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Jan 13, 2017

P.U.P. reps demand proper education and justice for Guatemala’s wrongs

Cordel Hyde

Debate on the amendment was fierce and robust. Members of the Opposition focused on other issues that need to be addressed before any referendum is considered, such as a re-registration of voters, reaching out to the Belizean Diaspora, and settling outstanding issues such as the Sarstoon Protocol. But the most important, and, by some views, most neglected aspects of the road to the I.C.J. was highlighted in the speeches by two Belize City area representatives, Cordel Hyde of Lake Independence and Kareem Musa of Caribbean Shores. Musa listed all of Guatemala’s recent aggressions and demanded justice for them. Meanwhile, Hyde demanded that Belizeans be given all the facts, without bias or self-interest, so that they can make the best decision.

 

Cordel Hyde, Area Rep., Lake Independence

“Unlike the member for Pickstock I don’t believe that we should impose our beliefs on the people. I believe that this is a deeply personal issue for all Belizeans, and the job of the Government shouldn’t be to impose their will on the people; the job of the Government is to ensure that the people of Belize get all the facts – get all the facts; get all the pros, get all the cons, understand exactly what they are signing up for, so that at the end of the day, they make the right decision. At the end of the day, they make a decision that is based on facts, not based on emotions, or based on some distorted history, or some deep belief held by some individual in the Government. The truth of the matter is that we need to press the stop button; we need to pause for a minute; it seems like all of a sudden now we want to go on breakneck speed where the referendum is concerned, where the I.C.J. is concerned. The people of Belize noh ready fi have no referendum; the people of Belize do not have all the facts at their disposal to make such a decision. The Government promised some years ago that they were going to have comprehensive education, full comprehensive education; that hasn’t happened. The government promised that we would have a fair and balanced education; that hasn’t happened. We are still waiting.”

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Rep., Caribbean Shores

“Madam Speaker, our beloved Danny Conorquie was shot down in cold blood, and there has been no justice for him to this very day! (Applause) Another staff sergeant, Richard Lambey, was shot while in the course of his duty. As the member for Freetown pointed out, a Mennonite businessman was kidnapped by Guatemalan Armed Forces, and what has been our response – nothing! We have been operating from a position of weakness. A Guatemalan military vessel crashed on our Reef, well inside our Belizean territorial waters and what has been the reaction form the Belizean Government? We have done nothing, Madam Speaker! Thirty-seven members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers – they were kidnapped as well; they were held against their will in Livingston, for an overnight. What was the response of the Government? We are always backpedalling, we are always on the defensive when it comes to Guatemala, and that is why our people are upset.”

 

A division of the House was called on the second reading, and the vote went along party lines, sixteen to nine in favour with five absences including Said Musa and Gaspar Vega. Julius Espat, not being present due to his suspension, could not vote.

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