Foreign Affairs confident in a yes for the referendum 1


The Referendum is set for October sixth and government has announced that its official position in support of going to the International Court of Justice to resolve the dispute once and for all. At least to the sixty percent of the voting public h is required to validate the referendum and patriotic sentiment is already running strong and free. But Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, is confident that the vote for the referendum will be yes. He acknowledges, however; that there are still scenarios in which Belize stands to lose ground, or in his worst case scenario, maritime area.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I honestly don’t get any negative sense or feeling coming from the government of Guatemala. I get the impression that they really want to have this matter resolved at the International Court of Justice, the ICJ. I think they have come to that conclusion now. I think what worries both the Guatemalans and us really si the fact that their people are moving eastward. There is lot of poverty, there is lot of hunger, there is lot of violence, there is lot of crime taking place in Guatemala right now because of the hardship that exists there and the people are migrating towards Belize because the grass is greener over this side. Now when those people come across into our country, the potential exists for conflict with our security forces. And then if we have conflict with them, it can escalate and then we have problem between our security forces and theirs—that is the greatest fear that I have. Because of the law; the law is that once a boundary has been established, it cannot be changed—no matter what happens, the boundary will remain the boundary. So I am very convinced that our western boundary is going to remain the same; same coordinates. The southern boundary is going to remain the same, alright. There is very clear principles dealing with the demarcation of our maritime boundaries, so that I feel very confident too that we are going to be treated with respect to our maritime boundaries in accordance with the international law dealing with the law o the sea. So I really don’t think we will have any negative consequence but if there is a negative it would have to be in relation to those areas that are not yet affirmly demarcated and defined. But because the land border is already defined and the southern border is already defined, I am confident that nothing untoward can happen with respect to those two. The only place I think there is room for some surprise would have to be in the sea area or perhaps in the insular area because those are not yet defined.”

 

Currently, the Referendum Unit in charge of the awareness campaign is targeting schools and institutions across the country with presentations on the pros, cons and risks of taking the insular, land and maritime claim to be resolved by the International Court of Justice.    

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