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Dec 9, 2008

… And Chief Negotiator says I.C.J. is best recourse

Story PictureBut while the decision to go to the I.C.J. rests in the hands of the people, G.O.B. believes it is the way to go. Elrington says he cannot come up with another means of settling the dispute save for picking up arms and for Ambassador Fred Martinez, Guatemalan’s constitution says it has ownership of Belize and there is only one way to get them to change it.

Fred Martinez, Chief Negotiator
“They won’t change their constitution but the courts decision can change their constitution and hence the reason to go to the court to ask the court to do that; to determine the boundaries to be and what those boundaries to be. And what those boundaries we’ll ask in the court? Belize will be asking in its presentation, the boundaries as defined in the 1859 treaty. We know no other boundaries but those and that when the court looks at the maritime areas, that the court apply the law of the sea that came into effect because that is the law of the sea that is right now, the paramount legislation in the world. That is what we are asking.”

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“I have no fear that the process is going to fail. As a matter of fact, I’ve always been proud of the intelligence and the good sense of the Belizean people. That has always stood us in very good stead and I have no fear whatsoever. Our people have been groping in the dark but as soon as you tell that what the situation is, as soon as you disseminate the information, the response yesterday in Washington was universal. We are going to convince our people that they should vote to go to the I.C.J. Regretfully we have no military might, miniscule, just a token military might. But that is what we should do if we don’t want to go to the I.C.J. or I am sure there as those among you who have excellent alternatives. I am limited in my mental capacity, I can only think of two things: the I.C.J. or trying to take up arms and defend the border. I know that is almost futile, but I am reassure by the story of David and Goliath. But that is the option I am faced with, that is what I will be saying to my Belizean people and I will challenge those who have other views and a better view to step forward and articulate it.”

Now that the document has been signed, it needs to be taken to the national assembly in Belize and the Guatemalan congress. That probably won’t happen until next year, putting the referenda before the people in late summer.

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