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No apology from “Monchi,” and no lawsuit from “Gapi”
Last month, it made national headlines when the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) Orange Walk North standard-bearer Ramon “Monchi” Cervantes, Jr., was threatened with a lawsuit by his political opponent, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP)’s Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and the Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, if he did not apologize and pay damages for defamation of character, for causing a conversation in Spanish which implicated him, Vega, in the murder of Ramon Cervantes, Sr., to be broadcasted on LOVE FM.
However, Cervantes, Jr., told Amandala tonight, Thursday, that he has not been served with any court papers from Hon. Vega’s attorney.
Gungulung man, 27, executed on “Jump Street”
On Wednesday, December 3, police responded to a shooting on Wagner’s Lane, more popularly known as “Jump Street.” The Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) ambulance that screamed its way down Albert Street moments after a police mobile unit, with siren blaring, had passed, drove back quietly on Regent Street as it made its way back to its base, an ominous sign of another fatality in the city — ambulances do not transport dead people.
None of the residents of Jump Street who were standing behind the yellow police crime scene marker knew who the man was, who lay dead near the entrance to one of the network of alleyways that connect to Jump Street.
The suspense about the identity of the victim was soon broken, as word began to spread that the man on the ground, who was shot once in the head, was Robert Tracy, a man from Gungulung who had strayed into Jump Street.
Johnny denies 7 million dollar Guardian story!
The Guardian’s headline story of Sunday, December 7, 2014, “Johnny Briceño’s driver died leaving behind 7 million dollars?” has been described by current PUP Orange Walk Central area representative, Hon. John Briceño, as “completely absurd and ridiculous” in an interview with Amandala today.
The Guardian, the mouthpiece of the ruling UDP, claimed that an Orange Walk man who had been employed as Briceño’s driver died leaving behind assets worth “somewhere in the region of $7 million.”
Earlier this week we were informed that the body of Anthony “Tutch” Gillett, Briceño’s former driver, was recently exhumed from the Orange Walk cemetery where he had been laid to rest. The exhumation followed an internal family dispute over assets, including his house, that he had owned before his death.
Woman, 45, faces $10,000 and 3 years for 1 weed tree
A woman who was on trial for marijuana cultivation and pipe possession was found guilty this morning when she and her two children appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer.
Frazer found Tyron King, 18, and Sherin King, 20, not guilty of the two charges, but their mother, Olympia King, 45, was not so fortunate. She was found guilty of both charges against her.
Another person who was accused along with the Kings was Harrison Smith, who has been murdered since the trial began.
Frazer, in a gesture of goodwill, allowed King to go home to spend the Christmas holidays with her family, but warned her that the penalty for marijuana cultivation is the same as that for drug trafficking, a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 3 years.
Deadline December 15 for KREM Classic
The Cycling Federation of Belize announced today that it would be conducting its 2015 Membership Registration drive this Saturday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the UWI Open Campus in Belize City on Princess Margaret Drive.
According to the Federation, “All persons (athletes, support personnel, officials, teams etc), can bring in their completed registration forms with the relevant supporting documents (copy of either your Social Security Card or Passport) to indicate proof of your date of birth.”
The release also noted that “the deadline for membership registration for athletes participating in the 25th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014.” It added that, “Deadline to submit names for vetting of Foreign Riders, who will be riding on a team for this event, is Friday, December 12.”
Belmopan Football Association 1st Division Tournament
There were 4 games scheduled for Sunday, November 30, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the Belmopan Football Association (BFA) 1st Division Tournament, but only 1 of the games was actually played. In the first game, scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m., San Martin FC won by default (3-0) over Las Flores United. In game 2, UB Black Jaguars dropped Maya Mopan Ranger, 3-1, with goals from Reynaldo Lisbey (53’ & 62’) and Angel Briceno (74); while Maya Mopan’s lone tally was by Juan Pop (28’). The other 2 scheduled games, Armenia FC vs Cotton Tree FC, and Duck Run II vs Club Atletico, were not played because the referees were called to officiate at PLB (Premier League of Belize) games.
Serving the people …
Seen from a certain perspective, electoral politics is an investment of time and money in order to achieve power. Power is the reward for that investment, and when one achieves power in the form of government formation in Belmopan, one then proceeds to recoup one’s investment. Most of our politicians recoup more than their campaign investment when they are elected to office, and if they personally do not wish to grab in excess because of personal reasons or because they want to protect a political image of cleanliness, then their relatives and cronies will gladly do it for them. The people of Belize now know that politics in Belize is a “grab tub” business.
The people of Belize are not fooled any more by this “I want to serve” foolishness.” Politicians and those around them want access to the public funds of Belize. That is what the game is all about. The real estate of Belize is also a great prize. That real estate includes pristine land and jungle, and wonderful coral isles. Tiny Belize, must we say it one more time, owns the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Then there are the petroleum realities and possibilities. How about collecting protection money for the movement of narcotics from South America to the United States? Yes, you can get rich when you are in political power in Belize.
From the Publisher
I’ve heard a few Belizeans in the Diaspora give me credit for having remained in Belize, but, to be truthful, some of the background explanation for my remaining in Belize has to do with my airplane phobia. If I could have flown back and forth, I might have moved to America in early 1979, say, when the UDP were giving me a really hard time and appeared about to take national political power.
I have been saying to you Belizeans that we must always keep the Seventeen Proposals in mind. These remain the template the Americans are using insofar as their foreign policy for Belize is concerned. I have also been saying that we must pay keen attention to the Maya of Belize, because their perspective is important for the rest of us. One problem is that both the American foreign officials and Maya leaders are more sophisticated than Belizeans can conceive.
Residents of Ivor Street held fundraising flea market to repair their street
Ivor Street lies deep in the north of the Lake Independence area, almost by the riverside, but when it rains, navigating the street is a nightmare for its residents, because the short street has no drainage and the potholes keep getting bigger.
Residents of the street have traditionally taken matters into their own hands and have done some of the work to improve the street on their own. In another two weeks, they will launch their street cleanup campaign.
Before the start of the cleanup, however, on Saturday, November 29, the residents of Ivor Street held a flea market inside Battlefield Park to raise funds to buy filling to repair their street.
Two of the residents of the street, Shasa Eiley and Jacqueline Meighan, told Amandala about their plans to tackle the street filling.
GoBelize youth program graduates 10, celebrates 10th anniversary
GoBelize is a non-governmental organization which is focused on advocating for the rights and development of youths in both rural and urban areas. Today, the administrators and alumni celebrated the program’s 10th anniversary while incorporating the graduation ceremony for ten additional cohorts who joined the organization this year.
After starting out under a regional initiative known as “GoJoven” in 2004, the program evolved and later localized in Belize through the efforts of past graduates who came together to contribute to the leadership and development needs of Belizean youths.
Executive Director, Eva Burgos, who was one of the first to undergo the internationally funded, youth-led program, told Amandala about her role in the program and its future initiatives.
High schoolers enter regional science project competition
A group of teenagers from Canaan S.D.A. High School in Belize City have put together an innovative energy-generating contraption which is designed not only to improve ventilation in some of their classrooms, but also to propel them to success in an upcoming regional competition known as The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge 2014.
Through the yearly event, students between the ages of 11 and 18 years from high schools all over the Caribbean are stimulated to solve problems of sustainability in their schools and communities through STEM, which stands for a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Since some of their classrooms are made of metal, which is known to conduct heat, the students have decided to create an electromagnetic generator ventilation system made up mainly of a bicycle, an alternator, an inverter and a car battery, which will be used to power wall fans inside the classrooms to reduce the heat and make the classrooms cooler.
Possession of 118 grams of cannabis results in $1,500 fine for amputee
An amputee who shredded the prosecution’s drug trafficking charge against him (by proving through a cross-examination of witnesses against him that he did not sell cannabis, but merely used it) was sentenced to a fine of $1,500, yesterday morning, Tuesday, when he appeared before Magistrate Herbert Panton, who had found him not guilty of drug trafficking, but guilty of possession of a controlled drug — 118 grams of cannabis that police found at his home.
On September 3, 2013, the police’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), while on an anti-drug operation in the Conch Shell Bay area, searched the home of Alton White, 50, and his common-law wife, Idolly Frazer, 36, and found 118 grams of cannabis in two separate locations.
Drilling beyond 7,000 feet in Sarstoon-Temash
Alistair King, the country representative for US Capital in Belize, confirmed to our newspaper today that the company continues exploratory drilling inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, and although no commercial find has been discovered even at 7,000 feet below ground level, they remain hopeful that the search will yield positive results.
Whereas the Government of Belize has granted permission for the oil company to drill for oil inside the protected area, two NGOs – the Sarstoon Temash National Park and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) – contend that no such drilling should be allowed in the park where extractive use has been strictly regulated.
Members of the surrounding Maya communities have taken issue with the Government’s decision to grant the permit to US Capital to enter the national park for oil exploration activities, and four of the surrounding communities have filed a suit against the Government of Belize, challenging its decision.
Supreme Court judge tells BGYEA to try mediation once more
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) and the Government of Belize remain locked in a legal dispute over the rights to use the Harmonyville “buffer zone,” an area that BGYEA members who reside in the surrounding territory wanted to use to plant corn, but for which Government has taken them to court, claiming that the area is a road reserve.
After the government’s side had failed to abide by two court orders for mediation, the parties were ordered back to the mediation table yesterday, Monday, by Supreme Court Justice Courtenay Abel, who expressed disappointment that the court-ordered mediation was not used to try to resolve the dispute.
Following the court hearing this morning, some members of BGYEA and residents of the Harmonyville community explained what is happening on the ground.
Belize missing again from corruption index
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014, captioned “Clean growth at risk,” was released today by Transparency International and again Belize has been excluded from the rankings (the government chose not to participate), so there is no telling how Belize measures up to its regional counterparts which have been ranked on the international scale.
According to the CPI report, “More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).”
Generally speaking, countries in the Americas scored poorly, and the report said that 68% of countries scored lower than 50%, versus 66% last year, 2013. The average score for the Americas, although being only 45%, is still higher than the average global score, which is 43%.
Prime Minister attends Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit
Cuba-CARICOM Day, observed annually on December 8, was instituted back in 2002, to solidify relations which Cuba began to cultivate with the region decades earlier, starting with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago back in 1972.
On Monday, December 8, 2014, Cuba will host delegations from CARICOM member countries, including Belize, as talks focus on matters of economic importance, in the context of the 5-year strategic plan (2014-2019) for the region, formalized at the last regional summit.
Prime Minister Barrow left Belize on Tuesday, December 2, to first travel to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, after which he plans to travel to Cuba for the regional summit.
OW cop internally charged for handcuffs on Ramon Cervantes, Sr.
Information reaching Amandala suggests that disciplinary proceedings were carried out today against Police Constable #743 Javier Alvarez, who is attached to the Orange Walk Police Formation, after it had been alleged that his handcuffs were used to bind the hands of Ramon “Don Ramon” Cervantes, Sr., the well-known Orange Walk businessman and former mayor who was abducted and murdered earlier this year.
According to information we received from sources within the Belize Police Department, Alvarez was reportedly found guilty of two counts of Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline, and was consequently fined $200 and “severely reprimanded” by a disciplinary body today.
Civil Aviation Day celebrated in Belize
The Belize Department of Civil Aviation observed International Day of Civil Aviation on Friday with a list of events, including a wreath-laying ceremony to honour pilots all over the world who lost their lives in the course of their duties, and a larger ceremony on the Phillip Goldson International Airport compound.
Durong that event, the department honoured one of its employees for having 51 years of service in the field.
Nigel Carter, chief operations officer at the department, explained that the day was all about raising awareness about the importance of civil aviation and safety-related issues.
“By the end of 2014 we will have had 290,000 flight operations,” Carter said. “We have different classifications, depending on damage and number of injuries to define an accident and for this year our only accident happened yesterday December 4.”
Two murders, 15 hours apart! Are they connected? Police want to know
City Police are looking to see if the murders of Emerson Arnold, 35, and Kenroy Parham, 25, who were killed 15 hours apart over last weekend, are connected in any way. Hattieville police have several persons detained for the Parham murder and are looking […]
Hold-up in Cotton Tree Village marks start of Christmas season
Three Bowen & Bowen employees, along with a Chinese grocer and his wife were relieved of their money and cellular phones during an armed hold-up at around 2:30 Monday afternoon in the village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District. Two men wielding handguns […]
Court extends mediation date in dispute over buffer zone
The Supreme Court this week gave another extension for the Government of Belize and the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) to hold mediation talks to settle the dispute over the buffer zone surrounding the Harmonyville Community at mile 41 on the George Price Highway. […]
U.K. lawyer finds prison system in need of overhaul
A report published by a London-based NGO entitled “Behind the Prison Gates” identifies many of the problems the Belize prison system faces, including proper care for mental and juvenile inmates. Joseph Middleton, a human rights lawyer in the UK, was commissioned to undertake the […]
BTL system failure
Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) experienced an interruption in their system this week that caused BTL customers nationwide to lose calls, text messages, 4G and DSL services. BTL Public Relations Officer, Lorena Martinez confirmed that BTL experienced some issues with their system early Wednesday morning, […]
Boots on the ground! FCD will triple its patrols in the Chiquibul
Friends of Conservation and Development, the non-governmental organization which co-manages the Chiquibul Forest, is preparing to beef up its monitoring of the area by tripling the number of forest rangers. Director Rafael Manzanero, explained that after the successful Chiquibul telethon in October, the NGO acquired […]
Still no date for crop-open day and no breakthrough in sight!
Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. has until Friday midday to respond to proposals by the Belize Cane Farmers Association, which came from a meeting held on Wednesday, December 3rd. If the response is favourable, the crop could start as early as next week. But if BSI does not budge on its […]
Wednesday morning murder
A 28-year-old man is out on bail for attempted murder after he was shot in the back of the head and killed around 10 Wednesday morning on Wagner’s lane as he sat on a stool in a yard. Robert Tracy, a resident of Holy […]
They remember Andy!
The Garifuna community turned out in the hundreds on Tuesday night at Saint Martin de Porres Church in Belize City to celebrate the life of Andy Palacio, Belize’s former cultural ambassador, and artist for peace, as declared by UNESCO, on what would have been his […]
Belize/Mexico discuss tourism possibilities
Hotel representatives, travel agencies, car insurance agencies, restauranteurs and tour operators from Chetumal, Mahahual and Bacalar met in Belize on Wednesday at a tourism trade show to discuss possibilities for trade in that industry. The objective was to encourage Belizean service providers to consider […]
Venezuela stands by PetroCaribe in spite of falling oil prices
Venezuela has pledged to continue her PertoCaribe program, despite a worsening economic situation in that country. The Government of Venezuela has insisted that the program is sustainable. According to John Mencias, Deputy Chairman of Alba PetroCaribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL) Venezuela’s program is indeed sustainable because the PetroCaribe program is […]
Belize has been black-listed as the third most violence-prone country in the world. Fourteen years ago, at the turn of the century, the murder rate for Belize was 18.8 homicides per 100,000 persons. By 2012 the murder rate had doubled to 39.0 homicides per 100,000 persons, and last year’s reports […]
Plane slides off runway! Passengers escape unharmed
Directors of Tropic Air are blaming the slick runway at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City for a near disaster involving a Cessna Caravan, Flight 281, on Thursday afternoon. The plane, coming in from San Pedro, landed successfully and then slid into the cold waters at the Eastern end of […]
Trickle-down effect of cheaper oil slow in reaching Belizean drivers
Pump prices for gasoline and diesel in Belize have dropped, but only slightly when compared to the global price of petroleum in other countries, which have enjoyed significantly cheaper prices over the past few months. Belizeans are hopeful that they may enjoy lower prices […]
BML may yet get a piece of the action
Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and the Belize City Council (CitCo) have begun discussions about the transition of 170 employees when BML’s contract ends in January, even while CitCo has been making good on its financial commitments to pay off arrears. . According to BML […]
Financial irregularities found at KHMH again
Two X-ray machines purchased by the KHMH are the subject of a Special Audit, which focused on the nation’s largest referral hospital for the period July 2013 – July 2014. The audit was commissioned through the Ministry of Finance and requested by the Board of Governors of the KHMH. In […]
The Belize Times
PUP Ready in Cayo North!! – PUP Cayo North Standard Bearer Richard Harrison to unveil 5-year Development Plan
People’s United Party Standard Bearer for Cayo North Richard Harrison has hit the ground running. He continues his ground campaign, meeting with residents of the division and gathering tremendous support as he shares his ideas for development. On Wednesday, Harrison held a successful meeting with key supporters in Bullet Tree Village who have committed to supporting him and working to bring about victory for the People’s United Party in the bye-elections to be held on January 5th 2015. Bullet Tree is a key community in Cayo North. Similarly, groups of young people, students of voting age, businessmen, religious leaders, teachers and community activists in Belize and abroad have commended Harrison for stepping into the political fray and committing to supporting him. This is the positive reaction which the People’s United Party’s decision to have Belizean entrepreneur and businessman Richard Harrison as their candidate in the January 5th bye-election in Cayo North has had in the division.
Mass resignation at Santa Familia Village Council
“It’s my way or the highway” – that’s the message the arrogant UDP Chairman Alberto August and spineless Cayo North East Standard Bearer John August imposed on the members of the Santa Familia Village Council, forcing a mass resignation of community leaders several weeks ago.
Five members of the Village Council: Rafael Humes Jr., Yuri Rivera Obando, Juanito Carillo, David Carillo and Irbin Tun abandoned the UDP ship and left Chairman Gobin Carrias on his own, after they got fed up of the disrespectful treatment by UDP Chairman Alberto August and John August.
Darrel Bradley – the Christmas Grinch – BML workers denied Xmas loans because of job instability
Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) employees have received notification letters that as of January 18th they will no longer have jobs at the sanitation company, as a result of the Belize City Council’s crude decision not to renew their service contract.
This has made life for BML workers miserable as the situation has impacted their ability to get the only kind of Christmas cheer available in these cold and hard Barrow times. The workers have been denied access to loans by every financial institution on the basis that they don’t have job stability. BML workers are looking for something to be cheerful about this Christmas, and have attempted to access a little extra cash from loans at their credit union and banks, but the Belize City Mayor’s indications that they might not be keeping an earlier commitment that every employee would be hired has made things iffy for the employees.
Another youth gunned down – 28 year old Robert “Bolo” Tracey executed on Jump Street
Gun shots rang out in Southside Belize City shortly after 10:00am on Wednesday morning, as 28 year old Robert Tracey was executed on Wagner’s Lane, also known as “Jump Street”.
Tracey was shot in the head multiple times by an unknown gunman, and left dead on the sidewalk.
Residents who had heard the gunshots looked out and saw a man lying on the ground. Horrified at the site, they called the Police.
At the scene, the Police recovered several expended shells and a blue-in-color beach cruiser bicycle. It is believed that the gunman sneaked up on Tracey who was sitting in front of a private residence and shot him at close range. The gunman then ran through an alley and escaped. The Police found clothing which they believed belongs to the gunman.
ANOTHER BAD EXAMPLE
The news on Channel 5 television that the Police have decided to no longer consult the Director of Public Prosecutions before charging any citizen for criminal offenses is most disturbing.
The internal memorandum to all Police formations and district stations was signed by Mr. Russel Blackett, the former Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head of National Crimes Unit. The memo was not signed by the Commissioner of Police, nor was it signed on his behalf, which may or may not have some meaning. A decision of this importance should have come from the Commissioner. Perhaps he saw controversy in this decision and felt he was already skating on thin ice in the court of public opinion.
Mr. Blackett is a retired Police Officer. He reached his retirement age and has been rehired at the behest of the Prime Minister. Such a decision itself raises concern. The law governing public officers, of which all senior police officers above the rank of Inspector are legally public officers; is that they must retire on reaching the age of fifty-five years.
Verdes FC bombs Placencia Assassins 2-1
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Premier League of Belize after the green machine blasted Placencia Assassins 2-1 at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Sunday to shadow the top gun with 13 points.
A header from Assassins’ Luis “Barker” Torres forced Verdes’ goalie Benito Moreira to make an acrobatic save, while Verdes’ Jarret Davis and Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton brought the pressure on Assassins’ goalie Jesus Urbina, with “Orlando “Leechy” Jimenez, Nahjib Guerra, Richard “Cheety” Jimenez and Everald Trapp all trying shots at goal.
SJC & Sadie Vernon boys clash in basketball finals
The Sadie Vernon Technical High School boys will take on the St. John’s College boys in the high school basketball finals at Bird’s Isle on Wednesday night, December 3.
On Monday night, SJC overpowered Gwen Liz 55-47 in Game 3 of the playoffs. Dudley Erskine led with 24 points.
The Sadie Vernon boys eliminated the defending Belize District high school champs, ACC boys 66-64 in overtime, after regulation ended with the score tied at 64-64. Clency Lopez finished with 25 points as he scored the winning basket unopposed, as ACC’s coach Matthew Smiling had refused to allow his players back on the court, forfeiting their chance at the championship. Belize Bank Bulldogs’ star Darwin “Puppy” Leslie is coaching the Sadie Vernon Technical High School.
The Base at Hunting Caye
Just a couple of months ago Belize’s security had been compromised leading to a brutal fatality of a Tourism Police at the Caracol Archaeological site involving some Guatemalans. Now, it has come to the attention of the Public that a privately-owned Guatemalan Contractor Company “BINARQ” was contracted to construct the Belize Coast Guard’s Base at Hunting Caye, which is a military facility located down south. This has caused some consternations and legitimate concerns by the Belizean Public as they would like to know “Why in the world would the Government allow Guatemalans to be in charge of our military base especially since there has been an ongoing dispute between the two countries?
It is understandable that as a democratic and peaceful country the Government would want to try and settle the dispute with Guatemala in a civilized and peaceful manner; therefore, contracting a Guatemalan company would seem to be a start in moving forward and working harmoniously. However, I personally believe that the only acceptable way that a Guatemalan company could be operating in Belize is to have the company hire Belizean citizens only since it is in our country.
Slowly throughout the years we have been forced to change our lifestyles to suit the changes in the economy. In many homes in Belize today, both parents are working in order to make ends meet.
Household incomes are going down, the cost of living is going up and debts are accumulating. A majority of our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar. We are finding it harder and harder to be able to afford the things that were once easier to afford, like a mortgage or higher education.
In order to help the economy and ourselves, we need to evaluate the issues that are affecting us. We know that the Government of Belize (GOB) has an obligation to its country and is responsible for sustaining a vast majority of expenses like fixing streets and roads, maintenance of the different ministries, schools, hospitals, national security etc. We all agree that it is necessary to pay taxes in order to sustain our country and one of the largest contributing revenue bases for GOB is the General Sales Tax (GST). It would not be necessary for GOB to implement so many other taxes or may even be able reduce some of the taxes already in place if everyone did their part in paying their due share of GST and ensuring that those authorized to collect GST on behalf of government do account for all GST collected and due.
Guerrero Street Swimming Pool
Dear Area Representative Boots Martinez,
This is Guerrero St. in your constituency of Port Loyola. It has been neglected for over a decade. It has no drain on either side with potholes that turn into swimming pools. It is both a safety and health risk because it holds stagnant water for days after rainfall occurs. PLEASE HELP!
Michel Chebat letter to Cayo North
Dear Residents of Cayo North,
Over the past few weeks, I have along with members of my committee visited with you, and listened to your concerns and ideas with the goal of formulating solutions that would bring meaningful change to Cayo North and by extension our beloved country Belize.
After consultation with the leadership of the party, it was determined that in light of the current circumstances and time constraints and to foster unity and harmony within the party, I would step aside and allow my fellow aspirant to go, uncontested, into the bi-elections to be held on the 5th of January 2015.
Time to Get Serious about Sports!
In countries where Sports is handled properly, it is a profitable venture for the Government as well as other partners who support the industry. Years ago when our population and the economy were much smaller, there was often only standing room for basketball games at Civic Center, football matches at MCC grounds, boxing bouts at Bird’s Isle , and softball games at Roger’s Stadium.
Apart from the profit making aspects, sports is also a discipline that teaches life skills such as self-reliance, good decision making, patience, hard work, ambition, peaceful resolution of dispute, and the need for a good education among many other things. Early support for Sports also enhances the chance for amateur athletes to reap the many benefits of playing on the world stage at the professional level.
City Administrator’s pickup crashed
The expensive vehicle bought with City Council funds for daily use by the City Administrator Candace Burke was crashed earlier this week.
Following the crash, the vehicle was hidden from the public and clandestinely driven to an auto body works located on the Western Highway for repair.
While the Mayor and Council stomp their feet and bawl that the City Council is broke when the sanitation companies knock on their doors to collect outstanding debts, the Council will surely find a way to pay the cost of repairs for Burke’s nearly brand-new Toyota Hilux to avoid any public scandal.
Tropic Air crashes off airstrip runway
A Tropic Air Cessna plane crashed into the sea after it ran off the runway at the Belize City airstrip on Thursday afternoon.
The 5 passengers and pilot were not injured in the mishap, according to Tropic Air’s Public Relations Director Dennis Sunderman.
A company press release indicated that “approximately 2:20 PM flight #281 was going from San Pedro to Belize City Municipal Airport and upon landing went off the end of the runway into the water.”
WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – THE PETROCARIBE PARTY
At the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 18th last, I rose on a Point of Order, indicating assertively to the Speaker my objection to the interruptions and catcalls from the government side as Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca rose to debate the Petrocaribe Loan Motion. Members of our side had sat quietly as the Prime Minister, as ringmaster of his red circus, delivered his now infamous “Roll It” pseudo-defence of the Petrocaribe illegality. But, true to form, the peanut gallery of Barrow’s side of the House just couldn’t shut up and behave themselves when it was the Opposition’s turn to expose the hypocrisy of the Barrow administration.
I did not myself speak to debate the Motion. The day was long, and the speeches of the government side were the usual empty drivel. Those from our side were cogent and hard hitting. I had paid keen attention as the Prime Minister tried in vain to explain away his unlawful actions in not seeking House approval before borrowing and spending the countless Petrocaribe millions. He called the Petrocaribe funds a ‘peculiar creature,’ saying that it was impossible to know ahead of time the exact sums to be borrowed, so therefore (following his twisted logic) it was alright to commit a blatantly illegal act. What hogwash, and what a spurious, silly argument! Simple arithmetic could have told him when he was arriving at Ten Million Dollars and more in funds and the need, therefore, to seek House approval as required by law prior to borrowing and spending.
Bitter Sweet Sugar Cane
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) has been engaged in a longstanding negotiation with the new factory owners of Belize Sugar Industries, American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR) regarding the upcoming sugar cane season expected to begin on December 8, 2014.
Both parties have agreed that it is in the best interest of this valuable industry that the new sugar cane season begins on time.
However, the sticking point is that BSCFA does not want to relinquish ownership of the sugar cane after sale to the factory because of the residual value of the bagasse when the sugar cane is grounded.
Dah we like suh
My grandmother had a saying that whenever I would complain to her about someone doing me wrong, she would say, “Dah you like suh!” In other words, if you didn’t like it, you would do something about it. There are usually two courses of action available to any person who believes that they are being wronged. The first is to remove themselves from the environment and the second is to do what is necessary to put a stop to the offensive action.
Belizeans have long been complaining about being wronged by politicians. Abuse of authority, corruption, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money, nepotism, cronyism, interference in Police work and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, in this case before us (the current government is not only accused but practically found guilty of all of the above, and then some), most Belizeans do not have both options available to them. Belize is our only home and we do not have the luxury of removing ourselves from this environment. There are those who do have green cards and the opportunity to travel but they choose instead to stay and make a life in Belize. That is their right for this is our home! We therefore are left with one choice and one choice only; we must do what is necessary to put a stop to this miscreance.
Belize “Titanic” is Petrocaribe
I’m not a big movie fan but boy when I fall in love with a movie I watch it often. One such movie is “Titanic”. Mein, I loved that movie! It’s a bit long but who cares it holds my attention for the 3 ½ hours and it’s worth it. The other good thing about it is that it’s a true story. It all started on April 10, 1912 when this large ship, the largest in the world at the time, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. No expense was spared – every luxury available to man was onboard. Her passengers were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest, basking in the elegance of first class accommodations. She was classified as the safest ship ever built, so safe she couldn’t sink. She carried only 20 lifeboats for her 2,200 passengers and crew.
The party started immediately with dancing and drinking all day into the morning. The best liquor was onboard. This was life at its best for the rich and famous. Who can forget the love story of the society girl “Rose” and the penniless artist “Jack” as they fell in love on the high seas? What a party. Life could not be better. Then four days into her journey at 11:40pm on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg but what’s to worry? This ship cannot sink we were told, so the party continued. Soon it became obvious the ship would go down. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short. The water was four degrees below freezing and very few if any could survive this cold water.
Think About It
For some ten years public sector workers have not benefited for a salaries increase. Despite rising cost of living in Belize.
In 2004 and 2005 the trade unions played an important role in paving the way for the then opposition UDP to gain electoral victory. In 2008 the UDP became the government on a promise of accountability, transparency and all the rest of broken electoral pledges. They held out an open window and door that they would be a workers government. Another broken promise.
From 2008 to 2013 the Unions played along with “their” government. No raise came. When they could no longer hold back the frustration of their members, and in particular the teachers, negotiation started. Based on facts and figures the Unions placed their cards on the negotiating table. Oh, no, said the Prime Minister, we just don’t have money for a raise. The Unions said they wouldn’t budge. They were asking for ten percent.
Secret Police Files on Gangs Leaked!!
Highly sensitive police intelligence on the gang networks in Belize has been leaked out of the Police Department, and is at risk of falling into the wrong hands and undermining organised-crime probes and potentially endangering the lives of Police Officials and citizens.
The BELIZE TIMES has learnt that the intelligence data was mismanaged by a Police Officer who lost the device, a flash drive, which contained a back-up copy of the information. That flash-drive, with all the sensitive content, was recklessly handled and has now fallen in the hands of a private citizen, who we understand is resisting returning it to the Police.
The intelligence data, some of which the BELIZE TIMES has obtained through reliable sources, contains information on gang networks and how they operate with certain resources. It lists names and contains detailed information of the key players involved. The data represent months of work by the Police’s special branch department. If gangs get the information it could weaken the Police’s anti-gang efforts tremendously, and even give gangs the advantage as they can pre-empt police action.
Weed charge for GSU target
Thirty-nine year old Lance Welch, a resident of Rivero Street who was released on bail from prison yesterday, was back before the court today on a charge of drug trafficking. Welch was arraigned on the charge by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser, the same magistrate who offered him bail […]
Philip Gallaty’s gets his driver’s license reinstated
Fifty-seven year old Phillip Gallaty, the manager of Victor Bryant and company limited, is permitted to drive again. Gallaty’s driver’s license was suspended for 6 months after he was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. After 3 months had passed since the suspension, Gallaty appeared […]
Gang charge for unemployed man
Thirty-three year old Ian Westby, an unemployed of Casaurina Street, was charged displaying gang insignia when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Westby wanted to plead guilty to the charge. He explained that he has had the tattoos on his left arm and right hand from […]
Teen beats charge after complainant no-shows
Eighteen year old Shaquille Meighan, charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, was freed of the charge when it was stuck out today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. The charge was struck out for want of prosecution because the virtual complainant, Maurice Middleton, could not be located. The […]
“Peter Tosh” hit with grievous harm charge
Sixty-one year old Tony Anthony, aka “Peter Tosh”, a former police officer, was charged with grievous harm when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. But based on the facts of the case, the prosecutor objected to bail for Anthony. The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate […]
Caye Caulker residents pleads to drug trafficking
Apologizing for wasting the court’s time, 31 year old Nolberto Choc of Caye Caulker accepted a plea of guilty of drug trafficking. Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith handed down a fine of $10,000, half of which was to be paid immediately and the rest by December 31, 2015. Choc […]
Guatemalans jailed on unlicensed firearms charges
Two Guatemalan mean have been charged for the crime of possession of firearm and ammunition without a license. They are 34 year old Erasmo Vasquez Emilio. The duo was intercepted by Belizean authorities last week during a patrol near Machakilha village. Police say when the men were intercepted […]
First Caribbean International Bank donates to Belize Cancer Society
On Thursday First Caribbean International Bank made a donation of $8,000 to the Belize Cancer Society, proceeds of its various activities highlighting cancer awareness. The society’s vice-president Diane Finnegan said it comes in handy to provide services to persons afflicted with various forms of cancer, many of whom […]
Civil Aviation Department defends record after plane crash
The Department of Civil Aviation today observed International Civil Aviation Day in honor of the 70th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s founding. It comes on the heels of yesterday’s crash of Tropic Air Flight 281 off the coast of Belize City as it prepared to land. […]
New BTIA president aims to strengthen organization
With just 16% of hotels, 4% of restaurants and 11% of other key sectors as active members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the spokespeople for the tourism industry are aiming to get their own house in order by improving membership and financial position. That is the […]
Working with the manatee calves...from Dani, Lead Manatee Carer and Aussie extraordinaire
For someone to ask you to write a blog about your time and role at Wildtracks seems like a ridiculous feat. No amount of words could ever explain the pure joy and satisfaction you feel here on a daily basis, however, I will do my best.
My name is Dani and I volunteer here at Wildtracks, mostly caring for the two male West Indian Manatee calves; Mitch and Lucky. Those who have met me will know that it is almost impossible for me not to cry when i see videos of dugongs and manatees in the wild, so, to be blessed with the opportunity to care for these two boys is one of the greatest endeavours of my life. Getting up at 5.30am is something normally unheard of for me, but knowing that I'm waking up to two hungry little manatees makes all the difference. I wake up each morning happy and excited to see them. It has been an absolute dream to bottle feed these beautiful animals five times a day, and it is worth the late nights, early mornings and zillions of mosquitos.
Some days can be very testing and upsetting when the boys are uncomfortable, cold or gassy which can affect their feeding pattern. When Lucky came in he looked like a rumpled brown plastic bag; beached, emaciated and 95% dead. Mitch was also found stranded and underweight. Both manatees were left without a caring mother whom they would have fed from for up to two years before becoming independent. But acting as a mother, caring for, socializing, and comforting Mitch and Lucky is such a humbling experience for me. Mitch is now a very healthy, happy, handsome manatee and Lucky is looking better every day.
Throwback Travel Friday – Belize!
The second country I visited in Central America, Belize clings to the eastern coast sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala. The terrain varies from dense jungles and Mayan ruins to Caribbean coast, blue waters and islands. Known famously by scuba divers as the location of Jacque Cousteau’s legendary Blue Hole, the coast is a great place for diving and other watersports.
This is also the first place I ever ruined a camera by snorkeling with it in my pocket for a couple of hours getting a much deserved I told you so by my then girlfriend and beginning my streak of camera murder.
The trip started with a flight into Belize City followed by a shuttle ride piloted by an insane Dutchman who stopped for beers halfway through the trip and deposited us in San Ignacio, a town near the border with Guatemala.
Make the Most of Your Belize Vacations
How will you make the most of your Belize vacations? With just a little research, you should find the answers that you need. Identify your priorities early on in your trip and stick to them. From here, start to meld your priorities with the 10 Belize travel tips below, in no particular order, and you will be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to experience the beautiful country of Belize to the fullest.
Testing Astrum Helicopters New Ride Over Ambergris Caye, Belize Or HOLY CRAP! I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This!
Yesterday I received an invitation from my friend and SanPedroScoop.com correspondent Finn Kardashian to TAKE A RIDE ON A HELICOPTER over the reef and Ambergris Caye with Astrum Helicopters.
The very same company whisks people from the Belize International airport to super luxe resorts, allows them to flyover the Blue Hole in a matter of minutes (from basically anywhere in the country) and to see Belize’s amazing sights in probably the most spectacular way possible. Hidden waterfalls…jungle clearings…Maya sites…I can only imagine.
Hovering just a few hundred feet above them…amazing.
Caribbean integration and the big issues- Part one
Even with the premature death of the West Indian Federation in 1962, there was some optimism that the countries of the English speaking Caribbean would engage in other forms of integration short of a political union. And in many ways they have.
After the ill-fated federation, there was the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), established December 15, 1965 by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, and later joined by other countries. It sought to increase, diversify and liberalize trade while ensuring fair competition among these countries.
The Caribbean Court of Justice, intended to replace the English Privy Council, is the highest court in a few Caribbean countries. As of 2011, Barbados, Belize and Guyana replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’s appellate jurisdiction, with that of the CCJ. This means that the CCJ considers and determines appeals in both civil and criminal matters from common law courts within these countries. In addition, in July of 2014, Dominica’s parliament approved a bill to make the CCJ the final court of appeal.
OAS Launches Workshop on Drug Treatment Courts in the Caribbean
The Organization of American States (OAS) today inaugurated the third and final two-day regional training workshop on the Monitoring and Evaluation of Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Participants in the workshop organized by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the OAS, included judicial, health and drug treatment officials from Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada, including the Chief Justices of Belize and Barbados.
Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados, opened the workshop highlighting his country’s investment in the drug treatment court program, “to save our young people.” The Attorney General expressed his gratitude for the support from the Government of Canada and the United States to the OAS Drug Treatment Court program, while also expressing the view that the countries, including Barbados, should take responsibility for the initiative within their countries.
Video: Jason Hartman & Tim - All Things Belize, 25min.
Video: Ambergris Caye, Belize - Market Introduction, 6min.
Video: Half Moon Caye Wall Shark Fun!, 1min. Megan O'Meara and a Shark!
Video: Belize dive with SeaSports Belize Nov12, 2014, 4.5min. Carnival Pride excursion: 2 Tank dive at the South Gallow's point reef. Divers: Adrian & Nancy, Tom & Donna, Dwayne & Danita.
Video: Training Ride Belize, Dec 1st 2014, 5min. Cyclists from Belmopan joining the Oceana ride across Belize on Saturday December 1st, 2014.