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Mar 21, 2013

Belize contemplates whether or not to continue referendum

Wilfred Elrington

Before the debate on the budget started, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, gave an update on the referendum revealing a preposterous proposal by the Guatemalans which clearly shatters the referendum. Elrington reported for the first time on the essence of the visit of the Guatemalan Foreign Minister three weeks ago. Elrington confirmed that it was then that Fernando Carreras expressed Guatemala’s difficulty with proceeding with the referendum on October sixth. Carreras told Elrington that Guatemala wanted to stick to the Special Agreement to go to the International Court of Justice, but they wanted a yes vote and did not want to risk putting an end to the Special Agreement. That proposal culminated with a visit to the Secretary General of the Organization of the American States in Washington. Carreras failed to show up at the meeting; however, the other officials presented two options to Belize which are less than desirable. Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington said that Cabinet will have to make a decision on Guatemala’s indecent proposals.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“At that meeting, we got a formal position of the matter from the Guatemalans through the Secretary General of the OAS. The Guatemalan delegation as not headed by the Foreign Minister as had been indicated by to us at the time the meeting was arranged. We had been told that he had some family issues as well as some conflict in having to go to the Pope’s Inauguration. But a full delegation came from Guatemala headed by vice-Minister Moralez. I met with the secretary general as was agreed. He apologized for the absence of the Guatemalans. We told him what our position was in relation to this matter; that we thought that the matter had to come from him. We had to know clearly what the Guatemalans were asking and unless we got such an instruction through him, we would not be able to proceed further on the matter. In consequence of that, his meeting with me was adjourned and he went to meet with the Guatemalan delegation who also met with our delegation headed by C.E.O., Alexis Rosado, Ambassador Mendez in Washington and Ambassador Martinez, ambassador to Guatemala and Miss Lisa Shoman, who represented the Opposition and who has been with us on all these missions at all time. At the end of the meeting we were informed that the Guatemalans were making two proposals. One, they wanted us to amend our referendum legislation so that our legislation would be identical to theirs in terms of requirements for referendum to be successful—just a simple majority vote. They said that if we did that; if we amended our legislation to confirm with theirs, they would then be prepared to agree on another date when we could hold simultaneous referendum. But they were not prepared to indicate when that date would be and they were not even prepared to give a timeline. That was one proposal. The second proposal; they were proposing that we would go ahead as planned. Have our referendum on the sixth of October and if we had a successful YES vote at that Referendum, then they would be prepared to hold their referendum at a date not later than the end of June 2014.”


Elrington says at next week’s cabinet meeting the matter will be discussed. Then a decision would be made and communicated to secretary General of OAS.

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6 Responses for “Belize contemplates whether or not to continue referendum”

  1. mom, I lost the country at the ICJ says:

    with $10,000,000 to be spent as UDP whim and reward?
    hell yes! this dead horse must run for the bookies to get payed.

    it is unfortunate this won’t go to ICJ, just to settle the matter and have normal relations.
    It is fortunate that this won’t go to ICJ, these guys would loose an unbeatable case through arrogance, incompetence, fumbling, and untrustworthiness.

    spend the money quickly with overuns, then cancel the election to save money.

  2. Nesher says:

    Now isn’t dat interesting, the gaut’s are trying to turn the table on us by making OUR country conform to THEIR referendum laws. the mere fact the they overlooked dat lil detail has dem dumbfounded cz they’re ina bind in which they can’t extricate demselves from w/out looking stupid so dey want us to change our laws which will only b another plus in thier favor cz they can say “look Mr. ICJ, we ax dem tings n dey do it”….den agen, dey want to see where the wind will blow in regards to the Oct. 6, vote so they can proceed from there n dats the ONLY REASON dey want to postpone til June 2014 so dey can tell thier ppl how to vote

  3. lucas says:

    My God; cannot Sedi see it is a trap? If we change our referendum law to please Guatemala, it will prove that Guatemala can interfere in our internal affairs and that is tantamont to subjugation. One of the three hallmarks of an independent country, is internal affairs. When ever a country allows another country to dictate it’s internal affair, that country has lost it’s independence and has become a dependent of the other nation.
    Guatemala wants out but needs a save out and they want Belize to provide it. Belize should not hold a referendum if not simultenous and should not delcare publicly it is abandoning the referendum path. Let Guatemala fall on it’s own sword.

  4. Paco Smith says:

    Following Guatemala’s diplomatic snub, Belize Foreign Minister has finally disclosed the Guatemalan’s DEMANDS. They have given Belize two alternatives, despite the vaunted “Compromis” and “Special Agreement” that was signed and clearly outlined what was to take place, when, where, why (to some extent) and how.

    It shall be very instructive to see how Cabinet reacts to the two DEMANDS. If they acquiesce to either of the two, then there can be no question that our “so-called leadership” possesses no spine.

    In my humble opinion, given that they are operating within a diplomatic realm, the directive should be given to the Foreign Minister to, “…as diplomatically as possible, tell the Guatemalans to take their two DEMANDS and use it at toilet tissue to wipe their @$$#$ with it.” Plain and simple!

    There is an agreement in place and for the Guatemalans to come with yet another attempt “to move the goalposts”, is preposterous. If those in decision-making positions within the GOB are unable to recognise this and act accordingly, then my people, we are up the creek without a paddle…only if we (the Belizean electorate) do not hold them accountable.

    As for the OAS, don’t expect them to chastise Guatemala for attempting to contravene the “Special Agreement”. It is clear for all to see that the OAS holds considerable bias, in favour of Guatemala.

    GOB, and this applies to successive PUDP Administrations, although your actions on this issue have been flat out ill-advised, now is the time to step-up, be responsible to your nation’s well-being and call a spade, a spade. This is no time for boot-licking and cow-towing to neither the OAS, nor Guatemala.

    Tell the OAS that, “Guatemala’s DEMANDS are untenable, unacceptable and that Belize flatly rejects them. There shall be no variance from the agreed upon terms of the “Special Agreement”, as Guatemala’s attempt to skew the process is an affront to the underlying principle of Good Faith”. – Its right there, in plain English. I’ve spelled it out for you and if you feel compelled, I can give you the Spanish translation, as well.

    There you have it, simple and straightforward. I believe the statement demonstrates the best course of action for Belize and let the chips fall where they may. Getting back to the OAS, I suggest the GOB step into reality and if the OAS baulks at what is inevitably their responsibility, to hold both parties accountable to the terms of the “Special Agreement”, I say we tell Mr. Insulza to get real and that the aforementioned advice applies to him, as well.

    This is no joke. GOB, the ball is squarely in your court. Do what is best for Belize. Represent Belize’s best interest and do what MUST be done. No apologies.

    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!

  5. Storm says:

    Many good thoughts here, and Paco’s comments are closest to my own.

    We should never have agreed to gamble half our country at the ICJ.

  6. Belizean says:

    These Guats are full of it…Stupid procrastinating …….

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