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Jun 15, 2022

PM Briceno Holds First Press Conference Since 2020

Prime Minister John Briceño held a press conference this afternoon in Belize City, the first since he took office in November 2020.  Flanked by Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay, P.M. Briceño’s briefing with the media ran for the better part of an hour, during which he discussed several topics, including his attendance at the recent Summit of the Americas. The prime minister’s presentation, as pro tem chair of CARICOM, addressed the exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Beyond the issue of these countries not being invited, CARICOM, as a bloc, also raised the matter of correspondent banking.  For several years, it has been a concern for many Caribbean countries that continue to be affected by strict banking regulations. We begin tonight with the P.M.’s recap of the Ninth Summit of the Americas.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister, John Briceño

“Belize and most other countries in the Americas felt strongly that the summit should have been inclusive with all countries invited to participate.  Unfortunately, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were excluded.  Although we did not agree with excluding any of these countries, I believe that it was in the interest of Belize for us to attend this summit  for several reasons. The summit began much like COP26 in Glasgow, with a lot of talk and little real commitment to action.  But we were able to hold several significant side meetings as well as ensure that the outcome documents of the summit represented our views and interests. We also had a meeting with Maxine Waters, congresswoman, and her team to discuss the very issue and as I mentioned at our meeting, we feel like a ping-pong ball because they are saying that it is not them, it is the banks and the banks are saying that it is not them, it is congress and it seems that no one is prepared to make a definitive decision in trying to resolve this problem.  In the meeting with Maxine Waters, what she was suggesting is to hold a congressional committee meeting and to invite CARICOM leaders to go and talk about it and she’s hoping that eventually she could have a carve out for the Caribbean to see how we can have these banks provide services to the region.”

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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