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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
ComPol Chester Williams visits the islands to clarify COVID-19 regulation enforcement
After images surfaced showing overcrowding on boats allegedly carrying 'essential trave;' passengers to the islands, ComPol Williams visited the islands to seek ways to address and enforce a plan for the public transportation system to adhere to social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing.
Unemployment Relief Top-up Cards
Recipients of the Government of Belize COVID-19 unemployment relief, who are receiving payments by way of top-up cards, are advised to carefully protect their top-up cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
Tropic Air Resumes Limited Domestic Flights
Effective Monday, May 11, 2020, Tropic Air will be resuming limited domestic passenger flights to San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Belize City Municipal, Placencia, Dangriga, Corozal and Punta Gorda.
Ministry of Natural Resources Re-Opening Protocols
The Ministry of Natural Resources informs the public that all offices countrywide are open between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12 midday and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. To maintain the health and safety of customers and employees and to comply with the Government of Belize’s regulations, effective immediately, all persons conducting business at any office countrywide are required to wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose, practice good hand hygiene, and adhere to social distancing protocols.
Caye Chapel Development Co. supports Caye Caulker Residents
The Caye Chapel group felt compelled to assist when they heard of the halt of the tourism season and the substantial loss of jobs as a result of COVID19 of their neighboring island Caye Caulker.
Update on Daycare Closures
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation advises the public that under the current regulations, daycares are permitted to operate; however, an amendment will be made to the current statutory instrument to include daycares in the list of businesses prohibited from operating under the current state of emergency. Therefore, daycares will remain closed until further notice.
Water Taxi Companies Services to the islands resume
The economy is slowly beginning to open across the country after a significant decrease in cases of COVID-19, and public transportation via water taxi began transporting people to and off Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye on Monday, May 4th. Although the country continues under a State of Emergency, movement has been allowed for essential travel and persons needing to move with a purpose, including stranded individuals needing to head back home. The fact that screening is not mandated at this moment for anyone traveling to Ambergris Caye, however, has several residents concerned. They ask authorities to implement some sort of screening that could filter those that have valid reasons to travel to the islands.
Belize Is Back To Zero Active COVID-19 Cases
This afternoon, Belize’s Ministry of Health has made the announcement that the country is once again back to zero active COVID-19 cases with the last two active cases having recovered after testing negative on their second test. This marks the 7th week since it was announced that Belize had its first COVID-19 case, a 38-year-old female, Belizean national who resides in San Pedro. Belize is going into a 4th week since the last case was diagnosed but Belizeans are urged that they CANNOT lose sight of the fact that our neighbors are having escalating numbers in terms of cases and deaths.
Various Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Soup Kitchen day Location
Wednesday, May 6th meal .pick ups
Location: Carribean Fusion ( previously Dirty Mc Nasty's)
Village: 11:00am - 11:45am
Bahia: 11: 45am 12;30 pm
Every container and bag you bring with you helps our mIssion to feed those in need. Thank you!
"it takes a village to feed a village"
Tropic Air resumes limited domestic flights
Tropic Air announces that effective Monday, May 11, 2020, we will be resuming domestic passenger flights. Flights will serve San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Belize City Municipal, Placencia, Dangriga, Corozal and Punta Gorda, and initially be at limited frequencies, on limited days. As demand warrants, we may add more flights to meet demand. Please also note that there will be no flights on public and bank holidays.
No more LPG licenses for Butane Importers
The public is hereby informed that April 30, 2020 was the last day we imported Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). As mandated by the Government of Belize effective May 01, 2020 we have been blocked from importing LPG or butane gas into Belize, which we are addressing via a Constitutional Claim in court and awaiting the Court to set a date.
Fisheries Department Office Operations and Services during COVID-19 State of Emergency
In conformity with the national state of emergency and guided by Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2020 and Circular Memorandum No. 13 of 2020, the Fisheries Department will be implementing the following measures effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020:
1. No walk-ins will be allowed, except where these services may be considered critical. Public visitations will be allowed by appointment only.
2. Applications for renewals of fisher folk and vessel licenses will be processed as follows:
Unemployment Relief Top-up Cards
Recipients of the Government of Belize COVID-19 unemployment relief, who are receiving payments by way of top-up cards, are advised to carefully protect their top-up cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
The top-up card will be used to receive additional payments during the remainder of your approved unemployment relief, which will be paid twice a month over a three-month period. Lost cards should be reported to the nearest Social Security Board (SSB) office as early as possible. Please be advised that a $10.00 fee is required for a replacement card and PIN. This process may take several days.
The YWCA is selling reusable face masks for only $5
They have a wide assortment of colors
Global Big Day 2020
FB Live this Friday 8th at 10.30am, as we prepare for Global Big Day 2020. Tune in. If you know someone who wants to learn about eBird, THIS is their chance. It will be a step by step.
Tune in to the discussion live on Friday!
The Artist of the Day, Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw has been dedicated to music for over 20 years. As both performer and teacher, Chris is passionate about bringing music education to the wider population, particularly the children and youth in Belize. Among his many accomplishments, Chris has served as conductor for the National Youth Orchestra, director of the music program at Wesley College, and production manager for Belize’s National Song Competition and Pan Yaad.
Chris works diligently to share his skills and knowledge with the wider population by performing in various genres at numerous gigs and occasion. Chris also Lectures in Music at the Wesley Junior College and Saint John’s College. Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Valdosta State University where he studied saxophone.
Mrs. Simeona Zuniga, curator of the Darina Museum in Libertad Village
As part of our Museum Month activities we would like to introduce Mrs. Simeona Zuniga, curator of the Darina Museum in Libertad Village. Miss Simeona began collecting Garifuna artifacts in 1997. In 2012, working along side community schools and the local chapter of the National Garifuna Council, she set up a display at her home. The display received great response and in 2013 Miss Simeona opened her cultural museum. Throughout the years she has grown her collection and offers tours to residents, tourists and schools with November being her busiest month. Mrs Zuniga is very much involved with the National Garifuna Council-Libertad Branch and continues to support the Lisanigu Libertad Dance Group who has preformed locally, nationally and internationally. If you would like to visit the Darina Museum please contact Miss Simeona through her facebook page or President of the National Garifuna Council-Libertad Branch Mr. Norman Zuniga's facbook page.
DID YOU KNOW.....?
BTB OFFERS FREE ONLINE WEBINARS FOR TOUR GUIDES AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS
BTB offers free online webinars for tour guides and industry partners: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is offering a series of FREE capacity building webinars, opened to all tourism industry stakeholders during this COVID- 19 downtime. The webinars form an integral part of the BTB’s capacity building efforts for the industry, and will focus on topics relevant to preparing the industry for reopening when travel is deemed safe. The first webinar will be held on Monday, May 11 and each session will be delivered by subject matter experts, for approximately 60-minutes in duration. Stakeholders can attend and participate from the comfort of your home using a computer or mobile device. The full training schedule can be found in the table below, and accessed using the unique Zoom Meeting link.
We need your help. There is just no other way to put it.
MarAlliance is not just about shark and ocean conservation efforts. We depend on the courageous fishers we work with, and their families, who bravely speak up against unsustainable practices and push for healthier seas.
These heroes are key to ensuring a future for our fish populations. During this Covid pandemic fishers are not allowed to go out to sea to fish sustainably and feed their families. They need your help. During this #GivingTuesdayNow, please donate at https://maralliance.org/donate/ and give back to support these coastal families, show them that they are not alone in their fight to keep our seas healthy.
Belize is now COVID Free
Belize now has ZERO active cases. This is great news; however we must still be cautious and continue to follow the preventative measures: washing of hands, social distancing, good hygiene, staying at home, wearing of face mask and more.
Fisheries Department Application Forms Ready Online
All Application forms are readily available on Fisheries Department website:
1. Fisherfolk License - Renewal
2. Fisherfolk License - New Entrant
3. Vessel License - Renewal
4. Vessel License - New Entrant
Remember to submit a complete application form along with the required documents.
BTB Capacity Building Webinars
The Belize Tourism Board, in partnership with these presenters, are offering FREE capacity building webinars for the next couple months. If you are a tour guide, tour operator or if you work in the accommodations industry and would like to know more about the tourism industry, tune in for an hour to learn all about it.
All you need is a device with internet connection. Check out the schedule below.
Daycares in the list of businesses prohibited from operating
As announced by the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, an amendment was made to Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2020 to include daycares in the list of businesses prohibited from operating under the current state of emergency. Therefore, daycares will remain closed until further notice.
Proposed Cost Savings Measures
The Ministry of Finance has asked the PSU to accept proposals for pay adjustments in light of the 'collapse of Government's finances.' If not, the government will amend public service regulations to give the Minister power to alter salaries.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PLEADS FOR COMPASSION FROM SECONDARY SCHOOL MANAGEMENT TO PROMOTE STUDENTS
COVID-19 is a crisis that was unexpected and as a result we are now faced with many challenges. The Ministry of Education (MoE) did not anticipate the early closure of and are mindful of the issues teachers, parents and students are faced with at this unprecedented time.
In an earlier press conference, we informed the general public that ER 128 speaks to the automatic promotion at the primary level. However, at the secondary level, the determination for promotion and graduation is done in accordance with the schools' academic policies and assessment practices.
Sacred Heart Junior College flowchart for registering
Accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. There are two ways to apply.
BWS Payment plans
BWS advises customers that payment plans are now available for those who have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proof of unemployment due to COVID-19 must be presented!
Feel free to contact us or visit the nearest office if you have any questions or concerns.
Situation in Santa Elena taken at 6pm today and on the road from Belmopan!
Heavy, dangerous smoke that is so thick you can smell it and taste it. Imagine the sheer volume of particulate matter we are inhaling, deep into our lungs, ever day and night for weeks at a time , with only 1-2 days reprieve over the last month!
The Health of 10s of thousands being impacted by a few who insist on lighting fires during this pandemic and who seem to not understand that we are in a drought and that smoke is harmful to all of us, including them!
At this point , the new fire regulations are insufficient to stop this practice because it requires that arsonist and persons lighting fires are caught in the act or that the authorities can prove that the person started the fire; as a result , I haven’t read of a single person being charged under the new regs. In fact, the number of fires seem to have increased.
Perhaps it is time, during this SOE at least, for the legislation to contemplate having the landowner be liable for fires on their property, regardless of who may have started it. Maybe this would result in a curbing of this ridiculous and unrelenting #smoke situation. Nothing else seems to help. Instead, we suffer day in, day out!
Belize is COVID Free, But Can We Stay That Way?
For the first time since March 23rd., Belize is free of COVID 19 tonight.
The last two cases have come back with a second negative test, meaning that they have shed the COVID virus. So there are zero cases of COVID-19 in Belize tonight.
And while that may be cause for modest celebration, the call tonight is for caution. Right outside our borders - the numbers are surging up. Guatemala's total up to yesterday was 730 cases with 46 cases in the East of the country, which includes our neighbour Peten.
Cross Border Couple Sent To Jail, Not Quarantine
But while the country rejoices in its COVID free status, there are two cross border cases being watched tonight.
49 year old Jose Alfredo Aguilar and 48 year old Dalia Aguilar, both from San Jose village, Orange Walk are at the Hattieville prison in isolation tonight. They pleaded guilty to crossing the borders illegally and were sentenced to three months in jail.
They are the parents in the family of four that had been caught slipping into Belize on Saturday afternoon. They were captured on camera coming over an illegal crossing.
Security Minister Thought They Were Going Into Quarantine
Today, we caught up with the Attorney General and Minister of National Security, Mike Peyrefitte to ask about what went wrong in this case.
He says Cabinet did discuss it today - and the understanding was that they would be quarantined:
"In cabinet this morning we discussed the matter and we all agree that in deed these people would be quarantine under the Ministry of Health, so like I said I would need to speak to the different section before I am fully appraised..."
Water Taxi Ram - Jam
And, another possible COVID trouble area being looked at is water taxis coming off San Pedro. As we showed you yesterday, the lines into the water ferries did not show adequate social distance. And, today, a picture circulated of those sitting on a ferry, shows that all seating was full, apparently above capacity.
We asked the Security Minister about it today:
"A water taxi leaving from any terminal within the country, then clearly that's more than seating capacity. The busses, planes and water taxis are the exception to the 6 feet rule..."
Area Rep Recovered From The San Pedro Slapdown?
We'll have comments from Commissioner Chester Williams about that water taxi situation later on.
We also asked security minister Peyrefitte about the situation with his cabinet colleague and San Pedro area rep who had to be reigned in after he went too far with a San Pedro proclamation for the state of emergency.
Peyrefitte said it is all smoothed over:
"Mayor Guerrero and Minister Heredia - they are going all out to make sure they represent the people in San Pedro and so if they want to take extra special measures to protect what they believe is their responsibility nobody can fault them for that..."
Stranded On a Ship, No Direction Home
Belizeans in far flung corners of the world continue to wait for a signal that Belize's borders may be opened, just a little - to let them back into their home country.
Foremost among those are scores of students, whose courses of study, scholarship funds, or visas may be coming to an end, and they've got nowhere to go, no direction home. We've heard from students in Cuba, the UK, India, and the US, who are stuck in their country of study, with no active prospect for repatriation.
Will "Butane"ť Be Scarce With New Supplier?
Last night, we told you about the latest in the battle over Liquified Petroleum Gas, which has been playing out in the Supreme Court, and the Appeal Court.
The 3 Central American importers of cooking gas: Gas Tomza, Southern Choice Butane, and Belize Western Energy Limited, are no longer authorized to import butane into Belize. Their import license from the Government expired last week Thursday. As we've reported, they've gone to the high courts to challenge the Barrow Administration's refusal to renew those licenses.
New Butane Importer is Ready
Right now, the National Gas Company is finalizing its work to set up its operation. Like other businesses, it is trying to cope with all the challenges that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions under the State of Emergency.
But once there is a return to normalcy, should customers expect any difference in the way they purchase butane?
We asked the Managing Director of the National Gas Company about how the retail end of the industry will work, with them as the sole importers of LPG.
Cabinet Not Seeing A Butane Crisis
Today the Attorney General told us that this is not a matter which has caught the attention of Cabinet.
"It has not reached the point where it has become a national issue. We believe we have the situation under control. The cabinet is still dominated by the Covid19. That is our major concern and that's what 99% of cabinet is right now- trying to make sure that we can strike a balance between opening back the economy and keeping the people safe. But we are not at that stage where we believe there is a crisis for us to deal with. We believe we are secure in the production of butane and we believe that all Belizeans will have butane."
LPG Attorney's Gets Sharp Response From The Court of Appeal
Today we also asked the Attorney General about the pending appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Audrey Matura, attorney for the Central American LPG companies, told us via telephone on Thursday that she is already preparing to seek leave to appeal this second judgment at the Caribbean Court of Justice.
She also pointed out that the substantive case that her clients have brought against the Government is still pending, and she will be pursuing that matter in the Supreme Court for a full hearing in the near future.
Keeping Safe Distance On Water Taxi's
Earlier in the news, we showed you pictures of overcrowded Water, taxis which made the social media rounds. And today during a brief visit to San Pedro Commissioner of Police Chester Willams says he advised water taxi personnel on how to better implement social distancing both during boarding and disembarkation. He spoke to the San Pedro Sun.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"One of the greatest concerns that people on the island as well as those on mainland have is the issue relating to the water taxi. Now there are several photographs going around on social media showing that these water taxis are over crowded..."
San Pedro, Only If You're Essential
The Commissioner also made a point to the San Pedro Sun, saying that while the country is opening up, cross-district travel, including travel to the breezy islands, is still limited to essential purposes only.
"We must understand that while we have open up to some extent there is still restriction of movement in respect to cross municipality, cross districts and so just like if you are in Belize City you want to go to Belmopan or you want to go to Orange Walk..."
A Bonanza For Barbers and Beauticians
On Friday, many Belizeans got the much-awaited news that barbershops and salons were allowed to re-open. And it's not just women clamoring to get their nails and hair done. Men were likewise eager for fresh cuts and "mark -up's".
Cherisse Halsall headed to some local salons and barber shops to find out about post quarantine grooming needs:
Charged For Working Out?
And while some rushed to get hair, nails and eyebrows done, in the personal care department, many also wanted to get back into the gym - which have bene closed for more than a month.
But, those remain closed by State of Emergency decree - one of those ones which must remain closed, along with papa's and casinos.
MOE and UNICEF Team Up To Feed Kids
This morning, the officials from the Ministry of Education started distributing food hampers to the families of needy school children who are beneficiaries of their annual school feeding programs.
According to the Ministry, its feeding program has providing for 1,400 school children countrywide. Through a generous donation from UNICEF in Belize, the families of 1,000 of these needy children will be receiving the hampers, which contain food, and hygiene supplies to help them get through this COVID-19 pandemic.
A Close Response To Distance Learning
The press also took the opportunity to ask the Chief Education Officer about how parents and students countrywide have been embracing the Ministry's attempts at distance learning.
As we told you last week, the Ministry has been producing printed lessons for parents to pick up from grocery stores countrywide. Those who have access to radio can engage in daily lessons that the Ministry has produced. And, if you and your child have access to the internet, the Ministry has uploaded those lessons on their government website for easy downloading.
What Do Tertiary Students Think?
And while secondary schools are urged to show compassion with promotions, tertiary institutions have pretty much been left on their own.
Last week the National Student Union of Belize held a forum to discuss the state of education generally under the state of emergency. Panelists NSUB executive director Dominique Noralez, Rhodes Scholar elect Abby Godoy Guillen and UWI student Rolando Caballero gave three unique perspectives on the difficult realities of the 2020 academic year. And in the first part of their discussion, we asked their opinion on whether schools should be allowed to re-open.
Belize Down to ZERO Active COVID-19 Cases
Belize is down to zero active COVID-19 cases. This is the good news that emerged from the Ministry of Health this afternoon and is widely welcomed by Belizeans. But according [...]
DO NOT Let Your Guard Down! Second COVID-19 Wave Likely to Happen
While some of the most severe restrictions in modern days have been relaxed, the state of emergency remains in place for another two months. With an imminent second wave of [...]
23 Persons Die of COVID-19 in Quintana Roo
Neighbouring countries in the north and west, Mexico and Guatemala, are recording an increase of COVID-19 cases. With Belizeans illegally crossing the border, the possibility of a more lethal second [...]
Body 2000 Shut Down, Six Persons Charged for SOE-related Offenses
The full force of the law unexpectedly came down on Body 2000 this morning. The popular gym, located on Coney Drive, closed during the state of emergency and is not [...]
ComPol Williams Says Exercise was Taking Place at Body 2000
So a member of the police team says the building was shuttered and locked and they got no answer from inside. Neal and the other five persons charged also have [...]
Norwegian Cruise Lines Warns of Possible Bankruptcy
What is the future of Harvest Caye in southern Belize? As you know, the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc in the entire tourism industry across the globe, when no sail orders [...]
Has National Gas Company Commenced Commercial Operations?
As of May first 2020, importers of liquefied petroleum gas—Gas Tomza Limited, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas and Belize Western Energy Limited—cannot import butane gas into Belize. That responsibility belongs [...]
Foreign Company Controls Majority Shares of National Has Company
Matura also raised questions about the owners of the National Gas Company. The company is a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Belize holding twenty-five percent of shares. The list of [...]
Gang Truce Amid COVID-19, Police Street Unites
Earlier this year, a state of emergency was instituted on the south side of the city allowing for the imprisonment of gang members due to the spike in violent crimes. [...]
Social Distancing in Water Taxis Causing a Headache for the Police
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams addressed the concerns arising from the lack of social distancing at the water taxi terminals and on their vessels. While these can now operate, today [...]
Is San Pedro Residents, Businesses Complying with S.O.E. Regulations?
ComPol Chester Williams was in San Pedro today where he met with Coastal Executive Officer, Superintendent Chris Noble and his team of officers as well as with San Pedro Mayor, [...]
Ministry of Education Speaks on High School Promotions
Secondary schools are still working out what will happen for students when the new academic year starts in September. Will they all be promoted to a new class or will [...]
There’s a Growing Demand for MOE’s Educational Resources
When she spoke with reporters today, Doctor Carol Babb also gave an update on the progress of the ministry’s educational programmes for students. As you know, the ministry is offering [...]
The Mandatory Use of Face Masks
The use of face masks is now a must for persons venturing in public during the next thirty days of the state of emergency. That has created a whole new [...]
Are You Wearing Your Mask in the Public?
The cost of not wearing a mask in public can cost you five thousand dollars – it is a hefty fine to pay when reusable masks are going for as [...]
Forest Fires Killed Animals, Destroyed Habitats
The rains last week doused the huge fires that were burning out of control in the Vaca and Chiquibul forest in the west. The damage, however, was already done. Huge [...]
UNICEF Gifts 1,000 Care Packages to Feeding Programme Recipients
This morning, UNICEF handed over a thousand boxes of food and hygiene items to the Ministry of Education. The hampers are for underprivileged students who are enrolled in the government’s [...]
Can UB Offer Other Options to Students Instead of Withdrawal?
On April twenty-second, the University of Belize issued a three-page press release to update students about steps being taken as the university navigates these uncertain COVID-19 times. There are some [...]
National Students’ Union of Belize Advices UB Students to Not Fully Withdraw
UB’s President Sankat has said that the students withdrawing from the course will not warrant any academic or financial penalty and students will be able to re-register for such courses [...]
OCEANA & BTV Partner Up to Provide COVID-19 Relief for Toledo Fisherfolk
Fifty families in Toledo are set to receive food hampers. The generous donation is being sponsored by OCEANA Belize through the Belize Territorial Volunteers. The food packages are to extend [...]
The International Office of Migration Makes Donation to Ministry of Human Services
The Ministry of Human Services also received a donation today. It came from the International Office of Migration comprising of three hundred hygiene kits to benefit vulnerable populations. The packages [...]
New Laws Restrict Cultural Practice of Fishing in Coastal Communities
And going back to the south, when we spoke with Wil Maheia today he shared that one of the restrictions has been very tough for residents to deal with in [...]