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Belmopan. March 3, 2020. In December 2019, Cabinet approved measures from the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development (MFFESD) to control the use of gill nets in Belize’s maritime waters. Based on input from fishermen, concerned citizens, economists and marine experts, these measures were intended to control the negative impacts of gill nets while protecting the income rights of gill net fishers.

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The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is pleased to inform the general public that on Friday, February 28, 2020, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Belize, and Ms. Nicole Marder, Secretary of State in the Office of Tourism of the Republic of Honduras, signed the Air Transport Services Agreement Between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of Honduras.

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On Friday, February 21, 2020, over 20 participants received their certificate of completion from the Return to Happiness Program (RTH Program) which was carried out by UNICEF, the Ministry of Local Government and the San Pedro Town Council.

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The Ministry of Agriculture hosted a half-day workshop for fishers, buyers, retailers, and other relevant government agencies to examine a value chain analysis and proposed strategy to develop Belize’s tilapia industry. The workshop was held at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan. Supported by the Caribbean Value Chains team of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the one-to-five-year strategy is expected to help boost market opportunities for tilapia. The approach may also potentially be applied to other priority crops and commodities.

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Carnaval 2020 ended with a bang as the two comparsas group gave it their all and danced their hearts out and paint revelers were out in the park having much fun painting and dancing!Dona Flora's Group theme was "Las Sirenitas" and they wore brightly colored costumes and head pieces and gracefully danced in full carnival spirit!Los Barbies without fail shook what their momma gave them as they danced to a fun Garifuna beat – Sei Sei Bei! They were in high spirits singing and dancing and having so much fun entertaining their audience.

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The Belize Ministry of Health continues to monitor the global situation in relation to COVID-19, which has now spread to 34 countries outside of mainland China. The World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control have reported a decrease in the number of cases in mainland China, particularly in Wuhan Province; however, it is anticipated that the number of cases outside of China will continue to rise.

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Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! The comparsas never fail to impress this year once more as two comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away.Dona Flora’s Group hit the streets with bright and colorful costumes as “Carnavalistas” dancing and singing for all to enjoy. And of course Los Barbies made their appearance with their fun and crazy costumes “Coronavirus” made it to carnival and Dr, Tusa was present to help them out.

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Belmopan. February 21, 2020. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington represented Belize at the 31st Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community held in Barbados on February 18-19, 2020. CARICOM Heads of Government reviewed the state of play of the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. In that context they exchanged views with regional private sector representatives on the opportunities and challenges for business and investment in the region.

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Carnaval in San Pedro officially kicked off on Saturday, February 22, 2020 with a Carnaval Fiesta Block Party at the Central Park. Spectators at the Central Park were entertained by dances performed by the San Pedro Dance Academy and Titans Mas Band. There were food booths with lots to eat and drink and bouncy houses for the children to enjoy.

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*COVID-19 UPDATE*As a follow up to the training that two officers received in Mexico City, an in-house training is currently ongoing at our Central Medical Laboratory. Parallel to this, the Belize Ministry of Health can confirm that they now have the capacity to do initial screening for COVID-19 as they now have primers and probes to test in country. The tests will be carried out on potential/suspect cases following specific screening purposes.

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Castillo’s Hardware celebrated a great milestone in the town of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, On Febraury 19, 2000, Castillo’s Hardware opened its doors to the Wednesday, February 19, 2020 they celebrated their BIG 20th Anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Castillo could not think of anything better than to celebrate along with the community that they hold dear at heart. They decided to give away $20,000 to their loyal customers by having a raffle of 20 cash prizes of $1,000  to 20 lucky winners.

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The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) of the European Union released the results of its recently concluded meeting held in Brussels on February 18, 2020. The Government of Belize has been informed that the recent amendments to both the Income and Business Tax Act and Tax Administrative and Procedure Act on December 23rd have been positively assessed and the ECOFIN Council has agreed to remove Belize from the EU list of harmful preferential tax regimes (Annex II).

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Cabinet had a meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 and announced that the Prime Minister will advise the Governor General that: (a) The Attorney General Senator Hon. Michael Peyrefitte be appointed as the substantive Minister of National Security to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. John Saldivar as Minister of National Security. The Minister of State for the Ministry of National Security, the Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. be responsible for the supervision of the Ministry’s day-to-day management.

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In 2019, Belize joined nine other countries in supporting the United Kingdom-led initiative “30by30” aimed at safeguarding the world’s ocean and protecting its precious wildlife. The 30by30 initiative is a call to action for at least a 30% target of the global ocean to be under protected status as marine protected areas by the year 2030. This call was first made by the Government of the United Kingdom at the United Nations General Assembly last year, at which Belize was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Wilfred Elrington.

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As part of the San Pedro Town Council’s Beach Reclamation Project, the SPTC introduces Phase 1 to the general public which will take effect on Monday, March 15th, 2020. PHASE 1 of the project will include new traffic regulations for Boca del Rio Drive between the sections from Sand Piper Street and Spider Lily Street. A portion of the beach has been reserved for ONE-WAY golf cart traffic passage and parallel parking for one golf cart on the east side of the street.

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Press Release by Belize Audubon Society - Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 9, 2020, the Belize Audubon Society, along with other relevant government agencies, was alerted of possible coral reef damage (via video footage) by the anchor of a large yacht within the popular dive site “The Aquarium” at Long Caye in Lighthouse Reef Atoll. BAS Rangers were then deployed from Half Moon Caye along with officers of the Belize Coast Guard in a joint action to respond to the situation and intercept the vessel.

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The Fisheries Department has informed fishers and the public that the lobster season will be closed on February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2020. Anyone found in possession of lobster during the said period 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. The Fisheries Department also reminded fishers that lobster traps should be removed from fishing grounds during the closed fishing season.

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On Thursday, February 13, 2020, The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced that the Hon. John Saldivar submitted to the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow his letter of resignation from the Cabinet of Belize. Hon. Saldivar’s resignation is with immediate effect and is done, Hon Saldivar explained, to give himself an opportunity to get out from under the cloud of suspicion resulting from the barrage of accusations leveled against him. He expressed the hope of regaining the confidence of the public and the support of Cabinet once he has cleared his name.

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Customers of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) in Caye Caulker will soon benefit from a new 1705kW capacity generation unit that arrived on the island early Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The unit was sourced from Panama in January to provide increased generation capacity and reliability of power supply. BEL teams have commenced preparations to connect the unit to the power system and conduct testing for 48 hours with the island’s load. During testing, BEL teams will continue to monitor and make necessary adjustments to ensure that the unit operates consistently and efficiently.

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On Tuesday, Febraury 11, 2020, The Governor General of Belize H.E. Sir Colville Young swore in Hon. Hugo Patt as Deputy Prime Minister. Hon. Hugo Patt has been serving as the Minister of Natural Resources since June 2018 and has represented Corozal North in the National Assembly since 2012.

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