The news will be a bit brief for the next week or so due to time constraints
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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
Fisherman drowns in Northern Ambergris Caye while fishing
The San Pedro Police Department have confirmed a drowning incident that occurred on Monday, July 4th along the northern coast of Ambergris Caye. 32-year-old Guatemalan National and resident of San Mateo, Noel Polanco, was fishing with a John Carlos Castillo when he drowned. Polanco was transported to San Pedro Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His body is now at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, where a post-mortem examination is scheduled to take place to verify the cause of his death.
According to an official police report, Polanco and Castillo were fishing in a kayak, when all of a sudden the kayak began taking in water. When they tried to bale the vessel, the kayak turned over. According to accounts from Castillo, Polanco was in the water swimming for about 30 minutes before he became tired and went under. He was found about five to seven minutes after going under water. He was rushed to the Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival. No signs of injury were observed on the body, and foul play was ruled out.
Polanco is survived by a host of family and friends.
Misc Belizean Sources
BELIZE HOTEL ASSOCIATION HOSTS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The BHA held its Annual General Meeting on Thursday June 30, from 1:30 PM- 5:30 PM, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. Present were members of the BHA and other Tourism Stakeholders and guests who came from across the country, to receive information on the activities of the Association during the past year, and to listen to the dynamic guest speaker, Mr Frank Comito CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association. Also in attendance were Mrs. Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism- BTB, Ms. Karen Pike, Director of Marketing- BTB, HE Ambassador Oliver del Cid, Ambassador of Belize in Mexico, Mr. Abil Castaneda, CEO- Ministry of Tourism, and Mr. John Burgos, Executive Director of the BTIA. Mrs Leisa Carr-Caceres, President of the Belize Hotel Association gave the President's address, followed by the Financial report, by Mrs. Shakira Oxley Tsai. Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Ernesto Vasquez, who kept the audience entertained and the meeting flowing with his energy and enthusiasm.
Paint N Splash
Join us to paint this abstract octopus on July 7th, Thursday @1:30. For our regular customers please bring your sharpie markers and detail brush. Hey Guys don't flip painting will still begin at 2 but I am making the time advertised 1:30 so that I have time to prep for last minute show ups. If you are officially signed up painting will begin punctually at 2. Try and bring a rag please.
2016 Caye Caulker Lobster Festival
Some really nice pics of Lobster Fest here
Ocean Academy welcomed San Pedro High School's Principal and Department Heads
For a site visit to learn more about our initiatives in social enterprise, personal education plans, applied learning class curriculum and the Ubuntu internship network. After a lunch meeting with Ocean Academy's Principal Curry, the SPHS team went out with two Ocean Academy students to experience firsthand Kayak with Purpose. We hope this is the first of many collaborations between our island schools.
Order Your Basket at La Isla Cariñosa Academy
Another basket completed, freshly made; this one is a laundry basket with cover ($80).
If you order, we can make and deliver to you. You can even stop by and see it made.
Need a tortilla basket, trash basket, laundry basket, fruit basket, bread basket or basket for anything. Any shape and size. Order and we will deliver in a day or two.
Call 226-0101 or 668-7512 to order.
Power interruption 6:00am to 2:00pm, Sunday, July 10Entire San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. BEL to conduct critical maintenance & testing of equipment & replace power transformer at the San Pedro Substation.
Trade Market Components Seminar
The Belize Bureau of Standards and Belize Agriculture Health Authority will be some of the presenters today, Wednesday the 6th, at the Trade Market Components working session to be held at the Cayo CET. It starts at 9:00am.
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Monte Carmelo-
Starting July 7- July 16th 2016
July 7th - Amy & Lindsay Jeffrey & Family
July 8- Mount Carmel Primary School
July 9- Benque House of Culture
July 10-Lesbia G.Martinez & Family
July 11-Mount Carmel High School
July 12-Nahib Hernandez
July 13-Aracely Castellanos
July 14-BRC Printing Ltd
July 15-Martha Guerra
July 16-Dia del Pueblo-Benque Viejo Town Council
Bze Teens Binge Drinking And Tobacco Use Among Highest in 13 Nation Caribbean Survey
We all know drinking and smoking is almost a rite of passage for some high school students - but a new study shows how alarmingly widespread alcohol, marijuana and tobacco abuse are among teens and pre-teens. It is a report from the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs which compiles a comparative analysis of drug use among high school students in 13 Caribbean countries. Belize participated fully and almost two thousand students between the ages of younger than 14 and older than 17 were asked a long list of questions about drug usage habits.
The 132 page report is loaded, but some of the statistics that jumped out at us include this one about binge drinking - which means having had five or more alcoholic drinks in the last two weeks. 21.9% of the Belize respondents said it had happened once, 16.4% said it had happened two to three times, while 6.4% said it had happened four to five times - which is the highest amongst any of the 13 countries. And then there's heavy binge drinking which is defined as four or more binge drinking episodes in 2 weeks. Guyana at 17.1% and Belize at 13.6% are the countries with the highest prevalence of heavy binge drinking. Moving now to cigarettes, Belize's respondents were also among the very highest in terms of who all had tried cigarettes. A third of the respondents, said they had tried a cigarette in their lifetime Belize was also among the highest when asked about using alcohol in the past month. Just about a third of the respondents said they had - which tied Dominica for the highest incidence.
Deviant Lab Tech Gets Three Years
48 year-old Albert Genitty, a medical technician who was employed at a NHI clinic in Belize City, is at the Belize Central Prison tonight. He's spending his first night of a 3 year sentence after being convicted today in the Magistrates Court of sexual assault on a patient.
The victim, a 27 year-old woman, testified that on January 23, 2015, she went to the NHI clinic to give a blood sample. She says that Genitty convinced her not only TO give the blood sample, but also a vaginal swab. She told the court that while Genitty was supposedly taking the swab, he had his head between her legs, at which point, he tried to perform oral sex on her. She said that she realized what was happening, and she pushed him away.
The Manager of the clinic also testified in the trial that Genitty is actually a phlebotomist, and his responsibilities are to only collect blood samples. The Manager testified that at no point is he authorized to perform vaginal swabs, though he does have the training to do so.
More Charges For Jex Jr
More charges were brought against Paul Jex Jr. today in court. Those include aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary. Yesterday, Jex Jr. was only charged with rape. These charges are all in connection with the brutal home invasion at Sarkis Bou Nahra's Burrell Boom mansion in December 2015. As we told you, DNA results sent back to police from Miami confirm that Jex raped the main not Tyrone Meighan. So the rape charges brought against Meighan will be dropped. Police are still waiting more DNA results to find out which other man sexually assaulted the maid. Jex has been remanded until September 15.
Jingo Jimmy & The Genocidal Military
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his foreign minister Carlos Raul Morales are in the habit of calling the BDF "unprofessional" - but what military values do they really uphold? President Jimmy Morales is being criticized for some very controversial comments on Sunday, July 3, when he praised the Guatemalan Army, calling their work "exemplary". As we've reported, this is the very same Army which carried out the genocide of over 200 thousand Indigenous Guatemalans during the 1960-1996 Civil War, a period of military repression in that country.
He was speaking at an official ceremony for Celebration of the Guatemalan Army Day. Seen here, Morales was photographed marching with very senior military officials including his Defense Minister, Williams Mansilla, who's on his right, and General Juan Manuel Perez, the Chief of the Guatemalan Armed Forces, who at the front in the far left of your screen.
Last night in Georgetown, Guyana, Belize formally handed over the rotating chairmanship of CARICOM to Dominica. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who was acting as the interim chairman, did not attend the opening ceremony of 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.
He was represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington, who handed over chairmanship to Dominica's Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit.
Belize has been acting as chair for the last 6 months, when the American Tier 1 banks began ending their corresponding banking relations with domestic banks in a number of Caribbean Nations.
AND, while that threat to the CARICOM financial system worsend, the big issue right now is how will Britain's exit from the European Union affect the Caribbean.
The Prime Minister didn't attend presumably because as Minister of Finance he has to oversee that massive first payment to the Ashcroft Alliance. It's 190 million dollars, and Government has to pay it through the use of reserves and domestic borrowing. It's not going to be easy - and the only simplifying factor is that a large chunk of it can be paid in Belize dollars - as part of the settlement with the Ashcroft Alliance. But can it really? We've heard reports which say that the Alliance is demanding that it be paid in US dollars - which would open the way for another dispute with government.
And to add to all that, there's still unsettled business between Government and the Ashcroft Alliance. There is still a pending dispute in a US court where Belize may have to pay the Alliance over 80 million dollars. Last week the Prime Minister said that one they will not pay:..
Chester The Jester Or Jules The Fool?
Turning now to media news, last night you may have heard Assistant Commissioner Chester Williams go on his spiel against our News Director Jules Vasquez. He accused Jules of sensationalizing crime. Now, no harm, no foul, we take his criticism at face value - but Jules Vasquez says that what worries him is the apparent fracture in police media relations - which showed again last week when the Commissioner of Police took a shot at Amandala and Channel 5. Jules discussed it today:..
"His statement and the remarks of the Commissioner the previous week, indicates that there are a very serious fracture, a rift in the relationship between the media and the police. Now, there has always been antipathy or a disharmony between these two groups, the media and the police. To some extent we have to be adversarial, but to have two of the most senior officers, the number one in charge and the number three or four in charge, make such extraordinary go out of their way to make attacks on the professionalism and the conduct of the media within one week. I think it's certainly is caused for concerned and lamentation that something has to be mended in this relationship and I would have hope that that would have happen today. Mr. Williams, we've been exchanging emails about this very same lack of harmony and Mr. Williams had indicated that today, he would have the media at the police station to aired out our grievances and move forward."
ASR Comes Through For CODICADER
Last week it was BWS that was making a generous financial contribution to the CODICADER initiative. Today ASR decided to pitch in with a sweet donation- as sweet as sugar you could say. A grant of $12,500 dollars was handed over today at a very brief ceremony at the National Sports Council Office in Belize City. William Neal, the Communications and Government Affairs representative for ASR/BSI was present to hand over a check which will be used to cover costs of purchasing sweat-suits for the kids representing Belize at this year's CODICADER games.
William Neal - Comm./Gov. Affairs. ASR/BSI:
"Generally ASR is one of the companies especially in Orange Walk, that whenever there are any sporting events or any community events that is approached very often for funding, they have a committee that looks at where the monies will serve the communities best and generally because we work with farmers who are, in terms of a localized area, either from Orange Walk or Corozal, we look at maximizing that. This year we looked at where it would have the most impact and definitely contributing to this initiative twelve thousand dollars plus. It was definitely something that we saw as worthwhile given the fact that we do have sports being organized but it's not with an international flair that would expose our young people to competitions and competitors from throughout the region. So, we thought that this would be a worthwhile initiative to support."
CODICADER Effort Still Short 300K!
So while hosting the games is one thing, participating and even competing in the tournament is quite another. So it begs the question, are the Belize delegates well poised and ready to take on the players from the region in their own home court? We asked Dominguez today about the players in the Belize roster and if he believes that this roster will ensure that a few medals remain at home. Here is what he told us.
Ritchell Dominguez - Dir. National Sports Council:
"Yes all rosters have been in yesterday, was the deadline for every country to send in their rosters and we vet them. What will happen this evening is that we are going to share different rosters with different countries. Belize is going to check El Salvador, El Salvador is going to check Honduras and this is what is going to happen this afternoon. I know we'll be up late this evening to vet them but we are ready and willing to go."
"That's 1 thing to host the event, it's another to participate and to actually compete in the event. Are you satisfied with the roster that you have that we will be able to show a little competition in these games?"
CODICADER Opening Rich With Talent
And while that generous donation will help the teams gear up for the games, NICH is also preparing for their grand opening show for the CODICADER Games on Thursday. Now usually, all the formalities of an opening ceremony are exhausting but the Communications and Marketing Officer from NICH told us today that the show they have planned will blow you away.
Holly Edgell - Comm. and Mktg. Officer, NICH:
"Belize and there's never a dull moment it seems when you come from June through the end of the year and one of the next things coming in our calendar is sports related but NICH has a role in it. So, that is the Codicader opening ceremonies on Thursday and the reason why we are involved is that the institute for creative arts is producing the entire opening ceremony. So, this is not going to be just some kids coming in, sing the national anthem and go home. This is going to be a show that really embraces the children from all over Central America. Remember, these are kids, these are ages 6 to 11. So, these are young kids who are coming really for sportsmanship for participating and it might be their 1st trip out of their home country and for Belize players this may be for the first time competing on the international level.
Senator Stays Low In Manslaughter Trial
38 year-old Elario Eligio, who was charged with manslaughter for the death of his drinking buddy, John Myers walked free today after he was acquitted.
Eligio was accused of punching Myers in the face, which caused the 52 year old to fall to the ground. He hit the back of his head, and the force of the impact killed him.
Well, after waiting for his trial for 4 years, Elijio was prosecuted by Crown Counsel Kileru Awich. The prosecutor tried to prove that that on February 27, 2012, Elijio caused the death of John Myers. The main prosecution witness took the stand and refused to cooperate.
That happens every day, but that main witness was Senator Ashley Rocke, and in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Senator Rocke gave police a written statement that he saw the entire thing through his church office window. But, when he was to provide those details to the court today, he didn't cooperate.
American Airlines, Britain To Belize In Same Day If You Can Bus' Through ICE
For decades visitors travelling from Europe to Belize have run into a hurdle. To get here they have to spend an overnight in Miami or Houston, or Newark, Cancun or any of the other US hubs connecting to Belize. But American Airlines says they are changing that with a new flight that launches in November from Heathrow Airport on London. It doesn't fly directly from London to Belize - but the new afternoon flights departing from London Heathrow will have a few hours' connection in Miami onto Belize City. We stress, it is not a direct flight, and anyone who's travelled knows that with flight delays, and long TSA lines, a few hours for connection is often not enough. We're told that the PGIA may also have to activate an extended hours operation at the PGIA - which is also not a sure thing.
Nonetheless, the flight launches on 4th November 2016, to coincide with Belize's tourism season. It will operate four days a week on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
It's Not The Singer, It's The Song
Over $35,000 will be given as prizes for this year's National Song Competition. The submission period has opened and people are already uploading their songs in both the Carnival Song and Patriotic Song category. Today Communications and Marketing Officer from NICH Holly Edgell told us more about the expectations of this year's song competition and what you can do to come out on top.
The deadline for submission is July 22nd. You can submit your songs and vote for your favorite songs on mynationalsong.bz. If you have any questions you can email [email protected] or call 2272120. For the senior category 1st place walks away with $10,000 , a trophy and an opportunity to produce a music video. For the Junior category , 1st place gets $4,500, a trophy and the music video and 2nd place is $1,000 and a trophy. Make sure to submit your songs by July 22nd. On a final note, the Junior are advised to email or call to get help to pick a song and to get prepared for the big stage.
Camping Experience In The Hood
If you've heard anything about the fund raising initiative called Harvest for Kids, then you'd know what what BCE is. It's the Belize Camping Experience and today they were on the ground conducting full week camps for kids across the country. We joined them today in the Jane Usher area.
BCE is hosting 6 to 7 camps this summer.
Mischievous Man Fined
33 year-old Alvan Myvett, who went to the police station and reported that he was held up by armed thieves, was fined today after he admitted that he made the entire story up.
Myvette, who works at Bluefield Range Caye, reported to police that on June 26, while he was at the fishing camp owned by his boss, 8 robbers, 2 of whom were armed, held him up at gunpoint. 8 days later, he went back to the police station and told the police that he made it all up. So, they charged him with the offense of mischievous act. When he was arraigned today, he pleaded guilty to the charge and told Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer that he recanted the report because he didn't want innocent people to get hurt.
For the fiasco, he was fined $150 to be paid by August 15, or he will spend 1 month in jail.
Belize Kids: Weed Widely Used
At the top of the news we told you about the comprehensive study on alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug usage among Belizean teenagers and pre teens. The figure for binge drinking and tobacco use were most alarming for Belize - which, worryingly, led the region in those areas.
Well, what about marijuana, the study shows it is the most widely used illegal substance among youths in the Caribbean.
Almost one quarter of the nearly two thousand respondents said they have used marijuana in their lifetime - which is on the high side when compared to other countries. It was lower in Jamaica where small quantities of marijuana is legal.
Belize's students also ranks high for having used marijuana in the past year, with even 10% of 14 year olds and young saying they had used in the past 12 months. Usage was higher amongst males.
Earlier you saw us speaking with William Neal as a representative of ASR/BSI. Today we asked him a few questions about the sugar cane season in the north ended last week Sunday. And while it wasn't a very good crop season, it certainly is, if nothing else, a wakeup call for farmers and producers a like to tighten up especially now with the new changes to the European market. William Neal spoke to us briefly about this matter today.
William Neal - Comm./Gov. Affairs. ASR/BSI:
"In terms of a figures we do have...I am not a figures person. This has not been a bumper year when compared to last year in terms of production and we know definitely in terms of prices on the world market, last year it was 70 dollars plus. This year it's only 40 something dollars plus. We still don't have a final figure as yet, but compared to where it was last year we've seen a sizable decrease and it just begs for efficiencies to be increased in terms of a sustainability for the industry itself and particularly not only for the mill, but also for the farmers as well. So, it's a great opportunity for us as we prepare for 2017 and the changes within the EU regime to actually go back and look at the industry collectively and see how interconnected we are and what would be the best steps to look at, for example, harvesting and delivering, that's still a very antiquated system. Whether we move to mechanized farming or harvesting and whether we can do a better job of bringing the cane to the mill and make it more efficient."
An Arson in Mahogany Heights; Is it Related to the Murder of Jasmine Petillo?
A family of eleven in Mahogany Heights is tonight homeless after the place they called home was gutted by fire this morning. Sometime around five a.m., Elstwin Willoughby, his wife [...]
A Sense of Normalcy One Week After Devastating Fire on La Isla Bonita
It has been a little over a week since a devastating fire in San Pedro virtually leveled an entire block near the heart of the downtown area. The inferno gutted [...]
Compre Family Mourns Deceased High School Teacher
Tonight, Roaring Creek resident and teacher, twenty-eight-year-old Jodine Gill and her thirty-year-old colleague Dania Portillo remain hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, recovering from varying degrees of injuries sustained [...]
Vice Principal Says Several Attempts Were Made to call for Ambulance
At five-thirty this evening, the administration of the Belmopan Comprehensive High organized a vigil at the school compound as a remembrance for Escoto. Residents, as well as former students, are [...]
Sports Council Receives Much Needed Donation Ahead of CODICADER Games
With the start of the 2016 CODICADER Games less than three days away, final preparations are being made to ensure that Team Belize maintains the best chance of excelling in [...]
ASR Says Donating to Sports Council is Worthwhile Initiative
The cheque was presented to the National Sports Council by Communications Director William Neal. According to Neal, ASR/B.S.I. decided to make a contribution towards the initiative primarily because it will [...]
How Ready Is Team Belize for CODICADER Games?
The opening ceremony for CODICADER 2016 will be held at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex on Thursday evening and is being organized by the National Institute of Culture and History. [...]
Belize Relinquishes Pro Tem Chair of CARICOM to Dominica
CARICOM Heads of Government are currently in Georgetown, Guyana for the thirty-seventh Regular Meeting. In addition to regional matters up for discussion, Belize will also be handing over the chairmanship [...]
Elario Elijio is Acquitted of Manslaughter Charge
Today, thirty-eight-year-old Elario Elijio walked out of Supreme Court a free man after four years on remand for the death of John Myers in 2012. Elijio and Myers were drinking [...]
A Female Cop is Assaulted Outside of Popular San Ignacio Nightclub
A female Police Officer is tonight recovering from injuries she received when a group of persons assaulted her. WPC Tracy Stevens was doing extra duties at the Blue Angels Nightclub [...]
A Phlebotomist at NHI is Imprisoned for Sexual Assault of Patient
Albert Genitty, a phlebotomist employed at the NHI clinic in Port Loyola, will spend three years behind bars after he was convicted today of sexual assault of a customer at [...]
Paul Jex Jr. is Remanded for Rape of Burrell Boom Woman
More than six months after he was charged for a sensational home invasion in Burrell Boom, Paul Jex Junior is back behind bars, charged with rape during that same incident [...]
Smart Hosts Annual Football Summer Camp
School is out and summer camps are in. Across the country, various organizations are hosting recreational events for children who are presently on vacation. Over the next few weeks we [...]
CARICOM Heads of Government Talk BREXIT in Guyana
Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington is heading a delegation to the 37th regular meeting of CARICOM Heads of Governmnt which is taking place in Georgetown, Guyana. While there, Minister Elrington was able to update journalists from the Miami Herald, Associated Press and the regional media, on the Belize Guatemala differences and also the derisking challenges […]
Former Guat Minister Suspected to Be Hiding in Belize
Last month saw three senior Cabinet Ministers of Guatemala arrested on charges of corruption as authorities looked for two others. The ministers reportedly served under the former President, Otto Perez Molina who has denied the charges of money laundering and conspiracy. Tonight, Love News understands that Guatemalan authorities may be looking to find the former […]
Remembering Renigius ‘Jess’ Flores
Easter 2016 was one of the final performances carried out by 57-year-old, Renigius Flores who went by the stage name, Jess Flores. Flores passed away on June 21 after falling ill in May. His contribution to Belize’s industry was significant with many who can recall him for his lead singer position with the Babylon Warriors. […]
The Legality of Sex Work and Public Perspective
Some weeks ago we brought you the story on the advocacy work being done on behalf of women who would like to have prostitution be looked upon and embraced as an accepted form of employment. We told you of the organization Tikkun Olam and their work being done with funding from an agency in Latin […]
Bus Catches Fire As Passengers Board to Travel
This evening a fire broke out on a J and J bus that was loading passengers at the Belize City Bus Terminal. Information we received is that the bus was almost full and a wire under the bus caught fire and caused the commotion. Ana Gonzales, a passenger who was in the bus at the […]
AA Flights Go Direct to the UK From Belize
With Belizeans having business and family members over in the United Kingdom, the recent announcement of a direct flight to the UK by American Airlines is a welcoming initiative. According to an online publication, the direct flights will begin in November 2016 and will not warrant overnight connections in the United States or Mexico. The […]