US Ambassador Hosts Chamber Breakfast

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 37            September 14, 2006

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Chamber members were hosted at a breakfast meeting by His Excellency Robert J. Dieter, United States Ambassador.

On Thursday, September 7th the American Chamber of Commerce of Belize extended an invitation to a number of Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce members to attend a breakfast meeting hosted by HE Robert J. Dieter – United States Ambassador. The breakfast was held at the Blue Water Grill where approximately 30 people attended. As Honorary Chair of the Chamber, the Ambassador hosts breakfasts around the country to discuss issues of concern with Chamber members.

    American Chamber of Commerce of Belize President, Maria Elena Sylvestre, introduced the panel of guest speakers, which included Dr. Gilbert Canton – Commissioner Chairman, Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Roberto Young: Director - Telecommunications Sector. Host HE Robert J. Dieter – United States Ambassador then introduced United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Leonard Hill.

    The topic of discussion at the casual meeting was “Communications and Commerce”. HE Robert J. Dieter began the discussion by stating, “In the past communication traveled by horse, now global communication allows businesses to globally compete.” Dr. Canton explained that the purpose of the Public Utilities Commission is to regulate the electricity, water, and telecommunications sectors in Belize to efficiently provide the highest quality services at affordable rates, ensuring the viability and sustainability of each sector. He went on to discuss the importance of telecommunication and the importance of a competitive market. More competition offers more choices to the public, ultimately regulating the market.

    Group discussion focused on the availability of voice-over-internet (VOIP) and what plans were in place to provide access to the service which is currently blocked by Belize Telecommunications Limited. Canton also discussed the current status and policy of this Industry in Belize and that PUC is looking at policies that are in place in similar countries to help model their own developing policy.

    HE Robert J. Dieter ended the meeting with a brief update on the relocation of the US Embassy from Belize City to Belmopan and discussed the new process for non-immigrant visas applications (NIV) that must be submitted on Electronic Visa Application Forms (called EVAFs) in order to be accepted by the Consular Unit of any U.S. Embassy.
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