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Oct 4, 2018

Commonwealth Secretary General on Guatemala: There is no Lawful Claim

The Secretary General of Commonwealth, Right Honorable Patricia Scotland was in country on an official two day visit. Officially she visited to promote the Commonwealth and its work. However, during her visit she has taken the opportunity to reiterate the Commonwealths support for Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. For Belize, the membership of commonwealth has always been important. As we have long enjoyed the unanimous support of the commonwealth for years. Baroness Scotland appeared as a guest on Open Your Eyes on Tuesday and explained what Commonwealth’s support means for Belize.

 

Patricia Scotland

Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of Commonwealth

“It is very easy for people sometimes to look at our small islands, Dominica is only seventy-two thousand—so you guys are the big guys—and to say we are small and because we are irrelevant not when we are a part of a family of two point four billion. So when any country looks at us, they must remember that they are not just looking at us they are looking at three hundred and eighty thousand people, or seventy-two thousand people or Saint Kitts with fifty-two thousand people or Nauru in the pacific who only has eleven or twelve thousand. No. No. No. Do not mistake yourself when you look at any of us. You’re looking at two point four billion of us, so we stick together. What it means is that the countries of the Commonwealth having looked at the position and the contentions made about Belize’s territory by Guatemala; we have looked at the legal structure and that Belize is entitled to the whole of its territory and we will stand with Belize against anyone who does not. So when Guatemala comes to say we are making a claim, the Commonwealth and United Nations are in position to say let’s look at the legal position my friend that you are claiming and we do not agree. And it’s not just that we’re saying Belize is our friend. No. No. No. We have looked at the legal position, says to the Commonwealth, this is taken on an international law level. We’re looking at what the law says and it is absolutely clear this position has been so for five hundred and twenty-four years; this matter was settled one hundred and fifty-nine years ago and throughout that whole period Guatemala has never exercised territorial authority. They have not been in control ever.  And so it’s clear for Commonwealth that there is no lawful claim.”

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