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Dec 19, 2017

M.A.A. Wrangle Continues; Sedi Says Negotiations Failed with Passage of Act in 1993

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington is back from the recent SICA summit in Panama where he met with his new Guatemalan counterpart, Sandra Erica Jovel Polanco, appointed in August after the exit of Carlos Raul Morales. We will have more on their discussions including progress in the setting up of the I.C.J. referendum shortly, but we open tonight with the latest over the amending of the Maritime Areas Act. An attempt in the Senate to motion the amendment last week failed when the government, together with Churches Senator Ashley Rocke, voted against it. Their argument is that it is not the right time even though the Government has promised to do so. But why would it be the wrong time to do the right thing, as both sides seem to agree? The Foreign Minister expanded on that disagreement today, making strange comments seeming to rewrite history. Having opposed the MAA’s passage in 1993, the act should never have passed. Elrington stated that regardless of the outcome of negotiations prior to the signing of the Special Agreement on the I.C.J. in 2008, there was no hope of successful negotiation. In classic Elrington style, he went after his processor Eamon Courtenay criticizing the P.U.P. for not having done so during their time in office.


Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“That prospect of a settlement failed from 1993-1994. You had all that time between then and now – how many years, twenty years, thirty years?”


Aaron Humes

“I believe that Mr. Courtenay has said that the final acknowledgement from the Organization of American States that there would be no further negotiations is I believe – when the special agreement was signed; it would have been before the Special Agreement in 2007, 2008.”


Wilfred Elrington

“No, no, no, absolutely not! That’s in classic style misinformation and disinformation for which Mr. Courtenay is famous. Most people don’t know. Most people don’t understand him, but the truth is that that could have been dealt with immediately after the Guatemalans persisted in their claims. That is right after 1993, 1994. So, it’s no truth that in fact it was not until 2007. And in 2007, when they agreed, you know, it was in 2007 that the proposal was made to have this matter dealt with at the ICJ, 2007. They were still in office, and did nothing.  When the court looks at the Belize case, they will look at all the details and all the evidence, and they will look and say that, well in 1993, you were prepared to limit your claim to three miles, when you were entitled to take twelve. What is this saying? If in fact now, we were to take the position that we want to be – the Guatemalans could get some more, well, you couldn’t complain, because in 1993, you agreed to limit your claim to three miles. That should never have been done, but it was done. The fact that you now want to change it, in my mind, does not erase the damage that was done in 1993. But yes, it has to be made clear to the Guatemalans, and to the world, and the court that we are entitled to more than that three miles, and that we will seek to obtain all we are entitled to. The question as to when that is to be done – according to the lawyers, we have time to do that. We have time. We have lots of time to be able to do that.”

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 “M.A.A. Wrangle Continues; Sedi Says Negotiations Failed with Passage of Act in 1993”

  1. carlos says:

    This minister of home affairs needs to go read history. He has no credibility to talk bad about an expert in the matter as is Mr. E Courtney. He always mix party politics with national issues. He shows no interest about the future of Belize and seems to be pro Guatemalan .

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