This is the first visit of the Ambassador to Chiquimula. Last year, the department suffered the impact of two storms, which destroyed key infrastructure and damaged livelihoods. Most recently, the department saw the arrival of many Honduran immigrants travelling north, whilst the authorities also are coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Whittingham discussed these issues in meetings with local authorities. He met with the Governor of Chiquimula, Ferlandy Mario Roberto Caceres Palma; the Mayor, Rolando Aquino; and representatives of the academic community, including the National University’s Eastern Centre (CUNORI).
The Ambassador stressed the UK’s commitment to keep working with Guatemala on tackling climate change to prevent and mitigate the impacts of extreme weather. This will be critical during this year’s Global Conference on Climate Change (COP26), hosted by the UK, and an opportunity to explain Guatemala’s vulnerabilities and environmental commitments.
Finally, Ambassador Whittingham emphasised the importance of bolstering free trade between our economies to overcome the impacts of the pandemic, whilst we continue protecting our populations. As from 1 January of 2021, the UK has in force a free trade agreement with Central America due to further spur Guatemalan exports, such as well-demanded fruits produced in this part of the country.