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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
San Pedro Tiger Sharks third win in 2017 NEBL Season
The San Pedro Tiger Sharks claimed their third consecutive victory in the 2017 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Season. On Saturday, January 28th, the island team took on the current NEBL Champion- Smart Belize Hurricanes in a heated match. After four quarters of intense action on the court at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium in San Pedro Town. The island boys emerged victorious with a final score of 85-75.
Nanes Schnitzer re-captured in Mexico for Ponzi-scheme fraud
With the combined efforts of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Mexican authorities, and the United States Marshals Service (USMS), Mexican fugitive David Nanes Schnitzer was caught in Mexico City on Thursday, January 26th. According to Mexican Authorities, Nanes Schnitzer arrived from Havana, Cuba when he was caught at the Mexico City International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez) with various travel documents under another identity.
Wanted for defrauding millions of dollars through the Allen Standford Ponzi Scheme, Nanes Schnitzer was the president of Stanford Group Mexico overseeing operations in Mexico, Panama and other parts of Latin America. The entire Ponzi scheme is reportedly estimated at $7 billion US dollars, with Nanes Schnitzer believed to have defrauded 3,500 Latin American investors of $42 million US dollars. Now in the custody of Mexican authorities, Nanes Schnitzer is currently awaiting proper documentation for his formal arrest.
Pic of the Week: Paletas - A Favorite Belizean Treat
Everyone needs an afternoon snack, especially after a long day at school and during those hot tropical days. What better place than Las Palates where you can find a treat from almost any flavor and its made from real fruit by local resident Regina Sansores. YUM! Feel free to stop by for one anytime! -Photo by: Ilda Guerrero
Misc Belizean Sources
The New Zealand authorities herein offer Commonwealth Scholarships as well as Development Scholarships (both having different application processes).
For Development Scholarships, tender applications online beginning February 16, 2017. Application deadline has been established at March 30, 2017.
The Commonwealth Scholarship has its own link that informs of its application process.
EXPORTBelize, Beltraide participates in International Customs Day activities in Belize City
EXPORTBelize, a unit of Beltraide participated in International Customs Day held on January 26, 2017 at the Battlefield Park in Belize City. The day started with a brief opening ceremony by the Customs Department and then moved into a day long event where those organizations involved in the export process had booths displaying their services. Booths in attendance included the Bureau of Standards, the Department of the Environment, Atlantic Bank, Customs Brokers Association and CITO.
Belize Mixology is once again conducting Introduction to Bartending training starts in Cayo on February 2nd to 4th and Advanced starts on February5th to 8th. Cost $250 for Intro and $350 for Advanced. Discounts available for a limited time.
We then move to Placencia on Feb 10th and San Pedro on Feb 21st.
Price includes all liquor, equipment, written material, etc. All you need is a book and pen.
Spaces are limited.
Inbox or text 626-7518
For those already deposited please contact me.
Remember for the first time ever, we are conducting the Master class in March.
Voice of the West Elocution Contest 2017
The Rotary Club of San Ignacio is having their 15th Elocution Contest on Thursday, February 2nd, at Hode's. Everyone's invited.
"This will be our 15th annual speech contest for the high school students in the Cayo district. Students compete in three categories - Original Poems, Published Poems or Excerpts and Persuasive Speech. Cash prizes are awarded to the first, second and third place winners. The school of the first place winner goes home with a trophy to display at their high school. Join us for a great opportunity to see the power of speech our high school students will display."
No new rules or regulations limiting the number of U.S. visas for Belizean citizens
Attention, Facebook friends! Please be informed that there have been no new rules or regulations limiting the number of U.S. visas for Belizean citizens. Please continue to visit our website for the most up-to-date and accurate information. The United States and Belize have strong bilateral ties based on shared interests and we look forward to further enhancing our friendship.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reward in the case of
U.S. Citizen, Anne Swaney
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been working with the Belize Police Department on the investigation of January 2016 murder of Anne Swaney in Belize. The FBI is assisting with interviews and has submitted items of evidence for scientific analysis to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. While there are some promising leads in the case, the FBI and the Belize Police Department are asking the public for assistance in apprehending the subject or subjects responsible for this terrible crime.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to US $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murde0r of Anne Swaney. Anyone with relevant information should contact the FBI in Belize at +501 637-9915, their local FBI office in the United States, or any U.S. embassy or consulate around the world.
Exhibit of Belize's National Collection on the move
A number of pieces from Belize's National Collection is on the move once again. Next stop Dallas Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Minister Aragon Visits National Forensic Services Headquarters
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr., today conducted a tour of the National Forensic Services (NFS) Headquarters in Ladyville.
Honorable Aragon met with management and staff, acquainting himself with the services offered by the institution, and through their discussions identified capabilities as well as shortcomings of the NFS. The Minister was given a presentation which provided an overview of the current status of the NFS. The presentation also addressed topics such as drug and alcohol testing, and ballistic testing using the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), a modern automated firearms identification system.
Minister Aragon committed to do all in is power to address the concerns and needs of the NFS to allow for the proper delivery of services.
Caye Caulker Blood donation drive March 4
This is just a heads up that the San Pedro Red Cross will be on Caye Caulker on Saturday, March 4 to do a blood donation drive. They are looking for volunteers to help out that day and leading up to prepare for the day. If you are interested in volunteering, please send me a private message.
Please also consider donating blood that day too. It could save a life and if you donate today it is credited to your name and makes you or a loved one eligible for blood in the future in the event you need it.
Power interruption 8:00am to 2:00pm, Sunday, February 5, San Pedro
Pescador Dr, San Pedrito, Elliot Subdivision, San Pablo, San Marcos & DFC Area. BEL to energize high voltage & low voltage spans & polemount transformers as part of system expansion in San Pedrito & Marina areas.
This weekend the Benque Viejo, Succotz and Arenal Police Youth Cadets planted 30 flowering seedlings at the Benque Coronation Park
FCD thanks the 18 cadets, Cpl J. Mckoy and PC Chan for joining in the Mopan River Conservation Program.
Reef Week 2017
Reef Week is just around the corner! Stay tuned for the calendar of events that will surely inspire you to "turn the tide and respect the reef!"
One Year Old Falls To Death In Well
A Maya Mopan mother of 6 lost her youngest child over the weekend. Lorena Durantes's 1 year 6 month old son died after he fell in their back yard well on Saturday afternoon around 12:00.
It was just another Saturday for the family as they washed their clothes and cooked lunch. Little Edwin was with the busy crowd of adults in the yard but his mother told us that she didn't even realize when he slipped away from them.
It's only until she and her mother in law found the boy face up in the well struggling to breathe. That gave the family hope but when they rushed him to the hospital, the water had already filled his lungs and there was nothing more that could be done. Today Durantes spoke to Courtney Weatherburne about the tragic incident. Our news team also spoke to Edwin's aunt at their Maya Mopan house.
Senate Unanimously Agrees to Ring-fence Reserves
On Friday, the House of Representatives unanimously approved the "bill for an act to restate for greater certainty the immunity of the Central Bank of Belize for legal proceedings in other states." This is a move to ring-fence Belize's dollar reserves and secure them from being, basically, crow footed by the Ashcroft Alliance or other interests seeking to collect on 50 million US dollars in arbitral awards that a US District court has ordered against the Government of Belize.
The Bill was pushed through the House on Friday with lightning speed, and to pre-empt any move on the reserves, it was rushed to the Senate today for a rare Monday meeting. Again, all sides, the PUP, the UDP and the social partners agreed unanimously to support the bill - but some did express reservations about the uneven results after years of battling the Ashcroft Alliance:...
Hon. Rufino Lin, Business Senator:
"I've read the accommodation agreement. I am familiar with the many financial allowances and economic benefit afforded and I cannot begin to understand how it is that two Belizeans, two powerful Belizeans can draft such a one-sided agreement to the detriment of this country - to the detriment of all of us here present. The fact, if allowed to continue as it was, making all of us Belizeans and tax payers really servants of the Lord."
So, Who All Can Be Sent To Jail For "Attaching" Reserves?
But how does the new law work? It makes it a criminal offence to try and attach the reserves in any legal action against the government - assuming that action originates in Belize by a Belizean entity. But how does that work in real life? That's what we asked the Attorney General today:...
Hon. Mike Peyrefitte, UDP Senator:
"There cannot be any criminal sanctions for challenging the law itself. If one wants to make a constitutional application to say that the laws that we are ratified here are unconstitutional, well then the court will decide that. If you don't make that challenge but you attempt to do what the acts criminalize then you will have to suffer the penalty that the acts articulate in them."
Jules Vasquez, 7News:
"How would you attempt to do it?"
Hon. Mike Peyrefitte, UDP Senator:
"Attempt to do what?"
Jules Vasquez, 7News:
"To attach the reserves."
Hon. Mike Peyrefitte, UDP Senator:
"Who would attempt? Well, they will have to decide how they want to do it. let's say for example, there's a move on the reserves at the Central Bank, a mere attempt to do that, such as the filing of papers, such as a board resolution, such as any move by any member of that company or any move by any person who is a Belizean to go after Central Bank assets then that person immediately commits an offense by the mere attempt to attach the assets."
Senator Salas Takes His Seat
And as you saw in today's debate, the 13th Senator fit right in. That's NGO Senator Osmany Salas, he took his oath of office and his place amongst the three other social partners at today's session. It's a historic shift, because his presence makes it so that there are now 7 Senators who are not aligned with the government, compared to only 6 senators for the government.
So the balance of power in the Upper House now pivots on the unaligned social partners, and Salas told his colleagues that he means business:...
Hon. Osmany Salas - Senator for NGO Community:
"I pledge to do my utmost best to represent the community and to work towards the sustainable human development and the development of our country for the betterment of our country. I also acknowledge the work and the support from the opposition, for supporting the work of the teacher and their efforts and last but certainly not least than you to our Prime Minster for after a long wait, finally decided to listen to the cries of the teachers and to sign the commence order to ensure that today would also come. So I appreciate that on behalf of the NGO community."
Two Guns For City Cops
City cops took two stashed handguns off the streets this weekend.
On Friday the Southside Strike Team searched an abandoned lot on Santa Barbara Street in the St. Martin's area, where they found and recovered a .9mm pistol. No one was in the area the gun was found, so it was submitted as found property.
Police came up on another firearm while searching another abandoned lot on Oleander Street. This time they recovered a .38 revolver, which was loaded with 2 live rounds along with three expended shells. No one was in the area, so the revolver was also deposited as found property.
These guns are generally stashed by gangs or criminal enterprises for use as needed.
The Temptations Of The Islands
Caye caulker police were busy this weekend. Around 10:00 pm on Saturday, two cops, a corporal and a constable did a stop and search of Everal Bodden and found 1.2 grammes of cocaine on him.
Earlier that day, around 5:00 pm, Island police did a search at Liberty Tour Office located near the lagoon area. They found nine bricks of two kilos or more in each package, adding up to a hefty 43 pounds of cannabis. They detained Darwin Torres and Isauro Adan Perez for drug trafficking.
And island police found a suite of rusty rounds that seemed to have spent a few too many night in the salt air. They say Charles Scott will be charged for kept unlicensed and prohibited ammunition for 48 rounds of .9mm, 2 rounds of .45,and three rounds of .380 ammunition.
Man Dies In ATV Accident On Coastal Road
The streak of fatal accidents on weekends continues through the fourth week in 2017. This one happened late last night on the Coastal Road. Antonio and Bridget Cabanas were riding an all-terrain vehicle which flipped. Police found them underneath the ATV.
The La Democracia couple left Hope Creek around 10:00 last night, and were heading home when they lost control of the ATV and crashed. Antonio succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead, while his wife is currently in stable condition at the Southern Regional Hospital.
FECTAB Fumes (Again), Stumps For Stake Bank, Likes Mike F.
The last time we heard from FECTAB was 6 weeks ago. That's when President Tom Greenwood sent a 1,000 word letter to the BTB, condemning the entire Harvest Caye operation, and dubbing it "Alcatraz". It's certainly not the first time Greenwood and his crew have raged against Harvest Caye, but on the ground it's made no difference. And so, today Greenwood along with familiar faces from COLA continued their campaign against this mega cruise resort, and a campaign for the Belize District alternative Stake Bank. Here are a few excerpts from this morning's press conference.
Tom Greenwood, FECTAB:
"The failure of government to allow stakebank to happen we believe is the root cause of our present problem in Belize City."
"All NCL ships are gone from Belize city and that represents a loss of between 40 – 45% of revenue for the players in Belize city and again I say from out hair braiders and our people who are trying to sell their hard worked with products right up to the top, tour operators and the like, it is a blow of major proportions, when you add to it the fact that many of us have bills to pay where mortgages are concerned, then you are talking complete disaster."
FECTAB Dances On Puerto Azul's Grave
The anti-Harvest Caye team spoke on a number of other issues regarding tourism and later on they jumped to crime and corruption in a very scattershot session. But, of course, among those topics was Puerto Azul, Greenwood pushed the spear of criticism even deeper when he spoke on the sham Puerto Azul turned out to be.
Tom Greenwood, FECTAB:
"I will add to that, the horrible Ponzi scheme scenario of Puerto Azul, it is so shameful it's not funny, the Minister of Tourism along with a Minister of Development and then pulling in the wife of the PM into that, an embarrassment of major proportions. For that to happen is indicator supreme of other things going wrong at lower levels. We in FECTAB are at those lower levels so you see we have been right all along in saying that we are not being attended to, things are going wrong, things are going unlawfully wrong."
Environmental Green Light For Caye Chapel Without EIA
And while Harvest Caye and Puerto Azul are tourism's old news, today PUP Senator Valerie Woods, uncovered something new with a tourism mega-project that's been kind of off the radar. That's Caye Chapel where much has been promised, but little delivered so far. But it seems the owners of the project want to do what's called a "beach creation." That's a beach club and sales center and the creation of a beach area measuring 985 feet long by 98 feet wide. The thing is, it's gotten clearance from the Department of the Environment, without the completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment. Today, speaking on the adjournment Senator Woods outlined what she characterized as a pronounced irregularity:
Hon. Valerie Woods, PUP Senator:
"Not too long ago in December, there was environmental clearance given for the portion of a development on Caye Chapel and I'm concerned about it, because our regulations are clear and if we are going to grant clearance to a portion of a larger development that has not yet gone through that process - but it was issued when EIA process really has not even been vetted or if you will, when it hasn't even been brought before the NEAC on the larger portion of the project. So, I am concerned as so many others when they see things like this happening."
Mike P's Changing Role In UDP
And finally from today's senate meeting, we surely noticed that the former House Speaker seemed to be having a much better time on the government side, skewering the opposition, and keeping the social partners on their toes. We asked him if he liked the change of assignment:...
A Fresh Look At Forensics
And while Peyrefitte was holding it down for the UDP in the Senate, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon was much more low key when he toured the National Forensics Services Headquarters in Ladyville. Aragon met with the staff of the forensics center and discussed what needs to be done to make the department more efficient and effective. Aragon told us what he was looking for...
Hon. Elodio Aragon - Minister of State, Home Affairs:
"Well today, I am visiting the Forensic Center, looking at where we are. You know, where the forensic lab is in terms of the people that deal with the chemistry, the biology, and the people who are dealing with the firearms and crime. To see where we are. Definitely the forensic laboratory has a critical role to play if we are going to change this around in this country in terms of crime. My visit here, I feel is very important because I get to interact with the people who are working here, listening to their concerns, listening to the suggestions they have to improve this place."
Hendo Has Left The Building
And we noted that while Aragon toured, we didn't see the Director, former Commissioner of Police, David Henderson. Aragon told us that Henderson moved on last week.
Alex Courtenay, 7News:
"Now while we're here at the forensic center sir, we wanted to ask you about the directorship of the center. What is the situation with Mr. Henderson, is he still the director?"
Elodio Aragon - Minister of State, Home Affairs:
"Well at this point in time Mr. Henderson's contract was not renewed. We are presently, will be opening the position up for qualified persons to apply for this post as Director. I think we've come to the time where we have to continue to move the department forward, and therefore we're asking and opening it up to find the best qualified and suitable candidate that could take the forensic department to even greater heights."
Minister of State Promises To Deliver Crime Strategy
2017 began with a surge of gun violence - resulting in six people being murdered in the first 72 hours of the year. Since then, police and government have been working on a way to combat the rise in firearm related crime, and prevent more murders from taking place. Aragon told us how much progress has been made since the beginning of the year, and when we can expect to see it implemented.
Hon. Elodio Aragon - Minister of State, Home Affairs:
"Well we are looking towards the end of February where we will present that plan to the public. That plan is a pinpoint plan that will address the two main issues that are of interest to the government that is impacting upon crime in our country. And I think that has to do with gangs, and gun related crime and violence. Those are the two areas that we will focus on and of course if we're talking about gangs and gun related crime, we're talking about firearms, and therefore the unit here, the firearms unit here at the lab will play a key role to assist on ensuring that the police department has the necessary forensic evidence to deal and tackle with the issues that surround these two major problems when of Belize, when it comes to crime."
What Do Police Know About Abu?
The Minister also told us what he knows about Abu Naila, AKA Nadir Ali Ahmad the Belizean who was killed by counter-terrorism forces in the Philippines. They said he was an explosives expert in league with a terrorist organization and training to go to Syria as a part of Isis. It is the first known case of a Belizean muslim who has been radicalized - and we asked the Minister what local police know about it...
Alex Courtenay, 7News:
"And we also wanted to ask about Abu Naila, the Belizean Muslim who was killed in the Philippines for his connection to a terrorist organization. Has there been any contact between, you know the police depart or your department and the Philippines in terms of what actually transpired?"
Hon. Elodio Aragon - Minister of State, Home Affairs:
"Well I think, not that I know of. Like I said, when you look at some of these things, these things are very sensitive. At this point in time, I can't speak upon that. All I could tell you is the information is as best as you guys had put it out there. I think that at this point in time that that is something that will have to keep at national security, noh? But none the less the police department, as always, is always working to ensure and safeguard and protect the people of Belize, noh."
Bex Did Brilliantly, But Missed Semi's
For the last two weeks, Miss Belize, Rebecca Rath, has been in the Philippines proudly representing the country in the Miss Universe pageant. She's participated in swimsuit and gown competitions, sat through interviews, and done community service, trying to earn a spot in the top 13.
And yesterday, after months of preparation and training, the moment of truth arrived. Rath and the 84 other contestants filed into the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, as the rest of the world watched and waited for their country's name to be called. Unfortunately, Miss Belize was not chosen by the contest's judges to advance to the next round - and the online votes from Belize's relatively modest population was not enough to vault her into the 13th. Seat as an online selection.
US Embassy: No 100 Visa Policy For Belize
By now, after the US election, we've all heard about fake news - which is bogus online stories with sexy headlines. Once you click on it, the persons who made up the story, make money, and you're left confused. Well, one piece of fake news that got a lot of attention in Belize today was the story that President Trump signed an executive order only permitting 100 visas per year for Belize. With all that's happening ion the Us with Immigration right now, the story may have seemed plausible to some. But the US embassy today sent out a release making it clear that it's bogus. The Embassy release says, quote, "Please be informed that there have been no new rules or regulations limiting the number of U.S. visas for Belizean citizens." It adds, quote, "The United States and Belize have strong bilateral ties based on shared interests and we look forward to further enhancing our friendship." Hopefully that's the end of that story.
Making A Meaningful Difference With Mentoring
In December, we told you about the police mentorship programme. Well, it quietly kicked off this weekend - as a structured programme run by the department of Social Services and the University of Belize Department. On Saturday, 22 Social Work students, interacted with 76 at risk youths at four facilities across the city. The kids are broken into groups aged 12 to 14, 10 to 13, 14 to 17 and 10 to 12. We found out what the effort was about - we were not allowed to get footage of the children in the mentoring section so that they are not singled out in their peer groups:
The session went from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and all the kids were participated in sporting activities & were served a warm lunch. Notably all the social work students are female since there are no males in this cohort.
The Year Of The Rooster Starts With A Bang in Belize
This year the Chinese community brought in their New Year with a bang. The community celebrated with a parade through Belize City, lead by two volunteers performing the Dance of the Lion. The lion visited several businesses throughout the city, blessing them with fortune for the coming year. The lion was accompanied by a percussion band and dozens of members of the Chinese community and spectators with an endless stream of firecrackers that could be heard around the city until late in the evening. The parade ended in front of Chon San Palace with a grand firecracker show.
Senate Approves Central Bank Immunity Bill But Will Belize Be In Trouble with Superbond?
Following the special session of the House of Representatives on Friday, the nation’s upper chamber was convened to further progress the Central Bank of Belize (International Immunities) and Crown Proceedings [...]
C.C.J. Told Government It Should Have Gone to Arbitration
The Caribbean Court of Justice’s scathing denunciation of the Accommodation Agreement and Settlement Deed and the actions of their signatories as “malignant tumours,” eating away at democracy has been cited [...]
Social Partners Say Government Must Shape Up
As Courtenay pointed out, no one, least of all the Opposition, intended to vote against legislation intended to protect Belize from these and other similar awards. And that spirit of [...]
A.G. Vows to Pursue “Vultures” Looking at Foreign Reserves
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte blasted Lord Michael Ashcroft saying that he will ensure that neither Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited nor Belize Social Development Limited gets their hands on the foreign [...]
A Baby Boy’s Tragic Drowning in Maya Mopan
The community of Maya Mopan, located about a mile outside of downtown Belmopan, witnessed tragedy on Saturday afternoon. Eighteen-month-old Edwin Lorenzo Duarte was playing near a well at the back [...]
FECTAB Renews Assault on Government
FECTAB is back in the news tonight after an extended hiatus from the media spotlight. This time it is joined by COLA and both organizations are rallying around a common [...]
Finally, Osmany Salas Takes Seat as N.G.O. Senator
And now back to the senate. Osmany Salas, president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, formally took the oath that marked his ascension to the Senate as its thirteenth member, [...]
Welcome and Wisdom from Fellow Senators for 13th Member
The congratulations came thick and fast from Salas’ new colleagues, with his friends from the tourism and N.G.O. communities looking on from the public gallery. But with the social partner [...]
Rosewood More Valued Than Mahogany?
Two bills were held over from previous meetings of the National Assembly – the Forests (Amendment) Bill and International Insurance (Amendment) Bill. The latter provoked no discussion, but the former [...]
Homeowners’ Feud Leads to Near-Deadly Shooting
After eleven o’clock on Friday night, shots rang out on south side Belize City. A family on Iguana Street extension, including five minors, was targeted. Luckily, no one was injured, [...]
David Nanes Schnitzer Finally Captured
David Nanes Schntizer who skipped bail in Belize after he was caught with a trove of illegal Belizean documents, including a passport, is back in police custody, but in Mexico. [...]
No Reduction in U.S. Visas, Says Embassy
The U.S. Embassy today issued a release in response to an article that surfaced on social media over the weekend to the effect that Caribbean nationals would be exempted from [...]
Conch Shell Bay Shooting Victim Paralyzed; Community Rallies
Nineteen-year-old Keimar Nicholas is paralyzed from the neck down and remains bedridden at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The teenager was seriously injured a week ago just outside of his [...]
P.G. Mom Accuses Police of Brutalizing Teens
A mother is claiming that Punta Gorda police used unnecessary force on her thirteen year old son over the weekend. Today, Consuelo Flores told News Five that she was in [...]
Julius Espat Returns with Strong Words for House
In a final bit of news from Friday’s House of Representatives meeting, the return of Cayo South area representative Julius Espat was relegated to a footnote by the day’s debate, [...]
U.B. Social Work Department to Help Police Mentorship Program
The Belize Police Department has partnered with the University of Belize and the Ministry of Human Development on a mentorship program for at-risk Belize City youths. In its new policing [...]
James Adderley’s Monday Sports Highlights
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. [Feature on weekend sporting activities...]
Is There Corruption In The Immigration And Nationality Department?
Viewers may remember that attempts made by Opposition Leader John Briceno at Friday’s House sitting to discuss proceedings of the Senate Select Committee into the Immigration scandal including revelations made by former Director Ruth Meighan, were immediately shut down and was not allowed to be ventilated in the house. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who was questioned on the matter following Friday’s meeting also refrained from discussing the proceedings but did say that judging from what he has heard so far, he does not see any involvement from any of his Ministers in wrong doings. Following the PUP’s Northern Party Council Meeting on Saturday, we asked Briceno for his take on the P.M’s response. He sighted that there’s very clear evidence of ministerial involvement in some very shady business, but it is no surprise that PM Barrow would deflect fault from his ‘minions’.
Opposition Passes Four Resolutions And Makes Demands
As mentioned earlier in the newscast the People’s United Party held the first National Party Council meeting of the New Year here in Orange Walk where Party Leaders and supporters gathered to discuss matters affecting the nation. The N.P.C. discussed and passed four resolutions during Saturday’s meeting, which included a resolution on Super Bond 3.0, irregularities in the immigration department, the resignation of Gaspar Vega from the House of Representatives and a resolution on Tax increases, which warranted the following.
“Be it resolved that the People’s United Party (1) The UDP economic mismanagement and incompetence (2) Demand that investigations be launched into the sadden and unexplained accumulation of wealth of UDP ministers, families and cronies and that any monies obtained by ill-gotten means be returned for the benefit of the people of Belize and (3) Insist that no more taxes be introduced on the already over taxed citizens nor retrench hard working Belizeans nor introduce any other austerity measures that will worsen this economic crisis.”
Much Needed Pedestrian Ramp Constructed In O/W
Since the tragic death of nine year old Geraldo Lopez, a student of Solomon’s SDA Primary School which occurred back in December of 2015, the administration and staff of the school had been advocating for the construction of a pedestrian ramp which they say had been long overdue. But all the cries of the school’s administration and staff seemed to fall on deaf ears…that is until the Orange Walk Town Council undertook the challenge of building the much requested ramp on the Belize Corozal Road located near the school. The work officially began this morning and will be completed in one phase which is expected to last approximately one week, says Mayor of Orange Walk Town, Kevin Bernard.
Education Minister Attacks BNTU And COLA
But Prime Minister Dean Barrow didn’t have a similar response for his colleague Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber who prior to Hon. Espat’s comments, had gone off on a tirade. In fact, while the P.M. called for bi-partisanship at Friday’s meeting, it was the Deputy Prime Minister who attacked the Opposition despite the call for rational discussion. Faber was in full attack-mode, it seems, because in one of his statements he attacked the Opposition, Kremandala, COLA and even the National Teachers Union in one swoop.
Honourable Patrick Faber - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize:
“But we do not appreciate those on the other side pontificating as if though they are innocent, they are the ones looking out for Belize, they are the ones who are nationalistic because Madam Speaker, all will know that they are playing a sham, member for Lake I for instance, his families ‘organization...”
Nanes Captured By Mexican Authorities
David Nanes Schnitzer – the name made headlines back in November 2015 – when it was discovered that the man who was wanted by Mexico authorities for alleged international scams was caught hiding in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
Schnitzer, who had developed a false identity under the name “David Banes”, was detained and charged by Belizean authorities for forgery, for the fraudulent social security and driver’s license cards and passport he held under the fake identity. While facing charges, Schnitzer was granted bail and never did turn up for his Court date. He was never seen again or heard of, until this weekend when Schnitzer popped up on the news that he was in Police custody.
Schnitzer was reportedly caught by Interpol at the airport in Mexico City attempting to board a plane to Cuba on Thursday January 26th.
Espat Back in The House Of Representatives
An issue that was fully overlooked from last week Friday’s House of Representatives meeting was the return of Cayo South area representative Hon. Julius Espat to the House. Since his forced suspension in August 26th, when he was removed violently by members of the Police force, the lobby for Espat’s return has been led by UDP representative Michael Finnegan. In fact, upon returning to his seat in the House, Espat gave Finnegan recognition and then went on to lash out at the Government for neglecting the people of Cayo South. This wasn’t well received by the PM, who seemed so disturbed by Espat’s words that he served a tongue-lashing.
Honourable Julius Espat – Area Representative Cayo South:
“Madame Speaker, just like to say thanks for the Honourable Finnegan to make this possible. They come here today saying we need to back up the PM because of this and this and that, Madam Speaker what happens when our constituencies needs the services they don’t look at us that way, they are arrogant, they are disrespectful...”
Opposition Leader Speakers On Revelations During Inquiry
Over the weekend the People’s United Party held its first National Party Council meeting for the New Year at the Crystal Palace Auditorium, here in Orange Walk. But we’ll tell you more on the meeting later on in the news cast, first we cover an extensive interview with PUP Party Leader Hon. John Briceño on several issues currently affecting the nation. First we hear the views of the Party Leader on the revelations made by former Director of Immigration, Ruth Meighan at her last appearance before the Senate Select Committee last Wednesday, where she admitted that a large number of persons approved for nationalization by the Department in 2012 were not in compliance with the requirements in place and did not qualify to be true Belizeans. According to Briceño, this level of corruption was possible because the UPD were not thinking of the possible repercussions to our country but instead acted with only one thing in mind: winning an election.
Breaking Belize News
Caye Caulker police nets big drug bust
Sometime around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday police conducted a stop and search patrol on Caye Caulker which resulted in the arrest of Everald Bodden for 1.2 grams of cocaine.
At 5:00 p.m. that same day police conducted a search at the Lagoon area on Caye Caulker, which resulted in the discovery of 43 pounds of cannabis.
Thirteen reportedly injured in border incident
An incident at the Belize-Mexico border between Belizean Custom officials and alleged Mexican smugglers last Thursday resulted in 13 people being injured, according to reports from Mexican newspaper, The Yucatan Times.
The paper reported that 13 people were injured at the Subteniente Lopez border crossing, on Belize’s side of the border. It did not specify or elaborate the varying degrees of injuries sustained but noted the incident played out when Belizean customs officials refused to allow a group of 20 people across the border because they hadn’t paid taxes on the merchandise they were carrying.
Man busted for drug trafficking
On Friday January 27th police were traveling between San Andres and Xaibe Village when they saw a suspicious man riding a bicycle. According to police reports, when the man saw the police vehicle, he took a green bag off his back and dropped it on the road and then escaped into the nearby bushes.
The green bag contained a compressed parcel inside with cannabis and another black plastic bag also with cannabis weighing 2 1/4 pounds.
One-year-old drowns in well
A one-year-old baby boy drowned in a well in the Maya Mopan area in Belmopan over the weekend.
On Saturday around 12:44 p.m. Belmopan police received information of a drowning in the Maya Mopan area.
Police spoke with 28-year-old Lorena Duartes, the mother of the child, of La Mux Street who reported that some time after 12:00 midday, while hanging out clothes she heard screaming from behind her residence.
Good Samaritans – Illinois family cares for Belizean girl after surgery
A Belizean child, eight-year-old Marisol Oh went to America for a life changing surgery and is now in the care of an Illinois family.Oh was born with her hip out of socket and had learned to walk like that. She went to the USA in October of 2016 and underwent extensive hip surgery in St. Louis. She was restricted to a body cast after surgery.
According to WSIL ABC news, Darla McKeown and her husband Steve have been caring for Oh during her recovery.
Police find .9mm pistol
Police have recovered a .9mm pistol off the streets of south-side Belize City.
According to police, on Saturday, officers attached to south-side Strike Team conducted a search on an abandoned lot on Santa Barbara Street in the St. Martin’s area which resulted in the discovery of one Browning .9mm pistol.
Another government vehicle crashes
Reports reaching our newsroom is that a vehicle belonging to the Government of Belize crashed on the San Antonio bridge in Orange Walk yesterday.Several eye witness reports indicate that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
Man killed in early morning Coastal Road accident
There was a fatal traffic accident on the Coastal Road this morning.
According to police reports, officers arrived on the scene at around 1:25 a.m. where they saw the motionless body of Antonio Cabanas, 59.
He and his wife, Bridget Cabanas, left Hope Creek around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night and while heading home he lost control of the ATV they were traveling on.
South-side cops take .38 off streets
South-side police have recovered a .38 revolver from Oleander Street in Belize City.
According to police, the pistol, loaded with five live rounds, was found yesterday in an abandoned lot.
Cool weather to continue
The 24-hour forecast is for mostly cool and windy conditions to continue.The wind will blow from the north at 15-25 knots decreasing this afternoon to 10-20 knots with higher gusts.
The sea state will be rough.
A small craft warning is in effect for coastal waters.
High temperatures are expected as follows: In the coast, 78 degrees Fahrenheit; 80 degrees Fahrenheit inland and 66 degrees Fahrenheit in the hills.
Things To Do in Corozal District
Corozal Town is one of the best kept secrets of Belize. Situated by beautiful Corozal Bay, it is peaceful and quiet. Locals enjoy swimming in the bay year round, where the water seldom gets really cold. When driving north from Orange Walk, Corozaleños know they are home as the bay comes into sight. In places, grass is a great, soft substitute for beaches, and you can spend the day just relaxing, swimming, and picnicing. There are usually many locals here during holidays, and many festivities are planned by the bay.
One of the hallmarks of Corozal Town is the tower clock located in Central Park. If is a favorite meeting and gathering place for townspeople. There are shady spots for resting, and there are food stands every day to get your tacos and even fresh squeezed orange juice. Everything is gone by early afternoon, so get there early! On Mondays and Fridays the park is filled with locals selling goods in flea-market fashion. With a little patience you can find some really good bargains!
T&T Ministry to Ban Sugar Drinks at Schools
According to CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency), the Ministry of Health of Trinidad and Tobago is banning the sale of sugar sweetened drinks at all Government and Government-assisted schools from April 2017. The move comes amid alarming statistics which point to a childhood obesity epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago. The sweetened drinks to be banned include soft drinks, juice drinks, flavoured water, sports/energy drinks, tea and coffee and milk-based drinks with added sugars and artificial sweeteners. The ministry said, from April, only water, 100 per cent sweet juices, low-fat milk and blended vegetable or fruit drinks can be sold at schools.
“YOCHI”, winner of Best Short Film at Belize Int’l Film Festival, Coming To Las Cruces
Yochi, an award-winning short film, will be screened at the Rio Grande Theater in downtown Las Cruces, Tuesday, February 7th at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Yochi, written and directed by NMSU professor and filmmaker Ilana Lapid, was filmed in Belize, Central America last year. The film won Best Short Film at the Belize International Film Festival in November.
The film is almost ready to submit to film festivals around the world. “We need $1,500 for the professional sound design in Los Angeles next month,” Lapid said. “We are in the final stretch to complete the film.” Lapid said.
Yochi has been receiving noteworthy recognition, most recently from renowned film director Roland Joffe (The Mission) in a tweet about Robert Dugan's cinematography, calling it "Beautifully shot."
Belize-Mexico border clash over alleged smuggling leaves 13 injured
Belizean customs agents clashed with a group of alleged smugglers attempting to carry goods into Mexico at the Belize-Quintana Roo border Friday Jan. 27.
Thirteen people were injured at the Subteniente López border crossing, 15 kilometers from Chetumal, Quintana Roo, after the customs officials refused to allow a group of about 20 people to cross the border because they hadn’t paid taxes on the merchandise.
The situation worsened when one of the Belize agents, who had crossed into Mexican territory, pulled his gun and began threatening the alleged smugglers.
Weekends are a popular time for Mexicans to cross the border and enter Belize to buy merchandise in the duty-free zone and return to Mexico to sell it.
Similar confrontations have happened before. After a similar incident last year, Belizean authorities decided to prohibit commercial vendors from gathering at the border crossing, but little by little they have been returning, reported the newspaper Milenio.
Life Lessons Learned on a Mission Trip to Belize
A group of Caldwell University students and faculty and staff spent a week in January volunteering in an impoverished village in Belize.
They helped repaint a school, spent time playing with the children and were treated to gracious hospitality and home-cooked meals.
Marisa Juliano, a senior, attended for the first time. “I saw things that broke my heart a little and things that were so beautiful.” Working with the schoolchildren made her heart “grow 10 times bigger … As soon as I met them I wanted to do 10 times more. I wanted to paint the whole town for them.”
Senior Sean Puzzo was on the mission trip for a third time. The villagers are not rich in material things, he said, but they are certainly rich in “community, spirit and respect.”
Many of the people have no electricity, wash their clothing in the river, live in homes with dirt floors, sleep on hammocks and grow their own food. Jobs and education are scarce.
This 600-Mile Offshore Race Circles 11 Islands in the Caribbean
It’s one of the greatest races in the hemisphere: the RORC Caribbean 600.
It’s a 600-mile race that starts and finishes in Antigua and circles 11 Caribbean islands in between.
This year’s race, which is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Antigua Yacht Club, will have a record entry of more than 70 boats.
“The support of the members of the Antigua Yacht Club plays a vital part in the success of the RORC Caribbean 600,” said RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. “The fact that we see so many familiar faces helping us each year, with their vast experience of the local area and conditions, gives the RORC the confidence to be able to organize this demanding offshore race with a small RORC team from the UK.”
Yachts carrying a total of more than 800 crew members from around the world will meet in Antigua, culminating in the award of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy to the monohull with the best corrected time under the IRC rating room.
Chinese New Year Special (Pepper Shrimp) Grace & You, 19min.
Katy Feeding a Toucan at the Belize Zoo, 1/2min.
Animals at the Belize Zoo, 1min.
Toucan at Sleeping Giant Belize, 10sec. The day we were departing we saw some toucans just outside our casita!
Miss Belize Universe Speaks Before Final Cut on Sunday, 3min.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1i15WUn90k, 5min. A recap of my trip to Belize with the Belize Tourism Board (@TravelBelize) and Tiffany Nguyen
Belize Medical Tourism Association, 19min.
Statistical Institute of Belize - Overview of 2016 Figures, 26min.
7th Annual Caribbean Urban Forum 2017 CUF 7, 27min.
Michael’s Farm of Acai’ in Belize, 1min.
Snorkeling in Belize at Mexico Rocks - Nov 2016, 3min. Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef at Mexico Rocks off the coast of Ambergris Caye in mid November, 2016.
Dave Handpan tour Belize 2017, Jan, 5.5min. I went to Belize to perform music go into villages, jungles, caves, islands, and waterfalls to learn and meet the local medicine people, and to get lots of raw cacoa chocolate. I recommend Belize to everybody for it has a lot to offer. I brought my guitar and my nirvana hand and played everywhere and the people loved it. I'm grateful to have experienced this country and I'll be back,.
Howler monkeys at the Mayan ruins in Belize, 1min.
Barracuda Catch and Cook Fail in Belize, 10min. On this episode of catch and cook I set out in search of a Barracuda. I have never eaten one but always wanted to try it. Although I caught lots of fish and had an awesome day I failed to land the Barracuda for my catch and cook.
Belize Dive 2 1 of 2, 40min.
Belize Dive 1 1 of 2, 40min.
Belize Diving, 13min. Diving the Blue Hole and surrounds - 2016.