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Jan 24, 2013

P.M. says Prensa Libre wrong on Referendum Act

The Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, has shot some doubt with an article that suggests that Belize is acting in bad faith with the upcoming referendum on whether or not to send the border dispute to the International Court of Justice. Belize’s Referendum Act was amended in 2008 to reflect a sixty percent voter turnout for it to be binding. The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the amendment had nothing to do with the Belize/Guatemala dispute.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“They misunderstand the sequence of events. I get the impression that they are under the mistaken view that this is a provision that we put into the law after the referendum was agreed. As you know, this was a provision that’s been there since 2008. I can tell you that it is part of the Referendum Act. It is part of the laws of this country, and there is absolutely no intention to amend the laws of this country in that regard.”



“Where does this put the Referendum for Belize?”


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“It puts it where it has always been, that it is a process that is conducted in accordance with the laws of this country. And since the Referendum Act of this country says that any Referendum in order to be valid must reach that sixty percent threshold that is the case.”


Daniel Ortiz, Channel 7

“Sir but this isn’t a tangential issue, we’ve received information that the international community doesn’t want to buy in because they feel as though it’s an expensive process that can be all for naught.”


Dean Barrow

“In any case and under any circumstances, it can be all for naught if there is a no vote. The idea is to have these referendums to determine which way people in both countries want to go. It is the sovereign right of the people on both sides of the border to make that determination. If there is a no vote—let’s assume we reach the sixty percent threshold and there is a no vote—can that be an argument against not holding a referendum? Listen, I don’t want to appear to be insensitive to what you are telling me are international concerns, but I want to make clear that the law of our land is the law of our land. And we will proceed in accordance with the law of our land.”



“Do you see the concern raised by the media in Guatemala affecting the process here in Belize and in terms the way Belizeans may take their decision in this referendum?”


Dean Barrow

“I believe that Belizeans will in fact look at the education campaign, read the material, listen to the presentations and make up their minds based on their gut feelings; based on the way they view this fundamental issue from the perspective of a Belizean citizen.”


So in Guatemala there is no threshold and a simple majority is required. There is also word that Foreign Minister, Wilfred Sedi Elrington will be meeting with the new Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Fernando Carrera, in Chile in the next few weeks at which time the issue of the referendum will be discussed. 

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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2 Responses for “P.M. says Prensa Libre wrong on Referendum Act”

  1. Storm says:

    Please pull out of the process, Guatemala!

    Every time Sedi meets with the Guats, he gives them some gift. What will he give them this time?

    The only people he gets angry with are the Belizeans, like in Cayo when the people asked him to do his job as Attorney General.

    Sedi no ready!

  2. orangewalkeno says:

    Belizeans have nothing to give away to no pinche chapin period.Our country will remain as it is.NO TO !@$$FERENDUM NO TO GUATEPEOR!!!

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