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EDITORIAL – August 3rd. 2018

August 03
13:28 2018

To put it bluntly, we are disappointed in both the UDP and the PUP for not providing the leadership needed to address the Guatemalan claim to Belize with respect to the impending referendum. .

 So far only the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have declared themselves in favour of taking the matter to the International Court of Justice. But there has been a deafening silence from the other members of his Cabinet, among them two who aspire to become Party Leader. 

The Leader of the Opposition has said he wants to set up a committee of experts to advise him on what to do. .

We respectfully submit that 20 years ago former Prime Minister George Price consulted two of the foremost luminaries of international law, Lauterpacht and Bowett. Later he consulted a team of four — Lauterpacht, Schwebel, Rosanne and Vicuna for their legal opinion. .

These experts submitted their reports, debunking the Guatemalan claim. There have been others.

Percy A. Lewis published a book refuting the Guatemalan claim in 2016 and Assad Shoman, former Foreign Minister of Belize, published his book on the claim earlier this year. .

Those who show courage and leadership on this, the most important decision of our time, will be vindicated. Those who hang behind, not wanting to risk their political careers, or being unsure of the soundness of our claim are being ambivalent, putting themselves and their own interests ahead of the best interest of our country.

Whether they are in favour of or against intervention by the ICJ, they should speak up! Now is the time to start the national debate. The opportunity we now have to finally nail down this dispute once and for all is precious! Not to be wasted on groundless fear.

Guatemala, after years of waffling, is now disposed to submit her claim to the ICJ. What a shame it would be if Belize, because of bigotry or cowardice, or perhaps through sheer ignorance and lack of resolve should spurn this opportunity!

It is our right to defend our claim to all our territory encompassing 8,867 square miles of land, and territorial seas and maritime zone amounting to more than three times that area!

We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to make this claim in the name of the people of Belize.

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