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May 14, 2015

P.M. Barrow Says Belize Is At An Advantage Should Guatemala Hold Referendum First

Dean Barrow

The Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in December 2008, will be amended later this month to allow Guatemala to proceed solo with a referendum on whether the longstanding territorial dispute should be brought before the International Court of Justice for resolution.  As it stands, the Compromis calls on both countries to hold simultaneous referenda on the issue so that the forthcoming amendment is a departure from the original agreement.  That information should have been made public via an official release from the Government of Belize.  But, in an exclusive interview with News Five’s Isani Cayetano on Tuesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington jumped the gun by divulging details of the change, saying that G.O.B. was not required to consult with the people and that he will travel to Guatemala to sign off on the amendment.  On the same day, Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca told News Five that he was unaware that government’s position on the proposed amendment was indeed final.  This afternoon on his return from Miami, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained how the Guatemalans made their approach and what an individual referendum would mean for Belize.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“First of all, in terms of the substance of the change I don’t understand how anyone could see that as prejudicial to Belize.  The Guatemalans had come asking for change some time ago, a year and a half ago, I can’t quite remember, but at that time they wanted Belize to go first and I said, “Not on your nelly.  That is not going to happen.”  Now they come back and they say in terms of their own timetable and the elections and so on that they would want to go first.  Well it seems to me that that is very much to Belize’s advantage.  If they go first and their people say no we don’t even need to hold a referendum.  So if there is any pressure that arises as a consequence of the change the pressure is on Guatemala.  So in terms of the merits, I really fail to see how anybody could suggest that the change does not serve the interests of our country.  With respect to the way it happened, I’ve been informed that the Guatemalans were seeking our agreement to have this change made and when I went to Panama for the summit and I met with the president it was raised.  I indicated that I would have to do two things, I personally did not see a problem but I would have to get Cabinet’s approval and I would need to consult with the Opposition.  I came back, Cabinet, for the reasons I just enumerated had no difficulty and I called the Leader of the Opposition.  He said to me, I personally had no difficulty, he agreed with the change but that he would need to consult his party.”

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1 Response for “P.M. Barrow Says Belize Is At An Advantage Should Guatemala Hold Referendum First”

  1. CEO says:

    It is clear to me that Guatemala does not want to play nice and they have no real interest in an amicable settlement! This is why I do not see any reason we should have any referendum to start with to put our future in the hands of others. There are enough treaties and agreements already signed if Guatemala really wanted to do the right thing: leave us the heck alone!

    They have one objective!

    With that aside I have to agree with the PM if there is agreement that this is the way forward. The problem is if they do not get what they want and by the way they will not, they will be back again with some trumped up accusations and and more court actions for another 200 years!

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