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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
The new top dog in town: Ray’s Big Dog
Ray’s Big Dog opened its doors on Saturday, January 10th and my taste buds could not be happier. These guys are cooking up some serious dogs! As if good food isn’t enough, Ray’s also has a fabulous location- I mean eating a dog while lounging under a palapa over the Caribbean Sea? Only in San Pedro! They are located on the Tackle Box Dock, beach front of Black Coral Street. The relaxed ambiance adds to the dining experience. They started us off with a Belizean favorite: crispy fried plantain chips served with a house aioli. We were off to a good start! Next up was peel n’ eat shrimp: jumbo shrimp steamed in herbs, garlic and Ray’s secret spices. They were served with two side-sauces: Ray’s sunset sauce (a sweet cocktail sauce) and chef’s Diana’s signature Bubba sauce. We definitely had some fun peeling those shrimps.
Young Honduran mother of three violently murdered on Ambergris Caye
Police have no solid lead at this time but are following some information including reviewing surveillance camera footages. First police are trying to establish who the person was that Benitez was last seen with. Police say that while there are reasons to believe Benitez was sexually assaulted because of the restraining marks, doctors were unable to ascertain that theory. Police did confirm that she was found partially nude with all her valuable items on her, which suggests that the motive for her murder was not robbery. Benitez worked as an exotic dancer and according to her friend Alvarenga, she ran away from her home country following a violent past. Alvarenga explained that the father of two of her three kids was murdered in Honduras at the hands of gang members affiliated to the MS-13. When asked if police are looking at that angle, OC Castellanos said that while they will leave no stones unturned, he doesn’t want to speculate. “Her friend, who led the search for her, told me that her kids’ dad had been murdered in Honduras, however I don’t want to speculate at this time if there is any connection. We want to find out what happened and so we are asking for the public’s assistance to help us solve this crime. We are encouraging anyone that may have seen or know something to come and speak to one of our detectives.”
Sea Cucumber Season to Open April 1st to May 31st , 2015
In accordance with the Fisheries (Sea Cucumber) Regulations under Statutory Instrument number 67 of 2009 (Regulation 11), the Fisheries Administrator hereby informs fishermen and the general public that the Sea Cucumber season will open from April 01st to May 31st, 2015. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) quota / limit has been set at 300,000 pounds. If the quota is realized before May 31, 2015 the fishing season will be officially declared closed.
CONCACAF Qualifying Draw Determines Pairings for First Two Rounds of Preliminary Competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) held in Miami last night the draw for the initial phases of the CONCACAF Preliminary Competition for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
The event was held at the W Hotel South Beach, with the assistance of World Cup veterans from the region including Trinidad and Tobago’s Shaka Hislop, Mexico’s Pavel Pardo, Carlos Pavon from Honduras, and Tony Sanneh of the United States, as well as Brazilian all-time great Ronaldo.
The draw involved 27 of the 35 CONCACAF Member Associations seeking to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and determined the match-ups for the first two rounds of the five-round regional qualifying tournament in CONCACAF, which begins in March and runs through 2017.
Round one, which will be played in two legs on dates from March 23-31 of this year, features seven home-and-away series, among the CONCACAF Member Associations ranked 22-35 in the region in the FIFA rankings from August 2014 – the first ranking after the completion of the 2014 World Cup and thus the first of the 2018 World Cup cycle.
San Pedro Social Service Office Renovated by On Eagles Wings Ministries
On January 13, 2015, the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation office in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize had a visit from the organization On Eagles Wings Ministries and Belize board member for OEWM Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez, who surprised the staff by giving the office a needed makeover.
“Before the renovations the office was just four plain walls,” commented Emily. “But now they have a private office for the head social worker Mr. Adan Kay, a comfortable section for the head counselor Mrs. Pamela Killen and a fun children’s corner.
Saga Humane Society Celebrates 15 Years of Community Service
Saga Humane Society recently celebrated its 15th year as a not-for-profit humane organization on Ambergris Caye. Saga member, Eileen Jamison, submitted this piece to Ambergris Today as a way to look back at the work of Saga throughout the years and a glimpse towards future goals.
“In order to know where you are going, it is often said you need to know where you have been...
Although the organization was named after one of the founder's dogs, it is an appropriate name as Saga is a seemingly endless story of a community's tireless dedication to its animals.
Misc Belizean Sources
Caneros protest outside House of Representatives in Belmopan
Eric Vellos passes away
The Corozal Daily joins in extending its deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of the late Eric Vellos. May his soul rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!
Remembering Andy Vivian Palacio
(December 2, 1960 – January 19, 2008)
Seven Years Ago.. Belize lost a Musical Icon, V. Andy Palacio.
Rest in Peace ... Your work and legacy lives on......
Belize Sailing Association Elects New Board
The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is the popular NGO that developed the country's Optimist dinghy sailing programme and promotes all recreational sailing. BzSA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday January 10, 2015, at St. Catherine Academy in Belize City. In attendance to fill by election all13 board positions for 2015 were 44 of the 150 association members.
After thanking the outgoing board members for the accomplishments they achieved in 2014 and for their devotion of time, effort, and ingenuity, Mr Joel Wade, 1st Vice Chairman of the National Sports Council, dissolved the 2014 board and officiated the election process to install the 2015 board. The results are as follows:
Boys sifting garbage for food
I live in a failed community in Ladyville where people from within and outside dump residential and commercial garbage. Its unsightly, unhealthy and a good analogy for general deterioration we see around Belize. If that's not bad enough, I was bowled over at the sight of 1/2 a dozen young boys sifting thru the garbage heap for bottles and other refuse they can monetize. Children. Digging thru garbage. Near my home. And yours. Best to assume they need food. I could easily have fed 6 boys. But we eat 3 meals a day. 7 days a week. And they r not the only people who cant afford basic meals. Ill do something.
Working on roads in the airstrip area
Our workers and trucks hard at work fixing the streets in the Airstrip Area.
Sir Denis Byron visits Xunantunich
Sir Denis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, visited the Maya archaeological site of Xunantunich in Belize.
Sugar Standoff Finally Over
The sugar standoff is officially over - this morning at 11:00 am at BSI Headquarters in Orange Walk - the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association became the third and last association to sign a commercial contract with BSI. So, deliveries of cane to the mill can start possibly as early as next Monday January 26th. At the signing this morning in the BSI boardroom - the mood was cordial, considering how tense and acrimonious it had become over the past two months. There was also relief because the largest growers group which is the still the BSCFA signed on, bringing with it three thousand plus farmers - more than half of the 5,500 farmers in the north. After the signatures were affixed to the documents, the press from the north got an opportunity to speak with the cane farmers from BSCFA and factory owners. Mac McLachlan, ASR's Vice President of International Relations, conceded to the media that both sides have conceded quite a lot in the past few weeks to get to today's signing:
Cane Farmers Meeting to Accept Contract Historically Short
Today's signing was made possible by a breakthrough meeting yesterday at the Esecuela Secundaria Technica Mexico in San Roman Village, Corozal District. After going back and forth on the commercial agreement - the cane farmers finally, resolutely, and swiftly agreed to sign the agreement - the same one they had emphatically rejected two weeks earlier. What changed? Well, almost everything - and the farmers made it clear they had no time to waste. 7News was there:..
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Once again, the between 600-800 members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmer Association gathered at la Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico for the 3rd Special General Meeting in a row.
Knowing that the press would be there, some farmers brought Posters in Spanish, which translated, say "Long Live The BSCFA, Out with the Radicals".
Government Amends Sugar Act - Opposition Rails
And so with everything in place up north - things also had to be put in place in Belmopan. Government went to the House of Representatives today to pass, in one sitting, the bill for an act to amend the Sugar Industry Act. It's a necessary step that should have been made almost 5 years ago when government gave an undertaking to change the Act to make it reflect the constitutional reality - that farmers are free to associate or form any group they wish: they don't have to be members of the Belize Sugar Cane Producers Association. But, before the bill could be tabled, the leader of the opposition lashed out against the government for bringing it to the House too late:...
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"How can we come here today, how can this government come here today to this honorable house, placed before us a bill of such importance, affecting a vital national industry, the sugar industry - placed that bill on our table at 10am, when the meeting is scheduled to start?"
A Radical Remedy?
But first, we go back to yesterday's cane farmers meeting. In today's House Meeting, we heard the Prime Minister talk about sidelining the radicals from within the association like Fred Ortega and Javier Keme. Well, yesterday, we heard much the same at the cane famers special meeting.
It happened at about 17 minutes into yesterday's meeting when one of the cane farmers, who was protesting at the meeting, proceeded to name Ortega; Keme; their CEO, Oscar Alonzo; Diody Novelo, a member of the BSCFA's negotiating team; and Lucilo Teck as persons not working for the best interest of the farmers.
It did not get any kind of support from the assembly, but here's that moment when the farmer harshly criticized these members, despite Chairman Cansino's attempt to shut him down:
Keme's Cane Fields Were Burnt
So, while democracy failed to get sanctions against these members, did someone decide to take the law into their own hands and burn Javier Keme's cane fields?
That's what he and others want to know after Keme learned on Friday the vast acreages had been burnt. For those not familiar with cane politics, burning someone's field is the ultimate act of sabotage, since once the cane is burnt it has to be harvested immediately - and if it is not ready for harvest then the field goes to waste, a complete write-off. That's just what happened to Keme and he told us about it today:..
Javier Keme, Fields Were burnt
"The whole parcel is 16 acres, but I managed to harvest half of it last crop, at the end of the crop. About 7-8 acres remained there and that was what was set on fire. More or less about 180-200 tonnes. That's my calculation."
Who Burnt Alonzo's Home?
While Keme continues to get to to investigate that fire, Police continue to investigate the one which destroyed the apartment belonging to BSCFA CEO, Oscar Alonzo.
As we told you it happened early on January 2, in the San Lorenzo Housing area of Orange Walk Town. Alonzo was out of the country on his holiday, but it happened only 2 days before the second general meeting of the association, which as viewers may know, ended with the farmers refusing the cane compromise, which was facilitated by Government.
Alonzo was one member of the association's negotiating team, who did not believe that the cane compromise was in the best interest of the farmers, and he voiced his at the table. Now, police believe that a crime was committed, but they are still investigating if the fire which destroyed Alonzo's house was caused by arson, or resulted from a burglary where thieves broken and stole his possessions.
BDF Reservist Murdered In City
There were 2 murders over the weekend which left a 23 year-old man and 22 year-old woman dead.
The first one happened at about 7:20 p.m. on Saturday, on Complex Avenue in Belize City. 23 year-old Denver Villafranco, a volunteer for the Belize Defence Force, was walking in the direction of Mahogany Street when he was attacked by 3 men. One of the men stabbed him in the right side of the abdomen. He was rushed to the hospital, but he died within 10 minutes.
By all accounts we've heard, Villafranco kept out of trouble, and was a model volunteer at the BDF from since the age of 16. So, today, we asked the police what their investigation reveals so far as to why he was violently killed in this manner:
22 Year Old Mother of 3 Brutally Murdered in San Pedro
San Pedro Police also made a disturbing discovery early on Saturday morning, January 17. They found the partially nude body of a 22 year-old mother of three. She is Honduran waitress Sylvia Carmen Benitez. She had been missing for 5 days.
The San Pedro Sun Newspaper reports that her body was found about 15 feet off the Mata Grande Road, some 3 and a half miles north of the town. She was in an advanced state of decomposition, and multiple blunt force injuries were discovered on the right side of her face, neck and back, and there were signs that someone tried to hold her against her will.
The last time she was seen alive was on Monday, January 12, where persons say that appeared to be intoxicated. Today, we asked the Eastern Division's head of CIB about what their investigation has revealed about the days after that last sighting:
Mayor Darrell Dispossesses Dion
The Belize City Council only has a few weeks to go before its term is over, and while the Council should be holding the status quo, instead it is managing the largest transition in memory as it takes on 150 workers from Belize Maintenance Limited and the responsibility to keep the city clean. And it seems the mayor doesn't want councilor Dion Leslie to be part of it. Leslie had responsibility for the Council's Sanitation Department - but on Friday, we are told the city administrator sent out a text saying that the Mayor had transferred that responsibility to BQ Pitts Jr. And what did Leslie get in exchange? Nothing at all - not even a phone call to give him the news. Today we asked the Prime Minister about it:...
"We have learnt reliably, that a text was sent out by the city administrator on Friday, saying that BQ Pitts would be in charge of the sanitation portfolio, which was formerly held by Dion Leslie and that other changes would be made. The effect of it was that Dion Leslie, who you had handpicked to send to Houston to facilitate the transition, is now completely a councilor without a portfolio."
PUP Selects New Candidate For OW East
On Sunday, The PUP held a convention in the Orange Walk East constituency to choose a candidate to replace Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez - who is stepping down at the end of his term due to medical reasons.
The men who would replace him are political newcomer Josue Carballo, and former two term area rep., David Burgos who was elected in Orange Walk East from 1998 to 2008.
7News stopped in yesterday at the convention and spoke to both aspirants. Here's what they had to say:
Josue Carballo - PUP, Aspirant, Orange Walk East
"Since we started you can sense that movement, that energy, that enthusiasm, that our camp has brought to this convention. You see the people from all ages coming and definitely support this change that my camp that Josue Carballo brings to Orange Walk East and so we see that energy, that momentum just growing as the hours go by. We expect a big turnout, we expect this shows that the PUP is alive and it's working and it's keeping close to its people here in Orange Walk East. That's what we expect, a big turnout and a victory at the end of the day."
Barrow: Briceno Will Be New PUP Leader
IT's seen as a big win for Orange Walk Central incumbent John Briceno - who backed Carballo against Burgos. IT was critical for Briceno - who is has rivalries from other PUP factions in the north - to hold ground in the division right next to his. It's a part of the power balance within the PUP - which is often in a fluid state - mainly because the party has not won a major election since 2003. Today the Prime Minister tried to play up the perceived rivalry between former leader Briceno and current leader Fonseca - when he said that since there won't be another house meeting before the municipal elections in March - today was Fonseca's last stand as leader. That's because Barrow is predicting victory for the UDP in the Municipals which he thinks could be a death blow for Fonseca's leadership:
Fair Trade Fail?
And going back to sugar now…the crop crisis has been set aside, but the other issue facing the Belize Sugar cane Farmers Association is a possible decertification from Fair Trade.
Last week, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association finished giving out 4 million dollars of Fair Trade Premiums, bringing the grand total of monies improperly disbursed by to 6.5 million dollars in one month.
Yesterday, CEO Oscar Alonzo was asked for his opinion on the state of those affairs, and he told us that he hopes that Fair Trade doesn't look at the disbursements as isolated incident. Alonzo said that the auditors need to look at the overall improvements and attempts at compliance, as well as the circumstances surrounding why they asked for the premiums to be given out the way they were:
Another Allegation of Medical Malpractice
Last week Tuesday on this newscast, you heard the first-time mother, 19 year-old Lucila Martinez, accuse medical staff at the KHMH of negligence when they reportedly left cotton swabs inside her body after she gave birth. Well tonight, there are reports of another possible medical malpractice case coming out of Western Belize.
24 year-old Arson Moh, a resident of Billy White Village, reported to San Ignacio Police that on last week Monday, he took his common-law wife Norma Marroquin to the San Ignacio Community Hospital because a piece of placenta was left in her when she gave birth the week before at the Spanish Lookout Clinic.
GSU Sent Requena and Mas To Jail for Gun
Tonight, 21 year-old Akeem Requena, and 19 year-old David Mas are at the Belize Central Prison after a gun was reportedly seized from them last night by members of the Gang Suppression Unit.
According to the Gang Suppression Unit, a team of officers were on patrol on Gibnut Street when they saw Requena and Mas walking and acting suspicious when they saw that police were in the area. The officers decided to search both men, and that's when the officers found parts of a rusty shotgun was found on both of them.
YOUNGSTERS STEAL IN SAN PEDRO
Two young men who ought to be in school, are under threat of a theft conviction after they were charged with stealing from a business place in San Pedro.
a 36 year-old store clerk reported that on Saturday, January 17, she was at her workplace. That's a boutique on Barrier Reef Drive, and that's also where a 2 boys, a 12 year-old and a 14 year-old, decided to shop lift from. They pocketed a chan and a pair of gold earrings to a total value of 48 dollars, but they were caught in the act and charged with theft.
Matura Protest: Small But Spirited, And They Had Stamina
As we told you at the top of the newscast, today in Belmopan - Government went to the House of Representatives to pass the amendments to the Sugar Act. These will make legal provisions for new farmers associations - thus breaking the Belize sugar Cane Farmers 55 year monopoly on membership. And also today, that same cane farmers associations, somewhat splintered, but still three thousand strong, signed a commercial agreement with BSI. Now, the efforts of those who've opposed the signing have been very well documents - and today they made one last stand. Today, Audrey Matura Shepherd, Alfred Ortega, Lucilo Teck, and a few handfuls of cane farmers were joined by members of the NTUCB executive, and members of the public to march n Belmopan. The crowd was small, only 65 at its peak, which isn't very much when one considers that there are 5500 cane farmers. But what they lacked in numbers they made up for in spirit. The group put on hearty show with singing, marching and symbolic cane stalks. We asked Ortega why so few came out:..
Police Big Up Kids Who Did "Rite"
The Mahogany Police Station, which comes under Police Precinct 2, has chosen Kimala Roches, a second former from Sadie Vernon High School as their choice for the Do the Right Thing Program.
Even though she's only 16 years old Roches is a veteran cadet of the police department's youth cadet corps, and today, we got a chance to meet her when the Precinct 2 Community Policing commander handed over their tokens of appreciation for her continued aspiration to excellence.
She told us that these officers, who are also her Cadet leaders, surprised her with the honor:
She will get an opportunity to attend a ceremony later in the year where her accomplishments will be judged in comparison to other promising youths her age.
Violence and Broken Lives
"Broken Images": That's the title of the Women's Issues Network's report on violence against youth. Researchers focused on 160 people from ages 14 to 64 from across the country to analyze this issue from their perspective. The report was officially launched today at the ITVET conference room and Executive Director of WIN Belize discussed the reality of violence in Belize and how it affects the development of youth.
There are 16 recommendations, 8 of which will be implemented in the first 6 months and the remaining 8 will be achieved over a span of 3 years. Counselling sessions are also on the recommendation list.
PM Uses Premium, Even if it's not from Petrocaribe
World oil prices continue to tumble - and OPEC nations say it's not going up again anytime soon. As consumers we are all loving it at the pump - but government is feeling it in a reduced revenue flow form Petrocaribe. That's because the Petrocaribe proceeds are a percentage of the purchase price of fuel - and the lower the price, the lower the figure that goes back to government. Today we discussed it with the PM - and got to asking him about what kind of fuel his SUV uses:..
House of Representative Passes Amendments to the Sugar Act
The sugar crisis is a volatile one and has occupied the public conscious for months. On Sunday, the crisis came closer to resolution when the B.S.C.F.A. agreed to sign on [...]
DPM Says Government’s Hand Was Forced by B.S.C.F.A.
As justification, Prime Minister Barrow indicated that it was essential that the bill be pushed through all stages because of the new associations in play, and the complexities involved in [...]
Francis Fonseca Says Treachery and Betrayal Forced Caneros to their Knees
That justification didn’t impress P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca, who then declared open season on the government, and on those he called their moles and cronies within the B.S.C.F.A. Fonseca says [...]
“Why You Gotta Be So Rude…to Audrey Matura-Shepherd?”
Fonseca also reserved special attention for Prime Minister Dean Barrow, asking him why he has to be so rude…to attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, that is. The P.M. recently referred to her [...]
Caneros Protest House Meeting
Even as the debate raged inside the House, outside cane farmers and supporters were gathered in protest. There weren’t many of them – at peak probably fifty – but there [...]
John Briceño Speaks on What P.U.P. Has Done for Farmers…
Inside the House today, Orange Walk Central Area Representative today handed out his share of licks to his colleagues on the government’s side of the House. He started by making [...]
…And Chastises G.O.B. for Playing Politics
Briceño, after outlining what the P.U.P. has done for the industry, chastised the government for what he calls playing politics with an industry which affects the lives of fifty thousand [...]
PM Blames P.U.P. for Destruction of the B.S.C.F.A. and the Industry
As we’ve heard, government took its licks today over an issue which is serious business. The government has come under serious and sustained fire during the weeks of impasse. Government [...]
B.S.C.F.A. Signs on to ASR/B.S.I.
Like it or not, protest or not, duress or not…the general assembly of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association passed on Sunday a resolution to sign onto the agreement with [...]
Honduran Woman Murdered in San Pedro
According to the murder stats for 2014, San Pedro has quickly become a most dangerous town. The island accounted for the second highest amount of murders last year. On Saturday [...]
B.D.F. Volunteer Stabbed to Death in the City
In Belize City, the grieving family of Denver Villafranco says various persons watched as the B.D.F. volunteer was cold-bloodedly murdered by a group of three men believed to be persons [...]
Fatal Traffic Accident in Corozal
There was a fatal traffic accident in Ranchito Village, just outside of Corozal town on Saturday night. Twenty-four year old Eric Vellos was traveling home when he lost control of [...]
Mark Vega Acquitted of 2002 Murder
On Friday night in the Orange Walk Supreme Court, the murder re-trial of well known street figure, Mark Vega ended in his acquittal. A jury of twelve found thirty-one year [...]
Said Musa Calls House Meeting Crap!
Usually the Prime Minister closes the session in the House, but today Area Representative of Fort George, Said Musa, felt inspired. He pulled no punches, claiming that the government’s entire [...]
PM Ridicules Fonseca in the House
Now there was a senior amount of mud-slinging at government today – as we’ve pointed out, it was open season. But if there’s one man who can give as good [...]
Newest Member in the House Takes the Oath
We end tonight’s coverage of the events on Independence Hill with the event which actually started the House meeting. Recently elected Cayo North Area representative Omar Figueroa was sworn in [...]
“Broken Images” – a Report on Gender Based Violence on Belizean Youth
Today, Women’s Issues Network WIN-Belize launched “Broken Images,” a report on Gender Based Violence with a focus on Belizean Youth. The research, which was done in collaboration with the Women’s [...]
Belmopan Bandits win the PLB Championship
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. The road to the PLB 2014 title reached money time Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton stadium inside Belmopan [...]