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Today's Belize News: January 13, 2017 #520853
01/13/17 01:20 AM
01/13/17 01:20 AM
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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, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

Emergency Response Agencies Receive Command Vehicles from the Government of Japan
The Government of Belize received three (3) command vehicles donated by the Government of Japan, through their Non-Project Grant for Industrial Products. These three (3) vehicles will be utilized by the Police Department, Belize National Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), as on-site command centres during emergency situations. The Japanese delegation, headed by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shunsuke Takei, arrived on the 9thJanuary, 2017. Vice-Minister Takei met with several ministers of Government including the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber; Minister for Economic Development, Trade, Investment and Commerce Hon. Erwin Contreras; and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Godwin Hulse.

SPTC monitoring dispute between PASA and Solid Waste Management Authority
The idea that the transfer station in San Pedro Town may not be able to ship out garbage from the island due to this situation is raising concerns. The San Pedro Sun caught up with Mayor Daniel Guerrero to find out how they are preparing to address the matter if the issue is not rectified. Guerrero indicated that the issue does not fall under The San Pedro Town Council’s (SPTC) jurisdiction; however the island’s garbage is taken to the transfer station located in the southern part of the island. Guerrero stressed that garbage collection and the town’s sanitation works will continue as per normal. “It is highly unlikely that residents will be affected by this situation between these two companies,” said Guerrero. “So far, the transfer station on the island has not stopped receiving the garbage that is being collected, so we will continue taking all the waste to the station until we are told not to do so.” Guerrero stated that they will be monitoring the situation, but for the meantime nothing will change. If the situation does not change, and if the transfer station on the island shuts down, then according to Guerrero, they will fall back to what they used to do before. “We will find other alternatives in order to get rid of the trash if the station stops operating. We might have to start burning the trash as we had done in the past. However, we hope the situation between those two parties is cleared up soon,” said Guerrero. For the time being, The SPTC assures residents that their sanitation department will continue their normal operations. All scheduled garbage pick-ups will run as per normal, while they keep an eye on any updates regarding this issue.

Dorian Pakeman charged for Dean Dawson’s death
Suspended Director of the Government Press Office Dorian Pakeman has been formally arraigned and charged. The charge comes nine months after he knocked down and killed Biscayne mechanic, Dean Dawson in a tragic traffic accident. On Tuesday, January 10th, Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer officially charged Pakeman for “causing death by careless conduct”, and granted him bail of $3,500. After the court hearing, Pakeman avoided the press and left court without giving a public comment. However, Neal did admit that his client is remorseful for Dawson’s death. “What I want to say publicly, and I think it has not been said before, is to say sorry to the family of Dean Dawson. These accidents, as they often do, claim the lives of people; it is a problem we are having in our country. My client has instructed me specifically to state that he is sorry for what has happened; he intends to the fullest extent that he can to compensate the family at a later date, after we’re done with these charges. But the main thing is to reach out to this family and say a sincere sorry on behalf of my client, for what has happened,” said Neal.

‘Reef Angels’ aim to clean the seas
A new environmental movement on Ambergris Caye dubbed ‘Reef Angels,’ and headed by island resident Martin John Leslie (MJ) has been busy cleaning the sea around the island. Recently the group swept about one-eighth of a mile heading south on the east coast of San Pedro Town, filling three kayaks and a canoe with empty bottles and other discarded items that were retrieved from the bottom of the sea. MJ is well known for his involvement in different activities, such as sports and particularly kite surfing. Now he is on a new adventure with a group of friends who believe that the sea must be taken care of. “We are blessed with the opportunity to enjoy everything it has to offer,” he said. “We should take great care of it.”

Ambergris Today

Garbage Transfer Stations Temporarily Close, Will Garbage Start Piling Up?
Ambergris Today spoke to the Solid Waste Management Authority’s manager who was on the island this week and he stated that the transfer stations on the islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker are not and will not be closed under any circumstance. Garbage collected in the islands need to be shipped to the transfer stations on the mainland and that is where they are being kept temporarily until issues with the contract are sorted out. He indicated that if garbage isn’t being picked up in your area its not the Solid Waste Transfer Stations Management Authority’s fault; the supervisor of your area is in charged of making sure everyone’s garbage is collected and taken to the transfer station.

It’s a Boy - Zaylen Bradley is Ambergris Caye’s New Year Baby 2017
Meet Zaylen Elijah Bradley, he was born on January 5, 2017, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. This makes him the first born of the New Year on the island and recipient of the New Year’s Baby awards and gifts from Ambergris Today and sponsors. Zaylen is born to Yesenia Urbina and Roy Bradley who reside in the DFC area. He was born at 4:07a.m. at 8lbs and 3oz at Hopes Clinic under the monitoring of Dr. Daniel Gonzalez and staff. We gave Zaylen some time to get settled at home before we visited him and when we got there he was fast asleep. His mom and brother were very happy to receive a load of baby items and cash prizes that were gifted to Zaylen for being that special first new born of the New Year.

Belize Sees Highest Overnight Arrivals in 20 Years
The year 2016 culminated with another significant achievement for the tourism industry, boasting the highest overnight arrivals in twenty years. The year 2016 has proven to be the most successful year for Belize’s overnight tourism sector. With an overall increase of 13% in comparison to 2015, this translates to 44,422 additional visitors enjoying the beauty of our Jewel; the largest increase reflected in the past 20 years. As depicted in the graph below, the growth in the industry continues.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Integrity Commission of Belize established
The Office of the Integrity Commission of Belize, hereby announces that in accordance with Section 5 of the First Schedule of the Prevention of Corruption Act, #21 of 2007 that a new Commission has been established under Section 3 of the law. The following persons are hereby appointed to serve for a period of two years, with effect from 1st January, 2017. Mrs. Marilyn Williams - Chairman Ms. Armead Gabourel - Member Mr. Wilmot Simmons - Member Mrs. Lisbeth Delgado - Member Mr. Nestor Vasquez - Member Mrs. Melissa Balderamos Mahler - Member Mrs. Claudet Grinage - Member

SPTC gives $2,000 to San Pedro AIDS Commission
On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council presented a cheque of $2,000 to the San Pedro AIDS Commission. The San Pedro AIDS Commission is always working hard throughout the year in order to raise funds to help spread awareness of HIV/AIDS and also to help persons living with HIV/AIDS. Thank you SP AIDS Commission for all that you do!

Miss Belize Universe arrives in Manila...
The Philippine press is all over her, glad she has police escort!

New River Stop re-opens in Copper Bank
We are pleased to announce that the New River Stop will re-open for business this Sunday, January 15th under new management. We will be open 7 days a week from 7am everyday! We will be offering drinks and snacks as we did in the past, but really looking to grow the business into more than just a stop. Stay tuned for river boat tours and fishing tours run right from the big ferry! Most of you will recognize the new managers. See you soon!

Structure ordered removed at Mosquito Coast Park
Reports have reached our newsroom that a local business owner had ordered the removal of a structure located at the San Pedro Lions Mosquito Coast Park. According to the San Pedro Lions, the club holds full control of the property which was gifted to them via a 99-year-contract.

Beautiful sunset on Caye Caulker last night....

Stop Taking Advantage of Our Children!
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC), mandated to advocate for the protection of all children, is deeply concerned about the most recent hideous act of leaked sex tapes with alleged under-aged girls on Facebook. According to the news, over the weekend videos of young girls engaged in sexual activities were posted on social media and shared hundreds of times. The leaked tapes have not only caused pandemonium but were most alarming since some of the participants appeared to be minors and somewhat inebriated. The release of the sex tapes also violate Articles 19 and 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that, “Children should be protected from being hurt and mistreated in body or mind and to be free from all forms of sexual abuse”. This type of action is a form of cyberbullying that can have adverse psychological effects on the participants, such as depression and suicidal ideation.

Belize Assumes the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council
The Permanent Representative of Belize to the Organization of American States (OAS), H.E. Patrick Andrews today assumed the Chairmanship of the Permanent Council of that hemispheric institution. In his remarks on the occasion, Ambassador Andrews underscored the importance of continuing to build on the four fundamental pillars of the Organization: Integral Development, Multidimensional Security, Human Rights and Democracy to seek tangible results for all the citizens of the Americas. Upon receiving the gavel that represents the Council’s authority from his predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Barbados H.E. Selwin Charles Hart, Ambassador Andrews expressed that during his tenure as Chairman he would work towards the advancement of Sustainable Development for Economic Growth, pressing for tangible results in the areas of the environment, social inclusion and economic development. Ambassador Andrews added that the priority issues that the Council will address in the upcoming months include the preparations for the 47thOAS General Assembly to be held in Mexico in June, the institutional development of the OAS and implementation of the institution’s pending social and political mandates, among other issues.

Copa Centroamericana Football Tournament
Here is the schedule of our National Football Team's encounters in the Copa Centroamericana Football Tournament in Panama.

Letter: Selection of 13th senator in Belize
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) acknowledges the selection of the 13th senator and thereby congratulates the NGO community, as well as all other civil society players, in particular the BNTU, for without their proactive efforts, it is certain the Barrow administration would have continued to shirk its responsibility concerning the matter. Therefore, this is testimony to the strength of people power. We remind one and all, especially those in positions of influence, that this is but one step in the overall course toward ushering in good governance principles and practices. The BPP notes that several more initiatives, remain unfulfilled including: the establishment an elected Senate, ensuring that the mandated re-registration of the voters lists is undertaken, also the commencement of the much-needed re-districting exercise is conducted and demanding that all elected officials, across the board, comply with the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA), in that those who have failed to declare their assets pay the requisite fines, forthwith.

Poets Corner: Poverty
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez. Poverty is a European terminology Indexes they have set for developing countries After doing the academic researches They have exploited strategies Creating yardsticks to enhance their riches Exploiting the resources of smaller countries Who don’t have the technologies To compete with developed countries so they create these indexes Poverty is in the mind Black people, you are sublime This is your time Get off your lorries and stop whine The Mennonites did it in fifty years time The Japanese did it in twenty years time Belizeans can do it in half the time Our men have to stop drinking booze and wine And use though things to turn turbines

CAWS Appetizer Fundraiser
The Cayo Animal Welfare Society is having a pre-Valentine's day fundraiser at the Wine House. They'll have appetizers to try, and you get to vote for the best. Another great idea, mixing fun with a great cause.

Vanessa Awe Makeup Seminar
Vanessa Awe is coming back to her hometown of Cayo on March 5th to do a self application makeup seminar. "This is your opportunity to experience the newly re-designed HANDS-ON classes designed by the expert, to truly teach you how to bring out your most beautiful features by correctly using her techniques and methods, which have been highly raved about by past students."

FCD and Asociacion Balam contracted today a Community Outreach Educator that will work in communities of southern Peten
This effort is supported by the British Embassy in Belize.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Keeping Up with the Joneses, Trolls, Patriots Day, The Disappointment Room

Oral History Workshop
The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project completed its first Oral History Worrkshop on Tuesday, January 10th at the National Heritage Library in Belmopan. The participants are now equiped with basic knowledge on conducting Oral History Interviews. The participants that took part came from the Museum of Belize, NICH (ISCR), Ministry of Tourism, The Library Service and Teachers. Some of the participants will be at the House of Culture on Saturday, January 14th conducting Oral History Interviews with visitors to the our Community Outreach Open House at the House of Culture. If you want to participate in our Oral History Campaign by sharing stories about downtown come on down between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. See you there!!

Boom to Manatee Lookout Race
Here are some photos from the Boom to Manatee Lookout Race! Can you feel the La Ruta Maya fever yet?? Come see the NICH team at the Haulover Bridge to Boom UpStream Race on the 22nd of January! Follow Belize Canoe Association for more race update.

1st full moon of 2017 over San Ignacio, Belize
Here are some shots of the 1st full moon of 2017 over San Ignacio, Belize

Channel 7

Another City Murder, This Time It's a Man Found Chopped Up On The Coast
There has been another murder in Belize City - the sixth for 2017. This time it appears to be an older hispanic male who was chopped to death. His body was found this evening close to mile three on the western Highway, but way off the highway, close to the coast behind the city dump. Police Press Officer Fitzroy Yearwood just told us the little that they know so far:... Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood - Public Relation Officer: "It's really early into an investigation. We do expect foul play. We know that a hispanic male was found not too far from here near the beach side. He had injuries to the head - chop wounds to the left arm. We believe that he has been out here for a while because the body has been swollen a little. The investigators are still here trying to gather evidence from the scene. As soon as we have more information we will share that with you. We know that this person is well-known in the neighborhood, because speaking to the residents of this are, they say that they see him quite often in this area doing fishing."

Integrity Commission Re-Activated, Sworn In
It's been a week of teacher-led reform. Earlier this week, we saw the election of the 13th. Senator, and today, we witnessed the swearing-in of the Integrity Commission. These are both initiatives that the teachers unyieldingly pushed for in their October 2016 strike. And, so, today in Belmopan, this important body, dormant for the past 8 years, was re-activated. It's important because it exists to prevent corruption in public life, and to examine the assets and earnings of politicians - to make sure that they are not unjustly enriching themselves. Today , the 7 members -five appointed by the Prime Minister and two by the Leader of the Opposition were sworn at the National Assembly Building in Belmopan - which is where the office is located.

Integrity Commission, Whose Victory?
And so while this important good governance body is now finally re-activated, should the kudos go to the Government, or the Teachers' Union which pushed so steadfastly for it? Here's how Chairman Williams put it. Courtney Weatherburne, 7News: "The Integrity Commission is one of the teacher's demands during their strike. How do you all separate the pressure that was put from the teachers in moving forward to this process and also the importance of actually creating a committee or a body in terms of this entire process, not separating the 2?" Marilyn Williams, Chairperson: "For this I have to be fair to the Prime Minister because I said to you before when we won the election before this last November, he had in fact tried his best and it was at that point that I was to chair the commission. I wouldn't want anyone to run away with the idea that he never had any intention to do it. yes, I will accept that given what came out of the union and the discussions with the Prime Minister, perhaps what it did was propelled a wider interest because I would want to think that when people at large heard, the reason why commission wasn't formed was because we couldn't find anyone who was willing to commit to being a member, maybe it gave them the impetus as to say 'ok then yeah I will,' but I would not want us to walk away with the impression that the only reason why the Prime Minister did it is because the union demanded it because I would flatly rebuke that."

Referendum Act Going Through Changes, Is It To Appease The Guats?
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be meeting to debate and vote on a change to the Referendum Act. The change would reduce the percentage of voters needed to validate a referendum from 60% to 50%. This change means that national issues that go to referendum, such as taking the Belize and Guatemala border dispute to the CCJ, would require a lower threshold of voter participation to pass. The government has been criticized for the change, with some saying that it is a move to appease Guatemala, which has the same threshold. We spoke to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, who told us the government's reason for the change... Alex Courtenay, 7News: "Minister, tomorrow the house will be meeting to pass the new referendum act that will reduce the threshold needed for a referendum to be able to be passed. Is that something that has come as maybe as a show of faith or good faith towards the Guatemalans that we are lowering our threshold to almost match theirs and other international standards?"

Wilfred Says No Deal On Sarstoon Island
And keeping it on Foreign Affairs, in the last week reports surfaced alleging that Guatemala's Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales states that Belize had agreed to keep hands off the Sarstoon Island until after the territorial dispute goes to the ICJ. We asked Elrington whether there was any truth to the allegation... Reporter: "I think it was last week a document was circulated in which its stated that you along with the Guatemalan minister agreed that there will be a non-occupation of the Sarstoon until the ICJ rules to whom it belongs to. What that the case? Did you agree to that?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "No, I didn't agree to that at all, but I will tell you this: the Sarstoon River has been unoccupied; the Sarstoon island has been unoccupied as far as I know from 1859 up to this point in time. Nobody else tries to go to it. Its abandoned island, small very marshy island. I don't know if you could do anything much on it. So neither the Guatemalans nor the British nor Belizeans have been in fact sought to do anything on it from as far back as I can find historical records for. It's not anything that I would interfere with nor the Guatemalans."

Belize Assumed Chairmanship of OAS Permanent Council
And in other Foreign Affairs news, Belize's Ambassador to the OAS, Patrick Andrews, today assumed the Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS. It's a rotating chairmanship of an influential body which he will hold for three months. Here's a look at the ceremony at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC courtesy the OAS media department:.. Patrick Andrews, Belize Ambassador to the OAS: "It is undeniable an incredible opportunity for each member states that assumes chairmanship to leave his or her mark in elevating the institution's history and in contributing to its betterment and that of the hemisphere and of our countries." Today, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington commented on the importance of Belize taking its turn at the helm of the powerful OAS Permanent Council:.

Social Security Wants To Talk About Increasing Benefits And Contributions
The Social Security Board is embarking on a round of public consultations across the country to talk about increasing benefits - which also means increasing contributions. But don't get too alarmed, this is only very preliminary discussions. The fact is, Belize's Social Security Fund is one of the most stagnant in the region; in three decades, the contribution structure has only changed once - and that was in 2001. The effect of this is that those who make more than $320 dollars per week - which is almost half the working population - don't have adequate coverage. And that means that when they retire, they won't get a pension commensurate with what they had been earning. And that's why Social Security has set up 14 consultations in cities, towns and villages to ask workers - and employers - if they are willing to give more, to get more, especially those earning larger salaries. But, before they got started with the rest of the country, they met the media today, to put the word out that they want to talk, but more than that, they want to listen:...

Tourist Dies At Cave Tubing Site, Cops Say Heart Attack
There is news out of Franks Eddy, Cayo tonight that a female tourist from Mississippi died while on vacation in Belize. Reports to 7News are that she arrived on a cruise ship yesterday, and was at the Cave tubing site. We are told that she was in one of the bathrooms, where she slipped and had a nasty fall. We had received reports that she died due hitting her head on the floor, but police reports are that that her death was due to a heart attack. The police press officer has released very little details on this case, and a BTB official told us that they are waiting on the police report.

Hon. Hulse Gets Hon. Francis To Apologize
Two months ago, we told you about the lawsuit which Senator Godwin Hulse brought against former Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca. Hulse sued Fonseca for defamation of character because he believes that Fonseca injured his personal reputation for some comments made during a press conference from October 2013. That was the time when the Citizen Kim passport scandal was raging. The PUP Leader painted new Minister Godwin Hulse with the very same, very dirty brush he used on Elvin Penner - who had facilitated a fraudulent nationality certificate and a fraudulent passport for Kim. Hulse sued him for it, and today was supposed to have been their first day of trial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. But, instead of getting into legal arguments, the attorneys for both men, informed the court that they have arrived at an out-of-court settlement. Fonseca will apologize for the comments, and it will be published in 3 major newspapers, but he won't have to pay damages to Hulse. He will only have to pay Hulse's court costs of $3,000. So, what changed between November and today? Well, that's what we asked Fonseca's attorney, Kareem Musa, who told us on the last occasion his client's defense against the defamation claim is fair comment, and that Fonseca's words were true. Musa told us today, that Fonseca weighed the litigation risk, and decided that an apology is better route. He described why:

The Senate Select And Citizen Kim
So, while Hulse is cleared of any suggestion that he had a hand in any illicit issuance of passports to suspect figures, yesterday, the Senate Select Committee was interrogating Maria Marin on the most famous illicit passport of them all: Citizen Kim's. There is a portion of the Auditor General's Reports on the Immigration Department that focuses specifically on her audit team's investigation of that scandal. She has published an interview in her reports that her team conducted with a Senior Immigration official, whose comments implicates the Former Acting Director of Immigration. Here's the Senate's intense inquiry into that part of the report, and the opportunities they gave Marin to respond: Hon. Aldo Salazar, Chair., Senate Select Committee: "Moving on to paragraph 7.9 on the report. This is being said about you by Mr. Gordon Wade. This is in relation to the Won Hong Kim issue. At this paragraph, the comment is made that Mr. Penner brought in the application without original documentation for Won Hong Kim. Mr. Wade was being interviewed here and he said that the minister indicated that he would take the Won Hong Kim file to you as director. Did you assist Minister Penner in processing the Won Hong Kim application?"

Did Hon. Hulse Know About Ministers In And Out Of Immigration?
While we had the opportunity, we asked Godwin Hulse in our phone interview about that list of Ministers that Maria Marin has provided to the Senate Committee. As we told you, she started documenting the number of recommendations she was receiving from Ministers as the head of the Immigration Department at that time. The frequency with which these recommendations were coming in from these Ministers, on behalf of their favored applicants, was a red-flag for Marin, and she started collecting that information to pass along to the Minister of Immigration. It is the first time we've heard of such a list, and we attempted to get a copy yesterday, but we were told that it is not for public consumption at this time. Hulse was the Minister, and so we asked him about it today, and here's what he had to say: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "He disclosed to the committee that the reason for doing this was to advise her ministry and her minister of the frequency of these particular ministers of government, because it was a red flag for her. Have you seen the list sir?"

Bad Business At Bocawina
The Mayflower Bocawina National Park is a popular tourist and adventure destination. It is also a popular location for illegal loggers and hunters. Yesterday park rangers came across over 90 pieces of cut lumber, and several other chopped trees. The trees are believed to have been cut by criminals looking to sell the hardwood to nearby sawmills. Jose Perez, Executive Director of the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, spoke to us about the dangers this illegal activity poses to the protected area... Jose Perez, Executive Director, APAMO: "What happened is that the rangers have always had information that there's evidence that there's cutting of trees within the park. There are various hardwood timber trees. It seems as though it's these operators who do not have licenses. It's a well-established business it seems. Fortunately, on Tuesday they encountered the lumber, but the guys got away and they were able to salvage the lumber. The rangers of course with limited resources have been trying their best. But we have to see how we can support the group in enhancing their ability to do more but more timely patrols. I think also we need to see how we can work closer with the police and forest department to ensure that we have more boots on the ground."

Central America Braces For Trump
In just 8 days, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the President of the United States. Trump had a controversial campaign, and has made promises, and issued tweets that have left world leaders very concerned. Minister Elrington told us how the Barrow Administration plans to deal with the new President, and whether Belize will be joining forces with other countries to stand up to him... Reporter: "I read in regional news that Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have agreed to join forces and seek support from Mexico in dealing with what they called this Donald Trump "threat". Have you heard that or is Belize willing to participate to join?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "I think all countries in the region are worried because of the pronouncement that the president-elect has been making and our strength is in numbers. The strength of small countries like ours is in numbers and in unity. None of us are able to deal with the United States on our own, not even Mexico."

Why Was Honorary Consul In Chet Dumped?
And while the government is bracing for Trump, the search for a new Honorary Consul to the State of Quintana Roo has started. Jorge Valencia, who held the position for the last six years was terminated last December. Minister Elrington told us more about Valencia's termination... Reporter: "What is the status of the Mexican consul? I believe he was fired or let go. We previously talked to Miss Gomez on his position. What's the position of his office?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "I think the decision has been taken to appoint a new consul to represent us. I think we have thanked him for his service and we are in the process of having a new person." "Especially in this day and age, Belizeans who need the services of the consuls across the world are very exact and demanding and when they complained, they've got to heed their cry and see how we could enhance the service that we offer to our people abroad. So that explains why from time to time move people and when we change them, there are times when there are negative fallouts; they will get upset and they do things and say things that are not very complimentary to country. But we have to live with. That's part of life."

Worries Deepen For Missing Girls In North
We have reported on countless cases of missing young girls. The mothers or other relatives come to our studio pleading for them to come home and in most cases, they do return safe and sound after visiting with friends. But it's not always that simple, certainly not in the cases of 13 year old's Ideline Adelia Romero or Anaseily Gonzalez. Romero went missing on 10th January, 2017. She had left home to attend classes at La Inmaculada school in Orange Walk. Gonzalez on the other hand, went missing on January 6th in Corozal. She was to take the bus in the afternoon back to her Chunox village home but she never showed up. Her case is very serious because the investigation suggests that her father, who is believed to have a questionable background, kidnapped her and took her to Mexico. An alert has now been issued for her in Mexico as well. Our colleagues at CTV 3 spoke to the founder of the Jasmine Alert Patrick Menzies about these reports. Menzies says the police need to do a better job in handling these cases and that they should have reached out to him for assistance.

NGO Senator Won't Be In Senate For NGO Amendment
The 13th. Senator Legislation will come into force a week from tomorrow, on January 20th. And that may be one day too late to debate legislation to amend their very own NGO Act. That's going to the house for its second reading tomorrow and the Senate will see it at its sitting next week Thursday, the 19th - one day before the NGO Senator is activated. It's what you might call "wah real bunnah", but it appears government isn't about to move the date of the senate meeting to Friday. The new Senator Osmany Salas will take his seat in the Upper House at the next sitting which comes at the end of January or early February.

Selgado Slammed Into Cargo Truck
Attorney Oscar Selgado is very much a man about the courthouse - he can often be seen cutting about the Supreme Court, the Magistrate's Court and the Court of Appeals. But we saw him today on a city sidewalk, after he'd spun off the road in his Toyota Four-Runner after a collision with a cargo truck. It happened at the three-way intersection of Fairweather Street, Neal's Pen Road and Rivero Street. It's a dangerous and unusual intersection and the two drivers who crashed had a different account of who was to blame:.. We only saw stop signs on Rivero Street and Neal's Pen Road indicating that the cargo truck which was on Fairweather Street had the right of way.

Western Pile Up
And there was also an accident this morning on the western highway. It ended up with two vehicles receiving front-end damage, and another being run off the road. It happened in Front of CISCO where the vehicles were heading into the city when they had a pile up. Apparently, the red Honda CR-V which was run off the road was followed by the Navarra, and then the BTL's Mercury Mountaineer. Traffic was held up for a short time, but no one was seriously hurt. The driver for the CR-V was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Shyne Takes A Stand, Ten Of Them
Belize's Music Ambassador, Shyne Barrow, donated ten music stands to the Samuel Haynes Institute today. He handed them over to the driving force behind the institute, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. Barrow told us why the stands were necessary, and how he plans to continue bringing music into the lives of Belizean children... The stands cost a total of $1000, and Minister Elrington, a lifelong musician himself, told us that he was impressed with the quality.

City Killing Revisited
And we end tonight with a follow up on the breaking story we had at the top of the newscast. There's been another apparent murder in the city - and in this case an older hispanic male appears to have been chopped to death. He was found near the sea, behind the city dump off the mile three are on the western Highway. Reports say he had defensive wounds, and a major chop to the head. We'll have more on this, plus his identity in tomorrow's newscast.

Channel 5

Breaking news: Late evening murder; man found chopped up near beach
At this time, Belize City police are processing the scene of a yet another grisly homicide.  Late this evening, a team of officers was summoned to an area off the [...]

The Integrity Commission is sworn in, in Belmopan
Seven Belizeans were formally appointed to a body that has been under increasing scrutiny in the fight against corruption. The Integrity Commission, established under the 2007 Prevention of Corruption Act, [...]

Net Vasquez: I do not advise the Government
Nestor Vasquez’s appointment to the Integrity Commission proved to be one of the most controversial for several reasons. He was nominated in his role as a chartered accountant; but his [...]

Clean slate: Integrity Commission chair says no fines for old violations
You may remember the parliamentarians from the People’s United Party visiting the office of the Integrity Commission on September nineteenth, National Service Day, to submit their declarations, although no members [...]

Godwin Hulse to get apology from Francis Fonseca
Senator Godwin Hulse took former P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca to court on a defamation charge years ago. Today, that matter went on trial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in the [...]

Musa says “criminal” Elvin Penner must be brought to justice
In his interview with the media, Attorney Kareem Musa told reporters that the matter of Immigration scandal is one that is still very much relevant. He said that while his [...]

Why 13th Senator cannot join colleagues next week
President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Osmany Salas, was elected on Tuesday by his peers as the thirteenth member of the Senate. He was expected to be sworn in [...]

P.M. to blame for arbitration judgments, says P.U.P.
Three separate arbitration awards, given to Belize Social Development Limited; Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited and Newco Limited totaling up to one hundred and twenty million Belize dollars including interest, have [...]

Illegal logging uncovered in Mayflower Bocawina National Park
The Mayflower Bocawina National Park, in the Stann Creek District, covers over seven thousand, one hundred acres of verdant jungle, refreshing waterfalls and early Mayan sites.  Located near Silk Grass [...]

F.C.D. still needs your help to save Chiquibul
The Chiquibul Forest Investment Initiative is a fifteen-million dollar Government project in collaboration with a number of high-profile organizations doing environmental work, including Friends for Conservation and Development.  Volunteer with [...]

N.C.F.C. speaks out on sex tapes
The National Committee for Families and Children has reacted to a story we aired on Tuesday on leaked sex videos posted on social media involving participants who appear to be [...]

Belize to lead Organization of American States
Belize’s Permanent Representative to the O.A.S., Patrick Andrews, has assumed the Chairmanship of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States.  The career banker-turned-ambassador received the gavel representing the [...]

Scam artist charged; another victim comes forward
On Wednesday, twenty-two-year-old Jordon Murray was arraigned for another charge of obtaining property by deception; this time in relation to an allegation by Ashton Jones who says that in November [...]

Did car scammer work with others?
Garcia says that she suspects that the alleged conman was not acting on his own, but in collusion with others. Garcia says she reported the matter to the Ladyville police, [...]

An in-depth look at 2016 in crime
Aside from a steady increase in the number of murders in 2016, shooting incidents, which fall within the major crimes category, were recorded in all municipalities.  Belize District led the [...]

Toledo remains safe; Belize District less so
Residents and visitors of Punta Gorda Town and Toledo District can take comfort that the municipality is the safest of all six districts, as far as shootings are concerned.  While [...]

Tarell Sutherland’s fight against skin condition continues
For years, we have been following Tarell Sutherland. He is the young boy who was born with a rare skin condition that is incurable. Despite this prognosis, his family has [...]

How to break bad habits in New Year on Healthy Living
English writer Samuel Johnson once said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken.” – You’ll definitely know this if [...]

PlusTV

GOB says it has no intention of paying U.S. Court ordered awards to Ashcroft companies
GOB says it has no intention of paying U.S. Court ordered awards to Ashcroft companies. In Tuesday’s newscast, we told you that a court hearing in the United States has denied an appeal that the Government of Belize was seeking. The appeal was in reference to a judgment made against the Governmen...

SENATE INQUIRY continues with former director of Immigration
Last week, the Special Select Senate Inquiry resumed at the National Assembly Building in Belmopan, with former Director of Immigration Maria Marin in the hot seat. She was back in that proverbial seat today, answering questions about the department she helped run for about 7 years. While a lot has ...

Julius Espat believes suspension ended with 2016; awaits response
Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat, believes that his suspension from the National Assembly legally came to an end on December 31, 2016. Attorney for Espat has written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in a letter dated January 3, 2017. Espat was unceremoniously dragged out ...

2016 Major Crimes down; murder up from 2015
The Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police met with the media today to give the details of the Annual Crime statistics for 2016in comparison to those of 2015. While major crimes decreased this year, murders jumped by 15.9% with 138 murders for 2016 as compared to 119 in 2015. Commissione...

6 would be robbers arraigned
Six men were arraigned on charges in relation to an attempted robbery. On Monday, we reported that due to Police’s quick response, they were able to foil a robbery attempt at the Northern Fisherman’s Cooperative on North Front Street in Belize City. The six persons: a taxi driver- Gilroy Thompson,...

Attorney for Doriann Pakeman explains why only one charge
Dorian Pakeman, the director of the Government press office currently on suspension, was charged on Tuesday in relation to the traffic accident death of mechanic Dean Dawson. As we told you last night, Pakeman was charged with a sole charge of causing death by careless conduct. There has been no ...

Tourist dies in Belize
A tourist lost her life at a popular tourist destination in Belize. Plus news obtained information that a white female American tourist between the ages of 45 to 50 and weighing between 200 to 250 pounds, had participated in some of the activities at Jaguar Paw in the Cayo District. She thereafter w...

CTV3

13th Senator Not Allowed To Participate In The Next Senate Meeting
The NGO’s Senator-elect Osmany Salas will officially become a Senator on January 20th when the commencement order signed by the Prime Minister in October last year takes effect. The long wait for the 13th Senator, since 2008, has been very controversial as it featured political promises, breaking those same promises, mock elections for a Senator, and court litigation. But even though the Senator is now at the gates just waiting for January 20th to come, there still is a bit of controversy left. On January 19th, which is the day before the NGO Senator officially holds the seat, there will be a Senate meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the NGO Act. Because Salas won’t become a Senator until the 20th, Opposition Senator Valerie Woods is calling for the President of the Senate to delay the meeting until the NGO Senator can be present to make inputs on proposed legislation that will directly affect his constituents.

Ministers Red Flag During Senate Inquiry
Yesterday the former Director of Immigration Maria Marin completed her testimony before the Senate Special Select Committee’s hearing into the Auditor General’s special audit report which reviewed questionable activities at the Department of Immigration and Nationality from 2011 to 2013. Marin had to produce before the Committee a special list which she had compiled during her term as Acting Director. This list kept a record of those Ministers who were constantly recommending visas which was deemed a red flag in her Department. Marin was asked to explain the purpose of the list.

Integrity Commission Sworn In
This morning the members of the newly-composed Integrity Commission were sworn into office. The Commission has been defunct for several years even though the law calls for such body to operate as a check and balance to the Government and in particular the elected leaders. Today the new members including Opposition-appointees Melissa Balderamos-Mahler and Claudet Grinage, and Government-appointees Marilyn Williams, Armead Gabourel, Lisbeth Delgado, Wilmot Simmons and Nestor Vasquez took their oath. Williams, who will serve as the Chairperson, spoke on the key role which the Commission will play. “It is the Commission’s responsibility to look at the financials, now the declarations were submitted to the office and the Secretary was looking at it, that is sort of like an administrative responsibility now it will come to the Integrity commission and now we will do I would like to say, I can’t comment on the depth of the analysis that the Secretary of the Commission did, however I can say that the Integrity commission as a whole will then look at the entire document and so our own analysis...”

Amber Alert Goes Out For Chunox Minor
Tonight both local and Mexican authorities have launched an intensive search for thirteen year old Chunox resident Anaseily Gonzalez who is believed to have been abducted by her biological father, Javier De La Cruz, who is of Mexican nationality and accused of being a child molester. The child was last seen boarding a bus to her home on Friday January 6th and according to reports, she is believed to have been taken to either La Union or to Chetumal Quintana Roo. On Sunday a Jasmine Alert was sent out to the general public in hope of locating the child and tonight we can tell you that an Amber Alert has been launched by Mexico to also assist in returning the child safely to her home. So far the child’s family has been mum about the situation but today we have more information on the missing case as we spoke with National Executive Director of Jasmine Alert, Patrick Menzies. He told us that there are currently four agencies working in partnership with the Jasmine Alert program in order to find Anaseily.


Re: Today's Belize News: January 13, 2017 [Re: Marty] #520854
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New Integrity Commission Sworn In After 8 Years of Inactivity
The Government of Belize reactivated the Integrity Commission and today, seven of its members were sworn-in inside the National Assembly Building in Belmopan. LISBETH DELGADO “I, Lisbeth Delgado having been appointed as a member of the Integrity Commission pursuant to Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act no 21 of 2007 do solemnly and […]

The Job of the Integrity Commission
At the declaration of victory for the Barrow administration back in 2008, members of the Integrity Commission had resigned making way for the new Government to appoint a new set of representatives. Despite the clamor made by some pockets of society to have the commission reactivated, it wasn’t until today, January 12, 2017 that seven […]

PUP’s Kareem Says GoB Will Regret the Mistake of Refusal to Pay Award
The Government of Belize has said it will not pay for “PUP Corruption”. This was in regards to the decision by the US Court of Appeal to reinforce the fifty million US dollar arbitration award to the Belize Social Development Limited and the BCB Holdings. According to PUP Area Representatives and Attorney, Kareem Musa, the […]

Senator for Gov’t Business Says There Are No Foreign Assets
We’ve heard the ruling from the US Court of Appeal surrounding the Arbitration Award to the Belize Social Development Limited and BCB Holdings. We have also heard the Government’s decision to no honor the award and we have heard from the opposition on the matter. Today, we asked Senator for Government Business, Godwin Hulse on […]

Francis Fonseca to Apologize to Godwin Hulse
In 2013, Government Minister Godwin Hulse filed a law suit against the former Leader of the People’s United Party, Francis Fonseca, for defamation. When the Elvin Penner immigration scandal involving the Wong Hong Kim passport broke, Fonseca made comments about Hulse who was the Minister of Immigration and Nationality at the time. Hulse considers those […]

Foreign Minister Says There Is No Agreement over the Sarstoon Island
Last week, we reported on a piece of document that stated that in 2015 when Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Raul Carlos Morales was in Belize for the OAS Peace Program, he and Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, made an agreement in regards to the Sarstoon Island. According to the document, both Foreign Ministers agreed no country […]

PUP’s Senators Want Senate Meeting Delayed
A Senate meeting is scheduled for January 19. However, only 12 Senators will be present leaving out the newly elected 13th Senator, Osmany Salas. Salas will not attend the first Senate Meeting for 2017 unless the President of the Senate, Lee Mark Chang, grants permission to delay the meeting. This request was made by the […]

13th Senator to be Installed Later
Senator-elect, Osmany Salas is the first 13th Senator for Belize following elections held among the non-governmental organizations on January 10, 2017. The next Senate sitting is next Thursday as we noted earlier but it seems that Salas will not be sworn in in time for that sitting. Senator Godwin Hulse explained. GODWIN HULSE ” […]

The Guardian

GOB will not pay for PUP’s Corruption - the Government of Belize has no assets in the U.S. to enforce Ashcroft’s $100 Million dollar judgment states Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow told the Guardian Newspaper on Wednesday January 11th that the government of Belize does not have any assets in the U.S. for the Michael Ashcroft related companies, BCB holdings Limited and Belize Social Development Limited, to lean on to enforce a $100 million dollar judgment which was served on the government on Monday January 9. The judgment comes after the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear government of Belize’s arguments that the Caribbean Court of Justice had deemed the BTL Accommodation Agreement illegal. In March of 2009 the London Court of International Arbitration had awarded BTL over 38 million dollars as a result of claims being made against government as a result of the Accommodation Agreement. That judgment was resisted by government having the former owners of BTL, Ashcroft related companies, take the matter for enforcement at a U.S. court where they were successful. The Government of Belize appealed the decision of the Supreme Court in the U.S. ending on Monday with that court refusing to hear GOB’s arguments.

ONLY eleven votes for the 13 Senator
There are over 140 registered civil society groups and numerous informal community organizations in the country of Belize, yet the individual selected to represent them was only supported by 10 of those groups plus his own in an “election” for the historic thirteenth senator. Osmany Salas, President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, is slated to become the thirteenth Senator when an amendment to the Constitution is put into effect by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. After the Government conceded to the social partners and agreed to the appointment of the thirteenth senator, the NGO community established a steering committee to decide how they will go about selecting a candidate for the post. The steering committee immediately decided that only organizations “in good standing” with requirements under the civil society act would be eligible to participate in the process. This lifted 29 institutions above the rest, immediately disenfranchised 79 percent of registered civil society organizations and all other informal community groups. The groups that were eliminated from the process came to the conclusion that the members of the steering committee were only steering themselves towards the coveted seat in Parliament but there was nothing they could do about it.

Bondholders begin talks to renegotiate Superbond
Greylock Capital Management and Grantham Mayo van Otterloo are the financial agencies that have come together to represent holders of the Superbond in talks with the Government of Belize to renegotiate the bond. Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow told the Guardian Newspaper that negotiations have begun in earnest and the government is at this moment presenting its proposal on a second restructuring to the Superbond. This comes after trustees of Belize’s superbond officially recognized a bondholder committee to hold talks with Belizean representatives. In a report by Reuters, “Trustee Bank of New York Mellon has formally approved the committee to negotiate with Belize, which says that its US$530m bond, issued in 2013, is unsustainable.” The government of Belize maintains that there are a number of factors which are pressing Belize’s economy and making it impossible for it to meet its superbond debt service requirement. Among these factors are a drop in agricultural exports as well as damages suffered as a result of Hurricane Earl in August of last year.

NEMO Minister delivers houses to hurricane victims in Caye Caulker
Minister of National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro handed over two houses to hurricane victims on Caye Caulker in the Belize District. The houses are among the over 300 constructed countrywide by the Government of Belize through the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) as part of its rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl which affected Belize on August 3 and 4, 2016. Aside from the two newly constructed houses, NEMO also assisted a number of residents on the Island with building material for them to be able to repair their own homes. While on the island, Hon Castro also visited Caye Caulker Chairlady Enelda Rosado and members and staff of the Village Council, who were all instrumental in the hurricane relief and rebuilding efforts there.

Japan donates command vehicles to Police, NEMO and Fire Department
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, H.E. Shunsuke Takei, on Wednesday January 11 handed over three command vehicles to the Police and Fire Departments and NEMO. Receiving the vehicles were Sr. Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos and Minister of NEMO and Transport, Hon. Edmund Castro. The vehicles are self contained mobile command centers that can be deployed in case of emergency to serve as communication center points. Speaking to Hon. Castro, he explained that the vehicles are invaluable to his ministry as they will greatly augment the effectiveness of NEMO during times of emergencies. The vehicles have the capacity to be stand-alone operation bases complete with electricity and other amenities necessary when deployed in areas where these are not available. Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Hon. Elodio Aragon, stated that the police department will determine exactly where the vehicle will best serve the intended purpose.

What is the clause that empowers the Accommodation Agreement to take matters to LCIA?
Below is a reproduction of the clause in the Accommodation Agreement that allowed for BTL to take the Government of Belize to the LCIA. In effect the clause renders Belize’s courts invalid and had Said Musa give up our sovereignty to Ashcroft related interests. Accommodation Agreement SECTION 15 GOVERNING LAW; ARBITRATION, WAIVER OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY 15.2 Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Agreement including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, which cannot be resolved amicably between the parties shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Rules which Rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference under this section. There shall be 3 arbitrators.

Hon Edmond Castro visits Transport Ministry Departments in Caye Caulker
On a recent trip to Caye Caulker in the Belize District, Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro took the opportunity to visit offices responsible for public services which fall within his cabinet portfolio. Those include the Fire Department, Post Office and Transport Office. The Minister met with personnel at all three offices, discussing with them challenges confronted on the job and what is needed to improve efficiency and effectiveness in their service to the community. Hon. Castro thanked the public officers for their hard work and dedication, and he assured them that his Ministry and the Government will do everything possible to improve their working conditions and better equip them to deliver quality service to villagers and visitors in the community they serve. Also during his visit to the island, Hon. Castro was also invited as a special guest at the inaugural meeting for the new Caye Caulker Traffic Control Committee.

Chetumal safe though frustration remains high
Chetumal seems like it is back to normal after a brief period of civil unrest last week in that municipality and others across the Republic of Mexico. The protests were a result of the effects of President Pena Nieto’s deregulation of the petroleum industry and accompanying expiration of government subsidies for petroleum to consumers. President Nieto put a stop to some of the country’s fuel subsidies which resulted in an increase of about 13 percent in regular gasoline, 20 percent in premium and 17 percent in diesel. The increase became effective on New Year’s day. President Nieto’s position is that by ending the subsidies it will allow the country to avoid spending cuts on social and infrastructure programs. He argues that the subsidies mostly benefit the rich who own cars. These are arguments that a more popular President may have been able to sell. However, Nieto’s approval rating hovers beneath 30 percent amid a fragile economy, tumbling peso and seeming detachment from the reality of the common man. The mere thought that fuel subsidies mostly benefit the wealthy is another example of his lack of familiarity with life on the ground. This decision directly affects the cost of food and public transportation.

Garbage managers pull out of Belize
The Solid Waste Management Authority (SWAMA) issued a press release on Tuesday January 10 explaining, “that the operator of the solid waste transfer stations (San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Burrell Boom, Belize City, San Pedro and Caye Caulker) and the Mile 24 Regional Sanitary Landfill has ceased operations effective January 9th, 2017.” In its release SWAMA assures the general public that they are making every effort to contain the situation designating temporary dumping areas on the transfer station compounds. It goes on to ask the public to minimize waste. Speaking to one of the principals in the solid waste management company, PASA, we were told that the company had long been clamouring for an increase in the cost per ton to haul the garbage. That was as a result of under estimation as to the volume of garbage which needed to be hauled to the mile 24 sanitary landfill. Apparently there was 30% less garbage that needed to be hauled to the landfill and that caused for the company to be losing money. PASA was being paid 60 dollars per ton to haul the garbage but the volume simply did not allow for the company to be profitable nonetheless it continued operations while it attempted to negotiate a better price of 90 dollars per ton to haul the garbage. Those negotiations never materialized and after suffering losses in the millions of dollars PASA pulled out this week.

Statement by Philip S. W. Goldson, Leader of the Opposition, British Honduras to the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations, at I Headquarters, New York, 15th November, 1967:
MR. CHAIRMAN, distinguished Delegates of the Fourth Committee of General Assembly of the United Nations. I thank you on behalf of the people and country for this opportunity to speak to you on the case of British Honduras. In his remarks to this Committee on 23rd October 1967, in the debate on my petition for a hearing, the distinguished permanent representative of the Republic of Guatemala charged that my petition for a hearing before this Committee was motivated by political and personal considerations aimed at securing a position of advantage in the forthcoming electoral contest in British Honduras (A.C. 4 SR. 1699) I owe it to you and the members of the Committee, Mr. Chairman, to give you categorical assurance that my presence here is not motivated by any party political considerations. The next General Elections in British Honduras are due in 1970. If the distinguished representative of Guatemala knows of plans for an earlier election, then he has information which is not available to me. For some time now I have tried to get a commitment from the British Government and the British Honduras Government that new elections would be held before independence. This commitment has been refused by both Governments on the grounds that the question is totally premature.

New artisanal hub for San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town
In its quest for community development, the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council continues to implement projects that will be of benefit to all. One of those projects is an artisanal hub at the San Ignacio market which is now nearing completion. The artisanal hub consists of two main buildings, each with four rooms that will allow artists the convenience of having their stock to be in place for more than an entire work day. In the past, artists selling at the San Ignacio market had to pack and take their works home in the evening and bring the items back on the following morning. Funding for the new artisanal hub came from the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council as well as from the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project, a program being implemented by the friendly Government of Canada via their Federation of Municipalities. In his visit to the facilities, Mayor Earl Trapp Junior took the opportunity to wish all residents within the Municipality a Happy New Year. He also called on residents to cooperate with the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council with paying their taxes and by being good corporate citizens.

Julius too hasty to go back to the House!
Last month, PUP Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat tried and failed in the Supreme Court to get his August 2016 suspension from the House of Representatives lifted. His party tried to move a motion to get him reinstated through the parliamentary procedures. That failed, but Espat hasn’t given up, and just when he’s about to get what he wants, he might just be getting in his own way, as he usually does. Reports to the media are that he and his party leader, John Briceño, negotiated with UDP’s Michael Finnegan, and New House Speaker, Laura Longsworth, for him to be brought back in. He has reportedly given a written apology, vowing to respect the Speaker going forward, and to accept the authority of the chair. The agreement is that Mesopotamia Area Representative Michael Finnegan will move a motion for him to be brought back in. That motion is expected to be tabled at the Friday, January 13, 2017 House Meeting, but Espat is impatient, and he wants to participate in that meeting.

Less Police Commanders on nightly news
The Minister and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the top brass of the Belize Police Department invited members of the press to Old Belize on Wednesday, January 11, for lunch but not before a “frank and candid” discussion among senior players from both sides. The Commissioner of Police recently handed down orders for officers to revert back to abiding by the department’s media policy. This means that officers should not grant interviews or release information to the media without first going through the Public Relations Officer of the Police. This decision tore open old wounds and the informal press association responded swiftly and vehemently.

Obama’s farewell speech can apply to Belize
As we listened to President Barrack Obama deliver his farewell speech, we grasp that a part of his speech could have very well been meant for us and our own situation in Belize. Many of us only complain about all the things that are going wrong and play the blame game. The next thing we do is to take to the talk shows and social media and complain. Perhaps if we were to approach our problems a bit differently things will start improving for all of us. We have included the portion of the speech that we believe is relevant to us and our situation. Below is the portion we have lifted directly from his speech. “In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth.” And so we have to preserve this truth with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

PUP treason cost us millions!
Once again the People’s United Party and their TREASONOUS ACTIONS is costing the Belizean taxpayers MILLIONS. This latest hit to the pockets of the Belizean taxpayers, is to the tune of 100 Million Belize Dollars. Back when PUP was last in government, whenever they got into any business arrangement with any Ashcroft related company, the then PUP government always allowed them to place a clause in every one of those agreements that ceded jurisdiction in the settling of trade disputes to FOREIGN COURTS and TRIBUNALS. In this country we have our own courts system starting with the Alcalde system and going all the way up to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Before the CCJ, we had the Privy Council. We had no reason to go to Foreign Jurisdictions to settle any disputes because we have our own courts. For any government to allow agreements that take those matters out of the hands of our court system is outright disrespectful.

Security teams meet in Cayo
Three security teams from the Western Region met on Monday night of this week in San Ignacio Town to continue strategizing against crime. Leaders from the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC, Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association CNWA, Police and other partners met for the third time as a coalition at the San Ignacio Police Station to exchange information and chart a new way forward. Chairing the meeting was an officer from the San Ignacio Community Policing Program. Addressed by the community teams were issues related to communications, liquor license and the need for streets in the Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena to have street signs. It has come to the attention of the security groups that the local liquor licensing board continues to grant extensions for night clubs to work late into night hours and up to 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. despite a recommendation by the police not to do so. Incidents that occur at these night clubs have required a response from the police and has been characterized as placing considerable stress on the police officers.

Maria Marin testifies at Senate Select Committee
A Public hearing of the Senate Special Committee got underway in the National Assembly Chamber in Belmopan on Wednesday. Testifying before the Special Committee was Maria Marin the former Director of the Immigration and Nationality Services. Marin told the Committee that she was determined to change the “Culture” at the Department of Immigration. In the normal course she would have a spreadsheet for those applying for Nationality. She reported that when she came on board as the Deputy Director, there were “agents” who would be coming into the Department. “We would have cases where there were requests that were coming for applications to be approved without having the necessary documents,” she said.

Sugar road upgrades in Orange Walk East
The last few days of 2016 saw the rapid deterioration of sugar roads in the two northernmost districts as a result of the increased activity related to the start of the new crop season. The heavy equipment and trucks used for the harvesting and transportation of sugar cane to the factory from the fields has wreaked havoc in the road network used. One such area which has been affected is the road system in the Orange Walk District which falls in the Orange Walk East constituency and which is the responsibility of Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr. Mr. Aragon who has proven to be a no nonsense go-getter has already started remedial works on these roads. Having received some funding from Central Government, Mr. Aragon has wasted no time in ensuring that the much needed relief be delivered post-haste. He is cognizant of the fact that these roads are an integral part of the sugar cane delivery system. Better roads mean faster delivery and less expenses due to damages which result from bad roads.

Year in review 2016
The last few days of 2016 saw the rapid deterioration of sugar roads in the two northernmost districts as a result of the increased activity related to the start of the new crop season. The heavy equipment and trucks used for the harvesting and transportation of sugar cane to the factory from the fields has wreaked havoc in the road network used. One such area which has been affected is the road system in the Orange Walk District which falls in the Orange Walk East constituency and which is the responsibility of Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr. Mr. Aragon who has proven to be a no nonsense go-getter has already started remedial works on these roads. Having received some funding from Central Government, Mr. Aragon has wasted no time in ensuring that the much needed relief be delivered post-haste. He is cognizant of the fact that these roads are an integral part of the sugar cane delivery system. Better roads mean faster delivery and less expenses due to damages which result from bad roads.

Guatemalan man charged in hit and run incident
A Guatemalan national is the driver accused of knocking down and causing the death of Jamalski Young, the Youngman who met his sudden death in a freak traffic accident between Miles 8 and 9 on the PGIA on the night of Sunday January 8. The driver who failed to stop and render aid or report the traffic accident has been identified as 35 year old Eric Salazar, a Guatemalan national who claims Belizean residency since he has been living in the country for over 30 years. Salazar appeared on Tuesday January 10 before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser in Court #2 where he was read 6 charges, including manslaughter by negligence; causing death by careless conduct; drove motor vehicle without due care and attention; failure to stop and render aid, failure to give way to a motorcycle on a major road and failure to report an accident.

Eugene Bailey gets five years for firearm conviction
Eugene Bailey, 39, escaped briefly from police custody after he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition without a license on Friday, January 6. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment for each count by Magistrate Carlon mendoza but the sentences were ordered to run concurrently; therefore, he will only serve five years. However, Bailey decided to make a run for it after allegedly asking officers to use the bathroom at the Queen Street Police Station. Just before 11 p.m. on February 24, 2016, officers were on mobile patrol on Mahogany Street Extension when information was received about a black Saturn Vue with four occupants heading from the direction of Lacroix Boulevard on Mahogany Street Extension. They made checks on Mahogany Street Extension where they saw the black Saturn VUE parked at the corner of Santa Barbara Street. The officers approached the vehicle where Eugene Bailey was seen standing on the right side of the vehicle acting suspiciously. PC Chub decided to conduct a search on him for drugs and illegal firearm and ammunition. This led to the discovery of a chrome M88 .38 SPL Amadeo Rossi brand pistol stuck in the back of his pants waist. The gun was loaded with four live rounds.

Daniel Caine Charged for shooting at Michael Arnold
Daniel Caine and Michael Arnold, both known street figures, are at the Belize Central Prison on remand for separate charges. On Monday, January 9, Arnold appeared in court for threatening words against Tamika Wade and Caine was arraigned for aggravated assault with a firearm upon Arnold. The alleged gun assault is said to have occurred on November 28, 2016. The using threatening words charge is derived from an incident that is said to have taken place on December 29, 2016. First to appear before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer was Arnold who was already out on bail for multiple offenses and had promised the court not to return on any new charges. Therefore, Senior Magistrate Fraser denied him bail and remanded him into custody at the Belize Central Prison.

Manuel Canales charged for pulling pellet gun on neighbor
Manuel Canales and Jaimie Rodriguez are neighbours from Antelope Street Extension who were socializing on New Year’s Day and got into a heated exchange that resulted in charges being filed for aggravated assault with a firearm. In court on Monday, January 9, Rodriguez informed Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that he wants no further court action against Canales. He said they were drinking together at their apartment building then all of a suddenly Canales got out of control and pulled a gun at him. Rodriguez got so frightened that he ran for his life and went to make a police report. Police responded to the scene of the incident and arrested Canales. It turns out that the gun was a 357 BB gun. Rodriguez told the court that he didn’t know the object was fake when he made the report. He asked the court to withdraw the charge and instruct Canales to leave him alone.

Homeless man fined $300 for drug pipe
David Alexander Castillo, 49, who is homeless and sleeps around the Michael Finnegan Market, was dragged before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, January 9, for being in possession of a pipe used for smoking drugs. According to police, on Wednesday, January 4, he was found in possession of a 9-centimeter cylindrical metal pipe used for smoking controlled drugs. In court, Castillo wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offense. He told the court, “I am trying to get rid of the pipe because I know it is bad.” He said, “I have arthritis and that’s why I use it to ease the pain.” According to Castillo, it is either the pipe or Ibuprofen. Since Ibuprofen damages his lungs he had decided to use the pipe. He didn’t say what he smokes in the pipe but did tell the court that he used to smoke weed but it is too expensive and makes him eat a lot. “I have to ease the pain,” said Castillo.

Elden Flowers remanded for Randolph Johnson’s murder
Police believe they have solved one of the murders that started the year at an unacceptable pace. On Thursday, January 6, police escorted Elden Edward Flowers, 19, to the Belize City Magistrates Court to be arraigned for the murder of Randolph Johnson, 19. According to reports, the teenager was fishing with friends near Mile 2 1/2 on the George Price Highway at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, when a gunman made his way to the bushy area and fired several shots at him. He was hit in the chest, right leg and left palm. His friends managed to rush him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment but he did not survive.

Five years for shooting New Asia security guard
Honduran national and Glynn Street resident, Dixon Montero, 21, is serving the first nights of a five year sentence for shooting 31-year-old security guard, Victor Hendy, once to the left side of the neck. The sentence was handed down by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Friday, January 6, after she found him guilty of use of deadly means of harm. Just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Victor Hendy was on duty at New Asia Restaurant, located on Vernon Street, when he responded to a commotion inside. Hendy saw two men, one with a handgun, attempting to rob the Chinese business woman. He went back outside and called police but while doing so the gunman exited and fired a single gunshot at him which caught him in the neck. The men then ran away from the establishment empty handed. Surveillance cameras recorded the ordeal from the time the men entered to them running away in the direction of Mosul Street. Hendy recovered from the gunshot injury.

Dorian Pakeman finally charged following traffic accident
After much uncertainty director of the Government Press Office Dorian Pakeman was finally charged on Tuesday January 10. Police have been preparing a file against Pakeman for the better part of ten months since he knocked down and killed Biscayne resident Dean Dawson on March 30, 2016. The manner has now ended up in court where Pakeman was charged with causing death by careless conduct. Pakeman’s case has been very much on the news after police made announcements of tests being conducted on both his and the victim’s blood which came under great public scrutiny. During the entire ordeal, Pakeman maintained that errors had been made in the testing of his samples and as such the matter sat with the DPP for months before he was charged with a single count.

Lurker charged for attack on teenage girl
21-year-old Shawn Phillips is out on bail after a 19-year-old girl reported to police that he stalked her, threw pint bottles at her and invited himself into her house on New Year’s Eve. The girl claims that earlier in the day she saw him hiding in an abandoned lot across the street from her home. Phillips later entered the house without her permission armed with a glass bottle in hand and started to threaten her. She told him that she will call the police and that was when he left. After exiting the house he launched sprite bottles at the building. The teenager called police and he was later arrested.

Brodies claims delivery man stole $5,000 in goods
East Collect Canal resident Fredrick Sutherland, 20, was fired as a Brodies’ delivery man and later taken to court for allegedly stealing over $5,000 worth of goods that were to be delivered to the North of Belize. Allegations are that on August 10, 2016, Sutherland made off with 20 cases of Nestum Wheat & Honey valued at $3,500, a case of Nestle Cheerio’s valued at $85, two cases of Cerelac wheat valued at $390, two cases of Lactogen valued at $537, a case of Klim valued at $155.35 and several other milk and baby feed products to a total value of $5,157.05.

National Football “A” Team in Panama for UNCAF Copa Centroamericana
The National Football “A” Team of Belize left the country on Wednesday 11th January, 2017, for Panama City, Republic of Panama, where it will compete in the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana Tournament. On January 5, 2017, the coaching staff of the National Football “A” Team selected the final 23 players that will represent Belize in the Copa Centroamericana. The following players were selected to represent Belize: Shane Orio (Goal Keeper), Woodrow West (Goal Keeper), Elroy Smith, Khalil Velasquez, Tyrone Pandy, Ian Gaynair, Trevor Lennen, Evral Trapp, Michael Atkinson, Makonnan Clare, Denmark Casey, Jordy Polanco, Luis Torres, Delone Torres, Devon Makin, Andres Makin J., Nana Mensah, Elroy Kuylen, Gilroy Thurton, Daniel Jimenez, Jarret Davis, Deon McCaulay and Michael Salazar.

Belize Athletics Association to hold General Assembly
The Belize Athletics Association will be holding its Annual General Assembly at Edward P. Yorke High School on Princess Margaret Drive on January 28, 2017 at 10:00 am. The BAA informs that it will be holding an election for the following positions on the executive: Treasurer and Public Relations Officer. All members are reminded that their annual due of $20.00 is due at the AGM and they must bring along a photo identification card. The closing date for all nominations, proposed motions or other items of business is the 14th January, 2017 and is to be submitted to Mrs. Liesje Chung, Secretary, at 1440 Coney Drive, Belize City, or by email to belizeathleticsassociation@gmail.com.

Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition opens
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football competition for school year 2016-2017 opened on Monday January 9, 2017, at the MCC Grounds with two games on the schedule. The schools that are participating in the female competition include Gwen Lizarraga High School, Maud Williams High School, Ladyville Technical High School, Pallotti High School and Wesley College. Meanwhile, in the male division the schools competing are Belize High School, Ladyville Technical High School, Maud Williams High School, Nazarene High School, St. John’s College, Sadie Vernon Technical High School, Anglican Cathedral College, Excelsior High School, and Edward P. Yorke High School, Gwen Lizarraga High School and Wesley College. On Monday 9 January, 2016, in the first game played in the female competition, St. Catherine Academy defeated Ladyville Technical High School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Charlize Hunter.

Belize to compete in the Central American Football Union Copa Centroamericana Tournament
The Central American Football Union (UNCAF) has made its selection for the group stage for the upcoming 2017 Copa Centroamericana Tournament. Belize, being a part of the seven (7) UNCAF Nations, has been placed in Group A, which includes Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Tournament will be held from 13 – 22 January, 2017 and will be hosted by the Republic of Panama. The top four teams will qualify for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, while the fifth-place team will advance to a play-off against the fifth-place team from the 2017 Caribbean Cup for the final Gold Cup berth. All matches will be played at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Popular Cayo DJ claims police brutality
There is a disturbing accusation of police brutality coming out of San Ignacio. Gardel Montejo, also known as DJ Vybz, a popular Disk Jockey (DJ) in Cayo, contacted BBN claiming to be a victim of police brutality by San Ignacio police. Montejo claims that […]

Body of man found on George Price Highway
Reports reaching our newsroom is that the body of a man was found this evening around mile 3 on the George Price Highway. The body is believed to be that of an elderly man. Police suspect foul play in this latest incident. At the […]

Integrity Commission of Belize (finally) established
The Office of the Integrity Commission of Belize has issued a press release informing that that in accordance with Section 5 of the First Schedule of the Prevention of Corruption Act, #21 of 2007 that a new Commission has been established under Section […]

Miss Universe Belize has landed in Philippines
Miss Belize Universe, Rebecca Rath has arrived in Manila, Philippines, where she will be representing Belize at the 65th edition of the international Miss Universe pageant. Belizeans on social media are showing great support for her, sharing pictures and voting on the Miss Universe […]

Tourism shines bright in 2016
Even with Belize’s economy facing incredible odds last year the tourism industry stood more firm than it has in two decades with over one million cruise tourism visitors in 2016. Cruise tourism saw an increase of 4.9% with October boasting the highest or 38% […]

Belize, promised land for Salvadoran nationals
An online Salvadoran magazine, Factum, comprised of Salvadoran journalists wrote an article entitled “Belice, la tierra prometida de los desplazados Salvadoreños”; which means: Belize, the promised land of displaced Salvadoran people. The article refers to Belize as being a safe haven and a refuge […]

GOB says it will not pay for PUP Corruption
Yesterday the Government of Belize issued a press release in response to statements made by the opposition People’s United Party (PUP) regarding arbitration settlements in US courts. “The Office of the Prime Minister is astounded by the statement made by the People’s United Party […]

Japan government donates command vehicles to emergency response teams
The Government of Belize yesterday received three command vehicles donated by the Government of Japan, through their Non-Project Grant for Industrial Products.The three vehicles will be utilized by the Police Department, Belize National Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), as on-site […]

Fair weather to prevail
A moist easterly airflow continues to dominate our weather. The 24-hour forecast is for mostly cloudy skies with some occasional showers and periods of light rain mainly over the south and coastal areas. The wind will blow from the east at 10-20 knots with […]

Butane cost goes up
Along with the cost of fuel haven risen this month, Liquid Petroleum Gas/ Butane has also increased. According to a statement released from the Belize Bureau of Standards yesterday, the increase is effective today, Wednesday. The cost of butane in Belize is now $97 […]

International Sourcesizz

Meet the Miss Universe contestant from Belize that graduated from the University of Houston
She may be from Belize, but some Houstonians are secretly rooting for her in the Miss Universe pageant because of her close ties to the University of Houston. Miss Belize, AKA Rebecca Rath, is a University of Houston graduate that went on to become a success in elite-level beauty pageants after graduating with a Bachelors degree in Hospitality Management. In between her studies, Rath was an avid volleyball player at the University of Houston, but wasn't on the NCAA team at UH, according to team rosters. From the University of Houston, she moved back to Belize to work in her family's quaint hotel and works with the national tourism organizations. Her volleyball skills remain a huge part of her life as she is a volunteer coach at her former high school.

Belizean bliss at Norwegian's Harvest Caye
Harvest Caye, a 78-acre island a mile offshore from southern Belize, might be the best in class in the cruise industry's growing portfolio of privately built destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Completed by Norwegian Cruise Line over the course of 31 months, the island has a combination of standout features. To start with, it has a dock big enough to accommodate a megaship such as the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway, the result of dredging more than a million cubic meters of sea bottom to make a channel. Not having to tender to a private port makes everything safer, faster and more convenient for guests. Also, while it feels like an island experience, Harvest Caye is only a 15-minute boat ride from mainland Belize, where available tours include the Mayan archaeological ruins, a tropical spice farm, a savannah ecotour by boat and a rainforest river tubing and rafting excursion. Prices for these experiences top out at $109.

Insurance Coming For Region’s Fisherfolk
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said the Caribbean Ocean Assets Sustainability FaciliTy (COAST) insurance scheme will “offer an opportunity for countries to buy insurance to help protect their fisheries sector, and hence their food security, from severe weather while promoting resilience to a changing climate and encouraging the conservation of marine environments.” According to Julia Duncan, who serves in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Food Security, COAST will provide 180,000 fisherfolk and associated industries in the Caribbean access to insurance for losses from severe weather. She said Jamaica has already expressed interest in COAST, which is also supported in principle by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ministerial group, and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO), in addition to the CRFM. The COAST initiative is being implemented within the context of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), which provides a useful framework for considering the requirements for country-led, climate-smart food security strategies in the fisheries sector.

Belizean community in Cayman helps save a countryman’s life
A Belizean bus driver with a near-fatal heart condition received a second lease on life thanks to cross-border fundraising efforts that brought him to Health City Cayman Islands just hours before he suffered a massive heart attack. Tyron Coleman, 44, had hit a road block in Belize, where doctors told him they could not treat his severe and life-threatening chest pain. “We were waiting until the doctor took the angiogram to give us an answer if he can do it. He called my wife and told my wife that he can’t work on me and nobody can work on me, that I am so delicate that if they ever go in and touch me, that’s it,” Mr. Coleman told Health City Cayman Islands. The bleak prognosis spurred to action Mr. Coleman’s family and sister-in-law Dorla Williams. After a consultation in Chetumal, Mexico, led to the suggestion of flying Mr. Coleman to Cayman, his family launched a desperate fundraising effort to save his life.

Caribbean Sports In Brief
Here are some of the major stories making headlines in Caribbean sports scene this week:

Videos

  • 4, min. Our school trip to Belize, the summer of 2016!

  • Belize 2016-17, 7min. December 28, 2016 - January 5, 2017 Family vacation to Belize!

  • Ocean Belize/ Coalition Members - Multi Beam Testing Consultations, 32min.

  • Belize Family Life Association - Mobile Clinic Rollout, 35min.

  • Career Planning / UWI, 31min.

  • Roadtrip Mexico, Belize och Guatemala so far, 4.5min. En valdigt proffsig video med klipp fran var resa genom Mexico, Belize och Guatemala.

  • Belizean Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, 3min. YLAI participant Heidi Castillo and her Virginia host share fudge recipes and entrepreneurship tips! In the first of a series of YLAI Impact Stories, hear from Heidi Castillo, Founder of Grandma B's in Belize. Heidi is working with My Chocolate Shoppe while in Charlottesville for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative - YLAI.

  • TALK AH DI TOWN JANUARY 12, 2017, 27min.

  • Belizean Women's Art Collective Radical Video, min. The BWAC had their Radical exhibit launch at the Image Factory Gallery. Daniel Velazquez was there to document the historic event. Many of the collective are from Cayo.

  • Belize Mission Trip 2016 - John Knox, 9min.

  • Caribbean Christmas Cruise 2016, 9min. West Caribbean cruise! Roatan, Belize, and costa maya!

  • Belize Assumes Chair of the Permanent Council - January 12, 2017, 1min.

  • LIDANABAN CULTURE GRUPE PERFORMS @ MISS BELIZE UNIVERSE, 18min.

  • Rainforest of Belize, 3min.

  • Skydive Belize, 8min.

  • Walking Around San Pedro, Belize (1/3) December 2016, 13min.

  • Belize Banana - Community Impact, 6.5min. Agriculture and the Belize banana industry are interdependent on the other, matching both the health of the economy, peoples’ livelihood and the nutritional needs of its people. This video shares the industry impact on the local community

  • The Banana Process - Belize Bananas, 2min. The Banana Process & what sets us apart!

  • Belize Bananas - Belize Growers Association - What we do, 2min. Belize Growers Association - What we do.

  • Belize Bananas - Belize Grower's Association - Introduction, 2.5min.

  • Belize dolphin, 1min.

  • Flashback to Belize, 10min.


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