By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The People’s United Party (PUP) and Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) have publicly condemned Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington’s statements on Guatemala’s unfounded claim, made at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Elrington, speaking at the UNGA in New York last week said that Belize had “signed a Protocol to the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular, and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”
The PUP and COLA categorized Elrington’s statements as ‘misleading’ to Belizeans and the rest of the world, because he failed to mention that before the claim is submitted to the ICJ, it must have the approval of the Belizean people by way of a referendum.
The PUP reiterated its position taken in July, that it will not support any move to take the claim to the ICJ or a referendum inquiring if Belizeans are in agreement. The party also said that it will continue to internationalize Belize’s position on the unfounded claim, and work to ensure that Belize’s rights to its territorial, insular and maritime areas are protected.
“The Foreign Minister has acted recklessly and grossly misrepresented what the peoples of both countries believe and were told about this process from the very beginning. Each time it is mentioned, it must be explicitly stated as a condition of agreement, not implicit, lest people be misled”, said Geovanni Brackett, president of COLA.
Both COLA and the PUP, for the past several months, have expressed views of “no confidence” in Elrington’s ability to represent Belize’s interests internationally, and have been calling for his removal. Elrington is currently offering himself up as a candidate in the November 4 General Elections, in his traditional constituency, Pickstock.