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The Second Paranda King Passes
Paul Nabor - the 86 year old parandero and musical icon died last night at 6:50 at the Punta Gorda Hospital. Nabor had gotten a stroke ten days earlier and had returned to his PG home ...
Mayor Swazo Blazes SIF At Griga Market's Ceremonial Opening
Our next story shouldn't be about politics, but, it kinda is. The story should be about how Dangriga Town finally got its market back - completely refurbished with 44 new stalls, and...
Another Hilux Stolen, Police Quickly Recover It
Another Government owned Toyota Hilux was stolen today in Belmopan. That would be the fifth since July - all government Hilux's stolen from various government departments. It's a stagg...
Hon. Mahmud Is Out For Real
On Tuesday we reported that PUP Cayo North Representative Joseph Mahmud would not contest the next general election: he will be stepping down as standard bearer. Now, conventional wisdom ...
Paul Nabor's Final Days Battling Illness
As we told you at the top of the news, the legend, Paul Nabor, died last night after months of illness. The 86 year-old was very ill, after suffering 2 strokes. Earlier this week, he su...
A Look Back At Nabor's Legacy
Indeed, the 2007 Three Kings documentary by Katia Paradis - set Peters, Nabor and Mes on a pedestal - and now two of them, Peters and Nabor are gone. If Naguya Nei thought us how to sing ...
A Family Fast Food Shop Weathering The Test of Time
It is not so common to get a brochure outlining the history and food selections when you visit a fast food restaurant. I mean, the concept of a fast food restaurant is to get your food and g...
Griga Market Project Supervisor Responds; Says Mayor Swazo Is Factually Wrong
In our last segment, you saw how the mayor of Dangriga dropped bombs on the Social Investment Fund accusing them of impoverishing his town residents. But, you didn't hear SIF's side of the ...
The 51st Anniversary of Masonic Lodge 683
There are many perceptions about masonic lodges and based on public sentiment, they are often negative or suspicious. There are countless stories that speak of these secretive outlandish and...

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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 Second Paranda King Passes

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
Paul Nabor - the 86 year old parandero and musical icon died last night at 6:50 at the Punta Gorda Hospital. Nabor had gotten a stroke ten days earlier and had returned to his PG home to be cared for by his grandson. Last night around 6:00 he took a turn for the worse and was rushed to the PG hospital where he was pronounced dead.

And so tonight, Belizeans and Garinagu all over the world are mourning the passing of this great on. Like his most famous song "Naguya Nei" says, "I am moving on…" - and so he has. Today we spoke to family, friends and band members about his contribution. First, you'll hear from Barbara Norales who was a close friend of Nabor's. Today in Dangriga, she said Belize and the world have lost a great talent:..

Babara Norales, Friend of Nabor
"I got to enjoy the spiritual and personal side of him and then I'll use this to send condolences to the PG people and Belize, they have lost one of its greatest asset. The Garifuna people has lost something great and condolences to his daughter Marie who is also an artist and I hope that Darius and the people from PG continue with the Paul Nabor birthday every year in January."

Jules Vasquez
"We have his sketch of his personal history outlined, but what is a thing about his personal history that makes you say wow I didn't know that?"

Babara Norales, Friend of Nabor
"What I said wow on was when he told me about his boxing history that he was a boxer and he would tell me about the number of fights that he got into and he referred to his himself as "Terenshal" he was just a trouble person too. His life experience when he tells you the story, I think its interesting that you get to see the person and not the artist on the stage."

Musician and engineer Al Ovando also has a valuable perspective. He toured the world and recorded with Nabor over a period of many years. Today, also in Dangriga, he told us that the story of Belizean music has lost one of its most important chapters:..

Al Ovando
"When we got the word, I just thought about the whole life and history and music in Belize and the legend Paul Nabor. Everything becomes more difficult now to try to tell anybody else about the music of Belize and Paul Nabor was the pinnacle and the best example you could ever have when it comes to music from Belize."

And while it seems like we have always known him, Nabor was known mostly in the Garifuna community as a singer and songwriter. That was up until the late 90's when he was a part of Stonetree Record's groundbreaking album "Paranda". That brought him to the forefront and made his song Naguya Nei one of the most well-known recordings in all of Belize. Al Ovando discussed that seminal recording today:..

Al Ovando
"He was the first to lend himself to be recorded at that level; that level of production and distribution that happened with the Paranda album and thanks to Stonetree Records and Ivan and all the Panaderos who got together and insisted that the world needs to hear this. Naguya Nei is like I mean the anthem of the Garifuna people and the struggle of the people and the whole history of Belize. People that hears the song for the first time; he just steps on stage and once the guitar intro comes in, it's like everybody knows this song for like years and everybody gets up and just waiting for the song to begin and for Nabor to start singing and there is this energy I think that nobody else has. I've never seen it with any other musician or artist up to this time; he just steps on the stage and everybody gets up and like everybody knows Paul Nabor for years and this is like in new countries and we never questioned why, we just appreciate and we accept that phenomenon."

Later on you'll hear from his family who we spoke to today in Punta Gorda Town and from the man himself as we look back at excerpts of the groundbreaking documentary, "Three Kings"


Mayor Swazo Blazes SIF At Griga Market's Ceremonial Opening

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
Our next story shouldn't be about politics, but, it kinda is. The story should be about how Dangriga Town finally got its market back - completely refurbished with 44 new stalls, and all the bells and whistles. But, as it turns out, the story is about how the Dangriga Mayor just dropped bombs on the Social Investment Fund and its minister at the handing over today. 7News was at the ceremony, and here's how it went..

William Lamb, Executive Director - SIF
"So with pride and thanks to God I can say to the Dangriga residents; enjoy the new market."

Jules Vasquez reporting
But there wasn't much for SIF or their minister to enjoy today when the Dangriga Mayor - backed up by the PUP political bosses of the south - blazed them:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"Today is a special, a momentous, but a bitter sweet day."

Bitterness because SIF delivered a market 400 thousand dollars over budget and 15 months late:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"We handed over our market to SIF and the government of Belize in May of 2012 and we were expecting that it be handed over back to us in July of 2013. Nearing the expected end of July 2013, we notice that the market was less than about 30% completed and we said SIF had failed us. Ladies and gentlemen, July 2013 came and past. We all the troubles no apology. Our council like the rest of the world learned that the contract for the then contractor Mr. Kennard Smart was terminated. We now know the story very well, don't we? - Corruption. Corruption caused the contract to be terminated. SIF whose mission is well articulated had failed in Dangriga. In April, the people of Dangriga was deal another serious and devastating blow. This overt frontal assault, took the form of a reallocation of funds. The funds of a minimum of about $400,000 was reallocated. $400,000 was taken from our phase two project to rehabilitate our street. We have been made poorer as a result of 30 months of waiting. Mr. Government of Belize, you may expect forgiveness, however your actions towards the people of Dangriga speaks volumes. You have not uttered a word of apology, so your silence us also communicating a message."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"So let me take this opportunity to offer my profound apology to the people of Dangriga for the inconvenience caused by the unfortunate delay in the completion of the market due to problems with the original contractor. I respectfully thank you for your patience."

And after a touch of grace, Castillo threw in a political jab - one someone else's turf!

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"I am always amazed by people that cry wolf and I'll give you an example of what I mean; in the house of representatives at our last sitting, there was a lot of outcry and the members on that side were jumping up and down about the Guatemalan company BINARQ which was hired by the US Corps of Engineers for the Coast Guard base at Hunting Caye. Low and behold we have now found out that this was a contract signed by their then Prime Minister Said Musa in 2007, so the same people crying wolf were the actual wolves in this case. So when the mayor cry wolf - I don't panic at all."

Crowd shouting
"Don't come back here...move on."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"Dangrigana, moving on positively, what I will tell you..."

And after that what he had to tell the mostly PUP crowd didn't matter much. SIF signed over the market to the care and management of the town council and with a surprisingly amicable handshake handed over the key - accepted with grave reservations:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"There is nothing state of the art; no air conditioning; no refrigeration unit; no tiled floor; no rack for the vendors to weigh their product. SIF said that it is what it is. Mr. SIF, since you are so confident and considering the principles of transparency, accountability then come clean, show us everything. Show us what you spend our pennies - please show us."

After that it was unto the ribbon. And while Castillo tried to put a good face on it - the mayor portends that the cuts run deep:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"We are grateful for all the pain. We are grateful for the improved market that we are seeing. Our people deserves just that and more."

And so what does the social Investment Fund have to say about all the allegations by the Dangriga Mayor? Later on - we'll have the reaction to that form project manager Ernest Raymond.


Another Hilux Stolen, Police Quickly Recover It

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
Another Government owned Toyota Hilux was stolen today in Belmopan. That would be the fifth since July - all government Hilux's stolen from various government departments. It's a staggering number and it would be a double embarrassment for police and the government tonight - but this time, the cops got back the truck and they did it in less than half an hour! It's a quite remarkable turn of events which was aided first by the fact that the vehicle was stolen from the Institute of Archaeology - and workers saw it when the car thief - a Hispanic man in dark sunglasses was driving off. They followed behind him and called police - who had mapped out a response plan and were ready to roll. The officer commanding Belmopan explained how they intercepted the pickup heading west:..

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"We had a plan in place and that plan was immediately effectuated. I can't go through in depth with the plan, but what I can tell you we had the services of Roaring Creek police which is a part of the Belmopan police; we had our CIB and other unites from Belmopan activated; we had Benque, San Ignacio and also we had the Spanish Lookout alert system in place. So we were able to track this vehicle or as a matter of fact trail this vehicle until it reached at George Ville in this same Cayo District where the vehicle was stopped at an emergency check point. The driven upon seeing the check point in place decided to turn back and in the process he absconded the vehicle, leaving the vehicle behind and he is still at large at this moment. We believe, I am no expert in the field, but we believe that sufficient DNA was left behind in the vehicle and as a matter of fact some of our partners, our stakeholders saw this person the driver and we know who we are looking for. He is known to us and we will moved on from there. We are very enthusiastic at the moment and I am sure that this case will help to solve many of the others."

Jules Vasquez
"Is this a stolen vehicle ring?"

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"I wouldn't want to label it as such. As I had mentioned I want to have those things in evidence before I could conclusively say so."

Jules Vasquez
"How significant is it that finally and intercept has been made and it shows that your police formation is not asleep at the wheel?"

Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police
"That's a good question, I love that question. Behind the scenes we were doing many things and we learned from some of the experiences we had in the past stolen vehicles and I think that now we are mature enough to be able to come up with some theories and this great plan that assisted us so well today. I believe that we are accustomed to this type of thing. It was new to us first, but now we know how to deal with cases like these and we will continue to be evolving because the criminals they are always changing, so the plan that we have in place might not be effective for another stolen vehicle if God forbids that there is another."

Police are just starting their investigation, and while they aren't calling it a stolen vehicle ring at this time they are looking at two trends: that all the vehicles were Toyota Hilux pickups, and all were stolen from government offices during daylight hours. They are speaking to the dealer Belize Diesel - which has confirmed that it is assisting police. We'll have more on this story tomorrow.


Hon. Mahmud Is Out For Real

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
On Tuesday we reported that PUP Cayo North Representative Joseph Mahmud would not contest the next general election: he will be stepping down as standard bearer. Now, conventional wisdom and our observation of the long history of politics told us that the matter would be dealt with: someone inside the PUP would reach out to Mahmud, and grease the squeaky wheel. But, it seems, no one will - and it seems the PUP thinks that Mahmud's problems are his and not theirs.

Now, that's pretty broad thinking when you consider that he controls one of 16 seats needed to form a government, but today deputy Leader for the South Mike Espat told us that Mahmud;s mind is made and there's nothing he can do about it:..

Jules Vasquez
"How do you feel about the developments with your colleague Joseph Mahmud?"

Hon. Mike Espat, PUP Toledo East
"You can't tell a man what to do. A man must decide for himself what he wants to do. I don't know what is his problem, he has not shared his problem with me or anybody else in the Southern Caucus."

Jules Vasquez
"You are an opposition person going into an election, it's likely that you won't lose. But now that if he steps down, it puts that seat in play. So what should have been a sure seat for the PUP is up in the air. You have to lament that, seats are hard to get."

Hon. Mike Espat, PUP Toledo East
"We understand that, but it's the reality on the ground. What are we going to do about it, cry about it?"

Jules Vasquez
"Should somebody not reach out to Joseph Mahmud and say let us work this out. I know he has done this before."

Hon. Mike Espat, PUP Toledo East
"But you can't force the man to do it. It's his wish and we have to respect his wish."

Jules Vasquez
"But then will the PUP be able to hold on to what has historically been a UDP area?"

Hon. Mike Espat, PUP Toledo East
"That's left to be seen. The people will decide my brother, not me or not Mahmud. The people will decide."

Jules Vasquez
"Bur as a deputy leader of the party, it has to concern you that what looked like a pretty secured seat in...."

Hon. Mike Espat, PUP Toledo East
"But what can you do about it. The man has made his decision. Plain and simple."

And so while Representative Mahmud's departure seems to be pretty much a matter concluded, there's also another less noteworthy PUP departure to note tonight. Micah Goodin, who told us that he was the standard bearer for the PUP in Collett, announced today on Facebook that he is stepping down. He says on his facebook page, "today I decided to change direction…" and goes on to thank those in the PUP who have helped him.


Paul Nabor's Final Days Battling Illness

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
As we told you at the top of the news, the legend, Paul Nabor, died last night after months of illness.

The 86 year-old was very ill, after suffering 2 strokes. Earlier this week, he suffered a third, and that illness sapped the rest of his vitality until he passed away at around 6:50.

Nabor was a spiritual elder of the Garifuna, or as they are called, "buyei", but he was best known as a musician and songwriter for over 60 years. Those who knew him say that his talent was only surpassed by his humility, and willingness to work with and impart his knowledge to anyone who approached him for instruction.

Today, 7News went to PG to speak with his family about Nabor's last few days, and about his legacy. Here's what they told us:

Linda Barrow - Grandaughter-in-law
"On the 12th October, he suffered his 3rd stroke and he was hospitalized at the Punta Gorda Hospital until the 20th October. He was released then and he was brought home. From there on he continue to grew more ill and then yesterday at 5:45 he fell much more ill and we rushed him to the Punta Gorda Hospital where the nurses and the doctors tried their best to save him and he was gone at 6:50. Before he grew ill, he was a very vibrant and energetic person. He use to get things done on his own. He is very independent and he is very jovial. He is also a priest for the temple and he does his work there. At his last stages when he got sick, last year December, all of that was terminated. He was well respected throughout the whole world I would say because he is international and in the music industry he cooperated with each and every one. He always give them options to play along with him. He would teach them things that he knew to the younger artists and apart from that he is always willing to be at functions. He got an award from the Governor General for the achievement of his music. He also got an award from LOVE FM on his birthday."

David Lino - Grandson of Deceased
"I did what I could. I leave my job and I came to do my mom part for her and...."

Daniel Ortiz
"I know it's quite difficult for you sir, can we ask you what are some of the things you are going to remember about him as an individual, as your grand dad?"

David Lino - Grandson of Deceased
"He was very kind, he taught me a lot of things. He taught me principles, respect, love myself and love everyone and he get along with everyone. It doesn't matter how difficult the day is or the time is, he always have something good to say, it doesn't matter how difficult your day is. When you sit down and talk to him, you will surely get something positive and that will motivate you to keep on going in life."

Today, both NICH and BTB released statements noting Nabor's passing. They reminded that in 2004 and 2011, he was honored for his contribution to culture and music with the Order of Distinction and Meritorious Service Award.

Notably, Nabor collaborated with the Late Andy Palacio, Aurelio Martinez, and the Garifuna Collective. He became known across the country as "One of the Three Kings" of Paranda, and he is best known for his song, "Naguya Nei", a tribute to his sister who passed away.


A Look Back At Nabor's Legacy

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
Indeed, the 2007 Three Kings documentary by Katia Paradis - set Peters, Nabor and Mes on a pedestal - and now two of them, Peters and Nabor are gone.

If Naguya Nei thought us how to sing with Nabor, The Three Kings taught us how to love him. The documentary captured his remarkable musical career and the sacred moments in his life as well as the joy that he spread through his music and simply: his presence. With the permission of the film-maker, Here are a few classic clips from that documentary.

Not all the clips you saw in that clip were form the three kings documentary.

No funeral arrangements have been set as yet - because Nabor's family is waiting for his daughter Marie to arrive in country. We'll keep you posted - nad we'll have more Nabor coming unto the end of tonight's newscast…


A Family Fast Food Shop Weathering The Test of Time

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
It is not so common to get a brochure outlining the history and food selections when you visit a fast food restaurant. I mean, the concept of a fast food restaurant is to get your food and get out but, Trejo's panades shop is a different kind of fast food restaurant, they provide more than just the food - they says it's the history:

Trejo's is on Bishop street.


Griga Market Project Supervisor Responds; Says Mayor Swazo Is Factually Wrong

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
In our last segment, you saw how the mayor of Dangriga dropped bombs on the Social Investment Fund accusing them of impoverishing his town residents. But, you didn't hear SIF's side of the story. They say that the mayor has it all wrong - and project supervisor Ernest Raymond discussed it with Jules Vasquez:..

Jules Vasquez
"You took some blows today; SIF the organization took some blows. The mayor accused you all of keeping the people of Dangriga poor, when you all should be a poverty alleviation fund. He says that in fact you all are impoverishing people. How do you respond to that?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"That's not the case. For one, when we started the renovation of the market we had allowed for the relocation of the vendors to a site that they can continue business. As you can see they were all relocated over there in a facility that was provided by the council. It's part of what we called a re-settlement re-allocation agreement. It's one of the major points of the safeguards that we ensure that persons affected by the project in any way do not suffer economically as well as inconvenience physically. Yes there were some discomfort over the last 2 years operating in a facility - a mere shed, a couple of boards to stand on, but business continued as usual and of course there were some..."

Jules Vasquez
"You are saying that because it's not your business."

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"No, we were here. We got the facts from them. In addition to that too, there were some wavers granted to the vendors, in terms of waver of fees and in some respect where the council had charged those vendors who they should not have charged we reimbursed those vendors for whatever charges they had to comply with. We reimburse them, so in some respect apart from the physical inconvenience in our opinion we do not feel that they have loss economically and as such today is the day."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you respond to the mayor's criticism that in fact the extra time has cost extra money and that money had to be taken from another project $400,000, so it is basically a case of impoverishing one area of the town to fix up the bad work in another?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"That is not the case. It is not a situation where $400,000 was removed from one project to complete another project. We operate on the basis of an allocation for each town council and there is an overall budget for the project. In that regard, as we see it presently there is still the likelihood of the Dangriga municipality getting their two streets; Gaspar Ramos and Trucking Boulevard. Right now they are being designed, the cost estimates are being developed and once those costs estimates are within the overall budget for the project; it's some 10 million dollars we are looking at for 7 municipalities - once its within that budget then very likely would be able address the two streets."

Reporter
"Are you forgetting that you've lost at least 4 colleagues within SIF as a result partly because corruption that occurred within this project."

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"I think we need to separate out the issue of those SIF officers who were engaged in inappropriate activities okay to the contract and the works that were being done here and may I say unequivocally that as it relates to the money spent on this project, the contract that was awarded there is no corruption associated with it. You can check our books, the auditors did two sets of audit on our books and there was no money lost, no money stolen."

Reporter
"All this going to be made public?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"Of course they are public documents. You can go on our website and see them."

Jules Vasquez
"Do you think the mayor showed poor graces when he lashed out, blazed out on you all today?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"Not really. It's how he feels. Its free speech in this country you know. You say how you feel. It is his feelings, I can't tell him he is either wrong or right, but in the matter of facts yes I can correct information that is either factual or not factual and if you want to raise any of them I can. There are some things that he is factually incorrect."

The market will be open on November first and the rental fee will not change. BUT the 22 vendors will have to pay a trade license fee of a three hundred dollars per year.

Tomorrow, you'll hear the part of the interview where we ask Raymond about whether the streets in Dangriga will still be paved.


The 51st Anniversary of Masonic Lodge 683

(posted on Thu Oct 23, 2014)
There are many perceptions about masonic lodges and based on public sentiment, they are often negative or suspicious. There are countless stories that speak of these secretive outlandish and taboo activities that are carried out within a lodge. Well, today two members from the Steadfast Masonic Lodge 683 came to our studios to debunk these false perceptions and to tell us about their 51st anniversary.

Ashton Longsworth, Grand Instructor - Masonic Lodge
"We are not a secret society. We might be like many would say a society with secrets, but we are not a secret society and why I say that is what is secret about a lodge? It is in the minds of many people that its secret. You can go on your computer and you can google anything you want to know about the lodge. You look at vehicles, you see bumper stickers, you look at men you see them with rings, you see them wearing emblems with caps and t-shirts. In the states there are billboards that publicize lodge. So if we are allowing people to say that it's a secret society, then we are doing a sloppy job at camouflaging it."

Oscar Ramos, member
"It's very commemorative because of the fact that today, this date is when the steadfast Masonic Lodge 683 was actually establish. So it's a very important day for us and we are here to actually celebrate on our birthday like everybody else."

Ashton Longsworth
"Our celebration will be a banquet on Saturday where members and their families and invited guests will be gathering and we will celebrate like many people celebrate their birthdays."

They will celebrate their anniversary on Saturday with a banquet.



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