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Aug 15, 2013

Mayor and delegation back from developing sister city relations

Darrell Bradley

While Seawell fights extradition to the US, a local contingent of Belizeans recently returned from a tour of parts of America.  Forming and sustaining sister city relationships is one way in which city councils can foster development and learn new strategies to improve their communities. Several councilors and the Mayor of Belize City have recently returned from the United States on one such mission. Mayor Darrell Bradley and his delegation visited Florida and met the Mayor of Miramar. During the U.S. visit, relationships between Belize City and Evanston and Barrow University have been formalized. According to Bradley, the contingent was packed with meetings, and in Illinois they met Secretary of State Jesse White who promised to help with equipment for garbage collection.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We first went to Illinois and we met with the secretary of the state of Illinois, Jesse White. Members of the public may recall that he was recently in Belize with his Jesse White tumblers. And we had an opportunity to meet with him in Illinois. He pledged to give a compactor garbage truck to the City of Belize and to assist with other equipment that is going to be forthcoming in the next couple weeks. We also had an opportunity to meet with the Mayor of the City of Evanston, Illinois, which is one of the surrounding cities immediately adjacent to Chicago. And the city of Belize and the city of Evanston had a sister city relationship some time ago and we were speaking with them about revising that relationship and we are going to do so within the next four weeks. They were very excited about reconnecting with us and exchanging ideas in terms of trade, tourism, cultural exchanges, technical assistance and that kind of thing. We also had an opportunity to reconnect with the Belize-American Community in the Chicago area and I participated in two activities leading up to the Belize Day and we also participated in the Belize Day which was last week Saturday. It was an activity with over two thousand five hundred Belizean Americans and people from the Diaspora community. The City Council set up a booth there; I had an opportunity to address the gathering. We had some food samples and products and we had a lot of information. And I had an opportunity to meet one and one with the leaders of the Diaspora community and really just expressed that the city wanted to reconnect with them. When we came back, we travelled through the Florida area and the city has been working on a relationship with Barrow University and we signed a memorandum of understanding with Barrow University. They have pledged to assist the city in the area of economic development, which is one of our major priority areas and we will be working with the Business School of Barrow University. We are talking about setting up a program for city administrators so that what they will do is that they will train our senior technical staff in certain areas of urban planning, city governance [and] finance. They are also committing to assist us with branding Belize City. We expressed to them some of the works that we have been working on with CARILED and with some of the other economic development initiatives and they very much want to partner with us and they are very excited. Because we signed on to that MOU when we were there, we are ready now to go into discussions and even since we came back on Thursday, we’ve already been in communications with them about getting some of their people here in terms everything we have is rolling out and that we have very active relationships.”

 

While in Florida, the councilors met with the Belize America Chamber of Commerce and members of the Diaspora. 

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