03 May, 2000 - Belmopan
Cabinet met in regular session on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2000. The following
items are submitted for public information:

Better control of financial services through tighter legislation.
Cabinet considered and approved two pieces of draft legislation to be
presented to the next sitting of the House of Representatives. The
bills amend the International Financial Services Commission Act and the
International Business Companies Act. The amendments are aimed at
ensuring better regulation and control of international financial
services.

A National Human Development Agenda for Belize. Cabinet decided today
to embrace a national framework with clearly defined long-term targets
for the attainment of national human development. The National Human
Development Agenda will be coordinated through the Ministries of Human
Development and Economic Development. These Ministries will take the
lead in coordinating the initiative, but it is expected that they will
consult widely with civil society, and enlist the support of the United
Nations Development Programme and the European Union. In agreeing to a
Human Development Agenda, Cabinet recognizes that human development is a
long-term process that should not be constrained by the traditional
“five-year” plans. The new agenda will build on the social
sector initiatives already approved by Cabinet and will set targets
(such as poverty elimination) that may require many years to adequately
monitor and measure.

Belize group to attend CARIFESTA. Government has agreed to support
participation of twenty-five (25) artists, musicians, and cultural
groups in this year's CARIFESTA to be held in St. Kitts/Nevis in
August. Cabinet today voted $50,000 to cover part of the costs of
inclusion of Belize in this Caricom-sponsored regional cultural event.
The Belize Arts Council and the participating artists themselves will be
expected to undertake activities to raise the remainder of the required
funding. CARIFESTA, the premier Festival of Caribbean Arts and Culture,
will be held under the theme “reflecting, consolidating, moving on
…”. The theme recognizes our need to learn from the
experience of the past, to take stock of today's reality, and to
prepare ourselves as Caribbean peoples to take on the challenges of the
new millennium. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of delegates
and the constant exchanging of ideas in an effort to strengthen the
culture of the region. Belize's contingent will include: visual
arts displays, indigenous groups' focus, performing arts, Youth
focus, and a Literary Arts/Book Fair.

More support for business. Cabinet approved three development
concessions to support the tourism, agri-business and services
industries. Fiscal Incentives were granted to Hamanasi Resort Limited
to build and manage a thirty-room resort south of Hopkins Village in the
Stann Creek District, catering to scuba divers and adventure travelers.
Mayan King Limited, also operating in South Stann Creek, will be
diversifying their current banana and citrus operations to include
alternative organic citrus, papaya, mango, guava, pineapple, carambola
and cashew for the export market as fresh and value-added products. The
development concession already granted to Belize Waste Control Limited
has been expanded to enable the company to import specialized materials
and supplies related to waste control management.

Reaching out to Central America. Cabinet has given the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs the signal to apply for membership for Belize in the
Central American System of Integration (SICA) and to explore the
feasibility of accession to the Central American Bank for Economic
Integration (CABEI). Belize is currently a member or associate of
several Central American institutions and is now moving toward
establishing formal links with the integration process of Central
America without prejudice to its relationship with the Caribbean
Community. The Central American System of Integration coordinates
efforts by governments to implement regional decisions at national
levels. It promotes the full participation of regionally organized
civil society so that Central American people may assume their role as
active participants and beneficiaries in the integration process and in
its sustainable development. The Central American Bank for Economic
Integration is the largest financial institution in the region. It was
established to promote the balanced socio-economic development and
economic development of member states.

For further information contact:

ROBERT LESLIE
Cabinet Secretary

Office of the Prime Minister
May 2nd 2000.