Belize confirms 150+ COVID-19 cases
The Office of the Director of Health Services has announced that a total of 153 positive COVID-19 cases have been identified in Belize as of August 8, 2020. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been engaged in enhanced surveillance and contact tracing in an effort to locate and test persons who may have been exposed to any of the clusters found in San Pedro, Orange Walk and Corozal.
On Friday, a total of 214 samples were processed, and from that batch, a total of 32 positive cases were confirmed. Saturday’s testing revealed 7 new cases.
Currently, the majority of the cases are in the Belize District — 75 in total; this is due to two clusters on Ambergris Caye.
Top cops —Dawson, Arzu and Lorenzo—suspended for 2 months
Letters of Suspension from duties for 2 months were issued today to three high-ranking police officers by Commissioner of Police Chester Williams. The officers are ACP Alden Dawson, Regional Commander, Belize District; Sr. Superintendent Daniel Arzu, Region 1 Commander; and ASP Edlin Lorenzo, Commander of the GSU. The announcement was made by Commissioner Williams today.
Commissioner Williams said that before the 5-day administrative leave on which the officers had been placed expired, a letter concerning the 60-day suspension was sent to the CEO in the Ministry of National Security and the National Services Commission for approval so that the suspension of the officers could go into effect immediately after the 5-day administrative leave had expired.
OW nurses reveal COVID-19 dangers to Nurses Association
In the wake of the steep increase in COVID-19 infections in the country, which has led to a State of Emergency, particularly in 4 areas — San Pedro Town, Santa Martha, Blue Creek, and Shipyard – which are currently under complete lockdown, the nurses of the Northern Regional Hospital have written to the Nurses Association to highlight their concerns and to request guidance and leadership to address the situation they (the nurses) are facing.
The letter written to the association was leaked to the press, and it went viral.
San Pedro under complete lockdown for 14 days
At a virtual press conference held this evening, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that because of an alarming surge in COVID-19 infections, the island of San Pedro will be under a complete lockdown for the next 14 days.
Things have been bleak on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, since last Sunday, August 2, when a mysterious case of COVID-19 was discovered.
As reported, this case originally had no known source of infection, as the patient claimed that she had not traveled internationally; however, her entire family had suffered flu-like symptoms prior to the release of test results which confirmed that she was infected with the coronavirus.
Teacher tests positive for COVID-19
On Saturday, August 8, the Diocesan Education Board – Managing Authority with responsibility for All Saints’ School — notified the public via a press release that one of their educators had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the release, the teacher was showing symptoms, but was remaining calm and self-isolating.
The Diocesan board also contacted other educators who were in contact with the teacher during the prior week, and have reportedly made arrangements to sanitize the school based on guidance from health officials.
Galindo brothers arrested for masterminding San Ignacio shooting
An investigation into the shooting of five persons — 4 men and a woman — at about 1:30 Sunday morning, July 18, in the parking lot of CK Sports Club in San Ignacio, initially led police to John Alexander Hendy, 33, an unemployed resident of Santa Elena Town, and Travis Tyler Navarro, 26, a self-employed resident of Gaol Lane in Belize City.
Police announced today, however, that a further investigation into the shooting led to two men who are believed to be the masterminds of the shooting. Minor Galindo, 31, an unemployed Santa Elena resident, and his brother, David Galindo, 34, a self-employed Santa Elena resident, have been charged jointly with conspiracy to commit murder.
Thousands of Belizeans confirmed for repatriation
The Philip Goldson International Airport remains closed to visitors until further notice; however, the repatriation process is still well underway.
As of Friday, August 7, 2020, a total of 453 Belizeans had been brought home, while a remaining 1,032 are in the process of being returned.
Since the start of the program, there has hardly been a repatriation cohort that has returned with no active cases of COVID-19 onboard the returning flights.
Which way to Middlesex?
I enjoyed Mr. Morales’ well-researched historical piece “Belmopan Turns 50” (See: Amandala, August 4, 2020), commemorating Belmopan’s 50th anniversary. I’ve lived here for 42 of those years and feel qualified to add a bit of personal flavor to his review.
In 1978 I got a job with the DFC in Belmopan and set out on our New Capital sojourn. We rented a duplex on Oriole Avenue. The water from the shower was Río On cold, even at midday. Our neighbors included a retired chief justice, the nation’s premier and a nationally acclaimed electrical engineer. We were already on our way up.
Belmopan man busted with over 12 lbs. of weed
Michael Anthony Neal, 25, of Oriole Street, Belmopan, has been charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply after 12 pounds of weed was found in his house during a search by police this morning.
Neal was at home when the search was conducted.
Neal was taken, along with the marijuana, to the police station, where he was booked and the drug was deposited as an exhibit. He has been detained pending arraignment at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court.
Vildo Westby found guilty of murder for the death of Jose Ayuso of San Pedro
A police manhunt that lasted over 18 months came to an end when Mexican authorities in Vera Cruz, Mexico, found Vildo Lorenzo Westby, 30, a baker of San Pedro, who was wanted by Belize police for the murder of Jose Ayuso, 44, the owner of a unisex salon in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, who was found dead in his home on February 2, 2017.
Westby was handed over to Belize authorities and arraigned on a single charge of murder when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford on December 17, 2017. He was remanded into custody. He was represented by attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley.
US issues DO NOT TRAVEL advisory for Belize
Last Thursday, August 6, the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, issued a Level 4 – DO NOT TRAVEL advisory for Belize.
Health and crime are the reasons cited by the State Department. American citizens are advised that “violent crimes – such as sexual assault, home invasion, armed robberies, and murder are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.”
147 arrested for COVID-19 violations
Despite the fact that members of the public are urged to do all they can to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has been spiking and is now an issue of national concern, there has been an increase in the number of persons disobeying the protocols and ignoring both the practice of social distancing in public, and the requirement that they wear a mask to cover their faces and noses in public.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams announced that 147 persons have been arrested for various violations of these COVID-19-related regulations countrywide.
SI no. 111 of 2020 – what’s in it
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has clarified Statutory Instrument No. 111, which governs the State of Emergency now in effect to combat the spike in COVID-19 infections.
Williams said that the SI has two provisions: one that applies to the four areas that are on lockdown; and the other, to the rest of the country.
The lockdown areas are San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; and the following villages in the Orange Walk District: Guinea Grass, Shipyard and Santa Martha.
In these locked-down communities, the following applies: no one will be allowed in or out of the lockdown areas, except for emergency medical reasons or if those persons are essential workers going in to perform an essential service.
Mayor of Orange Walk tests negative for COVID-19
Orange Walk has been at the center of the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Belize for some weeks now. As reported, the district is the location for a number of cases that continue to multiply due to the illegal crossing of the northern border as well as contraband transactions in which a number of the residents have been partaking.
One such example of this is case #55, a male whose origin of contraction of the virus was initially unknown until his wife later revealed to the Department of Health Services that he, too, had purchased contraband goods from a neighbor in Santa Martha village.
Belize Coast Guard commences Operation Blue Lightning
The Belize Coast Guard has commenced an operation called Blue Lightning, which is designed to secure Belize’s territorial waters, and to ensure that our maritime borders remain secure, and also, to stop illegal activities in our seas.
River patrols to apprehend contraband runners, border jumpers and illegal entries into the country will also be carried out.
Operation Blue Lightning was rolled out with a toll-free phone number, 999, that can be dialed anytime to seek assistance or to provide information to the Coast Guard on any illegal maritime activity.
From the Publisher
Elsewhere in this issue I’ve included an insert from Cedric Grant’s book on “Modern Belize.” The insert gives you an idea of the almost absolute nature of white supremacy in the colony of British Honduras during the 1930s.
Belize became a self-governing colony in 1964, and achieved political independence in 1981. Our electoral politicians, however, after the eras of Rt. Hon. George Price and Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, started to depend on the huge financial donations of people like Sir Barry Bowen and Lord Michael Ashcroft. And so, today we have to wonder if it is not the case that we Belizeans have returned to a status where we roots are almost as helpless as we were in the 1930s.
Dale Pelayo appointed Head Coach for Male Senior National “A” Team for Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) is proud to announce that Coach Dale Pelayo has been appointed as Head Coach for the Male Senior National “A” Team for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. Following the new format announced by Concacaf earlier this week, Belize is scheduled to play four matches, two home and away in October 2020, and two matches in November 2020. The qualifiers are scheduled for 5th & 13th October and the 9th and 17th November 2020. The Football Federation of Belize has been meeting to develop a well sought out plan for the “A” National Team.
The making of a legend – piecing together the “Paama” Davis story – Part 1
When you start talking with an old timer, a legend in Belize sports, you don’t exactly know where you are heading; the conversation takes twists and turns, and what seemed simple at first, starts becoming more complicated; and soon you find that you need to understand and explain a lot more to get a complete picture and wholesome background to events that unfolded, and eventually became, as we sometimes say, “the stuff of legends.”
Wilfred “Paama” Davis, the legendary Belizean sportsman (football/basketball/baseball), was not born inside the Jewel.
Brother Clinton, Samuel Haynes is a great hero
I think the capitalists, socialists, and communists are similarly crafty when they take snippets from a person’s life to make a story to suit their ends. I understand why that is done, the necessity to satisfy an objective, but it is very unfair, and when we get a chance we should tell the full truth about a brother.
I think a lot of brown people don’t understand that they don’t know what it means to be black. We brownies can identify with the cause, we can have family who are in the middle of the struggle, we can try to put our feet in the shoes of our brother, but if you aren’t black you can never know the full experience.
Slavery and the Oligarchical System – Belize
On Monday, June 22, it was announced that the holding company that owns the Belize Bank Ltd. was in the process of buying out the assets and liabilities of Scotia Bank (Belize) Ltd.
Then, one month later, on July 22, a peaceful demonstration by the Christian Workers Union at the Port of Belize Ltd, which is under receivership under the Ashcroft alliance (Private Investment Ltd. and British Caribbean Bank Ltd.), erupted in violence. Emotions, frustration and disbelief are still running high, and truth and insight have taken a walk.
Clinton says he invented the term “PUDP”
There have been a lot of wrongful behavior in Belize from its inception. One example would be the hypocrisy of many leaders and members of the religious organizations. From the beginning, religion has served to dominate the minds of others and also as a weapon for wars, self-enrichment and the acquisition of power, which leads to arrogance. The Cross and the Christian Holy Bible that were brought to this continent and were introduced in Africa, were forced, with the sword and the whip, unto the people as the absolute truth. Today, such a belief system is not practiced among the majority of Europeans. Instead, it is used as the means to accomplish conditional power. Religious fanatics have been one of the most effective and strategic weapons of war of all time.
Musings by the Curious Nonconformist
I’ve long had discomfort with receiving gifts from people — not the thoughtful ones that make you warm and fuzzy inside; I love those. I’m talking about the ones that you know must be repaid sometime down the road of life. With that perspective and life principle you can deduce that I have a problem with many things in Belize: the way scholarships are awarded, paying for votes, and corporate philanthropy. Today’s thoughts will focus on the last of these three. If you were educated here in Belize, you know what philanthropy is, because we’ve had a March holiday to celebrate the person who we are told is our greatest benefactor, Baron Bliss — a man who left a huge chunk of his bequest to Belize after never stepping foot on our mainland.
Brian Plummer quotes virologist David Marchant
We must learn to live with COVID-19. On August 9, 2020, there were 20,024,263 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 773,995 deaths.
University of Alberta virologist David Marchant, who has spent his research life looking for a treatment for the dangerous respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), said that adding vaccines aren’t a certainty.
“I’m not optimistic that we’ll find a vaccine in the next few years because we have so little data on the coronavirus,” said Marchant, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Viral Pathogenesis.
Rogelio “Rojas” “Chi-chi” Cuellar passes
Just found out through Facebook that Rogelio “Rojas” “Chi-chi” Cuellar, my friend and neighbor from many years ago, has passed away.
The Cuellar family was a staple for many years on Main St. in Orange Walk, where they resided directly in front of Hi-Lite Club. They had a boarding house and restaurant, referred to as “The Dungeon”, because the rooms were below street level, where many of Hi-Lite Club’s customers and employees of B.S.I. lodged.
Two Belmopan Medical Center Staff Members Have Covid-19
The Belmopan Medical Center has just issued a release informing the public that two additional staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the press release both patients including registered pharmacist Elroy S. Franco and lab technician Jeser N. Leon have agreed to release their names to the public. The release went on to say that the results were released last night and that both patients recollect having practiced proper hygiene and etiquette while they were serving customers at the facility. In total three employees of the Belmopan Medical Center have tested positive for COVID-19.
The relation between illegal wildlife trading and pandemics
Crocodiles are a protected species in Belize, but like many others, it is hunted illegally, and its meat is sold in markets around the world. While this act greatly damaged ecosystems, it can also be harmful to human lives if unhealthy meat is consumed.
Chicken flying off the shelves
Several residents and business owners are being inconvenienced as there is an apparent shortage of chicken at the stores and retail outlets. The coolers at Caribbean Chicken are next to bare while the shutters at Quality Poultry Products are closed today.
CXC explains new grading system
The covid-10 pandemic has had a great effect on the way the CSEC exams were administered, including the proposed date that students should have taken them. With the changes the Caribbean Examinations Council has gotten innovative with a new grading system to accommodate them as well as to ensure that performance is at the same level of previous years.
Student union joins NTUCB
The National Trade Congress Union of Belize has accepted the National Student Union of Belize as a member of the NTUCB. On August 5 the Student union sent a letter to the NTUCB expressing their interest in becoming a member of the NTUCB.
Mose denies allegations of corruption
Was someone paid to block the gates at Port of Belize Limited three weeks ago? That is the question that still remains. On July 22 GSU officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at workers of PBL while they were protesting.
CWU president addresses concerns of stevedores
We have been closely following the story between two stevedores and their issues with the Christian Workers Union. The two stevedores have been saying that 4% of their salaries is deducted and placed into a stevedore fund due to an intermediate agreement that was signed back in 2017.
BPP fighting to legalize Hemp and Marijuana
The Belize Progressive Party is calling for the legalization of marijuana and hemp. The third-party issued a statement on social media last night indicating that the legalization would increase tax revenues, provide more jobs, and create investment opportunities. The BPP has not fleshed out its proposal on the issue but has noted that Belizeans currently spend twenty million dollars per year on marijuana for recreational use. Today we sought a preliminary statement from the Party Leader, Patrick Rogers on the movement.
The new norm; Masks and social distancing
The new norm under Covid-19 entails the wearing of masks, social distancing, and washing hands frequently. With a community spread happening and several clusters identified, we set out to the streets of the old capital to see how abiding residents are of these Covid-19 precautions. Key areas of concern were public transportation including buses and boats. Unlike several photos that have popped up on social media, our newsroom was unable to spot anyone person not wearing a mask. Love News visited the Novelo’s Bus terminal, San Pedro Belize Express, and Ocean Ferry Water Taxi terminal and we were able to speak to a Security Officer at Ocean Ferry, tasked with enforcing the measures.
PUP comments on Health Sector in Belize
Tonight the People’s United Party (PUP) is saying that the health monitoring system in Belize has collapsed and that the Government has mis-spent resources over the last five months. It is quite an accusation against the Barrow administration and those at the forefront and behind the scenes at the Ministry of Health.
Negotiations between PBL staff and CWU continue
The situation between the Port of Belize Limited and the Christian Workers Union has relaxed significantly and both parties have been having regular meetings to chart a way forward. Currently they are in negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the PBL staff.
Another Day, Another Case
Since March 20 when the first Covid-19 case was confirmed there have been one hundred and seventy-six more confirmed cases around the country. The latest information out of the Ministry of Health came last night indicating that twenty-three new cases were uncovered yesterday.
Breaking Belize News
33 new cases of COVID-19 identified; 2 patients hospitalized
The Office of the Director of Health Service has informed that 33 new cases of […]
Domestic incident ends in man chopped in downtown Punta Gorda
Police are investigating a fight and chopping incident that happened this afternoon in downtown Punta […]
Machete-wielding madman beaten and chopped up with own weapon in PG
Police in Punta Gorda are investigating an incident in which a man allegedly wielding a […]
The United Kingdom reports near 100 percent drop in deaths, hospitalizations from COVID-19
While still among the top five nations in the world for cases (312, 789) and […]
Russian President greenlights COVID-19 vaccine after only months of testing: uses it on own family
The BBC reports that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has approved the mass production of the […]
Teen, 19, accused of raping 11-year-old boy
A teenage labourer from Northern Belize has been accused of a disturbing crime – raping […]
National Student Union becomes latest member of Trade Union Congress, pledges to uphold social justice advocacy
Today, the National Students’ Union of Belize (NSUB) officially announced becoming the 12th member of […]
Kamala Harris can become first black vice president of the US
Presidential candidate, Joe Biden announced today that he has picked Senator Kamala Harris as his […]
New tropical depression forms in Atlantic Ocean
The National Hurricane Center is closely monitoring a new tropical depression that has formed in […]
Belize registers 177 cases of COVID-19
The country has now registered 177 confirmed cases of COVID-19. On Monday, the Ministry of […]
Central Prison suspends inmate visits due to COVID-19 spike
The Kolbe Foundation Central Prison at Hattieville has announced it will temporarily suspend visits to […]
Health officials monitoring 143 active cases of COVID-19
Health officials are now monitoring 143 active cases of COVID-19 in Belize. The Ministry of […]
Will Belize’s Airport Reopen in September?
At time of writing, there is no official date for when Belize will reopen its international airport. However as Belize takes a cautious approach, the Prime Minister Rt. Dean Barrow highlights the current stance is but a delay – not an infinite postpone. Regarding airlines resuming service to Belize at reopening, PM Barrow stated the following at two virtual press conferences:
“We are only talking at this point about a delay in the reopening. There is no date for certain when PGIA will reopen. Of course, when the new date will be depends on a number of things. Firstly how quickly the situation, which has literally exploded on us in a matter of the past few days, is under control. Delta, in any event, was not coming until September 3rd. We’ve already reached out to United, who is prepared to push that back to September 3rd or thereafter. ”
How To Get Belize Residency
Living in Belize is a dream for many people. You can make that happen by getting official residency here. Thousands of expatriates and retirees have made their dreams come true in Belize. Here’s how to get residency so you can live here.
When you enter Belize as a tourist, you’re legally allowed to stay for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, you must renew your tourist visa for another month. To do this, you must visit the immigration office in Belmopan or Belize City.
If you do this for 12 months, you’ll have official residency. During that time, you cannot spend more than 14 days outside Belize.
Each month you renew your visa, you must pay $25US monthly for the first six months. You must pay $50US for the next six months.
After the year is over, you can apply for permanent residency. The cost for US citizens is $1,000.
EU-LAC Essay Contest on the Bi-Regional Partnership
The EU-LAC Foundations has launched the first EU-LAC Essay Contest on the Bi-Regional Partnership. It is a call for essays focused on the theme "The New Multilateralism in the Age of COVID-19 from the perspectives of European Union-Latin America and Caribbean relations".
Applicants must be researchers or members of academic or civil society organisations, and nationals of one of the 61 member countries of the EU-LAC Foundation (Belize is a member country). Each applicant may submit a maximum of one essay to this contest.
First Case Of COVID-19 On Caye Caulker
More than four months after closing the Belize borders the first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed on La Isla Carinosa Caye Caulker. The Ministry of Health (MoH) has not yet linked the case in Caye Caulker to any of the previously confirmed cases.
To go for months without any COVID cases, shows that most residents were very disciplined from the beginning of the pandemic. And together Caye Caulker can do this again! “Now, more than ever, we have to be diligent with the recommendations of wearing the mask properly, self distancing, washing our hands, not touching our faces, and not leaving our houses unless we have to,” a Caye Caulker resident says.
The Dark Side of Being a Female Shark Researcher
I was 21 years old when I encountered the place where sharks and television intersect. It was my first research internship, working with a famous shark scientist I had long admired but only just met. My second week, I was on a boat with a film crew, chumming for sharks in the background while the senior scientist dispensed expertise in the foreground. At one point, the film crew suggested I sit next to my hero on camera and repeat the prompt: “So, [Dr. Hero], why did you become a shark scientist?”
For the beautiful green-eyed assistants, of course,” he replied, gesturing at me. I froze, silent, a nervous half-smile on my face.
Turtles, lionfish & volunteer life in Belize, 4min. Volunteers joining our Reef Conservation project in Belize live on an idyllic private island in the Caribbean and help local staff by collecting data, monitoring species and documenting sightings.
House Of Culture NEW Compound, 2min. The BCHCADRP started in 2014 and will conclude on October 9th, 2020. Our signature or primary restoration sub-component which is what our project was built around, was the rehabilitation and construction on the Government House property. in this component we rehabilitated the Government House, constructed a new House of Culture, rebuilt the Carriage House, installed a new parking lot, rehabilitated the grounds and sea wall areas. This sub-component project in the greater Downtown Rejuvenation Project was where a considerable portion of the total funds was invested.
The Government of Belize - Unemployment Relief Program Update, 39min. The Government has rolled out the second phase of the Unemployment Relief Program in the form of the MSME Support Program. It seeks to offer different levels of support to employers and entrepreneurs. Our guests shared the details of the different options and who qualifies to access the support.
Dr. Leroy Almendarez - Executive Director, BELTRAIDE.
Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett - Minister of State, Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development.
Ministry of Education - process of applying to home school children, 30min. We do not yet know when schools will reopen for the upcoming academic year. However, parents will be able to home school children if they prefer to avoid the normal face to face instruction. We invited Cecilia Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, to walk us through the process of applying to home school children for the upcoming academic year. She clarified important details about the requirements for interested applicants.
International Women's Commission - Spotlight Initiative in Belize, 30min. Cynthia Williams, Executive Director of the National Women's Commission was our guest to talk to us about the Spotlight Initiative in Belize. This program is being supported by the European Union and the United Nations. The goal is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls through changing laws and national policies and strengthening institutions that are tasked with protecting women and girls. Our guest talked with us about why this program is important to changing the situation for women and girls in Belize. She explained that it takes a proactive approach empowering women and girls in the process to be their own advocates.
San pedro Belize, 11th August, 2020, 3min.
"Belize inna time of Covid" -19 episode 3, 18min. In this episode we joined Philip Bedran as he gives us a tour of the pine ridge area he manages and shares with us his plan for sustainability after wild fires. We also visit with BWRC and the displaced wild life from the wild fires that hit around the same time as Covid-19 in Belize, and we hear of there challenges " Inna time of covid-19.