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May 9, 2019

Maritime Areas Act to be Amended Pronto!

Dean Barrow

The Maritime Areas Act, once a divisive piece of legislation that caused a rift within the United Democratic Party almost three decades ago, will be revised in the days ahead.  It is the first order of business as government prepares to formalize its position for going to the I.C.J.  PM Barrow outlines the extensive process that will be undertaken to successfully take the claim before the world court.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I would have wished to go to the House on Friday, but perhaps it might be better to wait until the following week just so that as soon as Cabinet can give its approval we can send the copy of the draft bill to the opposition and for there to be enough time for them to be able to digest the draft.  I don’t think there should be any problem.  I believe that there should be agreement that in fact this is the way to go since the passage of the Maritime Areas Act was done for a specific purpose to aid in the negotiating process that at the time was ongoing with Guatemala.  Now that it is clear that we are going to court, there is no need for the MAA to continue in existence and I imagine that there will be a complete, unanimous support in the National Assembly for the amendment.  So, perhaps not next Friday but maybe the following week, either Wednesday or Friday.  Once that is done, we then notify the I.C.J. formally of the results of our referendum and the fact that it is on.  That we are now in a position to submit to the court’s jurisdiction and thereafter we have a month to do that and thereafter the clock starts running.  Guatemala is going to have a year to memorialize their position, we will have a year and thereafter to respond and even at that point there would still be a chance for Guatemala to reply to our response and for us to respond to their reply.  So it’s a long drawn-out process.”

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