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May 22, 2023

“E.U. in the Park” at Digi Park in Belize City

The European Union has been partnering with Belize in various sectors for the past thirty years, from health, to renewable energy, the environment, public transportation and gender based violence to name a few. But, with a twenty-eight hour estimated flight time from Belize to Europe, many Belizeans may never get an opportunity to visit an E.U. member state. So, on Saturday, the E.U. in Belize brought that experience through its E.U. in the Park event inside the Digi Park. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

On Saturday, the European Union in Belize hosted a European festival at the Digi Park in Belize City. On display were a number of country booths from EU member states, as well as booths displaying key areas of partnership between the EU and Belize. The transport sector is one area where the EU and Belize have been collaborating to introduce electric vehicles to Belize. This is BYD Auto Company Limited’s luxury electric vehicle called The Tang.


Neal Hall

Neal Hall, E-Mobility Start Up Coordinator, EU’s E-mobility Project

“This is a one hundred percent electric vehicle. It is not hybrid. It doesn’t use any type of fuel in terms of gas or kerosene or anything like that. This is a hundred percent, you plug it into a wall, outlet. From there you get energy and that electricity goes into the battery and that battery powers the entire vehicle. The battery is roughly eighty-six kilowatt battery, which means to charge it you would have to take eighty-six kilowatts of energy from your home. At roughly forty-seven cents for kilowatt hours in Belize, you are looking at forty-one dollars to go from zero to a hundred percent. Right now we are at ninety-six percent, and it says we have two hundred and eighty five miles of range.”


With the capacity to go from zero to sixty in four point four seconds, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and a pedestrian collision warning system, the Tang was one of the highlights of Saturday’s EU event. Members of the EU E-mobility Project’s team were on hand to inform visitors. Of the twenty-seven EU member states, three had booths at the event, including Germany.


Anabel Hoffmann

Anabel Hoffmann, Intern, German Embassy in Guatemala & Belize

“We are representing Germany with the booth and our idea was to do a plastic recycling workshop because basically the EU and Germany as well they are really focusing on climate action, separating trash, recycling, so that is what we wanted to bring to Belize today. We are having the workshop where you can shred plastic bottle caps and mold them and we have different molds, for example key chains in the form of a dolphin.”


Over at the EU and U booth, face painting and art classes were organized for the children. Information booths on EU scholarships and the various partnerships between EU and Belize were also established.


Elizabeth Lanzi Mazzocchini

Elizabeth Lanzi Mazzocchini, Communications Coordinator, EU in Belize

“Today’s event is a family friendly festival and what we are trying to showcase today is the partnership and friendship between the European Union and Belize. The EU has been working here for over thirty years, supporting in various areas, from conservation to health to energy and access to renewable energy, to protecting against deforestation, protecting biodiversity, human rights, many areas. So, we are trying to do is put the spotlight on the partnerships in Belize.”


In line with Belize and the EU’s effort to promote energy efficiency, the Ministry of Energy and E.U. Ambassador Marianne Van Steen launched the “Lights On” Initiative at the event. The program will see the ministry distribute LED bulbs to households across the country.


Ryan Cobb

Ryan Cobb, Energy Director, Ministry of Energy

“What we are doing is officially launching our LED bulb exchange program where we are distributing nine thousand LED bulbs throughout the country. We want to replace the bulbs that are considered inefficient bulbs for new efficient LED bulbs. What we are doing today is a little bit of knowledge sharing where we are giving away five hundred bulbs to customers or the general public that comes and visit our booth.”


Marianne Van Steen

Marianne Van Steen, European Union Ambassador to Belize

“Some people may have seen the blue flag with the yellow stars but they may not really know what that flag means. So, it is the European Union behind all of this. Before that we had to tell ther Belizean people what is the EU, what we stand for, what we think is important, so we came up with this idea to do an event with children, families, to get as many people as possible here in this lovely park in Belize City. Germany was really interesting because it shows how committed we are with climate change. A country in Belize and many countries in the Caribbean are vulnerable for natural disasters. We know this comes because many countries in the world including countries in the EU have probable emitted too many green house gases.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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