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Feb 18, 2013

Foreign Ministry responds to Attorney’s border comments

Last Friday and again on Sunday at the U.D.P. convention, News Five asked the Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington to respond to a letter penned by former attorney general and foreign  Minister Eamon Courtenay who had taken issue with certain comments by Elrington to News Five. Courtenay was critical that Elrington had exposed publicly that Belize is vulnerable with respect to the maritime and island areas should the case go before the International Court of Justice. Courtenay was also outraged at what he considers Elrington’s dereliction of duties in failing to amend the Maritime Areas Act. Elrington told News Five he will not make a comment but would provide documents as a response. The Foreign Ministry did that today.  Its statement simply says that Courtenay’s opinion “neither comports with the law nor the facts as evidence by the attached UN documents.” That paragraph was accompanied by seven pages of UN documents. Our study of the documents seems to show that Belize reserved its right, if negotiations failed, to claim more than three miles in the south. The documents say that Belize decided against “extending its territorial seas out from three miles to twelve miles in the specific area… this was done as a temporary measure and an act of good faith.” It goes on to state that if negotiations failed Belize’s territorial sea would be determined by international law. The upshot of all this is that both Courtenay and the Ministry are saying that Belize claimed only three miles to allow negotiations a chance to succeed. Where they seem to disagree is that Courtenay is saying that the maritime areas Act should now be amended to claim all out territorial sea since negotiations are at an end. It seems that the Ministry has no intention of doing so.  And it also seems that it is not the end of this issue which we will continue to monitor. 

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6 Responses for “Foreign Ministry responds to Attorney’s border comments”

  1. sickntired says:

    Two old farts having a pissing contest and being a spectacle for belize and guatemala. I just hope that at the end of it all some benefit comes to poor people. And no tell me i will have my country cause i already have that. On the upside maybe if guatemala see the country full of dark people they might change their mind about taking it over. Or they might figure that since crime high we will all die and leave the place empty.

  2. Paco Smith says:

    “Good faith”, that term seems to be a recurring theme whenever the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to pacify our neighbours to the West.

    I hope it doesn’t come up anytime soon, in relation to the Guatemalan President’s request concerning Belize’s referendum threshold of 60%,

    Let’s wait and see.

    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!

  3. Storm says:

    If we only claim 3 miles going into ICJ, there is NO CHANCE we will ever get a 12 miles limit after ICJ.

    Are these men crazy?

  4. Lucas says:

    But the three miles claimed leaves the Sapodilla Range out of our territorial seas. It is true that we administer it now but the mere fact that it falls out of the three miles put our sovereignty on the cayes in jeopardy and Belizeans should know that it is about one hundred and twenty five square miles of cayes and water. I already know what that dodo bird called Wilfred said; what I want to know is why all the mystery.

  5. Ladymatura says:

    The key is that if negotiations fail then we Belize should go back to claiming our territorial waters as was always the case – i.e. 12 nautical miles instead of 3. so obviously if we talking about going to the ICJ it means that negotiations have broken down and Sedi just needs to thank Courtney for giving him free legal advice and so he needs to put his ego aside amend the Maritime Act before we go to ICJ, if we go any at all… but we cannot take any chances! See what sec. 3 of the Maritime Act says below:

    (3) (a) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the purpose
    of the limitation of the territorial sea from the mouth of
    Sarstoon River to Ranguana Caye as described in subsection
    (2) above is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a
    definitive agreement on territorial differences with the Republic
    of Guatemala.
    (b) Any such agreement as is referred to in (a) above shall be put
    to a referendum by the electors for their approval or other
    wise, and if approved by a majority vote, shall form the basis
    for the final delimitation of the territorial sea in the area of the
    sea from the mouth of Sarstoon River to Ranguana Caye.
    (c) In the event any such agreement fails to receive approval by a
    majority vote in the referendum, the delimitation of the territorial
    sea in the said area shall be effected on the basis of international
    law.

  6. Storm says:

    @Ladymatura, thanks for the research and education.

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