What does Belizeans voting no to I.C.J mean for Belize?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015: BMG: Despite the civil unrest currently wreaking havoc on the streets of Guatemala due to political corruption, the city is still scheduled to host their election in September of this year.

This will mean that the Guatemalans will simultaneously cast their ballot in the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize if they wish to take the matter to the International Court of Justice. This opens the possibility that Guatemala may embark on a referendum on its own by the end of the year and the date for Belizeans to vote on an I.C.J resolution has still not been set.

Prime Minster Barrow stated on record that Belize would be at an advantage if Guatemala would proceed with an individual referendum but surprisingly, when Minister Elrington was asked about the consequences of Guatemala voting yes to the I.C.J and Belizeans voting no, his response was different than that of Barrow’s.


Elrington said and we quote: “We don’t go. We act for people we don’t act on our own. We act for the people. If the Belizean people say we don’t go then we don’t go. There won’t be another referendum held?  I am not saying that. We have got to reach a point in my mind that we will decide that we have resolve this matter in one way or another.

But the commitment is that governments have given to the people is that any method of solving this has to be put to the people by way of referendum. If the leaders decide on another means we’ll also have to come back to the people by way of referendum Belizean people must make the decision.

The question is because of cost considerations because of the all the other mitigating factors in terms of doing this exercise, a second or a third time will this be on the special agreement, will this be taken to a one- time referendum whatever the result are.

I’m saying it’s not my understanding that it’s not going to be a one-time thing. If we get a yes if you get a yes vote on both sides, then it’s going to be a one- time thing, clearly. But if you don’t get a yes vote certainly in the case of Belize, whatever decision we take as a government in relation as to how solve it; even outside of the special agreement, we are bound to the people by giving them the final say by way of referendum.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington is still scheduled to travel to Guatemala and sign the changes to the 2008 agreement between Belize and Guatemala this weekend.

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