BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 1, 2020– When 2018 closed, Belize had recorded 148 murders and instead of a tranquil beginning to the New Year, 2019 began with a grim record of 5 murders, which we reported in our newspaper’s first edition for the New Year, dated January 4, 2019.
The New Year’s murders began in the northern Belize District, in Lucky Strike, when a woodcarver, Howard Coleman, 58, was attacked and stabbed to death in his house. A 24-year-old man, Giovanni Jones, allegedly stabbed Coleman to death in a dispute involving a woman who was staying at Coleman’s house.
In that same week, the body of an unidentified man was found floating in the Belize River, in the vicinity of Blackman Eddy Village, Cayo District. The man’s hands were tied behind his back and a postmortem exam confirmed that he had died from manual strangulation.
On Blue Marlin Boulevard, in Belize City, a reputed gang affiliate, Joseph Wallenford Babb, 21, died in a hail of bullets.
Also in Belize City, Preston Reynolds, 22, was riding his bicycle on Jane Usher Boulevard, when two gunmen opened fire on him, ending his life.
The fifth murder occurred in San Ignacio, when a mother of 3, Anita Pineda, 34, was stabbed to death by her ex-common law husband, Ruben Cassasola, against whom she had taken out a restraining order. Cassasola was arrested, charged and remanded for Pineda’s murder.
Also in that week, the PUC approved the Belize Electricity Limited’s request for a rate increase.
Another major headline had to do with the beatdown of two men by police officers in San Pedro. The incident was captured on cell phone video footage, which immediately went viral on social media, but when the media asked Police Commissioner Chester Williams to name the two officers, he declined to do so.
In the week of January 11, it was reported that Elodio Aragon, Sr. a former United Democratic Party government minister, who is the father of current UDP Cabinet minister, Elodio Aragon, Jr. was kidnapped and released, after his home in Orange Walk was burglarized. He was released unharmed on Progress Road.
Elodio Aragon, Sr.
Also, the brother of Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Edward Martinez, who became a whistleblower, was threatened with death. Martinez, at a press conference, claimed to have knowledge about some senior police officers and Cabinet ministers who are involved in the drug trade. He did not provide any evidence, however.
Also, within that same period of time, Chester Williams, LLB, CLE, became the first lawyer to be appointed Commissioner of Police. Williams succeeded former Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. Additionally, Darrell Ramclam, 41, was shot in the face with rubber bullets by police, and San Pedro police confirmed that Corporal Alfonso Guy was shot and killed.
A few days later, in the week of January 15, it was reported that Compol Chester Williams’ intervention saved hostages after three gunmen had menaced a Chinese businessman’s wife and daughter. Amandala also reported on a U.S. government partial shutdown affecting local staff at the US Embassy in Belize. Additionally, headlines referred to a “Mapp Caye Mystery” in connection with the murder of one person and the disappearance of two others.
Headlines in the week of January 18 referred to the fact that former Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie “did not go quietly” after a new Commissioner of Police was appointed and it was also reported that activist Moses Sulph, who was being sued by Mark King for defamation over a post in social media, had lost to Mark King. It was also reported that Paulette Elrington, daughter of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sedi Elrington, was receiving consideration for employment benefits and privileges from the ministry that would not have been given to “an ordinary public officer”.
The following headlines were found in the January 22 issue of the Amandala:
• “3 remanded for suspected ATM card scam”: The three men were all foreigners from three different South American countries: Columbia, Peru and Chile.
• “Four tourists robbed at Mayan site, El Pilar.”
• “Roberto Rodriguez and Clive Geban, two young killers who were convicted of killing an elderly Maskall man, to be sentenced on February 1.”
In the January 25 issue, the headlines included, “PUP says ‘No to the ICJ’: The Opposition party also demands the ‘immediate removal’ of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington”, and “Cabinet says yes, Lindsay says no! ‘The 1859 Treaty does not give title to Belize’s 8867!’”
Headlines for the January 29 issue were as follows:
Michael Williams, Sr., deceased
• “Michael Williams, Sr., murdered on North Front Street. Marie Sharp’s eldest son, who took over the management of the warehouse and sales depot of for Marie Sharp’s famous products was ambushed in his vehicle.”
• “Johvaney Tablada, 23, fatally shot at house party on Fabers Road Extension.”
• “Hispanic man chopped in boatyard on George Price Highway.”
• “Empress Williams, 22, charged with $2,000 theft.”
Headlines for the February 1 issue:
• “Court war — Dion Zabaneh and mother vs DOE. The Department of the Environment is charging Zabaneh and his mother, Primrose Gabourel, for filling a lot in the sea without proper permission.”
• “Jerdie Flores, 30, executed in Punta Gorda.”
• “Efrain Martinez, 54, surrenders to Compol Chester. Martinez was wanted for murder in the chopping death of Elmer Salazar, 43. Salazar, a Guatemalan was allegedly chopped to death by Martinez, a Salvadoran.”
Headlines for the February 5 issue:
• “Stupidly designed highway kills young teacher. Marlena Mortis was knocked down and killed crossing a section of the Philip Goldson Highway between Buttonwood Bay and Belama.”
• “Shawn Hemmans, 33, fatally shot in Belize City. Hemmans had gone to a friend’s house on St. Thomas Street when someone called him from off the verandah and he was shot as he made his way down the stairs.”
• “Champion jockey, Kristian Tillett, 27, loses life after vehicle overturns. Tillett was heading to his Scotland Half Moon home from Burrell Boom, when he lost control of his Mitsubishi SUV.”
Kristian Tillett, deceased
Headlines for the February 8 issue:
• “Japanese youth, 19, shot dead on Park Street. Father, 53, critical in KHMH; 2 gunmen at large. The father and son were ambushed at their gate as they arrived at their Buttonwood Bay home. Masaki Yanai died on the scene while Takayuki was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit and placed on life support.”
• “Mexican potatoes causing problems for local growers.”
• “Allen brothers, Clifton and Ulide, remanded for allegedly shooting at police. Police charged the brothers with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, aggravated assault and wounding.”
Headlines for the February 12 issue:
• “Star basketballer, Dwayne Cummings, 20, murdered. Cummings was walking to his home in Orange Walk Town, after a basketball game when he was targeted by a gunman.”
• “‘Ankle bracelets’ planned for repeat offenders. Ankle monitors are widely used in the US and a similar project was launched in England, says government.”
• “Court hears mitigation pleas for 3 convicted murderers: Andy Forbes, William Vasquez and Tyrone Clinton Harris. The trio was convicted in the Supreme Court of Justice Colin Williams for the June 2012 murder of Joseph Meyers, who was shot while socializing with friends at Living Hope Primary School, located on Maskall Street, in Belize City.”
Headlines for the February 15 issue:
• “3-vehicle collision leaves woman critical in KHMH. The accident occurred in front of North Star Gas Station in Ladyville, next to Sky’s Supermarket. The woman, whose identity was not released up to press time, was standing on the sidewalk when she was knocked down in the accident.”
• “American woman dies in home invasion turned murder. Elizabeth Roussean, 74, died while her husband, Gary Hakes, 84, was injured when their home, located in the Consejo Shores area of the Corozal District, was invaded. Two men managed to gain entrance into the couple’s home.”
Elizabeth Rousseau, deceased, and her husband, Gary Hakes
• “Two charged for gun dealership burglary. Cops have so far recovered 18 guns and 4,900 rounds of ammo from gun dealer Victor L. Bryant break-in. Randy Chambers and Selvin Linares were charged with a dozen offences in connection with the break-in.”
Headlines for February 19 issue:
• “Fr. Oliver Smalls, Jr., removed from duties in Belize. Roman Catholic Bishop of Belize. Most Rev. Lawrence Sydney Nicasio, said that this was because of ‘credible allegation of sexual abuse of minors’ from the Diocese of Richmond in Virginia (USA).”
• “PUP Leader protests against Vital Statistics office. Hon. John Briceño told reporters that Belizeans are frustrated with the service of the government’s office responsible for providing birth papers and other essential documents.”
• “House collapsed on Marigold Lane. Nevin Flowers and two of his family members resided at the wooden house. No one was injured when it folded.”
• “Fire destroyed 2 houses in Gungulung, leaving Kirk Davis and his family homeless. The Davis family lost all of their possessions.”
Headlines for February 22 issue:
• “New legislation for cyber-bullying; Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte says that the new legislation is in the works to protect the privacy of the victims.
• “Venezuelan Ambassador visits Amandala. ‘We will fight or we will die,’ His Excellency Ambassador Gerado Argote, said. Amandala interviewed the ambassador about the current state of affairs with his country and the US Administration of President Donald Trump.”
• “Roy Lord, Jr., 31, fatally shot in the head. Lord was shot and killed as he was making his way to pick up his girlfriend from Tropicana Casino on Newtown Barracks.”
• “Alleged ‘cocaine cowboy’ rearrested. Police reinstated charges against Peter Schmidt, 39, for 5 kilos of cocaine.”
Headlines for February 26 issue:
• “Pink Eye on the increase in Quintana Roo, prompting the Belize Ministry of Health to issue a press release to Belizeans, after Mexican health authorities reported higher than normal cases of Pink Eye. At the end of 2018, a little less than 19,000 cases were recorded.”
• “Councilor Micah Goodin stripped of his portfolio at City Hall. Councilor Goodin’s outburst led to him being stripped of his portfolio by Mayor Bernard Wagner, who was attacked by Goodin in a social media post.”
• “Fake cops sentenced to 1 year. Dorian Blair and Barrington Slusher, who posed as police officers, changed their not guilty plea to guilty when they appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.”
• “92-year-old woman punched in face during burglary. Marie Gardiner, 92, was at her home on Southern Foreshore, Belize City, when a man entered.”
Headlines for March 1 issue:
• “Brazen early morning robbery at Northern Border. Police, in a textbook operation, caught all 6 of the robbers as they tried to escape.”
• “Grayson Cadle, 22, burn survivor, returns home, after receiving treatment in the United States. Cadle sustained burns to 75 percent of his body in July 2018, when a gas tank exploded at his home on Mopan Street, opposite to Brown’s Butane Depot.”
• “Diesel reaches $10 per gallon as pump prices rise yet again.”
• “Mentally ill man, Louis McFadzean, freed after spending 9 years on remand without a trial.”
Headlines for March 5 issue:
• “Britain planning to play bigger role in Belize? The post-Brexit UK might aim to ‘develop their footprint in Belize.’”
• “‘Mi D’ dead at 59. Rev. Derek Aikman, former UDP Minister, was a fiery orator on the political rostrum and the youngest politician elected to the House of Representatives.”
Rev. Derek Aikman, deceased
• “Joan Sharen Gabourel, 18, missing, found dead in cane field.”
• “Walter Beaton, 48, taxi man, executed in front of his house on Reggae Street.”
Headlines for March 8 issue:
• “Guat civilians fired on Belizean boats on Sarstoon”.
• “PUP Leader and PAC Chairman sue PM Barrow. The PM and Financial Secretary were sued for spending $1.3 billion illegally.”
• “Number of murders for 2019, up to 5th March: 24.”
• “Mother charged for prostituting daughter for food.”
Headlines for March 15 issue:
• “Deadly bar argument leaves 2 dead; the alleged killer flees stabbing murder scene, and then crashes his motorcycle, killing his passenger friend. The incident occurred in Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District.”
• “After 1 year and 2 months, no Senate Report on the Immigration Department hearing. The Auditor General Report had highlighted a number of corrupt practices in that department.”
• “Andrew Willoughby gets 18 years for murder of boy, 11. Willoughby shot and killed Daniel Matura on Central American Boulevard on May 23, 2012. He was found guilty by Supreme Court Justice, Marilyn Williams.”
• “Horace Cadle, a 19-year-old, was stabbed to death in San Pedro.”
Headlines for March 19 issue:
• “The Special Agreement (Compromis) challenged in court. PUP parliamentarians want interim injunction to stop the ICJ referendum.”
• “PM Barrow presents $1.2 billion budget. The Prime Minister said the work would continue on the UDP’s ‘fabled infrastructure narrative.’”
• “Alexander Ruiz, 37, charged for motorcycle accident that killed his friend.”
Headlines for March 22 issue:
• “Double murder in San Pedro; two Belize City men, Deon Faber, 41, and Allen Martinez, who had taken up residence on San Pedro, were shot to the head in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro.”
• “KREM’S Lisa Love celebrates 25 years of being on the air.”
Lisa Love Myvett
• “Alleged new regime for Boledo sellers; Boledo sellers who still use pen and paper in the districts will no longer be allowed to do so, a letter writer to Amandala asserts. Also sellers who do not reach their quota of $2,000 weekly will lose their rights to sell Boledo.”
Headlines for March 26 issue:
• “6 die in 5 road accidents. Within 48 hours, 4 people died from 3 motorcycle accidents alone. Zinia Ayala, Valdimir Aguliar, Abraham and Irene Penner are the accident victims. “
• “PUP blast Barrow’s 2019-2020 budget. Hon. Cordel Hyde stated in the House, ‘I say the wages of poverty is everywhere…in every run-down house…in the faces of poverty…in every barefooted child we see on the streets during school time.’”
• “Anthony Carballo, Jr., arraigned for San Pedro double murder. Police charged Carballo for the murder of Allen Martinez and Deon Faber.”