General

Guatemalans challenging referendum, will Belizeans be next?

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

Citizens in Guatemala have mounted a legal challenge against its upcoming referendum to take the territorial dispute with Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Belizeans may be getting ready to mount a challenge of their own.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington explained this week that the Guatemalans are challenging the April 15th referendum because their country’s constitution mandates that the people go to a referendum after the ICJ has made a ruling in the case and not before.
Elrington said that the Government of Belize will continue to monitor the situation, but maintains that he feels comfortable the Guatemalans have made all the of the mandatory preparations for the upcoming referendum.

He noted that Belize is seeking some $8 million from friendly nations such as the Eurpean Union, United States, Canada, Turkey and Taiwan, along with the members of the Organization of American States, to be able to fund the country’s referendum.

Elrington also acknowledged the possibility of Belize’s referendum being challenged in court, which attorney Dickie Bradley expounded on in an interview with Channel 5. Bradley said that there are concerned citizens combing through their legal options to see how they can challenge Belize’s referendum, which could be held sometime this year.

Bradley said that the involved parties need to seek additional legal opinion, on the point that the process can be frustrated by Guatemala’s constitutional provision to hold a referendum on whether or not to accept the CCJ’s verdict.

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