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Feb 15, 2013

Attorney believes Foreign Minister erred on Guatemala statement

Eamon Courtenay

In the next eight months, Belizeans are expected to take the most important national decision on whether the International Court of Justice will be called upon to define Belize’s borders. The national psyche is now focusing on the October referendum. On Monday, the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington told News Five that he is confident that the required sixty percent of Belizeans will vote in the Belize-Guatemala referendum and that the majority will vote to take the claim before the ICJ. At the same time, he mentioned that if the matter does go to the ICJ, the only area in which Belize could possibly be vulnerable to loss would be in our maritime area and cayes. That comment has drawn the wrath of former Foreign Minister, Eamon Courtenay. Today, our news team spoke to Ambassador Courtenay, who for many years was a member of the negotiating team in respect of the claim to Belizean territory. Courtenay told freelance reporter that the minister is hurting Belize’s case.  


Eamon Courtenay, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I think he is the best asset that Guatemala has. It is a complete disaster.”


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Eamon Courtenay, is irate and openly condemns a comment made by Minister Elrington to News Five on February sixteenth, when he was asked about the worst case scenario of Belize going to the ICJ.


Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs [File: February 11th, 2013]

“If there is a negative it would have to be in relation to those areas that are not yet firmly demarcated and defined. But because the land border is already defined and the southern border is already defined, I am confident that nothing untoward can happen with respect to those two. The only place I think there is room for some surprise would have to be in the sea area or perhaps in the insular area because those are not yet defined.”


Eamon Courtenay

“It is incomprehensible to me, to understand why it is that the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs is yet again making a public statement that hurts Belize and benefits Guatemala. Minister Elrington said that a surprise can come in the maritime area because our boundary has not been fully defined. It has not been fully defined because he, Minister Elrington, is in dereliction of his duty.”


First, Courtenay makes the point that the comment from Minister Elrington is nonsensical – sort of like going into a fight, and then just before the bell rings letting your opponent know exactly what your weakness is.


Eamon Courtenay

“I am greatly offended, one, that he would publicly say to our opponent, to the Guatemalans, that there is a vulnerability in our case in this area. No lawyer worth his salt publicly states what is the weakness of his case.”


Courtenay’s second point focuses on the Maritime Areas Act. He says that it was the responsibility and duty of the Minister to ensure that our maritime areas were clearly defined and declared, and basically, Elrington dropped the ball.


Eamon Courtenay

“What the Maritime Areas Act says, in section three, is that we declared twelve miles of territorial sea except, it says, from the mouth of the Sarstoon to Ranguana Caye for the purpose of a possible negotiated settlement with Guatemala. Since we are no longer negotiating with Guatemala, since we have accepted that a settlement is not possible, it means that we should do what we are entitled to do – claim the full amount right up to the equidistance line with Honduras. And what is required? Section 2 of the Maritime Areas Act designates the Minister of Foreign Affairs as the person responsible for that Act. He should have had a Bill drafted from 2008 amending the Maritime Areas Act and claiming the full amount of our territorial sea. And it seems to me that Minister Elrington is also the Attorney-General of this country. The Constitution says he is the principal advisor to the government. He is in breach of his sacred duty to this country. He is once again exposing us to a possible claim and a decision from the ICJ that is adverse to our interests. That is unacceptable.”


Minister Elrington’s prediction is that the matter will definitely go before the ICJ. Courtenay has a prediction too; in the wake of the Minister’s comment, and if the claim does go before the ICJ.


Eamon Courtenay

“Let’s fast-forward and imagine that we were in the ICJ today. The Guatemalans would get up and say here is Minister Elrington, from his own mouth, saying that he expects or there is possible there can be a surprise in the maritime areas. They will say, here is the Maritime Areas Act where Minister Elrington did not claim the full extent of our sovereignty. Mister ICJ, they would say, we are asking you, since the Minister expects a surprise here, we are asking you to do something, give us a benefit, give us, Guatemala a surprise. It is a preposterous situation.”


And it is a situation which will take another giant step into the realm of probability when Belizeans go to the polls on October sixth to vote in the Belize-Guatemala referendum. Mike Rudon for News Five.


News Five attempted to speak to Elrington this morning, but he declined to comment.

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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14 Responses for “Attorney believes Foreign Minister erred on Guatemala statement”

  1. Lucas says:

    My fellow Belizeans, it is imperative for us to be fully aware that Belizean politicians are decietfully and maliciously plotting the partian of our sacred country. Let me explain: The Maritime Area’s Act is the child of Mr. Musa. And when it comes to our Southern Waters, the boundry line drawn and passed by the PUP runs from the mouth of the Sarstoon due North to Ranguana. This line leaves the Sapodilla Range out of Belizean Territorial Waters and out of Belizean sovereignty. This is why Guatemala claims the Sapodilla. The UDP under Mr. Esquivel joined with Mr. Goldson with the promise that if they win, they would repeal the Maritime Area’s Act and they won but, they also broke their promise to Belizeans. So, Mr. Goldson, Aikman and I think the Erlingtons broke away from the UDP. Now this phoney lawyer named Eamon Courtenay shows up as our defending knight in shinning armour. I ask Eamon. Why did you not bring this to the attention of Godfrey Smith or Lisa Shoeman when they were Ministers of Foreign Affairs?. What is more, Why yourself did not bring it to the attention of Mr. Musa when you were part of his govt.?. If I remember correctly and correct me if I am wrong; were you not for a time Minister of Foreign affairs in the last PUP administration?. Why did you yourself not made the necessary correction at the time?. You Eamon yourself are a traitor as Wilfred himself. Even Godfrey Smith accepts that even if we win at the ICJ, the possibility exist that Guatemala may refuse the ICJ verdict. (Channel 5, June 5, 2012) and the expresident of the OAS, Mr. Cesar Gaviria believes that even a win for us at the ICJ will not stop the Guatemalan peasant invasion to Belize. ( Channel 5, Nov. 16, 2009). Mr. Barrow; repeal the Maritme Area’s Act and my fellow Belizeans: NO ICJ. NOT NOW. NOT EVER.

  2. sickntired says:

    Anything about the dodo minister surprise anybody? About time somebody stand up and tell the country about their simpleness. This one minister got everybody wasting time on an issue which has always been there and does not change to price of rice while poor people out here suffering hunger and crime. He not even solve the issues in his own constituency and now he will mess around with the whole country cause he no understand the very tricky guatemalans.

  3. 316 says:

    The Belizean people has been saying for a long time. Please Mr. Barrow please replace Mr. Elrigton. He is not doing his job.

  4. Love Joys says:

    From the very beginning, Sedi Elrington has been selling us out to Global interests for the purposes of Global government.

    He is fully aware of what he is doing and choses to side with evil.

    Fellow Belizeans, you MUST VOTE NO to the referendum!!!

    Why would we give the fate of our country into the hands of a few globalists who care nothing about us or our families? They have never stepped foot into this country, will we allow them to decide the fate of The Nation??

    Self-Determination, Power to the People

  5. Love Joys says:

    From the very beginning, Sedi Elrington has been selling us out to Global interests for the purposes of Global government.

    He is fully aware of what he is doing and choses to side with evil.

    Fellow Belizeans, you MUST VOTE NO to the referendum!!

    Why would we give the fate of our country into the hands of a few globalists who care nothing about us or our families? They have never stepped foot into this country, will we allow them to decide the fate of The Nation??

    Self-Determination, Power to the People

  6. Storm says:

    Courtenay is right on these points.

    Too bad our chief minister in this matter is not competent to defend our interests.

    But Sedi not Ready is another STRONG reason to vote against the ICJ. Do you really want Sedi representing our existence against the Guats? Whatever he tries, he will lead us to defeat and disaster. It’s his record.

  7. Stan wright says:


  8. melinda says:

    Why the hell didn’t you amend the bloody act when you were in government? You were AG too. I am tired of politicians throwing stones when they themselves do the same rocking chair when they are in office. ITs so bloody easy to be a critic and act so informed and smart. SEt of hypocrites!

  9. cdb says:

    One question, is Mr. Erlington with Belize or not, don’t he understand that Belize would not give a grain of sand to the guats, when they go back across the border, let them shake their feet off. Mr. Erlington get yourself together, if not leave fi we belize alone. thank you.

  10. Belizean Pride says:

    we who believe we are Belizeans to the bone should vote NO TO THE ICJ once we reach over 60% against it it’s a null case so please vote NO to he ICJ the jewel is ours and we can’t jeopardize it because of a old skunk like sedi trying to sell us out with this big mouth.

  11. Truth says:

    That is true.. saying things publicly can hurt the out come of our country.. better we keep here at home.. NO ICJ.. Once its out of your ball court anything can happen..

  12. Liberty & Freedom says:

    Mr. Erlington is extremely incompetent. I would love to play poker with him. In this particular game of poker, he shows his hand to the Guatemalans. Obviously a losing hand for Belize. He is wrong on the 60% – only an idiot would vote to have the IJC settle this dispute. A comment was made about the World Government. There are many individuals in our country who support a New World Order.
    The United Nations is the parent of the IJC. has anyone ever looked at their agenda. They are the One World Government. Their main objective is to have the “elites” dictate to the people; their is no liberty and freedom for the people. They make the rules; not the people. Either vote “NO” or do not vote at all.

  13. ashton says:


  14. dude says:

    find better minister to represent Belize

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