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The annual Bowen & Bowen Ltd. Zone Eliminations Spelling Bee competition took place today, February 21, 2019, at the New Horizon SDA School Chapel where Alexis Lawrence of Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) proved to be the top speller amongst 16 other participating students. Caye Caulker Elementary School and La Isla Cariñosa Academy of Caye Caulker joined six schools from Ambergris Caye in the spelling competition that included Holy Cross Anglican, School, Isla Bonita Elementary School, New Horizon SDA, The Island Academy and Ambergris Caye Elementary.

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The Elections and Boundaries Department hereby notifies electors that effective Friday, March 1st, 2019, the issuance of Voter ID cards will commence by phases at the Elections and Boundaries Registration Offices countrywide.

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Father Oliver Joseph Smalls resident priest of Orange Walk Town, is one of forty-two clergymen who have “a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse” against a child. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, USA published a list where Father Smalls was included. Since the allegations came to light, the Catholic Diocese of Belize and Bishop Lawrence Nicasio have removed Father Smalls from the ministry and is no longer allowed to serve in Belize.

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The Embassy of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan) hosted a press conference on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, to unveil lanterns depicting the Great Blue Hole as well as an array of species of marine life found in the Belize Barrier Reef.

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On Thursday, February 14, 2019, the U.S. Embassy hosted the launch of Marie Sharp's brand new "Pure Love" pineapple habanero pepper sauce that aspires to combat gender-based violence. The proceeds of the sale of "Pure Love" will go to Haven House - a non-profit domestic violence shelter--directly benefiting victims of gender-based violence and empowering them to take control and positively transform their lives.

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The Fisheries Department informs fishers and the public that the lobster season is officially Closed as of today, February 15, 2019 and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2019. Any person found in possession of lobster during the said closed season will be prosecuted in accordance with Section 3(1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulation, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000-2003.

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Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) has reached an agreement with Consolidated Water Company Ltd. (CWCO), Cayman, to purchase its Belize subsidiary, Consolidated Water (Belize) Ltd. (CWBL) for US$7 million, with the closing of the transaction on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. This purchase is being funded as part of a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan of US$8.5 million which also includes additional water system improvements and expansion.

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The Ambergris Grand Limited Announces New Details on Margaritaville Resort Belize Condo Resort Will Blend the Margaritaville Lifestyle with an Authentic Belizean Experience Ambergris Caye, Belize – February 13th, 2019 – Earlier this month, The Ambergris Grand Limited (“TAG”) announced a partnership with Margaretville Holdings to bring a new Margaritaville condo  resort  to  Belize, offering travelers and owners a fresh take on an authentic Belizean experience.

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Belmopan – On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, Chargé d'Affaires a.i.

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In December 2018, Digi announced that DigiNet customers would be able to enjoy double their internet speeds at no extra cost. This promotion was extended for the month of January and on Friday February 1st, DigiNet customers celebrated the announcement of another month of double internet speeds for free. Since this announcement in December, Ookla's speed test Global Index Ranking showed that Belize moved up 18 slots to 79th place in broadband speeds.

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The Belize Fisheries Department, National Fishermen Cooperative and The Nature Conservancy in Belize trial a pioneering technology to digitize fisheries supply chain. *An innovative new technology, Tally from ThisFish, was showcased at the National Fishermen Cooperative in Belize City, Belize to improve efficiencies in the processing plant and strengthen electronic seafood traceability. 

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The Minister of National Security today established an exploratory committee to examine the feasibility of a repeat gun offence law. The law would require repeat gun offenders and convicted gang members to wear a tracking device when they are released from prison to enable police to compare those persons’ location to the scene of a crime at the time the crime is committed. A similar pilot project has been launched for knife crime offenders in London, England where there has been an upsurge in violent crimes recently.

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In line with the Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) continued efforts to promote business adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, the DFC partnered with the Belize Biltmore Plaza by way of grant funding for the installation of a Chromagen 160 gallon on-demand solar water heating system.  This system will partially supply the hot water needs for the hotel’s laundry service.    

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Over the weekend San Pedro Junior College hosted the Winter Conference 2019 of COBEC, The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation. Keynote speaker at the opening of the conference was Angel Nunez, President of San Pedro Junior College and the keynote speaker representing Belize Tourism Board and Hon. Manuel Heredia was Mr. Yashin Dujon. The conference is all about cooperation among the institution and focuses on how to bring better and more affordable tertiary level education to the young people of the region.

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On Thursday, February 7, 2019, Belize Commissioner of Police Mr. Chester Williams and his Senior Command Team were in Caye Caulker and San Pedro as part of the Commissioner of Police's Eastern Regional Tour to carryout Inspections of the Police Officers, to listen to the Police Officers' concerns in these islands, challenges, suggestions and present the strategy of his way forward for the Belize Police Department. 

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Margaritaville Holdings, the global lifestyle brand synonymous with fun and escapism, announced on Thursday, February 7, 2019, a new condo resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest island. Opening in 2020, Margaritaville Resort Belize is located on the unspoiled northern end of the island and within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Overlooking the azure waters of the Caribbean, the resort will be comprised of 71 residences, two pools, signature Margaritaville food and beverage concepts and more.

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Did you know that Belize has the longest continuous barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere? It’s 185 miles (298km) long!! No wonder thousands of divers splash into these warm, clear waters every year. Here’s what Divers  Alert Network - (DAN) is doing to help these divers stay safe:

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Belmopan. February 4, 2019. The Elections and Boundaries Department informs that contrary to false information being circulated in the public, the Department is working diligently to process Voters’ Identification Cards for issuance to all qualified electors. Electors in the rural communities are notified to expect scheduled visits for the issuance of the cards in their area. Processing of the cards is taking longer than anticipated; however, the Department is committed to completing the processing of all cards well in advance of the Referendum date.

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Belmopan. February 4th, 2019 – UNDP Belize and the Ministry of Health signed a new agreement to Build Resilience Through Innovation and National Accountability for the HIV and TB Response in Belize. This agreement signifies a further strengthening of the partnership between UNDP and Ministry of Health. UNDP is the Principal Recipient of a Global Fund Grant from January 2019- December 2021.

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*A new Inter-American Development Bank study from the series - The future of work in Latin America and the Caribbean estimates that Belize will need 9,000 teachers, 1,000 doctors and 2,000 nurses by the year 2040. *The study also highlights that jobs in education and health are good quality jobs, especially for women.

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