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Mar 23, 2017

Former and Current Foreign Ministers Clash over Borders Comment

Patrick Faber

“It is just like you are on a piece of land all your life, but you are a squatter. You can’t do anything with that land until you get it surveyed and get the survey agreed upon and you have a title to it.”  This is how Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington described Belize’s current situation with the borders during last Friday’s conference call with secretary general of the Organization of American States. While not strictly budget-related, it is a relevant and hot-button issue, and today Fort George representative Said Musa challenged him on it during the Budget Debate. We have highlights of their back-and-forth.

 

Patrick Faber, Area Rep., Collet

“What the Minister said about the border and all of that has nothing, absolutely nothing to with the Estimates, Madam Speaker; nothing to do with this Bill whatsoever.”

 

Said Musa

Said Musa, Area Rep., Fort George

“Madam Speaker, the economic situation of Belize is part of the Budget exercise, and to discuss the economic situation of our country, we have to discuss the fact that we have a neighbour with an unfounded claim to our country! That is very relevant! And this Minister ignores the historic fact that in 1931, Joint Commissioners exchange notes stating that these monuments form part of the boundary line between British Honduras and the Republic of Guatemala; but he goes further – he goes further to say we do not have any agreed maritime borders, failing to recognize that the International Law of the Sea clearly spells out what is the area of our territorial sea and what is the area of our exclusive economic zone. They are yet to be – I am not finished, I am not finished! Worst of all, this Minister…”

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Area Rep., Pickstock

“On a point of order…”

 

Said Musa

“…is telling the Belizean people that Belize does not really belong to the Belizeans; we are all a bunch of squatters! (Jeers and applause)”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“On a point of order, Madam Speaker; on a point of order…”

 

Laura Longsworth, Speaker of the House

“What is the point of order, Member?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“(Stutters) The speaker…”

 

Laura Longsworth

“Excuse me; unless we quieten ourselves I am going to clear the gallery.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Madam Speaker, the honorable member from Fort George, in his characteristic style is seeking to mislead the National House. Let me tell you what is the truth: between the period 2000 and 2005 – Madam Speaker – between the period of 2000 and 2005…”

 

Laura Longsworth

“Excuse me, Minister; what is the point of order?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“It’s that he is misleading the country, the National Assembly and I will tell you why: because between the period 2000 and 2005, his administration, led by Assad Shoman, sought to negotiate the maritime boundaries with the Guatemalans, and the negotiations failed because it was pointed out that under international law, the land border is not recognized and therefore you cannot establish a maritime border. He should know that; that’s basic law.”

 

Laura Longsworth

“Thank you, Member; you have made your point. Excuse me, Member…”

 

Said Musa

“So does that make us squatters? Does that make the Belizean people squatters?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I did not say we were squatters but in a characteristic style.”

 

Later Musa would suggest that Elrington, in any other country, would be fired for such provocative statements. We’ll have more on the budget coming up.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Former and Current Foreign Ministers Clash over Borders Comment”

  1. jorge says:

    “It is like if you are on a piece of land all your life but you are a squatter” And yet the claim is UNFOUNDED??? I just want to know when they are going to start teaching our children the TRUTH in schools because I now know that I was lied to. Know nobody can call me an alien. Somehow, I already knew,

  2. emma says:

    Squatters?? way to show solidarity with your fellow Belizeans, the Gauts love this jackass Elrington for that comment that has just solidify their claim to the Jewel. Stop catering to the Guatemalan government you Benedict Arnold; you Elrington are a puppet and they are your ventriloquist.

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