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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
Visitor claims negligence by water taxi resulted in injury
An American couple, 62-year-old Scott Morrison and his 70-year-old wife Marilyn Bird arrived on Ambergris Caye for their anticipated second visit on December 29, 2017, for a two-week vacation. The American couple had planned many fun activities while in Belize, including the completion of Bird’s scuba diving certification. But such plans were undone when Bird suffered a terrible accident on the morning of Tuesday, January 2nd when she was boarding a San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) vessel. While boarding Bird fell inside the boat, rolling down the steps and into the cargo compartment whose lid was open. During the fall she suffered a large gash on her leg and was transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Policlinic II where she received 15 stitches. Following the incident, the couple expressed their disappointment with the poor response they allege they received by the water taxi company. According to them, they did not take adequate accountability for her accident which in large was due to their negligence of not having turned on the lights inside the vessel and having the cargo compartment open at the time of boarding. As a result of her injury, the couple was forced to return to the United States, on Friday, January 5th, a week earlier than their scheduled departure time.
Voter Registration ends January 6th; Municipal Elections draw near
As municipal elections draw near, the time period for voters to register will close on Wednesday, January 10th. As for the San Pedro Town municipal election, both People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) aspiring candidates have been announced. The UDP slate is being represented by the current Town Council members which consist of Daniel Guerrero, Gary Grief, Ruben “Rux” Gonzalez, Hector “Tito” Alamilla, Flora Ancona, Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez and Severo “Severito” Guerrero Jr. While the members representing the PUP for the Municipal Election consist of Andre Perez, Ian Pou, Marina Kay, Ruben Navidad, Undina Graniel, Dianelie Aranda and Johnia Duarte. During the registration period, both parties had their campaign machinery running in full effect to register as many new voters to the island.
Despite immigration offenses, American national is released without charges
During the Christmas holidays, an American national residing on the island was reportedly arrested for immigration offenses. The male individual is well- known on the island but apparently had been in the country illegally for some time. Thus, island residents and even local authorities were stunned when the Director of Immigration released him without charges.
According to reports, when police arrested him, he claimed he had lost his passport. However, he was later able to produce his passport, telling Immigration Officials that he had lied because he feared of what would of happen to him. He also stated that he was unfamiliar with the immigration procedures and had been trying to apply for Belizean residency through an agent. The Department clarified that for someone to be eligible to apply for Belizean residency, he or she must be living in Belize for 50 consecutive weeks by renewing their stay in the country every 30 days.
Belize Becomes A World Leader In Ocean Protection
Belize, home of the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, has become a world leader in ocean sustainability, following the Belizean government’s adoption of a permanent moratorium on oil activities in its waters. The legislation, which was signed into law on 29 December 2017, marks the first time that a developing country has taken such a major step to protect its oceans from oil exploration and extraction, and places Belize in a tiny minority of countries with similar laws.
This legislation follows the Belize government's commitment in August 2017 to establish a permanent moratorium on offshore oil activity in its waters, after national and global pressure to preserve the fragile Belize Barrier Reef and its World Heritage site. This huge step by the Belize Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, comes a year after an international outcry by WWF, Oceana and supporters led to the suspension of seismic oil exploration close to the UNESCO-recognised reef.
Misc Belizean Sources
COLD weather is drying up the by of Corozal
I went for a morning walk in the bay of corozal and saw many things. This is the time to come out and clean the bay of Corozal. I walked as far as I could reach. I saw broken glass, corona bottles, tires, trash, cans. When can we keep our shorelines clean?
Razing and burning of lots by the developer of Consejo Shores Limited
Home owners of the plush northern development known as Consejo Shores are furious with recent razing and burning of lots by the developer of Consejo Shores Limited. It was stated that the burning has been taking place for days with total disregard to the well being of the residents, neighbours and the environment.
One home owner stated that the developer has failed to communicate any of her intentions to them, which may be contrary to the restricted conditions and covenants.
Smoke has been permeating the air. Ashes has covered home owners houses and cars. There has been no apologies, stated one resident.
National Elite Basketball League Tip Off
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will be tipping off its fifth consecutive season on Thursday, January 18 as the defending champions, Belmopan Bandits, will host the sub- champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks. The game will be played at the UB gymnasium in Belmopan, with tip-off time being 8:30 p.m.
Friends for Conservation and Development Fundraising event
Fundraising event coming up on February 2018. To learn how to participate, click on the link!
Toilet Project in Concepcion
We are finally at the end of our Toilet Project in Concepcion with the last details taken care of yesterday. We have so many great hearts that work tirelessly for the community! Thanks to the Rotarians and Friends of Rotary who painted and moved 45 yards of dirt! And you are amazing Nancy Cabbon our visiting Rotarian!
Now next week on Friday January 12th at 10am is the Ribbon Cutting! We are very proud of this accomplishment and so excited for Concepcion RC and Mrs Perez and staff and children!
UNDP Corruption Essay Winners
The UNDP has all the winning essays from the anti-corruption essay contest online. Some are must reads. Congratulations to all the students on their well written essays. Hopefully, change is not too far away.
"Winning entries for essay contest for secondary schools, colleges and universities.
The UNCAC Essay Contest for Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities was designed to help Belizean students celebrate the first anniversary of UNCAC signature in Belize and commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day.
Karst habitat protection
The Taiwan (ROC) Embassy and the Council of Agriculture and Forestry Bureau in Taiwan support karst habitat protection in the Chiquibul.
Speed control zone close to "Truck Stop"
The traffic dept continues to try to get driver's and riders to drive responsible on the North Road. We have now created a speed control zone close to "Truck Stop ", This consist of several speed bumps in the area.
Please obey the speed limit and drive safely.
THE OFFSHORE OIL MORATORIUM IS NOW LAW!
Note that right below the Coat of Arms shows the GG’s Assent and the date thereof. It also states the date of publication in the Gazette. Once published in the Gazette it is law. There is no need for a commencement order. Short story: the Petroleum Operations (Maritime Zone Moratorium) Act, 2017 is now law.
This action is historic given Belize's economic dependence on its natural resources and will safeguard invaluable marine environments including the second longest barrier reef in the world, which runs along Belize's coast. Just as importantly, this law recognizes and respects the collective leadership and persistent involvement of tens of thousands of Belizeans for more than seven years on the issue of offshore oil.
Ritual of the Bacabs
Ritual of the Bacabs is the name given to a manuscript from the Yucatec Maya containing shamanistic incantations written in the Yucatec Maya language. The manuscript has been dated at the end of the 18th Century, though this is not certain. The style of writing in the manuscript suggests that much of the information included was copied from older works. The work references many figures in Maya mythology who are for the most part unknown from other works.
Ritual of the Bacabs includes some forty-two main incantations, with fragmentary supplements throughout. Most of the manuscript is written in the same hand. In his translation, Roys referred to this main writer as the "Bacabs hand."
90.6 Million (Now 91.6 M) Appropriations Bill goes to The House, But No Vote Yet
Today, was the long awaited day in the House of Representatives - when the Prime Minister brought the 90.6 million dollar appropriations bill to the House of Representatives. That's the compensation award for the Belize Bank. But - as we told you last night - it would end in a sort of anti-climax - because no vote was taken. The bill was only tabled for a first reading - and the debate and vote will be taken at the next House meeting - which, the PM says, may be held in a month's time.
So while the meter is running on the interest at 17% compounded monthly - the Prime Minister took half an hour to explain why they cannot rush Parliament to make a decision which rests squarely, and solely, on its shoulders.
PUP Says It Will Work On A Solution
And when it comes back for a vote - what will the PUP do? That's what we asked the Leader of the Opposition today - but he was more eager to talk about the Prime Minister's 32 minute legal presentation to the House:..
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"What is the position of the PUP? We now wait for the next house meeting when it will actually be debated. Have you all taken a unitary position? Or is it like the UDP when they say you can have a vote of conscience?"
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition:
"Well I think that what's more important to point out today that the Prime Minister once again continues to do his legal dance. Every time he comes to the house and he makes this grand legal explanation that he got advise from legal luminaries, but whenever he goes to court he loses and now once again he is coming that he has gotten all these advises to point out that he may not have to pay."
PM Says That, Morally, Parliament Is Obligated Not To Pay
So would the Prime Minister be opened to hearing what the PUP can achieve in terms of negotiation? We asked him that and about the moral dimension of parliament refusing to pay what the court has ordered:...
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"Sir, you made a case today for Parliamentary supremacy making it clear by your argument that it is indeed the parliament who has to make the final decision. However, how morally able is parliament to resist a lawful judgement from the highest court in the land?"
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"Well now you're getting into a completely different area, Moral. I was trying to set out the legal position and I was careful to enter the reservation that this is by lights and the opinions that I have received. I will not be restrained at all in terms of moral. If it is a moral thing, parliament would be obliged not to pay if you're talking about the moral aspect of things. So I believe if you want to be at all kind to the bank, let's stay away from the moral question."
PM Disputes 17% Monthly Compound Interest
And there's one more important news angle on today's tabling of the appropriations bill for 91.6 million dollars. That's the issue of interest. According to the Caribbean Court of Justice, it accrues at 17% compounded monthly - which is exorbitantly high. The Prime Minister says Government's opinion form legal experts is that the rate should be about one third of that:
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"We have been advised and I think this is important, that 17% interest that's compounded monthly until payment, is not the rate that should continue to run on the 91,596,013,022 as of the date of the CCJ judgement ordering leave to enforce their award as if it were a judgement of the Supreme Court. We are advised that the applicable interest rate, the sort of post judgment rate should be the 6% per annum which is set out in the supreme court of Judicature Act as the statutory rate of interest to be carried by all judgement debts..."
New Supreme Court Judge Sworn In
A month ago, we told you that attorney Marilyn Williams was appointed to become a Supreme Court judge. Well, this morning, the Former Chair of the Integrity Commission was officially sworn in to her new post as a high court justice.
She was welcomed to the judiciary by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in his court room today, in the presence of sitting judges and her friends and family. Chief Justice Benjamin said that the number of well-wishers who came to witness her swearing in was the biggest crowd he's seen for any judge appointed under his tenure.
It is expected that sometime after next week's official opening of the Supreme Court, she will begin presiding over cases.
Fuel Prices Go Up
At midnight the price of Premium, Diesel, and Kerosene will go up.
On the slim upside, Regular will go down by 22 cents.
Premium will go up by 17 cents, Diesel by 51 cents and Kerosene by 37 cents.This is the first increase of fuel for 2018.
OW: 21 Year Old Charged For Fracturing 11 Year Old's Skull
21 year old Mario Bull was charged with dangerous harm for breaking 11 year old Jahmar Ferguson's skull. As we told you yesterday, Ferguson and his relatives were going to visit a friend in Trial Farm Village on New Years Day. Another man who was walking ahead of them threw a stone at a nearby house. Bull and another man emerged from the house and attacked Ferguson - thinking it was him. Bull reportedly hit the boy in the head with an object. He later went unconscious because of the massive blow.
PM Not Convinced On Ahmad Family Threat Messages, Waits For Investigators Findings
Tonight there are still nagging questions about those threatening text messages allegedly targeting the family of murder victim, Fareed Ahmad.
They were allegedly sent by a police officer - and discuss what is basically a state sponsored "hitlist" - where police officers are to systematically kill members of the Ahmad family.
Tonight, no one can say for sure whether it is real or not. The Prime Minister today told the press that he is confident the investigator will get to the bottom of it:...
Text Message Mischief Apps Are Plentiful & Free
As the Prime Minister discussed, there are freely available mobile phone apps - which can make it seem that a text message saying anything you want it to say has dropped into your messages inbox.
Since we ran the story last night showing those messages which supposedly originate from a member of a police special unit, a number of viewers have led us to these apps which make it very easy to perpetuate a fraud to discredit someone, by making it appear that they sent text messages which they never did.
With these apps, an imaginary sender's phone number appears to send messages that he or she did not. From there, it is just a simple matter of taking screenshots of this bogus message thread, then spreading it about, and the mischief maker can then sit back and quietly watch the damage unfold.
Ahmad Brother Under Suspicion
And while the mystery - or the mischief - of those text messages are on the minds of the Ahmad family, they also have to deal with another issue.
At this hour, one of Fareed's siblings is reportedly caught up in an incident where he claims that a man attempted to rob him, forcing him to protect himself. The man in question has a counter accusation: he says that the Ahmad brother of assaulted him for no reason, and that he went to police to make a false report.
This afternoon, reports went out that Fareed's sibling was at his barber shop at the Pound Yard Plaza. The details are sketchy, but we understand that Fareed's brother's account is that 2 men attempted to rob him, and he defended himself.
PM Will Wait For Final PUC Audit
Going back now to government news - the Prime Minster was reluctant today to comment on the allegations of reckless spending at the Public Utilities Commission.
As we have reported - the contents of an un-finalized audit has been circulated in the media. It shows suspect and lavish spending and misuse of the PUC's Credit card. Today the Prime Minister held to the line which the PUC has been using: the audit isn't finished yet:
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"It's a little murky and I would really want to wait to see the final audit and then try to get legal advice on the particular issues. There are two things involved, what was spent, how much was spent and on what the expenditures were. That's number one, and then number two, were the expenditures, all of the expenditures within the power of the PUC to make. I really have to suspend judgement until we can look at each in turn."
Weeks Later, Accused OW Murderer Found And Charged
Last year on December 15th Jaime Pelayo was murdered at a bar in Orange Walk. 39-year-old George Bull was detained, and right after being singled out in an ID parade, he managed to slip away from the police. After a long search, police confirmed that he was found today. He has been charged with the crime of murder and escape from lawful custody.
Corozal Alleged Robber Out On Bail
2 days ago, we told you how Corozal cops charged 22 year-old Demas Zelaya for the armed robbery at One Mall Gas Station in Ranchito Village. Well tonight, he is out on bail.
His attorney, Ronell Gonzalez, made an application on his behalf before Justice Antoinette Moore, and after the judge heard his grounds and the response of Crown Counsel Jackie Willoughby, she decided to grant him bail of $10,000. It came with the conditions that he reports to the Mahogany Street Police Station every Friday, that he attends all hearings and adjournments of his case at the Corozal Magistrate's Court until the matter is concluded, and he must not interfere with the prosecution's witnesses and the virtual complainants.
10K Bail For Alleged Trafficker
Robert Gentle, the Ranchito resident who police charged for that runaway Lincoln Navigator SUV that was was carrying over 6 kilos of cocaine across the Belize Mexican Border, is also out on bail tonight.
Police took 3 weeks to track Gentle down, and after only 2 nights in jail, his attorney, Leslie Hamilton applied for Supreme Court bail. Justice Antoinette Moore heard the grounds for the bail application, and after getting input from Crown Counsel Jackie Willoughby, she granted him bail of $10,000. He has to attend all hearings of the criminal case his facing at the Corozal Magistrate's Court, until the case is disposed of. He also has to report to the Corozal Police Station every Friday, and he is not to interfere with the prosecution's witness.
"Big Baby" Meets The Little Kids
On Wednesday we showed you our final installment in our interview with Belizean Jarrell Big Baby Miller - the #2 ranked contender for the world heavyweight title. He has certainly made a name for himself on the international boxing scene and today he shared his the story of his journey with Belmopan youth. I was there to meet him and here is that story.
Courtney Weatherburne, reporting:
Jarrell "Big Baby Miller"- he is quite comfortable in the boxing ring - pounding on his opponents and knocking them out, 18 of the 20 he's faced so far.
But today, Miller transformed the Belmopan Civic Center stage into his ring; taking on a willing sparring partner.
Now the Civic is no MGM Grand or Madison Square Garden but his audience, like the tens of thousands that pay to see him, were equally eager to meet him today on his countrywide tour.
Minister of Works Says No Mining License Was Needed In Cayo Explosion
At today's house meeting, Works Minister Renee Montero answered questions about the explosion in the Santa Cruz area of Santa Elena Town. The questions were put to him by the opposition about the fact that the mining unit says there was no license to blast in the area. He says none was needed.
Hon. Rene Montero - Minister of Works:
"If this case the mining licence was not necessary because it was just a blast to check and see if the material was adequate for the road construction that was under operation."
PM Bristles At Suggestion Of Montero Involvement
The Prime Minister bristled at the suggestion that there could have been a friendly arrangement between Belize Roadway Construction, and the Area Representatives who is also the Minister of works:...
"The minister says no mining license was required, but one was in fact required as we've confirmed with officials from the ministry of natural resources."
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"You are talking about what the minister said in the house?"
"That, and the fact that it's been alleged that he is very closely linked, although there hasn't been anything to prove much but in relation to BRC, there are a lot of procedures that were not followed at questionable matter."
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"Don't bring to me any argument that Montero is somehow involved in Tiger Aggregates."
Caye Caulker Airstrip, The Final Deal
And today, based on a question from the leader of the opposition, we also heard details of the stripped down plans for the refurbishing of the Caye Caulker airstrip - which started out at 7 million dollars, but is now down to 3.9 million:..
Hon. Manuel Heredia - Minister of Civil Aviation:
"The current contract with the lower bidder for the sum of 3.918 6 hundred and 99 dollars not the 3.5 as mentioned before which include the cost, the core phase for the entire project only this phase exclude the following items, the external security lighting system, runway light system is included in the initial phase. Notably this will greatly enhance air transportation capability to the island, the hot mix asphalt surfacing is limited to a width of 40 feet with the additional 20 feet of shoulders that will not be surfaced. That will just be an additional 10 feet on this side. The security fencing is out and the expansion of the apron will be smaller than previously said. The lifting of the runway will also be limited. The construction of the new terminal building will no longer be there."
Fiery Debate Over BTL Guarantee
And finally from today's house meetingâ€¦.the most heated debate was held on a Loan Guarantee Motion for BTL. The phone company is making a loan of 17.5 million US dollars from the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund. But, the PUP objected, saying that a public guarantee for a private company is the very same thing that the UDP complains about with Universal Health Services. Here's the heated back and forth:...
P.M. Lashes Out as U.H.S. Motion is Tabled
The House of Representatives met today in a chilly Belmopan for the first time in 2018. The widely anticipated 2018 General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill dealing with the UHS judgment [...]
Can Belize Avoid Paying Debt?
The Prime Minister repeated in greater detail his earlier sentiments from the November twenty-second press conference which seemed to present a legal basis by which Parliament could decide not to [...]
Settlement Offer Open, but P.U.P. Says It’s U.D.P.’s Fault
But Opposition Leader John Briceño appears unconvinced by any of it. Following the House meeting he told reporters that none of the Prime Minister’s arguments or those of the attorneys [...]
U.D.P. Turns the Tables on Former Administration
The Prime Minister indicated that there will be at least a month’s grace period to the next House meeting when the debate takes place. In that time, the interest continues [...]
What Will Commission of Inquiry Find?
As noted in our top story, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is going ahead with the Commission of Inquiry agreed on with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. But before [...]
Clash over B.T.L. Loan; Does Government Have to Give Guarantee
The other major issue debated by the House today is a motion to approve a Taiwan ICDF loan to Belize Telemedia Limited for its Internet program. That loan is to [...]
B.T.L. and U.H.S. – 1 of These Things is Not Like the Other
In reply, with assistance from Mesopotamia representative Michael Finnegan, Prime Minister Dean Barrow attempted to show how circumstances have changed. As the P.M. said, B.T.L. is majority-owned by the government [...]
Premium, Diesel Prices Spike Tonight but Regular Down
Five days into the New Year, there’s news that consumers don’t want to hear. Fuel prices are going up at midnight so hurry up to the gas station. Today, the [...]
Accused Murderer George Bull Caught
George Bull was arrested and charged for the murder of thirty-five-year-old Jaime Pelayo Junior. The Carmelita Village resident was on the run since the second week of December, following Pelayo’s [...]
Unraveling the Mystery of Fareed Ahmad’s Death and Police Investigation
Fareed Ahmad was killed on December twenty-eighth and a woman police constable traveling in his vehicle on that tragic night has been charged for his murder. That case, however, continues [...]
Police Minister Re-Assures Public; Says Records Will Help Establish Origins of Texts
The Police Department is under severe pressure in the investigation of one of its own, Woman Police Constable Michelle Brown for the murder of Fareed Ahmad on December twenty-eighth. In [...]
When is a Murder, Murder?
Minister Wilfred Elrington has also weighed in on the Fareed Ahmad homicide investigation. He reiterates what the lead investigator for the Professional Standards Branch indicated on Tuesday, that there is [...]
Minor Accuses Male Relative of Raping, Impregnating Her
There is a disturbing report by a fourteen-year-old female student against her stepfather, who could also be the father of her unborn child. On Tuesday, the minor along with her [...]
Andrew Bennett Gets Reprieve, but Not for Long
The ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court on Monday will possibly buy Senior Counsel Andrew Bennett additional time to lawyer up and prepare a defense ahead of extradition proceedings. That [...]
The P.U.C. Audit – Autonomous Body Denies Allegations but P.M. Has Questions
The Public Utilities Commission today issued a paid statement opposing news reports this week on the ongoing audit of its finances. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow as Minister of Finance [...]
Undefeated Heavyweight Boxing Contender Comes Home
Heavyweight boxer Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller is on a rise to the top of boxing with his name used in the same sentence as some of the greats in the [...]
Having a Baby in 2018? Here’s What You Need to Know
Like many who have made resolutions to lose weight this year, some couples are planning to welcome a new baby in 2018. The health of the mother is important even [...]
Text Messages on Fareed leaked; but are they genuine?
There has been a recent development following the Fareed Ahmad murder.Earlier this week, the well known barber was shot in his vehicle, allegedly by WCP Michelle Brown, a female constable who has since been arrested and charged. A day before he was killed, Ahmad had made a report against the Specia...
Elderly man shot in jaw
Last night there was a shooting in the Pickstock area of Belize City, where 59 year old Charles Foreman was the victim. Reports are that Foreman was in his living room when he began hearing several shots fired. He then realized that he was shot. He received the injury to his right jaw, where the bul...
Update on Jermaine Vellos Murder
Earlier this week, 37 year old Jermaine Vellos was shot dead. The shooting happened sometime around 7:30 on the 2nd of January on Maurice Bishop Street, Belama Phase Two. Vellos was shot dead on the stairs of a two story dwelling house. According to the police report, Vellos and his wife, 29 year o...
Leaked Audit of PUC tells of much public waste
Maybe its corruption fatigue, but with the beginning of 2018 comes new charges of corruption within Government; this time a statutory body known as the PUC; Public Utilities Commission. The leaked document occurred sometime early this week and already Chairman of PUC John Avery has come out publicl...
Police security an issue in Belize City?
From the ending of last year, we saw an increase in checkpoints, raids, searches, and all precautions that would lead to a safer place to live; but has it been in vain? Assistant Superintendent of Police Alejandro Cowo was asked if there is any concern that no matter how hard they try, Police cannot...
Men Arrested for shooting of Jose Najera
Two men have been charged in connection with the shooting of 20 year old Jose Najera. They are 24 year old Ryan Hyde, and 23 year old Denzel Wagner. The incident happened late last year on the 21st of December. Najera was in his parked vehicle at the Governor General Field in Belmopan. While he ...
Arrest in Drug Car Chase
Police have also made an arrest in the drug car incident that happened last year. IF you may remember, there was a rather unusual situation that took place at the Northern Border on the 13th of December. An SUV Navigator, being driven by someone hailing from Ranchito Village in Corozal, was approach...