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Oct 31, 2017

Keep Calm and Don’t Worry About Guatemala

Eamon Courtenay

So what will be the reaction from Guatemala once Belize moves to claim all its twelve miles of territorial waters under international law?  It’s a thought that is furthest from Courtenay’s mind, since Belize’s course of action does not hinge upon Guatemala’s foreign policy.  Courtenay says the additional nine miles of unclaimed sea was not ceded by Belize to Guatemala, it simply remained as international waters.


Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“I don’t think that we should make our policy and our decisions based on the way Guatemala is going to react.  We must put the national interest first and foremost and keep it first and foremost at all times, not subjugated to whether or not somebody is a nice foreign minister or if somebody gets along well with another foreign minister.  The issue here is what are we to do to protect our national interest and to ensure that our legal case is strong, in the event that this matter were ever to go to the ICJ.  I have not given taught to what Guatemala’s response would be, but I can tell you this, I can only expect that they will not like it because our advice is that this is something that should be done in order to protect our interest, and my interest and our party’s interest is the interest of Belize and so we need to do what is right.”



“For Belizeans, or the general public, in practice what does it mean that Belize does not have claim to its entire territorial waters.”


Eamon Courtenay

“Okay, the Maritime Areas Act was passed in 1992 and at that time, from the Sarstoon River going north to the Ranguana Caye, we did not claim twelve miles.  Under international law you can claim twelve miles of territorial sea and then after that two hundred miles of exclusive economic zone.  Between Sarstoon and Ranguana we claimed three miles, that left a portion of sea that we could claim as Belizean territorial sea but we reserved our right to claim it at a future date.  What it was designed to do was to give flexibility to say if a settlement could be worked out with Guatemala.  You know that one of the things they have always wanted is free passage to the Caribbean Sea.  Let us say for example that Belize could claim four miles or five miles and leave a sliver there for Guatemala to go out.  If that were to happen, that would not be Guatemala’s sea, it would remain international waters.  So it would not be that we were giving any sea to Guatemala, it would simply be that we were not claiming all and it would remain international waters.”

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 “Keep Calm and Don’t Worry About Guatemala”

  1. manuel pinto says:

    Todo el territorio de Belice pertenece a Guatemala, incluyendo el territorio marítimo e insular

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