Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018. 7:52 AM. CST.
By Richard Harrison: Yesterday the people of Guatemala, after several months of enticement by their government to covet their neighbours territory….voted a resounding NO to the claim of their government over Belize. Only 26% of their voting population took the time to participate in their referendum on the issue…..74% said NO by avoiding the polls. As could be expected, those coveteous souls who took to the polls voted 95% yes to take the issue to the ICJ.
During the intense campaign over the last few months, the Guatemalan government proposed to its people that taking the claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was the only and best way to settle the age-old dispute….hanging the beautiful jewel of Belize, its inland gems, pristine waters and white Caribbean island beaches….like a piece of negotiable floor mat…ready for exploitation. They told the people that the taking of Belize would allow more rapid economic growth and better living standards for Guatemalans.
The Guatemalan government chose to speak only of what its people could gain from taking Belize….it chose not to say a word to the people of Belize…how would they benefit? They demonstrated their complete lack of interest and respect for the people of Belize…indeed, many of their mouthpieces used vile, derogatory language to refer to Belizeans…as African niggers, British slaves and pirates.
This resounding NO vote makes it clear to the governments of Guatemala, Belize and the world….that the people of Guatemala do not; in vast majority; support the unjust, belligerent and regressive claim over Belize. This grossly low turn out was predicted by Guatemalan pundits weeks ago…with many voicing their opinion that the millions being spent on the referendum would have been better spent to expand basic services to the people….many areas only have electricity and water services for a few hours each day….many are unemployed and hungry….but a few rich rape all the wealth of their nation…leaving much of Guatemala barren and with rapidly disappearing, unpolluted surface water.
This vote comes at a time in history when both the people of Guatemala and Belize have little to no trust in their governments handling the affairs of both nations…with most people on both sides seeing them as corrupt people raiding the country’s coffers for personal gain.
The people of Belize and Guatemala’s only desire is to live in peace as good neighbours…with a defined border and standard citizens rights to move in search of better life or for leisure. Already, Belize is host to over 50,000 Guatemalans who came in search of a better life for their families.
Since the yes vote was 95% and Guatemala’s referendum did not require a treshold, it means that they have voted to take the issue to the ICJ. Belize still has not officially said when its referendum would be held, but it had suggested later this year or early next year….as a re-registration of voters to clean up the eligible voters list is long overdue, and must be done before such an important poll is held.
It is expected that Belize will have a large turnout of voters….and that the vote will be a resounding NO.
The Guatemalan government should listen to the voice of its people….yesterday they spoke loud and clear….live in peace with Belize and do not covet thy neighbours goods (the honest ones accept that Guatemala has not invested one penny in the development of this swamp)…clear the border according to the Constitution of Belize accepted at the United Nations when Belize became independent on September 21, 1981….work together and cooperate on all fronts for sustainable development that benefits all our people….especially invest in the creation of jobs and expansion of basic services for the benefit of all the people.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.
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