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AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE

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San Pedro Daily Tuesday,
  April 10, 2012

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CZMAI discuss National Coastal Zone Management Plan
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) hosted a public consultation on Thursday, March 29th where they discussed various sections of the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. Mandated under Coastal Zone Management Act, the plan determines the suitability of coastal land use and outlines recommendations for sustainable development along the entire coastal zone in Belize. While still in its consultation stage, when completed the management plan will include the first three kilometers inland from the coastline of Belize and all cayes.
The Integrated Management plan is divided into ten areas and looks at three scenarios of development over a 15 year period. One of the ten areas is Ambergris Caye and encompasses the entire island and flats around, mangroves swamps, inland lagoons, the reef directly in front of the island and the seabed around the caye. According to the Chief Executive Officer of CZMAI Vincent Gillett, Ambergris Caye is a little ahead of other areas since the San Pedro Master Plan will be integrated into the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. According to Gillett, there are important factors for Ambergris Caye being considered in terms of development, tourism inflows, increase in population, impacts of development, degradation of critical habitat, plan of resource use and available infrastructure and planned development.
With the use of a computer module and the introduction of indicators, the management plan looks at three scenarios of development over the 15-year plan. The module being used is the Marine InVEST which incorporates ecosystem services and valuation approaches into planning. It can inform a variety of policy, managed and conservation approaches when the scientifically proven variables are put into the module. In developing the integrated plan for Belize, since there is limited scientifically proven data available, data from similar Caribbean countries is used when building the module. Once the scientific variables and data are inputted into the computer, stress indicators are placed into the computer module and indicate three different module scenarios. The three module scenarios look at is a complete conservation approach, heavy development approach or a compromised/middle of the road also referred as preferred approach.
Gillette explained that once the stress indicators are placed into the module, it paints an idea as to how the given area looks over a certain period of time. With the explanation of technicians, hopefully the community will be better informed and will consider what type of development and management plan the community wants to adopt.
Having been paid and tasked to finalize the San Pedro Master Plan, Gillette explained that CZMAI should have the plan finalized for consultation within the next four months. Additional adjustments are being made so that the San Pedro Master Plan fits within the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan explained Gillett.
The purpose of the consultation was to present, listen to issues raised and document recommendation from stakeholders. The consultations that are being held in various parts of the country are seeing the participation of various government agencies, private sector representatives and other key players in various coastal communities. Despite the low turnout, it is the hope of CZMAI that when the final draft is completed, that will be a larger public participation.
San Pedro Sun

Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny a Hopping Success!
On Saturday morning April 7th the San Pedro Lions Club hosted a Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny. What promises to be an annual event, the crowd of pancake lovers and holiday fun lined up to enjoy a morning full of food, games, activities and of course the Easter Bunny.
Everyone devoured delicious pancakes, sausage, orange slices and juice, with the highlight choosing from a variety of toppings. With chocolate syrup, Nuttela, sprinkles, butter, strawberry jam, shredded coconut and maple syrup to pick from, some children indulged in them all!
Locals and tourists to La Isla enjoyed socializing together and the Easter Bunny entertained the crowd while posing for photos with the jubilant children. Activities included colouring, bobbing for Easter Eggs, face painting and Egg in Spoon races.
The San Pedro Lions wishes to thank all who volunteered and contributed to the very successful event.
San Pedro Sun

SICA Secretary-General visits Belize to strengthen ties
Adele Ramos
Juan Daniel Alemán, Secretary-General of the Central American Integration System (Spanish acronym SICA) met in Belize with Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington on Friday, March 30, 2012, to discuss plans and projects to further the integration of the 7 countries of Central America, as well as the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic.
Alemán’s team included Emil Waight, a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who now works with the SICA Secretariat in El Salvador, and Erick Vilchez, SICA’s Director of Security.
It is extremely important that the Belizean public knows more about the integration movement, similar to what is going on with CARICOM, Elrington told the press Friday afternoon.
He said they will make every effort to ensure Belize’s activities with SICA are as public as possible, so that more Belizeans can know what is going on.
Secretary-General Alemán said that they had a very constructive and productive meeting with Elrington, and that the working visit is intended to explore Belize’s interests, in order to see where the national interest is compatible with the regional interest of SICA.
Minister Elrington said that he and Alemán discussed 7 topics: (1) Belize’s continued support and commitment to SICA in the areas of democratic security, regional cooperation and regional political issues; (2) strengthening local governments across SICA; (3) setting up two sub-regional offices here in Belize, to strengthen the work of SICA as it relates to CARICOM; (4) the establishment of a SICA-CARICOM unit at the Secretariat in Salvador; (5) the 1st ever SICA-CARICOM fisheries ministerial meeting; (6) the conferring of the Order of SICA to former CARICOM Secretary-General, Sir Edwin Carrington; and (7) a request from SICA that officials of SICA and organs of SICA be accorded the same diplomatic status and tax privileges as current diplomats, so they can bring in items duty-free.
Elrington said this request would be taken to Cabinet, and that he is sure Cabinet will agree with the proposal.
According to Minister Elrington, Belize’s access to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), which is funding a bridge in Corozal apart from other initiatives, demonstrates that Belize has been having good, beneficial arrangements with SICA.
One of the chief topics of discussion continues to be regional security. Elrington told the press that the region has recently formulated a very comprehensive security strategy, which is in the process of being funded to provide security for the entire region. One of the reasons for Alemán’s visit to Belize, the minister said, is to ensure that Belize is still committed to the process.
“We are happy to assure them that Belize’s support for this strategy is really unwavering. We are desperately in need of a safe region to develop our trading...,” Elrington commented.
Alemán told the press that SICA has been working really hard on this strategy, for which there is great consensus. They kicked off 8 projects last month in Washington, he added.
As for the recent meeting held in Antigua, Guatemala, at which Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina proposed the decriminalization of the use and transshipment of drugs, Alemán said it was a good opportunity to speak about the initiative of the president and he hopes the talks would continue.
He told us that decriminalization is just one of the alternatives proposed, but when we asked him to elaborate, he said that’s a matter for the leadership of Central America, so he wouldn’t comment.
Elaborating on the regional security strategy, Alemán said they have charted 22 regional projects on the local, national and regional fronts, to prioritize the interests of each country. They have prioritized 8 regional projects on democratic security, and they plan to implement at least 4 of them by May.
As for the regional strategy, Alemán said this is the first time the region has reached such a great consensus in consolidating its efforts and adding value to the strategy, which they hope the international community will continue supporting.
He said that the region hopes to make a presentation on this matter at the upcoming Summit of Americas, slated for April 14 to 15 in Colombia.
Also coming soon is the 1st SICA-CARICOM fisheries ministerial meeting, an idea which came out of the SICA summit held in Salvador in August 2011.
“We think that’s a very exciting initiative. We all have a great interest in the sustainable development of our fisheries industries and to that extent we have to work together to strengthen the industries,” said Elrington.
Alemán added that the regions can benefit from synergies, because the fisheries industry is one of the areas within which they want to interchange their best practices and best experiences.
The decision has also been made to set up a SICA-CARICOM unit at the Secretariat in Salvador, to improve ties between the two sub-regions.
In related news, SICA has decided to give its highest honor to former CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington, as they recognize him to be the foremost proponent of integration in the region who has helped them to establish special links between CARICOM and SICA, said Elrington. The upcoming OAS private sector summit would be an opportune place and time to confer the award, the minister said.
On the local front, on Thursday, March 29, SICA held a regional local government consultation on the Central America and Dominican Republic Municipal Autonomy Charter at the Princess Hotel in Belize City.
A SICA statement said: “This initiative promotes a national consultation in each of SICA’s member states, in order to better understand local needs and include them in a draft Municipal Autonomy Charter, to be presented at the SICA Heads of State and Government Summit, as part of the instrument approval process.”
Elrington said that he had been briefed on the event, which, he said, “went very, very well...”
He said that the two sub-regional offices would promote and implement the decisions made by countries in the SICA system to speed up implementation of the integration movement, not only in the political affairs but also on the security front.
SICA will post two resident officers in Belize to advance its political and security initiatives, and to ensure that SICA mandates are implemented.
Amandala
NOTICE
South Ambergris Caye
Neighborhood Watch Meeting-
7 PM, Wednesday April 11.

Lone Star Grill & Cantina

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