Wednesday, May 6th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The original date for the referendum on settling the unfounded Guatemalan claim to Belize at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, has come and gone and the Referendum Commission practically moribund.
At the time of the launch of the referendum campaign the People’s United Party (PUP) refused to take a public position pending internal consultations. While there is still a formal position paper to be written, the party says it will accept a referendum on the issue but will ask its supporters to say no.
PUP Leader Francis Fonseca says the party believes most Belizeans are in support of this view because there are still many questions to be answered.
Part of the PUP’s misgivings, according to former Foreign Affairs Minister and party advisor Eamon Courtenay, is that the party – and in their view, Belizeans – have no confidence in Attorney General and current Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who has questioned Belize’s “artificial” territorial borders with Guatemala and advocated working directly with the Guatemalans to end the claim.
Courtenay, however, argues that Belize should extract certain promises from Guatemala, who has a track record of not following through on its commitments where Belize is concerned. It should demand an end to incursions and settlements in Belizean territory and establish how the court’s decision will be implemented.
Guatemala eventually dropped out of the referendum process but the two countries recently signed multiple bilateral agreements.