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Volume 42 | June 2018

Consulate of Belize

in Flor ida
                                       Western Belize Rural and Belizean Cacao Fruit                                       
Consul General's 
Monthly Message

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, where we bring you human interest stories, current events and information on Belize! Mostly, our purpose is to share all the positive and beautiful things about Belize and its people.

The Consulate of Belize in Florida continues to handle Belizean Passports and Emergency Travel Documents. We are also issuing Identification Cards thereby furnishing many Belizeans living in Florida with the opportunity to acquire an official ID from Belize. Acceptance of these cards at U.S. offices and other institutions, however, depends on their discretion.  
Janine Sylvestre Vega
Hon. Consul General of Belize
 in Florida
Trade Representative of Belize in Florida

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. 

Please remember to share with us your contact information so that you can be abreast of all the updates and news on Belize. Visit our  website at  and register with us. You will benefit by receiving news and information on Belize as well as learn of events happening in Florida.

Please be informed that our e-mail addresses have changed from the following:         to:                          to:                   

Thank you for your patience.



June 13, 12:04 PM EST- The President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), Sergio Chuc along with executive members of FFB; Marlon Kuylen, Cruz Gamez and executive member of the Premier League of Belize (PLB), Godfrey Arzu, Chairman of the Cayo Football Association, Alvin Trapp and  Ladrick 'Mad Bull' Sheppard, chairman of the Orange Walk Football Association attended the the official ceremonies for the 2018 World Cup games in Russia inside the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia on Thursday, June 14.
In addition to these two delegations.  Two twelve-year-old Belizeans, football player Joseph Waight Jr. and journalist Christopher Young were there to observe the event.  The delegations attended both the CONCACAF Congress as well as the FIFA Congress for the purpose of deciding the venue for the next world cup.

Photo Credit: Breaking Belize News

National Drug Abuse Control Council and World No Tobacco Day
May 31, 2018 1:37 EST - LoveFM Belize hosted on The Morning Show Mr. Ernest Vellos, Director of National Drug Abuse Control Council of Belize (NDACC) and Ms. Martha Choice, District Coordinator of NDACC in Toledo. The former pointed out that tobacco is the third most consumed substance in Belize. Vellos mentions that an even bigger problem than tobacco over-consumption is alcohol and marijuana abuse. He argues that at the end of the day, these issues do not fall under health concerns, but rather, under mental health. He contends, "We have to make sure that when these people come to our office we look at the core issue of why they are consuming that substance because most of the time the consumption of the substance is only the tip of the iceberg and when we see the issues behind the consumption of alcohol we realize that most of these individuals have social issues that need to be addressed before they address the issue of substance abuse." He suggests working with the judiciary system to develop a drug abuse court in order to give individuals "a second chance." He reports that the agency has been working to reform rehabilitation facility standards and has proposed pieces of legislation to be enacted by the Ministry of Health called that National Tobacco Bill and the National Alcohol Policy. He points out that Belize is a signatory of the World Health Organization convention on tobacco control. He mentions that the framework of the convention allows Belize to look at the creation of smoke-free spaces, taxation, marketing and labeling, and accessibility of tobacco. He also mentions that Belize is a signatory to another WHO convention on alcohol control that has a similar framework. He hopes that changing the minimum age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21 and lowering the alcohol blood content for which drunk drivers may be penalized, both of which the National Alcohol Policy recommends, will effect the desired outcome. In short, Mr. Vellos is hopeful that approaching the issue of tobacco abuse at the level of the government will produce a positive outcome. Ms. Choc recognizes that policy changes will not effect the desired outcome alone.


Star of The Month 


Silvano Torres migrated to the United States at an early age, after settling down in Los Angeles with a family of three, he became involved in his community affairs and eventually in the affairs of the Belizean community in California and at home, Belize.
As one of the founding members and Chairman of the Belize Cultural Foundation (BCF) a Belizean Non Profit Organization in Los Angeles founded in 2001; he helped in promoting Soccer leagues, to keep kids off drugs in different districts and helped different schools with books and supplies in Belize.  He also helped organize the largest two day Belize Independence Celebration for many years.
In 2005, he was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace in which he worked closely with the Consulate General of Belize.  In 2012, he took over as President of the Justices of the Peace Association California Chapter up to present date.  2017 was another milestone in which he made the Justices of the Peace Association a legitimate 501C organization in California, in which the Attorney General of Belize sworn him as a Senior Justice of the Peace.  
As President of the JP Association in California, he is involved deeply in charity programs throughout Belize, with high school scholarships, medical donations to different entities throughout the years including Karl Heusner Hospital in 2017 and now he is working on Wheelchairs program and hopefully be able to contribute to the Fire Department of Belize in the near future.
He is a member of the International Red Carpet Association in Los Angeles, honoring affluent Belizeans, Central Americans and Caribbean People. Not to mention that he is also entrepreneur owning his own Trucking business.
As a representative of Belize in COFECA Organization (Confederacion Centro Americana) He is a member of the Board of Directors and has paved the way and solidified the participation of Belize to be a Member of the 7 Central American Countries celebrating in a three day event in September promoting the Independence, Culture, Music and people of the Seven Countries. Our participation in this Organization is to promote and showcase our Belizean Heritage and the Country of Belize to the World.
He works tirelessly, and closely with City Officials and other Organization to make this possible. He is very passionate about what he does in giving back to his country that taught him the values of Life.



June 4, 2018 12:18 PM EST-  The Mango Fest took place this year o n June 2-3, 2018 in the village of  Hopkins  . The mineral-rich soil of the Hopkins area allows local farmers to grow several different varieties of mango.  The Mango Fest at Hopkins is held every year in June, when the mango fruits become mature and are at their peak flavor. Mango Fest will feature a wide variety of mangos, including apple mangos, blue mangos, black mangos, and number 11 mangos as well as a smorgasbord of mango-themed dishes, including jams, jellies, smoothies, juices, and savory fare. Local chefs competed to create delicious dishes from all the locally-grown mangos.  At the festival were games and activities, including a dory (small wooden boat) fishing contest, stories for children, a raffle, and live music.  Hopkins is located 30-minutes by car from Dangriga and 60-minutes from Placencia, making it very easy for tourists in the region to attend.  The Toledo Cacao Fest was  a 3-day event held from 18th to 20th May 2018 in Punta Gorda, Belize and  is held every year during the third week of May to coincide with the long holiday weekend that is Sovereign's Day in Belize 24 May.There were  many free activities during the Festival weekend itself, live music, fine wine, Belizean chocolate, and Belikin's specially brewed Chocolate Stout. Tourists who attended were able to sample the latest creations from Belizean boutique chocolate makers Kawkaw, Goss Chocolate, Cotton Tree Chocolate, and Ixacacao. 


UNESCO to remove Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System From "In Danger" List  

June 6, 2018 12:11 PM EST- The Belize barrier reef will be removed from the UNESCO list of word heritage sites that are in danger. UNESCO has determined that it is no longer in danger due to the recent moratorium on oil exploration and other off-shore petroleum operations by the government of Belize. Read the Government of Belize's press release below:

De-listing of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System as a World Heritage Site in Danger
Belmopan. May 28th, 2018. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources recently led a collaborative team comprising the Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Lands and Surveys Department, the Belize UNESCO Office and the World Wildlife Fund to implement a series of remedial actions to qualify the Bel ize Barrier Reef Reserve System for de-listing from the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. 
The Ministries and their collaborators are pleased to announce that a draft decision has been published on the World Heritage Center's website ( notifying that the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System has now substantially met the indicators for de-listing. The final decision of the World Heritage Committee will be made in June this year at its 42nd meeting in Bahrain.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System comprises seven protected areas along the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. It includes atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. This outstanding natural system illustrates the evolutionary history of coral reef development and is a significant habitat for threatened marine species, including sea turtles and the West Indian Manatee. The Barrier Reef and its various attractions are one of the core foundations for Belize's vibrant tourism industry. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
Although the work to de-list the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System began several years ago, the recent success was made possible through the strategic support of the Cabinet, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Natural Resources and the two-line Ministries. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources thank the Belize UNESCO Office, the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for their support during this process.
For more information contact: 
Tel: +501-822-0160

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Landmark Beauty of The Month
Let us preserve and protect our historical landmarks!

Bliss Centre For Performing Arts, Belize City



Belize businesses participated in a Compete Carribean Partnership Facility program (CCPF) becoming one of 8 finalists competing for $400,000 USD.

Click here and here to read more

"No call haligetta big-mout till you done cross the riba"
English Translation: Don't call the alligator big-mouth till you have crossed the river.
Meaning: Don't insult or defy those in whose power you are.

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Recipe of the Month
KAWKAW Chocolate Cake


Makes two 10" round pans or one large sheet pan
Shortening for pans. Grease pans with shortening and dust with cocoa powder. Shake out excess.
1 ½ cups Belizean KAKAW  Cocoa Powder. Use the best you can get. I like Ghiradelli or Valrhona as substitutes. In a pinch, use Hershey's but don't use generic. It is a blend and is very flat in flavor and color.
3 Cups Cake Flour. I prefer King Arthur Flour, unbleached cake variety.
3 Cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder. 
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
3 farm fresh eggs - rich in color and flavor. They cakes are the spongiest when you use farm fresh eggs.
1 ½ cup warm water. Hot water from the tap is fine.
1 ½ Cups Buttermilk
¾ cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract. Do not substitute vanilla flavoring



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add all the dry ingredients and mix for 30 seconds on lowest speed. Add eggs, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat on low speed until well incorporated and smooth - about 2 minutes. Batter will be slightly runny. Divide batter among pans and place in oven on center rack. Bake 35-40 minutes until springy on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on rack 30 minutes and then invert onto plate. Frost with desired buttercream icing.
Recipe courtesy of:  Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons on

Hurricane Season Begins; Preparations Begin

June 3, 2018 11:19 AM EST- As hurricane season begins, preparedness campaigns are all over Miami and Belize, with hurricane guides distributed to all Miami-Dade homes and the Government of Belize conducting disaster relief training of the National Emergency Management Organization in the event of a catastrophic hurricane this year. The Government of Belize has released the below:

Today, June 1, marks the official beginning of the 2018 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. The season runs from 1st June to 30th November 2018. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of Subtropical Storm Alberto on May 25. This is now the fourth consecutive year that a storm has developed before the official start of the hurricane season.
The Seasonal Hurricane forecasts for 2018 issued by several agencies are suggesting that tropical cyclone activity will be normal to slightly above normal in the Atlantic Basin (North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico) this year. The consensus among these agencies is for there to be about twelve to fourteen (12 to 14) named storms, of those six to seven (6 to 7) are likely to become hurricanes and two (2) are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger). An average season in the Atlantic Basin consists of twelve (12) named storms, six (6) hurricanes, and two (2) major hurricanes.
The main factors that were used in forecasting the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season are: 
(1) ENSO-neutral conditions (no El Niño or La Niña) or weak El Niño 
(2)Near-average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Tropical Atlantic
(3)Near-average or weaker wind shear
What Does This Mean for Belize?
There is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes that form in any given season and the number of storms that make landfall in Belize. One or more of the 12 to 14 named storms forecast to develop this season could hit the country, or none at all. Therefore history teaches us, that as a nation located in such a vulnerable area, especially along the coast, we should be prepared each year no matter what is the forecast is. The National Meteorological Service of Belize will continue to use its team of professional meteorologists and forecasts along with specialized equipment such as our Doppler Radar and network of automatic weather stations, to continue to monitor the region for any tropical cyclone development and to inform the general public in a timely manner through the National Emergency Management Organization.
So, Belizeans be prepared, stay safe and heed all advice and warnings coming from the National Meteorological Service and National Emergency Management Organization during the 2018 Hurricane Season. 

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