the European justifications of slavery was that Africans were just dumb brutes and were not capable of learning anything.
BELIZE COAST GUARD RECRUITS ADDITIONAL “QUALITY” MANPOWER
The Belize Coast Guard received added reinforcements today in the form of 30 new recruits. The new Coast Guard officers – known as Recruit Intake #4 – were officially inducted this morning at a graduation and inauguration ceremony that was held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
Amandala was there to witness the 3-tier event, which encompassed the acknowledgement of the Coast Guard’s 8th anniversary; the graduation of Recruit Intake #4; and the inauguration ceremony for a brand new Coast Guard forward operating base, 1 ½ miles southwest of the island – dubbed as “Station San Pedro.”
The surveillance post, which is built to withstand hurricane force winds, is strategically located on a plot of land that is situated on the leeward side of the island town – at the entrance of the marina channel of ‘La Isla Bonita.’ The land – which was initially acquired from the Belize Port Authority – also accommodates a diesel generator and two full-sized fuel tanks that have the capacity to hold 5,000 gallons of diesel and gasoline to service the Coast Guard’s fleet of Boston Whaler boats which will be attached to the station; while the structure is capable of housing up to 16 Coast Guard personnel at any given time. It also includes a command center with state-of-the-art equipment and tracking devices, and a docking facility for up to two large vessels. The specified area of operation for the new base extends way beyond Ambergris Caye – as far north as Chetumal Bay, and as far south as Caye Caulker.
DEON BRUCE BACK IN COURT TODAY – CHIEF MAGISTRATE TO GIVE HER DECISION ON JANUARY 8, 2014
This morning, Deon Bruce, 28, along with his attorney Godfrey Smith, returned to court, where submissions were made by both Smith and Magali Perdomo, who represented the Attorney General’s office.
Bruce is wanted by the US on charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery and firearm possession for an incident which allegedly occurred on July 20, 2010.
At 4:35 p.m. on July 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois, Aaron Carter and Bryan Rogers got into an argument with Bruce, after which Rogers and or Carter threw a bottle at Bruce’s blue Volvo car.
After the bottle was thrown, Bruce allegedly stopped his car, went to the back of it, and pulled out a firearm. Bruce then allegedly used that firearm and fired several shots at the men, hitting both men, and injuring Carter fatally.
FAKHRUL SALIM HAS NO CASE TO ANSWER TO AND WILL NOT BE EXTRADITED
“Fakhrul Alam Salim must hereby be discharged and he is free to go.”
That was the ruling of the Chief Magistrate Anne-Marie Smith issued in writing on Thursday, November 28, 2013, after hearing arguments from both Magalie Perdomo and Iliana Swift on behalf of the Government of Belize, and Godfrey Smith, attorney for Salim.
On March 21, 2013, a warrant was issued against Salim after the United States sent a request for his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to manufacture and aid in the manufacturing of methamphetamine for importation into the US and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Smith argued that the charges pertaining to the manufacture of methamphetamine are not extraditable offenses under the Extradition Act of Belize, and they did not constitute any offenses in Belize.
HOUSE FIRE IN SAN ROMAN, COROZAL DISTRICT
While the property of Rosendo Sanchez of San Pedro Colombia, in Toledo, was being destroyed by fire, due to what he strongly believed to be arson, another thatched house was also being destroyed in San Roman, in the Corozal District, the property of Frederick Edwards, a bus driver of San Roman.
Edwards told police that he was at home about 11:50 Saturday night when he began to feel heat and smoke fill the house. He went outside to see what was happening, and that was when he saw his thatched roof burning, and the house quickly became engulfed in flames.
Edwards could not save anything, and reported that the estimated loss was about $13, 325 – the value of the house, and household furnishings and appliances.
Police said that they have launched an investigation, but arson is not suspected.
It’s Not Just About the View at Cahal Pech Village Resort
Belize is a relatively flat country…the highest man made structure is the Mayan main temple at the Caracol site. The highest peak in Belize is called Doyle’s Delight and soars to just over 3500 feet.
Much of Belize’s population lives at or around sea level – our largest city, Belize City is just a few inches above.
What’s my point? Belize has many many beautiful sights…ocean views, jungle landscapes, mangroves and orchards but when it comes to majestic hilltop vistas? They are something special. And I think I found the one of the best views in Cayo, in all of Belize…from the Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio.
Cahal Pech Resort is just outside San Ignacio town about a 20 minute walk UPHILL or an easy $5bzd taxi. (It is just up the road from both Sweet Ting Pastries and the popular Cayo Twist soft serve joint – if that’s not reason enough to visit.)
The resorts location is great for two reasons. It is perched on a hill that overlooks the valley and the town. That equals one amazing view. (And I’ll get to the cigarette smoking pterodactyl in a bit.)
No More Poverty (and a lot more Love) in Belize
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Yes, from our “more good news about Belize” files comes this nice story about two brothers and their charity working towards the eradication of poverty in Belize.
And, at the risk of sounding like the cheerleading squad for Belize’s First Lady, the indefatigable Kim Simplis Barrow, this is based on another one of her good works.
Ms Simplis Barrow, who is also Belize’s special Envoy for Women and Children, came up with the idea of the Belize Inspiration Centre (http://www.belizeinspirationcenter.org), which will be set up to provide services to children with disabilities and is expected to open early 2014.
Now, we all know the difficulties in getting something like this off the ground, especially given the realities of a developing country such as Belize.
Enter the Omidi brothers, Julian and his doctor sibling Michael, who have a charity known as No More Poverty. The brothers have kindly agreed to contribute to the Belize Inspiration Centre to ensure it gets off the ground, and we’d like to join in letting them know how grateful Belize is, as there are precious few opportunities for children with special needs.
Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), celebrating one year.
On November 25, 2013 the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), celebrated its one year anniversary in a grandeur manner. In truth, Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (or MSMEs, as they are commonly known) play a fundamental role in the economic and social development through income and employment generation for a wide cross section of the Belizean population.
Remarkably, SBDCBelize is the first of its type to grace the CARICOM region. On October 31st, 2012, magically and wearisomely in less than a month the organization was birthed. The Government of Belize was integral in supporting the organization alongside invaluable stakeholders such as the Organization of American States, US Misson to the OAS, University of Texas at San Antonio, the Development Finance Corporation, the University of Belize, La Immaculada Credit Union, and with the helpful assistance of Ms. Julianne Buynak PeaceCorp volunteer and Ms. Diana Hernandez, Export Development Officer at BELTRAIDE. The event further reiterated BELTRAIDE’s commitment in ensuring SBDCBelize remains the counsellor/ advisor for aspiring entrepreneurs and that their success will only intensify as they venture in the promising future.
Integral Development of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominica Republic
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in collaboration with the Regional Center for Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises (CENPROMYPE), with the support of the Government of Taiwan and Colombia, presented awards to the recipients of the Integral Development Program of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominican Republic ,on Tuesday November 26, 2013, at the Belize Biltmore Plaza.
This event takes place in the framework of the implementation of the project “Integral Development Program of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominican Republic”, which is facilitated by CENPROMYPE in coordination with BELTRAIDE. The purpose of the project was to promote and strengthen entrepreneurship in the region with the aim of establishing, developing, and strengthening MSME’s in the entire country of Belize.
Standard & Poor's Ratings report card for Belize
Here is the Standard & Poor's Ratings report card for Belize and see how Belize falls in comparison to other Caribbean and Latin America countries.
CARICOM Statement on Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the DR
The following is a Press Release received yesterday from the CARICOM Secretariat in ref to the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of Dominican Republic on the nationality issue which retroactively strips tens of thousands of Dominicans, mostly of Haitian descent, of citizenship rendering them stateless and with no recourse to appeal.
Transparency International’s Belize Corruption Data
The 2013 Corruption Perception Index is an annual measure of the apparent levels of public sector dishonesty in a hundred and seventy-seven countries and territories. The list scores each country on a scale from zero to a hundred, the former being highly corrupt and the latter very clean. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of all countries scored below fifty, a grave indication that corruption is a global problem. What’s astonishing is that Belize has been excluded from this year’s index, despite the number of scandals—that is, we are told, because government has not submitted any report to the organization. The only other country that has no ranking in the index is Western Sahara. The Chair of Transparency International, Huguette Labelle, has gone on record to say, (Quote) “it is time to stop those who get away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt.” (Unquote)
International Corruption Perceptions Index 2013
Belizean Anthropologist Speaks
Joe Awe is a Belizean activist, entrepreneur, anthropologist, mayanist, tourism lecturer at a local junior college, and also one of Belize's top tour guides.
I met with him over coffee last week to talk about the future of Belize and I insisted that he needed to share his knowledge and ideas on Belize to the world.
The conversation led to the birth of this interview where he shares some interesting facts and ideas on Belize's history, culture, ecotourism, economy and sustainable development.
Please tell me about yourself and where you were born? How has Belize changed since your youth?
I was born in San Ignacio, the first of three children. Belize inevitably has changed very much since I was a child. There are more opportunities; more educational options; more infrastructural development; a robust tourism industry; the development of oil extraction, and there is also a tremendous effort in guiding the country to be more compatible with the fast-changing times to keep us competitive and relevant in the region.
3 Places To Live The American Retirement Dream Overseas
#2: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
"Walk down the street on Ambergris Caye," a friend, Peter, who lives there says, "and you hear the music of the Boomers all around--the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin...
"These folks, the Baby Boomers, who have been moving onto the island in growing numbers for years," Peter continues, "had a great time in the 1960s, listening to their music, growing their hair long, and getting stoned all the time. Then they became the most boring people on the planet. They made a lot of money by ignoring everything but hard work.
"Now they're looking to reclaim their lives. They're finding their way, in retirement, in bigger and bigger numbers, to places like Ambergris Caye, Belize, where they're listening to their music again, growing their hair long again, and spending their days stoned again."
Peter is joking about that last bit, but the point is that Ambergris Caye has what a lot of North American retirees are looking for right now, making it another of the most turn-key and user-friendly places in the world to retire overseas.
New deal to improve Olympic coverage in the Caribbean
Philip Guishard, Secretary-General of the Bermuda Olympic Association (BOA) today commented on the recent decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award the regional broadcasting rights to the 2016 Rio Games - to CANOC Broadcasting Inc.(CBI).
CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI) is a company that has been formed by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) across the Caribbean to purchase, monetise and manage the broadcast rights for the Olympic Games and other sporting properties.
Mr. Guishard said, “The BOA is very pleased to be a part of this venture, which has been in the making for a number of years. With previous broadcasting arrangements, Bermudians—like residents of other countries in the region—have been often been frustrated by a lack of coverage of our athletes performing on the world stage. With the IOC having awarded regional broadcasting rights to CBI, we anticipate that much more coverage of our athletes will be available for competition in Rio and in other events of the world sports stage.”
The Worst Family Vacation We Ever Had….in Belize
Fortunately at the end of our week of kayaking, we’d booked three nights at an eco lodge in the jungle. It was a small place, hard to reach and very beautiful. Swimming in a free form pool, tubing the local river, exploring Mayan caves on the hotel’s land, feeding horses star fruit, admiring beautiful flowers and dining on excellent food – all of this – revived our spirits. And after hearing stories from the owner we gained a healthy respect for the local Fer-de-lance poisonous snake.
Best of the Week - Cayo Espanto - Belize
Belize has a lot going for them – pristine beaches; premiere scuba diving (largest coral reef in Western Hemisphere, hello!); and lush rain forests – to name a few. We’re big fans. Our favorite Belizean lure, however, is the five-star private island just off Belize’s coast.
If you want to pretend you are the only person on the earth who matters, and that every one else thinks so, too - you need to book a stay at Cayo Espanto. It’s not surprising they made Islands Magazine’s top ten Best Private Islands in the World list this year (among other glowing accolades).
This uber luxurious boutique resort is comprised of seven sublimely decorated wooden villas. Think Swiss Family Robinson, only a million times better. The Casa Olita Beach Villa boasts a plunge pool, private deck, alfresco showers and a walled garden. Casa Manana Beach offers a 180-degree vista of the Caribbean, private plunge pool and personal dock. Oceanfront Casa Solana Beach Villa has a private infinity pool to lounge in, a private verandah, and killer sunset views. A stay in Casa Brisa Beach Villa includes a private verandah, lagoon views, a private dock and a private plunge pool.
Swimming with dolphins at Black Bird Caye
Shot with a GoPro Hero 3
In Search of the Jaguar
In Search of the Jaguar – A National Geographic Video
Alan Rabinowitz, PhD is the President and CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to protecting the world’s 36 wild cat species. Dr Rabinowitz is one of the world’s leading big cat experts, and has been called The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Conservation by TIME Magazine. His work in Belize resulted in the world’s first jaguar sanctuary, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Quick Jaguar Facts
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas. The jaguar has a compact body, a broad head and powerful jaws. Its coat is normally yellow and tan, but the color can vary from reddish brown to black. The spots on the coat are more solid and black on the head and neck and become larger rosette-shaped patterns along the side and back of the body.