Man Eating Crocodile Captured In Belize City

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The man-eating crocodile captured in Belize City.

A ten-foot crocodile believed to have killed a man in Belize City this week has been captured and will be euthanized according to local radio reports. The large and well-fed crocodile was captured last night by Vince Rose, a U.S. immigrant who runs the local American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, ACES,  based on Ambergris Caye.

The crocodile is believed to be the one that attacked and killed a resident of Lord’s Bank on the outskirts of Belize City earlier this week. Rose told the media: “This is the croc; – it’s pretty aggressive. I got into the water, and it charged me, so I am pretty sure that this is the croc.”

Forty-seven old Carl Diaz was fishing in a pond near the village on Monday afternoon when he was attacked and dragged into the water by a large crocodile according to eye witnesses. His body was later recovered. Crocodiles are a protected species in Belize and the swampy areas around Belize City have been the scene of several fatalities caused by crocodiles in recent years. Both the American Crocodile and the Morelet’s Crocodile, also known as the Mexican Crocodile, make Belize their home.

Belize Gov Investigate Guatemala Peasant Killing By Belize Military

Peasants from Guatemala's Peten Department denounce killing of Guatemala farmer in the adjacency zone.

Peasants from Guatemala’s Peten Department denounce killing of Guatemala farmer in the adjacency zone.

The government of Belize has promised to investigate the death of a Guatemalan peasant Saturday in the Guatemala-Belize adjacency zone at the hands of Belize’s military forces. Reports in Guatemala media yesterday say that that two peasants from San Marcos village neighboring Belize, were cleaning a patch of land to plant corn and pumpkin when they were attacked by Belizean security forces inside the Guatemala-Belize adjacency zone. Tomás Desdicho Ramírez was shot dead while his brother Feliciano managed to flee and alert other villagers in the area.

Ramirez’s body was taken by the Belize military in the San Ignacio, Belize morgue and the Organization of American States has been requested to investigate this latest shooting.

In a press release issued today, the Belize government says it will allow Guatemalan forensic experts to observe the post mortem on Ramirez. It said Prime Minister Dean Barrow had called Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, and that “The Prime Minister assured the President that his government will investigate the facts relating to the incident, and should it be found that there is culpability by persons involved they will be brought to justice in accordance with the law.”

The full text of the Press Release can be downloaded here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7kHFXVAO5SHci1zX0dtRXdCcjA

Belize Government Decries European Union Fisheries Ban

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The government of Belize has today condemned the decision of the European Council On High Seas Fishing to list Belize, along with Cambodia and Guinea, as a non-cooperating third country in the fight against illegal fishing. In an official press release issued by Prime Minister’s Dean Barrow’s office today, it says that “There was absolutely no justification for this action as Belize has taken all necessary steps required by the E.U’s Directorate General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”

The statement adds that “The decision of the EU Council is based on outdated information and takes no account of the measures adopted by Belize within the last six (6) months to strengthen its high seas fishing regime. In October 2013, Belize enacted a new and robust High Seas Fishing Act which came into effect on November 8, 2013. ”

The ban imposed on Belize comes about as a result of international concerns over Belize-flagged vessels being engaged in illegal fishing and drug smuggling. The Belize government owns and operates a flag-of-convenience registry, IMMARBE. Belize is among 13 other countries that offer flag of convenience services to the shipping industry

The Belize government today announced that it has signed a contract with a South African Company, Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring, to provide on sea observer services for Belize flagged vessels, at a cost of about US $200,000. for the first year. This program takes effect from April 1, 2014.

The statement concludes by saying: “While the reasons given by the EU to list Belize are no longer valid, we will work closely with DG MARE to implement a few other measures relating to the size of our fleet and the adoption of monitoring, control and surveillance regulations. We are assured that DG MARE would then make a recommendation to the EU Council to remove Belize from the list of non-cooperating third countries, when the Council reconvenes in September this year.”

IDB US $540,000 Grant To Belize For George Price Highway Project

dean-barrow-receives-idb-money-george-price-highwayThe Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Government of Belize today signed a grant agreement for US$540,000 to support the preparation of feasibility studies and social and environmental assessments for the rehabilitation of 32 miles of the George Price Highway between Belmopan and Benque Viejo del Carmen, according to an official release issued today.

The agreement was signed in Belize City by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Gina Montiel, Manager of the IDB’s Country Department for Central America, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

“We are pleased to support Belize in its efforts to expand and rehabilitate its road network, which is so crucial to the country’s development”, said Gina Montiel. The grant will support the preparation of an investment program to finance the infrastructure works needed to upgrade and absorb growing traffic volumes on the highway.

Transport is one of the four priority areas of the IDB’s new country strategy with Belize, approved in December. The other areas are education, tourism, and trade and tax policy.

The Bank will focus its support in the transport sector on the rehabilitation of roads that foster trade and integration and improved access to major tourism sites in the country. The IDB is also supporting the development of a national transportation master plan to address existing bottlenecks in the country’s roads, ports, air travel and transit systems and prioritize actions for improving the transport system as a whole.

Ms. Montiel is visiting Belize to hold discussions with the government on the Bank’s 2014 and 2015 program with Belize

Belize and Guatemala Sign Roadmap To Strengthen Bilateral Relations

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Wilfred Elrington Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Fernando Carrera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala and  OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, today signed a  Roadmap for Strengthening Bilateral Relations in 2014 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. The signing took place before Ambassadors and representatives of Organization of American States member states.

The Roadmap identifies specific aspects of the Framework Agreement for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala and other measures that the parties will focus on for implementation in 2014. The objective it to promot peace, security and cooperation and an environment conducive to the holding of the agreed simultaneous referenda that was postponed in October 2013. The Roadmap should also contribute to the management of bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala until such time as Guatemala’s claim to Belize is finally and definitively resolved.

Some of the specific outcomes include the creation of a Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission which along with the support and participation of a representative of the OAS Secretary General, will promote and develop cooperation programmes.

New $50 Million VIP Free Zone Touted For Belize-Mexico Border

jorge-valencia-belize-consul-quintana-roo-200A new VIP area in the Corozal Free Zone on the border between Mexico and Belize will start construction in 2014 according to Belize’s consul in Quintana Roo Jorge Valencia. Speaking to the Mexican newspaper La Verdad, Mr. Valecia is quoted as saying that the facility will feature genuine luxury goods, in contrast to the cheap knock offs currently featured in the old free zone. The consul said that the first phase of the facility will cost U.S. $50 million, financed by U.S. nationals.

He said that the investment will be fully private and aims to offer quality items to buyers because it is recognized that in recent years the old free zone has declined in quality. He said that recently the project changed owners, which led to a delay in the commencement of construction.

“The project has change owners and the new owners are doing a review, in that they are right now and we hope that concrete construction to begins next year. The investment announced for the first stage is approximately 50 million dollars”, he said.

Jorge Valencia said that physically the VIP area will be located next to the new international bridge with Belize “Chactemal”, however, the consul did not give more details of the project but said that it will be an exclusive area.

“We know that the first phase includes the construction of a Hotel and Casino, a Convention Center and some new businesses, while the second phase will include the construction of recreational areas. The investors are from the United States America, a particularly large company, but at the moment we cannot give more details. But is a strong enough company that has the necessary capital” he said.

The launch of the new Chactemal bridge over the Rio Hondo separating northern Belize from Mexico has led to concerns in both Belize and Mexico, especially within those businesses located at the old bridge crossing. Mexico which owns both bridges has been saying it intends to close the old bridge over security concerns.