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Nov 28, 2008

Belize assumes chair of Central American Parliaments

Belize today assumed the mantle of the rotating Presidency of the National Parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean Basin. Local President of the Senate, Andrea Gill, officially took over the post from Guatemala during a ceremony this morning. The event took place at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. It marked the climax of the twenty-fifth Forum of Presiding Officers of FOPREL as the organisation is known. It is not one that we often hear about but it is an organ of the legislative integration movement in Central America. Gill explained what it entails and what is planned for the one-year stewardship while Prime Minister Dean Barrow thinks it’s an opportunity to bolster diplomatic ties with member countries.

Andrea Gill, Pres., Nat’l Parliaments, C.A., Carib.
“The organisation is divided into different areas and Belize has been given the area of Education. I’m hoping that it means significant changes that we can bring about in our education system but for the country overall, like you’ve heard, it’s the first time that Belize is being given this opportunity to head this organisation. So I think that for Belize it’s an opportunity for us to show not only Central America, but the rest of the Caribbean that—myself also and also as a woman—to show that we can lead and head this organisation and hopefully make some very significant changes. I’m thinking in terms of education, changes in terms of legislative changes because it is an organisation that is focused on their whole legislative procedures so to take a look at what is happening in the regions and in different areas and to see how can adapt some of those here in Belize and make changes in terms of improving our education system, our health care system and those are just two of the areas that we’re looking at.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It gives us a chance to strengthen the friendly relations that exist with the Central Americans, the Dominican Republic. I was especially pleased to hear the remarks of the Guatemalan congressman. These are the sorts of things that help to cement our international relations efforts and help to establish and underline our presence on the regional stage as a sovereign and independent country.”

Meanwhile, outgoing President, Ferdy Berganza of Guatemala, was confident that Belize is capable of making positive strides, despite the many challenges ahead.

Ferdy Berganza, Outgoing Pres., Nat’l Parliaments, C.A., Carib.
“I am sure that the new stage at which Belize embarks today will be very beneficial to the institution. Don’t forget we have many challenges ahead of us such as in the Summit in the Dominican Republic scene which every member of FOPREL has to work very hard because many try to break the systems that we have had so far.”

Countries represented at the Forum included Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

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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