April 2021 Vol 76
The Consulate of Belize in Florida
Monthly Newsletter
#rememberitsgoodtobebelizean #thewaitisover

Honorary Consul's Monthly Message
Welcome to the April Monthly Newsletter!
The month of April signaled the first signs of spring with its cherry blossoms and other tree and flower buds as well as songbird songs, a welcome respite for those living in colder climates after what was a cold and harsh winter, prolonging the cooped-up state we’ve been in since COVID-19 hit us last year. For Belizeans at home, we waited for that “southeast breeze” to remind us that it’s time to head out to the Cayes for Easter. It is also when mango season makes its debut and the Mayflower blooms.

Indeed, spring can mean new beginnings not only for Mother Earth but for us. Whether it is a career change, relocation, make exciting travel plans now that we can, spend time with the people who matter the most to us, we must savor every moment and be the best that we can be.

In a few days we will be celebrating Mother’s Day and we salute all our Mothers who labored, sacrificed and loved us with all their being. Thank you to all the Mothers who gave life to us, who raised us or who are just amazing Mother figures, we wish them all the most beautiful of days!

Belize is renowned for its natural beauty and also for its beautiful women. This month, the spotlight is on two Belizean beauties who will be competing for the crown in two different pageants, both being held in Florida. Miss Iris Salguero will be representing Belize in the Miss Universe which will be held in Hollywood Florida on Sunday, May 16th. While Miss Isabella Zabaneh will be participating in the Miss Florida Teen USA Pageant, representing North Tampa, from the 16th to the 18th of July in Orlando. Miss Bella does not only have beauty and brains but a big heart. We learned that she started a nonprofit, “Project Royalty” that is helping young ladies in her hometown of Independence Village in Stann Creek District by providing free prom dresses and ball gowns to young ladies, and the steps she is taking to give back to Belize in the future. We congratulate them both and wish them the very best! Belize is proud of you!

Our April newsletter features the Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. John Briceño’s weekly message, “Live Hope, Live Forward,” as well as his recent interview with Love FM, where he outlines his plans for the country’s economic growth, tourism sector, and its current health system, among other important topics.
Additionally, today marks the last official day of His Excellency Sir. Colville Young as Governor General of Belize. Sir Colville is an accomplished professional who cares deeply about Belize and who served Belize selflessly for the past 27 years, enriching the Office of the Governor General with his passion for culture, music and philanthropy. We will all be the better of it and wish him the very best! I invite you to join the live stream for his Departure Ceremony beginning at 2:00 pm in Belize.

Our hearts go out to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who are struggling with the aftermath of the disastrous volcanic eruption that occurred on April 9th. We wish for the safety of all residents and stand in solidarity with them during these difficult times. As of April 13th, Belize is providing refuge to Vincentians who have been displaced and have ties to Belize via family or friends. Please help us share this information so those who need relief so that they can seek support and assistance.

Once again, we sadly report on a prominent Belizean lady, Mrs. Louise Mary Urbina who passed away on Wednesday, April 14th in Miami, Florida where she resided for the past twenty-one years after emigrating from Belize with her family. Mrs. Urbina, a native of Orange Walk Town, was always a very bright, hardworking, and ambitious lady who, along with her husband, Toribio Urbina, pioneered the fruit and vegetable business in Belize and enjoyed tremendous success. Louise is survived by her three daughters, two sons, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren and is predeceased by her husband and her son, Glen Urbina. We extend our deepest condolences to the Urbina family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

We also recap the monthly news from the Government of Belize Press Office and share the stories of some visible Belizeans in our “Star of The Month” Section as well as the Front-Line Responders section. Additionally, we highlight the achievements of a young Belizean who was awarded the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Scholarship by the European Commission Agency to obtain her Master’s in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies.

Do not forget to check out the section “Upcoming Events” to find out more about “Scholarship Opportunities”, “Women Empowerment Retreat in Belize” and much more!

Enjoy scrolling through the news in the areas of tourism, community engagement, the environment, and much more in this edition,

Check out our upcoming events where we share different activities that are being held in the next month.

  • View the monthly message from the Office of The Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, and his interview with Love FM covering updates on Belize’s health, economic, and tourism sectors, among others.
  • Read about Belize’s participation in a virtual roundtable with the U.S. Secretary of State.
  • Join the official livestream of the departure ceremony for his excellency Sir. Colville Young.
  • Learn about the back-to-school Phase-In in Belize.
  • Read about Belizean women who are sewing to support their livelihoods.
  • Watch how three Mayan women are bridging the worlds of engineering and humanitarian work through providing solar power services in the South of Belize.
  • Help support Fatima in her journey to fight a brain tumor.
  • Learn more about the contestants representing Belize in Miss Tampa Teen & Miss Universe.
  • Read how a Belizean young lady was awarded a prestigious scholarship by the European Commission Agency
  • Learn how over a dozen organizations are partnering to preserve the Belize Maya Forest.
  • Check the requirements needed to travel to Belize.
  • See how we continue to give thanks to our Belizean Frontline workers around the United States.
  • Find out more about the continued cooperation between Belize and Taiwan in our tidbits section.
  • Get inspired by the life story of our Belizean Star of the Month!
  • Check out our upcoming events where we share different activities that are being held in the next month. View the monthly messages from the Office of The Prime Minister, the Hon. John Briceño.

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.

As we update our database, and to serve you better, the Consulate of Belize in Florida continues to conduct phone calls to its constituents to confirm each contact’s information. We appreciate your cooperation and support in sharing your contact information. This is 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 could even be you!

Enjoy and share with your friends!

And remember, it is good to be Belizean!

#rememberitsgoodtobebelizean #thewaitisover #staysafe 
All my best,
Janine Sylvestre
Hon. Consul of Belize in Florida 
Trade Representative of Belize in Florida

From The Office of The Prime Minister of Belize
Hon. John Briceño
We respect the 15,000 plus persons that make up the public sector, and are mindful of the needs of our 420,000 citizens. This is the direction of hope. I urge you to remain careful, and vigilant and encourage your family members to get the vaccine. It is the foundation upon which the world and Belize will recover, and the simple fact is – it saves thousands of lives each day
Interview of Love FM and Hon. John Briceño where he covers updates on Belize’s health, economic, and tourism sectors, among other topics.
Belize Participates in Virtual Roundtable With US Secretary of State
For a Full List of This Month's Government Press Releases Please Click the Button Below
Belize Participates in World Bank - IMF's Spring Meetings
A Belizean delegation participated virtually in the World Bank/IMF's Spring Meetings, led by Christopher Coye, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment.

Minister Coye expressed the hope, on behalf of small states like Belize, for meaningful debt relief, grant and concessionary funding to successfully avert the dual debt and climate crises with a view to long-term climate resiliency and sustainable economic recovery and transformation.
BelizeON Offers a Wide Variety of High-Quality Products Made in Belize
Belize Representatives Weighing Up CDB Loan for Highway Upgrade
Belize Prime Minister John Briceño is attempting to push an upgrade to the Philip Goldson highway, introducing a motion on a US$34.3mn Caribbean Development Bank loan to the country’s House of Representatives.

The grant from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) via the CDB. The money would be used to upgrade the highway from mile 24.5 to mile 92, including the purchase of 2.8ha of land to allow widening and realignment of the road.

Taiwan to Help Belize Fully Digitize
On a mission to provide top-quality products made in Belize in an easy and affordable way, BelizeON has created a digital marketplace dedicated to helping consumers shop the very best of Belizean products for fast, secure shipping right to their home.
According to their team, the new digital marketplace is quickly becoming one of Belize's best online shopping websites, and is quite similar to Belize department stores, with product lines including classic food in Belize, as well as electronics, pet products, home goods/décor, and more.
Back to School Phase-in Begins in Belize
To strengthen relations between Belize and Taiwan, the ambassadors of both nations met with ministers of each other’s government to discuss bond-strengthening measures and intentions for further cooperation.

The Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize, His Excellency, David K.C. Chien, met with the Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance, Hon. Kevin Bernard, to discuss initiatives to pave the way for a modern, digital era in Belize. The Ministry in Belize aspires to achieve 95% digitization of services. Together, the officials of both countries discussed means for building e-governance in Belize and how Taiwan could help Belize achieve such a goal. Those in the meeting showed particular interest in providing internet access to rural communities.
Belize Raises Autism Awareness
The Ministry says that 61 schools applied to return on April 12 and 161 schools have applied to return on May 10. Fifty-five of those schools have been visited by their district education centers (DEC), who have verified the schools’ readiness for approval to be granted to them.

“Schedules will differ and so will the groups of students who will be coming back for shorter periods of time. All managements and administrations have been asked to be mindful of economic constraints and to not place unnecessary demands on students and their families,” the Ministry added.
Belizean Cyclists Form Project Belize Cycling Club, Raising Funds to Race Internationally
The team’s origin story is truly one of fate and destiny. Four cyclists met virtually during the pandemic, faced by challenges such as restrictions for trainings and lack of races, they decided to work together to race in Mexico. This was the start of something extraordinary! They had great results in Mexico and talked about racing in other countries together. This was when the idea originated; if they will race together, then why not race under the same jersey? The team was born.
The team’s logo pays homage to Belizean culture with their uniform logo which contains a toucan, Belize’s national bird, and a Mayan ruin. This is a representation of our colorful country, often called “paradise”. The team itself is a direct representation of Belize since its members are from diverse cultural backgrounds such as Mestizo, Asian, and Creole to name a few. 

To learn more about Project Belize make sure to follow them on Facebook!
Maya Ruins in Belize Offer Peek at Ancient Wealth Inequality
An examination of numerous houses excavated at two sites in southern Belize is providing insight into gaping wealth inequality in ancient Maya cities - a disparity that researchers believe was closely linked to despotic leadership.

The findings, the researchers said, help shed light on the phenomenon of wealth inequality in human societies from antiquity to the present day, with the ancient Maya holding no monopoly on such disparities.

Belize Audubon Society and Armenia Youth Group Plant Mahogany Trees As Part of Earth Day
The Belize Audubon Society (BAS) had been working with the Armenia Village Youth Group in planting Mahogany trees as part of their ‘Greening Across Belize’ initiative.
“The Armenia youth group is particularly concerned about deforestation in Belize, and keen to continue with tree planting initiatives,” BAS noted.
On Sunday, the BAS will support a community clean up and plans to visit other communities for tree planting.
“Conservation awareness starts at home and in our communities, so BAS is proud to partner with communities to encourage good stewardship of our natural resources for years to come,” the BAS stated.
Legislature Passes Taiwan-Belize Mutual Legal Assistance Pact

Taiwan's Legislature passed a bill that would serve as the basis for a bilateral treaty with Belize to allow mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.

When the treaty takes effect, the two countries will be able to provide assistance to each other on criminal investigations, prosecutions, court proceedings and crime prevention, Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-Kwang (田中光) said in a Legislative session.
The pact will serve as a legal framework for more effective collaboration between Taiwan and Belize, two diplomatic allies, to jointly combat transnational crime, Tien added.
The United Nations declared April 2nd to be World Autism Awareness Day. Similarly, this year marked Autism Belize’s first anniversary, a local advocacy and awareness group. Journalist Vejea Alvarez, from Love News, spoke to the organization’s founder and executive chair, Christy Castillo-Almeida about the events.
Ambassador Dr. Candice Pitts cooks Belizean Breakfast for Taipei International Food Show
Today, Ambassador Pitts cooked a Belizean breakfast which was recorded on video for the Taipei International Food Show, according to the Embassy of Belize Facebook page.

The Embassy of Belize in Taiwan said that “One of the benefits of the bilateral relationship between Belize and Taiwan is the opportunity inherent for cultural diplomacy and tourism promotion.”

“The food show is an opportunity for our Ambassador to expose Taiwanese culture to Belizeans through Belizean cuisine,” the Embassy of Belize Facebook post said. “The YouTube video will be available for viewing at the International Food Show in June.”

“Belize needs to take advantage of the opportunities to export seafood products to Taiwan,” Pitts said. “We are ushering in an era of new possibilities for Belize and Taiwan.”
She also visited KYMCO, a leading manufacturer of scooters, and said she was trying to encourage them to become friendlier to our region.
Alaia Will Be Opening May 2021 As The First Marriott Branded Property in Belize
Debuting as one of the most highly anticipated projects in the region, Alaia Belize will be the first-ever Marriott International property in the country under the Autograph Collection brand opening May 2021.

Spanning over 20+ acres and the first in San Pedro Town to sit on more than 1,000 feet of beachfront access, Alaia Belize will be a 155-unit complex and operating as the first true four diamond resort on Ambergris Caye. The eco-luxury development will a barefoot luxury hotel, upholding the high-quality standards of Marriott International's Autograph Collection brand.
Belizean Women Sewing to Support Their Livelihoods!
Sewing is a skill passed down in many households across Belize and it is a skill that women use to earn money for their households. In Corozal, we met women who have organized themselves into groups where they teach sewing and sell their creations to support their families.
Women’s groups like the Rising Stars Sewing Place in San Victor Village make uniforms, beddings, curtains and even personalized bags. The Rising Stars and thirty-eight groups across the country received a big boost from the Taiwanese Government of the five hundred plus bales of fabric. The San Victor group received fifteen bales of materials they are now turning into locally made products.
Belize Supports St. Vincent and the Grenadines
In light of the huge calamity that has beset the island, the Government of Belize has pledged a US$50,000 contribution to St. Vincent to be utilized for their relief efforts.

The government notified the public of its pledge to support its sister CARICOM nation in a press release dated April 13, 2021.

The release indicates that La Soufriere is still exhibiting “explosive events with significant venting of ash that are likely to continue over the next few days”. The statement goes on to invite Vincentians who have been displaced and have ties to Belize via family or friends to seek refuge here, with the reminder that they would have to follow COVID-19 protocols while doing so.
Meet Chelsea Mai, a Belizean student who has been awarded an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to obtain her International Masters in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies.
Mai shared that her research interests include the use of technology in intelligence and modern warfare, China’s international relations, environmental security, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
She was awarded the fully funded scholarship in 2020 by the European Commission’s Education Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency (EACEA).
Three Maya women from Toledo, travelled to India to receive training in solar energy technology, and now they are lighting up villages in Belize that have no electricity.
The women have already provided solar power to two villages in the south, and are now expanding their knowledge to bridge the worlds of engineering and humanitarian work.
More than a dozen organizations are coming together to protect 236,000 acres of land that represents an irreplaceable linchpin in the conservation of the largest remaining tropical forests in the Americas, outside the Amazon. This new protected area is contiguous with and nearly doubles the size of the adjacent Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area previously protected through efforts led by The Nature Conservancy. Combined, it represents 9% of the landmass of Belize and secures a vital wildlife corridor in Central America’s dwindling forests.
Meet Miss Universe Belize 2020-2021, Miss Iris Salguero.
Her story features the challenges faced at an earlier age, financing her own secondary school education and graduating as Salutatorian (2nd in her class).

She now plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing and hopes to open a trade school called Brighter Future. Salguero dedicated two years at the SHINE, an organization helping girls ages 12-18 build self-esteem.

As a survivor of an abusive relationship herself, one of her goals is to end violence against women and be the voice of those suffering in silence. She is determined to empower young Belizean women and overcome hardship and accomplish their dreams. Read more about her inspiring story by clicking the button below.
Witness history as women from around the world compete to be the next Miss Universe at the 69th MISS UNIVERSE Competition.

Watch our very own Iris Salguero represent Belize and showcase one of Belize’s historical landmarks through the national costume portion of the competition.

The costume was crafted by talented Belizean designers, David Mattos and Roberto Pasos Dominguez, make sure you do not miss this creative spectacle, tune in on Sunday May 16th 2021 to support Miss Belize.
We wish you the best of luck!
Belize Travel Health & Safety
Things to Know Before Traveling to Belize
  • Vaccinated travelers must present a vaccination record card, with full inoculation completed at least two weeks before their arrival into Belize.

  • Download the Belize Health App and complete the required information within 72 hours of your flight to Belize. Available for download via APK file for Android and in the App Store.

  • Prior to arrival, tourists must book a stay at a Gold Standard hotel and present confirmation upon arrival.

  • Take a PCR Test within 96 hours of travel or a Rapid Antigen Test within 48 hours of travel.

  • You can also take a Covid-19 Test at the airport upon arrival, the cost is $50 USD per person, and only positive cases will receive a notification within 24 hours.

For more information Click Here
For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine, please click the button below.
Nicole Cadle
BS.RN Registered Nurse Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.
Lake Forest, Illinois
Kimberly Blades
LPN Centers Healthcare 
New York

Tourism Tidbits
Belize Featured in United Airline’s Official Travel Publication

Positive mentions for Belize as a prime tourist destination in international publications keep rolling despite the downturn in global travel, with the latest being from the official travel publication of United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine.

Trade and Investment Tidbits
Minister of Agriculture, Jose Mai, and Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize, David Chien, Meet to Discuss Trade and Agriculture.

“Minister Mai expressed appreciation for the many years of assistance offered to Belize. He also conveyed his hope for continued cooperation between both countries, especially in areas of trade and agriculture,” a statement from the Ministry said. 

Cultural Tidbits
TR Rotary Club Connects With School in Belize

Belizerve began as a three-year effort, whose objective was to assist in improving educational services in 32 schools. School books, furniture, tables and school supplies made their way south during those early days as Three Rivers Rotary collaborated with Libertad RC School. A group of Rotarians drove a convoy of school buses, dump trucks, a fire truck and two ambulances from Michigan to Belize.

Xunantunich is an Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 70 miles west of Belize City, in the Cayo District. It served as a Maya civic ceremonial center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods to the Belize Valley region. At this time, when the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in Belize
Tiger maaga but e strang.
English Translation:
The tiger is thin but strong.

Don't be fooled by appearances.
Let us preserve and protect our historical landmarks & protected sites
Belizean Star of the Month!
Isabella Zabaneh
#Rememberit'sgoodtobeBelizean #thewaitisover
Isabella was born in Dallas, Texas but was raised and grew up in Independence Village in the Stann Creek District from the age of 2 months old. She attended primary school in her village and was valedictorian of her standard 6 class at Church of Christ Primary School. She graduated on honor roll from Independence High School in 2020. Currently Isabella is a college student majoring in Political Science at Hillsborough Community College, where she placed on the Dean’s List her first semester and will complete an International Studies degree at University of South Florida in Tampa.

At the age of 10 she participated in Little Miss Queen of the Bay, and at age 14 competed and won Miss Independence 2018-2019. During her year as Miss Independence, Isabella started PROJECT ROYALTY. A nonprofit that provides free prom dresses and ball gowns to young ladies in Independence Village. Her mission for this project is to help girls see their inner beauty through acts of love and beautiful dresses and shine on the outside!
The mission of Project Royalty will continue into the United States, Isabella will host a dress drive in Tampa where formal clothing will be collected and donated to Belle of the Ball. Her goal is to continue empowering young women to feel and look their best. In addition, Isabella will be collecting business attire to partner with Dress for Success, an organization that assists women with business attire for job interviews and helps empower them for economic independence. Merging her heart and vision of Project Royalty with these organizations are part of the platform she will represent at the Miss Florida Teen Pageant.
Most recently, Isabella has begun using her voice to speak out against bullying. She hopes to partner with “Speak Life to End Bullying”, a program that motivates students to stand up against bullying throughout several Florida High Schools. Her goal is to help put a stop to this devastating issue that affects so many young people and help them see the God given beauty they carry within so they can shine on the outside!

In addition to being a full-time college student and working to prepare for the Miss Florida Teen pageant, Isabella's future plans include returning home to Belize to be involved in politics, business, and the continued development of the nation. She hopes to continue taking every opportunity given to learn, grow, build relationships, and use her gifts, talents and passions to impact the world.

We are proud to call Isabella our Star of the Month!
Our deep condolences to the families of Belizeans at home and abroad who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

May they rest in peace.

  • Yellow-corn tortillas.

  • Stewed shredded chicken.

  • Cabbage slaw and a dash of pepper to top the tacos.

  • 1 cup of walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 3 ounce package vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place nuts in the bottom of a well-greased and floured Bundt pan. Mix remaining ingredients until fluffy. pour batter in bundt pan and bake for 50-60 mins or until knife inserted in center, comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and turn onto a serving platter.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

Slowly heat the glaze ingredients until it comes to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer and drizzle with glaze until it is all absorbed.

Icing, Optional:
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Stir all ingredients until smooth, drizzle over cooled cake.
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March 2021, VOL. 75 Read More
February 2021, VOL. 74 Read More
January 2021, VOL. 73. Read More
December 2020, VOL. 72. Read More
November 2020, VOL. 71. Read More
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Upcoming Events
#Rememberit'sgoodtobeBelizean #thewaitisover
Commonwealth Day in Belize
Belize annually observes Commonwealth Day on May 24
Women Empowerment Retreat in Belize
Bhava Going Belize
MAY 17-22, 2021
Paradise awaits! 5-night, 6 day adventure on Thatch Caye - a completely private island off the coast of Belize. 
Parrot Head Beach Bash – Belize!
Scholarship Opportunity

The Organization of American States(OAS) has convened its 2021 Call for Applications of the Academic Scholarship Program for graduate and undergraduate studies and/or related research.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belize acts as the National Liaison Office (ONE) and the deadline to submit applications is JUNE 18th , 2021 .