The Commonwealth Asserts Its Support for Belize’s Sovereignty

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Updated: May 4, 2016

The Commonwealth is an association made up of fifty three independent and equal sovereign states with over two billion citizens.  Its mandate is to provide guidance on policy making, technical assistance and advisory services to its member countries while promoting democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development.  It is a strong organization and internationally recognized and because of that the recent release is somewhat comforting to Belize as it relates to its present difficulties with Guatemala.  On the Commonwealth’s website, a document dated May 3, 2016 was published; stating that the Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland who was recently in Belize on a working visit, would be calling an urgent meeting of the ministerial committee to discuss the Belize/Guatemala border dispute. The document notes that the Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize is expected to meet months before their scheduled September forum to discuss recent troubling developments in the boundaries disagreement.  Secretary-General Scotland reaffirmed the commitment made by the Commonwealth’s 53 governments at their 2015 summit, to fully support Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Interestingly, the Baroness was quoted as saying, “I welcome the cooperation between Belize’s Government and Opposition on this issue, which is affecting their entire population, and commend the facility that they give to the hundreds of children who come from Guatemala  daily to attend school in Belize.  I have responded positively to a request from the government and the opposition to convene the Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize, ahead of the scheduled September meeting; adding, that she came to Belize to get a first-hand view of the country’s priorities, challenges and potentials, so she could better tailor Commonwealth cooperation and support. While she spoke to the Prime Minister and other officials on other important issues such as climate change and trade, it was evident that the disagreement with Guatemala over border lines is the most pressing issue on the minds of the Belize people.