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Feb 25, 2013

Belize will not bow to Guatemala’s pressure

The Comision the Belice was Guatemala’s preeminent body that studied all facets of their claim to Belizean territory. The unit has now been dismantled because the Guatemalan Government was not informed in 2008 that the referendum Act was amended. According to the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Fernando Carrera, they did not know of the amendment prior to signing a special agreement, known as the Compromis, in December 2008 which paved the way to the simultaneous referendums later this year on October sixth. The CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado, says he doesn’t have any concern about the unit being disbanded. But could it be a ploy to have Belize amend the Referendum Act to once again make the vote binding by simple majority? News Five posed the question of pressure coming from Guatemala to both Rosado and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington.


Alexis Rosado, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“I don’t see the big issue really.”


Jose Sanchez

“There was, I believe in one of the releases given by the minister responsible in their eight point findings, they were saying that they believed that we amended our referendum act with the knowledge that we had this Special Agreement to sign in December. They were saying that it was done in the same time period; that was the accusation. Please respond.”


Alexis Rosado

“Well when the referendum act was amended that was public information and public knowledge. In Belize, these things are debated and put to the House of Representatives. I understand there was a delay even when there was a question relating to some constitutional matters. So there was a delay because it went to court. But at the time, there was no sense that it had anything to do with Guatemala or anything to do with the need to take any proposed solution of the Guatemala claim.”


Jose Sanchez

“So it wasn’t done in bad faith as what they were claiming in their own findings?”


Alexis Rosado

“Absolutely not, absolutely not.”


Jose Sanchez

“Some believe that this move of dismantling their Comision for not knowing about our amendment change to the referendum act, for not having this knowledge that perhaps then, the Guatemalans intend to pressure us to revert our referendum act prior to that date in 2008. Would Belize ever bow to that pressure?”


Alexis Rosado

“You are asking me about two things; one is the Referendum Act and the need for changing it. That’s an act that was done by our parliament, by the House of Representatives and approved by the Senate. And that is really something for Belize and Belize’s government alone to decide. Guatemala’s suggestions that they will pressure us and so forth, it hasn’t started and it hasn’t happened and we don’t expect that it will happen. At the end of the day, they mind their business and we mind our own business. They keep their house in order and we will keep our house in order. And really it has nothing to do with the Special Agreement. The Special Agreement calls for each country to follow their own laws and their own legislations and that’s what we intend to do. And we expect that they will do the same in their country.”


Jose Sanchez

“If they threaten to withdraw from the process if we don’t change our amendment, would we still continue?”


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“There is a suggestion in certain circles that in fact we are acting because we are being pressured by the Guatemalans. That is absolutely not so. And in fact, we have continuous communications with the officials in Guatemala, not the press. We speak to the foreign minister and we are very clear that this was in fact something that we had done well before the compromis was signed—it had nothing to do with the compromis. And as the C.E.O. has rightly pointed out, we control our affairs; they don’t dictate our affairs. We are not in the business of placating the Guatemalans or doing anything because they suggest it should be done or because they bring pressure on us. The desire and interest of going to the ICJ was something which was decided upon by the British from the 1930s. It was the British who suggested that the Guatemalans take the matter to the ICJ. The Guatemalans were resisted that up until 2007. It was the Government of Belize and its negotiating team headed by Assad Shoman, who in 2005 orchestrated the negotiations in such a manner that the decision was given to the Secretary General of the OAS to recommend—in the event that we could not agree—that we go to the ICJ. So the decision to go to the ICJ was really something that the Belize government took up following the position of the British. And we were fortunate to getting Guatemala for the first time, from the 1930 until 2007, to agree that they will in fact go to ICJ strictly on a legal basis without any conditions. They were saying that we would not go there unless we could go aequo et bono. But we resisted that as well as the British. The Guatemalans have come our way. It is not that we have in fact placated the Guatemalans, they have in fact come around to the wishes of the British government which owned Belize in the 1930s and right up to 1981 and then the Belize government and in that case, in 2005, headed by then Prime Minister Said Musa and the lead of delegation in those days was in fact, Assad Shoman. And they arrange for Secretary General of the OAS to make the recommendation that in the event we could not agree a resolution to the matter mutually, then it be sent to ICJ.” 

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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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3 Responses for “Belize will not bow to Guatemala’s pressure”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m actually sick of the ICJ process and almost everything to do with Guatemala. Let them go home and leave us alone. If they try to come by force, we have to be prepared to make them pay too high a price in blood and money.

  2. sickntired says:

    To me it looks like this minister afraid of the guats. Also we no fortunate about anything guatemalan so why he choose that word worries me. I just hope he no think that belize is only belize city and belmopan and because he “fortunately” live in belizr city he no care what happen to the rest of the country. God help us with these fools representing us.

  3. 22bmpguy says:

    Thats right the minister is clearly afriad. Grow some damn ….. and fight for your country!!! Do let those guats walk over us. Do what the U.S do at there boaders asserist the invaders and if they fight “shoot to kill”. We are and independent country for guate.. To come and make a claim on Belize is totaly disrespecting our independance. Its like im going to your house that u built and tell u get out ill live here now! Stand up people be heard. Make me minister and get rid of that weak excuse of a man

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