Today's Belize News: May 11, 2017 - 05/11/17 01:05 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
Canadian John DeShaines under investigation for Corozal double murder
Canadian national, John DeShaines remains in police custody as the main person of interest for the murder of 52-year-old Canadian national Francesca Matus and 36-year-old American national Drew De Voursney. The bodies of the couple were found on Monday, May 1st, on a road near a cane field in the Corozal District, northern Belize. DeShaines who was Matus’ tenant, was also charged for an unrelated incident of theft and handling stolen goods on Friday, May 5th at the Independence Magistrate Court in Southern Belize. He was taken back to Corozal Town where local authorities, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the USA continue investigating the double murder.
Austin Castro wins annual Reef Week Trivia competition
Various students from different schools in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village participated in the 12th Annual Trivia Contest as part of the celebrations of Ambergris Caye Reef Week. The contest, organized by the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, started at 9:30AM on Tuesday, May 9th, at the San Pedro Lions Den. Austin Castro of San Pedro Roman Catholic School proved most knowledgeable, and took the grand first place prize. Ten students from five different schools competed, showcasing their knowledge of the reef, while promoting marine life conservation through education. Terence Keating and Annelyse Perdue represented Isla Bonita Elementary, while Astrid Ruiz and Robert Bradley represented New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School, Alexandra Lausen and Tellen Smith represented Island Academy, and Austin Castro and Lindsey Williams represented San Pedro Roman Catholic School. From Caye Caulker, Annie Harris and Ashanna Welch proudly represented La Isla Cariñosa Academy.
Belize and UEA sign Open Skies Agreement
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), signed an open skies agreement with the Government of Belize on Saturday, May 6th. On behalf of UAE, Director-General of the GCAA, Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, and Belize, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Belize Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., signed the significant agreement that will eliminate all restrictions on international air transport movement. Laila Ali Bin Hareb Al Muhairi, Assistant Director General of Strategy and International Affairs, said that the agreement will guarantee sustainable growth for the national carriers of both countries. It will also help support plans and investments related to air transport, which are targeted by the national carriers in the UAE.
BTIA hosts 12th annual BETEX
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), in partnership with the Belize Tourism Board and other stakeholders of the tourism industry in Belize, hosted its 12th annual Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) on Wednesday, May 3rd to Friday, May 5th. Under the theme, “Savor your BELIZE experience”, more than 300 tourism professionals and industry partners gathered at St. Catherine’s Academy Auditorium for a chance to interact with international travel agents. BETEX remains a BTIA marketing initiative that provides a gateway to the world and an opportunity to partner local and international tourism professionals together. With the objective of promoting Belize as a great tourist destination, the two-day centralized trade exhibition was an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers (trade visitors) to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers, learn more about Belize, and experience the destination firsthand.
Happy Mother's Day From Little Angels Pre School
Most Central American and Latin countries celebrate mothers day on May 10th. In San Pedro its celebrated on the second sunday of the month, however some still celebrate it Today, May 10th. Little Angels Pre School took the time to dedicate this day to their mothers. They celebrated with dances, singing, playing games and giving a special handmade gift to their moms. Ambergris Today wants to wish all mothers A Happy Mother's Day!
There’s A New Yoga Studio And Spa In Town And It Looks Cool
San Pedro’s newest yoga studio and spa, Science and Soul Wellness, just opened it’s doors to the public this past weekend with celebrations and a fundraiser held at its home location in Mahogany Bay Village. Owner, Paulette Hardwood, organized an enjoyable afternoon social that included health snacks, sangria and festivities that included complimentary massages, aerial yoga demonstrations, paddle board yoga, dance presentations, a fashion show and including a silent auction to help raise funds for the SHINE organization.
Why Did The Sheep Cross The Road On Ambergris Caye?
This is not a familiar sight in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize; maybe for the countryside, but definitely not in our 'metropolitan' island. That is why when Jessica Flores noticed this sheep casually walking down Sea Grape Drive south of downtown San Pedro. She had to take a picture and share it with us. It's not odd seeing dogs, cats, racoons, or even iguanas crossing the street on the island. We have seen a goat or two, but this one is new. So why do you think the sheep crossed the road? - Photo by Jessica Flores
Everything You Need To Know About San Pedro Polyclinic’s New ID Card
Still curious to know how truly painless the process would be, I visited the Nursing Supervisor, Nurse Marion Jones, to inquire about the cards. It really is as quick as providing a photo ID (Preferably Social Security Card). Searching my name, she found two Amber Edwards in the system. She then used my date of birth to identify me and proceeded to fill out the card with my assigned number. On future visits searching the number on my card will immediatly pull up my medical records as pictured below.
Misc Belizean Sources
Governance Diversity for Belize
"Belize manages 36.6% of its terrestrial area and 19.8% of its marine area in protected areas." Ya'axché Conservation Trust plays a vital role in the protection of over 151,000-acres of forest spread across 3 protected areas in southern Belize. This article, authored by Brent A. Mitchell, looks at the protected areas system in Belize. Have a read! Belize is one of the smallest non-island states in the Americas, but a leader in protected areas designation and governance. Belize is one of only a dozen countries that have met Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) to conserve 17% of its terrestrial and 10% of its marine areas. Belize manages 36.6% of its terrestrial area in protected areas and 19.8% of its marine area. The size, scale and diversity of protected areas in Belize provide an informative case study of system management and governance that can offer a model for countries with expanding systems.
Banana Bank 40 Years in Belize Celebration!
Join us for our RUBY anniversary! Saturday - 13th of May. Events start at 2:30 pm Sunday - 14th of May, 2017, Events start 10:30 am. Banana Bank Lodge, Belmopan, Belize. Come and celebrate with John Carr & Bill Jaeger Familes. ORDER OF EVENTS ON SATURDAY: Starting at 2:30 pm: WELCOME & TOAST, HORSE EXTRAVAGANZA, STORY TIME / MUSIC SPECIAL, CAROLYN CARR PRESENTATION. ORDER OF EVENTS ON SUNDAY: Starting at 10:30 am: COWBOY CHURCH SERVICE, BBQ LUNCH (BBQ & drinks for sale), MARIMBA MUSIC, HORSE EXTRAVAGANZA.
Hands Across the Sand
Let us get together for a few minutes in show of solidarity against offshore oil drilling in Belize. Saturday, May 20, 2017, Central Park at 12p.m. SEE YOU THERE! Find your community's designated location on the flyer and join hands with Wavemakers across the country.
Nurses’ Week to Culminate with Visit to National Assembly
Nurses in Belize join the world in celebrating Nurses’ Week from May 6th to 12th under the International Council of Nurses theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nurses are the cornerstone of healthcare and function in the prevention of illness, promotion of health and the alleviation of suffering throughout our lifetimes. The actions of nurses are therefore vital in achieving the third goal of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Furthermore, nurses often times address other social determinants of health including poverty, nutrition, education and climate action which are also sustainable development goals.
Music Week 2017
The Office of the Music Ambassador in collaboration with the National Institute of Culture and History will be hosting the 2nd Annual Music Week May 15th – 20th 2017. The goal of Music Week 2017 is to focus on the important role music plays in the social and economic framework of Belize’s development. This year music week especially wants to focus on the discussion surrounding music and copyright and give artists a platform to participate in the discussion towards making changes that the Belize music industry needs. We take this opportunity to invite all musicians and music stakeholders to attend the activities happening at Music Week 2017 and especially invite the media to join us.
BNE Wins Getenergy Localisation Award
Belize Natural Energy has won Getenergy's Localisation Award...again! The award is based upon the contribution of a company to supporting local education and supply chain capacity building. Congratulations, BNE, and thanks for all the community support!
U.S. Embassy Belmopan Grant Opportunity!
The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, Belize announces a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to strengthen government through civil society engagement. Alternatively, you can also visit www.grants.gov and search for “Belmopan.” U.S. Embassy Belmopan intends to issue three to five awards in an amount not to exceed $1,500,000 in total funding. Each award will be for an amount between $200,000 and $400,000. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan will host a CARSI ESF Grants Question & Answer Session on Friday, May 19th at 1:30 p.m. If you are interested in joining us at the Embassy, please submit your name, your organization’s name, and your questions to [email protected] by Wednesday, May 17th for access to this event.
Today is 6 Imix' in the Maya Tzolk'in calendar
Imix represents the crocodile and the waterlily. The Classic Maya believed that an earth monster or primordial Crocodile floated in the ocean of the Underworld. He carried the Earth on his back, nourishing and protecting all life. Thus, Crocodile supplies humanity with the underlying primal feeling of our connection to nature and Mother Earth. The glyph itself represents a Waterlily, a symbol of beauty, abundance and growth, and the possibility of ascension out of the primordial soup of creation.
New docking facilities at Lamanai
In an effort to create a better visitor experience, the Institute of Archaeology continues to invest in the enhancement of infrastructure at our archaeological reserves, such as the docking facilities at Lamanai.
LOVE FM/MUSIC AMBASSADOR MAIN STAGE:
AGRIC WAS A SUCCESS
The sweltering heat didn't stop droves of Belizean across the country from packing the National Agriculture Trade Show grounds Saturday and Sunday to take in the festivities. The sun wasn't the only heat burning as Cucunu Bwai, Positive vibes, Ty, C Wills, Di X band, Supa G, Dawgie, Deja, Prophit, Stig, Fuego, Mellow, the new sensation band and singing sensation Tanya Carter melted the stage with pure musical fire. This year the Office of the Music Ambassador sponsored the storied Love Fm main stage. Hopkins Dj boss said as a child he dreamed of one day performing on the Love FM main stage, well he and the paranda man C Wills didn't disappoint has they performed a set of hits from the award winning artist to close out Saturday night. Sunday's closers, Tanya Carter and Supa G didn't do too bad either as they brought down the house with their massive catalogues of hits. The crowd couldn't get enough. New comer TY performed his hit "di paper" and "any means" to the delight of the crowd whiles Cucunu bwai brought the bruk down dengue feva. Di X band, Don Papa John, Positive Vibes, Stig, Dawgie, 501 prince and so many more talented artists made the Love FM/Music Ambassador main stage unforgettable.
Presentation in San Pablo Community School
Ki'imak oolal tumeen u moots Mayaen , to'on taank taak'muk'tik ak miatsil. Presentation in San Pablo Community School today from Our Maya Masewal culture with Maya groups Toone Masehualoon from Patchakan and AK kuchkabal Maya from San Pablo, want to thank aj Kaan saj Mario colli colli, the group Toone Masehualoon and my wife for coming and supporting. Jach yuum bo'otik.
A bit of mixology and Tourism Management Bartender training at Centro Escuela Mexico Junior College in conjunction with Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA). Keep up the great work CEMJC. Tourism is the way to go!
Magistrate For Rape
Today, Magistrate Norman Rodriguez made history when he went from judge to accused in front of his boss, the Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. The news broke late last week that he would be charged for rape, and this morning the day for the Magistrate started at the police station instead of the courthouse. 7News was there:.. At 8:30 sharp, attorney Herbert Panton pulled up in front of the Queen Street station in his SUV, and the accused Norman Rodriguez calmly stepped out Norman Rodriguez: "What's Up" That's all he told our camera as he stepped into the precinct three police station cooly juggling his keychain. His attorney Hebert Panton parked and made a bee line to the station - refusing to comment to our camera.
Penner The Prevaricator?
Today was the most anticipated day in the Senate Hearings on Immigration so far. That's because Elvin Penner, the disgraced former UDP Immigration Minister of State, took the stand to talk for the first time to talk about Citizen Kim, and all those irregularities that happened while he roamed the corridors of the Immigration Department. It's been 3 and a half years since the scandal broke, and Penner's political fortunes tumbled, but through it all, he has maintained a determined silence. So, today was his first time he would speak, and answer the tough questions about whether he acted in a corrupt fashion. But rather than being freely forthcoming, Penner made it clear from the start that he wasn't willing to discuss his central role in the Citizen Kim debacle.
Penner On The Case Of Citizen Kim
From there, Penner took questions for about 2 hours on his role in the approval of visas for persons who may not have qualified. The Senate took a quick lunch break and in the afternoon session, the Senators interrogated him on the Citizen Kim application, even though he wasn't very forthcoming. Here's how he and the Senators butted heads while trying to discuss his role in getting a passport for the South Korean fugitive: Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee: "It's been said here in evidence I think at recently as last week; was said that you accompanied the applicant. We know it was impossible to have accompany the applicant himself but the evidence adduced before us is that someone posing as Wong Hong Kim or believed at the time to be Wong Hong Kim in a black suit visited the Immigration and Nationality Department along with you. I believe it was Mr. Phillips who said that last or week before. So he said you accompanied the man in the black suit and in fact you were the person who was primarily involved in having that application submitted to the department."
Faber Tells Penner, Don't Call It A Comeback
So as you saw, Elvin Penner's testimony was unremarkable. He didn't reveal anything substantial that could be used in the investigation. And he was careful, like most before him, not to expose too much. And if he seems to be going by the party playbook, there may be some truth to that because published reports suggest that Penner is contemplating making a political comeback for the UDP. He says he's considering it and will decide depending on how the re-districting goes in Cayo northeast. So what does Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber think of that? He will take over for the Prime Minister during this term of office, and today, he told us that he definitely doesn't want Penner as a candidate for his party:
Southside Commander Denies Gang Link In Murder Of 19 Year Old's
Last week 19-year-old Michael Bonilla was gunned down on Elston Kerr Street. His death was the second firearm related murder in the city after two plus weeks without incident. The peace in the city was attributed to the work of Southside Commander ACP Chester Williams, who spearheaded a peace march by the major gangs in Belize City. Williams gave us an update on that murder investigation today, and he reminded us that so far, there is no evidence to suggest that Bonilla's death is gang related...
Southside Commander Says Police Didn't Slack Off In Jane Usher Blvd Area
Williams also spoke to us about Monday's murder of Ludwin Lalin, another 19 year old who was shot not far from his home on Curl Thompson Street. Lalin was killed the day after police held a family day in the Jane Usher area to try to defuse growing tensions in the neighborhood. Williams updated us on this investigation while disputing claims that police had reduced their presence in the area prior to the shooting... ACP Chester Williams - Commander, Southside Police: "Mr. Lalin was shot and killed two night in the Jane Usher Boulevard area and again just like Bonilla we have no gang affiliation. Yes he might have friends who have gang affiliations and it could be that is one the reasons why he was targeted. We currently have two persons in custody we are interviewing in respect to that matter."
Commander Williams Says Peace Is An Ongoing Conversation
Bonilla and Lalin were killed just four days apart, and while police say neither murder is gang related, Williams made it a point to defend the peace being held by the city gangs. He told us about the work he and his mediation partners have been doing with the gang members on the Southside, and added that they plan to include other gangs, like the ones in the Jane Usher area, to bring stability back to the area... ACP Chester Williams - Commander, Southside Police: "I would just like to add that myself, Mr. Finnegan, Brother Nuri and Jawi have been busy working with a group of young men. As I said before you all would know that the area that was problematic to us was the George Street, PIV, Conch shell Bay, Banak Street and extension area."
Holdup And Shooting In Small Southern Village
There was a shooting in Bella Vista village in the Toledo District this evening. In an unusual crime for this quiet village, an armed man tried to hold up a Western Union Agent which is also the office for Charlton's cable. A female clerk was shot during the holdup. She survived but we do know know the extent of her injury and police are still on the scene. We'll have more on this tomorrow,.
Deshaies' Attorney Going For Bail For The Canadian
Canadian John Deshaies remains in the custody of Corozal police - and has not been transferred to the Central Prison where he was ordered to be remanded for a theft in Placencia. This was confirmed to us this morning by his attorney Steve Perrera. Reports to us are that Corozal police are no closer to making an arrest in the double murder of Francesca Matus and Drew Devoursney - in which Deshaies is a key person of interest. Deshaies was Matus's tenant and police believe he has information which can help in the investigation but they say he is not cooperating. His attorney Steve Perrera says that's because he knows nothing about the double murder. Perrera says that he will try and get a Supreme Court bail hearing for Deshaeis on Friday. Attorneys Kevin Arthurs and Dickie Bradley are expected to join him in making this application.
Days Of Grace Are Here Again For Primary School
In September, 120 Grace Primary School students will be sitting in their new classrooms on Fabers Road. The old building on Amara Avenue was overrun with 480 students. And so, now, the kids and teachers will finally be able have more breathing space, and running space after the new 3750 square foot school building was officially opened today on Faber's Road. Courtney Weatherburne was there for the ceremony and has the details . From this wooden structure erected for the ground breaking in August 2016 - to the fully completed 4 classroom building. Morna Sheppard - Principal, Grace Primary School: "It has been a long time over 20 years." That is how long these kids and their teachers have waited for this much needed upgrade; one that will ease the overcrowding at the school on Amara Avenue.
Many More School On-Line
And just as Grace Primary's new school building went up, 35 more schools are expected to be built around the country. It is the rollout of the second phase of the Belize Education Sector Reform Project, an ambitious but very necessary undertaking according to Education Minister Patrick Faber: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "This is a CDB loan that we are receiving; it is 70 million dollars, 35 new schools that are going to be built across the country. 22 of them are preschools, our focus we make no mistake, no apologies, we focus on early childhood education, we believe in children starting strong and then the rest of the monies will be spent on primary and a few secondary schools." Courtney Weatherburne: "When do you all plan on rolling out this very large project?" Hon. Patrick Faber: "Well the monies have been secured as you've heard, in fact it has been taken to the house, it is a loan and in fact we are identifying the land actually, that is the hold up. We need to make sure that we have in our possession the land certificates and so on before we can move and that process I am told is what is holding us up but as soon as we do that we're going to roll out and start construction across the country."
CEMO Conference Considers Conflagrations
Today, the Belize City Council hosted the 5th CEMO Symposium. The event brought together first responders and emergency relief agencies from around the country to review CEMO's efforts over the last year, as well as to discuss strategies for improving emergency response. This year, after a string of fires devastated the city, the symposium revolved around fire awareness and management. We spoke to Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley, who acts as the Chairman of CEMO, as well as Fire Chief, Ted Smith, about the presentations over the next two days... Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "This is the fifth year that we've been having the CEMO symposium and the idea is that when we talk about emergency management a main aspect of it is actually capacity building and sharing information using best practices and really having a forum where first responders and emergency management practitioners and also policy makers and elected officials can convene together and to over two days share strategies."
Tension Between Neighboring Schools
There was a commotion at St. Joseph Primary school this afternoon after a dispute with students of the adjoining ITVET reportedly took a dangerous turn. Apparently, there has been some "over-the-back-fence" teasing between the two schools which are neighbors and today - it is alleged that it took a dangerous turn when one of the ITVET students displayed a BB gun. Police are investigating. ITVET is a secondary and skills training school.
Man Says The Devil Made Him Rob Woman
He held up a woman and robbed her, and, now, 48 year old Harrison Powell will spend 5 years in jail for it - even after he told the judge the devil made him do it. On the afternoon of May 9th, 57 year old Nazli D'Silva, arrived at Fisherman's Dock on Marine Parade, and was walking towards her parked car when she felt a sharp object in her back. When she turned around, she saw a man with a large knife, who sliced off the strap on her backpack and ran off with it. She screamed for help and a passing police mobile immediately apprehended Powell and retrieved her bag with all the items in it.
Meet, Greet, Jump Street!
Today police personnel, from Commanders to Constables took to the streets for their weekly meet and greet. As is now standard practice, the cops walked through the city streets and asked the residents about their crime and safety concerns. ACP Chester Williams, who led the Southside Police through Wagner's Lane and the surrounding areas, told us what the citizens had to say...
DPM Says No Surprises For House Sitting
And while the police did their meet and greet, on Friday, the House of Representatives will just plain-old "meet" for the first time in 7 weeks. But the Deputy Prime Minister says, don't expect any surprises. Some had rumored that that we all would be in for a surprise from Prime Minister Barrow but Faber put a rest to that rumor: We will have coverage of the meeting in Friday night's news.
Mayor Laments Planter Vandalism, But Vows To Keep Trying
LAST NIGHT we told you about one of Albert Street's new planters that was viciously vandalized only two weeks after it had been completed. When we spoke to Mayor Darrell Bradley today he told us that he expected it to happen sooner of later, but reiterated that all CitCo can do is appeal to the vandals to desist and then hope for the best... There are 18 planters designated for Albert Street and 55 for the entire city.