FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
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
3rd Annual Belize Public Service Information Day a success
San Pedro Town celebrated the 3rd Annual Belize Public Service Information Day on Wednesday, June 3rd at Central Park. Under the theme “Commitment, Empowerment and industriousness: Cultivating a habit of selfless service to all Belizeans”, the event was held countrywide. Numerous government department branches from San Pedro participated in the event by setting up booths to provide valuable information to the community.
Guest speakers for the opening ceremonies included Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Honorable Senator C. Gibson and Dr. Otto Rodriquez Polyclinic II Administrator Owen Vellos. Students from the various schools on the island were also invited to partake in the day’s activities. The event proved to be very successful and informational.
GOB & Commissioner of Police issue statements RE: Hilberto Sotz Death
The Commissioner of Police wishes to update the family of the late Hilberto Sotz and the citizenry on the outcome of both criminal and internal investigation conducted in this rather unfortunate incident that occurred on Monday June 8, 2015 in Caye Caulker Village.
At the conclusion of the criminal investigation and the result of the post mortem examination conducted which certified cause of death to be “Vascular shock pronounced massive heart thrombosis acute post traumatic cerebral edema as a result of trauma to the head and body, on Wednesday, June 10 at 3:40 pm, Leonard Nunez police constable # 628 and Hallet King police constable # 819 both attached to Caye Caulker police sub-formation were arrested and charged jointly for murder and arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith and remanded into custody until July 14, 2015. Both PCs Nunez and King, who were charged criminally, have also been charged disciplinary.
In addition to PCs Nunez and King who were placed on immediate interdiction, the Commissioner of Police have also placed three (3) other officers on immediate interdiction as investigation revealed that these officers were on duty at the Caye Caulker police station at the time they are;
1. Cpl. Kirby Palma
2. WPC 1107 Bernadette Ramos
3. PC 1932 Edilberto Patt
Belize Jaguars to face the Dominican Republic’s National Football Selection
The Belize National Football Selection departed to the Dominican Republic (DR) on Tuesday, June 9th for their first match in the second round of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Qualifiers. The Jaguars will take on the national football selection from the DR on Thursday, June 11th in hopes of advancing in their quest to earn a spot at World Cup Russia 2018. The match will take place at the Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez in Santo Domingo at 2PM and will be aired through Channel Five (channel 10 on Coral Cable Vision). The second match will be a home game at the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Stadium in Belmopan City on Sunday, June 14th at 4PM. Tickets for the match are on sale at SMART outlets across the country and at the FFB office in Belmopan. Admission price is $50 per person.
The winner of this match will advance to the third round of competition.
Two island business donate vehicles to the San Pedro Police Department
Matachica Resort & Spa and GAÏA Riverlodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo) owner, Daniel Lighter along with Executive Director, Gricel Graniel, became aware of an urgent need for more police vehicles and were delighted to assist by offering an SUV (sports utility vehicle) to the San Pedro Town Council and Mayor Danny Guerrero for the exclusive use of the San Pedro Police Department. “We saw Mayor Guerrero’s concern and apprehension for safety on the island and decided to respond to this urgent need of the community,” stated Lighter. The team at Matachica stepped up last year too, when the need for improved public services, such as the expansion of the police barracks was needed along with other businesses.
As Lighter says, “Matachica Resort will continue to help local government in any way that we can, particularly with respect to the community’s concern for security and in wanting a safer island for all of us.”
Two Caye Caulker Police to be charged over death of Hilberto Sotz
The Caye Caulker Police Department (CCPD) is under heavy scrutiny over the death of 18-year-old Hilberto Sotz while in their custody, and as of Wednesday, June 10th, two of their own are facing charges for murder. The incident occurred on the evening of Monday, June 8th, and enraged island residents to the point that they took to the streets, rioting over the alleged police brutality. Since then, police forces have gained control of the situation in Caye Caulker and launched an investigation into the matter that led to the detention of two police officers attached to the CCPD: Nelson Nuñez and Hallet King. After a postmortem examination on the deceased, it was determined that Sotz had suffered major internal bleeding and trauma caused by excessive force. Furthermore, three other officers have also been placed on immediate interdiction as investigations have revealed that they were on duty at the time; they are Corporal Kirby Palma, WPC Bernadette Ramos and PC Edilberto Patt.
Astonishing finds at the Archeological site of Nim Li Punit!
Krista and her husband (owners of Crazy Canucks Beach Bar here on Ambergris Caye) along with her visiting parents were enjoying a fun Belize vacation, visiting from North to South. While exploring the Southern districts, they happened to come across a group of excited people gathered at the entrance of Nim Li Punit, an archeological site in the Southern District of Punta Gorda Belize. What exactly was going on? Well, Krista and her mom just had to find out what was up with all the excitement at this little site! You see, Nim Li Punit has recently been the center of attention. A team of archeologists and researchers working there had just unearthed one of the greatest archeological finds in Belize’s history since the Jade Head which was excavated some 30 years ago! Krista and her mom had no idea that they were about to witness major history in the making!
The tombs consisted of eight pieces of jade and 26 ceramic pots, all of which were laid out on tables for all to see and share in the excitement! However this was not what had them in awe. Researchers were stunned in particular at a jade pendant which was big as a human heart. The pendant was once worn by the king/ruler during the classic bloodletting ceremonies. And Krista and her mother got to witness this fabulous find and even had the opportunity to even take pictures!
People Demand Objective Criminal Investigation into Death of Hilberto Sotz at Caye Caulker Police Substation
A press release from the Belize Youth Movement dated Tuesday, June 9, 2015, states that it stands in solidarity with the community of Caye Caulker and calls for an objective and thorough investigation into the unexplained death of 18 year old Hilberto Sotz who was under Police custody at the time of his death on Monday, June 8, 2015.
In their press release, the Belize Police Department stated: “Sometime around 5:00pm, while being interviewed, he reportedly started complaining of chest pain and had difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the poly clinic for medical treatment where he passed away.”
The Belize Youth Movement’s release continues in stating: "The Police’s account of what occurred does not hold when compared with the accounts of the local residents. The Police’s account makes no mention of alleged bruises on the teenager’s body, and while authorities claim that the young man died after experiencing respiratory problems, his family vouches that he had no such medical complication. Furthermore, the official’s report that the teenager passed away at the local health center have been disputed by witnesses who saw the lifeless body moved from the Police Station to the health centre on Monday evening.
San Pedro High Completes Another Successful Student Exchange Program
This year, five more students from San Pedro High School (Jaqueline Caliz, Brittany Cornejo, Eddie Jackson, Elina Palma and Yasir Roberts), along with the school counselor (Ms. Alexis Guerrero) were once again invited to participate in the one-week exchange program with Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC). The students were in Los Angeles from May 23 to May 30, 2015.
Mr. Juan Baez, present Chairman of the Theatre Department at LAHC sent the school an official invitation letter early in the school year. The selected students, and a few staff members began the planning and preparation of this trip, which would not have been possible without the assistance of individuals and businesses in the community. For this reason, the school and participants of the program express their gratitude and would also like to inform the sponsors of the amazing experiences they had during this exchange program.
Community Collaboration Helps Feed the Hungry in Biggest Food Drive
On Saturday, June 6, 2015, quite possibly the island’s biggest food event was held with the organizing efforts of the San Pedro Food Bank, Sperro, Saga Humane Society and San Pedro Belize Red Cross who came together and demonstrated teamwork at its finest.
Misc Belizean Sources
San Pedro Lobster Festival 2015
The San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee is pleased to welcome the public to the San Pedro Lobster Festival 2015 featuring the popular Lobster Crawl Passport Event!
This year the Festival will kick off on Saturday, June 14, 2015, with the pre-season opening party. There will be daytime and night time events leading up to the Lobster Fest Central Park Block Party on Saturday, June 21, featuring the musical talents of Supa G and the Pannerifix Steel Band!
Each guest attending the Lobster Crawl is given a Lobster Festival “Passport”. In the passport there is a page for each Lobster Festival event; for each page that guests get stamped by the participating venue they are entitled to a raffle ticket. Then on June 21, they bring the “Passport” to Central Park to the Lobster Festival’s official sponsor’s booth. One lucky participant will win a vacation package for 2 to attend the San Pedro Lobster Festival 2015!!
The vacation package includes complimentary airfare, hotel stays, tours, golf cart rental, bar tabs, dinners, massages and much more!
Burial encountered during the digging for a house's foundation in Corozal
Institute of Archaeology personnel are currently at work in Corozal Town extracting yet another burial encountered during the digging for a house's foundation. While a child was extracted yesterday, today the excavations shall be for an adult. Unlike yesterday, capstones were encountered.
BOLEDO DRAWING for Wednesday, June 10, 2015: 29
San Pedro North Road Update
Work on the roads on North, Ambergris Caye has reached the Mata Grande Area/Intersection to Grand Belizean Estates. The workers are preparing the roads by cleaning the area and adding what mall material where needed to have a strong foundation for when the cement casting begins.
Western Ballaz Take 2nd Place
The Western Ballaz took 2nd place again this year in the NEBL. They hosted the Tiger Sharks on Friday, and then travelled to San Pedro. Kenny Lamb got some great shots at the 1st game. Congratulations, Western Ballaz!
CLASSIC BELIZEAN SINGING SENSATION, THE WAGNER BROTHERS, REUNITE FOR A LEGENDARY SHOW IN L.A.!!!
The return of a classic performance by the Belizean twin brothers talent of Michael and Mark Wagner is on the horizon in the Los Angeles Belizean Community in an upcoming show call, Up & Personal, on June 27, 2015, at the Bombay Lounge at Little Belize Restaurant in Inglewood, California.
Before their migration out of Belize in the 1980's, Michael and Mark Wagner were superstars of entertainment in Belize who use to sold out shows at the famous Palace Theatre in Belize, and appeared on the Great Belize, (now channel 5), TV show called Live Cream. Their popular act opened the way for other Belizean-American entertainers like Pupa Curly in the 1980's who were coming back into Belize to perform for Belizean audiences. The brothers also took their twin man shows across the country in Belize, jam packing venues in Dangriga, Belize, where audiences rushed to break down the doors to get in to see the talented duo.
Caye Caulker Cops Criminally Charged For Sotz's Death
Yesterday, we showed you the Caye Caulker residents who rioted against police after they discovered that 18 year-old Hilbert Sotz died while in police custody. They were convinced that the Caye Caulker police were hiding that 2 of their own brutalised the teenager, and killed him. Well tonight, the department has responded with a huge statement. The two officers who were suspected of abusing Sotz, were charged with murder. Everyone else who was in the station at the time, and who may have stood by and watched, heard, or said nothing as he was brutalised were placed on interdiction pending the outcome of this case.
To our knowledge, that kind of stiff, sweeping decisive action from the top police brass has not happened before.
Now to the two officers themselves, 32 year old Police Constable Hallet King, and 43 year-old Detective Leonard Nunez, 43, both residents of Caye Caulker were arraigned late this evening. It almost happened without the entire press knowing, which is standard operations at the court when police have been criminally charged. The outward face of the high command of the department is to ensure the media and public get to as much information as possible about such crimes and accused persons. But, the officers who actually handle the logistics of getting accused police officers to court do their very best to dodge the media.
Police Minister Speaks Candidly About Caye Caulker Investigation
So how did it go from an outward and bold assertion of no criminal activity in Sotz’s death to one where 2 officers are criminally charged, and 5 are on interdiction? Well it all comes down to the post mortem done by Dr. Mario Estradabran. He has done a medical examination on Hibert Sotz’s body and he determined that the causes of death were multiple. The first is that he suffered vascular shock and pronounced massive heart thrombosis, which basically means that he was hit in the chest and it caused intense bruising damage to his heart. He also suffered acute post traumatic cerebral oedema or basically blows to the head which cause bleeding in his brain.
That’s the description of physical torture taken too far, and so we’ve been trying to get a comment from someone in the police department, but none were available to us today. News Director Jules Vasquez is in the Dominican Republic for Team Belize’s football game against that country’s national team and so is Police Minister John Saldivar, who wear the hat of National Team Coordinator. The Minister granted Jules an interview about an hour ago in which he discussed candidly and in detail what happened to Sotz, as far as police have been able to establish, as well as the implications for it. Here’s his extended comments:
Sotz's Family Gets Validated In Their Suspicions
As we told you, Sotz’s family and the entire community of Caye Caulker rejected that story as legitimate, and now they have legitimacy with the post mortem report, the criminal charging and the actions of the Police Ministry.
Today, we spoke with the teenager’s parents and they told us what’s next now that they are sure that their son was killed:
Santorino Sotz - Father of Deceased
"I went to the Queen street police station to meet the officer and they took us to the doctor. So they went into the office - we stayed like an hour. The police doing their jobs, when they came back they took us back to Queen street. So we gone to the office and the head of the police told us that my son never died by natural death. Because the doctor proved that he get hard licks in his head because they find blood on his head that would cause to killed him and they find in his heart hard thick blood like they slammed him - and that is what caused the death. So that's why the police told me this morning that no matter what kind of officer, they will deal with it and they will find later on what kind of charge those two officers will get. Because my son never died by natural. My son isn't sick, I know hundred percent that they killed my son. That's why I always say it's them - and you see the proof now? My son never died by natural death. They are saying my son just stop breathe. My son stop breathe because they done cut his wind, punch him up, knock him down and the proof is here now. This, I will deal with them because my son just died, they cut his life."
Mayor Bernard To PUP: Run For Griga By-Elections!
Last night, we told you how the Opposition Party is considering boycotting the Dangriga By-Election following the resignation of former Area Rep., Ivan Ramos. Well, one of it’s own party members has basically exclaimed, “Don’t Do it!”
In an extended Facebook Post and a formal letter to his party, Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard Write’s, quote, “To My PUP Leaders,
It is with shock and a sense of disbelief that I hear that WE are contemplating, and perhaps have even decided that the great People’s United Party will not contest the bi-elections in Dangriga. Please tell me this isn’t so. If it is, then I need to respectfully ask if those making the decisions, or giving the advice, are doing so based on the will of the people or just the will of a few. If it is so, then I fear that we can be accused of being completely out of touch with the reality on the ground. If it is so, I fear we may have lost our way…. we in the People’s United Party stand and fight to the last second, and for the last ballot. This is who we are and what we do. WE proudly serve our people in the best of times and in the worst of times. WE do not put our tails between our legs and run away when the going gets tough.
PM Confident of Papa Mena's Chances
So, why is it that the PUP is considering not running as a viable option? Well, it most definitely include the fact that the Government has been pushing their Petrocaribe spending, the effects of which are visible, but also that their new candidate Anthony Sabal might be at a disadvantage because he’s has only recently been installed, while the UDP’s candidate Frank “Papa” Mena hit the ground running when he was installed over a year and 4 months ago.
At the Darrell Bradley Convention, we asked Prime Minister about the chances of both candidate, and here’s how he responded:
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister
"There's no doubt in my mind that Frank ‘Pawpa’ Mena will win and will win handsomely. For two reasons. He's an excellent candidate and the PUP has committed yet another terrible blunder. They way they've handled Hon. Ramos means that without a doubt there's going to be blow back. And so, both because ‘Pawpa’ and the UDP are strong and because they're driving, the PUP's driving away of Hon. Ramos weakens the PUP. It's strikes me that we will have another massive victory this time in Dangriga.”
The Road To D-R
Tonight, the Belize National Football Team is in the city of Santo Domingo Dominican Republic preparing for tomorrow’s world cup qualifier against the Dominican Republic. Tonight we’ll have all the latest news from the D-R as 7News is the only media embedded with the team. We’ll have that news shortly, but we pick up the timeline when they started their journey yesterday on a flight bound for Miami:…
Jules Vasquez Reporting…
It was smiles and thumbs up on the first leg of the trip form some players – while others got some zzzz’s after a rough 6 am workout in Belmopan. And while this coach didn’t work out, he told us he was concentrating.
A long layover and a delayed flight at Miami International meant the team had time to catch some of the NBA Final – most of the guys were rooting for Cleveland.
Arrival in DR for some of the team was delayed until 1:00 am – which meant that they were eager for a very full breakfast this morning – we can only hope it’s the breakfast of champions – but overall, everyone was very relaxed – everyone except
Working Out On the DR Field
All those interviews were done three and half hours ago after the national team’s only workout session in the Dominican Republic. The workout was timed to line up with tomorrow’s match which will be played at 2:00 pm, Belize time – that’s 4:00 pm in the Dominican Republic. When the ninety minute session was finished Assistant Coach Slusher told us that it was just a very light session:…
Charlie Slusher - Assistant Coach
"Most of all is just getting use to the field. It was nothing specific when it comes to the game preparation for tomorrow. We couldn't really show any way of any system or if we are playing four defence, five - three, five four or three forward, two forward. So we didn't really want to do anything that would show that to our opponent because more than likely, where we're at, we believe that somebody is watching - and chances are they need to know much more about Belize because again; The last couple of games we played, we played defence formation. So we didn't really want to show the team any idea of what we are going to come with tomorrow. So we did all those stuff in Belize before we reached here. So today was just to get a feel of the game and the guy to relax and just work and getting use to the bounce and all that thing that was given them a little problem.”
Chamber Speaks Out Against Petro Patronage
But before that election happens, Petrocaribe and its expenditure will continue to play a role in voting population’s opinion. One of social partners, the Chamber of Commerce, has spoken out against the use of the Petrocaribe funds.
In a release sent yesterday, the chamber said that quote, it “emphatically condemns the confessed blatant misuse of the Petro Caribe Loan Funds as confirmed by the Minister of Education Patrick Faber and aired by multiple media houses on newscasts of June 8th 2015. The minister stated at the Caribbean Shores endorsement convention that he used Petro Caribe Loan Funds to take twenty two (22) busses of his constituents to Corozal Bay for a beach party, using the said loan money to finance this outing.
Spending loan funds on a picnic can in no way be seen as investing in our people's future, and this activity underscores the need for procedures that uphold the principles of accountability, transparency and responsible spending, particularly in the use of loan funds.
That’s strong stuff, and so when the media had an opportunity to speak with Godwin Hulse, the leader of Government’s Business in the Senate, the question was put to him about that position. Here’s how he responded:
Hon. Hulse: Former CEO Saldivar's A Model Leader
For 3 weeks now, we’ve been hearing that Candelaria Saldivar, relative to Police Minister John Saldivar, has been removed as the CEO of the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, Local Government, NEMO, and Rural Development. Suggestions all have been that she was either not performing up to standards, or that some unethical behaviour occurred.
Today, we got a chance to clear that up with her former Minister, Godwin Hulse, he told us that no such thing has occurred. She is simply being moved to another ministry:
Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour
"If you look in the system since 2012, we've moved around 6 CEO's, so it's not the first time that a CEO has been moved. Actually when you administrative leave it's not suspension at all, it's because they're going to place her in another area. And so this is basically what it is. Mr. Zuniga who was our liaison officer has been moved to be acting as CEO and Mrs. Candelaria who did an excellent job is going to be placed in another ministry at another spot."
"So she was not suspended, that was the clarification? She was was simply moved to another area."
Government's Discussion On Sarstoon Island
Cabinet Minister Hulse was willing to address the issue of the confrontation between the Belize Coast Guard and the Guatemalan Navy at the Sarstoon Island, at Belize’s Southern Border.
It has sparked some controversy by some in the public. There are those who suggest that when the Government got involved and give an order to leave, it gave the appearance of weakness or conceding that the Guatemalan military was correct to forcefully ask Belizeans to leave their own territory.
The media got a chance to question Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is said to have given the order to diffuse the situation. He made it clear that he had nothing to say on the topic:
Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News
"Sir the foreign minister has said personally handled the Sarstoon situation"
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister
"We're not talking about that sort of thing, we'll talk about politics. You've heard from the minister, the foreign minister. You heard from the CEO of national security and you heard last from the commander who was on the ground, Mr. Borland. There's nothing more I can add. You got the whole story.”
Shane Orio Will Start Tomorrow
And while Jules was sampling the culture of the Dominican Republic – the team was resting up for their only workout session before tomorrow’s match. Coming out of that session which happened this afternoon at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez where the only question was who would start in goal tomorrow. Here’s what assistant coach Charlie Slusher said:…
"And I think for this game we could surely say that, we'll go with Shane Moody when it comes to what we have seen with his consistency right now internationally. And when you look at Woodrow at the same time - when it was Woodrow, Woodrow would have been in there. At this point in time we believe, not myself but the entire team, the entire coaching staff believe that this game, Shane Moody is the right goalkeeper. For the past couple of years, Woodrow was a hard worker and he won the position over Shane. The decision wasn't that hard to make but Shane has rejuvenated his career, have been one of our only international goalkeeper and goalkeeper that has been winning awards in Central America. So we feel very good having him in the goal, at the same time the system we're playing is a system Shane plays with his team in Guatemala. So that alone will make it easier for the coaches. The coaches don't really need to be making a lot of noise off the field or on the sideline because the goalkeeper can be doing a lot of that in organising the guys in the right position for us.”
FFB Delegation Head Discusses Game 1 In DR
At 2:00 pm Belize time tomorrow – The Belize National Football Team will take on the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo at that City’s Olympic Stadium. IT eats twenty four thousand persons and the team got their first chance to see it this afternoon. 7News was there and we asked head of the delegation and FFB Vice President Marlon Kuylen if the scale of the stadium might dwarf the team:
"How do you all feel seeing the size of this arena, the olympic stadium here in Santa Domingo. Is it a concern that, it's large?"
Marlon Kuylen - Vice President, FFB
"Well it holds 24,000 people but the federation here thinks that 10,000 fans should show up. The players aren't concern about that really, it's mostly about getting focused now. Today as you see in the background they are doing the are doing their walk around the stadium to get themselves familiarised with the pitch. Tomorrow it's more the technical side of things."
A Proper Water System For Belize River Valley
Over 3,000 residents of the Belize River Valley now have access to clean water. Residents have been suffering immensely for years having to live off river water and now all that has changed because an extensive water system has been installed. Today a ceremony was held in Scotland Halfmoon Village to officially inaugurate the water system in the area. The residents told us this system will significantly improve the quality of their lives.
The Water project was funded by a $6.96 million dollar loan from the CDB. The government and BWS contributed as well. All 9 villages in the Belize River Valley area are benefiting from this system.
Exercise For The Elderly
A group of helpage members were working out this afternoon. Sure: we didn’t see crunches, push up’ or sit up’s but there were several modified versions of a few facial and hand exercises. Although it might seem that these simplified workout techniques couldn’t yield any results – workout instructor Joseph Mclaren says any type of movement for these members will have enriching results.
These workout sessions are held weekly. Several members are over 90 years old.
Shane Moody: Staying Professional Football Fit
As we told you earlier Shane Moody Orio will start in goal tomorrow. It’s a change of direction for the team which and been relaying almost exclusively on Woodrow West. But tomorrow it will be Shane in goal – and he told us he is ready, and he is humble:..
Shane Moody Orio - Goalkeeper
"For me it's a big responsibility. The coaching staff, the team and the whole country is behind us. Again, it's an important game tomorrow. Like I said back in Belize, we have to be ready and expect every and anything. For example the pitch today, when we say the pitch was like very discouraging. But again, both teams will be playing on the same pitch. It's not something like they will be playing on a very good pitch and we won't. So, again we need to adapt to the bitch and go out and do our best."
"Now, I speaking to assistant coach Slusher, I said - you are an ageless wonder because as you get older you are refining your craft. How is that you've manage to stay at the top of your game and even enhanced your game - in sports, advanced age?"
Shane Moody Orio
"Well for me the most important thing is hard work. I've always been some that have always put in the work. A part from that, thank god everything has went well. It's hard work, dedication and I've always given my best. Again, tomorrow won't be the exception. We have no idea the kind of team we are facing but at the end of the day we need to be cautious and we need to be smart and intelligent."