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#454924 - 01/10/13 02:19 PM ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,432
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline

In October of this year there will be a referendum on whether Belize should submit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a determination on the Guatemala claim of Belize. I humbly believe that all Belizeans should participate in this referendum as it may be the only opportunity for us to ever record our opinion on this very serious matter, most importantly though it must be a conscience vote, one that truly reflects each voters opinion on this issue - whether it be a yes or no vote. It is our democracy that must prevail.

While the question on the referendum will be a simple one, the issue is much more complex, therefore as Belizeans we have the utmost responsibility to understand the issue, only then will we be in a position to truly vote our conscience. When the vote is over and the result made clear, it should not matter whether the result was a yes or no, what should matter is that Belizeans have spoken.

I have come across some interesting articles and positions on this issue, some in support of the ICJ and others against. I will be sending these out to you as I believe that it enriches the dialogue and informs us all. To initiate this process I have attached a summary of a legal opinion on the claim by Guatemala which is “The claim is based on the title which (Guatemala contends) Spain possessed to the whole area of present Belize at the time when Guatemala became independent in 1821and on Guatemala's succession to that title by operation of the doctrine of uti possidetis. Guatemala maintains that the 1859 Convention, which recognised the boundaries and thereby the extent of British Honduras, was a cession of territory dependent upon the performance by Britain of a provision in that Convention (Article VII) to participate in the construction of a cart road connecting Guatemala City to the Atlantic. Guatemala asserts that, as Britain did not meet its obligations under that provision, Guatemala was entitled to denounce the Convention, which it did, and the territory which Guatemala had thereby acknowledged as being the territory of British Honduras thereupon reverted to Guatemala.“

This is a Joint Opinion of Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, QC, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, Professor Shabtai Rosenne, and Professor Francisco Orrego Vicu.a.

Sir Elihu Lauterpacht has had a distinguished career in international law, combining teaching and practice on an extensive scale. He was called to the Bar in 1950, became a QC in 1970, and has practiced extensively before the International Court of Justice and other international jurisdictions

Stephen Myron Schwebel is an American jurist and expert on international law. He is well known for his separate and dissenting opinions as a Judge of the International Court of Justice 1981-2000[1] and for his involvement in many cases of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICSID and other arbitral for a.

Professor Shabtai Rosenne was a Professor of International Law and an Israeli diplomat.

Francisco Orrego Vicuna is a distinguished jurist and scholar who has written extensively on international law and the law of the sea. Currently, the author is a Professor of International Law at the Law School and Institute of International Studies of the University of Chile. Vicuna is also an experienced diplomat and negotiator for the government of Chile


I also would like to invite you all to go to our website at where you will find all the documents you would need to help you to form an opinion on whether to vote yes or no to going to the ICJ. I would encourage you to especially read the 1859 treaty, to read the Special Agreement and to also look at the section called faq or frequently asked questions, where you will find a number of the question with answers that should assist you with some of the basic information on the issue.

Belize based travel specialist
#454970 - 01/11/13 08:07 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

COLA says going to ICJ is unconstitutional

Giovanni Brackett

Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action (COLA), is calling on citizens to reject taking the Belize/Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  COLA says the decision to subject Belizeans to a one-sided decision and referendum should be considered unconstitutional. Geovanni Brackett, COLA’s President, says it attempts to circumvent the procedure established by our Constitution and laws.

Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We believe that the special agreement or the compromis that was signed which proposes to settle the dispute by means of going to the ICJ, would qualify as such and required its own referendum. In other words Duane, we at COLA believes that the compromis in itself by our constitution—because it proposed a settlement to the Guatemala claim—should have been taken to the House of Representative so that the house could have debated the matter objectively, thoroughly. And then hence the people should have been given a chance through a referendum to vote whether or not we wanted to sign-on to the compromis. Instead what we had was the compromis already signed, a done deal, was brought to the House and just introduced as done. However, we were never given an opportunity to voice our opinion whether we supported signing the compromis or not. In addition to that, we never had a debate to understand what implications this would have. And so we at COLA believes this whole process of a referendum is a sham and it is fraud and in other words, defeats the whole purpose of trying to get the Belizean people to adhere objectively. We are getting criticized at COLA that we have already taken a position, but members at the commission have already taken a position as well. So what are you telling me? Who is being objective? It seems to be that either sides have already made up their decision. And so really there is no objectivity; there’s those that are pushing it down our throats that we should go to the ICJ. And so we at COLA, we don’t have nine million dollars like the government to spend on educational process, campaign. And so this is the way we are educating the public through these releases and to explain to the Belizean people how we understand it.”

Channel 5

#455520 - 01/18/13 07:55 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Referendum Education Gets Off

Referendum presentation

Representatives from virtually all media houses were present on Wednesday, January 16th at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a comprehensive look at the Guatemala Claim. Making presentations was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington; Dr. Herman Byrd, Director of the Belize Archives and Records Service; H.E. Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and; H.E. Stuard Leslie from the Referendum Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The topics presented on ranged from a general overview of the Guatemalan claim to understanding the 1859 and 1931 treaties to the Special Agreement, which has Belize now involved in holding a referendum to the Awareness Campaign, which the Ministry is now tasked with administering to encourage voters to come out and vote on the issue.

On December 8th, 2008, there was a Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in which both countries agreed to hold simultaneous referenda in both countries asking their people whether or not to take the territorial claim to the International Court of Justice. Since then the date for the referendum has been set of October 6th, 2013 and the education machineries are now coming into full gear.

According to Ambassador Stuart Leslie, the campaign will be officially launched on Wednesday, January 23rd and it will be an all-encompassing education campaign. Leslie says that the driving factor behind the campaign will be to give the Belizean public the Pros, Cons and risks of going to the ICJ. He said that the initiative is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has set up an Advisory Commission that in turn has set up a Referendum Commission to oversee the process.

As it is, the commission will be tasked at getting information out by any means available. Leslie says that this will include public presentations across the country in town hall-type meetings and in schools. The intention is to get as many people as possible involved in the dialogue. He added that this will also be done through the social media like Facebook and other means.

For now, the commission has partnered with the Elections and Boundaries Department, which will be responsible for the election process. They have also gotten the support of the Press office and are now seeking to enlist the support of the media for dissemination of information. Also being asked to be a part of the process are the major political parties, which have so far not formally announced their position on the referendum (the United Democratic Party has already adopted a position which will be ratified at the National Convention to be held in Corozal town on Febraury 17th). According to Leslie, the political parties are key in the entire process as they have the know-how and wear it all to bring out voters.

The referendum will see registered voters from across the country come out and vote on the following question : “Do you agree that any legal claim of 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 determines finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties?” A Yes vote to this question would mean that the issue will be taken to the ICJ for a final and definitive solution to the centuries old claim. A No vote would mean that the negotiation process must resume almost at square one. The catch in the referendum is that both countries must carry it simultaneously and the people of both countries must pass a Yes vote for it to move to the ICJ.

The Guardian

#455521 - 01/18/13 07:56 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

What is There to lose in going to The ICJ?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

On Wednesday, January 16th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began its recruiting exercise to have media organizations become partners in the education campaign that will see Belizeans vote on a referendum on whether to take the age old Guatemalan Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not.

Presenting at the media mixer was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington. He explained that by all indications, Guatemalan Government officials are convinced that they will be able to get a ‘Yes’ vote from their people and the question is whether Belize will be able to follow suit. He explained that while a ‘No’ vote would not have a dramatic deterioration in relations with Guatemala, it could possibly mean that there would be an increased number of Guatemalans making their way illegally into Belizean territory. Additionally, he said that the friendly group of nations that are currently supporting the process and are financing the office at the Western border are likely to pull financing, they have expressed as much, he said.

In his personal legal opinion and based on legal opinions which Belize has gotten, Minister Elrington explained that there is a great chance that Belize will be successful at the ICJ. “People go to court to get justice and they get it” he stated.

Asked what the absolute worst case scenario would be if Belize were to go to the ICJ, Elrington replied that Belize would have to allow Guatemala access to the Caribbean Sea via our territorial waters. Whatever the outcome, he stated, it will be much better than what we currently have.

The Guardian

#455637 - 01/19/13 08:37 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Editorial: THE ICJ

Editorial, Amandala

“Maybe we can find a reason
to send a child off to war.
So why if we’re controlling all the oil,
is it worth a child dying for?
Is it worth it?”
- Prince, in “Money don’t matter tonight”

“Throughout the seventeenth century, European soldiers were still only slightly removed from thugs; they raped, robbed, and pillaged civilians as assiduously as they fought the enemy. Whole towns would be massacred without much thought, and even when soldiers attempted to behave with a measure of humanity, they still pillaged wherever they went, because pillaging was the only way to support their operations, especially on long campaigns. Since most of Europe lived harvest to harvest, an army often left famine in its wake.”

- pg. 124, THE BLACK COUNT, Tom Reiss, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012

The newspaper has recently been running a few excerpts from Adam Hochschild’s book about Belgium’s King Leopold II and the atrocities he committed in the Congo state in the last part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. Leopold became a criminal and murderer because he was greedy for money, and ivory and rubber fetched very high prices on the world market in those days.

There were African people living in the Congo before the Europeans came, and they had certain ways of life which suited them, and had suited them for centuries. The Europeans disrupted the Congo ways of life with violence, and then they sponsored missionaries so that God and religion could be used as a cover for their criminal greed.

In the independent Congo state today, a great deal of violence continues. Wars are being fought by opposing factions of politicians and soldiers in the Congo. There are usually no Europeans visibly involved in these wars, but the economies of African states like the Congo are dominated in the modern era by the European demand for strategically important natural resources, such as petroleum, cobalt, copper, coltan, uranium, gold, diamonds, and the like.

In the decades of the so-called Cold War, warring factions in African states would usually be pro-NATO and the United States, on the one hand, or pro-Russia and pro-China, on the other. NATO is a military alliance of European states which includes Great Britain, the United States, and Canada, while Russia and China were communist states which were competing with the NATO states for world hegemony. The Cold War lasted from after the end of World War II in 1945 until 1989. By the early 1960s, China, which had gone communist in 1949, had begun to compete with Russia, which had gone communist in 1917.

The wars in Africa, then, are directly or indirectly financed by large foreign states and transnational companies which require specific natural resources. On the ground, this is not a matter of concern for the combatants. All they know is that they are fighting for survival, and it is a case of kill or be killed.

Belize is a small state which became independent in 1981 amidst controversy and under martial law. The incidents leading up to the declaration of martial law in early April of 1981 were the most frightening ever in the post-World War II history of Belize, because the country actually went to the brink of civil war, and for a while it actually appeared that we were cut off from the outside world. The proposals which had divided Belizeans were called the “Heads of Agreement.”

The situation in Belize today is different from the situation in April of 1981, but the issue is the same. Guatemala has revived a nineteenth century claim to Belize, and those states and companies which want to exploit Belize’s natural resources, primarily petroleum, need for this claim to be settled so they can do their business in peace. The states and companies are proposing that the matter be settled in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Presently the general mood amongst Belizeans is that we already have independence with all our territory intact, so why do we need the ICJ? It is therefore a popular position in Belize to declare that one is opposed to the ICJ. The states and companies which support the ICJ arbitration, however, are extremely rich and powerful, and they know that money talks. Money changes minds. Money makes friends become enemies.

At this newspaper, it appears to us that Belizeans are afraid of the ICJ. We think, then, that there will be an attempt by the relevant states and companies to make Belizeans become more afraid of other things than they are afraid of the ICJ. This means that there will be increased turmoil and instability here. Two incidents have already occurred this year which are unprecedented and unusual: one was the slaughtering of four gang affiliates at the corner of Plues and Dean last Tuesday, and the other was the gunfire directed at the home and vehicles of a former Prime Minister and his wife this week Tuesday.

In the 1960s, when Belize was threatened by the Guatemalan claim, Belizeans in the United Kingdom, led by Nadia Cattouse, organized an important and influential lobby in London. In 2013, it is Washington, D.C. where Belizeans need to establish clout. All Belizeans in the United States need to become organized, as Belizeans in the United Kingdom once did, in order to protect the interests of Belize. This is a matter of urgency, but this is an age of modern telecommunications. It can be done. It has to be done, because Belize and Belizeans will be coming under worse attacks before October. The intention is to scare us, and we in Belize can’t fight this battle alone. We need our brethren and sistren in the United States.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

#455640 - 01/19/13 08:53 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
Are you willing to risk losing Half of Belize to Guatemala by going to the ICJ??? VOTE!

[Linked Image]


#455972 - 01/22/13 08:59 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The ICJ and Guatemala's claim to Belize: A case of self interest over sovereignty?

By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr., JP

The government of Belize (GOB) recently announced the date on which it shall commence, in earnest, its highly questionable “(Mis)Education Campaign” for the impending simultaneous referenda to be held on 6th October 2013, concerning whether the matter of Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize’s sovereign territory should be submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a presumed “final determination”.

My position is clear: “No to the ICJ”. Yet I am compelled to highlight a matter which I find increasingly more unnerving. Due to the GOB’s apparent impotence in dealing with their Guatemalan counterparts on this issue, along with their obvious caving-in to the allure of gaining access to millions of US dollars for participating in this farce of an undertaking, it is evident that Belizeans not only must defend against the apparent ‘opposite number’ to this equation, but we have been made to contend with an internal enemy... one which has seemingly allowed their self-interest(s) to override what should be first and foremost when it comes to the building of our nation -- national pride and true patriotism, of course, buttressed on a foundation of practical and sound reasoning.

With authorities poised to place their grubby hands on upwards of US$4.5 million supposedly for the aforementioned (mis)education process and referendum, anyone who knows the realities associated with anything that involves political entities and money (in Belize) is aware that the likelihood of that amount of money actually being fully used for its said purpose is highly unlikely. Amidst the lack of: good governance, accountability and transparency, it is not too far-fetched to predict that many a sweetheart deal (aka misappropriation of monies) has already been: thought-out, drawn up and co-conspirators identified and secured, all in preparation for this impending windfall of funds.

I am disgusted to see that those who have been vested with the responsibility of governing our nation (from both sides of the aisle) have sunken to a depth which is laying the groundwork for the Guatemalan oligarchy to utilise a "legal" means through which to potentially obtain part of our nation, "The Jewell". If one endeavours to take off their proverbial "red and blue" lenses, it becomes glaringly evident that true love of country… which is above self-interest... does not prevail among those who were elected to represent the people.

Beyond that, it is evident that our nation is hemorrhaging from a distinct dearth of coherent and nationalistic leadership, across the entire political spectrum. In particular, given the actualities which define the Belize-Guatemala issue, and thus have been manifest in the sovereign nation of Belize, I am convinced that the notion of providing both a logical and nationalistic direction for Belize is not mutually exclusive.

Stop for a moment and truly think about the apparent bipartisan effort that is encouraging Belizeans to sanction going to the ICJ on a matter that has no business whatsoever to be presented before a foreign court of arbitration, for "determination". Honestly, how foolhardy is it? After all, why would one engage in a process which is: (1) unnecessary, (2) unpredictable and (3) unbalanced, in that you are the only party that has anything tangible to lose?

I've said it before and I shall continue to say it, all those who sacrificed, in whatever fashion, for Belize’s independence and accompanying territorial integrity throughout our history (many of whom remain unheralded) must be turning in their graves at the notion of the GOB and the opposition, persuading Belizeans to place our international existence at the mercy of the jurisprudence of the ICJ.

It is a distressing thought and due to either: (1) a misguided, narcissistic intent to go down in the annals of history as being those who tried to legally bring an end to the unfounded Guatemalan claim, (2) being motivated by the rudimentary affliction known as greed or (3) quite possibly a mix of both, Belizeans find ourselves on the precipice of either doing what needs to be done, to safeguard our nation; that is to vote down this ICJ madness and move toward addressing the matter without digressing from our already established status, or to become the laughing stock of the world community, by placing our territorial integrity up for debate, in a foreign court no less. Needless to say, those in decision making positions in Belize have placed the nation and our people in a precarious situation.

The Guatemalan oligarchy must be salivating at this time because under the auspices of the Organisation of American States (OAS), and more ironically with the unbridled support of the Belize government, they have effectively moved their unfounded claim from the realm of being defined by outright aggression and bullying, to that of being placed within a legal context... one in which the ICJ will undoubtedly seek "equity" in determining the matter.

Given the established philosophy which guides the ICJ, I implore Belizeans to recognise that we do NOT need “equity”, as it relates to Guatemala's unfounded claim to our territory. Going to the ICJ is not only illogical for our (already established and recognised) nation, it is playing directly into the hands of those who intend to acquire part of our country... all facilitated by what I refer to as "the enemy from within". It is time to wake-up and understand that the aforementioned, may very well prove even more damning than those beyond our borders who obviously do not have Belize's best interest at heart.

My people, be prudent and understand that Belize cannot benefit from going to the ICJ, for the pursuit of 'equity' in this instance is in effect a zero-sum proposition for the nation of Belize. On the day of the referendum, don't give-in to the unsubstantiated, false predictions of those who have demonstrated utter and complete disrespect for that which makes us Belizean... our history, our Constitution, our border, our struggles, our nation's status in the world community and, simply put, our reality of being recognised internationally as a sovereign nation with our territory intact.

Demonstrate your disapproval to this disadvantageous and misleading call to go to the ICJ, not only the international community but also to the “enemy from within”, by voting a resounding "NO" to the ICJ on the day of the referendum -- 6th October 2013. There is a better way to address this issue, yet the immediate task at hand is to attune ourselves as to just how insidious and potentially damaging the current thrust to go to the ICJ can prove to our nation’s well-being.

From that point, we shall embark on a progressive, logically sound diplomatic path, one which respects our constitution and does not jeopardize the nation-state of Belize.

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

Belize, sovereign and free - No ICJ!


#456029 - 01/22/13 07:19 PM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Bear Offline
Bear  Offline
Strikes a few consonant chords for me...

#456095 - 01/23/13 10:04 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline


City of Belmopan, 22nd January, 2013. In preparation for the referendum scheduled for 6th October, 2013, the Government of Belize will launch its Public Awareness Campaign, tomorrow Wednesday, 23rd January beginning at 10 a.m. at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City.

The campaign’s purpose is to educate and inform citizens on the ongoing Belize-Guatemala territorial diferendum as well as prepare citizens to vote on whether to refer Guatemala’s claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement.

The Keynote Address at the ceremony will be delivered by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean O. Barrow. Remarks will also be offered by the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Francis Fonseca.

from a friend....

I think going to the ICJ is wrong for Belize

I think going to the ICJ is wrong for Guatamala.

If the ICJ was to come forward with an ideal solution for both parties, then we would both have lost money.

But the probability is that one or the other, or even both countries would not be happy with some details of a ICJ solution.

So both countries could still be unhappy afterwards.

I would prefer to see the two of us get together and come up with a joint solution, which means that both countries would then be satisfied with the solution. Even if a few people may still feel the ideal solution was not found to their liking.

#456171 - 01/24/13 08:41 AM Re: ICJ ref with Guate info-Important info for voters [Re: Katie Valk]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,421
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Belize/Guatemala referendum process begins now

The official launch of an education campaign for the October referendum process took place today. To give the event an air of bi-partisanship, both the leader of the opposition and the prime minister addressed the launch. The opposition remained on neutral grounds supporting the process, but stopped short of supporting a Yes vote. The Prime Minister said he supports and so does his cabinet, but he is allowing a vote of conscience for cabinet members. The proceedings were planned to be executed with precision, but a protest got in the way.   News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports from the Radisson.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Prior to the launch of the education campaign, the first noteworthy sight were several flags that said “NO ICJ” at the flag monument at the entrance to Belize City. But later this morning, the clergy, diplomats, students and others packed the conference room for the start of what should be a perfect process to end the dispute and keep Belize’s borders intact. The video presentation failed, but it was followed by a speech by the Chairman of the Referendum Committee.

James Murphy

James Murphy, Chairman of the Referendum Committee

“Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will launch its public awareness campaign preparatory to a referendum on October sixth to determine whether the people of Belize support referring the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice for final settlement. To date, the Foreign Ministry’s referendum unit with vital support from research facilitators has made presentations at schools in Punta Gorda Town, San Ignacio Town and Orange Walk Town in addition to Belmopan. reactions from the young people to the presentations were mixed but I can tell you all very enthusiastic.”

Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, pledged his party’s commitment to the process though they have not made up their decision for a yes or no vote.

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“Our party will engage in an internal education campaign for its members and supporters at the end of which the party will convene at party council to adopt its official position on this question. The public education campaign must be free from bias and must present to the Belizean people a comprehensive objective analysis not only of the proposed question, but also of the benefits and risks inherent in submitting ourselves to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The proposed question itself leads to important further questions. What is in fact Guatemala’s legal claim against Belize? What specific land insular territories and maritime areas form a part of the claim? What exactly is the role and function of the International Court of Justice? And how is final settlement defined by the Court.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave the main address in which he pledged the support of the government and his party for a ‘yes’ vote.

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Pursuant to that special agreement signed by Belize and Guatemala in December of 2008, the people of Belize will be asked to determine whether they should agree that we should go to Court to seek the legal affirmation of Belize’s rejection of the Guatemalan claim. Government is committed and obliged to embrace whichever decision the people make by way of their vote in the Referendum. So today we officially launch the public awareness campaign to prepare for the vote on October sixth. The pros and cons of taking our case to the ICJ will be objectively presented in order to help people make an informed decision based on the facts.  Speaking for myself, I have made it clear that I will vote ‘yes,’ but I will strong-arm no one to follow my lead. The cabinet also formally supports a ‘yes’ vote, but individual members are allowed a conscience opt out. Similarly, the national party council of the U.D.P. has agreed to ask the Party’s national convention meeting next month to pass a resolution encouraging a ‘yes’ vote. But constituency leaders and executive members and the rank and file will in the end make up their own minds and be free to vote as they see fit.”

Giovanni Brackett

But three dissidents, who showed their flags to the cameras, were removed by the police.

Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“He signaled we have to leave. You Mister Wil Maheia and Mister Cattouse have to leave. And I said to him clearly that sir, we’ve done nothing wrong and we won’t move. Then he sent for reinforcements; two armed police officers came to move us Belizeans with bulletproof vests. I mean how will you treat us like this? Mister Ortiz, what has Belize come to when we will be removed with arms? Mien I have never picked up an arm in my life. I only know that I have been fighting for this country. Belize dah fu we. Let me relay what the message is. The message is this: that we will ramp up our campaign against going to the ICJ.”

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia

“We cannot afford to roll the dice because that’s what they are trying to do. They are trying to roll the dice on our country. We cannot afford to gamble any sea or any land. Not a blade of grass, not a grain of sand. We cannot afford to gamble that with the ICJ.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know you said yes or no votes are okay. However, I am not sure if you are aware that three advocates were removed by the police because they had a small banner that said no to ICJ. I believe a member of COLA and an advocate from P.G., Wil Maheia, were removed by police officers during the presentation.”

Dean Barrow

“No I don’t know and I can’t comment on what I don’t know about.”

Jose Sanchez

“But they were sitting quietly; they were three rows ahead of me.”

Dean Barrow

“Jose, you can tell me anything, man. I did not see. How can you expect me to comment on your report to me on an incident that you say took place? It may have happened just as you say.”

Jose Sanchez

“But do you support or don’t support their actions?”

Dean Barrow

“I am not going to comment on what I did not observe for myself.”

What is visible is the fact that the road to the October referendum will be a rocky one. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The question that Belizeans will be asked to vote on is: “Do you agree that any legal claim of 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?”

Channel 5

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