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Jul 22, 2015

Belize Isn’t Prepared to Cede a Blade of Grass to Guatemala

Wilfred Elrington

And then there has been speculation that there exists a secret document which envisions, in some form or fashion, both countries going to the ICJ without going to a referendum. Foreign Minister Elrington shot that down in a hurry, and went further to say that there will be no negotiation with Guatemala because G.O.B. is not prepared to give up even a blade of grass.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“If there exists such a document, it was not formulated by our government and I know not of it. What benefit would it be for us to go and produce such a document behind the backs of our people? Going to the ICJ and the authorities at the ICJ understand the process. There is a process; there is a protocol for doing it and that has to be followed and the protocol is clear. It can only be done with the consent of the Belizean people. And that is what it is going to be. Now if the Belizean people don’t want to go, that is fine with me. I am simply following a process that was laid down over the years. I can tell you that the National Independence Party never wanted to negotiate anything with the Guatemalan; it was always the People’s United Party that wanted to negotiate. You can’t negotiate without giving up something; that is what you do in terms of negotiations. So those of us in the NIP bluntly refused to contemplate negotiation. In the process and during the course of the negotiations, we in fact gave up our entitlement to the territorial seas by limiting it under the Maritime Areas Act or purporting to limit it. The reason that was given to that is because we were trying to get a settlement with Guatemalans; we thought that if in fact we did that, the Guatemalans would be amenable to dropping the claim and resolving the matter in that way. It was always a mistake because the Guatemalans can’t do it…the officials can’t do it; their people would lynch them. So it is not a case that we thought at any point in time, we can resolve this matter by negotiation and we will never dispose to that. I have never been disposed to that; I am always opposed any kind of negotiation and I am always opposed to giving away anything. Not a square inch of land, not a blade a grass. That is our position. Let us go to the court. When the court makes its determination, we will abide by that, but certainly we will not agree to negotiate and that is a view that we are hoping that the Belizean people will take. But if the Belizean people don’t want that, fine with me.”

 

A timeline on that referendum in Belize has not been laid down, though it is widely believed that it will not happen before the next general elections.

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