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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
San Pedro Police honored during Annual Appreciation Party
On Saturday, January 16th, San Pedro Police officers were celebrated during their annual Staff Appreciation Party. Held at the Lions Den from 7PM, the party was dedicated to the hardworking police officers who ensure the community’s safety year round. In addition to celebrating the officers, this year, members of the island community who constantly assist the Police Department were also invited. Everyone at the event enjoyed a delicious meal, refreshing cocktails, and, of course music and dancing.
Before the true party started, a short ceremony was held to present Certificates of Appreciation to six persons who always offer a helping hand to the San Pedro Police Department. The six awardees included Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., President of Tropic Air John Grief III, Owner of SuperBuy Enrique Staines, Police Constable William Reyes and Caribbean Queen. “These awards are to show our gratitude and appreciation. These are key people in our operation, we are constantly seeking their assistance and they never fail to assist us,” said Deputy Coastal Executive Officer, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott.
San Pedro Cancer Society introduces new board
The San Pedro Cancer Society (SPCS) held their annual general meeting on Thursday, January 14th, and during this meeting, a new board of directors was elected. The organization’s new board members are Gonzalo Muñoz, President, Miguel Perez, Vice-President, Roceli Muñoz, Secretary and Pamela Zetina as the Treasurer. The new board members have pledged to make 2016 another successful year.
Former president Miguel Perez served three terms as head of the organization, and was kind enough to share with The Sun accomplishments and experiences he had as president. “There is a lot to recall in the last three years. We managed to help out a lot of patients and we served as a support group that guided them through their entire ordeal. We have been a real helpful source where patients can come and find guidance as to where to go and what to expect,” said Perez. He indicated that when the organization is able, they also help in coordinating fundraising events and also provide financial assistance whenever they can. “We lost some patients but we did get some into remission as well. Cancer is so scary that we rarely celebrate our victories or focus on our losses,” added Perez.
PUP leadership candidates agree to debate
Plans are underway for a debate between the three People’s United Party (PUP) leadership candidates, Honorable Cordel Hyde, Honorable Francis Fonseca and Honorable Johnny Briceño.
Well known Belizean writer and activist Glenn Tillett is organizing the debate with the assistance of local stakeholders. The debate is scheduled for Thursday, January 28th, starting at 7:30pm at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. According to Tillett, Hon. Cordel Hyde has confirmed his participation, providing he has no objection(s) to the logistical and infrastructural conditions, in respect to the leadership election for the Peoples United Party. Hon. Francis Fonseca was also quick to agree to participate, with Hon. John Briceño being the last to accept the invitation on January 20th.
NEBL season tips off: NEBL Champions do not play in opening game
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) 2016 Season tipped off on Saturday, January 16th with three games. Originally, two-time defending champions, The San Pedro Tiger Shark, were scheduled to open the season against the Orange Walk Running Rebels on Friday, January 15th at the Orange Walk Town Multi-Purpose Complex. But on Wednesday, January 13th it was announced that the Running Rebels had withdrawn from the tournament, resulting in the match being canceled and the opening game to be moved to Saturday, January 16th. Instead the opening ceremonies took place at the University of Belize (UB) gymnasium, followed by the home team, the Belmopan Bandits hosting Smart Belize Hurricanes for the first game of the NEBL Season. All games can be followed live on the NEBL website at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores while the game is being played. The website also has all game scores, box scores, players and teams’ statistics, along with standings for the season.
Belize banking sector still suffering over ‘de-risking’ strategy: Scotiabank and Atlantic Bank retain US correspondence
But it’s not only the local business that is feeling the effects. Belize’s real estate market is also taking a hit. “This is turning very frustrating and time consuming. The banking system is harming everyone in the country from the top to bottom. We have lost many sales over the fact that corresponding banking has been a big confusion. Banking laws have become so stringent and tight and are constantly changing that it is affecting business,” said Amanda Syme of Sunrise Realty. She indicated that potential buyers to the country are facing so many obstacles that act as an incentive to not invest in Belize. “A lot people are refusing to work with us because of all the extra things they have to do just to buy a property. We can see that these potential customers get frustrated over the poor banking system and they eventually just give up and don’t buy. It takes so long to process their funds that eventually we lose their business. Most of my buyers are from USA and Canada and they want to be assured that their money is safe, right now we cannot assure them that because of the loss of correspondence,” said Syme.
ACES Career Day Inspires Students
The student body of Ambergris Caye Elementary (ACES) was excited to have some special guests visit the school on Career Day, Friday, January 22, 2016. Students were all dressed up as their favorite career personas and got the chance to meet and ask questions to their invited guests - Almita Pinelo (LTJG of the Belize Coast Guard), Raul Alamilla (Pilot of Tropic Air), Mr. Angel Nuñez (Author of the book 25 Years Ago), Christina Potvin (Accountant) and Mr. Chuky Choc & Ms. Young from the San Pedro Police Department. Teacher Sara Freudenberg of ACES stated. "It's so important to send the message to work hard, stay in school and inspire the youth to work toward their dream professions."
Belize Hotels Among the Top of TripAdvisor’s Best Hotels 2016
As Belize keeps gaining international recognition and tourism arrivals keep showing record-breaking increases, the world traveler has great thing to say about Belize. Ambergris Caye boasts being on the list of the top hotels in Central America with four hotels, Coco Beach, Victoria House, Grand Caribe Belize and Las Terrazas being voted among the best. Costa Rica is a top contender in Central America with the most hotels on the list, which also include hotels from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras.
Elsewhere around the country, hotels in the districts of Cayo and Stann Creek received the most recognition with Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort at #22 in the list of Top 25 Hotels for Service in the World and #3 in the Top 25 Hotels for Service Central America and #1 for Service in Belize. Coco Plum Island Resort is #22 in the Best Small Hotels in the Word list, #3 in Central America and #1 in Belize under that same list.
Colinda Cabanas in Caye Caulker made the #9 spot on the Top 25 Bargain Hotels Central America and #1 Top 10 Bargain Hotels Belize. The Inns at Twin Palms in Belmopan, Cayo is listed at #1 in both the Top 25 B&Bs and Inns Central America and Top 10 B& Bs and Inns Belize
Misc Belizean Sources
First Friday of February Trash Pick Up
Friday, February 5at 9 AM - 11 AM,
San Pedro, Belize.
The good news is that there's way less trash out there than before our January pick up. BUT, we still need your help with our monthly roadside and beach clean up! We meet on February 5th at the Paradise Theatre (just north of the bridge) . Locals, expats and tourists are all invited to help out and show some Isla Love! Please be there by 9:00 am :-)
Power interruption 6:30am to 8:30am, Saturday, January 23, San Ignacio Town
Savannah Street, portion of Burns Avenue, Far West Street between Bullet Tree Road and Eve Street, Bullet Tree Road between Burns Avenue and Maya Street and Blancaneaux Street. BEL to facilitate movement of heavy equipment in area, for installation of power supply.
Galvez Stadium 2.0
The new Galvez Stadium really looks nice. Well done! New courts, new kid's playground, new gates, and great drainage for when the rains come.
Corozal Full Moon Concert
Tonight Saturday Jan.23rd, 2016, it's all about Corozal House of Culture (NICH)'s first Full Moon Concert of 2016 featuring the dynamic Super Furia Band from Orange Walk! You are kindly invited to our first Full Moon Concert of 2016 featuring Orange Walks' Super Furia Band. Don't miss out on a great night of musical entertainment this Saturday beginning at 7:30 pm.
BTL tells us that we were sending messages "unconsciously" on our data plan
We noticed on our post paid bill that there were a huge number of charges to numbers on the UK. We called BTL and a rather unhelpful rep tried to tell us that we were sending the messages "unconsciously" on our data plan (even though most were sent at night when the phone was connected to WiFi). BTL admitted that they have been aware of the problem for months. They haven't told anyone though and they continue to bill post paid users for the texts. They say that pre-paid phones aren't being charged. Check your post paid bills and if you don't get a copy get one back to at least October when the problem started. Take your bills to BTL and demand a refund for the charges. It's a worldwide thing. The messages are to the UK apparently no matter where you are as noted in the article. It appears so far that the only way to stop it is to turn off iMessage. In our case it was well over 100 messages. SEE NEXT STORY BELOW.
iPhone users unkowingly charged for Facetime & iMessage SMS
iPhone Facetime & iMessage SMS use up call credit when roaming.
iPhone and iPad users who use Facetime and iMessage are being charged for SMS when roaming.
Facetime and iMessage try to continually activate by sending SMS to various UK mobile numbers. This often happens when an iPhone user inserts a roaming sim card or 3rd party SIM into their handset. iPhone users report that they receive multiple SMS containing random characters similar to the example below: Typically, if the user is roaming, additional charges for sending SMS are made by the network.
iPhone and iPad users are recommended to switch off Facetime and iMessage when roaming so as to avoid additional unknown charges and depletion of credit without their knowledge. Deactivating iMessage and Facetime should also prevent the re receipt of the strange activation SMS.
Pablo Collado at Il Baretto wine bar on Caye Caulker
Pablo Collado will be playing tonight January 23rd from 7.00 to 9.00 pm at Il Baretto wine bar @ Oasi Apartment on back street.
Come and listen at his magic music with our tasty bruschette.
Free Meditation Workshop
Sunday, January 24at 10 AM - 12 PM at Ak'bol Yoga Retreat and Eco Resort
North San Pedro Town, San Pedro, Belize. Peace Revolution is a worldwide peace network that was born in 2008 in Thailand. They promote a culture of peace through personal transformation using meditation as the main tool.
Peace Revolution is creating a new paradigm with the intention of shifting our priorities by changing our focus on an external search into an internal one. Their mission: to make people happier.
Our meditation workshop is called: Basic Principles of Meditation. This meditation workshop is created with the purpose of sharing with the participants a basic meditation practice.
FITUR INTERNATIONAL TOURISM FAIR CELEBRATES ITS 36TH EDITION FROM 20 TO 24 JANUARY 2016.
FITUR is the global meeting point for tourism professionals which focuses on responsive and fair source markets of Latin America.
Belizean Student Shot In Guyana
31 year old Glenfield Dennison, a Belizean law student of the University of Guyana, was shot several times late last night on the East Coast of Demerara.
Reports from Guyana say that Dennison had just dropped off his girlfriend, also a student of the university, and was about to ride off when a gunman approached, firing three shots at him. Two of the shots caught him, one on his stomach and one on his left arm. Dennison was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Hospital. The shot to the stomach reportedly punctured lungs, and grazed his liver, so he has been placed in an induced coma and is on a ventilator.
Tonight, his family in Belize is desperate for answers. Meanwhile police in Guyana are investigating the second shooting of a Belizean in the past couple of years. Authorities say they have ruled out robbery as a motive for the attack since Dennison was found with all his possessions.
Hon. Vega Denies Giving Acquisition Order To Acquire Modiri Land
Since last week Thursday, it's been making national headlines that American Bradley Paumen, one of the biggest tour operators in Belize, has been accused of orchestrating a plot to kill 4 persons, principally his neighbour in Frank's Eddy Michael Modiri, two of his employees, and his attorney.
The entire dispute centers over a piece of land that Modiri owns, but which Puamen needs to access the caves that his guests tour. Government acquired the land for Paumen - but the Supreme Court quashed that because land can only be acquired for a public purpose.
Justice Sonya Young was very stern in her condemnation of the Government's actions saying, quote, "the defendants (government)…acted neither fairly nor justly."
She declared, "...that the compulsory acquisition was not for a public purpose as it was not taken in the general interest of the community, but rather solely for the interests of an individual entity." That individual is Bradley Paumen.
Bail for Paumen's Employees
But that land lawsuit is just the prelude to a murder conspiracy, which is the real news tonight. As we reported, two of Bradley Paumen's employees, mechanic Lizburn Anderson and accountant Ian Skeen were charged with abetment to commit murder. They are accused of making arrangements for the alleged hit on Michael Modiri and another man on behalf of their boss.
They have been in jail on remand all week, and today the pair appeared before Justice Antoinette Moore were granted bail of $20 thousand dollars each. In the case of Anderson and Skeen, the application for bail was not met with heated objection on the part of the prosecution unlike in the case of Paumen - who is an American. Ian Skeen was represented by attorney Oswald Twist, and Lizburn Anderson was represented by attorney Dickey Bradley. At the end of the bail application Bradley spoke to us about some of the arguments he submitted as to why his client should be granted bail.
PM Says Titan 8.8 Million dollar Judgment Will Be Appealed
Another major case that the Government lost recently was the lawsuit brought against them by the owners of Titan Securities Limited. Justice Courtney Abel has ordered the government to pay Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leech 8.8 million dollars in damages.
That's in compensation for the unlawful and excessive search and seizures of documents and properties done by the Anti Drug Unit back in September 2014. They were attempting to comply with the US Government's request in their attempt to get the men extradited to stand trial for securities fraud, but the judge said that they went too far in that nine hour raid, which cleaned out their office and forced the shutdown of their business.
So, what does the Prime Minister think of the court's judgment? Well, today when we asked about it, he said that his Government will appeal that case:
"I understand that the judgement for the Titan case has come up and government has been ordered to pay in the region of 9 million dollars."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"We will appeal, we will appeal. Absolutely we will appeal. We don't think that judgment can stand. We will appeal."
PUP Leadership Debate - Is It a Debate In Earnest?
So, the PUP Leadership Debate is set for next week Thursday - or is it? John Briceno has emailed the organizers saying he has a previous commitment for that night. The organizers are hoping they can find a workaround - but the truth is with 9 days to go before the convention - the candidates are still scrambling around the country to try and meet close to three thousand delegates.
But, the organizers are undaunted - they're moving ahead with plans, confident that the platform they're offering is so publicly irresistible, that the leadership candidates will have to come around.
Today, they held a press briefing at Spoonaz Cafe where they outlined the proposal:...
"As of yesterday all 3 participants had indicated that they would be present and they would participate. This morning the Hon. John Briceno said that he may have a schedule in conflict and he is giving it some consideration and we should know by the end of the day whether or not he may or may not withdraw. We are soliciting questions from the general public, from organizations. Mrs. Sandiford is in charge of that and these questions will be given advance to the candidates before their purview."
PM Supports "Cubanos Libres"
But, other than Briceno's absence, it was a full house in Belmopan - where we got to ask the Prime Minister about the decision to let 32 Cubans out of jail. Yesterday Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told us it's a humanitarian move - after they have already served their time for illegal entry. Now, they will apply for refugee status, and from there, presumably, work their way unto the USA. The Prime Minister said he supports the decision by the Immigration Minister:...
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"I know that there were Cubans in prison who were here illegally. Again, I saw in reading the internet version of the news this morning that the Minister has taken an action as he put it freedom from prison. That is as it should be. You don't want to be keeping people incarcerated for longer than is necessary and they've been as it is locked up for far too long. So it didn't come up in Tuesday in cabinet ad I was not therefore aware beforehand the step that the minister proposed to take. But as I said, it seems to me that he did what was required in the circumstances."
Hon. Musa Says His Affluent Constituents Worried About Correspondent Banking Relations
And while we spoke to the PM outside the House - inside, first term PUP Representative Kareem Musa spoke on the adjournment about the crisis in the banking sector with correspondent banks. Musa represents Caribbean Shores, where many of the captains of commerce and industry reside - and for those folks, a functioning banking apparatus with ready availability of foreign exchange is critical to their businesses. Musa characterized the situation as urgent:...
Hon. Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores:
"And I am speaking in particular about the loss of correspondent banking relations. Mr. Speaker it's no doubt an issue that affects business men and business women not only from my constituency of Caribbean Shores, but from all our constituencies. It is in fact a very crippling effect it has had on our economy, debilitating to the point where it is no longer possible to do business and I am speaking in particular the purchase of goods from the United States and elsewhere and I am speaking about the use of credit cards. I am speaking about remittances that come home to our Belizean families from abroad. That is the effect that it has had on our economy."
De-Risking By Tier One Banks: A Vicious Cycle
So, while the Prime Minister and a team of Banking technocrats are scheduled to visit Washington DC, how exactly does he intend to convince the US officials to intervene with the de-risking problems?
Well, he told us after the House Debate that it's a very complex problem with a vicious cycle. As viewers are aware, the reason that the Tier 1 banks have cut that corresponding banking relationship with Belize and other Caribbean Nations is that it will cost them much more money to comply with the stiffer regulations which are in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. When compared to the revenue that they will make to do business with Belizean banks, they end up losing.
Finance Minister Barrow told us that if the US bankers and Financial regulators cannot come to an agreement, the Belizean banks will have to start fostering corresponding banking relationships with smaller American banks:
Making Mexico "Feliz"
Earlier this week, we showed you the comments of the Mexican Ambassador to Belize, discussing the escape of international fugitive David Nanes Schnitzer. The Mexican Government requested his extradition to stand trial for a multimillion dollar fraud case, due to a technicality, the Government of Belize failed to deliver him even though there was an extradition treaty between both countries.
Well, today, the Government tabled and passed a bill to bring that treaty into full force by harmonizing it with Belizean laws. Here's that moment when the Minister of Foreign Affairs introduced it to the House Sitting:
Hon. Wilfred Elrington "
"Mr. Speaker I rise to introduce the extradition amendment bill 2016. This a bill for an act to amend the extradition act chapter 112 of the substantive laws of Belize revised edition 2011. To make provision for the extradition of fugitive criminals between Belize and the United Mexican states and provide for matters there with or incendiary dare to... Mr. Speaker I just like to explain very briefly that this is in relation to an extradition treaty that was signed in August of 1988 here in Belize. It was actually signed and ratified but for some reason it was never incorporated into the domestic law and for the treaty to have efficacy when we have request for extradition from Mexico, it is necessary for the treaty to be part of our domestic law. So we are now trying to get this bill pass. So that it becomes a part of the domestic law so that in the future when we get request for extradition from Mexico we will be able to give effect it."
Mas "Mextradition"? Pronto!
So, after this bill passes will the problem with the extradition treaty be fixed? That's what we asked the Prime Minister this afternoon, and he told us that it will. In his words, the treaty will be "domesticated" and will have full effect if and when there are future requests for extraditions by the Mexican Government:
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"We sign the treaty and the treaty is valid as between the two countries, but in terms of being able to implement its provisions in this country, something more needed to be done. We had to domesticate as it were that treaty. We had to incorporate it into municipal law and that is what the bill was about."
"Is it a concern that it took an embarrassment for us to discover that this issue arose and that was the reason why the treaty was not viable in Belize?"
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"Obviously this was something that fell through the cracks, in terms of not domesticating the international treaty - happens from time to time. So we move on."
That bill, and others, goes to the Senate on Next week Wednesday.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, Tax Breaks For A Fortune 500 Company?
Another bill which passed today was the Belize Island Holdings Facility Development Bill of 2015. That's a bill which confirms and puts into law that the Government will give Norwegian Cruise Line tax and duty exemptions for their Harvest Caye Cruise Port, which they are trying finish up by the end of 2016.
Well, at the adjournment of the House Debate, even though the "yea's" had it, Toledo East Area Representative Mike Espat rose and registered his disapproval of the bill.
He made it clear that he had a problem with the tax breaks and the exclusivity clause given to NCL, guaranteeing them to be the only cruise port in the south for the next 25 years. That sparked a back and forth between him and the Prime Minister. Here's how it went:
PM Acknowledges Court's Directive on EIA
And, as viewers would remember, the Government - specifically, the Department of Environment and the National Appraisal Committee - lost a case brought against it by the Belize Tourism Industry Association. Justice Courtney Abel found that the Government's Environmental specialists cut corners when they were giving the project the green light. We asked the Prime Minister for his reaction to that judgment, and he was very curt in his appraisal of the judge's findings:
"A court has ruled that your government in its zeal to get the project underway, the department of the environment and the NEAC took short cuts to environmental regulations..."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"There will no doubt - that a lesson that they will learn and hopefully next time around, those mistakes won't be made."
The Government, and the Developer, NCL, are ordered to pay $50,000 in costs incurred by the BTIA in bringing this lawsuit.
NEAC Member disputes "Slap-On-The-Wrist" Interpretation
And while the Prime Minister has the executive perspective in the Harvest Caye ruling, at the technical level, NEAC says the ruling on the Harvest Caye EIA isn't a slap on the wrist. The court said they cut corners on the public consultations. And while the ruling is viewed as a scolding from the court, today, one of the members of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade, told us it's not. She sees it as just an opportunity for them to improve on their assessment framework.
As we told you, the $100 million project will not be completed by February 16th -as had been projected.
PM Supports Port Loyola Cruise Port
And keeping with the subject of potential cruise ports, while Mike Espat was making his point against the Norwegian tax and duties exemptions, he commented on the Barrow Government's sudden interest to work with Lord Michael Ashcroft to build a Belize City Cruise port in the Port Loyola area. Again, that led to political jousting from both sides:
The Prime Minister says that the next step will be to assess whether Port Loyola is viable for the two hundred foot high Oasis Class Cruise Ships. Critics of the location say that an enormous amount of dredging will be required to make that location accessible by the giant ships.
Di Caprio's Blackadore Resort At EIA Stage
Another major tourism project in the making - not for cruise, but for the overnight sector - is "Blackadore Caye: A Restorative Island". Hollywood star Leonardo Dicaprio first proposed this project in 2005 but he confirmed his plans in the New York Times in April of last year. Dicaprio told the Times that Blackadore Caye has suffered from "overfishing, an eroding coastline and the mangrove deforestation," and that he and the developer will fix it. While it sounds well and good, San Pedranos aren't convinced. A public consultation on the EIA held in the town held last week drew concerns from residents because of the over the water structures that developers propose to put on the island which is within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Today, Fisheries Director Wade spoke about what the vision is for this resort.
Wade said the project might begin as early as next year. The 1.75 million dollar Caye itself is 104 acres located between the Belize District Coastline and Ambergris Caye.
PUP Rep Rails Against Fuel Prices
World oil prices have been on a sharp and steady decline for a month now - but critics say they're not seeing that reflected at the pump here in Belize. Today, the PUP Representative for Toledo West, Oscar Requena raised that matter when he spoke on the adjournment:...
Hon. Oscar Requena, Area Rep., Toledo East:
"Some time around mid-December, Belizeans woke up to find substantial increases in the prices of fuel at the pump. Mr. Speaker, this is in the context of the prices of fuel per barrel going down on the word market, not gong up - going down. But yet in Belize the prices of fuel have gone up. It's just the reverse. Belizean are very concern, they are very outraged that this government has seen it fit to continue to tax, to gouge the taxes on Belizeans. They are very much concerned and they are saying how it could be when you look at the world market as I said before the prices have gone done significantly. If you look at our neighbors in Guatemala, in Mexico and other countries, prices are going down substantially. But yet in Belize it is the reverse. Why it is that government does not see it fit to reduce the price of fuel, because price of fuel have gone down, to ensure that our bus people can survive and make a little bit more money. This is important. The productive sector depends upon fuel, whether it is bananas, whether it is citrus, whether it is other forms agriculture dependent upon fuel. Man, if you lower the price of fuel it is an incentive for other people to invest in agriculture."
Teaching Them How To Fish Forever
The Fisheries Department is revitalizing its approach to fisheries management. A part of that approach is to educate and engage local fisher folk on the importance of sustainability and proper management of marine resources. This shift is focused on a more organized and accurate management system where data from fisher folk is recorded and tracked. Today at the Biltmore, 3 people were awarded for participating in a Fisheries Pride Campaign. They went out into the community to speak to fisher folk about this new approach. This morning at the ceremony we spoke with Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade and she told us how impactful this new system will be for fisher folk and the entire sector - including the fish in the sea! We also spoke to the 3 graduates about their experience in the training.
The Belize Fisheries Department partnered with RARE to conduct this training. RARE is a non-profit conservation organization based in Washington DC.
Are There Still More Fish In the Sea?
Another problem this new Fisheries system will address what is called IUU - Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing. An online article featured on Caribbean 360 states that studies are showing a grave disparity between seafood catch and fisheries stock. It states, quote "the global catch between 1950 and 2010…was 30 per cent higher than what countries have been reporting to the Food and Agriculture Organization…since 1950." It also mentions that "IN the Caribbean islands, the catch was more than twice as large as previously reported and declining at a rate 60 per cent faster than the official rate." Today we asked Wade about this and how it ties into the Belizean context.
EU Supports The South
The New Year's brought a new market for the residents of Punta Gorda Town. The "Maura Lopez Market" - named after an outstanding woman from PG - cost just under one million, funded jointly by Government and the European Union. It was officially inaugurated at a ceremony yesterday by the European Ambassador Paula Amadei, and Minister of Works Rene Montero. They also christened the new road to Hopkins - four and a half miles at a cost of 7 million dollars. Here's how both the market and the road look:..
The road will be a boost for tourism in the area, while residents and students will be able to commute much more easily - including students who attend Holy Family Primary School.
PM, Is He Down With King?
Back to politics now - the UDP is preparing for a national convention in March. And everyone had more or less agreed that with the party about to face its most dramatic shakeup in 20 years when Leader Dean Barrow steps down - there would be no challenges at this year's convention, since some VERY major challenges are expected at the next one in two years' time. But, enter Mark King. The soundly defeated former Lake I Representative wants to challenge Alberto August for Party Chairman. Today we asked Party Leader Barrow if this throws a wrench into the works:...
"I notice that Mark King has indicated that he will aspire of the chairman post."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"This is official or?"
"His Facebook is official yes."
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"Well he is perfectly free to do that. I just wasn't sure that that was in fact the case. The deadline for submission for applications I believe is next Friday. I don't know whose actually formally applied, who has not. What's up for re-election: party leadership, deputy party leaderships, first and second, chairman and vice chairman. I am really not aware at this point of who all may have applied and of course there is still a week to go so. Even if I knew what names have been submitted so far, that soundly be conclusive because as I said you still have a full 7 days more."
Fresh Face At FIU
But, while those two officials have kept their jobs, Eric Eusey is no longer the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. He's been replaced by Joy Grant, the Former Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, and Public Utilities.
Today we asked the Prime Minister if the controversial and costly Titan Securities case, for which the Government has been ordered to pay 8.8 million dollars in damages, played a role in Eusey's departure:
"We note that there is a new FIU Director sir. Can you discuss that with us why the change?"
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"Because the contract of the old FIU Director came to an end."
"Was that Titan issue ever a consideration as to why his contract was not renewed?"
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"No man. His contract came to an end the end of December well before the judgement in this case and we had to give notice before the contract actually ended as to whether we would renew or not and we did indicate I am sure as early as mid-December or early December that we were going to have a change."
Bashing The Ombudsman
Today the Government's majority in the House of Representative renewed the contract for Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu. He'll serve in that office for one more year after today's extension, but before it was passed, Opposition Party Leader Francis Fonseca noted that his side of the house could not support Arzu being returned to the office. Here's the debate on that issue:
The Contractor General's contract was also extended at today's house meeting.
What Does Gapi Vega Have to do with Paumen/Modiri Land Dispute?
The very curious tale of Dark Night owner and alleged murder contractor Bradley Paumen continues to dominate local headlines. The American investor has been charged for putting a hit on [...]
Supreme Court Grants Bail to Two of Paumen’s Associates
As the Paumen story continues to unravel, two of his employees were granted bail after appearing before Justice Antoinette Moore this morning in the Supreme Court. Ian Skeen and Linzburn [...]
An Extradition Amendment Bill, Is it Practice After Race?
In November the Government of Belize was humiliated after Mexican-American fugitive David Nanes Schnitzer slipped out of its grasp with the greatest of ease. Nanes had been formally requested by [...]
‘Dickie’ Bradley Humbly Disagrees with U.S. Ambassador’s Nanes Opinion
Nanes was found in possession of a number of illegal Belizean documents including a fraudulent passport, was remanded in custody and then got bail despite an extradition request by Mexican [...]
Correspondent Banking Crisis – Opposition Says G.O.B. Should Act Immediately
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has called the loss of correspondent bank relationships an existential threat and a potentially huge crisis. And undoubtedly, if not resolved the implications are many and [...]
P.M. Says De-risking is not a Result of Problems in Belize
Even as the Prime Minister continues to arrange a round of intensive meetings and lobbying sessions in the international forum, he told News Five that it is important that it [...]
Belizean Law Student Shot in Guyana
A Belizean law student is clinging to life tonight after being shot to the chest and arm in Georgetown, Guyana on Thursday night. Thirty-one-year-old Glenfield Dennison, a resident of Cummings [...]
Will Titanic Supreme Court Ruling be Appealed by G.O.B.?
In a judgment which must have given Prime Minister Dean Barrow a world-class migraine, the Government of Belize has been ordered to pay Titan Securities eight point nine million dollars. [...]
Port Loyola Cruise Port Debated in Belmopan
There is new interest in revisiting an ill-fated and never realized project in Belize, the Carnival Cruise Ship Terminal in Port Loyola. The news came two weeks ago from Prime [...]
P.M. Says No Exclusivity for Stake Bank Developer
Talk of a cruise port in Belize received new life after Stake Bank developer Mike Feinstein indicated that he would be pulling out. Feinstein told News Five that he would [...]
A Political Debate for P.U.P. Leadership, Will it Happen?
Next week Sunday, a new leader will be elected for the People’s United Party. Candidates Francis Fonseca, John Briceño and Cordel Hyde continue with their countrywide campaigns ahead of the [...]
Debate Organizers Say Public Can Submit Questions
With the debate scheduled for January twenty-eight, there are a number of questions concerning the planning and moderation of the event. Tillett says it is an open process where the [...]
2 Students Offered Bail for Possession of Stolen Firearm
After three nights on remand for a stolen firearm from the police, two students were granted Supreme Court bail. Stradni Cassasola, a resident of Faber’s Road Extension, along with his [...]
A Father is Charged for Beating Up His Teen Daughter
Forty-five year old Alexander Garcia, a father and resident of Belize City, appeared in court today on a charge of harm upon his sixteen-year-old daughter. According to the minor, her [...]
U.D.P. Convention, Will Status Quo Remain?
While all eyes are on the P.U.P.’s leadership race, set for January thirty-first, there’s another looming political event. The U.D.P. will have its own National Convention on March twentieth, and [...]
Where is Christopher Guild?
Where is Christopher Guild? The thirty-two year old unemployed of a Barrack Road address has not been seen or heard from since January tenth and the family is fearing that [...]
Sustainable Fishing Program Completed in Belize
A program for sustainable fishing has successful completed. Pride Campaign for Managed Access was launched back in July of 2013 and after thirty months of groundwork and research in fishing [...]
Orange Walk Police Detains Two Mexican Nationals For Drug Trafficking
Two Mexican Nationals are tonight spending their first night at the Kolbe Correctional Facility after they were detained by Orange Walk Police for drug and ammunition offences. Yesterday at about 4:30 in the afternoon authorities were on investigation at the Cuatro Leguas Area, bordering Mexico, when they came upon farm. At the center of the farm police observed a grey tent housing 50 year old Pedro Cordova Perez and Juan Manuel Pacheco, both Mexican Nationals of la Union Village in Quintana Roo Mexico. Police conducted a search on Perez and found in his possession a zip lock bag containing a piece of compressed suspected Cannabis. A further search in a bag of clothing led authorities to two live maroon 16 gauge, AGUILA brand cartridges for which both Mexicans had no license. As cops continued searching the immediate area they discovered plastic bottle containing two Cannabis plants about 3 inches in height. As a result of the findings both Perez and Pacheco were arrested and charged for the offence of drug trafficking, cultivation of cannabis and kept unlicensed ammunition.
US Embassy Clarifies Advisory Sent Out By US State Department
Yesterday we reported that the United States Department issued a travel advisory alerting US citizens to be cautious when travelling to Belize due to the recent murder of American National Anne Swaney and the country’s high murder and crime rate. Today we can tell you that the US Embassy became aware of the advisory that was sent out, however, they have made it clear that neither they nor the United States Department issued such notice with regards to the death of Anne Swaney. The notice was in fact retrieved from a travel site that hosts press releases from shareholders within in the tourism sector, known as Travel Wires. The Embassy’s clarification has brought comfort to the tourism sector despite the tragedy that had occurred at the Nabitunich Resort where Anne Swaney lost her life.
BTB Pledges To Protect Tourist After Murder Of American National
While the death of Anne Elizabeth Swaney continues to make headlines both locally and internationally, The Belize Tourism Board expressed their sympathy to the family of Swaney and believe that both the family as well as the community deserve justice. In a release yesterday, the BTB also stated that they have committed themselves to working in partnership with the Belize Police Department in an effort to offer a helping hand so as to bring closure to this murder case. They have decided to request for the police department to increase patrols in order to guarantee the safety and security for all citizens and visitors in Belize. The BTB and industry partners are also forming an alliance with the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to implement plans and strategies that offer protection and minimize the chances of being at risk when it comes to crime. The BTB concluded by saying that if anyone wants to offer any suggestions or plan; their ideas can be submitted to the BTB and will be reviewed. As mentioned last night, the FBI is currently in the country assisting in the murder investigation of the U.S journalist.
Wanted Man Absconds To Mexico
On Monday we reported on the gruesome murder of 55 year old Francisco Arevalo, Guatemalan Farmer of Indian Church Village whose mutilated nude body was found early on Sunday morning near an unfinished concrete house in the outskirts of Indian Church. Police suspect that the murder was as a result of a love triangle gone wrong as investigations have revealed that Arevalo was lured out of his house at around 9:00 on Saturday night by a woman he knew. Reports suggest that this woman’s common-law husband is the one that attacked and murdered Arevalo. He is no other than 58 year old Salvadoran National, Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez who police have placed on their wanted list. But while police have Gutierrez’s common-law-wife detained as they found her in possession of Arevalo’s phone, they are yet to detain Lopez. Today our sources within the police department told us it is highly suspected that Gutierrez he has made his was across the border into Mexico and based on that fact authorities are working with their Mexican counterparts in capturing Gutierrez and bring him to justice.
1000+ Marijuana Plant Uprooted in Southern Belize
Police operations in Toledo have resulted in the discovery of a quantity of prohibited drugs. Paul Mahung fills us in. PAUL MAHUNG “Officer in Command of the Toledo Police formation Superintendent Simeon Alvarez spoke of the drug operations.” SIMEON ALVAREZ “Yesterday the 21st of January 2016 Punta Gorda police conducted a drug operation in the […]
Extradition Treaty with Mexico Almost Complete
Earlier this week Mexican Ambassador Carlos Quesnel Melendez told the media they had done a lot of work to get David Nanes Schnitzer extradited to Mexico, however in the midst of the proceedings Nanes was granted bail. Since then Nanes who is wanted in Mexico has not been seen or heard from. Belizean authorities claimed […]
Unusually Cool Weather Forecast for the Weekend
Everyone has been talking about the weekend weather and the unusual low temperatures that are coming with it. It’s been said that temperatures will fall to about fifty degrees fahrenheit. With the unusual drop in temperatures, Love News spoke to the forecaster at the Belize Weather Burea, Francisca Wellington who told us that temperatures are […]
Village Chairman Charged with Arson
Following the fire that destroyed a gift shop in the Toledo District, police have charged a village Chairman with arson. Paul Mahung has the story. PAUL MAHUNG “Officer in Command of the Toledo Police Formation Superintendent Simeon Alvarez spoke to Love News.” SIMEON ALVAREZ “The arson that was committed on the 23rd of December 2015 […]
Opposition Leader Says Arzu Undeserving of Contract Renewal
One of the items on the agenda at today’s sitting was the reappointment of Lionel Arzu as Ombudsman. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca rose to object to the reappointment, citing Arzu’s ineffectiveness in the post. FRANCIS FONSECA “We regrettably … this is not a motion that we can support on this side of the house. We […]
Bills on Pension, Treasury Notes, Tax Exemptions Passed in House of Representatives
Today’s sitting of the House of Representatives saw four Bills going through their second and third readings. The first was the Private Pension Bill which is to make provision for the registration of private pensions and the supervision of private pensions to offer better protection to pensioners. This was passed with an amendment to say […]
Newcomer Musa Says De-Risking Needs to Be Addressed on World Stage; PM Barrow Agrees
Speaking on the adjournment of today’s House of Representatives meeting, Caribbean Shores Area Representative Kareem Musa addressed the problems faced by the de-risking of Belizean banks. KAREEM MUSA “Debilitating to the point where it is no longer possible to do business and I am speaking Mr. Speaker in particular to the purchase of goods and […]
Mike Espat Wants Level Playing Field for Local and Foreign Investors
For his part, Toledo East representative Mike Espat spoke on the need for Government to afford Belizean investors the same level of support given to foreign investors. MIKE ESPAT “We need to protect our Belizean people when it comes to investments in this country. Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister had a big fight with the […]
Espat Says Lands Department is Lax in Processing Papers for Cotton Tree Farmers
Area representative for Cayo South, Julius Espat spoke of the land issue in his division. Espat said last year they had worked out a settlement with the Santander Group and farmers in Cotton Tree however they have been unable to get Government to live up to their side of the agreement. JULIUS ESPAT “The land […]
Belizean Student Critical After Being Shot in Guyana
A Belizean student in Georgetown, Guyana is hospitalized and fighting for his life. According to K-News online, doctors at the Georgetown Hospital are battling to save the life of 30-year-old, Garfield Dennison. K-News is reporting that Dennison was shot two times, once to chest and once to the left hand by an unknown assailant in […]
18 year old maimed by his passengers; vehicle stolen
An 18 year old resident of Ladyville was maimed. On Wednesday January 20, at about 7:35pm, Jonathon Zetina’s mother was in the process of reporting him missing at the police station in Belmopan. While she was giving the report, her son Jonathan came out of a pickup truck whose driver said that he ...
Mexican Ambassador discusses trans border crimes
Trans-border crime was a major topic at yesterday’s press lunch held by the Mexican Ambassador, H.E. Carlos Quesnel Melendez at the Mexican Institute in Belize City. One area of headache for Mexican authorities is the issue of contraband cigarettes. PlusNews has reported on multiple stories wh...
PG Market upgrade inaugurated
The newly refurbished Punta Gorda market was officially inaugurated today, January 21, 2016. The new name of the market is “MAURA LOPEZ MARKET” renamed as a tribute to one of the outstanding women of Punta Gorda Town who was very much involved in the community as an advocate for education, culture a...
Inmates clear bushes by school
A group of inmates from the Kolbe Foundation in Hattieville were in Salvapan, Belmopan today, specifically beside the Kuchlin Ha Government School. The Belmopan police branch saw it fit to assist the school in clearing the bushes beside them to keep the children out of harm’s way. Police officer ove...
National Evangelical Association meets with Church Senator
In early December of 2015, the newly formed National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) poke to the press concerning the schism with the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches (BAEC) which began in September 2015. The new Association, which represents thousands of congregants in over 240 c...
Police continue meet and greet initiative in Cayo neighborhoods
The San Ignacio Police Formation held a meet and greet with residents in San Ignacio and Santa Elena over the weekend. The Meet and Greet was officially launched on Friday the 15th of January, and police say it was well received in the communities of the twin towns. The purpose of the meet and greet...
Another cold front headed our way
If you have put away your sweaters already because it has warmed up a bit after the cold front the country was experiencing over the past three days, you might want to think twice. That ‘s because, according to the National Met Service, another cold front is heading our way come Friday leading into ...