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Mar 20, 2013

No ICJ! Guatemala wants out of referendum

Guatemala wants out of going to the referendum on October sixth, and out of possibly taking the Belize/Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice. That’s the word from Minister of Foreign Affairs this afternoon as he returned from Sunday’s meeting with Guatemala at OAS headquarters in Washington. The news confirms what Guatemala had been signaling for some time now and it complicates the situation for Belize where a public awareness campaign is well underway. The proposals from the Guatemalans were sent to Cabinet and to the Opposition for their scrutiny and input late Sunday, and this afternoon, Elrington sat down with freelance reporter Mike Rudon as we attempted to find out what happens next.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I would prefer to wait until we get response from the government and the leader of the opposition. But I can say generally that the Guatemalans don’t seem prepared to go ahead with the process at this time. They seem to have difficulty going to the ICJ.”


Otto Perez Molina

Mike Rudon, Reporting

That confirmation from Belize’s chief diplomat is no surprise, since more than a month ago Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina indicated as much to the Associated Press in Spain. Today, a visibly frustrated Elrington acknowledged that there are forces at play which make discerning Guatemala’s real intention very difficult.


Wilfred Elrington

“Every time they meet with us they say look we want to go to the ICJ, we want a YES vote; we would not want anything to prevent us from going to the ICJ and that is what they are saying publicly. I don’t know what they are saying privately because while they are saying that publicly, there are people in Guatemala who are now publishing this map showing Belize as part of Guatemala with a very thin line dividing us—broken lines. And then we have received word that they are now mandating their schools to use that map and even go back to that old position. So they are saying one thing, but certainly there are people in their country who are doing something very different and contrary to what is being said. So I think it is incumbent upon us to understand exactly what is in their minds.”


Wilfred Elrington

And even as he remains more convinced than ever that Belize should stay the course, Elrington acknowledges that he is concerned about what will happen next.


Wilfred Elrington

“That honestly is the big, big question that I have some real worry about because we don’t know what they will do. We know for certainty that the ICJ is the best thing for us. We don’t know whether they will back out having signed this agreement which the world expects them to honor. Are they going to in fact in the face of world opinion just break the agreement? Whereas that may be a very unlikely scenario, it is not a scenario that one cannot afford to contemplate. We have got to contemplate all the options; we have got to weigh all the options and based on those options, we have got to come to a decision as to a way forward. In my view, I think we would have to look at what would happen if in fact we decide to hold the course. I think we have to look at what we would have to do if in fact they decide that they would not stay the course and just tear up the agreement. That could lead to all kinds of situations which as I said I am to contemplate.”


The matter currently lies in the hands of the Cabinet and the Opposition, and Elrington will have to act on whatever is decided, but while the final move is out of his hands for the moment, he is crystal clear on what his recommendation to Cabinet will be.


Wilfred Elrington

“I think at this point, we should do all at this point to ensure that we comply with the agreement as we entered into in 2008. We should not give the slightest indication that we are not prepared to be bound by that agreement and to act in accordance with that agreement. That is my first and foremost position. Is that a position that is inflexible? I am always willing to listen to arguments and we would have to hear the arguments of our government, of the leader of the opposition, of the opposition people. This is a national issue; not a Wilfred Elrington issue at all; my only interest is ensuring that we get the absolute best deal for Belize.”


According to Elrington, he has not had any preliminary indication from Cabinet or from the Opposition on their reaction to the proposals. Mike Rudon for News Five.


Whenever Cabinet comes up with a response to Guatemala’s proposals after discussion with the Opposition that will be forwarded to the OAS, which will then convene another meeting where Guatemala will be given Belize’s official position. So for now Guatemala has confirmed its intention not to go to the referendum on October sixth. 

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17 Responses for “No ICJ! Guatemala wants out of referendum”

  1. Marie says:

    This is great news for Belize-a Checkmate-we would have gotten a NO vote even though YES is better, now we wont look internationally confused since they cancelled. The worse thing would have been for Belize to say NO while they say YES OR we both say NO. Now we retain the appearance that Belize complies with international agreements treaties while they backed out-we are still the “victim” and should now cancel our referendum by their action. They are still internationally now, recognized as deal breakers and remain the bad guys despite their new desire to clean up their image.

  2. Ryan says:

    Precisely why we should all say yes to the ICJ.

  3. Ruler says:

    Is guatemala waiting for Belize to exhaust its budget for educating Belizean on this issue? Are nationalized guatemalans be able to vote on the referendum? they may be Belizean but what those their heart say?

  4. blackberry says:

    I told you so, not in Guatemalans interest. Guatemala’s strategy is to overflow Belize with its citizen and Belize stands impotent. In fact the dirty treasonous politicians will be aiding that invasion by aiding the process by courting these Guatemalans in order to gain a vote comes Election Day.

  5. georgeusher says:

    people of my great county please listen to me its i play marble with you and i won i do not to go in the marble and you for the same marble i won from you i might lose please dont go back and play again let go and talk to the british they the one that gave us the land in the first place right

  6. One Wonders says:

    In this aspect, I would say YES to ICJ.

  7. inthediaspora says:

    No mystery to me. The Guatemalan government is afraid its people will say yes, go to the ICJ because they believe the propaganda their government puts out that it is a slam dunk legal case for them, that Belizean territory belongs to Guatemala (hence the maps in the school books) but the Guatemala government, which has no doubt done its research knows the odds are very much in favor of Belize at the ICJ and so do not want to even take the case there. They PRETEND they want to go, they say so at the OAS, they tell the people this, but they know darned well they will lose. So no referendum gives them an opportunity to save face. That is all this is about.

  8. Roar says:

    @ Ruler? I do believe that Nationalized Guatemalan will be in favor of Belize. Do you think they would want to GO BACK in that messed-up living condition again? Think about it, why should they be in favor of Guatemala? Trust me some of them are praying that the dispute between countries will be settled and that Belize would remain free. As a matter of fact, many Guatemalans who have relatives in Belize would vote for Belize. You might think I am exaggerating but Guatemalans families rely on their relatives living here in Belize.

  9. lucas says:

    Even a blind man, except Sedi, could have seen that Guatemala would renegade from the moment they complained about our referendum law. I have said it and will say it again: GUATEMALA KNOWS THEIR CHANCES ARE SLIM TO NONE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THEY KNOW THEIR CLAIM HAS ALWAYS BEEN BOGUS. I knew the moment I read The historical and deplomatic research, published in the news paper LA OPINION, conducted by an exmember of the now defunct Comission De Belize on how Guatemala has treated the Belize issue. This should be good news for us Belizeans and should exploit Guatemala’s fiasco by: If Guatemala wants out; fine. but, Belize should not show them the door. Belize should expose Guatemala to the world community as intransigent. Open the Border now. Revoke the Maritime Area’s Act. No referendum if not simultenous. GUATEMALA IS WEAK AND CONFUSED. NOW IS THE TIME TO STRIKE.

  10. Storm says:

    I don’t like that Sedi says his goal is the “best deal” he can get for Belize. That means appeasement, but there is not a shred of historic justification for us to make any deal with the Guats regarding our territory. Guatemala never ruled Belize; we had our borders before Guatemala was a country. So a “deal” can only mean giving up something to which the Guats are not entitled.

    I’m glad to see the referendum apparently disintegrating because of Guat duplicity.

    We will still have to remain vigilant because the conquest of Belize is in the Guat ruling class DNA.

  11. ceo says:

    The only reason they are pulling out is their plan to legally invade Belize or annex a part of our country may be falling apart.

    Our leaders that are giving away or country, one vote at a time just tpo win an election may live to regret this. They did not want the percentage to be that hight because they thaught they had enough naturalized Belizeans of Guatemalan decent who would vote for it. So when the percentage of yes votes needed to get a yes-to-the-ICJ were not working out their way they are taking their toys and go home. But they will be backin the next 5, 10, or 15 years maybe longer. They were wrong again because many Guatemalans living in Belize do not want to go back to the way they are treated in Guatemala. Guatemala treats their original people with no respect.

  12. beachman says:

    The Guatemalan govt in 1946 was given five years by the British to take their case to international court. Guatemala chose not to. In 1951 the Brits then extended another 5 years for Guatemala to take their complaint to the international court. Again all the way up til 1956 Guatemala chose not to. Why are we surprised that history is yet again repeating itself?

  13. belizean/Guatemalan says:

    it is true what beachman has to say. it is just history repeating itself. ha.

  14. Belizean says:

    Where’s Rod?

  15. Dan says:

    Maybe Dennis Rodman can help us lol

  16. Gerald Underwood says:

    ceo what are you taking about Belize is the same bs Belize treats its original people with no !@#$%^& respect also ie taking people land and many more

  17. bob says:

    you should always undergo on what we are no reading between the lines there something else being said. everyone is putting interest on yes or no to icj that not the main decision the question is what will the icj decision be? after they see this history is being repeated, they can either make an ending to the history and hand over Belize to Guatemala although many Guatemalans already live in Belize. anyway we are still invaded.

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