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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

Ruby’s Hotel sold to San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi Company
One of Ambergris Caye’s oldest beachfront accommodations, Ruby’s Hotel, has been purchased by the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi company. The company, headquartered in Belize City, officially took over the property in late December. According to management, the hotel is being leased by an Indian businessman for an undetermined amount of time. The acquisition of the beach property also includes a dock, and the water taxi company is expected to relocate there from its current location at the municipal dock. The Indian businessman currently operating the hotel did not wish to comment and apparently has nothing to do with the dock turned into a water taxi terminal. The idea of having an active water taxi terminal at this location is raising concern among residents and local institutions, due to its proximity to the San Pedro Roman Catholic School.

San Pedro Christmas Day fire still under investigation
The San Pedro Fire Department’s investigation into a fire that destroyed a family home on the Marina Drive Area, south of San Pedro Town on December 25th, is still inconclusive. Arson has been ruled out, as the fire reportedly started from the kitchen. The official report states that the fire began on the eastern side of the building where the stove was located. Chi apparently ran out of the house seeking assistance, and then went back inside the home. He received minor injuries and was taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where he was treated and released the same day. Chi is employed at The San Pedro Town Council and initially received assistance from Hope Haven Children’s Home. He and his family are currently staying with family members and looking forward to a bright New Year as they work towards rebuilding their home.

GOB objects to BEL’s rate increase approved by PUC
On December 28, 2018, the Government of Belize (GOB) expressed strong objections to the recent decision by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve a request from Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) for an increase in electricity rates. GOB objects to the approval of half a cent more than originally requested. On December 10, 2018, BEL wrote to the PUC to notify them that due to significant increases in the cost of power as of May 2018, the company is proposing an increase to the Mean Electricity Rate to 41.5 cents per Kilowatt hour (KWH) for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. The PUC not only approved the increase but also granted BEL an extra half a cent, taking the mean electricity rate to .42 cents per KWH.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Showers New Year's Baby With Gifts
It’s a Boy - Saw hello to Wilfredo Jeovanny Cardenez Jr., 2019’s New Year Baby for San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. He was the first baby born in the new year, January 2, 2019. This makes the lucky boy the recipient of the New Year’s Baby awards and gifts from Ambergris Today and local businesses. Wilfredo is born to Reina Carolina Garcia Turcios and Wilfredo Jeovanny Cardenez who reside in the Boca del Rio Area. He was born at 6:55a.m. at 5lbs and 2oz at Hopes Clinic under the monitoring of Dr. Daniel Gonzalez and staff.

New Liquor Licensing Board Meets With “Open” Bar Owners
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the newly appointed Liquor Licensing Board had an open discussion with the "Open" bars of San Pedro Town on Thursday, January 3, 2019, where they discussed issues concerning noise pollution and how they can work together with the Town Council and authorities to minimize this problem. The new Liquor Licensing Board consists of: Mr. Eiden Salazar whom is the Chairman, Ms. Vanessa Parham, Mr. Joe Elijio, Mayor Daniel Guerrero. Also joining in the board, as part of the Town Council's commitment with UNICEF's Child Friendly Initiative, is the president of the Children's Advisory Body (CAB), Miss Caroline Sersland.

Misc Belizean Sources

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Corozal Street Repairs
The Corozal Town Council seeks the support of the general public in supporting the positive initiatives undertaken by the council and the community. We humbly request that you be aware of street repairs being done on 1st Avenue, Santa Rita Road and other areas of town. Kindly be aware of caution signs being placed for protection and safety until it is removed for safe use by traffic. Furthermore, we kindly request every ones participation in taking care of public amenities being placed to beautify and those placed to help keep our town clean.

Belize District Agriculture Department office relocated in Sandhill Village
The Ministry of Agriculture takes this opportunity to inform the public, especially residents residing in the Belize District, that the Belize District Agriculture Department office is now located in Sandhill Village at Mile 14, Philip Goldson Highway (adjacent to the NEMO office). The new telephone and fax numbers for the office are 205-5087 and 205-5088, respectively.

El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro
Mark your calendars! El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro is around the corner!

Saint Francis Xavier Credit Union Kiddies School Program

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Hellfest, Favourite, Green Book. Playing Saturday and Sunday ONLY.. Happy New Year! We back!! *Highly Recommend The Favourite .. That and Greenbook and Wreck it Ralph 2 are all nominated multiple times for multiple Golden Globes this year*

Channel 7

Two UDP Councillors in PG Resign, Then Un-Resign
The UDP has been in damage control mode since late yesterday when two of its Punta Gorda Town Councillors resigned. They are Deputy Mayor, Franklin "Kranka" Polonio and councillor Kevin Choc. They resigned less than a year after being elected citing frustrations with the mayor Ashton McKenzie and the operations of the council. Now, a resignation would normally trigger a by-election, and that's why the UDP muscle has stepped in to convince the first term councillors that resignation is not such a good idea. And, the news tonight is that they have reportedly rescinded those resignations. The UDP Secretariat tells us that these rescissions will be presented tomorrow morning at a meeting of the council to air things out.

From Holiday Parties to Dead In a River, What Happened To Jaime?
Police have identified the New Year's Day Blackman Eddy body. He was 23 year old Jaime Martinez. He is originally from Guatemala but he lived in Buena Vista for a couple years where he was well known as "Diesocho". He later moved to Orange Walk where his mother and sisters live. But Martinez went back to Buena Vista for the Christmas holidays and something went terribly wrong, something which led to a very vicious murder: he was strangled, bound and then dumped in the river. I went out west to try to piece together what happened to Martinez and when. Here is that story. Courtney Weatherburne reporting: Jaime Martinez spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day morning at his friend Samuel Melendez's Buena Vista house. It was a big celebration because it was also Melendez's daughters' birthday.

Sinaloa Secrets About Belize
There was a major tremor in the drug underworld yesterday when when Vicente Zambada testified in a New York Courtroom against Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, the former boss of the Sinaloa cartel. Niebla is the son of the current boss of that cartel and was the heir to take over the cartel. But, instead - in what the New York Times calls "an astonishing betrayal", quote, "the cartel prince betrayed his father - and his birthright - testifying for more than five hours about nearly every aspect of the drug-trafficking empire: smuggling routes, money-laundering schemes, bloody wars, personal vendettas and multimillion dollars in bribes. When it came to the enterprise he seemed poised to lead one day, Mr. Zambada proved he knew almost everyone and everything."

11 Months Old Dies, Ministry Says Miscommunication
The Ministry of Health says the case with the death of baby Dion Woodye Jr. was caused by miscommunication. It resulted in the loss of a life, and the Ministry is investigating to see where the breakdown at the Corozal hospital happened and if any disciplinary action will be brought against staff. Here is more from the Director of Health Care Service Dr. Manzanero. Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Care Services: "Well we got the first alert, I believe almost form the time it happened, at least I got it through mobile communication. Once that came to us, we asked for the management team at Corozal Community Hospital for an initial investigation. What that usually would do is there is an initial peer review conducted by the chief of staff and management from Corozal..."

Brothers Arrested For Murder
3 brothers, ages 18, 24 and 26 have all been formally charged with the murder of 41 year old Guatemalan Farmer Marcos Chen. The incident happened in Bladen Creek Village in Toledo three weeks ago on the 14th of December 2018. Reports say Chen was heading to a late afternoon fishing trip around 4:00 when he was assailed by Dario Sho, who allegedly threw rocks at him as he passed Sho's home. The situation escalated to a machete fight that saw Sho's relatives jump in. When police arrived it was too late for Chen. He sustained several chop wounds to the head, arms and feet which ultimately resulted in his death. 18 year old Edres Sho, 24 year old Heraldo Sho and 26 year old Elijah sho have since been charged. As for Dario Sho, the last information we got from police was that he was being treated at the Southern Regional Hospital under police guard for wounds he sustained during the altercation.

Victim of Police Brutality Jamir Leal Speaks Up
The two police officers implicated in the violent beat down of a San Pedro Resident on New Year's night remain suspended while police investigate. Meanwhile. Jamir Leal's family is going through the due process to have the matter formally brought before the courts. To that end, today the family came to the city for a proper medical checkup. We caught up to them at the Belize Medical Associates where they told us how his recovery is going and recounted to us the events that transpired that night. Emanuel Pech has some new insight into the case: The entire nation was aghast when footage of the brutal beatdown of San Pedro resident Jamir Leal began circulating on social media.

Bar Association Braces Police
The Leal family say they are still looking for a lawyer to try their case against the two police officers. As it turns out, this might not prove too challenging for them because the entire Bar Association has their back. In a press release today, the Bar - coming a little late to the party - joined the public outcry against this latest public example of police brutality. A release from the Bar states, quote, "The incident…depicts a heinous, unjustifiable and possibly life-threatening use of violence against a subdued individual who was in no way resisting arrest."

Bennett Will Stand Trial For Murder 11 Months After
37 year-old Anthony Bennett, the man who has been charged for the May 2018 murder of Erbin Garrido, has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court. He was taken before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford today for a preliminary inquiry, and the prosecutor presented all the evidence against him. Senior Magistrate Ford received the file from the prosecutor and asked Bennett if he had any alibi witnesses that he intended to call in his defense. He said that he has none. After reviewing the file, Magistrate Ford told Bennett sent the case up to the Supreme Court for the April Session.

Caye Caulker's Coconut Boy gets Bail on Burglary Charge
27 year-old Windell Humes, who is known on Caye Caulker as "Coconut Boy", was released on bail today after being taken to court for allegedly breaking into a female tourist's room with the intention to rape her. It reportedly happened at around 2:00 on December 30th. The complainant, a 33 year-old Swiss National, reported to police that she was asleep in her room at the Oasis Tropical Hostel, when she was suddenly awaked by someone touching her knee. When she looked up, she saw a man flashing a phone light in her face, and he allegedly told her that he was hungry for sex.

Cops Catch Carmelita Cannabis Couriers
Two men from Carmelita were busted with over 10 pounds of weed on Wednesday. Today in court, only one plead guilty but both are still behind bars. 36 year old Edwardo Chuck and 25 year old Juan Carlos Reimundo, were on a motorbike when they attempted to elude police on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The cops set chase and caught them in Carmelita. They found 11 and a half pounds of weed inside an orange handbag.

Jailed for Jealously?
He's a BTL employee with a licensed weapon, but 39 year-old Garry Yearwood, brother of the well-known police officer, Fitzroy Yearwood, is locked down at the Belize Central Prison tonight - all because of a jealous dispute with his ex. 31 year-old Royann Riverol, reported to police that at around 8:00 on New Year's night she was driving toward Belize City with her mother and sister when she spotted Yearwood, who is her ex, heading in the opposite direction with a woman in his vehicle. She said she followed him to his Los Lagos home, and when he got out of the vehicle, she got out of hers, and that's when she and Yearwood got into an argument. ans to sue the police for wrongful detention.

Belize's Murder Rate, Up There
As we've been reporting, Belize recorded 143 murders in 2018 - one of the highest totals ever. For that, our murder rate stands at 35.9 per hundred thousand residents, certainly among the top ten highest in the world. But, the truth is Belize exists at the crossroads of the most violent regions in the world. Roughly one third of the world's homicides happen in Latin America and the Caribbean, which home to just 8% of the global population. And, "when measured by homicide rate, 14 of the 20 most dangerous countries in the world are…in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Belize Received Less Than 100 Deportees From US in 2018
And while Belize's murder rate is right up there with the very high ones in Central America, you can't say the same for our number of deportees from the USA. The 2018 report from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office shows that Belize only had 91 deportations in 2018, up 10% from the 82 in the previous year.

Burgled Baptist Church, Again
The Lake Independence Baptist Church, located on Mahogany Street in Belize City, is run by the Church Senator, Pastor Ashley Rocke. And sometime between last night and this morning, thieves broke in, and raided the place,. We understand that they tried to get into the church itself, but it was tightly secured. So, instead, they targeted the adjoining building that makes up part of the church's compound. Once inside, they reportedly cleaned out this facility of $17,000 worth of valuables belonging to the Church.

Security Guard Charged For Robbery Prank
A teenager attempted to bamboozle police and a gas company in Santa Elena town so that he mad off with over $2 thousand in cash but his plans backfired. 19 year old Israel Baldera, a watchman and gas attendant at Western Gas Company Ltd, reported to police on New Year's Eve that he was robbed. Baldera said that around 11:30 pm while walking to the gate of the compound a black car with tinted windows drove in and parked under the dispatching area. He claims two men with masks got out of the vehicle and demanded that he hand over the money.

CANNABIS CULTIVATION BURNED
Police discovered two marijuana plantations while conducting an anti-drug operation 3 Miles North West of Neuland Mennonite Community in the Orange Walk District. These plantations measured about 15 by 15 square meters and contained 500 3 to 6 feet tall mature marijuana plants. There was no one in the area at the time, so the plants were uprooted and burned.

FOUND GUN
While Orange Walk police found a weed plantation, Belize City police found a pistol that same day. While conducting a search around Feeder Road between Old Well Road and Holly Wood Area, they discovered a 9mm pistol with a magazine containing 6 live rounds. Police found no one in the area, so the gun was labeled as found property.

FOUND WEED AND AMMO
Police made another discovery on Thursday evening while patrolling on Jasmine Street. Upon searching a bushy area, they came across two bags; one bag contained 110.7 grams of cannabis, while the other bag contained 9 live 9mm rounds of ammunition. Again, no one was in the area, so the items were marked as found property.

To Recover A Child
Last night, we introduced you to Raquel Cocom, the mother from Orange Walk who ended up in a year-long custody battle with the father of her baby daughter. This man, a Russian National who had been living in Belize for 10 years, left back in 2017 with their daughter. Cocom thought that she was giving permission for her child to be taken on a 2-week-long vacation. Little did Cocom know that her baby's dad had other plans, and he basically kidnapped his own child and held her for an entire year, away from Cocom. Yesterday, she told our colleagues from CTV 3 that there were points during the custody battle that she nearly gave up due to frustration:

CABLE
Do you watch the series "Homeland" on Showtime? Or maybe "Power" on Starz? Well, say goodbye because those channels are about to be pulled from your cable channel lineup. It's the requirement in a copyright agreement that the Belize Cable Television Operators have been forced to sign with HBO as a part of copyright compliance. You've probably already seen Showtime pulled from your channel line-up - and we are told Starz has to be pulled by next month. That's when the HBO streaming service called HBO GO - priced to compete with Netflix is expected to go live in Belize. It will be available to cable consumers at an additional costs comparable to the 9 US dollars monthly subscription that Netflix charges.

Channel 5

Son of Wanted Mexican Drug Lord Names Belize in Sinaloa Cartel Empire
Belize is named as part of the network of the Sinaloa Drug cartel. It came during the trial of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, head of the infamous drug cartel, which [...]

The Brothers Sho are Charged for Hacking Guatemalan Farmer to Death in Bladen
A trio of siblings, all farmers from Bladen Village in southern Belize, has been charged with the murder of Guatemalan national Marcos Chen.  The forty-one-year-old was chopped to death on [...]

San Pedro Mayor: Police Brutality Will Not Be Tolerated
Late this evening, the Bar Association of Belize issued a release on the beaten on a San Pedro citizen by the police. In the release, the Bar describes the incident [...]

What Will Be Done to Bar Owner Following San Pedro Brutality?
In the aftermath of the New Year’s Day incident, San Pedranos took to social media pledging to boycott Playa Bar and Grill, where the incident unfolded.  The video captured the [...]

M.O.H. Investigates the Death of Corozal Baby Boy
The Ministry of Health has begun investigating the untimely death of eleven-week-old baby boy, Dion Woodeye Junior.  The baby died at the Corozal Community Hospital on December thirty-first, 2018. His [...]

M.O.H. Says If There was Negligence, Family Can Seek Redress
According to Doctor Manzanero, if the investigation reveals some level of negligence on behalf of the hospital’s staff, the culpable person or persons will be held accountable.   On the [...]

Baby Tevin’s Remarkable Road to Recovery
A toddler who was hit by a vehicle driven by a Gang Suppression Unit officer has beaten the odds. While two-year-old Tevin Cacho remains hospitalized, his prognosis is good and [...]

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Resign from PG Town Council
There is a report tonight from Punta Gorda that two persons resigned from their post at the City Council. It involves the Deputy Mayor, Franklin Polonio and councillor Kevin Choc. [...]

The Terrible Conditions of the Sugar Roads in OW South
Every year there is some level of public outcry by cane farmers in respect to the deplorable state of sugar roads in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. And in [...]

Some Elective Surgeries on Hold – Blood Shortage in Blood Banks
There is a shortage of blood supply and some elective surgeries will be put on hold because of low blood banks. Today, when we spoke with Director of Health Services [...]

Medication Shortage? M.O.H. Says That There Are Options Available
A couple months ago, we reported on the growing concerns about certain brands of medication not available in country due to measures implemented by the Ministry of Health in 2018. [...]

Maya Mopan Villagers to Protest School
The villagers of Maya Mopan in Stann Creek District are tonight sending a message to the management of the government primary school in community. The parents have been up in [...]

Caye Caulker Man is Arraigned on Burglary with Intent to Rape Charge
Today, twenty-seven-year-old Windell Humes was arraigned on a single charge of burglary with intent to rape when he appeared in court before Magistrate Emmerson Banner.  Humes, who was unrepresented, pleaded [...]

Bar Offers Free Legal Aid for Residents of the Old Capital
The Bar Association is offering free legal advice as part of an outreach effort to persons who may not otherwise be able to afford the services of the country’s top [...]

Complimentary Legal Advice Courtesy of the Bar Association
According to Secretary Iliana Swift, the Bar Association has held clinics in three of the six districts and plans to do the Belize, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts in the [...]

Historian Joseph Sampson Passes Away
Well-known Belizean historian Joseph Sampson, distinguished in academia, as well as in political life, has passed away.  The former Mayor of Dangriga who served under the People’s United Party between [...]

No Local Arrivals to the Multimillion-Dollar San Pedro Water Terminal
There is an ongoing dispute in San Pedro as it relates to the use of the terminal on the lagoon side. The Sunset Boardwalk Project, valued at over six million [...]

Dredging to Take Place in Lagoon to Access Terminal
News Five has been reliably informed that the dredging of the lagoon will cost almost two million Belize dollars to be completed and if local water taxis do not use [...]

San Pedranos Managing Sargassum
With the tourism peak season already underway, Mayor Daniel Guerrero also gave an update on how the island has been managing the issue of sargassum. He says that the private [...]

Hardship Allowances Still Not Ironed Out; B.N.T.U. Presses On
Belize National Teachers Union President Elena Smith says that the union is not backing down from its rejection of the school managements docking of teachers salaries for November seventh. The [...]

B.N.T.U. Says M.O.E. is Silent on School Managements’ Neglect
Earlier this week, the B.N.T.U. president called out the Ministry of Education for supporting the school management’s decision to dock salaries. Smith says that the ministry quoted from the rule [...]

Little League Baseball Making a Comeback After 25 Years
A non-profit called Belize Visionary Foundation of Baseball and Softball wants to bring back little league baseball in Belize. According to the foundation, it has been more than twenty-five years [...]

LOVE FM

Parents furious with school principal
Monday signals the return of students to the classroom countrywide. For those students at the Maya Mopan Primary School in the Stann Creek District, they may be getting an extra week break. The village alcalde, Constancio Teul, says it has to do with a stand off between parents and the school principal. Love News understands …

San Pedro Town Mayor condemns police beat down on January 1
San Pedro Mayor, Daniel Guerrero has weighed in on the incident where Jamir Leal was beat down by police on the island. Mayor Guerrero says he, like many who viewed the video, was shocked and expressed zero tolerance for such behavior. Daniel Guerrero Mayor San Pedro: “ Definitely shocked just by seeing the video on …

New water taxi terminal on San Pedro underused; Town Council will not sanction proposed project by San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi
The San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal has been completed for over four years now. To date, however, the local water taxis are still not using the facility. The project was completed in March 2014 under the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and carries a price tag of over six million dollars. It saw …

Ministry experiences blood shortage countrywide
In yesterday’s newscast we told you of the shortage at the blood bank at the Western Regional Hospital. Today, however, Love News learnt that the shortage extends countrywide. There is now a call to the public for donors to step up and give blood. Officials grew concerned close to the end of last year; Director …

DNA testing results on suspected remains of Anisha Young to take up to six months
On the weekend on December 29 2018, the family of 23-year-old Anisha Young came across some remains as they searched for her in Maskall Village. They came across some hair attached to a weave and skin, which police say is from the bottom of a human foot. Whether or not these are from Young is …

Ministry to destroy pharmaceuticals and products seized from James Bordies and Company Ltd.
The Ministry of Health will be destroying pharmaceutical products that belongs to James Brodies and Company Ltd next week. Back in July 2017, a Statutory Instrument was enacted that made provisions for the importation of pharmaceuticals to Belize and required that all labelling and relevant documentation of all pharmaceutical products being imported to Belize must …

Roads in Orange Walk South neglected
When the Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the roads that cane farmers have to traverse would be receiving an upgrade, this was welcoming news. However, Jose Mai, the PUP Area Representative for Orange Walk South, told Love News that his area is being neglected instead the monies are going towards repairing the roads in …

Ministry of Health investigating death of baby
Earlier this week, we told you about an eleven week baby boy, Deon Cecil Woodye Jr., who died at the Corozal Hospital. The parents are blaming the hospital stating that the lapse of time from the child’s arrival to when he was seen by the doctor may have contributed to the child’s death. The mother …

Dianne Finnegan says Gang Members are People too
Joseph Babb, a reputed gang leader was murdered on New Year’s Day. UDP Standard Bearer for the Lake Independence Division and well-known advocate for at-risk youths, Dianne Finnegan, spoke positively of the slain man and his support her in the Lake I convention. This interview sparked criticisms on social media and from vocal attorney Lisa …

The police find drugs and ammunition and a marijuana plantation
2018 was a successful year for the Belize Police Department in its efforts to recover drugs and ammunition from overgrown and abandoned lots in Belize City. 2019 seems to be promising in the recovery efforts as well. On the third of January at 4:30 p.m., officers in the Jasmine Street area decided to search a …

Sho brothers charged with murder of Marcos Chen
An arrest has been made in reference to the murder of Marcos Chen which occurred on the 14th of December. The 41 year-old Guatemalan Farmer from Bladden Village in the Toledo District was going fishing when he passed the home of Dario Sho …

Murder suspect does not offer court an alibi
Thirty-seven year old Anthony Bennett, who was charged with the murder of 30 year old Erbin Garrido, was committed to stand trial in the April session of the Supreme Court after a preliminary inquiry was held today by Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford …

Coconut Boy touches tourist but charged for burglary
A Caye Caulker resident who allegedly touched a woman was arrested for burglary. Twenty-seven-year-old Windell Humes, (COURT 2 VO) who is also known as Coconut Boy, allegedly trespassed in a dormitory in Caye Caulker at 2 a.m. on December 30, 2018 …

Amandala

Gruesome beginning to 2019 — 5 murders
At the end of 2018, Belize recorded 143 murders, which is close to the alarming records set in 2012 and 2017 when the country recorded an incredible 145 murders, the highest on record. As the New Year drifted in on Tuesday, instead of relief from the frightening frequency with which Belizeans have been slaughtering each other, there was more grim news. On the first day of the New Year the murder tally ratcheted up to 5! At a police press briefing yesterday, Wednesday, Acting Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, appeared to express relief that only one out of the five murders was gang-related.

PUC approves BEL’s request for increased electricity rates
Two weeks ago, in the December 14 edition of the Amandala, we reported that Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) had requested from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) an increase in electricity rates from $0.3862 per kilowatt hour to $0.4150 per kilowatt hour. On December 27, the PUC held a press conference at which they said that they had approved BEL’s request, but not for the initial $0.4150. Rather, the PUC has approved a 6.87% increase, which would take electricity rates to about $0.42 per kilowatt hour.

Angel Ruben Cassasola arraigned for murder
Angel Ruben Cassasola, 35, an excavator operator of Shawville, San Ignacio, and the father of 3 children — ages 5, 7, and 9 years — was taken this morning to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned for the offense of murder.

Police response to brutality in San Pedro inadequate
Belize is a violent country. There is official violence all around: sometimes it is manifested in the form of political corruption—the continuing plundering of the country’s resources; and sometimes it is manifested in the physical violence that is meted out to ordinary citizens from elements in law enforcement. The first day of the New Year was particularly bloody, with five murders being recorded in Belize before the first day of the year was over. Then, to add more gloom to the violent New Year’s reality, two police officers on San Pedro went rogue New Year’s night. The officers might have forgotten that we are living in a social-media-dominated society and most people carry phones with video cameras.

Belize Peace Movement calls out PUP on ICJ; will sue GOB over compromise
The Belize Peace Movement (BPM) held a press briefing this morning at the Belize Institute of Management (BIM) headquarters to update the media on its “No to the ICJ” campaign. The briefing got underway after the singing of the Belize National Anthem and a prayer. The BPM national coordinator, Robert “Bobby” Lopez, after thanking a number of individuals who spoke at the organization’s various education campaigns, said that Belize is now 98 days away from the ICJ referendum date on April 10.

Amandala year in review: Part 1
The first edition of our newspaper published on Friday, January 5, 2018, headlined the murder of a vacationing Belizean man, Jermaine Vellos, who was targeted on the second day of the New Year. Vellos was shot and killed on Maurice Bishop Street, in the Belama area of Belize City. Two masked men accosted Vellos and one of them shot him dead. On that same day, January 2, a crowd gathered outside the Belize City Magistrate’s Court as the court opened for the first day of business for the New Year. The crowd had gathered to get a glimpse of WPC Michelle Brown, 24, who was charged with the murder of Fareed Ahmad, 39.

Sugahh and Cream, baby!
American John Delong attacked the front-runner duo of his teammate Clayton Travis and Nissan Arana at the Burrell Boom junction and came in solo to claim the 2019 Krem New Year’s Day Classic. There won’t be a great grinding and gnashing of teeth by Belizean fans since Delong has been a fixture in races here, I think for over a decade, and the chances are most of us consider him an “honorary Belizean” anyway. His Skyline teammate Clayton Travis out dueled Nissan Arana at the finish and in the media interview afterward declared he will be back. It will be interesting, to say the least, if he is back to team up with Delong in the Run for the Roses.

Pedal by Pedal of the KREM New Year’s Cycling Classic from within the Eye of the Storm…
At exactly 9 a.m. on January 1, 2019, 82 riders, me included, took off from the border in front of the Belize Customs on our rigorous journey to Santos Diaz on Central American Boulevard for a total of 91 miles. This was the 29th running of the Krem New Year’s Cycling Classic, which has become one of the biggest Cycling Races in Belize, 2nd only to the Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic. My goal was simply to finish. For some reason, from the border to Corozal Town, the Heads of State seemed content to sit in and relax, and so we got to Corozal with the Peloton pretty much intact, save for a few riders who were dropped. However, from Corozal to Orange Walk was much more intense as we were hit by the strong crosswinds. This caused much more casualties and a few crashes along the way as we ran out of road with nowhere left to hide from the strong breeze.

Belize Athletics Association – 5K and 10K Annual New Years Road Race
Princess Margaret Drive, Jan. 1, 2019. 5K FEMALE: Rosa Cruz 21.22.50 1st, Ashontie Carr 24.00.65 2nd, Magali Andrade 24.31.97 3rd, Ashantie Carr 26.42.93 4th, Teresita Grajalez 31.15.40 5th.

The Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s Resolutions, from Dionne Chamberlain
Good morning, and happy Monday! As I was working on the Leadercast webpage, I came across an article that is very close to the way I think, so I thought I would share bits and pieces of it. As the New Year approaches, people everywhere take time to reflect on the 12 months that have passed them by. They think about their achievements and failures and consider what they’d like to do differently over the next 365 days. New Year’s is a time of self-reflection, meditation and planning as we make resolutions for the year to come and define clear expectations that will guide us to be the best versions of ourselves

That road is a disaster for villagers
Being able to do math is considered a sign of intelligence. Hmm, some of us prize physicality, but after David slew Goliath we have grudgingly accepted that brain power will very often get over brawn. There are a number of fields where math is essential. Engineers, architects, chemists, have to be good at math. Unfortunately, intelligence does not always serve people. It should, but it doesn’t. Math can serve people, and it also can serve robots. If you are intelligent but robotic/mechanical, you belong in a laboratory or a drawing room. You shouldn’t be anywhere near where decisions are made for the benefit of people.

JUSTICE ADOLPH LUCAS: A PERSON I KNOW AS A SELF-MADE MAN WITH PASSION, DETERMINATION AND INTEGRITY
When I joined the Belize Police Force on April the 23rd 1973, I was sent to the Police Training School that was located in Ladyville at the time for six months of training. The Commandant of the school was Superintendent Winston Carcamo. Among his staff were the following individuals: Inspector Gardner, Sgt. Adolph Lucas — Criminal Law and Immigration Instructor, Sgt. Sherman Zuniga — Rules of Evidence Instructor, Sgt. Aaron Popper — Drill and Weapons Training Instructor, Cpl. Rivero — Criminal Law and Traffic Instructor, Cpl. Belisle — Police Duties and Physical Fitness Instructor, Cpl. Frazier — Physical Fitness and Weapons Training Instructor, and Cpl. Mejia — Mess Hall NCO i/c.

The choice before us
The year 2019 may well be remembered as the most significant in the history for Belize. This is because on the 10th April of this year we will be asked to decide by referendum whether or not to have the ICJ decide, using the 2008 Special Agreement as their terms of reference, on a resolution of the Territorial Differendum with Guatemala. It may justifiably be said that this is the most crucial decision Belize has ever faced, since this is a choice that may even determine if we will continue to exist as a sovereign nation. Having stated the significance of this upcoming referendum, let us now consider the details. There are three possible ways we may respond to this upcoming plebiscite. In order to make the best choice voters will be obliged to adequately understand the reasons for choosing one option over the others and the consequences that may arise from that selection.

Baby Jayelle is the first baby born for the New Year
First-time mother, Clarissa Williams, 26, did not expect to give birth to her baby girl on New Year’s Day, especially since her due date was not until around January 10. Instead, baby Jayelle was born at 12:51 a.m. on January 1. According to the mother, she was on her way to a store when she felt as though she had urinated and then she realized that her “water had broken” (the rupturing of an amniotic sac which sustains an unborn child). She reached Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital around 8 p.m., and endured hours of labor pain before her baby, weighing 6 pounds 4 ounces, was finally born.

Aneshia Young’s family finds their first clue
Aneshia Young, 23, has been missing for 25 days after she attended a staff Christmas party on December 8, and then left to go to, Sit ‘N Sip, leaving that club in the early hours of December 9. Her family and volunteers have been searching for her relentlessly, following every lead, and while still hopeful that they will find her alive, they have accepted the possibility that she is dead and their efforts are to find her body so that they can get some closure. On December 29, they might have found a clue which does not point to a happy ending. Around 5 p.m. that day, the family, with the help of Jose Espat, who has been working with them for some time now, found a shallow grave in Maskall Village.

Pipersburgh and Robateau, serving life, to get fixed sentences on January 18
wo convicted murderers, Leslie Pipersburgh, 41, and Patrick Robateau, 39, who are serving life sentences for the murders of security guards Kevin Alvarez and Fidel Mai, are to get fixed sentences on January 18, 2019, when they appear before Justice Colin Williams. The sentences will be in accordance with a recent ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice, which stipulates that persons convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment are to get fixed sentences. Pipersburgh and Robateau, former employees of Bowen and Bowen, committed the murders in July 2002 when they robbed Bowen and Bowen’s sales proceeds from the company’s compound on Slaughterhouse Road.

Two fatal weekend traffic accidents
Two persons lost their lives in separate car accidents that took place over this past weekend. The first is 47-year-old Clifford Usher, whose grey Jeep Cherokee was found seriously damaged on the side of the road. The accident occurred on Sunday, December 30. Around 2 a.m., police were called to an area known as Kanantik Junction, which is located between Miles 18 and 19 on the Southern Highway. When they arrived on the scene they saw Usher’s grey Jeep Cherokee with extensive damages and Usher’s body not too far away from it.

The Reporter

SOS FOR A CANCER WARRIOR
They are called Cancer Warriors because every breath they draw is one in combat against an illness that is going after their very life.

… JUST TAKE CARE OF THIS FOR ME
By: Ambassador Lisa Shoman The symbiotic relationship between enforcers or street muscle and politicians in Belize is one going back to universal adult suffrage. But in the last three decades,

POLICE FIND WEED CULTIVATION & FIREARM IN SPECIAL OPS
Through regular and special operations, the Belize Police Department has managed to take a pistol and live ammunition off the street, as well as

MAN CHARGED FOR MURDER AND RAPE
Investigators, after working to piece together a bizarre chain of events, have charged Lucky Strike resident Giovanni Jones for the first murder of the

POLITICAL HANKY-PANKY WITH SUGAR ROADS MONEY
The Reporter has been informed by sources up north that following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement at the last House Sitting that $300,000 would be

POLICE IDENTIFY ‘JOHN DOE’ FOUND IN RIVER
The Belize Police Department has positively identified the John Doe whose body was found in the river near Black Man Eddy Village on New Year’s

FIRST BABY OF 2019 BORN IN BELIZE CITY
Moments after the New Year started, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital welcomed the first baby to be born in 2019. Clarissa Williams, 28, gave birth to her daughter Jayelle at

WAS ANNY’S BODY EXHUMED BY KILLERS
The family of Anisha Young, desperately trying to locate her since December 9 of last year, are slowing coming to terms with the realization

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Orange Walk men busted with over 10 lbs of weed
Two men from Orange Walk were busted on Wednesday, January 2, with over 10 pounds of […]

Three men charged for murder of Marcos Chen
Police have formally arrested and charged Edres Sho, 18; Heraldo Sho, 24; and Elijah Sho, 26, […]

Bar Association condemns excessive use of police force
The Bar Association of Belize today issued a statement condemning the excessive use of force by […]

Belize among places El Chapo did “business”
Following the arrest of Sinaloa drug cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Loera, and his subsequent extradition […]

Police find gun and drugs on Jasmine street
Just before 5:00 p.m. yesterday, police were on mobile patrol on Jasmine street in Belize city. During […]

Police find loaded pistol in Ladyville
Yesterday just before midday police visited an area on a feeder road between Old Well Road […]

Police burn marijuana cultivation in Mennonite community
Sometime before 7:00 a.m. yesterday police were conducting an anti-drug operation approximately 3 miles north-west of the […]

Orange Walk family desperate to find runaway teenager
A second form student from Orange Walk town reportedly ran away from home last night […]

Lake-I Baptist Church burglarized
Members of the Lake Independence Baptist Church are shocked at a burglary which occurred at […]

Body found in Black Man Eddy identified as Jaime Martinez
The body of the person that was found floating on New Year’s day in the […]

Four men associated with slain gang leader Joseph Babb detained for gun and live rounds
Four Belize City men believed to be associated with the gang that Joseph Babb belonged […]

Five men from long list of missing persons still not found yet
It is the start of a new year and many families across the country are […]

Historian and former Dangriga Mayor, Joseph Sampson dies
Historian, UB lecturer, politician and political analyst, Joseph Sampson, has passed away. Information to BBN […]

Blogs

Bird lovers are flocking to Belize
What makes Belize such a great place for birding? Let me count the ways! According to my handy-dandy eBird app, 584 species of birds have been recorded in Belize. We share Yucatan endemics (only found regionally) with Mexico and Guatemala and over 250 species are estimated as winter migrants from North America. Lucky birders may see as many as 200 birds in one day! Every month of the year is a good time to come armed with your binoculars and camera. Our beautifully diverse habitats offer scenic coastal areas were pelagic birds are enjoyed and the vast savannahs, lush tropical jungles, pine tree forests, and vibrant wetlands are teeming with hundreds of resident birds along with many who migrate through.

Let’s Wrap it Up: 2018 Around Ambergris Caye & Belize
2018 was a good year. I am very lucky to live in a place that I love. And I get to take a million pictures and write about it for a living? So let me put 2018 to bed with some of my highlights. I recapped January to May here – the months with the most visitors and the mildest weather. But June was a month of festivals! I started the month doing something that I LOVE to do – and something that I plan to do LOTS more of in 2019 – TRAVEL. I went down to Hopkins, Belize. An easy hop by Tropic Air to get to Dangriga (just next door) and you are in a village so different from Ambergris Caye.

10 Terrific Reasons to Visit Belize in 2019
Are you looking for excuses to make your first (or 10th) trip to Belize? We understand how you feel. No fewer than 4 prestigious publications have recommended a visit of late ("The Los Angeles Times," "Lonely Planet," "Conde Nast Traveler" and "National Geographic"). If you read all four, you noticed that each one offers different reasons to visit Belize in 2019. Our list covers 10 reasons to visit Belize. Hop a plane and get here to discover more!

International Sourcesizz

Level 2 Travel Advisory Issued for Belize
The US State Department issued a Level 2, Travel Advisory, Exercise Increased Caution, for the Central American country of Belize on January 4, 2018. This Travel Advisory for Americans visiting Belize is related to local crime. This Advisory says violent crimes, such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. Moreover, the State Department says the local Belize police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Most crimes remain unresolved and unprosecuted in this country of approximately 57,000 citizens.

Diver's lucky escape as shark attacks his GoPro camera
The animal lashed out at John Hornback as he filmed off the coast of Half Moon Caye, Belize. A diver had a lucky escape when a shark suddenly attacked his GoPro camera. The beast nearly nearly made off with the gadget as John Hornback filmed during a dive off the coast of Belize. The underwater camera captured the moment the predator lashed out, revealing its powerful jaws millimetres from the lens. The footage initially shows another diver with a dead fish on the end of a spear, which apparently interests the shark. But as the animal examines the bait and circles the divers slowly, it suddenly changes direction and ploughs towards the diver filming the scene. The screen briefly goes completely black as the shark's jaws envelop the camera, before it quickly swims off.

Videos

  • Belize 2009, 4min. Belize: Ancient Mayan city Altun Ha, Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom, boat ride on Belize River.

  • Belize Nature Sounds | Hopkins Beach, 10min. Hopkins Beach is just 2.5 hours south of Belize City, harboring some of Belize's most beautiful beaches and the village vibe it is a great option for those who want the lifestyle of Ambergris Caye at a much slower pace.

  • Sunbreeze Suites (San Pedro, Belize), 2min.

  • Belize Dry Cleaners tux Rental, 28min.

  • Bruk it Down Jenny, 31min.

  • Steel Pan, 33min.

  • Belize trip day 4 at The Belize Zoo, 5.5min. The afternoon of day 4 was spent at The Belize Zoo (TBZ).. it was an unbelievable experience getting up close and personal with a Jaguar!

  • Ancient Mayan Chocolate Making in Belize for kooshchocolates.com, 5min.

  • Video of our tour of a farm in San Miguel, 7.5min.

  • Altun Ha Belize, 30min.