Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2021. 7:48 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes, Belize City: The Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission is to be “reinvigorated,” in the words of Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay, to oversee affairs between the neighbors, including the implementation of several key agreements.
Of the thirteen 2014 Placencia Agreements signed between then-Prime Minister Dean Barrow and then-President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina on the sidelines of the Central American Integration System (SICA) Ordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government, four have been implemented, another three need ratification by the Guatemalan parliament for implementation and the others are yet to be implemented.
Said Courtenay, “…it is our instructions to our officials that they must get moving on all. There are some formalities that are required on a few of them. Those are going to be completed. In addition to [that], we agreed that beyond the 13 Agreements, other issues that may become important from time to time should be looked at by the Joint Commission.”
Courtenay added that this is a new start in a relationship that has faltered and floundered as a result of the ambitions of both countries and missteps and false moves: “We are relatively new governments, both of us and we are trying to lay the foundation or continue building on what has happened in order to make Belize and Guatemala more friendly – more [focused on] trade, more cultural, educational, immigration, and defense issues. We’ve discussed a number of issues which are vitally important to both of us and, without talking out of turn because the Cabinet needs to be briefed, I can say that I believe that we have come to some understanding on important issues that are important for Belize and Guatemala. So, we look forward to the work of the Commission…”
The Minister concluded, “I believe that we should not be looking back, we should be looking forward.”
Belize is to be represented on the Commission by Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry Amalia Mai, and the first meeting is scheduled within two months’ time.
The bilateral meeting included a short visit to the border marker at Garbutt’s Falls, which is right down the hill from the Adjacency Zone Office.
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