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Courtenay out, Fonseca in: Will Belize’s Foreign Policy take a soft turn?

Posted: Saturday, December 23, 2023. 7:25 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: As Minister Eamon Courtenay prepares to step down from his post by year’s end, discussions intensify about Belize’s position on the international stage and the capabilities of his successor. PUP Chairman Henry Charles Usher expressed confidence that Belize’s international image would remain robust despite the transition.

Minister Courtenay, known for his vocal stance on international issues, played a pivotal role in representing Belize under the Briceno Administration. His departure raises questions about the capability of Francis Fonseca, the incoming Foreign Minister, who is currently handling the expansive portfolio of Education, Science, Culture, and Technology. Fonseca noted for his soft-spoken demeanor, stands in contrast to Courtenay’s more assertive style.

In addressing these concerns, Minister Usher emphasized the continuity of Belize’s foreign policy, which he insisted is rooted in the sovereignty and interests of the Belizean people. “Our foreign policy must be determined by the people of the country that is sovereign and that is Belize,” Usher stated. He highlighted Belize’s strong relationships with international partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom, neighboring countries, and CARICOM members.

Addressing the challenges of standing up to international partners when necessary, Usher underscored Belize’s commitment to principled positions. “It’s important for Belize to be out there advocating its interest on the international stage,” he added, affirming the need for diplomatic tact and principle-based alliances.

The discussion shifted to the incoming Foreign Minister, Francis Fonseca, with Usher welcoming and congratulating him on his new role. Despite acknowledging the significant responsibilities of Fonseca’s ministerial portfolio, Usher expressed optimism in his ability to navigate these challenges effectively.

The transition of the foreign minister’s role occurs amid ongoing international conversations, including issues related to Venezuela and Haiti. The Belize government’s approach to these topics under Fonseca’s leadership remains a point of interest for both national and international observers.

The nation now eagerly anticipates how Fonseca will steer the country’s foreign relations and maintain Belize’s stature as a nation with strong democratic values on the world stage.

 

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