7 News Belize

7 News Belize HeadlinesFriday, February 23, 2018

7 Soldiers, 1 Cop Detained For Beating OW Man To Death
Tonight Orange Walkeños are still reeling from the news that masked soldiers and a policeman stormed into a town resident's home - and beat him so badly that he died within hours. ...
Head of PSB Says BSAG Had No Lawful Authority
Indeed, they are lawmen, mostly soldiers, and tonight 7 of them, and 1 cop are in the custody of Orange Walk police. Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams is handling the invest...
They Robbed Robateau, the Noted Charity Worker
Tonight, one of Belize's most well-known charity workers is in the KHMH recovering from a massive beatdown that a gang of home invaders put on him. At 4:20 this morning, former Salv...
Grave Concern For Missing Man In Hattieville
Just before our commercial break, we told you about the Hattieville home invasion targeting former Salvation Army Commander, Errol Robateau. Well, that's not the only incident that ...
No Arrest For Ride-By Double Murder
Tonight, police are no closer to making an arrest in Wednesday's double murder of 26 year old Lloyd Valentine, and 12 year old David Morrison. On Thursday night a gunman on bicycle shot...
Alleged Police Street Shooter Charged
And while there is no arrest in that case, police have made an arrest for Wednesday night's other shooting. As we told you 25-year-old Emmerson Garnett and 23-year-old Houston Apoloni...
Unseasonal Rain Ruining Crops
Last night we showed you how the excessive rains threw a damper on the PUP's Belize City manifesto launch. But while that was inconvenient, it's nothing compared to the losses that the rai...
Government Moving Ahead Slowly With Pitts/Vega Suits
Tonight we have an update on the ongoing lawsuit against Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts. The Government had sued them both in an attempt to recover $800,000 in public funds which the Minist...
Busted on A Bus
Early yesterday morning police at a checkpoint stopped a bus - and found many pounds of marijuana. It happened between miles 73 and 74, at the junction of San Pedro Village on the Phill...
Capital Cops Caught Cannabis in a Community Park.
And in another weed bust, capital cops found cannabis in a community park. Acting on information received from the public, police searched the Las Flores Community Park and found five...
US And Belize Combine For Culture
We know that tourists throng to Belize for our rich archeological history - but some of them - very few - take back more than just snapshots. True enough, there's a black market for may...
Buddy Got A Birthday Bone
Today primary school kids from La Democracia and Toledo skipped school to go to a birthday party for an 11 - year - old. But it wasn't any old pre-teen that they went to celebrate, ...
Thinking Carbon In Cayo
And, keeping it on the environment, the Ministry of the Environment, and Sustainable Development has launched a project called "Reducing the Carbon Footprint of San Ignacio Town and five...
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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

7 Soldiers, 1 Cop Detained For Beating OW Man To Death

Tonight Orange Walkeños are still reeling from the news that masked soldiers and a policeman stormed into a town resident's home - and beat him so badly that he died within hours. And, it's all because they were looking for someone's cell phone. 7News broke the story last night and tonight we'll have the full update on the 7 BDF soldiers and one policeman from the Belize Special Assignment Group who are detained in the investigation.

But first, we have a recap of the almost unbelievable home invasion - slash - search that happened at the corner of San Antonio Road and Staines Alley at 3:40 on Thursday morning. The family found their loved one badly beaten and dying on a septic tank:

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Yesterday Orange Walk residents gathered around professional Standards Branch Commander ACP Chester Williams - all eager to tell of the gruesome early morning police raid. Ariel Salazar was killed in the beat down. His sister was among the crowd, carefully arranging and spreading out the clothes - his shorts dusty and frayed - it's something she never thought she would have to endure. Now she is pleading for justice.

Manuelita Salazar, Sister of Deceased
"All I want is justice, please I need justice at least let them pay for what they did to my little brother to God please."

The ruthless raid happened around 4:00 yesterday morning. The report is that two Belize Special Assignment Group officers along with one Orange Walk Special Patrol Unit officer stormed into Ariel Salazar's house. He was hanging out with Noe Sanchez and a female friend. An eyewitness who was with Salazar's nephew downstairs says she was awakened by the loud wail of agony and that started the night of terror.

Voice of: Edith Miranda, Eyewitness
"I heard a lot of noise right, like someone was bawling like they were in pain, they were moaning a lot. Me and my boyfriend got up we are right there trying to listen. We hear like something happening upstairs because it was upstairs it start first."

"A little while after that they came down, they brought them down here because one of the boys shouted my boyfriend's name right and they brought two of them to the front there so."

"When I push open the door I see the man the stand up there the hold up his uncle and his uncle was already bloody up already and like he was staggering, like he was going front way and then he hail my boyfriend and my boyfriend come out and he say, or he ask him where is the thing that he wanted so he said he doesn't have it, he said his son has it and his son stay in the next little front room right."

"They already have my boyfriend on the side the try open a door because his son wasn't inside the room, the room was locked with a padlock outside so he is trying to open it."

"Like how he couldn't find the key one of them knocked down the door, they went into the room they were trying to find what they wanted to find, they couldn't have found it."

Reporter
"That was the phone they were looking for?"

Voice of: Edith Miranda, Eyewitness
"Yes that is the phone they were looking for."

Reporter
"This phone that they were searching for were you able to hear who was the person who the phone was stolen from?"

Voice of: Edith Miranda, Eyewitness
"I hear that it was for a girl, a girl that works at a spot out of town and the girl came with them to come look for the phone but she said that it was the next guy who was in blue have, it wasn't his uncle that have the phone."

In the end, the masked officers didn't get the phone. But the Salazar family suffered a terrible loss. They now have to carry the memory of his vicious death.

Manuelita Salazar, Sister of Deceased
"The whole of his body is broken, the men broke him up, I don't know how they call them, the B's or what I don't know, they broke all of his insides, all this bone here broke up internal bleeding kill him."

"My little brother they killed him for nothing because they got a fuss over a phone why will they come and beat up my brother, they come and beat up the 4 boys who were up there and then they could have taken them to lock them down but they beat up all of them, my little brother they put bucket a water and they pushed his head in there and take him out, they drown the man in there, no man that is not right and they are law for them to be doing people those things no man."


Head of PSB Says BSAG Had No Lawful Authority

Indeed, they are lawmen, mostly soldiers, and tonight 7 of them, and 1 cop are in the custody of Orange Walk police. Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams is handling the investigation into the role of the lone police officer. He's doing that as the head of the Professional Standards Branch. But he is also the ranking officer in an investigation with clear criminal implications. Today he briefed the press on what they know so far, and what's going to happen next:

ACP Chester Williams, Professional Standards Branch, Commander
"Sometime in the early hours of Thursday gone, police responded to an incident on San Antonio Road here in Orange Walk Town. Upon arrival police observed two male persons severely beaten and two others who complained of having been beaten by some persons who were dressed in battlefield type uniforms. As a result of that complaint, the individuals were taken to the Northern Regional Hospital where hours later one Ariel Salazar who was one of the persons passed away and the other individual, one Mr. Paiz is still admitted in the Northern Regional hospital with injuries to the body, the other two individuals were not severely beaten so they were treated and released from the hospital. Police investigation has so far led to the detention of 8 persons, 7 who are elements of the Belize Defense Force and one of the Belize Police Department. The police officer who is detained is assigned to the BSAG so are the BDF all of them are assigned to the BSAG."

Reporter
"Are you able to tell us what these men were doing at this house? We understand they went looking for a cell phone, is this within the purview of BSAG?"

ACP Chester Williams
"Well from investigation yes we have obtained information that they were asking these young men about a cell phone and because information about the cell phone was not forthcoming that was the reason why the beat down occurred as to your second question whether this was within the scope of BSAG responsibility, the answer is no, matters of this nature should have been dealt with the by the Orange Police detachment ad not BSAG."

Courtney Weatherburne, reporter
"So they were on personal business, they didn't get any directive to go search that house?"

ACP Chester Williams
"They had no directive from the officer commanding Orange Walk, nor the Northern Regionals Commander nor the Commissioner of Police, no one per say who could have given them permission to be there, gave them no authority to be there."

Courtney Weatherburne
"As it relates to the cell phone was there any official complaint made in term of the theft of the cell phone?"

ACP Chester Williams
"No official complaint was made at the Orange Walk police station. Obviously the young lade on whose information they were acting on reported directly to them but what they ought to have done was convey that information to the Orange Walk police."

Courtney Weatherburne
"Can you say the connection between this woman and these officers for her to go and report directly to them and for them to act just as from her command?"

ACP Chester Williams
"Well we are not seeing anything as yet to show that there is any special connection between the two of them, apparently she was out and she saw the vehicle, she saw they were dressed in the way they were dressed and she assumed they were law enforcement officers and she reported it to them."

Courtney Weatherburne
"It seems that they reacted in an emotional manner, it seems they would have some connection with her to pick up themselves, go raid this house and kill this guy?"

ACP Chester Williams
"Well I can't say if that is the case but from what investigation is showing there is no special connection between them?"

Reporter
"Sir are police questioning this woman?"

ACP Chester Williams
"Yes we are in the process of getting a statement from her."

"They surely acted criminally not only out of order, they acted criminally and if it is that the investigation reveals that they are really the ones who did it then they will be dealt with criminally like any other person."

ACP Williams added that he sees no reason why the officers needed masks in an urban area. He stressed that there are both criminal and internal investigations underway.

A post mortem found that Salazar died from blunt force trauma, kidney and liver rupture.


They Robbed Robateau, the Noted Charity Worker

Tonight, one of Belize's most well-known charity workers is in the KHMH recovering from a massive beatdown that a gang of home invaders put on him. At 4:20 this morning, former Salvation Army Commander, Errol Robateau was attacked in his Hattieville home. The 73 year old has taken up a bus run in his retirement - and he was getting ready to leave out on his first run when as many as 7 men pounced on him. His conductor, Marilee Cardinez was waiting for him in the bus - and she saw it all - while also getting clubbed in the head. She gave Daniel Ortiz her story off-camera:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This is the Hattieville home of Major Errol Robateau. Sure, it looks quiet and peaceful right now, but it was the scene of a home invasion early this morning. The 73 year-old gentleman and his employee were held at gunpoint by 5 armed robbers who put a beatdown on him to convince him to give up his money and his valuables.

Robateau, a member of the Salvation Army who also runs a bus service in Hattieville, was getting ready to do a 5 a.m. run for his commuting customers. That plan was interrupted by violent thieves who were after a quick "come-up" at the expense of a hard-working elderly man.

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez, robbery victim
"This morning, I reached work at about 10 to 5. I was getting out my phone to call him because he is usually in the bus, sitting down, and starting it when I reach there. The bus wasn't started. So, I took out my phone and called him, and 2 gunmen came from behind the bus. They took away my phone and told me to shut up. When I screamed, they hit me hard in the head with the gun. They took me inside."

Reporter
"Inside the bus, or inside the house?"

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"Inside the house. When I got there I saw that my boss was already tied up on the ground. About 3 or 4 men were over him, beating him. They asked where the money was, and I told them that I didn't have any money, and that he [my boss] had all the money. They beat him and asked him for the money. They took away his key, went into the house and ransacked it."

Reporter
"Did they steal something from you?"

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"Yes, my money, and Mr. Robateau's money, my phone Mr. Robateau's 2 phones, his laptop, and a small keyboard from Mr. Robateau."

As you might expect, the victims were terrified that they might not make it out alive.

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"I was only just praying to God and ask him for help, to send help, and bring us through this, to make nothing happened to us. I think that all of them had weapons. One moment, we heard them crank it, and they said that they were going to kill the boss if he didn't give up the rest of money that he had. All of them had on masks."

Major Robateau still serves with the Salvation Army, and about 10 years ago, he was the Regional Commander of this humanitarian and goodwill organization. Those in the village tell us that kindness for him is second nature. So, they are shocked that a man who has been paying it forward for decades, would still be the target of this type of violent assault.

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"He's the best boss you can have. He's like a father because I lost my dad 6 months ago."

Daniel Ortiz, reporter
"Did you ever suspect that anything like this could ever happen to you or him?"

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"No, but I always heard stories that they tried to rob people. I never knew it was gonna happen to him and me. He doesn't mess with anybody, and he's a friendly man."

Major Robateau's employee says that his biggest concern wasn't the material possessions that were stolen from him.

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"When I left, they hadn't done the CT scan yet. He says that he was waiting, but he was laughing and joking, and he said that he thanked God nothing worse ever happened, and none of us got killed."

Daniel Ortiz
"So, even though he went through all of that, he's still positive."

Voice of: Marilee Cardinez
"Yes, he said Thank God that he allowed us to still be here, and that he's not worried about the material things, he was only worrying about our lives."

The thieves stole a couple cell phones and a laptop computer.

Robateau is at the KHMH where he is conscious and speaking.


Grave Concern For Missing Man In Hattieville

Just before our commercial break, we told you about the Hattieville home invasion targeting former Salvation Army Commander, Errol Robateau.

Well, that's not the only incident that has Hattieville residents on edge. 35 year-old Alaine Garcia, who recently moved to the village with his family 2 months ago, has been missing for 3 days now.

The last time he was seen was Tuesday morning when he walked his wife and their 3 kids to the road side so that they could catch the bus. Residents have told his worried common-law wife that there was a shooting near their home, and he was reportedly seen fleeing for his life.

Those closest to him tell us that he's a devoted family man, always in communication with his common-law wife, and attentive to his children when they get home.

But, now he's missing - and today we found his friends and family looking for him in the bush. It's their second day on the trail, and every day that he's missing, makes them more worried that he is in grave danger, or worse.

His common-law wife told us what she's found out so far:

Voice of: Kellyn Neal - Common-law wife
"Tuesday morning about minutes to 10 my co-worker he came to work and he told me that he heard gunshots close to my house because I need to be at work at 7, but his shift starts at 10. So he heard the gunshots and he heard the gunshots and when he told me, girl check on your common-law because he heard the gunshot close to my home. So, I went downstairs got my phone and I started to call him but there was no answer. The time when the shooting happened was between 7:30 to 7:36 and that's the time when he is walking back from dropping the kids because my house is about a 15-minute walk from the road side. I just continue to put 1 and 1 together and I spoke with people in the community who said that they saw him cry out when the gunshots rang and he ran. So, I'm thinking now that probably he got shot, he ran in the bushes, he collapsed, he cannot come out back, maybe even the worst he is dead and because this is from Tuesday then the rain washed away all trails. We can't see anything but yesterday when my niece and I came to do our own search, we saw a couple johncrows flying around in the area. We went as far as we could go but we didn't see anything or smell anything so far."

Daniel Ortiz, reporter
"How unusual is it that he is not at home to take care of your kids that Tuesday evening when they came home from school?"

Voice of: Kellyn Neal - Common-law wife
"Very unusual, he is always at home. If he is not at home he would let me know where he is. If I ask him to do something he would do it. As he comes back he would text me to let me know that he is home. If he is detained, same thing, he would text me, call me to let me know. So, this is very unusual that he is not at home. He has never done this before."

"We recently located to Hattieville about 2 months ago, due to our house being burnt down. Someone literally set the house on fire along with his car so that is why we came to Hattieville. In the area where we lived, that area at the complex area, those guys and the guys from another gang area, they have beef or whatever they call it, so whenever they used to see they would threaten him. He has gone in to numerous mediations because of this gang thing. So, I believe from the time they set the house on fire that's just a message. They made attempts on his life before and he has not reported it, some of it he has reported and that's why they went into mediation. So I believe that someone wants him dead or they probably have already done. We just need to find his body now."

The family wrapped up the day's search for Garcia this evening, and they will resume tomorrow. His common-law is asking for help from the general public to as they try to canvass Hattieville for him. Anyone who wishes to join them can contact her at telephone number 602-6571.




No Arrest For Ride-By Double Murder

Tonight, police are no closer to making an arrest in Wednesday's double murder of 26 year old Lloyd Valentine, and 12 year old David Morrison. On Thursday night a gunman on bicycle shot the two of them and Albert Wagner at the corner of Pregnant Alley and Cemetery Road. All three men were in a group when the gunman let off with a spray of 10 bullets. The shooting is the product of an ongoing rivalry between the George Street Gang and Taylor's Alley - which are right next to each other. The 12 year old was a promising Standard 6 student who was looking forward to going to Wesley high school.

Today the National Committee for families and children put out a statement condemning the violence. It says, quote, "The killing of our young people has become an almost daily occurrence and it is not to be tolerated in any shape or form….responses from all sectors of society are critically important in addressing the many root causes of violence and reversing this ominous trend.

The NCFC calls on government, churches and civil society organizations to redouble their efforts in helping to reduce the levels of violence."


Alleged Police Street Shooter Charged

And while there is no arrest in that case, police have made an arrest for Wednesday night's other shooting.

As we told you 25-year-old Emmerson Garnett and 23-year-old Houston Apolonio were shot by a gunman on Police street. Apolonio was only grazed, but Garnett was shot to his chest and remains in a critical condition.

Tonight, the police say 23-year-old Belize City resident Akeem Augustine did it.

He appeared in court today and was charged with 1 count of attempted murder, 1 count of dangerous harm, 1 count of use of deadly means, and 2 counts of aggravated assault.

He was remanded into custody until May 17th. This was not Augustine's first court appearance. Last year he was acquitted of the murder of 27-year-old Ardon Belgrave.


Unseasonal Rain Ruining Crops

Last night we showed you how the excessive rains threw a damper on the PUP's Belize City manifesto launch. But while that was inconvenient, it's nothing compared to the losses that the rains have caused in the agricultural sector.

A release from the ministry says that the unusually excessive rainfall in January and February destroyed crops, particularly grains, fruits, root crops, and vegetables.

The Ministry has launched a damage assessment in a farming zones to find out how much has been lost in value and foodstuff - even as the rains are ongoing.

So far though, the rains have caused shortages in lettuce, cauliflower, and broccoli on the market.

And, we have learned that those farmers we featured in San Carlos a month ago - have also lost massive stocks of potatoes and onions.

And while those farmers are now struggling to meet their bank and credit union payments, the government has to keep vegetables available at your community market. So the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation is being allowed to import for the next two weeks. The good news is that profits made from this will go towards recovery relief provided to affected farmers.


Government Moving Ahead Slowly With Pitts/Vega Suits

Tonight we have an update on the ongoing lawsuit against Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts. The Government had sued them both in an attempt to recover $800,000 in public funds which the Ministry of Natural Resources paid them in compensation for a series of dubious land transactions.

They were wrongly compensated for private land which the government sold them - supposedly in error.

Now, you'll remember that the way this particular "come-up" works is that once the Government attempts to sell private land to a second buyer, that person is "compensated" for the "mix-up".

That's what happened in September 2015. The Natural Resources Ministry, headed by Gaspar Vega, paid his son, Andre, $400,000. But, before that, they also "sold" this private land to Sharon Pitts, and in December 2015, she also got $400,000 in compensation.

When the scandal became public, Gaspar Vega resigned from the Cabinet, and Prime Minister Barrow asserted that the Government would attempt to recover the nearly 1 million dollars.

So far, the Government's lawsuit has been slowly making its way through the court process and it is still at the case management phase. Yesterday, we asked the Sol Gen about those cases against Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts, and here's what he told us:

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
"The attorney General against Sharon Pitts, that matter came before the court yesterday for case management before her ladyship Madam Justice Arana. I think what Mr. Hubert Elrington Senior Council appears for the defendant in that matter, indicated that there's a provision in the agreement which requires some level of conflict resolution and the proposal was for the matter to go to mediation. We're going to try to mediate to see if we can arrive at amicable resolution in that matter."

Reporter
"Is there a timeline set for that mediation?"

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
"In accordance to the rules, there are 45 days in which we have now to select a mediator on both sides with consent and then we propose date where we can meet for the mediation."

Reporter
"What about the matter with Andre Vega?"

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
"The matter of Andre Vega is before Justice Courtney Abel and that is at the stage also of case management. We've not progressed in the relation of that one as yet."

Reporter
"Would you reject this interpretation that mediation of this particular case is somehow softening the blow or wrapping the defendants on the knuckles, when the situation is that the government ought not to have sold these parcels of land because they were already private?"

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
"Remember we as the government are trying to recoup the money that would have been paid. In a mediation process we have to get a fair chance. I don't want to preempt anything but the idea of going to mediation is that the parties are saying they are willing to sit down and see if they can arrive at a supplement. I don't think it's a knock on anyone if you're able to settle a matter without going to a adjudication as it were if we are supposed to arrive at a settlement, the tax payers will still be at least recompensed depending on what we arrive in terms of figures, in terms of a settlement."

Reporter
"Settlement would not necessarily mean getting back the entire the amount, it could mean working out...?"

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
"It could mean getting back the entire amount. It could mean getting back less, we don't know, we don't want to preempt."

And in other news from the Attorney General's Ministry, the Government is reporting that there is a slight delay in the process to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption known as UNCAC.

Belize was waiting on governmental experts from Haiti and Tuvalu to come here and examine Belize's systems to ensure that UNCAC is being implemented correctly. But - the experts from Tuvalu were unable to acquire the necessary travel documents. So, the visit which was scheduled for next week has been pushed back to mid-July.


Busted on A Bus

Early yesterday morning police at a checkpoint stopped a bus - and found many pounds of marijuana. It happened between miles 73 and 74, at the junction of San Pedro Village on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The cops found 53-year-old construction worker Harold Grant seated on the back of the bus with a knapsack. They searched the bag and found just under 8 pounds of weed. Grant was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.

Capital Cops Caught Cannabis in a Community Park.

And in another weed bust, capital cops found cannabis in a community park.

Acting on information received from the public, police searched the Las Flores Community Park and found five bags containing a total of four pounds of weed. The drugs were found along with plastic bags suggesting that it would have been prepared for resale in smaller quantities.

The marijuana was deposited as found property.


US And Belize Combine For Culture

We know that tourists throng to Belize for our rich archeological history - but some of them - very few - take back more than just snapshots. True enough, there's a black market for mayan antiquities looted from sites. Some unscrupulous visitors or smugglers buy them as a keepsake - because, they think that taking home a shard of jade, is better than a selfie in front of Xunantunich.

But, it's a crime - and now the US government is making it an international offence to traffic in Belizean antiquities. Today, the US Government and NICH signed a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material of Belize.

And as a goodwill gesture, the US also handed over a few Belizean objects that were confiscated from a tourist by Special agents from the U.S. National Park Service.

According to a release, the goals of this cultural property Agreement are to: reduce the incentive to pillage; help Belize protect its cultural heritage; and increase lawful access to cultural objects and awareness of world heritage by encouraging interchange of materials for scientific, cultural and educational purposes.


Buddy Got A Birthday Bone

Today primary school kids from La Democracia and Toledo skipped school to go to a birthday party for an 11 - year - old.

But it wasn't any old pre-teen that they went to celebrate, it was Junior Buddy - the jaguar. The zoo threw him a big party and our Sahar Vasquez stopped in to pay the birthday boy a special visit.

Sahar Vasquez reporting
Junior Buddy may be one of the Belize zoo's most popular animals. Buddy attracts admirers from all over the world with his beautiful coat and feline charm. Today he celebrated his eleventh birthday, and just like the past 10 years, a celebration with some of his biggest fans was held in his honour.

Jaguars usually have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years but, at eleven, the charismatic jaguar is thriving. And it does not seem like he will slow down anytime soon.

Jamal Andrewin Bohn, Education Director- Belize Zoo
"He is a bit like a surly teenager. He is a bit slow to cooperate but now he is reveling in his birthday. In the wild, the average lifespan of a jaguar is 10 to 15 years. He is at the age where most jaguar in a wild setting would start to have deteriorating health issues as they get older but because he is in a captive environment is comfortable he has low stress and he responds very well to his caregivers and his admirers still he can live a very long time."

But what makes Buddy so special is his unique upbringing. The jaguar was raised by humans.

Jamal Andrewin Bohn, Education Director- Belize Zoo
"He was raised exclusively by people. His mother was a sheep killer we rescued many years ago. She gave birth to him here in the zoo but was unable to raise him. The zoo had to intervene and effectively become his maternal figure. He has always associated with humans rather than Jaguars. That is why he has become such an amazing ambassador for his species. He is very charismatic and he responds well to people."

And Buddy's youthful birthday guests were more than elated to be a part of the celebration and marvel at his exquisiteness.

Kaleesha Jones, St. Anglican Primary School
"I feel great because I get to give him his big bone."

Jahmar Flowers, St. Anglican Primary School
"I like the colour of his fur, the way he lives, the way he hunts, the way he eats."

Sahar Vasquez, reporter
"Do you like Jaguars?"

Leon Gillett, St. Anglican Primary School
"Yes ma'am."

Sahar Vasquez
"Why?"

Leon Gillett, St. Anglican Primary School
"Because of how they climb the tree and when they jump into the water to go after turtles and other animals."

Of course, no birthday is complete without a cake, or, in Buddy's case a massive chunk of meat. He left his guests is a state of awe as he dove into the water and contently devoured his special treat.


Thinking Carbon In Cayo

And, keeping it on the environment, the Ministry of the Environment, and Sustainable Development has launched a project called "Reducing the Carbon Footprint of San Ignacio Town and five surrounding villages in the Cayo District". Here's what it will do. First, LED street lamps will be installed, and an energy efficient community will be built.

According to a release, these two developments alone will reduce local energy demands, and, they say, will also reduce the vulnerability of the communities to climate change related extreme weather events.

That sounds a little simplistic…but there's Italian funding to make it real, and so it begins with 1000 LED streetlights which use 50% less energy than existing fixtures, while producing 3 times the light.

And then, the solar powered "Cayo North Resource and Resilience Centre" will be built on the grounds of the Victor Galvez Stadium. A release says, that it will include the construction of a full indoor gym complete with a FIBA quality Basketball Court.

The project is slated for completion by September 2018.






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