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Apr 15, 2013

Belize to attend O.A.S. meeting in Guatemala, but may protest

The second highest ranking man in the Organization of American States is visiting. Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin is in Belize regarding relations among Belize, Guatemala and the O.A.S.  Ramdin will oversee the upcoming General Assembly that will be held in Antigua, Guatemala from the fourth to the sixth of June. That holds significance for the Jewel, because at two previous O.A.S. meetings, Guatemala has presented videos of that country in which Belize is shown as part of their territory. At a recent meeting, Belize’s Ambassador to the O.A.S., Nestor Mendez, lodged a protest, but no action was taken. Following today’s meeting between the Assistant Secretary General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, told News Five that Ramdin is expected to address the country’s concerns. Belize, however, intends to attend the upcoming General Assembly and if the Guatemalans produce any offensive images, the delegation intends to leave.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“The man who is in charge of the arrangements for the O.A.S. is the same Deputy Secretary General Albert Ramdin with whom you just spoke. And I am told you will be having an interview with him tomorrow. And one of the last things we discussed with him was that that was not to happen; nothing offensive is supposed to be published or broadcast during the course of the O.A.S. meeting—that is not to happen. And it is his responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t happen. So we are going there and we have been given the assurance by him that he is going to make it very clear to the Guatemalans that that is not to happen.”

 

Reporter

“And if it does?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“We walk out. We register our protest, we walk out and we invite our friends and colleagues to do the same with us. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be recommending to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that we attend these meetings. If you are not at the table, you can’t defend yourself. You have to be at the table to be able to defend yourself and we notice that this is in fact the practice of the bigger countries, the mature countries; they don’t stay away. It is not like if you are small and you are playing marbles and somebody gets you offended, you pick up your marble and go home. Everybody gets affected by that; the guys who used to play with you as well as you. You’re spiting yourself. So that is not the way mature countries behave and in this business, we have got to be circumspect. We can’t take any action without examining all the ramifications. We have to make sure that what we do is not harmful to our country and to our people. And it is based on that that we make our decision. And it is a decision that we make after consultation with all our ambassadors. As a matter of fact, this weekend we have them all in the country except for perhaps one or two to come together and help us to put the roadmap together for the prime minister.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“CARICOM has always supported Belize with this particular problem with Guatemala. I believe both articles in Jamaica and Trinidad are calling on CARICOM members to show greater support. Would that roadmap also include asking support from CARICOM—whether it be to protest the meetings you said that you would recommend that we do attend? What would that include in regards to CARICOM?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Yes, it’s a very good question that you are asking because the Belize people has to know that countries are not guided by friendship, but by their interests. And I can tell you over the last three or four years, I have seen developments in CARICOM that have worried me. Positions that CARICOM members have taken have changed. But you are quite right, we propose to talk to the people in CARICOM about it. We propose to talk to the people in the Commonwealth about it. We propose to talk to our people in SICA about it. We’ll be dealing with the people in the O.A.S. All our friends, we will be asking to support us on this matter because it is so important. And you are quite right in terms of a roadmap, we will be getting in touch of all our friends. But the CARICOM people as well as the others who have worked with us over the years have indicated to us that we cannot expect them to continue to support us indefinitely; particularly with funding the adjacency zone. We’ve got to solve the matter and move on. S that is important in terms of us deciding how we handle this matter going forward.”

 

Elrington says contrary to popular beliefs, the decisions regarding Guatemala are not his alone. He points out that the C.E.O. for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado, is usually present when he briefs the media. And furthermore, his ministry’s decisions have to meet the approval of the cabinet and the Prime Minister. Assistant Secretary General Ramdin will meet the media on Tuesday morning and prior to leaving for the international airport, Ramdin will also be a guest on Open Your Eyes. 

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6 Responses for “Belize to attend O.A.S. meeting in Guatemala, but may protest”

  1. Simone says:

    Come on Caricom brother-stand by your people-you know what its like for small countries in a global world attacked by bully neighbors.

  2. BVDC caracol lane says:

    It’s your right as a citizen to be concerned how and on what your resources are spent. It doesn’t belong to the government, it belongs to you, and the government belongs to you too. The people who work in government are there at your mercy, because you have the power to vote people into office who can terminate their jobs. If the government feels like Vega would do a better job maximizing the profit then them themselves need give up their jobs. In Belize their business ventures work good based on corruption but in the international market they are just as good as a regular man. This job should had been open up for the public and given to the best plan. I always believed that there were a few smart people in the government but they are getting dumb by the minute.

  3. Bear says:

    We are a member of the UN, and we have an expensive ex-wife/ambassador in New York, paid to represent our interests to the world. What is she doing about this issue? I believe our nation should ask the General Assembly to pass a resolution condemning Guatemala’s symbolic & diplomatic aggression.

  4. sam dow says:

    The Cabinet is a bunch of dun @$$, GG should dissolve and call for election and quick
    my BIG Question where is Assad Shoman, his county need him. not political but we all know who the better man is at this issue.

  5. sam dow says:

    The Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community learnt with great dismay that Guatemala has reactivated its claim to more than 12,000 square kilometres of Belize’s territory, which is more than half of the country.

    The Heads of Government recalled that Guatemala had categorically stated that it will not resort to the use or threat of force to pursue its claim. They were therefore deeply disturbed at the report of the incident which occurred on 24 February, 2000 to the effect that certain elements of the Guatemalan Armed Forces violated the territorial integrity of Belize, unlawfully entered Belizean territory and forced three members of the Belize Defense Force and one member of the Belize Police Department at gunpoint, to cross over into Guatemalan territory where they illegally held them prisoner for over a week.

    The CARICOM Heads of Government were incensed by the fact that this incident occurred even as delegates of both Governments were gathered in Miami in preparation for a meeting to chart the course for the amicable settlement of their differences.

    The Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community deplored the action of the Guatemalan Armed Forces in invading Belize’s territory and kidnapping four members of Belize’s security forces.

    The Conference also expressed its grave concern at the action of the Guatemalan Government in expelling the Belizean Special Envoy and Charge d’Affaires from Guatemala on 7 March, 2000, alleging that he had unlawfully removed Belizean Security personnel from Guatemala, despite the fact that the Foreign Minister of Guatemala had confirmed to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States, that the security officials in question had been judicially processed and granted their freedom.

    The Conference reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the Independence, Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Belize in accordance with its long-established and internationally recognised borders.

    The Conference welcomed the decision of both Governments to reconvene their discussions to put into effect measures that will diffuse the tension along their border and to establish a process for the peaceful, early and definitive settlement of their differences in accordance with the principles and practices of the Untied Nations.

  6. sam dow says:

    PRESIDENT CHAVEZ OPENED NEW CHAPTER IN CARICOM – VENEZUELA RELATIONS

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), His Excellency Michel Martelly, the President of Haiti, has stated that the name of His Excellency Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela will be “etched in the history of this Region.”

    In a note of condolence on behalf of CARICOM to the Government of Venezuela, the Chairman said the late President Chavez opened a new chapter in relations between the countries of CARICOM and Venezuela “with his generosity and deep interest in the welfare of the peoples of the Community.”

    Following is the full text of the message:

    As Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), it is with great sadness that I extend my deepest sympathies to the Government and People of Venezuela on the death of the President of the Bolivarian Republic, His Excellency Hugo Chavez.

    President Chavez opened a new chapter in relations between the countries of CARICOM and Venezuela with his generosity and deep interest in the welfare of the peoples of the Community. His outstretched hand to support our countries during a time of great challenge will never be forgotten, in particular the generous assistance rendered by Venezuela to my country, Haiti, following the earthquake of 2010, as well as to other Member States of the Community.

    His desire to improve the lives of the less fortunate in his country, the Caribbean and in Latin America was the hallmark of his political life and ensured that his name would be etched in the history of this Region.

    May the Government and People of Venezuela and the family of Mr. Chavez find solace in the memory of a leader who successfully sought to change the lives of many for the better. I am confident that the inner strength and resilience of the Venezuelan people will ensure that they continue to build the society for which Hugo Chavez strived.

    CONTACT: piu@caricom.org; caricompublicinfo@gmail.com

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