Last night, we had extensive coverage of our 45 minute interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington. He discussed last Wednesday's first bilateral meeting with new Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel.

But he also played some hardball politics. We asked him for his opinions of the defeated motion that PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay brought last week Wednesday to the Senate. He was attempting to push the first stages of an amendment to the Maritime Areas Act.

Foreign Minister Elrington mauled Courtenay, accusing him of attempting to jeopardize relations with Guatemala, and trying to become the next Minister of Foreign Affairs, even if that ambition hurts Belize's diplomacy.

Courtenay responded this morning. In a 41 minute interview, which was laced with a few choice comments of his own, he blasted right back at Elrington. We start tonight with Courtenay explaining that he has retained 2 high-powered international attorneys to give a legal advice on how the Maritime Areas Act, as it now stands, may negatively affect Belize's claim at the International Court of Justice.

He said that the legal opinions of those attorneys align with what Belize's legal advisors have said: The Maritime Areas Act needs to amended urgently so that the country can claim 12 miles of territorial waters between the mouth of the Sarstoon and the Ranguana Caye:

Hon. Eamon Courtenay - PUP Senator

"I repeat the Maritime Areas Act needs to be amended. I have brought here my file on Maritime, yes, and I won't disclose to you who are the international lawyers who have advised the Government over the years. But, I will have you all read paragraph 21 of this opinion. What I will give you, and what you can refer to is one that I personally paid for, with my money, because unlike Wilfred Elrington. I take the matter seriously. And I will just read you the beginning. This legal advice addresses the following question: would Belize's in an ICJ claim be strengthened or not, if it were to make a declaration claiming as its territorial sea the area from the mouth of the Sarstoon to Ranguana Caye, before the dispute is submitted to the ICJ - which is the area that the Maritime Areas does not claim what we are entitled to. The short answer to the question is that a legislative amendment, supported by a declaration, or exchange of notes would strengthen Belize's position in an ICJ case. It would prove that there is no tacit agreement between Belize and Guatemala to a 3 nautical mile limit in the area from the mouth of the Sarstoon to Ranguana Caye, and it would rebut any argument regarding estoppel or a unilateral undertaking. This advice was given to me. It coincides with all the advice that we have gotten. I have 3 opinions here from different legal experts that have said that Belize must do this. This advice, I will give you the CV's so that you can show the Belizean people, so that they can go and check for themselves, was provided by Dr. Philipa Webb and Amal Clooney, George Clooney's wife, high-standing international lawyers, okay. I say, Belize's interest continues to be prejudiced every day that we don't what is right."

Martime Areas, Who Failed First?

Now depending on which of these two diplomats you talk to, there is a lot of finger pointing about why the Maritime Areas Act hasn't been amended to strengthen Belize's case. Elrington insists that the past PUP Foreign Ministers failed to do their duty from as far back as the 1990's, and he is of the opinion that the intended purpose of Belize's relaxation of its claim to 9 miles territorial waters never had the intended effect. He asserts that the amendment should have happened when the PUP were in office, and he questions Courtenay's motives for agitating for it now.

Well, Courtenay is pointing fingers right back at him, saying that the formal acknowledgement that negotiations had failed came in December 2008. He insists that Elrington failed to do what he was supposed to at that time to protect Belize's claim to those 9 miles of territorial seas it still hasn't claimed.

We've put together each of their points and counter-points for you to decide who is right, and who is wrong:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs

"In my view, any damage done to the Belize's claim, if any damage has been done to the Belize claim, in consequence of the Maritime Areas Act, that damage has already been done."

Hon Eamon Courtenay - PUP Senator

"No prejudice was done then. And the prejudice is being done now is failing to follow the legal advice that says once negotiations have failed, amend the law because if you go to the ICJ, you want to be claiming the maximum that you are entitled to claim."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"That prospect of a settlement failed from 1993-1994. You had all that time between then and now - how many years, 20 years, 30 years?"

Hon. Eamon Courtenay

"Whether Mr. Elrington likes it or not, whether Mr. Elrington is prepared to accept it or not, fact are stubborn, and fact are what they are. We would be acting in bad faith if we had left the law there for the purposes of negotiations, we're in the middle of negotiations, and we amend the law, and move that off the table. That was to be done immediately after December 2008, when we signed the Special Agreement. Those are the facts, and he can say what he wants. He can call me what he wants. Those are the facts. Facts are stubborn. Mr. Elrington, you are a liar."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"No, no, no, absolutely not! That's is in classic style misinformation and disinformation for which Mr. Courtenay is famous. Most people don't know. Most people don't understand him."

Hon. Eamon Courtenay

"Wilfred Elrington is the Foreign Minister of Belize. He's not a fool. He seeks to re-write history."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"But the truth is that that could have been dealt with immediately after the Guatemalans persisted in their claims. That is right after 1993-1994. So, it's no truth that it was not until 2007, and in 2007, when they agreed - you know, it was in 2007 that the proposal was made to have this matter dealt with at the ICJ, 2007. They were still in office."

Hon. Eamon Courtenay

"That is the responsibility of Wilfred Peter Elrington, and like everything else that he does, he has failed to do it. The man is an unmitigated disaster."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"When the court looks at the Belize case, they will look at all the details and the evidence, and they will look and say that well in 1993, you were prepared to limit your claim to 3 miles, when you were entitled to take 12. What is this saying? How are we to - if, in fact now, we were to take the position that we want to be - the Guatemalans could get some more, well you couldn't complain because in 1993, you agreed to limit your claim to 3 miles. That should never have been done."

Hon. Eamon Courtenay

"Once again, I would urge Mr. Elrington to read the legal opinions that are in the files of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have received legal opinions prior to the Maritime Areas Act - listen carefully - prior to the Maritime Areas Act, which provided the specific language that was to be used along with the appropriate declarations that were to be made, along with the appropriate filings in international organizations, in order to ensure that our position was preserved."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"But yes, it has to be made clear to the Guatemalans, and to the world, and the court that we are entitled to more than 3 miles, and that we will seek to obtain all we are entitled to. The question as to when that is to be done, according to the lawyers, we have time to do that. We have time. We have lots of time to be able to do that."

Channel 7