December 2018 vol 48
The Consulate of Belize in Florida
Monthly Newsletter
Consul General's Monthly Message
Welcome to our December Monthly Newsletter !
This month brought many happenings, such as Sir Branson and Jacques Cousteau's grandson filming the bottom of the Belizean deep Blue Hole, the Belizean Department of Police receiving over 500 bullet proof vests from the Miami-Dade Police Department, our statement on solidarity with the Palestinian people, and the fourth Belize-Guatemala joint commission . In this edition, you will learn about Belizeans who are over 100 years old; Placencia, which made Condé Nast's gold list for 10 best destinations to visit in the year 2019; and even how to make a traditional Belizean Christmas desert called black fruit cake ! Additionally, you will learn about some Belizean Christmas traditions. If you and your family would like to be informed on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Referendum to take place in Belize on April 10, 2019, please visit: . Also, check out at the end of our newsletter the link to the new episode from the series "10-4-2019" in which Belizeans debate the upcoming ICJ referendum.

Sadly, Belize lost a great Belizean Patriot, Mrs. Jane Ellen Usher this month. You will read briefly about her fruitful and dynamic life filled with some of her significant accomplishments. We extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Jane's family and offer our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit our Consular Office, nor are familiar with the services that we offer, you may visit our website at , and register with us. The Consulate of Belize in Florida continues to offer Belizean Passports and Emergency Travel Documents. We are also issuing Identification Cards and thus furnishing many Belizeans living in Florida with the opportunity to hold an official ID from Belize. Acceptance of these cards at U.S. offices and other institutions, however, depends upon their discretion.

We are in the process of updating our database and as a result, The Consulate of Belize in Florida continues to conduct phone calls to its constituents to confirm each's contact information. We do this, so we can better serve you and your family. We appreciate your cooperation and support in sharing your contact information, so you can continue to be informed on services offered by the Consulate as well as get updates on Belize.
If you are aware of a Belizean residing in the United States who is making a positive impact on the lives of others while contributing to their native country, please submit their story to us so that we may feature them in our newsletter. Perhaps, our Star of the Month for January, could be you!

Christmas time is a season of great preparation for the day on which we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May all Belizeans at home and abroad experience the joy, peace, and love of His coming!

From the Ambassador's Desk. 
H.E. Daniel Gutierez
Upcoming Events
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Let us wish all the best to Belize's most Beautiful Centenarians of The Year!

Emilia "Mamita" Rita Meneses was born on June 17, 1917 in San Estevan, Orange Walk. At a young age of 7 years old she lost her father and had to move to Belize City with her mother and sister, where she attended Primary school. At 17 years of age she met and married George Shoman, who had migrated from Palestine. George and Emilia were the owners of "La Luna Store". They were very much in love and in this union produced three beautiful children (2 boys, 1 girl). After the birth of their grandchildren, Emilia was called Mamita and George was called Papito. 

After thirty years of a happy life with her true love, Papito passed away leaving her with their children and three grandchildren. Since then Mamita has been living with her daughter. She is someone who enjoys life and likes to travel. Everyone who comes in contact with her immediately falls in love because of her spontaneous and fun nature. At the age of 80 she was still living a full and active life including traveling to the UK to visit her son. It was during one of these visits that Mamita accidentally fell and broke her hip at the age of 98, but that did not stop her from continuing to enjoy life. As time flew by Mamita's family got bigger. She is now the grandmother of eight grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren, who all know how much she loves them. Together with her family and friends they threw a big birthday party to celebrate her 100 th birthday at Gran’s Farm. Mamita is now 101 years and six months old and thank God is still enjoying life surounded by all those whom she loves.

One of her Christmas memories is doing las Posadas in her youth. It is done in the neighborhood starting on December 16th and ends December 24th. 
Ms. Mary Tate celebrated her 104th birthday at Help Age Belize on February 8, 2018. She is from Honduras, but has been living in Belize since the 1980s. She put all her grandchildren through school at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic School by making bread and potato pound, says her granddaughter, Lorna Fisher (above in photo). She celebrated her 104th birthday with Fisher, other grandchildren and extended family. She has been living at the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly for 6 years.
Belize Deep Blue Hole Makes History On Discovery Channel
December 4, 2018 10:47 a.m. EST - This past Sunday December 2 the Discovery Channel aired live from Belize with the expedition's crew who spoke about their expedition to the bottom of the Blue Hole the previous day. Originally scheduled to air the expedition live on the planned date, since weather conditions were ideal the day before, the Discovery Channel and crew seized the opportunity to embark on the expedition Saturday December 1, instead of Sunday December 2. The show's host, Luke Tippel, spoke while footage of the expedition was being shown and also interviewed the following people: Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, a native of France, who was the first to explore the Blue Hole; Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, which includes Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records, and an ocean conservationist who founded Ocean Unite; pilot Eva Bergman, and other staff appeared on the show to give their testimonies. Part of the Discovery Channel's and Ocean Unite's objective in the expedition was to promote global concern for climate change as part of its over all mission to "work[..] with decision makers to effect a change." These were the words of Karen Sack, managing director of Ocean Unite, who appeared on the show.

The full show may be viewed at this website:
Christmas Traditions in Belize
December 6, 2018 12:30 p.m. EST-

In Belize, Christmas has always been a huge celebration involving weeks of preparations from the painting of homes, cleaning, baking fruit cakes and preparing the turkey and ham. Can you remember the smell of new linoleum being carted down Albert Street to your home or the smell of fresh wood cleaner to shine your furniture?

In the words of Ray Gongora from Belize City now residing in South Florida recalling and reminiscing his memories of Christmas in Belize:

"It's a time to change the house and buy new curtains, buy new linoleum for the floor or narley, scrape and varnish all wooden chairs and tables, paint all the walls in the house so the parlor looks spick and span. One makes sure you cook and have enough drinks to share with visitors. Anyone who goes to visit is offered a plate of food, slice of cake and rum popo.

The Mestizos celebrate with Tamales and Bollos (another form of tamales made differently). Bollos has no cull (traditional sauce made of corn and stewed tomatoes) but rather chicken cooked into the masa.

The Boom and Shine band comprised of a few men used to go from house to house and play music ( Mr. Peters type of music) using no electrical instruments. This was epic of the times back then. The Jan kunu dances are native of the Garifuna and they also go from house to house. They are invited into your yard to dance for you, and are mostly popular in Dangriga, Toledo, and Stan creek, and Belize City. This is the time when you make extra of everything for all family and friends coming over to share with you."

While some traditions of old like the house to house Christmas caroling have died off, some are still with us today such as Midnight Mass, black fruit cake, Rum popo, and Las Posadas. Las posadas is a Latin American tradition passed on from our neighboring countries who celebrate for nine days leading up to Christmas Eve, re-enacting Mary and Joseph who sought lodging in Bethlehem, but were refused.

December is also the month that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated, remembering the appearance of the Virgin Mary over 500 years ago to a short Aztec man, Juan Diego, in Tenochtitlan, or present day Mexico City.

Whichever is your way of celebrating, whether near of far, may it be a very Happy one and may your New Year be filled with splendor!
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (San Pedro)
Las Posadas (Benque Viejo)
Traditional Belizean black fruit cake with rum popo
Miami-Dade Police Donate 500 Pre-Owned Bullet Proof Vests to Belize Police Department

Belize Police Department Receives Donation of Bullet Proof Vests
Belmopan. November 29, 2018. The Belize Police Department is the proud recipient of 500 intact pre-owned bullet proof (ballistic) vests that were generously donated by the Miami-Dade Police Department under the leadership of Chief Juan Pérez. The handing over ceremony took place today, November 29th at the Eastern Division Region One Headquarters in Belize City. 
This donation is a result of the collaboration between the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police of which the Belize Police Department is a member. This is the second donation of vests made to the Belize Police Department through this partnership. In 2017, 200 bullet proof vests were received and distributed to police officers countrywide.
This recent donation will be catalogued and distributed to operational officers and first responders in Belize City and every Police Formation throughout Belize.
The acquisition of these vests and their utilization will improve the physical safety of the officers they will be assigned to. The vests will also help to improve the officers’ morale as well as their confidence in responding to any situation and allow for a more professional delivery of services to the citizenry.
The Commissioner of Police Mr. Allen Whylie expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, Chief Juan Perez, Lt. Erick Palmer, Commander Joy Steward of the Miami Dade Police Department, Assistant Special Agent Mr. James Doby who is in charge of the Caribbean Division, and the team from the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) Caribbean Office who were instrumental in the arrangement of the shipment to Belize.

Belize Observes International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People
Statement on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Belmopan. November 29, 2018. The Government of Belize today joins in the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. 
On this day, Belize reiterates its support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people who struggle daily to maintain their dignity in the face of violence, lack of access to basic services, and denial of their fundamental human rights, including the right to free movement. The Government of Belize remains concerned about the incremental and steady loss of Palestinian territory in contravention of United Nations resolutions including Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine, which was adopted on November 29, 1947.
Belize reaffirms its long-held position of support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination in the independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine; living side by side with Israel, within secure and mutually recognized borders, and in peace and security with its neighbors.
New Series on Channel 7 Belize News "10.4.2019" Discussing Upcoming Referendum on ICJ

This video is about Belize and Guatemala going to the International Court of Justice and the referendum in Belize to take place on April 10, 2019 at which the people of Belize will decide if they wish to take Guatemala's territorial dispute with Belize to the ICJ.

To stay informed visit MFA Referendum Belize Facebook page at
A Tribute, In Memoriam of
(May her soul rest in peace)

Mrs. Jane Ellen Usher, born September 5th, 1917 was one of our Centenarians listed in this month's newsletter. Sadly, she passed away on December 12th, 2018. Mrs. Usher celebrated her 101st birthday last September. In honor and respect of the late Honorable Dr. Usher, all Belize Flags were flown at half-mast until she was laid to rest.

Hon. Dr. Jane Usher was often referred to as "Dr. Jane", "Granny Jane" and "Miss Jane". She is survived by her 5 sons and 5 daughters of which her son, Robert Usher, was the Eulogist during the state funeral that was held on December 18th, 2018 at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City. Sir Colville Young, Governor General, Hon. Johnny Briceno, the leader of the opposition party, distinguished Diplomats and Mrs. Usher's family members, including Sophia Usher, her granddaughter, were among the attendees. The Honorable Tracy Panton delivered a speech on behalf of the Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow who was travelling out of the country.

Besides being a woman of faith and the credit union icon, she was a public servant and hard-working woman. From 1979 to 1983, she served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Housing and Cooperatives; from 1984 to 1989, she served as a member of the Opposition in the House of Representatives and as president of the Senate from 1989 to 1993. In 2012, Miss Usher became Director Emeritus of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union and received an honorary doctorate from Galen University the following year for her distinguished commitment and long service to the citizens of Belize. 

Below are the words of her son, Robert Usher, in his eulogy speech :

“The wonderful great Belizean lady has passed, we gather here to lay to eternal rest Jane Ellen Mary Price Usher or as so often been said over her long life our beloved granny Jane, the respected Lady Jane, the honored Dr. Jane, beautiful Ma Jane and the favorite term of endearment most widely used often by all so lovingly Ms. Jane. She died peacefully in her bed at home finally at rest at 5:05 in the morning of December 12th, the feast day of our Lady of Guadalupe. The coincidence of the timing seeming to confirm to all of us her never ending love for her 5 boys and her 5 girls. In her final days when she lay in bed she always had a flashlight at her side and at different hours of the night in the dark she would turn it on and flash the beam on a picture on the wall of her 10 children and sometimes she would say each name quietly one by one. I think she would appreciate and agree with these well known final words sometimes overused but very apt for today’s occasion. There was a great president of the United States of America born in 1917 who said in his inaugural address in 1961” Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for you country” and she did just that, Mi Madre may you rest in peace."

May we always remember the good deeds of this wonderful Patriot and may her life inspire each of us to live a life of service. 

Photo credit/Clement Usher
Landmark Beauty of The Month

Let us preserve and protect our historical landmarks!
Holy Redeemer Cathedral, Belize City, Belize est. 1858
Tourism Tidbits
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Placencia, Belize Nominated One of Condé Nast's Best Destinations for 2019

December 6, 2018 12:10 p.m. EST - Placencia in the Stand Creek district of Belize was one of nineteen destinations nominated "best places to go" for the year 2019. To read the full article visit:
Placencia, Belize (above)
Trade and Investment Tidbits
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(Click image to read the Belize Investment Spotlight [BIS] newsletter.)
Belizean Proverbs
"Tiger maga but e strang"

English translation: The tiger is thin but strong.

Meaning: Don't be fooled by appearances.

December 4, 2018 11:43 a.m. EST - This past Sunday 3 p.m. CST and 4 p.m. EST Belizeans home and and abroad sat in front of their TVs to watch "Into the Blue Hole" on the Discovery Channel. Reactions varied. Some were glad about the publicity Belize received, while others were bored and tuned out. Some were disappointed that not more Belizeans were employed as part of the team of marine biologists.
Recipe of The Month
Belizean Black Fruit Cake
This dessert spreads throughout the Caribbean and dates back to the middle of the 17th century, when English settlers brought over a tradition of the ‘English pudding’ itself dating back to medieval times. It was custom that the "pudding should be made on the 25th Sunday after  Trinity , that it be prepared with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 apostles, and that every family member stir it in turn from east to west to honor the  Magi  and their journey in that direction." Over time it was radically modified by African slaves and servants, and their descendants, who evolved it into a rich rum cake, a potent mix of finely ground raisins, cherries and nuts which were soaked for months in over proof rum.

2 lbs. flour 
1 ½ lbs. brown sugar 
1 lb. butter 
1 pint, stout 
1-pint blackening (brown sugar that has been melted down in a tiny bit of water until it literally turns black) 
½ lb. each of raisins, prunes, dates, pecans, cherries and other fruits 
1-pint strong rum (diluted to give 1 quart and used to steep fruits) 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1 nutmeg grated 
2 tsp. cinnamon or 3 tsp. allspice 
8 - 10 eggs 
1 cup syrup or brown sugar for stewing fruits 
1 cup flour for fruits 


Stew fruits the night before, using ¼ - ½ lb. of brown sugar for stewing fruits. Let fruits simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. The next day, grease cake tins with shortening and line them with a brown paper bag. Set aside. Cream the butter or margarine with remaining sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well. Add flour alternately with black colouring. Mix well with each addition. Add stout and mix well. Cover fruits with 1 cup of flour. Add to mixture and fold in fruits. Bake for 2 - 3 hours in a 300-degree oven or until cake is dried. 

N.B. Although everyone loves their black cake, the texture preference can vary: some like it soaking wet, others like it more fruity, more plain or nutty. Feel free to make changes to the recipe as you like.

Recipe courtesy of : Chef Sean Kuylen ( ) Watch him cook it!!!
Story credit: Wikipedia
IV Meeting of the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission

Office of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone. November 29, 2018. The IV meeting of the Guatemala-Belize Joint Commission was held on Wednesday, November 28th in the Office of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Adjacency Zone. The meeting was headed by the Commissioners of both countries, the Ambassador of Belize in Guatemala, H.E. Alexis Rosado and the Ambassador of Guatemala in Belize, H.E. Georges de La Roche. The Commissioners were accompanied by Mr. Manuel Washington Abdala, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the -OEA- for Guatemala-Belize matters.
This meeting focused on the implementation of the Agreement between both countries for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Use of Resources that was signed in December 2014, and it included participants at the technical and official level of relevant ministries and departments of government from both countries.
The delegations met in an atmosphere of positive and constructive discussions and agreed to advance concrete actions, including to finalize a plan of action for the prevention and combating of forest fires and to explore the possibility of a bi-national technical mechanism for the monitoring of water quality. Also discussed was a plan of action to address trafficking in wildlife, mapping and coordination of work done by environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that operate in both countries, the establishment of a Working Group to monitor and manage the effects of climate change on the forest and natural resources, as well as to explore ways to set up a centralized system of information for corresponding institutions to gather information on the studies being conducted at various levels and of challenges facing the Selva Maya area.
Both delegations reiterated their commitment to deepen bilateral friendship and collaboration in the face of common challenges and with the continuity of the Joint Commission's work in 2019 to promote, among other things, the full implementation of the Agreements signed in Placencia in 2014.

** Art Show will run until December 31 st

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