Mayors and village council leaders from across the country gathered in Belize City today where they discussed practical ways in which autonomy within local government can be bolstered. The workshop, organized by the Central American Integration System (SICA), comes just three weeks after Municipal Elections were held. Among the many issues discussed was crime and violence. According to Enrique Carballo, Belize has been identified as a member state in need of assistance in addressing the growing problem.
Enrique Carballo, Executive Secretary, Belize Mayor’s Association
“This is a consultation process on municipal autonomy and the strengthening of local governments and we have an extra arm of SICA that is present to give our participants a view on democratic security in Central America.”
“In terms of the overall objective and your ability to implement what you’re learning today what are some of the tangible things that we can look forward to in the months to come?”
“Okay, what we are doing firstly, is a process of integration that we want to integrate Belize as part, which is a part geographically, of Central America. And now we are fully trying to integrate Belize in these events of government, local governments and in our national and local securities. So it’s something that will benefit Belize in getting more experience, in opening to what can be some of the solutions to our local government’s autonomy, to our strengthening of local governments and the security since we are having a lot of violence and a lot of those things here in Belize.”
“Seeing as though that has been identified as one of the factors or the issues, how do you see this going in terms of strengthening security for either Belize City, for instance, or for any other municipality within the country?”
“Well it looks good. I think we are positive on it and we had the director of democratic security present here which he definitely made an effort to be here so that he can make a presentation and he gave us a nice presentation of the strategies that can be used and is being used in certain Central American countries and he said that definitely Belize will need some assistance and he is open to all of this.”
The initiative promotes national consultations in an effort to better understand local needs that will be included in a draft Municipal Autonomy Charter, to be presented at the upcoming SICA Heads of State and Government Summit. This event was made possible through financial support from the Andalucia International Agency for Development Cooperation.