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Apr 29, 2013

PM discuss Guatemala passport with UN Secretary-General

The backdrop for the referendum discussions was a bilateral meeting held between Belize and Guatemala in Haiti on Thursday, but even before that, Prime Minister Dean Barrow says he presented Belize’s case to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon during a meeting in New York. Chief on the agenda of that discussion were the new Guatemalan passports in which Belize is separated from Guatemala with only a dotted line. Barrow updated the gathering this morning on the details of his meeting.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The new Guatemalan passports, allegedly four million over the next ten years, have sparked serious controversy in Belize and have raised the ire of an already anxious public. The PM says he raised that issue with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and was reassured by the response.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“The Guatemalans, it appears, employ the services of the UN Office of Procurement in terms of sourcing the new passports that they are about to issue. And we wanted to be quite clear to the Secretary General—the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had already spoken to UN personnel in Belize and in New York, but I wanted to reinforce the message myself to the UN Secretary General—that we would expect that the UN Procurement Services Office would not in fact facilitate the obtaining of any passports by Guatemala that would contain a map that purported to show Belize as part of the national territory of Guatemala. I received the assurance from SG Ban Ki-Moon that that would not happen.”

 

And the meeting in Haiti between Belize and Guatemala yielded more reassurance, as Guatemala claims that there are no new passports, only the ones they have been using since 2006. And the map on those passports, says Guatemala, was agreed to at a SICA meeting in 2005, where Belize was represented.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The Guatemalans offered an official assurance that the stories in the media about their wanting to change their passports to include Belize as a full part of Guatemala are simply not true; that that is not the position of the government of Guatemala. And that any new passports will be identical to the current passports—the passports that are already in existence—the commencement of which the current passports began in 2006, 2005-2006.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The passports that they had been using since 2005-2006 was based on a decision that was made in SICA at that time at which all the SICA countries agreed to and that they have been using it ever since then and the new batch that is coming out will be no different from that one. And the present passport simply shows Guatemala and Belize separated by closely dotted line and in different color. That has been used routinely and wasn’t really noticed by anybody at the Ministry of Immigration nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until it was raised. I don’t think it was anything that was picked up by immigration authorities in the last administration as well as in this administration. We are still trying to find out exactly what exactly was decided at SICA and when we find that out, we will let you all know.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The boundary line between Belize and Guatemala in the current map is a kind of broken or dotted line. Our inquiries produced from them and this has been existent since 2006/2007 and they say that that representation which according to them reflects the fact that there is a territorial dispute—we don’t see it that way—but they claim that that particular map was issued under an understanding, in accord with an understanding that was reached at a SICA meeting in 2005 in which Belize was present.  Now that’s under the last administration. In fairness to the last administration, our inquiries locally suggest that the Belizean officials of the day have no recollection of any such meeting and certainly insist that they did not sanction any such SICA map.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

We have been searching high and low for that 2006 decision, but not even SICA has been able to throw any light on it.

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1 Response for “PM discuss Guatemala passport with UN Secretary-General”

  1. Storm says:

    On principle we should still refuse entry to people carrying these tainted passports. But the question us, does anyone in GOB have any principles?

    We don’t need Guats here, the threat they bring to us outweighs any possible benefit.

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