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April 2015

Foreign Correspondent Banking Relationships


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Press Release

23 April 2015

Several large American and European banks have recently decided to cut ties with select institutions in small developing countries, a decision that appears to be correlated with the imposition of heavy regulatory fines for infractions associated with the recent global financial crisis and violations of geo-political embargoes. The new strategy of these institutions involves a reduction in the scope of global operations to minimize the probability of incurring further sanctions and fines, a process known as “de-risking”. This is the context within which Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited are losing foreign correspondent banking relationships.

The public is informed that Belize’s other domestic banks (ScotiaBank Belize Ltd., Atlantic Bank Ltd., First Caribbean International Bank Ltd. and Heritage Bank Ltd.), all of which are authorized by the Central Bank of Belize to deal in foreign exchange, have not been affected. The Central Bank has been working closely with the Bankers Association to manage the situation and to ensure that international banking services to the general public are not unduly hindered. The public is therefore advised that the aforementioned banks will continue to conduct foreign exchange transactions (including wire transfers, bank drafts, letters of credit and bank guarantees) and that Belize Bank Ltd. will be making its reserves of foreign exchange available to the Central Bank to ensure that the needs of its customers and that of the rest of the domestic system will be served. Belize Bank Ltd. has also provided an assurance that all its other banking services (including credit card issuance and merchant acquiring services) will be continuing as usual while it continues to seek ties with other foreign correspondent institutions.

The public should note that on a diplomatic level, the Belizean authorities and its regional partners are continuing to engage in discussions with the US authorities and financial institutions to draw attention to the potentially disruptive effects of the de-risking strategy of large banks on small, trade dependent economies. In the meanwhile, questions may be directed to the officials of their respective banks or to Mrs. Julia Perera, Deputy Director Foreign Exchange, Central Bank of Belize.

Office of the Governor T: (501) 223 6221 F: (501) 223 6222

Belize shrimp growers achieve ASC certification


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Five Belizean shrimp farms awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.

Utrecht, 22 April 2015 – Five Belize shrimp farms have been awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. The Belize Shrimp Grower Association members have achieved certification against the global science-based ASC Shrimp Standard as responsible and well-managed farms.

Member of the Belize Shrimp Growers Association, Alvin Henderson, describes Belize as a country of rich biodiversity with a stretch of mangrove belt along the coast that acts as a natural filtration system.

“The journey towards ASC certification has helped to highlight areas of our operations where we can make meaningful change with minimal financial resources. Sometimes all that is really required is a change of perspective,” Henderson explains. “We’re using less water on our farm through improving the way we manage water quality. And, by focusing on compliance, we uncovered that the water in the receiving body is of even better quality since our mangrove buffer acts as a biofilter.”

A responsible future for Belize shrimp aquaculture

“We want to continue with the process of improving our farms. Meeting the ASC standard has ensured an objective assessment of our farms and the marine environment through independent evaluation,” Henderson said.

Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO, said: “I congratulate the Belize Shrimp Growers Association members on their ASC certification, they should be very proud of their achievement.

“These farms have undergone a transparent, open and demanding assessment process – and through that have proven their responsible practices. The improvements they have made will make a difference for the future environmental sustainability of the region and to a community ethos of social responsibility.”

Sea Farms Ltd brings Belizean shrimp to the European market, Dominique Gautier, Technical Executive, Sea Farms, said: “This achievement is the demonstration that members of the Belize Shrimp Growers Association share a common foundation of core social, environmental and ethical values. ASC certification will help in developing a positive image of Belize as a trusted provenance in the marketplace and will open new commercial opportunities for Belizean shrimp.”

Support for responsible aquaculture

The farms worked with WWF Mesoamerican Reef program officer for aquaculture, Mauricio Mejia, to develop better management practices and reduce their environmental impacts.

“The dedication and collaboration of the shrimp farmers both in improving their farm
processes and meeting the social and community aspects of the standard have made a big
difference,” Mejia said.

“WWF calls upon other shrimp-producing countries in Latin America to take action and help their shrimp farmers achieve ASC certification.”

The Belize Shrimp Growers Association was provided with funding from the Compete Caribbean Program to audit the individual farms and prepare for ASC certification. Moreover, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) has supported the farmers with funds and technical assistance, such as training and research. The Compete Caribbean Program supports private sector development and competitiveness in 15 Caribbean countries, and is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Government of Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). IDH, an accelerator of sustainable market transformation, also supports farmers with access to lucrative international markets.

“Our farmers are very grateful for the invaluable contribution this funding and support has provided in assisting Belize’s shrimp industry in achieving ASC certification,” Henderson said. “While a few of our farms would have moved towards certification anyway, the support we received has accelerated the process of change in Belize.”

Measurably reducing adverse impacts

Following an independent assessment conducted by the conformity assessment body, Control Union, shrimp sourced from these farms is now eligible to carry the ASC logo.

Through ASC certification shrimp farms aim to measurably reduce adverse impacts on the environment and local community by preserving wetlands and mangroves; addressing the transfer of viruses and reducing disease; bringing cleaner water and ensuring the responsible use of water; ensuring the responsible use of feed; and addressing biodiversity issues.

Aqua Mar, Belize Aquaculture Ltd,. Cardelli Farms, Paradise Shrimp Farm, Royal Mayan, Tropical Aquaculture, Texmar and Beleuro.  Five received their certificates at the Show, but eight farms will be certified in all.

For more information on the Belize Shrimp Growers Association visit: http://www.belizeshrimpgrowers.org

Strengthening Belize’s Offshore Outsourcing Sector


Reference: NXCWG0898/BEL/2
Location: Belize
Closing date: 11th May 2015
Contract duration: 90 consultant days over the period June to December 2015

Budget: £36,000 in consultancy fees. Travel (economy), per diem and workshops will be covered separately.

Expected Project Outcome

A more diverse ITES sector in Belize providing more value added services, underpinned by effective quality control.

Key Performance Indicators:

Project deliverables produced within budget and on schedule.

Competencies

  • In depth knowledge of global and regional trends in ITES and offshore outsourcing  of services
  • International experience in market assessment, investment promotion and  development of standards for ITES and Outsourcing
  • A track record in delivering similar projects in developing countries.
  • A Masters degree in Economics, Business or equivalent, with at least 7 years relevant experience

How to apply

This invitation is open to consultants who are nationals of Commonwealth member countries; consulting firms; legally registered entities in Commonwealth jurisdictions. Consultants are invited to submit:

  • Proposals outlining the approach to the assignment and methodology (maximum 6 pages)
  • Workplan and budget
  • CVs of team members

Deadline for applications is 17:00 BST on 11 May 2015.

Apply as an organisation >>

Apply as an individual >>

– See more at: http://thecommonwealth.org/jobs/strengthening-belize%E2%80%99s-offshore-outsourcing-sector#sthash.o1Q2JY45.dpuf

Click below link to access the Terms of Reference.

http://http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/documents/vacancies/terms-of-service/termsofreference_37.pdf

International Delegation visits Madison-area centers of Innovation, technology


A foreign delegation featuring 47 government ministers from 28 countries spent Wednesday touring Madison-area centers of technology and entrepreneurship, starting with a tour of healthcare software giant Epic Systems Corp. in Verona and moving on to many examples of UW-Madison-related innovations.

“It’s an opportunity to show off the Madison region,” said Paul Jadin, president of the Madison Region Economic Partnership, which authored the application to include the area in the three-state exchange tour highlighting sectors such as agriculture, information technology and biomedical devices. “We want to show what we’re doing with respect to our partnerships in economic development, and also with respect to the extraordinary research and development going on at the university.”

Organized by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and other federal partners, the six-day exchange tour was to include 41 sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, with Wednesday’s Madison-area events being day four. Known as the third annual Americas Competitiveness Exchange Tour, the first two tours were last year in Mexico and the southeastern region of the United States.

In a phone interview Wednesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams said the exchange tours were an opportunity for delegates “to see first-hand on the ground” examples of successful innovations between government and private business, as well as plant seeds “to increase the prospect of trade and commerce” between the participating countries.

“Out of the sharing of ideas come actual, concrete actions and partnerships and investment opportunities,” Williams said.

Delegate Michael Singh, chief executive officer of the Ministry of Trade and Investments for the Belize government, said Wednesday before the Epic Systems program began that he hoped to hear ideas on the tour that would help his country create more jobs for the 70 percent of its population that’s now under the age of 25.

“We’ve got a mass of young people coming into the workforce,” Singh said, noting Belize was rich with natural resources but sparsely populated, with a small tax base and little practical experience in partnering government with academia and business to improve the economy.

So Singh said he relished the chance to see successful examples of such collaborations, singling out one he saw on last year’s tour of the U.S. Southeast, where he was impressed by the ability of government leaders in Greenville, South Carolina, to lure a large BMW plant, helping to revive the town’s depressed textiles-based economy in part by working with Clemson University to start a new slate of automotive engineering programs.

Buy NowMichel Singh, an officer in the Belize government’s Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection

Continue reading “International Delegation visits Madison-area centers of Innovation, technology”

Press Release: Change in the Price for LPG – April 2015


press release

To view the BBS Press Release on the change in price for LPG, kindly click on the link below.

Press Release – LPG Price Change 24-4-15

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