AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
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Whale Sharks Damaged in Gulf Oil Spill
A US newspaper article last week reported that Scientists discovered one of the largest aggregations of whale sharks ever sighted in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. But in this week's report in that same newspaper - the news went from encouraging to depressing - as three whale sharks were sighted swimming in heavy oil only four miles from the gushing Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Biologists predict that the oil is going to be sticking to these whale sharks gills and other parts of their bodies.
Now, these could be the same whale sharks that travel through the Gulf of Mexico in migratory routes to Belize and other Central American countries. Today Seven News caught up with Melanie McField who is the Director of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative and according to her even though we are not directly being affected by the major oil spill in the Gulf, there might be some concerns for some of our wildlife here in Belize. :...
Melanie McField, Director - Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative
"There was an article on the internet today where there were showing actually some whale sharks that were headed towards the oil spill or maybe it was actually in the oil, I haven't seen the video but the point is those whale sharks that are in the gulf, the population seems to be move around, they spotted sharks in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida and I believe Alabama or Mississippi where it's the same sharks that we see here in Belize. It is affecting us even though it's not actually the oil is making its way down here and it is affecting some of the wildlife that we have in Belize."
"How are these sharks being affected, they are actually swimming in these areas. What does that mean?"
"The whale sharks remember they feed on planktons so they are different that most sharks. They open their mouth and skim through plankton and they get trap in there gills and they eat it so the gills would be the part that really gets rake over and that's where you got you exchange of oxygen. They are probably be affected more by clogging of their gills and probably suffocation. The thing is we will never know how many died because sharks unlike other marine mammals when they die they sink. So they die at the bottom of the gulf and no one will ever know, we will never be able to count how many die."
Whale sharks are the largest fish on earth and feed by filtering plankton and tiny fish from the water through a sieve like mechanism in their mouths.....
Disaster Management Training
Over twenty participants took part in a five day training called "Disaster Management and SPHERE guidelines. The purpose of the training is to facilitate participants with the knowledge to respond to disasters. Some of the topics that were discussed include Red Cross Emergency Support Structures and Coordination Mechanisms, Belize National Disaster Management System and the roles of the Belize Red Cross, Climate Change, Water and Sanitation and Health in Disasters. This training is a part of an ongoing Community Disaster Preparedness Program implemented by the Belize Red Cross and today it wrapped up as certificates were given to participants.
Arturo Vasquez, Chairman - Disaster Management Committee - BRC
"It's very intense, mainly there on the spare project. Spare project meaning it's a manual that was compile in 2004 by over 80 organizations, over 4,000 people of different expertise including the Red Cross and UNICEF, USAID, World Health Organization, you name it the different organizations that have to do with response to disaster and preparedness for hurricanes and other disasters. The SPHERE really is a manual that compile all these expertise into how you address the issue of water and sanitation, food, shelter security, that type of things. That's really what the 5 days training was all about. The purpose really was to introduce the sphere or at least train specific people on the SPHERE project because again the SPHERE project is a reference manual. Imagine that there are all different organizations throughout the world and whenever there is a disaster people come with their own plans and their own ideas about how to approach and sometimes you have a overlap and you have that confusion and that type of thing. The idea of the SPHERE project really is to take all these organizations brings their minds see how you will address water and sanitation, see how you will address food, see how you will address shelter and sort of the manual is really an indicator with measurements for example in a shelter our approach will be let's see how many people can fit into this room. The manual will give you space where somebody should have enough space to be comfortable. We are all human beings we have that right even though we are in a disaster. We still have certain rights, certain rights of privacy, being a human being as such, that humanitarian part of things. The manual has guidance like that; it also has guidance about what should be the amount of calories per day that somebody should intake. It talks about can foods, how you mobilize food. it give you an idea about how far a water pipe should be from the disaster area. It's easy for you to identify and say listen we need to set up a camp here because the pipe is not far away, things like that. So the manual is really an indicator."
The training which was organized by the Belize Red Cross was financed by ECHO - The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Japanese Red Cross with the support of the Caribbean Regional Representation Office.
Lord Ashcroft Not Belize Bank Boss?
In all the corporate incarnations of Lord Michael Ashcroft, one fixity has been his domain over the Belize Bank - now named the British Caribbean Bank. But it turns out he doesn't even head that. According to an article in the Telegraph - a British newspaper - Ashcroft has formally declared to Parliament that he no longer heads the Belize-based bank. It was officially announced in the House Of Lords yesterday that Ashcroft had taken the decision to, quote, "stand down as chief executive of BCB Holdings Ltd."
He did it before the May general election in the UK but a spokesperson denied that the decision was tied to the "new requirement on MPs and peers to be domiciled and resident for tax purposes." And while that change has been made in the register at the House Of Lords in the UK, it seems that it hardly changes the perception locally where Ashcroft is known as the boss of the Belize Bank and regarded as the "moving hand" behind other corporate maneuvers.
WORKSHOP ON RULES OF ORIGIN TO BE HELD TODAY
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade together with the Customs and Excise Department will hold a workshop on Rules of Origin. Love News spoke with Denise Swan at the Directorate of Foreign Trade. Denise Swan; Directorate of Foreign Trade
This workshop intends to cover topics such as international agreements governing rules of origin, elements of the rules or origin, substantial transformation criteria, certificates of origin and verification. We will also cover rules or origin under the current Partial Scope Agreement between Belize and Guatemala. The workshop will be open to exporters and other key stakeholders and we feel that this workshop will be appreciated and be useful for everyone.
The workshop takes place this morning at the George Price Center in Belmopan beginning at eight o’clock.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
New dates have been set for Caye Caulker Lobster Fest due to the postponement as a result of Tropical Storm Alex The new dates are July 9 – 11, 2010
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