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Medflies detected in Southern Belize Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) has publicly released that medflies have been detected in the Sapodilla Cayes, Dump in the Toledo District and Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District. As a result of the detection, several activities to eradicate the flies, such as fruit stripping, increased trapping, and chemical control, have begun in Hopkins and the Sapodilla Cayes.

The public is being asked to refrain from taking fruits such as mango, cocoplum, and sea grapes, outside of these areas to prevent the spread of this pest. BAHA also reminds the public that Belize is free of the medfly and introductions only occurs when people bring medfly hosts, including fresh fruits and vegetables, illegally into the country.

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority urges Belizeans to keep Belize free of the medfly by obtaining a BAHA permit for any fresh fruit or vegetable importation.

The Medfly is a potentially devastating pest that attacks all manner of fruits and can decimate entire fruit industries.

 
Referendum monitors satisfied with the process Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

Representatives from the Commonwealth Secretariat were in Belize on a Commonwealth Observer Mission to Belize to observe Belize’s ICJ Referendum held on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The observer group, constituted and deployed by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, included Tres-Ann Kremer, Head of Good Offices for Peace and Adviser for the Caribbean Region; Martin Caseri, Head of Electoral Support; and their lead and former Prime Minister of the Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, who delivered the group’s interim statement.

In that statement, which provided an initial assessment of the referendum process which they observed the day before, the referendum was considered a “historic and watershed movement” for our country.

During their initial visit on April 3 for the referendum which was to be held on April 10, the group met with the Prime Minster the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition John Briceno, members of Civil Society Organizations, Chief and other Election Officers, the Referendum Unit and Referendum Commission, legal experts, trade unions, and persons from private sectors.

Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham highlighted the challenge to the referendum, which had led to an injunction at the Supreme Court and a subsequent appeal to have the injunction lifted. The referendum was then postponed and the Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Act was passed by the Senate after which a new date of May 8 was set for the referendum. On that day, they returned to Belize and had several discussion with more stakeholders.

During their observations, the group were presented with some issues. Those included complaints that there were a great number of potential voters, who were denied their necessary documents at the Vital Statistics Unit. They were also presented with issues with the manner in which the voter education campaign was held and lack of regulations in the Act.

They did commend the calm, which was noticed before and during the referendum, notwithstanding the intense and robust discussions taking place. The polling stations opened on time with the necessary staff, materials, and security present. During the day at various polling stations, procedure was followed and had an adequate setup. The majority of the stations were accessible to persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities and the elderly were given preferential access. Information centers set up near the stations were commendable and most persons were able to find their names on the voters’ lists. While tabulating, procedures were again followed and monitors, including the observer group, were present.

All in all, the “referendum was credible, transparent, and inclusive.” Belizeans who took part, as much as 65% of the voting population, were afforded an objective opportunity to express their will and exercise their franchise. The referendum outcome, in their view, reflects the true resolve of the majority of persons who voted.

 


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