January 2019 vol 49
The Consulate of Belize in Florida
Monthly Newsletter
Consul General's Monthly Message

Welcome to the January Monthly Newsletter !

As we herald in the new year, let us embrace the joys as well as the challenges it will bring us and be resilient and faithful in our quest to be better and stronger.

We are now only two months away from the  ICJ Referendum . We urge you to make an effort to aquaint and educate yourself on the subject, research all the academic material written on the history and factual sequence of events (treaties, agreements, etc.) that has led us to the present. Doing so will allow you to make a decision that is dispassioned and informed.  Additionally, we will be supplying you with some information by the “ICJ Be Informed Team.” Please take the time to carefully review the section “ICJ Campaign” in this month’s newletter and learn about what took place at the press conference on the ICJ Referendum that led to the signing of a declaration. Please share it with friends and family. This fundamental decision transcends politics and affects every man, woman and child in Belize. At the end of the day, every Belizean is a patriot!

In this January newsletter, we also commemorate what would have been the 100 th   birthday of the late Hon. George Cadle Price ,"father of the nation".

The Consulate also extends its deepest sympathies to Mrs. Marie Sharp and her family at the passing of  Mr. Gerald “Gerry” Sharp. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

You will learn about what made Raymond Gongora our  Star of the Month. Similarly, you will read about the first of its kind Belizean turmeric made in Toledo, Belize that is available in Belize and for the export market. 

Continuing on a light note, if you are in the mood to make one of Belize’s favorite national dishes like rice and beans with stewed chicken and need a recipe for potato salad to top it off, you might want to check out our  Recipe of the Month

You will also notice that we have a new section called “ Cultural Tidbits ” (adding to to our usual “Tourism Tidbits” and “Trade and Investment Tidbits”), to share all the accomplishments by NICH in promoting Belize’s rich and diverse culture.

We are proud to feature Ms. Renee Woods of Belize City on her recent promotion to oversee American Airlines’ ticket sales centers in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. Congratulations Renee!

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit the Consulate's office nor are familiar with the services that we offer, you may visit our website at  www.belizeconsulatefla.com  or follow us on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram  to receive updates about Belize, the Consulate and upcoming events.
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 appreciate your cooperation and support in sharing your contact information, so that you and your family can continue to be informed about 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 the Star of the Month for February could even be you!

From the Prime Minister's Desk
Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow
Click image to read full address
From the Ambassador's Desk
H.E. Daniel Gutierez
Dear Members of the Belizean Community, 

We take this opportunity to wish you a belated happy New Year. Your Embassy of Belize in Washington, D.C. and the multiple consular offices throughout the United States look forward to a successful 2019 for our Belizean Community. We remind all Belizeans that the Government of Belize has designated 5 special Consular offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C. as passport processing offices. We urge you to take advantage of this availability. All these offices are now equipped with on-line scheduling services and instructions regarding passport documentation. 

In 2019 your Government of Belize will continue its efforts to improve the provision of services to the Diaspora. Please do not hesitate to call our Consular offices if you have any questions about the services that are provided. 

If you are a part of the growing number of Belizeans deciding to retire home, we take the opportunity to say welcome back. Please call us if you have any questions about how we can help you resettle home. If you are far from retirement and living a productive life in the United States, we wish you continued good luck in your endeavors in the year 2019. 

If you have not visited home in a few years, then please plan a visit to Belize. Remember, in Belize, you are not an immigrant, not a tourist, not a stranger, you are home


H.E. F. Daniel Gutierez 
Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America &
Permanent Representative of Belize to the Organization of American States

What's New...
Belizean Star of The Month
Raymond Gongora, born in Belize City, Belize, migrated to San Francisco California in 1985 where he resided for 10 years and is now living in Pembroke Pines Florida. He is now happily retired from the United States Postal Service, after 32 years of service. While in Belize he worked as: a Library Assistant with the Belize National Library Service, as a teacher with Belize Junior Secondary School #1, a lecturer with Belize Teacher’s College and University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department, and a Producer/Director  with Great Belize Productions. “Ray,” as he is popularly known, is married to Veronica Richardson Gongora and has three children, Amber, David and Charles and four grandchildren, Gloria, Adelila, Josia and Kelsie. He is gratefully indebted to is wife and children who have unselfishly supported him throughout the years.                                 
Ray gives credit to the person that he has become to  “My Mother who Fathered Me” , Gwendolyn Courtenay RIP. Today he reminisces the golden childhood years of throwing neighborhood  penny parties , playing  kick di pan and  hide di whip , organizing competitions such as  Cowboy ah Indian Sword Fight(if yuh hurt sumbadi yuh  def lose) beauty pageants , competing in marbles game for the  bestest thaw and big dubs or kwayan , and challenging duels such us  walking stick – who walk langest eena mud  or  walking fence paling – who stay up langest, barefoot ; he provided the prizes for the winners. Mr. Gongora can best be described as a staunch Belizean, a social and cultural activist, theatre persona and a philanthropist. The Belize media of the 1970’s and 80’s applauds his involvement and accomplishments as a performer, producer and director of numerous acclaimed Belizean theatre pieces. While living in Belize, he was actively involved with  the Boy’s Readers Group Catholic Youth Group Matchless Players Square Peg Players , and  Belize Family Theatre . He holds a Diploma in Advanced Youth Work (University of Guyana 1976) and Diploma in Theatre Arts and Drama in Education (Edna Manley School of the Arts, Jamaica 1981). He amalgamated the skills and techniques of both disciplines, and harnessed the talent of many young Belizeans, from which emerged an unforgettable group of young Belizean theatre activists, performing on the stage in auditoriums, school halls, churches, in the parks, on street corners, and in crowed bars and restaurants, throughout Belize City, in every district of Belize and many villages as well. Under Ray’s direction, the performers became the first from Belize to participate in the drama section of  CARIFESTA 1976 Jamaica CARIFESTA1978 Cuba , CARIFESTA1981 Barbados , and  The Commonwealth Festival Arts Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 1979 ; they also performed and represented Belize at festivals in the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Mexico and Guatemala and in many cities throughout the USA.
While living in San Francisco from 1985 to 1995, Mr. Gongora spent much of his earlier years focusing on building a family and child rearing, yet he found time to serve as a member of the board of directors with the  Association of Bay Area Belizeans , Mission Child Development Center and  The Hispanic Unity Corporation.
Ray and his family moved to South Florida in 1995, where he is active and devoted member of the  Belize Association of Florida Inc. ; he has served as a member of the board of directors in various capacity and as President for six consecutive years; he is currently the Treasurer of the newly formed  South Florida Association of Garifuna Artists. His involvement as a Belizean ambassador with the Caribbean and Hispanic Diaspora in South Florida is very notable and he has been meritoriously recognized for such. Ray shares selflessly, continues to create, produce, and direct acclaimed theatrical pieces, andis in much demand for his proficiency as a compere and comedian by the numerous Belizean non-profit organizations throughout the USA, all who have meritoriously recognized and prestigiously awarded him. In December 2010 he became the recipient of the prestigious award of the  Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) . As the driving force behind  Belizean Roots Art And Theater Alliance (BRAATA) , Ray disseminates information via email to several thousands of Belizeans and friends of Belize throughout the USA, Canada, England, Central America and the Caribbean. In his own words, Ray says  “I am devoted to charity – with hope and faith” .
Former Foreign Ministers of Belize Sign Declaration:
Urge Belize toward
International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Final Resolution
January 10, 2019 10:25 a.m. EST -
Several former government officials and Prime Minster of Belize Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow held a conference on the ICJ at the Biltmore Plaza on January 9, 2019 declaring their support for a decision to take the Belize-Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice. On stage, aside from Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow were Former PUP Foreign Minister and historian Assad Shoman, who has been campaigning for the yes vote throughout Belize, Attorneys Godfrey Smith, Lisa Shoman and Said Musa, all former Foreign Ministers and members of the People's United Party. Love News was in attendance and also signed the declaration in support of taking the dispute to the ICJ. The full conference may be viewed here:
Belizean Tumeric Hits the Market at Home (and Abroad)
Photo credit: Belize Breaking News
January 15, 2019 11:30 a.m. EST- A new sector of the agricultural industry is vying for the chance to sell its product, namely, turmeric. Belizean-grown turmeric, a ginger-like root, is experiencing a spike in demand. Over 350 turmeric growers have registered with an agricultural enterprise, Naledo Belize Ltd., as suppliers of whole root numeric for processing into 'Truly Turmeric' paste. 'Truly Turmeric' paste is already available in stores in Belize, Canada, and, very soon in the rest of the Caribbean. To know more about 'Truly Turmeric' view the video below, which is also available on the following website: https://www.naledo.com/ourstory .
Belize Association of South Florida Elects New Board
January 22, 2019 12:11 p.m. EST - Belize Association of Florida, Inc. has a new board of members. This year the board members are all mostly from Dangriga, and Belize City. Its President, Philip Lopez Jr., is from Belmopan, and has formed the Mr. Belize Association. According to the current Assistant Secretary, Jasmin Almarales, "His ultimate goal is to bring modernization to the Belize Association of Florida Inc. and to keep our history alive." Furthermore, "He would like to continue to send donations and scholarships to our youth and needy in Belize." She notes that "So many of us would love to have the opportunity to be a part of BAF, but when it’s time to vote, there’s a process. Similar to how we vote for President here in [the] United States, but we’re not electronic just yet, we still use a simple piece of paper and do a count."  BAF was founded in 1985.
SICA Summit 2018 Held on December 14, 2018 in Belize
January 8, 2019 11:49 a.m. EST - On December 14, 2018 delegates from various Central American countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Dominican Republic, met and discussed various topics of concern to Central America. These topics included topics of migration, "afro descendants" of Central America, climate change, prevention of natural disasters, the use of plastics, the protection of jaguars, sustainable development, and gender gaps in health careers. The purpose of the summit is the integration of the region, from which the body derives its name Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (Central American Integration System). SICA is comprised of the following member states: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; and Dominican Republic (associate member). SICA was created February 1, 1993. Attending the meeting were Juan Carlos Varela, President of Panama;  Juan Orlando Hernandez, President of Honduras;  Salvador Sanchez Cerén, President of El Salvador; and Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala.
Where Presidents were not present, Foreign Ministers represented member states. The meeting was chaired by the outgoing President Pro Tempore of SICA, Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow.
Belizean Renee Woods in charge of American Airlines ticket sales centers in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean
Photo credit: San Pedro Sun
January 15, 2019 1:06 EST - Renee Woods, a native of Belize City, Belize, was recently hired as Manager for American Airlines' Ticket Sales Centers (TKC) throughout Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America, of which there are 42. Woods started working for American in 1990 in Belize City as a Gate Agent and rose to the ranks in the company's branch in Belize. In 2012 she moved to Miami working for American in the Business Planning department and then as Senior Analyst for Sales Planning.
Let us preserve and protect our historical landmarks!
National Assembly Building, Belmopan, est. 1970
Have you heard of Caves Branch in the Cayo District of Belize, nestled in the Belizean jungle? Explore Caves Branch scenery, spend a few nights at Caves Branch Lodge, and float down the river into some caves! Click the image below to go on an expedition, and the video above to stay at the lodge . Ready for a unique experience?
Caves Branch River, Cayo, Belize

(click image to read more)
Did you miss the Corozal House of Culture 's inaugural event of 2019? Live art was at its best showcasing Belizean and Mexican's organic art, sculpting, painting and much more. Stay tuned on upcoming events such as "Street Art Festival 2019" on Feb. 23, 2019!
"Two stick grow da bush--one grow straight, one grow crooked."

English translation: Two sticks grow in the bush--one grows straight and the other grows crookedly.

Meaning: Some people are honest, others are not--people are inexplicably different.

January 15, 2019 12:06 p.m. EST - Belizeans commemorated what would have been former Prime Minister of Belize, George Price's 100th birthday on January 15, 2019. George Price was born on January 15, 1919. Facebook page Belize Abroad, among others, posted the above photo today. A ceremony also took place at his grave this morning, which may be viewed below.
Husband, Gerald "Gerry" Sharp, of Legendary Marie Sharp Pepper Ltd. Dies
January 17, 2019 11:46 a.m. EST - The Consulate of Belize in Florida extends its condolences to Marie Sharp and her family as they mourn the loss of a dear husband, father, and grandfather. Others have also joined in offering their condolences, such as Special Envoy and Spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. Gerry is considered to be a pioneer in the citrus industry in Belize, following the lead of his father and grandfather. Gerry and his wife, Marie Sharp, owner of Marie Sharp Pepper Sauce Ltd. have been making pepper sauces, jams and other processed products since 1981 at their Melinda Plant in Stann Creek, Belize.
Recipe of The Month
Belizean Potato Salad
Potato salad, a recipe widely believed to have originated in Germany, is normally eaten in Belize with stew chicken and rice and beans. What makes potato salad unique in Belize (as compared with other countries) is the addition of evaporated milk [or salad cream].


3 lbs.potato
1 lb. Carrots
1 stalk celery , chopped
1 tbsp.Chopped onion ( optional)
1 tbsp chopped green bell pepper ( optional)
1 btl sm Salad dressing
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp mustard
1 tin mixed vegetable
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped in small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste


 Boil whole potato and carrots with the skin. Potatoes are done when a thin knife is inserted easily and potatoes look firm. 
Cool potatoes and carrots, peel and cut into small cubes. 
Add mixed vegetables to potatoes and carrots and then add celery, onions and eggs. Mix salad dressing with Grace mustard, milk, salt and pepper and add to potato mixture , just enough to coat all vegetables. Chill in refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of FB Page "Belizean Recipes"  https://www.facebook.com/Bzeating/
Cut-off Date Fast Approaching For Registration to Vote in the Belize/Guatemala Referendum

Cut-Off Date for Registration-Belize/Guatemala Referendum

Belize City. January 21, 2019.

The Elections and Boundaries Department hereby reminds the public that MARCH 10th, 2019 is the CUT- OFF DATE for persons who have not yet registered as an elector and wish to vote in the Belize/Guatemala Referendum scheduled for April 10th, 2019.
Register Today! “Your Right to Vote Depends on It.”

ICJ - Be Informed

Cabinet Unanimously Supports a ‘Yes’ Vote in ICJ Referendum

Belmopan. January 22, 2019.

In its meeting today, January 22, the Cabinet unanimously reaffirmed its position that a ‘Yes’ vote in the April 10th Referendum in support of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) option is the right decision for Belize to rid itself forever of the unfounded Guatemalan claim. 
In May 2018, it was announced that the official position of the Cabinet was that a ‘Yes’ vote ought to be recommended to the people of Belize without prejudice to individual members of Cabinet reserving their right to disagree. 
All members of Cabinet are now fully convinced that Belize needs to take this matter to the ICJ and put an end to this unfounded claim once and for all with Belize’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity. After decades of failed attempts to end the claim using other options, Cabinet is convinced that given Belize’s legal certitude of having title to all its territory and confident that Belize can comprehensively prove this at the independent and impartial ICJ, Belizeans must seize the opportunity provided by the ICJ route. 
The ICJ is where Belize can secure the full and binding recognition of its borders with Guatemala as defined in the Constitution of Belize and based on the 1859 Boundary Treaty. Cabinet, therefore unanimously supports a ‘YES’ vote on April 10th. Cabinet also urges all Belizeans to become informed on why this is the best option for Belize to move forward in its national development, free of the burden and costs of Guatemala’s groundless claim. 

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