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The San Pedro Sun
Solar Panels installed at Holy Cross Anglican School
GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from across the world the opportunity to raise funds for improving communities in need. Since October of 2010, Holy Cross Education Foundation, through GlobalGiving, has been working towards providing a renewable energy supply to Holy Cross Anglican School (HCAS). The aim of the solar energy project is to reduce the school’s electrical bill so that funds can be applied to other projects.Supplying the solar panel is Baker Renewable Energy, a premier provider of renewable energy and eco-friendly products based in the USA. The project is being managed by John McHenry, Board Member of the Holy Cross Education Foundation.
Reef Week Triathlon brings excitement to town
Of the many activities held during Reef Week, the now- annual triathlon adds quite a bit of excitement to the week of events. A crowd gathered at Central Park a little after 10am on the morning of Sunday, May 11th to cheer on the young athletes that would be taking part in this year’s triathlon. Organized by Kent Gabourel, the triathlon saw participants in three divisions, Juveniles, ages 10 to 13 and Upper Juveniles, ages 13 to 15, and Juniors, ages 16 to 18.
Stabbing incident leaves one female injured
San Pedro Police are investigating a stabbing incident that has left a mother of four hospitalized in a serious but stable condition. The victim has since been identified as Lorena Montes, a resident of Swan Street in San Pedro Town. The stabbing occurred around 12:20PM inside Henry’s Store located at the corner Swan and Glitter Street, and in the presence of Montes’ children, who had come home for lunch. San Pedro police have detained a female identified as Roxanne Canul, a resident of the Airstrip Area in San Pedro Town.
One of the people who saw the incident unfold was one of Montes’ close friends, Dorla Polonio. Polonio explained that she was sitting on the street side when she observed Montes returning to her establishment while being followed from a distance by another woman. According to Polonio, the woman approached Montes inside her shop where an argument ensued, after which the woman pulled out a concealed knife and allegedly stabbed Montes. “I saw a young lady walk through Lorena’s store door way, politely pulled out a knife from out of her purse, then barged into the store and stabbed her. She got at least six stab wounds; three in the back, one of which we were told punctured her lung, and the others to her head. She was stabbed in front of her children who were out of school for lunch,” said an emotional Polonio. San Pedro Police identified the attacker as Roxanne Canul, who received minor bruises to the head, presumably caused by Montes as she defended herself.
Belize Experience Promoted at Belize Tourism Expo 2014
Belize Tourism Expo 2014 (BETEX 2014) was held in Belize City from May 7 – 12, 2014. The Expo is held in the country every two years and is a business-to-business event showcasing Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers that attracts approximately 300 – 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives.
It is an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers (trade visitors) to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers (exhibitors), learn more about Belize, and experience the destination first-hand. BETEX is an initiative of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Belize’s leading national private sector tourism association. BTIA represents a unified voice which advocated for issues that benefit its members, influences tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience.
Two Turtles Released Back to the Wild as part of Reef Week 2014
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Dorian’s Angels were out at Hol Chan Marine Reserve along with their staff to witness the release of two female loggerhead turtles as part of Reef Week. “Ellen” and “Lucky” were two turtles being rehabilitated under the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project.
Lucky is one very ‘lucky’ turtle as she was rescued by the staff of Tuff E Nuff Tours on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, on the way back from a dive trip by Belizean Shores Area in San Pedro. The turtle was suffering from injuries caused by a shark attack and was immediately rushed to the Saga Humane Society to receive urgent medical attention.
Lucky was missing its left hind flipper and had several lacerations on its other flippers, as well as a broken plastron (the part of a turtle's shell forming its underside). The turtle was placed on an antibiotic treatment in order to prevent infection and regular cleaning of her wounds was necessary for a full recovery. Lucky was placed under observation at the Hol Chan Marine Office and later transported for full rehabilitation at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.
Misc Belizean Sources
National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014
Government of Belize Press Office PRESS RELEASE: The Honourable Gaspar Vega and the Honourable Hugo Patt wishes to thank the general public for the solid support in attending the recently held National Agriculture and Trade Show. The show was a resounding success with approximately 36,000 visitors over the two and a half days. Gross revenue from the show reached a record $241,000. Profits from the show are being reinvested in the unprecedented improvements to infrastructure and support services for the show.
SIPL Celebrating Education Week
Happy Education Week! The San Ignacio Public Library is celebrating Education Week, and visiting, and being visited by, many of Cayo's primary schools to promote reading. They've visited St. Francis Xavier in Esperanza, and have been visited by Sacred Heart Primary, and Santa Elena Primary schools. Education Week goes through Friday, May 17th, which is also Teacher's Day. Thanks, SIPL!
Belmopan Mural Competition
Belmopan is having a mural competition, with the winner having their mural painted on the front wall of the civic center, and receiving a cash prize of $500. The theme should be Belmopan history, and the deadline is Monday, May 19th. Call 822-2271 for more information.
Western Ballaz Host Bandits
The Western Ballaz, who are once again tied for 1st place in the NEBL, host the Belmopan Bandits tonight in their last game of the regular basketball season. The first game is SHC vs. the Up the Hill Squad, and it starts at 5:30pm. There will be lots of prizes, food, and drinks, like always. Go support the Ballaz in their last home game.
Job Vacancy: Technical Officer Communication and Information, CROSQ
To view the job vacancy description for the Technical Officer Communication and Information at the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, kindly click on the link below.
Huge Mayan City Found Near Mexico and Belize Border Line!
According to Mexican Newspapers the Archaeologists from the National Institue of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) (INAH) confirmed today that there is an Ancient Mayan City aproximated to be about 84 acres and is located in the jungles around the border line of Quintana Roo and Belize. The Ancient Mayan City was named Noh Kah, meaning Large City, and is believed to have existed more than one thousand five hundred years ago. In a statement released, INAH claim that with the assistance of members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa, specialists were able to perform a topographic survey of the Ancient Mayan City which is covered by the forest on the bank of the Rio Hondo. Noh Kah is located about 7 miles from the Belize / Mexican Border line and about 37 miles away from the city of Chetumal. Members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa first discovered the Ancient Mayan City when they found a huge wall made of stone and covered in vines hanging over the side which for them was clear that it was evidence of an Ancient City that had been eaten by the jungle long ago.
Guard engineer continues leadership growth in Belize
This is the third New Horizons trip to Belize for U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Puckett, a carpentry and masonry specialist deployed from the Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company.
Eleven years ago, Puckett arrived on Belizean soil for the first time in support of New Horizons Belize 2003. He returned in 2013, and he is in Belize once again for New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual exercise that provides mutual training opportunities for Americans, Belizeans, and Canadians in health care and civil engineering fields.
This year, Puckett is working alongside his Belizean Defence Force, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine engineering counterparts at the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize. The crew is constructing a new building for preschoolers at the school.
Since his first trip to Belize in 2003, things have changed a lot, he said.
"There are definitely more structures and buildings, and the roads are built up more," the Army sergeant said. "There's been a lot of improvement and development since the first time I was here."
Local dentist shares skills with children of Belize on recent mission trip
Dr. Kristin Kenner joined two of her classmates from dental school to do a dental mission to San Pedro, Belize.
The doctors wanted to do something special as it has been exactly 30 years since they graduated from dental school along with Dr. Mark Johnson.
Dr. Johnson established a much needed dental clinic at the Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro. "Several of my classmates have gone down to this impoverished area to offer free dental treatment for the teachers and children of San Pedro. It was a very humbling experience, helping these appreciative people of Belize," Dr. Kenner stated.
Seeds to sustain
WL resident founded nonprofit to build gardens, promote nutrition in Belize. Linda Machtelinckx likes to say that she isn’t stubborn. She’s passionate.
Stubbornness implies an unwillingness to admit failure or dramatically change course, and Machtelinckx’s experience recently has been quite the opposite. She has succeeded where others have failed, and she believes that success is due in large part to her passion.
It was less than a year ago when Machtelinckx, a West Linn resident, founded the nonprofit group Belize Arch with the goal of teaching children and families in the Central American country of Belize how to grow their own food and prepare healthier meals by using sustainable community gardens. In the time since the nonprofit’s pilot project began in September 2013, Machtelinckx has traveled back and forth to Belize to oversee the nonprofit’s growth and land sponsorships from both government officials and outside organizations, such as the Francis Ford Coppola resort — which has a location in Belize.
The effort hasn’t been without its hiccups, but in the short time since Belize Arch was founded, a community garden is already blossoming in the Belize village of Cristo Rey, and the word is spreading both organically and with the help of government officials who jumped on board.
SP Sports Committee Tournament - MAY 2014 (41 photos)
It was an exciting afternoon on Sunday, May 4th at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Football Arena as the San Pedro Sports Committee Football Tournament final games were played. After weeks of games, it was down to Team Southwind and Team Legends in the finals. Eager football fans came out to see the highly anticipated games, and they were not disappointed.
2 Foro de Alcaldes Centroamericanos y de Republica Dominicana (30 photos)
Mayor Daniel Guerrero was invited to attend the Segundo Foro de Alcaldes Centroamericanos y de Republica Dominicana which was held on May 7 to 10 in the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday, May 7, the Mayors of the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic were hosted to a welcoming cockatil before the forum. At the event, the mayors discussed various topics concerning issues happening in each country. These topics included: Citizenship decentralization and participation, Different Techonologies, Public Safety as a prevention method to violence, Municipal Health, Solid Waste and Promotion of Tourism.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero said his trip to the Dominican Republic was a fruitful one. He learned various aspects on how other municipalities of different countries function and how San Pedro can relate to them.
SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY - OAS-UNIVERSITY OF WEST INDIES SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Ecuador's Most Wanted In Belize?
Tonight, officers of the Gang Suppression Unit continue to detain an Ecuadoran man, who may be a fugitive living in Belize. 7News was there at 1:00 pm today when police searched his Belize City home and found a firearm.
The name he gave to the officers was Christian Ebanks, and we've confirmed that he has provided immigration documents which says that is his name. But as we told you, there are posters on the internet of a fugitive from Ecuador with the name Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado, who, according to a 2011 web posting, is being sought in the Guayas Province of that country. The report says Police from Guayas want him for the murder of Ecuadoran Alejandro Martín Teófilo, which happened on Puna Island. Now, Belize police will have to determine if this man named "Christian Ebanks" is indeed the wanted fugitive Floyd Ebanks.
But what they are able to say at this time is that they searched his Belize City house on Teacher Street this afternoon, and officers from the GSU found an illegal firearm. It is expected that he will be criminally charged for that, and he will be arraigned and then remanded. GSU's Commanding Officer told us today that they will check into his background to see if he is indeed the Ecuadoran fugitive who managed to settle down in Belize under a different identity.
The Unearthing Of An Immigration Fraud Ring
42 year-old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, and his common-law wife 46 year-old Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, both Guatemalan nationals, are at prison tonight after they were taken to court for possession of false immigration documents including Belizean passports. The couple is accused of mass fraud because they managed to use the identities of dead Belizean citizens to get passports, social security cards, and voter identification cards. That's what the Immigration Department says they uncovered after over a month of investigation. Yesterday, Alfred Marcos was picked up from his work site, KHMH, where he was employed as an X-ray technician. His wife, Marleny Castellanos was detained at the Western Border; she was attempting to flee the country.
Investigators from the Immigration Department found out that this couple has been living illegally in the country since 1999, at a Smith Street address in the Kings Park area of Belize City.
To try to legitimize their status here in Belize, they obtained the birth certificates of 2 Belizeans from Benque Viejo Town who are deceased: Romana Gonzalez and Raquel Castellanos. With those stolen identities, they managed to get social security cards issued to them in July of 2010.
Another Hung Jury: Felix Brothers Will Go Free
When we left you last night, a Corozal jury was deliberating the fate of the Felix brothers. Well, they deliberated for over 6 hours and at the end, they couldn't come to a verdict in the 3rd murder trial of brothers Maurice and Emory Felix.
And so, about 2 hours ago, the brothers were returned to the Belize Central Prison reportedly with an undertaking that they will be released at a later date.
Later on in the news we'll have all the details of the in's and outs of this case when we speak to their attorney Arthur Saldivar.
Compol Whylie Unfazed By Mandamus Order
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has been in the news so much recently that his ears must ring every night at 6:30. But for all the talking about him – Whylie has done very little talking himself., Now, he's not known as a man of many words – but since the mandamus action in late February he's become a man of no words: zero, zilch, nada. We've tried to reach him by all means – and really the only thing left was smoke signals. While we were getting our fires ready for that one, today he saved us the trouble and made himself available for a press encounter. It was at the handing over of a fleet of new pickups from the US Government, so he must have been in good spirits when we asked him about the mandamus order. Issued in early March the order directed him to immediately commence a criminal investigation against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner for his role in the Citizen Kim passport scandal. Chief Justice Benjamin declared that Commissioner Whylie's decision not to investigate was quote, "irrational, unreasonable, and unlawful".
Strong words but Whylie was unfazed when we spoke to him today:
"You are a career police officer. How did you feel about the fact that the chief justice basically scolded you and told you that you should do your job which you weren't doing? What was your reaction to that?"
Compol Not Keeping tabs On Penner File
And that's just what the Whylie intended to do in this case: wait until the Auditor General finished her report, and then act on her findings –paying no heed to the fact that at least one of the offences could have been statute barred.
But, because the PUP got the Supreme Court to issue an order of mandamus – the criminal investigation went ahead – and it now constitutes a quite hefty file. All we are told is needed to complete it is the Citizen Kim passport, which Belize's Ambassador to Taiwan is expected to return to Belize this month.
The DPP undertook to give private Penner prosecutors, COLA and its attorney Kareem Musa the file last week Friday – that was, if she got it back from police as requested. But she didn't – and so COLA still doesn't have any evidence to disclose at its next court date.
So where is the file? And why hasn't it been sent back to the DPP? That's what we asked Whylie today. Quite surprisingly he knew nothing about the whereabouts of the file for the investigation which the Supreme Court ordered him to launch:
Compol Whylie Inconclusive on Saldivar Files
And if Commissioner Whylie doesn't know what the DPP said to the media a week ago, then he definitely doesn't know what Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said last night. He told the media that he was disappointed that the police did not find out where Arthur Saldivar got the stolen immigration files from. The Director of Immigration did make a police report and today we asked Whylie about the investigation. He said it's still open:
"The Minister of Immigration yesterday, told the media – I get the impression; you don't follow the media much – but he told the media yesterday that he was disappointed the police did not find out how it is that files were secreted out of the Immigration Department, and ended up in the hands of Arthur Saldivar."
"Again, I haven't heard what the Minister said so again, it would be improper of me to comment. I can't comment on things I don't know about. I haven't heard it."
"Sir, I get the impression that you don't keep up at all with things that are in the news."
US Donates 38 Pickups
Today in Belmopan, the US Embassy handed over 38 new full size Ford pickups to the police department. It's part of the US Government's Central American Regional Security Initiative, known as CARSI. And while the last major donation of vehicles came two years ago in the form of smaller Ford Rangers, those are reaching their limit, so the new trucks come just in time. Now, the Commissioner says, there can be no excuses for not responding to the public:
Monica Bodden Reporting
Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"This contribution today will significantly improve the resources of each and every police formation."
The 38 vehicles cost 2.3 million dollars and will be deployed to formations and units across the country with emphasis on crime investigation, community policing, quick response, and the K9 Units."
Margaret Hawthorne - Charge d' Affaires, U.S. Embassy
"By working together, we can push back against criminal elements, build stronger communities, help serve and protect the Belizean people and promote economic growth in a secure environment."
New US Ambassador To Belize Approved by US Senate
As you saw in that story, Charge d'affairs Margaret Hawthorne is still holding over as the top official at the US Embassy. That's because the new ambassador designate Carlos Moreno was nominated in the middle of last year and confirmed in October, but political disputes in the US Senate have held back the appointment of he and 15 other ambassadorial appointees. Well, not any more. Moreno, a former US Judge was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate today as US Ambassador to Belize. Moreno is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of California and was once rumored to be a candidate for the US Supreme Court.
He is expected in Belize soon.
Felix's Free: The Full Story
In our last segment, we told you about the third murder trial of brother's Maurice and Emory Felix, which ended in a hung jury. Well, we have a bit more details to share how this one played out in court.
As we told you, the case took place for over a month in the Corozal Supreme Court, far removed from the jurisdiction where 29 year-old Mitchum Heredia, the deceased, was killed. One of the reasons for that was to try to lessen outside influence, including jury and witness tampering.
The allegation against the Felix brothers was that they gunned down Heredia just before 6:30 p.m. on April 10, 2006 as he arrived at his house on T Street, Belize City. He reportedly was entering his yard in a Nissan Maxima car, when 2 armed men, ambushed and shot him 6 times at close range.
Of important note is that parts of the transcript from the previous trial was entered as evidence in this new trial. It pertained the testimony that the now deceased Romel Palacio Jr. gave when he was a witness for the prosecution. Palacio Jr. described how he saw the brothers shot Herredia several times.
PUP's Belize Times Owes Sales Tax Arrears
PUP Legal Advisor Anthony Sylvester was at Magistrate's court today on behalf of his party's newspaper the Belize Times. The Sales Tax Department summonsed the paper for not filing and not paying their sales tax going back to the second month of 2010. We have seen at least 15 summons documents. Yesterday, we asked the party leader about the rather embarrassing state of affairs for the country's longest established mass party:
"Are you aware of this? I know that you are not the business manager of the PUP."
Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition, PUP
"Or the owner, no I am not aware of it, Jules. I know a few - maybe a year or two ago, the people from the business tax office or the GST - I don't know which one of them, had come in, and I know that the business managers of the Belize Times had sat down with them and worked out a settlement of whatever was the outstanding. But, that was - I think - in 2012, but that's the last I know about it. I have not seen any of those things."
Whylie Says Promotions Fuss Unnecessary
For weeks now we've been hearing chatter about promotions for senior officers in the police department. As always, there are grumblings of discontent by persons who got passed over. But, according to the Commish, it's much ado about nothing, since there have been no promotions, only recommendations:
"I am told that it has created a lot of discontent in the department, that men who are putting in hard work felt that they were overlooked or bypassed. What is the status with the promotion?"
Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"Man, Jules, that's news to me. First time I'm hearing that there is any dissension or there is any issue of promotion. I know a number of persons passed their promotional exams, a number appeared before the board. We've gotten those recommendations and as a policy group we look at those recommendations and we are making recommendations for persons to be promoted. So it's news to me you're saying that people have been promoted because I'm certain none have been promoted. Whenever there are issues of promotions there will always be a lot of rumors and the truth is everybody cannot be promoted and so we have got to try as much as possible to get the cream of the crop."
COMPOL Bullish On Crooked Tree Dust-Up
And finally from Commissioner Whylie tonight, the media tried to ask him about a misunderstanding he'd had on Crooked Tree on Holy Saturday with a police constable. Credible reports to 7News tell us that Whylie had an exchange of words with PC Ogaldez, which is when one of Whylie's relatives allegedly broke a pint over Ogaldez's head. Whylie then put Ogaldez under arrest. It's a public incident and an embarrassing one, and today Whylie didn't want to talk about it:
Hipolito Novelo - Love News
"There was a scuffle between you and some officer in Crooked Tree.
"A misunderstanding where you had to arrest the officer who is now transferred."
Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I have nothing to say in respect of that matter. What was done is done; it was an internal matter, and it was dealt with. I have nothing to say about that."
BNTU Bex With Hon. Faber
Last night, we showed you our interview with Education Minister Patrick Faber when he explained what happened why there will be no National Teachers Rally on Friday. He said that the Belize National Teachers Union knew that they were expected to contribute over $30,000 to the budget to get the event going, but they only offered $10,000.
Well today the Teachers Union released a statement today claiming that's not how it went down. That statement says, quote, "the Ministry of Education's position was that maybe we should not celebrate Teachers' Day at the National level, since it was too expensive and the time for planning was limited."
The Union says that the representatives realized that there was some "rockiness" – as Faber put it - in the relationship between the ministry and the union. They suggested that it was important to join forces to celebrate National Teachers' Day. They also explained that due to heavy spending on activities carried out by the unions this year, they're experiencing low cash flow. They were still willing to pledge $10,000 dollars. The union claims that the Ministry suggested at the initial meeting that they had $100,000 to pledge to the budget for the rally. The Union then felt that with their $10,000 pledge, the budget only needed $6,000 more. The Union also says that the Planning Committee identified areas where the budget could be cut down by as much as $4,000.
Hon. Francis Outlines New Campaign Configuration
As we reported a few weeks ago, the PUP is re-tooling its national campaign machinery. It's turning the four regions of the country into a committee chaired by a national coordinator Godfrey Smith – who's been brought back into the PUP fold for this special mission. No press release was sent, nor any public announcement made, so we asked Fonseca about it yesterday:
Hon. Francis Fonseca
"We're putting together a national campaign committee. We're activating a national campaign committee because we've always had a campaign committee. So, we're activating that committee, and we've asked Godfrey Smith to chair that committee. As you know, the party has regional campaign managers for each of the regions of the country. So, they form a part of the core executive of that campaign committee, and then they will then reach out and include other persons who will form a part of that wider national campaign committee. By the way, I don't know, you reported that Mr. Ralph Fonseca - quite irresponsibly of you - that this man had somehow been brought back to - or was holding some post. The man is a businessman. He's working - there is absolutely no truth to that; I don't know where you got that. He has not been given any post official or unofficial.
Albert Division Wide Open For PUP
And one aspect of the campaign that's generating a lot of interest is the Albert constituency. There are three candidates who have put their names in, and the conventions was to have been held this month. But the PUP seems to be holding out for some big name to come into the picture. We asked Fonseca who that big name is yesterday:
"I know that Mr. Martin Galvez has put in his name as has the attorney, lawyer Sabido and we've heard a lot of chatter that it's being held off because Richard â€˜Dickie' Bradley will be fielded by the P.U.P. as a candidate in the Albert Division. What is the status of that and is the party going to decide on it tomorrow?"
"No, no. We have decided even at the last meeting of the executive that we would keep the Albert Division convention open until I think it's July, I don't remember the specific date in July but we set a date in July that we will keep that convention open and that is a matter that's ongoing."
Agric Show Money To Be Re-Invested
Last week we told you about the 36,000 persons who attended the National Agriculture and Trade Show. Tonight, the Ministry of Agriculture is reporting that Gross revenue from the show reached a record $241,000 thousand dollars. A release says profits from the show are being reinvested in improvements to infrastructure and support services for the show. There is a five year plan to convert the show grounds to Belize's premier exhibition venue for fairs, exhibitions, educational, music and arts festivals.
April 24 to 26th, 2015 are the dates for next year's show.
Turning His Wrong Into A Right
2 months ago, we told you about Edward P. Yorke's Zipporah Taylor, who was chosen as a candidate for the Police Department's Do The Right Thing program for this year.
Well, she's now joined by fellow student Kenbert Staine, and today the police department honoured him with a ceremony. We got a chance to speak with Staine, and he told us that this is an important moment for him because he was almost kicked out of school for bad behaviour:
Staine will be one of the students honoured at the National Do The Right Thing Ceremony to be held in July.
Mother of 4 is viciously stabbed in front of her children in San Pedro
A mother of four was transported from San Pedro to Belize City just after midday and is listed in a critical condition at the K.H.M.H. Lorena Montes, the proprietor of [...]
Another hung jury in the 3rd murder trial of the Felix brothers
The sensational murder trial in which Maurice and Emory Felix stood accused, ended in a hung jury on Tuesday night after six hours of deliberations. The case was heard before [...]
Libertad resident clings to life at K.H.M.H. following chopping incident
On their long ride back to the Belize Central Prison today, the Felix brothers were accompanied by twenty-four year old Joseph West, charged for the chopping of Giovanni Borland. The [...]
Guatemalan couple pleads guilty to immigration offences
A Guatemalan couple who were caught with fraudulent Belizean documents has been nabbed following an ongoing investigation by the Belize Immigration Department. It started back in March of this year [...]
An immigration sweep in Caye Caulker nabs 10 persons
While Castellanos and Gonzalez have both pleaded guilty to immigration offenses, there is a report from Caye Caulker that Immigration Officials have rounded up at least ten persons for fake [...]
Where is the Penner file? ComPol says he doesn’t know…
The Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has finally spoken about the investigation into the immigration scandal involving former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. A writ of mandamus instructing Whylie to [...]
ComPol Whylie says he is awaiting completed Auditor-General’s report
When asked if the police department would not have proceeded with an investigation had a writ of mandamus not been filed, ComPol Whylie told the media that they were simply [...]
Joseph Budna gets another 30 years for kidnapping
Former freelance reporter, Joseph Budna, is facing decades behind bars in neighboring Guatemala. Budna has amassed two convictions for kidnappings and back on April twenty-first, Budna escaped from the Zacapa [...]
Rodent infestation forces the closure of Ranchito Government school
Rodent infestations, unhealthy conditions and structural damages forced the closure of the Ranchito Government Primary School last week Monday. The institution reopened this Tuesday, but in a limited capacity. The [...]
SIF to provide new building to Ranchito Government school
While it is subtle, it is also apparent that the Ministry of Education is not willing to accept the blame for the situation at the Ranchito Government Primary School. But [...]
3 female minors still missing from Marla’s House of Hope
On Tuesday, we reported that three female minors are missing from Marla’s House of Hope in Belmopan. The three missing girls have been identified as fifteen-year-old Selena Cal, fourteen-year-old Francesca [...]
Final report on drowned Escuela students still pending
On April fourth, two students of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico—Anahi Zepeda and Edgar Puck—drowned on a school trip. They were part of a group which had visited the Che Chem [...]
Man freed of murder
A man was set free today in court after his case file was not available for trial. Twenty-one year old Dion Brackett has been on remand since last year for [...]
US Embassy hands over a new fleet of vehicles to the police
The police department today received a hefty donation courtesy of the United States Embassy. It involves a brand new fleet of vehicles valued at more than two million dollars. The [...]
Another student honoured for doing the right thing
The police department has been honouring outstanding students from Belize City high schools this week. It is part of their program, Do Di Rait Ting, which seeks to motivate and [...]
ComPol says no promotions issued recently
Officers of varying ranks from across the police department are often invited to sit an annual exam to determine their eligibility for promotion. In the past a majority of those [...]
Recommendations for Promotions in the Police Department are Being Reviewed
Earlier in the newscast you heard from Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie on several issues. The final issue for tonight with Compol Whylie is in regards to a round of promotions that have reportedly been accepted. Reports say that senior officers in the department have been promoted and are being paid retroactively. This, reportedly, have cause tensions to grow with those who got promoted and those who didn’t. Compol Whylie told the media that no officer has been promoted as yet and there is no tension in the police department.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN WHYLIE
“That is news to me; first time I am hearing that there is any dissention or any issue of promotion. I know a number of persons passed their promotional exams, a number appeared before the boards; we have gotten those recommendations and as a policy group, we look at those recommendations and we are making recommendations for persons to be promoted. So, it is news to me that you are saying that people have been promoted because none has been promoted. Whenever there is issue of promotion, there will always be a lot of rumors and the truth is that everybody cannot be promoted and we just have to try to get the cream of the crop.”
Compol Tells Reporter to Do His Own Investigation
Shifting gears from the Penner spotlight, Love News asked Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie to enlighten us on a misunderstanding he reportedly had with a Constable in the Village of Crooked Tree on April 19. It is our understanding that the Commissioner had to arrest the police officer who was reportedly drunk which led to a verbal confrontation…..but the Commissioner showed much reluctance in commenting on the matter.
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
“I have nothing to say in respect to that matter; what was done has been done. It was an internal matter and he was dealt with.”
“But it was in public…”
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
“I have nothing to say on that matter… you do your own investigation.”
We understand that the officer, who was stationed in Crooked Tree Village at the time of the incident was transferred to the Ladyville Police Department.
PUP Attorney Refuses to Cooperate with Investigators
Keeping in line with the Immigration Scandal – some months ago, Standard Bearer for the main opposition party, PUP, Arthur Saldivar got his hands on what he claimed was 150 immigration files including nationality certificates purportedly singed by Elvin Penner. In last night’s newscast, Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, expressed his disappointment in the police inability to get to the bottom of just how Saldivar got his hands on those files. Compol Whylie told the media that Saldivar was questioned but he did not cooperate.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN WHYLIE
“That investigation is still ongoing; the investigation has not been closed. What people have to understand is that an investigation is not an hour process or a one-day process. Sometimes investigations take years to be concluded; we see in other locations that investigations take time to conclude. The reality is that we have to go and ask questions and you have to hope that people will cooperate and if they don’t cooperate then you try to get other means to get what you need in order to substantiate a complaint.”
Commissioner Appeals Chief Justice Ruling Saying An Investigation Would Have Been
The second issue that the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie was asked about is the Writ of Mandamus that was brought against him by the People’s United Party. It was on March 3 that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ordered Commissioner Whylie to carry out an investigation but that decision is being appealed by Whylie. Commissioner says his office never opted to not investigate.
COMPOL ALLEN WHYLIE
“We have never taken the position that we would not investigate. All we were saying is that we were awaiting the official complaint from the Director of Immigration or we were awaiting the results of the Auditor General’s investigation. It is not unusual when people believe irregularities have occurred, the AG goes in, do their investigations and they send their report to us along with the necessary evidence; that was done in the Southern Regional Hospital case and so, we never said we would never investigate; we just said based on the fact that investigations were already underway, we were awaiting the outcomes of those and to be called in.”
Compol vs DPP; He Says, She Says
Commissioner of Police Allen Wylie has been off the radar for quite some time now and, for the media, it has been difficult to get in contact with him. The last time he appeared on camera was when he presented himself before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in regards to the Writ of Mandamus brought by the People’s United Party but even then he would not give the media an interview……But today, Compol Whylie resurfaced. He gave the closing remarks at a vehicle donation ceremony held in Belmopan….we’ll have that story later on in our newscast…..we bring to you the comments made by Whylie in an interview with the media, following today’s ceremony. First we go COLA’s private prosecution brought against former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. The grassroots NGO has been having problems in obtaining necessary files to present for disclosure later on this month, saying that several government bodies are stonewalling their efforts especially the Office of the Commissioner of Police. COLA had stated that the Director of Public Prosecution had pledged to request the Penner files from Compol Whylie….but today Whylie told the media that he has not received any such request.
COMPOL ALLEN WHYLIE
“I’ve heard nothing from the DPP in terms of she has requested the file to share.”
“It’s a matter of fact that she has gone on the record and said that in fact, she has made an undertaking to share it with COLA: are you willing to entertain that a police investigation file is shared with COLA for a private prosecution.”
Guatemalan Couple Uses Dead Belizeans Documents
A Guatemalan couple, 42 year old Alfredo Marcos and 46 year old Marleny Castellanos, who used birth certificates of 2 dead Belizeans to obtain immigration documents, were charged with several offences when they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Marcos, who was working as an x-ray technician at KHMH, was charged with using a Belize border crossing permit he was not entitled to use, using a social security card he was not entitled to use, using a Belizean passport he was not entitled to use, using a voter’s identification card he was not entitled to use, obtaining a Belizean nationality he was not entitled to use and using a nationality certificate to remain in Belize that he was not entitled to use. Castellanos was charged with using a Belize birth certificate to obtain a nationality not entitled to use, obtaining a Belize nationality certificate to obtain a passport not entitled to use, using a Belize passport to remain in Belize not entitled to use and using a social security card not entitled to use.
Maurice and Emory Felix expected to be freed after hung jury
Brothers Maurice, 30, and Emory Felix, 27, are expected to be released sooon as Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has indicated she would not pursue another prosecution against them for a charge of murder.
They were on trial in the Corozal Town Supreme Court, where a jury of twelve began deliberations at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday after Justice Troadio Gonzalez summed up the case on Tuesday afternoon. They emerged six hours later around 11:04 p.m. announcing that they were unable to reach a verdict.
The brothers were accused of killing mechanic Mitchum Heredia, 29, at his T-Street resident on April 10, 2006.
Main witness Romel Palacio, Jr., had testified that he witnessed the brothers approach Heredia, who was in his Nissan Maxima vehicle, with guns drawn.
One of them spoke to him and then both fired shots to his head and continued to fire, resulting in multiple gunshot wounds.
Another student honored for Doing The Right Thing
The Police Department’s Do the Right Thing Program is all about finding inspirations, positive role models for often wayward youths beaten down by their circumstances.
One of these is 15 year old 3rd form student Kenbert Staine, who attends Edward P. Yorke High School in Belize City.
He was a bully and a troublemaker when he was younger, and having already been twice suspended from school, he was one demerit away from his third strike.
He told us today that from that low point in his life, he recovered and realized that he had to turn his life around, with the help of his family and the school.
He is now tops in his class and looks forward to life after high school.
Guatemalan couple guilty of illegal use of Belizean identification
This afternoon in the Magistrate’s Court, 42 year old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, a X-ray technician working at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and housewife 46 year old Marleni Elizabeth Castellanos, pleaded guilty to a total of ten counts of offenses related to illegal use of identification to stay in Belize.
The pair had been in Belize since 1999, but after one month of investigation it was determined that their Belize birth certificates were illegally obtained using the names of two dead Belizean women from Benque Viejo del Carmen Town: Raquel Castellanos and Romana Gonzalez.
Step by step, they were able to obtain nationality certificates, passports and Social Security cards to which they were not entitled.
New US ambassador to Belize gets Congressional confirmation
The United States Congress today unanimously confirmed retired California Supreme Court judge Carlos R. Moreno as that country’s new ambassador to Belize.
Ambassador-designate Moreno replaces Vinai Thummalapally as the top US diplomat in Belmopan. Ambassador-designate Moreno’s confirmation hearing started back in October of 2013 .
Among the highlights on Ambassador-designate Moreno’s resume is a lone votein November, 2008 to overturn Proposition 8, which was California’s initiative that overturned same-sex marriage.
A date for the presentation of his credentials to the Governor General at Belize House in Belmopan, marking the official start of his appointment has not yet been announced.
Woman injured in confrontation, another in police detention
A stabbing incident this afternoon in San Pedro town has left a woman hospitalized in serious, but stable condition in Belize City.
According to reports, Lorena Montes suffered multiple stab wounds during an attack just after midday today inside of her business establishment Henry’s Store, which is located at the corner of Swan and Glitter Streets in San Pedro town.
The attack, reports say, happened in front of Montes’ children who had gone to the establishment during their lunch break.
Police in San Pedro have detained another woman believed to be the person who attacked and stabbed Montes. The detained woman has been identified as Roxanne Canul.
Crossing the border from Belize to Mexico and our funny McDonalds experience
When we got to Corozal there was no shortage of cabs waiting and we ended up with VIP transfers. Our driver was super nice and even came inside customs with us to help make sure we were filling out the paperwork correctly. Not so big a deal for Paul likely but me the ADD dyslexic was thrilled to have someone making sure I did not get distracted and filled in all the right boxes.
To cross the border from Belize to Mexico was $30 USD cab to the Chetumal ADO bus station. Time was about 45 min and can run linger depending on the border, thankfully we managed to beat a busload by a few minutes. This was the first time we have made the trip using the ‘new’ bridge that has been built between Mexico and Belize, and I must say that is was a breeze getting through the Mexican Immigration offices in their large, new buildings vs. the small office everyone used to have to pass through to get into Mexico.
After we passed through immigration and then stopped at the “Spraying” station we realized that we had a little while to spare before the bus from Chetumal would leave, so we decided to pop into McDonald’s for some breakfast.
Ambergris Caye Humane Society’s Monthly Cook-Off: Are YOU Man Enough?
Yesterday, the venue was Carlo and Ernie’s Runway bar. I arrived a bit early to take some pictures of the set up and the sun set. People started filling in. VERY generous donated prizes from Melt Cafe, Boaz Golf Cart rentals, NO RUSH sailing and Palapa Bar!
Eileen of DandE’s Frozen Custard and Kathy of SAGA and Pampered Paws were working hard. And they are two of my favorite people in town.
Canada’s Globe and Mail Likes Belize’s Chaa Creek Greens
Although they’re far to the north, the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail sounds close to Chaa Creek in Green philosophy, so we’re happy that they gave us special mention in a feature entitled:
“Did you just book a green hotel (or was it green-washed)?”
The article warns travellers to be discerning when booking a “Green” hotel; as for some it’s just a marketing ploy and doesn’t show a real commitment to sustainability.
To avoid these posers and stay at a genuine green hotel or resort, the article gives a checklist of things that should be in place, such as recognised accreditation (like Chaa Creek’s Green Globe certification) and other indicators, including “whether they benefit local people, have a nature-based location and offer interpretive or environmental learning programs.”
Check out our pristine rainforest location, the Chaa Creek Cares program, Eco-Kids annual educational Summer Camp, The Butterfly Farm, research sponsorship and the numerous other initiatives Chaa Creek has in place.
Online on Vacation
An Anthropologist Reflects on our Inability to Unplug.
My past week in Belize -- traveling with a small tribe of colleagues in the travel industry -- was a revelation in the ways electronics have wormed their way into the way we travel. Everyone's electronic devices were within easy reach the entire trip. Even when we were caving or snorkeling, our iPhones came with us.
In the time-honored ethnographic tradition of participant-observation, here are a few descriptions and observations I would like to share:
Behavior: After a patter of conversation, rather than sit in silence or continue to converse, all it took was one iPhone to be whipped out for everyone else to quickly follow suit. Once everyone was engaged with their devices, a sacred respect settled in. No one once interrupted someone who was "looking down." This also applied to the Mayan community we visited, politely waiting until we were no longer staring at our devices.
Comment: Electronic devices can be used to cover any awkward social moments. Engaging with your smartphone while in the company of others can "message" that a) you need some space to do your own thing, b) you are over stimulated by a live three-dimensional social workout and need to zone out (smartphones as pacifiers), or c) you have an "elsewhere" life that is demanding (and reifying) and can't wait for your return. For some reason these "cues" are perceived as sovereign and non-negotiable. Few folks will interfere with you if you are checking email or otherwise "looking down."
Tuna Fish Balls
This is a a no fuss recipe for a quick dinner entree or a snack. A different way to jazz up canned tuna. This dish can be served alone or with dipping sauce.
8:00am to 2:00pm Friday, May 16, Belize City: Entire Bella Vista Community. Two 15-minute power interruptions from 8:00 to 8:15 am and 1:45 to 2:00 pm will also affect the area from Mile 3 to mile 4.5 on the Philip Goldson Highway, including Belama Phases 2, 3 and 4 and North End Estate. BEL to relocate utility poles and re-conductor high voltage power lines.
The Top Things To Do In San Ignacio, Cayo
Belize offers something for everyone! Maya temple cities, white sandy beaches, best snorkeling in the region, spectacular scuba diving in the second largest barrier reef in the world, horseback riding through jungle trails, kayaking on pristine rivers, jungle hiking, adventurous zip lining, and unique caving exploration are just a few of a plethora of tours that you can do in Belize.
If you are vacationing in the San Ignacio, Cayo District area, here are 10 popular tours that you might want to consider:
New Bad Old Times for Guatemala?
It has been only a year since a court convicted Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, a former president of Guatemala, of genocide, a step hailed as a breakthrough for the country’s fragile democracy. And yet Guatemala’s hard-won progress is starting to falter; if nothing is done, it could easily slip back into authoritarianism, violence and disregard for basic human rights.
The trial of General Ríos Montt, who as the unelected president from 1982 to 1983 oversaw the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemalans, was the first time in history that a head of state anywhere was tried and convicted of genocide in a domestic courtroom. It was also supposed to be a major turning point for Guatemala’s court system, which, until recently, punished only 2 percent of all crimes.
Abandoned and isolated, Guatemala’s poor have been left to fend for themselves against the people who see any steps toward a fairer, more functional system as a threat to their fortunes and their legacies. Without a watchful eye from abroad, they have been able to revert to their old behavior, making sure the unjust structures that serve their needs stay in place, even at the expense of rising unrest, polarization and violence.
Latino judge confirmed to be U.S. ambassador to Belize
Once a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, Carlos R. Moreno’s consolation is to spend a few years spreading U.S. diplomacy in Belize.
Moreno is a retired judge of the California Supreme Court, where he cast the lone vote to overturn Proposition 8, the state’s ballot initiative that overturned same-sex marriage. His name was in the mix in 2009 to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, but President Obama wanted to, and then did, appoint a female judge.
Moreno is the son of Mexican immigrants, though he’s headed to the only English-speaking country in Central America. The Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Belize Wednesday afternoon.
During his confirmation hearing in October (yes, that was seven months ago because that’s how long noncontroversial nomination votes take these days), Moreno passed the ‘Have you even been to…’ test.
Texas A&M Scientist Discovers New Clingfish With Unique Venom Gland
A Texas A&M University scientist recently discovered a new species of clingfish and surprising, new findings about a second, well-documented clingfish.
The discoveries are based on the work of Dr. Kevin Conway, who for several years has been involved in the research of a small species of fish that live in shallow waters along the coast of Belize and in the Caribbean and Bahamas.
An assistant professor and curator of fishes with Texas A&M’s department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at College Station, Conway published his findings in the paper “Cryptic Diversity and Venom Glands in Western Atlantic Clingfishes of the Genus Acyrtus (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae)” in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study was conducted between Dr. Conway, his collaborator at the Smithsonian Institute Dr. Carole Baldwin, and Macaulay White, a former Texas A&M undergraduate.
“We are excited about the study, because it resulted in not only the discovery of an undescribed species, but also the discovery of a unique venom gland in a group of fishes nobody knew were venomous,” Conway said, adding that the last discovery on this field was reported in the 1960s. “The shocking thing is that the fishes that possess the venom gland have been known to science for a long time, some for over 260 years, and have been pretty well studied,” the researcher added.