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Battle of the Drums 2010 and Drug Plane on Belize's Southern Highway

What was the probability of the one time I'm going to Punta Gorda I witness a Drug Plane in the middle of the Southern highway? Extremely unlikely! Of course I had to write about it. 

I had taken a short hiatus from blogging since I was too busy with school, work and a personal project which I am extremely excited about but it's confidential for now – all I can say is that I have officially launched one of my career goals. Finally after finding some extra time, I am now writing a post to satisfy various requests of people who were concerned with my blogging going M.I.A.  I will write about my weekend experience – a very interesting weekend.

Currently I am taking an applied arts class at Galen and it happens to be drumming, Garifuna drumming and singing to be more specific. I'm having a lot of fun in this class but I can’t seem to get the best of it because I presume I am not artistically driven – my colleagues can testify to me not being able to make the most difficult drumming techniques.  

This weekend our class traveled to southern Belize to partake in the fifth annual Battle of the Drums Competition which takes place every year in Punta Gorda town, Toledo.

The event was spectacular, all the performances were invigorating and truly unique. Watching the show I scanned the room to see everyone captivated by the performances and couldn’t stop thinking how little our country is doing with the marketing of Cultural Tourism – one of the reasons Belize can’t get ahead in Tourism is definitely because ‘many’ government workers aren't working as hard as they should.

Our class did an incredible performance as the crowd stayed in shock and awe when they witnessed an intercultural group drumming and signing Malita Isen in Garifuna.  What attributed to our great presentation? – Student's interest, a great teacher/ master drummer(Joshua Arana) and maybe the SERE we ate for lunch.  

And now the climax ...

Before arriving Punta Gorda, our bus had an unexpected obstacle which was preventing us from reaching our destination, unbelievably; a twin-engine plane was in the middle of the highway. As we were stopped by BDF soldiers, some people more surprised than others came out of the bus to get a better view. Only in Belize many said, which I know is false because it happens all over the world. Only in Belize will drug smugglers have the audacity to land a plane on a major highway, well that sounds more plausible. A lot of speculations were being made concerning the contents of the plane and most interesting but not surprising, the people that were found presumably associated with the incident were customs and police officers. Supposedly 80 bails of Cocaine were also found nearby, and when I was in PG, I heard there were 94 bails, I hope the amount doesn't continue to deplete.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post titled Prediction Time Again, I whispered how Belizeans should be alarmed of the unfortunate nature of our country's location as the drugs bridge to North America. How present are the ZETAS in Belize? I don't have a clue! But severe Narco crimes that are occurring in Mexico are going to plague Belize if we don’t keep an eye on it. The thing is, how can we keep an eye on things when government officials themselves are assumed to be involved?! Last week via FB status update I posted Hertula’s allegations on the ‘Fonseca Organization’ – these are public US court documents. “In the ensuing conversation, Hertular admitted that, since 1987, he had been a member of the “Fonseca organization,” a group involved in drug trafficking and money laundering in the United States and Europe. Hertular implicated a former Belizean prime minister and police commissioner in the organization and identified the Belize Alliance Bank as the entity used for money laundering. Hertular stated that his further cooperation would depend on DEA agreeing in writing to various demands, for example, allowing defendant to live in Europe...” 

To save myself from any possible slander, I must say that I am not saying that Hertular’s statements are true, but I am using it as an example of how high profile people run this trade and in Belize, elected politicians become GODS with a license to be unrivalled. We must take into deliberation that planes smuggling drugs in Belize is not unordinary and that the November 13th, 2010 Drug Plane bust was only made possible because of the increasing deluge of DEA officers that are making Belize home. Yes, the DEA were present. GODS, uno betta watch out.    

Photos courtesy of PGTV


Petter Joe said...

WOW! This was such an amazing read! You are so lucky to have the opportunities to travel to such amazing destinations! And your writing is so good, I feel like I was right there with you! :) Petter Joe

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