Supreme Court says it does not have Jurisdiction on matters of Parliament
Julius Espat, the “wannabe” PUP Badboy elected by the voters of Cayo South, has lost his case in the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin has ruled that his suspension from the House needs to be handled by Parliament, and that the matter falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
As readers will remember, he was suspended from the House in August of this year after he disrespected House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte, and continuously disregarded Standing Orders, ignoring decorum. He has a long, well-documented history of doing just that, and the Government’s side put it to vote for him to be named and suspended from attending Sittings of the House of Representatives. Believing his constitutional rights were violated, he filed a lawsuit against the House Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Eddie Webster. He was asking for the court to grant an injunction restraining the National Assembly and its agents, namely the police, from enforcing what he believes is an unlawful suspension. Additionally, he was asking the court to overturn it because in his view, the Speaker did not properly follow the Standing Orders to carry out the suspension through proper procedure.
Father suspected of beating baby to death
On Tuesday of this week, Belmopan police were in Saint Matthews Village when they were alerted that a female child was in need of medical attention.
Police officers immediately intervened and began transporting the child to the Western Regional Hospital. On their way they encountered an ambulance and the child was handed over to emergency personnel who administered first responders care to the child. Despite best efforts the child was unresponsive and was later pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The child has been identified as Janeeka Campbell, a one year 11 months old, who was seen with bruises to various parts of her body. She also appeared to be malnourished.
Auditor General admits ministers visa recommendations not illegal
Auditor General Dorothy Bradley has been forced to abandon the very wrong assertion that it is illegal for Ministers to “intervene” in the application process for visas, passports, and nationality certificates for persons they want to help. Under duress, she had to concede in the continuation of the Senate Select Committee hearing that she has to remove that from her report.
That moment of clarity came in the Wednesday, December 7, hearing of the Committee. Bradley was back under oath giving testimony in the hearings to review the alleged irregularities that her Audit Report outlines between 2011 and 2013 in the Immigration and Nationality Department.
On page 9 of her report on Visas, she wrote, “We found recommendations and requests made by Ministers of Government for Individuals to be approved Belize Visas. The purpose of the Ministers’ requests were to assist specific applicants to obtain visas to visit or visa extensions to stay longer in Belize...We noted that Ministers of Government recommended and requested that a number of Asian individuals be issued Belize visas to enter… Belize”
Julius Espat will be barred from Friday’s House Meeting
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte told the Guardian Newspaper that the suspension of Area Representative for Cayo South, Julius Espat remains in effect. There will be a meeting of the House on Friday December 9 which means that Espat will not be allowed to enter the House.
Peyrefitte is maintaining his position after Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin accepted the submission which had been made by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke and Agassi Finnegan on Peyrefitte’s behalf. They were defending Peyrefitte from an action brought by Julius Espat in which he was seeking to be reinstated into the House of Representatives after he was named and unceremoniously forced out of the House of Representatives on August 26th. Hawke and Finnegan submitted that the matter be struck out since the Judiciary does not have jurisdiction in matters of Parliament. CJ Benjamin agreed and struck out the case but not before pointing out that Espat’s moves were ‘woefully inadequate.’
Minister of State in Home Affairs Hon. Elodio Aragon meets with Officers to discuss Strategies
On Monday of this week, the Minister of State with responsibility for the Police Department Hon. Elodio Aragon met with the Commissioner of Police Mr. Allen Whylie and the two Police Attorneys; Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and Sr. Superintendent Bart Jones.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss new strategies which are to be implemented as early as January of the coming year. Matters ranging from improving on professionalism of the department to steps to be taken in addressing the current murder situation were discussed.
The attorneys were asked to look at existing legislation governing certain aspects of the Police Department and to come up with recommendations of possible legislation to improve and strengthen them.
2017 sugar cane crop starts with no problems
The 2016-2017 sugar crop season began on Monday, December 5, which is right on schedule to make the most of the grinding season. There is an estimated 1.39 million tonnes of cane in the fields, and the millers, Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI), and their majority shareholder, American Sugar Refineries (ASR), want to make the best effort at milling the entire crop.
It marks the second consecutive season since the turmoil at the end of 2014 that the season is starting on time, and without any sort of in-quarrelling or controversy. It is hoped that gone are the days when cane farmers will intentionally delay the start of the season due to disputes as in 2013 and 2014, which caused the season to start some 47 days late, or 7 weeks behind schedule. The 3 Associations, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers, the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers, and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers, were all represented at the opening ceremony, lending support to the process. In fact, they were the ones who were first to officially open the season with a ceremony which involved them throwing the first stalks of harvested cane onto one of the dumping tables for BSI’s Tower Hill Factory.
Belize Defence Force Lieutenant Colonel receives Silver Medal Award
Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Velasquez of the Belize Defence Force was the proud recipient of a Silver Medal award from the Central American Armed Forces Conference (CFAC) on Wednesday November 30th, 2016 during its meeting in El Salvador.
This award is in recognition of Velasquez’s meritorious participation and contribution to the greater cooperation of the armies of the Central American region. The award was presented to him by President of the Superior Council of CFAC Lieutenant General David Mungia Payes, Minister of Defence of El Salvador, on behalf of the armies of the region. Other recipients of the award included Peruvian Vice Admiral Gonzalo Polastri and British Colonel David Stradbridge.
The CFAC was created in 2007 and has as its mission the promotion of a permanent and systematic effort of cooperation, coordination, and mutual support among the member armed forces. It includes professional development exchanges, cooperation on dealing with shared issues and threats to democracy, peace, and freedom in the region.
Belmopan now has the prettiest tree in Belize
A 25 feet Christmas tree was lit with great ceremony on Saturday night at the Sir George Brown Field, at the corner of Libertad Avenue and South Ring Road in Belmopan City. Hon. John Saldivar, Area Representative and Minister of Defence, accompanied by his Worship Mayor Khalid Belisle lit up the towering Christmas Tree to the cheering of residents from Garden City.
It was a full night of entertainment as a prelude to the Christmas tree lighting featuring the Panerrifix Junior Steel Band. Santa Clause was also present cheering and giving gifts to the children.
In his discourse with the Belmopan audience at Sir George Brown Field, Mayor Khalid Belisle stated: “We believe in being our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.” He urged residents to complete one act of kindness for this Christmas Season and to take that into the New Year.
The Buy and Sell effect
We so often hear Belizeans say, a job is so hard to find, or that they have or know a child who graduated but cannot find a job. There are also employment surveys and polls of various types that are done for one reason or another on a consistent basis. Then there are those persons like those PUP Propagandists who like to speak of a high rate of unemployment. Well we don't believe those figures are indeed factual based on what we have been seeing on the ground .
For us employment is not just about an employee going on a job to work for an employer. There are some folks who are entrepreneurs who either because of choice or circumstances work for themselves. They too are employed, although they are self employed. There are the entrepreneurs such as the Store Owners, Restaurateurs, Cosmetologist &Furniture Makers, Artists, Artisants, Farmers, Trades Persons, Fisherfolks, Fishscrapers, Car washers, Grass cutters, Vendors, Bakers and persons in the Manufacturing industry. These are the people we would readily think of when we speak of entrepreneurs because they are the ones we know are out there, either because they have a place of business or we know of their products.
Belize represented in Mexico to strengthen parliaments
Belize was this week represented in Mexico at the 13th Plenary Assembly of Americas.
Held in Mexico City the focus of the gathering was on strengthening Parliaments and building resilient Societies to achieve the sustainable goals. Representing Belize was Senator of the South, Hon. Macario Coy who for two days on the 6th and 7th of this month had the opportunity to dialogue with representatives of 25 different countries of the ParlAmericas.
The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the Sustainable Development Goals( SDGs) on the global , regional and national level. The distinctive political and Socio-Economic features of each country were taken into accounts in determining the corresponding actions and strategies. The parliamentarians’ delegation in attendance offer their heartfelt recognition to ParlAmericas on the occasion of its 15th Anniversary and expresses their gratitude for its notable efforts in promoting democracy and strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy in the Americas and the Caribbean, facilitating dialogue and the exchange of best legislative practices on the topic of hemispheric relevance.
Can’t slow Castro down
For the last 4 month or so Honourable Edmond “ Clear the Land “ Castro, has seen his political capital go up. He has been consistently producing the goods and services for the citizens of this country and much more for the people from some of the poorest communities in the country including but not limited to the residents of Belize Rural North. Charity begins at home and many persons from his constituency have been recipients and beneficiaries of his hard work. Like a true and tested veteran, Castro has not hidden his accomplishments under a bushel. He has been putting it in the public media. The congratulations, accolades and popularity that Castro has earned for his hard work in delivering for the poor people of this country has been causing the PUP restless nights and they are now desperately trying to throw a spanner in Castro’s wheel to try and slow him down.
Castro now as a full minister is free to fly and as long as he spends wisely, as he usually does, more and more people will benefit from his hard work. The PUP as usual, have called on some of those persons they have planted in key positions to do the bidding of the party whenever the needs arise.
Artists and artisans come out for Cayo Festival 2016
In a drive to support its artists and artisans, the Cayo Arts Festival 2016 was held on Saturday of this past weekend at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town. There were no shortage of arts and craft as some 50 artisans showed up to showcase their varied products. Amidst the full day of cultural events, it was also time for the main organizer, the San Ignacio and Santa Elena House of Culture, under the umbrella of the National Institute of Culture and History, to celebrate its 6th anniversary.
Good weather provided an avenue for tourists and visitors alike to visit the Cayo Welcome Center on Saturday and buy products from the artisans. Lupita Ferguson, the Director of the House of Culture says that this result is deliberate as she wants to encourage the artisans in their work.
NEMO receives donation from Chile
On Monday December 5, Minister of National Emergency Management Hon Edmond Castro received a donation of 50 Thousand US Dollars from the Government of Chile on behalf of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) to assist with ongoing hurricane recovery efforts in the Agriculture Sector, specifically for small farmers impacted by Hurricane Earl.
The donation was presented by Chile’s Ambassador to Belize resident in El Salvador, Maria Inez Ruz. Also on hand was Chile’s Honorary Consul in Belize H.E. Joe Mena.
The groundwork for the donation was done by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), whose representative in Belize is Christian Salazar. Mr. Salazar was also on hand for the presentation.
Defence Minister comments on completed countrywide tour of BDF installations
Last Friday, Minister of Defence, Hon. John Saldivar completed a nationwide tour of BDF installations countrywide. The national tour started back in September, one month after Saldivar was named Minister of Defence and appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Felix Enriquez.
Accompanied by CEO Enriquez and BDF Commander General David Jones, the Minister first visited BDF National Headquarters at Price Barracks in Ladyville, the Air and Maritime Wings at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, and Militia Hall on the George Price Highway just outside Belize City.
Following the month-long September Celebrations and a few unexpected delays, the Minister resumed his national tour in early November, heading up North to Corozal and Orange Walk where he visited BDF bases and posts, including those involved in curbing contraband and other illegal cross-border activities. On that leg, he was accompanied by BDF Deputy Commander Colonel Steven Ortega.
Dale Tillett killed on Hydes lane
Dale Tillett Sr., a 44 year-old father of 8, was mercilessly slain in Belize City, almost 5 years after his son, Dale Jr., lost his life to gun violence. The incident happened sometime after 3:30 a.m. on Hyde’s Lane. Tillett was walking on Hydes Lane with a group of friends, one of whom was a relative. They had just purchased food from one of the street vendors after a night out. Tillett and his companions were on their way to their destination when two assailants rode up on a motorcycle. They approached from behind, and before the men could react, one of them pulled out a gun and fired a barrage of shots at them. One of those bullets struck Tillett in the neck, while 28 year-old David Garcia, one of his companions, was injured in the left shoulder. That gunshot injury killed Tillett on the spot, and when the police arrived, they rushed his companion, Garcia, to the KHMH for medical treatment.
Accused Killers of Joshua Abraham Walk Free
Randy Green, 30, and Michael Young, 26, the two men who police believe were responsible for the shooting death of 9-year-old Joshua Abraham, are out free after the prosecution’s case fell apart in trial when key witnesses recanted their statements.
Joshua Abraham, who lived around the Victoria Street area, was murdered on Independence Day 2011 as Belize City residents were enjoying the uniform parade. Joshua also went out to watch the annual uniform parade that passes by the intersection of Victoria Street and North Front Street. About 30 minutes after the parade had passed, he went to a nearby store and that was when two men approached the area from the intersection of New Road and Victoria Street. They hid behind a few parked vehicles stalking their targets.
Chester Noralez charged for Sexual Assault
A year ago, he was accused of almost killing his 93-year-old neighbor and now Chester Noralez, 36, is in trouble with the law again. This time it is for a crime against a minor. Noralez was back in court on charges of sexual assault and using insulting words on a high school student.
A 17-year-old girl reported to police that she was at a shop on Mahogany Street when Noralez forcibly hugged her and then squeezed her buttocks. When the teen pushed him away and said she did not know him, Noralez allegedly threatened her saying that he was from PIV (a criminal gang from the Lake Independence area).
Noralez appeared in court unrepresented before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. He was offered bail in the sum of $3,000 plus one surety of the same amount, which he was able to meet. Noralez is scheduled to return to court on January 30.
Handyman murdered in Teakettle
A 19 year old handy man Abner Vasquez was discovered murdered at about 7:15 am this past Saturday behind a warehouse in Teakettle Village. Found near his body was a slippers and a hat, which had fallen from him while he was being pursued by an attacker sometime between Friday and Saturday. He had injuries to both the back of his head and right jaw. A post mortem has revealed that he had been manually strangled.
A candle light vigil was held in Teakettle on Tuesday night to recognize Abner Vasquez, who in life was widely known to be a peaceful person. He had last been seen by his family on Thursday evening of last week.
About a week ago, Abner Vasquez had complained to his aunt Isolita Hewlett that a man had hit him in the eye. Belmopan Police continue investigating this case.
House keeper accused of theft
Maria Reina Vargas Lainez, 31, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for a single charge of theft. Her employer, Carlos Perrera, Director of Finance of the Public Utilities Commission, reported to police that she stole two of his wrist watches from inside his Bella Vista residence. The incident allegedly took place on Friday, December 2. Perrera said he left the watches in his chest of drawers and later noticed that they were missing. He made a report to police on Saturday, December 3, and told police that Lainez was his cleaner and only she had access to his home that Friday. Police later arrested Lainez for theft.
Lainez, a Honduran national of Belama Phase 2, appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, December 5, to answer to a single charge of theft. She was unrepresented in court and since she speaks only Spanish a translator was provided. Lainez pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Michael McDonald sentenced to 3 years for firearm
King Street resident Michael McDougal, 23, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after he was found guilty of keeping a firearm without a gun license and discharging that firearm in public.
Police responded to a shooting near BTL Park at 3:09 a.m. on Sunday, September 28, 2014 and allegedly saw McDougal shooting at another man. This incident took place shortly after the conclusion of the Arthur Guinness memorial festivities. Police say that when McDougal saw them he threw the firearm behind a parked SUV. Police apprehended McDougal and searched the area. They found a .38 special revolver with serial number 796694 and five expended shells. He was arrested and charged with one count each of discharging a firearm in public, causing public terror, keeping a firearm without a gun license and being a member of the George Street Gang.
Pregnant woman accused of drug trafficking
Conch Shell Bay resident Carolee Orosco, 21, is expecting twin babies in late January but this is not a happy time for the mother to be. That is because she is facing a charge of drug trafficking and disclosure is to be handed over to her by January 30, 2017. Police claim that Orosco and others were busted with 544 grams of cannabis on Thursday, December 1.
According to police, officers of the Gang Suppression Unit were conducting mobile patrol on Ebony Street when WPC Wiley saw a pregnant female abruptly stepped back into a yard when her attention was drawn to the police. This caused the officer to become suspicious of the woman and because of that they followed her into the yard. There they saw her standing next to a stairway. When the officers approached her she said that she just wanted to use the bathroom. She was informed that a search would be conducted on her. This resulted in nothing incriminating being found. Officers then proceeded to search the bathroom and this led to the discovery of a bag with weed stashed within some plycem trim. Inside the house, police also found a Belizean passport belonging to the woman who owns the house. Though she was not at home at the time of the search, the owner is being jointly charged with Orozco and two other males who were at the residence at the time.
Youth gunned down near his home
Emmerson Skyers, a 26 year-old man with a troubled past, and who was trying to transform his life, was shot and killed near his home in the Taylor’s Alley area.
The incident happened on Sunday, December 4, at around 1:30 p.m., when Skyers was in front of a grocery store at the corner of Orange and West Streets. He was reportedly in the company of a friend who was with a young child. He was caught off-guard by the gunmen who drove by in a white car. Those shooters fired several shot in their direction, hitting Skyers multiple times to the body. He was immediately rushed to the KHMH, but he died just under 15 minutes after the incident.
Teenager Busted with Gun in Front of Court
Police believe they foiled an execution plot when they busted New Road resident John Charles Orosco, 19, with a 38 special in front of the Belize City Magistrates Court on Wednesday, December 07. A police officer in civilian clothing noticed the teenager acting suspiciously outside of court. The incident occurred around 9 a.m., just as the names of individuals scheduled to appear were being called. The cop alerted officers on duty at the court who pulled out their guns and ordered the youngster to freeze. The officers conducted a search on the suspicious individual and inside his pants waist they found a .38 Special revolver with two live rounds.
John Orosco was arrested and charged for possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition without a gun license. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Wednesday afternoon and claimed, “Neh police planted that gun on me because I never had no gun.”
Traffic accident in Cayo
One man in Cayo was killed by a heavy white Chevrolet after coming to render aid to his mother-in-law, who had ran out of fuel on the road. The accident took place between mile 56 and 57 on the George Price Highway on Sunday night of this past weekend.
San Ignacio Police visited the accident scene where they observed a six wheeler truck with extensive damages to the passenger side and a minivan with damages to the back of the vehicle. Police also observed the motionless body of a male Hispanic, Carlos Medina, a Honduran of a Santa Elena Town address. Investigators at the scene determined that Marleni Wellington, a 56 year old was driving the Mazda minivan on the George Price Highway towards San Ignacio Town. But upon reaching miles 56 and 57 the vehicle driven by Wellington experienced mechanical problems.
Franklin Velasquez caught with Hipolito Novelo’s laptop
Honduras national, Franklin Velasquez, 18, was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith for handling stolen goods on Monday, December 5. Allegations are that he assisted in the retention of a black Asus laptop that was stolen from Love News’ reporter Hipolito Novelo on Wednesday, November 30.
Novelo reported to police that his home at #12 Douglas Jones Street was burglarized and the laptop, a grey Galaxy S6 cellphone and a heavy duty charger were stolen. Police investigation led to the arrest of Velasquez who took officers to pick up the laptop. He was then charged with one count of handling stolen goods.
Belmopan Bandits undefeated in regular season competition
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season regular competition came to an end on Sunday 4th December, 2016, with three games on the schedule.
On Saturday 3rd December, 2016, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the league’s leading Belmopan Bandits wrapped up its undefeated regular season with a 0-0 draw against the Belize Defence Force.
The Belmopan Bandits completed the regular season with a 12 wins and 4 draws record.
On Sunday 4th December, 2016, at the MCC Grounds, FC Belize blasted the Freedom Fighters by the score of 6-1.
The goals for FC Belize were scored by Russell Cassanova in the 4th minute of play followed by Hector Martinez in the 17th, 39th and 71st minutes of play and he was followed by Jorge Aleman in the 35th minute of play and then by Oliver Hendricks in the 85th minute of play.
Football Federation of Belize calls footballers to National ‘A’ Team training camp
In an effort to be competitive in the upcoming 2017 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana Tournament, the FFB is calling on the following players to its training camp which commenced on Tuesday 6th December, 2016, at the Football Federation of Belize training facility.
Belize has been selected to compete in Group A which consists of Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The tournament will be held from January 13-22, 2017, in Panama City, Republic of Panama, at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
The top four teams will qualify for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, while the team that place fifth will advance to the playoff against the team that places fifth from the 2017 Caribbean Cup for the final berth for the Gold Cup.
Youth footballers to play in Jamaican Youth League
The Football Federation of Belize informs the general public that whilst it was the youngest team to participate in the recently concluded UNCAF U-17 elimination tournament, the individual talent of our youth players did not go unnoticed.
Based on scouts that were present at the matches, four youth players were selected to play in the youth league in Jamaica. The invitation that was extended includes boarding and schooling, with the potential of the youth players being drafted to play in professional leagues.
It also informs that a Costa Rican player agency is offering several of the youth players the opportunity to attend major colleges in the US on football scholarships, to develop their skills while obtaining their degrees.
According to the Football Federation of Belize, this falls in line with the “Football for Education” programme, the it is currently pursuing to place less fortunate footballers in school, so that after their football careers, they have an education to rely on.
2017 National Elite Basketball League season to commence on January 13
The Commissioner of the National Elite Basketball League Karim Juan informed the general public that the NEBL will commence its fourth season on Friday 13th January, 2017. The fourth season will see eight teams competing for the top prize. The teams that will be competing in the 2017 campaign will be the Orange Walk Running Rebels, Belize Hurricanes, Belize City No Limit, San Pedro Tiger Sharks, Belmopan Bandits, Dangriga Warriors, Cayo Western Ballaz and a new franchise from Chetumal, Mexico.
It is noted that games will be played in Chetumal, and the Chetumal team will also play games in Belize, using the same home and away format.
For the up-coming season, each team will have a shot clock, which will greatly enhance the competitive nature of the game.
The Belize Times
DANGER: BAD DRUGS!
“I can’t say with certainty that some of the providers gave us medication and items that did put the population at risk. What I can say is that because we were not enforcing those standards there is a high possibility that that could have happened.”
As we go to press, the Ministry of Health is under intense scrutiny as a result of bizarre and appalling revelations by current CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa. Those revelations indicate not only that the Ministry of Health has been operating as another hotbed of corruption, but incredibly that patients may have lost their lives as a result of the direct negligence of MoH officials where the monitoring of pharmaceutical and medical supplies is concerned.
In a candid interview granted by the Figueroa came the admission that a lack of monitoring and controls as it relates to the provision of pharmaceutical and medical supplies possibly put the lives of patients at risk. Other health officials we have spoken with have also expressed a strong belief that the lack of proper and consistent testing of pharmaceuticals has, in fact, led to a loss of lives over the years. Still others say that even members of the Tender Committee in the Ministry of Health resort to purchasing medicinal drugs for personal use from outside because they are aware that some of the medications circulating within the public health system in Belize simply do not work.
Castro Caught AGAIN!
It seems that no matter how hard he tries Edmond “Clear the Cane” Castro can’t stay out of trouble. Some Belizeans would say that somebody “obeah” the man. We on the other hand would argue that this is just who he is—a magnet for underhanded behaviour!
The latest escapade involving Castro is the revelation that as a result of his “arrangement” with one Eloy Escalante the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) has lost its Fairtrade certification. The permanent suspension of the BSCFA’s Fairtrade status would mean an immediate loss of more than one million dollars; the longer term impact would be even more dire and could cost cane farmers around 5 million dollars over the next 3 years. In an effort to avoid this hardship the BSCFA has expelled Eloy Escalante with the hope that his expulsion would stay the decision of the Fairtrade certification agency. The BSCFA is yet to find out if this is enough to avoid the problems brought on by the Escalante-Castro debacle.
Baby Tameeka is Dead! – Did A Father Murder his Child?
Belmopan Police are on a manhunt for the father of baby Tameeka Campbell, missing since last night when the child, not yet two years old, was pronounced dead at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, fresh and faded bruises covering her upper body. Is it possible that the St. Margaret resident pummelled his daughter to death on Tuesday night…that the man who should have been her protector instead took her life?
Police are still trying to piece together all sides of this tragic story. What they have confirmed so far is that officers were on patrol in the village sometime around 8p.m. Tuesday when they came upon two men in distress with a child who required medical attention. The Police picked her up from the duo who were later learned to be family friends. While on their way to the Western Regional Hospital they met an ambulance that was responding to a request for emergency assistance. The child was transferred to the ambulance but was already unresponsive. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
A Hollow Victory
Following the 11-day strike of teachers under the BNTU’s mantle from October 3 to October 18, those determined educators were saluted as heroes, hailed as the warriors who had triumphed over an administration’s despotic and corrupt ways. After all, they fought for good governance and an end to corruption. They fought for checks and balances and accountability where none existed. They fought for responsible spending. By October 18 it seemed apparent that the Prime Minister had folded. YES to the 13th Senator. YES to the ratification of UNCAC. YES to the Integrity Commission. YES to the Senate Inquiry. The angels sang the hallelujah chorus. Oh how the teachers must have felt like the mighty Spartan 300, with the difference that they lived to tell the tale of glory.
Except we were all – teachers, right-thinking Belizeans, those who wanted a real change with no political agenda – just a real change for Belize as Belizeans – bamboozled by the Prime Minister’s trademark brilliant bullshit.
It is no fault of the teachers. They are to be praised because they stood alone and stood strong. In fact, many of us should feel a twinge of shame when we remember the determined stance of those teachers. What they fought for would have benefitted each and every one of us (with the exception, perhaps, of those who have already raped and raided our coffers and continue to pillage with impunity).
Leaked Documents Reveal: The Sky IS Falling!
The government of Belize, in its presentation to Bondholders last week, leaked to the media, outlined the very grim economic situation Belize is now faced with as a result of poor decisions made by the United Democratic Party (UDP) government. GOB also acknowledged, for the first time, in its presentation that Belize public debt is now at 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Barrow’s administration also finally took responsibility for pushing Belize’s debt over the edge: “The government’s balance sheet was hit by the financial cost of intervening in two key utilities, taking over ownership, in the case of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), to ensure proper functioning of the country’s power system, and in the case of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), to terminate a contract that had proven to be very expensive for the government. The result of these two re-nationalizations: much higher government debt, and debt servicing costs.”
Questions to Ministers
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please confirm or deny reports that when he said he was meeting with bondholders in New York early this week he was actually meeting with Lord Michael Ashcroft at an undisclosed location to discuss a new cruise port?
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister be willing to disclose exactly how much his brother attorney Denys Barrow made from litigation over the BTL acquisition, and also how much his law firm made from the settlement with BTL?
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please disclose what was discussed when he and Pastor Ashley Rocke met at his Seashore Drive mansion at 10:45am on Saturday?
Would the Member for Corozal Bay and Minister of Health please confirm or deny reports that he has come under increasing pressure to remove Ms. Danini Contreras from her post as Drug Inspectorate Inspector since their intimate relationship has become public knowledge and is considered a blatant conflict of interest?
If Dah Noh Soh
Pastor Ashley Rocke, Senator representing the Churches (actually Senator representing a few UDP-owned Church leaders and of course the UDP) was seen walking into the home of Prime Minister Dean Barrow at 10:45am Saturday morning. Maybe he was there to hear confession. Maybe he was there to counsel the troubled Prime Minister and to comfort him before his travels abroad. Reliable word reaching this cynical scribe is that Godwin Hulse, the man formerly known as the people’s champion, had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and is refusing to take his medication. Medical authorities were recently alerted to the troubling condition at the opening of the sugar cane crop recently. At the podium, Hulse vowed to get rid of phantom farmers in the industry, stating “I am unabashed to say there is no place for shopkeepers who pose as cane farmers and who buy quotas and that sort of thing. We need to be serious.” But minutes after, when asked about his friend Clear the Cane Castro, a minister posing as a cane-farmer, Godwin stated, “Let’s be real. He has cane and he should be able to sell his cane.” Reliable sources have confirmed to this intrepid reporter that the Special Envoy for Women, Children and really Foolish People has scheduled an intervention with Minister Edmond Castro as soon as he returns from the canefields. We are told that his repeated use of the ‘R’ word was reported to the Special Envoy and she was irate that Castro would dare to do so when she even made an ad forbidding it. We are also reliably informed that she attempted to get hubby to shuffle the shameless Minister, suggesting that he assume the portfolio of Shameless Actions, Stupid Commentary, Disrespect and Sexual Harassment, created just for him.
More Secret Deals to Remedy Bad Decisions…?
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left for New York this week, allegedly for Superbond discussions, but the Belize Times has learned Barrow’s presence may signal a bigger move by government in the months to come.
The Belize Times has learned that Economic Ambassador Mark Espat was left in charge of handling negotiations with bondholders. Sources also indicate that Barrow’s arrival in New York may indicate one of two things: either bondholders are driving a very hard line and need assurances only the Prime Minister can give or there is another deal being made to help relieve GOB of some of its more immediate expenses and free up cash for Barrow and company.
Candelaria ‘Canned’ Under Public Pressure
If the public had not become outraged at the continued pampering (at taxpayer expense) of Candelaria Saldivar, sister of Minister of Defence John Saldivar, it is likely that she would still be sitting at home collecting her CEO salary plus $18,000 housing/entertainment allowance and $3000 phone allowance and all other perks. But the Belize Times has confirmed that via letter dated November 24th, 2016, Saldivar has been put out to pasture.
In that correspondence from Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo, Saldivar is advised that “His Excellency the Governor-General, on the advice of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister…has approved your retirement on compulsory terms on the grounds of the above mentioned and continuing organizational restructuring and for the purpose of facilitating improvement in efficiency…”
Guatemalans Make Huge Drug Bust in Belizean Waters
Guatemalan law enforcement agencies are reporting that they have caught four cocaine smugglers who were trying to traffic about $45M worth of the drug to what is believed to be a North American destination. The Guatemalans report that the drug bust happened in “international waters”, but experts in Belize have strong reason to believe that these men were caught in Belizean territorial waters.
News reports coming out of Guatemala suggest that the Guatemalan law enforcement agencies received intelligence of this drug smuggling operation under way in international waters. They mobilized quickly, and the Ministry of Defence and Special Naval Force moved quickly to intercept these traffickers. In the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, they managed to catch one of 2 vessels which were travelling the Caribbean Sea at that time. On that vessel were 4 Hondurans, 34 year-old Walter Orlando Portillo Portillo, 26 year-old Jose Miguel Andrade Saldivar, 21 year-old Julian Avila Suazo and 42 year-old Zablo Amilcar Portillo Portillo.
City Resident Gunned Down in Broad Daylight
On Sunday afternoon, at around 1:30, Emerson Skyers, 26, was at the corner of West Street and Cemetery Road socializing with friends when a white car pulled up and a gunman started firing. As the car fled the scene residents in the area and friends of Skyers tried desperately to resuscitate him but he died at the scene.
According to ASP Alejandro Cowo, Officer Commanding CIB, “”Emerson Skyers was walking on Cemetery Road almost at the corner of Cemetery Road and West Street when a vehicle coming from the direction of Cemetery Road towards Albert Street passed him and a person from the vehicle fired several shots at him causing the fatal injuries. Up to now we do not have a motive in regards to the death of Mr. Skyers.”
Tour Guide Killed in Motorcycle Ride-By
Violence sparked up in the old capital this weekend and claimed the life of well- known tour guide Dale Anthony Tillett Sr. the incident happened at around 3:45am Saturday as Tillett and friends were heading home after a night out.
Police held a press conference on Monday to provide as much information as they had been able to discover. They relayed that they were called to the scene at the corner of Hyde’s Land and New Road and observed the lifeless body of Tillett with an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Man Allegedly Brutalized by Police Dies Mysteriously
At mid-afternoon on Saturday December 3rd, the body of Altreed Williams was found on Lawrence Avenue in the Lake Independence area of Belize City. Strangely, his body which was partially in a drain was just outside of his car. The sudden death is said to have been preceded by a beat down doled out by Police two weeks before (a screenshot of a conversation between Altreed and a friend confirms the date of the police brutality as November 18th). Roxanne Williams, his wife who he had been living with for 12 years—sharing two children, explained that he had been pepper sprayed and left with bruises to the forehead.
She recounted that during the entire time since the incident with Police he was unable to work because the constant headaches he began suffering would cause him to tumble down and he was not eating. The previous Wednesday, November 30th, his family took him to the hospital where a CT scan was done and some medication prescribed before he was sent home. However, she says that he did not improve.
A BURNING VIOLIN
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ‘til I’m gathered safely in – Leonard Cohen
The first show of the Belizean Women’s Art Collective titled RADICAL comes weeks after Donald Trump won the American presidency. We live in a world of absurd contradictions, bizarre distortions and feigning frivolity. So it is urgent that artists rise up and disrupt the social space to offer voices that seriously address the taking charge of our lives.
The concept of a collective is hard to comprehend in an era of extreme individual self-promotion and exposure. These women are fearless foragers inside a shopping mall of digital paradoxes. Belize is still yet to shed its hyper misogynistic and blatant male dominated cultural entrenchment, so this small band of BWACs offer not just hope in the face of social melting and insanity, but an opportunity to seek some clarity about what our lives are really about, and how we could pursue some tangible concepts of deep revolutionary thinking.
THE WONDERER AND NEGLECTED/CRASHED BELIZEAN INDUSTRIES
The Wonderer was wandering on Google Earth and wandered on certain areas that brought back memories of good industries that employed thousands and thousands of Belizeans, but because of the neglect of government(s) they all came to pass into history. These projects all needed help from Government but for some reason help was denied. Help was actually denied to the Belizeans who directly and indirectly depended on those industries. It seems you have to own an island for tourism that employs a few Belizeans in the “servant” industry and ban us other Belizeans from visiting their white premises in our country. Only so and after some dealing then you obtain tax and duty exemptions or sometimes called fiscal incentives, which could save the industries from collapse. The following industries now RIP.
Stann Creek & Toledo Win at Special Olympics 2016
The Stann Creek and Toledo athletes were the big winners at the 2016 Special Olympics held at the Holstan Chan Stadium for 5-a-side football in Corozal Town on Friday. The 5th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run raised over $7,000 for the Games, and the arrival of the torch signalled the start of the Games after Police Commissioner Allen Whylie personally carried the torch up the ladder to light the Flame of Hope, which remained alight for the duration of the Games.
Devesh Hukmani Wins BNE Table Tennis Championship
The Belize Table Tennis Association closed off a rather successful year with the final tournament on the calendar, the Belize Natural Energy national championships at the BES auditorium on Sunday; where 11-year-old Devesh Hukmani emerged as the youngest Men’s champion ever!
Some 39 players contested the men’s singles championship which was a single elimination format and the final 4 were all teenagers. SJC’s Rohit Pagarani won 2nd place while the two 3rd place winners were Kevin Chen and Amiri Hoare.
In the Women Singles championships, Su Sen won 1st place: 3-2 over 2nd place winner Nikki Chen in the finals. Kelly Liu and Aejelee Thurton both won 3rd place
Police United & FC Belize Win Thru to PLB Football Playoffs
Yabra FC, Survivors FC and the undefeated Coast Guard posted wins when the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) football playoffs kicked off at the MCC Garden on Saturday.
In Game 1, Ladyville FC and Kelly Street drew 1-1 when Shawn Young scored for Ladyville in the 8th minute and Kadeem Myers equalized for Kelly St. in the 25th minute.
In Game 2, Yabra FC won 2-1 over Tut Bay. Dalton “Chicken” Cayetano scored Yabra’s 1st goal in the 17th minute. Carlos Lino answered for Tut Bay in the 35th minute. Yabra’s Keron Patnett scored the game winner in the 2nd half.
In Game 3, Coast Guard won 3-1 over Hattieville United when Adier Duran scored the Coast Guard’s 1st goal, Steven Martinez added a 2nd goal and Orvin Wade converted a penalty. Marcus Lewis scored Hattieville’s only consolation goal.
MY PERSPECTIVE – ACTIVISM AND ACTION
It’s amazing…all this activity during the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. I don’t know if we have really come a long way but all the
events certainly have. I am not at all knocking the candlelight vigils, dancing in the street and marching. It is all meant to bring awareness, and we have to be aware and
internalize the challenges at hand before we can actually do something. But we need action too.
Last week the Social Work Students Association of the University of Belize held their first Gender Based Violence Evening of Expressive Arts at Spoonaz Cafe on North Front Street, Belize City. I was happy to have received their invitation to address them as guest speaker, and, as I usually do, I jotted a few notes and bullet points of what I wanted to say to them. I am not given to writing out long speeches, preferring instead to have some few ideas and to go with the mood and flow of the event.
TOURISM: BELIZEANS SHUT OUT
IF Belizeans have not yet been shut out of the tourism industry, they continue to get a thinner and thinner slice of their homemade pie. Soon they will be getting only the crumbs. Most of this industry is dominated by foreign investors with a small number of local investors owning principal stakes. On the other hand, some Belizeans own considerable capital in providing services to this industry, including transportation, but in some instances even the latter is at risk because of loose policies within the industry.
Foreign real estate companies are also dominating that market. Added to this is the rampant corruption in the Ministry of Lands that goes on unabated. Real estate is prohibitively expensive putting it out of the reach of local investors. In the earlier years of the industry, many innocent Belizeans were fleeced by land speculators who bought their land for cheap.
Thinking Out Loud
According to a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources, now under the control of Attorney-General Vanessa Retreage, a letter was sent to Gaspar Vega’s son Andre and UDP-affiliated attorney Sharon Pitts telling them that they had 30 days to return $800,000 ($400,000 each). They got that money when Gaspar Vega was Minister of Natural Resources, in a move that stinks to high heavens of the most worthless corruption. Those 30 days have gone. But nobody anywhere wants to talk about that money now. The Minister of Natural Resources isn’t saying a word. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that money to be given back to Belizean taxpayers. That’s not really going to happen.
That Dreaded Corruption
How can Belize promote development?? Poverty has so long and gravely sparked concern because many people are experiencing hardship, misery, starvation, and so on. The causes of poverty in Belize are various. But the most common cause that is pervasively found in every developing world is corruption. Corruption has negatively and greatly influenced the growth and welfare of the country and has also been one of the most important matters with which Belize is struggling to deal. It is mostly spotted in a wide range of different organizations and levels starting from government, private sector, judicial system, education and so forth. It is not difficult to understand why corruption is so dreadful for us.
Corruption has drained out a large sum of money from our national income. The money could instead be used to help the poor by improving infrastructure, agriculture, the health care system or to build more schools. Furthermore, corruption is seriously discouraging foreign investments. Investment is very crucial in boosting Belize’s economy. It provides countless jobs for our population and enlarges the tax income. However, investors will become greatly reluctant to run their large scale business in a country that is marred by corruption.
Breaking Belize News
BSCFA responds to Minister Castro
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) met at its Orange Walk branch office today to respond to criticisms raised by the Minister of Transport & NEMO, Edmund Castro as well as those raised by the Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC). According to the […]
Copa Airlines marks 1 year anniversary flying to Belize
Today, December 8th marks the one year anniversary of Copa Airlines flying to and from Belize. Last year on December 8, 2015 Copa began offering direct flights from Belize City to Panama City, Panama connecting with other destinations throughout the American continent. The flight […]
Over 30,000 board feet of illegally harvested Rosewood found in Benque Viejo
Yesterday, officers of the Forest Department conducted a site inspection at a wood work factory in Benque Viejo Town where they discovered over 30,000 board feet of illegally harvested Rosewood in flitch form. The wood was found to be without official marking and documentation […]
NCFC says violence against children must stop
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) issued a press release this afternoon joining the nation in mourning the tragic loss of another innocent Belizean child. “It is truly a tragic outcome. Media reports about the questionable circumstances surrounding the tragic death of […]
Belize to host international yoga festival this month
Rhythm of Change(ROC) Om Shanti Belize is about to embark on its first large project, the Belize International Yoga Festival, which will take place on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2016 at Harbour view greens on # 12 Fort Street in Belize City from 6am to […]
Man murdered in Corozal; Police are investigating
Police in Corozal are investigating a murder that happened in that district this morning. BBN contacted Corozal police who confirmed that police were patrolling in an area off the San Andres road in Corozal when they heard a woman asking for help. When police […]
67 year old woman from Maskall village is missing
Gabriela Mendez, 67, is missing. Mendez is from Maskall village and has been missing for the last two days. She was last seen on Monday at Spanish Town in Maskall village. Yesterday Maskall police and villagers conducted a search in her village but couldn’t […]
BPP holds National Party Congress
On Saturday, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) held its inaugural National Party Congress at its headquarters in Belize City. The party’s business over the past year was discussed and presented along with their developments. The BPP’s financials were conferred and a reiteration of the […]
The Best Swimming Dock in Belize is ALMOST Back & Our December Heat Wave
It’s surprising how a shift of winds, a 10% rise in humidity and a slight rise in temperature can really crank up the heat around here. Just a few weeks ago, we were all wearing sweatshirts at night (and being laughed at by visitors) as the temperature plummeted into the high 70s and the wind roared from the north. Now the wind has a southerly flow and in the high 80s? It’s HOT. A change of clothes, carry a bandana HOT.
Today will be about 87 with a SE wind.
Good thing for us there is a polar vortex acomin’….
But all this hot weather gets one thinking about swimming…and, lucky for all of us, my favorite FAVORITE swimming dock and yoga platform on the island is being rebuilt as I type.
Ak’Bol Eco-Resort and Yoga Retreat. I’ve written about it many times over the years and then Hurricane Earl took it.
Yesterday I stopped by to take a look at the construction.
The water at the end is crystal clear with a beautiful sandy bottom.
And a look back at the VERY CUTE bar and restaurant. This is really a great spot to spend an afternoon.
Meet Ms. Anna Silva, an activist against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Cayo District
An advocate for abused women and children and a survivor of domestic violence herself, Anna, along with Ms. Marilyn Greig, founded Mary Open Doors (MOD) in 2008 in an effort to assist victims like herself.
The organization was formed to empower women, children, and men affected by domestic abuse. With the support from the government, businesses, church, community, and other organizations, MOD provides services in two main areas: as a temporary emergency shelter for victims and their families and as a resource center to educate, advocate, and raise awareness of GBV and its effect on families and the greater community. Currently, MOD provides only overnight and short term housing. The temporary emergency shelter can house only 3-4 families or 6-10 people.
Throughout the years, MOD, alongside the community and other organizations, have given victims the opportunity to build on their existing skills and/or to develop new skills to help them become self-sustainable. This is done through traditional or nontraditional training sessions or simply by linking victims with existing resources. While no longer responsible for the daily operations of the organization, Anna has remained on the Board of Directors as Trustee of the organization and continues to be involved with the women and children seeking assistance. She always makes herself available to GBV victims. Anna continues to work with families in her community, through counseling and referrals for medical attention and provides information on available resources.
What DNA reveals about St Helena’s freed slaves
Fascinating! St. Helena is a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. Investigation of a 150-year-old burial site is helping to unlock the mysteries of one of humanity’s darkest chapters.
In 1849, Anglican bishop Robert Gray described a slave ship being unloaded on the island of St Helena. “I never beheld a more piteous sight,” he observed of the people on board. Some were dead; many more were close to it. “They had a worn look and wasted appearance, and were moved into the boats like bales of goods, apparently without any will of their own.”
These men and women were refugees of the British Navy's campaign against the slave trade. The United Kingdom had outlawed the trade in 1807, and anti-slaver patrols were intercepting boats along the Middle Passage — the trade route from Africa to the Americas — even venturing into the harbour of Rio de Janeiro. Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, St Helena became a favoured drop-off point for people freed from the ships. From 1840 to the late 1860s, scores of ships carrying some 27,000 slaves were captured and brought to the island. The slaves who survived were granted freedom and most were eventually relocated, but for nearly 10,000, many of them children, a rocky valley on St Helena became their final resting place.