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Dec 12, 2018

I.C.J. Lecture Series Concludes With Heated Debate

Sponsored by the University of Belize and the Social Sector Senators, the I.C.J. Lecture Series concluded on Tuesday night at Saint Catherine’s Academy Auditorium. Well known and respected historian and former ambassador, Doctor Assad Shoman formed part of the panel along with attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley and Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, Alexis Rosado. Shoman and Rosado are pro-I.C.J., while Bradley has made it quite clear that he is against taking Guatemala’s claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice for final resolution.  The purpose of the lecture series is to create awareness about the pros and cons of the case as well as give ordinary Belizeans the opportunity to ask their questions relating to the claim. But things got heated between Bradley and Shoman when making their presentations.

 

Richard ‘Dickie” Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie” Bradley, Attorney

“And we are finishing 2018 and the Guatemalans are in our national river, our sovereign territory. You better wake up and understand what is happening to us. Listen the point I want to make to you is that there is not a word from the two gangs in the this country; the Government and the Opposition are paid by tax payers. That should never be allowed to continue the way it has continued. They have a duty to us to take that matter to the United Nations and wherever else and tell Guatemala “get out of our rivers otherwise we will have problems down here.”

 

Assad Shoman, Former Diplomat

“I dare any super patriot to present me with facts that prove that the court will give Guatemala a slice of Belize and I undertake to conclusively destroy that unfounded article. That is a challenge. You talk about unfounded claim, give me the time and give me your unfounded arguments Mr. ‘No’, and I will tear them all to bits. When you hear such things from such super patriots, the ones who have convinced most of you, I hear you clapping, to vote not, you must be very depressed. But it may be more serious than that. Why are they so determined to give credence to what Guatemala say? Why do they distort facts that clearly help Belize’s case and say that those facts favor Guatemala?”

 

Richard ‘Dickie” Bradley

“I don’t come here to nobody to vote no. I come here to say this to you, there is a lack of information that you do not know about this issue. That is my point to you. So let me throw this out, in parliamentary democracy if a government says to its people that this is the way we are to go, we support going this way and we will ask you to support going this way and if the people of that country says we are going this way, the government has to resign. That is just the way it is. But guess what, the leaders of the opposition have to resign too because they are complicit.”

 

Assad Shoman

“He is just so determined to make people vote that he becomes careless as to whether he is serving Guatemala’s interest or not. Such an attitude is dangerous because regardless of your intentions, the consequences for your words and actions could be disastrous for our people and they are consequences. They are always consequences.”

 

Assad Shoman

Participant

“Could we assume that the reason why Guatemala has agreed to go to the I.C.J. is because of the wording that would be asked in the referendum next year?”

 

Assad Shoman

“Guatemala has not said what it is claimed. But as Mr. Bradley pointed out its impossible for it to go the court, especially when it has recognized the state of Belize, and claim the entire country because every state has to have self territory.”

 

Participant

“Are you still willing to go on the Sarstoon with Wil Maheia?”

 

Assad Shoman

“Bring him to me and let him take me there, of course. Why not?”

 

Participant

“I went to the Sarstoon several times…”

 

Assad Shoman

“Congratulations.”

 

Participant

“Ms. Shoman was there on the trip. Dickie was on the trip.”

 

Assad Shoman

“Congratulations.”

 

Participant

“I am not afraid to go.”

 

Assad Shoman

“Don’t be.”

 

Participant

“If I can go to Caye Caulker I don’t see any reason why I cant go to the Sarstoon.”

 

Assad Shoman

“You can go, you can go. You should go.”

 

Participant

“Why is there so much Guatemalan fishermen in the Sarstoon with Belizean fishing license when there are people right in PG that can’t get fishing license?”

 

Assad Shoman

“Does it look to you as if it involves some sort of corruption?”

 

Participant

“Yes very much so.”

 

Assad Shoman

“Thank you.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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