by: Derrick Velasquez
The most terrible thing about the ICJ discussion is the remorseless detachment most people in Dangriga have about it. Residents across the board are saying they simply do not know enough about the issue to make an informed decision. Those who have attended the discussions on the topic are equally conflicted, with reactions based on who the speaker is and the venue where the discussion is held. The reactions becomes more divisive as the people respond along party affiliations. Oh boy! How did we get to this point in our country’s history? But a more pressing question, even more important, is how do we get out of this mess? How do we manage a relationship with a neighbor who has taken us to court regardless of whether we wanted to go or not (whether your vote is yes or no)? The consequences are uncertain, but one thing is for sure; after The April elections, things will never be the same among Belizeans, between both political parties, between our nation and Guatemala. The once ‘peaceful constructive Belizean revolution ‘has taken a flight to Europe. Gone with the winds!
What is overshadowed by the ICJ’s preeminence in our national discussion, is the now in demand independence of the Belizean people. Yes, I said it! Our independence. Thirty seven years later we are still behaving like colonial subjects. We argue amongst ourselves about an existential issue facing our nation, then punt the responsibility to an international court to provide a permanent solution for us. What happened there? Let me be the first to tell you, there is no permanent solution to this land dispute with our neighbors. This problem is one of a particular attitude of one people towards another. The Guatemalans or those in that country’s power structure are beneficiaries to an imperialist philosophy. We are not. We strive to live peacefully among ourselves and peaceably within the structures of the OAS and CARICOM. And until any court can check the imperialist attitude of the Guatemalan government the ICJ will be wasting its time adjudicating this claim.
When I look at the signatures on the document below, I reflect with pity on the position of our foreign minister. Two Comanches came to kill one Apache. For that mission we sent the best we had and he did the best he could, under the circumstance. Now things have changed. There is no need for us to polarize this important national issue. Full disclosure; I’m a former mayoral candidate with the People’s United Party in Dangriga. I support a no vote. There is no contradiction in what I wrote above since I do so out of conviction. The point is, people need to hear more from our leaders about this issue. They need more time to know more. I took the time to visit with them to gauge where they stand. Unless these people are not being truthful, most admit they need to know more. And I wonder, why not give them more time to make up their minds? After all, the decisions by the ICJ, if we agree to go, will be permanent.///