COLA says Belize should part ways with Organization of American States (OAS)

Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has taken it’s “No to ICJ” campaign to new frontiers when it released it’s position paper outlining possible resolutions for the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute, including severing ties with the Organization of American States (OAS).
COLA has described the OAS as having “failed to adequately pursue a final solution agreeable to both our nations,” and calls for Belize to “end long-standing membership in the OAS forthwith…”
In addition to leaving out the OAS as a part of the overall solution COLA recommends that Belize call upon the United Nations to reaffirm the resolution of 1980, and work with NGO’s and other neutral groups to increase and maintain a strong presence at the western boarder to prevent Guatemalan incursions.
The Reporter spoke with COLA President Giovanni Brackett, who explained that while the educational campaign is ongoing COLA would be working to ensure that all information presented to the public is thoroughly scrutinized.
Brackett also explained that COLA would be making full use of every possible medium to ensure that the relevant facts on the ICJ issue are presented to the Belizean people to explain why the ICJ is not a viable option for Belize. He went on to say that the position paper, which was launched on Sunday December 16, is the result of extensive research and legal consultation.
The four-paged document outlines the basis on which COLA rejects the ICJ as an option for dispute resolution. It stressed that Guatemala’s claim is baseless and that the ICJ’s unpredictability leaves Belize open to potential losses once the court renders it’s decision.
Making reference to Schedule 1 (Appendix, Section1) as well as Section 69 of the Belize Constitution, COLA says it deems GoB’s decision to hold a referendum as unconstitutional. Schedule 1 outlines the borders of Belize as they are defined and recognized in all atlases and world maps, while section 69 dictates how changes may be made to the constitution.
COLA stresses that the entire move to a referendum is unconstitutional, because there has been no change to the Constitution to redefine Belize’s territory and the government is holding a referendum without having taken the matter to the House of Representatives to obtain the requisite two-thirds majority.
The assault on Guatemala’s claim itself began with the United Nations affirmation of Belize’s sovereignty through the UN General Assembly resolution 35/20 on November 11 1980.
COLA also underscored the fact that neither the Guatemalan government nor it’s military has ever settled, attempted to settle, or occupied Belize. They attacked the notion of inherited title from the kingdom of Spain that similarly “never physically or otherwise impacted the settlement.”
Great Britain’s failure to complete agreed upon treaties was denounced as a valid reason to continue Guatemala’s claim.
COLA drew references from several past ICJ decisions in cases such as Nigeria v. Cameroon; the United States of America v. Nicaragua; and Nicaragua v. Colombia, which resulted in the loss of maritime space that once belonged to Colombia and caused the country to end it’s standing with the court.
COLA, having laid out its arguments, called for the political leaders of Belize to act with “sound diplomacy and non-aggression”, and maintains that COLA is willing to dialogue with any and all involved parties in an effort to achieve a resolution to the dispute that is in favor of the Belizean people.

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