2) Tom was informed that Pioneers of Prosperity is an organization that has an awards program for dynamic Caribbean business. They are seeking to identify, reward, and promote outstanding businesses in the area. You can enter the competition by filling out an online survey at www.pioneersofprosperity.org.
Winners will receive up to $100,000 US to invest in their business plus much more.
3) Another issue with Captains Licenses: The current requirement is for applicants to be at least 18 years old and many of the young people here join the work force at a younger age than that.
3) Employer/employee Training Workshop
The Ministry of Labour, Local Government & Rural Development is having a workshop entitled "Employers and Workers Rights and Responsibilities under the Belize Labour Legislation and ILO Conventions" at the Lions Den on Thursday, 19 February 2009 at 8:00. All organizations are encouraged to send a representative from their management and staff to attend the workshop. Please inform them of your participation by Tuesday, 17 February 2009 by 4:00 PM, phone number: 226-2700.
3) PUP Party Candidates
The PUP 7 attended the meeting to discuss their position and answer questions. Topics covered:
- Open Town Council meetings to the public
- Allocation of income to area from which it was received, i.e. bridge tolls to road maintenance in Boca del Rio and north of the cut and real estate taxes to infrastructure.
- Transparency from the Town Council of funds collected and where spent.
- A major discussion was about the PUP party intention to implement a plan for recording money collected and spent in all departments in a verifiable way as soon as possible after they are in office.
- A representative of the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development requested the PUP position on:
dredging, filling and cutting of mangroves and a master plan for development of the island. The PUP were invited to the meeting next Wednesday night to discuss these topics.
- It was noted by a Chamber member that some of the worst environmentally damaging projects have been by the Town Council, i.e. San Pedrito, DFC and San Mateo. The Government must lead by example.
- It was suggested that the government require the utilities companies to repair the roads if they dig them up and to come up with a plan so that the utility companies plan their work together so that the least disruption of the road system occurs.
- It was mentioned that some roads on the mainland started implementing tolls to help pay for the maintenance of those roads and it has been working well. Also, a small fee could be added to a plane ticket and/or hotel rooms to help pay for infrastructure maintenance so that local citizens don't have to pay for the increased usage by tourists. This requires a way to account for money collected and where spent.
_ It was discussed that the allocation of government funds was by registered voters and that many of the residents of Ambergris Caye were registered in other areas thus affecting the amount of funding received.
- There should be a penalty for unpaid taxes to encourage everyone to pay.
- There should be a comprehensive plan for the future to include a sports arena, convention center, medical center, etc. so that the island can progress and support more tourism.
4) Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development
Citizens concerned about responsible development of Ambergris Caye met last Wednesday and will meet again next Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at the Lion's Den.
5) The Tourist Guide Association was sceduled to have a meeting February 12th at the Lions Den at 7:00 PM to discuss the rules and regulations pertaining to the 3 Marine Reserves in the area. The public was invited.