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Feb 13, 2002

Cabinet to computerise birth records

Four months after the passage of Hurricane Iris, the rebuilding work continues in Southern Belize. During Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, it was reported that over five hundred houses have been built in the Toledo District, while another three hundred and ninety-two shelter homes have been constructed in both the Toledo and Stann Creek districts. These homes, designed with either wooden or concrete posts, galvanised roofs and wooden frames, are handed over to homeowners who then have the responsibility to complete the building by putting in the flooring, walls, windows and doors.

During yesterday’s meeting, the performance of the Development Finance Corporation’s concessionary student loan programme for the period of 1998 to 2001 was also reviewed. Within that time, two thousand students received funds to pursue higher education at home and abroad. In 2001 alone, four hundred and five loans totalling almost five million dollars was approved. Cabinet has directed D.F.C. to concentrate on extending loans to students taking advantage of local educational programmes offered by the University of Belize. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been directed to identify scholarships available at foreign institutions and publicise them in order to allow qualified Belizean students to apply.

Cabinet has also decided to computerise the birth records of the Vital Statistics Unit. Over six thousand records are produced each month and the computerised system will allow for easy interaction with the Immigration Department, Election and Boundaries Commission, Ministry of Health, Social Security Board and other authorised users of the database. It is expected that the electronic storage and retrieval system will be extended to the districts. On Thursday, Cabinet will meet to hold a preliminary discussion on budget proposals for the fiscal year April first 2002 to March thirty-first 2003.

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