Photo & Video Gallery from the
2019 Belize National Research Conference
April 3-4, 2019 | University of Belize Auditorium
The relationship between math anxiety and math self efficacy by Osvaldo Cantun and Priscilla LopezOsvaldo Cantun and Dr. Priscilla Lopez presents "The Relationship between Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Self Efficacy among Junior College Students in Belize, Central America" at the Belize National Research Symposium, 2019.
This research examined relationship between Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Self Efficacy among Junior College students in Belize Central America. The convenience sample of sixty-seven (67) included 6 who were majoring in Mathematics, 30 in Information Technology and 31 in Agribusiness. The data collection instrument included a modified version of the Math Self Efficacy and Anxiety Questionnaire (MSEAQ) by May (2009). One Way Anova test alpha of 0.05 was used to identify significance difference among the scores of Math Self Efficacy and Math Anxiety independently. A p-value of 0.108 revealed no significance difference among the three groups of students in their Math ...Self Efficacy scores. The scores of Math Anxiety and Math Self Efficacy were compared for difference using an Independent T-test (alpha 0.05) and Pearson Moment Correlation test (alpha 0.05) was used to find the existence of a possible relationship between the two. A p-value of 0.00023 obtained from the T-test indicated a significance difference between Math Anxiety and Math Self Efficacy which revealed that mathematics is therefore having different effects on Math Anxiety and Math Self Efficacy among Junior College students. A Pearson r value of -0.779 from the Pearson Moment Correlation test illustrated negative correlation between Math Anxiety and Math Self Efficacy scores. A p-value of 7.99E-15 indicate that the higher the Math Anxiety, the lower the Math Self Efficacy. The opposite is also true, the higher the Math Self Efficacy, the lower the Math Anxiety. These findings suggest that teachers are very influential in both Math Anxiety and Math Self Efficacy.
Belizeans should produce contemporary literature using the Standardized Kriol Lexicon by Ivory KellyIvory Kelly presents "The Belize Kriol Imperative: Why Belizean Writers should Produce Contemporary Literature using the Standardized Kriol Lexion, and Strategies for doing so" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Although Kriol is Belize's lingua franca and a standardized lexicon and dictionary have been available since 2007, so far only a paltry amount of serious literary works has been published in Kriol. In this paper I outline some of the compelling reasons why Belizeans should produce contemporary literature in Kriol and why Kriol should be elevated to a written national language. I demonstrate that it is now quite possible for writers to produce Kriol literature of the highest contemporary standards—literary works that tackle modern-day problems and appeal to readers of even the most cosmopolitan tastes. Furthermore, I share some of the choices I made and strategies I utilized in translating into Belize Kriol a contemporary short story I originally wrote in English. Finally, the paper outlines related questions or areas of research that might be pursued by linguists and other scholars.
Developing an ethical framework for research with Indigenous by Andrew Hatala and Lucia EllisDr. Andrew Hatala and Lucia Ellis presents "Developing an Ethical Framework for Research with Indigenous Peoples: Challenges and Opportunities" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
There is a rich history of socio-cultural research about the diverse Indigenous peoples of Belize. Over the years, many Maya and Garifuna communities and local organizations have developed their own protocols for research. These processes, however, are often limited in scope and reflective of one or two communities that may be involved in particular research studies. Currently, there are no national frameworks for engaging with Belizean Indigenous peoples in ethical research processes despite recommendations for this from International agencies and neighbouring Central American countries. During this presentation we will draw on several years of research engagement with Indigenous peoples in Belize and Canada, including current ethical guidelines and frameworks that may exist, to offer some insights and principles for consideration regarding the development of a national ethical framework for research with Indigenous peoples and communities in Belize.
An examination of the effects of class size on teachers by Melissa EspatMelissa Espat presents "An Examination of the Effects of Class Size on Teachers in Relation to the Economic Reform Policy" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
In 2011, the Ministry of Education implemented the Education Finance Reform in hopes of catering education to all students in Belize. The ministry is committed to accomplishing its goals of providing “an affordable high school within reach of all Belizean children with the view that it will lead to increased enrollment rates, lower dropout rates and act to mitigate crime, violence and poverty” (Ministry of Education, 2011). With the reform, however, the demands for government funds suggests that schools will be challenged to meet the high demands for enrollment; while government-aided schools will experience an increase in the enrollment population, and some public schools (fully Government funded) may experience a fall in their enrollment. The change in population will determine the means and strategies that teachers use in order to cover their curriculum. The change in population also creates a new look into how disciplinary problems are catered to, and how special needs are met. This paper examines how class size has affected teacher performance as an outcome of the Economic Reform Policy.
Synergistic impact of thermal stress on corals by Matthew Hoch and Mark McNabDr. Matthew Hoch and Mark McNab presents "Synergistic Impact of Thermal Stress and Macroalgal Organic Exudates on the Microbiome of Porites Astreoides (Mustard Hill Coral)" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Coral reefs are some of the most biological diverse and economically valuable ecosystems in the world1. Nevertheless, reef building corals are in rapid decline globally due to multiple human induced stressors, including sea surface temperature rise due to climate change and excessive macroalgal cover due to cultural eutrophication and overfishing2. Resiliency of corals to thermal stress may relate to the composition of their microbiome5. However, organic exudates from reef macroalgae can drive deleterious changes in the microbiome of plankton and corals, favoring copiotrophic pathogens3. A synergistic effect on microbiome structure and coral health is expected for corals stressed by high macroalgal exudate release and experiencing a thermal stress events. To test this, the microbiome and health of a cosmopolitan scleractinian coral, Porites astreoides, exposed to a short-term thermal stress event (4.9 ± 1.3 °C rise over 65 hours) in the presence or absence of organic exudates from either reef macroalgae, Dictyota sp. or Amphiroa sp. One pronounced response was the loss in relative abundance of the endosymbiotic bacterium Endozoicomonas sp. of the Gammaproteobacteria order Oceanospirillales in coral tissues, which was by 65% in thermal stress alone treatments, but by 96.5% when algal exudates was also present. However, the P. astreoides microbiome was not sensitive to organic exuades without thermal stress, as was seen for Pocillopora verrucosa microbiome4. Plankton communities also had significantly different compositions and bacterial abundance with algal exudate treatment. Shifts in plankton microbiome composition due to increasing algal cover and organic exudate release rates may predispose corals to greater sensitivity to thermal stress events due to climate change.
Management of the Belize River watershed A Bi national challenge and opportunity by Ed BolesDr. Ed Boles presents "Management of the Belize River Watershed– A Bi-national Challenge and Opportunity" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Driven by deterioration of the Belize River Watershed, largely through loss of riparian forests and wetlands due to inappropriate and unsustainable agricultural development, several watershed-scale efforts have occurred through the past few decades to assess these impacts and ultimately develop a consensus management plan to guide development and land use. An atlas of the watershed has been developed to provide information to community members through Friends for Conservation and Development. During the early days of these initiatives, including human impact mapping of the Chiquibul and Mopan Rivers, Guatemalan counterparts were involved. More recently a modeling team from Guatemala developed a modeling project that informed a University of Belize team. That team in turn conducted human impact mapping exercise within the Belize portion of the watershed, developed a draft watershed management plan, and proposed a community-based outreach and consultation process, all funded through the World Wildlife Fund. Based on a review of available documents and interviews of involved experts, the recent history of conservation initiatives in the Belize River Watershed is summarized, the current state of the system described, immediate and intermediate research and action needs identified, and opportunities for deeper collaboration among Guatemalan and Belizean government and non-government working groups in this bi-national watershed proposed as a way forward.
Energy for Belize Sustainable and secure by Deon Kelly and Gary WolfDeon Kelly and Gary Wolf presents "Energy for Belize– Sustainable and Secure" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Secure, reliable, abundant energy resources are vital for developing nations in the 21st century, and with heightened understanding of the need for resilience, solar energy should be in Belize’s future. Renewable energy is already replacing fossil fuels worldwide, and solar is the fastest-growing means of generation. But in Belize, development of solar, wind and energy storage has barely begun. A study of past efforts and current policies relates sustainable energy to the needs of the nation generally, and specifically how broadening the energy mix can provide resilience to impacts from nature,…
4:45 p.m.—5:05 p.m.
James Stinson, Ph.D. and Filiberto Penados, Ph.D.
De-Colonizing Bio-Politics: Securing the Right to “Life” and Articulating Maya Futures in Southern Belize
This paper argues that contemporary struggles between indigenous peoples and states can be usefully interpreted as bio-political struggles over the meaning of development and the right to “life.” Michel Foucault (2003) developed his concepts of biopower/bio-politics to describe the historical transformation in eighteenth century Europe through which the role of the state shifted from a focus on securing borders (sovereignty) toward efforts to secure the life and vitality of the population (biopower). In the words of Foucault, the sovereign right “to take life or let live” came to be complemented by the right to “make live or let die” (Foucault 2003: 241). Studies of international development have widely applied this framework to analyze the dynamics of development projects around the world (e.g. Li 2007; Powell 2006). This paper highlights the cultural politics of biopower by examining Maya-State conflicts over the meaning and effects of “development” in southern Belize. A central tenant of the Maya Movement has been that conventional approaches to development have not worked to secure the well-being of Maya peoples, but have served to threaten and undermine their right to life. In response, Maya people have articulated an alternative bio-political vision that emphasizes Maya assets, collective wellbeing, an intercultural economy, self-determination and respectful relations between the state and indigenous leaders. Interpreting the vision of the Maya Movement as example of an “indigenous bio-politics” highlights the need to de-colonize not just development, but the academic terms and frameworks used to analyze development interventions and their effects such as hurricanes and drought. This paper provides an overview of the history of renewables development in Belize as well as the current state of and obstacles to deployment, and to meeting the rising demand further national development will bring. The benefits of solar energy are described with a focus on sustainability and security. Distributed generation, including small utility-scale solar farms and commercial self-consumption systems, lessens the burden on grid transmission and distribution, reducing risk to the power supply and easing recovery from disasters. Profiles for modeling include Belize’s new rural solar microgrids, where utility grid penetration is difficult or costly, as well as efforts to eliminate generators and reliance on diesel fuel, particularly from island communities. Resilience suggestions include urban microgrids for protection of power to hospitals, military and emergency response facilities, and using solar energy to augment existing hydro assets for pumped energy storage.
The cultural impacts of the Sargassum Invasion by Siobhan McCollumSiobhan McCollum presents "Brown Tides and Broken Dreams: The Cultural Impacts of the Sargassum Invasion" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
As if plastics and garbage on the shore didn’t interrupt the paradise beach imaginary enough, in 2015, unprecedented mounds of putrid, rotting algae blanketed the coast. The bands of sargassum seaweed troubled Belize, blooming and traveling throughout the Caribbean in massive, dense, tangled mats. Village elders couldn’t recall a comparable inundation. Waves deposited the vegetation on the foreshore, now described as brown, murky and “trashy; ” a stark contrast to the crystal waters of tourists’ expectations. It was as though a historical, miasma-laden tropical landscape of the pirates’ British Honduras settlement era was burying the coastline, recalling a time when malignant, dangerous vapours were imagined to emanate from the shore, wafting and rising in invisible clouds from the rot, the detritus and the mud. Drawing on ethnographic research, I trace how rotting seaweed gathers in smelly, slimy, spongy piles that prevent access to the water and disrupt tourism’s promise of experiencing a “pristine” environment, thus eliciting tourist complaints and reservation cancellations based on claims of misleading advertising. I also examine Garifuna perceptions of the proliferating sargassum, ranging from natural cycles of the sea to dangerous “impenetrable clumps” producing an “unbearable stench” and “choking” marine animals. Discourses of “invasion” and “smothering” animate narratives of the seagrass’s interruptions to the normal flow of village life, evoking villagers’ unease about an encroaching, out-of-control nature capable breaching any nature/culture divide. Detailed anthropological analysis of these local responses to the sargassum reveal the anxieties about environmental change and the possibilities and threats of climate change.
Selective Governance practices, Belize's greatest security Threat by Frank Edward Paco SmithFrank Edward Paco Smith presents "The Enemy Within: Selective Governance Practices, Belize’s Greatest Security Threat" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Threats to Belize’s security are often conceptualized and cast as emanating from external elements. Indeed, with the looming existential threat of Guatemala and its unfounded claim to our sovereign territory, on the surface the aforementioned is par for the course. Yet, when considering the realities associated with the many challenges to Belize’s wellbeing, an entirely different and plausible argument can be put forth. This paper advances the viewpoint that Belize’s greatest security threat, in actuality, stems from internal concerns deriving from the “Enemy from Within”; that being the employ of selective governance practices that essentially set the stage for systemic and endemic corruption which spans political lines. This unfortunate, yet persistent perversion of good governance is characteristic of precisely how Belize continues to be administered. Hence this fundamental, qualitative, analytical research shall employ case studies to explore the extent to which the negative impact of such intentional dysfunction transcend a range of areas critical to Belize’s overall interests including, but not limited to: National and Citizen Security, Diplomacy and Sovereignty, the Economy and a myriad of inputs encompassing Sustainable Development. In addition, it delves into how this reality has manifest into the bipartisan decision to sign the Special Agreement/Compromis in 2008 and the subsequent push for a “yes” vote on the impending Referendum, despite the inherent risks of such efforts.
Law, violence, and competing socio-natures in Southern Belize by Laurie Kroshus MedinaDr. Laurie Kroshus Medina presents "Territorializing Claims: Law Violence, and Competing Socio-natures in Southern Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Taking a performative approach to sovereignty, this paper analyzes the practices through which Belizean and Guatemalan actors produce territorialized nation-states with competing claims to southern Belize. While the Guatemalan state has relied on violence or the threat of violence by its military along the southern border, the Belizean state has avoided military responses, enacting sovereignty through actions that are less visible. Thus, citizen organizations have shouldered the task of publically performing Belizean sovereignty, travelling to Belize’s borders to mark the territorial existence of Belize. However, without the threat of military violence to back their actions, the sovereignty performed by citizens is vulnerable. Recognizing that Mopan and Q’eqchi’ communities have won legal recognition for their land rights in southern Belize, the analysis also explores how Mopan and Kekchi rights to “lands and territories” interrupt or intersect with states’ efforts to manifest their territorial claims. Conversely, the paper also explores how state performances of sovereignty complicate Maya communities’ efforts to implement their rights via the practice of customary tenure. The paper is based on analysis of Belizean news coverage of Belize-Guatemala relations over the last 2 decades and all court decisions in the Maya lands cases.
Recovering identity and building citizenship by Harry Jonathan Domingues BarbosaHarry Jonathan Domingues Barbosa presents "Recovering Identity and Building Citizenship: The Case of the Urban Creoles of Belize City" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
After 36 years of gaining independence from England, Belize has undergone various political, economic and social changes, characteristic of a young and ethnically polarized nation. Afterward the construction of Belmopan, socio-cultural phenomena such as violence and marginalization appeared in the old capital; context that, fueled by the external cultural influences of American television, emigration and regional drug trafficking contributed to the formation of conflict groups (gangs). Nowadays, the criminalization of the Afro-descendant Creole population is frequent, mainly that which lives in marginalized communities. How have these phenomena affected Belize City? and What disadvantages face the population that lives in the poorest spaces of the city? In this paper I answer the questions posed, showing the findings of an anthropological research conducted in different volatile communities of Belize City and showing the actions undertaken by organized Creole citizenship to solve the aforementioned problems.
De Colonizing Bio Politics by James Stinson and Filiberto PenadosDr. James Stinson and Dr. Filiberto Penados presents "De-Colonizing Bio-Politics: Securing the Right to “Life” and Articulating Maya Futures in Southern Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
This paper argues that contemporary struggles between indigenous peoples and states can be usefully interpreted as bio-political struggles over the meaning of development and the right to “life.” Michel Foucault (2003) developed his concepts of biopower/bio-politics to describe the historical transformation in eighteenth century Europe through which the role of the state shifted from a focus on securing borders (sovereignty) toward efforts to secure the life and vitality of the population (biopower). In the words of Foucault, the sovereign right “to take life or let live” came to be complemented by the right to “make live or let die” (Foucault 2003: 241). Studies of international development have widely applied this framework to analyze the dynamics of development projects around the world (e.g. Li 2007; Powell 2006). This paper highlights the cultural politics of biopower by examining Maya-State conflicts over the meaning and effects of “development” in southern Belize. A central tenant of the Maya Movement has been that conventional approaches to development have not worked to secure the well-being of Maya peoples, but have served to threaten and undermine their right to life. In response, Maya people have articulated an alternative bio-political vision that emphasizes Maya assets, collective wellbeing, an intercultural economy, self-determination and respectful relations between the state and indigenous leaders. Interpreting the vision of the Maya Movement as example of an “indigenous bio-politics” highlights the need to de-colonize not just development, but the academic terms and frameworks used to analyze development interventions and their effects.
An examination of the 2001 Wave Dancer Disaster through the lens of Safety Culture by Daniel MendezDaniel Mendez present "An Examination of the 2001 Wave Dancer Disaster through the Lens of Safety Culture" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
In 2001 the Wave Dancer, a live-aboard dive boat docked at the port of Big Creek in Belize, capsized during Hurricane Iris killing twenty persons. This disaster, considered to be the worst diving accident in history, was investigated by the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize to determine the determine the circumstances of this casualty in order to avoid similar incidents in the future. The aim of this study is to fill a gap in the safety literature in Belize through the application of safety culture, risk perception and risk communication theory in one coherent case study approach to understand why this type of accident occurs. The main research questions are: How did the corporate culture of Peter Hughes Diving Inc. affect the actions and decisions of the Wave Dancer’s captain? How did the risk perceptions of Hurricane Iris among guests and staff affect their decision-making? Why were the risk communications issued by the governments of Belize and the United States unable to prevent the capsizing of the Wave Dancer? The research questions were answered through an exploratory, qualitative case study leveraging grounded theory, thematic analysis and content analysis of the available data. The results indicated that poor safety culture was not the major causal factor of the accident, rather decision-making was directly affected by a performance-oriented corporate culture, inadequate company policies, weak corporate leadership and a poor understanding of storm phenomena. The research also discovered that although cognitive biases affected the guests’ decision to remain on-board the vessel during the storm, they did not have similar effects on the crew. Results further indicated that risk communications on Hurricane Iris did not effectively influence decisions as they were not consistently accessed and utilized.
Antibiotic resistance patterns of Pathogen Isolated from surgical site infectionsDr. Thippichetty Thiagarajan, Viola Tuyud, Diomar Salazar, Jesse Chun and Lorna Perez presents "Antibiotic Resistance Patterns of Pathogens Isolated from Surgical Site Infections at Public Health Facilities in Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Surgical site infections are amongst the leading cause of morbidity, mortality and cost due to increased hospital stay by patients. A study was conducted to understand antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of major pathogens isolated from surgical site infections in Belize. A study was conducted utilizing existing data for a nine-year period collected through the Belize Health Information System, Ministry of Health. Raw data from 2009 to 2017, was compiled and arranged and a detailed statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS and Microsoft-Excel. Descriptive analysis was conducted to extrapolate sensitivity patterns of isolates. From the 630 samples that were cultured only 50% (315) had pathogen growth. A single pathogen was isolated from 93.3% of the samples while multiple pathogens were isolated from 6.7% of samples. The most common pathogen was Staphylococcus aureus (31.1%), followed by Escherichia coli (17.6%), Klebsiella spp (13.5%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (9.7%) and Enterobacter spp. (6.45%). Aerobic Gram negative bacteria accounted for 58.1%, while aerobic Gram positive bacteria accounted for 38.4%. Cesarean procedures accounted for the highest number of infections with 28.3% while the age group most affected was between 20 - 29 years of age. Sixty-two percent of Staphylococcus aureus isolates were resistant to Erythromycin whereas all of Escherichia coli isolates (100%) were resistant to Erythromycin. The antimicrobial resistant patterns of the pathogens showed that more than 20% of all isolates were resistant to most antibiotics in all the years of the study with some isolates were seen ….multidrug resistant. More than 50% of all isolates during the study period showed resistance to erythromycin. Continuous surveillance of SSIs and compliance to regulations is essential and a reduction in antibiotic usage must be targeted as this will help to reduce the development of antibiotic resistance in pathogens.
Becoming Creole Nature and Race in Belize by Meliissa JohnsonDr. Melissa Johnson presents "Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
In this presentation, I will provide an overview of my book, Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize, published in 2018 by Rutgers University Press. The book makes four basic arguments. First, people become who they are in relationship with the more than human world in which they live. Second, these becomings are always already entangled in processes of racialization. Third, rural Creole Belizeans have crafted non-capitalist ecological and economic modes of being (Gibson-Graham 2011) since Creole culture first emerged in the 1700s in a place that itself was created through capitalism. Fourth, these becomings and relationships have been transnational since they were forged and continue to be so in today’s transnational landscapes of biodiversity conservation, ecotourism and migration. Based on almost 30-years of intimate ethnographic research (Waterston 2013) and connection to the communities of Lemonal and Crooked Tree, I use historical archives, traditional ethnographic methods of participant observation and interviewing and family stories to illustrate and support my arguments. I contend that these non-capitalist relations and becomings produce livity (Roberts 2014) and offer a pathway to follow in this moment of planetary catastrophe, a pathway that veers away from the destructive capacities of Man, the “figure of the human” critiqued by Sylvia Wynter (Wynter 2003).
Succouring an Ixtabai Zee Edgell's Deployment of Local Folklore by C. De Shield and G. PolancoDr. Christopher De Shield and Gerardo Polanco presents "‘Succouring an Ixtabai’: Zee Edgell’s Deployment of Local Folklore in the Festival of San Joaquin (1997)" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Of the novels in Zee Edgell’s oeuvre, her third—The Festival of San Joaquin—seems at once deeply representative and highly atypical. That is, while still treating Edgell’s recurring thematic and social concerns, the novel shrugs off the frank mimesis that characterizes her other works. Despite this novelty, Festival is relatively neglected in the critical literature. We make a claim that Edgell’s achievement in this particular novel is distinctive: her literary deployment of local folklore is unique. While folklore is often used in Belizean Literature, it is generally treated there in one of two ways: infantilised as ghost story—told expressly for fascinating children—or in novel retellings—for the preservation of tradition. In Festival of San Joaquin, Edgell deploys folkloric figures as an organizing motif; she offers a reworking of folklore that aspires toward recuperative ‘active myth’. Exploration of her work might reveal it as amenable to an indigenous archetypal criticism but such a criticism can only contribute to efforts at decolonization should it interrogate its own problematic adoption of folkloric figures whose indigenous origins have been obscured in the post-colonial era.
Food security and healthy lives through traditional ecological practices by Kristina BainesDr. Kristina Baines presents "Heritage in the Body: Food Security and Healthy Lives through Traditional Ecological Practices" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Change among indigenous communities has long been a focus of anthropological inquiry. This paper takes a phenomenological approach to explore ways in which traditional practices are linked to wellness through bodily practice at multiple levels of change- from economic and climate changes to those related to immigration and identity. Using ethnographic research in indigenous Maya and Garifuna communities in Belize and New York City, it considers how heritage can move across spatial and temporal boundaries through embodied experiences, and how this is linked to food security and health. In the context of changing environments, and changing conversations around what it means to be indigenous, the paper discusses how community members maintain healthy bodies and healthy lives through practice, and examines the relationships between food security, well-being and what they define as heritage practices as they incorporate them into the lived experiences of their daily lives.
Planetary Health and shifting ecologies of nutrition in Coastal Belize by Amy Moran ThomasDr. Amy Moran Thomas presents "Planetary Health” and Shifting Ecologies of Nutrition in Coastal Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
National Security through Science and Technology by Pedro Pablo RodriguezPedro Pablo Rodriguez presents "National Security through Science and Technology'' at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Land use in Northern Belize's sugar belt by Marcos OsorioMarcos Osorio presents "Land Use in Northern Belize’s Sugar Belt: Design of a Drainage Master Plan for the Sugar Industry" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Given the importance of the Sugar Industry to Belize’s macro economy, a study was undertaken to evaluate and support SIRDI’s capability to produce and manage GIS data, particularly topographic and hydrologic, in connection with watershed design and map production, and to design a drainage master plan over selected areas in the sugar belt in Northern Belize. The drainage master plan is intended to improve sugarcane cultivation practices and increase productivity, in parallel with the development of an integrated pests and diseases management strategy; as well as other major challenges such as land and water management, environment and sediments control, soil and topographical conditions. The drainage master plan identified three major watersheds within northern Belize to serve as outlets to the respective catchments and identified the need of secondary and tertiary drains using the Strahler method to set routing of the proposed drain lines and to mitigate impacts on production and improve land use and management. Finally, the cost to implement secondary and tertiary drainage system was estimated.
Sustainable tourism development and Socioeconomic Development in Belize by Osmond MartinezDr. Osmond Martinez presents "Sustainable Tourism Development: Implication for Poverty Alleviation and Socioeconomic Development in Belize" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Research has proven that tourism is a key economic sector, which serves as a mechanism to promote poverty alleviation through pro-poor tourism development activities within a nation. The real contribution of the tourism industry to the GDP in Belize increased from 1997 to 2017, growing at an average annual rate of 7.32%. The research supports the premise that tourism is a key job creating mechanism through which wealth can be created without requiring large investments. The research studies the extent in which tourism activities reduce poverty by increasing income through employment opportunities in a population that is socially and culturally impoverished in the country of Belize. The primary target group for the paper includes the local poor population, which was measured using the World Bank definition of poverty. A mix-method approach was used in which questionnaires were distributed to a representative sample of the local target group, and interviews were conducted with key stake-holders such as local government authorities, non-governmental organizations, accommodation representatives, and actors in the tourism value chain (fishing, agriculture and handicrafts at every level).
Exploring the relationship between Airbnb and hotel industry by Janelle Leslie and Giselle WaightJanelle Leslie and Giselle Waight presents "The Sharing Economy in Belize: Exploring the Relationship between Airbnb and the Hotel Industry" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Online accommodation platform, Airbnb, has revolutionized consumption in the hospitality industry, causing policymakers and stakeholders to question the impact of this innovation on the traditional accommodation industry. In Belize, increasing tourist arrivals but lower hotel occupancy rates have triggered an urgent interest in exploring the extent of Airbnb’s presence in the accommodation marketplace and the magnitude of the effect it is having on traditional hotels. This study uses spatial analysis techniques to conduct a location pattern analysis of Airbnb rentals and traditional hotels in Belize. Univariate and bivariate spatial autocorrelation revealed that there exists a close spatial relationship between Airbnb rentals and traditional hotels, with both categories of accommodations concentrated in main tourist areas. The impact of Airbnb listings on hotel revenue is then examined using a panel regression model with fixed effects. The findings reveal that overall Airbnb rentals have a positive but statistically insignificant effect on total hotel revenue. However, when disaggregated by quintile groups, the relationship differs and results indicate that Airbnb rentals tend to compete more directly with lower-end hotels. The outcome of this study has the potential to inform travelers, hoteliers, and policy makers about the macroeconomic impact of alternative accommodation facilities in Belize.
The Belize Guatemala Conundrum by George MyvettGeorge Myvett presents "The Belize—Guatemala Conundrum" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
The territorial dispute between Guatemala and Britain initially and subsequently between Guatemala and Belize over the territorial domain of the latter has been an intractable problem for many decades. After a range of interventions has been attempted including: negotiations, mediation, conciliation and facilitation – which have not yielded an satisfactory outcome in terms of resolving the dispute, the principals have committed to a judicial settlement, pending requisite approval from their respective citizenry. Guatemala has to date polled its citizens through a mutually agreed upon referendum, with the result in the affirmative to proceed to the ICJ. Belize has been in the process of mobilizing its citizenry for a referendum vote on said issue over the last year. This has been a highly emotive, contentious and controversial matter. In this context, this paper presents arguments for why Belize should not go the ICJ and makes recommendations on a way forward.
Iron Block Addressing incursions through Indigenous Land Appreciation by Eric NealEric Neal presents "Iron Block: Addressing Incursions through Indigenous Land Appreciation" at the Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
As the Government of Belize (GOB) collaborates with the Maya Leaders' Alliance (MLA) to address the growing security concerns of indigenous citizens, who live along the Belize-Guatemala border, it finds itself in a security dilemma. On one hand, GOB experiences significant resistance from those villagers, while on the other it must overlook those oppositions and collaborate with the affected villagers to mount an effective mechanism to combat the persistent increase in violent incursions from Guatemalan Campesinos, within affected areas. This paper serves to understand the tenets of Indigenous land appreciation and formulate feasible recommendations to inform the GOB on the possible avenues it can take to reinforce Indigenous autonomy, devise strategies that intricately use the strengths of both the classical and contemporary systems, while ultimately creating an Iron Block that promotes and maintains Belize’s national security.
Alternative for ICJ Judicial settlement of the Belize Guatemala territorial dispute by David GibsonAmbassador David Gibson presents "An Alternative for ICJ Judicial Settlement of the Belize Guatemala Territorial Dispute in the Event of NO Vote in the April 10th 2019 Referendum—Elements of a Strategy" at the Belize National Research Conference in 2019.
This outline policy guide is an attempt, in the event of the failure to obtain a Yes Vote in the 10th April 2019 national referendum, to identify relevant elements for an alternative legal strategy to the judicial settlement of Guatemala’s territorial dispute. This considers utilizing the advisory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as the relevant juridical medium for resolving the controversy. The research exercise examines the attendant issues to be considered including:
The appropriate diplomatic strategy and posture to be adopted by Belize;
The role of the United Nationals and the Organization of American;
Review of the status of the 2008 Special Agreement;
Guatemala’s likely disposition to pursuing the advisory option;
Steps to be taken by Belize where Guatemala declines such proposal;
Belize’s assessment of the legal arguments relating to the validity of the 1859 Boundary Convention under international treaty law;
Considerations for the legal question to be referred to the Court;
Consequential actions to be taken on confirmation of treaty validity;
A brief comment on the national management of the process.