Partners for A Better Tomorrow
The European Union continues to provide foreign aid to countries in need of assistance. The core values include the promotion of peace and the protection of human dignity. In fact, they have been a web of support to many countries in need. As a signatory of the EU – Central America Association agreement and of the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement, Belize is benefiting from the aid of this organization and the 28 countries it represents.
Over the past 30 years, the EU has invested some 200 million Euro in Belize. Programs such as the AMS (Accompanying Measures for Sugar) and BAM (Banana Accompanying Measures) has improved the productivity and lives of the communities that work in these agricultural industries. The Agriculture sector has always been a point of interest for the EU. However, rural and human development is also a priority for the organization. This can be seen through the Belize Rural Development Projects I & II, which was funded by the EU. As a result, the effects of improved environments continues to positively impact the lives of Belizeans across the country.
In the South, the European Union is responsible for electrification of 26 communities and 13 banana farms by Belize Electricity Ltd. Over 500 households within these communities benefited from this project through increased access to modern, reliable, and sustainable energy.
Hopkins Gets A Face Lift
In Hopkins EU grant funding has allowed for the paving of 1.96 miles of the Hopkins Main Street. Also, they assisted with the installation of transmission for the Southern highway to a new water tank, a significant upgrade to the village’s water system. As a village that depends on tourism these infrastructure improvements go a long way, positively impacting the community. While these infrastructure upgrades mean an improvement in the quality of life for villagers, they are also an upgrade of the environment that travelers and visitors can benefit from. As a result, the once dirt road is now a sleek asphalt street and water is safer to use and drink.
Other infrastructure improvements in the South have also been made possible through the EU-Belize cooperation. For example, the paving of 2.3 miles of the Cowpen Village to San Juan road. Additionally, effective road marking, traffic signs, bus stops, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings, and health facilities were upgraded. Further, the upgrade of physical infrastructure, equipment and supplies for the Independence Village polyclinic, and the upgrading/expansion of the Bella Vista Community Health Facility to polyclinic status now allows for the facilities to better handle larger volumes of patients and provides emergency care services for villagers and visitors alike.
The European Union is Belize’s largest grant donor. The potential for bridge building between the Caribbean and Latin America has committed the EU to fortifying the welfare of the sugar and banana industries.
Image courtesy: Hopkins uncut
Currently the EU is working on a workshop that encourages technical solutions to maintain a secure Belize. This involves working along with the Government, citizens and other stakeholders to create a dialog for a safer tomorrow. The workshop tackles the question of how to enhance police cooperation, intelligence exchange and cross border cooperation. EU ambassador, Malgorzata Wasilewska, said “today the nature of crime is such that no country whether large or small can tackle it alone.” Building the bridge of communication between civil society and the government is the main focus. With the help of the EU, security and crime can be of minimal concern. A peace project- the EU’s peaceful resolution of all conflict is based on human lawfulness and democracy.
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Original Article by: Drea Reneau
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