Monday, February 2, 2009

Murder, robbery and shots fired

Official Belize Police Report:

At about 6:00pm on Friday, 30 January 2009, Police in San Pedro Town received information of a shooting incident in the Rocky Point Area, North Ambergris Caye, about fifteen miles from San Pedro Town. According to the information, the suspects were making their way towards San Pedro Town in a white skiff with green and black stripes on the side, powered by a 150 hp Yamaha engine. As a result, a joint Police/BDF team was deployed to the area. Whilst travelling through the river in the Boca Del Rio Area they heard a vessel approaching in the opposite direction and upon spotting a light on the skiff, they noticed that it fitted the description they had received.
The captain was directed to stop the vessel, however, he refused. Keeping the spotlight on the vessel, the police continue in pursuit and the vessel eventually stopped. They then observed one of the two occupants of the vessels, standing with what appeared to be firearm in his hand pointing in their direction. Fearing for their lives, the police fired at the person with the firearm. This individual then jumped overboard, swam towards the mangroves and made good his escape.
Upon reaching the vessel, police found inside, one Eric Swan, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the upper right leg, and a graze to the buttock. Also found in the vessel were, six (6) live 7.62 rounds of ammunition, camouflage pants and sea worthiness certificate in the name of Eric Swan. Swan was taken to the San Pedro Poly Clinic and later transported to the KHMH where he remains in stable condition under guard.
Eric Swan
Later in the said evening, Joseph Smith, a 31 year-old carpenter of DFC area San Pedro Town reported to police that he was held up at gun point by persons fitting the description in the same vessel, in the Rocky Point area, where they took away his two tanks of fuel leaving him drifting in his skiff. He managed to reach ashore safely.

At about 8:00am on Saturday, 31 January, Brionne Swift, 29 years, of Boca Del Rio Area, San Pedro Town reported to police that he believe that his friend John Paul Saldivar was shot, on Friday, 30 January around 4:00pm and might still be alive. As a result police visited an area about 16 miles North of Ambergris Caye, where they found a Hispanic decent male person laying face up on the seashore, with appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds and to the head and legs. The body was also observed with bruises. The body which was pronounced dead on arrival at the San Pedro Poly Clinic, was identified as John Paul Saldivar, originally of Corozal Town.

Click "PLAY" to hear an interview with Investigating officer, Sergeant Nigel Sanchez.

San Pedro observes World Wetlands Day

On February 2nd, Belize joins the world in celebrating World Wetland’s Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2nd, 1971. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general. And in San Pedro was no different, little over a dozen boats made it out at the crack of dawn in support and observance of World Wetlands Day. This year the celebration will feature around the theme, “From the mountain to sea, wetland at work for us.” As part of the local activities to highlight the importance of the wetland, the San Pedro Business Association, Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) hosted a boat parade on Monday, February 2nd. The boat parade started at 7:30 a.m. from the lagoon side gas station and ended at Boca Ciega Channel.
The purpose of the event is to highlight the importance of the wetlands and the importance to the natural habitat in the area including the reef.

Just click "Play"...Enjoy!


Police make arrest in Caye Caulker
Aaron Adolphus, 22 years

On Monday, January 26, Valerie Walker and Sofia Stefanio, both Canadians, reported that sometime around 3:45pm, whilst in a yard on the south end of Caye Caulker they were approached by a male person of dark complexion, medium built, about 5ft.6ins. in height, armed with a machete and a knife. The man demanded money which was given to him; however, he proceeded to stab both women to the left side of their neck. Sofia was admitted to ward at the Universal Health Services and Valerie was treated and released. Initial investigation has led to the arrest of Aaron Adolphus, 22, of New Site Caye Caulker, who has been charged with: (2) counts Robbery, (2) counts Attempt Murder, (2) counts Deadly Means of Harm, and (2) counts of Dangerous Harm.

No resolution in sight for sugar strike

The Sugar Cane Industry Control Board met in Orange Walk today for five hours but the news tonight is that cane farmers are still on strike. They have been on strike since Tuesday when farmers stopped delivering cane to Tower Hill in protest of the core sampling unit. The strike has crippled production at the factory and is now threatening Belize’s ability to meet its quota. That’s why today representatives from the Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited met with Chairman of the Industry Control Board Nemencio Acosta in the hopes of solving it today. But in the end, it didn’t work; the impasse stands, and the general strike remains in effect. 7NEWS was in Orange Walk to find out why.

Keith Swift Reporting: In the broiling sun, the farmers waited in front of the Sugar Cane Industry Control Board’s office on Fonseca Street for four hours. In the end – they got the bad news.
Eric Eck, Chairman – Sugar Cane Farmers Asociation: "There has been no resolution up to now and the cane farmers that you see here that are gathered, they have said that they will permanently go on strike until the core sampler is totally removed.”

Eric Eck – the Chairman of the Sugar Cane Farmers Association says it wasn’t because they didn’t try. He says they tried to compromise. Eric Eck,“We had a proposal from the cane farmers to suspend the core sampler. Nevertheless we almost reached to an agreement in which the core sampler was going to be suspended for this year and the cane farmers were going to be paid the way they were used to, accordingly 36 for Corozal and 34.50 for Orange Walk. But I must state that the coring was still going to go in effect but the farmers were not going to be paid based on their quality. And we as the cane farmers, we pass a resolution whereby we stated that for this and next year, for the first two years coming, the payment by quality would not be in effect. Only at the second and the third payment the quality, the farmers that deserve extra bonus will be given. But after analyzing all that procedure, I noticed that farmers will still be affected. I must say that we know that we must work under quality but the way that it has been implemented is not the correct one because the core sampler was brought before bringing any assistance to the cane farmers out there in the fields and that is what cane farmers are demanding. They are demanding assistance in the fields, they are demanding technicians and afterwards we can think of quality. But up to now, no.”

Protesters warn of chaos in Guadeluope

Striking workers in Guadeloupe have warned of social chaos if the government in Paris and local business leaders fail to meet their demands. An alliance of 47 unions and local bodies launched their protest on January 20, over the cost of living. They are pressing for lower taxes, a 200 euro (US $255) salary increase and a cut in petrol prices by 50 euro cents per litre.
The French minister for overseas territories Yves Jego is on the island for talks aimed at ending the industrial action. The strike has shut down most shops on the island, with the few which remain open rapidly running out of goods. Public transport and state services have also ground to a halt. All petrol stations have been closed in a parallel protest by gas station owners who are angry at the arrival of newcomers to the market.

Opposition criticizes sugar imports in Guyana
Guyana's opposition leader Robert Corbin has criticized the government's decision to import sugar to meet a shortfall in production. The Guyana Sugar Company is expecting a shipment of 2000 tons of sugar from Guatemala shortly.
But the agriculture minister Robert Persaud told the local media Caribbean that the local sugar industry is in serious financial trouble and needs to take full advantage of the price on the European market. He explained that while Guyana will receive $650 per ton for its sugar exports to the EU, it will be importing the commodity at just under $400 per ton.