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#507993 - 10/03/15 05:05 AM Foreign Minister Speaks At UN  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,967
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington addressed the 70th session of the United Nation's General Assembly today. And tonight, critics are saying he didn't say enough about the Belize - Guatemala territorial dispute. We'll get to that; but first, to what he did focus on - and that was climate change. More than half of Elrington;s speech was about the dire effects of climate change - calling it the most pressing threat to global security:..

And while he spoke about climate change for most of the speech - critics of the Foreign Minister say that he glossed over the Belize Guatemala issue. Both COLA and the PUP issued near simultaneous releases today pouncing on Elrington. The PUP criticizes him for mentioning the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala but notes, quote, "at no point during his speech, did Elrington ever say that there must first be referenda in Belize and Guatemala, in order to approve any such submission."

For its part, COLA criticizes Elrington for spending just a minute and nine seconds of his eighteen minute address speaking about the ongoing Belize-Guatemala dispute. They also criticize him for, quote, "fail(ing) to…properly internationalize the dispute."

Speech at the 70th General Assembly in New York, Oct. 1, 2015

Channel 7

Regional call at UN for action on climate change

A framework for climate change “cannot wait,” Grenada’s Foreign Minister said today, joining other leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean calling for urgent action in the United Nations General Assembly.

“The impacts of climate change are already being felt the world over,” said Clarice Modeste-Curwen, warning that without a successful legally binding agreement in Paris, “we will see climate change continue unabated.”

Meanwhile, the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize Wilfred P. Erlington also raised the issue of climate change.

“The accelerated phenomenon of climate change giving rise to the inexorable melting of the glaciers, the rising and warming of the oceans and seas, the spawning of super typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, droughts, desertification and the indiscriminate igniting of conflagrations of gigantic proportions, are, increasingly attributed to anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” he said.

“In its 70-year history, the United Nations has made notable inroads to combat climate change and to promote sustainable development,” he continued, but there is still work to be done.

“Notwithstanding a commitment to tackle climate change, our efforts have been less than ambitious, and achieving a successor global emissions reduction regime hangs in the balance, not the least because finance and technology are conspicuously wanting, Mr. Erlington continued.

“Worse yet, the failure of the world’s powers to agree to hold global average temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees centigrade relative to pre-industrial levels will certainly condemn small island developing states and low lying coastal States.”

#508045 - 10/06/15 04:59 AM Re: Foreign Minister Speaks At UN [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,967
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

PUP’s Former Foreign Ministers Inveigh Against Elrington

Today the PUP pounced on that very brief reference. Not satisfied with a press release which they sent out on Friday evening - today the party brought together four of its former Foreign Ministers: Said Musa, Eamon Courtenay, Godfrey Smith and Lisa Shoman to put Elrington on mass blast. The 40 minutes press briefing was held at party headquarters where Shoman led the assault on Elrington:..

Lisa Shoman, Former Foreign Minister
"The People's United Party is deeply concerned, not only by what is contained in that delivery of that speech at the United Nations by Foreign Minister Elrington. But more importantly we are concerned by what it does not contained. We know that climate change is critical and important, but right now Guatemala and the unfounded claim is a bigger existential threat to Belize than is climate change right now. We are doing our work on climate change. The climate change center of the Caribbean is here. We did not need only one minute and nine seconds of addressing Belize and eighteen minutes of climate change. The foreign minister goes to the biggest world stage that there is, the biggest annual world stage and delivers one minute and nine seconds of basic inconsequentialities."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"The People's United Party rejects Minister Elrington's stating on the world stage as our representative that the protocol he signed with Guatemala will facilitate and speed the process of going to the ICJ. At no point during his speech did Elrington ever say, that there must first be a referenda in Belize and Guatemala in order to approve any such submission. The People's United Party therefore on behalf of the Belizean people demands an immediate and public clarification of the record by the Prime Minister of the statements made by his foreign minister Elrington."

"Is it not implicit in that statement? You say he did not say implicitly, but it is well known in both countries and I imagine in the international community that a referendum is necessary. Is it not implicit in the statement that....?"

Lisa Shoman, Former Foreign Minister
"Whether it is implicit or not, the speech which is given on behalf of each nation at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, is the speech in which to make your views or your goals definitive and explicit. Particularly because of the diplomatic note that Guatemala slap up in the face with to which there has never been as far as I know any public response or indeed any response at all. You don't leave that to being implicit."

And with only 30 days to go before the general election, the PUP had to throw in an election promise - and that is to re-think, and basically re-boot the entire Belize Guatemala territorial dispute mechanism - thus embracing the likelihood that the entire OAS process which the PUP started - would be abandoned under a new PUP government:..

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"In the first year, that a People's United Party government is in office after November 4th, we will undertake massive and comprehensive public consultations with the Belizean nation and people, leading to a vote for Belizeans to decide for themselves how we are to deal with this claim."

Lisa Shoman, Former Foreign Minister
"I think it is time to go back to the Belizeans, so that organically we can explain what has been done so far, where it took a turn for the wrong and where we think are possibilities for it to go and to have Belizeans give their input as to what it is they want to see."

So, then with political promises being given out, was today's event strictly electioneering? Opposition Leader Fonseca says it's not politics as usual - but, yeah, it kinda is:...

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"Yes we are in campaign season and election is some 30 days away, but this is not politicking for us. This is an issue of vital concern to the Belizean people and of absolute importance to the future of this country."

Jules Vasquez
"The boogeyman of Guatemala was raised very effectively. In 1993, it turn the tide against the PUP in a snap election. Are you all hoping that this issue of national security or the intuition of insecurity may tip the scales in this election Mr. Leader?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"The first duty and obligation of any government is the preservation of the nation state. The protection and defense of our territorial integrity, our national sovereignty. So we have an absolute obligation to raise this matter. But I certainly will make no apologies for saying to the Belizean people that on November 4th, this is an absolutely important consideration for each and every citizen of this country when you go into the voting booth to mark your X. You must understand and appreciate fully the consequences of that vote as it relates to this very important issue."

As we noted, the PUP seems to be moving further away from an OAS-mediated solution - which Eamon Courtenay said is a reflection of the UDP's mismanagement of that process:..

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"Our People's United Party is convinced that for the territorial integrity and the security of Belize, we can no longer placed our trust, permit or allow the current United Democratic Party administration to continue to deal with and managed the territorial differendum with Guatemala in the present reckless and high handed manner without any consultation with or input from the Belizean people. The People's United Party reiterates that it will encourage Belizeans to vote no if a referendum is held, to ask Belizeans if they support the taking of the matter of the unfounded Guatemalan claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice."

But, it was also Courtney who in 2009 at a public forum said that going to the ICJ was the only certain way to get a resolution to the dispute. Here are those comments from 2009 - and how he now explains that in light of today's anti-ICJ position:..

FILE: Feb. 23rd, 2009
Eamon Courtenay, Former Foreign Minister
"If we want a resolution, the only option at this stage is to go to the court."

Eamon Courtenay, Former Foreign Minister
"There is no point going to the ICJ, winning the case, having our borders declare and then Guatemala say we will not join you in implementing in clearing the border in recognizing the markers on the Sarstoon and on the maritime areas. And so Jules, we say without apology that our position has matured and our position continues to be refined on day to day basis meeting the realities on the ground and on the international stage. The ICJ can only resolved where the borders are and we say that Guatemala must start behaving itself like a good neighbor and if it doesn't do that then we have to respond appropriately on each occasion."

We could not get comment from Foreign Minister Elrington today. But one PUP personality who does not seem to be on the same page with the former PUP foreign ministers - is their party colleague John Briceno. We are reliably informed that he was in New York at the UN for the speech - as seen here in this photo - with his friend and Foreign Affairs employee Stuart Leslie. Briceno was reportedly at the Belize mission for the post speech party, or as it is called, fête, for Elrington.

What Wilfred Said

On Friday night we played you a small portion of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington's speech at the United Nations - where he spoke about climate change. And indeed, in his 18 and a half minute address that's mostly what he spoke about. But his critics say that instead of talking about that - he should have been talking about the Belize - Guatemala issue - and telling the UN about Guatemala's acts of aggression on the Sarstoon. But, in fact, those critics say, he only glossed over the amendment to the special agreement with Guatemala. Here's what Elrington said.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Earlier this year, we signed a protocol the special agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala's territorial insular and maritime claim to our country to the International Court of Justice. We expect that this will facilitate and speed up the process to finally and definitively put an end to the unfounded claims that have plaque us and our region for far too long."

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