On April 7, James C. “Jim” Cobey, MD, arrived in San Pedro from Washington DC for a well-earned vacation. A surgeon with a Masters degree in Public Health. Jim has been an instrumental member of the international Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). ICBL was founded in 1992. A mere 5 years later, in 1997, the ICBL received the Nobel Peace Prize for its members’ crucial role in starting a process that - according to the text of Jim’s award - “in the space of a few years changed a ban on antipersonnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality.” One year earlier, in 1996, Belize and her neighbors had all agreed to sign the ICBL’s landmine ban into law, They did, and Central America therefore became the first mine-free geopolitical region in the world.
The week before Easter, Jim, his wife Jan, and daughter Abbie set aside in order to snorkel, dive, fish, and just relax on the beach at Caribbean Villas Hotel. Afterwards Jim will return to his current duties, which include helping to set up the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Surgical care and working with the G4 Alliance for Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma, and Anesthesia Care. The G4 (an alliance within the UN of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) is working to implement the goals of both the Lancet Commission on Surgery and the World Health Organization Section on Surgery. Jim explains that “5 out of 7 billion people in the world do not have access to safe affordable surgical care. More people die from lack of surgery than from HIV, Malaria, and TB combined.” Jim also assists the Navajo Indian Reservation in matters of public health. It appears that his vacation on Ambergris Caye and the waters around it is well deserved.