Monday, 15 May 2017

BELIZE: Crime In Tourism

A tourist lost her life at a popular tourist destination in Belize. Plus news obtained information that a white female American tourist between the ages of 45 to 50 and weighing between 200 to 250 pounds, had participated in some of the activities at Jaguar Paw in the Cayo District.

She thereafter went to the restroom where she reportedly collapsed. She was subsequently rushed to the Western Regional Hospital. However, it was too late to save her and she was pronounced dead on arrival. The body now lies in the morgue as police investigate the sudden death.

Guermo Avila, Manager of Memo’s Boat Service in Punta Gorda, made a complaint to PG TV regarding an immigration officer at the port down there.

Avilla says that the officer, working on Sunday June 19th, refused to stamp the travel documents of his passengers, and he says, for no good reason.

Guermo Avila, Manager of MEMOs Boat Service.

She stopped 11 passengers from going on my boat for the simple fact that it was 5 minutes pass 1pm. She said that my boat had to vlcsnap-2016-06-22-17h18m29s333leave at 1pm so she refused to stamp the other passengers because I would have been gone already.

So it is unfair for an immigration officer to be doing that because port authority is supposed to be giving the okay but he says that if she doesn’t stamp the passport there is nothing he can do.

Avila says he was very disappointed that his passengers had to use the Guatemalan service instead of the Belizean service. He says the money he lost is not only from the loss of passengers.

Guermo Avila, Manager of MEMOs Boat Service.

She said that she preferred the people to go on the boat that left 2pm to Guatemala. There was another scenario like that where two of the passengers overstayed the time on their visas so she said there was a problem.

I can understand that but the other 8 passengers did not have anything to do with overstaying their time. Their passport were all cleared and approved but she still made the passengers go on the 2pm boat.

The boats in question ferry passengers from Punta Gorda to Guatemala.

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and Caye Caulker Village Council on Saturday afternoon inaugurated new public beaches on the island as part of the Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker.

The Board says that a total of 1,883 linear feet of the beach was reclaimed in areas between Sobre las Olas to Rainbow Restaurant, and between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House.

Approximately 22,000 cubic yards of material were pumped for the completion of works.

The project took about 5 months to complete. Inaugurating the beach was Minister of Tourism and Culture and area representative for Belize Rural South, including Caye Caulker, Manuel Heredia Jr., who says the monies for the project came from savings by the Board: The Minister says further projects will be realized around the country from the Board’s savings.

The BTB’s Director of Special Projects, Kevin Gonzalez, outlines why the beach helps Belize’s tourism product: Village Council Chairman Wayne Miller said it is a job well done: The project was well received by the community at large and has been very popular with visitors.

The reclamation works will be complimented by the establishment of an improved craft center for local artisans in Caye Caulker. The location coincides with the largest public swimming area and hosts many festivals, including the world renowned “Lobster Festival.”

An American national is listed in a critical condition after he fell off a Mayan Ruin in Belize. The accident occurred at Altun Ha in Lucky Strike village in the Belize District.

The 36 year old American national arrived into the country on Thursday February 4 via Carnival Dream Cruise and went to the mayan archaeological site with Chuka Tours.

The incident happened sometine around 1 0’clock when the tourist, Brian Brooders, lost balance and fell face forward from the A 1 plaza.

The American tourist broke his jawbone as a result of the fall and also received a bruised lung, crushed liver, and bleeding to the brain.

Reports are that the ambulance took over an hour to arrive at the site. He was taken to Medical Associates where he is listed in a critical condition as arrangements are being made to have him flown out of the country for further treatment.

The Ministries of National Security and Tourism have collaborated to equip the Tourism Police Unit with 3 new Mazda pickup trucks, solving a longstanding need for mobility there. Its head, Inspector Carla Gamboa, was especially grateful for the donation.

Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie said during his remarks that the vehicles would be assigned, respectively, to the Tourism Village in Belize City; Caracol in San Ignacio, for patrols and spot checks, and the third to act as a roving patrol vehicle visiting major tourist destinations countrywide.

Minister Saldivar explained why these areas were thought to be most important.

Minister Heredia said this demonstrates the importance of the industry, now Belize’s second largest by revenue collected, but which has been rocked by recent crime and safety issues.The value of the donation is approximately 200 thousand dollars.

The nation is still dealing with the negative publicity Belize is currently facing following a serius spike in murders, including that of American tourist Anne Swaney who was strangled to death by the river in the Cayo district last week when she went there to do her yoga.

Just a couple weeks before that , Canadian film maker Matthiew Klinck was murdered in his yard in the Cayo district as well; stabbed multiple times.

The murder of these foreigners has raised questions about the safety for tourists in articles on the web, including a yahoo news article.

Today, in an open letter to industry partners, the Belize Tourism Board said, and we quote, “Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the family of American tourist Anne Swaney who was found murdered…” BTB also says that they , and we quote again, “We will continue to work with the Belize Police Department in our tourism capacity to assist in their investigation.

Moving forward, we will work with the Belize Police Department and advocate for an increased police presence to ensure the safety and security of everyone in Belize.”

The letter ends by saying that industry partners’ suggestions on preventive crime strategies are welcomed at this time and can be submitted to the BTB.

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