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May 21, 2015

PUP Will Not Participate in Compromis Amendment Signing

Lisa Shoman

There is turmoil in Guatemala tonight where they have been mass firings of government ministers by the embattled President, Otto Perez Molina who is under pressure to resign. Still yet, a government delegation is planning to travel to Guatemala City this weekend where an amendment to the Special Agreement will be ratified before outgoing OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza on Monday. Foreign Minister, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington is heading to Guatemala from St. Lucia where he is attending a CARICOM meeting. Now, the agreement which was signed between Belize and Guatemala in December 2008, saw both countries agreeing to hold joint referenda on whether the age-old territorial dispute should be taken before the ICJ for resolution. But now government plans to make a fundamental change to the agreement to facilitate Guatemala to hold an individual referendum.  Earlier today, the People’s United Party disassociated itself from the amendment; it means that for the first time the bipartisan approach to reaching a resolution in the dispute has broken down. A statement from the P.U.P. chronologically details the interaction between Prime Minister Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition on a request made by Guatemala to revise the Special Agreement. This afternoon, we spoke with Senator Lisa Shoman who is the representative from the opposition on the matter.

 

Lisa Shoman, Opposition Representative

“The People’s United Party will not be attending the meeting on Monday in Guatemala City at which the Special Agreement is going to be amended.  In fact, the People’s United Party has not even been provided with a draft of any amendment and given the way that the entire episode has unfolded, the entire issue of deciding to amend the Special Agreement, the People’s United Party does not believe that there is any bipartisanship in the way that this matter has been handled.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Initially, the government has said that at the point where the Guatemalans reached out asking for an amendment to the Special Agreement to proceed with the referendum in November, that the prime minister had contacted the Leader of the Opposition.  The leader of the Opposition then met with the executive of the party and collectively, according to the prime minister, it was not an issue.  Is it now that the PUP is backtracking?”

 

Lisa Shoman

“No.  And if you go back and look carefully at what the Leader of the Opposition said, I can only speak to that.  I cannot speak to what the prime minister said.  What the Leader of the Opposition said was that he was consulted by the prime minister and that his initial thing to the prime minister was [that] he wanted to know why the Guatemalans were requesting because there has been a principle all along that simultaneous referenda would be held between Belize and Guatemala.  Since nobody ever wanted the outcome in one country to influence the other country.  The prime minister then communicated to the Leader of the Opposition that Guatemala wanted this as a cost saving measure and that this would mean that they would then put it in the second round of their presidential elections.”

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