The two R’s remain on the front burner as it relates to issues of national importance …rosewood and the referendum. On Monday, News Five asked Minister Wilfred Elrington if our CARICOM allies will be asked to support Belize on the referendum roadmap. The response from the Minister was surprising and sounded as if he was ‘dissing’ CARICOM, which has given unwavering and unstinting support to Belize over the past decades in respect of the territorial dispute. Elrington responded to Jose Sanchez in the following manner.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Yes, it’s a very good question that you are asking because the Belize people has to know that countries are not guided by friendship, but by their interests. And I can tell you over the last three or four years, I have seen developments in CARICOM that have worried me. Positions that CARICOM members have taken have changed. But you are quite right, we propose to talk to the people in CARICOM about it. We propose to talk to the people in the Commonwealth about it. We propose to talk to our people in SICA about it. We’ll be dealing with the people in the O.A.S. All our friends, we will be asking to support us on this matter because it is so important. And you are quite right in terms of a roadmap, we will be getting in touch of all our friends. But the CARICOM people as well as the others who have worked with us over the years have indicated to us that we cannot expect them to continue to support us indefinitely; particularly with funding the adjacency zone. We’ve got to solve the matter and move on. So that is important in terms of us deciding how we handle this matter going forward.”
Now, it’s important to note that after every summit of the Heads of CARICOM, a communiqué is issued. And as night follows day, a paragraph is included which gives unequivocal support to Belize. The Heads last met in June 2012 in St Lucia, the communiqué says in part “Heads of Government welcomed the agreement by Belize and Guatemala for simultaneous referenda on sixth October 2013, when the electorate will be asked to decide whether the dispute should be finally determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ)…Heads of Government expressed deep concerns at the security and environmental issues developing along the border and called on the Guatemalan authorities to act decisively against those whose actions threaten the success of the efforts to improve relations between the two countries…They reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the maintenance and safeguarding of Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”