Today's Belize News: March 28, 2017 - 03/28/17 12:11 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, and other specials
San Pedro’s little ones shine at annual Festival of Arts
Under the theme ‘Born Talented, Born to Shine,’ the various San Pedro Town pre-schools convened at the San Pedro Lions Den on Thursday, March 23rd to showcase their creativity at the 2017 Festival of Arts. As part of Child Stimulation Month, the annual event saw 14 presentations filled with culture, nationalism, and much talent. A packed Den saw the participation of students from Little Angels, Ambergris Caye Elementary, San Pedro, ABC, San Pedro’s Shining Stars, Isla Bonita, and Brighter Tomorrow Pre-Schools.
Volunteers join SPTC in repainting Central Park benches
Volunteers from the non-governmental organization Projects Abroad joined members of The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) on Thursday, March 23rd to repaint the benches at Central Park. Most of the area around the park had been smudged with paint during the town’s festivities of ‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro’, and a touch-up was in order.
Wolfe’s Woofer: Counting
“All right,” I said. “What’s going on here?” “It looks like a traffic checkpoint,” Sherry answered. “There are two lines of cars but whichever one you get in looks like a long wait.” We were barely over the border going from Belize into Mexico and already at our first traffic stop. I pulled over, rolled down the window and settled down for a long wait. In the lane next to us a carload of tourists were arguing with the Mexican policeman. “Señor, this car is not legal,” the policeman was saying.
Remembering Cormac (Corry) Thomas McDermott
On December 11, 1982, Corry married Janet Knips. In 1985, they moved to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and spent the majority of the next 35 years in Real Estate development. They were very active in the local community with philanthropic work, and especially dear to both of them was their work helping the less fortunate and the orphaned children of Belize. When not residing on the island, they also enjoyed living in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and Houston, Texas.
Caribeña Fuel Reopens Service Station After Hurricane Damage
On August 2016, Hurricane Earl caused great damage to many businesses on Ambergris Caye, especially to piers and structures along the beach side. Caribeña Fuels was one of the many that was completely washed away. It may have taken sometime but they are now back and ready for business. The new Pier and service station was officially inaugurated for business on Monday, March 13, 2017. It's great to see most of the businesses on the island bounce back after harmful storms.
Remembering Mr. Eiden Salazar Sr. May He Rest In Peace
Mr Eiden Salazar arrived at San Pedro from Mexico and as a child he roamed bare footed around San Pedro, fishing, swimming, collecting firewood for his mom's cooking, and attended the R.C. School of the island. As a teen Eiden was a fisherman and later married Neydy Alamilla, a union that brought forth four children, Emely Marisa, Jenny, and Eiden Salazar Jr. Eiden then became a businessman and operated Jenny's Store, a movie place and restaurant. Along with his son, Eiden Jr. he also made possible the first radio station on the Island, Reef Radio. A humble man with a wide smile and a good sense of humor, Eiden enjoyed a good life and was a positive role model to his family and community.
2017 Science Fair At San Pedro High School
San Pedro High School held its annual science fair with the theme "Knowledge is Power" on Friday, March 24th, 2017 at the R. Angel Nunez Auditorium. Students got the chance to portray what they have learnt using simple products such as fruits, water and other household items to create them into something amazing. Those who attended where surprised by the amount of knowledge and dedication students put into their project. Others couldnt resist noticing that some of these ideas are really good and would benefit San Pedro if they were to be implemented by the town council. Good Job SPHS!!!
San Pedro Expands Blood Drives To Caye Caulker
The Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch was pleased to facilitate training for the first blood drive (that they know of) on Caye Caulker. Belize Blood Services Nurse Doreen Madrill and Juan Rocha, Lab Tech, both confirmed in the 13 and 14 years that they have been working for Belize Blood Services that they have never done a blood drive there. The monumental event was carried out March 4th with the help of Noelle Gray, Nurse Chris Diego, island residents and the support of local San Pedro and Caye Caulker businesses. The blood drive was a huge success. A strong show of community support made it clear that Caye Caulker Islanders are huge advocates for blood collection. They came out steadily all day long and donated a total of 21 pints by 3:00 pm.
Misc Belizean Sources
Shop at Saga Stella & Dot Trunk Show
Shopping with Stella & Dot is not only fun, but until April 15, 2017, proceeds from this exclusive Saga Trunk Show will benefit the dogs and cats that call Saga Humane Society home. Can't find that perfect gift for your best friend? Need something great for Mother's Day? Graduation is just around the corner. Why not find that perfect something right now and save a life. The shelter is full and the cattery is overcrowded, but we take them all, heal them and now must find them forever homes. Your purchase will help us do just that.
SBDC Workshop: Importance of Planning for the Future
Presented by: Ms. Monique Usher, Post/Teaching Description: Business Advisor SBDCBelize, Beltraide. Location: Beltraide Conference Room, 14 Orchid Garden Street, , Belize City Workshop Date: March 30th, 2017. Time: 9am to 12noon. Through this workshop you will understand how to develop your strategic plan You will also learn tips in how to sustain your strategic plan, avoid running strategic meetings and maintain energy in your planning process (and life). Cost: $30.00. Includes snacks and refreshments.
Energy Information Management and Belizean Energy Information Workshop
The Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities (MPSEPU) in partnership with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) will be hosting an Energy Information Management and Belizean Energy Information System workshop on March 28th – 31st, 2017. This event will be hosted at the Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City, commencing on Tuesday, March 28th at 8:30 a.m. The objective of the Energy Information Management system is to provide data to support the evidence basis to advance the Ministry’s strategy to expand renewable sources of energy and reduce the country’s dependence on imported refined fossil fuels.
Beach Volleyball Tournament April 15 & 16
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Watercolour paintings are currently on display as part of the Arte con Voz de Mujer Exhibit
Showcasing the works of 11 female artists from Corozal. Visit the Corozal House of Culture to view more.
Hon. Edmond Castro and Hon. Godwin Hulse Main Speakers at Maskall Village Fair
Main speakers at the first ever Agriculture and Trade Fair in the village of Maskall yesterday, March 26th, were Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon. Edmond Castro, who is also Area Representative for Belize Rural North; and Minister of Agriculture Hon Godwin Hulse. In his address at the opening ceremony, Minister of Agriculture Hon. Godwin Hulse remarked that the event was timely, and he said their newly adopted motto at the Ministry of Agriculture, “LET’S GET GROWING”, fits well with Belize Rural North Area Representative Hon. Edmond Castro’s mission which is, “CLEAR THE LAND”. Put them together, he explained, and you have a full plan of action: “CLEAR THE LAND and LET’S GET GROWING.”
Attorney General Participates in ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at the European Parliament in Brussels
Senator and Attorney General of Belize, the Honourable Michael Peyrefitte, represented Belize at the 45th Session of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly and the Inter-sessional meetings of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) held from the 21st to 24th March 2017 in Brussels, Belgium at the European Parliament. The Honourable Senator also represented Belize at the Caucus of CARIFORUM parliamentarians and Brussels-based Ambassadors held on 24th March, and hosted by the Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guyana, the Honourable Carl B. Greenidge.
The National Sports Council Contributes to Citizen Security through Sports Development
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture through the National Sports Council (NSC), the Eastern Police Division (South) and the Collet Community teamed up to enhance the safety of youth who wish to participate in sporting and recreational activities. Through a cleanup and lighting project, the residents of Faber’s Road Extension are now enjoying their basketball court and football field. The National Sports Council assisted in installing lights on the fields to promote healthy evening and night recreational activities. Additionally, the NSC embarked on an extensive cutting and cleanup of the football field, the basketball court and surrounding areas. The basketball court will be resurfaced over the next few weeks.
PACT Annual Investment Award Ceremony
Today PACT held it's Annual Investment Award Ceremony with this year's recipients being awarded under two new categories of investment funding - 'Single' and 'Multiple'. A total of BZ 1.1 million dollars was awarded through 5 grants. Recipients included the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development - Belize, Southern Environmental Association, PROGRAMME FOR BELIZE, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations - APAMO and Ya'axché Conservation Trust, alongside the Belize Audubon Society and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE). Congratulations to all grantees! The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) extends its warmest wishes to all the investment award recipients and wishes them every success in the execution of their projects!
UTSA President's Distinguished Achievement Award
Congratulations to Dr. Jason Yaeger, MVAP project director, for receiving the UTSA President's Distinguished Achievement Award for Advancing Globalization! This award recognizes one faculty member per year who has significantly expanded UTSA’s involvement in the global arena.
SACD’s Executive Director featured on MAR Leadership Programme
Congratulations to SACD’s Executive Director for being featured on last week’s MAR Leadership programme. Mr.Verde, has had an everlasting dedication to ensure that his fellow community people recognize that it is only through sustainable practices that there can be hope towards a better future. His passion for conservation and his community, are his drive to one day inspire enough people to join his belief. SACD, is proud to have him as it’s Executive Director.
APRIL FOOL's COMEDY SHOW IN SAN PEDRO
It's time to laugh once again. It has been a year since our last comedy show, so this year we're stepping it up with an even bigger lineup of local performers! That's right! A bunch of bozos you know and hopefully love will be performing for you this Saturday, including: Date: Saturday April 1st, 2017 Time: 7:30 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. Place: Sandbar Location: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye BRAD REEDER (Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing) BEN POPIK ROB BURROWS JOE CHUNG MICHAEL TAYLOR JAKE FROM STATE FARM It's going to be a great show for a great cause! Tickets are $25bz, and all ticket proceeds go to benefit the Hope Haven Childrens Home. Tickets will be available starting Wednesday at Sandbar, The Truck Stop, and Crazy Canucks. Tickets will likely sell out, so get yours as soon as you can! See you Saturday!
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program
Being smart is cool! On Friday, we had our second STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program at the Embassy. We were delighted to host 12 female students from Belmopan Comprehensive School. Charge d’Affairs Adrienne Galanek welcomed the group and inspired them to study STEAM subjects and to consider careers in STEAM. Megan, the Embassy's Facility Manager, and Heidi, our Electrical Engineer, encouraged students to embrace various fields of STEAM and took them on a tour of the Embassy, explaining the science and technology behind our air conditioning and water treatment systems, xeriscaping, and our new solar panels! An Embassy representative also spoke to the students about cyber violence and the importance of being vigilant on social media. Remember, once you post or share a picture online, it will be there FOREVER! Be smart, be safe, be STEAM!
Honouring Tomasa Novelo de Paz
In celebration of Woman's month, we invite you to celebrate the life of Tomasa Novelo de Paz. An outstanding woman who opted to share her gift and skills to benefit her community. Friday, March 31 at 7 PM - 11 PM. San Pedro House of Culture.
One of the Most Violent 72 Hours in History
The past 72 hours have been one of the most violent and traumatic periods in Belize's history. There were 8 murders, 5 of them in the city, and one of them right at the second biggest police station in the country. More than that, three persons lost their lives in traffic fatalities. Indeed, it's a dizzying panorama of violence, and tonight the community, the police and the media are still grappling with it. The victims range from a 16 year old in Cristo Rey, Cayo, to a 59 year old in Belize City, and, so far, only one arrest has been reported, and that is of the man who stabbed a police officer to death right in front of a whole police station - full of cops who didn't have guns, so they had to knock him out with a cement block. Indeed, it leaves your head spinning - and the unprecedented rash of violence forced the Commissioner of Police and his senior commanders in the city to hold a press briefing. The main thing the media wanted to know was if the police have a plan to ensure greater public safety. Here's how the Commissioner described the current situation and the police response:
Weekend of Violence Begins with Double Murder for Double-Riders
And we start our coverage of all these murders with the first two that occurred in the city. It happened early on Saturday morning when two men - one 34 and the other 59, were double riding on a bicycle on Kelly Street. Near to Chon Saan Restaurant, a white car pulled up and opened fire with two guns. Both men were shot twice in the head, and they both died on the spot - strewn across the street with a bicycle between them. It's a very unusual double murder and Daniel Ortiz went looking for answers today:... Daniel Ortiz reporting: Pain, loss, and disbelief...these were but some of the complex emotions that the families of 34-year-old Byron Marshall and 59-year-old Nelson Noralez were struggling with today when we got a chance to speak with them. They were still trying to understand what prompted their double murder on Saturday night.
12 Hours Later, Another Murder
About 13 hours later, Belize City police had to return to that very same city block to take control of another murder scene, and this one was in a yard right down the street from where the double murder happened. That's where they found 30 year-old Randy Green, who lives nearby, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The police tried to rush him to the KHMH to get medical treatment, but he died while in transit. Today, the police told us what they've been able to find out so far about Green's fatal shooting: ACP Dezerie Phillips - OC, Eastern Division North: "The second incident occurred on Saturday March 25th around 3:45pm, where one, Randy Green was fatally shot whilst inside a carpentry shop on Freetown Road. Investigations reveal that Green was inside this compound along with other persons when a gun man walk into the compound and fire shots fatally wounding him."
Senate Debates But Cannot Delay Budget, Because GOB Has Church Support
So far we've told you about three of the weekend's eight murders. We'll tell you about the other five shortly, but first we'll cut to the senate. Today the upper house met with 13 senators for the first time. They had a very full day of business, and at this hour the meeting is still ongoing. But the center price was the budget debate, and here are a few clips from that back and forth:... At this time, the budget debate is winding up. The Senate still has 11 bills to discuss after that, so the meeting will be going for a while. But, the big question is will the Senate be able to use its non government majority to delay the budget? It would be a first, but as you saw the church senator supports the budget giving the government six, one more to make it 7 in support - so it will pass.
Still Fighting Over Superbond, Even In Senate
And the Senate also had a robust debate on the Superbond. Parliament has to approve the Amendment to the terms and conditions off the bonds - and here ar multiple sides of that argument:â€¦
AG Says He Did It For Free, Not For Fees
And while they differ on the bond: the PUP and the UDP seem to agree on one thing: the fees related to the negotiating the bond is a prickly issue. The Attorney General bristled at just the mention of it:..
And one more interesting bit is the information that came out of today's sitting about Belize's Ambassador to Vienna, Joel Nagle. PUP Shadow minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay says it is an international embarrassment:â€¦
Two Killings In A Small Stann Creek Village
We report now on the two weekend murders which happened in the Stann Creek Village of Santa Cruz. The first one is believed to have happened sometime between late Friday and early Saturday morning. That's when the police found 55 year-old Guatemalan Roberto De Leon, who appeared to have been robbed, and beaten to death. This morning, the officer in charge of the National Crimes Investigation Branch gave us an update on what the investigators know so far: ACP Joseph Myvette, Head - NCIB: "Roberto De Leon, 55 years old farmer was found motionless outside his vehicle on an unnamed street just behind the football field. Initial police investigation revealed that Mr. De Leon had left his home sometime around 4pm enroute to the orange factory to deliver oranges in Pomona."
Santa Cruz Stabbing
Police also had to return to that village early this morning when they found the body of Belizean Austin Zavala, who had been stabbed to death. Assistance Police Commissioner Myvette also discussed that one: ACP Joseph Myvette, Head - NCIB: "The third murder was that of Austin Zavala, 23 years old, Belizean of Santa Cruz Village, Stann Creek District. Sometime around 2am this morning, police responded to a bar in the village of Santa Cruz where the lifeless body of Austin Zavala was seen with one single stab wound to the left side of his chest."
Cristo Rey Teenager Killed, Possibly By Relative
The violent weekend's youngest victim is a 16 year old Guatemalan. At 6:30 on Saturday in Cristo Rey Village, Rosendo Pop had a dispute with 18 year old Victor Galleano, both boys are said to be related. Reports are that the dispute was over a girl. But police could not confirm that at this point. Galleano reportedly stabbed Pop to the chest. He died on the spot. Police have since detained Galleano pending charges. Here is what police had to say on this case. ACP Joseph Myvette, Head - NCIB: "Sometime around 6:30pm on Saturday 25 March, police responded to an incident in Cristo Rey Village, where one Rosendo Pop 16 years old, Guatemalan unemployed, was seen with one single stab wound to the left side of his chest." "Initial police investigation revealed that the deceased along with a group of persons were engaged in an altercation with one Victor Galeano. As a consequence the deceased is allege to have punch Galeano and Galeano responded by stabbing the deceased. Galeano is in police custody pending investigation."
Cop Killed By Civilian In Country’s Biggest Police Station
As we told you at the top of the news, it's been the most murderous weekend in memory. But perhaps the most incredible murder is 43 year old PC Nervin Locke, known as Marvin. He was killed right at the Raccoon Street police station, right in front of a whole station full of officers. Julie Arias, Mother: "From he is growing up he always says to me, mom I want to be a policeman so I said well son you have to work into it, it's not just saying you are going to be a police man you have to work to be a policeman." Courtney Weatherburne reporting: And he did work at it. PC Nervin Locke realized his goal of becoming a police officer. He served for over 15 years and like his colleagues, he got his fair share of working at various check points and patrolling regularly. But yesterday afternoon around 3:00, as he was coming off his shift, PC Locke was murdered right in front of the Raccoon Street police station. A civillian, Marcial Toledo came looking for PC Locke at the station while he was out on patrol. Toledo waited at the station until Locke returned. But it wasn't any friendly visit.
Cop Killer Speechless In Court
And this afternoon, 47 year old Marcial Toledo, a Honduran national was arraigned for the murder of Marvin Locke. When Toledo arrived at court, the two CIB officers escorting him had to physically take him out of the police vehicle because he refused to move. Due to his head and facial injuries as seen in this footage, he appeared barely able to walk. The labourer of Holy Emmanuel Street was taken before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith and read a single charge of murder. Inside the court room, he didn't say a word. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith took note of his unresponsive behaviour, so she asked him several questions.
Man Killed At The same Place His Brother Was Murdered
A 43 year old Selvin Bahadur was gunned down and killed in front of his house on Jones Street, 1 year after his younger brother Micheal Lopez was killed in that same spot. It is very raw and wounding for the family as another loved ones'd blood is shed right at their front steps. It happened last night after 10:00 and Bahadur's mother and sister told us what they know. Merleen King, Mother: "I was in my bed last night when my common-law-husband told me that he heard a gunshot." Courtney Weatherburne, 7News: "What time was this?" Merleen King, Mother: "About 10:05pm and he said that it sounded close to the house and I told him to hurry get up and let us see who it is. When we open the door, we saw a police vehicle out there and my neighbor called to me and told me that it's your son out there on the ground. I said "oh my God, my next son by the same spot." I didn't believe it and so I ran out. I was on there on the street, then the police came around and my friends came to assist me. I never believe my son again they took away from me."
Pinks Alley, In The Aftermath Of a Fire Disaster
When we left you on Friday night, the news was about the massive, raging fire in Pink's Alley which left so many homeless. Well, this weekend it became an emergency response effort with so many families and persons homeless. Alex Courtenay documented the efforts to shelter and house these persons:...
Caye Caulker Village Center Was In Flames
And Pink's Alley wasn't the only fire on Friday. At almost the same time the fire started in the Alley, the Caye Caulker Fire Department responded to a house ablaze near the police station. Here's what the fire department's operation officer, Benesford Matura, told us about the investigation so far... Benisford Matura, Ops., Ofc - Fire Dept.: "While we were out at that fire, the officer in charge of Caye Caulker call me at approximately 4:45, which was like 15 minutes into the Pink's Alley fire, there was a fire in Caye Caulker a little ways across from the police station. It's a two story structure, wooden first floor and the ground floor in concrete. It was an apartment building." "The wooden section of the building got gutted and so a part of the cement structure was safe."
Zericote Building Ablaze
There was one more fire in the Belize District this weekend. This time a wooden structure on Zericote Street was engulfed in flames. Matura also told us about the Department's quick response to that fire...
Fire Department Calls For A More Vigilant Public
And after so much loss to fire, Matura made an appeal to the public, asking that all citizens do their best to ensure that they do not contribute to easily preventable fires...
Police and Media Make Nice, For A Day
On tonight's newscast, you've seen a lot on the police press conference that Commissioner Allen Whylie hosted. It was the first one in months by any senior officer. That's after Whylie changed the way that his commanding officers countrywide are allowed to interface with the media. When he first became the commissioner he was the first top cop to authorize the officers in charge of the different formations to give informed briefings on different criminal matters, and what the police are doing to keep things under control. Then, early this year, he decided to go in the completely opposite direction, when he ordered that all information be filtered through the Police Press Office. Two weeks ago, the forced the media to boycott the department, since the free flow of information has been cut off. Today, the press asked him for a comment on the rift, and here's what he had to say:
Cops Still Piecing Together Body Parts Case
At today's press briefing, police also gave an update on those dismembered body parts found in the Iguana Creek last week. As we told you on one day, police found arms and legs which had been cut in half and stuffed in a sack, and on the second day, they found a torso. Here's what the cops said today:.. ACP Joseph Myvette, Head - NCIB: "In reference to the human body parts that was found earlier last week near the Iguana Creek Bridge, the police investigation still continues into this matter. Post mortem done on the remains of what were found was determine to be that of a female hispanic of stocky built and the post mortem also revealed that she died from 7 stab wounds."
Woman Constable, Mother Of Three Killed In Accident
A female police officer was killed in a traffic accident on Friday night. It happened just outside Punta Gorda town where WPC Jennifer Hibberd was driving an SUV. Between miles 97 and 98 on the Southern Highway, in the village of Cattle Landing she collided head on into a Dodge Intrepid. Police found Hibberd on the road dead. The other driver, Liston Armstrong had also been thrown from his vehicle.
Motorbike Rider Is Killed In Ranchito
And form far south to far north, there was one other fatal road accident this weekend. On Saturday Margarito Matus was driving from Orange Walk to Corozal, and upon reaching Ranchito Village between miles 83 and 84 he collided head on with Edwardo Sanker, who was travelling in the opposite direction on a motorcycle. According to police reports, Sanker died upon impact. Matus was later served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution.
Hit And Run Victim Still Unknown
Police responded to another road traffic accident on Sunday, this time in Stann Creek. Police found an injured man, the victim of a hit and run, near the ITVET compound in Hope Creek. Police quickly took the man to the Southern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police have yet to identify the victim.
And in one more bit of news tonight, history may have been made in the senate 10 minutes ago. The PACT Bill was voted down, 7 against, 6 in favor. We'll have more on this tomorrow.
Forget Me Not Festival
And after all that heavy news tonight, we leave you with some highlites of the weekend's pree school festival of the arts. Enjoy and join us back here tomorrow.