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Jul 29, 2015

Protesters Demonstrate Outside Peace Forum

The comments made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs inside the Bliss prompted a protest outside. The forum, which aimed to promote peace, did not end quite peacefully for a group of protesters who were removed from the auditorium. At the heart of the discontent were two main issues, the role of the O.A.S. and the notion of going to the ICJ. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

While dozens of Belizeans, including a few academics, were completely engrossed in the O.A.S. presentation at the Bliss on Tuesday night, a handful of protestors took their places in the open-air where anti-Guatemalan sentiments were being expressed overtly.  Inside the cramped theater the forum on Belize-Guatemala relations proceeded as scheduled, in spite of unsolicited interjections from dissenters.  Among them was well-known activist and former COLA President Moses Sulph.  After being warned on at least two prior occasions, Sulph, together with another agitator, was shown to the door for disrupting the program.  Sulph’s ejection was promptly followed by the departure of Patrick Menzies.  He had clear objections to what was being discussed within the venue.


Patrick Menzies

Patrick Menzies, Activist

“I worked for Minister Elrington, I crossed that Jalacte border which supposedly is a no border.  The minister I worked for does not speak with intelligence.  The minister I worked for made statements even while I worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that really don’t reflect intelligence.  He  just explained that we had a border, a recognized border but then in the end he says we must go to the ICJ to get our border recognized.  I thought we just said we had a recognized border.  The first insult to me came when the video was there and in the video it says Guatemala met with Belize to recover its territory.  How can the O.A.S. talk about recovering territory?  Come on, I don’t have to go to preschool to realize that recovery means that I am recovering what I had before.  So to make a statement like that is insulting on the side of the O.A.S.   I was going to leave from then, I thank God I waited but this was insulting.  This was a complete insult.”


Menzies’ sentiments would similarly be echoed by Sulph, only after being escorted farther away from the building by officers on duty.  His sticking point is the notion of resolving the age-old territorial dispute in the International Court of Justice.


Moses Sulph

Moses Sulph, Activist

“Basically, if we go to the ICJ we haven’t been told what we can lose as a people.  People with common sense would understand that there are certain things that we may lose and we do believe that it would be land.  We understand that Belize is eight thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven square miles.  Now if we go to the ICJ and let’s say the courts rule that, alright Belize has to give up half of PG, what is going to happen then?  We’ll have to abide by that ruling.  So if we’re sure that Belize is Belize why would we be taking this to the ICJ?  It is very clear and I have a lot of respect for the Foreign Minister because I believe he has a lot of intelligence but I do believe also that I have to question a lot of the statements that he made.”


Those statements have equally infuriated Menzies who took exception to what was being said in the forum.


Patrick Menzies

“The statements made in there.  Look at this, three hundred Guatemalans were taken back out of our Adjacency Zone.  How many Belizeans were taken back?  None.  Every aggression made and every statement made by the OAS is to take the Guatemalans out.  The problem is caused by Guatemalans.  Now let me be very clear, I love the Guatemalan people, I think Guatemalan people themselves are great people.  The problem isn’t the people, just like Belize, the problem isn’t so much the people.  The problem is the government.  So the idiotic problem isn’t among me and the Guatemalans, the problem is amongst the government.  And the Government of Belize is completely messed up in the head led by my ex-boss Minister Elrington.”


Moses Sulph

“He said that there is no aggression with Guatemala but yet we could not even build our base on Sarstoon Island because they had a problem with it, you understand.  And oh, they don’t have a problem now because it’s not a military base.  So if they are not against what we are doing and there is no form of what I would call aggression then why would they have a problem with whatever we build in our country?”


Menzies, on the other hand, identified what he believes are a few of those issues, despite not having been in the country for the past few months.


Patrick Menzies

“For the minister to end up saying earlier, a few minutes ago that there has not been any hostility by the Guatemalan government, do I have, I was not even in Belize, I just came here fifteen hours ago and listen I am reading the paper, I am reading the news in Belize.  Didn’t we just have a Guatemalan military vessel stuck on our barrier reef?  Didn’t we have guys like the Belize Territorial Volunteers having problem with the Guatemalans?  I mean, do we have common sense in our country?  Come on Belizeans we are bigger than this.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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1 Response for “Protesters Demonstrate Outside Peace Forum”

  1. MNHG says:

    PRODUCTS OF YOUR ” artificial Minister of Foreign Affairs “

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