Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington on ICJ at UN General Assembly

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

The annual debate at the UN general assembly in New York is winding down. On Monday afternoon, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington took to the famous lectern along with the other ministers from the CARICOM. Elrington touched on a number of global issues on the UN Agenda such as climate change, peace and security while on the home front he lauded the pro poor policies of the government which he said were geared to uplift the welfare of children and youth. The foreign minister also touched on the upcoming referenda in respect of the ICJ in this manner.

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Foreign Affairs Minister

“But whereas we obtained our political independence in September of 1981, our sovereignty over our homeland is still being threatened by a territorial claim dating to post 1940’s by our neighbor, Guatemala. We therefore find the theme for this sixty-seventh session’s debate a timely and fitting one: namely bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means. Happily, I can today inform this august body that both the governments of Belize and Guatemala have agreed to a recommendation of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States to allow the Guatemalan claim to be adjudicated upon by the International Court of Justice if that is the will of the citizens of respective countries express in simultaneous referenda to be held on October sixth, 2013. The resolution of the territorial referendum between Belize and Guatemala will not only consolidate Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but it will also enhance the peace and security of our sub-region and conduce to the strengthening and deepening of our regional integration process. Mister President, Belizeans are a peace loving people. We abhor conflict; we believe in the rule of law and we have faith in this United Nations. We ask also that urgent attention be given to the concerns of the people of Israel and Palestine whose legitimate expectations to live peaceful, fruitful lives continue to be frustrated.”

Still on the ICJ, we do note that our friends from Trinidad and Tobago referred to that issue. In his statement to the UN, the Foreign Minister applauded the Compromis to submit to the ICJ, the adjudication of the dispute. But before that can happen, the decision on whether or not the claim will land before the ICJ, is to be determined in simultaneous referenda in October 2013. We also note the size of the delegation: at last count it was eleven members: Minister Wilfred Elrington, CEO Alexis Rosado, Ambassadors Lois Young Barrow, Fred Martinez, Nestor Mendez, Janine Coye Felson, Senator Lisa Shoman, Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen, and diplomats Ayesha Borland, Paulette Elrington and Sharlene Henderson.

Channel 5