Guatemala Needs to Go To Referendum First, Says PM

By
Updated: March 21, 2016

With the recent increased tensions with Guatemala military, an even greater urgency has been expressed by members of the public and other sections of the country in bringing a resolution to the matter.  The one option that the Government has supported is through the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  Yesterday in Dangriga, we asked Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, if going to a referendum has become a priority since the Saturday incident with the Guatemalan Armed Forces coming into Belize’s waters.

DEAN BARROW

“We are always repeating that in our view and the official view of the government that that is really the only way to solve this issue once and for all but it does take two to tango and we have not yet gone to a referendum because the Guatemalans seem to be having great difficulty in terms of their own internal politics in setting the stage for them to go to referendum. I don’t know that what has happened will in any way change things in Guatemala. For us the key is to try to come up with a way forward with respect to the Sarstoon, that is priority one, that is job one. In the larger context we in Belize continue to be interested in going to referendum as soon as is practicable but I repeat I don’t see us going without the Guatemalans also being prepared to go. There has been provision now for us to be able to go separately. Speaking for myself, I don’t see Belize going until Guatemala has gone, it’s either we go together or they need to go first so we continue to work at it but so much depends on that.”

Currently, the main opposition party, the PUP has told Love News that they would be revisiting their position on the issue; in the interim, however, they have appointed Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Assad Shoman to sit on the National Team dealing with the Belize/Guatemala issue.  The Belize Progressive Party has also announced their stance as being against the ICJ.