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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
The last contender for the Belize Rural South Constituency has been officially nominated
The incumbent United Democratic Party’s candidate, Manuel Heredia Jr. was nominated by San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Juana Julia Martinez, Fernando Sosa, Ralph Humes, Maura Marina Fonzalez and Susana Cecelia Flores. “I feel extremely happy to have the full support of my family, friends and the community of both Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Let us continue this harmony that we have manifested. Let us make sure that we continue to bring our islands to the highest level, particularly in tourism. The best is yet to come,” said Heredia.
See and Taste Belize Festival brings Belizean flavors to Florida
The Consulate of Belize in Florida and the office of the Special Envoy of Belize hosted the first ever See and Taste Belize Festival in collaboration with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Flavors of Belize, Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Florida International University’s (FIU) School of Hospitality Management and Tourism. The two fold event served to promote Belize through its cuisine while raising funds for the construction of Belize’s first Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Held at the FIU’s Kovens Conference Center on the Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami on Saturday, October 10th from 2PM to 7PM, the See and Taste Belize Festival had an outstanding attendance.
Featured at the Festival were the country’s top culinary masterminds, who were tasked with preparing dishes that emphasis the Belizean culture. These chefs included Sean Kuylen, Rob Pronk, Yolanda Castillo from Garifuna Flava Restaurant in Chicago, and San Pedro’s very own Jenny Staines from Elvis Kitchen and Rain Restaurant and Rooftop Terrace’s Hugo Meyer and Sherlette Belisle. Attendees had the opportunity to sample creative and tasty dishes all inspired by the rich culture of Belize and its people. Of course, no Belizean festival would be complete without Belikin beer and local rum from both Travellers Liquors and Cuellos Distilleries. Guests also enjoyed Belizean music and local art by Belizean artists Walter Castillo, Marvin Meza, Inga Woods and Pamela Braun.
Nomination Day photos
Nomination Day for the upcoming 2015 General Elections are currently being held across the country. Here in the Belize Rural South Constituency, nominations are taking place at the San Pedro Town Council. First to be nominated was the People’s United Party candidate, Jose “Elito” Arceo. Nominating Arceo were Gualberto “Wally” Nuñez, Marina Graniel, Edwardo “Giovanni” Solorzano, Ricardo Aguilar, Seleny Pott and Patricia Marin. “I am humbled by the support everyone has given us in San Pedro and Caye Caulker. Thank you very much for coming out and supporting the PUP during nomination day. We are ready to take back this country,” said Arceo.
Belize Progressive Party’s Nominations in the Belize Rural South
Nominations in the Belize Rural South Constituency continue with the Belize Progressive Party’s candidate Robert “Bobby” Lopez. The BPP is a new political party, consisting of members from the Visions Inspired by the People, People’s National Party, We the People and other independent candidates. Lopez was nominated by Leilani Lopez Paz, Felipe Paz, Martin Dawson, Luis Cordova and Hilberto Sanchez. “We are planting the seed of change. This is a historical election, never before in the political history of Belize has there been a formidable third alternative for the two mass parties. It is now up to the people to decide,” said Lopez.
San Pedro Police implement community Meet and Greet Initiative
In an effort to strengthen community policing, the San Pedro Police Department held their first public meet and greet initiative. The initiative saw officers, along with the San Pedro Cadet Corps visiting residents in the Boca del Rio Area on Saturday, October 10th, addressing crime related issues. Throughout the morning, several homes were visited and residents were asked to partake in a small survey on the service provided by the San Pedro Police Department.
Leading the initiative was Deputy of the Coastal Executive Unit, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott. He explained the importance of touching base with the community to reassure that the police are here to serve them. “It is important to maintain a healthy relationship with the community. In order to maintain order and safety in the community, there needs to be a good relationship between the police and residents. Initiatives such as this meet and greet help us get important information from the people, and at the same time, let them know that the police do care about their well-being,” said Jemmott.
GOB partners with Private Sector for Growth & Prosperity
Taxation, the management and transfer of land assets, and speeding up government processes were key reforms requested by the business sector from the Government of Belize (GOB). Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) has established the Economic Development Council to create a “Partnership for Growth and Prosperity”, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented the government’s report card on reforms at his 4th annual Business Forum, at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City on Thursday, October 8.
The business sector has been clamoring for cheaper and faster Internet bandwidth to speed up and reduce the cost of doing business, and also for government to set up a ‘one-stop shop’ where all trade and other business licenses could be obtained in an expedited fashion, the ideal being for all the necessary documentation to establishing a business to be made possible within 24 hours, and if possible, online. The business sector has been pushing for this reform to make government, not only more efficient, but more transparent and less susceptible to corruption.
Abandoned building on North Ambergris Caye catches fire
Late Thursday night, October 8th the San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD) was alerted of a fire underway just north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge in the Tres Cocos area. The fire occurred at an abandoned building on the beach about two hundred yards from the road. The fire was declared extinguished, however, early on Friday morning, October 9th, the fire station was once again notified about another fire at the same abandoned building. According to reports from the Officer in Charge Newton Lennan, the fire seemed to have rekindled early on Friday morning and gutted part of the building. “When the fire started again and continued burning the building I went to go and make an assessment, and then returned to the station to get the portable pump because our main truck was out of water. Even though we were challenged not having the truck that usually takes the portable pump in working conditions, we still managed to reach the site and extinguish the fire. At the moment, we are trying to find out who is the owner of the property so we can complete our reports,” said Lennan. There are some speculations as to what caused the fire, but at the moment the SPFD is investigating its possible cause. “There are speculations going around, but we have not confirmed anything yet. Until investigations are completed, we cannot point fingers at anyone for causing the fire. In the case that we confirm that it was intentionally caused, then we will engage in a different process to solve the matter,” stated Lennan.
Up last on Nomination Day is United Democratic Party (UDP) Standard Bearer Manuel Heredia Jr.
He led a large parade through the streets of San Pedro Town and arrived at the San Pedro Town Council to be nominated by the following party supporters: Julia Martinez, Ralph Humes, Marina Gonzalez, Susana Flores, Daniel Guerrero and Fernando Sosa.
All three candidates are in high campaign gears as early elections in Belize were called for November 4, 2015, previously scheduled for March 2016.
People’s United Party parade
The People’s United Party was the first to parade through the streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye today as they followed the lead of PUP Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South, Elito Arceo.
With Nomination Day for the upcoming General Elections 2015 on November 4 being held across the country today, Belize Rural South nominations are taking place in San Pedro Town. First to head to the San Pedro Town Council to be nominated was Mr. Jose Elito Arceo who was nominated by Gualberto Nunez, Giovanni Solorzano, Marina Graniel, Patricia Marin, Ricardo Aguilar and Seleny Pott.
“Today as I was officially nominated as the PUP candidate to represent Belize Rural South, I have to say I was moved and touched by the tremendous out pouring of support and encouragement. I WILL be the change we need and I WILL be the voice we deserve! Muchas gracias a todos!” commented Elito Arceo.
Saying Farewell to Cecilia Lara (Eulogy)
100 años – 1,200 meses – 5,200 semanas – 36,500 días
876,000 horas – más de 52 millones de minutos – más de 3 mil millones de segundos
Que Vida tan maravillosa debe haber vivido!!!
Usted fue bendecida con tiempo para ver 36,500 amaneceres gloriosos, disfrutar igual número de hermosas puestas de sol y gozar un número igual de cielos iluminados de estrellas.
Para contemplar con admiración mas de 1,200 lunas llenas.
Para deleitarse con la venida de 100 primaveras y disfrutar de los lindos días de 100 veranos.
The Southwest Effect to Bring More Growth to Belize
Southwest Airlines landed their first 737 aircraft in Belize City on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm at Philip S.W. Goldson International airport and departed at 4:00 pm. It was a grandiose event as the Belize Tourism Board boasts an increase of overnight tourist arrivals from June to September 2015.
September alone saw a 19.3% increase in overnight tourism and the new flight is expected to further increase this number. Travelers to Belize on the airline are excited about the “Southwest Effect”, as James Ashworth, Managing Director of Customer Support and Services at Southwest Airlines describes that when the airline enters a market they bring fares down by approximately 30%, they have no bag fees, no change fees and they provide world-class customer service. It is a great product to a great market.
The celebration kicked off at Houston Hobby International concourse with a news event. Travelers enjoyed trivia, giveaways and complimentary beverages onboard this flight to kick off their vacation.
Misc Belizean Sources
Kids Meet Sharks PG
Wonderful to be back in Punta Gorda for a Kids Meet Sharks. Although it turned out to be more Kids Meet Corals, Mangroves and Bony Fish, the sheer delight on the children's faces as they became comfortable in the water with masks and snorkels and saw fish and corals underwater for the first time is what makes all the outreach and education we do so worthwhile and fulfilling. We have connected yet another group of children to their sea and their fish and helped them take the first steps towards marine stewardship.
A big thank you to St Benedicts School and Ms Jacobs for working with us to pull the KMS off smoothly and thank you to the New England Biolabs Foundation for supporting KMS. All photos credit to Dirk Francisco/MarAlliance.
The Belize Training & Employment Centre (BTEC) Celebrates One Year Anniversary
Launches A Home Health Care-Giver Training Programme
Non-Government and Community Based Organizations in Toledo Empowered
With Skills & Knowledge for Sustainable National Development
42% percent of the labour force have only completed primary education
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, in 2013 as much as 42% percent of the labour force had only completed primary education while 19.4% had not completed any formal education. The numbers were not that much different in 2012. That's over half the labour force functioning at the most basic level of education and have not progressed to any meaningful level of critical thinking. This is the context of our politics come November 4, vote for the person who think is best fit to change this.
Nomination Day Orange Walk
The People's United Party up first. Hundreds of persons lining up and waiting as the motorcade makes its way to the registry
If you follow your dreams..well the sky is the limit
Southwest Airlines First Flight to Belize was piloted by a Belizean, Captain Lindley Reyes!! Congratulations to Mr. Reyes and his entire family!
Environmental education campaign at FCD
The new campaign is on at FCD – Oops that is, an environmental education campaign!!! Objective: raising awareness of the beauty of the Chiquibul Forest.
Maya Island flight delays from weather possible
Notice: Due to the inclement weather expected for the rest of the weekend, there may be instances of Maya flight delays throughout the country. We recommend that all passengers expected to fly this weekend, contact their nearest terminal or our reservations team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and 223-1140, for updates.
Maya Island Air sincerely regrets any inconveniences that may be caused by these delays but can assure you, that we will do our very best to keep you informed, on time and to transport you safely to your destination. — at Maya Island Air Belize.
Art in the Park Corozal postponed
Our monthly Art in the Park event scheduled for Saturday October 16th, 2015 has been postponed to Saturday October 24th, 2015 due to inclement weather.
Our apologies for any inconveiences caused.
NOMINATIONS FOR COROZAL BAY DIVISION
The Corozal Bay will be a hotly contested electoral division. Electoral nominations traditionally proceed in a festive atmosphere throughout the country as the two major political parties nominate their candidates. Today, party supporters and allies rallied behind their candidates singing along their parties’ political slogans. Despite the inclement weather conditions, the Corozal Bay nominations were no exception.
Here are some highlights of the event. For the People’s United Party-Corozal Bay, Gregorio “Papas’ Garcia was nominated, incumbent United Democratic Party-Corozal Bay Pablo Marin was nominated and Roy Rodriguez was nominated for the Belize Progressive Party-Corozal Bay.
Other divisions that ensued their nominations include Corozal North, Corozal South West and Corozal South East.
SHJC Extreme Rules Fundraiser
SHJC is having a mid-semester fundraiser at Thirsty Thursdays tomorrow night. DJ Diamond will be mixing.
"Come out and support Sacred Heart Junior College!!!!!"
Benque's 111th Golden Evening
Happy birthday, Benque Viejo del Carmen! Tomorrow is the big celebration, and they'll have a little fair at the Benque HoC starting at 2:30pm.
"Golden Evenings, a fun filled evening of traditional games & artistic performances in celebration of the 111 Anniversary Celebration of the Foundation of Benque Viejo Del Carmen"
Business Manifesto by the BCCI
I think the Business Manifesto by the BCCI is a good effort and it should be read. I note two glaring deficiencies:
1. Nothing related to the environment and management of our natural resources.
2. Corporate stewardship -
a) Re corruption -- for every hand that receives there is one that gives,
b) Ensure that employees get a fair salary and that consumers get the best quality and service..
PUP's Nomination In The City
Nomination day - it's a special day in Belizean politics when a formality becomes a kind of political festival as the mass parties roll out their machines in all 31 constituencies - in an effort to convince voters that they have the support and the momentum going into the election.
The tradition for the past few years has been that the PUP crowd goes to their respective nominating offices in the morning - and the UDP goes in the afternoon. So this morning at about 18 government offices countrywide - the PUP candidates for that area went in at 10:00 in the morning. 7News was in Belize City, Cayo and Corozal to see it - and Jules Vasquez begins our reporting with the PUP crowd in Belize City.
Jules Vasquez reporting
The PUP had to march in the rain today - while the party leader led the singing but the crowd of six to eight hundred was still spirited as it headed to the CB Hyde Building at the end of Mahogany Street.
"Has it ever rained on a nomination day?"
Rt. Hon. Said Musa, PUP Candidate - Fort George
"Its the first time I believe. Which is a good sign. Showers of blessing for the PUP."
UDP Bring Out Hundreds For Their Nomination
And then in the afternoon at 2:00 it was unto the UDP. Now, for the past 9 years or so, going back to the 2006 Municipals, the UDP has been matching and more recently outmatching the PUP - so the same was expected today. Except…it was pouring when the UDP Procession was scheduled to move off. We thought that might dampen spirits - but it seemed to have the opposite effect. Here's what we saw in the city streets this afternoon:
Jules Vasquez reporting
The UDP nomination parade had the electric air of a carnival - rain didn't put a damper on these spirits - and in fact seemed to encourage a kind of reckless abandon on the streets.
Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader
"I am sure that if it hadn't rain there would have been more people, but look, at it is our cup is overflowing. So, no complaints."
The crowd was massive at least three, possibly four times the size of the PUP:
Are Voters Being Paid To March?
But today the leader of the opposition made an emphatic claim that the UDP used public funds to bankroll their campaign and nomination day parade. Here's what he said - followed by the responses from the Ministers of Housing and Finance whom he accuses:..
Francis Fonseca, PUP Candidate - Freetown
"I am very concern of many serious reports I have gotten over the last 24 hours of finance officers being forced to pay people to march today through the Smart Stream system and I would certainly urge the media to look into that matter. I have gotten this from credible people who work in these ministries who are being force to pay people to march today. For example the Ministry of Housing $150 through the Smart Stream system. This is on top of very serious allegations that $150,000 of Petrocaribe funds have been channel to UDP candidates over the last two weeks - each candidate. This is very serious. We have to look into it. It's a serious matter. At this point they are allegations, but they are credible allegations as far as I am concerned."
Michael Finnegan, UDP Candidate - Mesopotamia
"If I am the minister of housing and I give out grants as small as $50, as big as $5,000, $150, $200 etc. and I do that in terms of helping the people and they want to come out and support me. That is their business."
Mayan King: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire?
For weeks we've been reporting on the difficulties that Johnny Zabaneh has been having at the Maya King banana farm in Stann Creek. It's the biggest banana farm in Belize and the one that was most affected by the drought which left the farm with tonnes of undersized bananas that do not meet export requirements. That left Maya King in a cash flow crisis - with not enough revenue to pay the hundreds of farm workers on its payroll - and no bank account to pay them from overdraft. Johnny Zabaneh went public with a plea for help - and it seems the international purchaser of Belize's Bananas heard him. As we reported, Fyffes agreed to help him with some bridge financing. And while Zabaneh told us that on record - and we reported it - it seems that report put Fyffes in serious hot water - since Zabaneh still has that kingpin designation on him. Reports to 7News say that the Banana growers Association promptly sent out a letter to growers saying it is ending relations with Maya King - and will not be buying anymore of its bananas. This is a massive blow to Maya King - and to Belize's banana industry overall - since that farm produces almost a quarter of the bananas exported from Belize. We could not reach Zabaneh for comment - but needless to say, the severing of relations with the sole exporter of Belize's Bananas - which is the Banana Growers Association - could prove fatal to Maya King farms, unless something is urgently worked out. We could not reach John Zabaneh for comment today, despite numerous attempts.
Party Leaders Discuss VIP's Intended Wrench
Last night we told you about the VIP's bold challenge to the election status quo. The independent party called Vision Inspired by The People isn't contesting the election, but is proposing to play spoiler. The party says it will challenge and hopes to nullify the result of the general election in court because there is no proportionality in the breakdown of Belize's 31 constituencies. The constitution requires that they be proportional, or more or less equal - but the disparities are huge: there are, for example just over three thousand registered voters in Fort George and over nine thousand in Belmopan. The independent party is dead serious about the challenge - but mass party leaders Francis Fonseca and Dean Barrow seemed completely unimpressed when we spoke to them today:..
Francis Fonseca, PUP Party Leader
"I don't think the legal challenge will go anywhere in court. But I think it's a legitimate issue. I think it's certainly something we are absolutely committed to looking at very quickly. We believe as I think you know, that there should have been a re-registration exercise taking place already before this election and certainly we are committed as a party upon forming the government to immediately begin that process of looking, reviewing the electoral boundaries, reviewing the divisions. There is a need for greater equity in the distribution of divisions and votes and hopefully we could even reduce the number of electoral divisions. But in an equitable way."
Feinstein Group Argue Cruise Tax Law Amendment
The Fort Street Tourism Village case continued in court today. It's a challenge by the Feinstein group that the head tax and other arrangements with the FSTV owners are illegal. It's a technically complex case - and one that could have far reaching implications, both retrospectively and prospectively.
Today, arguments were heard about the recently passed Cruise Ship Passenger Tax Act - which sought to validate the past collection and distribution of head taxes by the BTB, the government and Fort Street Tourism Village. But while the law regularizes it in the here and now, it can't do the same for all those years when an agreement sought to authorize the collection of a tax - which cannot suffice since only parliament can impose a tax. Attorney for the Feinstein Group Andrew Marshalleck explained his client's case today:..
"Today was about hearing arguments as to the impact to the legislation that was passed - the cruise chip passenger tax act, that sort to validate the past collection and distribution of head taxes by the BTB, the Government and the Fort Street Tourism Village. The position was that the collection and distribution of the tax was governed by agreement between the parties. The law is fundamentally that taxes can only imposed as a matter of law and under legislative authority.
Opposition Leader Concerned About Checkpoint Shutdown
Last night we told you about the directive from the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to all police formations to remove all checkpoints countrywide. You also heard from the officer commanding southside who says that his crime fighting checkpoints will remain in place - and only the routine checkpoints will be removed. The CEO in the Ministry of National security told us that there's no sinister motive behind it - and it is simply to reduce the inconvenience to drivers and commuters. The PUP has said that it's very suspicious - and the Chamber of Commerce joined the opposition today. You'll hear shortly what the PUP had to say, but first to the Chamber which sent out a release. The release, says quote, "The recent suspension of vehicular checkpoints by the Commissioner of Police opens the doors for the plague of contraband and illicit goods to be transported uninterrupted throughout the country as well as continued human trafficking." End quote. And while the chamber does agree that checkpoints cause undue delays and fuel consumption, it urges Police to, quote, "seek a solution that allows for effective monitoring and interception of illicit movements without excessive gridlock." End quote.
US Embassy Visa Waiver
Everyone who's been to the US Embassy for a visa knows about the headache and hassle of having to go in for a visa interview. Well, if you're under 13, over 80, or just seeking a renewal, those hassling days may be behind you. The US Embassy sent out a notice today advising of an Interview Waiver Program, which has been made available to certain applicants as of October 12, 2015.
So, here's how it works. If you're renewing a visa, under the age of 13, or over the age of 80, you may be eligible to drop your documents at the U.S. Embassy and bypass the usual in-person interview with a consular officer.
For those seeking renewals, you qualify if you a renewing a tourist visa that was given for 5 years or more, that expired less than four years ago. You also have to still be in possession of your most recent visa.
PUP's Nomination In Cayo
So as we showed you earlier - the UDP's crowd was 4 times larger than the PUP's in the city, but how did it go in Cayo and Belmopan? Well, both the UDP and PUP had spirited groups as well, but still - the crowds weren't all that impressive. We traveled first to the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and spoke to all 3 PUP candidates. Here is what they had to say about their supporters and their level of confidence going into the general election:
"Being officially nominated, you were carried out of the center by your supporters. Is this group that you have here indicative of your support? Or is it just pretty much as people would criticize, just a group of people who are getting a day pay."
Dan Silva, PUP Candidate, Cayo Central
"No. we don't have the luxury of paying people to come out and vote like our opponents. People would be here more today. But for example, to come out of San Antonio right now is impossible. We have a minister of works, but yet to come out of San Antonio, Cristo Rey is almost impossible right now. Two days of rain and the road is flood. We had a meeting last night in San Antonio and people were excited by the hundreds came out blowing horns, motorcycles revving up - people are excited."
UDP Belmopan Nominates
So that was PUP in Cayo this morning, we also went to Belmopan this afternoon where we met two UDP candidates - John Saldivar for Belmopan and Ralph Huang for Cayo South. We spotted Huang on our way to Belmopan in Ontario with a pocket of his supporters. He seemed the least concerned about today saying that it's just a fun day and that he is not fazed by the crowds or the lack thereof. Then we moved on the Belmopan in the afternoon where Huang met up with Saldivar for the UDP parade. Again - very lively and vivacious crowd but not a remarkable number. Saldivar told us how grateful he is that people even came out in the downpour.
Now, there was one part supporter we could not miss - he was at the frontline in the parade with Saldivar - you guessed it right -a new member of the team - Jose Chacon . He told us how his decision to cross over can help the UDP.
PM Barrow Discusses Bar Association Slapdown
Yesterday we told you about the Bar Association - and how the CCJ refused its application to render a judgment on the eighth amendment, even though both sides in the case, namely the Government and the Ashcroft Alliance had already reached a settlement. Today the Prime Minister said it was an ill conceived move by what he calls the PUP Bar:...
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"There are good lawyers in the Bar Association. There are good lawyers what I am oblige to describe as the PUP Bar Association and they really ought to have known better. If you say that you would wish some sort of a final determination as to the constitutionality of the 8th amendment and this basic structure doctrine - there is another way to go about it. They themselves admitted that they've also have their heads handed to them with respect to the challenge before the Court of Appeal which reaffirm that the law of Belize does not include this basic structure doctrine. They will appeal that and they will have a chance at that point to get the CCJ to make a final pronouncement. They ought to have waited on that. It was I think quixotic, it was adventurist and unrealistic in the extreme and I have to feel then that politics was involved."
Brother Barrow Resigns From The Bar
And in line with what big brother had to say, the Vice President of the Bar, Denys Barrow resigned today. A short note to bar members from the Bar Association secretary says, quote, "Mr. Denys Barrow SC has resigned from his post as Vice President of the Bar Association and as a member of the Association effective October 5th, 2015."
Barrow had argued passionately against the bar making that application to the CCJ but the resolution was still carried.
Papas Nominated; Ready To Challenge Pablo
In our last segment we showed you how nomination day looked in the West, but we had another news team in the North, and in the morning, they were in Corozal Town when PUP's Gregorio "Papas" Garcia went in for his nomination in the Corozal Bay Constituency.
He's trying to unseat UDP's Pablo Marin who remained under pressure while he served in the Barrow Administration as the Minister of Health. We asked his Garcia if his perceived failures might play into his electability in his division. Here's what he told us:
Shortly afterwards, we went to see how Garcia's PUP colleague, David Castillo, as he went to accept his nomination in Corozal North. He's running against incumbent Hugo Patt, who had a short 3 year and 8-month term in office. Castillo is also the son of PUP's Valdemar Castillo, a long time representative in that same division. The younger Castillo told us today that he is hoping to return Corozal North back to the PUP after November 4th.
Mass Parties Flex At OW Nominations
From there, we went to the Orange Walk District where the PUP controls three of four seats. But this time, UDP is hoping to gain ground there. So, both sides had something to prove when their 4 candidates were nominated.
The PUP was the first to go in the morning, when the rains were pouring down. Still, they had an impressive showing. We spoke with all 4 candidates who are trying to get elected:
Then, in the afternoon, the 4 UDP candidates, led by Gaspar Vega, took their turn to flex. By that time, the weather had improved, and when all 4 crowds merged, it was impressive. Here's what the UDP politicians told us:
Francis & Finnegan Get Sentimental
As we've shown you, today was a day for cold political calculation; a numbers and money game. But, in the middle of it, we found two seasoned politicians who were feeling sentimental. Francis Fonseca and Michael Finnegan might not agree about a whole lot but they did feel a little misty eyed during the nomination process today:..
Francis Fonseca, PUP Party Leader
"But of course today I remember my mother, because this is the first time that I have marched without her to nomination day. As always as you know Jules she was right by my side. So I thought about her all morning and even when I was getting nominated just now. So it's been a good emotional day, showers of blessing."
Michael Finnegan, UDP Candidate - Mesopotamia
"I am getting at the end of my career. I am getting older. I am now 65. The next election I will be 70. I am at the end of the trail now. When I was in there it was emotional. You can feel all the jitters in my stomach."
Nomination Day Across the Country: P.U.P. Goes First
It was Nomination Day today across the country. Candidates from the People’s United Party, the incumbent United Democratic Party, the Belize Progressive Party and independents went through the official process [...]
B.P.P. Will Contest 25 Seats in Upcoming General Elections
The newly-formed Belize Progressive Party formally registered its Belize City candidates during lunch today. The nomination of its wider membership took place simultaneously across the country. Short of the required [...]
U.D.P. Draws Massive Numbers for Nomination Day Parade
This morning, the challenging People’s United Party flexed its political muscle and this afternoon it was the U.D.P.’s turn to flood the streets with red from U.D.P. Headquarters to the [...]
Closure of Police Checkpoints Raises Suspicion
The Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie issued a directive, dated October thirteenth, to all formations of the Belize Police Department on Tuesday to remove checkpoints across the country. While the [...]
John Briceño on Lifting of Police Checkpoints
No explanation was provided as to the reason why it is now seen fit to call off established checkpoints. But that decision is not going down well and speculation is [...]
P.U.P. Supporters Descend on Sugar City for Nomination of Candidates
In Orange Walk Town this morning, the mood was festive and upbeat. On the heels of the largest rally in this election campaign, party loyalists were joined by others to [...]
4 B.P.P. Candidates and An Independent Samantha Carlos in OW Race
The nomination of the candidates for the Belize Progressive Party and one independent was held following the P.U.P.’s. The mood was subdued and there were no bells and whistles as [...]
U.D.P.’s Gapi Vega Leads Multitude in OW Procession
The candidates for the ruling party were nominated in the afternoon. Clearly they were well-oiled financially and the atmosphere was festive. The Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega led the crowd [...]
Francis Fonseca Says VIP’s Constitutional Challenge Will Fall Flat
The last redistricting exercise was completed prior to the 2008 general elections. Since then the voter population across all thirty-one constituencies have changed considerably. As we mentioned earlier in the [...]
VIP Challenge Won’t Go Anywhere says PM Barrow
The PM also spoke of the VIP’s notice to challenge any election results on November fifth, the morning after the General Elections. Barrow says while they can go ahead and [...]
Will Gapi Vega Become Belize’s Next Prime Minister?
There have been persistent rumours from within the United Democratic Party and in other sectors that there is a plan underway to elevate current Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. Of [...]
PM Barrow on CCJ’s Decision to Dismiss Bar’s Application
On Thursday a panel of CCJ Judges struck out an application by the Bar Association to be inserted as an interested party in the joint nationalization appeals in respect to [...]
Is Sol-Gen’s Office Investigating Mayor Bradley’s Candidacy?
Darrell Bradley was nominated today, so he’s now officially registered to run in the Caribbean Shores Division. But he’s still the sitting Belize City Mayor which means that he has [...]
Shooting in Belize City Near St. Martin’s Primary School
This morning, just after ten, there was a shooting down the street from the St. Martin’s de Porres School in Lake Independence. Nobody was hurt but two vehicles were hit [...]
Kafele Garcia, 19, remanded on murder charge
A resident of Lords Bank, Ladyville, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison today after Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith arraigned him on a single count of murder for the unlawful death of Ervin Osbert Franklin, 25, who was stabbed to death over the weekend.
Kafele Garcia, 19, did not have to enter a plea, because murder is indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court if the Crown can prove that it has a prima facie case to take to the high court.
Chief Magistrate Smith remanded Garcia to prison until his next court appearance on November 16, 2015.
On Sunday, October 11, around 2:00 a.m. police visited Edwin Parks Street in the Lords Bank area of Ladyville, where they observed Ervin Osbert Franklyn with multiple stab wounds in the lower back and the armpit area.
BDF soldier stabbed to death in barroom brawl
An Orange Walk man has been arrested and charged with murder for the stabbing death of a Belize Defence Force soldier during a brawl at Pandas Bar, located on North Park Street in Orange Walk Town, at about 9:00 Saturday night.
During the brawl, the soldier was stabbed multiple times in the chest, and he died almost immediately. He was taken to the Northern Regional Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Police charged Gian Guerra, 32, of San Francisco Street, Orange Walk Town, with murder for the death of the soldier, Rafael Abel Rivas, 31, of Trial Farm, Orange Walk District.
Guerra was taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he was arraigned on the murder charge and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until November 26, when he is to be returned to court.
Red, blue and green “flex” on Friday
Despite a forecast for a rainy day tomorrow, Friday, October 16, thousands of Belizeans – supporters of the two mass parties as well as a new challenger, are expected to flock to nomination centers across the country as they parade their candidates for early elections due in just a few weeks, on Wednesday, November 4.
Amandala has released its 2015 general election roundup, and at least 86 men and women, including 16 incumbent standard bearers from the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) (seeking re-election), and 10 incumbent standard bearers from the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) (also seeking re-election), are billed to seek nomination. (See the table accompanying this article.)
The nomination exercise is used by the parties as an opportunity to flex their political muscle to the public, with their vocal, sometimes rambunctious supporters dressed, naturally, in party colors, each party trying to outdo the other in terms of size and vociferousness.
First Caribbean Bank’s employees protest deadlock in negotiations
The staff of First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) countrywide staged another in a series of protests last week, on Friday afternoon during their lunch break, as negotiations between the Christian Workers Union (CWU) and the Bank’s management has failed to reach an exit package settlement deal in the wake of the sale of the bank’s assets to Heritage Bank and the government’s passage of the FCIB’s vesting bill which finalized the sale.
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, president of the union, confirmed that the FCIB’s management finally met with them on Tuesday, October 13, to begin the negotiation process. Matura-Shepherd added that talks are scheduled to continue next week Tuesday. It is hoped that these negotiations will be able to secure an adequate exit package for the staff and also ensure that two major changes relevant to the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) are made.
Matura-Shepherd said, “The FCIB’s staff is appalled at the utmost bad-faith that the bank has shown.” Matura-Shepherd went on to say that there isn’t any truth in the release the FCIB’s management published in the October 11, 2015 issue of this paper.
“ET,” career criminal, accused of sodomy, is remanded
A Belize City man who has racked up a number of criminal offences and who was out on bail is back behind bars at the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this morning on a charge of committing an unnatural act.
Chief Magistrate Smith read the charge to Basil Earl Willis, AKA “ET,” and only asked him if he understood the charge. No plea was taken from Willis, because the matter is an indictable offense and will be heard in the Supreme Court after a preliminary inquiry is held at the Magistrate’s Court to determine if there is a prima facie case against him.
The allegation against the 47-year-old Willis is that on Saturday, October 10, he sodomized a 23-year-old Belize City man, who reported the matter to police.
National Cycling Team to Barbados
The Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) will be sending a delegation to Barbados from October 15 – 20. The delegation will comprise of five (5) Male Elite cyclists, three (3) Female Elite cyclists and a coaching staff of two (2).
The team will be competing in the Annual Elite Caribbean Cycling Championships, to be held on October 17 and 18. Our cyclists will compete in two events, the Individual Time Trial on October 17, and the Road Race on October 18.
The delegation is as follows: Ron Vasquez, Byron Pope, Brandon Cattouse, Joslyn Chavarria, Gregory Lovell, Patricia Chavarria, Alicia Thompson, Kaya Cattouse; Perry Gibson – National Team Coach; Orson Butler – Vice President, CFB.
Paddle and Pedal – Burrell Boom 2015 Race results
Belize’s first Paddle & Pedal, presented by Paddle Stop, took place on Sunday, October 11. The event consisted of 2 components, whereby the participants, two per team, paddle a canoe then transition to a bicycle. The first component, the canoe race, started just after 10:00 a.m. at Henderson’s Bank. Three teams – Guydis Canoes, Wateva Boyz, and Ride or Die paddled off towards Manatee Lookout Restaurant, the transition point.
Arriving first at that location was Team Guydis Canoes – Chris Guydis and Euken Arnold; they were followed closely by the Wateva Boyz – Adrian Williams and Sergio López – sponsored by D & D Consultancy. Not too far behind was the Ride or Die Team – Felix Rhaburn and Wilberto Daniels – sponsored by Guydis Canoes.
The transition didn’t go as smoothly as expected. The participants were to take their canoe out of the river and place it on land unassisted. This didn’t go according to plan, probably due to a lack, of communication between participants and support crew. Nonetheless, that got sorted and off on their bicycles they went.
Belmopan F.A. 1st Division playoffs begin on Sunday
The Belmopan Football Association (BFA) First Division Football Competition playoffs begin this Sunday with the top 4 teams seeing action in game 1 of their best-of-two games semifinal series. The top 4 seeded teams are #1 Roaring Creek United, #2 Las Flores FC, #3 Duck Run II, and #4 Camalote Warriors. According to the semifinals format, it will be #1 vs #4, and #2 vs #3.
Game 1 of the semifinals will be at the Las Flores Community Football Field.
Sunday, October 18
1:00 p.m. – Roaring Creek United vs Camalote Warriors
3:00 p.m. – Las Flores FC vs Duck Run II
Dangriga football stats
Three games were played on Sunday, October 11, in Week 7 of the Rodwell Ferguson Football Tournament. In game 1, Pomona Warriors won over Valley Stars, 4-3. Game 2 saw Hope Creek Pumas with the 4-2 victory over Valley Shattaz. And in game 3, it was Santa Cruz L.D. South Rock drilling Pomona Sliders, 5-nil.
Week 8 this weekend will be a Saturday double-header and Sunday triple-header.
Saturday, October 17
7:00 p.m. – Hope Creek Pumas vs C.P.B.L. Barracks FC
9:00 p.m. – Mayan King vs Valley Stars
Editorial: Nomination Day
As we write early Thursday morning, it appears that the new Belize Progressive Party (BPP) will nominate candidates in at least 24 of Belize’s 31 electoral constituencies on Friday, October 16 – Nomination Day nationwide for Belize’s November 4 general elections.
The calling of general elections late last month by Prime Minister Dean Barrow caught the BPP off guard. They were still in the process of selecting a name for the new party, which was essentially an amalgam between the Belmopan–founded Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) and the Toledo-based People’s National Party (PNP) of Wil Maheia. The BPP were able to integrate Hipolito Bautista and Lucilo Teck, the leaders of the Northern Districts’ “We The People” party from some years back. We do not know how the Cayo-based political group of Nefretery Nancy Marin and Hector Silva responded to the new party. We have heard there were people in the VIP leadership structure who resisted the BPP initiative.
In principle, this newspaper supports the BPP. We are long-time friends of Patrick Rogers and Wil Maheia, the Leader and Deputy Leader, respectively, of the BPP. We admire Lucilo Teck. In fact, Patrick Rogers some years ago founded the Commoners movement just a few houses down from Kremandala at the Rogers family home corner of Partridge and Vernon Streets.
From the Publisher
I was struck by an opinion piece I read in the editorial pages of The New York Times’ issue of Saturday, October 10, 2015. The New York Times is the most prestigious newspaper in the United States of America, planet earth’s superpower. The opinion piece was written by Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, the most prestigious university in the United States. Her opinion piece indicts Exxon Mobil, an oil company, for its perfidy where the matter of climate change is concerned. Exxon Mobil may be the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful business corporation in the United States. If it is not, it is close to being that.
I will use my column this week to reproduce Professor Oreskes’ opinion piece, because the lesson is classic: corporations are so driven by their greed for profits that they are willing to sacrifice the good of humanity and the welfare of the planet itself. We saw this in the case of the tobacco industry, which spent decades and billions seeking to deny that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer and other illnesses. When they began losing that fight in America, the tobacco companies started spending more of their advertising budgets in Third World countries to convince our innocent youth that cigarette smoking was stylish, sexy, and cool.
The rat is in the House
Dear Editor Amandala,
Belize’s two political parties may have served out their purpose. They brought Belize to independence and laid the constitutional foundation of the nation. They have improved the basic systems human beings need – running water, sewers, electricity, more up to date government-funded hospitals, infrastructure for travel, transportation, commerce and modern means of communication within the country and with the outside world. They established tertiary education and grew a new industry, tourism. They were stopped short of developing a viable oil industry due to meager oil finds – to date.
However, today Belize is experiencing some serious times, the most serious in its history. The enemy is occupying the southern river border, claiming it as its own territory. How long this has been the case is anybody’s guess. Over the years both UDP and PUP, recently more so the UDP, appear to be stuck, at a loss as to how to resolve what’s hurting the nation most. For starters, the very existence of the nation has been endangered as its guardians nodded off at the wheel in respect to Guatemala’s claim. Adding to that, they’ve offered no cohesive national vision to build on.
Will social media impact the general elections?
Facebook has become Belize’s latest and perhaps most popular communication forum. Belizeans are connected to “friends” across the street, throughout Belize, in the Diaspora and around the world. Facebook, in just ten short years, has indeed become a global cultural phenomenon.
According to Internet World Stats, the Caribbean has an estimated population of 41,873,409, of which there are 17,211,359 Internet users as of December 2014, with 6,397,080 using Facebook – the most dominant social platform, with over 1.15 billion active members worldwide. Facebook remains the most popular platform for Caribbean nationals, with Twitter in second place.
The Bahamas has the highest internet usage for the region, with more than 90.5% of residents online, according to World Development Indicators.
There are literally thousands of Belizeans using Facebook, but only a very small percent of that number actually “post” or “share”. The largest number of Belizean Facebook users, it appears, are there only to “fass”, but “fass” or not, Belizeans are online.
BPP adds 7 more candidates for general elections
The newest political party on the scene is the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), which was formed after Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced November 4, 2015 as the date for the general elections.
This afternoon, the BPP introduced another 7 of its candidates at a press briefing at the Belize Institute of Management, bringing the number of candidates representing the party to 25. The six constituency seats that the BPP has not been able to fill as yet are three in the Belize District and three in the Cayo District.
The BPP’s National Manager, Bobby Lopez, is banking on the fact that his party has until around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, before nominations close, to boost its roster of candidates for the elections. In that regard, Lopez said the BPP has a surprise for nomination day.
The first of the new candidates to declare was Dr. Javier Reyes, who will be running in the Orange Walk East constituency and will be facing the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) Elodio Aragon, Jr., who is a former Deputy Commissioner of Police and a first-time aspirant for national office.
Glenford Vernon’s “boy killer” still at large
One month after Glenford Vernon, 26, of Cran Street, was murdered by a boy killer who shot him about 7 times while he was getting a tattoo on his neck in a tattoo shop on Castle Street, the killer and his accomplice have not yet been captured.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 Friday afternoon, September 4. Vernon’s youthful killer is said to be only 15 years old.
The neighbors reported that they saw two men – a boy and an older man – coming down Lancaster Street toward Castle Street, and both were on one bicycle. They stopped a short distance from Castle Street, and the older man took out a gun and gave it to the boy.
The boy hesitated, and according to those who saw him, there seemed to be reluctance on his part.
Man remanded for sexual assault of mother-in-law
A 54-year-old man who sexually assaulted his 77-year-old mother-in-law, who is confined to a wheelchair, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until January 21, 2016 on charges of sexual assault and harm of the invalid woman.
The woman reported that on the morning of October 1, she was in her yard, in her wheelchair, when her son-in-law came up and wheeled her into the house, where he fondled her private parts and fondled her breast.
Police promptly arrested the son-in-law and charged him with the offenses. Today, he was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned on the offenses before being remanded.
Belize City resident remanded for Orange Walk murder
Belize City resident, Teshawn Leroy Clarke, 35, of Pickstock Street, one of two men accused of beating to death Carlos Paraquat Griffith, 63, an Orange Walk Town resident, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until December 11, on the charge of murder.
He was taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court today, where he was arraigned on the murder charge and then remanded.
Police are searching for the second person who they say participated in the brutal murder of Paraquat Griffith, and that person is also believed to be a Belize City resident.
The incident occurred at about 8:30 Monday night on Victoria Street in Orange Walk Town near the Orange Walk Fire Station.
PUP pledges and signs Social Contract for its first 100 days in office
Independence Hall, the home of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), barely had standing room this morning, as twenty-nine members of the PUP Team’s 31 standard bearers for the general elections, along with dozens of their supporters decked out in the party’s blue and white colors, gathered for the release of its “Governance Agenda, The Social Contract with the People.”
The PUP Leader Francis Fonseca was the first to address the gathering, and he elaborated on his party’s social contract with the people.
Fonseca said that the Belizean people have lost trust and confidence in the structures of governance.
“The Belizean reality in 2015 is waste and corruption in government, a hotbed of corruption at the Lands Department; widespread corruption at Immigration, resulting in the scandalous and shameful sale of our national identity by Cabinet ministers; the erosion of the rule of law, deepening inequality in the allocation of economic and social opportunities, the very dangerous philosophy of UDP first and Belizeans second,” he said.