October 6, 2013 Is Referendum Day In Belize and Guatemala

Belize and Guatemala will have simultaneous referendums on October sixth, 2013. That was agreed to at a meeting held today in Washington DC at the headquarters of the Organization of American States. Delegations from Belize and Guatemala were headed by their respective foreign ministers, Wilfred Elrington and Harold Caballeros.

Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington is in Washington tonight and, via telephone, he told us that the date was decided upon because general elections have recently been held in both countries.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Since we completed our electoral process early this year we are now in a position to try to decide on a date when that could possibly be done and so we met today to try to determine the date which would be most convenient to do it and we have decided that the 6th of October would be a convenient date.

We had to think in terms of getting the finances to do the education campaign that is necessary, we need to inform and sensitize the Belizean people as to exactly is involve in this referendum and then we would have to find the finances also for the holding of the referendum."

"I think that in the education process we will attempt to have both the pros and the cons put to the Belizean people; they must know everything that we do. They must know the risk that we run in going to the ICJ and the possible benefits that would be arrived from going that route. Everybody will be expected to pull their weight to educate themselves and of course to help educate the rest of the society to make the proper choice at the right time."

"In our meeting this morning the present Guatemalan Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros made it very clear to the meeting that his country was to get this dispute behind him. They will now resolve to try to concentrate on developmental matters. They did not believe that could be done successfully with this pain still hanging over both of our heads."

Jules Vasquez
"What is the position of Belize's Minister of Foreign Affairs in seeking a juridical solution?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"As an attorney at law I believe that that is the way people must go in trying to resolve a dispute."

Funding for the education campaign, and the referendum itself will be solicited from an international Group of Friends.

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