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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
Auditor General’s report unveils high levels of corruption involving elected officials
A special audit revealing details of multiple cases of fraud in the issuance of Belizean visas, nationality and passports has caused major controversy and even the cancellation of the sitting of the House of Representatives on Friday, August 27th in the City of Belmopan. The report names Ministers, Area Representatives and prominent politicians endorsing persons seeking to become new Belizeans. According to the report, one of the ministers involved in the said scheme, is Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr.
The audit was published by Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, and explained how Belize in recent years has allegedly become a hideaway for human traffickers and money launderers. The audit also includes the high profile case of imprisoned South Korean national Won Hong Kim, who received Belizean citizenship without ever being in Belize. As a result, Bradley is now calling for a police investigation into 164 missing files from October 2013 regarding nationality applications from Guatemala, Honduras, China, Britain, Nigeria, Lebanon and Taiwan.
6-a-side Interoffice Football Tournament approaching quarterfinals
The 6-a-side Interoffice Football Tournament is winding down closer to the championship round. After 11 weeks of games, teams are accelerating on the field, hoping to become Interoffice champions. As usual, fans are welcome to support their favorite teams at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex. So far, only four teams have qualified for the playoffs, and they are: Genesis, Caya Espanto, Costa Blu, and Belize Pro Divers.
U.S sanction affecting the Banana Industry in Belize
It has been almost a year since the Banana Industry in Southern Belize saw the shutting down of one of its largest banana farms – Meridian Enterprises Ltd. The farm’s main buyer for years, Irish based company Fyffes, decided to cut ties after the United States (U.S) blacklisted John Zabaneh, banana farmer and exporter whose family owns the said farm. Despite allegations that Zabaneh is not affiliated with Meridian Enterprises, the US sanction still had a wider impact on the key crop, which intern severely hurt the Belizean economy. During that same year,(2012), when Zabaneh was red flagged, the Banana Growers Association (BGA) issued a statement confirming that Zabaneh and Mayan King had resigned from the trade group, and that the farm was under new ownership not connected to Zabaneh. Following this statement, Fyffes continued buying bananas from the farm for three more years.
CONCACAF officials inspect Ambergris Stadium
The state-of-the-art design of the Ambergris Stadium will no doubt transform the professionalism of sports on the island. With the stadium in its final stage of completion, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) official Development Officer Rodrigo Kenton, along with Football Federation of Belize Technical Director Renan Cowo, led an inspection of the multi-purpose stadium on Friday, August 27th. Guiding the officials were the San Pedro Town’s Council’s Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Councilor in Charge of Sports Hector Alamilla, Property Tax Clerk Wilbert Magana, and Sports Coordinator Kent Bob Gabrouel. The purpose of the inspection was for the officials to examine the sporting complex, and see if they could help with further recommendations to assist development of football, not only on the island, but throughout the country. After evaluating around and inside the stadium, officials gave their feedback.
Norwegian Escape to Belize
Wednesday, August 31, 2016, marked another milestone in the tourism industry as the Norwegian Escape made its second call into Belizean waters. A customary Plaque Exchange Ceremony was held aboard the ship between the Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives, Ms. Noriko Gamero, and Captain Carl Gunnar Hammerin from Norwegian Escape.
The ship’s first call to Belize was On August 17, 2016 with approximately 4,248 passengers and 1,731 crew members. The ceremony was scheduled for this date but due to weather conditions it was rescheduled.
The Norwegian Escape is in the "Breakaway Plus" class of cruise ships which will include the Norwegian Escape and a second unit originally named Norwegian Bliss. The ship features many new venues and facilities not found on her smaller sister ships such as aromatic salt room, a thermal pool, sauna, steam rooms and spa treatments.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic Wildlife Clinic & Corridor Site Fundraiser
Call me crazy but here it is: I need most urgent help in fundraising for BWRC land purchase. After 13 years since moving to Belize, 5 years of working on BWRC establishment, 4 years of having opened the clinic, it's time to get serious and step up our game now. BWRC has to move out of the rented temporary facility in an old airplane hangar. We found the site for its permanent location but it requires that we raise 150.000 US$ for the purchase... a bit too much for one full-time working vet aside my other duties (and last but not least family!). We need multiple fundraisers, campaigns in different countries and all together a "little miracle" to make this happen. With YOUR help we have accomplished so much already, and we are committed to continue.
Please help, donate, share and contact us on how you can help.
EXPORTBelize holds Trade Clinic in Belize City
EXPORTBelize, a unit of BELTRAIDE hosted a Trade Clinic on August 31st which aimed at sensitizing private sector on regulations, requirements, export procedures and documentations and opportunities that exist under trade agreements in order to do business in the local and international market. Our partner agencies included the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) Customs Department and the Directorate General for Foreign Trade (DGFT). Topics included: Standards (labeling, CODEX, metrology, etc), Export Procedures, Trade Agreement Opportunities and Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures among many others. Some of the participants included rum producers, poultry producers, financial institutions, artisans etc. Previous trade clinics have been held in Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Cayo.
Affirmative Resolution for the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan
The Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute (CZMAI) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development is pleased to announce that the National Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (“the Plan”) has received affirmative resolution in the House of Representatives and the Senate as of yesterday, August 31st 2016. This resolution meets the legal requirements for effectuation of the Plan as outlined in Section 23 (6) of the Coastal Zone Management Act, Chapter 329, Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2003.
The OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Employment and the Centro Internacional de Estudios Interdisciplinarios-CIESI- in Perú, are offering scholarships under the PDSP-PAEC Program (Partial scholarships) for the course: “Grant Writing. How to Write Proposals for Fund Search”. This is an online course and will be delivered in English. The deadline for receiving the applications in Washington, D.C. will be December 2nd, 2016.
Rotaract Benque Distributes Backpacks
The Rotaract Club of Benque had another successful Fill A Backpack drive, this was their 3rd, and they distributed 25 backpacks last weekend. Thanks, Rotaract!
"On Sunday, August 28th, 2016 Rotaract Club of Benque Viejo deliver 25 bags with school supplies to primary school students from San Jose Succotz and Benque Vijeo. Selection was done based on family' s financial need. "
We extended the deadline for the Humphrey Fellowship to September 15th and now we are providing more information!
The Embassy is hosting a Humphrey's Fellowship Q & A Session on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at the EducationUSA Reference Center at Leo Bradley Library in Belize City from 6:00 -7:00 pm.
Bring along your questions and RVSP by Monday, September 5 at PonceMY@state.gov or call 610-0894.
BELIZE'S WONDER WOMEN! Ms. Jacklyn Burns
Ms. Jacklyn Burns was born on October 25th 1976 in the then new village of Hattieville, Belize. Ms. Burns spent her first decade in the Toledo district where culture, etiquette and neighborly relationships were heavy focuses. At age ten, Ms. Burns, the second of six children moved, with her family, to Belmopan where she attended the Belmopan Junior School, Belmopan Comprehensive School and UCB- Belmopan Junior College. She pursued an Associate’s degree in English and after graduating with this qualification, she became a high school teacher at the Corozal Community College. She later transferred to Belmopan Comprehensive School where she still currently teaches. Ms. Burns has taught subjects to include Caribbean History, Religious Studies, Social Studies, Life skills, Literature and English.
A brief history of medicine in Belize
Come enjoy the exhibit about medicine here in Belize: past, present and future. A Projects Abroad exhibition. Opening at The San Pedro House of Culture this Friday, Sept. 2nd at 1:00 pm.
BELIZE: THE ROAD DOWN SOUTH!
by Bilal Morris.
Blocked out on a series of negative events that has engulfed the country of Belize over the last year of 2016, it was time for yours truly to make pilgrimage again to rejuvenate my soulful taste for Belize, my place of birth, and a land of beauty and spirit that has captivated many across the world to leave their own land and settle in peace and tranquility in one of the last remaining paradises on earth, the former British Honduras now called Belize.
Rather than traversing the waters this time to the see Belize's awesome Caribbean Sea and onward to the spectacular Cayes, this time my family vacation found me driving across Belize's whining southern highway called the Hummingbird Highway. The journey took us across one of the most picture perfect lanscape ever seen by modern man today, Belize's southern villages and towns. They lie between some of the most green hills, mountains and valleys, and towards one of the world's most talked about travel destinations called Placencia.
This was a journey that had begun to change my whole outlook again in terms of why Belize's neighbors to the west of it, has begun to lust so enviously almost to the point of claiming Belize's land in the South through one of the most unscrupulous lies ever told in colonial history. And maybe it is by the mercy of Almighty God that they have not been successful in their annexation of it, and stealing the birthright of a people that God in His Majesty has endowed upon them. Seeing this land is to remind anyone that those people called Belizeans are truly blessed.
SHOOTING INCIDENT IN CHIQUIBUL NATIONAL PARK, BELIZE
The Government of Belize (GOB) informs that on 31st August 2016, a Belize Defense Force (BDF) reconnaissance patrol came under fire within the Chiquibul National Park, approximately 259 meters east of the border. The purpose of the patrol was to follow-up on an official order to leave that was issued on 22nd August 2016, to illegal settlers within the Chiquibul National Park.
It has been reported that unidentified persons within the Chiquibul initiated gunfire as the BDF patrol approached the location where the illegal settlement was discovered. The BDF patrol returned fire in self-defense and withdrew to safety. No military personnel have been reported to have sustained any injury and no indication of any casualties have been discovered.
Belmopan September Celebrations Calendar, Parade Route
Here goes Belmopan, your September Celebrations Calendar!
Happy Marcus Canul Day!!!
Day like today but in september 1,1872 our Maya Masewal(Yucatec Maya) hero Marcus Canul and his Maya warriors made their last stand against colonialism/imperialism but who is Marcus Canul?
Marcus Canul was one of the better known leaders of the Icaiche Maya. The Icaiche Maya territory included part of northwestern Belize and southern Mexico close to the Rio Hondo. When the British arrived in Belize, they discovered mahogany and started to export it. They reported several attacks on the British camps from the Maya in 1788 and 1801. The Maya retreated to the jungle . At the time when the British wanted to expand their woodcutting operations they faced Maya resistance in Icaiche and in the Yalbac área of Belize. With the support of Marcus Canul and the Maya who had migrated to the San Pedro Yalbac area, the Icaiche led by Asunción Ek defeated the British troops in December 21,1866 known as the battle of San Pedro Yalbac. The British were scared, 5 soldiers dead and 16 wounded. The British sent more troops and weapons to destroy the Maya villages burning their houses and fields. The Maya rebuilt their villages. Marcus Canul and the Icaiche continued fighting. They marched into Corozal town in 1870 briefly taking over the town. The Icaiche`s last stand was in September 1,1872 when Marcus Canul and over 150 Icaiche warriors attacked Orange walk town. Marcus Canul was mortally wounded. With their charismatic leader gone there was a lull in attacks from the Icaiche but the records indicate that their resistance continued until the end of the century.
Metal Haven 2016
The 2016 Metal Haven concert will be on October 29th at 9:00pm at the Cancha Marshalleck. Verge of Umbra will be headlining this year.
"With the fast approaching MetalHaven Bash 2016, it is always a pleasure presenting our flyer – No Boundaries/Sin Fronteras Concert. Quite possible our last concert, we call on all followers to take the opportunity to come out and rock the hell out of it this one night. Come out and head bang, growl & scream; let’s show how alive the metal scene is in Belize. MetalHaven Bash 2016 proudly presents for the first time a band from El Salvador - Junkie Rock'n Roll , I Live For Your Death from Guatemala, ICNOS from Mexico, Verge of Umbra and new upcoming band Hypnopompia from Belize and opening the event would be local artist BrainDead! Let the countdown begin!!"
BTL Internet Prices Slashed
Starting this September, customers can now enjoy LOWER PRICES on High Speed Internet! Customers savings of up to 43% and reduced installation fee of only $75. Upgrade your plan today!
Churches Cast Stones At Hon. Rocke
Last night, we told you how the PUP Senators pushed for an immigration probe by way of a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Auditor General's findings at the Immigration Department. Ultimately, the Barrow Administration outmaneuvered them. That's because when it came down to the vote, Government Senator Godwin Hulse suggested that instead of a Senate probe, a joint special select committee from both house would be better at investigating the Auditor General's reports.
Church Senator Ashley Rocke - who had spoken in favour of the PUP motion - heard the Government's suggestion of a bi-cameral committee, and he withdrew his support from the PUP motion. So instead of a 6 - 6 deadlock, the final vote to end up as a 7-5 split in favor of the Government's configuration.
For that vote, Rocke today came under heavy and sustained fire first form the Evangelicals and today from the Catholic Bishop, Dorick Wright, for his removal as their representative in the Senate.
Hon. Rocke Between PM And a Hard Place
As you might expect, the Prime Minister took a far more charitable view of Senator Ashley Rocke's decision. This afternoon at his three hour press conference, the PM chided the churches for rushing to judgment and urged them to consider that an equally harsh judgment could be made against the business senator Mark Lizarraga:..
Rt., Hon, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I for one don't understand the attack on Pastor Senator Rocke. It certainly defeats me how a fellow Christian pastor or fellow Christian pastors can treat with the matter and condemn the senator in such venomous hate-filled terms. But that's a matter for you people of the cloth. With respect to the merits though Senator Rocke made clear that he was supportive of the opposition motion for there to be a hearing with respect to the audit report."
PM Meets With Chamber, Agrees To Reform Initiatives
So then that brings us to the Prime Minister's breakthrough meeting with the Chamber yesterday where he committed to sig unto the UN Convention against corruption, to reform the public accounts committee and to have a joint special select committee investigate the auditor general reports. Today at his press conference, the Prime Minister outlined all three:..
Rt., Hon, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"The chamber is entirely cognizant of the practical organizational and resource difficulties that will arise upon Belize accession to the UN Anti-corruption convention. We have therefore agreed, the chamber and the government to set up a working group to examine all the ramifications so as to ensure that when we accede and accede we will, we are in a strong position to effectively implement the obligations that will accompany accession. That working group is to be convene very early and certainly not later than the next two weeks."
BDF Come Under Fire Again In Chiquibul While Ejecting Squatters
Belizeans are only just releasing that breath of relief after the OAS Independent Investigation exonerated the BDF in the fatal shooting of Guatemalan minor Julio Ruano. But, things at the Belize/Guatemala border are tense again tonight after the BDF came under inside the Chiquibul yesterday.
It happened yesterday 259 meters east of the border in Belizean territory. The patrol was out there to follow up on an official order from the Government of Belize to eject illegal Guatemalans squatters who had settled inside the Chiquibul National Park.
A late evening Government release says, quote, "... Unidentified persons within the Chiquibul initiated gunfire as the BDF patrol approached the location where the illegal settlement was discovered. The BDF patrol returned fire in self-defense and withdrew to safety. No military personnel have been reported to have sustained any injury and no indication of any casualties have been discovered." End quote.
Three Boys Tell Tales Of Taylor's Monstrous Molestation
British Belizean David Taylor, he's the accused pedophile who was charged back in December of 2012 of committing extreme acts of pornographic exploitation of 3 boys on the Placencia Peninsula. After more than 3 years awaiting trial, he hadn't made our newscast up until April of this year when he was shot in the driveway of his new house at mile 26 on the Phillip Goldson Highway.
We'll he's back in the news tonight, because he's in jail, spending his first night of a 2-year prison sentence. That's after he pleaded guilty to 3 counts of indecent assault.
Now, to get to that guilty plea, Taylor forced the Police prosecutor, Inspector Dennis Miles, to provide the court with overwhelming evidence against him. That included subjecting the 3 boys he was accused of abusing to relive in graphic detail the sexual abuse that he inflicted on them. The children testified in a trial before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, that he molested them, and forced them to take pictures while naked.
BERT - What Is It Worth To MOH?
If you were near the KHMH this morning around 7:25, you would have seen 4 BERT ambulances rolling into the compound of the Central Health Region. Now there weren't any mass fatalities nor were there any injured persons inside, the EMT's were just showing up to their new work place - albeit with no clear directions or management protocol. This is after a fall out between the Ministry of Health and the management of BERT. Last night you heard the Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero say that BERT was asking for way more money than the Ministry's budget could handle but BERT doesn't agree with that version at all. Today we spoke to two EMT's and they explained what their demands are and why it's not too much for the line of work they do.
PM: Passive Aggressive Takedown Of Auditor General?
So, back to today's press conference…it was all about the auditor general's reports - and the Prime Minister was there to take a "mea culpa," but he and the senior staff of the Immigration Department were also there - you could say - to kind of muddy the waters. They say that what is contained in the report is lamentable, yes, but so are the errors. Here's how he put it:...
Rt., Hon, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"The government of Belize accepts that on any reckoning that report paints a sorry picture. A picture which has legitimately very much alarmed Belizeans. This is a matter of the greatest possible regret to me and as leader of the government it is my duty to apologize to the nation for the fact that things went so wrong during the period covered by the report."
Hulse Explains Nationality For PM Brother In Law
But, PM Barrow would most certainly not concede that he was any part of that. Thought his name is brought up in two reports in the case involving his wife's brother in law, or the person that would be called his "cuncunu", Peter William Dahlstrom. The allegation in the report is that Dahlstrom - who has been married to Kim Simplis's sister for more than 20 years did not qualify for citizenship in 2012 because he did not have uninterrupted occupation in Belize for one year. And the suggestion by the PUP is that the Prime Minister who recommended him, somehow used his influence to get an irregular nationality and passport for this person. Today Immigration Minister Hulse who signed the nationality documents stepped up to explain away any suggestion of wrongdoing:..
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Police:
"At the time when I signed this nationality certificate, it never dawn on me that this was the Prime Minister's wife brother-in-law, because I never spoke with the Prime Minister. There was no need to speak to the prime minister."
"A file came to me that says Swedish national Mr. Dahlstrom qualifies for citizenship under section 11 of the nationality act. He is married to a born Belizean Sharet Simpliss since 8th October, 1994 as recorded in marriage certificate blah, blah blah..."
PM Says They Didn't Gang Up
And Minister Hulse wasn't the only Immigration official to talk; his minister of state Beverly Castillo - who now goes by Beverly Williams - also made a representation, as did the Director of Immigration, Diana Locke along with a the Immigration staffer who runs the electronic passport system. They all explained various ways in which the audit report had erred - and it was, as we told you, a three hour press conference. So….at the end of it, with so much energy spent on clarifying various errors in the report, the press wondered, was it a cleverly orchestrated takedown of the auditor general? The PM said they did not gang up on her:..
Rt., Hon, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"There is no ganging up against the audit department. I was careful to say as was Minister Hulse that in the mean we accept that report. To accept the report though cannot mean that we are prevented from pointing out the instances in which the report went wrong. So there is no ganging up."
Senate Meeting Revisited
And yesterday in the Senate meeting - the government also didn't gang up on the auditor general, they just put it out there that they thought a senate inquiry was a waste of time.
Hon. Hulse Still Angry About Accomodation Agreement
Yesterday's senate meeting also had robust debate on the appropriations bill to allow the government to pay over 200 million dollars of compensation to the Ashcroft Alliance. That large draw down made the debate spirited:..
Hon. Mark Lizarraga, Business Senator:
"We the tax payers have been burden once again with 245 million dollars that was not necessary due to egotistical and over confident negotiating and issuing of blank cheques on our behalf."
Hon. Valerie Woods, PUP Senator:
"It didn't need to be this messy. It could have all been avoided if back then the government just did what is seems to have taken them 7 years to realize. When you ceased somebody's property, you got to compensate them for it. So now, it's costing us far more than is needed, far more than what it's worth."
McKenzie's Murderer Still Out There , Not Enough Evidence to Charge
And switching now to crime news, Police are back at square one in George Mckenzie Jr murder case. Two men were detained but had to be released because there was not enough evidence or any witness statements directly linking them to the murder. Police say they will continue to investigate and follow leads. Now that is not something Mckenzie's mother Melissa Major wants to hear, she wants justice for her son! In fact, she has always been asking for justice for her son while he was alive, because according to one of several interviews Major has done with the media, she claims that the police targeted her son many times and treated him unfairly just because he was the son of gang figure "Junie Balls". Here is that April 2014 interview where Major tried to clear her son's name.
PM Will Meet Churches, Discuss "Range Of Options"
Government's position on the Section 53 judgment is clearly evolving. First, they said that there would be no appeal, and the judgment would stand. Then on Friday at the House Sitting, the Prime Minister indicated that he would be willing to appeal the Chief Justice's interpretation of the word "sex" in the constitution to mean "sexual orientation". And now latest reports say that Cabinet is considering an amendment to the Marriage Act to make it only between a man and a woman. Today at the Press Conference the Prime Minister only announced that he and the Attorney General would be meeting with the Churches on Monday:...
Rt., Hon, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"It is clear that opinions on a particular issue of whether government should appeal are sharply divided even among the churches. The Belize Evangelical Association, one of the interested parties to the action has indicated to me its position that there should be no appeal."
Agua Para Gardenia
Two more communities in Belize Rural North now have running water. For years these villagers have struggled to meet basic needs like bathing, cooking and cleaning. Well those days are over because a water system has been set up in these villages. BWS Chairman Alberto August told the media more about the project and the villagers expressed how life changing this project is.
Maypen, Boston and Bomba will also be getting running water soon.
Senator Elena Under Scrutiny
At the top of the news, we showed you how the Roman Catholic Church and the National Evangelical Association of Belize are calling for the head of their Senator, Ashley Rocke.
They say that he is not representing their interest, and it appears that all is also not well with the seat of Elena Smith, the Senator for the Unions and the Civil Society.
In a letter dated July 27, a group of union members from the utility unions who are members of the National Trade Union Congress, complained that members of the head table "hijacked" the organization, violated the NTUCB's Constitution and "disrespected" the leaders who also make up the union.
The trade unionists say that Smith's appointment was never brought to the General Council the NTUCB, which is responsible for making decisions such as this.
St. Martins Celebrates 50 Years
St. Martin De Porres Parish is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this month. The Roman has scheduled a week of activities and tonight that means a Photo Exhibition at the Image Factory. The Exhibition documents the history of the Parish. Parish Priest Matt Ruhl told us more:
A Dinner and Dance will be held on Saturday at Old Belize and a Jubilee Mass concludes the week's activities on Sunday.
Rider Ready For The World
Today, we got a very unusual visit from a Brazilian man who has been travelling around the world on bicycle. Now, it might sound as a strange thing to do but, he told us that he kind of fell into the lifestyle while trying to quit smoking, and now, he's chasing the Guiness World Record for most kilometers on the bike. Here's his story:
Caring Like Kareem
Last weekend, the Kareem Clarke Memorial Fund, an organization set up to perform philanthropic work in memory of slain journalist Kareem Clarke held a food drive.
Media workers gave of their free time on Saturday convincing normal shoppers to pick up one other item to donate to the 3rd such drive.
Simply doing that for about 4 hours, the journalists raised $17 hundred dollars worth of groceries. They then handed over to grassroots philanthropist Dara Robinson. Here's how he explained how the food drive came at a very opportune time:
P.M. Apologizes to Belizeans Over Special Audit Reports
The Special Audit on Immigration has exposed rampant corruption within the Department of Immigration. Thirteen ministers, past and present, as well as senior officers and politically connected persons have been [...]
Barrow Nonetheless Claims Report is “Extremely Flawed”
The audit was triggered by the scandalous Won Hong Kim fiasco involving then Minister of State Elvin Penner and has unearthed the rampant sale of Belizean nationality to persons who [...]
Joint Special Committee Of National Assembly to Investigate Report
At the Senate Meeting on Wednesday, the People’s United Party proposed a motion for a senate select investigation into the immigration irregularities. This is the second time that that motion [...]
Who Will Chair Joint Special Committee? 2 Senators Excluded
The composition of the Joint Special Select Committee also came into question during this afternoon’s press conference. Among the concerns raised is the fact that the combined task force will [...]
Churches Divided On Section 53 Appeal Ahead of Monday Meeting
Another issue of national importance which has deeply divided the people is the decision not to appeal the recent ruling on Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code. The decision from [...]
Bowing to Chamber of Commerce, P.M. Agrees to Sign U.N. Anti-Corruption Convention
As we told you earlier, there was a meeting on Wednesday morning between the Prime Minister and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Chamber called on the government [...]
Prime Minister Says Belize Must Be “Serious” with U.N.C.A.C. Obligations
A hundred and forty countries, members of the United Nations, have already signed on to the UNCAC. Barrow believes that the stringent requirements of the convention can further complicate matters [...]
Roman Catholic Church Calls for Church Senator Ashley Rocke to Resign
There is a pronounced rift in the Council of Churches tonight following a vote on Wednesday by Senator Ashley Rocke. Rocke first spoke in support of a Senate Select investigation [...]
National Evangelical Association Also Wants Senator Rocke Out
The unprecedented release from Bishop Wright was followed by one from the Executive Team of the National Evangelical Association of Belize, known as the NEAB. The grouping says its national [...]
Pastor Louis Wade Says Resignation Would Be “Honourable Thing”
Pastor Louis Wade, I Want My Country Back Movement “It is very clear to us that there is a process for that; but he should do the honourable thing [...]
Pastor Wade Accuses Evangelical Leader of Being Compromised
Pastor Rocke heads the Lake Independence Baptist Church and is a member of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches, which suffered a big split around the time of the November [...]
Prime Minister Barrow Goes to Bat for Ashley Rocke
With mounting pressure for his removal, Senator Rocke issued a statement this afternoon to say that his actions at Wednesday’s Senate sitting, though unpopular, are for the greater good of [...]
BERT Workers Contemplate Future; Money Dispute Shuts Doors of Emergency Service
Who will the former employees of Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) work for, apart from the residents of the Belize District? That is the question tonight after the ambulance emergency [...]
Ministry of Health Agrees to Take On Salaries, But Will Not Fund BERT Directly
This afternoon, Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero, told us the Government has reached an accommodation with the much-needed emergency service to take on the management as well as [...]
Were B.D.F. Soldiers Fired On at Camp Valentin?
There is a report that the B.D.F. came under fire on Wednesday in the Chiquibul National Park approximately two hundred and fifty-nine meters east of the border. The shooting at [...]
Orange Walk Man Charged for Murder After One of His Victims Dies
Back in June, a minor, Kian Chuc was severely wounded in a chopping incident in Yo Creek, Orange Walk District. Within four days of the incident, on July twenty-eighth, he [...]
Mentally Challenged Woman Suffers Hideous Rape
Rape in itself is repugnant act, but sexual violence against a person living with a mental disability is hideous. Tonight, there is one such allegation from a family in the [...]
Prime Minister Compares Treatment of Ministers Vega and Saldivar
Former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega has kept quite a low profile since being stripped of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the second largest portfolio in government, and losing the [...]
Attorney General Promises J.P.’s in Audit Report Will Face Justice
One more report on the special audit…at least for tonight…Attorney General Senator Vanessa Retreage did not support the need for a Senate inquiry into the Audit Reports on Nationality, Passports [...]
Healthy Living Looks at the Benefits of Family Fitness
It is no secret. Belize – like many other countries across the world – has a problem with obesity. According to the country’s health statistics, two out of every three [...]
Prime Minister Dean Barrow Swings Into Damage Control Goes On The Offensive On The Auditor's General Report
Facing a political firestorm over the past weeks over the scandalous findings contained in the Auditor General’s special audit report into issuances of visa, passport and nationality during the period January 2012 and September 2013, Prime Minister Dean Barrow went into damage control mode today. Flanked by his favourite non-elected Minister Godwin Hulse, State Minister Beverly Williams and Director of Immigration, Diana Locke, the PM addressed the topics that have called into question his administration’s ability to deal with increasing corruption.
Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize:
“The Government of Belize accepts that on any reckoning that report paints a sorry picture, the picture which has legitimately very much alarmed Belizeans. This is a matter of the greatest possible regret to me and as Leader of the Government it is my duty to apologize to the nation for the fact that things went so wrong during the period covered by the report.”
Catholic And Evangelical Churches Calls On Senator Rock Resignation
Last night we told you about the proposal made by the opposition to vote in favour of launching a Senate investigation into the irregularities and wrongdoings as it relates to the Auditor General’s Special Audit report. We also told you about Church Senator, Pastor Ashley Rocke’s shocking and unpredicted decision to vote against the motion after it had seemed as if though he was in favour of the opposition during the time of the debate.
His decision has without a doubt enraged and infuriated pastors from the different churches countrywide. Shortly after the Senate meeting concluded yesterday evening, Pastor Louis Wade expressed his discontentment with the matter in a release which stated that instead of voting for truth, transparency and accountability, Rocke made the choice of siding with the government where the level of corruption is clearly visible.
Senator Rock Defends His Position
And today the man in the hot seat defended himself via a public statement. In the release Senator Ashley Rocke declared that he did not go against the churches but rather ‘sided’ with the country as he is of the belief that his decision is for the betterment of Belize in a whole. Rocke states that in the Senate yesterday the leader of Government business, Hon. Godwin Hulse presented a more convincing motion than that of the member from the opposition, hence the reason why he sided with Government at the end of the debate as he believes that the counter proposal made way for a more integrated tactic to launch the much requested investigation at the Immigration Department.
Man Accused Of Raping Mentally Ill Woman
One man is behind bars tonight after he was accused by a 54-year-old mentally ill woman of sexually assaulting her.
According to reports, the 54 year old woman accompanied by her mother visited the Orange Walk police station yesterday and reported that while inside her home located in the village of San Lazaro, on yesterdays’ date at around 7:30 in the morning, a male individual known to her as a resident of the village entered her home and had sexual intercourse with her against her will. The victim’s mother reported to police that her daughter is mentally sick and is currently being assessed at the Northern Regional Hospital.
BCCI Stands With Senator Lizarraga
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) issued a release late this evening following Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s press conference to discuss the Auditor General’s special report on immigration, tendering support to their business senator who voted in accordance with the motion for a senate Inquiry into the immigration audit.
According to their release, the chamber dismisses the suggestion made in today’s press conference that Senator Mark Lizarraga was guilty of misconduct, and stands behind their Senator. The BCCI also adds that it had attended a meeting with PM Barrow to discuss the United Nations Convention against corruption, in which he suggested the Bi-cameral joint special select committee be appointed in lieu of the Public Accounts committee to review the Auditor’s general report, which the chamber did not agree upon, and would prefer the Public accounts committee at the time.
More Good News For The Tourism Industry
The Norwegian Escape, a cruise ship from the Norwegian Cruise Line made its second trip into Belizean waters yesterday marking a very important landmark for the country of Belize with a total of five thousand twenty passengers and one thousand two hundred crew members. While the Norwegian Escape’s customary route is to the Eastern Caribbean, they are now moving towards the Western Caribbean direction, including Belize. A routine Plaque Exchange Ceremony was held on-board where the Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives of the Belize Tourism Board, Miss Noriko Gamero and Captain Carl Gunnar Hammerin from the Norwegian Escape made the exchange.