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Jul 27, 2015

Elrington Says NO ICJ Without Referendum

Wilfred Elrington

Government’s official position is that the International Court of Justice is the only option left to Belize to solve the territorial dispute. Elrington reiterated that stance this morning, but he was also very careful to point out that there will be no ICJ without a mandate from the people, and that mandate can only come through a referendum.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Foreign Minister, Belize

“They don’t want any disharmony between us. They want us to live in peace and harmony and they want to go to the ICJ. That is the official position of the Guatemalan government; that is the official position of the Belize government. But both of us understand that we don’t speak as a government unless we speak with the authority of our people. So us, officials, believe that this is the right course for us to take and we are educating our people, but we understand that only our people can give us the authority to do that. In the case of Belize, the decision that we must go to the people was taken deliberately during the early days because of suspicion on the part of the Belizean electorate with respect to the motives of the then Belizean government and that is how the idea that we have to go to a referendum came about. It was the then Opposition, on the instruction of its followers, said look, we will not go to the ICJ based on the decision of the government alone; we have to do it by referendum. And that is how it came about in Belize that we have to go to a referendum. We decided quite early that it will be the decision of the Belizean people to decide whether we go to the ICJ and that is the position up to this present time. We as a government are disposed to…every single foreign minister of this country has agreed that this is the right thing to do. Every leading intellectual in this country, who is involved in political sphere has agreed that this is the right route to take. Of course, you won’t have unanimity in anything is any country; there will always be division. But the leading thinkers, the leading politicians in this country…former prime minister, foreign ministers all agree that the ICJ is in fact the only place to go.”

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