Posted: Monday, September 24, 2018. 7:22 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Minister of Defense and National Security, John Saldivar, in a Facebook post today, said Belizeans would not become refugees in the event of a resounding ‘No’ vote in next year’s scheduled referendum on taking the Guatemalan territorial claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in reference to a controversial comment made by Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington last week.
According to Saldivar, the Ministry of National Security has already prepared a plan to deal with the massive influx of Guatemalans that will result in the event of such a ‘no’ vote. The problem, however, is that the plan would cost the ministry millions of dollars to implement, Saldivar said.
He explained that since Guatemala held its own referendum earlier this year, in which the majority voted ‘Yes’ to taking the claim to the ICJ, there has been an increase in the number of encroachments by Guatemalans who believe the ‘yes’ vote entitles them to Belizean land. “The BDF has quietly been dealing with these incursions with their limited resources,” he said. He added, however, that a ‘no’ vote in Belize’s referendum would lead to even more Guatemalan incursions and “if we do not make the appropriate investment in our security forces, we can indeed be over-ran”.
Saldivar concluded by saying though his ministry recommends a ‘yes’ vote, the BDF, Coast Guard and Police stand ready to make sure Belize’s territorial integrity and sovereignty remains intact, assuring the public that the ministry has a plan in place. Saldivar’s statement follows an interview with Elrington last week, in which he said that if Belize were to vote ‘no’ in the upcoming referendum that Guatemala would forcefully take control of Belize and we would all become “refugees”.
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