Latest Posts

16 May 2020

If you are a Belizean who has been unable to return home to Belize due to the closure of our borders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will now be able to do so BUT with prior coordination and approval with the Government of Belize.

From Monday, 18 May 2020, displaced Belizeans can visit www.covid19.bz and complete the application form and the COVID-19 Screening Application. These MUST be completed and submitted electronically in order for you to be considered for a coordinated return to Belize. A link to the forms will also be available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at www.mfa.gov.bz.

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL TO BELIZE WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL

What you can expect:

Step 1 – YOU COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORMS:

Application Form for Belizeans Displaced Abroad COVID-19 Screening Application Form

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application.

Step 2 – YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL TO RETURN TO BELIZE. (Note that approvals will be phased and controlled and are subject to the discretion of the quarantine authority.)

Step 3 – YOU WILL THEN BE ABLE TO BOOK YOUR TRAVEL

Step 4 - SEND CONFIRMATION OF INTENDED ARRIVAL (PGIA/LAND) TO:

consularbelize@mfa.gov.bz

9 May 2020

Our Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, and the EU Head of Delegation to Belize, H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska, conveyed a special joint message on the occasion of Europe Day 2020. Check it out by clicking HERE.

4 May 2020

Belizean nationals currently in Europe and affected by the travel disruptions caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic may need to extend their visas. The Embassy of Belize in Brussels has the following information concerning Belgium, the Netherlands, and France.

Belgium

 

The request must be addressed by email directly to the Ministry of the Interior at email address: cs.suivi@ibz.fgov.be

 

Documents required:

 

1. Copy of declaration of arrival in respective Commune (if applicant is not in possession of such documents, they need to find out from cs.suivi@ibz.fgov.be what to do);

 

2. Copy of passport including all pages;

 

3. Letter explaining why they request the extension of the Schengen Visa;

 

4. Proof of medical insurance for the requested period

 

All documents must be sent to the above-mentioned address.

The response will be sent directly to the individuals.

 

Belgium issues extension of stay for 2 months valid exclusively in Belgium.

 

If the local Administration is closed, request can be made via internet to the following email address:

cs.suivi@ibz.fgov.be

 

The list of the required documents to be attached will be found on the website www.dofi.be under the section "welcome".

 

The Netherlands

 

Requests for visa extensions in the Netherlands should be made to the Immigration and Naturalization Service at telephone number 088-04.304.30. The visa number needs to be provided by phone. The extension will only be valid for the Netherlands.

 

 

France

 

The French authorities are extending visa arrangements by three months. Foreign nationals staying in France with a short-term visa who require an extension should submit their requests to the Préfecture of the locality where they are staying.

The Embassy of Belize will continue to update this article to include additional procedures from other European States. Belizean nationals are invited to contact the embassy if they require information on how to extend their visa in the European country they are currently in. 

5 April 2020

Belmopan. April 5, 2020. 9:12 a.m.

 

Effective today, April 5th, all borders will also be closed to Belizean nationals seeking to enter the country. This decision was made by Government of Belize with unanimous support from the National Oversight Committee to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Belizeans will only be allowed entry into the country for the purposes of an emergency or seeking emergency medical care. 

 

This new measure will last for the duration of the national state of emergency.    

 

Belizeans in-country are reminded that all borders remain closed for exiting the country.

1 April 2020

Belmopan. April 1, 2020. 4:23 p.m.

 

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Immigration hereby notifies the public, and especially visitors holding temporary immigration status through visitors’ extensions and permits, that the issuance of extensions is suspended until further notice due to the current restrictions on movement as a result of COVID-19.

 

Persons are reminded that this measure is being taken, not as a write-off or forgiveness of required fees, but to assist in ensuring the safety of immigrationofficers as well as visitors, while also encouraging observance of the restrictions of the state of emergency.

 

Therefore, once the state of emergency has been lifted, ALL outstanding immigrationfees will be due and payable, and individuals may then update their immigrationstatus.

30 March 2020

Transcript follows:

My Fellow Belizeans,

 

Last week, the Government announced additional measures to ramp up our fight against COVID-19. At Wednesday’s press conference I made clear that we were not then announcing a national shutdown. The circumstances at that time, in our view, did not yet warrant it. But I also made clear that we should prepare ourselves for just such an eventuality: that there were possible, indeed likely, developments that would act as triggers for a shutdown. 

 

As we all now know, yesterday, a Belizean that had returned from New York on March 20th, tested positive for the novel Coronavirus. That person claims to have been in self-isolation since his arrival back in Belize and was able to show health workers the contained and separate lower flat of the building in which his claimed isolation took place.  The individual, though testing positive, is exhibiting only mild symptoms and is not currently in need of hospitalization. Nevertheless, he is living in Belize City -- home to the largest population concentration in our country. For the National Oversight Committee, and for the Cabinet of Belize, this is very significant. Clearly the crowds in the old capital make us more susceptible to widespread transmission. Thus, a comprehensive tracing of the afflicted individual’s possible contacts and a wider mapping exercise are both being done by the Ministry of Health team.

 

In this connection, both the evidence from other countries and the advice from our own experts agree on one thing: the best way to at least slow, and hopefully stop, the spread of the virus, is by strictly enforcing the physical distancing, self-isolation, quarantining and other such rules. Even though we have already imposed a state of emergency for Ambergris Caye and passed two statutory instruments imposing penalties -- including jail time for those that do not comply with the law -- too many Belizeans are not taking the measures seriously enough. In all the circumstances, we consider it our duty now to do even more to prevent any chance of Belize City becoming an epicenter of COVID-19, indeed, to try to protect our entire country from the novel Coronavirus.

 

Accordingly, I will be advising His Excellency the Governor General to declare a nationwide state of emergency for the country of Belize. This will go into effect at midnight on Wednesday, April 1st, and will include a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. every day. The state of emergency is to last for 30 days in the first instance. For its duration people will be advised to shelter in place even during daylight hours and only to come out as absolutely necessary for purposes of procuring supplies, and doing such business and activities as are exigently required.

 

Our National Task Force and our Caucus of CEOs have been planning for this eventuality for some time now. Nevertheless, and as we had promised, we are giving a couple of days’ notice for two reasons. Our people must have a chance to prepare for the new normal; and our officials must have a little more time to ensure that all systems are in place to guarantee the absolute availability of foodstuff and other critical supplies. The list of essential services and essential service workers is being finalized and their operational logistics are being fine-tuned.

 

Tomorrow, we will be holding a press conference for only the media at the Laing Building at 10:00 a.m. There, we will go into all the details -- medical, logistical and organizational -- about the state of the emergency. We will, of course, answer all questions from the media.

 

I close by expanding on two things. 

 

First, I want to repeat what I said in last week’s address to the nation. This country is self-sufficient in basic staples and we can feed ourselves for the long haul. The continuity of essential services and the more than ample availability of supplies are both guaranteed and there is no need to panic.

 

Supermarkets, grocery stores, banks and credit unions will all remain open and every arrangement is being made for local producers to proceed uninterrupted with the provision of meat, chicken, eggs, rice, beans, grains, vegetables and so on. Cargo will also continue to come into our country and essential imports are also secure.

 

The second point I must make is this. Our local health team and the Ministry of Health are so plentifully resourced that we could theoretically reach the point of equipment oversupply. I hasten to add, though, that there can never really be too much – I’m just trying to underline the fact that we are completely prepared for the battle on the health front.  

 

So, the Ministry of Health costed the requirements for a six-month battle against COVID 19 at around 12 to 15 million dollars, Belize dollars. We already have in hand close to 20 million dollars and 13 million more is arriving from the IDB in a matter of weeks. Therein, though, lies the beginnings of a possible problem. All the International Financial Institutions, perhaps understandably, are laser focused on the health front of this fight against COVID-19. As critical as that is, though, what I keep telling our international partner is that it is equally important for us to feed and clothe our people; for us to take care of those now out of work and livelihood, unable to take care of themselves and their families. 

 

Government, as you know, is already borrowing 75 million from the Central Bank.  But this is a drop in the bucket. It is my solemn promise to you, however, that we will get more. I am in no doubt that we will end up at least doubling that 75 million dollars. Thus, there will be add-ons to the disbursement of money to our unemployed, which disbursements start this week and will also initially utilize the contributions made by BEL, BWSL and SSB. The additional funding that we will procure will augment the national ongoing BOOST Initiative that also already puts cash in the hands of our people; and we will also expand countrywide, including to the rural areas, the Ministry of Human Development’s all-important food assistance program.

 

Belizeans: I say again that you are not alone. Together we will overcome.  And I swear by that Almighty God, whom I ask now to bless us all, that Government, our National Partnership, and I personally, will do everything to bring Belize as whole as possible out of this national and international nightmare.

 

I thank you.

26 March 2020

My Fellow Belizeans,

The sounds of the Corona alarm are everywhere – on television, from social media and in our conversations with friends and family.

I know this is an excruciatingly stressful time for all of us. It is even more so for our senior citizens, those who have lost their jobs and our frontline health care workers.

We rightly worry about our individual and collective situations. After all, as a nation we are facing the greatest crisis of modern times.
In these extreme circumstances, at this extraordinary moment, I have felt it my duty to come to you directly. I am most conscious of the wonderful help the Nation has received from so many people. First among them is the medical team led by the Ministry of Health and the KHMH. The Doctors Manzanero, CEO Gough, others in the leadership brain trust, the Hon Minister of Health and most particularly the front line workers at the KHMH and the other public hospitals: they all deserve our highest praise and our greatest thanks.
As well we are indebted to the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues; all the social partners represented on the National Oversight Committee and the National COVID-19 Task Force. These are bodies on which all GOB CEOs, the LOO’s representatives and very many expert Belizeans are serving.
On your behalf I offer them our profound gratitude. And I wish to declare how much I personally have benefited from this national partnership and its collective decision-making.
In the end, though, as Prime Minister I am the one who has to accept the ultimate responsibility for custody of the nation’s wellbeing. Especially in this time of an existential crisis of seemingly Old Testament proportions, I must personally come before you. Hence the reason for today’s address.

My primary message is to assure that you are not alone, neither in your anxiety about the present challenges nor your preoccupation about the future.

I thus reiterate to every Belizean that my Administration, together with the National Committees, will spare no effort, will action every partnership, will lose no opportunity to cushion the economic impacts and minimize the medical repercussions of this pandemic.

You know that neither the depth nor the duration of this battle is yet clear. In this connection Belize and all countries-from the richest to the poorest-are in the same boat. We face a lethal, deadly enemy that refuses to stay still long enough for us to get a bead on it.

What is nevertheless also clear is that our country is properly positioning itself for this battle. We do so both on the economic and the medical fronts.

First and most important, we can feed ourselves. And there are two things that are important in this connection. The global supply chain that facilitates imports of essential inputs for our country, is not being broken. Even more important, though, is the fact of Belize’s self-sufficiency in all basic commodities. With our local production of grains, meats, vegetables and poultry products we are able to dig in for the long haul. That is what sets us apart.

Second, Government is determined to deploy a diverse range of fiscal and monetary measures to fortify our economic structures and bring us through. Our measures include aid to the newly unemployed and the longer unemployed; commercial banking and credit union support to business and the self-employed; and one form or another of customer relief from our utility providers. Broadly speaking, all options are on the table and every backing we can at all come up with will be used to stabilize the economy and underpin the welfare of the people.

Third, our team of public health care professionals—reinforced by a first rate medical brigade from our Cuban allies and buttressed by a massive investment in emergency equipment and supplies—will relentlessly identify, isolate and treat cases of COVID 19.
I repeat that, as hard as the circumstances are, there is no need to panic. And even if we have to take the ultimate step of a national shutdown, there will be no interruption of essential services. Access to food, pharmaceutical and other necessary supplies will be guaranteed.

In short, Government and its partners will move heaven and earth to protect our people.

Of course, we need your help, we need the cooperation and understanding of each and every Belizean.
This crisis, like no other, demands a unity of effort, a spirit of collaboration, an overflow of fellow feeling and a pouring forth of all the reserves of national humanitarianism and patriotic solidarity.

Therefore: Practice good personal hygiene;
Distance yourself socially for this crisis period;
Isolate yourself and report Corona symptoms to the health authorities;
adhere, without exception, to emergency and health guidelines; and, above all, be prepared to lend a helping hand to your neighbor, your friend, your fellow Belizean.

I repeat that there is no need for panic. We don’t have to crowd the supermarkets and grocery stores because there is more than a sufficiency of necessary supplies. This will continue for as long as the pandemic lasts. Most important, there is great harm in spreading false rumors and certainly no benefit in stigmatizing persons that may become unwell.

I ask you always to remember our advantages. Our small, dispersed population is spread over 2 cities, 7 towns and over 200 villages. We are therefore blessed by a good degree of natural physical distancing. And our interconnectivity will allow for effective tracking and treatment in the eventuality of COVID clusters emerging.

My message to you is, therefore, one of hope. But that is not to sell short the seriousness of the crisis. It will challenge our resilience.
It will test our endurance.

I have every confidence and not a single doubt, though, that this too shall pass; that we will once more emerge into our famed, golden, life-affirming Belizean sunlight; that we shall overcome; and that at the end of our trials we shall be once more grasping with both hands the overflowing cup that a beneficent Providence has always reserved for us. We are fortune’s child; and we will rebound to seize that special destiny marked by fate for this special land.
Belize now and forever, God bless Belize.

Thank you.

26 March 2020

Belmopan. March 26, 2020. The Government of Belize, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts that could result from a potential community spread of the deadly virus enacted Statutory Instrument Number 38 of 2020 on March 25, 2020.    

 

This Order made by the Quarantine Authority of Belize, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by section 6 of the Quarantine Act, Chapter 41 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, outlines a set of immediate measures to be implemented by the Government that are deemed as necessary to safeguard public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

 

This Order shall apply to the country of Belize with the exception of Ambergris Caye, which is governed by the Belize Constitution (Emergency Powers) (Ambergris Caye) Regulations, 2020, provided, however, that on the expiration of the period of emergency pursuant to the Proclamation declaring a state of public emergency in Ambergris Caye, this Order shall apply to the entire country of Belize.

 

These measures, referred to generally as the QUARANTINE (COVID 19 EMERGENCY MEASURES) ORDER, 2020 include the following:

 

 

  • Limitation of gatherings of ten persons or less

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    Subject to the provisions of this Order, no person shall gather in numbers of more than ten persons at a time, anywhere in Belize, whether in any public place, public space or on private property provided that a gathering of ten or more persons on private property is allowed where persons are residents of that property.  Except for residents of private property, persons in a gathering of ten persons or less shall maintain a distance of no less than three feet between each person.

                      

  • Social distancing

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    For the purposes of this Order, every person shall practice social distancing. 

     

  • Transportation

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  • Notwithstanding the restriction and limitation on public gathering, the provision of public transportation by bus is limited to the seating capacity of the bus.

  • Every bus operator arriving at a terminal in Belize shall park the bus, instruct the passengers to disembark and oversee the sanitization of the bus by personnel on site at the terminal.

  • Prior to boarding any bus at a terminal, every passenger shall wash and sanitize his hands at the conveniences provided at the terminal.

  •  

     

  • Closure of businesses

  •  

    The following establishments shall close until further notice­–

  • casinos and gaming establishments;

  • spas, beauty salons and barber shops;

  • gymnasiums (gyms), sporting complexes;

  • discotheques, bars, rum shops and night clubs;

  • restaurants, saloons, diners, and other similar establishments, provided that restaurants, saloons diners and other similar establishments may operate to offer take out services only;

  • any other establishment or business designated by the Quarantine Authority by Notice published in the Gazette.

  •  

  • Social distancing protocols

  •  

    Every business establishment allowed under this Order to operate shall­:

  • ensure that all customers and staff maintain physical distancing of no less than three feet (3ft.) in or outside their business; 

  • determine the number of persons that may be permitted in the establishment at any one time; 

  • within twenty-four hours of the commencement of this Order, place distance markers three feet apart, indicating where each customer must stand on a line at a check out point; 

  • within twenty-four hours of the commencement of this Order, place distance markers three feet apart on the outside of the establishment, indicating where customers must stand while waiting to enter the establishment.

  •  

  • Restriction on social activities

  •  

    No person shall host nor attend–

  • a private party which includes any person from outside of the immediate household of the house occupant; 

  • a recreational or competitive sporting event; 

  • a wedding which hosts ten or more persons other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer; 

  • a banquet, ball or reception; 

  • any social event; 

  • any other ceremony of public worship in any facility or public place which involves the participation of any member of the general public or a congregation; 

  • a funeral, except ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff; or 

  • a meeting of a fraternal society, private or social club or civic association or organization.

  •  

  • Closure of markets and other public places

  •  

    In the interest of public health and safety, the Quarantine Authority may by Notice published in the Gazette, declare the closure of any market or other public place. 

     

  • Reporting of suspected COVID 19 to Ministry of Health

  •  

    A person who develops flu-like symptoms and who reasonably suspects he may have had contact with someone who has travelled to a country affected by COVID 19 or is infected with COVID 19­

     

  • shall immediately inform the Ministry with responsibility for health; and 

  • go into self-isolation in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry responsible for health.

  • Every person, upon entry into Belize from any port of entry, shall (1) immediately inform the Ministry with responsibility for health of their entry into Belize; and (2) go into self-isolation in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry with responsibility for health.

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  • Employers to grant permission

  •  

  • An employer shall have a duty if satisfied that an employee is able to discharge the duties of that employee from the employee’s place of residence, to grant the employee permission to do so without imposing any adverse consequences to the employee in respect thereof.

  • An employee whose assigned tasks can only be discharged at the place of employment is required to attend for work at that place unless otherwise permitted by the employer as a part of the employer’s measures to combat the risk of transmission of the COVID 19 at the place of employment.  The grant of permission to an employee under this paragraph shall not count against the leave entitlements of that employee unless otherwise agreed between the employer and the employee.

  •  

  • Offence and Penalty

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    A person who contravenes or incites a person to contravene any provision of this Order, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months or to both fine and imprisonment.

     

  • Duration of order

  •  

    The Order shall be valid until revoked by the Quarantine Authority.

     

    Anyone having any questions regarding this Order, may contact the Ministry of Health in Belmopan at 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273), or visit www.covid19.bz for more information.

    24 March 2020

    Belmopan. March 24, 2020. The public is hereby notified that the Ministry of Immigration has suspended the following services countrywide effective today, March 24, 2020 until further notice:

    - Applications for Belize passport (except where there is need for a passport for emergency travel)

    - Applications for nationality 

    - Applications for permanent residence

    - Applications for visas (except where such visas are required to allow the applicant to obtain extensions in order to maintain their legal status in Belize)

    The Ministry reminds the public that the borders remain closed and that travel is allowed only in the case of an emergency. In addition, the public is to refrain from visiting immigration offices if experiencing flu-like symptoms or have travelled within the last 14 days from a country in which COVID-19 has been confirmed.

    For more information contact:

    Ministry of Immigration Headquarters 

    (501)822-3860/0284 

    immigration@ins.gov.bz

    ins.gov.bz

    23 March 2020

    Belmopan. March 23, 2020. The Ministry of Health announces the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Belize. The patient is a 38-year-old female, Belizean national who resides in San Pedro.

    The patient arrived in Belize on Thursday, March 19th, and sought medical attention at a private health facility with symptoms on Friday, March 20th. Her recent travel history shows she travelled from Los Angeles, California and transited through Texas. Based on this travel history and symptoms she exhibited, Belize’s health system was alerted and due process and protocol started. All necessary precautions were taken on the Ministry’s end.

    The sample was processed for other flu viruses and an initial screening for COVID-19 was carried out at the same time. It was confirmed as positive for COVID-19 at approximately 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 22nd.

    The patient’s infection seems to be travel-related and the necessary steps are being taken to contain community spread. The initial measures include:

    • Dispatch of two health teams to San Pedro to continue with the mapping exercise of all potential contacts;

    • The timely identification and contact tracing for all potentially exposed persons; and

    • Shifting of health tasks at the San Pedro Polyclinic.

    In addition to the restrictions already implemented, the Government of Belize will now scale-up restrictions and recommendations for residents/non-residents of the island of San Pedro to prevent community spread.

    In accordance with international standards, the Ministry of Health will proceed to notify the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization through the International Health Regulations platform.

    At this time, the surveillance team is still conducting investigations with the patient to determine the level of contact she may have had with other individuals. Those persons may now be isolated, tested and closely monitored for 14 days, and it may include mandatory quarantine.

    The Ministry continues to investigate and report on any suspected cases. There is ongoing monitoring of Belize’s points of entry, and the reviewing and adjusting of methods or protocols to further strengthen prevention and precaution methods, insisting on self-isolation methods and mandatory quarantine as the cases may require.

    The public is hereby advised to remain calm and to continue to follow all the necessary prevention messages. Continue to wash hands frequently with soap and clean water, cover the mouth when coughing and sneezing, and to avoid close contact with those who are ill. All persons having flu-like symptoms are asked to stay home, self-isolate, and call the hotline at 0-800-MOH-CARE for further guidance.

    22 March 2020

    Belmopan. March 22, 2020. The Government of Belize reminds the public that Belize’s borders are closed for entry. Belizeans are being strongly advised against leaving the country, unless it is a case of bona fide emergency. This is being advised for the safety of all.

    What do border closures mean? Belizeans, please stay in Belize.

    Kindly take note of the border closures below:

    • Western Border – Closed. 

     

    Travellers: 

    Belizeans, diplomats residing in Belize, and foreigners with legal residency in Belize are allowed to enter. Please be aware that those seeking entry to Belize may be subject to a period of 14 days in quarantine to prevent the possible transmission of COVID-19. Guatemalan nationals can depart from Belize to return to their home country.

    Cargo: 

    No restrictions have been placed on incoming or outgoing freight and cargo.

     

    • Northern Border - Closed. 

    Travellers: 

    Belizean nationals, diplomats residing in Belize, and foreigners with legal residency may enter Belize. Please be aware that those seeking entry to Belize may be subject to a period of 14 days in quarantine to prevent the possible transmission of COVID-19.

    Cargo: 

    No restrictions have been placed on incoming or outgoing freight and cargo.

     

    • Southern Border – Closed. 

    Travellers: Belizeans, diplomats residing in Belize, and foreigners with legal residency may enter Belize. Those allowed to return are asked to take seriously the instructions to isolate themselves for 14 days to prevent possible transmission of COVID-19.

     

    • Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. Belizeans are not allowed to leave Belize.

    Travellers:

    From Monday, 23rd March 2020, the airport will be closed for entry after the last scheduled flight departs.

    Cargo: 

    No restrictions have been placed on incoming or outgoing freight and cargo.

     

    • Belize Seaports

    No restrictions have been placed on incoming or outgoing freight and cargo.

     

    The Government emphasizes that Belizeans remain calm; fear is the most dangerous contagion. The most effective action each Belizean can take to secure the safety of themselves, their families and the country is to follow the hygiene rules. Washing hands with soap and water, using a sanitizer if necessary, covering a cough or sneeze, trying not to touch the eyes, nose or mouth, and immediately dispose of tissues if used to cover a cough or sneeze.

    Remember to stay updated on official information concerning COVID-19. Visit the Government of Belize Press Office website at www.pressoffice.bz; or the Facebook pages for the Ministry of Health, the Director of Health Services, and the Government of Belize Press Office; or call the Ministry of Health’s hotline at 0-800-MOH-CARE.

    16 March 2020

    Belmopan. March 16, 2020.  In a joint press conference held today, March 16th, with the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño a range of new measures were announced as part of response to the imminent threat of COVID-19. These decisions were taken at the first meeting of the COVID-19 National Oversight Committee which is co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.  

     

    While Belize still has no confirmed case of the virus, the bi-partisan committee took very important decisions to further protect the health and well-being of Belizeans and reduce the threat of the virus spreading to Belize.  The Government is fully cognizant that the situation can change rapidly and, therefore, continue to prepare for different scenarios.  

     

    In an effort to keep Belize in front of this threat, the following measures will go into effect:

     

    Effective Friday, March 20th, all schools will be closed for 14 days which will lead right into the Easter break. This is being done with a view to make up the school days within the current school year depending on how the situation evolves. It is stressed that this is not a vacation and parents and students alike must continue to follow the Government’s advisories for social distancing and vigilance with hand-washing and good hygiene.

     

    Effective immediately, social gatherings will be limited to 100 people.  These include indoor and outdoor gatherings. Again, these numbers can be adjusted based on new developments.

     

    Belize is taking stricter measures at the borders. At present, Belize is prohibiting entry into Belize by nationals of the following countries and persons who have traveled within the last 30 days from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Europe, including the United Kingdom. This restricted travel list of countries will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary.

     

    Today, it was agreed to close all ports of entry in Belize for passengers and only leave the Santa Elena Border (northern border) and the Philip Goldson International Airport open.  So, all other ports of entries – the western, southern and any other small border points will be closed.  This does not apply to cargo vessels.

     

    Final preparations were underway to begin the collection of data as part of the national census but it has been decided to postpone the census until next year and use some of the resources already allocated to collect data associated with COVID-19.

     

     

    Economic Response

    The tourism industry is already taking a serious financial hit resulting from this global crisis.  The bi-partisan committee, in an effort to mitigate the effects, announced some early actions being taken in response to the economic impact.

     

  • At the next sitting of the House of Representatives to debate the budget, the Appropriations Bill will be passed and will include an additional BZ$25M loan to be used as relief for employees affected by this crisis, especially those in the tourism industry. Two percent of the recurrent budget will be allocated to assist with repayment of the BZ$25M and is expected to be recovered through cost savings measures across all ministries.

  •  

  • A committee will be formed comprising relevant agencies such as the tourism sector to look at tax relief measures.  The Government and the Opposition will each appoint a representative to serve on the committee which will also work out the mechanism for how relief funds will be disbursed.

  •  

  • Belize will be finalizing discussions with the international financial institutions to receive US$20M in emergency relief funding.

  •  

  • The Central Bank of Belize is prepared to utilize all available macro-prudential instruments in its toolkit to strengthen the resilience of the financial system against any emerging threat.  Alongside coordinated monetary policy measures, sector-specific interventions will also be employed where areas of vulnerability emerge.

  •  

  • Extend the time period to classify targeted non-performing loans in affected sectors, such as the accommodation sector from three months to six months;

  •  

  • Encourage domestic banks and credit unions to provide grace periods for servicing interest and/or principal components of commercial loans and mortgages as needed;

  •  

  • Encourage financial institutions to refinance loans in affected sectors, including downstream service-oriented businesses like restaurants as well as transportation and distribution firms;

  •  

  • Reduce risk-weights for tourism-based loans from 100% to 50%;

  •  

  • Review financial institutions’ business continuity plans to ensure that adequate level of financial services will be available to the public; and

  •  

  • Cut the interest rate at which the Central Bank grants loans to domestic banks down from 11.5%.

  •  

    While these actions are being taken to safeguard the Belizean population, thepublic is strongly advised to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of transmission. The Government continues to encourage the washing of hands regularly with soap and running water. When coughing or sneezing, cover the mouth in the inside of elbows or inside a tissue that is to be disposed immediately. Avoid close contact with persons who have flu-like symptoms. Avoid sharing personal items and disinfect common surfaces. Persons who have travelled to areas where COVID-19 is circulating and are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.


    The Government of Belize advises the public to be guided by facts. Stay informed and updated on the evolving COVID-19 situation, follow the Facebook pages of the Ministry of Health, the Office of the Director of Health Services, and the Government Press Office.  The dedicated hotline is 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273).

    18 March 2020

    The Embassy of Belize in Brussels, hereby, notifies that it will be operating remotely and away from its physical location as of mid-day on 18 March 2020 and until further notice. These new working arrangements are announced in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) public health pandemic and in relation to reinforced measures adopted by the Federal Government of Belgium on 17 March 2020.

    Under the new working arrangements, the critical diplomatic and administrative staff will continue to perform the core functions of the Embassy from their homes. Belizeans, working partners and the general public can continue to contact the Embassy’s staff either via telephone at +32 (0)2 732 6204or email at embassy@embelizebrussels.be. These contact details also apply outside of normal working hours and on weekends during this period. Measures are also in place to receive all mail sent to the Embassy by post or courier.

    The Embassy of Belize in Brussels reiterates that it is closely monitoring the developments concerning COVID-19 and will ensure that the new working arrangements will continue to enable Belizean nationals in continental Europe to avail themselves of the Embassy’s services. The Embassy of Belize in Brussels urges Belizeans in Europe who have not yet done so to register or update their contact details with the Embassy.

    For the latest COVID-19 health and travel advisories, visit our website at www.embassyofbelizebrussels.org and follow our pageson Facebook @belize.in.belgium and Twitter @EmBZEBrussels.

    16 March 2020

    Following the measures implemented by the Government of Belgium to combat the fast growing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels advises the public that it will be scaling down operations and adopting precautionary policies until further notice.

    The Embassy of Belize will be exceptionally open from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday through Friday. It has suspended all unnecessary in-person visits by external individuals. The Embassy will be operating with essential staff only.

    The Embassy of Belize continues to be reachable by telephone at +32 (0)2 732 6204 or email at embassy@embelizebrussels.be. For the latest COVID-19 travel advisory, visit our website at www.embassyofbelizebrussels.org and follow our pages on Facebook @belize.in.belgium and Twitter @EmBZEBrussels.

    The Embassy of Belize in Brussels is closely monitoring the developments concerning COVID-19 and continues to provide essential services to Belizean nationals that may have been affected negatively by COVID-19 and its associated travel bans in continental Europe.

    16 March 2020

    The Ministry of Health of Belize has informed that nationals and persons who have travelled within the last 30 days from Europe, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, and South Korea will be prohibited entry into Belize.  

    To date, Belize has no confirmed case of COVID-19; however, the Government of Belize is taking all necessary preventative measures to protect the population of Belize.

    All Belizean nationals and residents returning to Belize through any point of entry from any of the restricted countries or an area where community infection and spread is present will be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and expected to follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.

     Belizean nationals or residents returning to Belize who have been abroad and believe that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their local healthcare provider.

    Non-essential travel by Belizean nationals and residents to other countries is highly discouraged.

    The Embassy of Belize continues to monitor the situation and encourages all to follow its social media pages on twitter and Facebook for the latest updates. 

    10 December 2019

    10 December 2019, Nairobi. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington led the Belize delegation at the 9th African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Summit of Heads of States and Governments held in Nairobi, Kenya from the 9 to 10 December 2019. Under the theme ‘A transformed ACP dedicated to multilateralism’, the leaders discussed important issues of concern for the ACP regions including climate change, ocean governance, and the defense of multilateralism. Belize commended the ACP Group for its efforts in addressing climate change and called on the transformed ACP to play a major global role in multilateral cooperation, particularly for the championing of SIDS issues. The Summit was preceded by other ACP Ministerial meetings, including the 110th ACP Council of Ministers.

     

    During the meetings, Belize took the opportunity to thank the ACP Group for their unwavering solidarity and support of Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. At its closing, the Summit adopted a declaration which, inter alia, applauded Belize for the progress made towards pursuing a peaceful resolution of Guatemala’s territorial and insular claim on Belize through the International Court of Justice. 

     

    The Summit also approved revision of the Georgetown Agreement, the constitutive agreement of the ACP Group of States, in order to better reposition the ACP to become a major global player in the multilateral arena. It also received important updates concerning the negotiation of the post-Cotonou ACP-EU arrangements.

     

    The preceding ACP Ministerial meetings, held from the 7-9 December 2019, notably saw the election of a new ACP Secretary General, H.E. Georges R.P. Chikoti of Angola, for the period 2020-2025. Outgoing Secretary General, H.E. Patrick I Gomes of Guyana, was acknowledged for his significant contributions to steering the ACP Group over the past five years of transition.

     

    The Foreign Minister of Belize was supported by H.E. Dr. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize in Brussels, Ms. Ayesha Borland, Director of International Affairs, and Mr. Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels. 

    13 November 2019

    Luxembourg. 13 November 2019. H.E Dylan Vernon presented to His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the letters accrediting him as Non-Resident Ambassador of Belize to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Non-resident). 

     

    The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small land-locked state surrounded by Belgium, France and Germany. Belize and Luxembourg established diplomatic relations on 15 May 2008. 

     

    Prior to the accreditation ceremony, the Ambassador also participated in a bilateral meeting with H.E. Olivier Maes, Ambassador and Director for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg. Both acknowledged the significance of this occasion and exchanged views on Belize-Luxembourg cooperation particularly in the areas of financial services and scholarship opportunities. 

     

    The Ambassador was accompanied by First Secretaries Raineldo Urbina and Krysta Byrd. 

    8 November 2019

    8 November 2019. Brussels, Belgium. After several successful high-level meetings to Brussels by the Financial Secretary of Belize, along with the Director-General of Belize's International Financial Services Commission, the EU Council decided to remove Belize from Annex I of the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Technical Officers from the Government of Belize intensely engaged the European Commission to address the EU's concerns. Belize was first listed on Annex I in March 2019. It remains in the Annex II "grey list" as it works towards satisfying other commitments made to the EU in 2018. The outstanding work has been progressing positively. 

    5 October 2019

    Brussels, Belgium. 5th October 2019. The Embassy of Belize in Brussels participated in the third edition of the International Day of Cacao and Chocolate at the Choco Story Brussels Museum. The objective of this year’s event was to increase relations between Cacao Producers, Chocolate Makers and Consumers. 

     

    The event provided the Embassy the opportunity to showcase Belize and its chocolate varieties to over 700 visitors. In addition to viewing booths operated by participating countries, guests could also participate in conferences on a range of subjects which notably included the promotion of sociably and ecologically sustainable cacao practices. 

     

    In this regard, the Embassy also participated in a round table discussion on Belgium’s “Beyond Chocolate” initiative which will see that all chocolate produced or traded in Belgium meet a relevant certification standard or is produced with cacao products from company-specific sustainability programmes by the end of 2025. 

    7 June 2019

    Belmopan. June 7, 2019.   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that notification of the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 2008, along with its Protocol of 2015, was deposited to the Registrar of the Court in The Hague, Netherlands, today, June 7, 2019.

     

     

    Article 8 of the Special Agreement as amended provides that the Registrar of the Court shall be notified of the Special Agreement jointly or by either of the Parties within a month after the referendum in each country has approved submission of the dispute to the ICJ.   Guatemala notified the ICJ of the Special Agreement after it successfully held its referendum on April 15, 2018.   Belize’s notification, therefore, perfects the consent of both parties to the jurisdiction of the Court to determine Guatemala’s legal claims in accordance with Article 2 of the Special Agreement. 

     

     

    Belize’s notification today activates the written procedure under the Special Agreement, which provides that Guatemala shall present its memorial within one year of the date on which the Special Agreement was notified to the Court.   It is expected, therefore, that Guatemala will submit its claim no later than June 7, 2020. After receiving Guatemala’s memorial, Belize will have one year to respond.

     

     

    The letter of notification by Belize to the Court was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington and delivered by hand by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize in Belgium, to the Registrar of the ICJ.  

    23 May 2019

    Brussels, Belgium. May 23, 2019.  The 109th Session of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium from 21-22 May 2019. The ACP group adopted a resolution that reasserts the steadfast commitment of the 79 member states to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and security of Belize in the context of Guatemala’s claim.  

     

    The ACP Ministers commended Belize for successfully conducting its national referendum on May 8, 2019, and welcomed the decision of Belizeans to seek peaceful recourse to the dispute by submitting Guatemala’s claim of Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution. 

     

    Furthermore, the ACP Council of Ministers expressed its concern in relation to the unfriendly actions pursued by Guatemala in the Sarstoon River and called on Guatemala to move expeditiously to engage with Belize to formulate a cooperation mechanism for the Sarstoon. The ACP Council also called for continued international community support for the important facilitation role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the implementation of confidence-building measures between the two states.

     

    The delegation of Belize to the 109th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers was headed by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, and supported by the diplomatic staff of the Mission of Belize.

    8 May 2019

    Belize held a successful referendum on the 8 May 2019  on the question of whether or not to take Guatemala's territorial, insular, and maritime claim of Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With a voter turnout of close to 65%, 55% of Belizean voters went to the polls and approved the submission of the matter to the ICJ for final and binding resolution. 

    25 February 2019

    Brussels, Belgium. February 25, 2019. Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Patrick Andrews, represented Belize in the Political Dialogue of the II Mixed Commission between Central America and the European Union (EU), held on February 22, 2019, in Brussels, Belgium.

     

    The bi-regional political dialogue discussed themes of mutual priority to both regions, including regional integration, climate change, migration, and citizen security. Belize took this opportunity to stress the major challenges it faces arising from BREXIT and climate change. Belize further urged the EU to continue working with the Central American region to help address the urgent challenges caused by climate change and to continue cooperating in the multilateral forum on the matter. The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Joint Communication.

     

    The Mixed Commission is the bi-regional mechanism for political dialogue and periodic evaluation of cooperation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Central America. Although not a signatory to the aforementioned agreement, Belize participates fully in the political dialogue by joint declaration, based on its full membership in the Central American Integration System (SICA).

     

     

    In addition to CEO Patrick Andrews, the Belize delegation included Mr. Raineldo Urbina, Chargé d’Affaires of the Mission of Belize to the EU.

    25 January 2019

    From 23rd to 24th January 2019, Belize hosted the joint European Union (EU) and Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) Workshop on Citizen Security in Belize City. The event was co-organized by the EU and CELAC in the framework of the implementation of Chapter 10 of the EU-CELAC Action Plan. Experts from 31 CELAC and EU countries participated in the event, as well as several regional organizations, local governments, and civil society organizations.

     

    The workshop was the third and final activity mandated under Chapter 10 of the Action Plan and involved for the first time civil society and local governments. The topics discussed included police and border control cooperation, criminal investigation and intelligence sharing as well as the role of local governments and civil society in enhancing citizen security.  The workshop concluded with both regions recognizing the need to continue strengthening their cooperation on citizen security, and noting keenly, the unique forum bi-regional workshops like these provide for the exchange of best practices.

     

    The workshop was opened on 23rd January by the Honourable John Saldivar, Minister of National Security of Belize; H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of EU Delegation to Belize; and Mr. Luis Fernando Rosales Lozada, representative of the Bolivian CELAC Presidency Pro Tempore. The organisation of the workshop by Belize was a collaborative effort between the Mission of Belize to the EU and the Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs of Belize. 

    29 November 2018

    The Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Dylan Vernon, met with eight Belizean journalist at The Hague, The Netherlands to discuss the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the context of Guatemala's claim on Belize, along with the upcoming 10 April 2019 referendum on the question of submitting the case to the ICJ. 

    28 November 2018

    Cotonou, Benin. The Hon. Laura Tucker-Longsworth, speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize and Head of the Belize delegation to the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, gave a statement to the ACP Committee on Political Affairs, relaying an update on the Belize-Guatemala process and the latest developments on Belize’s preparations towards its referendum. Madam Speaker is accompanied by Ms. Krysta Byrd, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels, Belgium. 

    20 November 2018

    Chairman of the ACP Subcommittee on Sugar, Ambassador of Belize H.E. Dylan Vernon, addressed the European Parliament's Committee on Development on the negative consequences to the ACP Sugar Industries caused by the European Union's Voluntary Coupled Support (VCS) subsidy for EU Sugar Beet Farmers. 

    Sugar continues to have a huge positive socio-economic impact in ACP countries that include Least Developed countries and is important in the broader objective of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The   earnings from sugar in ACP countries go directly to their sugar industries and have a multiplier effect on their economies, with many non-sugar businesses also deriving significant benefits.  This was confirmed through a much-cited report published in 2016, commissioned jointly by the EU Commission and the ACP Group. The production of sugar remains one of the primary engines for poverty alleviation and sustained rural economic development in ACP/LDC countries. 

    In 2015/2016, without any consultations as provided for by Article 12 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, and contrary to the EU principle of Policy Coherence for Development,  the EU implemented “Voluntary Coupled Support” for sugar beets. It is, in effect, a crop-specific subsidy. To date, ACP's own estimate shows that commercial losses accrued by the ACP sugar suppliers due to VCS amount to €200 million at least.  This was ‘future value’ income that was anticipated based on investments made but never realised.

    By maintaining EU sugar production, which otherwise would not exist, Voluntary Coupled Support, whatever its touted domestic merits, decreases available EU market share for imports; lowers EU and international prices; threatens alternative markets for ACP & LDC sugar; and, as stated, contradicts the EU’s own “Policy Coherence for Development”. 

     

    The ACP calls on the EU to discontinue and so abolish VCS in the sugar sector and to engage with the ACP to look into ways of addressing the current situation. 

    16 November 2018

    As part of Belize’s current pro tempore presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Mission of Belize to the European Union convened a Seminar on 16 November 2018 in Brussels that brought together for the first time the Missions of SICA Member States and the Missions of CARIFORUM Member States with key European Union counterparts to further explore prospects for Central American and Caribbean cooperation in the context of relations with the EU. The Seminar was a follow-up on the informal exchanges between Heads of Missions of both sub-regions that took place in Brussels in 2014 under Belize’s SICA Group Coordination.

    The Seminar attracted participation of all eight SICA and all fifteen CARIFORUM Embassies resident in Brussels and included participation from nine EU officials of the European External Action Services (EEAS) and the European Commission’s DG DEVCO. Participants shared priority issues from the regions, identified follow-up actions for cooperation and highlighted the importance of such inter-regional dialogues in Brussels. All participants converged on the need to hold such interactions on an annual basis. 

    H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, and current Coordinator of the SICA Group in Brussels, was the overall chair of the Seminar. 

    4 June 2018

    Belmopan. June 4th, 2018. The Hon. Wilfred Elrington led Belize’s delegation to the 43rd Session of the Joint Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Union (EU) in Lomé, Togo.

     

    The ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers was preceded by the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, held from May 28th to 29th, 2018, and a Special Session of ACP Council on May 27th, 2018, at which Ministers debated the future direction of the ACP and the evolution of its partnership with the EU.

     

    The ACP group of 79 states has been the main interlocutor for Belize and Caribbean countries with the European Union through successive partnership agreements including the present Cotonou Agreement, which is set to expire in 2020. It is through this Agreement that Belize receives EU development assistance, organizes trade relations and conducts political dialogue.

     

    At the ACP Council, Ministers discussed ACP-EU relations post 2020. They took stock of the ACP’s preparations for negotiations with the EU on the post-Cotonou arrangements and adopted an ACP negotiating mandate.

     

    Minister Elrington also participated in the ACP Ministerial Committee on Sugar on May 28th, 2018. The Foreign Minister shared with other ACP sugar-producing countries the impact on Belize of lower sugar prices in the EU market due to the EU sugar market reform.

     

    From May 30th to June 1st, 2018, Foreign Minister Elrington participated in the 43rd Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers at which the ACP and the EU discussed issues of mutual priority including climate change, migration, and development financing. The Joint Council also adopted a Joint Declaration on Climate Change.


    Belize, as regional coordinator of CARIFORUM in Brussels for the current period, also represented the Caribbean region at the meetings of the ACP Bureau of Ministers in Lomé.

     

    Minister Elrington also updated the Council on the Belize-Guatemala process and the latest developments in respect of the efforts of Belize and Guatemala to hold referenda in accordance with the Special Agreement.

     

    During his visit, Minister Elrington was joined by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the EU; Ms. Ayesha Borland, Director of International Affairs; and Mr. Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary at the Mission of Belize to the EU.

    18 May 2018

    While consumer’s consciousness on product traceability continues to increase and be of key importance, chocolatiers in various markets, such as Europe, are becoming more aware of Belize’s cacao of unique organic origin and fine flavors. In its continued promotion endeavors and in assessing the current global market demands, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in partnership with the Embassy of Belize in Brussels and the European Central America Chamber of Commerce (EURACEN), held the first Belize Cacao Trade and Investment Mission on May 8th – 11th, 2018 in Belize. The Delegation consisted of potential investors, buyers, and technical experts from Belgium and the Netherlands.

     

    In providing the delegation with an introduction to Belize’s Agriculture Sector with a focus on the Cacao Industry, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) hosted a Welcome Event on May 8th, 2018 at the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC), Enterprise Room on the ITVET Compound in Belize City. The event also included a Plenary Discussion on Belize’s Cacao Industry with participation from key government ministries and departments. Thematic areas discussed included the National Agricultural Policy, the investment environment and incentive programs, relevant trade agreements, and other regulations and policies related to agriculture and agribusiness development. The Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Patrick Andrews, delivered the Welcome Address while Ms. Lejia Melanie Gideon, General Manager of BELTRAIDE delivered the Keynote with the Delegation Address being delivered by Mr. Erwin De Weerdt, President of EURACEN. Key panelists in the plenary session also included the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jose Alpuche; Director of Investment Policy and Compliance in the Ministry responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce, Mr. Lincoln Blake; Director of the Directorate General for Foreign Trade, Mr. Andy Sutherland and Plant Health Officer at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), Mr. Kenrick Witty.

    30 April 2018

    Belmopan. April 30th, 2018. The Government of Belize announces that Cabinet has set the date for the referendum where Belize will decide whether or not to take the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim to Belize’s land and insular territories, and to the maritime areas pertaining to them, to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement. In accordance with the Special Agreement and its protocol, the referendum will be held on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019.

     

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already commenced and will step up its public awareness campaign which is being launched under the banner - “ICJ, Be Informed.”  The nationwide campaign will include various approaches in an effort to reach citizens in every corner of the country.  Belizeans are encouraged to learn more about this very important issue that they will be asked to decide upon. 

    16 April 2018

    Belmopan. April 16, 2018.   The Government of Belize avails of the opportunity to congratulate the Government and people of the Republic of Guatemala for conducting its referendum on April 15, 2018 on the question of going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in accordance with the Special Agreement of 2008.

     

    The Government acknowledges the results as a step further toward permanently settling the age-old dispute. This act of civic expression in Guatemala was conducted smoothly and efficiently in a way that contributes further to the strengthening of democracy, peace and security in Guatemala as well as in the region.

     

    At the recommendation of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States in 2007, the Governments of Belize and Guatemala were asked to consider going to the ICJ to settle finally and definitively their dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim on Belize’s continental and insular territories and the maritime areas pertaining to them. Both countries agreed to do this subject to the will of their respective peoples as expressed in national referendum.

     

    In accordance with the Special Agreement, the Government of Belize is committed to conducting its own referendum for the electorate to decide whether we should submit Guatemala’s claim to the ICJ for a final settlement. A date for this will be set after the national re-registration exercise has produced a new and robust electoral roll.

    14 March 2018

    Belize City, Belize

     

    The Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Finance Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and the European Union Ambassador to Belize H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska signed two Financing Agreements for a total of BZ$28.8 M for projects in the Health and Public Finance Management sectors. The signing ceremony took place at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Laing Building in Belize City.

     

    Funding for the two sectors is allocated under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF) to assist in the social and economic development of Belize.  The proposed projects are in line with Belize’s Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy and will assist in achieving the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

     

    BZ$25.6 M has been allocated for the Health Sector initiative, which will focus on the upgrading of health facilities to meet SMART and Green standards. This will enable health facilities, in particular, regional hospitals and the Central Medical Laboratory, to withstand natural disasters as well as to be more energy efficient, and meet safety criteria for patients and medical staff.

     

    Other components of this Health Sector initiative will include upgrading of Belize’s Health Information System, and the strengthening of organization and management of health services. The initiatives are expected to contribute significantly to a high-performing and improved health sector for the health and well-being of Belizeans.

     

    The Public Finance Management allocation totals BZ$3.2 M with an objective to achieve more efficient public finance management, notably through the strengthening of the internal and external audit control systems and the Office of the Contractor General. In addition, Public Finance Management oversight and control functions will be improved.

     

    The collaboration between the European Union and the Government of Belize over the years has contributed and continues to support the sustainable development of Belize.

    26 February 2018

    Brussels, Belgium

     

    Belize and the Principality of Andorra formally established diplomatic relations on the 26 February 2018 following the signing of an official Protocol.

     

    The representatives of both countries noted the significance of the occasion, certain that the formal establishment of diplomatic relations will serve to enhance mutual cooperation and friendship between Belize and Andorra. The signing of the Protocol also allows both countries to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of tourism.

     

    The Principality of Andorra is a landlocked nation located in Southwestern Europe, bordering France in the north and Spain in the south.

     

    The Protocol was signed at the Embassy of Andorra in Brussels between H.E. Dr. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of Belgium, and H.E. Esther Rabasa Grau, Ambassador of Andorra to the Kingdom of Belgium.  

    6 February 2018

    Brussels, Belgium. 

    For the period 1 February – 31 July 2018 H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, will be representing the Caribbean region at the ACP Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors. This will be a critical period for the ACP Group, as it prepares to launch negotiations with the European Union on the successor to the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement.

    At the same time, the Caribbean region also holds the Chairmanship for the Committee of Ambassadors. This position is held by the Ambassador of Jamaica to the European Union, H.E. Mrs. Sheila Sealy Monteith, who has set in motion a rigorous plan of action under Jamaica’s chairmanship of the influential ACP Committee of Ambassadors, made up of envoys from 79 member states who regularly gather to monitor the organisation’s activities and policy implementation.

    Members of the ACP Bureau include Ambassadors Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia (East Africa regional coordinator), Jacqueline Marie Zaba Nikiéma of Burkina Faso (West Africa), Ammo Aziza Baroud of Chad (Central Africa), Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu of Swaziland (Southern Africa), Dylan Vernon of Belize (Caribbean) and Fatumanava Paó Luteru of Samoa (Pacific), along with a Troika made up of the incumbent Chair from Jamaica, the outgoing Chair Amb. Amadou Diop of Senegal and incoming Amb. Baroud of Chad. 

     

    H.E. Dylan Vernon represents the Caribbean region at the ACP Bureau in his capacity as the region’s coordinator. H.E. Vernon assumed the role of Coordinator of the CARIFORUM Group of Ambassadors in Brussels for the period 1 February – 31 July 2018.

    6 December 2017

    Today, 6 December 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs of Belize, Hon. Wilfred P. Elrington, along with the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Patrick Andrews, concluded their five-day working mission to Brussels, Belgium, after attending multiple high-level meetings with the EU Institutions and participating in the 106th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers.

     

    On Monday 4 December, the Belize delegation met with the Commissioner of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, H.E. Neven Mimica, to discuss Belize-EU bilateral relations and its development cooperation both in the Central American and Caribbean sub-regional context. Foreign Minister Elrington took this opportunity to thank the Commissioner for the EU’s successful development cooperation partnership with a focus on current support for important the health, energy, public finance management, banana, and sugar sectors of Belize. They also exchanged views of the future of ACP-EU relations post-2020.

     

    Also on 4 December, for the very first time a Minister of Government from Belize addressed the Delegation for Relations with the Countries of Central America (DCAM) of the European Parliament. The Hon. Foreign Minister briefed the attendees, which included Members of the European Parliament, Ambassadors of Central American Missions resident in Brussels, and representatives of the institutions of the European Commission, on Belize’s national priorities, including updating DCAM on Belize-Guatemala relations, development priorities, and sharing Belize’s case for a Schengen visa-waiver for Belizean passport holders.

     

    On Tuesday 5 December Minister Elrington and the delegation met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Didier Reynders. The Foreign Ministers discussed the warm bilateral relationship shared between both nations and advanced discussions on political, development and investment issues of national interest to Belize.

     

    On Wednesday 6 December, the Minister and the delegation met with the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms. Edita Hrdá and her team. Among other issues, views were exchanged on Belize-Guatemala relations, the EU’s on-going financial support for the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone, tax matters, visa issues, and the EU’s partnership with the Caribbean, Central America, the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States (CELAC), and the ACP Group of States. 

     

    In addition to meeting representatives of the European Institutions, the Foreign Minister of Belize also met with the Permanent Representatives of key European Union Member States, which are members of the Group of Friends, to discuss matters of critical importance to Belize, including Belize-Guatemala relations, BREXIT, visa matters and the EU’s unilateral tax screening process. 

     

    The Belizean delegation throughout the three days simultaneously participated at the 106th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers. The aforementioned meeting was preceded by the ACP Ministerial Consultations on Commodities, where H.E. Ambassador Dylan Vernon, in his capacity as Chair of the ACP Subcommittee on Sugar, delivered a report to the Ministers on the major issues and concerns of the current ACP sugar industries. A key issue discussed was the future of ACP-EU relations post-2020.

     

    Importantly, at the conclusion of the 106th ACP Council of Ministers, the Council adopted a Resolution reaffirming the 79 ACP State’s strong commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize, urging the Government of Guatemala to comply with its formal agreements to formulate with the Government of Belize a Sarstoon River protocol. This Resolution is attached.

     

    In addition to the Honourable Minister and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation of Belize included H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the EU, and Mr Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary. 

    2 October 2017

    Brussels, Belgium. Belize’s cacao and chocolate industry was highlighted at the inaugural Belgian edition of the International Day of Cacao and Chocolate in Brussels, Belgium on 1st October.  The Embassy of Belize in Brussels and the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) joined forces to represent Belize at the event in the center of Brussels, long acknowledged as a chocolate capital of the world. In addition to a successful booth showcasing a variety of Belize’s cacao and chocolate products, a special presentation on the trade and investment potential of Belize’s cacao industry was made by the Ambassador of Belize to Belgium, H.E. Dylan Vernon, and BelizeINVEST Manager of Investment Generation at BELTRAIDE, Mr. Hero Balani.

     

    The purpose of the day was to bring together cacao growers and chocolatiers to share experiences and ideas on how these key actors can work closer together in the cacao value chain. Hundreds of chocolatiers, cacao importers, and chocolate aficionados attended the event, as did Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. The guests had the opportunity to view booths and attend presentations on a range of themes, including the bean-to-bar concept, environmental aspects of cacao cultivation, the health benefits of chocolate, and investment possibilities in producer countries. Apart from Belize, six other countries, mostly from Central America, showcased booths.

     

    Belize’s featured participation in this event was as a direct result of its first promotional presentation held at the Embassy in Brussels back in March of this year. The Embassy of Belize and BELTRAIDE continue to work towards promoting Belize’s cacao industry throughout Europe. In this regard, a trade mission from Belgium to Belize is being planned for 2018.

     

    While in Brussels, Mr. Balani of BELTRAIDE also held a Business Roundtable with members of the European-Central America Chamber of Commerce (EURACEN), and informational meetings with officials of the European Commission (EC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Secretariat.

    28 September 2017

    The Hague, The Netherlands. 27 September 2017. Minister of State of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Honourable Elodio Aragon Jr., delivered opening remarks today at the first ever European Union- Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC) Citizen Security Seminar being held from the 27-28 September 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands. Belize is currently the CELAC Co-Coordinator, along with the Republic of Panama, of Chapter 10 on Citizen Security of the EU-CELAC Action Plan; the EU-CELAC Citizen Security Seminar is the first of its kind, joining the entire Latin America & Caribbean region with the European Union in order to provide a forum where both regions can enter into discourse with the aim to share best practices and experiences, further mutual understanding, and take stock of past actions while identifying new possible avenues for cooperation. 

    Back in 2015 the Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) and of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) recognized that citizen security is a shared concern, which is essential for the development and the improvement of the quality of life and well-being of the citizens of both regions. In this regard, the EU-CELAC Action Plan incorporated a specific chapter on citizen security that mandates the organization of inter-governmental seminars and workshops on the issue. 

    Participants from over 31 countries, the EU institutions, and the CARICOM-Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) attended this first Seminar setting the stage for the second EU-CELAC Citizen Security Seminar, which is scheduled to take place in January 2018 at Panama City, Panama. Belize continues its role as Chapter Co-Coordinator, liaising with its EU counterparts on the behalf of CELAC to realize critical and tangible results regarding the important theme of citizen security between both regions. 

    Belize’s delegation to the seminar comprised of the Hon. Minister Aragon and the Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr. Edward Broaster. The delegation was further supported by the Ambassador of Belize to the EU H.E. Dr. Dylan Vernon and First Secretary of the Mission of Belize to the EU Mr. Raineldo Urbina. Belize’s role as Chapter Co-Coordinator is a joint effort between the Mission of Belize to the EU and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

    30 March 2017

    On March 28, 2017, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels hosted a promotional event aimed at generating interest in importing Belize’s high-quality cacao beans and encouraging investments in the expansion of cacao production and processing in Belize. 

     

    H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to Belgium and the European Union, made a presentation on the industry’s history, capacity, and potential to important players in Belgium’s chocolate industry, including some of Belgium’s prominent chocolatiers.

     

    The Embassy of Belize also took this opportunity to showcase the variety of cacao-based products manufactured locally in the country, including chocolate bars, cocoa powder, cocoa tea, and liqueurs.

     

    It is expected that one concrete follow-up activity from the event will be an exploratory investment mission from Belgium to Belize in 2017. 

     

    The event, which was a part of the Embassy’s efforts to support the promotion of trade and investment for Belize, was a joint effort between the Embassy of Belize in Brussels and BELTRAIDE, and with the collaboration of EURACEN, the Chamber of Commerce of Europe-Central America.

    1 June 2016

    The 8th Summit of the ACP Heads of State and Government was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from May 31 to June 1 2016, on the theme ‘Repositioning the ACP Group to Respond to Challenges of the Sustainable Development.’ The Honourable Wilfred P Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs and H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador to the European Union, represented Belize.

     

    At the conclusion of the 8th Summit the Heads of State and Government adopted a Declaration covering a range of issues related to the work and future of the ACP. The Declaration included, at paragraph 18, a strong statement of support for Belize, in relation to the Guatemalan claim.

    29 April 2016

    H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon represented Belize at the 103rd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, which was held in Dakar, Senegal on 26-27 April 2016. Council expressed its strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize in view of the Guatemalan claim to Belize. Council also held extensive discussions and adoption resolutions on matters pertaining to trade for development, Zika virus and commodities. The 103rd Session of the ACP Council was immediately followed by the 40th Session of the ACP EU Council of Ministers on 28-29 April 2016. 

    See Resolution on Belize

    19 April 2016

    On 19th April 2016, the Ambassador of Belize in Brussels, H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon hosted members of the ACP Young People’s Network (YPN) at the Embassy. The event was part of the ACP YPN’s Ambassador Series.  Ambassador Vernon made a presentation on the future of Caribbean EU relations in the context of the evolving ACP EU relations.

    7 March2016

    On 4 – 7 March 2016, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels participated in the Central American booth at the Feria Namur in order to promote our countries as tourism destinations. Feria Namur focuses on travel and tourism and was held in Namur, Belgium.

     

    Belize offers a varied tourism experience ranging from diving and marine sports to archeological sites to nature and wildlife tours. The tourism industry accounts for 28% of total employment, tourism contributes up to 25% of the total GDP.  Contact www.travebelize.org for more information.

    3 Marc 2016

    Belize is one beneficiary of an ACP EU project “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean.” The purpose of the project is to revitalize the coconut industries in Caribbean countries by building capacity of small producers, identifying market opportunities, and improving competiveness and sustainability of local coconut industries.    

     

    This €3.5 million project is being implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in conjunction with CARDI and runs until December 2017.

    6 February 2016

    During the week of 1 February 2016, Ambassador Dylan Vernon accompanied a delegation from BELTRAIDE on a working visit to the Netherlands.  The visit was organised  to coincide with the 2016 Chocolate Trade Fair in Amsterdam. The delegation met with officials of the Dutch Government, with the Director of Center for Technical Cooperation in Agriculture and representatives of the private sector involved in the trade of cacao beans.

    20 November 2015

    The Embassy of Belize, in collaboration with the Embassy of Nicaragua, hosted the screening of the documentary film Lubaraun at ACP House on 20 November 2015. The screening coincided with the commemoration, in Belize on 19 November, of the arrival of the Garifuna in Belize. Lubaraun showcases the successful efforts of the Garifuna people to maintain their rich culture, language and religious beliefs, in their communities along the Caribbean coast of Central America. The Ambassador of Belize, H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon chaired the event at which the Secretary General of the ACP, Dr Patrick I. Gomes was in attendance. One of the directors of the film Ms. Maria Jose Alvarez, was on hand to introduce the film and to engage with the audience after the screening.For further information on this event, including an interview with the director please go to:  http://acpculturesplus.eu/?q=en/content/screening-documentary-lubaraun-acp-house

    8 July 2015

    On 8 July 2015 H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon, who is also the non-resident Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, made a business visit to Amsterdam to promote the Belize cacao industry and explore new markets for Belize cacao beans.Shortly after the meeting the Embassy facilitated linkages between a Dutch importer and the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) of Belize which resulted in the signing of a contract for the sale of an initial 14 MT of Belizean cacao with the expectation of further long-term cooperation.The Embassy will continue to work to promote Belize’s growing cacao industry by reaching out to potential investors, seeking technical assistance and cooperation to support the growth of the national industry, and exploring new markets in Europe.