Protest the Map!

It may not deter her in any way, but we believe Belize should nonetheless protest Guatemala’s plan to print a bunch of maps showing Belize as part of her national territory.

We really should make a fuss about this by lodging a protest with Guatemala herself and at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, with the Commonwealth Secretariat and with our CARICOM cousins.

We should let it be known that we in Belize regard the President’s map strategy as a ploy and an act of provocation, raising false expectations among her own electorate, and trying to pre-determine the work of the ICJ.

A new map with transposed boundary lines will not erase or in any way mitigate Guatemala’s commitment, pledged in the Treaty of 1859, to respect Belize’s borders and the right of her people to this land, confirmed during more than 200 years of uninterrupted occupation.
But it will set the stage for Guatemalans to reject the ICJ’s ruling if the arbitration award should not be to their liking.
We understand the Government of Belize’s reluctance to do anything which could set off a presidential tantrum in Guatemala. We understand the need for Belize to have continuous access to our military base on the Sarstoon at Fairweather Camp.

We know also of the uneasy relations along our southern border.
But an abundance of caution must not ever give way to appeasement. It is time for Belize to seriously evaluate the Maritime Areas Act with a view to revoking it.

The Maritime Areas Act is an offer which the Parliament of Belize made in 1992, to cede to Guatemala a generous swath of coastal water so that she can have free and unrestricted access to the sea for trade and commerce.

Guatemala has not accepted this offer, and so it is time for us in Belize to make it clear that the offer will end, hopefully on the 31st of December, 2017.

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