Mayor of San Benito, Peten Guatemala, visits Belize

vlcsnap-2013-03-02-10h55m55s24The Mayor of San Benito, Peten Guatemala is in  Belize on a tour  of the Towns and Cities of the western Corridor. Her entourage includes several of her counselors, senior staff members;  including the City Planner and City manager, and 3 members of the Guatemalan congress.  The tour started in Benque Viejo this morning and the culminated this evening in Belize City at the Council headquarters on North Front Street.  There, the Council of San Benito and the Belize City Council entered into a historic relationship; sister city relations; the first ever between a Belize and Guatemala municipality. We caught up with Mayor Bradley who took the trip from Belize City to San Ignacio to be with the delegation. He told PlusNews that it was at a Christian event that he and Mayor of San Benito, Sonia Rivera, met and formed a friendship.

Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor –:
vlcsnap-2013-03-02-11h23m42s63This is actually a work in progress.  The Mayor of San Benito had actually visited Belize City in November if last year.  She was on a church crusade, and I had the opportunity of meeting her there,. and we had several discussions about forming a relationship between Belize City and San Benito. They had invited us the last week in January, and we had taken a delegation there of 12 persons, including myself and our Deputy Mayor, and we were treated very warmly.  We toured several of the cities in Guatemala.  We met several members of the Guatemalan Congress.  We exchanged views, and we talked about forming a formal sister city relationship between the City of San Benito and Belize City, which would be the first sister city relationship that any city in Belize has had with any Guatemalan city. We thought that that would have been a major step to creating greater awareness and peace between Guatemala and Belize.  If we focus on our commonalities, and we seek to establish more relationships in the area of trade, on the area of tourism, on the area of culture, in the area of sports, and economic opportunities, then that would be the greater avenue for promoting peace between the two countries.

San Benito Mayor, Sonia Rivera, is no stranger to Belize. She spent 17 years in Belize growing up before she returned to Guatemala. Two of her sisters still live in Cotton tree in the Cayo District.

Sonia Rivera – Mayor of San Benito Petén, Guatemala:
vlcsnap-2013-03-01-19h59m26s20The last time we visited Belize City we met with Mayor Darrell. They came to visit us.  This time we are coming to visit them again, with some deputies that are with me, and also my Councilors. We are exchanging in tourism, culture, economy, and whatsoever we do in both cities and in the cities that are willing to join us, they are welcome.  For me, it’s really a pleasure to be in Belize, and also to feel part of Belize, and to tell Belize that we are going forward for better things, and to have that vision and to continue working hard in unity.

PLusNews asked Mayor Rivera to comment on the current tensions between her country , Guatemala, and Belize. Here is what she had to say.

Sonia Rivera – Mayor of San Benito Petén, Guatemala:
I was grown up here in Belize for many years.  I was here for 17 years, and I had to return back to my country, and I went to do History there. I love Belize.  I grew up here in Belize.  Part of my life is in Belize, and the other part is in Guatemala. So I love both countries, and I pray to god that one day we can see these two countries working hard together, for the benefit of our people.  We also worry about this conflict, these problems that have been passing through our country and your country.  I think it’s time to come into peace.  I think it’s time to stop all of these things, and to start to see forward how development can come to our countries, instead of spending time in fighting and so forth.

Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena , John August, welcomed the Guatemala contingent to his Town.

John August – Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena:
vlcsnap-2013-03-02-11h54m29s108Just a while ago, we had the honour of having the presence of the Mayor of San Benito, Sonia Rivera. She did pay a courtesy visit here to the Municipality of San Ignacio and Santa Elena.  This morning she’s doing a tour of the various Municipalities in this part of the country.  She was in Benque Viejo, then she made her stop here just a few minutes ago.  From here she’s moving on to Belmopan, then to Belize city.  She’s here in Belize to sign a sister city agreement with the City of Belize.  During her time here she also paid us a courtesy visit, and hopefully we’ll be able to return that visit in the near future.

The group also visited the City of Belmopan. They return to Guatemala tomorrow.

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