Speaker welcomes the head of the Latin American Diplomatic Corps
9 June 2021 (updated on 9 June 2021)
The Speaker of the House of Commons heard how the Central American country of Honduras is still reeling from destruction caused by two hurricanes and the Covid pandemic.
His Excellency, Mr Ivan Romero-Martinez, the Honduras Ambassador and Dean of the Latin American Diplomatic Corps, told Sir Lindsay Hoyle that the nation’s coffee industry and infrastructure had been hit badly by hurricanes Eta and Iota late last year.
‘Our National Congress building wasn’t affected, but the constituency offices were affected, especially in the north of Honduras,’ said Mr Romero-Martinez. ‘We were hit particularly badly in the coffee sector.’
He expressed his gratitude that the UK had provided immediate humanitarian support in response to the devastation and contributed £1m to the International Red Cross towards its post-hurricane relief efforts.
An additional £224K worth of relief items were also delivered by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Argus.
While Honduras’s vaccine roll out against Covid-19 had received international support, Mr Romero-Martinez said it was ‘moving too slowly’.
Sir Lindsay arranged the introductory meeting as part of his Speaker-led UK parliamentary diplomacy to establish enduring ties between countries and parliamentarians.
He told Mr Romero-Martinez that he wanted Speaker’s House to be a welcoming venue for visiting Speakers and ambassadors to raise their concerns, share ideas and create lasting friendships.
Sir Lindsay acknowledged that 2021 is Honduras’s bicentennial anniversary of independence from Spain – and he has invited all 21 Latin American ambassadors to meet in Speaker’s House later this year.
Mr Romero-Martinez thanked Mr Speaker for flying his country’s flag, which features horizontal stripes of blue and white with five central blue stars, at the entrance to Parliament.
‘I’m immensely proud to see my flag outside – my heart is beating faster,’ he said.
Honduras has a population of 9.3 million people and is bordered by Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere stretches along its coast and is a popular destination for divers.