And from last night at CARICOM to this morning with SICA - the regional meeting transitioned deftly to incorporating both Central America and Caribbean Nations.

Two Central American Presidents visited; Costa Rica's Carlos Alvarado arrived yesterday - while Guatemala's Alejandro Giamattei arrived this morning at 8:30 - just in time for the bi regional summit to start at 9:00.

Speaking at the opening, Prime Minster Briceno said the two regions must grasp their common destiny:

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"The last time the heads of the two sub regions met in Salvador was more than a decade ago. Then heads made a solid commitment to strengthen cooperation and engagement in areas of mutual interest that were integral to our development. The fact is our efforts have been less than satisfactory considering the common plight we face and the many opportunities for collaboration which we missed, this must now change. Belize has had the privilege to participate in integration systems of both CARICOM and SICA, our dual membership has allowed us a unique vantige point from which we see two groups of developing countries co existing in the middle of the Americas. The case for a closer partnership between CARICOM and SICA is compelling and urgent but achieving a functional partnership has so far eluded us. Together, our sub regions have a population of 60 million, a collective GDP of nearly 400 billion dollars, the possibilities for inter-regional trade are clear, the opportunities for cross regional investments are obvious. For sure, if we wanted to be so, a common future awaits us, let's grasp it, now, today."

Carlos Alvarado Quesada - President, Costa Rica
"I believe that the most important area today in what we should be working on together is in our voice, our common voice. The last report if IPCC the experts states that CARICOM as well as Central America are the most vulnerable areas of the world in terms of climate change."

Erika Mouynes - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Panama
"We need to think about how are we using the power of 22 states here together and in every single multilateral platform, we can come in as a block and we can set the pace or not and we can be proxy for others to decide what they want to do with us. So this is an incredible moment, an important one to set a common agenda, Central America together with the Caribbean is unbeatable in this hemisphere, we know it and we're not using it. The common agenda it as the end is the only way of survival for our region and we need to embrace it and we come out stronger, more powerful and recognizing what we can do."

The CARICOM SICA Summit wrapped at around 1:00 with a. Group shot - after which a number of the nations broke into bi-lateral meetings.

Channel 7



Central American Heads of Government Join Caribbean Leaders in San Pedro

As the CARICOM meetings wrapped up, preparations were being made for the CARICOM-S.I.C.A. Summit. Arrivals began as early as Wednesday evening for the summit of Central American leaders that took place today. It ended with the signing of the San Pedro Declaration. News Five's Paul Lopez reports.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

S.I.C.A. Representatives began arriving at three p.m. on Wednesday, with the arrival of His Excellency Felix Ulloa, the Vice President of El Salvador. This was followed at five thirty p.m., by the President of Costa Rica, His Excellency Alvarado Quesada. Less than an hour later, His Excellency Eduardo Enrique Reina Garcia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Honduras was welcomed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for Panama, Her Excellency Erika Mauynes came in at nine p.m. And, then the President of Guatemala, His Excellency Alejandro Giammattei, marked the end of the arrivals of S.I.C.A. representatives, and the opening of the CARICOM-S.I.C.A. Summit.

Prime Minister John Brice´┐Żo

"The last time the heads of the two sub-regions met in Salvador was more than a decade ago. Then, heads made a solid commitment to strengthen corporation and engagement in areas of mutual interest that were integral to our development. The fact is, our efforts have been less than satisfactory, considering the common plight we face and the many opportunities for our collaboration which we missed. This must now change. Clearly much has happened in the world since 2011, the global and regional landscape has changed significantly. Our partnership therefore must be strategic. It must deliver more for the people of our shared neighborhood. As nations, we are clawing our way back from severe economic downturn, occasioned by a devastating COVID-19 pandemic."

Erika Mauynes, the Foreign Minister of Panama also addressed the open session. Panama has the pro-temp Presidency of S.I.C.A.

Erika Mauynes, Foreign Affairs Minister, Panama

"It is not only that it has been eleven years. There is something also very important happening in the world, something very grave and difficult. So, the fact that twenty two countries are coming together cannot be lost on us and the power and message that sends is also extremely important. So, we need to embrace that and understand. If you allow me to just share a reflection with you with what that means and what we do with that power. This summit means two things, one we go back to normality. We go back to seeing ourselves face to face to the meetings, to that necessary discussion you were describing, long and necessary. But, as we go back to this quasi-normality, we need to figure out how we are going to focus our energy, how we are going to focus our attention. Think about it now as a way for survival because there is no margin for error."

Following the opening ceremony, CARICOM and SICA representatives engaged in discussion that led to the signing of the San Pedro Declaration.

Channel 5