Channel 5 News:

Agreements signed for two bridges

Following introductions of the members of the Government side of the National Assembly to President Fox...and of the Mexican delegation to Belize's Prime Minister Said Musa, the Mexican head of state made time for a meet and greet with the students of La Escuela Secundaria de Mexico.

The President's official motorcade would then travel to Belize House for brief meetings with Governor General Sir Colville Young before heading up the stairs of the Administration Building where Fox and his entourage, including Governors of the Mexican states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Guerrero, would hold private talks with the P.M. and members of Cabinet. The issues included border security and the new bridge over the Rio Hondo. Those sessions would last until past noon, but the meetings would prove fruitful as upon their arrival at the George Price Centre, a total of three bilateral agreements were signed.

The accords promise to maintain strong diplomatic ties between both countries through technical and scientific cooperation in times of national disaster, improved security at the Belize/Mexico border, and most significantly, the construction of two new bridges in the Corozal district: one spanning the Rio Hondo approximately eight hundred metres west of the existing structure to connect Santa Elena and Subteniente Lopez, another entirely within Belize linking the Sarteneja area and Corozal Town, a route now serviced by a hand-cranked ferry. Including both bridges and necessary road works, the project cost is estimated at approximately thirty million U.S. dollars.

Following the official signings, the Mexican President and Belizean Prime Minister hosted a joint press conference, fielding questions from representatives of the local and regional media. The first question put to the head table involved Belize's role as a bridge between Latin America and the Caribbean.

Janelle Chanona
“Are you satisfied in our role in being the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean, as far as our diplomatic role?”

Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
”No doubt that is a strategic role that Belize is playing in connecting Mexico with Central America, as well as we are all through the Puebla Panama concept connecting all countries from Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America, up to Panama. And the idea is to integrate also Columbia to the project. Things are progressing, and what we have seen today and what we have discussed today, Belize is going to be playing a more intense role on this strategic bridging between Mexico and Central America. And specifically, it is materialised with the building of that bridge crossing the border and this future plan of the second bridge to be built, all of them to connect through the Atlantic road, our nations.”
Janelle Chanona
“And with the Caribbean?”

Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
”Of course, because Belize is highly connected to the Caribbean and to CARICOM; Mexico is just building those bridges. So for the mean time, to us, the role that Belize can play is very strategic, and very important to us, yes.”
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