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Today's Belize News: May 30, 2020 #542682
05/30/20 06:58 AM
05/30/20 06:58 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The Island Academy Rolling Graduation
Due to COVID-19, most school graduations have been cancelled this year. On Ambergris Caye, members of The Island Academy are visiting its senior students at their homes and surprising them with their Standard Six diplomas! Congratulations Class of 2020!

Mar de Tumbo Flu Clinic closed for now; patients asked to visit Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II
Health authorities in San Pedro Town are no longer providing services at their auxiliary flu clinic at the Mar de Tumbo area, south of the island, as Belize has been COVID-19 clear for over a month. Persons with flu-like symptoms now need to visit the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where they will be evaluated and treated in a designated area away from other patients.

Ambergris Today

Island Academy Holds First Online Graduation On Ambergris Caye
The Island Academy is the first school on Ambergris Caye to hold it’s graduation ceremony for 2020, but there was nothing typical of the occasion as the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the school to hold it’s ceremony online, probably the first in the country. Island Academy Holds First Online Graduation on Ambergris Caye Zoom was the application of choice to conduct the graduation ceremony as the senior class consisted of only nine students. Speeches, congratulatory messages and farewells were giving on Thursday, May 28, by parents, teachers, and faculty to celebrate the accomplishment of the senior class.

How Do We Dive In Belize During COVID-19 Pandemic?
How Do We Dive in Belize During COVID-19 Pandemic? Safety First as always! "Masks on Masks on Masks" is how island resident and dive enthusiast Ben Popik described his recent dive on a Facebook post. This fun pic was taken by Ben Sept of Ben Popik during his most recent dive on the Belize Barrier Reef.

Various Belizean Sources

mzz

Belize International Jazz Festival Online Competition
The Belize International Jazz Festival commission is having an online competition this year. The deadline for submissions is June 15th. Good luck! Here we go musicians and music lovers....be musically creative and take part in this online competition...great opportunity to win prizes and get a professional recording

Ask the Experts on Saturday
There will be an explanation of the amendments to the statutory instrument by the Attorney General on Saturday, May 30th, at 3:00 p.m. on the Ask the Experts webcast.

SHJC Classes
Sacred Heart Junior College has quite the selection of degrees now. They are accepting applications for the Fall semester.

Artist of the Day - Dwayne Murillo
Dwayne Bladon Ravinsingh Murillo is a 28-year-old East Indian, who is most known as an Indian Classical Dancer and shaka player. He is also a poet in the Spokenword 501 Poetry Group and a cultural activist for the East Indian culture. Dwayne has performed Indian classical dancing throughout Belize and at CARIFESTA 2019 held in Trinidad. Dwayne is also a member of "Dih Maroons" a cultural percussion band. In his spare time, Dwayne loves to create new poetry, draw, invest time in new artistic creations, and make clay arts and crafts. He aspires to return to Trinidad and increase his knowledge and skill in Indian dancing techniques from professional dancer, Guru Rajesh Seenath .

Saturday's 'Ask the Experts'
Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the Attorney General Hon. Michael Peyrefitte will join us on 'Ask the Experts' to discuss the latest changes under the State of Emergency regulations. Tune in and ask your questions during the live stream.

Changes in the Pump Price of Fuel Effective May 30, 2020
The Ministry of Finance announces that on Saturday, May 30, 2020, the pump price of two fuel products will change. The prices for regular gasoline will register an increase and diesel will register a decrease as follows: Regular gasoline will increase by 46 cents from $ 7.62 to $ 8.08 per gallon; Diesel will decrease by 61 cents from $7.89 to $7.28 per gallon. The prices for premium gasoline and kerosene will remain unchanged at $10.92 and $5.43 per gallon, respectively.

Opening of 2020 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season
Monday 1st June marks the beginning of the 2020 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. The season runs from 1st June to 30th November each year. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of tropical storm Arthur on May 16 and tropical storm Bertha on May 27. The formation of these systems marks the sixth consecutive year a storm has developed before the official start of the season.

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow’s Statement on Updated COVID-19 Response Measures
Good morning, members of the media. Good morning, members of the public. My fellow Belizeans, Welcome to this morning’s press conference, and, forgive me, but I must start this morning on a note of complaint. Today’s press conference is another in what has become a regular, almost weekly series. The objective is always to update the nation in as comprehensive a manner as possible on where we are in the ongoing struggle to keep our country free from the novel Coronavirus. I try, by way of these briefings, to speak to both health sector and economic sector developments...

ATTENTION BRITISH NATIONALS FLIGHT UPDATE
On Friday 5th June, United Airlines will operate a special flight UA 2421 from Philip Goldson International Airport (Belize City) at 12:00 to Houston providing access to flights to the UK. Flights are subject to change. To make a reservation you should do so directly with https://www.united.com/en/gb. For more information or to change a prior United reservation send an email to unitedbelizesales@united.com or WhatsApp message to +501 614-2613. If you wish to travel you will require an ESTA or visa to transit the USA. You must check your ESTA status and if cancelled re-apply asap. You should confirm via email returnfrombelize@fco.gov.uk when you are booked on to the flight so we can inform the relevant authorities.

SOME OF THE NEW RULES PERTAINING TO THE STATE OF EMERGENCY MEASURES TO TAKE EFFECT AT MIDNIGHT, MONDAY JUNE 1ST
1. Curfew will change only on Friday and Saturdays to 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. all other days will remain 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. as is currently in place. 2. The limitations on the amount of people in a specific location will be now be increased from 10 to 40 persons including churches, provided that there is enough space for the 6 feet social distance requirements.

BTB Waives Tour Guides License Renewal Fees and supporting requirements (for period June 1 to Aug 31 2020)
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) remains committed to working with stakeholders during this difficult time and as such waives the prescribed license fee for 2020 and all the supporting documents for all currently licensed tour guides*. This waiver is only for the period June 1st to August 31st, 2020, and aims to alleviate some of the financial burden allowing tour guides to be able to quickly pick back up operations as travel resumes.

Flood Watch
A tropical disturbance will support heavy rains over Central America this weekend, into next week, with the possibility of flooding over some parts of the country, especially low-lying and southern areas.

COVID-19 deaths across the 15 CARICOM Member States and five Associate Members reached 100 today
In the meantime eight of the countries are currently reporting no active cases.

May 2020 "Dive Into Tourism"
The Ministry of Tourism newest publication of "Dive Into Tourism" will take a first look at some of the key findings of the first ever Domestic Tourism Survey in Belize! To learn more, visit http://tourism.gov.bz/diveintotourism/

Belize's Film Commissioner, Nigel Miguel, Hosts Webinar Series "Managing Expectations" with #FILMBELIZE starting June 3rd
THE BELIZE FILM COMMISSION & #FILMBELIZE MANAGING EXPECTATIONS Webinar Series is a one hour session held every Wednesday at 10:00 am Belize time starting June 3rd, 2020 with a different presenter each week. Our inaugural June Sessions will discuss how to prepare for the re-opening of Belize's film sector in face of the COVID 19 safety measures that have caused the shutdown of international film productions, grounded airlines and closed hotels causing great stress on small tourism dependent economies.

Historical account of Quintana Roo and the humble beginnings of Chetumal
I live in a city of 23 million inhabitants, but I was born in a town that only had eight thousand. The town was called Chetumal. In the year I was born, 1946, the so-called Mexican miracle began. Chetumal was not part of the Mexican miracle. It was a poor town, scarce, in many ways non-existent, it had no drainage or running water, it had rainwater and well water, the one smelled like rotten. The rain one was thin and sweet. It was stored in wooden barrels, tight by steel strips, called curbates, a word whose meaning only fully understand those born in the Chetumal then. The curbates received the rainwater that fell on the houses through a sheet gutters.

Channel 7

PGIA Plan On Pause
Belize's tourism industry will likely not open in July. That July first date had been the hope and expectation from an industry where many large interests are teetering on the verge of collapse - they just can't go anymore without an infusion of tourist traffic, and revenue. The bad news came today in the Prime Minister's virtual press conference. For weeks he had been announcing that the plan was to open the airport in July 1st, and welcome visitors - on the condition that they can produce a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of their travel. That had been communicated to the major airlines, but yesterday a message came from the International Air Transport Association saying that just won't work. The Prime Minister explained this morning in the opening remarks at his virtual press conference:

Killing The Economy Softly
And "dying" - at least financially - is just what some major tourism employers will be doing without that tourism hard currency cash flow. But, the Prime Minister tried to put a good spin on on it - and explained the difficult balance between public health and economic death: "This is a real live issue that's a conundrum that perplexing and any way you call it you are going..."

New Wave of Tourism Layoffs
But, right now, for those tourism interests what is relentless is the pressure to pay bills and try to keep at least core staff on some type of reduced salary. With no prospect for significant earnings in sight, that will be increasingly difficult - and today we asked the Prime Minister if there will be relief for those tourism workers who are being laid off now, and into early June, and if there will be low cost financing options for tourism interests who are just trying to keep the lights on until full fledged tourism resumes:

PM Says No Devaluation Threat
And without tourism's hard currency earnings, does Belize run a real risk of devaluation? Tourism is the country's top foreign exchange earner, its largest employer, and accounts for half of the country's GDP. In 2019, total tourism expenditure in Belize was half a billion US dollars. Between January and April of this year, tourist spending in Belize fell by 82 million US dollars compared to the same period last year. But despite this massive hit for foreign exchange earnings, the PM says the currency peg will be maintained:

PM Banking on Benjamins
Ain't going to happen? Well, tell that to the banks. Form the looks of things, the largest commercial bank is already getting jumpy. Atlantic Bank sent a notice to customers yesterday saying that it's cutting their credit card limits, so it can keep the hard currency for, quote, "our essential service providers." Essential services that need hard currency are purchasing power, purchasing fuel, and purchasing wheat for bread. Today, the PM said that the banks have enough hard currency to hold them over for some months:

SOE Regs Relaxed, The Official Breakdown
And to spur more local economic activity - government is further relaxing the state of emergency regulations. As we told you last night this includes bringing back boledo, tacos vendors, casinos, and relaxing the curfew, just a bit. The PM gave the official outline today- starting with an allowance for larger social gatherings:

Land Borders Will Remain Closed For A While
But, relaxing the curfew ever so slightly in Belize, doesn't mean you can hop across to Chetumal or Melchor for some late evening ceviche and cervezas. The PM says that the land borders will remain closed for a while: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "In only the last week, the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in the countries surrounding us:

Man Run Over By Police Mobile
54-year-old Teakettle resident Roy Lincoln Vansen was killed last night in Camalote when he was knocked down by a police mobile. It happened deep into curfew hours, just after midnight, at the entrance of Camalote village. It's a sad and sudden ending for the man also known as "short man" or "little feet" - due to a congenital deformity. It's harsh, but he lived without anyone really wanting to have him around, and he died like he hardly mattered at all.

COMPOL Claiming Victory on Crash Landing
Last night we showed you the plane that made a near-crash landing on the road between Chunox and Sarteneja in the Corozal district. The event that provoked a rapid, all out response from police and set the commissioner on an all-day manhunt for those responsible. Two men were detained, but the drugs are still unaccounted for. But, today the COMPOL still claimed victory, saying said that the police presence in the originally intended landing area forced the drug-runners to make an emergency landing on an ill-suited road:

Cops Have Suspects For Barber's Execution
It could be a busy week of detentions for the cops who in addition to nabbing drug runners have detained a man for questioning in the murderer of Chinese businessman 38-year-old Xinwu Zhu. Last night, we walked you through the frightening footage of Zhu's cold-blooded murder. And tonight while police are following several leads, Assistant Commissioner of Police Joesph Myvette say that while Zhu was clearly the target, a motive has yet to be determined for his murder.

Face Masks, Not Bandit Masks
Part of the difficulty in identifying the man who murdered Xinwu Zhu is the fact that his face was completely covered by a mask - the kind made of a shirt wrapped around the face. The comp ol says that is illegal: "I heard the report when Love FM ask the Prime Minister a question today at the press brief and the Prime Minister answer was right on point in the sense that the issue of wearing face mask is a health issue and it is a decision that the government has taken with a view to protect the people of the this country from contracting this deadly virus and so we cannot in the face of that just abruptly say that we must stop wear face mask because it is contributing to crime..."

The Mystery of The Busito Murder
Police also had a report on yesterday's execution of a "busito" driver. 29 year old Oscar Vasquez was driving at mile 45 - when a passenger sitting behind him shot him in the head, jumped out of the van, and dashed off. Today the head of national crimes investigation told us what police know so far:

Man Charged For Cruel OW Murder
But, police have solved the murder of 30-year-old Abner Novelo. He's the caretaker of a farm off the Yo Creek Road in the Orange Walk District, who was found dead last Saturday morning. He suffered multiple chop wounds and gunshots injuries, and today the cops charged the man who they believe is his killer. That accused is 31-year-old Nimrod Sherman Catzim, a resident of Santa Familia Street in Orange Walk Town.

Duffel Bag Loaded With Weed
Tonight, Belmopan police are looking for a man who ran after he was caught trying to smuggle over 20 pounds of weed from the Northern border into Belmopan. Police recovered the duffel bag full of drugs, but he got away. At around 5:45 p.m. yesterday, police were acting on intelligence from Special Branch that a man was smuggling drugs on a bus. The cops set up a surveillance team at the Belmopan bus terminal.

No Present Plan For Schools to Re-Open
Turning back now to national issues coming out of today's prime ministerial press conference, the subjects is education, and that burning question: "when will school re-open? Schools have been closed since March 20th - that's over two months! And, even at 46 days and counting without a COVID case. There's still no plan to re-open them. And, truth be told, it doesn't even appear to be a priority - not like tourism, not even close.

Educ. Minister Discusses Options for Continuing School
And after the PM was finished, Education Minister Patrick Faber agreed to a teleconference interview to discuss what is - or what is not - going to happen with the rest of the school year, which is rapidly winding down. The Government and the Ministry of Education are not yet prepared to reopen classes, and we'll tell you why shortly. But, the Ministry is making exceptions for those schools in which classroom contact time is mandatory. Here's what the Education Minister had to say about those types of schools, and how social distancing protocols will be strictly followed:

New School Year Could Start In August
And while the myriad COVID complications can be confounding, Faber says that he has tabled a proposal to the Managing Authorities of secondary schools for an early start to the next school year. Normally, the 2020/2021 school year would have started in September. But, because students were deprived of months of contact time because of COVID 19, the Ministry wants to start the next school year on August 1st, 2020, 1 month early.

CSEC Exams Moved To July 13
And while the next school year may start earlier, 4th form graduates from High School are being given an additional 2 weeks to prepare for their C-SEC exams. The initial decision from the regional policy-makers was that these exams would start at the end of June, going into the beginning of July. Well, that position has been revised, and the Education Minister told us that they will start on July 13th, instead:

Graduations. Your Way
And, those graduates may get the esteemed honor of marching up to collect their diplomas at a graduation ceremony after all. It all depends on whether or not their school's administrators are able to pull it off without breaking the State of Emergency Regulations, which will be relaxed to allow gatherings of up to 40 people. Before today's announcement of the relaxation, the nation's graduates were staring at the prospect of getting their diplomas mailed to them while being stuck at home. That would have surely diminished the achievement after the many years of hard work and dedication to their studies. Well, the education minister told us that schools can hold their graduation ceremonies, but they have to respect the regs:

Police Beat Down For Refusing Profile Pic
Right now, there is civil unrest taking place in different parts of the US. That's because of the apparent excessive use of force that a white police officer from Minneapolis, Minnesota used against George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Floyd passed away on Monday after the cop used his knee to pin Floyd's neck on the ground. He is heard on video recordings pleading with the officer that he was unable to breathe. That officer has since been charged with third-degree murder, but the collective community rage against the police led to a riot last night in Minnesota. Protestors gained access to the Minneapolis third precinct police building and lit it on fire.

Charges For PG Youths In Gangster Video
Last night we showed you the young men form Toledo brandishing toy guns but making real threats to other rival groups. Well, the cops took their toys away, but they also charged them,

Threesome of Suspects In Double Murder
Since last week Friday, we've been reporting on a double murder in Hopkins that left two men, 55 year old Belizean dive master Quintin Espinosa and 70 year old American farmer Wayne Burley dead with shots to the head. The men were neighbors, and were killed within minutes of each other last Friday morning.

Still No Driver in Fatal Hit And Run
Police today also had an update on Rodolph Rodriguez - the man who was knocked down and killed in a hit and run accident on the old Northern Road last Saturday. But, police seem to have a hard time finding the driver - even though they told us on Monday that the vehicle had been impounded:

Family Claims Skeletal Remains, Cops Not Sure
Police may be picking up pieces in Rodriguez's hit and run but when it comes to a recently unearthed Sandhill village cold case, they may have dropped the ball completely. That's certainly the perception of the Seguro family who through their own sleuthing believe that the Sandhill skeletal remains are those of their father and husband who went missing over a year ago.

Policing In a Pandemic
There's a perception that as SOE measures are relaxed, crime is making its comeback. But the commissioner has his own spin. He's claiming that recent crimes are of a slightly different nature and he gave examples of how they can be deemed in his words "Non-preventables."

Food Assistance to 40k
As you heard earlier in the news, government will likely need to re-open the unemployment relief program because a new wave of layoffs in the tourism sector are just starting to kick in. That's after word came down that the airport will not be opened up for July first. So far, 43,726 persons have been approved out of 80,000 plus applicants. Today, the Prime Minister gave an update on the other relief program for direct food assistance:

Fuel Price Up And Down
There's good news and bad news for vehicle owners tonight. We'll give you the good news first. The price of Diesel will decrease by 61 cents from $7.89 to $7.28 per gallon.

Heavy Weather Rolling In
And finally, tonight, as we told you last night, there's some heavy weather coming into the Central American region this weekend - and Belize will not be spared. Right in time for the start of the hurricane season, it's a tropical disturbance, and we got the forecast from the weather bureau:

Channel 5

P.G.I.A. Won’t Reopen on July First
Today marks a record forty-six days since there are no new cases of coronavirus recorded in Belize and the prime minister took the occasion to address the nation on the [...]

No Flights until Rapid Tests are Certified
The Prime Minister also outlined that the re-opening of the P.G.I.A. hinges on rapid testing.  All appeared to be in place, but on Thursday, the International Air Transport Association is [...]

All Borders Remain Closed Indefinitely
Belize’s land borders are also to remain closed indefinitely. PM Barrow pointed to a spike in coronavirus cases in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.  Those countries which abut Belize in the [...]

Further Relaxation of S.O.E. Measures Come Monday
On June first, a new round of relaxed measures will come into effect across the country, as Belize continues to remain free of new coronavirus cases.  This morning, PM Barrow [...]

Graduating Amid State of Emergency
June is graduation season for schools at all levels across the country.  With the state of emergency still in effect until the end of the month, traditional commencement exercises will [...]

D.F.C. Steps in to Assist Tourism Stakeholders
The Prime Minister today announced a measure to assist the ailing tourism sector. The Development Finance Corporation has been tapped by government to assist with the financial recovery of the [...]

Regular Gar Price Increases Again!
The price of fuel is creeping up again. Regular fuel will go by forty-six cents at midnight on Saturday to retail at eight dollars per gallon. This is the second [...]

Camalote Resident Knocked Down, Killed by Police Officer
A mentally ill resident from the village of Camalote was knocked down and killed on Thursday night. Roy Vansen was walking about a mile away from his house when he [...]

Suspect Vehicle Impounded in Fatal Hit & Run Incident on Old Northern Highway
Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Myvett also gave an update on the fatal road traffic accident on the Old Northern Highway that claimed the life of sixty-eight-year-old Rudolph Rodriguez over [...]

Search for Drug Continues
B.D.F. soldiers and police officers remain in the area where a narco jet landed on Thursday morning. The jet, believed to be carrying drugs, crashed landed on a farm off [...]

Busito Driver was Executed In Front of Passengers
Tonight, we have official information on the cold-blooded, broad daylight execution of Oscar Vasquez. On May twenty-eighth, the busito driver left the Belmopan market area en route to Cotton Tree [...]

One Person Detained for Xinwu Zhu Murder
The question remains tonight whether a hit was carried out on Xinwu Zhu? Video footage shows the hair salon owner of Hopkins Street in the King’s Park area of Belize [...]

Beef Between Friends Led to Gruesome Murder
One man has been charged for the brutal murder of Abner Novelo. He is thirty-one-year-old Nimrod Sherman Catzim of Orange Walk Town.  Police levied the charges today. Novelo was the [...]

Hopkins Double Murder, a Burglary Gone Bad
As we reported on Thursday, police believe that they have cracked the case of the double murder of tour guide operator Quintin Espinosa and U.S. national Roland Burley, which occurred [...]

Guillermo Duarte, Charged for Murder, Gets Bail
Guillermo Duarte, through assistance from attorney Hurl Hamilton, today secured bail from the Supreme Court in the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars in the form of property papers. Duarte is [...]

Rafael Velasquez Gets Bail on Two Counts of Sex Offences
Twenty-eight year-old Rafael Velasquez, an office assistant at a resort in San Pedro, was granted bail of eight thousand dollars today when he appeared with his attorney, Rene Montero, before [...]

Gustavo Mendez & 2 Minors are Charged for Producing a Video Recording to Promote Gang Activity
Two minors from Punta Gorda and a nineteen-year-old have been charged for producing a video recording to promote gang activity. The nineteen-year-old is Gustavo Mendez of the Joe Taylor Creek [...]

Belize’s Test Level Satisfactory to W.H.O. Standards
For seven weeks, Belize remains free of positive COVID-19 cases. Fifty-five tests conducted on Thursday returned negative for the novel coronavirus.  The Ministry of Health has been carrying out random [...]

Hiccups with G.O.B.’s Unemployment Relief Programme
The pandemic has pushed employment numbers up and a full economic recovery will take time to occur. Most businesses project two years to be able to recover.  Eighty-three thousand persons [...]

Meeting the Country’s Needs Amid Economic Hardship
The massive relief effort to assist thousands of destitute families with food supplies during the economic hardship that has befallen the country since the initial wave of COVID-19 is ongoing.  [...]

The Potential in Growing Hemp for Foreign Exchange
The PM said today that the Belize dollar remains strong.  But while the foreign exchange position is holding, there is a need for additional foreign exchange in the very near [...]

Criminal Charges for Herman Longsworth
Former Minister of Sports and Consul General in New York, Herman Longsworth was fired after it was revealed that he was responsible for questionable cash transactions. An audit into the [...]

An Update on the John Saldivar’s Investigation
On February twenty-sixth, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told News Five that disgraced minister John Saldivar would naturally be brought in for questioning into the allegations of bribery against him. [...]

Harmony Needs Your Help!
The family of sixteen-year-old Harmony Young has had to deal with her life threatening illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The young girl has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor in [...]

Amandala

Chinese businessman executed on Hopkins Street
Xinwu Zhu, 38, a Chinese man of Hopkins Street who operates a hair salon, was sitting on the steps of his business on Hopkins Street, in Kings Park, at about 6:30 yesterday evening when he was murdered. A video that was recorded by a camera in the area showed a man on a bicycle riding up to a business adjacent to Zhu’s establishment. He got off his bicycle and stood in front of the iron customer window of the shop and was standing about 15 feet from Zhu. The video showed that the man took a gun out of the right pocket of his pants, pointed it in Zhu’s direction, walked a few steps and then fired a number of shots at him.

PAHO advises Belize to be prepared for outbreaks of dengue fever
Belize’s healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic also have to keep a constant vigil for another public health enemy: dengue fever. Kim Bautista, the Chief of Operations of Vector Control at the Ministry of Health, said that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued a warning to the Ministry to be on the lookout for dengue. Bautista, speaking to us by telephone from his Belmopan office, said that PAHO had already issued two advisories, advising the Ministry of Health, “that we have to be prepared.”

Busito driver shot to death by passenger
Less than 24 hours after Chinese national Xinwu Zhu, 38, of Belize City, was coldly executed by a gunman who shot him multiple times in the chest and abdomen while Zhu was sitting on the steps of his business on Hopkins Street, Oscar Vasquez, 29, a “busito” (small passenger van) driver of Belmopan, was similarly executed in his van at about 12:30 this afternoon, while he was making a run from Belmopan to St. Matthew’s Village. Preliminary reports indicate that Vasquez was driving his van along the George Price Highway on the route to St. Matthew’s Village, when, on his arrival at about Mile 45, in Cotton Tree, in front of the new butane gas depot, a man who was standing on the roadside waved at him to stop.

Farm caretaker found savagely murdered on farm
Abner Othoniel Novelo, 30, a farm caretaker of Yo Creek who was a family man, was found dead on the farm this morning. He had been brutally murdered. Those who saw him said that he had been shot in the head, his throat had been slit, his right arm had been severed and taken from the scene, and his left arm had been severed below the elbow. He had also been chopped on both knees, and in his chest and stomach.

Double murder in Hopkins
At about 9:30 this morning, two men were found dead on a farm on the Hopkins road, not far from its junction with the Southern Highway. Quintin Espinoza, 55, had been shot in the forehead and chopped in the body, while the second man, who was identified as Roland Burley, a 70-year-old American national who lived on the farm for about 2 years, had been shot in the right side of the head, and had been chopped in the torso, back and legs.

Police: Princess security guard killed himself
At about 11:30 Wednesday morning, Earl Underwood, 23, a security guard on duty at the Princess Hotel and Casino, was seen going into a bathroom, and shortly after, a gunshot was heard. The other security guard who was working with him became concerned when Underwood did not come out of the bathroom after a reasonable period of time. A forced entry was made into the bathroom, and Underwood was found on the floor with gunshot wound in the side of his head.

Sandhill man, 68, dies after hit-and run
At about 7:00 Saturday evening, Rudolph Rodriguez, 68, a construction worker of Sandhill, was walking with his bicycle in Sandhill, on the curve near the junction of the Old Northern Highway and the Philip Goldson Highway, when he was knocked down by a black vehicle whose driver did not stop to help him, but left him to die on the road. Rodriguez suffered massive head and body injuries. People in the area rushed him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition. He fought for his life in the hospital for two days and a half, but at about 11:00 this morning, he was declared dead while being treated.

Government concerned about regional spike in COVID-19, as it scales down random testing
Belize has gone 7 weeks without anyone in the country testing positive for the novel coronavirus. No other country on the Central American mainland can proclaim such a status. When it comes to the pandemic, the number of daily active cases in other Central American countries is staggering, and the death toll continues to spike. Today on the government’s webcast Ask the Experts, Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero detailed the number of new infections in countries in the region, beginning with the United States, where 5,480 new cases were added over the last 24 hours.

Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas brings home its Belizean crew
A cruise ship arrived in the Belize City harbor late this morning to return its 14 Belizean employees who had been stranded at sea onboard the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas as a result of a global shutdown that occurred as countries tried to avert the threat of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of cruise ships being stranded on the high seas. In some cases, cruise ships were refused entry at various ports because of passengers who were infected with the novel coronavirus Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas has a crew of 765 and has capacity for 2,416 guests. The ship dropped off 14 Belizeans who are employed by Royal Caribbean cruise line.

Editorial: The May 29, 1972 riot— how print media of the time viewed it
On May 29, 1972, some demonstrators in a UBAD parade commemorating Pan African Week and the May 1773 slave uprising in Belize started hurling missiles at the Guatemalan Embassy in downtown Belize City, and soon after, all hell broke loose, with some turning to smashing store windows and looting, while the more focused ones turned their attention to political targets, notably Radio Belize and the Belize Times Press, both propaganda organs of the ruling People’s United Party. A number of persons in the demonstration, mostly leaders of UBAD, were arrested on charges that included roughing up a police officer and taking away his camera, breaking show windows, and attempted arson.

From The Publisher
Most creative and aspiring creative writers dream of writing a major work of fiction, something which would shed new, original light on the strange and unpredictable absurdity of life. In that sense, my career must be considered a failure, because I ended up confined in Belizean journalism and, by extension, the hurly burly of party politics. Growing up in Belize in the 1950s, my heroes were my maternal grandfather, who died in 1957, and my maternal second uncle, who died around 2007 or so. My association with these men mostly took place at Spanish Caye, which is about nine miles south southeast of Belize City. And that association was focused on the world of boats and fishing.

Nigel Petillo creates new organization to get lands for grassroots people
Belize has many thousands of acres of land all across the country that remain undeveloped. Many acres of land have been bought by persons who have no intention of working the land, but who buy it just for speculation purposes. Added to this is the fact that the Government of Belize has no national land policy to address the needs of landless Belizeans. The Barrow administration squandered an opportunity to acquire lands recently when it decided to forgo $90 million in land taxes instead of nationalizing some of those lands for redistribution to the landless, grassroots Belizeans.

Belize CITCO continues to serve
Despite the financial strain being shouldered by Mayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has carried out another initiative to assist city residents during their hour of need. It is known that, given the nature of the pandemic, the elderly are especially vulnerable during this time, and having to remain isolated only serves to aggravate the issue. In light of this, Mayor Wagner, in collaboration with his councilors and counterparts, made a donation to the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly on Tuesday in an effort to add a little extra comfort to the living conditions of the senior citizens who reside there.

Pain in silence
As a little girl growing up, I always wanted to be like Grandma Nora. I wanted the same hair, the same face, the same nose and mouth; I wanted to look like her. I wanted to see her when I looked in the mirror, and I wanted people to see her when they looked at me. For me, that made my dad and my uncles happy, and I loved seeing them smile. Whenever we’d have family reunions —sssh don’t tell them I said this— I’d hear them whisper to each other, “Abigail looks like mom.” The other would proudly say, “da Shirley;” the other would start coughing while uttering the words, “da Rona,” and the other would whisper under his breath, “da Tiffy.”

Taking no chances: cross the “T’s” and dot the “I’s” NOW, before election
Belizeans keep saying they are fed up with corruption and the “PUDP”. But, are they really? The Red is enjoying the control of the streets during this pandemic, when meetings are outlawed, and they get to distribute all the handouts to hungry voters with “government” money. So, although they were extremely unpopular, and the government was practically broke from before COVID-19, now they are seriously looking for a dark-horse, upset victory come elections later this year.

SIB reports GDP down 4.5% for Jan-Mar 2020
The May 27, 2020 report from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) says that “the overall level of economic activity for the country of Belize dropped by 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, when compared to the first quarter of 2019. The total value of goods and services produced within the country during the first three months of the year were valued at $709.6 million dollars, down $33.4 million from $743 million dollars in the first three months of 2019.” The SIB attributed most of the decline in production to the drought of last year, and the effects of COVID-19.

1970s cycling star, Glen “Black Samson” Gordon passes
esterday, Tuesday morning, Kremandala received the sad news of the passing of our long time neighbor and friend of Partridge Street Extension, renowned cyclist of the 1970s, Glen Gordon, also known to his many fans as Black Samson. Over six feet tall and of a very dark complexion, soft spoken and dignified, Glen earned the “Black Samson” nickname from cycling colleagues and fans for his consistently powerful performances both in weekend track races at the then National Stadium (now Marion Jones Sports Complex) and in Cross Country Classics where he was often a top contender. A dedicated cyclist, Black Samson rode in a total of 34 Cross Countries, his first in 1971, and his most recent in 2013; and he had many Top-10 finishes, including 3 fourth-places.

Another 1960s football star, John Young passes in the U.S.
We had just reported in our Friday, May 15 issue on the passing of Dunlop legend Gilbert “Pine” Hernandez in Chicago, Illinois; and shortly after we are informed of the passing of another early 1960s Belize football star, John Young, who was a member of the All Belize Selection that were to host the St. George’s College Old Boys of Jamaica in September of 1962 in Belize, and travelled to Jamaica for return matches in 1963. Here is a portion of Minister Michael Finnegan’s story on John Young in the May 21 edition of the Guardian newspaper:

FFB breaks ground for FIFA sponsored Bleachers Project
If all goes according to plan, Belize may soon have a world-class FIFA approved stadium at the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) facility on the Hummingbird Highway approaching Belmopan, where it already possesses a FIFA-Pro Pitch, completed last year; and today the ground-breaking and signing of a contract was done for Phase One of its Bleachers Project, which will see the construction of state of the art cement bleachers on both the eastern and western borders of the football pitch. (Phase Two later will be a VIP Facility with shed.) Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, it was a small gathering at 10:00 a.m. on site for the occasion at the FFB facility, but the events were live-streamed to football stakeholders countrywide.

Romel Cuello takes a walk through Orange Walk history
Dear Editor, Today, May 20, 2020, is my maternal uncle Ismael “Miley” Gonzalez’s R.I.P. birthday. He and I started our conscious lives in Bound-to-Shine Farm, which was located in the Tower Hill area, Orange Walk District (before the coming of the B.S.I. Sugar Factory), where the large Gonzalez family resided. My Grandpa was Juan de Dios Gonzalez “Don John,” R.I.P.; and my grandma was Natalia Gonzalez nee Romero, “Ms. Nat”, R.I.P. The family was composed of: Liborio “Libby”; Modesta “Mody” (my mom); Arcenia “Cacao”, R.I.P.; Angel “Nono”; Aurora “Chury”, R.I.P.; Edwardo “Dardo”; Arturo “Turin”; Israel “Lael”; Ismael “Miley” Gonzalez, also known as “Masto,” R.I.P.; Norvella “Muth”; and Sara “Laly”.

A change must come
Dear Editor, Memes are a unit of cultural transmission replicator or imitation. It was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. The gang culture in Belize has become a meme-like going into politics to get rich. Being a gang member has become “en vogue,” whether male or female. This adopting of the gang culture needs to be addressed. It is telling that red and blue are the colors used to identify the two primary gangs, similar to the UDP and PUP political gangs.

We need to “big up” the good cops
Dear Editor, On Saturday, May 23, after a long spell of not being able to do my weekly travel to Belize City because of the contingency, I had the pleasure of going back. I noticed that some people still take the COVID-19 pandemic lightly. This thing is raging in the countries around us, and only by the Grace of God have we been spared until now.


Re: Today's Belize News: May 30, 2020 [Re: Marty] #542683
05/30/20 06:59 AM
05/30/20 06:59 AM
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Posts: 67,494
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LOVE FM

ComPol gives update on latest drug plane
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams was able to evade most of the media yesterday while he dealt with the latest drug plane that touched down in Belize. The plane landed on a farm between Sarteneja and Chunox Villages in Corozal District, an unusual landing place.

Prime Minister and police comment on recent criminal activities
Crime has seen a spike in recent days including two murders. With the now mandatory use of masks, criminals seem to think that it is a free pass for them.

Young man left paralyzed after bridge collapses
A young man has been left paralyzed after a bridge he was on collapsed causing him to fall. The incident occurred near Gracie Rock on Sunday, May 24. 22-year-old Jared Metzgen and two of his cousins received various degrees of injuries, with Metzgen receiving the worst of it.

Boledo, lottery, and other games set to recommence on Monday
Players of the ever popular Boledo and Lottery were more than excited to hear the Prime Minister announce that the games would be back. They were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions, but will commence on Monday.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

TIn honor of all High School Graduates
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: “I can almost see it, That dream I’m dreaming ……”- The Climb June 1, […]

PG minor arrested for promoting gangs
The Belize Police Department has arrested and charged a 17-year-old from the Cemetery Area of […]

Social Security Board has processed payments for majority of approved applicants of unemployment relief
The Government informed today that the Social Security Board has successfully processed payments for the […]

Unemployment Relief Program to continue “for as long as it will take” after new tourism shock
Despite issues with the Unemployment Relief Program (URP), Government still has a healthy reserve of […]

Belize is re-opening, says P.M.; no fear of devaluation
The Government of Belize is encouraging Belizeans to get back to work. While the Unemployment […]

COVID-19 running rampant in the region, Belize still without new cases
An update shared by the Director of Health Services today shows that every country in […]

Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s statement on updated COVID-19 response measures
Good morning, members of the media. Good morning, members of the public. My fellow Belizeans, Welcome to this […]

The Queen recognizes Belizean Volunteer with Commonwealth Points of Light Award
The British High Commission issued a statement informing that Her Majesty, The Queen has recognized […]

Two including minor charged with George Street burglary
Police have arrested and charged a minor, 16, and a 35-year-old man with burglary and committing […]

Police accused of deadly accident in Camalote
On Thursday evening we received information of a road traffic accident in the village of Camalote, […]

Blogs

How to Plan Your Belize Vacation – One Year in Advance
Though a Belize vacation can be best enjoyed spontaneously, planning a trip one year in advance can pay off. We’re talking about those massive family reunions, the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, and in-demand boutique resorts that book up the moment they go on sale. Whether you’re eager to get planning again, or are simply thinking about the future, here’s how to book your Belize vacation for 2021 – one year in advance.

Belize Zoo Reopens – Surviving COVID-19 with Local Support
For over 40 days, Belize has not reported any new COVID-19 cases. Some restrictions have lifted, and domestic travel slowly opens back up in country, including visitation to TBZ. This comes with great excitement given the zoo heavily relies on admission fees, as well as donations to operate and feed the animals. During these unprecedented times, TBZ continued to feed and care for their 200+ resident animals thanks to the food donations and kind contributions of the local community.

Belize’s International Airport To Reopen on IATA’s Approval
In a virtual press conference today, May 29, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announces Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport, will only reopen under approval from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Belize also raised the principal condition that travellers would need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken in the last 72 hours before arrival. While there wаѕ nо оbјесtіоn frоm thе аіrlіnеѕ ѕеrvіng РGІА about the 72-hour negative test requirement, thе Іntеrnаtіоnаl Аіr Тrаnѕроrt Аѕѕосіаtіоn (ІАТА) dіѕаррrоvеd of Belize tentative reopen date of July 1; rесоmmеndіng thаt the country wаіts to reopen untіl а rаріd tеѕt is available for рrе-bоаrdіng. For this reason, Belize cannot confirm their previous tentative date of July 1, unless mass availability of reliable rapid testing becomes available.

International Sourcesizz

Her Majesty The Queen recognises Belizean volunteer with Commonwealth Points of Light award for service during COVID-19 pandemic
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has today recognised Michele Irving from Dangriga Town, representing Belize, as the 139th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service supporting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michele is supporting the most vulnerable in her community during the current COVID-19 crisis by coordinating the provision of goods and assistance to the elderly, survivors of gender-based violence and people living with HIV. Michele is also working with local NGOs to ensure that access to sexual and reproductive health services is maintained during the pandemic.

Caribbean set to bear the brunt of global tourism fallout
"SUN, sea and sand-focussed island economies” in the Caribbean will be among the worst affected by a slowdown in global tourism, according to a new report. Tourism across the region is set to plummet by 60 to 70 percent from April to December this year compared to last year, figures released by international ratings agency Standard and Poor’s indicate. Caribbean nations make up five of the top 10 countries in the world set for the biggest deterioration in GDP growth in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aruba tops the list, with Belize third, Bahamas fifth, and Barbados and Jamaica in seventh and ninth position respectively.

Videos

  • Prime Minister's Virtual Press Conference on Updated COVID-19 Response Measures, 2hr22min.

  • Healthy Living: Autism in Pandemic, 6min. Whether it’s curfew hours, face masks, no graduation, no travel, COVID-19 has drastically uprooted all that was normal in our lives. And yes, these measures are meant to keep us all safe. But for some vulnerable populations, the adjustments have been harder than others. We hear about one such story in tonight’s Healthy Living.

  • Random Adventures In Belize, 14min. We’re developing a eco village and getting to know this new world we were placed in during a global pandemic

  • Turneffe - Light Tackle for Tarpon at the Turneffe Flats of Belize, 27min.

  • Belize City, 9min. A trip to Belize.

  • ENORMOUS Classic City DEEP IN THE JUNGLE of Belize: CARACOL, 30min. In the heart of the Chiquibul forest in Belize lies the ruins of the ancient city of Caracol. David and Cassie will show you some of the more interesting parts of the fascinating Maya site. Also in this episode they explore the archaeological site of Cahal Pech near San Ignacio and the mysterious Barton Creek Cave reserve. They take a dip in the waters of Big Rock Falls too. Meanwhile, Professor Miano explains different types of Mayan warfare.

  • Webinar: “Marketing Planning for Tour Operators”, min.

  • year old Aviel Arzu from Patchakan RC giving us his solo drum cover of Guns 'N Roses "Sweet Child O Mine", 3min. Check out the drumming skills of 8 year old Aviel Arzu from Patchakan Village with his submission at this year's National Festival of Arts!!

  • Quarantine experience - Belizean in Quarantine, 22min. It's been several months since they've been on solid ground. The wait ended this weekend as Belizeans who were working on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship arrived at home. We talked with them about the quarantine experience and how they are adjusting. Linda Blease - Belizean in Quarantine. Ryan Bennett - Belizean in Quarantine.

  • Ready Call Center Belize, 28min. The experts suggest that business process outsourcing will become an important potential revenue earner for our recovering economy. Our guests are representatives of one of the larger BPO in country. Ready Call Center Belize spoke to us about their accomplishments as they celebrate it's 15th anniversary. They also shared that they are currently recruiting for 500 new hires. Nubia Ramirez - Chief Executive Officer, RCC BPO. Dave Long - Vice President of Operations, RCC BPO.

  • Economic plan to guide the country to recovery from the impact of COVID-19, 48min. Former Mayor of Belize City and current President of the Senate, Darrell Bradley, has proposed an economic plan to guide the country to recovery from the impact of COVID-19. It is comprehensive and includes Belize as a future energy provider for the region and permanent unemployment benefits for citizens. We invited him to unpack his plans and discuss how he would execute such a vision.

  • Peter Lawrence on ReefTV, 3.5hr.

  • Caye Caulker Soup Kitchen Friday Fundraiser Jam!, 3hr.

  • Panama the harpy eagle, 12sec. A reminder from Panama the harpy eagle: The Belize Zoo will be re-opening to the public again this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 30th & 31st

  • UNCOVERING COVID-19 Pandemic - A Channel 5 Special. (Episode 8), 2hr.

  • Health Impact of Central America Region, 2min. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally established the Central America Regional (CAR) office, based in Guatemala, in 2005. In addition to Guatemala the regional office also covers Panama, Belize, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

  • Lionfish spearing Tom Owens Caye Belize, 2.5min. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and I spent two weeks in March 2020 volunteering at Reef Conservation International on the Belize Barrier Reef completing my Invasive Lionfish Speciality. This involved spearing, handling the Zookeeper, dissection and filleting the fish - and getting stung, though that wasn’t essential for course completion!

  • Belize and Cave Tubing 2015, 13min. Part of a Caribbean cruise, floating through a cave on intertubes.

  • Not Diving in Belize!, 3.5min. Whilst I was stuck in Belize during the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions meant that scuba diving wasn’t allowed. I therefore took to visiting the local mangroves on a daily basis in the hope of finding seahorses or other interesting life. Towards the end of my stay restrictions were lifted so I could do a little bit of snorkelling and this video proves you don’t have to go underwater to see fantastic creatures!

  • Mangrove Seahorses Belize, 1min. It’s surprisingly what you can find during a paddle in mangroves while you can’t scuba because of Covid 19! Fantastic little seahorses! Filmed in Placencia Belize.

  • Acción Deportiva - Sports Action, 30min.

  • U Janal Pixano'ob, 2min. U Janal Pixano'ob is a Maya tradition celebrated in northern Belize . Nojoch Mak Faustino Yam is explaining in the Yucatec Maya language about U Janal Pixano'ob at the Corozal House of Culture event Hanal Pixan 2019. Nojoch Mak Yam is a member and spiritual adviser in To'one Masehualoon .

  • Maya Radio, 2.5hr.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize! We lived there for 2 months and this happened... Ambergris Caye, Guatemala, 12min. We thought we'd send some positive and uplifting vibes for everyone waiting and wanting to make it back to beautiful Belize.... either the main land, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, or ANY of the other little islands.... We made this video about our time on Caye Caulker! What do you think? Have you been there?


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