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Apr 23, 2018

Opposition Leader hits back at “politics” charge on Guatemala

John Briceno

In his weekly message, Opposition Leader John Briceño discussed the recent referendum result in Guatemala, in which nearly ninety-six percent of participating voters agreed to support the Guatemalan government’s filing a claim against Belizean territory at the International Court of Justice. Briceño directly responded to the charge laid by Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber that the P.U.P. was “playing politics” with the emotionally charged issue. On the contrary, Briceño said, it has been the U.D.P. government which has consistently frozen them out at every turn. The P.U.P.’s internal consultation process will continue, he announced, to help supporters learn enough to make an informed decision.


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“Now I know that the U.D.P.’s like to say, that we in the P.U.P. are playing politics with this issue; this is not true. Indeed, like the crime situation, we have been saying to government over and over that we are ready to work with them in a meaningful way to find a solution to this problem. In fact, we have proven this, for each time the government has asked us to participate in this process, we have done so. As recently as last year, honorable Oscar Requeña represented our party at talks with Guatemala in Panama. Senator [Eamon] Courtenay, our shadow minister for Foreign Affairs, and my representative on the Belize-Guatemala dispute, has always been willing to engage with the government on talks, and the P.U.P. has a representative on the referendum commission. But working together doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. We are not satisfied with the way the government is handling relations with Guatemala at this time. We are not happy with what is happening in the Sarstoon, and along our western border. We also do not believe that enough is being done to prepare Belizeans for the referendum. Yes, we want every Belizean to participate in the referendum whenever it is called. We also want every Belizean to get all the information they can on the dispute so that each and everyone will know the facts. The best way to address fear is through knowledge. For this reason, the P.U.P. will continue our internal process of consultation, discussion and education for as long as is needed, so that our supporters are fully informed, and prepared for the vote.”


In other news, it’s convention season for the People’s United Party which hopes to have standard bearers for all thirty-one electoral divisions in place by July first. This weekend, there were four endorsement conventions. Rodwell Ferguson was endorsed in Stann Creek West on Saturday while Mike Espat and Oscar Requeña were endorsed for Toledo East and Toledo West respectively. Florencio Marin Junior was also endorsed this weekend in Corozal Southeast.


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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