Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CONFRONTATIONS IN THE CHIQUIBUL NATIONAL PARK- BELIZE

PRESS RELEASE

Incident within the Chiquibul National Park

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize received reports
on 30th January, 2012 of incidents in the Chiquibul National Park that involved
confrontations between a patrol unit and Guatemalan nationals on Saturday
28th January, 2012. It is reported that during a Joint Forces Operation involving
the Belize Defence Force, the Police, Forest Officers, and Immigration a cross-
fire occurred in Belizean territory and that some Guatemalan nationals suffered
injuries, with one possibly being fatally injured.

The details of the incidents are yet to be established. However, the Police
Department has taken command of the investigation an the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs has formally requested the OAS office in the Adjacency Zone to assist in
the investigation.

The Government of Belize wishes to express its regret for any injury or loss of life
that may have occurred, and offers its deepest sympathies to the families of those
affected by these incidents.

__________________________
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Belmopan


PRIME MINISTER OF BELIZE ANNOUNCES GENERAL ELECTIONS



The General Election date was announced today and will be held simultaneously with the Municipal Elections, March 7th, 2012. 


"I have been proud and grateful to lead the United Democratic Party Government since February 2008. And we accomplished much in the first term. Acting always for the people, and with the respect of the people, our overall record is a stellar one. Economic growth has been consistence, and we have recorded gains every year but one. This has been despite the continuing global crisis, despite the vagaries of nature, despite freak storms and hurricanes, and despite the super bond."    Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow




Take action Belizeans; get out and vote!!


Monday, January 30, 2012

TREATY ENERGY CORPORATION FINDS OIL IN BELIZE

Oil find in southern Belize 
The international energy company Treaty Energy Corporation based in Houston and New Orleans today announced that it has struck oil in southern Belize. Drilling began on 24 January at the well near Independence Village, adjacent to the Port of Big Creek in the Stann Creek District. Final phase was commenced after review and compliance with all government regulations, requirements and inspections by Belizean officials and permission granted.

A press release posted on Treaty’s website, stated that the San Juan #2 well will be completed and put into production in the wake of the find, which Treaty estimates contains up to six million barrels of recoverable oil.

Consultants from Advance Geological Services said oil was present in the cuttings samples, and continued drilling showed a constant increase in hydrocarbon presence in the formation down to 1290 feet, after which there was a steady drop.

Treaty holds 200,000 onshore acres within the Princess Concession, where it believes there could be three oil-bearing fields of various sizes, as well as 1.4 million acres on the Paradise Concession.

Treaty is an international acquisition, development and production company focused on leases that are considered to have proven but undeveloped reserves.
Image courtesy of Treaty Corp.


January 31, 2012....Follow-up to this story: The government of Belize says: Treaty Energy Corporation is putting out "false and misleading" information.  "No live oil, in large amounts, was observed in the rock cuttings which normally indicates some level or potential." A statement issued this afternoon debunked the Treaty Energy hype which was widely reported on Monday. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, only "minute traces of tar" was found by Belizean geologists who went in to conduct inspection of the company's mudlog and rock cuttings.

SKILLS TRAINING IN VILLAGES ALONG THE OLD NORTHERN HWY-BELIZE

A group, comprised of 19 women and a man, hailing from four villages along the Old Northern Highway in the Belize District received certificates during a brief ceremony held on Saturday 28th   January in St Ann’s Village after completing a seven-month intensive skills training course in the areas of sewing, fruit processing and business management.
The processed fruits produced by the group are being marketed under the Bloom Products Brand
Course participants display the dresses made during their sewing course

The training, which took place from July 2011 to January 2012, was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $30,706.38 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. 

The training also included the  provision of equipment such as sewing machines, an industrial stove, refrigerator, sewing materials and kitchen supplies to the Hidden Beauty Women’s Group of St. Ann’s Village, whose members comprised the majority of the trainees. However, representatives of  Santana, Lucky Strike and Maskall villages also attended the training.

The  project aimed to empower the participants to earn an income in an area where cruise ship tourists visit the nearby archaeological site of Altun Ha on a weekly basis.  The training was held at the St Ann’s Resource Centre, which was refurbished in 2010 to make way for productive activities and serve as a hurricane shelter.

The sewing, business management and fruit processing courses were conducted by Margaret Manzanarez, Dana Rhamdas and Beverly Brown respectively. The trainers are certified and experienced Belizean instructors.

Hon Edmond Castro, Area Representative for Belize Rural North, delivered a special address during the ceremony.  He then joined Mr Daniel Cano, Executive Director of the Social Investment Fund in the presentation of certificates to the participants.  Other speakers at the ceremony included course participants Michelle Aldana, Daisy Flowers and Leslie Pascacio, the only male among the group, who gave their views on the training and stressed that Belizeans can eat healthy using fruits and vegetables from their own backyard.  Mr Glen Buckhalter, Program Organizer for Evangel Credit Union, delivered the keynote address in which he urged graduates to aim high by marketing their products both locally and internationally.  
Hon Edmond Castro enjoys a light moment with Mr Leslie Pascasio, the only male among the group, who received his certificate in fruit processing
Daisy Flowers, course participant and Chair-lady of St Ann's Village, displays the processed products produced during the training              

St. Ann’s Village is a sleepy community located on the Old Northern Highway between the well known communities of Santana and Maskall.  It borders Santana at Mile 33 and Maskall at Mile 38.  There is little documented history of St. Ann’s but locals claim that it has been in existence since the 1920’s when logging and chicle production were at their peak.  During the 1950’s parcels of land were distributed for agricultural purposes and by 1965 a community center was constructed in the Village.

A number of fruits are grown in St Ann’s and surrounding, villages including mangoes, cashew, papayas, pineapple, golden plums and supa, some grown all year round and other seasonally. Hence, there is potential for fruit processing.


For further information please contact Mr Mike Hernandez Jr. (Sr. J.P.) Director of Public Relations of the Social Investment Fund at Tel: 822- 0239 or via email at mike.hernandez@sifbelize.org or cell: 634-4002


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

THE STATE OF THE UNION 2012: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA


Last night, President Obama delivered a powerful message to the American people calling on them to join the fight to reinforce the middle class and move America forward.

Mr. Obama focused largely on domestic policy in a speech that sets the stage for November’s presidential election. And the only sign of bipartisanship was in the legislation on transportation, which both parties see eye to eye on.

“So much of America needs to be rebuilt,” the president said. “We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges,” citing the Golden Gate Bridge, and Hoover Dam as Depression-era examples of a nation that invested in its infrastructure during hard times.  He also said that massive repairs are needed on the vast interstate highway, built after World War II.

He again promised an executive order to cut red tape that encumbers the start of public construction projects, a direct swipe at the GOP.
“But you need to fund these projects,” Obama said. “There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest-hit when the housing bubble burst.”
Obama briefly discussed the uprisings that have swept the Arab world in the past year but provided no new news.

“How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” Obama said.
Obama took credit for uniting the international community in opposition to the Iranian nuclear program.

President Obama said he would take no options off the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but added that a peaceful resolution of the crisis was still possible.

“The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

“Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.”

Mr. Obama only briefly mentioned Israel in his address and did not talk about the Palestinians.

“Our iron-clad commitment, and I mean iron clad, to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history,” he said.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BURNS AVENUE IN SAN IGNACIO BECOMES NEW TENOCHTITLAN


"The biggest surprise of the day was when chief Belize Maya archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, showed up to declare that the vessel fragments found thus far were of the Late Preclassic Period, which is about 2000 + more years before Flayvas and Mayawalk were even conceived. And we were glad to know this, as unfortunately to myself and Ms. Gibbs, Dr. Jim Aimers was not around to quickly classify each piece. Ahh Jimmy, we miss you. Dr. Awe, straight from the aiport and quite possible a long flight, came straight to the site, looker as eager as can be just to be witnessing the events unfolding on Burns Avenue, an actual archaeological dig. What can be said except trowels must run in his blood and line levels in his dreams."
Antonio Beardall

Source continue here:http://instituteofarchaeologynich.blogspot.com/2012/01/who-says-we-get-day-off-burns-avenus.html 

A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES


A friend of mine sent me an article from The Washington Times, an ultra-right wing newspaper, and the writer,  Richard Rahn, called "A tale of two small countries", making a comparison between Belize and Cayman. Usually I wouldn't even bother to read a paper like the Washington Times, but this article grabbed my attention. The more I read it, the more I agreed with most of what the writer had to say, especially about the judicial system in Belize. I have written blogs before calling for an overhaul of the courts, to change the way they operate, take politics out of justice, and have a program that really gives witnesses protection  from the criminals that get away with murder every day

I read Friday's news online, and two articles in particular illustrate the impotence of the judicial system. A man in San Pedro was charged with fondling a 5 year old that his wife was babysitting and was granted bail for the paltry sum of $500. The mothers' story was so heartbreaking and altho' you can't convict this pervert without a trial, the accounts of what he did demand that he should have been bonded over for a much higher price, one that he could never find the cash to pay and walk among the innocents. Sexual predators are treated like VIP's in Belize. The second article was about three men that were charged with murder and let go because the witness recanted her testimony. It is obvious that the woman was terrified and feared for her life. This sort of thing happens much too often, and so the brazen murder and mayhem continues unabated, without fear of punishment. This is totally unacceptable. What happened to witness protection?

This is the fault of both political parties. When will it dawn on them that we are now part of a global community, and that what happens in Belize doesn't stay in Belize anymore? The whole world is watching, and when there seems to be a breakdown in one of the most important branches of a civilized society, you will get articles like "A tale of two small countries".

I am not going to get into all this writer had to say about the corruption and poor governance, because I don't think that he spent enough time or knows enough about the Belizean psyche to come to those conclusions. What he is dead right on tho', is about an inept and corrupt judicial system. You have a better chance of getting away with attempted murder, murder, and rape or child molestation than stealing a loaf of bread. Stealing food to feed your family is much more dangerous than all the other crimes put together, and you will be dealt with severely. Give me a break!

There really needs to be an overhaul of this branch of government. As I said before, it should be free of politics. Both parties and the Bar Assoc. and laymen should get together, correct and change these ridiculous loopholes that criminals jump thru with acrobatic agility. Hopefully the article will be a wakeup call of our elected officials.

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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PRINCE HARRY SET TO VISIT BELIZE-BAHAMAS-BRAZIL-JAMAICA

Prince Harry will visit Belize, The Bahamas and Jamaica on behalf of The Queen as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations from 2nd March to 8th March. In addition, Prince Harry will visit Brazil in support of the United Kingdom Government and his charities from 9th to 11th March.

The visit, organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is designed to enhance the partnership between the United Kingdom and Brazil. 


Prince Harry will visit: 

Belize (including the Belize and Cayo Districts) from 2nd – 3rd March. 

The Bahamas (New Providence Island) from 3rd – 5th March

Jamaica (Kingston and northern Jamaica) from 5th – 8th March

Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and the State of Sao  Paolo) from 9th – 11th March.

The complete official itinerary will be announced in due course. Prince Harry has never before visited Belize, The Bahamas, Jamaica or Brazil in either an official or private capacity. The Diamond Jubilee tour to Belize, The Bahamas and Jamaica is the first Royal tour during which Prince Harry has represented The Queen.

Prince Harry will visit Brazil in support of the United Kingdom’s interests in the region, as well as in support of his charities. Following the official visit to Brazil, Prince Harry will stay on privately in Brazil until 14th March.



Government Press Release

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BELIZE AND CAYMAN: THE TALE OF TWO SMALL COUNTRIES


Cayman is rich, and Belize  is poor. Why? Both are small Caribbean countries with the same climate and roughly the same mixed racial heritage, and both were English-speaking British colonies. Belize  (the former British Honduras ) received its independence in 1981, while Cayman is still not fully independent but is self-governing at the local level, with its own currency, laws and regulations.

Belize  should be richer: It has a larger population than Cayman (345,000 as contrasted with Cayman’s 54,000). Belize  has a much larger and more varied land area with many more natural resources, including gas and oil, and some rich agricultural land that Cayman lacks. Both have nice beaches, but Belize  has the second-largest barrier reef in the world after Australia  and also has Mayan ruins. Yet Cayman, with fewer points of interests, has done more to attract tourists.

Back in the early 1970s, Cayman was as poor on a per capita basis as is Belize  today. Both countries had ambitions to be tourist and financial centers. Cayman succeeded and has about six times the real per capita income of Belize . What did Cayman do right and Belize do wrong?

Perhaps most important is that Cayman had and maintained a competent and honest judicial system, which gave foreign investors confidence that their property would be protected. Cayman also has a very low crime rate. Tourists and other visitors walk around freely day or night in Cayman without fear. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many parts of Belize , where crime is often a problem. In addition, many judges in Belize are poorly trained, incompetent and, in some cases, corrupt. These issues cause foreign investors to consider higher-risk factors for projects in Belize  as contrasted with Cayman.
Belize  has a more investor-friendly tax system than the United States, but Cayman has no corporate or individual income taxes on noncitizens and citizens alike – advantage Cayman. The problem for Belize  is that it is competing with the likes of Cayman, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands, but not the United States. Also, the regulatory environment in Cayman is largely free of corruption, which is not true in Belize .


The latest Index of Economic Freedom ranks Belize  as the 77th most economically free country in the world (out of 179). If Cayman were large enough to be ranked, it almost certainly would be in the top 10. There is a very high correlation between economic freedom and per capita income. Any country can decide to become more free. Belize  ranks a miserable 93 out of 183 countries ranked by the World Bank’s DoingBusiness project.


It is obvious why Cayman is rich and Belize  is poor, and it comes down to one word: governanceIf Belize  would clean up its courts, fully protect property rights and adopt the best economic practices of its competitors, it could quickly become rich. For instance, it takes an average of 44 days to get all of the required permits to open a new business. In some countries, such as Estonia, Singapore and even the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S., the required paperwork to open a business can be done online. Thus, days have been reduced to just a few hours.


There is no reason any country has to remain poor. Countries are not poor because of climate, lack of natural resources or race. Countries as locationally varied as Singapore, Mauritius, Korea, Chile, Estonia and Cayman have become relatively rich over the past few decades. Those countries that are still relatively poor are poor because they have not put in place the necessary institutions, political structures and policies.


The United States and a number of other wealthy nations are becoming less free and thus, not surprisingly, are growing more slowly.

Belize  could become rich and the U.S. and Cayman could become poor. It all depends on whether the political entities elect wise and courageous leaders.


Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/16/tale-of-two-small-countries/

Monday, January 16, 2012

CONSULATE OF BELIZE RECEPTION IN HONOR OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING



The Consulate of Belize in Los Angeles, California sponsored a reception celebrating the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, January 14, 2012. The Consul General, the Hon. Roland Yorke hosted the ceremony and the guest speaker was Mr. Robert Farrell (L.A. City Councilor, and Songstress Wendy Barnes Farrell, wife of Councilor Farrell, was also featured.
Songstress Wendy Barnes Farrell 
    The Consul General welcomed his guests and introduced the songstress, who sang a moving and mellow version of the old civil rights song: “People Get Ready The Train Is Coming” just before her husband was called upon to address the overcrowded audience, and a second such civil rights favorite - “Swing Low,” just following her husband’s moving and somber speech.
    
City Councilor Farrell, who is a regular at Belizean functions, humbly told of his personal experiences in the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King. He praised the unparalleled contribution by Dr. King in changing the mind-set of people all over the world in a positive way, especially here in America where black men and women had suffered so much in every-which-way at a time when there was systemic discrimination, intolerance and criminalization of the black race, particularly young black males. He noted how blessed we were to have had Dr. King as our leader until he was assassinated at the young age of 39, and said that he had done so much to change the world in just 13 years. If it was not for the civil rights struggle, he said, the 99% movement we see today would not have been possible.
     
On a more personal note, Councilor Farrell said that after he was freed from jail for his role in the Civil Rights Protests, he dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles to look for a job. Like most black males who have served prison time, he said that he was unemployable both in the private and public sector and his only recourse was to go into politics with his civil rights credentials. He urged Belizeans to get involved in community activities so as to help to preserve these precious rights that Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement have fought so hard for with such great sacrifices.
   
Following his address, the Farrells posed for random group pictures with Belizeans in a friendly and down-home manner. Selected Belizeans from all age groups lined up to read quotes attributed to Dr. King that lined the walls on the Consulate Public area. Belizeans were also updated on the Belize First Lady’s cancer struggle and asked to sign a “get well soon card” to be sent to the First Lady who had just returned to Miami, Florida for further medical treatment. The Honorary Vice Consul, Miss Linda Lewis, who heads the Consulate’s Medical Initiative and the head of the Education Program for Belizeans were called upon to address the audience on their respective projects.


Also present at the event was Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., the Honorary Consul of the Consulate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Dr. Gill is also a friend of Belize and visited on several occasions. He sang his quote of Dr. King, before reciting it at the reception.
Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., the Honorary Consul of the Consulate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

By Winfield Tillett

Sunday, January 15, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. KING


Happy Birthday, Dr. King

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”

“I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

― Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PRIME MINISTER BARROW TRAVELS TO MIAMI


Belmopan, 13th January, 2012 - Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean Barrow, will leave the country tomorrow, Saturday, 14th January. He is accompanying his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, to Miami, Florida, USA, where Mrs. Barrow will receive medical treatment.


Prime Minister Barrow is scheduled to return home on Friday, 20th January. Minister of Defence and Immigration, Hon. Carlos Perdomo, will act as Prime Minister from the Prime Minister’s departure until the return to the country on Sunday, 15th January, of Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaspar Vega. The Deputy Prime Minister will then act as Prime Minister until Prime Minister Barrow returns to Belize.


Deputy Prime Minister Vega will be in Guatemala City 13th – 15th January to attend the inauguration ceremony of H.E., Otto Perez Molina, as President of Guatemala, on Saturday, 14th January.


(END)
Office of the Prime Minister
Belmopan, Cayo District

Thursday, January 12, 2012

THE BELIZE SHOW: VITAL AS OXYGEN

 Hubert Neal, Jr. and Yasser Musa
The Belize Show, an exhibition of paintings and photographs by Belizean artist Hubert Neal, Jr. will be opening at the Image Factory in Belize City on Friday, January 13th, 2012. 

In 2010 Neal exhibited the Dudes Chronicles in Jamaica, a show that delivered chunks of reality and vindicated for me that early 21st century visual art can still evoke high grade potency. The Silent Scream painting is part Edvard Munch on a bridge and Usain Bolt on the global track; a marriage of violence and victory.

Here in Belize City, January 2012 we introduce Neal, an artist dropping in on his hometown full of visual gems for his exhibit "The Belize Show". For the record, Belize saw 138 murders in 2010 and 125 in 2011, so the backdrop for this show is brutal, but we cannot give up on art, and certainly not on the alert, attentive and compulsively readable works of Herbert Neal Jr.

We know that the lifespan of a fact is shrinking so we must rely on the visual artist to help with the process of decoding the mix tape of data flying pass our retinas. Neal's new works offer a raw vision of the contemporary. He reminds us that new libraries are now indexed on You Tube, Cable Television and Facebook.

Notice how Neal captures Muammar Gaddafi in the painting the Arab Spring and Fall Pt. 1 as a clenched fist buried in the desert culvert, a vague reference to his real time execution.
In his Michael Jackson painting, MJ Gone we stare on the innocent boy from Gary, Indiana book ended when by a distortion of a quote from  Kanye West's song-All of the Lights. Clearly  Neal is happy with drawing and graphic.
The photograph titled The Dancehall, Kingston, Jamaica is an intense moment between man and woman. Yes it is intimate, but it is worth paying attention to the man's face, the care and concentration he has in what appears a dangerous split second in the couples choreography.
 This is Herbert's first show in Belize. In a recent interview with Kate Usher, he stated:

"When you are an artist you are already driven. It is not just what we do, but a way of life. We make art because we need to. It is as vital as oxygen. We would die (inside) without it".

By Yaser Musa