Volume 16 | January | 2016

The Consulate of Belize

in Florida
Hon. Consul General's 
Monthly Message

Janine Sylvestre Vega,
Hon. Consul General of Belize  in Florida
Trade Representative of Belize in Florida

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, where we bring you human interest stories, current events and information on Belize!

The Consulate of Belize in Florida is proud to announce that it is now issuing Identification Cards, facilitating 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 on their discretion. 

Enjoy reading about our Belizean Star of the Month.  If you know of a Belizean residing in the United States who is
making a positive impact in the lives of others, please submit their story so that we can feature them in our newsletter. 



The MayaBags® Journey

By Judy Bergsma

I always give credit to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), specifically its Long Island (NY) chapter, for my discovery of Belize and the first steps in this journey of a thousand miles that turned into MayaBags.
This is a story that starts with shared bird habitats and saving fish, reveals a surprise encounter with a beautiful embroidered butterfly, and today is the story of a real business for Belize families that, thanks to our MayaBags customers, is still growing.
"From saving fish to saving artisanal Maya skills."
In the late 1990's I was heading up a TNC committee to identify and establish an international partner in the Caribbean or Central America. Working with the TNC team we identified Belize as an attractive partner location-because Long Island shares with Belize 49 species of upland and shore birds and has many coastal and estuarine challenges that are similar in both locations.
We identified a potential conservation partner, The Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE), in Southern Belize. I took the lead in meeting with them for the first time, and that was the beginning of this journey that would change my life in a wonderful way.

click here to read more about The Maya Bag Journey: http://www.mayabags.org/judys-story/




Stay tuned for updates on the 2nd Annual See and Taste Belize Festival!

Land Mark Beauty of the Month
Albert Street, Belize City,1965

Check out the 2015 Tourism Statistics Recap
Click on the image to read more.
☼ Ambergris Caye: A Top Caribbean Retirement Spot
This part of Belize is welcoming, friendly and authentic.


"If e say da him, da no him an' if e say da no him, da him."

Meaning: quoted to describe a notorious liar.
  Belize News 
Recipe of the Month
Hot Pepper Onion Sauce

2 cups onions, minced
2 habanero peppers, deseeded, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
 6 allspice seeds
11/2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients and marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator. 

Belize Business Directory





If you are interested in joining the first ever Belize Business Directory in the USA, please contact us at 305-503-5741 or email us at belizeconsulate@gmail.com
Belizean Star of the Month
Janitte Thomas 
Janitte Smith Thomas was born to the late Richard Smith and Alma Fuller Smith in Crooked Tree Village on January 8, 1961. During her youth, she attended Crooked Tree Elementary School. Upon completing her education, she made a living by working at several resorts in both San Pedro and Turniffe Island. However, in 1981 Janitte felt a sense of obligation when she saw that there was a need for women in the Belize Defense Force.  Janitte was chosen among many applicants, and served for four years. During that time, she migrated to the United States. 

It was in New York City that she met her late husband, Arthur Thomas, and was married. She became a mother of two, Stacey and Kareme. Her daughter, Stacey, followed in her footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy, and is now an active duty chief. Janitte is also the proud grandmother of four grandchildren. 

In 2003, once her kids were grown, Janitte decided to follow her passion for educating and helping young children. She went back to school to earn a degree in Pre-School Education. Later on, Janitte moved from the Big Apple to Miramar, FL. After working at several preschools in Miramar, she fulfilled her dream of opening up her own daycare. 

Janitte's compassion for young children extends past Florida's borders, as she has assisted with local fundraisers that help Belizean children further their education as well as toy drives. Additionally, when she returns to Belize, she always makes sure to donate toiletries and gently used clothing to King's Children's Home, so that the children do not have to go without. She also fundraises for Belizeans who need medical assistance, and regularly offers her home to Belizeans abroad who need assistance or just a place to stay for the night. In fact, Janitte opened her doors to the Consulate of Belize in Florida and hosted a gathering between the Honorary Consul and members of the Belize Association of South Florida, offering delicious home-cooked Belizean cuisine. In her own neighborhood, Janitte is Vice President of her local Crime Watch and hopes to further serve her neighborhood as a citizen police. Still, Janitte's love for her country is strong, as she one day hopes to move back to Belize and live happily ever after. 


The Consulate of Belize in Florida 

1600 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Suite #904
Coral Gables FL 33134
T: (305) 755-0276  |  F: (305) 755-0277