At press time, Ernesto Granados, 40, a mechanic of Vista Del Mar, Ladyville, who was shot while riding a taxi on Tuesday morning, is still in the hospital in a critical condition.
According to the public relations officer of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, Gary Ayuso, Granados was shot in his neck and the bullet penetrated through the upper part of his body and is lodged in his back, in his spinal cord. He has reportedly undergone surgery. Doctors removed some tissue fragments that were left in his back after the shooting, but they were unable to remove the bullet, so they plan to do another surgery later this week.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Kirk Anderson, was unavailable today when we tried to contact him regarding reports that he still intends to prosecute the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Dean Barrow, and a commercial bank on money laundering charges.
Barrow (of Barrow and Williams law firm) and two other attorneys, Belize Bar Association President, Christopher Coye, and Aldo Salazar, both of Glenn D. Godfrey and Company LLP, represented three companies that were being prosecuted on money laundering charges recently. The Belize Bar Association issued a statement to the media this week, in which it pointed out that under Belize law, ?Every person who is charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty.?
Despite a projected $48 million increase in tax revenues after an increase in sales tax and a reform in land tax this year, the Government of Belize is grappling with a cash crunch and has announced that it will implement significant budget cuts which, our Government sources say, could amount to over $35 million, tightening expenditures to a new low.
About two weeks ago, the Prime Minister admitted, in his September 17 State of the Nation Address, that, ?Our nation continues to face serious financial constraints, which call for early development of an appropriate macro-economic and budgetary strategy.?
In the face of recent controversy, investor Luke Espat is adamant that the Belize Cruise Terminal?s $100 million port planned for Southside Belize City will continue under the existing contract, signed in April.
Espat?s declaration came a day after public comments made by Tourism Minister, Hon. Mark Espat (no relative), to the effect that he had serious concerns about the contract.
Alfredo Aldana, 55, a businessman of #766 Tranquil Lane, was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.00 yesterday in the #2 Magistrate?s Court for keeping an unlicensed 12-gauge shotgun, which Aldana said belonged to his friend, James Bowman, who left it with him after they returned from a hunting trip.
The magistrate, Mrs. Dorothy Flowers, could have fined Aldana $10,000.00. But she took into consideration that the gun had a licence but it had expired, and used a proviso at section 4 (1) (C) of the Amendment to the Firearms Act, which allows her to impose half of the minimum $10,000.00 fine.
A relative of Eduardito Castellanos, 35, visited Amandala today to say that his cousin has been missing since 23 days ago, from the time he went to Melchor on Tuesday, September 7.
Eduardito reportedly left home on September 7, along with his friend, Reymundo Miguel, Jr., 34, for Melchor. A taxicab operator in Melchor said he took Eduardito to San Benito, which is near Flores, but he said he brought Eduardito back to Melchor.
Alex ?Lexus? O?Brien, 27, a resident of Neal Pen Road who has 16 previous convictions, received two more today when he appeared in the #1 Magistrate?s Court and pleaded guilty to keeping an unlicensed Glock 9 millimeter pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition in its magazine.
The Chief Magistrate, Herbert Lord, fined O?Brien $1,500.00 for the pistol and $2,000.00 for the ammunition. O?Brien was ordered to pay $1,500.00 by October 3.
Even with two Opposition UDP members absent from today?s special sitting of the Senate, the Senators who convened at the National Assembly Building in Belmopan this morning have approved a request from trade unions and private sector organizations to hold investigations into the management and use of Social Security Funds, its securitization program and loan guarantees for third parties.
The highlight of the day?s events came at the conclusion of the sitting, just before 1:30 p.m. today, when the only Opposition Senator present at the sitting, Hon. Arthur Roches, announced that he could not sit on the 5-member Special Select Committee that had been approved.
Last night, Channel 7 News reported an apparent financial scandal at the Northern Fishermen Cooperative, which alluded to high-ranking coop members and staff ?giving themselves loans.?
This morning?s issue of the Opposition?s Guardian newspaper concurred with that claim, further alleging that there had been no securitization for those loans and salary advances.
?Every time di dog sh** front a di church door, yuh go an move di door. I think we need fi clean di sh** and kill di dog.?
Minister of Works and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Hon. Joe Coye, said that this is the manner in which the challenges?and particularly the financial challenges?facing the country could be resolved.