7 News Belize

7 News Belize HeadlinesWednesday, July 27, 2016

The Flowers File, the Saldivar Retort
Superintendent Mark Flowers, he may be in jail tonight – but his name is ringing all over the country – and not because he's accused of molesting a 14 year old girl – but because of ...
Supt. Flowers, The Undercover Operator
And as we told you, according to Mark Flowers, the only reason he was able to have that conversation with William Danny Mason was because he was trying to gain the trust of this allege...
Bradley Says Cops Conspired Against Flowers
We backtrack now to yesterday's arraignment. All of yesterday, we'd been hearing from multiple reliable sources that Flowers was going to be charged with 2 counts of rape. That's w...
Flowers Faced An Allegation of Sexual Assault in 1999
And while Flowers is facing this very serious charge against him for molesting a child who , to hear him and his attorney tell it, he has an above average chance to get off.  And, it w...
No Judgment, CJ Re-schedules
About a month and a half ago, Gay Rights Activist Caleb Orozco, and his organization United Belize Action Movement, or UNIBAM, called out the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin for delayi...
Teenager Charged For Murder of Mother of Three in Belmopan
Police in Belmopan have charged an alleged teenage murderer. Two nights ago we told you about 34 year old Regina Williams who was viciously killed in front her home in Las Flores...
Chester Norales, Again!
The name Chester Noralez has been making crime news since the mid 90's when he was a teenager, and tonight he's back in the news.  The 36 year old resident of Fern Lane is a...
Paumen Will Stand Trial
Accused Child Molester Mark Flowers is this week's headline story; last week's was accused murderer, conman, kidnapper and extortionist William Danny Mason. But, a few months ago, the ...
Climate Change the Struggle Is Real
OCEANA and the World Wildlife Fund today held their second annual seminar called  The Nature of Energy vs. the Energy of Nature.  Now, it may sound like just another dreary talk shop ...
Minor Charged For Killing John Jay
Dangriga Police have arrested and charged a 16 year old minor from Belize City for the murder of popular singer/songwriter John Jay Rodriguez. The 34 year old husband and father of one w...
Cops Bust Island Weed
San Pedro police have taken a few pounds of weed out of circulation on the Island.  Yesterday at midday – acting on Special Branch intelligence – island police searched a Sa...
Belmopan Pastor Almost Accompanied Lu
He almost went with Pastor Llewellyn Lucas…that's the story Belmopan Pastor Job Lopez told us yesterday.  He says that Lucas called him on the morning of the 15th – and he was with ...
Police United Get Ready For CONCACAF Champions League
The Police United FC play their first game of the CONCACAF Champions League in less than three weeks. On drawing day two months ago, the team drew a tough card when they lan...
Police United Say Not Involved With Mason Megabucks
And keeping in line with football financing, when the matter of accused murderer William Mason first came into public view, one of the most widely reported masks he wore, was that of a f...
BTB’s Big Plan For Corozal
San Pedro, Placencia, and the Cayo District are tourism powerhouses with tens of thousands of visitors passing through annually. But, what happens to the lesser-known tourist spots aroun...
Corozal Cops Looking For Shooter
And Corozal also has to deal with the other side of keeping tourism prospects up – and that is managing appearances when it comes to crime. The town saw a shooting and home invasion yeste...
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7 News Belize - News:
Important Note: This Internet version of 7 News is a verbatum transcript of our evening television news script. Many interviews on our newscast are conducted in Creole. In the interest of clarity for our foreign readers, we attempt to paraphrase the Creole quotes in English

The Flowers File, the Saldivar Retort

Superintendent Mark Flowers, he may be in jail tonight – but his name is ringing all over the country – and not because he's accused of molesting a 14 year old girl – but because of the allegations he's hurled at police minister John Saldivar. Though he never mentioned Saldivar by name, Flowers sat down with us for just under 40 minutes and ranted and railed at his Minister, and his police superiors who he says are doing the Minister's bidding to railroad his career and smear his reputation.

To be able to draw the inference that it is Saldivar he is pointing fingers at, we'd have to take you back to the beginning of the episode, which he says started a few weeks ago. Here he is in the interview sharing his reasons for suspecting that his Minister meddled in Police business to get him removed as the head of GSU. We also have Saldivar responding and completely denying that allegation, calling Flowers just a desperate man trying to deflect blame from himself:

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"About 5 weeks or a little more ago, I posted up a picture with the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister on my Facebook page and I understand that and this is a mutual friend of the minister, the host and myself who is saying that it was said to the minister 'he say how could Mark Flowers be so disrespectful and posting up a picture with the Deputy Prime Minister, who as you defeated in the bid for the office of deputy party leader a couple weeks ago, which is nothing to do with being professional, nothing to do with policing. It is my choice, somebody that I admire, I like and I certainly respect. So it my choice on my personal page to put up whomever picture I want to and I commented on the page of how caring the person was and how interested in what was happening in the streets. So he said that Mark Flowers have to get "work" for this."

Daniel Ortiz
"Okay and the next very serious accusation is that you are somehow involved, or you are the chief architect in his downwards spiral out of the gang suppression unit."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"That has to again be ridiculous, I didn't even know that Mr. Flowers supported Mr. Faber, he wasn't even a delegate. I don't believe he was even a delegate in that convention and I had no idea he was supporting."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"By July 14th, there was a meeting inside the national security ministry with the commanders of Belize City where the minister had summoned this meeting. It was at that meeting that the minister decided that Mark Flowers have to go. But he did so in such a haste that it exposes the venom and the hatred that he have. It is childish to be so hateful."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"Certainly as I said before, the change made at the GSU was discussed internally and they felt that there had to be a new focus, nothing personal against Mr. Flowers."

From there, Flowers goes a bit further, and this time, he is careful not to call the police minister by name. But, by the context of his comments, you can deduce that he is accusing the Minister of deploying an agent to induce the family of the 14 year-old girl who is accusing him of carnal knowledge. He claims the family was paid $8,000 to make this malicious criminal complaint against him. Again, Saldivar categorically denies doing any such thing:

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"I am still at a loss of money to be so important. It is my understanding that they were paid $8,000. $8,000 is quite a substantial sum for these people."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"That has to absolutely ridiculous. I certainly don't even know the victims nor the parent or mother. I've never met them, don't even know their names and so any assertions that I may have been involved with the family is a complete fabrication."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"But for one man, I don't blame in as much as I am hating what is happening, I don't have the children so much like I hate the person who is putting them up to it. It is disgraceful. I am willing to go through whatever hardship I have to go through right now, but I'll be out. I will be out."

"I'll get to the bottom of this man's.. it is."

Daniel Ortiz
"Did you know who paid her?"

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"I know."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"The charges that he is facing are serious charges that can cost him is career and can certainly land him in jail. I can understand how he is desperate to try to deflect some of the tension from him but certainly I have not been involved in any such thing, I don't even know the victims or the mother."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"And if one picture can cause you to be so vicious and hateful and vindictive then you deserve to be shared around in an equal manner. I will be hateful and vindictive when I'm out from there and I find and I could; I will get to the bottom."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"I think that people will see it for what it is and that is a man who has been accused of a serious and reprehensible crime about minors and a man who has a lot to lose by these charges being brought against him and I can see that he is a desperate man and I'm certainly concerned he has felt the need to say and do what he is saying and doing but desperation causes people to do weird things."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"Dean Barrow, I love him. These minions, these little crooks and dishonest people who try to bring me hardship can't hurt me. There is nothing none of them could do to me."

And, he took the Minister on for a 3rd time during our interview, when we asked Flowers why he was so chummy with accused murder, conmnan, kidnapper and extortionist, William "Danny" Mason. Earlier this week, National Security Minister John Saldivar disclosed that Mason donated "in excess of 50 thousand dollars" to his Belmopan Bandits Football Club. Well, Flowers, who claims that he was undercover, trying to get close to Mason, claims that the business relationship between Saldivar and Mason is allegedly more involved, to the point where Mason was trying to buy into a co-partnership over the Bandits team. Here's that conversation with Flowers, and the Minister's complete denial, referring to Flowers' claims as malicious, desperate stories:

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"Now I know what I know, but he didn't know what I knew then. So we were there and we were talking and I was asking him questions about his business and how he does his thing and that was then I got to know that he was buying half of Bandits and that he thinks that he was jilted out of his money and when he went back for his money he got words like 'when a ginal and ginal meet, only a ginal wins.'"

Rowland Parks - Amandala
"The minister spoke last night about getting about 50,000 dollars from Mason. To the best of your knowledge is that the truth?"

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"Unless he was speaking in US dollars; US currency."

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"Absolutely no basis for that. I've already disclosed what my relationship was with Mr. Mason with respect to the Belmopan Bandits. There was no jilting of anyone. We had an arrangement for him to contribute to the Belmopan Bandits and like I said when I found out information about his background, I decided to disassociate myself from him and he has no longer made any contributions to the Bandits after that time."

Rowland Parks - Amandala
"Sir it's more than 50,000 dollars. You were saying earlier that Mason wanted to buy half of the Bandits, own half of the Bandits but it would be more than 50,000 dollars."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"That is what Mason said to me. He had to been that the minister was referring to US currency. It would have been obvious it was not Belize currency he was talking about you know."


Supt. Flowers, The Undercover Operator

And as we told you, according to Mark Flowers, the only reason he was able to have that conversation with William Danny Mason was because he was trying to gain the trust of this alleged con-man. He said yesterday that after discussing it with Acting Commissioner Russell Blackett, he decided to approach Mason, not as a policeman, but as a commercial farmer who was trying to make connections to grow his business.

Its quote a story, and tonight, we have a little more from our interview with Flowers in which he claims to have been able to get evidence of one of Mason's fake Belizean documents. Here are those comments:

Daniel Ortiz
"This is the first time we're hearing that you were an undercover police officer for the investigators of Danny Mason. They seem to have buried this information."

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"No, no, no, no, no. Danny Mason was somebody who was intriguing and when the information came to Blackett, Blackett shared it with me and I told him I will get into the person, I will get in. I know I could get in there and I found a way in there and I got in there; we talked. I didn't go as an undercover, I went as a businessman. I have a farm and we were talking farm and we were taking animals, but I didn't have any pigs. He told me he has the biggest pig farm in Belize. I said I have pigs too, but I don't have any pigs. I wanted this information to go on. I wanted to know more, because the next thing I was going to asked him was how the transfer was done with the Bank of America for 450,000 US dollars for the purchase of his house. How he was able to do that, because we thought we knew that somebody had to be swindled for that."

Daniel Ortiz
"Did you engage in anything unethical or in anything criminal while trying to investigate him?"

Mark Flowers, former GSU Commander
"No, no, no, no. I went to Danny's house twice that I think was a Wednesday afternoon when I was able to establish and created a conversation with him. I was able to snap his social security card and I got to know how he received it, who secured it for him, how much he paid. I got the information I wanted, I was on top of conversation alright because I offered him to get him those documents. We knew he had them but to prove he had them you have to offer it to him and he said no I have that already and he took it out and that is how we got the picture which on that phone right there."

To repeat what we first reported last night, Acting Commissioner Russell Blackett is denying all of Mark Flowers' claims that they even discussed the William Danny Mason. He told us in the strongest terms that he had ABSOLUTELY NO conversation with Flowers.

According to Blackett, If Flowers did any independent investigation of Mason, he did so on his own initiative, and it was definitely not sanctioned by the Police high command.


Bradley Says Cops Conspired Against Flowers

We backtrack now to yesterday's arraignment. All of yesterday, we'd been hearing from multiple reliable sources that Flowers was going to be charged with 2 counts of rape. That's what, according to our information, the police initially served on him, but they later changed it to unlawful sexual assault.

Yesterday, before his client was arraigned, attorney Dickie Bradley told us that they both suspect that the reason the police changed the charge was to ensure that he couldn't get bail right after his arraignment in the Magistrate's Court:

Dickie Bradley - Attorney for Mark Flowers
"Normally when it is a minor the charge is usually unlawful sexual intercourse which would be the equivalent of the old carnal knowledge. There has been an amendment, confusion as usual but he is in fact on the charge sheet charged with rape. Now interestingly enough the client control act has been amended that you cannot get bail for carnal knowledge but in fact rape is a bail able offence in the magistrate court. So on the one hand in his view trying to smear him further and make him a rapist allows the magistrate to give him bail. I've told him he will not get bail, he will have to go to the Supreme Court; rape is a bail able offence in Belize. To show you how they are looking after the women folks. You can rape them and come to court and get bail  but if you in fact sexually abuse a child you can't get bail and one crime is not worse than the other, one is not lesser than the other it's just part of the foolishness that goes on when you tamper with the law and don't look at it.  But the actual charge sheet reads rape."

"If god is willing he will be granted bail shortly."

Information to our newsroom late today was that Bradley was at prison today meeting with Mark Flowers and William "Danny" Mason. We called Bradley just a short time ago and he said t6hat it's just a rumour; he did meet with Flowers but has no business with Mason. 

As for the rape charge the fact is once a minor-aged girl child is involved, the charge is unlawful carnal knowledge, or as it is now known, unlawful sexual intercourse. If the child is younger than 14 the penalty the minimum 12 years in jail.  For rape, the minimum penalty is 8 years. 

In cases like these, the attorneys usually apply for an expedited bail hearing, and so all goes well for Mark Flowers, he should be getting out of jail by Friday; since that is the day the Supreme Court usually hears bail applications.


Flowers Faced An Allegation of Sexual Assault in 1999

And while Flowers is facing this very serious charge against him for molesting a child who , to hear him and his attorney tell it, he has an above average chance to get off.  And, it wouldn't be the first time Flowers has eluded an allegation of sexual assault.  We've been doing our digging and found that in 1999, Flowers, then an Assistant Inspector in charge of the Dragon Unit Belmopan was accused of the sexual assault of a female police recruit.  The recruit alleged that Flowers went to pick her up at the Police Training Academy at night and she left voluntarily – though against Academy regulations which prohibits recruits from leaving the compound.  She returned an hour later crying, alleging that Flowers had sexually assaulted her. No criminal charges were brought, but Flowers did face internal pressures, and left the Department.  The female recruit also ended up being forced out of the Training Academy.  He turned up the following year working at Belize Central Prison.   When the prison was privatized, he was absorbed into the scenes of crime unit as a civilian staffer, and later rejoined the police as a Sergeant. From there he quickly regained ranks and ascended with lightning speed to Superintendent under the UDP. Last year we asked him how he got promoted so quickly:…

FILE: August 12, 2015

Supt. Mark Flowers - Commander, GSU
I imagine the senior command are satisfied with the performance and therefore rewarded the performance with the or justified the post with the rank making it, make it consummate with the rank."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it though an indication that also; people say that you're friendly with the government of the day."

Supt. Mark Flowers - Commander, GSU
"And I have no apologies for that. I'm a Belizean; I have a choice to be friendly with whom I want to be friendly with."

Jules Vasquez
"Yeah but you have to be impartial in the execution of your duties."

Supt. Mark Flowers - Commander, GSU
"Who said that I wasn't impartial? I say I have a right to be friendly with whoever I want to be friendly with."

Jules Vasquez
"So you're promotion isn't because you are perhaps sympathetic to the government of the day?"

Supt. Mark Flowers - Commander, GSU
"I would have wished that was the case, perhaps I would have been the deputy commissioner or commissioner but that is not the case Jules."

That interview was conducted in August of 2015.


No Judgment, CJ Re-schedules

About a month and a half ago, Gay Rights Activist Caleb Orozco, and his organization United Belize Action Movement, or UNIBAM, called out the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin for delaying judgement more than 3 years now. He wants the Chief Justice to deliver the judgment on his challenge to Belize's Sodomy Laws.

A few days later, notice went out that the judgement would be handed down on July 27. Everyone waited until this morning, only to learn once again that the Chief Justice had postponed the delivery. He's now scheduled it for August 10.  Reports say the CJ was ill in mid-July.


Teenager Charged For Murder of Mother of Three in Belmopan

Police in Belmopan have charged an alleged teenage murderer. Two nights ago we told you about 34 year old Regina Williams who was viciously killed in front her home in Las Flores area Belmopan. She had been socializing with some individuals at La Cabana night club the night before. But sometime after 1:30 am, she left in the company of those same individuals. It was between then and 8 am the following morning that she was murdered in front of her house and left there half naked and with severe injury to her head. Police are still trying to determine whether or not she was raped before she was killed. However police today proceeded with the information they do have at the moment and arrested and charged 19 year old Salvadoran Josue Ortiz for murder. They told us more: 

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"Just today we've been able to take Mr. Josue Ortiz he's a 19 year old Salvadorian of the Las Flores area as well. Our investigation is showing that sometime between 1:30 and time of the discovery that was when we believe the injuries were caused to the deceased. We also know now that the decease and the accused were socializing at a popular night club here in Belmopan and it is following their departure from the night club that they might have gone to the deceased home and some form of altercation arose and we believe it was then the injuries were inflicted against the deceased."

Duane Moody
"Now you said her body was found partially lowed is it suspected that she may have been sexually assaulted?"

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"Well we are investigating also from that angle but we will need further forensic testing to be done before we could conclusively say that yes she was raped. Based on the investigation we believe we have the weapon used and we also have other items that would link the accused but I would not want to go into too much detail; as you may well appreciate that this case has to go to the Supreme Court sometime in the very near future."

Emanuel Pech
"Sir as the investigation revealed if these two persons the victim and the accused knew each other before socializing at this night club."

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"Well we haven't reached to that point as yet. We don't know that then so to answer your question very pointedly but based on video footage that we've seen it shows that they were socializing at a popular night club as I alluded to and we believe that they left and the accused went in the company of the deceased and it was after that period the incident occurred."

Still the arrest of Josue Ortiz is little consolation for the family who is still trying to come to grips with the entire situation. Today, with the consent of the family, we spoke to Regina's eldest daughter- a 13 year old minor. She recounted the entire ordeal from when she heard what appeared to be her mother's last screams to when she discovered her mother's lifeless body the following morning when she woke up.

VOICE OF: Daughter of Deceased
"I don't remember what time I heard the screaming but I woke up from my dream then I heard someone was screaming so I thought it was an evil spirit so I didn't pay much attention to it. I woke up because I was still sleeping but didn't know what happened and nothing else but the phone rang, my mom's phone rang. So then I thought my mom would pick it up but she didn't. I woke up then I get the phone and I answered my granny calling; we are going to stay by her house so I told her no. So my aunt come and she tell me that where is my mom and I told her tia my mom is not home yet then she said no. I said that strange because usually when the club is finished she would come home then she would give us food. I decided that I would go outside to find what I could see. So I decide that okay I find nothing so I decide that I walk through over there and the go upstairs but by the time I walked over here I found my mom lying right there on the ground. So I started to cry and I was calling my mom name, I was saying mom, mom please wake up but she was right there lying down and she didn't want to answer me."

Rosalia Del-Mares - Grandmother of Deceased
"They just told me on my phone they killed my granddaughter and I came as fast as I could; they only thing that I heard and I ask my great grand daughter and I asked her what happened. My sister told me what happened because I didn't know what happened and I say what happened, how did she die? My sister explains it that she went a little while at the Cabana and she has friends you know. My granddaughter had a lot of friends that's all I know."

"It hurts me. I'm talking right here and you know how I feel but I am a strong old lady that's all. I want to cry, I want to scream but I keep everything in here."

Emanuel Pech
"How are you dealing with it and your other siblings?"

VOICE OF: Daughter of Deceased
"I'm her oldest daughter so right now I'm trying an effort to take care of my little brother and sister and to go to school and to do what she told me to do."
Funeral arrangements are being made for Friday. Regina leaves behind three children.


Chester Norales, Again!

The name Chester Noralez has been making crime news since the mid 90's when he was a teenager, and tonight he's back in the news.  The 36 year old resident of Fern Lane is accused of snatching a gold chain from Franz Usher's neck.  Yesterday Usher was at the corner of Jasmine and Oleander Streets when Noralez rode up, ripped his gold chain from around his neck and rode off. Police who were in the area pursued Noralez and apprehended him on Oleander street with the stolen chain. 

When he appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. Noralez pled not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that Noralez has a charge of burglary for which trial is pending and he also knows the victim and there is the strong possibility that he will interfere with him if granted bail. Magistrate Rogers upheld the objection and denied Noralez bail. She remanded him into custody until August 31.

In December of 2015 Noralez was accused of beating his 93 year old neighbor Patrick Grant and burglarizing his home.


Paumen Will Stand Trial

Accused Child Molester Mark Flowers is this week's headline story; last week's was accused murderer, conman, kidnapper and extortionist William Danny Mason. But, a few months ago, the big story was the large scale American tour operator Bradley Paumen. He's already committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court for allegedly orchestrating a murder plot on his neighbour, Michael Modiri and 3 other persons, and now, he has been committed to stand Supreme Court trial once again.

This time it's because of those charges of attempting the pervert the course of justice, and conspiracy to pervert justice. As viewers will remember, it dates back to an attempt to plant an unlicensed rifle in Michael Modiri's vehicle. Modiri was eventually cleared of that legal mess, but Paumen ended up being charged along with his Mechanic, Lisburn Anderson, Belmopan Businessman Jahan Abadi, and Korean American Hyang Chong Park.

Well, a Magistrate has reviewed the evidence against Paumen for these charges, and the Magistrate has ruled that there is enough to establish a case against him. He has been committed to stand trial in the October session of the Supreme Court.


Climate Change the Struggle Is Real

OCEANA and the World Wildlife Fund today held their second annual seminar called  The Nature of Energy vs. the Energy of Nature.  Now, it may sound like just another dreary talk shop in a hotel room with bad pastries and cold coffee, but the organizers hoped to wake up participants and the wider community with the dire message that climate change and its consequences are real and it requires everyone, form government to the grocery shopper to pay attention and act.  Here's how they put it:…

Nadia Bood - Climate Change Advisor, WWF
"It's extremely important given the threat posed by climate change. It's a forum where we can get together and dialogue about issues related to climate change and how best we can try and adopt our actions and our efforts to promote a greener development pathway that will help to minimize or at least buffer against some of the threats that will be coming from climate change events."

Janelle Chanonna - VP, OCEANA Belize
"I can only hope that everybody gets on board because we are all in the same boat it will not be that people who do not believe in climate change will suffer a different future than the ones that already believe in climate change. But this is really a matter of unity. Once people understand this will impact my home, this will impact my livelihood, this will impact who I am as a person, as a human being this will be the difference of whether I get to walk outside, breathe clean air, jump into clean water or if already like China and certain other countries are walking around with oxygen tanks. That is when it hits home as to if I don't do something about it I will still be impacted by this."

Nadia Bood - Climate Change Advisor, WWF
"While Belize is not a major emitter we would be one of those countries that will receive the brunt of the impact of climate change. We by our location its very low lying, it's within the hurricane belt, the season hurricane belt. We have history of experience of significant damages from storm, flood events, other mechanical damage, erosion, damage to housing and infrastructure, damage to our marine environment and our reefs."

Janelle Chanonna - VP, OCEANA Belize
"We heard very sobbingly our own prime minister talk that a child born in this year may see their home disappear. I don't think it gets more real to anybody when you start talking about your home. That is your castle, that is your sanctuary and then when you talk to people about your children. That the things that your eyes have beheld, grandeur of Belize they would be robbed of that because of what we're not doing today or what we're doing today. So it's about bringing home that it's your loved ones, it's not some faceless unknown person that's going to be affected by this. It's your loved ones, it's your grandchildren, it's the generation of Belizeans to come."

Jules Vasquez
"Might we sea someday over take the coastal areas of Belize City?"

Carlos Fuller - Int'l Reg. Liaison Officer, Climate Change Centre
"In fact believe it is already occurring. The issue is that no matter what kind of sea wall we build; in fact the water is going to go up the river and then find another way to enter into the city. You saw in Miami in the video that it is actually coming in through the canals. Miami is sinking whenever they have a spring tide so in fact the same thing is going to occur in Belize City."

"We need to decide look we need to build in higher land. Yes Belize City is going to remain a fantastic city but it is an area where you'll visit occasionally it is not where you are going to plant your roots because if that is where you plant your roots that anchor is going to sink you and you will sink along with it. So indeed we have to recognise that Belize City is going to remain extremely vulnerable, it's going to become more and more costly and in fact those areas that are going to remain above sea level are going to be those who have invested in tremendous amount of landfill."

And apart from your home, climate change could also affect that snapper on your plate. The truth is warmer ocean temperatures affect fish spawning and migration patterns – and in Belize the effects are already being experienced:

Roberto Pott - Belize Coordinator, Healthy Reefs
"For Belize it's very important for us to make that socio-ecological link understanding that when we lose our reef, when a reef is not as healthy as it used to be it impacts us both in terms of the direct economic benefits that we see but there's a larger un documented benefit when it comes to the household accessing sea food. Households from the research we have done are piloted in Belize; households are saying that they are seeing smaller fish, the fish is getting more expensive and we think that's not only because of the increase in the price of fuel and other operating cost it's just because the stocks are way less than what it used to be."

Carlos Fuller - Int'l Reg. Liaison Officer, Climate Change Centre
"So indeed we will not be seeing a mass migration of fish this year or next but it is slowly occurring and we have to do the medium measures. So the scenario I was speaking about was if we do nothing but for example if we continue work in our protected areas for example in the fishing industry where we have areas where we allow fish to spawn. Where the fish recognize that they can go in there reproduce and in fact then are safe there. If we recognize our close seasons again all those things would then be able to combat the issues of climate change but if we don't do anything indeed the doomsday scenario is upon us."

And while food on your plate is one thing – the larger issue is infrastructural preparedness.  We see continued government and private sector spending on seafront developments.  And while private ventures are one thing – to be spending public funds on high cost ventures with an uncertain lifespan is another.  The speakers commented today:…

Roberto Pott - Belize Coordinator, Healthy Reefs
"I think what is seeing a lot is people haven't been keeping the advice of scientists and even of planners who make good plans but I don't know we're following through on those good plans."

Carlos Fuller - Int'l Reg. Liaison Officer, Climate Change Centre
"The municipal airstrip in my opinion was a tremendous waste of resources. We have 2 airports that are 8 miles apart as the crow flies, that is madness to have 2 airports 8 miles apart and one of them is at risk and to the best of my knowledge no consideration was taken about sea level rise in that area."

It was a one-day event.


Minor Charged For Killing John Jay

Dangriga Police have arrested and charged a 16 year old minor from Belize City for the murder of popular singer/songwriter John Jay Rodriguez. The 34 year old husband and father of one was gunned down in early June inside the Havana Club and Entertainment Center in the Heart of Dangriga Town. Initial police investigations revealed that three men armed with a pistol entered the establishment to commit a robbery. But when that backfired, they turned right back and bolted through the front door, but not before firing a single indiscriminate shot at the crowd which caught John Jay. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Two days ago, they arrested and charged a resident of Belize City for that fatal shooting. He is only 16 years old and so we cannot reveal his identity.

Cops Bust Island Weed

San Pedro police have taken a few pounds of weed out of circulation on the Island.  Yesterday at midday – acting on Special Branch intelligence – island police searched a San Pedrito apartment room occupied by 27 year old painter Kurt Jason Cruz. They found 4.144 pounds of weed and he was charged for drug trafficking.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years imprisonment, plus a fine of ten thousand dollars.

And then, today, San Pedro Special Branch and CIB found another parcel of marijuana at the Tropic Air Cargo section.  This one contained one pound of weed and was labelled as found property


Belmopan Pastor Almost Accompanied Lu

He almost went with Pastor Llewellyn Lucas…that's the story Belmopan Pastor Job Lopez told us yesterday.  He says that Lucas called him on the morning of the 15th – and he was with the two other pastors – who would later accompany him to Mason's house – only to be kidnapped together with Lu.  When their blindfolds were removed, Lucas had disappeared, and this is when it is believed he was beheaded. 

Well Job Lopez almost accompanied them – and he told us that it started with a call early that Friday morning from a desperate sounding Pastor Lu:…

Job Lopez - Almost Went With Pastor Lu
"I heard my phone ring and it was Pastor Lucas calling me and I said what can I help you with he said well I need you to come. I said where he said well I am at TV station, Plus TV. He says okay what we are doing and he said we need to go live, I said what for, he said come here I will explain to you. So when I heard that I heard that I heard like it was a desperate call. So I went there and he said we need to go live and we talk to pastor Wade and he said we can't go live right now because I don't know what you going to say so you need to anticipate what you are going to say then we go live so we could put it for next week. So pastor Lu say let's put it for next week; so I went out with them and he said you don't want to come along with us I said no I have groups to do, I have my work to do."

Jules Vasquez
"Did he say where you all would go together?"

Job Lopez - Almost Went With Pastor Lu
"No, he did not say."

Jules Vasquez
"So you are invited to go with them on the mission they went on which would eventually wind up at Mason's house?"

Job Lopez - Almost Went With Pastor Lu
"I guess; I don't know if they were taking me there or they just wanted me to spend time with them. That I didn't get."

Jules Vasquez
"You feel that you escaped a dangerous situation?"

Job Lopez - Almost Went With Pastor Lu
"I did. I do feel like that."

As we understand it, Lucas wanted to go on Plus TV to talk against LGBT groups – a riff he started on July 10th on his hometown radio station Wamalali radio when he want on a diatribe against Cabinet ministers who he says were overly sympathetic to the LGBT movement.


Police United Get Ready For CONCACAF Champions League

The Police United FC play their first game of the CONCACAF Champions League in less than three weeks. On drawing day two months ago, the team drew a tough card when they landed in group E- effectively matching them up with Mexican powerhouse Pachuca and Hondura's top club Olimpia for the first round of the tournament.

So how will Belize's Police United fare off against these top league teams? It is their first time ever representing Belize at the Champions League tournament. But as green as they are, the team is hopeful. They are currently in their 7th week of intense training and the executive has been recruiting both local and international talent to reinforce their squad. Today we spoke to the head coach and even got a chance to meet some of the players on the roster as they prepare for the upcoming game against Olimpia, which is to be held in Tegucigalpa Honduras on the 16th of August.

Charlie Slusher - Coach, Police United FC
"Our strategy we have come up with it basically after watching a lot of tapes of our opponents and deciding how we will approach his game and even we had 2 practice games that we already started that approach as if we are playing on the road which is very different from when you are playing at home. I believe as long as the Belizean people see that go out there and we fight and we play football they will be proud of us regardless of the outcome but our aim is really go out there and to get a victory even though we know we are on the road so we'll be a little bit more conservative and more working and counter acting styles; but we definitely going to be playing football there."

Emanuel Pech
"I know you guys had been looking at international players. Talk to us about how many of those international players are in the roster."

Supt. Andres Makin Sr. - Manager, Police United FC
"To be exact at this time on the pitch here we have five, four Brazilians and a Guatemalan and this weekend we're expecting two more international players from Europe. Right here speaking about the team itself we have about 9 players that were with the Belize Jaguars that are on the national team hence the reason I said we had a good nucleus and all we had needed to do was to patch up the little pieces and that's what we've done with the international players and with the 2 addition that the European players that are coming this weekend I believe we should stand good enough against those clubs."

Emanuel Pech
"Talent and skill is one thing but chemistry is quite another. Talk to us about the chemistry that you are seeing with this team."

Charlie Slusher - Coach, Police United FC
"I am glad that you brought that up because of me that's the most important thing when it comes to me coming to this club. From the first week we started was to work on our chemistry, work on our system of play because if you cannot play organized football out there and everybody just running around on the field it will be a disaster. So up to presently we are fine tuning our system but that was the most; if you don't have that Emanuel nothing in football important. Whether you can shoot good or you can pass good if you don't have a system of play and play chemistry in organized football everything doesn't matter so that was the most important thing for me as a coach to get the team to be able to do that first. As long as we got that then everything else will fall into play."

Andres Makin Jr. - Captain, Police United FC
"When it comes to motivation on the field the management is doing a great job, Mr. Makin all the logistic personnel doing a great job and I think right now the team morale is high. Coming in from the mere fact that we are at the CONCACAF stage now, CONCACAF level now everybody all motivated and you know we ready."

Player - Police United FC
"When it comes to strategy style that depends on the coach and that is what we the work pan whole of these previous weeks whe pass. I believe that we done deh pan a level fi the game. The expectation yes it very high da the work will tell time we reach out there. We no want count our eggs before it hatch but mentally we are prepared."

Player - Police United FC
"Well I believe that Honduras Olympia da a big club right but da 11 against 11 so if we go out there and put in our mind that we can play against these guys and most of these young guys whe deh with we they want they out they so this da the time. Show them that we could and we will gah a good game, I say a draw game."

The team management has set a budget of $200 thousand dollars to fund the first two rounds of the tournament. And while they have not yet fundraised that figure, they remain confident that they can comfortably carry the team through the next two rounds.


Police United Say Not Involved With Mason Megabucks

And keeping in line with football financing, when the matter of accused murderer William Mason first came into public view, one of the most widely reported masks he wore, was that of a football financier. That is actually how Hon. John Saldivar said he came to know Mason in the first place. Mason, as has been widely reported, donated several thousands of dollars to Saldviar's football club- the Belmopan Bandits. But there were also reports of Mason contributing to other football clubs in Belize. So was the Police United FC ever on Mason's payroll? After all he did appear to be rather friendly with senior members of the Government, particularly within the police department. Today the media asked Club Manager Superintendent Andres Makin Sr. just that. 

Duane Moody
"In terms of accused murderer Williams Mason that several football clubs have received donation sponsorship from him; is the Police United one of those clubs?"

Supt. Andres Makin Sr. - Manager, Police United FC
"I would prefer that this question be given or be asked to the president who is Mr. Grinage he is the one that would be in a better position to say."

Duane Moody
"Dr. Grinage?"

Supt. Andres Makin Sr. - Manager, Police United FC
"Right, he is the president of this club so he would be a more appropriate person to answer that question."

Duane Moody
"But as manager as you aware of anything like that any donations; because I know you said it was 200,000 dollars that you guys are trying to raise?"

Supt. Andres Makin Sr. - Manager, Police United FC
"We were trying to raise 200,000 dollars but definitely we have not gotten anything from Williams Mason as far as I'm concerned as the manager into this venture. This 200,000 dollars is from Champion's League itself and from other cooperate sponsors that we; Benny's, Belize Bank, Social Security and so forth."


BTB’s Big Plan For Corozal

San Pedro, Placencia, and the Cayo District are tourism powerhouses with tens of thousands of visitors passing through annually. But, what happens to the lesser-known tourist spots around the country? Well, now the BTB and the Ministry of Tourism want to boost the traffic in destinations like Corozal, Caye Caulker, and the southern parts of the country.

11 days ago, the Tourism officials launched their fix for the Corozal District, and Daniel Ortiz took a closer look at it today. Here's that story:

The tourism upgrades are being done in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank. The Government officials have another destination launch planned tomorrow for the Mountain Pine Ridge, Chiquibul, & the Caracol Complex. We'll be there and we'll have that story for you in tomorrow's newscast.


Corozal Cops Looking For Shooter

And Corozal also has to deal with the other side of keeping tourism prospects up – and that is managing appearances when it comes to crime. The town saw a shooting and home invasion yesterday. Corozal police told us more:…
The suspects demanded money and wore shirts over their faces, so getting a positive identification has proved difficult.


7 News for Wednesday, 27th July, 2016 from 7News Belize on Vimeo.


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