Guatemalan group doesn’t want Belize to explore for oil
The heat from the licenses for offshore oil exploration has spilled across the border into Guatemala. On May tenth, an article printed in the Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, reported that Belize has granted drilling concessions in the territory which they are still claiming. Fred Martinez, Belize’s ambassador to Guatemala, says that the noise driven by the newspaper did not have an impact on the Guatemalan government except for one member of its congress.
Fred Martinez, Belize Ambassador to Guatemala
“That prompted one congressman to begin asking questions from the Foreign Ministry of Guatemala to tell the Congress how the Foreign Ministry was safeguarding Guatemala’s rights over a disputed territory. We understand here at the embassy that the foreign ministry of Guatemala did go to their representation of the Comision de Belice to a specific group of congressmen to explain that yes the foreign ministry obviously knows about what is happening, that the scope for action is very limited since it is a legal question and you’re dealing with Belize and that the only thing that can be done in a legal action is to have the whole settlement of the dispute done through the International Court of Justice for which a special agreement has already been signed but which the Congress of Guatemala had not yet been approved. That is where the matter stands.”
“Does it have any bearing on the current claim? Does it affect anything that’s already in process?”
“No, none at all. It is something we consider it to be a group of people instigating trying to talk about the safeguard of their rights over Belize.”
“Mr. Martinez is it much ado about nothing because we’ve found gold in the mountains, oil on land. Is it every time we have some kind of development, they act jealous, are they upset because they don’t have a piece of our pie?”
“Well yes, I think it is so. And I repeat and reiterate it is not an official position of the government of Guatemala or the congress of Guatemala. It is just a small group of people that are instigating this. As we know there is a claim over us and there is a small group of people that will forever be pushing. For that matter anytime maybe we drill a water well they will protest. So it is nothing new, it is something that always happen, whenever things happen in Belize a group of people will jump up and say ‘oh, they are setting up hotels on the beaches and they are making money out of a territory that does not belong to them’ and that sort of nonsense. It is something we live with and we know how to answer. We are a sovereign state, we are a sovereign nation. We know where our borders are and we do everything within our borders as we know how to do them and we will continue to do so.”