Some individuals are calling for information regarding (recent) rulings of the ICJ, in order to determine whether or not confidence or fear should be derived, as it relates to the impending simultaneous referendum concerning Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize’s territory.
To this is submit the following…
Belizeans should not have confidence pertaining to any ruling derived from the ICJ. Yet, even beyond that, I implore you to first begin the process with the following foundation – Belize is an independent, sovereign nation…a member of the world community, with full membership in the UN in addition to other sub-regional groups (i.e. CARICOM and SICA), additionally, we are members of other entities such as the Commonwealth and (interestingly enough) the Organisation of American States (OAS). By virtue of our membership in these organisations, it is acknowledged that not only are we a sovereign nation, but that our territory, complete with an international border, is recognised in-tact. That is the starting point.
From there I ask that you put forth the following questions, in regard to Guatemala’s unfounded claim on our territory:
(1) What tangible, measurable and identifiable elements is Belize being deprived of, due to the fact that Guatemala stands alone among the swathe of nations and holds a claim on our sovereign territory? In other words, what has Belize missed out on, for the past 31 years of independence, due to Guatemala’s claim?
(2) Proponents of going to the ICJ proclaim that this is the best manner through which to reach a definitive determination on the matter. I posit that if one subscribes to that train of thought, you need look no further than the ICJ’s recent determination involving Columbia and Nicaragua. The decision has been made and one of the parties has already said that they will fight it. Now, jump to our situation. Do you actually believe that (heaven forbid) if the matter is taken to the ICJ and somehow, Belize receives a favourable determination, that Guatemala (given its insistence on the matter) would simply accept it? Better yet, do you believe that their infamous “El Commission de Belice” would cease to exist?
(3) The ICJ is a foreign court of arbitration. It is documented that it seeks to find “an equitable” solution to matters on it adjudicates. In simple terms, their modus operandi is to seek “equity”. Belize does not need “equity”, when it comes to our territorial integrity. We already have what is rightfully ours. The word “equity” signals that, since we are in possession of our territory (both terrestrial and maritime), it is most likely that the ICJ will endeavour to provide Guatemala with something. I don’t know about you, but as far as I am concerned, the ICJ is fool’s gold, because we have something (if not everything) to lose. Guatemala only stands to gain from going to the ICJ. I, therefore ask…”Why would one partake in a gamble with another party, when the opposing side has nothing tangible to lose?”
(4) Based on the reality that the ICJ is a foreign court of arbitration, ask yourself…”What portion or how much of Belize am I willing to GIVE UP (and I stress those two words because we need not go to the ICJ in the first place), in order to placate the OAS and Guatemala? Honestly, ask yourself that question, because once this matter goes to the ICJ, much like the case involving Columbia and Nicaragua…one party will inevitably have to GIVE UP something, all in the ICJ’s quest to achieve an “equitable” determination to the matter. Just remember, all Guatemala has is its unfounded claim on our territory, we on the other hand have tangible resources that we stand to lose.
(5) If you believe that on 21st September 1981, Belize obtained its independence, with its territory in-tact and subsequently became a full member of the aforementioned international and regional entities, ask yourself the following…”Why then should we place our territorial integrity at the discretion and subsequent determination of the so-called “learned justices” at the ICJ? After all, we already have what is rightfully ours. “Why then should we waste valuable: time, resources and energy to take a matter to an international court of arbitration, with no true guarantee that matters will pan out in our favour (that is without us having to GIVE UP anything)?” Beyond that, ask yourself, “Of the potential hundreds of thousands of dollars that will eventually go into the pockets of those who will present Belize’s case to the ICJ, could not those monies be put to better use toward developing our infrastructure, upgrading our security forces, providing increased social development initiatives, further developing our education system, fostering increased economic development and properly manning our border?
My fellow Belizeans and true friends of Belize, ask yourself those questions, based on the premise described and from there I trust you will have ample fodder from which to make a sound determination. For my part, it should come as no surprise that based on what I have mentioned, I am of the opinion that the inherent risks for Belize, by considering going to the ICJ are far too great. It is for that reason, I hold fast that a resounding “NO” vote to the ICJ is the most prudent course of action.
On the day of the referendum, make your voice heard, by casting your vote because the end result will be determined by whichever side, either “NO” or “yes”, garners the most votes. Just remember that “the time to save your country is now…before you lose it.” Do not allow those with “silver tongues” to con you into believing that going to the ICJ is a viable option.
With that I thank you for taking the time to consider these points and I leave you with this utterance….
Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!
- Definition of Belize (fiwebelize.com)
- (ACP-EU) – Resolution on the question of Belize (fiwebelize.com)
- Belize – Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement (fiwebelize.com)
- Belize Timeline (fiwebelize.com)
- Guatemalan Claim Part I (fiwebelize.com)
- Guatemalan Claim-Part II (fiwebelize.com)
- Guatemalan Claim-Part III (fiwebelize.com)
- Commentary: Belize, land of the free… for all? (fiwebelize.com)
- BELIZE (British Honduras)-GUATEMALA BOUNDARY (fiwebelize.com)
- Decolonization and the Border Dispute with Guatemala (fiwebelize.com)