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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.
Where is Belize?
National Pride:- Anthem, Prayer & Symbols
Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz
LAND OF THE FREE
O, land of the free
by the carib Sea,
Arise! ye sons of the
Nature has blessed
thee with wealth untold,
The Belizean Prayer
"Sub Umbra Floreo" = "Under the tree I flourish"
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."
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
More About Belize
Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz, (c) 2006.
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.
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.
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.
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).
It 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.
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.
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.
and Local Government:
Belize's Missions Abroad
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Foreign Resident/Non-resident Representation
There are 11 foreign Embassies resident in Belize:
45 non-resident Representatives accredited to Belize, of these non-resident representatives 22 have Honorary Consulates appointed in Belize:
Presently there are several International Organizations represented in Belize. These include:
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.
The 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.
Fisheries and Forestry:
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:
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.
1. Fiscal Incentives Act
No. 6 of 1990
Regular bus services operate to and from all main towns.
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.
The Office of Telecommunications acts on behalf of the Government in monitoring and regulating all telecommunication services within Belize, including the assignment of frequencies.
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).
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.
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
Reprinted from the Government of Belize website, http://www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz
More coming soon...