Guatemala goes to referendum on Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 April 2018 00:00

Back in May 2015 Belize agreed to allow Guatemala to proceed with its referendum asking whether the people of Guatemala wish to submit the issue of the Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On Sunday, April 15, 2018, that referendum will be held. The question the Guatemalan Voters will be asked is, “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determines finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties?” Here in Belize we have not set a date for our referendum on the matter, when the same question will be asked of the Belizean Voters. We’ve only been told that our referendum will be held sometime after the Re-registration which occurs this year.

During a television interview after one of his speeches, Morales, who has been trying to drum up support for a yes vote in favor of going to the ICJ, told a reporter, that Belize is one of the major issues for Guatemala. Prime Minister Barrow approached him during his inauguration in Guatemala and Prime Minister Barrow said “President Morales, let us not leave as inheritance to our children, the same problems that we inherited from our fathers.” Morales told the reporter that based on those words Barrow showed support for the countries to take the long-standing territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The reporter asked Morales about the economic benefits of going to the ICJ for Guatemalans, Morales response was, that by Guatemala voting yes and winning, they would have access to the maritime wealth, and insular wealth along the beaches, coast and the sea. Morales seemed very hostile towards the reporter throughout the interview. He emphasized that his only motive for being on television was to invite Guatemalans to vote YES in Sunday’s national referendum. He then just abruptly walked out of the interview leaving the reporter surprised on live national television.

We don’t know why Morales would take what PM Barrow said to mean what Morales thought it meant, but here in Belize we know that neither has the Prime Minister or any other member of the government has encouraged Belizeans to vote in any particular manner. Officially and unofficially the members of government have been saying to Belizeans to vote their conscience. Here in Belize we have also not interfered in the Guatemalan electoral process. We have seen the type of advertisements and public service announcements been run in the Guatemalan Media, where they have been showings some of our beautiful Belizean sites including but not limited to our beaches, using them as baits to get the Guatemalan People to vote yes but our government have not made any statements in an effort to counter those things.


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