Belize

Current Events

  • OAS Representative gave Keynote Address at First National Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons
    Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Belize City, Thursday October 5, 2017

    October 5, 2017
    Contact: OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144
    OAS Representative gave Keynote Address at First National Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons
    In celebration of International Day of Older Persons on October 1, 2017, the National Council on Ageing hosted the first National Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons. The event was held on October 5, 2017, at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Belize City, Belize. Under the theme, “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society”. The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) collaborated in organizing the Conference.
    In his keynote address, Representative Greene told his audience that the Organization of American States (OAS) was a friend and partner with older persons throughout the Hemisphere. He said that the adoption of multiple instruments, to include the Inter American Convention on Human Rights, the Protocol of San Salvador and the Inter American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which spoke to the fundamental rights of people, was clear evidence of the organization’s interest in the needs of the elderly.
    Commenting on the talents, skills, wisdom and experience that older persons offer to society, the OAS Diplomat said that without their experience, “our society and institutions would be constantly reinventing the wheel, and wasting precious time and resources in the interim”. He appealed to education institutions and related organizations to tap into the knowhow of older persons as part of a broader strategy to help enhance learning, improve disciplined and minimize the truancy and dropout rates in schools across Belize. Alternatively, the Representative called on older persons to seek out opportunities where they could serve as mentors for younger people, especially at the high school and college levels, who would benefit substantially from the experience and knowledge of the elderly.
    Mr. Greene also called on his audience to work assiduously to combat the phenomenon of ageism. He said is was wrong and mean spirited, and remarked that “those who practice this form of discrimination, do not value or appreciate our older adults”.
    The OAS Representative stated that there was a need to focus on finding solutions to address the real challenges facing older persons in society. He said the answer was in the collective, committed and unwavering involvement of family members in helping to meet the needs of their elder parents. He emphasized that the solution could also be derived from well thought out Government policies, specifically designed to tap the talents of seniors, protect their rights and secure their longevity. Moreover, Mr. Greene remarked that the answer was in the collaboration of international and regional organizations in providing technical and financial support for programs and projects aimed at improving the wellbeing of older persons and in raising greater awareness within communities across Belie, about the needs, preferences and rights of the elderly, as well.
  • Final Report on Vulnerability and Training Needs Assessment on Belize's Port Security
    Belize Port Authority Conference Room, Tuesday October 3, 2017

    October 3, 2017
    Contact: OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144

    Final Report on Vulnerability and Training Needs Assessment on Belize’s Port Security
    The OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (OAS/CICTE), with the support of the Canadian Government, and the cooperation of the Belize Port Authority and the OAS Belize Office, sponsored a Vulnerability and Training Needs Assessment workshop, in Belize, at the Port Authority conference room, on October 3 and 4, 2017.
    One of the primary reasons for this event was to allow CICTE’s Consultant, John Platts, to present his Final Report on Port Security –Vulnerability and Training Needs Assessment, with specific reference to Belize. This project falls within CICTE’s Maritime Security Program, funded by the Government of Canada, and it is a component of its Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program. The Report summarized the results of a preliminary assessment of vulnerabilities in Belize’s port security framework, and a subsequent workshop aimed at identifying actions that could be taken to mitigate these vulnerabilities and enhance overall maritime security.
    The key highlights of the Report were contained in 14 ‘Suggestions’ that fell into two general categories, namely the need for ‘Achieving Greater Stakeholder Collaboration and the importance of ‘Developing a Structured and Cost-Effective Training Program’. With respect to the first category, the report suggested that the National Security Secretariat (NCS) should coordinate a review of the hierarchy of national-level committees with the maritime and port security mandate, to identify gaps and/or overlaps with respect to their scope and membership, and to consult with stakeholders on possible adjustment. It also suggested the development of a national maritime security strategy, as an offshoot of the National Security Strategy, to enable those government organizations with critical maritime security responsibilities to understand each other’s mandated responsibilities, and to work closely together in achieving their respective maritime security objectives. Regarding the second category, the Report suggested that future training events should specify target audiences as precisely as possible, and there should be ongoing consultation between the Belize Port Authority (BPA) and the training provider on agenda topics. It also suggested the establishment of a 3-phase Port Inspector training program: 1 – Orientation Training; 11 - Basic Inspector Training; and 111 – Specialized Inspector Training.
    Port Commissioner for Belize Port Authority Merlene Bailey-Martinez expressed appreciation for the Report’s suggestions. She referenced the invaluable work of OAS/CICTE, through cooperation with BPA, in strengthening security and enhancing collaboration with all stakeholders. OAS Representative Greene thanked the Canadian Government for its input and the professional work done by Consultant Platts. CICTE was represented at the event by Ms. Lisbeth Laurie, consultant with its Maritime Security Program.
  • Civil Society Organizations and Social Actors attended Launch of Summit Theme
    University of the West Indies Open Campus, Belize City, Thursday July 20, 2017


    July 27, 2017
    News Item (contact OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144)

    Civil Society Organizations and Social Actors attended Launch of Summit Theme
    The OAS Belize Office, in collaboration with the OAS Summit of the Americas Secretariat, organized a gathering of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Social Actors (SAs) in Belize, to participate in the Launching of the Theme for the V111 Summit of the Americas: “Democratic Governance against Corruption”. The event, which took place on Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Lima, Peru, was transmitted via the OAS Webcast to all OAS member Countries.
    In the case of Belize, representatives of Civil Society Organizations and Social Actors gathered at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, in Belize City. They were ably accommodated by the OAS Belize Staff members.
    The purpose behind the Launch was to provide pertinent information to civil society organizations and social actors in the Hemisphere, on the V111 Summit of the Americas, to be held in Lima, Peru, during April 13 and 14, 2018.
    The occasion was also used to provide insights into how the Peruvian authorities, working with the OAS Summit of the Americas Secretariat, would endeavor to involve civil society organizations and social actors in the Summit Process. This issue, for the most part, received considerable attention during the question and answer period, as officials elaborated their views on how best to make the process inclusive and productive. In this connection, it was pellucid that members of CSOs and SAs would be given the opportunity, through various mechanisms, such as the convening of face to face and virtual meetings, to become fully engaged. In this regard, it was mentioned that National Consultations among CSOs and SAs would be held in each country and a specially arranged Hemispheric Dialogue will be held in March 2018, in Washington, D.C. as well. Other events are being contemplated as part of the process leading up to the Summit, now eight months away.
    As part of the Launch, and at the local level, the OAS Representative in Belize, informally moderated a discussion on the abovementioned Theme for representatives of CSOs and SAs. In order to stimulate the exchange of views among the audience, notes on the Theme were distributed. The said dialogue was characterized by a very spirited and passionate exchange of opinions on the subject of corruption. Possible steps that could help to eradicate the phenomenon were also debated.
    Thirteen (13) representatives of CSOs and SAs out of 20 persons who had reportedly registered attended the Launch.
  • OAS/CICTE Arranges National Workshop on Port Security Best Practices in Belize
    Belize Port Auhority Training Room, Tuesday July 18, 2017

    July 20, 2017
    New Item (Contact OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144)
    OAS/CICTE Arranges National Workshop on Port Security Best Practices in Belize
    The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS), in collaboration with the Governments of Belize and Canada, and working with the US Coast Guard and Homeland Security, convened a National Workshop on Port Security Best Practices, in Belize, on July 18, 2017. The 3 day event was held at the Belize Port Authority Training Room.
    The theme of the workshop was built around the importance of collaboration in strengthening Belize’s port security framework. With this in mind, the event brought together officials in the Belize government agencies with port and maritime security responsibilities, PFSOs and other security managers, at ports and terminals falling under the ISPS Code, and Belize-based managers responsible for the security of international shipping that used these port and terminal facilities.
    The event organizers and officials from the Port of Belize reached a common understanding that the effective collaboration of all port stakeholders was critical to improving security at all ports. In this regard, the workshop objectives included the identification of (1) opportunities for increased collaboration between government agencies and port owner/operators; (2) best practices in keeping Port Facility Security Assessments and Plans (PFSAs &PFSPs) up to date; and (3) port security training priorities.
    Port Commissioner, at the Belize Port Authority, Mrs. Merlene Bailey-Martinez and the OAS Representative Starret D Greene provided remarks at the opening ceremony.
    The Commissioner called on attendees to absorb as much information as was possible, particularly details on best practices on cyber security. Mrs. Bailey-Martinez also exhorted the participants that they should put into practice all they learned, upon returning to their workplace. She expressed gratitude to the OAS, through CICTE, for supporting the efforts of her Agency to make the Ports in Belize, internationally compliant, secure and modern.
    For his part, the OAS Representative contended that an effective port security strategy should include (a) strict enforcement of the relevant and applicable laws that criminalize unlawful acts and all forms of illicit port activities (b) strong institutional and human resource capacity (c) sustained adherence to established procedures (d) adoption of best practices, particularly in the area of cyber security (d) maintenance of international standards, accompanied by actions to modernize and update port and maritime facilities; and (f) a cadre of trained professionals who are committed to building a port and maritime security apparatus that is operationally, technical and logistically secure.
  • OAS Represented at National Forum in Observance of World Population Day 2017
    Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City, Tuesday July 11, 2017


    July 17, 2017
    News Item (Contact OAS Belize Office 223-3144)

    OAS Represented at National Forum in Observance of World Population Day 2017

    In observance of World Population Day 2017, and guided by the theme “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations”, a National Forum, organized by the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the United Nations Population Fund, was held in Belize City, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
    Starret Greene, the OAS Representative in Belize, participated in the Program that brought together key stakeholders to include UNICEF, UNFPA Youth Advisory Group Members, the US Embassy in Belize, members of the Clergy and the United Nations Office in Belize.
    The event allowed for open discussion, through various breakout groups, on issues such as preventing adolescent pregnancy in Belize, expanding access to voluntary family planning, how investing in the health and rights of women and girls can help to better plan the timing and size of their families and strengthening advocacy for the right to family planning.
    Adolescents and youth attending the Forum were afforded the opportunity to speak to issues they considered of concern to them. This allowed for meaningful exchanges and the sharing of testimonials by teenagers on early pregnancies and their experiences in dealing with such occurrences. The dialogue was heavily weighted on helping adolescents to understand how addressing issues such as voluntary family planning and reproductive health care decisions could bolster young people’s chances to contribute to their economic and social advancement and, by extension, to the sustainable development of Belize and the region.
    The OAS Representative, Starret Greene, said that the key to empowering adolescents and youth was to provide them with access to appropriate and accurate information as well as relevant sexual and reproductive health services. This approach, the Representative said, would not only help reduce the number of adolescent pregnancies in Belize, but also will make them be more productive citizens, in terms of helping them to make better use of opportunities geared towards their self-advancement and becoming worthy contributors to the sustainable development of their communities and country.
    The Organization of American States and the United Nations Population Fund have continued to collaborate on a range of programs, projects and activities, to advance the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the related 17 Sustainable Development Goals, through their respective Offices, based in Belize City.
  • OAS Belize Office Collaborates with UNICEF in Launching MICS5
    Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, Thursday June 22, 2017

    June 29, 2017
    News Item (Contact OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144)

    OAS Belize Office Collaborates with UNICEF in Launching MICS5

    The OAS Belize Office, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Statistical Institute of Belize, the National Committee on Families and Children and other stakeholders, was involved in the Launch of the Final Report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS5). The event was held on Thursday, 22nd June, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel & Marina, in Belize City.
    MICS5 is a multiple indicator cluster survey that gathered data about children in categories such as poverty, gender equality, health, nutrition and education, with special reference to the applicable United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    In Belize, this survey was jointly conducted by the UNICEF Office in Belize City and the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). The gathering of data begun in 2011, and continued into 2016. Inputs were also provided by critical line ministries within the Government of Belize, to include the Ministries of Health, Education and Human Development. The survey was conducted in the six districts that comprised Belize, with hundreds of households being the primary participants. Support also came from the OAS Belize Office, the Office of PAHO/WHO in Belize City and a number of other related agencies and institutions.
    The overarching goal of the survey was to provide evidence-based data that would be critical for the formulation of policies that targeted children, with a view to improve their wellbeing, particularly in the major categories mentioned above.
    For example, in the area of nutrition, and having regard to SDG2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, the survey found that, in Belize, less than 1% of children was severely underweight; 15% were moderately stunted or too short for their age, 2% were moderately wasted or too thin for their height and 7% of children were overweight or too heavy for their height. The survey also revealed some disparities in nutrition for children as follows: 35% of children in Toledo District were likely to be stunted; Almost 7% of children in Belize Southside were more likely to be underweight; 3% of children in both Stann Creek District and Belize Southside were wasted; and Belize District and Belize Southside had the highest percentage of overweight children (11% and 9%, respectively).
    With the completion of MICS5, the Government of Belize, through its Ministries, Agencies, Departments and Units, is challenged to formulate and implement a national response that would result in improving the wellbeing and fortunes of children in Belize. The active support of organizations such as UNICEF, the OAS, PAHO/WHO, related entities and local groups will be crucial in augmenting and supplementing the Government’s programs, projects, initiatives and activities on behalf of children.
  • OAS Assistant Secretary General makes Official Visit to Belize
    Belize City, Belize, Wednesday May 10, 2017

    May 12, 2017
    News Item (contact OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144)

    OAS Assistant Secretary General makes Official Visit to Belize

    The Assistant Secretary General (ASG) of the Organization of American States (OAS), His Excellency, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, arrived in Belize on the evening of Wednesday, May 10, 2017, to begin an Official visit.
    Accompanied by the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene, Ambassador Mendez started his official visit by appearing on Channel 5 Television, in Belize City, as a guest on the popular morning show called “Open Your Eyes”. He used the opportunity to discuss the financial situation of the OAS, and referenced a range of issues, including security and corruption, that the OAS and its member countries are addressing. The Ambassador also used his appearance on the show to highlight the programs, projects and activities that the OAS is currently implementing in Belize, and made special reference to an OAS Flag Ship Program entitled the Caribbean Small Business Development Center (SBDC), that is being implemented in collaboration with BELTRAIDE.
    The agenda for the Assistant Secretary General (ASG) included a number of appointments with High Authorities in the Government of Belize. He met with Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber; Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. In each of the above encounters, the ASG highlighted the work of the OAS in Belize and reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to advancing its collaboration and cooperation with both public and private entities, to further assist in the development of Belize. The Assistant Secretary General concluded with a visit to opposition leader John Briceño.
    Additionally, the Ambassador held a meeting with the President of the University of Belize (UB), in Belmopan, and pledged the support of his good offices to further collaboration with the university and promised to address the student body during his next official visit to Belize.
    Ambassador Mendez left Belize on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
  • OAS Representative Participated in Project Launch Workshop
    Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga Town, Thursday April 27, 2017

    May 3, 2017
    News Item (Contact OAS Belize Office)
    OAS Representative Participated in Project Launch Workshop

    At the invitation of the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA), the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene, participated in a workshop that launched the Youth Resilience and Inclusive Social Empowerment (RISE) project. The event was held at the Pelican Beach Resort, in Dangriga Town, on Thursday, April 27, 2017, a distance covering over one hundred and twenty (120) miles, from Belize City.
    The Youth Rise Project targets young people who are considered to be at extreme risk of becoming involved in crime and violence, as well as adopting antisocial behaviors - and who have limited access to social services.
    In this connection, the project seeks to address these challenges by supporting the expansion of and access to existing social services, as well as catering for the development and implementation of new services, in order to reduce social exclusion among youth and families in the target communities. The project will provide services to enhance literacy and adaptive life skills, support community security and improve inter-linkages and the sharing of best practices among participating agencies, working in the designated communities.
    RISE is supported in part by the Government of Belize (GOB). However, GOB is obtaining assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in financing the up-scaling of an existing initiative called the Youth and Community Transformation (YCT) Project, that is currently being implemented in at risk communities in Dangriga and the twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
    The Organization of American States (OAS), through its Secretariat for Integral Development, is currently providing funding for a Social Inclusion/Social Transformation project for Belize. Both the OAS and Youth Rise Projects have crucial similarities, in that they target elements of the Belize population who are at extreme risk.
    In this regard, Representative Greene expressed delight at being part of the launch and he also voiced his satisfaction that the OAS was working hand in hand with development partners, such as MHDSTPA, the CDB and others in the region, to reach at risk groups in Belize, with a view to assist in rescuing them from the negative impacts of a range of societal ills, affecting their communities.
    The OAS Belize Office remains vigilant in supporting a number of initiatives that are specifically designed to improve the social wellbeing of the Belizean society.
    -the end-
  • Representatives of OAS and UNICEF Pledged to Pursue Areas of Common Interest
    Belize City, Monday March 20, 2017

    March 20, 2017
    News Item Produced by the OAS Belize Office

    Representatives of OAS and UNICEF Pledged to Pursue Areas of Common Interest.

    Representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), resident in Belize, pledged, on Monday, March 20, 2017, to work together to explore areas of common interest.
    In talks held at the OAS Belize Office, in Belize City, Belize, Starret Greene of the OAS and Dr. Susan Kasedde of UNICEF agreed to capitalize on the known achievements, particularly in the area of human development, of their respective organizations, on behalf of the citizens in the Hemisphere. They concurred on the need to continue focusing on addressing the challenges of underdevelopment, and to also take full advantage of the opportunities for improving the wellbeing of all peoples, especially those who are most vulnerable and whose rights needed to be protected and promoted.
    Specifically, Representative Greene and Representative Kasedde said that they were committed to finishing the work that OAS and UNICEF started in 2015 with the Government of Belize, on birth registration. They also indicated their willingness to work in concert in order to raise public awareness, advocate and strengthen institutional capacity for child and youth-sensitive law enforcement and justice, and promote inclusive processes to support sustainable development and social transformation, having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda, the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 169 targets.
    The Organization of American States and the United Nations Children’s Fund have had a long and established partnership that is built on collaboration and cooperation and the leveraging of their resources, to achieve optimum outcomes in the implementation of the programmes, projects, activities and initiatives carried out in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • OAS Secretary General Visits Belize for Talks with High Government Authorities
    Belize City, Thursday March 16, 2017

    OAS Secretary General Visits Belize for Talks with High Government Authorities
    Secretary General of the OAS, His Excellency, Luis Almagro, visited Belize on March 16 and 17, 2017, and held talks with top Government Officials, as well as members of the Opposition.
    The SG’s visit to Belize came after official meetings in Guatemala on March 15, 2017, that focused on moving forward with the holding of referenda in both countries, in conformity with the 2008 Special Agreement. Since assuming the post of Secretary General in March 2015, Almagro has urged both the Governments of Guatemala and Belize to take the requisite internal steps for holding the referenda as a means to determine whether the dispute should be settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
    In Belize, the OAS Diplomat first meeting was with Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow in Belize City, at which Foreign Minister Elrington was also present. He used the occasion to again press for movement towards the referendum. In this meeting, the Secretary General learned that Belize would work towards holding its referendum sometime in 2018. However, the Government was planning to conduct both Re-Registration and Redistricting exercises in 2018 as well. Also, municipal elections were due in the first quarter of the said year. The above narrative suggests that no referendum on going to the ICJ would take place until after Re-Registration, in the case of Belize. There have been talks in some quarters that Guatemala was aiming to hold its referendum in September of 2017.
    In a Press Statement read in the presence of the Belize Media, Secretary General Almagro gave an overview of his visit, noting that the OAS and the parties would continue to work diligently towards finding a peaceful, permanent solution to the territorial dispute. He said that his talks were also centered on implementing mechanisms of consultations to avoid or to better manage incidents. He called on both countries to work together on implementing the agreements that were signed in 2014, and designed to strengthen their bilateral cooperation, and to bring about better conditions for education, cultural affairs, environment and security. Almagro also mentioned the need to ensure justice in relation to existing investigations and to find those responsible for past incidents that have occurred in the Adjacency Zone and elsewhere. The SG said, we all have to believe, and we believe especially, that the solutions should be according to law and according to rights. “We cannot pretend to solve conflicts by ignoring the rights of others or rolling over the rights of others”. Almagro concluded.
    The Secretary General departed Belize on March 17, 2017.
  • Representatives of the OAS and UNFPA Agreed to Proactive Collaboration
    OAS Belize Office, Belize City, Friday February 24, 2017

    Representatives of the OAS and UNFPA Agreed to Proactive Collaboration


    The Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Belize, Starret Greene, and the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in Jamaica, Ms. Alison Drayton, agreed to redouble their efforts, through the work of their individual offices, to proactively advance development, with a view to help in improving the wellbeing of groups and individuals, in Latin America and the Caribbean, who remain outside the ‘mainstream’ of society.

    In a meeting held at the OAS Belize Office, in Belize City, Belize, on Friday, February 24, 2017, both Representatives recalled the 2016 Joint Statement of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean, in which both the OAS and UNFPA, through the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACRO), agreed to combine their efforts, experience, and knowledge to support Member States in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which presents 17 new SDGs and 169 targets.

    In this connection, Mr. Greene and Ms. Drayton pledged to reach out to other organizations within their sphere of influence, including those in the business sector, civil society and social partners, with a view to identify areas of cooperation, and to also create opportunities for the leveraging of resources, in order to ensure that there is greater and more effective impact, in the implementation of current programs and projects, on the targeted groups.

    The Representatives of the OAS and UNFPA also discussed the need to identify and mobilize resources for development. They subscribed to the view that it was an area that deserved priority action, and shared the belief that member countries had an indispensable role to play in procuring financial resources, with their legislatures taking the lead.

    The Member States of the OAS have established an agenda within the Hemisphere that is based on four pillars: Democracy, Human Rights, multidimensional Security and Integral Development. In this regard, the GS/OAS can help to lead regional efforts to support OAS Member States in achieving the SDGs, including those which fall directly under the purview of UNFPA, such as improving the health and well-being of women, decreasing maternal mortality and morbidity, and offering universal access to quality health services.

  • OAS Belize Office forges cooperation with Customs and Excise Department
    Belize City, Monday February 20, 2017


    February 20, 2017
    News Item
    Contact OAS Belize Office: 501-223-3144


    OAS BELIZE OFFICE FORGES COOPERATION WITH CUSOMS & EXCISE DEPARTMENT

    The OAS Belize Office and the Belize’s Customs and Excise Department have informally agreed to further strengthen their levels of cooperation and collaboration, in specified areas, in order to help build institutional capacity and improve the department’s human resource capability.

    This agreement to bolster OAS/Customs & Exercise partnership was reached in a meeting held between Mr. Starret Greene, the OAS Representative in Belize and Mr. Colin Griffith Sr, the Acting Comptroller of Customs and Excise, at the Customs Headquarters, located in the Port Loyola Area of Belize City, on February 20, 2017. Also present and participating in the wide ranging discussions were three (3) Deputy Comptrollers of Customs & Excise, with varying responsibilities, namely, Mrs. Estelle Leslie and Messrs Ian Haylock and Thomas Young.

    In terms of helping to improve the department’s human resource capability, the OAS Representative offered to conduct a course in Leadership for Customs and Excise Officers who were in leadership positions or those who aspired to become leaders. In this connection, arrangements for the course, to include administrative and logistics, would be implemented over a period of time in different regions of Belize to ensure wide geographical representation of participants. The first session was scheduled to commence in March 2017, for officers working in the Belize District.

    On the operational side of the Customs & Exercise Department, the Acting Comptroller offered the OAS Representative the opportunity to visit its workstations across the country, beginning with those in the northern districts of Belize, bordering Mexico. It was the view of all present that this proposed visit would give the OAS Representative a close up view of the work of Customs Officers and allow him to see, firsthand, the challenges they faced in trying to ensure the free movement of people, goods and services, in accordance with the laws of Belize, and consistent with established practices and procedures.

    In this connection, the parties to the informal agreement expressed the view that the information to be gathered by the OAS Representative could be used to inform authorities at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and could be instrumental, as well, in helping to reach consensus on how the OAS could better support the operations of the Belize Customs & Exercise Department.

    The OAS has continued to work with its member countries to strengthen their institutional capacities and improve their human resource capabilities, through the convening of seminars, workshops, scholarships and short term courses.

    -the end-
  • OAS and UNFPA Collaborate to Disseminate 2016 World Population Report
    Belize City, Monday November 21, 2016

    Belize City, November 21, 2016
    News Item (OAS Belize Office)

    OAS & UNFPA Collaborate to Disseminate 2016 World Population Report
    Consistent with the initiative of both the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Head of the Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to join forces in preparing the America’s region for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene, and the Liaison Officer for UNFPA’s Office in Belize City, Ms. Tisa Grant, appeared on a Television Program, on Channel 5 Television, in Belize, to extend the launch of the 2016 World Population Report. The Report highlighted the varying circumstances facing 10 year old girls in today’s world. Also appearing on the program was the Manager of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit in Belize’s Department of Youth Services, Mr. Eckert Middleton.
    During the airing of the program, the discussion focused on a number of the Report’s findings in relation to girls at 10 years, living in various parts of the world. The conversation was wide ranging and the following key points were elaborated:
    (a) The possibilities and opportunities that existed for many girls at 10 years that would positively influence their lives and education careers;
    (b) The existence of social and cultural norms, institutions, discriminatory laws and traditions that can hinder or block the development of 10 year old girls;
    (c) The need to give priority to improving and implementing various public policy options, in parts of the world, to address gender discrimination; and
    (d) The gains that can be achieved on behalf of 10 year old girls when existing risks are minimized and an environment is created to help these girls realize their full potential.
    Both the OAS and UNFPA have agreed to prioritize their collaboration by building awareness and disseminating activities on the SDG’s, particularly those related to mental health, universal access to quality health services and the improvement of the well being of women, children and adolescents in the Americas.
  • OAS Belize Office assists in Coordinating Tourism Security Training Course
    Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Monday October 17, 2016

    October 22, 2016

    News Item

    OAS Belize Office assists in Coordinating Tourism Security Training Course

    Working closely with members of staff in the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) Secretariat, the OAS Belize Office was instrumental in providing the requisite administrative and logistical support for the convening of a Tourism Security Training Course, in Belize.
    The event, jointly organized by the General Secretariat of the OAS, through its Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), the United Nations Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and tourism stakeholders in Belize, was held during a five day period, from October 17-21, 2016. It attracted a number of stakeholders from the public and private sector of Belize, including law enforcement, security personnel of National Parks and Heritage sites and high level authorities from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, the Belize City Council and the Belize Tourism Board.
    The course was one element of an OAS designed Tourism Security Program that, among other things, aimed to contribute to the strengthening of the capacities of strategic-level and operational-level public-private sector actors, in the tourism industry in member countries, including Belize. The program was also formulated to promote collaboration between the public and private sectors in the prevention and response to incidents that threatened the security of tourism.
    In opening remarks, the OAS Representative, Starret Greene, told the audience that the security of Belize’s tourism industry should not be viewed in isolation. Rather, Mr. Greene said that the security of the industry was inextricably linked to that of the country’s national security. The OAS Diplomat called for the strengthening of security at Belize’s heritage sites and designated parts of the country’s national parks, and protected areas. “These are the country’s national assets, and therefore, their protection becomes a national security issue”, he concluded.
    Prior to the convening of the course, the OAS, through a Team from CICTE carried out a Needs Assessment in Belize, last July. The outcomes were used to develop the 5 day training course with the goal of strengthening the capacity of various tourism stakeholders in Belize, to prevent and respond to incidents that could affect tourists. In this connection, participants learned practical skills such as risk assessment, general security planning, interviewing techniques, and threat assessments, among others key topics.
    The Organization of American States, through its Inter-American Committee against terrorism, continues to provide support to its member States to assist in building institutional and human resource capacity in their quest to improve security at every level of their national development.
  • OAS Belize Office Supports Implementation of Social Inclusion/Social Transformation Project
    Belize City, Belize, Monday July 25, 2016

    July 25, 2016
    News Item

    OAS Belize Office Supports Implementation of Social Inclusion/Social Transformation Project

    The OAS Belize Office is working closely with the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA) to speed up the implementation of the project entitled “Social Inclusion/Social Transformation Project for Belize”. The project is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2017, and both the Office and the Ministry are intensifying their efforts to meet the projected deadline, notwithstanding a relatively late start.
    During the period July 18-22, 2016, a Stakeholders consultation that is considered a critical project activity, was convened in Belize City. This event brought together a number of government officials and private sector partners to discuss the existing social programs that were designed and formulated by MHDSTPA, and catered to some of the most vulnerable and poor families in Belize City, and other parts of the country as well.
    OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D. Greene and CEO in MHDSTPA, Ms Judith Alpuche, addressed the audience during an opening ceremony. Both lauded the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Development Corporation Fund (DCF), for supporting Belize’s poverty alleviation programs and initiatives.
    On July 25, 2016, the OAS Representative spoke again at the start of a week of program review and training activities. This event was done in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development in Chile and MHDSTPA, and within Chile’s “Programa Familia” framework. In this connection, the Chilean Ministry also made available two (2) of its experts to travel to Belize, primarily to conduct an examination of Belize’s existing programs and to make recommendations, based on best practices methods, for improving their administrative and management operations.
    Consistent with speeding up the implementation of the project’s activities, work also started in earnest on the design of the Belize Active Labor Market Information System (BALMIS). Discussions were held with those agencies, to include Labor, Immigration and Foreign Affairs and local partners, who would likely use BALMIS to advertise, recruit and identify employment opportunities.
    According to Mark Antrobus, the Coordinator for the project mentioned herein, the above program initiatives and activities represented the start of a new philosophy of holistic, intensive interventions with families. He said that there was a strong emphasis on human rights and listening to the individual family’s concerns and priorities, with a view to providing the best counsel, advice and support.
    The OAS Funding for this project comes through the Development Corporation Fund (DCF), within the Secretariat for Integral Development.

  • OAS Belize Office Supports Community Preparedness and Resilience Project
    Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga, Thursday June 30, 2016

    July 4, 2016
    News Item
    OAS Belize Office Supports Community Preparedness and Resilience Project
    During the past twelve (12) months, the OAS Belize Office, through its Representative Starret D Greene and members of staff, actively supported the implementation of a technical cooperation project, sponsored by the Government of Taiwan and managed by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). The project, entitled, “Community Preparedness and Resilience” was designed to build capacity in designated Belize communities in order to make them better prepared to deal with natural and manmade disasters, and to respond effectively to extreme weather and the effects of climate change as well.
    According to the project team for PADF, the initiative, launched in July 2015, assisted over 14,000 residents of Belize’s Stann Creek District in preparing for and responding to disasters. In this connection, two communities in Southern Belize, namely, the Town of Dangriga and the Village of Hopkins were the primary beneficiaries. “We have engaged both communities, through capacity building, contingency planning and ecological restoration efforts and increased awareness about disaster preparedness and climate change,” says Dr. Minerva Pinelo, PADF Belize Project Director. “It has been a great experience seeing residents take ownership of the project, become involved in building resilience within their communities and understand how climate change adaptation is the key to the preservation of their livelihoods,” Dr. Pinelo concluded.
    Throughout the implementation of the project, the OAS Representative, Starret Greene, provided expert advice to the Director of the project. The OAS Office was also used as the site for several planning and coordination meetings. According to Mr. Greene, the OAS was obliged to fully support the worthy efforts of its affiliated body, the Pan American Development Foundation, and to use his organization’s well established reputation, as a provider of technical support to various Government Ministries and Agencies in Belize, to generate support for the PADF initiative.
    The work done in communities in the Stann Creek District, through the project, included training and equipping local emergency response teams in Dangriga and Hopkins; Engaging students and teachers at seven schools, with programs on climate change and disaster risk reduction; the launching of eight public awareness campaigns aimed at protecting fragile ecosystems; and partnering with the University of Belize to expand its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center, and engaging students in field work as well.
    OAS Representative Starret Greene travelled to Dangriga on June 30, 2016, to participate in a ceremony to mark the formal completion of the yearlong program.
  • OAS Belize Office Outreach Program advances to the Cayo District
    San Ignacio, Cayo District, Saturday June 11, 2016

    June 14, 2014

    OAS Belize Office Outreach Program advances to the Cayo District

    The OAS Belize Office Outreach Program has now reached into the Cayo District in western Belize. This outreach exercise is part of a broader effort to educate the Belizean population about the work of the Organization of American States in providing targeted assistance, working in partnership with the public and private sectors, consistent with achieving Belize’s developmental goals.
    On Saturday, June 11, 2016, the OAS Representative, Starret D. Greene, accompanied by Mr. Antonio Orellana, the Chauffeur/ Messenger/Clerk, was in the Town of San Ignacio, at the San Ignacio Hotel, and conducted a Presentation on “Leadership in the 21st Century”, as part of an intense and interactive Training Seminar, for 15 members of staff, that included 11 managers and 4 administrators.
    The OAS Belize Office Outreach Program was strictly designed to publicize the work of the OAS in Belize by informing Belizean citizens about the specific programs, projects, activities and initiatives that are undertaken by the organization. In this connection, the Outreach Program is not only derived from the OAS’ sponsored technical cooperation programs in Belize, but it also has the same fundamental objective of focusing on institutional strengthening and building human resource capacity – the corner stone of the cooperation support that the organization gives to its member States.
    In addition, the Outreach Program aims to counter a growing perception that the OAS is only involved in working with Belize and Guatemala to resolve their long running territorial dispute. In this regard, the program will highlight the other aspects of the invaluable work the OAS does in Belize through its office located in Belize City, as distinct from the activities carried out at the OAS Adjacency Zone Office, on the western border with Guatemala.
    The General Manager of the San Ignacio Hotel, Mrs. Paulita Figueroa, who also participated in the Training Seminar, heaped glowing praises on the OAS Representative for bringing the Training Seminar to her staff.
    The emphasis that the Outreach Program places on training makes it a true extension of the OAS’ Professional Development Program that provides training to nationals of OAS member States, to include senior civil servants, technocrats from various private sector entities and others in numerous professions, who continue to benefit from a series of refresher courses that not only broadens their knowledge but also breathes new life and inspiration into previously tiring careers.
    The OAS Belize Outreach Program has already benefited persons in Law Enforcement, Hospitality Industry, Banking and Finance, Immigration, Entrepreneurship and Politics.

  • OAS Belize Office Involved in the Planning of OAS Secretary General’s Official Visit to Belize
    Belize, Thursday May 19, 2016

    April 21, 2016
    OAS Belize News Item
    OAS Belize Office Involved in the Planning of OAS Secretary General’s Official Visit to Belize
    The OAS Belize Office was engaged in both coordinating and organizing the recently concluded Official Visit to Belize, by the OAS Secretary General, Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes, from April 19 to 21, 2016.
    Due to extenuating circumstances, his first meeting with the Chief Justice of Belize and other officials, scheduled for April 19, 2016, at the OAS Belize Office, had to be cancelled.
    Instead, the Secretary General was driven to Belmopan to hold his first meeting with Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Dean Barrow. At the Prime Minister’s Office, the conversation focused almost entirely on the Belize/Guatemala Dispute. The SG stressed the need for both countries to take expeditious steps to bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice. PM Barrow expressed his personal commitment and that of his government to move with dispatch.
    The SG then met with Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conversation focused on the Belize/Guatemalan Dispute. The SG used the occasion to reiterate his position that speedy action was required to get the dispute to the ICJ, and the Foreign Minister also availed himself to do all that was possible in that regard.
    Between 7-9 pm, the Government of Belize hosted a reception, at the San Ignacio Hotel, in honor of SG Almagro. The event marked the end of his first day in Belize.
    On April 20, 2016, a planned “Fly over”, via helicopter of the Adjacency Zone area, was cancelled, due to unfavorable weather. Instead, the SG visited the OAS Adjacency Zone Office and met with the Peace Fund Donor Countries Representatives. He also met with Belize’s Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colvin Young. A Presentation of OAS/AZ Culture of Peace Program followed. It featured young people from both Belize and Guatemala, performing a variety of songs and dances.
    After lunch, the SG was given a guided tour of the Xunantunich Ruins. He then returned to the OAS Adjacency Zone Office and listened to a presentation of the work of the Office. This brought his second day in Belize to a close.
    On his final day, the SG met with the Honorable John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition and of the Peoples United Party (PUP), in Belize City. SG Almagro emphasized the need for both Belize and Guatemala to take their Dispute to the ICJ. Mr. Briceno expressed support for the position of the SG and also indicated that he was willing to work with the Government to try and resolve Belize’s dispute with Guatemala.
    The Secretary General’s Official Visit to Belize ended when he departed the country during the afternoon of April 21, 2016.
  • OAS Belize Office Features in PROCCER Certification Ceremony
    Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City, Wednesday April 27, 2016


    April 27, 2016
    OAS Belize Office News Item

    OAS Belize Office Features in PROCCER Certification Ceremony
    The OAS Belize Office and Belize’s National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) joined forces in organizing the Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Certification Ceremony, that resulted from the OAS sponsored Training and Certification of Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (PROCCER). The ceremony was held on April 27, 2016, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, in Belize City, Belize.
    A total of forty-seven (47) Belizeans, twenty-one from the Treatment category and twenty-six (26) from the Prevention category were declared certified practitioners across a wide range of disciplines to include social work and counseling as well as drug and violence prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. About seventy-five (75) Belizeans participated in the program that was locally administered by NDACC, and supervised by officials from the University of the West Indies, at its Mona Campus in Jamaica.
    Speaking at the Ceremony, OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene congratulated the participants on behalf of the OAS Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), and praised the partnership that both CICAD and NDACC had developed in their collective quest to strengthen capacity in specific areas of need in Belize. Mr. Greene said that as a result of PROCCER, Belize’s human resource capacity had expanded. He remarked that a cadre of social workers, community police officers, counselors and community workers were among those who now formed part of a growing pool of qualified professionals, and that they were ready and prepared to help those who had fallen by the wayside, and needed to be returned to the main stream of society.
    Also addressing the Ceremony was the Honorable Pablo Marin, the Minister of Health, who expressed his Government’s appreciation for the financial support of the OAS in assisting NDACC to implement PROCCER. For his part, the Director of NDACC, Mr. Esner Vellos, also thanked OAS/CICAD for partnering with his agency and for creating opportunities for Belizeans to emerge as qualified technicians to deal with a range of social challenges, such as violence, HIV/AIDS, that in some cases were linked to the abuse of drugs, lack of education and poverty.
    PROCCER was launched in the Caribbean in May 2011 and it involves the participation of experts in drug prevention and treatment, OAS Caribbean Member State national drug councils, academia (university of the West Indies, Mona Campus and St. George’s University-SGU), regional technical bodies and regional political bodies as well.
    PROCCER has emerged as a key element in the implementation of Drug Treatment Courts (DTC) programs, having regard to its Treatment and Prevention components.
  • OAS Representative Meets with Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP)
    OAS Belize Office, Wednesday March 2, 2016

    March 2, 2016
    News Item

    OAS Representative Meets with Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP)
    On February 29, 2016, the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D. Greene, was host of a meeting with the Honorable John Briceno, the newly elected leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) and Leader of the Opposition in Belize’s National Assembly. The meeting took place at the OAS Belize Office in Belize City with the overall objective of exchanging thoughts on important political issues in Belize and to prepare the grounds for establishing a working relationship that will allow for regular dialogue between both officials.
    The occasion was the first time that the two officials were meeting each other, and at the outset, it therefore allowed for formal introduction and exchange of pleasantries.
    However, both gentlemen used the meeting to discuss a number of issues ranging from the recent campaign for leadership of the PUP to the state of agriculture and the Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute.
    On the issue of Mr. Briceno’s emergence as the newly elected leader of his party, he expressed optimism about being able to unite party supporters, following the January 31st elections, and motivate them to focus on returning the PUP into Government. He also informed the OAS Representative that the Party would shortly make an announcement of the appointment of three (3) new candidates to the Senate, who would represent the positions of the PUP on a range of issues to be debated in that Legislative Chamber.
    Regarding the state of agriculture in Belize, the Leader of the Opposition lamented the challenges that farmers were facing, particularly in the North of the country, where drought conditions had resulted in the sector losing approximately BZ$30 million. In relation to his party’s position on Belize/Guatemala relations, with special reference to the Territorial Dispute, the PUP Leader informed the OAS Representative that he had established a Special Committee to advise him on the issues pertaining to the subject and to keep him apprised of the state of current negotiations at the various levels. The Leader also revealed that he had appointed a member of the said Committee to sit on the Belize/Guatemala Commission.
    The OAS Diplomat, consistent with the OAS Professional Development Program, offered to Mr. Briceno, an opportunity for some of the young leaders in the party to be exposed to a presentation on “Leadership in the 21st Century”. Mr. Greene explained that the exercise was an opportunity to build capacity among the youths in the party and to position them to play a more effective role in formulating and articulating the party’s position on current and emerging political, economic, social and cultural issues. The offer was readily accepted by the Leader.
    Both gentlemen agreed that the meeting opened the opportunity for them to hold further discussions and that it also set the stage for having regular dialogue on political and other issues of relevance to the OAS and the PUP alike.
  • OAS,UNICEF and GOB Collaborate on Birth Registration Stakeholders Meeting
    Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, Friday February 19, 2016

    February 19, 2016

    OAS, UNICEF and GOB Collaborate on Birth Registration Stakeholders Meeting
    The Offices of the Organization of American States in Belize and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Government of Belize (GOB), through its Vital Statistics unit of the General Registry Department, hosted a meeting of Birth Registration Stakeholders, on February 18, 2016, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. The event was held to discuss the findings and recommendations of a Report, commissioned by UNICEF, to investigate the state of the current birth registration coverage and system in Belize.
    The agenda for the event included Opening Remarks by Mr. Ivan Yerovi H., Representative of UNICEF in Belize; Remarks by Starret D Greene, OAS Representative in Belize, and the Key note Address by the Honorable Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice, Belize Supreme Court.
    However, the main agenda item was Dr. Holness’ Presentation on the Findings and Recommendations of her Report. In this regard, the Consultant outlined a set of bottlenecks that were preventing 100% birth registration in Belize. Among her many findings of the current Birth Registration System were (1) leadership failures (2) Inadequate staff (3) inadequate resources (4) birth registration inaccessibility (5) lack of oversight (6) shortage of materials (7)no access by registrars to travel to the unregistered and (8) a widely dispersed population.
    The methodology the consultant used allowed her to meet with the Registrar General and with the leadership and staff of the Civil Registry as well. She observed the activities of the Vital Statistics Unit as well as the Civil Registration Process across all Districts in Belize, except the town of Corozal. In addition, Dr. Holness met with key stakeholders to include the Hospitals, Funeral Directors, Ministers of Religion, Marriage officers and others.
    Crucial to the next steps following the presentation of the Consultant’s report was the dialogue that ensued between stakeholders who were assigned to three distinct working groups. Issues relating to social norms, access, legislative policy, budget, expenditure and management/coordination, were elaborated. The salient points will be provided to the Consultant for inclusion in her final report.
    In 2008, the OAS adopted the Inter-American Program for Universal Civil Registry and the “Right to Identity”. The Universal Civil Identity Project was subsequently established as the vehicle through which the organization works with its partners to strengthen the administrative and technological capacities of public registries in member countries.
  • Country Representatives of OAS and the IDB agreed to Forge closer Cooperation
    OAS Belize Office, Tuesday February 2, 2016

    February 2, 2016

    Country Representatives of OAS and the IDB agreed to Forge closer Cooperation

    The Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Belize, Starret D. Greene, and the Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Belize, Dr. Cassandra Rogers, held formal discussions at the OAS Belize Office on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, that focused on a number of programs and projects that both organizations were currently implementing in Belize.
    Both Country Representatives identified several areas where the two organizations were positioned to pool resources, share best practices and exchange ideas that would further strengthen and, where possible, expand existing programs, projects, activities and initiatives.
    In this connection, the OAS sponsored Drug Treatment Court project for juveniles was mentioned as a possible activity that could lead to the creation of synergies in light of the fact that the IDB was also involved in an initiative that targeted disadvantaged young people in Belize. This IDB sponsored education and training activity is supporting the aspirations of youths to acquire the requisite skills so that they could emerge as more productive citizens as well as become better prepared to compete for jobs in the national, regional and international labor market.
    The two (2) officials stressed the need to avoid duplication of efforts, especially in light of diminishing resources that are available for developmental cooperation. They also emphasized how critical it was to achieve optimum efficiencies in the execution of all programs, but in particular, those that were designed to strengthen human development and build institutional capacity in Belize. Finally, the two seasoned diplomats also mentioned the importance of ensuring that the results of the programs, that their respective organizations funded, were impactful and sustainable.
    The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are sister organizations within the Inter-American System, with a long and successful history of working together on developmental issues.
    -end-
  • OAS Partners with Stakeholders to convene Train the Trainers Business Lab Workshop
    Belize City, ITVET, Monday November 9, 2015

    November 16, 2015

    OAS Partners with Stakeholders to convene Train the Trainers Business Lab Workshop
    The Organization of American States (OAS), through its Office in Belize City, collaborated with a group of high powered Stakeholders, namely, the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV), Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), to convene a Train the Trainers Business Lab workshop, that focused on Intellectual Property and Product Branding for Creative Industries.
    The event, convened in Belize during the period November 9-13, 2015, brought together 25 participants from Belize with managerial and practical experience in the different aspects of small businesses. The workshop, among other things, was designed to provide potential trainers and mentors with tools to assist entrepreneurs with the business development support and guidance they need to have their businesses thrive. The business lab aspect of the workshop was geared towards helping to transform intellectual Entrepreneurial Assets (IEAs) into real business by offering technical skills and advice in business planning, marketing and branding.
    Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, His Excellency, Ambassador Nester Mendez, was present to give the key note address at the Opening Ceremony. Also addressing the workshop participants was H.E. Oren Bar El, Ambassador of Israel in El Salvador and non-resident Ambassador to Belize. Mr. Starret D Greene, the OAS Representative in Belize, gave both the welcoming and closing remarks.
    At the end of the course, participants, among other things, had acquired hands on experience that resulted in them having grasped the core principles for establishing and managing small-scale business enterprises and developed an understanding of the basic principles for incorporating intellectual property into their business models. They are also now positioned to analyze aspects of creating a corporate image and developing marketing strategies for reaching their target audience.
    The Workshop was facilitated by Messrs Moshe Harel and Guillermo Levinton, lecturers at the Golda Meir mount Carmel International Training Center (MCTC).
    The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) was the main sponsor of the event. BELTRADIE also provided substantial support as well.
  • OAS Assistant Secretary General H. E. Nestor Mendez Visits OAS Country Office in Belize
    Belize City, OAS Belize Office, Monday November 9, 2015

    November 12, 2015

    OAS Assistant Secretary General H.E. Nestor Mendez Visits OAS Country Office in Belize
    The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, His Excellency, Ambassador Nester Mendez visited the OAS Country Office in Belize, on November 9, 2015. Ambassador Mendez received warm words of welcome on behalf of the Staff from the OAS Representative in Belize, Mr. Starret D Greene. Representative Greene also used the opportunity of the ASG’s presence to brief him on the programs, projects and activities being undertaken by the Office and the strategies and work program put in place to ensure the effective implementation of the Office’s mandate, consistent with the four (4) pillars of the OAS, namely Democracy, Human Rights, Multidimensional Security and Integral Development. Staff members were both honored and excited to have had the ASG in their presence, and used the occasion to highlight some of the challenges associated with performing their daily tasks. They also pledged their continued commitment to keep flying the flag of the organization in Belize, with dignity and pride.
    For his part, Assistant Secretary General Mendez thanked staff members for representing the OAS in Belize, and expressed his appreciation, on behalf of the General Secretariat, for their unwavering commitment towards ensuring that the organization’s presence and work in Belize were helping to make a positive difference in the lives of the country’s citizens. Ambassador Mendez also briefed the staff on the restructuring initiative of the OAS. He said that this new thrust was aimed at ensuring increased efficiencies in the organization’s operations. The ASG also emphasized the need to further streamline critical administrative processes and procedures within the OAS, and to employ proven management practices, consistent with a modern 21st century multilateral body. The Ambassador spoke of the need to strengthen the OAS Offices in the field so that they can better assist in advancing the strategic interests of the organization in the Hemisphere through promoting democracy, increasing security, defending human rights and supporting Integral Development.
    The Assistant Secretary General’s visit to Belize was directly linked to the convening of a Regional Train the Trainers Business Lab Work Shop in Belize, sponsored by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), and supported by the Organization of American States (OAS), Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
    The event was held during the period November 9-13, 2015, in Belize City.
  • OAS Belize Office Hosts Members of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (OAS/EOM)
    Belize City, Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Wednesday November 4, 2015

    November 11, 2015

    OAS Belize Office Hosts Members of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (OAS/EOM)
    Responding to an invitation from the Government of Belize to send an Electoral Observation Mission to observe the country’s General Elections, the OAS Secretary General, His Excellency, Luis Almagro, dispatched an OAS Electoral Mission to observe the said elections on November 4, 2015. Members of the Mission arrived in Belize during the period October 28 to 31, 2015, and were ably supported by the Staff of the OAS Belize Office. The Chief of the 13 member Mission was Ambassador Jacinth Henry Martin, who is also the Chief of Staff to the OAS Secretary General. Mr. Paul Spencer, Political Analyst in the OAS Political Affairs Secretariat, served as Deputy Chief of Mission.
    Prior to the arrival of members of the OAS/EOM, Staff members in the OAS Belize Office ensured that all the administrative and logistical arrangements were in place to facilitate the work of the Mission. These arrangements included securing the requisite providers of products and services. Special attention was given to the hiring of a local support staff, acquiring office equipment and supplies, and securing transportation and accommodation as well.
    Conducting meetings with key stakeholders in Belize, who had an important stake in the elections, were critical to the work of the Mission. In this regard, the Staff in the OAS Belize Office devoted considerable time and energy in planning and organizing meetings with a wide range of political, professional, social and civil society actors, religious groups, business entities and youth organizations.
    The OAS/EOM, upon arrival, signed, on October 29, 2015, an Agreement with Belize’s Electoral and Boundaries Commission, thereby paving the way for the Mission to conduct its work. Immediately after the signing, members of the OAS/EOM received a briefing from the Chief Elections Officer within the Elections and Boundaries Department. In addition, the OAS/EOM met with Prime Minister, Dean Oliver Barrow, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wilfred Elrington and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Allen Whylie. Separate meetings were also held with an Observation Team from the US Embassy in Belmopan, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Directors of Media Houses.
    The Mission observed the elections in all 6 administrative regions of Belize on November 4, 2015, and visited a total of 162 of the country’s 225 polling booths, in 30 of the 31 constituencies.
    Before leaving Belize on November 6, the OAS/EOM held a Press Conference on November 5, and gave its Preliminary Report on the General Elections. It is believed that the Final Report will be completed in early 2016.
  • Belize High Schol to participate in 34th Model OAS General Assemby for High Schools
    OAS Headquarters, Washington D.C., Wednesday December 2, 2015

    October 21, 2015
    News Item
    Contact OAS Belize Office on 501-223-3144

    Belize High School to participate in 34th Model OAS General Assembly for High Schools
    At the invitation of the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, twelve (12) senior students and three (3) faculty members of the Belize High School will be traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the forthcoming 34th Model OAS General Assembly for High Schools (34th MOAS/HS) that will convene at the OAS Headquarters from December 2 to 4, 2015.
    This is the first time that a high school from Belize will be playing an active role in this MOAS Program that was designed to promote democratic values among the youth of the Hemisphere through a simulation exercise of the OAS General Assembly. According to organizers of the program at OAS Headquarters, students will represent the OAS Member States and negotiate resolutions to promote democracy, human rights, hemispheric security, and development in the Americas. The exercise will also familiarize students, faculty and academic institutions of the Americas with the work of the OAS and its member States.
    The OAS Belize Office was instrumental in helping the staff at the Belize High School in making the decision to attend, notwithstanding that each student had to assume the responsibility to meet the costs associated with registration fees and expenditures relating to travel, lodging, meals, incidentals and insurance. According to the OAS Representative in Belize, Mr. Starret Greene, BHS was the first and ultimately the only school to have jumped at the opportunity after receiving the invitation. The OAS Representative went on to state that not only would the students of BHS make history, but also they would become part of a hemispheric experience that would strengthen their knowledge of subjects such as multilateralism, international law, the environment and poverty alleviation.
    Principal Jamie Lee Usher was in the forefront of motivating and challenging students, staff and parents to participate in the OAS program that focused on the development of young people in the Americas. Mrs. Usher has always demonstrated a readiness to expose students of BHS to opportunities that helped them to fulfill their roles as global citizens and widened their knowledge and understanding in the process.
    The MOAS/HS is conducted in English with the OAS Headquarters as its primary venue.
    -end-
  • OAS-Development Cooperation Fund Supports Belize's Social Inclusion/Social Protection Programme
    OAS Belize Office, Belize City, Thursday July 16, 2015

    News Item
    August 3, 2015
    OAS-Development Cooperation Fund Supports Belize’s Social Inclusion/Social Protection Programme
    The OAS, through its Development Cooperation Fund (DCF), and the Government of Belize, through its Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, signed a Project Execution Agreement on July 16, 2015, at its General Secretariat Office in Belize City, Belize.
    The OAS-DCF assistance in the amount of US$130,000 compliments inputs from the Government of Belize and its United Nations development partners, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA. These resources will further strengthen the social inclusion/social protection project, executed by the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. According to the said Ministry, OAS-DCF injection will contribute to the achievement of the following key results:-
    - Design, implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of a pilot project which provides for comprehensive wraparound services to 400 households living below the indigent line, i.e. Wraparound Service Model Pilot Project; and

    - Strengthening of Ministry of Human Development, Social transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA) case management practices and expansion of its FAMCare information system with direct links to the productive employment pillar of the social protection system.
    In remarks given at the Signing Ceremony by the Senior Minister Anthony Martinez, in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, he applauded the OAS for its partnership with the Government of Belize, and pledged his Government’s commitment to the strengthening of Belize’s social protection program. The Minister also made specific reference to ongoing programs and projects undertaken by his government and implemented through various public agencies to systematically address the increasing pressing needs of the poor and vulnerable.
    Speaking on behalf of the OAS, Starret Greene, OAS Representative in Belize said that the OAS remained firmly committed to the fight against poverty and that the organization continued to work with its member countries throughout the hemisphere and other Inter-American Partners to improve the welfare of those citizens in the Americas who were living in poverty.
    Among those present at the Signing Ceremony were the Honorable Anthony Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Miss Judith Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA), Ms. Anna Williams, Human Development Coordinator in MHDSTPA, and Mrs Orla Kantun-Coleman, Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Members of the Media were also present and they used the opportunity to ask questions of the relevant officials.
    The project cycle will commence August 1, 2015 and ends on July 31, 2017.
  • ECPA - Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Initiative (SECBI) Launch in Belize
    George Price Center, Belmopan, Tuesday June 30, 2015

    July 3, 2015

    ECPA - Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Initiative (SECBI) Launch in Belize

    As part of a regional effort to improve energy efficiency in CARICOM member states, the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department of Sustainable Development (DSD), and in cooperation with its OAS Belize Office, has partnered with the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, in Belize, to launch the ECPA - Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Initiative (SECBI), during the period June 30, to July 2, 2015.
    This three (3) day event, held in Belmopan, provided the opportunity for expert consultants (from McGeown Associates and Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standard Program –CLASP), along with Ms. Carolina Pena, Energy Officer in the Sustainable Energy Section within the OAS/DSD, to consult directly with stakeholders in Belize, qualify conceptual recommendations, elaborate common practices and provide advice on improving equipment standards, in order to enhance energy efficiency efforts by the Government, businesses and households in Belize.
    The launching also brought into focus the Energy for Sustainable Development in Caribbean Buildings (ESD) Project that has given rise to a project concept for Belize entitled “Towards the Intensification of Energy Efficiency efforts in Government, Businesses and Households in Belize”. When implemented, it is anticipated that the project will help contribute to Belize’s sustainable development by accelerating an enabling environment for investments in, and utilization of, efficient and renewable energy measures.
    Four (4) main outcomes of the project are expected as follows:

    (1) Development of legal and institutional frameworks for utilities, energy service companies (ESCOs) and end-users to support energy sector transformation;
    (2) Providing sustainable energy investment guidance through financial mechanisms;
    (3) Supporting end-users decision making regarding energy-efficient equipment and service provider competency; and
    (4) Supporting the adoption of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for equipment and Buildings, especially those located in close proximity to the Parliament.

    Although some interventions relating to the development of the energy sector in Belize have begun, there are still important gaps that remained. In this connection, the financial and technical support of the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department of Sustainable Development (DSD), will be pivotal in improving energy efficiency in Belize.

    -end-
  • OAS Belize Office Supports Workshop on Women’s Entrepreneurship
    Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City, Tuesday June 23, 2015

    July 3, 2015

    OAS Belize Office Supports Workshop on Women’s Entrepreneurship

    The Office of the OAS General Secretariat in Belize, in recognition of the value and benefits that can accrue to society when meaningful investments are made towards the empowerment of Women, participated in a workshop that was jointly organized by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank.
    The workshop, held in Belize City at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on June 23, 2015, was designed to facilitate discussions among participants who shared a common goal of helping women entrepreneurs develop their businesses against the backdrop of mounting opportunities and challenges presented by the onset of globalization and global business competitiveness.
    The event brought together a number of women’s businesses and organizations in Belize and provided a forum for open debate on how best to improve the current business climate as well as to explore what additional incentives were needed for women entrepreneurs that would help grow and develop their business ventures.
    During the exchanges, participants also shared multiple ideas on what was needed to create and sustain a thriving class of women entrepreneurs and also offered a set of best practices methods that emanated from existing ventures that were considered a model of success. Ultimately, the issue of financing became the focus of attention as many businesswomen lamented the lack of progress in growing their businesses, a fact that they attributed to the absence of easy access to financing and their inability to qualify under the onerous terms and conditions offered by existing financial institutions.
    The OAS Belize Office was represented at the event by its Administrative Technician, Mrs. Lupita Thompson. Mrs. Thompson, who is acquainted with some of the programs that the OAS has sponsored in member countries to empower women in politics and business, said that the workshop was an eye opener for her. She also remarked that it allowed for the sharing of information and created the potential for building business partnerships within the framework of a growing business environment that would help to empower women, and by extension, strengthened families and communities.
    -end-
  • OAS/UNICEF/Belize Vital Statistic Unit Partner to achieve 100% Birth Registration
    Belize City, Tuesday June 16, 2015

    The Office of the OAS General Secretariat in Belize is partnering with UNICEF and the Vital Statistic Unit of Belize to achieve 100% Birth Registration in the Central American country. While Birth Registration in Belize is close to 94 percent, the statistics show that over 6 percent of births have remained unaccounted. Closing this gap has become a challenge for the Vital Statistic Unit and its officials have turned to UNICEF and the OAS to help bring reforms to the Birth Registration system, not only to achieve the goal of 100% Registration, but also to reach those vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, in order to bring them into the main stream of society.
    The tripartite effort, mentioned above, involved, among other things, a comprehensive assessment of Birth Registration in Belize. As designed, the assessment will (1) map the existing Registration system; (2) identify the current players and stakeholders; (3) point to the existing gaps in service delivery; (4) collate the various shortcomings and bottlenecks that contribute to inefficiencies; and (5) outlining a set of recommendations, to include the revision and amendment of legislation, for modernizing and making more efficient the Birth Registration system in Belize.
    In this regard, Belize Vital Statistic Unit has secured the consultancy services of Mrs. Patricia Holness, a Jamaican National to conduct the assessment. It is anticipated that she will complete her work by the end of summer 2015.
    For its part, the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department for Effective Public Management, and under its Universal Civil Identity Program in the Americas, led a previous initiative that resulted in the digitalization of 80 percent of the Registration Records of Belize. This project was specifically constructed by the OAS to build on previous work the organization had done with UNICEF and the IDB, in 2006, to fully modernize Belize’s Civil Registry.
    OAS Representative, Starret Greene, who also helped in coordinating the organization’s Civil Registry and identity project, to modernize the Civil Registry in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, during the period 2013-2014, said that he was delighted to be working directly with officials representing both UNICEF and Belize’s Vital Statistic Unit, in their collective goal to achieve 100% registration of all births in Belize. Mr. Greene praised the efforts of his colleagues and applauded them for exhibiting a true spirit of cooperation, to bring about needed change in an area that was crucial to achieve development with equity and sustainability.
    -end-
  • OAS Representative in Belize at Signing Ceremony between Belize and Guatemala
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala City, Monday May 25, 2015

    May 25, 2015

    OAS Representative in Belize at Signing Ceremony between Belize and Guatemala
    On May 25, 2015, the Governments of Belize and Guatemala, through the High Offices of their respective Foreign Ministers, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington and the Honorable Carlos Raul Morales, and in the presence of OAS Secretary General, H.E. Jose Miguel Insulza, signed a Protocol to Amend their Special Agreement of 2008. It should be recalled that the Special Agreement required, among other things, both countries to submit Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and to hold as well simultaneous referendum on their decision. However, the Protocol to amend their Special Agreement, now allows for the referendum to be either held simultaneously in both countries or to be held separately.
    Consistent with current understanding, Guatemala is scheduled to hold its referendum vote in November 2015, and, according to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, Belize would hold its referendum shortly thereafter.
    The signing ceremony, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Guatemala City, attracted a number of dignitaries, from both Countries. A strong contingent of media houses, including one (Channel 5) from Belize gave ample coverage to the event. Given that the signing took place on Guatemalan soil, the gathering was dominated by Guatemalan citizens, with a smaller but impressive group of Diplomats from Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in attendance. In addition, Secretary General Insulza led a fairly sizeable OAS Team, comprising of his Advisor, Ms. Anna Matilde Perez Katz, Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Office of the OAS Adjacency Zone, Ambassador Raul Lago, OAS Representative in Guatemala, Ms. Milagro Martinez, OAS Representative in Belize, Mr. Starret Greene, Chief of the OAS Peace Fund, Ms. Magdalena Talamas, Director of the OAS Adjacency Zone Office, Mr. Sergio Benitez and Dacia Argon, Administrative Technician in the OAS Office in Guatemala City.
    The first order of the Ceremony was the actual signing of the Amendment by both the Foreign Ministers and the OAS Secretary General, who literally presided at his final act, as the OAS Secretary General, after having served two terms (2005-2015). The event also featured remarks by all three officials, to include the two Foreign Ministers and the Secretary General. A Press Conference marked the final act of the signing ceremony.
    -end-
  • OAS Representative Meets with Mayor of Belize City
    Mayor's Office, Belize City, Tuesday May 5, 2015

    May 7, 2015

    OAS Representative Meets with Mayor of Belize City

    OAS Representative, Starret D Greene, and Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, met in the Mayor’s Office on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
    Both men used the occasion to get to know each other as well as to discuss possible areas of cooperation and collaboration between the Mayor’s Office and the Office of the OAS General Secretariat, located in Belize City.
    For his part, the Mayor used the occasion to highlight the good relations between the Office of the Mayor and the OAS Belize Office. He was fulsome in his praise for the work that the OAS continued to carryout in Belize, especially in the area of education and security and programs designed to support the efforts of the Government of Belize in addressing the ongoing drug problem, particularly among youths.
    The OAS Representative in the exchange applauded the Mayor for the extensive road work projects currently being undertaken in the City, with special reference to the reconstruction of the Boulevard where the OAS Office is located. The OAS Diplomat also acknowledged the various ongoing initiatives of the Mayor and his City Council to beautify the city and to create and sustain an environment that was conducive to the security and economic progress of the inhabitants.
    The Mayor and the OAS Representative promised to keep an open line of communication that they considered vital to good working rapport and mutual understanding.
    end
  • Press Conference - Galen University Students who participated in the 33rd MOAS
    OAS Belize Conference Room, Monday April 13, 2015

    Press Conference
    April 13, 2015
    Held at the OAS Belize Office
    With Galen University Students who participated in the 33rd MOAS in St. Kitts and Nevis

    I wish to warmly welcome everyone present to this News Conference. A special welcome is extended to members of the various Media Houses who are present.
    During the period March 24-26, 2015, the Organization of American States held its 33rd Model OAS General Assembly in St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest member country. For the first time since the inception of this event, six (6) students from Galen University in Belize, accompanied by one staff member, represented Belize. Their involvement was in response to an invitation extended to colleges and universities in Belize from the OAS General Secretariat, through the office of the Assistant Secretary General.
    Galen University was the first to respond positively to the invitation. Through the creative efforts at fund raising by some very enterprising and motivated students, together with support from the university and the OAS, sufficient funds were raised to cover the costs of airfare, room and board and other related expenses to travel to the Eastern Caribbean.
    I wish to express my profuse appreciation to the University for supporting the Model OAS General Assembly, which is now an annual event on the Inter-American Agenda. Special thanks are extended to Mrs. Sherry Gibbs, lecturer, Monica Chun, responsible for student affairs, the students who participated, the staff in the OAS Belize Office, and members of staff in the Office of the Assistant Secretary General in Washington, D.C., for working together to make the Model OAS General Assembly meaningful, educational and memorable.
    The Model OAS General Assembly is a program tailored for university students. It is specially designed to promote democracy among the youth of the hemisphere by familiarizing them with the work of the OAS and its member States, as well as to provide these young people with a better knowledge of the organization’s role as the premier political forum in the Hemisphere. The program is designed to bring students together, and it allows them to become engaged in an active learning exercise, where through role-playing, they represent the diplomats and political officials of the 34 member states of the OAS in similar settings and using well established procedures and practices as executed in a real OAS General Assembly forum.
    Students from throughout the Caribbean, Canada, the United States, and countries in Latin America participated in the event.
  • OAS PROCCER Activities Launched in Belize
    NARCIE Conference Room, Belize City, Thursday March 19, 2015

    March 20, 2015

    OAS PROCCER Activities Launched in Belize

    Activities associated with the OAS’ sponsored Training and Certification Program for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation (PROCCER) were launched in Belize, on March 19, 2015.
    At a ceremony organized by the National Drug Abuse Control Council in Belize City, at the NARCIE Conference Room, on March 19, 2015, Dr. Peter Allen, CEO in the Ministry of Health said that about 70 Health Professionals would be trained to assist in rehabilitating those persons who were victims of drug abuse and drug dependency. The CEO explained that the training would focus on prevention techniques, treatment and rehabilitation. With respect to rehabilitation, he referenced the challenges of securing equipped rehabilitation centers. Nevertheless, he expressed the view that the training program was the first step in overcoming these challenges. Dr. Allen also used the occasion to express, on behalf of the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Health, his sincere thanks to the Organization of American States (OAS) for building a partnership with officials within the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) to ensure the success of the PROCCER program.
    Also speaking at the launch was the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret Greene. The OAS Diplomat remarked that the PROCCER program was region wide, and that it was designed by the OAS’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), in 2006, to develop and strengthen countries’ institutions, policies, and strategies regarding treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with problems stemming from drugs and violence. The OAS Representative revealed that the contribution that his organization made to PROCCER in Belize was US$33, 000, equivalent to BZ$66, 000. Mr. Greene said that the amount would be a significant boost to the efforts of the Ministry of Health, through its network of partners, working collaboratively, with an eye focused on efficiency, inclusion and good management. He revealed that the OAS Belize Office was mandated to closely monitor the implementation of PROCCER and that he anticipated a close working rapport with all stakeholders, in the execution of the program.
    Also speaking at the ceremony was the Director of the National Drug Abuse Control Council, Mr. Esner Vellos, who detailed the various components of PROCCER and provided an overview of how the Council, working with the Ministry of Health and relevant stakeholders would implement the program. He revealed that the training component had already begun, and he also used the ceremony as the platform for introducing those persons who would serve as trainers.
    The main objective of PROCCER is to contribute to optimizing the quality of care in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse and dependence, and drug related violence in Belize.
    -end-
  • Galen University in Belize Participated in Model OAS General Assembly
    St. Kitts and Nevis, Tuesday March 24, 2015


    April 5, 2015
    Galen University in Belize Participated in Model OAS General Assembly
    Accompanied by a member of faculty, Six (6) students from Galen University left Belize on March 21, 2015, to attend the 33rd Model OAS General Assembly (MOAS) in St. Kitts and Nevis, to be held March 24-26, 2015.
    The event was organized by the Office of the Assistant Secretary General (ASG) of the OAS and the Government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
    Through its OAS Belize Office, the Organization of American States (OAS) sent invitations to several universities in Belize to attend this event. Galen University was the first educational institution that engaged in an intense fundraising campaign to secure finances that would help defray the costs associated with travel, accommodation, meals and other related expenses. For its part, the OAS, among other meaningful inputs, waived the registration fees, while the Government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis provided lunch and transportation to and from the airport.
    The MOAS is a program tailored for university students. It is specially designed to promote democracy among the youth of the Hemisphere by familiarizing them with the work of the OAS and its member States, as well as to provide these young people with a better knowledge of the organization’s role as the premier political forum in the Hemisphere.
    This event not only brings students together, but also it allows them to become engaged in an active learning exercise, where through role-playing, they represent the diplomats and political officials of the 34 member states of the OAS in similar settings and using well established procedures and practices as executed in a real OAS General Assembly forum, held annually in a designated member country of the organization. In this connection, students whose academic pursuits are in such areas as political science, international relations, diplomacy, international law, international economics, Latin American and Caribbean studies, government and history, are likely to benefit tremendously, as they actively become engaged in discussing a range of topical issues, some of which are currently being played out in the regional and international spheres.
    As a prelude to the commencement of the MOAS, students were provided information about the country they would represent. Participants were also requested to write “Position Papers” which would be used by delegates delivering their “General Statements” during the first session of established committees where debates occur. All delegations would be involved in the drafting and debating of resolutions in Working Groups in each of the Committees.
    According to OAS Representative in Belize, Starret Greene, the MOAS provided an excellent opportunity for students across the Hemisphere to dialogue on problematic issues that are likely to have and are already having a direct impact on their future. He said that it’s a forum for young people to express their views and to offer their solutions on how to resolve problems and address emerging challenges so that their world would be more harmonious and filled with opportunities for realizing their dreams.
    The OAS Belize Office was most instrumental in facilitating the participation of students from Galen University in the 33rd MOAS.
  • OAS Secretary General Visits Belize
    Ocean Club, Placencia, Monday December 22, 2014

    December 22, 2014.

    OAS Belize Office Provided Strong Support for Secretary General’s Visit
    The OAS Belize Office was fully involved in the visit of His Excellency, Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), to Belize, during the period December 16-17, 2014. The SG’s official visit was at the invitation of the Government of Belize, and it was designed to accomplish the following purposes:
    (1) On the evening of December 16, 2014, the Secretary General was the special guest at a reception hosted by the Foreign Minister of Belize, the Honorable Wilfred P. Elrington. At this event, Mr. Insulza was awarded with the Distinction of Honor from the Government of Belize for his leadership of the OAS and his personal involvement in the diplomatic process to strengthen relations between Belize and Guatemala, with specific reference to his untiring efforts in helping both countries to create an environment that would allow for the peaceful and amicable settlement of their Territorial Differendum.
    (2) To attend the 44th Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA), that was held on 17 December 2014, in Placencia, Belize.
    (3) To Witness the Signing of 13 Agreements between Belize and Guatemala, during a special ceremony held in Placencia. Remarks were delivered by the Secretary General, the President of Guatemala, His Excellency, the Honorable Otto Perez Molina and the Prime Minister of Belize, the Honorable Dean Barrow. The actual signing of the agreements was done by His Excellency, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize and His Excellency, the Hon. Carlos Raul Morales, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala. Mr. Insulza singed the agreements as Witness.
    Upon arrival in Belize during the afternoon of December 16, 2014, the Secretary General and his Advisor were greeted at the Belize International Airport by Mrs. Lupita Thompson, the Administrative Technician in the OAS Belize Office. He was then met at the airport in Placencia by the OAS Representative Mr. Starret Greene and the Chauffeur/Messenger/Clerk, Mr. Andrew Moody.
    During the Secretary General’s visit to Placencia, Representative Greene worked closely with the OAS Delegation to the SICA Summit to ensure effective coordination of all the requisite administrative, logistical, diplomatic, bilateral engagements, as well as meetings with the media.
    Mrs. Lupita Thompson was again present at the Belize International Airport to say good-bye to the Secretary General and his Advisor on their departure to Washington, D.C., via El Salvador, on December 17, 2014.
  • OAS Belize Office Partners with IICA Office
    Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, Thursday January 22, 2015

    January 26, 2015
    OAS Belize Office Partners with IICA Office

    Consistent with its strategy of forging partnerships with Regional, Hemispheric and International Organizations operating in Belize, as a means to leverage resources and to make developmental projects more impactful on their targeted audiences, the Office of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States in Belize, the Office of its Sister Organization, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA), collaborated in jointly sponsoring a Public –Private Consultative Dialogue, on Thursday, January 22, 2014, in Belize City, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza.
    The consultation was designed to identify potential market linkages for agribusiness development and to further strengthen the linkages between the Tourism and Agriculture sectors in Belize, in an effort to boost inputs from local farmers and to increase the contribution of both sectors to the economy.
    OAS Representative in Belize, Mr. Starret Greene, his counterpart Mrs. Jean Lowry, Head of the IICA Office in Belmopan and High Level Officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture together agreed that there was a need to further develop the agro-productive sector in Belize and to give due focus to strengthening the linkages between tourism and agriculture, notwithstanding existing constraints.
    The consultation, not only attracted a wide cross section of persons in both the agricultural and tourism sectors, but it also included women farmers and young people, keenly desirous of pursuing careers in farming.
    The one day event featured two presentations that, among other things, identified critical success factors needed for successful implementation of value added agro-processing projects; suggested workable models for implementation; identified key commodities that could be the focus for interventions; and provided an overview of the factors affecting linkages between tourism and agriculture, while pointing to the existence of significant opportunities that could help strengthen the said linkages.
    The dialogue, which was highly interactive, occurred through focus groups sessions that allowed for the exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices. Recommendations on the way forward in terms of developing the agro-productive sector as well as strengthening linkages between tourism and agriculture were put forward in the context of establishing a focus group that would meet to examine the issues raised and develop a plan of action on the way forward.
  • OAS Belize Office Assists in Promoting Travel Document Examination and Fraud Security Course
    George Price Center, Belmopan, Monday October 27, 2014

    OAS Belize Office Assists in Promoting Travel Document Examination and Fraud Security Course

    In October 2014, Staff members of the OAS Belize Office worked in close collaboration with their counterparts in the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) in planning and organizing a Travel Document Examination and Fraud Detection Course in Belmopan, the capital city of Belize.
    The event was held during the period October 27-30, 2014, at the George Price Center, and attracted over 30 participants, the majority of whom represented Belize’s Immigration and Customs departments.
    In this connection, both the Immigration and Customs partnered with the CICTE Secretariat to hold the course in Belize, in order to further strengthen the human capacity of their frontline personnel, especially those who are assigned to handle travel documents at various ports, airports and border crossings in Belize. Moreover, the CICTE Secretariat also worked closely with the United States Custom and Border Protection division in securing two facilitators for the Course.
    Speaking on behalf of the Organization of American States (OAS), the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene, remarked that the use of fraudulent documents had not only become a global threat but also it threatened national security and public safety as well. Mr. Greene said that bogus documents created serious vulnerabilities that could aid terrorists in carrying out acts of terror wherever they chose.
    The OAS Diplomat expressed the view that combating counterfeit documents should not be the sole responsibility of governments, through their law enforcement agencies. He argued instead that the threat could be minimized by the collective and sustained action of global stakeholders, to include manufacturers, document issuers, financial institutions and retailers, who accept documents as vital to conducting businesses. The OAS Representative called on countries to work more closely with organizations such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and to adopt existing international standards that helped to counter the use of fraudulent documents. He also called for extensive training of officials who are responsible to examine and certify the authenticity of important documents. Mr. Greene emphasized that such officials should be unquestioned in their integrity and professionalism.
    The CICTE Secretariat, in collaboration with its Hemispheric Stakeholders, has planned and executed a number of training courses in the Caribbean region, on the issuance and control of travel and identity documents.
  • Supporting Youth Employability in Belize - Job Fair #4
    Grounds - La Immaculado Credit Union , Thursday November 13, 2014



    Summary Notes from the Youth Engagement Services (YES)
    PADF Job Fair Event #4
    November 13, 2014

    The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) partnered with La Inmaculada Credit Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) in Belize, alongside local private sector partners in the Orange Walk, Cayo and Belize Districts in Belize, to host its fourth Job Fair event in Orange Walk Town with six (6) participating organizations Belize. This event provided practical knowledge and skills to individuals in preparation for job readiness and career planning, facilitated active recruitment among youth attending and provided information financing options for educational plans.

    During the job fair, participants (mostly students from the Orange Walk ITVET and other youth from the local communities) participated in mock interviews, discussed niches for self-employment within our local economy and met prospective employers. PADF activities continue to expose our participants to viable career options and possible employment networking opportunities.

    PADF’s new partners also agreed that our program objectives allow corporate entities to become directly involved in coaching and equipping our youth to better support youth career planning. Our six (6) participating organizations included: Virtual Executive Services, Ready Call Center (RCC), Cuello’s Distillery, Emil Pinelo & Associates; Global Marketing and La Inmaculada Credit Union.

    PADF was also supported collaboratively by our Administrative Tech at OAS Office in Belize who volunteered at our information/registration desk assisting with event logistics prior and during the event. Our partnership with the Organization of American States continues to strengthen our implementation activities in Belize.

    To date, PADF has engaged twelve (12) new private sector partners and one hundred and six (106) youth during four job fairs held in Belize City, Belmopan City and Orange Walk Town during July to November 2014. PADF also continues to gain support from other community stakeholders in Belize such as Channel 5 Belize and CTV3 in Orange Walk Town who advertised our event, disseminated information on their community billboard spotlights and covered our event respectively.
  • OAS Belize Office Partners with PADF
    Belize City, Belize, Thursday November 6, 2014

    OAS Belize Office Partners with PADF

    The Office of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Belize, is partnering with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in the implementation of the PADF Youth-Focused Entrepreneurship Program that targets youth who have limited opportunities. In this connection, the program aims to support youth-initiated micro and small businesses that increase access to jobs and encourage entrepreneurship, in Belize City.
    At the official launch of two micro-businesses under the second phase of the Youth Engagement Services Project (YES), on November 6, 2014, in Belize City, the OAS Representative to Belize, Mr. Starret Greene, visited one of the two business that were officially launched.
    In the presence of Ms. Caterina Valero, PADF’s Senior Program Director and Ms. Minerva Pinelo, Project Director in Belize, the OAS Diplomat reiterated his organization’s unwavering support for the work of the Foundation in Belize. He congratulated the young entrepreneurs for exhibiting great courage in starting their new enterprises and challenged them to remain steadfast in their quest to achieve financial independence. Mr. Greene also reminded the new owners of the micro businesses that taking risk was a necessary part of doing business and that they should remain focused on achieving their goals while adhering to sound business principles and practices.
    PADF is a non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States. It was established in 1962, to among other things, implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • OAS Belize Office Hosts National Consultation
    OAS Belize Office, Tuesday October 21, 2014


    OAS Belize Office Hosts National Consultation

    On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, the OAS Belize Office was host to a National Consultation with civil society organizations and social actors in preparation for the forthcoming 7th Summit of the Americas to be held in Panama, April 10-11, 2015.
    The event was part of a pilot initiative by the Summits Secretariat to provide an opportunity for representatives of civil society and social actors from across the hemisphere to express their views on a number of current topics, and to present concise but specific recommendations to the hosts country on the Summit’s theme, namely “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.”
    Fifteen civil society organizations and social actors responded to the invitation. During the time allocated and within the setting of a Policy Recommendations Workshop, participants were engaged in a spirited but substantive exchange of views on several sub-themes that were considered not only relevant to Belize, but also common to the region as a whole. Under the Summit’s theme, the sub-themes discussed included security, energy, health, education, migration flows, democratic governance, and citizenship participation. The issues raised and the recommendations made were captured and collated in a Report that was subsequently transmitted to the Summits Secretariat for the attention of the authorities in Panama intimately involved in the 7th Summit of the Americas.
    Prior to the actual debate, the Summits Secretariat featured a Live Policy Dialogue Webcast that was transmitted to participants in the consultation. It provided them with the opportunity to listen to a presentation and overview on the Summit theme and a dialogue among a panel of experts on three key topics, namely, Economic Prosperity with Equity; Social Prosperity with Equity; and Democratic Governance. Participants were also given the opportunity to submit questions to the panel, through a moderator.
    Members of the OAS Belize Staff were most instrumental the planning, organizational, administrative and logistical support for the consultation. They were ably supported by members of the Summit Secretariat at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as well.
  • OAS Representative Promotes Scholarship and Training Program
    St. John's Junior College Sixth Form, Thursday October 2, 2014

    OAS Representative Promotes Scholarship and Training Program

    On October 2, 2014, the OAS Representative in Belize, Starret D Greene, spoke to over one hundred and fifty (150) students and members of the faculty at the St. John’s Junior College in Belize City, about the OAS Scholarship and Training Program.
    Working in collaboration with the Assistant Dean for Student Services, Mrs. Marcia Bouloy, the organization’s Chief Diplomat in Belize focused his presentation on the Special Program for the Caribbean (SPECAF) that grants scholarships for the last two years of undergraduate studies to citizens and residents of the English speaking Caribbean OAS member States and Suriname. He also used the opportunity to inform the students of the LEO S Rowe Fund that is an educational loan program that helps citizens of OAS Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean, to finance their studies or conduct research in accredited universities in the United States, by awarding interest free loans of up to US$15,000.
    From all accounts, the presentation was well received and it generated a number of questions from students who clearly showed an eagerness to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for an OAS Scholarship. Moreover, some members of the faculty also engaged the OAS Representative at the end of the session, and inquired further into the process for pursuing Doctoral Degrees and Graduate Research Studies.
    The OAS Representative is intent on extending his promotional campaign to other educational institutions in Belize in order to ensure that the OAS Scholarship and Training Program is known by prospective applicants who aspire to pursue their higher education.
    The OAS Scholarship Program was established in 1958 and the OAS Special Program for the Caribbean (SPECAF) was launched in 1983.
    -the end
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