Outgoing president Alvaro Colom made it official in Guatemala today that a referendum on the Guatemalan dispute with Belize would be held within two years. Colom’s remarks were contained in a press release from Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the release, a meeting held on November twenty-eighth, between Guatemala and Belize decided that “the referendum regarding the dispute will be held simultaneously in both countries before the end of 2013.” In the release, Colom says that “border security will be attained when the ICJ makes a determination on the rights of the two parties. The question on the referendum is for the people of both countries to decide whether or not they agree to settle the dispute at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.” Years of negotiations have been unable to produce a settlement, which paves the way for the ICJ. But that’s for the people on both sides to decide. We do note that a new administration will take office in Guatemala in January 2012 while in Belize, there is a guessing game on whether or not the government will pull the trigger and call elections as early as next year before their current term in office expires.

Channel 5