I've decided that, since American news channels never mention Belize unless a US fugitive is captured down here or there's a hurricane heading our way, I'll recap some of our news articles for my friends back home.
The biggest story this week is about John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer, investor and philanthropist. I knew that he has a mansion somewhere on Ambergris Caye, but apparently he also has some kind of compound with 9 buildings and a laboratory here on the mainland, in the Orange Walk district.
So, basically what happened was that 42 members of the GSU (gang suppression unit) the BDF (Belize defense force) and the B-SAG (Belize special assignment group) all raided his house early on Monday morning. I can't find anything that gives their reason for the raid, but they ended up killing one of McAfee's guard dogs and kept him and his employees in handcuffs for 14 hours before bringing him to the police station and trying to charge him with possession of an unlicensed gun. He was eventually released without any charges, but 3 of McAfee's security guards were arrested and charged for "providing security services without a license."
Mr. McAfee thinks that he was targeted because he didn't donate money this year to a certain politician, but who knows. I read online that a few weeks/months ago, the BDF asked permission to search his property and he told them no and to come back with a warrant. (which they did have this time)
Now, I personally think this McAfee guy sounds a little shady - he's 66 years old and has a 17 year old girlfriend, and that laboratory on his property... what's that about? And why not just let them search it the first time, if you have nothing to hide?
What's scary about this is that it can happen to anyone living here... and, from what I can tell, without reason.
The next story I find interesting enough to share with you all is about the Government of Belize (GOB) paying gang members here to "keep the peace."
Now.... they say there's no money for salary increases for public officers, teachers, nurses or police officers, but they have plenty of money to give to gangs?? They have already spent over $1million to pay the gang members, and they plan on continuing to do so. They call it their "gang truce" program.
Ummmm... the truce is NOT working! Over the last 2 weeks, almost a dozen people have been killed due to gang activity and rivalries.
To quote an article from The Belize Times, "One cannot buy peace and gangs are illegal."
Under the Prime Minister Dean Barrow's watch the gangs have "gained notoriety, prominence and recognition. Gangs have gone from issuing press releases, to suing the government to now naming Ambassadors."
Yeah - they will pick a gang leader to be an "Ambassador" to sit down with Dean Barrow and the government of Belize and negotiate the truce. (The prime ministers presence is demanded...)
My opinion? The GOB just gives money to gangs so they themselves don't get killed.
The last story I'll recap for you today also involves money and the GOB.
There is a police pathologist named Dr Estradabran who does autopsies here, and he has "several dead bodies piling up" because his contract ran out recently and the GOB still owes him money for his services over the past several years, and he will not get back to work until his contract is renegotiated.
Part of the problem Dr Estradaban is having? "The increased level of violent crime in Belize was too difficult to keep up with as he had to respond to incidents all over the country to conduct post mortems."
Here are other headlines from The Belize Times and The Reporter:
NTUCB SELLOUT - Union leaders agreed to keep members and public in the dark about negotiations with GOB
Boco T dies inside San Pedro police cell (still no autopsy after one week)
Fuel Prices Increase Again
Cousins stabbed dead during Agriculture show
Renowned Economist says Belize's problem is poor governance
Man, 30, accused of sexual assault on 10 year old girl
Suspended search dooms Corozal fishermen
Francis Petillo charged with robbery and damage to property
Beans from Belize seized for rat feces contamination
2 Guatemalans detained for illegal logging
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala agree on referendum date
Invester John McAfee says GSU terrorized him
Green Tropics Ltd. to build new Sugar Factory in Cayo
High taxation hurting regional tourism
US$100,000 grants available for innovative Caribbean business ideas
Expert recommends Belize eliminate bureaucracy and Central Bank
Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce to Belize: Let's work together
I'll leave you with this story from the World News section of The Reporter:
Dentist pulls out all of her ex-boyfriends teeth after split.
A Polish woman is facing 3 years in prison after she removed all of her ex-boyfriends teeth during dental surgery just days after their breakup.
"I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions," Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. "But when I saw him lying there I just thought 'What a bastard' and decided to take his teeth out."
Marek Olszewski, 45, reportedly showed up to Mackowiak's dental office complaining of a toothache just days after he broke up with her. She then allegedly gave him a "heavy dose" of anesthetic, locked the door, and began removing all of his teeth, one by one.
"I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn't feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages," Olszewski said.
"She told me my mouth was numb and I wouldn't be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist," he said.
"I didn't have any reason to doubt her. I mean I thought she was a professional."
Adding to his trauma, Olszewski said his new girlfriend has already left him over his now toothless appearance.
"And I'm going to have to pay a fortune on getting indents or something." he said.
Mackowiak is currently being investigated for medical malpractice.