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Apr 9, 2018

April 15th Referendum Will Go On

The P.U.P. has reacted to a statement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington to this station on April fourth. Elrington said that he had been advised that according to Guatemala’s constitution, it must take any result of a case at the International Court of Justice to another referendum. Today, the P.U.P. said it is “extremely concerned” as it was not aware of any such provision in the Guatemalan Constitution and if it is so, it would violate article five of the Special Agreement of 2008. That article binds both parties to accept an I.C.J. decision as final and binding and implement it fully and in good faith. The P.U.P. wants Elrington to withdraw the statement to avoid confusion.  This morning, Elrington said he believed the referendum will go ahead, and even if Guatemalans vote no, there is always another opportunity.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The information we are getting is that it really – there is no indication that it’s going to get any real traction – that’s the information we are getting at this point in time. I don’t think the court has given any indication of if it will hear it or when it will hear it. The referendum is next week Sunday. A tremendous amount of money has been spent in it, and I personally don’t think that it’s going to be derailed at this late moment by these claims – but I really don’t know. I’m just telling you information we are getting.”

 

Marleni Cuellar, Host

“But from a legal perspective, using your experience, even if it is heard before the courts, that wouldn’t necessarily stop the referendum from taking place?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“That’s the indication that I’m getting – the indication that I’m getting is that it’s not likely to derail the process. That’s the impression that I’m getting. So long as they vote yes, that is the voice of the people; no matter what turnout, that is the decision of the country of Guatemala.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“So legally, it doesn’t matter how much of their voting population turns out, the majority of five will be able to make this decision?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“You are correct on that, so long as it’s the majority.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Now what happens if the Guatemalans vote no?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“If the Guatemalans vote no, we are exactly in the position we are now today. Where everything is up in the air; we don’t know what is going to happen in terms of the future resolution of the dispute; the matter is up and open in the air. So that is the consequence of that decision.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Co-Host

“And that remains a very real possibility, correct?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Yeah; that’s always a possibility.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Is there any indication – because obviously this is a relationship that is established as Foreign Ministers to discuss this issue – as to whether or not there’s a no vote taking place, that there would be a subsequent referendum?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“That is the thinking, that sometime later on, when conditions change, it may be appropriate for us to do another referendum. But of course, all these things have legal implications. Certainly that was the thinking of the other earlier Foreign Ministers with whom we discussed. Certainly, on the Guatemalan side, the people in office that I have met in office have been very firm on the idea that the I.C.J. should be the means of resolving this matter.”

 

We’ll have more from the Foreign Minister on the upcoming referendum later in the newscast.

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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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