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Aug 4, 2017

Guatemala to Proceed with Referendum on I.C.J.

There have been new developments in Guatemala over the past two days in respect of referendum proceedings on whether its age-old territorial dispute with Belize should be taken to the International Court of Justice for resolution.  As we reported earlier this week, Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, similar to Belize’s Elections and Boundaries Commission, voted all the way for a referendum to be called in adherence to the Special Agreement signed between both countries.  Ambassador Alexis Rosado, who shared the head table with C.E.O. Andrews at this morning’s media event provided an update on what’s taking place across the border.

 

Alexis Rosado

Alexis Rosado, Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala

“The congress of Guatemala voted two days ago, overwhelmingly that their supreme electoral tribunal. Tribunal Supremo de Eleccion, TSE, should proceed with calling a referendum in accordance with the Special Agreement that we signed and the protocol thereto.  The Supreme Electoral Tribunal had said before that they needed anywhere between ninety days to six months to be able to put the things together, put in place everything necessary to hold the referendum.  So it’s a matter now for them to decide when they will call it.  I understand that the current administration has been saying that they wish that it could be held this year.  We also know that they have budgeted sufficient funds for them to be able to organize such a public consultation.  So in that respect, the budget is in place, all the legislative and executive procedures have been conducted in order to carry it through and we should expect that anywhere between now and end of the year they should be able to hold one.  In this year’s budget they had already put in place sufficient funds to hold a referendum.  Remember they were thinking of holding referendum on their constitutional reform so the monies are there too for this year.  What they do not have, or at least they say they do not have funds sufficiently, is for their public awareness campaign and that I understand, and I think that is what you were referring to, that the European Union is helping.  I know they are, now as we speak making and taking certain measures in order to be able to facilitate them with some ready funds since they don’t have much time left for them to conduct their own public consultation.  So they’ll need ready funding now and they have been for sometime knocking on doors with the international community and the group of friends.”

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