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Mexico gives $14 Million to CARICOM CRIF

By William Ysaguirre
Freelance Reporter

The Government of Mexico will contribute $14 Million to the CARICOM Catastrophe Risk Insurance Fund (CCRIF), Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed at the IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit, which he co-chaired during his first official visit to Belize, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City on Wednesday, October 25.

President Peña Nieto said Mexico already has funds deposited with the Caribbean Development Bank, which would now be assigned to CCRIF. At the press conference following the summit, he said the main thrust of discussions was to establish a mechanism to promote the economic development and welfare of the region, given the brotherhood which has existed between the two communities since these regional summits began in 2010, and their geographical proximity.
He also thanked Prime Minister, Dean Barrow for his hospitality and for their fruitful bilateral meeting at which they had discussed ways to further cooperation between Belize and Mexico. He reiterated Mexico’s solidarity with the CARICOM territories which were impacted by the recent hurricanes which exacted such a high cost in loss of human lives and damage to property. He also thanked the community’s expressions of solidarity with Mexico for their losses during the earthquakes of September. He noted that they had also agreed to cooperate in agriculture and in education, to promote and support the teaching of Spanish within CARICOM. He sympathized with Dominica, which had suffered the most devastation of the recent hurricanes, and he affirmed Mexico’s support to help in the region’s recovery for those territories most affected by these natural disasters.

CARICOM’s current Chairman – Prime Minister the Right Honorable Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada thanked President Peña Nieto for Mexico’s support, noting the Mexico has partnered in cooperation with CARICOM virtually from the establishment of CARICOM. The discussions at the summit had focused on disaster management and recovery, since both CARICOM and Mexico had been hit by several recent hurricanes, and Mexico by earthquakes in September.
Mitchell said they had agreed to collaborate to ensure the success of the upcoming international donor conference to be convened by CARICOM and the United Nations at the UN in New York on November 21, to coordinate assistance for CARICOM territories most affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, to ensure that clear and concrete results are achieved.

Climate Change was also foremost on the agenda, as the CARICOM heads of governments discussed how best to increase their countries’ resilience to these forces. They committed to strengthen cooperation with more developed partners and international agencies to enhance support for greater adaptation and mitigation measures, including the adoption of sustainable energy technology and early warning systems, to reduce their vulnerability to Climate Change.
They also agreed to act jointly in unison at multinational fora to mobilize support to further strengthen the Caribbean’s institutional capabilities for disaster risk management, including such economic issues as the prevention of de-risking measures, and the graduation to become regarded as high-income countries.

Cooperation on de-risking was one of the main issues agreed upon at the seventh Mexico-CARICOM Technical cooperation programme for 2017-2019. They also discussed the issues of health, statistics and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), in line with the priorities of the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015-2019, and the global development agenda.

Cooperation in economic development was also discussed, to reinforce investment and trade between Mexico and the Caribbean, and to continue with strategic activities led by ProMexico and Caribbean investment agencies, as agreed upon in a memorandum of understanding signed in 2015. The CARICOM head also welcomed the proposal for CARICOM to host the Foro de Cancun next year, which is the top business forum for Latin America and the greater Caribbean, as an initiative for cooperation in trade and investment, which will contribute to joint economic development.
It was also agreed that the CARICOM Foreign Ministers would meet to work out a framework for new forms of cooperation to enhance and accelerate the region’s development.

At the Summit’s opening, Prime Minister Barrow welcomed the visiting heads of State and urged them to return as soon as possible to enjoy the pleasures of Belize’s natural beauty. As he outlined the success of his bilateral meeting with President Peña Nieto, he noted the many bonds we have in common with Mexico, including geography, culture, our shared Mayan legacy, and epicurean culinary delights. He also congratulated the Mexican people and government for their nationalism and resourcefulness in responding to the horrific natural disasters which affected them.

To this President Peña Nieto confirmed the establishment of a second Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in southern Belize and announced a three-year programme to support 25 partial scholarships to be provided for low-income Belizean students for studies at the school.

It was also agreed for our two nations to continue cooperation in maritime security, and for the Mexico Naval Academy to continue its long-term, ongoing capacity building programme with the Belize Coast Guard. Mexico will also support for two large 97-foot patrol boats to be built for the Belize Coast Guard to use in patrolling Belizean waters.

President Peña Nieto committed to prioritize for early next year the negotiations to conclude the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between Belize and Mexico, to strengthen trade and investment, after the North American Free Trade Agreement is renegotiated. Agreements are imminent to be signed to consolidate cooperation in the areas of air transport, land transport, education, and trans-boundary hydrocarbons, further strengthening the legal framework between our countries, At the end of their bi-lateral meeting, Prime Minister Barrow conferred the Order of Belize on President Peña Nieto.

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