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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, Reef TV, KREM, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Belize Now, Talk Ah Di Town, and other specials.
The San Pedro Sun
National Security Council Announces Increased Security Measures
The National Security Council of Belize (NSC), chaired by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, met in special session yesterday, June 27th, 2019 in Belmopan to discuss the crisis arising out of the recent murder of a tourist, Dr. Gary Swank, in San Pedro.
The NSC recorded its grave concern over the tragic development and its implications particularly for the tourism industry in Ambergris Caye and nationally. The NSC also recorded its deep sympathy for the family of the deceased. It also noted that there was no targeting of the tourist and that his murder was made even more tragic by the fact that he was an innocent victim of a dispute between his tour guide and the murderer.
Help Heal Humanity hosts innovative education session in San Pedro Town
Help Heal Humanity (HHH) held an Innovative Education session at the SunBreeze Hotel conference room in San Pedro Town on Tuesday, June 18th. Facilitated by Opher Brayer, the session saw the attendance of island educators, government representatives, and interested island residents. The session aimed to introduce local educators to the project, leading them to seek advanced methodology and subsequently be trained to implement it in their schools. They were further encouraged to engage with potential investors and local community leaders about creating the first local Technology and Science Hub of Research and Development here in Belize.
San Pedro U-15 and U-17 trailing behind in the Youth Inter-District Football Tournament
For their fourth match in the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Youth Inter-District Football Tournament, San Pedro’s Under-15 (U-15) and Under-17(U-17) suffered yet another loss. They faced Belize District Teams at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town on Saturday, June 21st.
The first match was at 11AM, and saw Belize’s U-15 going against San Pedro’s U-15 in a tight match. The island team fought hard to take the home victory, but the Belize team had a strong defense, not allowing them to score more than one goal. When the whistle blew, it was a 3-1 victory Belize’s U-15.
Volunteers build a house for San Mateo resident
Thanks to a group of volunteers and donors, one family from the San Mateo Area in San Pedro Town is getting a new house. The construction of the new house project is being overseen by Hope Haven and is sponsored by Jamie Terry Phillips Realty Company, Hilton Claasen, Good World Trading Limited and United Methodist Church (UMC) in Johnstown, Colorado, USA.
Construction was initiated by a group of volunteers from UMC, who contributed two weeks of hard work through Tuesday, June 25th. UMC organizes a mission trip to San Pedro Town every four years, seeking possible ways they can assist in the community. “We usually fundraise money at our church, and then we come down here to help the community. This time, Laurie Norton aka Taco Girl lined us up with Hope Haven for the project of building a house for a needy family in the San Mateo Area,” said Maureen Schulz- Sowder from UMC.
Triple R Response hosts body safety and first-aid training for their search and rescue team
Rickilee Response and Rescue (Triple R) held a body safety and first-aid training for their search and rescue team of the island from Monday, June 24th to Thursday, June 27th at the Banyan Bay conference room in San Pedro Town. The training was facilitated by Emergency Medical Service Instructor Evan Sanchez and saw the attendance of Hol Chan Marine Reserve rangers, Coast Guards, tour guides, tour operators, firefighters, and police officers.
Costa Maya Festival Committee presents Miss Honduras and Miss Nicaragua
The International Costa Maya Festival – Reignited committee is excited to announce the remaining two delegates in the 2019-2020 Miss Costa Maya Pageant. Representing Honduras is Kerelyne Isell Campigoti Webster, while Nicaragua’s beauty ambassador is Diana Sofía Loáisiga Ramos. Scheduled for Friday, July 26th the pageant will see eight beauty ambassadors from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama vying for the title of Reina de la Costa Maya.
Two San Pedro Pirates F.C players drafted to be part of Belize’s Male National Team
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) has drafted a selection of players for the Belize National Football Team to represent the country at The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League matches in September 2019. Among the selection of players are two players from San Pedro’s very own semi-pro team, San Pedro Pirates F.C. They are Jesse Smith and Asrel Sutherland.
The players for the National Selection were chosen from various football tournaments hosted across the country. In San Pedro, the tournament that facilitated the selection of players was the San Pedro Pirates Football Club, which is a part of the Premiere League of Belize (PLB) and current champions of PLB.
Graduation season is in full swing on Ambergris Caye
As the school year comes to an end, many educational institutions have been celebrating graduation ceremonies at the primary and pre-school levels in San Pedro Town. Standard Six students bade goodbye to their elementary studies gearing up for high school, while preschoolers joined the celebration as they prepare to enter primary school.
The weekend of graduation ceremonies began with the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) graduating 87 students at the Angel Nuńez Auditorium on Friday, June 21st. After a short welcome speech by Kamryn Rhaburn, and remarks by guest speaker Paul Kelly, the students were presented with their diplomas by SPRCS teachers Silvio Camara and Principal Roxanni Kay. The valedictorian speech of the Class of 2019 was given by Wayne Alfaro, while the vote of thanks was delivered by A-Rad Morey.
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease In Belize
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is asking all tour operators and guides for assistance in reporting any sightings of corals seen on your dive or snorkel trip that do not look healthy via the submission of photos. We are on the lookout for Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). The disease first appeared in 2014 in Florida, in 2018 it was confirmed in areas of the Caribbean and recently summer of 2019 has been one confirmed case in Belize, within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve area of Northern Ambergris Caye.
Meet Miss Nicaragua And Honduras For Costa Maya Pageant
Here are the final two contestants for this year’s International Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant.
This week we introduce the Miss Nicaragua contestant for Costa Maya Pageant; she is Diana Sofía Loáisiga Ramos. She is 22-years old and stand 5ft 5in tall. Diana Sofía Loáisiga Ramos is aspiring to be a successful businesswoman currently enrolled as a full-time Business Administration student. Lovely Miss Honduras is Kerelyne Isell Campigoti Webster, she is 21 years-old and stand 6ft 1in tall. Kerelyne Isell Campigoti Webster is an intern in the Tourism industry who enjoys collecting postcards and painting feminine figures. She aims to complete her university career and to become an international model in Italy.
Various Belizean Sources
National Security Council Announces Increased Security Measures
The National Security Council of Belize (NSC), chaired by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, met in special session yesterday, June 27th, 2019 in Belmopan to discuss the crisis arising out of the recent murder of a tourist, Dr. Gary Swank, in San Pedro.
The NSC recorded its grave concern over the tragic development and its implications particularly for the tourism industry in Ambergris Caye and nationally. The NSC also recorded its deep sympathy for the family of the deceased. It also noted that there was no targeting of the tourist and that his murder was made even more tragic by the fact that he was an innocent victim of a dispute between his tour guide and the murderer. Those very circumstances underscore the critical need for our authorities to do better at increasing security both for our citizens and our visitors.
Hon. Edmond Castro Visits Belizean Medical Students in Cuba
Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro is in Cuba where he is today attending the 17th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs.
Arriving there a day early, the Minister took the opportunity to meet with Belizean students who are studying medicine in Cuba. Hon. Castro congratulated them for their dedication and sacrifice to enhance their education and encouraged them to continue studying hard as they prepare themselves to better serve their country when they return home. The students were happy for the visit and thanked Hon. Castro for his keen interest in their wellbeing and success.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Receives Support from Taiwan to Build Capacity in International Boundary Disputes
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has provided support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strengthen the Ministry’s human resources in International Boundary Disputes. This contribution will be used to finance the attendance of two Ministry officials at Durham University’s IBRU Centre for Borders Research Professional Training Workshop: “Resolving International Boundaries Disputes”, to be held from 8th to 10th July 2019 in Paris, France.
Ambassador Patrick Andrews, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received the contribution on behalf of the Ministry from H.E. Remus Li-Kuo Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), on Tuesday, 25th June 2019 at the Laing Building in Belize City.
Minister of Postal Services and Belize’s Post Master General attend the Caribbean Council of Ministers Meeting and Conference in Cuba
Participating in the 17th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs earlier today in Havana, Cuba was Belize’s Minister with responsibility for Postal Services, Honorable Edmond Castro.
The theme for the meeting was, “Building on the Pillars of the Caribbean Regional Postal-Sector Strategy”, and the main presentation on key challenges and opportunities facing Caribbean posts was delivered by Secretary-General of the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU), Mr. Guillermo Raymond.
Sea Gull Street in San Pedro Being Paved
Have you seen our recent project in the works? Sea Gull Street (one of the streets leading to San Pedro High School) is currently being paved, continued by the paving of a section of Spider Lily Street and a section of Deer Street. Projected date of completion is ending of August, before school opens.
Belize Police Dept. Vacancy Notice
The Belize Police Department is accepting applications for suitably qualified persons to join the Special Constables, Tourism Police Unit in San Pedro Town and Placencia.
General Duties and Responsibilities: I. Advice tourists in safety and security during their travel in Belize II. To facilitate and provide security and protection for tourists III. To suppress and address criminal problems affecting tourists IIII. Engage stakeholders and build community relationships. Here is an opportunity to serve our island and country...
San Pedro football players stand in solidarity against the crime that is plaguing the mecca tourist island
"Crime Won't Take Our Island. We Stand Together". This media shack stands in support of the islanders' cry for peace.
Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2019
Rocus Rolls! CEO's Sudden Departure Sends Shockwaves Through BTL
Two years after taking over the reigns of BTL - CEO Rochus Schreiber has confirmed that he is leaving the company. In a text message this evening Schreiber confirmed reports but said that he is leaving for personal reasons.
He said his departure is not immediate and, quote, "There will be an orderly handover of responsibility to a new Belizean CEO."
And while Schreiber says it is an orderly departure, with such an abrupt move, and no direct successor in place, it can hardly be that. We are told his departure is the product of internal differences at the senior management level - and that he is not leaving on the happiest of terms.
But, he is leaving, and he leaves behind one of the richest compensatIon packages Belize has ever seen. Schreiber had a base salary of almost half a million Belize dollars, which worked out to about three quarter million with incentives.
Eyewitness Recants, Alleged Murderers Walk
They were charged with the 2015 gun murder of the 39 year-old taxi-man, 39 Patrick Spencer, but tonight 23 year-old Charles Middleton and 25 year-old Cesario Choco, are free. They were acquitted in a trial without jury before Justice Colin Williams.
On the night of June 24, 2015, Patrick Spencer was socializing at a house on Cairo Street in Belize City. He was approached by 2 gunmen who opened fire and shot him multiple times to the body. He died on the spot.
Senior Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell, who prosecuted this case, called her main witness, a man who had given police a written statement that he saw Middleton and Choco that night, and that they were the gunmen who fatally shot Spencer. When this supposed eye-witness went on the stand however, he testified under oath that he didn't give police any statement. Crown Counsel Lovell applied to court to treat him as a hostile witness, which was granted.
Christin Espat Still Detained, No Charges
Tonight, there are still no arrests in the San Pedro double murder of local tour guide Mario Graniel and his client, American doctor, Gary Swank.
Prime suspect Christian Espat remains detained along with a number of other men - as many as 12 we are told.
Espat - who police have described as a notorious gang figure who Graniel had a misunderstanding with - has said he was in Benque Viejo when the murder occurred on Sunday morning.
It happened at around 10:00 one mile west of San Pedro Town within the town lagoon. That's where Graniel and Swank were fly fishing when a dark color skiff passed by and opened fire on them.
National Security Council Emergency Meeting To Discuss San Pedro "Crisis"ť
The story has made national headlines in the US - and has resulted in a growing number of cancellations by tourists who had bookings in Belize. They fear for their personal safety and that of their families.
And that's because the attack happened in broad daylight on the open water - a place where many visitors find themselves sport fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving.
The economic effect has made it a matter of national urgency and, yesterday, the National Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Barrow, quote, "met in special sessionto discuss the crisis arising out of the recent murder of a tourist, Dr. Gary Swank."
A release says, quote, "The NSC recorded its grave concern over the tragic development and its implications particularly for the tourism industry in Ambergris Caye and nationallyIt also noted that there was no targeting of the tourist and that his murder was made even more tragic by the fact that he was an innocent victim of a dispute between his tour guide and the murderer."
Coast Guard Will Monitor SP Lagoon
Another of those immediate measures will see the Coast Guard establishing a greater presence on the waters surrounding the island - on the sea - coast and the lagoon side.
Williams told the town meeting in San Pedro on Wednesday night that the coast guard will employ a new operational mode in the lagoon - using smaller vessels:..
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police:
"Mr. Soberanis and the Belize Coast Guard has agreed that they have deployed 2 boats to SAn Pedro. Not the big boats, but the little ones that can go in the lagoon to the back and will be able to navigate even through shallow waters. Yes, they will have one that is capable of going on this side where the waves are higher and seas are rougher, but again it is important that we maintain presence in the lagoon as well as in the sea."
For COMPOL, This One Is Personal
Today's release from the National Security Council also says, quote,
"The Commissioner of Police is in San Pedro today and has assumed personal responsibility for bringing to justice the killer of the murdered tourist and tour guide."
Indeed, for Williams whose mettle is being tested by a string of recent murders - this one is personal. And, on Thursday night he intimated that the drug gangs of San Pedro will face a tough crackdown:
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police:
"There is something that is being done about the gangs but I will not say. You will just going to see it happen, but we are serious about ensuring that we address the gang issue and that will be done, there are alternative means that we are going to use to deal with the gangs, so sit back and you will enjoy the scene as it happens."
Expat From Placencia Found Dead After Night Of Socializing
A British national who calls Placencia home - was found dead this morning, floating in the waters off the peninsula.
At around 6:00, 58 year old Phillip Crabtree's body was seen floating in the waters between Southwater Resort and Yolis Bar - which is a hangout for expatriates.
Police say he was last seen last night at 7:00 socializing with others.
This morning his body was found with a cut wound above the left eye and an abrasion on the right hand.
PM Scolded For Calling Hon. Julius Schizophrenic, Bipolar
Last week Friday night on the news - you may have heard the salty exchange between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the PUP's Julius Espat.
Espat - who criticized his colleague Said Musa in Parliament a few months ago - turned around and praised him last week - prompting the prime Minister to response like this:..
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"My pronouncement is that you are bi-polar, there is something wrong with you. You are Schizophrenia or..."
Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South:
"Madam Speaker, in anywhere in my presentation did I insult the Prime Minister as he is doing me. This is the Prime Minister of a country that goes down to the gutter, he should be ashamed."
Phenomenal Fishers Honoured
The outstanding fisher of the year award ceremony was held today at the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute Training Room. The ceremony was held to honor those fishers who truly make a difference in the sector and also to highlight the importance of fisheries overall. Three fishers were recognized, they are Mario Gonzalez, Angel Faux and the outstanding fisher of the year award went to Paulino Elmer Rodriguez from Sarteneja. Here is more from the event.
Julie Robinson, Ocean Strategy Lead, The Nature Conservancy:
"June 29th is recognized as being international fisher folk day, this has been a tradition for many decades. However, today we recognized that one day is really not sufficient to really express our gratitude to the people who are the foundation of our fisheries industries. Ms. Desiree kind of mentioned this, this is actually a culmination of a number of different activities that took place, there has been the women in fisheries forum, there has been the boat to boat dialogue that has been taking place.."
Police Profiling Prevalent, Peyrefitte Says It Shouldn't Be
Profiling - it's not permitted in the law - but police do it all the time. They stop persons, conduct routine searches and then snap their pictures with cell phone cameras. It's done widely in Belize City - especially to young, black males.
Cabinet has said the cops shouldn't do it, but that hasn't stopped them. And, in fact the COMPOL has indicated that the practice will continue. Police use these pictures to make databases of persons who haven't even committed crimes.
On Wednesday, the attorney general told the media that the police can continue until someone sues them - which any profiled citizen would be well within their rights to do:
Legislating Around That 21 Day Requirement For The COA
Peyrefitte also spoke about the Court of Appeal (Amendment) Bill of 2019, which will soon become law.
With this new law, the Barrow Administration wants to give the Court of Appeal, the ability to expedite the hearing of appeal cases before the mandatory 21-day grace period.
You'll remember that the Barrow Administration faced that same obstacle on April 8th, when it was trying to push for the ICJ referendum on April 10th.
They were forced into that position after the Chief Justice granted the PUP an injunction restraining them from holding it on April 10th.
The Government went to the Court of Appeal in the hopes of trying to reverse that decision at the last minute, but the Court of Appeal refused to hear the matter because the mandatory 21-days hadn't passed as yet - so the Appeal Court didn't have jurisdiction.
Man Crushed In Downtown Orange Walk
There has been a serious bus accident a short time ago in Orange Walk. It happened right in front of the Town Hall where an R. Tillett bus ran over a man's feet - and he was bleeding out on the street. He was reportedly attempting to cross the street.
His condition is not known at this time - but he was rushed to the hospital. The bus was heading from Belize city to Orange Walk.
More Men Need to Test For HIV
The National Aids Commission wants all Belizeans to know their HIV status, and so, they set up testing booths in public parks at several major population centers around the country today.
Their focus this year was men - because the male population tends to avoid HIV testing.
So they sent out the message far and wide and made the process quick, easy and free.
We found out more:
Anellie Paredez - Communications and Programs Officer, NAC:
"Today is the second annual national testing day countrywide, and we are out here doing free HIV testing for anyone who wants to know their status..."
Another Castro In Cuba
He's no Fidel or Raul, but Edmond Castro is in Cuba has received a warm reception in Cuba where he is on an official visit. He is attending the 17th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs, and also taking some time out to meet Belizean medical students. In a release sent today it says "Castro congratulated them for their dedication and sacrifice to enhance their education, and he encouraged them to continue studying hard as they prepare themselves to better serve their country when they return home." Castro returns to Belize tomorrow.
Chan Pine Ridge Challenges ASR/BSI
Last night, we showed you worries of the Orange Walk residents of Chan Pine Ridge Village. They say that ASR/BSI's Towerhill Factory is polluting their air with ash and smoke produced during the factory's cane milling operation.
The residents say that for months now, the ash has been affecting their health, as well as the infrastructure of their homes, since the ash allegedly compromises the integrity of their roofs.
The residents say that they have complained to both BSI/ASR, and the Department of Environment, which is supposed to be policing matters like these, and according to them, the response has been woefully inadequate.
Throwdown At The Corner Store
Over the past few years, surveillance videos have become a staple in the daily news diet - and, most times, it's violent and unpleasant, showing storekeepers being robbed or roughed up.
But one video we came across last week - shows that the cameras can capture all kinds of crazy goings-on at your corner store.
We couldn't find out exactly where or in which town this one was captured - but it shows two women getting into an argument. One of them came in from outside to tell the other not to talk about her.
And from there it escalated rather quickly - with the woman who started it resorting to hauling out beer crates and throwing them at the other woman, causing chaos in the shop.
B.T.L. C.E.O. Rochus Schreiber Resigns
There is a huge development tonight regarding the top job at Belize Telemedia Limited. And that is that Rochus Schreiber has tendered his resignation as the Chief Executive Officer for [...]
A Closer Look at Documents which Shows B.T.L.’s Purported GST Debt
Still on B.T.L., records obtained by our newsroom, show that Belize Telemedia Limited owes the Government of Belize tens of millions of dollars in unpaid General Sales Tax. According to [...]
An Appeal for Peace and Calm Following Dalla Kite’s Murder
Businessman Carlton Wade was gunned down at his shop in Hattieville on Wednesday night just before he closed for the day. Inside the store were his two grandchildren, while his [...]
FinSec: “admittedly there are problems”
Financial Secretary Joseph Waight has admitted that there are problems with regards to the reporting of financial facts by finance officers across government ministries and departments. This has been a [...]
Financial Secretary Speaks on FTC/AIBL Settlement
Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced a settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Atlantic International Bank Limited, describing it as a ‘win for Belize’. The settlement [...]
PM Dean Barrow Speaks on Sanctuary Bay Scam
Lead scammer Andris Pukke along with several associates, promised clients a lush piece of land equipped with world class amenities on a fourteen thousand-acre property in southern Belize. It’s a [...]
Albert Moreira is Freed & Rearrested for Murder of Felina James
B.D.F. soldier, Albert Moreira was charged for the October 2018 murder of Felina James, his girlfriend and mother of their son. This week, he went to trial and saw the [...]
Accused Murderers Are Freed
Four years ago, in June 2015, thirty-nine-year-old Patrick Dean Spencer, a.k.a. “Nally,” was gunned down on Cairo Street with its intersection with Glen Street, Belize City. He was shot multiple [...]
Court of Appeal Given Option to Hear Applications before 21 Days Requirement
Back in April, the Government was unsuccessful in trying to persuade the Court of Appeal to hear an application in an expedited manner. This was in the relation to the [...]
Police’s Profiling Practice Can Be Challenged in Court
We also asked the Attorney General about the continued policing profiling. Police officers continue to stop and search persons, especially young black males, record their personal information and snap pictures [...]
U.S. State Department Speaks on Belize’s TIP Ranking
Last week we reported that the U.S. Department of State upgraded Belize in its Trafficking in Persons Report. According to the report, Belize has shown significant progress in victim services [...]
Immigration Raids in the U.S. Are Coming
The U.S. has announced that a number of immigration raids will be conducted. The deportations, while delayed, are intended to remove recently arrived families who are in the United States [...]
NAC’s National Testing Day Targets Men
The National AIDS Commission held its annual national testing day today across the country. Every year the organization hosts two national testing events, with the next testing day in December [...]
$10,000 For Anyone Who Can Help Solve Marcia Talbert’s Murder
Forty-one-year-old Marcia Talbert, an employee of Cerberus Security, a subsidiary of Bowen and Bowen Limited, lost her life on the morning of June sixteenth when a gunman snuck onto the [...]
ComPol Calls for Stringent Background Checks for Licensed Guides
On Thursday, we told you about new security measures, including surveillance cameras, as well as the hiring of special constables to be implemented in San Pedro. Those new plans were [...]
A British National is Found Dead in Placencia
The lifeless body of fifty-eight-year-old Phillip Crabtree, a British national, was retrieved from the sea in Placencia this morning. Sometime around six o’clock, police were called to an area in [...]
Fisher of the Year Award Goes to Paulino Rodriguez
He has been fishing for forty years and seen the industry he loves grow and evolve. Today, the spotlight was on Sarteneja resident Paulino Rodriguez who was made Fisher of [...]
Chan Pine Ridge Villager Concern of B.S.I.’s Air Pollution
Residents of Chan Pine Ridge Village in Orange Walk say they have been greatly affected by air pollution emitted by the neighboring B.S.I. sugar factory. Villagers formed the Chan Pine [...]
Team Belize Doing Great at the U-23 Female Volleyball Central American Championships
The female volleyball national team has been competing in the under-twenty-three Central American Championships in Managua, Nicaragua. They have since won three games and lost one. On Wednesday, the girls [...]
Police Health Run & Sports Day at Yabra
Early this morning, the police officers were on the streets of the City, but it was not for the usual crime fighting. It was to encourage residents to maintain or [...]
BTL owes almost $30 million in GST: allegation
An explosive report was made on News5 last night, Wednesday, that Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), Belize’s largest company, in which the government has a 51 percent shareholding, has racked up an unpaid General Sales Tax (GST) bill in the region of $30 million over a four-year period.
This afternoon, Amandala attempted to get a comment from the GST Department on the leaked documents, but we were told that there is no GST Commissioner at the present time.
When we asked if we could speak to someone from the senior staff who could comment on the BTL arrears situation, we were told that the Acting GST Commissioner, Evan Brown, was in a meeting and he has sent word to us that “the GST will not make any public statement” on the BTL matter.
Belize City Swing Bridge rotting
The year 2024 will mark 100 years since the Belize City Swing Bridge was built to link the old capital’s north and south sides. As that milestone approaches, however, the only manual swing bridge in the world is in a most deplorable condition. An obvious testament to the years of neglect is the visible corrosion and the decaying of the metal structure.
Since Belize has adopted tourism as a large part of its economic and developmental future, the Swing Bridge, which has tremendous tourism potential and has received the attention of Trip Advisor, the international tourism industry’s influential trend-setter, strategic planning could have included a massive restoration project for the Swing Bridge in the Downtown Rejuvenation Project, which involves the spending of millions of dollars for the restoration of the downtown area.
Christian Espat, 23, hands in himself for San Pedro double murder
At about 11:00 Sunday morning, Mario Graniel, Jr., 53, a San Pedro fly fishing tour guide, and his guest, American national Dr. Paul Swank, of Roanoke, Virginia, USA, were sport fishing in the lagoon in San Pedro, when they were shot and killed.
Police said they had identified a suspect in the case of the double murder, and on Tuesday, a 25-year-old woman of San Pedro, whom they described as being important to the investigation, was detained.
Police were looking for the triggerman, who is known to them, but he had reportedly left San Pedro.
Government’s new legislation passes through the Senate
The Senate met this morning in the National Assembly Chamber under the presidency of former Belize City mayor, Darrell Bradley, who succeeds Lee Mark Chang. Chang resigned as President of the Senate so that he could run in a United Democratic Party (UDP) constituency convention to select the party’s standard bearer for Caribbean Shores.
The Senate debated a number of Bills that passed through their stages at the House of Representatives meeting last Friday.
Among the Bills the Senate debated were the Customs and Excise Duties Act, the University of Belize Bill, and the Tax and Administration Procedure Bill.
Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) releases reports for January-May 2019
The Statistics Institute of Belize (SIB) reported that Belize imported $169.4 million worth of goods in May 2019, a 1.9% increase over goods imported last year in the same period.
Imports of ‘Food and Live Animals’ went up “from $22.6 million in May 2018 to $25.1 million on account of larger imports of infant formulas, corn seeds and lard (shortening)”, parts for food processing equipment and centrifuges increased from $32.4 million to nearly $34 million, and ‘Crude Materials’ imports rose from $2.8 million to $4.2 million, with more purchases of wooden poles and pine lumber. SIB reported that Belize’s economy, led by increases in primary and tertiary activities, grew by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2019 when compared with the same period last year. The SIB’s preliminary estimates show that Belize produced $782 million worth of goods and services for the period, up $38.6 million over the $743.4 million worth of goods and services for the same period last year.
Ka’ ańaar, a graphic arts exhibition at Image Factory and Library of African and Indigenous studies
In January, a group of 5 Belizeans made a trip to Cuba and began what they call, the Belize Cuba Solidarity Group. While in Cuba, the group participated in a graphic arts exhibition named Ka’ ańaar with Cuban artist Alex Falco Chang. Today, the Belize part of that exhibition continued at the Image Factory and the Library of African and Indigenous Studies, where the works of Falco and Belizean graphic artist, Carlos Lito Quiroz, were displayed.
The Cuban Ambassador to Belize, Ambassador Lissette Perez; and Orestes Hernandez, Counsel of the Embassy of Cuba to Belize, attended the exhibition. Acknowledgement and special thanks were extended to the president of the National Institute of History and Culture, Sapna Budhrani, and to Ya Ya Marin Coleman of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) Education Foundation.
St. Francis Xavier RC girls of Cayo and St. Martin De Porres boys of Belize District are 2019 National Primary School Basketball Champions
The National Sports Council sponsored National Primary Schools Basketball Championship in both female and male categories was held on Wednesday, June 26, in Belize City. The six district champions for both females and males were divided into groups of 3 teams, and a round-robin was played within each group, after which the top two teams of each group advanced to the knockout semifinal round. The boys played their games at Bird’s Isle, while the girls games were at the Civic Center. However, both championship games were played at the Civic Center.
Cricket Corner – Belize River Valley has lost another loved one
Blessings on all you cricket players and lovers of the sport! Under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association (BNCA), the Barry Bowen/ Harrison Parks 2019 Cricket Competition continued with the playoffs over the weekend.
Before going any further, let me inform you that the President of the BNCA and its governing body send their most sincere condolences to the family and friends on the sudden passing of their loved one, CYRIL “BOB” THOMPSON, who met his death due to a freak accident. Bob, as he was affectionately known, was one of the founding members of Summer Fever Cricket Club.
Playoffs near in National Over-40 football
Scoring details are still not available for the 3 games played on Saturday night, June 22, in the Belize National Over-40 Football Tournament 2019; but reports of the final scores show San Pedro Veterans with the 4-0 win over BDF at Ambergris Stadium; Kulture Yabra Veterans and Santels United Veterans playing to a 0-0 draw at the MCC Grounds; and Belmopan Veterans with a 2-1 win over Roaring Creek United Veterans at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.
After the 4 games scheduled for the upcoming weekend, one more week of games plus a back match will remain to complete the double round-robin regular season.
FFB Elite Female U-15 Inter-District Week 1 result
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) kicked off its Elite Female U-15 Inter-District Competition 2019 with only 1 game being played. With a 9:00 a.m. kickoff at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, it was the visitors, Stann Creek with a 5-0 win over Cayo, with goals from Khalydia Velasquez (7’), Taryn Arnold (20’ & 24’) and Shendra Casimiro (36’ & 46’).
It is expected that all 10 country zones will eventually be represented in the tournament. 3 games are scheduled for Week 2.
Editorial: Leadership we can trust could ease US cocaine war’s pangs
It’s not easy for Belizeans to wrap their mind around 5 men going to sea on a fishing trip and all of them ending up dead, not by drowning, but by gunshots to the head. The impact is staggering. The equivalent loss in Mexico would be for 1,735 Mexican fishermen to be shot to death one afternoon in the Gulf, and for the Americans it would be for 4,410 American fishermen to be shot to death one morning in Alaska. The world would have stopped turning if that kind of news would have come out of Mexico or the USA.
We can’t recall any period with so many incidents of multiple homicides in our country. On June 4, a highly respected and beloved teacher was found, along with two of her friends, all shot to death in her home, which is located in a somewhat isolated area near to the George Price Highway. Then, between June 21 and June 23, the bodies of seven persons were found, in separate incidents. In one incident, five men were shot to death while on a fishing trip a few miles off the coast of Belize City, and in the other incident a tour guide and a tourist were shot to death while on a fishing trip in the waters off San Pedro.
Heavily tinted vehicles contribute to the high crime rate and traffic mishaps
Several years ago the government and authorities responsible for the licensing of motor vehicles implemented a standard for the tinting of motor vehicles, regulating the degree of tint for private and government vehicles. Only Ministerial and special government-owned vehicles were supposed to be heavily tinted.
As is the usual case with many other regulations in the Belizean society, this regulation is not being enforced.
Since Belize achieved independence, crime has spiralled in the Jewel, moving us from being a “tranquil haven of democracy” to a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Some thoughts on our Belize history
Please allow me to share these thoughts. It is difficult to imagine Belize without the legacy of the public meeting, the Flowers Bank 14, the Ex-Servicemen’s Riot, and Antonio Soberanis Gómez, the activist in the Belizean labor movement.
He founded the Labor and Unemployed Association in 1934 to demand poverty relief work and a minimum wage. He was jailed for sedition in 1935.
Clifford Betson (1897-1974), a strong and militant unionist with only a primary level education, was part of the contingent which on July 22 started the Ex-Servicemen Riot in Belize City in protest of the treatment experienced at the hands of the colonial authorities.
Like, I’m waiting
It’s not within my nature to push for an apology from anyone, but sometimes you have to set the record right. A Facebook “friend” of mine selected a sentence out of a column I wrote and posted it to his page, with a comment, and then proceeded to distribute his work to a number of his other “friends”, so they could multiply his felony. I don’t know the gentleman, have never met the gentleman. I know that he was a favorite of one of our governments some years back, and I believe he is older than I am, because when I was a young man in the 1980s, he was already a big government favorite.
The Growth of Black Consciousness in Belize 1914–1919
Violence, whether spontaneous or premeditated, has an inherent attraction for both the historian and his reader. On the one hand there is the heightened colour of strong emotions unleashed in an individual or society exposed to unacceptable stress. On the other, the rare opportunity to perceive fully, perhaps for the first time, the processes in that individual or society which are most important to its functioning. Those processes and the psychological and ideological assumptions which regulate them may be only fully comprehended when the organism, be it individual or collective, makes war upon itself.
Violence, then, is revealing, and it is therefore somewhat difficult to understand successive historians’ neglect of the violent moments in modern Belizean history. The institutionalized violence of slavery has been well researched but often only as an exercise in revisionism – the post-emancipation upheavals of 1894, 1919 and 1934, however, have not been subject to a similar coverage.
Orange Walk was regarded as a rough frontier town
Mestizo social life in the rapidly growing northern towns reflected the newcomers who built them, focusing on the family and community, which included the church. The self presentation that was so essential to creole public life, was not a feature of church and community life in the newly settled villages and towns of the north. There were no papers in the districts. And while by the 1870’s a succession of newspapers announced their commitment to news of interest to Spanish-speaking residents, and made periodic efforts to publish such news in Spanish, their editors were creole, both white and coloured, and they all lived in Belize City. While they might be concerned with general district issues, such as agricultural development, land tenure legislation, or the best labor for the plantations, their personal network rarely went beyond the creole events and inhabitants of Belize City.
In other words, our dear readers of this column, to my understanding, neoliberalism is a neo-liberal capitalist free trade system, and the objective of those who support such a system is to globalize such a model. The things in Mexico seem to be very complicated, but it is not so much when one gets to the bottom of how Mexico became what it is after getting its independence in 1821. From those days, the United States of North America, which was composed of 13 colonies, had its eyes on expanding its hegemony, not only over Mexico but over the entire Latin America and the Caribbean countries, which can be understood by considering the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and also the thoughts expressed by the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, even before the constitution of that country was formed.
Hattieville businessman Carlton Wade, 63, killed during robbery
Carlton “ Dollar Kite “ Wade, 63 , a businessman of New Site, Hattieville, was in his shop at about 9:00 last night when three thieves entered the store, held him up and tried to rob him.
During the robbery attempt, one of the robbers shot him in the forehead, and Wade died almost immediately in his shop.
Police said that on their arrival on the scene they found a toy gun at the front of the shop and an expended shell.
Police said that they don’t know what, if anything, was stolen from Wade’s shop, and no one has been arrested as yet in connection with the tragic incident.
Derrick Tracey, 33, of Dangriga, executed in Belize City
Derrick Tracey, 33, a construction worker of the Commerce Bight area in Dangriga, traveled to Belize City with his girlfriend to spend some time with his sister, who lives on Sittee Street, and at about 1:00 this afternoon, while he was in his sister’s yard, an unmasked gunman came up and shot him several times with a prohibited .45 pistol in front of his sister and girlfriend.
Tracey was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Reliable information to us is that five shots were fired. Tracey was hit multiple times in the chest and arm before the gunman fled the scene.
Thelma Warrior, 50, arraigned for murder
A love triangle claimed the life of Yolanda Requeńa, 47, a janitor of the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court and mother of 4 children, at about 8:30 Sunday night in Bullet Tree Falls Village. A woman, Thelma Warrior, 50, is accused of stabbing Requeńa to death.
After the murder, Warrior went on the run, but she was arrested yesterday in the Cayo District and charged with murder and use of deadly means of harm at the San Ignacio Police Station. Today, Wednesday, June 26, she was arraigned at the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court and was remanded until August 27.
Sarteneja Villagers concerned over legitimacy of French tourist’s story
Earlier this week, Love News brought you the story of a French tourist who was allegedly assaulted and robbed in Sarteneja Village, Corozal District. The tourist, 25-year-old Gabriel Jacquet, was reportedly sleeping in a hammock on an isolated part of the beach when the incident occurred. Pictures of him bleeding from the head surfaced on …
Growing the Future Project hosts 15 annual summer program
Growing the Future Project is hosting its annual summer program in several locations simultaneously. The program is in its fifteen year and its objective is to assist primary school children to acquire the fundamental skills in order to excel in Math and English. Peter Lacey, the Director of Growing the Future Project, told us that …
Fisher of the Year for 2019 is rewarded
Fishing is the backbone of many Belizean households, which is why it is necessary to practice sustainable fishing. Many fishers who have been doing so for myriads of years are still able to depend on fishing as their primary source of income. Today, three fishermen who have been dedicated contributors to Belize’s economy as well …
Body of British National found in beach in Placencia
The body of 59-year-old, Philip Crabtree was found this morning at around seven o’clock, along the coast of Placencia, Stann Creek District. Crabtree is reportedly a British national who had retired and was living in the village for a few weeks. Love News spoke with Phoenix Usher, a woman he had been involved with since …
Department of Youth Services hosts Mental Health Round-table
Mental health is being in a state of well-being which allows us to function normally. Many persons are suffering from some type of mental disorder ranging from anxiety, depression, addictions to suicidal thoughts. In Belize, studies have shown that suicide attempts were extremely high in youths ranging from 15 to 19. However, instead of getting …
Don’t be afraid of the enchanted underworld of Belize
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Belize is beautiful, inside and out! For decades I’ve done my best to explore and experience the stunning landscapes of my country, from misty mountain tops to blue lagoons, jungle forests, and savannah scenery. My ventures have also found me submerged within the underwater world of our crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, discovering coral reef majesty teeming with colorful marine inhabitants and vibrant seascapes. I want to say I’ve done it all, but there’s one astounding geological feature of Belize that is revered by many and feared by others…and I fall under the ‘fear’ category because to me, caves are just dark, deep, creepy and downright frightening! Sure, I’ve done a couple of the requisite cave-tubing adventures where we float through a dark chasm on inner tubes, donning headlamps and waterproof flashlights, but I managed to calm my nerves by likening the journey to a scary amusement park ride that will be over soon! Never did I linger and embrace the darkness.
Visiting Ka'anar Falco's Display at Corozal House of Culture
Words coming from the Corozal House of Culture: Thank you to Cuban artist Alex Falco Chang and Belizean artist Carlos Lito Quiroz for sharing your expressive graphics with the Corozal community....very thought-provoking. We wish to thank Mr. Yasser Musa for his efforts in producing this traveling exhibit. And we give great thanks to our community members, students, artists, doctors, politicians, historians and educators for your kind support in attending the launch. We invite everyone to visit the House of Culture to view this exhibit which is on display through to July 11th.
Tourism in Mexico suffering from invasion of sargassum seaweed on the Caribbean beaches
Seaweed is affecting the tourism industry in Mexico. There has been drastic drop in the occupancy rate of hotels to the extent of nearly 20%.
Mexico suffers from pollution of another kind. It is from rotting brown seaweed that litters the Caribbean beaches of Mexico. Municipal workers scoop up the foul-smelling litter regularly but it keeps coming back to spoil the beauty of the beaches. Authorities are trying to cope with the issue and by the time one area is cleaned, the sargassum seaweed returns to the same or an adjacent area within a few hours.
The Guardian reports that Mexico has spent millions to clear tons of the unwanted stuff and there is no sign of relief as the problem remains.
Representatives of 13 countries meet to deal with sargassum problem
More research, warning system among proposals.
Representatives of 13 countries gathered in Cancún this week to discuss a regional strategy to combat sargassum on Caribbean coasts.
Officials from Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Guadeloupe (a French overseas region), Belize, Guyana and Guatemala attended the event during which they participated in roundtable discussions that also considered the effects of sargassum on tourism and the environment.
Quintana Roo Environment Secretary Alfredo Arellano Guillermo told the news agency Notimex that the aim of the summit was to generate a better understanding of the origin of the sargassum problem, to use that knowledge as the basis for the development of solutions and to identify ways to fund efforts to combat the seaweed’s arrival.
Drought affecting Caribbean to continue through September
The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says drought conditions in the Caribbean will continue in several countries for the July to September period this year.
In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlooks publication, the CIMH said the situation is due in part to a weak El Nińo.
It said a progressive increase in wet spells is expected throughout the region, but fewer than in most wet seasons.
The Institute said the spells may bring some level of drought relief, but also concern for flooding.
FBI joins investigation into Virginia doctor’s slaying in Belize
The FBI has joined the probe into the double murder of a Virginia cardiologist in Belize and his fly-fishing guide.
Gary Swank, 53, was shot dead Sunday morning along with his tour guide, Mario Graniel, 53, while on a boat near the Ambergris Caye in San Pedro Town, Belize Live News reported.
San Pedro Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, announced Wednesday that the US federal agents arrived in the country to assist in the investigation.
“There is certain expertise that we do not have in Belize and I have asked them to see how best they can assist us with those expertise and they have agreed,” Williams told reporters. “So, we are hoping that with the expertise they bring to the table, it will aid us significantly how we approach and deal with the investigation.”
Belize Now: June 28, 2019, 31min. In tonight’s headlines: Taiwan Celebrates 30 years of Friendship with Belize, we look at the impact of the Belize Youth Challenge program, and the solid waste management authority discusses its new project. These stories and more on this week’s edition of Belize Now. Thanks for joining us on this Friday, June 28th, 2019!
Belize 2019, 3min. Snorkeling barrier reef and lunch at Starfish Island.
Kayaking the Caribbean Sea- Ambergris Caye Belize, 3.5min.
Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2019 ..., 19min. the original lobster fest. Pandemonium steel band on the beach under the stars