Today's Belize News: June 8, 2017 - 06/08/17 12:45 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
Sonora Dinamita and Alison Hinds confirmed for 2017 International Costa Maya Festival
After Hurricane Earl caused the 2016 International Costa Maya Festival® to be cancelled, organizers are thrilled to announce that the show is on for Thursday, August 4th through Sunday, August 6th. This year, Costa Maya will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary, which means the committee is working extra hard to make sure Ambergris Caye has with the best week-long festivities of dance, music, pageantry, food and drinks! As is tradition, the festival will take place at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Stadium in San Pedro Town. Thursday night will be Pageant Night, in which eight beautiful contestants will vie for the title of Reina de La Costa Maya. 2015’s Gabriela Vanessa Salazar Valle still holds the title, and this year, the Pageant seeks the participation of all the Central American countries: Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. We already have confirmed the first gorgeous contestant, and she is Miss Costa Rica.
One dead, one severely injured; neither reported to local police
Unreported incidents on Ambergris Caye are not uncommon, but when they result in death or severe injury, there is cause for alarm. Two such incidents reportedly took place in May, but no information was provided to the public. On Tuesday, June 1st, The San Pedro Sun received correspondence from a concerned woman who stated that on Tuesday, May 30th, she was contacted by a police officer in Belize City to identify the body of a John Doe at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s (KHMH) morgue. It turned out to be her father, 56-year-old Felipe Quintanilla, a construction worker who had been living in San Pedro Town for the past ten years. She was informed that her father died on Sunday, May 28th after being on life support for ten days. According to her, it appears that Quintanilla was transferred from San Pedro with massive head trauma to the KHMH, where he died alone.
The other incident took place sometime on Thursday, May 25th in northern Ambergris Caye. A caretaker for a property eight miles north of San Pedro Town was allegedly attacked by three male persons who inflicted severe machete wounds to his right upper shoulder, and to the middle of his body. He was transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic III where he was treated. He was later transferred to the KHMH in Belize City.
Southwest Airlines inaugurates direct flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Belize
On Sunday, June 4th, Belize welcomed Southwest Airlines’ first daily direct flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. This new addition came after Southwest introduced its non-stop Denver, Colorado to Belize City flight in March 2017, and regular non-stop service from Hobby International in Houston to Belize in 2015. With dozens of passengers boarding the charter flight to Belize, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) made sure to warmly welcome tourists at the Philip Goldson International Airport.
SIB releases new figures; consumer prices continue to rise
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) has published its latest statistics on the consumer price index and external trade for the country of Belize. In April 2017, the prices of goods and services were 2.2% higher than the year before, and for the first time in 2017, the statistics recorded an inflation rate of 1.9%. The All-Items consumer price index increased from 102.9 to 105.3 in April 2017 compared to the previous year. In comparison to April 2016, rising airfare prices were one of the primary contributors to an increase of 17.9% in the Transport category. The prices within the ‘Fuels and Lubricants’ sub-category increased by 11.5%, compared to April 2016. The highest increase was seen in the price per gallon of Premium Gasoline, which rose by 31% from $8.29 in April of last year to $10.86 in April 2017. Diesel also increased by 25% from $7.34 to $9.19, while Regular Fuel rose nearly 14% from $8.68 in April 2016, to $9.89 in April 2017.
Ministry Of Education Releases Primary School Examinations Preliminary Results
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture hereby issues the preliminary results of the 2017 Primary School Examination (PSE) which was administered countrywide on April 3, 2017 and May 2, 2017. The Top 5 Performers for San Pedro and Caye Calker are as follows: 1st Place: San Pedro R.C School: Kiona Sanker 363/400=90.7%, Island Academy: Colin Grief 363/400=90.7%, 2nd Place: Island Academy: Tellen Smith 358/400= 89.5%, 3rd Place: San Pedro R.C School: Jacinto Bradley 357/400=89.2%, 4th Place: Island Academy: Alexandra Lausen 352/400=88%, 5th Place: San Pedro R.C School: Ninel Pacheco 350/400=87.5%, New Horizon Seven Day Adventist: Marilyn Cuellar 350/400=87.5%.
Misc Belizean Sources
SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY - Nursing Scholarship 2017
The Ministry of Health Belize in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture officially announce the call for Scholarship applications for the course study of Nursing at the University of Belize for the academic year 2017. Kindly take note of the supporting documents that need to accompany the application before submission to the Ministry of Health, East Block, National Assembly Building, Belmopan. DEADLINE is July 21st, 2017.
Hi Guys! Im excited to see you tomorrow. Im working on the paint subject this morning and posting as soon as Im done! Xo
Two 10 minute power interruptions, the first between 8:00am & 8:30am and the other between 4:30pm & 5:30pm, Sunday, June 11: Unitedville to Arenal
Including Benque Viejo, San Ignacio, Santa Elena, Duck Run 1 & 2, Billy White, Georgeville, Central Farm, Esperanza, San Miguel, Cristo Rey, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Bullet Tree Falls, Branch Mouth, Santa Familia, Calla Creek, Corozalito & Succotz. BEL to conduct critical maintenance and testing of substation equipment at the Mollejon Substation.
Belize Fishing Report, May 29th - June 4th, 2017
The winds haven’t let up the entire week. Some bonefish caught but with the strong winds, it’s been difficult. The most successful anglers have been using bait. The fish are still hungry and are eager to get on the flats to feed. Winds will be calming down this coming week and the anglers will certainly reap the rewards. Looking forward to some great fishing!
Launching ceremony of the Canadian photographic exhibit
In celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation. The ceremony took place at the Government House of Culture, Belize City, on June 5th, 2017. The exhibition will run from June 5th to June 23rd.
The SHYNE BARROW MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP
FOR SJCJC ASSOCIATES DEGREE
The Ambassador of Music, Shyne Barrow is offering a full Scholarship for St Johns Junior College's new Music degree. Last Friday SJCJC had the inaugural opening of its new Music center which will house its associates degree in Music program.
SBDC Workshop: INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS TAX
Presented by: Mrs. Lisa Clare, Tax Officer, Income Tax Department, 222-4780. Location: La Inmaculdada Credit Union Training Room, 5 Park Street, Orange Walk Town. Workshop Date: June 15th, 2017. Time: 9am to 12noon. Free of cost. Income Tax was enacted in Belize in 1924 and remained in that basic form up to July 1998, when Business Tax was introduced. The Legislation is now called "The Income And Business Tax Act", with an effective date of January 1999 in its current form. The Act is divided into three parts with Income Tax under Part 1, Income Tax on Profits arising from Petroleum under Part 11 and Business Tax under Part 111. This Information session will help you understand the ACT in details.
A Garifuna from Dangriga becomes the new Catholic bishop for Belize
By Wellington C. Ramos. I remember when I was a little boy growing up in Dangriga in the 60s my late mother Josephine Sampson used to take me to go and visit her cousin, the mother of our new Bishop Lawrence Nicasio, “Auntie Jane Lewis-Nicasio”, the daughter of “Granny C”. During those days we were all attending Sacred Heart Primary School. Out of all of my aunt’s children, “Lawry” as we all know him, used to stay home a lot, was quiet and always smiling. His older brother Nelson Nicasio was my closer relative and friend and he, Henry Martinez and myself used to hang out regularly. I was a classmate of the new bishop at Sacred Heart Primary School along with Marva Lewis, Dorina Mendez, Gilbert Lambey, Justo Flores, the late Francis Bermudez, the late Sidney Mejia Jr. and several other students that I cannot recall at this moment. Our teacher was the late Mrs Rita Palacio when we graduated that year.
Manfred Atkins & Belize's 70S Sporting Explosion!
This is the early 1970s in Belize and Belizeans at evening times would be glued to the radio listening to Manfred Atkins bring the action packed and popular radio broadcast he called, "Sports Report". It had reports of every sport Belizean athletes were playing in those days, and it was delivered in a most unique style that only Atkins could present. It was fresh off the field, well written, and powerfully reported. It was imaginary television, and we can still see these legendary Belizean athletes play through that voice that once made Belize great as a sporting powerhouse in the Caribbean and Central America. Manfred Atkins disappeared from the minds of many of us Belizeans almost 50 years ago now. But he will never be forgotten for the sport entertainment that he provided to many Belizean homes that wouldn't even realize the coming of television to Belize in the 1980s. We can still hear the music to his signature tune of his show playing in our heads at the break of evening as he gave us the daily and weekly Belize sports wrap across the country in half of an hour.
Scout brother Ramiro Duran passes away
As we mourn the passing of our Scout brother Ramiro Duran, following is a short bio on his Scouting life. RIP our brother. The year was 1963. Ramiro Duran, then teacher, saw the need for a program that would keep the boys of Progresso Village off the streets. He started the 1st Progresso Scout Troop and kept it alive for the next four years when he was warranted as Leader for the Troop. He continued the good work and the Troop grew and flourished until 1973 when he was forced to give up the post because he had received a scholarship to study abroad. Upon his return to Belize in 1977 he took up a teaching post at Holy Redeemer School and immediately got involved with the Troop there as Chairman of the Committee and Sponsor representative at the Group Council.
Amazing things are happening at Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan!
Check out these colorful murals created by Beyond the Horizon: 2017-Belize team members to liven up the new children's space!
2017 Saltwater Fishing Tournament
2017 Dates: September 10, 11, 12. At least $10,000 in prizes await the successful fishermen and women who participate in the annual Saltwater Fishing Tournament each year. Part of the September Celebrations each year, the 2-day Placencia Saltwater Fishing Tournament draws anglers from near and far for the 2-day competition. The eagerly anticipated event kicks off in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when boats loaded with enthusiastic anglers leave the Placencia Municipal Pier in high hopes of catching the big ones! All vie for for the largest Kingfish (8 lb min), Jack (12 lb min), and Barracuda (10 lb min), as well as those fish termed “extraordinary”: Wahoo (15 lb min), Dorado (7 lb min), and Tuna (5 lb min). Saturday’s weigh-in at the Municipal Pier completes the first day of competition, and all boats must be checked in to qualify to compete on Sunday.
Miss Costa Rica – Miss Costa Maya 2017 Delegate Glennys Medina Segura
Meet Miss Costa Rica – Miss Costa Maya 2017 Delegate Glennys Medina Segura. Age: 22 years old, Height: 5’6″. Student: Law degree and Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy. Among her hobbies are cooking, creating desserts and fishing. Her biggest dream is to be elected winner of The Miss Costa Maya International 2017 Pageant and professionally create a non-profit NGO to help families and create educational programs for children, since they are the future of our countries.
Five Days Later, Bodies of Baltazar and Zeidy Found In A Wooded Area
Today, the worst fears of many Corozalenos were realized when the bodies of 32 year old Zeidy Orosco and 41 year old Baltazar Lopez were found. Almost five days after they were last seen, their bodies were located in a wooded area off the Consejo Road, leading to a dump. They were found a few feet apart from each other, on the ground. That put a tragic end to a search that had been going on for days. Here's the scene at the site of the discovery, courtesy CTV-3: At around 2:00, police got the call that the bodies had been found. When the media got there, the police scenes of crime team was racing unto the scene and onlookers - including searchers - were also rushing into the area but police had already blocked it off:
Police Still Have No Conclusive Leads For Drew Devoursney and Francesca Matus
So, is there a connection between the murders of the two couples? They were both killed in Corozal after a social outing, both found a distance from their vehicles, and both found in abandoned areas near Corozal town. The differences? Well the North Americans were found in a cane field; these two were found in a wooded area, and the North Americans, their vehicle wa snot burnt, but this one was. Also, the cause of death for the North American couple was strangulation, in this case, it has yet to be determined. Police said the investigation into Drew Devoursney and Francesca Matus is still very much open and no arrest has been made:
Another Coro Killing
But it's not only those four murders in five weeks that Corozal police have to solve. Last night at a few minutes after 11:00, a 21 year old was killed on the outskirts of Corozal town. Police told the media more about the death of 21-year-old Brandon Lee Tesecum - an Orange Walk man who wound up dead on a road in Corozal: Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold, Officer Commanding - Corozal "Last night some minutes to eleven the quite community of Dominguez Layout resident called reporting that they heard shots in that area as a result we had a police mobile on patrol who had just passed that area some 15 or 20 minutes before these residence reported that shot were fired, shots were heard in the area. So the mobile turned back and upon turning back and reaching in that area they saw a male person lying down in a pool blood with apparent gunshot to the face."
PSU Announces President's Suspension
Eldred Neal is the PSU President who got into a whole lot of trouble when he was caught making prejudiced remarks about the Garinagu on a secret recording. Nine of the 15 members of his council of management asked him to resign, but Neal vowed to stay and fight. Now the last we heard on Friday May 19th was that the PSU Council of Management had voted to suspend Neal. But Neal didn't attend the meeting, and - sources said that he would fight it on the grounds of natural justice. Well, today, the PSU Secretary General sent out a release confirming that Neal was suspended on May 19th, quote, "for inflammatory statements made via an audio recording that went viral." It adds, "The letter (of suspension) has stipulated that Mr. Neal does not conduct any business on behalf of PSU and he is to return the assets of the Union until such time that his suspension is lifted."
The First Comments From Francesca's Family
The family of Canadian Francesca Matus has spoken out for the first time. Matus's relative gave 7News and exclusive interview via phone this evening. As you all will remember Matus and her boyfriend Drew Devoursey were strangled to death and their bodies were found thrown in a cane field in Chan Chen, Corozal. Here is what Matus's family in Canada had to say today. They preferred to not mention their names . Family Member of the Deceased: "You would think that the police would be the first people to contact the families but before I was even notified, it was all over Facebook, it's the part that I don't understand how it all gets out, apparently a bunch of people were at the crime scene and everything and then next thing everyone knows before the family knows which was kind of disappointing. Some friends of mine were texting me and so on saying did you hear is this true and I'm like what are you talking about? And then they said they found the bodies, I was obviously shocked. There's no known altercation, she was well liked by everyone there. I didn't know Drew but from every one that I talked to, his sources everyone liked him too so nothing about altercations at that I'm aware of."
Northern Customs Caught Illegal Timber
A joint patrol of BDF soldiers and Police officers are reporting tonight that they made 2 separate busts, a bag of weed, and trailer full of illegal logwood. At around 11:18 a.m. this morning, they stopped an Alamilla Bus, which was coming from the direction of Santa Cruz. They found a man who had a knapsack filled with marijuana. That person and the drugs were taken into police custody. About 2 hours later, at around 1:08 p.m., the joint patrol went to an area on the San Lazaro Road, where they intercepted a brown Isuzu Rodeo, which was towing a trial filled with logwood. The law enforcement team checked, and they found that the driver, Isau Moguel, did not have a permit to cut the wood.
Former Immigration Minister Testifies
The Senate Hearings on Immigration continued in Belmopan today, and this time the UDP politician in the hot-seat was Carlos Perdomo, the current Cabinet Secretary, and former Minister in charge of Immigration. He took questions from the Senate Select Committee to address that specific allegation that he he gave an order for a passport to be granted to an applicant who did not qualify. You may remember the April testimony for the retired Immigration Officer, Therese Chavarria. She went before the Senate Select Committee to outline a case that landed on her desk back in May of 2011, when she was the officer in charge of the Belize City passport office. As we reported, it was the application for the man claiming to be Paul Ku. He went into the Belize City passport office with the Naturalized Belizean, Rina Chiu Hsiang (siang) Lo, who has been described in the Senate hearings as a sort of immigration fixer.
Immigration And The Culture of Corruption
From there, the Senators wanted to hear his opinion about this culture of corruption inside the Immigration Department. Last week, you've heard Alvarine Burgess' account of the immigration hustle she claims to have been a part of. Before that, you heard about the case of the mysterious Barton Middleton, and his alleged ties to UDP insider Patrick Tillett. That's the case where Tillett reportedly hired Middleton, and paid him handsomely as an agent, to help get Belize visas approved for Chinese nationals. Well, those accounts are being further supported by a memo which the Auditor General and her team unearthed during their audit of the Immigration Department.
Police "Baffled" By Jerson Carballo Murder
Turning now to police news, Southside cops are no closer to finding a motive for the murder of 27 year old Jerson Carballo. Today the Southside commander admitted that they are baffled by the circumstances of the case: ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern South Division: "Well the truth is that Mr. Carballo death still has us a bit baffled in the sense that we have not been able to ascertain a motive and the reason for that is because he's not known to the police either from a gang point of view or other crime. We are currently looking for two persons, we know who they are and we're hoping that we will be able to catch up with them very shortly. I met with the family this morning and I gave them our assurance that the police will do what we can do to solve this latest homicide. We know the difficulties that we normally encounter when it comes to investigating homicides in Belize City and that is the fact that people are hesitant to speak or to give statements to the police and in most cases you find our investigation ends because we are unable to get statements so we will see where this one takes us. We are hoping that we can make an arrest and bring some degree of closure to the family."
Police Still Looking For "Hard Rock" Murder Suspect
Police are further along in the case of Andrew Hard Rock Bennett - the popular DJ was killed two weeks ago. As we've reported, they have a suspect, but still cannot find him:.. ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern South Division: "We are positively sure as to who the perpetrator of that crime is. We have not been able to find that person and witnesses in terms of statements are not forth coming. We are hoping that when we do locate the individual we will be able to get statements to build a case against that individual so that he can be charged and taken before a court in respect to that murder but until then the case remains open."
Witness Protection Not Realistic For Belize?
So, with all these unsolved murders caused by witnesses unwilling to give a statement and appear in court, can't the state institute a witness protection program? Williams said today that it is not realistic: ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern South Division: "Some would say to have a witness protection programme but to have a witness protection programme in Belize alone will not work and to have a witness protection programme with other countries will be very costly to the government. So we have to see how we can weigh our strike a balance and try to find something more reasonable and at this time I really and truly don't see that occurring. As a committee we work together because at the end of the day the bad man they can't kill everybody and if we decide that we will make a stance against those persons who continue to perpetrate criminal acts, we can do it together being unified and so we're hoping that could happen because if it take a witness and send them to PG, PG is just couple miles down the road, send them to Corozal same thing. We might say well do it in Mexico, the amount of witnesses Mexico might be sending to us compared to what we'll be sending to them it will be unfair to us."
PG's PSE Pikni
Yesterday we told you about the results of this year's Primary School Examination. Overall, the students didn't do great, with almost half failing in math and almost as many failing science. But as usual, there were still thousands of students who did well. Yesterday, we spoke to many of the top scorers, most of whom are from schools here in Belize City. But the commercial capital wasn't the only municipality to excel. Two of the top 5 candidates came from Toledo's Punta Gorda Methodist and St. Peter Claver RC. Today, our news team was in PG and spoke to those students along with their parents and teachers, about representing down South... Reporter: "Talk to us about how you reacted when you got this news." Devyne Lopez - 3rd Place, Punta Gorda Methodist: "I was a bit disappointed at first because I thought I could have done better but I still got the grade that I worked for." Reporter: "3rd overall, this is a major accomplishment especially when you look at the number of students who didn't do that well and this is overall in the country. Now that you've thought about it how are you feeling now?" Devyne Lopez: "I am a bit excited now because I got 3rd out of 7 thousand students, yes ma'am."
Fire In Abandoned Building In St. Martin's
If you watch the news regularly, then you already know all about Councilor Willoughby and his team's Derelict Building Demolition initiative. Well last night's fire in the St. Martin's area is a good example why it needs to be implemented. An abandoned building caught, or was set on fire at the corner of Poinsettia and Jasmine streets. Residents say the building has been an annoyance for over decades. Here is what one of those wary residents and what the police had to say. Wayne Cadle - Area Resident: "They usually come and throw all kind of thing in this building, dead dog, dead *explicit*, people come smoke weed, they do a lot of things in this building. This building is here, this building is neglected, this building needs to be taken down, this building - we don't know who own this building here." Jules Vasquez: "And so it's a menace in your community?" Wayne Cadle: "Yes because they people they pass here, the people skin up their face, they eat their food, they dash their food on the street because they the smell stinking thing."
Oceans Day Observed In The Sea
Tomorrow is World Oceans Day, a celebration of the planet's largest natural resource, and a reminder to all about the importance of the conservation and preservation of our marine life. Today our news team joined the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage for a tour of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve and the Snake Cayes. We'll have a full rundown of that trip for you tomorrow, but for today, here's OCEANA's Vice President, Janelle Chanona, on the importance of safeguarding our oceans... Tomorrow we'll show you how the communities around the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, live off the water, while still managing to maintain it.
Police Reaches Out To Martin's Community
Turning back now to police, ACP Chester Williams and his southside officers were in the St. Martin's area today for their weekly meet and greet. He told us some of the issues that residents complained about on Vernon Street.
ACP Williams, No Gang Related Murders For April, May, June
And as Williams winds down his tenure in Belize City - he's hoping to do so on a sustained high note. April, May and June are often the most murderous months of the year, but this year, it's down, so far. Williams says that there have been no gang related murders: Jules Vasquez: "How does April, May and June compare so far against the historical trends?" ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern South Division "Well the comparison for this year is below the historical trend. For the month of April we had 3 murders, none of which is gang related. We have 3 in the month of May, none of which is gang related so we are seeing different types of murders manifesting themselves as opposed to the ones we are accustomed to."
Belmopan-Bound Williams Willing To Keep On With Mediation
So, while the mediation is working to keep down gang violence, will it continue when Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal takes over next month? So far in his career, he's not been known, not as a peacemaker, but as an advocate of paramilitary policing. Williams says that even after he goes to the Professional Standards Branch in Belmopan, he's willing to continue to work with Dianne Finnegan on the mediation process in the city: