Today's Belize News: May 4, 2017 - 05/04/17 12:53 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
North Ambergris Caye Police Substation re-opened
Officer in Charge of the Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Philips gave the opening remarks. “Today is a significant day in San Pedro. Every time we inaugurate and open a police booth, it is a huge step we take. This booth was further up north, but we changed the location to meet the policing demands. Crime is everybody’s business. We need everyone to come on board with us to ensure we can do our best to serve our communities,” said Philips. Mayor Guerrero further stated the SPTC has invested $75,000 on solar panel lights to help reduce crime. He also stated that Deputy Mayor Gary Greif recently met with Minister of State for Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon Junior, and finances were approved to install solar lights. These lights will be placed in strategic places around the island, particularly in areas where shootings have occurred in the past.
Matuz Bombers & San Pedro FC enter Mclean U-17 football finals
The Matuz Bombers and San Pedro FC have both qualified for the championship finals of the Mclean Insurance U-17 football tournament organized by the Belize District Football Association. The Hattieville Riverside Boys U-15 and Matuz Bombers U-15 also won the under-15 finals by big wins at the MCC grounds in Belize City on Saturday, April 8. The Matuz Bombers U-15 edged out Carlston FC: 2-1 in the first semi-final. Eshaq King scored the first goal for the Bombers to lead 1-0 at intermission; and Nigel Matus scored a second goal after the break. The Bombers’ defence blundered in conceding a penalty, and Shane Pratt converted for Carlston’s only consolation goal. The Hattieville Riverside Boys U-15 schooled the City Boys 3-0 in the second U-15 semi-final. Aaron Hendricks scored the first goal to lead 1-0 at intermission. Ruben Darius scored a second goal after the break, and Enoch “Monster” Rhaburn scored a third goal to seal the 3-0 win.
Belize Bureau of Standards inaugurates new metrology laboratory
The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce, in collaboration with the Government of Belize (GOB) and the European Union (EU) officially opened its new Metrology Laboratory on Friday, April 28th in Belmopan City. The Lab will be responsible for setting measurement standards to serve as the basis for ensuring equity in the marketplace and as a reference for calibration services throughout the country. It is the first of its kind in Belize and is the first purpose-built, state-of-the-art metrology facility within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Belize now joins other countries in the Caribbean region that have had a longer history in offering metrology services, like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Tiger Sharks win first NEBL semifinal against Western Ballaz
The San Pedro Tiger Sharks continue to dominate as the number one seed in the 2017 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament. After the first round of semi-finals, the Tiger Sharks and the Belmopan Bandits emerged victorious this past weekend. On Saturday, April 29th, the Tiger Sharks played a familiar opponent, the Cayo Western Ballaz, at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. With the home court advantage, Tiger Sharks took the lead, leaving no room for the Western Ballaz to catch up. In the third quarter, the Tiger Sharks had a whopping 24-point lead. However, the Western Ballaz rallied, closing the gap in the final quarter with only a one-point deficit in the last 23 seconds. The Tiger Sharks fought for the win, and some free throws in the end allowed them to seal a tight 82-78 victory.
Belize Mourns Death Of American And Canadian Couple
The country is in shock this week at the announcement of the disappearance and death of Canadian Francesca Matus, 52, and American Drew Thomas De Voursey, 36, who had made Corozal their home. According to a post-mortem conducted on the bodies they were strangled to death. Their deaths are now being investigated as homicides. And so the Corozal community, in which the couple became a part of, had rallied together to search for their friends whom now they morn their tragic death. Much international coverage has been given to this case and Belize once again is getting a bad reputation for being unsafe, especially for tourist.
Misc Belizean Sources
Belmopan Humane Society Open House
We are having an Open House on Saturday, May 13 , for a day of fun with the family, including all pets! We hope you can drop by to see where the Humane Society property is, check out our Jumble, Plant and Book sale, maybe get a good bath for the dog, have some lunch and get a professional photo of your family pet. Dr. Baptist will be on hand for wellness checkups and vaccines, so bring the whole household along for our special pet day.
Are you going to work in the United States with a worker’s visa?
If you are, the US Embassy Belmopan wants you to know your rights. Know your rights! You Have the right to: · Be treated and paid fairly · Not be held in a job against your will · Keep your passport and other identification documents · Report abuse without retaliation · Seek justice in U.S. courts We are committed to preventing trafficking and labor abuses.
Today is 12 Ix in the Maya Tzolkin calendar
Ix carries with it a lot of symbolism. It represents the jaguar, the night-time sun, is associated with the goddess Ixchel and also represents corn. It is also said to represent sacred Maya altars, and is a day for both mountains and plains.
Human Jaguar Conflict Officer Marchilio “Moon” Ack
Protected Areas Manager and Human Jaguar Conflict Officer Marchilio “Moon” Ack, over the weekend, participated at the National Agriculture & Trade Show Grounds. He shared tips to livestock farmers on how to reduce conflict with jaguars and the importance of jaguars on Love FM - News and Music Power and at the event. Human-jaguar conflict is increasingly becoming a sensitive, multi-layered issue. As more forests – the jaguar's home – are converted for agricultural activities and community development, clashes between people and the forests’ apex predator becomes more widespread.
May First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick-up
Keep the spirit of Earth Day going with First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick-up on May 5th! Just 2 short hours of picking, laughs (really!) getting to know your neighbors and showing the island some love. Join us at 8AM-10AM, starting at Paradise Theatre. Bags, gloves, pick-up sticks & water all provided.
BTEC, BELTRAIDE holds it Certificate Ceremony for the Basics of Caregiving
The Belize Training and Employment Centre ( BTEC) , a unit of Beltraide , held a certificate ceremony for its Basics of Care-giving Training on April 28th at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan. This five week training sought to prepare participants to work for and on behalf of the elderly. The training included soft skills such as professionalism, work ethic, resume building and interview preparation; technical skills, First-Aid and CPR provided by the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) as well as an internship at the Sister Cecilia’s Home for the Elderly in Belize City.
National Tapir Day
Happy to attend the celebrations in honor of National Tapir Day and Fuego’s 4th birthday at the The Belize Zoo. Congratulations Sharon Matolas, Jamal and all the great staff for their excellent job!
CAREER OPPORTUNITY: Belize Sugar Industries Limited
Belize Sugar Industries Limited invites qualified, motivated and agile individuals to submit applications for the position of Port Security Officer (PSO) based in Belize City. The PSO will be part of a team of Security Professionals whose responsibility is to watch over BSI’s Land, Port and Marine assets in the Belize City area and offshore. Salary will commensurate with qualifications and experience.
A Walk Through Benque Viejo Book Launch
A Walk Through Benque Viejo, a new book all about the culture of Benque, is being launched this Friday morning at Centennial Park. Great way to kick off the International Festival of Culture. "A Walk through Benque, book launch on our places of dearest memory, make it a date Friday, May 5th, 2017 at 9:00 a.m."
Belize Fishing Report: Weeks of April 24th - April 30th
Light winds at the beginning of the week with strong winds ending the week. The fish are always hungry ahead of a storm and this week was not different. All the fish were eating including the tarpon and permit. Most of our guests landed bonefish with some of them bringing large bones to the boat.
New conservation post in the Chiquibul
Finally after 3 years, the construction of the next conservation post in the Chiquibul is materializing, in the northern region of Chiquibul. Road access underway. This is made possible through the support of the Government of Belize.
Visitation is starting to occur in remote areas of the Chiquibul such as Natural Arch and already garbage is beginning to be a problem
We certainly don’t want added problems in these wilderness zones. FCD’s karst team conducting a clean-up of the area
Canadian Suspect in Double Murder Will be Charged For Burglary Tomorrow
Tonight, there is a somewhat surprising new development to report in the case of the North American couple murdered in Corozal. First, we can confirm that the single male suspect who police had detained is a Canadian. And, second, he will be charged tomorrow. But it's not a murder charge - in fact, it's not for any crime in Corozal. This suspect will be taken to Placencia where he will be charged for an unrelated burglary. We're still working on getting details on that alleged crime, but after he is arraigned on that charge, he will then be taken back to Corozal where he will be questioned further on the murder of 52 year old Canadian Francesca Matus and 36 year old American Drew Thomas De Voursey. As we understand it so far, he is not cooperating with police. Sketchy information to 7News suggests that the couple may have been targeted for murder by persons familiar to them, possibly in a land dispute. Police believe that more than one person was involved in the murder. A post mortem determined that they were both strangled and then taken to a remote sugar road in Chan Chen where the killer or killers dumped their bodies.
Worst Fears For Missing Pamela Lino After Burnt Kia Found
Last night, we told you about the charred human remains that police found inside a burnt up vehicle at mile 21 on the George Price Highway. Well, police are no closer to identifying the victim, and tonight, there are growing concerns that the burnt victim is actually, the owner of the vehicle, Belmopan resident Pamela Lino. She's a teacher from the Belmopan Baptist High School, who hasn't reported to work for 2 days now. More worrisome than that is that no one has been able to get in touch with her, despite the best efforts from her co-workers, friends, and police. As we reported, at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday, Hattieville police spotted her white Kia Sportage heading toward their checkpoint, westbound for Belmopan. As soon as the driver saw the police, he or she turned the vehicle around and headed back toward Belmopan.
Man Charged For Fatal Accident Where 7 Month Old Was Killed
Twenty-three year old Darrel Jackson was driving the SUV that flipped at mile 8 on the western Highway on Monday. It caused the death of a 7 month old baby - who was a passenger inside the vehicle. Today, he was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention and drove motor vehicle in contravention of learner's permit. Magistrate Stephanie Gillett released him on a bail of $5,000 and his case was adjourned until August 3. He was travelling with 7 passengers when he lost control of the vehicle and flipped.
No Peace At Tourism Village
The local tour operators at the Fort Street Cruise Tourism Village were in an uproar again today. This time they say it's because the BTB is restricting their movements with too many rules. That has pitted some tour operators who are confined to one area against others who can roam freely. It's one more symptom of too many fighting for too few scraps - and today tensions boiled over when the BTB - which officiates the terminal sent letters of reprimand to those tour operators who were allegedly caught roaming outside their approved area. We spoke to operators on both sides of the dispute:â€¦ John Pollard - Owner, Big John Tours: "What they are doing which is plain to be seen, they are dictating the pace for us when we should move, when we should not move, if we should use the bathroom and whatever else may come along. Jules that is not right." Dennis Tillet - Tour Guide, Big John Tours
UNCAC, Towards Implementation
Late last year, there was a lot of pressure built up around the signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC. The teachers went on a record 11 day strike, the business sector threatened a shutdown, and, under pressure, the Barrow Administration signed unto the agreement in December. But that was the easy part, now it's all about the long, hard and expensive road ahead. That's putting in the mechanisms to implement the convention. That journey began today with a workshop at the Inspiration Center. It's the preliminary stage where the convention and all the requirements are explored. The Attorney General Mike Peyreffite gave us a better understanding about the workshop. Legal expert Cristina Ritter also discussed the overall importance of UNCAC for Belize.
BTL’s New CEO Speaks
Last month we reported that BTL finally found its newest CEO. The search for the new head of the company started six months ago after then CEO and current member of the Board of Directors Anwar Barrow, announced his resignation. Barrow officially stepped down from the position in February, but no replacement had been found, so company CFO, Ivan Tesucum acted as CEO in the interim. In April, BTL finally found its new leader in European Rochus Schreiber, a 20 year veteran in the telecommunications industry. BTL held a press conference today to formally introduce Schreiber as CEO. Here's what Schreiber had to say about the transition and his goals... Rochus Schreiber - CEO, BTL: "My first priority, first job when I came here was to meet with as many people as I can, with as many employees and customers and interact to learn about what it is they want. It's to learn and interact about their needs and their desires about what works, what doesn't work for them and understand what it is the difference, what is the gap between what we are doing and their needs.
How Will New BTL Boss Handle Union?
Schreiber also discussed how he plans to positively build relations with the BTL staff. Last month, employees at the company's St. Thomas Street branch staged a walk out. The employees, who as members of the Belize Communications Workers Union, were dissatisfied with the company's lack of communication. The walkout was also prompted by an alleged standstill in the negotiations of a collective bargaining agreement, which determines the employees' salaries and benefits. Here's the update Schreiber gave us on that situation...
Copper Network Obsolete, BTL Internet Going Fiber, But When?
Schreiber also touched on BTL's switch to fiber optic to deliver internet to homes, as well as improving the reliability of their internet service in general including the outdated copper networkâ€¦ Rochus Schreiber - CEO, BTL: "They are two fronts in which we will be operating, one is a continuation of what we already started which is the mobile network evolution. As you know we already launched 11 new sites in the first quarter of this year which brings our total mobile coverage to 111 sites across Belize which is the most of any of the two networks which operate here and this will continue. This year we are planning to add more sites, we currently have a plan for 17 more and we are budgeting to add another in total 50 sites to bring our coverage to every area where there are customers in Belize."
Senate Hearings On Immigration Continue
The Senate hearings on Immigration continued today, and this time Senate wanted to question the Department's IT Manager for a second time. They've been hearing some startling disclosures from witnesses on breaches to the passport system which may have been exploited to get passports for persons who did not qualify. The most recent came last Wednesday on from Therese Chavarria, a retired Immigration Officer. She said that she had no difficulty fooling the passport system into accepting a picture of 2 applicants who didn't show up to take a picture for their passports. That's important because other witnesses have come before the Senate to say that it's impossible to take a picture of persons who didn't show up personally for their application. Yet, that's exactly what happened in the case of Won Hong Kim and others, and so, Rodolfo Bol, the IT Manager was called back to counter or confirm that revelation. Here's how the Senate Chairman put it to him directly today:
Teachers, Students Walk Out At Delille
There were no classes today at Delille Academy in Dangriga. That's because the teachers and students stormed out of the classrooms in protest. According to the teachers, their principal is refusing to pay 4th form teacher Timothy Lewis for April. Lewis received a letter of termination on April 24th because his teacher's license had expired in March. Lewis is demanding that he be paid for his service in April. Now while this sounds like an internal or an administrative matter, the teachers and students say they have had it with the principal and made their voices heard today. We spoke with Denise Flores-Henry who is the Staff Representative on the Board of Governors at the school and teacher Timothy Lewis himself via phone. Here is how they describe the situation.
US Making Sure No WMD in Bze
Today the US Embassy's Export Control and Related Border Security Program handed over much needed radiation inspection equipment to the Customs and Excise Department. The donation, valued at about $45,000 USD, consists of equipment that will help the Customs Department in identifying radioactive materials that could be harmful to people, or used as a component in a weapon of mass destruction. We spoke to Regional Export Control and Border Security Advisor, Greg Bates about the donation... Greg Bates - Reg. Export Control & Border Security: "Weapons of mass destruction is the proliferation globally and our efforts by the global community to prevent the proliferation into unsavoury characters or countries that are trying to develop a military grade, chemical or biological or nuclear logical programs. There is also an issue to terrorism when we have organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaida who have publicly announced their intent to develop and create radiological dirty bombs, chemical weapons and we've seen use of that.
Accounting Firm Talking Social Issues With Belize Kids
Today a group of city kids spent all day preparing for a youth innovation competition that will be held tomorrow at the ITVET. It is part of Price Waterhouse Coopers outreach work in Belize. The objective is to get youth thinking about creative and effective ways to stop violence in Belize. Now, violence is a very complex issue to address in a 3 day workshop but one of the organizers say that they hope this initiative will inspire these kids to make a difference even if it is in a small way. Brad Denning - PWC, Partner: "Today where are at ITVET, is part of PWC's youth innovation challenge actually so we are working with a lot of the local schools and we are creating a competition to address youth violence in Belize so we have a number of teams from across Belize City that are competing for a prize and their task is to come up with an idea, an original idea to combat youth violence so we partnered every school with 2 or 3 mentors from PWC and we work on presentation skills, mentoring, coaching, confidence, resume building and interviewing skills."
Another Fire On Elston Kerr
Early yesterday morning the fire department responded to a fire on Elston Kerr Street. A small, unoccupied wooden house was completely engulfed in flames. This is the same house that was damaged by fire last month. The fire department contained the blaze, but not before the flames spread to a nearby house. No one was injured, and while the house that originally caught fire was primarily used for storage, the family that lives next door says that their home received extensive damage. According to one member of the family, several pieces of furniture and at least three motor vehicles were damaged during the blaze. We spoke to Jaron Meighan, who was awakened by the flames:â€¦
The Trouble In Free Zone
As we told you last night, the CEO of the Corozal Free Zone Valentino Blanco has been suspended for 30 days. But, Blanco's attorney has written to the chairman of the Free Zone to say that his suspension is arbitrary, unreasonable and unlawful. The lawyer adds that Blanco left the office yesterday under threat of personal injury. We asked the chairman of the Free Zone Chamber - who was in the lobby applauding his departure about that:â€¦ Jules Vasquez: "You all accumulated here in like protest." Kishore Makhijani - Corozal Chamber of Commerce: "In protest but was a very peaceful thing, we didn't disrupt anything. Most of the time we were downstairs standing and then just because it's too hot so we told them let's come upstairs and we'll standing doing nothing."
US Takes The Media Over The Horizon
And finally tonight, as part of World Press Freedom Day the US embassy teamed up with the US Army to give the local press a helicopter tour of the various sites that the Beyond the Horizon 2017 operation is working on. Here's the scene at the western regional hospital:â€¦