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Home Highlights Amandala Year in review: Part 2

Amandala Year in review: Part 2

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 7, 2019– July ushered in the new voter re-registration drive and on July 2, on the same day the re-registration exercise began, a multi-organization group kicked off “The NO ICJ Movement” at a press conference held at the Belize Institute of Management. The major announcement coming out of the NO ICJ Movement press conference was that the group planned to take out a constitutional claim against the government, particularly the Elections and Boundaries Department, to challenge the re-registration of naturalized Guatemalans who would be allowed to be re-registered and would be allowed to vote in the national ICJ referendum on April 10, 2019. The group also planned to petition government to lift the two-month residency requirement for Belizeans living in the diaspora.

Six organizations participated in the press conference: the Rural Economic Development of Agriculture through Alliance (BREDAA) and Belize Diaspora Voting Rights, two US-based Belizean organizations; along with home-based organizations Belizeans United for Equal Rights at Home and in the Diaspora (BUFFERAD), the Belize Peace Movement (BPM), the Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV) and Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV).

On July 2, Orange Walk police charged Bruce Harvey, 35, with four counts of attempted murder, for allegedly shooting four persons.

Also in that month, the governing United Democratic Party released a list of persons who were aspiring to represent the party in its upcoming constituency conventions for the 31 electoral constituencies.

Amandala’s July 6 headlines included the acquittal of an undefended man who was accused of rape. Although Rudolph “Tubba” Smith, 43, was identified in an ID parade and in court by the victim who was 16 years old at the time of the alleged rape on November 23, 2011, and despite the fact that he had no alibi witness and no defense attorney, he won a unanimous not guilty verdict. The case was prosecuted by Crown Counsel, Kileru Awich.

Amandala also reported that Stephany Lindo-Garbutt had been appointed the new City Administrator at the Belize City Council. Garbutt replaced Candice Miller, who served in the post under the United Democratic Party mayor Darrell Bradley, but was terminated early in the PUP council’s term of office.

In keeping with one of its campaign promises, the Belize City Council cut the fees paid by taxi operators in half from $20 per month to $10. Councilor Allan Pollard, who holds the Traffic Department portfolio, made the announcement on July 5. Councilor Pollard also stated that the Traffic Department’s revenue was up by 30 percent.

An American businessman, Cliff Kirk, 60, was shot in the head at his place of business on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Thursday morning, July 5. Kirk, who owns Casa Brisas, fought for his life in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

On Sunday, July 8, police discovered a large stash of marijuana, along with a cache of guns, which included an AK-47 assault rifle, 12-gauge shotgun and AR-15 rifle. The discovery was made at an area in Chan Chen, Corozal District. In addition to the firearms, police also found over 1,500 live rounds of various calibers.

On Monday, July 9, a butane tank exploded at a residence at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets. Five persons were injured and were rushed to the hospital.

Around 10:00 a.m., on Monday, July 9, Emmerson Talbert, 25, was shot in the head and killed while he was visiting a friend’s house on Cemetery Lane.

On Friday, July 13, there was an oil spill at the Belize Natural Energy (BNE) operations in Spanish Lookout, and neither the company nor the Department of the Environment made any announcement about it. The Belmopan-based PLUS TV, however, confirmed the oil spill with an interview with the chairman of the Spanish Lookout Petroleum Board, Allan Reimer, who said that in excess of 1,000 gallons of oil was spilled the on the previous Sunday.

At the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), a hernia sufferer, Ronnie Castillo, 48, was told by a specialist that the hospital was no longer offering the type of surgery that would be needed to treat his condition. Castillo told the newspaper that he was told they would only do the surgery if he was dying.

Grayson Cadle, 21, was flown out in a coma to Georgia for treatment. Cadle had suffered severe burns from the explosion of a gas tank at a house where he resides. He and several others were injured from the explosion at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets.

Amandala’s headline story on Tuesday, July 17, announced that a Panamanian attorney was calling for the firing of Central Bank Governor Joy Grant. The issue raised by attorney Giovanni Gottlieb had to do with the Central Bank decision to put Choice Bank, an offshore bank in Belize, on liquidation, after the Central Bank learned about a cash flow problem that had developed at Choice Bank and had resulted in the inability of depositors to access funds.

“Canadian man, 21, charged for Pasadina Bar murder” was the title of a front-page story in Amandala’s July 17 edition. Police charged George Bednarik with the murder of Emmanuel Sosa, 38, who was shot and killed on the morning of Sunday, April 15, at the bar, located in Ranchito, Corozal District.

Motorcyclist Alberto Idelfonso, 22, collided with a bus between Mile 20 and 21 on the Hummingbird Highway and died on Sunday, July 15.

Shoshana Moody, 32, was fined $15,000 for manslaughter by negligence. The fine was imposed on Friday, July 13, by Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Williams. Moody knocked down and killed Chinese businessman Liang Sheng Chen, in August 2012. Chen was walking on the road near the Haulover Bridge.

Amandala also reported that month that diaspora Belizeans had met with PM Barrow, but came away empty-handed. The Prime Minister did not believe that the government could implement a process that would allow the diaspora to register before April 10, 2019, to vote in the ICJ referendum.

The trial for two men accused of murdering attorney Richard Stuart and his wife began in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 18. Eli Lopez Avila and Milton Maza were tried before Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams, who would hear the case without a jury. The Stuarts were murdered in their home between October 16 and 17, 2010.

“Child, 3, dies after gun attack on Gill Street” was the title of a front-page story in Amandala’s Tuesday, July 24 issue. Ethany Bennett was shot and killed as she slept in her home at 6 Gill Street on Sunday morning, July 23.

An ADO bus in which a Belmopan basketball team was traveling, crashed. There were 40 passengers on the bus, which was involved in an accident with a car in Bacalar that left one person dead on Monday, July 23.

Samuel Cosme, 39, a resident of Mahogany Street, was found stabbed to death near Haulover Bridge on Monday morning, July 23.

The PUP lost its San Pedro municipal election petition on Friday, July 20, when Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin found that the clerical errors in the counting of the ballots was not enough to void the election results, the remedy that the PUP was seeking from the court.

“‘I will kill you,’ cops say Brian Brown told family,” was the headline in Amandala’s Friday, July 27 issue. Brown, 41, a Belize City businessman who is no stranger to police, was charged with threat of death and aggravated assault.

Another Amandala article reported that Reainard Ferguson, 33, was charged with Samuel Cosme’s stabbing murder. Cosme’s body was found on Monday, July 23, on a feeder road in the vicinity of Haulover Bridge, with multiple stab wounds.

“After argument taximan chops taximan,” was the title of a July 27 story which reported that an argument between two taximen over a taxi run near the Ocean Ferry water taxi stand had resulted in Gerald Lewis sustaining chop injuries, allegedly from Cecil Buckley.

Also in that July 27 issue, it was reported that a second death in an ADO bus accident was that of a Belizean.

“Swine Flu back in Belize,” was the headline for Amandala’s Tuesday, July 31 issue. In that article, it was reported that the Ministry of Health confirmed 3 cases of the H1N1 flu in the Corozal District.

The headline for Amandala’s August 3 issue was, “American-Belizean suing for false imprisonment.” Norman Kaufman filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General of Belize; the Department of Immigration; Edgar Cano, Senior Immigration Officer and the Belize Police Department.

On Wednesday, August 1, popular cabinet maker and basketball enthusiast, David Alamilla, drowned near Moho Caye.

Darwin Lara, 35, came to the newspaper on Thursday, August 2, to report that he had nothing to do with the shooting death of baby Ethany Bennett, who was shot while she slept at her home on Gill Street. Lara was in fear that he would be innocently gunned down over that incident.

“87 people homeless after San Pedro fire,” was the title of Amandala’s headline story for Tuesday, August 7. The fire destroyed 5 houses and damaged 3 others on Conch Shell Street, in the Boca Del Rio area.

“What the heck is going on in the Ministry of Health?” The Friday, August 3 story in the Amandala looked at pharmaceutical shortages at the Southern Regional Hospital.

On Monday, August 7, a boy, 7, was found hanging near the dump site in Seine Bight.

Jasper Brannon, 28, was found not guilty of double murder in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas on Monday, August 6. Justice Lucas accepted a no-case-to-answer submission from Brannon’s attorney, Leslie Hamilton. Brannon was on trial for the October 2012 murder of Robert Young, 50, which occurred at the dockyard on North Front Street.

“Choice Bank sues Central Bank for damages,” was the title of Amandala’s headline story for Friday, August 10. The Choice Bank lawsuit also named the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General as defendants.

“Vital Statistics Unit closed Wednesday; director suddenly fired,” was the title of a story published in the Amandala on Friday, August 10. The article reported on the firing of Patricia Hinkson, allegedly at the behest of Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, whose driver handed her a termination letter, after closing time on Tuesday evening, August 7.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 7, two pieces of heavy-duty equipment, a Bobcat and a flatbed trailer that had been missing from the Belize City Council, were returned to the Council’s Works Department compound near Mile 5 on the George Price Highway.

“Belizean fans rush to Civic to ride volleyball women to victory over Guatemala,” was an Amandala front page story on August 10.

“Three murders – 1 in Hopkins, 2 in Belmopan,” was the headline story for Tuesday, August 14.

“Female football referee beaten over red card,” was the title of a story in Amandala’s Monday, August 13 issue. Referee Yuri Daniels was assaulted by a player after she gave him a red card. The incident occurred during a game between San Antonio and Conception Villages in the Corozal District. The incident caused an outrage in social media when a picture of Daniels’s injuries was posted.

“Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen visits Belize” was the headline story on Friday, August 17.

Belize recorded 69 suicides in 3 years, the Ministry of Health Mental Health Coordinator Eleanor Bennett told Amandala on Thursday, August 16. Bennett said Belize needs more psychologists.

“PUP Southern Caucus says no to the ICJ,” reported the Amandala on Thursday, August 16.

On Monday, August 21, Arturo Rodriguez, 48, allegedly murdered his common-law wife Mariela Alpuche, 34, by choking her to death. The incident occurred at a hotel in Independence Village, Stann Creek District.

Two men, Junior Treminio, 34, and Christopher Calderon, 19, were executed on Zericote Street, Orange Walk Town. A man wearing a ski mask reportedly emerged from a vehicle with a handgun and shot the two friends on Tuesday evening, August 19.

The Cisco Construction founder and first Kolbe Foundation chairman, John Woods, passed away at 75. Woods died in Houston, Texas, where he was undergoing treatment on Saturday, August 18.

Candice Miller, the former Belize City Administrator, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit for $498,135 against Belize City mayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council. In a counterclaim, City Hall filed a 1-million-dollar lawsuit against Miller. Miller’s papers were filed on July 11.

“Belizean Darnelle Flowers, 17, shot and killed in Chicago,” was a headline story on Friday, August 24.

“The trial of the Stuarts’ accused murders winds down,” reported the Amandala on that same day, Friday, August 24.

It was also reported that a 9-year-old girl died after being struck by lightning in a village, Nalumcah, Toledo District, on Thursday, August 23.

On Wednesday, August 22, the Republic of China (Taiwan) donated 10,000 bags of rice through the Taiwan Rice Donation for Humanitarian Relief project, and that gesture of kindness angered rice farmers in Belize.

“Sapna Budhrani mismanaging NICH,” was the headline story for Tuesday, August 28. “The concern is the ineffectiveness of Ms. Sapna Budhrani’s improper financial management of NICH and apparent lack of concern to address irregularities,” stated an audit report dated August 11, 2018.

Jenelli Fraser, 27, won Miss Universe Belize. Fraser, who was chosen to represent Belize in Thailand at the Miss Universe Pageant, beat out 10 other contestants on Saturday night, August 25, to capture the title.

“Controversial UHS bill to the House tomorrow,” was the headline of a story on Friday, August 31. Ruling UDP parliamentarians were set to vote against the over $95 million UHS bill in defiance of an order from the Caribbean Court of Justice.

“Cabinet silent on NICH’s Sapna Budhrani alleged suspension” was the title of another Amandala article. Budhrani, a favorite of Minister Patrick Faber, was appointed NICH president three months before.

It was also reported on Thursday, August 30, that Brodies’ $90,000 worth of imported medication was denied entry into Belize, because the Ministry of Health said that Brodies was not complying with new regulations.

“UDP votes ‘no’ to CCJ’s $95 million order,” was the headline story on Tuesday, September 4. The PUP members of the House of Representatives walked out of the House before the vote. The $95 million grew from a $33 million Belize Bank loan in March 2007, to UHS, a private company.

Amandala also reported that, according to Inspector of Police Fitzroy Yearwood, Mobile Interdiction Team cops shot at his vehicle. Two children were in the vehicle, said Yearwood, a 22-year veteran of the Belize Police Department. The incident occurred on Sunday, September 2, near Yarborough Bridge.

As the celebration season approached, on Wednesday, September 5, government declared a state of public emergency in two gang-infested neighborhoods, Ghost Town and George Street. Under the state of public emergency, law enforcement officials had sweeping powers to arrest persons in the two declared areas.

“3 Staine brothers on trial for murder,” was the title of a story on Wednesday, September 5. The brothers were accused of the murder of Denver Villafranco, 23, a Belize Defence Force soldier who was fatally stabbed on January 17, 2015.

“City gangsters flee police dragnet,” was the title of an article on Thursday, September 6. Police found drugs, weapons and ammunition in San Ignacio, as gang members fled the city in the way of the public emergency declaration for two gang neighborhoods.

On Friday, August 31, police found an explosive device on a dredge near Caye Caulker.

“Drug plane lands,” was the headline story for Friday, September 14. Senior Superintendent David Chi, Corporal Norman Anthony and 3 others were remanded on charges related to the discovery of 556 kilos of cocaine, with an estimated value of US $7 million.

“Kortico Belize Ltd. jacked over $800,000” was the title of a Thursday, Sept. 13 article. In the early morning of September 10, 4 thieves cut through 3 steel doors to reach the money while 2 security guards were patrolling the rest of the free zone compound where the enterprise is located, in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Cayo District.

On Wednesday, September 13, Ernest “Dangalang” Thurton, 25, was convicted of the October 25, 2012 double murder of Robert Young and Frank James, 35. Young and James were gunned down at the dockyard on North Front Street.

On Saturday, September 15, a 17-year-old minor had to be rescued from fellow villagers in San Andres, Corozal District, after a man attempted to rape her. Meanwhile, in Belize City, a 15-year-old minor escaped a rape attempt by a man who had kidnapped her and taken her to Homeland Memorial Park on the George Price Highway. The minor was walking on Holy Emmanuel Street when she was kidnapped.

Dean Russell Lindo, S.C. the first leader of the United Democratic Party, died at his home on Monday, September 17. Lindo was 86.

“Elrington’s deplorable scare tactics,” was the headline story for Friday, September 2. If Belize does not agree to go to the ICJ, “the whole country will become refugees if the Guatemalans come across and chase us out,” Hon. Elrington remarked at a ceremony for the Status of Forces Agreement, on Wednesday, September 19.

The Belize Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for Aracely Cahueque, 21, in connection with the October 2010 death of Raylene Dyer, 18. In March 2014, Cahueque, a former Corozal Town beauty contestant, was acquitted on a three-count indictment for abetment to murder, by Supreme Court Justice Dennis Hanomansingh.

On Tuesday, September 18, news of a woman giving birth to her baby at a relative’s home spread like wildfire on social media, after the woman reportedly was told at the Corozal Community Hospital that she was not yet ready to deliver her baby.

“Alfred Petillo — heroic dad,” was the headline story for Tuesday, September 25. Petillo died in a fire in Orange Walk Town, after he went back in his burning house to rescue his three children. They all perished in the inferno, on Sunday, September 23.

“Bobby Lopez harassed by Belmopan Celebrations Committee,” was the title of an article featured on September 24. Lopez was given a hard time because he wanted to join in the citizens’ parade on Friday, September 21, with his “No to the ICJ” float.

“Protect your children! Predator/abductor at large!,” was the headline story for September 28. A brazen caucasian British man in a white van tried to abduct an 8-year-old boy in front of his older brother and sister. The incident occurred in Belmopan on Thursday, September 27.

“IMF prescribes bitter medicine for Belize,” reported an Amandala article. In an IMF consultation from September 11 to 24, discussions were held with Acting Prime Minister, Patrick Faber; Central Bank Governor, Joy Grant; and Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight.

“The man in the mask,” was the headline story for Tuesday, October 2. The caucasian man who attempted to kidnap a boy, 8, was identified as British national Roger Wallis, 63, who was arrested and charged by Belmopan police.

“I am not going to talk about that!” Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, told Amandala when he was asked on Monday, October 1, to comment on the future of the southside state of emergency.

Samuel Castro, 25, was shot to death in Orange Walk Town, on Sunday, September 30. Castro and a friend were walking on Muffles Street when two men on a motorcycle rode by and one of the men opened fire on him.

“Dismembered legs found floating in river,” was the title of an article in Amandala’s Monday, October 1 issue. The family of Gerado Vasquez, who had gone missing, hoped the limbs found are not those of Vasquez.

“Stevedores threaten waterfront strike,” was the headline story for Friday, October 5. The Barrow administration sent Dr. Carla Barnett in to mediate.

51 state of public emergency detainees were released on Thursday, October 4.

On Monday, October 1, there were four home invasions/burglaries in the Cayo District, all involving senior citizens who were beaten and robbed in their homes.

Amandala’s Tuesday, October 9 issue reported that two tourists discovered a slain teenager in the Cahal Pech temple on Sunday, October 7. The body was that of Bobby Garcia, 19, a laborer of San Ignacio. His body had stab wounds and his throat was slashed.

On Sunday morning, October 7, two sisters, Cindy Cowo, 26, and Jarinet Cowo, 16, drowned in the Mopan River, in Succotz Village, Cayo District.

The Cahal Pech murder of Bobby Garcia involved an “EMO cult ritual,” stated the headline article in Amandala’s Friday, October 12 issue. Police charged two teenagers for the murder of Bobby Garcia, whose body was found by two tourists in a temple at the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech.

Jose Medina, 23, was shot dead in Orange Walk Town, on Thursday, October 11.

On Thursday, October 11, Amandala carried out a small informal survey to find out what the public knows about the question that will be asked at the ICJ referendum. No one in our survey knew what the question was that will be asked at the ICJ referendum.

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte offered a solution to the waterfront dispute between the Christian Workers Union (CWU) and the Port of Belize Limited on Wednesday, October 10.

“Who killed Felina James, 37?” was the headline for Friday, October 19. James’ body was found a week after she disappeared.

Dr. Carla Barnett extended CWU’s strike notice by 10 more days on Thursday, October 18.

There was a sensational hit on Noel Leal, Jr. 33. Leal, the son of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Noel Leal, Sr., was found dead behind the wheel of his Volkswagen van. The Ladyville resident had been shot in the head.

On Monday, October 22, the Department of the Environment issued a stop order to developer Haisam Diab, in respect to a building he began constructing on Sandlighter Promenade on a property leased to him by the Belize City Council.

Charleston Cleland, 19, was found dead on the George Price Highway on Sunday, October 21. His throat had been cut and he had been stabbed. The body was found between Miles 4 and 5 around 10:00 a.m.

A mother and her child went missing. On Thursday, October 18, around 1:30 p.m. Emperatriz Portillo, 53, a businesswoman of 128 East Collet Canal, reported that on Tuesday, October 16, her friend Ruby Petino left her home with her 1-year and 8-months old baby and they have not returned.

There was another suspected drug landing in Belize — the 8th such landing for the year. The twin-engine plane landed in Progresso, Corozal District, on the morning of Thursday, October 25.

Two recent deaths at the Southern Regional Hospital sparked concerns about negligence on the hospital’s part. On October 7, Jayeisha Parchue, a woman who was pregnant with her first child, sought help at the hospital for acute pains in her abdomen. She ended up dead. Shortly after Parchue’s death, another Dangriga resident, Elroy Flores died. The two deaths sparked a protest in front of the hospital on Tuesday, October 23.

State and Church doubled down on PUP leader, Hon. John Briceño, for his call to legalize marijuana. Hon. Briceño made the remarks in his weekly radio message, broadcast on the party’s Positive Vibes radio and television stations.

“PM Barrow ‘blesses’ hemp!” was the headline article for Tuesday, October 30. “My government pours scorn on the notion by the Leader of the Opposition”, Barrow told the nation at a press conference.

Dana Banner, 30, was fined $2,000 for causing death by careless conduct. Banner, a babysitter, beat a child on her head and caused her death. Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams, in addition to the fine, ordered Banner to pay $4,000 compensation to the family of a 2-year 9-month-old baby, Veronica Rodriguez Gonzalez.

In its Friday, November 2 issue, Amandala reported that teachers would stage a march in Belmopan on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, October 31, a backhoe operator, Samuel August, used a Belize City Council backhoe to kill his child and the child’s grandmother.

Celso Carcamo, Jr., 23, was savagely killed. On Thursday, November 1, he was found hanging by his neck outside his home on Mamey Apple Street, in Belmopan.

Albert Moreira, 27, who was charged for the murder of Felina James, was arraigned in court on Wednesday, October 31.

On Friday, November 2, Police Constable Osborne “Ozzy” Martinez was shot and killed by robbers at Belcove Hotel, located on Regent Street, Belize City. Police charged three men for the murder of PC Martinez: Tyrique Myles, Rayford Mejia and Glen Lopez. Two of the men were arraigned in court on Monday, November 5.

The UDP held a constituency convention to select a standard bearer for the Port Loyola constituency and the former 3-term City Councilor Philip Willoughby emerged as the winner. Willoughby’s victory was seen as an upset because he defeated PM Barrow’s choice, senator and Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, who is said to have ambition to run for the UDP leader position when Barrow steps down.

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) marched on Belmopan on Wednesday, November 7. The union flexed its muscle, protesting government’s refusal to bring Proposition 22 and other unfinished business on stream. The BNTU national president, Senator Elena Smith remarked, “This is not a strike, just a demonstration…just showing them what it is that we can do.”

The United States Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, November 8, revealed the biggest real estate scam in its history — a scheme in Belize, known as Belize Sanctuary. The plans to construct retirement homes turned out to be a scam, which bilked around 100 million dollars out of US investors. Andres Pukke, a convicted felon, is the man behind the scam.

Businessman Bert Vasquez was found guilty of attempting to commit rape in the Supreme Court of Justice Colin Williams, on Wednesday, November 7, by a jury of 4 men and 5 women. Vasquez was undefended by an attorney.
“Right under the PSU’s nose!” was the headline for Tuesday, November 13. The union’s headquarters was sold by the Belmopan Council to a 1-day-old company.

Taxi driver, Arturo “Chiney Man” Requena, Sr. 56, died in a traffic accident, on Monday, November 12.

OJ Elrington defeated Dr. Carla Barnett to become the UDP Freetown constituency standard bearer. The convention was held on Sunday, November 12, at the ITVET compound.

“The ‘fishy’ sale of PSU headquarters land!” was the headline for Friday, November 16. The PUP says the hurried sale of PSU land by the UDP council “reeks of corruption.”

BDF private Fidel Williams had his eyes pierced by a rod when he fell through the floor of a wharf at the Forward Operating Base, located at the mouth of the Sarstoon River, Toledo District, on Thursday, November 15.

On Thursday, November 17, The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offered a US $10,000 reward for help in the case of murder of Drew De Voursey, who was killed in Corozal. De Voursey was killed along with Canadian national Francesca Matus. The two were killed in April 2017.

“PSU to get back Hilltop,” was the title of an Amandala story which reported on an announcement that was made on Thursday, November 22, following a meeting between union leaders and Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in Belize City.

On Friday, November 23, at a House of Representatives meeting, Hon. Cordel Hyde, area representative for Lake Independence, told the House that government should take back the boledo franchise.

Belize parliamentarians honored Fidel Castro in the National Assembly on Friday, November 23, on the anniversary of the Cuban revolutionary’s death.

“San Felipe vendor murdered in Pomona,” was the headline story for Friday, November 30. Martha Gonzalez, 68, went to Pomona to sell tamales and cheese. When she did not return home, her family reported her as missing. A suspect, Christopher Bradley, has been charged for Gonzalez’s murder.

“Early morning execution in the city,” was the headline story for Tuesday, December 4. Francis Gill, 47, was shot and killed in his vehicle.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a socialist, took the reins in Mexico. On Saturday, December 1, Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s president.

A drug plane that was headed for Belize made an emergency landing in Chetumal after it failed to land in Belize and was low on fuel, on Friday, November 30. The plane was carrying over a ton of cocaine.

Arthur “Tazzy” Flowers, 44, was shot dead in Belize City on Monday, December 3.

“UHS debt haunting GOB,” was the headline story for Friday, December 7. The Belize Bank applied to the Supreme Court for an enforcement order for the over $95 million (Belize) the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the government must pay the bank.

Four government employees were fired from the Vital Statistics Unit for their role in assisting Danny Mason, an accused murderer, to obtain a Belize birth paper.

Police say that Filiberto Itche chopped his friend, Dimas Choc, after he accused Choc of having an affair with his wife. The incident occurred on Sunday, December 18, at a farm in Cristo Rey, Cayo District.

 Asher Saunders, 20, a welder, was executed at Pier 1 Bar, located at BTL Park, on Newtown Barracks. Saunders was shot in the head on Saturday night, December 8.

“Aneshia Young, 23, now missing for 5 days,” was the headline story for Friday, December 14. “Young went to a Christmas party at her workplace and has not been seen or heard from since. Reliable tips fizzled out and her family is now offering a reward of $10,000 for reliable information as to her whereabouts.

Dr. Jane Usher, CBE, Holy Redeemer’s iconic leader, died at the age of 101. Dr. Usher, an older sister of the Father of Belize, Rt. Hon. George Price, died peacefully at her home near Mile 5 on the Philip Goldson Highway on Wednesday, December 12.

Belize Electricity Limited requested permission from the Public Utilities Commission to increase electricity rates.

On Saturday, December 15, gunmen fired shots at a home on San Pedro, as the family inside slept, around 1:30 a.m. A member of the family, Trent Turley, told us that the gunmen are demanding US $550,000, or they would be killed.

A Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) unmarked police pickup truck ran over 2-year-old Tevin Cacho, Jr. The child has been admitted to the KHMH in critical condition. The incident occurred on Thursday, December 14, on Iguana Street Extension.

The Belize City Council lit up downtown with a 60-foot Christmas tree. The tree, with its 90,000 bulbs, was lighted on Saturday night, December 15, at a ceremony inside Battlefield Park.

Greg Dillon, 32, a fisherman, went missing at sea. Dillon has not returned home since.

“Cop shot dead in ambush,” was the headline story for Friday, December 21. PC Modesto Cucul died around 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, December 20, after being shot while he was driving his vehicle on the Crique Jute and San Antonio Road in Toledo District. Cucul’s wife was with him and she was also shot and had to be hospitalized.

Golden Tree Hotel was shut down on Thursday, December 20, less than a year after massive renovations.

Bert Vasquez, 35, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for attempted rape, on Thursday December 20, by Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams. Vasquez is serving a 10-year sentence for forcible abduction.

“Blood feud claims another victim,” was the headline for Friday, December 28. Daniel Marvin Hughes, Sr., 58, was murdered on Tibruce Street on December 26.

Belize Peace Movement has been mobilizing for a “no to the ICJ” vote. The group held a strategy meeting on Wednesday, December 26, in Belmopan.

Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas, 75, has retired from the bench. Justice Lucas’ retirement came into effect on Sunday, December 23, when he attained the constitutionally mandated retirement age.

The Belize National Teachers Union said that school managers stole teachers’ Christmas by withholding a portion of their salary.

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