Today's Belize News: February 24, 2017
02/24/17 07:08 AM
02/24/17 07:08 AM
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
Aiesha Moriera wins annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations
Aiesha Moriera of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDAS) is the winner of the annual Spelling Bee Zone 5 Eliminations. Organized by Bowen and Bowen Ltd and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the event took place at the San Pedro Lions Den on Thursday, February 23rd shortly after 9AM. A total of 12 students from six different schools from San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker partook in the competition. After three rounds of intense spelling, Moriera took first place when she correctly spelled the word “oblivion”. Tellen Smith from The Island Academy placed second, and Jamileth Beltran from NHSDAS came in third place.
The top winners, Moriera and Smith will be representing Zone 5 at the District Eliminations on April 26th in Belize City.
National Police Awards recognizes the Coastal Executive Unit
Under the leadership of Assistant Commissioners of Police Deziree Phillips, Edward Broaster, and Chester Williams, the National Police Awards is hosted every year to recognize outstanding police officers and community members across the country. On Thursday, February 16th, the ceremony honored over 140 police officers, including nine police officers within the Coastal Executive Unit (San Pedro and Caye Caulker).
The 2017 San Pedro honorees included Police Constable (PC) Norman Coye, PC Adan Uh, Woman Police Constable Arelee Young, Special Constable (SC) Albert Lawrence, PC Kareem Staine, PC Kareem Martinez, PC Leonardo Yama, PC Dee Yarde, and PC Eric Wilder of Caye Caulker. PC Coye also received an additional award for the most firearm and drug interdiction throughout the entire Eastern Division. Civilians Steve Schulte, and Flora Ancona also received awards for their excellence within the community.
Caliente Restaurant hosts Saga’s ‘Tacos, Tostadas and Tequila Tuesday’ for charity
In an effort to raise funds to support the “Spay and Neuter” (SNIP) program at Saga Humane Society, Caliente Restaurant hosted “Tacos, Tostadas and Tequila Tuesday” on Tuesday, February 21st. At 5PM, many hungry visitors dined at Caliente to savor tasty Latin-infused dishes and cocktails.
Guests had a great time, indulging in delicious food and drinks while helping an important cause. Adding to the excitement of the night were a variety of raffles, and diners bought lots of tickets hoping to win one of the great prizes. Up for grabs were gift certificates to DandE’s ($50), Caramba Restaurant ($50), Mambo Chill Boutique ($50), The Color Ginger Spa ($120), and a voucher for a full pet groom at Pampered Paws. Saga merchandise was also available for sale, and all proceeds went towards the program, while a portion of Caliente’s food/drink sales went to Saga as well.
According to Saga’s Katia Marin, the SNIP program is essential in reducing the number of strays on the island. “Our spay and neuter program is on-going, and that’s why we continue to do fundraisers to help with the medical costs. The reason we have so many stray animals is because overbreeding is still an issue. Pet owners don’t get their dog/cats spayed or neutered, and they end up with a litter. Then that litter reproduces, and adds on to the problem. However, with the help of the community’s donations, Saga has reduced the number of strays throughout the year,” said Marin.
Rio Bar and Grill Turns One!
Rio Bar and Grill celebrated its first anniversary on February 22, 2017, and the family took time to celebrate a great year of business and support from the island community. The management and staff are more than happy for having the opportunity to serve locals and tourists from all over the world. Rio thanks the community of San Pedro for their support, especially their loyal customers and invites everyone to stop by and enjoy the new drinks that are now available. Congrats Rio!
Aiesha Moriera Wins Zone 5 Spelling Bee Competition
Bowen and Bowen hosted its annual Spelling Bee competition today, February 23, 2017, at the San Pedro Lions Den. Twelve children competed in a series of two rounds which deteremined the top six spellers: Karina Sotz, Stacey Campos, Aiesha Moriera, Jamileth Beltran, Tellen Smith and Alexandra Lausen.
After two more rounds, Aiesha Moriera of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School was announced as the winner and Tellen Smith of The Island Academy took second place. Because there was a tie for third place, the four remaining students continued the spelling quest until Jamileth Beltran won third place.
Aiesha and Tellen will compete in Belize City at the National Spelling Bee Competiton that will take place in a few weeks. Jamileth will accompany them in the city as a substitute if in case one of these students can't compete.
Misc Belizean Sources
Giving Football Camp, Caye Caulker
Calling out all Female Soccer Players to join with Ryan and Kaitlyn!! 2 days of fun and good work out you don't want to miss. Feb. 25-26, Caye Caulker Field
Newly erected Belize welcome signs up north
These newly erected Belize welcome signs on the first roundabout at our Santa Elena, Corozal northern border are appreciated and show off very well to tourists and visitors coming to visit our country via land through the Mexico/Belize border. We hope we can see more of these signs going up in Corozal since we are the frontier to thousands of visitors who travel down to Belize from Canada, the United States, (including Mexico) via the Mexico route. We know that Corozal has tremendous tourist and investment potential! We just need to tap into our niche tourism market, brand ourselves and run with it. Together, we can achieve a lot more for this wonderful District. Welcome to Corozal!
Miss Belize Visits Cayo
Miss Belize, Rebecca Rath, visited Cayo Tuesday, and was given a very warm welcome. She had lunch at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, then spoke at Sacred Heart College, then had a parade through town, and ended with a fun night at the Cayo Welcome Center.
She was even given the key to San Ignacio by Mayor Trapp. Pandy caught that moment.
"Had a wonderful time in Cayo yesterday! Met so many warm, loving and talented people! Thank you for the amazing welcome!
Photos by: Soly Moreno"
NICH VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), a statutory body under the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, is seeking a suitable applicant to fill the post of PRESIDENT
Calla Creek Cleanup
Calla Creek located along the banks of the Mopan River also forms part of the Bi-national Watershed Alliance. To reduce pollution on the river, the Alcalde, Mr. Jorge Ramos and the Holy Cross R.C School students and teachers participated on a clean-up campaign. We are thankful for their care of the Mopan River.
The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project to Street Art Festival
The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project Booth at the Street Art Festival this Saturday will be located at tent #9 Booth # 30 on Coner of Albert and King Streets.
Institute of Archaeology and Institute for Social & Cultural Research presentations at Sacred Heart College
Yesterday the Institute of Archaeology and Institute for Social & Cultural Research made presentations for Sacred Heart College on careers in both fields, with mock excavation units and even rope trap tricks. The students enjoyed it and I daresay we shall be having new interns soon.
Belizean model and Love17 covergirl Joyjah Estrada in London for London Fashion Week
Well done, Joy. It was Kendall Jenner who took the cover photo of Joy for Love magazine.
Fly In 2017 #flyin2017
Sunday, March 12 at 10 AM - 5 PM. Guys and gals, get ready for another exciting day at the biennial Fly In at the Spanish Lookout airstrip.
Pilots, aircraft owners, and flight enthusiasts you are ALL welcome.
RIDES! Astrum Helicopters will be offering rides for sale on location, so and your sweetheart can go for a flight over the country side. More coming later.
SKYDIVING! We will have a professional skydiving team performing for everyone to enjoy. And for U$199 you too can strap in and jump out of a plane!
AEROBATICS! For the first time ever we have officially been authorized to have live aerobatic performances.
RC AIRCRAFT! We are inviting all RC pilots and owners to bring out their RC planes drones and helicopters to join in the fun.
COMPETITIONS! We will have landing competitions and other fun activities for the pilots.
AIRCRAFTS! There will be many different aircraft on display, high wings, low wings, bi-wing, turbo and piston powered, Cessna, Piper, Mooney, Bell, Grumman, Air Tractor, crop dusters, passenger planes, sport, and kit planes. Something for everyone to enjoy!
FOOD! Miss Deb's will be at the air show selling her wonderfully tasty food. And other options.
SHARE! Invite your friends, and share this event on your Facebook, then come out with your friends.
ENTRANCE! $5 per person at the gate. Parking is available for free.
5th Anniversary Celebration, Grand Cultural Presentation Corozal House of Culture
Corozal ...are you ready? Los Mascarados, El Torito, Angaripola, Jon Kanu, Radha, Tribute to Leela Vernon along with Who Seh Kriol Noh Gat No Kolcha, Mujeres Que Se Pinta, Hoo Seh Mee Seh, Chamak Chalo, Lion Dance, La Cinta, Original Historical Carnaval Comparsas, Reading of the Last Will and Testament, Burning of Juan Carnaval and more..... Come on out for a wonderful night of Culture with Corozal's very best in performing artists!! Children's activities inside the House of Culture, as well a documentary screening of "Carnaval" produced by our colleagues at the Institute for Social & Cultural Research. Today, 7pm.
Chargé d'Affaires Adrienne Galanek visits students at St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Belize City
Promoting the importance of education among youth is an important shared value between the United States and Belize.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
The Wild Life, Passengers, Don't Knock Twice, Doctor Strange
Curry Says Trio "Guilty" of Killing Mr. Jimmy
Tonight, 33 year-old Matthew Gentle, 32 year-old Transito "Ricky" Tzul, and 26 year-old Sherlock Myvett are back in jail after being convicted of the murder of 82 year-old taxi driver James Neal aka James Young or "Mr. Jimmy". The jury of 12 returned guilty verdicts for all 3 men after deliberating for 4 hours and 16 minutes.
Back on July 28, 2009, "Mr. Jimmy" was was abducted from his taxi stand in Belmopan, and he was stuffed into the back of his gold Geo Prism car. He was then taken to Pook's Hill Resort Road in Teakettle, where he was stabbed 37 times. His body was found some 3 days later, decomposing on the side of the road, covered by cohune leaves.
So, almost 8 years later, the 3 men, Gentle, Tzul and Myvette, who are accused of committing this heinous murder, stood trial before Justice Antoinette Moore.
Fyffes, Friends For Life?
A month ago, we told you that the Irish Company, Fyffes, which purchases all of Belize's export bananas, has been bought over by the Japanese owned, Sumitomo Corporation. That deal affects Belize because if Sumitomo has a new strategy, they might not be interested in Belize's banana industry.
That's why today, Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse met with the Fyffes managers at the Airport. Sumitomo has agreed to keep Fyffe's management team, and, according to Hulse, they have assured that their interest in Belize will endure. We understand that the Fyffes representatives were transiting through Belize, and that gave Hulse and other Agriculture officials an opportunity to meet with them before their flight out of the country.
When the meeting was over, Hulse granted us an interview, in which he briefly discussed the conversation with the management team:
Tour Operators Say BTB Should Have Their Back, But Stabbing Them In Back
Cruise ship arrivals topped the one million passenger mark in 2016, but independent tour operators say that they've got it worse than ever. As we have reported many times, that's because Norwegian Cruise Line makes very few calls in Belize City now that they have their own port in the South. And those Norwegian cruisers are the ones who usually spend. Now, the local operators say they are facing another setback. And that's because they are being pushed back form in front of the tourism village, all the way to the Memorial Park. Now, that is part of a BTB plan to use the park as a loading area for tourists who exit the Fort George Tourism Zone. But the operators told why they aren't sold on the idea...
John Pollard - Owner, Big John Tours:
"Here we are all tour operators. The last time I had checked, I know that no tour operator is different from each other here. We had signed an SOP agreeing that this how we would run the operations."
BTB Says There Is A Plan To Benefit Everyone
Now the BTB says they aren't trying to swindle or disadvantage the tour operators at all. The Director of Cruise and Destination Planning Noriko Gamero told us that the main idea behind the proposal is to renovate the existing loading space which will enhance the visitor experience.
Noriko Gamero - Director of Cruise and Destination Planning:
"First of all, we are working collectively with the Belize City Council and the CARILED in trying to come up with a plan to improve the guest experience outside of the Fort George Tourism Zone. So, there are several components that we look at as a committee and restructuring of where the tour operators will be operating their sales, picking up of guest and of course the constant concerns of the flow of traffic, the congestion that happens. These are all different things that we have looked at and it's not a very easy project to take on. So what we have done is we have undergone a series of consultations with the stakeholders that would be impacted by any change. What they have suggested with the Memorial Park, it is an area where we are trying to look to do a rerouting of a loading space for operators, where each operator will have an assigned spot and they can then rotate their own guides from picking up at that space. So we won't have that parking fight and we won't have that flow of traffic constantly up and down in the zone."
The Pious Potato Initiative
Every day that goes by without sale, the loss in earnings for local potato farmers - increases. As we have been reporting, the local potato farmers in the North and West are struggling to make ends meet. Thousands of potatoes are wasting away in the fields. This is all because the imported white potatoes are taking over the local market - most Belizeans buy the imported potatoes because they are cheaper and are seen as higher quality. But there is hope; today an Orange Walk farmer made a good sale at a city school. I dropped by St. Catherine's Academy to find out more about their pious potatoe initiative.
These SCA girls spent most of their morning weighing and bagging potatoes at school, but it wasn't for any cooking class.
Salome Tillett, Principal, SCA:
"Earlier in the week we saw the news about the situation with our potato farmers and you know that struck a chord with me so in the morning I came, we did our morning devotion and I shared it with the students and I asked would they be willing to help and I was so blessed by their response, the students were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea."
"Our friends in Orange Walk were able to give us the contact of a person there and he was so happy to be able to sell his potatoes and his answer was sure right away."
Chamber, The Cheerleaders?
When the Prime Minister presents the new budget in the next few weeks, we'll know all about what new taxes, if any, government plans to impose. If there are new taxes, it could likely affect the private sector, but today the Chamber of Commerce sent out a press release that didn't admonish against new taxes, instead it reads sort of like a pep talk. It discusses the country's national debt and urges, quote, "Belize must act now! We must begin to make serious cuts to government spending, recover lost revenue, plug revenue leaks and create an atmosphere for economic growth. These actions must be…relentlessly sustained at least until the debt burden is reduced to around 60% of GDP." end quote. And, the chamber says the belt tightening must even include those tax dodgers in the private sector: quote, "those…who evade or underpay their tax obligations be held to account and that the revenue due to the government, including penalties, be captured in full." end quote. And in that spirit, the Chamber urges, quote, "We must all, including the Opposition, play our part in the Herculean effort needed to bring about the changes that will stimulate the growth of our economy."
There Was Inflation In January
And while the Chamber plays the part of cheerleader, the Statistical Institute of Belize, is playing party pooper. They say inflation was up in January, 2017 with prices up almost 1% higher than in January of the previous year. And that is mostly due to the price of fuel, the price of a gallon of Diesel fuel was 40% higher this year than one year ago. That's just about three dollars more per gallon! Premium and regular gas also went up by about 20%, or about a dollar and 60 cents more per gallon.
In line with that, the SIB reports that airfares increased 47 percent when compared to last January, and that combined with increased bus fares for an overall 9.4 percent increase in transport costs.
Food prices went down a little, with decreases in the average prices of certain meats and vegetables and poultry. And while-rides were up in most municipalities, Punta Gorda and Dangriga both recorded decreases of 0.4 percent. Inflation was highest in Orange Walk Town at 2.6 percent, followed closely by Belmopan at 2.4 percent.
Counting On Coconuts
The consumer price index doesn't track the price of coconuts, since that is a small, informal trade. And it doesn't show up on the breakdown of imports and exports. But the Minister of Agriculture is hoping that changes. On Monday, Godwin Hulse told us about a new export initiative for fresh coconuts:...
Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture:
"4,500 acres under cultivation. There is coconut being exported whole in a little packet with a straw that you strike in the top and drink the juice. I understand it has a 30-day shelf life, it's going to the US and other people are planting coconuts. It an industry we want to hope to balloon. There is a company called Texbel in the south that's doing it. There is one up north by Sergio Marroquin, who is also doing it and it's a project that will blossom across the country. It's one of the young new exports that we would hope to push on."
In 2015, there were 2,000 acres of coconut in production producing 8 million nuts. At the time, that figure was expected to double.
Port Crane Collapsed
There was an accident at the Port of Belize this evening. Fortunately no one was hurt. As we understand it, this crane was offloading a ship, when one of the cables on the crane's winch burst. The caused the boom to collapse, leaving it crumpled like a paper clip, stretched down like a ladder into the sea. Port CEO Arturo Tux Vasquez said that most importantly no one was hurt. He says they always have another crane on standby - and right now they are working to remove the old crane from the pier head, and finish loading the ship. He says the damage was confined to the crane, which insurance has already assessed.
Gringo Got A Gun
This morning at 9:30, San Ignacio Police caught an American man with an unlicensed pistol. It happened at 9:30, during an early morning operation. The rural west quick response team found 67 year old Robert Biro, a US citizen of a branch mouth address with an unlicensed Taurus brand .38 revolver and 14 live rounds.
The operation also netted 43 grams of cannabis.
Musical Tribute For Lady Lila
Since her death over the weekend, Belizeans have been celebrating the life of Lila Vernon, and next week the festivities continue. Artists from around the country will be coming together to perform the music of the country's beloved "Brukdung Queen". We spoke to the Bliss Center's Theatre Director about the tribute concert...
Karen Vernon, Threater Director - Bliss Center:
"We are having this celebration "celebrating Leela" Monday here at the Bliss center celebrating the life of Leela Vernon and the legacy that she left for all of us as Belizeans. We have a lineup of artists, because artists have been calling wanting to perform either here in Belize City at the "celebrating Leela" or in Punta Gorda at the concerts that will be there as well."
A Week Of Official Funerals
So, apart from a tribute concert, Lila Vernon's funeral is planned for next week Thursday, March second at the St. Peter Claver Church on Main Street in Punta Gorda town. It will be an official funeral, and it starts at 11:00 am.
That will be the second official funeral next week. The first is for Bishop OP Martin on Monday 27th. February at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan at 3:00. He will be interred on the Co-Cathedral's grounds.
And, the funeral for the other notable Belizean who recently passed, Cecil "Chubby" Reneau will be held on Saturday, February 25th at All Saints Church in Belize City. He will be interred at the family property in Ontario Village in Cayo District. But today, his daughter told us that the Institute of archeology stopped the ongoing work prepare the burial site, because, apparently, it is a Maya mound. Reneau's wife, Nina told us that they had no idea any mound was on their property, and the stoppage has caused a huge disturbance for the family in their time of grief. The situation is still devleoping, so up to this evening it was not clear what would be the final plan for his burial.
Step Up To Street Art
This Saturday marks the seventh edition of the NICH's Street Art Festival. The fair takes place on Albert Street in Belize City, and will feature various art stalls, contests, food and performances. The festival's coordinator, Karen Vernon gave us a run down of what to expect...
The festival will also feature chalk art competitions.
CDB says Correspondent Banking Problem "Tractable", But How?
At the recent Caricom Heads of Government meeting which finished last Friday, regional leaders acknowledged that there was little progress on resolving the issue, and tasked the Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking to maintain the current high level engagement.
But, that engagement has gotten them nowhere so far. On Friday in Barbados the President of the Caribbean Development Bank said that regional banks need to find a way to certify their worthiness:
Warren Smith, President CDB:
"I don't think we're at the stage yet where we could honestly say that there is an end in sight to this crisis. But I think one thing that is emerging is that where we could concentrate as a region is on trying to ensure that our environment, our banking environment, our financial environment is brought up to a standard where the risk of being blacklisted by the correspondent banks is minimized. And one of the things that we have advocated and I think that we are quite prepared to provide assistance in this regard, financial assistance is to have an entity like the Caribbean financial sector task force to work with the jurisdictions, our country jurisdictions to help them to identify weaknesses and mechanisms that they could deploy to strengthen the quality of their jurisdictions."
Climate Change A Regional Priority
No one knows where that solution will come from, and, in fact, it's easier to come up with a strategy to respond to climate change. The bank says it is giving funding for those projects high priority:
Managing Shelters Early
And, the city council is preparing for increased storm activity in its own way. With months to go before the hurricane season, the council is already calling city residents to come out and discuss shelter management. Councillor Willoughby explained:...
Lord Michael Ashcroft Confirms Terms of B.T.L. Settlement
In an exclusive interview with News Five in Washington, D.C. Lord Michael Ashcroft touched on a wide variety of major stories, from the settlement of Belize Telemedia Limited’s nationalization by [...]
Ashcroft Says His Good Turn on B.T.L. Was Rejected and Will Cost Belize Heavily
Much of the half a billion dollar settlement has to do with the Accommodation Agreement signed seven years earlier. That in turn reaches back to the mid-2000’s when Jeffrey Prosser [...]
Barrow and Williams Holds “Insignificant” Shares in Caribbean Investment Holdings
The relationship between Lord Michael Ashcroft’s business concerns and Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s law firm, Barrow and Williams, retained for litigation on behalf of the Belize Bank Limited and others, [...]
Ashcroft Praises Eamon Courtenay; Says He May Release Him from Legal Work
Senior Counsel and Senator Eamon Courtenay has come under fire from the United Democratic Party and the Government for acting on behalf of the former BCB Holdings in a Constitutional [...]
S.C.A. Buys Big in Potatoes from Local Farmer
Farmers in the Cayo and Orange Walk Districts have thousands of pounds of potatoes rotting in the fields – produce they have been unable to sell because of competing imported [...]
Trio Convicted of Murder of Cayo Taxi Man
A jury of seven women and five men stepped into the deliberating room at just after noon today to decide the fate of three men from Cayo, who are accused [...]
The David Nanes Caper Revealed in Paperwork from Immigration
David Miguel Banes, otherwise known as David Nanes Schnitzer, sits in a Mexican jail for white collar crimes he allegedly committed in that jurisdiction. After defrauding investors of millions of [...]
G.O.B. Scrambling Over Passport Machine
The Immigration and Nationality Department remains under heavy scrutiny amid the ongoing Senate Special Select Inquiry…and we’ll have that coming up. Tonight, however, there are complaints from the public that [...]
Temporary Passports to Cover Backlog
According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Beverly Williams, another system has been substituted in place of the faulty passport machine which is also enabled for machine [...]
Ashcroft Asks: Was It Really Worth It?
If you listen to the Government, most of its problems stem from past decisions, whether by the Said Musa administrations or by Lord Michael Ashcroft. At every turn there have [...]
At Senate Hearing, a Tale of Attempted Bribery Making G.O.B. Richer
A few weeks ago, former C.E.O. of the Ministry of Immigration, Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, mused that many unusual things happened in the Immigration Department and that there was corruption from the [...]
Ex-Nationality Chief Details How Vetting Corners Were Cut
Even though Prime Minister Dean Barrow continues to deny that the cut corners in the Immigration Department compromised the nationality of those registered in the run-up to the 2012 general [...]
Politics Responsible for Immigration Mess
We suspect that it hardly matters in the greater scheme of things, but both sides of the political divide have been accused of misusing the Immigration Department to their advantage, [...]
Junior Immigration Minister Says Work on Reform Must Continue
The day-to-day operations of the Immigration and Nationality Department are coming under the microscope in the ongoing investigation. The Minister of State Beverly Williams is faced with reshaping the image [...]
Coconuts Can Be Big Business for Belize
Coconut may be big business soon for Belize – the emerging industry is supported by the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project which aims to improve income and employment opportunities, food [...]
PUP Senator Recalls First Request for Senate Inquiry Into David Nanes Case
David Miguel Nanes-Schnitzer was found on Ambergris Caye on November 3, 2015 with a fraudulent driver’s license. He was nabbed via the joint efforts of the US Marshalls and San Pedro Police and was detained. At the time of his arrest little did anyone know that this was merely the tip of an iceberg that […]
Trio Found Guilty of the 2009 James Young Murder
A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about four hours and sixteen minutes today in the court of Justice Antonette Moore before it found three men guilty of the murder of 82-year-old taxi driver James Neal aka James Young which occurred on July 28, 2009. The accused were 33 year Matthew Gentle, […]
Who Will Face Prosecution When Inquiry Concludes?
Every Wednesday, inside the National Assembly building in Belmopan, the Senate Special Select Committee interrogates persons whose name appears in the Auditor General’s Special Visa and other findings Report on the Immigration and Nationality Department for the period 2011-2013. Several persons have been called to testify and several revelations have been made. The committee still has […]
Letter Surfaces: Patrick Tillett’s Involvement in Missing Visa Stickers
Patrick Tillett, the former finance controller at the Belize City Council, is named in the Auditor General’s Report along with his then colleague and former Deputy Mayor, Eric Chang. Both men have been summoned before the Senate Select Committee since they rejected the committee’s invitation last week Wednesday. In her report, the auditor general states […]
Gordon Wade Cites Political Interference as a Culture in Immigration
Senior Immigration Officer, Gordon Wade, appeared before the Senate Select Committee yesterday. Wade was questioned on an array of subjects relating to the inner workings of the nationality department. At the end of testimony, Wade made recommendations to the committee on how the many irregular behaviors within the department can be addressed. GORDON WADE ” […]
Citing Political Interference as a Culture Is Not Enough
In an interview on Monday, February 20 with Immigration Minister, Godwin Hulse he spoke of three persons he had sent before the Public Services Commission after irregularities were found. The trio, however, faced no repercussions and the PSC sent them back to their offices. Former PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman is one who has been advocating […]
Is Family Court Gender Neutral?
There is a common perception by men in Belize that the Belize Family Court is made to always side with the women and mothers and that there is no justice for men. Senior Counsel Dolores Balderamos Garcia has been one of the advocates for families and as we told you yesterday there were several legislation […]
PG Police Utilizes Bullet Catcher
A bullet catcher equipment is now fully in use by Toledo Police formation. We hear more in this report from correspondent Paul Mahung. PAUL MAHUNG “
Recognizing and Dealing with Cyber-Bullying
On Wednesday the Department of Youth Services held a training workshop on cyber bullying for its staff in the Cayo District. Eckert Middleton is the Manager of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit and the Department. ECKERT MIDDLETON ” Middleton offered suggestions for victims of cyber bullying. ECKERT MIDDLETON ” The workshop was held at […]
Re: Today's Belize News: February 24, 2017
02/24/17 07:08 AM
02/24/17 07:08 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
One month grace before Belize defaults on Superbond
The due date for a five percent interest payment on Belize’s bonds has come and gone without Government forwarding the $26.3 million to its bondholders. That date was Monday, February 20, and since the payment is now late, a 30 day grace period has kicked in. If Belize does not make the payment by March 22 the country would officially default on the loan. This is bad news for Belize but worse news for the bondholders.
A default by Belize would probably trigger a downgrade in the country’s credit rating. This means that loans to the country would be tagged with a higher risk. High risk loans come with more conditions and higher interest rates. This would be of great concern to Belize if the Administration was dependent on loans from commercial banking institutions. The Barrow Administration is not a player in that market; therefore, its concern for credit ratings is minimal. On the other hand, the bondholders are owners of stocks that would be much tougher to sell if they move any closer to junk status. Those bonds aren’t anything the country of Belize is or should be intending to roll over; therefore, it is their baby. It is in the best interest of the bondholders to ensure that Belize is in the best position to meet its payment obligations and if that means a restructure is necessary by March 22 then it is essential for the bondholders that such an agreement is reached. When everything on the table is weighed it turns out that the Superbond is as much a problem for the bondholders as it is for Belize.
Danny Mason and company to stand trial for murder of Pastor
Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith has determined that there is sufficient evidence for William “Danny” Mason, Terrence Fernandez, 31, Keiron Fernandez, 29, Ernest Henry Castillo, 20, and Ashton Vanegas, 24, to stand trial for the July 2016 murder of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas in the June 2017 Session of the Supreme Court.
During a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) on Tuesday, February 21, the accused men appeared unrepresented before the Chief Magistrate. They stand accused of the kidnapping and murder of Lucas and conspiracy to commit kidnapping upon David Dodd. Prosecutor in the case, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams submitted over 100 pages of documents including statements, reports and documentary exhibits such as surveillance footage. Chief Magistrate Smith asked the accused men if they will be calling any alibi witness and neither had any to call on. They were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance in June in the Supreme Court.
NICH to announce plans for Leela Vernon’s Memorial Service
The National Institute of Culture and History is in consultation with the family of cultural icon Leela Genus Vernon to organize “a celebration of her life and legacy”. On Thursday afternoon, February 23, the institute will announce plans for the memorial service.
Vernon passed away around 9 a.m. on Sunday, February 19, after a battle with chronic renal failure. Also referred to as chronic kidney disease, chronic renal failure is the progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. A blood drive was held for Vernon last week while doctors did all they could to keep her alive. Reports are that she showed signs of recovery but her body succumbed to the strain placed on her heart in the battle to stay alive. Vernon officially died as a result of cardiac arrest.
Leela Vernon will be best remembered for her classic “Who Seh Kriol Noh Got No Kulcha”. This track is a song that encouraged Creole Belizeans to take pride in their identity and culture. This was at a time when the country’s expanding demographics was causing Creole Belizeans to lose grip on their cultural identity.
Teresita Castellanos questions validity of Auditor General’s report
Last week Teresita Castellanos who was the financial officer at the Immigration department between May 2011 to June 2014 which was reviewed by the Auditor General’s report came out swinging with revelations of, “I was in the belly of the Beast.” She impugned on the department that, “the Immigration Officers, they are a fraternity, the mentality of touch one, touch all.” She continued to sate that, “I will like to state that the resistance by some officers was beyond my comprehension, resistance in adhering to regulation, to doing the right thing. At one point, some of us were fearful for the life of the acting Director, Maria Marin.”
That was last week and this week she had to answer for her actions. In many instances she could not recall what was being referred to in the Auditor General’s report and even went further to admit that she too must have made some mistakes. Nevertheless, she challenged the validity of the report.
Teresita Castellanos questions validity of Auditor General’s report
The Ministry of Education, in the interest of the students and parents countrywide, has decided to end the fight over pay with the Belize National Teachers Union. There has been a settlement of the BNTU lawsuit, where the Ministry will not cut the pay for the teachers who went on strike, and the teachers have committed to give back 6 of those 11 school days lost in the strike.
Readers are aware that about 13 weeks ago, Eamon Courtenay, acting as the attorney for the BNTU filed a lawsuit to stop the Ministry of Education from docking the teachers pay at the end of November. The BNTU successfully convinced the Chief Justice to grant an injunction restraining the Ministry from moving forward, and the Ministry had to pay the teachers, even though the deductions were already taken out.
Minister of Defence Continues National Tour of Belize Coast Guard Facilities
Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar has visited Coast Guard Facilities in the Central Sector as part of his national tour of Coast Guard facilities countrywide.
Accompanied by Admiral John Borland and senior personnel from the Ministry of Defence, Hon. Saldivar visited Calabash Caye (Turneffe) where the Coast Guard has a Forward Operating Base, constructed in 2010. The tour then carried them to Half Moon Caye and Glovers Reef (Middle Caye) where the Coast Guard partners with conservation organizations, providing law enforcement support. The groupthen visited Southern Long Caye where the Coast Guard recently established a Patrol Base to provide security for fishermen in the area.
Grace Primary receives donation from CITCO
Grace Primary School is now the third school to have received a donation from the Belize City Council this month. Councilor Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar, through the portfolio for Women and Children, delivered a cheque to the Principal of Grace Primary School, Myrna Sheppard, on Tuesday, February 21. The contribution is to be used for Standard Six students gearing up for the Primary School Examinations this March and May. Sheppard says that she will make sure the money is used wisely for the student’s benefit.
The idea to make donations to students preparing for PSE came from the Council’s Children Advisory Board which is comprised of children in the upper level of primary schools and lower levels of secondary schools across the city. Last week on Valentine’s Day the Council gave a donation to Queen Square School and St. John’s Anglican the week before. Grace Primary is the third of eight primary schools that will receive a donation.
Minister of Defence Contin
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has sentenced Danny Ku, 37, to 23 years imprisonment after he accepted a plea deal on Monday, February 13, 2017 for killing Nurse Anna Basto on September 2, 2006. Ku was convicted of murder on December 16, 2006 but he appealed the conviction and a retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeals on October 13, 2011. His retrial was set to commence on February 13 but after the facts of the case were read he submitted a guilty plea for a lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutors in the case, Shanielle Chell and Javier Chan of the DPP’s office, accepted the guilty plea and Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down his sentence on Monday, February 20, after mitigation plea was heard on his behalf.
Minister of Defence Contin
The last time we reported on Jeorgi Petrov, 28, and Halid Yuksel Aptula, 25, the two Bulgarians accused of a massive credit card scam, the Belize Bank had agreed to sit down and talk with their legal representatives in an effort to recover funds. Oscar Selgado, attorney for Aptula, has not provided any information since but it appears that significant progress was made because the convicted fraudsters are going to return money to the bank. On Friday, February 17, 2017, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser ordered the men to return the majority of $21,750 to the Belize Bank after the state had applied for the forfeiture of the total sum.
No arrests yet on murder of Jason Cortez
Police have still not made any arrests for the murder of 21 year-old Jason Cortez, the Belize City resident who was killed on Wednesday, February 15.
At press time for the previous issue of this newspaper, we received reports that shots rang out in the Lake Independence Area. The exact area is the Western Avenue, where Cortez was walking, after leaving his Balan Street home. It is suspected that the still unknown assailant followed him into Western Avenue and, and at around 6:25 p.m., that gunman let loose a hail of gunfire. He was injured multiple times in the chest, the abdomen, the back, and the buttocks. He tried to run for help, but he collapsed a short distance away. First responders rushed him to the KHMH, but he didn’t make it, despite the best efforts by the doctors to save his life.
Cousin kills cousin over money
Twenty four year-old Tishawn Hamilton, a resident of Pelican Street in Belize City, has been remanded for the stabbing murder of his 17 year-old cousin, Eaton Lamb. This entire family grieves because they are burying one of their own, while they look on as the police prosecute another family member for his death.
The incident happened sometime around 11:40p.m. on Sunday, February 19, and according to police they were on patrol on Antelope Street Extension. They say that they spotted Lamb running away from Hamilton, and he was bleeding profusely from stab wounds to the chest and back. The officers detained Hamilton, and they recovered from him a knife, which they believe he used to attack Lamb. They rushed Lamb to the KHMH for medical treatment, but he died about 40 minutes later while undergoing treatment.
Darwin Howard and Kenroy Sedacey accused of burglary
Darwin Howard and Kenroy Sedacey are out on bail after they were arraigned for burglarizing the home of Curl Estrada with intent to cause bodily harm. In a report to police, Estrada said that he was at home on Neal’s Pen Road Extension with his common-law wife on Friday, February 17, when two men entered and began to beat him with a piece of wood.
The duo appeared unrepresented before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, February 20, where they were read two criminal charges, one count of burglary and one count of harm upon Curl Estrada. They pleaded not guilty to the charge. Howard said, “I was the one who took the police to the home.” Sedacey told Senior Magistrate Fraser that Estrada lives with his niece and he went with her to speak to him about a domestic issue. While waiting outside, he heard his niece shouted, “Uncle, he deh choke meh I can’t breathe.” Sedacey said that was when he went inside, saw Estrada choking his niece and told him to let her go.
Walter Dawson mysteriously killed in Ladyville
Police need help trying to solve the heinous murder of Walter Dawson, a 57 year-old resident of Ladyville. His body was found in a part of the village that his family says he does not go to. It appears that someone tried to behead him.
Residents of Marage Road heard their dogs barking between 3:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Sunday, February 19. There was no cause for concern, but about 4 hours later, a passerby found Dawson’s body a short distance away from the Caribbean Shrimp Farm. The police were called in, the officers on the scene observed that he had suffered a chop wound to the head, neck and left shoulder area. The most serious, however, was a chop wound to the neck, which almost decapitated him.
Genevia Estrada charged with dangerous harm upon common-law-husband
Eric Kent Moses, 46, has died as a result of serious head trauma he suffered during a domestic dispute with his common-law-wife, Genevia Christine Estrada, 33, at their home on Victoria Street. It is not certain what happened on Valentine’s Day with the couple but when police visited the scene one had to be rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and the other was arrested for a single charge of dangerous harm.
On Friday, February 17, Estrada was escorted in the prison bus to appear in court before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. She was unrepresented in court and due to the nature of the offense, no plea was taken. Prosecutor in the case, Sgt. Claude Pitts, had heavy objection to bail being granted. He submitted that bail should be withheld due to the serious nature of the offense and the gravity of the injury Moses had sustained. According to prosecutor Pitts, Moses was at the KHMH with a very serious head trauma injury and it is not certain if his condition will improve or worsen.
Rafael Yam sentenced to 5 years for burglary
Rafael Yam, 36, a cane farmer from San Estevan Village in Orange Walk, was tempted by an open door when he visited Belize City on February 5 and is now serving the first days of a five year sentence for yielding. Allegations made against Yam is that in the early hours of February 5, around 4 a.m., he entered David Popper’s home at #8 Barrack Road as a trespasser and stole a number of household items.
According to the facts of the case presented to Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Friday, February 17, Popper reported to police that his apartment was burglarized and a slippers valued at $13, a black Adidas sports bag valued at $120 and a black Jordan tennis valued at $185 were stolen among other items, including Popper’s deodorant. The total value of items reported stolen is $1,260.
‘Bex’ given a hero’s welcome in San Ignacio
Hundreds of residents lined the principal streets of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns on Tuesday of this week, to give Miss Belize Universe Rebecca Rath a hero’s welcome, following her remarkable performance at the Miss Universe stage in Manilla. Additionally, over four hundred admirers turned up at the Cayo Welcome Center to embrace, take photos and speak to the people’s queen also referred to as ‘Bex.’
At the Cayo Welcome Center Rebecca Rath was presented with a key to the Twin Towns by Mayor Earl Trapp Junior. Mayor Trapp remarked that Rath brought hope to our children in the municipality. On stage at the Cayo Welcome Center Ms. Rath was also entertained by various artists such as Shamika Marove with ‘Strength of a Woman’ and by Marlon Lopez with ‘You and I.’ Dynamic speaker Javier Gutierrez was also on stage to make the people’s queen feel as welcome as possible.
Formal Export of Live Cattle to Guatemala
On February 13th,2017, a first shipment of live cattle was exported to Guatemala duty free, via the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. This marked the first export of live cattle under the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. It activated the Sanitary Agreement signed between Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and its Guatemalan counterpart. This shipment formalizes the trade of live cattle and provides a framework on which to build a robust cattle trade.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration congratulates the private sector stakeholders, in particular cattle farmers from Spanish Lookout, for their historic export and urges all cattle producers to use the formal route for trade.
Sir Elihu Lauterpacht and Baron Bliss showed Belize much love!
Sir Elihu Lauterpacht is dead, may his soul rest in peace. Of importance to the Jewel, he co-authored Belize: Joint Opinion and Legal Opinion on Guatemala’s Territorial Claim to Belize. Sir Elihu did not have one drop of Belizean blood in him, yet he worked very hard to help us in the Diplomatic fight against the Unfounded Guatemalan Claim. Baron Bliss did not set foot on Belizean soil yet he gave us so much. We can learn a lot from them! Maybe Aschroft would like to rethink his strategy? It is easy for me to list the Belizeans who tried to sell out Belize, steal national lands, destroyed Belize Technical College, cash infant scholarship vouchers, rob Treasury, bankrupt Central bank…. Sometimes I get tired of calling out the Big Thief PUP but as a Belizean Patriot said to me yesterday:” Ed, somebody has to remind the voters and the youth about the evil deeds of the Big Thief PUP. Those culprits want the past to stay hidden so that they can seek election victory.” Sorry, keeping quiet is not on my to-do list. Today I want to encourage each and every Belizean to try to match Baron Bliss and Sir Elihu! If we each give our very best for Belize, then the Jewel will do very well! The Big Thief PUP is the main problem, definitely not a part of the solution! Do not ever let the Big Thief PUP fool and trick you! No way Jose! No Way… PUP had they taken us down that road before and we are still mad! Wutliss PUP Superbond!
No matter how much I watched the news and read the papers over this past week, I could not identify a good juicy political topic to develop for this week’s edition of the Guardian. And unlike the People’s United Party, I elected against recycling the same old dreary personalities of past articles like Palacio and Courtney. I think that the public itself, including former Belize city PUP Mayoral candidate, Ms. Bodden, have gotten sick and tired of these two crowd pleasers. So I decided to change style a bit this week and tell you two true short stories.
I had a former work colleague who once served in the Belize Volunteer service in the infancy days of the BDF. This gentleman loved to tell tall tales of his accomplishments in the said volunteer force. But each time he told a tale, he would hold a different rank in the BVS. I know he only reached the level of lance corporal because in one of his daring encounters he told of single-handedly apprehending a large group of trouble- makers by the Queen Elizabeth Park in OW during the State of Emergency declared because of the Heads of Agreement disturbances in 1981. Little did he know that a photographer from MR. NOVELO’S studio had taken a picture from across the park which highlighted his brilliant, single, lonely, white arrowhead stripe sewn across his dark green uniform sleeve. In any instance, before the state of emergency was lifted, Mr. man’s story was that officials in the PUP’S hierarchy were already addressing him as “teniente ”or in English, “lieutenant”.
Mexican Ambassador and Transport Minister meet
Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize H. E. Carlos Quesnel met on Tuesday, February 21, in Belmopan with Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro.
The Minister and the Ambassador discussed opportunities for cross-border operations for motor carrier services between Belize and Mexico. A memorandum of understanding is being prepared and should be signed shortly to establish the framework under which such services will be provided.
Ambassador Quesnel described the meeting as “very productive”. Hon. Castro thanked him for the visit and says he is pleased with the deepening of the longstanding friendly relations between our two countries.
2017 fire season opens
February 15th marks the opening of the Forest Fire Season. The Forest Department warns that this year’s fire season may be more intense due to the impact of Hurricane Earl on our forests. “Earl damaged large areas of forest, leaving on-ground debris caused by fallen trees and dead branches, which will pose a fire hazard in the 2017 dry season and beyond.” said Wilber Sabido, Chief Forest Officer.
Forester German Novelo, officer responsible for Forest Fire Prevention and Management, added that the impacts of forest fires can be far-reaching, not merely causing major damage to trees and vegetation, non-timber forest products and wildlife habitat; but can also destroy crops, homes, threaten lives, and contaminate our air with smoke which becomes a health hazard.
Sabido and regional foresters met yesterday to review and discuss plans and preparations underway for this year’s anticipated significant forest fire potential. The department, which is responsible for the management of 3.5 million acres of national forests, notes that forest fires trends show that over 97,260 acres of Belize’s land surface are affected by wildfires each year.
Safeguarding Belize’s hardwoods
Belize’s prime hardwoods have become attractive targets by illegal loggers and as such steps are now being taken to conserve these national treasures for future use. Our climate, soil type and other conditions have proved to be ideal for the growth of 42 species of hardwoods, for which about 20 can be bought and commercialized in Belize. With a flourishing forest, which covers about 60% of land mass, there has been a renewed interest by illegal harvesters, who have found an endless supply of customers in both the national and international market.
At the national level, the revised forestry act now increases sanctions for the illegal harvesting of our hard woods. Forestry officers were trained last week to increase their abilities in detecting the identity of the various hardwood species. Rosewood, for example is difficult to differentiate from the other species, but the trainees were provided with microscopic level details and a color handbook on the various woods to increase their knowledge levels.
Armed with the new knowledge, 15 forest officers will now be able to provide evidence that will stand up in court. Such training has come thanks to the Wildlife Conservation Society WCS, in collaboration with the Forestry Department and with funds from the United States Fisheries and Wildlife Service.
Haulover Creek will be ready for La Ruta Maya
The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is a 170 mile long test of skill, strength and will power. The race has become the main attraction of the National Heroes and Benefactors Day festivities and it has attracted competitors from all over the world. There are four stages in the Challenge. It starts in San Ignacio next Friday and the first stage is completed 46 miles down the Macal River in Banana Bank Village. On Saturday, stage two is the most exhausting stretch as the race goes 60 miles from Banana Bank along the Macal River to Bermudian Landing along the Belize River. Sunday’s 36 mile challenge along the Belize River ends in Burrel Boom Village. The final day of the race is a 25 mile sprint to the finish line at the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. Competitors spend months of intensive training to prepare for the race. Yet this year, such hard work will pale in comparison to what is taking place in just a two mile segment of the route to make way for the race’s completion. Personnel of the Department of the Environment and the Belize City Council are working countless hours in order to make the Haulover Creek passable in time for the March 6.
Kolbe making Belmopan safer
Some three entities have teamed up to clean the Nation’s Capital. The Belmopan City Council in collaboration with the Belmopan Police and Kolbe Foundation held a cleanup campaign of the Almond Boulevard area last week.
At about 9:00 am last Thursday, 12 inmates armed with machetes and energy set out to clear the unfinished Almond Boulevard as a crime prevention initiative. This effort came as a result of Belmopan Police having received numerous complaints of criminal elements in the overgrown bushes of Almond Boulevard.
“We saw it as an area where crime could occur,” writes Howell Gillett, Officer in Charge of Belmopan Police.
“The area that is being cleaned is an unofficial pathway used by many good citizens, who want to make their journey to and from shorter. It is used by criminals at the same time which make the area a recipe for possible crime against persons and property,” he elaborated.
Celebrating the life of Bishop O. P. Martin
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City and Belmopan wishes to invite the people of God in Belize to join us in celebrating the life of our brother Bishop Emeritus Osmund Peter Martin. He was born on December 3, 1930 in Dangriga and died early in the morning of Thursday, February 16, 2017.
O. P. Martin was ordained a priest on April 3, 1959 in Dangriga after completing studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. He served at parishes in Corozal, San Ignacio, St. Joseph, and Holy Redeemer Cathedral. On October 7, 1982 he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop, making him the first Garifuna and Belizean bishop for the Church. After just a few years, on January 16, 1984, he was appointed the Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan. He served the Church in that leadership role until his retirement in 2007.
The late Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, a Champion of Belize’s Sovereingty and Territorial Integrity, Granted Order of Belize
Friday, February 17th, 2017. The Government of Belize regrets to learn of the passing of Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, CBE, QC, July 13th, 1926 to February 8th, 2017.
Sir Eli, as he was affectionately called, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University where he earned First Class Law and the Masters in International Law First Class and a doctorate in laws. He was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1950. Sir Elihu has had a distinguished career both as a professor and practitioner of International Law. He became a Law Fellow at Trinity College at Cambridge University and first appeared before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Nottebohm case in 1951. Since then he served as lead Counsel for several countries before the ICJ. In 2004, he was Counsel for Barbados before the arbitration tribunal that settled its maritime border dispute with Trinidad and Tobago. He also served as an arbitrator in several international Tribunals and as an advisor to some thirty governments over his long career.
The National Sports Council brightens the future of Queen’s Square Youth
The Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, through the National Sports Council, worked in conjunction with the Queen’s Square community to enhance the safety of youth who wish to participate in sporting and recreational activities. Through a lighting project implemented by the National Sports Council, Queen’s Square residents are now enjoying brighter evenings and nights on their basketball court.
The National Sports Council also assisted the residents in fixing security lights in the area so as to deter violence and criminal activities. This is a part of a wider government initiative of promoting citizen security through sports and recreation.
The National Sports Council thanks the residents of Queen’s Square and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for this opportunity to serve the people of Belize City in a way that facilitates their greater engagement in sports.
Looking past the political divide - Glenn needs your help
On Tuesday, February 21, I had the opportunity to visit with a colleague I have known for probably 20 years. Time and circumstances had us pick political parties of choice to support publicly and as a result we find ourselves on opposing political views. Glenn Tillett is a PUP and I am a UDP but that does not deter us from having engaging conversations whenever we have time. Of course, our conversations always steer clear of our politics.
On Tuesday it was his brother Kenworth, who took me to visit. Kenworth too is a stalwart of the UDP and in fact once served as the Secretary General of the UDP. Glenn has served the PUP, most notably in the last PUP administration as something like a public relations officer and/or advisor to Joe Coye in a number of portfolios he held. Kenworth readily admitted that on contact with his brother he too steers clear of politics. You see all of us can become very passionate about our political views and in an effort for it not to interfere with our friendship, we simply avoid the topic.
UB appoints new president
Professor Clement K. Sankat, former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (WI), St Augustine Campus, Trinidad has been appointed the seventh President of the University of Belize (UB). His appointment took effect February 15th 2017. Professor Sankat succeeds Mr. Alan Slusher, who has held the post since June 2014. This announcement was made by Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of UB's Board of Trustees during UB Graduation Ceremonies on February 11th. It comes after the Board, acting in accordance with the UB Act of 2000, undertook a wide and comprehensive search, employing a transparent, albeit robust selection process for the President.
Prof. Sankat, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago received his early education at Queen's College in Georgetown, Guyana, his birth place. He is a Chartered/Professional Engineer (CEng) by training with degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The UWI and a PhD from the University of Guelph in Canada. He has had a long and distinguished career at The University of the West Indies as a scholar and administrative leader.
Belmopan Comprehensive School boys win National Secondary Schools Football Championship
The Belmopan Comprehensive School captured the 2016-2017 National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) male football championship on Saturday 18th February, 2017, out at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town.
The championship features the regional champions from the four regions of the National Secondary Schools Sports Association. The Northern Region was represented by the Orange Walk Technical High School, the Central Region by Gwen Lizarraga High School, and the Western Region by the Belmopan Comprehensive School and the Southern Region by the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School.
On Friday 17th February, 2017 in the first game played, Belmopan Comprehensive School defeated the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School by the score of 4-2 in penalties after the regulation game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Softball Federation to hold open male invitational tournament
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament on March 4-5 and 11-12, 2017 respectively at Rogers Stadium.
The Open Senior Male Invitational Tournament will serve as the selection process for the pool of 36 players from which the final seventeen players will be selected to represent Belize at the X Pan American Male Softball Championship scheduled for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from September 14-25, 2017.
The X Pan American Male Softball Championship will serve as the qualifying tournament for the XVIII Pan American Games scheduled for Lima, Peru in 2019 and the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquillas, Colombia, in 2018.
Interested teams must register with Ms. Tiffany Heusner, Secretary General Belize Softball Federation by Wednesday 1st March, 2017.
Belmopan Bandits regain lead in Premier League Closing Season Competition
The 2017 Premier League of Belize Closing Season Competition continued over the weekend with four games on the schedule.
On Sunday 19th February, 2017, at the MCC Grounds, the Belize Defence Force won over the Freedom Fighters by the score of 3-1.
The goals for the Belize Defence Force were scored by Trimayne Harris in the 9th minute of play, Jeremy Gentle in the 37th minute of play and Shane Flores in the 86th minute of play. Meanwhile, the goal for the Freedom Fighters was scored by Jarren Lambey in the 75th minute of play.
At the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Police United FC edged out Wagiya FC by the score of 2-1. The visiting Wagiya FC was the first onto the scoreboard when Latrell Middleton scored in the 45th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, the lead was short lived when Daniel Jimenez scored the first of his two goals in the 48th minute of play to tie the score at 1-1 for the Police United FC.
Dangriga Dream Ballers halt the high flying San Pedro Tiger Sharks
The Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) competition continued over the weekend with two games on the schedule.
On Friday 17th February, 2017, out at the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School Auditorium in Dangriga Town, the level’s leading and previously unbeaten San Pedro Tiger Sharks was stop in its track by the talented Dangriga Dream Ballers by the score of 57-52.
The Dangriga Dream Ballers were led by Quinton Bowen who scored 13 points to go along with his 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Bowen’s supporting cast consisted of Dillmore Conorquie who scored 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished out 2 assists and he also had a steal; Tahj Wells who also scored 10 points to go along with his 15 rebounds and 3 steals and Akeem Trapp who scored 8 points along with 4 rebounds and an assist.
Breaking Belize News
Police looking for Belizean Cheaters
The new Belizean Cheaters craze on Facebook has gained so much traction that police are reportedly currently investigating a report from a mother that a nude picture of her underage daughter was maliciously posted to one of the several cheaters groups. The groups seemingly […]
Official funeral & Mass of Thanksgiving for Leela Vernon to be held next week
Brukdown Queen, Leela Vernon passed away from a cardiac arrest last Sunday in Belize.
An official Funeral and Mass of Thanksgiving for her life will be held on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the St. Peter Claver Church on Main Street in the town of Punta Gorda in the Toledo District.
PUP and UDP guilty of immigration offenses
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) has gathered much ammunition and even political mileage from the hearings conducted by the Senate Select Committee.
Figuratively speaking, PUP officials and supporters weekly gather their popcorn and tune in to the widespread corruption of the UDP authorities revealed during the hearing.
However, on Wednesday, the PUP ran for cover when Senior Immigration Officer, Gordon Wade, told the committee that the practice of massive immigration nationalization to get more voters on the voters’ list before election was not a new practice.
Leaked documents incriminates immigration officers in Nanes Schnitzer fraud
An internal document leaked from the Immigration and Nationality department this week, gave a detailed breakdown of how accused embezzler David Nanes Schnitzer, worked with corrupt public servants to get fraudulent Belizean documents.
The 14-page document, done by former Immigration Director Maria Marin, explained that things were wrong with Schnitzer’s documents, from his initial application in November 2012.
Marin said that immigration officer Ady Pacheco, accepted the application with several discrepancies, including the fact that the receipt had the name “Nanes” on it, but the application had the name “Banes.”
Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett summoned to appear to Senate hearing
Former Belize City Deputy Mayor, Eric Chang, and the Council’s Financial Controller, Patrick Tillett, are both in hot water.
They were “invited” to testify before the Senate Select Committee but they declined.
Yesterday, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, Aldo Salazar, told the media that the two have been summoned to appear in front of the committee.
If they do not appear, a warrant for their immediate arrest will be issued. It is not yet known when they are to appear.
Events taking place in the Caribbean all year round in 2017
Caribbean tourism in 2017 can be expected to be at its highest point, with a year filled with exciting events taking place around the region: from Carnival celebrations, to Sailing Weeks, the Crop Over Festival at Barbados, and fantastic music festivals or patron saints’ festivals, every month brings at least one fun celebration worth attending.
January was quite an eventful month, with the renowned Championship Bahamas at Paradise Island, but it is now already behind us. Looking to the near future, both the Saint Thomas International Regatta Stir and the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival in the British Virgin Islands are just around the corner. Fans of yachting and watersports cannot miss these two events, both of which take place at the end of March. Highlights are the San Pedro Lobster Festival in Belize (June 15), the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba (September 15-16), not to mention the 35th America’s Cup (presented by Louis Vuitton) that runs from May to June in Bermuda. November is the month of the Barbados Food & Wine & Rum Festival, while December brings Jazz à la Martinique, the Cayman Islands Marathon and Lord Nelson's New Year's Eve Pursuit Race in Antigua, among other festivities.
Guyana beats Belize 4-1
Guyana secured their first win at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Champion-ship, dismissing newcomers Belize 4-1 on Wednesday at the Malcolm Beach Soccer Facility, Bahamas.
Deshawn Joseph bagged a double in the fourth and 29th minute, while Jahshawn Moore and Jamal Haynes netted in the 24th and 25th minute, respectively.
For the loser, an own goal in the fifth minute was the only noteworthy moment.
Cabinet Approves Road Safety Master Plan, 6.5min.
Sail Away, 6min. Three years ago today we left for a Feb 24th to March 3rd cruise. We flew to New Orleans and boarded the Norwegian Star. It was our 3rd time to cruise on Norwegian Star Ship, and they treated us great. We visited Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, and Roatan as well as spending some extra time in New Orleans. A video is not the same as a cruise, but it brings back so many good memories for us and makes me want to "Sail Away" again. Maybe I can just tip every other person this week and think I am on vacation again?
Belize 2017 slide show, 17min. Slide show pf 2017 diving trip to Belize, Turneffe Flats Resort.
Andy Frasco & the UN burn it up in Belize, 7.5min.
Drew Jeffers sings, "My Kind of Girl" for Miss Belize, 4min.
BSI ASR WEEKLY CROP REVIEW 2017 - WEEK 11, 3min.
A PLAN TO ASSIST LOCAL POTATO FARMERS FROM SAN CARLOS, 5min. Potato farmers from the Village of San Carlos here in the Orange Walk District have been struggling to find a market for their over two hundred thousand pounds of potato in the local market which has been overrun by Mexican White potatoes. For several weeks we have heard the cries of the farmers as their product rot in the fields costing them thousands of dollars as the days go by.
BISHOP MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL HONOURS BISHOP EMERITUS OSMOND PETER MARTIN, 10min. In honour of the late Most Reverend Bishop Emeritus Osmond Peter Martin, this afternoon a special memorial mass was organized by the administration and staff of Bishop Martin High School to celebrate his life. Today’s mass was led by Father Oliver Smalls in the presence of the entire student body, organizers and invited guests. Its significance was mainly to express appreciation and gratitude to the Bishop for the countless positive contributions he brought to the Catholic Community in a whole.
Morning Matters with Madison Stone, 60min.
Open Your Eyes Special Ashcroft Interviews, 73min.
Mayan Discovery, 6.5min. G Adventures Mayan Discovery tour. Mexico, Guatemala & Belize
Miss Belize Rebecca Rath at cayo welcome center.., 30min.
Belize 2015, 9min.
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