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The San Pedro Sun
Presentation of Credentials
Five ambassadors presented their Letters of Credence today to the Governor General of Belize H.E. Sir Colville Young at the Belize House in Belmopan.
The ambassadors were: H.E. Harald Peter Klein, Ambassador of Germany; H.E. Georg Andrén, Ambassador of Sweden; H.E. Eduardo Jose A. De Vega, Ambassador of the Philippines; H.E. Mohammad Taghi Hosseini, Ambassador of Iran; and H.E. Ahmed Hatem Barghash Almenhali, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates. The Ambassadors each expressed, on behalf of their respective countries, the desire to maintain a strong friendship with Belize, as well as interest in pursuing areas for further development of diplomatic ties.
Two San Pedro Police officers charged for Central Park shooting
A shooting incident that took place in the early hours of Saturday, April 1st has caused much friction between the island community and the San Pedro Police Department. The latest police report on the incident which occurred at Central Park and involved local police officers, states that two officers were arrested and charged on Sunday, April 2nd. 27-year-old Norman Coye was reportedly charged with two counts of wounding, while 22-year old Darnell Madrill was charged for one count of wounding. However, the island community believes these charges are not enough, as the officers’ actions threatened not only the lives of those present, but the peace of the community.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Heads Delegation to Sixteenth Summit of Tuxtla Mechanism in Costa Rica
A delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Wilfred Elrington, participated in the XVI Summit of the Tuxtla Mechanism for Dialogue and Cooperation held on March 29th, 2017 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Political Declaration adopted by the Heads of Government and their representatives reaffirmed the importance of this regional space for dialogue and cooperation between the countries of Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Mexico.
An important part of the Tuxtla Mechanism of Dialogue and Cooperation is the Mesoamerica Project, through which member countries work to foster cooperation efforts and leverage international resources that contribute to promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the 226 million inhabitants of member countries.
U.S. Embassy Recognizes Outstanding Belizean Women
On March 29, 2017, Chargé d’Affaires Adrienne Galanek presented awards to two outstanding women during the 12th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony hosted the Special Envoy for Women and Children Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow and the Women’s Department. The Embassy was proud to participate in this year’s ceremony and applauds the Special Envoy and the Women’s Department for organizing and hosting the event, which brought together and recognized Belize’s outstanding women. Chargé d’Affaires Galanek recognized Captain Derricia Castillo–Salazar as the U.S. Department of State’s International Women of Courage Award nominee for Belize and Dr. Jane Ellen Mary Usher as the Embassy’s Woman of the Year 2017.
Two San Pedro Police Officers Arrested After Weekend Shooting
Police reports today indicate that on Sunday April 2, 2017, police arrested and charged 27-year-old police officer Norman Coye, with two counts of Wounding and 22-year-old police officer Darnell Madrill, for one count of wounding as investigation continue into the shooting incident that took place at Central Park.
San Pedro Prepares for Easter Weekend Activities
Easter weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is definitely one of the busiest of the year and one of the biggest celebrations on the island. Whether it’s celebration through religious activities, beach parties or sports activities the island is packed with visitors. Belizeans from all around the country travel to the island for this specific time of the year. Hotels and golf cart rentals have to be booked months in advance because it is impossible to find one during that period.
In preparation for the Easter activities that will take place on April 14,15 and 16, The San Pedro Town Council has already started to beautify the island in preparation of the masses to give them a warm welcome.
Misc Belizean Sources
Help keep Belize Bird Rescue up and running
Exciting news from Global Giving
ALL THIS WEEK! Donations of $50 or less will be matched at 50% and have your donated $$s work harder than ever! Funds from this project will feed the 170 former-captive parrots in our long-term release programme, rehabilitate the 250+ birds we receive annually, and help with running costs. As the only avian rescue and rehabilitation centre in Belize, our facility provides the mechanism for the Belizean Government's Forest Department to effectively enforce the wildlife laws that govern the illegal pet trade, and rehabilitates for release any orphaned, injured or sick birds.
12th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony
These awards represent part of a much larger effort by the U.S. Government to promote gender equality and empower women and girls in America and around the world. In his proclamation on Women’s History Month, President Trump emphasized that America honors the celebrated women pioneers and leaders in our history, as well as those unsung women heroes of our daily lives.
President Trump and his administration are committed to expanding opportunities for women and girls domestically and across the globe. On February 13, President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau launched the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. On February 28th, President Trump signed two bills into law – first, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act; and second, the Promoting Women and Entrepreneurship Act, both of which encourage women to pursue careers in engineering, science, and mathematics, and to provide support for women’s entrepreneurial programs through the National Science Foundation.
The Institute of Archaeology at Our Lady Of Mount Carmel High School
The Institute of Archaeology always enjoy doing educational outreach, in all parts of the country that want us there. On March the 30th we were at Our Lady Of Mount Carmel High School in Benque Viejo talking to the students about careers in archaeology, after which we headed south to Placencia to be a apart of Peninsula International Academy's earth day celebrations!
Senior Shakeup In Police Department
Commissioner Allen Whylie yesterday informed commanders of sweeping changes in the senior ranks of the department. Multiple sources indicates that Southside Commander ACP Chester Williams is out of the city and assigned to the Prosecution Branch in Belmopan. Belize District (Eastern Division) will now return to a single commander, ACP Dezeree Phillips - with three sub commanders for Belize Rural (Sr. Supt Alden Dawson), Northside (Sr. Supt Ralph Moody), and Southside (Sr. Supt Vidal.) Her former Northside Deputy, Sr. Supt Alford Grinage will now be the Southern commander. Former Rural Commander ACP Edward Broaster will now be Commander Operations in Belmopan - effectively making him third in command.
Breaking political news coming out of Belize is not good for UDP
By Wellington C. Ramos.
If it is true that factional problems are occurring among the UDPs in Dangriga between the mayor and the area representative, then it will only give the PUPs an opportunity to regain those seats in the next upcoming municipal and general elections whenever they are called.
UDPs in Dangriga have a history of fighting among themselves whenever they are elected into office. Especially, when the mayor is UDP and the area representative is also UDP. In most cases the area representative always becomes insecure and starts believing that the mayor is trying to dethrone him or her from remaining as the area representative.
The people in Dangriga did not elect their representatives to be fighting among themselves. They elected their representatives to solve the problems they are facing in their communities daily, such as the Commerce Bight Pier, land, housing, farming, unemployment, etc. If those problems are not solved by the end of their terms, the same Dangriga people who voted for you all to become their representatives will vote you all out of office.
No fooling: April First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick Up!
Friday is the first one in April already and that means that YOU -- our loyal band of neatniks -- comes together in front of the ironically named Paradise Theater to make Tres Cocos neighborhood a beautiful paradise once again! Yes! We will clean the road and beach all the way up to Marbucks! From the north, Grand Caribe resort will be doing the same!
Look for your reward at Marbucks -- iced coffee, fresh-baked and delicious cookies and comfortble chairs! Thank you, Mar!
We will have gloves, bags and trash sticks to hand out to volunteers. Please join us. March was an especially trashy month and many hands make light work and a clean road! Thank you.
New GOB Controlled Fuel Prices
Effective: 01st April 2017
New Stamp Duty Tax
Please note to all Western Union Customers
General Administration of the Free Zone of Belize increased the cost per income by 50 percent. Now it costs 15 pesos
The citizens were unhappy because now they have to pay more to go to generate dividends to the merchants and entrepreneurs of the place. Consequently, a decrease in the number of visitors is anticipated.
Until last Friday, the admission by vehicle to the Free Zone cost 10 pesos, but by arrangement of the General Board of Directors increased to 15.
A survey showed the claim to the above because it represents an unjustified abuse of visitors and buyers.
Jose Tun Rosas considered such a situation inconceivable because now Mexicans have to pay more to go to spend in the Free Zone of Belize.
Sustainable Tourism Awards Logo
Calling all graphic designers...this could be your chance to design the CTO's Sustainable Tourism Awards Logo!
International Travel Exhibition
BIT, the International Travel Exhibition, is a show with worldwide appeal that brings together those who work in the tourism industry from all over the world as well as a large number of visitors, travellers, and press.
BIT has been held every year in Milan since 1980.
For more than 30 years, BIT has brought together decision makers, industry experts and carefully selected targeted buyers from various geographical areas and product sector.
With more than 1.500 Hosted Buyers from Italy and abroad, more than 2.000 participating companies and more than 60.000 professional visitors expected, the 2017 edition will be one of the most innovative shows that BIT has ever organized, introducing important novelties.
12th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony
On March 29, 2017, during the 12th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony hosted by the Special Envoy Belize Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow and the Women’s Department, Chargé d’Affaires Adrienne Galanek presented awards to two outstanding women: Captain Derricia Castillo–Salazar, the U.S. Department of State’s International Women of Courage Award nominee for Belize, and Dr. Jane Ellen Mary Usher, the Embassy’s Woman of the Year 2017. Today, we would like to highlight Captain Derricia Castillo-Salazar.
The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries. In 2016, Debra Baptist-Estrada of the Belize Immigration Department was the first Belizean to have ever received this prestigious award. This year, the Embassy nominated Captain Castillo-Salazar for her dedication to the active inclusion of the LGBT community in Belize and her impactful work on HIV/AIDS prevention, policy, and response within the Belize Defence Force.
Two Dangriga Teenagers Die In Traffic Accident
Tonight all of Dangriga is shocked and grieving after two teenaged residents lost their life and a dozen others were injured in a terrible accident that happened yesterday. It's one of the worst accidents we've seen and that's because 14 people, including 7 teenagers and an 8 year old were crammed into a tiny pickup.
Jules Vasquez has the story from the Placencia Road:
This is the sweeping curve at mile 4 on the Placencia Road where Sandra Martinez's Ford Ranger careened off the highway and flipped down the embankment. Problem is the 24-year-old driver had 13 passengers, more than capacity for this two-door Ford Ranger. Reports say that she was speeding around the corner and simply lost control. As many as 10 of the passengers may have been in the bed of the pickup, and they were flung all across the shoulder of the highway.
Cops gone Wild: Indiscriminate Shooting By Lawless Lawmen Caught on Camera
The entire country is trying to understand how two police officers could do what they did on San Pedro on Saturday morning. The videos went viral on every kind of social media over the weekend; they show police abusing a woman and menacing residents with loaded weapons in a way that's just never been captured before. Daniel Ortiz has compiled the lawless and monstrous behaviour captured on the cell phones of fearless bystanders:
The Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department, which specifically investigates officers for allegations of misconduct, has already gone to the island to do their own investigation into the incident.
Victims of Police Lawlessness Speak
So, what happened to the residents who you saw in that video of the police misconduct? Well, we've been following the story since the weekend, and multiple sources told us that at least 4 people were injured by those gunshots that the Police Constable fired at the ground.
One of them is San Pedro resident Alfredo Cowo, who we got a chance to speak to at the Belize Healthcare Partners Hospital. He and his brother were injured by those gunshots which bounced off the pavement and hit them in the leg.
He told us that at around 4 o'clock that Saturday morning, he came out of the club and saw 3 officers he recognized, and they were dragging two women. He began recording the incident on his cellphone, and to document the police excess. He says that PC Darnell Madrill approached him, demanding that he hand over the device. He said that he refused, and that's when Madrill punched him in the nose. He said that the officers were trying to detain his brothers, George and Jose, and caused a confrontation, in which he was hit over the eye with a gun. He says that Madrill was the one who hit him, and he had a shot gun in his hand.
Cops Bullet Hit Him In the Eye
The other victim of that wild shooting who we got to meet today is 54 year-old Enfield Henry. One of the bullets ricocheted off the ground and hit him in the eye. He's at the KHMH getting medical treatment, and that bullet is lodged behind the eyeball.
Today, at the KHMH, he told us that he was an innocent bystander, who wasn't involved in that confrontation with the police, but he got injured in that reckless shooting:
Enfield Henry, Injured in Police Confrontation:
"I was in the night club with my son and the off-duty police officers were in the night club too and when it closes, everybody came out from the club. Right there 2 Spanish guys wanted to fight with the police officers who was on duty."
Cops Cautious In Make Judgment Statements
So, what is the Professional Standards Branch saying about this incident? The video makes it clear what happened, but today the lead officer, Assistant Police Commissioner Keith Lino, told us that it's not so simple. In a press briefing today, he told us what the officers involved are reporting to his investigating team:
ACP Keith Lino, OC - Professional Standards Branch:
"We had conducted an investigation that have shown the police and the public had a confrontation. The confrontation had apparently had occurred because the police were dealing with a female who allegedly was under the influence. The police reported that they had handcuffed this female and they were trying to put her under control to be escorted to the police station."
"While they were doing that, it was then that the crowd believe that they (the police) had abused the female and they commence in aggressing the police. The police then reported to us that they attempted to protect themselves and it was then that the crowd continued to aggressed them. The police then took out their service revolvers and to try and deter the crowd from attacking them. So they use their firearms to shoot in the air as well as on the ground to avoid the people from attacking them."
21 Year Old Killed In OW Bar Brawl
A man from San Felipe Village in Orange Walk has died after he was stabbed in a bar brawl. On Saturday night at 10:15 p.m., 21-year-old Adiel Mojica was drinking at a village bar when he got into a fight with two other men. They gave him a huge gash in the arm and stabbed him twice in the chest. He was taken to the hospital, where he was listed in Critical Condition until this morning at 3:00 when he passed away. Mojica lived a little more than 24 hours with his injuries and now police have detained the two men he was fighting with. They are held pending charges - and we'll have an update tomorrow.
Another Murder In No-Man's-Land; This Time It's a Guat
The weekends other murder happened last night in the no - man's - land at the Benque border. That is the area known as "Champon" - which was a murder scene 17 days ago on March 17th. That's when Belizean bus driver Carlos Manzanero was killed. Well last night at 10:00 the murder victim was a Guatemalan with a criminal history in Belize. He is 21-year-old Bryan Geovanny Corado, a Guatemalan from Melchor. Belize police would only say that he was shot and killed and that Guatemalan Police are investigating.
Now, Corado has a colorful criminal history in Belize. In February of 2016 he allegedly car jacked Police Superintendent Selvin Tillett and his son-in-law. The vehicle was later recovered in Guatemala and returned to Belize. He was charged for Robbery andand remanded to Prison.
Man's Home Burnt Down; 7News Find The Accelerant
There was a fire in Dangriga early this morning. Now, often, whenever there is a fire - arson is suspected since there is a disturbing trend to use arson as a form of retaliation. In this case, the victim concedes that he has many enemies, plus we found a bottle of accelerant right in his yard! Here's more:...
This home in the Benguche area of Dangriga burnt down this morning:
Michael Flores- Neighbor:
"So here we are, house buya, gone."
Asia Norales- Neighbor:
"Well like after 4 my ma wake up we, so she seh: uno come peep through the window, so when we look through the window da just inside a dih house mih dih spark up. So my ma seh: get uno documents and thing but I fraid fu fire- I fraid fu deh kinda thing so I just run outside, I da dih first person weh run outside, and I dih wake up the whole neighborhood."
Brother Burned Siste's Home In OW
There is another apparent case of arson - this one in Carmelita Village, Orange Walk.
Police say that on Thursday March 30th at about 10:00am the neighbor and brother of the homeowner snuck into the house through a window and lit fire inside - which was immediately extinguished by one of his sisters. Later that day at about 1:00 p.m., this same sibling ROBERTO GARMA again snuck into the house and about 5 minutes later it was seen engulfed in flames.
The house is made of Pimenta sticks, board material with zinc roofing and measured about 20 feet by 30 feet. Police have since arrested and charged ROBERTO GARMA for arson.
Thousands Of Students Take Day One Of PSE
Today over six thousand Standard 6 students from around the country sat the first part of the PSE. The exam, which tests the students' academic progress throughout primary school, has seen a downward trend in results with about half of the students who participated last year earning a D in the English section. We spoke to the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, about it his expectations for this year's exam...
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education:
"Well it is always a very exciting day. I look as people posted on facebook all the happiness that their children are at this point and it's quite a milestone if you've gone through all the stages of primary school and you are at this point now. A lot of preparation as gone in. We try to remind people that it's not only preparation that comes in standard 6. In fact this is the culmination of the primary school journey and so what they do in these exams should be a reflection of what they learnt over the entire 8 or 9 years that they spent in primary school."
Teachers Who Reported For Makeup Days Will Be Compensated
And while the Minister hopes to see positive results from this year's PSE, many are still concerned. That's because of last year's strike, where teachers countrywide protested for reform measures and went on strike for 11 days. Well not every teacher participated in that strike, and compensation is coming for those teachers that did not participate. Faber told us about the government's compensation plan...
Alex Courtenay, 7News:
"Speaking about the teachers who are on strike, we've heard that there's been about 1 million dollars designated to paying back those teachers who stayed back during their Christmas holidays to make up for the days that were lost. Can you discuss that?"
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education:
"Well as I've always said to those who advocated for us to simply pay the teachers that were on strike, it is not as easy as doing that. There were those teachers who diligently went to work throughout the 11 days of the strike and then there were those who of course went in January when the ministry along with the managing authorities of schools agreed on those days - the 6 days if you remember that were makeup days. The 3rd, 4th,5th, 6th of January were to be the first 4 of the 6 days and of course you know the history of that."
Deputy Was The For Dangriga Duking It Out
And while those were matters Faber spoke of in his official capacity as education minister - we also spoke to him about his role as Deputy Leader of the UDP.
Last week he was there in Dangriga when a UDP meeting erupted into a brawl between rival groups within the party. According to reports, tensions ran high in the meeting, so high that one of area representative, Frank "Papa" Mena's sidemen threw a chair at a member of the other faction. We spoke to Faber about this ugly rift, and whether it would effect their performance in next year's municipal elections...
Senior Shakeup In Police Department
There's a senior shakeup rumored in the Police Department. According to multiple reliable reports, on Friday, Commissioner Allen Whylie informed commanders of sweeping changes in the senior ranks of the department. Unofficial reports from multiple sources tell 7News that Belize City will see the most changes. The plan is to reverse the split between north and Southside formations which was implemented in July of 2015. The plan is for the city to return to a single commander, ACP Dezeree Phillips - with three sub commanders for Belize Rural, Sr. Supt Alden Dawson, Northside, Sr. Supt Ralph Moody, and Southside, Sr. Supt Marco Vidal. ACP Chester Williams would be the odd man out and he will reportedly be assigned to the Prosecution Branch in Belmopan.
The Best Juniour Cyclist
This weekend Belize's up and coming cyclist's competed in the 18TH Belize Electricity Limited junior Cross Country ClassicJunior Cross Country Classic. On Sunday morning, Forty-five cyclists rode from Soccutz in the Cayo district to Belize City, with Cabral-Marin Cycling Team's Gian Lino, coming in first at the end of 74 miles. We spoke to Lino about his victory and his strategy during the race...
Second and third place went to Wilhem Coye from Big Shep Cycling Team and Nashen Ysaguirre from Cabral-Marin respectively.
Sports And Youth Come Together For Area Rep
Today Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber officially inaugurated a new basketball court in his Collet constituency. The project was funded in a joint effort between Faber, the Police Department and several other businesses and community members. Faber - who is also minister of sports and youth - told us more about the importance of engaging the youth with sports in order to steer them away from violence...
A Community That Embraces the Police
Faber wasn't the only one using sports to keep the youth's off the streets. This weekend the residents of Faber's Road rallied together for community sports day built around that same court. The event was held to encourage the youths in the community to use sports as a means to stay out of violence. The event's organizer, Candice Ferguson, told us more...
There were basketball and football tournaments was well as games like sack races and lime and spoon.
Alleged Cop Impersonator Awaits Verdict
Right now at the Supreme Court, a jury is deliberating the fate of alleged cop impersonator, 27 year old Aaron Wilson. He is on trial for 2 counts of making a false pretense to being a police officer.
Crown Counsel Janelle Tillett, has alleged that on July 6, 2010 and on July 16, 2010, Wilson, a car dealer, pretended to be a special constable. The Crown called 11 witnesses, among them Shannon Martinez, who testified that Wilson picked her up in his vehicle on July 6,2010 and introduced himself to her as a police officer. Wilson testified and said that he was, in fact, a police officer. He called 2 witnesses to corroborate his testimony. One of the witnesses was former special constable Jose Haylock. The second witness was police constable Albert Coc. Wilson is being represented by attorney Christelle Wilson.