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Nov 22, 2017

Fixing the Guatemala Conundrum

Nigel Hawke

The other legal opinion has to do with clarifying the status of Guatemalan nationals renouncing their citizenship in order to become Belizeans. The process of granting nationality to Guatemalans has been halted because it has not been made clear whether the renunciation of citizenship in Guatemala must take place before the Belize process is started and whether that would result in so-called “stateless” individuals. Solicitor General Nigel Hawke indicated that Belize has formulated a position which it will share with the Senate Committee, and noted that no one from their office has consulted with any Guatemalan counterpart.


Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Have you provided advice to the Immigration Department as to what a national of Guatemala needs to do in order to qualify for Belizean nationality?”


Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General

“Yes, sir.”


Eamon Courtenay

“Can you share with us what your advice is?”


Nigel Hawke

“I can share it and our position has been that under our Constitution and the Nationality Act, the law is very clear that there is a certain procedure that they need to follow in terms of revoking their nationality. What we can do – it’s out there; we can probably share our opinion with the Committee.”


Eamon Courtenay

“To share the opinion; so I would, Chair, through you, request that we get that as well. One aspect of this, Mr. Solicitor: have you sought, your department sought advice from any Guatemalan lawyer as to what is required as a matter of Guatemalan law for a Guatemalan to lawfully and completely renounce Guatemalan nationality?”


Nigel Hawke

“From where I sit, in my capacity, no; I can’t speak to any position where we have sought the opinion of any Guatemalan lawyer, no.”

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