Today's Belize News: October 25, 2017 - 10/25/17 11:39 AM
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
Golf Cart catches fire on Coconut Drive
On Tuesday, October 24th, around 9:10AM, the San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD) was notified about a golf cart engulfed in flames on Coconut Drive, south of town. By the time the fire trucks arrived, the area had been cordoned by the San Pedro Traffic Department and traffic was diverted. The vehicle was rapidly gutted by the blaze, and completely destroyed before the fire could be extinguished. No one was reported injured in the freak incident. Despite a light rain, the golf cart burned brightly on the sidewalk, at some point gaining intensity as the gas tank exploded. Onlookers, along with members of the local authorities could only watch as the vehicle burned to a crisp, black clouds billowing in the air.
Projects Abroad Holds Health Fair in San Pedro
Projects Abroad, along with other organizations held a health fair at the Lion’s Den in San Pedro Town on Saturday, October 21st. The fair was intended to educate islanders on healthy lifestyles as well as provide rapid health checkups. Despite the rainy weather, many residents made their way to the health fair, receiving vital information on personal well-being. Services offered included rapid HIV testing, blood pressure, blood type and breast cancer checkups among many other options. There were also booths from various organizations educating attendees on many health practices. “I would like to thank Projects Abroad for organizing this event at Ambergris Caye as well as to all the different organizations that participated, and made it a success,” said Councilor Ruben Gonzalez.
San Pedro Pirates Celebrate first away win
The San Pedro Pirates Football Club travelled to Punta Gorda Town, Stann- Creek District to face the Freedom Fighters at the Victor Sanchez Union Stadium on Sunday, October 22nd. During the 11th week of the Premiere League of Belize (PLB), both Pirates and Freedom Fighters played their best during the tight match, but at the final whistle it was a victory for the island team. The game began at 4pm, with the Freedom Fighters feeling confident from an easy home win. However the island team was not an easy rival, and within the first 10 minutes of the match, Pirate’s Inri Gonzaga scored the first goal. The Freedom Fighters responded with a goal at minute 34th courtesy Ralph Flores. The match continued with crosses and passes, both teams trying to score another goal. It wasn’t until minute 43, that Freedom Fighter’s Mario Noralez found his way and netted another goal for his team. The first half came to an end with the home team leading 2-1 against the island team.
Guatemalan Singer's Vessel Runs Aground On Belize Reef
Singer Carlos Peña was rescued Saturday night by Belizean authorities after his boat ran aground on a reef near San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. La Prensa Libre, Guatemala, reported that the news of the singer’s accident spread quickly after he asked for help on his Facebook account. According to the online article, Peña was rescued late in the evening, at about 8p.m. He published a message in his Facebook account about an hour later in which he called the people who rescued him as angels and thanked the people who went out looking for him. It is not yet known where he was heading.
Misc Belizean Sources
BTIA Digital Marketing workshop rescheduled
Please note that due to inclement weather, the BTIA Digital Marketing workshop in San Pedro has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Oct 31st.
Love FM Christmas Parade 2017, San Pedro
Love FM San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Christmas Parade has been schedule to take place on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 @ 5:30 pm. Everyone is invited to come out to watch or participate. Love FM hopes to bring to the island the Christmas Spirit. See you there! Parade Route: Boca del Rio >>Laguna Drive>>Pescador Drive>>Tarpon Street>>Barrier Reef Drive>>Ending at Central Park!
Every year there are seasonal changes brought on by the rainy and dry seasons. These changes affect wildlife and how they behave. During the rainy season crocs become more active and more mobile. This is a period when people can expect to see more crocodiles and croc activity. Most crocs are simply passing through on their way to somewhere else. So if you are seeing more crocs around, enjoy (from a distance) the opportunity to see some of Belize's most iconic wildlife. Stay calm and let them croc on!
Low Lying Bridges at Macal River and Iguana Creek Closed
The Department of Transport advises all motorists and the general public that the Iguana Creek Bridge used to go towards Spanish Lookout from the George Price Highway and the Low Lying Wooden Bridge used to go from Santa Elena to San Ignacio are closed to all traffic due to flooding. Please note that the New Bridge which is accessible through the Loma Luz Boulevard will now be used as the Entry into San Ignacio Town. The Hawkesworth Bridge remains as “one way” for traffic leaving San Ignacio Town towards Santa Elena and onwards.
WALK FOR A GREEN BELIZE 2017
In commemoration of World Environment Day 2017, the Department of the Environment (DOE), the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority (BSWaMA) and the Belize Audubon Society (BAS) conducted the “Walk for a Green Belize” 2017. This event was held on Saturday, October 14th, 2017 and involved cleaning both sides of the George Price Highway from Belize City to Benque Viejo del Carmen. An estimated 985 (20 to 55 gallon-sized) bags of garbage were collected yielding an estimated weight of 10,800 pounds of garbage! The Walk For A Green Belize clean-up activity was conducted by over 650 volunteers that included organizations, students, activists, government and non-government agencies, as well as the general public. The Secretariat for the “Walk for a Green Belize” initiative extends heartfelt gratitude to all the participants and sponsors of the event and we look forward to your support and participation in the “Walk for a Green Belize” 2018.
Annual HIV Statistical Report 2016
he Ministry of Health is pleased to share a copy of the official Annual HIV Statistical Report 2016. The Preface, “The HIV Surveillance Report is published annually by the National HIV/AIDS program, Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Belmopan. HIV data presented here is from the HIV case-based surveillance system for the period January to December 2016. Rates were calculated using the Belize Postcensal Estimates 2010-2020 of the Statistical Institute of Belize.” See link here for a copy of the Report: http://health.gov.bz/www/publications/hivaids/955-annual-hiv-statistical-report-2016
Belize to Host IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit
Belize will be hosting the IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit, at the Belize Best Western Biltmore Hotel in Belize City, on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017. The Summit is expected to have the attendance of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community as well as H.E. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the United Mexican States. The Summit will consider the state of play of the dynamic relationship between CARICOM and Mexico which includes the CARICOM-Mexico programme of technical cooperation, infrastructural development in the region funded through the Mesoamerica Project, Agriculture, and Trade and Investment. Also on the agenda is cooperation in the multilateral fora which spans areas of mutual concern such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Non-Communicable Diseases.
Prime Minister Barrow to Meet with President Peña Nieto of Mexico
Belize is scheduled to host the IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit on Wednesday, October 25th in Belize City. For this occasion, H.E. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the United Mexican States, is expected to make his first visit to Belize. Prior to the opening of the Summit, the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with President Peña Nieto. Prime Minister Barrow and President Peña Nieto will evaluate the state of play of the bilateral relations. Their discussions will focus on the strengthening of cooperation in the areas of education, sports, maritime security, as well as economic and political cooperation. The two heads will consider further ways to strengthen the legal framework between Belize and Mexico.
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Delegation in Belize vacancy announcement for Technical Specialist in Competitiveness
The closing date for applications is November 07, 2017. Applicants should send a letter and their resume to IICA’s Management of Human Talent Division by email [email protected] y [email protected] All suitable applicants will be considered and none will be rejected on the grounds of gender, race, religion or ethnic origin. Only candidates from Belize will be taken into account or people with no work restrictions in this country.
2018 COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE
Open for entry 1st September – 1st November 2017. Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Translated entries are also eligible, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil. The competition is free to enter.
Orange Walk HEALTH FAIR
Fri Oct 27 2017 at 09:00 am. Kidney Association of Belize in partnership with BELIAFA and other stakeholders will be having a Health Fair in Orange Walk Town, free screening and testing of the kidney along with blood sugar and blood pressure level checks all day from 9am to 2pm.
Free Doctor's Consultation/ Clinic on Caye Caulker
The Caye Caulker Village Council in collaboration with Belize Medical Associates cordially invite all residents of Caye Caulker to attend Free Doctor's Consultation/ Clinic on Saturday October 28th, at Allan Chan's Conference Room. Doctors available: Dr. Filberto Cawich Internist Dr. Cynthia Terry GP
Belize Business Brokers - Job Vacancy -Sales and Admin Assistant
We have a position open for a Sales and Admin Assistant in our San Pedro, Ambergris Caye office. The role requires someone with strong computer and internet skills. You must also be very organized and very clearly spoken on the phone. Previous experience in an office environment dealing directly with clients would be advantageous. This role will involve completing paperwork, assisting with marketing, assisting the management team and general duties. Part of the role will involve doing remote work for one of our companies in the US. You will prepare proposals for clients and assist with filling client orders and submitting paperwork. You will work directly with our US clients and distributors. Pay - $500 BZ per week
Statement by Mexico's President on his Belize visit and attendance to CARICOM Summit
BELIZE, MEXICO AND CARICOM: PAVING A ROAD TOGETHER. It is with great pleasure that I come today to Belize. Historically, our countries were once part of the great Mayan Civilization. Nowadays, our societies and governments are good friends and neighbors. Our bond of friendship and strong cultural ties are invigorated everyday by the 3,000 Mexicans living in Belize and the hundreds of Belizeans that visit Mexico every year. In 1981, Mexico was the first country to recognize Belize's independence. Since then, we have developed a strong solidarity that has allowed us to keep strengthening our political dialogue as well as technical and scientific cooperation together with health, educational, cultural and economic exchanges. During this visit, I will meet with the Prime Minister of Belize, the Right Honorable Dean Barrow, to discuss the most relevant aspects of our bilateral agenda. This meeting is a great opportunity to promote new cooperation projects that will benefit both of our societies.
Postponed until further notice: power outage previously scheduled for San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, October 25
Affected areas: entire area north of Boca del Rio and San Mateo.
FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show
The FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is a four-day event designed to foster a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry and help attendees improve their cruise tourism business.
Big Tom, Two Days To Die?
Tonight, relations are very bad between the police and that area of St. Martin's in Belize City which is controlled by the PIV gang. First of all, Kenneth "Big Tom" Flowers - who is considered one of the key figures in PIV - says police have told his crew that they will kill him - in a sort of state sponsored execution. And, this is because it is suggested that he is driving the violence that has riddled that community with multiple murders in the past few weeks. And if you don't know who Big Tom is, then put it like this - remember last night when Karen Alemndarez was talking about the Big Fish who allegedly orchestrated the murders of her two sons in 11 days? Well, the so called "Big Fish" is supposedly Big Tom. Today he came to the media because the heat and the heap of accusations on him are too many - and he says they are all false. We asked him why he thinks the police want to kill him:... Jules Vasquez, reporter: "We've heard on Facebook that you feel that you are being targeted for state sponsor execution by elements in the special assignment team?" Kenneth "Big Tom" Flowers, Says He's Being Falsely Blamed: "Well that is what I heard. I don't know exactly what is the problem, but at the same time they are blaming me for things that I don't know about."
Big Tom Soldier Issues Sinister Threats On Facebook, COMPOL Responds
Now, the allegation that police have planned an execution of Kenneth Big Tom Flowers first came to our attention through Facebook. Last night, the artist named Cross Di Nitro - who Flowers promotes and sponsors - posted a video where he put it out there that police had made it clear they planned to kill Big Tom - who he calls his "General." After that, he made many startling threats against police and public safety. Here's what he had to say and how the Commissioner of Police reacted today:... "Cross Di Nitro" - Big Tom Supporter: "The man come and the man say out of his own mouth that he get orders from the higher boss to set a hit on my general who is Big Tom, Kenneth Flowers. What is going on with you all G? What you all feel like? You all feel like you are untouchable? "Bwai, you have pickni you know. Watch here, laugh attraction thing might just happen to you all. Things that you don't even wish will happen you yourselves or to your love ones. You all get the sense. You all make sure you know what you are doing."
Flowers Says "Cross Di Nitro" Should Get A Break
Now, Flowers admits that he is the one who told "Cross Di Nitro" to make a post after he heard that police planned to kill him. He says the young man over-reacted and should not be penalized:... Kenneth "Big Tom" Flowers: "Well I call some people and I tell them well they could go on Facebook and voice this, because this is what I heard about the police. But I didn't say to do it in a violent way. But the way how he takes me, he just approach it in that way. He doesn't mean anything. He doesn't have any guns. He is a youth who is out there selling CD. But by the end of the day it is me who help to take care of them, so if you are trying to harass somebody who they know are not doing anything - that is how they feel, but it is not what they mean."
Cops Killed Big Tom's Dog
Another of Big Tom's artists - known as "Unlimited" was also taken into police custody today. You'll probably know him because he's appeared in BTL ads on this newscast. Well tonight he's getting treatment for a foot injury - after police manhandled him when they claim he resisted arrest. Big Tom told us that "Unlimited" was arrested while going to pick up some clothes for him:... Kenneth "Big Tom" Flowers: "Well I send "Unlimited" at my house for a suite of clothes because I don't trust the police and it look like the police meet "Unlimited" and they beat him and abuse him when that youth was just a Belizean artist - just trying to do positive things. But at the same way I fear for my life. I don't want to go to my house, every day they [police] goes there. They went and shoot my dog when my dog was chained up. So imagine that is the example they are showing me what they will do to me when they meet me. You see what I'm saying."
PIV Ãƒ"¢"‚¬ËœHood Fed Up With Cops
And while Big Tom's soldiers are dominating the news, the wider community in the PIV area of St Martin's is taking a lick from police. Relentless searches and what they say is systematic harassment and intimidation have become everyday occurrences. 47 year old Cherry Sutherland along with 6 members of her family - including two 16 year olds say they know just what that is about. Yesterday at around midday, police searched their house on Flamboyant in Belize City. They found a brown pipe which they say was used for smoking cannabis. Today Cherry Sutherland - who'd just gotten out of detention and the court holding cell - said it's a preposterous charge:...
Police Predators Turn Prey In PIV Territory?
Of course, that is just one side of the story. The other is the way residents of those neighborhoods, intimidate police in their own way. A video posted on Facebook on Sunday demonstrates just that. It shows GSU in the PIV area where the neighborhood is up in arms, mocking them and outnumbering them. Eventually, it results in the police officers having to fire warning shots to disperse the crowd while the residents run off, laughing at them. Today, Commissioner Whylie described how police view these interactions:... Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police: "Whenever the police goes out to execute their duties in certain areas, residents of those communities are coming out in large numbers and, basically, in my view, obstructing, impeding the police in the execution of their duties. Insulting words, indecent words have been thrown at the officers."
Flood Waters Going Up In Cayo
All this rain won't let up! It has been pouring since this weekend and many areas are now flooding out. The low lying bridge in Cayo as well as the Iguana Creek Bridge are impassable tonight and they are both closed. We traveled to San Ignacio today and the Mayor gave us an update on the flood situation. Earl Trapp, Mayor - San Ignacio and Santa Elena: "I can say since Sunday the rains began. As a matter of fact we had our 113th anniversary of the existence of San Ignacio of El Cayo. We had a ceremony and we were under the rain. So it's been raining torrentially since Sunday and it continued through yesterday up to this morning." "I've been in contact with the NEMO coordinator for this area who is Mr. Al Westby and he is saying that up to last night and this morning the rain was slowing down. The Mollejon it was spilling over, but somehow it is reducing already. So with that, he [Westby] is not expecting much more flooding. If you notice it is still raining, so if the rain continues then he is saying that the people in the low-laying areas should take heed and begin thinking of probably relocating temporarily."
City Flooding: the Contingencies
And while the rising rivers threaten Cayo, in Belize City it's the sea level and inadequate drainage that causes concern. This morning, with the hours of heavy rain there was dramatic flooding in the city - which took a few hours to run off. By this evening, most streets were back to normal but schools had to be cancelled, and in many cases children had to be sent home after water overtook their classrooms. The Belize City Council was expecting it. Yesterday CITCO and NEMO met to discuss a plan for the heavy rains and Phillip Willoughby briefed us on what the plan for the city is. Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor: "What we did was a basic overview and assessment of where we were over the last few days of rain and what is the projection going into the remainder of the week and what it is that the city would have to contend with in terms of the extraordinary amount of rains that is coming our way and has affected our city."
Mother And Two Kids Attacked In Terrifying Domestic Attack
At around 5:30 this morning a major domestic incident occurred which left three people injured and two of them were minors. The eruption of violence happened in the Mayflower Street area where it left the victim's family in shock. 7 news was on the scene and Sahar Vasquez has more on the story. At around 5:30 this morning, while the rain was pouring down, domestic chaos erupted at this house on MayFlower Street. Nikita Smith and her 2 children, were brutally attacked by Smiths common-law husband who is also the stepfather to her two kids. The reports of what he did to his family are almost unbelievable.
BDF Volunteer Acquitted of Murder
24 year-old Jermaine Rhaburn, a former BDF volunteer, was acquitted of murder today in a trial without jury. He shot and killed his fellow volunteer, 21 year-old Clifford Cruz, at Militia Hall in Belize City, but in his trial, he told the judge that it was self-defense. The incident happened on October 1, 2012, in the guard room at Militia Hall, located near the Lord Ridge Cemetery on the George Price Highway. Evidence in the trial indicated that Cruz was shot once in the chest with an M-16 rifle at close range. An eyewitness testified that Cruz choked Rhaburn until his eyes turned red. That's when Rhaburn allegedly prepared the weapon to fire it 3 times before he actually shot Cruz in the chest.
Media Ends Police Boycott With Compromise
The media boycott of the police is over. It ended today after a long delayed meeting between the media and the police. It was held at the Raccoon Street headquarters and lasted a little over an hour. Both sides got to air out their grievances. In the media's case, our gripe was that the police senior command had unilaterally and abruptly discontinued the practice of allowing police officers to give the press media briefings. This happened in mid-September and lasted until mid-October when the media enacted a boycott of all police activities. And though he never addressed what caused the disruption, Commissioner Allen Whylie committed to a new model - which the media agreed with. Here's what it is:..
Fitzroy Will Pay For Outburst
And while the media got more or less what it wanted - one cop who stepped up to support the press core - probably won't. That's Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, who blazed out yesterday on KREM's WUB and blasted the senior commend who unceremoniously pushed him out of the press office. Today the Commissioner says his case has been sent to the Professional Standards Branch:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police: "I have heard what Mr. Yearwood said- I have directed the commander of the professional standards branch that he must investigate and he will be submitting his findings and recommendations. The Police Department is a disciplined organization. If any officer is disaffected, he or she knows the process to seek remedy. I can tell you that I have never been approached by Mr. Yearwood complaining of any wrong or injustice done to him. We do have policies governing certain behavior and action and Mr. Williams will be looking at that."
COMPOL Discussed Failed Lie Detector Test
Today the Commissioner also addressed the Lie Detector test which the opposition says he failed in 2008. In the House on Friday, PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde said that he had obtained a document which showed that in 2008 Whylie failed the test when he was asked about disclosing information to criminal organizations. He allegedly said specific information was provided to subjects during interrogations. Here's how he explained it today:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police: "I do recall many years ago volunteering to take a polygraph test. I took that test and that was the end of that matter. I had never seen the result of that test. It was never conveyed to me or shared with me. I can't even say at this point in time if the document that was whatsapped to me, or the portions, are a genuine document. I don't know where it came from but I can tell you that one of the words that struck me in that document was the word 'interrogation.'
Police Says Public Needs More Education About Marijuana Law
We also asked Whylie about the new law to de criminalize possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less. It was passed by the House on Friday - and while Whylie would not pass judgement on the new legislation, he said that police are educating their officers:... Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police: "I can tell you that at Kolbe, a lot of the People out there are for small quantities of Marijuana and I don't think that there is the need for us to continue to perpetuate that matter. The government has seen in its wisdom to pass this law and we will enforce the law. We will do our public education and sensitization within the department. I do think that there is the need for a more robust public education because I think that many people have the misconception that because of this new law they will be able to walk around with 10 grams of weed or that they will be able to smoke the weed on the streets and police won't be able to enforce and arrest them and that's not the purpose of the law. The purpose of the law recognizes I guess, the right to persons who do certain activities in the confines of their home."
Woman and Child Shot In Late Evening City Shooting
There has been another shooting in the city. It happened around 6:40 near the Puma New Road Service Station on the northside. Two persons were shot, an adult female and a child. The adult was shot to the hand and the girl, reportedly her granddaughter was allegedly shot to the back and with the bullet exiting thru her abdomen. And we also have the latest on flooding in the Cayo District. 5 families in Calla Creek have reportedly been evacuated and taken to relatives in the village. They are all safe and NEMO officials say there is no cause for alarm.
Mek Mi Rich Appeal Traversed
4 months ago, we told you how BTL decided that they would appeal the Supreme Court Judgment that Corozal businessman Curtis Swasey won against them. That appeal was supposed to have been heard today, but it was canceled because one of the judges recused herself from the panel. Swasey won his lawsuit against BTL and the owners of the Mek Mi Rich gameshow, Andre Vega and Sanjay Hotchandani. Justice Courtney Abel ruled in February of 2016 that Swasey's idea of lottery texting was given away to the Mek Mi Rich owners. The judge reasoned that it was employees of BTL who breached a confidentiality agreement and released his very profitable idea to Vega and Hotchandani.
Caricom-Mexico Summit Cometh
Tonight, Government officials are making their final preparations for the 4th CARICOM-Mexico Summit. It is being hosted in Belize tomorrow, and representatives from Governments all across the Caribbean will be coming. It will also allow for Mexican President, Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto to make his first visit here. A press release from the Government of Belize says that President PeÃ±a Nieto will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, prior to the opening of the Summit. The two Heads of Government will evaluate the Belize's current bilateral relations with Mexico, and their discussion will focus on the strengthening of cooperation in the areas of education, sports, maritime security, and economic and political cooperation. They will also consider other ways to strengthen the legal framework between Belize and Mexico.
Fancy New Town Hall For San Ignacio
When we were in San Ignacio and Santi Elena today to cover the flood, Mayor Earl Trapp also showed off the new Town Hall. For years many of the workers who were stationed at the Town Hall complained about the dilapidated structure. Well, finally, they will have a new decked out office to work in. Trapp says it was certainly a worthwhile investment. The official inauguration is set for December 6th. Trapp says he plans to pay off the National bank loan for the project in 4 years.
2016 AIDS Report Shows Decreasing Number of New Infections
The Annual HIV Statistical Report for 2016 has been released and the Ministry of Health statistics say that there were 225 new diagnosed cases of HIV in Belize. That's 9 fewer cases than in 2015, and a tie for the number of new cases reported in 2014. 2 of every 3 persons who tested positive for the sexually transmitted infection were males. The Belize District had the highest numbers of new cases with 67 males and 59 females who have been diagnosed with the HIV. The Toledo District had the lowest number of new HIV cases with only 6 males and 4 females testing positive. They were closely followed by Orange Walk, which had 9 males and 6 females, and Corozal which had 10 males and 5 females. Stann Creek had 10 males and 11 females who had been diagnosed, and Cayo had the second highest numbers with 16 males and 21 females.
Green Belize Gotta Lotta Garbage
Last week Friday we told you about a big clean up on the Western Highway called "A Walk For A Green Belize". Tonight we know how much trash they collected. An estimated 925 bags of garbage were collected weighing in at 10,800 pounds. All parties involved are extremely satisfied with the result and thankful for the 650 volunteers that took time out of their Saturday to clean up Belize. Prize money of $200 was also awarded. The Belmopan Police Cadets won for having the largest number of volunteers and St. Agnes Anglican School won for the largest amount of garbage collected.