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Today's Belize News: April 18, 2020 #541759
04/18/20 06:36 AM
04/18/20 06:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,887
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, Reef TV, KREM, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Belize Now, Talk Ah Di Town, and other specials.

The San Pedro Sun

Amendment to State of Emergency: Curfew for minors, Bill-paying Fridays and medical staff restrictions
A set of changes regarding the regulations in the current state of emergency are expected to become law today, Friday, April 17th, as previously stated by the Attorney General and Minister of National Security, Honourable Michael Peyrefitte. According to Peyrefitte, who appeared on a live talk online Wednesday, April 15th, one of the new regulations will prohibit children 16 years and younger to be on the streets after 4PM, as of Friday April 17th. The amendment will also see utility companies opening their doors on Fridays for payment of bills, and medical staff are now being ordered to work at one facility only.

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow Updates Nation on COVID-19 Response
My Fellow Belizeans, I need periodically to bring you up to date on our war against COVID-19, and it is for that purpose that I address you now. There are, of course, two basic fronts to our campaign: the medical and the socioeconomic. Regarding the medical, I am certain that we are making every effort to do the right thing. The nationwide lockdown is one sure way of helping to contain the spread of the virus. Accordingly, that lockdown will be made to run at least its 14-day course. The core medical team, tirelessly led by Dr. Marvin Manzanero, is receiving more expert support than ever. Several additional medical personnel have joined the National Task Force and have been given various critical assignments. Gaps and omissions are being addressed in as inclusive a manner as possible, in which connection the preliminary understanding reached with the KHMHA Union is key.

Republic of China (Taiwan) Donates Face Masks to the Ministry of Health
In a brief ceremony on April 16th, the Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin received, on behalf of the Government of Belize, 60,000 face masks from the Government of the Republic China (Taiwan) through its Ambassador to Belize H.E. Remus Li-Kou Chen.

Various Belizean Sources


Smoke in Belmopan
Residents in certain areas of Belmopan have been complaining for days about the burning of trash and other materials. They say the smoke created is harmful to their health. According to this image from The GIZ-Selva Maya Biodiversity Monitoring Project, those residents are right and the air quality is at a record, and dangerous low. They are calling on the Department of the Environment to look into this as a matter of priority.

One World: Together At Home, Global broadcast to fight COVID-19
Today, Saturday, 18 APRIL 2020 One World: Together At Home is a historic, global broadcast to support the fight against COVID-19. Watch on the World Health Organization (WHO) FB page at noon BZ time. MSNBC (Channel 40 on Coral Cable) will be broadcasting the event at 6pm BZ time. For more information about the initiative and event, visit the Global Citizen page.

Making Masks: From the Western Regional Hospital:
“As we continue to prepare for the Covid19 pandemic the Community Health Workers of the Belmopan catchment area have been tasked to mass produce face mask for the health workers of the entire Ministry of Health. These will be distributed to all health facilities in the country. Kudos to these ladies.”

Emergency Contraceptive Services
In an effort to continue our support of sexual and reproductive health services, BFLA has partnered with key persons throughout the country, to provide condoms and emergency contraceptives to those in need. Kindly reach out to the contact person in your district for more information.

Emergency Powers Regulations 2020
Until we get it in writing, this is an unofficial copy of the Emergency Powers Regulations 2020. This is Statutory Instrument No. 46, amended with SI-47, SI-52, and SI-54.

An overview of Archival Projects and Preservation Efforts at ISCR-NICH Belize
"An overview of Archival Projects and Preservation Efforts at ISCR-NICH Belize" by Rolando Cocom of ISCR NICH: One of the pillars of our work is to ensure that research, information and archival materials are accessible to Belizeans and researchers. This includes carrying out the processes of archiving, digitization and open access through which our collections are better preserved and made more accessible. The presentation was delivered at the virtual symposium: "Capacity Assessment of Latin American and Caribbean Partners: A Symposium about Open- Access, Technological Needs, and Institutional Sustainability” held on April 16 and 17, 2020 and funded by the CLIR Microgrant.

San Pedro: Current restaurants offering delivery
Lots of new options on the list today....

The Placencia Ambition Forum
The Government of Belize, in its capacity as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), will host the Placencia Ambition Forum from April 20-22, 2020. The Placencia Ambition Forum will bring together major actors in the climate change negotiations around the central theme of increasing ambition and safeguarding the Paris Agreement. Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow will be the keynote speaker at the High-Level Opening Session of the virtual Forum, which will also include inter alia, high-level messages from the President of COP25, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

Ministry of Health SARSCOV2 Lab Screening numbers as of 3pm
No new reported COVID-9 cases in four consecutive days. This is our data up until 3 pm Friday. Please, let us continue to practice/ensure social distancing - that is key in ensuring our numbers in terms of positive cases don’t go up. We will be providing further updates through the weekend!

Let's Rise Telethon
Founding members of Jankunu Productions along with the Love Foundation were able to raise just over twenty three thousand dollars via an initiative aimed at helping persons in vulnerable groups as well as front line workers. The foundation, Jankunu Productions and RSV Limited conducted a telethon Friday to raise funds as part of a covid relief initiative.

Caye Caulker Food Fund Drive
Caye Caulker relies heavily on tourism. With tourism having vanished completely due to the Covid19 pandemic, and people needing to stay home, most islanders have lost their jobs and income, some of them already living day by day. Result: There are those that are going hungry on the island. No one should go hungry. No one should have to worry about feeding their children, we simply cannot let this happen.

Here are the amended SI no 55 and 56 of the 2020 Belize Constitution

Monthly Weather Summary, March 2020
March is usually a warm, dry and windy month across the country of Belize. A gusty easterly to southeasterly wind normally prevails throughout much of the month supporting warm and fair conditions. Whatever limited rainfall that occurs during the month is typically associated with one or two cold fronts, prefrontal troughs, shear lines and low level easterly wind surges. March 2020 started off generally fair with only light isolated showers as a moderate Easterly to northeasterly airflow prevailed across the country. The second day of the month skies were mostly cloudy as layered clouds dominated the area but no significant rainfall occurred.

State of Education Update Monday
Tune in on Monday at 10 a.m., to the Government's Press Office Facebook page for a live webcast and update on the state of Belize's education.

Lord Ashcroft COVID Relief Fund
The Belize Red Cross has received a $500,000 donation from Lord Ashcroft COVID Relief Fund. It is meant to help alleviate hardship for in-need families during the pandemic.

Contact Information for Mental Health Services
Please reach out to us for Mental health service during this COVID-19. Corozal: 422-3909/422-2072 ext. 241. Orange Walk: 670-9367/670-9375. Belize City: 223-0131/222-4920. Belmopan: 661-8178 (Daytime, Whatsapp only). 600-9678 (After 5:00 p.m.). San Ignacio: 664-2885. Dangriga: 601-1045. Punta Gorda: 625-6415.

Caye Caulker Tour Operators assisting Coast Guard
Thank you to Caye Caulker Tour Operators who have joined forces with the Coast Guards and Village Council to provide coastal patrols. Since before Easter they have made sure only authorized persons/boats, after screening persons, can come on the island temporarily. My higgest kudos to them who spend hours on the water chasing boats and discouraging unwanted persons/boats. It is a quiet operation, these guys don't blow their horns; just get the job done. Caye Caulker does not know their I will toot the horn for them. Its all voluntary: for the love of the island. Much Respect to Artie M., Chang Lee, Carlos A., Henry L., Lawrence A., Valentin M., Kyle R., Amado W., George R. Jr., Gerardo A., Kevin S., Past Coast Guard Commander Mr Cocom and present Commander Mr Moore. Their dedication and loyalty to this island is commendable. Thank you!

The management of Corozal Community Hospital and the laboratory would like to inform the general public that the lab is open for blood donation, Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


On the heels of the announcement by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, encouraging the use of face masks, Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSI), a member of ASR Group, started the distribution of locally made face masks to stakeholders—cane cutters, truck drivers, farmers, and harvesting group leaders. BSI secured and provided the materials for fabrication of more than 5,400 face masks to women’s groups linked to cane farmer associations from the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. The women began the mass production more than a week ago after BSI’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department approved a sample based on CDC guidelines for non-medical masks to be effective at trapping droplets from speaking, coughing and/or sneezing. Distribution of these fabric face masks commenced yesterday and each stakeholder will receive a packet containing two masks with a mask-use guide inside.

FCCA Essay Competition 2020
The FCCA is holding their 2020 Children's Essay Competition. The deadline to enter is July 6th. The Belize Tourism Board has all the details. There are some huge cash prizes. Best of luck! "It's that time of year again for the FCCA Children's Essay competition. Know a talented student? Encourage them to apply and they may win a generous prize!"

BWS COVID-19 Assistance to Customers

Supa G live stream concert
No need to quarantine in boredom, tune in this Saturday April 18th for a treat! Supa G live stream concert on DJ Dalla's Facebook @ 7pm, Don't miss it!

Maya Legend of Yuum Cimil
The Maya natives of today, inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula, assure that Yum Cimil, Lord of Death, goes around the rooms of the sick to take them away. This much feared lord was the ancient Lord of the Underworld, who was called Ah Puch, also known as Ah Cimil, Kisin (the stinking one), and Hun Ahau. The Maya represented him as a skeleton with the face of a jaguar or owl, from his body you could see the ribs and the spine without meat; that is, only the bones were appreciated. But sometimes his body was covered in flesh, bloated flesh filled with black circles caused by decay.

Channel 7

Boots Battles On The Breadlines
COVID-19, it's left tens of thousands of Belizeans jobless, and there's a creeping sense of desperation amongst the most needy, but, on the other side, over twenty thousand Belizeans have received their first unemployment relief cheque, four thousand have received or are waiting for their enhanced food pantry package, while tens of thousands have applied for a package of food assistance. But, today in Belize City, securing a little assistance for some Belize City residents was a hassle.

Cops, They're Only Human
And while the police got publicly pilloried by a cabinet minister for that mis-step, today the commissioner - speaking generally - said that, right now, the police are under pressure - and he has to let some things slide:

Gangsters Get Out
We tracked down the commissioner this morning in the Raccoon Street station yard because we wanted to find out about the biggest news of last night: the police and the state had decided to set free 134 alleged gang members who had been detained under the Southside State of Emergency on March 18th. Initially, authorities had said they would lock them up for 30 days, and then roll that over for another 30 to 60 days. But as we told you last night, the commissioner hinted to them on Wednesday that he was inclined to bypass that and end their detention last night, at the 30 day mark.

27 Guns For 134 Gangsters?
So, the police have already gotten 22 guns, and a promise of 5 more. But, 27 guns from 134 gangsters? The math doesn't seem right. We asked the COMPOL about it: Jules Vasquez, reporter: "Sir, we know that these gangs they have arsenals and you are dealing with 134 alleged gangsters. Is it realistic to think that they will hand over their weapons? 2) Is this informal gun amnesty, because when you are in possession of a firearm it's a remandable offence?"

Gang Fight Triggers Detentions
But, quicker than you could say "gang truce", there was reportedly a gang related fight this morning in Belize City. Reports to us are that It happened near a meat pie shop on Hyde's Lane between two warring gangs, and it was the police who fired a shot to break up the melee. We asked the commissioner about it:

Will Gangsters Get Back At State?
But, could that tough talk, and the 30 day detention trigger what's known as a retaliation against the state? That's when gang affiliates commit deadly crimes just to "give the police work", as they say. It has happened before and lives have been lost as a consequence. We asked the commissioner about that today: Jules Vasquez, reporter: "Speak if you can about retaliation or the possibility of retaliation against the state. We know that this is a pattern of behavior throughout in the Caribbean whenever these measures are instituted, the criminals have a tendency because they feel they were unjustly incarcerated at great pain to their families and they want to exact a retaliation against the state."

Compassion In COVID Time
And, despite the "mano duro" position being taken, the fact is that there has been the exercise of some compassion in letting the detainees out after 30 days. Williams discussed this today: "We have to bear in mind as well that these people do have relatives out here who are to some of them are punishing and we have to look at striking a balance to see what can be done with a view to be able to have them out here to provide for their loved one's during this time and so it was on that basis that the decision was made not to extend."

Four Days, No New COVID Cases
As we told you at the top of the news, there are no new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Belize tonight. But, about 100 more persons have been tested and all those results came back negative. So, 734 persons have been tested total, 716 of those tests have been negative, while 18 were positive. Of those 18, two have died, and the other 16 are recovering - with none in intensive care. Notably, no positive tests have emerged since Monday.

Ariaga Advises COVID Caution
And while the numbers are encouraging, and the positive results seem to be trending down, the head of intensive care at Belize's national referral hospital warns that we shouldn't get relaxed at all, because a true outbreak could be around the corner. Dr. Pedro Ariaga spoke to us via video conference from a hotel room in Belize City where he is on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure. He said the numbers could trend up quickly once more tests are done:...

Ariaga: KHMH Iso Unit Works
Ariaga also discussed the controversy over the COVID-19 isolation unit being housed at the KHMH. He says it is not ideal, but because ventilators need a steady oxygen supply, it is the only practical choice: Jules Vasquez: "What do you think of the isolation ward being within the walls of the KHMH?" Dr. Pedro Ariaga - Head of ICU, KHMH: "Difficult question to answer, because the problem is where else we are going to put that unit? For example, we are talking about patients that supposed to be with mechanical ventilation..."

Ariaga Conferencing Through COVID
And while he can't currently attend to any of those who are really sick, Ariaga says that even on quarantine, he remains actively involved in the management of patients by doing just what he did with us: video calls to the medical team in the ICU and the isolation unit: Jules Vasquez: "But now everything has stopped for you, while you remain on self-isolation. Is that right?"

Fast & Furious After Curfew
And, as Araiga said, to keep COVID-19 at bay, Belizeans have to stay home. But not everyone is following the rules, and last night two Santa Elena curfew breakers were sitting in a white pick up truck when they were spotted by police. They tried to evade arrest by speeding off but the cops pursued them. It was a high-speed chase that ended when the truck crashed into a fence. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told us more today.

Curfew Arrests Coming Down
And while police expect to make arrests in that curfew violation, overall, those arrests have been trending down. There have been 900 in two weeks, but the Commissioner says he thinks police are using a softer approach:

How Do The Cops Keep Up?
And while police may be using more discretion, they also have to be constantly doing homework because the State Of Emergency regulations are constantly being tweaked. Today statutory instruments 55 and 56 went out with the latest regulations. Less than a month ago, the whole State of Emergency thing started out at SI No. 47.

PSU, No Agreement On Wage Freeze
But, while the regs may change, the 8:00 pm curfew has been pretty steady for two weeks now. Still though, night drives and tailgating are far from the only things we've had to give up in COVID-time Belize. Tens of thousands have lost their livelihoods and those lucky enough to still have jobs are facing the possibility of pay cuts. And while public officers are facing the reality that they may have to give up their increment, an internal memo from the PSU says no agreement has been reached.

Wildfires Out West
Right now, Belizeans are doing their best to reduce their risk of catching the highly contagious coronavirus. That's why there was great concern this morning when residents of Belmopan and nearby communities woke up to a thick cloud of smoke polluting their air. As all of us know by now, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that directly affects the lungs. And so, the local experts are concerned that air pollution can increase the COVID health risks.

Shilpa's Frontline Story
Our next story comes from New Jersey. That's where Shilpa Bhatt is an ultrasound technologist on the frontlines of the COVID war. That state has one of the highest infection and mortality rates in the US, and Bhatt says that because of her speciality she is always one of the first to be called to deal with new admissions. Bhatt has strong ties to Belize. Her parents lived here for 28 years and her mother was a doctor in Orange Walk while her father ran a pharmacy. She told us what's the present situation in New Jersey and how she deals with it.

Face Masks For Farmers
ASR/BSI, the millers of sugarcane in the north, is reporting tonight that they've been working with women's groups of the 3 cane farming associations to mass produce over 5,400 face masks for the cane farmers of Corozal and Orange Walk. The company says that after the Prime Minister's announcement encouraging the use of face masks to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19, they secured and provided the materials for these locally-made masks.

Homes For Hens
On Tuesday we told you about the chicken crisis facing the nation. And at the start of the week dwindling poultry sales were straining the storage capabilities and threatening the freshness of products slated for sale. We also told you that one producer Quality Poultry was combating the crisis by offering buy two get one deals. And today General Manager Raymond Barkman told us that the sales quote: " are working very well."

A Tarpon's Tale
Tarpon fishing for consumption or sale is illegal in Belize. It's a species designated for catch and release only. That's why these pictures, posted on Facebook, caused outrage among conservation-minded Belizeans who saw it. In the first picture, a man, who is obviously hiding his face to conceal his identity, is posing with a massive fish. Experts tell us that the size indicates that this is an elderly Tarpon specimen.

No Cabbies During COVID
This week a taxi driver was arrested on Cayo's Black Rock Road for carrying out a regular run. And today we asked Commissioner Williams how many Taxi men countrywide have been charged and whether they're allowed to be working at all. "Taxi men have to understand that while yes they can run they can only run on call and the call must be one that is of emergency it cannot be an ordinary run and so if it is that they're out there doing routine taxiing then that is not permissible under the regulations."

Channel 5

Gang Members Released from Detention After Thirty-day Lockdown
On Thursday night, more than one hundred and forty persons suspected of being members of gangs were released from the Belize Central Prison after a month of incarceration. At the [...]

Belize Purchasing South Korean Testing Kits from Cayman, but Did Not Accept Donation through SICA
According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in a recorded statement, Belize is acquiring testing kits from the Cayman Islands.  The Cayman Islands has found itself with a surplus of the [...]

COVID-19 Update: 734 Screened, No New Cases
The last confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday; since then, there has been no new cases which means that going into the weekend, the number of confirmed cases [...]

The Dairy Sector’s Struggles Amid COVID-19 Restrictions
All this week we’ve been reporting on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the agro-productive sector. As you’ve heard earlier this week, the Spanish Lookout Community is facing a number [...]

185 Fires Recorded in a Single Day!
Residents in western Belize, particularly in Belmopan and San Ignacio and Santa Elena have been complaining about smog that has been lingering going on for almost two weeks. They say [...]

A Donation to the Red Cross Association in Memory of Rene Ashcroft
The Red Cross Association is well-known all over the world, for its expertise in organizing food distribution and other relief efforts in times of disasters.  On Thursday, the Belize branch [...]

An Economic Shock Unlike No Other
In addressing the nation during a televised statement on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Dean Barrow touched on a number of issues as they relate to the coronavirus catastrophe.  Among those [...]

Help is for Everyone, Red and Blue
In respect of details of government’s relief assistance, PM Barrow reminded that everything his administration is doing to get the country through this crisis is with a view to helping [...]

Order and Social Distancing; a Must During Pantry Distributions
Long lines are forming at centres where the pantry programme is being distributed. This morning, it turned ugly when police disrupted the pantry disbursed by the Salvation Army. But at [...]

State of Emergency and Subsistence Farming
Subsistence farming continues to be a way of life among members of the indigenous communities in southern Belize.  Amid the national state of emergency brought about by the coronavirus crisis, [...]

Returning Home to Toledo Amid COVID-19 Crisis
The south, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts, have not reported any case of the coronavirus. But in several communities, residents who migrated to other parts of the country where they [...]

Environmental Experts Weigh In on Fire Increase!
As you heard earlier in the newscast, the Forest Department is facing a growing problem with fires across the country. And there may be regulations coming as early as next [...]

ComPol Chester Williams: Traffic Backup at Checkpoint a Good Thing
There have been a number of complaints about the backup of traffic on the Philip Goldson Highway in the mornings by commuters coming into the City from Ladyville. That congestion [...]

The Ladyville and Lord’s Bank Villages COVID-19 Committee Kicks Into Action
The communities of Ladyville and Lord’s Bank have not been exempted from the impacts of COVID-19.  A large number of residents work in some way in the tourism industry which [...]

The Sugar Industry Prepared for COVID-19
This week, we have been covering the state of the productive sector. Dairy and the general livestock industry, as we heard, are having a difficult time during this state of [...]

The Sugar Industry Preparing for Another Drought
The 2019 extended drought has had an adverse impact on the agriculture industry in Belize; in fact, some farmers are still reeling from it.  It caused a significant drop in [...]

Driver Abandons Crashed Vehicle After Police Pursuit
On Thursday night in San Ignacio, a motorist fled the scene of a collision after reportedly being pursued by police officers on motorcycle.  The pickup truck, as seen here, ran [...]

The Belize Zoo Needs Your Help!
The Belize Zoo is asking for help for one hundred and fifty plus residents.  The zoo has closed its doors and, like many other entities, it is unable to earn [...]

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you are feeling stressed, not your usual self and finding it difficult to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. The difficulties, restrictions and other elements connected [...]

Tips on How to Cope with COVID-19 Mental Distress!
And if you are experiencing mental distress, Ines Cano shared some tips about what you can do to help you during such challenging times.   Ines Cano, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner [...]

Re: Today's Belize News: April 18, 2020 [Re: Marty] #541760
04/18/20 06:37 AM
04/18/20 06:37 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,887
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Doug Singh reveals himself
Late this afternoon, Doug Singh, who is the Chairman of the Belize Social Security Board (SSB), Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission and a director of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), abruptly submitted his resignation letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Singh’s hasty resignation from all the aforementioned positions occurred shortly after an interview that he gave to Belize Breaking News (BBN) reporter, Aaron Humes, went viral in social media. Unbeknownst to Singh, Humes had recorded the interview, which somehow got posted on social media, where a firestorm of criticism was launched against Singh.

Bishop Dorick Wright passes
Belizeans are mourning the loss of one of the most prominent religious leaders in the country, Bishop Dorick Wright, the Bishop Emeritus of Belize. He was known across the country for his lifetime of service to the Catholic Church before his passing on Wednesday morning at the age of 74. Bishop Wright was a proud graduate of St. John’s College before entering the Conception Seminary run by the Order of St. Benedict in Kansas, Missouri, where he was trained for the priesthood. After being ordained at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral in 1975, Bishop Wright served as a pastor at many Catholic institutions, such as St. Joseph’s Parish, Holy Redeemer Cathedral and Inmaculada Parish in Orange Walk.

Drinking water shortage; long lines for “States money”
The Bowen & Bowen compound on Slaughterhouse Road was packed on Tuesday, but the people who had wanted to buy their 5-gallon container of Crystal water left disappointed. Some of the customers decided to buy the small plastic bags of Crystal water, which was the only kind of water that Bowen & Bowen had in stock. Many customers were seen riding bicycles with their empty 5-gallon Crystal water bottles; some were walking. All of them had one thing in common: they were searching for the 5-gallon Crystal water, but there was none around Belize City on Tuesday.

880 persons arrested
On April 1, the country of Belize went into a national State of Emergency after the number of persons who tested positive for the novel coronavirus spiked. As part of the State of Emergency, government instituted a curfew which begins at 8:00 p.m. and continues until 5:00 a.m. Notwithstanding the massive penalties that are attached to violating the provisions of the State of Emergency, many Belizeans across the country have found it difficult to abide by the emergency laws that have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Gangbangers,” locked away in March State of Emergency, released
On March 20, a State of Emergency for Belize City was declared in response to a spike of brutal gun violence that was a launched by criminals between Friday, March 13, and Tuesday March 17, in which 7 people were brutally killed, including 2 little children, each 5 years old, who were sleeping at their homes with their mothers. Kia Herbert, 5, was reportedly shot about 7 times in her chest, back, and abdomen, while Dominique Rhamdas, 5, was shot in his chest, back and abdomen about 5 times.

Food aplenty, while people don’t have enough to eat
Over time, the Mennonite group, with their superior organization and financing, has come to dominate the production of staples in Belize, while the children of traditional farming families have moved into employment with the government services and in tourism. The entry of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March, has jolted the economic chain, with some sections of our economy grinding to a halt. This closure of some sections of the economy is affecting everybody. The Mennonites, and other farmers, have food, aplenty, but most Belizeans are unemployed, so they have no money to buy.

Ministry of Health refuses COVID-19 test kits from South Korea
In the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries have done outstandingly well. These countries have fared well, not because the novel coronavirus did not affect them, but because of their farsighted, well-coordinated response to the threats posed by the COVID-19 crisis. One such country is South Korea, which recently agreed to ship 600,000 test kits to the United States after President Donald Trump appealed to the Government of South Korea. Last month, however, the Government of Belize decided not to accept 25,000 test kits that South Korea was providing to Belize through the auspices of SICA, the Central American Integration System, which brokered the agreement to provide the region with the COVID-19 test kits.

World oil prices are depressed, but government has not relieved Belizeans from high fuel prices
Belizeans have so far not benefited from the crash of oil prices on the world market. At a time of global crisis, the Government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has demonstrated that it appears to care more about collecting its taxes than providing some measures of relief for Belizeans. Given the reality of what is happening in the world with the COVID-19 pandemic and how that has affected the world consumption of oil, which industry experts are saying had fallen by more than 10 million barrels per day due to the global lockdown, the Belize government has not seen it fit to pass on the savings to consumers.

3 cops who forced couple to have sex arraigned
Corporal Jason Shaw, 46; Constable Leslie Martinez, 38; and Constable Anthony Villamil, 20, of Precinct 2 of the Police Department in Belize City, were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today on the charge of willful oppression. They pleaded not guilty and were each offered bail of $1,000 and a surety of the same amount. They were able to meet bail and were ordered to return to court on July 14.

COVID-19 death count remains at two
On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Government of Belize announced that Belize had its first case of coronavirus (COVID-19), and it was a 38-year-old woman who had tested positive for the disease. The count reached four after it was announced on Friday, April 3, that a male resident of San Ignacio, in the Cayo District, who was employed by the Belize City Council and worked in Belize City, had tested positive for the virus.

What is now at stake in Belize’s COVID-19 hospital response
Below is my SOMBER assessment, followed by some suggestions: 1. We feared that the indispensable role of the KHMH, the national referral hospital that is tasked with essential emergency and tertiary care services for all of Belize, is now at high risk of being crippled if contamination of the general hospital and staff ensues—which is now evidently afoot. 2. The circumstances and the manner in which Belize’s second victim was managed and succumbed, effectively “isolates” both the medical staff (doctors, nurses, and supporting staff) at the two institutions that cared for him: BHPL and KHMH.

Vibrations from earthquake off Honduras’ Caribbean coast felt in Belize early Thursday morning
Some Belizeans were shaken awake at about 2:00 this morning, April 16, 2020, by vibrations from a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Savannah Bight, near the Bay Islands of Honduras. There were no reports of any injuries or damages in Honduras, but got reports from people in Mexico (200 miles from the epicenter), Belmopan (202 miles from the epicenter), and Caye Caulker (163 miles from the epicenter), who felt the earth shaking. Honduras lies on the Western edge of the Caribbean tectonic plate, which passes near the south border between Belize and Guatemala, and there have been a number of earthquakes and earth tremors in this area of the sea off its coast in the past year.

Tougher measures added to State of Emergency laws
At midnight on April 1, Belize slipped into a national State of Emergency as government escalated its fight against the novel coronavirus. Since the declaration of the national State of Emergency was declared, government has had to make adjustments in response to the changing landscape as it battles the pandemic, which so far has claimed the lives of two Belizeans and infected a total of 18 persons in Belize, who are said to be in self-isolation.

Editorial: Unsure steps in the fight against Covid-19
Our authorities’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly been clear sailing, neither on the health or the economic fronts. The missteps on the economic front could have, should have been avoided. The blueprint we have followed to control Covid-19 has largely been dictated by the World Health Organization (WHO), but they haven’t come up with much to help a person who has become seriously ill because of the virus. That is understandable, because Covid-19 is a new disease.

From the Publisher
The socio-economic systems under which we Belizeans live are called Christianity and capitalism. There is this stunning contradiction between the two visions, however, because capitalism is based on individuals’ and families’ (and nations’) grabbing as much as they can by any means necessary, whereas Christianity emphasizes how much we should care for our fellow human beings. The column is not about any personal preaching of mine, although I do suggest you read perhaps my favorite parable of Christ’s – The Parable of the Rich Young Man.

Congratulations to Tony Wright, grandad, and Therese Wright, mom, on selection of Marques “Ques” Warrick to Courier Journal All-State First Team!!!
An April 9 tweet from Krem personality Tony Wright’s daughter, Therese, on the achievement of her son Marques “Ques” Warrick was lit up with messages of congratulations from Belizeans back home and abroad. Ques is in his final year at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, where he is a star player on their basketball team. Therese Wright’s April 9 tweet: *Basketball Update* Another hearty congratulations to my sonny!!! Being named to the Courier Journal All-State First Team!!!!!

Football flashback Part 2: adding some names
As we promised in our kickoff effort in Amandala #3358 of Friday, April 3, 2020, this is “a work in progress,” and we are still at the preliminary stage of inviting fans to join us in adding “names of players you think worthy to mention as being among the better players of the different periods listed.” Already, in last issue for Friday, April 10, a fan from Cayo did just that; and this week we include those names along with some others we recalled. So, this week will be a continuation of the lists presented in our first edition on April 3.

Down memory lane; recalling some colorful fans at football games
In these dread times of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there is talk of the possible resumption of some sports without the fans. Of course, a strong current of feeling is that, “it could never be the same;” but that’s a given in these serious times, so anything is possible. If the only choice is between “games of death” with Covid-19 still a threat, and games without fans in attendance, what would you choose? In the “good old days” of not so long ago, there were no restrictions; and not only were fans a force at football games because of their sheer numbers, vocal energy and enthusiasm, but on quite a few occasions in the past, certain fans were more than spectators at the games, and we would like to reflect on some of those, and hopefully shake up some more memories among our readers.

Of COVID-19 … Media and the handout mentality!
It is ironic that we are on lockdown and under quarantine during a State of Emergency, yet the changes from one minute to another are not on any form of lockdown. I have not seen a situation change so rapidly from minute to minute, and neither have I seen our legal rights shift so rapidly without sufficient notice at times. But I appreciate the nature of the situation because neither have we ever seen anything like COVID-19 hit us! Truth be told, COVID-19 should be seen for the good it can result in. These in my mind are: 1. We get to know in real time how robust our economy is and how the management of our coffers is being handled to deal with an emergency;...

The passing of my Muslim brother Abdullah Muhammad (Hubert Pipersburgh) has saddened all of us in the Muslim communities both in the United States and in Belize that knew him. His life transcended volumes in terms of who he was, what he stood for, and the struggles he waged both in the Islamic and secular communities in the U.S. and in Belize. Abdullah, as we Muslims knew him, was a very charismatic personality who was charming, diplomatic, educated, and dedicated. After his conversion to Islam in Belize in the 1970s while he was a high school student at Wesley College.

Intimacy put on hold, but plenty elbow room will free us
Few countries on the planet could have had a better opportunity to contain COVID-19 than Belize if our leaders had paid attention to the people over the years, instead of being so greedy and narrow. I hate to say bad things about our political leaders and their cronies at this time, but we can’t run from the fact that we should have been in a better position than we are right now to contain this thing. Still, in respect to containing the disease, we are not in the worst position, thanks to our physical attributes. All our best efforts could not prevent the tragic loss of intimacy, though.

Transformation instead of Recovery of Belize after COVID-19
The global significance of COVID-19: It is still hard to grasp the sudden onset, scope and impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. It all started about early January 2020, and today about one third of the world population, including Belize, is under some sort of lockdown and quarantine. As of today, over 200 countries are affected, and the number of new cases and deaths in many places is still growing. For your information, here are some statistical data on the current crisis in the 10 most affected countries, plus 2 countries in this region and Belize, for comparison, as of April 15:

All Belize under lockdown due to COVID-19
The entire nation has been facing the effects of a countrywide lockdown as of Saturday, April 11, at 8:00 p.m. due to Belize’s second recorded death caused by COVID-19. Patient #10, 65-year-old Conrad Everett, was suffering from complications due to the novel coronavirus and subsequently passed away on Good Friday, April 10. Everett’s passing followed a series of events that were classified as “nightmarish” by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in a recorded public address.

Pandemic economics
Dear Editor, It is obvious that the Belizean politicians and politicians globally have already failed pandemic economics. Firstly, never in history had the vast majority of the world decided to cease economic activities except those essential for life. If people are on lockdown, how will they consume? If they have no or little money, how will they buy? How will government collect taxes? Some people were barely eating every day, and this economic shutdown is driving them into absolute, extreme poverty.

Letter demanding the freedom of Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores
Dear Editor, Would Amandala be willing to publish this letter calling for the release of the political prisoner and Afro-Bolivian cocalera union leader, Elena Flores? She has been imprisoned by the coup regime for over a month. The letter, made public on the 10th of April, was signed by 35 organisations and some 130 people. Those who signed come from Black, African diaspora, Latino and Indigenous organisations, from trade unions, and from grassroots collectives. A number of teachers and students also signed.

What Mexico learned from the H1N1 influenza crisis
In 2009, a mutation of the influenza virus put the country in check. The government received criticism for late warning of the outbreak. Mexico – Feb. 28, 2020 – El Pais– Just over 10 years ago, Mexico suffered an epidemic due to a mutation of the influenza virus. At the end of April 2009, the government, then commanded by Felipe Calderón, recognized 20 dead, the majority in Mexico City. An unusual increase in mortality was caused by the influenza. Immediately, the Executive suspended classes in the capital and the State of Mexico.


Taiwan donates 60,000 masks to Belize
The Republic of China (Taiwan) made a donation of 60,000 face masks to GOB yesterday. The Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, received the donation from the Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize H.E Remus Li-Kou Chen

Love Foundation raises over $20,000 from telethon
Founding members of Jankunu Productions along with the Love Foundation were able to raise just over seventeen thousand dollars via an initiative aimed at helping persons in vulnerable groups as well as front line workers. The foundation, Jankunu Productions and RSV Limited conducted a telethon today to raise funds as part of a covid relief initiative.

Taiwanese doctors discuss COVID-19
On last night’s COVID-19 Update Show, Love FM and Love TV held a video conference with members of the Chi Mei Medical Center in The Republic of China (Taiwan). Taiwan has been praised for the way it has handled and contained the spread of COVID-19 in their country.

Patient Six recovering well 11 days after testing positive for COVID-19
While there are no new cases of COVID-19 in Belize, the current patients are still in recovery mode. We caught up with patient #6, Nigel Espat, to check up on how he is coping. He stated that he has recently been swabbed for a follow-up test, and is awaiting the results.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases remain at 18 in Belize
Belize remains at an eighteen count for confirmed cases of COVID-19. The last confirmed case was reported on Tuesday, April 13 and since then all tests conducted have proven negative. As at three o’clock this afternoon, the Ministry of Health reports that 734 tests have been carried out to date and of that amount 18 were positive and 716 were negative.

Government of Belize to host Placencia Ambition Forum on Climate Change
Belize will be hosting the Placencia Ambition Forum next week. The forum will be online and will see major players in climate change negotiations around the central theme of increasing ambition and safeguarding the Paris Agreement. Prime Minister Dean Barrow will be the keynote speaker at the High-Level Opening Session of the virtual Forum, which will also include inter alia, high-level messages from the President of COP25, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

Belize Sugar Industries engage in ways to assist in providing relief to vulnerable persons
The Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) has started the distribution of locally made face masks to stakeholders which includes cane cutters, truck drivers, farmers, and harvesting group leaders. BSI secured and provided the materials for fabrication of more than 5,400 facemasks to women’s groups linked to cane farmer associations from the Orange Walk and Corozal districts.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

BWS offers a helping hand to Belizeans
Belize Water Services (BWS) will be providing assistance to residential customers amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. […]

140 US citizens leave Belize after flight delay
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Belize closed its borders and announced that no one would be […]

Fourth consecutive day with no new COVID-19 case in Belize
For the fourth consecutive day Belize has recorded no new case of COVID-19. The total […]

No agreement yet on cost saving measures according to Public Service Union
The Public Service Union (PSU) is asking its members to share their views on cost-saving […]

Over 2.2 million cases and 153 thousand deaths worldwide due to COVID-19
As of today, the world has recorded just over 2.2 million cases of COVID-19. Of […]

Lord Ashcroft Covid-19 Relief Fund donates $500,000 to Belize Red Cross
Yesterday, the Belize Red Cross received a donation of $500,000 from the Lord Ashcroft Covid-19 […]

Briceno has not resigned; Barrow and Briceno remain as co-chairs of national COVID-19 oversight committee
Leader of the Opposition John Briceno this afternoon confirmed with Breaking Belize News that he […]

Ministry of Human Development assists families around the country
The Ministry of Human Development’s food assistance program has been receiving calls from Belizeans all […]

Cattle export dilemma
By Orlando Nobel: The stopping of the exports cannot be done by the Bullet Tree chairman. He has no such Authority […]

Stann Creek residents benefiting from banana distribution
Yes, Stann Creek has bananas – lots of them. And those which aren’t being exported […]

Prime Minister updates the nation on COVID-19
My Fellow Belizeans, I need periodically to bring you up to date on our war against COVID-19, and […]

More than 100 detainees at home after imprisonment
Today more than a hundred detainees are out of prison and at home. Last night […]

Transformation instead of Recovery of Belize after COVID-19
By Dr. Marcelino Avila: The global significance of COVID 19. It is still hard to grasp the sudden onset, scope and impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. It all started about early January 2020, and today about one third of the world population, including Belize, is under some sort of lockdown and quarantine...

Over 600 COVID-19 tests done, confirmed cases still stand at 18
The latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Ministry of Health (MOH) says that […]


5 Meals to Make with Belizean Stewed Beans
If you’ve traveled to or live in Belize, you’ll know that Stewed Beans are a true Belizean staple. The Creole diet can be as diverse as their genealogy. Coincidentally? So is this mighty Stewed Beans recipe. Easily re-purposed, plan your week out with fresh beans for soup, panades, garnaches, and even alongside fresh Johnny Cakes. Planning your meals for the week is one of the best ways to save money and stick to a food budget. After all, Belizean stewed beans, using dried Red Kidney beans, are made with leftovers in mind. Ultimately, planning your meals can minimize your trips to the grocery store and therefore, reduce your risk of possible exposure during the pandemic.

International Sourcesizz

IDB adds to emergency loans in Central America
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it has made another $1.7 billion available in emergency financing for four countries in Central America to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. "Through new programs to tackle the crisis and changes to the 2020 loan program, the IDB is now dedicating $2.8 billion to tackle the public health crisis and its economic ravages," the Washington DC-based development bank said in a press release on Friday.

Cayman Islands prepared to sell COVID-19 tests to other islands
The Government of the Cayman Islands says it is prepared to sell up to half of its COVID-19 tests to other countries in the region. Speaking during a recent press briefing, Premier Alden McLaughlin said the territory's Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee had advised that 100,000 kits would be enough for the population. The territory initially procured 200,000 tests – although only 165,000 of those have arrived, with the remainder being kept in the UK.

Nancy Grace on troubled investigation of American woman missing in Belize: 'Is it Natalee Holloway all over again?'
Former prosecutor and Fox Nation host Nancy Grace raising the alarm over a seemingly stalled investigation into the bizarre disappearance of an American mother of two, who went missing in Belize. "I've been studying the case very carefully," said Grace on Fox Nation's "Crime Stories." "And so far, I alone -- at thousands of miles distance -- have come up with three different stories that people have told about what happened to this Arizona mom, Alison MacKenzie."

Mexico is spending the least in Latin America to face coronavirus crisis
Mexico is the country in Latin America with the lowest package of resources allocated by the Government to lessen the economic impact of the pandemic, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Belize and Mexico are the bottom two economies with the lowest percentage of investment for the pandemic, with amounts less than one percent of their GDP, according to Alejandro Werner, director of the Department of the Western Hemisphere.


  • Friday's World Health Organization (WHO) Media briefing on COVID-19, 60min.

  • Bark beetling in Belize, 2.5min. Our forest entomology lab expedition into a Neotropical

  • Belize (British Honduras) Old Postcards, 7min. 'Nostalgia therapy' never hurts-, How many of these historical/memory sites do you recognize?

  • Funders Panel on Cultural Heritage Preservation, 2hr20min. Funders Panel on Cultural Heritage Preservation at day 2 of the Capacity Assessment of Latin America and the Caribbean Symposium.

  • Friday's 'Ask the Experts', 60min. Representatives from the Ministry of Health Belize discuss Mental Health.

  • COVID 19 TESTING IN BELIZE, 6.5min. The number of coronavirus cases has tripled as the virus grows rapidly across the world. There are no confirmed cases in Belize, but the Ministry of Health has been adopting new measures to face the novel virus. The ministry has moved away from sending samples overseas and local health professionals have been trained to conduct testing at a local facility. "Healthy Living" is a health & lifestyle Feature produced in Belize for News 5 Live on Channel 5.

  • Belize Vacation, 5.5min.


  • Uncovering COVID-19 Pandemic - A Channel 5 Special, 1hr23min.

  • The Department of Youth Services made a short feel good video about dealing with being indoors, 1min. How have you guys been spending your time at home? Whatever it is, "make health fun"! For our health and the health of our communities, it's important to stay home and practice social distancing, and here are a few ways that we are spending our time at home. Check out this Feel Good Ad that we did in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Belize!

  • The Island, 1.5min. I am riding out the Covid 19 storm on Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize. The island went in to quarantine 4 weeks ago. Still here toughing it out.

  • Beautiful Bountiful Belize Snorkeling - 2020, 3min. A quick look at the wonderful snorkeling liveaboard snorkeling trip in Belize from 2020.

  • What's Life Like in Belize During the Lockdown?, 12min. We check back in with Laura Diffendal, IL Belize Correspondent. Not only do we get an update on life in Belize during the lockdown, but Laura also takes us on a tour of her property, including some beautiful scenery, tropical foliage, and crystal clear blue skies.

  • Another Weekend in Belize, 5min.

  • Belize - San Pedro Island, November 2019, 6min. Beautiful country with friendly people. It's a reggae island, they love reggae and dancehall. This is also a PARTY island, I was shocked at the amount of clubs and bars they have (although they weren't all open). It wasn't the best weather when I was there so I did not get to enjoy much outdoor and water activities.

  • Cave Tubing in Belize, Christmas cruise, 13min. The ride to get to the cave was long and bumpy but the caves were spectacular. we reach the end of our Christmas cruise, eat some more delicious meals and desserts and say our goodbyes.

  • Getting to San Pedro Belize, 6min. In this video, we fly from Nashville, Tennessee to Belize. We show you getting from mainland Belize to the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye

  • Belize 2019, 8min.

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