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Nov 28, 2018

An Extensive Interview with Ambassador Dylan Vernon at The Hague

Today in The Hague, Netherlands, the Belizean media got the opportunity to have an extensive conversation with Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to Belgium and Mission of Belize to the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Ambassador Vernon is also the Belize’s diplomatic contact for the I.C.J.  In almost an hour-long interview with the media pool, Vernon covered a wide range of topics from the legal strengths of the potential Belize/Guatemala case to the status of the current education campaign in Belize. News Five’s Marleni Cuellar has the highlights.

 

Marleni Cuellar

Today, at the inner court or Binnenhoff, the oldest house of parliament still in use today, The Belizean media had an extensive conversation with Ambassador Dylan Vernon.  One of the first responses we got from him was about options other than I.C.J.  As I explained yesterday, the I.C.J. can issue and advisory opinion instead of a legal decision and this has been one option that some Belizeans have been questioning if this may not be a better path. Here’s Ambassador Vernons response to that.

 

Dylan Vernon

Dylan Vernon, Belize’s Ambassador to Belgium

“The issue of the advisory opinion of course has been discussed and debated and there are few countries who have sought advisory opinions the latest being Mauritius which has a case on Chagas before the I.C.J.  The problem with the advisory opinion is that it is not legally binding. It is an opinion that the court will put out that will have some moral value perhaps but that will not assists the process in the case of Belize saying specifically that they agree with what our constitution says on where our borders. In other words we’ll kicking the can down the road on a issue that perhaps we can settle now if the people of decide to go to the I.C.J.  Another problem with the advisory opinion is that we will eventually get to appoint where we would again be advised that by lawyers by the international community by the U.N. go to the I.C.J. we have that moment now it’s a very rare moment. Things are lined up in terms of the Guatemala’s having voted and it’s a moment that ion the Belize people decide would be very difficult to recreate.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Foreign Missions like that Ambassador Vernon and others across the globe are tasked with lobbying on behalf of Belize in several ways: from funding and cooperation agreements to supporting Belize’s position on the dispute with Guatemala. Of recent, the foreign mission has been making Belize’s position clear about the actions of Guatemala in the Sarstoon.”

 

Dylan Vernon

“As far as the foreign missions of Belize are concerned we have been whenever we can in resolutions coming out of the CARICOM group the Commonwealth and in the case of where I am in the Europe the African Caribbean and Pacific group of states we have been getting support from these groups to pressure Guatemala to agree to the protocol for the use of the Sarstoon River and this is important for several reasons. One we are letting the world know that there is a commitment made that is not being honored by Guatemala in the Sarstoon. Two, we want to get to away from any perception that Guatemala is trying to facts on the ground and most importantly we can use these resolutions that support Belize’s position that we must have a protocol on the Sarstoon to lobby our friends and allies and member states of the European union and others and eventually and use them to show that Belize has made every effort it can to get the Guatemalans to agree to protocol.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

Marleni Cuellar

“Speaking of support, at the end of last month the European Union announced that it was supporting Belize and Guatemala with seven million Euros – half to support the work at the O.A.S. adjacency zone and the other half to fund civil societies on economic development projects in Both Belize and Guatemala. Ambassador Vernon will be returning to Belize soon to join the referendum commission in he called an intensification of the campaign. But how does the open ‘Yes’ position of the Prime Minister, Cabinet Members and even top security personnel affect the neutrality of the government led campaign?”

 

Dylan Vernon

“Remember that members government the prime minister, the foreign minister, other members of government can say how they feel and how they will vote individually in a campaign and the prime minister has stated that not only himself but the cabinet and his party supports a yes vote but that is different from saying there is a yes campaign. The referendum commission has a mandate to educate in a neutral way and that is what we’re seeing. If at some point in the future there is an alliance of the yes vote with political leaders or others that would be a different story. Or if there is an organized no campaign that would be a different story but individual can say I suppose how they’re going to vote especially if they are not part of the referendum campaign. I think you can see the tat the referendum commission has been neutral in getting its formations and that is distinctively different from a yes campaign or a no campaign.”

Marleni Cuellar

“There’s a lot more from today’s interview that we will share with you in the upcoming days. Reporting for News Five, from The Hague, I am Marleni Cuellar.”


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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