Senators Debate on Belize/Guyana Relations

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Updated: December 1, 2016

During yesterday’s Senate meeting Senators ratified a framework agreement between the Government of Belize and the Government of Guyana. That agreement seeks to deepen the bilateral agreement between the two countries. This means that Senators were asked to give the go ahead for a legal framework to be created in order to encourage cooperation through trade, investment, tourism and other sectors. The motion was ratified but not before being debated by Senators Vanessa Retreage, Eamon Courtenay and Godwin Hulse.

VANESSA RETREAGE

“This is bilateral between two Caricom partners its the Treaty of Chaguaramas gives authority to this as I recall and this is really two sister countries within CARICOM agreeing on certain things which cannot be greater than what the treaty prescribes and it is no less but it kind of selects it out between two sister CARICOM countries.”

EAMON COURTENAY

“I do not understand what the government of Belize and the government of Guatemala are doing. We have a revised treaty of Chaguaramas, a treaty that all members of Caricom are parties to, a treaty that covers all the areas in this so called framework agreement. Whether it be trade and investment, tourism, energy, marine affairs , education, agriculture , sports, culture, security, youth affairs and other areas of mutual interest they are all covered by the council of finance and planning, the council for trade and economic development, the council for human and social development. I have the treaty here with me and it is all covered. I am signaling dangers. Guyana is a more developed country, Belize is a lesser developed country, the structure of the revised treaty with which you madam president and Senator Hulse are very familiar with provides special and differential treatment for least developed countries like Belize visa vie more developed countries like Guyana. Is this framework agreement attempting to treat us as if we are on the same level within the CARICOM framework and thereby conceding the CARICOM framework, and thereby conceding the special and differential treatment that we in Belize are entitled to?”

GODWIN HULSE

“The signing of this agreement for the deepening of bilateral cooperation is not contrary to any way to the treaty of Chaguaramas firstly. Secondly it does not erode any right that Belize has as an LDC under that treaty and neither does it grant to Guyana any more rights than it currently has as an MDC under that treaty. This is simply an agreement which sets the framework for deeper cooperation between two countries who currently are members of CARICOM and that is simply what it is.”

The next Senate meeting is on December 15.