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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
Belize and Guatemala sign amendment to ICJ Referendum
Belize and Guatemala have officially signed the amendments to the Special Agreement in reference to the referendum on whether the Guatemala-Belize territorial dispute should be settled at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The signing took place on Monday, May 26th at a special ceremony in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The amendment will allow Belize and Guatemala to hold the referendum at their convenience without the need to be simultaneous. The document was signed by Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs the Honorable Wilfred Elrington and Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, along with the outgoing Secretary General of the Organization of American State (OAS) José Miguel Insulza. The amendment was made due Guatemala’s desire to hold their referendum jointly with their General Elections scheduled for September of this year. The Government of Belize, who still does not have a set date to have the referendum, believes that this amendment will not jeopardize the integrity of the referendum. “It is worthy of note that the amended protocol does not extinguish the possibility of holding the referendum simultaneously. That original option remains intact. The Protocol does no more than add an element of flexibility with respect to the time for the holding of each national referendum. The Special Agreement remains the same in all other respects,” said Elrington.
Rider’s fee increase to be implemented on all domestic flights
As of Saturday, May 31st customers flying on domestic flights will incur an increased rider fee of 120%. The original $5 rider’s fee was implement in 2011, but in early 2015, the Department of Civil Aviation Authority announced the increase of the fee to $6. The fee will be charged to all tickets issued from all domestic flight agents (Tropic Air and Maya Island Air). According to Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., the increase in fees is to continue improvement efforts on local runway strips to better accommodate the increase in air traffic.
Originally, the rider’s fee was imposed on commuters to cover the construction costs of the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. With construction of the Municipal Airstrip now into its third year, Heredia explained that revenue collected from the rider’s fee will go towards ensuring that all airstrips are in superb standards. “When the municipal airstrip is complete, it will be equipped with everything necessary to provide the best service. It will have runway lights which will benefit emergency night flight. With the municipal airstrip complete there will no longer be the need to open the Philip Goldson International Airport at night so that emergency flights can land, which takes more than an hour to do so. With this they will be able to go directly to Belize City. The airstrip will also have backup generators so that even in power outages it will work perfectly,” said Heredia.
Foreva Fancy hosts “Road to Empowerment” Fashion Show
Foreva Fancy’s “Runway to Empowerment” Fashion Show was a night for High Street Fashion. The Fashion boutique hosted the charity event, along with Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment (SHINE) to raise funds and awareness for On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) Belize. The OEWM mission is to empower females that have been sexually exploited, while SHINE, founded by Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez, is a program for teenage girls that encourages self-esteem, body image, sexual risk behavior among others. The girls from the program, along with 20+ local models took to the runway inside the Angel Nunez Auditorium on Sunday, May 24th, showcasing the latest in fashion trends Spring/Summer 2015. Eager fashionistas were in first row at the Auditorium for a great show that commenced shortly after 8PM.
Government withdraws oil concessions appeal
Oceana in Belize has announced that the Government of Belize (GOB) has withdrawn its appeal against the legal ruling on the null and void offshore oil concessions. According to Oceana, this monumental move demonstrates the GOB’s commitment to protect the country’s marine resources. Furthermore, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation has confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that GOB no longer intends to entertain proposals for offshore oil concessions. In a press release issued on Wednesday, May 27th, Oceana stated their pleasure on the notice that the attorneys of GOB, Barrow and Company, having withdrawn the appeal in the matter of Civil Appeal No. 18 of 2013: Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Oceana in Belize; Citizens Organized for Liberty and Action (COLA) and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. In this appeal, the GOB had challenged an April 2013 decision issued by Justice Oswell Legall in favor of Oceana, COLA and the Coalition in their lawsuit challenging six Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) allowing offshore oil drilling. But the withdrawal of the appeal shows that GOB no longer wishes to resurrect these oil concessions.
San Pedro Lions Welcome Distinguished Guest Lion Malcolm Kirwan
On Thursday, May 21st the San Pedro Lions Club welcomed visiting Lion brother Malcolm Kirwan to San Pedro Town. Kirwan, who is a Past District Governor of Sub-district 60B and a Past Council Chairman of Multiple District 60, currently serves as the Global Leadership Team – Global Membership Team Special Area Advisor Multiple District 60, District 63 to Haiti and Belize. Here by invitation of the Belize Lion Zone 59, Lion Kirwan was the guest speaker at the 37th annual convention of the Belize Lion Zone 59, which was held in Belmopan City over the weekend of May 22nd.
During Lion Kirwan’s one-night stay on La Isla Bonita, the San Pedro Lions put out the red carpet for their distinguished guest, giving him a tour of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II, which was initiated by the San Pedro Lions Club years ago. Kirwan was also treated to a visit to the San Pedro Lions Club Mosquito Coast Park located in the southern part of Ambergris Caye and given a tour of San Pedro Town.
Join Coral Reef Ed-Ventures
Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is Back!
If you would like to learn about the coral reef, become a coral reef expert and have fun with us and your friends, come to the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program! Sponsored by Smith College and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Who: Students ages 12 and above (or with prior experience)
When: June 22nd – June 26th, 4–6 pm
Where: San Pedro High School
Movie Night at the Lion’s Den
When: TBA. All are welcome. Free snacks and drinks! Look for posters in town.
Who: Students ages 7 – 12
When: June 29th – July 8th
Where: RC School
There will be a graduation at the end of the programs for all students and family members to attend. Graduation will be on Wednesday, July 8th at the Lion’s Den. Everything is free and fun!
Permission slips will be available at the library across from the RC School and at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office! We look forward to seeing you there!
Farewell to Don Ausencio ‘Chencho’ Burgos
The Burgos family and relatives as well as the community of San Pedro is deeply saddened with the passing of one of their very own, Mr. Ausencio, 'Chencho' Burgos. He was born in Belize City and became a San Pedrano when he married to Mimi Valdez in the village of San Pedro. Even though Chencho and Mimi did not have children of their own, they adopted and raised several of Mimi's nieces taking them through childhood, through education and all the way into marriage.
Chencho is well known, loved and respected in San Pedro and for many reasons. There are several things that one could take for granted from this humble, respectable and very genuine man. You could be assured that he never missed his Sunday mass. He would never pass you on the street without giving his usual greeting of friendship and affection. You could take it for granted that Chencho would share a good clean joke; and you could also bet that his cheerful countenance and joyful smile would help make your day.
Letters To The Editor:
Frustrations with Lack of Atlantic Bank Automated Teller Machines
As a resident of San Pedro Town for past years, there are inconveniences that from time to time affect the people of this community but one thing I am noting is the lack of Automated Teller Machines by Atlantic Bank Limited. This Bank operates on one ATM for an island of about 20,000 citizens. There are countless times that our people are inconvenienced by it either, not having any money or just plain shortage of ATM’s on the island.
On behalf of the people of this community, we are rallying to the cause for the bank to at least include a second one (more will be better). It is a huge inconvenience as people get off work tired and it is depressing that one has to wait in a long line many a times in the hot sun, just to find out that there is no cash on most times.
Belize Government Takes a Step Forward Against Offshore Oil Drilling
Today, attorneys for the Government of Belize, Barrow & Company, filed a notice of withdrawal of appeal in the matter of Civil Appeal No. 18 of 2013: Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Oceana in Belize; Citizens Organized for Liberty and Action and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. In this appeal, the Government had challenged an April 2013 decision issued by Justice Oswell Legall in favor of Oceana, COLA and the Coalition in their lawsuit challenging six Production Sharing Agreements allowing offshore oil drilling.
Misc Belizean Sources
Kitty Fox passes away
Kitty Fox, longtime resident of Placencia, passed away on 28 May 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.
She was in the company of family and close friends when she died.
Summer of Sports Program
Last week, the Government of Belize announced its Summer of Sports Program. Community-based groups, organizations and individuals, who have organized such programs for a minimum of 3 years can now apply for grants of up to BZ$10,000. What a great opportunity!
Application forms outlining the eligibility criteria, including the terms and guidelines for the Summer of Sports Program, are available at the National Sports Council in Belize City and can also be obtained electronically via the Government of Belize web portal at http://belize.gov.bz/index.php/summer-of-sports-program-2015.
Belize Coast Guard told to move after Guatemalan Coastguard came over Belize side earlier
The Belize Coastguard was on the Belize side of the Sarstoon River when the Guatemalans instructed them to move. The Guatemalans left but a larger Guatemalan vessel returned to instruct the Belize Coastguard to move.
A STAND OFF IN THE SARSTOON!
On Thursday, Belize Coast Guard (BCG) was approached by a Guatemalan Navy Ship to move out of the Sarstoon River. The BCG is building a command center in that area in southern Belize. When the BCG refused, we understand that the Guatemalan Navy Ship left, but a bigger ship returned seeking to expel the Coast Guard from what is Belizean territory.
Belize Tourism Board Welcomes Your Nominations For Its Yearly Awards
Belize Tourism Board calls on Tourism stakeholders to submit nominations for the 13th National Tourism Awards 2015. Rules and Regulations
All nominations must be in ENGLISH.
Nominations must be submitted to the Belize Tourism Board by Tuesday, June 30th, 2015.
All companies or personnel must have been in operation for at least 3 full years.
Only complete entries will be considered.
Entries must be for ONE category only.
Entries may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants and/or finalists can contact the Belize Tourism Board regarding any queries they may have about the judging process. The applicants and/or finalists are not to contact any of the members from the judging panel prior to the Tourism Awards ceremony.
Previous winners and finalists may reapply in any category but must clearly demonstrate initiatives that are new, and expand above and beyond what they have already been previously recognized for by the Belize Tourism Board, Tourism Awards.
By applying for the Belize Tourism Board’s Tourism Awards, the applicant consents that a company representative of appropriate level will attend the Tourism Awards ceremony.
The Island Academy Graduating class of 2015
Congratulations to all TIA 2015 grads! WTG!!!
Constituency Request Granted from PetroCaribe Program for PUP Representative
BOLEDO DRAWING for Friday, May 29, 2015: 34
Poets Corner: Belize Al-Qaeda
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. If you do the crime you should spend the time
But in Belize no one is paying for white collar crime
All they’re getting is a slap on the wrist or paying a fine
You can steal a million and only pay a ten thousand dollar fine
The justice system is deaf, dumb and blind
Whenever it gets in the mill the machine stop grind
This system rewards white collar crime
It crucifies the ghetto youth for petty crime
Fih wah roach or a stick of weed, man di get fine
Knowing they can’t afford it, they will get confined
I call on all ex-soldiers
Report to duty and let’s address this urban war on terror
We are being force-fed a culture of trauma and terror
By gangster who operate like guerilla
These fools are Belize Al-Qaeda
Full blessings from PUDP ministers
Their crooked lodge brothers
Let’s not forget their fraternity of magistrates and lawyers
This is urban terrorism
Facilitated by the judiciary and the prisons
Send Belize's Youth Sailors to Antigua and the Olympics
Help Jasmin Campos 13 of Corozal Town and the other kids. This is a HUGE deal for Belize's youth sailors, please help them get to the Olympics!
We are supporting the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) (BzSA) on a fundraising campaign to get our kids to international Laser
and Optimist championship regattas in Antigua, which is a pre-requisite to the Olympics. This campaign is to cover the costs for
all 6 kids, equipment, airfare, hotels and the team coaches. We need your help to realize this dream for the kids! Belize Sailing Association is humbly seeking financial support to send our youth sailors to international Laser and Optimist sailing championship regattas in Antigua in July, which are a pre-requisite to the Olympics
Standoff On the Sarstoon: Belize Coastguard versus Guatemalan Navy
There is tension tonight following a twenty-six hour stand-off between a Coast Guard Patrol and Guatemalan naval personnel in two vessels near the mouth of the Sarstoon ended at midday [...]
C.E.O. of National Security George Lovell Comments on Confrontation
The Coast Guard patrol was in that area conducting reconnaissance with a view to possibly constructing a Forward Operating Base there. So while this specific situation was defused, what happens [...]
Is There Really Confusion About Maritime Border?
This latest incident where, for clarity, the Guatemalan military suddenly seems unsure of where the maritime borders lie, comes on the heels of comments from Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. In [...]
Former Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay Chimes in on Elrington’s Border Comments
Former Foreign Minister, Eamon Courtenay, has chimed in on the confrontation between the Belize National Coast Guard and the Guatemalan navy, merely three days after the Special Agreement was amended. [...]
Courtenay Says Foreign Minister is Embarrassing Belize
Elrington’s opinion continues to raise the ire of many, including his predecessor. According to Courtenay, the foreign minister, under the Maritime Areas Act, is charged with authorizing the preparation of [...]
Was Move to Amend Compromis Supported by Belizeans?
The Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala was amended on Monday in Guatemala City sans the participation of the Opposition. While the changes allow for Guatemala to proceed with individual [...]
P.U.P. Dangriga Area Rep Requests Father’s Day Cheer from Controversial Petrocaribe Funds
The opposition, People’s United Party, is taking the government to court for the controversial Petrocaribe Loans Act seeking a declaration that it is an illegal piece of legislation. Government has [...]
Still No Charges in Roaring Creek Murders
Late this evening News Five confirmed that no charges have yet been laid against the three men detained as persons of interest in the two recent, bloody Roaring Creek slayings [...]
CitCo Shuts Down Body 2000 for Failing to Pay Trade License
Body 2000 Gym members were kicked out in the middle of their work-out this evening. City Council personnel and police rolled up at the popular and biggest exercise spot on [...]
Belize City Trio Receives Harsh Penalties for Drug Trafficking
Four years ago, three Belize City men were intercepted with seventeen kilograms or some thirty-eight pounds of weed near the western border. The bust happened on March sixteenth, 2011 and [...]
Police Operation in Corozal Yields Firearms and Ammunition
The Corozal police are reporting various seizures of firearms and live rounds in Carolina Village, Corozal. The operations began this morning at about nine-thirty. In the first instance a black [...]
FIFA Executive Jack Warner Surrenders to Authorities in T&T
We are not sure how Belize voted at the re -election of Sepp Blatter in Zurich, Switzerland but we can say that Blatter garnered the vote of the small countries [...]
Is Belize Submissive to Guatemala?
The recent incident in the Sarstoon involving the Guatemalan navy and Belize National Coastguard brings to mind a situation in early April 2015, when thirty-seven Belizeans were captured by Guatemalan [...]
…Wil Maheia Certainly Thinks So
Wil Maheia also referred to the incident in the Sarstoon this past Thursday when the Guatemalan navy attempted to expel the Belize Coastguard well within Belizean waters. Maheia, who is [...]
Incursions Persist Despite Signature of Bilateral Agreements
Following the signing of the amendment to the 2008 Compromis on Monday, small political parties have come out strongly against the change because it will allow Guatemala to hold a [...]
Belize Youth Leaders Forum Held in the Old Capital
Guide Light Productions rolled into prominence earlier this year when they launched by breaking up an old car with messages. And ever since then, they’ve hit the ground running. Today [...]
Retired UWI Professor Lectures at Open Campus in Belize
Retired Professor Neville Duncan, a former lecturer at the University of the West Indies, held forth at the UWI open campus in Belize City this morning. Duncan is visiting at [...]
World Tobacco Day Celebrated Locally
The National Drug Abuse Control Council marked World No Tobacco Day with an all day exhibition in Belize City. Every year, May thirty first is observed around the world to [...]
Police Makes Arrest for May 21 Shooting
18-year-old Jorge Gregorio Gutierrez of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City has been charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. This in connection with a shooting incident on May 21 that left 32-year-old Luis Dominguez hospitalized. He was riding his bicycle on JR Street when he was shot multiple […]
Confrontation on the Sarstoon River Ended Incident Free
There was a confrontation near the Sarstoon Island yesterday morning between officials from the Belize Coast Guard and members of the Guatemalan Naval Patrols. Love News spoke with the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Colonel George Lovell, who explained what transpired in the area. RET’D COLONEL GEORGE LOVELL “Yesterday morning […]
PUP Gets Monies From PetroCaribe Program
On May 13, 2015, the People’s United Party had called a press conference at their headquarters in Belize City to announce the replacement of one of their Standard Bearers. During that conference, the question was posed to them as to whether there was any truth to one of their parliamentarians requesting funds from the Mother’s/Father’s […]
Territorial Claim – Not a Priority for Guatemala
In the last few days we have been covering various aspects of the Belize/Guatemala issue. We have gotten official feedback on how the process is moving forward, what can be expected in the short term as we near a date for a referendum. We have also heard about Guatemala’s plan to hold their referendum simultaneously […]
Working to Lessen Guatemalan Encroachments in Belize
Belize has been suffering losses in its rainforest particularly along the southern border as there have been numerous reports of incursions taking place that have resulted in Guatemalans stripping the environment of its natural resources. Those resources range from xate leaves to gold and from rosewood trees to marine life. These are activities that have […]
Roaring Creek Blood Feud
This week saw two of the most grotesque murders we have seen in a long time. On Tuesday, the body of Edilberto Madrid was discovered decapitated, dismembered and disemboweled. 24 hours later, on Wednesday Police discovered the body of Steve Hyde who was decapitated, dismembered and buried in a shallow grave at his cousin’s farm. Today we spoke to the grieving mother of Steve Hyde who recounted the last time she saw her son alive.
“Monday was a holiday. Steven came and said, ‘Mammy, I came to spend half day with you and half day with my sister.’ I told my granddaughter it sounds strange, I don’t know if he felt anything or anyway. He went to his sister and spent half day and came back and spent the rest with me. The evening, I sat down and said,’ Deeds, you done eat?’ He said, ‘Yes mammy.’ He said something about a hammock. I said that I have two and that he can have one. He brought some shirt from his sister and some socks. The Monday evening he went and said he is going to the place he works to tend to something and he went. The Tuesday Morning, we heard people saying that Steven is missing. I said how will Steven be missing if he left from here on Monday? When the police came they asked me if anyone was threatening him and I told them no. At that time my son was already dead. From the Monday night they slaughtered my son. When they searched the farm, they found my son in a shallow grave with his legs cut off, hands and neck and everything. It is hard, it is hard to know my son died like this.”
Environmentalists discuss future of petroleum prospecting
Wednesday’s decision by the Government of Belize to no longer pursue an appeal of the decision by former Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall in April of 2011 to make null and void six challenged Production Sharing Agreements (PSA’s) given to various companies because no environmental impact assessment was carried out before making the agreements and the
Public Service Information Day
“Commitment, empowerment and industriousness: cultivating and ethos of selfless service to all Belizeans” That is the theme under which this Year’s Public Service information day is being celebrated. As part of the celebrations the Ministry of Public Service hosts a forerunner event as a form of education. Today departments set up booths at the Sir
Two freed of murder charge
As a result of a key witness disclaiming his original statements, two men accused of murder became the latest to walk free. Justice Troadio Gonzalez today directed a jury of twelve to enter verdicts of not guilty of murder in favor of 25 year old Philip “Papi” Wallace and 21 year old Austin Underwood. 19 year
What is Charlie Charlie? Trending with Belizean youths?
A few years ago, Belizean media had to report on the EMO craze that was popping up in various schools, especially in the Cayo District. This was associated with some form of demonic activity which led to at least one suicide incident of a teenager. There appears to be a new craze in the form
Audrey Matura-Shepherd to be cited for contempt of court
Earlier this year the agreement for mediation of the dispute between the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) and the Government of Belize over the road reserve at Harmonyville on the George Price Highway was revealed near its completion by BGYEA’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd. Most of the issues had been worked out and only the
Another unlicensed gun removed from Belize City streets
Another unlicensed gun was removed from Belize City streets. On Wednesday May 27 at about 7:00 p.m. while police were conducting mobile patrol in the area of Antelope Street Extension, they saw 25-year-old Al Jones of Belize City who ran away upon the approach of the police. While being pursued, Jones threw an object in […]
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Tribute to an Island Legend: Boat Builder Extraordinaire Peter Young
Mr. Peter Young was one of several very skilled boat builders on the island. Some of his legendary boat-building contemporaries are/were Normal “Spin” Alamina, Nelson Young, Valentin Alamina, Juni Zaldivar, Ray Auxillou and probably a few more I’ve forgotten. Plank by plank, the boat builders would painstakingly shape and build their extremely seaworthy crafts from scratch. Very much a labor of love, building a boat would take months if not years. During the boat building days, electricity on the island was non-existent. Each craft was shaped and built using what would be considered very rudimentary tools today. The thought of building such magnificent works of art under those conditions is unthinkable. But build they did, and what they built was extraordinary by any standards.
Dismembered bodies spread horror!
Roaring Creek is again the scene of another horrific murder, eerily similar in horrible brutality to another murder that took place just a day before. Another resident of the village was savagely murdered and decapitated, his limbs chopped off, internal parts taken out, and the head, limbs and intestines placed in a shallow grave along with the torso.
The body of Steve Hyde, 51, of Roaring Creek, a farm hand and caretaker for businessman Russell Hyde of Camalote, also in the Cayo District, was discovered at about 11:30 yesterday morning, Wednesday, at Russell Hyde’s ranch in Camalote.
Hyde, a cousin of Russell Hyde, was found in a shallow grave on the property. His head had been cut off, his arms had been sawed off from the shoulders, his legs below the hips had been sawed off, he had been gutted, and a relative who saw the body said that his torso had cuts on it. The body was in a state of decomposition, and worms were seen on the body.
Hyde’s relative said that the head, intestines and limbs were found with the torso.
Horrible murder of Roaring Creek man
The search for a missing person, Edelberto Madrid, 28, a tattoo artist of the Another World area of Roaring Creek, came to an end at about 11:00 Tuesday morning when his torso was found floating in the Belize River about 200 yards from the Agripino Cawich Bridge, in the Young Bank area of Camalote, in the Cayo District – and about 20 feet from the water’s edge. A boat was used to recover the torso, which was wrapped in a plastic bag.
A member of the search party who found Madrid, a close associate of Russell Hyde, a businessman of Camalote, told Amandala that Madrid’s head was missing, and both legs had been cut off below the knees. His arms were cut off below the elbows, and he had been disemboweled; his internal organs were missing and also his private parts had been cut off.
Friends and family members who were looking for him were stunned, speechless by Madrid’s horrible death.
FFB mum on FIFA’s multi-million-dollar bribery scandal
Three executive members of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB)—Ruperto Vicente, president; Michael Blease, secretary general; and Sergio Chuc, senior vice president—are presently in Zurich, Switzerland, for the 65th FIFA Congress where International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) president, Sepp Blatter, 79, will once again seek re-election as the head of the governing body in football.
FIFA, the international football body to which the FFB belongs, proverbially, had the wind taken out of its sails early yesterday morning when US prosecutors indicted 14 FIFA officials on charges of racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering – 7 of whom were hauled out of their luxury hotel rooms and arrested by Swiss authorities.
Following their detention, the US Department of Justice issued a lengthy statement which accused FIFA executives of enriching themselves for the past 24 years through the corruption of international soccer by accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than US$150M, beginning in 1991.
Over $20,000 swiped from Belize Postal Service
Deputy Post Master General, James Gabriel, today confirmed to Amandala that an internal inquiry is indicating that the Belize Postal Service has been fleeced out of over $20,000, allegedly by an employee who has since absconded the country.
According to Gabriel, the scheme came to light last Tuesday, May 20, when a supervisor at the Express Mail section got a hint that something was awry concerning the accounts, and upon investigation, came across several suspicious transactions which were allegedly conducted by an Express Mail Service (EMS) cashier who had been employed at the Post Office for the past three years.
The transactions reportedly involved a number of deposits that were supposed to have been made to the main cashier at the end of workdays, but were instead siphoned off and pocketed, allegedly by the cashier.
Irate over Guatemala’s version of Belize’s flag
For a number of years here at Amandala, we’ve been writing about the varying standards employed for the production of the Belize flag, and we have also documented the official version of the Belize flag with photos provided to us by the George Price Center in Belmopan.
Whereas the issue of variances of the Belize flag usually comes up during the September celebrations, when they are mass-produced for sale and circulation, it resurfaced this week following the signing in Guatemala City of the protocol to amend the 2008 special agreement between Belize and Guatemala, for the possible adjudication of the territorial differendum at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The centerpiece of the Belize flag—the historic Coat of Arms—was much smaller than it should appear on the flag, and the Belizean logwood cutters in the center were even more miniscule than they should be.
Stubborn impasse over Stake Bank
For the past two months, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow has been traveling back and forth to Miami to try to broker a truce between stakeholders in the cruise sector, to permit the US$100 million Stake Bank port to proceed without litigation.
However, no compromise has been reached, and Barrow proposes to press ahead with legislation which he hopes would at least put to bed the dispute over how $14 million in head taxes, paid by tourists, will be shared by those who control the market here.
Currently, the Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), part-owned by Royal Caribbean, is the only port receiving cruise tourists under an exclusive concession granted by the Government of Belize. All the other cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Lines, the dominant one on the Belize market, use the FSTV port. However, there is a move afoot to establish a new docking facility at Stake Bank, off the coast of Belize City. Stake Bank is the brainchild of Michael Feinstein, who years ago sold his stake in FSTV, and who wants to now build a port which he would control.
Win, or go home!
The NEBL playoffs kicked off this past weekend, with the top four teams advancing to a best-of-three semifinal round, where the top two teams had home court advantage. Basketball enthusiasts were given a great treat with two great games. Fans are reminded that all games have a live webcast with the game scores, play-by-play analysis and the box scores. Fans can follow every game live on our webpage, as scores are in real time. The NEBL webpage also contains news, team standings and player statistics, and it can be found at nebl.sportingpulse.net. On Friday night, Cayo Western Ballaz (1-0) will travel to the cultural capital to take on Dangriga Warriors (0-1) at the Ecumenical College at 9:00 p.m. This is a must-win game for Dangriga Warriors, since a win by Cayo Western Ballaz will shoot them to the NEBL Finals. If a game three is necessary, Dangriga Warriors will travel to San Ignacio Town to take on Cayo Western Ballaz on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium.
On Saturday night, the defending champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks (1-0) will travel to Belmopan to take on the Belmopan Red Taigaz at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan at 8:00 p.m. With a win, San Pedro will return to the Finals to defend their title. If Belmopan Red Taigaz wins and evens up the series, 1-1, Belmopan Red Taigaz will travel back to San Pedro on Saturday, June 6, for the third and decisive game 3. NEBL 2015 – Basketball at its best!
5 weeks to playoffs in Smart 13 and Under Football Tournament at MCC
The most exciting football tournament in Belize City, the Smart 13 & Under Football Tournament, completed its sixth week of games on Saturday, May 23, at the MCC Grounds; and already the race to the 4-team playoffs is getting hot, as there are 5 more weeks of regular season games before the semifinals.
Brown Bombers is off to a fantastic start, as they are yet to concede a goal, with 5 wins and a draw, for a tournament leading 16 points. (See standings below.)
Four teams are still undefeated at Week 6 – standings leader Brown Bombers, 2nd place Hattieville Youth FC, 4th place Young Warriors, and 9th place Rising Stars, who have only conceded 2 goals but have drawn all 6 games so far. While the Bombers are on a record pace of 19 goals scored in 6 games, cellar dwelling Third World, who have lost all 6 games, are yet to shake their opponent’s net.
Olympic Day Run 2015 on Sunday, May 31
The Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association will be conducting the 2015 Olympic Day Run on Sunday, May 31, commencing at 6:30 a.m. in front of James Brodie on Regent Street under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and the Belize Olympic Committee.
Come and be a part of the celebration of the anniversary of the Olympic Movement by taking part in the Day Run, as across the globe countries will be participating in a similar run in solidarity.
The first 100 participants registered on the morning of the run will receive a commemorative T-shirt. This year, the winners will receive ribbons, medals and a certificate to all participants in recognition of their performance.
Come celebrate the Olympic Movement!
TIDE Junior Freshwater Cup 2015 semifinals results
The following Freshwater Cup school teams were qualified and made it to the semifinals that were played today, Wednesday, May 27. The teams are: St. Peter Claver Boys, San Pedro Columbia Boys, Indian Creek Boys, Bladen School Boys; and Bethel Adventist Girls, Little Flower Girls, Big Falls Girls, and Bladen Girls.
Today, the games were played as far as the 3rd place match; and the FINALS are scheduled for Friday, June 19, at the Toledo Union Field.
Here are the results of semifinal games played today at the Big Falls RC school grounds:
In the opener, St. Peter Claver Boys dropped Bladen Boys, 3-1, with goals from Ronaldo Chub (12’), Ralston Lopez (16’) and Lawrence King (27’).
Editorial: Civilizations – clashes and conquests
Some scholars speak of a “clash of civilizations” occurring when Christian Europe sent armed soldiers into Palestine a thousand years ago. Jerusalem was considered “Holy Land” by Christians, and a thousand years ago Jerusalem was being ruled by Islam. European soldiers sought to recover the Holy Land for Christianity. These expeditions are referred to as the “Crusades.” At the time, Christianity was a thousand years old, and Islam was four hundred years old. Judaism, considered the precursor of Christianity, was three or four thousand years old. The various religions of the various African peoples and the various Indigenous peoples of America were older than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Five hundred years ago Europe invaded Africa and America, and these were real clashes of civilizations which later became couched in religious terms. Europe conquered Africa and America, and then began referring to the native peoples of the African and American continents as “primitive” and “pagan.” The native peoples were described as “pagan” because they did not know of, or believe in, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Holy Trinity, so they had to be brought into the Christian world. The process of Christianizing the natives was also described as “civilizing” them.
From the Publisher
In last weekend’s issue of Amandala, a long article by Joyce Nelson, entitled LOOMING BATTLE OF THE CHURCHES OVER THE ENVIRONMENT, was published on pages 38, 39, and 42. I suspect many of our readers would not have examined such an extended article with all the intensity this particular article deserves. (Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer/researcher working on her sixth book. Her article was originally posted on the Weekend Edition May 15-17, 2015 of counterpunch. org.)
In order to emphasize how important this article is, I decided to include/repeat selected extracts from it this week in my column. The ideal would be, of course, for you to read the whole article carefully. But, yes, you’re busy and all that, so to make it easier for you, I have reproduced choice portions.
For me, the most critical thing for Belizeans to know is that there are corporate entities, featuring big oil, which finance certain evangelical efforts in countries like Belize which have strategic reserves of natural resources. The enemies of Third World people don’t have to be shooting and bombing us all the time, although they will do that when they feel it necessary. In some cases, they are successful in confusing our minds with their version of religion to the point where we support neoliberal corporations instead of our native, Indigenous selves.
Carlos Tzib continues …
I believe that in last week’s Editorial (The Oil or the Water), you raised some important issues and serious concerns with respect to the matter of offshore drilling in Belize. However, from the title of your Editorial, it seems to suggest that the two are mutually exclusive and that an absolute choice has to be made. I, like many others, tend to differ in our views. It is clear that an environmentally friendly position with oil drilling is tenable and that makes both of these options possible.
I would like to continue on a much related matter and as a follow up to a letter I wrote to the Publisher (see Amandala, Wednesday, May 20,1015, page 7). While I pointed out that I respected the sincerity of the local Oceana advocates and even the goals of Oceana International to protect our reef and marine offshore as quite laudable, there is one big fatal flaw in their no offshore drilling campaign. The problem with it is that the other neighboring countries (Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala) around us are drilling for oil in their offshore. If, God forbid, any one of them should have an unfortunate spill, then it would affect our reef just as badly as if we were drilling in our offshore since our waters are so closely interlinked.
Michellee Moses honored by Ladyville Tech High School
Michellee Moses, 18, of Flamboyant Street, Lake Independence, a 3rd form student at Ladyville Tech High School, in Ladyville, has been recognized as the best student of the 3rd form division for this school year. She will be honored by the school at the upcoming Ladyville Tech High School graduation to be held on Saturday, June 6, at the Kings Room at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City.
The school informed us that for her hard work and dedication, Moses will participate in lighting the torch at the graduation; she will be presented with a plaque and she will also be awarded a one-year, all-expenses-paid scholarship at the school, which will commence at the beginning of the new school year in September, to conclude in June next year.
Celine Moses, Michellee’s elated mother, said that she is proud of her daughter for the accomplishment.
Belize produces 250 mil pounds of citrus, pushing 1st quarter GDP to 7%
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) indicated earlier this year that climate changes had actually triggered a halt in orange production in 2014, leading to a downfall in production, but a strong rebound in the citrus industry has yielded a major expansion in orange production—up by 129% for fruit and 121% for citrus concentrate—for the first quarter of 2015.
This has helped to fuel a promising 7.0% growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—which quantifies the value of what the country earns from goods and services—for the first three months of the year, according to data just released by the SIB. The production of total goods and services for the 1st quarter of 2015 totaled $733.8 million, $48 million more than the same time last year. When we reported on the GDP figures last year, the news from the agriculture sector was grim. Production in the three major sectors—sugar, banana and citrus—was down by about 30%, leading to a fall in the value of primary agricultural products by a reported $26 million.
Belize must do better to check Chiquibul incursions
Today, we asked head of Belize’s National Security Council, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, what the Government is doing to address the unrelenting encroachments inside the Chiquibul, which have reportedly peaked this year, according to the latest report to our newspaper from Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), which identified 92 clearings for milpa farming on May 8.
Barrow told us that the Government is “not asleep at the wheel.” He did concede that the battle to check the incursions is a battle that Belize has been losing, but added that the country has to keep doing better.
“I would be lying to say that we can stop [the incursions] completely,” he added.
He said that at each monthly Council meeting, the matter of the incursions remains on the table and an update is provided on the situation. He told us that whenever there is a spike in incursions, the Belize Defence Force (BDF) is tasked to do even more, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is tasked to raise the issue with Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Within the high ranks of the Belize Defence Force, said Barrow, there is also dialogue with their counterparts on the Guatemala side of the border.
Belize and Guatemala sign ICJ protocol
In a signing ceremony which took place in Guatemala City on Monday, May 25—a signing which officials say brings them closer to the final resolution of the age-old territorial differendum between Belize and Guatemala at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague—the parties have formalized their agreement to allow the countries to proceed separately or simultaneously with a national referendum on the issue.
The Government of Belize has not yet issued a public statement on the matter, but a press release published by Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that Monday’s signing amends the 2008 special agreement by allowing the parties to either hold their referenda simultaneously or on separate occasions, on dates convenient to the parties, to say whether or not citizens of the two countries agree for the matter to be heard at the ICJ.
Guatemalan reports continue to cite a claim for 12,000 square kilometers of Belize – or more than half of Belize’s territory.
The parties had agreed back in April 2012 to set Sunday, October 6, 2013 as the date on which voters in Belize and Guatemala should participate in simultaneous referenda; however, Guatemala pulled out of the process, claiming that the conditions did not exist to secure a “yes” vote.
Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd cited for contempt of court
Journalists from various Belize City media organizations waited near the entrance to the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel for the arrival of an unusual defendant in a contempt of court hearing that was scheduled to occur this morning.
All cameras were focused on the attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd as she ascended the steps of the court, dressed in her courtroom garb.
The contempt of court hearing against Matura-Shepherd, however, was adjourned because Justice Abel was out of the country.
Matura-Shepherd, who has never shied away from granting an interview to reporters, this morning declined to comment on the specifics of the contempt of court case against her, which has been adjourned to early July.
What is known, however, is that the Government of Belize is being represented by one of its attorneys from the law firm of Barrow and Williams.