Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019. 6:24 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: At Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s press conference today, he said that he still needs to be briefed about the process that follows the post-referendum. Barrow noted that a major priority for the government of Belize is to re-engage the opposition and ensure that they are consulted and kept informed of whatever moves are made going forward. But what are those moves, and when will they be made?
According to Article 3 of the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala signed in 2008, the countries will engage in a two-phase before the court: one for written arguments and another for oral presentations.
Both countries are to request that the Court authorize a written procedure which states: (a) The Government of Guatemala shall submit a Memorial within twelve months of the date on which this Special Agreement was notified to the Registrar of the Court; (b) The Government of Belize shall submit a Counter-Memorial within twelve months of the date on which it was notified of the submission and contents of the Memorial presented by Guatemala; (c) The Government of Guatemala may submit a Reply within six months of the date on which it was notified of the submission and contents of the Counter-Memorial; (d) The Government of Belize may submit its Rejoinder within six months of the date on which it was notified of the submission and contents of Guatemala’s Reply.
There was already an established timeline of events when the referendum was scheduled for April 10, which saw the first set of submissions being made some 30 days after the referendum, which would have landed on May 10. Guatemala would have had to state its claim by May 9, 2020, and Belize would have until May 2021 to offer its
counter-argument. Following that time lime and the 6-month provisions, for each country, the resolution, which both countries have to accept as final and binding according to Article 5 of the Special Agreement, would have been reached by May of 2022.
It is unknown how much moving the referendum date over to May 8 will affect the original projections; however, it is noteworthy that with the Special Agreement being challenged in court by the People’s United Party, the way forward is still very uncertain.
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