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, 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.
“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, 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