Belize’s Foreign Minister meets with Dom. Rep. counterpart and SICA Sec. Gen.
Belize is currently the pro-tempore president of the Central American Integration System (SICA), after receiving the leadership from the Dominican Republic. As part of the first month of Belize’s leadership, several things have happened, including a discourse involving the Foreign Ministers of Belize and the Dominican Republic and the Secretary General of SICA. Following discussions among the three, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Dominican Republic, Roberto Álvarez Gil was asked about how the region can expand its options to create economic growth and stability. Minister Álvarez reiterated the need for more jobs.
Roberto Alvarez Gil, Foreign Minister, Dominican Republic: “First of all six months is a very short period of time. So what one is able to do in this particular case last six months from July 1 2022 to December 31 was basically create a certain level of stability within the institution. In other words strengthen the institutionality of the system. One way was by electing the Secretary General. The Secretariat had been without a leader for over a year so without having that in place someone who can actually carry out the mandates it’s very tough to be able to actually do anything. So that’s one aspect. Another one was to actually look internally at the institution itself SICA and make sense of it because it had grown over the years like grass weed in the sense that the number of institutions had been set up willy nilly here and there and we did not have any true understanding of the universe of SICA institutions so that was carried out and indeed we found out and consolidated a number of institutions. We found out that there are for example twenty eight different organs I don’t even remember how many secretariats but a large number of secretariats a total of I think about seventy eight different institutions, there had been over three hundred so a number of them were eliminated or consolidated. So this is setting the base for – and this is again the relaunching of the institution so that perhaps now we can start looking economic development comes from jobs, jobs, jobs, decent jobs, stable jobs and that is what we eventually have to create. Those are creating the conditions so that jobs will flow to the region.”
Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Trade, and Immigration, Senator Eamon Courtenay also explained that during Belize’s presidency, there will also be a particular focus on food security.
Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration: “Building on what was done by the Dominican Republic during our tenure and our PPT we hope to focus on the question of food security. One of the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is the massive interruption to the free flow of goods, the ability to trade when airports and seaports were just closed down and you had to rely primarily on what was available within your own borders. We have seen the impact of the war in Ukraine, Russia and Ukraine and to see the way that has had an impact on the cost of goods and indeed the cost of services. Shipping services have increased the costs have increased dramatically and so we want to take a look at the impact of COVID, Ukraine on the free flow of goods in the region and to devise strategies as how we can become more resilient in the event or when the next pandemic comes or when the next shock comes that disrupts the trade we need to be able to feed ourselves, to provide goods for services and to be as I said more resilient so we’ll be focusing on food security in our six months.”