Wednesday, May 20th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: This morning Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) hosted the press at the Belize Institute of Management (BIM) in Belize City to discuss various national issues.
Chief among them are the recently announced plans by the Government of Belize to amend the Special Agreement to allow Guatemala first crack at a referendum on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) later this year.
While the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) have gone on record as conditionally supporting the change to the Agreement, smaller parties VIP and the People’s National Party (PNP), according to Paco Smith, maintain their staunch opposition against any negotiated settlement that involves going to the ICJ.
According to Patrick Rogers, the Agreement needs to be ratified under Section 7 by the Senate, which has not been done, and knowing what is in it, the push for the ICJ might end there. But if it does not, the VIP is taking no chances: it will ask Belizeans to vote no.
Rogers told members of the press something that may surprise observers – the long-standing dispute has in fact been resolved since 1981, and fear of a Guatemala invasion masks the real issue – foreign domination of Belize and smoke screening.
Rogers says that Belize’s territorial sovereignty and integrity were recognized by a majority of nations and eventually by Guatemala in 1991, and any attempt to invade would not be tolerated internationally.
According to Paul Morgan, the United Kingdom, Belize’s former colonial occupier, shares “economic” responsibility for ending the dispute, and he separates that from the “moral” issues on the ground with Guatemala including border incursions.
The VIP says it will do its best to hamper any progress on the Agreement and if it does not succeed, will devote itself to making sure that Belizeans vote no.
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