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Apr 16, 2018

Referendum in Belize in May? No Way!

Guatemalan Vice President Jafeth Cabrera recently met with Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington in Lima, Peru while attending the Eighth Summit of the Americas.  Cabrera reportedly told the Guatemalan media, following the gathering of heads of state and government of the Western Hemisphere, that he had been informed by Foreign Minister Elrington of a similar referendum to be held in Belize in May.  Clearly, Cabrera may have misunderstood what was said to him, as Foreign Minister Elrington has gone on record on previous occasions to state that a re-registration exercise will precede a referendum locally.  Nonetheless, Opposition Leader John Briceño is seeking clarity on the matter.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“We hear now that according to the vice president of Guatemala, he is claiming that the foreign minister, our foreign minister has stated that we will have a referendum in May of this year.  Again, I think that the government needs to correct that very quickly because that is not what has been agreed to.  We have made it abundantly clear that the People’s United Party will support a referendum only after we have had a re-registration exercise.  Supposedly, that should take place starting July of this year.  So it would be virtually impossible to have a referendum, well, virtually next month.  Maybe the foreign minister misspoke or the vice president did not really understand what was said to them, but that is an issue between them.  Our position is this, that we must have re-registration.  But also, when it comes to going to have a referendum there are a number of issues that we need to address.  For over a year and a half we have been clamoring that there must be a protocol for the Sarstoon River.  We know that the Guatemalan Armed Forces they are trying to strong arm the Sarstoon River.  They harass the B.D.F., they harass citizens whenever they want to go up the Sarstoon River and we have been pressing both the government and whenever we have the opportunity with Guatemala for us to have a protocol as to how we are going to be navigating that river, and it is very clear that half of that river belongs to Belize.”

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