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Jan 24, 2013

Business and church support Referendum Process

A historic decision will be taken this October. Belizeans will be deciding in a referendum whether or not, they agree to submit the Guatemalan territorial claim relating to land, insular territories or maritime areas, to the International Court of Justice.  The stakes are high and the outcome of the referendum could lead to a definition of our boundaries by the court. On Wednesday, we reported on the take of the government and the opposition. Tonight, we report on civil society. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The education process for the October Referendum began on Wednesday. Support came from the business community for the Referendum process without the call for a yes or no on the question of the ICJ.

 

Kay Menzies, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Kay Menzies

“Today the Government of Belize and all its social partners and the opposition and everyone else begin the process of making us more aware. And today we must begin to take advantage of that process; we must gather that information and we must begin to examine the claim for ourselves. Not let anybody else tell us what to decide, but to decide for ourselves with the research possible. As a representative of over nine hundred employers in this country, we endorse the process. We will encourage the process whenever we can; we will disseminate the process as best we can for our part and we encourage all Belizeans as nationalistic Belizeans to take advantage of that awareness process to make the most informed decision. At the end of the day, this is our country and it is up to us to decide to make the best decision and to keep her intact.”

 

Students, as well as, the clergy stepped forward to commit to the process.

 

Courtney Weatherburne

Courtney Weatherburne, Tertiary Level Representative, Referendum Commission

“We, as the young brilliant minds of this country, must stand up, participate and be continually engaged in national issues; especially an issue of this magnitude. We plan to do this by delivering presentations and hosting open discussions at the different tertiary level institutions across the country. in addition we will hold debates on this question at the University of Belize through our debate club. I have already met with some U.B. representatives and representatives from Galen and we will form a panel that will travel along with me to deliver these presentations and hosts these discussions.”

 

Roosevelt Papouloute

Rev. Roosevelt Papouloute, President, Methodist Conference: Belize and Honduras

“The Belize Council of Churches supports the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by way of the Referendum Commission to conduct a nationwide education campaign in preparation for the October sixth 2013 referendum. The Council sees the education campaign as a vital tool to prepare the nation as the country prepares to make such an important decision.”

 

Eugene Crawford

Rev. Eugene Crawford, President, Association of Evangelical Churches

“We see this in fulfilling one of the greatest commandments in the Bible to love our neighbors. We see this as the way forward in really defining and coming to a solution where it is a win-win situation. And so we are a part of this campaign. One of the things I want to underscore this morning, as the association has really talked about, is the matter of a prayer. We lend ourselves also knowing that god is the one who levels great mountains.”

 

Alfonso Caal lives in Golden Stream Village in the south, which constitutes part of the territory that Guatemalan is claiming.

 

Alfonso Caal

Alfonso Caal, President, Toledo Alcalde’s Association

“We know that is not only for us, but it is our children and our children to come. So we want to make sure that this referendum and education must be very clear to every Belizean so that we, as Belizeans, will think what we should do; how we should do. We have known for sure that our neighbor is claiming Belize, but like our reverends have said—myself I am a pastor too—by the time we heard this, we asked our congregation our church to pray for our nation Belize.”

 

For some the answer lies in prayer, and for others who protest, it is embedded in history.

 

Sharon Pitts

Sharon Pitts, Protestor

“We have a border fixed in 1859. We have a country; this part of the world, before the American war of Independence. Before a lot of things; before that country to the west was in existence. Our people signed a constitution, the Barnaby’s Code. One of my ancestors was there, a Patterson. My ancestors, the Flowers, fought and won—the Gilletts also—the Battle of St. George’s Caye. Those people were clear. Their thing was we as Belizeans, we defend; we do not evacuate. Our leaders did not get a mandate—they did not dare to put this in the manifesto. They went in secret and when the secret compromis was revealed they knew the people would not be able to accept it. So they tried to trick the people now to go to the polls. This will be the most dangerous one. We have to listen to the voice of the people. Instead of this whole ICJ process, what we as a sovereign nation should do, we should call in the United Nations guarantee. We are a sovereign nation. You do not go to a sub-forum of the UN Judicial body to say second guess this independence.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Whichever way it goes, the sovereign will of the people will be rigorously maintained and defended by government. In closing then I can do nothing more than to ask, to urge, all Belizeans to participate fully in the process and to vote on October sixth. After all, this is one of the most important questions we will ever be called upon to decide.”

 

The Referendum will reflect a historic decision that is placed firmly in the hands of those who cast their votes as well as those who don’t. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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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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9 Responses for “Business and church support Referendum Process”

  1. Rod says:

    Where are all hese religious leaders when it comes to crime they are non existent when it comes to all the murders and crime going on in the country why do you reporters keep giving judas barrow a free pass on all the murders going on in this country he should be locked up along with the rest of this gov. For corruption and murder.

  2. Al says:

    @Rod, you are reading my mind. I read the news and said the same thing. How could the church be so concerned by Guatemala’s claim and is so silent on the attack on life in the country. The church should be the loudest on this crime issue. Belize is under a tremendous spiritual attack and the church is oblivious. What is happening in this country is not normal.

    My mother had a prophetic dream about a lot of black and red cows running through the country and there was one white cow. This dream I interpret to mean that the black cows represents the dark days, the red cows are the travail the country is suffering, but there is hope, that is what the one white cow represents.

    The church is the hope of the country, they need to organize in prayer, they need to get people focus back on God. The church need to bring hope back to the country and stop focusing on Guatemala, that is silly, Guatemala will never get Belize as a territory.

  3. Storm says:

    As for the ICJ, I’m with Sharon Pitts. Belize existed BEFORE Guatemala, so how can we belong to a country that never governed us?

    I oppose the referendum process because the ICJ is a total gamble with our freedom, our very existence. If I wanted to live as a Guatemalan, under their laws, I would move there. But in fact most Guats would rather move here.

    And I’m with Rod and Al in praying for one bold leader to rise up in the churches to turn their power against the problem of crime in the Jewel. Through history churches have changed nations, why not here? There’s no better blueprint for building a wonderful society than the Bible.

  4. Retired CEO says:

    While the referendum is very significant and of much importance to the populace of Belize, crime and the disintergration of the family system is of equal importance. As a matter of fact I would like to think that the individual and family is much, much more important than focusing on Guatemala and their aged old claim to our sovereign independent nation. I sometimes wonder what is going on with these pseudo religious leaders who apparently do not recognize that there will not be much of a country left to defend if crime and criminal behavior is not restrained and brought under control. How in the name of the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that exist can we talk about loving our neighboring country, when we can not trust our so-called leaders or any one in the society coupled with some of our own family members. We hear about brother killing brother, son killing parents, our next door neighbor lliving in fear due to the rampant violence, murder and maime. Yet these pseudo religious leaders have not raise a voice or made any effort to speak out against these senseless crimes in our society. Do they not understand that family is a micro-cosm of society, and that society on a whole cannot do any better than what is espoused by individuals/families. Clearly, it appears as if these pseudo religious indiviuals are working for name and fame while many nameless/faceless Belizeans continue to suffer in poverty, crime and deprivation of certain human rights. The bottom line is they appear not to have the well being of the general populace at heart. Rise up Belizeans, say no to this phony referendum. Stand up for your rights, chase the two faced bald head and his cronies/bufoons out of the land/power.

  5. cayobway says:

    If we go to the ICJ when we are finished our new passport will read as followes, proud citizen of guatelize.

  6. ceo says:

    I agree with you fully Sharon! This is a question that should never have been raised and therefore should have never been allowed to go to the ICJ. Our borders are internationally accepted and have been in place since for a couple centuries so why do we feel the need to entertain any questions about our borders. Is this just a distraction to our real problem: crime? Guatemala just need to be neighborly and stop their crap.

    We have a PM that seems to not even want to come out and say which side he is on. Our ourcry should be loud, clear, consistent and unanimous: Hell No!

    Why are we asking Belizeans to give Guatemala an oppertunity to legitimize their unfounded claim in a court of law?

    Why are we asking Belizeans to vote and give someone else the power to determine our future. These guys (the ICJ) have no skin in this game but they get to decide our future as a nation.

  7. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    PLEASE BE AWARE BELIZE, WE ARE NOT… NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO ANY !&*n ICJ, NONE AT ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WE ARE AN INDEPENDENT NATION, AND IF ANYTHING IS UP FOR GRABS , LET US GIVE BACK BELIZE TO THE BRITISH AND WE START ALL OVER AGAIN. REMEMBER…WE START ALL OVER AGAIN TO FIGHT FOR OUR INDEPENDENCE AS A NATION.
    WE ARE SAFER IN BRITISH HANDS THAN ANY !&*&N GUATEMALAN.
    BUT IF WE CAN`T GIVE BACK BELIZE TO THE BRITISH, LET US ASK MEXICO TO PROTECT US ON THE NORTH, AND CUBA ON THE EAST, SOUTH AND WEST.
    AND WE DO THE REST, WE HAVE !@%%&&!@# TO DO THAT, WE SURE HAVE ENOUGH !!!!
    WE MUST WARD OFF THOSE GUATEMALAN REBELS, MUST DO THAT.

  8. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    THOSE SO- CALLED CHURCH LEADERS ARE A FAKE, THEY ARE SO WRONG IN EXPRESSING ANY OPINION IN POLITICS.
    CHURCHES ARE TO LEAD US TO HEAVEN TO OUR CREATOR, NOT GET MESSED IN POLITICS.
    AFTER A REVIEW OF WHAT THE SO-CALLED CHURCHES SAY, THEY WILL REALIZE THEIR GREAT ERROR !!!
    IT IS JUST AS STEPPING ON DOG MESS!!!
    BETTER PRAY CHURCHES FOR A BETTER BELIZE, AND NOT GET YOUR MOUTH IN WHAT YOU KNOW NOT.
    PREACH THE BIBLE CHURCHES, THAT IS YOUR CAPACITY, NOT POLITICS, YOU JUST LOOK TERRIBLY BAD, GET OUT OF THIS, GO TO CHURCH AND PRAY, BETTER FOR ALL OF US !!!!

  9. Bear says:

    It seems like NOBODY here wants Guatemala to occupy half our nation. If that’s the case, there is NO POINT in going to ICJ.

    We need to look down the road to deal with the perpetual Guatemalan threat. Either we need to get a superpower to GUARANTEE our independence [which will last as long as it is not politically inconvenient for the superpower, no longer] or we should find a tactic that we can use against Guatemala.

    We have a lot of patriotic Mayans, Guatemala has a “Mayan problem,” meaning a large Mayan population that is historically oppressed. I think we should find some Mayans here willing to be trained to plant the seeds of Mayan unrest across the border to the west, just in case. Then the officials in Guatemala City will be too busy putting out fires at home to covet our country.

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