Today's Belize News: February 3, 2016
02/03/16 05:44 AM
02/03/16 05:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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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
Over the water calm at Oasis Spa, San Pedro
While we live in paradise, there are still every day stresses that we deal with.
To properly relax before the hectic deadlines hit, I indulged in a massage and cleansing facial. I made the quick trek on the dock in front of Fido’s, ready to be pampered and coddled!
Jessica, my appointed massage therapist, showed me to the room where I’d be hopefully zoning out. Once down to my swimsuit, I was ready for some blissful moments. With refreshingly scented oils, a gentle touch on especially tender parts, and deeper massage on my tired muscles, I was soon knocked out, only awaking when my aching weight-lifter’s biceps felt the strength of Jessica’s fingers. She stayed in the gentle zone, working on relaxing me instead of pummeling my muscles into submission. That was very much appreciated! :)
Renewal of Effluent Licence
The Department of the Environment (DOE) would like to take this opportunity to inform the general public, particularly company and business owners producing effluent, that the renewal of Licences to Discharge Effluent is due on April 1, 2016. Companies and businesses are hereby being reminded of the need to comply with the Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitations) Regulations, Chapter 328 of the Subsidiary Laws of BelDepartment of environmentize, as amended in 2009, especially as it relates to Section 14.
Pic of the Week - What Goes Up...Stays Up!?
Do you want to elevate your house?? Or even move it?? Like a giant Jenga puzzle the Mennonites meticulously and patiently work on elevating this house to make it a two storey building. Belizeans with low homes who at some point decide to make their house a two storey building and construct a business on the first floor acquire the services of Mennonites who have become experts at the craft. They can even MOVE your house to a different location, if it is small enough to transport through the streets. It's an amazing and interesting process to witness.
7th Annual Tribute To Bob Marley
Reggae icon Bob Marley is remembered by island residents in a two day event full of entertainment and art displays by local Belizean artists at the Central Park. Mark your calendars - February 13th and 14th, 2016 for the 7th annual Tribute to Bob Marley Concert. Organized by Irie Belize Promitions, the event commemorates Bob Marley’s life and significant contributions to the music industry.
Flashbacks - Early Days Of Tourism in San Pedro
At the right of this Flashback Picture is the towering first three story hotel on the Island, Sea Breeze Hotel belonging to the late Seferino Paz Sr. Directly in front is the Ambergris Lodge and across the street is Fido's Hotel. Both Sea Breeze Hotel and Fido’s Hotel had partnered into the Coral Beach Chain of local hotels.
To the extreme left is Big Daddy's, that has "been there done that" as far as entertainment goes from the early days of San Pedro. Now nestled between all these hotels and bars is the Roman Catholic Church. Believe it or not this solemn church and the high energy entertainment spots have always managed to maintain a good and respectable relationship. Big Daddy's, in days gone by, would suspend its dance at midnight in respect for the midnight mass Christmas and New Year's Eve. Fido's would also hold on to its entertainment until 10 p.m. for the church service to proceed. It is admirable that rock and roll music and solemn spiritual hymns can go on so well with conscientious scheduling. Anything is possible in San Pedro, La Isla Bonita. That is why we are the No. 1 Island in the World.
Belize Issues Flu Season Advisory as Related Deaths Investigated
Flu season is here and it is evident that a lot of people are getting sick with flu-like symptoms really fast. Most people have been blaming the abrupt changes in weather as a series of cold fronts have passed over the country in the last few weeks, but officials in the Ministry of Health are closely investigating the sudden death of at least six people over the past few months who displayed flu-like symptoms.
Last week, Belize’s Ministry of Health released a flu season advisory, encouraging the general public to practice vigilance by washing hands, having cough etiquette and getting flu shots to avoid illness or prevent the spread of it. The advisory comes at the heels of deaths that have been reported at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, reportedly caused by respiratory distress commonly associated with pneumonia.
Misc Belizean Sources
Over 500 Residents in the Southern Rural Community of Santa Anna, Toledo Now Have Easy Access to Quality Potable Water
This means 91 households, schools, churches and the village health post will now enjoy the continuous supply of quality potable water to meet their daily needs such as drinking, washing, bathing and cooking thanks to the Government of Belize who financed the expansion and upgrade of the water project at a cost of $565,686.16 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.
Equally important, the completion of the new water system project will also reduce the vulnerability of residents to water-borne diseases, thus; making critical achievements in improving the quality of life and health of the people of Santa Anna Village, and by extension, the people of Belize.
Renewal of Effluent License
The Department of the Environment (DOE) would like to take this opportunity to inform the general public, particularly company and business owners producing effluent, that the renewal of Licences to Discharge Effluent is due on April 1, 2016. Companies and businesses are hereby being reminded of the need to comply with the Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitations) Regulations, Chapter 328 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize, as amended in 2009, especially as it relates to Section 14.
These regulations basically establish that it is illegal to dispose of effluent (waste water) without a licence or written permission from the DOE. In this regard, companies and businesses can now complete an application for renewal of their Licence and submit it to the DOE, along with the payment of the $500.00 fee for the period 2016/2017. Payments can be made at the nearest treasury or sub treasury to Government Account Number 23328/11718/120/15, and proof of payment forwarded to the DOE office, along with the application.
Early application of your Licence to Discharge Effluent will ensure proper inspection of these facilities and quick issuance of the Licence to Discharge Effluent.
BELTRAIDE PARTICIPATES IN SJCJC CAREER FAIR
As part of its efforts to connect and network with business departments at various high schools and tertiary level educational institutions, The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide) actively participated in this year’s St. John’s College Junior College (SJCJC) Career Fair, which was held at the SJCJC’s Student Center on Tuesday, 2 February in Belize City.
Over 500 students had the opportunity to learn about Beltraide’s services offered through its various units, which include BelizeINVEST, EXPORTBelize, the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC), the Small Business Development Centre Belize (SBDCBelize).
Beltraide is a statutory body under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce and its mission is to enhance Belize’s prosperity by fostering investor confidence, entrepreneurship, business growth and innovation.
Domestic Cooperation Strengthened
Government of Belize Press Office
Super Bowl Chili Weekend in Corozal
What's going on at Corozal this weekend? It's a touch down...Super Bowl Chili Weekend this Sunday February 7th at Scotty's Crocodile Cove Bar & Grill. Chili Cook Off during the game. Doors open at 2:00 P.M. Chili Dogs, Chili Fries, Chili Burgers & Chili Bowls will be sold beside regular menu. Come and enjoy yourselves with family and friends.
Power interruption 8:00am to 2:00pm, Wednesday February 3, Belize City
Belama Phase 1 & 2. BEL to replace utility poles carrying high voltage lines in area.
ATLIB Regional Volleyball Tournament
The 3 Cayo schools dominated at the ATLIB Volleyball Regional tournament last week. Congratulations to UB and SHJC for taking 1st and 2nd place in both the men's and women's categories. They'll be going to San Pedro this weekend to play at the ATLIB National Volleyball Tournament. Thanks to Galen University for the pictures.
"With the win the Galen Lady Eagles finished in 3rd place behind Sacred Heart JC and UB. The top 2 teams will advance to Nationals.
4th Ecumenical JC
Belize Duck Race 2016
What could you do with $1,000,000? That is a great question. This year's Belize Duck Race is this Saturday, February 6th, at the Hawkesworth Bridge. They have a little video out highlighting last year's event. Good luck!
Spent the past week in the coldest parts of Belize, just when a massive cold front was passing over the country. Not only amazed at our natural beauty, but working with some pretty special species. We were deploying Geolocators on Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers so that we start understanding their wintering ecology in Belize and the rest of Central America.
The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC)
Winter Conference 2016
Serious about studying in the U.S.? Get the facts and discover new possibilities at the COBEC college fair happening in Belize today in Belize City and Thursday in Placencia.
Brazen Double Murder Decoded
Last night's headline was about the stunning, broad-daylight, double murder which happened in Orange Walk Town just before 5:00. We only had sketchy details on the incident that stunned Orange Walk Town. Well, tonight, we have much more, about the killing of 2 teenagers, Rene Acevedo and Erlin Matura.
Here's the story:
At around 5 p.m. yesterday, residents of Gristock Street in Orange Walk crowded along the police cordon to see two of their neighbours lying lifeless on the road. 17 year-old Rene Acevedo Jr. and 19 year-old Erlindo Matura Jr. were gunned down and killed execution style by a gunman who lured them into a conversation to get their guard down.
It's the kind of thing no family would want to find out. But, Maria Matura ran out of her house shortly after hearing the gunshots. She found her son, Erlindo Jr., dying where he'd collapsed on the road. That image will forever be with her, that moment when he took his last breath.
Maria Matura - Mother of Erlindo Matura Jr.:
"I just ran outside. When I ran outside I just see my son out there on the road lying down with gunshots already dead. He was face up. He was bleeding. He didn't die instant. He just took one breathe, smiled and die on my hands. That's what I saw out there. But I couldn't believe he was already gone. I didn't believe that my son was dead."
Collision Involving 11, One Died
Last night we showed you the major collision at mile 17 on the Western Highway between a tourist van and a pickup truck. It involved 11 people - and tonight one of them, the driver of the pickup, Egbert Ferguson is dead.
Police say Ferguson swerved into the lane of the oncoming van and caused the massive head on collision. Six French tourists and a driver were in the van, while Ferguson had three passengers, a woman and two minors on board. All of them suffered injuries, but when we got to the scene yesterday, emergency technicians and fire department personnel were cutting Ferguson out of the pickup's driver's seat where he had been crushed. Today Inspector Rochelle Chan, the Commander of Hattieville police station told the media about the accident:
Insp. Rochelle Chan, OC - Hattieville:
"Based upon information we have received and the investigation and based upon statements recorded and witnesses, it appears that the Ford pickup seems to have drift into the other lane causing a head on collision with the tourist van and that might have been the cause. What was the cause of it, I would know as yet. The vehicles have not been inspected so that we could determine as to what would have been the actual caused."
Owner Of Tour Van Laments Loss
We also spoke to Vitalino Reyes - the owner of the van which was transporting the French Tourists. His company, Cavetubing.bz was hired by a group of 6 French women to take them on a tour to Lamanai. They were returning to cavetubing.bz headquarters in Caves Branch yesterday at 3:50 when the collision occurred. Today Reyes shared his regrets:...
"Sir, does this affect your business?"
Vitalino Reyes Sr. - owner, cavetubing.bz:
"Well in one way it will affect my business yes, but the other way we sad to say, but we feel more I would say strong because our vans are new, they are comprehensive, passenger liability, they have full insurance and my company have a full insurance to any accidents. We are not into accidents, but that happens, so we are ready for anything that would happen. But it's very sad to see something like this. Because these people are on vacation and they do not expect any accidents, but we do not have any control on that."
Elderly Cyclist Sandwiched, But Survived
There was another traffic accident this one on the Phillip Goldson Highway, fortunately this one was not fatal. Sometime around 9:00 this morning, 62 year old Loyden Foreman a resident of Buttonwood Bay Belize City was riding his bicycle on the Northern Highway between miles 7 and 8 when he was knocked down. Foreman was riding behind a vehicle when it suddenly stopped. That's when a pickup which was coming from behind, hit Foreman - launching him into the air. He was rushed to the KHMH via ambulance where he was treated and then later released. Authorities classified his injuries as abrasions. Police have since served Hemsley with a notice of intended prosecution.
Senior Educator Satchwell's SUV Slipped, Flipped
As we reported earlier when we spoke to Hattieville Commander Rochelle Chan, he was at the sight of another traffic mishap. This one occurred between mile 7 and 8 on the George Price Highway about quarter to 9 this morning. Police don't have the details of how the incident occurred and the driver of the vehicle 52 year old Deryck Satchwell, of Belmopan, was reluctant to speak with us. However we gather that he was coming from Belmopan heading towards Belize City when he lost control of his vehicle, a red Dodge Caliber, and overturned on the right side of the road. Satchwell - who is a senior official at the Ministry of Education - was very lucky to walk out of the wreckage unscathed. We understand he was alone when the vehicle flipped.
Well-Known Fireman Flipped
And before we could call it a day, we received information of another traffic accident. That is three in just one day within the Belize District. This one is also within the jurisdiction of the Belize Eastern Rural Division. According to authorities it happened sometime around 4:30 pm near mile 25 on the Western Highway. The driver 38 year old fire man Benisford Matura lost control of the pickup as a result of loose gravel on the highway. The vehicle, a white Mitsubishi attached to the Belize City fire department, received damages to the left side. Matura escaped without injury.
As a result of the string of road mishaps that occurred today authorities are reminding drivers to exercise caution when on the road. Inspector Chan Commander of Hattieville Police also offered a few words of caution to passers-by who might stop and render assistance.
Baby Brenae: Long Road To Recovery
There is a long road ahead for Baby Brenae - the three year old whose head got crushed by a falling gate. When we spoke with the family this afternoon, they told us another round of tests were done today to try and determine the extent of the brain damage. Baby Brenae is still in an induced coma and doctors are monitoring her very closely because she still has fluid in her brain. It is a very critical case but the family remains hopeful.
As we told you last night, a large iron gate fell on 3 year old Brenae Timmons in the compound of the Lake Independence Library on Mahogany Street. It happened on Friday evening around 6:20. Brenae's father Bernard Timmons works at the library and his wife took Brenae to wait until he got off work. Brenae was playing inside for most of the evening but ran out with another child to play in the yard. That's when the gate fell on Brenae - crushing her skull. We're hoping for her full recovery and we'll keep following the case.
Trial Without Jury Results In Acquittal
Last week, we told you about Daniel Anderson - Justice Adolph Lucas was deliberating his fate in a trial without jury. He was charged with the murder of 19 year old Joyce Mitchell. Well, tonight after almost 6 years on remand, he is a free man because he was acquitted of the charge by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas said he was not satisfied with the identification evidence. Mitchell, who resided on Sibun Street, was shot and killed on June 17, 2010, while she was sitting on the trunk of her sister's car, which was parked in front of her house. A lone gunman rode up on a bicycle and fired several shots at Mitchell and some others who were in front of the house.
Prosecutor Shanice Lovell relied on a statement that was given by Mitchell's sister, Julie Mitchell, in which she identified Anderson as the shooter. But, Julie was not available to testify because she is out of the country.
58 Year Old Minnesota Snorkeler Drowns
A 58 year old American tourist from Minnesota, Jeffrey Thomas Bartl drowned at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve while he was on a snorkeling tour. Bartl, his brother Clayton and two other friends went snorkeling with Ambergris Divers at the reserve yesterday morning with tour guide Alfredo Trejo. However some15 minutes into the snorkeling tour tour guide Alfredo Trejo noticed that Jeffery was not responding to his calls and had his head submerged under water. The guide immediately swam to him and saw that he was not breathing. Police say he immediately called for the park rangers' assistance who took Jeffrey out of the water and began administering CPR. They rushed Jeffery to the San Pedro Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival at around 10 am. The body was transported to the KHMH where a post mortem examination classified the cause of death as "Asphyxia due to drowning." In a press release the Belize Tourism board expressed sympathies to the family and friends of Jeffery Bartl. Authorities have not indicated if Jeffery suffered from any medical condition that could have contributed to his drowning. Bartl is the second American tourist who has passed away during a snorkeling expedition since the start of this year.
Court For Copper Bank Men Caught With Conch
Yesterday, we told you about the 8 men that the Fisheries Department busted on a sailboat with undersized conch on Sunday.
Well, this evening, 5 of them were arraigned before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. They are 27 year-old Gilbert Perez, 18 year old Nelson Delacruz, 27 year old Alvaro Delacruz, 22 year old Rodwell Tzul and a 17 year old minor all of Copper Bank, Corozal.
They were charged with fisheries offences because they were allegedly caught with 610 undersized conch. They were caught on the sea in the Harry Jones Channel, near the Turneffe Atoll.
The four adults pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the 17 year-old minor told the court that he was the one who was in possession of all the conch. The court informed the defendants that the minor would be treated differently due to his age, and that's when vessel owner Gilbert Perez changed his plea to guilty.
Fighting For Her Workers' Rights
It was another day in court today for former open vote worker Melissa Tucker. Tucker is suing the Government of Belize for unjustly firing her after 17 years of service. Tucker was hired as a Open Vote Worker and held the post of School Health Coordinator for all those years but, she was terminated in 2013. The only explanation she was given is that she was grossly insubordinate and that she needed to leave. But Tucker isn't settling for that at all. She says that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance should have authorized her appointment and sent the relevant information to the Public Services Commission in 2006 - securing her job. But according to Tucker that was never done and now she is left fighting for her rights and dignity as a worker. Today after the court session, she and her attorney Magali Marin Young told us what came out of today's trial and what their contentions are in this case.
Melissa Tucker, suing the Government of Belize:
"I felt that at 2013 when they decided to terminate me that it was unfair and it was an injustice. I also want to have attention reflected on the open vote workers regulations. While public officers under this set of regulations do have some benefits when it comes to dismissal and discipline. It's totally left up to the really the whim of the executive and so I brought the claim against them in 2014."
Trio Charged For Murder
In last night's newscast we told you about the murder of 32 year old Stann Creek resident Mariano Castillo. On Friday night Castillo was hanging out with his common law wife, Kamisha Roches on Police Street when her ex-boyfriend - John Grinage - showed up and threatened Castillo. Castillo and Roches decided to go home but Grinage along with his brother and Bandon Baptist stopped them on their way. The men attacked Castillo and he was stabbed in his stomach. He ran after he was struck and fell on the side walk on Mahogany Street. He died shortly after. Now we told you that John Grinage, Sheldon Grinage and Brandon Baptist were not charged with murder but we want to correct that - all 3 WERE charged with murder and they are now only pending charges for aggravated burglary and theft. Police say they have no updates on this case and still won't say - as we have been told - that this murder was as a result of a messy love triangle.
MCC: Don't Blame RJB
For the past few weeks we've been reporting on the urgent works at the MCC Grounds to bring Belize City's Premier Football pitch up to a usable standard.
But, we've been wondering how the field ended up in such bad condition after more than a hundred thousand dollars was spent on it just two years ago. Contractor Romel Berges of RJB Construction says don't blame him.
He was awarded a $132,000 dollar contract in April of 2013, but the scope of works was primarily to level the field with a 2% slope. He says the grass and the drainage were not included in his project and the sports council said it would follow up with that independently.
OW Cops Caught Half Pound Of Weed
Orange Walk police are reporting tonight that they've seized half a kilo of marijuana in an intelligence driven operation.
The bust was made on Friday night just before 8:00 in the Village of San Felipe, and the Orange Walk Police commander shared the details with the press:
Since the police could not tie the drugs to anyone in the area, it was deposited as found property.
Car Battery Thief Came Under Fire
Stealing car batteries - it's a common plague in many neighborhoods - but one car battery thief got way more than he expected when a car owner fired on him on Saturday morning. It happened in the area of St. Charles Street near the Municipal Airstrip. At 6:00 am, the car thief, whose name police have not released, was circling the neighborhood in a white Suzuki scouting for car batteries to steal.
But when he was operating on St, Charles Street - one car owner caught him in the act and fired four shots from a licensed weapon. He didn't hit the battery thief, but he scared him so badly that when the thief jumped into his Suzuki to make an escape he ran right into the drain.
From there the thief ran away on a foot, right into the arms of a passing police patrol vehicle on Princess Margaret Drive. They saw him acting suspiciously and detained him. The vehicle was impounded later that morning.
The Importance Of Being Hard Working
Work ethic: that's what the coordinator of the At Risk Youth training hopes to teach 26 young people. This is the second week of training at the Youth Department office and the group has covered a wide range of topics. These include preparation for a job interview to proper conduct at the workplace. But beyond just learning key tips on how to get and keep a job , coordinator Marlene Hernandez told us these skills also translate to their personal development.
It's a 10 week training at the Youth Department. They will form a youth group after the training to support each other as they enter the workforce. There is also a business training at the Youth Department for those who want to start their own business.
Briceno Swears In New Executive, Where Will Cordel and Francis Fit?
Tomorrow, John Briceno and the new PUP executive will be sworn in at the PUP Headquarters. He is joined by a full slate, most of them his loyalists, but some of them from the Fonseca Camp. But, Briceno will have to figure out how to bring all camps together - and he says he will also find a place for two big men not on the executive: that's Cordel Hyde and Francis Fonseca, who both ran for leader and lost. On Sunday night, Briceno said there is a place for them - but he didn't say where that place would be:..
"Is there space for Cordel Hyde somewhere in this new leadership you hope to create? We know that he gamble for the leader and lost and there are no spaces open otherwise."
Hon. John Briceno, PUP Party Leader:
"Certainly, as I've always said that Cordel has to play a critical role in the rebuilding of the PUP in us putting together a winning team and we are going to find a space for Cordel, a meaningful space and the same thing goes for the Hon. Francis Fonseca. We are going to reach out to him. He took over the party 4 years ago and worked hard."
Stole From A Shipyard Safe
A shipyard man says his stepson stole 15 grand from him. 58-year-old Johan (Yohan) Bueckert, of Camp #9 in Shipyard Village, Orange Walk told police that between the first of December 2015, and the end of January, 2016, someone went into his metal safe and helped themselves to fifteen thousand dollars. Police have detained his 19 year old stepson, Cornelius Wieler pending charges.
PUMA Gas station at mile 2 on the northern highway also reported a case of big money theft. On Saturday, 3 technicians were in the gas station office servicing the computers and printers when over eleven thousand dollars went missing from an envelope in the office. The thieves left two thousand behind.
Police immediately searched the Mitsubishi Montero owned by one of the technicians, Antonietta Gillett and $11,350.00 was found under the front passenger seat.
2 Youths Gunned Down By Lone Gunman
Two young men from Orange Walk Town are the most recent victims of gun violence. A brazen gunman, still on the lam, opened fire on seventeen year old Rene Antonio [...]
OW Police Find Drugs and Ammunition
Also in Orange Walk, officers have been conducting anti-drug operations on a weekly basis. On Monday morning, a search in some bushes on Savannah Street in Orange Walk Town led [...]
Daniel Anderson Walks Free
There was an acquittal today in a trial by judge without jury. Thirty-two year old Daniel Anderson of Belize City walked out of court as a free man following his [...]
Has Belize Received Value for the Petrocaribe Funds Already Spent?
And our question for tonight is: Do you believe the country has received value for the Petrocaribe funds already spent? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to [...]
Egbert Ferguson Succumbs to Injuries Sustained in Monday’s RTA
Tonight we report on four accidents that occurred on both main highways; of the four, one was fatal. On Monday afternoon, just before four o’clock, a pickup truck driven by [...]
Police Investigate RTA at Mile 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway
Aside from the fatal accident that claimed the life of forty-seven year old Egbert Ferguson, there were three other accidents today alone on the Phillip Goldson and the George Price [...]
Drivers in Two Separate RTAs Escape Injuries
There was a third accident this morning just after nine on the George Price Highway, which happened at about the same time as the RTA on the Phillip Goldson Highway. [...]
Open Vote Case Concludes in the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today finished hearing a case that could have impact on the employment of so-called “open vote workers”, those persons who work for Government, but not under formal [...]
Claimants Says Open Vote Workers Regulations Violate the Constitution
Not only is Tucker seeking judicial review of the termination; she has filed separately a challenge to the Open Vote Workers Regulations of 1992. Tucker and attorney Senior Counsel Magali [...]
P.S.U. Says Workers’ Status Must Be Regulated
The case has also caught the attention of the Public Service Union, whose president, Eldred Neal, attended this morning’s arguments. He told us that the case points to the need [...]
P.U.P. Leader John Briceño Will Be Sworn in Tomorrow
John Briceño and the members of the new National Executive of the People’s United Party will be sworn in at Independence Hall on Wednesday morning. Briceño was elected Party Leader [...]
Only $15 Million in Petrocaribe Funds Left
Between 2012 and 2015, when just the word Petrocaribe was enough to inspire poetry, song and euphoric frenzy, Government’s coffers were said to be bulging with hundreds of millions. The [...]
G.O.B. Nervous About Pending Telemedia Arbitration Ruling
According to Waight, a payment of fifty million dollars is due in a few weeks time. That’s cause for anxiety, but there’s another financial storm looming. When Prime Minister Dean [...]
FCD Graduates Second Cohort of Rangers
On Monday, the second Friends for Conservation and Development Ranger training program concluded at the Chiquibul. The week long program was conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology and [...]
Double Homicide Under Investigation in Orange Walk
Two teenage boys were shot to death yesterday afternoon in the Pasadita area of Orange Walk Town. Nineteen year old Erlindo Matura and seventeen year old Rene Acevedo Junior were on Gristock Street when an unknown gunman approached them firing several shots. There was a third person, a 16 year old minor who managed to […]
Ferguson Succumbs After Highway Collision
Police has issued a statement on the accident that took place on the George Price Highway on Monday evening. A van carrying seven tourists and a pickup truck with four Belizeans collided around mile seventeen. The driver of the pickup truck, Egbert Ferguson died this morning. Inspector Rochelle Chan, Officer in Command at Hattieville told […]
Elderly Man Survives Highway Accident
A man was knocked down this morning around nine twenty on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Ladyville. The accident occurred between miles six and seven. Sixty two year old Loyden Foreman of Buttonwood Bay was riding his bicycle on the highway when he was hit by a vehicle. It appears that a white truck driven […]
American Tourist Drowns at Hol Chan Reserve
American national fifty seven year old Jeffrey Bartle lost his life in Belize yesterday. The Belize Tourism Board confirmed that Bartle died while at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. He was snorkeling and this evening Deputy OC of San Pedro Police Inspector Henry Jemott, told Love News that Bartle drowned. HENRY JEMOTT “The post mortem […]
Central Bank Governor Says Belize Is Compliant with Money Laundering Regulations
In a 2015 report of international narcotics control strategy, Belize was one of seven Caribbean countries that were listed as a major money laundering country. In the report, the US Government noted that Belize’s encouragement of the growth of offshore financial activates is making the country vulnerable to money laundering through offshore banks, insurance companies, […]
Titan Case – An Example of A Costly Compliance
A recent judgement has put the Government of Belize in a debt, 9 million dollars deeper. In the latter part of 2014, the United States Department of Justice had accused several offshore securities trading companies in Belize of scamming the US Government of one billion dollars in taxes. One of those companies was Titan International […]
PM Says US Authorities Have No Reason to Mislead
Yesterday we brought you the highlights of the press conference led by the Prime Minister of Belize surrounding the outcomes of his meetings in Washington DC as they relate to correspondent banking between the US and Belize. In essence, Prime Minister Barrow returned with no concrete solution to the banking challenges in Belize when it […]
Terminated Government Employee Files Lawsuit
Melissa Tucker filed a lawsuit against the government. Tucker alleged that she had been working at the Ministry of Education for seventeen years until she was terminated in 2013. She was a School Health Coordinator as well as the School Feeding Coordinator. Tucker disagreed with her termination because she believed that the ministry cheated her […]
Canadian Travelers Warned of Caribbean Destinations Including Belize
Residents of Canada are being urged via a notice to exercise a high degree of caution when they are visiting several Caribbean destinations. The travel advisory for three Caribbean destinations was issued by the Government of Canada in latter January followed by additional warnings for four other countries in the region. The advisory with a […]
ZIKA Virus Can Now Be Sexually Transmitted
Reports coming out of the Centre for Disease Control and several international media outlets are that the transmission of the ZIKA virus has gone from being a disease gotten from a species of the Aedes Egypti mosquito to a disease that can now be had through sexual transmission. According to the Washington Post the first […]
Re: Today's Belize News: February 3, 2016
02/03/16 05:44 AM
02/03/16 05:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Out on bail, back in jail for murder
Three men who were released on Supreme Court bail in connection with the December home invasion of Lebanese diplomat Sarkis Abou Nehra, 77, who lives in Burrell Boom, are back in prison, remanded on a murder charge.
Brandon Baptist, 30, Sheldon Grinage, 25, and his sibling, John Grinage, 27, all residents of Police Street, were arraigned in court this morning before Magistrate Deborah Rogers for the murder of Mariano Castillo, 32.
Castillo, a resident of Georgetown, south Stann Creek District, was fatally stabbed in Belize City on Saturday, January 30, after he got into an altercation with the three accused men.
Police reported today, Monday, that they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on Saturday, around 12:50 a.m., where they saw Castillo suffering from a stab wound to the abdomen.
Belize delegation discusses banking woes with US regulators
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow returned to Belize on Sunday after leading a high-level delegation to Washington, DC, USA, last week to confront what he had previously described as an “existential threat” to Belize’s banking sector, because banks in the US which have been helping to facilitate money transfers for Belize continue to sever relations with Belize.
Bank of America began pulling out last April, and Community Federal Savings Bank, a smaller bank which had been facilitating some local banks with transactions, including credit card settlements, has given notice that it will soon sever relations with the Belize banks. Our reports are that three banks, the Belize Bank, Heritage Bank, and Choice Bank (an offshore bank), could be affected, but the banks continue to pursue alternative arrangements.
John B in 2008, John B in 2016!
The sprawling Belmopan Comprehensive High School campus was the battleground for a historic People’s United Party (PUP) national convention to elect a new PUP leader out of a three-way race.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, the Freetown area representative who had resigned from the post of PUP leader in the wake of the PUP’s general election defeat, was the first to announce a slate of candidates who campaigned under the slogan: “Forward with Francis,” after he had announced his surprise re-entry into the race for party leader.
Hon. Cordel Hyde, whose historic performance in the November 4 general elections cast him as the undisputed general of his Lake Independence constituency, campaigned without a slate of candidates under the theme: “We will be there for you.”
Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence gate falls on toddler
Brianna Timmons, a 3-year-old toddler, is fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after a heavy iron gate in front of the Lloyd Coffin Preschool on the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence compound on Mahogany Street, fell on her head, at about 7:00 Friday night.
Reports to Amandala are that the toddler escaped from her mother, who was in the library of the school (reportedly to visit her husband who works at the library), and went to the gate.
The toddler then, along with other children, began to play and “ride” the gate, pushing it forward and backwards, rolling it on its wheels, and the gate came out of its containing bracket and fell on the child.
Catching up with high school football at the MCC, playoffs start today
The playoffs are here already in the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school female (F) and male (M) football tournament which kicked off on January 7 at the MCC Grounds. Since there are still no lights at the MCC, kickoff time is 3:00 p.m. for the first of two playoff games, 1 female and 1 male, which are scheduled for today. But first, we have some catching up to do, because our last report concerned games played way back on Wednesday, January 20.
For the record, here are results of games played since then:
Thursday, January 21: (M) Wesley clobbered Maude Williams High, 15-3, with goals from Deandre Pitter (4), Kenyon Lewis (4), Shemar Thompson (2), and Kermin Sutherlan, Devon Davis, Shakeem Richards, Darnel Grey and Jalen Babb with 1 each; while for Maude Williams, Tyrell Estrada, Jaheem James and Tylon Dyer got 1 apiece.
CSSSA high school softball competition under way at Rogers Stadium
The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) 2015-2016 high school softball competition got under way this evening at Rogers Stadium with one game being played, where the females of SCA defeated Anglican cathedral College (ACC) by a 15-7 score. Winning pitcher was Kendice Armstrong; the loser was Lynece Seguro.
There are 7 female and 6 male high schools in this year’s competition. They are:
FEMALES (F) – Anglican Cathedral College (ACC); Edward P. Yorke (EPY); Gwen Lizarraga High (GLH); Maude Williams High (MWH); Ladyville Technical High (LTH); St. Catherine Academy (SCA); and Wesley College (WES).
MALES (M) – EPY; GLH; MWH; St. John’s College (SJC); Sadie Vernon Technical (SVT); and WES.
Games begin at 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday; and on Saturday, the first game starts at 9:00 a.m.
2 games only in Week 2 of PLB Closing Season 2015-2016
Only 2 of the 3 scheduled games were played over the weekend in Week 2 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Closing Season 2015-2016. The official report has not arrived yet from the league secretariat, but reliable sources have Police United coming from behind to defeat the young upstarts, Wagiya, by a 4-2 margin at the Norman Broaster Stadium on Saturday night. And at the MCC Grounds on Sunday afternoon, home standing BDF and visiting Belmopan Bandits, featuring Belize national team goalkeeper Shane Moody-Orio in goal, played to a 0-0 draw.
The scheduled Saturday night game at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium between Placencia Assassins FC and Verdes FC did not take place, and will reportedly be played as a back match later. Verdes’ season opener against BDF FC last Sunday, January 24, was also postponed, so they now have 2 back matches pending.
Greater parity in league as NEBL teams make key roster additions
Tiger Sharks continues to dominate Ballaz
On Friday night, San Pedro Tiger Sharks traveled out west to take on their rivals, Cayo Western Ballaz, at the Sacred Heart College auditorium in San Ignacio Town. The defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks remained undefeated, as they handed Cayo Western Ballaz their second consecutive loss of the season. The home team jumped out to an early 15 point lead at the start of the second quarter, but San Pedro was able to close the first half on a 14-3 run, to shrink Ballaz’ lead to 35-31, going into intermission. San Pedro dominated the third quarter, holding Ballaz to only 9 pts, as the visiting team took control of the game and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half, to seal the 71-59 victory. Upcoming weekend games
Friday at 9:00 p.m. – Dangriga Warriors vs Cayo Western Ballaz at Ecumenical College
Friday at 9:00 p.m. – Belize City No Limit vs Belmopan Bandits at Bird’s Isle
Saturday at 8:00 p.m. – Independence Thunderbolts vs Orange Walk at Independence High School
Saturday at 8:00 p.m. – Cayo Western Ballaz vs Belize City No Limit at Sacred Heart College Auditorium
Saturday at 9:00 p.m. – San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs Smart Belize Hurricanes at San Pedro High School
Sunday at 3:00 p.m. – Dangriga Warriors vs Orange Walk at Ecumenical College
All games can be followed live on our 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.
editorial: Johnny’s great victory
Although he gained just a little over 41 percent of the total votes cast by 2700 plus delegates at Sunday’s leadership convention of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), Hon. Johnny Briceño, the area representative for Orange Walk Central, won a great victory for himself, his slate, and his Orange Walk base. When you consider all the intensity involved with this campaign and convention, and all the issues and history in play, it will take weeks to get a complete sense of exactly what it was that took place in Belmopan on Sunday. So.
We told you in our editorial page last week that this convention would be a historic exercise in political democracy in Belize. There were more than four times as many delegates appointed by the PUP’s 31 electoral constituencies to make the leadership choice as had ever made such a decision in major party history in Belize.
In fact, in March of 2008 Mr. Briceño had won a much smaller such PUP convention, defeating Hon. Francis Fonseca, the Freetown area representative, by a narrow margin of 330 votes to 310. On Sunday, Johnny received 1125 votes, while his opponents, Mr. Fonseca, who was the incumbent Party Leader, and the Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Cordel Hyde, received 918 and 673 votes, respectively.
No charges for man who chopped his friend to death
The Director Of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has declared self-defense in the case of two friends who became involved in a machete fight while drinking, leading one to fatally chop the other, while the survivor was admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition.
Jose Alfredo Villeda, 48, of San Pedrito, San Pedro, was released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last week to recover at home, while his friend, Sergio Giovanni Uribio, 35, also of San Pedrito, has since been buried.
No charges will be levied against Villeda, because, according to the DPP, it was a case of self-defense.
The incident occurred at about 1:10 Saturday afternoon, January 16, in San Pedrito at Villeda’s home. Police reported that the men were socializing when they became involved in an argument, which escalated into a machete fight, during which Uribio got a machete and chopped Villeda, but Villeda retaliated, chopping Uribio.
Belize to launch national campaign, as WHO declares Zika emergency
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan, this morning declared Zika to be an international public health emergency, particularly in light of “the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014.”
WHO officials explain that their concerns are because of a possible link between Zika and microcephaly (a birth defect characterized by shrunken heads and brain damage)—and not Zika itself.
In rare cases, Zika is thought to have also resulted in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, and which, in severe cases can lead to paralysis.
Mexicans release two norteños nabbed in 45-kilo cystal meth bust
Two Belizeans who had been facing major drug trafficking charges in Mexico have been freed of the charges and sources on the local front indicate that the two men are expected to be transferred to Belize this week.
Reports out of Chetumal were that back in February 2013 the men were among 8 persons detained after a Mexican Marines raid yielded 45 kilos of crystal meth, said to have been valued at around US$1 million, at the home of Carlos Cabañas Catzín, aka “El Monstruo,” on Benito Juarez Avenue in Chetumal.
The men are Ermelindo Vázquez of Orange Walk and Hugo Casanova of Corozal, who was last year cited by Mexican authorities in connection with a double murder in Mexico in 2013, in which a pregnant woman and her husband were murdered.
Kidney Association of Belize raises $18,000
Today at the Belize Healthcare Partners facility, the Kidney Association of Belize held a raffle through which they were able to raise $18,000, and they say that they intend to make the raffle an annual event.
A total of ten prizes were raffled today: the first prize, which went to BEL Social Club, was a liposuction procedure, sponsored by the Belize Healthcare Partners; the second prize, which went to Josh Guy, is a round trip to the USA courtesy of United Airlines; and the third prize, which went to Harry Flowers, is a two-night stay for two at the Placencia Hotel.
Ruby Nicholas, president of the Kidney Association of Belize, said that the purpose of the raffle was to raise funds to assist some of the 105 dialysis patients who are in need of treatment; the others are receiving treatment otherwise, he said.
Belize and Guatemala move to implement 13 Placencia accords
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today confirmed reports that officials of Belize and Guatemala had held a meeting last Friday, January 22, to discuss the road ahead in advancing bilateral relations between both countries and to reactivate the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission – the body tasked with implementing a set of confidence-building measures previously agreed to by the parties back in 2005.
The meeting came about a week after Guatemala’s recently installed president, Jimmy Morales, spoke in his inaugural address about advancing bilateral partnerships with Belize, as well as resolving the territorial, insular and maritime differendum between the countries.
The Guatemalan delegation was led by Foreign Minister, Canciller Carlos Raúl Morales Moscoso, while the Belize delegation was led by Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington, and included CEO Lawrence Sylvester; Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, Alexis Rosado; and Ambassador Stuart Leslie of the Referendum Commission and Belize’s Boundaries Unit. The delegations met at the OAS office near the Belize-Guatemala border.
Breaking Belize News
Tourist dies while snorkeling in Belize
While on a snorkeling tour at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near San Pedro Town yesterday morning, a 58-year-old American National of Minnesota, Jeffrey Thomas Bartl, drowned just 15 minutes into the trip, before a tour guide could have rendered assistance to save his […]
Mid-afternoon blaze destroys palapa structure
Fire officials at the Orange Walk Fire Department are investigating the cause of a fire that gutted a palapa structure around 2:50 p.m today. According to officials at the department, fire fighters responded to the fire call and found an open deck, palapa covered area […]
Daniel Anderson acquitted of murder of Joyce Mitchell
Daniel Anderson, charged with the murder of Joyce Mitchell, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas in a trial that was without jury. Justice Lucas said he was not satisfied with the identification evidence. Mitchell, who resided on Sibun Street, was shot […]
UDP congratulates Briceño; their convention will not be contested
Following Sunday’s result in the People’s United Party’s contested national convention, among the first to congratulate new leader John Briceño are his rivals in the United Democratic Party. Prime Minister Dean Barrow was first off the block on Monday during his press conference – hailing the “democratic convention” held by […]
Court concludes case of ex-open vote worker suing Government over termination
When is a public officer not a public officer? Apparently, when they are an open vote worker. Such is the conundrum in which former Ministry of Education employee Melissa Belezaire Tucker finds herself – “either fish or fowl,” in the phrase of her attorney Senior […]
Copper Bank fishermen guilty of fisheries offenses
Tonight 3 of 5 fishermen busted with over 600 uncleaned but market processed undersized conch must find over $15,000 in cash to pay the Belize City Magistrate’s Court (Government of Belize) after they pleaded guilty to various offenses. This evening, Fisheries Department Prosecutor, Hampton Gamboa, rushed […]
No-one charged yet for OW double murder
Orange Walk Police still don’t have a motive behind the late afternoon shooting that claimed the life of two teenagers in Orange Walk town yesterday. Today police continued their investigation following all leads and say they have an idea of who they are looking for. […]
Fair and dry conditions to prevail
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies during the day and partly cloudy skies tonight. Little or no rainfall is expected. Winds will be blowing from the East-Southeast at 10-20 knots with occasional higher gusts and the sea state will […]
Man arrested for stealing 15 grand from step-father
A report made by 58-year-old Johan Bueckert of Camp #9 in Shipyard Village, Orange Walk District, resulted in his stepson, 19-year-old Cornelius Wieler being detained, pending charges for the offense of ‘theft’. Bueckert told police that sometime between December 1st 2015 and January 31st […]
Orange Walk police find shotgun cartridges and weed
Working on information received yesterday morning, Orange Walk Police searched in a bush near Savannah Street and found thirteen 16-gauge cartridges, as well as 10.1 grams of cannabis. The search was conducted at 10:45 a.m. and the items, discovered in a transparent plastic bag, […]
Traffic collision results in 11 injured, no fatalities
A traffic accident between miles 17 and 18 on the Philip Goldson Highway yesterday afternoon around 3:50, resulted in 11 persons being injured when a Toyota passenger van carrying tourists and a Ford F-150 pickup truck, collided head on, landing one, Emilie Siman, in […]
Belize missing from Corruption Perception Index again
Transparency International recently released its latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI), where each country’s perceived level of corruption is ranked based on several indicators and once again Belize is conspicuously absent from the list. The last time Belize made an appearance on the Transparency International […]
Orange Walk Police to hold briefing on double homicide
Orange Walk Police will conduct a press briefing this morning regarding investigations of the latest double homicide that happened yesterday evening. The victims were identified as Erlindo Matura and Rene Asevedo. © 2016, www.breakingbelizenews.com. This article is the copyrighted property of Belize Media Group. Written […]
The February 3, 2016 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE
This Week's Stories:
- Break or Breakthough? PM’s Intervention To Avert Banking Crisis:
De-risking by international US banks and the consequent loss of correspondent banking arrangements is the number one issue currently confronting Belize. Having just returned home from a trip to the United States where he headed a high level delegation to resolve the matter, Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow summoned the media to a press conference to update the nation on what was achieved and what the current situation is. The Prime Minister informed that he and his delegation met with top officials from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), specifically, Mr. Thomas F. Curry; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and the Secretary of Treasury, Mr. Jacob Lew.
PM Barrow says they all indicated they are pleased that Belize is doing what it can to address the issues that the regulatory measures are intended to combat, including money laundering and financing of terrorism. He said they indicated they are satisfied that Belize is a safe jurisdiction and will clearly communicate that to US banks seeking to do business with domestic banks in Belize.
- De-Risking or Destruction? Neither is Fair:
If there were any scheme designed to destroy the economies of several countries without a military war, then this is such a scheme. It is erroneous; it is pernicious; and it is vicious”.
That was how Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne described the way in which US banks, under pressure from US regulatory agencies, are cutting off correspondent relations with Caribbean indigenous and offshore banks unilaterally and with very little notice.
No wonder then that the Prime Minister of Belize, Deane Barrow, who restricts travelling to the minimum because of spinal challenges, was in Washington DC for much of the week beginning January 25th to meet senior representatives of the US government and regulatory agencies.
Of all the Caribbean countries, Belize has been the hardest hit by US banks terminating correspondent relations. But, other Caribbean countries are also feeling the squeeze of what is obscurely called “de-risking”. Indeed, the problem is so acute that no foot-dragging on the issue could be excused. The matter should be the highest priority for regional governments, diplomats and the entire private sector, not only banks for whom the issue has become one of immediacy.
- Shoulder to Shoulder, Strength to Strength:
The Belize Defence Force has added 80 new soldiers to its ranks. Pass-out ceremonies were held for the new intake on Friday January 29, 2016 at the BDF Headquarters at Price Barracks, Ladyville, on the eve of the 38th anniversary of the force’s formation. The soldiers who make up intake number 61 underwent four months of rigorous training.
Guest speaker for the pass-out ceremony was Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar, who congratulated the men and women for having successfully completed the arduous course of training.“Recruit Intake 61 started off with a total of 120 recruits, but by the second week of training, that figure had gone down by 30. In the subsequent weeks, several more recruits who could not cope with the training dropped out and hence today there are only 80 recruits passing out. Give them a round of applause for their survival! Recruit training by design and intention is tough, both mentally and physically, and only the strongest will survive,” Honourable Saldivar remarked.
- Editorial: Summoning The Spirit of 2009:
The threats and challenges confronting
the domestic financial
sector, as it pertains to de-risking
and loss of correspondent banking,
are real and potentially disastrous to
the nation and its economy. But, as Prime
Minister Dean Barrow has emphasized in
the National Assembly, press conferences
and interviews with the local media, it is
important that we NOT exaggerate the
magnitude of the actual harm being done.
We must also be realistic and truthful,
as the Prime Minister was back in 2009 when
he informed the nation that the global recession
had hit home. As the PM indicated back
then, we would enter with eyes wide open
and successfully navigate our way through
the turbulent waters of economic recession
without swallowing the bitter pill of the IMF.
Against the global backdrop of protracted,
economic contraction and negative growth,
our endurance and recovery was remarkable.
- Johnny Is Back!:
In a special convention
in Belmopan on Sunday,
January 31, Hon. John Briceno
of the Opposition People’s
United Party, a position he had
voluntarily relinquished prior
to the 2012 General Elections.
Briceno garnered 1,125
votes, defeating incumbent
Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca
who received 918 votes, and
Hon. Cordel Hyde who got 673
votes. Henry Charles Usher was
retuned as Party Chairman.
Other executives elected were
Jose Abelardo Mai as Northern
Deputy Leader, Rodwell
Ferguson as Southern Deputy
Leader, and Anthony Mahler
as Communications Director
- "The Sky is the Limit!” Banking Sector Challenged but Optimistic:
It is no secret that the banking sector in Belize is facing some unprecedented challenges these days with de-risking measures being taken by International banks particularly in the United States, a situation which threatens the correspondent banking arrangements that have been in place over the years.
Notwithstanding, even as the Prime Minister and his Financial team travelled to the United States to resolve the matter, local bankers at home were expressing optimism about the prospects or Belize’s financial sector.
One such person is Lyndon Guisseppe, Chairman of Belize Bank Limited. Guisseppe, who had accompanied the Prime Minister on an earlier trip to the United States to take up the issue with executives from the Bank of America, expressed optimism last week as he spoke with reporters from the local media, optimism about the future of his own bank and the overall prospects for Belize’s banking sector.
- Belize Chairs CARICOM High Commissioners Meeting:
This past Thursday, January 28, 2016, CARICOM Heads of Missions in London held their first meeting of the New Year, 2016.
The meeting, chaired by Belize, was held at the High Commission of Guyana in London. Guest of honour at the meeting was newly elected Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who is yet to be officially sworn in to her new post. She will officially take up the office on April 1, 2016 as the sixth Secretary-General since the Commonwealth Secretariat was established in 1965. Her appointment has been hailed as a true breakthrough for gender equality in the Commonwealth.
- New Water System for Santa Anna - Toledo:
Minister of Economic Development Hon. Erwin Contreras and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Hugo Patt were main speakers at inauguration ceremonies on Friday, January 29 for an upgraded and expanded Water System in the village of Santa Anna in the Toledo District.
At a cost of over half a million dollars, the project was financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). It entailed construction of a 20,000 gallon elevated storage tank, a 10 by 10 foot ferroconcrete pump house, a chain link fence for security, installation of a new 5 HP Submersible Pump, a liquid injector chlorinator unit, 13,000 feet of transmission and distribution lines and 91 water meters.
- Mayors Association Meets in Punta Gorda:
The Mayors’ Association of Belize convened this past Friday, January 29, 2016 in Punta Gorda, hosted by the Mayor of that municipality, Fern Gutierrez. Mayors representing other municipalities were Francis Humphreys of Dangriga, Khalid Belisle of Belmopan City, Earl Trapp of San Ignacio-Santa Elena, Heraldo Rancharan of Benque Viejo, Daniel (Danny) Guerrero of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, and Darrell Bradley of Belize City. The Meeting was also attended by the new Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Hugo Patt, Chief Executive Officer in that Ministry, Kerry Belisle, and other officials having to do with Local Government and Rural Development
- Ombudsman’s Reappointment
Sparks Parliamentary Debate:
He has held the position for three years, since January 2013, and at the last House meeting held on Friday January 22, 2016, Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced the Government’s intention to reappoint Ombudsman Lionel Arzu for another year. The Prime Minister introduced a motion for the reappointment effective January 1, 2016. Once approved by the House of Representative and Senate, it would be forwarded to the Governor General for the reappointment to be effected. And it was approved by the House and Senate, but not before for some strong opposition and debating.
In the House of Representatives, it was the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca who took issue with the proposed reappointment. Fonseca stated, “This is not a motion that we can support on this side of the House. We wish to place on record that over the past few years that Mr. Arzu has served as the Ombudsman, we have received, and many of my colleagues have reported to me, these complaints and concerns about the level of inactivity and ineffectiveness of the Office of the Ombudsman over the past few years.
- “A Force To Reckon With”, Belize Coast Guard - Ten Years and Growing:
A force to be reckoned with – that’s how Admiral John Borland described the Belize Coast Guard which he commands. The admiral was speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday January 19, 2016, the purpose being to review the Belize Coast Guard’s progress and effectiveness after ten years of existence, particularly over the past year (2015), and to offer some insight and details about the goals and plans for 2016 and beyond.
“The year 2015 marked some significant achievements in the development of the Belize [National] Coast Guard. The coast guard celebrated its tenth anniversary which symbolized ten years of existence and contribution to the safety, security and protection of Belize. The Coast Guard also reached the end of its medium-term strategy for development and operations. We are now in long-term strategy which will take us to 2020. The Coast Guard grew from a strength of 50 in 2005 when we started, to 320 in 2015; but more significantly, over the last two years, since 2012, the Coast Guard grew from a strength of 120 to 320,” Borland recounted.
- Belize’s Latest Tourism Statistics:
month ago, in his 2016 New Year’s Message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke of the nation’s economic performance in 2015, stating, “It is in Tourism that our prospects continue to shine brightest.”
That statement was supported by the latest statistics just released by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) which show that 2015, notwithstanding a wobbly start, turned out to be a record-breaking year, as the number of arrivals in both overnight and cruise tourism continued to grow considerably. In December alone, there was a total of 39, 977 overnight visitors. There was a very small reduction of one percent in the cruise sector, with a total of 957,975 passengers coming onshore in Belize.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, January 27, 2015, BTB’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager Noriko Gamero commented on the figures: “We went up 6.2 percent in overnight arrivals. The last seven months saw a positive increase, with the last couple of months showing extraordinary numbers.
- Temporary Senator for Labour Sworn In:
The position of Senator representing Labour has been filled, at least temporarily, by prominent, long-time unionist, Elena Smith. She was sworn in at the Senate Meeting on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 as the Senator representing the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and Civil Society.
Speaking with the media, Smith commented, “My role is just that, to represent the Trade Unions and Civil Society. It is for me to sit with them when the Bills come that we can discuss and come up with a position, so that when I come to Senate meetings, I can give the position of NTUCB and Civil Society. At this point, thank you for your congratulations. At this point, the initial appointment is temporary until the Civil Society and the NTUCB can come up with a procedure for identifying our Senator.”
- US PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES BEGIN:
US PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES BEGIN
The process to elect a new President for the United States of America officially kicked off Monday, February 1, 2016 with the Iowa Caucus.
On the Republican side, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (28%) was victorious, beating out Donald Trump (24 %) who came second.
Marco Rubio (23%) had a strong third place finish. He is certainly now the establishment candidate to watch going forward especially since polls indicate he is the most electable Republican for President. In a triumphant and optimistic speech Monday night, Senator Rubio declared, “In America there are only two ways forward for us now; we can either be greater than we’ve ever been or we can be a great nation in decline... Now the moment has arrived for this generation of Americans to rise up to the calling of our heritage…We will embrace all of the principles that made America great and we will apply them to the unique challenges of this century."
- MCC Grounds - Marion Jones - Motorcycles, Sports Minister and Director On The Ball:
In the new term of this Dean Barrow administration, Orange East Area Representative Elodio Aragon has been named Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports. Coming from a district with a strong sports culture, Aragon brings great enthusiasm to that Ministry. The new Director of the National Sports Council, Ritchel Dominquez, also being a person from the North with an impressive track-record of involvement in the organization and promotion of sports, the energy of the new leadership combination is already being felt and making a palpable difference.
One of the urgent matters being immediately tackled is that of the MCC Grounds where the much-needed rehabilitation works have not been going particularly well. The new Minister of Sports and his team have quickly jumped on the ball, determined to resolve the matter as promptly as possible.
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management:
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are seeking to strengthen and sustain national resilience through prioritized targeting of the most vulnerable communities. In efforts to promote and enhance resilience at the national level, it is vitally important to accurately measure the level of exposure faced by communities in light of disasters. To address this issue, the CDEMA and IFRC are hosting a Strategic Targeting Methodology (STM) workshop in Paramaribo, Suriname from January 26th – 29th, 2016.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA said, “The importance of this event cannot be over-stated as we are well aware that communities are the first to be adversely affected by disaster events, especially if they are highly vulnerable. CDEMA is promoting the strengthening of community resilience as a critical plank in national development strategies.”
- Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission Reactivated:
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala, along with the Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, met at the OAS office at the Adjacency Zone on Friday, 22 January 2016 to discuss the status of the bilateral agenda and reactivate the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission as established under the Framework Agreement on Confidence Building Measures of 2005. The Ministers agreed that the work of the Joint Commission is important in promoting efforts at building confidence and enhancing relations between the two countries, even as the two countries strive to bring to an early and definitive end the dispute over Guatemalan claims in accordance with the Special Agreement between the two countries.
- Massive Investment in Education:
On January 27, 2016, after two years of meaningful consultation, Phase 2 of the Belize Education Sector Reform Project was launched by the Ministry of Education. The main focus of this phase is the expansion of education infrastructure to accommodate and provide adequate access for students at all levels. (Phase one had concentrated on sharpening and fine-tuning the policy direction of the Ministry and Education System).
Phase two, in other words, will concentrate heavily on the construction of new school buildings countrywide. A total of 35 new schools will be built countrywide. This will include 22 pre-schools, 5 primary schools, and 8 secondary schools. The entire investment is worth US$40 Million and is being financed mainly with a loan of US$35 Million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and an input of $8.5 Million by the Government of Belize (GOB).
- Road To Seaside Paradise Paved, Inauguration of Upgraded Hopkins Access Road:
Inaugurated on Thursday January 21, 2016 was the newly upgraded and paved Hopkins Access Road, connecting the Southern Highway with the scenic seaside village of Hopkins in the Stann Creek District. The reconstruction and paving of the road (6.7 Kilometers or 4.5 miles total length) was financed at a cost of $7,026,727.59 BZD with $5,652,101.16 being provided by the European Union (EU) and the remaining $1,374,626.43 financed by the Government of Belize (GOB).
A joint Press Release from the Government of Belize and the European Union says the completion of the road project facilitates and provides goods and trade and generate employment opportunities, notably bed and breakfast businesses, resorts, bus owners, taxi drivers and other businesses, resulting in significant bridges to double lane, two (2) swale drainage structures of 100 metres each, traffic signs & road marking.
- Socio-Economic Transformation in the South:
On Thursday January 21, 2016 the Government of Belize in partnership with the European Union officially inaugurated the upgraded Punta Gorda Market in Toledo District.
Financing for the Punta Gorda Market Project was divided into two components with a contract price of $975,936.89 BZD. The European Union provided $844,063.17 and the Government of Belize bridged the remaining $131,873.72. The project included the refurbishment of the existing market to accommodate 11 new individual stalls and reconstruction of the Civic Centre with 12 new stalls and bathrooms for Fruit & Vegetable vendors.
Another outstanding feature of the market project is that the design of the existing layout was improved to accommodate the Arts & Craft and Food vendors.
- conPARLIAMENT ADDRESSES CRITICAL ISSUES. De-Risking and the Loss of Correspondent Banking:
One of the most notable exchanges in the House Meeting of Friday January 22, 2016 was on the pressing issue of de-risking and correspondent banking.
The matter was raised by first-time Opposition member, Honourable Kareem Musa, Area Representative for Caribbean Shores, which is the constituency with the greatest concentration of business people involved in commerce and industry.
For the Government side, the response came from Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow himself, who is also the Minister of Finance.
In introducing the issue, Honourable Kareem Musa remarked, “Mr. Speaker, it’s no doubt an issue that affects businessmen and businesswomen 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 about the purchase of goods from the United States and elsewhere, and I am speaking about the use of credit cards.
- PARLIAMENT ADDRESSES CRITICAL ISSUES, Cruise Tourism and Docking Facility - Exclusivity and Desirablity:
In a House Meeting which featured limited sparring, the only other issue that was significantly contentious was that of cruise-ship terminals to be built.
On this issue, the main pugilist on the Opposition side was Toledo East Area Representative Hon. Mike Espat, and again the counter-punching came from Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow. The exchange developed out of a piece of legislation introduced from 2015 having to do with tax and duty exemptions for Norwegian Cruise Line in their construction of a cruise-ship port at Harvest Caye in the South, that piece of legislation known as the Belize Island Holdings Facility Development Bill.
The Bill having already been passed, the Toledo East member, Honourable Mike Espat nevertheless registered his disapproval, on the adjournment, with the tax breaks and exclusivity granted: “We just passed a bill on the cruise terminal in the south and I believe that when that bill came first to the House, we did not agree on that 25 years exclusivity that they are giving that particular company, and in the meantime we have had maybe 2 other Belizean companies that did not get any favour with this government.
Snapshots Around Ambergris Caye and My Favorites Around Belize
This morning is WINDY…the windows to the south are rattling away. A great place to check on weather NOW on Ambergris Caye is SanPedroWeather.
A favorite sign in town at the Roman Catholic School.
But that is not my topic. Here are snapshots that I’ve taken around Ambergris Caye and some FABULOUS ones taken around the country by others on Instagram. My favorite social media outlet of all…
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous – with last week’s “cold front” making the air crisp (about 60% humidity) and the temperature low. Highs around 78.
Perfect for parasailing.
Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken
1 Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In small bowl, stir broth, wine and cognac; set aside.
2 In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces evenly with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; cook 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Place chicken in slow cooker.
3 Add garlic to drippings in skillet; cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to brown. Stir in broth mixture, scraping skillet to loosen brown particles. Boil 2 minutes or until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with thyme.
Pineapple Chicken Wings
HEAT oven to 400°F.
PLACE wings in 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 30 min.
DRAIN pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Mix barbecue sauce, pineapple and reserved juice. Add to chicken; stir to evenly coat chicken.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is done and sauce is thickened.
Nursery installed at El Cruzadero
With financial support from the British Embassy in Belize, a nursery has been installed at El Cruzadero, Peten with the aim of reforesting areas nearby the Mopan River. This initiative brings together 19 communities from Belize and Guatemala to protect the shared water resources.
Provost’s Lecture: Reforming a Belizean prison
Driving up to Belize Central Prison for the first time was a bit scary for 12 UIndy students and the professors guiding them.
“There were inmates in orange jumpsuits cutting the grass with machetes,” says Amanda Miller, associate professor of Sociology. “That was an eye-opening experience for me, at least.”
But after three days of work in the heat and noise of the 1,500-inmate compound – the only correctional facility in the small Central American nation – the student researchers came away with enthusiasm, experience and more than 60 hours of recorded interviews with 36 prison employees and administrators. The result is an encouraging story about how a nonprofit organization, by most accounts, turned a squalid human warehouse into a professionally run institution focused on rehabilitation.
Whiteacre and Miller organized the project as a Spring Term trip in May 2014, and the challenge was accepted by 10 undergraduates and 2 grad students from various disciplines. Their goals were to capture an oral history from a unique place and time, learning interview techniques all the while, and also to survey the staff about changes that have taken place since 2002, when local Rotarians formed the nonprofit Kolbe Foundation and took over management from the central government.
Caribbean must not lose sight of debt stranglehold
The debt remains a major impediment to economic growth because it has deprived our governments of the ability to use fiscal policy to promote growth. By now, it must be immediately obvious that everything has to be done to reduce the debt, because it is inadvisable to be burdened by such a stifling level.
Conventional wisdom in the economics profession is that when the debt stock is over 75 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the debtor country cannot grow its way out of debt. Several Caribbean countries are already in this debt trap. Jamaica leads with a debt/GDP ratio of 130.5 per cent in 2014 (now reduced by a little over 20 per cent), followed by Barbados at 108.5 per cent, Grenada at 99.1 per cent, Antigua at 96.4 per cent, The Bahamas at 82.4 per cent, St Vincent at 79.4 per cent, St Lucia at 78.4 per cent, St Kitts at 78.0 per cent, Belize at 77.3 per cent, and Dominica at 74.1 per cent. This represents a considerable slippage in debt sustainability.
2016 Caribbean Cruise- Belize Snorkeling, 4min. This was our snorkeling adventure on the reef in Belize in Jan 2016. We cruised on the Norwegian Jade to Cozumel, Belize and Honduras.
Las Terrazas Belize, 7min.
World of Wild Trailer, 2min. The World of Wild trailer. Some of the footage was shot at the Green Iguana Conservation Project.
From Alaska to Belize Full HD, 7min.
Belize Coral Reefs, 3.5min.
Belize Wall Dive, 3.5min. Wall dive on Belize Turneffe reef. Black tipped reef shark. 4K video shot with GoPro Hero4 and Flip4 filter kit
Belize Diving, 3.5min. 4k GoPro Hero4 video of SCUBA diving Turneffe Reef in Belize off the Aggressor III liveaboard.
Jerry Jeff Walker 2016 in Belize, 4.5min.
Wojciech Cejrowski - Boso przez świat - BELIZE - cały film, 22.5min.
Eretmochelys imbricata -
Hawksbill turtle, 1/4min.
Conservation status: Critically Endangered!!
A healthy population lives at Glover's Atoll, Belize thanks to strong regulations and excellent habitat.
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