Commonwealth Meeting In Belize
A major regional meeting is being held at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize. The Caribbean Local Economic Development forum opened at the Princess Hotel and Casino and closed just a short while ago.
IT focuses on the role of local government in Local Economic Development as well as enabling micro, small and mediums sized enterprises in the Caribbean.
This is the first CARILED forum being held in Belize, and it has drawn some big names, including Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma and Ministers of various Commonwealth countries. Minister of Local Government, Godwin Hulse outlined the main purpose of the forum:
Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Local Government
"Improving the lives of the citizens and those we govern, both in their basic living conditions and their economic well-being, is then the goal. To this end, we must continue to promote democracy and decentralization of authority. The Central Government may devolve considerable authority to the local authorities, dependent on the capacity of such authorities, to manage the responsibilities. This program this morning is about that, but the concept of a local government managing the economic development is as far-fetched as getting to the moon for small countries. And so the CARILED Program, which we are talking about this morning, aims to do just that. How do we get local authority involved in the economic development, which would bring more taxes and jobs, etc. in in the area?"
Zenaida Moya - Chairlady, Commonwealth Local Government Forum
"Actually, it's the first time that we've gotten the opportunity to host the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. I was told, in the Caribbean, we are only the second country, next to Jamaica to ever be hosting the Commonwealth Local Government Forum meeting. What the CARILED project will aim to do, and aim to foster, is to improve on the local economic development in each municipality through an expanded relationship between private sectors, and the city and town councils. The business community has been the backbone to the growth and development of Belize City. And we see the CARILED project as one in which we will bridge this further partnership. TLJEF is one of the associated Commonwealth organizations, which means that we have access to Commonwealth heads of government meetings and policy debates at the highest Commonwealth level. Indeed, it adds significant weight to our work here in the Caribbean, as we take forward CARILED, that heads of State in the Commonwealth have endorsed the CARDIFF consensus, and have formally acknowledged the local government's role in local economic development. The CARDIFF consensus recognizes the important role of local government in local economic development. It defines local economic development as a process which brings together different partners in a local area to work together, and harness local resources for sustainable economic growth and development."
Phillip McPhee - President, Bahamas Local Government Association
"As the newly elected president of the Caribbean Associates of Local Government, I wish to pledge the full support of local government to partake in the Caribbean towards this noble venture. CARILED brings together the interests of people at the community level and local government. Moreover, it brings medium and small business enterprises together. Considering that this is a 6-year program, we look forward to the achievement, involving and the partnership with the FCM through CARILED, CALGO, the significant body of local government."
Closing Ceremonies started at 6:30 this evening.