The PUP has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court trying to stop ICJ Referendum from going ahead on April 10th.
Their claim is based partially on the legal opinion from the attorneys: Anthony Sylvestre, Richard "Dickie" Bradley and Kareem Musa. They argue that the 2008 Special Agreement has not paved a clear path to the ICJ because the Government has made a major misstep.
These attorneys say that if the ICJ rules that Guatemala should get some of Belize's territory, the ruling could not be brought into effect to re-define Belize's borders without a constitutional amendment.
The filing also argues that the special agreement should have been taken to Parliament for approval.
Our colleagues from CTV3 News in Orange Walk Town caught up with Anthony Sylvestre, who worked on the legal opinion, and asked what will happen next. Here's what he had to say:
Anthony Sylvestre - Attorney
"Nothing really has happened rather than heightening or solidifying what were our views on that opinion. During that period of time, other attorneys, senior attorneys have reviewed this opinion, and they've as well come to the same conclusion. And this is why we are where we are right now, where a claim has actually been filed in the Supreme Court."
"A press release was issued by the People's United Party relating to the filing of that claim, and hat is where the position is at this time. I think that it is important to note that this is a very very important issue. [It] affects all of us as Belizeans, and so, it is important that for the process to be undertaken properly, and within the strict conformity of our constitution. And that is the reason why that claim was filed. That is the reason why many many Belizeans for many months, and years now have been pacing through the Special Agreement, examining it, looking at it, and coming to the same conclusion that it just doesn't seem as though the process under which the Special Agreement was entered into, and the process that has been ongoing so far is proper. And that now will be tested by a court of law."
"The court is being asked to make a determination on that and also, the court will be asked to restrain the Government from [the] holding of this referendum on April 10th."
"There are many who would say that this claim is just the latest move by the PUP to the April 10 referendum from actually taking place. Your response to that?"
"Well certainly, we would expect that to be the opinion of those who certainly in our view would not wish to see this thing done properly. Because any Belizean who would wish to have such a fundamental issue be be done properly, would appreciate that if it is - and it has been shown that - and again, this is what you call consensus building. Belizeans across the board, across the country are coming to the realization that this Special Agreement, it clearly was not entered into properly. And it binds the country on such a fundamental respect, and as most people have come to the realization, it required the legislative authority. In fact, I've been privy to a statement being made by the Prime Minister in 2008, and also the Foreign Minister where they had undertaking way back in December 2008 that they would have done that. They would have taken the Special Agreement to the House for ratification, and that has not been done. So clearly, this is not attempt on the part of anyone to stop any process, but for the process to be done properly, and in fact to be done in accordance with what was undertaken by Prime Minister in 2008."
The Opposition announced the filing of this case with a morning press release which says, quote, " The (PUP) today filed a claim in the Supreme Court seeking legal certainty and clarity if the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the power to legally bind Belize to the Special Agreement and the Protocol without prior legislative approval. Additionally, the PUP is also asking for legal certainty if the Referendum Act provides for the holding of a binding referendum as required by Article 7 of the Special Agreement. The PUP will seek orders to restrain the holding of the proposed referendum until the court has had the opportunity to make a determination as these issues have serious domestic and international consequences for the nation and people of Belize." End Quote.
The press release from the PUP says quote, "In a letter sent to the Prime Minster today the Leader of the Opposition Hon. John BriceÃ±o requested the Prime Minister to postpone, in the national interest, the holding of the referendum until the Supreme Court can hear the claim and deliver a decision." End quote.
We'll keep following this one closely.