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Mar 30, 2004

I.D.B. rep says farewell to Belize

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He landed in Belize just in time to meet the hurricanes and tropical storm that blew away not only homes, schools, and businesses, but also government’s economic plans. That Belize recovered so quickly was one achievement for which Hugo Souza, local representative of the Interamerican Development Bank, can claim no small measure of credit. On the eve of his departure, as well as retirement from the I.D.B., News 5 caught up with Souza and his wife Nibia doing one last tour of the city–and country–they have come to know and love.

Hugo Souza, I.D.B. Rep., Belize

“Well everything has to have an end. I came here three and a half years ago and I loved every moment of this. I went through an excellent period, we went through two hurricanes, Keith and Iris, and we did a lot of work in order to rebuild the country. We financed many projects, especially the tourism projects that were my pet projects with Allan Moore and Jaime Awe and the people from the Archaeology Department. So I think me and my wife, we enjoy very much this three and a half years, but we very early retirement age in the I.D.B., they want us to go home soon. It’s a policy of the bank and we have to go home. Not only am I leaving Belize, I’m leaving the bank at the same time.”

“It’s very important to continue in some areas that we already involve in. Tourism for instance, when we planned the tourism projects with Caracol and Xunantunich, we never expected one million people coming to Belize. We were expecting a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, three hundred thousand. The projections are incredible. We expected one cruise ship a day, in the last three months there were five cruise ships the same days, so these projects have to be expanded to accommodate more people, so the area in tourism is very important. The area of health is also… we have to continue supporting the government in health insurance. We know that it is going to be very difficult, very costly, very expensive, but that is an area that the Government of Belize want to do something about. I just mention two areas, tourism and health. For instance, the BAHA project has been very successful. BAHA now, the country is exporting shrimp to Europe, very important. So the entire agricultural project also has to be expanded or continued. Just three areas that my successor, not to re-invent the wheel, we did good things let’s continue”

Nibia Souza, Wife

“I would like to say thank you to the people of Belize because everybody has been so kind and so helpful. Because you have to understand that when we came to a new country we had to be supportive of the locals and the same to the internationals and everybody, it has been wonderful.”

News 5 wishes the Souzas all the best in retirement.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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