Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 1:11 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) has once again urged the Government to pause ahead of next week’s referendum on the ICJ question.
Asked whether the Government will or should proceed with the vote on May 8, P.U.P. deputy leader and litigant in the current case Cordel Hyde said it was clear Government would try to ram it through, even after a litany of mistakes.
“If this was a play or novel it would be a tragic comedy. The reality is that this is the most important question of our lifetime and the government is getting it wrong every step of the way. They messed it up with the writ in the first referendum. They tried to get the Court of Appeal to expedite the appeal. They messed that up. They went to the House and they passed a law that was messed up. They come here now trying to argue this point to lift the injunction. They messed it up. They messed up every step of the way. And this is the Government that wants to take us to the ICJ on the most critical question of our lifetime. Can we expect them to get it right? That is the problem…You think that with all that has happened, all this bungling, the Government would take a chill pill, would hold it down, would try to get it right and take their time,” Hyde said to reporters after proceedings on Monday afternoon.
Hyde noted the Government’s dismal record on legal proceedings both inside and outside of Belize, and said they do not cut a figure of honesty, as it is possible – however unlikely – that “fifteen foreign judges who don’t know us from Adam and Eve” could rule against us.
Hyde continued that even after a multi-million dollar campaign with “celebrity endorsers” and “billboards in every available space in the country and “diplomats from all over the world brought in to help with the campaign”, Belizeans are “more confused, more stressed, more uncertain than ever before” – and some of them, both at home and abroad, are not even eligible to vote.
“How do you even consider going to an ICJ referendum under these conditions? It begs the question: why is the Government rushing? What’s the haste? Who has a gun to their head? Is it the U.S., the E.U., is it the U.K., is it Guatemala? Who exactly, who should they be taking their marching orders from?” Hyde asked.
Hyde urged voters, particularly those who say no, to make sure they vote, revealing that some have said to him that while they do not support the ICJ course of action, they will not vote in the referendum. The result will not be binding, but the referendum would be invalid anyway if less than 50 percent plus 1 voter casts ballots.
He closed with an appeal to Belizeans to end the “dictatorship” of Prime Minister Dean Barrow by clearly stating their opposition to settling the claim in this manner.
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