Belize, Houston partner in trade
The University Hilton will host Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, and Mayor Bill White at a luncheon where the two parties will sign a trade partnership today at 11 a.m.
Sponsored by Houston’s Tri-County Black Chamber of Commerce and Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Prime Minister Barrow and Mayor White will sign an agreement that will allow Houston and Belize to cooperate in areas such as energy, information technology, environment, education and culture.
The Tri-County Black Chamber of Commerce and Buffalo Soldiers National Museum are supporting the event in an effort to increase awareness of cultural contributions made by African populations forcibly brought to the Western Hemisphere during the African Diaspora. TCBCC Chairman and CEO Leondria Thompson expressed her hopes for what the agreement can accomplish, as well as why partnering with Belize is important.
"(Belize) needs our help," Thompson said. "Belize is considered the gateway to the Caribbean and Central America. They’re a developing country but can become a breadbasket of the world with the resources they have. Without our help, they will stay a developing country."
Belize has valuable trade resources but several pressing needs, such as one of the lowest population densities in the world, following the emigration of many of its citizens.
With goals of economic reconstruction, Belize enters the agreement with Houston in hopes of furthering their business relationships.
"With this bilateral agreement between Houston and Belize, we’re hoping for tangible trading opportunities between micro businesses and small businesses," Thompson said.
Houston, a city with vast resources of its own, can contribute to many of Belize’s needs, as well.
"Houston is an international city," Thompson said. "Belize is in close proximity, only two hours away by flight, and Houston has the resources to help them."
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by several top officials, including those in Belize’s Ministry of Finance, Belize City Council and the University of Belize. In acknowledgment of the agreement being signed, July 1 will be recognized as His Excellency Dean Barrow Day in Houston.