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Nov 15, 2017

Godwin Hulse Says Questionable Guate-Belizeans Can’t Vote in I.C.J. Referendum

Godwin Hulse

After a week’s hiatus, the Senate Special Select Committee returned with Minister of Immigration and Nationality Senator Godwin Hulse facing his Senate colleagues in the chair once again.  Over three and a half hours of testimony – interrupted only by loss of power at the National Assembly Building – many topics relating to Immigration then and now were covered.  We start tonight with news that may worry those Belizeans who previously held or are planning a transition from Guatemalan citizenship.  It has been pointed out that formal policy in Guatemala does not recognize the change-over unless renunciation of Guatemalan citizenship happens first.  While it is still being sorted out, with Guatemala planning a March 2018 vote on taking the Belize dispute to the International Court of Justice, Belize is looking forward to doing the same later in the year.  Among the two hundred and one thousand potential voters, there are a few thousands who some believe may still have allegiance to their original country. The Minister, personal views aside, says that only those who have properly renounced Guatemala should vote in the referendum, and he would support amendments to the law to prohibit those who have not from voting.


Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“These people, a lot of them, have registered to vote, and do vote. What is your view with respect to supposedly former Guatemalan nationals being allowed to vote in a referendum on the I.C.J.?”


Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration and Nationality

“None at all. We shouldn’t.”


Eamon Courtenay

“They should not be allowed to vote?”


Godwin Hulse



Eamon Courtenay

“You would support a recommendation for an amendment to the law to preclude them from voting in that referendum?”


Godwin Hulse

“Absolutely. If they are not citizens, no [non-citizens] should be voting.”


Eamon Courtenay

“I’m going one step further: there are tens of thousands of them, and I am asking you: the same way we are saying that you must renounce your Guatemalan nationality before you become a Belizean, for the reason that you have an allegiance to a country that does not recognize Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; the process by which that is going to be resolved could be a referendum, could be the I.C.J. Should a person who, last year, the year before, five years ago, was a Guatemalan, be allowed to participate in the referendum to decide whether or not Belize goes to the I.C.J.?”


Godwin Hulse

“Senator, if the person is a citizen, having acquired such [citizenship] by proper renunciation which conforms with the section of the Constitution requiring such, then all citizens have a right to vote in any election.”


Eamon Courtenay

“I’m talking about the referendum.”


Godwin Hulse

“That would still be voting. I am not going to sit here and suggest and get into that sort of thing – my own personal feelings is another thing; I am not going to pronounce on it. I am going to stick with the strict legal position which is: citizens – if that Guatemalan renounced properly, acquired Belizean citizenship properly, is entitled to vote to form a parliament, is entitled to vote, then that person would be entitled to vote.”

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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 “Godwin Hulse Says Questionable Guate-Belizeans Can’t Vote in I.C.J. Referendum”

  1. Jorge says:

    Oh really?? But when they (UDP clan) wanted to win the elections they hurry to naturalize thousands of Guatemalans! Without even living in Belize. Thousands still live in melchor . without those votes they would have certainly lost the elections. If the government wants a YES to the ICJ, they should encourage all Guatemalans to vote. I’m a guatemalan by the way. I grew up in Belize though.

  2. manuel pinto says:

    Lealtad a su país de origen Guatemala, lo tienen los Keqchies, los Mopan, los garifunas y muchos mas que no olvidan su ascendencia y amor a la república maya de Guatemalteca.

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