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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
Belize’s Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, turns 94
Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland turned 94 years old on Tuesday, April 21st. As Head of the Commonwealth, which Belize is a part of, the Queen is Belize’s official Head of State, represented by Governor General Sir Colville Young.
The reign of Her Majesty began in February 1952, when she was 26 years old. She was notified of her father’s death, King George VI, while in Kenya, Africa. The Queen and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh had been touring Australia and New Zealand via Kenya when the tragedy occurred. A year later, she was officially crowned and today she is on record as the longest ruling British Monarch.
Lebanese business community donates motorcycle to San Pedro Police
The San Pedro Police Formation was the recipient of a Jiyo Brand, 125 cc engine motorcycle courtesy of the Lebanese business community on the island.
The donation took place on Tuesday, April 21st, outside of the police station. On behalf of the island’s Lebanese entrepreneurs, Ayman Harmouch, alongside Deputy Mayor Gabriel ‘Gaby’ Nuñez, officially handed over the motorcycle to Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit (Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker), Superintendent Christopher Noble.
MOH confirms two recovered COVID-19 patients in Belize
Almost a month after Belize registered its first two cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), on Tuesday, April 21st, the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Marvin Manzanero announced that two patients have fully recovered after testing negative for a second time. The first two patients that tested positive include a mother and daughter from Ambergris Caye. They were diagnosed with the deadly virus on the 23rd and 25th of March respectively, isolating the island from the mainland via a mandatory lockdown. The patients, however, did not develop major symptoms and were not hospitalized during their time of quarantine and observation.
Motorcycle Donated to San Pedro Police Department
In a brief handing over, a member of the Lebanese business community on Ambergris Caye donated a Jiyo brand, 125 cubic centimeter engine motorcycle to the San Pedro Police Formation.
BSI collaborates with women’s groups to provide facemasks
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 facemasks 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.
Update on Unemployment Relief Program
As of April 20, 2020, a total of 72,213 applications have been submitted since the Unemployment Relief Program was opened to accept applications on April 3, 2020. This includes some of the applications submitted via hard copy, which have begun to be entered into the online portal.
So far, 32,916 applications have been approved for payment to applicants. These include 7,106 that were approved on April 20th and have been forwarded to the Social Security Board (SSB) for processing.
San Pedro High School not reopening as scheduled
NOTICE FROM SAN PEDRO HIGH SCHOOL TO STUDENTS AND PARENTS - SPHS would like to inform parents that due to COVID-19 and the state of emergency placed on the entire country classes will not resume on Monday, April 20 as was previously scheduled. We will update you once Ministry of Education has sent us the information regarding classes. In the meantime, we would also like to ask parents to please ensure students are doing work posted on Teams and Cloud schools.
Various Belizean Sources
FREE ServSafe Food Handler Online Course
From BHA: In these difficult times with COVID-19 affecting so many of us, we are committed to support our Industry. The ServSafe and the American National Restaurant Association are offering a FREE ServSafe Food Handler course and exam. Get the essential training every restaurant and food-service worker needs to keep guests and themselves safe for FREE!
Belize Nominated for Best Destination in Conde Nast Traveler's 2020
Belize has been nominated for Best Destination in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers Choice Award! Share what you love about Belize by completing the survey and casting your vote. You can cast your vote for Belize here:
https://www.cntraveler.com/rca/vote- Select "Vote" on the "Countries" Tab and complete details.
Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry – Resumption of Services via Email
Further to the press release dated April 5, 2020 the Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry informs the public that effective today, April 20th, its office resumes services via email only.
The public is reminded of the following:
1. Scanned copies of applications for business names, company incorporation documents, registration of Limited Liability Partnerships and filings (annual returns, notices, etc.) should be sent via email to [email protected] Note that applicants will be required to submit filings in original format once normal services resume.
The Vaca Forest Reserve is on fire
At FCD we believe that educating farmers is essential but law enforcement is necessary too.
Tuesday the Queen of Belize and England Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turned 94
She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch. She is the longest-serving female head of state in world history, and the world's oldest living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and oldest and longest-serving current head of state.
A few pictures one of which shows her in Belize on her last visit to the Jewel.
Sacred Heart College is getting ready for online classes
Looks like online is the way to go from now on... Greetings everyone,
Kindly be informed, that SHC Administrative team, will meet this Wednesday to charter our way forward. Distance Learning Class sessions for students resume on Monday, April 27th, 2020. Teachers will contact their classes during this week, using the different means of communication. If your child had, and still have difficulty getting the material from teachers, kindly let us know how we can assist by emailing at: [email protected] or whatsapp at 671 3325 ...
Sacred Heart College Student Application Form
Application for Admission:
Applications can be Scan and submitted through WhatsApp or email
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
WhatsApp: 671 3325.
Ak Ki'ichkelem Yuumstil Itzamnaj
(Our beautiful father Itzamna) continue protecting and enligthing our beautiful Belize . Ak Yuumstil Itzamnaj is the creator of the universe .
Itzamná represents wisdom and the transfer of knowledge. His wisdom is symbolized by his typical depiction as an old man. One important theme that runs through the tales of Itzamná is creation and invention; Itzamna creates processes and systems that can only be described as logical, methodical, and in some cases, scientific.
Belize Represented in CECC-SICA Meeting to Discuss the Effects of COVID-19 on the Region's Cultural Sector
On Monday, 20 April 2020, there was an Extraordinary Online Meeting of the Council of Ministers of The Central American Education and Culture Coordination (CECC/SICA). Representatives from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize discussed the general situation in their country and actions that the cultural sectors are carrying out in the framework of the general situation of the country on matters of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Belize National Festival Of Arts
Festival of Arts 2020 goes virtual under the theme "Creative Resilience - Social Media is My Stage
Generous gesture of Chung Fu Bakery
Several reports had reach our news room of the generous gesture of the Taiwanese owned Chung Fu Bakery in Belmopan. Our team understand that the bakery is giving away 30 bread each day at 1p.m from Monday to Friday to those that need food assistance. Kudos to this bakery for this kind gesture. Thank You Chung Fu Bakery for assisting the people of Belize.
Shooting incident on Calla Creek Road
On Monday, April 20th, 2020, at about 7:21 p.m., Police responded to a report on Calla Creek Road, Cayo District. Upon arrival, they observed Rafael Vasquez, 50-year-old, Belizean Farmer of Calla Creek Village, Cayo District with gunshot injuries to the body. Initial investigations revealed that Vasquez was alone at his farm on the Calla Creek/Santa Rosa Road when he was approached by a man who asked him if he could take him to the back road that leads into Guatemala. Vasquez reportedly told the individual that he does not know the road. And as a result, the assailant took out a firearm and fired shots at Vasquez causing his injuries.
Motorcycle Donated to San Pedro Police Department
In a brief handing over, a member of the Lebanese business community on Ambergris Caye donated a Jiyo brand, 125 cubic centimeter engine motorcycle to the San Pedro Police Formation. The donation was secured through Malak Harmouch, proprietor of Local Hardware Store in San Pedro Town. At hand to receive the donation was the Officer In Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit of the Belize Police Department, Superintended of Police Christopher Noble.
Public Advisory from the Ministry of the Environment
With the high and unprecedented number of fires and persistent burning, the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, and Sustainable Development has enacted a set of new regulations cited as Environmental Protection (Prohibition of the Open-Burning of Refuse and Other Matter) Regulations via Statutory Instrument No. 59 of 2020 which comes into effect today, April 21, 2020.
This new regulation prohibits burning of bush, milpa, agricultural fields, pasture, grass, or any type of vegetation during the state of emergency. It also prohibits the open burning of household and yard waste.
WORLD BOOK and COPYRIGHT DAY
Thursday, April 23rd is “World Book and Copyright Day”. The Belize Book Industry Association (BBIA) will share content from Belizean authors on both Facebook and Instagram. Either Belizean authors who are published or preparing to publish will read a snippet from their scripts on Instagram @belizenationallibrary on the National Heritage Library account and on the Belize Writers Guild Facebook page.
The PUP Supports our Agro-Productive Sector
The People's United Party has put out a press release with heading stating that the party is in support of focusing more attention on the Agro-productive Sector. This release is important as it relates directly to Belize Rural South, mainly Caye Caulker and San Pedro. The underlying issue here is that of food security and scarcity.
We are now seeing that for many years, tourism has been sustaining the economy of Belize. We feel that our present leaders have not and should now diversify and look into other efficient ways that not only fuels the economy, but also will release some pressure off the Tourism Sector that has been fueling the economy .
An Update from the NEMO Supplies and Relief Committee
In accordance with the Department of Human Development and Social Services, as of April 21, we have assessed 1,844 families, 1,713 of which have received food supplies and groceries. We currently have 324 families on the list waiting to be assessed.
Please help us extend our gratitude towards the Lord Ashcroft Covid-19 Relief Fund for their much appreciated contribution to the people of Belize. We are proud to be a part of this journey in assisting the community directly, and hope you enjoy this video of gratitude.
Stay at Home DJ Challenge
The finals for the Stay at Home DJ Challenge are this Friday at 8:00pm. Shared: http://bit.ly/CayoCal . DJ Iconic is in the running.
Belize Fire Map
This Forest Department map showing fire points across the country in one day is indicating that this fire season is shaping up to be quite busy. Many of these are occuring in or around protected areas. PACT and protected area co-managers annually support fire management in our protected forests via fire management plans, equipment, training, surveillance, and community fire brigades.
Climate and unsustainable agricultural practices are among the top drivers of wildfires, which result in biodiversity loss and hazard to human health.
Statement: Ulysease Roca Terry
The National AIDS Commission, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children, and the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation are extremely saddened by the death of Mr. Ulysease Roca Terry and join the nation in mourning his untimely passing.
Undoubtedly, of all the health and human service challenges we face amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps the most devastating and, ironically, the most preventable is the stigma, bullying, violence, and discrimination that has been sweeping across our nation. Such injustices have manifested themselves in the form of police brutality, hate posts on social media, and the indifferences directed towards frontline workers and persons with COVID-19, just to name a few.
And then there Was 16! 2 COVID-19 Patients Recovered
Belize now has 16 confirmed COVID cases on record. Up until yesterday it was 18, but today on "Ask the Experts", the Director of Health Services confirmed that one patient - he wouldn't say which one - has twice tested negative and is now classed as fully recovered.
And then, information posted by the Ministry half an hour ago shows that a second patient is also classified as fully recovered. Here is Dr. Manzanero speaking at 1:00 this afternoon when there was only one fully recovered patient:
14 Remaining Patients Are Good
Dr. Manzanero also gave a review of all 16 surviving patients - only one of whom remains hospitalized.
"In terms of patients hospitalized one of the patients went home on Friday, so we only have 1 patient hospitalized currently in the Western health region and in terms of quarantine you will recall that we have a full list of people who was on quarantine..."
Nigel's Negative Test
And, Nigel Espat who is patient #6 seems to be doing more than very well. In fact, he looks excellent in these pictures which his wife posted of him celebrating two milestones: his first negative COVID-19 test and his daughter's 10th Birthday.
And Despite DHS Manzanero's refusal to confirm which patient has been classified as recovered, it looks like patient #6 is well on his way to a full recovery.
Lining Up For Unemployment Relief Cards
And while the lucky among us may evade the virus altogether, we'll certainly all be touched by its devastating economic impact.
The applicants for the Unemployment Relief Program know that all too well. The close to 40 thousand who are awaiting their $100 dollars, whether by direct deposit or prepaid card, continue to wait for notice of incoming social assistance.
That wait came to an end for some Belize City residents today but only after another long wait in front of the Social Security Board.
Cherisse Halsall found that for once, these folks weren't too unhappy to wait in line.
Smoke Smothers Cayo District
For the past few days, we've been telling you about the polluted air that is smothering Cayo district residents. They complain that there are still people setting bonfires, in open defiance of the Ministry of Environment's public demands to stop. All that smoke from those fires is sitting over major communities, polluting the air. Today, NASA detected 190 fires via satellite; that is up from 181 yesterday.
Air quality tests done in Belmopan early this morning, show particles in the air metering at 198 - which is in the unhealthy range. Apart from being unhealthy, the public health worry is that the smoke could make residents more susceptible to the coronavirus.
Unibam on Ulysease
Last night we told you about 25-year-old Ulysease Roca. He's the Willows Bank resident, who was found dead in his family home on Sunday. Roca was a gay Belizean and an HIV positive patient, and faced an unfortunate reality included being ridiculed and shunned for his sexuality and his illness.
But, after being picked up by police for breaking the 8 p.m. curfew 2 weeks ago, a police officer recorded a video of Roca on a personal cellular phone, where Roca was depicted as a sort of homeless degenerate. That video was leaked, and it went viral on social media.
PM/s Wife & NAC Demand Rights For Roca
The National AIDS Commission and the Special Envoy for Women and children also joined the Mental Health Association and the gay rights groups in their call for a thorough investigation into Roca's case.
In a joint statement, the National AIDS Commission, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children, and the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation say that they are quote, "The alleged physical violence against Mr. Roca Terry by law enforcement officers is unacceptable, a gross violation of human rights, and must be vehemently condemned.
Manzanero: Cayman Tests Not Ideal
Returning now to more COVID-19 update from today's ask the experts session. DHS Manzanero discussed the status with testing, recapping the 170 negative tests in a week, he spoke generally about the availability of supplies for the coming weeks of the COVID response, and the fact that the kits from Cayman might not be an ideal fit.
"We have done close to 170 tests over the last 6 days. Some days you have a bigger batch going in. I do have to stress that we are, like we had said, we are anticipating that the swabs that we use for doing the testing, and the enzymes that are needed for the testing..."
Options For Expanding Testing
And now that 785 tests have been done, with 767 of them negative - the question is where will the testing go next
Mananero said this is under discussion:
"We are reviewing with the team how we are going to expand our testing because one of the reasons why you also have less people being swabbed, is people are having less and less flu like symptoms, or at least they are not showing up in health facilities..."
Who Else To Test?
And, after those tertiary contacts, Manzanero says it's not quite clear who else they should test - since the regular flu season ended in March:
"If you had said we would start doing wider testing, why are the numbers of tests in the infographic not reflecting that?"
"Well I have said that we were going to go out and routinely be looking for all respiratory illnesses and doing random testing and testing healthcare workers. That has happened..."
Manza: Blanket Testing For Gen. Population Not Realistic
Now, most regular folks, would just say, don't worry about symptoms; just do blanket testing of as much of the population as possible. Manzanero said today that is not feasible:
"Will countrywide random testing be carried out countrywide to identify positive that are asymptomatic. We are reviewing that case definition. Of course as I've said we are not in a position to test everybody in the country..."
The Clusters Are Quiet
And while the front-line workers are negative, so are most of those in the clusters of community spread in Belize, Corozal and Cayo.
"Remember is 14 days for the initial lockdown for the Cayo area. Doesn't seem to be any active cluster happening there. We are not seeing symptomatic patients at least..."
No COVID Curve In Belize, Yet
So, there have not been any positive samples taken since last week Sunday, and those results were released on Monday.
So, with no new confirmed cases detected in 8 days, what is the trajectory of Belize's epidemiological curve? When will it peak?
Manzanero said there's really no curve:
Manzanero Watches Mexico Warily
But, our neighbour to the north Mexico does have a curve, and it's steeply climbing right now. The country has 8,261 confirmed coronavirus cases and 686 deaths.
Manzanero says that their curve is set to peak in May:
When Can The Borders Open?
So, while Manzanero says it is difficult to tell the government when to open the border, he also noted that after 28 days without a single case, an outbreak would officially be considered over. Right now Belize is at day 8 or 9. So that is a long ways off, but what if we got there? Could Belize open the borders then?:
"If, after 28 days has passed without a case, would you advise the borders to open?"
"That's a tricky situation because I just explained what's happening in Mexico. so we might not have had a case, but if they are just going at a very rapid pace, escalating in their curve, it is not going to be sensible for us to make that recommendation..."
Two Cops Charged For Curfew Violation
There's a rift between Northside and southside police in Belize City. That's after two Northside police officers were charged for violating the curfew, that is being out of their homes after 8:00 pm.
This caused a rift, because the two constables were taken to precinct two and held like regular criminals - which they felt was un-necessary. In fact, they felt like they shouldn't have been picked up at all, since they were just talking.
Commissioner Cautions Cops
And police officers are not only failing to lead by example when it comes to the curfew, but a number of them are also guilty of a spate of recent abuses against the public.
Back in March AG Michael Peyrefitte made an appearance on Ask The Experts in which he said quote: "The police no weh have no sense." and it's proven true, because despite directives not to use the State of Emergency as a means to abuse or take advantage of citizens certain officers have done just that.
International Recognition For The Manatee Man
Jamal Galvez has made the news many times as a manatee protector and first responder.
And now the National Geographic Society has highlighted him as a conservator of manatees. It's a major international honour and we spoke to him about it today via video conference:
Cherisse Halsall, reporter
"Talk to me a little bit about what was highlighted in the National Geographic video about your beginnings in this field?"
Man Shot For Not Knowing Smugglers' Backroad
In crime news, 50-year-old Calla Creek resident Rafael Vasquez was shot in the abdomen and ankle last night, with a third bullet grazing his head. It happened at around 7:00 pm at a farm on the Santa Rosa road. Vasquez was approached by a man who spoke to him in Spanish asking if he could take him to a back road that leads into Guatemala.
The Port Loyola Cruise Plan
The Port of Belize it's been in receivership since 2012, but if Waterloo Investment Holdings, one of the Ashcroft Group of companies, gets the necessary green-lights from the Government, the Port will get a massive multi-million dollar upgrade.
Waterloo Investment Holdings is poised to become the next owner of the Port. They have a $200 million-dollar development plan to expand the facility with a deeper channel to accommodate bigger cargo ships. This company also wants to build a cruise terminal facility on the Port's property, and they say that the facility would accommodate shore-side berthing of cruise ships.
Was a Post-mortem Done to Determine Cause of Death of Ulysease Roca?
The family of Ulysease Roca, a gay fashion designer, is questioning the cause of his death. There was no autopsy done on the body before it was cremated so the [...]
Physical Violence Against Roca by Cop is Unacceptable
Today, a joint release was issued by the National AIDS Commission, the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the Ministry of Human Development saying that they are extremely saddened [...]
Director of Health Services Gives an Update on Testing Capabilities!
There are now two persons who have recovered from the corona virus. Eighteen persons contracted the virus, two died and now to have recovered. The Ministry says one hundred and [...]
M.O.H. to Review Testing Strategy – May Cast a Wider Net!
It’s been nine days since the last COVID-19 positive patient was identified and moving forward with testing, the DHS says that they will be reviewing their testing strategy because they [...]
P.U.P. Supports Livestock Farmers and Agro-producers
The People’s United Party is lending its support to dozens of livestock producers across the country who continue to lose income as a result of being unable to transport cattle [...]
Government Should Come to the Aid of Livestock Producers Post Haste
The question of whether Chairman Pinelo is acting outside of his legal authority in prohibiting the passage of vehicles through Bullet Tree Falls remains a pertinent concern, as it sets [...]
G.O.B. Should Purchase Excess Produce from Local Farmers
Another of the proposals put forward to the Barrow administration by the Leader of the Opposition, who also co-chairs the National Oversight Committee, is for government to purchase bulk quantities [...]
Debit Cards Issued to Recipients of COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Fund
More than thirty thousand applications have been approved for persons to receive assistance from the COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Fund. About seventy thousand persons have so far applied for the assistance, [...]
Nurses Association Receives $170,000 from the Lord Ashcroft Relief Fund
In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, nurses are among the frontline workers who put their own lives at risk. A few days ago, the Nurses Association’s President, Darell Spenser [...]
Two COVID-19 Patients Have Recovered!
Belize has two fewer COVID-19 positive cases tonight. That’s the update from the Ministry of Health this evening. Before that bit of information was provided, Director of Health Services Doctor [...]
COVID-19 Patients on the Road to Recovery
While we have had two patients who have recovered from COVID-19, the remaining fourteen are doing well. The hospitalized patient from Corozal has since been released and is recovering at [...]
How Soon Can Belize Reopens Its Borders? Not So Fast – Says DHS!
As we reported at top of the newscast, it’s been nine days since the last person tested positive for COVID-19 in Belize. And while Belize has only a handful of [...]
When Does Belize Reopen Its Economy?
The losses triggered by COVID-19 to the business sector are enormous and the road to economic recovery will be a long and arduous journey. Many businesses will have to rebound [...]
Is Party Politics Permeating Coronavirus Relief?
In an effort to assist as many Belizeans who are in dire straits as a result of the sudden economic downturn, government has been bolstering initiatives such as the Pantry [...]
Bishop Wright to be Laid to Rest on Wednesday in Belize City
Bishop Dorick Wright will be laid to rest on Wednesday here in Belize City, following a televised funeral service that will be broadcast live from Holy Redeemer Cathedral. Channel Five [...]
New Law Prohibits Lighting of Fires During SOE
You can no longer light fire during the state of emergency. If you are found doing so, you can be fined up to five thousand dollars and if you can’t [...]
Forest Dept, Dept of Environment & Police Will Help to Enforce New Fire Law!
…and to help them monitor the situation, the Forest Department has been using an online tool that records heat points across the country. While that tool will help to guide [...]
Cop Arrested and Charged for Violating Curfew Regulation
There is a report tonight that a police officer has been arrested and charged for violating the curfew regulation. The cop, Patrick Roches, was detained on Monday night. From the [...]
National Geographic Features Jamal Galvez!
Local manatee conservationist, Jamal Galvez got another major shout-out from National Geographic. He is being featured by the publication for their Earth Day celebrations, which is being observed on Wednesday. [...]
Placencia Ambition Forum Focuses on Climate Change
The Government of Belize, as the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, hosted the Placencia Ambition Forum which put together key actors in the climate change discussions around [...]