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Nov 15, 2012

G.O.B.’s campaign approach to 2013 Belize/Guatemala Referendum

A referendum on whether or not to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice takes place in 2013. In Guatemala, a public awareness campaign is ongoing but in Belize the campaign will kick off in January. Government is taking a three prong approach; it is naming a commission comprising a number of personalities who will advise on how the public awareness campaign will be shaped, an advisory board comprising former foreign ministers and another team of resource persons to present the public awareness campaign. Very little has come from the government in respect of the referendum, but this morning Historian Assad Shoman and Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, Fred Martinez provided insight on the decision to go to court. According to Martinez, the OAS Secretary General gave a recommendation in November 2007 to take the matter to the International Court of Justice; but that move only came after Belize continuously agitated to take the claim to court. Going into the history of the dispute, he also says that even the British attempted to take the matter to court.

 

Fred Martinez, Belize Ambassador to Guatemala

Fred Martinez

“That was agitated by Belize because we felt that this was going nowhere; they were just procrastinating, leaving everything hanging and the negotiations would just go on infinitum. I spent eighteen months with them, every month at the OAS trying to negotiate a maritime areas agreement between Honduras, Belize and Guatemala and you could see that they were just drifting, going along with whatever was happening. And we felt hey, this has to stop and we requested that listen, the only thing left now is to go to the ICJ. However, we wanted—Guatemala has always maintained that should they go to the ICJ, the case would only be listened or adjudicated under some obscure principle that appears in the statutes of the court, which is ex aequo et bono, like out of good will; that the court should look at the case and decide on a matter of goodwill. Like how can we solve this between the two and we have always resisted that. Even the British; the British opened the door to go to court in the 1950’s and told Guatemala, you have a claim, let’s go to court. The British throughout the 1950’s offered, let’s go to court but Guatemala refused and said no, we will only go under this principle of Ex aequo et bono. And the British said no, this is a case of international law, this is a case of treaties. There are treaties that are—1859 and 1931.”

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6 Responses for “G.O.B.’s campaign approach to 2013 Belize/Guatemala Referendum”

  1. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    WE BELIZEANS MUST …MUST HAVE A REFERENDUM!!!
    WE MUST HAVE A REFERENDUM TO GIVE BACK…TO GIVE BACK BELIZE TO THE BRITISH AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
    STOP SUFFERING BELIZEANS…THE BRITISH WILL NOT SHOOT YOU LIKE DOGS !!!
    THEY NEVER DID THAT TO US !!!

  2. Storm says:

    From the Guat point of view, right comes from the barrel of a gun. Even if we win in court, we lose — we only maintain the status quo, we win nothing. But we can lose everything.

    We need to show determination and harden our border from north to south. Or learn to speak Spanish and wait to be absorbed.

  3. Bear says:

    Good idea, Genotu.

  4. Vuk says:

    Exactly, Storm, exactly.

  5. Belizean Pride says:

    I hope this campaign should be done community by community since in some communities there is no free tv channel, some people have no radios in remote areas so hope every single Belizean is reached with this campaign to bring awareness and knowledge of this issue as best as possible.

  6. Ben says:

    Rejoin the British as a Crown Protectorate or some such thing, like Gibraltar or The Channel Islands, or just like we were before so called independance where we swapped British oversight for our own corrupt politicians.
    Once we control corruption and cast out our political class, then take back all they have taken from us, we will be a wealthier nation and able to pay off our debts.
    I long advocate that two things have ruined Belize – independance and television.

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