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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
Belize to be represented at 2016 Taipei International Tourism Expo
Two prominent Belizean professionals in the tourism industry, Karen Pike and Ian Anderson, will travel to Taiwan to represent and promote Belize in the upcoming “2016 Taipei International Tourism Expo” from May 20-23, 2016. Taipei International Tourism Expo is one of biggest tourism expos in Asia, and the biggest tourism expo in Taiwan. With close to a million attendees, the exposure Belize will get from this event is monumental. *Karen has been the Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) since December of 2014. She manages and oversees the operations of five units – Travel Trade, Hospitality, Marketing Intelligence, Digital Marketing and Marketing & PR. The Belize Tourism Board is a strategic partner in marketing the Belize tourism product, developing tourism initiatives and programs, and implementing tourism policies, to address the changing needs of visitors and stakeholders, therefore her role is extremely important to the BTB.
*Ian, his wife Ella and son Gabe landed on the shore of Belize in 1992, from their native home in Vancouver, Canada. Ian’s desire was to fill his life with adventure, and for 24 years, Ian has been living that life of adventure in Belize.
Initially starting as a small camping ground with no electricity, no communications and no running water, Caves Branch Jungle Lodge nowadays boasts 5 totally different designs of rooms from the basic jungle cabana up to their 5 star, 1200 sq ft Canopy Tree Houses, perched above the Jungle Canopy hundreds of feet above the caves branch river and overlooking the valley below.
Hundreds of lionfish caught during fishing tournament
A lionfish tournament took place on Monday, May 16th at Estel’s Dine by the Sea to celebrate the 11th Annual Northern Reef Week. Hol Chan Marine Reserve encouraged all tour operators, tour guides, and divers from dive shops on La Isla Bonita to participate in catching as much of the beautiful, but invasive fish to help reduce its population in our waters. A total of five teams registered for the tournament: the Dive Bar, Lionfish Snipers, Belize Diving Adventures, Team Amigos Del Mar, and Hol Chan. After tallying points, The Dive Bar took the first place cash prize of $1,000 with 175 lionfish caught. They also won a 15-gallon gas voucher for winning the largest catch of the event, with a lionfish measuring a little over 15 inches. Coming in at second place was Team Amigos Del Mar, with a catch of 100 lionfish, winning $750 in cash. The third place cash prize of $400 went to the Lionfish Snipers who caught 31 lionfish. Everette Anderson from the Belize Diving Adventures won the remaining 15-gallon gas voucher for the smallest catch, with a lionfish measuring only a little over three inches. At the end of the event, the total count of lionfish removed from the reef amounted to 344.
Team Amigos are the champs of the 2016 Class A/B 8-ball Pool Tournament
The San Pedro Billiards Association held its Class A/B 8-Ball Pool Tournament finals on Sunday, May 16th at Average Joe’s Sports Bar. Four of the 10 registered teams made it to the semi-finals and finals of the competition. Team Amigos, AJ’s Snipers, Hitman Recruits, and Solids were the teams who gave their all in the last round of the competition. At the end, Team Amigos emerged as the tournament champions, claiming a cash prize of $700 plus a computer tablet for each member of the team. Immediately after the third place game, the crowd at the sports bar just about doubled, as it was time for the first place title match. AJ’s Snipers took on Team Amigos, the competition leader from the start. Attendees cheered on and supported their favorite players. AJ’s Snipers was leading the competition by three games when Team Amigos made a surprising comeback, tying the game 3-3. The final match was on, and the anticipation grew heavy around the pool table. Two balls remained on the table, one of them the 8-ball. Team Amigos went for the difficult and decisive shot. Armed with the cue on his left hand, the player did his magic and the 8-ball found the chosen pocket. To much applause, Team Amigos was crowned the champion of the San Pedro Class A/B 8-Ball Pool Tournament 2016. AJ’s Snipers graciously accepted their second place title, along with a prize of $350 and a 24-hour golf cart rental for each player.
Misc Belizean Sources
BELIZE FISHING REPORT: Weeks of May 8th – May 14th, 2016
A very exciting week as we had a great mix of seasoned anglers and out right first timers. The weather was pretty good, the food was excellent as usual, and the company was fantastic. Another week in paradise!
Garifuna Leaders Release Statement on Current Conditions of Garifuna Peoples
A group of Garifuna Leaders has released a statement detailing the current state of affairs within the Garifuna community. The release also mentions that the group's concern extends to indigenous Maya as well, and details both threats to indigenous culture and suggests a plan of action moving forward.
"In finding our solutions Garifuna Leaders are embarking on action plans through education to:
a) promote a deep awareness of the Garifuna as Indigenous Peoples with all the rights and obligations
articulated in the several instruments of the UN, which include land and cultural rights.
b) bring realization of the rights of Garifuna people to participate fully in the current efforts of SICA toward
2016 Frenchie's Offshore Open Fishing Tournament May 18
Caye Caulker Invites you this Saturday and Sunday, May 21 & 22. Grand Prize $5,000.00. 2nd Place $2,500.00. Third Place $1,500.00. Many more cash consolation prizes and trophies. Come and enjoy beautiful Caye Caulker this weekend.
Attention all splashers! Since there is no paint party today there is a specially for members! All members who head to the gallery to paint today, Thursday May 19th, will be able to paint any painting they missed for only $35!
Road to Cayo warehouse sale at Mahogany Bay Village
Our first ever Road to Cayo warehouse sale at Mahogany Bay Village in San Pedro happens this Saturday 21st from 9am-1pm! Up to 70% off retail prices on beautiful handcrafted wooden pieces made in Belize. We have queen & king-sized beds, dining tables & chairs, loveseats, night stands, storage armoires, entertainment credenzas, coffee tables, benches, outdoor furniture, and wooden cutting boards. We also have imported, brand new mini-refrigerators still in the boxes, and used ceiling fans with lighting. Arrive EARLY for the best selection! Come to Rum+Bean and follow the signs to the warehouse.
E Series … A musical journey begins
Belize connoisseurs of the musical arts and fans of the craft of the art form jazz will be glad to know that the near and immediate future offers some enticing and tantalizing possibilities.
Last Friday night the Belize Music Agency’s “E Series” debuted at Kiki Witz welllnes spa and restaurant on the George Price Highway just outside of Belmopan City.
Word has leaked out that the Belize Music Development Foundation has revived and will be presenting the Belize Jazz & Culture Show for mid- July.
And the second iteration of the Belize International Jazz Show is on track for August 12 – 21, 2016 at a venue near you.
The “E Series – A musical journey” is the first of what will be a ground breaking, history making endeavor. The concept is simple – two new entertainers, two relatively unknown songstresses, will present their developing repertoire of covers and original renditions every Friday night, chanteuse-style, at the same venue over a period of months.
Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize
18 May 2016
The Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize, chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator the Hon Maxine McClean, and comprising Barbados, Canada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania, as well as Belize and United Kingdom as observers, met on Monday, 16 May 2016, to discuss the recent events taking place in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Hon Wilfred Elrington briefed the Committee on recent developments, including discussions between the governments of the two countries.
The Committee reiterated and endorsed the firm support of the Commonwealth for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize, as expressed consistently and most recently in the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Communiqué. The Committee encouraged all concerned to work towards a peaceful and final resolution of the longstanding disagreements concerning the border between Belize and Guatemala.
Poets Corner: Belize-Guatemala takeover
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. All you Alices in Wonderland
Marcus Garvey tried to make you understand
“A people without knowledge of their history culture and origin are like trees without roots!”
Dealing with Belizeans is like pulling out tooth
Did you not see what Guatemala did with their indigenous population?
They slaughtered them like animals
Belize has to take this issue international
Our people need to be vocal
If Guatemala takes over
Blacks will be gentrified to the exterior
Can’t you see what happened to Labuga?
They will slaughter the Maya
See what happened in Gaza
See the cunning Adjacency Zone takeover
Belize will be cut up like Kashmir
We need to be seeking alliance with Vladimir
Father and Son 5 Aside Football Tournament at Gwen Liz Compound
Saturday May 21. Musical Entertainment will be provided!
This is our third year hand-raising at-risk Yellow-Head chicks
This year, we have six babies in our care.
Even though they have been removed from their parental care, they all now have a chance at a wild life. We plan to re-release them all into the Rio Bravo area and the post-release monitoring and feeding will be carried out by the excellent crew from Programme for Belize. The older three babies are just a few days off fledging and we anticipate their final release will take place just before the end of the year.
Our gratitude as always to Scarlet Six Biomonitoring Team, Programme for Belize, TIDE, Belize Audubon Society and Hagen Inc (Canada).
Revised National Classification System for Accommodation Stakeholder Consultations Schedule
Dangriga - Screen on the Green
Dangriga - Belize Screen on the Green will feature the movie, "Red Tails" on May 26, 2016 as part of the monthly movie series.
Please join us at the Slaughter House in Dangriga for a free feature film. Movie starts at dark!
About the movie: During World War II, the Civil Aeronautics Authority selects 13 black cadets to become part of an experimental program at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The program aims at training "colored personnel" to become fighter pilots for the Army. However, discrimination, lack of institutional support and the racist belief that these men lacked the intelligence and aptitude for the job dog their every step.
Despite this, the Tuskegee Airmen, as they become known, more than prove their worth.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
London Has Fallen,
Mune: The Guardian of the Moon,
Gods of Egypt,
Pelé: Birth of a Legend.
Officialdom Responds To Plett: The OAS has been Called in To Verify
For the past two nights you've been hearing every detail of Mennonite Farmer Roger Plett's story of abduction in Belize and detention in Guatemala. And while he unspooled his narrative in granular detail, officialdom said nothing: neither the police nor the ministries of National Security or Foreign Affairs would confirm or deny his account.
Well, today, the Ministries ended their inexplicable silence with a Belmopan press conference held by the CEO's in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Security. The first announcement was that the OAS has been called upon to verify the incident:..
H.E Lawrence Sylvester - CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"The government of Belize yesterday 17th of May requested of the Office of the Organization of American States in the adjacency zone a formal verification into the incident reported by the Pletts which allegedly occurred in the Green Hill area of the Cayo District. We are aware the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of an ongoing police investigation into the matter."
Plett Says Police Haven't Been To Site, Cops Say Otherwise
So the police are saying in their report that they did go to the site, while Roger Plett said up to yesterday that he hadn't taken them. Now, it's a situation where there is distrust on all sides, but it starts with the police who don't seem to trust his account – even while, by all appearances, not doing their work as thoroughly as they suggest:
Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News:
"I spoke to the San Ignacio police and he told me that they had handed it off to Belmopan. They confirmed that they had not gone to the scene and would not be able to go to the scene because of the sensitivity of that area and that they could not move into that area along the border without the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I spoke to CEO Sylvester minutes after and CEO Sylvester is telling me what, we can't move until we get the report from the police. So the police is saying we can't go on the scene until we get we get Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is saying we can't move until the police report. So what I'm asking what is the police say; forget any queries or questions, what did the police say, what is the outcome of their report?"
Guats Say No Military Was In Area
And there is a lot of confirming to be done. First, the Government of Belize is trying to confirm who grabbed Roger Plett and tied him up. Plett is saying that they were Guatemalan military. And indeed, pictures posted by Guatemalan Luis Gongora on Facebook on Wednesday, the day before Plett was detained show persons dressed in what appear to be military uniforms involved in fighting the forest fire.
But, Guatemalan officials told the government of Belize that no one was detained by their military – because no military was in the area:…
H.E Lawrence Sylvester - CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"We are given every assurance that there's no Belizean detained and that the Guatemalan armed forces were not on any patrol near the areas or adjacent to the Mennonite property on that day."
CEO Sylvestre: Plett and Ayala "appear elusive"
And back now to how Belizean officials are handling the entire report. From what Roger Plett and his co-worker Manuel Ayala told the media, there has been a constant level of official skepticism. Today the press got into an extended back and forth with CEO's Sylvestre and Lovell about just what the police had done – including what they had allegedly done to try and censor the statement Roger Plett Gave police. CEO Sylvester said they appeared elusive when he requested a de-briefing:
H.E Lawrence Sylvester - CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"To make things doubly sure I directed Ambassador Guerra who serves in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assists on some of the counsellor and the matters, the cooperation with Guatemala to seek out and find the individuals in Spanish Lookout and arrange for a prompt debriefing. I found that the individuals were rather elusive in making themselves available for this debriefing and it wasn't until after close on normal business on Friday that some type of debriefing or statement that they made themselves available to give a statement at the San Ignacio police station."
Heroin Case Crumbles
Today two men who were allegedly busted with heroine walked out of court free and clear of charges.
The supposed drug bust made headlines in December of last year. Police intercepted a vehicle at Bel China Bridge and inside they found 11 kilos of what they believed to be heroin.
The case went to trail today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. But, before the trial could even really pick up steam, it was struck out. That's because police were unable to prove that the brown sandy-like substance was indeed heroine. Their attorney Herbert Panton told us more:,…
Herbert Panton - Attorney for Richard McDonald:
"At the time the undercover police officer tested, you know they have these portable testing kit; tested the substance and instead of the substance turning green which would have indicated heroine, it turned brown. So that from December of last year the police knew that what they had in their possession was 12 kilos of brown sands and they knew that from December of last year. They have dragged this matter on my client has lost tremendous business as a tour operator nobody in the industry wants to deal with him."
Refugees: The Real Situation Beyond The Flip Flop
Last night, we showed you how the Government of Belize flip flopped on Help for Progress. That's the NGO funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which has been assisting the Government's Refugee Eligibility Committee to process the major spike in the numbers of persons applying for refugee status in Belize, starting from January 2016.
Last week, Government said that Help For Progress was assisting the Refugee Committee by conducting the initial interviews for these persons who were applying for asylum in Belize. But, after a meeting of Cabinet yesterday, the Government announced that Help For Progress had no mandate to take up this responsibility. Their press release ended, quote, "Any entity other than the…Refugee Eligibility Committee involved in processing applications for refugee status considerations, should cease and desist..." End Quote.
So, why now? That's an especially relevant question since Help for Progress had assisted the Committee in interviewing over 700 applications, which reportedly included illegal immigrants, who should not qualify for Refugee Status, since they've been in the country for years.
How Did Fraudulent Passports Re-emerge?
But, we continue with more from the Minister with responsibility for Immigration on a topic, which we'd been trying to seek clarification on for almost 5 weeks.
That's a report which we received in the second week of April that the Immigration and Nationality Department came upon 2 fraudulent Nationality documents for 2 Chinese Nationals, Nina Huang and William Wang. Our information was that they were acquired with suspect documents, and the officials weren't even sure if they ever actually entered the country.
Well, we asked Beverly Castillo about it, and she said that their inquiry reveals that these were passport renewals, meaning that these applicants were processed and approved before the new, very stringent measures were put in place after the Citizen Kim passport scandal. She told us that they caught these suspect documents due to those new measures:
Carmelita Fatal Accident Allegedly Caused By Cop Veering On Road
A traffic accident in the north involving three vehicles has left one man dead – and it could be the fault of a policeman who was reportedly swerving across the road. It happened around 6 yesterday evening in Carmelita village.
Richard Orellana, a well-known businessman of Orange Walk, died on the spot. He was driving a Ford Explorer, which was extensively damaged. The other vehicles involved were a blue Kia Sorrento, which was being driven at the time by Phillip Waight and a silver Kia Sorento, which was being driven by Police officer of Belmopan Roberto Tec. Here is the official version of the crash:
Inspector Nicholas Palomo - Deputy OC, Orange Walk:
"Initial investigation reveal that the blue ford explorer bearing license plate OW C05085 was travelling in a south to north direction heading to Orange Walk and the silver kia sorento bearing license plate BMP C04853 was travelling in a north to south direction heading to Belize City..."
Arrest For Ladyville Shootings, But No Murder Charge
Police have charged the 2 suspects in the weekend's Ladyville fatal shooting.
They are 19 year old Darwin Estuardo Prado and 28 year old Egbert Baldwin – but they haven't been charged with murder. We'll explain that shortly, first, though, we'll tell you what they are charged with: 3 counts of attempted murder, 3 counts of use of deadly means of harm, 1 count of wounding, 1 count of grievous harm and 1 count of dangerous harm. Prado and Baldwin were charged with all these offenses for shooting at the men who were outside Cynthia Lozano's Marage road house.
Today at the Magistrate's court no plea was taken because the offences are indictable. They were also denied bail because the crimes involve a firearm. Prado and Baldwin were remanded into custody until August 15th.
Teenaged Girl Grazed In City Shooting
A 19 year old girl was shot last night in the city. Around 8, Chiaoma (Chi-oma) Williams was talking to a man at the corner of Freetown and Barrack Road. She was getting more information about a house she wanted to rent in his yard. But that is when 2 men on a cycle drove passed them and opened fire. The men quickly sped off. Williams was hit in her buttocks and grazed on her hip and leg. Today we spoke to the sister of the man who was with Williams. She told us more about what happened last night. She also explained that neither her brother nor Williams were the targets.
Eyewitness of Shooting:
"I mi gone da shop gone buy me and my baby and I the come from shop but as I the come from shop I meet my lee brother but I just mi the run a lee joke with ah and thing, he and the young lady; because the young lady mi come check pan wa house da back she mi said she mi come check pan it because she hear da how the back da for rent. So anyways I couldn't talk to she or anything so I mi ask my brother do it because I mi the cook and thing and which in he and the young lady da friend so..."
Two Months For Fondling Girl
26 year-old Belize City resident Ashton Lambey is at the Belize Central Prison tonight after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a 10 year-old girl. He will spend 2 months in jail for it.
It happened just a few days ago, on Sunday, May 15th, when the child told police that her 26 year-old sister, instructed her to go get a broom. When she did, she met Lambey who fondled her backside, and ordered her not to tell anyone, or else, he'd get into trouble with the law.
She ignored him, and told her family, who took her to the police to report the incident. They investigated and charged Lambey with sexual assault. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and he chose not to waste the court's time. He pleaded guilty, and because he did, he was spared the maximum 3 year sentence. Instead the the Chief Magistrate sentenced him to just 2 months.
Why A Museum Visit Matters
Today is International Museum Day and here in the city at the Museum of Belize, over 700 preschool and primary school students learned about Belize’s cultural landscapes. The main focus was to get the kids interested in Belize’s historic sights and the rich story behind them. Director of the Museum Sherilyne Jones told us more about why a museum visit matters:…
Tomorrow some kids will be taken on a tour around the city to see more of Belize’s historic buildings and sites.
Special Needs, Special Abilities
Several special needs kids graced the stage at the Belmopan Civic Centre earlier today to participate in the 2016 exceptional confidence competition. The event was sponsored by the Ministry of Education and organized by the National Resource Centre for Inclusive Education, known as NARCIE.
The 11 kids who participated live with various challenges, but today it’s their abilities that got highlited on stage.
As a show of camaraderie, all 11 kids were gifted with phones and school bags loaded with school supplies. In addition to that, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners received gift baskets, phones and tablets.
Football Phenom In Spain
Teenaged football phenom Dmitri Fabro is a fast rising star and is now in the roster for the Getafe Juvenil A (under 19) Team in Spain. Fabro got an early start to his football career with FC Belize at the tender age of 16. Since then he has gotten the opportunity to play with the Belmopan Bandits, and the Belize Defence Force, in addition to being the captain of various youth national teams including the U-15 who brought home the gold from the Dominican Republic back in 2012. Now at 18 Fabro is currently training with the Getafe Juvenil A. That's a team that ranks only below the B Team and the A Team of the Getafe Organization which currently plays in the Liga BBVA- one of the top leagues in the world.
Now young Fabro is aiming even higher and is marketing himself through NCSA athletic recruiting. We understand that Fabro is now venturing to continue pursuing his passion for football while studying in the US.
G.O.B. Responds to Plett Allegation of Kidnapping
Six days after Guatemalan military and civilians allegedly came onto Belizean soil and abducted two men, along with a tractor and bulldozer, there is finally official comment from the Ministries [...]
Police Have Not Visited Scene of Alleged Border Incident
But there’s a problem straightaway with that response, firstly from the Ministry of National Security. The investigation is the first line of action in whatever government’s response will be. Just [...]
O.A.S. Verified Release of Belizeans
According to Colonel Lovell, they have been liaising with their counterparts and colleagues in Guatemala and at the O.A.S. since day one, verifying that no Belizean was still in Guatemalan [...]
MFA C.E.O. Says Plett and Ayala Were Elusive
So that’s where we were at that point – verification from no less than the O.A.S. that the Belizeans detained had been released. And that’s where the confusion comes in. [...]
Parallel Investigations Will Determine Way Forward
So with all the confusion and miscommunication arising out of what seems a very clear cut border incident, what happens next? Well…the Police investigation continues, of course, and then the [...]
FM Elrington Meets With Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize
There is support coming from the Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on the territorial integrity of Belize. After weeks of tension between Belize and Guatemala since the death of Julio Alvarado Ruano, [...]
Government Revisits Refugee Program
There was very significant news coming out of Cabinet on Tuesday, via a release sent to us via email three minutes before news time. It clarified that there is no [...]
OW Resident Killed in Road Traffic Accident
An Orange Walk resident was killed last night in a traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The driver of the vehicle that crashed into Richard Orellana is police officer [...]
Police Investigate Human Remains Found in Blue Creek
On Tuesday evening, sometime after five p.m., Police were called out to a farm in the Blue Creek Village, Orange Walk District. There, they discovered the human remains of a [...]
Teenage Wounded in Belize City Shooting
Nineteen-year-old Chioma Williams is recovering from injuries she received during a shooting incident in Belize City on Tuesday night. Williams reported to police that shortly after eight o’clock, she was [...]
2 Men Walk Free from Major Heroin Charge
Two men were accused last December with the possession of twelve kilos of heroin, but even though tests from the National Forensic Laboratory showed that the substance was not the [...]
Ladyville Men Charged for Shooting Spree
While a duo has been freed, two teenagers who surrendered to police on Tuesday are on remand at the Belize Central Prison for a shooting spree on Marage Road, Ladyville which [...]
Belize City Man Remanded for Sexual Assault
A twenty-six year old man who behaved inappropriately by touching a ten young girl on her rear was taken to court today. The incident took place on Sunday and Ashton [...]
Southern Communities Affected By Sarstoon Ban
The remote Garifuna community of Barranco, in the context of what is taking place at the Sarstoon, is widely seen as a mere transit point for local law enforcement officers [...]
Resolution Drafted on Concerns of Indigenous Communities
Earlier today, a group of Garifuna elders, including Doctor Joseph Palacio, issued a statement on the current conditions of Garinagu in Belize. The Garinagu, like other ethnic groups in the [...]
B.P.P. Upset at Comments of US Ambassador
The Belize Progressive Party has taken umbrage with recent comments made U.S. Ambassador Carlos Moreno on the Belize/Guatemala issue. Ambassador Moreno has expressed support in taking the territorial claim to [...]
MLA Speaks Up on Commission Decision
The Toledo Alcaldes Association and the Maya Leaders Alliance remain at loggerheads with the government-appointed Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, following an incident on Monday in Punta Gorda Town. As [...]
Cristina Coc Says Commission Release is Disingenuous
According to Coc, it is not the first time the Toledo Alcaldes Association had sought an audience with Alamilla. She says that several attempts have been made verbally, as well [...]