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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
Making Maya Medicine
I have always enjoyed perusing the aisles of well stocked grocery stores. I love finding ingredients I’ve never seen before and imagining their tasty possibilities. Some may think it a tad crazy, but I consider it a wonderful way to kill a couple of hours…you never know what you will come across! So, you can imagine the level of my enthusiasm when I had the opportunity to go rain forest “shopping” with Aurora Garcia-Saqui, who knew the sylvan aisles like the back of her hand. But we weren’t browsing for a delicious meal…our shopping listing was comprised of exotic healing flora like yhax leh, piper and gomo che!
Just as I would in a grocery store where I pick up and examine an item before throwing it into my basket, Ms Aurora took her time to select the specific plants she needed to create her special Pain Away remedy. Explaining the name of each leaf she picked, as well as the healing powers it possessed, she collected a handful of leaves that would soon end up as a soothing, healing ointment.
Two New Justices Join the Court of Appeal
Two new Justices of Appeal were sworn-in today by the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young, at the Belize House in Belmopan. They are Justice Murrio Ducille and Justice Franz Parke. Justice Murrio Ducille is an Attorney-at-Law and has been in practice since 1975 when he was admitted to the Jamaica Bar. He was also admitted to bar in the Bahamas and Dominica, 1984 and 1993, respectively. He is a member of the bar associations of all three countries. In Jamaica, Justice Ducille served as Clerk of the Court with responsibility for criminal prosecution for the Parish of Portland. He additionally served as State Prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions where he was in charge of criminal prosecution and represented the state in the Court of Appeal. He also prepared and presented extradition cases between the United States and Jamaica. Between 1984 and 1997, Justice Ducille acted as Solicitor General, served as Chief Prosecutor and Attorney General in Bahamas; Director of Public Prosecutions in Dominica and Chief Magistrate in Antigua and Barbuda. In 1997, he began his private practice.
It’s official: Courtney and Mark tied the knot!
We are so happy to finally share images of the wonderful union of Courtney Sage and Mark Lekarczyk. 22-Courtney-Wedding-2Courtney and Mark made it official on April 25th when they exchanged vows in front of dear friends and family in Memphis, Tennessee. Even though we could not be there to witness the grand occasion, we are thrilled that one of our own, Marie Parham, and ‘flat Mary’ was able to make it! May you lovebirds have a long and happy marriage!
Beautiful Island Hibiscus
Hibiscus flowers are native to warm temperatures and tropical regions. Belize is beautifully decorated with several species of this lovely plant that grows in an array of different colors! A drive, ride or stroll around any part of Belize is bursting with colors from these pretty plants!
Bowen & Bowen responds to claims of contaminated Crystal water bottles
In Volume 25 Issue 18 of The San Pedro Sun (“How safe is our bottled drinking water”), it was reported that a black viscous matter was found inside one of the 16oz Crystal water bottles. This was brought to our attention by a local establishment who purchases Crystal water bottles by the case. Since then Bowen & Bowen Ltd, producers of Crystal water issued an official statement: “At Bowen & Bowen, maintaining the highest possible standards of service and quality has always been, and always will be, our driving priority. We continually review our processes and engage with our suppliers and customers to ensure that these standards are met. Demonstrating our commitment to quality, all of our beverage production facilities are international certified by ISO, HACCP and FSSC. We take all customer feedback seriously. Any report of a defective or substandard product is reviewed internally, and in cooperation with independent and government agencies. We are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to guarantee our products are of the highest quality.”
Coral Reef Edventures is back
The Coral Reef experts are returning for the 16th Annual Coral Reef Ed- ventures program. Organized by students from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA with assistance from Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the two – week program promotes the conservation of the Belize Barrier Reef to island children. Coral Reef Ed-ventures gives children the opportunity to learn about the coral reef and become an ‘expert’, all while having lots of fun. The program will run with two main categories: The Youth Program, which is for students, ages 7-12, and is slated for June 29th-July 8th at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School. The Advanced Program is for students ages 12 and above, or for students with prior coral Ed-ventures experience. This will take place from June 22ndto June 26th, at 4-6PM at the San Pedro High School. At the end of the programs, there will be a graduation ceremony on July 8th at the Lion’s Den for all the students and family members will be invited to attend.
Letter to the Editor: Public Transportation System with privately owned and operated small electric buses!!
I would like to thank the San Pedro Sun for posting my letter about the need of a public transportation system for our island and for a better future for Ambergris Caye.
Please allow me to follow up with some more specifics and my detailed thoughts about a small public transportation system, dearly needed for Ambergris Caye.
This week I was approached by a patient of mine, a good friend who is also a taxi cab owner on our island. He also heard that the island would be in urgent need of a better traffic solution. He learned that the hard way from several tourists he had transported in his taxi. They had told him that driving a golf cart is not fun anymore for tourists but rather feels uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous during heavy traffic hours.
He also brought up his personal concerns and the concerns shared by other taxi operators, the 200 taxi owners on this island. He thought that a public bus transportation system would possibly cut into their profits and might even put some taxi owners and their families at risk.
Here is why I think a small busing system would be even be more beneficial to all current taxi owners than the current rather unsustainable taxi system:
As common in many tourist destinations and town and cities throughout the world, small buses would be individually owned by private operators but within a publicly, town organized system.
In Loving Memory: Santiago Vasquez and Kitty Fox
In Loving Memory of Santiago Felipe Vásquez Sr.
Sunrise: September 13, 1934
Sunset: May 28, 2015ox
El ha escogido tu barca! A pronunciado tu nombre. Jesús te ha dicho ¡No temas Santiago!
Seras pescador de hombres…
Con el corazón herido hoy le damos un ultimo adios a un esposo, padre, abuelo, bis abuelo, tío, hermano, compadre, amigo y gran pescador de nuestra comunidad San Pedrana.
Santiago Felipe Vásquez Sr. nació un 13 de Septiembre de 1934 de sus padres José Turiano Vásquez y Herminia Toloza Vásquez en la hermosa aldea de San Pedro Belice. Junto con sus hermanos Pedro, Héctor y Flavio y sus hermanas Socorro y Florinda Vásquez todos difuntos gozaron de una niñez feliz y placentera.
Como cualquier otro joven se dedico a la pesca. Este oficio fue su gran pacion. Unió su vida a su primera esposa Victoria Sansorez; del cual nacieron sus dos hijos mayors Leovijildo Vásquez y Beatriz Vásquez. Las circunstancias de la vida y razones familiars hicieron que esta unión no fuese duradera y eterna.
Wolfe’s Woofer: Mexican Eggs
“A friend of mine works for a company that makes bowling balls,” Bruce said. “Twice a year I contract to pick up a load of bowling balls at the factory and distribute them all over Texas.”
“Why would you do that?” I asked.
“Because it only takes me two days for a trip and I make a lot of money. Since you’re here on vacation why don’t you take the ride with me?”
About twenty-five miles out of McAllen, Texas we came across two Spanish looking guys pedaling along on a bicycle.
“These guys must be lost,” Bruce said. “It’s thirty miles to the nearest town. I’ll give them a ride.”
Letter to the Editor: Response to Five Story Buildings
I own a property with a small house in north Ambergris Caye. I am distressed to hear that five story buildings are to be permitted on our island. The solution to people overbuilding on their lots is to have strict building codes that would allow a building’s footprint to cover only a specified percentage of the property, not to allow them to build up. The result of the latter is they will do both i.e. build a five story building that covers the entire property.
Ambergris Caye is a fragile environment that cannot handle overpopulation. Already the pollution from septic systems is beginning to pose a threat not only to human health, but to the coral and marine life. We have no good source of fresh water other than rainwater. Rainwater collection is what many existing houses outside San Pedro use, and this could not support a five story building. Plans have been discussed for a desalination plant and sewage system in north Ambergris Coye, but desalination consumes a huge amount of energy which would increase our reliance on oil and cause air pollution. In addition, the brine and chemicals produced by the desalination would have to be disposed of. The current plan is to build deep injection wells.
Doctor Love: Curiosity and Rodents
Dear Doctor Love,
My guy and I are quite trusting. We have been together for four years and we both have friends of the opposite sex with no problems. Not long after we got together his ex called him and asked him to lunch. This is something that they have done four or five times a year since they broke up six years ago. Each time he asks me if I wanted to go with them and I turn him down because I do not want to appear jealous or controlling. I am not jealous but after four years I am curious about the lunches and I would like to go to see what they have to discuss. If he asks me again, I am planning to say yes.
What do you think?
Flashbacks: Do You Know What is Five A Side?
Ask a ten-year old kid today what is Five A Side and chances are that he will not know because this sport has been absent from our sports fields for quite some time. What is it anyway? Let me try to make it simple.
It is football or soccer game played inside a small field bordered with a fence that could be four to five feet high. It is called Five A Side because there are five players per team including the goalie who guards a goal that is eight feet wide by five feet high. The soccer ball is a light ball and can only be kicked five feet high. If a player kicks the ball out of the playing field, he is penalized with a minute or two at the bench. It is high action game and a lot of fun for both the players and the fans.
Five A Side was introduced in San Pedro by Omar Guerrero when he was a member of the San Pedro Town Council. The playing arena was fabricated at Central Park and games attracted hundreds of fans every weekend during the Five A Side season. A lot of names of great players come to mind but it would be unfair to mention only those in this Flashback. Let us suggest that friends and fans or perhaps team players post photos of their teams. Thank you and hope to see Five A Side soon in San Pedro.
25 Years Ago - Alternative for Shampoo by Using Wood Ash
There is an old Spanish saying that says: “Ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente.” This means “What the eyes do not see, the heart does not desire.” This is so very true about the lives of San Pedranos in days long gone. There were many things that did not exist back then, and they certainly did not miss them. However, that is not to say that they did not find their way to make the best of any situation. We have seen that when they did not have ovens, they fabricated homemade ovens with the bottoms of metal drums. And when they did not have electric clothes irons, they used the metal ones that were heated on a comal or over the charcoal.
Well here is my story for this week. It has to do with shampoo that did not exist twenty five years ago in San Pedro or better say in the 1940’s and 50’s. I want you to remember that our source of water was from shallow wells and well water is considered very hard water, if you know what I mean. If you were to wash your hair with well water and using regular soap, it would turn out stiff and dry. Your hair would in no way be soft and silky and shiny. No señor!
Julisa and Richie Tzib's Wedding
Another lovely couple tied the knot in beautiful Ambergris Caye, Belize, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Julisa and Richie Tzib celebrated their love at the Living Word Church followed by a heart-warming reception where they were accompanied by their family and friends. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Tzib on their new journey together.
American Airlines Launches Non-Stop Flight Between Belize City and Los Angeles
On Saturday, June 6, 2015, American Airlines launched its new route between Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), further expanding the airlines’ route network in Latin America. With this new flight, American Airlines’ customers in Belize will have access to the airline’s extensive route network out of LAX, which includes more than 200 daily flights to more than 50 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Schedule for BZE-LAX flight (local times)
*Operates Saturdays and Sundays
Leaves LAX at 12:15 p.m.
Arrives in BZE at 6:17 a.m.
Leaves BZE at 8:55 a.m.
Arrives in LAX at 1:03 p.m.
American’s new service between BZE and LAX will be operated on Saturdays and Sundays with an Airbus 319 featuring eight Business Class seats and 120 seats in the Main cabin.
Training Seminar Empowers Women in San Pedro
In an emotional certificate-handing ceremony, about 45 women celebrated having completed a three-week program that had them improving on their self-confidence and empowering them with life tools in an effort to assist them in personal development; the program even allows for the women to receive a small grant to help them on their goals.
The San Pedro Town Council made available the Project BA 1 which is a training seminar targeting victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in order to assist them in bettering their lives. Single mothers were prime participants of the seminar that included courses for the women to learn necessary life planning skills and personal development. The project seeks the reduction of violence against women and trafficking.
During the final gathering, as the women gathered to receive their certificate of completion, most were bursting with smiles while others were holding back strong emotions as they felt accomplished, proud and gifted with skills that will help them make better choices in their lives. In addition to lectures to prepare them for social integration, the seminar also equipped the women with business skills. Some of the participants will qualify for a grant to expand an existing business or develop a new one from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).
Misc Belizean Sources
Member of the House of Representatives Resigns
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Peyrefitte, officially accepts Ivan Ramos' resignation as Member for Dangriga with immediate effect.
"Women in Need" Art Show
The San Pedro House of Culture is currently hosting a Benefit Artist Show & Sale by the Island Watercolor Group that is donating sales to assist "women in need" on Ambergirs Caye. Please stop by to admire the artwork and purchase some of you can to help a worthy cause.
OPEN CALL FOR PAPERS… USD5,000!!! Productivity, Technology and Innovation
In order to increase the region’s understanding about private sector development and firm level performance in the Caribbean, Compete Caribbean is inviting interested researchers to produce original analytical pieces using PROTEqIN and LACES datasets.
Six proposals will be selected to be developed into full-fledged papers and will form part of an edited volume on private sector development in the Caribbean. Selected applicants will receive USD5,000 plus travel and accommodation to attend two workshops in Barbados.
PROTEqIN and LACES are complete, comprehensive and internationally comparable firm-level datasets covering 14 Caribbean territories. The datasets record firm level behavior related to a variety of aspects such as: Sales, supplies, foreign trade and competition, innovation, conflict resolution, crime prevention, business environment and government relations, labour and skills, financing and performance among others.
By-election, Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee Electoral Division
His Excellency, the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, has issued a Writ of Election for holding a By-Election in the Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee Electoral Division to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Area Representative, Hon. Ivan Ramos.
The nomination day will be Monday, June 22nd, 2015 and the place of nomination of candidates will be the Dangriga Town Hall.
The By-Election will be held on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015.
Formal notices to this effect are being published in this week’s issue of the Gazette and national newspapers.
Further information may be obtained from the Elections and Boundaries Department, Belize City.
BOLEDO DRAWING for Monday, June 8, 2015: 87
Gabriel Hope of Bernice Yorke tops 2015 Primary School Examinations
Caye Caulker Residents Protesting
A resident of Caye Caulker, a teen, 17 year old Wilbert Sots was detained by police and died in their custody. His body was taken to the clinic where it was pronounced dead. The cops have detained him for questioning in relation to theft. More well armed police officers from San Pedro and the Belize Coastguard have been deployed on the island to quiet the residents. The businesses have locked down early because of the unrest that has developed against the officers of the law. The station has also been locked down.
May 31st – June 6th, 2015 Belize Fishing Report
4 grand slams in one week – I believe it is a lodge record. Greta weather, great anglers and fantastic luck!
PLANTATION: BREDDA DAVID & BELIZEAN CUNGO MUSIC!
The legendary Belizean musical artist, bredda David, has rose to become one of Belize's most consistent national artist that has represented the country of Belize worldwide as a cultural ambassador for Belize. He is the innovator of the popular Belizean musical art form called Cungo Music, which is a combination of Belizean Creole Brukdong, and Garifuna Paranda rhythm.
The legendary artist once made his home in Los Angeles after his migration from Belize in the 1960's, and later returned home to Belize in the 1980's becoming an intricate part of Belize's musical and cultural forums that aim to promote and develop Belize's musical and cultural institutions.
Also a passionate activist for the promotion of the African Belizean culture called Creole, bredda David has worked for the advancement of the recognition of Belizean national heroes like Isiah Morter, Cleopatra White, and the former British slave enclave in Belize City, called Ibo Town.
Illegal Wildlife Trade seminar
FCD thanks WCS for their support in the conduction of the Illegal Wildlife Trade seminar held in Belize City last week. Our gratitude also goes to Conservation Scientist and Senior Wildlife Trafficking Analyst, Dr. Timothy Wittig and Wildlife Crimes Unit Program Manager, Mr. Dwi Adhiasto of Indonesia for sharing their technical advice as we prepare our strategy to address wildlife trafficking.
Bye-Election In July! PUP Hon. Ivan Ramos Steps Down As Representative
There will be another bye-election - this time it is in Dangriga on July eighth after the PUP representative Ivan Ramos resigned from the House of Representatives effective today. Ramos wrote to the Speaker of the House in a letter dated today, but he made his announcement yesterday in Dangriga Town, at a fathers and mother's day event sponsored by Petrocaribe funds. Here's what he told the gathering of supporters at about 5:30 pm:..
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"I want to say to you, I want to say to you, that I have also made up my mind, this is Ivan Ramos speaking, that I, and if I will disappoint anybody, I am sorry. But, there are times when you have to go separate ways. That I am resigning from the national assembly as your representative to give you an opportunity to elect the person you want to carry out those other decisions, be it the ICJ, Petrocaribe or whatever else to reflect what you want. And so, I will do that tomorrow formally. I will do that tomorrow formally. So, that is my position, that is my position and I am comfortable making that position so that I can go on with my life, and that the party can also go on with the business of winning election or whatever else it will take."
"I will say to you also that I am not interested, I am not interested in becoming a UDP or supporting the UDP (applause). So, I am In effect saying to you I am retiring from politics, I am retiring from politics. I hope that this will not, I hope that this will not make me a bad person but I have a life to live also. I must go on with my life."
Ramos Won't Help Successor
The father and mother's day event was held at an open lot adjoining Ramos's house. We say that because he was basically at home - amongst his supporters and feeling comfortable. Here's what he told us minutes after he made the announcement...
"Mr. Ivan, you said it. How do you feel right now?"
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"Well I feel myself."
"You feel unencumbered?"
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"No, yes, I feel unencumbered."
"These people here, they are hugging you, they are still supporting you...what will you tell them to do in the next election? You told them up there you wish them luck with the grand old party. But will you tell them..."
Writ of Election Issued, PM Barrow Seizing On PUP Problems
As you can tell from that cutting remark - there are more than a few hard feelings between Ramos and his party, the PUP - and you'll hear all about that tonight. But first to what matters most: the bye-election to elect a new area representative for Dangriga. The seat for Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee is vacant tonight - and the Barrow Administration will waste no time in filling it. The maximum time that can be allowed to hold such an election is three months, but government will do it in just one month. Governor General Sir Colville Young today signed the writ setting the nomination day as June 22nd and the election as July eighth.
Yesterday at the endorsement convention for Darrell Bradley, Prime Minister Dean Barrow - who was apparently pre-briefed on the Ramos resignation told the gathering that his intention is to move ahead with the by-election in Dangriga as soon as is possible:
PUP Not Ready For By-election
Of course, it is strategic for the government to move ahead immediately because, again, the opposition has been, caught off guard. Their candidate, Anthony Sabal has not even been endorsed as Standard bearer - and the party will have to scramble to take on the UDP's Frank "Pawpa" Mena who has been in place for some years. Additionally, government can be expected to pour resources into Dangriga - just like they did in Cayo North in January - while the PUP remains cash strapped. Today the Leader of the opposition said the government is trying to "bleed them to death":..
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"Politics under this United Democratic Party government is the lowest and dirtiest I have even seen it practiced in Belize and I believe all right thinking Belizeans should be concerned. We have a party in government that appears to be prepared to do any and everything to stay in power. Clearly a bi-election is not in our party's interest at this time. We are focused on preparations for the general elections."
PUP Says Ivan Took Money
But the first person the PUP seems to be interested in bringing to his knees is Ivan Ramos. The party sent out an internal note directly stating that he took money - and sent out an official press release implying the same. Today here's how Fonseca put it - and here's what Ramos had to say about it yesterday:...
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"I like Ivan Ramos and I care about him. I believe he is a good man who has made a terribly bad decision and I can tell you that the most frequent question I have gotten in the last 20 hours is it true that Ivan Ramos was paid to resign his seat. This is obviously just speculation, just and allegation, but it is a serious one."
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
(Laughing) "Oh boy, Jules I will just say that, you know I have learnt that when you want to justify your wrong, you arose to things like this. I don't know of myself as a greedy person. As I've said before, personally nobody can say to you that I have ask them for anything for me or cut a deal with anybody and things of this sort."
PM Tempted by PUP Woes to Call Early Election
And while the PUP is spending much of its time - publicly at least - finger pointing and casting aspersions on Ramos and his intentions - the UDP is watching the political shot clock. The ruling party has already gained one seat in Cayo North with a bye election in January. And now, the UDP is confident it can claim another - of course, with a heavy lotioning of petrocaribe funds. The Prime Minister says that with these body blows to the Opposition, it's getting more tempting to just call the elections early:
Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Leader
"Tomorrow we will formally give you the timeline for the next bi-election in the constituency of Dangriga when the United Democratic Party will blow away the new candidate of the PUP and cement this stronghold almost that we are developing electorally in terms of the politics of this country. That will strike another blow, put an exclamation point behind this unstoppable UDP march to its 3rd term. So in a sense that announcement by the Honorable Ramos and of course we have already gotten hold of a message that Francis Fonseca has sent out to his standard bearers, they accuse Ivan of all kinds of things.
Does PUP Prioritize By-Election?
And while Prime Minister Dean Barrow is getting into chest beating mode - the opposition seemed to shy away from the moment just a little. A press release gave a perfunctory promise of victory, but today the opposition leader said that they are interested in a general elections, not so much a bye - election:...
"Is it that you are saying that the PUP will not go all out in a bi-election?"
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"No, I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that we are going to have a meeting tomorrow of the national executive and the standard bearers. We are in fact today having discussions in Dangriga with our executive committee and through our national campaign manager's office. And that report will be tabled tomorrow - status report if you like and we will have a full open discussion on how we proceed."
"If the PUP were to lose that upcoming bi-election, you will not consider it as a sign that you need to step down?"
Teenager Killed On Caye Caulker, Chaos Erupts
Just before News time this evening, residents of Caye Caulker Village were out on the street in front of the island's Health Center where the doctors and police officers were handling the body of 18 year-old Hilberto Sotz. Speculation at this time is that he died in the police station but the officers in the High Command at Eastern Division were unable to confirm that. What they have confirmed is that Sotz was detained pending investigations for a burglary on the island, and while he was in police custody, he passed away.
Now, at this time, there is confirm of where exactly Sotz died, and if police officers were present, but the villagers are suspicious of the peculiar circumstances. We've spoke with Sotz's mother, who was at the Health Center, and she told us that the officers are telling her that her son died of some breathing problem. She told us that her son has no such medical history, and so, she is suspects that she isn't being given the entire story.
Cruel Killing Of Former Fireman
A man was shot and burnt inside his vehicle this morning in Dangriga. When police got to the scene on Commerce Bight Road this afternoon at around 12:13, they only found the charred remains of the body of former Fire Chief 51 year old Ralston Pattnet. The vehicle was parked right in front of a house he maintained for his American friend. When we spoke to police this evening they told us that based on what they saw at the scene, it seems that Pattnet was just about to get out of the car when he was shot and set on fire. It is quite disturbing and when we spoke to Pattnet's sister this evening she told us that it might be as a result of a land dispute. Police are treating this case as a murder and are following a few leads. Pattnet was transferred as Fire Chief from Orange Walk to Stann Creek and filed for early retirement.
Two Weeks After Shooting, Gentle Dies
A week ago, we told you how police arrested and charged Maurice Felix for allegedly shooting up Pamela Cumberbatch's house, injuring her son Mark Gentle, and her husband Calvin Cumberbatch. Well, Gentle passed away at the KHMH on Friday night.
Gentle was critically injured, and doctors could not save him.
Maurice Felix was arraigned last Monday on attempted murder in relation to the gunshot injuries that Felix initially suffered. It is expected that at some point Felix will be rearrested and that charge will be upgraded to murder - for which there is no bail.
Cops Caught Major Weapons
And while police fear the Gentle death may trigger a whole new wave of gang warfare - because he is associated with the SSG gang, city COPS did some good work this weekend seizing four weapons.
The first incident happened on Saturday afternoon at around 1:25 p.m. on Freetown Road. An undertaker was inside his yard socializing when a dark complexioned man walked into the yard. He immediately pulled out a handgun, cranked it, and pointed it at the man's head. Fearing for his life, the undertaker ran inside his house, and called police. They responded quickly, detained 3 persons and recovered a 9mm pistol.
10 hours later, at around 11:30 p.m., the police responded to a robbery in progress at the UNO Gas Station at mile 1 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The officers spoke with the cashier who told them that she was inside the gas station's snack shop when 2 men, one armed with a knife, and another with a gun, barged in and robbed them of cash and cellular phones to a total value of $1,147. The officers responded and managed to retrieve a silver Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol.
PSE's (Near) Perfect "Pikni"
The PSE results were issued two hours ago. They show grades in the four main subjects trending down slightly.
In English 73% of the students scored at the Adequate Level of Performance or better. This about the same as in 2014, when 74% scored at the Adequate Level.
In Math, approximately 37% (compared to 36% last year) of students scored a Satisfactory Level of Performance or better. But more disturbingly approximately 49% of students scored E's (49 and below) in the Inadequate Grade Range - meaning half the test takers failed to pass math.
In Social Studies, 63% of students earned a Satisfactory Level of Performance (Grade C) or better. This is up from 58% last year.
In Science, seventy-two percent (72%) of the students earned a grade C (Satisfactory Level of Performance) or better.
The list of top students shows Bernice Yorke at the top again - and we spoke to the top finisher Gabrial Hope from Bernice Yorke. He told us how he did it:..
Gabriel Hope - 13, Bernice York School
"Well, when I got the news I was actually sleeping and then my sister woke me and she told me that my mom was on the phone and she told me that I came in first and of course I was shocked. Up to know I'm still shocked."
Pedestrian Knocked Down and Killed In Sandhill
A Nazarene Pastor was knocked down on Saturday evening in Sand Hill. Burrell Boom resident 47 year old Oscar Chacon was crossing the road at the Maskall Junction in Sand Hill when he suddenly stopped and tried to turn back. That is when a Chevy heading to Orange Walk hit Chacon and killed him. His body was transported to the KHMH. Today we spoke to his employer - who says Chacon had just left him and his wife in Burrell Boom who was waiting patiently for her husband to come home for the evening mass.
Orlando Mai, employer
"Well actually now and again I get a job from here, not all the time and then he came by Saturday evening about 4 o'clock and told me let us straighten up."
"Yes, so that paid me off and then he went looking for a home. Then just about half an hour after that I got a call. Somebody told me get he got knocked down. I said I was surprised. He just left from in front of me and I asked the person if he had a bicycle. He said, no. All the time I know he comes with a bicycle from Boom. Every day he came riding and that day something just was supposed to happen. I was in Gardenia with a friend. That's when I got a call saying Mr. Mai, your helper got knockdown. I was so shocked and surprised. I said it couldn't be and when I left from Gardenia I went to the scene it was Mr. Chacon."
Teacher Accused of Sex With Minor In Placencia
Tonight, there is news from Placencia that a Teacher from that village has been accused of having unlawful sexual relations with a 15 year-old.
The minor and her mother visited the Placencia Police Station last week Thursday and reported to police that sometime in the Month of April, 30 year-old Desmond Ramirez, who is a teacher in the village, took her to a wooden house in a nearby community and had intercourse with her. Police have since investigated the report and Ramirez has been charged with the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse.
American Airlines Direct Flight To LAX
In December of 2013, Delta Airlines became the first airline to offer travelers a direct flight from Los Angeles to Belize. Well on Saturday Morning, the country's second direct flight to that North American City was launched by American Airlines.
In terms of air lift capacity, it's an important event for the Tourism Ministry, and our News Team was there when the passengers of that flight left the PGIA. Daniel Ortiz reports:
American Airlines is offering this flight to passengers on Saturdays and Sundays. The flight leaves LAX at 12:15 p.m. local time, and arrives in Belize at 6:17 a.m. It then leaves the PGIA at 8:55 a.m., and arrives at LAX at 1:03 p.m.
Prison, Both Sides Now
On Friday, we showed you how the former Inmate Robinson Michael condemned the Kolbe Foundation Belize Central Prison for corruption and human rights violations against the inmate population in the facility. We also showed you how the Acting CEO of the Prison responded to each and every one of his allegations.
Well, at that opportunity to speak with the CEO, he gave us a tour of the facility to show that not only is the prison not taking advantage of the inmates, the administration is trying to help them become productive individuals when they finally leave the prison. Daniel Ortiz has that story:
Of course, former inmate Michael has a different take on the industrial zone. He referred to on the map he drew us up as the "Hitler Zone", and he says that it's not so much about rehabilitation as much as it is a money making venture. Here's how he explained it:
Did Godfrey Railroad Ramos?
And now, back to the biggest political news of the week - and probably the next month: Ivan Ramos has stepped down as Area Representative for Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee - and that has triggered a bye election in the next months between Anthony Sabal for the PUP and Frank Mena for the UDP.
But, we're not there yet. Right now, Ramos's departure is what's taking up all the news space - and that's because he stepped down very publicly - not like Joseph Mahmud the former PUP Representative for Cayo North who stepped down in silence last year.
Yesterday in Dangriga, Ramos told his supporters and the media that his resignation as area representative was the culmination of a process which started with his own party pushing him out as the Standard Bearer. He says they stacked his committee against him, and then, the National Campaign Manager called and read him the riot act. Here are two sides of that story:..
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"I was called by the National Campaign Manager, Godfrey Smith and said things to the effect that while he doesn't have the authority to force me to make a decision or to resign, but for me to remember that he is the person that is charged with raising finance and that I in effect then would not be a good investment. In other words, don't expect that we will be financing your campaign."
Ramos: Et Tu Rodwell?
PUP Stann Creek West Representative Rodwell Ferguson is one more person who told Ramos to step aside. Ramos told his former constituents that he felt Ferguson had no authority to do so. Again, here are the two sides of that story:..
PUP Claims It Had Intelligence, But Didn't Act
So while the party was actively engaged in trying eject Ramos as Standard bearer because they say his committee had no confidence in him - what did the party do with Ramos after he stepped down controversially? Well, a PUP press release says, quote,
"the PUP has been receiving frequent intelligence reports of Mr. Ramos' discussions with high-level UDP operatives to trigger a by-election in exchange for Petrocaribe dollars." But the party says it is also not in a position for a bye-election. So then why was there no action on the intelligence? That's what we asked today:..
"When this intelligence was received why then did the PUP not act. What concerns me is that I see a party which has a consistent trend of knowing things are falling into abeyance and then nobody doing anything, if such intelligence was received. Why is not acted on upon to try and save the seat? Do seats matter?"
Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Leader
"What you have given is a long editorial that is based on an absolutely false premise, Jules."
"You said you've received intelligence."
After Press Conference Fiasco Only Rt. Hon Musa Called Ivan
And not only did the PUP not act on the intelligence it says it received, no one from the party even reached out to Ramos after the disastrous press conference. OR at least that's what he says. Here are two sides of that story:...
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"I went to Belize City and yes, I submitted to the party leader, after all was said and done, that I will step aside that it doesn't have to be me because obviously I would not have the support, I would not have the full participation of those that I believe should lead the charge. So, yes I had a conversation with the party leader and he accepted. Well, even if he didn't accept then obviously the writing was on the wall as far as I'm concerned. Those remarks were not well received but those were the truth and that's how I saw it and that's what I said, but those were not well received. Thereafter, nobody really called me with the exception of the Honorable Mike Espat."
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"We have been in touch with, not only me but our Campaign Manager's team, the Southern Caucus over the weekend. So many efforts and attempts were made and I am satisfied as I said. I am satisfied that the entire process was handled with dignity, it was handled with respect. We did everything possible to try to ensure that the Honorable Ivan Ramos was satisfied and that he could in fact continue to represent the people of Dangriga for the remainder of his term."
Will PUP's Stay Home In Dangriga?
And so with Ivan Ramos departing under such cloudy and contentious circumstances, what will happen with the PUP in Dangriga in 31 days? That's July 8th, date of the bye-election - and we asked Party Leader Fonseca if he fears the PUP faithful will stay away:..
"After the Mahmud Cayo North election, the conclusion was that the people stayed home and so the poles reflected that because of the disproportional size of the victory. Are you concerned, Mister Ivan Ramos had 268 people at the event yesterday, these are 268 of his supporters who are PUP's, they were still chanting PUP? Are you concerned that these people will also stay home as they did in the case of Joseph Mahmud, these good PUP's? Is that a concern of you Sir?"
Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Leader
"Sure, yeah obviously of course. We are always concerned about any potential PUP voters who decide to stay at home."
"So then but the no strategy was effectively executed in the Mahmud case and in so far as Mister Mahmud did not come out and help the PUP. Mister Ainsley Lesly did not come out and help the PUP - the 2 former PUP representatives in that area. Will you all be able to bring out those people as you are unable to do in Cayo North?"
Under Fonseca Nine candidates have either been pushed out, stepped down or been replaced
And while Ramos remained cool - he is one more PUP Canddiate that has gone. In the past three and a half years under Fonseca's leadership as many as nine candidates have either been pushed out, stepped down or been replaced. An unprecedented three of those were sitting opposition representatives. We asked Fonseca if this is a trend:
"Arthur Saldivar, Marco Tulio Mendez. Joseph Mahmud, Anthony Mahler, Mark Espat, Collet Montejo, Richard Harrison, Ivan Ramos and I will include John Briceno who walked away from leadership. These are all people who have walked away. I won't include Micah Goodin. These are all candidates who either left or were made to leave under your leadership since 2011. None of them left under John Briceno's leadership. Why have these 10 persons left and is there a trend in the party that is somehow a reflection on your leadership?"
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"You would have to ask them why. These matters have been exhaustedly discussed Jules. In each case we've discussed each of them. The ones before the last general election, those are matters that have been extensively discussed. In each and every case what I can say I feel absolutely comfortable with the process that is taking place. I have at all times acted I think properly, acted with respect, treated the individuals with dignity. But I will not allow anybody to coarse me to take any course of action that I do not want to take and certainly the good old days of solving problems with money are no longer as far as I am concern and I made it clear to everybody, even if the PUP had the money, they would not get it if they are trying to force me to do things that I do not believe are in the best interest of the party or the country."
Caye Caulker Chaos
Earlier on in our Newscast, we told you about how 18 year-old Hilberto Sotz died while in police custody. Well, as we told you, the family and the villagers are furious at the circumstances, they don't believe that he died of natural causes - they believe police killed him.
And that has led to civil unrest on the island. Right now, as this video shows, a crowd of persons has started a riot on the island. We're told by persons on the ground that the Gang Suppression Unit has been called in to quell the unrest. It's unprecedented and a very volatile situation, which we'll keep following. You'll be able to see a full report tomorrow.
Another Galvez Loses Life, This Time In PG
The Galvez family is again mourning the loss of another family member tonight. 73 year old Isidoro Galvez AKA Charlie Card died in an accident yesterday on the Southern Highway. Galvez was heading to a family function in Big Falls Village from Indian Creek when his Mazda pickup flipped several times about 20 miles on the highway. He was flung from the windshield and received massive head and body injuries. He died on the spot. His wife 46 year old Margarita Cal was also along with him. Cal's right leg was stuck in the vehicle and had to be amputated. When we spoke to Galvez's son this evening he told us that Cal told him that Galvez was uneasy and very emotional on the road before the accident - saying that Galvez was shouting out his daughters name: Rosalie Galvez - Rosalie, was shot and killed a month ago at the Belmopan Junction. The family is not sure exactly what happened on the road but police continue to investigate. A post mortem is scheduled for tomorrow so that should shed some more light on this case.
PM Volleys Bouquets At Bradley
And the UDP has also replaced its Caribbean Shores Candidate. Santiago Castillo stepped down from his elected seat giving way to Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. He held his endorsement convention yesterday and Castillo was not there - his people told us he had not been invited. But that didn't stop the party leader from heaping praise on Bradley:
Until the time that the next general elections are called, Bradley will keep his elected post as Mayor of the Belize City Council.
Ramos Explains Why He Said Yes To Petrocaribe
And we close tonight with two more stories on that new favorite buzzword in political and social parlance: Petrocaribe. As we showed you earlier Ivan Ramos exited public life at a petrocaribe funded event. To accept the money he went against his party's policy. He told supporters why he did it:..
Ivan Ramos, Resigned - PUP Rep. For Dangriga
"There are many people here, I don't want to call their names, that even before told me, 'take the money it's our money, we will pay it back anyhow,' and yes the party leader made a declaration during the debate in the house that the PUP will no longer participate in anything that has to do with Petrocaribe. Yes, but let me say to you then that when we went into the members' room, many of the representatives were very concerned and they expressed their concerned that, 'hey, if this is the case, what will we do?' All our participation in the Petrocaribe fund in the Christmas cheer went back to many of you here and others in the form of groceries which many of you appreciated and things of this sort."
Faber Used Petrocaribe To Take Collett To Corozal
And while that's Ramos' take on Petrocaribe spending, Collet Area Rep., Patrick Faber took his constituency members on a trip to Corozal Town, courtesy petro funds from the Mother's Day/Father's Day cheer program.
Here's how he explained it while speaking at Darrell Bradley's Endorsement Convention:
Hon. Patrick Faber
"We were able in the collet constituency to roll 22 loaded buses to Corozal Town today and we had a wonderful family day courtesy of Petrocaribe and our Prime Minister, the Honorable Dean Barrow. We danced to Jorge Enesto Babb the Caribbean Roots Band. We took a bath in the sea, the beautiful Corozal Bay Sea that looks turquoise and milky and it's beautiful. We ate tacos and we ate pibil and we ate barbeque. we had a feast, but most importantly we bonded as the collet family and we were able as well to share with the constituencies of the North; Corozal North, Corozal Bay, Corozal South East and Corozal South West and it would not have been possible if we did not have the kind of support from our Prime Minister and our Party Leader and also from the Petrocaribe funds."