UK Minister David Rutley Wraps Up Belize Visit, Strengthening Bilateral Ties
Today, after spending three days in the Jewel, the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Americas and the Caribbean, Member of Parliament David Rutley departed Belize. The British parliamentarian was on an official visit geared at bolstering the bilateral ties between both countries. During his visit, Rutley met with key government officials, including Prime Minister John Briceno, to discuss collaborative efforts in citizen security, climate change, and infrastructural development. Prior to his departure, the media met up with Rutley at the Philip Goldson Airport (PGIA) where he shared his experience in the country, and discussed the importance of strengthening the UK’s relationship with Belize.
David Rutley, UK Minister – Americas and the Caribbean: “We haven’t so far in this conversation talked about trade and investment, but there was a very important investment summit that took place recently. We talked to the Prime Minister about that. That focused a lot on the creative sectors. The UK’s got some outstanding creative businesses and there’s real creative talent here in Belize so we need to get better connections going there as to how we can help support the orange economy. But I think there’s also opportunities around what we can do with agriculture and agritech and many other sectors as well. So that’s the dimension on trade. We’ve talked a lot about climate. Absolutely there’s a huge, huge agenda to take forward. And look, I’ve been surprised with the warmth of the welcome, the amazing people here, the fantastic food, the amazing countryside. We need to find ways of helping to get the word out about what for some people, not me anymore, is a best kept secret because more people need to be aware of the amazing things going on in this country. So, yeah, that’s helped me and I think that’s the thing, coming out of COVID, we need to and particularly with the geopolitical situation we find ourselves in now we need to keep close to our friends. But the way you build those friendships is people to people, virtual meeting. And that’s why I think the foreign minister is doing a really important job getting out, speaking out for Belize. That’s why we’ve had so many meetings in London, in CARICOM, wherever it might be. We keep that dialogue moving forward and that’s where we want it to be. So it’s been enormously positive. I just need to figure out when I can get back again soon.”
Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay, was among the list of officials who met with Rutley. According to Courtenay, he was able to submit a list of requests to the UK Government on behalf of Belize. While he was unable to go into details of that list, he did say that the visit is surely to result in the materialization of several projects.
Eamon Courtenay, Senator for Government Business: “Some of the things that we have requested are things that we can’t make public. We have charged them with further assistance. I won’t go into the specifics, with respect to the Belize Defense Force, with respect to the World Bank, with respect to access to financing. We sought clarification on the question of migration and immigration. So there are specific things that we are cooperating on that we, Belize Guatemala issue, that we are seeking the support of the government of the United Kingdom. We work closely on them but there are things, unfortunately, by the nature of our business we can’t say, this is what we are cooperating on then everybody knows, hello we can see your plan. So to be frank, we are very satisfied with the visit. Minister Rutley complained my list of requests but I hope he will deliver.”