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Dec 15, 2016

Opposition Disagrees – Agreements Did Not Need to be Ratified to Have Referendum

Valerie Woods

The Opposition contends that there has been a rush to judgment and that the Government need not have acted with such haste. They say their view is bolstered by an admission from the Foreign Minister that the ratification of the Agreements is not and has never been needed to hold the referendum. That, combined with prevarication by the diplomats on the question of why move forward at this time in particular, resulted in the Opposition holding fast to its line that much more is needed from Guatemala before matters can proceed to their satisfaction. Opposition Senator Valerie Woods tells us more.

 

Valerie Woods, P.U.P. Senator

“The Opposition senators voted clearly no, on both motions ratified, and that was based on the fact that indeed we had a meeting prior, and in that meeting it was disclosed that there was no need for the Senate to ratify those motions in order for a referendum on the matter of Belize-Guatemala, whether it goes to the I.C.J. or not. And so on that basis alone, we felt there was a strong argument that the Senate, quite frankly, be used as a rubberstamp on the part of the Government. Also very critical was the fact that the answer that Senator Courtenay raised in the last Senate meeting was not answered: which was why now? In light of the revelation that there was no need for the Senate to ratify for the Government to proceed with a referendum, and that was never answered; so understand; from 2008 to 2016, at any time, the House of Representatives could have made that decision to have that referendum, and we could have, by now, had a referendum that decided whether the people of Belize agreed to go to the I.C.J. or not.”

 

The P.U.P. has called for a bipartisan, multi-sectoral approach to resolving the claim and its attending problems, including repeated Guatemalan harassment of Belizeans in the Sarstoon.

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