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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
Trust for the Americas Official Launch of the Ad-hoc Multistakeholder Open Government Steering Committee
As part of the second phase of an Open Government project: Transformation to an Open Public Administration in Belize, The Trust for the Americas in coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS), announces the official formation of an Ad-hoc Multi-stakeholder Steering Committee: The Belize Open Gov SC. This Open Government project, through funding support from the US Embassy Belmopan, is working to strengthen the creation of networks and fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration, supporting a longterm process to spur innovation, improving local government services, and activating international support mechanisms for enabling Belize to join the Open Government global movement.
IDB reports deteriorating tax revenues in the region
The report states that the increase of 0.4% points from 2017 to 2018 is the highest level of tax revenues ever recorded for the region. Belize recorded an increase of 1.4 percent, one of three countries recording the largest tax revenue increase (Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana being the other two countries). However, those LAC tax revenues are still considered far below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, averaging a mere 34.3% in 2018. This limits the LAC’s capacity to finance public goods and services or to cushion economic shocks in the region.
Ministry of Natural Resources Issues Statement on Squatting
It has been brought to the Ministry’s attention that unauthorized individuals are involved with private lands in the Agricultural Area of Cotton Tree Village, near the Benny’s Warehouse at mile 44, George Price Highway, Cayo District. The public is advised to be cautious not to engage in activities that lead to the illegal disposal of land and unauthorized occupation as persons will do so at their own risk.
Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce Announces Third Annual Competitiveness Month
The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce (MITC) through its statutory body, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), along with several of its key regional and private sector partners, is teaming up to host a virtual Competitiveness Month 2020. Competitiveness Month, which began three years ago, is a month-long series of activities that aim to strengthen competitiveness in the private sector through the enabling environment created by the government.
Caye Caulker Unites To Feed Its Villagers In Need
The sun shines bright on the island of Caye Caulker as businesses and individuals unite to form a feeding program that supports much of the island’s residents that are in need. Caye Caulker has always been and remains COVID-19 free. However, with no tourists here to enjoy the tropical paradise, even to date as Belize has opened itself up, the unemployment is in the 85% range.
Various Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Soup Kitchen day Location
Wednesday, May 12th Meal Pick Ups
Location: Fantasy Dining
Village: 11:00am - 11:45am.
Bahia: 11:45am - 12:30pm.
Thanks for bringing your containers and bags!
Happy Nurses' Day
The Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin all smiles today with the Nurses at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Belmopan.
On behalf of the Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin and the wider Ministry of Health Management and staff, a Happy Nurses' Day.
Missing from the photo, we also salute, Nurse Lorna Perez, surveillance Officer and Nurse Donovan Cacho, Health Planner at the Ministry.
Belikin Stout Chocolate Bar
There's a Belikin Stout Chocolate Bar! The Belize Chocolate Company has teamed up with Belikin to create it, and it can be bought at the Belikin Store online.
Lord Michael Ashcroft Relief Fund Donates $1 Million For To Ministry Of Health For Covid19 Supplies
Тhе Міnіѕtrу оf Неаlth ѕоught ѕuрроrt frоm thе Lоrd Аѕhсrоft Rеlіеf Fund Соmmіttее tо рrосurе muсh-nееdеd ѕuррlіеѕ tо fіght аgаіnѕt thе СОVІD-19 раndеmіс.
Тhе соmmіttее rеѕроndеd аnd аftеr dіѕсuѕѕіоnѕ wіth thе Міnіѕtrу аnd соmmіttеd tо ѕuрроrtіng thе fіnаnсіng оf сrіtісаl mеdісаl ѕuррlіеѕ.
Тhе соmmіttее hаѕ ехреndеd $1,296,415 tоwаrd thе асquіѕіtіоn оf thе fоllоwіng:
Virtual Information Hub in partnership with the Child Development Foundation
IOM’s Virtual Information Hub in partnership with the Child Development Foundation (CDF) is intended to provide vital information to migrants in Belize (in English and Spanish) during the COVID-19 crisis.
Part two of the information session will take place on May 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. The session will focus on Risks for Gender Based Violence for Migrant Populations, including: Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and Accessing Help.
NGC REFUSES TO DISCLOSE SALE PRICE OF BUTANE/LPG
Despite repeated request by the former importers of LPG, the monopoly NGCL has refused to answer their questions regarding the new sale price for butane/LPG.
Gas Tomza Ltd, Zeta Gas and Belize Western Energy Limited (BWEL) have all written to the Belize National Gas Company (NGCL) individually, to attain the new price regime for LPG and the start date of sales since their licenses to import LPG expired on April 30, 2020. Those correspondences did not achieve any result. Subsequently, their attorney wrote to the BNGC and the Belize Bureau of Standards on May 6, 2020 to:
King's College Application Form
King's College invites those interested in attending the school to click on the link and apply.
This is our testing data up until today.
The persons being tested are for the most part being from random samples being taken across the country as is the 'persons under investigation'.
The second infographic is the regional Central American data where numbers continue to rise in most countries.
Our work continues.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS - OUTSTANDING FISHER OF THE YEAR 2020 AWARD
Submit your completed nomination form explaining why the nominee should be recognized as the Outstanding Fisher of the Year 2020.
Submissions MUST include:
1. Your name and contact information
2. The fisher’s name and your relationship to him/her
3. Number of years nominee has been fishing
4. Whether he/she belongs to a cooperative and/or association; and the name of the Cooperative or Association AND
5. A copy of the nominee’s fisher-folk license...
Galen's SGA has 72 online tutoring slots for secondary and primary students
Let them know if you'd like to schedule one.
Francis Canto Jr on the Global Big Day
Join us tomorrow, May 13th at 10.00am for another Facebook Live as Francis Canto Jr talks about our results on the Global Big Day!
Repatriation Flights to the USA
United Airlines flight UA3044, which departs Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) on Thursday May 14, 2020 at 12:00 noon and arrives in Houston at 15:28 pm, is fully booked. If you are a passenger on this flight, please read the following important information concerning your safe departure from Belize. If you are not a passenger on this flight but are still interested in repatriating to the United States, please skip to step number 5.
The Artist of the Day, Chanelle Parks
Chanelle was born in Belize City on October 20, 1992, and grew up in the Lake independence area, until 2003 when she moved to Belmopan. She is currently employed as a Forensic Analyst at the National Forensic Science Service Laboratory. She has been singing since the tender age of 2 and has been performing professionally since 2010. Her love for music stems from both parents, she got her singing voice from her mother and her love of diverse genres of music from my father. She has sung with the University of Belize Choir, Belmopan Choral Society, and Allegro Music School Choir and has performed with Francis Reneau yearly since 2012. However, she became more of a household name when she participated and placed third in Channel 5’s show “If You Can Sing It, Bring It” in 2014.
"Stitching Connections during Covid-19: Belize's Northern Maya Association Embroidery and Huipil Design Project"
Learning how to express our identity! A wonderful initiative by Banquitas House of Culture and the Northern Maya Association. The great news is that we have our Corozal trainer being trained in order to bring the program to the Corozal House of Culture. Stay tuned for future program dates.
No Word On Way Forward After First Wave
29 days has passed without a positive COVID test in Belize, and many are asking what's next? Well, yesterday the National Task Force, chaired by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition met in a video conference to discuss options for the way forward. And today, Cabinet met to go over those recommendations and make its own deliberations.
But, right now, the final result of those remain Cabinet confidential. The Prime Minister made no national address today, but he is expected to do so tomorrow or, at the latest, Thursday.
Strike On The Western Front
But, first, to the western border, which remains blocked with Guatemalan grain trucks tonight. As we told you last night, about five 18 wheelers from Guatemala which are here to purchase grain from Spanish Lookout have blocked the bridge on the Guatemalan side. They've come from far away, and in a type of strike action - say they aren't moving anywhere unless they get to pick up the grain. But, the Immigration Department doesn't want to let in the Guatemalan drivers, and - we are told - the proposal is for Belizean towheads to pull in the trailers, as is the practice in the north.
DHS Says "Keep On Truckin'"
But, as we said, neither the trade nor the economy is the first consideration, health is foremost. Belize has no active COVID cases right now - while truckers at the border come from Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador - all countries with active cases.
But, is there an acceptable risk and a middle ground to keep the economic interests going? When we asked the Director of Health Services yesterday on Ask the Experts, he seemed to think so:
The Desolation of A Car Salesman
And while the protest at the western border continues one man is making protestations about being barred entry from Belize. Last night we told you about Guillermo Foreman, a Belizean who's stuck at the Chactemal bridge waiting to get into the country. Well, tonight he's still there with no prospect for entry, and no choice but to keep begging health authorities to let him in.
As we've told you the borders are closed and have been since March. Foreman told The Reporter that he left the US on May the 6th, knowing that Belize spent the month of April in the State of Emergency but not knowing that it had been extended for another 60 days.
Was It The Vaccine?
The Ministry of Health is investigating the sudden death of an infant child in Independence Village.
Yesterday evening, 20 year old Alfredo Caal and 18 year old Filomena Ical both from Bella Vista village showed up the Independence Poly clinic with their 5 month old child, Kynslee Jasmin Caal. The child passed away shortly after arrival at the clinic and appeared to be having respiratory issues.
He Stole Power; His House Burnt Down
Last night, we told you about the distress that 29-year-old Dorian Garnett is currently facing. His home in the windmill area of Hattieville Village was destroyed by fire on Saturday night.
He told us that he was in Mahogany Heights when he received multiple phone calls that his house was on fire. A second account, which police got, was that he and another person got into an argument inside the house. That other person reportedly lit the house on fire. You'll also remember that in his interview with us, he claimed that someone intentionally burnt it down.
Can Tourism Come Back Without Greenbacks?
Last week during a virtual Press Conference, the Prime Minister mentioned that swimming with social distance would be allowed as early as this week.
And while that's a relief for everyone trying to beat the heat, swimming is a major draw for weekend excursions to tourist destinations and could be the impetus for local bookings.
It's a measure of relief for a suffering Hotel Association having to adjust to lower traffic and much higher standards. This morning we spoke to Hotel Association President Ted Tejada who says that while the airport remains closed, hotels are making themselves more open than ever to domestic tourism.
The Secret To 4 Weeks Without A COVID Case
29 days without a positive COVID test - Belize is one of only 12 countries in the world with that distinction. And, if you look at the trends in this region, everyone's curve is going up, while ours has flattened.
Panama, for example has 8,616 cases with 249 deaths, while Guatemala has 1,114 cases with 26 deaths.
But, right now, Belize has zero active cases, and of course, two deaths.
While the deaths are truly sad, overall, we have fared off much better than our neighbours and the rest of the world.
Judges vs. Doctors, Who Should Get Paid More?
And while it is left to be seen if the government now relaxes that Phase 3 level response, we had a real sidebar conversation with Dr. Manzanero.
We asked him how much he is getting paid, in the context of how much medical professionals are paid in the public healthcare system, generally.
Butane Supplier Closes Branches Countrywide
The battle over the local supply of liquified Petroleum Gas is continuing this week, and one of the former Central American importers is reporting tonight that it has no more cooking gas to sell to its customers.
Southern Choice Butane, formerly known as Zeta Gas, Gas Tomza, and Belize Western Energy Limited are currently in Court against the Barrow Administration for the creation of a new regime, which unseated them as importers of LPG into Belize. They say that the government-enforced change in the market is unjust, and a constitutional challenge to that change is pending in the Supreme Court.
BDF Destroyed Toledo Clandestine Airstrip
13 days ago, the BDF blew up an illegal airstrip in the vicinity of Machaquilha Village, in the remote southwestern reaches of the Toledo District. A release says the BDF Explosive Ordinance Team was deployed to conduct demolition operations to deter the landing of illegal aircraft.
The release adds that quote, "specialized rigging was initiated and the entire 750-meter runway was loaded with over 2000 plus pounds of High Explosives to enable its destruction. A total of 11 craters measuring 6' in depth by 10' - 12' in diameter was placed on the runway to render it inoperable."
Putting Out Forest Fires, A Team Effort
Over the past 2 weeks, we've been reporting on the wildfires that were wreaking havoc in the Cayo District, and smoking out major communities nearby. Well, a joint press release from all the organizations involved in the fight against these fires, says that the situation is under control, for now.
That release notes that downpour over the weekend brings an end to the weeks of firefighting effort by the Forest Department, the Fire Department, the Towns, and City Councils many other partner organizations, including PACT, BECOL, and several conservation NGO's.
Indian Community Care Packages
The COVID-19 financial crisis has brought Belize even harder times than usual, but it's also revealed a philanthropic spirit among the many Belizean businesses that have offered a helping hand to the most needy.
We've told you about the food packages provided by Belize City's Indian community and today we caught up with them as they prepared to hand out 200 additional packages to the residents of the Collett area.
Dinesh Bhojwani, Former President of the Community says plans are in the works to extend their food assistance efforts for a longer period of time.
Belize Needs More Nurses
Since, last Wednesday, the nurses of the world have been celebrating International Nurse Week 2020. It's a particularly timely nod of respect to these healthcare workers. They are currently on the front-lines of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 290,000 lives around the globe.
Nurses week concluded with International Nurse Day, which was observed today. To say thanks to the almost 600 nurses in Belize's healthcare system, two of the leading figures in the profession made an appearance on the Government Press Office's Ask the Experts webcast. Here's a short excerpt about the challenges that nurses in Belize are currently facing, while on the fight against COVID-19:
A Caye Caulker Kitchen
Earlier in this segment, we told you about grocery food packages being distributed in Belize City, but there's also relief for the Caye Caulker villagers. That's because of a Soup Kitchen started by Peggy Clark of Bondi Beach restaurant and carried on by John Newhouse and his team.
It's a major effort supported by 11 restaurants and 50 volunteers providing daily meals for 350 needy island residents.
In late April we brought you the story of Fuego the Kinkajou, a victim of the western fires, being nursed back to health by the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic.
Tonight we have the unfortunate task of informing you of his passing. Fuego had been electrocuted while attempting to escape his rescuers and while his burns had all but healed, the electrocution burns severely compromised him.
Illegal Airstrips Destroyed in Toledo
Several clandestine airstrips have been identified for destruction in the Toledo District where an operation led by the Belize Defense Force will continue to see these makeshift runways being destroyed [...]
Placencia Beaches Disappearing Due to Dredging
There is significant beach erosion near Maya Beach in the Placencia peninsula. In the area, the beach has eroded up to fifteen feet. Residents say that dredging for a marina [...]
Southern Choice Butane Closes All Branches
The war waged by the former LPG importers has moved to another level. Today, Southern Choice Butane (Zeta Gas) announced that it is shutting down operations countrywide. Fifty employees are [...]
Former LPG Importers Say B.B.S and N.G.C.L. Playing Hard Ball
The three former LPG importers, Gas Tomza, Zeta Gas and Belize Western Energy Limited say they have still been unable to get the new price regime for butane from the [...]
Former LPG Importers Asked to Reveal LPG Inventory Data
According to Attorney Audrey Matura, while the former importers are unable to receive an answer from the National Gas Company as to the sale price, the Belize Bureau of Standards [...]
Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund Donates $1.3 Million to the Ministry of Health
Lord Michael Ashcroft will be on Open Your Eyes this Thursday morning and we’ll hear from him on a wide range of issues, including the shocks caused by the novel [...]
Reopening Local Tourism; Great Deals for Belizeans to Overnight at Hotels Across the Country
Belize, along with Barbados and Bahamas, is being cited as the three countries in the Caribbean region hardest hit in the tourism industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that [...]
When Will Belize Open Up to International Tourists?
Local tourists only contribute to ten percent of the revenues collected by hoteliers across the country; the bulk of its income is made by international tourists who would take advantage [...]
Hotel Restaurants & Pool to Be Reopened to Guests
It is expected that later this week, restaurants at hotels as well as pools will now be allowed to be open to guests. Belize Hotel Association President and General Manager [...]
A Guideline for Hotels/Resorts Going Forward with COVID-19
The tourism industry in Belize collapsed as soon as COVID-19 began to spread in the region. As early as January of this year, hoteliers began experiencing cancellations in reservations and [...]
Five-Month-Old Baby Girl Dies Days after Being Vaccinated
The cause of death of a five-month-old baby girl is under investigation tonight. The parents of baby Kynslee Jasmin Caal rushed her to the Independence Polyclinic on Monday evening after [...]
Was Ambulance Driver Justified in Sunday’s Frightening Ordeal?
The sighting of heavily armed police officers with guns drawn at an ambulance transporting a patient has triggered debate and raised questions about the driver of vehicle as well as [...]
Director of Health Services Comments on Guatemalan Truckers
At the western border cargo trucks are still lining up. The Ministry of Immigration intervened on Monday after Guatemalan truck drivers blocked cargo trucks, coming from Guatemala, from entering Belize. [...]
Guillermo Foreman Remains at Northern Border
Belmopan resident Guillermo Foreman remains stuck at the northern border. He has been there since Friday after he made his way from the United States through Mexico. He was in [...]
Are Hoteliers Willing to Accept Repatriated Belizeans for Quarantine Period?
One last issue on the tourism industry…In his press conference last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke about the repatriation of Belizeans stranded in other countries. They are expected to [...]
Public Service Union Calls Out G.O.B. on Wasteful Spending
The Public Service Union and the Belize National Teachers will meet with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow on Wednesday to iron out issues regarding the government’s proposed cost-saving measures. G.O.B. [...]
Nurses: A Voice to Lead; Nursing the World to Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed further light on the critical work that nurses do to save lives. International Nurses Day was observed today across the globe to recognize the noble [...]
A Salute to Nurses on the Frontline of Belize’s COVID-19 Response
National Nurses’ Week is celebrated from May sixth through to May twelfth. On the culmination of this globally recognized event, today the Acting Deputy Director of Health Services Ann Matute [...]
Shortage of Nurses in Belize – an Ongoing Challenge
One of the pressing challenges facing the healthcare system in Belize is that there is a shortage of nurses. Currently there are eight hundred and ninety eight active nurses, with [...]
There is Mental Health Support for Nurses
So, hospitals are understaffed as it relates to nurses, which results in nurses being overworked. And because of this, many nurses may experience fatigue and other stresses that come from [...]
200 More Food Packages Courtesy Belize-Indian Community
The Belize-Indian community made an eight thousand dollars donation for underprivileged families who are feeling the economic pinch as a result of COVID-19. That eight grand is only a fraction [...]
BELTRAIDE Hosts Virtual Competitiveness Month
BELTRAIDE is taking its competitiveness month activities online. It’s the unit’s approach to adapt to the current state of affairs due to COVID-19. BELTRAIDE and its partners will hold a [...]
Are You Ready for the Ozzy Challenge?
Across the country, thousands of primary school students remain at home where they have been since March twentieth when classes were called off due to the COVID-19 threat. The extended [...]
Police Draw Weapons to Stop a Presumed Runaway Ambulance
An ambulance was stopped by heavily armed police at the Hattieville junction on Sunday afternoon. It was coming from Hopkins in the south and was transporting a patient accompanied by [...]
Police Department Demands Apology for Ambulance Fiasco
Even though the police department found out that the ambulance was in fact transporting a patient, and so the life of a the patient was at risk, the Commissioner of [...]