Friday, May 10, 2019
Belizeans have spoken. Loudly and clearly…Yes!! The people of Belize, in an exercise of their Democratic rights, by an undeniable considerable margin of 9316 votes have decided that the question on the validity of the Guatemalan claim to Belize shall be taken to the International Court of Justice based in The Hague, Netherlands. The timeline for such a process is to be measured in years and the results of that will be measured by generations to come.
John Briceño, leader of the People’s United Party: “This referendum is indeed historic and momentous and while some would have preferred a different outcome, we all know that respect for each other’s differences should never get in the way of National Unity. The collective wisdom of the people is that the time has come for us to settle this unfounded claim. As we work towards the next steps in this process let us continue to live side by side, peacefully, and in the spirit of cooperation and friendship with the people of Guatemala.”
The Prime Minister’s next move is to make amendments to the Maritime Areas act. The result of this is to make Belize less vulnerable when the 15 ICJ judges make the historic deliberations, and eventual rulings which will now become the biggest expectation of our Belizean lifetime; this can only be rivalled by George Price’s announcement of September 21 as our Independence Day.
The people of Belize should now be educated on what this ICJ process will entail. The idea of an internal battle should disappear. Their inclusion of ALL CITIZENS is a continuation of the respect earned by their voting. Whatever the ICJ rules will now be for all. For the ICJ there are no constituencies, no ethnic groups, no Districts, no UDP, no PUP, no Yes vote, no No Vote. All they will see are the Memorials that we present and then Guatemala presents. The memorials and responses are the cases each country will present in due time.
May 8, 2019, Belizeans and foreigners from all over the world were looking at us. They must be proud of our Election vis-à-vis referendum. Belize had peace that the world itself did not give us but that we are so proud of. This referendum carried a tremendous baggage but it is fair to say that is has given Belizeans a deep power and greater patriotism.
We are back to our reality where we have to be sure that our Prime Minister and the UDP are governing, day to day, with the citizens in mind. Additionally, Belizeans have made them responsible for the launching of the actual ICJ process now involving Guatemala.
Guatemala must know that Belizeans will get their way at the International Court of Justice. We all need to be vigilant that this process is as clear and fair as possible. No sense of gamble should exist. Going forward, the Prime Minister and everyone who is in charge of this process need all Belizeans by their side as we, Belize, put our case to the world: In the May 8 referendum Belize gave up nothing; in fact, we want all that is ours. All of Belize is for Belizeans! All our land and maritime areas intact.