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Belize and Guatemala ink compromise #314192
12/09/08 09:55 AM
12/09/08 09:55 AM
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The compromis has been signed. Just after 10:00 this morning, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Haroldo Rodas, and OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza put their signatures on the bottom line of the Special Agreement in which both countries agree to go to the I.C.J. to settle Guatemala’s claim to Belizean territory. And it was all captured live by Channel Five. Open Your Eyes host William Neal and cameraman Chris Mangar travelled to Washington over the weekend to document the process. Coverage began early this morning with Neal reporting live from the U.S. capital for the breakfast show and continued with the signing ceremony. William Neal reports from Washington.

William Neal
“I am standing on the stairs of the O.A.S. building in Washington D.C. where representatives from Belize and Guatemala spent the morning working on a special historic moment, the signing of a compromis or Special Agreement ... an agreement that many hope will be the beginning of the end of the age-long dispute between the two countries.”

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“This marks a major milestone in the ongoing efforts to settle this aged dispute. Signing of this Special Agreement is a manifestation of a deep commitment on the part of the Government of Belize to put this claim behind us. We Belizeans have always maintained that the Guatemalan claim in unjust and wrong, but while having recognised Belize’s independence and the right of its people to self-domination, it refused to acknowledge Belize’s territorial integrity and the inviolability of its border. We are not at that crossroad, having exhausted negotiation efforts, we are at that stage where we must contemplate submitting our case to legal scrutiny by the highest judicial order of the United Nations. Belize and Guatemala must first decide through a referendum whether they approve of this process. I have every confidence in my colleague, Minister Haroldo Rodas, when he assures me that his government likewise is also committed to this. We know that our people do not wish to live in hostility and resentment toward each other.”

Haroldo Rodas, Foreign Minister, Guatemala
“Both governments have accepted the recommendations of the Secretary General and have now begun a process of preparation and discussions which ended in the signing of this Special Agreement in search for a final solution to the claim. It is historic because we are taking a decision to settle our dispute with Belize and we are beginning a process that independently of the results the people of both countries will be on the same page at the beginning of the 21st century.”

Wilfred Elrington
“It’s a matter of life and death for us in Belize, trying to get this to the I.C.J.; I personally believe that. All members of my government may not believe that, but I can’t see us surviving as a viable nation without having had a definite pronouncement of our western border by the International Court of Justice. So I think it is necessary that we go to the I.C.J.”

After the ceremony, Neal got reaction from the P.U.P. representative on the Negotiating Team, Eamon Courtenay.

Eamon Courtenay
"We now intensify our consultation. We have the document, which we can show to members of the party, so we will embark on the second phase of information and education where we literally go through the document and explain it in detail to our leadership and to our supporters, and the party will be ready to take a decision whenever it is an appropriate time.”

William Neal
“The signing of the Special Agreement between the Belize and Guatemalan governments has been hailed as a great show of political will by both parties. However, the greatest challenge still lies ahead, and that is to engage the public through a public education strategy that will not only have them voting in a referendum, but have them voting yes to take the case to the International Court of Justice for a final solution. Reporting live from Washington D.C., I am William Neal for News Five.”

Re: Belize and Guatemala ink compromise [Re: Marty] #314268
12/09/08 09:55 PM
12/09/08 09:55 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,083
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
Senators Weigh In On The Signing Of Special Agreement
December 09, 2008

Belize and Guatemala yesterday signed a historic document that marked the beginning of a very long process. The special agreement or compromis is basically an agreement by both countries to take the matter of the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice if the people of both countries agree by way of a referendum. The referendum should be held simultaneously in both Belize and Guatemala and will ask, “Do you agree that any legal claim to Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties?” But that question according to critiques is putting into question a matter that has been determined long ago - the borders of Belize. This morning we spoke to Senators Godwin Hulse and Henry Gordon to get their view on the matter.

Senator Godwin Hulse
“I maintain that I am not prepared to do anything that is going to put the most minute part of my territory in jeopardy. I am prepared to go to court, I am prepared to do all of that, but we should have established that that is not and cannot be the issue, and we should establish that with the world, so the world is cognizant and up to date with that issue. This is not a dispute between two neighbors who are not sure where the line is … this is a dispute between two neighbors who knows where the line is … one has just refused to accept the line subsequently.”

Senator Henry Gordon
“The border line is at stake, the border line as Guatemala sees it because we as Belizeans understand what the border line is and we must stand firm in that position. We should not give in to Guatemala’s claim to have territory because this territory belongs to us. We must understand that Guatemala will have to make a decision, but that decision should not involve our territory, it must be, as far as I am concerned, about compensation for any dereliction in the responsibilities of Britain some years back when they signed the agreement in 1859.”

Now that the agreement has been signed, the senators say it is important for the education process to begin and every Belizean should pay attention to the matter.

Senator Godwin Hulse
“The whole education campaign needs to take place, but to educate the people so that they can say “yes” or “no”, but to inform the people first of all to my mind how we have come to this question and this position. What were the reasons therefore and what are the ramifications there of, and then it depends on how we respond to that we move forward.”

Senator Henry Gordon
“When we look at what is happening to us, we have allowed this problem to go on and on and on. We are at a point in our history now when we can make a decision; and I say ‘we’ because I am talking about the people of Belize. The referendum is key and the people must decide based on the education process whether or not we want to do what the government has suggested and that is to allow the ICJ to determine our borders. Our borders have been determined since 1981 originally from before the 1859 treaty our borders were determined. Let us understand that, and what we need to look at now is whether or not Guatemala will be compensated for any breach that she said has occurred. Once we understand that, we can go through the education process and we can go to referendum knowing what the facts are.”

Senators Gordon and Hulse maintain that even if the dispute goes before the ICJ, the question of our borders should not be determined by that court.

Senator Henry Gordon
“We have the opportunity as a people to be educated on this issue and we have the opportunity as a people to go to a referendum. Once we have been educated, we have to make a decision as to what we say to that referendum recognizing that what that referendum is suggesting to us is that we want the ICJ to determine our borders and we are saying no to that, and what we would like the ICJ … to want the ICJ to do, is to look at compensation - if they should be compensated and we are not going to do that compensation. The 8,867 square miles is ours; let us keep that for what it is, Belize, our jewel.”

Senator Godwin Hulse
“The discussion has just now begun, let us focus it where it should be focused. Keep it right where we are. What is it that the Belizeans are trying to accomplish? We are trying to settle the Belize-Guatemala Dispute which is not of our making, but we agreed to try to settle it and put it behind us once and for all with all our territories intact.”

A number of organizations have opposed the way in which the matter leading up to the signing of the compromis was handled. One organization that strongly opposes going to the ICJ is the Maya Leaders Alliance of Southern Belize. The organization issued a release yesterday in which they maintained that the borders of Belize should not be put up for negotiation. The release continues to say and we quote, “we reject the argument that going before the International Court of Justice will guarantee the safety and security of our Maya people.” End quote. The Maya Leaders Alliance calls on the Government of Belize to respect and honor their position not to go before the ICJ.

Love FM

Re: Belize and Guatemala ink compromise [Re: Marty] #314451
12/11/08 12:51 PM
12/11/08 12:51 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,083
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
By Ray Auxillou, Western Belize Happenings!
Dec. 11, 2008

Every twelve to fifteen years or so, a new generation of Guatemalan politicians raise the dispute over ownership of parts of Belize. Belize tries to be friendly and succumbs with our own new generation of politicians and tries to meet Guatemalans more than halfway. Therein follows a round of talks, negotiations and diplomatic maneuvers. Guatemala always loses.

The fact is; under the principals of the United Nations Charter, Belize did find it’s independence as a country a couple of decades ago, with the recognition of our current borders between us and Guatemala. That should have been the end of it!
Today we are faced again with our own new political party in power, answering and negotiating to go to a World Court the ICJ, to argue the old obsolete Guatemalan claim once more. This is not only nonsense, it is playing into a recurring gamble with Guatemala, in which Guatemala has NOTHING to lose on the bet, but Belize has. This is not only foolish to gamble this way, it is not necessary. We went INDEPENDENT as a country with our borders intact. Finish of our argument. We are backed by the United Nations, the English speaking Commonwealth countries and past actions of Guatemala itself.

Forty five years ago I argued this point, 32 years ago I argued this point, 19 years ago I argue this point again and today with the new set of Guatemalan claims to lands of Belize, I will argue it once more for this new generation of Belizean politicians and those of Guatemala.

All the arguments of old treaties, British made cart roads, money owed to Guatemala from Britain, ended for Belizeans when we declared Independence through the United Nations by SELF DETERMINATION and was recognized by the majority of the rest of the world.

The game that new generations of Guatemalan politicians are playing, keeps coming back to the same old argument. They have it in their CONSTITUTION that they own Belize and the Guatemalan government of the day, each one, every twelve or fifteen years, must try to get it back. They never had Belize, EVER, but their CONSTITUTION says they must fight and negotiate and argue to reclaim something they NEVER HAD.

Our current government is fighting old battles that do not exist except in the imaginations of the Guatemalans. I have said this over and over again through the many Guatemalan claims to Belize. UNTIL Guatemala REMOVES that clause from their CONSTITUTION, the arguments will NEVER stop. Amending the Guatemalan Constitution should be our pre-requisite stand, BEFORE we negotiate, or talk about anything like this AGAIN.

We are playing a Guatemalan game with a stacked marked deck by Guatemala. Belizeans keep gambling our freedom in a rigged game. Even supposing we to the ICJ court and win the decision, in twelve or fifteen years, a NEW SET of politicians in Guatemala will resurrect the claim again, just like they have for all the decades of my 71 years of life. By their CONSTITUTION they are obligated to try to recover Belize it says. Each new generation of their politicians have to do this. It is their CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

There is NO GOOD FAITH on the part of Guatemala. There is no sense in spending millions of dollars going to the ICJ, even if we won a decision. It would mean nothing to the next generation of Guatemalan politicians in twelve or fifteen years. They in turn would be obligated by THEIR CONSTITUTION to resurrect the claim over and over and over again to Belize.

UNTIL the Guatemalans eliminate that clause in their CONSTITUTION forcing their new generations of Guatemalan politicians to claim Belize once more, all their arguments and quarrels with us in Belize are in BAD FAITH.

As a negotiating point, our politicians should insist NO ICJ, until that clause in the Guatemalan Constitution is DELETED. Otherwise we are losing our money and time. These continuous claims and arguments, one day will backfire and we will lose and go to war with Guatemala. We want to be friends and trading partners, not go to war. While that CLAUSE in the GUATEMALAN CONSTITUTION exists, there can be no agreements, or conclusion to this matter. Whenever they delete that Constitutional clause we can have some sort of agreement that will hold. Otherwise it is just all HOT AIR and BOMBAST. Until Guatemala amends their constitution, we have nothing to talk about on a Guatemalan claim. That Constitutional clause in Guatemala is a recurring Ace of Spades held up their sleeves for new generations of Guatemalans to claim Belize. All other arguments are a cyclical repeating foolish waste of time.

Let the Guatemalans show GOOD FAITH, by deleting that troublesome clause in their CONSTITUTION. Listening to our own Attorney General BLATHER on and on about legal rights and technicalities is a silly argument. There should be NO negotiations with Guatemala, until a prerequisite change of an amendment to their Constitution in Guatemala is made deleting that recurring troublesome clause Until they do that, no matter what you do is pure waste of time and money.

Re: Belize and Guatemala ink compromise [Re: Marty] #314536
12/12/08 10:00 AM
12/12/08 10:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,083
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
from a friend...

Just vote no to ICJ when they do the referendum.

They should word the referendum so that people have an option, as follows:

A - Like idiots, take the issue of Guatemalan claim over Belize to ICJ and waste millions and accept the verdict

B - Do not take the issue to ICJ and make it unlawful for politicians in Belize to discuss this issue ever again

Commentary: Guatemala's claim to Belize is unjustified and must come to an end

Published on Monday, December 15, 2008 Email To Friend Print Version

By Wellington C. Ramos

The Guatemalan Claim to Belize is based on Spain’s acquisition of all the territories in the Americas and the Caribbean acquired in the Treaty of Tordesillas signed between Spain and Portugal in1494 and witnessed by Pope Alexander the V1 of Rome.

Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has an M.A. in Urban Studies from Long Island University After Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, it was clear that conflict was going to emerge over the lands claimed by Spain and Portugal. The Portuguese also wanted to protect their monopoly on the trade route to Africa and felt threatened. In this treaty a demarcation line was drawn giving Spain full ownership of all the land in the Americas and the Caribbean except for the area of land that is now the country of Brazil. The Portuguese at the same time were given the same rights to the territories in the east of the line in the geographic region where the continent of Africa is located.

Other European countries such as Great Britain, France and Holland reacted to this treaty with hostility and felt that the Catholic Pope had abused his authority and had no right to negotiate this agreement. British pirates, along with French and Dutch ships, then roamed the entire region to challenge Spain’s dominion.

Centuries before the Spanish, Portuguese, British, French and Dutch came to this part of the world, the indigenous people of this region like the Mayas, Aztecs, Olmecs, Arawaks, Incas, Caribs, Tainos and several other indigenous ethnic groups were living sometimes in peace and other times at war with each other.

Belize, Mexico and Guatemala had several different groups of Aztecs, Mayas and Quiche ethnic groups living in all these countries and they were moving from place to place. In 1524 Lieutenant Pedro De Alvarado was sent by Hernando Cortez, five years after he conquered the Aztec Empire in Mexico, to go through Belize with his soldiers to conquer Guatemala. Like Cortez, he divided the natives among themselves, burnt their corn fields and had them surrender to him with little resistance.

At the time of this occupation, Belize, Guatemala and all the territories in this region, including the Caribbean, fell under the Spanish Vice-Royalty of New Spain, which had its headquarters in Mexico City.

In 1530, a Spanish Conquistador by the name of Davila made an attempt to conquer Belize on behalf of Spain. Nachankan, the Maya King, and his people defended Belize and defeated the Spanish. Historical documents prove that these people have been living in Belize since 2500 BC -- long before Spain, England, France, Holland and Guatemala ever dreamed of becoming a country.

Nachankan was assisted by a Spanish warrior, who was married to his daughter, by the name of Gonzalo Guerrero. Guerrero is known today as the father of the Mestizos, since his children were supposedly the first known children to be born to the indigenous Maya and a Spanish parent.

In1660 a British pirate by the name of Bartholomew Sharpe begun to harvest logwood to export to Britain and that generated British interest towards the country of Belize.

On September 15, 1821, a junta convened by the Captaincy General of Guatemala declared independence for its provinces of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, San Salvador and Chiapas. They later gained their independence from Mexico in the year 1823. In the year 1840, the United Provinces of Central America, which included the countries of Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, broke away from Guatemala and demanded their independence. They then became independent countries in Central America.

Mexico and Guatemala later went to war over the Province of Chiapas, which Mexico won, taking the province from Guatemala. Mexico later signed a Treaty with Great Britain giving up all their rights over Belize inherited by Spain under the Vice-Royalty of New Spain up to the Sibun River in 1893. However, Mexico has stated that they would reserve their right to re-claim Belize if Guatemala is given any part of the territory of Belize in the future.

The Treaty of Madrid, also known as the Godolphin Treaty, which was signed between Spain and England in 1670, changed the relationship between Spain and Britain in this region. It paved the way for the British to advance their colonial empire throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. In this treaty, the Spanish King Charles the Second surrendered several territories to the British and also gave them the right to move through several of their territories in order to occupy additional land.

In 1763, another treaty was signed between Spain and Great Britain titled the Treaty of Paris. This treaty gave the British the right to cut logwood and mahogany in the country of Belize. After this treaty was signed, Britain and Spain had several disputes and the Spanish attempted to take over Belize by force in the month of September 1798. After three days of intense fighting, the British defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Saint Georges Caye on September 10, 1798, in the country of Belize.

In 1859, Britain and Guatemala signed a treaty extending Belize’s border from the Sibun River all the way to the Sarstoon River, which is now the clearly defined border between these two countries up to this day. Belize became a British Crown Colony in 1862, received its self government in 1964 and later became an independent country on September 21, 1981.

Guatemala’s claim to Belize is an unfounded claim that started with the Spanish colonisation of the Americas and the Caribbean. This occupation was unlawful and unjust from the beginning. No country has the legal right to leave their respective territory and go to another country, forcefully occupy it, enslave and slaughter the indigenous people and give themselves title to territories that do not belong to them. This is a gross violation of natural and international law.

If the International Court of Justice was to make a mistake and give Guatemala any part of Belize, it would set a dangerous precedent for the current disputes to be adjudicated by this body and many nations of the world would lose faith and confidence in the United Nations.

Over the years, the country of Guatemala has constantly and continues to violate the human rights of the indigenous Mayas from their country. These people are being slaughtered daily, denied access to their own native land, basic human rights and live under inhumane conditions.

My grandmother, a Garifuna woman of African descent, who was born in Livingston Guatemala, like many other native Guatemalans have and continue to flee Guatemala to live in peace in Belize. Belize is the most peaceful and democratic nation in Central America today. To give Guatemala any part of Belize to continue its reign of terror to abuse and violate the human rights of the indigenous Mayas of Central America and the African Guatemalans who reside there would be a travesty and injustice to humanity in this world.

We as Belizeans should take this case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Our options are limited and time is running out. Guatemala has been a long term international nuisance and hindrance to our country’s growth, development and success. If this problem is not resolved now, then the question is when?

To do nothing is to allow the problem to remain a thorn in our side forever for more generations to come. After the people in Belize and Guatemala have voted on the referendum questions, they will be submitted to the International Court of Justice. The conclusion of the court should then result in the signing of a treaty between Belize and Guatemala that will put this dispute to rest for good.

I took the time out and read the legal opinion of several reputable international lawyers and jurists. In my opinion, we have a strong case to walk away with our territory, which includes our cays and territorial waters, intact. All treaties agreed upon by the nations of the world that refer to the legal descriptions of a country’s territory and territorial waters cannot be changed due to other issues contained in the treaty. Those issues will have to be dealt with separately based on their own merits for resolution.

If Guatemala needs access to the Atlantic Ocean to transport their goods through our country, that could be done with the signing of a friendly Joint Regional Cooperation Agreement between our countries for a reasonable fee without ceding any land or coastal territory.

These international judges are aware of the fact that, if they grant any part of Belize to Guatemala, that will open up the doors for Mexico and Honduras to also claim parts of Belize and the annulment of past treaties that were signed between Great Britain, Spain, Guatemala and Mexico regarding our beloved country Belize.


Commentary: One Belizean's perspective on agreement between Belize and Guatemala

December 16, 2008
By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr. (JP)

Recently Belize and Guatemala, through their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs, agreed to submit the claim of Guatemala on Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Diplomats worldwide are touting this as an outstanding step toward settling the age-old dispute and eventually normalising relations between the two countries. Although, on the surface, the recent decision may appear laudable, allow me to express an alternative perspective.

In a word, I am “disgruntled” with the decision undertaken by the government of Belize (GOB). I have heard the wide range of arguments on both sides concerning the matter and must admit that I presume there may be more to this scenario than meets the eye!

Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr. is a Belizean who currently resides in Belize. He has a BA in Social Sciences from the University of California at Irvine (USA), an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) from UWI Cave Hill and an MSc. in Governance and Public Policy from UWI Mona. My perspective derives from the reality that I am a proud citizen of Belize, who upholds the nation’s Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Bearing this in mind, I have to admit that the aforementioned decision is tantamount to an affront to the Constitution and from within certain circles it has been linked to an act of treason! I implore you not to misconstrue what I am saying, for I recognise the importance of diplomacy. Yet given the history of Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize’s territory, diplomatic efforts on the part of Belize have abounded, despite marked intransigence on the part of Guatemala.

If asked my opinion on “the Guatemala question”, my response is categorically, “There is no question in my mind, where Guatemala is concerned.” The matter is straightforward. Belize is (1) a sovereign nation, (2) a legitimate member of the international community and (3) a full member of the United Nations - with its international borders intact! These conditions derive from the fundamental reality that Belize emerged in 1981 as a sovereign state, with its own Constitution that defines the nation both legally and geographically. Therefore a claim by any nation that impinges on Belize’s territorial integrity is essentially an act of aggression on our sovereignty.

Although the diplomatic community has lauded the commencement of a process that could entrust the ICJ with authority to render a final judgment, I believe the decision of the government of Belize was not only shortsighted, but also extremely risky. I hold this position because, by engaging in the compromis, the GOB has (at the very least) given credence to the possibility that Guatemala’s claim, may garner some merit. That, for Belize and all Belizeans, is a terrible mistake. From one perspective, it could signal to those who have assiduously held onto this claim that Belize’s position regarding the facts of the matter may not necessarily be on the firmest of footing. The actions of the GOB, in this instance, have potentially weakened Belize’s position on this matter of unparalleled national significance. Diplomacy can be engaged, conducted and achieved via degrees, and I believe that Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lost sight of this.

Ideally, I welcome “a final settlement” to the issue, yet by entrusting the matter to the ICJ, we must remember that whatever decision is rendered will be final. In my opinion, this is entirely too risky for Belize! When it comes to my nation’s territorial integrity, I do not feel comfortable placing the fate of Belize in the hands of the learned individuals who serve on the ICJ. In terms of risk, simply put, by engaging this process Belize has too much that can possibly be lost. Guatemala, in the case of an unfavourable decision, only stands to lose their unfounded claim. Let us put this on the proverbial scale. An unfavourable decision for Belize could very well mean a loss of already scarce territory. Let us not forget that Guatemala is several times larger and with the recent growth in oil exploration in Belize, various untapped resources of prospective economic viability could potentially be forever lost. Honestly, who do you think potentially stands to lose more?

Given that I believe in the basic tenets of good governance, I do not consider myself one of those “hot-heads” who might become overly animated about the situation and ultimately prove detrimental to promulgating the sober reality of the conundrum. I understand that the recent signing is but the initial step in what is envisaged as taking the form of a process. Although I am utterly disappointed and disgusted with the decision to explore the route of placing the matter on the jurisprudence of the ICJ, I give thanks that Belizeans will be afforded a say in whether or not to proceed. Therefore, it is imperative those who share my view concerning the unmitigated risks to Belize must become constructively proactive toward addressing the issue. Between now and the date of the simultaneous referenda, Belizeans from all walks of life, especially civil society, must concertedly embark on a public information campaign which clearly analyses both positions. Without such an effort we may have a situation in which the people go to the polls with less-than-adequate information with which to make an informed decision.

I alluded to the possibility that there may be more than meets the eye, regarding this issue. Although the constraints of space will not allow me to elaborate extensively, I shall impart it as follows. I cast no aspersions, but faithfully hope that those who have been entrusted with the honour of governing the nation’s affairs in a responsible manner, are not engaged in what could potentially amount to an extremely high stakes endeavour of international proportions, simply for political gain. On this issue, I admit the position expressed is speculative, but whenever the human element is factored into such an equation, there exists the possibility that the motivation toward solidifying some form of legacy, could very well be at the core of this effort. Recently, in Belize, elements of the local press have reported that certain high ranking government officials have made unfortunate remarks, which have insinuated that, if Belizeans don’t go the route of the ICJ, we should then be prepared to “take up arms”. Such rhetoric is unfortunate, irresponsible and grossly misleading. Hence, my comment that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has seemingly lost sight of the fact that diplomacy can be engaged, conducted and ultimately achieved by way of degrees.

In closing, I call on Belize’s civil society to: (1) decide whether Belize’s Constitution is the supreme law of the land, (2) critically analyse the overall issue, (3) determine whether the associated risks of entering this compromis are minimal enough to warrant placing our nation’s territorial integrity in the hands of the jurisprudence of the ICJ and (4) ultimately take proactive steps to educate the general public. Belizeans, become aware of what precisely is at stake and make an informed decision regarding this immensely significant issue. To those, non-Belizeans who view the singing of the compromis as a positive step, I can simply say that I admire your optimism, but quite honestly, who feels it knows it.

Belize’s Constitution takes precedence in all matters relating to our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Accordingly, the associated risks are too great to undertake the ultimate course of action set in play through the signing of the compromis. Furthermore our current existence is already, legally, recognised by the international community.

Long live Belize in its current, legal and geographic legitimacy.

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