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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
Cost of living continues rising in Belize according to SIB’s latest report
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) recently released its latest statistics in three categories which include: Consumer Price Index, External Trade Bulletin, and Labor Force. The latest release shows that all-items consumer price index for November 2017 stood at 105.2, an increase of 104.2 compared to the same month in 2016. According to the SIB, for the month of November 2017, goods regularly purchased by Belizeans households were 0.9% higher than they were last year for the same month.
Einer Gomez is grand prize winner in Castillo’s Hardware Ltd’s 2017 raffle
Castillo’s Hardware Limited held its annual Christmas raffle for its customers on Friday, December 22nd, with five amazing prizes on the line. Thousands of raffle tickets had been placed in the barrel leading up to the grand day, and everyone who participated was hoping to be the lucky winner. Reef Radio was on hand to do the live drawing, and Miss San Pedro, Virginia Vasquez, was tasked with drawing the five winning tickets. After a few brief words of thanks from Mr. Alfonso Castillo, the first ticket was drawn.
Winning the fifth prize, a Huffy Men’s Mountain Bike, was Amilcar Chi. Thomas Ack was the lucky fourth prize winner of a Panasonic 400 Watt Stereo System, while the third prize of 10 gallons of Do It Best Paint & Primer-In-One was Jorge Flores. Second prize, a 30” Frigidaire Gas Stainless Steel Stove, went to Guido Edwards, and then, it was time for the grand prize. Walking away with a fantastic LG 65” 4k LED SMART Television was none other than Einer Gomez!
Prime Minister’s Dean Barrow delivers New Year’s Address 2018
As is customary, Belize’s Prime Minister Right Honourable Dean Barrow delivered his New Year’s message on Friday, December 29, 2017. In his speech, he highlighted the accomplishments and obstacles that the country faced as a nation through the year as well as projects to be expected for the upcoming year. Finally, he wished all Belizeans a Happy New Year.
Misc Belizean Sources
Gaming Control Board Notice
The Gaming Control Board of Belize would like to remind all gaming machine licensees that their licenses will expire on 31st March 2018. Licensees wishing to renew their licenses are asked to submit their application forms to the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce in Belmopan on or before Friday, 2nd February 2018. Application forms are available at the Ministry.
Mrs. Maria Idalia "Daly" Paz passes away
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its sincere condolences to the Paz friends and family on the passing of Mrs. Maria Idalia "Daly" Paz. We hope the family can find strength in each other to overcome this great loss. May her soul rest in peace.
BTB Vacancy: Information Technology Services
Got what it takes? If you want to work in a collaborative environment where opportunities are offered, skills and excellence are rewarded, you might be exactly what we're looking for. To find out, check this page for vacancies.
Movie Night: "Lake Placid" followed by a Q&A with croc experts!
Wednesday, January 10 at 7 PM - 9 PM, at
The Truck Stop
1 Mile North of the bridge, San Pedro. Here's a special treat: this Wednesday we'll be showing the crocodile thriller "Lake Placid," and afterwards we'll be having a Q&A with local crocodile experts Chris Summers & Christina Manzi from ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary! In addition to telling us a few things that the movie gets hilariously wrong, they'll answer your questions about our own local monsters.
Power outage scheduled for Wednesday, January 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to affect Joseito & Dominguez Layouts, Pueblo Viejo, Saltillos, Copper Bank, Chunox and Sarteneja
BEL to replace lightning arresters on a transformer at Corozal Substation.
NEBL Opening: Bandits Host Tigersharks
The NEBL 2018 season starts on Thursday, January 18th, and the big game is the Bandits hosting the Tiger Sharks.
"Opening night for the 2018 Elite Basketball season takes place on Thursday ,January 18 ,2018 inside UB Gymnasium. Mark the date, you sure don’t wanna miss this one! "
Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Happy New Year! The Disaster Artist,
Happy Death Day,
See ya at the movies ..
*Please note the theater is closed Friday night for a church event*
Ahmad Family Says Text Messages Show They Are On a "Hit List"
The saga of the Ahmad family continues after the murder of Fareed Ahmad. Tonight, it has gone from perplexing to almost unbelievable. As we told you, the family is convinced that they are in grave danger, and are being hunted by rogue elements of the police department. They are seeking protection, and they also want an independent investigator to take over from the police in trying to get to the bottom of Fareed's death.
And while they allege a wider conspiracy, there was no concrete evidence offered to back up that claim.
But, now, they've disclosed a series of text messages which they say is proof of this conspiracy. We've seen the messages, and we'll share them with you, but first a disclaimer. These messages could simply be the photoshopped product of some mischief maker trying to stir up serious trouble and suspicion.
But, the family believes them to be authentic, and so, we'll let you be the judge.
Older Man Shot in Gang Warzone - Wasn't The Intended Target
The violence continued in the city last night - and again it was the product of gang warfare between Victoria Street and Pink's Alley. 59-year-old Charles Foreman was shot while at his home on #9 Pickstock Street - which is one block across from Victoria Street. The shot went into his cheek and exited through his neck and has left Foreman in Critical condition at the KHMH. Sahar Vasquez found out more about the shooting.
59-year-old Charles Foreman sat in the comfort of his living room last night socializing with a few other when things went terribly wrong.
Several shots were fired at his house a little after 8 pm. The shots came out of nowhere. Everyone escaped unhurt except for Foreman. He was shot in the face.
Foreman now lies in a hospital bed in critical condition. But was he really the target? Well according to the police the 59-year-old Foreman was not the intended target.
Violence in A Community Cordoned Off By Checkpoints
So what can police do to contain this rivalry that has left two dead and one critical since New Year's Day? foreman was shot in an area with heavy police presence, and, on New Year's Day, Leon Garcia was stabbed to death not far from another police checkpoint. In fact, three checkpoints form a kind of cordon around the Victoria Street area. Yet the violence continues. Today police told us what they are doing about it:
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"Now sir would you be able to speak to the checkpoints in that area. There is a triangulation of them. Up the Street on Castle Street and PickStock and then you have another that is on the corner of New Road and Victoria and then you have another on Barrack Road and Victoria. So you have in a half mile radius a very dense area of checkpoints. Yet one murder and one attempted murder have happened within this locus. Is this a concern for you all that no matter how many active patrols or checkpoints you all seem to erect the criminals are able to operate within that with murderous intent?"
Police Looking For Vellos Shooter
Jermaine Vellos was also killed as a result of that gang war between Pink's Alley and Victoria Street. It happened far from that neighborhood in the Belama area - but was directly related to the gang rivalry. That's because the gunmen went to a Belama home looking for a Pink's Alley figure, but ended up shooting his brother in law - who has smilier features, but is visiting from New York.
Today, we asked police more about the execution of the wrong man, and the wider issue of gang warfare between these rival groups:
"Did the killers indeed come on the river and are there any clues? Were there any surveillance cameras that may have picked them up? Anything like that?"
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC-CIB Belize City:
"Based on the investigation on the cameras in the area, yes we were able to establish that they came from the river side and they were hiding behind some bushes. The police found some exhibits in that area as well that the persons were using."
Woman Critical After Orange Walk Accident With 16 Year Old Driver
A woman is battling to stay alive after she was knocked down in Guinea Grass Village, Orange Walk. Last night around 9:00, 28 year old Shakira Villanueva was crossing the road at the entrance of the village when a 16 year old boy, who was driving a Izuzu pick-up truck without a license, knocked her down. Her mother spoke to CTV-3 today.
Lilia Villanueva, Mother:
"When my daughter was going by the road, somebody hailed her. I don't know where she was going but the same time someone called me and said that a boy just knocked down my daughter and left her on the ground and left. Someone else came, picked her up and took her. They sent her right to Belize, and from there 3pm in the evening they called and told me they will operate on her brain because there was hemorrhage..."
Boy Beat Down In Sugar Town
Also in Orange Walk, a mother is pleading for justice after a man fractured her son's skull on New Years Day. 11 year old Jahmar Ferguson and his cousins were walking to a friend's house in Trial Farm when another man threw a stone at a nearby house. Two men from the house came out and went after Ferguson -thinking he had thrown the rock. According to the report, one of the men held the boy down and the other struck him in the head with an object. After the incident, someone called a family member because he was unconscious and bleeding out. It is a vicious attack on a child and today his mother, Patricia Hendricks told us that all she wants is for her little boy to recover and for the men to pay for this monstrous act.
PUC Audit Raises Questions
The working papers for an audit of the Public Utilities Commission is raising eyebrows and could stir a political storm two months before municipal elections.
The Audit is for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, and, in his august Management Letter, accountant Cedric Flowers points to a few worrying details in his letter to the board of the PUC.
He notes that there were over $50,000 dollars in donations for which he found no evidence of approval by the Commission.
As regards the Raspberry PI Program where the PUC purchased a large number of computers for youth training, Flowers notes, quote, "substantial modification of previously approved expenditures, payment of unbudgeted expenses, lack of proper support for expenditures, and financing of its operations without an approved budget."
NEAB Is On The Zion Train To Jerusalem
The National Evangelical Association of Belize has sent out its first press release for the new year, and its tackling 2 very weighty and controversial topics.
As we told you, the unofficial murder count is tied with 2012, for the most murderous year in Belize's history, with 145 murders.
Their release says, quote, "As our murder rate for 2017 has tied the 2012 highest ever record, we urge all Belizeans to live vigilant, sober lives guarding our children and families and let us cry out for God to heal our nation." End quote.
They've also taken a swipe at Government of Belize for refusing to support US President Donald Trump in recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.
Investigation Into Lincoln Navigator Not Done
One man has been charged in the case of the cocaine carrying Lincoln Navigator - but that's not the end of the story. 41 year old Ranchito resident Robert Gentle, has been remanded into custody for driving the Lincoln Navigator which had 13 pounds of cocaine in a hidden compartment.
But, how did he get possession of the vehicle? And what about the owner, who reported it stolen minutes after the crash?
Police say the owner and the driver still have more questions to answer:..
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC-CIB Belize City:
"Yes the police is looking at that angle and likewise other persons are being seek in reference that same vehicle."
Granny Jumped GSU Officer?
She's a 51 year-old grandmother, but police officers from the Gang Suppression Unit are accusing Irma Caceres of assaulting them. Well, in a trial at the Magistrate's Court, she accused them right back of assaulting her sons.
Police Constables Marvin McKoy and Andrews testified that in January of last year, they were attempting to search for drugs, firearms and ammunition at her house on Madam Liz Crescent in Belize City. They testified that when they entered her property, residents blocked them from entering because a party was underway.
The police still jumped over the gate, removed the chain and lock, and entered anyway.
From there, things escalated and one of the party-goers allegedly elbowed one of the police officers. Constable McKoy testified that he rushed to help, and that's when he was jumped from behind. He said that someone grabbed him by his shirt collar, and when he turned around, he saw that it was none other than Irma Caceres. They then arrested her and charged her with assaulting a police officer and obstruction.
Belize Bank Delivers 90.6 Million Dollar Certificate to GOB
The 90.6 million dollar question is going to the House of Representatives tomorrow. Should Government pay the arbitration award to the Belize Bank? The question has weighed heavy in the public's mind for 6 weeks, and tonight it's coming close to closure.
Reports to 7 News are that the government received the certificate from the registrar only just this evening. That is the instrument from the court which states the amount that is due and it is served on the Financial Secretary and the Minister of Finance.
Now, the Prime Minister will table this in the house tomorrow as a request for an appropriation by the National Assembly. But reports suggest that it might only be tabled, and then debated and voted on at a later occasion. The issues of costs still has to be finalized and there will be another certificate for that, which would have to be added to this one for approval by the House.
SSB and CWU Agree On Money, But Disagree On Principle
The Social Security Board and the Christian Workers Union have agreed on a raise for employees, but are having a dispute over how backpay is to be calculated. Social Security says the retroactive pay should not be compounding, while the union says it should. It's a difference of about 5.3% which Social Security has agreed to pay in the union's favour. Great, so end of dispute, right? Not so fast, because Social Security wants the union to accept, quote, "that the Board is not setting a precedent for past or future negotiations relating to 'salary increase or retroactive salary increase."
Search Intensifies for Missing Jamal
Jamal Humes has been missing for 16 days now. After tireless search efforts, his family still has not found him. Today his mother and the search party leader Jose Espat held a press conference to share some promising leads and request assistance from the public.
Jose Espat, Search Party Leader:
"We moved on as well based on tips and so forth. After canvassing we learnt a lot about Jamal. We learnt he was not any person of trouble. We learnt that he used to do mechanics and he would often go out at any hours of the night to help anyone. We also found that he used to work for the police and he used to work at the mechanic shop beside LI-Chee. He worked for the police almost five years. We also came across Information that Jamal was a witness in a murder that occurred five years ago on Faber's road and that is a very key point in the investigation. I cannot go into details of the matter because the police are dining their investigation as well. We also have another lead that I will not go into details right now. Those are the two motives we are looking at presently and going on."
Cops Keeping Up Hope For Jamal
And police say they have been assisting in the search for Homes as well. ASP Cowo told us what the cops have done and disclosed some angles in the case:..
ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC-CIB Belize City:
"I know that the police is working along with the family members conducting searches within different areas within Belize City, 8 miles. Just yesterday sometime after 5, police went to an area behind the dykes area where they conducted a search at a location. However, it was led that nothing was found there. He is still reported missing."
"Are you all aware of any person or persons who had a grievance against Mr. Humes or any reason why anyone may have wanted him disappeared or dead?"
ASP Alejandro Cowo:
"Not that we know up to this moment."
Basketballers To Sarstoon
Border Activist Wil Maheia has become well-known for his regular trips to the Sarstoon Island, He usually takes different groups of Belizean on an excursion - if you will - to experience what it is like at the southernmost border with Guatemala, and to see the activities that the Guatemalans engage in at the edge of the Toledo District.
Well, this morning, he and Clinton "Pulu" Lightburn organized a trip to the Sarstoon for 16 Belize City Southside youths - who also make up an under 14 basketball team. And surprisingly, they got the full treatment, everything from the sights and sounds, to even the Guatemalan military's attempt to stop them circling the Sarstoon Island.
They've put together a sort of video blog of the trip, and here's what they saw:
Gang Rivalry Explodes on North Side; G.S.U. Swoop Into Action
Gang violence in the city has once again exploded since the murder of well-known gang leader Leon Garcia on New Year’s Day. On Tuesday night, a pair of gunmen shot [...]
Charles Foreman Sr. Shot; Family in Trauma
As the GSU cracks down on rivalry gangs in the City, another act of violence overnight left an elderly man in critical condition. A bullet penetrated the cheek of fifty-nine [...]
Vellos Attackers Got Away by Haulover Creek; 1 Sought
The Foreman and Vellos families are still reeling from the deadly attack on their loved ones on Tuesday night in Belize City. Husband and wife couple Jermain and Stephanie Vellos [...]
P.U.C. George Price Highway HQ Will Cost Big
On Wednesday, we reported on questionable transactions queried by certified public accountant and auditor Cedric Flowers in respect of the 2016-2017 audit of the Public Utilities Commission. He questioned among [...]
“Uncle Sam” Closing in on Andrew Bennett
The Office of the Attorney General has completed the requisite paperwork and is awaiting Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington’s signature before proceeding with the extradition request for attorney Andrew Bennett, who [...]
Texts Say S.A.T. Planning More for Ahmads
Tonight there is more from the family of Fareed Ahmad, whose claiming that despite Fareed’s murder, they continue to be under surveillance. As we reported on Wednesday night, the family [...]
P.M. Says Answers for U.H.S. on Friday
Friday morning’s meeting of the House of Representatives is a special session. It is expected to be closely followed as the motion for payment of more than ninety million dollars [...]
Guats Maintain Tight Hold on Sarstoon; “Allow” Belizeans to Visit
A fun trip to the Sarstoon River for members of a youth basketball team from Southside Belize City this morning threatened to become an international incident when members of the [...]
“Dogs” Cracked Trial Farm Boy’s Skull in Mistaken Identity Case
An eleven-year-old student from Trial Farm Government School in Orange Walk is tonight recovering at the K.H.M.H. following a near fatal blow to the head at the hand of another [...]
Could Youngster Lose Ability to Walk?
According to the family, it was not until today, when Ferguson regained consciousness that a statement was taken by investigators, even though there were witnesses to the incident. But the [...]
Arrests for Shooting in Belmopan, Trafficking at Border
Several arrests have been made in respect of a number of crimes that were committed across the country in December. Police have since charged a Ranchito resident in connection with [...]
George Street’s “BT” Charged in Female’s Shooting
Another well-known George Street affiliate has been charged in connection with a shootout along the Boom Road on New Year’s Day. Brandon Tillett was intercepted in a vehicle following the [...]
Search Continues for Jamal Humes; Was Someone Trying to Get Rid of Him?
Jamal Humes has been missing for two weeks and as the days go by, his family in becoming increasingly worried. The twenty-eight-year-old mechanic was last seen on the corner of [...]
Police Confirm Disappearance May Be Linked to Coming Trial
While the search has come up empty-handed, the family and police believe that the disappearance of Humes may be linked to an upcoming trial in which he was to appear [...]
Fighting Gangs in Boston-Area City
In part two of our series on community policing in U.S. Cities, we take you to Boston, Massachusetts where News Five joined a team of journalists from Central America on [...]
Chairman Backtracks on Land Grant in Unitedville
Michael Juan, chairman of Unitedville Village in the Cayo District, is in a pickle tonight. One of his villagers has complained that his land appears to be unfairly being taken [...]
Healthy Living: How Cycling Can Help You Lose Weight
The holiday season was probably a period when many eat too much or drank more than the usual. So shedding those extra pounds to get back in shape is a [...]
NEAB condemns Belize’s recent vote at the United Nations
Last month US President, Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this regard, he made the decision to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Thereafter, the United Nations General Assembly convened a meeting of its member-states where 128 countries including Belize voted against the US decision.The UN’s resolution …
Man clings to life after being shot
59-year-old Charles Foreman Sr. is fighting for his life after being shot in his home last night. ASP Alejandro Cowo spoke about the incident at this morning’s press brief. ASP Alejandro Cowo – Head of CIB, Belize City “Last night Police responded to a shooting incident Wednesday the 3rd of January at about minutes before …
SSB sticks to its position; urgent meeting pending
The Social Security Board (SSB) is sticking to its stance in regards to the calculation of the salary increase as contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Christian Workers Union, CWU. We sought a comment from the Chairman of the Social Security Board, Doug Singh who wrote to our newsroom stating quote, “The CWU …
Does the Prime Minister know about PUC’s questionable spending?
Is Prime Minister Dean Barrow familiar with the findings of Accountant Cedric Flowers as it relates to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)? Among the leaked documents there is a document entitled “Report for the Prime Minister”. That document contains further questionable financial transactions and practices. For instance, it points out that in 2016 the PUC …
Certified accountant questions PUC’s spending
Yesterday we reported on the leaked financial documents relating to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The documents include audited financial statements and minutes of meetings of the commissioners of the PUC. Certified Public Accountant Cedric Flowers was contracted to audit financial statements of the PUC for the year ended March 31, 2017. While Flowers complained …
Alarming text messages suggest Fareed Ahmad was on hit list
Alarming text messages allegedly sent between two members of the Special Assignment Team, SAT, suggest a hit list and that Fareed Ahmad was a victim. In previous press conferences, the Ahmad Family expressed their belief that the death of the 38-year-old barber was planned. They say he was assassinated. We understand that the head of …
UHS loan goes to the house on Friday
On Friday January 5th the now infamous Universal Health Services loan motion will be tabled in the National Assembly. While there has been much speculation as to what will happen thereafter, there is no indication as what will happen thereafter. When bills are tabled it is done so for 3 readings as well as for debate after which a vote is done to see if there will be approval.
It is not certain if the bill will have an amount attached to it. When we checked, the Attorney General’s ministry had not yet received a Certificate to make it an instrument from the Claimants through the Supreme Court which will affix an amount that is being claimed. And while there is no certainty as to what will happen, what bears watching is what the PUP will do. They need to decide whether they will vote for the supplementary bill to be approved and in so doing saddling the Belizean people with a debt which we have nothing to show for or whether they will say no to the bill.
Police woman charged for murder of Fareed Ahmad
Police have arrested and charged 24 year-old Woman Police Constable Michelle Brown for the murder of 38 year-old Fareed Ahmad. Ahmad was a well-known barber, businessman, community activist, and a practitioner of the Muslim Faith, who died under very questionable circumstances.
The mystery started unravelling on Thursday, December 28, 2017, when residents of Hattieville Village heard a loud bang outside their homes, sometime after midnight. Concerned persons exited their front doors and found Ahmad’s grey BMW X5 SUV smashed into the side of another vehicle that was parked on the side of the road between miles 16 and 17, less than a half a mile away from the Hattieville Police station, and half a mile away from Ahmad’s home.
16 more streets upgraded in PG
Work officially started on Wednesday January 3 for the upgrading of 13 streets in Punta Gorda town. The contract was officially signed the day before between the Ministry of Works’ Chief Engineer, Lennox Bradley and Contractor Brian Holland of Belize Minerals.
The work is the second phase of work in the municipality which had previously upgraded 10 streets starting in September of last year.
Deputy Mayor, Ashton McKenzie, told the Guardian that the work will see the investment of $204,930 dollars in 16 streets across the municipality. With these streets it will bring the total to 26 streets that would have been upgraded in the town of Punta Gorda. All told there would be a total investment of 300 thousand dollars in streets in the town.
The U.S. wants attorney Andrew Bennett for Money Laundering
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received the first ever extradition request from the US Government for a Belizean Attorney. According to the Attorney General’s Ministry, they are processing the request for the lawyer who they want to face grand jury charges for money laundering, 46 year-old Andrew Bennett. The US Government says that it allegedly has surveillance video of Bennett reportedly taking 250 thousand US dollars from an agent, in a surveillance operation.
Official documents say that there is a warrant for Bennett’s arrest from the District of Puerto Rico grand jury dated July 2015, and there is also an indictment from a Puerto Rico Grand Jury for 7 counts of money laundering.
The extradition request was sent from the US State Department to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in late December 2017.
Villages in the West receive electricity
The villages of Selena, San Marcos, Los Tambos, and Santa Teresita have received power lines for electricity and, as a result, the Belize Electricity Limited says that it has met its promise to bring electricity to four communities. The feat was achieved on Friday, December 29, 2017, just two days before the end of the year.
With the four communities receiving power lines, approximately 300 houses will now have access to power. While the main parts of the villages now have access to power, the complete installation is expected to be finished by March 2018. Members of the communities are happy to finally receive power, especially since their production will be significantly impacted.
Calla Creek Bridge now useable
The Calla Creek cable bridge that connects the community of Calla Creek to the rest of the World is now open to pedestrians. This is good news to residents as the former bridge was washed away late last year due to flooding of the Mopan River.
Chief Engineer from the Public Works Department Lennox Bradley tells the Guardian that work on that bridge is now “substantially complete.”
Photos released from the office of the Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Public Works, show large cement suspension towers at both ends of the bridge. With the added strengths, students, farmers and all other residents will now be able to enjoy the bridge for a longer time.
Year in Review 2017
2017 got off to a rough start as 5 lives were lost to gun violence in the first three days of the year Colin Sutherland, 22, was killed on New Years Day, Robert Gillett, 28, and Kenneth Dobson, 32, were killed on Monday, January 2, Randolph Johnson, 19, and Bert Abraham, 47, were killed on Tuesday, January 3. Most of the deaths were as a result of gangland violence and these set the pace for the police’s course of action for the rest of the year.
With that the Ministry of Home Affairs began working on a plan for a short medium and long term plan to address the crime situation. From the beginning of the year ACP Chester Williams sounded the following warning, “You cannot be out there on one hand committing crime and pushing others to commit crime and on the other hand think that you can call me and I will rescue or take the police off your back. That will not happen.” By mid year under William’s leadership murders in the city slowed down, even ushering a gang truce.
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow’s New Year Address 2018
My Fellow Belizeans, I drive, almost on a daily basis, that portion of the Philip Goldson Highway between the Buttonwood Boulevard roundabout and the Benny’s roundabout. And latterly I have been struck by how, to the accompaniment of jackhammers and drain-digging and detritus-clearing, a four-at some points six-lane expressway is taking increasing shape on that stretch of road. It has the makings of an impressive piece of infrastructure. And it is, of course, to be joined up with what has already been done between the Airport Link Road and the Haulover Bridge; and with what is also to be done coming all the way in to the Belcan overpass. The work originates at the PGIA junction, and its importance for tourism and development is underlined by its connectivity via Belize City to the West and South in one direction, and the North in another.
Comprehensive drainage works at Mile 8
The Western Paradise community at mile 8 on the George Price Highway is receiving some much needed assistance with massive and comprehensive drainage works being done by the National Emergency Management Organization Flood Mitigation project. The work comes after Area Representative Hon. Beverly Williams identified that the improper draining in the area was causing major problems for the earthen streets in the community. As a result of lobbying, NEMO stepped in and over the past month they have been in the area digging and linking drains to ensure that water runs off during rainy conditions.
Johnny says business is bad but not for him
Over the next 62 days we will be bombarded with all sorts of PUPs saying that, ‘the sky is falling POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT.’ These advertisements won’t contain anything positive. Leading the charge with these advertisements will be the soon to be, FORMER LEADER OF THE PUP, Johnny Briceño. He has already started on his negativity. Some of you readers of the Guardian may have heard Johnny’s New Year’s Speech and got an idea of the type of thing we are referring to. Johnny’s behavior is the product of a desperate man, trying to survive. These Municipal Elections will be what will lead to Johnny being replaced as Leader of the Opposition. He knows that his days are numbered and he is now hearing footsteps behind him.
Shooting in Belama leaves husband dead and wife injured
On Tuesday, January 2, 2018 about 7:40 p.m., police officers responded to a shooting in Belama which had occurred on Maurice Bishop Street in Belama phase two. Upon arrival, police observed the motionless body of a male person apparently dead on the stairs of a two story house. The body was seen with several gunshot wounds.
Initial investigation revealed that earlier that night, Jermaine Ryan Vellos, a 37-year-old Belizean warehouse machine operator of Queens, New York, and his wife Stephanie Nicole Foreman Vellos, a 29-year-old Belizean sales clerk, were both arriving home and while walking up the stairs of the house, two male persons armed and wearing masks emerged from the dark and fired several gunshots in their direction.
One culprit caught in attempted robbery
Surveillance footage of two men attempting to rob a Chinese businessman surfaced on social media. The footage with the men, who were brazen enough to commit the act without masks, was what helped the police to identify one of the men. That man, 21-year-old Stanley Samuel Flowers, was arraigned and charged on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 on several offenses which include attempted robbery and firearm related offenses.
Flowers, an unemployed resident of Mahogany Heights, was taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where he appeared unrepresented before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford. Before the magistrate, he was read three criminal offenses, one count of attempted robbery upon Joe’s Shopping, located in the King’s Park area, one count of kept firearm without a gun license, and one count of kept ammunition without being granted a gun license.
Busted with weed on Christmas day
Ashley Welch, a 25-year-old Belize City resident was busted with more than 10 grams of cannabis on Christmas day. He was taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on December 28, 2017 to answer to a single charge of possession of a controlled drug. Welch appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Michelle Trapp where he pleaded guilty to the charge.
The bust was made on Monday, December 25, 2017 on Mopan Street. According to police reports, a team of officers were conducting a mobile patrol in the area when their attention was drawn to Welch who kept acting suspiciously while he was riding toward the mobile. As a result, the police approached him and conducted a search for illegal drugs and firearm.
Corozal man survives stabbing incident
The life of a Corozal man, Alejandro Yam, was almost taken in the wee hours of New Year’s Day. Around 2:30 a.m. on January 1, 2018, Yam was chopped in Louisville, Corozal.
According to ACP Joseph Myvette, Head, National Crimes Investigations Branch, Yam reported that while walking in the village, he was attacked by a group of male persons. One of those men inflicted a chop to the lower back. In an attempt to defend himself, Yam inflicted a stab wound to one of the assailants.
Yam, as well as Eric Cob who he stabbed, are recovering in separate hospitals.
Dangriga Teacher found dead on Antelope Street
Desmond Lewis, a 35-year-old teacher from Dangriga, was found dead at a house on Antelope Street Extension on December 28, 2017. Police responded to the report and upon arrival, they observed a man of dark complexion in a kneeling position between two beds. The lifeless body had a large cut wound to the throat and another stab wound to the neck.
The body was later identified as Lewis’. He had travelled from his hometown of Dangriga to Belize City earlier that day and was staying at a friend at the Antelope Street address. He was reportedly socializing just hours prior to his death.
Hattieville resident in court on drug trafficking charge
Alex Lewis, a 28-year-old laborer and resident of Hattieville, was taken before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 to answer to a single charge of drug trafficking. The convicted drug peddler pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail in the sum of $2,000 plus one surety of the same.
Lewis’ court records show that he was in debt to the court for an undisclosed amount of money. He has two drug trafficking charges before the court, one in 2006 and another in 2014 where he was fined.
Henry “Pulu” Gillett on remand for gun charge
Taxi driver and PUP mouthpiece, 36-year-old Henry “Pulu” Gillett, was found with a 9mm firearm along with 14 live rounds of ammunition after a raid at his home in Bride’s Alley on New Year’s Eve. As a result, Gillett was charged for kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Along with Gillett, his wife, 38-year-old Sandra Gillett, and 16-year-old daughter were also charged.
The family of 3 was in police custody until their arraignment on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, a day later than it was to be. They appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford where they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Police charge driver in death of double hit and run
Police have arrested and charged Hector Monterosa with two counts of manslaughter, two counts of causing death by careless conduct and failure to stop and render aid.
Monterosa is believed to be the driver of a vehicle that knocked down and killed 24-year-old Oscar Alvarado and his girlfriend 33-year-old Linda Hernandez on Christmas Eve on the George Price Highway.
On Sunday 24th December 2017 about 11:13p.m. police from Roaring Creek were called out to an accident scene between miles 42 and 43 on the George Price Highway in Cotton Tree Village. Upon arrival police saw a Hispanic decent female lying on the median of the highway convulsing. She would later be identified as Linda Carolina Hernandez a 33 year old food vendor.
Last man killed in 2017 was Frederick Smith
Frederick Smith, a 22 year-old Belize City resident of Antelope Street Extension, was gunned down and killed on Sunday, December 31. He became the last murder victim for 2017, and it happened less than 2 hours before he could celebrate the New Year’s Day with family and friends.
Police say that at around 10:40 p.m. on New Years Eve, they were called to an area on his home Street. When they arrived, they found him lying face down in the drain with a gunshot wound to the upper left side of his back.
Leon Garcia stabbed to death on New Year’s day
Leon Garcia, a 30 year-old Belize City resident, was unfortunately, the first victim for 2018 to be murdered in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. His family freely acknowledges that he had a criminal past, which may have caught up with him. It appears that Garcia and his early morning companions were cornered in a deadly street brawl.
Police say that that at around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, January 1, Garcia, Raheem Reed, and other companions were walking on Barrack Road, and they were heading in the direction of Newtown Barracks. That was unfortunately the time when they were waylaid by a crowd of men, reportedly from several of the city’s gangs.
Murders for Christmas
Over the long, 4-day, Christmas weekend, there were three homicides; two of the victims are being treated as a murder, and the third police aren’t so sure of.
The first one happened on Christmas Day, December 25, on the Placencia Peninsula, and the victim was 20 year-old Carlos Jackson.
Jackson, an assistant chef at the Rumfish Y Vino Restaurant, was reportedly out socializing at a night club after a long-day’s work on Christmas Eve. It is uncertain what exactly happen but his friends, family and co-workers told the press that the night of celebration was going well until sometime in the early morning hours of Christmas Day. Someone slashed his throat after he left the establishment he was socializing at.
Giovanni Lovell is the 28th Krem New Year’s Day Cycling champion
The Cycling Federation of Belize in collaboration with Krem Radio sponsored the 28th Edition of the Krem Radio New year’s Day Cycling Classic on Monday 1st January, 2018.
The event took place in four major categories which included the Elite and Masters, Female, juniors riders and youth.
The elite and Master riders started the 96 miles event at the Belize-Mexico Border in Santa Elena, Corozal District, where some 68 cyclists started the now historic ride and of this amount only 36 completed the event.
At the end of some 3:31:07, it was Giovanni Lovell of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team, who was the first rider to cross the finish line to lay claims to the title.
Premier League of Belize Closing Season to commence on January 13
The Premier League of Belize 2017-2018 Closing Season will commence on Saturday 13th January, 2018, with a single game on the schedule.
The teams that will compete in the Closing Season includes the defending champions Verdes FC, Belmopan Bandits SC, Placencia Assassins FC, Freedom Fighters FC, Belize Defence Force (BDF) FC, Wagiya FC, Police United FC and the San Pedro Pirates FC.
It is being anticipated that the regular competition of the Closing Season will come to an end on 15th April, 2018, with the championship games scheduled for May 12th and 13th respectively.
National Elite Basketball League season to open January 18, 2018
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will be tipping off its fifth consecutive season on Thursday, January 18, 2018, as the defending champions, Belmopan Bandits, will host the sub-champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks. This game will be played at the University of Belize Gymnasium in Belmopan, with tip-off time being 8:30 p.m.
The upcoming season will have 8 teams. Six (6) of the teams from last season will return to compete in the upcoming season. These teams are Orange Walk Running Rebels, Belize Hurricanes, San Pedro Tiger Sharks, Belmopan Bandits, Cayo Western Ballaz and Dangriga Dream Ballers. Belize City No Limit has changed management and their new team name is Belize City Defenders. The eight team competing will be Agharta, which is a team from Chetumal, Mexico.
Football Federation of Belize assigns portfolios to executive members
The Football Federation of Belize in its endeavour to improve the delivery of services in the development of football is pleased to announce the following appointment and assignments of portfolios to its Executive Members.
Mr. Earl Jones General Secretary
Mr. Sergio Chuc Finance, Local and International Relations and Premier League.
Mr. Marlon Kuylen
Marketing, Communication, National Team Programs (elite) and Referees.
Mr. Cruz Gamez – Chairman & Mr. Shane Orio –Deputy Chairman
Horse Racing held in Santa Elena, Cayo
When elicited in the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, no other sport can bring forth so much passion as the sport of horse racing. So on Sunday the Peter August Memorial Jockey Club took out their best horses to unwind the crowds. This time it was at the Peter August Memorial Race track in Santa Elena Town where raw horse power and strategic thinking by jockeys paid off after a year of training.
As a climax for the evening in the Sixth Furlongs race, Byron Robinson Junior walked away with $1,200.00 for coming first place with his horse Cheese Royal. This horse was trained by Javier Guzman and came from the Kenworth Stables. Coming in second was the horse Eclipse from the Manuel Rodriquez stable and the light Jockey ‘Chepe’ also walked away with $800.00
Another burnt plane found this time on Coastal Road
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a burnt plane that was found in some flatlands off the Coastal Road in Eastern Belize. On Sunday December 31 at around midday, police say they were called out to an area some 2 miles in a road off the Coastal Road where they found the remains of a plane that had been burnt.
In a weekly briefing, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvette explained that the plane was found on an illegal airstrip. He explained that the plane’s remains had been there for several days. There was also no evidence in the area to suggest what it was doing there or if it had any illegal cargo such as drugs inside before it was burnt. The plane’s origin or destination are also unknown.
The drowning Johnny is clutching at straws!
Politically Johnny is in very deep trouble. PM Dean Oliver Barrow and the UDP have transformed Belize into a shining Jewel. The tiny amount of work that George Cadle Guatemala Price and big thief Musa did in 50 long painful years pales in comparison to the vast amount of good work that we have seen since 2008! Indeed, the ‘wuthliss,’ thieving, lying, disingenuous PUPs are complaining about infrastructure! Smooth roads, highways and streets that make walking, riding and driving much easier is not pleasing to the PUPs. New, functional, beautiful sporting complexes for our youths and athletes are not pleasing to the PUPs. Big new buildings and bridges that enhance our lifestyles are not pleasing to the PUPs. Speedy and effective drainage because of new drains, improved culverts and canals are not pleasing to the PUPs. Larger enhance parking spaces are not pleasing to the PUPs.
Words of Life with Pastor Barry Fraser
This week I share with you some thoughts I shared with our church family at Christmas. God our Father spoke through the prophet in Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 3: The ox knows its master, and the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. (New International Version)
New Year Resolutions - Easy to Make, and Easy to Break
People have been pledging New Year self-improvement for thousands of years. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
It has since been a common practice for people all over the world to pledge to accomplish new things in the new-year as is evidenced here in the top ten list of things people want to change or accomplish in 2018
Hitchhikers Guide to Ambergris Caye
As I started studying my NYE party choices, I knew there was no way I could do it all so I decided on lucky number seven. My decision factored heavily on #2 destination; a 7:30 reservation at Black Orchid Restaurant.
As turned out there is seemingly not a golf cart to be had on this island right now. Ok likely not true but of the 10 or so companies I made contact with, they were all out. I opted for plan B which is a combo of hitching rides and walking.
It was back in 2008 that my friend Cindy told my ex Paul and I that we need to get better at learning how to hitch rides so I did. Often I start putting it “out there” while I am getting ready for the universe to please send me a ride. Once on the street and heading towards where I want to go, I watch who is coming my way and sometimes I will stop someone and ask. Being that this is a small island, I often just wait for someone I know to come along.
Belize Central Prison was once a run-down, overcrowded mess, but then Rotarians started running it
Belize Central Prison was once so crammed full it had 900 prisoners sleeping in only 300 beds.
The sole correctional facility in Belize was an overcrowded mess before it was taken over by Belize Rotarians who had a unique vision for the facility.
“It was pigsty, it was bad all round,” explained Doug Vincent, a local Rotarian and the United Nations Ambassador for Rotary.
Today it has become the only non-profit prison in the world, managed by Rotarians who, he said, “have a different way of thinking than civil servants.”
Vincent, who visited the facility just before Christmas, is sharing his findings with local residents next week in a presentation at Oxford Gardens.
“It is totally amazing what they have done,” he said. “They are completely self-sufficient.”
Located on 225 acres (91 ha) Belize Rotarians have created a prison model focused on the creation of a life-skills training centre.
The grounds include a carpentry shop that looks after the prison’s needs, as well as makes a tidy profit from building coffins and doors, a tailor shop, a kitchen and bakery, gardens and areas for animal husbandry.
It even has its own radio station.
Caribbean Nations Join to Tackle Criminal Networks
“We need your cooperation to continue to make our region a zone of peace, a zone that is free from the scourges of money laundering, piracy, terrorism,” said Guyanese Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo during his welcome remarks to military and defense leaders at the 16th annual Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), held in Georgetown, Guyana, from December 6th-7th, 2017.
U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) sponsors the regional security forum to foster dialogue among chiefs of defense and public security ministers and examine threats to Caribbean stability and improve regional security cooperation. For the 2017 edition, Guyana made its mark as the first South American nation to host CANSEC. “CANSEC offers us one significant platform where we can share our resources and pool our ideas,” added Prime Minister Nagamootoo.