Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Ethiopia is a large country of 1,100,000 sq km with 70 million people, making it the tenth largest country in the Horn of Africa and the 27th in the world. Flying into Addis Ababa , the capital, one can see the lush and green landscape, making it hard to believe that in the 1980’s so many people died from hunger.

After landing at Bole (Bo-le) Airport, I was quickly whisked through the immigration because I had secured my entry visa before leaving the United States . You can get your visa at the airport, but the wait is longer. The visa process is relatively simple and all you need is a passport and US$40.00

Before travelling to Ethiopia the Center for Disease Control advised all Americans to get a tetanus shot, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations. Because I will be flying to Kenya from Ethiopia , a malaria treatment is recommended, and the Kenyan government requires a mandatory yellow fever vaccination. The cost of all these shots or vaccinations is very expensive, almost US$500.

The next thing I did was to exchange my US currency for the Ethiopian Birr. Before leaving the US the exchange rate was 9 Birr to US$1.00. I made a wise decision to do my exchange at the airport because the rate was now 12.45 Birr to US$1.00. There are not many ATM’s in Ethiopia and only few places (hotels and resorts) accept credit cards, so I made sure to exchange enough for a few weeks.

The only places in town you can exchange US currency are the Dashen Bank branches and they do not accept any bills made before 1996 (don’t ask me why, maybe counterfeiting problems). I was told by my driver that the Hilton Hotel also exchanges US currency and you can also withdraw cash from your debit card or your credit card.

In no time at all I was at my hotel, checked in, took a quick hot shower and ready was for bed. I needed a good night’s sleep to get acclimated to the time difference and the altitude. Addis Ababa is about 7000 to 8000 feet above sea level. Tomorrow morning my step-daughter will be flying in and we have a big schedule ahead of us. I’m off to bed!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


On the Way to Ethiopia
I have been to Africa before, but never to Ethiopia and have planned this trip very well. I have packed and re-packed and now I am actually on the plane for my six week stay in Africa. I am so excited, nervous and happy all at the same time.

This is a long 23 hour trip so there’s not much to do once I’m on the plane. What can you do on a flight this long?? REST…READ…RELAX…LISTEN TO MUSIC…
First thing I usually do on long flights is to close my eyes and say a prayer. In a few short (OK! Long) hours I will be in Addis Abba. This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure!!

Stay tuned!


Consulate of Belize State of California

Tel: (323) 634-9900 ♦ Fax: 323-634 -9903

July 14, 2009
(Los Angeles) The Consulate of Belize is seeking non-paid volunteers to assist with transporting cancer patients to and from medical appoints. Belizeans traveling to the United States seeking treatment has become a disturbing reality. Presently, there are several individuals in Los Angeles receiving such treatments. It is our aim to assist by coordinating transportation efforts.

Transportation in the metropolis of Los Angeles is critical; for those traveling for treatment, it is even more crucial because of the strenuous effects on the body. Your help is very much needed and will be greatly appreciated.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Consulate of Belize with your availability.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Reginald Alexander Jex, our third recipient

We would like to feature an outstanding Belizean each month for his/her accomplishment in the fields of Literature, Art, Music, Medicine, Politics, Business and Community Activism. As a proud Belizean, I believe it is imperative that we support and promote all Belizeans both at home and abroad. You are an important part of our community.

You can nominate a candidate for Belizean Spotlight that you believe has excelled in any of the categories above.

(L-R) Mr.Gutierrez, Mr. Waight, the Mayor of Belize City, Zenaida Moya-Flowers, Reginald and Eli Jex

Reginald Alexander Jex: aka “JEX” at the early age of 13, had to fetch for himself after the loss of his adopted parent. It was very difficult for him to sustain himself so he decided to join the Belize Police Special Force in (1973-79) and then became an Immigration Officer (1979-81). He started his family with children Dionesia, Reginald (deceased) and Adrian in Belize. He realized that a change in environment would be better, so they all migrated to the USA, and he pursued his career in the heating industry to sustain his family.

“Jex” always has a passion for sports (Soccer/ Football) music and entertainment. He started organizing many sporting events in Belize and New York. Being a member of Belize Parkfest in New York, he organized the first Parkfest in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and promoted music ( Donkeyman, Daddy Tracy, Chico Ramos, Late Andy Palacio ) and many others in the early years.

“Jex” is the VP of Lega Lempira Soccer League in Brooklyn, New York, where many amateur teams meet on Sundays during the summer months at Linden Field Park. He is the CEO of JexR Trophies which supplies the awards for the tournaments, giving the teams added encouragement in their quest for championship,

“Jex” is a very compassionate and free spirited person, and he is willing to help whenever possible. For example, he sponsored and held many tournaments in Belize since 1999. He held the first football tournament for the primary school in Dangriga, & in the Rural Villages of – Sandhill, Maskall, Ladyville, and Crooked Tree Village Sport Day and Gardenia Village Sport Day.

In 2006 he hosted the basketball game, between “American Airlines of New York” vs “Belize Nationals” in Belize City.

In 2008 the Mayor of Belize presented him with a plaque for his support in the City Council Municipal Multicultural Fair.

He donated trophies to the Female Softball League, Channel 5 Karaoke, Annual Cross Country Race, Police Cadet Corp, Prison Dept, SandHill League, and many other entities, all in Belize.

Through his hard work and perseverance in providing events for Belizeans to socialize, compete, and to be entertained, “Jex” has gained the respect and friendship of countless people.

He owes a tremendous amount of gratitude to his wife of 20 years, Eleanor Jex for his many accomplishments and achievements.

Sunday, July 12, 2009



Office of Governor General
Belmopan, Belize
Central America
E-mail: govgenbz@btl.net
Telephone: 822-2521
Fax: 822-2050

I am happy to inform you that the Governor- General's Music in the Schools Committee will be hosting a fund-raising dinner on Wednesday 9th September at Old Belize Adventure, Mile 5 Western Highway, Belize City.

We know that it is traditional for Belizeans who live abroad to travel to Belize in September to help us celebrate and rejoice for the beautiful jewel, our country.

I am asking that you pass on to any Belizeans who plan to make the trip this year, the news of Sir Colville's dinner, since they will certainly welcome this opportunity to bring in the Tenth in proper patriotic fashion while knowing that all profits from this participation will benefit the children of Belize.

Tickets are on sale for BZ$100.00 and are limited in number. They are therefore available on a "first come, first served " basis.

Please urge interested Belizeans to get in touch with my office as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

Amelia Poornananda, JP
Administrative Officer
Office of Governor- General

Monday, July 6, 2009


It was 6:00 a. m. and I was heading out to the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoon. The lagoon was a fraction of what it had been a few months ago. Crooked Tree Village was in the middle of a long dry season.

(L-R) George Gillett, Carl Westby, Andy Gillett and Amalia Guy Gillett, fishermen of Crooked Tree

Crooked Tree Village is well known for its abundance of fish in its six lagoons. Several years ago, a number of tilapia entered the lagoons from nearby fish ponds and there were many fears from marine biologists of an ecological disaster. Some of the villagers feared that the aggressive tilapia they had heard so much about would wipe out the native species and would endanger the livelihood of the local fishermen.

(L) Henry Westby

(C) Carl Westby

(L) Ivy Wade Banner

According to Ecologists, the tilapia originated in Africa and is a very popular fish with commercial growers. The reason the tilapia is so popular is because it grows rapidly and breeds constantly. Some researchers think that the tilapia poses a threat to fresh waterways.

Fishing and hunting in and around the lagoons in the dry season is done on a quota system and only local fishermen are allowed. On Wednesday’s and Saturday’s each fisherman is permitted only two hauls with their nets between the hours of 7:00 a. m. to 11:00 a.m. and a mandatory fee of BZ$50 is charged. Any fisherman caught violating the rules risks having his or her nets and all equipment confiscated.

The Village Council, the Concern Citizen Group, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Belize Audubon Society are responsible for the management of the fish in the Crooked Tree Lagoon and have implemented the “Catch Share” system. Catch Share is an incentive based management of fishing developed by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Catch shares are used to manage fisheries all over the world. So far, there are about 40 countries with eight hundred different fisheries managed under the system. The way catch shares works is by giving fishermen, boats and fishing groups in the community a secure share of the catch for the season. Each year before the season begins; fishermen in the community know how much fish they are allowed to take of the fisheries total allowable catch.

By implementing this system, fishermen will be able to take care of fishery in a sustainable way and be able to manage the lagoons for the community instead of people coming from outside the community to take out the last of the fish. The Village Council and the Concern Citizen Group work with the fishermen directly to understand their needs and to arrive at a solution that works for both teams.

The fishermen in Crooked Tree Village and the Fishery Department agree that catch share is the best way forward for the village’s fishermen. The Village Council and the Concern Citizens Group worked diligently and constructively to set the fisherman on the right track. Working together using catch share is the solution to overfishing, to protect the lagoon and bring back fish stock to abundance. With the right choices, we can all enjoy abundant wild “Bay Snook”. As Denvor Gillett, succinctly puts it, “we cannot continue to exploit without management”.

Thursday, July 2, 2009



The decision was made within the context of good vicinity and in the spirit of strengthening its ties of friendship with Belize. Consular stamps and visas are not required on Belizeans passports.

Belmopan, 1 July 2009- The Embassy of Mexico informs that the Government of Mexico has decided to eliminate the visa requirement for Belizeans traveling to Mexico and today the Embassy has sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, officially communicating this decision which not only benefits the bilateral relation by deepening the ties of friendship, cooperation, understanding and exchange, but also increases the migratory flows between both countries. Likewise, with this decision, the Mexican government honors the existing bilateral agreement for the suppression of visas.

Therefore, Belizeans will no longer need a visa or a consular stamp to travel as a tourist or in transit through Mexican territory to another country. To do this, they will only need to have a valid Belizean passport and fill out the corresponding Immigration form which is obtained free of cost at any of the points of entry into Mexico: borders, maritime ports or international airports.

Belizeans who have an FMVL card (Forma Migratoria de Visitante Local) can continue using it in the usual manner to travel exclusively to Quintana Roo with a maximum stay of 72 hours. However, Belizeans who wish to work, study, or do business in Mexico, will need to apply for the appropriate migratory form:

The FM3 for doing business or studying in Mexico can be obtained at the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico.

The FMTF to work in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo can be obtained at the offices of the National Institute of Immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM), in those states.

Any questions concerning the new dispositions are to be addressed to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico, at 223-0193 or 223-0194.




No. 2009 / 23


La medida se da en el contexto de una buena vecindad y con el ánimo de estrechar los lazos de amistad con Belice.

* No se requiere visa ni sello consular en los pasaportes beliceños.

Belmopan, 1° de julio de 2009.- La Embajada de México informa que el Gobierno de México ha decidido eliminar el requisito de visa para beliceños que requieran viajar a México, por lo que el día de hoy ha remitido una nota diplomática al Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Comercio Exterior, comunicando formalmente esta medida que no sólo beneficia la relación bilateral al profundizar los lazos de amistad, cooperación, entendimiento e intercambio existentes, sino también, incrementar los flujos migratorios entre los dos países. Asimismo, con la decisión, el gobierno mexicano honra el acuerdo bilateral de supresión de visas existente.

En consecuencia, los beliceños no necesitarán visa ni sello consular para viajar en calidad de turistas o en tránsito a través del territorio mexicano hacia otro país. Para hacerlo, deberán contar con pasaporte beliceño y llenar la forma migratoria correspondiente que se obtiene de manera gratuita en los puntos de entrada a México, en cualquier frontera, en los puertos marítimos o en los aeropuertos internacionales.

Los beliceños que cuentan con la tarjeta FMVL (Forma Migratoria de Visitante Local), podrán seguir utilizándola de la manera acostumbrada para viajar exclusivamente a Quintana Roo hasta por 72 horas. Sin embargo, los beliceños que deseen trabajar, estudiar o realizar negocios en México, deberán tramitar la forma migratoria correspondiente:

La FM3 para negocios y estudiar en México se obtiene en la Sección Consular de la Embajada de México.

La FMTF para trabajar en los estados de Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche y Quintana Roo, se obtiene en las oficinas del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), en esos estados.

Cualquier pregunta sobre estas nuevas disposiciones deberá dirigirse a la Sección Consular de la Embajada de México a los teléfonos (501) 223-0193 y 223- 0194.