September Celebrations officially opened by Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

aragon.jpg - 54.01 KbBelizeans at home and abroad, it is my distinct pleasure to officially launch the 2016 National September Celebrations. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Sovereign and Strong-Together As One”. This theme, coined by Mrs. Argelia Mendoza Ken, provides a central narrative that aptly describes our people. It reflects our spirit of strength in the face of adversity. This is more evident today, as we slowly emerge from the ravages of Hurricane Earl for which the damages to our infrastructure and industries run in the millions. In response to this natural disaster, Belizeans have risen as one people to rebuild our homes, our communities and our lives.

Our desire to assert our freedom is the reason we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of our Independence and the 218th year of victory at the battle of St. George’s Caye.   For this year’s festivities, the National Celebrations Commission, comprised of the Government of Belize, municipalities, and other valued partners, have put together a series of activities for you to enjoy. This year’s Calendar includes events which honour our national heroes and patriots, which showcase our cultural diversity and which reflect on our achievements as a young nation.

Today, more than ever we see our country experiencing unprecedented transformation of our environment, of our economy and of our people - all of which is guided by the principles of sustainable development. This transformation has motivated us to act confidently and effectively to continue building a prosperous Belize.

This is an ongoing process in our history which has been marked by two events: The first in 1798 at the Battle of St. George’s Caye and the second on the occasion of Belize achieving its Independence in 1981. In this long march of history where we strive to make Belize a better place we remain committed to the ethos of “One Government, One People, One Belize”.
As we celebrate with our families and friends during this patriotic month let us not forget those that have paved the way for us to do so. Let us honor them not only with celebration but with hard work.

I take this opportunity to thank the members of the National Celebrations Commission, including my Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.  Let us hold high our heritage and continue to make these upcoming weeks the showcase of our nationalistic identity.

I wish you all a safe and enjoyable September Celebrations. As Chairman of the National Celebrations Commission, I officially declare the 2016 September Celebrations open.
May God bless us all, may God continue to bless our beloved Belize.
Thank You

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2016 13:17
Churches protest Chief Justice ruling Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

church protest.jpg - 87.92 KbEstimates on the ground say that just over a thousand Evangelists, led by the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), took to Independence Hill in Belmopan for a protest on Tuesday, August 23. They were there to show the country that there is a sizeable number of the population who strongly disagree with the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s ruling to decriminalize gay intimacy.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has stated clearly why the state will not be appealing the ruling. Having rejected those reasons, the Christian protesters made the point that they interpret the Prime Minister’s decision as some sort of disrespect to the will of the electorate. They continue to insist that he reconsider and lodge the appeal. Buses from all across Toledo and Orange Walk converged in Belmopan bringing those religious demonstrators who hoisted placards and picket signs with their message. They spent about 3 or so hours listening to the leaders of the protest make the point that the Government ought to show more respect for the Church.

But, it’s tough to do that when there are those in the Church who keep on trying to incite panic among their flock by suggesting the ruling represents a foreign world views and agendas, and more importantly, that the ruling is somehow a gateway through which other gay rights activists can use to keep agitating for more changes in the Belizean society. The “bogeyman” for the Church appears to be same-sex marriage, and those leaders keep insisting that the Section 53 judgment is one step closer to that goal, despite the staunch, carefully considered refusal from Prime Minister Barrow (who is a very well-trained legal mind) that it does not do that.

Pastor Scott Stirm, Vice President of NEAB, told the press at the protest that “at least 7 different senior counsels” have given them advice which supports their assertion that Caleb Orozco’s victory in the Supreme Court challenge “pre-approves” any gay rights challenge that may be lodged in the future. Stirm, who has already been caught on camera making bigoted remarks against the Garifuna people’s religious practices, neglected to mention who those attorneys are for independent verification attempts. So, the public must take his word for it. The 3 unions representing workers from the 3 major public utilities are in support of the Christians who are demanding an appeal of this judgment. The Belize Energy Workers Union, the Belize Communication Workers Union, and the Belize Water Services Workers Union released a joint statement calling for an appeal of the judgment.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2016 13:18
Moving data management from paper to electronic Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

The Belize Archives and Records Service –BARS held a workshop this week titled “Moving from Paper to an Electronic Records Management System: Benefits, Challenges, Resources and Strategies”. The four day workshop started on Monday at the Central Information Technology Office CITO in Belmopan and was attended by 25 data managing officers from 12 Departments and Ministries in Government.

The aim of this workshop was to introduce participants to a set of tools required to establish a standardized electronic records management system applicable across all government ministries. Considering the latest technologies that are based on international standards, this training followed records management and archives principles that are appropriate and legally sound for both public and private institutions.  

The facilitators for this Workshop included  Milovan Misic, who represents the International Council on Archives, which now operates in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Misic is the head of the Records Management and Archives Project within the World Intellectual Property Organization based in Switzerland and in his opening presentation on Monday gave all participants an opportunity to describe their particular situations.

In her welcome address at the first of its kind workshop in the public service, Marian McNab, Chair within the BARS Advisory Board stated that records management in all its facets has been taking on more  importance within the Government of Belize’s framework.

“Unfortunately, the Belize Public Service cannot boast of a standardized system of records management across its various ministries and departments and this is exacerbated by the fact that there is a continuous accumulation and proliferation of records on a daily basis, so much so that BARS is not only unable to keep up with the demands for assistance with de-congestion of filing cabinets, storage rooms and containers, but the archiving of records as well, as space for storage becomes harder and harder to access.”

Ms. McNab notes that the most viable solution for BARS is a departure from a strictly manual paper management to electronic records management or a combination of both.

Dr. Herman Byrd, the Director of BARS tells the Guardian that while efforts were concentrated this week towards record management principles across Ministries, over time there will be a collaboration with CITO to introduce standardization in terms of hardware and software in the electronic processing of records. Dr. Byrd has also told reporters that while electronic management has a lot of use “…it is very fragile and so it can be manipulated, it can be hacked into, so security is the main concern when working with electronic records.”

During the course of Monday, Misic told participants that there now exists software that can file documents automatically. He noted while the portable document format or .pdf has become a standard in data recording, .pdf documents that were created 50 to 100 years ago are now unreadable. So, he said that as archivists, there is a need to provide readability of electronic records as long as it is needed.

Through the efforts of Misic,  Android powered tablets were distributed to participants on Monday, so that new software based electronic management can be implemented.

“The main challenge is to shift from not predominantly, but almost more than ninety percent paper environment into more electronic that will serve the purpose of managing both the paper and electronic records,” says Misic.

With the standardization of technologies, policies and procedures in records management and archives across Ministries comes many benefits, which includes for a more compact presentation and speedy retrieval of information. Both the Belize Archives and Records Service and the Central Information Technology Office are now pioneering those training efforts by investing in human capital in an information based economy.

Five more ambitious youngsters get BTB Scholarships Print E-mail
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Written by By Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

Five more deserving youth have the opportunity to further their studies in preparation for a career in the tourism industry, thanks to the Belize Tourism Board. Clarita Ack and Ahkeem O’Brien will study Tourism Management at the Associate Degree level, Janeen Nal and Nissa August will study Tourism Management at the Bachelor Degree level and Einar Marin is studying the culinary field for a Bachelor Degree in Gastronomy.

Hon. Manuel Herredia Jr. congratulated the recipients during a brief recognition ceremony at BTB’s Belize City headquarters on Wednesday, August 24. He encouraged the recipients to take full advantage of the opportunity being presented and challenged them to be pioneers in the tourism industry.

Speaking of pioneers, the Jean Shaw Scholarship was awarded to Nissa August. According to Herbert Haylock, Director of Quality Assurance at BTB, “The Jean Shaw Tourism Scholarship was established in memory of the late tourism pioneer, Jean Ursilla Shaw. The scholarship is to support the development of qualified Belizean females pursuing a career in tourism.” August graduated from Wesley College and has an Associate Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Belize. She will now study for her Bachelor Degree in the same field at the national university. The Jean Shaw Scholarship covers tuition, fees and books.

Janeen Nal graduated from Sacred Heart College before deciding to study Tourism Management at the tertiary level. She has an Associate Degree and has now received a two year tuition scholarship for a Bachelor Degree program at the University of Belize.

Clarita Ack received her high school diploma from Toledo Community College and received a two year scholarship for the Associate Degree program in Tourism Management at Sacred Heart Junior College. Ahkeem O’Brien received his high school diploma from Saint John’s College and will pursue an Associate Degree in Tourism Management at the University of Belize.

Einar Marin graduated with his Associate Degree from Saint John’s Junior College before deciding to pursue culinary studies in Merida, Mexico. He received a scholarship for $10,000 to study at Anahuac Mayab University.  

According to the Belize Tourism Board, the recipients were selected based on a score sheet which measured various factors such as grades, work and community service experience, an essay describing their career goals and aspirations and previous achievements. Those with the highest scores were then reviewed by a scholarship committee and the top candidates were selected. Just over 20 applications were submitted and the total value of the scholarships issued is in the neighbourhood of $50,000.  Recipients are expected to complete an internship program with the Belize Tourism Board.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2016 12:29
Big event coming up at the Cayo Welcome Center Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

The Cayo Welcome Center will be hosting its annual Back to School Extravaganza on the 27th August, 2016 at 10:00 am. An announcement by Bernz Mendez, the Director of the Cayo Welcome Center over the weekend makes clear that this event is being brought to the people of the Twin Towns through the kind courtesy of Mayor Earl Trapp Jr. and the San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town Council in collaboration with the Management and Staff of the Cayo Welcome Center, the Business Community and assistant Ms. Lisa Gordon “… who continues to empower our children in Education, that will enable them to be successful in their endeavors and to be positive thinkers who will pave the way forward for our future generations…”
Bernz Mendez also states, “As Director of the Cayo Welcome Center, I would like to thank all our sponsors for their generosity towards this cause and for assisting children to make their dreams come true in the area of education.”


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