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The San Pedro Sun
Easter Egg-Hunting at Caribbean Villas
Caribbean Villas was the place for families to enjoy sailing, live music, barbeque and good family fun. A highlight of the weekend included an Easter Egg-Hunting to yield scores of delicious candies for the sweet-toothed children of La Isla Bonita. Easter egg hunts entail employing clever camouflages to bury, cover and hide-in-plain-sight colorful candies for eagle-eyed children to find and enjoy. Island egg-hunting can be a little more challenging, what with the ants/bugs and bigger critters eager to find easy snacks. And let’s not forget the sand getting in the candy wrappers! So, the Easter Bunny got smart at Caribbean Villas, and with the help of his bunny army, hid colorful sticks every which way that little Easter hunters could find and cash in for loads of candy.
Stabbing in Caye Caulker leaves one injured
On Tuesday, April 15th, at about 10:40PM Caye Caulker Police responded to reports of a stabbing incident that had left one man injured and in need of urgent medical attention. 24-year-old Aquiles Canche was found at the Caye Caulker Health Center suffering from multiple stab wounds.
Initial investigations revealed that earlier, Canche was socializing with his girlfriend Kathy Balam, 26, on the beach by the cemetery area. According to reports Canche was approached by James Crawford, 31 years old, who stabbed him on the back. Canche defended himself and hit Crawford with a pint bottle, but Crawford continued to stab him before fleeing the area.
SP Lions Easter Pancake Brunch A Hopping Success!
The pancake breakfast included sausage, orange slices and juice, with the ever popular topping table. Kids of all ages enjoyed loading their pancakes with butter, syrup, sprinkles, jelly, chocolate syrup, shredded cheese, marshmallows, sliced bananas and even jellybeans! The dining tables were supplied with crayons and coloring sheets with some parents even trying their artistic skills! Games included ‘Pin the Tail on the Bunny’, dunking for Easter Eggs, Go Fish, Egg and Spoon races and puzzle races. Three large Easter baskets were raffled off and at the craft tables children made Bunny Ear Headbands and Easter Egg Wreaths to carry home. Parents enjoyed photographing their children with the guest of honor, the one and only Easter Bunny, while some children were not so sure about the oversized hare!
The Amazing Flamingo Tongue Snail
Scientifically known as Cyphoma gibbosum, this small but brightly colored sea snail (mollusk) is common in many Caribbean and Atlantic coral reefs. Flamingo Tongues are typically found on soft corals, such as sea whips, sea fans, sea rods and sea plums. When it is alive, the snail appears bright orange-yellow in color with black markings. However, these colors are not on the shell, but are only due to live mantle tissue which usually covers the shell. The mantle flaps can be retracted, exposing the shell, but this usually happens only when the animal is attacked. On an average the shell is about an inch long and the shape is usually elongated and the upper side shows a thick ridge. The surface is smooth and shiny and may be white or orange, with no markings at all except for a white or cream-colored band.
Flamingo Tongues specialize in consuming the toxic flesh of soft corals by utilizing their unique feeding appendage, the radula. This belt sander-like tongue structure is exclusive to the mollusk and it is used to scrape away the coral tissue so nutrients can be absorbed. Due to their indifferent feeding strategy, only segments of a bare-naked coral skeleton is left behind; however, the silver lining here is that the coral will slowly start to undergo regeneration to replace the affected areas. Flamingo Tongues are smart enough to know not to graze their host coral to death; instead, they transfer hosts periodically by crossing over to the next coral.
Huge Crowds Flood Ambergris Caye for Easter Weekend
An overwhelming influx of vacationers from mainland flooded the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker over the weekend during the long Easter break. The two Belizean hotspots are a big draw for both local and international visitors during one of the biggest holidays in the country.
It’s one of the biggest holidays in the country where hundreds of locals from the mainland flock to the beaches to enjoy some down time during the extended 4-day weekend. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, is one of the major hot spots in the country during Easter as it offers endless options of beach parties, water sports and beaches in which to relax on.
Overloaded Water Taxi Pier Collapses in Caye Caulker, Belize
There were no serious injuries reported on Saturday, April 19, 2014, when a section of a pier in the island of Caye Caulker, Belize, broke and launched some people into the sea while they waited for a water taxi off the island during the end of their Easter break.
A portion of the San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) Caye Caulker pier collapsed due to overwhelming overcrowding as passengers rushed to catch the next available boat off the island. The SPBE team, police, port authority and coast guard that were present during the busy weekend for the water taxi service made every effort to enforce safety and crowd control procedures to ensure passengers were boarded safely and appropriately on the vessels.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Announces Reef Week Activities
The reef is a very important ecosystem for our beautiful island and country. In order to create awareness and help preserve it, every year Reef Week is celebrated in honor of our natural heritage. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve has a week full of activities which will take place from May 10 – 17, 2014 under the theme "Our Reef Needs Our Protection for Future Generations".
Below is the schedule of activities for this year’s Reef Week.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belize City man shot and killed
A shoting incident this morning in Belize City has claimed the life of a 23 year old man.
Police have confirmed that the 7 am shooting incident near the basketball court on Jane Usher Boulevard, resulted in the death of Patrick Bevans.
According to reports, gunshots rang out at around 7 am and police who went to investigate, found Bevan’s face don, apparently dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez and Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation were interviewed by BBC World
from the UK. in regards to Mr. Kent Gabourel's participation in the Queen's Baton Relay which will take place on July 23 of this year in Glasgow, Scotland. (4 photos) You can find out more about the Queen's Baton Relay by clicking this link.
Belize Observes 12th Annual Vaccination Week in the Americas
The Ministry of Health is observing the 12th Annual Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) event. The week commences on April 26th and ends on May 3rd. This year will also mark the 3rd World Immunization Week observed from April 23rd to April 30th, 2014. Both events are celebrated with our international health partners to focus on creating awareness on immunization and vaccination.
Immunization is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions ever introduced. The World Health Organization estimates that it prevents between two and three million deaths worldwide every year. In Belize, for the last ten years, we have seen a success rate of 96% vaccination coverage for children under the age of one. Despite this success, we make every effort to reach children under one and those infants having incomplete vaccination schedules.
Keli Engleson at Ironman
USA resident/yoga instructor and event planner in Belize, Keli Engleson runs/completes Ironman Los Cabos 2014 under USA and Belize Flags.
Cayo Film Festival Weekend
The Cayo Film Festival will be this Saturday and Sunday, April 26th and 27th, at the Cayo Welcome Center. Many films will be screened, including over a dozen documentaries filmed in and around Cayo.
New Business? Here Are 5 Tips on How to Craft a Great Brand. (Ask the Expert)
Q: How’d you know marketing was for you and what advice do you have for first timers crafting a brand?
A: This is a fun one because I honestly didn’t think when I was young that I would end up in marketing. I did however love asking questions and was particularly interested in why people did what they did. I remember my mom once said to me “when you grow up you’re going to study why people behave the way they do.” and I think that is really at the heart of what “marketing” is all about.
My undergrad degree is in journalism and digital media and my masterss Degree is in online media and persuasion. So at the heart of telling good stories in digital ecosystems, I found myself obsessed with digital marketing. I wouldn’t say I went looking for marketing but I am so darn happy that I stumbled into it, and it feels like a perfect match for what I really love to do — have a beautiful impact through building brands and creating amazing stories.
Patrick Bevans killed in Belize City
Police continue to investigate the death of 22 year old Patrick Bevans of Belize City.
According to police around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday there were gunshots heard in the vicinity of Jane Usher Boulevard.
Investigating officers found Bevans’s body face down, apparently already dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body, on a side street not far from his home on Louise Bevans Street.
Bevans died on the scene and was transferred to the KHMH morgue. Police recovered some seven 9mm expended shells. Police say they are questioning “persons of interest” at this time.
BDF rededicates military church
The St. George’s Military Church is the center of faith for the men and women of the Belize Defence Force, and today the national army opened its doors for rededication at a multi-denominational church service.
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese Philip Wright; The Reverend Christopher Glancy of the Roman Catholic Church; Reverend Roosevelt Papouloute of the Methodist Church, Pastor Eugene Crawford of the Evangelical Association and other church leaders blessed the sanctuary and led the congregation in praise and worship.
Suspect in attempted murder charged
21 year old construction worker Lincoln Robinson is accused of attempting to shoot Anthony Young dead last month.
He was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm when he appeared in the #1 Magistrate’s Court.
According to Young he was with friends in a yard on Dolphin Street on March 23 when an assailant wearing a red cap rode up on him from behind, stared him down for 15 seconds, then pointed a firearm at him and shot once.
Young dodged the bullet and ran toward the canal which he tried to jump across.
He slipped and fell in and as he tried to get out he heard four more shots and then realized that he had been shot.
Four youths charged for stolen firearm
Four young men, three from the Maxboro community outside Sandhill, are accused of possessing a firearm that police alleged was recently stolen.
18 year old Ijahman Young of Belize City; 21-year-old Kashief Gallego, 20-year-old Akeem Garcia and 22-year-old Parris Williams are charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and handling stolen goods.
Early on Tuesday morning, around 1:45 a.m., police on mobile patrol on Fairweather Street spotted a grey Toyota 4-Runner SUV with Corozal license plates driving at high speed.
They set chase and caught the vehicle on Prince Street, where they conducted a search of the vehicle and its occupants.
Prison officer found with weed, gets charged
27 year old prison officer Ryan Rowland of Hattieville finds himself on the other side of the law tonight after he was charged with drug trafficking.
Police say he was found with 55 grams of cannabis hidden in a plastic bag and concealed in the crack of his buttocks, and allegedly intended to bring it into the Prison for supply.
He had reported to work on April 17 and the contraband was found during a search by fellow prison officers.
Rowland appeared in the #1 Magistrate’s Court and was released on bail of $1,000.
George McKenzie Junior released from murder charge
On Monday, George McKenzie Junior, accused of murder, was released after a court appearance.
On Holy Thursday morning, George McKenzie, Jr., was brought to court for arraignment after being arrested and charged for the murder of 57 year old Alfonso Cruz, a resident of Rhaburn’s Alley, who was shot and killed around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.
Cruz was sitting on an old refrigerator that was in the alley when his assailant shot him once in the head from close range.
Cruz died while being transported to the hospital.
However, McKenzie was not arraigned because Police were awaiting word from Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, and word came later in the day that more work needed to be done despite a ID statement and parade identification.
Chiquibul National Park Visitor Center
Congratulations to the Friends for Conservation and Development on the opening of the Chiquibul National Park visitor center! And thanks to Pine Lumber, for working with them to make it a reality. The park comprises around 8% of Belize.
"Some pictures taken Chiquibul National Park:Chiquibul Trip April 2014 - Tapir Camp Inaug.. Bull Ridge built the house using hardwoods from the Chiquibul & Mountain Pine Ridge; in collaboration with Pine Lumber Co. Ltd. Thank you FCD! Welcome one, welcome all to the Chiquibul National Park Visitor Center!!! Come bring your family & friends to explore what our Jewel - Belize has to offer!"
Tomorrow Universe EDM Battle
Club Onyx is the location for the next Tomorrow Universe promo, and this one is an EDM Battle. It'll be Saturday, April 26th, and will go from 9:00pm until 3:00am. Blue Line Sounds, Platinum Sounds, and Tomorrow Universe will be there to make the night unforgettable. There will be giveaways through the night, including Tomorrow Universe tickets, wine, and phone cards.
Guatemalan Soldier Caught in Belize
The BDF caught a Guatemalan Armed Forces soldier in Belizean territory on Monday – and he remains detained tonight.
But 7News has learned that arrangements are being made for the soldier to be released so that he can return to his country. He was found 250 meters – or a tenth of a mile inside of Belize. A BDF Patrol came upon the soldier and 3 others were in the Rio Blanco area on Monday. And though it is illegal entry, he is going to be set free.
Today, we spoke with the Commander of BDF, and asked why the decision is being made where he won't be charged with immigration offences like any other Guatemalan caught illegally in the country. General David Jones told us that it's a protocol established between the BDF and Guat Armed Forces, in an improved relationship:
General David Jones - Commander, BDF
"We had a patrol out in the Rio Blanco area. Actually it was the day before, encountered 4 persons, an elderly man, 2 minors, and 1 Guatemalan soldier. The patrol in their made the decision to release the elderly guy, and the 2 minors because they didn't want them to sleep out in the jungle with them in the night, but they took the Guatemalan soldier with them into custody. They started to walk yesterday; it took them all day yesterday. They didn't reach in yesterday, and they arrived today. We have the soldier in custody, and between myself and the commanding General of the Guatemalan army, we decided the protocol between us, what we're going to do with him."
General Jones Stands By His Soldiers
But, as you heard the General say, the Guatemalan soldier being detained in Belizean territory doesn't hurt the relationship between both sides because of this new agreement.
What does hurt the relationship are the fatal shootings of Guatemalan civilians by the BDF – four since 2012. The most recent case is Tomas Desdicho Ramirez is still under investigation. Today we asked Jones about the present status between the armed forces of both countries, and he said that tensions are high:
General David Jones - Commander, BDF
"I had a meeting with the Guatemalan General just about 3 weeks ago, in Guatemala, just about 2 days after the actual shooting of Mr. Tomas. He had expressed to me that yes, shooting incidents have occurred, however, it's only Guatemalans who have been killed. I expressed to him that yes, it is indeed that our soldiers were involved in the shootings. Guatemalans have been killed, but the OAS have always verified where the incidents occurred, what actually transpired, and vindicated the soldiers that it was always in self-defence. We're trying to move forward now from the tensions because in late 2012 there were tension, 2013 the tensions continue, and it is reaching a point where we don't want serious escalation between the military of Guatemala and the Belize Defence Force."
Morning Murder In City
The long Easter weekend was relatively peaceful in Belize City, but that brief respite ended with a violent murder this morning. It happened in the Port Loyola Area – which had witnessed two previous murders in the past three weeks. Today, the family of the latest victim told the media that all three killings could be related to an increase in gang activity in the area. 7news was on the scene:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
That is the scene that played out on Curl Thompson Extension this morning when Patrick Bevans's girlfriend rushed to the scene, followed by many of his ten sisters.
22 year old Bevans lay dead just 150 feet from his home. He was face down, amidst an array of bullet markers - we saw 9.
Walking on these crutches, he was killed returning from the store. His sister asked to appear off camera:
No Identification Yet For Woman Found Murdered In Corozal
Last night, we told you about the nude body of the still unidentified woman which was discovered yesterday in the Savannah area off the road between Chan Chen and Patchakan Villages.
The Autopsy showed that she was killed at another location by her assailant or assailants who chopped her to death.
But who is she? Well, police want your help to identify her. Today, we went north to find out more:
Daniel Ortiz Reporting
The discovery of the nude female body in the Savannah, off the road to Chan Chen Village has investigators perplexed. First of all, even after extensive efforts, they are no closer to determining her identity.
Supt. Andrew Ramirez - OC, Corozal Police
"Yesterday, at around 2:35 p.m., upon information received, Corozal Police visited an area about a mile out of Chan Chen heading towards Patchakan on the left hand side, referred to as the savannah area, where they saw the nude body of a female, partially decomposed, with no hair and with several wounds to the head and face. The person also had the right hand severed off. We still have not identified that individual. We are asking the public for their input in relation to that."
Is Canton Finally Going to Get The Axe At CPBL?
CEO of Citrus Products of Belize Limited Henry Canton is on the hot seat, as rumours are swirling that he could be sent home soon. Sure, we've heard that before, but the vibe we get tonight is that the new CPBL board of directors is getting ready to give Canton the axe. Chairman of the Board Doug Singh didn't want to comment this evening, but told us that Canton remains in his seat as CEO tonight. Singh would only say there has been no final decision and they are still in negotiations. He suggested that a final decision could be made by the end of the week, but would not say what that decision might be – saying that as Chairman, he had to, quote, "handle things responsibly."
If Canton is indeed on the way out, it would be seen as a major victory for the former majority shareholder, Citrus Growers Association, which has been trying to eject him from that seat for years.
Ministry of Health Says Get Ready For Chikungunya
You probably aren't familiar with the disease called Chikungunya – and it's not surprising since it is foreign to Belize – and until November of last year – it hadn't even appeared on this side of the world. But now it has: Chikungunya, or Chik-V as it is called, appeared on the Caribbean island of St Martin at the end of last year, and it has been steadily spreading since then; it is now in 10 Caribbean countries, with 2,300 confirmed cases and about 17,000 suspected cases. Thankfully, there have only been 6 deaths reported. The viral disease is carried by mosquitoes, just like dengue or malaria and it spreads either by the travel of infected persons, or in shipping containers.
The good news is that it hasn't come to Belize yet, or, for that matter, anywhere on the American mainland, but the bad news is that Belizean health authorities say it will come. They had a sensitization session with health workers this morning and a press conference this afternoon. The Director of Health Services says that conditions are ripe for Chik-V in Belize:…
Dr. Michael Pitts - Director of Health Services
"So, Belize has no case, but I must say that we have all the environmental conditions. We're tropical just like the Caribbean. The mosquitoes are there; the environmental conditions are there, and the level of interaction is happening where I think that it is really safe to say that it's not if, but when it will come here."
COMPOL In Crooked Tree Dust-Up
A police constable has been transferred and could be facing charges after a dust-up with the Commissioner of Police on Saturday night in Crooked Tree Village.
7news has confirmed that PC Ogaldez is the one who was arrested by Commissioner Allen Whylie at the end of a day of horse races on Saturday. Best reports tell us that there were a number of drunken brawls erupting simultaneously and there were only two police officers on duty. Ogaldez was one of them and he fired three warning shots to disperse the crowd. Apparently, Commissioner Whylie disapproved of his actions, and sent the more senior officer to take away the constable's weapon. That led to hard talk between the Compol and the Constable. The constable then retired to the bar, but that's when the commissioner's brother in law allegedly broke a pint over the constable's head. At that point the constable threw curse words at the Compol, who responded by telling Ogladez he would be charged for a breach of discipline and firing 3 unnecessary shots. He was detained, put into a police truck and escorted to the Police Station in Ladyville. The constable had injuries from the pint though, and those were classified as harm. He has made a complaint against the Commissioner's brother in law. He has been transferred from Crooked Tree to Ladyville and remains on active duty with no charges at this time.
Special Constable Eldo Gets Special Treatment?
And in a follow up to a story we ran last night, Police Special Constable Eldo Itza is detained at the Orange Walk Police Station where he will spend the night, before being taken to court tomorrow on arraignment for Aggravated Assault and Harm.
But, he could also be charged for trespassing and aggravated burglary – after all, he is accused of jumping the fence of a Chinese Store in San Jose Village, and going in to beat the proprietor and his nephew – all because they didn't want to sell him beer.
This happened last Thursday and police arrested Itza on the scene, but let him go free over the weekend so that he could come onto the station this week at his convenience to get his charges. All this courtesy after he left a civilian and property owner with ten stitches in his head. We'll follow up on his arraignment tomorrow.
Coro Cops Caught Fugitives
There are several cases that Corozal police believe they've wrapped up: 3 armed robberies and a rape which were open cases for some time.
Wanted fugitives Julian Dyer and Robert Locke who have been on the run for some time now were caught last week Thursday due to quick police work by Corozal police.
Today, the Officer Commanding Corozal Police briefed the media on the operations which led to their detention:
Superintendent Andrew Ramirez - OC, Corozal Police
"Two things I want the public to know about are the arrests of Robert Locke and Julian Dyer. These were two people I would refer to as fugitives, transient criminals but these individuals were very dangerous in a society in a time such as this. Robert Locke was wanted for rape back in 2013, in October. He has been on the run, moving from district to district. We have tried all means and methods to try and apprehend Robert Locke. While on the run he committed burglary, aggravated burglary. He entered in a house and chopped up two individuals, two females, so he was very dangerous for us. He was apprehended Thursday, just before the stroke of midnight. And I want to applaud the officers involved, especially Corporal Isaac Pascual who led a team and PC Marvin Salam, and others. I particularly want to single out these individuals because they showed true leadership in relation to these tactical types of operations. They were not in fear of the consequences because they knew we needed to get these individuals off the street. Also we want to announce that we apprehended Julian Dyer. Julian Dyer also is a very dangerous person some people might call him public enemy. But he is no good news in Corozal. He has since been charged for three counts of robbery; that would be the Band Store, the Jing Jing store and also a customer inside the Jing Jing Store. He has been remanded July 4. We have Robert Locke being remanded until May 29. Again, we still continue to look for one Alex Reid, also known as "Cat", and we continue to ask the community to note that Alex Reid is still wanted by this formation for armed robbery."
Man Jailed For Easter Monday Weapon
20 year-old Michael Whylie, a resident of Pinks Alley, is in jail tonight after he was taken to court for gun police say they found on his property.
According to police, they searched his house on Easter Monday at around 5:00 pm. They received intelligence that he had illegal items in his possession, and they discovered a 9mm pistol with 5 live rounds of ammunition in its magazine, which was hidden under a piece of zinc in his yard.
He was charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. He was arraigned today before the Chief Magistrate, where he was remanded to prison until June 3.
Teachers Trickle In For National Convention
Today the Belize National Teachers Union held it's 44th National Convention at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City. The theme this year is Building Solidarity and Defending Unionism – but today at the Parish Hall, the defence didn't look so staunch, since only a few hundred teachers attended the national convention. For the union, which is thousands strong, solidarity is key – and Belize District President Kathleen Flowers said that teachers have to show more visible support for their union:
Teachers will get their raise at the end of July 2014, retroactive to the first of this month.
A Church for Soldiers
This afternoon, the Belize Defence Force opened its first on-site Church at its Price Barracks Compound. It might not seem that significant to you because there are many churches around, but for the BDF, it's an important milestone.
General David Jones told us why:
The church was built using funds from the BDF's recurrent budget.
Siarsha In Merida For Another Surgery
Three year old Siarsha Alavarez – the 3 year old with the rare skin disorder is back in Merida tonight. She has to take a highly specialized surgery to fix her eyelid, which has folded over and has her eyelashes growing on the inside which irritates her cornea. It's another symptom of the Stevens-Johnson syndrome which is an acute skin disorder.
Her surgery takes place tomorrow at 9:00 am – and we'll tell you how it went in next newscast.