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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
A 16-year-old minor is charged for the deadly shooting of Armando Lopez
On Wednesday, August 30th, San Pedro Police charged a 16-year-old minor for the murder of 34-year-old Armando Lopez. On Sunday, August 20th, Lopez, Belizean carpenter of the San Pedrito Subdivision, was socializing at a local bar on Barrier Reef Drive when he was fatally shot by an assailant. In the early stage of the investigation, police detained two persons, who were later released, but a few days later they apprehended their main suspect, a 16-year-old minor believed to have also participated in the shooting. An acquaintance of the deceased, who wishes to stay anonymous, said that it is really odd what happened to Lopez. “He was a humble guy and hard working. He never had any problems with anybody,” the person said. The source also shared with The San Pedro Sun that Lopez had no family on the island, and believes he was from the Corozal District. “He used to also be a fisherman and worked almost on anything in construction, including carpentry.”
GOB seeks to make amendments to marijuana possession law
On Friday, August 18th the Government of Belize (GOB) held a conference to introduce a new bill to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act. This bill comes after a Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, which was formed in 2012, submitted its final report to the Cabinet in 2015. Marijuana, also known as cannabis, among other names, is a psychoactive drug that is illegal in many countries. Although marijuana is an illegal drug in Belize, it is very much a part of many Belizean’s lifestyles. Due to the recreational popularity and claims of medical use of the drug, GOB has decided to introduce a new step in its control. The Misuse of Drugs Amendment law will allow a person to possess up to 10 grams of marijuana. Prior to this amendment, a person caught with any amount marijuana, was arrested and charged. The new amendment will allow a person to be in possession of 10 grams of marijuana, without being arrested and charged.
‘Raise Me Up’ begins construction of education center at New Horizon
On August 23rd the ‘Raise Me Up’ Organization began a new construction project at the New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School. ‘Raise Me Up’ is a non- profit organization working to eliminate inadequate living conditions by fulfilling basic needs and raising awareness in communities. The new project will see the construction of an Education Center that will include a literacy program, library, computer room, and a mass media program. Focused on the education of the children on the island, the project is financed by donations made to “Raise Me Up.” According to Education coordinator for Raise Me Up, Sue Barkhouse, after the success of a similar project at Holy Cross Anglican School they opted to begin a new one at New Horizons. “We believe that it is something that is needed in the community, which the children would benefit from,” she said.
Work Commences On Implementing Volunteer Based Response System On Ambergris Caye
From the tragic loss of Rickilee Mercer, Jim and Traci Curtin are on a mission to assist the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize in implementing a volunteer based emergency response system that coordinates both American and community resources to help protect human life.
The community of Ambergris Caye came together in search for Rickilee who got lost at sea during her vacation in Belize. Unfortunately, efforts were not fast enough or well-equipped to find her in time. She drowned in a jet ski accident.
“We did not respond like we could have responded,” commented Traci Curtin. “We can’t fix tourist from acting crazy, but we can respond when they do. I just could not let it go, that I can’t be an advocate to this place that I consider my second home and tell people to come if I can’t know they are safe.”
Misc Belizean Sources
Boycott NCL - Harvest Caye - Campaign Announcement
Today a campaign to Boycott Norwegian Cruise Lines was launched, and members of the public, especially cruisers, are being offered free bumper stickers to show their support and solidarity with the wildlife of Belize.
People who take cruises love to travel and explore the world, just like other types of travelers. Many of Belize’s first-time cruise passengers fall in love with the country and return year after year as long-stay tourists. Sadly, recent reviews of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Harvest Caye suggest that cruise passengers aren’t getting that warm fuzzy feeling about Belize anymore and that’s a bad thing for the cruisers as well as for Belize’s future tourism prospects.
A coalition of conservationists and activists have banded together to launch the Boycott NCL Campaign. It’s easy to participate in, it’s fun and it’s for an excellent cause.
All you need to do is send your address to BoycottNCL@gmail.com and you will receive a free BoycottNCL bumper sticker in the mail. In return, you’re asked to email back a photo of your vehicle sporting the BoycottNCL bumper sticker so that it can be sent to NCL and featured on the Boycott NCL Facebook page. NCL need to understand that what they are doing is NOT acceptable! If you cruise, don’t lose.
Caye Caulker Bicycle Parade
OUR BICYCLE PARADE IS THIS FRIDAY September 1st 2017!!! Is your son/daughter ready to show off their patriotic bike????? Place: Central Park,
Line up at 4:15pm,
Parade begins at: 4:30pm.
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture
A vacancy exists for the post of Manager at Frank Lizama Training Centre (formerly Skills Training Centre) for September, 2017.
Educational Requirement: Preferably a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration or other relevant area or a Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Vocational Education with diploma in Competency-based Education and Training (CBET)
Strengthening Trans-boundary Conservation Partnership in Northern Belize!
SACD is excited to have re-engaged with the Trans-boundary Conservation Partnership Initiative (TCP) along with the counterparts of Mexico (Chetumal Quintana Roo). The effort started in 2015, with the main objective of creating and defining the means and level of collaboration required to strengthen management of the coastal protected areas of the south of Quintana Roo and Northern Belize Coastal Complex to sustainably maintain biodiversity and the goods and services they provide associated with biological processes and long-term physical and biological connectivity, facilitating the sustainable development of this region. Last week Friday 25th, 2017, SACD met with El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) and the Secretaria de Ecolgia y Medio Ambiente (SEMA) at ECOSUR installations to retake the Trans-boundary initiatives and to discuss possible areas of collaboration in scientific research.
Women in Politics roundtable
As part of the speaker program Dr. Kelly Dittmar visited Punta Gorda for a Women in Politics roundtable discussion and a visit to the University of Belize and Claver College. Present at the roundtable were representatives from the Punta Gorda Town Council, Toledo MAYA Women's Council, Department of Youth Services, members of the People's United Party and Belize Women Political Caucus.
Right after she participated in a public forum with the University of Belize and discussed women’s political under representation and building success through positive synergies between politics & organizational leadership. She closed off the evening with an exciting discussion with the students of Claver College.
National Women in Politics Conference 2017
Ocean Academy was represented by student leaders Daniela Novelo, Nomari Blanco, Lilian Sanchez and mentor Ms. Florence Goldson. The girls met many inspirational women and speakers. During the Q&A Daniela asked about how to engage and empower girls in sport, and Nomari asked advice about how to balance her many roles as student, daughter, volunteer and youth leader. The theme of the National Women in Politics Conference was "Empowered Women: Empowering Women for Meaningful Change".
Caye Caulker Food Handlers Certificate
All Individuals that are interested in obtaining a Food Handlers Certificate, please note that the next class will be on September 7th,2017 at 9:00am, Caye Caulker Community Centre. Please apply before the date and bring along your Social Security card and (1) one passport size pictures if you're applying for the first time. A fee of $20.00 bz dollars will be charged on applying.
National Women in Politics Conference
The National Women’s Commission in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Belize hosted a first of its kind National Women in Politics Conference today, August 31, in Belize City.
The theme of the event was “Empowered Women: Empowering Women for Meaningful Change!”
The conference was held strategically ahead of the 2018 Municipal Elections, in support of women leaders and aspiring political women leaders in Belize. Attendees at the event included women from both the public and private sectors, students, present and former women parliamentarians and women city and town council members. The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony was Dr. Kelly Dittmar, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University – Camden in New Jersey, USA.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend
It Comes At Night,
The Hitman's Bodyguard,
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
Briceno: Basta Barrow!
Tonight the PUP says it has had enough of the shady land dealings under the UDP. The party came out of an emergency executive meeting today saying that it will be engaging the social partners on an ongoing campaign to demand urgent action from the Barrow Administration to identify and undo all the corrupt land deals. Now, the Prime Minister has already asked police to conduct an urgent investigation into Amy Forte's allegation of forgery - but it's not enough for the opposition.
We waited outside the Party's Headquarters this evening to hear the sketch of a PUP plan, long on outrage, but short on specifics:...
Hon. John Briceno, PUP Party Leader:
"Enough is enough! We are not going to continue to tolerate this government in the way they have been behaving since 2008 and to this day right now it is more than 24 hours later and nobody has been arrested. When we have Andre saying okay I'm going to give you back the land. Why is it that he is not giving back the $400,000? Why is it that they have to go to court to be able to collect that? Our party has had enough."
Unions Demand Government Action on Vega Lands
As you heard in the interview, the Teachers' Union and the Public Service Union both issued statements on the Mosquito Caye Vega land compensation.
The BNTU says, quote, "we are appalled at the PM's rather flippant and dismissive response...'What it is, is what it is'...(which) clearly show his trivial outlook on the situation." End quote.
The union says it demands immediate investigation into the Ministry of Natural Resources, quote, "and those who continue to use politics and position for personal gain," end quote.
Along that same line, the Public Service Union says, quote, "the union welcomes the initiative by Government to conduct an extensive investigation into the allegations of fraud and outright corruption at the Ministry of Lands that have come to light in the recent days. We ask that this investigation be extended to include other questionable land transactions at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the tenure of the former Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega. The Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Health must also be similarly investigated for alleged acts of corruption." End quote.
Can Aragon Get Past the Vega Stigma In Orange Walk?
So, while the PUP, the Unions and Chamber are all pushing for more forceful and comprehensive action on the Vega land scandal, so far, the Prime Minister has only cancelled the land titles in the Amy Forte conveyance and ordered police to launch an investigation.
Police Minister, Elodio Aragon must ensure that the investigation is properly carried through, and one of the individuals who may have to answer questions from the police is his political colleague from Orange Walk, Gaspar Vega.
All these shady land deals happened during his tenure, and his family members are the beneficiaries of what looks like a land flipping operation which saw the Vegas ending up with final ownership of prime real estate, or being compensated in cash.
So, what does Aragon have to say about his Orange Walk colleague? That's what we tried to find out today when we caught up with him at another event:
UDP Chairman On The Vega Factor
We also spoke with the Chairman of the UDP, Alberto August. His post makes him responsible for the party's political performance and machinery, and all the Vega baggage is causing the party loads of bad press in the run up to a municipal election.
So will the political hemorrhagic affect the party in those elections? Here's his take on it:
Alberto August, Chairman - UDP:
"I think you are aware that the Office of the Prime Minister has issued a statement on that matter and there was something about bringing in the police for the investigation. So that is where it is at. In terms of party discussion of that matter, I don't know if it's up for the party to discuss, but we are having a meeting of the central executive of our party on Wednesday 13th September and probably that might come up. But in terms of any organized discussion on the matter, no. All we know is what you guys know about the Office of the Prime Minister issuing instructions of the matter would be handed over to the police. The police are independent. They are known to conduct their own investigation and let the chip fall where they may."
Businessman Omar Ortiz Dies In Accident
Well known businessman, 46 year old Omar Ortiz was killed this morning when his Toyota Land Cruiser ran off the road and flipped. It happened between miles 30 and 31 on the George Price Highway at around 8:30 this morning. Ortiz was reportedly driving to Galen University where he is the Vice President. According to reports, he was overtaking a Toyota Four Runner around a curve and lost control on the "S" curve near Mahogany Heights. The vehicle barreled off the road and flipped six times. The passengers in the Four Runner he had overtook stopped to render assistance. They had to cut off his seatbelt and found all the airbags deployed. But, despite those safety features, Ortiz had suffered an injury to his neck. A doctor who came on the scene advised them to wait for the ambulance because of his neck injury. But there was no ambulance at the Western Regional - which is 20 miles away - so they had to wait on the ambulance from Belize City. When that arrived they rushed him to Belize Healthcare Partners, but he succumbed to his injuries at 10:18 AM.
Man Says GSU Shot Off His Finger And Then Tried To Brush It Under Rug
Right now, Belize City resident Emmanuel Lemmoth is at home recovering from a gunshot injury he says was inflicted by a police officer attached to the Gang Suppression Unit. He says that last week Friday evening, the officer shot off a piece of his right thumb with a shotgun blast.
Now, that that's bad enough, because he alleges that the officer already had him subdued where he was kneeling down with his hands in the air. But, he says that the officer then tried to sweep it under the rug by pretending it never happened.
Well, he has a medical form from the doctor who performed the surgery to stop the bleeding, and he's has come forward to force the police department to address the traumatic amputation he suffered.
Women in Politics Take The Foreground
Over the years, the National Women's Commission has hosted a number of women in politics workshops, trainings, gender equality seminars among other events.
But today the Commission held its first National Women in Politics Conference at the Biltmore. It might sound like one of those fancy official meetings but behind it all is the same objective that women have been fighting and pushing to attain for years: to get more women in leadership positions - after all, something has to be wrong if women make up more than half the population, but only hold 6% of the seats in the House of Representatives. Courtney Weatherburne has more on the conference that's trying to do something about that inequality.
What Are The Barriers Facing Women In Politics
And still on the National Women in Politics Conference, another important element is understanding why more women aren't in political positions. Guest speaker Professor Kelly Dittmar discussed the social and cultural structures that work against women.
Kelly Dittmar, Professor of Political Science:
"Political institutions were built by and for men. I think our speaker earlier talked about when women couldn't vote right. When women are formally excluded from any political process the norm is that they shouldn't be there. And so the cultural change and the structural change that we have to go through to make it normal for women to participate becomes harder."
UDP Introduces OW Super Slate
As we showed you in our first segment, the UDP is taking a public pounding for the Vega land scandals, but, the party has weathered worse, and kept on winning elections. And that's why today they launched their UDP 7 Orange Walk Team with the jaded optimism allowed only to those who are riding an uncanny winning streak.
This slate is being led by former Orange Walk Mayor Phillip De La Fuente - and the UDP are hoping that they can unseat the PUP Mayor Kevin Bernard and give John Briceno trouble in his Orange Walk stronghold. Here's who they are, and why they want to represented the UDP in the upcoming municipal elections:
"In the US congress one of the clear examples of this is that there was no women's restroom in the US congress adjacent to the floor of the house until 2006. Our first women in congress entered in 1917. So it took almost 100 years for there to be facilities for the women who were serving. Why?"
Police Minister On City Crime Spike
At that launch, we also got a chance to speak with Minister of Police, Elodio Aragon, and we've already shown you part of that interview.
But we also asked him about the spike in crime for the month of August, and what the police top brass is doing to contain the violence in the city. Here's what he had to tell us:
Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State - Police:
"Every day the Belize Police Department looks at what is happening on the ground. We have to constantly be looking at what we are doing, what need to be improved upon and definitely every crime is a concern for us. Every murder is a murder too many and definitely the police department and the ministry is always concern about crime. What I can tell you is that the situation I don't know to what extent you called it a spike."
Can Decriminalizaiton Curb Drug Related Turf Wars
So, what does the Minister in charge of police think about the move to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana?
Police believe at this time that the drug trade in Belize has had a role to play in the spike in violent crime in Belize City. The press asked him about the wisdom of that plan in the context of the crime and marijuana trade in the City. Here's what he had to say:
"The marijuana trade has been attributed to the recants spike in gun violence at least in Belize City. As a parliamentarian where do you stand on the legislation to now decriminalize certain quantities of marijuana?"
Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State - Police:
"The situation on the streets is more than just drugs. There are a lot of other issues that contribute to crime. In terms of the decriminalization of marijuana, I can tell you this: I am in full support of this."
PM Proposes New Judge, Briceno Opposes
7News has learned that the Prime Minister wants to name a new judge to the Court of Appeal. He is Franze Park, a defense lawyer based in Miami who specializes in Federal and State Criminal cases. He also has a degree in accounting.
But the Leader of the Opposition - who has to be consulted on the appointment- doesn't like the selection and he told us why today:...
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition:
"We view that recommendation with much concern. We are very concern because more than anything else this gentleman which I don't know has only practice law up to 1980 in the Caribbean. Since 1980 he has been out of the Caribbean living in the United States operating in a complete and different jurisdiction than the Caribbean."
Charged For Gooseneck Gun
Last night we told you about the improvised gun made out of a bicycle handle that Ladyville police found. Well, today Ladyville resident 26 year old Kieron Salinas was charged with a prohibited firearm offense for that homemade gun. Salinas pled not guilty to the charge. Magistrate Aretha Ford explained to him the she cannot offer him bail for the offence so he was remanded until November 2nd.
As we told you last night, the police were on mobile patrol on Stork Street in Ladyville when they saw Salinas in front of a store looking suspicious. They searched him and found a homemade firearm, made out of a bicycle gooseneck.
More Weed in Maya Center
Two days ago we told you about the weed trees and the illegal timber Stann Creek police found in the area of Maya Center Village. Again, yesterday police conducted all day operations at the sanctuary reserve area in the Maya Center Village, Stann Creek. They found 8 more mature marijuana plants and they also found a 20 gauge shot gun with 9 live 20 gauge cartridges. No one was in the area at the time of the search so the gun and ammunition were labeled as found property and the cannabis plants were uprooted and burnt.
Meet the Queens...
There are all kinds of pageants year-round - but September is synonymous with the Queen of the Bay and this year's event will be held on Saturday night. Now, there is of course a lot of drama surrounding the pageant with district coordinators rebelling against National Coordinator Zenaida Moya.
But, the show goes on and today we found the eight contestants getting ready for the big show on Saturday. We spoke with a few contestants and got a sneak peek of the upcoming performance.
Amy Reyes, Santa Elena Representative:
"What inspired me apart from fulfilling my dream. I wanted to make my twin towns proud because as the entire country can see no one not a single person from the Cayo district has won the title as Queen Of The Bay."
A Park For And By The Community
The name Charlie Burton may not ring a bell for most of us, but for kids on Gibnut Street it sure does. That's the name of a newly constructed park in the neighborhood. The children who once played on the street now have their own safe haven right across the street from their home. But the real story is how a community transformed an abandoned lot into an open space:...
Sahar Vasquez reporting:
On Gibnut street a once overgrown lot that resembled a garbage dump has been transformed into a children's park. The vision behind this growing project came from area resident G. Micheal Reid. Before the lot was cleaned up it looked like an impossible task, but Reid was inspired. After years of seeing kids play on the street where cars go up and down he decided that it was time for a change on little Gibnut street.
Rural Electrification Three Years Later
A rural electrification project sponsored by the European Union is benefitting five hundred households and 13 banana farms in 27 communities across Southern Belize.
The three-year electrification project kicked off in May of 2014, and, since then, communities from St. Margaret's on the Hummingbird Highway to Trio Village deep in the Toledo District have been connected to the national grid.
Briceno, We Have One, We Want Two
So, throughout the newscast, we've been talking about the upcoming municipal elections. The real question is how many can the PUP win - and that will be the true test of John Briceno's leadership. That's what we asked him yesterday:..
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"What would be a good benchmark for you all to say realistically we can win X number of municipalities?"
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition:
"How many municipalities do we have? We have one. So if we win two, we are ahead. Let's put it this way. But more importantly we in the PUP fight for every election. We are going to fight the UDP in every municipality, despite the fact that they have padded the voting list. We are going to fight. I fight to win."
SJC Vs. Wesley, All Over Again
For weeks, it's been promoted as return to the rivalry of decades where basketball teams representing Wesley College and Saint John's College will face off to finally determine which school team is the best.
The idea behind it is that the basketball greats from decades gone who were part of the teams from both schools will meet up on the basketball court tomorrow to see which school is the undisputed basketball champ.
But, while it's going to be very entertaining to see who comes out on top between the methodists and the catholics, it's also for a worthy cause. The tickets have been sold, and all proceeds will go to funding scholarships for students attending both schools.
Businessman Omar Ortiz Lost in Accident on Slippery George Price Highway
Well-known businessman Omar Ortiz left his home this morning en route to Galen University in Central Farm, Cayo, but he never arrived at his destination. Near the cut off to [...]
Teachers’ Union Says Government Must Take Lands Corruption Seriously
Belize’s two largest trade unions have come out swinging against the Government in the wake of the latest revelations into fraudulent and corrupt activities at the Ministry of Natural Resources. [...]
P.S.U. Call for Works, Health to be Investigated as Well
Meanwhile, the Public Service Union states in its release that corruption has been increasingly reported not only at Lands, but at the Ministries of Works and Health. It says it [...]
As Investigation Begins, Police Minister Calls on Colleague Gaspar Vega to “Deal with” Situation
Orange Walk East Area Representative Elodio Aragon Junior also weighed in on the ongoing land scandal involving former cabinet colleague Gaspar Vega. As Minister of State for Home Affairs, Aragon [...]
To Err is Human; Aragon Says Boss P.M. Has Handled Circumstances Well
While Aragon stopped short of elaborating on an ostensible criminal matter, he says that on a personal note, one must take into consideration the fact that these kinds of circumstances [...]
A.G. Says Darlene Padron Will Be Questioned over Activity in Vega Case
The fate of Darlene Padron, the Justice of the Peace who knowingly or unknowingly endorsed the fraudulent land document, lies with the Office of the Attorney General which is conducting [...]
Public Officers Warned to Resist Ministers’ Requests
Compounded with the ongoing Senate Special Select Committee inquiry on Immigration, in which several senior public officers have been implicated, in the P.S.U.’s words, of “outright corruption, wrongdoing and lack [...]
Franz Parke Suggested for Court of Appeal Justice; Fitness Questioned
Franz Parke, a Jamaican-American attorney, is being nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal of Belize for a term of five years beginning with the October session. He was [...]
U.S. Says Removal from ‘Kingpin’ List Does Not Clear John Zabaneh of Criminal Investigation
You heard here on News Five how well known businessman John Zabaneh has been cleared of the ‘Kingpin’ label. Zabaneh and alleged associates were designated as a trafficking organization and [...]
Washington Backs CICIG’s Ivan Velasquez; Will Not Tolerate Political Influence in Guatemala
Protests continue in Guatemala where Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales attempted to remove the head of the U.N. anti-corruption commission, known as CICIG. Numerous countries have denounced the attempt to expel [...]
U.D.P. Names 7 to Take Back Orange Walk Town Council
The United Democratic Party continues to roll out its roster of candidates in various cities and towns ahead of the March 2018 municipal elections. This morning in Belize City, the [...]
Former Mayor Philip de la Fuente Comes Home to U.D.P.
Offering himself once more as mayoral hopeful for the United Democratic Party is a return to form for Phillip De La Fuente who parted ways with the U.D.P. in 2015, [...]
Mayoral Candidate Confident of Taking Down P.U.P.’s Kevin Bernard
De La Fuente’s biggest challenge will be unseating incumbent Kevin Bernard in March 2018. The head of Orange Walk’s town council is a two-time mayor who has been able to [...]
Cayo Pharmacy’s Vitamin B Syrup Supply Flagged by Ministry of Health
For the second time a particular pharmacy in San Ignacio has been flagged by the Ministry of Health for the sale of an unauthorized drug. Neurobion syrup, in the two [...]
Legal Action to be Taken If Pharmacists Don’t Tell Who Supplied Compromised Medicine
It is not sure if the drugs were smuggled into Belize, and the pharmacy in question refuses to inform the Ministry of Health who supplied them with the unauthorized medication. [...]
Orange Walk’s Lisandra Gutierrez Wants to Reign over KTV the Remix
Tonight we bring you closer to Lisandra Gutierrez; she is one of four finalists in KTV, the Remix, who is hoping to capture the title and cash prize. Lisandra is [...]
Women, Power and Politics in Belize Under Discussion at Conference
The national women’s commission held a first of its kind women in politics conference today. The event, held under the theme ‘Empowered Women: Empowering Women for Meaningful Change,’ brought together [...]
B.N.T.U. Says Stand Up to Sedi If You Love Belize
The Belize National Teachers’ Union has added its voice to those condemning Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington for his repeated statements that Belize’s borders are not internationally recognized, and [...]
Healthy Living Visits Youth Enhancement Services
By next week all children across the country should be back in the classroom for the new school year. In Belize, children ages fourteen and under must be enrolled in [...]
Police Minister Says Investigation Into Vega Land Fraud Has Commenced
Police Minister Elodio Aragon confirmed today that as requested by Prime Minister Dean Barrow the Police have commenced an investigation into the allegations of fraud made by private citizen Amy Forte in relation to the use of her name and signature on a land title which was falsely granted by former Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega and which documents show was fraudulently sold to and transferred into the name of the Minister’s son, Andre Vega’s name.
Vega has admitted to the land transaction, but in a letter which his attorney Estevan Perera wrote to the CEO in Ministry of Natural Resources Sharon Parham Young yesterday, he claims that all transactions were facilitated through an unnamed land agent. He also admitted that he had never met Forte and that all he did was accept his land agent’s facilitation.
Who Forged Amy Forte's Signature?
As previously reported, the allegation by Amy Forte is that she was never aware of the land transaction; therefore, could have never obtained the Minister’s Fiat Grant 175 of 2009 declaring her the owner of a parcel of land measuring 3,826 square meters in Caye Caulker Village, nor could have signed the February 17TH 2010 Deed of Conveyance which transferred the land ownership to Andre Antonio Vega for an alleged $30,000. But while Forte has come out with the bombshell news, the reality is that on the documents there appears a signature above her name? And that signature is validated by Justice of the Peace Darlene Padron a well know acquaintance to Vega. And based on these two signatures Andre Vega through his attorney has indicated that the documents seemed genuine so he went ahead and purchased the land. Who then committed the forgery? That’s a question we hope police will be able to answer after the investigations conclude.
Former Employee Of Lands Darlene Padron Needs To Be Investigated Says Opposition Leader
The signatures of Amy Forte and former Lands Minister Gaspar Vega are not the only ones that have raised controversy. So too, as we’ve mentioned, has the signature of Justice of the Peace Darlene Padron whose signed name is affixed to the document as a person who witnessed in person, Forte’s signature on the documents. But if Forte has confirmed that she never signed any documents, then what did Padron witness, or is it that she too was a willing participant in a scheme to hustle land. Opposition Leader Hon. John Briceno told the media yesterday that considering Padron’s known UDP/Vega connections, she also needs to be investigated.
PUP Leader..."It Was All About The Vegas"
The PUP leader also discussed the particulars of the land controversy which came to light when a series of documents were leaked from the lands ministry. Documents showed how members of the Vega family were acquiring land, with Minister Gapar Vega selling cheaply to individuals who then turn around and sell to members of his family. But more obscenely are the cases of compensation made to the Vega family members, by the Government, for erroneous land sales. The fraudulent Forte land deal is just part of a compensation deal, in which Andre Vega ended up receiving prime land.
BNTU And PSU Demand Investigation Into Land Hustle
The Belize National Teachers Union and the Public Service Union of Belize today issued separate releases condemning the latest land hustle scandal at the Lands department as well as other allegations of corruption in Government Ministries under the United Democratic Party. The BNTU in their release reminds GOB of one of the eleven demands made during their eleven day strike last year, that Belize become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Anti-corruption (UNCAC) so as to ensure that these matters are investigated and calls on the Prime Minister to take the issue of corruption in our country seriously.
Breaking Belize News
On Sunday, August 27, a inauguration service was held at the Centennial Park in Benque.
Smart sponsored the play sets for the park through their Smart Cares program.
Belize: An Honour Base System?
By Godwin Sutherland Sr.: In theory our political construct presupposes that it would be honour base. In demonstration of this intent, our parliamentarians are all honourable men and women and have been so designated. It is for this reason that they are honour bound to execute their ministerial and collective obligations, in good conscience. Isn’t this our expectation?
Omar Ortiz dies in fatal traffic accident
This morning, Omar Ortiz lost his life in a fatal traffic accident.
The businessman was travelling around Miles 30 and 31 when he lost control of his Toyota land cruiser. The vehicle flipped several times.
PSU calls for investigation into Ministry of Lands and Works
The Public Service Union (PSU) of Belize issued a statement today stating that it has noted the increased incidents of reported acts of corruption in several Government Ministries in particular the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Works, and the Ministry of Health.
Belize Network of NGO’s calls on GOB to take immediate action against corruption
Yesterday, the Belize Network for NGO’s (BNN) issued a statement reiterating its support for the […]
Vehicle flips on George Price Highway
This morning around 8:30, a cream Toyota land cruiser flipped on the George Price Highway. It […]
Irma intensifies to Category 2 Hurricane
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring Hurricane Irma over the Eastern Atlantic. According to […]
Health Ministry warns of unauthorized Neurobión ® 50 mil syrup bottle circulating in Belize
The Ministry of Health has issued a press release informing the public of an unauthorized […]
Brother and son of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on trial for fraud
A fraud trial against the brother and son of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales began on […]
Belize’s economy grows for second quarter
Economic activity was up for all sectors in the second quarter of 2017, resulting in […]
Ladyville man busted with homemade gun
Yesterday, police in Ladyville detained a man for a homemade gun. At around 3p.m. yesterday […]
July exports down, overall exports still up
Despite having a 5.3 percent decline in exports for the month of July, Belize’s accumulated […]
July cost of living up by less than 1 percent
The latest data from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) shows that Belizeans paid an […]
Time Inc.’s Coastal Living brand welcomes Mahogany Bay Village as a new Coastal Living Community in San Pedro, Belize
Mahogany Bay Village in San Pedro, Belize is the latest community to join the COASTAL LIVING Communities collection. Mahogany Bay Village features 40+ private lifestyle residences and a bustling village center with all the luxuries, retail delights, green spaces and everyday conveniences of a master-planned resort community. Mahogany Bay Village also boasts over a mile of private white sand beach on the sunset coast of Ambergris Caye. Like the Mahogany Bay property, each residence in the collection will provide a memorable beachside experience through the best of seaside architecture, design, lifestyle and culture.
Ambergris Caye will be the home of the COASTAL LIVING brand’s “Inspired Home” in 2017, an exclusive two-level single-family home product at Mahogany Bay Village to celebrate the COASTAL LIVING brand’s 20th anniversary.
The 10 Best Belize Resorts
From the reef to the rainforest, swanky offshore islands to rustic hillside retreats, Belize combines its the Caribbean and Central American assets into a “one-stop” vacation package that has something for every traveler. It’s the kind of destination that draws an eclectic mix of travel aficionados, including passionate beach-seekers, trekkers and top divers from around the world. But many are just looking for those signature Belize resorts, the places to stay that you can’t find anywhere else. So whether you want to laze on a beach; tour ancient Mayan ruins; or see jaguars and other jungle wildlife up close and personal, Belize definitely merits a spot on your 2017 must-see list. Here are the top 10 Belize resorts for every kind of getaway.
REDD+ seeks to hire a Procurement Officer. Deadline to apply: September 8.
Banana Accompanying Measures (EU-BAM) Electrification Project
Five hundred households and 13 banana farms in 27 communities in Southern Belize now have access to safe and reliable electricity. The homes and farms were connected to the national power grid under the Banana Accompanying Measures (EU-BAM) Electrification Project funded by the European Union.
The three-year electrification project was initiated on May 28, 2014, with the signing of a BZ$4.5 million grant contract involving the European Union (EU), Government of Belize (GOB), and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL).
Under the EU-financed project, the national electricity grid was extended in rural areas with the aim of improving the quality of life for residents and to support the local productive sector.
Cayo 2017 September Celebrations
The calendar for the SISE September Celebrations. There's a lot going on, starting tomorrow.
Outtakes: Life Among the Modern Maya
Not far from the crowded beaches of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, inland village life lies at the intersection of farming, ranching and attempts to conserve the remaining tropical jungle. For a Nature Conservancy story, Austin-based photographer Erich Schlegel traveled southeast to the Yucatan for three weeks in 2016 and 2017 to capture how local ranchers and farmers make a living while preserving the forest surrounding them.
Many people there descend from the Maya and, in a landscape dotted with ruins from that civilization, they still depend on the land as their ancestors did, Schlegel says. “It’s a very intimate connection and respect for their land,” he says. “They realize that they need to take care of what they have now. They understand that it’s important for their survival.”
The farmers are infusing ancient farming practices with modern science—updating their traditional milpa farming techniques (in which multiple crops are planted on a single field) to enrich soil. Ranchers are adopting silvopastoral practices, in which rotational grazing is used to improve pasture grasses, and strips of land are left forested in ranching fields. Since 2011, The Nature Conservancy has worked with Yucatan communities to establish these practices and to create a forestry management program that together help preserve tropical forests as a way of storing carbon emissions. (Read more about these projects in the Fall 2017 magazine story.)
Guatemala gets strong USA support to strengthen her borders, yesterday's article from AFP:Guatemalan authorities on Wednesday unveiled a new border security force created with US help to patrol the frontier with El Salvador in an effort to fight cross-border crime.
The unit of 150 police and 100 soldiers is called the Xinca Task Force and will use 32 patrol vehicles donated by the United States to cover the border area in the southeast of the country, Interior Minister Francisco Rivas told reporters.
It adds to three other border forces already operating in Guatemala: the Tecun Uman group that patrols the border with Mexico to the north, and the Chroti and Trinational units along the El Salvador and Honduras borders.
Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras together make up Central America's "Northern Triangle", which suffers violent gang crime, corruption and poverty, all of which fuel irregular emigration, mostly to the United States.
The US has adopted a strategy of funding programs to promote stability and prosperity in the Northern Triangle while also trying to make irregular emigration from there more difficult and cracking down on organised criminal groups and drug smuggling.
Rivas said he was sure that, with the new Xinca Taskforce, "the fight against narco-trafficking, and the smuggling of goods and people will happen in a much more effective way". — AFP
Viking Productions Lands Food Deal In Belize Cruise Port
Restaurant operator and distributor Viking Productions has landed the exclusive rights to operate food, beverage and confectionery services in the Belize City Tourism Village.
The Montego Bay-based company, which operates regionally, says it will be rolling out the Belize operations primarily under its Sharkeez Bar & Grill brand, which is already operational in the busiest cruise port in the world, Nassau in The Bahamas.
Viking is also the owner of three Hard Rock Cafe locations and 24 Harley-Davidson retail stores, and holds licensing and distribution rights to the Bob Marley and Red Stripe brands.
Belize IFSC issues warning notice regarding Mindreframing Ltd.
Belize financial regulator IFSC has issued a Warning Notice regarding a company called Mindreframing Ltd.
It is hereby notified for general information that Mindreframing Ltd. with its registered office at 1257 Barrier Reef Crescent, Vista Del Mar Ladyville, Belize District, Belize, C.A., is no longer licensed by the International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC) for Formation or management of international business companies or other offshore entities or to engage in any other International Financial Services.
Caribbean Broadcasting Union Best Commercial Spot
Special Mention: World Wildlife Fund – Save Our Heritage Ad – Great Belize Productions Ltd. – Belize
Producers: Great Belize Productions, World Wildlife Fund.
Un katún de investigación en Caracol, Belice
Caracol, en Belice, fue uno de los sitios más grandes de las Tierras Bajas mayas del sur en el Clásico Tardío (550-900 d.C.). Su población aprovechó sus victorias militares y compartió una identidad que implicaba el uso de rituales y objetos similares por parte de los grupos residenciales. Ahora el sitio es un importante destino turístico.
Un katún -20 años en la cuenta calendárica maya- de investigaciones arqueológicas ha permitido una visión detallada de Caracol, Belice, comunidad del Clásico Tardío. Caracol alcanzó su apogeo en 650 d.C. para entonces había derrotado militarmente a dos sitios de Guatemala, Tikal y Naranjo, y alcanzado la supremacía política en las Tierra Bajas del sur.
Regional news - Flights diverted from Mexico City's Airport to Toluca due to flooding., 1/2min. El aeropuerto de México, que cerró hace como 2 horas. El A340-600 de Iberia fue desviado a Toluca y muchos otros vuelos fueron desviados y cancelados
LAND, AIR & SEA Adventures with Michael in Belize, 4.5min. Adventures with my guest here in Belize. Michael Davis based from Ambergris Caye.
The Blue Hole Belize 2017 Scuba Diving, 13min. A day dive with Frenchie's Diving. We dove at The Aquarium, Half moon caye and the Blue hole. We saw turtles, rays, sharks, tarpon, lobster, crabs, and beautiful corals. Shot with a Go pro hero 4 and a red polar pro filter.
Ambergris Cay, Belize, August 2017, 6.5min.
Reef Shark at Half Moon Wall - Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize, 1min. Reef shark does a drive-by as we dive Half Moon Wall in Belize.
TENSIONS FLARE IN CARMELITA VILLAGE AS RESIDENTS BLOCK ROAD LEADING TO THE SAND PIT, 5min. Tensions flared early this morning in Carmelita Village here in the Orange Walk District as a number of residents decided to block the street that leads to the village’s Sand Pit in protest of new developments that have been taking place in the area
For Love Of Country, 26min.
Belize Medical Associates, 35min.
Annual Back to School Trimming Drive to target 250 students in community, 15min.
Two-Foot Cow: Revitalising Indigenous Garifuna Dance, 3min. Warasa Garifuna Drum School is bringing back a traditional but fun Christmas dance to Punta Gorda, Belize for all to see.
PARASAILING IN BELIZE, 5min.