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PM Says Municipal Election is the Main Focus Now
Omar Figueroa is the new Area Representative for the Cayo North. Figueroa rose as the newest member of the House of Representatives following bi-elections held on Monday after the post was vacated by PUP representative Joseph Mamud. Both main political parties expressed confidence at the start of the race but at the opening of the polls at 7am, it was clear the UDP machinery was running more smoothly. There was a low voter turnout for the first six hours but as it neared the closing time the numbers started to rise steadily. By the time the polls closed at 6pm there were a few voters still in line waiting to vote. The 13 ballot boxes were then transferred to the ITVET in San Ignacio where the counting took place. All 13 boxes were counted simultaneously and by 8:30pm the word was out that UDP candidate Omar Figueroa was leading the race. A few minutes past nine o’clock, it was confirmed that the counting was completed and the new area representative for Cayo North was Omar Figueroa. A crowd of UDP supporters had gathered under the rain in front of the ITVET awaiting to see and hear from their new area representative and Figueroa fulfilled this task when he emerged from inside the counting room accompanied by close relatives.
Dawson Speaks on Construction on Philip Goldson Highway
Those of you who commute on the Philip Goldson highway probably question what is transpiring on the right hand side opposite of Roses and Westrac. Today Love News spoke to Alexander Dawson, Site Supervisor at Cisco Constructions, who explained further more of the works occurring on the corner of the highway. Here’s what he has to say:
“Well at the moment we are constructing a round a bout to make the flow of traffic easier between the Western and the Northern without causing confusion. With the round a-bout here vehicles instead of stopping the flow of traffic will just ease and go easier to diver easier off. Well the round a bout has to be big enough to maintain trailer trucks going to port and back so with that the round a bout will be able to handle a two lane highway.
Prison Wardens Find Weed Hidden Inside Bun
Thirty-eight year old Orven Usher of Fern Lane, Belize City who attempted to smuggle 30 grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison by putting it in a bun, was fortunate he was not given a custodial sentence when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser and pled guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. Senior Magistrate Fraser fined him five hundred dollars and gave him until February 28 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve five months. She told that he was lucky he had not come to court yesterday because he certainly would not have been fined. She was referring to a case yesterday in which she sentenced an 18 year to six months for trying to smuggle 46 grams of cannabis into prison in some apples. Usher was busted on Sunday, January 4 when he went to prison to take food for inmate Jed Burgess, who is charged with the murder of Jamal Neal. When the bun was put through an x-ray machine some foreign substance were detected and when the bun was cut open the cannabis was found inside.
August Speaks on Interruption of Sanitation Services
Last Friday, January 2; there was a group of disgruntled workers at the San Ignacio Town Council inside the Sanitation section. Reports reaching Love News are that there were some missing inventory from the municipal office and administration was preparing to have the workers compensate for the missing items. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly by the council’s employees and to show this discontent, the employees reportedly went on strike. It was a brief interruption of service in the sanitation sector for the town as Mayor John August explained.
“There was a minor incident and the council was concerned over some items that had gone missing from our garage and we brought it to the attention of the workers and I think some of them were not too happy with the way we were undergoing the investigation but I have spoken to them and I have sorted out the matter already and I think the work is being continued, garbage is being picked up.
Barrow Says No Petro Caribe for Bi-Elections
The issue of finances has been well highlighted by both political parties, particularly as it relates to Monday’s bi-election. In the instance of the United Democratic Party, yesterday’s bi-election and the weeks leading up to it, had shown signs of significant monies being spent on the ground particularly in the Cayo North Division. While for the People’s United Party, it was quite the opposite as they had indicated that their funding was limited and that they are concerned at how the UDP is spending tax payers’ money for campaigning.
“There is cause for concern when it comes to the use of public funds in election campaigns but I think as a country we have to get beyond that; we have to think about these issues. it’s a dangerous road we are travelling, where, as I have said before, there seems to be no line, in my view, between the public treasury and the United Democratic Party treasury. There seems to be no line. Election campaigns are run with public funds completely. On Election Day people are getting letters for scholarships, people are getting land papers. So, people will say that has been happening for a long time and that may be fair but I continue to make the point that we are in unprecedented waters, the scale and level and depth of it is unprecedented, in my view and I think we all have to take a collective pause.”
Thompson Speaks on Investigation in Police Brutality
In June 2014, Love News brought to you the story of 39-year-old, Ernesto Chan, a taxi driver of San Ignacio Town, Cayo District who at the time was not only facing marital problems, eviction from his home but had also been allegedly assaulted by two police officers from that municipality. When we aired the story some six months ago, we had met up with Chan, who bore scars and photos of a bloody mouth and other injuries which he claim were inflicted by two officers, namely, Sergeant Octaviano Victorin and Corporal Rudolph Rodriguez. In our story, we had told you that the Public Standards Branch of the Belize Police Department had launched an internal investigation into the matter, but it seemed like a slow paced investigation as in November, Chan was back at our offices saying that he is yet to get an update on the investigation and the two officers were still on active duty. We caught up with Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson, who now heads the San Ignacio Police Station to get an update on that investigation.
Arrest Made For Robbery’s Murder
27–year-old, Troy Hyde, a resident of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City was charged with the murder of 28-year-old, Kareem ‘Robbery’ Lopez when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Hyde was remanded into custody until February 24. Lopez was gunned down around 10:20 p.m. on January 3 while he was in front of a fast food establishment on Central American Boulevard. He had gone to the fast food establishment and was opening the door of his car when he was approached by a group of men and one of them opened fire, riddling Lopez’ body with multiple gunshots. Lopez was transported to KHMH where he was pronounced dead.
Works Resume on Chetumal Boulevard
Last year we told you about the completion of the Bridge that joins the north and south-sides. Today Love News stopped by and spoke to Deon Burns, Site Supervisor about the current works that have started on Chetumal Boulevard.
“Right now on Chetumal Street we are doing the infrastructure, right now we are on the drainage, doing the sidewalk drainage going all the way to the creek down that side, afterwards we will come behind and do the street. We’ll put in a two way street with a median in the middle and we will try to get everything done as soon as we could but with the weather we are going very slow and due to the Christmas holiday. The other thing is yes, the bridge is open, most people use it as easy access. Right now it is kind of traffic-able for us right now but I understand everybody need to get to work quick and fast but I will ask everybody to minimize the traffic. All of us are working and it is hard for us , our excavator and our trucks hauling in and out. Concerning going to the creek on the left hand side, there is a board house upstairs I understand that will be moved out and the yellow cement house before that, we will put a slab off the bridge going down so they can access. On this other side I am not sure what we will do as yet as we reach there, maybe another two and a half months we will get there if we go by schedule, with weather and everything or a little earlier.”
Villager Charged For Burglary and Theft
Belmopan Police have arrested and charged 24-year-old Kim Thomas of Camalote Village with theft and burglary. 53-year-old, Nelson Gallardo of Roaring Creek Village told Police he was at home sleeping when he was alerted by his security guard that an intruder was on the premises. Upon investigation they saw some movements at the back of the garage, which is located on the same compound. Upon investigation, they saw a man of dark complexion walking toward some machines which were on the compound. With the assistance of the other security guards they held him there and called the police. Police recovered a vehicle starter, one hundred sand seventeen dollars in different denominations and three bottles of soft drinks. As a result, Thomas was arrested and charged.
Men Charged With Robbery and Aggravated Burglarly
Two men were charged with two counts of robbery and one count of aggravated burglary when they appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. They are 23 year old Ronald Michael and 27 year old Edwin Emmanuel Coye. They were also charged with wounding and harm. They pled not guilty to the charges. They were remanded into custody until March 3. According to the allegation, on Friday, January 2, the defendants and another, whilst armed with a firearm, entered as trespassers the home of Maria Gonzalez, located on Superintendent George Arthurs Street and stole money and items that amounted to over one thousand dollars. The men also allegedly stole money and items amounting to two thousand two hundred and seventy five dollars from Jennifer Gonzalez and money and items amounting to over two thousand dollars from Francisco Avila. The police have also alleged that the men caused a wound to Jennifer Gonzalez and caused harm to Maria Gonzalez.
Teen Charged For Possession of Controlled Drugs
Eighteen year old Raheem Myles, who tried to smuggle 46 grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison by hiding them inside some apples, was sentenced to six months today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he plead guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. Myles had expected a fine but Senior Magistrate Fraser told him that she will send him to the place where he was trying to smuggle the cannabis to join the person he was taking it to. Myles was busted on Friday, January 2 when he went to Belize Central Prison with three apples. When the apples were cut open the cannabis was found inside the core. One apple had 10 parcels which amounted to 16 grams, a second apple had eight parcels amounting to 12 grams and the third apple had 13 parcels which amounted to 18 grams. Apparently, the sticker on each apple was removed and a hole was made which formed the entrance for the cannabis. After the cannabis was put inside the apple, the sticker was put back where it was to cover the hole.
Belama Resident Charged With Sexual Assault and Threat
Thirty-five year old Baron Anderson, a resident of Belama Phase Two, was charged with sexual assault and using threatening words when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Anderson plead not guilty to the charges. He was offered a bail of two thousand dollars and his case was adjourned until March 3. The bail was offered on the condition that he says away from the complainant and anybody connected to her. The incident occurred on January 1 at Golden Casino, located on Newtown Barracks. The complainant, who is over the age of 16, reported to the police that while she was at Golden Casino, Anderson came and sat beside her and grabbed her vagina. She said Anderson then told her that anytime he sees her and her boyfriend he will kill them. Anderson said in court that the complainant used to be his girlfriend.
Men Charged For Firearm and Ammunition Offenses
Two men were charged with firearm and ammunition offenses when they appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. They are 25 year old Curlan Phillips and 18 year old Tevin Palmer. They were charged with kept a prohibited firearm, a .357 revolver and kept six rounds of point thirty eight calibre ammunition. They plead not guilty to the charges and they were remanded into custody until March 5. They were busted around 12 a.m. on January 3. The police reported that they were on mobile patrol on Banak Street when they saw a gold colour four door Altima car with the defendants inside. The car was on Banak Street and it was heading towards Central American Boulevard.
Elton Coba Charged For Burglary
30-year-old Elton Coba has been charged for burglary. This follows a report made by Sonia Alamila who told Police someone burglarized her home on January 2. The thieves made off with some of her jewelry. Police conducted a search on Coba and found a number of the stolen items. Coba appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton where he pled guilty to the crime. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Arturo Cantun Reports on Bi-Election in Cayo North
As we mentioned earlier, polls have closed in the bi-election in Cayo North. Arturo Cantun was on the ground during the day and filed this report.
“Today a by-election was held for the Cayo North constituency. The two candidates are new in the political race. For the UDP it is Omar Figueroa and for the PUP it is Richard Harrison. At the start of the voting at 7AM voters were just trickling in. Both candidates however were both optimistic that more voters were going to come out after midday. Around midday we spoke with PUP candidate Richard Harrison who was very confident that his machinery was working well.”
“Well I am feeling good, it is going as we suspected. They have a lot of campaigners and that is mostly what has voted for them, campaigners who they are paying to vote. Our voters are voluntary people coming to vote of their own free will and we are getting them out and we are going to do that until 6pm.”
RTA on Hummingbird Highway
Four people were rushed to the Western Regional Hospital after a traffic accident on the George Price Highway. Correspondent Angelica tells us more.
“Four persons were rushed to the Western Regional hospital following a traffic accident on the Hummingbird Highway. Love News visited the scene sometime around 4:15 on Monday afternoon January 5th and saw silver Saturn VUE on the right hand side of the highway in a drain in some bushes with its front portion extensively damaged. About 20 feet away on the right hand side of the highway also in some bushes a grey Mahindra pick up with damages to its passenger side door.
Sunday Night Murder Claims Life of Teen
Belmopan Police have two persons detained following a Sunday night murder. Correspondent Angelica Cruz has the details.
“Belmopan police hands are full; they are trying to put all the pieces together in trying to solve the second murder that occurred in less than 4 days. According to the neighbors, sometime around 6:30PM on Sunday evening January 4th, they say there were inside their house sitting down when they heard the sound of two gunshots being fired coming from the back of their house. They then came outside and saw a number or people running where there was an exchange of several gunshots between two groups of people.
Shooting Claims Life of Lopez
A shooting this weekend on Central American Boulevard claimed the life of twenty-three-year-old, Kareem Lopez, also known as robbery, who resides on George Street. According to eyewitnesses, Lopez was by a Chinese shop, opposite bi-way internet café, purchasing something from the store when he saw a gun man ran out of a nearby yard with a gun. Witnesses told us that Lopez turned and ran towards his vehicle when he tripped and the gun man let fire on him. Love News received vital data that just before the shooting, Lopez was engaged in a heated argument with a gentleman who then held him up at gunpoint and threatened his life on New Year’s Day on Faber’s Road; the gun snapped and Lopez returned the favor by placing a gun in the assailant’s mouth and threatening him. No angel to the law, Lopez life has been threatened numerous times.
Martinez Speaks on Recent Shootings and Murders
Police have been busy trying to keep up with the criminals. Since our last newscast on Friday, three murders and several shootings have been reported. Two of the fatal shootings occurred in Belize City. We start with the latest which happened just before seven o’clock this morning. Raphael Martinez is the Press Officer in the Ministry of National Security.
RAPHAEL M ARTINEZ
“It occurred at approximately minutes to seven this morning when police were informed of gunshots being fired in the vicinity of Rodger’s Stadium. When police went to the scene they saw a male of dark complexion who was identified later as 32 year old Marvin Anthony Underwood lying in the vicinity of the Pound Yard bridge apparently dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Again he was transported to the KHMH where his body awaits a post mortem examination as the investigations continue.”
It is believed that this morning’s shooting was retaliation for Friday night’s murder which took the life of a well known street figure.
Early Morning Shooting Claims Life of Man
There was a shooting this morning at the corner of East Collet Canal and Orange Street in Belize City. According to Police just before seven o’clock they received reports of shots being fired in the vicinity of Roger’s Stadium. Police say on arrival they saw 32-year-old Marvin Anthony Underwood lying on the street in the vicinity of the Pound Yard Bridge with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Police have a press briefing scheduled for later this afternoon. Sources tell Love News that Anderson’s murder was retaliation for the murder of Kareem Lopez which occurred on Friday night. Love News has been told that Underwood left his home in the Yarborough area and was heading to work when he was shot. Anderwood received a gunshot wound to the head and succumbed to his injury on the spot. Police investigation continues into this matter.
Police fail to apprehend high-speed shooters
Residents of the Kraal Road area of Belize City awoke to see police chasing a group of men in an SUV on Sunday morning. They were responding to reports of alleged gunfire heard on Kraal Road.
We responded as well and witnessed the high-speed chase through the neighborhoods of the Southside to George Street, where the shooters ditched the vehicle and escaped.
They were alleged to be carrying and using sub-machine guns.
The vehicle in which they were traveling, a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV with Belize City license plates BC-C-47582, was impounded after being processed where it was ditched on George Street, and then taken to Queen Street where it remains under guard pending further examination.
19 year old shot and killed in Belmopan
On Sunday January 4 at about 7:00p.m., shots were fired on Costa Rica Street Extension in the Salvapan Area of Belmopan. 19 year old Kevin Vasquez was shot to the head, chest and leg.
Mr Vasquez was a Honduran welder of Chile Street, Belmopan City.
We spoke to Officer in charge of the Belmopan formation, Howell Gillett, who told us more about the incident and the investigation.
“So far, our investigation shows the person might have been hit by a .38 revolver that was found on the scene. Three expended shells were found inside the .38 revolver, and three live rounds.
Mervin Underwood shot and killed
Kareem Lopez’s murder was the first of two in Belize City within 56 hours . There was another on Monday morning in a highly trafficked area near the Pound Yard Bridge .
Police responded to reports of gunshots being fired in the vicinity of Rogers’ Stadium, and came upon 32 year old Mervin Underwood with a fatal wound to the head.
With a formal report here is Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez.
“Police were informed of gunshots being fired in the vicinity of Roger’s Stadium. When police went to the scene they saw a male of dark complexion, who was identified later as 32 year old Mervin Anthony Underwood, laying in the vicinity of the Pound Yard Bridge apparently dead, with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
DOE to have meeting over Barton Creek Dams
Last Week Tuesday December 30, we told you about the story of the Dam that was built in Barton Creek, apparently without permission from the Department of the Environment. We will play the original story in case you missed it last week.
Many Belizeans know of the ATM cave; Actun Tunichil Muknal , as well as the cave at Caves branch , also in the Cayo District.
The Dark Knight story, which aired recently in the media, showed the plight that local tour guides have in accessing the cave location in that property.
PlusNews travelled to Barton creek, a Mennonite community, now owned by a few wealthy Canadians and Americans. Deep within this lush forest and farming area is a tourist destination known to just a few Belizeans; The Barton Creek cave system is comprised of well over 5 miles of caverns with an entire mile accessible to tourists for canoeing and sightseeing. The cave was used by the Mayas for ceremonies and when combined with the Mayan pottery, bones and stalactites and stalagmites it has become one of the areas protected and administered by NICH.
Omar Figueroa beats Richard Harrison 2:1
60.81% of Cayo North’s registered voters cast their votes in Monday’s by election in Cayo North; a fair turn out. The results of that election were announced at around 9 o’clock, so when we left you at the end of our newscast the counting was still on the way.
It was a busy day on Monday for the two camps to get their voters in at the polls, to vote for either UDP candidate Omar Figueroa or PUP candidate Richard Harrison.
At the end of it all, Omar Figueroa garnered an impressive lead, almost doubling Harrison’s votes.
Returning Officer Wilbur Sabido made the announcement.
“For the Cayo North Electoral Division, we had a total of 4,013 votes cast. Mr Omar Figueroa received some 2,665 votes, while Mr Richard Harrison received 1,348 votes. 5 ballots were spoiled, 51 rejected. So thus, after the return of the poll has been taken, I hereby certify that the Member elected for the Cayo North Electoral Division, in pursuance of the within writ as having received the majority of the votes lawfully given, is Mr Omar Figueroa.”
7 years for burglary
Last week we reported on the incident of a 30 year old son trying to stab his 52 year old father in the chest. The father managed to escape unharmed after his son entered their home under the influence or some substance.
The father got out a restraining order against his son, Elton Coba, but Coba paid that no mind and the following day, returned to the family house. The father and mother ran out through the back into some nearby bushes, while the son tore open the screen door and entered the house making threats to kill them all, after which he stole some of his father’s belongings before leaving.
Elton Coba appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton, where he was fined $300.00 for damaging the screen doors, $1,000.00 for breaching the protection order, and was offered bail in the sum of $3,000.00 for the crime of burglary to his father’s house.
Stabbed to the head while trying to part fight
At about 12:45 a.m. on Saturday January 3, police responded to a stabbing Incident on #6621 Police Street in Belize City.
32-year-old Aaron Kerr of Police Street was stabbed to the left side of the head.
According to police, Aaron Kerr was socializing with some friends when a fight ensued between two man on the street side of Police street. Aaron Kerr intervened to separate them, and as a result one of the male persons inflicted the injury to him.
Police Officer arrested and charged for extortion
Officer in Charge of the Bella Vista Police Station, 44 year old PC Bernard Villanueva, was arrested and charged for extortion.
On Friday January 2, a 28 year old woman reported to Independence police that the police officer in Bella Vista insisted that she pay him $200 for the release of her husband.
The Independence police officers photocopied four twenty-dollars notes and two fifty-dollars notes and then sent in someone to make the payment to PC Villanueva on behalf of the woman. Bernard Villanueva took the marked notes and immediately released the woman’s husband.
Independence police then moved in and retrieved the marked monies from Bernard Villanueva and formally arrested and charged him for extortion.
Cane farmers vote No to ASR/BSI commercial agreement
Sunday’s general membership meeting of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association saw a massive turn out. The estimated count was somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 cane farmers, who travelled from far and near to exercise their democratic right to have their voices heard in the matter concerning the signing of a final agreement with BSI.
As we told you last week, the agreement was to be signed on Tuesday, however, 5 of the 18 BSCFA directors opted for the decision to be made by the cane farmers, as is required by their bylaws. In addition to that, cane farmer Lucilo Teck and Association Executive Javier Keme, with the help of their attorney Audrey Matura-Sheppard, had filed an application for an injunction to stop the committee from signing without the approval of the majority.
That led to the fiery meeting on Sunday, where a clear division was noticeable between those who wanted it signed and those who did not.
Omar thrashes Richard!
For the first time since 1961, when voters began casting their ballots in Cayo North, by-elections were held today in that constituency and the end result was an almost unprecedented blowout, the extent of which has not been seen since Hector Silva won the division for the People’s United Party 54 years ago.
Today, it was the United Democratic Party’s Dr. Omar Figueroa who stole the show by sweeping up nearly twice the votes garnered by his rival, the PUP’s Richard Harrison. The United Democratic Party’s chairman, Alberto August, who is also the chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, reported to Amandala tonight that their candidate, Figueroa, had received 2,665 of the 4,013 votes cast in today’s by-election, while Harrison had received only 1,348 votes. The final official statistics indicate that 5 ballots were deemed spoilt and 51 rejected.
Dr. Omar Figueroa, the UDP candidate, a jaguar researcher by profession, has not had as strong a media presence as Harrison, but he told us today that he has been working on the ground, going from house to house, listening to the people’s issues: land, health, education, infrastructure and jobs.
“Chino,” 51, stabbed 42 times as he slept
Just a few hours before the dawn of the New Year, a very brutal and bloody murder occurred in which the victim was mercilessly stabbed over 40 times at a house on Fonseca Street in Orange Walk Town.
According to police, at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 31, Miguel Moises Medina, 51, also known as “Chino”, was drinking with a group of friends when they got into a fight, and he was later stabbed a total of 42 times in the stomach, chest, neck, face, arms and back as he slept on a sponge inside a concrete structure belonging to one of his associates, Rodrigo Ayuso.
Police were called, but by the time they arrived, Medina – a resident of Guyana Street in Orange Walk – had already died on the spot, and since then, investigators have been trying to find out why Medina’s companions attacked him so viciously.
Cañeros to SICB: Start the crop; stop the crap!
Today marked a critical juncture in the seemingly unending impasse that has overwhelmed the sugar industry as the cane farmers shot down a previously-accepted draft commercial purchasing agreement between their representatives, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and the factory owners, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR), and called on the governmental oversight body known as the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to use its authority to declare the opening of the long-deferred 2014/2015 sugarcane crop season.
In the face of a mixture of heightened police presence and high tensions, an unprecedented crowd of over 1,500 local cañeros gathered en masse at their usual meeting place, the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico auditorium, on the outskirts of Corozal Town starting at 9:00 a.m. today.
2015’s first murder
A little more than 15 hours after the New Year began, the first murder of the year occurred.
Yaima Duany Ledesma, 30, a Cuban worker at Dream Valley Resort Restaurant and Bar situated about two miles into the Young Gyal Road, off the George Price Highway, was shot and killed in the establishment where she worked by one of two men.
Amandala was informed that at about 3:30 p.m. New Year’s Day, two men went into the establishment and ordered drinks, after which they asked to see Ledesma, and when she came to see what they wanted, one of the men took out a pistol from the waist of his pants and shot her as she came towards their table.
Ledesma was hit in the chest and stomach, and fell to the ground.
Cisco Construction worker shot and killed near Pound Yard Bridge
Mervin Anthony Underwood, 32, a soil tester employed at the CISCO Construction Company, died after he was shot in the head near the Pound Yard Bridge by an unknown gunman as he was heading to work this morning.
A bus driver for CISCO Construction told Amandala that he was driving up Cemetery Road to Pound Yard to pick up Underwood to take him to work, when at about 100 yards from Pound Yard Bridge, he saw people running, and when he approached, he saw his friend and workmate sprawled on the ground. He had been shot.
Was fire at BSCFA CEO’s house a case of arson?
Things have been “hot” in the current sugar dispute for some while now, and an early morning fire that happened today at a house that was being rented by the CEO of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Oscar Alonzo, has ignited concerns that the ongoing back-and-forth in the sugar industry may be taking a volatile turn.
At around 1:00 a.m. this morning, fire officials in Orange Walk were called out to the San Lorenzo Housing Site in Orange Walk Town where Alonzo’s concrete bungalow house had apparently been set ablaze only two days before a BSCFA general meeting, where 5,000 plus cane farmers will decide whether or not they want to accept the compromise agreement between them and the factory owners for a second time.
“Weed apples” get teenager 6 months in jail
On New Year’s Eve, a teenager was arrested for attempting to smuggle marijuana into the prison inside three apples.
Raheem Miles, 18, who is a first-time offender, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug and was sentenced to 6 months in prison this morning when he was arraigned on the charge before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.
A look of confusion appeared on Miles’ face after he entered his guilty plea and he then asked the court to show him leniency and the Senior Magistrate told him that he needed to give her a good reason why he should not be sent to prison.
“You go to prison and smuggle drugs; it’s obvious you want to go there. You should have been charged with drug trafficking the moment you stepped on the prison compound with drugs,” Frazer told Miles.
KREM “Big Shilling” 2015 New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
After a three-year stretch of Belizean born champions, a foreigner, Mexican Hector Rangel, a Masters rider (over 35 years old) riding for the Belizean team, Benny’s Megabytes, came in all alone, after sweeping the bulk of the station prizes, to claim the Elite crown for the 25th KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.
There was a lot of hype and great expectation of heroic performances from local riders going into this year’s KREM Classic, and it had a lot to do with the very attractive prizes, especially the unprecedented five $1,000.00 Elite station prizes along the 96 mile journey from Belize/Mexico border in Corozal to Belize City, where the race ended in front of Santos Diaz & Sons on Central American Boulevard. There were some early sprints for station prizes, where Belizeans Gregory Lovell, Giovanni Lovell and Ron Vasquez claimed their portion of the prize money; but foreigners took 24 of the 30 station prizes, including 4 of the 5 big $1,000.00 prizes, with eventual winner Hector Rangel (Benny’s Megabytes) taking over the race at Maskall Junction and claiming the last 20 station prizes on his way to capturing the first place honors in 3:50:26.
BAA National Track and Field Championship set for January 24-25
The Belize Athletics Association (BAA) invites all athletes and track enthusiasts to be a part of a National Track and Field Championship event.
This event will be hosted at the Marion Jones Sports Complex on January 24 and 25, 2015.
All athletes 16 years (born 1998) and older can participate in the events.
Registration forms can be obtained from and returned to the BAA via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or from our Facebook page (Belize Athletics Association). Registration forms can also be obtained from and returned to the National Sports Council’s offices throughout the country.
Please be advised that registration forms should be submitted no later than Wednesday, January 21; no late registrations will be accepted. Cost of registration is $5.00 per athlete.
Events will include: 100m; 200m; 400m; 800m; 1500m; 5000m; 10,000m; 4x100m; 4x400m; Long Jump; Triple Jump; High Jump; Javelin; Shot put; Discus.
Wednesday is D-Day, PLB playoffs down to the wire
What a game! What a season! What a playoff in this Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Opening Season! The 4 teams who made the playoffs were not decided until the last weekend of regular season football; and these playoffs, which will end this Wednesday night, are in a similar position. BDF is out of the race, but they can still be a spoiler for Verdes. None of the 3 teams battling for the 2 spots in the championship finals – neither Belmopan Bandits, Police United nor Verdes FC is sure of a spot in the finals. There are a host of mathematical possibilities. Of course, Verdes could take BDF lightly, and that would send Police and Verdes to the big dance, whatever the outcome of their game. But if Verdes beats BDF, then Verdes is home free, and Police would need a win against Bandits, because a draw would send the Bandits through. (See the latest standings below.)
Going by our unofficial reports, in games at 4:00 p.m. on New Year’s eve last Wednesday, December 31, the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk saw Belmopan Bandits with a 1-0 win over BDF; while at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, Verdes followed their Saturday night 1-0 win over Police United with a 4-0 blowout of the law men on Sunday afternoon. Police was obviously weakened by the loss of their sweeper, Frank Lopez, who was red carded on Saturday night, and thus had to sit out the Sunday game.
Boxer wants to see more events in the New Year
Boxing trainer/enthusiast Henry “Boxer” Gill visited the sports desk this morning to say that he wants to see more boxing events in the New Year. He says he is calling on Boxing Federation President Moses Sulph to start visiting the gyms and do the necessary groundwork to get some boxing events going for the youths. “Let’s not be distracted with who says this, and who says that, and the politics and all that. The youths need to be busy, and we need to have more regular boxing events,” said Boxer.
Force, face, and fools
In their dealings with African and Maya people over the last five plus centuries, the European peoples have generally been brutal, oppressive, and exploitative. Quite intelligently, the Europeans eventually decided to put a face on the force they were using against non-European peoples. In the beginning, the force was naked. The force was originally designed to terrorize the “natives” and assure their abject capitulation. After the force achieved its objective, the conqueror/imperialist could resort to the use of religion and various public relations devices to deceive and divide the now subject native peoples. The sweet modern face of white supremacy has made collaborationist fools of some of us non-Europeans who thought it useless to resist the power of the colonial system. Collaboration with the Europeans was also profitable, more profitable than resistance, so maybe collaborationists were not such fools after all.
The decision in a special general meeting on Sunday by Corozal and Orange Walk cane farmers to turn down an agreement with BSI/ASR, the transnational company which owns the Tower Hill sugar factory, was an act of resistance. As such, political observers will view Sunday’s vote as favoring the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP). In no way can the vote be seen as favoring the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP), because the government had been calling for the agreement to be signed and for the grinding of sugar cane to begin.
From the Publisher
I’m writing this early Sunday morning, just a couple hours before the cane farmers of the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts meet in general assembly to decide whether to sign an agreement with BSI/ASR which is on the table, or to embark on some other course of action.
As things are, the commencement of the new sugar crop, with respect to the grinding of the sugar cane which is in the fields, has already been delayed for a month because of extended negotiations between the cane farmers, who own the sugar cane fields, and BSI/ASR, the company which owns the factory which grinds the cane, to decide some fundamental issues of power, control, and money.
Over the weeks and months of the negotiations, our editorial position at this newspaper has been consistently in support of the cañeros. The reason for that support is because that is who we are at this newspaper: we support the principle of power to the people. It is the cane farmers who are the Belizean people.
Let better pay for cane-cutters also roll…
The escalating tension here in the North is indeed a very crippling experience that continues to dampen and even dismantle the spirits of many families, particularly those whose livelihoods are anchored in the squealing axis of the sugar industry itself.
As a canefarmer, I indeed stand in full support and solidarity with my compañeros cañeros in a most unconditional and steadfast manner as we hope that whatever differences between our representative, the BSCFA, and BSI/ASR are well-ironed out in a meticulous way that will seek to always protect and promote our interests in this very important industry.
Belize moves to establish first Science Technology and Innovation Institute in 2015
Belize will move in 2015 to break ground for a new Science Technology and Innovation Institute, which Dr. Colin Young, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, said will be designed to reflect the findings of extensive studies being carried out by Korean partners working along with the Ministry.
In his New Year’s message this year, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow said that 2015 will be the year of technology in Belize, with the Government also gifting an Asus tablet (made in Taiwan) to each tertiary level student in Belize. He said that 9,000 such tablets will be purchased for distribution. At the high school level, Government plans to finance improvements of computer labs.
Roy Bayliss’ alleged killer remanded
A Corozal resident has been placed behind bars in connection with the 2014 murder of Roy Bayliss, 18, who also lived in Corozal, but was shot and killed after a night out in Orange Walk Town on August 2.
Today, six months later, Raymond Jacobs, whom police have named as the trigger man, appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned and subsequently remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 2015 for Bayliss’ murder. Although he did not specify what information led them to the accused, Deputy OC for Orange Walk Police, ASP Selvin Tillett, told us that “investigations” led to Jacob’s arrest, and that “there might be more arrests in regards to this same incident later on.”
After the murder had occurred, police had reported that Bayliss was involved an altercation with a man in front of the Hi-5 Night Club in Orange Walk Town, and was later shot in the right cheek and behind the left ear after leaving the nightspot.
Chief Elections Officer refutes PUP’s allegations of by-election corruption
During a press conference yesterday, Tuesday, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP)’s party chairman, secretary general and legal advisor suggested that the United Democratic Party (UDP) was trying to sway the outcome of the upcoming Cayo North by-election through the transfer of Jerrylyn Bruce, the senior registering officer from the Cayo North Elections and Boundaries Branch, who, the PUP alleged, refused to facilitate UDP chairman, Alberto August, with the election binders containing the personal information of the voters from Cayo North.
The Opposition claimed that the transfer, which had happened just days before the election, was done as a consequence of that supposed occurrence; however, August has categorically denied having any contact whatsoever with Bruce, and asserted that he has no interest in the binders because he uses what is publicly available: the voters list.
Today, Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, spoke about the seemingly abrupt re-assignment of Ms. Bruce with the media, explaining that the situation was misinterpreted by the PUP, and that Bruce was actually re-assigned to a different registration office in Cayo North, and not transferred, as was previously thought.
Shameless “friend” stole purse from woman while socializing with her
A woman has been detained by police, pending charges of theft, after she was captured on camera stealing the purse of Sabrina Martinez, 33, a domestic of San Narciso, Corozal District, while they were socializing at a bar in Corozal Town.
The incident occurred at about 7:00 Tuesday evening, December 30, at a bar on 5th Avenue in Corozal Town.
Martinez told police that she, the friend and her nephew were socializing at Perfect Restaurant when she left her purse with the friend for safekeeping while she became engaged in a conversation with another acquaintance of hers.
Martinez reported that she ordered drinks from the bar and when she went for her purse from the friend to pay for the drinks, the friend and her purse were nowhere to be found.
Man charged with sexual assault of his ex-girlfriend released on bail
A Belize City man who pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of use of threatening words against his ex-girlfriend was released on a bail of $2,000 plus one surety of the same amount after Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer arraigned him on the charges this morning.
Byron Anderson told the court, “The young lady used to be my lady and we broke up. She is jeopardizing everything for me.”
Anderson’s ex-girlfriend reported to police that on the night of January 1, 2015, she was at the Golden Casino on Princess Margaret Drive, where she met Anderson.
The woman told police that Anderson sat down beside her. After they spoke to each other briefly, Anderson got angry and grabbed her private parts without her consent, she reported.
Police share some fines associated with some common offense
The Police Department has shared a list of cases for which persons were recently fined for various offences. Please see below:
POSSESSION OF AN ARTICLE WITH POINT
Fined $100.00 with $5.00 cost of court to be paid by 31/12/14, in default 1 month imprisonment.
Defendant found guilty and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
CAUSE MOTOR VEHICLE TO PROCEED IN A ONE-WAY STREET
Fined $100.00 with $5.00 cost of court to be paid by 31/1/15, in default (i/d) 1 month imprisonment.
Finally, Janae getting paid!
Financial Secretary Joseph Waight told Amandala today that the Government of Belize via the Ministry of Finance is making an initial payment towards the $2 million which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had awarded back in April to Janae Matute and her mother, Georgia Matute, in an unprecedented medical malpractice suit against the Government of Belize and a former public sector doctor, Raju Meenavalli.
Waight told us that the attorney for the Matutes, Fred Lumor, SC, has accepted the Government’s offer to pay about 5% of the total award as well as legal fees, and Waight said that he is confident that the payment will be made, if not by this Friday, January 2, no later than Monday, January 5.
“Thereafter, we hope to agree on a payment schedule which would reflect the lifetime needs of the young lady,” Waight said.
PUP leader takes blame for by-election defeat
Monday’s by-election result – 2,669 votes for the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) Omar Figueroa to 1,340 for the People’s United Party’s (PUP) Richard Harrison – was a surprise even to seasoned election observers, especially considering the fairly low turnout of 61%.
But a win is a win, and a loss is a loss, and the PUP’s might in the House of Representatives is dented and its momentum going into the municipal elections in March seems to be halted.
The PUP’s leader, Francis Fonseca, says the party makes no excuses for its showing and congratulated his opponents at a press briefing today for their decisive win. It is now time, he said, for the party to evaluate itself and fix any problems it has as the election cycle heats up.
City Council to absorb 158 BML workers
The Belize City Council has agreed with sanitation contractors Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) on a means of smoothly transitioning the company’s workers on the expiration of the Council’s contract with BML next Friday, January 16.
Some 158 workers will move over to the Council’s employ, including some managers and supervisors, but according to the Council, only 110 will actually be employed in the swollen sanitation departments; the others will be transferred into other departments of the Council, with particular attention to those of specific skill sets.
The Council’s current Sanitation Department will be split in two with specific responsibilities, to be chaired by former councilor Wayne Usher and current sanitation manager Percival Murillo.
Omar Figueroa is the new Cayo North area representative
Omar Figueroa is the newly elected area representative for Cayo North.
Figueroa defeated the People’s United Party candidate Richard Harrison in a bye-election held on Monday, January 5.
According to the official statistics published by the Election and Boundaries Department, a total of four thousand and twelve votes were cast yesterday.
Of that amount, Omar Figueroa received two thousand, six hundred and sixty four.
His opponent Richard Harrison got one thousand, three hundred and forty eight votes.
Fifty one of the ballots were rejected.
San Pedro loves to party
It’s no secret San Pedro Loves to Party and celebrating NYE 2015 was super fun. It started out at a private roof top party which was a great place to watch the spectacular 45 minute fireworks show. We also enjoyed watching an annual tradition, Lola’s Pub NYE street party from above. We could see everyone dancing in the street. This year they had a DJ set up across the street at Belize Bank.
After the roof party had cleared out and we cleaned up, we headed downstairs to catch the end of Lola’s then a bunch of our group went on to Fido’s to continue the fun. Kendall and I decided food was in order first and walked to the park – nothing says happy new year like street meat :) The lines ups were long at our favorite taco stands so we opted for getting a burger and burrito from one of the girls that had no line. Food was good but I still like my regular girl best and I am pretty sure Kendall would say the same for the one he, Matt and Sara frequent.
Gorgeous Day For A Walk Up North: Rojo Beach Bar to the Canary Cove Compound
Just after lunch, I headed north from Rojo Beach Bar – which is located at about 5.5 miles North Ambergris Caye to Canary Cove – just over 6 miles north. Take a LOOK at their website. Holy crap! A like a place that can be described as “a compound”.
And passing Mata Chica and their rainbow colored cabanas…
They were working feverishly to clean up the sargasso seaweed that is washing up in bulk – and doing a pretty good job of it.
“She’s Leaving Home” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Since moving here to Ambergris Caye, Belize in May 2012 ,and especially since I started this blog, I have been asked innumerable times ” So what do you miss from home” (‘home’ being the UK)?
I’ve nearly always responded with ” Not a lot actually”. I miss my family and friends and I sometimes think about how nice (what a weak and bland word that is) it would be to be able to go to the shops and buy whatever you need. However as we approach our third year here I now know that what you think you need is actually better described as what you want. And, what you want is not always what you need!
After a while here you get used to ‘this’ or ‘that’ not being available. It’s not terribly uncommon to find that carrots or potatoes are available, let alone more ‘exotic’ vegetables or fruits, anywhere on the island. It’s no big deal though, you just see what is available and adapt (well Rose does as far as preparing and cooking it and I do my ‘bit’ when I eat it!).
This acceptance though doesn’t stop you from occasionally hankering after something that you just know that you can’t get in Belize, let alone the island.
From Beach to Mountains, Expats Enjoy a Great Lifestyle and Low Costs in English-Speaking, Caribbean Belize
“Belize has a lot to offer those seeking a new life abroad. There’s a feeling of opportunity and possibility, of a place being shaped right now…a country where retirees can find a comfortable place or someone with an idea can start a business,” reports InternationalLiving.com editor Jason Holland. “It’s not as established as some of the other tourist destinations in the region, so there’s still lots of room for new businesses that fill a gap in the market.” With a population of 330,000, Belize offers plenty of empty, wide-open spaces. Located below Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, this is picture-postcard Caribbean. It’s a country of Maya temples, seaside condos, jungle lodges, and colonial mansions.
31 Reasons Living In Belize Spoils You For Life
1. Because of the weather
With its subtropical climate, the average temperature is 85 degrees.
2. Because of Hol Chan Marine Reserve
It’s one of the best diving & snorkeling spots in the world.
3. Because of The Great Blue Hole
It’s one of the most amazing places on Earth according to The Discovery Channel.
Save the region from climate change
IF ever there was a time and an issue for the countries of the Caribbean to speak with one voice and at a high level, both the time and the issue have arrived.
The issue is the global average temperature arising from climate change which is now scientifically indisputable. A decade of research shows that a rise in temperature of two degrees Celsius (2°C) is a dangerous threshold, particularly for small islands and countries with low-lying coastlines. Yet, the world is heading in that direction with all the potential for the ruin of small islands and the destruction of human habitats on low-lying coastal areas in countries such as Belize and Guyana.
Throughout 2015, the countries of the Caribbean need to scale up their participation, responses and advocacy in every international forum on this issue. The time has come for the appointment of a high-level figure to head-up a permanent team of Caribbean experts, including members of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, to represent the region with a single, strong voice. That team and its leader—accountable to heads of government—should be responsible for several important aspects of this grave problem that threatens the existence of some Caribbean countries and the viability of all of them.
Belize Medical Missions Trip
, 3min. from McKinney Church
Story of the Cacao Farming in South Belize (part 2)
, 25min. This full-length documentary takes us to an unspoiled corner of southern Belize, where cacao farmer and father Eladio Pop ...
TELETOURS BELIZE PARTE 13
, 7min. by SALVADOR TEVE
Sharks in Belize
, 14min. Our videos will be both cute wild baby animals and wild animals in general made from a distance to avoid disturbing them. We will include what we think might be of interest related to the natural world including birds and plants. All photos and movies made by us.
Big Rock Falls Belize Pt. 2
Reef Protector Half Moon Caye Natural Monument-Belize Audubon Society
, 3min. Belize Audubon Society implemented a REEF PROTECTOR PROGRAM during the period March to August 2014. Thirteen high school students (6 boys and 7 girls) from the fishing communities of Chunox, Copper Bank, and Sarteneja participated in the program. The youths actively participated in marine themed educational activities including a video journalism workshop, field trips to marine protected areas and exposure trips to meet professionals working in the marine conservation field.
This project was implemented by the Belize Audubon Society in partnership with the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. Funding was provided by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Coral Reef Conservation Program
CZMAI- THE AUTHORITY ON BELIZE'S COASTAL MANAGEMENT
Belize Edu Deo Trip Chromatic
Big Rock Falls Belize
Belize 2014 GoPro
Belize Diving 2014 15
SHARK, SNOOK, TUNA AND BONEFISH, BELIZE Fishing Adventurer with Cyril Chauquet
, 20min. Watch more videos and shows on fishingadventurer.com Cyril has come to the Ex-British colony of Belize, central America, to experience the rich and diverse fishing experience.
SHARK ON A TINY INFLATABLE BOAT, BELIZE Fishing Adventurer with Cyril Chauquet
Belize shark looks close at Nina's camera to see if it is good to eat.