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Mar 18, 2013

Guatemala sent email to OAS about absence

Because of the absence of Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera, Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington returned to his hotel room to wait for a de-briefing of the Vice-Ministerial meeting. Even though Elrington was disrespected, he said that notwithstanding the absence of his counterpart he considered the meeting to be a good one. And while CEO Alexis Rosado said he was still awaiting an email from the Guatemalan delegation but Elrington said he had it. Here’s that story.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I thought we had a good meeting. We had an excellent meeting with the Secretary-General Insulza of the OAS and we also got the information that we were seeking at the end of the meeting. The Foreign Minister of Guatemala was unable to come, but the message which we were hoping he would bring was in fact furnished to the meeting. We have that information now in writing and it’s only left for us to take it back to the capital to get instructions from government and the opposition on how we move forward on it.”


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Wilfred Elrington

Elrington refers to the proposals and to their effect on the referendum but fell short of providing any substance as to what was contained in those proposals.


Wilfred Elrington

“The proposals which we now have, to my mind, doesn’t do too much violence to that. I think it’s something that we could live with. I don’t think it really would fundamentally affect our position. Guatemala’s position is somewhat different, but it would not fundamentally affect our position in my view.”


William Neal

“And what’s that position?”


Wilfred Elrington

“Ahm…we have an agreement to go to the ICJ on the sixth of October, 2013. That is not being ruled out with the Guatemalan position as far as I’m aware.”


And while Guatemala seems determined to modify or if all else fails to delay the referendum to achieve a YES vote, Elrington maintains that the referendum in Belize is scheduled for the sixth of October, and it is better for the country to get it over with sooner rather than later.


Wilfred Elrington

“It is not my perception that what we have heard today will prevent us from proceeding. That’s not my perception. The ultimate question as to whether we proceed will have to be taken by the Government of Belize because we’re a sovereign nation. We have signed an agreement to say we go to the sixth 2013, and we would like to honor that agreement. I also think it would be good for us to do it and get it over with in light of the fact that whatever decision we will take in light of the Guatemala issue finally it will have to be informed by a referendum of the people. So whether we do it now or later we will still have to do a referendum, so why not do it as early as possible, particularly in light of the fact that our international partners are supporting us.”


But while Elrington’s stance at that point seems firm, in practically the same breath he counsels flexibility in perhaps acceding to Guatemala’s proposals and maybe delaying the referendum to obtain the objective of going to the ICJ – even if it means changing the special agreement.


Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t think that it’s going to do violence to the agreement once Belize is prepared to accommodate whatever suggestion is coming from the Guatemalans. An agreement is made to facilitate the attainment of a particular objective. In this case the objective is one of ending the Guatemalan claim to Belize is a peaceful way by going to the International Court of Justice which in my view is the best place that we can settle it and the best manner in which we can settle it. In my view we are committed to that, the Guatemalans are committed to that. So if it is necessary to change the timetable to achieve that end I don’t see that that cannot be done. Legally, I know it can be done. As a matter of fact, it is not infrequent that agreements of every type are changed. We recently changed the agreement with respect to the bondholders. It cost us an arm and a leg, took some time. It was a very nerve-wracking thing but it can be done. Anything that man put together man can change.”


And change is very possible, since Belize’s bottom line official stance, just like Guatemala’s, is to get a YES mandate to go to the ICJ. And in case that was not crystal clear, Elrington wasn’t above throwing out a little verbal scare tactic.


Wilfred Elrington

“What I’m contemplating very greatly is what would happen with a NO on our side, to Belize. My concern, my responsibility, my duty is to Belize and the security of Belize. Belize’s security is being guaranteed since our Independence by the international community, the support we get from the United Nations. That is how we were able to get our Independence, the support which we continue to get from the OAS, from CARICOM, from the Commonwealth, and we need to be able to retain that support. And we need to show the international community that we in Belize feel that the ICJ is the correct place, the correct forum for solving our problem with Guatemala. If we are unable to show the international community that we believe that that is the best forum, that we in fact don’t have faith in it, then I think it would put us in a very difficult position when it is necessary for us to go and ask their assistance in any way to deal with this issue.”


An issue which seems a little more obscure and uncertain as politics and diplomacy meet on the way to the referendum. Mike Rudon for News Five.


In Tuesday’s newscast we will have more on our exclusive coverage of the referendum talks in Washington.  

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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3 Responses for “Guatemala sent email to OAS about absence”

  1. Gimme Some Truth says:

    “Ahm…we have an agreement to go to the ICJ on the sixth of October, 2013. That is not being ruled out with the Guatemalan position as far as I’m aware.”

    Somebody, wake Sedi up!
    The sixth of October, 2013 is the date of the Belizean R-E-F-E-R-E-N-D-U-M.

    Is going to ICJ on October 6 another secret agreement you are hiding?
    Your command of the facts is impressive.

    Keep talking, show your ICJ legal team some C-O-M-P-E-T-E-N-C-E.

  2. Alexjr says:

    belize government weak. have guatemala place their referendum laws similiar to Belize!!! simple n easy. rather than have guate dictating d udp like dawg.

  3. Bear says:

    Sad that GOB, with foolish Sedi as the mouthpiece, wants to work with the enemy to manipulate the outcome of our referendum. He makes it clear they want a “Yes” vote here, and it is more than obvious Belizeans are strongly opposed to that. The recent Channel 5 poll showed 92% opposed.

    GOB has to figure a way to nationalize many thousands of Guats before our referendum to guarantee the result they want!

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