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August 1st, 2019 marks the historic amalgamation of the Income Tax Department and Department of General Sales Tax into the newly formed Belize Tax Service Department- a department under the Ministry of Finance. The amalgamation will be done in a phased approach through to 2022. Taxpayers will experience better service by a newly trained cadre of tax professionals, efficiency, productivity and better tax compliance to further develop the country.

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Stakeholders of the banana industry, government agencies, agricultural partner organizations and the public are hereby informed of a notification of a suspected detection of Fusarium Wilt of Bananas in La Guajira Province in Colombia.

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The Belize Port Authority has issued a press release informing of major changes for Water Taxis. Passengers traveling on water taxis will now be required to present a valid identification card for it to be recorded on a passenger manifest, including toddlers.

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Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is First Government Ministry to Achieve ISO 9001:2015 Certification On July 24, 2019 the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MTCA) received notification from its Certification Agent in Jamaica (National Certification Body of Jamaica), that effective July 18, 2019 the MTCA has been approved for Certification under the International Organization for Standardization’s 9001-2015 Standard (ISO 9001-2015).

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The Reebok CrossFit Games 2019 will be taking place from August 1 – 4 in Madison, Wisconsin in the USA. Our tiny country of Belize is being represented by Belizean Cricel Castillo and Vernon Neal as they compete under CrossFit San Pedro  and Crossfit Subterranean as their affiliate box, respectively.  

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According to Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) many Caribbean countries including Belize could see a deficit in rainfall this year and into 2020. There latest outlook newsletter (Aug-Oct) states that rainfall will continue to increase across the region augmenting water resources. It is likely that parts of Belize, particularly in the northwest, can still have concerns over short term drought that can impact agricultural production and small rivers, streams and ponds.

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Belize is reporting an outbreak of dengue along with several other Central American countries. According to reports there are more cases this year compared to last year, as much as twenty more times. According to Belize’s Ministry of Health Surviellance Officer, Mrs. Lorna Perez, the record number of laboratory confirmed cases are just over 600 compared to 300 for last year. There are sixteen confirmed cases of severe dengue where patients have been hospitalized but none have been fatal so far.  

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Commercial fishermen are leading the movement to ban gillnets in Belize. They recognize that gillnets have led to major declines in their fish stocks and they are concerned about the future of their fishery and their livelihoods. Of more than 2,500 licensed fishermen in Belize, only 83 are currently licensed as gillnet fishermen based on the official report provided by the Fisheries Department.

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Becky G’s arrival to San Pedro was not what fan’s expected; she came on a yacht due to her fear of flying and the crowd on the beach that waited for a glimpse of her were disappointed when they did not get an opportunity to see her. But Becky G showed the people of San Pedro what a sweetheart she is during her performance at the Costa Maya Festival on Saturday, July 27, 2019.

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Her fans were waiting on the beach as Latina Superstar Becky G made her arrival to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, today Saturday, July 27, 2019. She arrived via an Amigos del Mar vessel, but only the media and a lucky few on the dive shop's dock got a tiny glimpse of her waving to the crowd before the boat sped away to her resort in North Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Today was able to capture the artist as she hid behind her cap and jersey and only taking a small peak through one of the boats windows. A small wave was all a few were able to see.

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The new Costa Maya Festival “Reignited” lived up to the expectations of festival goers on opening night, Friday, July 26, 2019, as the festival kicked off with the Miss Costa Maya Pageant (Reina de la Costa Maya). It was a lengthy pageant, culminating past 1a.m., but was by far a very entertaining show with plenty of great dance performances and the pageantry show of eight gorgeous beauty queens from around the Latin/Central American region.

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The Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Belize, signed a Financing Agreement for a total of BZD $31.96M / Euro $14M for the energy sector. The signing ceremony was held today, 22 July 2019 in the Office of Prime Minister at the Laing Building, Belize City.

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The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) hosted its fifth consecutive annual Digital Marketing Summit on July 19, 2019 at the Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, where marketing experts updated marketers on the latest developments and guided them on how to improve their respective businesses.

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San Pedro had the opportunity to meet the eight lovely delegates who will be participating in the Costa Maya International Beauty Pageant this week. Noche San Pedrana was hosted at the Central Park in a block party style and presented a program that delighted both the pageant ladies and guests. The young ladies were officially sashed, they presented their country’s gift, and modelled themselves in their country's national costumes and couture wear and spoke about themselves and their country's main attractions.

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For the past eleven years the San Pedro Tour Guide Association (SPTGA) in collaboration with PADI, the largest diving organization, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the San Pedro Tour Operators Association provide island kids the opportunity to explore the underwater world and learn to scuba dive.

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Belmopan. July 16, 2019. As part of its ongoing initiatives to provide quality healthcare medications, the Ministry of Health sent five different generic medications to the Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) Drug Testing Laboratory, which is CARICOM’s regional reference laboratory for testing. The medications range from antibiotics to anti-diabetic drugs that were sampled from the public sector. All five medications have passed the quality tests performed as per international standards. This means that these generic medications are of confirmed quality.

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The latest statistics for the first half of this year show a remarkable and persistent growth in both overnight and cruise ship arrivals; positioning Belize as a favorite vacation paradise and underscoring the effective marketing strategy by the BTB and its industry stakeholders in promoting the country as a leading tourism destination. The following is a breakdown of the latest figures for the first half of 2019 for both overnight and cruise ship arrivals.

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The Miss Universe Belize Pageant is set to take place on Friday, September 6, 2019 and on Friday, July 5, 2019, eight beautiful contestants were officially presented during a press conference at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts in Belize City. This year San Pedro has a representative and she is no stranger to beauty pageants, she is the lovely, 20-year-old Vivian Magdalen Noralez.

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The Inspiration Center in collaboration with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the Pan American Health Organization PAHO/WHO once again sponsored a three day training of trainers’ workshop for teachers, rehabilitation field officers and health care workers on “Therapeutic Strategies for Working with Children with Autism & Hearing Loss.” The training was held from July 2-4, 2019 at NaRCIE conference room on Freetown Road in Belize City.

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Ernesto ‘Nasa’ Caliz, a 64 year-old self-employed man from San Pedro Town, is being accused of a heinous case of sexual assault against a 9 year-old boy. The incident allegedly occurred on the island where it is said that Caliz pulled down the child’s pants and kissed him on the anus.

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