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Dec 17, 2014

SICA Summit Concludes In Placencia

All that was being said at simultaneous press conference held by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. At the close of the forty-fourth SICA Summit, Belize transferred the Pro-Tempore Chair to Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina. Except for Nicaragua and Costa Rica, five presidents from Central America and the Dominican Republic landed at Riverdale Airport, which was opened just for the occasion. News Five’s Isani Cayetano looks back at the summit.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The arrival of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez by executive jet at Riverdale this morning, one of at least five such disembarkations by leaders of various Central American nations, preceded a meeting of the SICA heads of state on Placencia.  The landings seemed rather unusual as, to the average motorist traversing the stretch of road; one wouldn’t notice that an international airport is being constructed behind the lip of pine trees.  A motorcade, led by several security details, both personal and state-assigned, would transport him to the Belize Ocean Club, a swanky resort in Maya Beach where the forty-fourth general assembly of the Central American Integration System would be held.

 

Along the circular driveway, B.D.F. personnel stood at attention, part of the official welcoming committee.  Following a call to order, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, for his part, gave an update on Belize’s headway in the regional integration process.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“With respect to Belize’s place in the economic integration process, I have great pleasure in announcing that we have requested a feasibility study to explore the possibility of becoming a member of SIECA.  Belize is expanding its trade with Guatemala, El Salvador and the rest of SICA, thereby already deepening this dimension of our interaction.  We are a part of the Central American isthmus, the pencil of God has no eraser and our geographic location dictates that our natural trading partners are right here in the sub region.  We also believe that our current membership of the Caribbean Community can be advantageous to our partners in both Central America and CARICOM.”

 

Elsewhere during his remarks, Prime Minister Barrow touched on a collaborative effort between the Central American Agriculture Council and SICA, hosted in Belize in mid-November.  The initiative is to identify and revitalize food production of the Garifuna people; develop community organization to manage the processes of regional security and identify and develop regional food chains.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“One example of taking advantage of what we have right here on the isthmus is the regional project called the production and promotion of local agro-industry for food security of the Garifuna peoples of Central America.  This initiative was launched in Belize through ECADERT and is being implemented through SICA for the benefit of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.  These small projects have a major impact on our communities, especially on poverty alleviation in rural areas and provides much needed uplift to the population’s directly affected.”

 

Today, the pro tem chairmanship of the regional organization would be conferred on Guatemala during the daylong gathering.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Today’s forty-fourth summit of SICA marks the culmination of Belize’s stewardship of the pro tempore presidency of our integration movement and it is now my duty to provided with a status report.  Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to be able to say that SICA is strong and that our efforts at building better economies, stronger democracies, healthier environments and inclusive societies continue to bear good fruit.  We proceed then to advance in our cause of creating a community of nation’s whose people live peaceful dignified lives where freedom, justice and liberty prevail.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

The Placencia declaration was adopted at the end of the summit. It deals with issues such as climate change, youths, the establishment of a regional customs union, exchanges with the European Union and other regional issues.

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