Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oceana hosts first ever Board of Directors International meeting in San Pedro

Oceana’s Board of Directors is holding its first ever Board of Directors international meeting in Belize.

Ted Danson (l) visits with Belize Minister of Tourism, Honorable Manuel Heredia, JR

The meeting will take place from December 6th to December 9th 2010. Internationally acclaimed Actor, best known in Belize for his role in the sitcom Cheers and now HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ted Danson is among the over 15 board members visiting the country for the first time.

Danson's wife, actress Mary Steenburgern (r) shakes hands with the Tourism Minister.

The working session of the meeting is being held here in San Pedro, where the board is expected to approve its global strategy and budget for 2011 and learn more about pressing marine issues affecting the country. While on the Island, Board members met with members of the San Pedro Town Council and got an opportunity to visit some of our many local tourist destinations, including Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Ted Danson and Mrs. Celi McCorkle

In an attempt to show her support for Oceana and its policies, Mayor Elsa Paz, along with the Town Councilors, hosted the Board members at a cocktail party at the Holiday Hotel held tonight at 7:00pm at which Minister of Tourism; Manuel Heredia Jr. was the guest of honor. Selected members of the community were invite to be a part of this special event.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

San Pedro resident found dead in apartment

At approximately 5:30pm, The San Pedro Sun got word that a body had been found in a beach front apartment in the airstrip area.
Our reporters were first on the scene, and upon the arrival of the San Pedro Police, we found out that the body of a middle-aged female had been discovered. No foul play is suspected, however, Police are still processing the apartment.
Details will be posted as the investigation unfolds.

Government Suspends Normal Relations with Channel 5 and Great Belize Productions

Public Advisory
-Press Release - Government of Belize - Belmopan, 7th December, 2010. The Belizean public is hereby informed that, effective immediately, the Government of Belize is suspending normal relations with Channel 5 and Great Belize Productions.
The reasons for this are as follows:
1. Channel 5, the Ashcroft/Opposition Television Station, under its current owners and management, has wilfully and systematically violated the terms and conditions of its license under the Belize Broadcasting and Television Act which require that a station’s “news programs shall be broadcast in a professional, objective and impartial manner with a clear distinction between news reports on one hand and editorializing and commentaries on the other” (Clause 14), and that, “if in the process of editorializing of programs or otherwise the Licensee expresses any views or comments which may be considered uncomplimentary, detrimental or injurious to the character or interest of any person or body, he or she shall promptly provide such person or body on request a right of reply free of cost.”(Clause 15)
2. Channel 5 is the only local television station that has refused to air the government-produced video program, Belmopan Weekly. This is in clear violation of Clause 19 of the Belize Broadcasting & Television Act, Revised Edition 2000, Amended 2002, Revised Schedule of Terms and Conditions for On Air Television License, which unequivocally states, “The licensee shall provide to the government one hour per week broadcasting time, free of cost, for broadcasting public service messages and programs produced by or channelled through the Ministry of Information. The allocation of such time shall be determined by the Ministry of Information.”
3. The station has over the past two and a half years proceeded down a deliberate path to systematically undermine, not just the government, but the interest of the entire nation and its people. In the process, Channel 5 has wilfully sacrificed the established principles of objectivity, fair-play and balance in its news and other current affair programs.
4. Given the direction the station has taken in its news reporting and other programming, this government sees no value, purpose or justification in attempting to maintain with Channel 5 the kind of relationship it has sought to cultivate and nurture with all local media for the overall benefit and wellbeing of our nation and people.
The government’s suspension of normal relations with Channel 5 and Great Belize Productions means that, effective immediately, no government representative of any ministry or department will give any official individual interview or make any individual appearance on Channel 5.
The government re-iterates its continued policy of seeking an open and respectful relationship with all our local media, and stands ready to resume normal relations with Channel 5 and Great Belize Productions as soon as the station demonstrates a willingness to comply with the law and conform to the established standards and principles of fair and objective journalism and programming, as stipulated in the terms and conditions of its license under the Belize Broadcasting and Television Act.

Mexico Donates 16,000 Books to Belize

-Press Release - Embassy of Mexico - Belmopan, 6 December 2010 - Today, Mexican Ambassador, Hon. Luis Manuel Lopez-Moreno, handed over 16,000 books to the Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Patrick Faber. The donation includes different teaching material collections regarding literature and grammar for Spanish lessons published by the National Commission for Free Textbooks of the Mexican Ministry of Education.
During the ceremony held at the Embassy of Mexico in Belmopan, Minister Faber acknowledged the Mexican government for the valuable contribution to the education of Belizean children. He announced that the books will be distributed among primary schools and public libraries around Belize. The donation is part of the celebrations of the 200th Anniversary of the Mexican Independence and the 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. The donation is also part of the cooperation that Mexico has traditionally provided as a contribution to Belize’s development, as well as the ties of friendship between the people of Mexico and the people of Belize.

Urban Agriculture Program in South Side Belize City

- Press Release - Belmopan - December 7, 2010 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in conjunction with RESTORE Belize Programme is pleased to invite members of the public to attend the launching of the “Urban Agriculture Project in South Side - Belize City” to be held on Thursday December 9th, 2010 commencing at 10:00 a.m. at the Wilton Cumberbatch Field, Cor. Faber's Road and Caesar Ridge Rd., Belize City.

This collaborative effort between the Belize District Agriculture Department and RESTORE BELIZE PROGRAM is aimed at establishing backyard/home and school gardens to grow short term vegetables/condiments/herbs that will help citizens supplement their diet. This initiative is in line with the Ministry’s mandate of promoting food security; income generation; and poverty reduction.

Planning for Success: PACT’s Operational Planning Workshop

Contact: Deidra Smith Phone: 822 3637 Fax: 822 3759 dsmith@pactbelize.org

Cayo, Belize, December 1, 2010—PACT, in collaboration with Friends for Conservation Development (FCD), held a three day Operational Planning Workshop for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in San Ignacio this week. The workshop is a part of PACT’s mentorship program and was facilitated by FCD, an exemplary NGO in operational planning, with whom PACT hopes to maintain a successful partnership. The main objective of the workshop was to promote more effective protected areas management through organizational capacity development. The workshop involved eight participants, the small number allowing for each to gain the most from the training. Participants were: Sarteneja Fishermen Association, Trial Farm, Belize Development Foundation, Belize Fishermen Cooperative, Rio Blanco Mayan Association, San Miguel River Keeper Watchers, Itzamna Society and Cayo Honey Quality Producers Cooperative.

The training was unlike usual workshops, being very hands-on. The highlight topics of the training included:
- Planning for Success: Planning in the workplace and project planning
- The Essence of Time: Importance of Punctuality
- Thinking SMART
- Power of Goals: Performance goals
- The Desire of Learning
- Fear of Failure: It’s ok to fall but have to get up
- Teamwork: The Law of Mount Everest
- Diligence in the workplace

Each session allowed participants the opportunity to share from previous experience, and later they were presented with case studies to tackle. Day two of the workshop was a field day at the Western Maya Mountain Massif, a full hands-on experience of planning in the Massif. The visit allowed them to observe and learn various planning techniques used by managers of the civil society and governmental sector. Sheril Tzul, of the Belize Development Foundation, said it “was inspiring to see how people plan and how each one, such as the San Antonio Women’s Group, work closely with their members for a successful venture.” Nadine Nemhard, of the Belize Fishermen Cooperative, felt “discipline in planning” was the essence of the lesson learnt during the day trip.

Following the workshop, PACT will maintain close contact with participants to guide the development of their 2011 Annual Operational Plan. In the New Year, participants will once again come together—this time to present their work plans and receive feedback from their peers.

For more information visit www.pactbelize.org or email info@pactbelize.org.

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PACT was formally established in January 1996 with the passing of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust Act, No. 15 of 1995, creating the institution as a Statutory Board. The functions of PACT are to encourage and promote, for the benefit and enjoyment of the present and future generations of the people of Belize, the provision, protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural resources of Belize. The PACT is managed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of Government agencies, non-government organizations and individual experts.

All of us have a role to play in protected areas management!