And while those international sponsors may be losing confidence, there was a suggestion today that CARICOM may be losing confidence in Belize as the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean. That’s after the OAS in concert with Guatemala’s Minister of Economy hosted a meeting between Caribbean and Central American Business Leaders - and Belize wasn’t there! This morning, when the information came out, no one was quite sure if this country had been invited, and didn’t show, or, if no invitation was sent. Here’s what Ambassador Martinez told us this morning
H.E. Fred Martinez - Belize Ambassdor to Guatemala
"We were not advised of any Belizean delegation arriving or not arriving so I don't know but I do know some CARICOM countries - I think Trinidad and Jamaica is sending some of their business men to dialogue with the Central Americans. But it was just a forum outside of the General Assembly not organized by the OAS."
"Is that an affront to our supposed pride of place as the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean?"
H.E. Fred Martinez
"No we knew of it when it happened. None of our embassies were informed."
"Yes but of the fact that you not being informed is an indication that we are being surpassed for what has traditionally been our recognized role?"
"Jules I cannot tell you that we were not invited which is more key. Maybe the invitation was sent to the private sector organizations in Belize and they did not send any or to BELTRAIDE. We don't know but we do know that there was a representation of Belize the previous at the Guatemala investment summit and yes we had representation there from BELTRAIDE but whether they stayed on for the CICA countries dialogue, I don't know."
By this afternoon, our team in Antigua Guatemala got to speak with Belize’s Representative to the OAS Nestor Mendez who told us that Belize was invited – but indeed, did not attend.
H.E Nestor Mendez - Belize Permanent Representative to the OAS
"Belize was in fact invited to the meeting, we transmitted the invitation to several places in Belize. The fact that we were not represented was just that , we weren't represented but we did get the invitation and we sent it to Belize. The Assistant General Secretary to the OAS called me a couple times to remind me about it and we reminded our contacts in Belize about the invitation that it was very important to the OAS because Belize is seen as the bridge between CARICOM and Central America. It was very important for us to be there and unfortunately we were not."
One man who was there is Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Minister WINSTON DOOKERAN. He’s the chair of CARICOM Foreign Ministers and told us that Guatemala is making investment inroads in Trinidad.
Winston Dookeran - Trinidad & Tobago. - Minister of Foreign Affairs
"And right now there are significant Guatemalan investment in Trinidad and Tobago. This kind of arrangement will facilitate further investment in Trinidad and Tobago - in the region. We were also interested in having trade take place, investment take place here in Guatemala so it is really a step now to come closer to Central America in general, Guatemala in particular, it is this process agreement to do that."
And this evening, the executive director of BELTRAIDE Mike Singh called us to say that indeed a team from Belize, including trade Minister Erwin Contreras was in Guatemala last week at the invitation of the Guatemalans for an investment forum. But he says they could not attend the Central American and Caribbean Business Leaders meeting because both were at the same time and there was a scheduling conflict. That’s fine but we have to note that Ambassador Martinez said that the investment forum was the previous day.