April 2020 Vol 64
The Consulate of Belize in Florida
Monthly Newsletter
Honorary Consul's Monthly Message

Welcome to the April Monthly Newsletter !
As we close the month of April, we leave behind somber days that were filled with uncertainty, fear, and loss. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and for those who are ill with COVID-19, we pray for your speedy recovery.  

We take this opportunity to once more acknowledge the bravery of all our front-line men and women who like soldiers at war, are putting their lives at risk to save ours. We are forever grateful to them all. 

For many of us, life, as we knew it before March 2020, will be very different after having experienced one of the deadliest pandemics the world has seen. 

We will though, pull through and find the will and the courage to face the days and weeks ahead. When the time is right, our lives will resume, slowly but surely, and we will enjoy better times with our loved ones and friends.

As we continue to adhere to the stay at home orders from our respective Government authorities, we are grateful to God for the gift of another new day of life, for the opportunity to sit with our kids with school work and listen to their concerns, hopes, and dreams without the interference of schedules and technology, time to bond too with our spouses and responsibly dedicate time to our employment if we are one of the fortunate ones to keep our jobs. In the silence of our homes and our hearts we have also perhaps, reflected about our lives, the brevity of it all, and how we can be better and stronger. For some of us it can be a golden opportunity to chart new paths and reinvent our talents.

On a quiet day on April 15 th , 2020 in the City he loved the most, Bishop Emeritus Dorick Wright, passed away, leaving behind a legacy in the Catholic Church of Belize. His passing saddened the entire nation for he was loved and respected by all denominations. He will long be remembered for his devotion and love for God, country, and people. This beloved Bishop is known for his humility and dry humor and will be missed by all. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and to the priests and religious of the various parishes of the country. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

At home, we applaud the efforts of the Government of Belize and all who have successfully kept the country safe from a serious outbreak from the COVID-19, and we thank those who are fighting the fires caused by the severe droughts. To stay informed, we invite you to monitor the Government of Belize Press Office page and join the “Ask the Experts” live sessions regularly.

In this edition, we present the latest video address to the nation given by the Prime Minister of Belize, the Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow, last broadcasted today, Thursday, April 30 th , 2020.

In the U.S., we are sharing important and updated immigration information for those who are at the present time visiting the US and whose stay in the US had to be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read these updates at the USCIS website under “Special Situations” (https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations).
We hope that once again you will learn about the new things happening in Belize and perhaps be inspired by the uplifting stories about the stellar work of Belizeans as highlighted below:
  • Save the contact numbers for Mental Health Organizations in the US and Belize
  • Learn about the “Free Online Courses offered by Harvard University” and “How to Do Your Facial Mask"
  • Discover some of the Belizean Organizations and Belizean Frontline Responders around the US who have stepped up to assist persons affected by COVID-19 
  • Stay tuned for the "Coming Soon" of the new “Consulates of Belize App” and .org website listing NGO’s in Belize that you can donate to
  • Replay the interviews of Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, and Mrs. Janine Sylvestre, Honorary Consul of Belize on the subject of COVID-19 aired by Love FM and Color Blind Multimedia Productions, respectively
  • Join the celebration of Belize’s culture, values and people on World Heritage Day 2020
  • Check the “New Records Keeping System of Belize’s Zoo”  
  • Pay close attention to the article “Important US Extended Stay Information”
  • Remember “Lenten Season in Belize”
  • Read more about the “Cristo Rey Volunteers Fighting the Fires in Western Belize”
  • Discover more about the life of our “Star of the Month”, Dr. Franz Reneau, and the projects he has facilitated in Belize
  • Check out, “What’s Trending”, regarding “Belizean Teachers in the US”, and “Belizean Marine Biologist featured by National Geographic”

Read the monthly message from the Ambassador of Belize in Washington, DC, H.E. Daniel Gutierez, under “Ambassador’s Desk.” This month, Ambassador Gutierez thanks all who have expressed their concern and desire to assist Belize by donating funds or goods and reiterates his call for all Belizeans to remain safe and follow the advice of health professionals.

Learn also in this edition how to prepare, “Belizean Cotobrute” in our “Recipe of the Month” section. Made from cut up squares of coconut, this sticky treat is one of the many delicious sweets in Belize that is definitely a must try.

Due to COVID-19, unfortunately several events continue to be postponed or modified; however, we still invite you to check out the section “Upcoming Events” to see the updates on each event and access some informative flyers. 

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 in order to serve you better, 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 May could even be you!

Enjoy and share with your friends!

And remember, it is good to be Belizean!
#Rememberit'sgoodtobeBelizean #Staysafe #Stayhome

Janine Sylvestre
Honorary Consul of Belize in Florida
Trade Representative of Belize in Florida
From The Office of The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow
Updates Nation on the State of Emergency Measures

Virtual Press Conference from Thursday, April 30, 2020.
From the Ambassador's Desk
H.E. Daniel Gutierez
Dear Members of the Belizean Community, 

Our warmest greetings from the Embassy and Government of Belize. We sincerely hope that you and all your family are safe and in good health. It is imperative that above all else, we guard the health of all those we love. 

As you may have seen, we have consistently held at 18 cases of infected patients in Belize, with the unfortunate passing of two. Of the 18 cases, none are in intensive care, several of the patients who contracted the novel virus have recovered and we hope that all recover in the coming days.  

To guard Belize from further infections, the government, on the advice of health professionals, has found it necessary to discontinue all flights into Belize and not allow the operation of border points. 

We also take the opportunity to thank all those Belizeans who have expressed their concern and desire to assist Belize by donating funds or goods or both. In an effort to facilitate donations and goodwill to assist on the part of Belizeans or friends of Belize in the United States, the Government of Belize shall make available a .org website where interested parties can choose from a menu of non-government organizations who are actively supporting Belizeans during these unfortunate times. I underscore that the website will NOT seek funds for the GOB, but rather for bonafide organizations in Belize who have a proven track record to deliver much-needed assistance. We ask you to please look out for this website in the coming days and weeks. 

I reiterate my call for all Belizeans to remain safe and follow the advice of health professionals. Once again we thank all Belizeans for their unwavering support and hope that there be a rapid progression of good news on the health front that will allow us all to resume life, albeit in a new normal. 


His Excellency F. Daniel Gutierez 
Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America 
& Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States 
#wavediflag #rememberitsgoodtobebelizean #wearewithyou #holdthefaith #belizeanstrong
Stay Informed-Be Prepared
Tips When Running Essential Errands
Getting Gasoline
Shopping for food & household essentials
COVID-19 Myth Busters:
Directory of Consular Offices in the U.S.
We look forward to serving you as soon as this crisis passes. We are with you during this difficult time.
Call or email us with any questions:
What's New...
Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund donates $100K to Ambergris Caye Families
Photo Credit: The San Pedro Sun
April 8, 2020. Hope Haven Children’s Home and Community Center, located on Ambergris Caye, received a donation of $100,000 from the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief  Fund . Read More
Know the Mental Health Contacts in Belize and the US
April 10, 2020.  Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you or anyone you know needs help to cope with anxiety or stress, please visit  www.mindhealthconnect.com  or call 615-5957 if you are in Belize and www.nami.org or call 800-950-NAMI if you are in the US.
Lenten Season in Belize
Photo Credit: NICH
April 13, 2020.  To experience why Lenten Season is so unique in Belize, we invite you to watch the documentary that NICH and Avant Garde put together a couple of years ago.  Watch Video
Color Blind Multimedia Productions Interviews Mrs. Janine Sylvestre, Honorary Consul of Belize in Florida
Photo Credit: Color Blind Multimedia Productions
April 9, 2020. Color Blind Multimedia Productions contacted Mrs. Janine Sylvestre, Honorary Consul of Belize in Florida, to provide an update on the Belizean Diaspora living in the state of Florida amid the COVID-19 crisis. Watch Interview
What is World Heritage Day?
Video Credit: Sapna Budhrani
April 18, 2020. Let us together celebrate Belize's culture, values, and people not only in World Heritage Day but every day. Watch Video
How to Do Your Facial Mask
Photo Credit: Channel 5 Belize
April 8, 2020.  Are you looking for a fun activity to do with your children while you are at home? Learn how to do your own masks with Ms. Christine Huang, Arts & Craft Instructor with the Department of Youth Services.  Watch Video
Free Online Courses offered by Harvard University
Photo Credit: Harvard University
April 21, 2020.  From web programming, nonprofit financial stewardship to science & cooking, Harvard University is offering an ample array of free courses online. Why not give it a try? Learn More
San Pedro Belize Express Donates Over $30,000 in Supplies to Caye Caulker & San Pedro
Photo Credit: Channel 5 Belize
April 2, 2020.  Several companies and organizations are stepping up and joining in efforts to assist persons who are being impacted in some way by COVID-19. Read More
Drought Conditions Expected Through September In Belize
Photo Credit: Ambergris Today
April 7, 2020. Driest conditions are expected over northern and central areas while rainfall over the Stann Creek and Toledo district is expected to be normal to slightly below normal. Read More
A New Records Keeping System for Belize's Zoo
Photo Credit: Species 360
April 2, 2020.  In January, a team composed of zookeepers, a nutritionist, and a retired registrar spent a week at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center. Would you like to learn what was their main goal? Read More
Belizean Frontline Responders around the USA
We thank you for all that you do.
Dr. Michael Vernon, PhD
Ms. Marjorie Rivero, RN
Los Angeles, California
Dr. Steven Hsu, ICU Intensivist
Houston TX
Mr. Phillip Aguet, Firefighter/Paramedic
River Grove Fire Department, River Grove, IL
Mr. Dylan Arceo, Firefighter/EMT
La Marque, TX
Deputy Kevin Castillo, Broward Sheriff's Office, FL
The Diplomatic Corps in Belize makes a donation to
the Red Cross
April 28, 2020. The Ambassadors and Representatives of International Organizations accredited in Belize, made a donation of BZ$12,000.00 dollars to the assistance program managed by the Belize
Red Cross to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More
Love FM Interviews Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize
Video Credit: Love FM Belize
April 25, 2020. Love FM's Saturday morning show provided an update on COVID-19 in Belize with Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, as the special host. Watch Video
Cristo Rey Volunteers continue to Fight Fires in Western Belize
Photo Credit: Cristo Rey Village Council
April 26, 2020.  A group of thirty-two brave men joined the call of the Cristo Rey Village Council to mitigate the fires surrounding Western Belize. The group is called Cristo Rey Emergency Response Team (CRERT)and is ready to serve its community in the event of any emergency. Read More
Hands of Love - Caye Caulker Food Drive
Photo Credit: Hands of Love
April 22, 2020. In times of crisis, there are always those who want to do good to the community and that is the case of Mr. James Linsky, owner of famous Lazy Lizard in Caye Caulker. Through the Hands of Love-Caye Caulker Food Drive, Mr. Linsky has a sound message: No one should go hungry during the COVID-19 crisis! Get Involved
April 27, 2020.  Stay tuned. Very soon getting information and making appointments for consular services should be as easy as downloading the "Consulates of Belize App." Similarly, for those interested in giving back to your homeland, a new .org website listing NGO's near and dear to your heart in Belize will be available!
Important US Extended Stay Information
Photo Credit: USCIS
April 28, 2020. Belizean nationals whose stay in the United States had to be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the USCIS website. 

Request for Extension - Form I-539
Request for Fee Waiver - Form I-912
(Both forms should be completed). Read More
Photo Credit: BTB
Belize has been nominated for Best Destination in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers Choice Award and your vote is needed!

Here’s how you can vote for your country to win:

1.Click the link below and select “Vote” on the “countries” tab.
2.Sign up and enter details.
3.Search for “Belize” as the location.
4. Complete Survey.
5. Submit!
Photo Credit: Compete Caribbean
Recorded Online Session on Blockchain Innovation Initiative (BII) Now Available

Launched in 2012, The Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) is a private sector development that delivers innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness in the Caribbean region.
Photo Credit: Live and Invest Overseas
Why not learn to Crochet while at home?
The practice of crocheting is common in Belize especially among women. Many have used it as a pastime, or as a source of income. It allows for creative expression as the practitioner is free to create their own designs and patterns.

With access to more creative inspiration and learning platforms, there has been an increase in the interest to crochet.
...of the Month!
Photo Credit: Ambergris Caye
Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve (BCNPMR) is a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the northern part of Ambergris Caye in Belize. To learn more about this protected site, visit https://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/bacalar.html
Let us preserve and protect our historical landmarks & protected sites!

"Bad ting neba gat owner."

Everybody disclaims responsibility when things go wrong.
Belizean Star of the Month!
Franz H. Reneau
Photo Credit: Dr. Franz H. Reneau
Dr. Reneau was born in Belize City to parents Dr. Cecil Reneau (deceased) and Nina Reneau. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from UCB and has over a decade of experience working in Higher Education at multiple post-secondary institutions in the US, currently serving as the Director for Assessment at Georgia Tech.

Reneau’s passion for education pushed him to use his talents to create more awareness for his home country and engage fellow Belizeans who are interested in higher education opportunities in the US.
During his tenure at Florida A&M University, he led visits to Belize with graduate students and faculty to bring awareness around how business is conducted in the country. During those trips, students and faculty had opportunities to exchange and learn from various stakeholder groups to include the Belize Chamber of Commerce, Banks, Government Officials, Bottling Company, Small Businesses, and non-profit groups.
Dr. Reneau with faculty & students from the US visiting Belize
Throughout his career, Reneau has conducted numerous accreditation self-study reviews and has supported many academic and non-academic programs in their re-accreditation preparation. He is married to his high school sweetheart Dr. Paulette Reneau, also a Belizean with whom he shares two kids (Alessandra and Laila Reneau).   
"I had grand plans leading up to my graduation from the University College of Belize. However, God had a different plan for me. Leading up to my graduation, my father presented me with an opportunity to further my studies in the US. I could not then have imagined how much that opportunity would have changed my life’s trajectory. "
Honoring the Life of...
Most Rev. Bishop Dorick McGovern Wright

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.
Register as a Belizean in Florida
Belizean Marine Biologist Featured by National Geographic
Photo Credit: National Geographic
As a marine biologist, Jamal Galves is working in Manatee Conservation in Belize.
Belizean Teachers in the US
Photo Credit: Participate
Teachers from Belize share their experience of teaching in American classrooms. 
Recipe of The Month:

  • 2 medium coconuts diced
  • 2 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tin (7oz) condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp. Grated or finely chopped ginger (optional)

1. Place all ingredients in iron pot and cook for about 30 -40 mins in medium heat or until sticky & brown in color.

2. Grated or finely chopped ginger may be added while cooking.

3. Scoop out coconut mixture from pot with tablespoon and mold together in desired sizes and leave to cool on cutting board or baking sheet.
Cotobrute – Made from cut up squares of coconut, these delicious sweets are a sticky treat and it’s not as common as it used to be perhaps because making it is considered a labor of love. Caramelized brown sugar holds it all together after considerable stirring. As it cools it gets really hard, hence the name cotobrute. Dropped by piled high spoonfuls to harden into uneven shapes, this sticky treat is one of the many delicious sweets in Belize that is definitely a “must try”. Be warned, this coconut concoction can be very addicting. – Ambergriscaye.com
ICJ- Be Informed
On May 8, Belizeans voted "Yes" to take the territorial dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Click the video below to learn more about what happens next.
Extension of the time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings
THE HAGUE, 24 April 2020. By an Order dated 22 April 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, extended from 8 June 2020 to 8 December 2020 and from 8 June 2021 to 8 June 2022 the respective time-limits for the filing of the Memorial of the Republic of Guatemala and the Counter-Memorial of Belize in the case concerning Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim (Guatemala/Belize).  Read More
Photo Credit: International Court of Justice
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