This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for the next several days due to time constraints.
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Fire victims receive help, but more is needed
All 16 families affected in a massive fire that left 66 people homeless on Sunday July 6th are beginning to receive help. On Wednesday July 9th, members of the Belize Red Cross and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) handed over donations to each family household. According to Vice Chairman of NEMO – San Pedro Branch and Mayor of San Pedro Town, Daniel Guerrero, each family was given basic items. Those items included mattresses, blankets, stove with a butane tank, a set of pots including other kitchen items, mop, broom, and buckets amongst other items. Mayor Guerrero and the island’s NEMO Coordinator Jeromey Tim-rose Augustine handed over the donations to the fire victims.
Licensing programme for captive parrots is launched
Do you have a captive parrot?
Few people realise that all parrots in Belize are protected by law, which means it is illegal to take them from the wild, or to keep them in our homes.
Belize Forest Department recognise that many people in Belize have birds that have become part of their family, and as such, has launched a licensing programme for these captive parrots.
Owners must comply with minimum standards of care relating to cage size, perches, food and general health. Application forms and details of the minimum standards are available at San Pedro Public Library, or you can download them from www.belizebirdrescue.com
Once your application is lodged with the Forest Department, a representative will visit your home to check on your bird and its conditions. They will have a lot of applications to process, so please be patient. Be aware that these licences are for birds already in captivity, so don’t go and get a new parrot and then apply!
San Pedro Lions and Leo’s Install New Board Members
On July 5th the San Pedro Lions Club installed their new Board of Directors for 2014-2015. The San Pedro Leo’s Club also installed their new board, along with four new members to their club. The evening event kicked off with a social hour at 7PM at the Lions Den, where members and invited guests had the opportunity to mingle. The ceremony followed an hour later with Lion Bobby Lopez serving as the Master of Ceremony. After the national anthem, Lion Ruben Trejos greeted the audience with the Welcome Address and Lion Abel Guerrero led the Invocation. Lion Marina Kay presented the new Leo’s Board of Directors, with new Leo President Vivel Rodriguez, Vice President Randy Rivero and Secretary Aline Rodriguez each pledging to uphold the responsibilities that come with their prestigious positions. Four new Leo members were also sworn in by Lion Kay; Viviani Duran, Kirsty Arnott, Jordi Azueta and Ravey Azueta.
San Pedro Junior Sailing Club Continues Reign in National Regattas
Taking top place in the green fleet for novice sailors were Alanis Badillo (CCSC) in 1st Place, Harrison Cadle Jr. (CCSC) in 2nd Place and Rashawn Gonzalez (SPJCS) in 3rd Place who all scored 14 points each. Twenty three novice sailors raced in the green fleet. Rounding out the Top 10 in the novice races were:Trent Humes (BCSC) 4th
Peter Joo (PSC) 5th
Glenford Barrera (CCSC) 6th
Angel Pol (CCSC) 7th
Gabbi Knox (SPJCS) 8th
Christian Ferrell Jr. (PSC) 9th
Malik Jones (CCSC) 10th
The two-day regatta held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye was the 5th National Ranking Regatta of the 2014 Sailing Season and acts as a qualifier for the National Champions Regatta (BIZ14) scheduled for November 8 and 9. Congratulations to the San Pedro Junior Sailing Club on their impressive winning streak and to all the young sailors who do a fantastic job in competitions around the country of Belize.
J Boog to Perform at the International Costa Maya Festival
The International Costa Maya Festival is proud to announce another artist in the performance list at this year’s festival – J Boog. He will be performing along with Island Invasion on Friday, August 8, 2014, after a live musical presentation by the Garifuna Collective. It is a night you don’t want to miss as it will be full of great artists and the very best in music.
J Boog (born Jerry Afemata, Long Beach, California) is an American reggae and R&B vocalist and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California and based in Hawaii, he released his first solo album Hear Me Roar in 2007, which peaked on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums at #8. In 2011 he released his first EP, J Boog which peaked at #19 on the Top Heatseekers chart and reached #3 on Top Reggae Albums. His next album Backyard Boogie reached #1 on the reggae charts for 2011, 2012, and 2013, and in July 2013 his Live Up! (EP) reached #18 on the Top Heatseekers chart.
Misc Belizean Sources
SACNW Neighborhood Cleanup on Sunday
This Sunday, July 13 we will be holding a SACNW Neighborhood Cleanup along with the San Pedro Cadets (student volunteer organization). We will start by gathering in front of Black Orchid Restaurant at 8am where everyone will be assigned to a group. Remember to bring water, bug spray, gloves, and sunscreen. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes.
After the cleanup, Black Orchid will provide a complimentary breakfast to all those who participated. Thank you Judyann and Tom!
Senior Steps Summer Camp
The Senior Steps Summer Camp starts next week at the George Price Centre. Contact the CPC for more information.
Book on early Maps of Belize launched
A book filled with representations of the early Maps of Belize was launched last week Thursday in the Bedran Hall of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in the Cayo District. The book which encompasses maps during a 120 year period, from 1783 to 1902, offers a startling glimpse of the dynamics involved in the early history of Belize. The launching of the book was made to a captive audience, which was set to coincide with the end of a presentation by Dr. Diane Chase at the 12 Annual Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium that was being held at the same venue in San Ignacio Town.
The Guardian spoke to Dr. Odile Hoffman to discover more about her Monograph entitled, British Honduras: The invention of a colonial territory. According to Dr. Hoffman, work started on the book in Belize about 4 years ago, where visits were made to the Belize Archives in Belmopan. The Geographer at the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in Paris then discovered from her visits that there were many maps that were not in Belize. Hoffman then proceeded to the well organized archives of London where she found “marvels in documentation.” Much of the cartographic archives on early Belize are also now in Spain, France and recent maps are now in the United States of America. But early and more detailed maps on Belize that are now in foreign countries are still not accessible, because they are very expensive to have rights to view them, reports Dr. Odile Hoffman. But thankfully now, both National and International researchers as well as the general readership will be able to view the early representations of Belize in Dr. Odile Hoffman’s book, published by Cubola Productions from Benque Viejo del Carmen.
Tender Notice – Road Map and Action Plan for the Establishment of a Caribbean Regional Financial Services Institute
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) requires the services of an independent consulting firm to develop a Roadmap and Action Plan for the establishment of a Caribbean Regional Financial Services Institute. The Consultancy will build upon and is a reflection of the work being undertaken by the Task Force for the Promotion and Protection of the Caribbean Financial Sector (TFP-CFS) which was established by CARIFORUM Ministers. Moreover, this consultancy will facilitate the implementation of the decision of the Meeting of Ministers responsible for Financial Services in CARIFORUM held December 9, 2013
The consultant will be required to:
Review and build on existing work for the development of a regional financial services institute in the Caribbean;
Identify existing regional and international best practices and assess their applicability to developing a Regional Financial services Institute in the Caribbean;
Develop a road map and action plan for the establishment and functioning of a Regional Financial Services Institute
Conditions of Lease- North-eastern Portion of Goff’s Caye
Felicia Chen Pleads Guilty, Tells Court Why She Drowned Her 3 Kids
In April of last year, 23 year-old mother Felicia Chen did the unthinkable: she drowned her 3 babies. Well tonight, she is at prison awaiting sentence after she pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to killing her children.
The guilty plea was accepted today before Justice Troadio Gonzalez, when Chen, who was to start standing trial for 3 counts of murder told the court that she wished to forego a trial and accept responsibility for her actions. Instead of pleading guilty to murder, however, she was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Crown Counsel, Sheneiza Smith told the court that the prosecution was willing to accept her plea for manslaughter based on the findings of the Ministry of Health psychiatrist. He certified that Chen was suffering from depression, and so, she was only partially responsible, and therefore is entitled to a defence of diminished responsibility because of her actions.
Kidnapping Charges for Cervantez Sr.'s Alleged Killers
Last night, we showed you, 22 year-old Guatemalan Noe Daniel Avila; 19 year-old Belizean Angel Antonio Cardenas, and 28 year-old Belizean Mateo Pott Jr. who were jointly charged with the murder of 71 year-old Ramon Cervantes Sr. Well, they were also formally charged and arraigned today in Orange Walk for the charge of kidnapping.
Since his disappearance, the family and the wider public had speculated that Cervantes was kidnapped, and then killed. Police had refused to class his disappearance as a kidnapping the entire time, but with these formal charges, it's starting to put together a picture of what happened.
But, as old questions finally get answered, new ones keep emerging, especially, the Tuesday evening discovery of 46 year-old Sonia Abac's body. We've been closely following the two cases, and today, Daniel Ortiz tried to coherently piece together what is known. Here's his report:
Wednesday Murder in City May be Related To Tuesday Shooting
Last night we told you about the murder that happened at 6:30. Tonight we can confirm that the victim is 35 year old Dwayne Hilton. He was at the corner of Baldwin Drive and Custard Apple Street, just one block from his home when a gunman walked up to him and shot him four times in his shoulder and chest. One the bullets is believed to have punctured his heart and he died almost instantly. His family came upon the scene not knowing, not suspecting that it was him. Today his cousin told us about their collective shock. She asked to appear off camera:..
Voice of: "Sean" - Cousin of Dwayne Hilton
"I was so shocked I had to sit down because I didn't even believe it and when I went by the house I still didn't believe that he was that person lying down on the ground.
Police Grappling With Crime Cluster
But so far, police have not been able to contain a gang war that has gripped certain areas of the city. The problem for law enforcement is that there is splintering within the gangs, and some are pushing into new areas - and police, it seems, have not been able to keep up.
It's relevant because as Hilton's cousin pointed out - he was killed a short distance from where Edwin "Drive" Flowers was shot in the yea don Tuesday night. Today precinct 2 police told the media that they think Hilton was the target - and that the Tuesday and Wednesday night shootings are related.
ASP Calbert Flowers, Ag. OC, Precinct 2
"Our investigations so far is leading that the gunman was indeed targeting Mr. Hilton. The shooting where Edwin Flowers got shot and where Hilton got shot is very close proximity to each other. We are looking at that angle to see if indeed they are related."
Identity Confirmed For Murdered Man Found At Sewage Ponds
And as you heard in that interview, when Dwayne Hilton was murdered, police were nearby - right at the Faber's Road sewage ponds known as the Dyke area. They were there with the body of an unidentified man who was killed in particularly cruel fashion: cut from neck to navel.
He was identified last night when his grandmother watched the news and heard the description os his tattoo: he is 29 year old David Dwayne Copious from Jane Usher which is right next to the sewage ponds. His family last saw him on Monday evening.
His niece told us they too are shocked because he was not known to be involved in gang activity:..
Latifah Sutherland, Niece of deceased
"My granny sent me a text last night after 11 saying that it was my uncle because of the stuff that they said they found on the body and the tattoo. And according to her, she didn't see him from Monday and he is not a person that would stay out. If he stays out one night, he would not stay out for two nights - he would have come home."
Police Ratchet Up Gang Response With Patrols, Mediation
Police are following a few leads, but have nothing substantial so far on what has to be classed as an unusual murder. And even though it is in an area of high crime activity at the moment, police do not believe the Copius killing is related to the shooting of Edwin "Drive" Flowers or Dwayne Hilton:..
ASP Calbert Flowers, Ag. OC, Precinct 2
"So far we have nothing to indicate the reason why anyone would want to kill this individual. We are still in the process of recording statements and interviewing people and hopefully we can come up with a motive. So far there is nothing telling us why this person was killed. We know he live in the Jane Usher Boulevard area and the Jane Usher area is one of concern for us at this time."
Times Will Pay Hulse and Lawyer 20K
Twenty thousand dollars, that's how much the Belize Times will have to pay Godwin Hulse and his attorney Michael Young for libel. The case results from an article the Time ran in July of 2013 which was headlined "Godwin Hustler" and alleged that Hulse had acquired 100 acres of land in the Belize River Valley. But, in the settlement, the Times accepts that the allegation is untrue and unfounded and retracts the allegation. The paper must also publish the same, including an apology to Hulse.
That's the statement of settlement that was read out in the Chief Justice's courtroom today. Hulse's attorney Michael Young told us how the twenty thousand dollars was arrived at:..
Man Pleads Guilty To Fondling, Gets 3 Years
23 year-old Stanwell Bernardez, a construction worker of Antelope Street Extension, is spending the first night of a 3-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to fondling a 3 year-old girl.
It happened at about 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The child's mother took her to the Police Station, where she reported that a few hours earlier, her common-law husband allowed Bernardez to sleep over at their house after a night of socializing and drinking. She said that she got up at around 1, and she went into the living room, where she found Bernardez with her daughter. She said that she took the child to bed with her.
At next morning, the child complained to her that Bernardez touched her inappropriately on her private parts. A doctor classified her injuries as harm, and police subsequently arrested and charged Bernardez with aggravated assault of an indecent nature.
Belize Makes US Stock News, But Outfit Seems Shady
Belize was trending in US business news today because of the soaring stock of a dubious tech outfit which claims to be headquartered at the Matalon Building in Belize City.
Various articles from CNBC, Bloomberg News and other outlets took note of CYNK Technology and its social networking site Introbiz, which offers users the, quote, "ability to socially connect to individuals such as celebrities, business owners, and talented IT professionals..."
CNBC notes that "CYNK's stock was valued at less than ten cents in June, and rocketed to over $20 dollars at one point on Thursday morning. It adds that the company's stock gained nearly 25,000% in 16 trading days, giving it a market cap of over $5 billion dollars."
Red Cross Relief From Red Cross
On Monday, we told you about the blaze on San Pedro which destroyed 5 houses and damaged 3 others. It has left 16 families comprising 66 people and 32 children homeless, and to try to help these families survive this very challenging time, the Belize Red Cross has chipped in to offer aid.
The San Pedro Branch immediately went out to provide assistance and up to to date, they've transported over 700 pounds of relief supplies to the affected families.
Today the organization's Secretary General explained more about it today:
Lily Bowman, Director-General, Belize Red Cross
"This is led by our San Pedro Branch which has been very active and very quick to respond from the very beginning. The headquarters has been sending out relief items which will be distributed today, but before that they were carrying out their assessments, and in collaboration with the Mayor, the Town Council, the Lions Club and NEMO of course, they have been gathering supplies and taking care of those people."
There Is A Lease On Goff's Caye
On Tuesday we told you about survey pegs which appeared last week on Goff's Caye. It has caused concern because Goff's Caye is managed by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute - and is one of the last small islands in the Belize District that is open for public use and enjoyment. The pegs would seem to suggest that this public caye is being lined up for private profit.
Coastal Zone has told us they don't know anything about it, but suggested that the Lands Department might. They sent out a press release today saying that there is a 50 year lease, but it was issued 12 years ago, in 2002. The release says that the northeaster portion of the caye was surveyed in 2001, and a 50 year lease was approved to Ramon Cervantes. the terms of the lease would allow the construction of permanent structures on the Caye.
ROC Wants to Meet The DPP, COMPOL
The Rod of Correction met again today at the BNTU National Headquarters, but this time there was no scrum of media lined up outside waiting for interviews.
Instead, the ROC issued a press release saying it has taken the decision to request meetings with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal and the Commissioner of Police, COMPOL Whylie.
They want to talk with these senior officials about COLA's private prosecution of Elvin Penner which the ROC has agreed to lend its unequivocal support to.
Remembering Don Ramon and Sonia
At the top of our newscast, we showed you the additional charges that police brought against the men for the abduction and murder of Ramon Cervantes Sr.
For a crime that has sent that community reeling, it's a start towards a return to normalcy, but the leaders believe that they must go through a healing process after losing a leading light in the community. That's why a candlelight vigil was held in the Town last night for both Cervantes and Sonia Abac.
Our news team stopped in and spoke with a few of the participants about it:
Yvette Torres, Candle Light Vigil Attendant
"Its purpose is to show our unity as a community as we stand firm together whereby we are going through a great loss in our community and its time for us as a community to come out and show that we are united and we must take a stand in what we believe in."
Ramada Donates Old TV's
2 months ago, we told you about the rebranding effort that Princess Hotel in Belize City went through. It's now known as the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel, going back the days when it was under the Ramada Hotel Group's management.
The move was done so that the Princess Hotel chain can join the Wyndham Hotel Chain, so as to tap into that international customer base.
As part of the process Princess has to get up to speed with the standards for Wyndham Hotels, meaning that their 160 rooms have to be renovated. Part of that process is replacing their old "big box" televisions with flatscreens.
They now have these 160 old school TV's for which they have no use, so what to do with it? Well, the management decided to donate to several charity organizations. The media was invited to a breakfast press briefing to announce the brand new second hand donation. We stopped in and spoke with the Hotel's manager. Here's what he told us:
Orange Walk Trio Arraigned for Ramon Cervantes Murder
There is a development in the murder of Orange Walk’s Ramon Cervantes Senior. At around eleven a.m. this morning, accused murderers twenty-two year old Noe Daniel Gonzalez, twenty-eight year old [...]
Dwayne Hilton Ambushed and Gunned Down In A Yard Near Fabers Road
The Faber’s Road Extension has been the scene of two vicious murders and a shooting in a span of twenty-four hours. Edwin ‘Drive’ Flowers, one of the leaders of the [...]
Davee Copius Is Disemboweled Then Dumped In Sewer Pond Behind Dike
Hours before the murder of Duane Hilton, police made a gruesome discovery. A body was found floating in an open sewer lagoon, it was horribly gutted and already decomposing. The [...]
Felicia Chen Returns to Court With New Lawyer
Felicia Chen, the young mother who drowned three of her children at Belizean Beach in April 2013, returned to court this morning. At her previous appearance she was unrepresented and [...]
Orange Walk Murders Revisited
The foundations of the Orange Walk community have been shaken by the recent violence and malicious conspiracy. Even as Police have been able to recover two bodies of persons abducted [...]
Candlelight Vigil Held In Memory of Slain Orange Walkenos
On Wednesday, the first step to getting justice for the families of Ramon Cervantes Sr. and Sonia Maribel Abac was taken, with the formal arraignment of Noe Gonzales, Mateo Pott [...]
Goff’s Caye Surveyed, Is Development Next?
Last week there was some consternation and concern when survey pegs appeared on the much used and much loved Goff’s Caye. It may not be a world heritage site, but [...]
Belize Times Versus Godwin Hulse
The Belize Times and Alberto Vellos have settled with Minister Godwin Hulse in respect of allegations made on July third of last year by the newspaper. At the time the [...]
Stanwell Bernardez Sentenced to 3 Years for Child Molesting
A three-year old girl was molested while inside her home and the man who police say did it, pleaded guilty today in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for the offense [...]
Elderly Man Knocked Down And Killed In Belize City
Sixty-seven-year-old Mohan Thani, a Belizean businessman of Indian descent, was knocked down and killed on Wednesday evening as he attempted to cross the Phillip Goldson Highway near Belize Electricity Limited. [...]
Humanitarian Organizations Provides Disaster Relief for Fire Victims in San Pedro
At around eight p.m. on Sunday, July sixth, a massive blaze in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro destroyed eight homes, displacing sixteen families. They lost everything, all [...]
UNICEF Hosts Two-Day Seminar to Address Violence Against Children
A two-day workshop organized by UNICEF to provide participants with a greater understanding of the role that communication plays in individual and social behavior change, with a focus on violence [...]
Rod Of Correction Seeks Audience With DPP
COLA’s private prosecution of former minister of state Elvin Penner for the illegal issuance of a passport to a South Korean fugitive picked up some support from the Rod of [...]
Ramada Princess upgrades rooms and donates outdated goods
Today several Belize City based organizations received donations from the Ramada Belize City Princess. Two months ago the Princess entered into a partnership with the Ramada, owned by the international [...]
Smart Football Summer Camp Concludes At ITVET
Fans of the beautiful game will be passionately rallying behind their favorite national teams in the upcoming World Cup Finals on Sunday. In Belize, a team of young athletes are [...]
Healthy Living Takes a look at food poisoning
Summer is here! It’s hot, it’s humid and many families need very little excuse to spend some time outdoors. Unfortunately, bacteria also loves hot and humid conditions. This is part [...]