Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2019. 9:56 am CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Julian Sherard:
With regards to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Referendum, this is my personal request for 5 minutes of your time: If you plan to vote “no” in the upcoming referendum, I don’t blame you, my gut reaction my entire life has been: “not wa blade a grass nor wa drop a waata! We are an independent country, Guatemala, we have nothing to say to you and have nothing to prove!”
I successfully repeated the arguments that backed up my “no” position to good effect until I would meet people who knew more than me. These learned scholars would prove me wrong, time and again. Being very competitive and loving learning, I decided to do my own research, so that I could counter their arguments and win.
In my research, what became apparent in all the treaties and negotiations, was that Spain, Guatemala, and the UK, and even the USA, have always had and promoted their own individual agendas, and no one bothered to ask us Belizean what we wanted.
Regardless of race, party, or religion, thankfully our forefathers, Price, Goldson, Richardson, Shoman, Rogers, and others, with the help of leaders from many then recently independent Caribbean and African countries, turned the argument away from trying to negotiate with the self-serving colonial powers and managed to get our say heard at the United Nations!
At huge odds, they successfully argued Belize’s right to be an independent nation and a free people and, in 1981, took us to independence. Unfortunately, for many reasons, Guatemala’s claim could not be sufficiently dealt with at the time and the claim lingered on…
With each and every Guatemalan election came politicians promising to get Belize back. Have you ever wondered why this is so appealing to the Guatemalan grass roots? It is because when Guatemala got its independence from Spain, the rich minority divided all the land up between themselves, leaving no land for the indigenous, who had been there long before the Spanish even knew of the New World! These new rich landowners then tried to exterminate entire villages and towns when the poor, landless peasants would fight for “wa lee piece a land!” Now, with cameras recording everything all the time, these gross injustices can no longer be perpetrated wholesale and, worse, in the eyes of the rich land owners, these landless peasants now have a vote!
So, when poorly educated landless starving people are told that “Belice es nuestro” and if you vote for me, I will get it back, it’s a sure winner! But have you ever wondered why, once the Guatemalan politicians got into power, nothing more of the claim would be heard? Simple: the newly elected politician, full of energy and hope , would be schooled by the powers that be, that there is no way to win back Belize and for the rest of his term, you hear nothing from the politician about Belize. Fortunately, between 1981 and now, Belize’s Foreign Affairs team of Ambassadors and Staff have quietly outmaneuvered Guatemala.
When Guatemalan actor/comedian Jimmy Morales was on TV, running for elections, he did not know that Belize could not be “won back”, and his confidence and ignorance, he claimed he would get Belize back and played right into the hands of our Foreign Affairs Team After winning and learning that he could not get Belize back, he could not lose face and deny his peasants a chance at free land, so he hoped for the best and allowed the people to vote in a referendum. The Guatemalan vote was poorly attended because little money was invested and much was stolen. But they need not spend a lot when the poorest people want a chance at free land and this is how Guatemala voted “yes.”
Unfortunately, Guatemala’s “yes” vote has put doubt into Belizean “no” thinkers. As difficult as it is, if you are a “no” thinker, I ask that you do some research and or ask the smartest persons you know, what they think, then think again.
The simple truth is that we finally have them where we want them. They cannot back out and once the ICJ’s ruling comes down they will be forced to accept. To vote “no” is to make matters worse. We do not have an army nor a population to stand up to Guatemala and Guatemala will feel justified in their use of force to annex as much of our Jewel as they like. The International Court of Justice is the Justice arm of the United Nations just as the Security Council is their Enforcement arm.
With a “YES” vote from Belize and the ICJ’s ruling, we will have the military support of the world’s most respected army and the and the political backing of 193 countries. Belize, this is our date with history! Your “YES” vote is a vote to end this claim and free our children and grandchildren from the fear of invasion.
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