Today's Belize News: March 9, 2016 - 03/09/16 12:07 PM
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
Police Brutality suspected in the death of island bartender
30-year old San Pedro bartender, Edwin Ixpatac died on Monday, March 7th after being on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. It was reported that Ixpatac had sustained injuries when he was detained by police on Thursday, March 3rd. As a result, three San Pedro Police officers, PC Jahisir Cob, PC Rommel Logan, and PC Reydel Teck have been officially charged with murder, while Sergeant Raymond Berry has been put on interdiction. The initial reports are that around 2AM on Thursday, March 3rd, San Pedro police responded to a call about a person struggling in the water near a resort just south of San Pedro Town. According to reports, police recovered Ixpatac from the water, who was intoxicated and had sustained injuries from washing against a sea wall. The report continues to say that Ixpatac was combative, and apparently kicked and struck at the officers who were assisting him. He was then taken to the San Pedro police station where he was detained overnight. The following day he was taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II in a critical condition. Due to this grave state, he was later transported to KHMH in Belize City, where a three days later he succumbed to his injuries. According to police, the sergeant in charge that night made a poor decision in not immediately taking Ixpatac to the polyclinic. Reports also indicate that Ixpatac had been abused while in custody.
Surviving Belize’s La Ruta Maya River Challenge Canoe Race
There is an elite group of men who have a passion for the race and take on Belize’s Ruta Maya River Challenge for the glory of the first place trophy but there are also others who are in it for the glory of self-accomplishment and mere enjoyment. This is the case of two teams from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, who were not the youngest or fittest of all the contestants, but you can call them some of the bravest and inspiring. Six racers, Team ‘Hope We Finish’ (Dee Regis, Greg Lamb and Brittney O’Daniel) and Team ‘Reef Runners’ (Edwardo ‘Wayo’ Vasquez, Lisa Rusinek-Cyrier and Ronnie Cyrier) took on the gruesome four-day challenge to paddle over 170 miles and prove to themselves that no challenge is too great if they put their minds to it. "I’ve come up with a lot of stupid ideas, but this one takes the cake," commented Brittney O’Daniel to iTravel Belize on day three of the race. But guess what, she is ready to do it again next year, with better equipment and more prepared, of course.
Misc Belizean Sources
BBC Film The Blue Planet: Seas of Life @ The Truck Stop
MOVIE NIGHT!!! In celebration of Reef Week Belize we'll be showing the BBC Film The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, at The Truck Stop. Movie starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free! Thank you in advance to our sponsor The Truck Stop! "Not just my reef, Its our way of life!"
Members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers protest
Members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, Northern Territorial Volunteers and Belize Progressive Party are protesting outside of the National Assembly today. They are displaying their discontent with the recent Guatemalan incursion and how the Government of Belize has reacted to it.
Ms. ACES 2016
Ms. A.C.E.S. 2016 !!! Each contestant is representing a district. Come learn more about BELIZE. March 11, 2016 at ACES compound starting at 6:00 P.M. More exciting than ever! Come experience the fun and vote for your favorite contestant. Public votes count!
Prime Minister's Budget Speech for Fiscal Year 2016/2017
Mr. Speaker, I rise to move the second reading of the General Revenue Appropriation Bill for Fiscal Year 2016/2017. This is the inaugural budget in the recently won, historic, third consecutive term of the UDP Administration. And this edition, in like fashion as the previous eight budgets I have read, will-I believe-reassure general citizenry and particular stakeholders alike that the current and forecast state of the public finances of Belize are both sturdy and stable. There is, of course, a narrow political minority that reflexively opposes everything UDP. But impartial observers all agree that the sterling stewardship of the people’s money was foremost in the minds of the voters as they cast their ballots last November. Our consistent and long record of judicious financial management, Mr. Speaker, has produced an unbroken period of steady growth and optimal economic conditions. There is now a historical vindication of both our philosophy and our probity. Let us look at the facts, Mr. Speaker: First, there is an unmatched string of year on year increases to the size and diversity of the economy. And this has been complemented by the longest post-Independence period of low inflation, reductions in the cost of borrowing for both private and public sectors, and increases in revenue generation by the Government.
Panel Presentation on: "Impact Climate Change has on Doing Business"
The presentation takes place at the UB Auditorium in Belmopan City at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday March 9th, 2016.
Arte con Voz de Mujer Exhibit
Corozal House of Culture (NICH) Invites. You are cordially invited to the launch of the 6th annual Arte con Voz de Mujer Exhibit, showcasing our talented female artists of Corozal.
La Ruta Maya Cultural Night 2016
The La Ruta Maya Cultural Night was the best one yet. Ascenthium played at Bamboo Bar, and the New Sensation Band played at the CAYO Welcome Center during the La Ruta Maya Cultural Night.
Cayo Destination Belize Visit
The Belize Tourism Board is having a Destination Visit tomorrow, Wednesday the 9th, at 5:30pm, at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Everyone is invited to the event. "We encourage you to have representation at the event, as this will be an opportunity to hear from the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation - Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., the Director of Tourism - Mrs. Karen Bevans, members of the BTB Board of Directors and BTB staff. In an effort to promote and build on our relationship, as we continue to make Tourism the pillar of our economy, the team is anticipating a relaxed and interactive gathering, aimed at getting your input, ideas and suggestions... As McNab Design Ltd. and The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) continue their countrywide sales and marketing of The New Destination Belize, we take this opportunity to introduce two new members of our sales team. Chantel and Patricia of Smarter Hospitality Solutions both join in our enthusiasm as we work towards creating Belize’s signature tourism publication, coming in September, 2016."
Human Echolocation In Belize
Three Blind People from Belize go on a journey they will never forget. They learn to "See With Sound" by tongue clicking, using Echolocation
Hello, my name is Isaiah. I am a white front
I live with my brother Jacob at Belize Bird Rescue. We were surrendered after a routine inspection from the Forestry Department. When I came to BBR, I had a lump above my left eye. I’m so glad it wasn’t anything serious! Dr Philip Deshield from Animal Medical centre managed to remove it for me – what a relief! All this stuff came out of it. He called it ‘cheese wizz’ but it didn’t look as yummy as cheese! The swelling has gone down and I don’t have to have antibiotics anymore. Our wings were clipped, but luckily they should grow back pretty soon. We’re both recovering pretty well. We’ll be able to join other white front babies this week and are planning on going back to the wild this time next year. It costs $80 a day for Belize Bird Rescue to feed me and my friends, which is just a small part of our road to a better life. If you would like to help to keep me and my friends happy and healthy, please follow the link in the comments to donate.
The 18th La Ruta Maya 2016 - San Ignacio
The 18th La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge kicked off today in San Ignacio, under the historic Hawkesworth Bridge, the oldest suspension bridge in Belize, Central America. What started off as a marketing campaign ended up being one of the biggest sporting events in Belize & Central America, and brought about environmental awareness.
Paint Party Events
Come paint with us "La Playa" at Crazy Canucks and have a blast. The price is $25 US and there's a discount for members. Hope to see you there! Starts On: March 10, 2016 2:00 PM
BELTRAIDE ORGANIZES FIRST TRADE CLINIC FOR BUSINESSMEN IN ORANGE WALK
Over 50 producers from Orange Walk Town and surrounding villages met at La Inmaculada Credit Union Conference room on Friday, 4th March to obtain crucial information that will assist them to improve their services and raise the bar to compete globally. The meeting was in the form of a Trade Clinic, which was the first of its kind organized by EXPORTBelize, a unit of BELTRAIDE, with the aim to sensitize the private sector on regulations, requirements, export procedures and documentations and opportunities that exist under trade agreements in order to do business in the local and international market. The Trade Clinic included presentations from the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS), the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA), the Customs & Excise Department and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Topics included: Standards (labeling, CODEX, metrology, etc), Export Procedures, Trade Agreement Opportunities and Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures among many others.
BEL Comments on PUC’s Initial Decision for 2016-2020 FTRP
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is reviewing the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) Full Tariff Review Proceeding Initial Decision, which was delivered on March 7, 2016. In its submission, BEL explained that it had fully returned all previous cost of power savings to customers. As a result, BEL requested an average Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.3900 per kWh to improve service reliability and expand its service to over 200 communities. The PUC’s Initial Decision proposes a $57 million reduction in BEL’s projected cash requirements over the next four years, resulting in a MER of $0.3643 per kWh. The Company will review the details of the Initial Decision to determine which programs and services the PUC is proposing to cut in order to comply with this decision. BEL will formally respond to the PUC by March 22, 2016 as required by law.
20,000 Strong Rally
The 20,000 Strong rally is happening this Friday. They have a video out about the event, and there will be transportation available. Happy International Women's Day! "We ready! Unnu Ready?"
Budget Day In Belmopan Brings News Of Ballooning Deficit
Today was budget day in Belmopan and coming right off a long weekend, the politics of the day seemed muted in the House of Representatives. Sure, there were a few protesters outside, but inside the chamber, the Prime Minister rolled through a budget that promised stability, not sugar plums. Jules Vasquez reports: Dubbed "Stability in a Time of Change" - Prime Minister Dean Barrow's ninth budget presentation was a study in conservative optimism: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "At the current and forecast state of the public finances of Belize are both sturdy and stable." Stable doesn't mean growing by leaps and bounds - GDP growth is forecast at a modest 1.5 to 2.0, and the only thing really growing is the deficit which ballooned to 5% of GSP in the 2015 - 2015 fiscal year, and the wage bill which will surge to 400 million dollars in the new fiscal year. Bur Barrow was proud of three years of record wage increase for teachers and public officers:
Briceno Blasts Budget
But, despite the across the board increases for public officers and teachers - the Leader of the Opposition was not impressed. John Briceno said that the budget was even worse than he expected:.. Mike Rudon, CH5: "Is it as bad as you've expected?" Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "I think it's probably worse. I think that it's quite telling that the Prime Minister went from the "best is yet to come" to "Stability in the time of change." Obviously he has forgotten all the political rhetoric coming to the elections. First of all when we look at the overall numbers that we have, a record deficit. A deficit of over 5% of GDP and even the Prime Minister had to accept that norm - what is the accepted internationally and he is using the excuse of wanting to that he has to do to the interest of the people. We know that that's not really the case. The case is that they went into a spending spree so that they can win, or as some would say "buy the elections." So they bought the elections and now we have to pay for it."
PM Says Briceno Insulted Electorate
And while that's the formal debate in two weeks on the 22nd and 23rd of March, we asked the Prime Minister what he thought of Briceno's statement that he blew last year's budget to buy the election:... Jules Vasquez: "The Leader of the Opposition in his brief remarks said that it is in fact the price that you are paying for (his words) buying the election. How do you respond to that?" Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Well I would think that the people of Belize might want to give him a stick licking. When you say that the government bought the election, you are basically saying that the government bought the people and I would think that that's an insult."
GOB Wants 50 M From Fuel Import Duty
Briceno also criticized the Prime Minister for increasing import duties on fuel. He said that higher gas prices slow down the economy. But, Government needs to raise 50 million in import duty from fuel to bolster tax collection. But what happens when the world prices for oil - which are near a historic low - rebound? Will government then bring back down the import duties? As consumers, we all know too well that prices and taxes only ever seem to go in one direction, and that's up. The PM told us today it is a balancing act: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "If and when that does start to happen, in deed we will have to manipulate the import duty application some more. By then of course it would not be import duty, it will be excise. Part of what we are doing in terms of the removal of the RRD and we move to an excise regime on imported fuel and fuel products as well. But by the time we have to do that, if in fact we have to do it, I think we will be well on our way to making the target we've set for ourselves."
Woman Kills Her Husband In San Pedro
A Guatemalan woman, living in San Pedro, is being held by police and we she could be facing a murder charge. That's because on Sunday March 6th Alida Catzim fatally stabbed her husband, 43 year old Rommel Catzim. But the case is a little tricky because the couple reportedly had a history of domestic disputes. Police are unable to say much because of the sensitivity of the matter but what we found out on a visit to san Pedro today is that the couple, who had recently moved to the San Pedrito area were socializing outside of their apartment. Reports are that they were drinking. Then, for reasons which we could not confirm, an argument ensued which quickly escalated. Superintendent Sandra Boden, Officer Commanding San Pedro Police Formation told us more. "On Sunday March 6th about 9:30pm, police received information of a male person lying on a verandah in the San Pedrito area apparently motionless. Police visited the area where they observed a male person laying down in a pool of blood with several stab wounds and he appeared to be dead. He was taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His identity was learnt to be Rommel Catzim, 43 years old, Belizean construction worker of San Pedrito area. Our initial investigations revealed that Mr. Catzim had an apparent domestic issue with his wife Alida Barrientos Catzim who is a Guatemalan national, where she allegedly inflicted the injuries to Mr. Catzim causing his demise."
Man Killed In Front Of His Child
A man was shot and killed in front of his 4 year old daughter in Back Landing, Independence. 48 year old Duane Logan went out into the village on Saturday night and returned home to his family at around 8. As soon as he was opening the door to his house 2 masked men crept up behind him and held him up. One of the men had a gun and the other a machete. Logan was forced inside and ordered to give up money and weed. When Logan refused to give up anything, the man with the machete took his common law wife in the bedroom where she was forced to hand over some money and jewelry. But that was not enough and one of the men shot Logan to the left side of his chest - right in front of his 4 year old daughter and 17 year old niece. The men then ran away. Police have detained 4 people but are still looking for 2 men - one from Back Landing and the other from Dangriga. Police told us Logan has a history of being a drug peddler in that area. Neither the common law wife, niece nor baby were hurt. We will follow up on this murder investigation tomorrow.
Man Charged For Killing Wife
35 year old Jairo Guerra has been charged for the murder of his common law wife , Maria Candelaria Chacon. As we told you, it all started when Guerra came home drunk last Thursday night. The neighbor told us she heard them arguing from that night but it's when she was awakened by Chacon's screams early Friday morning that she realized it was more than just a petty disagreement. The neighbor and her mother tried to bang the door open to save Chacon but Guerra had already beaten her badly, and chopped her to the head and neck. Guerra and Chacon had been together for 5 years. They had no children together.
Trio of Cops For Murder
Three police officers in San Pedro were charged for murder following the vicious beat down of Bartender 30 year old Edwin Ixpatac. At around 4 pm today three of them were shamefully paraded to the magistrate's court in Belize City where they were read charges of murder. They are Police Constables Reydel Teck, Romelio Logan, and Jahsimir Cob. But just what lead the Police Department to criminally charge three of their own? Emanuel Pech reports. 30 year old Edwin Ixpatac, a resident of Cayo began working as a bartender here at Caprice Bar and Grill a couple years ago. On a regular day he would be here serving drinks for guests at Holiday Hotel and other visitors who frequent this bar. Jonathan Garcia- Bartender, Caprice Bar and Grill: "All of us worked as a team and so we try to make everything go good throughout the day. He was a hard working person." And just what made him such an excellent worker? Well his four year old daughter was his biggest motivation.
BDF Says Civilians Shooting In Chiquibul Was Justified
On Friday, we told you about the shootout between a BDF patrol and 2 Guatemalans in the Chiquibul National Park. The BDF soldiers say they were forced to shoot one of the Guatemalans in self-defence. The BDF told us that this law enforcement team, which consisted of BDF soldiers and FCD Rangers, were in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul. They were conducting a patrol to destroy several marijuana plantations which had been detected on an overflight of the area. So, on Thursday, this joint-forces team went into the area on foot. They found the 2 plantations and destroyed the marijuana plants without incident. While traveling through the area, the officers came upon another field with a thatched shed, about 600 meters from the Western Border, and in Belizean territory.
FIFA Bosses To Belize To Work Out Football Controversy
3 weeks ago, we told you about the internal struggle in the Football Federation of Belize. FFB Executive members Cruz Gamez, Marlon Kuylen and Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc passed a motion to suspend President Ruperto Vicente. They accused him on making poor decisions for the progress of football, and manipulating the elections for the District Associations so that they could get their supporters elected. That was supposed to be part of a plot to get Vicente re-elected. Vicente responded by calling their accusations ridiculous, and that this was, from Vicente's perspective, a power play by the 3 to try to take away the presidency by force. He accused them of trying to drag his name in the mud so that the delegates of the FFB Congress would be doubtful of his integrity in the upcoming elections.
BPP Blasts Barrow
At the top of the news, we told you about the budget presentation in Belmopan. Well, while that was happening inside the house, the Belize Territorial Volunteers and Belize Progressive Party, were outside picketing the meeting. They were there to send a message to the Government that the diplomatic note of protest sent to Guatemala about the Sarstoon Showdown is not a sufficient response. They say that the Government has failed to respond adequately to the more aggressive profile of the Guatemalan Navy in the Sarstoon River. This morning, about 60 or so persons showed up on Independence Hill to demonstrate, and we spoke to one of the protesters: Robert "Bobby" Lopez, Protester: "It is important that Belizeans and myself as a Belizean stand up now. It reminds me of 1991 all over again when the both parties joined together to signed and support the maritime area act. That is exactly what we see happening and we see that after 35 years of Independence, our position has weakened. We went from recognized borders to adjacency zone to artificial border, now we have lost the Sarstoon. Next we lose Toledo and soon we lose our country. I think of Mr. Goldson also as a blind man being able to not see, but understand what was taking place 25 years ago with the maritime areas act. Now he stood up."
PM Says “It’s Ridiculous”
So the Barrow Administration remains under pressure for not responding adequately to the Sarstoon Showdown. Today we asked him to respond to the very pointed criticism against him:.. Jules Vasquez: "They had protesters out here today saying that you have acceded land. That you have acceded Sarstoon Island. You have acceded the Sarstoon. How do you respond to that?" Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "That's nonsense." Jules Vasquez: "However, occupation, the Guatemalans showed 10 days ago that in fact they can occupy that as they wish to repel any Belizeans who wish to visit there. Isn't occupation however, temporary an indication of possession?"
New Rule For Immig. Min. Of State: The Castillo Clause
And while talk of the budget and Guatemala dominated today's house meeting, one interesting piece of legislation caught our attention. It will allow the Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration Beverly Castillo to sign certain immigration documents with full ministerial authority. We asked the Prime Minister if this was "legit":... Jules Vasquez: "Are you crafting a law to in fact (I am no interpreter of laws), circumvent the express wish of the constitution that the powers vested in the minister." Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "No, because I am saying that we did this before, just not by way of legislation and we took advice and we've taken advice again and it's perfectly in order. Under the constitution for the minister of delegate some powers to a Junior minister by way of an instrument - that's revocable and so no, we are positive that all we are doing is putting it on a footing where those that had their reservations about doing it as it were administratively, can be comforted."
More Weed Up North
6 days ago, we told you about how Northern Cops made major drug busts which appeared to be flowing in through the northern border. Well tonight, Orange Walk Police are reporting that they've made yet another bust, and this one has led to an arrest and jail sentence. The bust happened last night at around 7:45. Acting on Special Branch intelligence, Orange Walk cops intercepted a two persons on motorcycle on Princess Diana Street in Orange Walk Town. They are identified as 35 year-old Genaro Pott and 51 year-old Fortunato Coye. They were ordered to stop, but instead they sped off. Police caught them and searched the bike. That's when they found 2.26 kilos of marijuana - about 6 pounds, and police then escorted them, the cycle, and the drugs to the police station.
Million Dollar Baby Comes Home Healthy
Just after the Christmas Holiday, we showed you Baby Gismael Aban, the newborn from Corozal who was born without the tube connecting his mouth to his stomach. That's normally a death sentence, but with the quick response of his physician in Corozal, the KHMH, and World Pediatric Project, he was flown out on a private jet to the Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital. While in Richmond, Virginia the doctors performed the life-saving surgery on him, and after 2 months of monitoring to make sure there were no complications, he was allowed to go home. He arrived in at the PGIA on Saturday night, and 7News was there for his healthy homecoming. Daniel Ortiz reports:
Visiting Doctors For Pediatrics
And while that was the highlight of the evening, there was more good news for the local doctors. A team of volunteer medical professionals also arrived on that flight with Baby Gismael. They're here to donate their time by providing medical services to patients in the rural areas all around the country. It's part of the program called Friends of Pediatrics, and Dr. Cecilio Eck told us how it will work: Dr. Eck and the Donors say that you should look out for the medical team's arrival in your area.
Ruta Maya 2016 Was Grand
The La Ruta Maya River Challenge 2016 ended yesterday. 61 teams began the arduous journey on Friday morning from the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio to the Swing Bridge in Belize City. It was a tough 4 days for these teams, even for the veteran paddlers, but no matter how tired and sore they were, they all pushed harder at the end. Channel 7 teamed up with host and producer Rhonda Crichton to air the last leg of race live yesterday. We have a short clip of those final seconds to the finish line as Oceana and Koop Sheet Metal go head to head for the win. We start off with that and go into interviews with both Oceana and Koop Sheet Metal. Here is how it went: Although OCEANA won yesterday, Koop Sheet Metal took first place for the entire race. The team members were Jerry Rhaburn, Jerry Cante and Hener Cruz. We also spoke with the 1st place winners for the Intramural and female category. Here is what they had to say about their win.
Hon. Espat Doesn’t Want ICJ
Last week, PUP Leader John Briceno announced to the media that the PUP would be revisiting its position on the ICJ. The party had taken a hardline against the ICJ during the latter stages of Francis Fonseca's tenure, but Briceno - who ahs always supported an ICJ solution wants to revisit that. Now he needs the support of his executive make it official. But, it seems he would definitely not have the support of his deputy leader Julius Espat who is not an ICJ advocate. Today we asked him about the difference between himself and his leader:... Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Deputy Leader: "I don't think the party has changed its position. The party is analyzing its position which is quite different. I haven't changed mine and that is that we don't believe that going to the ICJ at this point in time is the best thing for the country. That's my position and I will stay strong with that. I know we have a problem with the west with it. We have a problem in the south with it, because it touches our hearts quite closely and so people might say well it's all about Belizeans in general. Yeah, but if you live in west at the border and Cayo South, you have to understand is where a major part of the problems lies - the Chiquibul is in our area and the guys from the south have similar problems. So, I think it's a risk too for us to take and that we will have discussions and that's important."
PM Says Guatemalans Shouldn’t Get Jumpy Over Chiquibul
For his part the Prime Minister does support an ICJ resolution, but has left it as a vote of conscience for his party. We asked him whether Thursday's shooting of a Guatemalan civilian in the Chiquibul will ramp up hostilities with Guatemala coming less than a week after the Sarstoon Showdown. He said the western in Chiquibul and the southern border on the Sarstoon are two very different things:... Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Are the confidence building measures, the protocols that govern what happens on the ground. There are no such facilities, no such arrangements with respect to the Chiquibul and that's the distinction. They, the Guatemalans must also be aware of exactly what's happening in the Chiquibul and know that in terms of the security patrols, there is always the possibility that something such as happened last week will happen. I can't rule of the possibility completely of people over there trying to make that connection that you suggested they might want to make, but I would feel pretty confident that those really in charge will immediately appreciate the distinction between Chiquibul and the Sarstoon."
Waterloo Wants Berthing Facility
In another bit of news from today's house meeting, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Ashcroft-allied Waterloo Group which currently runs the Port of Belize is interested in building a cruise ship berthing terminal at the Port of Belize - once they work out the siltation issues:... Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Is that the Waterloo people PIL, has indicated that they have every interest in pursuing the possibility of doing to port. So while there is…yes…they want to do two things. They want to do sort of bulk …expand where they are so that they can do more bulk cargo and they want to do the actually cruise facility and it's not the question of never the twain shall meet. I gather that that's perfectly in order; it happens in other areas. So the only thing is the question of silting and how much dredging must be done. But it appears that since that place was originally dredged, there hasn't been much silting up that's taken place. So while Waterloo must get the right experts to be able to advice properly, preliminarily it does seem as though it is absolutely likely that the project will prove feasible."
PM Didn't Push For "Rt. Hon."
And finally from the house meeting - we asked the Prime Minister about his new title: Right Honorable. It means he's part of the Privy Council - and it's like being called up to the big leagues by the Queen herself. But usually Prime Minsters get it after they've earned two terms - while PM Barrow is on his third. He told us why it took longer:... "It came in my third and not my second, because I made no effort to acquire. Basically, once you win two, it's a kind of entitlement. But there is something that needs to be done and I did not do it, because for me it really is no big deal. I didn't do it this time neither. Unbeknownst to me, a member of the Belize High Commission in the UK went to the British unbeknownst to me. Otherwise things would have remained in the third term as they were in the second term."
Spectacular Sight At Isidoro Beaton
And our last item tonight is also out of Belmopan - but this one has to do with a football game. As was mentioned in the House of Representatives today the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the Capital will have its grand opening next week. And from what we've seen of these night time pictures, the first full sized stadium in Belize with artificial turf is spectacular. But the really spectacular news is that the first game will be played against the champions from Honduras, Progresso featuring Belize's ace goalkeeper Woodrow West against The Belmopan Bandits featuring star goalie, Shane Moody Orio. The game is set for next Tuesday March 15th.
PM Barrow Presents His ‘Stability’ Budget
The House of Representatives met in session this morning, and in short order there was the much anticipated presentation of the budget for fiscal year 2016/2017. It’s Prime Minister Dean [...]
Petrocaribe Still Trickling In for Now
Petrocaribe money played a very significant role in the spending which characterized the 2015/2015 fiscal year. The Barrow administration has taken significant and continuous flak for its spending of the [...]
Citrus Industry Payroll Woes Should Be Resolved Soon
Speaking on the adjournment in response to a question raised, the PM also spoke at length about a current crisis facing the citrus industry. In a release issued late last [...]
P.U.P. Leader Says Budget is Worse Than Expected
P.U.P. leader John Briceño has been openly forecasting that the budget would be a dismal one based on a variety of factors, including industries which seem to be falling and [...]
Barrow Says Budget Reflects Investment and Not Overspending
Not surprisingly, PM Barrow wasn’t impressed by Briceño’s preliminary analysis of his Stability budget. He says that it wasn’t about overspending to buy the affections of the people, but rather [...]
3 San Pedro Cops Charged for Murder of Bartender
In the prime tourism destination of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, two persons were murdered adding to the list of homicide statistics since the beginning of the year. A Cayo resident [...]
Woman Detained for Fatally Stabbing Her Husband
Domestic violence reared its ugly head again in a murder in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. Last Thursday, a woman from the Salvapan community in Belmopan was killed due to domestic [...]
Home Invasion Leads to Murder in Mango Creek
The third murder involved the fatal weekend shooting of an Independence resident following a home invasion on Saturday night. Police in that southern community are trying to ascertain, if it [...]
Attempted Suspension of F.F.B. President Will Not Stand
Embattled F.F.B. President Ruperto Vicente’s ad hoc suspension has been ruled invalid. A legal team representing FIFA flew into the country over the weekend and met with three executives from [...]
Is it Business As Usual in the F.F.B.?
Notwithstanding the disappointing outcome of Sunday’s meeting, Gamez told the media that they are all working in the best interest of football and will continue to serve under Vicente’s leadership. [...]
PM Barrow Says Waterloo Interested in Port Loyola Cruise Port
Much cruise port speculation has been making the rounds after representatives of G.O.B. met with interested party Waterloo last week. Initial reports, unofficial, indicated that Ashcroft affiliated Waterloo was not [...]
Guatemalan Shot in the Chiquibul
There was an altercation in the Chiquibul last Thursday which resulted in the B.D.F. shooting a Guatemalan in the leg. Belize Defense Force and Friends for Conservation and Development rangers [...]
Prime Minister on Fuel
Barrow’s administration has come under fire for recently increasing the import duties on fuel. That action in effect caused Regular and Diesel pump prices to go up, even as the [...]
Protesters Outside House Say Barrow Administration is Failed Leadership
Outside the House this morning about seventy-five protesters from the Belize Territorial Volunteers, the Northern Territorial Volunteers and from Mayan villages down South protested what they say is failed leadership. [...]
Prime Minister Says Allegation by Protesters is Nonsense
Barrow says any claim that his government has ceded any part of Belizean territory is nonsense. The PM says that if Belize’s military and government responds in the way in [...]
Festival of Arts Launched in Belize City
The much anticipated Festival of Arts was launched this morning. It kicked off at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts for pre-schoolers of the Belize District. The show will [...]
Koop Sheet Metal Wins La Ruta Maya Canoe Race
La Ruta Maya canoe race in its 19th year reached another milestone in entertainment despite a mighty downpour just before Friday’s start from below the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio. [...]
Belizean Woman Dies in Peten, Guatemala
A Belizean couple was involved in a road accident on Friday night in San Benito, Peten in Guatemala. Love News understands that the 54-year-old Belizean woman was driving her personal vehicle to Flores, Peten and she and her husband were heading to a Church Revival when they were rear-ended by a Government vehicle which caused […]
New Budget Figures Presented for FY 2016/2017
This morning Prime Minister, Right Honorable Dean Barrow gave his eighth budget presentation. The Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 is entitled “Stability in a Time of Change”. According to the Prime Minister, the 2016/2017 Budget targets a preliminary Primary Balance of One Percent of GDP and an Overall Deficit of […]
Protestors Gather at Independence Hill as House Meeting Convenes
While Prime Minister, Right Honorable Dean Barrow, was making his budget presentation, a number of Belizeans were picketing outside the National Assembly Building. Hipolito Novelo reports.
PM Says Belize/Guatemala Issue to be Left to the Professionals
The protestors dispersed before midday. Following the House Meeting, Prime Minister Dean Barrow shared his reaction to the protest. DEAN BARROW “You know these people have a claim, you know their claim is in a sense almost bizarre in terms of saying that the entire Sarstoon belongs to them, we completely reject that, we will […]
JB Says Consultation is the Way to Go; Julius Says His Stance Remains on the ICJ
The People’s United Party has not officially taken a firm position on whether or not to take Guatemala’s claim to the international court of justice. Party Leader John Briceno says that consultation needs to take place but Cayo South, Julius Espat, says his mind is made up. JOHN BRICENO “It’s not a matter of being […]
BPP Circulates Their Solution to the Belize/Guatemala Issue
The Belize Progressive Party has circulated a document entitled, Solutions to the Belize – Guatemala Territorial Dispute. The document begins by stating, quote, “The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is not Belize’s only option and it should not be tabled as Belize’s only option. The PUDP has done everything in their power to confuse Belizeans […]
US Names Belize as One of Fourteen Money Laundering Nations
The 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report has been released by the US State Department and there is a list of fourteen Caribbean countries named as major money laundering nations. In the document, a major money laundering country is defined as one whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from […]
Woman Kills Partner in their Home
A man was stabbed and killed in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, reportedly at the hands of his common law wife. Police say they arrived on scene and found the body of Romel Catzin, a construction worker, lying face down in a pool of blood at the couple’s home. Investigating Officer, Superintendent Sandra Bodden, Officer Commanding […]
Bartender Dies …. Was it at the Hands of San Pedro Police??
A man from San Pedro Ambergris Caye has succumbed to injuries that he sustained after being beaten. On Saturday evening, Edwin Ixpatac (ISH-PA-TAC) reportedly had gone for a swim when a couple Police officers appeared on the scene and demanded that he come out of the water. Sometime after being detained by the officers, Ixpatac […]
Budget presentation; protest outside House
Prime Minister Dean Barrow will present the 2016 National Budget during a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives today at the National Assembly building in Belmopan. On the agenda for introduction today is the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill, 2016; as well as […]
BELTRAIDE empowers 240 women with $790,000 seed capital for small businesses
Some 240 women have received funding to start their own small businesses, through small grants totaling US$340,000 ($790,000) provided under the BA-1 project, “Prevention of Violence against women in Central America”. This was funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for […]
Belize Progressive Party calls on GOB to defend Belize
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) joined today’s protest on Independence Hill along with the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) and a handful of Belizeans demanding that the government take a more assertive position in dealing with the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute. For their part, the BPP […]
Man charged and sentenced for drugs
An Orange Walk Town man has been charged and sentenced to prison for three years for drug trafficking. His charge and sentence follows his arrest on Monday night. Police report that about 7:45, with a tip from the Special Branch, officers intercepted a motorcycle on Princess Diana Street. […]
23 year old was driving without a license, insurance when he crashed into House of Culture fence on 9th of March holiday!
23 year old Darrell Gough escaped serious penalties for a series of traffic offenses occurring on Monday’s public and bank holiday. He was speeding, said police, and had no license and no insurance when he got behind the wheels of a Honda car where he ended up […]
Ex-cop and partner acquitted of attempted corruption of an officer
Back in 2012, GSU police had raided the home of John McAfee in Orange Walk. Police alleged that a number of persons tried to corrupt public officers in order to get information into the case against McAfee. One police officer, Darius Martinez, has since been […]
Three San Pedro Police officers are arraigned for murder in death of San Pedro man
Tonight three San Pedro police officers are on remand at the Belize Central Prison after being arraigned late this evening for the offense of murder. And relatives of the dead San Pedro bartender, 30 year old Edwin Ixpatac are planning to have a peaceful protest on […]
PM presents 2016/2017 budget
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, at this morning’s National Assembly House Sitting, presented government’s budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year. This year’s projected budget is even bigger than last year’s. GOB is projecting a budget of 1,046,958,700. GOB has projected an overall deficit of $62.6 million […]
Orange Walk man reported missing since last month
A 77-year-old mother of Orange Walk Town, Aurora Rejon, reported to police that on February 24, her son, Miguel Rejon, 39, left home and has not been seen or heard from since. Miguel lived with his mother at their corner of Progress and Cinderella […]
Police seize over 200 pounds of weed, find guns and ammunition
On Friday morning around 10:25 in the Wagierale area of Dangriga, police searched an abandoned house and found three Aguila brand, 12 gauge cartridges inside and on the following day in the same area, officers found 322 grams of cannabis when they searched an […]
Guatemalans busted with firearms and weed plantation in Chiquibul
During a patrol about 600 meters away from the Belize-Guatemala border on Thursday of last week, members of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) along with Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) personnel, came across a marijuana plantation measuring approximately 100 meters squared. As the team approached the […]
Belmopan Cops find over 6 pounds of weed
Just after midnight yesterday, a search conducted by police on Agriculture Street in the Las Flores area of Belmopan, resulted in the discovery of 3,074 grams of cannabis in an abandoned lot. Equivalent to 6.8 pounds, the cannabis was found in a black plastic […]
Weed found in Arenal Village
Police in Arenal Village, Cayo District, recovered a bag containing 155.3 grams of cannabis after a Hispanic male dropped it and ran upon sight of officers on patrol last Thursday. At around 2:55 p.m. that day, officers saw the man, who was walking across […]
Guatemalan caught with firearm in Chiquibul
Guatemalan National, Elder Esduardo Espania Perez, 18, was detained by Belizean authorities in the Chiquibul National Park and is pending charges for an unlicensed firearm and six live rounds of ammunition. While conducting patrol near Caracol and Valentin Camp, police, along with Belize Defense Force […]
Domestic dispute ends in murder
On Friday morning around 5:52 in the Salvapan area of Belmopan, police discovered the badly cut and bleeding body of Maria Candelaria Reymundo, 45, who had been involved in a domestic dispute with her 35-year-old boyfriend, Jaird Jeremias Guerra. Reymundo was cut to the neck and right side […]
Civil Aviation introducing new policy on drones
The Department of Civil Aviation, along with the Customs Department and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is in the process of finalizing a new policy on flying drones in and around Belize. According to Lindsay Garbutt, director of Civil Aviation, the agencies have been working on […]
San Pedro man killed by common-law-wife
A San Pedro man was pronounced dead yesterday afternoon at the island’s polyclinic after he was stabbed multiple times, allegedly by his 45-year-old wife, Alida Lily Barrientos De Catzim on Sunday night. Police visited the couple’s residence in the San Pedrito area on Sunday […]
A dry and gusty southeasterly airflow prevails
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight with little or no rainfall. Winds will be blowing from the East and Southeast at 10-20 knots with occasional gusts and the sea state will be moderate, […]
Ancient Shipwrecks Could Be Key To Forecasting Hurricanes
A study of Spanish shipwrecks and tree-ring records revealed the period from 1645 to 1715 had the fewest hurricanes in the Caribbean, since 1500. The research was the first to utilize shipwrecks as a hurricane activity substitute. The University of Arizona-led study found that the period, also know as the Maunder Minimum, had the fewest numbers of Caribbean hurricanes - a 75 percent reduction. Lead study author Valerie Trouet explained that by fusing shipwrecks and tree-ring data, they were able to study past hurricane records and advance the information on hurricane variability. According to global climate models, hurricanes will become more intense with climate change. However, the current models have yet to make reliable regional hurricane predictions. Analyzing hurricane and climate correlations in the last 500 years could aid in predicting regional hurricanes better. "We found that in the years when many ships wrecked in the Caribbean, the trees in Florida Keys showed the same signal that trees show during hurricanes," said Trouet, an associate professor from the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
Biofuel manufacturer to invest US$95 million in Jamaica by 2017
As renewable energy demands increase globally, bio-fuel developer Benchmark Renewable Energy LLC has announced plans to develop a large-scale bio-ethanol operation in Jamaica. The company has confirmed that the project will include the development of an advanced bio-ethanol plant with production capacity of ten million gallons of ethanol fuel per year and three Megawatts (MW) of excess electricity to be delivered to the local grid. With projections of expanding production to 20 million gallons in the first few years of operations, Benchmark estimates that the project will require investments of approximately US$95 million. Chief financial officer of Benchmark, Juan Briceno, said the company chose Jamaica for the project due to the country’s familiarity with large-scale sugar cane production, which would be similar to the production of sweet sorghum -- a crop that is used to create bio-fuel.
Regional officials gather in Guyana for electoral workshop
Senior electoral officials, experts from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and representatives of other regional organisations have gathered in Guyana for a three-day discussion aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences and good practices on election observation. About 40 participants from CARICOM member states, CARICOM Secretariat, United Nations, as well as some other regional and intergovernmental organisations are attending this electoral event co-organised by the CARICOM Secretariat and the UN. Hosted on the theme “Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections” (BRIDGE), the workshop opened on Monday morning in Georgetown. Delivering remarks were UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative, Khadija Musa, and deputy secretary-general, CARICOM Secretariat, Manorma Soeknandan. In the past 30 years, there has been dramatic increase in the number of countries around the globe that have elected to conduct periodic elections. Whilst this is an encouraging trend, Musa pointed out that, at same time, the complexity of the challenges facing elections and election observation has also continued to increase.
Empire Strikes Back Against Belize?
Last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decriminalization, with the cabinet formally handing recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means that the introduction of a decriminalization bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine would be 15 Belizean dollars (US $7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs," explained former National Security Minister Doug Singh. So much for the good news. Just after this happy development made local headlines in Belize, the U.S. State Department released its 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR)—naming the country as one of 14 in Central America and the Caribbean believed to be “major money laundering” centers. The report, released March 5, admits that Belize is not a major regional financial center, but states: "The government of Belize continues to encourage offshore financial activities that are vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing, including offshore banks, insurance companies, trust service providers, mutual fund companies, and international business companies."
College of Nursing Students to Volunteer in Belize During Spring Break
UT Nursing students will spend their spring break volunteering in San Ignacio, Belize, during the College of Nursing‘s annual international health care trip. The college has been going on yearly medical missions since 2001 and has worked in partnership with International Service Learning health programs for the past five years to provide nursing students with a unique out-of-classroom experience. Lynn Blackburn and Karen Lasater, both clinical assistant professors in the college, will travel with eleven students to San Ignacio. The town is located in a remote and underserved area of Belize where homes often lack basic provisions such as electricity and water. “Our students will work with local physicians, nurses, and traditional healers to bring much-needed health education, medicine, and health care services to several underserved communities,” said Blackburn. “By engaging in these activities that address human and community needs, our students are able to develop a cultural competency and a global perspective not possible in the classroom setting.”
CELEBRATING WOMEN IN CARIBBEAN FISHERIES
For more than 100 years International Women’s Day (IWD) has celebrated the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. This year the theme for IWD is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. From this year on IWD, the Gender In Fisheries Team known as GIFT (a team of researchers who share interests in gender in Caribbean small-scale fisheries research and development) is “stepping it up” by promoting the value of women in fisheries. For so long the role of women in fisheries has been undervalued and their activities remain invisible and not adequately documented. Furthermore the socio-economic contribution of women is underestimated. While fishing has been considered to be a male dominated industry, recent investigation on a global scale has shown that females may be in the majority, if supporting activities and post-harvest are taken into account. Acknowledging the diversity of roles that women play in fisheries, the GIFT presents five of the major roles of women in the Caribbean. TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUE VALUE OF FISHERIES IN THE CARIBBEAN, WE MUST APPRECIATE AND UNDERSTAND THE EQUALLY IMPORTANT ROLES THAT BOTH MEN AND WOMEN PLAY.