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The University of Belize hosts the 113th Session of the Central American University Confederation (CSUCA) Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

The University of Belize (UB) has hosted the 113th Session of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centro Americano (CSUCA - Central American Higher Education Council). This was the first time that this annual session was held in Belize, and the first that it was hosted by the University of Belize. The CSUCA is one of the oldest regional organizations of higher education systems in the world, where its members consist of public universities from the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. CSUCA aims to promote Central American integration and focuses on the integration and strengthening of higher education in Central American societies. CSUCA is to improve the quality of higher education in Central America through the creation and transmitting of knowledge and the dissemination of shared experiences in an effort to guide actions to achieve the common good of Central America in order to fully participate in the solution of global problems.

The objective of the two-day session was to report on the activities of CSUCA for the 2018-2019 year and to engage in information sharing of the work of CSUCA’s seven (7) sub-committees: the Committee for Evaluation and Harmonization of Higher Education; Central American and the Caribbean Commission for Research and Graduate Studies; the Commission for Student Life; the Commission for the Internationalization of Higher Education Systems of Central America; Committee for University and Society Relationship; Integrated Committee for Documentary Information; and the Central American University Editorial Committee.

Discussions for the session focused primarily on policies relating to the internationalization of CSUCA Universities, graduate studies, student mobility between the Universities, and standards for institutional accreditation for member universities. One of the most significant outcomes of the meeting was the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the University of Belize and the University of Nicaragua, Managua (UNAN-M). UB has partnered with UNAN-M to develop UB’s Medical Program and to aid in developing its Faculty of Health Science.

This two-day session was held from April 10 to 11, 2019 and was chaired by the President of

CUSCA and of UB, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, and was co-chaired by CSUCA’s Secretary General, Dr. Carlos Alvarado Cerezo.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2019 09:26
 
NICH to partner with Centro de Estudios Martianos of Cuba on research Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

Belize and Cuba share some history and culture and it is in this light that the two countries want to know and share more about those connections. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centro de Estudios Martianos of Cuba to collaborate on that research. The MOU will last for four years and according to NICH’s President, Sapna Budhrani, the intention is to share and publish researched information during that period. Both countries have records dating all the way to the 1700s and this MOU will also ensure that those documents and resources are shared between the countries. Besides sharing information, Budhrani says that Belize and Cuba will also exchange researches to visit the other country and later compile the findings.

The idea for the intensive research and cross-cultural exchange came from DPM Hon. Patrick Faber’s visit to Cuba about two years ago. As the Minister of Education, Youth, Culture, and Sports, his visit focused on improving those areas of Belize and the Director of Centro de Estudios Martianos, Ana Sánchez Collazo, shared that willingness. The research institute sponsors the investigation, study, and circulation of the life, work, and thought of José Martí. Martí was a freedom fighter and national hero to Cuba given his movement against Spain for Cuba’s independence. He also reportedly spent some time in Belize during his early childhood.

Signing the MOU were Budhrani as well as Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, Professor at Centro de Estudios Martianos, and Lisette Perez Perez, Ambassador of Cuba to Belize.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2019 09:27
 
BEL proposes to maintain mean electricity rate Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

While it was expected that the mean electricity rate (MER) of $0.41 per kWh would see an increase from July 2019 through to June 2020, the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to maintain the current rate. That expected rise in the rate would have been due an increase in January but BEL has said that the current rates will remain. The company says that they experienced a fall in their required revenue of $18.5 million. This is because sales projected for the July 2017 to June 2018 period were not realized and the cost of power from suppliers was higher than expected. In an effort to lessen the impact on consumers, the company is proposing to recover this shortfall over the next three annual tariff periods instead of over a short period of time.

Their release says that preliminary estimates are that the cost of power for the current Annual Tariff Period (ATP) will be $22 million higher than had been previously projected. This is because of expected low production from local hydro plants which resulted from drought, as well as unstable rates from Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission. This will, unfortunately, result in additional shortfalls of revenue that BEL will have to recover in future tariff periods.

“BEL continues to explore ways to mitigate impacts of increases in the cost of power on electricity rates while remaining committed to its mission of providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy services.”

 
Twentieth year of BEL promoting cycling, this year it was for at all ages Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

For the twentieth consecutive year, Belize Electricity Limited held the Junior Male and Female Cross Country Classic. Along with those races, there was also the first ever Female Junior Novice Race as well as the third kids race.

At 9:00a.m. the Junior Race took off starting off at the San Jose Succotz Ferry entrance on the George Price Highway heading to the Joseph Andrews Drive over the Santa Elena Bridge, on to La Loma Luz Boulevard and then back to the George Price Highway. It made its way into Belize City down Central American Boulevard over the Bel-Can Bridge to the Philip Goldson Highway and making one lap between the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard and NAPA roundabouts and ended at the BEL Corporate Headquarters. Taking first place was Eric Trapp; Derrick Chavarria placed second while Mairon Munoz took third Place. Akeem Mangar came in fourth and Henry Li fifth.

The female Junior novice race took off at 10:30 a.m. from the BEL West Lake Substation at Mile 8 on the  George Price Highway. From there, it headed to Belize City on to the Central American Boulevard over the Bel-Can Bridge and onto the Philip Goldson Highway, ending at the BEL Corporate Headquarters. The winner in this category was Essenie Vernon. Leana Cocom took home second place and Tamarra Charlesworth got third place.

For the kids race, there were three divisions with those from three to five moving off from Renco heading to the BEL Headquarters on the Philip Goldson Highway. The second category was for children between the ages of six and nine. They took off from in front of BEL Corporate Headquarters and made one lap between Buttonwood Bay Boulevard and NAPA roundabouts and ended back at the company’s offices. The third division was for children ages 10 - 12. They rode from in front of BEL and also made one lap between the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard and NAPA roundabouts and finished off at the BEL Corporate Headquarters.

Additional prizes were issued to participants in the Male Youth Category with Derrick Chavarria placing first, Akeem Mangar second, Renan Codd third, Kenne Gongora fourth and Dilin Chan placing fifth. In the female Youth Category Gabrielle Gabourel placed first, Abbie Leslie second and Kendal Morgan third. First place in the Female Junior Open Category was Kaylyn Gillett while second place went to Siyah Swasey and third place went to Idel Villanueva. Prince of the Hill was awarded to Akeem Mangar and the Youngest Rider was Kenne Gongora.

 
Book Week ends at the Cayo Welcome Center Print E-mail
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Friday, 12 April 2019 00:00

Book lovers and students from the Saint Ignatius High School gathered at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town on Friday to celebrate the culmination of a successful Book Week. Being held under the theme, “Book It”, this is the eleventh book fair being brought forward by the Belize Book Industry Association (BBIA).

Past president of the BBIA, Montseratt Casademunt announced to those gathered that 2019 is going to bring in a new era of writing with an upcoming prize for the novella. It is still not clear whether the novella will be a biography or a novelette, but the length of this work has been expanded to 30,000 or 60,000 words, which will range from 90 to 150 pages. While the literary prize is an adult competition for Belizeans residing either at home or abroad, the same prize will also soon go towards a junior and youth competition to provide both national and international recognition for our authors.

At the event on Friday, we were able to meet some of Belize’s accomplished and aspiring wordsmiths, whose daily toil seek to transport their readership through the curvature of space and time. One of these accomplished authors is Dr. Henry W. Anderson from the cultural capital of Dangriga.

Based on information that we gathered from the Amazon website, three of Dr. Anderson’s works have been published in Belize. They are The Son of Kinich, a volume of poetry; The Eddy, a collection of short stories; Ode to the One-Eyed Lady, a novel about a hurricane approaching Belize. Recently published, both as printed and e-books, are Christ Son Of Man-The Voyage To Araboth II, and the first three books of the Sisimito Series: Sisimito I - Ox Witz Ha, Sisimito II - Xibalba, and Sisimito III - Topoxte.

Dr. Anderson, who himself began as a writer at the age of eight, urged our young people on Friday to start a career in writing. At that tender age, he began writing plays and inviting the neighborhood to come and see them at a cost of fifty cents each. For the member from Jabiru Books Belize, the writing landscape has changed tremendously and while urging that “…we cannot allow the electronic media to take over our lives” maintains a constant following on the internet. It is too expensive to print books, he told us. While a printed book will cost $70.00, the same version as an e-book will only cost $14.00

“It is important to do research properly, no matter what you have written, never throw it away at a future date you will be able to use it for something more important... We all aim so that the reader can enjoy, it is very important for us to have our work edited, have it properly reviewed,” Dr. Anderson advised the students from Saint Ignatius. “There are a lot of resources on the internet, but the local advice is more important, reading is very important, you will need to turn off your Wifi, but it is worthwhile.”

Another author we met was Edington Cayetano who also hails from Dangriga. After three years of persistence, Cayetano was able to get both financial and technical assistance from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) for the first issue of his National Symbols of Belize. Cayetano now hopes to print a thousand copies of his book, which contains valuable information on our National Symbols, National Anthem, Prayer and Belize’s Coat of Arms.

The events of Book Week 2019 held in Belize last week were set in preparation for World Book and Copyright Day observed every year on April 23. The event also celebrates authors, illustrators, books and reading in over 100 countries all over the World and is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). At least locally, we would also like to thank NICH, the Belize National Library Service and Information System and some members from the private sector for making Book Week 2019 a marvelous success.

 


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