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On The Eve Of The Injunction Hearings

Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2019. 5:13 pm CST.

views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By: Dr. Gerald Zuniga, Political Science Studies, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala & Universidad Mariano Galvez,. Guatemala City.

Tomorrow, Monday, April 1st, the court will have an important matter before it. An injunction about the inconstitutionality of the Special Agreement signed on December 8th, 2008. It will be argumentated by eminent lawyers all versed in Belize’s legal process, procedures, the legal ambience and constitutional matters. After another group of eminent lawyers making the necessary inquiries, observatiions, and analysis in the names of Dickie Bradley, Anthony Sylvester, and Kareem Musa concluded and synthesized in their Legal Opinion, that there are constitutional vices in the Special Agreement signed on the 8th of December, 2008 between the Government of Belize represented by Foreign Minister Wilfred ELrington and Haroldo Rodas Melgar as the then Foreign Minister representing Guatemala, and it being a legal act producing a document of transcendental importance, all legal procedures must be observed to free it from legal vices and make it viable. That is, free from legal challenges. They concluded that those legal procedures were not observed and constitutionally elected Representatives in the name of Hon. Michael Espat, Hon. Oscar Requena, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson,  Hon. Juliius Espat,  Hon. Cordel Hyde and Mr. Anthony Mahler. All Representatives of their respective constituencies with the exception of Anthony Mahler who is a standard bearer decided to present an injunction to the court to make a judgement on the matter.

They are all from the People’s United Party. However, that doesn’t make the injunction filing a partisan one. Rather they happened to be the representatives, principally four out of the six, of the people of the constituencies of the territory of ours which we assume is in dispute. I say assume because the nature of the claim of Guatemala is not disclose by them; who are the claimant. Belize tends to behave as the claimant but they are the defendant in the case of any ICJ hearing. They wiould have to defend that iron clad case that some claim they have based on some legal opinions that they have placed their total trust in. Guatemala would also have to defend their claim. Who are doing us a dishonour of not disclosing the scope of their claim. That uncertainty is sufficient reason to discard an ICJ hearing until it is disclosed considering that we are not obliged to concede. So these Representatives are legally defending thru an injunction the rights of the people who live in their respective and respectable constituencies. Eventhough a constituency is a political division, it converts to a physical and territorial demarcation on the map and it is expressed in sovereignty since sovereignty lies in the hands of the people. It is the people that has sovereignty not the territory and the people mandated that sovereignty to their Representatives who are duly elected in a General Election. So tomorrow Monday, the court has a historical moment and decision. They as the judiciary arm of our State, an important power in our democratic form of government. They are the guarantors and jealous guardians of our Constitution. The guarantors of the rule of law, the due process, the territorial integrity of our State and the human rights of our nation.

The injunction is not an against going to the ICJ neither it is pro going to the ICJ type of matter. Only the citizenry and the High Court could eventually determine if we could and should transfer our jurisdiction to the ICJ to determine our borders which our Constitution has already determined and our State recognized by the United Nations.

 Here are some reasons why the iinjunction in my opinion should be granted.

  1. From a De jure State as of September 21st, 1981, we have become a De facto State since November 8th, 2000 with the singing of a Confidence Building Measures Agreement creating an Adjacency Zone in contravention with Schedule 1 (1) of our Constitution. The agreement should have been temporary but it is still valid after almost 19 years giving it a permanent status. The High Court must restore the De jure status of our State and Nation as part of its constitutional duty.
  2. The due process of the Special Agreement was not observed. The House of Representatives and the House of Senate should have approved the agreement based on its nature and scope. The House of Representatives have the sovereignty mandated by their respective Constituencies based on our democracy. Our House of Senate is not an elected rather an appointed body so it doesn’t have a sovereign mandate.
  3. The goal that the Special Agreement pretends to achieve violates both Belize’s and Guatemala’s respective Constitutions given that the only article in Guatemala’s Constitution that give the legal tool for their claim makes no mention of going to the ICJ, much less, that an ICJ resolution would be binding and not being in their Constitution, any or all such resolution could lend itself for further constitutional challenges considering that Constitutional law supercedes ordinary laws and even treaties if not in regards to human rights. Hence, creating an atmosphere of uncertainties, sociopolitical, and even economic instabilities. Added to the fact that an eventual ICJ resolution could lend itself to another referendum which cost around another $50,000,000USD which Guatemalan’s budget can’t sustain and would be a burden again on the “friends”..
  4. The primordial function of a judiciary in any given democratic state and government is to guarantee the observance of the Constitution as the supreme law of the nation and the guarantor of good and proper governance until amendments are made. That any agreement, treaty or ordinary law must be in accordance with the nature and spirit of the Constitution and Belize is no exception. That the due process is observed and not trumped as a manifestation of abuse of power. That the abuse of power should not be fostered nor tolerated. That our duty as citizens including our Judiciary is its dued observance and compliance.

The Judiciary as a powerful arm of our democracy will show us as citizen that a Constitution should always be respected.



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