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Northern Belize Sees Reduction in Major Crimes
There was a reduction in major crime in the northern part of the country in 2013. Arturo Cantún spoke with the officers commanding the Regional Command of the Belize Police Department who explained the strategy that they will implement in order to keep the crime statistics down and build safer communities.
ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING
Over all the northern part of Belize saw close to 30% decrease in major crimes in 2013. Commander of the Northern Region for the Police Department is Superintendent Joseph Myvette.
SUPERINTENDENT JOSEPH MYVETTE
“2013 was a challenging year but certainly, we did make some serious in-roads in the reduction of major crimes; that could not have been done without the public’s participation and certainly, several crime initiatives had to have been put in place.”
Ambushed, Kidnapped and Robbed; Trio Lives to Tell Ordeal
A family of Copper Bank Village in the Corozal District is in turmoil following a kidnapping that happened last night at around eight o’clock. Reports received at Love News Centre is that 24-year-old, Sabino Nah and his 32-year-old, Eduardo Nah along with Eduardo’s common-law-wife, 25-year-old, Roxanie Cruz arrived at their house last night where they were ambushed by four Spanish-speaking men. Sabino told investigators that one of the men hit him in the head with the butt of a rifle and was then forced to lie on the ground and was handcuffed. The other three assailants then proceeded to take Eduardo and his spouse in the house which Sabino saw as an opportunity to escape and seek help. A few minutes later when Sabino returned to the house with the help of some of the villagers, the assailants, his brother and the woman were gone. Extensive searches were conducted by Police from the Corozal and the Orange Walk Districts but they turned out fruitless.
“My Body Is Precious” – Campaign Continues Countrywide
The “My Body is Precious – Girl Empowerment Campaign” was in Orange Walk Town this afternoon. The national campaign started last week in Belmopan. Heading the campaign is Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow who said the activity is an empowerment rally which aims at encouraging high schools girls to take pride in themselves and to delay sexual activity.
“It’s about carrying the message of sexual abuse and if they are being abused, they should report it. Definitely, we have seen an increase of our young girls being taken advantage of and young girls being pressured into having sex by their boyfriends or by their friends. So, I just wanted to make it clear that we can start a new trend by just waiting until you’re mature enough to experience something like this. I would more want to put it as delaying your sexual debut. As high school girls, they should be focusing on studying; they should be doing girl things, listening to music, going to movies, participating in sports, reading books. Engaging in sexual activity can affect their future; they can get pregnant, they can get a sexual transmitted disease, they will fall out of school; there are so many things that come with it. As for the young men, we will be doing something with our boys; we need to address what our boys are going through and it is very important that we don’t put them apart but for now, I really just wanted to focus on girls.”
Shot to The Head While Washing Vehicle
A 28-year-old man of Belize City is at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to the head. Police reports say that Williams was approached by two persons last night at around 8:45 on Raccoon Street in Belize City, who were offering to sell him vehicle tire rims. It is uncertain as to what was said but the encounter ended with Williams being shot to the head. Williams’ mother, Lelia Williams, told Love News that she has no idea who would want to hurt her son.
“They said that two gunmen rode up to him and asked him if he can purchase the two car rims that he is selling and he told them someone already came to see them and they are sold and then one of the gunmen just shot him in the head and the other just dispersed. He is on life support machine and he is critical.
BPO Association Formed in Belize
People involved in the call-in services, along with representatives from the internet service providers, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the business support organizations and the University of Belize met this morning at the I-TVET building in Belize City to form the Belize BPO Association. The move to bring the group together was spearheaded by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, following what has been described as a very lucrative business process outsourcing industry, or what is more popularly known as the call-in centres. With over two thousand Belizeans employed in the sector at 18 calls centres, Executive Director of BELTRAIDE, Nick Ruiz, says that in 2013 alone, Belize earned over 50 million dollars in export revenues through the call-in centres. But while it has been lucrative, Ruiz adds that there is a need to offer a wider range of services through the service.
It’s been a really phenomenal growth since 2008 and now we feel that we need to get all those voices together so that the Association can speak as one when it comes to development issues for the sector.
Debt Restructuring Earns Award for Belize
Belize has been awarded the “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year” by Latin Finance. According to a Government release, following the successful conclusion of landmark negotiations between creditors and the Government of Belize to restructure the country’s five hundred and forty seven point five million US dollar superbond in March 2013, it was announced last week that the transaction has been awarded the 2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year by Latin Finance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Government of Belize formally received the award at a ceremony held at Gotham Hall in New York City last Thursday. Accepting the award on behalf of the people of Belize and Prime Minister Dean Barrow was Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House, who himself played an instrumental role in facilitating the negotiations with creditors that began in mid-2012. Peyrefitte was responsible for arranging a series of top-level meetings between the Prime Minister and the Co-Chairs of the Coordinating Committee that led to the key break-through in the discussions, and continues to serve as a liaison between Belize and the international financial community.
GSU Intercepts Vehicle on Highway; Prohibited Weapon Found
The Gang Suppression Unit has arrested and charged, who they describe as a reputed drug distributor along with five others known to be associated with the Peace in the Village (PIV) gang. The arrests came as a result of the discovery one PARA brand .45 pistol loaded with an extended magazine containing seven .45 live rounds of ammunition. According to the GSU, a team was out in the city on Friday, January 17 at around 10:45pm when they intercepted a red Ford F150 pickup truck without license plates on Peter Seco Street in Belize City. Driving the vehicle at the time was 34-year-old, security guard of Green Street in Belize City, Richard Smith while the passengers were 19-year-old, Jihadul Gill Sr.; 29-year-old, Everal Gray; 18-year-old, Delbert Alvarez; 18-year-old, Alrick Lamb and 18-year-old, Arthur Hill Jr. all of Belize City addresses. Lamb pled guilty to the charges when he appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. He was sentenced to five years for each offence with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. But despite Lamb’s guilty plea the charges were not withdrawn from the others; they were remanded into custody until March 17. All six persons were represented by attorney Bryan Neal.
Wanted Man Gets Chopped During Burglary Incident
Fugitive, twenty two year old Kevin “Midget” Manzanero was arrested by Cayo Police over the weekend. Love News understands that Manzanero was arrested by San Ignacio Police yesterday afternoon after he sought medical attention for chops wounds. Manazero along with twenty five year old Alex “Cat” Reid are wanted for the December murder of 56 year old Freddy Lopez in San Ignacio, Cayo. Both Manzanero and Reid are also wanted in Corozal Town for a number of robberies and burglaries. We understand that Manzanero was caught by San Ignacio Police in the act of an aggravated burglary.
Sunday Night Murder in the City
An unemployed man of Belize City is the latest murder victim. On Sunday night sometime around ten o’clock gunshots rang out in Banak Street. When it was over 36-year-old Eaton Emory Carr laid dead. Police say when they arrived on the scene they found Carr of a Holy Emmanuel Street address lying on his side in a drain with apparent gunshot wounds to the neck, upper chest, right arm and back. Today, Carr’s family is preparing to lay him to rest and his older brother, Denmark Carr, says that the family has no idea who would want to kill their love one.
“I understand that he was riding through Banak Street last night and they just came up to him and shot him up and left him there in a drain. I don’t know if he had enemies but the man used to be in the streets in the past but he was trying to change his life and when you try to change your life that is when people try to chance you.
Uncle Faces Attempted Murder Charge After Being Accused of Chopping Nephew
Fifty-four year old Frank Garcia, who allegedly chopped his nephew, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Garcia was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm, He was remanded into custody until March 20. The complainant, 23 year old Sherwin Garcia Jr., reported to the police that on January 12, he was riding his bicycle in front of his home on Oleander Street when his uncle called out to him and when he turned around his uncle chopped to the left side of his face with a machete. Sherwin was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition was reported to be critical but stable. Frank, whose head was bandaged, said that he was beaten by the police.
Teenagers Charged with Attempted Murder
19 year old Joseph Lopez and a 17 year old boy, were charged with attempted murder when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. They were remanded into custody until April 22. The charges arose from an incident that occurred around 9:50 p.m. on January 15 in which 29 year old James Elijio was shot to the back of his neck. Elijio reported to the police that he was standing in front of his house on Flamboyant Street when two persons riding on bicycles approached him and fired several shots at him and one of the bullets struck him in his neck. Elijio was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition is reported to be critical but stable.
Belize’s Top Brass Hosted in UK
Belize’s top ranking military officers- Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Rear Rear Admiral John Borland and Commander of the Belize Defense Force Brigadier General David Jones has just concluded an official visit to the United Kingdom. On their visit, Commandant Borland and Commander Jones met the Ministry of Defence Minister Doctor Andrew Murrison as well as senior British military officers. The officers were invited by the British Government to participate in an international maritime security capability conference and exhibition in early January. Borland and Jones attended a number of high level meetings at the UK Ministry of Defence and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They were also hosted on board the HMS Argyll vessel which was at anchor in the Thames next to Tower Bridge.
Will Occupational Safety and Health Bill be Introduced at Tomorrow’s House Meeting?
After years of rallying for the implementation of a legislation to protect workers on the job site, the Unions say they have been informed that the bill-dubbed the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, will be tabled at tomorrow’s sitting of the House of Representatives. For clarity on what the...
Couple Kidnapped for Ransom in the North
Tonight, authorities are investigating the kidnapping of a couple that occurred last night in the Corozal District. Police were called out to - Copper Bank Village where they met with Sabino Nah, a 24 year old fisherman of the village. Nah told them that the incident unfolded at around ...
Bloodshed Continues in the Old Capital
A Belize City resident is at the KHMH tonight fighting for his life after he was shot to the head. Shortly before 9 this morning, 28 year old Micah Williams was on Racoon Street Extension when he was approached by two men, inquiring about purchasing vehicle rims. One of...
Known Gang Affiliate Charged with Weapon Offenses
Also in crime news, Police have confiscated an unlicensed firearm off the streets of Belize City. The holder of the weapon they say, is known affiliate of the Supaul Street Gang. On Saturday morning, Shaquille Perrera was busted in the vicinity of West Collet Canal with a .25 pistol and...
Suspected Murderer Found Dead
Meanwhile, in the west, the body of a man wanted in connection to the murder of Canadian National Brian Townsend was discovered on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Marlon Balona was found by a local, under cohune leaves in a secluded area in the village of La Gracia. It is believed
BNTU Hits San Ignacio for the Third Leg of Scheduled Rallies
As you may know, this Friday, BNTU is hitting San Ignacio, Cayo, for the third leg of the scheduled rallies. However, this time, the rally takes on a much broader perspective as they are joined by community activist, Mary Cariddi, who is calling for a District wide shutdown of...
Rise and Shine Hosting for Free Legal Advice on Land Issues
For far too long we have been reporting land issue after land issue, but this week Plus TV’s very own Rise and Shine is taking it a step further; turning thought into action. For the first time since its initiation, Rise and Shine, with the assistance of a group...
Old Road Residents Given Reprieve
PLUS News learned today that residents of the Old Northern Highway in the village of Ladyville have been told that M&M Engineering, which they accuse of disturbing their peace with heavy activity at their construction compound and damaging several sections of road in the area, must limit that activity
BTL Park Opened
This morning the BTL Park was launched with opening ceremonies by the Belize City Council. It took several months to be completed but the results were pleasing to all in attendance, particularly corporate sponsors Belize Telemedia Limited and Bowen and Bowen Group, as well as to international partners such...
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Caye Caulker’s little sailors compete in San Pedro
Caye Caulker’s little sailors spent a day in San Pedro honing their sailing skills alongside the San Pedro Sailing Club. We can honestly say we have not seen anything as cute in a long time. Angel, Malik and Alanis were excellent ambassadors. We are so proud of you, sailors! Aye.
Caye Caulker’s own Nordstrom model is back on the island
Jake, son of Mark Mossiah and Mariette Ravet, is back on his beloved Caye Caulker.
Jake was signed with Elite Models a few years ago when the modeling company fell in love with his runway strut.
Beloved Jake, among other things, has appeared in print ads for Nordstrom.
Caye Caulker BTIA to hold Annual General Meeting
Annual General Meeting for the
Caye Caulker BTIA.
Dear Members and Business Owners,
You are cordially invited to our Caye Caulker Annual General Meeting. The meeting will be held on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Community Centre.
This meeting is called to update members of the status of BTIA Caye Caulker, as well as to hold elections for a new Board. We encourage you to participate actively and fully in the process. We look forward to see you at the AGM.
GUATEMALAN XATÉROS STILL IN COLUMBIA RIVER FOREST RESERVE
In response to increased sightings of Guatemalan xatéros inside the Columbia River Forest Reserve, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) plans to undertake an expedition in the area to document the reported incursions which have been marginalizing Maya hunters and farmers in the area, BTV founder Wil Maheia told Amandala.
Last week, Fermin Castellano of San Antonio reported that he had seen a Guatemalan xatéro armed with both a machete and firearm, and harvesting the xaté palm as far as 12 miles inside Belizean territory, near the La Union area of the Columbia River Forest Reserve.
Castellano said that when he saw the armed xatéro, he became nervous and hid in the bushes.
Although it happened three years ago, the armed assault by xatéros on Emelino Cho, the alcalde of San Jose Village, Toledo, and villager Alfredo Sho, near Doyle’s Delight, Cayo—who xatéros had shot after the men gave them food—has embedded lingering fear in many Toledo villagers, forcing them to cut back on farming and hunting activities.
WANTED MAN CHOPPED UP, NOW CAPTURED
One of police’s most wanted fugitives, Kevin “Midget” Manzanero, 27, of Santa Elena, Cayo District, wanted for crimes such as robbery and murder that have brought terror to the residents of Bullet Tree and surrounding areas in the Cayo District, has finally been captured.
Manzanero reportedly went to the San Ignacio Hospital today to seek medical attention for machete chop wounds to the head, shoulder, face and hands. Reports are that one of the chop wounds has caused him to lose one of his eyes.
Hospital authorities called police immediately, as mandated. When police arrived, they were surprised to find that the victim of the machete attack was none other than one of their most wanted fugitives, Kevin “Midget” Manzanero.
Manzanero was immediately arrested and put under police guard while receiving medical treatment at the hospital, where he has been admitted.
UNDERTAKER, MAKE ME A COFFIN!
The family of a thief must find a coffin to bury him in when he died after being shot during a robbery attempt in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. At about 10:15 last night, Sunday, a San Pedro accountant of Marina Street returned home on his golf cart and stopped to open his gate. The man told police that as he was getting off the cart to open his gate, two men came out of the shadows of the bushes and one of them pointed a gun at him.
According to the accountant, both men wore sweater hoods on their heads, and one of them, of fair complexion, was dressed in a black hooded sweater with the words “TEXAS TECH” emblazoned on the front. He also had a black warm hat over his face and a rag over his mouth.
That thief was armed with a black .9 mm pistol.
The other thief was dressed in a white hooded sweater with a rag over his mouth, and he was unarmed.
The gunman pointed the gun at him and told him not to move, and not to reach for his gun, the accountant told police. The accountant reported that as the gunman said this, he, the gunman, fired a shot at him, the accountant, but missed.
BANAK STREET MURDER – VICTIM AMBUSHED
The seemingly never-ending gun violence has claimed the life of a man who was walking on the dangerous Banak Street, in the city’s Southside. Last night at about 9:50, Eaton Emory Carr, 27, originally of Dangriga but who lived in the Aloe Vera Street area of Belize City, was shot multiple times by unknown gunmen.
Police reports are that Carr was walking on Banak Street towards the Central American Boulevard when unknown gunmen fired many shots at him. Neighbors quickly called police, who found Carr lying in a drain by the street side. He had been shot in the neck, the upper chest, the right arm and the upper back.
Carr was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival at about 11:00 p.m.
Police have not yet found the murderer.
Carr’s family told Amandala that they were at home last night about 10:00 when police went to their house and asked for Eaton, but did not tell them that he had been killed. They left when they were told that Eaton was not at home.
BELIZE SUPER-BOND SAVVY: COUNTRY WINS LATINFINANCE AWARD
Back in 2012, when Belize was in the heat of negotiations with bondholders to restructure the billion-dollar debt acquired under the last administration, some analysts were very critical of the move, claiming that Belize’s restructuring offer was “worse than investors expected” and that it would set a dangerous precedent.
Today, though, it was announced that LatinFinance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean, had awarded Belize the “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year,” for the US$547.5MM super-bond debt restructuring concluded in March 2013.
“Negotiated in a period of less than one year, the consensual nature of the collaboration demonstrated between the Government of Belize and the coordinating committee of Belize bondholders to achieve a comprehensive restructuring transaction has been lauded by a number of international agencies and financial institutions, and is being pointed to as a precedent for future sovereign restructurings,” said a statement from the Government of Belize.
The team was led by Ambassador Mark Espat and the members were Minister of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management Hon. Godwin Hulse; Financial Secretary Joseph Waight; Governor of Central Bank of Belize Glenford Ysaguirre; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, Christine Vellos; Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Allan Slusher; Deputy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Yvette Alvarez; and CEO for the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde.
STANDOFF AT SEA!
The European cargo vessel which goes by the name The CFS Palencia has been docked off the coast of Belize City for over a week, primarily because the Government of Belize (GOB) secured a court order to seize the international cargo ship on Friday, January 10.
The vessel is a sister ship to The Paranga, which, in July 2012, caused over 9 million dollars in damages to Belize’s Barrier Reef when it ran aground two miles southeast of English Caye.
The persons responsible made a false promise that they would return to settle any fines arising, and the Government hold-up of the Palencia is in the hopes that the ship’s owners will arrange payment of the $9.6 million environmental fee that was levied on The Paranga.
Well, that has not happened, and in the meantime, cargo – including citrus concentrate, shrimp and corn – for export to Jamaica is sitting on board, stuck in transit.
Today, CEO and receiver of the Port of Belize, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, told Amandala how the situation has affected operations in terms of shipments at the port.
Editorial: PUP ADJUSTMENTS
As part of their honoring of the January 15 birthday of Rt. Hon. George Price, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) last week unveiled a l0-point program which was intended to move the grand old party back to its social justice roots.
This newspaper welcomes the PUP social justice program, if only in its symbolism, because we have been accusing the PUP of having gone so far to the right over the last two decades, that they have become more neoliberal than the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) itself, the political party which introduced neoliberal capitalism in Belize when the UDP was founded in 1973.
Some history is relevant here. We consider ourselves on Partridge Street as having campaigned for a political party of our choosing in three different general elections. These were for the PUP in 1979, for the UDP in 1984, and for the PUP in 1998. In all the aforementioned national elections, the party we campaigned for won a landslide victory. On these three occasions, this newspaper had felt, whether rightly or wrongly, that a victory for the “other” side would have threatened our very existence.
45 years ago, three young university graduates made a splash in Belizean public affairs when they went to the streets. These were Assad Shoman, Said Musa, and Evan X Hyde. Assad Shoman admired and loved Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution so much, he eventually abandoned Belize and went to live in Havana. Shoman became a top flight academic. After Shoman resigned electoral politics here in 1984, his closest friend, Said Musa, apparently began a move to the right, so much so that his two consecutive terms as Prime Minister of Belize were marked by doctrinaire neoliberal capitalism. Evan X Hyde, for most of his public life, has been representing what we will refer to as an independent minority on Belize’s socio-political spectrum. When this independent minority takes sides with any of the two major political parties, as it did in 1979, 1984, and 1998, it tips the scales in that party’s favor.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
We speak of the concept of democracy as if it represents a Holy Grail, as if it is something which should solve our problems as a people. As Belize’s socio-economic problems have persisted, and indeed grown worse, through our 32 years of political independence, serious citizens of high intellectual capacity have focused on the precise nature of our “parliamentary democracy” in the quest for a better kind of government (“governance”, as they say), or in the search for changes which would reform the present system, make it a better system for all concerned.
The Government of Belize which was elected to office in August of 1998 was expected to be a government of logic and progressive thinking. PUP Leader Said Musa had put together a group of qualified minds to surround and advise him, and many of these qualified minds became Cabinet Ministers in his first administration. Because of the aura of intellectual freedom surrounding the first Musa administration, a so-called “reform movement” was organized in “civil society” to discuss how we were governed. The movement featured people like Godwin Hulse, Francis Gegg, Patrick Rogers, and several more.
BELIZE DISTRICT TEACHERS RALLY FOR SALARY ADJUSTMENT
Since the start of the New Year 2014 – which has been dubbed by union leaders as the “Year of the Worker” – the workers unions have intensified their efforts to get the Government to heed their calls not only for a long awaited salary adjustment, but also for accountability and transparency with regards to pressing social and national issues such as corruption, which remain unaddressed in the eyes of many Belizeans.
One of those unions who have been at the forefront of the agitation, and one with the most widespread membership base is the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), whose members are clamoring for a salary adjustment, which they say has not been effected since 2005.
The BNTU has organized a series of peaceful, weekly rallies to be held nationwide in order to mobilize not only teachers, but public officers from across the country to stand together and raise awareness about those issues on the front burner – including their salary adjustment.
The stance has been met with a level of disdain by the Ministry of Education, which insists that there is no need for any industrial action on the part of the teachers.
OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM TO VISIT BELIZE
The Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that Belize is among six Caribbean countries picked for site visits this April by the OAS’s Anticorruption Mechanism within the context of its fourth round of review, to conclude in March 2015.
The other countries on the itinerary are Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.
“The process of on-site visits to the six Caribbean countries, which are carried out with their consent, began last December, when the governments of these nations sent their replies to the questionnaire sent by MESICIC (Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of Inter-American Convention against Corruption) delegates as a prior step to the visit of the delegations,” the OAS said.
It added that each subgroup is composed of representatives of two member countries, with the support of officials from the OAS Department of Legal Cooperation.
Visits to these six countries will bring the total countries visited for on-site reviews up to 25 countries.
START OF SUGAR SEASON PUSHED BACK ONCE MORE
Today was scheduled to be the start date for the much delayed 2013/2014 sugar crop season; however, Amandala understands that deliveries of cane have been deferred for another four days.
That is based on a decision that was made by Government and the relevant stakeholders of the sugar industry at a meeting that was held last Friday, January 17, regarding the impassable conditions of the sugar roads.
Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Works agreed that deliveries would not be able to start until this Friday, January 24, 2014 because work on the very critical sugar roads has just begun, and more time would be needed to complete at least 50-75% of the road works. Contracts for road works have been signed; however, the works on the sugar roads – which are in a very bad condition – have reportedly been very slow, and therefore all parties came to the conclusion that those roads would not have been passable by 10:00 a.m. this morning when it was agreed that the season would have gotten underway.
HOUSE MEETS WEDNESDAY
The first sitting of the House of Representatives for 2014 is scheduled to be held at 10:00 a.m. this Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the National Assembly in Belmopan.
Amandala understands that one of the main items on the agenda for that Special Sitting of the House is the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament last month.
The bill is in line with Belize’s commitments to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which, according to CFATF, has called on Belize “to consider implementing counter measures to protect [its] financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Belize.”
At the December sitting of Parliament, members of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) staged a vocal protest calling on the Government to immediately introduce the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Bill. Indications are that the drafting of that bill may not be complete in time for Wednesday’s meeting.
BUTANE PRICES NOW 20% TO 25% HIGHER THAN JULY 2012
New butane prices which came into effect today, Friday, January 17, 2014, surpass the Government-controlled prices consumers paid during 2013, and indications from records here at Amandala are that they may be the highest prices since around mid-2012.
Back in July 2012, a 100-pound of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sourced from Central America was only $97 in Belize City. Today, it will cost a Belize City consumer $121 – almost 25% more.
Meanwhile, those Belize City consumers who buy LPG sourced from Mexico are paying 20% more than they did in July 2012: $125 versus $104.
Of note is that consumers in the districts pay more, with prices varying across the municipalities.
According to a notice issued by the Belize Bureau of Standards, persons who purchase LPG with a higher percentage of propane and a smaller percentage of butane (the 90-10 mix sourced from Central America) will pay $121 for a 100-pound cylinder, while the mix of 40% butane and 60% propane (sourced from Mexico), said to burn more efficiently, will now cost $125 for a 100-pound cylinder.
EVON MICHAELS AND FAMILY EMERGE FROM THE ASHES
Six days after Evon Michaels and her family, consisting of 10 people, were left homeless after a fire completely destroyed their house and belongings on Giles Street, the family is making an effort to rebuild their one-flat concrete house, on a self-help basis, and with assistance from family, friends and neighbors.
The reconstruction of the house began today. Evon said that she has no choice, because they need a house to live in. She has meager resources which she is using to begin the construction, and is asking for help from the public – whether in the form of construction assistance, or material contributions. Those wishing to contribute can reach family members at phone numbers 632 – 7180, 602-8880, 663-8056 or 629-9764.
Josephine Michaels, 24, Evon’s daughter, who is the mother of Ryon Martinez, 8, said that she and her mother, along with the children, were at home on Friday, when they lit two candles, one in the hall and the other in the front room where the children were.
BRENDA LOUISE GOMEZ, R. I. P.
Funeral services were held this afternoon at All Saints Church in Belize City for Brenda Louise Gomez, the daughter of our dear Violet “Miss Vio” Gomez. Brenda was born on August 23, 1961, and passed on January 14, 2014.
The Officiating Priest was Rev. Ilona Smiling and her Lay Assistant was Mrs. Nina Reneau. Mr. Joey Belisle was Organist.
The Eulogy/Remembrance was given by Mrs. Pearl Lizama.
Pall Bearers were Stanley Lizama, Carl Lamb, Keith Bermudez, Nicholas Smith, Michael Gomez and Ronald Stuart.
This newspaper extends deepest condolences to Miss Vio, and the family and friends of the late Brenda Louise.
A MOTHER’S PLEA ON THE 3RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HER TEENAGE DAUGHTER
Exactly three years ago, on January 20, 2011, Kadisha “Alicia” Saragossa, 16, a second form student, at the time attending Maud Williams High School, went missing and has not been seen or heard from since.
Her mother, Andrea Saragossa, 44, is still saddened by the fact that she has not been able to bring closure to that tragic chapter in her family’s life.
Andrea said that her daughter was last seen at her grandmother’s house, from where she left to go to her boyfriend’s house.
“Her boyfriend at the time was living at one of the apartments known as Lakers, and rented by James Young. The apartment is located on Panting Street, in the Lake Independence area,” Andrea told Amandala.
TANZANIAN WOMAN BUSTED TRYING TO GET BELIZEAN PASSPORT USING BOGUS DOCUMENTS
A 55-year-old native of the country of Tanzania in East Africa is the latest person in a string of foreign nationals who have been caught in possession of faulty immigration and nationality documents by alert Immigration personnel.
Tanzanian national Teena Isaac attempted to get a legitimate Belizean passport by using a fake Belizean birth certificate and Social Security card.
She was promptly remanded to the Belize Central Prison today after she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying a document, failure to comply with the conditions of a visitor’s permit, using a document she is not entitled to use, and using a certificate she is not entitled to use.
After Isaac pleaded guilty to the charges, she was fined $1,000 for each offence, amounting to a total of $4,000. She was ordered to pay the fines forthwith. In default of payment, her sentence is one year for each count with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. She was unable to pay and was consequently incarcerated.
QUICK THINKING AND COURAGE SAVES BRITISH WOMAN IN CONSEJO FROM TWO ROBBERS
A British woman living in Consejo, Corozal District, narrowly escaped being robbed, or possibly harmed, by two men who were chasing her on bicycles at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon on the Consejo Road about 2 miles outside Consejo.
Deborah Jayne Thomson was riding her bicycle on the road to Consejo when a man of Hispanic descent rode up behind her on a bicycle and tried to knock her off her bike into the bushes by attempting to poke a stick into the bike’s wheel.
Thompson, however, hit the assailant with her bag, which he then tried to grab. She hit him again, causing him to fall back, and she quickly sped away and called her husband on her cellphone.
While she was doing this, however, her assailant was joined by another man, also of Hispanic descent, and they both chased her.
BANDITS TAKE GAME 1, 3-NIL, OVER BDF
Week 1 of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 home and away semifinal series took place over the weekend on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Bandits 3:0 BDF
In the first semifinal on Saturday night, January 18, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, home standing #3 seed Belmopan Bandits registered a commanding 3-0 win over #2 seed Belize Defence Force (BDF). It was the most goals that the normally very tough BDF has given up all season long, albeit 2 of the Bandits’ goals came from the penalty spot. The Bandits, meanwhile, had been scoreless in their last two regular season outings, but they found their scoring touch, especially striker Deon McCaulay, when it mattered most, at playoff time. The first goal was a penalty conversion by David Trapp at the 23rd minute, after striker David Madrid was taken down by BDF defender Rickey Rickets. The second, an easy tap in by Deon McCaulay, came at the 69th minute when BDF goalie Derol Roches couldn’t hold on to a hard cross goal pass from the right side. And the 3rd was another penalty conversion, this one by McCaulay at the 77th minute, after he had made a threatening run down the middle toward the BDF goal.
QUARTERFINALS FINISHED, SEMIFINALS NEXT IN FFB INTER-DISTRICT FOOTBALL COMPETITION
Round 2 of the quarterfinals in the FFB’s Open Inter-District Football Competition 2013-2014 was held over the past weekend, setting the stage for the semifinals, which are also a home-and-away affair.
Two quarterfinals were played on Saturday, January 18, and two on Sunday, January 19.
On Saturday, down south at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the home squad, MnM Steelers dropped Hope Creek Pumas, 4-2, with goals from Edwardo Oliver (2’ & 50’), Deon Burgess (38’) and Jesus Urbina (76’); while Torrence Murillo (82’ & 89’) got both goals for Hope Creek.
(The Steelers also won game 1, by a 3-0 margin.) Meanwhile, here at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, San Estevan FC also made it two victories in a row, as they blanked home standing Ebony Lake FC, 3-0, with goals from Diego Mancia (61’) and Edwani Munoz (68’ & 78’). (Game 1 was also won by San Estevan, 5-2.)
On Sunday, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, there was no repeat winner, as home standing Roaring Creek United bounced back from a game 1 loss to hand Toledo’s Mavericks a stunning 3-0 shutout, courtesy of a goal apiece from Kenny Williams (18’), Amir Torres (68’) and Clifbarn Neal (71’). Mavericks had taken game 1 by a 3-2 score, so Roaring Creek emerged victorious in the series by a 5-3 aggregate score. Also on Sunday, up north at the Louisiana Field in Orange Walk, Progresso FC made it back-to-back victories with their 3-1 win over Penarol FC of San Ignacio. (Progresso FC were 4-0 winners in game 1.) Shaking the net for Progresso were Johnny Cardenas (24’), Gabriel Perez (75’) and Alexander Diaz (87’); while Noel Eiley (22’) scored for Penarol.
WEEKEND WARRIORS SUNDAY RACE RESULTS
Here are the results of the Weekend Warriors (WW) Sunday Race held yesterday, with the “A&B” riding from Leslie’s Imports to Boom Village junction via the Boom road and back, for 40 miles; while the “C” rode from Leslie’s to Hattieville and back to Leslie’s.
Category “Open A/B” – 1st place Warren Coye (Santino’s, 1:50:12); 2nd Santino Castillo (Santino’s, st, 1st “B”); 3rd Daniel Cano (Digicell-4G, st); 4th Kent Gabourel, Jr. (Megabytes, st); 5th Ernest Thurton (Santino’s, st); 6th Wilbert Jones (Megabytes); 7th Colin Maheia (FT Williams); 8th Stephen Bissett (BNE); 9th Ernest Meighan (Santino’s); 10th Merk Gentle (FT Williams); 11th Dean Belisle (Smart); 12th Kirk Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 13th Derrick Smith (BWS); 14th Kevin Hope (Digicell-4G, 2nd “B”); 15th Anwar Barrow (Digicell-4G); 16th Isaiah Willacey (Digicell-4G, 3rd “B”); 17th Kenneth Butler (BWS); 18th Andrew Vasquez (BWS, 4th “B”); 19th Marlon Swift (FT Williams); 20th Mike Lewis (invitee); 21st John Burns (Digicell-4G); 22nd Antonio Escarpeta (FT Williams); 23rd Mike Phillips (Santino’s); 24th Rigoberto Rivas (Santino’s); 25th Jack Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 26th Eustace Ireland (Santino’s); 27th Albert Conorquie (Santino’s); 28th Gilroy Robinson (Santinos’); 29th Ian Abraham (Smart); 30th Vallan Symms (Megabytes); 31st Matthew Smiling (Megabytes); 32nd Kaya Cattouse (Smart); 33rd Calvert Staine (Digicell-4G); 34th George Lovell (Santino’s); and 35th Alicia Thompson (invitee).
CSSSA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCORES, SCHEDULE
The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school football competition continued at the MCC last week with games, female (F) and male (M), on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
On Monday, January 13, (F) Wesley shut out Belize High, 2-0, with Shanice Neal scoring both goals for Wesley. And (M) Wesley trounced ACC, 5-1, with a goal apiece from Marques Stamp, Tyrell Rowley, Sheldon Linares, Emerson Kelly and Keeron Young. The lone ACC goal was by Sergio Luna.
Tuesday, January 14, saw (F) SCA and Excelsior High playing to a 0-0 draw. And (M) SJC clipped Gwen Liz High, 2-1. Sydney Bradley and Dmitri Fabro shook the net for SJC, while July Barrientes scored for Gwen Liz.
After a break on Wednesday, the competition resumed with one game only on Thursday, January 6. (M) Gwen Liz High bombed Belize High School, 6-0, with July Barrientes netting 2, and Leeford Meighan, Albert Davis, Jovian Usher and Zion Brandon scoring a goal each.
TWO ARRAIGNED FOR THE ATTEMPTED MURDER OF JAMES ELIJIO, 29
Joseph Lopez, 19, and a 17-year-old minor were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after they were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on charges of attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm against James Elijio, 29.
No plea was taken from the two accused, because their case will be heard on indictment in the Supreme Court.
On the night of January 15, 2014, James Elijio, a mentally challenged man, went outside his Flamboyant Street home to urinate.
Elijio was just about to return inside when two men approached him from the direction of Casuarina Street. Two shots were fired at Elijio. One of the bullets caught Elijio behind his neck and he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition.
DEON BRUCE TO BE EXTRADITED
While businessman Rhett fuller was fortunate enough to beat extradition charges just yesterday after 15 years in and out of court, 28-year-old Deon Bruce – who is also wanted for murder by US authorities – did not share the same fate.
Today, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith “threw the book” at Bruce and ruled that he should be extradited to the United States to face charges of not only murder, but also attempted murder, aggravated battery, and firearm possession.
A visibly shaken Deon Bruce was escorted out of the courtroom after the decision was handed down. He will be extradited unless the Supreme Court overrules today’s judgment. He has a mere 15 days to apply to the Supreme Court for an appeal of the decision before it becomes final
Bruce is wanted by Cook County Circuit Court, based in Chicago, Illinois, for the shooting death of Aaron Carter after an argument escalated and a pint bottle was thrown at Bruce’s vehicle. It is reported that Bruce allegedly stopped, pulled a firearm from the trunk of his vehicle and fired at Carter and a companion, Bryan Rodgers, fatally injuring Carter. The incident reportedly happened on July 28, 2010.
$100 FOR GOING TO A POLICE STATION CELL AND TALKING TO A PRISONER WITHOUT AUTHORITY
Jason Jonathan Espinosa, 20, a Belizean jockey of South End, Corozal, has been fined $200 by the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court after he was arrested and charged for communicating with a prisoner without authority, and committing a mischievous act. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $100 for each offense.
Espinosa had gone to the Corozal Police Station, where he began to talk to a prisoner without obtaining permission to do so. When he was asked his name, he replied that it was Marvin Ramclam.
Espinosa was subsequently arrested and charged for the offense of communicating with a prisoner without permission. He was then granted a phone call to his mother, during which he identified himself as Jason Jonathan Espinosa – thus revealing that he had given the police an incorrect name. He was then additionally charged for the offense of committing a mischievous act.
5 YEARS FOR GUN, AMMO AND CLIP
Five out of six men whom police charged with possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition, and a prohibited extended clip, pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano.
Magistrate Cayetano sentenced Alrick Lamb, 18, a laborer of 18 Fabers Road, to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the three firearm charges.
Lamb was charged along with Jihadul Gill, 18, who is unemployed; Everald Gray, 29, a laborer; Richard Smith Jr., 34, a security guard; Arthur Hill, 18, a fisherman; and Delbert Alvarez, 18, a laborer.
Lamb was sentenced to five years imprisonment for being in possession of a prohibited .45 pistol; five years for the seven .45 rounds and five years for the prohibited magazine.
ROBBERIES IN ESPERANZA, BELIZE CITY AND TOLEDO
Three men were robbed in Punta Gorda, Esperanza and Belize City in three separate incidents.
Godfrey Tillett, 69, of the Trapeche area, Santa Elena, Cayo, was robbed about 2:30 Monday evening in Esperanza. Two thieves held him up at gunpoint and robbed him of $400 and a bag that contained an undetermined amount of coins.
The thieves then hit him on the head, causing him to lose consciousness. They then escaped.
Police took Tillett to the San Ignacio Town Hospital, where doctors classified the injury to his head as wounding. Police have launched a search, but the thieves have not yet been captured
On the day before, at about 4:10 Sunday evening, Philip Leslie, 21, a paletas vendor for Blades Ice Cream located on Tigris Street, Belize City, was robbed by two men on Dungeon Street while pushing the paletas cart towards Blue Marlin Boulevard.
A Walk On the Beach: Pelicans and Jerry Jeff Walker Pickin’ Party + This Week’s Schedule
After what seemed like a week of grey and chilly weather (for Belize = 60s and 70s), the sun popped out yesterday afternoon and it was a perfect time to take a walk to town.
AND a perfect time for hungry pelicans, one of the least graceful birds around, really the turkey of the sea…but I’ll get back to these guys in a few.
And then…BC’s! Closed and being dismantled. Hopefully being moved somewhere else…we just don’t know where yet.
Jeff Jeff Walker, a popular country music singer and songwriter, is in town for two weeks of concerts that he has been doing for years called “Camp Belize”. Jerry Jeff is most famous (and probably most rich…he owns a large beachfront house south of San Pedro town) from writing the song “Mr. Bojangles”. Some really amazing artists have covered that song…from Robbie Williams to Harry Belfonte and Neil Diamond!!!! and Nina Simone!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Every Little Thing” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
After the exertions of Saturday night (its hard work lifting a Belikin bottle – well at least until you’ve drunk some of the content!) I didn’t get up yesterday until just after 06.00 hours (for those of you that like things to be precise I actually got up at 06.10 hours).
The temperature was still a little chilly (it had improved on recent days though) so I put on a sweat top (really pleased that I brought them with me now) before venturing out on to the veranda (first floor on the western side) with my mug of coffee (black, no sugar) and my iPad (the old one – not going to inflict the cold weather on my new one, well not yet anyway)
I spent around 50 minutes reading the Sunday Times online ((the Sports section first (just had to read about Arsenal’s victory over Fulham the previous day even though I had watched it on TV -you can’t have too much of a good thing!)), followed by the Business section (its nice to know what I’m not missing) and finished off by the News section.
WTO: International Tourism Exceeds Expectations With Arrivals Up by 52 Million in 2013
International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4% to 4.5% growth - again, above the long term projections.
Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%). The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10%), Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%).
“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies”, he added.
Belize and United Kingdom Strengthen Military Ties
A delegation from the Belize Defence Force and the Belize Coast Guard recently concluded an official visit to the United Kingdom.
The delegation included Brigadier General David Jones, the commander of the Belize Defence Force, and Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard.
The pair met with Ministry of Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison and other senior British military officers.
The Belizean officers were invited by the British government to an international maritime security capability conference.
They also held meetings at the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, before visiting the HMS Argyll, which will be deployed to the Caribbean later in 2014.
“I welcome this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the strong relationship between the British Armed Forces and the Belizean Military,” said British High Commissioner to Belize Peter Hughes. “The UK recognizes the challenges faced by the region in tackling violence and organized crime. We are committed to working with international partners to provide further assistance in the form of training and expertise.”
Expats Open Successful Hotel Business in Caribbean Belize
On a balmy morning in Belize, John Lee is sitting on the pier, planning out his day over coffee. Breakfast service is over, and he's expecting around 40 people for dinner tonight. Once his wife, Ellen Larson Lee, has finished helping some guests with travel arrangements, she'll join him.
It's a far cry from their previous existence in Denver, Colorado. But John and Ellen consider themselves to be the luckiest people in the world running their small hotel and restaurant in the Belizean beach paradise of Placencia. Back in the U.S., John, who's from Australia, and Ellen, who's American, believed that because they had invested 20+ years in their careers, they had to stick to them. John is an electrical engineer by trade. He was an owner of a consulting firm that did business all over the world. Ellen was in advertising. She worked her way through the creative end of the business as a copywriter to become owner of her own advertising agency.
Then came the "light-bulb" moment when they realized that, actually, they didn't have to keep doing the same thing for the rest of their lives... and they didn't want to wait until a traditional retirement age to make a dramatic change.