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Jun 14, 2016

Chief Justice tells UB Graduates to Become Aware of Belize/Guatemala Dispute

Kenneth Benjamin

The territorial dispute remains at the national front burner and was a topic at this year’s graduation season. On Sunday, the largest number of students graduated from the University of Belize. Five hundred and nine earned either Associate or Bachelor’s degrees or diplomas. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was the guest speaker at the commencement exercises of the national university. The CJ offered words of advice to the graduating class on their role as agents of change, as role models and urged them to speak of their achievements. The CJ also spoke on a matter that is of national importance: the age-old territorial dispute with Guatemala.  That volatile issue remains prominent in the national discourse and a resolution, despite all ongoing efforts, seems rather distant.  While he did not take a side, Chief Justice Benjamin encouraged graduates to read and learn the Constitution of Belize and become aware of the facts and to assist in the public education campaign.

 

Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize

“Before closing, I want to raise a very topical matter with you and that is the Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute. As Belizeans, your first point of reference in this issue is the constitution; it is the supreme law for all Belizeans and all those who reside in Belize are subject to it. Now the area of Belize is defined in section one of the constitution, which takes you to the first schedule—and I commend it to you for reading. It defines and delimits the boundaries of Belize and the cayes that are included along with the mainland to comprise the territory we know of Belize. In our law that is the country we call Belize. I appeal to you as graduants of the National University of Belize to familiarize yourself with the issues that arise from the boundary dispute. I commend to you the literature that traces the history of Belize and the events that have given rise and that are germane to the title of Belize to its territory. There are two very excellent treaty thesis written by Ambassador Shoman and I’ve noted that there has been a seminar on this subject at this university. So you must inform yourselves also about the official Guatemalan claim; you may not agree with it, but you are an academic now—it beholds you to know both sides. At the end of your research, you must be in a position, if you’ve not already been so placed, to discuss the completing claims lucidly and intelligibly with those whose reaction is sometimes purely emotive or purely nationalistic or those who know nothing about the claim. It behoves you as the beneficiaries of tertiary education from a national institution to aid in the public education efforts in what is a matter that is the business of every Belizean.”

 

Top achievers for the 2016 graduating class were identified as Robin Adrian Quilter and Angela Sun.

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1 Response for “Chief Justice tells UB Graduates to Become Aware of Belize/Guatemala Dispute”

  1. Manuel Pinto says:

    Me parece interesante que los estudiantes universitarios de Belice lean el artículo 6 del tratado de 1783, relativo a la primera concesión de territorio que le fue otorgada a Inglaterra por parte de España, también que lean la ampliación del artículo 6 del tratado de 1783 que España hace a Inglaterra y la ampliación de la cesión de territorio que hace la República de Guatemala a Inglaterra en el tratado de 1859. Para que los beliceños puedan comprender y entender la historia del territorio del actual Belice. Porque sin la existencia de esos tratados el actual Belice no existiera.

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