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7 June 2019

Belmopan. June 7, 2019.   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that notification of the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 2008, along with its Protocol of 2015, was deposited to the Registrar of the Court in The Hague, Netherlands, today, June 7, 2019.

 

 

Article 8 of the Special Agreement as amended provides that the Registrar of the Court shall be notified of the Special Agreement jointly or by either of the Parties within a month after the referendum in each country has approved submission of the dispute to the ICJ.   Guatemala notified the ICJ of the Special Agreement after it successfully held its referendum on April 15, 2018.   Belize’s notification, therefore, perfects the consent of both parties to the jurisdiction of the Court to determine Guatemala’s legal claims in accordance with Article 2 of the Special Agreement. 

 

 

Belize’s notification today activates the written procedure under the Special Agreement, which provides that Guatemala shall present its memorial within one year of the date on which the Special Agreement was notified to the Court.   It is expected, therefore, that Guatemala will submit its claim no later than June 7, 2020. After receiving Guatemala’s memorial, Belize will have one year to respond.

 

 

The letter of notification by Belize to the Court was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington and delivered by hand by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize in Belgium, to the Registrar of the ICJ.  

23 May 2019

Brussels, Belgium. May 23, 2019.  The 109th Session of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium from 21-22 May 2019. The ACP group adopted a resolution that reasserts the steadfast commitment of the 79 member states to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and security of Belize in the context of Guatemala’s claim.  

 

The ACP Ministers commended Belize for successfully conducting its national referendum on May 8, 2019, and welcomed the decision of Belizeans to seek peaceful recourse to the dispute by submitting Guatemala’s claim of Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution. 

 

Furthermore, the ACP Council of Ministers expressed its concern in relation to the unfriendly actions pursued by Guatemala in the Sarstoon River and called on Guatemala to move expeditiously to engage with Belize to formulate a cooperation mechanism for the Sarstoon. The ACP Council also called for continued international community support for the important facilitation role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the implementation of confidence-building measures between the two states.

 

The delegation of Belize to the 109th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers was headed by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, and supported by the diplomatic staff of the Mission of Belize.

8 May 2019

Belize held a successful referendum on the 8 May 2019  on the question of whether or not to take Guatemala's territorial, insular, and maritime claim of Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With a voter turnout of close to 65%, 55% of Belizean voters went to the polls and approved the submission of the matter to the ICJ for final and binding resolution. 

25 February 2019

Brussels, Belgium. February 25, 2019. Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Patrick Andrews, represented Belize in the Political Dialogue of the II Mixed Commission between Central America and the European Union (EU), held on February 22, 2019, in Brussels, Belgium.

 

The bi-regional political dialogue discussed themes of mutual priority to both regions, including regional integration, climate change, migration, and citizen security. Belize took this opportunity to stress the major challenges it faces arising from BREXIT and climate change. Belize further urged the EU to continue working with the Central American region to help address the urgent challenges caused by climate change and to continue cooperating in the multilateral forum on the matter. The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Joint Communication.

 

The Mixed Commission is the bi-regional mechanism for political dialogue and periodic evaluation of cooperation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Central America. Although not a signatory to the aforementioned agreement, Belize participates fully in the political dialogue by joint declaration, based on its full membership in the Central American Integration System (SICA).

 

 

In addition to CEO Patrick Andrews, the Belize delegation included Mr. Raineldo Urbina, Chargé d’Affaires of the Mission of Belize to the EU.

25 January 2019

From 23rd to 24th January 2019, Belize hosted the joint European Union (EU) and Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) Workshop on Citizen Security in Belize City. The event was co-organized by the EU and CELAC in the framework of the implementation of Chapter 10 of the EU-CELAC Action Plan. Experts from 31 CELAC and EU countries participated in the event, as well as several regional organizations, local governments, and civil society organizations.

 

The workshop was the third and final activity mandated under Chapter 10 of the Action Plan and involved for the first time civil society and local governments. The topics discussed included police and border control cooperation, criminal investigation and intelligence sharing as well as the role of local governments and civil society in enhancing citizen security.  The workshop concluded with both regions recognizing the need to continue strengthening their cooperation on citizen security, and noting keenly, the unique forum bi-regional workshops like these provide for the exchange of best practices.

 

The workshop was opened on 23rd January by the Honourable John Saldivar, Minister of National Security of Belize; H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of EU Delegation to Belize; and Mr. Luis Fernando Rosales Lozada, representative of the Bolivian CELAC Presidency Pro Tempore. The organisation of the workshop by Belize was a collaborative effort between the Mission of Belize to the EU and the Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs of Belize. 

29 November 2018

The Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Dylan Vernon, met with eight Belizean journalist at The Hague, The Netherlands to discuss the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the context of Guatemala's claim on Belize, along with the upcoming 10 April 2019 referendum on the question of submitting the case to the ICJ. 

28 November 2018

Cotonou, Benin. The Hon. Laura Tucker-Longsworth, speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize and Head of the Belize delegation to the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, gave a statement to the ACP Committee on Political Affairs, relaying an update on the Belize-Guatemala process and the latest developments on Belize’s preparations towards its referendum. Madam Speaker is accompanied by Ms. Krysta Byrd, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels, Belgium. 

20 November 2018

Chairman of the ACP Subcommittee on Sugar, Ambassador of Belize H.E. Dylan Vernon, addressed the European Parliament's Committee on Development on the negative consequences to the ACP Sugar Industries caused by the European Union's Voluntary Coupled Support (VCS) subsidy for EU Sugar Beet Farmers. 

Sugar continues to have a huge positive socio-economic impact in ACP countries that include Least Developed countries and is important in the broader objective of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The   earnings from sugar in ACP countries go directly to their sugar industries and have a multiplier effect on their economies, with many non-sugar businesses also deriving significant benefits.  This was confirmed through a much-cited report published in 2016, commissioned jointly by the EU Commission and the ACP Group. The production of sugar remains one of the primary engines for poverty alleviation and sustained rural economic development in ACP/LDC countries. 

In 2015/2016, without any consultations as provided for by Article 12 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, and contrary to the EU principle of Policy Coherence for Development,  the EU implemented “Voluntary Coupled Support” for sugar beets. It is, in effect, a crop-specific subsidy. To date, ACP's own estimate shows that commercial losses accrued by the ACP sugar suppliers due to VCS amount to €200 million at least.  This was ‘future value’ income that was anticipated based on investments made but never realised.

By maintaining EU sugar production, which otherwise would not exist, Voluntary Coupled Support, whatever its touted domestic merits, decreases available EU market share for imports; lowers EU and international prices; threatens alternative markets for ACP & LDC sugar; and, as stated, contradicts the EU’s own “Policy Coherence for Development”. 

 

The ACP calls on the EU to discontinue and so abolish VCS in the sugar sector and to engage with the ACP to look into ways of addressing the current situation. 

16 November 2018

As part of Belize’s current pro tempore presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Mission of Belize to the European Union convened a Seminar on 16 November 2018 in Brussels that brought together for the first time the Missions of SICA Member States and the Missions of CARIFORUM Member States with key European Union counterparts to further explore prospects for Central American and Caribbean cooperation in the context of relations with the EU. The Seminar was a follow-up on the informal exchanges between Heads of Missions of both sub-regions that took place in Brussels in 2014 under Belize’s SICA Group Coordination.

The Seminar attracted participation of all eight SICA and all fifteen CARIFORUM Embassies resident in Brussels and included participation from nine EU officials of the European External Action Services (EEAS) and the European Commission’s DG DEVCO. Participants shared priority issues from the regions, identified follow-up actions for cooperation and highlighted the importance of such inter-regional dialogues in Brussels. All participants converged on the need to hold such interactions on an annual basis. 

H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, and current Coordinator of the SICA Group in Brussels, was the overall chair of the Seminar. 

4 June 2018

Belmopan. June 4th, 2018. The Hon. Wilfred Elrington led Belize’s delegation to the 43rd Session of the Joint Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Union (EU) in Lomé, Togo.

 

The ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers was preceded by the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, held from May 28th to 29th, 2018, and a Special Session of ACP Council on May 27th, 2018, at which Ministers debated the future direction of the ACP and the evolution of its partnership with the EU.

 

The ACP group of 79 states has been the main interlocutor for Belize and Caribbean countries with the European Union through successive partnership agreements including the present Cotonou Agreement, which is set to expire in 2020. It is through this Agreement that Belize receives EU development assistance, organizes trade relations and conducts political dialogue.

 

At the ACP Council, Ministers discussed ACP-EU relations post 2020. They took stock of the ACP’s preparations for negotiations with the EU on the post-Cotonou arrangements and adopted an ACP negotiating mandate.

 

Minister Elrington also participated in the ACP Ministerial Committee on Sugar on May 28th, 2018. The Foreign Minister shared with other ACP sugar-producing countries the impact on Belize of lower sugar prices in the EU market due to the EU sugar market reform.

 

From May 30th to June 1st, 2018, Foreign Minister Elrington participated in the 43rd Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers at which the ACP and the EU discussed issues of mutual priority including climate change, migration, and development financing. The Joint Council also adopted a Joint Declaration on Climate Change.


Belize, as regional coordinator of CARIFORUM in Brussels for the current period, also represented the Caribbean region at the meetings of the ACP Bureau of Ministers in Lomé.

 

Minister Elrington also updated the Council on the Belize-Guatemala process and the latest developments in respect of the efforts of Belize and Guatemala to hold referenda in accordance with the Special Agreement.

 

During his visit, Minister Elrington was joined by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the EU; Ms. Ayesha Borland, Director of International Affairs; and Mr. Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary at the Mission of Belize to the EU.

18 May 2018

While consumer’s consciousness on product traceability continues to increase and be of key importance, chocolatiers in various markets, such as Europe, are becoming more aware of Belize’s cacao of unique organic origin and fine flavors. In its continued promotion endeavors and in assessing the current global market demands, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in partnership with the Embassy of Belize in Brussels and the European Central America Chamber of Commerce (EURACEN), held the first Belize Cacao Trade and Investment Mission on May 8th – 11th, 2018 in Belize. The Delegation consisted of potential investors, buyers, and technical experts from Belgium and the Netherlands.

 

In providing the delegation with an introduction to Belize’s Agriculture Sector with a focus on the Cacao Industry, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) hosted a Welcome Event on May 8th, 2018 at the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC), Enterprise Room on the ITVET Compound in Belize City. The event also included a Plenary Discussion on Belize’s Cacao Industry with participation from key government ministries and departments. Thematic areas discussed included the National Agricultural Policy, the investment environment and incentive programs, relevant trade agreements, and other regulations and policies related to agriculture and agribusiness development. The Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Patrick Andrews, delivered the Welcome Address while Ms. Lejia Melanie Gideon, General Manager of BELTRAIDE delivered the Keynote with the Delegation Address being delivered by Mr. Erwin De Weerdt, President of EURACEN. Key panelists in the plenary session also included the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jose Alpuche; Director of Investment Policy and Compliance in the Ministry responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce, Mr. Lincoln Blake; Director of the Directorate General for Foreign Trade, Mr. Andy Sutherland and Plant Health Officer at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), Mr. Kenrick Witty.

30 April 2018

Belmopan. April 30th, 2018. The Government of Belize announces that Cabinet has set the date for the referendum where Belize will decide whether or not to take the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim to Belize’s land and insular territories, and to the maritime areas pertaining to them, to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement. In accordance with the Special Agreement and its protocol, the referendum will be held on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already commenced and will step up its public awareness campaign which is being launched under the banner - “ICJ, Be Informed.”  The nationwide campaign will include various approaches in an effort to reach citizens in every corner of the country.  Belizeans are encouraged to learn more about this very important issue that they will be asked to decide upon. 

16 April 2018

Belmopan. April 16, 2018.   The Government of Belize avails of the opportunity to congratulate the Government and people of the Republic of Guatemala for conducting its referendum on April 15, 2018 on the question of going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in accordance with the Special Agreement of 2008.

 

The Government acknowledges the results as a step further toward permanently settling the age-old dispute. This act of civic expression in Guatemala was conducted smoothly and efficiently in a way that contributes further to the strengthening of democracy, peace and security in Guatemala as well as in the region.

 

At the recommendation of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States in 2007, the Governments of Belize and Guatemala were asked to consider going to the ICJ to settle finally and definitively their dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim on Belize’s continental and insular territories and the maritime areas pertaining to them. Both countries agreed to do this subject to the will of their respective peoples as expressed in national referendum.

 

In accordance with the Special Agreement, the Government of Belize is committed to conducting its own referendum for the electorate to decide whether we should submit Guatemala’s claim to the ICJ for a final settlement. A date for this will be set after the national re-registration exercise has produced a new and robust electoral roll.

14 March 2018

Belize City, Belize

 

The Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Finance Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and the European Union Ambassador to Belize H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska signed two Financing Agreements for a total of BZ$28.8 M for projects in the Health and Public Finance Management sectors. The signing ceremony took place at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Laing Building in Belize City.

 

Funding for the two sectors is allocated under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF) to assist in the social and economic development of Belize.  The proposed projects are in line with Belize’s Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy and will assist in achieving the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

BZ$25.6 M has been allocated for the Health Sector initiative, which will focus on the upgrading of health facilities to meet SMART and Green standards. This will enable health facilities, in particular, regional hospitals and the Central Medical Laboratory, to withstand natural disasters as well as to be more energy efficient, and meet safety criteria for patients and medical staff.

 

Other components of this Health Sector initiative will include upgrading of Belize’s Health Information System, and the strengthening of organization and management of health services. The initiatives are expected to contribute significantly to a high-performing and improved health sector for the health and well-being of Belizeans.

 

The Public Finance Management allocation totals BZ$3.2 M with an objective to achieve more efficient public finance management, notably through the strengthening of the internal and external audit control systems and the Office of the Contractor General. In addition, Public Finance Management oversight and control functions will be improved.

 

The collaboration between the European Union and the Government of Belize over the years has contributed and continues to support the sustainable development of Belize.

26 February 2018

Brussels, Belgium

 

Belize and the Principality of Andorra formally established diplomatic relations on the 26 February 2018 following the signing of an official Protocol.

 

The representatives of both countries noted the significance of the occasion, certain that the formal establishment of diplomatic relations will serve to enhance mutual cooperation and friendship between Belize and Andorra. The signing of the Protocol also allows both countries to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of tourism.

 

The Principality of Andorra is a landlocked nation located in Southwestern Europe, bordering France in the north and Spain in the south.

 

The Protocol was signed at the Embassy of Andorra in Brussels between H.E. Dr. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of Belgium, and H.E. Esther Rabasa Grau, Ambassador of Andorra to the Kingdom of Belgium.  

6 February 2018

Brussels, Belgium. 

For the period 1 February – 31 July 2018 H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, will be representing the Caribbean region at the ACP Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors. This will be a critical period for the ACP Group, as it prepares to launch negotiations with the European Union on the successor to the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement.

At the same time, the Caribbean region also holds the Chairmanship for the Committee of Ambassadors. This position is held by the Ambassador of Jamaica to the European Union, H.E. Mrs. Sheila Sealy Monteith, who has set in motion a rigorous plan of action under Jamaica’s chairmanship of the influential ACP Committee of Ambassadors, made up of envoys from 79 member states who regularly gather to monitor the organisation’s activities and policy implementation.

Members of the ACP Bureau include Ambassadors Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia (East Africa regional coordinator), Jacqueline Marie Zaba Nikiéma of Burkina Faso (West Africa), Ammo Aziza Baroud of Chad (Central Africa), Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu of Swaziland (Southern Africa), Dylan Vernon of Belize (Caribbean) and Fatumanava Paó Luteru of Samoa (Pacific), along with a Troika made up of the incumbent Chair from Jamaica, the outgoing Chair Amb. Amadou Diop of Senegal and incoming Amb. Baroud of Chad. 

 

H.E. Dylan Vernon represents the Caribbean region at the ACP Bureau in his capacity as the region’s coordinator. H.E. Vernon assumed the role of Coordinator of the CARIFORUM Group of Ambassadors in Brussels for the period 1 February – 31 July 2018.

6 December 2017

Today, 6 December 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs of Belize, Hon. Wilfred P. Elrington, along with the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Patrick Andrews, concluded their five-day working mission to Brussels, Belgium, after attending multiple high-level meetings with the EU Institutions and participating in the 106th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers.

 

On Monday 4 December, the Belize delegation met with the Commissioner of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, H.E. Neven Mimica, to discuss Belize-EU bilateral relations and its development cooperation both in the Central American and Caribbean sub-regional context. Foreign Minister Elrington took this opportunity to thank the Commissioner for the EU’s successful development cooperation partnership with a focus on current support for important the health, energy, public finance management, banana, and sugar sectors of Belize. They also exchanged views of the future of ACP-EU relations post-2020.

 

Also on 4 December, for the very first time a Minister of Government from Belize addressed the Delegation for Relations with the Countries of Central America (DCAM) of the European Parliament. The Hon. Foreign Minister briefed the attendees, which included Members of the European Parliament, Ambassadors of Central American Missions resident in Brussels, and representatives of the institutions of the European Commission, on Belize’s national priorities, including updating DCAM on Belize-Guatemala relations, development priorities, and sharing Belize’s case for a Schengen visa-waiver for Belizean passport holders.

 

On Tuesday 5 December Minister Elrington and the delegation met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Didier Reynders. The Foreign Ministers discussed the warm bilateral relationship shared between both nations and advanced discussions on political, development and investment issues of national interest to Belize.

 

On Wednesday 6 December, the Minister and the delegation met with the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms. Edita Hrdá and her team. Among other issues, views were exchanged on Belize-Guatemala relations, the EU’s on-going financial support for the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone, tax matters, visa issues, and the EU’s partnership with the Caribbean, Central America, the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States (CELAC), and the ACP Group of States. 

 

In addition to meeting representatives of the European Institutions, the Foreign Minister of Belize also met with the Permanent Representatives of key European Union Member States, which are members of the Group of Friends, to discuss matters of critical importance to Belize, including Belize-Guatemala relations, BREXIT, visa matters and the EU’s unilateral tax screening process. 

 

The Belizean delegation throughout the three days simultaneously participated at the 106th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers. The aforementioned meeting was preceded by the ACP Ministerial Consultations on Commodities, where H.E. Ambassador Dylan Vernon, in his capacity as Chair of the ACP Subcommittee on Sugar, delivered a report to the Ministers on the major issues and concerns of the current ACP sugar industries. A key issue discussed was the future of ACP-EU relations post-2020.

 

Importantly, at the conclusion of the 106th ACP Council of Ministers, the Council adopted a Resolution reaffirming the 79 ACP State’s strong commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize, urging the Government of Guatemala to comply with its formal agreements to formulate with the Government of Belize a Sarstoon River protocol. This Resolution is attached.

 

In addition to the Honourable Minister and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation of Belize included H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the EU, and Mr Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary. 

2 October 2017

Brussels, Belgium. Belize’s cacao and chocolate industry was highlighted at the inaugural Belgian edition of the International Day of Cacao and Chocolate in Brussels, Belgium on 1st October.  The Embassy of Belize in Brussels and the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) joined forces to represent Belize at the event in the center of Brussels, long acknowledged as a chocolate capital of the world. In addition to a successful booth showcasing a variety of Belize’s cacao and chocolate products, a special presentation on the trade and investment potential of Belize’s cacao industry was made by the Ambassador of Belize to Belgium, H.E. Dylan Vernon, and BelizeINVEST Manager of Investment Generation at BELTRAIDE, Mr. Hero Balani.

 

The purpose of the day was to bring together cacao growers and chocolatiers to share experiences and ideas on how these key actors can work closer together in the cacao value chain. Hundreds of chocolatiers, cacao importers, and chocolate aficionados attended the event, as did Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. The guests had the opportunity to view booths and attend presentations on a range of themes, including the bean-to-bar concept, environmental aspects of cacao cultivation, the health benefits of chocolate, and investment possibilities in producer countries. Apart from Belize, six other countries, mostly from Central America, showcased booths.

 

Belize’s featured participation in this event was as a direct result of its first promotional presentation held at the Embassy in Brussels back in March of this year. The Embassy of Belize and BELTRAIDE continue to work towards promoting Belize’s cacao industry throughout Europe. In this regard, a trade mission from Belgium to Belize is being planned for 2018.

 

While in Brussels, Mr. Balani of BELTRAIDE also held a Business Roundtable with members of the European-Central America Chamber of Commerce (EURACEN), and informational meetings with officials of the European Commission (EC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Secretariat.

28 September 2017

The Hague, The Netherlands. 27 September 2017. Minister of State of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Honourable Elodio Aragon Jr., delivered opening remarks today at the first ever European Union- Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC) Citizen Security Seminar being held from the 27-28 September 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands. Belize is currently the CELAC Co-Coordinator, along with the Republic of Panama, of Chapter 10 on Citizen Security of the EU-CELAC Action Plan; the EU-CELAC Citizen Security Seminar is the first of its kind, joining the entire Latin America & Caribbean region with the European Union in order to provide a forum where both regions can enter into discourse with the aim to share best practices and experiences, further mutual understanding, and take stock of past actions while identifying new possible avenues for cooperation. 

Back in 2015 the Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) and of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) recognized that citizen security is a shared concern, which is essential for the development and the improvement of the quality of life and well-being of the citizens of both regions. In this regard, the EU-CELAC Action Plan incorporated a specific chapter on citizen security that mandates the organization of inter-governmental seminars and workshops on the issue. 

Participants from over 31 countries, the EU institutions, and the CARICOM-Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) attended this first Seminar setting the stage for the second EU-CELAC Citizen Security Seminar, which is scheduled to take place in January 2018 at Panama City, Panama. Belize continues its role as Chapter Co-Coordinator, liaising with its EU counterparts on the behalf of CELAC to realize critical and tangible results regarding the important theme of citizen security between both regions. 

Belize’s delegation to the seminar comprised of the Hon. Minister Aragon and the Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr. Edward Broaster. The delegation was further supported by the Ambassador of Belize to the EU H.E. Dr. Dylan Vernon and First Secretary of the Mission of Belize to the EU Mr. Raineldo Urbina. Belize’s role as Chapter Co-Coordinator is a joint effort between the Mission of Belize to the EU and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

30 March 2017

On March 28, 2017, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels hosted a promotional event aimed at generating interest in importing Belize’s high-quality cacao beans and encouraging investments in the expansion of cacao production and processing in Belize. 

 

H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to Belgium and the European Union, made a presentation on the industry’s history, capacity, and potential to important players in Belgium’s chocolate industry, including some of Belgium’s prominent chocolatiers.

 

The Embassy of Belize also took this opportunity to showcase the variety of cacao-based products manufactured locally in the country, including chocolate bars, cocoa powder, cocoa tea, and liqueurs.

 

It is expected that one concrete follow-up activity from the event will be an exploratory investment mission from Belgium to Belize in 2017. 

 

The event, which was a part of the Embassy’s efforts to support the promotion of trade and investment for Belize, was a joint effort between the Embassy of Belize in Brussels and BELTRAIDE, and with the collaboration of EURACEN, the Chamber of Commerce of Europe-Central America.

1 June 2016

The 8th Summit of the ACP Heads of State and Government was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from May 31 to June 1 2016, on the theme ‘Repositioning the ACP Group to Respond to Challenges of the Sustainable Development.’ The Honourable Wilfred P Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs and H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador to the European Union, represented Belize.

 

At the conclusion of the 8th Summit the Heads of State and Government adopted a Declaration covering a range of issues related to the work and future of the ACP. The Declaration included, at paragraph 18, a strong statement of support for Belize, in relation to the Guatemalan claim.

29 April 2016

H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon represented Belize at the 103rd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, which was held in Dakar, Senegal on 26-27 April 2016. Council expressed its strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize in view of the Guatemalan claim to Belize. Council also held extensive discussions and adoption resolutions on matters pertaining to trade for development, Zika virus and commodities. The 103rd Session of the ACP Council was immediately followed by the 40th Session of the ACP EU Council of Ministers on 28-29 April 2016. 

See Resolution on Belize

19 April 2016

On 19th April 2016, the Ambassador of Belize in Brussels, H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon hosted members of the ACP Young People’s Network (YPN) at the Embassy. The event was part of the ACP YPN’s Ambassador Series.  Ambassador Vernon made a presentation on the future of Caribbean EU relations in the context of the evolving ACP EU relations.

7 March2016

On 4 – 7 March 2016, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels participated in the Central American booth at the Feria Namur in order to promote our countries as tourism destinations. Feria Namur focuses on travel and tourism and was held in Namur, Belgium.

 

Belize offers a varied tourism experience ranging from diving and marine sports to archeological sites to nature and wildlife tours. The tourism industry accounts for 28% of total employment, tourism contributes up to 25% of the total GDP.  Contact www.travebelize.org for more information.

3 Marc 2016

Belize is one beneficiary of an ACP EU project “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean.” The purpose of the project is to revitalize the coconut industries in Caribbean countries by building capacity of small producers, identifying market opportunities, and improving competiveness and sustainability of local coconut industries.    

 

This €3.5 million project is being implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in conjunction with CARDI and runs until December 2017.

6 February 2016

During the week of 1 February 2016, Ambassador Dylan Vernon accompanied a delegation from BELTRAIDE on a working visit to the Netherlands.  The visit was organised  to coincide with the 2016 Chocolate Trade Fair in Amsterdam. The delegation met with officials of the Dutch Government, with the Director of Center for Technical Cooperation in Agriculture and representatives of the private sector involved in the trade of cacao beans.

20 November 2015

The Embassy of Belize, in collaboration with the Embassy of Nicaragua, hosted the screening of the documentary film Lubaraun at ACP House on 20 November 2015. The screening coincided with the commemoration, in Belize on 19 November, of the arrival of the Garifuna in Belize. Lubaraun showcases the successful efforts of the Garifuna people to maintain their rich culture, language and religious beliefs, in their communities along the Caribbean coast of Central America. The Ambassador of Belize, H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon chaired the event at which the Secretary General of the ACP, Dr Patrick I. Gomes was in attendance. One of the directors of the film Ms. Maria Jose Alvarez, was on hand to introduce the film and to engage with the audience after the screening.For further information on this event, including an interview with the director please go to:  http://acpculturesplus.eu/?q=en/content/screening-documentary-lubaraun-acp-house

8 July 2015

On 8 July 2015 H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon, who is also the non-resident Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, made a business visit to Amsterdam to promote the Belize cacao industry and explore new markets for Belize cacao beans.Shortly after the meeting the Embassy facilitated linkages between a Dutch importer and the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) of Belize which resulted in the signing of a contract for the sale of an initial 14 MT of Belizean cacao with the expectation of further long-term cooperation.The Embassy will continue to work to promote Belize’s growing cacao industry by reaching out to potential investors, seeking technical assistance and cooperation to support the growth of the national industry, and exploring new markets in Europe.

1 Juy 2015

As of 1 July 2015, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels and Mission of Belize to the European Union re-located its offices to 87-93 Boulevard Brand Whitlock.The mailing address of the Embassy is now:  Embassy of Belize  Mission of Belize to the European Union  Boulevard Brand Whitlock, 87-93  Box 2  6th Floor  1200 Brussels  BelgiumThe Embassy’s email and telephone and fax numbers remains the sameTel: +32 (0) 2 732 62 04Fax: +32 (0) 2 732 62 46Email: embelize@skynet.be

10 June 2015

On 10 June 2015 in Brussels, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General of Belize signed an Implementing Agreement of the Caribbean Investment Facility with the European Union for €5mn. This co-financing grant is to complement a €15.3mn IDB loan for the rehabilitation of the George Price Highway. Mr Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, signed for the EU. Belize is contributing €1.2mn to the project.

October 24, 2014

Belizean Garifuna Musician and King of Paranda, Mr Alfonso Palacio, widely known as Paul Nabor, died in Belize on 22 October 2014. The Government of Belize honoured him with a State Funeral, which was held on 1 November 2014 in Punta Gorda, Belize.

October 17, 2014

The Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable Dean O. Barrow, and the Commissioner for DG-DEVCO of the European Commission, Mr Andris Piebalgs, signed the 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Belize under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The €27 million or BZ$67 million package is a significant increase over the 10th EDF package. The key thematic areas of focus for the new NIP are energy, health and public sector management.

October 14, 2014

On 14 October 2014, the European Commission announced that Belize has now been given a ‘green card’ for its significant progress since being identified as a non-cooperating third country. The Press Release from the EC stated: “The Commission has today also proposed to remove Belize from the list of non- cooperating third countries in the fight against illegal fishing and to end the trade measures imposed against the country in March 2014. Belize has demonstrated its commitment to reforming its legal framework and adopting a new set of rules for inspection, control and monitoring of vessel. The Council will take a decision in this respect.”

October 2014

In the course of 2014, the Ambassador of Belize to the Kingdom of Belgium, the European Union and to the World Trade Organisation, has also presented credentials to other EU Member States. These include the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of France, and the Federal Republic of Germany. The photographs show the recent presentations of credentials to President François Hollande in Paris and to President Joachim Gauck in Berlin.

September 19, 2014

H.E. Dr Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, is currently a member of the Bureau of Committee of Ambassadors of the ACP Group in Brussels. Ambassador Vernon represents Belize and the Caribbean Region within the ACP on the Bureau for the July 2014 to January 2015 period.

June 27, 2014

Belize assumed the pro tempore presidency of the Sistema de Integración Centroamérica(SICA) from the Dominican Republic on 27 June 2014. The Honourable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, received the baton from the President of the Dominica Republic, Mr. Danilo Medina. Belize’s period of presidency will conclude in December 2014 at the Summit of Heads of State of SICA in Belize.

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