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Will the Opposition challenge the Special Agreement?

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2019. 7:17 am CST.

By BBN Staff: The Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala was signed on December 8, 2008 by Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Roger Melgar.

The Special Agreement offers jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice to find a final solution to Guatemala’s ‘legal’ claim on Belize’s land, insular and maritime territory.

Belize’s constitution requires the Government of Belize to hold a national referendum in order for Belizeans to vote whether or not, they want the claim taken to the ICJ for a final resolution.

Also agreed in the Special Agreement, Belize and Guatemalawere each to hold a national referendum for their populace to make a decision on taking the claim to the International court.

However, Belizean attorneys, Kareem Musa, Anthony Sylvestre and Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley are challenging the validity of the signing of the Special Agreement.

The attorneys told the media that before signing the Special Agreement which gives the ICJ jurisdiction over the Guatemalan claim, it should have been taken to the National Assembly to be ratified.

Section 68 of Belize’s constitution provides that the National Assembly of Belize has the authority to alter the Constitution. Therefore, the attorneys deem that the signing of the Special Agreement is invalid since it was not presented to the National Assembly before being signed with Guatemala.

John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) says that the party is exploring the possibility of challenging the validity of the Special Agreement.

With only 49 days left to Decision day 2019, the Government of Belize’s public awareness campaign has intensified.

But, ultimately, on April 10, 2019, Belizeans will vote whether or not take Guatemala’s claim on Belize’s land, insular and maritime territory to the ICJ for a final solution.

 

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