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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.”
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 Sources
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
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...
"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...
"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...
"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.
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 [...]
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...
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.