Today's Belize News: October 3, 2014
10/03/14 05:53 AM
10/03/14 05:53 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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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
Biologist Lisa Carne and Manatee Expert Jamal Galvez get Ocean Hero Award
Two outstanding conservationists received the Ocean Hero Award from Oceana in Belize during a special ceremony on Saturday September 27th. The two recipients of the prestigious award are Biologist and Coral Researcher Lisa Carne, and self-made Manatee Expert Jamal Galvez. The two were awarded for their heroic work with two endangered wildlife species, the Acropora Corals and the West Indies Manatee. According to Oceana in Belize, being an Ocean Hero can mean that the recipient takes action to help to protect the marine environment for people and creatures of today and for future generations, and as such, the award recognizes their efforts.
Music Video: Belize by Wayward
“You left me for Belize too soon…”
Pop music…plus a visual feast showing so much about Belize…Belize, Belize, Belize…just watch and enjoy…
Tourism Police executed at Caracol by suspected illegal Guatemalan Xateros
The death of a Tourism Special Constable working at Caracol Archeological site in western Belize has caused public outrage amidst a police investigation. 20-year-old Tourism Special Constable Danny Conorquie was shot to death by armed Hispanic men at the Archeological site just before midday on Thursday September 25th in plain view of tourists and other Belizean tour guides. While Belizean Ministerial authorities have been diplomatic in dealing with the murder, authorities have been unable to bring those responsible to justice. Because the murder happened about five miles within Belizean territory near the Guatemalan border, and because the culprits jumped across the border, they are believed to be Guatemalans.
Canary Cove donates to New Horizon SDA Primary School
Canary Cove has embarked on a three phase project to improve New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist Primary School and on Monday, September 29th a donation was handed over to complete phase one. The donation was made in the form of a check for $9,198 and will cover expenses for the construction of a veranda and staircase for the newly constructed building at New Horizon, as well as other elements needed for the completion of the building.
According to supervisor of Canary Cove, Gilberto “Gil” Nuñez, the donation was made after the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) identified the need for better education facilities at New Horizon. The school is quickly becoming over populated and needs more classrooms. Once completed, the building will serve as two classrooms. “Our purpose with these donations is to improve the quality of education that the children at New Horizon receive. Right now, some of the classes have almost 40 students. We want to create more space for these children,” said Gil Nuñez.
Belize Coral Researcher and Manatee Expert Awarded as Ocean Heros by Oceana
On Saturday, September 27, 2014, Oceana Belize formally recognized coral researcher Lisa Carne and manatee expert Jamal Galves as ocean heroes. Being an ocean hero can mean many things but mostly, it means deciding that you are ready to take action to help to protect our marine environment for people and creatures of today and for future generations.
In 2006, Ocean Hero Lisa Carne was a young biologist who had witnessed the devastating impact of Hurricane Iris in Southern Belize and was deeply troubled by the vulnerability of Belize’s marine environment to climate change through rising sea temperatures and stronger storm surges. Using the Laughing Bird Caye National Park as a natural laboratory, Carne established a coral “nursery” in attempt to restore critically endangered Acropora corals. Today, with support from the communities of Independence and Placencia, her “Fragments of Hope” project has more than five thousand out-plants in more than eighteen sub-sites.
Misc Belizean Sources
Stomach Flu wreaking havoc in our Corozal schools and community
The economic burden caused by Acute Gastroenteritis (AGI), also known as Stomach Flu, is estimated at over $18 million countrywide, according to data released by the Ministry of Health.
The ministry released some of the findings from the Burden of Illness (BOI) research study on AGI and causes of food borne illness in Belize last week. The study was done in collaboration with Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The impact on the public health system alone is estimated at $6.2 million annually, when considering basic medical services, supplies, hospitalization, and the need for care-giver services.
Loss of income due to unproductive days is estimated at $10.9 million, and patients are estimated to lose some $4 million annually due to being out of work.
CENTRAL AMERICA & MEXICO INDEPENDENCE EVE 2014 (11 photos)
On Saturday, September 13, 2014, the San Pedro Town Council hosted its annual Central America & Mexico Independence Eve at the Central Park where residents and visitors had the opportunity to indulge in the various culinary treats each country had to offer in honor of their independence. Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation offered a few remarks and Mayor Daniel Guerrero welcomed everyone to the event.
Welcome to Corozal but sorry for the interruption
ASP Hall's Dire Warning About TPU In Caracol
Since the news of Special Constable Danny Conorquie's death at the Caracol Archaeological Site, security at border locations, especially those trafficked by tourists, has been at the forefront of the national discourse.
But, in real terms, it's too little too late: one promising young life has been lost, and tourists have been badly rattled: so much so that there are mass cancellations of pre-booked tours.
But, could it all have been avoided? Quite possibly. As we showed you last night, our newsroom has obtained a leaked police memorandum from the Commander of the Tourism Police Unit, Assistant Superintendent Diana Hall. In that letter, she more or less foretold the death of Constable Danny Conorquie at the Caracol Archaeological site.
She wrote the Commissioner of Police on January 24, 9 months ago, and discussed the serious security concerns at Caracol. In that letter, she notes that the Tourism officers posted there expose themselves to a high level of risk every time they report for duty.
Opp. Leader Asks Why Didn't Police Heed Hall's Warning
But - after we broke the news last night - the ASP Hall letter certainly caught the attention of Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca. Today in the House of Representatives, he demanded to know why her very dire warnings and recommendations were ignored:..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"That letter is very damning because it foretells what has actually taken place and it made clear that within the ranks of the police department, within the ranks of the Police Tourism Unit at the highest levels - there were very serious concerns. What follow up there was to this letter? The Commissioner of Police was alerted to this letter. Was it brought to the attention of the Minister of National Security? Was it brought to Cabinet? Was it taken to the national Security Council? These are serious matters. The inspector/commander said "God forbid one of our people or more than one of our people get killed" and unfortunately regrettably that has what has taken place Mr. Speaker."
PM Says Security Minister Should Answer
Today the Minister of National security addressed the House Meeting at length - and we'll have that for you shortly - but, very notably, he had nothing to say about the ASP Hall letter. And while Saldivar slipped out before we could question him - we did ask the Prime Minister who chairs the National Security Council. He said the letter was not brought to his attention:..
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"In terms of what Ms. Hall flagged. Again I don't know if that's the sort of thing that you would bring to the national Security Council. You would expect that the ministry would handle that almost as a matter of routine."
"Apparently they did, the band played on, nobody paid it any attention - next."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"It is as I say, I can't fault the minister or anyone for not bringing that to my attention. My God man that's a detail for the ministry."
"Perhaps you can fault them for not taking into account properly."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"I don't know what would be their response when ask about this and that's why what I can do and what I will do is to say to the minister, I try to suggest to all ministers you can't not talk to the media. Very many of you in the media that I consider a pain, but a necessary pain."
Tour Guides Protest in Belmopan
And that kind of inaction and indifference to clear and present dangers is what spurred the Cayo Tour Guides Association to hold a protest outside the National Assembly this morning - while the House of Representatives met inside.
The guides say that they're the ones who have to work at the archaeological sites like Caracol and El Pilar, which are targeted by cross-border bandits. The CTGA says that they've submitted recommendations to the Government officials in charge of the tourist sites in the west, and they've been ignored.
The association staged it's first ever protest today, and 7News there. Daniel Ortiz reports:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
On the stairs of the National Assembly, some 47 tour guides from the Cayo Tour Guides Association assembled for a protest. They were assembling for maximum effect and to catch the attention of the Government Officials.
Security Ministry Reviews and Revises Security Deployment At Caracol
And without even knowing what their complaints were, National Security Minister John Saldivar responded to them today. Saldivar told the house that his ministry has made a full security review of Caracol - and they are determined to safeguard visitors and prevent another loss of life with the following measures.
Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Nat'l Security
"Our review has revealed that the BDF escort that would normally accompany the visitors to Caracol did not on that day accompany the visitor due to mechanical problems. This led to reduce security at the Caracol site. We firmly believe had the escort service been provided security would have been adequate to up to the point where the escort left with the visitors. Approval has now been given for the acquisition of two vehicles for the purpose of escorting visitors to Caracol. We are also reviewing the procedures to be applied when due to unforeseen circumstances the BDF is unable escort services. The review also revealed that 5 horses that were confiscated the previous day by a patrol in the area had been kept at the Caracol site up to the time of the incident.
PUP Says Guatemalans Must Answer For Danny's Death
And while those measures WILL go into effect - right now, there is a strong call for justice for Danny Conorquie. Today the Leader of the Opposition demanded answers - and the police minister did provide some:..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"The attack on Danny Conorquie Mr. Speaker is not only an attack on him and his family and the police community, but it is an attack on all Belizeans. An attack on our national sovereignty, an attack on our territorial integrity, it's an attack on our dignity as Belizeans citizens and the Belizean people expect that we respond to it accordingly. No effort should be spared. No stone left unturned Mr. Speaker, in investigating this crime and bringing these killers to justice. We expect and in fact we demand that the relevant Guatemalan authorities treat this matter as if on of their own security forces had been shot down and killed and do everything within their borders to find these cowardly killers."
Guatemalans Building Belize Coast Guard Base At Hunting Caye
And while Caracol has come to the fore of national attention, something else is bubbling up on the current affairs horizon and it's not too pretty. This morning on KREM WUB host Mose Hyde revealed news of a contract that a Guatemalan Company has gotten a contract to construct the Belize Coast Guard's Forward operating Base on Hunting Caye - which is one of Belize's southern-most islands in the Sapodilla Caye Range.
Today in the house, Opposition Leader Fonseca expressed his outrage, while the PM confessed his ignorance:..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"We are building some facility out at Hunting Caye, the Coast Guard. I don't know if it's a headquarters or some other facility for the Coast Guard and he is saying he went out there personally and the contract to build this Coast Guard facility is held by Guatemalans, a Guatemalan company and every single workers there, this is Mose Hyde saying this, is a Guatemalan national. The Guatemalan company and Guatemalan workers building our Coast Guard facility. Man, there must be some national security risk in that taking place. Somebody has to be awake man, we can't all be sleeping over there in the government. Who is looking after these matters?"
Mother Wants Justice For Autistic Son She Says Was Sodomized
Over 2 weeks ago, there was a very disturbing report which emerged from the St. Martin Government School, which is right in the middle of an immigrant community in Belmopan City. It involved a 5 year-old boy who was indecently assaulted by another 5 year-old who allegedly touched his privates, and supposedly sodomized him.
7News didn't pick up the story because police sources told us that the investigators could not find any evidence that it actually happened. Still, the disturbing report lingered, until things came to a head today. The mother of the child is convinced that the school, the police, and the Education Ministry aren't doing enough to get to the bottom of it.
It led to a protest today, and our team was there. Here's that report:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
A number of parents who enroll their children at the San Martin Government School, refused to send them to classes today.
They organized themselves in the neighborhood church, an impromptu Parent meeting.
Police Says Mothers Complaint Has No Basis In Fact
Well, as you heard, there are allegations against the Belmopan Police that they have somehow mishandled the investigation into the report. Today, Belmopan's Commanding Officer, flanked by the Belmopan Education Officer, and the lead investigator, hosted a media press conference to respond directly to that allegation.
They told us that they've done all they can to investigate this report, and they just can't find any evidence to support the allegation. The OC explained to us what they've found:
Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"I am certain and happy to have this report in our possession, the child was not sexually abused. There was no penetration and the doctor was very clear on that, so I don't know why others are saying this. I think there was some inconsistencies on the part of some media house's I do not care to mention now, but I think that is what got this thing out of control. We are very clear and we are happy to report to the media that there was no penetration, no foreign fluid, anything on this child's test that was done. We are safe to present to the media and to the public that there was no sexual abuse. The mother, we can't fault the mother. She has all right to be pressing for police to take action. In my view I am happy to say that we did all that we could have done to bring this matter to a close, hence the reason why the report was made on the 16th September and it didn't take too long for us to get to the bottom of it."
More Cops Face Serious Charges
Last night, we told you about the outrageous complaint against police in which a Belize City resident discovered that her jewelry was stolen when a team of police officers searched her home. Well, tonight, we can reveal the identity of Constable 1096 Jamille Scott, the officer who police caught red handed with the woman's jewelry.
As we told you, Scott was part of the team who searched the woman's Antelope Street home yesterday, and while it was happening, she realized that her jewelry was missing. She acted quickly enough, and reported it to police. The officers were all ordered to remain at the site of the search, but Scott allegedly left, and so police officers followed him. They stopped him on an uninsured motorcycle, and when they searched him, they found the missing jewelry on him. He has since been charged with theft and handling stolen goods.
Dengue Cases Rise In Lake I
Dengue has become a serious health issue affecting residents in cities, towns and villages. And according to the Central Health Region, it is worsening in certain areas of Belize City. Courtney Weatherburne found out about this latest spike and what you can do to make sure Dengue doesn't come through your door.
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
If you tune into news often, you have definitely seen this Dengue commercial air over and over. Many of you can even recite some of the lines of the script, although the commercial sends a clear message on key measures to prevent the spread of Dengue, cases are on the rise.
Javier Alpuche, Senior Public Health Inspector
"In late June early July we started seeing an increase in the number of cases of dengue specifically here in Belize City. What we basically also noted was that while the number of dengue cases was somewhat expected what we were having is a higher number of dengue hemorrhagic dengue cases being reported. At that time when we detected that increase in cases we of course did a number of things; one of the things that we did was enhance the surveillance to ensure that we were collecting all the necessary data on dengue cases, not only from the public hospitals, but from the private hospitals as well including laboratories. To date since January to now we are taking about 331 cases and of these 247 are classical dengue and 84 are dengue hemorrhagic fever and that's for the entire Belize District because we do have cases being reported from some of the rural communities as well."
New, More Rational Gun Law Passed
We've already covered all the headline news coming out of today's House Meeting in Belmopan - but the House Business also had some big news. First was the passage of the Firearms Amendment Bill - which is to rationalize gun possession laws, the make it so that persons who may have been wrongfully detained can get bail. The Leader of the opposition said that he thinks it still doesn't go far enough in relaxing the punitive provisions of the law:..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition
"It still remains that section 6A of the firearm act we believe is unconstitutional; it infringes the presumption of innocence, it still throws a very wide net on a wide class of innocent citizens because we believe that while the current amendment is a step in the right direction, it does not in fact cure and address the real problem that is really at the root of the outcry that the public has about this matter."
PM, AG Say Buh-Bye Bar Association
And the other big piece of legislative business coming out of the House today was the Legal Profession Act - which will make it so that lawyers no longer have to be members of the Bar Association, and no longer have to pay an annual membership fee. It will also change the composition of the General Legal Council.
For the Barrow Administration which has long been at odds with the Bar - which it says is pro PUP - it is a signal accomplishment - for the PUP it is an extension of a police of discord:..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition
"The purpose and intent of the body and the association is a public purpose and if there are difficulties with the performance of the Bar then lets address those, but this attempt as the bill seeks to, to really undermine the Bar Association and really to dismantle the Bar Association in our view. It certainly not something we should support. It's a bill that's truly reflection of this UDP government; if I cant control you or don't like what you are saying or what you are doing, then I will seek to destroy you, to undermine you, to discredit you - to use the power of the state against you. I mean that really is not the direction that Belizeans want to see the country going. Not just because a government feels that the Bar is a bunch of PUPs that means that you must then resolve to destroy the Bar and break up the Bar? That is absolutely ridiculous man, it's crazy - dividing our society, destroying our society."
Police Brutality Is Issue For House
And on the adjournment of today's House Meeting, the member for Belize Rural Central also brought up the very topical issue of police brutality. She spoke about many cases including the recent case of Allan McCoy:..
Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Belize Rural Central Rep.
"Mr. Allan McCoy was extremely articulate and detailed in what he suffered at the hands of the GSU. All I could do is shake my head and say to myself, those members of the GSU, it seems to me that they believe that they have some kind of license to brutalize because they thought that Mr. Allan McCoy had been involved in an incident involving one of their own - every single somebody in the GSU in that incident was getting in their licks even the woman GSU personnel. And the most horrendous kind of brutality that we as Belizeans can imagine and almost every single day we are hearing about more and more incidents of police brutality."
Barrow Still Defending Insp Flowers, GSU
The media also asked the Prime Minister about the GSU. He has stood up on multiple occasions for its controversial commander, Inspector Mark Flowers. But Flowers ahs also been the target of police complaints - and we asked the Prime Minister to reconcile his high praise with the dim view taken by some in the community:
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I don't know of those particular circumstances, but I think Mark Flowers, while he is a hard charging police officer, I think also to be a very bright police officer and I find it difficult to understand how he would put himself in circumstances where he could be busted so easily, so I don't know the facts and I therefore will refrain from commenting on whether the allegations have merit but if formal reports have been made then those reports need to be processed, need to be investigated."
GSU Arrests "Bobo"
And while controversy about the unit hasn't subsided, the GSU says it is still getting on with its work. Yesterday morning, they arrested well known West Canal resident, Elwin Lewis known as Bobo - who the GSU says is a key figure in the George Street gang. He was arrested and charged allegedly after GSU caught him trying to get rid of a supply of drugs. Yesterday at around 7 in the morning GSU arrived at Lewis' residence with a search warrant. Officers were searching for illegal drugs and firearm but when Lewis saw the officers, they say he threw away a bulky black plastic through one of the windows, which fell in his neighbor's yard. The GSU found 18 parcels of cannabis in transparent plastic amounting to 127 grams or quarter pound. As a result, 33 years old Elwin LEWIS was arrested and charged for Possession of controlled drug with intent to supply.
Van's Spontaneous Combustion
Just after one this afternoon, a van became engulfed in flames in one of the city's busiest areas. Reverent Alfred Ramsey Jr, a resident of Independence Village was traveling on Mahogany Street along with his family in a rented van. They began smelling a strong scent of gasoline and quickly pulled the van over. That was when they saw the blaze streaming from under the vehicle. Ramsey managed to remove his 7 passengers' safely from out of the vehicle but it was only a matter of seconds before the entire van went erupted into flames.
Woman Arraigned For Carnal Knowledge In Capital
On this newscast, we very regularly report on sex crimes in which men take advantage of female victims. Well, tonight, the story is about a 23 woman who is accused of taking advantage of a 14 year-old boy from Belmopan in February of this year.
The Commanding Officer in the capital told us that the woman has been charged with carnal knowledge:
Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"A report made by a 14 year old male minor of Belmopan that sometime in the month of February of this year a female forcibly had sex intercourse with him. That female has been identified as Ms. Selma Markita Ortiz, she has been charged, but was granted bail recently. This report was made to us on the 18th September and we acted on it and the person has since been charged and taken to court."
Castro Says He's Not Worried About Saldivar Replacement
The PUP has not yet found a replacement for Arthur Saldivar in Belize Rural North. But, the incumbent and two-term area representative Edmond Castro isn't worrying. He says that the area is a tall order for any newcomer candidate. He spoke to us about the political lay of the land yesterday:..
Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Rep - Bze Rural North
"It doesn't matter who they bring, but one thing I can tell you is that 26-27 villages spread out in Belize Rural North is not easy to cover in the short space of time that we have to go towards the general election. Its next to impossible."
"So even if Arthur Saldivar is out of the picture honestly you think that you still have an advantage?"
Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Rep - Bze Rural North
"We will win."
"But if they have a new candidate with an unblemished record, yes the villages are plenty but man you could do it if you work 7 days a week."
British Warship Visits
Usually when you think about warships, the last thing that comes to mind is a grand tour. Well today the media got one of The Royal Navy Warship: The HMS ARGYLL. It arrived yesterday and it is here to meet with the coast guard and the BDF in order to improve relations. The media got to see the 4.9 inch Mark 8 naval gun, the harpoon anti-ship missiles among other war weapons as well as inside the Bridge. Here is what the Executive Officer had to say about the visit to Belize.
The HMS Argyll recently conducted successful Counter Narcotics Operations in the Caribbean Sea and is also equipped to provide humanitarian aid. The ship leaves Belize on the 4th.
PM Visibly Uncomfortable With Faber Domestic Abuse Questions
Today, the media asked the Prime Minister about all kinds of stuff including his bad back which had him wincing and rocking in pain for much of the house meeting. He said that was caused by a muscle he pulled trying to strengthen his back.
We also asked him about the allegations of domestic abuse against his Minister of Education Patrick Faber. The story isn't exactly fresh - in fact the allegations emerge din the first week of September. But, the Prime Minister has never commented on the prickly issue - and today he did so with some visible discomfort:..
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The fact that the lady withdrew the complaint, I don't know that you can argue that. That means that perhaps there was never any real substance in the complaints. I wouldn't think so; I would think that there was. And if there was, then clearly that sort of thing is extremely regrettable and cannot be condoned, but I certainly can't take any formal action, except that there is a complaint that is going to be pursued by the victim."
Minister of National Security Breaks His Silence on Caracol Murder
We go now inside the House of Representatives that concluded its special sitting before two p.m. today. Tourism Police Special Constable Danny Conorquie was killed exactly one week ago. His [...]
What’s the Deal with the FOB at Hunting Caye?
The Minister of National Security John Saldivar also addressed the House on a number of new initiatives which have been put in place to enhance security on our border and [...]
Security Measures to be Put in Place at Caracol Following Danny Conorquie’s Death
Back to the House of Representative. Tour guides assembled outside the house looking for quick solutions for a problem which could cost them their lives, just as it did the [...]
Cayo Tour Guides Protest Outside Assembly Building
Even as the discussion surrounding murdered special constable Danny Conorquie took center stage inside the House, outside the members of the Cayo Tour Guide Association stood in protest. They want [...]
Francis Fonseca Criticizes Legal Profession Act
As far as House meetings go, today’s session was decidedly tame, with little of the acerbic repartee we’ve become accustomed to. Some significant bills were pushed through to final reading, [...]
P.M. Barrow Says Bar Association is all P.U.P.
Those hits from across the floor got the PM’s hackles raised, and he fired back, taking direct aim at the Bar Association which he says has been totally and completely [...]
3 Police Officers Charged for Criminal Wrongdoings
On Wednesday, the Professional Standards Branch of the Belize Police Department told the media that there are at least seven officers currently under investigation, following allegations of criminal wrongdoings. Among [...]
Sudden Death at K.H.M.H., Teenager Dies Mysteriously
A mother and aunt are tonight grieving the sudden death of a thirteen year old girl at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Maria Larios was admitted to the K.H.M.H. on [...]
Was Maria Larios’ Throat Punctured, did it result in her Death?
According to the women, a doctor was called in and somehow Maria’s lung was allegedly punctured when a tube was introduced into her throat. Within minutes and before their eyes, [...]
Charges Brought Against John Popper for Breaching Protection Order
Police say fifty year-old John Aaron Popper committed a number of criminal offenses when he breached a protection order to stay away from his ex-common-law wife, forty-one year old Cecilia [...]
P.M. Barrow Comments on Beleaguered GSU…
The GSU, or more specifically GSU commander Mark Flowers, have been in the news almost nightly. The elite, aggressive unit has been under fire after allegations of excessive force and [...]
…and His Statement of Patrick Faber
Special Sitting of the House: It was only a couple weeks ago that Minister of Education Patrick Faber was accused of assaulting a young woman who works in his Ministry. [...]
Healthy Living looks at the Quality of Life for Older Persons
This week is being celebrated as Senior Week which includes the celebration of International Day of Older Persons on October first. In Belize, there are several groups advocating for a [...]
Re: Today's Belize News: October 3, 2014
10/03/14 05:53 AM
10/03/14 05:53 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Police Officers Turn Criminals After Police Brutality Charges
Yesterday we told you about the investigations being carried out by the Professional Standards Branch into several police brutality allegations. Tonight we’ll share the names of the officers and what they have been charged with. We start with the allegations made by 19 year old Armani Bailey. Bailey told police that on September 6, he was taken by two police officers to a remote area near Belizean Beach where he was reportedly physically attacked by the officers. Those officers, Police Constable 1416 Larry Sutherland and police constable 1058 Wayne Trapp were charged with one count of being“uncivil when on duty”. PC Sutherland was also charged with one count of, “act to Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline” as he is one being accused of punching and attempting to drown Bailey in a garbage dumpster. This matter is before a Tribunal.
Cover Up Suspected in Case of 5-Year-Old Rape
Late last month we reported on a disturbing case coming out of San Martin Government School where a five year old boy was reportedly sexually abused. When we spoke to the child’s mother she expressed her displeasure at the lack of support from the school, Ministry of Education as well as law enforcement officials. At the time Police told they had received a report from the mother of the child and was investigating the matter. Today, once again a protest took place on the school grounds led by Belize Can Patriots who claim that a cover up is taking place regarding the incident and they called for a shutdown at the school. When we checked with Belmopan Police they told us that their investigation is still ongoing.
Internal Investigations Ongoing on Cases of Police Brutality
Over the past few weeks several reports of police and GSU brutality have surfaced in the media. The victims alleged that they were roughed up for no apparent reason. Three cases- those of Armani Bailey, Allan McCoy and Tremane Ciego- are currently being investigated by the Professional Standard Branch. We will tell you what the outcome of those investigations is so far but first we report on another police officer who is being accused of stealing. Sometime today, a police unit, carrying out operations in the City, searched a residence but during the search one of the police officer couldn’t help himself and used his sticky fingers to grab several pieces of jewelry. Officer Commanding the Professional Standard Branch for the Belize District Assistant Superintendent Glen Rivero shared more details.
Training on Bird and Environmental Education
A two day training on bird focused environmental education curriculum ended yesterday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.
“One of the event coordinators was Yak ‘she’s outreach education officer Julio Chu.”
“Two days training program was held on the 29th and 30th of September at Yak‘che Feed station with a focus on environmental education curriculum developed by the lab of ornithology’s education program from New York. The participants of the training are now expected to engage elementary and middle school students in Belize in hands-on learning about birds, citizens’ science and conservation. The training session was facilitated by Jennifer Fee of Cornell Lab of Ornithology USA.”
“The participants were from different organization as explained by Chu.”
Belize Joins In International Day of Older Persons
Today is the 24th celebration of the International Day of Older Persons and as a result, Helpage centres around the country are having treats and entertainment for senior citizens in their community. Today, Love News spoke with the Chairman for Helpage, Evan Dakers, who spoke to us on the population of older persons living in Belize.
“Helpage International which is our parent body has, organizational affiliates; they call them all over the world. There are about four regions; Belize is a part of the Caribbean and Latin American region. The office is based in Kingston, Jamaica and I think it’s going to be shifted shortly to Panama. In terms of where we fit in the demographics, first of all, in Belize, we are still a relatively young nation. The population that is 60 and over is somewhat about 7.1%; that was the last statistic we got from the Statistical Institute of Belize in 2010. However the projections are showing that that figure will be almost double or more than double in the next twenty to twenty-five years.”
As we mentioned earlier, there will be various activities taking place around the country in celebration and recognition of International Day of Older Persons. Dakers told us about the events.
Bahamians Meet 100K Bail
The two Bahamians who were granted bail on Monday, September 29 before Justice Hanomansingh in the Belize Supreme Court met bail today and are now free men. 34-year-old, Kelvin Leach and 29-year-old, Rohn Knowles were bailed earlier today for the sum of one hundred thousand dollar each plus a surety of the same amount. The men had been unlawfully imprisoned after court personnel failed to adhere to the instructions given on a warrant for the men’s arrests. However, their attorneys, Eamon Courtenay and Godfrey Smith presented arguments to the judge citing the instructions of the warrant and the fact that there was no document issued with the directive to have the men taken to the Belize Central Prison. As a result, bail was granted with the stipulations that the men are to report to the Queen Street Police Station every Monday and Friday between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm; the other condition was that they are not to leave the jurisdiction unless authorized by the Supreme Court.
Biker Dies Following Collision in Western Belize
A cyclist is dead following a traffic accident yesterday in the Cayo District. Police say that around 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, they visited an area on Center Road in the Spanish Lookout community near the junction with Western Dairies where they saw a white Toyota Pickup bearing Guatemalan license plates and a dent on its passenger side door. About 10 feet away, they observed a blue Meilun scooter lying almost in the middle of Center Road. Police found out that an hour before they arrived on the scene, the driver of the Toyota pickup, Oscar Perez Sr. of Benque Viejo Town, was exiting the Western Dairies parking area when 23-year-old, Santa Elena Town resident, Heber Flores, who was on the motorcycle, collided into the door of the pickup. As a result of the impact, Flores was flung from the motorcycle receiving serious head injury and was rendered unconscious.
Cayo Tour guides demonstrate in Belmopan
The death of Danny Conorquie, Special Constable attached to the Tourism police, continues to dominate the headlines in one way or another.
On Friday, it took the form of another protest, this time in front of the National Assembly Building, where the House of Representatives was meeting.
Members of the Cayo Tour Guide Association demonstrated to draw attention to their need for better security in potentially dangerous tourist destinations such as Caracol which is near the border with Guatemala.
According to Joe Awe, President of the Caracol Tour Guide Association, safety for tour guides and their charges is a must.
Two men arrested; found with items from numerous burglaries
Two men have been arrested and charged, after they were found with a number of items, identified as the property of several victims of burglary in the Cayo area.
Ronel Wagner’s place of business in San Ignacio was burglarized on 9th September.
Sometime around Independence day, Allan Kelly reported that his house was burglarized, and on September 27th, Reynold Reimer’s business place was also burglarized.
According to police, on Wednesday, San Ignacio Police visited the residence of Victor Hutchinson, a 43 year old Belizean Driver of Santa Elena Town. There, they found Alan Kelly’s TV, DVD player, and watches. Along with Victor Hutchinson was Mike Middleton, on whom police found Allan Kelly’s German model rotisserie knives. At Hutchinson’s house, police also found an external hard drive belonging to Ronell Wagner.
Church leaders to meet with PM on Gender Policy Friday
Thursday night was the final night of a three night call to prayer spearheaded by the Evangelical Association of Belize and the Council of Churches.
Believers are being asked to pray for Spiritual leaders and the Prime Minister of Belize, as they go into a meeting scheduled for Friday October 3rd.
The meeting is for the Prime Minister to respond to the church leaders, regarding the Church’s submission on the changes they would like to see made in the Gender Policy. That Church report was handed in to the Prime Minister some 11 months ago for revision.
Armed Robberies in Belize City
An armed robbery occurred at Lavish Store on Albert Street, Belize City, on Wednesday September 30, at 11:30 in the morning.
Two armed men who made off with $1,600.00 cash and a phone valued at $1,000.00.
Police are following several leads as investigation continues.
And also on Wednesday, at about 4 o’clock in the evening, a Western Diaries delivery truck was robbed at gunpoint in the Lords Bank area of Belize City, where over two hundred dollars were stolen.
Professional Standards Branch acts in abuse cases
The Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department has been kept busy over the last few weeks taking complaints from Belize City residents who have suffered at the hands of those called to protect and serve them.
On Wednesday it provided an update on several cases, some of which have seen charges filed.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Glen Rivero, who commands the Professional Standards Branch in Eastern Division, spoke to the press on the incident involving Armani Bailey, who was taken from his residence by officers and left for dead in a garbage dumpster up the George Price Highway, and Jermaine Ciego who was also abused.
San Pedro Police Officer Charged With Extortion
A police officer on Ambergris Caye has been charged with extortion. On September 23, a 17-year-old male, along with his mother, reported to San Pedro Police that the day before, his Mother was detained at the San Pedro Police Station for Traffic Offences.
As a result, the teenager and a family friend visited the Station to see the mother.
The friend spoke to P.C. Oscar Ramirez, who allegedly demanded $300.00 for the release of the mother, and later demanded $700.00 more.
The complainant further stated that a total of $600.00 was given to P.C. Ramirez for the release of his Mother.
BISL will not pay ‘unlawful’ tax assessments
Earlier this year the former owners of the IMMARBE and IBC Registries, Belize International Services Limited (BISL), took the Government of Belize to court, charging that they unlawfully assessed taxes owed of over $30 million, dating back to 1993. The company says it operated under the original management services agreement signed in 1993 which was extended a further seven years from the original decade-long arrangement but Government contends that this was illegally and improperly done.
GOB says BISL was contravening the International Business Companies Act by carrying on business with persons in Belize and lost its tax-free status, and additionally that it should not have had that status to begin with because no parliamentary approval was sought for the agreement. It also noted that the law could provide for a stay of execution to challenge the decision of Commissioner of Income Tax, Kent Clare.
Brazen Belize Bank still wants to collect PUP UHS debt
In the Crazy days of the PUP administration, the then Prime Minister Said Musa guaranteed a private debt, the Universal Health Services Debt for 33.5 million dollars. Basically the Musa administration took on a private debt owed to the Belize bank. This singular act was emblematic of what the Musa administration was all about, that is to take care of friends and cronies at the expense of the tax-paying public. Well back then the decision was met with severe resistance and on May 18, 2007 it was cause for a riot in Belmopan.
Despite all objections however, the Musa government went on to pay the Universal Health Services debt. Money that was supposed to have been used for the betterment of the lives of Belizeans was used to pay off the debt. 10 million U.S. dollars came from the Venezuelan government’s housing assistance and an additional 10 million U.S. dollars from the Taiwanese government which was actually for the improvement of the health sector in the country. Both payments were made without the knowledge of anyone, it was yet another secret agreement of the Musa regime.
BTL records 19.6M in profits and gives more to customers
As of October BTL's internet rates will be $25 for 256Kb, $56 for 512Kb, $88 for 1Mb, $140 for2 Mb, $240 for4Mb, $390 for 8Mb, and as a new service $700 for 16Mb. The new internet rates give an idea of the direction that the company is moving into. On Thursday, BTL held its 8 AGM as a nationalized asset and the announcement was that BTL continues to be one of the most profitable companies in the country. Chairman of BTL, Nestor Vasquez, announced that the company made a whopping 19.6 million dollar profit and while it is big, the profits are 1.4 million dollar less than last year.
The fall in profits however came as no surprise for the company which has been consistently and exceedingly been giving back to customers. Executive Committee Chairman, Anwar Barrow, stated that the company has opened up the Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VOIP) which allows communication via applications that cut into BTL's profits like Viber, WhatsApp, Magic Jack and others which give the same services through internet as BTL would. And it is in this arena that BTL will be making significant investments which necessarily will cut into BTL's profits but for the greater good of the company which is maneuvering to increase penetration in the data arena.
Tourism Police Officer buried with full honors
Tourism Police Officer Danny Conorquie was buried with full honors in his hometown of Georgeville in the Cayo District on Sunday of this past weekend, three days after having been shot it broad daylight while on security duty. There was a twenty one gun salute at his site of burial as hundreds turned out to bid him farewell.
A release from the Cayo Special Constable Committee issued yesterday states,
“Today we laid to rest a hard working colleague of ours. His dream was to become a police officer. He was honored as the officer he was. He died defending our natural heritage.”
The twenty year old Tourism Police Officer, Danny Conorquie was shot last week Thursday at the Maya site of Caracol in the Cayo District. The Caracol Archaeological Park is an integral part of the Chiquibul Forest and is some three miles from the Belize-Guatemala border.
Danny Conorquie was attached to the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) and at the time he was with another TPU Officer Monty Peck. They were both conducting routine patrols within the Caracol Archaeological Park.
Bahamians out on Bail
Attorneys for Bahamian businessmen Kelvin Leach, 34, and Rohn Knowles, 29, secured bail for their clients at the Supreme Court on Monday, September 29, after challenging the constitutionality of their detention.
Leach and Knowles are the principals of Titan International Securities, a firm which has been named in a United States indictment for tax and securities fraud. On Tuesday, September 9, officers from the US supported Anti Drug Unit in conducting an 8-hour raid on the offices of Knowles, Leach and others at the Mattalon Building and handed over everything inside to the Financial Intelligence Unit.
At the time of the search, Leach and Knowles were allowed to leave freely because no charges were imminent based on Belize law. However, US officials had indicated that they intend to seek an extradition order for the men to face charges in New York. On Friday, September 12, Leach and Knowles were stopped at the Phillip Goldson International Airport as they were about to board a chartered flight out of the country.
Maurice Felix Back in Prison
Maurice Felix of the infamous Felix brothers is back in prison after a brief period of freedom.
Police conducted a search on the Felix’s home in the Gill Street area on Thursday, September 25, and found 0.2 grams of cannabis. Maurice Felix, 29, his two cousins, Ryan Bennett, 26, and Roy Bennett, 30, were present at the time and were arrested by police. The men were detained at the Queen Street Station until Friday evening, September 26, when they were taken to the Belize City Magistrates Court.
McCaffee’s Cop Gets 18 Months for Attempted Bribery
Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith found Corporal Darius Martinez guilty of attempting to corrupt a public officer after he tried to intervene in an investigation surrounding John McCaffee in 2011.
In 2011 police raided McCaffee’s compound in Orange Walk and a number of weapons were confiscated and people detained. WPC Stacey Smith of the Gang Suppression Unit reported that she was called by Martinez after the raid and he asked her if she “wanted to make some money”. Smith recorded the conversation in which Martinez told her that she would not have to do anything illegal – all she had to do was take care of someone for McCaffee. Smith recorded the conversation and Martinez was arrested and charged.
Michael McDougal Charged with Causing Public Terror
Michael McDougal, 23, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after police arrested him for allegedly discharging a firearm near BTL Park during a public event.
Police responded to a shooting near BTL Park at 3:09 a.m. on Sunday, September 28, and allegedly saw McDougal shooting at another man. This incident took place shortly after the conclusion of the Arthur Guinness memorial festivities. Police say that when McDougal saw them he threw the firearm behind a parked vehicle. Police apprehended McDougal and searched the area. They found a .38 special revolver with serial number 796694 and five expended shells.
Inauguration Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of Benque Viejo
The Rotaract Club of Benque Viejo held its Inauguration Ceremony on Saturday 27, 2014. The Rotary Club of San Ignacio is the sponsor of the newest Rotaract Club in Belize, making it a total of 6 Rotaract Clubs in the country. The Rotaract Club of Benque Viejo was established on April 2, 2014, and chartered by Rotary International on July 31, 2014. The Rotary Club of San Ignacio presented the Charter Certificate to President Miss Astrid Salazar. A total of 15 young adults were inducted as Rotaractors, and welcomed into the Rotary family. Rotary’s Governor Elect for District 4250, Mr. Rene Villanueva Sr., was the Guest Speaker at the Ceremony.
This is a historical moment as it is the first Rotaract Club to be founded in Benque Viejo del Carmen. The members are honored to be included in this great fellowship, and eager to continue its service to its local communities in the Cayo West Area. This includes Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Jose Succotz, Arenal, Corozalito and Calla Creek.
Before I go into the main head of this essay, let me first comment on the public squabble surrounding one Mr. Fuentes, former trade unionist with the BNTU, and now Mayor of Punta Gorda; two public pursuits of this gentleman where he has demonstrated an alarming lack of alacrity to perform effectively.
Fuentes surprised many when he actually won the municipal elections in PG, since he has always been considered laid back and non-productive in his tenures, both as an educator and as a union official. But in the final tally he did win as Mayor, and, as you have heard, PG has never seen worse days than with this gentleman at the helm.
In the last House meeting, Fuentes was accused of having authorized personal loan repayments to be deducted for him and other Councilors from the monthly government subventions sent to Punta Gorda Town. The Prime Minister asserted that this action was questionable since government subventions are to be employed only for the procurement of goods and services for the town.
Primary Schools Volleyball Competition opens
The 2014-2015 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition opened on Monday September 29, 2014, at Bird’s Isle in Belize City.
The schools that are participating in this year’s girls’ competition are Belize Elementary School, Ephesus SDA, Queen Street Baptist School, Holy Redeemer School and St. John’s Primary School.
Meanwhile, in the boys’ competition the schools are Belize Elementary School, St. Ignatius School, Queen Street Baptist, Ephesus SDA, and St. John Vianney School, Bethel Assembly School, Holy Redeemer, St. John’s Primary School, Wesley Upper School, St. Martin De Porres and Trinity Methodist School.
On Monday, September 29, 2014, in the only game played in the girls’ competition, Holy Redeemer School defeated St. John’s Primary School in two sets by the score of 25-12 and 25-12.
XXIV National Women’s Softball Championship set for October 3-5, 2014
The XXIV National Women’s Softball Championship will be played from October 3-5, 2014, at Rogers Stadium.
The National Softball Championship is played between the champions and sub-champions of the Affiliated Associations that makes up the National Federation.
The championship will feature from Belize City the Belize Bank Bulldogs (Champions) and Beacon (Sub-champions), from Belize Rural Sunrise of Lord’s Bank (Champions) and Burrell Boom Orchid Girls (sub-champions), from the Cayo Association Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy (champions) and Esperanza Wolverines (sub-champions) and from Orange Walk Carmelita’s Caribbean Queen the number one seed.
The championship will commence on Friday October 3rd at 6:30 pm with game one between Beacon and Roaring Creek and this will be followed by game two, which will see Belize Bank Bulldogs against the Esperanza Wolverines.
Belmopan Shotokan Karate Club winners of the CSKC Invitational Anniversary Karate Championships
The Cayo Shotokan Karate Club celebrated its 24th Anniversary on Saturday, September 27, 2014, by hosting an International Karate Championship, where some 60 athletes competed against international competition. The championships were held at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town.
The clubs that participated in the championships were Kazoku Shotokan Karate Dojo of San Ignacio, Cayo Shotokan Karate Club-Belmopan, Poptun Shotokan Karate Club-Guatemala, El Salvador, and the host club Cayo Shotokan of San Ignacio Town.
At the end of the CSKC – Belmopan won the championship with 11 gold medals, 12 silver and 16 bronze medals. Second place went to CSKC of San Ignacio with 6 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals. Third place went to Guatemala with 3 gold medals, 3 silver, and a bronze medal.
Improved monitoring for climate change in Belize
Belize continues to boast the biggest barrier reef system in the Americas, and the second largest in the world, but everyday, climate changes threaten the coral reef system in the world’s oceans and seas.
To combat this, Belize has obtained a second piece of sophisticated climate change measuring equipment. It's called the Coral Reef Early Warning System or CREWS for short. Each CREWS System is equipped with 400 thousand dollars' worth of measuring instruments. It looks like a simple buoy, but can measure wind speeds, pressure, ultraviolet radiation and other meteorological conditions.
Each CREWS system can also measure all the environmental changes that happens underwater, and how that affects the ecosystem, especially the coral reefs. The buoy is equipped with sensors that measure the sea currents, the amount of carbon dioxide gases which is absorbed by the water. It measures the rising temperatures, the level of pollution, and the acidity which introduced in the sea. All of these environmental changes, when they increase, causes negative effects on the coral reef system because it cripples the reef from being able to grow, replenish, or repair damaged areas.
Re: Today's Belize News: October 3, 2014
10/03/14 05:54 AM
10/03/14 05:54 AM
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Corazon Creek gets new school building
A new school building was handed over to Corazon Creek Technical High School in the Toledo district. The building was much needed after the rapidly growing high school has seen increased enrollment. Currently there are 248 students.
The building and accompanying equipment came at a cost of $595,894.50 and has three classrooms equipped with male and female bathrooms for both students and staff. It is 3,250 sq. feet in size and includes a 6 ft verandah.
Corazon Creek High was opened in 2009 and saw its first graduating class last year. The school is part of the ministry of education's goal to increase access to secondary education for students who would ordinarily not get the opportunity to study. Corazon Creek high is one of only three high schools in the entire Toledo district and because of its location has opened up access to high school to students who would either have to travel very long distances to attend high school or in some instances have no high school education at all.
NEMO holds shelter management workshop in Cayo
Over a dozen public officers participated in a shelter management workshop at the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio Town on Monday of this week. The workshop was sponsored by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Government of Belize. It was an opportunity for public officers to be attuned on the requirements and challenges faced during a time of natural disasters like earthquake, flooding and hurricanes; when residents are unable to stay in their own homes.
For a shelter to be declared as adequate it must first satisfy standards in health, safety and structural integrity. As a result participants were taken through an exercise to estimate the carrying capacity of the building they were in.
Public officers were also advised that a school building should not be occupied as a shelter for more than two weeks. Public officers were also advised that in the management of the shelters, the team leaders need to meet periodically, record all data on events within the shelter and foster proper communication.
Old Northern Highway to be upgraded
The Old Northern Highway consisting of 40 miles traversing rural Belize’s eastern villages of Boston, Lucky Strike, Santana, St. Ann’s, Maskall and Santa Martha. It’s quite a scenic route and in its heyday which lasted up until the late 70’s, when the existing portion of the Northern Highway from Carmelita to Sand Hill Village was completed, was part of the Pan American Highway. This meant that it was an important link; in fact the only terrestrial access from the northern border to the rest of the country. It was also the vein used by the farmers who still live and produce in the above mentioned villages, to transport their produce to Belize City. This particular area became known as the bread basket of Belize as it is where most of the food supply for the city came from. This road is currently the only access route to the world famous Altun Ha Maya Site, which receives visits by thousands of tourists both local and foreign every year.
After the completion of the new portion (from Carmelita Village to Sand hill village) of what is now known as the Phillip Goldson Highway in the late 70’s, this 40 mile section became known as the Old Northern Highway. And old is what it has become. The original pavement is all but non-existent. The last time any significant work was done on that stretch of road was in the mid 70’s by Ministry of Works.
PM Hon. Dean Barrow Expresses Condolences to Family of Special Constable Danny Conorquie
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and the Government of Belize join the rest of the nation in expressing deepest condolences to the family of Special Constable (SC) Danny Conorquie, murdered in the line of duty while seeking to guard and protect Belizean patrimony. The Prime Minister has spoken personally to SC Conorquie’s next of kin, and offered every assurance that the ultimate sacrifice made by this Belizean hero will not be forgotten. While nothing can bring him back or properly console his loved ones, the Government commits to looking after the financial welfare of his immediate survivors.
Francis wants to save Belize, please...
Apparently the PUP was celebrating its anniversary sometime this week and on the occasion, Francis Fonseca opted to make public appearances and give interviews to some media organizations. Well, Francis would have been better served had he simply kept his mouth shut. During the interviews he was telling the entire nation that his party is in shambles and all they do is fight amongst themselves. He appealed that these self serving individuals put aside what is their inherent nature and come together to better themselves. Well what the PUP does or does not do is neither here nor there, after all they are not even a party at this point in time and the country would be better off if they were to simply disband and go quietly or loudly into the night.
BELTRAIDE’s Latest Investment Magazine Centers on Agribusiness
In 2013, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service launched the magazine “Invest Belize” in an effort to promote its initiatives and highlight the investment opportunities available in Belize. On Tuesday, September 30, BELTRAIDE unveiled Invest Belize Volume 3 which is concentrating on opportunities available in the agribusiness sector.
Invest Belize Volume 1 focused on offshore business outsourcing and Volume 2 was centered on tourism development. Mike Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, says this edition may be the best yet. BELTRAIDE selected McNab Publishing Limited for Invest Belize Volume 3. McNab has a track record of producing exceptional pieces such as the Flavours of Belize Cookbook, Belize Travel Guide and the Inspirational Calendar. Singh says he is extremely proud of the quality of articles in the magazine: “We are getting articles written by very senior people in government and very qualified people in the private sector.”
More than 18 Police Officers on Interdiction and More Charged for Abuse
Commander of the Professional Standards Branch of the Belize Police Department, Assistant Superintendent Glen Rivero, says that there are more than 18 police officers currently on indictment and four more officers are set to face a police tribunal for conduct unbecoming an officer of the law. On Wednesday, October 01, Rivero briefed the media on their investigations into the seven most recent allegations of police abuse.
On September 3, officers of the Gang Suppresion Unit were conducting patrols in the George Street area when they went to search a yard on King Street. During that search they met Karique Tzul and Bernard Myers. Neighbours say the officers beat the men in a house and in the yard. Multiple news reporters and camera men arrived at the scene to find the men detained and grimissing in pain. It is alleged that the beating was so severe it caused Tzul to soil his pants. Rivero says the investigation into that incident is ongoing. He adds, “We have difficulty when members of the public comes forward and cannot identify officers who they believe committed the abuse.”
Social Investment Fund launches Orange Walk Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project
Residents in Orange Walk Town and surrounding communities in the northern region of Belize will soon benefit from the upgrading of the Orange Walk Central Park; thanks to the infrastructure rehabilitation project financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $333,052.24, with funds through a loan from the World Bank of which three per cent is contributed by the Orange Walk Town Council.
The Orange Walk Central Park project is being implemented by the Project Implementation Unit of the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP), under the umbrella of the Social Investment Fund. It is designed to transform and modernize the respective municipality for present and future generations.
Two attempted murders over the weekend
Adolphus Palacio Jr., 20, was remanded on Monday, September 29, after he was taken to court for allegedly shooting a man during the weekend just outside La Democracia Village on the Western Highway.
21 year-old Joshua Daniel Martinez reported to police that at around 10 p.m. on Friday, September 26, he and his 16 year-old sister got off a Shaw Bus at La Democracia Junction. They were sheltering from the rain under the bus shed when 3 men walked up to them. One of those individuals pulled out a weapon and fired 6 shots at them, injuring Martinez in the right arm and back. He was rushed to the hospital, where he is in stable condition.
Guatemalan National Pleads Guilty to Immigration Offense
Mauricio Gutierrez Perez will be spending the next three months at the Belize Central prison after he pleaded guilty to an immigration offense on Friday, September 26. Perez is a Guatemalan national who failed to comply with his visitor permit. He arrived in Belize on January 6, 2014, and was allowed to stay in the country for six months, until July 4, 2014. However, police picked him up on Monday, July 28, and discovered that he had no legal right to still be in the country.
Mauricio Perez had been on remand for almost two months when he appeared in the Belize City Magistrates Court on Friday to change his not guilty plea to guilty for failure to comply with a visitor permit.
St. Catherine Academy, Pallotti High School and Belize High School males wins in opening volleyball games
The 2014-2015 Central Region Secondary Schools Volleyball Competition opened on Monday September 29, at Bird’s Isle in Belize City.
In the first of two games played in the female competition, defending champions Pallotti High School defeated Maud Williams High School in two sets by the score of 25-17 and 25-20.
In the second female game, defending champions St. Catherine Academy won over Belize High School in two sets by the score of 25-22 and 25-13.
In the only game in the male competition, Belize High School won over St. John’s College by the score of 25-18 and 25-23.
Cycling Federation names National Team to Caribbean Championships
The Cycling Federation of Belize has released the names of the Cyclists that were selected based on three Test Events to represent Belize at the Elite Caribbean Cycling Championships scheduled for Puerto Rico on October 10 and 11, 2014.
According to the Cycling Federation of Belize, the invitation is for 5 male cyclists and 3 female cyclists, where two males and all three female cyclists must compete in the Individual Time Trial.
The male cyclists selected to represent Belize are Marlon Castillo from BTL Cycling Team, Darnell Barrow from SMART Cycling Team, Joel Borland from BTL Cycling Team, Giovanni Lovell also of BTL Cycling Team, and Geovanni Choto of C-Ray Road Addikz.
Old School blasted Uprising in Vega Cup Tournament
The 2014 Vega Cup Tournament, which is sponsored by the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, continued on Sunday, September 28, with a number of games on the schedule. The games were played at two locations in the Orange Walk North Constituency.
In the games played at Trial Farm Football Field, in game one, San Juan blanked AC Aliari by the score of 4-0. The goals for San Juan were scored by Jair Blanco in the 34th minute of play, Reynalso Mendez in the 40th minute of play, Juan Acosta in the 55th minute of play and an autogoal in the 69th minute of play.
In the second game of the day, United Ballers won over Awe V. United by the score of 4-1. The goals for United Ballers were scored by Nathiel Williams in the 13th minute of play, Kadir Galindo in the 42nd minute of play, Alfredo Popper in the 80th minute of play and Andrew Allen in the 87th minute of play. For Awe V. United, the only goal of the game was scored by Osmar Duran in the 10th minute of play.
A More Mature Patriotism
It is refreshing that finally our patriotic celebrations appear to have risen above the tangle of partisan politics. True, there were veiled barbs within some of the speeches but on the whole everyone was able to mention the name of a patriot thought to represent the opposing political party, though it may have stuck in throat of some of the older politicians. This is the way any long standing dispute, including wars, rebellions and other traumatic events must finally be dealt with so that new generations are not burdened with the malice of the old. The popular appeal, especially for the young, of the Carnival and J’ouvert, is probably linked to their non-partisan nature. Going forward it will be useful to remember that events evolve and the particular format of any celebration can and must change to meet new realities. Indeed, Carnival is a relatively new phenomenon, having been introduced along with trucks carrying generators to blast music by Henry Young in the 1970s.
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Caye Caulker Featured In An International Music Video
Wayward is a new electronic group duo consisting of Louise Greenwood and Lawrence Gale Hayes from London via Leeds, England. The music video featured below has been going viral within the Belizean Community hence the name “Belize“. It is even more amazing because our very own islanders are featured in this video. Pretty sure they didn’t know they were going to be a part of a music video!
Like and share the video!
Maya leaders meet with Prime Minister Barrow
Representatives of the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcalde’s Association met late last month with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his Belmopan office.
During the meeting, discussion focussed on issues affecting the Maya people of the south and in particular the subject of drilling for oil in the Sastoon Temash National Park.
According to a statement put out by the Maya Leaders Alliance, the Alcaldes mentioned to the Prime Minister that they are in the process of formulating a proposal on a framework for consent agreements on oil exploration as well as the extraction of other materials from traditional Maya lands.
Professional Standards Branch acts in abuse cases
The Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department has been kept busy over the last few weeks taking complaints from Belize City residents who have suffered at the hands of those called to protect and serve them.
Today it provided an update on several cases, some of which have seen charges filed.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Glen Rivero, who commands the Professional Standards Branch in Eastern Division, spoke to the press on the incident involving Armani Bailey, who was taken from his residence by officers and left for dead in a garbage dumpster up the George Price Highway, and Jermaine Ciego who was also abused and had his money stolen.
Two officers in the Bailey case are before an internal police tribunal and two more are expected to follow in the Ciego case in addition facing criminal charges.
Toledo family seeks assistance for medical emergency
A family from the village of San Marcos, Toledo is appealing for the public’s assistance in getting urgent medical care for an ailing loved one.
76 year old Juan Caal has a brain tumor and requires urgent life-saving surgery.
The family has taken Mr. Caal to Guatemala City for medical treatment and doctors have informed the family that the needed surgery will cost GTQ12,000 or just over $3,100.
World Bank approves project grant for Belize
The World Bank is giving Belize US$6 million to be used for a 5 year project designed to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
According to a statement from the World Bank, the multi-million dollar grant from the Global Environment Facility will be supplemented by counterpart funding by the government of Belize to the tune of US$3 million.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and, according to the project documents will involve the expansion of the areas under sustainable forest management...
“The Boys Are Back in Town” (Part two) in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
I was so overcome with excitement yesterday with the re-opening of Estel’s Dine By the Sea that I failed to notice all of the changes that have been made during the one month closure. Funny what happens when you get excited, isn’t it!
I just sensed that there were things that were different that I just didn’t pick up on so I just had to go back there today. Feeble excuse? Maybe. Or maybe I’m not as stupid as I look!
I was right though. They’ve changed the seating arrangements -both inside and out- and it’s a tremendous improvement in my opinion. The wooden tables that were on the patio area have been moved inside
We (Rose actually – yes it’s true- came for breakfast with me. Well, she didn’t have breakfast but did have a coffee) hadn’t been sitting there long when Charles came to our table.
“What size are you?” he exclaimed.
“Small, but perfectly formed” I replied. ” Why?”
” You need one of our new design “T” shirts” he told me.
And he was right, I did. And they’re great.
UnHappy Birthday Belize
I wanted to wait for the festivities to simmer down before I put my thoughts out to my fellow Belizeans. I do not know how you will receive my speech or how it will be scrutinized or received, but these are my heartfelt convictions.
I heard some of the speeches and for the most part heard a lot of pretty flowers, shiny gems and smelt nice perfume that all masked the reality that our nation faces today, 33 years and a couple days old. I won’t go into the pretties too much, you know that is not me. My idea is to point out the issues we face today because they are there, they are real and they need to be discussed not hidden. It is only through knowing and understanding that we can find real world solutions to them.
The one that stood out to me was the BPF address, not speech; Mrs Marin addressed the issues at the core of our plight as we move ahead as a nation.
In opening she addressed the issue of Guatemala and their claim on Belize and some other issues that I have spoken about over time as well.
E-course Announcement, Government of Belize Press Office
Marlon James’s New Novel, ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’
In his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” Marlon James tries to make sense of the Jamaica of his childhood, including the 1976 shooting of Bob Marley.
Ukip donor has links to Belize and mining in southern Africa
A new Ukip donor who surprised the political world on Thursday with a pledge of £1m is involved in mining in southern Africa and has connections to Belize.
Arron Banks announced his defection to Ukip and increased his donation to his new party from the £100,000 he had originally intended to give after William Hague dismissed him as insignificant.
He held a black-tie fundraising dinner for a Belize children’s hospital at his home on Wednesday night. One of the guests at the party is understood to be a family member of the Belize prime minister, Dean Barrow.
Belize native indicted in Las Vegas slaying case
A 27-year-old native of Belize has been indicted in Las Vegas on multiple charges in the shooting death of one woman and the wounding of another in a parking lot outside a steak and sushi restaurant.
Court records show that Carim J. Cruz is due for arraignment Oct. 14 in Nevada state court following his indictment Wednesday on murder, attempted murder and other charges in the Aug. 16 shooting outside the Geisha House on Flamingo Road near the 215 Beltway.
Defense attorney John Momot didn't immediately respond Thursday to messages.
Cruz was arrested Aug. 21. He's being held without bail at the Clark County jail.
Irish Swimmers Harassed by Feisty Dolphin
A handful of swimmers in Ireland's Galway Bay got a dose of excitement and a bit of pain with their frolicking Wednesday when they were confronted by, of all the unexpectedly unfriendly creatures in the sea, a dolphin.
The large adult dolphin surrounded five swimmers and then moved in close, slapping and butting two of them, thejournal.ie reported.
Boats in the area soon created some space between the aggressive mammal and the swimmers until a lifeboat could rescue the shaken but not injured bathers. After ferrying the swimmers to shore, the lifeboat continued to monitor the area. Meanwhile, other would-be swimmers were told to remain on shore.
"This is the first time we've been called out to aid swimmers coming under -- I don’t know if you’d call it an attack but the dolphin was definitely corralling and slapping them," Galway Lifeboat Station Operations Manager Mike Swan told thejournal.ie.
"Indomitable" Jaguars May Have Lessons in Survival for Us
Alan Rabinowitz, author of Jaguar: An Indomitable Beast, has devoted his life to studying and protecting jaguars. He established the world's first jaguar sanctuary, the Cockscomb Basin Preserve, in Belize. And he was the moving force behind identifying and securing jaguar corridors throughout Central and South America. Speaking from his home in New York, he talks about how a childhood speech impediment made him bond with jaguars, how a fur coat worn by Jackie Kennedy triggered a catastrophic decline in jaguar populations, and how looking to jaguars could help us deal with problems we face, like climate change.
The book begins with a moving story of a childhood encounter with a jaguar. Tell us about the young Alan Rabinowitz.
From the earliest time I can remember, I was unable to speak the way other people speak, fluently and easily. I was born with a debilitating stutter. I had very, very bad speech blocks and would spasm and shake, trying to get the words out. They called it "frozen mouth" at the time. So my entire childhood was filled with the feeling that I was not normal. But from a very young age, I realized I could take comfort from and even speak, semifluently, to animals. That was my comfort zone.
Five Surprises That Emerged From Monarch Butterfly Genomes
Sequencing 101 butterfly genomes has revealed a few of the monarch's secrets, including some keys to its epic annual migration. A monarch butterfly migration is a memorable sight. In North America, the iconic insects travel south to Mexico in the fall and north again in the spring. Wherever they stop, hundreds of fluttering bugs rest in the trees, and a sea of orange, white and black wings fill the sky.
Until now, entomologists had suspected that the non-migratory southern monarchs were at the base of this butterfly’s evolutionary tree, and that migratory North American monarchs had evolved from their tropical brethren. But the genetic analysis shows that monarchs got their start in the north. “It was hard to wrap our heads around this new idea of where the monarchs came from,” says Kronforst.
Three branches emerged from North American monarchs: one in Central and South America, one in the Pacific and one across the Atlantic. The researchers posit that monarchs spread from the southern United States or northern Mexico, headed south into Belize and Costa Rica, then ventured into South America and the Caribbean. Historical records put their spread across the Atlantic and Pacific around the early 1800s, but the genetic analysis suggests those populations split even earlier—between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago. Eastern monarchs crossed the Atlantic to Portugal, then Spain and Morocco. Western monarchs island-hopped from Hawaii to Samoa and Fiji, and eventually on to New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. These butterfly populations have grown considerably in the last 200 to 500 years, which could account for the discrepancy in the timing.
Coral reefs may be threatened, but some species likely to thrive in rising water temperatures
While rising ocean temperatures and human activities are generally seen as deadly threats to the coral reef systems throughout the world, there are going to be both winners and losers in the world's coral species in the future, a new study says.
At least some present coral species will likely continue to survive in our planet's oceans amid both natural and anthropogenic environmental threats, experts at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis of the University of California, Santa Barbara predict.
Twenty scientists from a number of U.S. universities were part of a Tropical Coral Reefs of the Future working group attempting to predict upcoming fluctuations in coral reef ecosystems in response to the menace of rising temperatures in the oceans.
"Although many corals are becoming less abundant, there remain a number of species that are holding their own or increasing in abundance and these corals will populate tropical reefs over the next few centuries," says lead study author Peter Edmunds, a biologist at California State University, Northridge.
Fruit-Full Solar Dried Fruits Promotes Conscious Capitalism
The biggest movements can originate from ideas that come from even the most remote communities. The powerful theme of Conscious Capitalism comes from Jack Nightingale and his company Fruit-Full Solar Dried Fruits which is located in Punta Gorda, Belize. The idea that business interests should serve the community is not a new one, but the way it is being implemented at Fruit-Full is highly original. Jack based his organization on two principles: 1) Ethical Business Exchange which promotes ethical business practices and 2) Utilizing those practices to create outstanding sun-dried organic fruits.
The Fruit-Full organization helps communities in Belize by teaching the residents how to set up businesses and develop enduring relationships with markets and business partners. Jack and his business expert partners conduct seminars and workshops to train people so that they can learn how to become self-sufficient and benefit their communities. These training programs teach how to acquire or grow the raw materials, manufacture goods that meet international standards, and properly package for shipping and sales.
Video: Memaids Lair Belize, 11min.
On our second dive in Belize. Very rough on the surface. Sept 21, 2014. Dive Master Mike recorded much of the video, fellow divers were Karina and Ray.
Video: FOBI- Lighters Dem, min.
Check out "Lighters Dem" the latest music video from Fobi. Video Dir. by Sol Ainra (SolVision), Music Prod by Belizean Hitmaker.
Video: Caye Caulker, Belize, 4min.
Video: Street Segments: Fresh Ginger Challenge (Belize City), 2.5min.
Ginger is healthy and has a strong distinct flavor. It's great for cooking and preparing in food and dishes. But to eat it on its own?
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Jan 29th, 2019