On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, Fisheries Officers conducted a routine patrol southeast of Channel Caye where two fishermen were arrested for the possession of 874 conch during the closed season. One of the fishermen, Mr. Bartolo Jimenez pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined $500 and an additional penalty of $17,480 ($20 for each conch) as a result of court proceedings held on July 4, 2019. The vessel, engine and fishing gears were all forfeited to the Government of Belize.
The Belize Tourism Board, Hon. Manuel Heredia and the Government of Belize donated a brand new CAT Backhoe to the San Pedro Town Council. On site to receive the donation was Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez, Councilor Severo Guerrero, Councilor Hector Alamilla and longtime employee and driver of the backhoe, Mr. William Stevens. The brand new CAT Backhoe was purchased at an estimated cost of $150,000 BZD and it was donated to the town of San Pedro to help aid in the cleanup of the sargassum along the beachside.
The island was shocked at the news of the double murder of Mario Graniel and Dr. Gary Swank and word in town is that many tourists have cancelled their fishing trips and even their entire trips to Belize. But according to the US Embassy in Belmopan, Belize’s travel advisory ranking has not gone up despite of the unfortunate incident. There are four levels of travel advisories for US citizens which include:Level 1: Exercise Normal PrecautionLevel 2: Exercise Increased CautionLevel 3: Reconsider TravelLevel 4: Do Not Travel
San Pedro Police conducted a joint operation in the Boca del Rio area where nine persons were arrested and charged for drug trafficking and kept unlicensed ammunition. According to reports on Monday, July 1, 2019, at about 5:30 a.m., police conducted a Joint Operation at the residence of Alexander Fitzgibbon Sr. 44-year-old, Belizean Fisherman of Boca del Rio area and Lucio Salazar 29-year-old, Fisherman of Boca del Rio. During the search police discovered 294 grams Crack Cocaine, 89 grams of powdered Cocaine, (101) 5.56 live rounds and 54 grams of Cannabis.
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Police Department is once again hosting its two weeks Youths Engage in Agriculture Summer Camp 2019. The event started yesterday July 1st, 2019, with an opening ceremony held at the National Agriculture and Trade Showgrounds, Belmopan. Guess speakers at the event were the Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Godwin Hulse, Mayor of Belmopan His Worship Khalid Belisle, Chief Agriculture Officer Mr. Andrew Harrison and Mr. Linden Flowers Senior Superintendent of Police.
Managua, June 29, 2019 - Belize won 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-22) against El Salvador to secure the silver medal, for the first time in their four Central American U23 Championships, ending with a 4-2 win/loss record (20 points), while El Salvador missed the podium with 2-4. The Belizean team won an initial advantage of 7 points (10-3) and a match point in favor of El Salvador to tie the game at 24 and won the first set 26-24, which was decisive in getting the win.
The National Security Council of Belize (NSC), chaired by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, met in special session Thursday, June 27th, 2019 in Belmopan to discuss the crisis arising out of the recent murder of a tourist, Dr. Gary Swank, in San Pedro.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is asking all tour operators and guides for assistance in reporting any sightings of corals seen on your dive or snorkel trip that do not look healthy via the submission of photos. We are on the lookout for Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). The disease first appeared in 2014 in Florida, in 2018 it was confirmed in areas of the Caribbean and recently summer of 2019 has been one confirmed case in Belize, within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve area of Northern Ambergris Caye.
Here are the final two contestants for this year’s International Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant.
The Belize Police Department is asking the community of San Pedro to come together in assisting the department when it comes to fighting crime. That includes reporting incidents, identifying criminals, joining the special constables program and doing their part of abiding by the law. “It is only fitting for the locals to be part of the security of their own island,” commented Commissioner of Police Chester Williams in his address to the concerned citizens.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. presented checks to the Top PSE scorers of San Pedro and Caye Caulker as recognition for their excellent results on the examination. In a short, yet meaningful, ceremony Minister Heredia congratulated the students for their hard work and dedication. He stated that the money given to them was a form of acknowledgment for their excellent work in the Primary School Examination.
Preliminary results from the Statistical Institute of Belize’s April 2019 Labour Force Survey show that the unemployment rate in the country decreased from 9.4 percent in April 2018 to 7.6 percent a year later.
San Pedro Police are seeking 23-year-old Chrisitan “Chris” Espat in relation to the double murder of tour guide Mario Graniel and US doctor Gary Swank which occurred on Sunday, June 23, 2019. Espat, is no stranger to the law as he has been previously arrested and charged in connection with another murder on the island. Police have issued a wanted flyer and is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Espat.
According to The Ministry of Health of Belize as of 1 January to 18 June, 2019, a total of 1,722 cases of measles have been reported in 13 countries of the Region of the Americas: Argentina (5 cases), the Bahamas (1 case), Brazil (122 cases), Canada (65 cases), Chile (4 cases), Colombia (125 cases), Costa Rica (10 cases), Cuba (1 case), the United States of America (1,044 cases), Mexico (2 cases), Peru (2 cases), Uruguay (9 cases) and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (332 cases). No fatal cases have been reported in the same period.
The Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar arrived in Taiwan on Monday, June 24th for a five-day trip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The first round of village council elections were held on Sunday, June 23 in Belize. In Caye Caulker, four slates contested the elections for Chairman and councilors, along with a few independent candidates. The campaign leading up to Election Day was vigorous with accusations of negative campaigning by one slate, replete with fake social media profiles and personal attacks on the candidates.
San Pedro celebrated its 13th Lobster Festival on Saturday, June 22, 2019, with record-breaking attendance. After only a week from the opening of the lobster season, restaurants from around the island gathered at Central Park to showcase their best lobster dish and best drink.
Reports form news media in the United States of America, have revealed the identity of the tourist who was killed in the double murder case that occurred on Sunday, June 23, 2019. The tourist has been identified as Roanoke, Virgina cardiologist Dr. Gary Swank; who was found dead along with local tour guide Mario Graniel Jr.