The 52nd Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System (SICA) was hosted by Belize. In a brief opening ceremony, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke of the achievements and challenges of the SICA while Belize held the sixth month position of President Pro Tempore. Prime Minister Barrow says that among the matters of focus was immigration.
Honorable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize: “During Belize’s PPT we have sought at ministerial level to intensify the regional search for concrete and comprehensive ways to address this fundamental migration issue. Indeed it is fair to say that the conundrum of how to manage and decrease these outflows of our people has this semesters discussions dominated across almost every single SICA institution. I know that our Secretariat is urgently following through on the mandate of our Ministers to examine the phenomenon in a solution driven manner and to represent an action plan to the summit of Presidents at an early future date.”
According to the Prime Minister, the gang violence fueled by organized trade in drug, arms and, increasingly, in humans compounded growth in member states. Adding to this is data that shows the Central American region as the most violent in world with a rate five times higher than the global average. He said this has also contributed to much of the migration out of the region.
Honorable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize: “Strengthening our regional response to crime and violence is therefore imperative if we are to provide the necessary citizen safety conditions for our peoples. Under the Belize PPT we have accordingly continued to work on the development plan of action to combat organized crime. We have also advanced the proposal from the Central American Democratic Security Index and the reinforced SICA, CARICOM Security Collaboration Structure.
Climate change was also a primary area of focus during Belize’s presidency. Prime Minister Barrow says they looked at both technical and political levels.
Honorable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize: “During our presidency we received a report on the work of all the institutions of our intergatiration system in tackling climate change and our region is poised to deliver a high level political message at the ongoing 24th conference of states parties of the UNFCCC. There is no point to the global acknowledgment of our region as among the most vulnerable if we will continue to be denied a proper share of the finance and resources necessary to combat that vulnerability.
Belize handed over the Presidency Pro Tempore of the SICA to Guatemala at the end of the session.