Belize, Community, Government, Issues, Nationality, Patriotism, Politics

On Belize vs Guatemala at ICJ


For several reasons, I vote…

NO!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of trying to convince people either way on this issue, some things are being left out that I think are important factors that the people MUST know ahead of any other words that they would be listening to.

Here are some:

  1. Why do we have to keep proving what is already legally accepted?
  2. There are studies by prominent universities in the US that shows that the ICJ is biased as well as some articles that say they are not. (I’ll leave that research for you to do, you don’t think I’d spoon feed you now right? This is too important an issue for anyone to be giving you info and you just swallowing it up).

I have asked several times questions that are yet to be answered without beating around the bush or what I would call fear to tell the truth…

  • Why are we REALLY going to the ICJ?
  • What do we REALLY expect to get out of this game this time?
  • What if the ICJ rules in favor of Belize, are we guaranteed that the issue will go away? I ask this seeing that one of the arguments for going is that this is the last place we can turn to apparently to get them to stop.
  • What if we win the case and Guatemala persists their claims or worst attacks our Nation?
  • What if the ICJ votes in favor of Guatemala?
  • What do we loose if they do?
  • Why instead of fighting to prove what is already legally accepted are we not demanding that the facts be enforced. If we have so much backing to guarantee us a win, why are we not utilizing that to enforce what we have already won rather than risking to loose it all?
  • Who is really benefiting from this whole process?

These are just some of the questions I am still to get an honest answer to and until then I will vote NO. If they do get answered, maybe, just maybe I’ll consider taking the other side a bit more honest and serious.

sov·er·eign·ty –

  1. obsolete : supreme excellence or an example of it
    1. supreme power especially over a body politic
    2. freedom from external control : autonomy
    3. controlling influence
  2. one that is sovereign; especially : an autonomous state

ter·ri·to·ri·al·i·ty –

  1. territorial status
    1. persistent attachment to a specific territory
    2. the pattern of behavior associated with the defense of a territory

And both of those terms ARE and have LONG been accepted by the UN, the OAS, the ACP-EU and other bodies. Prove those facts wrong and maybe, just MAYBE, I may start to take you more serious.

Here are the main points from an article that you should read:

A. recalling United Nations General Assembly Resolution 35/20 of 11 November 1980, which reaffirmed the inalienable right of the people of Belize to self-determination, independence and territorial integrity and called on all parties concerned to respect that right,

1. Declares its unequivocal support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Belize in accordance with its long-established and internationally recognised borders;

6. Calls upon both governments to continue their discussions to put into effect measures that will ease tensions along their border, and to establish a process for the early and definitive settlement of their differences in accordance with the principles and practices of the United Nations and with full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Belize;

Notice, they say… WITH FULL RESPECT FOR THE WHAT OF WHO????????

UPDATE

We got replies from Oliver del Cid (MFA and NSC Secretariat at Government of Belize – 1996 to present)

1. The Legal Opinion on Guatemala’s Territorial Claim Over Belize is the most comprehensive ever prepared on the matter and the four jurists (who themselves represent a multinational approach to International Law as opposed to what may have been prepared by jurists from exclusively Common Law countries) outline an extremely tight case including the following elements:

I. The complete absence of Guatemalan administration over any part of Belize
II. Historical consolidation of title & Prescriptive Acquisition
III. The 1859 Convention between Her Majesty and the Republic of Guatemala, relative to the Boundary of British Honduras
IV. The 1931 Exchange of Notes
V. Self Determination

On the other hand, Guatemala has no legal elements whatsoever on which to base its claim. In fact, they have been told precisely that by International Law experts on at least two occasions.

Links:

2. Even if it is the right and logical thing to do Guatemala cannot simply declare that it recognises the 1859 Convention and give up its claim.

Generations of Guatemalans have grown up repeating the “Belice es nuestro” lie and many cannot conceive otherwise even if they don’t really know the details. No administration in Guatemala would survive such a decision and would therefore never risk it.

Besides, in 1997 the Constitutional Court of Guatemala declared the 1859 Convention to be invalid. Coming almost 140 years too late, the declaration means absolutely nothing in International Law but it imposes some limitation on Guatemalan officials who are prevented from recognising the Convention.

It is for that reason that Guatemalan officials cannot legally refer to a “border”. They use the term “Adjacency Line” and Belizean officials only use the term “border”.

Few if any Guatemalans in positions of power really think they can win anything at the ICJ. Most consider the claim to be embarrassingly out-dated but believe that only through the ICJ will Guatemala be able to lose with honour and move on as a responsible modern nation.

Links:

3. Submitting the case to the ICJ is NOT the same as arbitration or mediation or negotiation.

The ICJ is a highly respected international tribunal where the legal arguments of the two countries will be presented and will be decided upon based on principles of International Law by a panel of legal experts from around the world.

One of the jurists who prepared the Legal Opinion, Judge Stephen Schwebel, was a Judge of the ICJ from 1981 to 2000 and another, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, was an Ad Hoc Judge.

Links:

4. This is not the first time Belize and Guatemala have potentially faced an international legal tribunal. The Legal Opinion describes the UK’s acceptance of the ICJ’s jurisdiction “in all legal (emphasis added) disputes concerning the interpretation, application or validity of any treaty relating to the boundaries of British Honduras”. The offer was left open for 10 years (1946 to 1956).

What did Guatemala do? Guatemala completely ignored the offer and instead in 1947 it accepted the ICJ’s jurisdiction on all legal matters but limited the Belize-Guatemala Differendum to an ex aequo et bono resolution, not a legal one. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, ex aequo et bono means “according to what is equitable and good : on the merits of the case —used esp. in international law when a case by agreement of the principals is to be decided on grounds of equity and reason rather than specific points of law”.

In other words, as far back as 1946 Guatemala knew that it did not have a legal case and instead wanted it decided on principles of fairness (i.e., “No go ahn so, mein!!”). And that is not even including Self Determination which became a preeminent principle of International Law after the Second World War. Is the principle still relevant? Consider the creation of East Timor (became independent in 2002), Kosovo (2008), and South Sudan (2011).

Links:

5. The United States does not favour Guatemala and does not intend to use its power to hand Belize over.

While that may have been partly true among some US policymakers during the Cold War (remember the 1965 Webster Proposals??) the Cold War ended more than 20 years ago and the US’ relationship with the entire world has changed considerably since then.

Even at the height of the Cold War, on 11th November, 1980 the US voted in favour of UN General Assembly Resolution 35/20 which called for Belize’s Independence by the end of 1981 and with its territory intact. This Resolution was also fully supported by all members of the UN Security Council.

On 23rd September, 1981 the UN Security Council (including the United States which, as one of the five Permanent Members of the Council, has the power to veto any decision) unanimously voted in favour of admitting Belize as a member of the United Nations. Since then the US has been extremely supportive of Belize on issues relating to the Differendum.

Links:

  • On the Question of Belize
  • Admission of New Members to the UN – Vanuatu
  • Dr. Assad Shoman’s 13 Chapters, 2nd Edition, page 288: “…the US State Department was extremely open to, and helpful towards, the Belize position, especially during the Facilitation Process and after, when Guatemala reneged on the agreements…Indeed, the US often took stronger positions in favour of Belize than did Britain…”

6. Submitting the Differendum to the ICJ is not “100% risk free” but not doing so may leave us even more exposed than we realise at this point in time.

No one can guarantee that the ICJ won’t rule in a manner that many would consider to be anti-Belize. Many understandably believe that losing even one square inch is one square inch too much.

Bearing that risk in mind, what would happen if one of the countries votes “no”? If Guatemala votes no, the international community will see it as yet another example of Guatemala refusing to move forward on the issue. Much of the international community already thinks that anyway. If Belize votes no, the international community will be disappointed that we missed out on the best opportunity we’ve had in years to resolve an unfounded claim.

We may continue as before but we run the very real risk of losing international financial support for the OAS Adjacency Zone Office which investigates incidents within the Adjacency Zone (no, Adjacency Zone does not mean “no man’s land” or that Guatemalans may do whatever they want there. See the Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala). The OAS Adjacency Zone Office actually provides an extremely valuable service to both countries as it is an impartial entity, trusted and respected by both governments to investigate incidents and in that way de-escalate situations that could get out of hand.

If donor fatigue sets in and we lose the OAS Adjacency Zone Office we will be back to “our word against theirs”. Unfortunately, it may not be limited to words. Even more than 15 years after the end of its civil war, Guatemala remains a fairly violent society where all sorts of problems and conflicts, including conflicts over land, are settled through force.

That does not mean that the Government of Guatemala would try to invade Belize but the truth is that the country is still a fairly young democracy and there are sufficient hardliners and troublemakers within certain government departments that would (as they have in the past) actively seek to provoke incidents of violence.

No doubt every single Belizean would volunteer to defend the nation. But let’s look at the math for a moment. We are a nation of approximately 350,000 while Guatemala has 14.7 million. We have able-bodied citizens overseas with military experience? So does Guatemala. The Guatemalan military is expected to reach 20,000. We have a much less. According to some sources, the Guatemalan defence budget is about US$260 million, more than half of Belize’s entire budget.

Can we be like Israel and arm ourselves to discourage conflict? As much as we would want to, we cannot. Among our many unavoidable priorities, we have hospitals and schools to staff and run. We could probably stop spending on a few things for a while – like infrastructure and social programmes – but that would adversely affect the economy and society almost immediately.

Will our friends arm us to discourage Guatemala? The US, UK, CARICOM, the Commonwealth? It is highly unlikely given that these days everybody is facing hard times, they have their own security priorities, and the world community is not interested in fuelling an arms race, especially when there are non-violent alternatives available.

When it comes to conflict, we have to be realistic and work with what we have.

Links:

Why do we have to keep proving what is already legally accepted?

In many ways the Guatemalan claim is not the one most of us grew up with. It is no longer about making Belize disappear. It is now more of a delimitation dispute – a very exaggerated one since its for half the country, but it is essentially about where the border of the two countries should be.

The Legal Opinion outlines the various legal elements that support Belize and member states of organisations such as the UN, OAS, NAM, CARICOM, the Commonwealth and others have made also made numerous declarations on behalf of Belize’s Independence and territorial integrity.

However, despite the strength of these legal elements and the numerous declarations, the actual delimitation of borders can only be done through bilateral negotiation, arbitration, or adjudication. We have tried negotiation, we have not been successful at arbitration, and all that remains is adjudication.

Belize and the world community understand that the delimitation of the Belize-Guatemala border was accomplished through the 1859 Convention between Her Majesty and the Republic of Guatemala, relative to the Boundary of British Honduras and the 1931 Exchange of Notes.

Guatemala has refused to recognise these and that is why there is still an unresolved claim, an claim void of legal support, but still an unresolved claim.

There are studies by prominent universities in the US that shows that the ICJ is biased as well as some articles that say they are not.

The biases explored in these studies (Posner/Figureido?) are totally irrelevant to the Belize-Guatemala case.

It does not matter to us in the least if judges tend to vote for their home country or for countries that their home country has interests with.

Neither Belize nor Guatemala have judges at the ICJ and the ad hoc judges we would nominate would (even if the studies are 100% accurate) cancel each other out. Guatemala is also isolated on the Belize-Guatemala dispute (evidence: multiple declarations at the UN, OAS, etc.) and as such there aren’t any countries that would readily support Guatemala at the ICJ even if Posner/Figuereido are correct.

In one paper Posner even makes the claim that in cases submitted by Special Agreement (such as Belize-Guatemala) the ICJ operates as an arbitration tribunal. However, he produces no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim.

Why are we REALLY going to the ICJ?

We have tried negotiation for decades and arbitration has also failed. Guatemala cannot give up its claim and Belize cannot give up territory. The ICJ is the only tribunal that can be trusted to decide the case based on principles of international law.
The only reason incidents between Belizeans and Guatemalans have not escalated in recent years is because the OAS Adjacency Zone Office investigates the incidents and reduces tensions before things get out of hand.
If we do not resolve the issue now we risk losing the OAS Adjacency Zone Office and possibly escalating incidents of violence.

What do we REALLY expect to get out of this game this time?

We expect the Guatemalan claim to be put to rest for once and for all, for the borders to be fully demarcated, and for both countries to work together to address common problems (crime, environmental, development, etc.)
We cannot continue to ignore Guatemala as we used to before.

What if the ICJ rules in favor of Belize, are we guaranteed that the issue will go away?

Guatemala may not like it but there would be nothing else left for it to claim.
Should it refuse to comply with the ICJ ruling it would face a great deal of international criticism and isolation which is exactly what it is trying to overcome by agreeing to submit the claim to the ICJ.

What if we win the case and Guatemala persists in its claim or worse, attacks our nation?

Though Guatemalan society is fairly violent and our security forces have been attacked on a number of occasions by Guatemalan campesinos living along the border, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the Guatemalan armed forces to attempt such a thing in response to an adverse ruling.
The risk is a lot higher of something happening if the claim is not resolved and we lose the OAS Adjacency Zone Office.

What if the ICJ votes in favor of Guatemala?

Guatemala has no legal elements whatsoever to support its claim.
Guatemala even rejected the UK’s offer to resolve the claim at the very same ICJ between 1946 and 1956 and it has been told by International Law experts on at least two occasions that it does not have a claim.

What do we lose if they do?

Based on the strength of our legal position, we expect the ICJ to dismiss the Guatemalan claim for any territory. Guatemala just doesn’t have any legal elements in its favour.
Guatemala may indeed “win” access to the Caribbean Sea at the ICJ. However, that does not necessarily mean a “loss” for Belize. Guatemala already has a small coast in the Gulf of Honduras and as such must have access to the sea.
In any case, any such delimitation would have to be in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Why instead of fighting to prove what is already legally accepted are we not demanding that the facts be enforced. If we have so much backing to guarantee us a win, why are we not utilizing that to enforce what we have already won rather than risking to lose it all?

REPEATING: In many ways the Guatemalan claim is not the one most of us grew up with. It is no longer about making Belize disappear. It is now more of a delimitation dispute – a very exaggerated one, but in principle it is essentially about where the border of the two countries should be.
The Legal Opinion outlines the various legal elements that support Belize and member states of organisations such as the UN, OAS, NAM, CARICOM, the Commonwealth and others have made also made numerous declaration on behalf of Belize’s Independence and territorial integrity.
However, despite the strength of these legal elements and the numerous declarations, the actual delimitation of borders can only be done through bilateral negotiation, arbitration, or adjudication. We have tried negotiation, we have not been successful at arbitration, and all that remains is adjudication.
Belize and the world community understand that the delimitation of the Belize-Guatemala border was accomplished through the 1859 Convention between Her Majesty and the Republic of Guatemala, relative to the Boundary of British Honduras and the 1931 Exchange of Notes.
Guatemala has refused to recognise these and that is why there is still an unresolved claim, an unfounded claim void of legal support, but still an unresolved claim.

Who is really benefiting from this whole process?

Both Belize and Guatemala need to do away with this outdated and baseless claim.
We cannot continue to ignore each other as we used to when we had British troops, Guatemala was busy fighting its own civil war, and Petén was uninhabited.

TELLING GUATEMALA TO “STOP IT” IS NOT A VIABLE OPTION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

UPDATE

Are you aware that our issue with Guatemala has NEVER been taken to a court for hearing before, but they are telling people that we have exhausted our options in finding a solution?

I would really appreciate your participation on this one. Please vote in the Poll and leave a comment.

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32 thoughts on “On Belize vs Guatemala at ICJ”

  1. Great post Cayo Buay!

    T|his is an outstandingly sober look at the situation for what it truly is. Belizeans, take note and do not let go the bone for the shadow.

    Voting a resounding “NO” to the ICJ on 6th October 2013 is the only way to safeguard our nation from this insidious affront to our sovereign territory.

    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!

  2. Well structured comments. You outlined the contents in a logical sequence, Cayo Buay.

    The MFA, NSC Secretariat comes across wimpish, and displays a significant lack of moral courage in trying to make his case as a proponent for going to the ICJ. His supporters are tee-tie-toe behind him in supporting his cowardly stance.

    In my humble opinion, Belizeans must open their eyes and become conscious of what is at stake here. Diplomacy has failed us, and as a result, a “NO” vote to going to the ICJ is the only choice, and stepping stone we have to utilize, in establishing a secure future for our beloved country from foundation up. The damage has been done. Now our recovery and reorganization process to mend their (Diplomat’s) stupidity has got to be worked on, pronto. Why did they not consult the Belizean people first? Mr. Del Cid and his cohorts are sell-outs.

    Those assigned to lead this debacle are nothing but gamblers, it seems. Shame on them.

    If we go to the ICJ, we ‘blink.’ Also, Guatemala’s character is a reflection of their past. They cannot be trusted regardless of what they agree to, today. They will not be satisfied thus tension between us will worsen with the outcome of the ICJ’s ruling. Let’s shun further complications by uniting under one aim, and that is to concentrate our efforts on being prayerful while we work on enhancing our internal and external security forces.

    Let us build an alliance with other neighboring countries, and work towards a new port down south then invite them (Guatemala) to use it at a minimal cost. Let us enhance the policing of our border areas and put a stop to the incursions. We can do this by getting help and assistance from fellow countries that loves and appreciates us for our diverse culture and for whom we are as one people. There are many countries, that supports a safe and clean environment whom have shown a distinct willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with us….

    Tourism through a clean and safe environment is the way of the future……

    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ

    1. How does Raymond propose to “… build an alliance with other neighboring countries, and work towards a new port down south then invite them (Guatemala) to use it at a minimal cost”? What are the prospect of this meeting with any success? Is this his alternative to completing the process of negotiation, mediation and adjudication that going to the ICJ entails?
      Don’t the “fellow countries that loves and appreciates us for our diverse culture and for whom we are as one people”, the Group of Friends spent money, and continue to spend money on the current process through the OAS and are very “encouraging” that we complete the process? What on earth makes Raymond thinks that we can persuade them that we and they should abandon this process in favor of what?
      What can he offer to underpin his assertion that the relationship between the countries “will worsen with the outcome of the ICJ’s ruling” and/or the inference that it will not in the alternative, especially when you can point to fact of the worsening of relations to the point of armed conflict in 2000 that led to this process?

  3. The Use and Abuse of the International Court of Justice: Cases concerning the Use of Force after Nicaragua.

  4. Base on your “speculation spree”, we apparently have an “iron clad” case therefore, the likelihood of not ceding territories will still leave us at square one. If Belizeans vote “NO” to the ICJ – whereas I’m positive they will – a Damage Control Plan to address the mess created by those who ‘jumped the gun’, will be a necessary endeavor to regain a peaceful perspective with Guatemala. We need to let Guatemala understand that we are sovereign and free, with all our territories intact- this is the message we will send come October, 2013 and the sooner you all come to realize this the better.

    My suggestion to allow them enhanced access to our port (at an added cost obviously), is contingent on their need for such. If they are not interested then there’s no need for us to go out of our way in making efforts to allow them such a privilege. But at least they will know that we are prepared to maintain neighborly relations with them by putting such an offer on the table. Also, as someone else mention, we need “pragmatic solutions” to resolving this issue/dispute. Working in conjunction with them, while maintaining our position to express our territorial integrity and sovereignty would mean to me that we are extending our hands in a manner of wanting to keep the peace with them. Better access to our port is just one of my ideas for accomplishing this. I admit, I don’t know it all, but what I do know is that we need to show better foresight in addressing this issue.

    The OAS nor the ICJ’s respective mediatory or adjudicated solution will bring closure to our dispute with Guatemala, but to the contrary. The only good thing, perhaps, is that we will unite as one people in saying “NO” come the referendum.

    Our leaders started off on the wrong foot- “yu start wrong, yu end wrong.” When the present GOB “subscribed” to the PUP’s effort to take this issue to ICJ a few years ago they lost the initiative to do right by the Belizean people. This is a national issue, not a political one. Our leaders should have presented this issue to all Belizeans from the inception when it was being considered, and before they signed any agreement to go to court. That was the only right thing to do.

    Come October the process of going to the ICJ will be denied and abandon by the Belizean people when they vote “NO” to going…. then what? Will it changed the level of threat we now experience from Guatemala? What should we do if this is the reality come that time? Do we continue to allow our border to be intruded upon? A contingency plan needs to be addressed as of yesterday….

  5. What “speculation spree” Raymond, I asked 6 questions? How do you propose to tell Guatemala Fu Leave Fu We Belize Alone after we have been doing that for the last 50 years?
    As far as I know, there is not anything that you have suggested or recommended as one of those “pragmatic solutions” that haven’t been already done, particularly “Working in conjunction with them, while maintaining our position to express our territorial integrity and sovereignty would mean to me that we are extending our hands in a manner of wanting to keep the peace with them.” – that is a definition of the process both countries agreed to undertake and signed an agreement to that effect in 2005.
    Not surprisingly, you offer nothing to support any of your conclusions because they are all conjecture on your part. Simple logic dictates that the outcome of the referendum will change the perceived “level of threat we now experience from Guatemala” regardless of what is that outcome.
    And their can only be 4 outcomes 1. Both countries vote yes. 2. Both countries vote no. 3. Guatemala votes yes and Belize votes no. 4. Belize votes yes and Guatemala votes no. Tell me Raymond, which of these outcomes do you believe would be best for Belize and which would be worst and why.

  6. I am new to this issue per say but am doing as much as I can to learn as quickly as possible…
    I have a question I’d like to pose:
    Have we brought our case to the Central American Court Of Justice?
    1. If yes, what were the results and where can I find more info?
    2. If no, why not? Why not use this valuable asset?

  7. Hello, i’m Guatemalan, as i understand the claim is for territorial boundaries at the border. Is not a claim for Belize. Belize is a sovereign and independent country that i like to visit. Costarica and Nicaragua are having the same problems now, and so other countries.

  8. How you can say that we’ve been speculating about our territorial integrity for that many years? Sounds like you never recognized our 1981 independence.

    One pragmatic solution would be to buildup the capacity of our Security Forces. How can you also suggest that to enhance these elements is one which cannot be categorized as one that offers a pragmatic approach? Over the last 50 years we’ve neglected these responsibilities. We done so by neglectfully misappropriating our misspending monies that could have been better used to address the problems we currently face in our border regions.

    Also, working in conjunction with our neighbors to resolve their unfounded claim is one that Belizeans were/are the fittest to decide on, not a third party like the ICJ. The Belizean consensu, by the way of referendum, are the ones to have endorsed/approved the Special Agreement. We should have known about this consideration from before it’s inception, not after we were placed in the predicament. Belizeans will see it as faithless logicians not heeding advice, but feeding on their egos to prove a point. Getting the advice of our Belizean population would have helped in outlining multiple options. You see my points as conjecture… okay, let’s see if the general populace will feel the same way come October, 2013.

    My personal view is that you all are purporting an easy victory if we go to the ICJ, without detailing what it is we stand to lose- knowing darn well that we will not leave the same way we enter the court room. So, why “gamble” when you know there’s nothing for us to gain? How many times does one have to point this out? I find you advocates too overconfident. I’m also thinking that because of your 50 odd years of trying to resolve this issue through diplomatics means, you all have become emotionally attached to the notion of proving your logic. But if experience teacheth wisdom then anyone can easily appreciate that going to court does not guarantee a 100% chance of winning. Especially when there’s proof that the court’s ability to adjudicate based on International Law has been proven wrong and questionable by other parties that too similar disputes to their doorstep.

    What’s more prudent, gamble with our future or show faith by saying no to going to the ICJ? Tell you what, do yourself a favor, set logic aside then do what you feel is right. This way you will make our forefathers proud. Just bare in mind that to do something which is deemed unnecessary, is to be unwise.

    Thank you for the questions…. I”m sidetracked by some personal matters, but intend to continue the conversation, by answering them, later.

    God bless!

  9. How is building up the capacity of our “security forces” a pragmatic solution and haven’t we done exactly that? The Belize Defence Force was founded in 1978, it did not always exist. Guatemala has an at ready army of 20,000 and the ability to call up another 20,000 in 24 hours. Are you recommending that we build a similar size army and what happens if they’re determined to keep the 20-1 numerical advantage? They have a population of almost 15 million, we have a population of 350,000 so obviously they can if they’re determined to same.
    They also currently spend US200 million on their security forces, roughly half of the Government of Belize’s entire annual budget – how are we going to match their outlay? Where are we going to cut to achieve this build-up, is it education, health, the justice system, pro-poor programs, infrastructure, ministers’ salaries?
    Secondly, we have known about the option of going to the ICJ since Belize signed the framework agreement on September 7, 2005, are you saying that we should turn back the clock because you were not paying attention?
    Saying no to the ICJ is also a gamble, the prudent choice is the one we believe offers us a more secure future and that secure future can only be one where there is no threat to our sovereignty with territorial integrity.
    I describe you perspective as based on conjecture because you have yet to offer a single fact. It is clear that your position is based on ignorance of the facts, and of the history of the dispute, and limited knowledge of the circumstances.
    We the greatest of respect I strongly recommend that you acquaint yourself with the facts, the history and the circumstances before coming to a conclusion – you owe to yourself, and to your nation as a fellow citizen.

  10. All that is a bunch of baloney you uttered right there, my friend. You’re talking without carefully thinking of what you’re saying. The primary basis to support your argument is one that only a weakling would take. In the world of good diplomacy, you’re taking a defeatist approach to address the issue. You are saying, in other words, ‘If we are out matched militarily, then we are left with little or no alternative but to kowtow to the whims of Guatemala,’ and, ‘let’s put that in the hands of a third party to decide on our behalf.’ Only cowards would take this kind of position, and debased diplomatic stance.
    Your ability to critically think and discern the right course is obviously flawed. Why? Well… what happens when we vote “NO” to going to the ICJ? If you can’t see that as turning back the clock, then truly there’s no logical basis for your argument.
    I followed through and read all the info posted, as well as I have been keeping up with the events as they unfold at home, pertinent to this issue, and I’ve become sufficiently convinced that a “NO” to going to the ICJ is the right course that I support & will vote for.
    It is a fact that none of you advocates can ascertain or guarantee a (100)% win if we go to the ICJ- you owe it to yourself to show courage by standing-up and do what is right……. nuff said.

    1. It is lamentable that you have such difficulty distinguishing your opinion from fact, and that you fail to recognize the differences between questions and statements. That is what leads you to offer conjecture as logically arrived at conclusions.
      You recommended beefing up our security forces as a pragmatic solution (alternative to the ICJ?), and so the question really asks what is an acceptable or feasible level,unless you do not consider Guatemala an existential threat, which then begs the question, what then is the point in building up our security forces.
      The reference to “turning back the clock” speaks to your contention that the Belizean consensus on the special agreement/decision to hold a referendum should have been sought via referendum and that Belizeans “… should have known about this consideration from before it’s inception, not after we were placed in the predicament”.
      Please note that so far you have failed to post a single “fact” in support of your opinions and conjecture, as well as your decision to vote in the referendum.

  11. *You owe it to yourselves to show courage by saying “NO” to going to the ICJ. That’s the only right thing to do.*

  12. Belizeans will all be lamenting if they were to proceed with following your lead.
    I’m aware of the questions you asked, and is simply taking sometime to meditate on what my response will be. Have patience, I’ll get around to answering them in a few…..
    Beefing up our security is a necessity regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Also, your viewing of my opinions as conjectures is the least of my contention and does not bother me in the least. The fact of the matter is, if we go to the ICJ we stand to lose territories, and this is something our people will not tolerate nor want to happen. This is a fact and I will holdfast to it whether you see it that way or not.
    It is/was a demonstration of very poor leadership by political leaders to have railroaded us into such a mess. The education process and referendum would have made more sense to me had both been conducted prior the signing of a Special Agreement.
    The decision makers (political leaders) in the key positions at the time when these decisions were made, took upon themselves to shake hands and sign an agreement that placed our people at a distinct disadvantage. They failed to acknowledge that our community/social leaders, as well as the general public, would have probably advised them on multiple options other than this insane one you’ll are attempting to utilize. Now we are left to face much doubts and much uncertainty leading up to the referendum, like we never had enough to deal with from before. Also, the integrity of politicians and attorneys have longed become questionable and is of little credibility these days, and to see that they are the ones leading the charge and are trying to convince the masses that we should take such a gamble, is extremely uninspiring; bearing in mind their poor history of using partisan politics to divide people on important issues ….
    Both parties combined are outnumbered by the non-politicos/non-voters, yet they didn’t see it fit to take it to the majority. How presumptuous and narrow-minded…. It was a bad move from the beginning, and I for hell will not agree with you that going will be the wise choice. So, say what you want, and think what you want….. my conjectures and opinion rules. My personal decision stands: “NO” to going to the ICJ!!

    1. Again, you reply is bereft of fact, and replete with opinions and conjecture. It is not a fact that if we go to the ICJ “we stand to lose territories”. for example, that is simply your opinion.
      What I find disturbing is your apparent insistence in being focused almost exclusively on one aspect, one possible outcome of the proceedings, and your apparent ignorance about the genesis and evolution of the dispute, particularly what it is we as a nation has done.
      This is why you offer off hand opinions such as “very poor leadership by political leaders”, and that our prior decisions placed us at a “distinct disadvantage”, or describe them as “insane”. Your statement that “They failed to acknowledge that our community/social leaders, as well as the general public” is not only factual wrong, but wholly wrong. I reiterate: you were simply not paying attention. Belizeans long ago demanded that we be included in the negotiating process, that it be carried out in a transparent and bi-partisan manner and that any final agreement/solution must be put to the people of Belize in a referendum. That has been done, is being done, and will be done.

      I note Cayo Buay, that my last reply does not appear.

  13. For any group of people to obtain nationhood is no easy task.In Nov/1980 ,Resolution 35/20 of GA ,Belize indep movement was supported by 139 countries.We should not forget Guyana and her steadfast support for Belize.Guyanas Foreign Min (Willis)declared that the time is long past when Guatemala should be addressed by the language of diplomacy and be entertained by International civil service.”Hands off Belize”,were his closing remarks.Cuba was the first to support Belize.General Omar Torillos of Panama vigourosly campaigned for Belize.I cannot understand this move to propose we go to ICJ.Ask the USA why they no longer support the ICJ ,except on certain cases.Id the USA which is a permanent member of the UN does not obey the decision of ICJ in the USA/Nicaragua matter then I cant support them .Why do some Belizeans make fences around their personal property then refuse to protect our borders?

  14. Reblogged this on coolrunningsbze and commented:
    In our quest to understand…we must educate ourselves. Having a keen understanding of the Guatemalan claim on Belize will enable us to decide. It should also motivate us to let our leaders know where we stand on this issue.

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