COMMERCE BIGHT PORT – THE UNRAVELING OF THE COMMERCE BIGHT DEAL

The long history of the once very-active and useful ‘Commerce Bight Port’ has seen many ups-&-downs over the years. The port is essentially a ‘Pier’ that juts out into the sea and a large swatch of land (approximately 8.5 acres) with a small building for an office and or a watchman.

The Commerce Bight Port was once a major port, for the 100s of tons of citrus and bananas that would be loaded onto ships that were bound for the U.S and European port cities. It was so busy back in the 1960s that a railroad linked to a rail system from orchards in the Stann Creek district would bring containers of product all the way to the end of the pier.

Commerce Bight Port – Pier, a train delivers fruit produce to a ship at the port 1960s
( image courtesy: National Archives Belize )
Commerce Bight Pier – Google Maps

Many years ago the location of the pier, which is approximately 1.5 miles south of Dangriga town, was chosen by foreign agricultural business prospectors because the location has natural deep-water characteristics that is perfect for ships to come very near to the shore. (ergo: No or very minor dredging is necessary)

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The recent revelations of a corrupt agreement made by the previous administration went to the Senate today and the most interesting motions of today’s Senate sitting (Friday June 4th.) was the motion to undo a $5,000 per/year ( or the equivalent of, $417 per month) lease of Commerce Bight Port to a company named ‘Recological’ which has no history of port operation.

On Friday May 28th. the business deal between the previous administration and Recological was made public at The House of Representatives.
An appeal to “Let’s Find Solutions”

One week later, On Friday June 4th. the ‘Motion’ was heard in the ‘Senate’,
The legal points made in the debate by Senator Osmany Salas points out that the first red-flag was that the deal violates the Finance & Audit Act. and the National Lands Act. He indicated that the matter may well end up in the courts. Based on the Finance and Audit Act the Government of Belize has a very strong case.

Former UDP Minister Edmond Castro shaking hands with Alan Gobie, the principal of Recological
Alan Gobie – Recological

Jobs & Opportunities

Earlier in May 2021 about 15 low wage labourers were seen at the site clearing bushes and shrubs on the compound. The workers were seen on camera in a news cast on Love News proclaiming their support for Recological and the need to earn a living. It is unclear if they were temporary workers or permanent employees.

The expansion and growth throughout the country will increase the amount of goods and exports that will need a port to handle the increase in shipping. Although agricultural produce are handled by the ‘Port of Big Creek’ some see tremendous opportunity in another port in the southern part of the country.


Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Saturday, June 5th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

Air Travel To & From Belize Ramping Up

COPA Airlines, one of the top airlines in Central America has resumed daily flights to Belize. The BTB (Belize’s Tourism Board) has been campaigning for air carriers to resume service while maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols. Today Tuesday June 2nd. a COPA Jet landed at the P.G.I.A this morning.

The company had announced back in late March 2021 that they would resume service to and from Belize’s P,G,I,A in June; so today was a welcomed arrival to stake-holders in the sector.

COPA Airlines operates in 75 cities and 31 countries throughout the Americas ( Central, and South America and the Caribbean).

One of the key conveniences that the airline has introduced to the region and especially for the Belize-Caribbean-Link is the benefit of traveling from Belize to certain Caribbean islands without having to travel through Miami.

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A company statement on its website said ,
“Starting in July, Copa Airlines will increase service to six destinations: Curaçao, Montego Bay, Mendoza, Recife, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa.”

“With these additional flights, Copa looks forward to fostering stronger business and commercial ties between these cities and the rest of the Americas.”

COPA Airlines began offering flights to Belize in December 2015. COPA Airlines is the largest Airlines servicing Central America and the Caribbean. with flights to 31 countries including US, Canada, South America and Europe.


Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Wednesday, June 2nd. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

NEWS FLASH > > >
Daily News Briefs From: Channel1Belize.com

Belize’s Supreme Court Goes Digital: What Are The Pro-&-Cons For The Public And Businesses

Belize’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals has launched a digital-court-document-filing system.

‘The APEX E-Filing System’ is for those 2 high courts only.
Channel1Belize.com attended the ‘Virtual Launch’ of the system VIA ZOOM; wherein presentations were made by several key members of the judiciary who explained that it will be a remarkable improvement over the old manual document process procedures that were used in the past.

The system enables Lawyers, Judges, Registrars and Legal clerks to file, examine and manage many documents that were previously done in a manual format, can know be done electronically.

The implementation of the APEX E-Filing Judicial Software system in various CCJ member nations was spearheaded by efforts of the ‘Caribbean Court of Justice’ (CCJ) to elevate courts within it’s member nations to migrate to a digital system that is more efficient and enables all within the judicial process of case management to access and file documents with the courts digitally.

Bevil Wooding Executive Director, APEX – HQ – Trinidad & Tobago

After doing some cursory research, Channel1Belize.com can inform you that the software is part of the CURIA Software suite and is used by several large judicial systems including the European Union Court of Justice

In 2017 the Caribbean Court of Justice began using the CURIA judicial document filing / case management system.

APEX is a Caribbean, non-profit organization based in Trinidad, and is headed by CEO Bevil Wooding.

With the implementation of the E-Filing system the ‘High-Courts’ will or should be able to manage cases more efficiently, which should result in savings of materials such paper and photocopying, a reduction in labor costs, and a noticeable reduction in time consumed by manual processes.

THE BIG BUSINESS OF SUGAR CANE – (Part 1)

Since they began milling ‘Sugar-Cane’ in February 2016 the SANTANDER sugar factory in the Cayo district has become a sprawling operation that is just 12 miles from the nations capital, Belmopan.

During today’s ‘Budget Debate’ at the House of Representatives the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Jose Mai indicated that in recent years some cane farmers had to let many tons of cane go rotted because the mill could not accept anymore cane and or they had reached the maximum capacity; for that reason the government recently made an arrangement with SANTANDER Group to mill 50,000 tons of cane.

According to the company the current capacity of the SANTANDER mill is 1.1 million metric tons , – but most of that milling capacity is dedicated to their farming operations.

A Santander employee stands near several large Industrial grade sugar cane harvesting machines. ( Cayo Belize )

(The arm extending at the front of the machines cuts off the top of the cane plant just before another cutter cuts the bottom and rotors guide the main stalk of the plant into a holding hopper )
Image courtesy: Research Gate dot net

The Business of Sugar & CARICOM

Channel1Belize.com (February 4th. 2021 ) The Business of SUGAR
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, Hon. Eamon Courtenay lead a Belize delegation to the 89th. Special Ministerial Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which is a part of CARICOM. The meeting focused on how CARICOM will establish a monitoring mechanism for all sugar importers
Continue Reading – GOB Statement

This is part 1 of a 3 part series of articles about the BIG BUSINESS OF SUGAR.
Upcoming topics in part 2 & 3
A. ASR / BSI and The Cane Farming Industry of Belize
B. How Cane Becomes Sugar
C. Regional Competition / Global Commodity
D. The Future Of Sugar Usage

E. Business Opportunities In The Sugar Industry
F. Power Generation (Bagasse & Ethanol )

Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Saturday, April 24th. 2021 – digitalbelize@gmail.com

EMAIL PHISHING SCAM ALERT ON OUTLOOK ACCOUNTS

Users of various email accounts such as OUTLOOK and others that are associated with Microsoft should be on the alert for a very well disguised phishing scam that is attempting to get information about your email account.

An email arrives in your inbox that appears to be from MICROSOFT, with Microsoft Logo and a return address that ends in .msn, The email states that your account will be deactivated if you do not verify your account within 24 hours. In the email is a button that says VERIFY, when you click on the button it goes to a website that ends in .so, – dot-so is the domain prefix for the country of Somalia.

WhatsApp SCAM Is Happening On All Mobile Networks

Digi advises all mobile customers to be aware of an existing WhatsApp scam. Scammers are targeting mobile phone customers on all of the local networks in Belize.

The SCAMMERS are technically savvy and are getting confidential information by you just replying to their request.

They pretend to be a friend and then ask for a 6-digit verification codes that they ‘accidentally’ sent to your mobile number. Please see sample of message sent below:

“Hello, I’m sorry, I accidentally sent you a 6-digit code by text message, can you give it to me? It’s urgent.”

Once you provide them with this 6-digit code, scammers are then able to sign into your WhatsApp account from another device and locking you out of your account. Scammers then use your WhatsApp account to request verification codes from members in your contact list. Those who fall victim are also locked out of their accounts.

Digi urges all mobile customers to remain vigilant and disregard any request to share your WhatsApp 6-digit verification code.

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Moody’s Downgrades Belize Credit Rating – Then Issues A Positive Opinion

On the 24th. of November the (country credit agency) Moody’s issued a ‘Rating Action’ on Belize and downgraded it from ‘Caa1’ to ‘Caa3’. – And, a day later, on November 25th. Moody’s issued a rating opinion of ‘Stable’.

The 1st. Rating Article on Nov. 24th. with a Heading of:
Moody’s downgrades Belize’s ratings to Caa3; changes outlook to stable

The 2nd. Opinion Article on Nov. 25th.
Credit Opinion: Government of Belize – Caa3 stable: Update following downgrade to Caa3, outlook stable

So what does that mean, first of all we must mention that there are 3 primary Country Credit rating agencies, all based in the United States. They are –

1. Standard & Poor’s.
2. Fitch.
3. Moody’s.

They issue rating reports about the ‘CREDITWORTHINESS’ of countries and large corporations, and those reports are considered to be an authoritative guiding post to investors and financial institutions, such as Foreign Banks, International Lending Institutions, Investors and large scale prospecting Developers.

So in ‘Layman’ terms they are saying that the country might be a little ‘HaaadPay’ if you lend Belize money , but the country is stable and may get better.

Some Recent History
The last time Moody’s issued a credit review statement on Belize was May of 2020 and since then it has issued several statements of news developments and or announcements.

August, 17th. 2020
Government of Belize: Bondholders agree to interest payment relief, but debt sustainability challenges remain

June, 30th. 2020
Moody’s announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Belize, Government of

May, 12th. 2020
Government of Belize – Caa1 negative: Update following downgrade to Caa1, outlook negative

According to the official chart above that is published by those credit rating companies, they are saying that ‘Default is Imminent’ meaning that they are sure it’s going to happen.

That of course is sad news for an authority to say that they are sure that the country of ‘Belize’ will not be able to pay past debts and money owed.

At least in the immediate future, which is the next 6-12 months.

Of the original $544-million US$ that Belize borrowed (1.088 -billion Bz$) it has repaid $580-million Bz$, ; with a balance of 810-million Bz$ still due and growing with interest.

The Origins Of The ‘SUPERBOND’ & How It Was Created
To get a good perspective on the origins of the ‘Belize Superbond’ you have to dig way back to 2005 and then the restructuring of many debts to make up what is known as the ‘Superbond’ for some insight we look back at an article in ‘Reuters’ – quote –

The bond, which comes due in 2038, came out of the restructuring of a previous note that itself was the consolidation of other debt in a 2007 restructuring. (Reporting by Paul Kilby; Editing by Marc Carnegie)

Belize has plenty to offer and plenty to build upon, it’s all a matter of who is in control of the ship, navigating through these rough seas, toward calm-waters and clear-skies of prosperity in the years ahead.

But to get there we will need money. It’s like needing fuel to get to another location so that you can make money when you get there.

Belize was considered to be under difficult financial pressures even before the COVID-19 Pandemic started, and although it could never be viewed as a blessing, the view from the government of Belize’s hilltop should be: this is an opportunity to ‘Borrow and Build‘ our way out of debt, over the next 5-10 years.

But who will lend money to a country that has those current credit rating. That’s the reason the pandemic is never a blessing, but a situation that has made it more viable to borrow in this climate.

There is clean ‘Un-corrupted’ lending institutions out there in the world, and the experience of the financial technicians of Belize is most important in presenting a borrowing plan to those institutions. – To shelve old and antiquated ideas of ‘Sovereign-Fiscal-Management methods and norms. But maintain management to get good quarterly results.

As the new government came into power with a ‘PLAN BELIZE’ mandate and a promise to work. – It sure will be a time to ‘WORK HARD’.

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Editors Notes:
URL Resources:
Belize’s Debt Restructuring – Working Paper IMF

Understanding the world around us is crucial to our national stability and our democracy.

Written & Compiled by: digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – digitalCaribbean.live Thursday, November 27th. 2020 – digitalbelize@gmail.com