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Tuesday, January 27, 1998

Possible restrictions for gay cruise ship - Courtesy of B.C.B

An official of the Belize Tourism Ministry confirmed on Monday that some restrictions are likely for the visit on Sunday of a cruise ship with gay men, but declined to identify what those restrictions might be. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Dr. Victor Gonzales, also denied a report that the Belize government has cancelled the landing rights of the ship. According to the Caribbean News Agency, CANA, the ship Leeward, based in Miami, was originally scheduled to stop on Grand Cayman on Sunday but the government denied the ship landing permission after it learned the passengers were gay men. Tour organizers then changed the itinerary to Belize. Speaking to a Cayman Islands newspaper, Dr. Gonzales said: "There has been no change at this time from our previous position". That position is to allow the cruise ship to dock with attached conditions to the visit. The government has given the ship permission for a six-hour stopover and there has been no change to that authorization, he said. "As far as I've been informed, permission to land has not been rescinded" Gonzales said. No conditions have yet been announced by the government, he said. A government spokesperson for the Belize Information Service told CANA that those conditions could include where the ship will dock, where the men can go and what public displays they can engage in such as kissing and holding hands. According to the Belize Information Service, in order to accommodate the Leeward and its passengers, the government has suspended its own immigration law that prohibits gays, lesbians and prostitutes from entering the country as visitors or immigrants. Minister of Tourism Henry Young will be a guest on the BCB's morning mix this Friday.

New Taiwanese Ambassador presents credentials - Courtesy of B.C.B

The Ambassador of the Republic of China, Taiwan, his Excellency Kuo-Hsiung Shen, today presented his credential to the Governor-General, his Excellency, Sir Colville Young. According to the Belize Information Service, Ambassador Shen also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel in his Belmopan office as well as to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, David Gibson and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde. Belize established diplomatic relations with the Republic of China-Taiwan on October 11th, 1989.

"Spring Festival" begins tomorrow - Courtesy of B.C.B

The Chinese Lunar New Year popularly known as the "Spring Festival" begins tomorrow in Belize. Member of the Chinese community, David Tam, who was guest on the BCB's "Morning Mix", says that for Chinese people, this is the most important celebration of the year. During this time, the elders present gifts to children, families meet for dinner and people greet each other with expressions such as "congratulations and get rich quick" or "wishing you success and prosperity".

Motorcycle found in Haulover Creek - Courtesy of B.C.B

A motorcycle was found floating in the Haulover Creek near the Bel-China Bridge in Belize City this morning. Police say that about 8:30am this morning area residents alerted them to the discovery and the police retrieved the motorcycle from the water. There was no sign of its owner and the cycle, which is believed to have been stolen. It was taken to the Raccoon Street Police Station.

Civil Society Organization preparing draft - Courtesy of B.C.B

The second assembly of Civil Society Organization says a committee is preparing a draft of the people's agenda to be launched next month. The draft team met yesterday in Belmopan to finalize changes to the document that deals with Belize's most important concerns and their solutions from a non-partisan perspective. The Civil Society Steering Committee says the final version of the people's agenda will be presented at a special assembly on February 23rd in Belize City.