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Today's Belize News: July 25, 2020 #543717
07/25/20 07:04 AM
07/25/20 07:04 AM
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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

New-born Sperm Whale rescued in northern Ambergris Caye
On the morning of Friday, July 24th, North Ambergris Caye residents Cesar Hernandez, Emmanuel Garcia, and Thomas Ack discovered what appeared to be a new-born Sperm Whale near the beach. They assisted the calf in getting back to deeper waters, while personnel from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) headed to the area to render assistance. There is no facility in Belize that would be able to care for a whale, even as a new-born. The hope is that by guiding it outside the reef it would be able to use its form of communication to reach out to its mother and be reunited.

Various Belizean Sources

mzz

Nominees for the Essential Worker Award for the Belizean Traveller Campaign
Hey Belizean Travellers! We are proud to share with you the nominees for our Essential Worker Award for the Belizean Traveller Campaign. We have teamed up with the Ministry of Health and the Police Department to nominate workers who have proven themselves as unsung heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the compliments of partnering properties and the BTB staff and the endorsement of Digi and Love FM, winners will receive a vacation getaway! Check out the flyer below on how you can vote. Each nominee will be posted tomorrow so keep an eye on our Facebook page!

Climate Change and Security: Belize Speaks for AOSIS at the UN Security Council
Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, represented the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Climate Security held on July 24th, 2020. Chaired by the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, the objectives of the Open Debate were to provide the Security Council with comprehensive and authoritative information on the environmental and sustainable development dimensions of climate change and their implications on international peace and security. Belize was invited to participate as a non-member of the Security Council within the principles of Rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council.

Whale stranded on the beach in northern Ambergris Caye
Early Friday morning Hol Chan was notified that there was a whale stranded on the beach in northern Ambergris Caye. The persons on the scene who found it, Cesar Hernandez, Emmanuel Garcia, and Thomas Ack were very concerned about its welfare. While they awaited additional assistance from the HCMR staff to arrive, recognizing the distress of the baby whale they immediately began efforts to move it into deeper water. Thanks to the efforts of these three gentlemen, the whale was guided outside the reef into deeper water.

COVID-19 Update | July 24, 2020
A further 58 samples were processed today and this is our infographic. In this we have recovered a case. We have also identified a new case, this is another family member of the 4 cases identified yesterday so this makes a cluster of 5 total cases. The initial contact tracing for these cases has concluded and while the family acknowledges that they had been across the border in the month of June due to a family emergency, the link that we are following is a family member that lives on the Mexican side and who had continued to visit the family over the last weeks. This family has been in virtual isolation since they returned from Mexico and there is no evidence that they left the isolated farm from where they were picked up. For now, there are no identified close contacts of them or any other family members that is considered as a highly suspect case. The community has also not provided any further notes of possible contacts. These last 5 cases are therefore a cluster linked to illegal crossings along the Orange Walk District. The Orange Walk District now registers the highest number of total and active cases.

World Breastfeeding Week
The Ministry of Health is once again preparing to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week from 1-7 of August to raise awareness and create actions supporting breastfeeding. The theme for 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. It focuses on the impact of breastmilk substitutes and other infant feeding practices on the environment and the urgent need to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people. Join us during the first week of August to help us continue to raise awareness on breastfeeding. Stay Tune to hear more on our national activity, “Latch on, Belize”

Caye Caulker Street Restoration
The Caye Caulker Village Council embarked on street restoration on Wednesday. We thank our staff for working so arduously, and we ask the community to respect our staff, as they work and ask for careful driving and no speeding. Thank you.

Sacred Heart College Parents Meetings
SHC is having their meeting with parents on Monday and Tuesday. Parents Meeting at the SHC Auditorium: Monday, July 27th at 1:00 p.m. for 1st and 2nd Form. Monday, July 27th at 4:00 p.m. for 3rd and 4th Form. Tuesday, July 28th at 4:00 p.m. for parents who did not attend on July 27th. Feel free to calm the school to get more information or clarification. Please make a special effort to attend, as we still exercise Social Distancing.

Institute of Creative Arts receives Youth Development Donation
In May of 2020 Ms. Kim Vasquez, Youth Development Officer, made an appeal for donors to support youth-related activities which includes the Festival of Arts, the Expressive Arts Education and Summer Arts Institute Programs. As a result, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) through its Institute of Creative Arts (ICA), received a donation of $6500.00 towards its Youth Development Program. The presentation was made to NICH President Ms. Sapna Budhrani and ICA's Youth Development Officer by Mr. Juan Carlos Cuellar on behalf of a generous Belizean American donor, who prefers to remain anonymous.

COROZAL ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A road traffic accident last night could have had a terrible outcome. A witness reported that a female driver of a black in colour Toyota RV4 with Corozal License Plate L/P C23171 almost hit her and her son while they were walking on downtown Corozal and after missing them with the SUV the driver ran right through a stop sign, knocked a police mobile and ran into a trash barrel in-front of St. Francis Xavier Church on 4th Avenue and damaging the barrel. The vehicle remained there until this morning.

ST. PAUL'S ANGLICAN CHURCH BY THE SEA IN COROZAL RECEIVES DONATION OF TRASH BINS FROM UPTOWN COUTURE
"Friday Blessings upon St. Paul's Anglican School. Big Thank you to Uptown Couture. The Best Boutique in all of Belize! Thank you so much for your wonderful donation. Our children and staff are truly grateful. God bless."

Channel 7

Police’s Preliminary Investigation Into GSU’s Port Provocation
Since Wednesday, Belizeans have been wondering what went so wrong to cause the Gang Suppression Unit to seemingly disobey the Police Commissioner and forcibly remove the waterfront workers and their union using riot squad tactics. The Commissioner and the Minister of National Security gave the directive that the union should be allowed to protest the Port of of Belize's decision to lay off of 36 workers.The protesters were promised that as long as they remained peaceful, they would be allowed to stay, but somehow, that directive from the Commissioner didn't reach the GSU officers who responded. And instead, the protesters were treated to rubber bullets and tear gas.

7 Protestors Have Complained
From there, the Police Department focused on the internal investigation being conducted by the head of the Professional Standards Branch.He told us this evening, that, so far, 7 of the protestors, who became victims of the anti-riot tactics, have come forward to lodge a formal complaint:Supt Dwayne Sutherland - OC, Professional Standards Branch:"So far 7 persons came forward to the professional standard branch and made complaints. They reported that they received varying injuries to the body. Those persons are Trevor Jones. Leon Jones, Galvin Osman, Kenroy Gillet, Bruce Diaz, Elswin Willoughby and Kevin Sutherland. All 7 persons were issued with medico forms..."

Three Senior Cops Placed On Suspension
And so, the immediate action being taken is that 3 senior officers are being placed on administrative leave, and interim replacements have been identified to hold over the posts that they held.Here's what the CEO in the Ministry of National Security and the Police Commissioner had to say about it:(Ret'd) Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security"The ministry of national security views this as a matter that certainly needs swift and urgent attention and we have decided that it is important for us to be here with the commissioner as he brings to you sort of update on the investigations that he and his team are in fact doing and for you all to be appraised of what we intend to do going forward. Our initial investigation has caused us to put three senior officers on administrative leave."

Where Did Breakdown in Communication Occur?
So, what happened to cause ACP Dawson to fail in relaying the Commissioner's Directives to leave the protesters alone?That's what we asked, and here's what the commissioner said: "Let me say that Mr. Dawson is not known to be a ill-discipline person. As a matter of fact I think sometimes he is too discipline, he is too rigid. He is not known to be a rebellious person either and so I myself was shocked that that did not occur and he gave his explanation that he tried to communicate with Mr. Arzu who was the ground commander by way of phone..."

The GSU, Too Many Masters
And for the GSU, this is yet another in a series of negative publicity events starring that controversial paramilitary unit. Since its inception in 2012, the GSU has been dogged by a number of complaints against them for the excessive use fo force. Alternately, the unit has also been commended for its decisive work, like a few weeks ago when it caught a group of bank robbers immediately, killing one of them. Today, the Commissioner said that part of the problem is that they answer too many commanding officers, which will now change:

Supreme Court Setback For CWU
And while the police department has responded with seriousness to the law enforcement mis-step at the Port of Belize on Wednesday, the fight continued in the Supreme Court today for the 36 workers who lost their jobs.As we've been reporting the Attorney General filed an urgent application for an injunction on behalf of the Labour Department.Labour argues that Port as the employer has to inform the Labor Commissioner, and allow for proper consultation before they are allowed to move ahead with terminations due to redundancy.

CWU Soldiering On: Resist, Resist, Resist
Later on, you'll hear about the government's resolve to exhaust all available legal options to get the terminations reversed. But, right now the matter is with the CWU - and today, President Mose Hyde said its resolve to resist and reverse the firing of union members is is unbroken by this outcome. The president told the press this morning that his union's case against the 10% salary reduction and the termination of the 36 employees is currently being prepared.

Victims Of The GSU’s Tactics Recovering
And that "resisting" resulted in injuries some of the CWU's membership. The brunt of it was endured by 3 stevedores: Jones, Rivers, and Jones. This afternoon I went back to the port get their perspectives on the GSU attack and to find out how they're recovering.

PM Refers To Port "Oppressor"
And from ground zero at the Port of Belize to the National Assembly in Belmopan - the events of the last few days were at the top of the agenda today.In an opening statement at today's House Meeting, the PM gave an outline of the Government's problem with the terminations: "The Labour act does not prohibit employers from doing what they have to do as their businesses faced a hobson's choice, but the act does cast a clear duty on them to observe in the process a few fundamental norms of decency and respect..."

PM Says Waterloo Proposal Rejected Based On Port’s Labour Relations
And, the PM added that the Port of Belize's inability to sign off on a collective bargaining agreement with the CWU for the past 16 years was the deal breaker in Cabinet when the 200 million dollars Waterloo port expansion project came up for approval: "But then came the day on which they the port Waterloo ask for government to approve the draft MOU's that they had submitted even as the problems with the workers were still utterly on the boil..."

Briceno Goes In On Port of Belize Ownership
That "oppressor-man" talk is out of the revolutionary playbook, and, perhaps forced by circumstance, the PUP leader almost matched the Prime Minister's rhetoric against the Ashcroft Alliance:Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition:"So when people are hurting, when people really need, this multi-million dollar company decide that they are going to fire these 36 workers of which the great majority are members of the Christian Workers Union..."

A COVID Cluster In OW District
Since we left you last night, 5 new positive cases of COVID 19 have been confirmed in the Orange Walk District. And they all come from one family - with a history of border jumping. The Director of Health Services posted the latest update on Facebook a few hours ago and he says, quote "the family acknowledges that they had been across the border in the month of June due to a family emergency. The link that we are following is a family member that lives on the Mexican side and who had continued to visit the family over the last weeks. This family has been in virtual isolation since they returned from Mexico and there is no evidence that they left the isolated farm from where they were picked up.

SOE Lifted In San Felipe/Blue Creek
And border jumping is certainly what forced government to declare a state of emergency with curfew and lockdown in the Orange Walk villages of San Felipe and Blue Creek on July 10th. It was supposed to last for a month - but, today, two weeks later the Prime Minister today announced that the State of Emergency is being lifted, and life can return to normal in those villages, effective immediately.

Tourism Industry Gets Ready For The Return
And so while border jumpers are driving up the COVID numbers, many are also looking with great anxiety to August 15th, that's when the airport opens to tourists and returning Belizeans from the COVID infested US of A. This morning in preparation for that return, the Belize Tourism Industry Association hosted a forum aimed at providing hoteliers with some of the answers on how to take the first tentative steps forward in restarting Belize's most vital industry. I visited and found out more:

Two Charged For Cayo Double Murder/Triple Shooting
Two men have been charged for last weekend's double murder in the Cayo District which killed Windell Trapp and Samuel Hill, and injured Marques Robateau, Telesha Mckay and policeman Danny Jimenez. It happened in front of a crowded nightclub and caused public terror. A hard going investigation by Cayo Police has led to two men: 33 year old John Alexander Hendy, of Santa Elena and 26 year old Travis Tyler Navarro of Belize City.

House Approves 10M USD Loan For COVID Food Assistance Program
And going back to Belmopan - we go the the business of today's house meeting. And the main item on the agenda was a loan from the Opec Fund for International Development for 10 million US dollars for the COVID 19 food assistance programme.

Brad’s Boledo Deal Tabled In The House, But Not For Debate
And while that loan motion generated much debate - there was no debate about the Brad's Boledo contract which was tabled today. The Belize Government Lotteries Exclusive License to Brad's Gaming group was tabled in the house, but not for debate - which caused the Leader of the Opposition to bristle: "I think what is most cowardly is the way this has been presented in the national assembly. It was presented as a paper for negative resolution, meaning in effect that the prime minister has set this in the house, it has been tabled and nobody can speak about it, we cannot debate it..."

Ashcroft Steps Into Re-Districting Lawsuit
Lord Michael Ashcroft we didn't hear his name in the House Of Representatives today, but there were many veiled reference to him as the PM and the Leader of the Opposition discussed the controversial termination of 36 workers at the Port of Belize. The Port is considered part of the Ashcroft Alliance since a company called Private Investment Limited took it over as received in 2012. Well, from the role of so called "oppressor", Ashcroft is trying to take a turn as saviour, attempting to come to the aid of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. He wants to pay for an expert witness to help the Commission, and the Supreme Court cure the imbalances in the country's 31 electoral divisions.

What Brackett Saw
And turning back briefly to the police investigation into the Gang Suppression Unit's treatment of the protesters at the Port of Belize, journalist and sometimes-activist Geovannie Brackett, has made a formal report to investigators on what he heard and saw on Wednesday.He was among the reporters broadcasting the unsanctioned anti-riot action by the GSU, and since he was embedded with some of the protesters, he had access to information that the police could make use of.Today, he briefly shared what he told the cops while he was on the Port's compound when the GSU began using force:

Police Seize Upon Cross Border Weed Trade
On this newscast we talk a lot about border jumping and contraband smuggling. But while we may think of border jumping to visit relatives, or to get cheap groceries and beer, a large part of that enforcement pressure along the border is about smuggling weed in from Mexico.

Caught Weed On The Move
And Corozal Special Branch was back at it this morning when, acting on intelligence they intercepted a Ford Escape XLT with San Ignacio plates. They searched inside and found 5 parcels of weed wrapped up with transparent tape, stashed in a hidden compartment. We are told the stash weighed in at four and a half pounds. Four persons inside the vehicle were detained - three of them from san Ignacio and one from Corozal.

Southsiders Trained For Port Work
They've been guaranteed construction jobs that could last between a year and a half and 5 years. It's at Stake Bank, the proposed cruise tourism port off Belize City. The eager group of young and industrious men left the program today filled with hope for an independent and lucrative future. And this morning we spoke to their trainer Nuri Mohammed who says that the secret to the men's success will lie in the connections and mutual understanding built during their preparation.

Fever Dream? Try A Fever Screen!
Earlier in the news, we showed you the BTIA's forum at the Biltmore Plaza hotel. It's an event that brought over 100 people into the hotel, and while that may seem concerning considering the times we're living in, you'll be reassured to find out that each and every one of them had their temperatures checked. But while the Biltmore's staff has been manually checking temperatures for months, a cool new gadget is allowing that safety measure to be carried out without any human contact. Biltmore's General Manager gave us the rundown on the new device.

Channel 5

Supreme Court Denies Application for Injunction against P.B.L.
The Supreme Court has handed down a major decision in respect of the situation at the Port of Belize. It has denied the injunction brought by the Attorney General’s Office [...]

C.W.U. Says All is Not Lost!
Following the court’s proceedings, attorney Anthony Sylvester spoke on behalf of the Christian Workers Union. Now, the matter that was before the court today wasn’t taken by the C.W.U. and [...]

3 Senior Police Officers are Placed on Administrative Leave
Three senior police officers have been placed on administrative leave following the series of riotous activities that happened at the Port of Belize’s compound on Wednesday. Those officers, in this [...]

Outline of Preliminary Investigation into GSU
So, what has the preliminary investigation revealed about what happened at the Port of Belize compound on Wednesday? Deputy Commissioner of Police Dezerie Philips-Magdaleno shares the sequence of events that [...]

ComPol Sounds Off on Officers’ Actions at P.B.L.
The Commissioner of Police Chester Williams also spoke on the sequence of events that transpired that led up to the GSU’s actions on the grounds of the Port of Belize. [...]

PM on the State of Affairs at the Port of Belize
As the court was handing down its ruling on the injunction and reinstatement, the Prime Minister made a statement on the state of affairs in the House this morning.  Now, [...]

Johnny Briceño Calls Out U.D.P. Hypocrisy
Opposition Leader John Briceño also chimed in on the events of the past two days at the Port of Belize Ltd.  He points to the two-facedness of the Barrow administration [...]

Blue Creek State of Emergency is Lifted
The state of emergency that prohibited movement in and out of the communities of Blue Creek and San Felipe in Orange Walk District have been lifted, as those villages now [...]

Another COVID-19 Cluster in Orange Walk District
There is another COVID-19 cluster in the Orange Walk District. Four new cases were reported on Thursday night. A family of four, two adults and two minors tested positive for [...]

5 Cases Linked to COVID-19 Cluster in Orange Walk District
As we said, these five cases are a cluster linked to illegal crossings along the Orange Walk District. According to Doctor Manzanero, for now, there are no identified close contacts [...]

Border Jumpers Can Cause COVID-19 Community Spread
And in a report just in, two more persons were caught entering Belize illegally this morning. They are two men who came through the illegal border crossing in Santa Cruz [...]

An Armed Robbery at B&B Ladyville Sales Centre
There was an armed robbery at the Bowen and Bowen Ladyville Sales Centre on Thursday evening. Around six-thirty p.m., the employees at the centre, located on the factory compound near [...]

CJ Rules in Favour of Lord Ashcroft to Provide Expert Input in Redistricting Case
This morning in the Supreme Court ruled against the injunction filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the Ministry of Labour for the Port of Belize stevedores, and this [...]

Disparity in Electoral Divisions Affects People in Real-Life Situations
The defendants, represented in court by Attorney Samantha Matute of the Attorney General’s Ministry, argued against the appointment of the expert witnesses since it has not been determined whether the mal-apportionment [...]

Ronlee Petillo Gets Bail for Murder
Today, Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams granted bail to Ronlee Petillo, who is accused of the murder of Roger Banner.  Petillo’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre argued that the petitioner has been remanded [...]

Accused Rapist Gets Bail
A man from Belize City who has been on remand on a charge of rape was today granted bail in the Supreme Court.   Curl Lino was given bail of eight [...]

P.U.P. Strongly Criticizes Boledo Contract Being Awarded to Brads
Back to the House and the lottery business.  Brads Gaming Group, a majority of whose shares are owned by an offshore company registered in Saint Lucia, has been awarded another [...]

Stiffer Penalties for Tourist Who Do Not Adhere to COVID-19 Protocols Coming
In three weeks, the Philip Goldson International Airport will re-open for commercial flights from the US. Even as August fifteenth has been set as the date for the re-opening it [...]

B.T.I.A. Preparing for Reopening of Tourism Industry
The reopening of the P.G.I.A. is a matter of much public interest. Executive Director for the Belize Tourism Industry and Association John Burgos says that the majority of members support [...]

Belize Tourism Industry and Association Charts the Way Forward
The Belize Tourism Industry and Association today hosted a forum under the theme, “Belize Tourism Industry: Charting a Way Forward.”  The event brought stakeholders together to prepare for the recovery [...]

Francis Fonseca Raises Concerns About Schools Reopening
In the House today, former Minister of Education Francis Fonseca, while speaking on adjournment, raised the issue of the preparation of schools ahead of the start of the new academic [...]

Innadynamics Graduates 60 Youths Who Will Now Be Gainfully Employed
A group of at-risk young men involved in various programmes will join the employment pool having completed a training programme with mediator Nuri Muhammad through his organization, Innadynamics Consultancy.  The [...]

Amandala

Day of outrage!
Police GSU shoot unarmed, sitting, peaceful Port protesters and threw tear gas at them; which police commander gave the order to attack the protesters? Both the Minister and the Commissioner of Police say it wasn’t they who gave the order. On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, exactly 101 years after the 1919 march by black Belizean veterans of World War I in the streets of Belize City to protest racism, lack of payment to them and lack of access to jobs, a similar scenario unfolded when the impasse between the receivership of the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) and its staff who are members of the Christian Workers’ Union reached a boiling point.

Churches condemn appointment of UNIBAM attorneys to Supreme Court
The National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) has expressed deep concern over the appointment of two UNIBAM attorneys to the Supreme Court of Belize. The release, which represents the collective viewpoint of the churches associated with the NEAB, calls the appointments an erosion of the free and independent judiciary and called on the proper authorities to “protect, preserve and to keep that important arm of government free from bias.” The NEAB also claimed that an “ambitious billionaire” is currently pulling strings in an effort to secure the appointment of another UNIBAM attorney advocate to the Supreme Court.

Execution in Calcutta
Raymond Jenkins, 41, a laborer of Corozal Town, was shot dead this afternoon in Calcutta while he was sitting in his car. Police said that Jenkins had gone to a jewelry repair shop and was parked in front of the shop when two men drove up on a motorcycle and one of them shot him as he sat in the car. The killer got back on the motorcycle and he and his accomplice drove away.

COVID-19 Update— July 23
Since the announcement of the emergence of COVID-19 cases in the Orange Walk and Cayo Districts, a reported total of 446 tests were conducted between July 14 and July 22. On the 14th, the results of 88 tests came back negative. Among those tested within that batch of 88 tests were the initial contacts of the family of seven from the San Felipe Village in Orange Walk. On July 17, the results of another 119 tests came back, and the results indicated one additional active case — a person who returned to Belize on a recent repatriation flight and was sent home to quarantine due to an underlying heart condition.

Portion of City Hall ceiling collapses
On Friday afternoon, July 17, a part of the ceiling of the second floor of City Hall collapsed into the finance manager’s office. The Belize City Council has confirmed that the incident did take place and that it was “eroded concrete fragments” that fell from the ceiling. No one was injured in the incident. According to the council’s incident report, this may not be an isolated incident. The previous administration began renovations to the Commercial Center in late 2017 and early 2018. The current council continued the renovations after being elected to office in 2019.

Contraband beer found in Santa Familia
A cache of 68 cases of assorted contraband beer was found in a house in Santa Familia by Customs personnel and police who were acting on information they had received. The cache consisted of Mexican and Guatemalan beer, believed to have been smuggled into Santa Familia by contrabandists who illegally crossed the border to bring the beer into the village. All the beer was confiscated by Customs personnel and declared unaccustomed goods. Investigations have begun to locate the owner of the house in which the beer was found.

$100,000 not yet paid to families of deceased BDF helicopter crew
On Wednesday last, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security, told the media that the families of deceased BDF airmen, Major Adran Ramirez and Major Radford Baizar and Corporals Reynaldo Choco and Yassir Mendez, had been compensated with $100,000 as an ex-gratia payment. He noted that the payment did not indicate an acceptance of guilt, but was given as a compensation, since the investigation into the crash is ongoing. The BDF officers were in a helicopter that was involved in a special operation on the day of a major drug bust that was made by police after an illegal plane landing. All four soldiers died when the helicopter crashed that day.

Sugar harvest/production way, way down!
Last year was a record-breaking year for sugarcane and sugar production in the Corozal and Orange Walk districts, with cane production for 2018-2019 reaching 1,317,626 metric tons (MT), and sugar production 156,646 MT after 214 days of milling. Production for 2019-2020, which came to an end on July 21, saw cane farmers delivering only 893,662 MT, and the mill only produced 88,000MT after 189 days of grinding. Industry experts say the decline, 68% in sugarcane production and 56% in sugar production, is the result of the severe drought last year and earlier this year, and also floods, pests, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ladyville man chopped to death on highway
Less than 48 hours after Ladyville resident Egbert Baldwin, 22, was shot and killed while riding a bicycle in the Japan area of the village at about 8:30 Saturday night, another Ladyville resident has been murdered, this time in Carmelita. Police said that at about 10:00 last night in Carmelita, Terrique Munnings, 27, a laborer of Ladyville, was riding a bicycle on the Philip Goldson Highway along with two male minors, who were also riding bicycles. Three men who were armed with machetes and who were walking on the road quickly attacked Munnings, causing him to fall off his bicycle.

Windell Trapp was the target in deadly San Ignacio shooting, says his family
The family of Windell Trapp has told the media that he was the target in the double murder that occurred at about 1:30 Sunday morning, July 19, 2020 in San Ignacio. Five men were sprayed with bullets in the parking lot of CK Sports Club in San Ignacio. Two persons died and three others were injured and remain hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Constable Danny Jimenez, of San Ignacio police, was standing outside the car while talking to one of the men in the vehicle when a man with a gun went towards the driver’s side of the car.

Editorial: A horrible Wednesday
On Wednesday, over two thousand Belizeans watched in horror via Krem News livestream as the GSU savagely advanced on a group of workers of the Port of Belize Ltd. who were peacefully protesting the actions of the receivership that is running the Port at this time. Watching the events unfold on Wednesday, as the GSU shot rubber bullets and used tear gas to chase the peaceful men and women who were legally protesting pay cuts and loss of their jobs, many Belizeans must have wondered if they were living in South Africa in the horrid days of Apartheid, minus a few Caucasian police faces. The Minister of National Security and the Commissioner of Police have said that the GSU acted against orders.

Don’t re-open the airport yet!
At the end of June, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced at a press conference that the government would be opening the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) to international travelers on August 15. The decision was made in light of the disastrous effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the country’s tourism industry, which accounts for more than half of the country’s revenue. At the press conference the Prime Minister stated that extending the waiting period before the reopening of the airport would not make a significant-enough difference in the prevention of the entry of the Coronavirus into the country prior to the restart of the tourism industry.

Lack of mediation – The CWU-PBL dispute explained
For weeks, the media has outlined the ongoing efforts of the Christian Worker’s Union (CWU) to defend the rights of its members employed by the Port of Belize Limited (PBL). A letter was sent to the Ministry of Labour on July 7th pursuant to section 15 of the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Services Act. This was done in light of the PBL’s lack of preparedness to rescind a 10% salary reduction to employees and alleged breach of the 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the CWU and PBL.

Small but mighty: Nuh Open Di PGIA Protest
On July 15, 2020, one month before the scheduled reopening of the Philip Goldson International Airport, a group of community organizers hosted a 2-hour protest against the reopening of the airport. The community organizers, Makeada Marin, Nzinga Foreman and Yaya Marin Coleman, got together with their partners and hosted a protest that was small but mighty. There were about 35 participants in the protest at the historic Battlefield Park in Belize City at its height, holding up placards with words, “Nuh Open Di Airport” plastered on them.

Is there a State Of Emergency in southside Belize City?
A number of persons detained under the recent State of Emergency that was declared on the south side of Belize City have reached out to attorney and member of Justice for Humans, Michelle Trapp, who has initiated a judicial review action to question the validity of the Southside State of Emergency. Trapp has been reaching out to detainees and their families who have suffered damage to property and the traumatic experience of their homes being invaded by militarized police.

From the Publisher
In the summer of 1968, at the age of 21, I rushed home to British Honduras with a first degree in English from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Remember now, in the United States a first degree is practically meaningless: it is merely the foundation for the student who will go on to do business, law, medicine, and so on at what is called the post-graduate level. Why did I rush home? Well, I was young, black, and militant in a year when the world was in great uproar. The Seventeen Proposals had been officially introduced just a few months before I came home, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated in Tennessee in early April of 1968; Bobby Kennedy, a former Attorney General of the United States, had been assassinated in June.

Cricket Corner
Hello, my favorite readers of my column CRICKET CORNER! Before continuing the stats of the weekend games played, let me through this medium send me and my family’s most sincere condolences to my dear brother, Mathias, on the sudden passing of his son, Samuel Hill (my nephew.) Sammy was killed over the weekend in the Cayo District. May his soul find perfect peace with his Maker.

Stirring up football memories with the legendary Wilfred “Paama” Davis
Strike three, you’re out; and, after twice making contact, only to have him promise to call back in fifteen minutes each time, I resolved yesterday to give it one more try; and if I failed, I would have to conclude that the legendary Belizean football/basketball/baseball star, Wilfred “Paama” Davis had his reasons why he didn’t want to share any more of his sporting past with our Amandala readers. But, whatever were his inconveniences when he briefly gave us an enthusiastic greeting by phone, only to disappear from our contact each time for the rest of the day, our patience finally paid off yesterday afternoon. And it was well worth the wait. But there are many details still to be clarified, as Paama threw so many bits and pieces of intriguing information and his experiences as a young sportsman in Belize, that we will, as he agreed, have to engage him a few more times.

Update on Freetown Basketball Tournament
The Freetown Basketball Tournament 2020 continued last night with two more games at the Belama Phase 2 Basketball Court. Competition format The 8 teams, divided into 2 groups, are engaged in a single round-robin within each group, in addition to 2 out-of-group games, after which the top 2 teams from each group go on to the semifinal knockout playoffs. In the semifinals, seed 1 from each group plays against seed 2 from the other group. The 2 semifinal losers then play the consolation match for third place, and the semifinal winners clash for the championship.

Solidarity with CWU – “If you touch one, you touch ALL!”
I look with amazement, five years later, at the hypocrisy that has been evident in the United Democratic Party’s administration’s treatment of workers at Port of Belize (PBL) during their 12 years in government. The Barrow administration has spent at least half of those years suppressing free speech and freedom to association and oppressing workers’ rights even more. They infiltrated unions, tried to union bust, debilitated some unions and even influenced elections within their ranks. I say this as a fact and not pure theory, speculation or conspiracy. I have been within the ranks of the unions and have met the traitors who have colluded with the government. Some are political operatives and have benefitted from political jobs and favours and promotion. They know who they are!

Hart like a savior
I always knew that someday someone with wallop would ride in and put a big, necessary hurt on Brother Clinton Canul Luna, and that day came and I say hurray. Ai, when I saw what Brother Canul Luna wrote in his column a couple weeks ago, I was driven back on my heels, wanting to put on my armor, but at the same time uncertain because I am flat-out tired of being kicked about by him and his many friends. You will forgive me for gloating. Of course, I took a drink. I thought about calling Miss Emma. Brother Hart Tillett, in a letter published in the Tuesday Amandala, said, “Luna (Clinton) mistakenly thought that the ‘gods’ Haynes (Samuel) had in mind were the Baymen, and in that way the poem relegated other ethnicities in Belize to subservient roles, in particular those of Ibérico-Mayan lineage”, but in fact Haynes “was referring to the ‘gods’ of the Maya whose presence permeates the 145-word poem…”

Batten down the hatches
We (as a society) cannot be complacent and complicit in the inherent and calculated threats towards our sovereign democracy and towards injustice that threatens our security and erodes the rudimentary tenets upon which our society was founded. I watch in utter dismay as the employees of Port of Belize Ltd. (PBL), along with their union, are being ostracized by the armed forces and the pipers who call the tune. I mean, for Christ’s sake! These people are not being recalcitrant, as they want us to believe. It’s their bread-and-butter —their whole supper, that is at stake here!

The original BEC
In 1871 most of British Honduras’ alienated land had fallen into the hands of two companies – the British Honduras Company and Young, Toledo and Company. In 1875 the first company became the BEC, which acquired most of the land of the other company when the latter went into bankruptcy. It was in this way that the BEC came to own more than one-half of the private lands or one-fifth of the colony. Furthermore, the company commandeered the northern area of the colony, Orange Walk, whose mahogany resources were equalled in quality throughout Central America only by those of northern Guatemala and Yucatan. The company was indisputably the most influential concern which guided the colonial government. In fact, its relationship with the government was overt and interlocking.

British Honduras’ 1946 census
Some idea of the problems of establishing racial origins and allocation may be gained from the 1946 census. This census divided the population into: Black 22,693 (38.39 per cent); Mixed or coloured 18, 360 (31.01 per cent; Aboriginal Indians 10,030 (16.94 per cent); Carib 4,112 (6.94); White 2,329 (3.93 per cent); East Indian 1,366 (2.3 per cent); Syrian 128 (0.41 per cent; Chinese 50 (0.08 per cent); not stated 15 (0.05 per cent.)

Poor turnout at BECOL meeting update
Dear Editor, On Monday, July 13, we went to the meeting that BECOL holds every three months to update the people of Cayo about the condition of the Macal River. We were the only ones there; where were all the people who claim to be friends of the river? I have heard nothing of them. Candy Gonzales battled against the dam for years, and it is thanks to Candy’s efforts that we now have the regular reports from BECOL. They always try to update us on the state of the river and any other relevant information.

Dr Jesus Seade presents his work plan to lead the World Trade Organization
With a commitment to bringing the institution back to the center of international governance and to promote global economic recovery through it, Mexico’s Dr Jesús Seade Kuri presented today in Geneva his candidacy to Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) before its General Council. “Extraordinary efforts with all members are urgently needed to repair and maintain the relevance of the WTO as the core of a robust and inclusive system that meets the demands of our people, businesses, consumers and their development needs,” Seade told the Council.


Re: Today's Belize News: July 25, 2020 [Re: Marty] #543718
07/25/20 07:05 AM
07/25/20 07:05 AM
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Three senior officers on administrative leave
One, two, three – that is how many senior police officers have been placed on administrative leave. For now, it is a slap on the wrist considering the severity of what transpired at the Port on Wednesday morning. According to the Police Commissioner Chester Williams, the administrative leave is for five days only. Once the five days are up further actions would be dependent on the Security Services Commission.

Cluster of COVID cases in Sugar City
Another case of Covid-19 was reported a few minutes before six o’clock this evening. According to the Ministry of Health this case is a relative to the last four patients diagnosed yesterday in an Orange Walk community. Today’s case brings the total registered in Belize to forty-eight. The last five cases have been linked to an illegal crossing and are all members of one family. The initial contact tracing for these cases has concluded and the family stated that they had been across the border in the month of June due to a family emergency.

GSU under new command
Amid the aggression shown by Police at the Port on Wednesday was a team from the Gang Suppression Unit. It is an infamous unit in the Belize Police Department that many pockets of society have called for its dismantling. Police Commissioner Chester Williams has admitted that the GSU has garnered negative reactions from the public and that under his command he will begin making changes to the unit, starting with a change of command.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

“Presenting an authentic Belizean experience post-COVID-19 will be challenging,” says Tourism Industry Association
As the world prepares to resume global travel, the Belize Tourism Industry Association says that […]

Summer auto show coming to Belmopan City
The summer auto show hosted by the Belize New Car Dealer Association (BNCDA), and it’s […]

Wayne Eiley barbecue fundraiser gets even bigger
The barbecue fundraiser for cancer warrior Wayne Eiley, has gotten bigger and has now been […]

Two charged for San Ignacio shooting/double murder
Today, police officially arrested and charged two men for a shooting incident in San Ignacio […]

One new case of COVID-19 identified in Orange Walk
A fifth member of an Orange Walk family linked to illegal border crossings has tested positive […]

Tourism Industry Association hosts forum on the future of tourism in Belize
Today, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) gathered its members, along with representatives from the […]

Development Finance Corporation making up to $10 million in loans available for tourism stakeholders
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Belize’s tourism sector the hardest, causing massive losses in revenue and […]

US Chargé d’Affaires visits Arenal in adjacency zone
On July 23, 2020, the United States Chargé d’Affaires, Keith Gilges visited the village of […]

Hurricane Warning issued for Mesquite Bay, Texas as Tropical Storm Hanna approaches
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is closely monitoring tropical storm Hanna. A Hurricane Warning has […]

Employees of Bowen & Bowen robbed at gunpoint
Police are investigating a report of an armed robbery at Ladyville. At around 6:30 p.m. […]

Belize speaks at the United Nations Security Council
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Wilfred Elrington represented the Alliance of Small Island States […]

House debates OFID loan motion for Food Assistance Program
The COVID-19 Food Assistance Program created by the Government, originally with $10 million out of […]

P.M. Barrow: “How did we get here?”
Three senior officials of the Police Department are expected to be suspended and will face […]

City Council repays staff
The Belize City Council has repaid employees their first deferred paychecks without deductions as reward […]

Supreme Court denies injunctions for terminated Port workers; Opposition Leader issues condemnation
Supreme Court Justice Sonya Young has denied the injunction requested by the Attorney General on […]

Belize creditor group signals support for interest payment capitalization
Reuters reports that Belize’s proposal to capitalize interest payments coming due between now and February […]

Prime Minister announces lifting of State of Emergency in Blue Creek, San Felipe
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has announced, effective today, Friday, the lifting of the State of […]

Prime Minister gives statement on Port of Belize-Christian Workers Union dispute
As titular Minister of Labour, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke to the House of Representatives […]

Government ‘considering’ lifting State of Emergency for Orange Walk villages
While he says the ultimate decision will be announced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister […]

House meeting considers financial and business amendments
The House of Representatives is set to meet again to consider another loan motion and […]

Americans attracted to moving to Belize
Belize and the United States of America have long shared mutual interests in every situation […]

Belizean Arlie Petters selected as Provost of New York University Abu Dhabi
New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann announced today the appointment of […]

Belize monitoring 20 active cases of COVID-19
Belize is currently monitoring 20 active cases of COVID-19. Of the 20 active cases, 10 […]

CWU responds to allegations of vandalism
The Christian Workers Union (CWU) has vehemently rejected the accusation made by the Port of […]

Tropical Storm Warning in effect for St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as Gonzalo approaches
The National Hurricane Center is monitoring Tropical Storm Gonzalo. A Tropical Storm Warning is in […]

Port of Belize says Christian Workers Union members vandalized property
The Port of Belize Limited (PBL) is accusing members of the Christian Workers Union of […]

Robbery at Bowen and Bowen in Ladyville, one perpetrator shot
Bowen and Bowen’s Ladyville compound was robbed last night, but one of the two perpetrators was shot during the incident.

Blogs

A Drive to the Far North of Ambergris Caye and Robles Point
About twice a year, I join Jeff for a bumpy slow ride up to what I call Far North of Ambergris Caye. To the first spot where our barrier reef meets the land – it’s called Robles Point. Our reef hits the land twice up there – Robles Point and then a few miles north at Rocky Point. Between the two areas, the land is basically reef-locked. (I just asked Jeff if you could get in up there (between Robles and Rocky Point) and he said: On the calmest of days, ideally with someone else’s boat. Once you head in thru the reef, there is no turning around)

Why North Americans Faithfully Choose to Retire in Belize
When news reached the media about low cases of COVID-19 cases, North American retirees took notice of Belize. The response often heard when mentioning the country of Belize is something along the lines of, “Belize. I’ve heard of it. No, no, don’t tell me…” And then, after some squirming and a suitable pause, “Where is it again?” After declaring independence on September 21, 1981, Belize (formerly British Honduras) faces the Caribbean just south and east of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. For perspective, Belize is located 1,600 miles driving 1,600 miles driving from Houston to Belize by car and 875 miles due south as the crow flies from Mobile, Alabama.

Virtually Dive in Underwater Belize to Protect Our Oceans
Join the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Wild for Life for a virtual, immersive dive through three unique but connected marine ecosystems in Belize! Mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs are all threatened by human activity. Instead, this marine journey allows you to explore underwater magic as three different personas. Firsthand, you can see how biodiversity functions to deliver vital goods and services to humanity, the threats these ecosystems face and how simple actions can help to better protect the interconnected habitats.

A Rapid Test in Belize’s Airport will cost US$50 Per Person
Belize is set to reopen to international travelers on August 15th. All passengers without proof of a negative PCR Test, taken within 72 hours of travel, will be tested. A rapid test in the Belize airport will be a US$50 health screening fee, as confirmed on July 24 by BTB and BHA. Additionally within the airport at the newly constructed health clinic in Terminal 2, eight independent testing rooms will be available for health screening. Arriving travelers can either present a negative PCR test result, taken within the 72 hours to travel. Or, pay for a rapid test within the airport at the traveler’s expense.

International Sourcesizz

Researchers at ASU double down on their drive to improve and save lives
A small Belize village has safe drinking water even though supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 nearly rendered the island of Caye Caulker waterless. Navajo Nation families living in the 40% of homes that lack running water now receive up to 10 liters a day — for free. An island off the coast of Timor-Leste would have been in a similar position to Caye Caulker, had Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE Hydropanels not been installed last year.

Personal Protective Equipment Procured for Caribbean Frontline Medical Workers
The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it remains committed to acquiring critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for regional front line workers combating the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has infected thousands of people and killed more than 120 in the Caribbean. “The coming months are likely to be particularly challenging, given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. Helping our borrowing member countries (BMC) to build resilience against shocks like COVID-19 remains high on CDB’s development agenda,” said President, Dr Wm. Warren Smith.

Videos

  • Healthy Living: Nutrition Advice During Pandemic, 6min. Since the start of the pandemic, weight gain seems to be one of the more prominent universal side effects of lockdowns and quarantines. While it’s not time to be hard on yourself about body image, it is an opportune time to focus on improving your health. Tonight in Healthy Living, one nutritionist shares five tips on how to reduce weight gain and explains why the best time to do it is now.

  • BTIA Tourism Forum: Charting the way forward, 50min.

  • Sitting of the House of Representatives | July 24, 2020, 6hr45min.

  • Baby whale found in northern Ambergris Caye, min. Images reaching our news room show what appears to be a disoriented baby whale near the coast in northern Ambergris Caye. While residents near the area are trying to get the fellow back to deep waters, we have been informed that personnel from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve have been dispatched to the area.

  • Reef Spearfishing | Belize | Bread and Butter Caye, 15min.

  • Climate Action in the Caribbean: Building Community Resilience in Toledo, Belize, 5min. CDB’s Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) works within communities to build climate resilience. In Belize’s Toledo district, CDRRF has supported a project which is helping farmers to improve the climate resilience of their operations through strengthening infrastructure and early warning systems.

  • Critically endangered sea turtles meet on the reef in Belize, min.

  • Online Travel Training - Be Inspired by Belize, 38min. Belize is one of the few unspoiled places left on Earth and has something to appeal to everyone. It offers rainforests, ancient Maya cities, tropical islands, and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The Trade Team at Belize Tourism will inspire you and your customers to visit the rainforest to see exotic plants, animals and birds, climb to the top of temples where the Maya celebrated their rituals thousands of years ago, relax on one of the beautiful beaches or enjoy diving, snorkeling and other marine pastimes. The variety of activities is matched by the variety of the people

  • TO ERRWHERE - BELIZE (Mini Documentary), 20min. A short, vlog style documentary from my time in Belize with Safa Gaw and the homies. Get a behind the scenes look at the times we had shooting music videos in THE JEWEL

  • Critically endangered sea turtles meet on the reef in Belize, 1min. These beautiful animals are Hawksbill Sea Turtles, one of the most critically endangered of all the sea turtles. Once hunted to near extinction, they were sought after for their beautiful shells to make hair brushes and similar ornaments. They were also hunted for meat and their eggs were taken as a source of food. But, conservation efforts and stricter laws have made hunting them much less common and the populations have started to recover. They still have a long way to go, but the turtles are being seen in greater numbers now than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. For this scuba diver, it was a wonderful experience to be approached by one of these beautiful and gentle animals as it looked over the reef for sea sponges to eat.

  • BTIA Charting a Way Forward Forum: Financing the Income Gap, min.

  • COVID-19 Update - Ministry of Health, 44min. Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services with the Ministry of Health, was our guest to talk about the national response to COVID-19. We spoke to him about the preparation for the re-opening of the Philip Goldson International Airport. He talked about the protocols that they are putting in place to ensure safety for all.

  • The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) - Charting a Way Forward Forum, 30min. Tourism stakeholders are preparing to rebuild the industry. The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is hosting a Forum to provide a platform to share information and ideas about how to adjust to the new normal. The Forum will take place on Wednesday and will convene key stakeholders to discuss critical areas in marketing, finance and health. John Burgos - Executive Director, Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA). Stewart Krohn - 2nd Vice President, Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA).

  • The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) - Technology Education Summer Camp, 24min. The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is attempting to bridge the technological divide for students and teachers in their area. They are coming to the end of a three week summer camp that provided students and teachers the access to devices and internet to facilitate learning. We spoke to them about the work they are doing to become the technological hub for their constituents. Clara Cuellar - Executive Director, YMCA. Dorita Locke - Youth Leader, YMCA. Clifton Baldwin - Youth Leader, YMCA.

  • The Origins of Belizean Culture, 40min. Listen to this fascinating episode of The Belize Travelcast about the people and culture of Belize with Joe Awe! The people of Belize are often referred to as a melting pot of cultures. For such a small country, Belize’s population is very diverse. In this episode, we discuss the origins of Belize’s cultural groups. Our guest is Joe Awe, Anthropologist and Chief Cultural Evangelist from NINE Belize Eco-Cultural Tours. Joe is one of the foremost experts on Belize's cultures. In this two-part discussion, Joe gives us a very thought-provoking lesson on the history of Belize's melting pot.

  • Shoring in on Tom Owen's Caye Island, Belize, 1.5min. A diving resort that target lion fish, in abundance and needing to be caught by divers as a sport cause it can over populate the area killing all the fish.

  • Dolphins in Belize, 1.5min.

  • Re-thinking Guest Interaction, 1min. With the re-opening of the tourism industry, businesses must re-think the way they interact with their guest. By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure a smooth transition throughout this process of the “new norm”.

  • Chetumal Bay Archaeology: Shifting Capitals and Fierce Independence of the Millennia, 60min. Chetumal Bay Archaeology: Shifting Capitals and Fierce Independence over the Millennia, by Dr. Debra S. Walker. Part of Ancient World Week, Corozal Town, Belize, 16 July 2019.


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