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National dilemma: Naturalized Belizeans (Guatemalans) versus born bred Belizeans in the diaspora

Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2018. 7:46 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  The nation is currently engaged in a countrywide clean up of the voters’ list but there is an inescapable dilemma ever present.

And it has to do with Guatemalans who have received Belizean nationality and born bred Belizeans in the diaspora

We say dilemma because Guatemala’s constitution does not allow for renunciation of Guatemalan heritage and Belize’s constitution disallows the issuance of nationality to persons from a country that does not recognize our territorial integrity.

Yet, Guatemalans have received Belizean nationality and will be able to register and vote in upcoming Belize General Elections and most importantly, the upcoming referendum scheduled for April 2019 to determine if Guatemala’s unfounded claim should be settled before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

We note that the Special Senate Select Committee had indicated that on the heels of the 2012 general elections, many immigrants of which the majority were Guatemalans had received Belizean Nationality Certificates even though they did not meet legal requirements.

These illegally issued certificates have not yet been revoked and so these people will still have a say in the upcoming referendum.

We can’t say the same for born bred Belizeans, who may have migrated abroad for various reasons. They may possibly have no say in this referendum dubbed one of the most critical elections since our nation’s existence.

That is unless they relocate to Belize for at least two months and only then would they qualify to join the electorate.

The matter has been the source of continued debate on social media and on local talk shows in the country.

And it appears that the debate will never cease as long as this dilemma remains present.

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