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#394580 - 12/11/10 04:07 PM OAS report card presented
Marty Offline

The Organization of American States today presented its own report card on its activities in the course of the year. Aside from its work at the Adjacency Zone, the regional organization had a busy year. Kim Osborne, the resident representative, introduced the long list which includes work in the social sector, tourism, sports and the economic front. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

You most often hear about the OAS when problems arise at the Belize/Guatemala border or in the rest of the Latin America and Caribbean region. But the work of the OAS in keeping harmony along our borders with Guatemala, is only a fraction of what they do. At a seminar held today, the OAS shared their achievements in the past year.

Kim Osborne

Kim Osborne, Representative, OAS General Secretariat

“We’ve put out a study on the harmonization of the laws of Belize with the European partnership agreement to ensure that Belize is compliant with that agreement. We have finalized the anti-corruption action plan for Belize. We had a consultation with stakeholders in March and by July were able to finalize that action plan. We have several programs and projects on building sustainable livelihoods in the south of Belize with the indigenous communities and under that project, we are looking at different forest producers that we can add value to for sale to the wider community and that can bring tangible benefits to the communities of Indian Creek, Golden Stream and Medina Bank.”

According to OAS Representative, Kim Osborne, they are also working to have more residents benefit from the tourism industry.

Kim Osborne

“We’ve launched the program on working with women and at risk youths in the disadvantaged communities of south side Belize City and Stann Creek. We’re very excited about that project. We’re coming out with new lines of products that can be packaged and available for sale within the tourism industry. We’re working with Bel-Traide on making a made in Belize Brand. We’ve done this year the marketing and business plan for that project and we’re working with them.”

All this doesn’t mean there has been less work to keep the peace between Belize and Guatemala at the adjacency zone.

Sergio Benitez

Sergio Benitez, Director, OAS General Secretariat, Adjacency Zone

“In the Santa Rosa Project, we relocated seventeen houses. The OAS found resources, we found different owners and we build seventeen houses in Santa Rosa; thirty-one houses in Barrio – in total the OAS Adjacency Zone built forty-eight houses. We provided the basic services to these communities and other areas. We built schools with different capacities, depends to the large of the communities relocated and depends to the request of the government. We open internal roads to make a design and we provide the service. We make water projects and we make two community centers. For the request of the government too, we make this sport complex, we build basket ball and football fields and playgrounds for the kids.”

Wilfred 'sedi' Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade

“It was really through the instrumentality of the OAS that we have now arrived at the position where we have decided that we will take the matter to the ICJ subject to the determination of our people, which is going to be indicated by way of referendum.”

Osborne says they are still in the planning process for 2011. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

According to Osborne, the work of the OAS has been complemented by the NCFC, BTB, Ya’axche Conservation Trust, the Women’s Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Channel 5

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#394581 - 12/11/10 04:08 PM Re: OAS report card presented [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The OAS and Transparency

The OAS is celebrating fifteen years in Belize and today, they met with over thirty key stake holders in governmental and non-governmental organizations in an accountability seminar. While the organization is celebrating major achievements in Belize - and invited much self congratulation, there remains a lot of work to be done. We spoke with Kim Osborne, OAS Representative in Belize, and she told us that the seminar is aimed at bridging the gap of communication:

Kim Osborne, OAS Representative, Belize
"Essentially we have been doing a lot of work here in Belize. many people do not know of our work and we think its important for us to one; inform our partners, inform the country of what it is that we are doing as an organization, why are we here? Why we are a part of that internationally body called the OAS and how the programs and projects that the OAS is implementing can benefit them. we also wanted to have a broader discussion with our international partners to look at common areas of collaboration, how do we pool the resources that we each have individually to bring to bear upon the development of Belize."

Lisel Alamilla, Ya'axche Conservation Trust
"As to our conservation work, our main partner in funding that work is the OAS. It has not gone smoothly, I will not say that the relationship has been smooth and without bumps but I must say that despite that what has been very evident in our relationship is that there has been tremendous commitment from Ms. Osborne and her team to ensure that whatever are the hiccups that we are addressing them to ensure project success."

Laura Esquivel-Frampton, Director of Quality Assurance - BTB
"At the BTB we also have to give work permit recommendations when it comes to anything in the tourism industry and I was appall to see the hotels or restaurants sending in work permit request for foreigners who have no certification but simply because they are foreigners - they are better than the people who are working here all their lives, they started as little helpers, they are moving up but they are kept down because they are not foreigner and because they have no certification. So there is no chance for promotion for these people and that is what we tackle in the last two years of this program. Like Kim said we did start with 20 people, the biggest difficulty was the math skills and the financial management. We have also found the cooking, they can do that, they just need to sharpen up on their skills."

Kim Osborne, OAS Representative, Belize
"I think we had tremendous accomplishments in Belize, again we've not been very good at communicating our accomplishments, we've done a lot of work in training and capacity building for example helping Belize in that area, we've done a lot of work in economic development, lots of programs and projects everything from working with people on the environment from sustainable livelihoods, we've publish lots of studies, in terms of looking at the feasibility of different programs and products and for Belize we've done a lot of work on the adjacency zone with Belize maintaining that the good relations through the confidence building measures that we have been implementing over from 2005 to now. So what we are trying to do now is to operate in a more coherent way, operative in a more corporative manner and we hope that going forward our programs will be better communicated."

In his remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Wilfred Elrington expressed his gratitude and re-affirmed his commitment to working closely with the OAS for sustainable development of Belize.

Channel 7


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