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Oct 7, 2016

Foreign Affairs Minister Takes Credit for U.N. Speech

Wilfred Elrington

Minister for Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, known for his cautious approach on the international stage with the Guatemalan claim, earned rare cheers for what was seen as a stronger position taken recently at the United Nations.  He spoke in strong terms  in response to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ efforts to disparage the report issued by two independent experts commissioned funded by the Organization of American States. The report, on the death of teenager Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano, essentially absolved the Belize Defence Force of any role or responsibility in the death of the youth. Both Morales’ and Elrington’s statements came at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Following a recent meeting at the U.D.P. headquarters on Saturday in Belize City, Elrington explained his personal involvement in writing the speech.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Every speech that is given in any forum where I am present, I write the last version of it; every speech. Whether it is given by me, or by or any other person in Foreign Affairs, every speech – I write the last version of it. But speeches are collaborative efforts because we are a Ministry; we are speaking on behalf of a Government. So with this last speech we had consultation from capital as well as from all the Ambassadors who were present and we had four or five Ambassadors and we sit down, and we write, and we review. I wrote the last version; presented it to my team, minutes before it was delivered. Nobody here in Belize knew what the last version contained. And my attitude toward Guatemala is well-known. More than any other Belizean who is currently alive – I opposed the Webster Proposals; I opposed the Heads of Agreement; I was arrested; I was charged; I was convicted, all opposing Guatemala’s ambitions with respect to my country. No other Belizean alive can lay claim to that, you know, none of them. None of them.”

 

Elrington noted that Belize had a right of reply to Morales, which we did not use in an effort to avoid back and forth. Additionally, as a member of the United Nations, we already had a speaking slot engaged.

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