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Oct 16, 2012

The State of Preparedness for the Referendum

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

The long-standing territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala will be the subject of simultaneous referenda to be held on October sixth, 2013. The question of whether or not the matter should be resolved in the International Court of Justice will be posed to the citizenries of both countries, following an education campaign on the purpose of the poll.  Locally, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, has led an anti-ICJ offensive, stating that the matter of Belize’s sovereignty should not have been up for adjudication in the first place.  COLA has also joined forces with a number of partner agencies to form the Belizean Coalition for Justice, an organization which, among other national issues, plans to address the referendum. We asked Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington today about the state of preparedness for the referendum.


Isani Cayetano

“The issue of elevating the dispute, the age-old territorial dispute to the ICJ, it would seem as though a great majority of the citizenry are either against it or they are not properly educated as to what the purpose of this exercise is.  Can you speak to us on the education campaign going into the referendum for next year?”


Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

“Yeah. That is being prepared.  We are working on it.  We have appointed Ambassador Murphy and Ambassador Leslie to head the team to deal with it and they are, in fact, on the ground working as we speak.  I don’t think there has been ever a time in the history of our country when we properly informed our people as to the reason for going to the ICJ and we are going to be doing that when the campaign starts.  I can tell you that we have just finished the opening of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations and the theme of the United Nations really, is the peaceful resolution of conflicts, especially conflicts between countries.  Every country that spoke on the theme, and that’s almost every country that spoke at the UN in September, advocates the peaceful resolution of disputes.  As a matter of fact there is going to be a specific push on the part of the Secretary General to get all countries to sign up to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice because under the rule of law it is only by going to the legal tribunal that we can settle these disputes amicably and peacefully when it is found to be impossible to settle it by dialogue between the parties.”


Months ago, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize President, Dylan Reneau, said on the Dickie Bradley Special that the union would not support the ICJ, but it is not known if that position remains. 

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5 Responses for “The State of Preparedness for the Referendum”

  1. Storm says:

    I just don’t see how we win anything with the referendum or the ICJ. Will Guatemala renounce its claims from time immemorial that the Jewel belongs to it? I doubt it.

    So either we lose our independence or we maintain the status quo. That’s not a game I would voluntarily play.

  2. subKonshus says:

    If we have a foreign minister who thinks we need to go to the ICJ to decide or confirm what is rightfully ours then we have already lost that case….The fact that they are campaigning for this means that there is some doubt in the minds of our government leaders as to what defines Belize as an independent territory. No wonder the Guats have no repect for our claim, because our spineless leaders themselves are living in doubt. Its like what Storm says….we will either lose our Independence or maintain status quo. I say to hell with the ICJ. Lets keep our Independence..let the chips fall where they may. Sedi and whoever else is in doubt can go live in Guatemala…..

  3. rod says:

    useless incompetent corrupt pm and gov. worse in the history of this nation this is what we have leading us so pathetic judas selling out the country and belizeans in every aspect of life judas barrow would sell anything for a few pieces of silver at lease judas only did it once barrow is doing it everyday that passes parasite.

  4. beachman says:

    Rod, I was really shocked by your post today! Oh, wait – no i’m not. You keep squawking the same old crap…..judas barrow……most incompetent pm ever……please stop posting – er one knows how you feel about pm!

  5. Paco Smith says:


    You put it succinctly. That’s my stance, as well.

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