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Oct 2, 2015

…Speech Incites Instant Objections from Opposition and COLA

Lisa Shoman

The Belize delegation also included two other ministers—Godwin Hulse and Joy Grant—as well as UN Ambassadors, Lois Young and Janiene Sylvester and Elrington’s wife, among others. While they applauded the offensive statement, here in Belize, there is outrage. The P.U.P. says that it can no longer place trust on the U.D.P. administration to deal with the territorial differendum in such reckless and high-handed manner. Lisa Shoman, who is a former Foreign Minister and the P.U.P. representative on ongoing negotiations with Guatemala late this evening elaborated on the P.U.P.’s position on Elrington’s statement.

 

Lisa Shoman, Senator, P.U.P.

“Today, Wilfred Elrington, Foreign Minister of Belize, spoke at the UN as the nation’s representative and during his speech Foreign Minister Elrington said that Belize had signed a protocol to the special agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim on our country to the International Court of Justice.  He said, “We expect that this will facilitate and speed up the process of finally and definitively putting an end to the unfounded claim that has plagued us and our region for far too long.”  Alright.  Now the People’s United Party rejects the statement of Mr. Elrington made on the world stage that the protocol which he signed with Guatemala will, quote, facilitate or speed up the process of going to the ICJ.  The people of Belize have a right to be consulted and have a right to reject such an option and the failure of Minister Elrington to inform the UN that the referendum are required in both countries before any case goes to the ICJ is really a deliberate misrepresentation of the applicable facts of the law and he has misquoted the legal position in relation to the Guatemalan claim and we demand an immediate and public clarification of the record, which must be made immediately. It’s more than a blunder Isani; what it is, it is a grave misrepresentation of the actual position. First of all, his speech should clearly have noted that there has been a rise in aggression by our neighbor and that we totally and completely reject the illegalities that have been occurring. He should have said that this aggression is something that has to factor in, in the issue of the unfounded claim and going to the ICJ and he should have made it clear that it is the Belizean people, who must decide whether in fact, we as a country, are going to agree to go to the ICJ. And as you know, the P.U.P. passed a resolution on July the fourth, earlier this year, saying that we were convinced that for the territorial integrity and security of Belize, we could no longer place our trust on the United Democratic Party government to continue to deal with the differendum in the present reckless manner that they are doing without any further consultation or input from the Belizean people. I think this immediately has to be corrected by no less than the Prime Minister himself and if he does not, then that will have an impact. But from the People’s United Party, we are saying that this once again points out why we cannot agree to the holding of a referendum in Belize to ask whether this matter should go to the ICJ because of the ways that it is being mismanaged and mishandled and it is being done furthermore, Isani, without any consultation with even the bipartisan commission. And that we insist that we have to work to internationalize our actual position right now and to ensure that we continue to safeguard the rights of all of Belize, to all our territorial sovereignty and territory. And that we cannot do that if the Foreign Minister is speaking to say or not say what is the critical issue which is that we will not go to the ICJ without consulting the Belizean people first.”

 

Another release, this time by the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, says “It is disappointing that such an important issue got this much time in spite of the many incidents that have taken place in the last few weeks, and coming in the same week as Belizeans remember Danny Conroquie, the brave officer who lost his life to these invaders. Worse, we are alarmed that on such a grand stage, the Foreign Minister, in potentially his last address in that capacity, failed to take the opportunity offered him to properly internationalize the dispute.” COLA also says that “Given one last chance to redeem himself on an international platform, the Minister once again misled himself and his colleagues, who now believe that Belizeans have already decided in favour of going to the ICJ.”

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2 Responses for “…Speech Incites Instant Objections from Opposition and COLA”

  1. Shane Gomez says:

    This is another example of the UDP’s veil deception. How do you go on an international stage and fail to garner international support for an issue that attacks our sovereignty. Where is the transparency; where is the collaborative effort with the Belizean people? We Belizeans non fool, the Prime Minister needs to publicly apologize to the people for this I’ll advised blunder and address next steps. You cannot say you represent the voice of Belize and fail to address this territorial concern and place it in the context that it exists a threat to out territorial borders. I, for one share Minister Shoman’s argument you cannot misrepresent the facts thevMinister had the international stage to address a most pertinent issue and instead relegated it to a sound bite. Where is the accountability?

  2. carlos says:

    Well this incompetence of this minister is what will make this government fall. But Mr. Barrow had all the time to remove this minister from this portfolio. Nothing in this world, not even paved streets, will take away the priority that should have been given to the Guatemalan claim. People take this as a serious problem when you go to the polls. Just a few months ago the front runner in the Guatemalan election said that if he wins the election he will do all in his power to recover Belize.

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