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Feb 25, 2019

News Five Reporters Take Top Prizes in Competition by the International Organization of Migration

News Five’s Andrea Polanco and Duane Moody clinched the first and second prizes in a competition by the International Organization of Migration. The results were released over the weekend by the I.O.M.  Andrea and Duane were among a number of reporters who attended a training programme by the I.O.M. and went on to submit stories on the issue of migration and its effects in Belize.  Andrea’s story took her to the Mennonite community in Spanish Lookout where she reached out to the first generation of Mennonite settlers capturing their contributions over the decades to present day Belize. Duane covered the processes of acquiring refugee status by the thousands who come to the country looking for a better and safer life. Here is a report by Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Over the weekend, media personnel, among other stakeholders who participated in an I.O.M. Real Journalism Training, were issued certificates of completion. It is part of the International Organization of Migration’s initiative of working with the media throughout the country to sensitize them on how to report on migration and its related topics.


Rene Chuc

Rene Chuc, Head of Office, IOM (Belize)

“It has two main objectives. One to certify and to hand over certificates to all the participants that joined us in this training that we carried on in January. And we are also recognizing two of our migrants. One from Belize who migrated to the U.S. and he will be sharing his story of how he integrated into the American society and he is still contributing to Belize. We are also looking at a migrant from the Philippines, who has emigrated to Belize and is also making significant contributions to the health sector in Belize.”


The initiative comes at a time when migration has been become an increasingly sensitive issue. Statistics show that one in every seven persons is a migrant. While they relocate for various reason—as economic migrants or fleeing their countries of origin seeking refuge—there are implications and complications. Head of the IOM Office in Belize, Rene Chuc says that it makes way for a migration policy in Belize that will see collaborative work with several government ministries and human rights agencies.


Rene Chuc

“This entire initiative comes well a time because we are working currently on a migration and development policy for Belize and this is an initiative that was requested by the Government of Belize. We thought that especially where we need to engage partners in the discussion of a policy that perhaps would indicate and facilitate migration in country, we need to bring on board for discussion with the media houses because at the end of the day, there’s gonna be many consultations that will be happening. So we want to ensure that the media first of all are sensitized on how they will be doing the reporting of the exact information that is going to be generated throughout this consultation or that is going to be happening throughout the consultation process. I.O.M. is committed to dignified, orderly and safe migration.”


Over fifty persons from across the media as well as public relations personnel from private and public sector organizations participated in the training. There was also an award competition among journalists from media houses countrywide. The idea was to create a story, print or video, that would encapsulate migration from a local perspective. There were many submissions and the results were announced at the ceremonies. Renee Trujillo from Love FM took third place while myself and Andrea Polanco captured second and first place winners respectively. C.E.O. of Great Belize Production/Channel Five, Amalia Mai, fully supported our participation especially so because of the regional and international implications.


Amalia Mai

Amalia Mai, C.E.O., Great Belize Production/Channel 5

“Channel Five is one of the companies in our region that most people in the Caribbean look up to for winning awards. Over the years, we have done extremely well there, so regionally our work is recognized as well. The competition from the I.O.M. was a national competition, but still had a lot of international implication in that it covered an issue that is not contained only to our region, only to Belize. It is an international issue. Right now in our region, I can think about the migrants that are travelling to the United States and what is happening to them as they make that journey. In Belize, migration started years and years ago, but we had had a policy during the time of the crisis of refugees in Central America that they were assimilated, integrated into our community. And as Andrea’s story pointed out, they have become the greatest economic contributors in what they do. I can think of the Mennonites producing all our vegetables, now going to so many…in the agro-productive sector basically. Your story featured on the process of being a refugee in Belize; of what it takes to achieve that status. So combined, I think the two stories did justice to what the International Organization on migration was looking out for us to learn. We have so many issues that we cover every day, but migration is an issue that we have to look at carefully.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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