Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PRIME MINISTER INAUGURATES FIRST PHASE OF $1.5 MILLION WATER EXPANSION PROJECT

Hon. Dean O. Barrow
The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon Dean O. Barrow, officially inaugurate the Belmopan-Cotton Tree Water Expansion Project on March 28, 2011, which is part of a larger Government initiative to provide a reliable supply of safe and potable water to over 2,000 residents in three main villages along the Western Highway.  The ceremony was held in Cotton Tree Village.

The Belmopan – Cotton Tree Water Expansion Project represents the first phase of a project that aims to improve the quality of water supply to over 386 households in the villages of Cotton Tree, St Mathews and Franks Eddy along the Western Highway.
Prime Minister Barrow turning on the valve
The ongoing project will connect all three communities through a 64,100 ft transmission line from the central water system in Belmopan.  The pipes are being buried 3 ft underground so that it is not prone to damages by flooding, which is the only natural hazard due to creeks that cross the highway. The water source in Belmopan is sufficient in quantity and quality to supply all three villages. In fact, BWSL had, in the past, already established expansion points on the Western Highway strategically placed for such an endeavor.

This $1.5 million project is being funded by the Government of Belize ($1.0 Million) through the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI) and Belize Water Services Limited ($0.5 Million).  The project is being executed by the Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL with oversight by the Social Investment Fund.  The Belmopan – Cotton Tree component is estimated at $1.3 Million.
Presentation by children of St. Joseph's Primary School
Cayo South Rep. Hon. Ramon Witz
Mr. Alberto August, Belize Water Services Director
The communities of Cotton Tree, St Mathews and Franks Eddy are located along the Western Highway in the Cayo District approximately 3 miles from each other and 9 miles from Franks Eddy to Belmopan City. All three villages have existing water infrastructure but the area has not yielded water in sufficient quantities and wherever water has been found it is not suitable for drinking.  With the growth in population, reserves have diminished leaving the entire area without potable water.  Hence, the residents in these three communities have to rely on springs and hand dug wells for their daily consumption of water.

The project has come to fruition through the efforts of the Government and Hon. Ramon Witz, Area Representative for Cayo South, working hand in hand with the village councils and water boards of the respective villages.

The improvement to the water system in these communities will reduce health hazards due to water borne diseases.  It will also assist these communities to provide better services to the tourism sector, improve their economic opportunities and enjoy better health, sanitation and living standards.
Prime Minister Barrow and Hon. Ramon Witz


Belmopan, Monday, 28th March 2011 For further information, please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations, Social Investment Fund at Tel. 822-0239/0508 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org or Cell No. 634-4002. 
Press Release No. 10 – 2011 



Thursday, March 24, 2011

COMMENTARY: WOMEN'S RIGHTS

 What The Guardian and its unapologetic editor did to Gina Tillett is not only unconscionable and in poor taste, but it also draws attention to a larger problem; the utter contempt and disrespect in which Belizean women are held. It doesn't matter if this woman was a nun or a prostitute or a public figure, there comes a time when taste and judgment should come into play. And who made this editor the arbiter of this woman’s conduct? I'm sure that if you look deep into his personal life he has also done things that he is not proud of.

It was very encouraging to see that women from all sides of the political spectrum voiced their opposition to this misogynistic attack. The problem though, is that the women in Belize are still mostly regarded as property and are totally disrespected by the opposite sex, whether it is a husband, boyfriend or men in general. It is also not only a cultural but systematic problem. God forbid a woman wants to divorce an abusive or cheating husband. The court system in Belize makes it almost impossible for them to make that break. They have to go through so many hoops and turns that most don't even bother, and the lawyers bleed them for all it’s worth and they still don't get the desired outcome. It is a disgrace!

It is time for women to start organizing in a meaningful way, get the legislature to start passing laws with teeth that will make men think twice before raping their wives, taking away their self respect and humanity, and start seeing women for what they really are, mothers, providers, motivators and the guardians of the future.

Shame on you Women’s Commission and shame on you Mr. editor, for your callous insensitivity. I hope the women of Belize boycott your paper and that no woman ever sleeps with you again, wouldn't that be great!

Commentary by pele


This blog is not responsible for the views expressed in the commentary segment; all views expressed are the responsibility of the commentator, not the owner of this blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NEW RUDIMENTARY WATER SYSTEM FOR SANTANA, COROZALITO AND ST. ANN VILLAGES


A new rudimentary water system was inaugurated today in the Belize River Valley area. The system will serve Santana, Corozalito and St. Ann villages; an important development for the people of Belize Rural North.
Hon. Edmond Castro turning on the valve
Students of Zion Park School singing the National Anthem
 A 91 year old resident tells the Press Office about the hardships villagers experienced prior to the water system
Wednesday 23rd March 2011Some 300 residents of Santana, Corozalito and St Ann’s,  three of the oldest villages in the Belize District,  now  enjoy quality potable water supplied by a new water system, which will be officially inaugurated today in Santana Village.

 The system is part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to provide clean and safe drinking water  to poor communities throughout the country.

The Santana, Corozalito and St Ann’s Rudimentary Water System Project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund, a statutory body in the Ministry of Economic Development.

The project  included the construction of a 20,000 gallon Ferro-Concrete Water Tank, a pump house with chlorinator and a network of pipes that currently supplies the villages of Corozalito, Santana and St. Ann’s with quality potable water.

The total cost of the project is estimated at$926,000.00. Of this amount $741,000.00 was in the form of a grant from the Caribbean Development Bank while the Government contributed $185,000.00 in counterpart funding.  The benefitting communities provided in kind labor for the project.

Prior to the construction of the water system, villagers relied on hand pumps and hand dug wells for their water needs, but the water quality was poor in most of these communities and some wells even ran dry in the dry season. All of this hardship is now a thing of the past.

Santana, Corozalito and St. Ann’s are communities established in the 1930’s along the Old Northern Highway.   These were once thriving communities and considered the bread basket for northern Belize and a holiday spot for urban dwellers and foreigners for many years.  However, with the construction of the new northern highway, transportation became a problem especially for farmers due to the dramatic decrease in traffic. The lack of electricity, potable water and telephone service further contributed to the economic deterioration and their population declined after many Belizeans living in the area migrated to the United States and other areas of Belize.

However, with the electrification of the old northern highway in 2002 many of these villages have started to rebound and tourism is picking up with the Altun Ha archaeological site being the major attraction.

Speakers at the official inauguration ceremony will include Hon.  Edmond Castro, Belize Rural North Area Representative, officials of the Ministry of Rural Development, the Social Investment Fund and representatives of the respective village councils of  Santana, Corozalito and St Ann’s. 

Belmopan, Wednesday 23rd March 2011:
 For further information please contact Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations,
Social Investment Fund, Tel: 822-0239/0508 or mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org  . Cell No 634 4002
Press Release No. 9 - 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

CROOKED TREE VILLAGE GIRLS SOFTBALL TEAM: THEY DID IT AGAIN!!!

Crooked Tree Girls Softball Champions

Yep, they did it again and three years in a row!! Congratulations to the Crooked Tree Village Girls Softball Team. They have successfully defended their Belize Rural Championship title. The Warriors took their title with ease and this time it was epic for real!


I would also like to thank their coaches Anna Gillett and Alden Wade. They have been coaching the Warrior throughout the team's softball career. Hard work and discipline; that's what it takes!!


Congratulations again, you make us proud!!


If anyone would like to help the team with monetary donations or contributions of supplies and uniforms in any way, it would be very much appreciated. Please contact the school's principal at:


Principal Verla Jex
Crooked Tree Village Government School
Belize District, Belize 
Central America
E-mail:jexverla@yahoo.com


This year's uniform was donated by Coleen and Dean Westby of Chicago, IL.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

BELIZE WINS ICC AMERICAS DIVISION 3 CHAMPIONSHIP

Team Belize after they defeated Chile to clinch the championship.
Congratulations to the members of the Belize National Cricket Team that participated in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Division 3 Tournament in Costa Rica. Belize defeated all the competitors to bring the championship cup back home. Congratulations to the players, coaches and all the officials for making Belize proud. The team returned to the country on Sunday morning. 

Belize is now promoted to the ICC Americas Division 2 Tournament and will compete in this tournament on April 9, 2011 in Suriname.
Team Belize arriving in Costa Rica-click on photos to view

Belize goes undefeated to win Division 3

Peru finishes second with four consecutive victories after a Day 1 defeat

In the final day’s play of the Americas Division 3 Championship undefeated Belize took on second place Chile while the host Costa Rica tangled with rivals Mexico.

Game One Chile vs Belize

Chile won the toss and elected to bat under sunny but very windy conditions, opener and tournament leading run scorer John Fecci got the innings off to a good start with a quick contribution of 21, the middle order batsmen did not stay around for any time but were aided by 14 wides and 3 no balls bowled by the Belize bowlers. Pablo Mejias contributed a useful 19 not out at the end to guide his team to 85/7 in their 20 overs.

In reply some early wickets gave hope for a Chilean upset but the tournament’s MVP Conway Young with 23 and Mykelt Anthony 34 brought Belize to a comfortable 5 wicket victory with four overs to spare. The victory kept Belize undefeated during the tournament and the Americas Region Division 3 Championship.

Game Two Mexico vs Costa Rica

Mexico won the toss and elected to bat. Runs came at a steady pace as Kaushal Ahuja (37), Tushar Gupta (22) and Yasir Patel (33*) all had solid innings. At the end of their 20 overs Mexico had set a respectable target of 130 while losing only 5 wickets. For Costa Rica Sam Arthur was the top bowler with 3/27.

Costa Rica in reply offered no resistance, only Ben Smith (15) and Nasir Ali (14) got into double figures as Yasir Patel 5/16 and Tushar Gupta 4/19 completely destroyed the batting line up to give Mexico a convincing victory by 95 runs.

At the presentation following the final lunch Ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Chile, Peru and Mexico together with the secretary from the Ministry of Education Costa Rica assisted with the presentation of various awards.

Team Belize displaying their championship trophy and other awards after the award ceremony

Members of Team Belize
(L-R) Keve Flowers, Garret Joseph, Kenroy Roca and Herbert Banner celebrating Belize's final victory over Chile
Keve Flowers receiving one of three awards won in the tournament
Keve Flowers receiving one of three awards won in the tournament
Howell Gillett receiving his Man of the Match award
Members of Team Peru

Tournament Awards went to:

Most valuable Player:              Conway Young                            Belize

Most Runs;                              John Fecci                                    Chile

Most Wickets:                         Keve Flowers                                Belize

Best Wicket Keeper:               Conway Young                            Belize

Championship and promotion to Division 2:                             Belize

2nd Place:                                 Peru

3rd Place:                                  Chile

ICC Americas Division 3 Championship, Costa Rica 2011 (as of March 18, 2011)

Rank   Team                          P          W        L         T         N/R     Pts       NRR
 
1          Belize                           5          5          0          0          0          10        +3.321
2          Peru                             5          4          1          0          0          8          +1.790
3          Chile                            5          3          2          0          0          6          -0.065
4          Mexico                        5          2          3          0          0          4          -1.009
5          Costa Rica                  5          1           4          0          0          2          -1.587
6          Falkland Islands        5          0           5          0          0          0          -4.357
 

The cricket delegation to Costa Rica are: Dirk Sutherland, Captain; Howell Gillett; Garret Joseph; Warren Anthony; Keve Flowers; Conway Young; Dorian Gabb; Robert Casasola; Herbert Banner; Jermaine Pook; Kene Broaster; Kenroy Roca; Percy Flowers; Mykelt Anthony; Elston Wade, Manager; Dwight Gabb, Official. 
For more information including full scorecards from all matches in this tournament please go to: www.iccamericas.com
 

All photos by Mr. Elston Wade

Friday, March 18, 2011

MIDDLE EAST WRAP: NETANYAHU- "THEY KILL, WE BUILD"


Bahrain declares state of emergency
Haaretz- Bahrain has declared a state of emergency following weeks of unrest on the island kingdom, state television announced on Tuesday, saying the country's security forces would take charge for the next three months.

An order by the king "authorized the commander of Bahrain's defense forces to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of the country and its citizens," said a statement read out on television.

The 13th and the 14th, two days in a row, all but one of the Israeli newspapers lead with the brutal murder in the West Bank settlement of Itamar of five members of the Fogel family: Parents Udi and Ruth, along with their three children. Haaretz (The Land) was the only paper which led with the devastating earthquake in Japan.


The coverage of the murders was very emotional. The headlines on the front pages were piercing; “Animals” and “Bloodbath, with commentators stating their outrage rather than examining the possible conquences on the political process.


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the attack was to approve the construction of 400 new homes in four West Bank settlements. As Netanyahu told one of the three surviving children of the Fogel family, ‘They kill, we build.’


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak took part in a meeting on Saturday night, March 12th. During the discussion, several alternatives to further settlement building were discussed, such as starting a new settlement, or expanding the settlement of Itamar, but the decision was made, supported by Barak, to continue construction in existing settlement blocs.


The United States said it is ‘deeply concerned’ over the Israeli decision to approve some 400 new homes. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement that the U.S. sees settlement building as ‘illegitimate’ and that it ‘runs counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations'' between Israel and the Palestinians. The U.S. earlier condemned the attack in Itamar in the ‘strongest possible terms.’


A senior Israeli diplomat told  Israel Hayom that in addition to the decision on settlement expansion, Israel also launched an offensive against what it referred to as “toxic Palestinian incitement against Jews”. He said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must stop incitement against Israel in mosques, schools, textbooks, media and public events. He added that the Palestinian leader must also take steps to stop the naming of public squares and streets after terrorists. 



In an  interview with Israel Radio Abbas said the attack on Itamar was despicable, immoral and inhuman, “human beings are not capable of such a thing. These images, the murder of a baby, children and a woman cause anyone who is human to experience pain and cry”. He said the Palestinian Authority would have stopped the attack if it had received prior information, and stated that he had agreed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to conduct a joint investigation.


President Abbas said he did not expect a new wave of attacks against Israel in the near future, and stressed that he would not allow this to happen. He rejected Israel's argument that incitement was coming from mosques and schools and said there is no incitement today. He called for the convening of an Israeli, Palestinian and American committee to investigate Israel's claims of incitement.


Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that a “diplomatic tsunami” could hit Israel in six months. In an addressing at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on March 13th, Barak said there is an international movement to recognize a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders by September. He said this is an attempt to delegitimize Israel and push it into the same corner that apartheid South Africa once occupied.


The defense minister went on to say that the government must come up with its own diplomatic initiative to counter such a move. He said Israel should be ready to tackle the core issues of the conflict, including security, borders, refugees and Jerusalem. And he urged the Kadima Party to join the coalition to advance a peace initiative.


Barak stated that Israel is an island of stability in a region undergoing turmoil. And he said it is important that the people of Israel and its neighbors know that terror will not dictate how we conduct ourselves. “Even at the height of pain and rage, we must have a responsible leadership”, Barak said.


Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Ariella Ringel-Hoffman writes that expanding settlements is not the right response to the Itamar atrocity.


Since Defense Minister Ehud Barak has not yet signed the construction permits, we need to relate to the decision by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and some of his ministers, to add several hundred homes to existing West Bank settlements, not only with a pinch of salt, but with the suspicion that it deserves. And still, it is impossible not to be surprised, to put it mildly, by the decision.


The awful murder in Itamar ,about which mere words cannot express the loathing, the grief and the disgust we feel, obligates Israel to respond in some way. But the proper response should not be another zigzag by a prime minister who specializes in zigzags and who does everything in his power to avoid having to make decisions.


The fact that Palestinian terrorists entered the home of the Fogel family and killed five of its members is not a reason to expand settlements. Massive West Bank settlement construction, just like the settlement construction freeze, is a decision that can only be taken as part of a considered government plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Neither decision should be part of a complex of populist gestures intended to woo potential voters, a ploy to improve approval ratings or a valve to let off steam. By deciding that the massacre is good enough reason to approve hundreds of West Bank homes, Israel is effectively saying that, if three children and their parents had not been murdered, we would not expand the settlements.


The prime minister who has committed himself to the two-state solution and who has promised us a major policy speech in the coming weeks, failed to explain to us the link between the massacre and the settlement expansion. It may seem obvious to him, but it isn’t. And, ironically, even the very people that he seeks to serve with this decision do not understand the logic behind it. And since it is not even certain that anything will happen as a result of the decision, wouldn’t it have been better not to raise it at all? Netanyahu must tell us, his people, what kind of future he envisages for us and what he is doing to turn that vision into reality. More homes in Ariel are not the answer.


But another writer in Yedioth Ahronoth, Hanch Daum says that there is no more fitting response to the Itamar attack than expanding Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.


Whether or not one usually agrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, no one questions his ability to handle terrorism. This assertion can be backed up with empirical facts: During his two tenures as prime minister, the number of terror attacks has dropped to the lowest level in Israel’s history. This did not happen in a vacuum. When there was concern that there would be violent disturbances during his first term of office, Netanyahu sent tanks into the West Bank, sending a clear message, which managed to quell the violence.


Yesterday, after a terror attack that any other prime minister would merely have responded to with words, he convened the relevant ministers, met with senior members of the defense establishment and sent a firm message to the world: He decided that Israel would add 400 housing units to four settlements in the major blocs. When something as extreme as the Itamar massacre happens, Israel needs to react immediately. The approval of new homes is an immediate response which sends out a clear message to the other side: You can only lose from terrorism.


Netanyahu is about to deliver a major policy speech, in which he will outline his vision of an agreement with the Palestinians, and the international community needs to realize that Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion will be part of Israel under any future agreement.


There is something comforting about the fact that Israel has a nationalist government, which recognizes the fundamental fact that the only good that can come out of attacks like the one in Itamar is that Israelis will continue to build and to settle the land.” 


Meanwhile in Maariv, Ben Caspit says that the perpetrators of the Itamar massacre deserve to die, but that Israel’s response to the murder of five members of the Fogel family should be to redouble our efforts to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.


The murderers of the Fogel family should not be captured. There is no point in nabbing them and bringing them to justice. The animals who carried out this despicable act should be killed. The Shin Bet, the IDF and anyone else involved in the sacred task of tracking them down should be given one very simple order: Find the perpetrators and kill them on the spot. If possible, Israel should also kill all those who aided in the attack, who helped plan it, who knew about it and who supported this monstrous act.


First and foremost, because this is what they deserve. Anybody who is capable of slaughtering a four-month-old baby deserves to die. Secondly, because the alternative is too unthinkable. Imagine if the Shin Bet tracks them down and the IDF captures them and puts them on trial in Israel. Then what? They would be sentences to 30 life terms, or something like that, and they would be put in ‘jail’ – where they would enjoy cable television, air conditioning, free university studies, visits from their families and all the other perks that Israel affords the Palestinian prisoners it holds in its jails. They would put on weight – and it has been proven that Palestinian prisoners get more rotund during their incarceration in Israeli jails – and would earn academic degrees. And in the end, the worst thing of all would happen: They would be released as part of some prisoner exchange deal or other, because, in the end, we always break down and release them.


Anyone who is capable of massacring parents and their three small children in their sleep is nothing more than a dangerous animal that needs to be put down. The Palestinians must be made to recognize one basic truth: Their struggle against the occupation and their aspirations for statehood are legitimate. Palestinians, who attack what they see as the ‘occupation army’ are doing something that, while it is hard for us to accept, is legitimate in their eyes. But to kill children, to kill an entire family while they sleep, is unforgivable, inhuman and unacceptable.


For all Israelis, no matter where they reside, the murder of children in Itamar is the same as murdering children in Tel Aviv. Anyone who does so must know that his life is in danger. Just like Golda Meir ordered the Shin Bet to kill those behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must order the security forces to kill those behind the Itamar massacre.



Since the IDF and the Shin Bet have an almost 100 percent success rate when it comes to tracking down the perpetrators of terror attacks, the people who carried out the Itamar atrocity must be made to understand that in killing a Jew, they are signing their own death warrant.


But there is another side to this bloody coin: Our side. Because despite the deep sense of mourning, despite the gut-wrenching pain and despite the rage, we have to remember that we are the only people in the world who believe that we have a right to settle Itamar. No matter how much we try to persuade ourselves that it is our historic birthright and that the area is the cradle of Jewish civilization (and so on), the situation in the international community is very different. According to the international community, our position is not getting any better. On the contrary: It is steadily getting worse.” 


The Jerusalem Post says that the real obstacle to peace is not the presence of Jewish settlers on the West Bank, but the Palestinians’ inability to accept the Jewish right to sovereignty over any part of the Land of Israel.


Our minds beg to avoid contemplating the Fogel family massacre. Every bit of human fiber in our being rebels against the cold-blooded viciousness. What miasma spawned a terrorist capable of crouching over the sleeping Fogels – mother Ruth, father Udi, and their three young children, including three-month-old baby Hadas – methodically knifing them to death?


Offering up the ‘occupation’ as an excuse is a vacuous insult to common sense. The restrictions on Palestinians’ freedoms and their political limbo, resulting in large part from their own unwillingness to agree on realistic compromises, cannot ‘explain’ or ‘legitimize’ this horror. Nor can the mere existence of Jewish families on land of biblical resonance that was previously controlled by Jordan and is now widely deemed to belong to Palestinians.


But Palestinian leaders would have you believe otherwise, and the Palestinian Authority’s reactions to the atrocity resonate hollow and false. ‘We reject this violence and condemn it as we have repeatedly rejected it against our people,’ the PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters just hours after the Fogels were slaughtered.


The implication was clear: The Itamar atrocity could and should be compared to attempts by the IDF to defend citizens from Qassam and Grad missiles launched by Hamas from Gaza – a territory made completely Judenrein by Israel in the summer of 2005 – or to IDF attempts to protect Israelis from suicide bombings or drive-by shootings emanating from Nablus, Jenin and Hebron. PA President Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s reaction was not much different, provoking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to criticize the PA’s ‘weak and mumbling’ statements."

Photo courtesy of Foreign Policy Magazine 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CONSUL GENERAL OF BELIZE EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES TO THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN

To Members of the Belizean Community in the USA:

Please join me in expressing condolences from the Consulate of Belize in Los Angeles and our Belizeans Community to the Japanese people at the death and devastation as a result of the recent earthquake and tsunami.

As a country, Japan has been an ardent supporter of Belize’s growth and development. So that we have a sense as to her interest in Belize, I think it is appropriate that I share with you the attached press release distributed by the Government of Belize Press Office today.

We ask that you keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers.

Respectfully,

Hon. Roland Yorke
Consul General

GRANT AGREEMENT BETWEEN JAPAN AND BELIZE




BELIZE PRESS OFFICE 
Phone: 822-0094 or 0092  ●Fax: 822-2671 ● website: www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz
Official Ceremony for Grant Agreement between Japanese Social 
Development Fund Grant and Government of Belize

Belmopan, March 16th, 2011    

An official signing ceremony will be held on Friday, March 18, 2011 in Belmopan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Training Room for a Grant Agreement between the World Bank/Japan Fund Project and the Ministry of Health/Government of Belize for a Project to  Improve Children’s Health and Nutrition in the Toledo District. 

This project is part of the World Bank administered Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) which funds innovative projects that provides direct assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups. 

The objective of the grant is to improve the health and nutrition of children in communities in Toledo, Belize through an early childhood development approach focusing on pre-natal care, nutrition monitoring in the critical window of opportunity, and school health interventions at the primary school level. 

Specific components of the Project to be implemented through the grant are:

1. To prevent and address malnutrition in children under 5 years of age by empowering the local community.

2. To develop healthy lifestyles programs for primary school children in their eight years of 
primary education.

3. To strengthen access and quality of community-based health services in support of maternal and child health.

4. To promote behavior change in communities by increasing understanding of community’s 
attitude and perception towards health.

The grant, which is in the sum of Two Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Two Thousand, Eight 
Hundred and Ninety-Four United States Dollars (US$2,752,894.00) will be received by the Ministry of Health, over a five-year period, for project implementation by the Toledo District Health Council.

Present at the celebratory ceremony will be His Excellency Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Ambassador of Japan to Belize, Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health and Carmen Carpio, Public Health Specialist of the World Bank.
--------------------------
For More Information contact:
Dr. Natalia Beer
Director, Maternal and Child Health
Ministry of Health, Belmopan
Tel: 501-822-2363/2325

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WOMEN'S MONTH IN BELIZE

Dr. Rhoda Reddock
To all my readers, especially in Belize. This is an event that is going to be very interesting. Mark your calendar for March 30th at 5:30 p.m at the Bliss. If you are interested, please see the link below.

The National Women's Commission is having its 2nd Annual Public Forum on March 30
at 5:30P.M. at the Bliss featuring one of the Caribbean's Transformational Leaders Dr. Rhoda Reddock, Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad. This author, researcher, gender specialist, professor and activist will speak on the theme: Gender and Achievement in Higher Education (Examines the issue of male & female educational performance) The event is free...free.  

Also, The U.S Embassy Belize had a beautiful celebration with their 2nd Annual Belize Woman of the Year Award. The prestigious award was won by Beverly Small. 

The entire Month in Belize is celebrated as Women's Month!

To learn more about Dr. Reddock: www.nationalwomenscommission.org 



Monday, March 14, 2011

BELMOPAN STUDENTS TO ENJOY MEALS UNDER NEW LUNCH SPACES PROJECT


Official launching of the Lunch Spaces Project
Signing of Tripartite Agreement by Mr Daniel Cano from SIF and Hon John Saldivar
Belmopan Area Rep Hon John Saldivar and Minister Faber were among invited guests
Schools Rep Mrs Barrette Belisle delivering her remarks
Belmopan, Monday 14th March, 2011:  Over 2,000 students in the nation’s capital, Belmopan, who stay at school for lunch will soon be able to enjoy their meals in new lunch spaces to be constructed as part of the Belmopan School Lunch Spaces Project, a venture which was launched this morning during an official ceremony held at the United Evergreen School campus in Belmopan.

The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund, (S.I.F.) and financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $185,196.00 under the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI).
United Evergreen Students singing National Anthem
Some of the students at the launching
Some of the students at the launching
Students of St Ann's Angilcan School making presentation
The project will entail the construction of five lunch spaces measuring 20 ft by 20 ft with wash hand basin and water foundation, and three lunch spaces measuring 20 ft by 30 ft at eight schools in Belmopan.  These include:  St Ann’s Anglican School, St Martin’s Government Primary School, United Evergreen Primary School, Belmopan Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, St Michael’s R.C. Primary School, Garden City Primary School, Kuxlin Ha Government Primary School and Our Lady of Guadalupe Primary School.  Under the project, Belmopan Comprehensive School and Our Lady of Guadalupe High School will receive picnic tables.  The lunch spaces will be complete with floor slab, columns and zinc roof and some will be equipped with lights and ceiling fans.  The project will also include nutrition training and food handlers training for teachers and persons responsible for feeding programs with a view to encourage the preparation of healthy food to students.

Belmopan has a total of nine primary schools and two secondary schools. The estimated total population of these schools is 4,572. The city of Belmopan has grown both by population and area since its inception.  Hence, many students now attend a school which is not near to their home. With many parents commuting for work, the students are unable to go home for lunch.  Subsequently, many primary schools have introduced feeding programs where the students pay a subsidized fee for prepared hot lunches, or the school has a canteen on campus where lunch is sold at reasonable rates. 

A community needs assessment conducted by SIF has revealed that from the 4,572 students some 2,127 or approximately 45% of the student population remain in school for lunch.  Unfortunately, the majority of the schools have no lunch sheds and many students have to sit under trees or other uncomfortable places. The Lunch Space Project will address this situation.

The guest speaker at this morning’s launching of the project was the Hon Patrick Faber, Minister of Education and Youth. Other speakers included the Hon John Saldivar, Minister of Public Service, Governance Improvement, Elections and Boundaries and Sport and Area Representative for Belmopan, representatives of the Social Investment Fund and representatives of the participating schools.  Lively presentations were also made by the students of United Evergreen, St Martin’s Government School, Kuxlin Ha Government Primary School, St Ann’s Anglican Primary School and St Michael’s RC School.
Minister of Education, Hon Patrick Faber, delivers keynote address as Minister Saldivar listens attentively
Members of the public at the launching

For further information please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. J.P., Director of Public Relations of the Social Investment Fund at Tel: 822-0239 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org

Press Release No. 8- 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

MIDDLE EAST WRAP: A DELICATE DANCE


Women of the Middle East this week-Egypt
Women of the Middle East this week-Bahrain

Weekly round-up of the Hebrew newspapers in Israel; covering the major events happening in Israel and the Middle East. 

On Wednesday March 9, 2011 all Israeli newspaperas lead with the same stories on their front pages, except that each one gave their own spin.


In Haaretz the lead was with Ehud Barack’s interview with The Wall Street Journal, in wich the defense minister said that Israel may request an additional $20 billion in military aid from the United States to help it contend with potential threats in light of the recent unrest in the Arab World.


The issue of qualitative military edge for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you,’ Barak told the paper. It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so.... A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.


In an interview with Israel Radio, Barak added that Israel's position as an ‘island’ of democratic stability in the Middle East needs to be bolstered.


According to Haaretz’s chief military correspondent, Amos Harel, Barak's comments, which did not include details about which weapons systems Israel is seeking from the United States, appear to be an extended discussion of November's proposal by the Obama administration, which offered Israel a goodwill package in exchange for an extension of the settlement construction freeze. At the time, Jerusalem and Washington did not reach an agreement on the matter, which involved a reported American plan to supply a second fleet of F-35 fighter planes, worth an estimated $3 billion.


Haaretz also reported that the IDF has been closely monitoring recent events in Arab states and updating its operational plans for dealing with a potential popular, nonviolent uprising. Senior officers say they have long felt there is no way to effectively contend with a widespread, nonviolent civil uprising. There is nothing for it if something like what happened in Tunisia happens here, said one high-ranking officer serving in the division. The paper also said that the probability of a completely nonviolent uprising, however, is thought to be low.


In Yedioth Ahronoth- the story leads with news that veteran Labor Party minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer is suffering from pneumonia and is in serious condition.

Maariv  leads with two stories. One concerning Ben-Eliezer illness and the other – cabinet minister Moshe Kahlon’s planned visit to see Jonathan Pollard in his U. S. jail cell next week – Pollard’s story is also the lead in Israel Hayom.


Both papers report that Kahlon says his request was approved a month ago, before former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger added his voice to those calling for the convicted Israeli spy to be freed. Kahlon will be the first Israeli official to visit Pollard since 1996. It will be the first official visit from a member of the current government.


In The Jerusalem Post, the lead was with comments by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said during a tour of military posts and bases that the IDF will remain in the Jordan Valley to defend Israel, regardless of any future Palestinian state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded by demanding sovereignty of the area, along with all of the West Bank.


In remarks that some commentators say may have been a warm-up for his expected new policy statement in May, the prime minister told reporters, Our security border is here on the Jordan and our defense line begins here. If that line is breached they will be able to infiltrate terrorists, rockets and missiles all the way to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Be'er Sheva and throughout the country. There is no alternative to the IDF's line of defense. Therefore, in any future situation, and I say in any future arrangement as well, the IDF must stay here, i.e. along the Jordan River. This is the State of Israel's insurance policy. If this was true before the major unrest now shaking the Middle East and the entire region, it is doubly true today. The IDF must remain along the Jordan River.


Israel Radio reports that Arab League Secretary General and potential Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Musa implied that he would maintain peace ties with Israel if elected to office, but that he might renegotiate the terms of Egyptian natural gas sales to Israel. According to the report, the veteran diplomat said in Cairo that Egyptians would be fooling themselves if they believed that the economy of the country could be restructured and that venturesome diplomatic initiatives could be undertaken at the


And according to Dan Margalit in Israel Hayom Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is staking a middle ground, a sign that a new peace plan is in the works.


There is something afoot in the diplomatic arena, but what? One can preoccupy oneself with guesswork, but it seems the only people in the know are the closest associates to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


Those who have spoken with the premier in recent weeks say that they encountered an inquisitive prime minister who wishes to hear the opinions of others while revealing little of his intentions. It is no coincidence that Netanyahu was the target of criticism from Minister Silvan Shalom, who argued that the details of any diplomatic initiative should be first revealed before the cabinet ministers before it is presented to the U.S. Congress.


It is also no coincidence that Shalom noted that Defense Minister Ehud Barak was not elected to office on a Likud platform. As such, Netanyahu would be in the wrong to confide in Barak the particulars of a peace plan before revealing it to Likud ministers, according to Shalom.


Netanyahu remains tight-lipped. Two of his ministers, Moshe Ya'alon and Benny Begin, were satisfied with the prime minister's instructions to the State Prosecutors Office seeking to legalize the status of most constructed homes in West Bank settlements which do not encroach on private 
Palestinian property. In other words, the government seeks to retroactively approve construction that had already been completed.


It is reasonable to assume that Barak and Minister Dan Meridor were not enthralled with this decision, but they were certainly more welcoming of the government's pledge to the High Court of Justice that any edifices that were built on privately owned Palestinian land would be razed.


In the run-up to the difficult diplomatic decision that awaits him, Netanyahu is interested in cultivating an atmosphere of balance, both toward public opinion at home and toward friendly, foreign governments that are pressing him to present his initiative.


This was evident yesterday, when Netanyahu declared before the cameras that under any future scenario, the Jordan River would serve as Israel's security border. In the next breath, the premier condemned the 'price tag' policy that extremist settlers have enacted against innocent Palestinians.


Netanyahu, and to some extent, the 'forum of seven ministers', are entertaining various ideas. One of them was first credited to Shaul Mofaz, who proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state within interim borders. He is not the only one who shares this view. A number of documents and maps have found their way to the prime minister's bureau. It stands to reason that the authors of these plans request to keep the details under wraps not because they were suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of modesty, but rather because they believe that these plans have a chance of being adopted only if they were presented as an American initiative. As such, Netanyahu needs to knock on the gates of the White House and whisper into the ear of President Barack Obama. The end result is anybody's guess.


Netanyahu is well aware of the Palestinians' target date – September 2011, when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York. He knows this is the endgame. Barak is prodding him to preempt. Those who have spoken recently with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman quote him as saying that the premier 'needs to do something.' But what? The prime minister continues to hold his cards close to his chest. Whether this is wise will only be learnt after the details have been revealed.


And finally, The Jerusalem Post reports that on Tuesday night, March 8th,  British Ambassador Matthew Gould attempted to dispel fears that the U.K. is moving towards recognizing Palestine as a free and independent state.


The British Foreign Secretary William Hague was asked about the announcement this week-whether  the Palestinian General Delegation in Britain will be upgraded to mission level- Gould said that Hague had not made the Palestinian mission an embassy, nor had he given its members diplomatic immunity. We had made it clear, Gould added, that this is not a step towards recognition.


Britain shares the goal of the Palestinian people, for the creation of a Palestinian state, but the way to achieve this is through negotiations. This is a conflict that can only be solved through a negotiated settlement.

Photos from Time Magazine.com