By Dr. Theodore Aranda

Friday, April 12, 2019

Note to readers: For context, this article was written before the injunction

There are some fatal flaws in how Belize national leadership responds to and treats the Guatemala /ICJ/Belize challenge. Our leadership definitely does not measure up to the task of defending the nation. The Special Agreement between Guatemala and Belize was done at the Organization of American States (OAS) Headquarters in Washington, DC, USA, December 8, 2008. It was signed by Guatemala and Belize, witnessed by OAS, May 25, 2015. But our leaders kept it away from the Belizean People till sometime early 2018; full 9 years afterwards, leaving us with insufficient time to adequately mount an information campaign to develop and establish informed consent by the Governed, that is, the Belizean People, albeit that this should have been going on years aback.

Right after that lost time our leaders imposed a re-registration upon the population, again only last year around July 2018; giving even less time to ready the public for informed voting. To make matters even worse, the voter re-registration is completely rigged (no other way to describe it), by the governing party in its own favour. Re-registration by non members of the governing party is suppressed; it is restricted; it is denied; and too often re-registration records are not found to complete re-registration.

Last week, March 11, 2019, I went to 4 different communities to verify reported accounts of irregularities in the re-registration process. One community reported that only 7 out of hundreds of voters who had gone to re-register had received their voter card – – all UDP members. The other three communities (not known to be UDP strongholds) reported not having gotten any information about their re- registration. Many people throughout the country who re-registered from July, 2018 reported not being able to get information about their re-registration. The Referendum voting is slated for April 10, 2019 and lobbyist for a “Yes” vote are busy increasing their pressure. But it should be obvious to anyone that rigging voter re-registration; denial of the right to vote; unfair manipulation of re- registration all doom the legitimacy of the Referendum.

There is yet another major issue of prime significance in the current Guatemalan/ICJ/Belize territorial challenges that Belize should not lose sight of. Both the definition of the dispute stated for Mediation/Solution and the premises forwarded to conclude and solve the dispute are all centred and locked into and around Treaties and Negotiation between the British and Guatemala prior to the                                                                            Independence of the Territory in dispute, namely Belize. Nothing is raised about the Belize after Independence, let alone the powerful liberating defense embodied in a futuristic National Self-Determination of Belize where the “People” and the Nation of Belize determine their own future and welfare. Self-Determination is a potent and fertile issue to include in the ICJ issue. It liberates Belize from colonial and antiquated practices and treaties and forms a solid foundation for an Independent Belize as it legitimizes and ratifies Belizean Nationhood and Self- governance. It will serve as a basic constitutional base/foundation for our leaders as well as our population at large while it sets a regularizing international relationship between our Nation and the International World.

Self-Determination is rooted in philosophical principles of natural rights that have been adapted into law and international relationship. It is quite flexible to apply to governance with and by the consent of an informed citizenry as well as it will serve in peaceful settlement of disputes, such as, in military attacks and occupation. The principle of Self-Determination was used and later adapted by the League of Nations in 1919 to denounce occupation by alien colonialists who subjugated peoples and nations as if they were their own property. UN Charter 4 and Convention on Human Rights also adapted that argument and were convinced to later forcefully state that all nations have the right to Self-Determination.  The importance of Self-Determination and Self-Governance doctrine to the Guatemala/ICJ/ Belize issue is that it will be a significant addition for Belize to use in the very likely disaster of going into the ICJ arbitration. Belize must not disregard that ICJ is nothing less than a coercive imposition by alien powers and masters and will treat Belize as a colonial football kicked around by being freed into an Independent State from where now probably to be wiped out by the ICJ. It should be clear to Belize that the function and operation of ICJ is not to safeguard Belize or how to treat us favourably. Its function is to mediate and use its arbitration power; against us if it sees fit. ICJ is nothing less than the cold iron hands of US and Britain. Our tradition, economy and national rights matter none at all to them. We are just objects to pick up or drop along the way. It is up to us therefore to recognize that we are the ones on the verge of a fatal disaster brought about by our reckless leaders. Guatemala and its military have been pushing their cause to the maximum. We need to push back and aggressively internationalize our Self-Determination and Self-Governance much more forcefully than they do their cause. We need to rise up to our own defense.

We need to keep ourselves the farthest away from the remotest of disasters. We need to be determined to hold fast to our survival and keep it the safest and most secure in our own hands and Self-Determination. AND WE WILL. WE WILL REMAIN BELIZEANS — NOT GUATEMALANS NOR REFUGEES.

Way Forward

 Every single voter: Vote to save Yourself, Family and Belize

  1. How to vote: NO to ICJ
  2. Aggressively Internationalize our Self-Determination