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Oct 4, 2018

Baroness Scotland on Role of the International Community

Patricia Scotland

Baroness Scotland is recognized as an esteemed international public leader and a former Attorney General of the United Kingdom. In her interview she was also asked to share her perspective on the role of the international community in the Belize Guatemala territorial dispute.

 

Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of Commonwealth

“I don’t want to speak for the donors, but what I will say is that many would like too e on things that are pivotal importance to day-to-day. We all have choices if we want to spend money on schools, on children, on building roads or climate change or building up trade making our court systems work. All of us have a finite amount of money. And so we make our choices and if there is an opportunity to settle something which is making life much more difficult for both parties than the international community is going to support both sides to come to that solution. And I am confident that there has been a lot of diplomatic pressure put on Guatemala to finally come to the table because they must know and I understand when their lawyers were asked about the consequence of their April referendum and were asked well, “Are you Guatemala going to succeed?” They said no. Then they asked them “Do you think it will be partly successful?”  They said it all falls or succeeds together. “So what is your estimates to whether you’re going to win or not?” And they said, we think we’re going to lose. So you have to look at it from their point of view. It’s very difficult politically to give up a claim. To say okay, we know we never had any right to Belize and we’re going to give up. So how do you get out of that political issue? You go to court and when the court says you have no claim, then politically it’s much easier. If you look at what the Commonwealth Heads of Government said in their communiqué in April; they were urging Guatemala and Belize to come to resolution urging Guatemala and Belize to go to the I.C.J. to settle Guatemala’s claim. There was no suggestion at all that the Commonwealth did not agree with Belize that Belize is entitled to the whole of her territory.”

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