Badmouthing the Civic Center Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 00:00

PUP operatives are all lining up to attack the brand NEW BELIZE CITY CIVIC CENTER . Now it is Senator Bacon who is the latest Anti-Civic Center Crusader. Like all other PUPs including his leader Johnny, who has tried to attack the construction of this historical sporting complex, he is referring to the COMPLEX as just a BASKETBALL COURT. Maybe because he like his many co-crusaders are athletically challenged and may not know the difference between a Basketball Court and a Sporting Complex. So in order to teach him the difference we will direct him to first go visit Anglican Cathedral College (ACC)  one of his Albert St. neighborhood schools. When he arrives there, he should look for that huge slab of concrete on the ground, that is a basketball court. He can then go to Yabra Cemetery right near the bridge to see another basketball court. Upon completing those two visits, he should go the Belize Civic Center and notice the difference. Word of advice to the Bacon Bandit “KEEP TO WHAT YOU KNOW SIR”

Then there is another approach being pushed by the PUP. They are now asking about value for money. Some of them have now started to compare our 4,500 seat interior of the Civic Center to Cancun’s poly-forum Benito Juarez, which is a ground level stadium that was built almost 10 years ago using the much cheaper and inferior technology of a decade ago. How far will these PUPs go to try and badmouth this MAGNIFICENT SPORTING COMPLEX? Do they think that if they badmouth the complex, it will just disappear into thin air or take a dive under the water like THEIR Iguana Creek Bridge? Was not one of their own Senators /PUP Albert Candidates Paul Thompson a director of BIL, the agency responsible for the project from design to completion of the project?  Wouldn’t he have spoken out if there was some sort of hustle going on?

Now let us look at what the Mexicans built almost 10 years ago. They built a building that is at ground level.

Construction cost was much lower back then. Mexico produces almost all, if not all of the construction materials needed. Back in 2008 the Peso was around 5.4 to the Belize dollar making the cost 98 MILLION MEXICAN PESOS for their stadium around 18.2 million Belize dollars. Besides the amenities inside the stadium there is nothing else outside. Now compare that to what we got here with the Civic Center. We got an elevated stadium. All materials beside aggregates and cement were imported. There is an entire compound with other amenities outside of the actual stadium. The streets around  the stadium have been constructed from concrete. A river deck has been built. Materials are much more expensive that they were ten years ago. We had to import technical expertise, because unlike the Mexicans we don’t have those here. As mentioned before we imported most of the materials including the entire superstructure of the building. Those were shipped to Belize at a high cost. What we got was value for money. THE PUP CANNOT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE SAY THAT THEY GOT VALUE FOR MONEY ON ANY OF THE PROJECTS THEY BUILT. Maybe they may want to compare the Civic to the Belize City Commercial Center and the Firestation that they built 25 years ago.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 14:23
Belize signs visa waiver for diplomatic and officials of India Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 00:00

Belize City. 18th September 2017.  Today, the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of India signed a Visa Waiver Agreement for holders of diplomatic and official/ service passports as a means of deepening bilateral relations.

Signing on behalf of the Government of Belize was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington, and on behalf of the Government of the Republic of India was the High Commission of the Republic of India to Belize, His Excellency Muktesh K. Pardeshi.

The Visa Waiver Agreement is limited to holders of diplomatic and service/official passports to enter, exit from and transit through the Republic of India and Belize without visas for a thirty-day period. The Agreement will facilitate official travel for Belizeans, especially those attending exchange programs offered by the Government of the Republic of India throughout the year.

Belize and the Republic of India have mutually benefitted from a growing bilateral relationship for more than thirty years. The signing of the Agreement will allow for increased cooperation between the two countries.

The signing of the Agreement took place at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 14:26
National 4H Youth Development Center holds orientation in Belmopan Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 00:00

“Getting Back to our Roots with a focus on Agriculture, skills and leadership!”

Such is the theme aptly coined for the National 4H Youth Development Center in Belmopan for the 2017-2018 period; as announced during orientation for both trainees and parents.

Over a dozen students from across Belize showed up on Monday, September 18, to get guidance from both the staff and teachers at the educational institution that will bring the agriculture vocation as its main focus.

We now “Go back to fully agriculture as well as skills development and leadership of our young people,” announced Mr. Martin Castillo, who is now the acting Manager of the National 4H Youth Development Center in Belmopan.

The 4H Center at the Agricultural Show Grounds is run under the Department of Youth with full subsidy from the Government of Belize. Students are about to start on a full ten month course ‘on the farm’ experience that will focus on fostering technical skills in gardening, small livestock rearing, agro food processing. Both remedial math and English are also offered at the Belmopan 4H Center as side courses.

Attorney General’s Ministry Reports on the status of the Implementation of UNCAC Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 20 September 2017 00:00

Belmopan. September 15, 2017.

Since acceding to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on the 12th of December, 2016, significant preliminary steps have been taken towards implementation. The Government of Belize through the Attorney General’s Ministry, the designated Focal Point for UNCAC, has made a concerted and devoted effort to assess the legal and institutional framework in Belize, with the aim of identifying and strengthening anti-corruption regimes in Belize.

Contextually, Belize is considered as a country with an economy in transition, as such, any plans and programmes to combat corruption have to be measured in line with Belize’s capacity financially, technically and otherwise. Nevertheless, the Government of Belize on a voluntary basis has subjected Belize to the implementation review mechanism established by the Conference of the State Parties to review and monitor implementation of the UNCAC (the Mechanism). The Mechanism includes a review process that is intergovernmental in nature.

The review process is conducted in two review cycles based on a timetable, which is set and controlled by the Secretariat of the Conference of State Parties, which is also the Secretariat of the Mechanism. The First Cycle involves an assessment of the legislative and institutional framework of Belize in relation to Chapters III (Criminalization and law enforcement) and IV (International cooperation); and the Second Cycle likewise in relation to Chapter II (Preventative Measures) and V (Asset Recovery). Each review cycle includes: the submission of a Comprehensive Self-assessment Checklist; a desk review of the Self-assessment Checklist by the Reviewing States; and an optional country visit by the governmental experts of the Reviewing States.  It is worthwhile to highlight that participation in the Mechanism is not mandatory for State Parties.

The Mechanism will technically assist Belize in the effective implementation of the UNCAC. It is capable of assisting us in identifying and providing solutions at the earliest possible stage to counter difficulties that will be encountered in the fulfilment of our obligations under the UNCAC. Additionally, the Mechanism promotes cooperation amongst States and facilitates the sharing of expertise and good practices. More importantly, the Mechanism takes into account the level of development of States and is an ongoing and gradual process.

Accordingly, a strategic and time-sensitive approach has been employed by the Government to enable Belize to implement the necessary reforms to our legal and institutional framework in line with the time-table set by the Mechanism.

Under the auspices of the Government of Belize, through the Attorney General’s Ministry (the Focal Point), United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the following steps have been taken towards implementation of the UNCAC, since accession in December 2016:

1. In February 2017, the project “Strengthening National Systems to Support UNCAC Implementation in Belize” (SNS4UNCAC) was initiated, as a partnership between the Government of Belize, inclusive representatives of various branches of Government, UNDP, UNODC and the stakeholders of civil society, inclusive of a representative from the opposition, the NGO community and a representative from the NTUCB. The Project Board is tasked, amongst other things, with assessing and identifying where national capacities are lacking and to create an action plan for the effective implementation of the UNCAC. The board conducts regular meetings to plan and evaluate its objectives and is in the ultimate stages of approving a rigorous public information and advocacy campaign in an effort to address the embedded cultural acceptance of corruption. This partnership is confirmation that it is the Government’s priority to streamline our legislative and institutional frameworks to satisfy the international anti-corruption standards set out in the provisions of the UNCAC.

2. On the 3rd and 4th of May 2017, a two day training workshop entitled “Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Training in Belize” was held at the Inspiration Centre, George Price Highway, Belize City where members of the Project Board and other stakeholders of civil society were given introductory training on the provisions of the UNCAC and what is required for implementation. This demonstrates Government’s commitment to specific training programmes to ensure its personnel responsible for preventing and combating corruption is equipped with the knowledge to effectively execute its obligations under the UNCAC.

3. On the 24th of May 2017, two Governmental Experts from the Attorney General’s Ministry participated in the Basic Training Programme in Public Procurement facilitated by a joint effort of the European Union and CARIFORUM held at the Biltmore Hotel, Philip Goldson Highway, Belize City, where the participants were given a general sensitization  and awareness training to facilitate a wider understanding of public procurement, its value to society as a whole and its potential development impact through international trade.  This is indicative of the Government’s efforts towards capacity building in the areas of competition, public procurement and customs and trade facilitation.

4. In June 2017, the Focal Point, the Honourable Attorney General of Belize, Michael Peyrefitte and a Governmental Expert from his Ministry participated in a training programme for Focal Points and governmental experts participating in the Review Mechanism for the UNCAC, at the Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria from 14th – 23rd of June 2017. The focus of the training was on the methodology, key concepts and guiding principles in the implementation review process. Further, there was sensitization on the Comprehensive self-assessment checklist that will support the development of a national anti-corruption Implementation Plan.

5. On the 16th of June 2017 to initiate the implementation of the UNCAC, Belize was selected, by the drawing of lots, as a State Party to be reviewed in the First Cycle, since we are the most recent State to accede to the UNCAC. We are to be reviewed by Haiti from the regional group and Tuvalu from the international group. Noteworthy, a State Party selected to be reviewed in any given year may, with reasonable justification, defer participation to the following year of the review cycle. However, Belize has taken a proactive approach and did not exercise its deferral option.

6. The review process commenced on the 25th of July 2017 and over the last month and a half the governmental experts at the Attorney General’s Ministry have been engaged in a rigorous analysis of the legal and institutional framework of Belize with the aim of completing the Self-assessment Checklist and submitting it to the Secretariat on the due date of the 25th of September 2017. Within three months of the submission of the Self-assessment Checklist, in December 2017, a desk review will be conducted, and two months after, in February of 2018, there will be a country visit to Belize by governmental experts from Haiti and Tuvalu.

7. A “South-South” exchange scheduled for the 12th – 16th of September 2017 with Jamaica was organised by the Project Board and facilitated through the UNDP to allow Belize to examine the legal and institutional framework of Jamaica and its best practices in the context of its anti-corruption regime; however, due to the unpredictable forces of nature and the devastation caused in Miami by Hurricane Irma the exchange was postponed to the 24th – 28th of September 2017.

In conclusion, the Government of Belize has made several successful steps towards the implementation of the UNCAC. Although a large portion of the work is foundational in nature, it is essential if we are to effectively execute our obligations under the UNCAC. The Government remains committed to combatting corruption at any level it may exist, and affirms that the proper implementation of UNCAC is a priority at this time.

Salvadoran men seeking asylum in Belize Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 00:00

Three Salvadoran men appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Aretha Ford on September 18, 2017 where they were all read a charge of failure to comply with the conditions of their visitors permit. They are 25-year-old Roberto Carlos Ramirez Carpio, a vendor of Antelope Street, 32-year-old Rene Juarez, and 18-year-old Louis Chavez, both of Iguana Street Extension.

Carpio has been living in Belize since he entered on August 4, 2017. He was given until September 3, 2017 to remain in the country legally while Juarez, who was issued with a visitor’s permit on July 5, 2017, was given until July 29, 2017 to remain in the country. According to Juarez, he has been living in Belize for 7 years but was not caught until September 15, 2017. Chavez, who entered the country on August 5, 2017, was only granted a visitor’s permit until September 3, 2017. The three men failed to get extensions and as a result, they failed to comply with the conditions of their permit.

In court, the three men pleaded guilty and claimed to be seeking asylum given the problems in their home country. According to Immigration prosecutor Lindsey Wade, none of the men made it known that they were seeking asylum and it wasn’t until in court when they gave that version of the story.

Magistrate Ford fined them each $1,000 plus a $5.00 cost of court to be paid forthwith. She also ordered that interviews be done with the men to verify whether or not they met the requirement for asylum seekers.


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