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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00

September Celebrations Greetings to Belizeans and to all our friends.

This September we celebrate the 220th Anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye and the 37th Anniversary of our country’s Independence! ” Belize da fi wi, now and forever – 8867” is the chosen theme for this year’s celebrations. It fittingly highlights the fact that all Belizeans are united in the conviction that we own all eight thousand eight hundred and sixty seven square miles of our country and, that we will continue to do so forever!!!

But the Guatemalan claim remains. It hangs over our country like ‘the Sword of Damocles’ and persistently and severely blights our development prospects.

In 1937 the British first invited the Guatemalan Government to take its claim to the International Court at The Hague which adjudicates upon legal disputes between nation states. Since the Guatemalan claim is based upon an alleged breach of a legal document, the 1859 Border Treaty between the United Kingdom and Guatemala, the International Court is the only forum that can judge the matter! However, the Guatemalan Government refused so to do for 71 years.

Thankfully, this year, an end to the claim seems to be in sight! The people of Guatemala on April 15 last ratified in referendum, the commitment made by their Government in 2008 to have the claim resolved at the International Court of Justice. Belizean voters will go to referendum on April 10th 2019 to vote on the matter.

This is a truly historic and priceless opportunity to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the claim. An opportunity which successive British Governments had longed for since 1937, and which every Belizean Government since 1981 had fought passionately and relentlessly for with full support, in a sustained and unbreakable bi-partisan initiative, of the opposition party.

I know that the patriotic fervor is most intense in our diaspora communities, and more so at this time of the year! That is as it should be! Absence does make the heart grow fonder! I am sure that the fervor will only intensify as we count down to April 10th 2019 – when resident Belizeans will decide the fate of our country in referendum.

In the interim I invite you all to remain united in your love and commitment to our country, Belize. Inform yourselves about the history and the law relating to the claim and the International Court of Justice from knowledgeable, reputable and credible sources. Encourage eligible family members back home to do likewise and to get re-registered and go out and vote on April 10th 2019.

I am confident that a bright and secure future is at hand for all Belizeans. I therefore invite you all to enjoy yourselves this September! Immerse yourselves in our great and unique Belizean culture!

I pray God’s richest blessings on each and every one of you and on our beautiful country, Belize.

Wilfred P. Elrington

Hon. Wilfred P. Elrington,                                                                                                                                      Minister of Foreign Affairs


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