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Today's Belize News: April 22, 2020 #541844
04/22/20 06:12 AM
04/22/20 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,057
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

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.

Ambergris Today

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: 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.

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: . 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.

Channel 7

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.

Channel 5

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 [...]

Re: Today's Belize News: April 22, 2020 [Re: Marty] #541845
04/22/20 06:12 AM
04/22/20 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,057
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


“We are terribly short of money” — PM Barrow
The COVID-19 pandemic has crushed the global economy. Most countries remain under lockdown as they engage in the fight to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a deadly disease which has infected more than 2 million persons worldwide and has claimed the lives of more than 150,000. This afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow issued a video statement in which he addressed several issues relating to government’s fight against COVID-19. Barrow addressed the response to the pandemic from both the medical and the socioeconomic fronts.

Ulysses Terry found dead in Willows Bank
A man was found dead in his house in Willows Bank at about 2:30 this afternoon. Ulysses Terry, a fashion designer of Willows Bank, was found motionless by his neighbor, who went to look for him. Police were called and Terry was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was officially declared dead. Police are waiting for the results of a mandatory autopsy to ascertain the cause of his death.

Re-opening of school uncertain
Today would have been the day on which most students in Belize would have returned to school following the Easter break, but the country remains under lockdown as it fights to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. The Ministry of Education announced today that no date has so far been set for the re-opening of schools. Minister of Education Patrick Faber made the announcement via the Government Press Office webcast. Belize’s State of Emergency is expected to continue until the end of the month, after which the government will have to decide on the way forward in terms of the gradual re-opening of the country and economy.

Over 200 trapped mainland residents finally evacuated from San Pedro
Another 206 mainland residents were evacuated from San Pedro, Ambergiris Caye, on Saturday. The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Human Development and the National Emergency Management Organization coordinated the evacuation, the San Pedro Sun reported. The group traveled back to the mainland on two large boats from San Pedro Water Taxi. These mainland residents who worked in San Pedro had been trapped on the island since March 23, when cruise ships announced that they were discontinuing calls to Belize due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reporter and the recording that brought down the SSB Chairman
On Tuesday, April 14, the Chairman of the Belize Social Security Board, Doug Singh, resigned less than two hours after an interview he gave to Belize Breaking News (BBN) reporter Aaron Humes went viral on social media. Singh also resigned as Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission and Director of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), all postings that he got from Prime Minister Dean Barrow, to whom his resignation letter was addressed

Almost total lockdown of the city on Sunday
This Sunday, and on the Sunday prior to that, the entire country, including Belize City, was under almost total lockdown, as dictated by Statutory Instrument #54 of 2020, which gives authority for about 90 percent of Belize to be put on lockdown. Under SI 54, all non-essential businesses — along with grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies—are prohibited from being open. Operations that are allowed to continue on Sunday include the loading and unloading of ships at local ports, the operation of food mills, oil production, agro- processing (which includes citrus, sugar and food factories), security companies and public utilities.

Farmer dies in road accident
Octavio Antonio Cowo, 50, a farmer of Orange Walk Town, was reportedly traveling from Orange Walk Town to San Estevan in his pickup at 9:00 tonight, when, on his arrival just outside San Estevan, he lost control of the vehicle, which overturned. Cowo was thrown out of the vehicle and onto the pavement. He suffered massive head and body injuries and died almost immediately.

Shots fired to break up fight between rival gangs
Rival gang members were engaged in a fight this morning near Belizean Meat Pies on Baghdad Street. Police intervened and shots were fired to disperse them, and the men who were engaged in the brawl were taken into custody. Luckily, no one was injured. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that the fight this morning was between the Majestic Alley gang and a rival gang. Williams said that the men are not to believe that they can upset the peace, and he said that such actions will not be tolerated. Police are focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency, and the criminals will be returned to jail if they cause disruptions in the community, he said.

Curfew violators abandon crashed vehicle and disappear
At about 9:00 last night, after the curfew had gone into effect, police saw two men sitting in a pickup on a road in Santa Elena. The officers, which had driven past the pickup, turned their car around and headed toward the pickup to question the men, but as soon as the men saw that the police vehicle had turned around and that the officers were heading toward them, they drove away, and there was a high-speed chase.

2 busted with gun and rounds
Two men of Billy White are in custody after they were found with a firearm and 18 rounds of ammunition without a gun license. They were also found with a bag containing 293 grams of cannabis. They have been charged with drug trafficking and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a gun license and have been detained, pending arraignment. Police said that they were conducting patrols in Billy White when they saw two men who were carrying a bag, and the men became nervous when they saw police coming towards them.

Editorial: Mr. Singh, and PM Barrow, Mr. Rogers
It is possible that the resignation of Doug Singh from the posts of Chairman of the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) and Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, and as a Director of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), is no great loss to the people of Belize. He must have been considered a valuable asset by the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP), since he was called on/trusted to hold such important positions, in normal times. We are not living in normal times.

A week without any new COVID-19 cases in Belize
On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported that four persons had been tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Belize. One person in the Cayo District tested positive, while three others from Belize City had tested positive for the deadly disease. With three persons testing positive from Belize City, Ministry of Health officials had feared that there was going to be a community spread.

Changes made for distribution of food pantry packages
The Ministry of Human Development announced that changes have been made for the smooth distribution of Food Pantry program packages with effect from today, Monday, April 20. Food will now be distributed according to the surnames of the persons who are beneficiaries of the program. This system is now in place to prevent overcrowding at the distribution outlets. For example, people registered to get food at the Oleander Street Food Pantry with surnames that start with the letters A – F will get food on Tuesdays from 9: 00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Gang members sign agreement and hand over guns before being released
About 132 gang members were released at about 6:00 yesterday evening from the Belize Central Prison, where they were held in remand for one month from March 17, as part of a State of Emergency initiative that was launched by Government in March, to stop the brutal and escalating gun violence that appears to have become the norm in Belize City. In events leading up to the time these gang members were remanded, between March 13 and March 17, seven persons were killed, including two 5-year-old children who were in their respective homes sleeping with their mothers.

There were not a lot of the 1990’s Belize semi-pro basketball games at the old Belize City auditorium that brought to my view the mad basketball skills of Raymond “Footie” Gongora — but the ones that did grab my fancy during the 1992-1993 years of the basketball tournament, were the ones that the high-energy and talented basketball team, Raiders, played to sold out Belizean audiences on Friday nights. During the 1990’s, when I was making monthly visits to Belize from Los Angeles, California, Belize’s semi-pro basketball was in rare form. For me it was like the 1970s Belizean basketball explosion at the fabulous basketball sporting arena Birds Isle, and the 90s basketball games had their stars like Gongora and his renegade band of roots ballers coming straight out of the Belize City Southside ‘hoods.

The reset: beyond the crisis
We are living in an unprecedented time. An invisible enemy has brought the world to its proverbial knees. Unemployment is at a level never before seen in our lifetimes. Government coffers are rapidly drying up. Countless businesses have shut down, and many may not be able to re-open. Entire economies have collapsed or are on the verge of collapsing. All this brings with it something as dangerous or more dangerous than the virus itself. Economic collapse results in untold human suffering. The poor and indigent are the first to suffer the cruel impacts of Corona.

Major an Neri mos bi di spread rapacious capitalist propaganda
It’s been three weeks now that I haven’t gotten a copy of the Reporter, and while I am comfortable living on only food and water, clothes and shelter, and a sheet to cover me from mosquitoes, my world is better when I have a full complement of local newspapers to peruse on the weekend. Since the state of emergency, the Reporter has apparently been available only online, and I can’t access it. You know, I keep a close eye on all that goes on in my country, for the purpose of kip people in check, so they don’t go rampant. Only heaven knows what is going on over there.

Young bones …
“Well! You see what they say ‘bout how easy river run deep? I tell you all, long time, how tha’ chile heart love tha’ man! Now you find out for yourself! The girl smart, though; ‘e take off and had the man running behind, and nex’ ting you know, she is Mrs. Jerome St. John, as cool as could be! Ah proud a’ ahn!” I’m sure it was not difficult to identify the speaker of those words as the famous Gertrude Atkins, who had earned extra mileage from the fact of having “dressed” the bride, one aunt having been one of the witnesses and the other the designer of her headdress, thus reaping all glory accruing from her family’s close association with the event of the moment!

Brian Plummer’s feelings on COVID-19
Dear Editor, On April 17, 2020, oil was US$18.27 a barrel. This is an indication of low economic activity globally causing a massive decrease in demand and a large supply. As of April 17, Belize has 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while at the end of March, there were only 3 cases. The evidence suggests the current strategy is not effective.

Letter addressed to the people of the United States of America
Letter from President Maduro to the American people: This email is an opportunity to extend a warm greeting, and at the same time submit an attached letter signed by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, addressed to the people of the United States on the occasion of the recent threats carried out by Donald Trump to the Venezuelan people and its Government, announcements that threaten the peace, security and stability of our region and the Caribbean. The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize, takes this opportunity to reiterate the assurances of its highest esteem and consideration.

The Reporter

Bishop Dorick Wright's funeral
All are asked to note the Bishop Dorick Wright's funeral will be held Wednesday at 10:00 at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City. Those wishing to join may do so via Guadalupe Media.

Communities in Cayo using Barter
There is a flurry of activity in farming communities in Cayo South where farmers have adopted a bartering system aimed at assisting community members to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of specific vegetables in their respective areas. The villages of Valley of Peace, St. Matthews, Cotton Tree and St. Margaret have all pooled their resources to assist each other in a time of need. The initiative came about after it was realized that while certain communities were having a surplus of a particular product, there were shortages in other areas, and vice versa.


Director of Health Services speaks on testing for COVID-19 in Belize
The Ministry of Health has conducted over one hundred and sixty tests over the last week. There is, however, a need for some elements for the testing kits. Dr. Manzanero, via today’s edition of the Ask the Expert, spoke on this aspect as well as incoming health supplies.

SSB explains delay is approval for financial aid
One major concern that applicants of the unemployment relief program have is the delay in the approval for their applications. Many of them have stated that they applied at the start of the program but still have not received any approval texts.

COVID-19 Patient One classified as recovered
Belize is into its 5th week since the confirmation of its first COVID-19 patient on March 23. The first patient is a 38-year-old Belizean businesswoman of Ambergris Caye.

No update yet on cattle farmers in the West
While the entire agriculture sector is taking hits from every corner, one specific issue we highlighted in yesterday’s news had to do with the cattle exporters in the Cayo District. As we reported, the exporters are being blocked from passing through Bullet Tree Village allegedly by the village chairman, Sabino Pinelo.

Government issues Statutory Instrument against burning of garbage
Today the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, and Sustainable Development, Omar Figueroa signed Statutory Instrument Number 59. The new regulation prohibits the burning of bush, milpa, agricultural fields, pasture, grass, or any type of vegetation during the state of emergency.

S & P downgrades Belize’s ratings in light of its tourism decline
Belize’s ratings on the global scale have been downgraded by S&P Global Ratings. S&P recently made revisions on several tourism-dependent countries including Belize and subsequently gave a CCC rating on the country’s long term foreign and local currency sovereign credit.

LGBT communities demand better for Ulysease Roca
“Multiple Organ Failure” is what the post mortem examination certified as the cause of death for 25-year-old Ulysease Roca. Ulysease was found dead inside his home on the afternoon of April 19.

Belize faces a dim economic future; that is the prediction from Bloomberg
On the heels of the S&P Rating report on Belize, a publication by Bloomberg has predicted that Belize and several other nations may soon become known instead for its debt crises as opposed to the place where the wealthiest bankers go to play. The report states, quote, “the three nations (Barbados, Belize, and the Bahamas) are some of the most exposed to the sudden stop in global tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PUP says agro-productive sector needs help
The People’s United Party has issued a statement on the plight of the agro-productive sector. Their stance on this issue is that there is a dire need for the Government to act now and alleviate the hardships being endured by the poorest and that food security must be a priority.

Unqualified applicants clog the financial aid process
Thousands of unqualified Belizeans are still trying to benefit from the financial aid from the Government and as a result are clogging up the system. They are deemed unqualified for the assistance either because they are under 18 years old; are not a Belizean national or in some instances they are still employed or are receiving some form of pension or gratuity from the Government or they are beneficiaries of the BOOST Program.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Ministry of the Environment announces new regulations for burning garbage
To combat the widespread burning of garbage along with the ensuing environmental health concerns, Ministry […]

Second patient recovered from COVID-19
The Office of the Director of Health Services has just announced that a second person […]

Lord Ashcroft’s COVID-19 relief fund provides assistance to Nurses Association
The Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 relief fund has agreed to provide funding for the acquisition and […]

Special Envoy, AIDS Commission and Ministry of Human Development condemn abuse of Ulysease Roca
Today the National AIDS Commission, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children, […]

Reuters: “Historic oil crash will not crash gas prices at the pump”
On Monday, the United States benchmark price for oil suffered a historic crash falling below […]

ASK THE EXPERTS: “One recovered patient from COVID-19”
Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero confirmed that one patient has officially recovered from […]

PUP supports agro-productive sector
The Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) issued a statement today expressing their support for Belize’s […]

Head of State of Belize, Queen Elizabeth II, turns 94
The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Commonwealth realms […]

Dry weather sparks spate of bush fires in Vaca Forest Reserve
Every evening in Western Belize, residents experience smokey atmosphere due to bush fires in several […]

NICH farewell to Ulysease Terry
By Aaron Humes : The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and Institute of Creative Arts (ICA) […]

Farmer shot on his farm
Shortly after 7 o’clock last night a man was shot on the Calla Creek/Santa Rosa […]


5 of Belize’s Underrated Places To See
If you are a traveler seeking something unique, then Belize is for you. Though only the size of Vermont, Belize has everything from majestic Maya pyramids to invigorating underground caves and wondrous aquatic habitats. Though we could list dozens, keep your wanderlust high during COVID-19 with these 5 underrated Belize attractions. You’ll find that sometimes, the road less travelled is worth the trip! Vaca Lake, Victoria Peak Natural Monument, Rio Frio Cave, Che Chem Ha Cave, Che Chem Ha Cave.

International Sourcesizz

NIH Panel Recommends Against Drug Combination Promoted By Trump For COVID-19
A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities. "The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19," the panel said. QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Four Caribbean Countries Get A Ratings Downgrade From S&P
Four Caribbean countries have been given a ratings revision to “negative” as all eyes turn quickly to the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. S&P Global Ratings’ has revised its outlook to negative from stable on Aruba, Belize, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic – all tourism dependent nations. The ratings agency said the decision was made because “the sudden stop in tourism, will cause unprecedented declines in GDP, fiscal balances, and foreign exchange inflows” in those nations.

Lower-rated, tourism-heavy Caribbean territories seen as most vulnerable to COVID-19
Tourism-dependent sovereigns across the Caribbean are bracing for dramatic declines in GDP this year with the COVID-19 crisis. S&P last week downgraded Belize and the Bahamas, which was already looking at a 2-3 year recovery following last year’s Hurricane Dorian. “The severity of the decline in tourism and the synchronization [across the Caribbean] is very unique,” said Paul Judson, senior director and analytical manager at Standard & Poor’s in an interview with BNamericas, adding he is not aware of any similar confluence of impacts hitting the subregion ever before in history.

Puerto Rico 2.0? Wall Street Warns of Caribbean Debt Crises
The Caribbean countries of Barbados, Belize and the Bahamas, among the preferred playgrounds for the world’s wealthiest bankers, may soon become known instead for Wall Street’s dark side: Debt crises. The three nations are some of the most exposed to the sudden stop in global tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic. And after decade-long borrowing sprees, they’re also staring down big bond payments, raising concern over how the Caribbean region can repay its debt.

Secretary-General pledges to support island states mired in multiple crises, calling for focus on climate amid pandemic
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Placencia Ambition Forum, held in Belize today: I am pleased to send greetings to this important gathering. Currently, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic — the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War. We must work together to save lives, ease suffering, lessen the shattering economic and social consequences and bring the disease under control.

COP26 President speech at opening of Placencia Ambition Forum
COP26 President Alok Sharma gave a video speechat the opening of the Placencia Ambition Forum on Monday 20 April 2020: We can’t all meet in person today.It is only right that we follow the best scientific advice on COVID-19 and do everything we can to avoid the spread of this deadly disease.We must also follow the best scientific advice on climate change.It tells us failure to act will have irreversible consequences.As temperatures continue to rise, droughts and heatwaves will become more common.Crops will fail.Sea levels will rise.Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense.Lives will be lost.Communities uprooted.

NASA spots millions of tons of sargassum in Caribbean
Last month, NASA’s satellites captured images which showed almost clear seas in the Western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. However, photographs paint a completely different picture for the Eastern Caribbean, where a moderate amount of sargassum was recorded. The vegetation is sargassum, a seaweed that grows on the sea surface in the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers believe the isolated batches could foreshadow what the Caribbean region should expect for the rest of 2020. “In March 2020, the sargassum amount increased significantly across the central Atlantic,” according to an information bulletin posted on the USF’s website on 31 March.


  • Tuesday's 'Ask the Experts', min. Tune in at Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, joined us.

  • Kess Ramsey on OVID-19, 3min. We encourage you to watch and listen. It made our day and we couldn't have said it better. Thank you Kess Ramsey. We endorse your message.

  • Channel 5 Obituaries - ELIZABETH ANN TILLETT NEE WALTON, 2min.

  • PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne leads media briefing on COVID-19 in the Americas, 48min.

  • Belize Awaits Campaign, 1/2min.

  • Belize, 4min.

  • Belize Awaits..., 1/2min. The sun will rise on travel again... and Belize will be waiting

  • Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities, 21min.

  • Belizean living in Paris - Covid-19 Update, 23min. Human Interest Story - France Experience

  • Ministry of Education - Update, 38min.

  • Understanding what it means to be asymptomatic, 29min. We have been hearing the word "asymptomatic" in the discourse of how people spread COVID-19. Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, Internist at Belize HealthCare Partners Ltd. helped us understand what it means to be asymptomatic and how these carriers transmit the virus. He also talked with us about how patients are treated for COVID-19 and updated on the developments towards a vaccine.

  • Belize Association of Planners - integrate our government processes, 43min. There are various lessons that can be learnt from the experience of responding to the COVID-10 pandemic. We invited Carolyn Trench Sandiford, Executive Director of the Belize Association of Planners, to share her reflections. She identified several issues that challenge our national response including the poverty level of our communities, governance structures and the overall health of our population. She says that what we should learn from this experience is to integrate our government processes.

  • How to safely use mask to decrease exposure to the COVID-19, 15min. Wearing masks may be a new experience for many but it has become a part of our new reality. We sought to get some education about the proper way to use a mask to ensure it's efficiency. Cassandra Gloria, a current Dental Student, showed us how to safely use it to decrease exposure to the COVID-19.

  • Belize's very own, Jamal Galves!, 1min. National Geographic Photo Ark ZSL EDGE of Existence Fellow Jamal Galves has cared about manatee conservation since he was 11 years old. As a marine biologist, he is working to save these gentle giants that are under threat from drowning in fishing nets and collisions with boats in his home country of Belize.

  • The Prayer Service for Bishop Wright, 45min. Vigil Prayer Service for Bishop Dorick Wright

  • Belize Trip 2020, 7min.

  • Belize Liveaboard Snorkel Safari in 60 Seconds, 1min. A quick look at what it's like on our Belize Snorkel Safari aboard the Belize Aggressor III.

  • Belize Turneffe Island Resort Snorkel Safari in 60 Seconds, 1min. The reefs around Turneffe Atoll are characterized by a shallow sandy area with a bunch of mixed coral heads covered in sea fans, sponges, and hard corals. Here the coral comes right up to the surface and it's ideal for getting close to marine life without the need to duck dive. The average depth where we'll spend the majority of our time is around three to ten feet. Here we have the best mix of healthy colorful coral and marine life. Aside from the clear blue water, very mild to absent currents, and vibrant scenery, one of the best things about the snorkeling Belize is that you never run out of reef of explore, they just kept going and going and going!

  • Scuba Belize 2018, 53min.

  • South Water Caye, Belize, 7min. This video is about my short time abroad in Belize for my tropical marine ecology course taken at Drew University.

  • Snorkeling Belize - Silk Cayes, 6min. Snorkeling with Sea Turtles, Eagle Rays, Southern Stingrays and the coolest guide in Belize. Always a great day with Cultural Experience Belize.

  • Wildfire in Billy White Village,Belize, 1min. On April 17 2020 a wildfire reached close to some houses in the village of Billy White,Cayo District , Belize

  • Coatamundi in Belize, 1min.

  • The Queen's Birthday, 1min. Тhе Quееn оf thе Unіtеd Кіngdоm оf Grеаt Вrіtаіn аnd Nоrthеrn Іrеlаnd аnd Соmmоnwеаlth rеаlmѕ іnсludіng Веlіzе, Еlіzаbеth ІІ, mаrkѕ hеr 94th bіrthdау tоdау. Іt іѕ quіеtеr thаn mоѕt аѕ ѕhе іѕ іn lосkdоwn duе tо thе СОVІD-19 раndеmіс whісh hаѕ сlаіmеd thоuѕаndѕ іn thе U.К. Тhеrе wаѕ nо оffісіаl gun ѕаlutе іn Lоndоn, аnd thе uѕuаl Тrооріng thе Соlоur раrаdе hеld оn thе ѕесоnd Ѕаturdау іn Јunе hаѕ аlѕо bееn саnсеlеd. Іnѕtеаd ѕhе tооk рrіvаtе рhоnе саllѕ frоm fаmіlу mеmbеrѕ іѕоlаtеd еlѕеwhеrе аt Wіndѕоr Саѕtlе, іѕѕuеd а ѕtаtеmеnt оf ѕuрроrt fоr thе rесеnt kіllіngѕ іn Nоvа Ѕсоtіа, Саnаdа, аnd hеr оffісе rеlеаѕеd а vіdео оf сhіldhооd mеmоrіеѕ.

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