Today's Belize News: January 20, 2017
01/20/17 12:46 AM
01/20/17 12:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
SPTC invites traffic expert to share traffic solutions during public consultation
In an effort to discuss primary issues regarding Ambergris Caye’s traffic situation, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) partnered with the Caribbean Local Economic Development (CARILED) to host a traffic consultation on Monday, January 16th. Due to the rapid population growth on the island, traffic congestion has been a major issue among locals, students, and tourists. Previous meetings between various business and tourism stakeholders, the San Pedro Traffic Department, taxi operators, truckers, the Children’s Advisory Board (CAB), the Sustainable Child Friendly San Pedro Steering Committee, the media, and the general public led to the public exchange at the Lions Den.
Jorge Aldana of the SPTC facilitated the presentation and gave a brief overview of the purpose of the meeting. “San Pedro is a fairly young municipality…we notice the pattern of growth of San Pedro increasing at a 17% annual growth rate…San Pedro has become a tourist destination, and we have depended on tourism and other tourism spin-off activities…traffic has become a major challenge and we need to think of our future,” said Aldana.
With the additional feedback from this consultation, SPTC is seeking to contain the problem before it spirals out of control and becomes unfixable. According to the presenters, the four main issues regarding traffic in San Pedro are: influx of vehicles/golf-carts, parking issues, taxi regulations, and not having a public transportation system in place.
Butane gas prices on the rise
As of Wednesday, January 11th, the cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has increased. The new controlled price being introduced was communicated via a press release issued by the Belize Bureau of Standards, explaining that the adjustment is due to the increase in LPG prices.
The official statement further clarifies that currently there is no General Sales Tax (GST) levied on LPG, and that the Government of Belize has no intensions of introducing any such tax measure in the future. It was also indicated that prices for LPG had not been adjusted since September 2015.
The new price in effect per every 100 pound cylinder varies throughout the different cities and towns of the country. The price before the increase had been at $85 dollars per every 100 pounds. In Belize City the price is now $97 dollars. In both Belmopan and San Ignacio, the new price is now $99, while in Benque Viejo del Carmen the new price is $100.
GOB refuses to compensate Ashcroft following recent arbitration awards
The Government of Belize (GOB) and British billionaire Michael Ashcroft remain at odds. In a press release dated January, 11, 2017, GOB is refusing to pay $50 million in three arbitration awards to the Ashcroft Alliance, reasoning that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled against them.
The release stated that GOB won’t pay for those arbitration awards, which were derived from the accommodation agreement given to Belize Social Development Limited (BSDL) and a Settlement Deed given to BCB Holdings Limited by the People’s United Party (PUP) during their administration. BSDL and BCB are Ashcroft companies. “All three awards, which the United Democratic Party (UDP) administration on behalf of the people of Belize has tried to resist, are born of PUP cronyism, corruption and betrayal. Yet the PUP now gloats over the facts that U.S courts have upheld these awards that are the legacy of their unconstitutional and unbridled hustling and self-enrichment,” stated the release.
SP Police strengthening community policing
The San Pedro Police Department (SPPD) has been very active in their weekly meet and greet sessions around the island. The initiative sees officers engaged in efforts to strengthen community policing by visiting residents in different parts of the island. On Wednesday, January 11th, the SPPD took a different approach, assisting the needy and vulnerable with food.
Speaking on the behalf of the Police Department was PC Juan Choc, who explained the importance of touching base with the community. “We have started this new project known as the ‘Outreach Program,’ which comes under community policing,” said Choc. “It focuses in giving to the less fortunate, whether it is food or groceries.” Choc stated that as long as the program exists, they will continue assisting in any way possible.
The officers were accompanied by their Officer in Command, Superintendent Henry Jemmott and other senior officers. They visited many areas on the island distributing food. “We gave out food to many people who may be homeless, and might not have anything to eat,” said Choc.
Letter to Minister Heredia: Caye Caulker Needs Your Help
Dear Mr. Heredia,
I do wish you A HAPPY NEW YEAR personally and as our Area Representative and hope that we all as islanders can find positive solutions to this quickly changing everyday reality. One thing we can be sure of in this year of 2017 is CHANGES.
The reason I am writing you as our representative is that after our last Caye Caulker Village meeting I got so frustrated that I just went home after 1 1/2 hours. With all the good intentions of the new CCVC, each and every project they would like to do would not be possible to do due to the lack of funds. There was no money to fix the truck so the roads can’t be fixed and the debris after the cable company/hurricane in our street can’t be taken away.
We would like to get a garbage truck to collect the household garbage. We would like to do this, we would like to do that but there is no money SO? On the way home I was reflecting on a past CCVC meeting some 20+ years ago where Ms Ilna Allamina’s now deceased husband proposed to start Offshore Banking in Caye Caulker to solve the same problems we have now as we had then.
Ad Campaign Kicks off Against Gender-based Violence in Belize
The Office of the Special Envoy in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be releasing a series of PSAs as part of an ongoing Gender-based Violence initiative, to draw awareness to the violence that has affected and claimed the lives of thousands across our nation and the world.
The various ads will be centered on the theme “Unmasking the Many Faces of Gender- based Violence” and will highlight its many forms including sexual, physical, economic, emotional and psychological abuse where either male or female can be the victim or the perpetrator.
Misc Belizean Sources
Ms. Amanda ready to assist in surgery!
Don't forget that the CC Humane Society has a general clinic each Saturday morning (rain or shine) from 9 - 11 and surgery midweek by appointment.
Belikin La Ruta Maya prize list
Here is the 2017 Prize List so far. We will update as more prizes are confirmed. Anyone wishing to give a prize please contact us via email at email@example.com. 42 days left to the 2017 big event!
TRAINING ON THE APPLICATION OF THE BASEL CONVENTION FOR THE TRANSBOUNDARY MOVEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE, PACKAGING, SAFE HANDLING AND TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS
The Department of the Environment (DOE) is executing the project entitled “Belize Chemicals and Waste Management (BCWM) Project”, wherein one of the goals is the management and disposal of existing stockpiles of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), obsolete pesticides and other chemicals.
This is to enable Belize to fulfil its Obligations under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. To assist in achieving this goal, the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the BCWM Project is organizing a two-day training on chemicals management, with emphasis on the application of the Basel Convention on the Control of transboundary movement of hazardous waste, packaging, safe handling and transportation of hazardous chemicals. We are targeting enforcement officers,importers and end users.
THE BELIZEAN ART SHOP: THE WORK OF KAREN STUART SPENCE!
In this first series of works, we will feature the photography of Karen Stuart Spence of California's Antelope Valley, a very creative Belizean photographer who has been shooting as a hobby and has compiled a beautiful body of work. Karen works expresses the passion she has for the visual arts and has displayed her pieces on Instagram and other social media like Facebook where many of her photography can be seen. Though viewers will not necessarily see any Belizean scenes yet in this introduction to Karen's work and until we feature them in Part 2, her talent here is expressed through her ability to capture the aesthetics in the objects she photographs which is from landscapes to people, food, cities, and concepts she creates that reflects a certain kind of feeling and culture.
Joyjah Estrada in Marie Claire
Waaaaaht!!!! Your girl is in this month's issue of Marie Claire & Allure Magazines
Transport Minister Assesses George Murray (Independence) Bus Terminal
While he was in the southern part of the country yesterday, January 18, 2017, Minister of Transport Hon Edmond Castro visited the bus terminal in the village of Independence (Stann Creek District) to get a first-hand assessment of how the terminal is operating and serving the needs of the bus-operators and commuters in the area.
Hon Castro met with Terminal Manager Mateo Salam; assistants, Clive Westby and Sherna Logan; and other personnel, and discussed ways of improving the terminal. Those include, better communication (Telephone and Internet), bathrooms, entrance and exit gates and booths, as well as culverts to improve drainage in and around the terminal compound.
Castro also spoke with commuters and vendors. He thanked the personnel at the terminal for their dedicated service and encouraged them to continue doing their best to enhance the experience of commuting Belizeans and visitors to our country who utilize the terminal.
GAMING CONTROL BOARD NOTICE
The Gaming Control Board of Belize would like to remind all gaming machine licensees that their licenses will expire on 31st March 2017. Licensees wishing to renew their licenses are asked to submit their application forms to the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce in Belmopan on or before Friday 3rd February 2017. Application forms are available at the Ministry.
LOTTERIES COMMITTEE NOTICE
The Lotteries Committee hereby informs the general public that no person shall promote or conduct any lottery (any scheme for distribution of prizes by lot or chance), unless he obtains a licence in accordance with the Lotteries Control Act Chapter 151 of the Laws of Belize. So this means that schools need to get a license when holding a raffle. Lotteries committee will be pretty busy as schools hold many raffles over the course of a school year. I am wondering if lottery/raffle licence holders are required to submit a report to the Lotteries Committee once the raffle is over.
Any person who intends to promote or conduct any lottery or raffle, shall apply in writing to the Lotteries Committee.
Andy Vivian Palacio (2 December 1960 – 19 January 2008)
Andy was a Belizean Punta musician and government official. He was also a leading activist for the Garifuna people and their culture. Palacio was born and raised in the coastal village of Barranco and worked briefly as a teacher before turning to music. He received the award for "Best New Artist" at the Caribbean Music Awards in 1991, and was posthumously awarded the BBC3 Awards for World Music award in the Americas Category, in 2008. In addition to the traditional Garifuna music that he played, Palacio absorbed the diverse sounds disseminated by radio from neighboring Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, Jamaica and the United States. Palacio pursued his musical ambitions in a series of high school bands, covering a diversity of popular music from abroad. Attracted by the ideals of the Nicaraguan revolution, he joined the literacy campaign in that nation's African-Amerindian Caribbean coast region, and developed a deeper appreciation for his own threatened cultural and linguistic traditions. Those insights made their way into his own creativity, influencing him to delve more deeply into the roots of Garifuna music.
Palacio returned from Nicaragua to discover the emergence of new Garifuna pride in their culture and identity, a development dramatically expressed in the sudden popularity of punta rock, a fusion of traditional Garifuna music with electric guitar and the influences of R&B, jazz and rock and roll. The Original Turtle Shell Band, led by Belizean Garifuna musician and painter Delvin "Pen" Cayetano, burst into national consciousness in the early 1980s just as Belize gained independence. The Turtle Shell Band's invitation to perform with their mentor Isabel Flores (a legendary Garifuna percussionist and singer, now deceased) at the 1983 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival encouraged Andy Palacio to pursue a musical career.
FCD Educator visited Bishop Martin R.C School to present on the Bi-National Watershed
This watershed consists of the Chiquibul-Mopan-Macal and Belize Rivers. We are thankful to Mr. Ismael Waight of Bishop Martin School for their warm reception.
Street Arts Festival
The Belize City House of Culture and the Downtown Rejuvenation Project invites all to the Street Arts Festival on Saturday, February 25th from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Remember to visit our Booth and listen to Harrison "Dawgie" King as he performs some of our favourite Brukdong music live on stage sponsored by our Project.
GOB's Investment Czar: Not Surprised At Puerto Azul
Two days ago we told you how the whole Puerto Azul project blew up in an international scandal as a massive ponzi scheme. Italian police say the developers defrauded tens of millions of dollars form investors by proposing a project which never materialized. That has put Belize in the worse kind of limelight, since a fantastical "8 star" resort near the Blue Hole was the centerpiece of the Puerto Azul scam. The resort was never built, but the developers did engage the Belizean government, and even got the Ministers of Tourism and Investment to appear at their launch party in France. Chair of the Cabinet Investment Committee Godwin Hulse never went to that party and today we asked what was his reaction when news broke that Puerto Azul was all a front to defraud investors:...
Jules Vasquez, 7News:
"Were you surprised?"
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture:
"Absolutely not. I was not surprised at all. Actually, the first time the project came and you know we had several meetings. I had my issues, I could catalogue them for you; one, was to put an airstrip anywhere near the reef. As an engineer I know that would not have work. Two, they were going to raise commercial paper and I had made it clear to them in a meeting. That is fine when you put that on paper, but show me the money. Anybody can come with certification that you can raise a billion dollars or two. But banks don't release money that easily and to tell me that 'oh money is no problem.' Anybody who tells me money is no problem, I get very excited, because money is always a problem to raise. So I was not surprised at all."
Hulse Gets Hot When Asked About Ministers Pressing Influence At Immigration
And while Hulse was cool on that one, he ran hot when the media asked him about the visa irregularities that happened at the Immigration Department. Hulse was Minister of Immigration during the period when former Director Maria Marin says she was compiling a list of Ministers who frequented the office to follow up on the persons they had recommended for visas - and that Hulse was made aware of it. Today, the usually calm Hulse ran a little hot when the scenario was put to him:..
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture:
"Every Chinese pay $2,000 for a visa and I have said then, I'll say now and I'll say forever, the visa is to visit Belize for 30 days. It's a visitors' visa. You have to have a criteria to come, a place to stay and a return ticket. You meet that, I wish the billion Chinese would come, because if you do the billion by the $2,000 per Chinese, we would never have to pay any taxes or work for the rest of life at least and everything would be honkey dory and free. I don't have that problem. I don't also have problem with any minister recommending. We live in a real world and these guys you know they get contribution."
Unidentified Body Found In River, Police Say Drowning
The decomposed body of an unidentified man was hauled out of the river on the Northern Highway this morning. The body was found floating face down near the Manatee Lookout Area. Police conducted a post mortem examination this afternoon between 2:30 and 4:00. The results show that the man died of asphyxia due to drowning.
Still, up to newstime, Police have not confirmed the identity of drowned person and are asking for your help to do so. He is a black man with curly hair, medium build, and is believed to be in his 30's. He had on a white Kubuli shirt and blue checkered boxers. Police say there was no sign of violence on the body. The body was buried at the Lord's Bank cemetery after the post mortem. The police say they tried to find the man's family but were unable to.
Cops Says 28 Year Old Killed 15 Year Old
A man has been charged for killing 15 year old Jaheem Mahler. 28 year old Carl Reneau was arrested and charged with murder today. Police still have not established a clear motive and say there is no connection between Mahler and Reneau. So there are still more questions to be answered.
As we told you last night, Mahler left his grandmother's home on Fabers Road around 7:00 on Tuesday night. Mahler said he was going to buy an ideal from the store but he never made it back to his gran's house.
The information is that Mahler was riding his bicycle on Iguana Street Extension with 2 other boys when a gunman shot him about 8 times. Mahler was hit to his chest, back, hand and feet. A few eyewitnesses told us that Mahler was in a fight with other boys in front of a Raccon Street Chinese Store Street before the shooting, but the family and police told us today that there was no fight.
Police Looking For This Man
As we told you in our first segment a man has been charged for the murder of 15 year old Jaheem Mahler. Well, police need your help to arrest a prime suspect in another case - this one is a non- fatal shooting. Police do not want to say which shooting at this point so as to avoid any retaliatory acts. But if you know who this man is or have any information as to where he might be, kindly contact the police.
From Speaker To Senator
Michael Peyreffite has gone from Speaker of the House to Attorney General, and now to Senator in just a few weeks. The attorney and former UDP candidate for Freetown was sworn in at the start of today's Senate meeting.
PUP Tried To Nix Senate Meeting Before It Started
Peyreffite was known for his bullish ways as House Speaker but now he's in the upper house where decorum and civility prevail, not the boisterous style of House. Still, he's sharp on the uptake ads a debater, and that came in right on time for the UDP today when the PUP's senior Senator tried to end today's meeting before it even started. Eamon Courtenay caught everyone off guard when he proposed a surprise amendment to hold off on today's meeting completely until the NGO Senator is in place. Here's how that went:..
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business:
"Mr. President, I move that at its rising today the senate adjourn to a date to be fixed by the President."
Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator:
"I proposed that the motion moved by the Hon. Leader of Government Business be amended to read that at its rising now this senate do stand adjourn until after the 20th January in order that the 13th senator can attend and take part in the matters on the order paper. It is the motion to amend so that the senate adjourns now."
Former Immig. Director Discusses Missing Visas
But before we go ahead with today's regular senate meeting, we'll finish off the coverage of yesterday's quite revealing day at the senate Inquiry. The Senate committee grilled Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan about tranches of immigration documents which were improperly approved and issued to applicants who did not qualify during her tenure between 2011 and early 2013.
The Senate interrogated Meighan about the instances in which permanent residency was issued for persons who didn't qualify. From the perspective of Auditor General, the Immigration Department should have clearly seen that these people did not qualify because a review of the list of approved visas would have shown that they were not in Belize for more than a few months, or in some instances a few days, and certainly not long enough to qualify under the law.
When Meighan was confronted with the fact that she granted permanent residency for 15 such Asian applicants, her defense was that she was provided with documents showing passports which appeared to prove that these people had been in Belize for the required time. She's alleging that she trusted the vetting officers who brought these applications to her to approve, and that there was allegedly a sophisticated level of fraud and forgery which looked so authentic that it fooled her completely.
Former Director Meighan Points Fingers At Subordinates
So, as you saw, fingers were being pointed at directly identified Immigration Officers yet not much was done in that instance. Meighan directed blame to the officers under her for those 15 Asians who got their visas and permanent residency documents approved within a short period of time. She says that she trusted the vetting process of the immigration officers who passed these applications along, and so she did not know that they should not have qualified because there were forgeries she couldn't detect.
When the Senate asked her about the process she shared how the process works, and how forgeries got past her. Here's that conversation:
Hon. Aldo Salazar, Chairman - Senate Select Committee:
"Miss Meighan, I'm trying to understand what could have happen. There must have been some activity happening with the stamp that you would have reviewed because clearly that person would not have landed on the date evidence by that stamp. Thats the explanation that you are giving that you would base your approval based on the stamp on the photocopy of the passport. But when comparison goes back, the person could not have been here if they never had a visa. Who would accept the visa application?"
Senate Back And Forth Got Heated
The Senate then went further into the lack of oversight over the junior immigration officers which led to the acceptance of incomplete applications. That's a matter which Business Senator Mark Lizarraga locked in on yesterday, and he kept on challenging Meighan that all the reform measures to address that security matters at the Department failed. He was essentially challenging her effectiveness as a head of Department when she was the Director of Immigration. It led to instances of heated back and forth, and here's a few moments from yesterday when they butted heads:
Senate Split On Referendum
But all that back and forth happened yesterday - at the senate inquiry. Today was the regular senate to go over the business of Friday's House meeting. And at that Friday meeting the most robustly debated item was the referendum Amendment bill. It was the same at today's Senate Meeting. Here's the back and forth on that:...
Hon. Valerie Woods, PUP Senator:
"There is an ongoing and pressing issue in the Sarstoon that has not been resolved. So why would we create a further tense atmosphere with our own people by amending a referendum act without addressing some real issues on the ground that we are having with Guatemala when we know that the referendum act cannot be viewed in isolation of those issues with Guatemala."
"One can understand why Belizeans are a bit nervous as to the rush on this referendum act. You see we would be viewed absolutely as removing this one main obstacle which is this threshold. But what is Guatemala doing to remove their obstacles? Why are we not making similar demands?"
Frightening Rates of Obesity In Caribbean
Today the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and PAHO released a worrying report about the population of overweight and obese people in the region. According to the report, about 360 million people in the Caribbean and Latin America are overweight. That's about 58% of the population of both regions. The report also noted that 140 million people, or 23% of the population is obese.
Why is so much of the population so overweight? Well according to PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, the problem is access to healthy and affordable foods, as well as relatively low education levels among the poorer population in the region. In order to combat this epidemic, FAO's Regional Coordinator Eve Crowley urged governments in problem countries to quote, "introduce policies that address all forms of hunger and malnutrition by linking food security, sustainability, agriculture, nutrition and health."
Herbicide Roundup Causes Cancer? What are Alternatives?
Roundup is herbicide used in everything from large scale agriculture operations to back yard gardening. It is used to kill weeds and unwanted grasses that could be problematic for the growth of crops. It is also the most widely used herbicide in Belize, and is much used in the US as well. But should, Roundup users beware?
According to new research, tests done on rats using the active ingredient in the herbicide, glyphosate, caused the rodents to develop liver disease. which over time could cause cancer.
Today we spoke to agrochemical expert and importer of Roundup, Wilmot Simmons, about the potential dangers of the widely used product, and whether users should be worried. While Simmons is biased, he says the alternative - which is paraquat - is worse...
Shrimp Farming Industry In Trouble
But it's not "Roundup" that's causing the problems in the Shrimp farming industry, they've got a virus which has killed off shrimp stocks, and nearly killed off the industry where revenues crashed. Since then all the farms have flushed out and re-stocked with new genetic material. Unofficial reports say it looked encouraging at first, but then there was another major die off of shrimp stocks. It's left the technicians scratching their heads in awful anxiety. Today the Minister of Agriculture discussed the problem:...
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture:
"There is some promising results and there are some disappointing results as well. So I wouldn't use the word "Crash." I can share with you some pictures of some very lovely shrimp being produced by Rainforest people. But they have small ponds that they have specially design to train, the shrimp looks excellent etc. People like Alvin Henderson is also part of that. Mike Dunker is part of that."
Belize's Banana Buyer Bought By Japanese Company, Future Unclear
And while the Aquaculture industry is trying to reboot - the Banana industry is hoping it doesn't have to. That's because the main purchaser of Belize's Bananas, the Irish company Fyffes has been bought over by a Japanese company, the Sumitomo Corporation. The deal is worth tens of billions of Euros, as Fyffes is one of the largest Fruit companies in the world - but where does Belize fit into all that? That's what we asked the Agriculture minister today:…
Ara Macao Come Back Again?
And keeping it in the south, we did ask Hulse about reports that the Ara Macao project was being re-started. If you have a looong news memory, you'll recall that one all the way back to about 10 years ago when the mega project for the Palcencia peninsula first emerged. It generated a great deal of controversy and opposition then. So what's the deal this time? Well even the government's investment Czar wasn't quite sure:..
Reports say the developers have planned a community meeting for Siene Byte village one week from tonight.
Guat Pres' Family And An "Illicit Favour"
In September of last year, we told you about the corruption investigation that was launched against Samuel "Sammy" Morales, brother of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, and Jose Manuel Morales, the President's son. It was a major blow against Morales's credibility. After all, he was swept into office on a wave of public anger over a corruption scandal which led to the arrest and imprisonment of his predecessor, Otto Perez.
Now, Press reports out of Guatemala say that Samuel Morales, who is one of President Morales' close advisors, has been arrested on a charge of money laundering. The president's son turned himself into the authorities.
But, that money laundering charge was short-lived, and it was dismissed very quickly. The Attorney General has reportedly commented that neither of the Morales men made any money from the scheme, which she called an "illicit favor".
BDF and GAF Walk The Borderline
Earlier in the news, you heard the Senators debating the amendment to the Referendum Act. But, while there is so much public controversy over tense Belize/Guatemala relations, at the military level, the Guatemalan Armed Forces and the Belize Defence Force continue to enjoy peaceful and cordial relationship along the area known as the adjacency zone.
That's certainly the type of interaction you can see in these photos released on the Guatemalan Military Twitter page yesterday. Soldiers from both the BDF and the GAF have their national flags raised side by side.
We couldn't reach BDF Commander General Jones for comment today, but last year, he told the press that these joint patrol link-ups happened over 200 times in 2016.
BNTU Has Its Own Plan To Make Up Lost Time
Right after the Christmas Break, we showed you how majority of the teachers and stayed home stayed home for that extra week even though the Ministry and the School Managements countrywide tried to open school to get those 4 additional make up days because of the teachers strike. As we told you, the Ministry had their say, but the teachers had their way.
Well, the BNTU is now contemplating how they will make up the days lost in the teachers strike of October.
10 Days ago, the Belize Branch of the BNTU sent this letter to the Managing Authorities of the schools, which says, "BNTU has consistently indicated that teachers and our membership stand ready to execute, effective make-up time; for the school-contact-time, lost during the strike period...we hereby request of each school; to provide us with FULL details of: how it is that you have made up, are making up, or intend to make up the lost time. Please ensure however, that this process has emerged out of consensus among ALL parties involved: teachers, administration and managements." End Quote. The Union is asking its members to provide copies of any plan which their school comes up with, along with the relevant details. The Union is expecting to see these copies by tomorrow.
Teachers Attorney Urges GOB To Come Around
And while that is ongoing, the teachers are still engaged in court ordered mediation with the Ministry of Education. It's the Supreme Court case over whether the Ministry has the authority to dock teachers salaries for the time missed due to strike. The arbitration sessions hasn't been held yet, but they have until early February to do so. Today the teachers attorney told us how it has been going:..
Courtenay Says GOB Can't Get Away With Dodging Arbitration Awards
And since he had on his attorney's hate, we also asked Courtney about Government's recent, defiant announcement that it won't pay a judgment ordered by a US district court. IT's 50 million US dollars, the result of arbitration awards plus interest which are owed to Ashcroft Alliance companies. Courtney who ahs appeared variously for Ashcroft Allied companies said the government can't run from this one:..
NGO Amendment Passed, Despite Opposition
And finally from today's Senate meeting, we have a few clips from the debate on the NGO Amendment Bill. As you heard earlier, the government says the 13th senator can't be formally activated until this bill passes through the house and the Senate. The opposition and the NGO community see that as wrong-headed and insulting. Here's how the debate went:..
The bill was passed and the commencement order for the 13th Senator comes into force tomorrow.
Berne Is Back!
And finally tonight...Belizean artist Berne Velasquez has been featured many times in our newscast for his music and his star roles in movies and documentaries. Well, Velasquez has made a documentary of his own, starring..who else ? Himself ! The 45 minute documentary captures his musical career, locally and internationally. But it's more than just a video autobiography. Velasuez told us today that he hopes his story inspires hope and perseverance.
The documentary has not been released, so the images you saw are of the trailer. Velasquez will officially launch the documentary in February. Our records tell us, it's not the first one he's made about his own life. You can follow him on facebook, Instagram or Twitter under the name Berne Velasquez.
Opposition Tries to Stop Senate Sitting for 13th Senator
The Senate held its first meeting for 2017 – but it almost didn’t proceed after a major monkey wrench was thrown into this morning’s meeting in Belmopan. Both the Referendum [...]
After Debate, Courtenay Told He Is Out of Order
There followed a rough-and-tumble debate about the necessity for the amendment, especially when it was pointed out by several Government Senators, most notably Stephen Duncan, that not having the N.G.O.’s [...]
Courtenay Says Government Has “a Problem” with Senate Commitment
The Senate withdrew into a closed session at the request of lead Government Senator Godwin Hulse, and returned approximately fifteen minutes later insisting that the motion was out of order. [...]
Godwin Adamant: “Don’t Care” About Ministers Recommending Visas for Unknowns
The Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, headed by Senator Godwin Hulse, and in particular the Immigration Department, has been on the permanent hot seat for several months now. This is [...]
The Arbitration Bubble Will Burst, Courtenay Warns
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Government’s appeals against arbitration awards upheld in lower courts in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited and Belize Social [...]
G.O.B. on to Puerto Azul – They Failed the 5-Point Test
Finally today, government spoke of the international hoax that is the multimillion dollar Puerto Azul tourism development project. It was endorsed by the G.O.B., particularly by the Minister of Tourism [...]
Hulse Says Government Hasn’t Decided on Reaction
Should government apologize internationally for openly backing a fraudulent endeavor which promoted the Blue Hole and other aspects of the World Heritage Site as the principal attraction for tourists? According [...]
Will Government Succeed with Superbond? Business Community Not Sure
The Superbond has been on everyone’s minds this week. The Government has been told by bondholders that without a medium-term plan to address credit risk in light of the third [...]
The Debate Over Referendum Act Continues
If debate of the amendment to the Referendum Act at Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives was raw and passionate, the usually genteel Senate was only slightly less so. [...]
Teachers Hoping Government Will Be Reasonable in Mediation
In December 2016, the Belize National Teachers’ Union and Ministry of Education were ordered to mediation by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to resolve a dispute over attempts by Government to [...]
How Broken is the N.G.O. Act?
When the N.G.O. Act amendment came up for debate later in the meeting, the Opposition renewed its attack on the amendment as, as put by lead Senator Eamon Courtenay, is [...]
Another Loan May Be Too Much for Belize, Warns Lizarraga
The Government of Belize has contracted with the Republic of China (Taiwan) for fifty million Belize dollars in general budgetary support. While the money is being borrowed from a Taiwanese [...]
Carl Reneau Charged in Murder of Jaheem Mahler
Police believe they have cracked the murder of fifteen-year-old Jaheem Mahler. Tonight, twenty-eight-year-old Carl Reneau is in custody after being charged earlier today with the Tuesday night murder of the [...]
Remembering 15 Year Old Murder Victim Jaheem Mahler
The family of Jaheem Mahler, the fifteen-year-old student gunned down in Belize City, is preparing to put him to rest. But even as preparations take place, there are more questions [...]
Another Body Found, This Time on Northern Highway
Early this morning, Ladyville police detectives were called out to an area near mile eight on the Phillip Goldson Highway where a body had been spotted floating in the Belize [...]
Andy Palacio, 9 Years Later, Through Families
Today marks nine years since musical icon Andy Palacio passed away. Known across the world, Palacio put Belize on the map and left a rich legacy of the Garifuna culture [...]
Senate Select Committee grills former Immigration Director
Ruth Meighan was the Chief Elections Officer before being appointed to the post of Director of Immigration. She served as Immigration Director from October 2010 to February 2013. After the Elvin Penner immigration scandal came to light, Meighan attempted to travel to the US but was denied entry. It was later revealed that her visa […]
Teenager gunned down in Belize City
A 15-year-old boy became the latest murder victim after he was shot multiple times last night on Iguana Street Extension in Belize City. Police Press Officer, Raphael Martinez spoke of the latest murder. Raphael Martinez Police Press Officer “Police visited the KHMH where they saw 15-year-old Jamal Mahler, a student of Faber’s road address in […]
Belize City man charged for New Year’s Day murder
Twenty-nine year old Daniel Cain, a resident of Pinks Alley, has been charged with the murder of 22 year old Colin Sutherland who was shot and killed around 7 p.m. on New Year’s Day. The charge was read to Cain when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Cain was remanded into […]
Belize Progressive Party highlights need for change in governance
Representatives of the Belize Progressive Party appeared on Love FM’s morning show today. Patrick Rogers of the BPP said changes need to be made, even though it might appear to be difficult. Patrick Rogers – BPP “With UNCAC signed, with the CICIB, that needs to be established in Belize and it’s really time for that […]
Police maintain frequent patrols on La Isla Bonita to deter drug traffickers
This past weekend we reported on the discovery of fifteen parcels of cocaine on the north coast of San Pedro. Today, Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood said the discovery came as a result of intelligence work. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood – Police Press Officer “It was a part of police intelligence work. I also want […]
Victim of fatal road traffic accident remains unidentified
Police are seeking the public’s assistance in positively identify the victim of a fatal road traffic accident that occurred last night on the Philip Goldson Highway. Police Officer Raphael Martinez shared the details of the incident. Raphael Martinez – Police Press Officer “At 6:30 pm yesterday, police visited the scene at mile 69 on the […]
Belize City Mayor keeps an eye on impasse over garbage disposal
Last week, PASA Belize Limited, a Mexican Waste Management Company, decided to withdraw from its contract to transport garbage from across the country to the six transfer stations. The transfer stations have ceased operations since January 9 and the matter is being urgently addressed by Government officials. No reason was given for the crippling decision […]
Attorney says criminal laws need to be revised
At Monday’s ceremonial opening of the legal year, new Attorney General Michael Peyrifitte said he was looking forward to work with the bar and bench to improve the judiciary. One of the initiatives has to do with the revision of the criminal laws. Attorney Anthony Sylvester Junior shared with the media why that is important. […]
Methodist Church holds annual conference in Punta Gorda
Paul Mahung reporting … “The Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas and Belize Honduras District is being held this week in Punta Gorda. Among a host of ministerial officials at the conference hosted at the Punta Gorda Methodist Church Love News caught up with Bishop of Belize Honduras District, […]
Re: Today's Belize News: January 20, 2017
01/20/17 12:46 AM
01/20/17 12:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
15 year old boy killed over misunderstanding
Raheem Mahler, a 15 year-old Belize City minor, was murdered in what appears, at this time, to be a simple street fight which escalated to gun violence.
According to police, sometime around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, they received word that there was a shooting on Iguana Street Extension. They responded and learnt that Mahler, who was injured in that shooting, had been rushed to the KHMH for emergency medical treatment. Unfortunately, the doctors couldn’t do anything for him because the injuries claimed his life on the way there.
What the police have been able to piece together is that Mahler, who is a student living on Fabers Road, was walking with 2 friends on Iguana Street when they were approached by a gunman who fired a hail of bullets at him. He was injured by 8 of them to the chest, the face, the back and the feet, and those injuries claimed his life.
Attorney General calls for less complaints and more partners
“The sky is always falling. What is worse about the addresses made at the Opening of the Supreme Court is that the problems facing the justice system of the country are always the other party’s fault. The Bench points out the problems caused by the Bar; the Bar points out the challenges caused by the Bench; the Bench and Bar express frustrations with Government and the Attorney General ends up scolding them both. Even at the opportune time for reflection on the state of the justice system, the individuals tasked with developing the system are too lawyerish to evaluate their own performance.”
This was the opening paragraph to our article on the Opening of the Supreme Court last year and it seems as if the guardians of our justice system have heard our concern. The Supreme Court opened on Monday, January 16, this year. The opening is traditionally set for the second Monday of the New Year but since January 2 was declared a holiday in lieu of New Years Day the Court’s opening was set for the third Monday this year. This year’s ceremony began with an ecumenical service at the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral on Regent Street. Immediately following the service, the Police Departments band led a procession which included the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, Magistrates, members of the Bar Association of Belize and officers of the Court.
Bondholders reject first offer to restructure Superbond
Negotiations to re-tool the Superbond are now well underway. Last week Friday, January 13th, the government offered to pay a consent fee of .25% of the face value of the bond to bond holders. That came along with a proposal to reduce interest rates to a fixed 4% per annum payments which at this point in time stands at 5% and increases to 6.75% in August of this year. There was no suggestion to reduce principal or to extend the maturity date.
As had been expected by government officials, on Tuesday January 17th, the bondholders reacted to the proposal rejecting it. In a release from them they stated that “If approved, the proposed amendments to the terms and conditions of the Bonds contemplated by the Consent Solicitation would crystalize a further reduction in the net present value of the Bonds in excess of 40%, in addition to a cumulative reduction of more than 50% already provided by bondholders in restructurings of predecessor instruments to the Bonds in 2007 and 2013. The members of the Committee view the Consent Solicitation as premature.” The release continues asking that all bondholders decline to give their consent.
UDP swears in woman Speaker of the House
rime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow had announced in mid-December that the new Speaker of the House of Representatives would be Laura Longsworth and true to the announcement she took up the position at the House Meeting held on Friday January 13th.
At the start of the meeting Prime Minister Barrow proposed that Mrs. Laura Tucker Longsworth be the new Speaker, that motion was seconded by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber. With there being no other nomination to the position, Mrs. Longsworth was escorted into the house chambers to take up the position. Shortly thereafter she was administered the oath of office after which she read from a prepared statement.
Home Affairs Ministry analyzing crime stats for long term strategy
The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Belize Police Department are finalizing the details of a long term plan to combat gangs and violent crimes in Belize City and other hotspots. That plan is expected to be released by the first week of February as the Ministry is still analyzing the crime statistics from last calendar year.
Major crimes are down nationally by 3.5 percent, according to the Reported Crimes Comparative Statistics of the Belize Police Department. Major crimes are murders, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and carnal knowledge. In 2016 there were 2,137 major crimes, 79 less than the 2,216 such offenses reported in 2015.
In 2015 there were 233 violent crimes committed against people. Those include 119 murders, 40 cases of rape and 74 reports of unlawful sexual intercourse. In 2016 there were 248 violent crimes upon people reported. Those crimes were 138 murders, 23 rape cases and 87 reports of unlawful sexual intercourse. There were 1,983 crimes committed to obtain property in 2015. Those are 214 cases of robbery, 742 cases of burglary and 1,027 theft. In 2016 there were 1,889 crimes committed to obtain property. Those include 232 robberies, 800 burglaries and 857 reports of theft.
Agassi Finnegan on Being Called to the Bar
Seven years, 4 months ago I embarked on a journey in which I knew nothing about or what to expect. I left the comfort and security of my home, my parents, family and friends and travelled to a new country in order to pursue what would become one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. Having left at the tender and formative age of eighteen, the first time being on my own, I honestly did not know what was to come. Lucky enough for me, I was at all times reassured that in spirit and thought, my family and friends were always with me along for the ride and that a phone call was all that was needed to have them right beside me.
Upon the commencement of my study, I quickly realized that the saying ‘no man is an island’ was one of the biggest lessons I would leave the Caribbean with.
Is Briceño playing the fool?
On Tuesday night's newscast on Channel 7 which was airing a repeat of what he had told CTV-3, Johnny Briceno had the audacity to call the super bond a 'UDP super bond.' Anyone with any sense who was looking on must have been left slacked jawed at Briceno's assertion. It seems he has completely forgotten that it was the PUP who came up with the super bond with that massive conglomeration of PUP debts which came into being in February of 2007.
While that was bad enough, even worse were his statements on Friday, January 13th, following the House Meeting. When questioned on how he would deal with what was taking place with the judgments as a result of the Accommodation Agreement and NEWCO he simply could not answer. He would turn on to the lame excuse that he was not informed.
Imagine the leader of the opposition not informed as to what is taking place! His simple excuse was: "I don't have all the information. My immediate emotional response was to be like 'well then we don't want to pay'. But until I can see all the information and get the best legal advice to advise him, I can't answer."
Francis Fonseca must apologize to Hon. Godwin Hulse
Failed PUP Leader Francis Fonseca must apologize to Senator Godwin Hulse for wrongfully accusing him of participating in the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. Fonseca was most likely attempting to get political mileage out of former UDP Area Rep Elvin Penner, trying to paint the entire UDP Administration black.
Back in October 2013, when he was still the Opposition Leader, he and other senior members of his party held a press conference to try to swing public support. It was not very effective, but they certainly made a strong effort, following the revelation that Penner, who was an elected UDP politician, and the junior Minister of Immigration, facilitated the creation of a fraudulent passport and nationality for South Korean fugitive Won-Hong Kim.
In that press conference, Fonseca and the PUP tried to spread the taint of that embarrassing episode to as many UDP Ministers as he could. In so doing, he libeled Godwin Hulse when he suggested that Hulse was somehow involved. That was the furthest thing from the truth, but ignoring the fact that he had no proof, Fonseca publicly made those comments, and Hulse sued him for it.
Governor General donates music equipment
On Monday January 16th, the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young presented a consignment of musical instruments to the Salvation Army Primary School in Belize City.
These instrument were purchased through a donation from the Ambassador of Taiwan, His Excellency Mr. Charles Liu, which was matched with proceeds from the Governor-General’s Music in the Schools Programme Central Committee Christmas Concert.
When making the donation His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, pledged to continue to encourage and support musical programs in schools throughout Belize, and to renew his commitment to assist in developing and promoting the love of music and the practice of the arts.
Belize re-activates Integrity Commission
After 8 years of dormancy, Belize once again has a fully functioning Integrity Commission, which has the unequivocal support of the Barrow Government to act as a check and balance of elected politicians. The Integrity Commission will be able to examine the assets and earnings of those politicians to ensure that they are not unjustly enriching themselves on the backs of the general public. The Office announced 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. Seven members of the commission were sworn in on Thursday morning of last week at their headquarters, the National Assembly Building in Belmopan. Marilyn Williams will serve as the Chairman. She brings the experience of a lawyer who has also served as the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. Having led investigations into financial crimes, Williams is definitely able to lead the Integrity Commission to fulfill its role under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Nestor Vasquez, a chartered accountant, also has a pivotal role in keeping the Commission active. The absence of a chartered accountant willing to serve was a major setback for the Prime Minister, which caused the commission to not have been appointed 1 year, maybe 2 earlier.
New Speaker, same old PUP, same dumb questions
On Friday January 13, 2017 we were once again treated to another PUP song and dance routine at the National Assembly. With it being a NEW YEAR, a NEW SPEAKER in the person of the well respected Hon. Laura Tucker - Longsworth in charge and both sides of the House, having promised through their leaders that there would be a new departure, committing to proper decorum and that their interventions would be noteworthy of the high offices they hold, one would have expected that after the meeting we would have been able to congratulate the members. To no surprise of ours that glimmer of hope soon vanished. The PUP was once again at it, opposing just for the purpose of opposing. Perhaps this is so because they have been losing for such a long time, that they know nothing else but being on the losing side of an argument.
It started as soon as the debate started on the motion by Hon. Michael Finnegan on whether or not to allow Julius Espat back to the House. Everything from Julius’ FARSE of an apology letter to the intervention of the members on the opposition side of the house was an embarrassment. Said Musa the most senior PUP Member and former two term Prime Minister was so off base.
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 47th OAS General Assembly to be held in Mexico in June.
Referendum Act amended for simple majority to rule
The House of Representatives has approved an amendment to the Referendum Act which removes the mandate for sixty percent of the electorate to turn out for the process to be deemed valid. The new law requires only a simple majority from participating voters to decide the outcome of a referendum. The law passed with 16 votes on Friday, January 13. Nine of the Opposition members voted against the amendment, five parliamentarians were absent and one was on suspension.
The Opposition voted against the bill because they see it as an appeasement to the Guatemalans, a country that has only been hostile towards us, said Rt. Hon. Said Musa. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington responded, “Every advanced democracy in the world, when dealing with referendum, use the simple majority; and that is the norm when we have General Elections.” In order to fully appreciate the need for the amendment, it is important to review how we got to where we are.
Former Immigration Director testifies before Senate
Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan appeared in the Assembly Chambers on Wednesday of this week offering unique insight into the inner workings of her Department during her tenure from October 2010 to February 2013. Meighan’s testimony formed part of the Senate Special Select Committee members’ attempt to find answers in reference to the Auditor General’s 2011 to 2013 report.
Ruth Meighan informed this morning that she would have monthly meetings with her superiors and at least quarterly meetings with her Deputy. The former Immigration Director said that Visas had to get clearance from her, but her involvement with passports were very limited; except during health emergencies. The applications for passports were entirely done by the Passport Section and at the time of her tenure there were passport offices in all Districts.
Tropic Air starts direct flight to Chetumal
The Belizean airline company, Tropic Air, has launched a new flight between the Phillip Goldson International Airport, and Chetumal, Mexico. Tropic Air has added a new way to travel to the Mexican City that Belizeans most love to visit.
That flight left at around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 16, from the Phillip Goldson International Airport in Belize, and it landed some 36 minutes later at the Chetumal International Airport. That Tropic Air plane was the first international flight to ever land at the Chetumal Airport, so it makes history for that Mexican City as well.
Tropic Air has priced the flight at $69 US, without tax, one way, and its duration is shorter than heading from Belize City to Punta Gorda Town. President John Greif III told the press that Tropic Air tried its very best to balance revenue vs cost to the consumer, so as to not drive away customers. Grief also compared it to the flight to Cancun, Mexico, and he detailed how they are able to charge more reasonable rates, since it is well-within the comfortable flight range for their Cessna caravan aircrafts.
Another grenade taken off the streets
On January 3rd, the Gang Suppression Unit removed an American Type M26-A1 hand grenade from the Old Fabers Road Area in Belize City. The grenade was taken by BDF personnel for it to be destroyed. Eleven days later BDF commander David Jones was called by police to an empty lot on the Lake Independence Boulevard where police had discovered yet another grenade of similar type as the one found earlier.
The second grenade was found in a container and was likely left in the area for police to find. The grenades are not the type used by Belize’s military and speculation is that they are being imported into the country via our porous borders. As with the first grenade, the second one found was taken into BDF’s custody for later destruction.
Fatal traffic accident on the Hummingbird Highway
A Salvadoran man died on the Hummingbird Highway as a result of a traffic accident. 52 year old Oscar Santillana was knocked down from his bicycle at the outskirts of Belmopan City on Saturday night of last week. He was discovered lying on the side of the highway with massive injuries to the head and body and was taken immediately to the Western Regional Hospital.
Michael John Rau who was driving a black Honda has since been served with a notice of intended prosecution.
Mother and son charged taken to court
Aaron Brown and his mother were taken to court on Thursday, January 12, because he failed to show up to court for a charge of drug possession. Brown was busted with 2.1 grams of weed back in July of 2016 and his mother, Ivy Arthurs, signed for bail as his surety. When he failed to show up for trial, police went looking for him and his surety. Police found them on Thursday afternoon and took both of them to court where they appeared before Magistrate Norman Rodriguez. Brown was unrepresented and asked why he did not show up to court as ordered back in July. He could not give a reason. The charge of possession of a controlled drug was read to him and he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Police recover almost 60 pounds of cocaine in San Pedro
Police in San Pedro came up on a large find of cocaine. At around 7:45a.m. on Saturday January 14, police responded to information received of a sack on the beach in an area 4 miles south of San Pedro Town believed to be drugs. Police visited the area and recovered the sack which contained 25 parcels of suspected cocaine each weighing between 2.29 lbs and 2.35 lbs. All parcels weighed came up to a total of 57.52 lbs.
Since no one was found in the area, police retrieved the drugs labeled it as found property. Similar types of finds are usually found in the northern side of San Pedro and form part as what are known as ‘wet drops’ where drug smugglers either intentionally or inadvertently drop off drug cargos into the sea and it washes up on shore on the Island.
Fisherman chopped to death
Police continue to investigate the killing of 62-year-old Salvadoran national, Salvador Rivera Marquez of the Set Site of Belize City. Marquez’s body was found on the beach near mile 3 on the George Price Highway.
Marquez was found with chop wounds to the head and left hand. He had left home at around 7:30am on Thursday January 12 to go fishing at a beach near to the Tapir Nightclub at mile 3 on the George Price Highway. He would not return from that trip and his family members became concerned and went looking for him. His son found his body in a swampy area near to the beach, he had been savagely attacked and chopped to death.
Another Hi-Lux stolen from Ministry of Health
A Hilux pickup truck has been reported stolen from the Ministry of Health. A four door Hilux pick-up with license plate initials and number BZ B-2009 had been parked early last Friday morning at the San Ignacio Community Hospital compound when it was spirited away.
Authorities in Melchor have been contacted to be on the alert for the high end 2014 silver in color Hilux, which has a reported value of $62,500.00 Over the years a number of vehicles have been stolen from the San Ignacio area and steered across the Belize-Guatemala border.
Dwayne Hulse charged for over 500 grams of weed
Dwayne Hulse, 28, mechanic of 2 ½ Miles Phillip Goldson Highway, is out on bail with stringent conditions after he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith for charges of drug trafficking and possession of a controlled drug.
Sometime around 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11, police visited a building at mile 2 ½ on the Phillip Goldson Highway where they saw Hulse throwing a bag through a window of the structure and another under a bed in one of the rooms. Hulse was informed by the officers that they saw him trying to get rid of the bags and he was taken to the locations where both bags were retrieved. They were opened in his presence and found to be green leafy like product which proved to be cannabis. The bag seen thrown through the window weighed 539 grams while the other bag seen thrown under the bed weighed 49 grams. Hulse was detained.
Sydney Neal charged for drug trafficking
Sydney Neal, 41, a stevedore of a Faber’s Road address, is out on bail after he was arraigned on Friday, January 13, on a single charge of drug trafficking.
Allegations being made by police against Neal is that on Thursday, January 12, they busted him in possession of 92 grams of weed. In court, Neal appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Norman Rodriguez and pleaded not guilty to the charge. There was no objection to bail by the court prosecutor, Cpl. Kennard Clark, hence Magistrate Rodriguez granted bail in the sum of $2,000 plus one surety of the same amount which he was able to meet.
Neal is facing a possible prison sentence of three years and a mandatory fine of $10,000 if found guilty of drug trafficking. He is due back in court on April 13, 2017.
Leon Price guilty of burglary of Amandala editor’s Los Lagos home
In August of 2016 Amandala’s Russell Vellos’ home was burglarized and the man police arrested and charged for the offense is their former employee, Leon Chad Price, 32. On Friday, January 13, Magistrate Norman Rodriguez found Price guilty of burglary and he is now awaiting sentencing.
In the trial, Price denied being the one who burglarized his former boss’s house. However, the maid, Juanita Lopez, testified that when she arrived at work on August 13, 2016, she found the place open and she shouted “morning” twice but got no answer. She decided to enter the house and that was when Price exited from Vellos’ bedroom and said, “Oh dah you.” She told the court that Price just went back into the room like nothing was happening and about two minutes later he exited the room and asked her for a cup of water.
Albert Thomas accused of Regent Street burglary
Fisherman of the Conch Shell Bay area, Albert Thomas, 23, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was unable to meet a $2,000 bail for the charge of burglary. Thomas was arraigned on Friday, January 13, on charges of burglary and handling stolen goods for the property of Geneive Coleman.
According to police reports, on Thursday, January 12, Thomas forced himself into the home of Geneive Coleman at #39 Regent Street. From there he took a grey tennis shoe valued at $200, a slipper valued $13, some clothing estimated at $80 and other items. The total estimated value of the loot is $322. In court Thomas appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. He pleaded not guilty to one count of burglary and one count of handling stolen goods. He told the court, “Dah my brother but I meh done give back the slippers.” At this point, the Magistrate told him not to say any other word but James continued, “Done give back the tennis shoe.” Once again he was told to be quiet.
Traffic accident claims life
Police in Corozal are investigating a traffic accident that claimed the life of a man who is yet to be identified. Police report that at around 6:45p.m. on Tuesday January 17, 50-year-old Luciano Cabanas, of Ranchito Village, Corozal District was driving a, silver and maroon 1991 Blue Bird Bus with license plates OW-D-4513 on the Phillip Goldson Highway heading towards Santa Clara Village when he hit the man between miles 67 and 68 on the highway.
The man was riding a pink 24 inch beach cruiser bicycle when he was hit by the bus. Cabanas told police that the man was riding the bicycle on the right hand side of the road heading in the same direction as the bus when he allegedly made a sudden left turn in front of the bus. As a result Cabañas reportedly swerved to the left to avoid hitting the cyclist but was unsuccessful. The man was hit and died on the spot.
El Salvador tops Belize as Barahona keys first-half surge
Despite missing two key players through suspension, El Salvador (1W-1D-1L, 4 points) secured all the points for the first time in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, earning a 3-1 win over Belize (0-1-2, 1) on Tuesday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
All the goals were scored in the first half, with the Salvadorans taking a 3-0 lead within the opening 23 minutes as Gerson Mayen, Juan Barahona and Henry Romero struck for the first-ever time in the Copa. Deon McCaulay pulled one back just before halftime to become the first player to find the back of the net in each of the competition’s last three editions.
El Salvador played without star forward Rodolfo Zelaya and defender Alexander Larin, who were shown straight red cards in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to first-place Honduras.
The Alianza duo’s absence seemed to have a galvanizing effect on their teammates as they went ahead 1-0 in the 15th minute on a fairly straightforward play. Oscar Ceren delivered a cross from the right-goal line, which was headed by Barahona back across the goal to the right post, where Mayen was positioned for the easy header.
Ortiz’ brace lifts Costa Rica past Belize
Jose Guillermo Ortiz scored two goals and Costa Rica (1W-1D-0L, 4 points) extended its Copa Centroamericana (CCA) unbeaten streak to 10 games, earning a 3-0 win over Belize (0-1-1, 1) on Sunday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
The result provisionally places the two-time defending champion Costa Ricans atop the six-team table with El Salvador- Honduras and Panama-Nicaragua encounters to be contested later in the day.
It was a dream international debut for Ortiz, who was recently acquired by D.C. United. The 24-year-old put Costa Rica ahead in the 25th minute, when he glanced a header off the left post after teammate David Guzman headed Elias Aguilar’s left-sided corner kick towards the net.
Near the end of the first half, a completely unmarked Juan Vargas was in position to double the Ticos’ lead, but he sliced a left-footed effort from the top of the six-yard box wide of the left post.
Johan Venegas became the first player to score in each of the last two CCAs, making it 2-0 six minutes into the second half. A low, hard shot by Ortiz rebounded off the left post and then off the hands of goalkeeper Woodrow West as he tried to gain possession while rising off the ground. A quick-reacting Venegas then managed to poke it home with his right foot from eight-yards out.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks opens NEBL season in winning form
The National Elite Basketball League 2017 season opened on Friday 13th January at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town between the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and the Cayo Western Ballaz.
The former champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks jumped out to an early 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, with the home team closing the gap to 7 points at the half, 36-29.
In the third quarter of the game the San Pedro Tiger Sharks outscored the Cayo Western Ballaz 27-11, to take a 23 point lead going into the fourth and final quarter of the game.
The Cayo Western Ballaz was unable to mount a come-back against the former champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks who won the game by the final score of 83-55.
The San Pedro Tiger Sharks were led by George Williams who scored 19 points, to go with 5 assists and 1 steal. He was assisted by Raul Roches who contributed 18 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists and Ashton Edwards who scored 13 points which included 3 – 3 pointers, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Meanwhile, Rassi Jenkins scored 8 points to go along with is 13 rebounds and Kurt Burgess scored 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assist.
CYDP Football championship set for this Sunday at the MCC
The Conscious Youth Development Programme Football championship will be decided on Sunday 22nd January, 2017, at the MCC Grounds.
The first game in the championship series was played on Sunday 14th January, 2017, where Tut Bay and the Coast Guard played to a 3-3 draw,
The goals for the Coast Guard were scored by Steven Martinez, Arthur Garbutt and Eredito Valencia. Meanwhile, the goals for Tut Bay were scored by Kevin Alvarez, Carlos Lino and Brian Martinez.
The second and final game in the championship will be played on Sunday 22nd January, 2017. In the first game for third place, which is scheduled for 1:00 pm Kelly Street FC will go up against Survivors FC. Immediately following the third place game the championship match for all the marbles will take place.
St. Catherine Academy, St. John’s College and Maud Williams boys lead high schools’ football competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition continued at the MCC Grounds here in Belize City.
On Monday 16th January in the female competition game played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Maud Williams High School by the score of 3-0.
The goals for Ladyville Technical High were scored by Mary Davis, Seleaney Gooding and an auto goal gave it the white wash win.
Meanwhile, in the male game played, Wesley College and Anglican Cathedral College played to a 3-3 draw.
The goals for Wesley College were scored by Kenyon Lewis (2) and Jalen Gabb, while the goals for Anglican Cathedral College were scored by Sampson Mossiah (2) and Darrell Flowers.
On Saturday 14th January, there were three games in the male competition. In game one, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated its sister school Edward P. Yorke High School by the score of 4-0. The goals for Gwen Lizarraga High School were scored by Michael Deshield (2), Kieron Patnett and Orlando Velasquez.
Belize Softball Federation to holds Umpires’ Training
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Umpires’ Training from February 15-19, 2017, at Rogers’ Stadium in Belize City. The Umpires’ Training will be conducted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Division Chief Umpire Robert Stanton.
Robert Stanton has been the WBSC-Softball Division Umpire in Chief since 2008 and has led over 40 Certification Seminars for umpires.
The training will include theory (class room) and practical (field) as well as a fitness test and a written exam.
The federation is extending an invitation to all softball umpires and those interested in umpiring to register for the up-coming Umpires’ Training.
WORDS OF LIFE with Barry Fraser
The letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome contains essential information about Christian living. Last week we began to look at a section about submission to governing authorities. In Paul’s time the Roman Empire ruled the land of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and Decapolis, where Jesus had ministered. The people did not choose the ruling authority, it was imposed upon them. In Belize today we have a democracy. We get to choose our leaders.
The inspired words of Paul are just as fresh and full of sound advice as they were for his original readers! In Romans 13:5-7 he wrote, “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if honor, then honor...”
Re: Today's Belize News: January 20, 2017
01/20/17 12:47 AM
01/20/17 12:47 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
The Belize Times
BARROW BAVS ON 13TH SENATOR
The NGO Community has released a statement saying, “The Belize Network of NGOs hereby expresses its grave disappointment that the Government of Belize intends to proceed with this year’s first Session of the Senate before the Senator representing the NGO community has been sworn in.”
Osmany Salas, the President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, was elected by his peers within the NGO Community, and though it is only a formality for him to be appointed and sworn in at this point, the Dean Barrow Administration is, it appears, delaying his ascension to the upper house of parliament. The Government wants to debate amendments to the NGO Act, but are excluding the voice of the group which will be most directly affected. The NGO community, supported by the Opposition and other social partners, see no sound reasoning, and have expressed disappointment.
Bondholders Reject Barrow – Tell Him to Get Serious!
As if Belize’s economy needed any more bad news, the Bondholders Committee, appointed by holders of the 2038 “Superbond”, have rejected government’s consent solicitation presented to the Committee last week.
In its consent solicitation, GOB proposed that bondholders fix the interest rate on the 2038 bonds, currently at 5 percent and stepping up to 6.767 percent effective August 20, 2017, to 4 percent per annum starting February 20, 2017 through to the final maturity of the bonds. GOB also proposed that instead of extending the bond, the amortization schedule be changed from 38 equal installments commencing August 20, 2019 to three annual payments due to commence on February 20 of 2036, 2037 and 2038.
Bondholders, however, have other ideas and have promptly rejected GOB’s proposal saying governments terms would reduce the net present value of the bonds by over 40 percent. The Committee has also advised bondholders to reject the terms of GOB’s proposal as GOB needs consent from holders of at least 75 percent of the bonds.
Cops Discover 2nd Grenade in Gang Territory
While Police have revealed no details, citing the sensitivity of the issue, there is confirmation that over the weekend a second live grenade was discovered in the Lake Independence area. It is the second American-type grenade (M26-A1) discovered in 2 weeks. The first was discovered in a GSU operation near Cumberbatch Field, an area controlled by the Southside Gangsters (SSG).
In that instance, just like this one, Police refused to get into details and there have been no arrests. This time the grenade was discovered closed in a container and left in an open field. Brigadier General David Jones, BDF Commander, was called in and told the media that he “was called to go and retrieve the grenade which was in the open lot on the road on the Chetumal Boulevard across the bridge going to the highway. In the open lot on the right hand side there was a grenade – similar type as the one we had retrieved, American type. It was in a container and I was asked to retrieve it and take it to the BDF camp and that is what I did.”
THINK ABOUT IT
In the famous/infamous quotation of Malcolm X on the death of US President John Kennedy, the chickens have come home to roost. Dean Barrow has lost three more important court cases and has plunged poor Belize deeper into the abyss of debt.
In another big blow to the poor taxpayers of Belize, the United States Supreme Court has ordered Dean Barrow to pay the Ashcroft group ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS more.
This, in addition to the more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS that Mr. Barrow was forced to give Ashcroft for unlawfully taking B.T.L. (a wealthy company now run by Barrow’s millionaire son).
On 15 December 2016 the Senate of Belize, or more correctly the UDP majority in the Senate approved the Special Agreement signed by the UDP government in December 2008.
This Special Agreement is also called the Compromis and provides for Belize and Guatemala to agree to go to the International Court of Justice after holding a referendum in each country.
As usual the government lied to the nation on the matter. The government said it was being done to show the international community that Belize is serious about going to the I.C.J. The truth is that what the Senate did was ratify a treaty between Belize and Guatemala to take the Guatemalan claim to the I.C.J.
Legends, Legacies & Larceny
On Sunday the People’s United Party celebrated the 98th birthday of the Rt. Hon. George Price. He was and is the people’s legend, a true Belizean hero. He travelled to every corner of the nation by foot, horse and canoe, visiting his people in the remotest areas. He sat with them, talked to them and listened. He shared their meals and won their hearts because he was at every moment one of them. He was a strong man, but never arrogant in that strength. He never lorded his intellect over any in his Cabinet or out. He never spoke down to his people. He was a quiet man, a humble man who had a vision inspired by ALL his people and his God. He was truly a man who led by serving. That was not his mantra. That was his way of life. And after a life of service, he left politics with his integrity intact, poor if judged by material trappings but rich in every way which should count.
Dean Barrow is the antithesis of George Price in virtually every way. In 2016 Barrow boasted that he has won consecutive elections in Queen Square without visiting the home of one voter, since his sister does all the work in that constituency. Mr. Price would not have understood that type of glaring arrogance or that disconnect from the people.
Coast Guard & Tut Bay Draw 3-3 in CYDP Football Final
Undefeated Coast Guard and Tut Bay FC drew 3-3 in Game 1 of the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) football championship finals at the MCC Garden on Saturday afternoon.
Steve Martinez scored the Coast Guard’s 1st goal, putting the finish on a corner kick executed by Adgar Adderly to lead 1-0 at the half. In the 2nd half, Arthur Garbutt took advantage of Tut Bay’s defensive error to score the Coast Guard’s 2nd goal in the 48th minute.
In the 55th minute, Orvin Wade created the play for Coast Guard’s 3rd goal with a service pass to Adgar Adderly, who found Eredito Valencia open on the right wing, and Tut Bay’s goalie Jason Thurton had no chance against Valencia’s cruise missile into the net: 3-0!
But Tut Bay refused to go quietly into the night. Carlos Lino set table for Kevin Alvarez to score their 1st goal in the 58th minute: 3-1. Then Lino did the honours himself off a set piece to drill the ball straight through goalie Jaheem Mckenzie’s legs: 3-2!
SJC & Maud Williams’ Boys Lead CSSSA Football
The undefeated St. John’s College and Maud Williams High School boys are leading the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) football tournament with 2 wins apiece in week 1 at the MCC Garden last week. In Game 1 on Monday, SJC won 2-1 against the Ladyville Technical High School boys with a goal apiece from Dion Cacho and Luis Orozco; while Kenroy Allen scored Ladyville’s only consolation goal.
In Game 2 on Tuesday, the Sadie Vernon Technical High School boys bombed the Belize High School boys: 5-0 with Raheem Augustine scoring 2 goals, and Stephan Bowen, Michki Gill and Rjay Martinez getting 1 apiece.
In Game 3 on Wednesday, the Wesley College boys stomped Excelsior High School boys: 5-0 with Jalen Babb scoring 2 goals, while Kermit Sutherland, Kenyon Lewis and Shakeem Richard scored a goal apiece.
SCA Girls Lead CSSSA Football
Defending champs St. Catherine Academy girls look to win another Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) football championship as they posted 2 wins in 2 outings in Week 1 of the CSSSA tournament at the MCC Garden last week.
In Game 1 on Monday, January 9, SCA won 1-0 against the Ladyville Technical High School girls, with Charlize Hunter scoring the winning goal.
In Game 2 on Tuesday, the Gwen Lizarraga High School girls won 1-0 against the Wesley College girls when Essenie Ciego scored the winning goal.
In Game 3 on Wednesday, the Maud Williams High School girls picked up an easy 3-0 win against the Pallotti High School girls who forfeited their scheduled game by arriving late. In Game 4 on Thursday, the SCA girls posted their 2nd win: 1-0 against the Gwen Liz High School girls when Hannah Kay Williams scored the winning goal with a long free kick from midfield.
Police Find Wet Drop on La Isla Bonita
Police say there is little information to reveal at this time, except that over the weekend cops from San Pedro Town were called to an area four miles south where they discovered a sack on the beach. Inside that sack were parcels weighing in at a kilo each, for a total of 26 kilos or 57 pounds. There was nobody in the area, so the drugs were taken to the San Pedro Police Station and labelled as found property.
Questions to Ministers
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please say how much money his law firm (he and his law partner), his ex-wife, his brother and his son have made personally since 2009 from the seizure of BTL and the protracted litigation with Lord Ashcroft?
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please explain the repercussions to Belize from openly refusing an order of the US Supreme Court and declaring ‘economic war,’ since under this government Belize has become a beggar nation and depends on the US for just about everything?
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister say why the $100M judgments against GOB did not form a part of the discussions during his cozy secret meetings with Lord Ashcroft in Miami in 2015?
WE WILL NOT PAY, SAYS A ROGUE GOV’T A HEFTY COST FOR BOMBAST AND STUPIDITY
By: Norris Hall. IF only the Prime Minister of Belize would stop being a lawyer and begin to act like a statesman. His lawyering is costing the country too much. He should be more concerned about the national interest and less about his ego. If he would, the country would not be wallowing in a debt, some of it in foolhardy litigation that enriches his “people” while digging the nation deeper and deeper in almost irretrievable debt. This legalistic approach and the spate of defensive legal challenges undertaken by this government are ploys by the Prime Minister to continue to further enrich his inner circle of attorneys at the expense of the country. He has indicated that he is prepared to enter into legal entanglement. He totally disregards international conventions and treaties. He prefers the labyrinth of legal maneuvers. Most of the government cases are extremely costly but he prefers a legal battle at any cost, no matter how sticky and weak the government cases appear. In one instance he even amended the Constitution. That was when he pirated the national telephone company. But even so, we the people will spend the rest of our lives paying for that hijacking.
THE WONDERER AND BELIZE 2017
We all heard the Prime Minister on his New Year Speech – “So, ultimately, 2016 was in fact a year which illustrated the truism that things are never other than a mix: good with bad, progress with problems, advances with setbacks. But whenever the balance goes more to the minus side, I assure you that we will be Churchillian in our optimism that we can make opportunities out of difficulties. Thus it is that we march into 2017 certain that the next 12 months will produce a full national recovery.” Sometimes I wonder if he knows “Da fool di talk, but da no fool di listen”. He and his family and his closest buddies are all creaming on all those projects he talked about, while the Common Working Belizean (Los pobres somos mas) is out here suffering with high cost of living, no jobs or poorly paid jobs, no proper hospital care and medicines, no proper education system, high water/energy and communication cost and no land availability for the poor. We the people out here are seeing the hustling, the creaming, the suddenly rich families and buddies, poor guys suddenly owning several buildings and donating them to their daughter(s). BELIZEANS ARE WONDERING WHAT 2017 WILL BRING!
MY PERSPECTIVE – I SECOND THE MOTION
On Friday last I listened to a strong and cogent appeal by Hon. Landy Habet in the House ofRepresentatives when he spoke on the Adjournment on a matter of public importance. He had clearly done his homework very well, and his presentation was detailed and well researched. He was talking about the severe difficulties to the general public when it comes to registration of births and interface with the Vital Statistics office, as we all must in obtaining our important documents for births, deaths and marriages.Imagine that in 2017 we are still talking about these terrible difficulties. Between 1998 and 2003 as Minister for Human Development I made it clear that the policy of our ministry was that the registration of a child’s birth must not be dependent on whether or not a hospital bill has been paid. Many times parents seeking to obtain the proof of birth papers from the KHMH or other hospitals were being turned back and told that the bill had to be paid before the hospital would release the papers, which are of course needed to go the Vital Statistics office to register the child’s birth.
The Integrity Commission MUST Work…
By: Eduardo Santos.With the Office of the Integrity Commission of Belize finally established it is now time to start working because we all know that there is a lot to be done. Section 5 of the First Schedule of the Prevention of Corruption Act, #21 of 2007 states – a new Commission has been established under Section 3 of the law, and now the onus is on them to either prove or debunk certain allegations concerning corruption, both within and without the government. Considering the gravity of their post, we can only hope that whatever findings they may encounter be made public forthwith and the appropriate actions be taken to remedy the situation. We have seen countless times where a report, upon completion, would be forwarded to the appropriate authorities and instead of acting on it the powers that be would sit on it. A recent example of this was the Auditor General’s Special Audit Report on Passport and Immigration.
Thinking Out Loud
By: Kevin Bernard.Over the past few days, I have watched with excitement and pride as the members of Belize’s national team take the field in Panama in the Copacentroamericana 2017. I watched as they stood their ground against Panama and battled to a draw, and also as they fell to Costa Rica 3-0. I can feel their pain out there on the field as they battle some of the region’s top teams, all fighting to go to the Gold Cup. I know they are putting their hearts and soul out there.I have no doubt that when the team fell to Costa Rica our boys were disappointed. They want to win. I am sure they wanted to score against Panama and take the victory in the host country. That is what champions always want, to win. But I feel as I always do when I watch these competitions – our government has to do something to assist our talented Belizeans to shine on the regional and world stage.
UDP Overloaded Integrity Commission Appointed
Despite the howls of disapproval from Belizeans, the clear appearance of bias and a lack of objectivity, the Integrity Commission, with an absolute majority of rabid UDP loyalists, has been sworn in. That means that it’s a done deal and these commission members are being asked to objectively police their party’s elected politicians, among others, and they’re supposed to keep their party’s government honest.The 7 member team, 5 of whom were appointed by the Prime Minister, took the oath of office in Belmopan on Thursday, January 12, 2017. They’re appointed to serve for a period of 2 years starting from January 1, 2017, and which ends December 2019. That means that this Commission will be in charge of ensuring integrity in public life, almost to the end of the scheduled last term of Prime Minister Dean Barrow.
From Petro-Party to Barrow Bukut-Fest
In the practice of law, whenever parties settle, for example as between a husband and a wife in a divorce, a settlement agreement is drafted by the attorneys that covers all assets wherever in the world those assets are situated just so that you can have finality of all outstanding matters.In September of 2015, the Prime Minister came to the nation and informed us that he had settled all outstanding matters with his law firm’s client (yes still), Lord Michael Ashcroft.The Prime Minister entered into this “last minute”, “secret”, “accommodation” agreement in a Miami hotel room with Ashcroft because the final appellate court for Belize, the CCJ, was about to deliver a stinging judgment against Dean Barrow for his unlawful taking of a private company without paying a penny for it. In essence, he chose personal self-preservation over national preservation. In this case, though, it is the Belizean people (not Dean Barrow), that pay to protect and preserve his “good name” from being “KO-ed” by the CCJ.
Guats Score BIG as GOB Pushes Referendum Amendment
The ayes had it on Friday, January 13th inside the National Assembly for the approval of the Amendment to the Referendum Act to reduce the voter turnout threshold from 60 percent to a simple majority of registered electors.There were 6 absent parliamentarians during the actual vote. Sixteen United Democratic Party area representatives voted “yes” while all the People’s United Party representatives inside the chamber at the time voted “no.” Before that division of votes, there was a robust debate on the amendment to the Act (Chapter 10 of the laws of Belize) which sets out guidelines for any referendum. The change is being made ahead of a poll required in both Belize and Guatemala for the people of either country to decide if Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize should be taken before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution.
Faced With Rising Crime…GOB Cuts Judiciary’s Budget
Although an actual percentage has not been cited, the Judiciary will face a budget cut for the 2017/2018 fiscal year. That was the disclosure at the start of the 2016 Annual Report of the Judiciary as presented by the Hon. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin at the opening of the 2017 legal year.The Chief Justice lamented that the current budget of $9,851,008 (1.06 percent of the national budget) which saw a marginal increase of 0.04% above the 2015/2016 budget is woefully inadequate for all the work that needs to be accomplished. He stated, “it must be recognized that the budgetary allocation is inevitably inadequate to meet the myriad of activities in need of financing. As I said before, the Supreme Court must form strategic partnerships to advance the initiatives and innovation in the areas of training, infrastructure and information technology.” He added, “austerity must therefore be expected during the coming year.”
If Dah Noh Soh
Something’s Fishy…Has anybody else noticed that the only people who have gotten filthy rich through association with Lord Ashcroft have the last name Barrow? What a weird coincidence. There’s Dean, whose law firm got in on that latest 2015 secret agreement with Ashcroft and has represented the Lord and master for years. Then there’s Lois, the first wife, who raked in the dough from early litigation with Ashcroft. When Lois was put out to pasture Denys got in on the action making big bucks off the Lord. Then there’s the first son who took over BTL and suddenly became a millionaire. Hell, even the wife got her share, partying with the fabulously wealthy on the Lord’s yacht. Check that out. Interesting stuff! If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d maybe think that there’s something extremely fishy about them there lucrative connections…like wad-in-socks-Boots always says – don’t listen to the noise in the market…check yuh change!
Puerto Azul Was A SCAM! – UDP Ministers & ‘First Lady’ Conned in Cannes…
The magnificent 8-star resort was dubbed a ‘citadel of luxury,’ a mega-million dollar playground for the fabulously wealthy, right here in little Belize. To be located, incredibly, in the pristine Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the resort at one point boasted an international runway, marina for hundreds of vessels, golf-course and over-water villas…along with the myriad luxurious amenities to attract the rich and famous.
The scale of the project, and its ‘intended’ location, should have given any normal person pause and cause to steer well-clear, but here in Belize there are very ‘special’ people, not normal at all. That is why in 2014 Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia and Minister of Investment Erwin Contreras donned tuxedos, and the wife of the Prime Minister donned her best frock, to travel to Cannes for the Puerto Azul launching. There all three preened and pranced, posing for photos with celebrities, sipping champagne and getting punch-drunk on momentary stardom. They were there at the invitation of the developers to show support for the project. As it turned out, they were being used as stage props to sell a product which does not exist.
Media houses in Italy and Switzerland on Tuesday reported that Puerto Azul developers Domenico Giannini and Fabio La Rosa have been imprisoned, along with three others, for what was nothing but a Puerto Azul scheme and scam which allegedly resulted in some 200 investors being defrauded of their monies. At the end of the inter-agency investigation which allegedly lasted a year, Police in Italy were able to seize over eighteen million Euros in cash and assets held by the men in offices in Italy and Switzerland.
Breaking Belize News
Belizean American ascending to greatness
Another Belizean American athlete is making a name for herself in the United States. Her name is Zoe Anderson and she has received great news following her transfer from Eastern Oregon to South Dakota University where she plans to major in the Criminal Justice […]
Agassi Finnegan called to Bar
Daughter of Minister Micheal Finnegan, Agassi was called to the bar yesterday. She has been a crown counsel in the Solicitor General’s Ministry for the past two years. Being a member of a stalwart UDP family, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, and Attorney General […]
Police need your help in identifying body of man found today
Investigators are seeking the assistance of the public in identifying the body of a male person that was found floating near the Manatee Lookout area in the Belize District this morning. He’s of dark complexion; medium built, has curly hair and is believed to be […]
Transport Minister Assesses George Murray (Independence) Bus Terminal
.Yesterday, Minister of Transport Edmond Castro visited the bus terminal in the village of Independence in the Stann Creek District to get a first-hand assessment of how the terminal is operating and serving the needs of the bus-operators and commuters in the area. Castro met […]
Belize City man charged for murder of 15-year-old Jaheem Mahler
Fifteen year old Jaheem Mahler was gunned down on Tuesday night while riding his bicycle on Iguana street extension. He was shot multiple times to the chest, back, face and feet. A search was conducted in the area of the incident and police found […]
Miss Universe Belize rocks the show in Philippines
Miss Belize Universe, Rebecca Rath arrived in Manila, Philippines last week where she will be representing Belize at the 65th edition of the international Miss Universe pageant. Belizeans on social media continue to show unwavering support for her, sharing pictures and voting on the […]
Dry weather to prevail
The National Meteorological service says that mostly dry weather conditions are expected over the next few days. The 24-hour forecast is for mainly warm and dry conditions to prevail with sunny skies today and partly cloudy tonight. The wind will blow from the east […]
Body found in Ladyville
Reports reaching our newsroom indicate that the partially nude body of a man was found in the river near the old Rose Garden area in Ladyville. The body was recovered by the coast guard and police this morning. Police are at the scene at […]
New Option for Belize Mexico Transportation
January 16, 2017 was a big day in Belize flight history. Tropic Air commenced it’s third Mexican destination which makes it now six international routes. The new Belize Mexico flight from Belize City to Chetumal is $69 USD one way. It is a great way for people to access Mexico City, and other parts of the country.
Weekly flights will leave Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tropic flight from Belize City International (BZE) to Chetumal Mexico (CTM) will have an early arrival time that is convenient for connections with InterJet flights to Mexico City and also other flights departing from Cancun. The plan is to increase to five times per week in April.
Chichicastenango: A Huge Colorful Market in the Mountains of Guatemala
Chichicastenango (pronounced just like you’d think and often shortened to “ChiChi”) is famous for the HUGE market place that is held each Tuesday and Friday. Hundreds of merchants walk and bus in or sleep in the stalls overnight. By 9am in the morning, the streets are PACKED with locals and visitors.
92% of the population speaks K’iche Mayan. Obviously I didn’t understand one word…but it’s beautiful to hear.
And if you like shopping, bargaining or just beautiful things, this is the place for you. It’s sensory overload but there are places to duck out for a cup of coffee if you become overwhelmed. It’s well worth the winding, steep crazy ride to get there.
There is an inside market that is FILLED with fruits, vegetables and people. One side of the market was food, electronics, socks, clothing, every day needs. The other side was beautiful crafts of all sorts.
San Pedro Ambergris Caye 2017 Carnaval Tradition
In the old days of San Pedro Ambergris Caye in the year's of 1950's, the local's came out to celebrate the annual Carnaval. Back then people who believed to be painted used baby powder. And, back then it was more fun because they never argued about smelling like paint or eggs. It is observed during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season and is a pagan celebration during which time people can indulge in bodily pleasures that they will have to give up during lent. The local government of San Pedro Town usually organizes a week of fun events for visitors and locals. Today the San Pedro car-naval is similar to the New Orlean's Mardi Gras ( in meaning, not size).
Today, the young generation comes out painting people with paint and eggs. Every year in San Pedro in the month of February, celebrates the annual carnival. Surprisingly, Men dressing up in drag and dancing through the streets of downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, the AID's commission, The event goes on for four days where each comparsas group comes out to compete with their colorful, attractive, homemade costumes, and in the last day the Judges give the competitor the prize. At the end they see how much points they won by category. They will go house to house around town collecting money. One of the entertainment groups are the male because they dress up like women, it attracts the locals and tourists a lot. Including in this event are children from all ages participate in this carnaval. The mayor is announcing that "the community leaders annually stress that the season should be celebrated in a respectful and peaceful manner." Usually the carnival works this way: on the first day its young children comes out to paint from 12noon until 6pm, the second day children from 12 noon until 6pm and adults are extended until 12 midnight and third day its mainly adults that comes out late in the evening throughout the night where judges give the comparsas prizes. If you want are a tourist and you son't know what's happening? stay in in your hotel it maybe wild fun. Or, just tell a friend I want to go watch it from your varanda.
Visiting Tropical Splash Great coffee in Town
Are you looking for coffee in Corozal and you're tiered of instant coffee that tastes like water? Don't worry, because visiting Tropical Splash has great coffee in town, Noone else will have. The only person to sell Starbucks and Du-kin Donuts coffee in town. Tropical Splash has some amazing try outs you can taste on the list. Flavors from French Vanilla, Carmel, Cinnamon, Hazelnut, Chocolate and Mocha. Other flavors are M&M's, Snickers, Oreo Cookies, Nutella, Milky way, Strawberry, Chamoy, lemon slush, lime slush and more. Come in today and try our Coffee today. Thursdays our 4.00$ discount only on coffee's. Opening Hours from 9am to 9pm. It is excellent coffee and this are the one's I had tried before. Visiting this place will make you want to come back for more coffee. I dare you! So, come say hi to the staff's behind the scene that makes coffee daily.
Horseback Riding in Belize
One of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of Belize is on horseback. Far from the bustle of roadways and noisy towns, small trails wandering through pine forests, jungles, and savannahs give horseback riders a way to get up close and personal with the wildlife and flora that make Belize one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet.
Astride a horse is a great way to see Belize in a way that few other visitors will ever get to enjoy. Horseback riding will take you off the beaten path, exploring the gorgeous scenery and beauty of Belize at a natural pace.
Certainly, horseback riding can be enjoyed whenever the weather permits, but the dry season (November through May) is usually the best time to explore nature on horseback in Belize. By riding in the dry season, you’ll avoid potential problems with flash floods, muddy trails, and slippery conditions.
AFFORDABLE AIRFARE MAKES THIS THE PERFECT TIME TO VISIT BELIZE
In the past year, major airlines like American, WestJet, and Southwest have announced several new non-stop flights from North America to Belize. With new cities like Toronto, Denver, and Ft. Lauderdale welcoming direct flights to Belize, travelers in North America have even more convenient options for enjoying a fabulous all inclusive vacation in Belize.
A snapshot of current fares to Belize include one-way prices starting at $79 from Ft. Lauderdale and $284 round-trip from cities like Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), and San Francisco. Convenient flight durations ranging from 3-5 hours mean that an exotic getaway to Belize is easier than ever before. Service from Denver to Belize is scheduled to begin on March 11, 2017, and service from Ft. Lauderdale is scheduled to begin on June 4, 2017. Service from Toronto's Pearson Airport (YYZ) to Belize began on October 29, 2016.
Meet Morty and Patron, two brothers (not biological) living on Caye Caulker. He may look like a big scary dude but Patron is a sweet lovable guy. Morty is big on hugging.
Visiting "Galeria De Arte" in Chetumal
On the Month of December 2016 a new coffee shop was opened. You can come in to buy Art paints, coffee, breakfast, Wifi, read inside, Bathrooms and more. It was remodeled for visitors to come enjoy coffee. It is a very nice place to come sit down with your family and friends. The name of the Coffee is "Café y Arte Galeria De Aquí. street name is 27 Av de los Héroes" in Chetumal, Quintana Roo.
My first visit to the coffee shop was very awesome to visit. When, I entered the building not knowing what will I be expecting inside the place was exciting. I headed towards the cashier to order my coffee. The menu had different varieties of coffee and Tea. Expresso, Capuchinio, Americano, Green tea and more. After I ordered my first Expresso coffee I sat down down to take some picture's. Across from me, was a couple of tourists from the US where visiting the restaurant. The rest of the tables where empty. They sat down for a while having their conversation.
Then, my coffee came within 4 minute's after I sat down. All the while I thought it was going to be those medium size cups expresso. Wow!, It was those lovely small shot cups that you can use. Even I could have made my coffee at home with those small cups. Yeap, but, I want to try coffee around town. I sat down and read for 30 minutes, meanwhile, I drank my coffee.
A really fun cruise down to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel
Bienvenidos from Mexico, Honduras and Belize.
On Christmas Eve, our family boarded the Carnival Freedom and set sail on a seven-night cruise through the Caribbean.
It was a lot of fun.
Normally, we couldn’t afford for six of us to take a week-long cruise but we have cruised with Carnival before and got a discounted rate. Plus, we drove to Port Galveston and that saved us a bundle on airfare (Susan actually flew because she had some extra mileage points). Our costs were a bit more than $100 a day per passenger, which is reasonable for almost any travel these days. And one of the nice things about a cruise is that most of your expenses are prepaid (including tips) and that helps control costs.
A young couple with two young kids we met at breakfast said they priced other Christmas cruises and the prices were two or three times higher.
Previously, we had taken several cruises but they all lasted only four nights. And while we had cruised to Cozumel in Mexico and Nassau in the Bahamas previously, we had never set foot in Mahogany Bay Isla Roaton in Honduras or in Belize.
It was quite the adventure.
21 BEST BEACHES IN THE WORLD
Ask true beach lovers to name a favourite swath of surf and sand, and the answer changes with the tides. Luckily our planet is covered in oceans, seas, and lakes, which means there’s a beach to indulge any whim. From pearly crescents covered in shells to turquoise bays teeming with Skittles-colored fish, they’re not all created equal.
Pelican Beach, South Water Caye, Belize: “It’s the only place in Belize where you can swim safely to the reef within minutes and explore the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, full of colorful coral, angelfish, blue tang, sea turtles, all in less than 20 feet of water,” says guidebook author Lebawit Lily Girma.
Gender-based Violence Activities Continue, 1min. Gender-based Violence is a gross violation of human rights and it places its victims in highly undesirable situations. The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, encourages both men and women to break the cycle of silence by seeking help and reporting acts of violence. It should be stressed that perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. Failure to do so not only encourages abuse but deems it acceptable.
Chopping Cahune Leaf in Belize, Central America, 2.5min.
Belize Sunrise Time Lapse, 40sec.
Zenaida Moya Show Episode 5, 100min.
Zenaida Moya Show Episode 6, 125min.
Blue Chromis Fish Chromis cyanea Belize Coral Reef, 11sec.
Ziplining in Belize 2016, 2min.
Neuharth Family Belize-Mexico Mission Trip 2016, 5min. This is the mission trip Dave, Lisa, Lucas, Levi, and Benjamin Neuharth went on in 2016-2017. They first went to MOVE, Missionary Outreach Volunteer Evangelism, a mission training school in Belize. Afterwards they went with Mexico Missions and Beyond in Poza Rica, Mexico
NICH Street Art Festival - Application Notice, 15min.
Arts (St John's College Junior College), 15min.
National Youth Council Elections, 17min.
Remeembering Andy Palacio, 10min.
NICH Street Art Festival - Application Notice, 15min.
U.S. Ambassador to Belize Farewell Message, 2min. US ambassador Carlos Moreno reflects on his three years in Belize.
His time as US Ambassador to Belize officially ends today.
In his following farewell message, Ambassador Moreno reflects on his three wonderful years as U.S. Ambassador to Belize. He recalls the hospitality shown to him by the wonderful people he encountered as he explored the unparalleled beauty of “The Jewel”. He describes the great partnership Belize and the United States shared during his tenure, working on important issues like citizen security and education, making great progress through this cooperation and mutual effort.
As Ambassador Moreno departs, he leaves with a profound appreciation for the warmth, friendship, and strength of the Belizean people. Belize will always hold a special place in his heart. We hope these pictures will capture some of the moments that words could not.
Please enjoy Ambassador’s Moreno Farewell Message to Belize and join us in wishing him buen viaje, lata, ayó, and ka wilà à bahil ti bé!
Belize Barrier Reef, 2min. Compilation of footage shot diving around Lighthouse Reef in Belize
Belize Snorkeling, 1.5min. Caye Caulker
belize city carnival 2017 - belize city belize, 4min.
A Global Cooking Adventure: Belize, 7.5min. Watch as I cook of the food of the Week 18 of my Second Spin: A Global Cooking Adventure, Belize. Tonight's menu: Stew Chicken and Johnny Cakes with Beans and Rice
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