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Sep 20, 2018

Is the I.C.J. the Only Option?

The Referendum Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched its awareness campaign to educate the public about the territorial claim and taking it to the International Court of Justice. The referendum takes place on April tenth, 2019, but the road to that historic poll is full of uncertainty for Belizeans.  So what happens if Belizeans vote ‘NO’ to take the claim to the I.C.J.?  Elrington told the press on Wednesday that there isn’t another alternative to end the territorial claim.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“There are no new alternatives. Those who are saying no seem to be suggesting that we can continue the negotiation. The problem with that is that going to the I.C.J. is like getting married. You have to have the two parties to agree, you see. One person can’t get married. It has to be two. So, to reach any consensus the two countries have to agree. At this point in time we are at the stage where Guatemalan government has agreed to go to the I.C.J. and the Belize government has agreed to go to ICJ and the Guatemalan populace has agreed to go to the I.C.J.  Now, if we want to do any other thing, we will have to get the Guatemalans to buy into that. And it took us over seventy years to get the Guatemalans to agree to go to the I.C.J.  So, the likelihood that we would be able to get them to agree to any other thing is highly unlikely. The Guatemalans have been insistent either that they get our land or that they get land and control over us – foreign affairs and defense and that kind of thing. That is what has been the history of negotiations. They want to be responsible for foreign affairs, they want to be responsible for our defense or they want land down from the Temash or the Moho or whatever it is to the Sarstoon. Or they want Ranguana and Sapodilla range; that is what they have been asking for insistently. They are not asking for money, they want Belizean territory. The problem is that if you give them an inch, they will take the whole country. So, we can’t agree to it.”

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