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May 9, 2019

PM Thanks Belizeans for Voting in I.C.J. Referendum

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in high spirits this afternoon when he addressed the nation, following the results of a historic referendum held on Wednesday.  While the territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala is still years away from being resolved, the overwhelming decision to take the matter before the world court is momentous.  Before an audience of high-level government officials, members of the diplomatic community and party supporters, PM Barrow congratulated all Belizeans for participating in the referendum.  The turnout, as well as the margin, he says, puts the outcome of the democratic exercise beyond question.  Notwithstanding the politicization of the referendum in the days leading up to May eighth, the prime minister also acknowledged the importance of both major political parties in bringing out voters.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We give thanks, first of all, to the people of Belize for ensuring that this historic referendum which was hard fought, which saw intense, sometimes bitter campaigning, which to some extent succeeded in driving friends apart, dividing families.  But the fact is, the people of this country ensured that that referendum took place yesterday in a manner that was orderly, that was entirely and completely incident free.  Certainly, no reports of any kind of violence.  Once again, Belize has shown that it is able in a mature fashion that completely belies our relative youth as an independent country, that we are able to demonstrate to the world that we are a responsible polity, well capable of administering our democracy in the best possible fashion. I am glad that in terms of what the historical comparators are, that sixty-seven or so percent turnout was high enough so that we can feel satisfied that by and large the people of this country discharged their duty to this nation.  I want to repeat what I have said throughout, the “yes” vote is not a victory for the United Democratic Party and the failure of the “no” campaign is not a loss for the People’s United Party.  In the end, of course politics had to get involved and that was inevitable, ultimately if you’re going to talk about mobilization so that no effort will be spared to have people turn out, to get out the vote, to move people to the polls, it is only the political parties that are capable of that kind of mass mobilization.  So, to that extent, it was always in the cards that the two political parties would have to get involved.  But at the end of the day, this was for Belize and had the results been otherwise, I would still have been here this afternoon congratulating the people of our country.”

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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