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2011 Holidays*

 

Jan 1 - New Year's Day

Jan 17 - Martin Luther King Day

Feb 21 - President's Day

Mar 7 - National Heroes & Benefactors Day

Apr 22 - Good Friday

Apr 25 - Easter Monday

May 2 - Belize Labour Day

May 23 - Sovereign's Day

May 30 - Memorial Day

Jul 4 - U.S. Independence

Sep 5 - U.S. Labor Day

Sep 10 - Battle of St. George's Caye Day

Sep 21 - Belize Independence

Oct 10 - Pan American Day

Nov 11 - Veteran's Day

Nov 19 - Garifuna Settlement Day

Nov 25 - Thanksgiving Day

Dec 26 - Christmas Day

Dec 27 - Boxing Day

 

*The Consulate of Belize in Los Angeles will be closed on the dates indicated above in observance of American and Belizean holidays. 

If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the Consulate will be closed the preceding Friday. 

If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the Consulate will be closed the following Monday.

 


 

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Where is Belize?

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National Pride:- Anthem, Prayer & Symbols

Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz

National Anthem

LAND OF THE FREE
Click here to listen to the
National Anthem!

O, land of the free by the carib Sea,
our manhood we pledge to thy liberty!
No tyrants here linger, despots must flee
This tranquil haven of democracy
The blood of our sires which hallows the sod,
Brought freedom from slavery oppression's rod,
By the might of truth and the grace of God.
No longer shall we be hewers of wood.

Arise! ye sons of the Baymen's clan,
put on your armour, clear the land!
Drive back the tyrants, let despots flee-
Land of the Free by the Carib Sea!

Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold,
O'er mountains and valleys where praries roll;
Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold
Drove back the invader; this heritage hold
From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon'
Through coral isle, over blue lagoon;
Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon;
For freedom comes tomorrow's noon.

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National Prayer

The Belizean Prayer

Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ
has revealed your glory to all nations, please protect and
preserve Belize, our beloved country.

God of might, wisdom and justice, please assist our
Belizean government and people with your Holy Spirit of
counsel and fortitude.

Let the light of your divine wisdom direct their plans
and endeavours so that with your help we may attain our
just objectives. With your guidance, may all our
endeavours tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national
happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge.

We pray, O God of Mercy, for all of us that we may
be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the
observance of your most holy law, that we may be
preserved in union and in that peace which the world itself
cannot give. And, after enjoying the blessings of this life,
please admit us, dear Lord, to that eternal reward that you
have prepared for those who love you. Amen.

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National Motto

"Sub Umbra Floreo" = "Under the tree I flourish"


National Flag

History

The red, white and blue flag of Belize is a symbol of the unity of our nation. Prior to Independence the People's United Party (PUP) proposed a blue flag with the Coat of Arms in a white circle. Because of the close association of the flag with the PUP, public opinion was divided as to its suitability to act as a unifying symbol.

The United Democratic Party (UDP) did not propose a flag, but called for a flag that could rally all citizens, regardless of their political affiliation. As a consequence, the bi-partisan National Symbols Committee invited citizens to submit designs for a National Flag.

The design selected by the Committee is a royal blue flag with one horizontal red stripe at the top, one at the bottom, and a white circle with the Coat of Arms in the centre.

The Coat of Arms

The shield of the Coat of Arms is divided into three sections by a vertical line and an inverted V.

The base section represents a ship in full sail on waves of the sea. The two upper sections show tools of the timber industry in Belize: a paddle and a squaring axe in the right section and a saw and a beating axe in the left section.

Supporting the shield are two woodcutters, the one on the right holding a beating axe over his shoulder in his right hand, and the one on the left holding a paddle over his shoulder in his left hand.

Above the sheild rises a mahogany tree. Below the sheild is the motto scroll. A wreath of leaves encircles the Coat of Arms.

The Coat of Arms embodies an important aspect of the history of Belize, as the mahogany industry formed the basis of our economy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

NATIONAL MOTTO: "Sub Umbra Florero" - These latin words me, "Under the shade I flourish."

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National Flower

History

The Black Orchid (Encyclia Cochleatum) is the National Flower of Belize. This orchid grows on trees in damp areas, and flowers nearly all year round.

Its clustered bulblike stems vary in size up to six inches long and carry two or three leaves.

The black orchid flower has greenish-yellow petals and sepals with purple blotches near the base. The "lip" (one petal of special construction, which is the flower's showiest) is shaped like a valve of a clam shell (hence the name Encyclia Cochleatum) and is deep purple-brown, almost black, with conspicuous radiating purple veins.

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National Tree

History

The Mahogany Tree (Swietenia Macrophilla) is one of the magnificent giants of the forest. Rising straight and tall to over a hundred feet from great buttresses at the roots, it emerges above the canopy of the surrounding trees with a crown of large, shining green leaves.

In the early months of the year, when the leaves fall and new red-brown growth appears, the tree can be spotted from a great distance.

The tree puts out a great flush of small whitish flowers - the blossom for dark fruits, which are pear-shaped capsules about six inches long.

When the fruits mature they split into five valves, freeing large winged seeds which are carried away by the wind. They fall on the shaded protection of the forest floor and germinate to begin a new life cycle. The mahogany tree matures in 60 to 80 years.

British settlers exploited the forest for mahogany, beginning around the middle of the 17th century. It was originally exported to the United Kingdom in the form of squared logs, but shipment now consits mainly of sawn lumber.

The mahogany tree forms part of Belize's Coat of Arms. The motto "Sub Umbra Florero" means: Under the shade (of the mahogany tree) I flourish.

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National Bird

History

The Keel Billed Toucan (Ramphastos Solfurantus) is the National Bird of Belize. It is noted for its great, canoe-shaped bill, brightly colored green, blue, red and orange feathers

The bird is about 20 inches in overall length. It is mostly black with bright yellow cheeks and chest, red under the tail and a distinctive white patch at the base of the tail.

Toucans are found in open areas of the country with large trees. They make a monotonous frog-like croak. Toucans like fruits, and eat by cutting with the serrated edge of their bills.

Toucans nest in holes in trees, using natural holes or holes made by woodpeckers, often enlarging the cavity by removing soft, rotten wood.

They lay two to four eggs which are incubated by both parents. The nesting stage lasts from six to seven weeks.

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National Animal

HistoryThe Tapir or Mountain Cow (Tapirello Bairdii) is the largest land mammal of the American tropics.

The tapir is a stoutly built animal with short legs, about the size of a donkey and weighs up to 600 pounds.

Its general color is dusty brown with a white fringe around the eyes and lips, white tipped ears and occasional white patches of fur on the throat and chest.

In spite of it's local name, the tapir is not a cow. It is closely related to the horse and is also kin to the rhinosceros.

The tapir is a vegetarian. It spends much of its time in water or mud shallows, and is a strong swimmer.

The National Animal is protected under the wildlife protection laws of Belize, thus the hunting of the tapir is illegal.

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More About Belize

  Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz, (c) 2006.

Physical Features:

Belize (formerly British Honduras until the name of the country was changed in 1973) lies on the eastern or Caribbean coast of Central America, bounded on the north and part of the west by Mexico, and on the south and the remainder of the west by Guatemala. The inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with islets called 'cayes', extending almost the entire length of the country.
 

There is a low coastal plain, much of it covered with mangrove swamp, but the land rises gradually towards the interior. The Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range form the backbone of the southern half of the country, the highest point being Doyle's Delight (1124 meters above sea level) in the Cockscomb Range. The Cayo District in the west includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, ranging from 305 to around 914 metres above sea level. The northern districts contain considerable areas of tableland. There are many rivers, some of them navigable for short distances by shallow-draught vessels. A large part of the mainland is forest.

The area of the mainland and cayes is 8,867 square miles. The country's greatest length from north to south is 280 kilometres and its greatest width is 109 kilometres. The climate is subtropical, tempered by trade winds. Temperatures in coastal districts range from about 10 °C (50°F) to about 35.6°C (96°F); inland the range is greater. Rainfall varies from an average of 1,295 millimetres in the north to 4,445 millimetres in the extreme south. The dry season usually extends from February to May and there is sometimes a dry spell in August.

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Population:People

Today Belize's population is estimated to be at approximately 300,000 The country is a melting pot of many races and over the years the muliti-racial make-up has risen through the influx of many people of Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. Males outnumber the female population only by 1%.

The population census shows that the main ethnic groups: Mestizo, Creole, Ketchi, Yucatec and Mopan Mayas, Garifuna and East Indian maintains a large percent of Belize's population. Other ethnic groups: German and Dutch Mennonites, Chinese, Arabs and Africans accounts for a small percentage of the population. The ethnic groups, however, are heavily intermixed.

Languages:
English is the official language of Belize. However, English Creole is widely spoken and remains a distinctive part of everyday conversations for most Belizeans. Spanish is also common and is taught in primary and secondary schools in order to further develop bi-lingualism.

Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the people in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, north of Belize and the Cayo District in the west, In the southern Districts: Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya.

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Capital:
Belmopan is the capital of the country. Built in 1970, it is the seat of Government and has been classified as the Garden City of the country. It was created following extensive damage to the former capital Belize City, caused by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Belmopan is geographically located at the centre of the country, some 80 kilometers to the south-west of Belize City on higher ground. It serves as a hurricane refuge for Belizeans and has the largest number of hurricane shelters in the country. Its population today is estimated at 11,100 and is increasing as more people relocate to the Capital. However, Belize City still remains the hub of commercial activity and one of the most urbanized centers of Belize with a population of 78,000 people.

 

Brief History

Numerous ruins indicate that for hundreds of years Belize was heavily populated by the Maya Indians, whose relatively advanced civilization reached its height between A.D. 250 and 900. Eventually the civilization declined leaving behind small groups whose offspring still exist in Belize contributing positively to the culturally diverse population.

In 1502, Columbus sailed through parts of the Caribbean, but did not actually visit the area later known as British Honduras.

The first reference to European settlement in the colony was in 1638. These were later augmented by disbanded British soldiers and sailors after the capture of Jamaica from Spain in 1655. The settlement, whose main activity was logwood cutting (logwood was used in the past to produce dye), had a troubled history during the next 150 years. It was subjected to numerous attacks from neighbouring Spanish settlements (Spain claimed sovereignty over the entire New World except for regions in South America assigned to Portugal).

HistoryIt was not until 1763 that Spain in the Treaty of Paris allowed the British settlers to engage in the logwood industry. The Treaty of Versailles in 1783 reaffirmed those boundaries and logwood concession was extended by the Convention of London in 1786. But Spanish attacks continued until a decisive victory was won by settlers, with British naval support, in the Battle of St. George's Caye in 1798. After that, British control over the settlement gradually increased and in 1871 British Honduras was formally declared a British Colony.

From an early date the settlers had governed themselves under a system of primitive democracy by Public Meeting. A set of regulations referred to as Burnaby's Code was effected in 1765 and this, with some modification, continued until 1840 when an Executive Council was created.

In 1853 the Public Meeting was replaced by a Legislative Assembly (partly elected, on a restrictive franchise), with the British Superintendent, an office created in 1786 at the settlers' request, as Chairman. When the settlement became a colony in 1871 the Superintendent was replaced by a Lieutenant Governor under the Governor of Jamaica.

HistoryThe Crown Colony System of Government was introduced in 1871, and the Legislative Assembly by its own vote was replaced by a nominated Legislative Council with an official majority presided over by the Lieutenant Governor.
An unofficial majority was created in 1892, and this constitution, with minor changes, continued until 1935 when the elective principle was once again introduced on the basis of adult suffrage with a low-income qualification. The administrative connection with Jamaica was severed in 1884, when the title of Lieutenant Governor was changed and a Governor was appointed.

Further constitutional advances came in 1954 with the introduction of Universal Adult Suffrage and an elected majority in the Legislature, the Ministerial System was adopted in 1961 leading up to Self Government in 1964. The country's name was changed on 1st June, 1973, from British Honduras to Belize.

Independence was achieved on September 21, 1981 and a new independence constitution introduced. Belize was then admitted as a member of the United Nations, the Non-Alligned Movement and the Commonwealth of Nations.

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Constitution and Government: History

Belize achieved full independence on September 21, 1981. It is now a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of American States and the Association of Caribbean States. Diplomatic relations have been established with many countries. Belize is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and related institutions.

The Government of Belize is operated on the principles of Parliamentary Democracy based on the Westminster System. The country is a sovereign, democratic state.

A Prime Minister and Cabinet make up the Executive Branch, while a 31-member elected House of Representatives and a twelve-member appointed Senate form a bi-cameral legislature.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional Head of State. She is represented in Belize by a Governor-General, who must be a Belizean.

The Cabinet consists of a Prime Minister, other Ministers and Ministers of State who are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, the person commanding the support of the majority party in the House of Representatives. Six Senators are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, three on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, one on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, one on the advice of the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Belize Business Bureau and one on the advice of the National Trade Union Congress and Civil Society Steering Committee.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate are elected either from among the members of these Houses (providing they are not ministers) or from among persons who are not members of either House.

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Elections and Political Parties:

General Elections are held at intervals of not longer than five years. The voting age is 18. The Prime Minister has the right to advise the Governor-General to dissolve the National Assembly and so determine the date of the general elections.

The most recent elections took place on 7th February 2008. The United Democratic Party (UDP) won 25 of the 31 seats in the House of Representatives; the remaining six were won by the People’s United Party (PUP). A recent re-districting created two more constituencies, increasing the number of seats from 29 to 31.

Administration and Local Government:

There are six administrative districts: Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Toledo. With the abolition of the posts of District Officers, the district administration is now jointly run by a number of Government functionaries, namely Finance Officers, the Officer commanding the District Police and the Heads of various Government departments based in the districts.

Each district town has a locally elected Town Council of seven members. The Cayo district has two Town Councils, namely, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo.

Belize City is administered by a nine-member City Council. There is also a Town Council in the Belize District, namely San Pedro Town Council in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

The Capital city of Belmopan is administered by the Belmopan City Council.

A Village council Act (SI No. 100 of 2003) was enacted to formally establish Village Councils.

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Belize's Missions Abroad

UNITED NATIONS

  • Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations - New York, U.S.A;

  • Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations - Geneva, Switzerland;

  • Permanent Mission of Belize to UNESCO - Paris, France.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • Embassy of Belize to the United States of America - with dual accreditation to Canada;

  • Consul General of Belize in California.

CANADA

  • Consul General of Belize in Vancouver, British Columbia.

MEXICO

  • Embassy of Belize in Mexico - multiple accreditation to Venezuela, Jamaica and Cuba.

GUATEMALA

  • Embassy of Belize in Guatemala - multiple accreditation to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá.

UNITED KINGDOM

  • Belize High Commission in London- multiple accreditation to France, Germany, the Vatican.

BELGIUM

  • Embassy of Belize in Belgium - also accredited to European Communites.

Honorary Representatives

NORTH AMERICA

Canada (Montreal, Quebec);United States (San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Puerto Rico and Texas); Mexico (Chetumal, Quintana Roo)

CENTRAL AMERICA

El Salvador,Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá,Costa Rica.

CARIBBEAN

Jamaica, Dominican Republic.

SOUTH AMERICA

Chile.

EUROPE

Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.

EASTERN EUROPE

Romania.

ASIA

Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan.

MIDDLE EAST

Israel, Lebanon.

Foreign Resident/Non-resident Representation

There are 11 foreign Embassies resident in Belize:

  • Republic of China

  • Colombia

  • Costa Rica

  • Cuba

  • El Salvador

  • Guatemala

  • Honduras

  • Mexico

  • United Kingdom

  • United States of America

  • Venezuela

45 non-resident Representatives accredited to Belize, of these non-resident representatives 22 have Honorary Consulates appointed in Belize:

 

 

  • Antigua & Barbuda

  • Argentina

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Bahamas

  • Barbados

  • Belgium

  • Brazil

  • Cambodia

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Egypt

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Ghana

  • Greece

  • Guyana

  • Haiti

  • Holy See

  • India

  • Iran

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Jamaica

  • Japan

  • North Korea

  • South Korea

  • Lebanon

  • Malaysia

  • Malta

  • Netherlands

  • Nigeria

  • Norway

  • Pakistan

  • Peru

  • Phillipines

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Russian Fed.

  • Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
  • Slovak Republic

  • South Africa

  • Spain

  • St. Lucia

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Thailand

  • Turkey

  • Uruguay

  • Zambia

Presently there are several International Organizations represented in Belize. These include:

CARDI - Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

CFRAMP - CARICOM Fisheries Resources Assessment and Management Programme.

EU - European Union.

FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization.

IDB - Inter-American Development Bank.

IICA - Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture.

OAS - Organization of American States.

PAHO/WHO - Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization.

UNDP - United Nations Development Programme.

UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund.

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Agriculture

Agriculture currently provides some 71% of the country's total foreign exchange earnings, and employs approximately 29% of the total labour force.

Although about 1,998,230 acres or 38% of the total land area are considered potentially suitable for agricultural use, only perhaps 10 to 15% is in use in any one year. About half of this is under pasture, with the remainder in a variety of permanent and annual crops. The traditional system of "milpa" (shifting cultivation) involves the annual clearing of new land for crop production, however, there is an increasing number of farmers making permanent use of cleared land by mechanical means. A tax is levied on the unimproved "value" of the land.

HistoryThe expansion and improvement of agriculture is one of the principal aims of national development planning. The Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries maintains an Extension Service with officers posted in all districts. Agricultural research is conducted at the Central Farm Research Station into a variety of tropical crops, livestock and pasture. Agricultural research is also done by other non-governmental bodies, such as the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Taiwanese Mission, within the country. The Ministry provides mechanical, veterinary and quarantine services to farmers and an agricultural training college at Central Farm. Other government services include the Belize Marketing Board, which operates in the buying and selling of producers' rice from the Toledo District, and the Development Finance Corporation, which offers credit to farmers, among others.

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Fisheries and Forestry:

HistoryBelize has a viable fishing industry. During 1996, Bz $24.3 million of marine products were exported. There are laws to protect the rock or spiney lobster to avoid over fishing. There is a closed season between March and July. Export markets for scale fish are mainly in the United States, Mexico and Jamaica.

There has been a resurgence in forestry. Reforestation and natural regeneration in the pine forest (mainly in the Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts) and artificial regeneration of fast-growing tropical hardwood species are in progress.

THE BELIZE FISHING INDUSTRY - THE ROAD TO EXPANSION

The Belize Fisheries Department was established in 1965 and has been mandated to manage a sector that has been in existence for several generations - the Fisheries Sector. Belize's fisheries are exploited for commercial, as well as for subsistence purposes, and are one of the most heavily exploited natural resources. In an effort to maximize the benefits obtained from the fishing industry, while ensuring its long-term viability, fisheries managers are promoting an expansion in production through diversification of this resource base.

Belize's fishing industry is small and growing; it is an industry with great potential for development.

List of Fisheries Export Products:

  • Lobster

  • Conch

  • Finfish

  • Aquarium Fish (NOS)

  • Stone Crab Claws

  • Shrimp

  • Shark

  • Dry Sea Farine

  • Smoked Fish

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Industries:
HistoryThe main industries are sugar, citrus, fisheries and bananas. Sugar accounts for more than 33.4% of the country's foreign exchange earnings. Because of the uncertain future of these traditional exports, major efforts are being made towards agricultural diversification. Industrial development is encouraged through a number of incentives which include the awarding by government of tax holidays and import duty exemption on inputs of up to a maximum of 25 years to qualifying companies.

Belize is home to a number of growing enterprises which include, but not limited to, the manufacture of metal doors and windows, furniture, concrete blocks, bricks, clothing, boat building, soft drink bottling, brewing, cigarette manufacture, tyre recapping, the production of flour and animal feed, wire and paper products, an agricultural fertilizer plant, matches, plywood and other wood products, a meat packing plant, food processing operations and the manufacture of rolled steel bars for the construction industry and a host of other manufacturing activities.

INCENTIVE SCHEMES:
Several incentive schemes have been instituted to encourage and promote investment. The investment schemes are contained in the following legislations:

1. Fiscal Incentives Act No. 6 of 1990
2. Mines and Minerals Act 1988
3. Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Act 1990
4. Commercial Free Zone (CFZ) Act 1994
5. International Business & Public Investment (IBC)
Act 1990

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Communications

Roads:
Belize has four major highways, the Northern Highway connecting Belize City with Orange Walk and Corozal Towns and to Chetumal on the Mexican Border; the Western Highway connecting Belize City with Belmopan and continuing to Santa Elena/San Ignacio and Benque Viejo del Carmen then to the border with Guatemala; the Southern Highway linking the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts and the Hummingbird Highway which links Cayo with the Stann Creek District. All principal towns and villages are linked by roads to Belmopan and Belize City.

Regular bus services operate to and from all main towns.

Inland Waterways:
Several rivers and lagoons are navigable by shallow draught vessels. The Belize River was once used for logging.

Air:
The main airport, Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, is situated 10 miles from Belize City, and is owned by the Government and operated by the Belize Airports Authority. Regular international services are maintained by five airlines to and from the United States of America, Central America and Mexico. There are numerous Government owned aircraft. Domestic air services provide connections to all main towns and to four of the offshore islands.

A modern weather radar system, part of the World Meteorological Network, gives early warning of approaching hurricanes. The Belize Weather Bureau is now equipped with satellite communication facilities to assist in weather forecasting.

Sea:
The main port is in Belize City, now equipped with a modern deep-water port which is capable of handling containerized shipping. Nine major shipping lines move cargo to and from Belize to Central and North America, Europe and Japan. The second largest port, Commerce Bight just South of Dangriga, has been improved to accommodate the medium sized vessels required to handle increased exports of bananas and citrus products. A new port has been built at Big Creek. Coastal services are operated between towns and villages on the mainland to some of the offshore islands, and to Puerto Barrios in Guatemala.

Telecommunications:
The Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL), a private company, owns the automatic telephone service which covers the entire country. BTL operates a regional service to Mexico, Guatemala and Central and South America, as well as all other external services. A recent expansion programme has doubled the capacity of the telephone system. A satellite earth station in Belmopan provides high quality telecommunications with the outside world.

The Office of Telecommunications acts on behalf of the Government in monitoring and regulating all telecommunication services within Belize, including the assignment of frequencies.

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Social Services

Health:
HistoryThe basic structure for health care delivery is provided by a network of seven district hospitals which are divided into four regions (Northern Region - Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, Central Region - Belize District, Western Region - Cayo District and Southern Region - Stann Creek and Toledo Districts) with the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital being the national referral hospital.

There is also an infirmary for the care of geriatric and chronically ill patients. Local training for nurses and midwives is provided at the Belize School of Nursing. A new offshore medical University is presently operating in the country. To date, most physicians and physician-specialists have been trained either at the University of the West Indies or at one of the Latin American Universities (Guatemala, Costa Rica or Mexico).

Education:
HistoryEducation is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 14. Primary and Secondary education is free. In 1997 there were 53,110 pupils enrolled in 280 primary schools (Gov't & Gov't aided), 10,912 in 30 secondary school and 2500 in 11 post secondary institutions. Government runs some of the schools but most schools are run by the churches. The Government maintains one special school for mentally disabled children and another for children with physical disabilities.

A Centre for Employment Training (CET) has been established in Belize City to provide a mechanism to reach the student population that has not had the advantage of completing secondary school. The CET has also opened a branch in San Ignacio, Cayo District. Training is based on employment trends, as well as on the nature of changes in the labour market. Specialized training is available at other institutions. The Belize Technical College offers craft and technical courses, the Belize Teachers College runs a two-year diploma course leading to trained teacher status.

The Belize Vocational Training Centre in Belize City provides courses for primary school-leavers, while the Belize Youth Development Centre and the Belize College of Agriculture offer training for those interested in entering the field of agro-industry.

Advanced training is provided to Belizeans in the professional and technical fields at Belize's first university, the University College of Belize, which opened in 1986. The University of the West Indies maintains a School of Continuing Education (SCE) in Belize City. This institution's work includes organising adult education classes and lectures. In addition, it offers courses in social anthropology, constitutional law and conversational Spanish and Garifuna. The SCE encourages creative arts and sponsors an annual festival of dance, music and drama.

There is a well-equipped library service. It has its headquarters in the Baron Bliss Institute in Belize City and 74 service points scattered throughout the country. Remote areas are serviced by a mobile library. The Bliss Institute is maintained and operated by the Government in order to encourage cultural activities.

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Tourism

The Government's manifesto asserts that Tourism is one of the twin pillars of the economy, along with agriculture.

With Public and Private sectors working together, Tourism will become a truly sustainable Eco-cultural tourism product that will provide economic growth while preserving our god given gifts for the future of our children and society.

The Key executing agency in the ministry of Tourism is the Belize Tourism Board.

The Belize Tourism Board is a statutory board within the Ministry of Tourism which functions as a strategic partnership between government and the private sector to develop, market and implement tourism programs that will fulfill the emerging needs of our local industries and the international tourism market place for the benefit of Belize and Belizeans.

With its many natural, archaeological and cultural attractions, Belize takes pride in conservation and has adopted the concept of Eco cultural tourism. It explores nature in a manner that will protect the environment, which is enjoyed and appreciated by all.

We invite you to come and catch the adventure in Belize… Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret!

Contact us at:

Belize Tourism Board
Level 2, Central Bank Building
P.O. Box 325
Belize City, Belize
Tel: 501-2-31913 / 31910
Fax: 501-2-31943
Website: www.travelbelize.org

Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz

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More coming soon...

 
Copyright © 2009.  Consulate General of Belize, State of California. All Rights Reserved.