Good Neighbour Belize Takes Helm of SICA
Belize assumes the presidency of the Central American Integration System, or SICA
Have you heard?
Prime Minister Dean Barrow recently travelled to the Dominican Republic to assume the presidency of the Central American Integration System, or SICA as it is more widely known, in a move that furthers Belize‘s reputation as a significant player in the Central American region.
The closer ties envisioned by SICA member states also bodes well for regional tourism, and especially throughout the Mundo Maya, home of the ancient Maya civilisation that encompassed Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In addition to ease of travel across today’s borders, we hope that closer ties also mean that Belize’s calls for strong environmental and responsible travel models are heard and acted upon.
SICA, Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana,came into existence on February 1, 1993 as the economic and political organisation ofCentral American states. Its goals areto enhance cooperation and further the aims of peace, political freedom, democracy and economic development in the region.
The original members were Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, with Belize becoming the seventh full member in 2000 after subscribing to the Treaty of Tegucigalpa
As a UN affiliate, SICA also provides a legal framework for resolving disputes between member states. With Central America’s regional economic development on the increase, social, political and economic integration have become more of an issue for regional countries, with initiatives such as a common currency, ease of travel and policy integration becoming more important.
In a nutshell, Central America is moving towards a more integrated, EU type model to foster cooperation, loosen trade and travel restrictions and work closer together in areas such as border security and combating the scourges of drug and people trafficking, and SICA is a big step in that direction.
Ever since gaining independence in 1981, Belize, as a former British crown colony and the only Central American nation with English as the official language, faced the task of better integrating itself with regional neighbours. Having her Prime Minister taking up the SICA presidency, a rotating, six month position, shows that Belize is now considered to be a valuable partner and key player in regional development.
We like that.