Today's Belize News: August 7, 2016
08/07/16 06:25 AM
08/07/16 06:25 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
BFD: ILLEGAL HUNTING DUE TO RISING WATERS IN THE BELIZE RIVER VALLEY AREA
The Belize Forest Department has received multiple reports and complaints of illegal hunting and killing of wildlife in the Belize River Valley Area as a result of the flooding situation.
Concerned residents in the Belize River Valley communities have reported to authorities numerous cases of game violations within a relatively short period of time. They report that several persons have been conducting illegal and excessive hunting since the rising floods, especially indiscriminate hunting of wildlife stranded in highland areas. Residents are concerned that these actions will threaten their local wildlife populations of game species such as: deer, white lipped peccaries, gibnut and other game species.
The Forest Department recognizes that in the wake of Hurricane Earl, rising floodwaters are displacing many wildlife species from their natural habitat, and some indiscriminate individuals have seen this as an opportunity to capture or kill wildlife. When natural disaster strikes, it is often easy to prey on wildlife during their displacement but this reaction can jeopardize not only the survival of wildlife species recovering from the natural disaster, but entire wildlife ecosystems, local communities and people’s livelihoods as well.
NEMO HURRICANE EARL RELIEF OPERATIONS SITUATION REPORT #1
NEMO response to the aftermath of Category 1 Hurricane Earl continues with focus primarily on providing immediate relief to the affected people, the restoration of critical lifeline facilities, operational normalcy at all ports, and assessments of agriculture, fisheries, transportation, utilities, communication, infrastructure, housing, cultural, and environmental situation. 2. PEOPLE IN SHELTER.
164. San Pedro and Caye Caulker– 9 persons in San Pedro High School; Belize City– 78 persons in Unity Presbyterian, St. John’s Vianney, Queen Square is closed; and St. Luke; Cayo. Teakettle-16 persons; More tomorrow– 15 persons; St. Matthews– 31 persons; and Cotton Tree- 15 persons.
Funds to be disbursed to fire victims
It’s been over a month since a devastating fire struck San Pedro’s town core, leaving 98 people and 8 businesses affected, 11 structures completely destroyed, and 7 partially destroyed. The fire reportedly caused over $1 million in damages and losses. Although fire victims have been patiently waiting for their fair share, Eiden Salazar of the San Pedro Red Cross stated that the fire victims are not being disregarded. Initially, the funds were going to be distributed on Tuesday, August 2nd, but Hurricane Earl delayed the disbursement. Beside the setback of the weather, the process is almost complete.
In addition, a formula has been designed to determine disbursement on a case to case basis based on evaluation. “The funds will be based per family, and those who lost their buildings. In our assessment, we will discuss what criteria we will use, as well as what percentage will be given out to the fire victims,” said Salazar.
Salazar confirmed that the final assessment will take place this weekend, and checks should be distributed by Monday, August 8th.
Two Tropical Waves being monitored in the Caribbean
Two Tropical Waves entering the Atlantic Basin are keeping meteorologist on high alert. As of Friday, August 5th, a tropical wave is causing thunderstorms over the Leeward Islands, while another tropical wave is quickly approaching the Lesser Antilles. While neither storm is defined yet, meteorologists will be monitoring their development over the next few days as they move westward into and across the Caribbean Sea.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the first tropical wave (96L) extends along 53W/53W from9N-19N moving west near 20 knots per hour (kt). 96L has a well-defined 700 millibars (mb) trough (the minimum or lowest point in a cycle). This wave is brining scattered moderate to isolated strong convection from 15N-19N between 52W-56W.
The Blackadore Development Group provides update on EIA
After hosting their first public consultation in January of this year, followed by a media tour, the Blackadore Caye Development Group in charge of the project has released an update regarding a follow – up public consultation. According to the group, the second consultation on its restorative project is underway, as its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently undergoing some fine tuning.
The Blackadore Development Group has been closely working with local stakeholders who are acquainted with Blackadore Caye, a private island west of Ambergris Caye. According to Public Relations Representative Dionne Chamberlain, the biggest concern identified after the first public consultation, was the lack of communication with the people who would be impacted by the project. “We have worked diligently to remedy this and have met with over 100 people from May to the current date,” said Chamberlain. The next public consultation is being planned before the end of August, and once the date has been officially set the general public will be advised through the respective communication channels. “We will also provide a link to access the EIA once it has been uploaded to the DOE Website, and at the same time we will advise where people can obtain physical copies of the EIA,” explained Chamberlain.
Ashcroft demands BTL Payment in US dollars; Belize economy in crisis
In August of 2009, the Government of Belize (GOB) nationalized the Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) from a group of companies controlled by British Billionaire Michael Ashcroft. Immediately, a foreign arbitration was filed against Belize claiming between $300 and $600 million. This led to seven years of litigation and court battles that for the most part favored the Ashcroft Group. As a result the economy of the country is now being threatened, as Ashcroft has demanded that GOB must pay $70 million in foreign (US) currency towards the once and for all settlement of the BTL acquisition. However, the Central Bank of Belize has warned that if such request is approved, the country’s status could be dramatically affected to the extent of devaluation.
Teachers participate in CPD workshop
In effort to encourage teachers to complete their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) hours, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has designed numerous workshops for educators across Belize. Each year during the month of August, teachers are required to accumulate 120 CDP hours within a five year period. The objective of these workshops are to improve the quality of the education system, and allow educators to develop themselves professionally.
As the sessions are divided into early childhood, primary, and secondary levels, the workshop commenced on Monday, August 1st. Teachers from San Pedro Town met at San Pedro High School to be trained on oral language development, and in the second week, behavior management strategies for the classroom will be taught.
The workshops were created based on the teacher’s needs, while some reflect the needs of the district. Under the mandatory workshop category, educators must participate in a number of programs to improve development strategy planning. Said strategies are then implemented during the new school year.
Misc Belizean Sources
Rescued baby manatee and how you can help!
Washed up by the storm - meet today's latest arrival - a very young manatee, carried several hundred meters by the storm surge on Wednesday night, to be deposited in someones back garden on the outskirts of Belize City. Thankfully, she was found during the post-hurricane clean-up, rescued by Jamal Galves and is now safe and settling in at Wildtracks.
Many thanks indeed to the team from the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) for their assistance with transport - you guys rock!! Tomorrow will be the day for good photos. Tonight, we are just making her welcome.
Please consider supporting her rehabilitation...she has a long way to go before she will be ready to go back to the sea
Tres Pesados Slam 2016
Congratulations to Team Super Fly for capturing the top prize of the 8th Annual Tres Pesados Slam 2016!
BEL offers electricians
BEL is offering the services of licensed electricians, to conduct inspection and repairs of damaged service entrances caused by Hurricane Earl. Call 0.800.BEL.CARE (0-800-235-2273) for more information.
Caye Caulker cargo run
The ssminow will be going to Belize city on monday augs 8 to bring cargo if interested call 635 9353 or 602 0024 for more info thks
BEL Continues Restoration of Power to Belize District
At 3:00 p.m. today, power supply has been restored to 93% of the country and 87% of customers in the Belize District, where the majority of damages were sustained to Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL) power system.
BEL’s teams resumed works early this morning and are focusing on completing restoration to areas without electricity, scheduled as follows:
•Remainder of Ladyville, including Vista del Mar: 6:00 p.m., Saturday, August 6
•Bella Vista to Vista del Mar junction: 9:00 p.m., Saturday, August 6
•Burrell Boom junction to Sandhill: 9:00 p.m., Saturday, August 6
•Haulover to Ladyville: 9:00 p.m., Saturday, August 6
•Hattieville and surrounding areas: 9:00 p.m., Saturday, August 6
•Burrell Boom junction to Belize River Valley: Update to be provided tomorrow
•Sandhill to Bomba: Update to be provided tomorrow
BEL is offering the services of licensed electricians
To conduct inspection and repairs of damaged service entrances caused by Hurricane Earl. Call 0.800.BEL.CARE (0-800-235-2273) for more information.
Belize Electricity Limited advises customers who have damaged service entrances due to Hurricane Earl, that they can apply to BEL for help
BEL is offering the services of licensed electricians, contracted by the Company, to conduct inspection and repairs of damaged service entrances. Interested customers must apply and agree to pay the cost in three (3) monthly instalments added to their next electricity bills.
BEL reminds customers that service entrances, which are required for safe and proper connection to BEL’s electricity supply, are the property and responsibility of customers.
Interested customers may call 0.800.BEL.CARE (0-800-235-2273) for more information.
Belize at Rio Olympics
Belize is at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Best of luck!
"Great show put on by the host country."
Hurricane Earl Flood Pictures
Hurricane Earl came to Cayo. Nobody was hurt, luckily, but some trees were knocked down, and it flooded some on Thursday. Daniel Velazquez captured some amazing photos of the flooding, and the people of Cayo out enjoying the amazing post-hurricane weather. Be safe. Damon Russell got some good pictures too, as did Miriam, and Sera. The Cayo Welcome Center got some good pictures. "after a crazy night, went into town did some photography of Hurricane earl flood and had some beers, ran into a old Peace Corps friend, from 20 years back."
Progess! We hope to share news about reopening early this coming week.
A HUGE thank you to Mr. Errol Cadle of Lamanai Eco Tours and his team of volunteers for all their hard work
Unusual color in Red-Lored Amazon
Meet the glorious Gloria; she was recently brought into our care after being confiscated. She is a Red-Lored Amazon but as you can see she has interesting and unusual pigmentation throughout her feathers. This comes from a terrible diet which deprived her of essential vitamins needed to be healthy, and to be able to see; because of vitamin A deficiency she is unfortunately blind. She will hopefully regain some, if not all, of her vision as well as full healthy plumage through nutrients and time. She is very calm, a big eater, and loves naps. She also likes to play, and decorate her cage with her food!
Hurricane Earl Tears through Belize City
Hurricane Earl drenched Belize on Wednesday night packing ferocious winds of up to eighty miles per hour. The hurricane made landfall after midnight near Belize City and moved westward. The [...]
City Council Moves Quick to Clean Up after Hurricane Earl
Today, the Belize City Council mobilized immediately after the hurricane and began cleanup efforts in the Old Capital. Debris, trees, zinc from roofs and other objects are littering the streets. [...]
Search and Rescue Teams Active as Belize City gets Battered by Storm
City folks began bracing up for the storm since Wednesday morning. Visitors evacuated the islands. Hundreds moved to shelters in both the north and south sides of the city. More [...]
Sugar Barge Crashes into Historic Monument during Storm
The weather system also caused three barges to run aground near the Belize City harbor. This morning, the B.S.I. vessel collided near the Baron Bliss Lighthouse and remained there until [...]
Hurricane Earl Wreaks Havoc in Vista Del Mar
Also hard hit were communities north of Belize City, including Vista Del Mar and Ladyville. Who would have believed that a category one storm, and barely that, could have wreaked [...]
Belize River Valley Residents Show Fortitude in the Wake of Earl
The Belize River Valley also experienced the downpour of the hurricane and residents are not bracing for impending floods. Like in other communities in the path of Earl, damages were [...]
PM Says Care Packages & Housing Assistance for Hurricane Victims
Today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow called a press conference to update the public on all things Earl – from the damage caused in various sectors to the appeal for relief. [...]
Beneficiaries will be Handled through NEMO
Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained that while Area Representatives across the political board will be used for input, no money will be given to them to disburse. All beneficiaries will [...]
Senator Carla Barnett on Accessing Aid Relief from International Partners
Barnett explained the process and plan which will be immediately implemented to ensure that Belize has the ability to access aid relief from our international partners. Carla Barnett, Senator [...]
Massive Flooding Expected in the Aftermath of Hurricane Earl
Even as Belizeans work to recover from the impact of a storm which was much stronger than expected, there is more bad news to contemplate. There’s water heading our way [...]
Hurricane Surge Litters the City with Sludge and Garbage
At new time tonight, here at Channel Five we remain without electricity even while most of Coney Drive has been powered up, which means that we are in the twenty [...]
Recovery Efforts Underway in the Old Capital, but CitCo Needs Your Help
According to Mayor Bradley, the area of Southern Foreshore, particularly near the House of Culture, has been recognized as one of several locations in need of urgent rehabilitation. Darrell [...]
Belama Phase 3 Devastated by Hurricane Earl
The task of rebuilding is humongous in Belize City. Teams have been deployed to affected areas. This morning, we headed to Phase Three of the sprawling community of Belama where [...]
The Iconic Bird’s Isle is No More
Iconic Belize City landmark Bird’s Isle, long since a popular venue for sporting activities and entertainment, is tonight no more. The prominent location in the Yarborough community was brought to [...]
Auditorium is Flattened by Hurricane Earl, but Family Plans to Restore
With irreparable damage having been done to the original structure, are there any immediate plans to restore Bird’s Isle to its greatness? Isani Cayetano “Now on a long term [...]
Another Cop is Arraigned for Sexual Assault
News Five has been able to confirm that a Police driver from Roaring Creek, Adison Gillett, has been charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a fifteen year minor. He was taken [...]
Cop to be Charged for Assaulting Another
Belmopan Police are also investigating an incident which occurred on Thursday night in which Police Corporal Derin Mariano, assigned to the Mobile Interdiction Team, was badly beaten by another MIT [...]
Salary Adjustments for Public Officers and Teachers on the Backburner
Despite the unexpected power challenges raised by the passage of the indomitable Earl, News Five has been continuing its comprehensive coverage of the storm and its impacts in the short [...]
IMF Recommendations a Real Possibility Given Belize’s Economic State
And here’s another impact you may not have been expecting, and one which certainly won’t sit well on top of the expenses brought by Earl. Remember that letter from the [...]
Agriculture Industry Devastated by Hurricane Earl
Earl wasn’t just a storm which brought high waters, tore off roofs, damaged homes and panicked a nation. It also devastated our agriculture industry which has already been facing real [...]
Corn Farms and Vegetable Production Adversely Affected
And while the crushing impact on our banana industry is bad enough, it gets much worse. Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture “Corn has been severely impacted, especially in [...]
Impact of Earl on Central Bank Reserves
Waight isn’t generally a politician and so, most times, can be trusted to tell it as it is. The Prime Minister, a consummate politician, sings a more pleasant tune. But [...]
Belizeans to Get Help from NEMO, Not U.D.P. Area Rep
So with all that said, the government will step in, right? Belizeans remember in late 2015 when a tropical depression flooded the south side and brought U.D.P. politicians with relief [...]
Was the City Council Prompt in Efforts to Restore Normalcy?
Was the City Council prompt in addressing the issue of debris and sludge when NEMO announced an all-clear on Thursday morning? Some would argue that the response wasn’t fast enough. [...]
The Impact of Hurricane Earl on Tourism Industry
Like in agriculture, there was good and bad news in tourism. The good news is that all tourists in the country prior to the storm were placed in safe accommodations [...]
Relief Efforts in the City
The Belize City Council has embarked on a massive cleanup campaign of the Old capital. Agencies such as the Red Cross are joining in the effort, giving a helping hand [...]
A look at the Destruction of Hurricane Earl on San Pedro
In the prime tourist destination, San Pedro, the popular Costa Maya festival has been cancelled. The influx of persons expected to attend has dropped dramatically so the festival has had [...]
Potential Health Hazards Post Hurricane Earl
The entire country of Belize is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Earl. The damage country wide is minor for some and major for others. But there are few [...]
Serious accident near BEL power plant near Mile 8, GP highway
A serious accident has occurred near the Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL) light plant near Mile 8 community at around 7:30 tonight on the George Price highway.
Reports are that a yellow Ford Ranger ran into the back of a black Ford Edge SUV. The injured driver of the Ranger was rushed by another passenger vehicle to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), as the ambulatory service had not yet arrived at the scene.
Police have cordoned off the area to process the scene and motorists are urged to take precaution when approaching the area.
Two drown before Earl passes through
Two persons died of drowning this week, within a day of Hurricane Earl’s passage through the centre of Belize.
The day before the storm made landfall, the body of Jonathan Josue Montes Diaz, 18, a Salvadoran of Cohune Walk Area, Belmopan, was retrieved at around 3:30 p.m., from the Bobadilla area of the Mopan River in Benque Viejo town.
Police found his badly decomposed body floating in the river and because of the state of decomposition, the post mortem examination had to be conducted that same night in the water, which determined his cause of death as drowning.
Meanwhile, police were summoned the same Tuesday afternoon to Duplooy’s Jungle Lodge at Mile 5 on the Chaa Creek Road in Cayo, where they found the body of Irlan Oliver Mesh, 21, a cook at the lodge.
Re: Today's Belize News: August 7, 2016
08/07/16 06:25 AM
08/07/16 06:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
The Belize Times
Hurricane Earl Batters Belize
Hurricane Earl made landfall just south of Belize City before midnight on Wednesday, lashing at the entire country with heavy rains and torrential winds throughout the night. At landfall, Hurricane Earl had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, making it a Category One storm. Its Hurricane force winds extended 15-20 miles from the center but tropical storm-force winds of 49mph-73mph, reached out for 140 miles. That meant the effects of the storm were felt all the way to Corozal and neighboring Quintana Roo, Mexico to the north, and as far as the Toledo District in southern Belize. As Hurricane Earl made landfall, over 200 distress calls of persons trapped in flooding homes and shelters lacking proper amenities were recorded by NEMO and Police officials. The worst of them came from the Belize District region, where the storm’s impacts were direct and forceful. Residents from Belize City, Ladyville, Lords Bank, Sandhill, Gardenia and the old northern road were in perilous situations. Hurricane Earl caused devastation of homes and buildings. Roofs were badly damaged, some blown away during the storm. Various communities experienced rising waters and some residents had to find the highest areas of their homes, including their attics, for safety. There were countrywide electrical outages and up to press time on Friday, the Belize District still had power outage. The Cayo District experienced flash flooding on Thursday as the rivers swelled, causing waters to rise and force evacuations along the Macal and Mopan Rivers.
GOB Bruk – No Housing Relief for Hurricane Victims
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced on Thursday that the Government of Belize will not be able to provide recovery assistance to hundreds of Belizeans who lost their homes to Hurricane Earl.
“It is not going to be possible for us simply to rebuild homes for people who might have been unfortunate enough to have their homes damaged to a point where it is beyond repair,” commented the PM at a press conference called on Thursday afternoon.
Barrow said that while Government will provide “basic packages of water and food”, he advised that those affected don’t should not have “any false hope on the part of expectations and create any false hope” for his administration.
The Prime Minister was beating around the bush trying to say that his Government is broke and does not have any funds to help hurricane victims meaningfully.
Statement by PUP Leader Hon. John Briceńo on the Aftermath of Hurricane Earl
Hurricane Earl is now behind us and while assessments of the extent of the damage and destruction are underway, we are thankful that, so far, there have been no reports of any loss of life directly associated with the hurricane.
Early reports show that Belize City and the neighbouring communities were the areas with the greatest damage. Homes were lost, some structures were damaged, farmers lost crop and animals and many families lost their hard earned properties and assets. On some of our Islands and in communities on the Coast, piers were destroyed and beach erosion occurred. In Belize City and in surrounding communities, businesses suffered loss due to high winds and flooding and there is damage to our electrical infrastructure and other important services, mainly in the communities and areas hardest hit. We are confident that the hard working men and women of BEL and our other service providers will do all possible to restore power and services to the affected areas as soon as possible and that the cleanup in the affected areas has started.
Uncle Sam fed up with corrupt UDP
Uncle Sam sent a strong message to the Barrow Administration when it denied a senior government official entry into the United States last week Friday.
Reliable reports are that Ruth Meighan, formerly the Director of the scandal-ridden Immigration Department and current CEO of the National Emergency Management Organisation, was informed that her visa was cancelled when she arrived at the U.S. Immigration in Houston. Meighan was turned back and forced to return to Belize.
The action, sources tell us, is a serious political message from one big powerful Government to a small Government that is big in corruption and powerful against its citizens.
Think About It
Before we write anything about William Mason and the scandal swirling around the Prime Minister and his Ministers, let us recall some things.
Recall the Elvin Penner scandal. Godwin Hulse was the actual Minister responsible for immigration matters. But Penner was signing nationality and passport documents too. What the hell kind of recipe for disaster was that. Why did the Prime Minister and Minister Hulse allow that to happen? Minister Penner explained to Belize that he personally took Mr. Kim Won Hong to the Immigration Department to speed up his application for a passport.
What a naked, criminal lie that was! At the time Hong was supposedly in the company of Minister Penner inside the Immigration Department, Hong was positively in jail in Hong Kong. Neither Godwin Hulse nor Prime Minister Barrow knew of this criminal scam until INTERPOL brought it to their attention.
This became one of Dean Barrow’s biggest political and governmental scandals. At first he decided to ignore all the optics, all the criminal behaviour and bribe voters into holding on to Penner. He personally went to Santa Familia Village in Penner’s constituency and promised them “millions upon millions of dollars” for whatever their poor, needy hearts desired.
Mark Twain long ago advised that one should never pick quarrels with “a man who buys ink by the barrel.” That would be a good definition of the man Evan X Hyde; publisher of the Amandala. The man does not only buy ink by the barrels but his ink can sometimes be spurious and even destructive; ask Michael Ashcroft. For that matter, you can ask any of the two major political parties of Belize!
I am an avid reader of the Amandala; have been since, as Rhaburn put it, they started printing “on two sheets of paper”. Like most people, I usually head straight to the Editorial and then to From the Publisher. Over the years, I have seen the Amandala bring down governments and prop up governments. I watched as they made people and broke people. Evan X Hyde is Belize’s version of a legitimate “kingmaker”! I watched as the X turned Said Musa and Ralph Fonseca from respected politicians to being hated and reviled. In short order, he turned Michael Ashcroft from a successful businessman to a virus. The Publisher, as they say in the streets, is “nothing nice”!
Nuri Muhammed made an interesting comment on last week’s Wake Up Belize (WUB) morning show. He was speaking about Mason and Flowers being in jail and the need for them to be protected. Nuri said that you don’t always have to worry about the person who doesn’t like you, but more so about those who might think that by doing you harm, they could please and get in the good graces of your adversary. One has to wonder if this is what the X is aiming for but if that be the case, then que sera, sera!
Political Shuffle, Political Cosmetics
Dean Barrow had no choice to remove his tainted Minister of National Security John Saldivar after two weeks of bombarding from the Opposition, the media and citizens on the morning airwaves, over the William Mason/Pastor Lucas criminal affair. On Monday, the Prime Minister announced Saldivar would no longer be Minister of National Security and only Defense. This came days after Barrow told the nation he saw no reason for Cabinet re-shuffle.
Barrow admitted that his move was a restrained reaction. The “optics” of Saldivar’s involvement with a criminal and the UDP Government’s suspected collusion were all that mattered to him.
When Belizeans examine Barrow’s shuffle however, they will see that like the man behind the decision, there is no real substance in it and is at best, pure cosmetics. To suggest to the nation that Godwin Hulse, Dean’s Minister Fix It, is going to fix the Police Force is a cruel joke. Since become a star team player for the UDP, what has Godwin been able to fix? What were his radical chances at Immigration following the Penner scandal? More paperwork to frustrate the innocent, while the rich and connected like William Mason still hustle the system? Has he not realised that it is the Ministerial power and discretion over the process which has corrupted the system? What did Godwin accomplish at Lands? Was there land reform? Or did civil society become more engaged to ensure transparency in the distribution of lands? And if Godwin was such a stellar Lands Ministry gatekeeper, why was the portfolio stripped from him this week? Did the PM get enough of the complaints?
Man chopped to death in Hattieville
A Guatemalan national has been detained for the vicious chopping murder of 40 year old Goevanni Rosales, who was discovered at his work site with brutal chopping wounds on his arm, should and neck.
Rosales and the unnamed suspect were reportedly socialising at their worksite at mile 14 on the George Price Highway in Hattieville Village when a violent altercation started on July 31st. The suspect claims that Rosales charged at him with a knife, so he has to defend himself. In doing so, he picked up a machete and swung at Rosales inflicting deep cuts. The cuts to Rosales’ neck almost demonstrate an attempted beheading.
Optics, Prime Minister??
Well, I guess we were all waiting to hear what Prime Minister Barrow would have to say on his return from abroad last Friday. And in terms of what we could have expected, the Prime Minister did not disappoint. He talked of course about the terrible, horrible optics of this Mason/Saldivar situation and about the awful political price that Minister Saldivar and the Barrow government are paying for the whole sorry, sordid mess.
Then, as we expected, he went on to say that he has not heard sufficient for the National Security Minister to be painted, as he said, with the corruption or criminal brush. He even said that for him to mightily suspect that there is wrongdoing does not meet the threshold or the bar of impropriety that would oblige him to take action against his minister. He said too that he must insist on due process. While he does, he said, respect the court of public opinion, he cannot be an unthinking slave to public opinion, and he needs more than is currently available.
Questions to Ministers!
Will the Prime Minister say when he will appoint an Independent Investigator to investigate the Pastor Llewellyn Lucas murder?
Can the Prime Minister confirm reliable reports that his decision to do a Cabinet shakeup followed a conversation with GSU boss Mark Flowers?
Can Minister John Saldivar say if he ended his relationship with William Mason in September 2015 as a result of learning that Mason was a conman, then why didn’t he warn his Cabinet colleagues right up to the convention for Deputy Leader?
Hulse to the Rescue has been the watchwords for the man Clean Dean who is so concerned about optics rather than the real corruption facing his government.
But is Godwin Hulse really sent to do clean-up. Or has he been sent in to do cover-up? What is LightHulse’s duty this time?
When Hulse came forward claiming that it was because of him that the Citizen Kim case was revealed because he said to cabinet members, “TALK”, did Godwin honestly believe that we the Belizean people would believe him? The Citizen Kim saga was such a major cover-up that it forced the PUP to get a court order for the Commissioner of Police to do the job he has sworn to do. Godwin could have put some pressure for this investigation to take place, in the name of Belize’s integrity, but that didn’t seem to happen. So, Minister Godwin where is the passport for Citizen Kim? Is it still on its way from Taiwan to Belize?
UDP was praying for a catastrophe
A distraction like Hurricane Earl is just what the UDP Government has been hoping for, as they have been battered by the monster storm they created in William Mason and the murder of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas.
The Mason saga, which involves Immigration corruption, Lands corruption, Police corruption and Ministerial corruption, is a major blackeye for the increasingly corrupt Barrow Administration. UDP Ministers were accepting hundreds of thousands dollars in “special donations” from William Mason, a conman who seemed to live off extortions and bribing politicians.
Then came the discovery of Pastor Lucas’ decapitated head inside Mason’s truck and the reports of the type of Police protection he enjoyed.
The Prime Minister appears beleaguered, fatigued and frustrated every time he is asked questions about Mason and his Ministers.
With Hurricane Earl’s vast damages to homes, the focus for Belizeans will now shift to their personal situations and their crises. This is just what the UDP needed so Belizeans take their minds off the criminal and political mess.
I get this feeling that the PM and his motley crew prayed for this storm to reach so that we wouldn’t have time to ponder their general scurviness. It was too late to save my overweight friend from Belmopan who got the ax dropped on his big old head, but he deserved much more than that. Methinks he’s going to get exactly what he’s got coming to him. But first Earl. By the time you read this he’ll have departed the jewel. Here’s hoping this little bit of political mischief finds you and yours in good standing with property and lives intact. Stay safe.
It’s not exactly our preferred practice to criticize people just for the hell of it, and so we won’t. But where the new Attorney-General and even newer Minister of Natural Resources is concerned, there are some things that need mentioning. If you’re like me, you’re probably trying to figure out what Ms. Retreage did to get such bounty heaped on her head. If the Prime Minister’s back was in better shape and he was about thirty years younger, you’d probably be going hmmmm! Just saying. But here’s why this brilliant (so says the PM) young attorney has become Barrow’s golden girl. See, she’s very, very, very, very close to another golden child, the crown prince and tech-savvy wunderkind otherwise known as Anwar Barrow. He gave his stamp of approval and Ms. Retreage got hers, easy as that. And just in case you can’t connect the obvious dots, I’ll do it for you, from Ms. Retreage to the lucrative Ministry of Natural Resources to Anwar Barrow. Get it?
PUP Condemns Cabinet Reshuffle
The People’s United Party condemns in the strongest terms the Prime Minister’s attempt to hoodwink the Belizean people by orchestrating what is really no significant reshuffle but more of an optical illusion. Mr. Barrow seems to be unduly enamored of the word “optics,” using it frequently in past weeks, and that is exactly what this “reshuffle” is – optics.
The PUP believes that at the very least the confirmed relationship between John Saldivar and William Mason, one which resulted in money changing hands, should have been the subject of an intensive, objective investigation. The relationship between other Cabinet members and William Mason, again confirmed, should have been the result of an intensive, objective investigation. The relationship between high-ranking members of the Belize Police Department and William Mason, confirmed, should have been the subject of an intensive, objective investigation.
Accused Income Tax robbery accomplice gets bail
On Friday, July 15, 2016, a former employee of the Income Tax Department in Belmopan managed to pull off a major robbery that netted the thieves around $30,000, but all the robbers were apprehended, charged in court and remanded to prison.
Those who were charged with the robbery are: one woman, Ishelle Tablada, 33, a caregiver of #6 Honey Camp Street, Belmopan, who is said to have been the driver of the vehicle used in the getaway.
Tablada was charged along with Devon Brooks, Richard Hyde and David Cruz who were all arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court, before Magistrate Ladonna John.
The three men were charged jointly with robbery of the Income Tax, while Tablada was charged along with the men for the offense of abetment to commit robbery.
Police’s Firearms Examiner accused of perverting justice
The police’s Firearms Examiner, Orlando Vera, who is attached to the National Forensic Lab, appeared in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this afternoon, charged with abetment to perverting the course of justice.
Vera, who is being represented by attorney Dickie Bradley, pleaded not guilty to the charge, after Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, who is prosecuting the case, indicated to the court that she was prepared to try the matter under the Summary Jurisdiction Ordinance, which allowed for Vera to enter a plea of not guilty.
Chief Magistrate Smith released him on a $1,000 bail plus one surety in the same amount.
Where Are We Going Belize?
Today I’m writing with a heavy heart because I don’t even recognize this Belize in which I was born and grew up. Those carefree, peaceful days I enjoyed as a child are long gone and I worry about what we as a people are facing now. I worry about what my child will face growing up. I worry about this generation and the next. There is this terrible sense of lawlessness which has taken over all our lives. There is this feeling of uncertainty because we don’t know when we could be innocent victims of violent crime. There is this sense of fear, not mostly for ourselves, but for our children who must go out to play, and must attend school, and must live.
Even as I write this, an investigation into a cruel murder right here in Orange Walk Town by St. Peter’s, and another on the Phillip Goldson Highway continue. Last week there was the brutal murder of a young woman in Belmopan, even as that community tries to understand the bizarre execution last week of a Pastor whom everybody knew well.
Breaking Belize News
2016 Olympics opens in Rio
The 2016 Olympic Games were opened on Friday night in a show stopping event highlighting the Brazilian culture. Even amid questionable circumstances, like its political unbalance and Zika fears, the Maracana Stadium was filled with an air of celebration with dancers and actors making presentations that showcased the country’s culture and diversity. Even Brazilian supermodel Giselle Bundchen made an appearance.
Firearms examiner charged in Modiri/Paumen case
The Police Department is facing yet another scandal after firearms examiner Orlando Vera was charged earlier this week with Abetment of the crime of perverting the course of Justice.
Michael Modiri, the neighbour of American Tour Operator Bradley Paumen, has accused Vera of trying to offer a bribe to get rid of evidence.
Paumen and 3 others have been charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly trying to plant a gun on Modiri so that he could be arrested and sent to jail; and separately, contracting a hit on him. They were ordered to stand trial for these and other charges in the Supreme Court beginning later this year.
Carl Trapp stabbed to death
Police have confirmed the discovery of an apparent murder victim this morning in Belize City.
51 year old Carl Trapp, originally from Camalote, Cayo District, was residing inside the former Hyde’s Supermarket next to the Michael Finnegan Market on West Collet Canal.
That was where he was discovered dead around 5:45 this morning with multiple stab wounds.
CXC results due next Friday
This coming Friday, August 12 sees the official release of the results for all examinations offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), on the island of Anguilla beginning at 10:30 a.m. local time.
Evans McNiel Rogers, minister with responsibility for education in Anguilla, will deliver the feature address at the event.
Glenroy Cumberbatch, registrar of CXC, will present the results of all the examinations offered by CXC in the May/June 2016 sitting. These include regional results for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).
Four VSU personnel fingered in Mason birth certificate scandal
Earlier this week, while announcing the Cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Dean Barrow also gave one important update on the investigation into the activities of Rajesh Ouellet aka William Mason. He said that the Attorney General’s Ministry – which is in charge of the vital statistics office – is looking at four persons who facilitated Mason’s bogus Belize birth certificate.
According to the Prime Minister, quote, reports have been made to the police and cases have been compiled for the public service commission, so that there are 4 persons from the Vital Statistics Unit who are going to face either a disciplinary action or criminal prosecutions or both.” End quote.
Francine Burns loses Senate seat
Earlier this week, the Ministry of National Security was split between Senator Godwin Hulse, now solely in charge of the Police Department, and John Saldivar, who is now Minister of Defence with responsibility for the BDF and the Coast Guard.
Hulse remains Minister of Immigration but drops the Natural Resources portfolio to Attorney General Vanessa Retreage.
But, to become a Minister Retreage must be named a Senator – meaning that one of the existing six government appointed senators had to step aside.
Belize Bank International hit by crisis
According to Caribbean News Now, an offshore bank owned by British-Belizean businessman Lord Michael Ashcroft has closed a large number of customer accounts and faced a wave of withdrawal requests after becoming increasingly caught up in a US tax-evasion crackdown and the withdrawal of foreign correspondent banking services.
The value of deposits at Belize Bank International (BBI) shrank by almost three-quarters in the space of just six months, and confidential emails suggest some BBI customers have struggled to recover their cash, the London Guardian newspaper reported.
Belize’s representation at RIO 2016 Inconsistent with the Philosophy of Olympism
The Games of the XXXI Olympiad, commonly known as RIO 2016, is due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5th to 21st 2016. Native Belizean sprinter Kaina Martinez, will not be in RIO even though she has seniority over all viable Belizean athletes, native or naturalized, and presently has the best record on the track. She was the 2012 London Olympics Flag Bearer, and she excited Belizeans at home and abroad with her advancement past the first heat in the 100 Meters Sprint in London. I want to think that the feat was unprecedented.
A Few Days of Hurricane Earl Aftermath and 2 Donation Options
The country of Belize is still recovering from Hurricane Earl and will be for a while in spite of our ever present resilience and bounce back abilities.
The category 1 storm with maximum winds at approximately 80 mph left thousands facing massive cleanup and caused millions of dollars in damages countrywide. Earl made landfall just south of Belize City, not long after after being upgraded from a tropical storm to a category one hurricane. The effects were being felt on the islands and coastal areas of Belize from late evening Wednesday, August 3 with the hard hit being very early Thursday August 4th.
Homes in San Mateo suffered a great deal of damage. About six were completely leveled and a few more had severe damaged. San Pedro Red Cross is currently working with NEMO to assist the affected persons here on the island. However because of the magnitude of damages inland, Belize Red Cross is focusing on the mainland more and has stepped back to allow NEMO take the lead on the island. They are however sending staff from Headquarters to talk to the affected families, and provide disaster comping strategies.
The Power of the Surge: Category One Hurricane Earl’s Mark on North Ambergris Caye
I arrived back in San Pedro late yesterday afternoon to power on the island (the good news) and a huge, heartbreaking mess on the beach. We made our way up north and this morning I took a walk (and a wade) – from the house at Mile 7 down to about Mile 6 on North Ambergris Caye.
Before that, a few pictures of the very swollen rivers on the mainland that I flew over – especially around Spanish Lookout where all the land is cleared for farming.
Trees all down or submerged in the muddy water.
On Ambergris Caye, I am absolutely amazed how powerful the storm surge was – even a Category One storm, even with our barrier reef.
The house is about 250 feet back from the ocean with lots of trees and shrubs in between. Now this…
Heredia’s take on the damage from Hurricane Earl . . . and more
As many as 400 San Pedro residents sought refuge in the town’s three shelters during the Category 1 hurricane Earl, Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. told Channel 7 News Belize.
The minister, who also serves as San Pedro’s NEMO chairman, added that there were “about 6 homes that were totally destroyed and another 3 or 4 that were extensively damaged.”
Heredia told Channel 7 that the “obvious” damage was seaside where “practically 90% of the piers are either gone or extensively damaged. The dive shops, likewise, I would believe that it’s only two or three that are standing, but not in a very good shape also. Beach erosion was terrible over here.”
7News also reports that some northern resorts, including Costa Blue, X’tan Ha and Saphire Beach have closed temporarily for repairs.
Hurricane Earl forces water taxis to shift to alternate piers . . . and more
On Friday, the police and Coast Guard were reportedly chasing San Pedro Express Water Taxi — one of our lifelines to Caye Caulker and Belize City — off the Municipal Pier in front of Central Park, San Pedro.
Today the water taxi had a canopy set up with benches from the old dock. Boats were pulling in and out of the pier slips, horns blaring.
Business as usual.
Even the schedule is back to normal, according to taxi staff on the pier.
After Earl: Trying to recall what was where, and is no more
How did so many well-built docks disappear?
My uneducated theory: The winds blew north to south, the waves and surge crashed in east to west. The combination set up a corkscrew motion that lifted and twisted the piers away from their pilings. Of course once whole piers were plunging into the sea, the debris set off a domino effect, crashing pier to pier until there was nothing but lumber landing on shore.
That’s what I’m thinking.
Our own waterfront ended up with huge amounts of lumber, some that went through the glass doors of several first floor condos.
Our closest neighbor has sent a crew over to retrieve what remains of his commercial, dive-shop dock. It is easy to spot his lumber — it is all brand new, still green. The dock had hardly been up more than a few months. It really sticks out from the rest of the weathered and sea-butchered logs and lumber.
An Ambergris Caye classic lost to the storm: Turtleman’s House
The Turtleman's House has been a landmark on this island for a very long time. Greg (well known for his conservation work) actually lived in a house over the water for about 20 years before I met him 20 years ago. It has been the subject of paintings and photo shoots for years. Having a structure over the water in a hurricane area means that you have to accept the loss when it occurs . We lost my favorite house to hurricane Mitch in '98, and then two others for hurricanes Keith and Dean. It was rebuilt each time because we needed it for our ecotourism business. We don't have the business anymore, but it still hurts that the quaint little house is now gone due to hurricane Earl. Many people have lost their business this week, and my heart goes out to them.
The aftermath of Hurricane Earl, downed power, severe crop damage
Communities south of Tulum remain in darkness from the effects of Hurricane Earl.
After the passing of the hurricane on Thursday, 12 communities along the Quintana Roo border are still without electricity despite efforts by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).
The towns were doused of power after Hurricane Earl downed three power poles, causing severe damage to the supply circuits. The high impact of Earl toppled the poles, laying the high voltage cables in cornfields. The downed poles were the casing lines that fed several villages.
CFE continues to work on the problem that affects nearly 1,000 people. Earl is also responsible for severe crop damage in the district of Orange Walk, Belize, an area that borders the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Reports of more than 8,000 hectares of crop loss have been cited as fields were waterlogged and plants uprooted by the strong winds.
Maya 'snake dynasty' tomb uncovered holding body, treasure and hieroglyphs
Archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in more than a century of work on Maya ruins in Belize, along with a puzzling set of hieroglyphic panels that provide clues to a “snake dynasty” that conquered many of its neighbors some 1,300 years ago.
The tomb was unearthed at the ruins of Xunantunich, a city on the Mopan river in western Belize that served as a ceremonial center in the final centuries of Maya dominance around 600 to 800AD. Archaeologists found the chamber 16ft to 26ft below ground, where it had been hidden under more than a millennium of dirt and debris.
Researchers found the tomb as they excavated a central stairway of a large structure: within were the remains of a male adult, somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, lying supine with his head to the south.
Hurricane Earl Aftermath Ambergris Caye AUG 6, 2016, 3min. First look of beachfront destruction. Walked from Amigos Del Mar to Ramon's Village Much more damage to be seen, FYI Palapa Bar...gone! Most docks destroyed or gone. Much work to do and will provide jobs for many to rebuild in short time
San Ignacio flood, 5min. A drone piloted by Oscar Quiroz of San Ignacio Town shows a comprehensive aerial view of the flooding that happened in San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
As you will see in the video, the flooding is unprecedented and shows areas like the San Ignacio Market and parts of down town San Ignacio under water.
New born baby manatee rescued, 15sec. After hurricane Earl washed her across the highway into a private property. Heading of to the rehab center now! A beacon of hope after such a devastating storm
Belize Guatemala Talk with Wil Maheia and Patrick Rogers, 2hours.
Delegates of Miss Costa Maya 2016 saying thanks to everyone, 1min. And how they can't wait to be back on the island once again.
Adventure in Belize, 31min. Hurricane Earl strikes San Pedro, Belize during tropical vacation. August, 2016.
Belize 2016 Reef Highlights, 4min.
BELIZE 2016 (VLOG), 15min.
Pre Belize Day Dance Rehearsal in Chicago, 3min. Belize Day Chicago! Pre Belize Day Dance RELOADED - with Aziatic and 501 Band.
Belize - Cahel Pech, 6.5min. This is my first full day in Belize. I took a bus out to San Ignacio last night and arrived late. In the morning I decided to grab some breakfast in town then head out to Cahel Pech. Follow me on my day visiting Mayan ruins.
Belize November 2012, 10min. Video beginning shows the beautiful coastline of Ambergris Caye.
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