75new_G15_CWN

Global Issue 15

global thi rd quar ter 2013 www.global -br ief ing.org l 75 commonwealth network The Long View ‘We want people to be aware of exactly how precious our heritage is’ Belize is one of the Commonwealth’s 13 member countries in the Americas. Prime Minister Dean Barrow stops off to talk to Global about archaeology, trade and the environment during an official visit to the UK Katie Silvester Dean Barrow is halfway through a dizzying whirlwind of appointments with businessmen and dignitaries – including the Queen, Prince Charles and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague – when he meets Global in Kensington, west London. Belize’s Prime Minister is on an official visit to the UK, which has seen him dashing all over the capital. “It’s been perfectly enjoyable, actually,” he says of his trip. “And the weather gods have been kind.” Barrow is Belize’s first black Prime Minister. He led the United Democratic Party to victory in 2008 and is a year into his second term as the country’s premier. After studying law and international relations at the University of Miami, Barrow was called to the Belize bar, working as a barrister until his election to the House of Representatives in 1984. With a population under 400,000 Belize is comparable to one of the UK’s mediumsized cities, but has the privilege of being one of the most sparsely populated countries in Central America – rainforest still covers 60 per cent of the country, which borders Mexico and Guatemala. It also has a rich archaeological heritage. Belize found itself in the international headlines in May when one of the country’s largest Mayan pyramids, estimated to be 2,300 years old, was bulldozed by a construction company looking for rock to use as building material. “That particular one was on private property and, unfortunately, one gathers that excavation had been going on for a while. So it is hard to say what else may have been bulldozed. © UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz Of course, it outraged the entire country and I could do without the bad press we got,” Barrow says with a wry smile. “The perpetrators are, of course, going to be charged. The laws may need updating, though. I believe the maximum penalty is a fine of $10,000, although there can be jail time.” Addressing a UN conference on climate change  intervieW


Global Issue 15
To see the actual publication please follow the link above