Guatemala Afraid to go to ICJ Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00

Guatemala has a very low chance of success in court on its claim for Belizean territory and the country appears to have finally realized that fact. The Guatemalan Government recently announced that it will not proceed with its national referendum on October 6th to decide if the two countries should take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This was after weeks of trying to upset the process.

They first complained about Belize’s Referendum Act which requires that sixty percent of the voting population participate in a referendum for it to be valid. This requirement was introduced in the laws of Belize before the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala was signed. Therefore, they were well aware of the sixty percent threshold, or they should have been. They then complained about the cost of a national referendum in their country compared to one in Belize. Another bogus concern because it was on the table to hold the referendum during their General Elections in order to minimize the cost. They then proposed that Belize go ahead and hold its referendum first and Guatemala would follow depending on the results. Prime Minister Barrow publicly rejected that proposal at a House of Representatives meeting. Now, they have decided to breach the Special Agreement by not holding their referendum. The international community can now clearly see that Guatemala is not serious about bringing an end to the territorial dispute.

The Guardian was unable to reach the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, for comments on this recent development since he and C.E.O. Alexis Rosado have left the country for the 5th Summit of Heads of State of the Association of Caribbean States in Haiti.