Hon. John Briceño is more than two weeks into a three-week-long working trip and has so far been to Belgium, Rwanda, and Portugal for various international conferences and meetings. “Certainly, it’s no holiday,” noted the PM to reporters.
By Khaila Gentle
BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 28, 2022
Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño has been out of the country for over two weeks now, and according to him, those two weeks have been more than fruitful, with Belize expected to benefit from over $50M in proposed funding as a result of discussions he has had with various governments and organizations during his trip.
“If you want to total what we have done with a number, so far you could say we will be getting about close to fifty million dollars in funding could potentially come from this trip, from the different countries and different programs that we belong to,” said Hon. Briceño to the media during a press conference held via Zoom.
Prime Minister Briceño proudly noted that he has had a number of beneficial meetings with various persons who have an interest in assisting the country, one of which took place while he was in Brussels, Belgium at the two-day European Development Days (EDD) Forum. There, said Hon. Briceño, the EU agreed to contribute 17 million Euros towards development in Belize.
“This is the first time that a prime minister from Belize has been invited to this conference. And the EU is one of our biggest partners in development. For instance, they just approved 17 million Euros for us to help us in the rural areas, in energy and so forth,” he said.
The PM also met with the European Development Bank, and according to him, the bank has expressed interest in making a visit to, amd possibly financing initiatives in, Belize.
“I had a number of meetings, including with the European Development Bank, who is expressing interest in coming to Belize. And some of the priority areas that we have are in green growth and sustainable socioeconomic development. They have promised again to continue to fund the border—the ‘peace process’ that we have at the border with the OAS and Guatemala, they officially gave us a letter that’s for 18 months,” he added.
Also during the Zoom press conference, which was held while the Prime Minister was in Lisbon, Portugal for the World Oceans Summit—the third stop on his five-country trip—Hon. Briceño spoke of the importance of all the meetings he has been attending, adding that his multi-continental expedition is “certainly no holiday”.
He noted that, at the World Oceans Summit, Belize was highlighted for its successful negotiation of the Blue Bond. And at an earlier press conference, he had also shared that he would be meeting with investors to discuss renewable energy—with a focus on how Belize’s sargassum issue could be turned into an opportunity for generating electricity.
This week, Hon. Briceño revealed that there is a possibility that funding will be approved for an energy generation project in Caye Caulker and San Pedro.
“People want to know about what we are doing. Now, we’re also having other meetings. For instance, this morning we had a meeting with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and also with TNC and the Bahamas, because they want to see about the work that we’re doing,” he said.
“It is only by coming to these places that we get these things done,” noted the Prime Minister, who then explained that he would be meeting with numerous leaders, including the Foreign Minister of Portugal and the Prince of Monaco. Earlier, he had also met with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Whenever we come abroad, well certainly when I am coming abroad, we come here to work. Because it is by meeting your partners—when you can see somebody face to face and you can get to know that person, then you develop a personal relationship,” said Hon. Briceño.