July 2014

Fast-Track Training Institute

Business Process Outsourcing or BPO – it’s the fancy term for what you might know as call centers.Government says that BPO Companies are banging down the door trying to get into Belize. But, there is a shortage of trained BPO workers and so today, government signed an agreement to open a Rapid Training Institute for potential BPO Workers.The center will be at the ITVET compound, and they intend to train two thousand persons in two years. CEO Mike Singh explained at today’s press conference.

Michael Singh, CEO Ministry of Trade

“The idea is that we will transform a portion of the ITVET campus on Freetown Road into what we call the rapid training institute. The idea being that we will go out, seek at least 100 Belizeans per month, put them into the training, certify them in call centers and at the end of that training we will go through a recruitment drive with the centers so they will come in and directly interview and hire people on the spot. This is what they’re asking us to do, this was the model we used 2 years ago that was very successful, the target being that we should have at least 1000 people added to that list within a year and hopefully we get to that 2000 people within the 2 year target, which should make a fundamental difference in our employment numbers.”

The intended start date is October first and they intend to take in groups of one hundred at a time.


And while the BPO is hiring, so is the Lands Department. It’s part of a new government strategy to bypass the endemic corruption with new staff and new systems.Now, it’s not like they can fire anyone we all know that in the public service that’s nearly impossible but the strategy is to implement systems that will enforce new levels of transparency and accountability.

Cabinet adopted the recommendations at its last meeting and the PM outlined them today. He was backed up by the CEO in the Ministry whop came up with them along with the Commissioner of Lands

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“We will provide for the first time at last for effective service delivery. It’s going to cost government, we’re going to hire additional personnel, all who will have to be on contract because we don’t want people getting permanent appointments joining the public service and then we run into the same problem where no matter what happens you can’t get rid of them. The new hires will all be on contract with exit clauses.

Government Takes On Call Centre Training…

Government Takes On Call Centre Training…

Today, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade and Investment Promotion Mike Singh signed a memorandum of understanding with C.E.O. in the Ministry of Education David Leacock. That M.O.U. envisions the start-up of a call centre training facility. There are currently sixteen companies in the ‘business processing outsourcing’ industry, so to speak, employing some two thousand six hundred people. It’s huge in the country, and getting bigger, but the companies involved want to move away from active training, and want access to a ready-trained pool. That’s where the government, and the M.O.U. signed today, come in.


Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade and Investment Promotion

“We field, I would say, at least one or two inquiries a week on companies desired to set up BPO centers in Belize as well as expansion plans from those centers that are already here. So we ran a survey of those businesses and found out that we could be expected as much as two thousand one hundred new employees in that sector over the next year and a half, two years. Now one of the challenges they have given to us is that they have a very difficult time finding employees and that the turnover is high beucase people don’t come in with the basic training that is needed. They may come in with a high school diploma, with the ability to read/write and to do basic analysis and calculations, but when it comes to the finer points of customer service, the ability to use the technology that they use and the ability to get into the mode of supporting the US businesses; that seems to be missing. So about two years ago, we did a pilot project in partnership with ITVET and we trained two hundred and seventy young people—all of which I am proud to say are now working at different centers in Belize. The idea is that we will transform a portion of the ITVET campus on Freetown Road into what we call the Rapid Training Institute. The idea is that what we will do is go out, seek at least a hundred Belizeans per month, put them into the training, certify them in call centers and at the end of the training, we will go through a recruitment drive with the centers so that they will come in and directly interview and hire people on the spot. This is what they are asking us to do; this is the model that we used two years ago that was very successful. The target is that we should have at least a thousand persons added to that list within a year and hopefully we get to that two thousand people within the two-year target that we are looking at, which should make a fundamental difference with our employment numbers.”


According to Singh, the idea is to expand these centres into other areas, including tourism and hospitality management.


Major Study: Monsanto GMO Corn Can Cause Damage to Liver and Kidneys

Major Study: Monsanto GMO Corn Can Cause Damage to Liver and Kidneys, and Severe Hormonal Disruption


Key study has passed through three peer reviews.

Photo Credit: meander

Reid’s Note: This article is highly relevant to Belize, inter-alia, the following two facts: firstly, the ongoing development of a national agricultural policy; and secondly, the position of the Belize Grain Growers Association (BGGA) which the GoB’s current stand on Bio-Safety policy.

The Ecologist / By Oliver Tickell             July 9, 2014

 A scientific study that identified serious health impacts on rats fed on ‘Roundup ready’ GMO maize has been republished following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure. Now regulators must respond and review GMO and agro-chemical licenses, and licensing procedures.

A highly controversial paper by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues has been republished after a stringent peer review process.

The chronic toxicity study examines the health impacts on rats of eating a commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize, Monsanto’s NK603 glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.

The original study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) in September 2012, found severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances in rats fed the GM maize and low levels of Roundup that are below those permitted in drinking water in the EU.

However it was retracted by the editor-in-chief of the Journal in November 2013 after a sustained campaign of criticism and defamation by pro-GMO scientists.

Toxic effects were found from the GM maize tested alone, as well as from Roundup tested alone and together with the maize. Additional unexpected findings were higher rates of large tumours and mortality in most treatment groups.

Criticisms addressed in the new version

Now the study has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe. The republished version contains extra material addressing criticisms of the original publication. Continue reading “Major Study: Monsanto GMO Corn Can Cause Damage to Liver and Kidneys”

Trade Watch

CE Logo 2013

Branding: The Key Pillar to Success

When creating a brand identity, you’ll want to establish defined guidelines that cover all of the following elements such as name, colors, logo, fonts, design imagery, or a combination to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers from those of other sellers.

From a customer-relationship perspective, having a strong brand is obviously advantageous. Word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing as customers attest their satisfaction and promote the product/ service.. For instance, when Belizeans think of hot sauce, they think of Marie Sharp’s Pepper Sauce. You want to have that kind of immediate, definitive relationship with your buyers as well. At the mentioning of a product customers can identify a brand that meets their stands out in the market.

To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your business at every point of public contact. If there’s some other branding characteristic you feel is necessary to define your business, go ahead and add it to your brand guidelines documentation.  The worst thing you could do is to avoid creating these important documents altogether.  Without them, your branding efforts will lack the consistency and direction needed for success.

When initiating the branding process, it can be tempting to add more variables than you truly need.  Clean, simple elements are more likely to be recognized and remembered by consumers, so steer clear of overcomplicating your company’s branded elements.

As mentioned above, part of good branding is establishing a set of guidelines that dictate how you control your company’s image in public — and social media shouldn’t be excluded from this process. A good social brand guidelines document will include specifications on all of the following, among others that may be relevant to your business:

  • Who is responsible for updating your social profiles
  • How frequently your social profiles will be updated
  • What types of content you’ll post about
  • How you’ll use imagery in your posts
  • What type of “voice” you’ll use when posting- does not refer to recording but the overall tone used to convey the message.

The objectives that a good brand will achieve include: delivering the right message clearly, building customer loyalty, connecting and understanding your target audience. Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.

A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for attracting and retaining customers intensifies on a daily basis. It’s important to dedicate your marketing efforts to researching, defining, and building your brand as it resides within the hearts and minds of all stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions.


Expression of Interest Notice – Dominicana Moda 2014


CE Logo 2013

Notice for CARIFORUM Fashion Firms


Invitation to participate in Dominicana Moda 2014


October 20-25, 2014


Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) will be collaborating in the organization of Dominicana Moda 2014 (DM2014) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Caribbean Export is highly committed to the development of the Fashion sector in the Region and seeks to enable opportunities such as these to engage relevant stakeholders and foster sector-wide integration. This collaborative effort will provide a great opportunity for emerging and established fashion designers in the Caribbean to expose their vision at a regional and international stage, thus positioning the Caribbean as an international go-to location for Fashion design and ingenuity.


In the past 9 years, Dominicana Moda has grown to be the official Fashion Week of the Dominican Republic thus the most important platform for the Fashion Industry. Throughout its history it has certainly become the fastest growing runway show in the Latin American region.


Dominicana Moda is a yearly event for around 6 days of continuous runway shows where the best brands and designers come together. Major fashion houses have participated in the past, and this year it will surely continue to grow. Continue reading “Expression of Interest Notice – Dominicana Moda 2014”

Call for Proposals

Caribbean Export officially announces results of the Call for Proposals for both the Accelerated and Regular Procedures grant facilities that was published on the January 17, 2014.

Accumulated Amount Awarded EURO 143, 578.49


Accumulated Amount Awarded EURO 2,849,708.20

Continue reading “Call for Proposals”

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