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Editorial – Friday June 21st. 2019

Editorial – Friday June 21st. 2019
June 21
13:16 2019

The first round of presidential elections in Guatemala, held on Sunday, June 16 has produced a woman candidate, former First Lady Sandra Torres, as the front runner and clear favorite over second placed Alejandro Giammattei.

If her luck holds, she will become Guatemala’s first woman President in her country’s 198 year history.

She is the wife of former President Alvaro Colon, and succeeded her husband to leadership of the National Unity of Hope Party.

In contrast to her political rival, Jimmy Morales who became President in 2015 from a background of being a popular entertainer, Sandra Torres is a businesswoman in her own right who has also done significant work advocating for women’s rights and equal opportunities. She has worked as President of the Council for Social Cohesion, which is dedicated to fighting poverty in Guatemala.

Now that our response to Guatemala’s claim to Belize has been firmly lodged with the International Court of Justice, we expect to see a lessening of border tensions as both our countries work towards restoring neighbourly relations.

In this respect, agreement on a Sarstoon Protocol over navigation rights to the river which forms our southern boundary, looms high on Belize’s list of priorities.

It is a protocol which President Jimmy Morales has been reluctant to sign, even though the 1859 Treaty gives Belize the northern half of the river from Gracias a Dios Falls to the sea.

Unlike other candidates who have used the dispute with Belize as a crutch to bolster their candidacy, Sandra Torres has stood focused, grounding her campaign on women’s rights and employment for the marginalized.

Observers in Belize have been encouraged by her success so far. She may be the sitting President by the time the ICJ gets to resolving the Belize-Guatemala dispute.

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