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Thursday, January 22, 1998

Vasquez sentenced to two years - Courtesy of B.C.B

Twenty-six year old Francis Vasquez, charged in connection with the shooting death of Monique Emmanuel, pleaded guilty yesterday before Justice George Meerabux. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Emmanuel lost her life on the night of February 13, 1997 during a domestic dispute with Vasquez, her common-law husband.

New barracks for Prison Officers - Courtesy of B.C.B

New barracks will be inaugurated at the Department of Corrections in Hattieville next month. The building will accommodate prison officers who are single or live out-district. Inauguration ceremonies will be held on February 2nd.

Musa's attorney's storm out of court room - Courtesy of B.C.B

Six attorneys representing Opposition Leader Said Musa, stormed out of Courtroom No. 1 while a judgement was being passed this morning in Belize City. The six attorneys, Eamon and Derek Courtenay, Phillip Zuniga, Edwin Flowers, Francis Fonseca, and Godfrey Smith walked out of the courtroom while Justice George Meerabux was ruling on an appeal filed last October. It was made after the Speaker of the House of Representatives found Musa guilty of contempt of court and ruled that he would penalize Musa at the next house sitting. The Supreme Court, in accommodating the request of the defense team to hear the appeal before the next house sitting tomorrow, heard the matter today. The appeal was to restrain the house speaker from passing sentence on Musa. However, in passing his ruling, Justice Meerabux said that the court has no jurisdiction to deal with matters that concern the internal proceedings of the House of Representatives. Justice Meerabux said that if the courts start to interfere in the affairs of the house, that would be constitutionally undesirable and it could lead to a conflict within the judiciary. But before he could sum up his ruling, the defense team walked out of the courts, an act which according to Solicitor General, Gian Ghandi, is unprecedented and an action for which they could be held in contempt. Attempts by the BCB to reach Said Musa or his attorney's for comment on this morning's ruling have so far been unsuccessful.

Gay cruise ship continues to spark criticism - Courtesy of B.C.B

The announcement by the Ministry of Tourism that a cruise ship with gay passengers will be visiting Belize at the beginning of next month has sparked objections from various institutions and organizations. The latest comment comes from the council of management of the Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU). The council condemns what it describes as the "unnatural" practice of homosexuality and is deeply concerned that the Ministry of Tourism and the Environment's decision may open the gates for similar request from people of such orientation. BCB News asked the President of the Council, Raul Castillo, if the visitors had not declared themselves if they would still be allowed to visit, considering the fact that thousands of homosexuals dock on our shores every year without a problem. BNTU's council of management says that as educators they believe the psychological and moral environment which children are exposed to is fragile and in need of protection. Two missionaries to Belize, Bill and Lucia Meeks also announced today that the Association of Evangelical Churches will be staging a rally and protest this weekend in Belize City. Earlier this month the Belize National Tour Operators Association and the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association issued statements in support of the Ministry of Tourism's decision to allow the M.S Leeward to dock for six hours as part of their travel itinerary. The ship has been denied access to the Cayman Islands. It is due in Belize February 1st.