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Apr 30, 2018

I.C.J. Referendum Set for April 10, 2019

Late this evening, the Government of Belize announced that it has set the date for Belize’s decision on taking the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim to Belize’s land and insular territories, and to the maritime areas pertaining to them, to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement. That date is Wednesday, April tenth, 2019. It is five days before the one-year mark of Guatemala’s referendum and approximately a week before the Easter holidays. A statement from the government announces that the already commenced public awareness campaign will now be stepped up under the banner of “ICJ, Be Informed.” The nationwide campaign will include various approaches in an effort to reach citizens in every corner of the country.  The statement says Belizeans are encouraged to learn more about this very important issue that they will be asked to decide upon. Guatemala achieved a ninety-five percent yes vote in its referendum on April fifteenth despite only twenty-seven percent of the seven million eligible voters turning out. Belize, on the other hand, needs a simple majority of voters to participate for the referendum to be valid, and a simple majority of the vote to ratify an agreement to go to the I.C.J. The government is expected to spend approximately eight million dollars on the referendum campaign and a similar amount on the re-registration exercise that precedes it in July. There are around two hundred thousand eligible voters to participate in the coming referendum.

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