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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
President Donald Trump nominates Andre Bauer as new ambassador for Belize
On Friday, July 17th, United States (US) President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, and a recent CNN contributor to be next ambassador to Belize.
Bauer, 51, served as the state’s lieutenant governor from 2003-2011 under then-Governor Mark Sanford. He also served as a Major in the South Carolina State Guard from 2010 –2015. His professional profile shows him being involved in real estate development since 1991 and is currently the proprietor of Bunk Aviation, a real estate holding company in Charleston, South Carolina.
PC Nelson Ramos, formerly assigned to San Pedro Town, remanded for sexually assaulting a minor
39-year-old PC Nelson Denfield Ramos is once again in trouble with the law, after being arraigned for one count of rape, one count of sexual assault and two criminal offenses on Thursday, July 16th. Ramos, who was attached to the Independence Police Formation in southern Belize, was accused by a 17-year-old minor of rape.
According to the victim, on July 6th, she was detained by two police officers for traffic offenses (driving without a valid driver’s license). Between the hours of 11:30AM and 1PM, while in police custody, the minor alleged that Ramos asked her if she had anything to offer in exchange to avoid any traffic-related charges.
Labour Complaints Tribunal Established
The Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development hereby informs of the establishment of the Labour Complaints Tribunal. In accordance with the Labour Act, Chapter 297 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, Section 200, “A Labour Complaints Tribunal shall be established for the purpose of providing a fair and impartial appeal process arising from complaints of unfair dismissal or wrongful termination.”
U.S. Government Delivers Emergency Kits to NEMO
The United States Embassy delivered US$20,000 in supplies to Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) at a July 16 handover ceremony in Belmopan. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges presented the food packs and hygiene kits to NEMO Director Shelton Defour.
Various Belizean Sources
New Chairman Sworn-in for
the Elections and Boundaries Commission
This morning at the Belize House in Belmopan, Mr. Estevan Perera was sworn-in as the new Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission by the Governor General H.E. Sir Colville Young.
Estevan Perera is an Attorney-at-Law. He received a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of West Indies in Jamaica and a certificate in Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago. He also earned his degree in Criminology from St. Mary’s University in Canada.
GRAND CARIBE BELIZE'S 4TH ANNUAL DEEP SEA CLASSIC FISHING TOURNAMENT, KICKED OFF THIS MORNING ON AMBERGRIS CAYE
Photo credit: Amanda Syme. San Pedro Ambergris Caye is the host of the 4th Annual Grand Caribe Deep Sea Classic. The 3 days fishing tournament began early this morning and will run from today July 17th to 19th. $25,000 plus in cash and prizes will be awarded.
"A New Tourism Vision for Belize"
BTB's Director of Tourism, Mrs. Karen Bevans, will be among the knowledgable speakers of Panel 5 for BTIA's Tourism Forum! This panel will focus on "A New Tourism Vision for Belize."
Flood Forecast for July 17, 2020 from the National Hydrological Service
Belize Children's Assistance Organization Donations
Today, we welcomed Yamilett Tzib and Amy Loofbourow from Belize Children's Assistance Organization to share on their group that is helping families on the island. Donations received by them has been providing food, baby items, and school registration fees and supplies. Please free free to contact them on their facebook page.
COVID-19 Update from Office of Director of Health Services
This is our data for today.
A further 106 samples processed today, with this batch we have cleared all the samples processed from the contact tracing in both San Felipe and Blue Creek.
We have also processed the initial samples from the immediate contacts of patient #39 and out contact tracing for this particular case is ongoing. For now we are able to establish links to a Mexican community on the Northern border and details of this are evolving but for now, we are unable to document any community spread.
All samples processed today are negative.
International Airport Testing
Part of our work took us to the International Airport to review process flows and on the ground activities for arrival of another repatriation flight today
A total of 60 persons arrived on the flight today.
Samples are routinely collected from all passengers for eventual transportation to the Central Medical Laboratory for processing.
The work is meticulous and had 11 staff on the ground, the team includes nurses, medical officers and public health officers.
Approval for Extension of Timeframe to Implement the Pollution from Plastics Regulations
The Department of the Environment (DOE) has received Cabinet's endorsement for the extension of the timeframe for the implementation of Regulation 33 (1) (b), (c) and (d) of the Environmental Protection (Pollution from Plastics) Regulations, 2020.
Due to preparations to address the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and subsequent National State of Emergency to address the health crisis caused by COVID-I9 in April 2020, actions to implement the permitting and licensing systems required in the legislation was disrupted. As such, a transitional extension period is required to implement the above-mentioned sections (b), (c), and (d) of the Regulations.
Permitting Process for Restricted plastic products
Ambassador Nestor Mendez Assumes Second Term as Assistant Secretary General of the OAS
Today, during a virtual meeting of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Nestor Mendez assumed his second term in office as the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) for the period 2020-2025. Ambassador Mendez was reelected by acclamation at the Organization's 54th Special General Assembly on March 20, 2020.
Assistant Secretary General Mendez noted that this second term is a “mandate that I embrace with full knowledge of the enormous challenges that lie ahead as our Organization not only adjusts and evolves in tune with the new conditions imposed by the pandemic, but more importantly, as we institute the necessary retooling to continue to respond to the needs and mandates of Member States.”
Change in Pump Price of Regular Gasoline Effective July 18, 2020
The Ministry of Finance announces that effective Saturday, July 18th, 2020, the pump price of regular gasoline will increase by 14 cents from $8.57 to $8.71 per gallon.
The prices for premium gasoline, kerosene and diesel will remain unchanged at $9.21, $5.43 and $7.61 per gallon, respectively.
List of over the counter medications for Pharmacy Sale
For More Information contact the Pharmacy Unit, Ministry of Health
List of Over the Counter medication for General Sale
For more information on this list, contact the Pharmacy Department, Ministry of Health.
Belize Sugar Industries Limited invites qualified and self–motivated individuals to submit applications for the following positions at Tower Hill, Orange Walk.
WHERE WAS CHANLACAN, EPICENTER OF THE GREAT MAYA REBELLION?
Chanlacan was one of the epicenters of the great Mayan rebellion of 1546-47, an uprising between various villages and cuchabales from the east of Mayab to expel Spanish colonists and their indigenous allies.
Despite the importance of this settlement, Chanlacan's exact location is unknown. We know he was in the Uaymil-Chetumal cuchcabal. Robert S. Chamberlain, historian of the conquest of Yucatan, wrote that it was a ′′ fortress population ′′ located in the lagoon of Bacalar and that its island position meant that it could only be attacked with canoes in addition to being well fortified.
Border Jumpers Become National Security Priority #1
Border Jumpers - they're currently the biggest threat to Belize's public health - vectors for the Coronavirus who slip under radar along Belize's porous borders. And they just seem to keep coming.
And now, this dire public health threat has become a nation security issue; the cops have to find and arrest these border jumpers and contraband smuggler before they make contact with the general population. It's a herculean, if not impossible task, and the only way they can do it is with help from the public.
That's why this morning Commissioner Chester Williams pulled out all the bells and whistles when he launched 3 toll-free hotlines as well as a Facebook Page where the public will be able to report cross border movements.
Police Minister, Toy Soldier?
And the Minister of National Security looked like he was the one going border patrolling today. He appeared at the hotline ceremony dressed in full military fatigue - or what is known as a battle dress uniform.
In his usual self-deprecating style, he told the crowd that his mother thought he had dressed like a toy soldier:
Police Want Drones All Along The Border
But even a combat ready minister can't catch all the jumpers; truth is, no army or force of men and women can.
That's why the cops are looking to drones to help police the border. This morning the Commissioner appealed to the business community for a donation of two industrial grade drones. He shared his wish list:
Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize:
"I can tell you that we are trying our utmost best to get two drones but you would know the financial strain the government is in..."
Prison Not Taking COVID Cases
And while those hotlines and drones hope to capture more border jumpers, eventually they will all end up at the Kolbe Central Prison. And because of an increased number of illegals being sent to prison in the time of the pandemic, the prison has instituted a new policy: "All Inmates admitted for immigration offences must present formal documentation indicating COVID free status before approval for admission."
We spoke to the Prison CEO this evening and asked him why this is now necessary:
Cayo Cops May Have Stopped Robbers On A Move
Robberies continue to be very much in the news. Just this afternoon in Belmopan three men held up Aldana's Shop on Costa Rica Street, put a gun to the female proprietor, threw her to the ground, stole her ring, and raided the cash register.
And while those thieves are at large, CAYO police caught two men who may have been planning a holdup. Yesterday evening, cop in Santa Elena received information that two men on motorbike had been circling a Puma Gas Station.
COMPOL Ready For Supreme Court
Last night we told you that Police Corporal Eldon Arzu had won a small victory against the commissioner of Police in the Supreme Court. He convinced the Supreme Court to entertain him in a judicial review claim against the Commissioner.
Today the Commissioner said this it's no big deal, and said it was expected. He notes also that no injunction was granted:
COMPOL Defends Inspector Jane With Credentials
And while the dispute at this point is a matter for the court, in real terms it is a battle for control of the Police Association - and that's a contest Corporal Eldon Arzu lost weeks ago when the election was held.
Sergeant Jane Usher defeated him handily, by a margin of almost three to one. And four weeks later, we learned that Usher has been promoted form Sergeant To Inspector.
Today the press asked the COMPOL if this suggests that he has promoted his favoured candidate to lead the police association.
Pres Trump Nominates US Amb. To Belize
And while Inspector Usher's term will run for 2 years, who knows how long a new US ambassador will get to serve in Belize? That's if he makes it here at all!
The announcement came this afternoon from the White House that President Donald Trump has nominated former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer to become the U.S. ambassador to Belize.
Steve Sworn In
Attorney Estevan "Steve" Perrera is now the new Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. He was officially sworn in today at the Belize House in Belmopan, by Governor-General, Sir Colville Young.
He was joined at the ceremony by his family and his law partner, Senator Payal Ghanwani, who supported his appointment at Wednesday's Senate Meeting.
And while Perrera's ascension could have been foretold, during the Senate's confirmation of his appointment on Wednesday, several concerns were raised about whether or not he would be able to sufficiently distance himself from the ruling UDP.
Education Brass Explains Reason For Opening School
But those elections are months away - what's just weeks away is the opening of school - and that is a case of much anxiety in, parents, students, adminsiterathos and teachers.
And while there are many doubters and naysayers, the top brass from the Ministry of education appeared on Ask The Experts today to say that opening schools is a must at this time:
Cleanliness In Schools
And a big part of the new reality at schools is that they will have to be stringently cleaned and on a daily basis to eliminate any appearance of the virus. And apart from classroom cleaning, washing hands will be a part of the daily routine for students. The Chief Education Officer explained:
"There are 3 important measures that parents must keep in mind: regular hand washing, physical distancing and the wearing of masks. And so for schools what we are recommending to ensure that there are enough hand wash basins in schools that there must be 1 basin for at least 50 students..."
Safety Before Schooling
And while we hope that there are enough cleaning supplies to go around to schools in both urban and rural areas, the fact is, cleaning can only do so much. If there is community spread of the virus in Belize, cleaning won't make it go away, and schools will likely have to be closed. That's what the CEO in the Minister of Education discussed:
"There is to be no sacrifice of lives to get an education. The life comes first and so our challenge and the challenge to managements..."
Big Shift For Big Schools
And those learning plans will also have to include teaching students by shift systems. That means your child may not go to school every single day, but he or she may do so on alternate days. And the bigger the school, the bigger the shift. Babb explained:
Deborah Domingo, CEO, Ministry of Education:
"Should parents generally expect their children to be in school Monday to Friday?"
August Is Catch-Up Month
And the first month of school will be dedicated to catching up. One hundred thousand pre-primary, primary and secondary school students have been out of the classroom for four solid months.
Babb says they have a lot of catching up to do:
"So because children have been out for so long we are very concern about the gap. We want to know what they know and what they don't know. So what teachers will do during the month of August they will do assessment to determine where children are..."
Homeschooling Not As Simple As You Think
And if all that seems a little too much - that's why some parents are saying that they prefer to home school. But, it's not that simple. Babb explained that you need permission and supervision, or you'll be breaking the law:..
"I see on facebook a number of parents and others saying that they will homeschool their child. Saying that you will homeschool your child is not enough..."
Second Police Suicide In A Month
On June 18th, we told you about the suicide of 27 year old Police Constable Jerman Millian.
On Wednesday night, another police officer apparently killed himself. 48 year old Police officer Brenton Garcia shot himself to the head and died in his bedroom. A police report says he had arrived home under the influence and stated that he was stressed out.
He is a veteran officer, and today, we asked the commissioner to comment on this second cop suicide in less than a month. He said they were childhood friends:
Counselling For Cops
Indeed, Garcia was a well loved community cop in PG, which is why many find his death so inexplicable.
But, it's an incredibly stressful job, and the commissioner says they have to get more active counselling interventions for their officers:
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Belize:
"We need to look at our officers more closely with a view to see when they're going through difficult circumstances and try to intervene before things like this occur and so moving forward there is some work that needs to be done..."
Lifeline, More Life To Needy Students
Turning now to education - as you heard in our last segment the opening day for school is fast arriving. It's a cause fo anxiety about COVID, but it's also a cause for panic in cash strapped parents who have to scrape together funds for books, supplies, uniforms and fees.
And while that's true for most families it's not the case for 2,452 lucky kids from rural and underprivileged schools whose entire 2020-2021 tuition will be covered by Kim Simplis Barrow's Lifeline Foundation. Taking the stage at Wednesday's announcement ceremony, education CEO Carol Babb said that schools are in need of support.
And in other news of assistance.
Belize has received emergency COVID-19 aid from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, known as CABEI. It's a donation that comes as a response to a request from the presidents of The Central American Integration System.
It includes medical supplies including swabs and Korean testing kits geared at expanding Belize's testing capacity and complements the Bank's April 2020,1 million USD donation to Belize's COVID-19 response. Here's more:
Why BEL Objected to the PUC’s FTRP
And, going back now to a story that's been making news for the past two nightsBEL and its regulator, the Public Utilities Commission are tangled in disputes on multiple fronts.
We've been telling you about the power purchase agreement with Santander, and the PCUS's claim that BEL was averaging out meter readings, but there's also the Full Tarriff Review. BEL is challenging the PUC's conclusions in that process - which means an independent expert will have to be appointed.
Senate Report Points to Penner
On Wednesday's news, we told you how the Senate passed a motion to adopt the final report from the Senate Special Select Committee on the Immigration Department.
As we told you, that report is 160 pages long. It represents the careful perusal of sworn testimonies and evidence-taking that the committee members carried out in the 13-month-long Senate Hearings on Immigration, which ended in December 2017.
The Book of Godwin On Immigration
During Wednesday's motion at the Senate to adopt the findings of the Special Select Committee, Godwin Hulse, the substantive Minister of Immigration, made sure to remind his colleagues that years before the Senate Hearings on Immigration, there was a raft of legislative reforms that the Barrow Government undertook to address the weakness in Immigration.
Chamber Takes Up For Its Senator
And, keeping it in the senate, the Belize Chamber of Commerce is calling foul on what it characterizes as "disrespectful treatment" of its Senate representative, Mark Lizarraga, on Wedensday. The particular instance they are referring to is an exchange between Lizarraga and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte.
Lizarraga was among the senators who expressed concern about new Election and Boundaries Chairman Steve Perrera's ability to act as a fair and impartial leader of the Commission.
Creating Opportunity Out of A Garbage Dump
And, finally tonight, we take you down Albert Street, not far from our newsroom where yesterday we saw the city council and the aspiring PUP standard bearer cleaning up Simmon's Alley. That's where a whole empty lot was over-run with garbage, a breeding ground for disease and a feeding ground for rats. This alley connects Albert Street to Wagner's Lane - and Paul Thompson said cleaning it could create economic opportunity:
More Details Emerge on Strange Case of COVID-19 Infection in Cayo
Tonight Health Officials are baffled and continue to investigate the case of a man in his early fifties who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The case was detected at the [...]
Health Officials Inspect P.G.I.A.
A United Airline flight arrived today as part of the repatriation process which may lead to more cases of COVID 19. We say may because testing will confirm new cases. [...]
Estevan Perera sworn in as Chairman of Elections & Boundaries Commission
Attorney, Estevan Perera was sworn-in as the new Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission this morning. In the Senate on Wednesday his appointment came under fire because some senators [...]
E&B Chairman responds to criticism of appointment
And what does the new chairman make of the opposition to his new role expressed during the Senate debate? Estevan Perera was asked about the comments that question his ability [...]
ComPol on Corporal Eldon Arzu’s Supreme Court case
On Thursday, we told you about the Corporal Eldon Arzu versus the Commissioner of Police case that’s before the Supreme Court. Arzu’s claim is that the Commissioner of Police didn’t [...]
Preparing for a New School Year Amid COVID-19
A new academic year is set to begin on August tenth, after five months of leave from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of the reopening of schools however, [...]
All Schools will have Sanitization Sessions
Among the measures that will be implemented at the classroom level is a daily sanitization of individual seating areas. According to Dr. Babb, there will also be someone stationed at [...]
Fewer Students in the Classroom in New School Year
COVID-19 has also prompted school managements to put in place specific protocols that relate to children coming down with the seasonal flu. Aside from those procedures, Chief Executive Officer, Deborah [...]
Face Shields When Teaching Phonics
For children in the lower levels, those in kindergarten and the infant division, the Ministry of Education is advising teachers to wear face shields in instances where certain subjects are [...]
Santa Cruz Village Council’s Land Woes Continue
Santa Cruz Village Council continues to fight to maintain control of the village’s land expansion project. Issues for the council arose back in January 2019 when they received word that [...]
Chairman Scott says Land Commissioner Not Answering Questions
According to Scott, he has attempted to clarify the matter with Commissioner of Lands and Surveys, Wilbert Vallejos. Scott says that Vallejos has not responded to any of his queries. [...]
Government Asks Ministries to Cut Down on Rental Cost
Government continues to cut costs as it struggles with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its latest austerity measure is cutting down on rental costs. A memo dated July [...]
Christian Bailey granted Bail
A construction worker of the Mile eight community on the George Price Highway, who is accused of breaking into a man’s home and removing home appliances and other possessions amounting to [...]
George Bull is freed of murder charge
Another murder case fell through the cracks for the prosecution this week when the Crown in the trial of George Bull indicated to the Court that they were withdrawing the [...]
Simon Leary gets bail for attempted murder
Attorney Hurl Hamilton was successful today in arguing for Supreme Court bail for a man who is before the Court on an attempted murder charge. Simon Leary, a construction worker of [...]
Compensating the Families of Four Deceased BDF Airmen
The Government of Belize, in compensating the families of four Belize Defense Force airmen who tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash on February twenty-seventh, says it has made [...]
ISF cop charged with rape placed on interdiction
In Thursday’s newscast we told you about Police Constable Nelson Ramos of the Intermediate Southern Formation who was arraigned on a count of rape of a seventeen-year-old girl. Today, Commissioner [...]
Dissecting the PUC/BEL/Santander Quagmire
The Public Utilities Commission is enforcing an order which makes it compulsory for Belize Electricity Limited to sign on to a power purchase agreement with Santander Sugar for the supply [...]
Was Your Monthly Light Bill Being Averaged During SOE?
Over the past few weeks, consumers have been complaining of exorbitant electricity bills, particularly during the three-month state of emergency when many were at home for the mandatory lockdown. B.E.L. [...]
Belize Receives Sample Collection Kits and RNA Extraction Kits from CABEI
Belize, as part of the Central American Integration System, received an emergency aid to complement national efforts for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19. The aid comes courtesy of [...]
Hotlines activated to report border jumpers and contrabandists
The Police Department is counting on the public to prevent border jumpers and contrabandistas from entering the country. Five phone lines and an online social media messenger programme were activated [...]
ComPol says that the BPD needs a counseling unit
A police officer in Punta Gorda committed suicide earlier this week. On Wednesday evening, Police Constable Brenton Garcia shot himself inside his home. The circumstances that triggered the suicide are [...]
CITCO calls for applications for Youth Shadow Council
If you are between the ages of fifteen to twenty-one, living in Belize City and are a youth leader, the Belize City Council would like you to apply for its [...]
4UBYME Productions – the Customised Items of an Enterprising Woman
COVID 19 has caused the unemployment lines to grow longer and longer as many persons became jobless. Today we found a woman who lost her job but turned that around [...]