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Paranda King Paul Nabor Passes
Oct 23, 2014

Paul Nabor

Belize has lost one of its greatest musicians.  Paul Nabor passed away quietly on Wednesday night in Punta Gorda after suffering from three strokes. The eighty-six-year-old legend had been ailing for some time, but the sad news of his death spread across Belize quickly. Nabi, as he was called, is recognized for putting Paranda music at the centre of the Garifuna culture and, like the deceased Andy Palacio, he worked tirelessly through his music to promote the history and preservation of Garifuna culture. The government has announced that it is extending an official funeral for the iconic Nabi. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Preeminent Belizean musician Paul Nabor is dead.  The celebrated Garifuna singer and guitarist passed away at the Punta Gorda Hospital on Wednesday evening, following a third bout of stroke earlier this month.  Eighty-six-year-old Alfonso Palacio, the name given to him at birth, is a legendary Parandero who has traveled the world over as one of Belize’s finest cultural ambassadors.

Yasser Musa, Former President, NICH

Yasser Musa

“Two powerful images stick with me of Paul Nabor.  One is an image of him, I think it was, I want to say Indonesia in a concert where he with his big hat was in front of thousands of people and I felt that we had arrived at a special place in terms of what he had done, his contribution because he was a Parandero, a Paranda master and his whole life was spent with community music.”

To appreciate Nabi, as he is lovingly referred to by those closest to him, one has to understand his craft, his place in Garifunaduou, as well as the pantheon of Belizean musicians.  As an expert in the oral tradition, a renowned griot, many of his compositions are drawn from everyday experiences.

Darius Avila

Darius Avila, President, Battle of the Drums Secretariat

“He is a spiritual leader in our community and so in terms of Garifuna spirituality he has contributed significantly in that regard being a spiritual leader.  I would from time to time visit with him at his dabuyaba where he would give stories about his youth and, you know, his trials and tribulations and some fun things and some sad things that he would always be giving stories about.”

Paul Nabor was one of three Belizean musicians, including Wilfred Peters and Florencio Mes, to be crowned kings of their respective genres.  His coronation as the monarch of Paranda music, by cultural icon Andy Palacio, is fondly remembered by former president of the National Institute of Culture and History Yasser Musa.

Yasser Musa

“The strongest memory I have is when he performed with Andy Palacio on that stage when Andy held up his hand and it really galvanized in my mind how important it is for us to recognize the past, in terms of the contributions that people have made and also acknowledging the present.  In my view, Andy was the present.  He was a kind of the force of the past that Andy was standing on, that’s the image that I had.  And so today, we can reflect and look back at that and realize that that is just the beginning that Paul Nabor is a lesson to all of us that our cultural mind, our cultural spirit is what really identifies us as Belizeans.”

That spirit is the embodiment of Nabor’s magnum opus, a heart wrenching guitar ballad called Naguya Nei, I Am Moving On.  The aptly titled song speaks to his death and the band of fellow musicians that will accompany his funeral procession.

Linda Barrow

Linda Barrow, Caregiver

“He was doing pretty good until October twelfth at midday, that’s when he fell ill with the third attack of stroke.  From that when he was hospitalized until the twentieth of October he was released and he came home not in a good condition because he was still, you know, weak and so forth.  He was not eating, he didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want to take his medication which we forced him and he did.  Until yesterday evening, a quarter to six, that’s when he fell ill again and he wasn’t responding and we saw that he was deteriorating.  We rushed him straight to the hospital and there in the in the A&E he gave his last breath.”

A final lungful bringing to an end a life well-lived.  While his life, to many, was an open book the origin of the stage name Paul Nabor remains a mystery.

Darius Avila

“From the time I was growing up he was known as Paul Nabor.  Maybe somebody else could speak to how he acquired that name but clearly it was even before he went on a big stage.  He was known as Paul Nabor from ever since I was growing up.  He obviously loved that name and everybody recognize him as that.  As a matter of fact, a lot of people don’t know him as Alfonso Palacio.  It was when I started to get close to him then I asked him, “So uncle, what is your real name?” And then he told me well you know, my real name is Alfonso Palacio.”

Arrangements for his official funeral are presently underway.

Darius Avila

“We are awaiting the arrival of his only child, his daughter who should be arriving here in PG on Friday, tomorrow Friday, October 24th.  Upon her arrival then the plans will flow but we have already been approached by the Government of Belize because they want to offer a state funeral and we have also been approached by NICH because they want us to offer a tribute where we will invite paranderos from all across the country.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Paul Nabor, dead at eighty-six. 

Benque Police Find Body of Guatemalan in Mopan River
Oct 23, 2014

Tonight, there are unconfirmed reports of a confrontation between a Police Patrol and Guatemalan nationals in the community of Calla Creek in western Belize. That altercation allegedly occurred when Police attempted to retrieve the body of a man they believe to be missing Guatemalan Rudy Leonel Salazar. On Sunday Police were called to the area of the Clarissa Falls Resort after shots were heard. Later that night they picked up nineteen year old Cesar Umberto Chinchilla Rodriguez, bleeding for a gunshot below his right knee. Rodriguez told Police that he, twenty-two year old Rudy Salazar and another man crossed the border into Belize illegally on Sunday to go fishing. He claimed that while on the banks of the Mopan across from Clarissa Falls Resort, shots were fired at them, resulting in the injury to his leg. He also told investigators and Salazar was shot in the neck and fell into the river. Because of the state of the river in flood, and some doubt about Rodriguez’s story, there was little effort to search for Salazar, and on Tuesday Rodriguez was allegedly escorted back across the border to Guatemala. But tonight that situation has escalated with the discovery of the body. Benque Police are not releasing details at this time, but told News Five that the situation is, in their words, ongoing. We have been able to confirm that contrary to reports on the social media, no B.D.F. personnel have been deployed to the scene. There were two B.D.F. soldiers on patrol with the Police providing support, and we understand that they are still on the scene. We’ll have much more on this story in Friday’s newscast. 

Political Swords Drawn Over Dangriga Market
Oct 23, 2014

Gilbert Swaso

The long awaited inauguration of the Dangriga market was to be a happy occasion; after all, its completion was delayed for thirty months. Its construction became mired in controversy when it was revealed that kickbacks were being paid; as a result, five SIF employees lost their jobs and work on the market was slowed down. Well this morning, it was finally opened, but it was eclipsed by the tone of the speeches. Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swaso, vented his frustration with the delay throwing jabs at the government. The Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Santi Castillo, who was there to represent government, responded in kind. We’ll come to the market, but here is the testy exchange between the mayor and the minister of state.

Gilbert Swaso, Mayor, Dangriga

“They will remember the pain. Our people will remember the pain that you have caused them to ensure. Therefore mister minister, when will repentance begin? When will you and your government right the wrong done by the BMDP to Dangriga? When Mister Minister, your government claims that it is washed with money, so when will Dangriga get its four hundred thousand dollars? It is shorted to pave the streets? When will Dangriga get its repatriation? When? Mister Government of Belize, you may expect forgiveness, however your actions towards the people of Dangriga speaks volume. You have not uttered a word of apology and your silence is also communicating a message—a message which we, Dangrigana, that law would unclear.”

Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister of State, Finance & Economic Development

Santiago Castillo Jr.

“I have never ever been political about any opening. Today I will make my first exception because I am sure that Dangriganans have U.D.P.s and P.U.P.s and I will reach to all of them in a respectful manner.  I will say that the honorable mayor, his worship never did ask to meet with me at any time and I am the minister under which SIF falls; not the prime minister.”

Gilbert Swaso

“The fiscal year for 2012, we earned over seventy thousand dollars in that year from the market. Since we handed over our market, we have seen a significant decrease to a little over forty-nine thousand or thirty percent drop in our collections from the market—that is thus far because the year still noh finish yet. I had the privilege to be accompanied by two reputable contractors when I inspected the market before I took the walk with SIF. The contractor told me that on the face of it, they are not able to see one point eight million on the market. Allow me also to say that there is a building here in Dangriga that is for sale. That building has twenty-two thousand four hundred square feet. Our market has little less than eight thousand square feet. We were told that he construction value in Dangriga, is a dollar and twenty-five cents per square foot. So that building with the twenty-two thousand four hundred square foot is valued and also is on sale, is valued at two point eight million dollars and I understand it is selling for two point five million. Our market, a little less than eight hundred square feet, it is being valued at SIF at this time for two dollars and twenty-seven cents a square foot; that gives them the one point eight million dollars. If SIF had used the construction value of Dangriga for our market, then the value would be the original at one point three million dollars.”

Santiago Castillo Jr.

“We spent one point eight million dollars in Dangriga. Maybe it could have been one-four, maybe it could have been one-five, maybe it could have been one-nine; but it is what it is and the market is here today. But again, I offer my apologies for the delay. With all due respect to the mayor, I didn’t know he was a professional property appraiser that could immediately tell you how much square foot…obviously he did his research. But you know, 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 U.S. Corp of Engineers for the Coast Guard base at Hunting Caye. Lo 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, me noh panic at all….me noh panic at all.”

Gilbert Swaso

“Mister SIF, since you are so confident and considering the principles of transparency, accountability, then come clean. Show us, show us everything; show us on what you spend our pennies. Show us, please show us. I am now asking on behalf of the people of Dangriga, show us how every cent is spent. Fellow Dangrigana, the ill-treatment and punishment that we are experiencing is demonstrating to us that we as a people who exercise our constitutional right must be subjected to a vindicated government no matter what. This government action, contrary to their mantra is done for political expediency. This government action is demonstrating that the U.D.P. loyalists are first and designed and focused with the hope of winning the next election; they noh worry about we yah dah Dangriga.”

Later in the newscast, we will have the details of the one point eight million dollars facility. 

Still No Confirmation of CHIK-V in Belize
Oct 23, 2014

Tonight, officials from the Ministry of Health are still anxiously awaiting the results of testing on four samples which were sent to Trinidad. The persons tested, all from the Las Flores area in Belmopan, have shown positive for Chikungunya using a rapid test, but that test is not considered absolute confirmation. Until there is some positive indication from the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad, the Ministry maintains that there are no confirmed cases of Chik-V in Belize. Late this evening, we spoke to officials in the Ministry who indicated that they anticipate those results by Friday morning. We were also told that following a mapping of the Las Flores Area, there are no new suspected cases of Chik-V. 

Teacher Who Visited Belize Pleads Guilty to Enticing Minors
Oct 23, 2014

David Wendel Thompson

There is new tonight out of Tampa, Florida where a former school teacher has pleaded guilty in the federal Court to enticing two minors for sex. Forty-nine year old David Wendel Thompson used social media, specifically Facebook, to lure the two underage girls to have sex with him for money. At the time, one was thirteen years old and the other fifteen. In the plea agreement, Thompson claimed that when one of the minors said she was not a prostitute, he replied that however she needed help. He also admitted that he knew the girls were underage. Thompson was heading to Belize from Tampa in mid-March, but he was denied entry and arrested in Miami. It is also known that he visited Belize on numerous occasions and that in fact, he married a Dangriga resident. Thompson will be sentenced in January and is facing ten years in prison.

B.T.B. Says Cruise Schedules Back to Normal
Oct 23, 2014

Valdemar Andrade

A new measure put in place by local authorities in the wake of an Ebola scare a week ago forced the cancellation of Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas from calling on Belize on Wednesday. The new protocol, which includes a boarding party comprised of several government officials traveling out to the anchored vessel, caused a significant delay in the disembarkation of visitors. It also cost the cruise line thousands of dollars in operating expenses. Following on a threat to cancel port of calls, the B.T.B. has had to change the procedures considerably to accommodate for the inconveniences. This afternoon, Director of Cruise Valdemar Andrade, told News Five they have restored normalcy in cruise arrivals.

Valdemar Andrade, Director of Cruise, B.T.B.

“On Wednesday, we did get an indication of a cancellation from Royal Caribbean for the Navigator of the Seas which was to have been one of the first Royal Caribbean to come since the high season is commencing. We’re on the second version of implementing the new policies with respect to precautions on the Ebola issue which is a health issue actually.  And so what we did initially, what we did in implementing it the first time is we took the boarding party out to English Caye Harbor.  We did first the public health officer who would have given the clearance then the pilot and the rest of the boarding party would board once he gave the clearance for all the documentation and everything to be cleared.  However, at that time the public health officer took about twenty-five minutes to clear and so there was a twenty-five minute delay.  Once we boarded then there is another half hour delay because the ship has to get back up to speed and these are huge ships so we are talking about five engines, getting it back up to speed, burning fuel getting through the channel to get here.  So, in total we had an hour and a half delay on tours and the tricky thing about Belize and I think this is important for the media and the public to know that even without an incident in our harbor we have a challenge because we are a tender port.  So it takes half an hour to get the people on shore and then we have to get them onto tours.  Our tours are far distances away compared to Cozumel, Costa Maya and Honduras.  They are small distances that they have to travel to tours which averages between six and six and a half hours on a tour.  And so we have to get people moving, moving, moving because we are really a tour destination.  We have very good marquee tours and that’s what the ships and passengers come here to do.  And so, that is a major challenge for us.  So if we have an hour and a half delay then the ship has to go back an hour and a half later which means they have to speed, they use more fuel and so it’s a major cost to them, you know.”