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EDITORIAL – February 15th.

EDITORIAL – February 15th.
February 15
19:07 2019

By Mr. Henry Lawrence

It is not true!

It is not true that the Belize-Guatemala Boundary Dispute is one and the same as the Anglo -Guatemala Dispute !

This claim was made as recently as this week by Major Lloyd Jones, former Commandant of the Belize Defence Force, during an interview on Channel Seven. He is gravely mistaken!

It is a dangerous example of colonial thinking to say or to imply that the Guatemalan problem is Britain’s problem, because it is not. The border dispute is very much a Belizean problem.

Guatemala is not claiming any part of the River Thames. Guatemala is claiming all of the Sarstoon. Guatemala is not preparing to occupy any part of Southampton with illegal immigrants. She has tried in the past and will try again to send her land-hungry peasants in the Chiquibul to take over our land.

Guatemala has not challenged Britain in court over her claim. But she has challenged Belize before the ICJ in a deteremined effort to discredit our borders.

The Anglo Guatemalan Dispute died when Belize achieved her independence, and the Belize-Guatemala Border Dispute came into being. When Belize accepted her independence in 1981, we walked with our eyes wide open into a new era of self-reliance, where we undertook responsibility for our own future.

We knew that a border dispute existed. We knew that we would not have a defence guarantee from Britain. We knew that without a defence guarantee, we would have to fend for ourselves.

Only Belize can save Belize! As the late Philip Goldson pointed out, the time to save Belize is before we lose her! We will do so by our courage in the face of adversity: by our reliance on our own resourcefulness; by faith in the law, and by remaining united and strong.

This Referemdum on the ICJ has divided Belizeans as few other things have divided us since Independence. One major party is fiercely opposed, while the other major party which forms the Government is overwhelmingly in favour!

The Referendum has divided us along party lines, in spite of efforts to keep the matter above politics.

If we do not make a sincere effort to heal our wounds and come together as one people, we will create a division among our peoplewhich will be hard to heal, especially if we do not repond vigorously to the Guatemalan threat by seeking the assistance of the ICJ.

There comes a time in the life of every nation, when the people have to stand up and unite to protect their rights. Sometimes we have to do so over and over again, because the price we pay for our freedom is eternal vigilance.

If we become so indifferent that we that ignore the danger signs by shifting the responsibility to others, we will lose our way and our nationalism will suffer. We will grasp at shadows and lose sight of the substance.

The most important thing for Belize right now is to reject the border claim being made by Guatemala. We can do so by persuading the ICJ to apply international law as laid out in the Geneva Convention, and to do what the Court has done in the past with such cases: make it clear to Guatemala and to other like-minded expansionist nations, that they cannot change a country’s borders simply by using their own law to denounce a valid border which has been established by treaty.

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