By Wellington C. Ramos

Since the 1800s, Guatemala has been claiming our country with no end in sight. Plus, they continue to teach their citizens that Belize belongs to them. Every day many Guatemalan citizens cross the border at will with no regard for the military, immigration or custom officers. They even establish villages, take land to grow their food and settle permanently to await their citizenship through amnesty programs from Belizean politicians, who need their votes to get elected.

It was reported in the news recently by a former PUP operative that many Guatemalans who live in their country are registered voters in Belize and are been paid by the two major political parties PUP and UDP to come and vote in Belize in the general elections and then return back home after they vote for a fee.

This is despite the fact that our constitution clearly states that citizens from countries that do not recognize the independence and sovereignty of Belize, like Guatemala, cannot be granted Belizean citizenship. There are some Guatemalans who come from Belizean parentage and would not fall in that category.

How can we trust and have confidence in a country like Guatemala with this type of attitude? With all these issues hanging over the future of our nation, it is now time to end future negotiations until we have a framework in place to have the Guatemalan government commit itself on discontinuing all these illegal activities against our nation.

This is not a show that we are engaged in just to satisfy the other nations of the world that have a vested interest in exploiting our oil and other natural resources. This is about the future of our beloved country Belize and we should take this matter seriously. Guatemala has shown no interest in stopping their citizens from engaging in all these illegal activities against Belize.

I have come to the conclusion that Guatemala supports their citizens to continue engage in actions that are in violation of international law when it comes to Belize. When examining the records, it will show that Guatemalans crossing the border to commit crimes in Belize is as old as Belize itself.

The only way I will be proud of my government again is if they were to say to Guatemala: we will not engage in any further negotiations with your government unless you can have your citizens cease and desist from all activities that are in violation of Belize's sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is the right and only action for a responsible government to take. To do the opposite will make the government appear weak and fearful of Guatemala.

Many Belizeans have come and gone with the hope that this matter will be resolved before they die but to no avail. Belizeans must now call on our government to do the right thing and stop engaging themselves in these talking clinics that are the same old same old without any significant accomplishments. Belize now needs a political party with Belizean nationalists, who are willing to defend and die for our beloved country with no fear whatsoever. Guatemala would never allow any Belizean to do the things to their country that their citizens are currently doing to ours.

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