Friday, 17 October 2014

PRESS RELEASE GOB Cruise Ship Passenger Quarantined Belmopan. October 16, 2014.

The Government of Belize was contacted on October 16th by the officers of the US Government and made aware of a cruise ship passenger considered of very low risk for Ebola. The passenger had voluntarily entered quarantine on board the ship and remains free of any fever or other symptoms of illness. The Ebola virus may only be spread by patients who are experiencing fever and symptoms of illness and so the US Government had emphasized the very low risk category in this case. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the Government of Belize decided not to facilitate a US request for assistance in evacuating the passenger through the Phillip Goldson International Airport.The GOB reassures the public that the passenger never set foot in Belize and while we remain in close contact with US officials we have maintained the position that when even the smallest doubt remains, we will ensure the health and safety of the Belizean people. The Prime Minister has called a press conference tomorrow morning to further address any concerns that may arise from this event.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Caribbean Tourism Organization - Belize Tourism Growth Accelerates to Record Pace


Belize is experiencing an unparalleled explosion in tourism. The majority of the tourism growth in Belize appears to be concentrated in the coastal areas, primarily along the Caribbean in the Stann Creek District.

"I've never seen anything like this in my years in the space" offers Matthew McDonagh, Senior Vice President of The Placencia Group.

The latest tourism growth statistics have just been released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization. A number of figures standout from the July 18, 2014 release.

From January through June of 2014 Belize saw an 11.8% increase (year over year) in tourist arrivals. Many of the 185,996 passengers flew onto Placencia Belize to enjoy the resort destination while going fly fishing and other sea/land-based activities.

Cruise ship passenger traffic increased by 36.9% from 2013-2014 into Belize.
April alone saw a 23% increase in tourist arrivals into Belize City. To put this figure into context the average increase in April across all of the other nations listed in the CTO's release was less than 11%.

The other nations included in the analysis are: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cozumel Mexico, Curacao, Dominican Replublic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Saint Lucia.

The majority of the tourism growth in Belize appears to be concentrated in the coastal areas, primarily along the Caribbean in the Stann Creek District.

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Maya Leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow

 Spokepersons of the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcalde’s Association met late last month with Prime Minister Dean Barrow inside his office in Belmopan. 
During the meeting, their where discussion on  focusing on issues where maya people are affected on the south and in particular the subject of drilling for oil in the Sastoon Temash National Park.

According to a statement put out by the Maya Leaders Alliance, the chiefs in Charged mentioned to the Prime Minister that they are in the process of developing a proposal on a framework for Approval agreements on oil exploration as well as the extraction of other materials from traditional Maya lands. "They joint statement issued after the meeting with the Prime Minister by the groups from the south," said that the proactive readiness  by the Maya people manifests their commitment to constructive exploration based on respect and good faith engagements in the involving of the people, government and extracting companies.
The Maya leaders say they were encouraged by the new commitment from the Prime Minister and applaud the opportunity for respectful dialogue that took place, designed to reach an amicable solution to differences.
The Maya Leaders Alliance has committed to continue working with the government to ensure that the Maya people are fully engages in every decision made which affects them in one way or the other as it relates to the natural resources.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Pre- History of Corozal, Belize

Corozal Town is a town in the nation of Belize, capital of Corozal District. Corozal Town is located about 84 miles north of Belize City, and 9 miles from the border with Mexico. The population of Corozal Town, according to the main results of the 2010 census, is 9,871. Corozal was a private estate before becoming a town in the 1840s, mostly settled by Mestizo refugees from the Caste War of Yucatán. Much of the town was built over an ancient Maya city, sometimes known as Santa Rita; this may have been the original Pre-Columbian town called Chetumal. Corozal Town was badly damaged by Hurricane Janet in 1955, and was substantially rebuilt afterwards. 
Corozal, the northmost town in Belize, was founded in 1848 by refugees from the Maya Indian uprising against the Spanish in neighboring Yucatán. This uprising, known as the War of the Castes (from the Spanish "castas" or race), began as a war against the Spaniards, but it eventually became a war against the Mestizos. The Mestizos, half Spanish and half Indian, had proved to be formidable allies of the Spaniards, and were thus mortal enemies of the Maya Indians.
A massacre at Bacalar, Mexico — a Mestizo stronghold about thirty miles north of Corozal Town — finally led to the exodus of thousands of Mestizos from Bacalar and the surrounding area. Between 1848 and 1856 more than 10,000 refugees crossed the Rio Hondo, the river that now serves as a boundary between Belize and Mexico. These immigrants sought refuge in northern Belize, and increased the population of Corozal Town to 4500. Mr. James Blake, a magistrate, let them settle on lands in the Corozal District and helped them to establish the new crop — sugar cane.
The Mestizo refugees were far from safe in Corozal Town as the Maya Indians from the Mexican base in Santa Cruz Bravo. \today Carrillo Puerto — made several incursions in Corozal Town. In defense, Corozal became a garrison town and Fort Barlee was built here in 1870. Today, the brick corner supports of the fort surround the post office complex of the buildings across from the central town square.
The immigrants brought with them Mestizo culture: Spanish and Yucatec Maya language, Catholicism and Maya folklore, the use of alcalde, their family structure and way of life. Soon, there emerged a local replication of the society of the Yucatán within the boundaries of a country ruled by English expatriates.
Across the bay from Corozal Town are the mounds of Cerros, the first Maya coastal trading center. Cerros is considered one of the most important late preclassic Maya sites because it represented the first experiment with kingship in the Maya world. The remains include a number of temples, plazas, ballcourts, canals, and minor structures. The most interesting artifacts so far discovered are the five jade head pendants.
Within Corozal itself can be found another Maya ruin from the fourteenth century AD. Known as Santa Rita, the pyramid site sits atop the remains of a Maya city that dominated the area for more, than 2000 years. Burial sites rich in jewelry and artifacts have recently been unearthed here. Santa Rita was probably part of ancient Chactumal, the Maya capital of the area at the time of the first Spanish attempt to conquer the Yucatec Mayas in the early 16th century. The ruins of Santa Rita is located near the town's Hospital and is surrounded by the villages of San Andres, San Antonio, and Paraiso, by walking distances.

Today, Corozal is home to a growing expatriate community, mostly concentrated in the northern tip of the town at Consejo Shores, and along the seaside in the Copper Bank and Chunox areas. While not part of the traditional tourist circuit, Corozal Town makes a good base for fishing excursions in the calm bay; bird- and wildlife-viewing tours into nearby Shipstern Nature Reserve; shopping trips to neighboring Chetumal, Mexico; and explorations of the aforementioned Mayan ruins. It is one of the most attractive for retires and most locals that enjoy living the relaxing life. It also has the free zone on the Border, Princess Casino, Las Vegas Casino, Schools and stores. 

Consejo is the northernmost population centre of Belize, is at the very tip of Belize facing Chetumal. It is five minutes from Corozal Town to Consejo.  If you stand on the shore at Consejo you can actually see Chetumal city with the naked eye about a mile across the water.  Sartenja is a very attractive for touristsSarteneja's fishermen sail on striking handcrafted vessels (called "lighters") as far south as Guatamala and Honduras. The tiny sailboats sometimes transport as many fifteen fishermen as they travel along the coast fishing the barrier reef and the outer atolls for conch, lobster, shrimp, and a variety of finfish species (according to the seasonal regulations). Once the ice supply on board has dwindled, the fishermen sell their catch in Belize City, San Pedro, and Chetumal on the way home. Upon returning to Sarteneja, the boat is immediately prepared for the next voyage. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

CARICOM countries are urged to participate in all meeting funds

(L-R): Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, CDF’s CEO and Dr Alvin Hillaire, CDF Board of Directors’ Chairman, with Robert Morris, Ambassador of Barbados to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at the recent CDF Fourth Annual Meeting of Contributors and Development Partners held in Barbados
(L-R): Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, CDF’s CEO; and Alvin Hillaire, CDF board of directors’ chairman; with Robert Morris, ambassador of Barbados to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at the recent CDF fourth annual meeting of contributors and development partners held in Barbados
he chief executive officer of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF), Lorne McDonnough, has urged member states to renew their commitment to the organization for the upcoming second funding cycle despite the difficult economic times.
Addressing the recent fourth meeting of contributors and development partners held in Barbados, McDonnough described the CDF as an example of regional integration at work even as CARICOM member states continue to confront economic and financial challenges.
He noted that in an environment where some CARICOM stakeholders doubt the relevance of the regional movement, the CDF played a positive role through its active support of projects that promote economic and social cohesion and in the final analysis has a positive impact on CARICOM citizens in their daily life.
McDonnough stressed: “We in CARICOM must courageously pursue the goal of integration and, in so doing, ensure that the facilitating mechanisms like the CDF can work effectively to allow for the realization of the gains from trade and that these gains are fairly distributed.”
Noting that only 67.5 percent of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy had so far been fully implemented, he revealed that the strategic plan for the wider region had been approved by CARICOM heads and would focus on an achievable range of priorities, recognizing that resources were finite and that implementation of these priorities was key.
Reflecting on the CDF’s performance during the first funding cycle, McDonnough noted that the fund had approved grants and loans for eight member states amounting to some EC$123.6 or US$ 46.15 and was working with other development partners to leverage its resources.
He added that CDF’s involvement in the financing of the new Argyle International Airport and its partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on the Northern Highway Project in Belize were small but significant undertakings in keeping with their remit and demonstrated that as a small treaty-based entity, they can play a vital role in addressing disparities within the integration process.