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Apr 29, 2013

PM says no Referendum on ICJ

Turning to other main stories for the day… There will be no Belize/Guatemala referendum on October sixth, 2013. That revelation, and comments on various other issues, was made during a media brief by Prime Minister Dean Barrow which lasted almost an hour and a half. The forum was his quarterly press conference, and during the session he spoke on, and was quizzed about, everything from oil and rosewood to Justice Oswell Legall to Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley’s political ambition. We’ll have all that for you, but first there’s the burning issue of the referendum. According to the Prime Minister, confirmation that there would be no referendum came at a meeting which was held in Haiti between Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedi Elrington and Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon was at the press conference this morning and has the story.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There will be no referendum on October sixth. There has been a suggestion in some quarters that Belize could still proceed to hold its referendum. That is not on. The cabinet has rejected that suggestion. So the referendum is off in both countries. I repeat that we say this even though there is this step remaining of the Guatemalans having to indicate formally their position to the O.A.S.  But as a practical matter, obviously the referendum is off.”


Dean Barrow

Mike Rudon, Reporting

That very clear and final declaration came right at the start of Prime Minister Barrow’s hour and a half long address. And while it won’t be exactly official until Guatemala communicates its decision to the OAS, it is clear that as far as the government is concerned, it is a done deal.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry confirmed that for them the date is off; that there is simply no way they can proceed for various reasons that he got into with the referendum in October. Our foreign minister recorded our concern about even the current passport and made clear that while we appreciated hearing from the Guatemalans in persons, as far as we are concerned, the Special Agreement which was signed and promulgated under the aegis of the O.A.S. required in order for actions under that special agreement to be consistent with it required under the case of this change that the Guatemalans were proposing or in the case of better describe it; this unilateral withdrawal from the October date. That they should formally communicate this to the O.A.S. Secretary General and that we would not accept this as official until in fact the communication was made by Guatemala to the Organization of American States.”


Barrow claims that the pressure will be on Guatemala, and he is sure that country will suffer a great deal of diplomatic fallout for the decision. But with that said, the PM is still very clear that he believes that the Special Agreement should still stand even if the date scheduled for the referendum didn’t. And as for a new date for a referendum…well, that won’t happen anytime soon.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Keeping the special agreement in place then would mean that at some point we look at another possible date for a referendum. I don’t see that happening anytime in the immediate future. I believe we in Belize must take our time. We must explain carefully and repeatedly to the Belizean public what it is that I am trying to say here this morning. And we must be sure that there is support. I am propounding that we need to keep the special agreement in place and that there will be continuing consensus—as I think there was before the Guatemalans pulled those switcheroos on us—that there is continuing consensus for the referendum process to take place. All sorts of luminaries in this society have come out to say they support the process. How they will vote in the referendum is all together another matter. But we need to make sure that there will still be support for the referendum process. Once we do that, then we can begin to think about possible new dates.”


Both the PM and Foreign Minister Elrington say they are confident that Guatemala will convey its decision to the Organization of American States very soon. Mike Rudon for News Five.


Last week, however, a representative of the O.A.S., in the person of Raul Lago, informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belize that Guatemala was not proceeding to referendum. 

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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5 Responses for “PM says no Referendum on ICJ”

  1. Rod says:

    This pm doesn’t know squat he hasn’t been in the country for half this year how can he be any good to the people of Belize when he spends half a year on miami beach worse pm in the history of this great nation.

  2. Retired CEO says:

    Very sadly so, it appears as if one day Belize will become Belice de Guatemala, This current leadership of the GOB appears to be on the brink about to sink. Clearly, the jewel is on slippery slope under this udp government. Leadership crisis in the land, we need some credible leadership who has the Belizean populace needs at heart. Rise up Belizeans it is time for a change!

  3. Storm says:

    If you exclude Guats who were registered to vote here by both parties, the consensus of Belizeans is NO TO THE ICJ. There is no need for a referendum, now or ever.

    We should put our energy into marking the border and preparing to defend it by all means necessary.

    You can’t trust or negotiate with a country ruled by genocides.

  4. Jewish says:

    bwai Rod, F$%* you!! i hope you never get to experience the illness of a wife or loved one. you have no brains and no feelings! Get lost

  5. Paco Smith says:

    I concur with both “Retired CEO” and “Storm”. Equally as important is that the Belizean let neither the GOB nor the OAS off the hook.

    Guatemala has breached the not-so-Special Agreement. Therefore, the OAS must act accordingly. If we do not force the issue, they will allow the matter to lay low for a while and then re-hatch it. If this occurs, Guatemala will have its way…that is a change in the date of the referendum.

    Belizeans, take note because the entire ICJ issue is not “officially” dead. Proponents of this madness are holding out hope that Belizeans sleep on it and allow the OAS to continue to facilitate and coddle Guatemala. This can NOT be allowed to occur.

    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!

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