Geology and Petroleum Department Issues Official Statement: Anomaly @ Sleeping Giant

Most Belizeans have been captivated by the unusual smoke that has been rising near the ‘Sleeping Giant’ , which by some accounts has been visible for almost 3 weeks, even after heavy rains in the area. Today (Monday June 21st.) the Department of Geology in the Ministry of Natural Resources issued the following official statement.

Belmopan. June 21, 2021. 12:35 p.m. (GOB Official Statement – PDF Document)

On June 19, 2021, a joint team comprised of geologists and the engineer from the Geology and Petroleum Department, forest rangers from the Forest Department, and guides/cut men from St. Margaret’s Village visited the area near the Sleeping Giant Mountain range that has been emitting plumes of smoke.

The team found no evidence of any geological activity at the site, and none of the gases normally found at geothermal vents or fumaroles were present. Radiation levels were normal.

The Forest Department found the cause or source of the plumes of smoke to be a deep smoldering detritus fire, possibly ignited from a lightning strike at the site, which occurred around June 8, 2021. The area is located on top of a ridge comprised of Paleozoic non-volcanic basement rocks, and is covered by a thick mat of detritus or decaying organic matter and dead trees which are fueling the continuous slow burning or smoldering. At the time of the visit, the area affected was approximately 100 meters long and 40 meters wide. The Forest Department is monitoring this slow burning fire to determine the best course of action.

The ministry thanks the villagers who took the team to the site for their invaluable assistance.


EFFORT TO REMOVE PATRICK FABER AS LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION INCREASE

A letter that appears to be genuine has been sent to channel1Belize.com that indicates that 3 current U.D.P members of the House of Representatives have petitioned the Governor General, in accordance with the Belize Constitution, Part V, Section 47; to inform the GG that the United Democratic Party believes that the leader of the opposition ‘Patrick Faber’ no longer has the support of the majority of the Opposition members of the House of Representatives and the party.

The process of informing the ‘Governor General’ is an indication that the legal requirements to remove ‘Patrick Faber’ as leader of the opposition is in-process. The letter, which we believe is genuine was signed by Denise Barrow, Hugo Patt and Moses Jamal ‘Shyne’ Barrow.

COPY OF LETTER, PURPORTEDLY SENT TO GOVERNOR GENERAL

THIS IS A DEVELOPING NEWS STORY: MORE DETAILS SHORTLY


CXC Signs Another Tertiary Level Agreement: Match Syllabus, Course-Work & Recognize Credits

On June 17th. 2021 The Caribbean Examination Council. CXC® signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Western Illinois University.

This new agreement adds to a list of at least 15 colleges and universities that the CXC Organization has signed MOUs with.
( photo above CXC Headquarters in Bridgetown Barbados )

Under this agreement, Caribbean students seeking to take advantage of degree programs at WIU will benefit from the matching of coursework requirements at WIU against the CXC® syllabus, which will allow for more seamless matriculation.

The CXC® Associate Degree and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination® (CAPE®) qualifications will also be recognized by WIU. As such, students can use their CAPE® qualifications to fulfil partial credit requirements towards their bachelor’s degree, allowing them to complete their degree in less than four years. This has significant cost-saving implications for students at the undergraduate level and means that the prospect of further studies for these students will be more easily within their reach.

Dr Wayne Wesley, Registrar and CEO of CXC®, noted that “the signing of this MOU is in line with CXC’s transformational agenda and its commitment to the people of the Caribbean, and opens another pathway for students to receive quality tertiary-level education.”

The following is a list of tertiary Education Institutions that CXC has made agreements to accept CXC and CAPE certifications for entry credits, and the CXC and CAPE are adopting similar course work (Syllabus) as the stepping stones for students of high schools and junior colleges. throughout the Caribbean / CARICOM Union
URL List of Colleges & Universities

CXC website “Some schools do not do articulation agreements, but have published CAPE equivalency charts to show their credits for CAPE courses. Some of the schools which have published CAPE equivalency charts are listedhere.

Belize: Only At 3% Fully Vaccinated – A Problem Throughout The Region

The government’s efforts to reach a goal of 58% of Belize’s population fully vaccinated has been challenging for the Ministry of Health. To date, as of ‘June 10th.’ only 3% of Belize’s population is fully vaccinated.

Those challenges are widespread throughout the region, and many governments in the region are mounting educational campaigns to help people get vaccinated. But in some countries the challenge is not having enough vaccines. As is shown on the most recent data by statistics website Statista,

Additionally, we researched another bit of vaccination data to find out the percentage of people that are fully vaccinated in neighboring countries and CARICOM countries. The data-table below shows the population and percentage fully vaccinated for several countries in the region.

CountryPopulation % Fully Vaccinated
Belize410K *3.1% Fully Vaccinated
Jamaica2.9mil.8% (less than 1%)
Trinidad1.4mil.7% (less than 1%)
Barbados280K21% Fully Vaccinated
Cayman Isl. 65K72% ( Fully Vaccinated )
Guyana785K10.2% ( Fully Vaccinated )
Guatemala16.6mil.8% (less than 1% Fully Vaccinated)
Honduras9.74mil.6% (less than 1%)
Mexico127mil11.7% ( Fully Vaccinated )
Data Researched and verified by: digitalBelize.Live
Interactive Data By REUTERS: Global Vaccination Data

According to ‘Statista’, the data said that Belize had only 21 doses per 100 people; meaning we had just enough doses for only 21% of our population (Before the Mexico Donation).

The donation of 100,000 doses from Mexico will now increase that to approximately 35% (based on the calculation that 100,000 doses are for 50,000 people who will get fully vaccinated with both jabs.

On Friday June 11th. a jet touched down at the P.G.I.A and waiting on the tarmac were several representatives of the Ministry of Health including the Minister of Health and others from the medical community.

The arrival was a donation of 100,000 doses of Astra Zeneca Vaccines that Mexico has donated to Belize, in its vaccination campaign.

Mexico has very modern pharma-factories and in late May they became the primary country in the Americas that will bottle and supply Latin America with the Astra Zeneca Vaccines. The active ingredient in the vaccine is produced in Argentina.

Courtesy: Government of Belize Video
Belize Receives COVID-19 Vaccines from Mexico

Belize is the first country to receive 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Government of Mexico as part of an ongoing effort to increase access to vaccines within the region.

Posted by Government of Belize Press Office on Monday, June 14, 2021

On May 21st. Reuters reported, “The Mexican government previously said Thursday’s shipment contained about 1.2 million doses. Under the deal with AstraZeneca, Argentina makes the vaccine active ingredient that is then bottled in Mexico and sent across Latin America.

Up to Friday, June 4th, 12,270 residents had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This represents only 2.93% of Belize’s overall population of 419,199 according to the latest SIB figures. But since only those 18 and over are being vaccinated, the target is 58% of our entire population.

Vaccination began at the start of March and is proceeding slowly. To increase the numbers in hopes of arriving at herd immunity through vaccination, the Ministry of Health and Wellness says it will partner with businesses to find ways to offer people incentives to get vaccinated. In some instances elsewhere, this has taken the form of offering discounts to those with vaccine certificates. The Ministry says announcements for vaccine incentives can be expected in the next two weeks.

Editors Note: Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world, and disseminates news to other news organizations.
More Belize data on REUTERS INTERACTIVE global Vaccination progress

Interactive data content are very helpful in communicating more information in an easy to understand and dynamic format. Interactive-data is also very helpful to present information in technology, health sciences, research and other professions; to understand more so as to develop solutions and strategy.
Michael M Barrow – CSYGEN INTERACTIVE C-CA


Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Sunday, June 13th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

6 Kilos Of Cocaine Found By Cops In Dangriga Raid

On Thursday, June 10th, 2021, at about 2:30 p.m., Police conducted a search at a residence on Poots Martinez Street, in the Rivas Estate Area of Dangriga Town. The search led to the discovery of 5 parcels of suspected cocaine, which amounted to a total of 6161grams, or 13 1/2 pounds. The suspected cocaine was found in a washing machine.

The ‘suspected cocaine’ bricks were marked with what is believed to be code words or graphics such as ‘100%’ and a part of the emblem of the Mexican flag. It is not believed that those markings have much meaning, beyond the code used by traffickers that indicates who the shipment is for. ( an American or Canadian or Chinese man may choose that his drugs be marked with the Mexican flag )

Many people have mentioned that the cocaine bricks found in recent years are now wrapped in waterproof-sealed plastic, which would make the contents protected from water; even if it were submerged in the sea.

We rarely report on speculations, but it has been widely speculated that the drugs are from the plane that reportedly landed in the sea just off the coast of Plascencia on May 25th.

Present at the house at time of the search were, 25 yr-old Rashad Oscar Garcia, – 28 yr-old Anthony Garcia, – 24 yr-old Bobby Anthony Castillo, – 29 yr-old (Honduran boat captain) Kevin Welcome; and a 16 yr-old male minor. All persons are in detention pending charges of drug trafficking.

Based on the markings of the cocaine-bricks, the obvious conclusion is that it is cocaine and it was from a ditched shipment destined for the U.S.

If this recent cache of drugs are part of the contents of the drug plane that went into the sea on the morning of Tuesday May 25th. Then there is probably a lot of cocaine in the south that were collected by seamen and ‘white-lobster’ searchers that comb the beaches and coastline for such bricks after a drug ditch at sea.

Editors Note: The term ‘white-lobster‘ is a street term for cocaine bricks floating at sea.


THE COURT REPORT – Wednesday, June 9th. 2021

Justice Herbert Lord grants bail to Jasmine Hartin in the shooting death of Police Superintendent Henry Jemmott, shot and killed with his own firearm.
“Bail granted to Hartin in the sum of $30,000 plus one surety of the same or $30,000 cash with eight stringent conditions”

by: Anita Nembhard

Belize City, Weds. June 9, 2021
Late this afternoon Jasmine Hartin’s relatives along with her attorneys are working hard to complete the paperwork as require by the court for her bail which was granted by Justice Herbert Lord this afternoon ,

Jasmine Hartin remains in lock down at the Belize Central Prison but not for too long. After eight days in custody, Hartin was granted Supreme Court bail in the sum of $30,000 with one surety of the same or $30,000 cash. 

Justice Herbert Lord set eight stringent conditions to her bail, that Hartin must immediately surrender her passport, identification cards and social security card to the court.
She also cannot leave  the country of Belize unless a request is made to the court and permission is granted; she must attend all her court adjournments in the case against her in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court; she is not to obstruct the investigation in the matter and she is not to contact any witnesses whether directly or indirectly.

Hartin must also be on good behavior whilst out on bail and one of the most unpopular heard of is curfew place usual by the court mostly for minors and as of the day she meets bail.

Hartin who was placed on curfew for the remainder of her case must be indoors by 7:00 p.m., and cannot leave the confinement of her home until 6:00 a.m., each day.

Hartin was also order to report to the San Ignacio Police Station every day, while the case is before the San Pedro Magistrate Court,

Attorney: Godfrey Smith

Hartin must remain living at her home in San Ignacio and  cannot change her address without first getting permission from the court before doing so. 

Justice Lord made it clear that, a copy of these conditions to Hartin bail will be forwarded to the Immigration Department and the Commissioner of Police so that they can disseminate it to all formations and border personnel. He made it clear that breach of any of her conditions will lead to immediate revocation of her bail.

Hartin got the good news of bail being granted to her as she sat in a cell at the Belize Central Prison as her case was done virtually and while she was absent in court, the media houses made it their business to follow up the case until the last arguments concluded At about 2pm when Justice Lord laid down his decision and granted her bail.

The arguments made in the courtroom by the attorney’s for both sides kicked off about 9.30am this morning, but arguments did not conclude until and after a lunch break at 12:00 and the bail-hearing resumed.

1. Hartin is a mother of two chidden, a boy and a girl was charged with the offense of manslaughter by negligence in the shooting death of Police Superintendent, 42-year-old, Henry Jemmott. 

Jemmott was fatally shot once in the back of his head with his own firearm, allegedly by Hartin who told police she accidentally shot the officer.

The directives to levy such a charge of manslaughter in the officer death instead of murder came from the DPP’s office after statements were recorded from the accused where she gave police her version of what transpired on the fatal night on San Pedro.  

Sergeant Henry Jemmott will be laid to rest on Saturday, June 12, 2021 following funeral services in Dangriga Town.

Of interest to note is that Hartin case, who is a Canadian and the daughter-in-law of Lord Michael Ashcroft  has been followed by two international media since last week Wednesday, the initial first court hearing date set for Hartin  bail application since her detention, but Justice Herbert Lord who heard the case had adjourned the matter for today since the Crown, represented  by Senior Crown Counsel, Shanice Lovelle had objection to Hartin being granted bail since she was a flight risk, being their only grounds for objecting to bail. 

Outside The Courtroom – UK & US Media
ABC  News from New York reporter, Alondra Valle as well as other news persons who asked that their name remain anonymous, from The Sun Newspaper in England has been following up the Hartin story and are here in Belize.  The news about Jasmine Hartin has made it to several news outlets outside Belize, including The Guardian, Forbes, NY Post, The Independent, Sky News and CNN, to name a few.

At approximately 4.50pm Jasmine Hartin was released on bail from the Belize Central Prison in Hattieville.

There is no next court date set yet for Jasmine Hartin to return to the San Pedro Magistrate Court on the matter.


For channel1Belize.com – channel1Belize@gmail.com
edits by: digitalBelize,LIVE Staff reporter
Wednesday, June 9th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

COMMERCE BIGHT PORT – THE UNRAVELING OF THE COMMERCE BIGHT DEAL

The long history of the once very-active and useful ‘Commerce Bight Port’ has seen many ups-&-downs over the years. The port is essentially a ‘Pier’ that juts out into the sea and a large swatch of land (approximately 8.5 acres) with a small building for an office and or a watchman.

The Commerce Bight Port was once a major port, for the 100s of tons of citrus and bananas that would be loaded onto ships that were bound for the U.S and European port cities. It was so busy back in the 1960s that a railroad linked to a rail system from orchards in the Stann Creek district would bring containers of product all the way to the end of the pier.

Commerce Bight Port – Pier, a train delivers fruit produce to a ship at the port 1960s
( image courtesy: National Archives Belize )
Commerce Bight Pier – Google Maps

Many years ago the location of the pier, which is approximately 1.5 miles south of Dangriga town, was chosen by foreign agricultural business prospectors because the location has natural deep-water characteristics that is perfect for ships to come very near to the shore. (ergo: No or very minor dredging is necessary)

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The recent revelations of a corrupt agreement made by the previous administration went to the Senate today and the most interesting motions of today’s Senate sitting (Friday June 4th.) was the motion to undo a $5,000 per/year ( or the equivalent of, $417 per month) lease of Commerce Bight Port to a company named ‘Recological’ which has no history of port operation.

On Friday May 28th. the business deal between the previous administration and Recological was made public at The House of Representatives.
An appeal to “Let’s Find Solutions”

One week later, On Friday June 4th. the ‘Motion’ was heard in the ‘Senate’,
The legal points made in the debate by Senator Osmany Salas points out that the first red-flag was that the deal violates the Finance & Audit Act. and the National Lands Act. He indicated that the matter may well end up in the courts. Based on the Finance and Audit Act the Government of Belize has a very strong case.

Former UDP Minister Edmond Castro shaking hands with Alan Gobie, the principal of Recological
Alan Gobie – Recological

Jobs & Opportunities

Earlier in May 2021 about 15 low wage labourers were seen at the site clearing bushes and shrubs on the compound. The workers were seen on camera in a news cast on Love News proclaiming their support for Recological and the need to earn a living. It is unclear if they were temporary workers or permanent employees.

The expansion and growth throughout the country will increase the amount of goods and exports that will need a port to handle the increase in shipping. Although agricultural produce are handled by the ‘Port of Big Creek’ some see tremendous opportunity in another port in the southern part of the country.


Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Saturday, June 5th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

Bail Application For Jasmine Hartin (Ashcroft) Adjourned

Jasmine Hartin (Ashcroft) remains in a holding cell at the Belize Central Prison in Hattieville and will be there for at least another week according to the directions of the court which has adjourned the bail hearing until Wednesday June 9th.

The attorneys for Jasmine Hartin (Ashcroft) are Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith and Attorney Hector Guerra.
After a brief session before the judge, Attorney Godfrey Smith exited the courtroom and informed the media of his disappointment that the hearing is adjourned; and also mentioned that the prosecution objected to bail on the grounds that Jasmine Hartin (Ashcroft) is a flight risk.

Attorney Godfrey Smith

The accused ‘Jasmine Hartin Ashcroft’ appeared in court virtually, via tele-conference closed-circuit TV.

Bail applications at the high court are usually heard on Friday’s, but the courts accommodated the application to be heard today.

Application for bail at the high court are usually presided by Justice Herbert Lord. In court the judge indicated some reluctance to hear the bail application today.

There was a huge media pool outside the courtroom; which included local and international reporters and cameramen from US and UK news organizations.

Air Travel To & From Belize Ramping Up

COPA Airlines, one of the top airlines in Central America has resumed daily flights to Belize. The BTB (Belize’s Tourism Board) has been campaigning for air carriers to resume service while maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols. Today Tuesday June 2nd. a COPA Jet landed at the P.G.I.A this morning.

The company had announced back in late March 2021 that they would resume service to and from Belize’s P,G,I,A in June; so today was a welcomed arrival to stake-holders in the sector.

COPA Airlines operates in 75 cities and 31 countries throughout the Americas ( Central, and South America and the Caribbean).

One of the key conveniences that the airline has introduced to the region and especially for the Belize-Caribbean-Link is the benefit of traveling from Belize to certain Caribbean islands without having to travel through Miami.

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A company statement on its website said ,
“Starting in July, Copa Airlines will increase service to six destinations: Curaçao, Montego Bay, Mendoza, Recife, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa.”

“With these additional flights, Copa looks forward to fostering stronger business and commercial ties between these cities and the rest of the Americas.”

COPA Airlines began offering flights to Belize in December 2015. COPA Airlines is the largest Airlines servicing Central America and the Caribbean. with flights to 31 countries including US, Canada, South America and Europe.


Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Wednesday, June 2nd. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

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Sitting of The House of Representatives – News Developments Live – May 28th. 2021

The Speaker Correcting A Junior Member of the House about Procedures

Friday’s sitting of the ‘House Of Representatives’ opened with a volley of complaints by the Opposition UDP’s (Junior member of the House) ‘Shyne Barrow and (Leader of the Opposition) Patrick Faber. The complaint’s were about ‘Standing Orders’ and ‘The amount time available for questions to be submitted to Cabinet Members by the Opposition’. the following are segments of complaints made by the opposition UDP members. Most notable on the UDP side was the absence of Hugo Patt and Denise Barrow (Sista B).

FACT: The junior member of the House of Representatives has just entered politics in early 2020 and has had no experience in politics or parliamentary procedures. He is attempting to catapult himself beyond the duties of area-representative (for mesop) and to be first to speak because his father was once the prime minister of the country. Seasoned politicians and observers in the gallery seemed uneasy in their chair as the ‘former-rapper’ lectured the ‘Speaker of the House of Representatives’,

Prime Minister John Briceno
The PM ‘Tabled a Paper’ for the acquisition of a new Passport system because the current system is old and dilapidated. He also mentioned that the reason the government has leased a new residence for the Governor General is because the current GG’s residence, ‘Belize House’ in Belmopan is falling apart.

Tourism
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the ‘Productive Service Sector Of Belize’s Economy’ represented almost 55% of Belize’s Economic output. The Tourism Industry had contributed to almost 45% of that economic sector and the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing ) had accounted for the remaining 10%. The minister of Tourism Hon. Anthony Mahler responded to questions posed by Albert area representative Hon. ‘Tracy Taegar Panton’, in his response he outlined the efforts and plans to revive the Tourism sector.
Referenced Document: Tourism Data

A Corrupt Deal
Listing of the days motions
The most contentious moments of the House of Rep’ debate occurred when a motion concerning the ‘Commerce Bight Port’ ( Corrupt Deal ) was presented and the debate got lively. P.M Briceno used terms such as “I did not Yield’ which we had to go look up in old British House Parliamentary Rules & Procedures; which are the origins of Belize’s Parliamentary procedures.

Representative for Stan Creek West, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson chimed in with comments concerning rapping up the debate, and Constitutional & Political Reform Minister Hon. Henry Charles Usher chimed in with rules and standing orders that the Speaker of the House had already ruled on. The speaker of the House then concluded the sitting by announcing all the motions of the session.
For Similar Bad Behavior Elsewhere

Written & Compiled by: digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – digitalCaribbean.live – Saturday, JMay 29th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com