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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
NEBL week 5: San Pedro Tiger Sharks steal a narrow victory
It was the fifth week of basketball action for the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), and this past weekend games were played in both the Cayo District and San Pedro Town. The San Pedro Tiger Sharks hosted the Orange Walk Running Rebels, winning a narrow 54-53 game. Meanwhile, the Cayo Western Ballaz won against Belmopan Bandit, 81-74. On Saturday, February 25th the island team welcomed the Running Rebels for their fifth game of the season. This game was intense and frustrating for the Tiger Sharks, as they were losing in the first two quarters of the match.
By the end of the third quarter, the game was tied 37-37. However, during the last quarter of the game, the visiting squad took the lead by almost ten points. Time was running out, and the Running Rebels kept sinking baskets. However, in the last minutes and seconds of the game, the Tiger Sharks made an amazing comeback, and seconds before the game was over, they netted the winning points that gave them the victory 54-53.
Ambassador of Cuba visits with Mayor Guerrero
Ambassador of Cuba, Lissette Perez, along with Orestes Hernandez, the Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, made a courtesy visit to San Pedro Town Mayor Daniel Guerrero on Friday, February 24th. It was Perez’ first time visiting La Isla Bonita since becoming Cuba’s ambassador to Belize in October 2016. After a warm welcome, the government officials of both countries discussed a potential partnership that would integrate Cuba and Belize.
Perez told The San Pedro Sun that San Pedro Town has a lot of potential and Cuba is willing to assist where needed. “We are excited to be here. We have different cooperative projects in Belize, and that’s why we want to work on a national, but local level. We came to explore what possibilities we have and move forward. We see a lot of things can change as far as San Pedro’s coastal erosion and the Sargasso effort. In terms of culture, health and education, Cuba believes in the integration of our neighbors, and Belize is a member of Caribbean Community Regional Integration (CARICOM) and Central American Integration System (SICA). All of us share the Caribbean Sea and we look forward to strengthening the ties between Cuba and Belize,” said Perez.
"Day Two" Carnaval 2017
The Carnaval Fiesta continues as the second day went by with more dancing and painting. Flora's Group theme of "Exercising Girls" fit in perefectly with all the dancing they were doing, while The San Pedro AIDS Commission brought awarness in saying No to Offshore drilling with their theme "Under the Sea". Los Barbies danced the night away celebrating "Los Quine Años De Ruby" Ruby's 15 Años - a parody to the internet famous birthday celebration. Lets not forget the painting and the foam party!
Misc Belizean Sources
A look back at last year's Juan Carnaval on the streets of Corozal Town
Followed with a stage performance. We look forward to presenting next year's event, and invite our community members to participate in this unique cultural tradition that only exists in Northern Belize. We are so proud to showcase our intangible cultural heritage, and perhaps next year with your support, we can expand with the customary pintadera event!
Belize Fishing Report, Feb 20th - Feb 26th, 2017
The permit were hungry, and even first timers landed a few. Randy, Matt, Ben, Alex, Michael, Lisa, Bob, and David made it look easy catching a few. Catching a permit has been compared to a hole-in-one in golf. Sometimes the harder you try, the harder it gets. The anglers that haven’t fished for permit very long are sometimes the most successful. Bob with really nice permit. Capt Emir throws thumbs up.
The Belize Bird Rescue is working with a Frigate Bird
Her bronze wings suggest she may be a juvenile. Frigate Birds spend almost all of their lives in the air. Her wingspan is almost nine feet. These strong fliers can pick food off the ocean surface, but do delight in taking food away from other birds.
Carnaval 2017 - Day 2
with San Pedro Aids Commission. All the creatures of the sea came out to sing and dance with the Reef but big greedy oil wanted to join in.
Lenten season pressures fishing
Wednesday, March 1st marks the start of the Lenten season. Traditionally it has also meant a spike in fishing pressure, especially in illegal efforts, to meet the demands of foreign markets for seafood over the next forty days. One popular gear of choice? The gillnet. Over the last several days, these are the images that have been shared from Southern Belize. An early morning sting operation by the Belize Coast Guard and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) resulted in the confiscation of gear from illegal fishing activity. And once again highlights the need to urgently address the use of gillnets in Belizean waters.
Couples and Marriage Counselling Workshop at Caye Caulker Community Center
Wednesday, March 1 at 9 AM - 11 AM.
The CCVC in partnership with an American Volunteer Group will be offering a Couples and Marriage Counselling Workshop on Wednesday, March 1st 2017. 1st session will start at 9am -11am & 2nd session starting at 4pm-6pm at the community centre. Please RSVP at CCVC office or call/text 630-3652.
Department of Civil Aviation Issues Reminder on Drone Operations
The operation of drones within a five-mile radius of any public or private airport without the explicit written consent from the Director of Civil Aviation is strictly prohibited.
Further, any person wishing to utilize a drone for the filming of the upcoming La Ruta Maya River challenge must obtain written permission along with operating limitations from the Department of Civil Aviation.
Drone operations during the La Ruta Maya River Challenge will not be permitted in the following areas:
• From Young Bank Village to the Banana Bank Lodge
• From Burrell Boom Village to the Haulover Bridge.
Join us this week at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar to paint "Mermaid Dive".
$25 u.s $50 bz a person
Ahmadiyya Basketball League All Star Game
Ahmadiyya Basketball League Belize invites you to it's All Star day this Friday March 3, 2017 at Belize Elementary from 5:00-8:00 PM. Dunk, 3-point Competition and All-star Game.
CARNAVAL FIESTA! A TRIBUTE TO JOSÉ FELIX AYUSO
On Saturday, February 25, 2017, the San Pedro Town Council hosted its annual Carnaval Fiesta! which is the opening night for the Carnaval celebrations in San Pedro. This year, the Carnaval Fiesta was dedicated to long time Carnavalista, José Felix Ayuso Jr., who for many years has shared with the community and visitors of San Pedro Town, his love and passion for the unique San Pedro tradition.
Under the theme, “Orgullo, Alegría y Pasión! - Carnaval es mi tradición!” which translates to “Pride, Joy and Passion - Carnaval is my tradition!” is how San Pedro welcomes its 2017 Carnaval celebrations!
The homage to José Felix Ayuso began with a special invocation by Pastor Clive Welsh of the Lighthouse Christian Radio, where he offered words of comfort to the family and friends of the late Felix Ayuso Jr. Following the invocation was the welcome address by Councilor Flora Ancona, who herself is a Carnavalista herself and shared her sentiments of the great loss Felix’s departure is to the community of San Pedro. She remained positive by welcoming everybody to the event and asking everyone to support the comparsas and to play a safe Carnaval this year.
Caye Caulker Blood Drive March 4
CC will be having a blood donation drive on Saturday 4 March from 9AM - 3PM. Donating blood is crucial and life saving for people who are sick or have injuries. Any of us could need blood at any time. If you donate blood you or a loved one are eligible to get blood in the future. Please, please come out and support the health of the community and yourselves!
FUNDRAISER FOR COROZAL ANIMAL PROGRAM (CAP)
Please join us for a fun afternoon of Bingo
DATE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15.
TIME: 2 TO 4 PM.
PLACE: JAM ROCK.
COST: $2 PER BINGO CARD.
100% of the money we raise funds Corozal Animal Program's spaying, neutering, fostering, adopting and immunization programs for animals in Corozal.
Chan Pine Ridge Annual Agricultural and Trade Show
READY FOR THE LONG BARON BLISS WEEKEND? Come join us in OW East at Chan Pine Ridge for the Annual Agriculture and Trade Show this Saturday and Sunday March 4th and 5th.
It is a family event, 2 days and nights of fun for everyone: from sports to culture and agricultural displays, kids events, performances and dance. Support a worthy cause; see you there.
Ruta Maya Bash
Ruta Maya kick off party at cheers Nightclub , San Ignacio with super furia live band on 3rd and 4th March 2017. continuously two nights Entertainment only at Cheers night club. Music by dj Lala from more FM and dj bitta from maximum radio. Have a wonderful weekend.
Social Security Board presents National Debate 2017
Support the UB Debate Team on March 7th, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the George Price Center as they go against Belize Adventist Junior College.
Dead manatee found dead on Belize River on February 28, 2017
PLB - FC Belize vs Verdes FC
Sunday, March 5 at 3:30 PM - 6 PM, MCC Grounds
Belize City. Live Coverage!
PLB - FC Belize vs Verdes FC
Pre-Game Show: 3:30pm
Game Start: 4:00pm
When: Sun, March 5th
Where: MCC Grounds, Belize.
Tune in to Channel 10. The National Channel! Central TV & Internet Customers On Channel: 10 Dibo , 132-10 HD , 22-110
San Pedro Channel 53, Orange Walk & Corozal through Centaur Channel 61.
El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro 2017
‘Orgullo, Alegría y Pasión; Carnaval es mi Tradición', El Gran Carnval de San pedro is in full swing! Ushering in the 40-day Lenten period, this year's event is taking place from Friday, February 24th to Tuesday, February 28th. Carnaval is all about TRADITION and friendship, and we invite you to be a part of it!
"Turn the Tide, Respect the Reef"... and Win a GoPro!
Belize's Reef Week 2017 is almost here, which means Oceana's Instagram Competition is back! Show us how you are living out this year's theme: "Turn the tide, Respect the Reef".
Reef Week Instagram Photography Contest: Official Rules:
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE OR WIN.
HOW TO ENTER:
No purchase necessary to participate or win. This Contest will be hosted solely on the Oceana in Belize (“Host”) Instagram page and advertised on the Host’s Instagram and Facebook pages. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
Man Who Knocked Down Ashanti Had No License, Is Sent To Jail
6 year-old Ashanti Pollard who was knocked down and killed on Sunday night. She and her mother, Dawn Swasey were only a short distance away from their Faber's Road Extension home when they were hit from behind by a speeding car. Well, the man who was driving the car has been arrested and charged for her death - and he is in jail tonight. It turns out, he didn't even have a valid driver's license.
He's 43 year-old Albert Martinez, a resident of the Western Pines Community, at mile 8 on the George Price Highway. He was arraigned this morning before the Chief Magistrate on charges of manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, driving a motor vehicle whilst not being the holder of a valid driver's license, driving an unlicensed motor vehicle, and displaying unauthorized license plates.
The first 3 of these are indictable offenses, so no plea was taken. For the other 3 charges, he pleaded not guilty. The Chief Magistrate also had to consider whether or not to grant him bail. He owes the court for traffic offenses, which is an aggravating factor against him, and so when he was taken back before the Chief Magistrate in the afternoon, she made her decision on bail.
Seawell Brother Mark Tries To Slip Through Same Legal Loophole as Gary
3 months ago the Court of Appeal freed Gary Seawell, who had been in prison for 6 years while pending extradition to the US. Well, his older brother Mark is still fighting his extradition to the US for the same drug trafficking charges. And he intends to use his brother's case as precedent for why he should be set free as well.
His attorneys went back before the Chief Justice today to apply to have additional arguments admitted in his Habeas Corpus Case. That case has been before the Chief Justice since August 2013, and in that 3 years and 6 months since, Chief Justice Benjamin has not delivered judgment. So, since the court hasn't ruled yet, his attorneys are asking that he allows them to make additional arguments. They want to add that the Chief Magistrate's Warrant for his committal to Prison is defective, which was the very same grounds his brother Gary used to beat his extradition.
The Chief Justice heard arguments today from his lawyers as well as the Acting Solicitor General on whether or not he should even entertain them on re-opening the case. When they left court, Seawell's attorneys told us more:
Superbond Common Ground
Belize may have missed its 26 million dollar Superbond payment eight days ago, but the 30 day grace period isn't over, and tonight, there is news of real progress on Superbond negotiations. According to a financial news report from "Debtwire" in the US, Charles Blitzer, the special advisor to the creditor committee is referenced as saying that the government of Belize and a committee of bondholders have "bridged" some of their differences toward a…restructuring.
This follows up on what the PM told us when he said that he was optimistic that an agreement with the bondholders could be reached before the end of the grace period.
Blitzer told Debtwire, quote, "'The prime minister is correct that progress was made. The committee is continuing to work hard with the government and their advisors to close the remaining gaps as soon as possible." End quote.
So, there are signals from both sides that a compromise is being hammered out, and it may mean that government has to sweeten up on its offer to bondholders. As we've reported that proposal is to repay the principal in three equal annual installments 20 years from now, between 2036 and 2038, and fixing the interest rate at 4% per annum, lower than the current rate of 5%, and the August 2017 step-up rate of 6.76%.
GOB Served Vega's Attorney, Compensation Lawsuit Coming Along
Last week Friday, we Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, and Acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke told the media that Government's lawyers were having difficulties serving the lawsuit documents on Andre Vega, because they couldn't find him.
As we've reported, the Government is going after Vega and Sharon Pitts in court to try and force them to give back 400 thousand dollars each, for land compensation that they should not have received.
Well, this evening, the Solicitor General confirmed to us that the Government has served the papers on Vega's attorney, Estevan Perrera, yesterday.
The Government has filed the claim form in the Supreme Court, and both Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts will have to acknowledge service within 14 days. 28 days after that, they will have to file their defense, and shortly after that, the court will schedule a date for case management.
Ministry of Health Says Backyard Burials A "No-No"
Yesterday, Bishop OP Martin was buried on the grounds of the school and the church that was so dear to him, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Belmopan. But, while the Catholic and Anglican churches are allowed to do that, the Ministry of health says, don't try it at home!
The Director of Health services today posted the following on his Facebook page, quote: "A gentle reminder in terms of burial on a private property, note that there is a process and so far this year, we haven't given approval for any entity to conduct such burial provided the community has a cemetery. If anyone has proceeded to bury anyone on a private property then the law has been broken and we are seeking legal advice on the matters as we are being alerted of same."
It continues, quote,
"In regards to the burial of the Bishop O.P. Martin, please be advised that the burial of the Catholic Bishop falls in line with Intramural Burials. Under section 44 (1) (b), the church both Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops have authority by the Public Health Act for the burial of bishops within the wall or the churchyard of their Cathedral."
Another Monima Hired In Regional Health Management
And in other news from the Ministry of Health, remember Audibaldo Monima? He's the short lived former Regional Manager for health services in the north.
Despite not having the required degree in Public Health Administration, he was given the job in June 2016, presumably as a political favor from Minister of Health Pablo Marin. After it was learned that he didn't have a health, or any other degree, he was removed from the post.
Well, the news tonight is that his wife is now the Deputy Regional Manager. Maria Monima is the Deputy Director for the Northern Region. We are told she has been approved for the post on contract, pending approval from Finance and Public Service.
But, in her case, the Ministry says that she outright outscored everyone else who applied, and that she is qualified.
The Referendum That Lives On
Five years ago OCEANA and members of the environmental community staged a "people's referendum" on offshore drilling. The unofficial vote attracted almost 30,000 Belizeans, 96% of which voted against allowing offshore oil exploration in the country. At the time, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in the middle of campaigning for his second term, and promised that if elected, an official referendum would be held. Now, half a decade later, there is no sign of a referendum on the horizon, but the environmental community is making sure the topic does not fade from memory. The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage held a press conference to commemorate the People's Referendum and remind people that the fight's still going...
Amanda Burgos Acosta, Executive Director - Audubon Society:
"The thing is that we are here and like I said it's a commemoration. We do want to keep this and we have been very vigilant in keeping this topic in the consciousness of the public, in the consciousness of the politicians, because it is something that we are holding stalwart to. We are not wavering. We have the support of the populist. As you can see San Pedro has rallied their troops. We've seen Hopkins, we've seen Placencia, and we've seen Caye Caulker. We have lots of nice "no oil" imagery from people. We have had a call for people to be sensational and they have been."
No Drone Zones Declared
Drones have risen in popularity and visibility over the last few years. The miniature aircraft have become a fun pastime for some, while others have turned their flying skills into business ventures. These drones are often seen during special events, like carnival, Pan Yaad, and the La Ruta Maya, but today the Department of Civil Aviation issued a press release warning pilots on the strict rules for operating their machines during this weekend's canoe race. We spoke to the Department's C-O-O, Nigel Carter, about this warning and other drone regulations...
Nigel Carter, COO - Department of Aviation:
"The department of civil aviation is the regulatory body charge with oversight of aviation activities in Belize. What that means is anything that operates in Belize's air space, we are charge with oversight and ensuring safety of those passengers in the aircraft and those persons that those aircraft flies over."
"We found it prudent to issue our press release on the operation of drones during the La Ruta Maya River Challenge. You know that there is many people who are going to be on the river banks that are going to be witnessing the race. We also know that this race passes along routes that pass near airports. We found it prudent that we tell the general public that the operation of drones in specific areas is not the best thing to do. We must protect the aircraft that are landing at these airports and as such we are establishing specific areas that are prohibited and we are also issuing guidelines on the operation of drones throughout the rest of the route of the race."
Former Soldier Presumed To Have Drowned In The North
A 37 year old former BDF soldier is presumed to have drowned in the north. He is Oswaldo Toledano, and his body was found floating in the Rio Hondo near San Ramon village today. Toledano was last seen on Saturday in San Roman attending a wedding, but no one saw him after that until his body floated up in the river today. His Mother told CTV-3 News in Orange Walk that he was in the habit of drinking:..
Voice of: Odila Toledano, Mother of Deceased:
"The last time I saw him, he said he was going to a wedding in San Roman. He went and I didn't see him after that until today I got the news. He was a person that like to drink. But he is not a troublesome person. he drinks, that's all he does." Voice of: Area Resident:
"I saw him Saturday in the park and I spoke with him. The man, he told me, his name was Oswaldo Toledano and I told him I was going to buy. I went to buy and I moved from him. A lot of people saw me and I told my nephew I was talking to him and I went to the shop and he told me he was going to a party. Then Sunday morning I was heading to Orange Walk and I saw his bike here and I move his bike. I didn't think it was his. I didn't see anything in the water, so I pass and I went."
Sharing On Shrove Tuesday
You may know all about Ash Wednesday, but you're probably not too familiar with Shrove Tuesday. It is the day immediately before the first day of lent - which starts tomorrow. Now, that day is usually known for carnivals, but in Belize one Anglican group chose to observe Shrove Tuesday by giving to special kids who sometimes get overlooked. They catered to 200 of them on the grounds of the St. John's Anglican Church this afternoon, and Elena Young told us more:..
According to young, they have been doing this since the 70's.
Beach Football Finish Not Quite Spectacular
Last week, we showed you how Belize's National Team was performing well in 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Well, the results are in, and the final tallies say that Belize came 13th out of the 16 teams who competed.
As we told you, on Friday, Belize was in the running for 9th place, but they had 2 weekend games against Barbados and Turks and Caicos. Belize won both those games, but overall, they placed 13th. Still, there was some cause for celebration because Belize's Marlon Mesa tied with Mexican Footballer Jose Ramon Maldonado Alonso for the most goals scored in the tournament.
They were both given the Golden Boot Award.
Remembering The Unforgettable OP Martin
Last night we showed you some quick clippings from the funeral of Catholic Bishop OP Martin. Tonight, Courtney Weatherburne has a closer look at the farewell from the official mass at our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral.
With hands open and raised and voices loud and strong, the mass of thanksgiving for the life of Bishop OP Martin began. And down the aisle, Father Small and others joined in the celebration.
The pews at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co- Cathedral were all filled yesterday afternoon.
Tents and chairs were set up outside as well to accommodate the huge crowd of teachers, Belmopan residents and guests from all over the country.
Former PUP leader Francis Fonseca strolled in to pay his respects. He was then joined by PUP Leader John Briceno.
Artists "Hib Am" For Leela
And this week's other official funeral is on Thursday in Punta Gorda town. That's the one for Lila Vernon who died at the age of 66 on Sunday 19th. February.
Last night, her fellow artists had a celebration of her life with a tribute concert at the Bliss Center where Leela's favorite phrase, "hib am long sho" was in full effect.
Mark Seawell to Learn Fate in Extradition Case Next Week
The brothers Seawell – Mark, Gary and Duane – have been a staple of Belizean newscasts for more than a decade now. That’s how long they have been fighting extradition [...]
Accused in Traffic Death of 6 Year-Old Unable to Make High Bail
Forty-three-year-old Albert Martinez of Western Paradise, Belize District is at the Central Prison this evening, unable to make a whopping twenty-thousand-dollar bail set for six traffic related offenses in the [...]
Did Dorian Pakeman Violate Bail Condition with Trip to U.S.?
Government of Belize chief press officer, Dorian Pakeman is due back in court on March tenth. He faces a charge of causing death by careless conduct for the traffic fatality [...]
Andre Vega Still in Hiding, But Attorney Confirms Service of Claim for Repayment of Compensation
Where is Andre Vega, son of former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega? The Government wants to know, because it has been looking for him for months to serve him [...]
Mark Tench and Vernon Leslie to Appear Before Senate Select Committee
The Senate Special Select Committee will be meeting in public on Wednesday, March first, with two witnesses scheduled to testify. News Five has learned that those witnesses will be Immigration [...]
S.S.B. Considering Purchase of $55 Million in B.T.L., B.E.L. Shares
Eleven million shares, valued at fifty-five million Belize dollars – seven million in Belize Telemedia Limited and four million in Belize Electricity Limited – are up for purchase by the [...]
S.S.B. Making Investment, Not Helping Government
The former Government C.E.O. does not claim to know the Government’s motivations for making this offer at this time, although Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed last week that Government always [...]
The People’s Referendum, Five Years After
It has been five years since thousands of Belizeans voted in an unofficial referendum called “The People’s Referendum” coordinated and spearheaded by The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage and [...]
Drone Warning Ahead of La Ruta Maya Race
The use of drones has become more prevalent—both for private and commercial use. Today, a notice was issued to drone operators by the regulatory body charged with oversight of aviation [...]
Regulations in Place to Manage Drone Usage
There are general rules that apply for all drone operations. The aerial vehicle can only be flown to a maximum height of four hundred feet and closer to aerodromes, that [...]
2 Charged in Connection with the Assault of a Belize City Man
A son of the late George “Junie Balls” McKenzie Senior was before the court today where he was charged jointly with well-known figure, Henry Gillett, aka “Pulu” of Majestic Alley. [...]
Why S.S.B. Needs Your Money to Pay for Pension Increase
Pensioners have been granted a five-percent increase in their monies offered by the Social Security Board for those earning more than three hundred and twenty dollars per week, to match [...]
Outstanding Cadet Recognized by Police
Precinct Three Police today recognized an outstanding cadet from their corps of thirty. After performing exceptionally well, an eleven year old was selected as the best cadet for the month [...]
Celebrating the Life of Leela Vernon
As the country prepares to put her to rest, Leela Vernon’s sprit was alive on Monday night. A tribute to honor the iconic ambassador of Belizean Creole culture took place [...]
Final Farewell to Bishop O.P. Martin
Beloved Bishop Emeritus OP Martin was laid to rest at Belmopan’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, as was his wish. The Bishop had been ailing for some time and passed [...]
OWTC And Orange Walk East Area Representative Over State Of Infrastructure
The back and forth between Orange Walk Town Council Mayor Kevin Bernard and Orange Walk East area representative Hon. Elodio Aragon over the state of infrastructure in Orange Walk East has resumed after Aragon wrote Mayor Bernard today suggesting that the town council should move quickly to pave streets which he has done works on, in the constituency. In his letter, Aragon tells the Mayor that he has been [quote] the only one undertaking the upgrading of streets in the Louisiana Area [unquote] and that the streets have been prepared for chip and seal to be added. Aragon then accuses the Mayor of neglecting streets in the Louisiana area. Now, if you know anything about Mayor Bernard, you will know that he doesn’t blink at just anything and also that he isn’t one to back down from a rumble, politically-speaking. So, in true battle-ready style, the Mayor responded to Aragon’s letter in stinging rebuke of his assertions. Firstly, the Mayor expresses gratitude that Aragon admitted his limitations and therefore must turn to the Council for the street works to be completed. Bernard notes that his Council is willing and able to complete the works.
Andre Vega To Face Justice System
Andre Vega, the Son of former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, today remains in the center of a land scandal involving a parcel of prime real estate near the Haulover Creek, which was wrongfully sold to him and for which he received a hefty compensation. The land was acquired by the Ministry of Natural Resources back in 2013 and despite warnings that it was privately owned, the prime real estate of land was subdivided into two plots, one went to Andre and the other to U.D.P. insider Sharon Pitts. A fault which cost the Government roughly eight hundred thousand dollars which was tendered in smaller amounts to Vega and Pitts as compensation for the cheaply bought land. When the matter came to light, public outrage blew up forcing Vega to resign from cabinet and government to initiate proceeding to recover the almost one million dollars from Andre and Pitts. After attempts made by former Attorney General Vanessa Retreage, Pitts was served with her court claim and has filed her defense. Andre Vega on the other hand could not be located and served with legal documents, according to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte. But that was until yesterday.
SIF Donates To ESTM
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico high school was in celebratory mood today as it rolled out the red carpet to welcome a major donation of brand new lab equipment handed over by the Social Investment Fund.
A brief ceremony held at the institution’s conference room this afternoon, opened with the school’s ESTM Ambassador’s band playing a lively rendition of the national anthem, followed by a welcome address from the school principal and then right into the formal handing over of the donation.
Presenting the items on behalf of SIF was their Technical Officer for the Northern Region, Freddi Cabb, who told us that the donation represents the first phase in a larger project funded with support from the Caribbean Development Bank.
Fire Department Issues Precautionary Measures Against Wild Fires
A few days ago the Forest Department announced the official opening of the Forest Fire Season which is believed will be more intense this year due to the detrimental effects caused by Hurricane Earl in August of 2016. We understand that the Chief Forest Officer along with other regional foresters have already met to review and establish plans to combat the anticipated increase in cases of forest fires. Here in Orange Walk wild fires are already affecting the Sugar Industry resulting in product and financial loss for cane farmers. The incident prompted stakeholders of the industry to work hand in hand to avoid further losses and now everyone is on high alert. Bearing in mind that wild fires can result in the destruction of vegetation and households, and even threaten lives, we spoke to Officer in Charge of the Orange Walk Fire Department, Miguel Medina who shared with us several precautionary measures to avoid fire incidences.
Did Dorian Pakeman Breached Court Order?
On January 10th Dorian Pakeman, the Director of the Government Press office, appeared in court on a single charge of: Causing death by careless conduct following a traffic accident back in March of 2016 where Biscayne Mechanic, Dean Dawson lost his life. As it had previously been reported, citing the nature of the charge levied on him, Pakeman was granted bail by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer who ordered that he cannot leave the country without first notifying the court that he must travel, but was not asked to surrender his passport. A report on the Amandala newspaper on February 13th however, indicated that Pakeman had violated the court’s bail conditions, after a picture was posted by a friend of Pakeman on social media which shows him at a basketball game in the US the week of the 12th of February.
Mr. Belize Head Columbus Ohio To Represent In Arnold Classic
Three well-known Belizean bodybuilding athletes are preparing to represent Belize on the world-stage. The country’s buffest, five-time Mr. Belize bodybuilding champ Rigo Vellos, is leaving tomorrow to participate in the Arnold Sports Festival to be held in Columbus, Ohio. Two other athletes Oyinkro Akpobodor and Aurel Lewis will also compete.
The Festival features the very popular Arnold Classic competition which attracts athletes from all over the world. Vellos will be participating for the second time, since his first entry in 2014 in the Light Heavy-weight category in which he placed 9th. Today we met him at the Spartan Gym in Corozal Town and he told us why he believes he is better prepared this time around.
Rigo Vellos, 5x Mr. Belize:
“The Arnold Classic competition is a very hard competition that is where you compete with the best of the best from around the world in the Amateur level and my expectations are to represent Belize very well, I had already competed out there in 2014 and I came in ninth and I am hoping this time it will be a better placement for me and Belize. I had to make sure that I grow meaning in am in weight, body size, muscle size, the last time I completed in the 90 kilos and this time I am going to compete in the 100 kilos I took trace break to make sure that I grow in the sport, learning tricks, get more experience at other places and grow basically mentally and physically. Having the experience then you now more or less what to expect out there, how to prepare, how you need to look, so the experience is really, really helping me this time and am making sure that I go up far better prepared than I went compared to when I went to 2014.”
Standard Six Student Named January’s Police Cadet of the Month
An 11-year-old girl from Queen Street Baptist School has been named Police Cadet of the Month for January 2017. An official acknowledgement took place this afternoon on the compound of Precinct Three on Queen Street in Belize City where thirty fellow cadets gathered. Deputy Commander for Precinct Three, Assistant Superintendent of Police Anacely Petillo gave […]
Music Ambassador’s 2016 Year in Review
Shyne Barrow is the son of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. In April 2010 he was appointed as Belize’s Music Ambassador; a move that many were and remain displeased with. Today the Music Ambassador was put to task on social media in terms of his efforts and work done in promoting local artist. Shyne’s response was […]
Retired Catholic Bishop Laid to Rest
A state funeral for the late Most Reverend Osmond Peter Martin was in Belmopan at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral. As we said earlier in our newscast, hundreds of Belizeans from all walks of life came out to bid farewell to Bishop Martin. The eulogy was delivered by Meliton Auil. MELITON AUIL “I have […]
Child, 6, killed in front of mother by speeding vehicle
Ashanti Pollard, 6, was tragically killed in front of her mother by a speeding vehicle at around 6:30 on Sunday night.
The Infant 1 student at Wesley Primary School had spent the day with her mother, Dawn Swasey, at the home of another relative in Hattieville, where they had made Creole bun.
However, they returned to Belize City and were walking to their home on Fabers Road Extension when a vehicle struck Pollard from behind, separating her from her mother, whose hand she was holding at the time.
Pollard suffered from head and body injuries and died on the scene. Her mother suffered minor injuries to her left hand, left foot and left hip, all classified as harm by a medical doctor.
The dried-up remains of Pollard’s blood can still be seen at the intersection of Fabers Road Extension and Krooman Road, where she was hit.
Salvadoran escapes from the Belize Central Prison
At about 11:00 yesterday morning, Sunday, a Salvadoran inmate of the Belize Central Prison, Jonathan Galan, 34, reportedly imprisoned for drug trafficking, escaped from the Kolbe Foundation facility, and police and prison officers have launched a manhunt to recapture him.
A report to us is that the prisoner, who was a trustee, took food to the guards and went back to the barracks. He then returned to retrieve the plates and again, went back to the barracks.
When the head count was made at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, however, Galan was nowhere to be found, and the alarm was raised. The officers quickly mobilized and began a search for him. It is not yet known how he escaped, or where he is headed.
Sticky-fingered cop sentenced to 3 months for theft
A police constable who was interdicted from duty in late 2014, pending the outcome of a case of theft, will most likely be dismissed from the Belize Police Department because he was found guilty of theft this morning and sentenced to three months in prison.
Police Constable Jamil Scott was charged with one count of theft for a Kenwood police radio that had gone missing from a police pickup that was parked in front of the Racoon Street Police Station. Scott’s girlfriend at the time, Chelsia Zapata, 28, was charged with one count of handling stolen goods.
After Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith summarized the evidence presented during the trial, she found Scott guilty, but found that Zapata was not guilty of handling stolen goods because she had no idea that the radio which Scott had put in her handbag was government property that he had stolen from the Police Department.
After Chief Magistrate Smith found Scott guilty, she ordered that he be held in custody until sentencing, which was today.
SSB wants to buy $55 million BTL and BEL shares
The Social Security Board (SSB) intends to purchase $55 million in utility shares, following the reopening of an offer from the Government of Belize which was abandoned last year. The offer is being reintroduced as the new budget year approaches, and amid a possible default on the February payment of the super-bond, with a next big payment to the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) becoming due in just a few months.
Around June of last year, when the arbitration tribunal which ruled against the Government handed down an award of nearly half-a-billion dollars to the former owners of BTL, the Government had signaled that it would divest of some of the shares in the utility companies to help settle the tab.
An offer was made to the SSB but the Government withdrew it. At the time, the offer was for $40 million in BEL shares and $15 million in BTL shares, to net $55 million, and another $5 million in utility shares would have been offered separately to the public.
Victoria Street woman’s charge upgraded to manslaughter
–On Valentine’s Day, most people who have significant other persons in their lives try to express sentiments associated with love. This past Valentine’s Day, however, a woman on Victoria Street had a domestic dispute with her common-law husband and allegedly pushed him down a flight of stairs, fatally injuring him.
Geneva Estrada, an unemployed who was charged with dangerous harm to her common-law husband, Eric Moss, was released on bail, but when Moss succumbed to his injuries at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, police rearrested Estrada and charged her with manslaughter.
Estrada appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza this morning, and he read the upgraded manslaughter charge to her. Magistrate Mendoza explained to Estrada that he would not take a plea from her, because the offense is indictable and will be tried at the Supreme Court. Magistrate Mendoza also explained to Estrada that for the offense of manslaughter, his court could not offer her bail, but she could apply to the Supreme Court for bail.
Kremandala chairman Evan X Hyde addresses Christian Workers Union AGM
A small group from the membership of the Christian Workers Union, (CWU) which represents around 10 different entities, including Port of Belize stevedores and employees of the Belize Central Bank and the Belize Social Security Board, gathered at the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Education this afternoon for the union’s Annual General Meeting and the election of a new president who will lead the union for the next three years.
The theme for the AGM was ‘CWU — the Union dah you, me and all ah we!’
The guest speaker for the AGM was Amandala publisher and Kremandala’s chairman, Evan X Hyde.
Hyde’s address was a tour de force in the history of trade unionism in Belize, beginning with the first trade union, the General Workers Union (GWU) which began in 1944, which would later be “the roots foundation upon which the People’s United Party (PUP) was founded in 1950.”
NEBL “In the Paint”
Everything was going right for the Western Ballaz on Friday night at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio, following a deep trey by Richard Troyer, which gave his team (Western Ballaz) the seemingly unsurmountable 72-55 fourth quarter lead with just about 6:46 remaining in regulation. But seven team turnovers, two apiece by Richard Troyer and Darwin Leslie, coupled with three missed field goal attempts, of which two were from long distance, were the key components that fueled the 19-9 Bandits run that managed to cut the deficit to five, 79-74, with 0:44 remaining in the game. Fortunately for the Ballaz, they converted 3 of 8 free-throw attempts late, with Elsworth Itza (9 pts 9 rebs) converting 2 of 4, and Ray Cruz (6 pts 4 rebs) converting 1 of 4; these, coupled with their cushy lead, enabled them to seal the 81-74 win.
The Bandits came into Ballaz country boasting a decent (3-1) record, and hastily took the early 15-9 lead behind Farron Louriano and Stephen Williams scoring 11 of their team’s first 15 points. The Ballaz responded quickly, though, and as a result, enjoyed the 20-17 first quarter lead.
National Beach Soccer Team returns; Marlon Meza top goal scorer
Returning home today from the Bahamas was the National Beach Soccer Team of Belize, who had spent a week participating in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship 2017.
Belize failed to make the playoff round, after defeating Jamaica in a penalty shootout (after drawing 5-5 in regulation), but losing to home team Bahamas, 3-0, and to Guyana, 4-1, to finish at the bottom of our four-team group.
In the ensuing tournament ranking series against other group losers, Belize rattled off three consecutive victories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, against Virgin Islands, 6-4; Barbados, 6-2; and Turks & Caicos, 9-4; thus completing our participation with 4 wins out of 6 games played, for a final ranking of 13th out of the 16 teams in the tournament.
Bandits still undefeated, Wagiya winless at Week 5 of PLB Closing Season
After 4 Sunday games in Week 5 action this past weekend in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2016-2017 Closing Season, defending champions Belmopan Bandits SC remain undefeated at the top of the standings, while Wagiya FC is still winless, although they have a Week 2 back match remaining against FC Belize.
Wagiya suffered their fourth loss yesterday, a 2-nil shutout at home in Dangriga to surging Placencia Assassins, who got both goals from Luis “Baaka” Torres (39’ & 52’). After dropping their first two outings to Verdes and then BDF, the Assassins are on a steady keel, following a draw against Police United with consecutive victories over FC Belize and now Wagiya.
Meanwhile, down in Punta Gorda, home standing Freedom Fighters FC were surprised with 3 first half goals from visiting Belmopan Bandits SC, who held on for the 3-nil victory. Bandits’ goals were by Honduran Jairo Rochez (37’ & 78’) and Humberto Requena (43’).
Editorial: What happened to the youth?
We have pointed out to you before in these editorial pages that the role being played by the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) in the activist forefront of our socio-politics properly belongs to the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), in the first instance, and to the young people of Belize, in the second.
The PUP was a roots, labor union-based political party which was taken over by big money over the last quarter century, say. The PUP of 2017 is not the PUP of 1950, or the PUP of 1969. It is not even the PUP of 1981, because in 1981 the social justice PUP Leader, Rt. Hon. George Price, was still in effect. The PUP today does not have the roots credibility the party was enjoying in 1950, 1969, and even 1981.
The question of the young people of Belize is the question with which we are concerned today. We need to look at some modern-era history here, and we wish to preface our remarks by saying that we want to open a discussion: we do not wish to pontificate. But, facts are stubborn things, as it is said.
Hopkins resident complains about Seiri Del Mar development project
I am a resident of Hopkins (born in Virginia), and I stroll the northern end of the village most mornings. The beautiful sounds and scenes of the village and nature, however, are being suffocated by the irresponsible approach used in developing Seiri Del Mar.
The developers blatantly break environmental laws, causing a loss of quality of life for every villager in Hopkins. Seiri Del Mar continues to destroy acres of mangroves, dig and remove all wetlands, and fill them with millions of cubic tons of clay and stone. The destruction of the environment is inexcusable and possibly criminal.
The destruction of our infrastructure is equally appalling. The endless columns of trucks entering and exiting the village ruin our roads, shake our houses, and cause leaks in our water pipes. The amount of resources wasted on another high-end resort is mind-boggling.
From the lady, Therese Belisle-Nweke
I read with growing incredulity and sadness the complaint by two expatriates – Gary and Betty – that the Belizean Customs and Immigration Department “leaned on them” wrongfully when they arrived in Consejo from a Chetumal trip, during which they had shopped and purchased some Mexican goods. (See “Expats Gary and Betty say Consejo Customs ‘leaning on them’ wrongfully” – AMANDALA 25th February, 2017).
This letter was a mixture of incredible arrogance, condescension and contradictions beneath its sugar-coated intro. In one breath, we are told that this couple are retiree expats existing on “meagre retirement funds” who are now living in “paradise” Belize. In the next, we are patronisingly informed that it is their expats MILLIONS that are helping to keep Belize afloat. “They”, they affirm, are “a major part of the financial solution to Belize’s economic problems” and, if Belize’s Customs and Immigration Department continues with its “negative and aggressive attitude YOUR (that is, Belize’s) economic miseries will just get worse”.
Getting ready for a global pandemic
We live in a world where for the last 40 years everyone faces the risk of being infected by antibiotic-resistant bugs and contagious, infectious diseases. Humanity has become complacent to the global threat of new and re-emerging infectious diseases (such as: T.B.—reemerging; the Avian flu that impacted as many as 40 countries; sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS; Ebola; Cholera; MRSA—a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (that’s a mouthful) MRSA is pronounced: mer-sa, and is a skin-eating bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, is contagious, and rapidly progressing throughout the continental United States, and globally). Therefore, getting ready for a global pandemic is just as important as nuclear deterrence or avoiding the imminent repercussions of global warming catastrophes.
At the Munich Security Conference on bioterrorism, which occurred from February 17 – 19, 2017, philanthropist and Microsoft computer founder, Bill Gates warns that a “global pandemic is right around the corner…could break out in as little as 10 to 15 years.” Gates said, “We are underprepared for a global pandemic but we have the technology to work on vaccines and other drugs; we just need the investment.”
Evan X Hyde’s address to the CWU AGM
The settlement of Belize, which became the colony of British Honduras in 1862, and then achieved political independence as Belize in 1981, was developed by slave labor, in the first instance, and then by non-unionized labor after slaves were technically freed in 1838.
When Antonio Soberanis led unemployed workers in desperate agitation in depressed Belize Town in 1934, there were no trade or labor unions in Belize. As far as I am aware, the first labor union of consequence in British Honduras was the General Workers Union, which began around 1944.
The General Workers Union, led by Clifford Betson and Henry Middleton, was a great union, and it was the roots foundation upon which the People’s United Party was founded in 1950. Soon, the executives of the GWU and the PUP became similar in personnel, and when the PUP won national elections in British Honduras in 1954 and 1957, it was in coalition with the GWU. The nationalist, anti-colonial politicians of Belize ran under the banner of PUP/GWU.
As older Belizeans know, there was a historic power struggle in the PUP around August/September of 1956, and it resulted in Hon. George Price replacing Mr. Leigh Richardson as PUP Leader, while Hon. Philip Goldson, a PUP official, was also overthrown. The substantive issue involved here was disagreement over the West Indian Federation, and this issue was complicated by the reality of ethnic discrimination in the colony.
Ray Coleman, chairman of Forest Home, decries village conditions
The chairman of Forest Home Village in Toledo, Ray Coleman, led a group of protestors, including youths, who on Friday took to the village streets to decry what they say are unbearable conditions that threaten the health and safety of people in their community.
In an interview with PGTV, Coleman said that the villagers were protesting against what he describes as an injustice: the destruction of village roads by trucks taking quarry materials from the area, causing a dust nuisance. Coleman said that the excessive dust has been affecting his community for the last 25 years, and it happens every dry season.
“Today, our villagers decided to put a stop to it. Also, the condition of our roads; the roads are in the worst condition,” he added.
Coleman demanded that, “…this has to stop, it has to stop…”
The chairman also complained that the garbage situation is overwhelming. He told PGTV that he had sent a letter to the Town Council, complaining of the dumping of garbage in their community, but it has not been stopped.
Breaking Belize News
Former BDF drowns in San Roman
Oswaldo Toledano, 37, was last seen alive on Saturday at a wedding in San Roman, but on Tuesday he was found dead floating in the Rio Hondo River.
Toledano is a former BDF solider and his mother told the media that he was a habitual drinker but was never involved in anything other than drinking.
Fuel prices rise AGAIN
Although the price of crude oil remains low in international markets, in Belize the prices continue to increase .
Late midnight the prices of diesel and regular gasoline rose by one and two cents respectively.
Diesel now stands at $9.07 per gallon while regular stands at $9.62 per gallon.
Civil Aviation issues drone advisory
Today, the Belize Department of Civil Aviation issued a statement reminding the general public that the operation of drones within a five-mile radius of any public or private airport without the explicit written consent from the Director of Civil Aviation is strictly prohibited.
Further, any person wishing to utilize a drone for the filming of the upcoming La Ruta Maya River challenge must obtain written permission along with operating limitations from the Department of Civil Aviation.
GOB and Ashcroft headed to Supreme Court
The government of Belize and the Belize Bank Limited, owned by Michael Ashcroft, are headed to the Supreme Court of Belize in March for another round of legal battles.
Both sides went before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Monday, who set the trial date for March 13. Counsel for Belize Bank, Eamon Courtenay S.C., explained that the Belize Bank is challenging the injunction that GOB received from the court, which prohibits the bank from attaching Belize’s foreign assets abroad, to settle an arbitration award.