A high-level delegation from Belize is set to land in Atlanta Feb. 23 to engage with members of the country’s diaspora and promote enhanced tourism and business ties.
The visiting group is to be led by Anthony Mahler, minister of tourism and diaspora affairs, but will also feature a bevy of top government officials who will join a town hall with the Belizean community at The Whitley hotel in Buckhead on Saturday, Feb. 25.
On Friday, the group will visit Conyers, where officials will be recognized by Rockdale County’s tax commissioner and participate in a ceremony celebrating two area businesses owned by members of the Belize diaspora: Victory Insurance Group, run by Stacy Emeri Watson, and C-Town Bikes and Fitness, run by Al Smith.
Belizean Prime Minister John Briceño and Lynn Young, the country’s ambassador to the United States, are scheduled to join diaspora forum, according to Erica-Antoinette Castillo Slaton, a local consultant and software project manager involved in coordinating the visit. Born in Atlanta, Ms. Slaton’s father was a native of Dangriga, Belize.
The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Affairs has also requested a meeting with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.
According to a letter from the ministry seen by Global Atlanta, officials joining the delegation will include:
- Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations
- Hon. Henry Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform, and Religious Affairs
- Hon. Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness
- Hon. Oscar Requeña, Minister of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government
- Mrs. Nicole Solano, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations
- Mrs. Sandhya Murphy, Ambassador for Diaspora Relations
- Ms. Vivienne Acosta, Liaison Officer, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora
Known as British Honduras until gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1973, Belize is the only non-Spanish-speaking country in Central America. Just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula along the Caribbean coast east of Guatemala, Belize has a population of about 400,000 and an economy largely based on tourism and agriculture. It is a member of the CARICOM trade bloc but is not party to a free trade agreement with the United States.
According to a 2022 U.S. State Department report on the investment climate in Belize, the country in 2022 launched its first roadshow in the United States aimed at promoting foreign direct investment.
The report estimates the Belizean diaspora in broader U.S. at about 300,000 people. It’s unclear what proportion reside in Georgia or around the Southeast U.S.
Belize previously had an honorary consul in Atlanta, but the post is now empty.
Delta Air Lines offers a nonstop flight from Atlanta to Belize City.
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