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Short debate on amending Maritime Areas Act

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2019. 11:10 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The second reading of the Maritime Areas Act and debate is complete in the House of Representatives in Belmopan.

Addressing briefly the reason for delaying the amendment, Prime Minister Dean Barrow stated that Belize’s international legal advisors advised in written form that the amendment take place after a ‘yes’ vote and before Belize formally notifies the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of its participation in the case.

 Signaling support in reply, Leader of the Opposition John Briceño asked the Government to move with equal haste and urgency to address the matter of Guatemala’s continued aggression at the Sarstoon, suggesting working with the U.S. SOUTHCOM military command and potentially asking the ICJ for provisional measures to ensure Guatemala backs off.

Briceño also made some other requests, including an accounting of monies spent during the referendum campaign, and having GOB provide full and frank disclosure at every stage of the coming process. He also formally announced the decision of the People’s United Party’s five parliamentarians and one standard bearer’s claim challenging the Special Agreement and the validity of the now-aborted April 10 referendum to withdraw the claim.

The Prime Minister, in wrapping up, announced that the appointed legal team has now been instructed to begin preparing a brief, outlining the need for provisional measures which is to be presented at The Hague.

The Bill was passed without objection and following the formal passing at third reading, due to occur shortly, heads to the Senate will pass the bill tomorrow, Tuesday.

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