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#509482 - 11/27/15 09:16 PM President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize
Marty Online   happy
The Office of the Prime Minister wishes to announce that Prime Minister Dean O. Barrow will be receiving President-elect of the Republic of Guatemala Mr. Jimmy Morales on Saturday 28th November 2015. H.E. Mr. Morales has this week been touring the region paying courtesy calls on all Heads of State and Government of SICA-member states and Mexico. It being a courtesy call, it is not expected that the meeting will delve into too much detail of our bilateral relations but the general public will be informed of the content of their discussions.

#509493 - 11/28/15 11:17 AM Re: President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

No Joke: Guat Pres-Elect Jimmy Morales Comes To Belize

Jimmy Morales - he hasn't even been sworn in as Guatemalan President yet - but already his name has become well known all across Belize. And that's because of what he said before the Guatemalan presidential election. He called it "deplorable" that Guatemala was, quote, "about to lose Belize" and said Guatemala should quote "fight for that territory or part of that territory." In response, Belize's Prime Minister Dean Barrow fired back at Morales, saying his country would not be bullied by Guatemala.

Hard talk - and many speculated that because of it Morales would skip Belize on his pre-inauguration familiarization tour of Central America. But, he won't. Morales is headed to Belize tonight to pay a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister tomorrow.

Best information says that Morales is coming by road from Mexico. He will pass through the northern border later tonight and will be shuttled with a full police escort to the Radisson in Belize City. That's where he will spend the night and he will meet with Prime Minister Barrow tomorrow at an undisclosed location. An official press release says, quote, "being a courtesy call, it is not expected that the meeting will delve into too much detail of our bilateral relations but the general public will be informed of the content of their discussions," end quote.

This is the end of a busy week for Morales, after meeting with the presidents of HONDURAS, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico. He also used the opportunity to invite the Heads to his inauguration.

And that is expected to hold for tomorrow when - despite what has been said - President elect Morales and Prime Minister Barrow are expected to have amicable talks - since, we are told that Morales has walked back from his feisty pre election comments. 7News will be closely following the activities tonight and tomorrow - and we'll have a full report on Monday.

Channel 7

#509525 - 11/29/15 10:33 AM Re: President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Prime Minister Barrow Meets with President-elect Morales

Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean O. Barrow today received President-elect of the Republic of Guatemala His Excellency Jimmy Morales at the Prime Minister's Office in Belize City. President-elect Jimmy Morales had indicated from as early as 6h November, 2015 to Belize’s Ambassador, H.E. Alexis Rosado to Guatemala that he intended to pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister as part of a visit he is making to all Heads of State and Government of SICA member countries and Mexico.

In a cordial atmosphere they both congratulated each other for their respective recent victories at the polls. Prime Minister Barrow and President-elect Morales discussed the bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala, including a way forward in respect of resolving our historical differences. They agreed to continue along the path set out in the Framework Agreement and Confidence Building Measures of 2005 for expanding functional cooperation between the two countries, and each committed to strengthen the processes that already exist for good neighbourly relations so that the two countries may continue to live in peace and as friends pending a legal resolution of the territorial dispute. Both sides agreed to make a greater effort to enhance cooperation and understanding at various levels, especially in areas of security, business, trade and investment.

President-elect Morales extended a special and personal invitation to Prime Minister Barrow to the presidential inauguration in January 2016 and Prime Minister expressed that he has every intention on attending.

President-elect Jimmy Morales was accompanied by Guatemalan Foreign Minister, H.E. Carlos Raul Morales; the President-elect’s Diplomatic Liaison Officer, Rodrigo Colmenares; Guatemalan Ambassador in Belize, H.E. Estuardo Roldan; and Ms. Sandra Hovel, Director of Integration. The Prime Minister was accompanied in the meeting by CEO in the Prime Minister's Office, Audrey Wallace; CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Lawrence Sylvester; and Ambassador of Belize in Guatemala, Alexis Rosado.

#509567 - 12/01/15 11:13 AM Re: President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

PM’s Meeting With Morales was Cordial, Cool

While President Elect Morales' arrival had a hostile greeting on Coney Drive, the atmosphere inside the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday morning was friendly and courteous.

A Press release from the government says, quote,

"they both congratulated each other for their respective recent victories at the polls. Prime Minister Barrow and President-elect Morales discussed the bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala, including a way forward in respect of resolving our historical differences. They agreed to continue along the path set out in the Framework Agreement and Confidence Building Measures of 2005…" End Quote.

That's a lot more passive and diplomatic when compared to Morales' pre and post campaign trail comments concerning the territorial claim. On Saturday, Prime Minister Barrow told the media that he made the point to Morales that as the next president of Guatemala, he must foster the progress in friendly relations that both countries have worked so hard to cultivate:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"It was very cordial. We spoke about the nature of the bi-lateral relations. He indicated that he is committed to working the process. I told him that I appreciated that. He must understand that the pencil of God has no eraser. We are going to be geographically contiguous - we are going to be neighbors forever. There are mechanisms in place. The professional relationship I think is good between the militaries, between our foreign ministries, the people to people interaction is good. There are trade ties. There are ties of commerce. There are educational exchanges. We spoke about the children from Melchor who come across to go to school in Benque and I was very clear that both sides needed to understand that the confidence building measures, the protocols in place and the all-important factor of goodwill - all must be put into the pot, stirred properly to ensure that we avoid flashpoints, to ensure that we can live in peace and good neighborliness respecting each other's sovereignty while the question of dispute or claimed is being resolved by legal means."

So, why the short notice and the GSU media blockade? Well, the Prime Minister said that the Guatemalans requested that this courtesy call be low-key:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"He already walked back from those comments. He walked back from those comments before arriving in Belize and this morning I was quite clear as was he, that we are talking about proceeding on the basis of mutual respect - two sovereign countries operating a set of mechanisms because there is a dispute. But operating both on the basis on individual sovereignty and commitment based on that sovereignty."

Daniel Ortiz
"A lot has been made of the late press release from the government and the appearance of secrecy that was involved in his arrival."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"No. There is no question of any secrecy. We sent out a press release which you will get later. He indicated... well I have also seen the media saying Belize is an afterthought, that he wasn't intending on coming and then just at the last minute. He met with Ambassador Alexis Rosado on the 6th of November. Two days after the elections and from then indicated that Belize was part of the itinerary. I've seen situations before where things are said, people indicate they will come to visit and then it doesn't happen. We were not going to say anything until we had a firm date."

"In other countries, he was allowed to talk with the press. Why weren't we allowed to talk to him?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"They requested that the visit be low-key and that we not arrange any media."

"We or they?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Ma'am, it was their indication that they did not wish to speak to the press. I am speaking to the press. That is my obligation. He can decide whether he wants to speak to the press or not."

In the official press release, the Government noted that President Elect Jimmy Morales extended a special and personal invitation to Prime Minister Barrow to his Presidential Inauguration. When we asked him if he will attend, he said that if his health permits, he'll be there:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Health permitting, yes I will go. He sent a personal invitation which had already in fact been foreshadowed by a meeting I had on Wednesday with his ambassador here. But he ask could I make a special effort to go as sending the right signal to back up what we discussed, that both of us must be committed to this peaceful process and to the development of friendly relations."

Morales' Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 14, 2016.

YaYa’s Coney Drive Surprise Was No Joke For Jimmy

We've already told you all about the Fire at the Youth Hostel where 3 girls perished. Well, the other big story which happened this weekend was the very first visit of Guatemalan President Elect Jimmy Morales.

He hasn't officially taken office as yet, but he's already well-known to Belizeans. That's because during his election campaign, he called it "deplorable" that Guatemala was quote, "about to lose Belize" and said Guatemala should quote "fight for that territory or part of that territory."

So, when the Government confirmed on Friday evening that he was indeed making a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, Belizeans closely following the territorial dispute took a keen interest to see how it would play out. Daniel Ortiz locked in on the Morales mission from Friday night at nine, and stayed locked until Saturday at noon. Here's his story:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
On Friday night, the media waited for Guatemalan President Elect Jimmy Morales here at the entrance to the Radisson Hotel.

Several police officers, and a few officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also on standby.

3 hours passed before there was any sign that Morales would actually be arriving in Belize City.

Closer to midnight, high ranking police officers from Eastern Division North arrived at the hotel to verify that the security that the department was providing was airtight.

They made it clear that the media was not permitted to approach Jimmy Morales because he was not granting any interviews.

Just after midnight, his convoy arrived, after traveling from the Corozal Border. They zipped into the parking lot, and the police quickly moved to shut the gate. Our camera could just barely make out the President Elect and his fellow diplomats entering the Hotel's lobby.

Then, on Saturday morning, at around 8:00, an hour before his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, activists, Geovanni Brackett, Wil Maheia, Yaya Marin Coleman, Rosalie Staines and Patrick Rogers were camped out in front of the Prime Minister's Coney Drive Office.

Once again, there was heavy police presence, and they directed how close these protestors or the press could approach.

After about 50 minutes of waiting, the first police officer from the escort pulled up to signal that Morales and the other Guatemalan delegates were on the way.

It was at that moment that Brackett bolted away from the officers, placard in hand. Police set chase to stop him from approaching the diplomatic convoy. Then, as if it had been planned, Brackett's attempt gave Yaya Marin the distraction she needed to dive past the other cops. She quickly threw herself on the pavement in front of the incoming vehicle in the Guatemalan Convoy. GSU personnel along with another officer swopped in, grabbed her by an arm and a leg each and hauled her away. That black SUV which Yaya blocked then sped into the parking lot, closely followed by this grey SUV, which was the vehicle that Morales was actually in.

As he got out, our camera finally caught a glimpse of him entering of the building.

Back on the front entrance, the police were agitated by the Brackett/Yaya stunt. Their disobedience had caused an incident and clearly upset the officers, who pushed Brackett to the ground. They called over a police mobile, and ordered Brackett to get in.

Yaya Marin
"If you take him, you would have to take me."

"Geovannie, tell us what happened?"

Geovannie Brackett - Protester
"Just fighting for my rights."

He was then taken away to the Queen Street Police Station.

Shortly after that, more police stepped up to push back all the cameras waiting at the locked side entrance. It appeared to be a very deliberate attempt to frustrate the media in trying to do its job.

About 20 minutes later, the meeting was over, and Morales and his entourage of diplomats raced back into their vehicles which then took off.

At the front entrance, the GSU formed a line determined to block anyone who would want to approach this time around. Patrick Rogers made his attempt, but he was quickly tackled and pushed away.

That gave the Guatemalan Convoy enough time to speed down Coney Drive, with the GSU bringing up the rear. That was the conclusion of what turned out to be a brief, strange courtesy call on Prime Minister Barrow.

As you saw in our story, only 5 protesters showed up to demonstrate against the Morales visit. You also saw that radical protest action that Yaya Marin Coleman made when she threw herself in front of a moving vehicle.

COLA President Geovannie Brackett ended up being hauled off by police to the Queen Street Police station - but he wasn't charged. Shortly after being released around 11:30, we asked him about risking his own freedom when only 4 other people showed up in solidarity. Here's what he had to say:

Geovannie Brackett - Protester
"I know individually I had my conviction and I thought that whether it was 10,000 or just 1 person out there, somebody had to make a initial statement to let this - this is an enemy of the state.. Jimmy Morales has claimed this nation and he comes in and get protected by our authorities and being treated VIP."

Wil Maheia, Protester
"How much people lives in this city - about 70,000 - 80,000 people and one person has agreed to get arrested. I am just so disappointed in the creoles. You think if this was happening in Orange Walk that you would have had this response? I am sure Chronix or so was out here, out here would be... you know."

Geovannie Brackett - Protester
"Environmentalist around the world does these things on a daily basis. Whether it is tying yourself to a tree or something, but I think that our culture needs to be shaken. Hence the reason why we did what we did."

Brackett disagrees with his fellow advocate Wil Maheia on the lack of support. His take on it is that the Belize City residents were not given due notice of Morales's arrival.

The Belize Progressive Party, led by Patrick Rogers, who was out protesting on Saturday has released a statement criticizing the police for the force used to restrain Yaya Marin-Coleman and Geovannie Brackett.

The statement says, quote, "The manner of force exhibited has no place in domestic law enforcement, in particular, when dealing with unarmed-peaceful protesters!" End quote.

Channel 7

#509575 - 12/01/15 12:13 PM Re: President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
More important, the meeting was less than 30 mins? Nothing much to discuss?
Belize based travel specialist

#509579 - 12/01/15 03:49 PM Re: President-Elect of Guatemala to visit Belize [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Barrow just explained to him what a Gurkha was and Morales went home.
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."
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